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THE FRETFUL PORCUPINE

was very busy last week •jC over the prospects of a v - breach of promise action

/against a. city business, man who was understood to have come < to the brink' of matrimony during the holidays, but to have repented at the eleventh hour. Certain it is that the wedding didn't comeofl, and that the ." slighted lady and her friends talked of . their intention of obtaining satisfaction. However, it is equally certain that the recalcitrant groom-elect left for Australia (by this week's steamer, and it is etated that before his departure a settlement of the trouble was arrived at, which will deprive the gossips of the expected titbit. « • • The " Herald" ie evidently determined to maintain its reputation for purveying startling news. According to the venerable female, the inquiry . into the wreck of the Waikare was held at Pukekohe. It isn't easy to see why Grandma should have fixed upon Pukekohe, but probably she did so because it is the most unlikely place she could think of for the holding of the inquiry. As a matter of fact, it wouldn't surprise us if Grandma had got into her ancient head the idea that the Waikare went ashore at Pukekohe. The "Herald's" ideas on most subjects are generally vague in the extreme, . In one of the streets towards Herne Bay lives the proprietor of a smart mastiff, who perpetually bores his friends with anecdotes concerning the - preternatural intelligence of his own particular kuri.' Going home in the tram the other evening, he was relating the newest instance of the animal's sagacity. "Do you know," he prosed, "in the Christmas holidays I went away on a walking tour to Waitakerei, and left the dog behind. Some hours after I had left he broke his chain and strayed away. Bat what do you think he did?—tracked me into the bush and through it for miles, and at last overtook me, merely going by the scent. . What do you think of that?" His interlocutor wasn't at all surprised, or, if he was, didn't look it. "All that I can say," was his cool response, " is that it's time you took a bath."

On* of our best known sharebrokers is afflicted with a liver that has for some years causfed him, grief and pain under his pinny. He had tried Dγ Lichem's Lovely Lozenges for Lopsided Livers, and a lot of other infallible remedies of which the testimonials spoke enthusiastically—not to say poetically. But they, had done him no good. In fact, he was rapidly becoming worse, .and decided that be must see a doctor. Local talent* however, didn't appeal to him. Nothing but the opinion of a London specialist would suffice; and, as he had had a good financial year, he packed his luggage, took passage in a Homewardbound boat, and in due course arrived in London, where, strange to say, his advent made no stir whatsoever.

Hβ went to interview a doctor, bat discovered that to obtain an interview with a London specialist isn't so easy as it sounds. Finally, after vainly kicking his heels about the premises for some days, he persuaded a relative of his, who was a friend of the special* ist, to intercede for him, and ultimately- the appointment was made. "Ah," said the specialist, as soon as his visitor was seated, * f I believe you're a—er—stockbroker, or something of that kind, in New Zealand." The patient admitted the soft impeachment, and the specialist, after asking a few questions, proceeded to give his opinion upon the case, while the patient, with visions of the Hon. John Collier's "Sentenced to Death" picture flashing before his mind, prepared to hear his doom. "My advice is," said the specialist, " that you go back to New Zealand and try milking cows. You've milked plenty of people in your timd on 'Change, I suppose. Now go and do some cow-milking. Ten guineas, please." The patient paid the fee, and a minion ushered him out in a state of stupefaction. He is back in Auckland now, but he hasn't tried milking cows yet/ He intends to try local talent in the medical line first. He thinks it will probably be cheaper and more filling than that found in London.

Although Oamaru is a " dry " town, it is remarkably thirsty. It made up its mind to to particularly moist for the holidays, at any rate, and washed down its plum pudding with oceans of beer. One carrier alone booked 463 orders for 5-gallon kegs of beer, at a cost of lla 6d delivered. This statement is made on the authority of a visitor to the town, who saw the carrier's receipted order-book. It is understood that the several carriers at Oamaru all worked over-time in Christmas week at this " dry work."

" Stop-press " news is a boon and a blessing to readers of an evening paper, so long as it is accurate. There are, however, risks in hurrying to the machine with sensational items. For example, the " Star " achieved a distinction in announcing the mishap to the Kaipara by making Port Chalmers the scene of the accident, and crediting "Captain Souter" with having gone to the assistance of the vessel in the Harbour Board's launch. Now, who on earth is Captain Souter ? •

A correspondent living at Kawerna, in the Hokianga district, sends us the original of an account received from an Auckland firm, as evidence of the extortionate charges which settlers have to put up with on the part of carrying concerns. Recently, he had occasion to send a pair of buggy wheels to an Auckland carriage factory to be repaired. The bill for repairs came to 49/6, which was not considered unreasonable. Bat the charge for freight, paid by the wheelwrights to the steamship company, was a staggerer. For the carriage of the two wheels from Omapere to Auckland, and back again, the sneezing sum of 22/- bad to be paid. The settler is now considering whether it wouldn't have suited him better to intercept an ocean steamer off the coast?, and get hts wheelery sent' to Sydney or London. If the charge is a fair sample oi the ordinary tariff, it is not surprising if the noi them residents sigh occasionally fora return of the days when there was opposition in the coastal trade. - ■ • His hair was rumpled,, his nose was red, his face was flushed, and he was lying in what was apparently a helpless condition on one of the seats on. the Devonpbrt Ferry Company's wharf. Presently a prominent local temperance advocate appeared upon the ecene, and epotted the derelict.' He apprdached him with a view of tendering some good advice. " My friend," said he to the unfortunate, " did you ever reckon up that, if you had placed the price of one drink out at compound interest at the time of the building of Solomon's Temple, you would now ; have three million, four hundred and sixty thousand, two hundred and 6ighty-four pounds ?" ' ■• • ' •■-.'.'-.. The derelict raised himself on one elbow, and took a languid view of the temperance advocate. "No," he replied; "I hadn't figured it out. But I'm something of a calculator, all the same; and' if you don't' go away about one hundred and. thirty-seven yards in nine and a-half, seconds, I'll hit you seventeen times, and make yon see forty-two thousand, one hundred and ninety-six stare. I've just had four teeth pulled out for ten shillings, and wish to be alone. So you'd better get out of tight {before

the arithmetic class climbs over the ropes and gets to work. Savvy ?" Then the temperance advocate suddenly remembered that he had forgotten to take bis ticket, and vanished.

The penalty of fame ! The following interesting conversation was overbeard in a tram car recently :—First Party : " Say, d'you know this here bloke fcenyvett ?" Second Party: "No ; but his name ain't Kenyvett; it's Knifeit." Third Party: "Pardon me; yon're both wrong. The name is Kiffit." Fourth Party: "You go and get your bally head read. The proper pronunciation is Kneevit." And when the resultant riot had been quelled, and the car once again started, tbe conductor mopped up the plenteous gore with a hanky that he had borrowed from one of his best girls who happened to be travelling in that particular ear.

Good old Press Ass. ! The world will never lack gaiety so long as this ponderous quadruped continues to prance. Here are two of the latent thrilling items of news, cabled all Che way from London: — " Lord Roberta, through the Headmasters , Association, has advised English youths emigrating to panada to leave their arrogance and superiority at home." Also:—"When the Rev. JC. Sylvester Home, who was elected in the Liberal interest on Saturday to the second seat for. Ipswich, entered his pulpit at Whitfields Congregational Tabernacle on Sunday, the congregation rose in their seats and cheered him, and waved their hate and handkerchiefs." Which is pathetic, but by no means interesting to the average New Zealander. • ■ '■ - • There Jβ etiU hope for the blase bachelors of Auckland. Let them cast their optics over this entrancing and entioin? advertisement, that appeared in a recent issue of the " Herald " :— MATBIMONIA£,-A Lady of good address and pleasant.manners, fond of animals and needlework, and a good housekeeper, desires to correspond with a Gentleman aged about 86 to 40, with a view to imarrlage. Must be of sober and steady habits, of good . constitution,. health, and education, and in receipt of a regular and sufficient Income., Wealth not an object, though not seriously objected to. There is a touch' of originality about this announcement that lifts it high above the average matrimonial advertisement; For instance, the languishing lady says she is fond .of animals, though whethif the inbludes the pros* peetive hubby in that category or not, she omits to mention. But the crowning touch lies in the concluding sen* fcenee : " Wealth not an object, though not seriously objected to." This, indeed, is the apotheosis of modesty. We can only hope, that the bachelors will have the decency to not all apeak a| once, .

/;r,'''^^h^:' : : .a;t" ; tbe Pitt-street Wesieyan parsonaee rang, And the minister todk up the receiver, and lent an attentive ear to the communication,, which waVtransmitted in a die? tinctly , feminine voice. It war the voice of one who evidently thought -lire* was speaking to her no lees feminine chum." I'm awfully sorry, Mary dear/; said the fair unknown., "that you lost, the fifteen shillings I invested for you on that horse. But cheer up, old girl! , I know another horse whieb is a. sure thing. -Let me have some money to. put on it for you. It's bound to win, and you'll come out • all right!" Then the minister took the opportunity of a slight pause on the part of .the speaker to remark : "Excuse me, madam, but I think I ought to ipform you that you are not speaking to 'Mary dear,' bat to a Methodist parson, who entertains v rather strong views on horse racing and gambling." '. .■ m ■ . • • ■ The minister heard the .brief exclamatton, in tragic tones, "My God !" and the speaker hastily rang off. To this moment the parson is not aware ' who the speaker was—a fact which, • perhaps, may soothe her troubled conscience/should she happen to read this paragraph. Nor does the minister know who " Mary dear" was : there are so many dear Marys in Auckland —we know quite a number ourselves, and love them all! On the other hand, the speaker had no notion that she had given the Rev. Beady somewhat wherewith to point his moral and adorn his tale last Sunday afternoon at the East-street Methodist Mission. • ■.•■'!.• What is a man to do when his child is dying with brain fever, and a bevy of quarrelsome dogs are raising a din under his windows, and refuse to be -• driven away? Bobert McCallum, of Beach Road, Devonport, had to answer the problem on the spur of the moment/ and he settled it by firing a revolver shot into the pack. It effectually separated them, but Mr McCallum had to face the Magistrates for his breach of the borough by-laws, and pay for his temerity with a fine and substantial costs. Certainly, he infringed the law, but, as he showed in court, his shot went in the direction of the sea, and nobody was endangered. Possibly Mr McCallum considered the relief from the nuisance cheap at the price, but it is a question whether, in the painful circumstances, the law wouldn't have been justified in winking its eye for once. Does anyone pretend to believe that every little breach of the law leads to a prosecution ?

A correspondent ' writee': r- " That 'old settler,, guide and mentor'who, in the story you told last week, essayed .'. to put. the new chum right in the matter of r native tree nomenclature, was himself a bit mixed up. The new chum pointed first to. a cabbage tree, and then ■ to a tree which he was told was a ti tree.. The « old settler' does • not Mem to have known that a cabbage tree and a, ti' tree are one and the same; thus the hew chum should have been doubly Ratified to find a tree producing both the familiar vegetable and the familiar beverage. What the new arrival really wanted to know was the name of the manuka, which is not the * ti•'• tree, but the * tea' tree. But . perhaps not every old settler even now is aware that the cabbage tree is identical with the ti tree." .:.■•.. . .»,_.. . r .'m * 9 A certain callow, youth, who is understood to be a near relation to one of the members of the Harbour Board, wae recently given, for some reason or another, an overseer's billet on the ferro-concrete work now in progress at Queen-street Wharf. From all accounts, he is deeply imbued with a ' sense of his.own importance, but, "unfortunately, the common labourers are misguided enough not to recognise that importance. It chanced that, just the other day, this youth was uieandering round the works, when he accidentally kicked against a tomahawk that was lying on one of the beams, and sent' it flying into the water. It is a standing rule among the ferro-concrete workers that any implement lost must be replaced by the loser. The owner of the tomahawk, who was working close by* therefore promptly requested the youth to supply him with a new one. ■ ■ ■■.••. ■ •. < •« v The youth, however, didn't see .things iQ the same light, and emphatically; refused to comply with the very reasonable request of the tomahawk's owner. " All right," replied the latter ; ."I'll give.you three days to replace that tomahawk, and, if you don't do it by that time, I shouldn't be at all surprised if there was trouble." The youth elevated his aristocratic nose, and departed. The three days elapsed, but no new tomahawk materialised. At the end 01. the allotted period, the owner of the tomahawk sought out that youth, and demanded restitution. The youth was again proceeding to elevate his proboscis, when the bereft one grabbed him by the collar. " Look here," said he ; "if you won't get me a new tomahawk, over the wharf you go, and dive for my old one. And he pro-

ceeded to unceremoniously drag his victim to the edge of the wharf, 'f Hold on I" gasped, discomfited youth j "pp-please don't do that. I'll get you a new one." He was granted another hour in which to fulfil his promise, and managed to do it just in the nick of time. .The value of the tomahawk, by the way,, was 3/6. Since then, it is said that that callow youth has decidedly modified,his ideas on the subject of his own importance. There was certainly room for improvement in that respect. ft • B There was merriment in the office of the Whangarei " Advocate " the other day, when the manager, in response to ah advertisement for a "competent stone hand," received an application from a person who stated as his qualification for the billet the fact that he had had ten years' experience as a quarryman. But it would almost appear as if printers' terminology had been invented for the purpose of tripping up the uninitiated. For instance, a " stone hand" doesn't work at or with a stone at all, but arranges his columns of type on an iron slab, to which the misleading name has survived. Then a "composing stick" is not made of wood, but of metal, and so, as a rule, is a "shooting stick," while the "leads" are as often as not made of brass. So the Northerner's blunder was not so very unnatural* 9- m • ' Who would have thought that the decrease in the number of marriages at Invercargill was one of the results no-license? -That, however, is the conclusion of a writer in the Wanganui "Herald," and this is how he arrives at it:—There are some men who could propose to any woman in creation without turning a hair. That section got married last year. But there are others who couldn't propose to the mildest little woman in Christendom without Dutch courage. There were several young men in invercargill last year like that, who Ididn't understand where Dutch courage was retailed. These remain unmarried. There is a chance for Sir Joseph Ward to do something grand in his own .district. A Government officer might be appointed and armed with a bottle of whisky. It would be his duty, whenever he saw an amorous pair together, to call the young man aside, and the statutory statement he should be em- - powered to make would be: "If you are thinking of 'poppingthe question' to-night, and will swear, you' are afraid, the law allows you to have a good, stiff nobbier."

The Hibernian Society will hold at Pine Island on Saturday, 22nd lnrffc., ) what is claimed the cheapest piorno ever held in the Dominion, steamers „£ leaving the Northoote ferry tee at 10 ~v a.m. and 1.30 p.m. , A liberal sports & programme has been, arranged, a>f leading event of which will Dβ the.s| fcug-of-war, Auckland v. Onehunga. ,^|

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TO19100122.2.28

Bibliographic details

THE FRETFUL PORCUPINE, Observer, Volume XXX, Issue 18, 22 January 1910

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3,017

THE FRETFUL PORCUPINE Observer, Volume XXX, Issue 18, 22 January 1910

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