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Thread: Newsletter 12th October 2018

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    Newsletter 12th October 2018

    For the latest news from Scotland see our ScotNews feed at:

    Electric Scotland News

    I have been doing a lot of work on developing our own site search engine. In particular I am trying to do a much better job of indexing our many pdf files. This is taking a lot of time of course but as we're seen as a quality research site I believe it's important that I offer you a high quality search experience.


    Not sure how may of you played Trade Wars on the old BBS systems before the Internet but I certainly remember it as being very popular on my old Almac BBS.

    Well I discovered a modern version which can be played over the Internet and thought I'd see if it would be possible to put it up on the site. I found it is possible but as games can be a heavy user of bandwidth it was suggested that I might like to dedicate a new domain to become a games platform. Right now we are not doing anything with the domain so I am going to explore the possibility of turning this into a games platform.

    The benefit of getting all our older programs working again is that I can now start looking at what new material I can add to the sites. And of course if you have any suggestions do feel free to share your thoughts with me. You can always email me at


    New newsletter mailing list
    After a few aborted attempts I've got new mailing list software to work. If you wish to sign up then go to our newsletter page and you'll find a link to sign up.


    Here is the video introduction to this newsletter...

    Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
    Note that this is a selection and more can be read in our ScotNews feed on our index page where we list news from the past 1-2 weeks. I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines. I might also add that in newspapers such as the Guardian, Scotsman, Courier, etc. you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish.

    Free Ports provide an attractive trade opportunity
    If only Chequers didn’t prevent such an ambitious policy

    Read more at:

    Abe claims Britain would be welcomed into TPP with open arms
    The TPP is a wide-ranging trade agreement between 11 Pacific countries, including Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada and Mexico.

    Read more at:

    Scottish Samurai honour for Japanese PM Shinzo Abe
    Ronnie Watt OBE is part of a Scottish Samurai Awards delegation heading to Japan, with the highlight set to be the meeting with Shinzo Abe next week.

    Read more at:

    Responding to Commonweal
    I read with interest Chris Abell’s article in last month’s Ileach describing the Commonweal’s strategy for winning independence, as outlined by Robin McAlpine at a recent meeting on Islay

    Read more at:

    Some corner of a foreign field
    A battlefield tour worth making

    Read more at:

    Britain should not fear Brexit
    Brexit was not a sudden surge of populism, but the end point of decades of euroscepticism

    Read more at:

    Nicola Sturgeon addresses SNP conference
    Keynote speech in full

    Read more at:

    If Theresa May truly admired free markets she would embrace Canada+
    Hypocrisy, thy name is Theresa May

    Read more at:

    Meet Jamie Genevieve: Face on BBC Scotland's new TV channel
    The BBC has announced six new programmes for its BBC Scotland channel launching in February next year. Comedy, drama, documentaries and a game show will be part of the offering.

    Read more at:

    Child abuse inquiry says orphanages were places of threat and abuse
    Children at Smyllum Park orphanage were sexually abused and beaten with leather straps, hairbrushes and crucifixes, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has found.

    Read more at:

    Nurseries fight for survival as child care plan is challenged
    Flagship plans to provide a system of effective universal childcare in Scotland may be about to implode, private nurseries have warned ministers

    Read more at:

    Popular American breakfast chain Denny’s announces it is opening in Scotland
    Fans of the American chain, known for its pancakes, doughnuts and burgers, won’t have to wait much longer as Denny’s has announced it is opening its doors in Glasgow.

    Read more at:

    30 of the best Scottish gins including the Scottish Gin of the Year
    Scottish gin is undergoing a massive revival at the moment, fuelled in part by the boom in small craft distilleries and by the arrival of whisky companies into the gin market.

    Read more at:

    No Deal Fear
    German and Spanish businesses warn that a No Deal would cause a ‘massive crisis’ across Europe

    Read more at:

    Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire: 3 days exploring Scotland’s north east
    An article detailing a 3-day road trip through Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire in collaboration with Visit Scotland for the Inspires by Avis blog.

    Read more at:

    Ignore the hysteria. Universal Credit is working
    Critics of Universal Credit forget how bad things were under the old welfare system

    Read more at:

    Electric Canadian

    Canada and its Provinces
    Added Volume XVII. The Province of Ontario Part I. which you can read at:

    The Engineering Journal
    Added the volume for

    Mining Review
    Added the volume for 1910 at:

    War Food
    Practical and Economical Methods of Keeping Vegetables, Fruits and Meats by Amy L. Handy (1917) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    War-Time Breads and Cakes
    By Amy L. Handy (1918) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Grand Priory of Canada
    Added the newsletter for October 2018 (pdf) which you can read at:

    My Canadian journal
    Added a new entry to my Canadian journal documenting my move to my new hosting company which is in Vancouver in BC, Canada and you can read this at:

    Lt Gen Andrew Brooke Leslie
    Some of his genealogy sent to us by Barrie Leslie which you can read at:

    The Dorothy Perkins Canadian Garden Book
    A timely and helpful handbook for the Amateur Gardener. Written by a Canadian for Canadians, and adapted to our climatic conditions (1918) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Conrad Black

    A Showdown Like No Other

    Canadians don't see the Kavanaugh episode for what it is

    The Democrats' Kavanaugh Gambit Will Swing the Midterms to the GOP

    Electric Scotland

    Effective Condition Monitoring of Aero-Engine Systems Using Automated SEMIEDX and New Diagnostic Routines
    By Mr Nicholas W Farrant, Rolls-Royce plc, Engine Condition Monitoring and Mr Terry Luckhurst, HQ Logistics Command RAF Wyton, AIME & RB 199 Engine Support Manager (1988) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    The Lincoln Fellowship
    Proceedings at the First Annual Meeting and Dinner of the Lincoln Fellowship, held at Delmonico's, New York City, Wednesday, February 12th, 1908.

    You can read this at:

    Memorial for Archibakd MacDuff of Ballinloan
    Against Sir John Stewart of Grandtully, Baronet (1768) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Scottish Eccentrics
    By Hugh MacDiarmid (1936) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Scotch Curlers' Visit
    Welcome to Auld Scotia's Sons - Heartiest Greetings to o'ur brethern frae across the water, January 19th and 20th, 1912 (pdf)

    A wee book in commemoration of the Scots visit to Canada which you can read at:

    Two old documents discussing possible improvements in the British Army
    How to reform the Recruiting system of the British Army (pdf) and Invaliding of Sick soldiers at home and abroad discussed (pdf)

    You can read these at:

    The Story

    This is a story I took from Volume 11 of Tait's Edinburgh Magazine published in 1844 and hope you find it interesting.

    Australian Sketches
    By Thomas M'Combie

    My Neighbourhood

    I have, once or twice, referred to the remarkable ingredients of which the society of the colonies is compounded; and I have no hesitation in asserting, further, that those who find pleasure in observing the various peculiarities of character amongst mankind, may wander the world over without finding a more complete diversification. One of the leading features of colonial society, is the unending change, like the foaming billows of the ocean, which, as they roll onwards in perpetual agitation, ever and anon change their appearance and proportions. One lofty ridge of water sweeps forward majestically; in a minute it is gone; and the looker-on beholds it not again; but its place is instantly supplied by another equally grand, formed, perhaps, from the ruins of its predecesor.

    Unending change seems to rule the destinies of those who inhabit our colonial towns. We observe a man one day living in princely style, caressed and envied; in a short period of time he is totally broken down, without a penny in the world, and shunned and maliciously spoken of to boot. These sodden turns of fortune are caused, in some measure, by the constitution of society, and the eagerness of each member to be rich and great. The great facilities which are afforded, in times of prosperity, for adventurers to enter business, and float for a length of time upon a paper credit, tends to foster those quick rises and as quick downfalls. It is not my intention, however, here to enter into a lengthy dissertation upon the many capricious tricks which dame Fortune plays her votaries in the new world; but merely, before commencing a description of one or two of my Neighbours, to make the reader aware of the varieties of fortune which many of them may have experienced.

    The inhabitants of our colonial towns are essentially a migratory people: for all classes alike are actuated by a constant desire for change. We thus often find a tradesman one day in Sydney; the next in Van Diemen’s Land; shortly afterwards, he will he found in Port Phillip, or South Australia; and from thence, ten to one but he is off to Swan River, New Zealand, the South Sea Islands, or the Gulf of Carpentaria. They am equally unfixed in their avocations; and it is far from uncommon to find a man shop-keeping one month, and farming sheep the next; then, perhaps, turning his attention to keeping a tavern, building, baking, or, it may be, turned Methodist pastor. Every person, it would appear, who enters the colony, begins imperceptibly to be infected with the same desires: for the love of change increases; although, with many in the higher ranks of life, it is an utter impossibility to indulge in this propensity; as, having engaged in business, it is, of coarse, difficult to wind up and be off upon any such whim. But tbs poor man has, at any rate, this advantage, that if he have little worldly substance to look after, he may, when it strikes him, take that little upon his shoulders and be off. There is another less honest method, viz., which is far from uncommon, and entails severe loss upon the inhabitants and traders: it always has been a common thing; and will continue so, while credit is cheap, and so many unprincipled men in the colony.

    In speaking of my Neighbours, I shall not take up much of my reader’s time with those moving in the higher circles, and of ordinary education. Most of them, it is true, have risen from small beginnings ; yet, with the exception that they are more overbearing, more ambitious to cut a figure, and perhaps more quarrelsome and restless, they are not materially different from the traders of our large towns at home. It is of those in the lower ranks of society that I mean to speak: the flickerers about our towns; the here-and-thereians of our colonies.

    I have not been any great length of time in my present residence. I could not specify the exact day when I entered; but I should suppose it does not exceed twelve months from this date. When I first came, I was, of course, looked upon as a stranger; and now I am one of the oldest inhabitants in the street. Many of the houses have changed tenants often since then. Some show every appearance of having bettered their fortunes; and others, on the contrary, show a melancholy spectacle of dirt and dissipation, where neatness and cleanliness formerly reigned. In every corner, new buildings have sprung up—stores, public-houses, and shops: so that the street does not appear the same as in the old times, (one year back.)

    The oldest inhabitant, next to myself, in the lower part of the street, is the grocer on the opposite side. He was in a small shop lower down, and having been successful in trade, he has commenced in the large dashing shop,and is attempting now to do a cutting trade. Two years ago, he was in a chain-gang ; but nothing would give him such offence as to mention that circumstance now; as he pretends to be scrupulously honest, and imagines that none are aware of his former degrading condition. With a view to deceive his acquaintances yet farther, he gives it out, that he has been but a year or two in the colony, and talks of his having come out in a ship, which most likely he never saw. This is the only weak point in his character; and he is, upon the whole, a shrewd, hard-working fellow, who now finding it to his advantage to be honest, acts well towards those who have dealings with him; but who, had he not a purpose to gain, would rob or steal wholesale. He is, altogether, the most thriving tradesman in the neighbourhood, and has of late begun to acquire considerable standing, His name appeared in the last requisition to the sheriff, calling a public meeting of the inhabitants, to petition against the enormous act, as it was named, then about to be passed, and which contemplated placing it in the power of any constable to seize and confine dogs wandering about the streets. There appeared a placard, with a long array of names; and as a copy had been posted on the wall of the house just by our corner, he was observed to steal out half-a-dozen times a-day, to have the pleasure of reading his own name in the list. Before the event, pregnant with such consequence, he had been accustomed to go about in his shirt-sleeves; but from that day he cast aside his vulgar habits, and started life on a higher scale; and in a good blue coat with brass buttons, not a man in the colony now carried his head higher, or had a better opinion of himself.

    When he commenced, merchandize was cheap, and the markets glutted. He saw, in a very short time, the great disadvantage of having to work, single-handed, as the saying is; and he married. Fortunately for him, he met with a good wife, a quiet, good-humoured little woman, who kept the shop open while he was attending auctions and making purchases. In this way, during the first year, he had made as much as a hundred pounds; and this, to a man in his station, who commenced with a farthing, was a great deal. I have invariably observed, that those who have an industrious wife to look after the trade at home, when they are abroad upon business, get forward much faster than the unmarried, or those whose wives are above attending to business: in a colony, it gives them an advantage of no ordinary kind. Good servants and shopkeepers, are not to be had; and the trader has his choice to stay at home and attend to business, or go out of doors and be plundered. This was, then, the grand secret of his success: when he was about town looking out for goods to suit his business, his wife served the customers in his absence. In this way, he became acquainted with the best markets for his particular goods; and as he always went with the cash in his hand, he was, of course, served well.

    He is, or pretends to be, well acquainted with the qualities of the different articles in which he deals; but he is most at home when bargaining about glass or stoneware. Most of the old women about the town come to his establishment when in want of teapots or decanters. He serves them with an air altogether his own; of every article which he exhibits, he has something to say in recommendation. He has many wise saws, which he repeats with considerable effect; and with a good customer, he even condescends to flattery, at which he is an adept. A person enters his shop, enticed by some showy article in the window, just to have a look, only a look, and determined not to buy on any account. Never, however, was there a more complete mistake. The doomed person hears him speak, and buys one article after another; and seldom leaves the shop without leaving a certain number of shillings for a certain number of articles of crockery. Should it be a stranger, he is almost certain to have some flaw in his teapot, or a cracked handle to his jug. Perhaps, indignant at being so served out, he calls next day in a passion, when he is soothed by the witching tongue of the stoneware-dealer, and prevailed upon to become a purchaser again. Most people of anything like original genius, study something, and have a great favour for that particular branch of study, and perhaps pride themselves upon their acquirements in it: his forte was selling crockery.

    He neither takes nor gives credit. The best of all reasons prevented him from doing the former; as, when he entered into trade, no one would trust him: and being well aware of this, he did not put it in the power of any to give him the pain of a refusal. There is, however, a certain ceremony to be observed upon occasions of his paying a merchant a considerable sum of money. When the prices have been agreed upon, and he begins to tell down, the merchant says, “Oh! it does not signify your paying for this parcel to-day.”—“Oh! yes,” replies he; "I never take credit.” “Well,” continues the merchant, “we must be as easy with you as we can.” Not to make a feint of offering credit, would be taken as little else than an insult; while each party is aware that it is merely a form of civility to offer the goods upon credit; and should the offer be accepted, the merchant would endeavour to keep back the goods by some trivial excuse, or perhaps without any excuse at all: for, in the colonies, traders use little ceremony where their interests are concerned. So long as the cash appears, however, the merchant is all kindness and civility: for nothing is so acceptable in the colonies as ready money.

    The next person of importance in the Neighbourhood is the auctioneer. He is nearly as old an inhabitant as the grocer, and there exists some little jealousy between them as to their respective importance. The auctioneer is a little, good-humoured fellow, with no little ambition to get forward in his profession. He dresses generally after the style of a sportsman, and evidently wishes to be considered one of the knowing ones. He has no horse; but he is never seen without being dressed as if he had come from a riding-school, or a race. He carries a whip, and always wears spurs, of which he appears not a little proud. Other sportsmen may pride themselves upon their fine breed of horses—every one to his taste; and his taste is for splendid spurs.

    Before proceeding farther with my notice of the auctioneer, I will take the liberty of informing my readers of a few interesting particulars regarding that important body—the colonial auctioneers. The members of this body are as different in their style of business as may be: from the houses that sell many thousand pounds’ worth of property a-day, and are as wealthy as princes; to the poor, half-starved schemer attempting to keep soul and body together by holding evening sales of small wares. Many of the first class have acquired enormous fortunes, and may, in a manner, be classed with the merchants; as, although nominally auctioneers, a part of their business is exactly the same as that of the Mincing Lane produce-brokers, who are considered merchants, and rank as such in the city of London, It is no uncommon thing for property to the amount of fifty, and a hundred thousand pounds to be disposed of by the great auctioneers in a single day. Stock, land, buildings, cargoes of merchandize, all pass through their hands. The principal business falls generally to the lot of one or two; and although attempts are daily made by new auctioneers to push forward, they are overlooked by the public, and generally give over in a very short time. If one of those who are in an extensive way of business should turn out a rogue and bolt, it spreads ruin far and wide: so much are they in the confidence of all classes of the community.

    The night auctioneers are a class, above all others, noted for scheming: in fact, their existence depends upon it. They attend the day auctions, and pick up whatever is likely to sell: if damaged, they manage to sell it as sound, as the light in the room is perhaps uncertain, and the crowd great. The money must be forthcoming on the fall of the hammer; and vain is any after-complaint, as the auctioneer assumes a look of the utmost incredulity and cold displeasure, and asks the complainant not to take up his time with such nonsense.

    Should one or two drunk fellows happen to stumble in, and begin to bid, which is far from being uncommon, the night auctioneer pricks up his ears, and contrives to animate the strangers with a desire to speculate. The bait takes: a drunken nun begins to bid, a hanger-on of the room bids against him; he becomes piqued at the jeers of the crowd, who relish the joke amazingly, and advances. Still the other bids, and this time the auctioneer smiles with the crowd. Determined to put an end to this opposition, the drunken man places his hat upon Mr Chairs; and, after venting his spleen by saying—“ I will show you who has most money,” he bawls out—“Mr.-I will give yon such a sum.” No person now dares to speak; for it has reached a price three times its value: the article is knocked down, the auctioneer hands it to the fortunate purchaser with a great show of respect, and receives the money. Article after article will, some evenings, he sold in this way, and the auctioneer will bear with the insolent abuse of a drunkard so long as he keeps making purchases; but not a minute longer: when his money becomes exhausted, he mnst keep quiet, or he will get kicked out.

    The night sales generally commence about six o'clock in the evening, or perhaps an hour later. For half-an-hour before the time of sale, a young man, in the service of the auctioneer, takes his stand in front of the room, and rings a bell: this attracts the attention of the casual passengers, and one after another drops in. There are, also, a regular number of persons who attend night auctions for amusement, or from having nothing better to do: so that, altogether, by the time of sale, a respectable audience is assembled. It is impossible, however, even for the auctioneer to be able to say what humour those present may happen to be in; and so capricious are they, that some evenings he may have a good sale, and clear money; and there are other times, again, when he is hardly able to get a bid. The articles offered are of as miscellaneous a description as may well be conceived. Watches, articles of jewellery, boots and shoes, napkins, ales and spirits, pickles, cloths, hats and caps, books, &c., &c. The buyer may be suited if he wants a pen-knife, or if he wants a dress-coat. One article after another is offered to their audience by the night auctioneers with a perseverance which nothing can tire. If no one will make an offer, the article is put aside, and another article put up for sale. The night auctioneer must have a temper which nothing can ruffle. This is, in fact, so indispensable, that without it no person need attempt to sell as a night auctioneer. If he lose temper but once, the public are made aware of his weakness, and he need expect no peace for the future, as he will be laughed at, and bantered, and every means used to put him in a passion; and, in a word, he may go and try his hand at something else as fast as possible.

    When our auctioneer began, I did not consider him as at all likely to succeed. He had formerly acted as clerk to a conveyancer, and could have but little idea of the business of an auctioneer. His room was just by; and as I felt some little anxiety on my neighbour's account, I determined to attend the first evening, and witness his success. For some days before, great preparations had been going forward for this eventful evening; shelves were erected, package after package came to the door, and disappeared in a most mysterious manner. A large, white blind had been nailed across the window, so as to prevent any one from having even a peep at the interior arrangements: the neighbours were, to a man, fierce and indignant at this attempt at exclusion. Towards the afternoon, a case of a very peculiar shape was brought to the door in a cart, and taken away inside in an instant, and the door of the room shut, before any of the observant spectators had time to form an opinion of what it could contain. But when, in a few minutes afterwards, a loud crash was heard in the New Auction Mart, the neighbours with one accord, rushed to the door, with a full determination to know all about such strange proceedings. When the door was opened, they rushed en masse into the mart, and inquired what was the matter. They found everything in confusion. The shelves had not been secure, and had gone with the weight of the mysterious cases, and their contents lay about in sad plight, and there was such a horrid smell of sour ale, vinegar, &c., as made the greater part of the intensely-gratified neighbours face about in quick time. Great fear was entertained by some that, in consequence of the accident, the Mart would not be opened that evening; their fears, however, were found to be without foundation, as, by great exertion on his part, the auctioneer had everything ready by the appointed hour.

    I ordered tea early that evening, as I was anxious to witness the debut of the little auctioneer. I was one of the very first at the Mart; and enjoyed some pleasure from viewing the manner in which it had been fitted up. Originally it had been a dwelling-house, with two rooms in f^ont, divided by a thin partition. The partition had been knocked down, and the front turned into one apartment. Along the walls of one end had been erected the shelves, the unfortunate fate of which is mentioned above; the room had a bare look, and altogether I formed my opinion that the chances were against his succeeding.

    The bell kept ringing. In a few minutes there might be half-a-dozen in the room, and the auctioneer took his stand on a counter which ran across the room at the upper end, and began. I saw at once he was a poor hand. He had only one or two set phrases, which he kept repeating without any variation, such as this:—“The teapot is up, gentlemen.” "What do you say for it, gentlemen?” “Say something for it, gentlemen.” There came a rush from another auction-room to hear the new auctioneer; and now was the time to try his patience. A dirty fellow, who appeared to consider himself a wag, offered something for the teapot, about 90 per cent, less than its value. A general laugh followed: for this Worthy seemed to be looked upon by his fellows as a wit. No person offered to advance upon the bid; and the auctioneer was about to put the article aside, when the wag roared to him not to do so, as he had purchased the article. This the auctioneer denied; the fellow persisted; and the audience laughed as if the joke was exquisite. The auctioneer made an attempt to go on with the sale; but to no purpose. The fellow would roar out, “Are you to give me the teapot?” and this set the audience a-laughing again. A set of wicked boys witnessing the sport, determined to come in for their share of it, and ran out to procure a handful of sand. They returned; and with this, and other missiles, began to annoy the auctioneer. All this would have tried the patience of most people; but he was a brave little fellow, and bore it all with good humour. After some time, a few in the room, observing the patience of the poor auctioneer, sided with him, and made an attempt to restore order. They had great difficulty in doing so; and had to threaten the accomplished purchaser of the teapot with summary vengeance from the arm of the law before he could be silenced. At length, however, this was effected, and the sale was allowed to proceed. It was not in his power to do much business that evening; but his good nature and patience won the esteem of many, and helped to lay the foundation of future popularity. The following evening he had a much better sale, and his business daily improved. It soon became apparent that the auctioneer was a thriving man.

    He had been always anxious to be considered a sporting man; but he settled it, and confirmed the minds of the most sceptical of his neighbours as to his pretensions to notoriety in the sporting circles, by the purchase of an old stock-horse, which he named Jumping Jack. He figured away at the races with the best of them; he had even some thoughts, as he informed one of his neighbours, of entering Jumping Jack for a steeple-chase. Some cause prevented him, as the name did not appear in the list of horses entered. I think he had burnt fps fingers with horseflesh: for Jumping Jack was several times put up to auction, without even an offer being made. He disappeared at last; and I have no doubt was sold at a great sacrifice by the poor little auctioneer. After he had fairly got Jumping Jack off his hands, he attended better to business; he added the business of an accountant and conveyancer to his auctioneering; and was, much to my gratification, getting forward. The grocer was the only one in the neighbourhood who did not like him; and the reason, as I have already stated, was, that he was jealous of him. The auctioneer having been in the office of a solicitor, had something of a professional turn about him, and was a sort of attorney himself in a small way. This gave him some standing; and as he made some pretensions to be considered a gentleman, the grocer was up in arms against him immediately. The grocer’s wife, who liked everybody, and whom everybody liked, had for a length of time tried to overcome the dislike of her husband for the little auctioneer. She had even, upon one occasion, invited him to tea without the knowledge of her husband, thinking the friendly interchange of such civilities would lead to a proper understanding between them. The grocer, however, was made of sterner stuff: he received the auctioneer with forced civility ; the lady attempted to infuse some little cordiality into the party; she was not very successful. Her husband was determined not to be thus tricked out of his long-cherished ill-will against his upstart neighbour. He never relaxed a feature of his countenance, but maintained the supercilious air he had assumed upon the entrance of his unlooked-for visiter. The auctioneer, rather taken a-back by the cold civility of the landlord, made a precipitate retreat. The wife, left alone with her enraged husband, received a black eye for her trouble. This sickened her of all similar attempts for the future. The auctioneer and grocer were now on tenfold worse terms than before.

    The next of my Neighbours that deserves to be noticed is the baker, whose little shop is about four doors farther down the street. He is a stout little fellow, a half-breed, by his complexion: but from what quarter of the globe he was first ushered upon the billows of life, is altogether uncertain; indeed, he appears to have been knocking about for such a length of time, as to have but a vague recollection of his early life. He has not been engaged long in the baking business, as he formerly dealt in old bottles and second-hand furniture; and when that trade was done up, he was under the necessity of turning his attention to something else. He had not a farthing of capital, but he never appeared to want anything that was good either to eat or drink. As for dress, that did not appear to give him any thought; not but that he had his fancies as well as others, and one of them was, to be mistaken for a seaman. It was amusing to witness the manner in which he rolled along the streets, dressed in a blue jacket and wide trousers. He had a considerable opinion of his person, and considered himself as a knowing, roving blade. He used to stand in the door of his little place, and criticise the servant girls as they tripped along, turning up his little pug-nose at some, and giving others a sly look of admiration. Whether it was for the oddity of his manners, or because he was irresistible in his advances, I am not at present prepared to say, but for some reason he was a favourite with many of the maidens about the street; and there has been great talk in the neighbourhood of his taking one of them home as his spouse. All this, however, he denies: in fact, he professes very licentious principles, and is, if he can be believed, a second Don Juan. The name is now only wanting to complete the picture of our baker, and it shall not be withheld—it is Joseph, (or, as the neighbours call him,) Joe Tog.

    He had been for many years steward of a vessel, and in this way had worked himself out to the colonies. His first attempt in business was in Van Diemen s Land, and from thence he had wandered to Swan River; where he kept a shop for some months, and afterwards bolted. Since that time, he bad been wandering about the colony of South Australia, and various other parts; and as he was one of those gentlemen who have a mortal dislike to remain long in a place, many of the neighbours had formed an opinion that Joe would bob. One poor wight had ventured to express this opinion: it came to the ears of Joe, who took it in high dudgeon. When exasperated, he spoke hurriedly; and as he had been in many foreign countries, his language was a mixture of nearly every language spoken in Europe—French, Spanish, and English, in perfect confusion; a discord of sounds. His fury against the person who had dared to hurt his credit was so great, that had he found him at home at the time, he would most certainly have stabbed him: for Joe had Spanish blood in his veins, wherever he had been born. He seized a Urge knife, and ran to his house with the express purpose of doing so; hut, fortunately, the other was from home. He frightened his wife, however, nearly out of her senses, by running in, weapon in hand, stammering in his unintelligible jargon, and foaming at the mouth with passion. For some time it was impossible to pacify him; and he vowed the deepest vengeance against the poor man who had offended him so grievously; and the poor man was compelled to hide himself for some days until Joe’s blood-thirsty humour should have subsided. It was some time before that came to pass; but at length, after nearly every one of the neighbours had interposed for the delinquent, and flattered the vanity of Joe, by magnifying his credit and standing, he was pleased to allow the neighbours to interpose; and after the delinquent had made a proper apology, he was generous enough to forgive him. The very idea that his neighbours might suspect him of attempting to bob, was the cause of Joe's remaining so long in the place. He had a secret intention at that time to bob; but he could not bear that any one should entertain so low an estimate of his character as to conceive him capable of so bad a deed. Joe was not singular; there are hundreds in the colonies who can he honest, or dishonest, as best suits their purpose, but who, at the same time, would wish to be considered honourable gentlemen, and would be indignant at any person who would think them otherwise. Joe was, therefore, determined to falsify the opinion which his neighbours had formed; and with this view, he began to work hard, and push forward. There was soon a decided alteration for the better in the appearance of the shop. He was civil, and business thickened upon him. He made a little money, which enabled him to make cheap purchases of flour. He was now no longer looked upon as the scheming adventurer; he was a thriving tradesman, and could now get some short credit from his flour-merchant. Such are the eventful changes of a colonial life.

    There is another august personage to be noticed before the sketch of our Neighbourhood is complete: the landlord of the hotel which stands at the corner. Every neighbourhood has at least one or two great men. An English town has its Mayor, its Member, and, if it be a county town, its Sheriff. Then, again, it is divided into many distinct parts, each of which has its great men. One man is great because he is, or has been, an Alderman; another, because he is wealthy, or engaged extensively in business; another, because he is a political lecturer, or has written a work in four volumes, another, because he has succeeded in his profession, and acquired the reputation of being wise and learned. In the colonies there is a shorter way: a man is weighed in the balance with the money at his command; and the greatest weight of metal gains the victory. This system of measuring a man by his purse has given the tavern-keepers an undue ascendancy: from the vast quantities of liquors consumed, and the enormous profits realized in that branch of business, it necessarily follows, that those embarked in it acquire riches. In a properly-constituted society this would not entitle them to respect; as it is earned from the pockets of squalid and emaciated drunkards, who have squandered their all, and, perhaps, are under the necessity of robbing and murdering to supply the means of gratifying their craving appetite. But in the colonies, all this is overlooked ; a man may be anything if he have money. The tavern-keepers have, for the most part, a great amount of ready money constantly in their hands: they are also old inhabitants; and from these, and several other causes, are looked upon as great men.

    The landlord of “The Globe” was a tall, thin man, with rather a saturnine expression of countenance, and had nothing of the jolly “bully-rook” air, which we fancy a landlord should have. He commonly dressed after the style of a Methodist parson, in a full suit of thread-bare black clothes. He had always an air of mystery about him, and was remarkable for his extreme taciturnity, seldom exchanging more than a word or two with any of his neighbours. But, notwithstanding this appearance of sanctity, he was one of the most noted extortioners in the town; and as he added the business of a money-lender to his legitimate trade, he was supposed to have acquired a large property by the two combined. Many were the unfortunate wretches whom he had allured to their ruin, by a show of generosity at the beginnings.

    When he had once got them fairly within his clutches, he would increase his demands, time after time, until he had taken their all; and to crown his ravenous thirst for gold, he would take from them the last necessary of life, or the last rag of clothing which remained, before he allowed them to escape. Then, indeed, they might starve for what he cared. It is strange that a man, possessed of such a cruel and unrelenting heart, should be looked upon with any other feeling than disgust. Yet all was overlooked, because he was a rich man. Who cared for the poor wretches whom he had ruined? They were beggars; without money, friends, or habitation. What was it to the public that their means had all gone in usury, to add to the great riches of the wealthy money-lender. That was a matter of business with which they had nothing to do: the one was rich, and courted, and caressed; the other was despised and shunned. The one might have it in his power to oblige; the other might wish to borrow money.

    It is sad to observe the numbers who are daily ruined through the chicanery and dishonesty of the worthy descendants of Shylock, who infest our colonial towns. It may at first sight be deemed strange, that when the grasping and unrelenting character of the men we have described becomes known, any person in his right senses, should be foolish enough to be ensnared with the offer of temporaiy relief which they hold forth; but when we reflect for a moment upon the intensity of grasp with which men cling to rank and character, and untarnished mercantile names, the ingenuity with which they will day after day overcome difficulties which seem almost gigantic, and linger out the term which intervenes between them and what seems worse than death—the scorn of the world—the cold sneer of former rivals—the deep curse of the unsuspecting creditor, or, worse than all, the affected pity of some one more exquisitely accomplished in the art of torture, which falls upon the heart of a man of keen feelings with a a chilling, blighting anguish which makes him lament and wish his dishonoured head had gone down to the grave in peace,—the mystery is solved. It is the desire to maintain a place in the world's esteem, which lays men open to the snares of the money-lenders. They give gold, and, perhaps, for a time, upon easy terms. At first they are all civility: for men of this class delight to see a new face in their dismal dens—it promises a rich harvest; and all their wits are set to work to consummate the ruin of the wretch who is under the necessity of soliciting their aid. The first move is to put the borrower off his guard, which is often accomplished by an appearance of generosity. The poor wight goes to solicit aid in some of his difficulties. He enters the presence of the moneylender with the diffident air of a man who hardly knows how to express his errand. The moneylender has difficulty in hiding his satisfaction. He beholds a man who has long been above him in society and commercial standing, about to be brought down. He has in view the advantages which will accrue to himself by the contemplated transactions; as he is aware that he may wring vast sums from him in the shape of usury before his means be thoroughly wasted. He receives him, therefore, with a semblance of humility. When the wishes of the other are made known he expresses his joy at having it in his power to oblige his neighbour at very moderate interest. The negotiations are soon at an end, without any chaffering on the part of the money-lender. The borrower takes his departure, no longer depressed by the thoughts of having to deviate from the honourable and legitimate system of mercantile business, and ask a favour of a person whom he had formerly despised. All has now, however, passed over without his vanity having been in any way hurt, or his dignity compromised. He comes, however, again and again, until he is fairly within the power of the money-lender, who will then throw aside his mask and show himself to his wretched victim in his true colours. Thus many are lured to their destruction.

    The reader will not understand these remarks, however true, to convey insinuations against any particular person. There are many men of respectability who are engaged both in the business of money-lenders and as tavern-keepers; but that makes it the greater pity that a man of respectability should embark in a branch of business which entails so much misery upon his brethren, and tends to harden the heart and crush all the fine feelings and sympathies which bind man to man in one common brotherhood. Man, as formed by his Maker, has a heart capable of the utmost tenderness; which clings towards the hearts of those around, with a constancy of affection that nothing but a thirst for gold can deaden or obliterate. It is a melancholy spectacle to witness the fair and goodly tabernacle of the human heart, which ought to overflow with love and charity, so degraded, as, for the gratification of an avaricious passion, to cast all that ennobles humanity behind, and become the receptacle of all that is mean and cruel, until the last twinge of conscience has ceased to disturb, and the heart of the man of blood and cruelty is left to the control of the evil passions raging within it. Of all classes of men, the most unfeeling are the money-lenders. It takes some time, however, to acquire the determined stoniness of heart of a money-lender; there are deeply-rooted tendrils of feeling around the heart of even a money-lender, which it requires long practice in the calling to tear up, and which in the process sting deeply, with the secret consciousness of innate meanness.

    The fortunes acquired by the tavern-keepers are often made in a most disgusting. manner; their houses are nests of thieves and harlots: the most obscene and noisy revels are heard resounding from them by day and night; yet frequently, immense fortunes grow up to the keepers of these hot-beds of vice and dissipation. “The Globe” however, to the credit of the landlord be it mentioned, did not present any of the disgusting appearances of many of the others. The solemn landlord had, with no little cunning, succeeded in gaining the reputation of selling cheaper than any house in town; and was in consequence possessed of a capital and lucrative family connexion. It was his interest to foster this trade; and with this view he excluded all debauchery; and his house had a quiet, neat, and cleanly appearance, which contrasted favourably with the slovenly look which many of the taverns present. The house had a look nearly as retired as a private dwelling-house. It was a small house, with the door in the corner, and had an inner-door to the bar, which was covered with green-cloth, and from which there would every minute or two glide a servant girl with one or more bottles in her hand. In this bar stood the landlord, intent upon the only thing he ever thought about—amassing money. He seldom left the duty of serving at the bar to any other person, for he was suspicious of nearly erery one. A saying which he frequently repeated, was, “that servants had a private purse,” and “that they took a shilling for self, and one to the master. When, however, business called him imperatively abroad, he dressed himself in a new suit of black clothes, and sported a magnificent cane. Thus attired, he walked along, neither looking to the right nor to the left: for he assumed an appearance of indifference to all. He was not thus allowed to pass, for many had an object in attempting to gain the favour of the wealthy pub-bean; and he could hardly walk ten yards without being addressed by some acquaintance. The great publican would stop; and if it was an individual whom he had some object to gain in treating with civility, no one knew better how to be complaisant: but if it was an inferior, or one whom he had no interest in being civil to, he was suddenly seized with an absence of mind that put it out of his power to hear or answer any question, and which completely baffled the attempt of the other to ingratiate himself with him.

    He was never known to smile but once, and this was at a public meeting. This astonished one or two who knew him not a little. The meeting was called for the purpose of selecting from the inhabitants persons qualified for holding some situations of honour and responsibility. A scheming solicitor, who possessed an ambition to be a public speaker, and had a number of set phrases and sentences which he dished-up on every occasion into a speech, rose upon the occasion mentioned, and after a most flattering panegyric, proposed the publican. It was at this time that a smile was observed to flit across the lips of that person; and the public, who make pretty shrewd guesses upon what falls under their notice, concluded that the publican smiled at the assurance of another victim who flatters for nothing.

    And that's it for this week and hope you have a great weekend.


  2. Thanks Rick, sandyc, 1938 Observer thanked for this post.
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    Re: Newsletter 12th October 2018

    Thought you might like to see the fall colours in Northern Ontario...


  4. Like sandyc, mhoira, 1938 Observer liked this post.

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