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J It was the old dispute between the local j j inspector of nuisances and the 15oard of j

Health officer as to whether the dairies were really as bad as stated, and an in

spection was arranged. "He says," ex-; plained the local official, ' that there j was a magpie in a cage hanging just above ! the milk. Now, there's the cage, but there's no magpie, and there never was a magpie." The officer protested that there ;was a magpie in the cage when he saw it ! last, and was ridiculed for the assertion. I "Mightn't it have been a speckled hen, or

a eocfc sparrow," they satirically suggested, j and asked whether the officer really knew j

a magpie when he saw one. Just before { leaving, they were startled with a "IIcllo j

there?" from a neighbouring ehed. Even - ;

one looked at each other, and the local j officer blushed. It was the missing magpie, j whose perky eloquence had thus betrayed j his own plant end his owner's subterfuge.

If the bird can understand colloquial Eng-1 lish as well as he speaks it, he had no ! doubt an opportunity of improving his edu cation immediately after the inspecting party left.

A number of youtJis badly bitten with the amateur theatrical mania-the bact-illus of

which is, alas! only too prevalent in 31 el- j

bourne just now-were arranging for an

early production. The parts been <lis- j tributed, and one of- the young gentlemen,

who had already made his mark as Hamlet, j Macbeth, and King Lear, not to mention j St. lavender Sweetlips in "Kissing Goes by Favour," waBdisappointed with his part. "Can't you give us something better than this low comedy, Snider!'" he asked; it'e such a mean part-why cau't I play the hero?" It certainly was a poor part-offer

ing, perhaps, no greater opportunities to an I artist than Kcclee, of "Caste,'' afforded Mr.' Anson, and the company pitied t he sufferer. "There's Brumley,"-he went on, "why should-he play the hero? He's no good." "No,"-said the manager sympathetically, "but rre must bari him in, He owns the waistcoat that bur low comedy man M ill have io wear." The argument was con clusive, and the manager, it ?will be seen, was giving «rly evidence of that talent for economy which enables amateui companies to publish such - flattering balance-sheets whenever they play for charily.

Old Aaron Weller, aged 107 years, whose photograph Was published in "The Aus tralasian" a fortnight ago, died that same .weelL JiaYing lieaj-d by mischance that the Young Women's Temperance Christian Union vtn inquiring about him. I don'J;

1 say, of course, that these good ladies were ! in any way to blame, but two of them had j written to the old man's guardians, in j quiring -whether he smoked or drank. It ( would be invaluable to lind a man of 107 ; who hud abjured both pipe and pewter, but

I alas! Aaron was of the tough, unrcgciie-1 ; rate, long-living kind. Lest the young ! ladies may not yet have beard from his I guardians, I may state for their iufonna \ tion that it was a life-long principle with | Aaron Wellcr to devote all cheques to the

j purposes of a rousing spree, also that, he

! started smoking in the year that Waterloo

| was won, and continued smoking until he

, became comatose. It is sad to think of a

j bright young life cut off at 107 by the two

worst vices of modern times.

\ The young horncs having been sent in guaranteed quiet by the station breaker, one of the owner's daughters was anxious to pick one for her own use. "Do you think they have any vice left in them, Tommy?" she asked of the rouseabotit boy. "Oh, no, Miss," -said Tommy, confidently; "the breaker put phenvlc on, and killed "em


I have by chance come into possession of an old Jamaican will, an extract from which

may be interestiug, as showing the strange, mixture of virtue and vice that vent to a| will one hundred years ago. It begins, "In the name of God, Amen," and taking it all ' in all, is a deeply religious document. The practical part, however, reads thus: -

"To Olivo Wallis a free woman of colour of [ this Island I bequeath twenty Founds currancj"

and a farther sum equal lo the purchase of a new Nyral Girl or woman or if she prefers taking my

Ne^roe Miiul) Nancy in lieu of tin's farther sum , iiir executors arc directed to rewivo her from tlie ! tale for lior jwtion Which New Negroe or Nancy j flie is to have for lier lx'hoof during her life hut

after the death of the said Olive Wailis, the said 1 lies-roe is to lie discharged off by my executors. For the behoof of my Uenduary legatees herein alter named. To tiiy exccutors 1 beqpratb in trust for the behoof anil benefit of my son William Junnor a Tiiulatue Slave belonging to Kats Hall estate and for the term of his natural life sfter his decease to l>c disjK.-sod of by my executors for

the l>enefit of my residuary lepitecs as also the i issue if any as well as the if>ue of N'anrv, or the ( new neproe bequeathed to Olive Wallis the turn j equal to the purchase of a new uejrroe whieli they i are directed to buj" for liiin cut of u flr=t choice." " | Hoth testator and his executors were .Scots j

-and the devout old man was determined that no second - grade slaves should be palmed off on his trusting son,

I don't quite know what to make of this, j As a study in motive it puzzles me. A j

country court-house was lately raided by a j

thief, who gathered up all the stationery i

aud other court equipment he could lind, j took tlieni out under a tree, and sorted the'

spoil at leisure. On examining the rejected ! articles, which were found piled under the!

tree, the clerk of petty sessions has come to ? I the conclusion that the ouly article stolen is ? i the Uible. This is a Christian country, but is i j there a man in it so hard up for a Uible that i

| ite is compelled to steal one-and a court j

| Bible, too? It may be that this enightened !

and far-seeing thief, knowing this to be (he i only Bible in the district, has removed it so ! that there jnay be a difficulty in swearing.

j witnesses against him in any case in which i j he may be especially concerned. That is j

merely a con jecture,and,asa celebrated Irish

! chairman observed-"Gintiemiu, yiz hov it j I amuiigst viz. Do phat yiz luikc wid it." j j The briliant idea of having their town

j brought under the regulations of the Shops ; and Factories Act recently occurrcd to the j residents of a little place on the Great j Southern line, and, having carried the idea

j into effect, they went about for a few days

. with a vastly increased sense of self-import

ance. But, alas! it is not all lovely. On the following Wednesday some selectors rode in for supplies, but the storekeeper explained the change that had come over them, and he couldn't sell that day. The settlers swore, for the roads are bad at this time of the year in Gippsland, and a ride of many miles through the forest anything but a Shops Act holiday. They tried other

| stores, but in vain, for the proprietors were j watching each other closely, for a chance

j to prosecute. Finally, the settlers rode to ! the rival township further down the line,

and got what they required. And, having

| told their friends about their grievances, | the district is transferring its custom to the , "va' town. And the business people of the

town which has been brought under the beuign protection of the Shops and Fac tories Act now walk the streets moodily and anathematise all socialistic legislation. By-the bv, is our old friend Yeomans, of lteform League fame, still a resident of Toora?

A country newspaper in a western colony gives details of a fashionable wedding~>n the most up-to-date style. The ceremony be ing disposed of, it proceeds to give a list of the presents, which, it states, Were" "nume rous and costly." They included, "From father of bride, cheque, £1; bride's cousin, gndiron; from an old tidmj'rer, pair of dainty boots; airs. Jones, handsome walk ing jacket; Mr. Brown, cow and calf, and chairs/ 'The cake," the report adds "was cut wttli a black-handled knife, tied up with white satui ribbon/' Let us hope that the couple who have started on their matri monial career in the midst of such unpa ralleled luxury will not .be spoiled by their good fortune. They should recollect that the after-fate of those who have their good things m this life U often unfortunate.

Here is another little story from the west. Opimons differ as to the most suitable way of offering condolences to a bereaved reta tire but the following is at least original: A deigyman's son having met his death bv drowmjig, there was a large assemblage at the grave. At the conclusion of the ser vice, before the grave was filled, a gentle man from "out lock/' stepped",# to the sorrowing father, and remarked, with an

g^^p^there u het^" Just ae jt the

' poor niau would found Mb hopes of.hiB eon'*

fuiure on any such materialcircumstance

as that.

The railway officials at Spencer-street ate ' just now* struggling with several thousand applications from boys of 14 for what are practically apprenticeships in different me

chanical and other branches. One of the ? lads hearing that the choice was io be by ballot inquired with much surprise, "Wher« do the girls come in?" It turned out that to him "ballot" was "ballet"-or, as the poet has so beautifully put it

"A railway ballot awful, grim, .<.' A simple bullet w*9 to him, And it was nothing more."

At a Sydney dance last week a guest sug gested to an infant scion of the house that the hour was rather late for him. His reply, "Is this our ball, or yours?" got him