Pleas to appease Portuguese unease

A Tale Of Kiwi Charity in 1873

We have a curiosity of tailoring at our office the equal of which we defy Mr Samuel Coombes, or any other city tailor, to produce. The article has done duty as trousers and the original material of which they were composed is distinguishable here and there like an oasis amid a desert of rags. Joseph’s coat had scarcely, we should imagine, so many pieces and certainly did not exhibit such a peculiarly ingenious species of dovetailing as this garment does.

It has been constantly worn for twenty-four years by the owner, a Portuguese, who lives, or rather exists, on the island of Waiheke. This man is a kind of hermit, cut off by his habits from all his kind. He has a little plot of ground near the seashore on which he principally grows beans. Unfortunately his stock of this nutritive but not particularly delicate food has run short this season and the old recluse is likely to die of starvation. A kind hearted person who saw the miserable plight of this wretched being has given him a pair of trousers and brought his old ones to the Star, where they are now on view.

As rents were made and the material succumbed to constant wear, patches, chiefly of canvass, were substituted and the trousers are now the most extraordinary article in the bush millinery line that we have ever seen.

The donor of the new trousers is anxious to obtain a blanket and one or two other necessary articles for the poor old Portuguese and he solicits small subscriptions towards that object, which may be left at the Star office.

A pound or two will set the unfortunate man in a more comfortable way and will remove what is at present a disgrace to civilisation and Christianity.

Auckland Star, Volume IV, Issue 1213, 23 December 1873

(Note: My maternal great, great, great grandparents were the first European settlers on Waiheke Island).

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