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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

The Ribs and the Broken Leg

The Ribs and the Broken Leg.

Here is a story from the early seventies which has the merit of being true. The two veteran printers concerned are both in Wellington now—they were then in Canterbury. Mr W. Nation, of Christchurch, bought from Mr Haggett, of Timaru, some second-hand printing plant, including an old press which had seen much service, and was decidedly the worse for wear. When the bulk of the stuff was sent, part of the press remained behind. This was afterwards despatched, and Mr Haggett sent advice by wire as follows: « Ribs and broken leg by afternoon train. » The ghastly message sent an electric thrill of horror through the Christchurch telegraph office, and the mysterious document was privately shown to the Inspector of Police before delivery. At the appointed time Mr Nation repaired to the railway office, when he was touched on the shoulder by a constable, who « wanted to see thim ribs and that broken leg. » Mr Nation had some difficulty in repressing his emotion, but dissembled. With the air of a detected culprit he led the stern officer to the platform, and pointed out the fleshless ribs and fractured limb. The constable had nerved himself for a tragic spectacle, but was not prepared for the reality. It was too much, and he beat a rapid retreat.