PARS ABOUT PEOPLE
Observer, Rōrahi XXXV, Putanga 32, 17 Paengawhāwhā 1915, Page 4
PARS ABOUT PEOPLE
THE comfortable little form of Mr A. E. Kernot, Consul m New Zealand for Paraguay, has been a physical feature of Queen Street lately. Mr Kernot is less renowned as the Consul tor. Paraguay than as an esteemed wtt-olesjale dflreotor of merchandise with "waipirau" as the sheet anchor. He is, moreover, stall more highly distinguished as being the hfusbarnd of one of New Zealand s very brightest writers. Mrs Kernot is an excellent craftswoman, and it is gladdening to know that she is not obliged to write to fill space. The chief attraction in her writings (quite unusual in any New Zealand writer) is a certain finished impressionism. She is aptest when she •writes of horses and dogs, and her admirable method is greatly enhanced by her true insight into the lives and feelings of dumb brutes. Mrs Kernot was for some time the least "stuffy" and' the only understanding member of the Wellington S.P.C.A. The old gentlemen with the simian shaves who didn't know a horse from a wheelbarrow did it for advertisement. Mrs Kernot did it for the dumb animals. Any horse book or dog book from her would be good' goods.
Silly season suggestions included one that either "Dahn" Fisher who is rushing Home, or the Hon. H. D. Bell, K.C., would wrest Tarn Mackenzie'ls High from him. Dahn, of course, would! take the job if the Government went on its respectable knees to him, but the Government is unlikely to do any such thing. H. D. Bell would' probably not look at it at the present salary, even if free firewood was thrown in. People seem not to understand the eminence ot "H.D." He is head of the large and opulent law firm of Bell, Gully, Bell and Myers, and belongs to what the soiaip-boxer delights to call the capitalistic class," although no one has any reason to dislike a gentleman whose whole career has been highly honourable. He is the eldest son of the late Sir Dillon Bell, and was schooled at Auckland Grammar School, was dux of Duneditt High School from 1864 to 1868, and a B.A. of Cambridge (St. John's). It isn't because of this that H.D. would "pass" the offer of a High Commissionership, but because the tinkling of the common or garden sovereign into the till in Panama Street is much more frequent than it would be in London. H.D. was the most expert Mayor Wellington ever had, sat as one of its members in the Talk Shop from 1893-6, and "took silk" m 1907. Also, he is, or was, Consul for Denmark, and generally is heavily enough gilt to spurn the less lucrative job in London, although it would interest him to poke about those old Inns of Court in London whence he, derived his early knowledge of law. And anyhow, he is 64 years of age.
Much in the public eye at present is H. E. Partridge, retired tobacco merchant, observant traveller, and Dossessor o£ an extremely keen artistic eye. Mr Partridge is getting on in years, but the passage of each period merely serves to all to his well springs of human kindness, and his long learned patriotism for his dear city of Auckland. He knew the city when it was not a city in aught but name. He had the ability but never the inclination for the wrangles and petty squabbling of public life, and devoted his attention to his pet hobby—art. When
Mr Gottfried Lindauer arrived here in 1874, in answer to the mystic call to his artistic soul, he quickly met Mr Partridge, and a life-long friendship sprang up. His commissions to the artist are too well known to need reference here. The action taken by Mr Partridge in' creating an imperishable gallery of the old time Maori has proved him to be a benefactor, not only to Lindauer, to the Maori, to New Zealand, but to the entire artistic world. Mr Partridge will be a heart-broken man if the 00-leetion hae to leave his loved city—but the Belgians must be succoured.
Mr Partridge had many interesting and curious experiences during the course of his long acquaintance with the Maoris. He telle, with a broad smile, how the pot was kept boiling at the historic meetings when attempts were made to sooth the native breast into agreement to be painted. The kumeras, the quarters of beef and the other consumed must have made many a well-remembered hui. One of the pictures in the collection is that of an old! chief whose bullet wound in chest is a prominent characteristic. It was sustained in a battle against the
whites near Auckland. Mr Partridge asked him how he treated the wound after battle. "You want to see it?" cried the chief. With that he took off his coat, and showed the mark, precisely as depicted by Lindauer. The bullet had penetrated the body and come out below the shoulder blade. "Oh! I go to the creek and te Maoris: they wash it. Then one got some clean grass and stick it in the hole. More water in the next creek when we retreated. All heal up quick."
A par is straying round mentioning that of 214 officers and men of the First New Zealand (South Africa) Contingent of Mounted Rifles, 23, of whom 20 are officers, are serving at the front. The impression may be that these were officers with the "First." Just by way of showing what a very good school the little corns was, it is to be pointed out that the "First's" star soldier, Major-General R. H. Davies, C.8., joined the "First" as a captain, that Lieut.Colonel D'Arcy Chaytor was a subaltern, Major Madocks (a R.F.A. officer attached) a captain, Major Ward (R.F.A. attached) a captain.. Captain Mike
Lindisay (now VII. Dragon Guards) a lieutenant, and Captain' G. Miller (now R.F.A.) a private. But the men in the New Zealand service are the ones who have climbed rather astonishingly.
For instance, Major J. G. Hughes, D.iS.O. (New Zealand staff), joined as a private, Major E. Harrowell was a sergeant, Major H. S. Orbell a private, Major J. Mitchell a private, Captain A. H. Wilkie a private, Captain H. W. Smith a private, Captain F. A. Wood (New- Zealand Staff) a private, Lieutenant P. T. Emmerson a private, and Lieutenant A. Batchelor a private. In the list one of the most brilliant New Zealand officers is left out. This is Major Harry Whyte (New Zealand Staff), an Auckland boy who was a private im the" First," and who probably already has command of a New Zealand regiment in the field. As a sergeant-major in Africa he won tbe Distinguished Conduct Medal. By the way, the daily papers, with their passion for inaccuracy, lately gave a list of noncommissioned' officers, petty officers and mem of both services who had received the Distinguished Service Order. No non-commissioned man can be admitted to this Order, and the wearing of the Distinguished Conduct Medal does not entitle them to its mention after their names. Thus, although Major Whyte wears the Distinguished 1 Conduct Medial, he does not belong to the Order, because be was not an officer when he was distinguished. Of the "First" non-coms, mentioned, and now with the fighting forces, Sergeant W. Mahood was a sergeant also with the old corps, Sergeant "Watty" Johnson was a private and Corporal Saddler Aicken a private. No 'other South African mob has such a record.
. News comes that Sir Joshua Williams, P. 0., lately New Zealand's most brilliant judge and who is now 78 years of age, has been _ very ill and underwent an operation in a Brighton hospital. He is an example of law in the blood for he is the son of the late Joshua Williams, Q.C., and the family comes from a direct line of lawyers through three centuries. He holds the degree rather rare in New Zealand of Master of Laws, but, of course, took the M.A. in his stride at Trinity College., Cambridge. He got the Chancellor's prize for legal studies away back in 1859 when, if you had mentioned' "New Zealand" in Britain not one in. a million would know what you were talking about. As he is: a strong old gentleman there are hopes that even at his great age he will survive to listen to many a case on appeal.
For once one finds oneself in complete agreement with Mr Hall Skelton who never was Mayor of Auckland. Mr Skelton publicly ridicules the highbrows of the city for insisting that a lady cataloguer for the Library shall have graduated B.A. in order to gather in £100 a year. All one wants to know is why don't girls give up swatting for the B.A. degree and become general servants? Any average girl can comman 1 £1 a week as a servant and no B.A. cataloguer can expect to get decent board for less than £1. It is exceedingly curious that City Councillors are permitted a place in the council without being asked for a sixth standard pass. The very stupid idea of the ignorant bureaucrat that a university degree is another word for brains will directly have the effect of making degrees unpopular. A Minister of the Crown may achieve £1,500 a year without any scholastic qualification of any kind whatever —and New Zealand history is thick with examples. For a poor little billet infinitely less lucrative than that of a barmaid and equal only to that of a housemaid, a girl is expected to swat for a number of years—say, from 12" to 20—-to achieve less than £2 a week (and find yourself). Mr Skelto —your hand!
Exceedingly pleased to see that Billy Hardham's Victoria Cross is of some use to him. Billy has been promoted Major in the field. Everybody knows he is the Petone blacksmith who went to Africa in 1901 as a farrier in the Fourth New Zealand Mounted Rifles. Because he was a good blacksmith and an excellent soldier in the famous old Petbne Naval Artillery he was made farrier-major. On October 4th, 1901, Hardham was with a section which was very hotly engaged by a party of 20 Boers. It was, of course, necessary to retire and as they were mounting Trooper McOrae was badly wounded and his horse killed. Hardham without any delay returned under the fire of the whole force of Boers to McCrae, lifted him carefully on his own horse and leading the horse took him slowly under the murderous fire to safety.
The admirable Hardham returned to New Zealand and was never known to "swank." He went back to the blacksmith's shop and to the old Petone Navals. So modest was he that he turned up on parade without the V.C. and it had to be pointed out to him that he was not "properly dressed" without it. He was one of the representative N.Z. regiment which was sent Home for the King's Coronation. When the great war broke out he volunteered for service with the Wellington Mounted Rifles, and holding a commission in the militia he retained it when he joined. He has therefore been advanced two steps and it is very gratifying. Major Hardham, V.C, although not so young as he used to be, has played some, good games of football in Egypt—and he will play some good shots in the greater game of war. Good on his section!
Many Belgian mayors were murdured in cold blood by Huns, and for this reason 19 British mayors (six English, five Scotch, five Irish and three Welsh) are at this moment serving with the Allies armies in tlie field. No New Zealand mayor
has offered himself on the altar of war yet, although two Australians have cast off the chain of office for the rifle and bayonet. Wellington affords a unique New Zealand example of a city councillor who wants real war, and this is Councillor T. C. A. Hislop, who has captured a commission in a late batch of reinforcements. It is, however, understood that most mayors and councillors would consider it disloyal to deprive their several municipalities of their expert services, and, although aching to swing a blade for Empire, remain behind to spur the others to achievement.
Noticed that that extremely fine old gentleman, Mr R. D. D. Mc- Lean, who owns about half of one of Napier's most picturesque hills, had a son wounded in the battle of the Aisne. Strange that the papers did not blare forth the fact that R.D.D.'s son had gone to the front, but then the old chap, despite his wealth, always did abominate disDute. The son in question is Lieutenant A. D. D. McLean, who> was at Home at the outbreak of war, and went with tlie Cameron Highlanders to show the Germans what was what. When the present writer knew the wounded lieutenant the latter was a very attenuated boy in the habit of wearing lengthy and baggy sailor rig, and also in the habit of being most carefully looked after. According tolatest information, he did well at the Aisne; and now, even while he is still suffering from his wounds, he is not idle. In spite of his lameness he is brushing recruits into shape.
In the most modest and unobtrusive mlanner, there entered the city of Auckland by the River h ina on Monday Alfred A. Winslow, of Chicago, representative of Uncle Sam in New Zealand. There is nothing objectionable about Winslow—no> loud boosting, no accent that cuts the atmosphere like a knife, no guessing and calculating or even figuring—simply Alfred A. Winslow,
a quiet but wide awake consulgeneral for the big plutocracy. He is a man of portly frame of about 55 summers! —maybe a year or two more—bears the impress of much knowledge of men and things, and wears a perfectly white moustache. Geniality and general benignity ooze from him, and he has every prospect of achieving not notoriety but popularity. In calm, dispassionate tones he declared trade, trade and more trade to be his economic leit motif, and nothing will turn him from his purpose. Winslow's consular experience is fairly extensive. He was in Liege, Belgium, in 1902, in Guatemala City a little later, and in Valparaiso from 1906 until last year. May his two or three years' stay in Auckland be to his advantage and ours.
What an advantage an engaging smile gives a man. Ask George Bullen, of "Herald" staff. George, being among the more saintly-looking members of the "Herald" staff, was down last Sunday to listen to the learned discourse of that veteran missionary, Dr. G. Brown, at the Pitt Street Methody Church. Churches, of course, are places to which one usually totes a hymn book—more ancient than modern as a general rule* —but George had overlooked this fact. Proceedings commenced with a hymn of praise —Germany has the copyright for the other type—and George's smile looked full at the "choristeresses" as their dainty throats pulsated with the bursts of harmony. George thought of the many books going to waste in the girls' gallery. Suddenly the girl upon whom his eye chanced to rest looked down at him, and was warmed by the habitual smile of him. . She picked up a weighty volume, poised it aloft, and, aim secured, mirtled! it forth- Straight it flew, and landed in the arms of the now blushing George. And thus is proved the value of a smile. Perchance Dr. Brown will make the incident the text of a "Keep on Smiling" sermon at some future meeting.
Lloyd George, the natural enemy of the territorial nabobs whose millions have grown like mushrooms while my lord slept, is at present undertaking to smite the peerage in its most vital spot—in the beer barrel. It is a highly curious thing that although few British peers would care to be seen behind a drapery counter, few British peers can withstand the fascination of. owning a brewery, and advance in Burke and Debritt has always gone hand in hand with advance in the aristocratic production of the great British beverage. In a recent return it was shown .that at least two-thirds
of the landed aristocracy of Britain owed large portions of their terrific revenues to the barrel, and when Lloyd George threatens to puncture the barrel he also threatens the House of Lords. At Home, Church and Beer are inseparable, and the best local evidence we in New Zealand have ever had was in Lord Plunket, whose father was Anglican .Archbishop of Dublin and who belonged to the famous hoptea firm, of "Guinness," whose liquor has gone into the four corners of the earth. Many a magnificent place of worship has been raised as a sop to old Bacchus.
Among aspirants to the honour of a seat in the City Council is Mr J. Zahara, the electric little person who runs the Bon Marche. Since he left his native Rumania as a boy he has become an enthusiastic Briton, and he speaks the language with greater ffuency and correctness than is common to many who use no other. Long residence in London put the hall mark of accent on his speech, and subsequent work in the United States, Canada and Australia the coping stone. He has tho very useful idea that ' a local body should be as much a business as a bank or a draper's shop, and that men who achieve success for themselves are the best qualified to achieve success for the public in helping to administer public affairs. Mr Zahara, since he came to Auckland, has learnt the highly British game of bowls, and his native spark is a cheerful circumstance on the field of play.
The newspaper admirers of Mi- Malcolm Ross, the newly-appointed correspondent to the New Zealand. Forces in the field, are very slow. C. E. Bean, the Australian correspondent, is "Captain Bean," and is obviously at liberty to penetrate to any position where a soldier may go. Suggested that as New Zealand cannot allow itself to play second fiddle to Australia, that Malcolm promote himself to the rank of major at once. If his native modesty prevents him from demanding his right, his admiring confreres on all New Zealand newspapers could make such a dust that Mr Allen would be bound to hand him out a colonelcy at once. One would expect to have a military "tang" about Malcolm's matter. Thus: "My intrepid exploit of the 14th is already the talk of the whole army. I penetrated 45 lines of trenches with my regiment, slew a. number of Turks and used Enver Bey for a desk. lam writing this while the shrapnel screams above tlie Southern Alps. I have recommended myself for the V.C, the D.5.0., 'le Croix dv Legion d'Honneur' and a brigade."