PARS ABOUT PEOPLE
Observer, Volume XXXIX, Issue 22, 1 February 1919, Page 4
PARS ABOUT PEOPLE
OENERAL PAU, the great French soldier, led by M. Iβ Maire in hie cardiuaical robes, and carrying a crimson kepi, which exactly accorded in colour with the ro-bes of the Mayor, ascended the steps of the Town Hall Concert Chamber stage on Friday morning, tucked his kepi under a seat, stretcned his gold spurs on the ground, sunk into a chair, kept his black walking stick close at hand, and was the beau ideal of a very gallant gentleman of France. In his utilitarian field uniform of "I , horizon bleu, with one order glittering on nis breast, and the empty right sleeve with ite three miniature gold stars on the cuff, he became a hero to the crowd in a moment.
It does not matter in the meantime that the municipal authorities directed the eminents to the side door in Grey Street, or that the French Consul, M. Hippeau, was dodging around trying to find a door m the wrong place, or that a number oi bell-toppers were quite lost. All-ultimately assembled. M. le Maire had written up a speech that was full ot fact, and he produced it with the requisite fervour. The General's familiar, he with the crisp black hair, the unobtrusive ribbon in his buttonhole, the black coat with the "waist," and the appearance of attention, told the General, as Mr. Gunson proceeded, what the. Mayor was saying, and if M. le Maire DID refer to Monsieur Clemenceau as "Em Clemensow" what matter. C'est la guerre.
May one admire very mucli the handsome young man who translates into immediate English the splendid oratory of the General. He necessarily leaves out the idiomatic French and the twirly bits so necessary to make effective appeals- It is necessary to say that people who have never seen French gentlemen of unimpeachable manners before were surprised to find them most Anglo-Saxon in their un-demonstrativeness. For instance, one would be glad to have a lead from M. Hippeau, the French Consul, when the General is saying something at which one may laugh or cry—but the countenances of no Frenchman on the platform has the least appearance of emotion. You talk of " British phlegm." Ma foi, it is exuberant in comparison with Gallic poise.
M. le Commandant d'Andre assumes an expression of benevolent ferocity, due, of course, not to his soul, but to his moustache. lhe learned Dr. Siegfried, pale and etudent-like, evinces no sign. One looks to the rear row, where the knowledge of French of Messieurs Charles Poole, Sam Dickson, and Peter Mackay, irradiate their features when M. le General has accomplished a "mot." Mr. Maughan Barnett has played the National Anthem, a little gentleman with a particularly nice voice has sung the "Marseillaise" (in English), and several French people, and a very great number of British people, have opened their ears. M. le General allows him&elf few gestures, but when he talks of the. incredible hardships of his beloved land, the new fraternity, the international love which the Hun has induced by his war against civilisation, his handless sleeve is agitated, and the keen light eyes look war.
His young black-haired friend, who is so necessary liberally but not literally, translates, and if one may say so,' "sub-edits." . Par exemple,
the General has referred to "Iβ bete Pruesienne," but we have heard nothing from that clever young man about him. Some lady friends, who are in telegraphic eye communication with the interpreter, send a wireless, "You naughty boy—the General didn't say THAT." On the. whole, the best guide to the uninitiated is two little French ladies, who sit in the second row. To them the stage is France. To them the General is the soul of France speaking in a remote foreign country. You may weep here, not because you have understood the General, but because you see the French ladies weep at what the General has said.
The French people in that assembly, apart from the unemotional members of the Mission, were the most interesting feature of the assembly. And what a fine little story that dear old General tells of the fraternity between France and Eng-
land. Turning to M. le Maire, he says: "At Fontenoy, monsieur, the French General emerged, and to the English General said, 'Gentlemen of England—you fire first.' At Lille, the General continues, "the English General says to the French General, 'Gentlemen of France—enter Lille first.' " He has been illustrating in sonorous phrases that the element of decency, of good manners, of the observance of niceties, are common to both races, and that "le bete Prussienne" has not yet learned what these decencies and usuages and niceties are.
There is one word that falls from the General in his rapid utterance that the whole audience does not need to have translated. It is "Anzac," and in his generous references to the immortal • feats of the Anzacs he has said no word of the incomparable valour of France on that bloody peninsula. The people are frankly affectionate regarding General Pau because a gentleman is a gentleman everywhere. He has told us he is again well in health, and this is applauded to the echo. The veteran of 1870, the man who
has known the mind of the mad beast for fifty years, has shaken the Mayor's right hand with hie left, has taken that scarlet kepi and the black stick, and has gone. The people watch Dr. Cleary, R.C. Bishop, collect him in his motor car, the handsome young gentleman who has not translated "le bete Prussienne]' has been smilingly rebuked by his lady friends, and to the two little French ladies—France has vanished.
"23936" writes: Gone to the new orthopaedic Hospital in Christchurch, in the hope of recovering the use of an injured leg, Scott Higgjnson, Boer war veteran, and participator in the European affray. Scott, prior to entering camp with the Ninth Reinforcements, was on the staff of the Hamilton Post Office. As company sergeant-major of A Company, Ninth, he became Lieu .-Col. (then Major), Robert Allen's right-hand man, and, with his habit of corn-
mand, 'twas a foregone conclusion that lie would secure his commission. Landed in Egypt with the Eleventh Reinforcements, went on with them to France, and joined up with the Division in time to go over with the Canterburys at the Somme. There the Hun plugged him in the leg, and so far the doctors, have not been able to do a great deal for him. 'Tis to he hoped they have better luck at Christchurch, for he's too good a fellow to be allowed to remain incapacitated.
Ignace Paderewski, the prodigious pianist, becomes Premier of Poland. He is perhaps the first instance of a highly-artistic person holding such a position, where executive but not artistic ability is the .sine qua non. "There never yet was a musical genius who was practical, and it is unusual for a musical eminent to have a very wide-awake moral sense. Poles, of course, are passionately artistic, but a Polish gentleman in Auckland points out tliat Poland has been so downtrodden that Polish genius never develops until it gets outside Poland—a Pole does not "discover" himself until he leaves home.
It used to be eaid of Paderewski that by constant use of the piano he had so enormously increased the power of his fingers that he could lay a piece of plate-glass on a table and with his wrist on the glass break the glass with a tap of any finger of either hand. But the Poles wouldn't want him as Premier for that, would they ?
"Con" writes: Countess Markievicz, the Irishwoman who butted into the Sinn Fein movement in a green gown, and who makes a sound like 50,000 women in green gowns, has likewise butted into the House of Commons. There is no other woman there—at least, feminine old women. She doesn't really want to spend her life racing round with severed heads on bayonets, and has, in fact, the warrum heart, be jabers. When the Dublin strike was going along the future M.P. organised relief, and fed 600 children every day for half a year. Publicity and applause and spectacularity are the breath of life to the woman in green, and it is her passion for publicity that makes her exhibit her best (and worst) traits- She likes to swim in a rough sea if there is an audience, will tackle the wild waves in a ricketty canoe, if there are plenty to see her; ride a wild horse provided 100 people cheer her sufficiently, and drive a four-horse coach—in a crowd. She did the coach act in Manchester —election time. Some respectable mute yelled, "Can you cook a dinner?" and the lady with the hard face and the seething soul yelled back, "Yes, I can; can you drive a four-horse coach?" She carves in wood, acts, paints scenes, writes yarns, does embroidery. I can't find any account of any of the Countess's children, so I presume she hasn't got any- Nobody ever hears of the Polish Count Markievicz —he is merely the person the admirable "lady in green" married.
May the shadow of Jim Davidson never grow lees. He is the man to whom a Chinese firm sold rotten oranges at a large price during the sick spell, and counted 'em one too few. Mr. Davidson brought a case and won it, and the firm was fined in a satisfactory amount, which made it an expensive transaction. Case mentioned here because most people let tradesmen do what they will with them. They foam and fume to their friends, spit anathema all round, but very rarely "go for" the shortweight artist, the rotten quality expert, and the wrong measurement genius or the chap with the heavy thumb. "Davie" is a personage known wherever the game of bowls is played, and hopes people won't go barefoot 'cos he's in the boot line. He has not always clothed the foot of humanity, but used to feed the brain—sold books ac a matter of fact for years and years in Wellington, and knows books a lot better than most men. Has a penchant for the strenuous life. Hates to 101 lat ease in a motor car. Prefers a sixtypound swag, three companions, and the broad highway, returning with a mahogany countenance and a singing soul. Wish he'd infect the swindled public with his desire toset tie the nefarious dealer.
Rev. R. B. S. Hammond is the athletic young chap of forty or so who came to New Zealand a few years ago, and talked as man to maa at street corners, told yarns, and had a fund of repartee. He's president of the Temperance Alliance in New South Wales, and lately disclosed to a horrified police court that he was an adept at two-up ! He was required to certify to a certain man's character, and the super-moral police officer solemnly asked Hammond if he knew that the man played "twoup." The rev. gentleman related that if the man played "two-up" he did no worse than the Governor and the other nobs did at Randwick racecourse. The police, officer wondered whether the rev. gentlemen knew what "two-up" meant, and Hammond said, "I believe you — you mean heading 'em with a kip, don't you? I know all about it. Plenty of two-uppers wouldn't like to assiociate
with the people who play bridge or go to Randwick." The IH-osecuting sleuth gave a horrified yell at the idea of racing being not more respectable than "two-up." Hammond said he'd been "used to the fairness of ' two-up.' " and didn't wonder that two-Tippers objected to itandwickians.
The presence in Auckland of Mr. E. G. Jellicoe. banister, cousin of Admiral Lord Jellicoe, reminds one of the famous Dinizulu treason case in which he was retained. Dinizulu was a paramount African chief with fat legs, and it was necessary to squash him as he was creating trouble among the big black bounding beggar.s with the assegais. Dinizulu had a brief and splendid career in London, wore a gorgeous top hat and immaculate frock coat, and cast the glad-eye at an English lady, who. was attracted by his magnificent proportions. As a matter of history, Dinizulu married this lady — the daughter of a famous engineer—but her friends moved heaven and earth to dissolve the marriage.
This was done, and "Diui" being properly impressed with the fact that England was very cross with him, was sent back to Africa, where Britain built him a fine mansion and gave him a pension of £800 a year. He was ordered to stay on this estate, and did so until his legs swelled lip to such an extent that he looked like a hogshead perched on two ninegallon casks. He is supposed to have succumbed to high living. As a paramount chief he was entitled to all the wives he could buy, and had ladies in Dinizulu Vula worth 50 oxen each.
Flight-Lieutenant Roy Burns, of Auckland, whose photo appears in tihis issue, was killed in a flying accident on December 16, 1918. He was a son of Mrs. M. H. Carr, and grandson of the late Mr. arid Mrs. W. L. Roth. He. was a Main Body man, and was wounded on Gallipoli. On partial recovery in England, the late officer was promoted artificer sergeant in charge of the motor garage at Hornchurch. While there he qualified for a commission in the R.F.C-, and was a highly popular and expert officer when the accident that terminated fatally occurred. Before he enlisted he was a member of Auckland City Fire Brigade, and left that service to enlist. He was educated at the Aiickland Normal School, and later at Auckland Grammar School.
Fred Doidge, for years chief reporter of Auckland "Star," has been added to the management staff of London "Daily Express." There are bright spots in Fred. Not notably strong in physique, he took on ueoldiering, and although lie was considered not fit to fight in France, he has for about 2$ years done notable work in England. As he is
now joining an English paper, Fred possibly regrets his former party judgments of English women and their character. Fred, while in Auckland before the war, had a real "nose" for what was then "news," and was as live a wire as any pressman in the country. What is a sensation in Auckland, .however, is a line of news in London, and Fred has long since readjusted his perspective. It's fine to hear of New Zealand pressmen "making good" in the Hub—and good luck to him! Mr. Doidge has had a brother (also a pressman) killed in action in France.
" r fe Pana" writes: Bade in Auckland on a recent troopship. Major Monk, N.Z.M.C. Last saw him three, years ago at Apia, Samoa, where, with Wellington's Arnold Izard, he was feeling pulses and prescribing Epsoms for the hard-bitten crowd of Enzedders then camped under the palms. He was always a popular •'quack" with the boys, and hie two trips 'Ome on divers ships has only increased his appetite for more. To him the New Zealand "digger" is the only scrapping man on earth. Trips abroad have interfered , with his pet hobby of wood-turning. He knows as much about timbers and the innards of a lathe as he does about human intestines, which is talking some.
Surprise has been expressed by those who saw him that Foeh was not a bigger man physically- There have been comparatively few fulllength" photographs published of him, but the- general impresisiion seems to have prevailed that he was tall. Had he been so he would have been the exception rather than the rule among great soldiers, who, generally speaking, have been short men. Such cases as that of Napoleon, Roberts, and French will occur at once to the memory. General Diaz, another man who rather suggests height from his photographs, is also a short man. King George himself is only five feet six inches, while Mr. Fred Pirani and Mr. Albert Glover are not gigantic. They always put a thick cushion in a. chair when Billie Hughes feeds publicly.
Captain T. E.- V- Seddon, M.P., who has been to America, seems to have been insufficiently reported. May one mention him with appropriate journalistic humility. Hβ has said that in the middle west of the United States the greatest keennese exists to know all there is to be known about New Zealand. The possibility is that one American soldier in England did not come from the Middle West. He was travelling with some of his mates in a train in England. The guard came through. He button-holed him. "Say, conductor," he piped, "don't you let Noo Zealand go by without putting me wise. I passed Australia while I was doing the shut-eye
stunt—and there'll be trouble in my little old town in Murka if I miss Noo Zealand." To him the ''conductor" replied, "It ain't on this railway line, sir—it's on the Great Western."
His Majesty the King intended to exalt Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig to a Dukedom—the sort of thing that hasn't been done to a British Marshal since Arthur Wellesley was made Duke of Wellington for a much smaller job. It was also intended to hand the duke a dazzling fortune—say half a million, for Earl Roberts lifted £100,000 for the South African affair. In the meantime there's a dukedom going a-begging 'cos Douglas won't take it until Britain does what Haip; wants in regard to Haig's soldiers. Admiral Sir David Beatty is to bo raised to the peerage—probably both as «oon as the actual Peace is signed.
Several persons affect to disbelieve that a Birkenhead rhubarb grower has had to shift his fence three times in order to make room for a stick of "Riibu.s Giga-ntus." It is tmdeivstood that Mr "' Dug." Stewart of Papakura is not one of these sceptics. If his friends' report is to be credited he as growing a new bean with which he hopes to build post ami rail fences for the gardeners in the vicinity. There's some difficulty, of course, in obtaining bushmen and splitters for these fencing contracts, but it is shown that two good men with mails and wedges can.
split at, least, ten beans a day.. A communication ■ has been ~ received from Mr. Peter McAlister (Waikato) who is a. successful pumpkin grower that he has , a six roomed pumpkin which he will let to a suitable tenant. No children. He states he is using a. marrow ("Little Darling" variety) as a field roller but says it is rather wearing on the horses, having found if necessary to add two to the four horse team on heavy ground.
A link with the early days of Auckland was severed by the death of Mrs. Ellen Mary Coldicutt, relict of the late Mr. Job Coldicutt. The late Mrs- Coldicutt, who was universally respected, came to New Zealand in the ship Cresswell on September 13, 1853, and was the third daughter of the late Mr. Charles Hills, who was an English carriage builder, and who built the first cab in Auckland for Mr. H. Hardington, who in the early days ran a 'bus service to Onehunga. The deceased lady married in 1865, her husband being a son of Mr. William Coldicutt, of Manuka C«rovie Farm, Epsom, who built the first stone house in Auckland in 1847. This house is on the road just past the Mt. Eden tram terminus. The late Mrs. Coldicutt is survived by four .sons, Dr. C. Coldicutt, of Auckland ; Mr. P. Coldicutt, chief clerk of the Railway Department, Invercargill; Mr- S. 'Coldicutt, manager of the E. and F. Piano Co.; and Lieut. N. K. Coldicutt, of the N.Z.E.F., four daughters and six grandchildren.