Gossip from the Great Village
By Percy Flarge,
London, December 7,
The business at the Adelphi has suddenly given out, and the Gattis find themselves obliged to haul down " The Union Jack :, six "months earlier than they anticipated. Sims and Pettit are hard at work tinkering up a successor. The leading scenes will be laid in Mexico. Who can explain the vagaries of play goers in London ? Mr Jno. Lart produced " The Monk's Room," a dull, sombre melodrama of an old old pattern, at the Globe Theatre some six weeks ago to a bored indifferent audience, and it was played for a fortnight to " paper " and empty benches. Then to the manager's utter astonishment the piece began to " catch-on," and now for more than a month the house has been crowded nightly. If Mr Lart's lease were not up on the 18th inst., " The Monk's Room " would probably have run well into the middle of next year. "The Private Secretary " is of course the most remarkable instance of a semi-failure being condensed into a success, but beyond some fine actino- by Willard and Hermann Vezin there is nothing in " The Monk's Room " intrinsically attractive. A capital picture poster is pasted all over London. Considering the amount of money fcke ring got out of betting against the favourite for the Derby (Friar's Balsam) last winter, and the tact that neither Donovan's dam M.owerina, nor his whole sister Modwena could stay more than seven furlongs, it seems strange that not more than the absurd odds of 3 to 1 should be ou offer against the Duke of Portland's colt for next year's blue riband. Yet this was the beef tender a gentleman who is gaing abroad for some time, and wished to back Donovan fer £500, could elicit at Sandown rhi- week. The bookmakers explain the phenomenon by averring that the money they got out of •' the Balsam " did not pay tbeir losses over Ayrshire, any more than Minting's fiasco equalled Ormonde's triuranh, or Paradox's Melton's-. In each "of these three cases two horses alone were backed for the Derby during the winter, and one of tbttn eventually won. Even in Merry Hampton's year the ring made but litt'e out of their winter on the Derby. A few (Mr Fry, for instance) stood out their wafers against The Baron, but the majority, when they .saw Mi Fern's coil eeevned to have the race at hi? mercy, backed him. again at a los.-?. Altogether mid-winter speculation on the classic races has not been found to pay. At this time'last year both the Duke of Westminster and Mr Abington Baird rejoiced greatly over their yearlings. John i'orter bold "His Grace he had never had such a lob through his hands, and Gurry anticipated-sweeping all this season's prizes tor'two-year-olds with Mr Abington's. t« both 'ease*., bitter disappointment ensued. Mr Abingtoiva animals reuLly were good, but influenza prevented their showing their true iorm till too late. The Duke's, however, were simply commoners, or ran like commoners. They may do bettor as three-year-olds. George Robertson has, 1 hear, after all come to terms with Messrs Remington for a special Australian edition ot' Mr '* Rolf Holderwood's" bush story, "Robbery Under Arms." The new six shilling edition to be published forthwith in England will contain the Jac simile of a post-card addressed by Mr Gladstone to Messrs Remington, in which the right hon. gentleman states that he has read the novel with great enjoyment, and considers it one of the most faithful pictures of life in the Australian colonies thirty years ago ever published. Me H. H. Romilly has an article on " Sorcery in New Guinea " in '' Murray's " for December, and i3r A. W. burling (author of "The Never Never Land : ) writes on "Queensland" in the "Fortnightly." Furthermore, Sir George Baden Poweli discourses sapiently on the vexed question oi "Colonial Governors'' in the "Nineteenth Century." Miss Amehe Rives, whose literary freaks and ecccutiicities appear to afford American reviewers the grutiiieation, haa juxt broken out in a new vein. " Let me," cms Miss Rives, m the current number of "Lippincot," "die for woman," and the proceeds to give us some of her adventures in search of martyrdom.
Sometimes when vyalls seem enemies and sleep Given to others like a cruel je.sl bent for my mockiug, 1 bj.ng marl lor rest Creep out aii ioneiy pa-t the huduled sheep Stirring with drowsy tang of beils thut keep Soil iterance ihrougu the whisper uight where nest Aud nestling sway by winnowing wind caressed, » There fling myself along the grass to weep Sobs gathering, hands gripped hard into the earth, The blessed earth that takes us back at last. And think, "Ah, could this knowledge now befall Some «oman who for long hath thought me wonh Only her hatred, she would hold me fast, And strive to comfort me, forgetting all."
A coarse reviewer remarks, apropos of this verse, that if Miss Rives really were tired of life she could hardly do better than follow her own directions. Weeping on the grass at midnight amongst huddled sheep ought to be a first-rate recipe for rheumatic fever. The portion of the verse which refers to the lady digging up earth with her nails one cannot approve so heartily. The process sounds prosaic, not to say dirty, and would scarcely improve the appearance of tho "fevered hands." Amongst the attractions oi " Murray's Magazine" next year will be a series of papers containing the " dramatic opinions :, of Mrs Kendal, a new novel by Edna Lyall (Miss Bayly), called "Derrick Vaughan, Novelist," a novel entitled "The Comedy of a Country House," by that subtie cynic, Julian Sturgis, and a series of papers on " The Railways of Scotland," by Mr Ackworth, whose articles on the big English railways were so interesting. " Beigravia's" sole serial in 1889 will be a story called " Passion's Slave," by "Basil"' (Richard Ashe King), whose work has of late bean growing poorer and poorer every year. Bret Harte's "Creasy," which has been running through the last half-dozen; numbera of " Macmillan's Magazine " and will be published in two volumes next week, is one of the best tales the American novelist has written since " The Outcasts of Poker Flat." The whole atmosphere of the story is fresh, breezy, and as delightfully uncivilised as Indian Spring itself. We cannot altogether sympathise with the rather priggish young Bostonian, whose misadventures as village schoolmaster at the wild border settlement form the backbone of the story, but his lawless, loving, clear-headed, and yet self - sacrificing little sweetheart Cressy is one of the most delightful characters in modern fiction. Excellent, too, in their bold, broad lines are the author's sketchea of Davy McKinstry, the turbulent old fire-eater, whose want of "kam" (calm) constantly leads to such lamentable results, and of " Uncle" Ben Danberry, the simple, kindly, thick headed miner, who quietly takes advantage of the popular conviction that ha is a fool to make his fortune on the sly. You muet all read " Cressy." "Colonel Quarifech, V.C.," Mr Rider Haggard's list novel, was published in three volumes on Monday last—a month earlier than I expected. It is very poor stuff. Mr Haggard appears to have taken little or no trouble with "Colonel Quaritch." The young lady who pawns herself to a rich suitor in order to save her father's name is an annoying person even in the ablest hands ; in Mr Haggard's she is simply exasperating , . As for the buried treasure incident, it has been far better utilised by Jamea Payn, Frederick Boyle, and several other well-known wiiters. Nevertheless, " boiled down ,: to half its present size, "Colonel Quaritch" would be readable enough. The third volume really interests one, bub volume two is intolerably long and dulL Evidently
Mr Haggard has had to spin out so much " copy," and felt puzzled how to do it. The result is the worst novel he has written, not even excepting " Dawn."
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Gossip from the Great Village, Auckland Star, Volume XX, Issue 25, 30 January 1889
Gossip from the Great Village Auckland Star, Volume XX, Issue 25, 30 January 1889
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