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LITERARY., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 85, 10 April 1909
"Lone Hand" for April contains a sketch of the career of Robert Lowe, known in later life as Viscount Sherbrooke. during the seven years he spent in Australia. Mr. O'Byrne, the writer, endeavours to show that Lowe's solo object was to acquire a rapid fortune, and that his professional and political ; tactics were all directed to the attainment of that end; and he succeeded to a very great extent. In the third of Mr. Jeffries' papeis-jan '"Our Unfinished Commonwealth," he further discusses the rival routes for the transcontinental railway line, and indicates by a map shewing the rainfall, the territorial advantages offered by each route. "The Wino of the Country" is the subject of an article by Blamire Young, and another writer denounces the "infamous wine bars of Sydney" as "dens of vice associated with a great industry," which are ruining the wine trade. A representative of "The Lone Hand," who investigated this matter, states: "It is a startling fact that of seven wine bars visited, not one was a clean, bright shop, stocked with good wines, and six were either palpably houses of ill-fame, or very stipiciously like thereto." The number contains several good short stories and sketches, including an authorised biography of Madame Melba.
"Progress" for April contains an article challenging Lord Plunket's reflections upon the architecture of New Zealand, and claiming that the Dominion, considering its age, need not be ashamed of its public and private edifices. The industries illustrated include the New Zealand Portland Cement Co.'s works at Limestone Island, and the Petone workshops. There is an interesting article on deep-mining in Victoria, with a flash-light photo shewing stpping by rock-drill "on the West Leg of tha Saddle Reef, Bcndigo, at a depth of 4,lo(ift. from the surface. The manager claims that if the present reef carries gold he can pay all expenses and do development work on five dwt. per ton— truly a great performance from a reef j nearly a mile deep. The number contains a large amount of information rellating to industrial topics.
"The New Idea" for April, in a sketch of "The Love Story of Helena." mentions that the present Queen of Italy was originally intended to become the bride of the reigning Czar Nicholas of Russia, aud was sent to Russia to bo educated for that exalted destiny. Nicholas, however, fell in love with Princess Alex of Hesse, nnd insisted on
marrying her. After Helena's return from Russia, she met Victor Emanuel, and a love match resulted. The various departments of tlie magazine contain, as usual, an immense variety of well-selected literary matter.
An "All Red" series descriptive of the British Empire is to be published by Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons. That on "The Dominion of New Zealand" will be by Sir Arthur P. Douglas, who long resided in tbe Colony. The Hon. B. R. Wise, ex-Attorney-General of New South Wales, is writing "The Commonwealth of Australia" volume.
Mrs. R. P. Stanhope is the latest NewZealand writer to try her luck in the London lticrary market. She has written an ' "invasion" novel. It describes tlie invasion of England by a foreign Power, and if the Territorial "boom" has not subsided before the book appears, it may profit by all this military enthusiasm. During the past few months Mrs. Stanhope has been living in Paris, where she did journalistic work for "La Journal" and the Paris "Daily Mail." Prior to that she was in India, and worked for a time at Lahore for the "Civil and Military Gazette."
In "Cornhill" for March, Sir A. Conan Doyle makes his contribution to the Shakespeare-Bacon controversy in verse. The shade of Shakespeare expostulates against the attempt "to dispossess the crown which all my comrades and the whole loud world did in my lifetime lay upon my brow": — You prate about my learning. I would urge Jlv want of learning rather as a proof That I am still myself. Have I not traced A seaboard to Bohemia, aud made The cannons roar a whole wide century Before the Jirst was forged? Think you, then. That he. the ever-learned Terulam. Would thus have erred? So may my very In their gross falseness prove that I am true. And by that falseness gender truth in you. And what is left? 'They say that they
have found A script, wherein the writer tells my Lord He is a secret poet. True enough!
But surely now that secret is o'erpast. Have you not read bis poems? Know you
not That in our day a learned chancellor Might better far dispense unjustest law Than be suspect of such frivolity
As lies iv verse? Therefore his poetry Was secret. Now that be is gone
'Tis so no longer. You may read his verse, And judge if mine be better or be worse: Head and pronounce! The meed of praise Is thine; But still let his be his and mine be mine.
Among other notaole articles in "Cornhill" are Mr. Leonard Huxley's sketch of Charles Darwin, and an article by Mr. Sidney Lee on "Charlotte Bronte in London."
Mr. Henry Leach gives some interest- I ing facts on the English publishing season in his notes, entitled, "The Heart of Things," in "Chambers's Journal" for March. He says: "Book publishing is naturally on tbe increase, though not rapidly so. In 1905 six thousand eight hundred and seventeen new books (we are not speaking now of reprints) were issued; and'in the three following years the numbers were six thousand nine hundred and eighty-live, seven thousand seven hundred and one, and seven thousand five hundred and twelve. In each of these four years the fiction section held a long lead; and though it is now being threatened from a must unexpected quarter, it hardly looks like being caught up in our time. About a quarter of all new /books belong to it. Now, here comes a surprise. Second to "Fie- | tion," in the 1905 contest among the ! different classes, was "Theology and Philosophy." It was a hard struggle 1 between the three sections that followed the leader: but "Theology and Philosj ophy" came in well ahead at the finish, | with "History and Biography" third, and
"Arts and Science" fourth. You, who have been looking for a brave show for
"Travels, etc.," inquire anxiously where they arc, and if they started in the race; and, alas! we see them just coming along round the far corner, a miserable last, beaten badly by "Poetry and The Drama." This is one of tlie surprises of the race, and the other one is the great display of "Theology and Philosophy." The same order was maintained in tbe following year, but in 1907, "Theology and Philosophy" were beaten by "Arts and Science" for second place, with "History and Biography" fourth; I "Travels" next, heating "Poetry and Drama" by a single book. - •
TJnder the title of " Dramas and Poems," Mr Maurice R- Keesing has published a volume of verse, which is in its way an uncommon production. The author may be complimented chiefly for his linguistic accomplishments, which evidently include a very thorough knowledge of Esperanto, for many of the miscellaneous poems are accompanied by reproductions in the new language. Tho two plays are a fantasy, entitled "Rotorua," and "Tlie Destroyers"—a drama. The latter has a decidedly political flavour, but the author disclaims responsibility in his introduction, when he states, "Prejudiced statements or opinions expressed by characters in the dramas are the absolute reverse of my own sentiments." He also apologises for "any of their stray wit." Both plays are written chiefly in rhymed couplets. The longest poem is an ambitious effort, entitled "The Helm of Life," written, so the author tells us, 25 years ago. The contents are of a miscellaneous character, and include several topical verses dealing with past events. Some of the best lines in the book are those sent by the author to Sir Joseph Ward on the inauguration of the Dominion of New Zealand, and which were read by the Prime Minister in the course of his speech on the subject in Parliament. They commence: —
Where the spacious blue Pacific Feels brisk freshness from the Pole, Where bright Nature, so prolific, Seems to breathe with freer soul. There the isles of newer Britain, Brave the main with budding hope, While their story, yet unwritten, ■Grows with fast augmenting scope.
These fair Isles that face their ocean, With a bqld and noble view, Shall uphold the sure promotion Of the Upright and the True. May the new .Dominion flourish, With the progress Time will bring, And a knot of heroes nourish For the Empire and the King!
"A Simple Heart," by T. H. Walther (published by Henry J. Drane, Ltd., London), works out on somewhat crude lines a plot involving the voluntary sacrifice of one brother for another, because of his overpowering love for a selfish mother, who, from first to last, shews herself entirely unworthy of such a passionate devotion. The squire's son is found murdered, and a young neighbour, with whom be had quarrelled during the day, is on the point of being convicted of the crime, when his brother, a clergyman, declares himself guilty, and is sent to gaol for five years. After his release he starts for Australia, the ship going, marvellous to relate, by way of San Francisco! She encounters terrific storms, and is destroyed by fire, the hero escaping and landing at Fiji, where he falls into the hands of a wicked Governor, whose son he had confessed to killing, and is sent by him to the leper settlement. From thence he escapes, and elopes with his enemy's daughter. Among those who are utterly indifferent regarding probabilities in a story, this species of melodramatic novel will no doub find admirers.
A feature in the "Windsor Magazine" for March is a series of fine historical pictures illustrating the art of E. M. Ward, R.A. In an article on the salmon fisheries of British Columbia, tho writer states that often as many as 5000 fishing boats go out at one time on the Fraser River. At the flush of the season the price falls as low as three half-penoe to threepence per fish, and in a record season scow-loads of trap-fish, from the vicinity of Port Roberts, were actually hawked on the Eraser at a half-penny per fish. The cost of a cannery fully equipped, with a capacity for an annual pack of 25.000 cases, is about £5000. Hatchery returns tell us that the female salmon gives about 3500 ova per fish, and several thousands are handled per year, with a smaller proportion of males. About 10,000,000 small fish arc liberated per autumn. Long instalments are given in the "V\ indsor" of the two interesting serials now running. "The Quest," by Justus Miles porman, and "Brazenhead in Milan," by Maurice Hewlett.
"Rudyard Kipling, when he dined with mc," said a literary Chicagoan, "told mc about Simla. "It seems that Simla is up in tlie mountains —the hills, as they say in India—and the ladies go there in the hot weather to escape the heat of the low country.
"Well, Kipling said that one lovely, cool morning at Simla he was presented to a 'grass widow.' They call those ladies 'grass widows' whose husbands are detained by work in the hot cities of the plains.
"She was awfully pretty and charming, and as they talked together in the pleasant coolness Kipling said: — " 'I suppose you can't help thinking of your poor husband grilling down below?'
"The lady gave him a strange look, and he learned afterward that she was a real widow."
Among the most interesting chapters of M. Lenotre's "Romances of the French Revolution," is the author's account of the notorious Simon, the shoemaker who, at the age of fifty-two, married the charwoman of the corner of the Rue de Touraine, his junior by eleven years, and who became the keeper of the Dauphin when that hapless young Prince was torn from his mother and imprisoned in another part of the Temple. From the new light which M. Lenotre is able to throw on the dark corners of this mysterious affair, it is clear that Simon, who had abandoned his last by this time nnd had become a professional ]iolitician, carried out his duties as -guardian unwillingly. It is certain, too, that after a stay of six months in the Temple he suddenly resigned his position, which was worth 10,000 francs a year, without counting food, clothes, and heat, for a post which he knew would practically mean destitution. Every inference to be drawn from this otherwise inexplicable move seems to confirm the story which Mine. Simon told in years to come— after her husband had accompanied Robespierre to the scaffold towards the end of the Terror, and .she herself had become an inmate of the Hospital for Incurables [ —that the Dauphin was then smuggled out of his prison, to be replaced by a dumb child, hidden in a pasteboard horse. It was this unknown child, according to Mme. Simon's story, who afterwards died iv the Temple. What became of the Dauphin himself will probably never be known. Although M. Lenotre, in this new sketch of Simon and his wife, makes no pretence of solving the mystery—a mystery which has already led to more than a thousand volumes and pamphlets on the subject—he gives it as his opinion that it is now proved that Mme. Simon spoke the truth.
LITERARY., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 85, 10 April 1909
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