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TOPICS of the DAY.

(From Our Special Cprresporident.) >/ LONDON, Sfarch 5.


"In the : I^gyptian : :Roonr sit tie , ; British Museum stands the f w6bd6fl cover of a mummy, and the .sfpry* told'of -that' cbveir te.stiinge, sinister, andeventerrifying, Curaee'art' rather "a discount' nowa-' days, but if ever a thing was' under a curee, active and malignant, , it is" this harmless •looking".coffin,. it...the ?' Museum.' Ever since it was'removed irom its,tomb it. hag I ,;brought. ill : luck, and , even tragedy io thosewho nave had the handling of it. . : ■'.-: ;-' : .'.' J ''.,■■' The coffin in the Museum dates from the. 18th:dynast;" of ancient ..'Egypt It became t}ie prop-..tyVofa party.of trayeilers in Thebes..about J869..;" had: become of the mumiiry.. was. never explained. There, were ■ fiv<* friends, in; the party, and; their troubles, began almost at once. The. servant of-one was handing him 'a '■jgun, when, without'visible cause, it exploded, the charge lodging in hie arm, whicK jhiad to be amputated... A second member ol the party "died-in: 'poverty .withui the I year, a third was shot, and a fourth :lost a large pa rt of his; fortune and" also died. I .Eventually; the ' casej was brought to England, and was given by the fifth mem-: bcr of the party: to a marriad.sister. Fromthe dajr the case entered the House' misfortune "followed misfortune, and the family suffered 'large: financial losses. The ovraer was begged to get rid of the cover, and to send, it to 'the British Museum. This ehe did, Tmt the carrier whotb.okitdied,.iiyit]iin"a week, and the man who. assisted" to' remove it broke bis arm. Since it has been:in it's present case, with two other, covers in, the 'Egyptian Boom, two of the attendants in the room lave died. -•■'•'•.- •-:■•;<■ •■■'; .<..'•■ ■•• ■-- 'The. iate Mr. Fletcher Robinson,' wfrb. went .'to inueh"■ pains to '■' verify many of the facts■ here '. recorded,'.added .the -com: ment on them that it is certain;that the Egyptians had -powers that ; ,'we '\' in~? twentieth century:may laugh at, yet. can never understand. J ']»ot =' long - af ter'ihe verified and recorded the history of the ■coffin, Mr." Fletcher.' Robinson himself died at an early age after a brief illnesss. f JOE.? raOMPSOH. ■■■• >The .announcement received in. London this. week. :'of ; 41ie death, at Funchal, Madeira, of Mr. "Joe" - Thompeon, the well-known Australian, bookmaker,- came aea cad:' surprise to most pepple in the sporting clubs, for, although he was; in his. 71st .year, and had: been': eedonsl; iU ; , .pripr to -going. for ;&. voyage, to r the Cape in Deceniber last, the "sea air; and the climate"of Skiuth Africa , had'seemingly done much, to restore him to health. ihe way 'home' again' lie r arriyed 'at Funchal about a fortnight ago, and was iinderstooli to; be: remaining there ;untfl winter had departed from England. - • V'Of career prior. to': hik'coining to England in 1888, Mr. Thompson said, in the. course <?f v» n interview! , held ; iwjtli him- Beve^..yrtre>agb: : V' v :; ; :^ : 'v ;"./? : : ■ "When I was fifteen" I eigned "a»* r «n apprentice before the mast.'-".. When I got to Australia. I ran aw*y' to the gold diggings. That wa» in' 1853. I dug * good deal, jbiit I did not find much gold, -Gc I: went back to «c»; end «oiled three times round the world. y,I. .tried gold digging again', but «o> I live on eating bark, I went to London,to see my parents, .only to find they had .gone tc America. : >■ I; .returned; to Australia again before the . mast at • month, and I landed in Australia with .exactly 9d. ; I went digging again, and rubbed along for two years/ :in :l]Ss%..-l/taeld^y.^l.^^^\l.;.baa ; .''.'9nl7. about £15 capital, but there weir* only four bookmakers. in Victoria and •si had a bit of luck I got on all right. I started on tn» ; hill at Melbourne— wiich. nieanfl'-I. <wae' : 4 Teady-mohey book-maker—-anti I. never looked back 'after, I have never known ill man who started with capital make money on the rails. I do not believer tueh* thing exist*.: All the men who have .made f ortunee. .T»y«. ing them* hare;commenced,: as. we wy, I 'with a bit of etring. . In :18ei the!SM-! bourne Cup wae instituted, Which start-j ed with £500; added, .money., 'Now-,the added money is £10,000, which shews you [that the same principle, applies to eacceeefol meetings as to : euoceeeful bpQkmakers. I continued ready-moiiey betting ti11,1863, when I: -went into the | paddock.;. I never owed a man a shilling, and I .never asked: for time. .Tie result,was; that .my businees grew upon mc till I came to take a prominent part;! and some said I led the Wng.' in 1888 I came to England to JfinUii the education of. my cbildreni! , , ....•.'.•'; '■<~■' :> ; , | ...In England "Joe"; vTaompsbn was' k'rown personally to nearly everyone ni-'i ttrested in racing, and.for 20 years was one of the leading bookmakers in Tattersail's... His operations were on *n extensive scale, and his laying of double-event bets wa«f:?yearly;e."f:eature"|n'the.specula-' 1 tion that took place in connection with the great races of the season, handicap and "classic." In connection -with the Ccsare witch and ;.Cambridgeshire'his operations were, usually very heavy, and one of hfei J biggest bete "on these big events wte the £50,000 to £500 he laid the. late Colonel 'North, against his horses, Old Boots and St. Simon of the Rock: One of ? thß\"ddubles" lie laid that materialised was f 10,000 to £50 Burnaby and La Fleche for the Casarewitch and Gambridgeehire of 1802. He also laid three "doubles": of f 10,000.t0 £50 Uninsured for the Lincolnshire Handicap, who won in 1804, coupled with Ambush Detail, and-Inquisitor for the Grand National, but these as ,-■ "Joe" called them, turned 'up trumps for! '■the:layer.'::. \-.ih'-':.- .'-■ -'--:'—-•: .•-."•'":'•:,:,••.$€? bookmaking, Mr. .Thomp-H sen . took '■: ■ a""; keen • interest in everythingcappertairiing,. toi'tracing;j and it wae "in , part- owing"; to" his i advocacy that the .?crow'e ?nest" "for the' 1 stewards to yiety .the races from was i constructed:at Norbury. He was also "', the originator of the, rule'". Te&ting to objections, and used to pbirit with pride to the fact thatobjec- j tions became m,uch fewer after rule c*me into for* - " : ' * ~"' -J^

-The "ffeortuum* p fefetW to M* Thompson thus:— - • • ...™e thj,t popularity remained with 5 him to tbe iMt He will be greatly ipieeed -in , -ac- yriXL «e-by* | . packers, t vein: of caustic I wit he possessed na occasionally worked with m«h g 9 oi friend, >.??W** companion, and « thoroughly kindhearted man. -wee a striking example of what energy can effect, and" : the link he personally "formed between '■' sportemen of the Old Country and thoje <: of Australia ie pne. of the,pleaeanteßt .recollections Jn connection with : hi* . : career. ,, / —' ' "V .->■■"! V ' A UTTXE BIT OF Q^USEBSTOHS I have > story •which; is ,a. sort ol complement: to "ther..-'British. .Museum, mummy, yarn.. It concerns a little": slab >. ■•);■; of which .] brought disaster in - I its'tram.' Soine| years.'ago'-a-NeVr'Zear ■■■■; s [lander to wnom I did some smill r ;kiitd* nessj. whilst; :Ke: was/in : ;Lbndon,. Bent-me I a;. piece' '."of,': greenstone ;*mounted a hvatch charm. :: Green3tbne," was > I "lucky," and he" hoped that his , gift 'would-bririg'mfe all sorts.'of'smiles from Dame'Tortunei.- I attached tKe 'charm'te v v i ray "chain/anidawaited'eVentsTTitne ': nimity, for I had no belief whatever ia the efficacy* a.bit of jade to produce I results 61 any sort. - :' '- On the first day I sported the greenstone,. I fell'down over a-banana'skia • into finches of mud, spoiled'"c : .hip,so ■: that I walked ; lame for weeks after. A few days later the charm detached itself from its mounting and was" given up as lost. Ton the morrow the'.'ser-. :■; vant found it in the garden, and' put it. in her pocket. '■ That day Whe- fell over a "' pail; and 'was laid up for a week. ; Meanwhile she'rliad given the cliarm bask .?; to mc; and'l had it' remounted v and. put ;< it away. Of 'course, I-haiiinot associv :•": "ated "possession of the : little bit of• jad« ; 'witb'.eithejrSke!girl's.or ! mj'rc/wn acci< -''• ■dent._'*■; A : year;; later I, gare the charm ■ ; ; to my better helf. She wore"it for some days without mishap, then lost her parser ■; and with- ; itv'»^ scrapie' of pounda, and..,."•;". up:jbytliTiiig::herjdrese set alight *y : a oaTelessrsinpker>in,a "bus; ~' .;:. Again the charm broke adrift from it* nioorings and was put away, only to b« given some months liter to; the son of a -friend vwho- -had been, given;. a watch ani ctomiora birtHday present.. Th* lad had worn the charm a few. day 3 only when. seized 'with;seadet :fwstp. and nearly idied; Whilst; he was. ill his father took the charm to * jeweller ;t» have the; > On his way. home with it in hi« pocket, :he-, was knocked down by a cab, and was rather ■ ■';' badly damaged-about the ljead. and ribs. When his son got well again,^^he ; worethe charm for a time without anything untoward happening, but within a mcntH. he was in hospital es the result of * bicycling; accident. - ■>-,■■'.'•• : .-, lt ,'--■, /{■■■ k .'-That; ;ago."';"Sooii; aftee ; coming out- the lad; went to" Fplkeston* to recruit, and :yqiß .nearly drowned'whil^i;. I wearing the bit; of jade. Neither Ihe nor his father run qf ill-iuck'tp the gree'netone"obinii,.but s> ! month or, so-later he met wi£h another 7 bicycling. Accident of' a ~ jrath'er . serious • ■; : character, and during hi*',; illness a I took "ftencb;leave ,, atfi ,t; ■wore the watch : and charm.' The .very, : I first day he wore it heiell when jumping . a djtoh, and nearly tore his eye ou.t on a piece olf barbed T wire.. , : v ':;- r ': .■ The youngster thereupon.' swore tha* the greenstone was at the root of h« own and his brother's misfortunes. The father laughed at the assertion, but, remembering his own experience, mentioned the matter to mc. I then called to mind my own afflictions, and comparing notes weegreed that, Ho "say the : least of it, there had been a number of coincidences in the matter, - course/ : he wasn't impressed any more than 1 steangt to say, neither he nor any' member of his family would wear the charm again. ' • . ":" " It' disappeared' aystericmaly * littlt while after the younger boy's declaration that it was a mascot of the wrongsort. A few days after- their eerrant-.:. girl was ."sacked ,, for come flagrant of insubordiaation or other. The nexf. thing 'they heard about her was that; she v had beea' rather seriously injured through falling down some area etep*. My friend 'thereupon :dedared that must but he could find no proof of the glrL's iniquity exeeptther., aocideat, my; own prirate opinion is that his younger son made •wayt with it, for he *wa« eoimneed ihat i 4 7 ----^^--

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TOPICS of the DAY., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue XL, 17 April 1909

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TOPICS of the DAY. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue XL, 17 April 1909