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A LADY’S LETTER FROM LONDON.

[By Elise.l

London, April 12. We arc just now enjoying a spell of delightful spring weather. Walking through Kensington Gardens on Saturday, I was irresistibly reminded of Browning’s lines Oh 1 to ho in England, now that April's there I And whoever wakes in England secs some morning unaware That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheat Round the elm tree bole are in tiny leaf, While tho onatiinch sings on tho orchard hough In England - now. The Duchess of Cambridge, who died suddenly of extreme old age on Saturday last, was (it is not generally known) a remarkable personalty, exercising from her rooms in St. James’s Palace great influence over the Queen and the Royal Family generally. Her faculties remained unimpaired up to the last—in fact, only a few days before she died the phenomenal old hdy gave a dinner party in honor of her son’s (the Commamler-iu-Ghicf) seventieth birthday. But Her Grace's prime recreation was to “ reminisce ” for tho benefit of tho younger members of the Royal Family. She had a great deal to remember, and with her art of telling a story she turned it to the best account. She had lived in touch with all tho principal persons and the principal events in Europe for a century less eight years. “If memory had been anything but a pleasure to her,” writes an appreciative friend, “ she must long since have found her store of recollections an intolerable load. In 1797, when she was born, England was alarmed by the mutiny at the Noro, and people were still talking of Napoleon Bonaparte as a promising young man. He had conquered at Rivoli j but Marengo was yet to bo. In the year of her marriage (1818) Byron published the fourth cauto of ‘ Childo Harold,’ and Warren Hastings died. It was an old, old time—a most distant ‘ long ago. ’ In the same year the wager of battle was still a right by law, and a villain named Thornton, who had committed a most atrocious murder, claimed it, and so saved his neck from tho gallows. There was no one to do battle with him, and there was no hanging him, in face of his persistent demand to prove his innocence with his sword. The mail coach system was still so much of a novelty that its ‘ inventor' was living at the beginning of the year. In 1818, too, Ross and Parry returned from their unsuccessful attempt to find the North-west Passage; and the Duke of Kent mar/ied that Princess of Saxc-Coburg who was to be tho mother of the Queen. These events, all belonging to the year of her marriage, formed by no means tho first crop of tho Duchess of Cambridge’s recollections, while the last embraced the most recent occurrences of our own time. If the Duchess began to remember at nine, her memory might well have extended from the Battle of Jena to the flight of General Boulanger to Brussels. She had leisure for remembrance, as well as health, and her honored position in the Royal Family gave her whole generations of listeners of her own rank and of her own kin.” The Duke of Cambridge acquires a largo fortune by his mother’s death, and the circumstances of the Teck family generally will be materially improved. A I’ROriIECY IULFILT.EI). An extraordinary story is going the rounds, on the authority of the companion of Mr Ingram, the son of the proprietor of the ‘ Illustrated News,’ who was recently killed in Egypt by an elephant. Shortly before his death Mr Ingram purchased a mummy, amongst the wraps of which he discovered a papyrus covered with writing. Translated, this proved to be a solemn malediction on any person who disturbed the corpse, accompanied by an assurance that the desecrutor (bo it man or woman) should die a violent death within three moons (months), and his or her body should be scattered to tho winds of heaven, Mr Ingram’s death took place just within that period, and only a thigh bono could be found when his friends attempted to recover tho body. This is not a traveller’s talc, I am assured, but solid fact,

Till: AL’STKAI.IAN UDV JtKENSMAKEKS IN COURT. The three Sydney ladies, Mrs Labortouche, Mrs Captain Loftus (daughter of Lord Augustus Loftus), and Miss Labortouche, who, after coining Homo and gadding about in “society” during the “Coliudics” .season, started in business as fashionable court milliners, under the worn da commerce oi “ Victoiro ct Compagnie,” are not finding trade altogether playwork. They were defendants last week in an action brought against them by the professional expert (a Mdlle. Louise Baldossi) in conjunction with whom they 7 initiated their rash venture. Mdlle., it seems, had a fairly prosperous business when the Labertouches (introduced by august patronesses) came to her. This business purchased after valuation by promissory note, agreeing to engage Miss Baldossi at L 250 per annum and 5 per cent, on all profits, as “managing premiere.’’ Yon will easily guess what happened. No sooner was the partnership deed fairly signed and sealed than the ladies began tjuarrelliug. Mamina Labertouche’s notion of a fair division of labor was that she and her daughters should preen themselves and gossip in the show-room, or atelier (as they prefer to call it), whilst Miss Baldossi overlooked the work-room. Miss B. appears to have given way to this at first, till she found Mrs Labcrtouche attending to her own old customers, instead of sending for her, as had been agreed. Then she did rebel, exhibiting, according to Miss Pauline Harriet Ellie Labertouche, “such a violent temper” that “Ma”was “quite afraid of her.” Further differences ensued in consequence of Victoire et Cie. not giving satisfaction to august patronesses like Lady Caledon, Mrs Percy Nutford, and others, who complained of misfits. These misfits the Labertouchcs attribute to Miss Baldossi, who, they allege, proved on being tested a very second-rate dressmaker, and not worth half the salary she claimed. Miss Baldossi retorts that she had been in business for ten years, receiving from Mrs Mason Ll2O and from Kate Riley L 220 a year. She tried on the bodices, etc., at Kate Riley’s, and there were no misfits there, Misfits, in fact, Miss Baldossi thinks are generally attributable either to the whims of the customers themselves or to the “ interference of uninstructed amateurs like Mrs Labertouche.” The constant friction between “the amateurs” and “the professional ” ultimately led the Labcrtouches (despite lawyer’s advice) breaking their three years’ agreement with Miss Baldossi and dismissing her. Furthermore they refused to meet their promissory note, alleging that the value of Miss B.’s business (both stock and goodwill) had been overrated, Miss Baldossi of course claimed the full amount of the promissory note, as well as her share of salary and profits—Ll,3sS and damages for wrongful dismissal. Mr Justice Charles, after hearing the case with great patience—a large number of witnesses wore called by both sides—gave Miss Baldossi LIOO damages. Plaintiff, he said, was probably an uneasy person to work with, and the Labcrtouches, unfamiliar with business experience, had found her quick tempered and difficult to deal with ; but neither these, nor any of the other grounds placed before him by the defendants, justified plaintiffs dismissal, lie found for the plaintiff on every point, and consequently the Labcrtouches will have to pay some L 1,000 odd. They seem to have a good Anglo-colonial connection, as amongst the customers —1 hog pardon, 1 should say client c —named were Mrs Hounikcr-llcaton, Mrs Fairfax, Miss Ponder (whose Court dross, made by Victoire ct Cie., was a great success), Mrs T. Russell, Mrs Sankey, Mrs Toler, Mias Frost, and others. So many people cither know the Labertouches in Melbourne and Sydney (where they cut a conspicuous figure during Lord Augustus Loftus’a vice-royalty), or met them in London during the “Colindies” season, that Pm sure the foregoing will bo read with considerable interest. Sydney folks more particularly are not likely to have forgotten the social sensation created by Captain Loftus’s engagement to the dashing Ethel Labertouche, and Lord and Lady Augustus’s very modified jubilation thereat. Mamma Labertouche, who belongs to the frisky, giddy-gaddy genm of widows, was a stillish draught to swallow. THEATRICAL, NOTES. Any amount of gossip is current about ‘ Doris,’ Mr Collier’s new Elizabethan com.c opera, due at the Lyric Theatre on Saturday evening. A privileged few who have heard the good-natured composer hum over the principal airs pronounce the music a great artistic advance on ‘ Dorothy,’ and in this they are confirmed by Arthur Williams and Day den Collin, who both profess themselves delighted with their parts. The mounting, Mr Leslie tells everyone, has cost L(i,OO(J, and finally we are to make the acquaintance of Miss Amy Angarde (who plays the part originally destined for Mario Tempest), a young and “ masning ” maiden with whose charms vocal and personal town-talkers will soon be busy. By the way, I see it mentioned in connection with the run of ‘ Dorothy,’ that when the piece was removed from the Gaiety to the Prince of Wales’s business suddenly gave out, and for three weeks the depressed company played to empty houses Mr Leslie, however, believed in the opera, stuck to it, and was rewarded. After the first month matters improved gradually. Then came the turn of tho tide, and for three years the theatre was crammed from floor to ceiling seven times a week. A second move to the once more depressed business, and this time Mr Leslie found it did not pick up again after a week or two. He therefore manfully withdrew the opera, although the temptation to let it run the coveted 1,000 nights must have been considerable. Altogether no fewer than 250 persons will be employed in ‘ Doris.’ There will he a chorus of sixty-two; an orchestra (led by Collier himself) of fortyeight ; and a small army of “ supers,” extra ladies, and ballet dancers. Tho chief spectacular elieot of the piece is in tho third act, and is called “Tho Masque of the Spaniard ” Tho European and Indian costumes aro highly effectively blended, and all concerned anticipate a great triumph. For the first time in his life Mr W. S. Gilbert is unwell, and has had to temporarily give up work. Ordinarily tho popular dramatist has the constitution of a Hercules, cats little, drinks little, sleeps little, and works hard, Seldom in bed before three, he is always up by eight. Indulgence of any kind (save and excepting tobacco) ho scorns, and for tho valetudinarian, the tippler, and backboneless individuals generally his contempt is scathing and intense. Of clever and beautiful women Mr Gilbert is an ardent platonic admirer. He has generally some clever and ambitious girl on hand, from whom he expects great things—and with Miss Fortescue and Miss Julia Neilson he has, as you know, scored indubitable triumphs. Failure cuts Mr Gilbert to the quick. He devotes much time, care, and thought to even the most microscopic details of his pieces, and when they do not succeed it seems to him incredible, inexplicable. After the collapse of ‘ Brantingham Hall ’ Mr Gilbert sulked like any child. It was Miss Neilaon’s nervousness on the first night; it was Clement Scott’s wicked critique in the ‘ Telegraph ’; it was anything but the Inherent weakness of the play itself which caused the catastrophe. Ho would, he swore, write no more dramas for this callous and unappreciative generation. Since then Mr Gilbert has been at work on a novel—a topsy-turvy story of the sort in which Mr Anstey delights and on an edition of his operettas, illustrated by himself.

Mrs Stannard (John Strange Winter) produced a dramatic version of her unpleasant novel ‘ Garrison Gossip ’ at a mature at the Vaudeville last week. The Prince of Wales was present, together with a smart crowd of the author’s friends, but the play proved too bad for even the latter to affect approval, and the curtain finally fell amidst stony silence, Mrs S. is a good-natured, buxom, fruity-faced, middle-aged lady, with a certain amount of literary ability of a sort. ‘ Bootle’s Baby ’ and ‘ Hoop La !’ were no doubt pretty tales, but scarcely justify the author’s phenomenal popularity. Now, of course, John Strange Winter is completely written out, and the attenuated “ shilling shockers ” she periodically produces are rubbishy to a degree. Nevertheless, I am told that for ‘ Harvest’ (Mrs Stannard’s last, and in many respects feeblest, effort) Mr Triaehlcr, of the ‘ Hansom Cab ’ Publishing

Company, paid her L3OO, and that she has just refused a similar oiler from Tillotaon’s with contempt, ‘ Launcclot the Lovely, or the Knights of tho Round Table ’ is the title of the burlesque about to succeed ‘ Nadgy ’ at the Avenue Theatre. Arthur Roberts, of course, plays Launcelot the Lovely, and the dashing Vanoni Queen Guinevere MISS AMELIE RLVES’.S LAST ROOK.

The talented author of ‘ Tho Quick and the Dead ’ lias altogether outdone herself in 1 The Witness of the Sun',’ which is, I should imagine, as fantastic and repulsive a study in erotic hysteria as ever emanated from a presumably pure woman’s mind. _ At the mature age of ten Miss Rives’s heroine, Hva Demarini, has hair “like moonHght seen through amber,” “bluish-grey-violet eyes,” and a skin as “ white as almonds soaked in water.” She is discovered by her future lover, the great Russian novelist Alexis Nadrovine, reading Ariosto and inventing cynical epigrams—as for instance : “ Married love is like champagne with tho sparkles out. ” Nadrovine takesaway Ariosto from the little girl, hints that epigrams anent married life are improper, and leaves her ; whereupon she naturally loves him passionately till she is seventeen. Tim pair then meet again, and Nadrovine, “ intoxicated by the girl’s sensuous proposes. “ My Heaven-hearted one ! my spirit love!” he observes, giving Miss Hva a kiss “long and gentle.” “ How am I to put into my blunt man’s words the story of my Jove for you ? You are sun and stars, the night and the day, tho inland and the ocean reality, dreams, ambition, fruition.” Presently, Nadrovine tells Hva he has never kissed her as “ a man kisses a woman whom he loves above all others,” and asks permission to give her that “kiss of kisses,” _ The result of the “masterful caress” is peculiar. Hva sobs and cries. “Something is gone, something that can never be the same. It is like these roses in my belt. They are roses, but their stems have been broken; they have been gathered.” The course of true love runs smoothly, if somewhat hysterically, till Madame Nadrovine, the novelist’s mamma, comes on the scene. Madame is a plump replica_ of the Venus do Medici, with a taste for cigarettes, and a talent for intrigue. She admires Ilva’s “broad hips” (sic), and “firm white bosom,” but considers her a fool, and unworthy to wed the brilliant Alexis. In order, therefore, to break elf the match madamc flirts with Demarini wire, eventually allowing the stern Alexis to catch “’towd rip ” kissing her. This obliges Nadrovinc to challenge his beloved’s parent, and run him through the body, after which there is a slight coolness between tho families, Nadrovine, for prudential reasons, decamps, and Hva, in costume tic null, rolls on tho mat before Madamc N.’s bedroom door, and meaningly implores tho inexorable matron to love her. Finally, Nadrovine turns serious, and becomes a monk. After two years he meets Hva accidentally near some dangerous auicksands. She exhibits an alarming disposition to embrace him, and he is just on the point of giving way to his feelings when a cry is heard, and a child is seen to bo sinking in tho adjacent quicksands. Alexis r escucs the child, but sinks himself. Hva’a mind is instantly made up. With a swift movement she into tho quicksand at Nadrovine's side. She put her arms about his neck, her lips to bis, and the sloiy ends with these words; ‘ The sun alone had been a witness.’ This last line is the solo apparent explanation of Hie mysterious title. ‘Tin; nether worn.i'.’ ‘The Nether World,’ like 'Demos’ and ‘ Tbyr/a,’ is a photographic picture of life amongst tho London poor, painted by a sympathetic and comprehending, yet utterly hopeless pen. Many of our novelists, from Dickens downwards, have tried to convey to tho upper classes some notion of the terrible truth on this subject, but none have succeeded quite like Mr Hissing. Hie characters in ‘ The Nether World ’ are iuleiHeli/ real. One feels instinctively that Sydney Kirkwood and I’ennyloaf Candy, Clara Hewett and Jane Snowdon, are not mere puppets of the imagination, like Farjeon’s characters in similar stories, but living, breathing men and women whom tho author has known well and studied closely. Mr Hissing is Zola without Zola’s coarseness. The description he gives of the Crystal Palace on bank holiday errs, if anything, on the side of optimism. And yet it is gloomy reading, Mr Hissing has no panacea to suggest for tho ills he describes. The gospel he preaches is summed up in a sentence: “Be helpful, be compassionate, bo longsuffering.” ‘The Nether World’ has no plot in the ordinary sense of the term. It is simply the history of several poor families and their fruitless struggles with circumstances, No one is allowed to be happy in the end. We leave the hero worse oil at the close of the third volume than lie was at the beginning of the first, though saf. ly married to his early love. The evil genius of the story is a virago named Clem. Pcckovcr, a coarse, cruel, cunning woman, whoso character is unredeemed by a single good quality.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890608.2.37.8

Bibliographic details

A LADY’S LETTER FROM LONDON., Issue 7928, 8 June 1889, Supplement

Word Count
2,931

A LADY’S LETTER FROM LONDON. Issue 7928, 8 June 1889, Supplement

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