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TOPICS OF THE DAY., Issue 7928, 8 June 1889, Supplement
TOPICS OF THE DAY.
SOCIAL, THEATRICAL, SPORTING, AND LITERARY.
[From Ouu Sfegial Correspondent.]
London, April 20,
“Straws show which way the wind blows.” Twelve months ago what an outcry there would have been had the Prince of Wales held any communication with Mr Parnell. Yet now it seems unite the right and proper thing for H.R H. to ask for an introduction to the Irish Chief. Very little doubt prevails relative to the verdict of the Commission Judges. Sir James Hannen threw out a tolerably broad hint when, at the close of Sir Charles’s thrilling peroration last Friday, he ejaculated audibly to Brother Day, "A great speech, and worthy of a great occasion ” —a compliment that was atoncc passed on in a little note to Sir Charles. The appearance of Mr Parnell in the witness box may possibly rearouse a little interest in the proceedings, though Sir Richard Webster will scarcely dare to handle him in cross-exami-nation at all offensively. It is not, I fancy, generally known that the late Lord Ely was several years ago an aspirant for Princess Beatrice’s hand. His mother has always been the Queen’s dearest friend and confidante, and the young marquis saw much—too much for bis own comfort—of the fair “Bee” at'one time. The match was pronounced out of the question, for many reasons ; but Lord Ely remained faithful to the Princess, and never (even after “ Bee ■’ espoused the Battenberg) proposed marryiug. His Lordship left orders that his remains should no cremated, and the incineration was (not without some difficulty) duly carried out at Woking on Saturday last. Lord Augustus Loftus could not be present, but his son, Captain Loftus, represented him, and the brothers of the new peer were of course in attendance. The drawbacks to the cremation process in England appear to be precisely those I noticed at Milan. At 3 p.m., after the burial service (all save the portion usually read by the grave) had been performed in an adjacent church, the mourners adjourned to the Crematorium, and the corpse having been reverently withdrawn from the coffin (N.B. —This is not necessary) was laid on an iron car. The door of the burning fiery furnace then opened, and the clergyman ejaculating “ dust to dust, ashes to ashes,” the car with its human freight ran quickly in. The mourners then adjourned to the cemetery to loaf about for a couple of hours whilst the incineration proceeded. One can easily guess how a lively imagination would run riot under such painful circumstances, and whether (assuming the frizzling deceased to bo a relative of one’s own) those two hours would pass very pleasantly. At about five on Saturday Lord Ely’s cremation was announced to bo complete, the fires were let out, and His Lordship’s ashes collected and placed in a Doulton jar, which the executors took back to town with them. AN UNFORTUNATE I*AIU. Both the Emperor and Empress of Austria have, I understand, suffered very seriously from the shock and disgrace of the Crown Prince’s sad end. The case of the Empress is the worst, as symptoms of mental disease manifested themselves soon afterwards, and now Her Majesty’s delusions are so numerous and recurrent that it is seriously feared aim will presently become psrma-
ncntly insane. The Emperor’s mind is all right, but ho Ims ceased to take any interest in affairs of (State, and political troubles and intrigues are multiplying. WHAT IS ELOQUENCE? The question “ What is eloquence?'’ which has been pretty frequently discussed since John Bright’s death, seems to me appositely answered in the following lines, which are part of a sonnet on the “Great Tribune” by “E.H.B. ” (E. If. Hourdillon); — For tliino was the deep eloquence ct soul, Which, like the steed owning one kingly hand, Obedient to its master’s sole command, Held the mute, spell-bound gazers at control With that swift fusion of tho heart and mind, Parental of those thoughts which shako mankind. THE NEWEST DUCHESS. Mrs Blair having achieved her object and become Duchess of Sutherland, naturally doesn’t see the force of vegetating in Florida all her days, and has already persuaded the reluctant duke to return to England and tho bosom of his family. The happy pair arc, in fact, even now on their way Home. Society is naturally intensely curious to know the line which Lord and Lady Stafford, Lord and Lady Cromartie, and the Leveson-Gowers generally mean to take up with regard to the new duchess. Recognition and avoidance seem almost equally impossible. FRATERNAL AFFECTION. A significant feature of the St. Pancras tragedy was to my mind tho light in which the murdered girl’s family looked upon her moral character and irregular mode of life. A brother who gave evidence at tho inquest spoke of his sister as a perfectly quiet, goodnatured, respectable girl, and then went on to say (quite prosaically) that she had ao allowance of LD'O a year from a gentleman whose mistress she had been, but who had now married and settled down. Besides (ho added) Marie had plenty of “ friends ” who kept her well supplied with money ; in fact, she might and would have lived happily and comfortably but for her fatal “ spooninesa ” for Captain Hunt, The brother’s feeling against Hunt was one of hot anger, not because the Guardsman illused his sister, but because the captain (despite his frantic jealousy) allowed Mario to obtain money from other men to minuter to his necessities. Thai, Marie’s brother could see, was blackguardly. What he couldn’t or wouldn’t see was that there had been anything irregular or calling for his interference in his sister’s mode of life. Again and again he with evident sincerity described the dead woman as “quiet and respectable, never drank nor kicked up a bobbery,” Once or twice lately I’ve noticed that tho views of the nether world on this and kindred subjects are peculiar. THE ST. PANGRAB TRAGEDY. A great deal that is both untrue and unkind has been written about Captain Gouldsmith Hunt, the unfortunate man who, in a lit of ungovernable rage, first of all shot his paramor, and then committed suicide in a house at St. Pancras last week. As usual in such cases, the sympathy been entirely with the “poor victim,” in this case a Miss Marie De Braham (or Emily Greene, as she was really called), and Hunt is accused of cvciy sort of villainy. The girl Greene, nicknamed “Smiley,” was a chorister at the Avenue Theatre for a long time, and well known about town. Vain, greedy, and shallow, she had all the faults of her class and precious few virtues. To make men jealous and set them at one another was “ Smiley’s” prime amusement. Poor Hunt, more particularly, she delighted in rousing. He was a big, boyish, hairy man, with a jolly laugh and Bohemian manners. Constant association with the “ Polls ” ot tho Empire and the Gaiety “ tarts ” had no doubt rubbed the edges off his refinement, and made him what men call “a bit of a bounder.” Nevertheless he was honestly fond of “Smiley,” aud her “goings on” with other men made him frantic with jealousy. When the final catastrophe occurred “Smiley” had come back to live with Hunt, but could not forbear taunting him with reminiscences of recent amours. Hunt, who was always declaring when enraged that he should shoot her and himself, too, appears to have carried out his threat on this occasion, DRAMATIC NOTES. This being Passion Week, most of the first-c'ass theatres are closed. Irving set the example in 1884, and now more houses seem to follow suit every year. The failure of the ‘ Panel Picture ’ (the mounting of which cost L 2.000) at the Opera Comiquo was so complete that Mrs Beringer had to take it off at once, and now plays ‘ Little Lord Fauntleroy ’ in the evenings. As usual when there is a total collapse of this sort, the company expected a great success. The Garrick premiere next Wednesday will be a great occasion. The company is a very strong one, including Mr Forbes Robertson, Mr Cathcart, Mr Sydney Brough, and, of course, Mr Hare himself; also Mrs Bernard Becre, Mias Kate Rorke, Miss Olga Nethersole, Miss Blanche Herlock, and Mrs Gaston Murray. Pinero’s now drama ‘ The Profligate ’ alone forms the bill of faro, a song which will be sung in the second act being composed, wo are informed, by Sir A. Sullivan. “ Buffalo Bill ” has at length come to an arrangement with the Paris municipal authorities and obtained a suitable site for tho erection of the “Wild, Wild West” show. It will be much larger and smarter in every way than it was in London, and should draw “ tout Paris.” The success of Burnand and Solomon’s cantata ‘ Piekwick ’ has induced Solomon to try his hand at a musical version of the * Area Belle,’ aptly renamed 4 Hot Coppers ’; which will presently be produced at the Comedy Theatre. LITERARY NOTES, Signs are not wanting that the popularity of Mr Rider Haggard is on the wane. Tillotsou’s were far from satisfied with 'Colonel Quaritch, V.C.,’ and now I hear that the ‘lllustrated News’ people are f rumbling a good bit over ‘Cleopatra.’ hoy paid the young man L‘2,000 for the aerial rights only, and they say it has not raised tho paper’s circulation ten copies ; in fact, Besant’s ‘For Faith aud Freedom,’ which preceded ‘ Cleopatra,’ was probably better liked. I notice, too, that a small set of first editions of Haggard’s books which a well-known second-hand bookseller has been trying to get rid of for the past twelve months won’t sell, though the enterprising tradesman now catalogues them at half the price ho asked last year. On the other hand, however, it is fair to say, groat accounts are going the round of Mr Haggard’s new Icelandic romance, ‘ ‘ Dear Andrew, with the brindled locks ” (as Stevenson calls Lang), swears tho story is the finest thing Haggard has done, and the Savill Club are all expectation. I learn from the same quarter that the scone of our author’s next novel will be laid in Assyria, and that he means to get tho greater part of it up on the spot. The new number of the ‘ Universal Review,’ issued last Monday, contains two interesting memorial articles on John Bright, by tho great tribune’s staunch comrade the venerable Charles Pelham Villiers and by Professor Thorold Rogers. < The former’s contribution should not be missed.
Forthcoming works of interest include a new theosophist novel by Marie Corelli, author of ‘A Romance of Two Worlds’; ‘ Diana Wentworth,’ by Caroline Fothergill; and ‘ A Window in Thrums,’ by J. M. Barrie, whoso admirable tale of journalistic life in London, ‘When a Man’s Single,’l cannot too forcibly commend to youngsters with literary aspirations. Poor “ Robert Elsmere ” has been preached upon, lectured at, and criticised to death. Now I see he is being used in the States to push tea, patent medicines, and “ shoddy ” generally. At the great store in Chicago, for example, “ every purchaser of five pounds of prime tea at half a dollar per lb ” will be presented with a handsomely-bound copy of either that immortal work ‘ Robert Klsmcro’ or of Mrs Elizabeth Shandon’s thrilling ghost story, ' Imogene’s Shade, or Murder Will Out.’
in his new story ‘ Grcifenstein ’ (which Macmillans have included in their Colonial Library), Mr M, Crawford abandons Italy for Germany, and draws for us an admirable picture of the Teutonic aristocrat full of pluck, pride, and prejudice. The scenes at Heidelberg (or is it Bonn) and the vivid descriptions of the corps’ carousals and duels are excellently done and perfectly true to life; in fact this is the best part of the book. Tho story itself is a terribly gloomy one, and the culminating tragedy (which It would be unfair to intending readers
to hint at) overstrained. Nevertheless ‘ Greifcusteiu ’ will distinctly repay perusal. The Duchess of Cambridge has left her favorite friend 'and inusico, Signor Tosti, an annuity of LiiOO a year.
TOPICS OF THE DAY., Issue 7928, 8 June 1889, Supplement
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