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HOLIDAY NOTES., Issue 7934, 15 June 1889, Supplement
[From Om London Cokuissi'ondknt.]
The Easter holidays—A wet bank holiday on Mampstead Heath—The numbers of the pleasure-seekers—Honors for Parucll—Criminal hypnotism—A band of unconscious thieves—A strange storyOpening of the Garrick Theatre—Description of auditorium—'The Profligate ' —Literary notes. London, April 26. The early part of the holidays proved, despite a touch of east wind, fine and sunny; but on Monday the clerk of the weather was (as usual) conspicuously malevolent. The morning broke brightly enough to justify the millions of toilers, who had been looking forward for weeks to the day, in _ donning their smartest and flimsiest attire, and leaving at home wraps, cloaks, and (those who had them) umbrellas. No sooner, however, had the heavily-loaded trains disgorged their living freights at "the Pallis" (the Crystal Palace), "the 'Eath" (Hampstead Heath), "the Gardings" (the Zoo), and "the Forest" (Epping Forest) than the sky clouded over, and down came a cold icy shower of drenching rain and hail. I was on Hampstead Heath at the time, where there is not one atom of shelter. Personally, I was well off, as I had umbrella and macintosh, but the majority of pleasureseekers appeared in sorry plight. 'Arry shook the water off him like a young duck, but 'Arriet (erstwhile a gaudy and gorgeous spectacle in muslin, feathers, and ma's dress improver) soon grew limp and miserable. Yet no one complained, and the fun of the fair went on fast and furious as ever. Perhaps this good-humored resignation to the inevitable irritated the Clerk of the Weather, for, not content with one soaking shower, that malignant individual provided us with five, at intervals of twenty minutes apiece. The stolidest determination to make the best of things could not withstand such a watery deluge as this, and by 4 p.m. tens of thousands, drenched and spiritless, with their smart clothes wet and muddied and their holiday spoilt, were making their sorrowful way slowly homewards. Then the Clerk of the Weather, having effectually " done " for most people's pleasure, retired into obscurity, and allowed the few remaining hours of the afternoon to be oeautifully fine.
The crowd on Hampstead Heath was in the main composed of factory lads and lasses (between fourteen and eighteen) and working men with their wives and families, not to mention, of course, countless small boys. Theße last Beemed to go about in gangs, and to husband their money resourcefully. •' Cockshies " for cocoanuts appeared to be the most popular game, if I except the swings, of which there were several
hundred doing a roaring trade. The whole time we were on the Heath I never saw a tipsy man or woman. This, |I suppose, was because there are only two hotels or pubs near, and they can fortunately only accommodate a very small I proportion of the swarming thousands at a time. The best way to give you sorre idea of what the popular resorts of the metropolis are like on a bank holiday will be to turn to figures. I see, for example, no fewer than 78,047 persons passed through the turnstiles of the Crystal Palace alone on Monday. The Alexandra Palace's record was 43,751; the Zoo's, 71,403 ; Hampton Court, 25.000 ; the Botauic Gardens at Kew, 62,000; Epping Forest (a great resort of the masses), 96,000 (this being the Great Eastern Railway's best on record for a bank holiday); excursions to Brighton 34,096; to southeastern riverside resorts, 43,172 ; and so on down to the British Museum, which scored a worst on record with 9,000 odd visitors The influx to the metropolis for bank holiday is of course far smaller than the exodus, but still considerable between Good Friday and Monday. For instance, 16,000 were booked for London from Bristol, 15,000 from Birmingham, 12,000 from Cardiff, 7,250 from Plymouth, 6,700 from Newport, and so on, HONORS FOR MR I'ARNELL. The resolve of the Edinburgh municipality to confer the freedom of the city on Mr Parncll has raised (as might have been expected) a big fuss in the North. The minority profess themselves utterly scandalised by the proposal, asking what—beyond clearing himself from a discreditable charge—Mr Parnell has done to merit such a distinction ? The burgess roll of the city of Edinburgh is certainly a noble one, and not over long cither. Palmerston, Bright, Dißraoli, Rosebery, Lothian, Forster, Salisbury, Derby, and Aberdeen are the only statesmen upon whom the honor has been conferred, and in each case it was tendered in consideration of some definite aot, Mr Parncll will find himself in good company. CRIMINAL HYPNOTISM. Until the awful possibilities of mesmerism or hypnotism (as it is now called) are brought home to the British public through its being used for some appalling criminal purpose, we are not likely to hear of legislation on the subjeot in this happy land. In France, however, where hypnotist seances have recently become as common as spiritualist 6(sanceß used at one time to be in England, steps are oven now being taken to bring " professors " of this dangerous art under surveillance and control. The immediate cause of the move was a disagreeable discovery at Marseilles to the effect that between thirty and forty youngsters (clerks and office boys) were, acting under hypnotic suggestion, in the habit of robbing their masters of small sums and handing over the money to the mesmerist. The lads selected by this worthy "professor" bore good characters, and the sums "sneaked" were so small (though amounting to a nice total in the aggregate) that for a considerable time none of the thefts were found out. When discovery did presently eventuate in one or two cases the boys went to prison uncomplainingly, and the mesmerist must
have thought he was perfectly saf d. Unfortunately the father of one of the lads caught iu the act was struck by his son's strange terror on coming out of gaol, and took him to a doctor. The medico, luckily, happened to be a shrewd, observant man, and almost at once hit upon the truth. He pretended to engage the lad to make up his books, and then left money about, and had him watched. It took six weeks to unravel the whole conspiracy, and even now the authorities are uncertain whether they have discovered all the mesmerist's victims. He seemed to possess many of the lads, body and soul, and from these information could only be extracted with the greatest difficulty. The Mayor of Marseilles has forbidden public exhibitions of hypnotism henceforward, and it is probable other French municipalities will follow suit. In England, however, hypnotists are likely to work their sweet wills for some time to come. THE GARRICK THEATRE. The Garrick Theatre, which was opened to the public on Wednesday evening by Mr Hare, represents Mr W. S. Gilbert's ideas of what the playhouse of the period should be, and is in all probability the safest and most comfortable, as well as the most luxurious place of entertainment in thiß sublunary sphere. The building stands on a piece of ground by itself immediately adjoining Trafalgar square, and in the very heart of playgoing London. Architecturally, it is not much to look at; in fact, the chief thing that strikes one is the largeness of the building compared with the comparative smallness of the auditorium and the stage proper. Hitherto, theatrical architects have ne /er dreamed of wasting space on the approaches to a theatre or on conveniences behind the scenes. The entrances to the pit and the actors' dressing rooms were equally matters of comparative indifference to them. At the Garrick broad, well lighted corridors without steps up or down lead to the pit, which contains 350 cushioned revolving chairs, on the arms of which there is a ring for stick or umbrella and a cord for suspending overcoat or shawl. The stalls are also provided with Bilk bags to contain your programme and a locker large enough to take in bat and overcoat. No pillars support the tiers of dress circle, upper boxes, and gallery, and impede the view, and the slopes of all parts have been so admirably arranged that it matters not a jot (from a seeing point of view) whether one is in the back row or the front. Luxurious smoking lounges, refreshment and retiring rooms, and all modern conveniences are attached to every part, and in the spacious entrance hall facing you as you come in hangs a magnificent replica of Gainsborough's great portrait of David Garrick. The scheme of color selected for the auditorium is a sumptuous and yet tasteful combination of cherry and gold, the stalls and circle being seated in soft cherry silk instead of the orthodox red velvet. The effect with the electric lights turned up between the acts and the quaint curtain of tapestry down is eminently successful, and elicited loud praise from Sir Frederick Leighton and other qualified judges. 'The Profligate' (Pinero's new play), like the theatre, was a complete triumph. As, however, I have not seen it yet, I will only give you a brief idea of the story. The hero, Dunstan Ronshaw, who has been a profligate of the most callous and shameless description, marries in the first act a young and beautiful girl who thinks him all that is good and noble. He loves her tepidly to begin with, but in a few weeks her holy influence works such wonders that it becomes a continual nightmare to him lest she should find out what his past has been. Iu vain Renshaw tries by small acts of charity and asceticism to appease Providence. Nemesis is on his track in the shape of a girl whom he seduced and deserted without a thought or a qualm, and on arriving back from a temporary absence, he finds this victim installed as the prokiji and friend of his beloved wife. An accident temporarily diverts the young wife's suspicions to a friend of Renshaw's when she first hears the young girl's story, but the crisis cannot be long delayed, and finally in a great scene, in which Mr Forbes Robortson (as Renshaw) and Miss Kate Rouke (as his wife) seem to touch the highest key-note of anguish, the miserable husband is completely unmasked. His wife of course leaves him, but she comes back in the fourth act in time to prevent the unhappy profligate taking poison. LITERARY NOTES. People constantly say to me when T mention this or that new book in conversation "How much you must read?" As a matter of fact nothing is easier than to keep abreast of current literature, provided only you set to work systematically, and don't ever allow yourself (even on a holiday) to get much behind-hand. Every week at least from thirty to forty books are published, but of these one fair proportion are school books and works on theology or philosophy, and another consists of reprints and cheap editions which can be dismissed with a glance. Save at Christmas time, or in the height of the publishing season, there are seldom more than three or four books published in a week which one need absolutely read. Often, indeed, at flat times (Leat, for instance), there will not be a single noteworthy work of biography, poetry, or fiction published for weeks together. The last month has (from a reader's standpoint) been dull to a degree. Bar Mr Clayden's ' Life of Rogers' and Gissing's ' Nether World' (of which I have already written you), scarcely a book, worth picking up has come out. I sent to Mudie's in a hurry on Friday for ' Prince Maskiloff,' by the author of ' The Outcasts,' a novel which created some stir when it came out six months ago. ' Prince Maskiloff' was, I should think, written , before 'The Outcasts.' It is a very immature juvenile sort of romance, and will in no way compare with that powerful story. Tillotsons are offering their clients two new novels—viz., 'By Order of the Czar,' an English story of Russian crime, by jovial Joe Hatton; and ' Misadventure,' by W. E. Norris, whose first essay in newspaper fiction this is.
To appreciate to the full Mrs Oliphant's story ' Lady Car: The Sequel of a Life,' now running through ' Longman's,' one requires to read ' The Ladies Lindorcs,' in which the same unfortunate heroine figures conspicuously. I see, by the way, Macmil lans have added Mrs Oliphant's 'Neighbors on the Green' to their colonial library. Mrs Mona Caird's ' Wing of Azrael' was published by Trubners yesterday.
The second series of Sir John Lubbock's readable and wholesomo essays on the ' Pleasures of Life' do not equal the first. Still the little book is cheap, and will while away an hour or so pleasantly and profitably enough.
The three-volume edition of * The Reproach of Annesley' will be published tomorrow by Messrs Kegan Paul and Trench. It is a sad falling off from * The Silence of Dean Maitland'; in fact, one would find it hard to believo (but for occasional flashes of cleverness) that the two works were by the same hand.
A new weekly paper called the ' Sun' made its first appearance on Easter Sunday, and seems to have caught on—at least, I can't get hold of a copy anywhere. The agents all make the same reply: " Sold out long ago."
HOLIDAY NOTES., Issue 7934, 15 June 1889, Supplement
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