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OUR LONDON LETTER., Issue 7942, 25 June 1889
OUR LONDON LETTER.
ANGLO ■ COLONIAL NOTES
London, May 17. NEW ZEALANDERS IN PARIS.
I am indebted to Sir Walter Bailor, who returned from Paris on Thursday, for some amusing particulars anent the opening of the great Exhibition in the Champs de Mars. Owing to the illness of Sir Polydor De Keyscr, it fell to Sir Francis Bell to welcome the President to the British section of the Exhibition. vSir Douglas Galton was at first proposed for this office, but declined it on the ground that his French was not up to the mark. Sir Francis fortunately speaks with a perfect Parisian accent, and nothing could have been neater than the few sentences which he addressed to M, Carnot. The organisation on the opening day was deplorable, and contretemps abounded. Colonial Commissioners, it seems, were considered of no account at all. Sir F. D, Bell and Sir Walter Buller (as members of the Executive Council) received every attention, but “ our trusty and wellbeloved ” W. M. Montgomery, Albert Bectham, and others were not even invited to the function. Mr Montgomery is very sore about this, and has solemnly demanded an explanation. Quite an hour before the time fixed for the opening all the leading avenues of the Exhibition were blocked with gendarmes and important Commissioners arriving (as requested) in evening dress, and, waving mammoth invitation cards, found to their horror they couldn’t get in. In vain self important K.C.M.G.s tried to explain who they were, and that they were expected to take part in the function. The gendarmes remained stolidly oostinatc. Two great men in your part of the world managed, however, to effect an entry by stratagem. Orders bad been given to pass the opera singers who were to take part in the opening ceremony. The two artful Australians put their invitation cards and their Stars of Michael and George in their pockets, and when the party of vocalists came followed in alter thorn, ■Sir Francis Bell and Sir Walter Boiler were w’ell-advised and arrived early. Whilst, however, your Agent-General was dressing, his sanctum was invaded by gendarmes, who said the room was wanted for some official, and that he must finish his toilette elsewhere. The idea of the representative of the British Government on this great occasion being ignominiously turned out of his own room breechless and unshorn, proved for the moment too much for Sir Francis. He couldn’t speak. Thereupon the gendarmes again imperatively ordered him to alk:: vous cn. Then, indeed, tho vials of Sir Francis’s wrath broke. It is difficult for an elderly gentleman costumed merely in shirt and socks to be very dignified, but your Agent-General was as impressive as circumstances permitted. Seizing his umbrella, he dared tho minions of the law to lay but one finger on him. The room was Great Britain’s ; the Union Jack waved above it, and he’d he blanked if he budged for any French officials. The gendarmes thereupon came to the conclusion it would be wise to let Sir F. D, Bell alone.
The sole features of any interest in the tiny corner which forms tho New Zealand court at Paris are Sir Walter Buffer’s picturesque group of Maoris and the cases of New Zealand birds, presented by yonr Government to Sir James Maitland. All the beautiful timbers, etc. (in fact, nearly everything), which Sir P. D. Bell hoped to get from Melbourne Mr Twopeny has “ bagged ” for Dunedin.
PERSONAL AND GENERAL. Referring to Bishop Hadfield’s election as Primate of New Zealand, ‘ Truth’ remarks: “He is the best of the New Zealand prelates, which is not saying much, as they are a weak lot.” It adds: “If the Primate has any duties it does seem absurd to elect a man in his seventy-sixth year and in feeble health.”
An interesting meeting of the Library Association took place at York Gate on Monday, for the purpose of inspecting the unique library of Mr S. W. Silver, whose collection of works appertaining to Australia, Tasmania, and (more particularly) New Zealand is unique. I understand it is quite likely Mr Silver may either present or will this famous library to the colony of New Zealand. He has an estate in the North Island (“ Silverhope ”), which ha purchased from Sir W. Buller, and which ho means to bestow on his boy when he comes of age, some years hence. Messrs Cracknell and Crombie having successfully shunted the too loquacious Rees, are trying to infuse some life into the embers of the Co-operative Colonising Association, Limited. Cracknell has a little axe to grind in Canada, and, as his notions are more modest and practical than Rees’s, he may get the money he wants. The Association, by the way, passed appropriate resolutions bidding Rees “ God-speed.” In all the newspaper accounts I have seen, Dr Grace is named as one of the New Zealand Commissioners present at the opening of the Paris Exhibition. As a matter of fact, he was not in Paris at all, being most unfortunately kept at Florence by the serious illness of his daughter, who is down with typhoid fever, and has not yet passed the crisis. I hear Sir Graham Berry excited consider.;, able amusement, not unmixed with ridicule, by appearing at the opening function of the Faria Exhibition in full court dress, and wearing the collar of Michael and George. Everyone else, of course, came (as requested)
in plain evening clothes, and undecofated, save for small stars or ribbons on the coat lappel. This was a bad enough Mlise, but Sir Graham effectually capped it on Saturday morning, for he appeared at Sir Polydor De Keyset’s breakfast (at which of course all wore plain morning clothes) in elaborate evening attire—white tie, swallow-tail, etc. The effect was naturally ludicrous in the extreme, and caused some of the Frenchmen present much amusement. Mr Sheriff Newton (a terrible stickler for proprieties) was greatly annoyed at a prominent colonial representative making (as he caustically observed) “such a fool of himself.” ‘lf the man is not up to the convenances he should keep a valet who is, and who'll tell him what to wear,” he added. All who have been over to Paris agree that the Exhibition is the finest show of the sort ever known in Europe, and that it would have been well worth the while of the Australian colonies to have made what is vulgarly called “a splash” there. As things arc, no one cares a dump for the colonial courts or the Colonial Commissioners, and the dismay of many of the eelfimportant men who’ve come Home in the latter capacity expecting to be mado much of, and feted after the manner the visitors to the “ Colindios ” were, is unmistakeable. Many were not even asked to the opening function. The person who has “Jubilee” Benzon’s Reminiscences in hand is, I learn, none other than our old fiiend Trischler of ‘ Hansom Cab ’ notoriety. Ho paid the “Jubilee” LSOO by way of retainer, and engaged Nero Shaw (the great authority cm dogs) to pump the young man, and then throw his outpourings into shape. Presumably, Trischler thought.Shaw, being well accustomed to dogs, would be thoroughly capable of drawing a “puppy.” The pair went to Brighton, and got the great work well underweigh, sticking to it early and late for three weeks. Then Benzon quarrelled with Shaw, who, he complained, was incredulous with regard to sonic of his mightiest achievement?, and was continually saying “we can’t put thatrotin.’ Trischler tried to patch the matter up, and Benzon, being in low water, has again, I believe, succeeded.
Hume Nisbet’s new story ‘ Eight Bells ’ comes out to-day. An exhibition of this author-artist's pictures of Australian ami Now Guinea scenery was opened last week at the Cranbourn Art Gallery, and attracts fairly well. He bus also in hand a volume of illustrated travels. “ Tasma’s ” new volume of Australian stories will be published by Trubaer iu November.
Sir Henry Loch was “commanded” to Windsor on Tuesday to “dine and sleep.” Her Majesty then intimated that she could not possibly grant Victoria’s rather inconsiderate request and ait for a portrait to be hung in the Melbourne Art Gallery. If she did such things she would always be sitting. The Victorians must be content with a replica. Mr Edward Jenkins (‘ Ginx’s Baby ’) and Mr David Christie Murray (the popular novelist and ex war correspondent) having both resolved to make a lecturing tour of the Australian colonies, the question has arisen which shall go first. In all probability it will end in Mr Christie Murray’s making the initial venture. Opinions differ as to his prospeeta of success. He has an anecdotal style and confidential manner admirably adapted to a small room, and at the Savage Club and similar resorts few entertainers are more sought after, but one can scarcely imagine him holding a large audience in, say, Melbourne Town Hall. Jenkins, on the other hand, is a regular platform orator, and possesses a rare fund of information, both general and political. The only thing I fear is that “ \ oung Australia” may never have heard of Jenkins or read ‘ Ginx's Baby.’ He’s rather a fossil sort of celebrity, it must be admitted. Christie Murray, of course, most people read nowadays, and ‘Joseph’s Coat ’ and ‘Rainbow Gold ’ are as often asked for in Adelaide as in London. Jenkins has been trying to resuscitate public interest in his novels by getting them republished in cheap form. ‘ A Paladin of Finance,’ which fell rather flat when it first appeared, has been reissued as ‘ A Modern Paladin,’ and, strange to say, seems to have caught on. You remember the action for libel which Meo, Billing, and Co. brought against the ‘ Standard ’ newspaper for publishing the Hon. Robert Campbell’s letter rellecting on the prospectus of the Otago Dock Trust. The Judge declared that there was no libel, and directed the jury to find for the defendants, which they did. Application was on Thursday last made to the Courts for a new trial on the ground that the jury were misdirected by the Judge. Mr Murphy. Q.C , with Mr Folkard, argued the plaintiffs’ ease on the same lines as at the trial, but without convincing their Lordships, who concurred in opining with Brother Field that there was no libel in Campbell’s letter against Mee, Billing, and Co. Motion accordingly refused, with costs.
Mr Robert George Warnes, “fish merchant,” of Christchurch, is over here on some rather unpleasant business connected with the fair lady who, on the 29th of February, 1884, swore to lore and to cherish him till death should them part. Tins was at the Catholic Church of the Most Blessed Sacrament, at Christchurch. Unfortunately, Mr and Mrs Warnes did not agree long. Perhaps some of your readers may know which was to blame. Anyhow, Mrs Warnes left her lord and went to England, and on August 5 of the same year we find her, as Mary Ann Stackman, espousing Mr Henry Sadler Bohy, stockbroker’s clerk, of Edmonton. Mr Warnes had his wife tracked down, and on finding her living with Boby of course assumed she wasn't married, and commenced divorce proceedings, making the stockbroker’s clerk co - respondent. This case has not come to trial yet, but on Friday last Mr Boby applied to the Courts to annul his union with Mrs Warnes. This the Courts, or rather Mr Justice Butt, very kindly did aftei hearing Warnes’s evidence. There is now apparently no ill-feeling between the two husbands. It transpired, indeed, that they had crossed to Boulogne together to identify their mutual wife. How it comes about that this enterprising lady has not been brought to book yet for bigamy I don’t quite understand. Mr William Leatham Bright, M.P., who has been in poor health for some time, sails by the Doric to-morrow on a long sea voyage. The member for Stoke, who will be accompanied by Mrs Bright, will proceed first to Teneriffe, afterwards to the Cape, and thereafter to New Zealand, returning in one of Shaw, Savill’s boats via Cape Horn and Rio, Mr Bright is a fairly able but by no means a brilliant man, very pleasant to talk to, and very proud of being the “ great Tribune’s ” son, He will be much missed at the National Liberal Club, where he has of course many friends, being, as you know, a Gladstonian Home Ruler, John Bright was much upset when his son declared for Homo Rule, and on dit gave him a parental roasting. It was then the modest Willie is said to have left his parent absolutely speechless by regretting that “two statesmen” like he and his father could not discuss politics without indulging in “ unnecessary personalities.” That was of course long ago, if indeed if ever happened. I fancy Mr Bright’s particular friend, Professor Thorold Rogers, fathered the yarn originally. The death of Father Damien, following so quickly on the publication of Mr Edward Clifford’s deeply-interesting account of bis visit to Molokai and the good priest, has created a profound sensation throughout serious England and effectually drawn public attention to the wants of the leper settlement. Money will now bo plentiful and priestly volunteers for martyrdom almost too numerous, I hear already of two cadets of the Howard family who are willing to follow in Damien’s footsteps and die a death of loathesomeness unspeakable, providing they may go together. The fact of Australians knowing little or nothing about Molokai causes, as I have before told you, a good deal of surprise. One tries to explain that the Sandwich Islands are (for all ordinary intents and purposes) as remote to the average Antipodean as to the average Englishman. People only shake their heads doubtfully. As I understand Baldwin is performing somewhere in Australia, it may interest your readers to learn that the parachutist’s rival Higgins has completely snuffed nut the old performance. The “professor” (i.e., ex-coachman) the other day at Cheltenham took up with him a Miss Devoy, whom he
sent sailing down from an altitude of 3,500 ft, himself following from 4,000 ft. Both came safe to grass. I expect now to bear shortly of Baldwin taking up and sending down a large family. If he’s hard pressed for subjects I daresay I could find him some. Most of us have a few friends whom it would be pleasant to be able to “ drop ” safely. The argument which Lord Grimthorpe addressed to the Bench of Bishops in connection with the Deceased Wife’s Sister Marriage Bill viz., that by rejecting the measure before them they were forcing some 40,000 persons who would otherwise be legally married to live in a state of concubinage, made more than one ecclesiastical luminary blench. I am assured, indeed, several of the more liberal bishops would have preferred to absent themselves from the division, but their severer brethren scouted the proposition. The Prince of Wales came down and voted boldly for the Bill, thus placing himself in direct antagonism for the time being to both Church and State. It is worth noting, too, that the Governors of South Australia, New South Wales, and New Zealand have all three on previous occasions supported the measure in the Lords, Lord Onslow, if I mistake not, actually spoke on the last debate in the Upper Chamber. Tho colonial friends (Australian and African) of Sir Hercules Robinson, who arrives Home on Monday next, meditate banqueting him at the St, George’s Club. Colonel M’Murdo, the well-known Anglocolonial financier and mine promoter, died suddenly in the City on Friday last from suffusion of blood to the brain. He was a sharp successful man, a daring operator on the Stock Exchange, and an unequalled promoter. His many friends and acquaintances in your part of the world will be shocked to hear of his sudden death. He looked a healthy man, and was only forty-six. Thanks chiefly to the efforts of Philip Mennell, the “Australian night” at the Savage Club last Saturday proved a great success. Louis Brennan occupied the chair, with Sir James Cockle (erstwhile Chief Justice of Queensland) on one side and Mr Tempcrley on the other. Henniker-Heaton (condescendingly affable, as usual) brought burly Mat O’Sbannassy and a party of admiring New South Welshmen. Hume Nisbet, Fergus Hume, Marriott Watson, and the irrepressible Trischler represented colonial belles lettres, and Mr F. U. Cowen (who came rather late) introduced the two Australian vocalists (from whom ho hopes great things) to the Savages. I am ashamed to say that, after waiting till nearly midnight to hear these gentlemen, I was in the smoking room when they performed, .and consequently missed assisting at a great success. Cowen, who accompanied exquisitely, also came in for a small ovation, and seemed much pleased. Amongst the entertainers I can remember were Bertram, the conjuror (with some really beautiful sleight-of-hand), FlemingNortonJFrankiin Clive, Soden, Odell (who gave a piece of Marcus Clarke’s), Proctor, Collette, and David Christie Murray (a singularly striking personality). Graham Berry, Buffer, and others lent apologies regretting that their absence in Paris prevented their being present. Altogether, the evening was one of the most brilliant of the season, and Brennan had every reason to feel complimented. Miss Von Finkelstein has, I am told, left England for Australia on a second lecturing tour, which opens at Brisbane and will close either at Melbourne or Adelaide.
New Zealand (says the * Sunday Times ’) is having a good time of it all round. Not only has the equilibrium of the State finances been restored, but even outside wool and corn her special products are in strong demand just now. Owing to the rise in tallow, it has become more profitable to sell sheep carcasses to the local boiling-down establishments than to send them over here as frozen mutton. The result is that the supply is very short, and that the price of frozen meat has risen appreciably on the London market. There is also a little “ hcom ” on in New Zealand hemp, 200 bales having been sold here last week at from L 36 to L3G 10a—a price that would have been looked upon as astonishing a short time back. It is to be hoped that kauri timber may take a similar turn.
I’KKHOXAI, AXU (IENEUAI.. The two New Zealanders, A. P. Bennett (of Christ’s College) and E. V, Palmer (of Jesus’), who were tried in tho Freshmen’s Match at Cambridge on Saturday last, only distinguished themselves moderately. Palmer put together ten rues, but Rennet failed totally to score. There were many, inquiries after tho young Reeses, whose stay at the ’Varsity was short as it was doubtless sweet.
The Arawa has completed another fastest on record—viz., thirty-four days twentythree hours eight minutes, net steaming time from Lyttelton to Plymouth. From Rio to Plymouth her speed averaged a steady fourteen knots, Good old Captain Stuart does know how to crack on a bit. The ‘ Illustrated News ’ of Saturday last (May 11) contains a number of admirable views of Apia after the hurricane, etc., for which it announcee its indebtedness to Mr Henry Brett, of Auckland. The Liverpool ‘ Liberal Review ’ also refers to Mr Brett as a coming visitor to the “good old town,” and gives some particulars of his paper and career. I see, by the way, or, rather, I learnt this morning at the Agent-General’s, that Mr Brett had been appointed a Commissioner to the New Zealand section of the Paris Exhibition.
Poor old Barry Sullivan, whom T killed off so unceremoniously two months ago, still .lingers ; indeed, he is, if anything, rather better. Some days he knows people, and will even talk a little ; but the greater part of the time he lies in semi-stupor. John Amory Sullivan has been doing fairly w’ell in the provinces on the strength of his father’s popularity. It was generally understood that Miss Genevieve Ward had retired from the stage, and meant to pass tho rest of her days in dolre far nienlc at her beautiful new house at Surbiton. Not a bit of it. ‘ Forget-mo-Not ’ has merely been “ resting,” and now returns vigorous as ever to play Stephanie with her wonted firo at a series of Opera Comique matinees. Mr W. H, Vernon, who has grown old acting Sir Horace Welby all over tho world with Miss Ward, once more resumes the familiar role, and the theatre is crowded daily. Sir Saul Samuel was the only Australian Agent - General present at the Royal Academy’s banquet on Saturday. Sir Graham Berry, Mr Braddon, and Sir F. D. Bell were of course in Paris, but Sir Anthony Blyth should surely have put in an appearance. I must ask bow it was? Sir Charles Dilke’s treatise on ‘ Our Selfgoverning Colonies, with their Methods of Administering State and Local Affairs,’ will be published shortly unless Sir Charles should persist in his intention to tour through Australia and New Zealand this autumn. I understand the gentlemen whom he consulted as to the advisability of the step discouraged it, misdoubting his reception, especially in New South Wales.
OUR LONDON LETTER., Issue 7942, 25 June 1889
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