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TOPICS OF THE DAY., Issue 7952, 6 July 1889, Supplement
TOPICS OF THE DAY.
Mr Parnell as a witness—The Court overridden—Dr Walsh—Miss Wiedemann's grievances again The new Duchess of Sutherland throws down the gauntlet to society—Lord Walter Campbell's death —Pictures of the year—Some of them described Horkomer's great success Frank Danby's raid on Bohemia—A libellous and libidinous bsok—Well known journalists and bon viveurs caricatured—Annoyance of the victims—Theatrical notes—The Jubilee Juggins as an author—His bookReminiscences of a " fly flat"—Death of Robert the Devil—The One Thousand Guineas Literary notes Haggard's ' Queen Esther '—New and forthcoming books, etc., etc. London, May 10. Contrary to expectation, Mr Parnell proved but a dull witness. Every point raised by ' The Times' was, no doubt, important, but took such a tremendous amount of leading-up to. Moreover, neither counsel nor Judges could persuade Mr Parnell to give a direct answer to a plain question. He had always some modification, or amplification, or explanation ready, and at times wearied the Court to the verge of exasperation. The length of his answers was prodigious, and would not have been tolerated in any other man. Sir Richard Webster more than once lost his temper in the course of the cross-examination, but he never once succeeded in shaking the witness's cold calmness. Instead of being the principal actor in a great rationaldrama, Mr Parnell might, judg ingfrjui his indifferent aspect and level tones, have been merely an outsider accidentally drawn in. His replies were irritatingly reflective and introspective. "It was" (for instance, he would say, having admitted using some phrase capable of being twisted into an incitement to violence) "indeed curious he should have made use of such language. He supposed he must have done so, as the report said so. He could not recall the words. He recalled the circumstances, however, and the Court would see when he explained them, etc., etc."—and so off into quite a long story. In vain the Attorney-General tried to curb his discursiveness. Mr Parnell ignored interruption, and talked deliberately on in level monotone. Judge Day fell asleep more than once on Friday, and a general air of tamenesß pervaded the proceedings. Dr Walsh, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, who followed Mr Parnell into the box, is a very remarkable personage. He was little more than forty when first appointed to his high office, and even now looks quite a young man. He has the long, protruding upper lip, dancing eyes, and soft voice of the Galway Celt. A brilliant scholar, gifted orator, and ready wit, the Irish are very proud of their Archbishop, and he has more influence over them thin anyone, bar Parnell himself. miss Wiedemann's grievances. The Court of Appeal has granted Fraulein Wiedemann's application for a new trial, so we may after all get to the bottom of the youDg lady's peculiar relations with Mr Robert Walpole. It is worth remarking that though the Walpcles loudly expressed regret at the first trial falling through, and said they could have proved this, that, and the other had it gone on, they nevertheless opposed Miss Wiedemann's application for a rehearing tooth and nail. We were also shown the line which they now mean to take up, as the Solicitor-General hinted the unfortunate girl had become mentally irresponsible. Miss Wiedemann's friends will surely take care, after this timely hint, to present her in the witness-box cool, calm, and resolved not to be made angry. THE DUCHESS'S DEBUT. Whatever may be said of the ex-game-keeper's wife, who is now Duchess of Sutherland, it cannot be denied that she has pluck. Barely ten days have elapsed since Her Grace arrived in England, yet this evening the doors of Stafford House are to be thrown hospitably open, and the Duke's old friends are invited to come and make the acquaintance of his new wife. This bold stroke has many points to recommend it. The Duke's family must now either meet the Duchess or else make a public scandal by repudiating their father's wife. Being Scotch and intensely proud, they will, Her Grace probably calculates, not do the latter. On what sort of terms she and the family meet is a matter of the purest indifference to the Duchess. London society will accept her gladly s) long as the Leveaon-Gowcrs don't absolutely "cut" her. LORD WALTER CAMPBELL'S DEATH. Lord Walter Campbell never quite got over the shock of his wife's elopement. He had been in poor health for some time, but it was hoped the business trip to the Transvaal would put him right. It seems, on the contrary, to have killed him. Like most of the Campbell's Lord Walter was "something in the City," or, in other words, earned a fair income as a "guinea-pig" of the reputable sort. After the Colin Campbe:l e«clandre the family couldn't stand washing more dirty linen in public, and no proceedings for divorce were, in consequence, taken against Lord Walter's wife. PICTURES OF THE YEAR. The pictures of the year are all at the Academy this season. The New and the Grosvenor Exhibitions, though fui all round shows, contain nothing much to talk about. At the Academy there are at least five pictures which even the Philistine of the period must take in and carry away indelibly impressed on his mind. The most striking is perhaps Frank Dicksee's * Passing of Arthur'—a weird and gloomy yet noble scene. All the poet's sense of silence and of mystery, aud of the passing away of an heroic life into the great unknown, is subtly conveyed by the painter.
All the decks were dense with stately forma— Blaok-btoltd, black-hooded like a dream—by these Three queens with crowns of gold; and from them
rose A cry that shivered to the tingling stare, And as it were one voice, an agony of lamentation
Mr Orchardson has once more the popidar picture of the year. ' The Young Duke' shows the coming-of-age banquet of a great nobleman and landowner. Tho moment is selected when his health is being drunk by effusive courtiers. The duke himself looks bored and tired. It is a story-telling canvas, every figure suggesting something significant. The table appointments, ornaments, etc., are painted as only Orchardson can paint such things—with the minutest care and most exquisite finish. Herkomer's 'Charterhouse Chapel' is a companion to his famous ' Last Muster,' and represents the aged pensioners trooping into service. You remember Thackeray's description :—" Yonder sit some three score old gentlemen pensioners of the hospital listening to the prayer and psalms. You hear them coughing feebly in the twilight, the old reverend blackgowns. ... A plenty of candles light up this chapel, and this scene of age and youth, and early memories, and pompons death. Amongst them sate Thomas Newcome. The steps of this good man had been ordered hither by Heaven's decree—to this almshouse ! Here it was ordained that a life all love and kindness and honor should end ! " With wonderful skill Herkomer manages to convey a different expression of " rest after stormy scenes" in each venerable face. Colonel* Newcome himself (the colonel of poor Dicky Doyle) looks wonderfully happy and peaceful. The President's finest picture is, in my opinion, ' Invocation '—a gloriously idealised and magnified edition of Dorothy Dene draped in dazzling white robes and throwing up a pair of plump arms to Heaven. To turn from the picture itself to the little pearl powdery model, who happened to be in the n)om as I passed through on Friday, gave one the oddest sensation. It also showed what trifling inspiration is necessary to a really great artist, Auother great picture one, in fact, that completely dominates the chamber in which it hangs —is Ernest Normand's 'Death of the Firstborn'—a sombre night scene, in which the terrified Pharaoh watches the completion of Moses' appalling threat. The King's son and two other boys have fallen btck dying; the attendants are trying vainly to revive them; whilst the Egyptian priests murmur frantic incantations over gleaming braziers. THE RAID ON BOHEMIA.
The savage, direct, and uncompromising attack on the 'Sporting Times' and the ' Sporting Times' school of journalists and boa viveurs, contained in _ i'rank Danby's appallingly realistic ' Babe in Bohemia' has, I should think, never before been entailed
in the annals of English fiction. One cannot jiretend to affect ignorance as to who the characters have been drawn from. The originals of Roily Lewisham, Tcssie Gay, Sinclair Farley, Mordaunt Rivers, Tom Farley, Antonelli, and Caroni the restaurateur, are as well known in Fleet street as St. Paul's Cathedral or the Cheshire Cheese. A little knowledge is, however, a daDgerous thing. The author having picked up a few facts as to the sort of life a certain set lead, has filled in the picture with details such as a naturally morbid and libidinous imagination would suggest. The result is a lurid and often libellous caricature. The men's orgies, excesses, and eccentricities are painted in horribly broad and ugly colors, whilst their brighter, better parts are barely touched on. The unfortunate Mordaunt Rivers is, without doubt, modelled on that brilliant but most unhappy Bohemian, the late Shirley Brooks (who edited the ' Bird of Freedom'). The very truth of the poi trait in some respects makes its extravagance in others cruel. How Miss Bessie Bellwood and Mr Gibbons, Romano, Mr Goldberg, M. Pilotell, and many others who figure in more or lees fantastic guises in this singular story will like their prototypes remains to be seen. The book has been barred at Mudie's, Smith's, and all respectable libraries, and should certainly not be left within the reach of decent girls. It has, like 'Dr Phillips,' much rude power. The Salvation Army scenes more particularly have been carefully studied, and are truer to life than the Bohemian. Not that I mean to dispute the truth of large portions of Frank Dan by's painful picture of the seamy side of Bohemia. To speak coarsely, yet to the poiut, the author—not content with calling a spade a spade—continuously persists in describing that implement as a shovel. THEATRICAL NOTES. Matinees more especially benefit or "begabit" (as Augustus Moore aptly christened them) matinees— are doomed. Mr Hare and Mr Richard Mansfield have announced that actors and actresses engaged at their theatres will not be permitted to "matineer" elsewhere ; and Mr Irving, Mr D'Oyley Carte, and Mr Henry Leslie have decided to make a similar rule. It was quite time to do something to stop the " begabit" nuisance, which has latterly swollen to preposterous proportions. Reputable " pros.," indeed, rather rejoice over the innovation. It falls, however, very hard on the budding actor or author, whose sole chance of securing a hearing is a matinee. The novelties of the week include Harry Parker's comic opera of' Mignonette,' which failed ignominiously at the Royalty, and ' Tenterhooks,' a three-act farce which replaces ' Merry Margate' at the Comedy, and may possibly (notwithstanding Penley's retirement from the company) catch on, owing to Harry Nichoik's amusing acting. REMINISCENCES OF A " FLY FLAT." ' How I Lost L 500.000 in Two Years' is the title of the book in which the irrepressible Benzon proposes to lay his woes before a sympathetic public. Of course, "the Jubilee" does not write the moving tale himself. He merely supplies the matter, which is being " thrown into form " by an impecunious journalist of some repute. Naturallj, Benzon's name will alone appear on the title-page. The book (if one-half I hear about the contents be true) should cause a eensation in sporting circles and lead to a very pretty crop of libel actions. Like all " fly flats " who come to grief, Benzon flings the wildest accusations broadcast. Certain shrewd patrons of Sherrard's stable (in which Benzon trained) are more particularly accused of plundering him, and a flood of light is cist on the iDDer histories of the great races of 1886 and 1887. The Jubilee represents himself as a judicious combination of the dove and the serpent—frank and honorable, yet shrewd and watchful. Had he got fair play he intimates he would have been a match for the Ring, whose tactics soon became familiar to him. The people he was not equal to, he adds, were the noble rampers and aristocratic thieves who, whilst pretending to be his friends and to give him information about their horses, really laid "plunging" traps for him to fall into. This may bo true, but the Jubilee forgets on how many occasions he forestalled an unfortunate owner who came into the Ring to back his horse for some small race after having seen it saddled and put up the jockey, only to find " the Plunger " had appropriated every cent, of the money, and that instead of getting 3 or 4tol he must take evens. Naturally, aftf '• " dead sharps " (like certain " selling race " owners I could name) had suffered once or twice through Benzon's forestalling, they found ways of retaliating. ABOUT ROBERT THE DEVIL, The death of Robert the Devil recalls the splendid series of successes which " the two B's" (Blanton and Brewer, now, alas, dead, too) scored in 1880. Blanton, of course, always maintained that Rossiter, who was only beaten a short head by Archer on Bend Or for the Derby, waited too long, and that Robert the Devil should have won easily. Few present will forget the torrent of objurgations with which the unfortunate joet«y was assailed when he returned to weigh in. ThesportingPress, unfortunately,also agreed Rossiter had been to blame; and when in the autumn Robert the Devil beat Bend Or easily in the Leger and Champion Stakes, it certainly did look as if the Derby form were all wrong. Next spring, however, the Duke of Westminster's noble chestnut (now himself again), after winning the City and Suburban under 9st, threw down the gauntlet to his old foe in the Epsom Gold Cup over the Derby course. There were only theße two runners, and the race caused the greatest excitement. Tom Cannon rode Robert the Devil (on whom "plungers" laid C to 4 in thousands) and Archer Bend Or. Contrary to expectation there was no fine finish, for the Leger and Cesarewitch winner was beaten at the distance, and Bend Or won comfortably by a neck. Blanton of course declared afterwards the colt was a bit "off" that day. At the stud Robert the Devil has only been a moderate mceets THE ONE THOUSAND GUINEAS. Minthe, Mr Vyner's half-sister to Minting, by Cambello, won the Ladies' Race at Newmarket on Friday with ease; two rank outsiders, Wrinkle ai_d Polka, running i second and third. There was very little betting. After Theodore's easy victory in one of the smaller handicaps on Thursday, followers of Mr Rothschild's stable concluded the One Thousand must be a good thing for Gagoul (a daughter of Galopia and Coomassie), who had shown her heels to Mr Sassoons old horse in a trial. The filly started favorite at 7 to 4, but failed to stay, as did Prince Soltykoffs Cherry Bounce, who was also much fancied. Ryan'B stable now fancy they have the Derby in their pockets, as a few days before the Two Thousand El Dorado was tried nearly 71b better than Enthusiast. That may be, but one cannot help remembering Ryan's trials seldom pan out in pablic as they do in private. Donovan's party fancy the horse was Bhort of work, as he slew off tremendously after the race. The duke has, however, resolved to run him through for his intermediate engagements, and not keep him for the Derby, as he had intended if the colt won the Guineas. LITERARY NOTES. Before Rider Haggard goes to Assyria to study the scenic surroundings of ' Queen Esther' he will spend some time in the Isle of Man, where a portion of his Icelandic romance is laid. Mr Haggard selected the subject of ' Queen Esther' in deference to the wishes of his new employers, an American syndicate, who hope great things from a series of romances laid amidst Bible scenes, like Lewis's ' Ben-Hur.' This work (comparatively little known in England) has had a larger sale than almost any other story-book in America. You find it in every household in the West as surely as you find the Bible. The same syndicate which has employed Haggard also made an offer to Miss Deland, the author of ' John Ward, Preacher.' Curiously enough she too selected 'Queen Esther' as a subject, but gave it up on learning Haggard's intentions.
Christie Murray was in London last week, looking fairly well I thought. He and Herman are busy on the novel they are writing for • Ecclesia,' Griffith and Farran's new magazine, whioh appears in July. The story will be called ' The Bishop's Bible,' and deals, like James Payn's ' Talk of the Town," with certain famous literary for* geries. The programme of Ward and Bowney's new magazine) to be published on the 15th
of each month, includes serials by Miss Macquoid ('Cosette') and Jeane Mairet ('lll-matched'). The second volume of the new series of ' Tales from Blackwood' is scarcely so strong as the first. It includes 'Alexander Nesbitt, Schoolmaster,' by S. BaringGould; 'An Elie Ruby,' by Mrs ScottMoncrieff; 'King Bemba's Point,' a capital African yarn; and several shorter stories.
I Marie Corelli's new theosophist novel, ' Ardath, the Story of a Dead Self,' will be published to-day, From the gossip afloat it should cause some little stir. Anticipations also run high with regard to Hall Caine's forthcoming tale ' The Bondman.' Admirers of Thomas Hardy's books may be interested to learn that Dorsetshire is the scene of nearly all his novels. Both in ' Far from the Madding Crowd' and ' The Mayor of Casterbridge' (which George Meredith considers the finest novel of the decade) the neighborhood and town of Dorchester are accurately described. The biography of Laurence Oliphant has after all been entrusted to his familiar friend and namesake, Mrs Oliphant, who is busy just now sifting and collecting correspondence.
Lord Rowton, whom I have always suspected of being a fraud, confessed in a club smoking room one night last week that he had not written a line of Lord Beaconsfield's life. It will in all probability end in his handing over the work to the author of the recent interesting articles in 'Temple Bar' and the • Quarterly Review.' Many of the West End booksellers have refused to sell.' A Babe in Bohemia,'and it has, of course, been barred at all " respectable " libraries. The author, " Frank Danby," is a lady, a very eccentric personage, and the sister of James Davis, erstwhile editor of the ' Bat.' The Salvation Army experiences are her own. She joined sometime back, and was one of Mrs Booth's most ardent recruits till—well—till she could stand it no longer. The book is published by Spencer Blackett, 35 St. Bride street, Ludgate Circus. I don't, as I have (aid before, recommend it for family reading, but young men with ill-regulated hankerings for the excesses of Bohemia may find Frank Danby's story (like Daudet's ' Sappho') a wholesome emetic.
The proprietors of the 'Evening News' have "thrown up the sponge," and Eold their property to a new syndicate, who join issue with the ' Evening Post.' Mr Frederick Greenwood, undismayed by his six years' experiences of the ' St. James's,' also means to try again, and will start an evening journal of high tone and anti-Radical tendencies next month. That such a venture is foredoomed to failure who can doubt? But argument and protest are alike lost on Mr Greenwood, who is, despite his cleverness, grotesquely conceited and selfopinionated. The finest portrait of the year at the picture shows is Herkomer's of Mrs Craik, painted during the last year of her life. It will, I understand, be engraved.
May 17. Lady Stafford's account of her tour round the world will be published on Monday next under the title of ' How I spent my Twentieth Year." The book is sponsored by Blackwoods, which would augur well for it 3 merits, even if the Marchioness were not known as an exceptionally clever, oapable young woman.
Mr W. M, Ackworth's admirable series of descriptive articles on our "English Railways,' which appeared in ' Murray's Magazine' recently, have been collected and republished, largely amplified, in a handsome illustrated volume. Dull as the subject sounds I will venture to predict that few of your readers who venture on this book will lay it down unfinished. One gathers a mine of authoritative information auent fastest trains, most powerful engines, severest gradients, and the cost of railway running generally to the various companies. "Books of adventure A la Haggard are played out," say the experts, and "No w orider," I return, when firms of Cassell's and Ward and Downey's standing deliberately inflict boyish trash like 'The Secret of the Lamas' and' Red Ruin' upon us. Mr Bertie Mitford's ' Fire Trumpet,' a tale of bush life and adventure in the Transvaal, is an improvement on the other two mentioned, and yet a " dragging" piece of fiction. The author has somehow not the gift of story telling. He catches your interest occasionally, but fails to sustain it. * The Queen Anne's Gate Mystery,' by Mr Richard Arksvright, has—partly, no doubt, because of the author's eccentric notions of advertising it—caught on well at the libraries. The story is a detective one, a sort of criminal conundrum, which Mr Arkwright practically seta himself in the first chapter. Given that a man after threatening his wife before witnesses, brings her a glass of orangeade, loaded with strychnine, and kills her, how are you going to prevent his being hanged ? Of course the good man is innocent, though packets of strychnine and all sorts of compromising articles are found about him. Mr Arkwright i'a an ingenious workman, and solves his problem without unnecessarily straining probabilities. You will certainly read the book if you begin it. The large paper copies of the sumptuous new issue of Ruskin's ' Modern Painters' are already worth double the sum at which they were priced three months ago in Allen's catalogue. ' A Strange Enchantment' is the title of a new "shilling shocker" by B. L. Farjeon, which comes out to-day. It was expected there would be a rare " to do" at the Geographical Society's meeting on Monday evening, as the two rivals, Captain Troup and Mr J. R. Werner, who are just about to tell us " the truth " (from different standpoints) anent Major Barttelot's ill-fated expedition, had announced their intention of being present and pulling one another's noses. Friends of both attended, joyously anticipating a sanguinary fracas, but nothing happened. I hear both Werner and Troup make very serious allegations in their books. Werner, for instance, openly states that the real object of Stanley's expedition was not Emin Pasha's personal safety, but Emin Pasha's ivory. It was only, says this sceptic, when the East African Company heard of Emin's vast stores of ivory that they became convinced of the necessity of a relief expedition. Unfortunately, Stanley himself handed a letter written in cipher to Emin, in which the Pasha was warned by an old friend to beware of the explorer, and on no account to divulge the whereabouts of the ivory. Nevertheless, 'tis scarcely likely Stanley will return without some of it. Mr Alfred Russell Wallace's new work on • Darwinism' is a fairly popularly-written text-book well up to date, and consequently sure—despite its rather high price (9s)—of an extended sale. Read it carefully, and you may, I should think, consider yourself well crammed in the subject, and oapable of conversing with authority thereon. Cheap two-shilling editions of Mrs Walford's works (commencing with 'Mr Smith') are about to be published by Spencer Blackett. _ I also notice six-shilling editions of ' A Stiff-necked Generation' (a very nice novel) and of Black's 'Houseboat' (a deplorably silly one). The new organ of Jeames and Mary Hann, from which I anticipated so much amusement, turns out to be a complete fraud. The 'Domestic' is merely a decorously dull paste-and-soissors paper. The ' Talks with Eminent Butlers' (by an Earl's Valet), 'Peeps through the Parlor Keyhole ' (by the Duchess of 's Maid), and similar articles are nowhere to be found. The ' Domestic,' in fact, is only a verv bad « Tit Bits ' rehashed. *
TOPICS OF THE DAY., Issue 7952, 6 July 1889, Supplement
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