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OUR LONDON LETTER, Issue 7953, 8 July 1889
OUR LONDON LETTER
London, May 24.
The past week has been one of the dullest I ever remember in Anglo-colonial circles, The season is approaching its apex ; and, taking advantage of the 'glorious summer weather, everyone seems pleasure-seeking. Sir Henry and Lady Loch are the guests of the English Ambassador and Lady Ly tton In Paris. They have visited the Exhibition several times, and expressed such satisfaction with the Australian sections as' they conscientiously could. Fortunately the gold arch at the entrance to the Victorian court is still incomplete, so that Sir Henry was able to siy that no doubt the general effect would ba greatly enhanced presently. He confiled, however, to Mr De Castella (I believe it was) his regret that the colonies generally Hhould have neglected such a valuable opportunity of displaying their resources to Europe. This seems, indeed, to be _ the opinion of every Anglo-oolonist after visiting Paris. The truth is, of course, that the Agents-General (with the exception of Sir Francis Boll) wholly under-rated till too late the Importance of the Exhibition, fancying it would be a mere “Colindiea” or Healtharies,” whereas it could conveniently swallow four or five such shows. By the way, Mr De Castella was Inclined to seriously imperil the success of the Australian wine bar in the Trocadero grounds bv charging a franc (tenpence) per glass for all vintages vended. His op-commissioners, however, overruled him, and hall a franc |« the prixjixe,
The debate on the Supply vote for the Post Office is generally seized on by Mr Henniker Heaton as an approprite opportunity for a fervid and eloquent his Ocean Penny Postage scheme, of which I regret to say M.P.s. in general, and Mr Raikes in particular, are deadly tired. This year(whetheraccidentallyor purposely, who shall say) the vote was sprung rather hurriedly (i e., at a few hours’ notice) on the House, so that the unfortunate member for Canterbury had not his speech ready, and was obliged to content himself with uttering a few hesitating remonstrances. Lord Lome will distribute 'the prizes and certificates at the Colonial College, Hollcsley Bay, on the 18th prox., when there will be a large gathering of Anglo-Australians and gentlemen interested in the colonisation question. Lady Knutaford’s second reception last Saturday proved a terrific crush, and the carriage arrangements were so bad that many people experienced very great difficulty in getting away. Sir Arthur, Lady Biyth, and Mias Blyth were present, and so were the Saul Samuels, Sir Daniel Cooper, Sir George and Lady Bowen, and many others whom one did not see. At midnight, when I emerged from the heated atmosphere, the lino was half a mile long and two deep, footmen were rushing about despairingly in search of their vehicles, and the greatest confusion prevailed. What the feelings of the smart people who wanted to get on to the new club dance wore I shouldn’t like to say. _ . , . Mr Henry Brett and family arrived in London last evening, and are stopping for a few days with Captain and Airs Ashby, 43 Regent Park road. They crossed (together with the new American Minister and other smart people) in the Inman liner City of Paris, which distinguished itself by cutting the Etruria’s record, and making the shortest run on record—six days thirty minutes from Sandy Hook to Roche Point, Her runs were;— Thursday, 300 knots; Friday, 450; Saturday, 463; Sunday, 471; Monday, 470; Tuesday, 476; and Wednesday, when she arrived, 264; or a total of 2,894 knots. She brought the largest number of passengers ever carried on a homeward trip, viz., 1,132. Mr George Beetham was at the Federation League’s meeting yesterday. The threatened split between Air Dawes and Tyser and Co. will probably be an accomplished fact by the time these lines are in piint. At the New Zealand Shipping Company’s Board meeting this week the energetic Mr Dawes moved and (with some difficulty carried a resolution to the effect that Mr Tyser be henceforward excluded from the Board meetings. There was, he said, neither reason nor precedent for a company’s broker being treated otherwise than as an employ£. Alessrs Gellatly, who did an enormous business for the British India Company, had never dreamt of demanding admittance to Board meetings. (The ordinary course was that the directors gave their orders to the secretary, and the secretary transmitted them to the brokers, and he thought the New Zealand Shipping Company should follow the ordinary course. Sir Charles Clifford said the large interest which Mr Tyser had in the company almost justified his desire to be present at their meetings, Mr Dawes disagreed. He thought that was another good reason for Tyser’s exclusion. The truth was their tongues were all tied in Air Tyser’s presence, and free discussion rendered impossible, Tyser, of course, on his side declares that Dawes wanted to make a place for Strickland, and his (Tyser’s) attending Board meetings practically rendered Strickland’s duties nugatory. _ This may or may not be so ; but Dawes is certainly right in insisting that the New Zealand Shipping Company should conduct their business after the same manner of other companies. “ Hitherto there have been half a dozen heads in the office. I mean that there be only one,’’ says the doughty Dawes. Dawes’s great ambition is to bo able to send goods all over the world on one bill of lading. He hopes, too, to greatly cheapen the carriage of frozen meat and to open fresh markets. hen last heard of the Hon. Dr Grace’s daughter was recovering slowly from typhoid fever. To my intense surprise for I fully imagined he was in New Zealand—l met Dr Haines, of Auckland, iu Villiers street, Strand, on Saturday evening. He had, he told me, only been a few days in London, and was staying for the present at the Arundel Hotel on the Embankment, a great resort of Australians nowadays. I thought the doctor looked extremely well, and scarcely a day—in fact not a day—older than when he was over three or four years ago. He has come, as on that occasion, mainly with a view to walking the London hospitals for a bit and picking up the latest wrinkles of medical and surgical science, and seems to be very busy. Old friends, of course, are clamoring for his company (capital company it used to be, I remember), and he has to see endless relations and acquaintances of his Auckland patients and report on their condition, etc. Altrgetlur a difficult man to get hold of just at present is Dr Haines
Sir William and Lady Jervoia arrived in town on Saturday, and have taken up their residence at 23 Princes Gardens for the season. Lady Jervois is already in better health than when she left Now Zealand. Miss Loftus, the Queen’s new maid of honor, is only a distant relation of unlucky Lord Augustus of that ilk. Dr August Altmann and Dr George Bell, both well-known Australian medicos, have, I see, been admitted Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons. The representative of Williamson’s firm and other Anglo-colonial “hiatrions” attended Mrs Dallas Glyn’s funeral on Wednesday. In the course of the past few days it has been finally arranged that David Christie Murray adventures forthwith on a lecturing tour of Australia and New Zealand, and Mr R. S. Smythe has been cabled to to know if ho will act as the popular novelist’s cicerone and agent. Mr Murray sails by one of the New Zealand Shipping Company’s boats—probably the Aorangi-on the 27th June, and will land at Hobart, whore, for convenience’ sake, he may make his first appearance. Before leaving London, Mr Christie Murray will be banquetted by his friends and admirers at the Freemasons’ Tavern. Either Edmund Yates or George Augustus Sala will occupy the chair, and ns Philip Mennell has the arrangements in hand the affair is sure to be both smart and successful. In consequence of Christie Murray’s determination, Edward Jenkins has agreed to postpone his tour of the colonies till the beginning of next year. Those of your readers who don’t know Mr Christie Murray’s works or who wish to freshen up old memories before making his personal acquaintance should read ‘Joseph’s Coat’ and 1 Rainbow Gold ’ or—if they want something later—‘The Weaker Sex.’ In the latter a well known pseudo-philanthropist gets but short shrift, just as in ‘ The Way of the World.’ Christie Murray slaughtered friend Lucy as ‘ Mr Amehi.' Mr J. H. Foureur arrived in London last week, bringing with him samples of the Australian champagne which he hopes to bring into general notice at the Paris Exhibition. He left almost at once for Paris. The champagne is to be tested in London shortly, under the supervision of Messrs Akerman and Laurence, who have promised to give mo due notice of the great event. All"I hope is that the wine may not be too new. Impatience to push their vintages has hitherto (as the Duke of Manchester so truly averred) been the great failing of the Australian vignerons. New champagne is, of course, almost poisonous. Trischler tells me that Benzon’s book will be ready in about a fortnight. The earlier chapters deal with the Jubilee’s adventures in Australia, and recount very fully the particulars of certain financial transactions with Melbourne money-lenders. I happened, by the way, to meet the other day the captain of the’P, and 0. steamer which carried young Benzonand his “bear-leader ” not only out to Australia, but also Home again. He gives a most unflattering description of the Jubilee, who behaved, he declares, in the rowdiest and most objectionable manner. The bear-leader had no influence whatever with his charge, and merely shook his head sadly when urged to “give the young cub a thrashing.’’ The first edition of Benzon’s book will consist of 20,000 copies, but Trischler hopes to sell at least 50,000. Vero Shaw’s name will not be connected with the work.
I The grotesque fat man who calls himself (though unknown to the ‘ Almanach de Gotha’) the “ Marquis De Leuville,” and whose craving for notoriety seems utterly in--1 satiable, has recently been trying to adverI tise himself through the odd medium of the ! Samoa hurricane. “From certain docui ments that have been sent me,” says j ‘Truth,’ “it seems that this mountebank : has had a medal struck, bearing, of course, . his own name, and what, I presume, is his family crest as its most conspicuous ornaments, and this he purports to have pre- ! seated to Captain Kane as a mark of his i (De Leuville’s). flattering opinion of I British seamanship generally and Captain Kano in particular. Not content with this, the Marquis has written and had printed a copy of some doggerel verses, surmounted by a pictorial representation of his medal, and this effusion he is sending by post to officers of tho British Navy, accom- , panied by a four-column notice and a picture I of himself from a publication called the ‘Elocutionist.’ In order to show the impression created on an average British seaman by tho medal, the poem, and the puff, I append a letter from an officer at Portsmouth who has been favored with these articles :— 1 1 have, as temporary commanding officer of one of H.M. ships, received per post from the author the enclosed gratuitous insult to the officers, living and dead, of the vessels belonging to Germany and America which suffered in the recent hurricane at Samoa. The astounding effrontery of this selfadvertiser is evident from the sketch of the medal, supposed to bo struck in honor of Captain Kane, but which, you will notice, bears in a most prominent way the name of the titled advertiser. . . . What, how-
ever, naturally strikes tho naval mind is the open insult to our German and American confreres by the assumption that “ pluck ” was the monopoly of Captain Kane, and, by inference, that cowardice was the cause of tho loss of the less fortunate ships. In evidence of this, let me call your attention especially to the note above the sketch.’ This is the note to which my correspondent refers: —‘Medal in gold struck expressly for presentation to this brave British officer, by the Alarquis De Leuville, the author of “Entre Nous,” in honor of his having gallantly upheld British pluck where both tho German and American ships foundered.’ I am quite sure that Captain Kane, who has already shown that he ranks his achievement no higher than a man ought to do who has simply done his duty, will be the first to say that no more pluck is required to put your ship’s head to the wind and steam away than to beach her on a leo shore in a hurricane.” De Leuville is a familiar figure at a number of third-rate clubs, and occasionally finds his way, I regret to say, into the St. George’s. His personal appearance is as remarkable as his achievements, suggesting a_ happy blend between Oscar VVilde, at his worst, and a frowsy French cook. Oil seems to exude from every pore of the man’s complacent countenance, while in dress and manner he affects the ducal Bohemian.
The Duke of Mamhester’a many friends in Australia will be shocked to learn that a criminal charge of a painful character was preferred against his eldest son, Lord Mandeville, at one of the London Police Courts last Friday. When the case was called on, the prosecution (who had with the greatest difficulty been “squared”) intimated that they were not prepared to proceed, and the Magistrate (since severely blamed for his conduct) allowed the charge to be withdrawn. The Public Prosecutor means, I now hear, to take action in the matter.
Mr F. 11. Covven is to write a cantata for the Leeds Musical Festival in the autumn. The subject will be Scandinavian, the libretto being the work of Mr Joseph Bennett.
Sir Hercules Robinson arrived in London on Sunday, and spent three hours on Monday closeted with Lord Knutsford at the Colonial Office. He will be banqueted by Australian and South African friends at the Freemasons’ Tavern some night next month, when it is hoped Lord Knutsford will occupy the chair, and Sir George Bowen and other ex-viceroys support him. The house General Boulanger has taken in Portland place was last year tenanted by Mr D’Arcey, the Australian millionaire, of Morgan mine celebrity. Amongst the fair Antipodeans presented on Friday last were Mrs Joseph Becker, of New South Wales, and Mrs Henry Dobson, of Tasmania. Mrs Becker wore a dress of rich grey satin and moire striped silk, veiled in fine black lace, secured by bunches of tiger lilies and begonia leaves ; eo sige finished with bandeau of ostrich feathers; train from the shoulder of rich black Lyons velvet, lined with grey grosgrain, and trimmed with handsome ruche of chenille and lace. Headdress, plume and tulle lappets; ornaments, diamonds. Mi’> Dobson wore a very handsome gown of rich white satin duchesse and brocade ; the underdress was composed of a very handsome front of pearls and crystals, draped over a white satin petticoat, the side panels wore in satin duchesse, trimmed with white ostrich feather trimmings, with a handsome plume of feathers finishing it at the bottom ; the bodice was in satin duchesse, draped with some beautiful trimming. The court train, which was a handsome design of convolvulus on a faille ground, lined with eau de Nil satin, was gracefully arranged from one shoulder, the lining of the train being turned back to show, and was trimmed with handsome white plumes. Head-dress—plumes and lappets; ornaments, diamond necklace and pendant, diamond large star in the hair, and five large stars arranged across the bodice. When the Orient steamer Iberia recently arrived in London from Australia it was found that one of the packages of specie, containing 5,000 sovereigns from Sydney, was missing. The specie room was in a part of the ship to which passengers had no access ; but as several of the crew had deserted at ports at which the vessel touched it is surmised the robberies wore committed by some of them. The key of the specie room was in the captain’s possession the whole of the voyage; but it is thought that some of the sailors must have got an impression of the key in wax and had a duplicate made.
OUR LONDON LETTER, Issue 7953, 8 July 1889
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