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TABLE TALK.

[From Oor Si'Emr, Correspondent.]

The late Lord Malmesbury— ‘ The Times ’ as it is—Eighty columns of advertisements per diem—The Field Club raid— No fines—A let-off generally—A magistrate compromised—Pilotcll’s row with Rochefort—A ridiculous scene—From an English point of view—Coningsby Disraeli’s debut Mountain mouse— Oxford gibes—Lulu Harcourt —Opening of the opera season—Covent Garden en fete ‘ Lea Pecheurs de Perlea ’— A smart audience Operatic notes — Theatrical— ‘ The Dead Heart ’ —Miss Glyn’a death ‘Ardath’ Marie Corelli’s theonophist novel—The plot— Literary notes, etc., etc. London, May 24.

The late Lord Malmesbury was, through the greater part of his life, looked upon as a good-natured titled nincompoop who had made a mess of politics, and was not capable of any very remarkable intellectual effort. At the age of seventy-seven, however, when almost forgotten, the old peer electrified the world by coming out as an author. His book was called ‘ Memoirs of an cx-Minister,’ and proved to bo a most entertaining work, full of amusing, if somewhat indiscreet, recollections. It created a great sensation at the time and quite revolutionised public opinion with regard to the venerable author. “Evidently,” cried the critics, “Lord Malmesbury must have been shamefully underrated by his contemporaries.” ‘ The Times ’ is not quite on its last legs yet. Saturday’s issue, for example, contained more than eighty columns (equal to 150 ft) of advertisements. The price paid, even by contractors, seldom falls balow 10s per half-inch, so that one may fairly reckon the takings for one average day in the Printing-fcoueo square advertising department at L 1,760. This doesn’t look like bankruptcy, does it. I happen to know, too, that the ‘Thunderer’s’ influence in literary, if not in political matteh, remains great as ever. A column review which it gave on Thursday last to a novel called ‘ The Awakening of Mary Fenwick ’ has in less than a week caused that story to be the most asked-after book of the season, and necessitated the printing off of a large second edition.

Contrary to expectation, Seaton, of the Field Club, got off with a fine of LSOO, and the noble lords and gentlemen discovered gambling on the premises were discharged without even the usual magisterial caution. It is said this extraordinary leniency was doe to the exertions of tbo two anxious parents who inspired the raid. All they wanted was to effectually break up the “hell,” and, this much achieved, they implored that the arrests might do the

young men concerned as little mischief as possible. Both Lord Dudley and Lord Lurgan were very anxious not to be “committed” or fined for gambling, and during the week considerable influence was brought to bear on their behalfa. It was not thought wise, cither, to imprison Mr Seaton, who could make matters unpleasant for more than one exalted personage if he wished. Tis said, indeed, that so confident was the worthy man that the authorities dare not meddle with the Field Club that he deliberately ignored two warnings the police good-naturedly sent him. Another piece of gossip in connection with this affair connects the resignation of a popular police magistrate with the raid. Ho is known to be a lively bon viveur, and ’tis said, as ill-luck would have it, he was on the premises at the Field Club when the police appeared. _ They let His Worship go, as he was not in the gambling room, only supping in an adjacent apartment; but the facts leaked out, and Mr Matthews (with whom the P.M. in question has never been a favorite) requested him to send in his resignation. Such, at any rate, is the “ yarn.” Pilotell, the fat and frowsy Frenchman who assaulted M. Rochefort on Saturday in Regent street, is a well-known character in journalistic circles of a sort. He draws thc fashion plates for the ‘ Ladies’ Pictorial,’ and used at one time to be associated with several other Paris and London papers. Of his career (political and general) the loss said, I fancy, the better. Ho admits having been imprisoned for six months for indecent assault; and that he is also a spy of the_ Le Caron typo seems pretty certain. Some time ago Rochefort’s paper referred to the obese artist in terms more forcible than polite, and the latter being unable (for political reasons) to visit Paris himself, he persuaded “Pot”. Stephens (of the ‘Topical Times’) and Augustus Moore to carry over his cartel to the fire-eating Republican. Rochefort did not, however, see the force of “going out” with a gentleman of Pilotoll’s calibre, and simply, I regret to say, spat on the challenge. Since then the “ fat and fiery one ” has sworn to “have his enemy’s bleed,” On Saturday afternoon the pair met in Regent street, Rochefort having a lady (a Miss Vervoort) on his arm. He had not seen Pilotell for twenty years, and when that worthy waddled up to with bulky incertitude, and, producing a dirty glove, flicked him solemnly in the face, ho was utterly dumbfounded. The irate artist’s spluttering words, however, soon supplied the key to the situation. “At last,” he cried, “I find thee, oh ! miserable one—oh, coward ! oh, assassin !” Rochefort (to do him justice) has plenty of courage of a French kind. To scream back at Pilotell a shower of equally obnoxious epithets was essential to his nationality. Rut he also, after some fumbling, produced a pistol in a

leather case, which he pointed at his obese adversary saying : “ I have here a settler for thee.” No sooner did the courageous Piloted catch sight of Rochefort’s weapon than hn turned his back and incontinently fled up Glasshouse street, with Rochefort in pursuit, screaming “ Police ! ” A constable met the fat man at the corner, and almost at the same moment he lost his rquilibrutn, slipped, fell, and rolled over, still (bear in mind) screaming “ Police ! ” Rochefort here caught up with him and skilfully planted several well - delivered kicks on suitable parts of Pilotell’s person. The whole party (including the lady and several Frenchmen, who had mysteriously appeared on the scene) were then arrested and carried off screaming and gesticulating, like so many cockatoos, to Marlborough street. On Monday, after another ridiculous scene at the Police Court, Rochefort was bound over to keep the peace for a twelvemonth. The whole affair was, from first to last, silly and laughter-moving to a degree, and makes Euglishmen thank their stars for their phlegmatic temperaments and more matter-of-fact methods of “ fixing up ” quarrels. On receipt of r. message from Rochefort, ’tis said, General Boulanger proceeded to Marlborough street on Saturday to bail out his afflicted compatriot. lie presented his card to an impassive constable, _ who, after gazing at it solemnly and listening to “ ce brave general's ” request, ejaculated : 11 Hall light; yer can wait in there with the rest of the mounseers—there’s no distinctions ’ere.’

Mr Coningsby Disraeli, who debuted politically at Bath the other day with a singularly silly little speech, in the course of which he announced (1) that he didn’t understand the Irish question, and (2) that the name of patriot stank in connection with Mr Parnell, is about as unlike his famous relative as you can well imagine. Picture to yourself a mentally mediocre and personally insignificant little man who has been brought up to believe that there is “something in him” and “ a great career before him,” and you have the hope of Beaconsfield. At Oxford a cruel joker christened young Disraeli “Monty,” because of his resemblance to the mountain in labor which brought forth a mouse. He is, in fact, the very last thing that Lord Beaoonafiold would have liked a descendant of his to be —viz., ridiculous. People cannot help smiling at the selfimportant little fellow. is so unaffectedly pesky and yet trivial. Now, young Earl Russell, from whom in the same sort of way great things were expected at Oxford, had some character. He was everything he oughtn’t to bo—plain, redhaired, a vegetarian, an Atheist or Theist, a Socialist, and endless other cranky things; but he had views, and he could talk, Disraeli is simply deathly commonplace. “Lulu” Harcourt, I fancy, of

modern great men’s sons, will do best. He speaks well, and has much of his sire’s verbal polish and wit. Austin Chamberlain, too, promises well, I understand that the good folks at the Carlton Club are not too pleased at the prospect of having to find a safe seat for young Disraeli. The Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, which has been thoroughly repainted and redecorated, presented a brilliant spectacle on Saturday evening last, when Mr Augustus Harris inaugurated his second season of Italian opera. The Prince and Princess of Wales and their daughter's occupied the Royal box ; and amongst other holders of boxes on the grand tier were Lady De Grey, the new Duchess of Marlborough (resplendent with mixed opals and diamonds), Lady Charles Beresford (looking old enough to bo Lord Charles’s mamma), Lady Dashwood, Lady Windsor, the Duke of Portland, with his Jiancie, and her mother. Mrs Vanderbilt, Hairy Marks (of the ‘ Financial News ’), the Lawsons (of the ‘ Telegraph ’), Lord Revelstoke, the Hon. F. E. Alsopp, Lord Herschell, and Sir 0. Tennant. On the pit tier, which some prefer, were Lady Dudley and her beautiful daughter, Lady Edith Ward, in a central box, Lady Rosebery, several boxes of Rothschilds, Sassoons, and Bischoffsheims, the Dowager Duchess of Newcastle and her husband (Tom Hohler), Lady Borthwick, Lady Hindlip, the Duchess of Montrose, and numerous Honorable Pagets (staunch supporters of Italian opera). In the upper tiers one saw such lesser lights as the Bancrofts, the Mooattas, the Arthur Raphaels, and Bayswator Jews galore. Lord Dudley, Mr Cosmo Gordon - Lennox, Mr L. Do Murrietta, and sundry other gilded youths sat in an omnibus box; whilst in the stalls were all the usual “first-nighters” and musical critics. It is customary to open the opera season with some such familiar work as ‘ Sonnambula ’ or ‘ Traviata,’ but Gus Harris (who is nothing if not original) chose to present a novelty in Bizet’s ‘ Pecheurs de Perles,’ or, as it is now called, ‘ I Pescatori di Perle.’ The libretto deals with the love of Zurga, the chief of a tribe of Cingalese pearl-fishers, for Leila, a vestal virgin charged with certain functions for propitiating Brahma in favor of the local industry. Leila, unfortunately, prefers Nadir, a disreputable member of the tribe, who outrages the Cingalese convenances by seeking the vestal in the temple and making desperate love to her. The pair are discovered, and condemned to die. Zurga tries vainly to persuade them to give each other up. They finally refuse, whereupon he sacrifices himself on their behalf, and assists them to escape. The opera, though sumptuously mounted and fairly well sung (the chorus is Hie largest and best drilled I’ve ever seen), was dull—and that’s the truth. The endless recitatives weary one to death, M. Tala«ac

(from the Opera Comique, Paris) resumed the role of Nadir, which he originally created; Ella Russell (a rather thin soprauo for Co vent Garden) was Leila; and Signor D’Andrado Zurga, The tenor’s voice scarcely sufficed like the soprano’s to fill the big house; but D’Andrado (a grand baritone) made a distinot “ hit,” being recalled several times.

On Monday Margaret Maclntyre (a lovely girl with an exquisitely full tender voice) drew an immense house in ‘ Faust,’ and created a veritable furore. She was fairly well supported by Madame Scalchi as Siebel, and Monlariol as Faust; but the Russian Wenogradow scored only a moderate success. On Tuesday Marie Roze, Miss Macintyre, and D’Andrade were again to the fore in ‘ Carmen ’ (always a fine spectacle at Covent Garden), and last night .Ella Russell and Talazao seem to have semi-failed in ‘ Traviata.’ The features of next week will be a grand revival of ‘Aida,’ with a now prima donna (Madame Valda) in the title idle, and * Lohengrin,’ which has been selected for the rentries of Madame Nordioa and Mr Barton M'ljiuckin, the latter making his first appearance in Italian opera. After that come the Do Reek<sa and Madame Melba, who is sure now of a great reception. Colonel Mapleson (utterly unconquerable as an impressario) announces that he means to open that dingy barrack Her Majesty’s with Italian opera on June 1. Beyond, however, the facts that Albani (who is growing a bit bu tom for operatic heroines) may possibly be prima donna assoluta, and that Tamagno (most conceited of tenors) has been half tempted to put himself against De Reskd in London, no one seems to know of whom the company will consist. The booking for the brief ‘ Otello ’ season at the Lyceum in July is only moderate, and Mitchell and Co. are looking glum, as it is no joke to bring over the best part of the Scala company from Milan to London, and to have new scenery painted and dresses prepared. Sir Arthur Sullivan has gone abroad to write his new opera for the Savoy. It will not, Mr D’Oyley Carte loudly declares, bo wanted for many months yet. Stiff, it is as well to be ready, as business sometimes drops off suddenly, without why or wherefore, At present the Savoy is crammed from floor to ceiling regularly seven times a week.

The event par excellence of the autumn season at the London theatres will be Irving’s revival of Watta-Phillips’s gloomy but impressive melodrama * The Dead Heart ’at the Lyceum. This romantic play originally produced, at tbo Adelplii Theatre just thirty years ago with Benjamin Webster, George lining, and Lilian Adelaide Neilson in the chief characters. It “caught on” only very moderately then, and has not hitherto been thought worth reviving. For one of the chief parts —that of the crafty and dissolute Abbe Latour— Mr Irving has persuaded Mr Bancroft to return temporarily to the stage, Mrs Dallas Glyn was a Shakespearian actress of the old “mouthing” school, and never achieved any very striking distinction. The present generation only knew her as an indifferent public reciter and a teacher of elocution. She had fallen into poor circumstances of late, and a subscription was being raised on her behalf when she died.

At the Court Theatre to-morrow evening Mr Grundy’s ‘White Lie’ will replace ‘ The Weaker Sex,’ which has only been a succes d'eslime.

The regular French season will commence at the Gaiety Theatre on Monday next, when Mona. Coquelin and Madame Jane Iludig make their appearance in the Parisian version of ‘ Mama,’ Later wo shall have La Bernhardt in her latest success, * Lina Dcspard,’ and ‘ Fedora.’ Donovan’s easy victory in the rich Newmarket Stakes on Wednesday deprives the Derby of all interest, as {bar El Dorado) the Duke’s colt will only have to tackle animals whom he has before beaten at Epsom. Had Enthusiast again made a fight with the “ crack” on Wednesday wo might hove lived in the hope of a good race, but neither the Two Thousand winner nor Minthe were anywhere on the premises. A large field (seventeen) started, and Enthusiast, Gulliver, Cay Hampton, and Laureate had plenty of supporters. The Ring fielded staunchly, and early in the day there were plentiful offers of 2 to 1 ogainst the favorite. Money poured in so rapidly, however, that this rate could not be maintained, and at the start 11 to 8 proved the best offer. Enthusiast was well backed at 100 to 30, and Gulliver and Mintho found friends at 10 to 1. A little money went on Gay Hampton at 100 to 8 and Laureate at 100 to 7. Bar these, almost any price could be had. The race was a hollow affair, as Enthusiast cracked after going a mile, and Gulliver and Minthe were beaten descending the hill. Donovan then took up the running from his stable companion The Turoophone, and won anyhow, the lucky Duke’s second string just securing second money (LI,000) by a head from Laureate. The Turcophone’s starting price was 100 to 1 to win and 20 to 1 for a place. The Newmarket Stakes were worth just L 7.000 to the Duke of Portland, who signalised the occasion by giving LSOO away to racing charities. ‘ Ardath,' Miss Corelli’s extraordinary new novel, opens on a stormy night at the lonely monastery of a mystic brotherhood of Higher Spiritualists in the heart of the Caucasus Mountains. Hither comes Theca Alwyn, a dissatisfied poet and sceptic, to consult a mysterious personage called Heliobas, who possess (Alwyn has heard) the power to temporarily divorce the soul from the body, and enable the former to penetrate some of the secrets of the unknown. Heliobas altogether refuses to exercise this power on Alwyn till the latter, by a tremendous effort of will, forces him to do so. Then Alwyn’s body falls, apparently dead, on to the cell floor, whilst his soul disappears out of the window into the darkness and the storm. Eerie and very terrible supernatural experiences follow. At last, however, Alwyn finds himself saved and protected by a beautiful angel. This spirit, (Edris by name) explains that she is his love, hla other half, his eternal wife. She baa loved him and prayed for him through countless ages and myriad existences, but because of Alwyn’s weakness, wickedness, and want of faith, they never get any nearer to one another. “Shall I see you again?” Alwyn asks, miserably. “Yes,” is the mysterious reply. “ Meet me at Ardath, if you really believe." On coming to himself, Alwyn consults Heliobas, who explains that Ardath is a barren field outside the precincts of ancient Babylon. It is mentioned in the Book of Esdras: “So I went my way into the field which is called Arduth, and there sat amongst the flowers.” Alwyn promptly resolves to take this hint and sets off for Babylon. After a long and tedious journey be gets there safely, and succeeds in finding the field of Ardath. Thither at midnight comes his angel love Edris, and adjures him to learn by the evils of the past the evils of the future. The poet thereupon has a vision, in the course of which he is permitted to live over again one of the most important of his anterior existences. It seems that 5,C00 years before Christ Alwyn was Sah-Luma, the idolised poet laureate of the beautiful city of Al-Kyris. The story of Sah-Luma’s greatness and fall of his luckless love for the profligate Vestal Virgin and Priestess Lycia, of his death at the hands of the King, who delighted to honor him, and of the destruction of AlKyris, A la Sodom and Gomorrah, really take up the greater part of Miss Corelli’s three volumes. When Alwyn awakes Edris passionately exhorts him to good and-great deeds and again vanishes. Thenceforward the poet does devote Jiimself entirely to Christ and Christ’s work on earth, and with such success that the miracle (one occasionally vouchsafed to the higher spiritualists) of Edris’s reincarnation is permitted, and the pair become husband and wife for this world, as well as for all time and eternity. Notwithstanding the strangeness of the theme, ‘ Ardath ’ is often prosy to a degree, especially after we leave Al-Kyris. Miss Corelli devotes one whole chapter to abusing the new journalism in general and interviewers in particular. She has no patience with authors who allow themselves to be turned inside out, and draws a cruelly caustio sketch of a well-known lady journalist. As a story ‘ Ardath ’is inferior to both ‘ Vendetta ’ and ‘ Thelma.’

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890712.2.42.8

Bibliographic details

TABLE TALK., Evening Star, Issue 7957, 12 July 1889, Supplement

Word Count
3,228

TABLE TALK. Evening Star, Issue 7957, 12 July 1889, Supplement

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