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BOOK NOTICES., Issue 7994, 24 August 1889
Derrick Vaughan, Novelist, By Edna Lyall. Piccadilly Puzzle, By Fergus flume, J. Horsburgh, Dunedin. Both these little volumes are full of Interest, though differing very widely in their style and subject. lu the first, ‘ The Novelist,’ Miss Lyall contrasts two very divergent characters, twin brothers. Both are heroes, but otic, the novelist, is a hero in private life—kindly, amiable, well educated, earning his living by his pen, but sacrificing himself to the duty of watching cvey the latter years of a degraded, irritable, military father, who takes every opportunity <oi reproaching him for having devoted himself to the creation of works of genius rather than the mechanical routine of a soldier’s life. Hia brother—who like the father has chosen the army as a profession—distinguishes himself in action, and still more through courageously rescuing a comrade from imminent danger. He, of course, according to the world’s fashion, becomes the lion of the day, famous for courage and daring* while the genius plods on for years patient, selfsacrificing, but scarcely known, The contrast between the intellect and moral worth of the one, and the selfish ambition of the other, is ably worked out, and the superiority of the pen over the sword vindicated. The little novel is well written and very interesting. Fergus flume, in the ‘ Piccadilly Puzzle,’ has produced a work that few will abandon who have begun to read it without reading to the end. He introduces us to a set of characters, meat of them none of the best, who all in turn, excepting three and a few subordinate ones, are more or less suspected of being guilty of the murder of a woman. The puzzle is Who is the murderer ? and the solution of it is sought by & detective, who seems at various times t-o be on the right scent, only to find the one link needed to complete his theory, but when found it leads him in a different direction. The denouement will astonish every reader, for the man least suspected turns out to b« the delinquent. In so complicated a story a few improbabilities naturally present themselves, but throughout the tangled web is skilfully woven, and the detective’s efforts and ingenuity graphically described. Health, Wealth, and. Happiness, or the Present Position and Future Prospects of New Zealand, By Captain William Ashby. Captain Ashby, the well-known shipmaster, erstwhile of Auckland, revisited the colony at the end of last year on matters connected with his own business, but being a keen observer of things generally he took stock of the colony’s progress, and on his return to the Old Country committed his impressions to paper. The result is a book of a little over a hundred pages, in which he talks very pleasantly of old acquaintanceships renewed, familiar scenes revisited, and of the condition in which he found trade. He must have paid a very hurried visit to Otago, as his account of us does not cover more than a couple of pages, and this is what he has to say And now we come to Otago, which, in the early days of colonisation, was looked on .as a Scotch settlement—till, indeed, the gold fever in 1862 brought tattlers to New Zealand from all quarters. The climate here is cold, but of that bracing kind which seems to specially suit the constitution of the Britisher, be he Piet or Soot, It was in Ihe White Swan that I first visited (in 1859) this part of the colony. I remember on our arrival that iu this steamer, of about 300 tons burden, we had to wait outside till the tide admitted of our getting over the bar. Indeed, when we did so, and found ourselves ashore, the accommodation was miserable in the extreme, besides which communication with other places was almo t impossible. The rivet, choked with sandbanks and shallows, made the journey between this place ond Dunedin a series of unpleasant delays and surprises, which ended in very little when you eventually reached that then uninteresting place. Thus having in brief Conveyed some idea of this part of Iho colony iu 1859, let us turn to my experiences iu the same locality in the present year of grace, 1889. Now the largest English direct steamers can be moored alongside the extensive wharves of Otago (stc). _ Those sandbanks and shallows have long since been changed into a navigable river, while from Port Chalmers to Dunedin delightfully situated villas dot the river’s banks on either hand, and are in turn backed by verdant cultivated hills which give to the picture a charm which once seen is not easily forgotten, especially if, as in my case, you have been over the same ground in the earl} days of its colonisation. The public buildings in Dunedin, ate now, in many cases of important appaarance, while the cathed-al (?) and many places of worship of all denominations seem to show how vigorous has been the enterprise within the past few years of those who in New Zealand have elected to make a home for themselves, and although it has in some sense been tarred with thatsame brush of colonial depression of which eo much has been made at home, and of which I really saw eo little when travelling through the country, it has nevertheless profited rather than otherwise by the expeiience, and risen Phoenix like to an increasing importance which is marvellous to Contemplate. Although I have spoken of Dunedin from a commercial point of view already, I fear I have not done justice to it as a place of residence. Its elegant' villas being built in terraces one above the other, give to it quite a unique appearance, while the beautiful foliage of its many trees affords, in warm weather, delightful shade. It has, moreover, nearly one hundred fine streets, all of which are alive with traffic of every description; besides which, it is admirably paved and well-lighted. This, too, is the headquarters of that most indefatigable Union Steam Ship Company which his ('one much towards making New Zealand, its chief exports being, as at most of the ports in the colony, wool, '’grain, and those froz.-n meats for which the country now has a world-wide fame. To those who have not travelled by the Union line, I would say that to do so on those magnificent steamers is to enjoy to the full the pleasure of foreign travel, and turn a business journey into a p’easure trip. Indeed, at Home many of our great steamboat companies might do well to take a lesson from the method of procedure not only of the Union Steam Ship Company but of the harbor boards, which have in so many cases economically and with so much substantial advantage improved the various ports on the seaboard of New Zealand.
In concluding, the worthy skipper says “ a few words " about colonisation, in which he takes an absorbing interest, and in this connection takes a common sense view of the question. He strongly urges those who fancy that fortunes can be picked up in colonial towns to stay at Home, and declares that the time must come when the resources of New Zealand and her unequalled climate will cause her to rank second to none of Britain 7 s dependencies for the acquirement of wealth by those who toil honestly for it. And he winds up thus
I cannot help feeling myself that a complete revolution in the right direction might be made —and that very rapidly, too—if there were mote evidences of interest in the extending ooloniss expressed by the Home] Government, and I venture, moreover, to think that the development of a scheme which I have long entertained would bring about the required result, increasing on the one hand the number of settlers to a very great extent, and thereby naturally adding in the long run considerably to the revenue of the country on the other. My idea is this, that to get the right kind of settler a certain deposit of money for man, woman, and child should bo made with the Agent-General here, so that on their arrival they receive a Government grant of land which they having occupied, cleared, and cultivated would at the end of a specified time become their own; the original deposit money being seturned to them. Here surely would be an inducement to colonisation which would ultimately lead to brilliant results; the hard wo' ker would then be to the fore and the wealth of the country be developed. The old adage of “ out of evil comes good” may be said to have supplied this colony with a lesson likely to be of signal service in the near future; the influence of which will after all, in the long run, be of immense advantage to New Zealand—it having come as a warning not in future to live on borrowed capital or rely too much on Government expenditnre, bat rather depend on themselves and the great country they have to manipulate than fly (as heretofore they too often have done) to external aid. Indeed the people are already turning their attention to many, to them, new and profitable industries. Then, again, do not direct steamers do more in a few weeks towards bringing New Zealand within touch of the Old Country than in the early days emigrant sabing ships did in as many months? I say emphatically that she holds her own for productiveness with any part of the civilised or uncivilised globe; and that, with a marketable outlet for her many bounties in England and Europe generally, her future good fortune is assured.
BOOK NOTICES., Issue 7994, 24 August 1889
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