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TOPICS OF THE DAY., Issue 7994, 24 August 1889, Supplement
TOPICS OF THE DAY.
1 From Odr Special Correspondent.]
The Shah’s appearance —After sixteen years —Changes—The Fife marriage—A love match—The Durham-Chetwynd award —Dissatisfaction—Sir George’s future— Two courses open to him—The leprosy scare over—Father Damien’s brother — G. R. Sims on the spot—Three good stories—Ben Trovato—A spiritualist’s retort—Sky meeting—Musical notes— The Da Reskei Carlotta Patti Literary notes— 1 Men of Action ’ — Cheap editions—The magazines—Mr T. Hughes. London, July 5. The Shah returns to London after an absence of sixteen years looking absolutely unchanged. “He might,” said a friend of mine who went down tho river on the Press boat to meet the King of Kings, “ have been away a day instead of the best part of two decades for all the difference one could detect. He seemed to wear the same faultless white gloves, to use the same peculiar lorgnette, and to acknowledge our cheers with the same stiff little salute as of yore. Presently, when he sat down, we saw the natty feet encased in tiny patent leathers which the caricaturists of 1873 loved to dwell on; and finally, when His Majesty raised his jewelled fez, surmounted with tho familiardiamondaigrettCjtogreet the Duchess of Portland, it was observed that his sleek black hair remained untinged with grey.” And yet a good deal has happened since 1873. The Russian Emperor who welcome! Nasr-ed-din then has since been assassinated. Two sovereigns have vanished from the German throne, and tho lad who gazed in wonder at the Shah’s bejewelled surtout on the occasion of his first visit to Berlin last week greeted him with the careladen fnee of a Kaiser. In Belgium, Leopold the Good still reigns, and here in England the Shah probably notices but few changes. Our Gracious Sovereign is a trille bulkier perhaps than in 1873, and_ “TuniTura’a ” waist gives him more anxiety now than it did then. On the other hand, however, the dear Princess is as young as ever, and Her Majesty has the philoprogenitive husband of her dear Bse to present to Nasr-ed-din. THE FIFE MARRIAGE. It is an open secret that the Princess Louise of Wales has been offered to more than one English nobleman in marriage. Years ago it was arranged between the Prince of Wales and Lord Salisbury that Lord Cranborne and H.ll. tl.’s eldest daughter should be induced to fall iu love with one another if possible. Later, however, this match was by mutual consent abandoned, and the Prince of Wales set his heart on capturing the Duke of Portland. Unfortunately “ dummy ” didn’t see it, and a coolness between H.R.H. and the Master of tho Horse resulted, Tho Princess Louise herself has been in love with Lord Fife for several years, and about eighteen months ago he was secretly acquainted with the fact. It then transpired that he admired the young lady very muc'n, but, with the Lome fiasco before him, doubted the advisability of marrying royalty. Love, however, ultimately got the better of caution, and the Earl has now no qualms whatever, whilst the Princess looks radiant with happiness. In all probability Lord Fife will make the same stipulation that Lord Salisbury did when consenting to a possible match with his son—viz , that the. Princess takes her husband’s rank and title as well as his name. It would have saved endless trouble and heartburnings had tho older Princess Louise consented to do this, and become “ Marchioness of Lome ” only. Lord Fife is a persona grata at Windsor as well as Marlborough House, or Her Majesty would have certainly remembered that two of his sisters have figured in divorce suits. True, they wire petitioners, and much-injured women; but till recently the Queen never allowed that fact to weigh. To have been connected anyhow with a divorce case meant “tab: o.” THE DURHAM CUKTWVKH AWARD. There will be a meeting of the jockey club tc-morrow to consider the award in the Durham Chetwynd case. At this gathering it is not unlikely that tho late arbitrators will hear some excessively plain speaking, as the friends of both parties arc profoundly dissatisfied with their decision. Lord Durham’s allies more particularly mean to raise a rare to-do. His Lordship, they say, has admittedly done the turf agreat service, and proved every syllable he uttered at the Gimcrack Club dinner up to tho hilt; yet, because, forsooth, lie was unable to demonstrate actually that Sir George Chetwynd had won money by Fullerton’s in-and-out running, he is to be mulcted some LIO.OOO odd in costs. Even us tilings arc, of course, Sir George Chetwynd is very severely punished. The costs of the suit will pretty well ruin him, and his reputation has received a blow from which it can never altogether recover. Racing, hitherto Sir George’s chief means of obtaining a livelihood as well as his ruling passion, must henceforward bo abandoned. The stewards of the joekey club may not go to the length of warning the Baronet off the turf (though logically, of course, they are bound to do so), bat ho will probably receive a hint to atop away from all meetings for the present. Two courses are open to Sir George. One is, to accept social extinction with good grace for awhile, and so purge his misdemeauora; and the other is, to stick to the turf and such friends as will still nod to him and sink to the level of the ordinary smart "sharp.” To-morrow’s meeting will in all probability settle this question one way or the other. HEN TROVATO. A very ribald anecdote is going the rounds anent an incident which is alleged to have occurred during the G.O.M.’s “wakening of tho West ” tour. At one of the houses Mr and Mrs Gladstone happened to stop at for tho night tho old lady came down to breakfast before her lord and master. Whilst they rvere awaiting him the hostess (as per usual) turned the conversation on Ireland. “ Well,” she said, “ ray dear Mrs Gladstone, I don’t know what’s going to be tho fate of peer old Ireland ; but (piously) there is One above who knows.” “Yes,” replied Mrs Gladstone, absently ; “ yea—he will be down in a minute : when I left him he was brushing his hair.” a spiritualist's retort. Two smart young journalists I know recently visited Eglinton, and enjoyed a highly successful seance.. One communed at lengtli with a deceased uncle and the other with a long-dead aunt. After they_ had paid their guineas and were on the point of departure the older said : “ Well it was all very interesting; but I don’t mind telling you now I never had an uncle,'’ “ Nor had I an aunt,” joined in his companion. Eglinton was not the 1 ait nonplussed. He merely observed sternly ; “ Gentlemen, I cannot be accountable for tho moral conduct of your respective grandfathers.” THE SKY MEETING. The 1 Hawk ’ has a quaint story anont an Indian postmaster at some up-country Bengal station, who. when a letter passed through his hands addressed to “ The Hon. Secretary, Sky Meeting,” sent it to the station chaplain, A sky meeting in India means a minor race meeting. MUSICAL NOTES. The two greatest tenors in tho world, Tamagno and Jean de Reske, aro now singing in London. The former makes his dehut to-night in * Otello,’ at tho Lyceum, he being the original creator of the title role of Verdi’s opera. The La Scala cast and chorus will be complete with the exception of the first representation of * Des Demona,’ now played by the composer’s special favorite, Signora Cataneo. I saw ‘ Otello ’ at the Fenico Theatre in Venice two years ago with the Scala Company, and I confess I wasn’t impressed. But then the theatre was such a barrack and the seats so uncomfortable. At the Lyceum it will, I daresay, seem a very different affair. On Do Reskd nights atCoyent Garden one can’t get seats for lovo or coin of the realm. Some .ladies love Jean, others Edouard. Catholic minded folk adore both. They are, in truth, miles in front (both as regards acting and singing) of any othei tenor and basso. I like them best myself in ‘ Faust ’ and 1 Les Huguenots.’ Edouard D) Reskd’s sardonically malignant Mephistopheles once seen can never be forgotten. The critics, however, appear to think Jean Do Reskd’s Lohengrin his finest performance. Carlotta Patti hated Adelina with true sisterly fervor. She used to say that she
had a far finer voice than "Mrs Nicolini, and but for her unfortunate lameness would have—vulgarly speaking—“ knocked spots off that young lady on the operatic stage. As a matter of fact Carlotta Patti’s soprano, though phenomenally high (rising to A and even B flat in alt;), had never the power and richness of her younger sister’s organ. She was less frantically jealous of the latter of late years, I believe, and accepted help from ‘'La Diva”; but they never became real friends. LITERARY NOTES, Readers who are not making up a set of Macmillan’s “Men of Action” series, but like tc pick out an occasional plum, should on no account miss Clarke-Russell’s ‘ Dampier,’ an admirable little biography of the bold buccaneer, and as interesting as a novel. Hooper’s ‘ Wellington’ is not so good. There have been several better short Jives of the “ Groat Duke” done. I see, by the way, Sir William Butler, whose ‘ Gordon ’ in this series was so successful, is underlined to write both ‘Marlborough’ and ‘Sir C. Napier.’ Of the rest already promised ! should expect Walter Besant’s ‘Captain Cook’ and Sir A, Lyall’s ‘ Warren Hastings’ to be first rate. The cheap edition of Clark Russell’s novels is now complete. They do not sell very well, for the simple reason that when one has read one or two of this authors works one has read all. Sea stories of a genuine kind do not admit of great variety. Sampson Low are now going to bring out a twoshilling edition of Blackmoro’s novels, which have not hitherto been obtainable under six shilling apiece. The orders re ccived for ‘ Lorna Dooiie ’ in this form are already enormous. ‘Blind Love’ is the title of Wilkie Collins’s new novel for the ‘ Illustrated News.' He has again been very ill with gout, but never stops work unless compelled. One of the funniest scenes in ‘ The Moonstone’ was, he declares, written when he felt almost frantic with pain. Mr T. H. S. Escott has completely recovered from his long illness, and recommenced doing loaders for the ‘Standard.’ Great rejoicings at the Savile Club in consequence. TJie best of the ‘Tales from Blackwood’ in the new volume (No. 3) of the third series are Lady Margaret Majendic’s ‘ A French Speculation ’ and Mr Maurice Kingsley’s Mexican yarn ‘The Puerto do Medina’; but the whole live are thoroughly readable. Amongst the literary on dits flying about is one to the effect that Lady Dilkc is the author of ‘ The Repentance of Paul Wentworth,’ and that the story gives her version of Sir Charles Wentworth Dilku’s/awx pas. I must confess I tried to read that novel and couldn’t, so I can offer no opinion on the subject. Mrs Stevenson (R. L.’s mamma) declares the popular novelist’s stepson, Lloyd Osbourne, is really alone responsible for that depressingly humorous production ‘ The Wrona Box.’ Mr Stevenson’s portion of the collaboration consisted solely of “ putting a little pepper into the story.” The most inquired after novel at Mudie’s just now is Mr Brinsley Richards’s ‘ Prince Roderick,’ which I mentioned to you sometime back. Tiie author is at present ‘Times’ correspondent at Vienna, and has besides spent some years at various grand duea! courts in Germany, flis hero (Prince Roderick) was, unquestionably, modelled to some extent on the lamented Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, but there is no likeness betwixt their two stories, The main events of Air Richards's narrative arc, indeed, founded on au csdandre at a much smaller court than that i f Vienna. Mr Thomas Hughes his been immensely scandalised by the publication in America (against his express wishes) of what the Yankee publisher-; rail “ mi amended aud expurgated edition ” of ‘ Tom Browne’s Schooldays,’ the English version being considered not quite wholesome for young America. The July magazines contain several articles worth noting. ‘ Blackwood ’ especially has a quaintly gruesome, yet powerful, story, ‘ About au Umbrella Mender,’ by one of the “advanced” young ladies of the period (Miss Beatrice Havraden, B. A), which should on no account be missed ; also another instalment of ‘ A Prison Visitor’s ’ deeply interesting ‘ Scenes From a Silent World.’ The wiitcr deals this time with the would-be suicides who have come under her notice in prison. She desciibes one remarkable case—that of an ignorant, illiterate old man, an agricultural laborer, with a scolding shrew of a wife, whose life had been spent in ceaseless grinding, weary toil to procure the bare means of subsistence. This old man seems, from his own account, to have been seized one evening after a quarrel with his wife with a frantic desire to make an end of the weary, intolerable business of existence altogether, both for himself and the woman who so ingeniously managed to intensify its bitterness, He there and then calmly killed his wife and then gave himself up, remarking “ Now I’ll go like a prince to the gallows.” At his trial this man (Richard, Dodson) obstinately pleaded guilty; nor wiicn the Judge assigned him counsel and insisted on trying the case would ho allow anything to be done for him. A plea of insanity fell utterly to the ground. Hodaon was far too sensible, besides being cool as a cucumber. He knew -perfectly what ho wished ; he wished to die to be extinguished. The possibility of another and a better world made him only uneasy. Life in this one had been such a poor business he shrank with terror from the prospect of another. Hodson ate a hearty breakfast fifteen minutes before he w’as hanged, and died quite happy. I regret to add he was one of the victims of Berry’s maladroit experiments, and had his head all but twisted off.
TOPICS OF THE DAY., Issue 7994, 24 August 1889, Supplement
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