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TOPICS OF THE DAY., Issue 8006, 7 September 1889, Supplement
TOPICS OF THE DAY.
[From Our Special Correspondent.] The Whitechapel murder—The Shah in the provinces Some Shah stories A broken engagement Miss Lane-Fox again—The new tray—A poetic vengeance—To Edward Fitzgerald—The Portland Stakes—Semolina defeated at last—The Eclipse Stakes—Sir George Chetwynd warned off Journalistic gossip—The rival half-penny papers— The ' Pall Mall Gazette's' lady reporter —A story about her—Literary notesNew poems—The two Morrises—New books Dickens's illustrations New editions, etc. London, July 19. The Whitechapel murder season hu3 com- j menced just a week earlier than it did last year. In writing to the police to inform them that he proposed resuming business on the old plan, "Jack the Ripper" was good enough to state that this would be so, and, in consequence, Whitechapel on Tuesday night simply bristled with constables. The scene of the new crime is regularly patrolled every few minutes, and there can be no doubt the murderer was interrupted in his bloody work by the return of the constab'e. When the latter blew his alarm whistle the man can't have been more than a few paces away from the murdered woman, and instantly every possible avenue of escape was blocked by constables, and a strong cordon drawn round the entire district. Yet no suspicious person could be discovered. The police confess themselves utterly flabbergasted. Unless the criminal has wings or is invisible it seems impossible to account for his getting away. Lady Salisbury hii3 solemnly vowed never again to entertain a barbarian or Eastern potentate. The trouble the Shah and his suite gave at Hatfield, and the mischief they did, is said to have been extraordinary. They were satisfied with nothing (I refer now to the great officers of the suite), turned drawing rooms into dormitories, and even wanted to sleep in the passages. This was bad enough. Fancy, however, the aristocratic Marchioness's disgust when she discovered that a slim, pretty lad, to whom the Centre of the Universe showed special favor, was a Circassian girl whom His Majesty (in deference to English prejudices) had disguised in male attire. Before the Shah left London he gave Sir John Bennet an order for L3OO worth of watches. Mappin and Webb were ordered to send up some of their plated goods on approval to Buckingham Palace, and despatched a large van load. All, however, Nasr-ed-din selected was a small imitationsilver dagger, value 30s. Streeters, of Bond street, were more fortunate. The Shah has given them the order for the superb wedding present which he intends presenting the Princess Louise of Wales. At Birmingham the King of Kings was out of sorts and broke nearly all the appointments made for him. He wouldn't speak to tho Mayor, and not merely refused to be introduced to the town clerk, but requested that that functionary might be removed from his sight as he disliked the look of him.
The Queen had no thought of creating Lord Fife Duke of Inverness till she read in the papers that she was going to do so. It then occurred to her the idea was a good one and should be acted on. At the same time, Prince Henry of Battenberg will (if Lord Salisbury's consent can be obtained) be ereited Duke of Kent, and Prince "Eddie" of Wales Duke of Clarence or Duke of Sussex. Lbrd Salisbury himself has also on dit been at last persuaded to accept strawberry leaves and overcome Aldermau Whitehead'B scruples and objections to taking a baronetcy. Several minor honors may be announced at the same time. shah stories. On the night of the State ball at Buckingham Palace, the Shah's attendants noticed that the Centre of the Universe had lost a diamond asbigas acob-nutfrom his shoulder belt. Distracted beyond measure the domestics instituted a thorough search for tho jewel, but fruitlessly. When the Shah woke in the morning he would have to be told, and then a high old time they'd all enjoy. Fortunately, just before early breakfast an English lackey espied the missing stone and brought it to the chief of the Persian valets. " There," said he to the overjoyed servitor, " i 3 your governor's big diamond ; and you may tell him from me as it's precious lucky for him none of the guests last night found it." Someone told the Shah Mr Gladstone was about to celebrate hia golden wedding. " What's that ?" asked Nasr-ed-din. It was explained that when a man has lived with one wife fifty years he is said to have celebrated his golden wedding. "Ah!" observed the King of Kings, evidently thinking of his harem at Teheran, "it is better to live with one wife for fifty years than with fifty wives for one year," In Birmingham the Shah spent L2OO at Osier's glass factory. I hear the incomparable jewel he gave the Prince of Wales has been valued at L 5.000. His tour altogether will cost him over a million.
The following jen d'esprit has been perpetrated apropos ot the Shah's practical joke on poor Colonel Millican :
The Shah the slecper'a paper seized, The drowsy Colonel with it tapping; And as ho woke the monarch wheezed " I've caught an Englißh soldier napping !"
A BROKEN ENGAGEMENT. Society had hardly done congratulating the much-persecuted Miss Violet Lane-Fox on her engagement to Lord Burgersh, and the acquirement of a protector who could (if ever again it became requisite) effectually suppress the too amorous Rowdon, than the following announcement took everyone's breath away: between Lord Burgersh and Miss Violet LaneFox will not, take place." Lady Conyers and the fair Violet have left town, and Lord Burgersh declines to enlighten his friends as to the reason of the rupture. This is just one of the sort of mysteries society loves. It affords opportunity for endless ill-natured surmises, which crystallise in time to stories, and are eventually related as facts." "Of course Rowdon has something to do with the quarrel," is the general comment; but I should say "No." For one thing, he was in prison when the engagement was announced, and for all one knows is there still; so that he can never even have heard of the match, much less have communicated (as people suggest) something to Lord Burgersh. POETIC VENGEANCE. When the late Edward Fitzgerald (whose memoirs and literary remains have just been published) penned a careless and flippant note in his private diary anent Elizabeth Barrett Browning's decease, remarking that he "thanked God his friend's wife was dead, because there would be no more ' Aurora Leighs,'" the last thing he in all probability anticipated was that the observation would ever come under the bereaved husband's eyes. Unfortunately, through a blunder on the part of Fitzgerald's literary executor and editor, it was not struck out of the portions of the diary published, and, of course, some d d goodnatured friend has sent a copy of the book (with the objectionable passage carefully marked) to Robert Browning. The poet seems to have been completely carried away with indignation and bitter fury. He adored his wife, and that a man whom he called friend should have thanked God for her death must of course have seemed very terrible to him. He wreaks, however, a summary and lasting vengeance on the dead diarist in the painful and powerful verses addressed "To Edward Fitzgerald," which appear in this week's' Athenasum': —
TO EDWARD FITZGERALD I chinecd upon a now book yesterday ; I opened H, and, where my finger lay 'Twixt page and uncut page, those words I road —Some six or seven at most—and learned tboreby That you, Fitzgerald, whom by ear and eye Sho never knew, "thanked God my wife was dead." Ay, dead ! and wore yourself alive, (food Fitz,
How to return you thanks would task my wits; Kicking you seems the common lot of cursWhile more appropriate greeting lends you grace ; Surely to spit there glorifies your faceSpitting—from lips onco sanctified by Hers. THE NEW TKAY.
The " Malapropisms" of the justlyesteemed lady who- figures in ' Punch' as Lady Gorgtus Midas, but is really the wife of a wealthy colonial millionaire, are nearly as numerous as the late Mrs Swanborough's. There's always some new yarn afloat about her. One of the latest relates how she reproved a new page before some visitors recently. " Price," said her ladyship, " how dare you enter my boodoir with a
I letter in yer 'and. 'Avn't I > told you ! frequently to bring in everything on a saliva ?" FOR SIX THOUSAND POUNDS. The Duke of Portland and his bride were ! not at Leicester on Wednesday to witness ■ the race for the 6,000 sovs Portland Stakes j (the richest two-year-old event of the season), I which was perhapsjustaß well, as, forthefirst ; time since she made a successful debut at j Lincoln, Semolina met with defeat. In all probability, however, the flying daughter of St. Simon and Mowerina was " off color," as she could make no sort of fight with I either Riviera or Heaume, both of whom J she had previously beaten easily. The race j fell to Mr Manton by the aid of the beautiful, but apparently somewhat uncertain sister to Seabreeze, who reversed the Newmarket running with Baron Rothschild's Heaume. Semolina was, of course, a good favorite, odds of 11 to 8 being laid on her, whilst 11 to 2 was offered against Heaume, 100 to 14 i against Alloway (who ran such a good race with Signorina at Derby), and 9 to 1 each Formidable and Riviera. The lastnamed made the running to the distance, where Formidable and Heaume closed with | her, and the three ran a desperate race j homo. Fifty yards from the winning post it looked good odds on Heaume, but Riviera was equal to the occasion, and, holding her own in a ding-dong finish, won by a neck—j a short head dividing second and third. 1 Alio way, a couple of lengths away, was fourth ; Semolina fifth, and Sweet Ellen last. A more exciting race has not been witnessed this season. The big handicap of the day—the Appleby Plate—was booked a good thing for Noble Chieftain, but fell to a rank outsider in Jarvis's Needles, by Lowlander—Beauharnais. THK ECLIPSE STAKES. At Sandown Park this afternoon Ayrshire, Seabreezee, and Friar's Balsam will fight over again their Kempton battle in the Eclipse Stakes, now only one of several LIO.OOO races. The field will also include El Dorado, Pioneer, Gulliver, and Antibes, and if a surprise is in store the last-named filly might effect it. So far there has been little betting on the race, but the Kingsclere folk again pin their faith to the unlucky " Balsam " (as they call Lord Alington's colt), and scout the Kempton form being correct. Sir George Chetwynd 'was at the first of the yearling sales at Newmarket on Monday week, and announced his intention of attending the racing. On Tuesday morning, how ever, after being seen in conversation with the senior steward of the Jockey Club, he returned to town, and it is said the reason why was that Mr Lowther forbade his using Tattersall's ring and paddock. People are wondering how to reconcile this harsh proceeding (practically equivalent to " warning off") with the kind things said at the J.C. meeting about Sir George by Mr Lowther and others. The truth, I fancy, is that whilst the J.C. stewards desired, for the sake of old times, to let Sir George down easily in the eyes of the public, they had no notion of permitting him to continue his mischievous career on the turf. It was hoped the baronet would give up racing voluntarily, just as he resigucd his membership of the Jockey Club. When, however, he failed to do so, Mr Lowther found himself forced to speak out, and practically warn his ancient ally off. Owing to rogueishness which so many of Stirling's stock seem to develop, the Yardley stud yearlings, which last year fetched thousands apiece, this year with difficulty sold for a few hundreds. JOURNALISTIC GOSSIP. The success of the London ' Star' is principally due to Messrs Parke and Massingham, the sub-editors, and to the business manager, Mr O'Malley. Since the opening day, eighteen months age, '* Jay Pay " has done little else but draw his large salary as managing director and sneak theatre passes for his wife. The other directors have recently tumbled to this, and begin to think they might a3 well dispense with "Jay Pay" and save his salary. Naturally Mr O'Connor does not view things in quite the same light, and severe ructions are imminent. The amalgamation of the ' Evening News' and ' Post' has so far proved a success, and competition between the latter and the ' Star' (especially at the West End) waxes warm. Mr H. H. Marks has got together a splendid staff, and is for the time being working the piper regardless of expense. Hitherto the ' Star' has been facile princeps with its "race results" editions; but several times lately the 'News and Post,' with its double staff of carts, has beaten them.
The P.M.G.'s lady reporter has caused a rare flutter lately amongst the regular " liners." She turned up at a Mansion Houso meeting last week, and took her seat at the reporters' table, glaring viciously at the males already in possession. On the Embankment on the evening the Shah arrived there was, however, an amusing scene of another sort. A slight crush occurred on the Press stand in the endeavor to see His Majesty, and her ladyship from the P.M.G. found herself in the background. " Pray gentlemen," she squealed, "permit me to look. I am the lady journalist from the ' Pall Mall Gazette,' and I have connections amongst the highest aristocracy." LITERARY NOTES. A volume of poems by Frederick Tennyson, the Laureate's elder brother, will be published shortly by Macmillan. Most of them have appeared before, either in the rare ' Poems by Two Brothers' (now valued at L 6 per copy) or anonymously in magazines, but are not readily accessible. Lewis Morris, who must not be confounded with that eccentric socialistic genius William Morris, has another long poem on hand—a companion work to the ' Epic of Hades,' which has run through no fewer than twenty-six editions. Lewis Morris has little of the poet in his appearance. He lives in Wales, and passes amongst tourists as a prosperous Liverpool merchant or cotton broker. William Morris is grey, gnarled, growling, and, I was going to say, grimy, but we'll substitute dingy. He lives in a small house, near to which he has built a rough shed, where the Socialists meet on Sunday evenings and discuss the millenium. William Morris is very passionate and very fond of plum pudding. My brother was dining with him one Sunday afternoon, when this delicacy came up hard as a cannon ball. Morris forthwith dashed his fork into it, and, rushing downstairs breathing fire and slaughter, hurled the underdone pudding at cook. " You villainous hag, you misbegotten old witch, do you want to murder me with indigestion?" the guests heard him apostrophise the delinquent domestic. Cook, however, it seemed, understood her master. " Get out of this, Mr Morris, or I'll tie a dishcloth to your tail," she said coolly. " You'll ivhal, you oleaginous harridan ? " spluttered Morris. '' I'll tie a discloth to your tail," retorted cook, " or something worse," and here the audacious female withdrew a red-hot poker from the fire and made a significant pass at the angry poet. He came upstairs again even faster than he went down. ."My dear," he announced to his wife, who seemed to take the scene quite as a matter of course, " I scolded cook, and she wanted to burn me." " I've often told you, love, 'not to meddle," said Mrs Morris placidly, and the subject dropped. Lady Dufferin is making up what will doubtless prove a most interesting volume from her Indian diaries and Lord Dufferin's journals. It is to be called ' Our Vice-regal Life in India.'
A short story (in all probability the last thing of poor "Maxwell Gray's"that will be published) appears in the current issue (July 17) of Cassell's ' Saturday Journal.' The original designs for the five illustrations which the unlucky Seymour prepared for ' Pickwick' fetched LSOO at Sotheby's last week. The buyer was Mr Wright, the famous Paris bookmaker and Dickens collector, who also gave prices varying from Lll lis to L 36 for a number of " Phiz's" original designs for illustrating the great novelist. As usual, at Dickens sales " Poney " Moore, the Christy Minstrel (who has one of the finest " first edition" libraries in London) was Mr Wright's chief opponent. i suppose the innumerable series of compressed biographies issued nowadays must pay, or publishers would not go on producing them. There are already two statesmen series ('Twelve English Statesmen,' by M'Millan, and Allen's 'Lives of English Statesmen') in course of issue, yet I see Sampson, Low contemplate yet a third—viz., 'Prime Ministers of the Reign of Queen Victoria.' Mr Stuart Beid (author of
the • Life of Sydney Smith') will edit the handbooks, and Mr Froude may lead off with 'Lord Melbourne.' Lord Lome, Mr G. W. E. Russell, and Dr Dunckley have also promised to assist
The sole novel of the week worth mentioning is Mrs Alexander's 'A Crooked Path.' It was written to order, I fancy, for Tillotsons, and, like much of " the Bureau's" recent fiction, does not reach a very high standard. The heroine, who, under phenomenal temptation, suppresses a will which stands between herself and a large fortune and then meets and falls in love with the rightful heir, is a very old friend. I've met her scores of times, and she always behaves in exactly the same way. Mrs Alexander varies the theme slightly by making the suppression of the will eventually prove her heroine's greatest misfortune, but the story cannot in any sense be termed new or original. If you are curious to know what a misogynist's love story is like send to the library for Mr Ross Dering'a 'Giraldi, or The Curse of Love.' The author has- evidently been recently deceived by some unhappy woman, and writes while still writhing with fury and suffering. Whether his own experience at all resembles that of the young clergyman Trenham in the novel I leave the reader to conjecture. Unquestionably many of the characters are drawn from life, and very ably drawn, too. The waggish old Duchess of Moneypenny, the mild mischief-making spinster Margaret Ashe, the Anglican rector Fairweather, and the religious monomaniac Lady Sharp have all living prototypes somewhere, I'm sure. Orthodox church folk who dread having their views unsettled are warned off 'Giraldi, or The Curse of Love.'
TOPICS OF THE DAY., Issue 8006, 7 September 1889, Supplement
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