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TOPICS OF THE DAY., Issue 8028, 3 October 1889
TOPICS OF THE DAY.
[From Our Special Correspondent. | London, August 16. THE MAY BRICK VERDICT. With the epidemic; of moral hysteria which has broken out ever the Maybriok verdict I have, I frankly confess, no sympathy whatever. One cannot forget that the shriekinsjsentimentalisti whonow elevata the self-confessed adulteress, Florence Maybrick, into a heroine and a martyrare the B*me crowd who waxed frantic in their •nthusiasm of the impostor ; who Borrowed over the conviction of the villainous Lipski; who hounded Inspector VVhicher out of Scotland Yard for doubting the innocence of Constance Kent; and who let loose a poisoner on society in Mrs Bravo. During the past week the jurymen who sat on the Maybrick case have been interviewed and pumped in the most scandalous manner. None of them, fortunately, had anything of importance to reveal. They appear, indeed, to have taken the greatest possible pains to arrive at a right verdict. Not only was every conceivable point for the defence threshed out for them in Court twenty times over, but they discussed nothing else during the long evenings thev were locked up together at the Victoria Hotel. Two jurymen inclined towards giving Mrs Maybrick the benefit of some slight doubts in their mind up to the time she made her self-damnatory statement. After that com parative certainty became absolute convictiou. I must say 1 think the jury, though by no means a bril-liant-looking lot, showed great pluck in sticking to the letter of their oath. The temptation to shirk a profoundly disagreeable duty, and also take the popular course, must have been enormous. The evidence which Mrs Maybrick (with characteristic ingratitude to the firm of lawvers who took up her case when she was absolutely friendless and alone) declared, after conviction, had been withheld to her detriment was really no evidence at all. Amongst many ingenious statements which the clever lady made to Messrs Cleaver (the lawyers aforesaid) was one to the effect that Nurse Yapp hated her because sho (the nurse) had had an intrigue with Maybrick, and another averring Mrs Briggs disliked her because some yeara previously that lady had hoped to marry Maybrick herself. Both were, on inquiry, discovered to be absolutely foundationless, and it was not considered desirable by Sir C. Russell to prejudice the defence by cross-examining on them. The statement that Sir Charles Russell was intensely surprised and overcome on hearing the verdict is only partially true. He says he feared his client must be guilty, but he fully thought he had impregnated the jury with doubts that would get her off. It appears to be considered the right thing just now to attribute Mrs Maybriclc's present position wholly to Brierley, and to apeak of that most miserable and remorseful man in terms of ferocious malignity. 1 must confess I think he is being punished with a severity out of all proportion to his crime. The worst to be aaid of him is that most unwillingly (as his letters show) he allowed himself to be drawn into an intrigue with Mrs Maybrick, and at her request, and by her arrangement, met her in London. He regretted the/mix pas almost as soon as it was committed, and had cut the connection, and was on the verge of leaving Liverpool when the catastrophe occurrred. It is not, of course, in the least true that Maybrick was either an arsenic eater, a hypochondriao, or a valetudinarian, in the ordinary sense of the words. Generally speaking, he was brisk, alert, and full of business. The climate of Liverpool is very relaxing, and, as a local chemist testified, there are few men on 'Change who do not occasionally feel the want of a pick-me-up of strychnine, quinine, or arsenic. Maybrick, no doubt, suffered from a liver now and again like moat Liverpudlians, but he was the last man to dose himself secretly. He loved talking about medicine and his little ailments too well. Moreover, nous of the chemists in the business quarter, or in any other quarter, of Liverpool had of late years sold Maybrick aught but the most ordinary medicines. Mrs Maybrick speaks four languages, and ii a clever pianisto and amateur aotress. She ins read quantities of both French and English novels, and was a brilliant and fluent coaversationalist, specially happy in repartee.
THE HOME SECRETARY'S DECISION, It is a solemn fact that during the four days prior to her conviction Mrs Maybrick received no fewer than three offers of marriage, and since the verdict her lawyers (the Messrs Cleaver) have been deluged with proffers of financial and general assistance. The date of the execution is fixed for Monday week, and up to this afternoon the Home Secretary has vouchsafed no reply to the popular clamor. Mr Matthews has called to his aid two other Judges beside Mr Justice Stephen, and the whole of the voluminous evidence is again undergoing careful review. The fact that the purchase of the large quantity of powdered arserii:: found at Battleerease House has not been traced to either Mr or Mrs Maybrick may, it is thought, weigh with the Home Secretary in favor of a reprieve. The probability of course is that Mrs Maybrick obtained it from same too easy-going chemist, and that, fearing to get himself into trouble, or not caring to clinch the certainty of the woman's guilt, he is keeping the secret. No chemist could of course have any object in concealing Maybrick's pnrchase of the drug. It would, indeed, be an all important point in the prisoner's favor if it could be bo proved. Mrs Maybrick and her mother (now living in the strictest incognito near KirkdalcGaol) had arranged to sail for America directly the anticipated verdict of " Not guilty " set the former lady free. So certain wore they of being able to go that two berths were engaged by the Aurania for laßt Saturday, It is significant that these have not been forfeited, but were on Friday transferred to a steamer sailing a month bence. CCRIOCS CONSOIATION. A Home Rule M.P., with some sense of humor, tells a characteristic story about Colonel Saunderson, on whose Irish estates there have been "ructions" lately. The row was of the usual sort—unpaid rentspressure —evictions—and the order of the !'un issued to the unfortunate agent. The atter wrote, with a good deal of feeling, to the colonel on the subject, declaring that he expected every hour to be shot at. Ihe gallant Orangeman replied promptly: "Dear air, you may say to the tenants that any threats to shoot you will not intimidate me." Consolatory, wasn't it? Another somewhat similar yarn relates how a cultured Bostonian, who tamed cowboy and went out West, consoled himself for a rather unfortunate mistake. Riding one afternoon in a reputedly wild and lawless part of the country, the young man came across a stranger, who, after talking for a bit, suddenly made a very suspicious movement towards his revolver pocket. Thinking to be beforehand with the rascal, the Bostonian whisked out his own pistol and shot him. The man fell off his horse like a log. " I think I'd better confirm my suspicions," f»id the Bostonian, and dismounted. On turning the body over, however, he found the nun's hand on a halfextracted whisky flaßk. " Dear me 1" quoth he, "I'm afraid I've made a sad mistake. The fellow was not a robber, but a gentleman ; and he was not going to sheet me, but to offer me a drink. Well, well" (hero he drew his sleeve suggestively across his mouth and took up the flack), "the last wishes of the deceased shall be respected" (a long pull)—" indeed I may say have been grespected I" DRAMATIC AND MCBIOAi. The evergreen 'Betsy' has been revived at the Or iter; oi Theatre, and with that handsome but impudent lad Aubrey Boucicault as the Baby, Alfred Maltby as the Tutor, and Lottia Venne in her original creation of the title r6le, goes as merrily as ever, and aeems to be drawing first-rate husiness. The one important novelty of the month will be 'The Middleman,'at.thei Shafteabary Theatre. In thia piece Mr Willard wiil appear in a character strikingly different to any he has before undertaken— viz., a poor working man in some Staffordshire porcelain works whose valuable inventions are purchased for trifling sums by his grasping employer, 'The Middleman' of the title. Mr Jones's hero will not pose as the oppressed inventor of fiction, but rather as a modeot man of genius, who •combines fertile ingenuity with the trustjng faith, unselfishness, and simplicity
of Tom Pinch—a part, by the way, Wulard has played in the provinces. Tho love interest will be supplied by the inventor s son, who, of course, adores 'The Middleman's ' daughter. For the latter part Miss Maude Millett has been engaged, the unattractive title role being filled by Mr Mackintosh, who has several times previously scored successes in similar role's. One of the principal scenes will represent the pottery furnaces in full blast; and for this Mr Willard proposes to reproduce an everyday picture at Doulton's world-famous factory. . The promenade concerts are in full swing at Covent with Nikita and Signor Foli as principal vocalists, and your late visitor, Mr Radcliffe, as flautist. EXPENSIVE WAGERS. The LIO.OOO yearling book which Sir John Willoughby made last summer on next year's Derby begins to look the reverse of a promising investment. Amongst the youngsters against whom he has laid the conventional LIO.OOO to LIOO are, it seems, Surefoot, Heaume, Semolina, and Riviera. He can scarcely, however, be in a worse position (John Corlett reminds us) than the maker of the yearling book on the Derby of 1866, who opened it by laying LIO.OOO to LIOO each to Mr Sutton against Lord Lyon and Rustic. The noble lord in question got frightened at his position early in the autumn of '65, and induced Mr Sutton to Jay him back 4,500 to 1,000 against the pair, which left him a loser of L 5.000 if either horse won, and LBOO if they lost. Bad business as this seemed at the time, the amateur bookmaker scored, for Lord Lyon started with odds of 6 to 5 on him, and won, and Rustic (sold to the Duke of Beaufort) saw as little as 5 to 2 and ran third.
Tho only race at Lewes summer meeting of any importance is the Astley Stakes, of 1,000 sovs, for two-year-olds, which always attracts a good field. This year it fell to a rank outsider in Mr John Porter's Sainfoin, which beat Mr Hammond's Garter, Mr Fawcett's Spring Cup, and seven others ratner easily. Mr Blundcll Maple's Biondina and Garter were favorites, and Lord Alington's tfeua seemed to be more fancied by the Kingsclere folk than Sainfoin. Porter's stable also carried off the Priory Stakes on Saturday by the aid of Mr Low's colt (whole brother to Veracity) by Wisdom —Vanish, and Captain Jones took the now unimportant Lewes Handicap with Theosophist. LITERARY NOTES. Mr Montagu Williams, who was one of the gayest of gay dogs in his youth, and knows more of that mysterious world "Bohemia" than any living veteran, is writing his reminiscences. They will bo published by Macmillans in the autumn, and should afford capital reading. Inspector for many years one of the most successful detectives at Scotland, is (with the literary assistance of Mr Charles Rideal) contributing a series of' Leaves from my Note-book' to Oassell's ' Saturday Journal.' A selection from these have just been republished in a shilling volume by Trischler, which seems to lo selling like wildfire. The experiences in the main are commonplaoe, and a marked contrast to the imaginative detective stories of Peddie !and others. I must, however, except 'A Queer Cuss' and 'Among the Fenians.' Scarcely is one "series" announced for publication than another is advertised as ready. Last week was issued the prospectus of 'The World's Great Explorers' series, and now Mr Fisher Unwin (whose 'Stories of Nations' have been deservedly successful) tells me ho has in hand an 'Adventure' scries. Tho initial volume will bo Irelawny's ' Adventures of a Younger Son,' which will be followed by 'lrish Adventurers,' ' Adventurous Women,' ' Escapes From Captivity,' ' The Moravian Missionaries,' 'The Jesuits in the Far East,' aud ' Adventurous Scotchmen. 1 The books will be handy in siza and well illustrated. One cannot, however, forbear the reflection that much the same ground has been gone over in Cassell'u admirablycompiled serial ' The World of Adventure.' A new six-shilling edition (the sixth) of Maxwell Gray's 'Reproach of Annesley' is announced. I am glad to learn that the author is in somewhat better health than she was a few weeks back. That laborious hard-worker Clark ftussejl has accepted a commission from G. P. Putnam (the Arrrncan Murray) to write a popular 'Life of Lord Nelson.' I should havo thought it impossible to improve on Southey's classic myself. Mr Russell's story ' Marooned ' (now running through ' Macmillan') is announced for immediate publication. It differs in no material respect from half a dozen other nautical novels from the same pen. 'Sant' Ilario, 5 Mr Marion Crawford's sequel to 'Saraoinosaa,' will be quiteas popular as that famous novel of Roman life. Nearly all our old friends and a number of new ones are introduced, and the main incident tells how Giovanni Saracinesca, Marquis de Sant' Ilario is, through a number of circumstantial trifles, led into suspecting his idolised wife, Corona (erstwhile the spouse of old Aotr.adente), of having proved faithless to him with Antonio Gouache. His jealousy and his refusal to credit her explanations nearly kill Corona, and finally an accident reveals to Gioyanni his insane folly, only just in time to save her life. The husband's penitence and sorrow are touching in the extreme, and Corona feels them acutely, but for a time her love for Giovanni seems quite dead. She even shrinks painfully at his touch, How Giovanni despairs, and how a number of exciting events put thingsright.it would not be fair to tell. Everyone of you should read «Sant' Ilario.'
I fancy it is not generally known that Chichester is the original of Anthony Trollope"s •" garchester, and that Bishop Gilbert, the predecessor of the venerable Bishop Durnford (who died the other day), was the ever-to-be-remembered "Bishop Proudie" of the novelist's chronicles of Barsetshire. If there be jn Australia and New Zealand any misguided colonists who have not up to the present read that masterpiece of romantic fiction ' Loroa Doone' because it was unobtainable under 6s, let them hie them to the nearest bookseller'sand purchase forthwith the new two-shilling edition. I confess I bought it (neatly bound in cloth for 2s 6d) on a railway journey last week, half fearing the story would not interest me a second time. Once, however, fairly launched there came no inclination to lay it down again. This is <eart»inly not so with all Blackmore's books, some ffi which are heavy and sluggish to a degree, « Thomas Hardy's noyelß at 2s will be a distinct boon to the million, who havo not hitherto had much opportunity of making acquaintance with his Dorsetshire rushes and agriculturists. * The Mayor of Casfcerbridgo' (considered by many his best book) comes first. Mrs LinnKus Banks, the author of * The Manchester Man/ and kindred stories, very popular some years bact, was recently discovered almost starving at fche age of seventy. Influential friends applied for a pension from the literary fund, but for a long time Mr W. H. Smith refused to grant it, urging that writers of fiction were not suitable recipients for Imperial bounty. This, however, raised euch a storm of irate objections and precedents, that the right hon. gentleman had to give way, and a grant of LIOO a year to Mrs Banks is pow announced.
TOPICS OF THE DAY., Issue 8028, 3 October 1889
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