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OUR LONDON LETTER., Issue 8039, 16 October 1889
OUR LONDON LETTER.
London, September 7. The Marquis of Normanby, who is residing with his daughter Lady Laura Hampton and her husband at Holmwood, has grown very frail and ailing. Intellectually, however, he remains as bright as ever, and nothing pleases him mere than a chat with a New Zualander or a Victorian about the chmsf's time ha 3 brought about in those colonies.
Mr S. Vennell, of Stoke Newington, who rcjently married Miss Burt, head-mistress of the Adelaide Girls' High School, returns shortly to his sheep farm in Now Zealand. If any of your readers should happen to know the whereabouts of a young man named Fred Clark, who sailed from Liverpool for Wellington in the summer of ISS3, they will do a kindness to a bereaved family by informing him that his father (James Clark) died of combined dropsy and cancer on September 1, and was buried at Sefton Church on the 3rd inst. Clark's mother is in great distress at not hearing from him. Sir Walter Bullcr has given up his house la the Cromwell road, preparatory to returning to New Zealand. He and Lady Bailer and the family are at present at Eastbourne, where Miss Buller is ono of the belles of the season. The exact date of Sir Walter's departure will depend in a great measure on the settlement of the Blue Spur Company's affairs. I hear that Mr J. C. Brown has abandoned all thought of Bueing the directors for wrongful dismissal, and from what I know I should say he's very wise. Sir Julius Vogel seems much as usual. He still talks oi all torts of schemes, but none of them appear to be coming to fruition. Sir Julius has of late years conceived a dort of nervous dread of Pressmen, and won't tell a reporter anything. All one's information concerning him has consequently to filter through third persons, and if it is not so accurate as it might be your cxPremier has only himself to thank. I learn with sincere concern of the death of Dr William C. Strettell Miller, ono of the most promising Australasian graduates Edinburgh University has produced for years. He was a native of Duuediu, where he had many friends who will deeply mourn and regret him. MrH. S. Tiffen and his niece, Mrs Randle, return to Napier by the Coptic on 13th November. Mi Tiffen had intended going out via Suez, but in view of the recent operation to his eyes (which, by the way, has proved thoroughly successful) his doctors advised the long sea route would be safest. Mr George Clark and family, who came Home from Auckland last year, intending to settle in the Old Country, have already, to speak rather vulgarly, " given it best," and leave per Tainui for Dunedin, where they propose henceforward to reside. Mr King, son of the well-known Auckland chemist, who has been studying in London for some time past, expects to pass his final examination in about a month, and sail with his wife for New Zealand by a November P. and 0. Bteamer. Mr and Mrs Peacock finally left London for Paris last Monday. They remain there till Wednesday next, when they start on a comprehensive tour of Germany and Switzerland, eventually proceeding via Brindisi to Egypt, where, after doing the Pyramids, v etc., they will join the P. and 0. steamer Victoria leaving London November 14. Mr Brett (of the Auckland ' Star'), with Mrs Brett and family, have (as I before mentioned) booked passages by the same Bteamer. Mr Brett continues to spend Saturday to Monday at Hastings, and the inside of the week in town, working hard from early morn till late at night. Sightseeing, theatres, concerts, and dinner parties are all put off till business is through, which, I'm inclined to fear, will bo never. Mr and Mrs Brett leave London for Paris in the
first week of November, and will join the Victoria at Brindisi. A London office of the Auckland'Star,'under the management of "Mr Brett's cousin, has been Btarted (pro tim.) at 147 Queen Victoria street, B.C. Another Aucklander at present on a visit
to England, who returns per Victoria, is Mr John Milne, and Mr J. N. Crombie has gone out by the Britannia. Captain Ashby continues to receive the most gratifying evidences of the success of his little book. Visitors crowd to Leadenhall street to ask questions, and oftencr than not the voluble head of the firm manages to convince them that New Zealand is the most wonderful colony in the world, and that he is eminently the most suitable person to despatch them thither. Not that £s. d. have anything to do with Captain Ashby's enthusiasm. No, no; it springs, like his eloquence, from an honest desire for the welfare of the colony. He is kind enough, indeed, to say that by sending out capital and labor of the right sort he means by-and-bye to make New Zealand a really great country. I suppose you saw in the San Francisco papers that Frankie M'Kee—one of those wayward specimens of wildly eccentric womanhood America occasionally produces—has married a young actor called Arthur Branscomb, who possesses ('tis said) a wife and child in New Zealand. Mr Ansen has booked through to New Zealand per Oceana, sailing 20th inst., and will embark at Tilbury. He visits Paris next week. Her Majesty finds she has not time just at present to receive the bar of Welsh gold which that astute Australian, Pritchard Morgan, expressed a wish to lay at her feet. Mr Frederick Wolaeley (Lord Wolseley's Australian brother) is over here promoting a company to exploit his patent shearer. The capital was to have been a million, but has now been reduced to L 350,000, and may
come down even lower. Partners in Goldsboroughs and Redfern Alexander's go on the Board.
The employes of Nelson Bros, (the great frozen meat importers) were out on strike oa YVednesday, but have, I fancy, obtained tho concessions they required, and returned to work. Shaw, Savill hope to get the Tainui off by YVednesday next, but there doesn't seem to bo much prospect of it at present. Aggravatingly enough, she has an exceptionally large passenger list. 'Tho Times,' which for somo unknown roason has always been most obliging in advertising Mr Henniker-Heaton, devotes a long leader this morning to reviewing the p unphlet in which the member for Canterbury (or more probably his private secretary) impeaches at considerable length the management of the Post Office. The old grievance anent the difference in the rates of postage between France and Germany and Australia, and Great Britain and Australia, is, of course, made the most of. The Searle-O'Connor match comes off oa Monday next, and I propose to witness it from the Press boat. Some heavy ■wagers have been laid during the week. On Tuesday Joe Thompson betted an American commissioner LI,OOO to LBOO on Searle, and this was supplemented on YVednesday by a wager of L 1,500 to LI.OOO. A level tenner was offered for tho "call" of a similar bet on Monday, but without leading to business, and subsequently a bookie wagered a level LIOO that 2 to 1 is betted on Searle at the Btart. Last nigbt there were great doings at the Star and Garter, Putney, in connection with the posting of the final L'2oo and the election of umpire and diutance judge. After some talk Mr R. H. Labat was chosen to fill the former and Mr W. H. Lowe to fill the latter office. The chairman then said he had a pleasing duty to perform. The competitors had written to the donors of the Champion of England Challenge Cup, and asked them to throw that cup in with the stakes. There was only one difficulty, and that was that the holder must be consulted, Wallace Ross, in his usual sportsmanlike manner, had given his consent. One of the clauses in connection with that cup was that
it must be rowed for alternately on the Thames and Tyne. They had written to the trustee?— Lord Londesborough, Sir John D. Astley, and Mr W. M. Chinnery—and obtained their permission to alter that clause so as to read "Thames or Tyno" (not alternately J. Mr Chris Crane offered to bet LI,OOO, or any part of it, that Searle wins. This was followed by offers to take 6 to 4, and Mr Ben Hyams laid L6O to LlO on Searle. Mr Joe Thompson offered to lay LI,OOO to LSOO, and followed by offering to lay L 1,500 to LI,OOO, which was accepted by Mr F. W. Mossop for O'Connor's party. Mr E. Gee offered LI,OOO to LBOO, or any part of
it, but Mr J. O'Grady said he was not making a bet of that sort, amidst laughter, Mr Joe Thompson offered to bet
LSOO that Searle led at a mile. There was also a bet of L 375 to L 250 laid. Offers to back Scarlo and lay LSOO to L4OO were made by Mr Barney Thompson without response. The ciißtomary toast, " May the best man win," was proposed by the chairman, and drank in sparkling wine. Renewed offers wero made of LSOO to L4OO by Messrs 15. Thompson and d. Gee; and Mr Thomas O'Connor offered to take LI.OOO to L7OO, but this fuiled to elicit a response, and a lull followed. Mr Joseph Thompson offered to lay LSOO to L4OO that Searlo wins, and "a monkey " that he leads at a mile ; but there was no taker. The chairman then read some amusing cablegrams from Australia and telegrams from home correspondents. Mr F. Ilindc laid Mr J. Head LIOO to LSO on Searle, and this was the last bet of any conscouenco that was laid. The evening concluded with the drinking of innumerable toasts, interspersed with songs. The feature of the occasion was the strong support accorded O'Connor.
Robert Porves Stewart, the tall but un-healthy-looking private in the Scots Guards who gave himself up to the police a fortnight ago, was charged at Clerkenwell last Saturday before Mr Bros with causing the death of a man named Muir, about twelve years ago, by striking him on the head with a piece of timber at Otepopo Bush, Province of Otago, New Zealand. It will be remembered that on the morning of the 24th June Stewart walked into the Caledonian road Police Station and made a statement which Inspector Young took down in writing. The statement was to tho effect that while working at Otepopo Bush Stewart quarrelled with a companion, and taking up a piece of wood 4ft long threw it at him. The wood struck Muir on the head and he fell senseless to the ground. _ He never recovered his senses, and died in five minutes, Stewart said he dragged the dead man] into the bush, dug a hole, and buried I him. He then proceeded to Omaur, about seventeen miles from Otepopo Bush, where ! ho remained for a week, and then proceeded to Tasmania. After remaining thero a short time he returned to Scotland. He gave himself up because he could not bear to havo it on his mind any longer. At tho timo Stewart mado the statement he was perfectly sober. The prisoner added that he did not kill tho man intentionally. Inspector Young, of the Y division, said since last week ho had received a letter from a man named Andrew Muir, residing at 94 Colwyn road, Northampton, to the effect that he had a brother in New Zealand, but had not heard of him for fifteen years, notwithstanding that he had made every inquiry. He had seen the report of the charge against Stewart in an eveningpaperand naturally felt very anxious. A man named Bone, residing at 48 Barnsbury grove, Barnsbury, came into Caledonian road Police Station a day or two ago, and said he was a carpenter, and that about thirteen years ago he made the outfit for a man named Muir who had been murdered in New Zealand. Mr Bros said he had received a note from the medical officer of Holloway Gaol to the effect that during the past week Stewart had shown no Bymptoms of insanity. Dr Beevor, surgeon of the Ist Battalion Scots Guards, "said for some time past Stewart had suffered from unknown and indescribable diseases, and lately they had found out that he was an opium eater. Pooplo who ate opium were subject to vivid dreams and hallucinations. Prisoner, no doubt, had been subject to them. Whether his statement was the outcome of a dream or hallucination he could not say, but Stewart was a very weak-minded man, and his statements were not to bo relied upon. Mr Bros remanded tho prisoner again for a week. The opinion of Stewart's brother soldiers is that some such murder as the man describes probably occurred whilst he was in New Zealand, and that since he became an opium eater he has somehow come to associate himself with it. This is not by any means his only hallucination. He has others almost equally painful and certainly untrue,
In the ' Sporting Life' Harry Munro, the pedestrian, complains that PcDfold, the selfstyled New Zealand wulking champion, whilst professing loudly to be anxious for a match, has neither covered the L 5 he (Munro) left at the ' Sporting Life' office nor kept any one of four appointments made for the purpose of meeting and discussing matters.
Since writing laßt week I have carefully read through Mr Benzon's book, and send you herewith the chapter relating to hia tour in Australia and New Zealand. The literary portion of the work was done by Mr Vero Shaw, who had to patch the story together as beat ho could from Benzon's wildly extravagant talk. What really brought the youth to grief—and would bring him to grief a«ain if he inherited more money to-morrow was his inordinate vanity and conceit. There was nothing he couldn't do better than other people. Thus he insisted on playing the champion Roberts at pyramids, shooting pigeons against the renowned Seaton, and competing as a steeplechase rider with the finest gentlemen jocks. Endless people honestly and unselfishly endeavored to put the drag on and instil a little common sense into the man, but it was worse than useless. He simply insulted them for their pains. "Since the world began I do believe there never was such a Juggins," said Lord Lurgan once. Besides being a colossal fool, without one intelligent interest in life, Benzon is not a "likeable" man. At the zenith of his career the fellow's senseless self-conceit made him an intolerably exasperating companion. Moreover, hia manner to inferiors has always been most offensive. Even whilo the Ring plucked him they hated him, and I never shall forget the scene in Tattersall's at YVindsor on the day it somehow oozed out the Jubilee had run through his money. Benzon wanted to bet as usual in thousands, but neither Peach nor Ulph would take him on. He began to storm, and then Ulph (who is a Jew) let out at him in very plain English. The fellow curled up, like a whipped puppy. Benzon's losses really exceeded L 250,000 considerably, as he sometimes won enormously both on the turf and at cards. In his first season he won one bet of L' 20,000, two of Llu',ooo, two of LIO.OOO, three of L 5,000, one of L 1,500, and L 15.000 at baccarat at a sitting. That is an eighth of a million, without counting minor wins. The affectionate manner in which Benzon speaks of Sir George Chetwynd willl highly amuse those who remember a certain afternoon at Kempton not long ago. Benzon was in a passion and let everyone know it, inveighing loudly against Sherrard and Wood and Sir " Jarge," calling them rascally thieves, and attributing most of his misfortunes to them. Trischler paid Benzon LSOO for his share of the work of the book, and Shaw, I believe, got LIOO. It is, I should say extremely doubtful whether the enterprising publisher will get the LOOO back again. The sale of the book at 10s Cd has so far been very limited, and by the time it comes "down to Us public interest in the subject*will have evaporated. I may mention as an interesting fact that the L 25.000 which Dr won from Benzon one night in Melbourne was never paid. Benzon gave his friend a bill for the amount, which subsequently came to' England to collect. By that time, unfortunately, the " Jubilee " had run through most of his money, and all he could be persuaded to do was to give the doctor a cheque for LIOO for the bill which was then burnt. Benzon never drank nor squandered money on loose women. On the occasion of one of the big gambles in Melbourne he was at the end of the evening, or, rather, the morning, the only sober man in the room.' A gentleman who was present tells me that before they began to play Benzon frankly explained his financial position. " If I win," he said, " I expect to be paid. If I lose you will have to take my paper. I have no'ready.'" And they played on this understanding. Legions of " tarts " and " Totties " have laid siege to to the " Jubilee's " affections, but they could never make much way. He gave them jewellery and bric-a-brac, and could be drawn at times for a "fiver " or a "tenner," but that was all. Vice (like most high caste youDg Jews) he abhorred. So far as can be ascertained, no disinterested act of true friendship or generosity has over been traced to young Benzon. His heart (if he possesses such an organ) must be tougher than River Plato mutton or American beef. In his arxiety to run no risk of libel, Trischler has rather unnecessarily emasculated Benzon's veracious narrative. Even the famous pigeon ramp at Brighton, when the innocent Ernest was " had " to tho tune of many thousands, is passed over without comment. In his book Benzon talks as if he expected Bhortly to come in for another
fortune. The meaning of this is that he has rich relatives who can (if they choose) leave him money. He has, however, always flouted them so scandalously that it is not very likely. The North German Lloyd's new steamer Kaiser Wilhelm 11., which is now making a trial trip to New York, will be put on the Australian station next month, and is expected to run out to Adelaide in twenty-six days. Lord and Lady Charles Scott sail for Australia by the Rome on the 3rd prox. Amongst the undelivered correspondence of a curious character, mentioned in the Postmaster-General's report for the present year, wus a plum pudding (still quite good) in a tin mould, which had been sent out to Australia three Christmases ago, and failed to reach the lad to whom it was addressed.
The samo report states that the reduction in tho parcel post rates to Australia and New Zealand has led to an increase of 40 per cent, in the parcels sent. Mr Eden Savile does not spare Ringmaster. Despite its severe race at York last Wednesday tho Australian horse was started the following Tuesday at Derby for the Peveril of the Peak Stakes, of 1,000 sovs, over a mile, in which it carried the top weight of Bst 121b. George Barrett rode, but Ringmaster was only backed for a trifle at 10 to 1, and had nothing to do with the finish, running, in point of fact, seventh. The 'Kara Yerta Tragedy,' by J. E. Harrison, is an Australian murder mystery story on much tho same lines as Fergus Hume's 'Hansom Cab.' It is published at Is by Walter Scott.
OUR LONDON LETTER., Issue 8039, 16 October 1889
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