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TOPICS OF THE DAY.

[From Our Special Correspondent. |

The latest Whitechapel horror Stuart Cumberland predicts it Doncaster races—The Champagne Stakes The Leger—Easy victory tor Donovan—His winnings—The Shah in Vienna—Benzon’s prospects A suppressed book, 30,000 conies destroyed—George R Sims and G. E. Simms—J. C. Firth’s death—Dramatic notes —Mrs Langtry again—‘ A Man’s Shadow ’ Literary notes George Moore’s new book—‘The Wages of Sin,’ Jerome’s latest— Cheap editions—' Such is Life,’ a good story—The plot—Forthcoming works, etc., etc. London, September 13. In connection with the latest Whitechapel horror, it seems just worth mentioning that in last Saturday’s ‘ Mirror ’ Stuart Cumberland announced that bo had re-dreamt the vision which had preceded seven of Jack the Ripper’s previous crimes, and confidently predicted that in the course of the present week we should discover more of that worthy’s handiwork. Odd, wasn’t it ? Thanks to Hume Nisbet’s sketches, the ‘ Mirror ’ seems now to he making some way. The letterpress as a rule is not up to much, save when Cumberland can recall some apropos reminiscence of notables whose thoughts he has read or attempted to read. In fine weather there are few pleasanter race towns in England than Doncaster, and this week the sun shone out gloriously for three days of the meeting. The Prince of Wales, who is paying an initial visit to the Duke and Duchess of Portland, at Welbeck, was present, and on Leger afternoon all Yorkshire seemed to have gravitated to the famous town moor. The first news which greeted us upon reaching the course on Tuesday was that the unlucky Chitabob had fallen lame again and might not be able to run. Nevertheless, during the afternoon, 5 to 1 was taken about the colt’s winning chance, and level money laid on its running. The feature of Tuesday’s sport was a magnificent race for the Champagne Stakes between the two-year-old cracks El Nord and Riviera. At the distance the pair came right away from the rest of the field, Riviera with a little the best of Baron Rothschild’s colt, which advantage she maintained to the end, little Loates eventually landing the Manton scarlet by a head. Both animals will not improbably feel the effects of this punishing race in the future. In the Great Yorkshire Handicap on Tuesday, run over the Leger distance, Mr “jimmy” Lowther secured an immensely popular victory with Hounsditch (3 yrs, 6.11), who beat Mercy, Polydor, and eight others comfortably ; starting favorite at the nice price of 11 to 2. The “talent” (as backers love to style themselves) were also well on the spot in three other races, and went home in the best of tempers. The Ring have had a ruinous time this summer, and many of the professional backers (as distinguished from the punting public) have won comparative fortunes. Mr John Hammond, for example, despite occasional streaks of bad luck, is said to have made as much in two years as that amiable idiot the Jubilee Juggins lost. Notwithstanding the certainty which the Leger sesmed to be for Donovan, a fair field put in an appearance on Wednesday afternoon. Most of the betting certainly was place-betting, as with stories of “ roaring,” etc., going about, few cared to lay odds on the Duke of Portland’s colt, and yet it seemed rank waste of money to back anything else. Donovan won the St. Leger without an effort. Entering the straight the Duke’s colt and Chitabob, with Miguel as nearest attendant, were seen to single themselves out, and a great race was anticipated. Mr Perkins's unlucky youngster could not, however, live beside the Derby winner directly Fred Barrett extended him, and Fagan seeing he had no chance forebore to persevere. Little Miguel then challenged resolutely, but was also shaken off, and the son of Galopin and Mowenera striding gallantly along won in a canter by three lengths, Lord Bradford’s Davenport running a bad third, and securing the piece money for which it was heavily backed. The victory was very well received, and the Duke of Portland, all smiles, led his horse back to scale*. Donovan has now won in stakes alone L 44.562, and the lucky Duke’s total over Ayrshire, Donovan, and Semolina amounts to L 51,443. Backers of the favorite bad not to buy their money very dear, as all sorts of rumors were prevalent during the morning, and “ take 6 to 4 ” was the general cry. Later the Ring asked for a point or two more, and 13 to 8 on was the final starting price, 5 to 1 being offered against Chitabob, and 20 to 1 bar two. For places, Davenport, Pinzen, Miguel, and Enthusiast were all well backed at 2 to 1. The time was fair (3min 13sec), and the stakes worth more than they have been for some years, viz., L 4.800. No big winners are reported. At the yearling sales on the morning of Leger Day the top price was 1,350 guineas, paid for a handsome colt by Prism out of Rosary, The Shah appears to have carried on in fine style at Vienna, where he paid no attention whatever to court etiquette; indeed seemed to positively rejoice in flouting the Austrian royalties. Things came to a climax at the opera, for the King o£ King’s small favorite Aziz, placed a heavy footstool (it is believed out of pure mischief) in the way of one of the Grand Dukes as he was advancing ceremoniously to pay his respects. The dignified old fellow went over head foremost, coming what is vulgarly called a severe “cropper.” This was bad enough, but when the Shah burst into a roar of laughter and clapped his hands joyfully, the court were almost frozen with horror. The Archduke picked himself and retired, his face in all probability betraying his feelings. Anyhow, the Shah chose to be offended, and, turning his back on the Emperor and

the Imperial Highnesses generally, walked off without bidding any of the party farewell. They waited supper for His Majesty, but he declined to reappear, sending word that he preferred eating alone with Aziz. Altogether, it was with the intensest relief the Viennese Court officials bade farewell to the wayward potentate and his exigeant suite.

Mr Benzon's much abused uncle and guardian has not left that enterprising youth another quarter of a million to chuck away, but settled L4OO a year on him in such a manner that he can't mortgage or anticipate it. The meaning of tho hints in Benzon's book that he may possibly again l>(i i/i funds some day is that he aspires to the hand and heart of a well-dowered damsel, This young lady broke off their engagement when her fiance became (as he gracefully expressed it) " stoney," but has since relented. If the match ever comes off, her money will, however, indubitably be strictly tied up. Thirty thousand copies of a work purporting to tell the true story of the relations between the Baroness Vetsera and the late Archduke Rudolph were seized in Vienna last week, and the newspapers warned not to mention the occurrence. Nevertheless a few copies reached England, and I hear that one has fallen into the hands of the enterprising Vizetelly. The book was written by a member of tho Vetsera family, who has painted the late Crown Prince in painfully dark colors.

I see you fell into the common mistake of supposing the journalist Simms who had a bout of fisticuffs with the Duke of Cambridge was George R. of that ilk, “ Dagonet” and dramatist. Curiously enough, there never were two men more utterly unlike one another. The Sims, whom all the world has heard of, is a burly six-footer, chock full of humor and dyspepsia, who would have made things exceedingly warm for his Royal Highness at close, quarters. G, E. Simms is a little irascible rat of a man forever in scrapes, and without a thimbleful of humor in his composition or the faintest possibility of under any conceivable circumstances seeing or making a joke. The other day G. E. assaulted his father, and once again Geo. R. got the credit of the crime. The latter moaned characteristically over bis sad fate in the ‘ Referee,’ and swore that his rampantly militant namesake should welter in gore the first time they met. Will it he believed that the crazy little liner took “Dagonet’s” jest an (/rand serievx, and absolutely threatened to apply for police protection. In the current ‘Referee’ “ Dagonet” says that, as Geo. R. fiims has never seen G. E. Simms, the latter may, he thinks, walk about the streets without fear of being murdered. To return for a moment to the subject of “Jubilee Juggins,” I may mention that just at present, at any rate, the young man is in no want of ready money, dome Australians, who have been visiting Scarborough, tell me that Mr Benzon is stopping at the Royal Hotel there in great style, and gave a ball on Wednesday evening to the fashionable tag, rag, and bobtail of that smart seaside resort. Upwards of 700 persona were present, a fifth of whom the host himself knew personally. Mr J. Bottomley Firth, the deputy chairman of the London County Council, who died very suddenly in Switzerland last week, was a very authoritative and verbose personage, and therefore, perhaps, not so popular as he deserved to be. Nevertheless he did much good work for local government in London, and will be greatly missed. DRAMATIC NOTKS. The old Olympic Theatre, which has lost caste terribly of late years, is about to be pulled down and rebuilt on .nodern lines. Mrs Langtry, who is on the look-out for a London play-house, will probably lease it for a time. The Jersey Lily wears wonderfully well. Three years of hard work and continuous travelling do not seem to have aged her perceptibly. The wondrous complexion which set all London talking when as a girl of eighteen she burst on society at the Academy “private view” of 1878 is not perhaps quite what it was. Mrs Langtry, like other actresses, has had to condescend to rouge and pearl powder. On the stage, however, she still looks a peerlessly beautiful woman, and her acting has enormously improved. The Yankee dude who used to follow Mrs Langtry everywhere is no longer en evidence, the Chinese page boy has been sent home to the land of his fathers, and pugs and pets generally have been severely put down. Mrs Langtry has abandoned the role of pampered beauty for that of actress per se, “My Art (with a big A, please) has become my all,” she says impressively : “I care for nothing else.” With the production of ‘ A Man’s f’hadow’ at the Haymarket last night, the autumn season at the theatres may be said to have fairly begun, To-morrow 4 London Day by Day ’ reopens the Adelphi; on Monday Horace Lingard revives Offenbach’s 4 Brigands ’ at the Avenue ; and Saturday is fixed for the premieres of 4 Blatd Ruy Bias ’ at the Gaiety, and 4 The Royal Oak ’ at Drury Lane. LITERAUY NOTES. 4 Mike Fletcher ’ is the title of George Moore’s new realistic novel now going through the Press. It belongs to the same genua as ‘The Mummer’s Wife,’ dealing with music halls and variety artistes much as that great work did with theatres and provincial touring companies. ' Mrs Harrison, or as she prefers to be called “ Lucas Mulct,” has just finished a novel with the euphonious title of ‘The Wages of Sin,’ which will run serially through the 4 Universal Review,’ commencing next month. It deals with a somewhat delicate social question—viz., the terrible aftereffects of youthful profligacy, and as the author speaks out very plainly, will not improbably excite considerable discussion. The story, as a work of art, is said to be a distiqot advance on 4 Colonel Enderhy’a Wife,’ and likely to clinch Lucas Malet’s reputation as a novelist of the first (contemporary) rank.

Mr Jerome K. Jerome couldn't write a stupid book if he tried, but 'Three Men in a Boat—not to mention the Dog,' is quite unworthy the author of ' Idle Thoughts' and 'Stageland.' Mr Jerome's up-river excursion with two friends would have made a capital magazine story, but, stretched out into twenty odd laboriously humorous chapters, it becomes wearisome and even irritating. I see Canon Farrar recognises the merits of Gissing's ' Nether World' in the current 'Contemporary.'

Sonnenschein and Co.'s announcements for the coming publishing season include ' Anecdotes of Musical Celebrities,' by Dr Louis Engel ("L.E." of the ' World'); ' Court Life under the Plantagenets,' by Hubert Hall; ' Young Mr Ainslio's Courtship,'by F. C. Phillips; ' A Conspiracy of Silence,' by Geo. Colmoro; and ' The Wages of Sin,' by Lucas Malet. Amongst the cheap reissues of the week are Mrs Riddell's 'Senior Partner'(a very fair sample of her work), and John Law's ' Out of V\ ork,' at 2s ; and Hardy's ' Woodlanders'(one of the best of the Dorsetshire series) and Miss-Keary's 'Castlo Daly' at 3s 6d. 'The Woodlanders' is a thoroughly restful book. I spent a sunny Sunday afternoon under the trees on the banks of tho Thames reading it, and enjoyed myself immensely in a peaceful kind of way. A sensational shocker would have been wholly out of harmony with the surroundings, which Hardy's quiet story just suited. Another story I can strongly recommend is May Kendall's 'Such Is Life'—a one volume novel published at 6s. This lady achieved some success last year with a series of sketches entitled ' From a Garrett'; but * Such Is Life ' shows far more ability. It belongs to the same class of fiction—in the main thoroughly healthy and wholesome—as Miss Rosa Nouchette Carey's books, but is much cleverer. Often, indeed, the characters talk positively brilliantly. There is no plot, in the strict sense of the term. We are simply interested (and very much interested) in the commonplace, everyday fortunes of a hard-worked London doctor's family and their friends characters vivid, lovable, and, in the main, true to life. Miss Kendall has evidently seen a good deal of hospital work, and her description of the two young delioately-nurtured girls left to grasp Binglehanded, with the horrors of a couple of crowded smallpox wards—the other nurses being stricken down and outside help unavailable—is alleged to be founded on fact. An undercurrent of sadness and a sort of resigned pessimism runs through the story, but Miss Kendall writes so brightly few are

likely to notice it. By all means read 'Such Is Life.'

The annual volume of the ' English Illustrated Magazine,' just published, compares on the whole very favorably with the issues of a year or two back. The engravings are not so good, perhaps, as they used to be, and the general articles lack popular interest ; but there is plenty of good, sound fiction. Crawford's ' Sant' Ilario' I have already commended to you ; and the volume also contains 'Jenny Harlowe' (a characteristic sea story, by Clark Russell), ' The Best Man' (an exciting novelette of ranche life in New Mexico, by Arthur Paterson), and 'The House of the Wolf,' by Stanley Wcyinan, besides numerous short tales. Altogether, a cheap book at 7s 6d. Cassell's 'Saturday Journal,' which has poached pretty considerably on the ' Family Herald's' preserves during the past twelvemonth, will add still further improvements to the new volume commencing next month. I hear there is some talk of forming the •Family Herald' into a limited liability company.

Trischler appears to be plunging recklessly into literary investments of all sorts. I hear that he has agreed to take Miss May Crommelin's four next novels. Let us hope for his sake they'll be as good as 'ln the West Countree.'

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18891102.2.33.3

Bibliographic details

TOPICS OF THE DAY., Issue 8054, 2 November 1889, Supplement

Word Count
2,606

TOPICS OF THE DAY. Issue 8054, 2 November 1889, Supplement

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