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BOOKS.

Favinff the Way: A Romance of tie Australian Smh. By Sim son Newland.

London: Gay and Bird.

We cannot say that we particularly admire the character of this author's hero, or the conduct of his story. Roland Grantley sets out well. He is charming aa a lad, but the rapid hardening of his nature and the criminal tone given to his actions deprive him of any right to sympathy. 01 course, if the author's chief consideration 13 to teach a young fellow that he had better set aside family pride aisd snap up a good girl when he sees her and loves her, or else that she will many somebody else Bhe does not care for, Mr Newland may be right in arranging matters as he has arranged them. But wa do not think most yourjg fellows would find the lesson very impressive. They wonld be likely to say that no girl like Petrel would be likely to act in the two great crises of her life as she did; and that Grantley'a repentance is a | little overstrung. We oould not care enough for Grantley to make us very sorry for his maimed life; but we did get up sufficient regard for Petrel to make us resent tho way in which Fortune buffets her without any final compsnsation. Why will the young novelists of the day go on writing stories with the main drift of showing us that things in this world " turn their;currents all awry." We know that very well, because we havp, each of us, had our share of the general crookedness. We know that there may be supremely clever work in a pessimist novel and even a great deal of truth ; but we believe that most readers derive neither much profit nor much pleasure from such cleverness and truth. In literature of the imagination wa have Buieiy a right to a little rose colour, being snre that if we want " Darkest England " or " Darkest Australia " we can get it in hard fact. We do not therefore approve the main drift of this book, but that has not prevented us from getting a good deal of pleasure from reading ic. It has introduced us to one or two pleasant people (very few) and to a good many more or less interesting. The novel is written in a bright, vigorous style, by a writer who has a good eye for the picturef que in men and things. There are stirring incidents here and there which are treated with a vigorous hand. The most impressive part of the book to ourselves is that which describes the mouth of the Murray, with its relentless current and almost human character. Tho coast scenery on each side of the river also, though not distressingly elaborated, is presented with great vividness. As for the buried casket of treasure, wo, shoutd recommend the author to leave that cort of thing to Kido'r Haggard, who may be said to have a vested right in such finds.

Reminiscences of the Great Mutiny. By William FonisE3-MiTeHELL. Macmillan's Colonial Library. This ia ono of those books of pure delight which one can look for only at long intervals. If the story of the Mutiny were toli a thousand times, it would still have a new interest, told again by one who had been in the thick of it. Mr Forbes-Mitchell wa3 a sergeant in Sir Colin Campbell's favourite regiment, the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders. As to the general style of the book, the thought that strikes one is that if a sergeant of the British Army can write a book like this what might wo not expect from those who hold her Majesty's commission. We happen to have spoken on the subject of this book to one who was present in the scenes it describes, and lie assures us that it is a very faithful account of the events narrated— that he went irom paga to page of the book in delighted anticipation^ rsadiDg interesting matter about Indian heroes whom he knew well in the days of the Mutiny, and that he found such matter on every page. In a book so full of good anecdotes that stir iho blood and move one to laughter or to tear?, it is not an easy matter to indicate which are the bast. Thoro are many that tbrow light on the temperament and character of Sir Colia Campbell. One learns to see in him that sagacity and indomitable will and courage that go to make tbo British hsro-general. But at the same time this narrative forces on him who reads it tha conviction that he who will get all the work that ia wanted out oC the British soldier must bs a skilful feeler of pulses, and must know the exact spot In the organism of "Tommy" whera eoft sawder may most effectively be applied. On one occasion Mr Forbei-Mitchell suspscts Sir Colin of getting up a little dialogne scene with the express purpose of stimulating his men to extraordinary exertion: — " About noon on the Bth the Commander-in-chief, accompanied by Sir Hope Grant and Brigadier Adrian Hope, had our brigade tamed out, and, as soon aa Sir Colin rode in among us, we knew there was work to bo dons. Ho cilled the officers to the front, and addressing them in the hearing of the man, told them that the Nrtoa S.llrib had passed through Bithoor with a large number of men and 17 guns, and that we must all prepare for another forced march to overtake him and capture these guns before he could either reach Futtebghur or cross into Oude with them. After stating that the camp would ba struck as Boon as wo had got our dinners, tha Commahder-in-cbief and Sir Hope Grant held a short but animated conversation, which I have alway3 thought was a pre-arranged matter between them for our encouragemont: In the fall hearing of the men Sir Hope Grant turned to the Commaader-in-chief and said, in rather a loud tone: " I'm afraid, your Excellency, this march will prove rather a wild goose chase, because the infantry, in their present tired state, will never be able to keep up with the cavalry." On this, Sir Colin tnrned round in his saddle, and looking straight at us, replied in a tone equally loud, so as to bo heard by all the men: '' I tell you, General Grant, you are wrong. You don't koow these mea; these men will march your cavalry blind." And turning to the mon as if expecting to be corroborated by them, he was answered by a dozen voice?, " Ay, ay, Sir Colin, we'll show them what we can do 1" Sir Colin was much given to stroking his favourite 93rd in this way, and they always responded to the touch. At the taking of the Shah Nujeef, when he determined to lead the 93rd himself as a forlorn hope—" Eemember meo," said he, " tha lives at stake inside the Presidency are those of women and children, and they must bo rescued." To thi3 noble incitement the men replied as nobly, " Ay, ay, Sir Colin 1 We stood by you at Bslaklava, and will stand by you here; but you most not expose yourself so much as you are doing. We can be replaced, but you can't. You must remain behind; we can lead ourselves." Great was the pride and joy of the 93rd when their beloved Sir Colin was appointed to the colonelcy of the regiment. The letter announcing his appointment to this honour Sir Colin read alond to the regiment. "As soon a3 Sir Colin had read this letter, the whole regiment cheered till we were hoarse ; and when Sir Colin's voice could again be heard, he called for the master tailor to go to the headquatters camp to take his measuro to send home for a uniform of the regiment for him, feather bonnet and all complete; and about 18 mouths afterwards Sir Colin visited us ia Sub;Uhoo, dressed in the regimental uniform then ordered. Very spirited ia the story of "Paddy" Macßean and his prowes3. Paddy Macßean encountered a havildar, a naik, and nine Sepoys at ono gate and killed the whole 11, one after the other. The havildar was last; and by the time he came through the narrow gate, several men came to the assistance of Macßean, but he called to them not to interfere, and the havildar and he went at it with their swords." Macßean is one of the few instances of men who have risen from the ranks to very high position in the army. He was a ploughman of Inverness before he enlisted and died a major-general. M*cBean's promotion, strange as it may seem, waj retarded by the fact that he had joined the Fiea Kirk. "In the times o£ which I am writing," says tho author of this book, "the 93rd was constitu'ed as much after the arrangements of a Highland parish as thosa of a regiment in the army; and, to use the words of old. Colonel SparkE, who commanded, M'Bean was passed over from promotions because* "He was a d d Free Kirker "

V<-ry s'.irrhitr nnii pitiful is the account given of tho Usata of miiuy brave men and

officers before the juugle fort of Nirput Singh, the R jja of Eooyah. Most deplored by the men of all the heroes who died in the mutiny was the well-beloved Adrian Hope, who lost his life on this occasion. It was General Walpolo who was in command, and he grievously mismanaged the affair. So great was the fuiy of the' men at the death of Adrian Hope that on the slightest encouragement, says Mr ForbesMitchell, they would have turned out and hanged General \Valpole. Themostimpressive page of the book is that which records the burial of Adrian Hope and those that fell with him—" Brigadier Hope and the officers on the right, wrapped in their tartan plaids; the non-commissioned officers and the privates on tbeir left, each sewn up in a blanket. The Rev. Mr Oowie, whom we of the 93rd had nicknamed "The Fighting Padre," afterwards Bishop of Auckland, New Zealand, and the Rev. Mr Boss, chaplain of the 42nd, conducted the service, Mr Ross reading the 90th Psalm, and Mr Oowie the rest of the service. The pipers of the 42nd and 93rd, with muffled drums, played "The flowers of the forest "as a dead march. In all my experience in the army or out of it I never witnessed such intense grief, both among officers and men, as was expressed at this funeral. Many of all ranks sobbed like tender-hearted women."

We cannot think that there will be any class of readers who will not peruse this book with profound interest. It is snre to be welcomed, as the author in his preface ventures to hope, "alike by soldier and civilian." Lord Boberts, at that time "Plucky wee Bobs," in correcting a slight mistake made by the author, has expressed his approval o£ tho " Beminiscances," and thinks " that they are a very true description of the events of that time.' Thia is as high praise as the anthor need care for.

We have received from the publishers a copy of Mr H. 0. Jacobson's interesting little volume, " Tales of Banks Peninsula." Mr Jacobson explains in his preface to the first edition that when he first began to compile his collection of Peninsula narratives he had no idea it would assume such dimensions as to warrant their being published in book form, being merely intended for newspaper publication and for the guidance of possible future historians. The first edition was, however, exhausted within a few weeks of its publication in 1883, and Mr Jacobson has since been engaged in the collection of fresh material with a view to issuing the second edition, which is now before the public. The history of Banks Peninsula is rich in interesting material. It was the scene of many sanguinary episodes in the life of its original Maori inhabitant?, and the residents of Otago, especially thoee of them who remember the old Native chief Taiaroa, may be said to have a special interest in a portion of ths chapter on the Native history of the Peninsula, for the old Otakon chief performed bis share in more than one stirring incident. This portion of Mr Jacobson'a volume is written by the Ray. J. W. Stack, who has done his work well. An interesting chapter is devoted to a relation o£ the particulars of George Hempleman's alleged purchase of Akaroa and the greater part of Banks Peninsula from Bloody Jack and other Maori Chief*, the consideration being , " one big boat, by name the Maty Ann, including two sails and jib." Hempleman never succeeded in getting a settlement of his claim, although Mr Campbell, Commissioner of Crown Lands at Akaroa, after a full inquiry into all the circnmstance3 recommended that Hempleman be granted 2500' acres as a settlement. Notwithstanding this recommendation he had to institute proceedings against the Government, and died in the hospital while these were proceeding. The rest of the book is composed of the personal reminiscences of a larga number of old settler?, and it is certainly well worth its published prioa of 3, Gd.

Under ths title of " Following the Flag " Mr W. H. Lever, who will be remembered by some of our readers as having paid a visit to Danedin about 12 months since, has published jottings o£ the jaunt ho at that time made round the world, his route having been through Canada and the United States to the Sandwich Islands, New Zealand, and Australia, and home by the Suez Canal. Mr Lever has put together a number of very interesting and intelligent jottings and criticisms of what he saw in the countries he visited. Much of similar purport we have of course already read iv the accounts of their round-the-world trips published by previous travellers who have, like Mr Lever, not had sufficient time to do more than acquiro a somewhat superficial acquaintance with the manners and customs prevailing in the social and business life of tho peoples they have visited; but we have not met with any little publication of its kind in which more readable criticism of men and things is to be found. He is, however, not always accurate —where, for example, ho describes the New Zealand Government, which is stated to be "essentially a working man's Government' from the Premier downward 3 The majority are themselves working men. Some aro compositors, Eomo boilermakers, one is a lamplighter, one a packer in a store, and so on." Mr Lever hag added to the interest of his jottings by frequent illustrations —some from photographs taken by himself, and some purchased at the places to which they refer.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ODT18940324.2.50

Bibliographic details

BOOKS., Otago Daily Times, Issue 10005, 24 March 1894, Supplement

Word Count
2,478

BOOKS. Otago Daily Times, Issue 10005, 24 March 1894, Supplement

Working