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LITERARY NOTES., Otago Witness, Issue 2218, 3 September 1896
*.• Many nursery rhymes have old and curious histories. " Three Blind-Mice "is in a music book of 1609. " A Froggie Would a Wooing Go " was licensed in 16£0. " Little Jack Homer " is older than the seventeenth century, " Passy Cat, Pnsiy Cat, Where Have You Been 1 " dates from the reign of Qaeen Elizabeth. "Boya and Girls Come Out to Play " dates from Charles 11, as does also " Lucy Lqckett Lost her Pocket."
• . •' Miss Jane Findlater's first book, " The Green Graves of Balgowrie," deserved and won more than the common lot of the season's novels. Miss Findlater is the youngest daughter of the late Rev. Eric Findlater, Free Church minister of Loohearnhead, a village in Central Perthshire. After her father's death the family removed to the east coast village of Prestonpans. Miss Findlater has practised writing for years. Her sister published "Sonnets and Songs " last year.
*.* M anchor j«e Merwanjee Bhownaggree, the member for North-east Bethnal Green, contributes a glowing but not luminous article to To-morrow on the appropriate subject of the " Empire of To-morrow." Mr Bhownaggree, who is 45, was a journalist in India, but turned London wai da 14 yeais ego, and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn some three years later. He is connected with the Society of Arts and the Imperial Institute. He' has published a translation of the Queen's '.' Our Life in the Highlands."
*'. • Mr Frederick Griffith, the well-known flautist" at Oovent Garden, has just published an impartial and' exhaustive volume on "Notable Welsh Musicians." Composers, conductors, 'instrumentalists,' •vocalists, are studied and described. Mr Griffith is blunt; and' candid on the subject of present-day music in the Principality. ,No country has displayed more natural aptitude for music than Wales, he eay#, yet none has made co small an impression upon the history of art. His explanation is that Wales has been so satisfied with her natural gifts that, she has given no serious thought to their development. Portions of his volume are almost certain to excite strenuous controversy.
'.• Mr Douglas Sladen, who has just published "Brittany, for Britons," is a busy, though not unduly prominent, worker in that halfway region between journalism and literature. He i« as well-known perhaps in Australia as . in England. After an education at Trinity College, Oxford, he went to Melbourne in 1879, and in 1882 found himself appointed to the Chair of History in Sydney University. After two years he was, however, homeward bound. Mr Sladen has written a good deal about Australia and its poetry, about Japan and its people, about Cornwall and other haunts. Hs figures often in publications more or less critical, and he is not afraid to grow enthusiastic once in a while on mediocrities, whether of prose or verse. Indeed, that is one of bis little peculiarities as a critic.
• . • A New Orleans paper gives the following recipe for a modern nodal:— "Take a selfish and worldly husband, an oppressed and Virtuous heroine, an artful and designing siren, and a hero in love with both. Let the first, by her purblind ingenuousness, irritate the husband and inflame the lover. Throw in an unnatural child — half angel, half, devil ; a general who uses familiar oaths, printed right off ; a perspicaoious maiden aunt, a very blank and cloistered 'juvenile lead,' and a' rake of. approved pattern. Sprinkle liberally with descriptions of the heroine's personal beauty, especially insisting in eveiy other page on her ' bowed mauth ' ; seaßon with the bitterness of the hero's 'galled,' ' stung,' and 4 maddened ' heart; boil on the fiery question of a woman's duty towards a husband with a past; and serve in a pale-green binding .with good print and paper inside." • '. ' In the department of the Overland called "As Talked in the Sanctum," the following is spoken by " The Reader ":—"" :— " I have run across the titles of a lot of onrious old books of Cromwell's time. They rival our modern appellations of ' The Tinted Venuß,' 'The Gilded Sin, 1 and 'The Heavenly Twins.' Listen : • The Christian Sodality; or, Hive of Bees, Sucking the Honey of the Churches' Prayer from the Blossoms of the Word, Blowne Oat of the Epistles and Gospels of the Divine Service throughout the Yeare, collected by the Puny Bee of all the Hive, Not Worthy to be Named Otherwise Than by These Elements in His Name, F. P.' ' A Fan to Drive Away Flies : A Theological Treatise on Purgatory.' • A Most Delectable Sweet Perfumed Nosegay for Saints to Smell at.' 'A Eeaping-hook, Well-tempered, for the Stubborn Ears of the Coming Crop ; or, Biscuit Baked in the Oven of Charity, Carefully Conserved for the Chickens of the Church and the Sweet Swallows of Salvation.' • High-heeled Shoes for Dwarfs in Holiness.' 'The Spiritual Mustard Pot.' . . As I went through a list of these archaic book captions the thought came to me that I might bring some fame to the circle by indicting a bibelot on 'The Facbion in Book Titles.'
• . • A little book, " Europe as Seen Through a Boy's Ejes." by Master Tello J. d'Apery, an
American boy, is having a large tale in the ' United IStatei. ,The Literary World telli the story o£ why and how the book was written. Master d'Apery is a New York bo* of good family who, a tew years ago, bwamtf interested in tho p6or boys and girls of his native city, especially those who were, obliged! to walk about the streets barefooted. ffloaW at the age of 12, he determined to start* monthly magazine for boys and girls, all the profits of whloh would be devoted td supporting a "Barefoot Mission." This was the beginning of the magazine known a> the "Sunny Hour,* one of the best ' juvenile monthlies in America; and the fact that its editor and proprietor was but « 12-year-old boy made It tine of the American wonders. Last year the young editor paid tt visit to Europe, leaving the magazine in charge of his assistant. On his return ha wrote his book, " Europe as Seen Through « Boy's Byes." All the proceeds from Its sale have, been devoted to the "Barefoot Mission." • . • Mr T. P. O'Connor, M.P., opens the "Final Picture" of Napoleon in his new volume with this personal note and memory : — One afternoon I stood by the tomb ofi Napoleon in the Invalides in Paris, and I can never forget the strange, weird, indescribable feeling which came over me as I looked down amid the surrounding silence on the mass of brown-red murble which enolosed his remains. What brings so strong* sense of the emptiness and trantitorineis of life as standing fAce^o face with 'the unbreakable stillness of 'death--especially when the ashes, laid low and kill, created such wild and oyclonic tumult in their living day as those of Napoleon 1 ! In the cold and majestic isolation or his tomb' —far from the side of Josephine, who lies in quiet and gentle rest ; far from that other consort who never really loved him ; far from the CounteßS Walewska— one of the most pathetio and touching figures in his strange and fierce life ; far from the poor boy over whose cradle ho more than once was seen to be in mournful fore* cast of bis joyless destiny ; above all, far from those wild shouts and hurrahs of mighty armies, • which found in his word and eye that inspir*- ' tion to meet; end defeat numbers, dangers, and death— alone he lies in death, as he lived in life. Mr O'Connor concludes:— The whole scene struck me as significant* eloquent, almost a revelation, and an appeal by dead Napoleon to that recognition from history which history has been so ready to give him.
LITERARY NOTES., Otago Witness, Issue 2218, 3 September 1896
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