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LONDON., Tuapeka Times, Volume XXIV, Issue 1879, 16 March 1892
(Front the Dunedin ' Evening Star's' London Correspondent.)
London, January 23. AMUSEMENTS. I see it stated that before Mr Irving raised the curtain on ' Henry VIII.' last Tuesday he had expended L 15,000 on scenery and costumes, the latter alone coming to a prodigiods sum. In. every instance the finest silks, brocades, and fura were used, and altogether the revival required several hundred dresses. The Lyceum salary li3t and general expenses amount to LSOO a week, and the house crammed to its fullest holds L4OO. It will consequently take quite three months of first-class business even to pay expenses. Personally, I think * Henry V 11.,' though a wretched play, is likely to run through the year. Even in these days of sumptuous spectacles we have had nothing quite so pictorically and arob;eologtcally perlect. Irving looks and acts Wolaey admirably, but his mannerisms spoil an otherwise faultless performance. Ellen Terry is picturesque, of course, but Queen Katherine does not suit her like Lady Macbeth, The hit of the piece was made by Forbes Robertson as the betrayed Buckingham. lam almost forgetting, by-the-way, Terriss'a Henry VIII. He is excellently got up, after Halbein's famous picture, with short red hair, but plays rather too melodramatically. The King's bluff manner and disconcerting "Ha I" could, one feels sure, be made much more effective. Miss Violet Vanbrogh is a pretty Anne Boleyn, and amongst the crowd of courtiers are Wenman and Gordon Craig, the latter, as Thomas Cromwell, making a distinct advance in his profession.
Mr George Alexander's next production at St. James's will be a play by Oacar Wilde, in which the author believes so firmly that he reiuaed an offer of LI,OOO down for all rights. • The Nautch Girl ' disappears from the Savoy bill to-morrow, and the following Saturday a revised version of Grundy and Solomon's 'Vicar of Bray, 1 produced at a matinde with but moderate success some time ago, will replace it. A long career is evidently not anticipated for thiß work, aa Sir Arthur Sullivan is busy on the Continent scoring a libretto written some time ago by Sydney Grundy. Should the ' Vicar ' fail totally, as seems not impossible, ' lolanthe ' will be given for a few weeks.
Miss Katherine Rodger s, who died in America recently, will be remembered principally as the creator of the heroine of Boucicault'a ' Formosa ' at Drury Lane in 1869. The part was intended for the lovely and talented Adelaide Neilson, but when she realised its character she declined it, and for some time the management were in a serious difficulty. Finally, Miss Rodgers (the wife of a Birmingham manager) undertook the role, and played it with a robust dash which shocked everyone delightfully, Henry Irving was in the cast acting one of the insignificant villains. His day had not yet dawned. Recently Augustus Harris revived ' Formosa ' at Drury Lane, but it was voted thoroughly old-fashioned and not a bit naughty So no one went to see it.
The ' Late Lamented ' has disappeared from the Strand bill at last, and ' The New Wing,' by H, A, Kennedy, replaces it.
Mr D'Oyley Carte has abandoned the attempt to make • The Basoche ' catch on at his big theatre in Cambridge Circus, and on Saturday night the opera was finally withdrawn. Its failure to attract, despite an enthusiastic reception and glowing Press notices, would be inexplicable if one didn't know that feathers turn the scale against a piece very often. My notions of the feathers which influenced this particular production are (1) a bad name, and (2) lack of advertising. Mr Carte, with Gilbert and Sullivan at his baok, didn't advertise the Savoy successes much, and thought he could carry out the same policy at the Royal English Opera. But the majority of playgoers had never heard of Messager, and the name 'Bisoche' conveyed nothing to them. Here, surely, was a case for liberal advertising and copious, off-repeated explanations.
Gilbert, realising that Cellier was not Sullivan, saw the necessity for this sort of thing at the Lyric, and permitted himself to be freely interviewed before the production of ' The Mountebanks.' All London was in consequence soon talking of the comical idea of the clockwork Hamlet and Ophelia, and now Mr Sedger's theatre is doing tremendous business eight times a week, the public mourning notwithstanding.
Big successes like ' Henry VIII.' and ' numpty Dumpty ' will not be affected co much by the public mourning as the lesser shows. Permanent entertainments like Maskeiyne and Cook, German Reeds, and the Christy Minstrels usually fare worst. To them this time must be added • Venice in London,' the proprietors of which are already beginning to look extremely blue. LITERARY NOTES, An American author named George Hastings has made a big hit in the States with a cleverly written " shocker " called ' Philip Henson, M.D.,' which, according to the ' Bookman,' is selling even quicker there than ' Three Men in a Boat ' did. Ward, Lock have just brought out a poorly and unattractively got-up, English edition, at a shilling. Philip Henson, a clever capable young New York doctor, engaged to a charming girl, remorselessly cuts the throat of a villainous old money-lender in order to obtain a sum of which he is seriously in need. Henson's precautions have been so admirably taken that he is never even suspected of the murder, but the police and circumstances make out a strong case against his brother. The doctor does all he can to extricate this youth, till it transpires that an invalid lady witnessed the murder from a window at the opposite side of the street, and can swear to the assassin's identity. The one question then ia : will the old lady bo well enough to give her evidence at the trial in person. Henson's innocent fiancee naturally gets her clever lover called in to attend her brother's saviour. He angrily refuses to go, till he fears suspicion may be excited. At last, one murky evening, after shaving off his beard, the doctor faces the ordeal of meeting the invalid. All goes well till accident throws a blaza of light on his face. Then the old lady shrieks, and Henson feels she has recognised him. Ultimately, as ha leaves the room threatened with immediate denunciation, the doctor stretches a hand over madame's gruel, and from hi 3 nail drops in a poisoned bean. She dies, and the accused youth, after a^ lengthy trial, is sentenced to penal servitude for life. Henson, row a successful man, marries, and for a time ia happy. Sleep, however, soon deserts him. He takes to morphia and loses his nerve. Above all, the miserable man dreads talking in his sleep. He f righteES . his wife by trying to hypnotise her, and altogether behaves in such a way that finally the does suspect something like the truth. Not, however, till Henson blurts out a terrible sentence in a nightmare does the poor woman realise ail. She leaves her wicked husband for ever, and tho curtain falls on Philip Henson, M.D., outwardly a brilliant specialist, inwardly a moral and physical wreck, haunted by fearsome spectres and deserted by the one person in the world ho purely and devotedly loves. The story throughout i 8 written with a rough vigor not ineffective, Mr Hastings stands quite a hoad and shoulders above the Fergus Hume school.
Mrs Burnett has endowed a cot at tho St. Monicas Home for invalid children, and
presented a reading room to the Newsboys' Club in Drury lane in memory of her eldest boy Lionel (the original of 'Little Lord Fauntleroy '), who died in Paris last year. Rumor aays great things of Miss Mary E. Wilkins's first novel, which will commence to run in ' Harper's ' forthwith. The reßult of Mr Henry Norman's special visit in the interests of the 'Pall Mall Gazette ' to the East appears in the shape of a handsome volume of chatty information entitled 'The Real Japan.' All who take an interest in this curious country and people should read it, and (like Kennan's 1 Siberia ') the book is one which should find a place on the shelves of all public libraries and institutions. DEATH OF DUTCH SKATEB. The death of Dutch Skater at the I advanced age of twenty -six recalls perhaps I the most sensational Goodwood Cup ever run — viz., the race of 1871. There were five starters, the French crack Mortemer (6 yrs, 9.7), the Derby winner Favonius (3 yre, 8.0), the Hunt Cup winner Ripponden (3 yrs, 7.7), Mr Marshall's unknown filly Shannon (3 yrß, 7.4), and Dutch Skater (5 yrs, 9.0). Betting stood evens on Mortemer, 55 to 40 Favonius, 100 to 7 Ripponden, 50 to 1 Shannon, and 100 to 1 Dutch Skater. Fordham and Chaloner were on the favorites, and they were watching each other so closely they lost sight of the outsiders. The race was run at a muddling pace, which favored the lightly-weighted Shannon. Opposite the stand it seemed good odds on either the filly or Dutch Skater. Favonius managed to head the latter, but Shannon, amidst the delighted roars of the Ring, won by half a length. Eleven years later Fordham again muddled away this same race, when the hurdle racer Friday (5 yrs, 7.11), starting at 20 to 1 in a field of four, beat Tristan (4 yrs, 8 10), upon whom 7 to 2 and often 4to 1 was freely laid. On this occasion I was present, and happened to be close to a reporter, who, mounted on a chair, described the race to a colleague standing by note-book in hand. The gentleman in question had with great difficulty persuaded Andy Anderson (the bookmaker) to take a "ready" wager of L4O to LlO about the field, and I had watched him jubilantly deposit four crackling tenners. Evidently he felt quite certain of getting them back a few minutes later with another added thereto. Fordham let Friday get a long way in front, and as they neared the turn for home it began to look doubtful whether even Tristan, with his fine turn of speed, could make up the distance in time. " Good old Fordham; kidding 'em as usual," jocularly observed the speculator on the chair, in whose tones, nevertheless, a shade of anxiety might be noticed. "Why, it's a 'undred to one on Tristan. (Then sollo voce :) Com on, you. (Aloud :) Come on, my beauty. Give him the whip, ye fool. He'll catch him yet. No he won't. Come on, can't you. By he'll just get up. Yes. No.^ NO. Done, by ," and overcome by his feelings the poor man toppled over backwards, chair and all. Dutch Skater was not a great success at the stud, moßt of his progeny proving mere platers. Insulaire, Dutch Oven, and Yellow were, perhaps, his best-known children. On tho turf Dutch Skater won over twenty-three races, including the Great Metropolitan at Epaom in 1872 (carrying top weight) and the Warwick Cup. He was a grand stayer, and beat both Corisande and Agility at weight for age.
Despite Kingsclere's apparently invincible team— Onne, Orville, Goldfinch, and La Fleche — in the Derby, there promises to be betting presently on the race. Colonel North's pair— El Diablo and Lady Hermithave grown into splendid animals, and the touts are enthusiastic concerning Mr Douglas Baird's " dark " Endurance, by Energy out of Siluria, which might turn out another Common. There are also Gossoon, Galeopsis, 'St. Angelo, Rueil, Dunure, and Flyaway to be reckoned with. Odds of 6 to 4 are offered at present on the Kingsclere four. THE PIOUS FORGER. In the Russell Bquare district few men were, till recently, more respected than Dr Charles Augustus Bynoe, of 8 Endsleigh Gardens. A pillar of the church, Bible teacher at the Sunday school, and vicar's right-hand man — who more earnest in good works than he. Dr Bynoe's mamma keeps a boarding-house at No. 8, and 'twas the son's proud privilege to sit at the head of the table and dispense to ravenous guests limited portions of the good things provided. One evening not long ago, as Dr Charles was dissecting for the family party a segment of the aged cod indigenous to boardiug-houses, a stranger looked in. He said he was a detective, and that he wanted Charles Augustus Bynoe for forgery and theft. Bynoe murmured something about art absurd mistake, but eventually went away with the stranger in a cab. Charles Augustus, it seems, had been doing business in stocks and dividend warrants in the name of a lady who had once upon a time formed one of the complement of boarders at Endsleigh Gardens, and had left No. 8 without notifying the companies in which 3he was interested of her change of address. The poor woman, indeed, seems to have been too ill to care much about these things, and it was not long ere she died. The dividend warrants continued to arrive regularly at Endsleigh Gardens, and physician Bynoe collected and annexed the moneys. The law having taken charge of his person, the doctor endeavored to extricate himself— first by a preposterous alibi, and then by attempting to implicate another person. Both plans failed. The charge was sheeted home to him in such a manner as to leave no possible doubt of the justice of the nine years' incarceration allotted to him,
LONDON., Tuapeka Times, Volume XXIV, Issue 1879, 16 March 1892
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