WILLIAM EUGENE OUTHWAITE,
Amongst those who have lately passed from our midst into the larger society of the higher lifo, none perhaps will be more generally missed than the late Mr. W. E. Outhwaite (one of the firstcontributors tothis Magazine). An Aucklander by birth and affection, Mr. W. E. Outhwaite, whose father was the first Registrar of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, received his early education in Paris, showing a bright aptitude for study, and carrying off the best prizes of his school. It was an anomolous position that of an English colonial boy at a French college, L' Anglais met with many an obstacle on the part of his fellow pupils, but having a good temper, as well as good fists, he soon became an established force.
While in Paris an immense review took place in honour of Eussian potentates, Napoleon the third being still in his glory ; some hundred thousand troops were on the Champs do Mars, of which fifty thousand were cavalry. To witness this the boy went with his family. In the surging throng of spectators he became separated from his party, and for an hour his parents' anxiety was great. It occurred to his father to whvistleat intervals three notes, which formed their New Zealand bush call when in the wilds. Amidst the conflicting sounds the familar notes reached the lost boy's ears, and brought; him back all jubilant, yet nothing daunted, to his friends.
Returning to New Zealand, after a holiday visit to England, with theatre-going and
London sight -seeing, be became a pupil of the late B». J. O'Sullivan, Inspector of Schools, whose delightit was to make him sing, instead of incite, the songs of "The Tempest" and " Midsummer's Night's Dream." Subsequently, when at the Church of England Grammar School, he volunteered for active service during the last New Zealand War. Being barely fifteen, he was more than a year under the appointed age ; however, as he was a big, well developed lad, he was accepted without question, and after considerable drilling and city duty, most of which was sentry work and night patrol in all weathers, he was marched with others to the " front," but did not get beyond Drury. Paternal proofs of his youth brought him back to his studies, and limited his soldiering spirit to sentry go, Governor's body-guard, or city patrol. It was time, for he suffered a prostrating attack, as did many a young fellow of his time, from exposure nnd fatigue.
Au excellent marksman with a rifle, and an ardent sportsman, he usually spent his holidays with a chosen companion in boat or canoe, or roving the country with dog arsd gun, a favourite mare with pack saddle carryiug tenj; and provisions. His first gun — a single barrel and muzzle loader, an old "Joe Manton," whose advent had been in the year one of the colony — never failed to bring down the gaudy pheasant, or wily duck, which in those days were far more plentiful than now. Then, too, a pig hunt was brave sport, or raulleting qn some tidal
creek at night with a light, when hundreds of fish would jump into the canoe, frightened by the whacking of the paddles against its sides. As a young cricketer, picked to play in the best matches, he carefully practised and cherished the noble game, and would carry home his bat only to take up his 'cello, his special instrument, for some rehearsal or concert. He never dropped anything he took up, an untiring perseverance enabling him to work out his plans. He worked with zealous interest for the choir of St. John's, Parnell, then a Franciscan church where the music was ambitiously rendered. Shortly before leaving for Oxford University a friend, in fun, rode at him on horseback ; ho did not get out of the way, was knocked down, had his arm dislocated and hip slightly displaced — this was the primary cause of his after sufferings. Arriving in England with bright prospects and high hopes, he spent some time at the Oratory, Birmingham' receiving, then and after, many marks of interest and friendship from the late Cardinal Newman. After a few mouths with a "crack coach," he entered with zest upon his Varsity career — Lincoln College, being his Alma Mater, with Mark Patteson, its Rector ; T. Fowler, Tutor, etc. Study and pleasui'e equalised time with the young freshman during his first terms, with success in exams. and sport, and brought him in contact with many eminent men of that day. " The Cannibal," so dubbed by his playful brother undergraduates, now enjoyed a happy period : rowing as one of his College eight, batting as one of its eleven, pulling ladies on the river in the " Heucoop," singing or playing in concert with the " Harmonomaniacs," or attending more formal gatherings at the Dean's. Now dodging proctors, or giving and accepting the inevitable " wines." Vacation trips took him to the lake counties, Scotland or Wales, or to- a social time in London. Chess was another favourite pursuit, and he had the honour o£ being selected to play against Steinitz, who complimented him on his skill. Then suffering came to mar all with lame-
ness and cruel rheumatism. With struggling effort he took his degree, casting aside all higher aims. Three years were spent striving for health. Buxton, and other curative places were tried, followed by several operations performed by the then leading London specialist, to force muscular action in the Tlip joint, which resulted in complete stiffness. The medical men, marvelling at the courage, vitality, and constitution of their patient, suggested his return to his uative country, while privately doubting his reaching it. Determined, if possible, to accomplish his father's design, and get called to the English Bur, he had at intervals kept his terms and taken his dinners at the Inns of Courts. To an appeal made, stating his case, with medical and other certificates, asking the examiners to come to him, the Council of Lincoln's Inn, fearful of establishing a precedent, gave a refusal. Thereupon Mr. Outhwaite obtained an ambulance from one of the hospitals, and was conveyed to the Temple, and laid at the feet of the examiners, where he pluckily passed, and was called, as a barrister of the Inner Temple. Abandoning all hope of taking up a position that awaited him with an old established London firm, he resolved to return to Auckland, he was put into a swing cot, on" board ship, which he never left until put ashore on his native land. The sight of his home, the welcome of friends, and a year's trial of the hot baths of Waiwei^a, acted as restoratives. Next a journey was taken to Rotorua, when trains were not, and travelling was hard, even for the robust. A whare was built expressly on Eotoiti's shores, and a winter spent there, the Maoris taking endless interest in their afflicted palcelia. Later, on Te Aroha developing, Mr. Outhwaite found lodgings in a scarcely finished house, and took the baths for sevei'al months with splendid resulls, "which enabled him to use crutches, and by degrees to dispense with his wheel-chair. Being thoroughly appreciative of the beneficial results ef Te Aroha' s waters, he made an after practice of spending at least a month there every year, and owed, in a
very large measure, the happy, active life he enjoyed for fourteen years to their curative powers. The sense of freedom, of bei ng once mo-re on his legs, impelled his ever busy mind to work, and induced him to pass as barrister and solicitor of the Courts of New Zealand, and to take an office. Though a born lawyer, he gave his attention as much to literature as to his profession ; as a poet and ardent lover of art — the beautiful and good, the witty and piquante in women, the innocence of childhood— drew many a sonnet from his pen. The following may be given as an example of his work:
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WILLIAM EUGENE OUTHWAITE,, New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, Volume 01, Issue 9, 1 June 1900
WILLIAM EUGENE OUTHWAITE, New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, Volume 01, Issue 9, 1 June 1900
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