Hide Articles List

15 articles on this Page

-Mr. Chamberlain on the Transvaal,



NOTES n BY "OBSERVER." [We do not necessarily endorse all our correspondent writes.—ED. (J.O."] "Have you been to Barnum's ? echoed in my ears the latter part of last week, and the wonderful tales of the prowess of performers, related in dramatic style by visitors to the greatest show on earth at Cardiff, excited my curiosity. All Usksiders, it appeared to me, had made up their minds to witness the magni- ficent pageant, performance, and so on, at New- port on Monday, and, of course, I did not mean to be left out, notwithstanding the fact that the G.W.R. did not run an excursion or even a late train. Monday morning dawned in superb style, and very early the rattle of wheels und cheery voices proclaimed the fact that some, at least, intended making a fair day of it. This exodus from our little riverside town continued right on till the evening, at which time the able-bodied residents of Usk must have been decimated, and almost every means of progression exhausted. It was at this time that I hied myself away to the centre of attraction, as [ found the stay- at-homes disconsolate and morose, bemoaning their unhappy fate. Arriving at Newport, all was blythe and gay, and a good-humoured holi- day spirit pervaded one and all. The streets were alive with human beings, and on the way to the show the enterprise of cottagers, who re- tailed various creature comforts to the passers by, was a source of amusement to Observer." At last I was on the scene of the great show and immediately, of course, by virtue of natuial instinct, began to peer into things. Taking stock of the freaks, whose comicalities—or in- tirmities-constitute- their value, one is lost in amazement. The mighty giant, the tiny dwarf- the lightning calculator, the easily dislocated Albino—and dozens of other freaks, remind one of the wonders of nature. Advancing to the large tent, the half-an-hour or so before the commencement was whiled away by listening to the music of the band and the vagaries of a Yankee bogus photographer, whose artfulness provoked roars of laughter. I wonder if any reader of these Notes was fooled ? This photographer, with true Yankee effrontery, would select his victim, examine his admission ticket, and then inform him that he was entitled to be photographed. The un- suspecting stranger doffs his hat and poses in the large arena, while the mirth-provoking photographer pretends, with elegant gestures, to do the trick. The job is not yet over. He ex- plains to his dupe that it is absolutely necessary that he should take his back and then when his innocent object is in position, he makes a feint or two as though photographing him, and then walks away up the arena, leaving the man, hat in hand, the unconscious laughing-stock of the huge assembly. The performance proper was a liberal educa- tion. The gymnasts aud horses are trained to perfection, the former showing consummate skill and judgment, and the latter surprising intelli- gence. The horseflesh, indeed, is a veritable feast for the eyes. Such obstinate animals as pigs do all sorts of entertaining things, and seals prove themselves adepts in tossing and catching clowns' cone caps. Thus I could go on ad infinitum, but space forbids, for the show is un- doubtedly a colossal enterprise. Apropos of the above, I once heard a tale related of a trick played by the founder of the great show on his numerous patrons. It was to this effect. Barnum, whose accommodation at this time was quite insufficient for the demands made upon it, saw, with a sad heart, that there were as many outside wishing admittance as there were inside. He set himself to grapple with the problem, and, on the inspiration of a happy thought, had printed in large letters and stuck up ever a doorway the words, This way to the Egress," The effect was instantaneous, and large numbers passed through the opening ex- pecting to see some strange animal, but to their chagrin found themselves in the open with no chance of getting back, as the crowd who had previously been waiting for admittance bad pushed in, thus cramming the place as tightly as before. It is a long time since a trout weighing four pounds within an ounce-and-a-half was caught in the river, near Usk, with a rod and line. This was done, however, last week by an Usk lad, whose photo has been taken together with that of his victim. The Monmouthshire R.E. Militia must have been in very poor form indeed on Saturday, or the home bowlers quite the reverse. The general impression, prior to the visitors' innings, was that they were a fine batting team and quite good enough for a score of 200. This was very wide of the mark though, for, with the exception of Sergt. Ide (30) and Mr. Olivant (10), they made no stand whatever, scoring only four between them, which, together with four extras, made up their total of 48. fSergt. Ide, for the visitors, secured six wickets, though rather more than a suggestion of throwing was attached to some of his balls. Mayes and F. Roberts did great execution with the ball for the home side, equally dividing the honours, and apparently quite astounding their opponents. G. Edmunds gave a fine dis- play with the bat again, scoring his 47 in fine style, and would have done even better had he not been rather unfortunately run out. Capt. Patch, who was decidedly lucky, subscribed 41 to the total of 156 in quick time. A good ground, good coaching, and a lively interest, should make the Usk C.C. a large con- tributor to the county eleven. The domestic exchequer is, undoubtedly, a mighty factor in determining a holiday resort, but, I must confess I am somewhat surprised at the "Financial News," in a special holiday number issued on June 26tb, with the ordinary daily sheet, giving an illustrated list of over 200 favourite places in the British Isles and on the Continent for intending pleasure-seekers to con over. A short but useful account is given of each, with the best way of getting there. **# Important instructions have been issued from the Admiralty concerning the coming Naval Manoeuvres, and a good deal of interest is aroused in the minds of the critics who are in the know concerning the work to be done. The ships specially commissioned are to be aug- mented by the Channel Squadron and twenty- four torpedoes of the instructional flotilla. I am sorry the Newport Chamber of Commerce thinks fit to waste its time in quibbling over a distinctive name for the town. Wednesday's attempt is in the opinion of many persons worse than any of the preceding ones. It is geographically incorrect, and as a Mon- mouthshire man I object to the addition of "South Wales." What is the matter with Newport, Mon ?"




ITo Our Readers.








Family Notices