Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 3
The Manawatu Herald, recording a find of moa bones at Foxton, says: « We do not know whether any skeleton of this now extinct bird has ever been found in the North Island. » One of the largest finds on record was at Te Aute, thirty miles from Napier; and moa remains abound among the sand-hills on the Wanganui coast. It adds « It is generally supposed that no large moas have been seen alive since about 1650. » These are pretty precise figures. The Mataura Ensign is responsible for the following: They are unearthing the remains of a moa at Waikaia. A correspondent says the specimen is complete even to the 'teeth.' Moa in our next. »
This is the kind of news that sometimes appears among the cable messages. The extract is from the Wakatipu Mail:— « The racing clubs of Australia are in a satisfactory position. The reasons for the Caulfield Cup being increased to £2,000 and the Melbourne Cup to £5,000 are owing to the expressed determination of the foreign Powers to refrain from participating from public commemoration of the French Revolution. » —Our readers will remember how last year a racing telegram « Veracity, Tyrone, Lobster, » was interpreted as « the voracity of a Tyrone lobster. » Other sporting telegrams have been similarly misinterpreted. In 1885, « Roquefort, Frigate, Black Prince, » was thus expanded: « The frigates Roquefort and Black Prince have been added to the Australian squadron. » Some weeks ago, a West Coast paper published as a cable message: « An enthusiastic reception was accorded to Donovan, the pioneer. » This was also a racing item: « Enthusiast, Donovan, Pioneer. »
When Mr Jenkinson wished to impress his audience with his learning, he gave them the benefit of his solitary piece of erudition, beginning: « The world, sir, is in its dotage. » We were reminded of this when we stumbled across the correspondent's letter from Opotiki, a little coast settlement, in an East Coast paper, beginning: « The Earth is the third planet in order of distance from the sun, » &c. Like the good Vicar, we « thought we had heard this before » —in fact we recognized the whole paragraph as forming part of the brief « account of the Solar System, » in our N. Z. Almanac. Following this was an item from the same source (now nine months old) about the protection of the native owl; a provision of the Slaughter-house Act of 1888; several memoranda for the current month; and a paragraph relating to the position of the Southern Cross in July. Then followed the local news. It is satisfactory to know that the East Coast correspondent studies his almanac to such good purpose; but when he transcribes verbatim from various parts of it matter to the extent of half-a-column at a time he might give his authority.
« Marco Duo, » as his Italian translator dubbed him, never in his wildest flights of humor, imagined a more comic incident than occurred in the New Zealand Parliament this month. A foolish item of £150 for the introduction of chamois was on the estimates, and it was opposed by Mr Kerr, a Nelson member. « What are these chamoyce? » he asked. « A species of small deer, » a member explained. « If the hon. gentlemen will wait a minute, » said Mr Turnbull, « I'll send to the library for a book which contains a very interesting description of the animal and its habits. » The book was brought and handed open to Mr Kerr, who began to read aloud. « Don't read it! » excitedly whispered Mr Turnbull. « But I will read it, » said his victim, « I want to know what these things are. » And amid roars of laughter he read the passage in which the veracious Mark Twain describes the flea of the Swiss hotels under the name of the « chamois. » Parts of the description somewhat staggered the reader, and as he finished the passage he said « 'No bigger than a mustard-seed!' What do we want with animals like that? » « What book have you got? » he was asked. « The Tramp Abroad, by S. Clemens, » he replied— « and with a final shriek of laughter at this announcement, the incident ended. »
According to the Bay of Plenty Times, Mr C. Spencer, of Tauranga, has been experimenting with the heliotype process, and has produced some excellent relief blocks from photographs.—We would like to see some of Mr Spencer's work.
Last year we noted that Dr. Johan Martin Schleyer, the inventor of « Volapük, » died on the 9th October. Some four months afterwards it was on record that an admirer had left him a valuable legacy. Dr. Schleyer finding that he is generally believed to have departed « to where beyond these voices, there is peace, » denies the report in his paper the Volapükabled Zenodik. He says he has been dangerously ill, and even received the last rites of the church; but he has been cured by the baths of Baden.
Some time ago the Champion Mean Man was under discussion, and we thought we had found him; but after reading the Australian correspondence of a contemporary, we think the Belt must go to Melbourne. It seems that a young woman employed in the postal department married a young man in the same branch of the public service, and received immediate notice from headquarters that under a certain specified regulation she had thereby forfeited her situation. She returned a polite reply that this was not correct, the regulation having been annulled by the new Civil Service Act. Finding that his subordinate knew more of the regulations of the service than himself, the Postmaster-General was paltry enough to remove the bride of a week to Wangaratta, her husband remaining in Melbourne!
The Times (says the London correspondent of the Dunedin Star), is not quite on its last legs yet. Saturday's issue, for example, contained more than eighty columns (equal to 150 ft.) of advertisements. The price paid, even by contractors, seldom falls below ten shillings per half-inch, so that one may fairly reckon the takings for an average day in the Printing-house-square advertising department at £1,760. This doesn't look like bankruptcy, does it? I happen to know, too, that the « Thunderer's » influence in literary, if not in political matters, remains great as ever. A column review which it gave on Thursday last to a novel called The Awakening of Mary Fenwick, has in less than a week caused that story to be the most asked-forbook of the season, and necessitated the printing-off of a large second edition.
A very interesting and well-edited department in the Wellington Press is that entitled « The Half-way House, » appearing once a week, and devoted to notes and queries, literary competitions, mathematical problems, &c. A question of some historical importance raised lately still remains without a satisfactory reply, though several correspondents have attempted to answer it: « When did these islands receive the name of New Zealand, and by whom was the name given? »
« A number of English sovereigns, coined in the jubilee year, are being called in owing to the mis-spelling of the abbreviation which does duty for Britannia. The abbreviation appears with two t's. » This paragraph is going the rounds, though its origin would not be easy to trace. It is all wrong. The abbreviation « Britt. » is so common on the English coinage that it should have prevented any one from making such an egregious blunder as this. The second t is the correct method of indicating that the word abbreviated— ( « Britanniarum, » ) is plural. The abbreviation does not « do duty for Britannia. » Let any man who is the happy possessor of a half-sovereign examine the inscription, and he will find the word in full.
Mr John Macdonald, who has just resigned his post as manager of The Times, has held that office some fifteen years, Life tells its readers, but he has been connected with the paper in one capacity or another for upwards of forty years. He was first engaged as Parliamentary reporter. After some eight or ten years' service in the gallery of the House of Commons, he was sent out to the Crimea during the war with Russia, in order to administer the fund collected by The Times for the benefit of the sick and wounded. His immediate predecessor in this charitable work had died of fever; and with cruel mockery had during his illness been denied admission into the hospital established by The Times, on the ground that it was intended not for civilians, but for military persons only. Mr Macdonald gave proofs in the Crimea of a kind of ability which seemed to fit him specially for the business department of the paper: and he was appointed sub-manager. Mr Mowbray Morris was the manager, and upon his death, some twenty years afterwards, Mr Macdonald in due course succeeded him. Mr Macdonald, in addition to to his qualifications as a man of business, possesses a remarkable talent for mechanics; and in Mr Mowbray Morris's time he had charge of all that belonged to the printing-rooms. Both in connexion with typesetting and with presswork he introduced several important improvements, the result of his Own inventiveness.