Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Thank God for the odd middle name that falls to the font-dipped child. It makes my life as a researcher possible. The reason for this laudable note is that R.S.Smythe had a nephew, Lancelot Wellesley Smith, whose middle name, and indeed his first made him easy to find among the accursed ubiquity of 'Smith'.

He had a son in turn named Grenfall! and not that but Grenfall Wellesley Smith who up until late last century had been part of the Penrith Archaeological Group! God bless them and HIM. I have written a letter off to NSW in hope that someone there still knows the man and/or the whereabouts of his kin. Human relations are tenuous things as we researchers know; gossamer that looks like chains but with a generation (20 years) can melt into the air as if was never ever there.

As for Octavia Hamilton's second 'husband'; his middle name was Holme, taken from his mother's maiden name no doubt because Thomas Holme Davis' grandfather William Holme Esq. of Norton Folgate was wealthy enough to have a kneeling statue of himself built over his burial in London's St. Swithins, Londonstone, now long destroyed but one of the first of Inigo Jones' Churches. What did Holme do to merit the passage of the family surname with such fidelity? I wonder doubly as no obituary shows up in the times or any of the 19th century on-line newspapers. William Holme c.1763-1835 and wife Mary...who were they? Was he the distiller who was partnered with Thomas Wilson at Upper Thames in 1803? That might certainly account for Thomas Holme Davis career as Victualler.

History is a tease.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Octavia Hamilton again

Octavia Hamilton (Eliza Octavia Scrivenor) the singer. I am trying still to find a picture of her and so an throwing this letter in a bottle onto the vast internet sea.

She and Thomas Holme Davis had several children, one of whom was Beatrice Connaught Davis (Beatrice C. Davis) who married Walter James Slater and Henry J. Pinnock.

By Walter she had two sons, Walter Frank Holme Davis and Wilfred Arthur J. Slater.

Walter F. H. Slater married Doris V. Graves and had one son David Francis Holme Slater who settled eventually in New Zealand, Rangiora. He married three times! Once to Barbara Ann Fink, by whom there were two children, secondly to Pamela Cox, and finally to Valerie S. Dallard. From these unions the following children came into being: Andre paul Slater; Gina Marie Slater and Aaron Holme Slater.

Anyone of whom I would like to contact me for I am still searching for a photograph of "Octavia Hamilton"

Of course, the original Beatrice had siblings: Alice Dora Davis; Alice Mary; Mabel Francis and Ernest Edward Davis any of whom could have left branches down which the ephemera floated.

Please email if you can help.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Msr. Poussard and his Salon pieces

The great grandson of Horace Poussard, Castrogonternerian-Maloin violinist of France, has just returned from a European trip and spent some time in Paris, purchasing a bound book of sheet music stamped with 'Romances" on the spine from a delightful Parisienne named Chantal, being therein contained three pieces by his forebear. Chantal has, god bless her cotton socks has set two of them to midi file. Now mid files are mechanical little buggers but they grant an immediate introduction to the sound of the song. The first piece, "Sur une Roche" (On a Rock) is a sweet sentimental verse and chorus salon song about a girl named Marthe who waits, for years for her true love to return, which he does one day as the Captain of a ship bringing back riches. The pathos of the song is her waiting upon a rock, faithfully. Poussard puts a bit of coloratura when the main refrain moved from minor to major with of even buying dinner first.

Despite Poussard having been a very abrupt composer in his melodic phrasing it's a pretty little song and in the right hands would make a wonderful sweetmeat fro the ear. I am enjoying the midi file and have listened to it several dozen times and I am going to try and get it recorded. The narrative in lyric was by Mlle. Claudine Klotz, one of three musical sisters in Paris, two of whom I think from memory went to the Imperial Conservatory.

The Klotz also wrote, as far as we know and as far as this bound volume indicates, two other songs, "Plus Heureuse qu'en un palais" (Happier in a palace) and "La fleur d'éxilé" (The flower of the exiled). The common theme seems to be the simple fidelity and capacity for contentment of the lower orders which had been long romanced into cotton candy for the consumption of the French classes no longer connected to the land and whose zucker-zeitgeisting of hard farm life seems to have been a national sport amongst the fan flutterers.

But out of it came the Chanson.

Horace Poussard it seems did produce some truly pretty pieces amongst the odd assortment and now I want to look at some of his other works on sheet which I have copied and tucked away. Would it not be nice to have some works of Horace on CD?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Octavia...I knew you couldn't hide

I found her. Yes, I did. It seems that Eliza Octavia Scrivenor aka "Octavia Hamilton" having been seduced under own father roof at age 15 by A. G. Moon broke free of his heavy hand and, leaving a trail of children whose parentage is still unknown lived with a Mr. Davis. In the 1880s he advertised EVERYTHING in his wine seller business for sale with intent to return to England. Mr Davis, and his son Edmund E. Davis went along with the Octavia who settled down in England under her childhood name plus Davis, dying in 1913 in Edmonton after giving him two more children. I do not believe they had ever been married.

Just what happened to the other children I do not know. Moon only acknowledged two of her 18 children as his. She had sent most off to the industrial schools and always paid tuition and other fees on time. It seems she had spent some time with Mr. Davis, much closer to her age, a lover of wine, port, claret and other tipplage as she was. He loved music too. It was, I think, her little patch of unison in a life mostly written for her by other people.

I'm quite fond of her.

Though much maligned in the press, and much of it justified, the whole truth of her circumstances was never outed and the unhappy marriage forced on her by a older Mr Moon under discovery of her father the Solictor was never there to balance the scales.

She was deeply unhappy, angry and out to salvage what she could. And her singing was never slighted. She was a good singer and one of Australia's Earliest.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My favourite quote about reincarnation

"All souls incarnate and reincarnate under the Law of Rebirth. Hence each life is not only a recapitulation of life experience, but an assuming of ancient obligations, a recovery of old relations, an opportunity for the paying of old indebtedness, a chance to make restitution and progress, an awakening of deep-seated qualities, the recognition of old friends and enemies, the solution of revolting injustices, and the explanation of that which conditions the man and makes him what he is."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Octavia my love, where art thou?

Octavia Hamilton was a contralto who flourished in Melbourne in the late 1850s and through the 1860s. She had several children to unknown fathers, shacked up with a gent above a wine shop and made her husband pay for it! She is looked upon generally as a scandalous figure and a model of what was wrong with 'professionals' as stage-folk were then called.

When I dug into the census of 1841 I found something interesting. She was fifteen years old when her future husband, Augustus Graham Moon was lodging with the family. The only lodger. Well, slap-me-happy if they didn't get married that very year. Mr. Moon must have had his way with Octavia under her father's roof. That's gumption.

And all these years I had been feeling sorry for the hard done by Mr. Moon. Was Octavia (Frances Eliza Scrivenor) really Melbourne's operatic tart-in-chief or was her behaviour a long campaign of revenge? I'll never know. She is hard to find. Almost impossible. The only route I have open to the little red-corvette that resides in my brain is the tarmac road of her daughter's descendents who married well and had a large branch here in Victoria. Not only her, but Octavia's wider family also came out as well including brothers and so on. Her father, a Grays-Inn lawyer became insolvent twice and made it out here and earned a better living.

I love wicked old Octavia. Her name is so Roman, so epic, so historic, so made for a bigger stage that her life could contain. Let us hope I can uncover an picture of the woman that was the original O.H!

Research and rescue

It is a well-spring of never ending fresh bubbling astonishment to me that every time I earnestly seek out the identification of some figure who gave their life, or neatly slice portion thereof, in service to public amusement of this country (Australia) during the 19th century, I am almost always confronted with a footnote whose seems to think it's job is to decorate the bottom of a page so the layout of the page does not get bored when it gazes down at it's feet while the reader pours across whatever passage said reader is fixed upon.

It usually happens like this: page 234, "Joshua Archibald Meatcakes then went on to the Bendigo goldfields where he performed with Herr. Schtumpschmaker (1814-1891) who played the violin. The footnote attached to the German fiddler will then say soemthing fo this nature:

"Herr. Mincefondle Von Schtumpschmaker (1814-1891) Native of Cologne. Studied the violin under Noodlepuddle in Leipzig"

Why am I being told this? What possible bearing does this coupling have upon Mr. Meatcakes? If there is a reason, why am I not shown it, or at least if not shown it, why am I not given a delicious detour regarding Schtumpschmaker. I don't mind being waylaid in a text if the scenery is nice and the information is engaging. Authors have lost, in fact, positively jettisoned the art of the anfractuous narrative with regard to biographies. Editors quake in their boot, wishing to confine the reader to just the subject and no more. Biographies are more than just railroads for facts and dates. They should be pleasant affairs infused with the vanilla of affection for the subject and the environment in which they find themselves such as Kurt Ganzl's hard bound affection on Willie B. Gill the broadway stalwart about whom most of us knew nothing.

A biography should be an astronomers map of not only planets, moons and orbits, but constellations, nodes, far-off stars and others comets of interest. It should be RICH. I research just this way and it takes me longer but the stuff that I find is richer. It is damaskene and gossip, fact and fondant. Yummy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Creed Royal, Flauting Colonel

Colonel Creed Royal is a mystery but he at least left a trail of certificates upon which facts usually take rich residence. Thanks to the BDM on disc I know this: Creed Royal died in 1876 and his parents names were John and Sarah (assuming the informant was correct) and was onto his second verifiable wife by that time. This third relationship, a wife named Francis married him in 1860, was written in the Argus as destitute and needing funds to get home (to England) to her family. She was 52 years old. The Argus reported this in 176 and by 1877 she was on a shipping list out of London. The musical fraternity here must have come through. Yay, them.

Creed Royal's first wife Mary Sayer died in 1856 and it was she that was Mother to Kate (born in Manchester) and Eliza Royal. Another son Harry was born in Geelong in 1854 and I have no record of what became of him although another sister Ellen, died there. Creed Royal then is listed as father to both Raiburne Royal and Talma Royal, one born in Ballarat, the other in Collingwood where the mother is listed as Mary Raiburne. Clearly this was wife/de facto number two. Hard times.

So, at least on the marriage certificates it will give parental names and occupations and I wonder if Creed Royal did come from the Earls of Morton? Or maybe Mary Sayer had the connection. Who knows. I love these sorts of dangling carrots.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Alfred de La Chapelle, Part 2

" Morton et de La Chapelle" so goes the family surname. A biographical entry notes the Morton portion of the long winding familial noun coming from Count Octave's mother which would have been Kate Creed Royal (born in Manchester in the early 1830's to Colonel Creed Royal and Mary Unknown who died in Melbourne in about 1856). Thus the Creed Royals' must have been linked to the Earls of Morton, but not that I can find and such rapport.

Alfred (Comte) is noted in this same source as having been "de Morton" but his mother was Amélie Baysselance, with her mother being in turn a Carrière and there is no Morton to be had "...not even for ready money Sir" (sorry Oscar, but I have always adored that line.) So maybe it is another generation back, but there are Manchon, Thibault, Pommart, Pavard, Boileau, Bruslin, Beaulieu, Rateau de la Noue and a dozen more equally damscene noms-de-famille, sufficient to keep a Francophile drooling until the ambulance arrives, but no Morton.

So d'ou vient-il ce 'de Morton'? Maybe it did come from Creed Royal and the "de Morton" was retro-appended to the biographical sources via relatives given to romantic embellishment. Creed Royal is mentioned in several Manchester papers but only as a flautist (by the way, he married twice, secondly in Melbourne but I can't go spending more money on certificates) and only in one source is he called a Colonel. His daughter Kate of course, became the Countess and his other daughter Miss E. Royal (can't find out her first name, though I did note it years back on a web page that has now vanished) married Tom Fawcett the actor then Dan Briggs O'Hara the comedian before dying the same year (1876) as her father, he in Melbourne, she in Rockhampton. Kate didn't last out the decade either. She died in Paris in 1872 I think it was. Someone certainly made the monkey angry in that family. Tom Fawcett did leave behind though, one child, though what became of it I do not know.

"Morton, d'ou viens-tu?"

Friday, February 12, 2010

Alfred, Comte de la Chapelle

Two portraits (1) From Comedy and Tragedy in the Second Empire and (2) from a recent Ebay auction which I had lost. The CDV was by Nadar and just labelled "de La Chapelle" so I am assuming it is the man though it may not be.

My purview in 19th century research is limited to those creatures of the stage who visited Australia or those connected with them and so one might easily wonder how the heck did I get from fiddlers, warblers and piano-bangers to French Aristocracy. Well, it's not hard as it turns out. Scratch a little the thin laminate surface of most visiting luminaries and one finds the lacquer hiding nobility there somewhere. Edouard Boulanger the pianist had parentage connected to Marshall Lannès, his father secretary to an-ex secretary of Talleyrand, Marquis Chisholm the keyboard virtuoso was tuner to the Duke of Argyll in his youth, Horace Poussard was a favourite of Eugenie. Australia was a field of adventure, a kind of back-up Wild West in which a fortune maybe made; where any connections of noblesse still had the gilding freshly sized on to the carved wood of French oak.

Jean Joseph Xavier Alfred de La Chapelle and Morton is remembered as a French writer and Historian connected with the French court (Napoleon III and his wife Eugenie who looks like a young thin Walter Matthau in drag, but let's not go there). His father was an Officer under Louis XVIII and had roots going back as impressively as rootage does to the Périgord, one of the many cocotte-minutes of French history.

But history is rather silent on what he did between 1860 and 1869 when he flew back to France at a clip. What did he do in Australia? Well, he got married to the daughter of Col. Creed Royal, an ex-Army officer who played flute in the theatres her and formed, and toured with, his family act with his other daughter, who I think, sang. Kate nabbed Alfred married him at some point though none have found a record of the marriage and sadly she died on April the 8th in 1878 in Paris. They had the following children;

1. Victor Octave Alfred Xavier, Vicomte de La Chapelle (illegitimate according to the counts sworn statement at the French Consulate!)
2. Viscount Paul Xavier de Morton de La Chapelle K.L.H. Burma, later Officer in the French Army, married Blanche Leygonie. He was born in Brighton, Australia on 20 July 1865
3. Viscount Xavier Royal Alfred de Morton de La Chapelle, Captain 5th Rifle Brigade and married Dorothy Clark.

The Count married a second time, rather late in life if I read a right my reference material in 1891 to Eugenie Renault de Ballières and had another son:

4. Viscount Jean Joseph Xavier Alfred de Morton de La Chapelle, born at Mentone, Rocque, Brunne, France 2nd of August 1892.

But back to what he did here. Why? Gold of course. He had been in America for the gold-rush and ventured into every kind of thing one could imagine, never ever making his fortune but gaining experience something akin to the gilded halls of Versailles, only it was the gilding of his psyche that was taking place. He gambled, he speculated, he invested, he touted, he was arrested, condemned to death, released and witnessed life's greatest should-be-fictions in the circles he frequented. Then he came to Australia and did much the same thing, adventurising until he was exhausted, encountering bushrangers, climbed the Snowy Mountains. Having enough and probably feeling the weight of duty upon his soul headed home and soon after back to France to cover the Franco-Prussian War for one of the English newspapers. [Most of this comes from Dr. Clancy Patricia who wrote a smashing tapestry piece on him. I have a copy.]

But his interest for me is in his management of the visiting French Violinist Horace Poussard (whose grandfather had been employed at Versailles in the service of one of the Kings daughters...there's the royals again) and cellist [Louis] Rene [Paul] Douay. I have only etchings of them from our State Library, but to have pictures of all is a treat, especially of the Count de La Everything. There is a photo extant of the Vicount's first son, which I had received from a descendant but he asked me not to post it so I can't.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

R.S.Smythe - Mrs. Cutter, Contralto

Much to my annoyance from 1870 until sometime during the 1880's the Australian press always referred to a very popular and steadily-in-work Contralto as "Mrs. Cutter" who sang with the Philharmonic and concerted herself all over the place. She had for about twenty years, steady work in concert programs and was by all accounts a very good singer and I have never spotted a bad review about her. But who was she? They never give a first name or even initial, nor her husbands initials as was normal practice. The only other thing the press say is that she was American.

I spotted her début in 1870 and looked on the incoming shipping lists in the previous 12 months and there she was with her husband on the Barque 'Corea' out of New York, arriving in 1869 and lo and behold there they are listed as Mrs. K. Cutter and Mr. A. H. Cutter. Subsequent searching of the national newspapers reveal nothing further even under these initials. The 'Corea' arrived carrying a handful of passengers so they must not have been traditional immigrants and possibly, he was a businessman although one can never be sure. They don't appear of the US passport applications list for that period, although there are several A. H. Cutters on the 1861 US Census and lord knows what he maiden name was, let alone her first. Katherine? Kathleen? Who knows. They both put their ages as 27 years, which makes them natives of the year 1842, give or take a dram. That would put their deaths, assuming misfortune did not befall them, from about 1910 to 1940, give or take another draft from the temporal mug.

Bizarrely, A. H. Cutter sells his house, number 10 Gray Street, East Melbourne in 1874 stating that he is moving 'out of the area' yet he lists on the Argus the full goods, chattels and goose-feathers of sconces, lithographs, whatnot's beds, chairs, sofas, ALL the furniture including a cottage piano by Wilhelm Biese of Berlin. Why? Had he suddenly come into so much money that he was going to upgrade to higher orders of magnificence on all things? Or, perhaps he needed the cash immediately although he's not listed on the insolvency indexes. Then they are on the ship to Sydney. Then later, back again? It is noted that M. E. Christian, noted contralto and R. S. Smythe's other woman, "helped her out" but why? Had A. H. Cutter clipped off? So many questions.

K. Cutter it is then. From whence came she and for what purpose he?

Post script: T.H.Guenett in an interview in 1901 states that she was " living in the United States, I think". Once there, who knows where she ended up.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hugo Fischer, part the Third

I awoke this morning with my solar plexus irritating me in a fashion that always suggests that I have overlooked something upon which it had bents it's mechanics, and that I had better attend to it, or nausea will result. So, I had my breakfast, did some shopping, and having acknowledged my intuition's complaint I went and did some shopping and to spend a birthday gift voucher I received last year from Heidi and Co. (Thanks Heidi!)

When I arrived back home after my spree (though that is too energetic a word) I settled down to lunch of pumpkin soup, toasted atlantic special rye croutons (giant) and sour cream. Delicious.

After midday I trundled down to the studio and mounted myself in front of the Hurdy-Gurdy (this is what the Irish lady at the rear property of our house call's the computer-cum-internet) and found my mind drifting toward Hugo Fischer, again. I started to enter data for a family free on Reunion (genealogical software) and my mind became stuck on Otto, so I looked him up on the NLA until I found a curious reference of his early days of notoriety in which he is named as Otto-Fischer-Sobell, claiming he was of Dutch-Flemish extraction, and whose grandparents were immigrants from Urk, an Island that changed hands twixt Holland and Belgium. This appears to be untrue. This was in 1915 and he was distancing himself from the German's. He never mentioned his germanic roots. His brother in law Robert Homburg was already getting flack for being an M.P. and German. Then it came to me.

He was doing what many prima-donna's and indeed male stage creatures had done, taking on his mother's maiden name which in this case eventually supplanted Fischer which was definitely German (although I doubt he ever knew going back two hundred years the Fischer's were originally Swiss). Otto's son James Otto St-Clair Sobell jettisoned the Fischer part of his name by deed poll in 1945 (a cousin and two uncles had been killed by both World Wars). Now, I don't know if Otto's mother Emma was a Sobell but I'd bet you a corrugated cup-cake that she was. And, a family winery started by Carl August Sobell in the mid 1800's is still in the family (he had seven daughters and four sons) and has been so now for 5 generations, so I hurriedly composed and email and shot it across to South Australia where the family still makes wine and hopefully have some extant material that might add to the research of Hugo Fischer. Maybe even a photo.

So there it is; Hugo had not only his own family pressure but his in-laws sprawling grapeness to compete with. The more I dig, the more I feel Hugo deserves to be properly represented if not in my book then at least in a booklet of some kind which I will knock off quickly. Being remembered or dislocated from family lore from his last rash act isn't fair.

My intuition was assuaged and I have done a good day's ferreting. Lord I hope for some joy on old Hugo.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hugo Fischer, again

Today I dug a little deeper into the Fischers. That's right, I went fisching. I knew there was something interesting further back in his past and there was. His sister Minna Pauline Fischer was a singer of some repute. The "Pauline" also happened to be the name of a boat that brought many Germans, especially Fishcer's to South Australia. I wonder if Georg Fischer named her after his teach Wilhelmina and the boat that brought them safely to a new life. It turns out that it is likely (more research needs to be done) that Georg, or George was the son of a Pfarrer, or Parson in Germany, himself the son of an even more famous Pastor going back into the 1700s.

George Fischer owned the Tanunda Hotel with Robert Weiner (whose son I think married Hugo's sister Johanna) and also a Cafe in Rundle Street were there was yet more musicking and general bemoustached singing. Otto Fischer-Sobell the famous singing teacher and brother of Hugo took the name Sobell from somewhere and guess what? One of George's kin was married to a man who employed one Friederich Julius Sobels, whom history never mentions but whom I will bet was either Otto's god-father (Sobels had been at the wharf to greet the "Pauline") or early singing influence. The Fischer's were everywhere, each armed with three middle names and going about Teuting their brass. I yet to verify this but I am on my way there and am constructing a family tree and connaissance map both of which are among my personal researching habits.

Having found out that the Rev. Hugh Reginald Haweis had a famous son whose ephemera is now in the University of British Columbia I have fired off an email in hope that among the many pictures there is an image of Mr. Hugo Fischer or Mr. Robert Smythe. My dearest wish is to have one of R.S.Smythe with Haweis and their families and although this maybe too much to hope for, I so hope.

We will see where this all goes. I hope it leads somewhere. There is a trail of dead ends behind me like those ones that you see when cartoon garbage trucks are driven by slapstick characters.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

R.S.Smythe and Hugo Fischer

Sunday was today and this morning I didn't know what I was going to do, which is a good thing for a Sunday. But I had an email from a researcher in California, a Twainiste, looking for the Robert Sparrow Smythe fonds if there should be such a thing extant, which of course there was not. I had to break to her, the frustrating news that, what was not sold at auction by Amelia and Carlyle, thrown down a well by Florence or eaten by the family dog, was burned in the great bushfire that consumed the property of R.S.Smythe's daughter in law's grand niece, where gathered dust all of Carlyle's papers, goods and chattels after his wife Elsa's death. But the Californian institution did have a very nice photo of Carlyle, the golden child with Twain and two other gents taken in Canterbury in November of 1895. Carlyle is apparently very short, either that or the other two gents were built by the same shipping firm that manufactured the smaller corvettes of the then Kaisers navy. Fischer was there in November of 1895 and returned to Australia first at Launceston to take care of arrangements for the Rev. Haskett Smith with whom Smythe was touring, hence his absence from the photograph.

The other gent, suggested the researcher, might be Hugo Fischer. This was a very good suggestion and one I should have thought for myself. So I spent the day consolidating my notes on Hugo Fischer and forgot just how much I had assembled. Hugo Fischer (c.1850-1901) killed himself after years of failure and just not 'getting the knack' of making money out of theatrical management. He had come into life via a treaty twixt the loins of a German emigrée named George Fischer and his wife Emma, who settled in South Australia as all good Germans did. I know, I lived there for a while. They started off at Tanunda in the Barossa where they formed a large community as Germans do and established the kind of singing societies Germans did like Turn Veriens, Leidertafels...and grapes, which of course have nothing to do with singing except encouraging vocality when imbibed.

George himself was a singer of very good quality and taught all his children to sing. The whole community sang and oompa-pahed. I am not kidding. In the 1850s the community had a brass band. Four of George's children became success of a kind, some more than others but all achieved, grandchildren and great grandchildren married and left noteworthy careers from a fighter-pilot to a Professor of Slavic languages in Canada. Poor Hugo never quite caught the train but not for want of talent. I think it was the pressure to achieve. After all his father had been a student of the Hamburg born Soprano Wilhelmina Schröder-Devrient, a little known but wildly interesting singer and teacher who had famous singers for parents herself, one of them in turn being an equally celebrated teacher. Hugo's sister Minna Pauline Fischer went on to success (marrying twice, first to that silly actor Herbert Flemming then to composer George H. Clutsam) as did brother Otto Fischer-Sobell (where Sobell comes from I've no idea) and little sister Emma (Mrs. Weiner) who was well-loved, married well but died in Colblentz at age 33. Sister Johnana married a Sen. Robert Homburg MP of South Australia. No pressure there for poor Hugo was there?

If only he'd tried not so hard to build by gamble-and-venture the cigar tooting trappings of success he might have been happy. I feel a little sad for Hugo; he was a most valuable agent to Smythe (R.S.Smythe's words) and did his job well enough for Smythe ask him to act as go between twixt the Dacre's and their theatrical management. The Dacre's committed double suicide. Poor Hugo.

It was also mentioned in a New Zealand paper that Hug had been a veteran of the Franco-Prussian War before coming to Australia. If this was true I wonder if his experience in war added to the sombre psychic gloom that leads a man down that cold and dark exit. I hope in my book he gets more than a footnote...which he will of course.

He was Smythe's advance-man for a short but intense period but never learned the ropes. Even a cursory glance at the clients and manner that he adopted after his association with Smythe reveals that he too often engaged "too little talent in too large venues and of seasons too long to turn any profit". In one case he took on a lady platform speaker who had lived among the Hindu's and had 40 people in tow and in costume to get her point across. Had he no idea how much money he would have to make to just break even, so he didn't. There is even a suggestion that he had inappropriate financial circumstances when he took his own life.

Two grand-sons became war heros and survived and married, their sister was the famous Elsa Stralia who had a great voice but the silliest of names (the Victorian propensity for making up grandiose stage names ended with her). The papers say little about famous people's self-terminating relatives as is their practice, so the truth might rest only with the family but that, although there are probably many descendants, is not within my purview.

I do hope the Canterbury Museum in NZ prove to have a picture of Hugo Fischer and that it is him in the photo belonging to the Californian Institution. Sir J. J. Kinsey was a mad photographer and it is he upon the lawn taking tea with Mark Twain and suite amongst which I believe is Amelia and Adelaide though I cannot prove it. Yet.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mystery tune solved

Just before I was about to launch a you tube plea to find a unidentified song I found it viz usage of 'tunatic' an application for identifying music. It had not worked in the past because my speakers were not loud enough.

The tune was by a Swedish group (I guessed the language aright! Legend, I!) called "Raymond and Maria" and the song was " Ingen vill veta var du köpt din tröja" which translates as "Nobody wants to know where you bought your sweater." Don't ask but it's a poppy little tine, for which I am a sucker.