Friday, May 3, 2013

The Ladies' Guide to Cricket c1883

New Zealand cricket literature can seem like rare pickings at times. Yet occasionally it turns out curious and unusual gems. One such book is The Ladies’ Guide to Cricket printed in 1883 in Auckland.
A comic guidebook, an almost antiquated text, highlighting cricket watching to women (which is somewhat patronizing now) was written by a Lover of Both – a fine and witty pseudonym. It features a fictional match between “Shooting Stars” and “Paragons” (told in the form of a play script) and encouraged women to take an interest in the sport as well as challenging male preconceptions of their interest in the game.
The author is presumably William Eugene Outhwaite, an Auckland barrister, whose father Thomas Outhwaite (1805-1879) the first Registrar of the Supreme Court of New Zealand was ‘probably a father of music in New Zealand1. Bibliographers Rob Franks and A G Bagnall give William Outhwaite as a Lover of Both. Bagnall’s National Bibliography entry says: ‘Possibly by William Eugene Outhwaite, d. 1900’. The book also includes two cricket poems, which I included in A Tingling Catch (2010) and introductory dialogue verses. Adrienne Simpson first used one of these poems ‘Ten Ways to Get Out’ (in a misprinted or edited form) in her anthology Cricket (1996).
Recently, I started digging around for more information on Outhwaite. 19th century names are hard to find in histories as they come from a neglected era of the Kiwi literary psyche. Perhaps post Colonial guilt and political correctness shies away from discovering more on our early European poets and writers. A fair amount of derision has met them in the past for their alleged inauthentic ‘New Zealandness’; they are the archaic pioneers who came out from European countries in search of God’s Own Country; their verses have looked silly to baby boomers and others compared to recent constructions of Kiwi identity. Search tools, however, now bring up surprising results. It’s a researcher’s paradise for those still interested who continue to find early writers.
A number of details are traceable on Outhwaite’s life. His official death is 10 April 1900 aged 53. He was born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1847. Some of his early child life was in Paris and London, and when he returned he was ‘an excellent marksman with the rifle’2 so signed on for the New Zealand Wars as a teenager at 15 (under the appointed age of 16) but did not see action.
He received a BA, Oxon, and was back in London according to the English Census of 1871 aged 24. He returned to New Zealand after he became a Barrister-at-Law of the Inner Temple, and in Auckland became a barrister of the Courts of New Zealand (admitted in 1890).
His painful rheumatism developing after an accident as a young man before heading for Oxford eventually prevented him from playing sport and athletics. An unsuccessful operation produced further stillness. He travelled to hot baths in New Zealand like Te Aroha’s waters in the mid 1880s as further restorative care and appeared either on crutches or in a wheelchair at some stages of his middle life.
There are in fact references to him in New Zealand newspapers playing cricket as a batsman and catcher in the mid-1860s for United Cricket Club at the Domain (alongside C Outhwaite and future first class Auckland cricketers Frank Buckland and Will Lankham) prior to England. Outhwaite also appeared for the Civilian XI v Auckland Garrison XI, one of the most interesting matches of the 1865/66 season; his brother C Outhwaite excelling as a bowler. At Oxford, he was in the Oxford First XI as a student.
An obituary from the Observer gives an account of his life, some brief facts and notes his paralysis after a break (a light-carriage) accident that lead to his eventual, untimely death, his body unable to recover from the shock:

We regret to chronicle the death of Mr. W. E. Outhwaite on Monday last. His figure was for very many years a familiar one at the Choral Hall and Opera House, and also at athletic sports, and his many friends in both the journalistic and dramatic profession, will mourn his demise. Mr. Outhwaite, although trained as a barrister, had, for a number of years, devoted his principal attention to literature, his unfortunate infirmity precluding his practising in court. As a writer, he was best known under the nom de plume of ‘Orpheus’, and his kindly criticisms will long be remembered by theatrical people. He took his degree at Lincoln College, Oxford, and while there, contracted rheumatism, which eventually developed into ossification of the joints. Although a great sufferer, he was invariably cheerful. He was a great lover of sport of all kinds, and would watch a cricket match or a horse race with as keen an interest as anyone present. Some few months back, he met with an accident, a bus wheel running over his leg and fracturing the bone. He never recovered from the shock, which was finally succeeded by paralysis [from bronchitis], the immediate cause of his death.
      (From The Observer, Volume XX, Issue 1111, 14 April 1900, Page 5)

A member of a prominent Auckland settler family, Outhwaite’s sister, Isa, was a well-known artist. She exhibited in Auckland from 1875 until 1900 and the family appears on Wikipedia with a note about William from the 1902 Cyclopedia of New Zealand:,_Auckland
It is also stated on Wikipedia that William with other members of his family was interred in the Catholic section of Waikaraka Cemetery, Onehunga.
Besides Outhwaite’s presumed authorship of A Ladies’ Guide to Cricket and his work as a theatre critic under the name of ‘Orpheus’ in New Zealand Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic Review, Outhwaite wrote poetry and a libretto for the cantata ‘Art and Mind’ (at the opening of the Free Library and Art Gallery in Auckland, Auckland Star, 19 October 1888).
A poem, a sonnet by Outhwaite ‘To Auckland’, appears in his considerable obituary in New Zealand Illustrated Magazine (1 June 1900) along with a photo of Outhwaite and his dog “Koko”. The obituary states: ‘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 sonnet below is an example of his work suggesting Outhwaite wrote a good deal more:


Queen of the Ocean, Valley, Hill and Wold!
Thou sit’st enthroned, in Nature’s garb arrayed,
A verdure-robed, clematis-girdled maid;
Thy bosom nursing blossom-gems, to braid
Bright tresses, spun from out the heart of gold
Thou bear’st within; the while thine eyes behold
An everlasting Spring in plain and glade,
Yielding health, plenty, peace, and joys untold!

Who once hath clasp’d thy gentle, loving hand,
May view the wonders of an older world;
May linger long in many a distant land:
But aye his spirit, wheresoe’er he roam,
Will restless burn to see those sails unfurl’d
That quick shall waft him back to Thee and Home!

This text given here (found by Niel Wright with more accurate punctuation) is in fact from The Observer (8 July 1882, p. 265) where the poem was unsuccessfully entered in an Auckland poems competition.
There is also in the New Zealand Illustrated Magazine obituary a lively description of his affinity for sports like cricket:

Heroic in his manliness and patience, he took all his trials as God-sent. As a keen lover and patron of all sport, he extended a wide and popular influence; no more familiar figure than that of Willie Outhwaite with his dog “Koko” was known on the cricket ground, while often to his room would throng young athletes for friendly chat or advice. Delighting in whist or billiards, ready always with guitar, song or story, his wonderful spirits, flow of language, and inexhaustible store of information, made him an ever agreeable companion.

A reference is made to his early cricket playing days:

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.

Outhwaite on his return to Auckland was associated with meetings in the late 1880s till late 1890s of the Gordon Cricket Club, the Grafton Football Club and the Auckland Cricket Association (as a Vice-President). Professor Carl Schmitt (who wrote the music for the cantata ‘Heart and Mind’ to which Outhwaite contributed his libretto) was also involved with the Gordon Cricket Club as a Vice-President. The Gordon club was ‘evergreen’ and a senior championship winner in Auckland cricket (The Press, 6 October 1894).
As to the Ladies’ Guide itself, I would call it a mixture of non-fiction, reference material and play script. Most of the references in it are English. The main story of the match between “Shooting Stars” and “Paragons” on a Saturday at the Green Acre cricket ground is in the form of a play with the following cast:

- Mr Stanley, captain of Shooting Stars Cricket Club;
- Mrs Chester, a widower of Captain J E Chester;
- Miss Linton, younger niece of Mrs Chester; and
- Mr Lover, a gentleman spectator.

The story unwinds with Mr Stanley outlining the start of play to the two women. The next two chapters feature Mr Lover commentating on the match, describing the finer details to the two women as well as striking up a love connection with the beautiful Miss Linton. A scorecard for the “Shooting Stars” innings follows and a postscript notes the eventual marriage of Mrs Chester and Miss Linton to Mr Stanley and Mr Lover respectively – duly married by a Rev. Canon Blessom no less.
Preceding the play is a short ‘preliminary canter’ outlining the necessity for the book to impart useful knowledge for women’s understanding of the game, particularly those with no previous knowledge of cricket. Despite their eagerness to learn, the ‘average lady spectator views the finest cricket pretty much as Peter Bell [Wordsworth’s creation] regarded the beauties of nature: “A primrose [by a] river’s brim3 / A yellow primrose was to him, / And it was nothing more.”’ Giving reasons for women’s continued involvement in the sport, it also notes that the controversial introduction of ‘round-arm bowling’ came about from the actions of a woman. ‘A Miss Willes ... found her flowing skirts very much in the way when delivering the ball in under-hand fashion’. After the play ends, there is a chapter on ‘Cricket at Ladies’ Schools’ and a full glossary of cricket terms and slang.
On evidence although we can’t be sure that a Lover of Both is Outhwaite, it does seem plausible for Bagnall to see Outhwaite as the possible author of A Ladies’ Guide for the following reasons:

- Outhwaite was a distinguished and witty theatre critic knowledgeable of written drama;
- Outhwaite was a poet publishing in Auckland in 1882 anonymously as seen by his poem ‘Auckland’ above;
- Outhwaite was a well-known follower of cricket in Auckland and England where he had lived for a number of years as a young man.

The Alexander Turnbull Library copy, which I have read (a red hardback first edition of 1883), came from ‘Goodson’s London Arcade … the great emporium in Auckland for watches, jewellery, and fancy goods’. W W Robinson, the Auckland and UK poet and sportsman, possibly sold it on at the time. There are two more copies in New Zealand at Auckland Libraries (donated by Sir George Grey) and Auckland War Memorial Museum Library (‘obituary and signed photograph of W.E. Outhwaite tipped in; also an obituary of his mother Louise Outhwaite’, suggesting it was Outhwaite’s personal copy and the strongest evidence so far for Outhwaite as creator).
I take it, from the recent sale price at auction at Christie’s in 2006, that it is indeed a very rare item:

Price Realized £2,160
Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.
£700 - £1,000
Sale Information Sale 5073
The Guy Curry Cricket Library
4 May 2006
London, South Kensington
Lot Description FREEMAN'S JOURNAL, publisher
The Ladies' Guide to Cricket by a Lover of Both
Auckland: Freeman's Journal Office, 1883. 12mo., 35, [5]p., with errata slip at end and advertising slip before title (title browned at margins), original printed wrappers (rebacked and repaired with losses to extremities), green cloth portfolio. Provenance: W.W. Robinson (pencil signature at head of text; extensive pencil notes in his hand; another half-erased pencil signature on front wrapper) -- Henry Edward Platt, Wellingborough (bookplate on title verso). VERY RARE, inscribed “only known copy”. Padwick 447.

Rowan Gibbs, who recently republished W W Robinson’s Rugby Football in New Zealand (1905) with an introductory biography on Robinson, sent me these auction details and also notes that ‘Platt was headmaster of Wellingborough School (where Robinson coached sport after his return to England) from 1879 to 1906.’
A review by “Argus” of The Ladies’ Guide to Cricket (the title perhaps a nod to popular books like Sylvia’s Ladies’ Guide to Home-Dressing and Millinery) appeared in the New Zealand Herald, 22 December 1883:

I have to thank the author of a very interesting and useful little book entitled “The Ladies’ Guide to Cricket; by a Lover of Both”. This little work is evidently a labour of love, and is written by one well conversant with the subject. It is simplicity itself, and might well be called the ABC of the best of old English pastimes. The description of the match “Shooting Stars” v. “Paragons” is most naturally drawn, and any “lover of both” will no doubt have answered most of the questions himself more than once. The chapter dedicated to cricket in ladies’ schools carries out what from my own experience I have found to be the case, viz., that with certain modifications in the game ladies can indulge in this pastime as they do in tennis and other recreations.
I remember well when a boy playing with a golden-haired fairy on a garden lawn, and though I was a left-handed bowler of some promise to the third eleven of a large public school, still the little lady, now a clergyman’s wife, could always hold her own against me. But I take it that the author’s principal aim is to make the game understood by the fair sex generally, so that instead of going to a match and coming away wearied, because possibly Stannie or Charlie has had to field all day, instead of basking in the sunlight of her eyes beneath the shade of her pretty parasol, as with half-closed eyes he watches the game, and whispers soft nothings into her shell-like ear --- Hold on “Argus,” you’re getting out of your depth. But, seriously, I mean ladies by thoroughly knowing the beauties and technicalities of the game, can enjoy it for itself alone; therefore I think many Auckland ladies will often thank “The Lover of Both” for his thoughtfulness in placing before them his glossary of technical terms, cricket slang, and laws of cricket contained in this handy little volume.

Here are Outhwaite’s presumed two poems from A Ladies’ Guide to Cricket included in A Tingling Catch, a lasting legacy to the game he obviously loved and played as a young man:


Ten Ways to Get Out

“Careful and clever that batsman must be
Who wishes to tot up a century.’
Ten different dangers hedge him about
By any of which he may be put out,
First ‘bowled’, second ‘caught’, and third ‘leg before’,
A fate that most batsmen dislike and deplore,
The fourth is ‘run out’, deemed very bad cricket;
The fifth if he clumsily ‘hit his own wicket’.
Stumped is the sixth, the seventh we’ll call
Foolishly touching or handling the ball.
Eighth is the striker ‘should hit the ball twice’
With malice prepense – a pestilent vice,
Ninth if he purposely spoils a fair catch
While running – and tenth, the last of the batch,
When jacket or hat, propelled by the gale,
Touches the wicket displacing a bail!”

‘Fair ladies at a cricket match’

Fair ladies at a cricket match
  Your gentle presence bliss is;
For even though we miss a catch,
  We yet may catch a missis!
Whilst in your sunny smiles we bask.
  Our form goes all to pieces:
You draw us out, then sweetly ask,
  Where are the popping creases?

Poems © A Lover of Both [William Outhwaite c1883]

Article © Mark Pirie 2013

1 New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, 1 October 1899.
2 New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, 1 June 1900.
3 Misquoted as “on the river’s brim”.

(Sources: Emails from Rowan Gibbs and Niel Wright; National Library of New Zealand catalogue; Papers Past; New Zealand Herald; New Zealand Illustrated Magazine; Wikipedia; Auckland War Memorial Museum Library catalogue; Auckland Libraries Catalogue; The Observer; and The Ladies’ Guide to Cricket by A Lover of Both, printed at The Freeman’s Journal Office, Auckland, c1883)

William Outhwaite

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