The "Emperor Jones" come to life, with sex and race transformed, Is the purport of a recent news-item from Australia. Elizabeth Mahoney, the widow of a South Sea trader, has returned to civilization after thirty-three industrious years on an island in the Antipodes During those years she has accumulated a fortune in gold, which she herself has mined; she has acquired a fleet of small boats, and incidentally has done the everyday tasks of carpentering, engineering, and the raising of-her own food-supplies. All these are mere incidentals. Her great achievement was in winning sovereignty over the 17,000 natives, which she did so successfully that she earned from them the enviable title, "White Queen of the Pacific."
Not quite all the globe has become humdrum yet. While reviewers are declaring that O'Brien's pictures of South Sea glamour are mere imaginative fiction, and while Cruises of the Kawa are making them, seem ridiculous, stories like this are unconsciously being enacted to prove the case for romance. Stevenson and Richard Harding Davis had nothing more improbable to recount, and their best efforts failed to give the touch of credibility which is carried in a newspaper paragraph like this. As long as there are still truths stranger than fiction, there is hope for the survival of the "dime novel" and the "movie" adventure films which have been suffering a fade-out lately from poverty of material.
Of course it is to be expected that the feminist leaders will soon be on Mrs. Mahoney's trail. They will want the clue to her methods of subduing the native tribesmen; they will probably ask her to lead campaigns of conquest all over the world. Her mining successes have provided her with funds for a great crusade; her versatility has been proved; and if her leadership can be enlisted, their causes is assured of victory, Mr. Shaw and the Wyf of Bathe will be vindicated, and the Superman will have her day.
It is a formidable prospect, and only one defense can be suggested. The spell of the tropics must be played up to its full value. Ukuleles and guitars must be brought out in force to greet the conquering heroine; the weatherman must be prevailed upon to remind her of torrid suns, and perhaps that subtle nostalgia that worked on Ganguin. Stevenson, and the other South Seamen will call her back to Papua for peaceful sovereignty where she has already conquered.