Nat Gould

His life and books

The Double Event

First published in 1891 by Routledge under the title "The Double Event: A Tale of the Melbourne Cup". This was the first of Nat Gould's novels to be published in book form.

A review of the book in The Graphic said the book "is another of those singular productions in which sporting novelists seem to revel in dyeing the Turf black, and in trying to prove that their favourite sport in unfit to be touched by an honest man. There are honest men among Mr. Gould's dramatis personae ; but even he goes out of his way to apologise for their presence. However, this tale of the Melbourne Cup, plus the Derby, is not merely a sporting novel. It rises into the superlative degrees of villainy, and even of crime, for which an almost abnormal appetite is required on the part of the reader, who must not expect from the title that he is going to be put off with the mere plotting and counterplotting of the stable-yard and the betting-ring, fascinating as this evidently is to a large circle - at least if the supply is not in excess of the demand. A very robust digestion, indeed, is required for the assimilation of the fare provided by Mr. Gould." (1)

That however was not the majority view. The story proved very popular and launched Nat Gould on his literary career.

It was reissued in 1919 and 1920 by John Long Ltd, who had shortened the title to "The Double Event".

The novel was dramatised for the stage by George Darrell and performed in 1893 at the Theatre Royal, Melbourne. George Darrell himslf played the leading role of Richard Marston. In the climax of the third act, twenty horses paraded across the stage in an enactment of the Melbourne Cup (2).

The drama proved very popular in Australia, and was also performed at the Brisbane Opera House in 1895 by the Land of Moa Dramatic Company (3), and at the Theatre Royal in Perth in 1897 by Messrs. James and Lawrence Company (4).

(1) The Graphic (London) Saturday 19 December 1891.

(2) The Era (London) Saturday 20 May 1893.

(3) The Brisbane Courier Monday 23 December 1895. On the previous Saturday 21 December 1895 the newspaper advertised the forthcoming performance, together with advertisements for "A Leader and Full Orchestra" and for "Twenty-Five Well-dressed Extra Ladies and Gentlemen wanted for the Cup Scene".

(4) The West Australian Tuesday 22 June 1897.