Punch, Or The London Charivari, VOL. 100. Feb. 28, 1891
Produced by Malcolm Farmer, William Flis, and the Online Distributed
OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
February 28, 1891.
SPECIMENS FROM MR. PUNCH'S SCAMP-ALBUM.
NO. II.--THE LITERARY "GHOST."
We will assume, simply for the purposes of this argument, that you,
reader, are an innocent-minded elderly lady, and a regular subscriber
to the Local Circulating Library. You are sitting by your comfortable
fireside, knitting a "cross-over" for a Bazaar, when your little maid
announces a gentleman, who says he has not a card-case with him, but
requests that you will see him.
"You are sure he _is_ a gentleman, MARY ANN?" you will inquire, with a
slight uneasiness as to the umbrellas in the hall.
"Oh, a puffict gentleman, Mam," says MARY ANN--"with a respirator."
Upon this testimony to his social standing, you direct that the
perfect gentleman shall be shown in.
MARY ANN has not deceived you--he has a respirator, also blue
spectacles, and a red nose. He apologises with fluent humility for
intruding upon you without the honour of a previous acquaintance, and
takes a chair, after which he shifts his respirator to his chin, sheds
a pair of immense woollen gloves into his hat, and produces a bundle
of papers, over which he intreats you to cast an eye. On perusing
them, they prove to be letters from various eminent authors, whose
names are, more or less, familiar to you. These documents are more
interesting as autographs than from any intrinsic literary merit, for
they all refer to remittances for various amounts, and regret politely
that the writer is not in a position to obtain permanent employment
for his correspondent. While you are reading them, your visitor pays
assiduous court to your cat--which impresses you favourably.
"Possibly, Madam," he suggests, "you may be personally acquainted
with some of those gentlemen?" When you confess that you have not that
honour, he seems more at his ease.
"I asked," he says, "because I have long heard of you as a Lady of
great taste and judgment in literary matters--which, after seeing you,
I can the more readily understand."
It is a fact that several of your nieces and female neighbours are in
the habit of declaring that they would rather take your opinion on a
novel than that of all the critics; still, you had not expected your
fame to have spread so wide.
"I had another motive," he confesses, "because, if you were intimate
with any of these authors, I should naturally 'esitate to say anything
which might have the effect of altering your opinion of them. As
it is, I can speak with perfect freedom--though in the strictest
confidence. You see before you, Madam, an unfortunate bean, whom
circumstances have 'itherto debarred from ever reaping the fruit of
his own brine! Well may you remark, 'Your Gracious Goodness'"--(_your
natural astonishment having escaped you in the shape of this
invocation_)--"for in your goodness and in your graciousness rests my
sole remaining 'ope. I was endowed from an early age with a fertile
and versatile imagination, and creative powers which, without vanity,
I may say, were of a rather superior class. The one thing I lacked was
inflooence, and in the world of letters, Madam, as I am sure you
do not need to be informed, without inflooence Genius is denied a
suitable opening. At several literary Clubs in the West End I made
the acquaintance of the authors whose letters you have just had the
opportunity of reading--men who have since attained to the topmost
pinnacle of Fame. At that time they were comparatively obscure; they
'eard my conversation, they realised that I 'ad ideers, of which they
knew the value better, perhaps, than I did myself. I used to see them
taking down notes on their shirt-cuffs, and that, but I took no notice
of it at the time. Probably you have read the celebrated work of
fiction by Mr. GASHLEIGH WALKER, entitled, _King Cole's Cellars_? I
thought so. I gave him the plot, scenery and characters complete, for
that story. I did, indeed."
"And do you mean to say he has taken all the credit himself!" you
exclaim, very properly shocked.
"If he has," he replies, meekly, "I am far from complaining--a
shilling or two was an object to me at that time. And it got me
more work of the sort. There's _Booty Bay_, now, the book that made
ROBERTSON--_that_ was took down, word for word, from my dictation,
in a back parlour of one of LOCKHART's Cocoa-Rooms. I got fifteen
shillings for that. _He_ got, I daresay, 'undreds of pounds. Well, _I_
don't grudge it to him. As he said, I ought to remember he had all the
_manual_ labour of it. Then there's that other book which has sold
its thousands, _Four Men in a Funny_--that was mine--all but the last
chapter; he _would_ put in that, and, in _my_ opinion, spoilt it, from
an artistic point. But what could I do? It was out of _my_ 'ands! I
must say I never anticipated myself that it would be so popular. 'I
should be robbing you,' I said, 'if I took more than ten shillings for
it.' All the same, it turned out a good bargain for him. Then there's
the Drama, you would hardly credit it that I could name three leading
theatres at this present moment where pieces are running which came
originally out of _my_ 'ed! But it's no use my saying so--no one would
believe it. And now I've 'elped all these men up the ladder, they can
do without me--they can go alone--or think they can. See the way they
write--not a word about owing anything to my 'umble services, a postal
order for three-and-six; but that's the world all over!"
"But surely," you will sympathetically observe, "you will expose them,
you will insist on sharing in the reward of your labours--it is a duty
you owe to the public, as well as yourself!"
[Illustration: "Slow rises worth by poverty depressed."]
"So I've been told, Madam. But what can I do?--I'm a poor man. 'Slow
rises worth, by poverty depressed,' as POPE, or GOLDSMITH--for a
similar idea occurs in both--truly observes. To put my case before the
public as it _ought_ to be put, I should first have to gain the ear of
the Press--and you want a golden key to do that, nowadays. The Press
is very reluctant to run down successful writers. 'Hawks won't pick
out Awkses heyes,' as BURNS remarks. (_By this time you are probably
fumbling for your purse, which, as usual, is at the bottom of
your work-basket._) No, they will find me out some day--after I'm
dead and gone, most likely! In the meantime I envy nobody. I have
the consciousness of Genius, and--I'm sure your generosity is
overwhelming, Madam--I really never ventured to--Pardon these
tears; it is the first time my poor talents have ever obtained such
recognition as this! Could you crown your favours by giving me the
names and addresses of any charitable friends and neighbours whom
you think at all likely to follow your noble example?... I thank you
from my heart, Madam, and, when I succeed in recovering my literary
in'eritance, and am called upon to issue a collected edition of my
works, I shall take the liberty of inscribing on the title-page a
dedication to the generous benefactress who first 'elped to restore my
With this he seals his lips again with the respirator, pockets his
documents and your donation, and bows himself gratefully out, leaving
you to meditate on the unscrupulousness of popular Authors, and the
ease with which a confiding public is hoodwinked.
* * * * *
M.P. MANFIELD, M.P.
Northampton's new Member an honour can claim
On which he need set little store:
He now has M.P. written after his name,
But he always had M.P. before.
If every M.P. in the lobby counts one,
To the _Ayes_, or the _Noes_, walking through,
Does logic demand, in each case, _pro_ and _con._,
M.P. MANFIELD, M.P., should count two?
* * * * *
CHANCE FOR SPINSTERS OF AN UNCERTAIN AGE.--There is to be a Mahommedan
Mission in England.
* * * * *
[Illustration: "THE WATER BABIES AND THE ROYAL GODMOTHER."]
* * * * *
A lady of Bedford, despotic and rash,
Tried to force her poor groom to shave off his moustache.
Judge BAGSHAWE the wise, made her pay for her prank.
This makes one inclined to sing, "_I know a Bank_,"
Where BAGSHAWE might bring common-sense, for a change;
They're worse than the Lady of Goldington Grange,
These Banking Bashaws with three tails, who must clip
Nature's health-giving gift from a clerk's chin or lip.
Bah! What _are_ they fit for, these stupid old rules?
To be shaped by rich tyrants, obeyed by poor fools!
* * * * *
ENGLISH HISTORY.--I have been reading several books on this subject,
and am rather puzzled. Are the English people, _as existing now_,
Teutons, or Danes, or Celts, or what? Can we be Teutons when the
aborigines of these islands were not Teutonic? I feel that my own
genius--and I have a lot--is Celtic; at the same time I have always
prided myself on my Norman blood; yet from my liking for the sea,
which never makes me sick, at least at Herne Bay, I fancy I must
be descended from a Scandinavian Viking. What is the ethnological
name given to a person who is an amalgamation of such heterogeneous
* * * * *
[Illustration: TOUCHING CONFIDENCE IN THE FOG.
_Gentleman of Engaging Manners._ "BLESS YOUR 'EART, YOU'LL BE HALL
RIGHT ALONG O' ME, MUM! LET ME KERRY THE LITTLE BAG FOR YOU, MUM!!"]
* * * * *
THE BRUM AND THE OOLOGIST.
[Mr. W. JAMES asked the LORD ADVOCATE whether his attention
had been called to a circular, issued from Birmingham by the
Naturalists' Publishing Company, inviting applications for
shares in "An Oological Expedition to the land of the Great
Auk," meaning the Shetland Isles, and stating that, "if
the season is a pretty fair one, a haul of at least twenty
thousand eggs" of rare sea-birds might be expected.--_Daily
The "Brum" and the Oologist
Were walking hand in hand;
They grinned to see so many birds
On cliff, and rock, and sand.
"If we could only get their eggs,"
Said they, "it would be grand."
"If we should start a Company
To gather eggs all day,
Do you suppose," the former said,
"That we could make it pay?"
"We might," said the Oologist,
"On the promoting lay!"
"Then you've a tongue, and I a ship,
Likewise some roomy kegs;
And you might lead the birds a dance
Upon their ugly legs;
And, when you've got them out of sight,
I'll steal their blooming eggs."
"Oh, Sea-birds," said the Midland man,
"Let's take a pleasant walk!
Perhaps among you we may find
The Great--or lesser--Auk;
And you might possibly enjoy
A scientific talk."
The skuas and the cormorants,
And all the puffin clan,
The stormy petrels, gulls, and terns,
They hopped, and skipped, and ran
With very injudicious speed
To join that oily man.
"The time has come," remarked the Brum,
"For 'talking without tears'
Of birds unhappily extinct,
Yet known in former years;
And how much cash an egg will fetch
In Naturalistic spheres."
"But not _our_ eggs!" replied the birds,
Feeling a little hot.
"You surely would not rob our nests
After this pleasant trot?"
The Midland man said nothing but,--
"I guess he's cleared the lot!"
"Well!" said that bland Oologist,
"We've had a lot of fun.
Next year, perhaps, these Shetland birds
We'll visit--with a gun;
When--as we've taken all their eggs--
There'll probably be none!"
* * * * *
DIVORCE FACILITIES.--I should like to be informed in what part of
the United States it is that a Divorce is granted in half-an-hour, at
a merely nominal fee, on the ground of conscientious objections to
monogamy? What is the cost of getting there, and would it be necessary
that my wife should go there too? There might be a difficulty in
persuading her to take the journey.
* * * * *
A CANADIAN CALENDAR.
(_TO BE HOPED NOT PROPHETIC._)
1892. Reciprocity firmly established between the Dominion and the
1893. Emigration ceases between the Dominion and the Mother Country,
and trade dies out.
1894. Return from Canada of families of the best blood to England and
1895. Great increase of the Savage Indian Tribes in the country, and
the Improvident Irish Population in the towns of the Dominion.
1896. Practical suspension of trade between the Dominion and the
U.S.A., the latter having now attained the desired object of shutting
out goods of British manufacture from the American market.
1897. England refuses to assist Canada in resenting Yankee
encroachment in the seal fisheries.
1898. Canada asks to be annexed to the U.S.A.
1899. After some hesitation Uncle SAM consents to absorb the Dominion.
1900. Canada becomes a tenth-rate Yankee State.
* * * * *
THE DICTUM OF DIOGENES.
"One Man, One Vote!" A very proper plan
If you with each One Vote can find--One _Man_!
* * * * *
MRS. GRUNDY TO MR. GOSCHEN.
The Three per Cents, the Three per Cents,
Serene but mortal Three,
In view of recent sad events,
Oh! give them back to me.
Oh! GOSCHEN, Sir, kind gentleman,
Hear my polite laments;
Restore this trio, if you can--
Those musical Per Cents.
My income once was safe, if small;
It's larger, but unpaid,
Despite "the quite phenomenal
Development of Trade."
The "Bogus Man" is on the track,
And queer "Financial Gents"
Have promised me in white and black
Their Six and Ten per Cents.
The Three per Cents were regular,
Respectable, and good.
Their health was such that "under par"
They very seldom stood;
They needed no "conversion" rash,
Like Darker Continents;
A sort of Sunday turned to cash
They were, my Three per Cents.
A distant river somewhere rolls,
The wicked River Plate;
Upon its _banks_ there flourish souls
Perverse and reprobate.
Ah, send your missionaries _there_!
If haply it repents,
I'll not surrender Eaton Square
For Surrey's wild or Kent's.
Not I alone; the best that breathe,
Archbishop, Duke, and Lord,
Your bust with chaplets rare will wreathe,
This boon if you'll accord.
How can we by example shame
The mob who mock at rents,
If we are left to do the same
Without our Three per Cents?
Reft of a carriage, life is poor:
A well-conducted set
Needs ready money to procure
Their butler and _Debrett_.
The country totters to its fall,
Disgraced to all intents,
Unless you instantly recall
Our solid Three per Cents.
* * * * *
THE FLOWERLESS FUNERAL.
(_BY A FLOWER MERCHANT._)
Funeral Reform? Oh! just a fad,--
Its advocates, in fact, as bad
As those who want Cremation.
A set of foolish, fussy fools
Whose misplaced ardour nothing cools--
A nuisance to the nation!
Economy, they're all agreed,
Should be with them a cult and creed,
Simplicity a passion.
They'd quickly wreck this trade of ours,
Since they would scorn the use of flowers,
If they could set the fashion!
Yes; parsons agitate, but these
Good gentlemen all take their fees--
We thank them much for giving
Such good advice upon this head,
But recollect that from the dead
We've got to get our living!
* * * * *
CHORUS OF THE OBJECTORS TO THE PROPOSED LORD'S TUNNEL
RAILWAY.--"WATKIN the matter be!"
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S PRIZE NOVELS.
NO. XIV.--LE PETROLIUM; OU, LES SALOPERIES PARISIENNES.
(_Par Zorgon-Gola, Auteur de "Toujours Poivre," "Charbon et Crasse,"
"La Fange," "499 Pages d'Amour," "Le Pourvoyeur Universel," "Une
Reveuse qui vise l'Academie_.")
Si vous voulez voir les _Slums_ Parisiens et comprendre le
Peuple--avec la majuscule--vous devez visiter les Saloperies, faubourg
au dela de Belleville et de Menilmontant, faubourg ou les femmes
sortent le matin en cheveux--ca ne veut pas dire comme Lady GODIVA,
mais simplement sans chapeau--acheter de la charcuterie; et ou vers
minuit dans des bouges infects les hommes se coupent le gavion, en
bons zigs, apres une soiree de rigolade. C'est ici qu'on trouve des
admirables exemplaires de cette nombreuse famille EGOU-OGWASH, qui,
datant de PHARAMOND, peuple Paris et joue tous les roles dans la
comedie humaine. Ce n'est pas une famille tout a fait vieille roche,
voyez-vous: au contraire, ca commence dans la boue de Provence et
finit dans les egouts de Paris; mais elle est distinguee, tout de
meme. Elle a son epilepsie hereditaire, belle et forte epilepsie qu'on
trouvera partout dans cette vingtaine de romans que je suis resolu
d'ecrire au sujet des EGOU-OGWASH. C'est une epilepsie genealogique.
Il y en a pour toute la famille.
JANE POPPOT se promenait sur le Boulevard des Saloperies par une belle
matinee d'aout. En cheveux, panier sur le bras, elle allait acheter
de la charcuterie pour le dejeuner de son mari, oui, son mari pour de
bon, chose unique dans la famille OGWASH, un vrai mariage a la Mairie
et a l'eglise. Cette petite blonde, JANE, a ses idees a elle de se
ranger, de vivre en honnete femme avec son respectable JEAN POPPOT
qui l'adore, au point de lui pardonner tout le volume premier de son
Il n'y a pas dans tout Paris menage plus gentil que le petit
appartement au septieme des POPPOT dans une cite ouvriere de ce
Betnal Grin Parisien. Tout va bien avec ces braves gens. Lui, c'est le
Steeple-Jack de Paris, ou il fait les reparations de tous les toits.
Elle, blanchisseuse de fin, a developpe un secret dans la facon
d'empeser les plastrons de chemises. Elle fait des plastrons
monumentaux, luisants, dur comme l'albatre. Elle a des clients dans
le beau monde et a l'etranger, jusqu'au Prince de BALEINES, qui lui
confie ses chemises de grande toilette, celles qu'il porte au diner
du Lor Maire, par exemple.
JANE achete sa charcuterie, et apres elle s'arrete au coin de la rue
pour regarder Paris. C'etait un tic qu'elle avait, de regarder Paris.
Cela tenait de la famille OGWASH. Instinct de race.
Paris, vu du hauteur des Saloperies, semble une grande marmite pleine
de boue et de sang, ou les gens grouillent, se tordent, s'empiffrent,
se devorent, et _squirment_ dans leur propre graisse, comme de la
blanchaille sautant dans l'huile bouillante. Un nuage de _sewer-gaz_
monte jusqu'a JANE stationnee sur la hauteur de Belleville; et dans
cette brume puante elle sent l'odeur de femmes et de l'ognon, le
cognac, le meurtre, le fricot, le mont de piete, les omnibus, les
croquemorts, les gargotes, les bals a l'entree libre pour dames, tout
ce qu'il y a de funeste et de choquant dans cette ville infecte.
JANE s'amuse a flairer toutes ces horreurs pendant que le pauvre
POPPOT danse devant le buffet en attendant l'arlequin ou le demi kilo
de charcuterie assortie dans le panier de sa femme.
Elle a degringole. Cela a commence tout doucement en trainant ses
savates. Quand une femme degringole elle traine ses savates. C'est une
loi universelle. L'on ne degringole pas sans trainer ses savates; l'on
ne traine pas ses savates sans degringoler. Ainsi gare aux souliers
ecules. O, mais elle est changee, cette pauvre p'tite blonde! La
maladie hereditaire des EGOU-OGWASH vient d'etre indiquee. POPPOT, ce
brave POPPOT, lui aussi il degringole, il resemble a un reverbere sur
le boulevard dont on oublie d'eteindre le gaz. Il est allume du matin
Ca a commence si gentiment apres que ce bon Steeple-Jack etait tombe
du faite de Notre Dame, ou il faisait des reparations. Le pauvre homme
a fait cette chute en regardant JANE, qui dansait le cancan sur la
Place du Parvis pour choquer ces cretins de _Cook-tourists_, et pour
distraire son mari. C'etait pendant la convalescence de POPPOT que
la degringolade a commence. JANE lui donna un de a coudre de vilain
cognac, et de ce premier doigt de casse-poitrine a l'ivrognerie
brutale n'etait qu'une glissade, presque aussi rapide que la glissade
de Notre Dame. POPPOT trainait ses savates; il chomait; il rigolait;
il gardait le Saint Lundi; il passait des journees devant le buffet
du Petrolium, ce grand cabaret du peuple ou l'on voyait distiller le
trois-six pour tout le quartier.
JANE faisait pire que degringoler; elle cascadait. Elle ne se
debarbouillait plus. Elle avait pris en horreur le savon. Est-ce
une aversion hereditaire, datant de la premiere femme qui a senti
la puanteur de cet abominable savon francais, avant la bienfaisante
invention de M. POIRES? Sans doute c'etait l'atavisme en quelque
forme. Elle avait son beguin. C'etait le linge sale. Plus il etait
sale, plus elle en raffolait. Elle ne voulait plus les chemises
en batiste fine du Prince de BALEINES. Elle priait les aristos
du Jockey Club de donner leurs plastrons a d'autres. Les clients
qu'elle preferait etaient les porte-faix, les forts de la halle, les
chauffeurs du chemin de fer. C'etait en allant chercher le linge de
ces derniers qu'elle entrait sans le savoir dans le Dedale de cette
voie ferree qui enlace et ecrase les etres vivants comme les grandes
roues des locomotives ecrasent la poussiere de la voie.
Le President du P.L.M. lui aussi avait son beguin hereditaire. Il
courait les femmes malpropres. Plus elles ne se debarbouillaient
pas, plus il les courait. C'etait innocent. Il les admirait du cote
esthetique. Cela tenait de la famille, puis de ce que lui aussi etait
de la vieille souche des EGOU-OGWASH. Il s'allumait en lorgnant la
figure noircie de cette pauvre JANE, et la rencontrant dans la gare un
jour il se permit un pen de _flirtage_ sans penser a mal. Mais par une
fatalite, POPPOT, affreusement paf, descendait d'une quatrieme classe
au moment ou le vieux baisait la main crasseuse de JANE, en lui disant
son gentil bon soir: et des cet instant POPPOT voyait rouge.
IL voyait rouge. Paris lui semblait un abattoir. Il couvait le
meurtre, et pour l'aider il avait un complice qui etait du metier,
JACQUES RISPERE, conducteur de machines sur le P.L.M., qui avait aussi
sa manie hereditaire, et sa manie a lui etait de couper les gorges.
Il les coupait sans rancune, a l'improviste, en souriant a sa victime,
les yeux dans les yeux. Cric! c'etait fait. Par exemple il est
descendu un jour de la locomotive et devant le buffet d'une station
ou il n'y avait pas trop de monde il a surine la _barmaid_ qui lui
souriait en lui vendant une brioche. Il a egorge son chauffeur au
risque d'arreter le train de luxe entre Avignon et Marseilles. On ne
le punit pas. Cela tenait de la famille.
"Touche la, mon drole! C'est convenu," dit JACQUES RISPERE, apres
un entretien de quelques heures devant le buffet du Petrolium. "Moi,
j'arrangerai tout cela avec les fonctionnaires. Le train arrivant de
Geneve doit passer le Rapide entre Macon et Dijon. Il ne passera pas.
Je retarderai le train omnibus arrivant de Marseilles. J'accelererai
le _train-luggage_ arrivant de Paris. Il y aura une melee de quatre
trains, entrechoques, tordus, enlaces, faisant le _pique-a-baque_:
et pendant cette melee j'egorgerai ce vieux mufe de President. C'est
"Comme bon jour," repondit POPPOT, aveuglement soul.
RISPERE tenait parole. A onze heures du soir il y avait une de
ces catastrophes qui font fremir l'Europe voyageuse. L'assassin ne
s'arretait pas a la gorge du President. Le vieil aristo n'avait pas
assez de sang pour assouvir la soif meurtriere de l'epileptique.
RISPERE egorgea tout le monde, a tort et a travers, une veritable
tuerie. On le prit les mains rouges, la bouche blanche d'ecume.
C'etait la vraie epilepsie d'ESQUIROL.
Quant a POPPOT personne n'a soupconne sa complicite dans ce crime
gigantesque. Lui et JANE se soulent paisiblement du matin an soir
devant le buffet du Petrolium, en amis. Ils deviennent tous les jours
plus pauvres, plus paresseux, et plus poivres. Ainsi c'est facile de
prevoir leur fin:--
L'hopital, trente pages de delire alcooelique, et la fosse commune.
_Note de l'Auteur_.--C'est mon intention irrevocable de finir ma
vingtaine de romans sur la famille OGWASH, et je compte avec plasir
offrir les dix-neuf a suivre a mon ami estime, _Ponche_.
* * * * *
LISTENING TO THE GENTLE KOOEN.
_Maid Marian_ is "a Comic Opera in Three Acts," at least so I gather
from the title-page of the book and from the programme of the Prince
of Wales's Theatre; though where the comicality comes in, except
occasionally with Mr. MONKHOUSE, it would require _Sam Weller's_ "pair
o' patent double million magnifyin' gas microscopes of hextra power"
to detect. Mr. LE HAY, too, has nothing like the opportunity which was
given him in _Prince Bulbo_. Now, when in a so-called Comic Opera your
two principal low comedians have very little to do, say, or sing, and
when that little is not of a particularly side-splitting character,
and when the plot is not replete with comic situations, such a work
must depend for its success on the freshness of its melodies, on
the popularity of its _artistes_, and on the excellence of its
[Illustration: Libretto by Smith. As he appears in Act III.,
"hammering at it."]
As to the last of these essentials, if, perhaps, it is not so
brilliantly placed on the stage as some other shows have been, yet
there is plenty of Harrisian movement, due always to the devices in
stage-management of CHARLES of that ilk, who certainly knows how to
keep the Chorus moving and the game alive generally.
The yet existing admirers of the once enormously popular composer,
OFFENBACH, among whom I certainly include myself, will be much
gratified by the delicately introduced reminiscences of the work of
that master of _opera bouffe_ which occasionally crop up during the
performance of _Maid Marian_. If it be permissible for great Masters
to repeat themselves, as notably more than one has done, may not
little Masters exhibit the results of their profound studies in the
schools of popular Composers? Surely they may; and was I not pleased
with Mr. DE KOOEN (whose name seems to suggest "the voice of the
turtle,"--the dove, not the soup) when his prelude to the Third Act
distinctly recalled to my attentive mind the celebrated unison effect
in _L'Africaine_, only without the marvellous jump, which, when first
heard, thrilled the audience, and compelled an enthusiastic encore?
Then Miss VIOLET CAMERON sang a song about the bells, with a chorus
not in the least like that in _Les Cloches de Corneville_ you
understand, because the latter, I think, is performed without the
bells sounding, but in this there is a musical peal which intensifies
the distinction between the two. This "number" was encored heartily,
nay, I think it was demanded three times, and came just at the right
moment to freshen up the entertainment. In the previous Act Miss
ATTALIE CLAIRE had had a good song which had also obtained an encore,
thoroughly well deserved as far as her singing was concerned.
I forget what Mr. COFFIN had to sing, but, whatever it was, he did it
more than justice, as did also the _basso profondo_, whose efforts
in producing his voice from, apparently, his boots, were crowned with
The _Friar Tuck_ here is a kind of good old-fashioned burlesque Friar,
more like that one some years ago at the Gaiety, in _Little Robin
Hood_ than the Friar in _Ivanhoe_. But I should say that this Friar
would be uncommonly thankful to have got anything like the song that
Sir ARTHUR has given _his_ Friar over the way, or something even
as good as Mr. DALLAS had to sing, years ago, in REECE's Gaiety
Burlesque. However, perhaps it was not intended for a singing part,
and perhaps the actor who plays it is not a professional singer. We're
not all of us born with silver notes in our chests.
I see that Mr. HORACE SEDGER announces the drama in action, entitled
_L'Enfant Prodigue_, which recently made such a hit in Paris. Wonder
how it will go here. Not knowing, can't prophesy.
* * * * *
The Baron thanks Sir HENRY THOMPSON for his _Food and Feeding_, which
(published by WARNE & Co., a suggestive name) has reached its sixth
edition. It is, indeed, an entertaining work, and a work that all
honest entertainers should carefully study. It will delight alike the
host and the guest. To the first, Sir HENRY, being a host in himself,
can give such valuable advice as, if acted upon, will secure the ready
pupil a position as a Lucullus of the first class; and, even when
so placed, he will still have much to learn from this Past Grand
Master in the art of living well and wisely. "_Fas est ab 'hoste'
doceri_"--and a better host it would be difficult to find as teacher
than Sir HENRY THOMPSON, P.G.M., to whose health and happiness the
Baron quaffs a bumper of burgundy of the right sort and at the right
time. Most opportunely does this book appear in the season of Lent,
which may be well and profitably spent in acquiring a thorough
knowledge of how to turn to the best account the fleshpots of Egypt,
when the penitential time is past, and the yolk of mortification is
thrown off with the welcome return of the Easter Egg. Read attentively
what our guide and friend has to say about salads, especially note
his remarks on the salad of "cold boiled table vegetables." His
arrangement of the _menu_, to the Baron's simple taste, humble mode of
life, and not inconsiderable experience, is perfect. _Hors d'oeuvres_
are works of supererogation, and have never been, so to speak,
acclimatised in our English table-land. The Baron may have overlooked
any directions about _ecrivisses_, not as _bisque_, but pure and
simple as cray-fish, which, fresh from the river and served hot and
hot come in late but welcome as an admirable refresher to the palate,
and as a relish for the champagne, though the Baron is free to admit
that the dainty manipulation of them is somewhat of a trial to the
inexperienced guest, especially in the presence of "Woman, lovely
Woman." "Hease afore helegance," was _Mr. Weller's_ motto, but "Ease
combined with elegance" may be attained in a few lessons, which any
skilled M.D.E. (i.e., _Mangeur d'ecrivisses_) will be delighted to
give at the well-furnished table of an apt and ardent pupil. Once
more "_Your_ health, Sir HENRY!" that's the Baron's toast (bread not
permitted) in honour of the eminent practician who does so much for
the health of everybody.
That a considerable number of novel-readers like _Saint Monica_, by
Mrs. BENNETT-EDWARDS, is evident, because it has reached its sixth
edition, but that the Baron is not one of this happy number he is fain
to admit. _Saint Monica_ seems to him to be a story with which the
author of _As in a Looking-Glass_ might have done something in his
peculiar way. It begins with promise, which promise is not justified
Who does not welcome the works of HAWLEY SMART, the brightest of our
novelists? This is not a conundrum, and, consequently, has no answer.
Everybody likes the books of our literary Major, and everybody will
be pleased with _The Plunger_. The new Story is in two volumes, and is
full of incident. There is a murder, which carries one through, from
the first page to the last, in a state of breathless excitement. Not
that the tale commences with the tragedy. But its anticipation is as
delightful as its subsequent realisation; and, when the mystery is
solved, joy becomes universal. The story is told with so light a hand,
that it may be truly said that the only "heavy" thing about the book
is its title.
_The Autobiography of Joseph Jefferson_ is a good stout volume, full
of portraits and interest from beginning to end, forming an important
addition to the theatrical history of the day. The Baron drinks to his
old friend, the greatest _Rip_ that ever lived. "Here's your health,
and your family's, and may you live long, and prosper!" says,
heartily, THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
* * * * *
"OH, MAMMY DARLING, WHY CAN'T THE TOYSHOP-MAN CALL FOR ORDERS EVERY
MORNING, LIKE THE BAKER?"]
* * * * *
"_First Citizen_. Consider you what services he has done for his
"_Second Citizen_. Very well; and could be content to give him
good report for't, but that he pays himself with being
proud."--_Coriolanus_, Act I., Scene 1.
_Teuton Coriolanus loquitur_:--
"_Was ever man so proud as is this_ MARCIUS?"
There spake the babbling Tribune! Proud? Great gods!
All power seems pride to men of petty souls,
As the oak's knotted strength seems arrogance
To the slime-rooted and wind-shaken reed
That shivers in the shallows.
I who perched,
An eagle on the topmost pinnacle
Of the State's eminence, and harried thence
All lesser fowl like sparrows!--I to hide
Like a chased moor-hen in a marsh, and bate
The breath that awed the world into a whisper,
That would not shake a taper-flame or stir
A flickering torch to flaring!
"_I do wonder_
_His insolence can brook to be commanded_
_Under_ COMINIUS." So the Roman said:
SICINIUS VELUTUS, thou hadst reason.
Under COMINIUS! Who's COMINIUS now?
The adolescent Emperor, or his cool
Complacent Chancellor? COMINIUS!
Unseasoned youth, or untried middle-age,
A shouting boy, or a sleek-spoken elder,
Hot stripling, cool supplanter!
I serve not
"Under COMINIUS," nay!--yet since he stands
There, where I made firm footing amidst chaos,
Stands in smug comfort where we Titans struggled--
MOLTKE, and I, and the great Emperor,--
Struggled for vantage, which he owes to us;--
Since he stands there, and I in shadow sit,
Silenced and chidden, I half _feel_ I serve,
Whom he would bid to second. Second _him_,
In that Imperial Policy whose vast
And soaring shape, like air-launched eagle, seemed
To fill the sky, and shadow half the world?
As well the Eagle's self might be expected
To second the small jay!
My shadow, mine?
Yes, but distorted by the skew-cast ray
Of a far lesser sun than lit the noon
Of my meridian glory. So I spurn
The shrunken simulacrum!
And they shriek,
Shout censure at me, the cur-crowd who crouched,
Ere that a woman's hate and a boy's pride
Smote me, the new Abimelech, so sore;
They'd hush me, like a garrulous greybeard, chaired
At the hearth-corner out of harm; they'd hush
My voice--the valorous vermin! What say they?
"_That's a brave fellow; but he's vengeance proud_;
_Loves not the common people!_" Humph! I stand
As MARCIUS would not, in the market-place,
And show my wounds to the people. Is _that_ pride?
I stooped to--_her!_--let me not think of that;
'T would poison paradise!--but is _that_ pride?
The Roman pride was stiff and taciturn,
And I,--they tell me, I "will still be talking,"
And no MENENIUS is by to say
In charity of the modern MARCIUS,
"_Consider this:--he has been bred i'the wars_
_Since he could draw a sword, and is ill-school'd_
_In bolted language: meal and bran together_
_He throws without distinction_."
Well, well, well
"_I would he had continued to his country_
_As he began; and not unknit, himself,_
_The noble knot he made_." So they'll whine out
The smug SICINIUSES. But what I wonder
If once again the Volscians make new head!
Who, "like an eagle in a dovecote," then
Will flutter them and discipline AUFIDIUS?
An eagle! Shall I spurn my shadow, then
Trample my own projection? So they babble
Who'd silence me, make this my mouthpiece mute;
Who prate of prosecution--banishment,
Perchance, anon, for me, as for the Roman,
Because "I cannot brook to be commanded
Under COMINIUS." What said VOLUMNIA
To her imperious son? "_The man was noble,_
_But with his last attempt he wiped it out;_
_Destroy'd his country; and his name remains_
_To the ensuing age abhorr'd._" I would not have
My own VIRGILIA say so--she who frets,
At my colossal chafing. ARNIM's shade
Would mock my fall; but silent Friedrichsruh
Irks me, whilst lesser spirits so misshape
My vast designs, whose shadow, dwarfed, distorted,
I trample in my anger, thus--thus--thus!
[Footnote 1: The _Hamburger Nachrichten_, in whose columns (says the
_Times_) Prince BISMARCK, according to the friends of the Government,
"inspires incessant attacks upon the Imperial Policy, domestic,
foreign, and colonial, and especially upon the proceedings of his
successor, General CAPRIVI."]
* * * * *
"SUCH A NATURE,
TICKLED WITH GOOD SUCCESS, DISDAINS THE SHADOW
WHICH HE TREADS ON AT NOON."--_Coriolanus_, Act I., Sc. 1.]
* * * * *
DUMAS UP TO ARMY ESTIMATES' DATE.
PART I.--_THE THREE VOLUNTEERS._
LIEUTENANT PORTHOS, Captain ATHOS, and Major ARAMIS were delighted
with the progress discernible in every detail of the battalion to
which it was their honour to belong. Not a man that did not appear on
parade conscious of the fact that he had made himself proficient--the
privates were contented, the non-commissioned officers happy. It
was, indeed, a model Regiment. On the occasion of their inspection
by Colonel D'ARTAGNAN, a man marched from the ranks, and demanded a
"And what do _you_ want?" asked the inspecting officer.
"We wish the unjust to be made just," returned the discontented one.
"We ask for a reform."
PORTHOS, ATHOS, and ARAMIS would have protested, but Colonel
D'ARTAGNAN motioned them to be silent. "I am here," he murmured, "to
listen to complaints. I must listen to his."
"Sir," said the complainant, "we have admirable officers--the
Lieutenant, the Captain, and the Major. They are always at work."
"Yes," returned Colonel D'ARTAGNAN; "and so are you."
"But we have merely to obey orders, and not to command. We feel that
although we pay for everything connected with the battalion, we should
do something more. We ought to subscribe a sum to pay our excellent
officers for commanding us!"
And PORTHOS, ATHOS, and ARAMIS refused the suggestion, to the great
disappointment of their subordinates.
PART II.--_TWENTY YEARS AFTERWARDS._
LIEUTENANT PORTHOS, Captain ATHOS, and Major ARAMIS were once again
being inspected by D'ARTAGNAN, now wearing the gold and crimson scarf
of a general officer.
"Yes, I have a complaint to make," replied one of the rank and file,
in reply to the customary interrogation. "We have three officers; but
they have merely to give orders, while we have to obey them. This is
unfair--unjust. We are always at work."
"Yes," returned General D'ARTAGNAN, "and so are they."
"True enough. We feel that, although they pay everything for the
battalion, they should do more. They ought to compensate their
excellent privates for the time we devote to obeying them."
And PORTHOS, ATHOS, and ARAMIS accepted the suggestion, to the great
delight of their subordinates.
PART III.--_TEN YEARS LATER._
Lieutenant PORTHOS, Captain ATHOS, and Major ARAMIS were yet again on
"I salute you, my friends," said Field Marshal D'ARTAGNAN, the
inspecting officer. "But where is your Regiment?"
PORTHOS looked at ATHOS, and ATHOS glanced at ARAMIS. Then they
replied in a breath, "It has been disbanded."
"Disbanded!" echoed D'ARTAGNAN. "But where are the accounts of the
Then the three friends replied in a mournful tone, "Filed in the Court
"And what do you call this filing of officers' accounts in the Court
"We call it the last act of the Volunteer Movement, which, by the way,
however, was not entirely voluntary!"
And the four friends having no further occupation requiring their
joint attention, shook hands warmly, and parted--for ever!
* * * * *
MEN WHO HAVE TAKEN ME IN--TO DINNER.
(_BY A DINNER-BELLE._)
NO. I.--THE OVER-CULTURED UNDERGRADUATE.
He stood, as if posed by a column,
Awaiting our hostess' advance;
Complacently pallid and solemn,
He deigned an Olympian glance.
Icy cool, in a room like a crater,
He silently marched me down-stairs,
And Mont Blanc could not freeze with a greater
Assurance of grandeur and airs.
I questioned if Balliol was jolly--
"Your epithet," sighed he, "means noise.
Vile noise! At his age it were folly
To revel with Philistine boys."
Competition, the century's vulture,
Devoured academical fools;
For himself, utter pilgrim of Culture,
He countenanced none of the Schools.
Exams: were a Brummagem fashion
Of mobs and inferior taste;
They withered "Translucence" and "Passion,"
They vulgarised leisure by haste.
Self to realise--that was the question,
Inscrutable still while the cooks
Of our Colleges preached indigestion,
Their Dons indigestible books.
Two volumes alone were not bathos,
The one by an early Chinese,
The other, that infinite pathos,
Our Nursery Rhymes, if you please.
He was lost, he avowed, in this era;
His spirit was seared by the West,
But he deemed to be Monk in Madeira
Would probably suit him the best.
"Impressions of Babehood" in plenty
Succeeded, "Hot youth" and its tears,
Till I wondered if ninety or twenty
Summed up his unbearable years.
Great Heavens! I turned to my neighbour,
A SQUARSON by culture unblest;
And welcomed at length in field-labour
And foxes refreshment and rest.
* * * * *
QUESTION OF THE KNIGHT.--If it be true, as was mentioned in the
_World_ last week, that Mr. Justice WRIGHT has "climbed down," only to
be placed upon a higher perch, will any change of name follow on the
Knighthood? Will he be known as Sir ROBERT RONG, late Mr. JUSTICE
* * * * *
THE JERRYBAND PIANO is a thundering instrument.
* * * * *
THE JERRYBAND PIANO should be in every Lunatic Asylum.
* * * * *
THE JERRYBAND PIANO.--This wonderful and unique instrument, horizontal
and perpendicular Grand, five octaves, hammerless action, including
keyboard, pedals, gong, peal of bells, ophicleide stop, and all
the newest improvements, can be seen at Messrs. SPLITTE AND SON's
Establishment, High Holborn, and purchased ON THE FIFTY YEARS' HIRE
SYSTEM, by which, at a payment of 1s. 1-1/2d. a week, the piano, or
what is left of it, becomes the property of the purchaser, or his
heirs and executors, at the expiration of that period.
* * * * *
PECADILLA is a new after-dinner, home-grown Sherry, of quite
extraordinary value and startling excellence.
* * * * *
PECADILLA is a full, fruity, gout-giving, generous, heady wine, smooth
on the palate, round in the mouth, full of body, wing, character, and
* * * * *
PECADILLA may be safely offered at funerals.
* * * * *
PECADILLA is a beverage for Dukes in distressed circumstances.
* * * * *
PECADILLA _is the wine, par excellence_, for the retrenching.
* * * * *
PECADILLA, mixed with citrate of soda, treacle, and soda-water, and
drunk in the dark immediately after a glass of hot ginger brandy, will
be found to possess all the quality of a low-priced Champagne.
* * * * *
PECADILLA is the making of an economical wedding breakfast.
* * * * *
PECADILLA. A few parcels of this unique and delicious Wine are still
to be had of the grower, a Sicilian Count, for the moment resident in
Houndsditch, at the nominal price, inclusive of the bottles, of five
shillings and ninepence the dozen.
* * * * *
TO MR. RUDYARD KIPLING.
["Every minute of my time during 1891 is already mortgaged. In
1892 you may count upon me."--Mr. JEROME K. JEROME, _not_ Mr.
RUDYARD KIPLING. _See "Punch," Feb. 14_.]
Oh, Mr. KIPLING!--you whose pungent pen
Of pirate publishers has been the terror,
Try hard, I beg you, to forgive me, when
I openly confess I wrote in error.
It was not you by whom the deed was done.
But Mr. JEROME 'twas who wrote and said he
Could not contribute, since his Ninety-One
Was mortgaged to the Editors already.
'Twas rough on you, indeed, in such a way,
By thinking you were he, to dim your glory.
Yet pray believe I really grieve to say
I mixed you up with quite "another story"!
* * * * *
DRAMATIC ILLUSTRATION OF AN ADVERTISEMENT.--In one of the advertising
columns of the _Times_ the paragraph appeared one day last week. The
newspaper containing it lay on the table of a drawing-room. Elderly
beau was making up (he was accustomed to making-up in another sense,
as his wig and whiskers could testify) to charming young lady. Such
was the scene. He asked her to accept him. Her reply was to show him
the heading of this advertisement in the _Times_:--"YOUTH WANTED."
_Tableau! Exit_ Beau. Curtain.
* * * * *
[Illustration: MISS PARLIAMENT'S DREAM OF A FANCY BALL.
_A Suggestion for Druriolanus at Covent Garden._]
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH TO MISS CANADA.
Oh, Canada, dear Canada, we shall not discombobulate
Ourselves concerning JONATHAN. 'Tis true he tried to rob you late
(That is if Tariff-diddling may be qualified as robbery),
But BULL has learned the wisdom of not kicking up a bobbery.
No, Canada, we love you dear, and shall be greatly gratified
If by your March Elections our relations are--say ratified.
We don't expect self-sacrifice, we do not beg for gratitude,
But keep an interested eye, my dear, upon your attitude.
Railings and ravings rantipole we hold are reprehensible,
But of our kindly kinship we're affectionately sensible.
A mother's proud to see her child learning to "run alone," you know;
But does not wish to see her "run away" from home, she'll own you know.
MACDONALD is magniloquent, perhaps a bit thrasonical;
His dark denunciations--at a distance--sound ironical.
And when we read the rows between him and Sir RICHARD CARTWRIGHT; dear,
We have our doubts if either chief quite plays the patriot part right, dear!
But there, we know that party speeches are not _merum nectar_, all,
And we can take the measure of magniloquence electoral;
The tipple Party Spirit men will stir and whiskey-toddy-fy,
But when they have to drink it--cold--its strength they greatly modify.
Beware the Ides of March? Oh, no! All auguries we defy, my dear!
The spectre of disloyalty don't scare us; all my eye, my dear.
So vote away, dear Canada! our faith's in friendly freedom, dear;
And croakers, Yank, or Canuck, or home-born, we shall not heed 'em, dear!
* * * * *
[Illustration: A SENSITIVE EAR.
_Intelligent Briton_. "BUT WE HAVE NO THEATRE, NO ACTORS WORTHY OF THE
NAME, MADEMOISELLE! WHY, THE ENGLISH DELIVERY OF BLANK VERSE IS SIMPLY
TORTURE TO AN EAR ACCUSTOMED TO HEAR IT GIVEN ITS FULL BEAUTY AND
SIGNIFICANCE BY A BERNHARDT OR A COQUELIN!"
_Mademoiselle_. "INDEED? I HAVE NEVER HEARD BERNHARDT OR COQUELIN
RECITE ENGLISH BLANK VERSE!"
_Intelligent Briton_. "OF COURSE NOT. I MEAN _FRENCH_ BLANK VERSE--THE
BLANK VERSE OF CORNEILLE, RACINE, MOLIERE!"
_Mademoiselle_. "OH, MONSIEUR, THERE IS NO SUCH THING!"
[_Briton still tries to look intelligent._]
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
_House of Commons, Monday Night, February 16_.--After long tarrying,
House once more justified its old character. Been dolefully dull
these weeks and months past. Thought it was dead; only been sleeping.
To-night woke up, and audience that filled every Bench, blocked the
Gangways, and thronged the Bar, had rare treat. Occasion was the
indictment of Prince ARTHUR; long pending; was to have come off at
beginning of Session; put off on account of counter attractions in
Committee-Room No. 15; postponement no longer possible; and here we
are, House throbbing with excitement, OLD MORALITY nervously clacking
about Treasury Bench, bringing his chicks together under his wing.
RANDOLPH brought his young beard down to witness performance.
[Illustration: A Buffer Q.C.]
Initial difficulty in Irish Camp; Brer FOX sitting in old place, two
steps down third bench below Gangway. Brer RABBIT, sunk in profound
meditation, oblivious to the rival Leader's presence, occupies corner
seat; room for one between them. Who shall take it? Anxious time for
TIM HEALY. Nothing he dreads so much as possibility of outbreak. In
Committee-Room No. 15, Brer FOX snatched out of Brer RABBIT's hand
a sheet of paper. Suppose now, in sudden paroxysm, he were to reach
forth and taking Brer RABBIT by the beard bang his head against the
back of the Bench? TIM's gentle nature shivered with apprehension;
thing to do was to get a good plump gentleman set between the two, so
that in case hostilities broke out his body might be used as buffer.
Thought of ELTON first. Besides a professional desire to find
occupation for Members of the Bar, ELTON's figure seemed made on
purpose for the peaceful errand TIM had in mind. Broached subject.
ELTON said, always happy to oblige; but was, in fact, just now
retiring from Parliamentary life; didn't care to be brought into undue
prominence. Besides, he belonged to other side of House; Why not try
"The very man!" cried TIM, "I believe you and he scale the same to a
pound, and though your waist is more shapely, he has the advantage in
POTTER most obliging of men; offered no objection. So TIM conducted
him to the seat; he dropped gently, but firmly in it; Brer RABBIT
putting on his spectacles, and looking across the expanse of T.B.'s
shoulders, thought he recognised Brer FOX at the other side. Anyhow,
he was beyond speaking distance, and so embarrassment was obviated.
TIM, his mind thus at rest, able to devote his attention to debate, to
progress of which, he contributed a few interjections. Finally, when
Division taken on JOHN MORLEY's Motion, and everybody ready to go
home, he moved and carried Adjournment of Debate.
_Business done_.--Prince ARTHUR indicted for breach of Constitutional
Law in Ireland. Jury retired to consider their verdict. Agreed upon
acquittal by 320 Votes against 245.
_Tuesday_.--A once familiar presence pervades House to-night. Everyone
more, or less vaguely, conscious of it. Even without chancing to look
up to Peers' Gallery, Members are inspired with sudden mysterious
access of Moral Influence. OLD MORALITY himself, that overflowing
reservoir of moral axioms, takes on an aggravated air of
responsibility and respectability. Has had a great triumph which would
inflate a man of less modest character. Last night, or rather early
this morning, Irish Members appeared to force Government hand; just
when it seemed that RUSSELL's Amendment was about to be substituted
for MORLEY's Resolution, TIM HEALY interposed, moved Adjournment of
Debate; OLD MORALITY protested; SEXTON slily threatened all-night
sitting; after an hour's struggle, Government capitulated; Adjournment
agreed to; Irish Members went off jubilant.
To-night SEXTON asks OLD MORALITY when they shall resume debate?
"Ah," says OLD MORALITY, with look of friendly interest, as if the
idea had struck him for the first time, "yes; just so. The Hon. Member
wants to know when we shall resume the debate, the adjournment of
which he and his friends were instrumental in carrying at an early
hour this morning. Well, I must say, on the part of Her Majesty's
Government, that we are perfectly satisfied with matters as they were
left. We had a lively debate, a majority much larger than we had dared
to hope for, and, as far as we are concerned, I think we'll leave
matters alone. As one of our great prose-writers observed, it is, on
the whole, more conducive to comfort to endure any inconveniences that
may press upon one at the current moment, than to hasten to encounter
others with the precise nature of which we do not happen to be
GRAND CROSS missed this delightful little episode, not coming in till
questions were over. Now he sat in Peers' Gallery and gazed through
spectacles on scene of earlier triumphs. Looks hardly a day older than
when he left us; the same perky manner, the same wooden visage, with
its pervading air of supreme self-satisfaction and inscrutable wisdom.
It is a night given up to Indian topics. PLOWDEN, in his quiet,
effective way, has just carried Motion which will have substantial
effect in the direction of securing fuller debate of Indian questions.
GORST, standing at table replying to BUCHANAN on another Indian topic,
alludes with deferential tone to "the SECRETARY OF STATE." GRAND CROSS
almost audibly purrs from his perch in the Gallery.
"An odd world, my masters," says the Member for SARK, striding out
impatiently, "when you have a man like GORST Under-Secretary, with
a man like GRAND CROSS at the Head of the Department."
_Business done_.--An hour or two given to India.
_Thursday_.--Army Estimates on to-night. HANBURY comes to the front,
as usual. STANHOPE tossing about on Treasury Bench, in considerable
"What's the use, my ST. JOHN," he asked BRODRICK, the only man
standing by him, "of a family arrangement like ours, if one is
subjected to annoyance like this? With one brother in the Peers, a
pillar of staid Conservatism; with myself on the Treasury Bench,
a Cabinet Minister, a right-hand man of the Government: and then,
final touch, old PHILIP EGALITE below the Gangway opposite, with
his Radicalism, and his tendency to out-JACOBY LABOUCHERE. This is
a broad-based family combination, that ought to make us, each in his
way, irresistible. And yet there seems nothing to prevent a fellow
like HANBURY looking down from his six feet two scornfully on a
British soldier not more than five feet four in his stocking-feet,
whilst he inflates his chest, and asks, in profound bass notes, how
are the ancient glories of the British Army to be maintained with men
who cannot stretch the tape at thirty-six inches?"
[Illustration: "Amazed at his own Moderation."]
When HANBURY sat down, after pounding away in ponderous style for
nearly an hour, STANHOPE got up and prodded him reproachfully.
Wonderful how much vinegar and vitriol he managed to distil into his
oft-repeated phrase, "My honourable friend!" As for HANBURY, he sat
with hands in pocket, staring at empty benches opposite, amazed at his
Hours of the usual kind of talk on Army Estimates; the Colonels,
Volunteer and otherwise, showing that the Army is as GILL (who
has recently spent some time in Boulogne) says, _en route pour les
chiens_; the SECRETARY of State for WAR demonstrating that everything
is in apple-pie order, and his right honourable predecessor on the
Front Opposition Bench bearing testimony to the general state of
WOLMER flashed through the haze a word that has long wanted saying
in the House. Why, he asked, place sentries surrounding St. James's
Palace, the War Office, and the Horse Guards? Why, if presence of
armed men at these particular gateways is essential to proper conduct
of affairs of Department--why should Charity Commissioners and
Education Office be left unguarded? WOLMER should keep pegging away at
this question till he gets common-sense answer.
_Business done_.--Army Estimates moved.
_Friday_.--Gallant little Wales took the floor to-night. Wants the
Church Disestablished; PRITCHARD MORGAN, in speech of prodigious
length, asked House to sanction the proposal. The Government,
determined to oppose Motion, cast about for Member of their body who
could best lead opposition. Hadn't a Welshman on the Treasury Bench.
"There's RAIKES, you know," AKERS-DOUGLAS said, discussing the matter
with OLD MORALITY. "He's not exactly a Welshman, but, when he's at
home, he lives in Denbighshire, which is as near being Wales as you
can get. Besides, his postal address is Llwynegrin."
"Ah!" said OLD MORALITY, "that looks well. He's not the rose, but he
lives in convenient contiguity to the flower."
So RAIKES was put up, and a nice, peaceful, soothing, insinuating,
conciliatory speech he made. In fact, as the Member for SARK says, "He
got gallant little Wales down on its back, tied its horns and heels
together, partially flayed it, and then rubbed in cunningly contrived
combination of Cayenne pepper and vinegar."
_Business done_.--Welsh Disestablishment Motion negatived by 235 Votes
* * * * *
GRANT-ALLEN,--his manner moves cynics to mirth!--
Makes out that the Celt is the Salt of the Earth.
That accounts, it may be, for his dominant fault;
A "salt of the earth" _has_ a taste for assault!
* * * * *
OUT OF SCHOOL!
DEAR MR. PUNCH,--You are so awfully good to chaps at school that I
am sure you will insert this letter. SMITH MINOR, who takes in the
_Times_, says, that a "PARENT" has been writing to say, that there
should be a meeting of Fathers to swagger over the meeting of Head
Masters. Well, this wouldn't be half a bad idea if it were properly
conducted; but the "PARENT" seems to be a beast of a governor, who
wants to cut down the holidays, and such like rot. And this brings me
to what I want to propose myself. If there are to be meetings of Head
Masters and Parents, why not a meeting of Boys? We have a heap of
grievances. For instance, lots of chaps would like to know why "the
water" was stopped at Westminster, and something about the domestic
economy of Harrow. Then the great and burning question of grub is
always ready to hand. The "PARENT" wants to have a hand in the payment
for school-books, seeing his way to getting the discount (stingy
chap!) then why shouldn't we fellows have a voice choosing them? Then
about taking up Greek, why shouldn't we have our say in _that_ matter?
After all, it interests us more than anyone else, as we are the
fellows that will have to learn it, if it is to be retained. Then
about corporal punishment. Not that we mind it much, still _we_ are
the fellows who get swished at Eton, and feel the tolly at Beaumont.
Surely the Boys know more about a licking than Head Masters and
Parents? You, as a practical man, will say, "Who should attend the
Congress?" I reply, every public school might send a delegate; and by
public school, I do not limit the term to the old legitimate "E. and
the two W.'s," Eton, Winchester and Westminster. No; I would throw
it open to such respectable educational establishments as Harrow,
Rugby, Charterhouse, St. Paul's, Marlborough, Felsted, Cheltenham,
Stonyhurst, and the rest of them. The more the merrier, say I; and
if there was a decided division of opinion on any subject, we could
settle the matter off-hand at once, by taking off our jackets and
turning up our shirt-sleeves. The more I think of it, the more I like
it! It _would_ be a game!
Always your affectionate friend, (_Signed_) JONES MINIMUS.
* * * * *
THE SAME OLD GAME.
[Russia is said to be threatening the old Finnish laws and
Russia snubs him who, as a candid friend,
Horrors Siberian, Hebrew would diminish.
_Must_ Muscovites prove tyrants to the end?
At least they aim to prove so to the _Finnish_!
* * * * *
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