Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 100, April 11, 1891
Produced by Malcolm Farmer, William Flis, and the Online Distributed
OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
April 11, 1891.
MR. PUNCH'S PRIZE NOVELS.
(_BY_ MARY MORALLY, _AUTHOR OF "GINBITTERS!" "ARDART," &C., &C._)
[The MS. of this remarkable novel was tied round with scarlet
ribbons, and arrived in a case which had been once used for
the packing of bottles of rum, or some other potent spirit.
It is dedicated in highly uncomplimentary terms to "_Messieurs
les Marronneurs glaces de Paris_." With it came a most
extraordinary letter, from which we make, without permission,
the following startling extracts. "Ha! Ha! likewise Fe Fo
Fum. I smell blood, galloping, panting, whirling, hurling,
throbbing, maddened blood. My brain is on fire, my pen is a
flash of lightning. I see stars, three stars, that is to say,
one of the best brands plucked from the burning. I'm going
to make your flesh creep. I'll give you fits, paralytic fits,
epileptic fits, and fits of hysteria, all at the same time.
Have I ever been in Paris? Never. Do I know the taste of
absinthe? How dare you ask me such a question? Am I a woman?
Ask me another. Ugh! it's coming, the demon is upon me. I must
write three murderous volumes. I must, I must! What was that
shriek? and that? and that? Unhand me, snakes! Oh!!!!--M.M."]
I was asleep and dreaming--dreaming dreadful, horrible,
soul-shattering dreams--dreams that flung me head-first out of
bed, and then flung me back into bed off the uncarpeted floor of my
chamber. But I did not wake--why should I?--it was unnecessary--I
wanted to dream--I had to dream and therefore I dreamt. I was walking
home from a cheap restaurant in one of the poorer quarters of Paris.
"Poorer quarters" is a nice vague term. There are many poorer quarters
in a large city. This was one of them. Let that suffice to the
critical pedants who clamour for accuracy and local colour. Accuracy!
pah! Shall the soaring soul of a three-volumer be restrained by the
debasing fetters of a grovelling exactitude? Never! I will tell you
what. If I choose, I who speak to you, _moi qui vous parle_, the Seine
shall run red with the blood of murdered priests, and there shall be
a tide in it where no tide ever was before, close to Paris itself,
the home of the _Marrons Glaces_, and into the river I shall plunge
a corpse with upturned face and glassy, staring, haunting, dreadful
eyes, and the tide shall turn, the tide that never was on earth, or
sky, or sea, it shall turn in my second volume for one night only,
and carry the corpse of my victim back, back, back under bridges
innumerable, back into the heart of Paris. Dreadful, isn't it?
_Allons, mon ami. Qu'est-ce-qu'il-y-a. Je ne sais quoi. Mon Dieu!_
There's idiomatic French for you, all sprinkled out of a cayenne
pepper-pot to make the local colour hot and strong. Bah! let us return
to our muttons!
What was that? Something yellow, and spotted--something sinuous and
lithe, with crawling, catlike motion. No, no! Yes, yes!! A leopard
of the forest had issued from a side-street, a _cul de sac_, as the
frivolous sons of Paris, the Queen of Vice, call it. It was moving
with me, stopping when I stopped, galloping when I galloped, turning
somersaults when I turned them. And then it spoke to me--spoke,
yes, spoke, this thing of the desert--this wild phantasm of a brain
distraught by over-indulgence in _marrons glaces_, the curse of _ma
patrie_, and its speech was as the scent of scarlet poppies, plucked
from the grave of a discarded mistress.
"Thou shalt write," it said, "for it is thine to reform the world." I
shuddered. The conversational "thou" is fearful at all times; but, ah,
how true to nature, even the nature of a leopard of the forest. The
beast continued--"But thou shalt write in English."
"Spare me!" I ventured to interpose.
"In English," it went on, inexorably--"in hysterical, sad, mad, bad
English. And the tale shall be of France--France, where the ladies
always leave the dinner-table before the men. Note this, and use it
at page ninety of thy first volume. And thy French shall be worse than
thy English, for thou shalt speak of a _frissonement_, and thy friends
shall say, "_Nous blaguons le chose._"
"Stop!" I cried, in despair, "stop, fiend!--this is too much!" I
sprang at the monster, and seized it by the throat. Our eyes, peering
into each other's, seemed to ravage out, as by fire, the secrets
hidden in our hearts. My blood hurled itself through my veins. There
was something clamorous and wild in it. Then I fell prone on the
ground, and remembered that I had eaten one _marron_ for dinner. This
explained everything, and I remembered no more till I came to myself,
and found the divisional surgeon busily engaged upon me with a _pompe
My father, M. le Duc DI SPEPSION, belonged to one of the oldest French
families. He had many old French customs, amongst others that of
brushing his bearded lips against my cheek. He was a stern man, with
a severe habit of addressing me as "_Mon fils_." Generally he
disapproved of my proceedings, which was, perhaps, not unnatural,
taking all the circumstances of the case into consideration. Why have
I mentioned him? I know not, save that even now, degraded as I am,
memories of better things sometimes steal over me like the solemn
sound of church-bells pealing in a cathedral belfry. But I have done
with home, with father, with patriotism, with claret, with walnuts,
and with all simple pleasures. _Ca va sans dire._ They talk to me
of Good, and Nature. The words are meaningless to me. Are there
realities behind these words--realities that can touch the heart of
a confirmed _marroneur_? Cold and pitiless, Nature sits aloft like a
mathematician, with his balance regulating the storm-pulses of this
troubled world. Bah! I fling myself in her teeth. I brazen it out. She
quails. For, since the accursed food passed my lips, the strength of a
million demons is in me. I am pitiless. I laugh to think of the fool
I once was in the days when I fed myself on _Baba au Rhum_, and other
innocent dishes. Now I have knowledge. I am my own good. I glance
haughtily into--[Ten rhapsodical pages omitted.--ED. _Punch_.] But
there came into my life a false priest, who was like the ghost of
a fair lost god--and because he was a fair lost, the cabmen loved
him not--and he had to die, and lie in the Morgue--the Morgue where
murdered men and women love to dwell--and thus he should discover the
Again--again--again! The moon rose, shimmering like a _Marron Glace_
over Paris. Oh! Paris, beauteous city of the lost. Surely in Babylon
or in Nineveh, where SEMIRAMIS of old queened it over men, never
was such madness--madness did I say? Why? What did I mean? Tush! the
struggle is over, and I am calm again, though my blood still hums
tumultuously. The world is very evil. My father died choked by a
_marron_. I, too, am dead--I who have written this rubbish--I am dead,
and sometimes, as I walk, my loved one glides before me in aerial
phantom shape, as on page 4, Vol. II. But I am dead--dead and
buried--and over my grave an avenue of gigantic chestnuts reminds the
passer-by of my fate: and on my tombstone it is written, "Here lies
one who danced a cancan and ate _marrons glaces_ all day. Be warned!"
* * * * *
QUITE EXCEPTIONAL THEATRICAL NEWS.--Next Thursday at the Vaudeville,
the Press and the usual Free-Admissionaries will be let in for
* * * * *
MORE KICKS THAN HALFPENCE.
"The root of Volunteer inefficiency is to be ascribed to the
Volunteer officer. The men are such as their officers make
them ... The force is 1,100 officers short of its proper
[Illustration: _General Redtape_ (_of the Intelligence Department,
W.O._) "WHAT! GOING TO RESIGN!"
_Volunteer Officer_. "YES. WHY SHOULD I ONLY GET YOUR KICKS FOR MY
* * * * *
MORE KICKS THAN HALFPENCE.
_VOLUNTEER OFFICER, LOQUITUR_.--
Yes, take back the sword! Though the _Times_ may expostulate,
Tired am I wholly of worry and snubs.
You'll find, my fine friend, what your folly has cost you, late,
Henceforth for me the calm comfort of Clubs!
To lounge on a cushion and hear the balls rattle
'Midst smoke-fumes, and sips on the field of green cloth,
Is better than leading slow troops to sham battle,
In stupid conditions that rouse a man's wrath.
Commissions, they say, go a-begging. Precisely!
Incapables take them, but capables shy.
For twenty-one years you have harried us nicely.
And now, like the rest, we're on Strike, Sir. And why?
The game, you old fossil, is not worth the candle,
Your kicks for my halfpence? The bargain's too bad!
If you want bogus leaders sham soldiers to handle,
You'll now have to take duffers, deadheads, and cads!
The _Times_ wisely says you should make it attractive,
This Volunteer business. But that's not your game.
You're actively snubby, or coldly inactive:
We pay, and you pooh-pooh! 'Tis always the same.
We do not mind giving our time and our money,
Or facing March blasts, or the floods of July;
But till nettles bear grapes, Sir, or wasps yield us honey,
You won't get snubbed men to pay up and look spry.
The "multiplication of camps and manoeuvres"?
All right! Let us learn in a _soldierlike_ school;
But what is the good of your Bisleys and Dovers.
If the whole game resolves into playing the fool?
To play that game longer and pay for it too, Sir,
Won't suit me at all. I'm disgusted and bored.
Your kicks for my halfpence? No, no, it won't do, Sir!
And therefore, old Tapenoddle--take back the sword!
* * * * *
[Illustration: TRUE SENTIMENT.
"I'M WRITING TO MRS. MONTAGUE, GEORGIE,--THAT PRETTY LADY YOU USED TO
TAKE TO SEE YOUR PIGS. HAVEN'T YOU SOME NICE MESSAGE TO SEND HER?"
"YES, MUMMIE; GIVE HER MY LOVE, AND SAY I NEVER LOOK AT A LITTLE BLACK
PIG NOW WITHOUT THINKING OF _HER_!"]
* * * * *
LEAVES FROM A CANDIDATE'S DIARY.
_March 11_.--I shall have to be pretty careful in my speech to the
Council. Must butter up Billsbury like fun. How would this do? "I am
young, Gentlemen, but I should have studied the political history of
my country to little purpose if I did not know that, up to the time of
the last election, the vote of Billsbury was always cast on the side
of enlightenment, and Constitutional progress. The rash and foolish
experiments of those who sought to impair the glorious fabric of our
laws and our Constitution found no favour in Billsbury. It was not
your fault, I know, that this state of things has not been maintained,
and that Billsbury is now groaning under the heavy burden of a
distasteful representation. Far be it from me to say one word
personally against the present Member for Billsbury. This is a
political fight, and it is because his political opinions are mistaken
that you have decided to attack him"--&c., &c., &c. Must throw in
something about Conservatives being the true friends of working-men.
CHUBSON is not an Eight Hours' man, so I can go a long way. What
shall I say next? Church and State, of course, Ireland pacified and
contented, glorious financial successes of present Government, steady
removal of all legitimate grievances, and triumphs of our diplomacy
in all parts of the world. Shall have to say a good word for
Liberal-Unionists. TOLLAND says there are about thirty of them,
all very touchy. Must try to work in the story of the boy and the
plum-cake. It made them scream at the Primrose League meeting at
By the way, Uncle HENRY said, "What about the Bar?" I told him I meant
to keep on working at it--which won't be difficult if I don't get more
work. I got just two Statements of Claim, and a Motion before a Judge
in Chambers, all last year, the third year after my call. Sleepy. To
_March 12_, _"George Hotel," Billsbury_.--Left London by 2.15 to-day,
and got to Billsbury at 5.30. TOLLAND met me at the station with
half a dozen other "leaders of the Party." One was Colonel CHORKLE,
a Volunteer Colonel; another was Alderman MOFFATT, a Scotchman with
a very broad dialect. Then there was JERRAM, the Editor of the
_Billsbury Standard_, "the organ of the Party in Billsbury," so
TOLLAND said, and a couple of others. I was introduced to them all,
and forgot which was which immediately afterwards, which was most
embarrassing, as I had to address them all as "you," a want of
distinction which I am afraid they felt. Tipped two porters, who
carried my bag and rug, a shilling each. They looked knowing, but
old TOLLAND had hinted that the other side had got a character for
meanness of which we could take a perfectly proper advantage without
in any way infringing the Corrupt Practices Act. Must look up that
Act. It may be a help. From the station we went straight to the
"George." There I was introduced to half a dozen more leaders of the
Party. Can't remember one of them except BLISSOP, the Secretary of
the Association, a chap about my own age, who told me his brother
remembered me at Oxford. There was a fellow of that name, I think, who
came up in my year, a scrubby-faced reading man. We made hay in his
room after a Torpid "rag," which he didn't like. Hope it isn't the
same. I said I remembered him well. Dined with TOLLAND; nobody but
leaders of the Party present, all as serious as judges, and full
of importance. CHORKLE, who drops his "h's" frightfully, asked me
"'ow long it would be afore a General Election," and seemed rather
surprised when I said I had no information on the matter.
The meeting of the Council came off in the large hall of the Billsbury
Beaconsfield Club. TOLLAND was in the chair, and made a long speech
in introducing me. I didn't take in a word of it, as I was repeating
my peroration to myself all the time. My speech went off pretty well,
except that I got mixed up in the middle, and forgot that blessed
story. However, when I got into the buttering part, it took them
by storm. I warmed old GLADSTONE up to-rights, and asked them to
contrast the state of England now with what it was when he was in
power. "Hyperion to a Satyr," I said. Colonel CHORKLE, in proposing
afterwards that I was a fit and proper person to represent Billsbury,
said, "Mr. PATTLE's able and convincing speech proves 'im not only
a master of English, but a consummate orator, able to wield the
harmoury" (why he put the "h" there I don't know) "of wit and sarcasm
like a master. _I'm_ not given to boasting," he continued. "_I_
never indulge in badinage" (query, braggadocio?); "but, with such a
Candidate, we _must_ win." JERRAM seconded the resolution, which was
carried _nem. con._ Must get local newspapers, to show to mother.
She'll like that. Shall go back to London to-morrow.
* * * * *
"FORTNIGHTLY" V. SO-CALLED "NINETEENTH CENTURY."--Change of Author's
name. Mr. FREDERIC HARRISON to be known in future as "FREDERIC
(_Signed_) [Greek: Phrederik]
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S POCKET IBSEN.
(_CONDENSED AND REVISED VERSION BY MR. P.'S OWN HARMLESS IBSENITE._)
NO. II.--NORA; OR, THE BIRD-CAGE (ET DIKKISVOeIT).
_The Room, with the cheap Art-furniture as before--except that the
candles on the Christmas-tree have guttered down and appear to have
been lately blown out. The cotton-wool frogs and the chenille monkeys
are disarranged, and there are walking things on the sofa._ NORA
_Nora_ (_putting on a cloak and taking it off again_). Bother
KROGSTAD! There, I won't think of him. I'll only think of the costume
ball at Consul STENBORG's, over-head, to-night, where I am to dance
the Tarantella all alone, dressed as a Capri fisher-girl. It struck
TORVALD that, as I am a matron with three children, my performance
might amuse the Consul's guests, and, at the same time, increase his
connection at the Bank. TORVALD _is_ so practical. (_To_ Mrs. LINDEN,
_who comes in with a large cardboard box._) Ah, CHRISTINA, so you
have brought in my old costume? _Would_ you mind, as my husband's new
Cashier, just doing up the trimming for me?
_Mrs. L._ Not at all--is it not part of my regular duties? (_Sewing._)
Don't you think, NORA, that you see a little too much of Dr. RANK?
_Nora_. Oh, I _couldn't_ see too much of Dr. RANK! He _is_ so
amusing--always talking about his complaints, and heredity, and
all sorts of indescribably funny things. Go away now, dear; I hear
TORVALD. [Mrs. LINDEN _goes. Enter_ TORVALD _from the Manager's room._
NORA _runs trippingly to him._
_Nora_ (_coaxing_). Oh, TORVALD, if only you won't dismiss KROGSTAD,
you can't think how your little lark would jump about and twitter!
_Helmer_. The inducement would be stronger but for the fact that,
as it is, the little lark is generally engaged in that particular
occupation. And I really _must_ get rid of KROGSTAD. If I didn't,
people would say I was under the thumb of my little squirrel here,
and then KROGSTAD and I knew each other in early youth; and when
two people knew each other in early youth--(_a short pause_)--h'm!
Besides, he _will_ address me as, "I say, TORVALD"--which causes me
most painful emotion! He is tactless, dishonest, familiar, and morally
ruined--altogether not at all the kind of person to be a Cashier in a
Bank like mine.
[Illustration: "A poor fellow with both feet in the grave is not the
best authority on the fit of silk stockings."]
_Nora_. But he writes in scurrilous papers,--he is on the staff of the
Norwegian _Punch_. If you dismiss him, he may write nasty things about
_you_, as wicked people did about poor dear Papa!
_Helmer_. Your poor dear Papa was not impeccable--far from it. I
_am_--which makes all the difference. I have here a letter giving
KROGSTAD the sack. One of the conveniences of living close to the Bank
is, that I can use the housemaids as Bank-messengers. (_Goes to door
and calls._) ELLEN! (_Enter parlourmaid._) Take that letter--there is
no answer. (ELLEN _takes it and goes._) That's settled--so now, NORA;
as I am going to my private room, it will be a capital opportunity for
you to practise the tambourine--thump away, little lark, the doors are
double! [_Nods to her and goes in, shutting door._
_Nora_ (_stroking her face_). How _am_ I to get out of this mess! (_A
ring at the Visitors' bell._) Dr. RANK's ring! _He_ shall help me out
of it! (Dr. RANK _appears in doorway, hanging up his great-coat._)
Dear Dr. RANK, how _are_ you? [_Takes both his hands._
_Rank_ (_sitting down near the stove_). I am a miserable,
hypochondriacal wretch--that's what _I_ am. And why am I doomed to be
dismal? Why? Because my father died of a fit of the blues! _Is_ that
fair--I put it to _you_?
_Nora_. Do try to be funnier than _that_! See, I will show you the
flesh-coloured silk tights that I am to wear to-night--it will cheer
you up. But you must only look at the feet--well, you may look at the
rest if you're good. _Aren't_ they lovely? Will they fit me, do you
_Rank_ (_gloomily_). A poor fellow with both feet in the grave is not
the best authority on the fit of silk stockings. I shall be food for
worms before long--I _know_ I shall!
_Nora_. You mustn't really be so frivolous! Take that! (_She hits him
lightly on the ear with the stockings; then hums a little._) I want
you to do me a great service, Dr. RANK. (_Rolling up stockings_,) I
always liked _you_. I love TORVALD most, of _course_--but, somehow,
I'd rather spend my time with you--you _are_ so amusing!
_Rank_. If I am, can't you guess why? (_A short silence._) Because I
love you! You can't pretend you didn't know it!
_Nora_. Perhaps not--but it was really too clumsy of you to mention it
just as I was about to ask a favour of you! It was in the worst taste!
(_With dignity._) You must not imagine because I joke with you about
silk stockings, and tell you things I never tell TORVALD, that I am
therefore without the most delicate and scrupulous self-respect! I
am really quite a good little doll, Dr. RANK, and now--(_sits in
rocking-chair and smiles_)--now I shan't ask you what I was going to!
[ELLEN _comes in with a card._
_Nora_ (_terrified_). Oh, my goodness! [_Puts it in her pocket._
_Dr. Rank_. Excuse my easy Norwegian pleasantry--but--h'm--anything
_Nora_ (_to herself_). KROGSTAD's card! I must tell _another_ whopper!
(_To_ RANK.) No. nothing, only--only my new costume. I want to try
it on here. I always do try on my dresses in the drawing-room--it's
_cosier_, you know. So go into TORVALD and amuse him till I'm ready.
[RANK _goes into_ HELMER's _room, and_ NORA _bolts the door upon him,
as_ KROGSTAD _enters from hall in a fur cap._
_Krogs._ Well, I've got the sack, and so I came to see how _you_ are
getting on. I mayn't be a nice man, but--(_with feeling_)--I have a
heart! And, as I don't intend to give up the forged I.O.U. unless
I'm taken back, I was afraid you might be contemplating suicide, or
something of that kind; and so I called to tell you that, if I were
you, I wouldn't. Bad thing for the complexion, suicide, and silly,
too, because it wouldn't mend matters in the least. (_Kindly._) You
must not take this affair too seriously. Mrs. HELMER. Get your husband
to settle it amicably by taking me back as Cashier; _then_ I shall
soon get the whip-hand of _him_, and we shall all be as pleasant and
comfortable as possible together!
_Nora_. Not even that prospect can tempt me! Besides, TORVALD wouldn't
have you back at any price now!
_Krogs._ All right, then. I have here a letter, telling your husband
all. I will take the liberty of dropping it in the letter-box at your
hall-door as I go out. I'll wish you good evening! [_He goes out;
presently the dull sound of a thick letter dropping into a wire box is
_Nora_ (_softly, and hoarsely_). He's done it! How _am_ I to prevent
TORVALD from seeing it?
_Helmer_ (_inside the door, rattling_). Hasn't my lark changed its
dress yet? (NORA _unbolts door_.) What--so you are _not_ in fancy
costume, after all? (_Enters with_ RANK.) Are there any letters for me
in the box there?
_Nora_ (_voicelessly_). None--not even a postcard! Oh, TORVALD, don't,
please, go and look--_promise_ me you won't! I do _assure_ you there
isn't a letter! And I've forgotten the Tarantella you taught me--do
let's run over it. I'm so afraid of breaking down--promise me not to
look at the letter-box. I can't dance unless you do.
_Helmer_ (_standing still, on his way to the letter-box_). I am a man
of strict business habits, and some powers of observation; my little
squirrel's assurances that there is nothing in the box, combined with
her obvious anxiety that I should not go and see for myself, satisfy
me that it is indeed empty, in spite of the fact that I have
not invariably found her a strictly truthful little dicky-bird.
There--there. (_Sits down to piano._) Bang away on your tambourine,
little squirrel--dance away, my own lark!
_Nora_ (_dancing, with a long gay shawl_). Just _won't_ the little
squirrel! Faster--faster! Oh, I _do_ feel so gay! We will have some
champagne for dinner, _won't_ we, TORVALD? [_Dances with more and more
_Helmer_ (_after addressing frequent remarks in correction_). Come,
come--not this awful wildness! I don't like to see _quite_ such a
larky little lark as this ... Really it is time you stopped!
_Nora_ (_her hair coming down as she dances more wildly still, and
swings the tambourine_). I can't ... I can't! (_To herself, as she
dances._) I've only thirty-one hours left to be a bird in; and after
that--(_shuddering_)--after _that_, KROGSTAD will let the cat out of
the bag! [_Curtain._
N.B.--The final Act,--containing scenes of thrilling and realistic
intensity, worked out with a masterly insight and command
of psychology, the whole to conclude with a new and original
_denoument_--unavoidably postponed to a future number. No money
* * * * *
TAKING THE CENSUS.
(_A STORY OF THE 6TH OF APRIL, 1891._)
As I have but a limited holding in the Temple, and, moreover, slept
on the evening of the 5th of April at Burmah Gardens, I considered
it right and proper to fill in the paper left me by the "Appointed
Enumerator" at the latter address. And here I may say that the title
of the subordinate officer intrusted with the addition of my household
to the compilation of the Census pleased me greatly--"Appointed
Enumerator" was distinctly good. I should have been willing (of course
for an appropriate _honorarium_) to have accepted so well-sounding an
appointment myself. To continue, the general tone of the instructions
"to the Occupier" was excellent. Such words as "erroneous,"
"specification," and the like, appeared frequently, and must have been
pleasant strangers to the householder who was authorised to employ
some person other than himself to write, "if unable to do so himself."
To be captious, I might have been better pleased had the housemaid who
handed me the schedule been spared the smile provoked by finding me
addressed by the "Appointed Enumerator" as "Mr. BEEFLESS," instead of
"Mr. BRIEFLESS." But this was a small matter.
I need scarcely say that I took infinite pains to fill in my paper
accurately. I have great sympathy with the "Census (England and Wales)
Act, 1890," and wished, so far as I was personally concerned, to carry
out its object to the fullest extent attainable. I had no difficulty
about inserting my own "name and surname," and "profession or
occupation." I rather hesitated, however, to describe myself as an
"employer," because the "examples of the mode of filling-up" rather
suggested that domestic servants were not to count, and for the
rest my share in the time of PORTINGTON, to say the least, is rather
shadowy. For instance, I could hardly fairly suggest that in regard
to the services of my excellent and admirable clerk, I am as great an
employer of labour as, say, the head of a firm of railway contractors,
or the managing director of a cosmopolitan hotel company. Then,
although I am distinctly of opinion that I rightly carried out the
intentions of the statute by describing myself as "the head of the
family," my wife takes an opposite view of the question. In making the
other entries, I had no great difficulty. The ages of my domestics,
however, caused me some surprise. I had always imagined (and they have
given me their faithful and valuable services I am glad to say for
a long time) that the years in which they were born varied. But no,
I was wrong. I found they were all of the same age--two-and-twenty.
To refer to another class of my household--I described my son,
SHALLOW NORTH BRIEFLESS (the first is an old family name of forensic
celebrity, and the second an appropriate compliment to a distinguished
member of the judicial Bench, whose courtesy to the Junior Bar is
proverbial) as a "scholar," but rejected his (SHALLOW's) suggestion
that I should add to the description of his brother (one of my
younger sons, GEORGE LEWIS VAN TROMP CHESTER MOTE BOLTON BRIEFLESS--I
selected his Christian names in anticipated recognition of possible
professional favours to be conferred on him in after-life) the words
"imbecile from his birth," as frivolous, untrue, and even libellous.
We had but one untoward incident. In the early morning of Monday we
found in our area a person who had evidently passed the night there
in a condition of helpless intoxication. As she could offer no
satisfactory explanation of her presence, I handed her over to the
police, and entered her on the Census Paper as, "a supposed retired
laundress, seemingly living on her own means, and apparently blind
from the date of her last drinking-bout." I rejected advisedly her
own indistinctly but frequently reiterated assertion that "she was
a lady," because I had been warned by "the general instructions" to
avoid such "indefinite terms as Esquire or Gentleman."
As I wished to deliver my completed schedule to the "Appointed
Enumerator" in person, I desired that he might be shown into my study
when he called for the paper.
"Excuse me, Sir," he said, after looking through the document at my
request; "but you see there is a fine of a fiver for wilfully giving
"Yes," I returned, somewhat surprised at the suggestion; "and the
proposed penalty has rendered me doubly anxious to be absolutely
accurate. Do you notice any slip of the pen?"
"Well, Sir," he answered, with some hesitation, "as the young chap who
does the boots tells me that he has never heard of you having had a
single brief while he's been with you, and that's coming three years,
hadn't you better put 'retired' after 'Barrister-at-Law'? It will do
no harm, and certingly would be safer!"
Put "retired" after Barrister-at-Law! "Do no harm!" and be "safer!"
* * * * *
I silently intimated by a dignified gesture to the "Appointed
Enumerator." that our interview was at an end, and then, taking my
walking-stick with me, went in earnest and diligent search of "the
young chap who does the boots!"
(Signed) A. BRIEFLESS, JUNIOR.
_Pump-Handle Court, April 7, 1891._
* * * * *
"UP, GUARDS, AND ACT 'EM!"
The "them" in this adapted quotation must be taken to mean
"Burlesques;" and if these gay and lighthearted soldiers
continue their histrionics as victoriously as they have
done up to now, they will become celebrated as "The
Grinny-diers-and-Burlesque-Line-Regiments." Private MCGREEVY, as a
cockatoo, capital: his disguise obliterated him, but as Ensign and
Lieutenant WAGGIBONE stealthily observed, "What the eye doesn't see,
the heart doesn't MCGREEVY for." The music, by the talented descendant
of Israel's wise King SOLOMON, was of course good throughout, and
in the Cockatoo Duet better than ever. The ladies were exceptionally
good. Mrs. CRUTCHLEY defied the omen of her name, which is not
suggestive of dancing, and "Jigged away muchly Did Mrs. CRUTCHLEY."
The Misses SAVILE CLARKE,--the Savilians among the Military,--were
charming. Lieutenant NUGENT is an old hand at this, and his _Paul
Prior_ was not a whit behind his former performances. There's one more
Guard O, Major RICARDO. _He_ played _Crusoe_, And well did he do so!
Three cheers for everybody! With the Guards' Burlesque, we fear no
foe. Chorus, Gentlemen, if you please, "We fear no foe!"
* * * * *
THE OLD (CRICKETING) 'OSS AND THE YOUNG (GLOUCESTER) COLTS.
Fifty, not out! A good start beyond doubt,
In a Twenty-four field, Doctor W.G.
And may Ninety-one bring us lots of good fun,
With you at the Wickets for Figures of Three,
To see the Old 'Oss stir in good time to foster
The coming-on "Colts," should give courage to Glo'ster!
* * * * *
"SUCH A DAWG!"
The enclosed was cut from _The Field_ of last week:--
R. ---- ---- WANTS some friend to give him a small BULLDOG
with a smile, for a house pet.--To be sent for inspection to,
It is to be hoped that the advertiser will not get an animal that (to
quote from _Hamlet_) "may smile and smile and be a villain!"
* * * * *
Prate not about Fame! I've addressed half the world,
In Court and in cottage, in Castle and slum!
I've been warbled, and chorussed, and tootled, and skirled,
Yet, for _kudos_, I might just as well have been dumb.
Though familiar to all men, I'm wholly unknown;
You're inclined to pooh-pooh, and to say I am wrong?
Nay, listen, and you my correctness will own:
'Tis I wrote the _words_ of a Popular Song!
* * * * *
NEW AND INTERESTING WORK.--As a companion to Dr. WRIGHT's _The Ice
Ages in North America and its bearing upon the Antiquity of Man_, will
shortly appear _The Penny-Ice Age in London and its bearing on the
Youth of the Metropolis_.
* * * * *
A BRUMMAGEM BOLUS.
(_BY AN ELATE LIBERAL-UNIONIST._)
An "ill-starred abortion" WEG christened our party;
At present, as JOE hints, that sounds quite ironic.
True, lately our health did appear far from hearty,
But Aston has acted As-tonic!
* * * * *
NOTE FOR CRITICS.--How can any of us expect the truth from a historian
who himself tells us that he merely "_transcribes from MSS. lying
* * * * *
WHAT THE ITALIANS SEEM TO WANT IN LOUISIANA.--An _un_fair field, or no
* * * * *
[Illustration: PICTURE SUNDAY.
(_What Our Artist has to put up with._)
_Fair Damsel_ (_to Our Artist, who is explaining the beauties of
his Picture_). "CHARMING! CHARMING! BUT, OH, MR. FITZMADDER, WHAT A
_DELIGHTFUL_ ROOM THIS WOULD BE FOR A DANCE,--WITH THE MUSICIANS
IN THE GALLERY, AND ALL THE EASELS AND PICTURES AND THINGS CLEARED
* * * * *
A FAIR EXCHANGE.
HOSEA BIGLOW _speaks up on the situation_:--
Here we stan' on the Constitution, by thunder!
State rights won't be hurried by any one's hoofs;
UMBERTO, old hoss, would _you_ like, I wonder,
To 'pologise first, and then bring up yer proofs?
Uncle SAM is free, and he sez, sez he:--
"The _Mafia's_ no more
Right to come to this shore,
No more'n the Molly Maguires," sez he.
Uncle SAM ain't no kind o' bisness with nothin'
Like stabs in the back,--that may do for slaves.
We ain't none riled by their frettin' an' frothin'
Who shriek, in Hitalian, across the waves.
Uncle SAM is free, but he sez, sez he:--
"He will put down his foot
On the right to shoot
As claimed by the _Mafia_ gang!" sez he.
Freedom's keystone is Law, yes; that there's no doubt on,
It's sutthin that's--wha' d'ye call it?--divine,--
The brutes who break it hain't nutthin' to boast on
On your side or mine o' the seethin' brine.
Uncle Sam is free, and he sez, sez he:--
"If assassins gang 'em
I'm game to hang 'em,
An' so git rid on 'em soon," sez he.
'Tis well for sleek cits for to lounge on their soffies,
And chat about "Law and Order," an' sich.
A formula pleasant for them in office,
Home-stayin' idlers, well-guarded rich.
Uncle SAM is free, but he sez, sez he:--
"Whar life's a fight,
Law, based on right,
May need the 'strong arm' of a Man," sez he.
Now don't go to say I'm the friend of force;
Best keep all your spare breath for coolin' your broth;
And when just Law has a fair clar course,
All talk of "wild justice" is frenzy and froth.
Uncle SAM is free, but he sez, sez he:--
"If he gits within hail
Of the Glan-na-Gael,
Or the _Mafia_ either, he shoots," sez he.
This ain't no matter for sauce or swagger--
Too summary judgment both scout, I hope;
Though _ef_ it's a chice betwixt rope and dagger,
I can't help sayin' I prefer the rope.
Uncle SAM is free, and he sez, sez he:--
"At a pinch I'll not flinch
From a touch of Lynch,--
That is--at a very _hard_ pinch!" sez he.
But Lynch Law, UMBERTO, _or_ Secret Society,
Both are bad, though the latter's wust;
We'll soon get shut of _either_ variety,
You and me, UMBERTO, or so I trust.
Uncle SAM is free, but he sez, sez he:--
Won't build a nation,
Nor yet the _un_legalised rope," sez he.
Withdraw your Ambassador! Wal, that _air_ summary!
Italian irons so soon git hot!
Ironclads? Sure that's mere militant flummery.
Don't want to rile, but I'll tell you what:
Uncle SAM is free, but he sez, sez he:--
"Let FAVA stay,
Take the _Mafia_ away,
And we'll call it aright square deal!" sez he.
* * * * *
PRESENTED AT COURT.--Acting upon the suggestions made in these columns
a week ago, the Author of _The Volcano_, and the company of the Court
Theatre have effected the most valuable alterations in the play of the
evening. The Second Act now concludes with the interrupted singing of
_The Wolf_, which brings down the Curtain with a roar of laughter, and
the Third Act is also generally improved. Mrs. JOHN WOOD is seen at
her best as the interviewing lady-journalist, which is condensing in a
sentence a volume of praise. Mr. ARTHUR CECIL, as the Duke, is equally
admirable; and Mr. WEEDON GROSSMITH, although scarcely in his element
as a Member of Parliament of noble birth, is distinctly amusing.
Altogether, _The Volcano_ causes explosions of merriment in all parts
of the house, and has entirely escaped the once-impending danger of
fizzling out like a damp squib.
* * * * *
[Illustration: A FAIR EXCHANGE.
UNCLE SAM. "SEE HERE, UMBERTO!--GIVE US BACK YOUR '_MINISTER_,' AND
TAKE AWAY THAT DARN'D '_MAFIA_,' AND WE'LL CALL IT A SQUARE DEAL!"]
* * * * *
A COMPLAINT OF THE CENSUS.
(_BY A DISAPPOINTED DUKE._)
[For the first time the sixth column in the Census Schedule is
simply headed "Profession or Occupation."]
Oh! I'm a reg'lar rightdown Duke:
The trying part I act and look
Right nobly, so they tell me.
Yet I would have you understand
Why I am thoroughly unmanned
At what of late befell me.
A week or something less ago,
A schedule came to let me know
The Census Day was Sunday.
The many details, one and all,
Must he filled in, and then they'd call
To fetch it on the Monday.
I found it easy to contrive
To answer columns one to five--
I filled them up discreetly;
But when I came to column six
I got into an awful fix,
And lost my head completely.
For "Rank" alas! had disappeared.
I'd never for an instant feared
It wouldn't really be there.
Your "Occupation" you could state,
"Profession," too, you might relate,
But I--a Duke--had neither!
His Grace the Duke of PLAZA-TOR'
Would call himself, I'm pretty sure,
A "public entertainer."
But I and my blue-blooded wife,
We lead a simple blameless life,
No life could well be plainer.
In such a plight what could I do?
I searched the paper through and through,
Each paragraph I read. You'll
Scarce credit it but those who "live
On their own means" had got to give
This statement in the schedule!
I put it, but my ducal pen
I saw distinctly sputtered when
I did so. All of which he
Will please remember when I say
I thought it in a minor way
Unkind of Mr. RITCHIE!
* * * * *
MICKY FREE IN PARIS.
As to the incident which recently appeared in the papers under the
head-line "Insulting an Ambassador," our old friend MICKY writes us
as follows:--"Be jabers then, ye must know the truth. Me and Count
MUNSTER was drivin' together. The Count's every bit a true-born son
of Ould Ireland for ever, and descended from the Kings of Munster by
both sides, and more betoken wasn't he wearin' an Ulster at the very
moment, and isn't he the best of chums with the Dukes of CONNAUGHT and
LEINSTER? Any way we were in our baroosh passin' the time o' day to
one another as we were drivin' in the Bore, when whack comes a loaf
o' bread, shied at our heads by an unknown military blaygaird. It
missed me noble friend, the Count, and, as if to give him a lesson
in politeness, it just took off the hat of a domestic alongside the
coachman on the box. 'Tunder and turf!' says I, preparing to descend,
and give the scoundrels a taste of my blackthorn all round. 'Whist!
be aisy now, MICKY,' says the Ambassador to me, in what is, betune
ourselves, his own native tongue; and with that he picks up the loaf,
sniffs at it, makes a wry face ('it's a rye loaf,' says I), and then
says he, out loud, with a supercilious look, 'Ill-bred!' Begorra,
there was a whoop o' delight went up all round, which same was a
sign of their purliteness, as divil a one of the ignoramuses could
onderstand a wurrd the Court said in English or German, let alone
Irish. 'Goot,' says MUNSTER to me, dropping into his German accent,
which, on occasion, comes quite natural to him--the cratur! 'I'll give
the loaf to the dog;' and he whistles up the mastiff, own brother
to BISMARCK's. 'Eh, MICKY, ye gossoon, isn't the proverb, "Loaf me,
loaf my dog"?' Ah! then was cheers for ould Ireland, and a mighty big
dhrink entirely we had that same night.
"Yours as ever, M.F."
* * * * *
HERRICK UP TO DATE.
(_AFTER "THE BRACELET TO JULIA."_)
Why tye I about thy wrist,
JULIA, this my silken twist?
For what other reason is't,
But to show (_in theorie_)
Thou sweet captive art to me;
Which, of course, is fiddlededee!
Runne and aske the nearest Judge,
He will tell thee 'tis pure fudge;
When thou willest, _thou_ mayst trudge;
_I'm_ thy Bondslave, Hymen's pact
Bindeth me in law and fact;
Thou art free in will and act;
'Tis but silke that bindeth thee,
Snap the thread, and thou art free:
But 'tis otherwise with me.
I am bound, and bound fast so
That from thee I cannot go.
(Hah! We'll have this altered, though.
Man _must_ be a wing-clipp'd goose
If he bows to Hymen's noose,--
_Heads you winne, and tails I lose!_)
* * * * *
_Editor to Eminent Writer_.--Review promises to be deadly slow next
month. Can you do something slashing for us? Pitch into somebody or
other--you know the style.
_Eminent Writer to Editor_.--Happy to oblige. Got old article handy
advocating cession of Canada and India to the French. Never wrote
anything more ripping. Pitches into everybody. Touching it up, and
will let you have it in two days. By the bye, telegraph people put a
K to my Christian name. Tell them not to do it again.
_Editor to Eminent Writer_ (_a week later_).--Sorry about the K. Got
your article. Not quite what I wanted. Style all right, but arguments
idiotic. Can't you take the other side? Much more popular.
_Eminent Writer to Editor_.--Idea insulting. Any more telegrams of
that sort, and I contribute in future to the _Shortsprightly Review_,
_Editor to Eminent Writer_.--No offence meant. _Is_ there any other
Review besides mine? Never heard of the one you mentioned.
_Eminent Writer to Editor_ (_a month later_).--I say, what's this?
Virulent personal attack on me in your Review, signed with your name!
Pretends my article on giving up Canada, &c., was all a joke! Am I
the sort of man who would joke about anything? Reply at once, with
apology, or I skin you alive in next Number of _Shortsprightly_.
_Editor to Eminent Writer_.--Sorry you're offended. I thought my
Article rather a moderate one. Quite true that I talk about falsehood,
hypocrites, effrontery, demagogues, Pharisees, and so on; but
expressions to be taken in strictly Pickwickian sense, and of course
not intended for _you_.
_Eminent Writer to Editor_.--Explanation unsatisfactory. You first
insert contribution, and then slate it. Do you call yourself an
_Editor to Eminent Writer_.--Rather think I _do_ call myself Editor.
Couldn't insert that humbug about India and Canada without reply. By
the bye, have forgotten if you spell Christian name with or without K?
Important. Wire back.
_Eminent Writer to Editor_.--Yah! Look out for next _Shortsprightly_,
that's all! Article entitled, "Editorial Horseplay." It'll give you
fits, or my name isn't--FREDERIC, without the K.
* * * * *
(_A ONCE REJECTED ADDRESS._)
Yes! Thou must be another's. Oh,
Such anguish stands alone!
I'd always fancied thou wert so
Peculiarly mine own;
No welcome doubt my soul can free;
A convict may not choose--
Yet, since another's thou must be,
Most kindly tell me _whose_?
Is it the Lord of Shilling Thrills
Who penned _The Black that Mails_--
That martial man who from the hills
Excogitates his tales?
Is it ubiquitous A. LANG?
Nay, shrink not but explain
To which of all the writing gang
Dost properly pertain?
Perchance to some provincial churl,
Who blushes quite unseen?
Perchance to some ambitious Earl
Or Stockbroker, I ween?
Such things have frequently occurred,
And gems like thee have crowned
The titular and moneyed herd,
And made them nigh renowned.
I know not, this alone is clear,
Thou wert my sole delight;
I pored on thee by sunshine, dear,
I dreamed of thee at night.
Thou wert so good--too splendid for
The common critic's praise--
And I was thy proprietor--
And all the world must gaze!
But _Punch_, that autocrat, decrees
That thou another's art:
I cannot choose but bow my knees
And lacerate my heart.
Thou must be someone's else, alack!
The truth remains confessed--
For _Mr. P._ hath sent thee back,
_My cherished little Jest._
* * * * *
FROM A FLY-LEAF.--"Buzziness first, pleasure after," as the bluebottle
said when, after circling three times about the breakfast-table, he
alighted on a lump of sugar.
* * * * *
SALISBURY AT ST. MARTINS'S-LE-GRAND.
How slow is fate from fatal friends to free us!
Still, still, alas! 'tis "_Ego et_ RAIKES _meus_."
* * * * *
"THE OXFORD MOVEMENT."--Not much to choose between this and the
Cambridge movement in the last race.
* * * * *
PLACE OF BANISHMENT FOR MISTAKEN PERSONS.--The Isle of Mull.
* * * * *
[Illustration: CENSUS DAY HOW SOME WERE CAUGHT.]
* * * * *
BORN IN 1815. DIED 31ST MARCH, 1891.
The coarser Cyclops now combine
To push the Olympians from their places;
And dead as Pan seems the old line
Of greater gods and gentler graces.
Pleasant, amidst the clangour crude
Of smiting hammer, sounding anvil,
As bland Arcadian interlude,
The courtly accents of a GRANVILLE!
A strenuous time's pedestrian muse
Shouts paeans to the earth-born giant,
Whose brows Apollo's wreath refuse,
Whose strength to Charis is unpliant.
Demos distrusts the debonair,
Yet Demos found himself disarming
To gracious GRANVILLE; unaware
Won by the calm, witched by the charming.
Bismarckian vigour, stern and stark
As Brontes self, was not his dower;
Not his to steer a storm-tost bark
Through waves that whelm, and clouds that lower.
Temper unstirred, unerring tact,
Were his. He could not "wave the banner,"
But he could lend to steely act
The softly silken charm of manner.
Kindly, accomplished, with a wit
Lambent yet bland, like summer lightning;
Venomless rapier-point, whose "hit"
Was palpable, yet painless. Brightening
E'en, party conflict with a touch
Of old-world grace fight could not ruffle!
Faith, GRANVILLE, we shall miss thee much
Where kites and crows of faction scuffle!
* * * * *
AN IRISH DIAMOND.--The _Cork Examiner_ of 28th ultimo contained an
official advertisement, signed by the High Sheriff of the County of
the City of Cork, requesting certain persons connected with the Spring
Assizes to attend at the Model Schools, as the Court House had been
destroyed by fire. Amongst those thus politely invited to be present
on so interesting an occasion were the Prisoners!
* * * * *
PATERFAMILIAS ON HIS CENSUS PAPER.
Head of the Family! That makes me quail.
I am the Head--and thereby hangs a tale!
This big blue paper, ruled in many a column,
Gives rise to some misgivings sad and solemn.
Relation to that Head? That Head's buzz-brained,
And its "relations" are--just now--"much strained."
Citizen-duty I've no wish to shirk,
But would the State do its own dirty work--
(My daughters swear _'tis_ dirty). I'd be grateful.
Instructions? Yes! Imperative and fateful!
But, oh! I wish they would "instruct" me how
To tell the truth without a family row.
"Best of my knowledge and belief"! Ah well
If Aunt MEHITABEL her age _won't_ tell;
If Cook will swear she's only thirty-three,
And rather fancies she was born at sea
(Where I am now) my "knowledge and belief"
Are not worth much to the official chief,
BRIDGES P. HENNIKER, if he only knew it.
A True Return? Well, if it is not true, it
Is not _my_ fault. Inquisitorial band,
I've done my level best--Witness my Hand!
The bothering business makes me feel quite bilious,
Peace now--for ten years more!
* * * * *
"FACTA NON VERBA"; OR, PIERROT IN LONDON.
"Of the best! of the very best!" as ZERO or CIRO is perpetually
affirming of everything eatable and drinkable that is for his own
benefit and his customers' refreshment at the little bar, not a
hundred miles from the Monte Carlo tables, where he himself and his
barristers practise day and night; and, as this famous cutter of
sandwiches and confectioner of drinks says of his stock in trade,
so say we of _L'Enfant Prodigue_, which, having been translated by
HORATIUS COCLES SEDGER from Paris to London, has gone straight to the
heart and intelligence of our Theatre-loving public.
[Illustration: A BLACK AND WHITE EXHIBITION.]
It is a subject for curious reflection that, just when the comic
scenes of our English Pantomime have been crushed out by overpowering
weight of gorgeous spectacle, there should re-appear in our midst a
revival of the ancient _Pierrot_ who pantomimed himself into public
favour with the Parisians towards the close of the seventeenth
century. Red-hot poker, sausages, and filching Clown have had their
day, and lo! when everyone said we were tired of the "comic business"
of Pantomime, here in our midst re-appear almost in their habits as
they lived, certainly with their white faces and black skull-caps "as
they appeared," a pair of marvellously clever Pierrots. Mlle. JANE
MAY as _Pierrot Junior_, "the Prodigy son," and M. COURTES as _Pierrot
Senior_, are already drawing the town to _Matinees_ at the Prince of
Wales's, causing us to laugh at them and with them in their joys, and
to weep with them in their mimic sorrows. Yes! _Pierrot redivivus!_
Mind you, it is not a piece for children; make no mistake about that;
_they_ will only laugh at the antics, be ignorant of the story, and be
untouched by its truth and pathos. All are good. We like the naughty
_blanchisseuse_ the least of the characters, and wish she had been
_plus petite que ca_. But is it not in nature that the prodigal infant
(veritable boy is Mlle. JANE MAY) should fall in love with a young
woman some years his senior, and far beyond him in experience of the
world? Why certainly. Then the Baron, played with great humour by
M. LOUIS GOUGET, who wins the Mistress with his diamonds, and the
inimitable Black Servant, M. JEAN ARCUEIL, who laughs at poor little
_Pierrot_, and cringes to his wealthy rival and successor,--are they
not both admirable? As for the acting of Madame SCHMIDT as _Madame
Pierrot_, loving wife and devoted mother, it is, as it should be, "too
good for words." Her pantomimic action is so sympathetic throughout,
so--well, in fact, perfect. Who wants to hear them speak? _Facta
non verba_ is their motto. Yet with what _gusto_ the Black, heavily
bribed, mouths out the titled Baron's name, though never a syllable
does he utter! It is all most excellent make-believe.
_Vive Pierrot a Londres!_ We see him much the same as he was when
he delighted the Parisians in 1830,--"_Avec sa grand casaque a gros
boutons, son large pantalon flottant, ses souliers blancs comme le
rests, son visage enfarine, sa tete couverte d'un serre-tete noir ...
le veritable Pierrot avec sa bonhomie naive ... ses joies d'enfant, et
ses chagrins d'un effet si comique_"--and also so pathetic.
If this entertainment could be given at night, the house would be
crammed during a long run; but afternoon possibilities are limited.
More than a word of praise must be given to M. ANDRE WORMSER's music,
which, personally conducted by Mr. CROOK, goes hand in hand with the
story written by MICHEL CARRE FILS, and illustrated by these clever
pantomimists. No amateur of good acting should fail to see this
performance. _Verb. sap._
* * * * *
In the _Salon_ this year, the _Athenaeum_ says, "a _Grand Salon de
Repos_ will be provided." For pictures of "still life" only, we
suppose. Will Sir FREDERICK, P.R.A., act on the suggestion, and set
aside one of the rooms in Burlington House as a Dormitory?
* * * * *
Aha! special attraction in _The New Review_! "April Fool's Day Poem,"
by ALFRED AUSTIN, and, an announcement on the cover that "_This
number contains a Picture of_ Miss ELLEN TERRY _in one of her earliest
parts._" Oh, dear! I wish it didn't contain this picture, which is
a bleared red photograph of Misses KATE and ELLEN TERRY, "as they
appeared" (as they never could appear, I'm sure) in an entertainment
which achieved a great success in the provinces--but not with this
red-Indian picture as a poster. Of course it may be intended as
compliment-terry; it _may_ mean "always entertaining and ever reddy."
However, the picture is naught, except as a curiosity; but the first
instalment of our ELLEN's reminiscences is delightfully written,
because given quite naturally, just as the celebrated actress
herself would dictate--(of course she never has to "dictate," as her
scarcely-breathed wish is a law)--to her pleasantly-tasked amanuensis.
Next lot, please!
In _Macmillan's_ for this month, ANDRE HOPE tells a fluttering tale in
recounting "A Mystery of Old Gray's Inn." It would have come well from
that weird old clerk, to whom _Mr. Pickwick_ listened with interest
during the convivialities at the "Magpie and Stump." It should take
a prominent place in the proposed new issue of _Half Hours with Jumpy
The Baron has just read a delightful paper on "The Bretons at Home,"
by CHARLES G. WOOD, in the _Argosy_, for this month. The Baron who has
been there, and still would go if he could, but, as he can't, he is
contented to let "WOOD go" without him, and to read the latter's tales
of a traveller.
_Turf Celebrities I have Known_, by WILLIAM DAY, is a gossipy,
snarly sort of book; casting a rather murky or grey Day-light on a
considerable number of Celebrities who were once on the turf, and are
now under it. But the Baron not being himself either on the turf or
under it, supposes that this DAY is an authority, as was once upon a
time, that is, only the other day, the Dey of ALGIERS. But this DAY
is not of Algiers, but of All-gibes. Ordinarily it is true that "Every
dog has his day." Exceptions prove the rule, and it would appear from
this book--"not the first 'book,' I suppose," quoth the Baron, "that
Mr. DAY has 'made' or assisted in 'making,'"--that not every dog did
_not_ 'have' this particular Day, but that some dogs did. The writer
has missed the chance of a good title--not for himself, but for his
book. He should have it an autobiography, and then call it, "_De Die
in Diem; or, Day by Day_."
Everyone's truly, THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
* * * * *
WHAT IT WILL COME TO!
(_A FRAGMENT FROM A MILITARY-COMMERCIAL ROMANCE OF THE FUTURE._)
And so Mr. ELLERSDEE approached his proposed recruit, and invited him
to lunch to discuss the matter quietly.
"You are very good," returned the other, "but I can assure you I eat
nothing before dinner. Won't you have a cigar?"
Mr. ELLERSDEE accepted the proffered kindness, and remarked upon the
excellent quality of the tobacco.
"Yes," assented his companion, "it is not half bad, for we get all our
supplies from the Stores; and now what can I do for you?"
Then Mr. ELLERSDEE unfolded his sad story. England was losing her
commercial prosperity, owing to a scarcity of labourers, artisans,
nay, even clerks. The Empire was in as bad a condition as those
foreign countries in which forced military service was established.
Like France and Germany, trade was being ruined by the Army. Would not
the young man desert, and become a recruit in the Labour League?
"My dear friend," was the reply, "I hope I am as patriotic as most
people, but I cannot sacrifice my just interest entirely to sentiment.
What can you give me in exchange for my present life? I have
recreation-rooms, libraries, polytechnics, and every sort of
"But also drill and discipline," urged the other.
"Which I am told by my medical attendant (whose services by the way
are gratuitous), are excellent for my health. This being so, I can
scarcely complain of those institutions. Then I have excellent pay
and ample food. Now, I ask you frankly, can the advantages offered by
Trade compare for a moment with the privileges, as a soldier, I now
enjoy? Tell me frankly, shall I improve my position by giving up the
And Mr. ELLERSDEE was compelled to answer in the negative!
* * * * *
THE DIARY OF AN OLD JOKE.
(_POSTHUMOUSLY PRINTED BY KIND PERMISSION OF WIT, HUMOUR, & CO.,
_April 1_.--My birthday; have no idea which. Old as the hills, but
not quite so pointed; venerable, but broken down, and used up; not the
Joke I used to be; once the rich darling of Society: but it (Society)
didn't pay, so had to work hard for a living. _Tit Bits_, the
_National Observer_, and the Chancery Judges, have impoverished me.
Never mind--I'll be revenged--resolve to keep a Diary--"_weekly diary
of a weakly_"--oh dear! my old infirmity again. Must really be more
_April 2_.--In with the rest of them, for a (North-) Easter outing.
HACKING, in the train, tried to palm me off upon HORNBLOWER, who had
actually the impudence to affect that he "_couldn't see me_"; as if
I hadn't obviously made his reputation for years! The best of it is,
that HORNBLOWER is always airing me in public, and dropping me in
private. Blow HORNBLOWER!
_April 3_.--Out to dinner. What a hypocrite Society is! Everyone
pretended never to have heard me before. I was allotted to Miss
HORNBLOWER (worse luck!) and she positively called me "Her own!"--at
my age, too! It's indecent. Complained to HORNBLOWER, who now faced
round, and maintained that he was the first to bring me out. I could
almost have cried. No wonder I fell flat, and injured myself. Why,
Sir, SIDNEY SMITH was my godfather, and was always trotting me out as
a prodigy, and trading on me. I supported him, Sir, when I was but an
infant phenomenon; I supported him--but I can't support HORNBLOWER.
_April 4_.--Went to the theatre, as I was told I figured in the play;
claimed a free pass to the Stalls from the box-office boy, who was
rude; showed him my card; he looked scared, and said it was all right.
The actors were full of me: very gratifying; but everybody laughed!
Just like their cheek! There's nothing laughable, I should fancy,
about anything so played out as _I've_ become. Ugh! how I detest
irreverence! HORNBLOWER and HACKING have both written to the papers,
maintaining that I belong to them, and that the theatre has no
right to have me impersonated on the Stage; they term it "Thought
Transference," "The Brain-Wave," or something outlandish; and to think
that HACKING, who reviews HORNBLOWER's effusions, once spoke of me as
stale! They had better not try my patience too far, I can tell them.
_April 5_.--_Sunday_. Want change, and rest. Made for the O'WILDE's
sanctum. Cabman took the change, and O'WILDE the rest. Have known all
the celebrities of the century, but like O'W. the most. For one so
young, he's truly affable; made me quite at home; promised to put
me up--or in, I forget which; and then he uttered this remarkable
"preface"--"Jokes are neither old nor young: they are simply mine or
thine--that is all." Nevertheless. I'm sure to be in his bad books
_April 6_.--"Horrible outrage--an Old Joke, in trouble again"--so run
the newspaper placards--was collared forcibly by two masked ruffians
in Grub Street, and dispatched post-haste to _Punch_ office. _Mr. P._,
however, had known me from a boy, and was not to be imposed upon.
He sent me back promptly, on Her Majesty's Service, warning me that,
unless I went off, I should probably be knocked on the head. Dear
EVERGREEN POLICINELLO! but not so evergreen as all that. He knows my
constitution won't stand these liberties. The desperadoes turn out to
be HORNBLOWER and HACKING, as I suspected. In defence they alleged I
had _struck_ them forcibly! _Mr. P._ vows he'll proceed against them
for nuisance--interfering with Ancient Lights.
_April 7_.--Very weak, from effects of yesterday. The heart taken
out of me. Consult my Doctor. To judge from the prints in his
waiting-room, I'm popular enough still with his patients. Says I'm
suffering from a bad attack of Printer's Devils, but can't make me
younger; replied that my desire was to be older. He looked grave, and
rejoined, "Impossible"; prescribed a course of Attic salts; as I came
out, met Sir WILFRID LAWSON. He declares I don't look a day older
than when he first knew me; but then, he's licensed to be sober on the
premises! Ah, how I love the House of Commons!
_April 8_.--Worn to a skeleton; sinking fast, but I'll die hard. Make
my will. Bequeath Autographs of TALLEYRAND and JOE MILLER to Madame
Tussaud's; everything else to be sold for the foundation of an
Asylum for Old Jokes. A knock at the door. Heaven help me!--_two_
Interviewers! "Come in," I said, with the conventional "cheery voice."
Anticipated the worst, but worse than I anticipated. HORNBLOWER and
HACKING are brooding over me; assert they have been sent by the LORD
MAYOR. "Thought Transference" again! Well, I should have committed
suicide, and now I can be released without crime. It won't last long.
If I might suggest my obsequies, I should like to be cremated in Type.
HACKING begs my blessing, and pretends to weep at hearing the last of
me. Hope I shan't ever have to haunt HORNBLOWER!
_Editor's Postscript_.--We have paid a pious visit to his last
Jesting-place; on the urn is inscribed,--
PLEASE TO FORGET THE GHOST OF THE SAME OLD JOKE.
* * * * *
NOTICE.--Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS.,
Printed Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no
case be returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed
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