Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 100., February 7, 1891
Produced by Malcolm Farmer, William Flis, and the Online Distributed
OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
February 7, 1891.
THE "MODEL HUSBAND" CONTEST.
SCENE THE FIRST--_AT THE GALAHAD-GREENS'_.
_Mrs. G.-G._ GALAHAD!
_Mr. G.-G._ (_meekly_). My love?
_Mrs. G.-G._ I see that the proprietors of _All Sorts_ are going to
follow the American example, and offer a prize of L20 to the wife
who makes out the best case for her husband as a Model. It's just as
well, perhaps, that you should know that I've made up my mind to enter
_Mr. G.-G._ (_gratified_). My dear CORNELIA! really, I'd no idea you
had such a--
_Mrs. G.-G._ Nonsense! The drawing-room carpet is a perfect disgrace,
and, as you can't, or won't, provide the money in any _other_ way,
why--Would you like to hear what I've said about you?
_Mr. G.-G._ Well, if you're sure it wouldn't he troubling you too
much, I _should_, my dear.
_Mrs. G.-G._ Then sit where I can see you, and listen. (_She reads._)
"Irreproachable in all that pertains to morality"--(and it would
be a bad day indeed for you, GALAHAD, if I ever had cause to think
_otherwise_.')--"morality; scrupulously dainty and neat in his
person"--(ah, you may well blush, GALAHAD, but, fortunately, they
won't want me to _produce_ you!)--"he imports into our happy home the
delicate refinement of a _preux chevalier_ of the olden time." (Will
you kindly take your dirty boots off the steel fender!) "We rule
our little kingdom with a joint and equal sway, to which jealousy
and friction are alike unknown; he, considerate and indulgent to
my womanly weakness,"--(You need not stare at me in that perfectly
idiotic fashion!)--"I, looking to him for the wise and tender support
which has never yet been denied. The close and daily scrutiny of
many years has discovered"--(What are you shaking like _that_
for?)--"discovered no single weakness; no taint or flaw of character;
no irritating trick of speech or habit." (How often have I told you
that I will _not_ have the handle of that paper-knife sucked? Put it
down; do!) "His conversation--sparkling but ever spiritual--renders
our modest meals veritable feasts of fancy and flows of soul ...
_Mr. G.-G._ Nothing, my dear; nothing. It struck me as well,--a trifle
_flowery_, that last passage, that's all!
_Mrs. G.-G._ (_severely_). If I cannot expect to win the prize without
descending to floweriness, whose fault is _that_, I should like to
know? If you can't make sensible observations, you had better not
speak at all. (_Continuing_,) "Over and over again, gathering me in
his strong loving arms, and pressing fervent kisses upon my forehead,
he has cried, 'Why am I not a Monarch that so I could place a diadem
upon that brow? With such a Consort, am I not doubly crowned?'" Have
you anything to say to _that_, GALAHAD?
_Mr. G.-G._ Only, my love, that I--I don't seem to remember having
made that particular remark.
_Mrs. G.-G._ Then make it _now_. I'm sure I wish to be as accurate as
I _can_. [Mr. G.-G. _makes the remark--but without fervour._
SCENE THE SECOND--_AT THE MONARCH-JONES'_.
_Mr. M.-J._ Twenty quid would come in precious handy just now, after
all I've dropped lately, and I mean to pouch that prize if I can--so
just you sit down, GRIZZLE, and write out what I tell you; do you
_Mrs. M.-J._ (_timidly_). But, MONARCH, dear, would that be quite
_fair_? No, don't be angry, I didn't mean that--I'll write whatever
_Mr. M.-J._ You'd _better_, that's all! Are you ready? I must screw
myself up another peg before I begin. (_He screws._) Now, then.
(_Stands over her and dictates._) "To the polished urbanity of a
perfect gentleman, he unites the kindly charity of a true Christian."
(Why the devil don't you learn to write decently, eh?) "Liberal, and
even lavish, in all his dealings, he is yet a stern foe to every
kind of excess"--(Hold on a bit, I must have another nip after
that)--"every kind of excess. Our married life is one long dream of
blissful contentment, in which each contends with the other in loving
self-sacrifice." (Haven't you corked all that down _yet_!) "Such
cares and anxieties as he has, he conceals from me with scrupulous
consideration as long as possible"--(Gad, I should be a fool
if I _didn't_!)--"while I am ever sure of finding in him a
patient and sympathetic listener to all my trifling worries and
difficulties."--(_Two_ f's in difficulties, you little fool--can't you
even _spell_?) "Many a time, falling on his knees at my feet, he has
rapturously exclaimed, his accents broken by manly emotion, 'Oh, that
I were more worthy of such a pearl among women! With such a helpmate,
I am indeed to be envied!'" That _ought_ to do the trick. If I don't
romp in after that!--(_Observing that Mrs. M.-J.'s shoulders are
convulsed._) What the dooce are you giggling at _now_?
_Mrs. M.-J._ I--I wasn't giggling, MONARCH dear, only--
_Mr. M.-J._ Only _what_? _Mrs. M.-J._ Only crying!
"The Judges appointed by the spirited proprietors of _All Sorts_
to decide the 'Model Husband Contest'--which was established on
lines similar to one recently inaugurated by one of our New York
contemporaries--have now issued their award. Two competitors have sent
in certificates which have been found equally deserving of the prize;
viz., Mrs. CORNELIA GALAHAD-GREEN, Graemair Villa, Peckham, and Mrs.
GRISELDA MONARCH-JONES, Aspen Lodge, Lordship Lane. The sum of Twenty
Pounds will consequently be divided between these two ladies, to
whom, with their respective spouses, we beg to tender our cordial
felicitations."--(_Extract from Daily Paper, some six months hence._)
* * * * *
For some months Society has been on the tip-toe of expectation with
regard to the new Tragedy by Mr. SHAKSPEARE SMITHSON, which is to
inaugurate the magnificent Theatre, built at a sumptuous and total
disregard of expense by Mr. DILEY PUFF, a lineal descendant of the
great PUFF family, by intermarriage with the more recent CRUMMLES's,
expressly for the performance of the genuine English Drama. A veil of
secrecy has, however, been drawn over all the arrangements connected
with the new production. One after another the Author, the Manager,
and the leading Actors were appealed to in vain. Finally, one of
Our Representatives taking his courage in both hands, brought it and
himself safely to the stage-door of the new theatre, and knocked.
After some hesitation he was admitted by an intelligent boy, who,
however, at first seemed indisposed to be drawn into conversation,
though he admitted he had been engaged for the responsible post
of call-boy at an inadequate salary. Our Representative managed to
interest the lad in the inspection of a numismatic representation of
Her Most Gracious Majesty, which he happened to have brought with him
on the back of half-a-crown, and with which Our Representative toyed,
holding it between the thumb and dexter finger of the right hand. We
give the result in Our Representative's own words:--
"Come this way," said the boy, on whom the sight of the coin seemed
to operate like some weird talisman, leading me to a remote part
of the stage, the floor of which had been tastefully littered with
orange-peel in a variety of patterns; "we shall be comfortabler."
"Now tell me," I said, "about this new piece."
"It's what they call a Tragedy," said the boy.
"Ah!" I replied, "that is interesting; but I want to know about the
Author. What do you think of him?"
"The horther? Oh my!" said the precocious lad, producing an apple from
his trousers' pocket, but his right eye still fixed on the talisman,
"'e don't count. Why we none of us pays no attention to 'im. Crikey,
you should 'a seen 'im come a cropper on his nut down them new steps.
But, look 'ere, Sir," he continued, more solemnly, "I'm a tellin'
yer secrets, I am; and if DILEY were to 'ear of it, I'd get a proper
jacketin'. Swear you won't peach."
I gave the requisite pledge. "And that ere arf-crown?" he said. I
nodded assent to what was evidently in his mind. Then he resumed.
"It's a beautiful piece. The play, I mean," he explained; being
fearful lest I should consider him as over-eager for the coveted and
covenanted reward. "I'm sure o' that. The horther says so, and DILEY
says so, and Miss O'GRADY says so; she's got the 'eroine to play,--and
oh, don't she die in the lawst Act just proper, with pink light and
a couple o' angels to carry 'er up! Then there's Mr. KEANE 'ARRIS, 'e
touches 'em all up with 'is sword, 'places his back to the wall, and
defies the mob,' is what the book says. So you may take it from me,
I thanked my intelligent little friend for his information, and was
proceeding to put a further question about the music for this new
Drama, which, as everyone will soon know, is to be a real _chef
d'oeuvre_ of Sir HAUTHOR SUNNIVUN, when a step was heard approaching
across the stage--the deepest, by the way, in London--to where we were
"That's 'im," said the boy, trembling. "'E's a noble-'earted master,
so kind and generous, but 'e 'ates deception, and it would be more
than my place is worth to let 'im catch me talking these 'ere dead
secrets to you. Give us the coin. I'm orf!"
And, before I was able to carry out my portion of the contract, he was
gone. And in another moment--so was I.
* * * * *
[Illustration: BRUIN JUNIOR.
"May this be my poison, if my Bear ever dances but to the very
genteelest of tunes, '_Water-parted_,' or '_The Minuet in Ariadne.'"
She Stoops to Conquer_.
_Viceroy_ (_to Miss India, loquitur_). "DON'T BE ALARMED, MY DEAR!
THIS BEAR NEVER DANCES BUT TO THE VERY GENTEELEST OF TUNES!"
Lord LANSDOWNE, _loquitur_:--
Be easy, my darling! He doesn't come snarling,
Or rearing, or hugging, this young Dancing Bear.
With you (and with pleasure) he'll tread a gay measure,
A captive of courtesy, under my care;
His chain is all golden. Your heart 'twill embolden,
And calm that dusk bosom which timidly shrinks.
Sincere hospitality is, in reality,
Safest of shackles;--just look at the links!
Alarmists saw ruin in prospects of Bruin,
The Great Northern Bear, treading India's soil.
How bogies may blind us! On our side the Indus
They fancy friend Ursa spies nothing but spoil;
But Ursa's _invited_ to come, and delighted
To visit you, not as aggressor, but guest.
So welcome him brightly, and treat him politely.
And trip with him lightly, you'll find it far best,
ATTA TROLL (HEINE tells us) "danced nobly." Pride swells us
To think our young guest is a true ATTA TROLL;
No Bugbear, though shaggy, a trifle breech-baggy,
And not altogether a dandyish doll;
No Afghan intrigue, dear, or shy Native league, dear,
Has brought Bruin's foot o'er our frontier to dance:
He comes freely, boldly--don't look on him coldly,
Or make him suspect there is _fear_ in your glance.
Be sure that the Lion will still keep his eye on
All Bears and their dens, in the Tiger's behalf;
Meanwhile Ursa Minor eschews base design, or
Intrigue against _you_, dear. Lift eyes, love, and laugh!
I'll answer for Bruin, he shall not take _you_ in--
The Bear's _bona fides_ nobody impugns;
He asks a kind glance, and your hand in a dance; and
He'll dance "to the very genteelest of tunes"!]
* * * * *
THE UP-TO-DATE CONVERSATIONIST.
_He_ (_at the end of a turn_). I see there's been a row in Chili--what
do you think about it?
_She_. I don't know the place--isn't it somewhere in America?
_He_. I shouldn't be surprised if it were, but my geography's shaky. I
rather fancy it's somehow connected with pickles.
_She_. Oh, then it's a mistake their quarrelling, as I suppose it will
be hard upon the poor, especially during the winter?
_He_. Fancy that's the idea. Been to the Guelph Exhibition?
_She_. Yes, and I think it's a pity they took the jewels out of GEORGE
THE FOURTH's Crown. I should like to have seen the Koh-i-Noor.
_He_. But they wanted them for the one at the Tower, don't you know,
and as for the Koh-i-Noor, was _that_ invented in his time?
_She_. Perhaps it wasn't. Stay, wasn't it discovered by Captain COOK,
or DRAKE, or somebody?
_He_. I daresay. I have never looked the matter up. _A propos_,
One-pound Bank-notes are to be issued.
_She_. Are they? I suppose they will be useful for change?
_He_. Shouldn't be astonished, but don't pretend to know anything
about it. By the way, do you take much interest in the subjects we
have been discussing?
_She_. Not the faintest.
_He_. No more do I! [_Waltz continued._
* * * * *
DEARNESS AND DEARTH.
"Spanish onions are rising in price, though probably only
Will it be long, then--long?
For the people watch and wait,
Till the strength of the onion makes them strong,
At only the normal rate.
And their eyes are dim with tears,
And ache with the need of sleep.
And watch till the lapse of the lapsing years
Shall make the onions cheap.
Cheap, my love, cheap! Sleep, my love, sleep!
Onions are dear, love, but sentiment's cheap!
Listen! Is it a voice
Or a fragrance to make my heart rejoice
From the sunlit land of Spain?
Listen, my own, my bride,
While the glad tears dew your cheek,
They are fried, my bride, by the sad sea tide
With a smell that can almost speak
Creep, my love, creep into the deep,
And sing to the fishes that onions are cheap.
* * * * *
THE PROPOSED ONE-POUND NOTES.--"Ne-Goschenable currency."
* * * * *
AN ELEGY ON A MAD DOG.
(_AFTER GOLDSMITH, MORE OR LESS._)
Good patriots all of every sort,
Give ear unto my song,
For if in substance it is short,
In moral it is strong.
At Hawarden lived a Grand Old Man,
Of whom the world might say,
A wondrous lengthy race he ran,
And won it all the way.
Some swore he'd veer to catch a vote;
Old age to flout one loathes,
But, if he never turned his coat,
He often changed his clothes.
Hard by an Irish dog was found,
As many dogs there be,
Hibernian mongrel, puppy, hound,
And curs of low degree.
This dog and man at first seemed friends,
But, when a pique began,
The dog, to gain his private ends,
Went mad, and bit the man!
To see so strange and sad a sight
Quidnuncs and _gobemouches_ ran,
And swore the dog was rabid quite
To bite that Grand Old Man.
The wound indeed seemed sore and sad
To every party eye,
And while they swore the dog was mad,
They swore the man must die.
But marvels sometimes come to light
Rash prophets to belie.
The man seems healing of the bite,
The dog looks like to die!
* * * * *
"CANON TEIGNMOUTH SHORE proposes to convert the two Convocations." ...
that is startling without the context--"into one National Synod." But
two into one won't go. How will he manage it? Will those in the York
ship join the Canterbury, or _vice versa_? Or, quitting both ships,
will they land on common ground? "Who's for SHORE?"
* * * * *
PAR ABOUT PICTURES.--"_Over the Garden Wall_," seems to be the song
that Mr. G.S. ELGOOD sings at the Fine Art Society's Gallery. In the
course of his travels he has been over a good many garden walls.
At Wroxton, Compton Wynyates, Penshurst, Montacute, Berkeley, and
Helmingham, he has pursued his studies to some purpose; the result
is an enjoyable collection of pictures, which he entitles, "A Summer
among the Flowers."
* * * * *
(_BY A MUDDLED MORALIST._)
BEN BRUSTLES was only a poor shoeblack-boy who cleaned boots--ay, and
even shoes, for his daily bread. Such time as he could spare from his
avocation he devoted to diligent study of the doctrine of chance, as
exemplified in the practice of pitch-and-toss. Often and often, after
pitching and tossing in the cold wet streets for long weary hours,
he would return home without a halfpenny. Think of this, ye more
fortunate youths, who sit at home at ease, and play Loto for nuts! But
through all his vicissitudes, BEN kept a stout heart, never losing his
conviction that something--he knew not what--would eventually turn up.
Sometimes it was heads, at others tails: and in either case the poor
boy lost money by it--but he persevered notwithstanding, confident
that Fortune would favour him at last. It is this spirit of undaunted
enterprise that has made our England what it is!
[Illustration: Brustles Blacking.]
And one day Fortune did favour him. He observed, as he knelt before
his box, a portly and venerable person close by, who was engrossed
in studying, with apparent complacency, his own reflection in a
plate-glass shop-front. So naive a display of personal vanity, in
one whose dress and demeanour denoted him a Bishop, not unnaturally
excited BENJAMIN's interest, nor was this lessened when the stranger,
after shaking his head reproachfully at his reflected image, advanced
to the shoe-black's box as if in obedience to a sudden impulse.
"My lad," he said, with a certain calm dignity, "will you be so good
as to black both my legs for me--at once?"
This unusual request, conceived as it was on a larger scale than the
orders he habitually received, startled the youth, particularly as
he noted that the symmetrical and well-turned limb which the Bishop
extended consisted, like its fellow, of a rare and costly species of
mahogany, and shone with the rich and glossy hue of a newly-fallen
horse-chestnut, "I see," commented the Bishop, with a melancholy
smile, "that you have already discovered that my lower members are
the product--not of Nature, but of Art. It was not always thus with
me--but in my younger days I was an ardent climber--indeed, I am still
an Honorary Member of the Hampstead Heath Alpine Club. Many years
since, whilst scaling Primrose Hill, I was compelled, by a sudden
storm, to take refuge in a half-way hut, where I passed the night,
exposed to all the rigours of an English Midsummer! When I awoke
I found, to my surprise, that both my legs had been bitten by the
relentless frost short off immediately below the knee, and I had to
continue the ascent next day in a basket. On descending, I caused
these substitutes to be fashioned, and on them I stumped my way to
the exalted position I now fill, nor have I ever evinced any physical
inconveniences from my misfortune, save in one particular--that it
has rendered the assumption of gaiters unhappily out of the question!
But, possibly, my wish to have these legs of mine disguised by your
pigments, strikes you as bizarre, if not positively eccentric? You
will better understand my reasons after you have heard a confession
which, though necessary, is, believe me, painful to make." And the
good old man, after a short internal struggle, began the following
narrative, which we reserve for a succeeding chapter.
"Even as a Curate, a certain harmless vanity was ever my besetting
weakness. I might, indeed, have hoped that, after my accident--but
see, my good lad, how pride may lurk, even in our very infirmities!
These artificial limbs have become a yet subtler snare to me than
even those they replaced. I had them constructed, as you see, of
the best mahogany--to match the furniture in my dining-room. With
ever-increasing pleasure, my eyes have gloried in their grain and
gloss, in the symmetry of their curves, in the more than Chinese
delicacy of their extremities, until gradually they have trampled upon
my better self, they have run away with all my possibilities of moral
usefulness! Yes, but this very moment, as I stood admiring their
contour at yonder window, the pernicious thought crossed my mind that
their appearance would be yet more enhanced if I had them _gilded_!"
"But, your reverent Lordship," objected BRUSTLES, as the Bishop
paused, overcome by humiliation, "it's no use coming to _me_ for that
'ere job!" For, though but a poor boy, he was too honest to accept any
commission under false pretences. Gilding, he knew, might--and, in a
London atmosphere, soon would--become black, but no boot-polish would
ever assume the appearance, even of the blackest gilt, and so he
candidly explained to the Bishop.
"I know, my boy," said the latter, patting BEN's head kindly with the
handle of his umbrella, "I know. Hence my application to your skill.
That presumptuous idea revealed as in a lightning flash the abyss on
the brink of which I stood. This demon of perverse pride must be
laid; humbled for ever. So ply your brushes, and see you spare not the
BRUSTLES obeyed--not without awe, and in a short space of time two
pots of blacking were exhausted, and the roseate glow of the Bishop's
mahogany limbs was for ever hidden under a layer of more than Nubian
"'Selp me, your lordly reverence," he cried, dazzled by the brilliancy
of the result; "but you might be took, below, for a Lifeguardsman!"
[Illustration: Bilked by a Bishop.]
"Hush," said the Bishop, though with a gratification he could not
restrain, "would you recall the demon I strove to exorcise! It is
true that the change is less of a disfigurement than I feared--ahem,
_hoped_--but after all, may not the wish to please the eye of man be
excusable? You shall receive a rich reward. Do you happen to have such
a thing as change for a five-pound note about you?"
"Alas!" replied the lad, with ready presence of mind, "but I have only
just paid all my gold into my bank for the day!"
"No matter," said the Bishop, gently. "I find I have a threepenny
bit, after all. It is yours!" And the good ecclesiastic, as if to
avoid thanks, moved nimbly off, though his eyes still sought the
shop-windows as he passed, with even greater complacency than before.
BEN tested the threepenny bit between his teeth--it was a spurious
coin; he looked up, but his late customer was already passed out of
hearing of his sentiments. He sank down with his head laid amongst
his pots and brushes. "Bilked!" he moaned piteously, "bilked--and by a
But mark the sequel. The good Bishop had been quite ignorant that the
threepenny bit was a pewter one; quite sincere, for the time, in his
determination to subdue his own weakness. Still it was not to be:
inbred pride is not so easily vanquished--even by Bishops! The Bishop
learned to glory in his blacking far more than he had ever done in the
original mahogany. He had it continually renewed, and with the most
expensive compositions. He would bend enraptured over the burnished
surfaces of his extended legs, gazing, like another Narcissus, at the
features he saw so faithfully repeated.
Meanwhile the threepence, base as it was, became the humble instrument
of brighter fortunes to BRUSTLES; it showed a marvellous aptitude
for turning up tails, which BEN no sooner perceived than he availed
himself of a blessing that had, indeed, come to him in disguise!
But the Bishop--what of him? Nemesis overtook him at last. The
discontent long smouldering in his diocese broke out into a climax.
Thousands of Curates, inflamed by professional agitators, went out on
strike, and their first victim was the Bishop of TIMBERTOWS, who was
discovered prostrate one dark night by his horrified Chaplain. He had
been picketed as a Blackleg!
(_Copies of the above may be obtained for distribution, at
very reasonable terms, on application to the Author._)
* * * * *
PLAYTIME FOR A DOLL'S HOUSE.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,--According to a well-known Critic, writing of a
morning performance of _The Doll's House_ on Tuesday, the 27th ult.,
at Terry's Theatre, "There is no need to discuss IBSEN's piece any
more." I will go a little further, and say, not only should the play
be spared discussion, but also performance. All that could be done for
this miserable drama (if a work utterly devoid of dramatic interest
can be so entitled) was effected some years since, when _Breaking a
Butterfly_, a version with Messrs. HERMAN and JONES as adapters, was
played at the Prince's (now Prince of Wales's) Theatre. I believe some
one or other has said that that version was misleading, because it
modified IBSEN, and did not reveal him in his true colours. This I can
readily believe, as my recollection of _Breaking a Butterfly_ merely
suggests boredom; whereas, when I consider _The Doll's House_ of
Tuesday, I distinctly mingle with boredom a recollection of something
that caused a feeling of absolute loathing. That something, I imagine,
must be the new matter which was absent from the first version, and
crops up in the text of the second, which, according to the Play-bill,
appears "in Vol. I. of the authorised edition of IBSEN's Prose Dramas,
edited by WILLIAM ARCHER, and published by Mr. WALTER SCOTT." By
the way, I must confess that, although the name of the Editor is
not familiar to me as a dramatic author, his superintendence of the
authorised text seems to have been performed sufficiently creditably
to have rendered him as worthy of an honourable prefix as the
publisher. Why omit the "Mr."? Now I come to think of it, there is
an Englishman, not unconnected with dramatic literature, who is known
nowadays as WILLIAM, without the prefix of Mister, but in his own time
he was known as Master WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE, and Master he remains.
"But this," as Mr. RUDYARD KIPLING might observe, "is quite another
[Illustration: Fancy Picture of Hanwellian Admirer of the Ibsenesque
Drama thoroughly enjoying himself.]
I have not the original for reference handy, but the version played
at Terry's Theatre bears internal evidence of a close translation. An
adapter, I fancy, with a free hand would scarcely have made one of the
characters use the same exit speech on two occasions. _Nils Krogstad_
does this. He can think of nothing better than, "If I am flung into
the gutter, you shall accompany me," repeated twice with the slight
variation, "If I am flung into the gutter for the second time, you
shall accompany me," used for the last exit. Again, _Torvald Helmer_
has a long monologue in the final Act that a practised playwright
would have "broken up" with the assistance of a portrait, or a letter,
or something. From this it would appear that the Editor, WILLIAM
ARCHER (without the "Mr.") has very faithfully produced the exact
translation of the original. To be hypercritical, I might suggest
that perhaps occasionally the version is rather _too_ literal. For
instance, _Torvald Helmer_, although he is cursed with one of the most
offensive wives known to creation, would scarcely call her "a little
lark," which conveys the impression that he is a "gay dog," and
one given to the traditional ways of that species of ultra-sociable
animals. I have confessed I have not the original before me, so I
cannot say whether the title used by IBSEN is "_Smalle Larke_," but
I fancy that a "capering capercailzie," if not actually his _words_,
would be nearer his _meaning_. A capercailzie is, according to the
dictionaries, a bird of "a delicious flavour" and partially "green;"
it is also found in Norway "very fine and large," as IBSEN might say.
Surely _Torvald_ would have thus described his semi-verdant _Nora_,
finding her distinctly to his taste.
Returning to what I venture to imagine must be "new matter" not in the
Herman-_plus_-Jonesian version, I consider the scene in which _Nora_
chaffs _Dr. Rank_ about his illness absolutely nauseous, and the
drink-inspired admiration of husband for wife in the concluding Act
repulsive to the last degree. On Tuesday the spectators received the
piece with patient apathy; and, this being the case, I could not help
feeling that anyone who could single out such a play as suitable for
performance before an English audience, could scarcely possess the
acumen generally considered a necessary adjunct to the qualifications
of an efficient Dramatic Critic. The hero, the heroine, the doctor,
as prigs, could only appeal to prigs, and thank goodness the average
London theatre-goer is the reverse of a prig. There was but one
redeeming point in the play--its conclusion. It ends happily in
_Nora_, forger, liar, and--hem--wedded flirt, being separated from her
For the rest, the piece was fairly well acted. But when the Curtain
had fallen for the last time, and the audience were departing more in
sadness than in anger, I could not help asking myself the question,
Had the advantages obtained in witnessing the performance balanced
the expense incurred in securing a seat? I am forced to reply in the
negative, as I sign myself regretfully,
ONE WHO PAID FOR A PLACE IN THE PIT.
* * * * *
I see three ladies in a drawing-room, each with a green volume. "What
is it?" No, they won't hear. Each one is intent on her volume, and an
irritable answer, in a don't bother kind of manner, is all that I can
obtain. The novel is Miss BRADDON's latest, _One Life, One Love_ (but
three volumes, for all that), in which they are absorbed. Later on,
at intervals, I get the volumes, and, raven-like, secrete them. I can
quite understand the absorption of my young friends. Marvellous, Miss
BRADDON! Very few have approached you in sensation-writing, and none
in keeping up sensationalism as fresh as ever it was when first I
sat up at night nervously to read _Aurora Floyd_, and _Lady Audley's
Secret_. In this bad time of year (I am writing when the snow is
without, and the North-East wind is engaged in cutting leaves), the
Baron recommends remaining indoors with this Three-volume Novel as
a between lunch and dinner companion, only don't take it up to your
bed-room, and sit over the fire with it, or--but there, I won't
mention the consequences. Keep it till daylight doth appear. The
Baron being a busy man--no, Sir, not a busy-body,--is grateful to the
authors of good short stories in Magazines. Many others agree with the
Baron, who wishes to recommend "Saint or Satan" in _The Argosy_;
The story of an "Old Beau," which might have been advantageously
abbreviated in _Scribner_; an odd tale entitled, "The Phantom
Portrait," in the _Cornhill_; which leaves the reader in doubt as to
whether he has been egregiously "sold" or not; and, above all, the
short and interesting--too short and most interesting--paper on
THACKERAY, in _Harper's Monthly_, with fac-similes of some of the
great humorist's most eccentric and most spirited illustrations,
conceived in the broadly burlesquing spirit that was characteristic
of GILRAY and ROWLANDSON. THACKERAY, philosopher and satirist, who
can take us behind the scenes of every show in _Vanity fair_, who
can depict the career of the scoundrel _Barry Lyndon_, of the
heathen _Becky Sharp_, and the death-bed of the Christian soldier and
gentleman, _dignissimus, Colonel Newcome_, could on occasion, and when
a rollicking spirit moved him, put on a pantomime mask (have we not
his own pathetic vignette representing him doing this?) to amuse the
children, or give us some rare burlesque writing and drawing to set us
all on the broad grin. The Baron trusts that Mrs. RITCHIE will give
us more of this, and sincerely hopes that there may be a "lot more"
caricatures in that portfolio "where these came from." I heartily
thank you for so much, and respectfully ask for more, says yours, very
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
* * * * *
Strong man and strenuous fighter, stricken down
Just when foes owned thee neither knave nor clown!
The fiercest of them, time-taught, need not fear
To drop a blossom now on BRADLAUGH's bier.
* * * * *
ARTHUR AND COMPOSER.--Saturday, January 31.--First night of SULLIVAN's
_Ivanhoe_ in D'OYLEY CARTE's new Theatre. Full inside, all right.
Sir ARTHUR's success. We congratulate him Arthurly, CARTE called
before horse,--should say before Curtain, but t'other came so
naturally,--looked pale,--quite _carte blanche_; but, like SULLIVAN's
music, composed. Could get a CARTE, but no cab. Gallant gentlemen and
delicate ladies braving rain and slosh. More in our next, but for the
present ... (_Paroxysm of sneezing_).
* * * * *
[Illustration: ANNALS OF A QUIET NEIGHBOURHOOD. AN ICE PICTURE.
_Fair Damsel_. "WHAT A LOT OF HOLIDAYS YOU SEEM TO GET, MR. MINIVER!"
_Pet Curate_. "WELL, YES. I KEEP A RECTOR, YOU KNOW."]
* * * * *
WHAT DO _YOU_ THINK?
(_A Song of the Session, as sung by that Eminent and Evergreen
Lion Comique_, "JOLLY GLAD" _at the St. Stephen's Hall of
JOLLY GLAD, _sings_:--
With a flower in my coat,
With a keen eye for a vote,
And a sense the things to note,
Buff and Blue think,
With fond millions to admire,
A last triumph to desire,--
Am I going to _Retire_?--
What do _you_ think?
Oh, I know the quidnuncs vapour,
And that _Tadpole_, yes, and _Taper_,
Tell in many a twaddling paper,
What the few think;
But _they_ cater for the classes,
Whilst _I'm_ champion of the masses,
Fly before such braying asses?--
What do _you_ think?
Wish is father to their thought,
Their wild hope with fear is fraught.
They are not _au fait_ to aught
Liberals true think.
They imagine "Mr. Fox"
Has delivered such hard knocks
That _impasse_ my pathway blocks!--
What do _you_ think?
Just inspect me, if you please!
Is my pose not marked by ease?
_Am_ I going at the knees,
Like a "screw" Think!
Pooh! The part of Sisyphus
Suits me well. Why make a fuss?
Eh? Retire,--and leave things thus?
What do _you_ think?
On the--say the Lyric Stage--
For some years I've been the rage,
And some histrios touched by age
Of Adieu think.
But I'm like that "Awful Dad,"
Though this makes my rivals mad,
Don't true Gladdyites feel glad?
What do you think?
I'm a genuine Evergreen;
It is that excites their spleen
Who my lingering on the scene
A great "do" think.
I regret, _so_ much, to tease them!
My last exit would much ease them.
But Retire!--and just to please them!
What do _you_ think?
[_Winks and walks round._
* * * * *
A DREAMY MADNESS.
The other night I went to bed,--
It may seem strange, but still I did it,--
And laid to rest my weary head
So that the bed-clothes nearly hid it;
Which was perhaps the reason why
My brain throughout the night was teeming
With truly wondrous sights, and I
Was wholly given o'er to dreaming.
'Twas on the Twenty-first of May,
The streets were filled to overflowing,
The streets, that in a curious way
Were clean although it kept on snowing.
The daily papers for a change
Came out each day without a leader,
But, what was surely rather strange,
They didn't lose a single reader!
I saw a Bishop in a tram,
Although he knew it was a Sunday;
The lion lay down with the lamb,
And CLEMENT SCOTT with SYDNEY GRUNDY.
Professor HUXLEY said, "In truth
I'm really sick to death of rows," and
Wrote there and then to General BOOTH
To put his name down for a thousand.
I heard that Mr. PARNELL wrote
(Much to McCARTHY's jubilation)
A very kind and civil note,
In which he sent his resignation;
Whilst ANDREW LANG with weary air
Professed himself completely staggered
To think how anyone could care
To read a line of RIDER HAGGARD.
The House of Commons talked about
The case of Mr. BRADLAUGH--whether
The Motion which has kept him out
Should now be struck out altogether;
And OLD MORALITY arose
To say they felt no ancient _animus_,
And when they voted, why of Noes
There wasn't one--they were _unanimous_!
* * * * *
I started up, no more to sleep,
The dream somehow had seemed to spoil it,
Nor did it take me long to leap
Out of my bed and make my toilet.
I went down-stairs, and with surprise
I thought of those my dream had slandered,
And there, before my very eyes,
_I saw it printed in the_ STANDARD!
I wish I hadn't gone to bed.
I can't imagine why I did it.
Nor why I laid my weary head
So that the clothes completely hid it.
Although I think that must be why
My brain has ever since been teeming;
But tell me (if you can) am I
At present mad, or _was_ I dreaming?
* * * * *
[Illustration: "RETIRE!--WHAT DO _YOU_ THINK?"]
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE STOPPING OR REMOVAL OF A "GRINDER."
A SKETCH IN THE STREETS.]
* * * * *
* * * * *
LITHONODENDRIKON, the new indestructible cloth.
* * * * *
LITHONODENDRIKON is a stubborn and inflexible material.
* * * * *
LITHONODENDRIKON is made, by a new process, from blockwood and
* * * * *
LITHONODENDRIKON, used for gentlemen's coats, will not only keep out
rain and wind, but thunder and lightning.
* * * * *
LITHONODENDRIKON never breaks or bends, but only bursts.
* * * * *
LITHONODENDRIKON.--A "PURCHASER" writes--"I sat down in a pair of your
trousers, but could never get up again."
* * * * *
LITHONODENDRIKON.--Another "CUSTOMER" says--"The dress-coat you
supplied me with fitted me well. I could not take it off without
having recourse to a sledge-hammer."
* * * * *
UPPER HOUSE COAL COMPANY supply the cheapest and worst in the market.
* * * * *
UPPER HOUSE COAL COMPANY, hand-picked by the Duke himself, on whose
property the mines are situated.
* * * * *
UPPER HOUSE COAL COMPANY, carefully selected, screened and delivered
(in the dark), anywhere within a ten-mile radius of Charing Cross at
9s. 6_d_, a ton, for cash on delivery.
* * * * *
UPPER HOUSE COAL COMPANY supply a wonderful article at the price.
Throws down a heavy brown ash. No flame, no heat. Frequently explodes,
scattering the contents of the grate over the largest room.
* * * * *
UPPER HOUSE COAL COMPANY beg to refer intending purchasers to the
accompanying testimonial: "Gentlemen,--Do what I will, I cannot
get your coals to light. Put on in sufficient quantity they will
extinguish any fire. I have worn out three drawing-room pokers in my
endeavours to stir them into a flame, but all to no purpose. Steeped
in petroleum, they might possibly ignite in a double-draught furnace,
though I fancy they would put it out. They are as you advertise them,
a 'show coal for summer use.' Don't send me any more."
* * * * *
CHARLIE AND SARAH.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,--Why should ARISTOTLE be the only author whose works
get discovered? I found the following story, written on papyrus, and
enclosed in a copper cylinder, in my back garden, and I am positive
that it is not ARISTOTLE. Can it possibly have been written by that
amiable and instructive authoress whose stories for children have
recently been reprinted? Yours, &c., HENRY ST. OTLE.
CHARLIE was a very obedient little boy, and his sister SARAH was
a good, patient little girl. One beautiful summer's day they went
to stay for a week with their Uncle WILLIAM, a man of very high
principles, who was not quite used to the proper method with children.
On the evening of their arrival, as they were seated in front of the
fire, CHARLIE lifted up his bright, obedient, beautiful face, and
"Pray, Uncle WILLIAM, cannot we have one of those instructive and
amusing conversations such as children love, about refraction, and
relativity, and initial velocity, and Mesopotamia generally?"
"Oh, yes, Uncle WILLIAM!" said SARAH, pausing to wipe her patient
little nose; "Our dear Papa is always so pleasant and polysyllabic on
Then Uncle WILLIAM regretted that he had paid less attention in his
youth to the shilling science primers, but he pulled himself together
and determined to do his best. "Certainly, my dear children, nothing
could please me more. Now here I have a jug and a glass. You will
observe that I pour some water from the jug into the glass. This
illustrates one of the properties of water. Can you tell me what I
"Fluidity!" said both the children, with enthusiasm.
"Yes, quite so, and--er--er--has a brick fluidity?"
"Why, no, Uncle WILLIAM!"
"Well--er--_why_ hasn't it?" asked Uncle WILLIAM, with something
almost like desperation in his voice.
"That, Uncle," said the obedient CHARLIE, "is one of the things which
we should like to learn from you to-night."
"Yes, we shall come to that; but, in order to make you understand it
better, I must carry my experiment a little further. In this decanter
I have what is called whiskey. I pour some of it into the water.
Now it is more usual to put the whiskey in first, and the water
afterwards. Can you tell me why that is so? Think it out for
yourselves." And Uncle WILLIAM smiled genially.
There was silence for a few moments. Then little SARAH said, timidly:
"I think it must be because, when a man wishes to drink, whiskey is
the first thing which naturally occurs to his mind. He does not think
about water until afterwards."
"Quite right. That is the explanation of the scientists. And why do
you think I put in the water first and the whiskey afterwards?"
"It was," said CHARLIE, brightly, "in order that we might not see so
exactly how much whiskey you took."
"No, that's quite wrong. I did it out of sheer originality. Now what
would happen if I drank this curious mixture?"
"You would be breaking the pledge, Uncle WILLIAM," said both children,
promptly and heartily.
"Wrong again. I should be acting under doctor's orders."
"Why hasn't a brick any fluidity?" asked SARAH, patiently.
"Don't interrupt, my dear child. We're coming to that. Now, CHARLIE,
when you eat or drink anything, where does it go?"
"It goes into my little--oh, no, Uncle, I cannot say that word,"
and CHARLIE, who was of a singularly modest and refined disposition,
buried his face in his hands, and blushed deeply.
"Admirable!" exclaimed Uncle WILLIAM. "One cannot be too refined. Call
it the blank. It goes into your blank. Well, whiskey raises the tone
of the blank. Just as, when you screw up the peg of a violin, you
raise the tone of the string. By drinking this I raise the tone of my
blank." He suited the action to the word.
"Now you'll be screwed," said CHARLIE, "like the pegs of the--"
"On one glass of weak whiskey-and-water--never!"
"But why hasn't a brick any fluidity?" asked SARAH, quite patiently.
"First of all, listen to this. That whiskey-and-water is now inside
me. I want you to understand what _inside_ means. Go and stand in the
passage, and shut the door of this room after you."
"But, Uncle," said SARAH, patiently, "why hasn't a brick any--"
"Hush, SARAH, hush!" said the obedient CHARLIE. "It is our duty to
obey Uncle WILLIAM in all things."
So the two children went out of the room, and shut the door after
them. Uncle WILLIAM went to the door, and locked it.
"Now then," he said, cheerily, "I am inside. And where are you?"
"Yes--and outside you'll stop. One of the servants will put you to
bed." And Uncle WILLIAM went back to the decanter.
* * * * *
[Illustration: ANOTHER SCENE FROM THE PANTOMIME AT ST. STEPHEN'S.
_The Illuminated Doorway. Brilliant effect lately introduced into the
House of Commons._]
* * * * *
A DEAD FROST.
When I saw you on "a January morning,"
With a very little pair of skates indeed,
And the frosty glow your fairy face adorning,
I was suddenly from other passions freed.
And the year at its imperial beginning
Showed the woman who alone was worth the winning;
Though the growing flame awhile I tried to smother
Like a brother;
And that's a very common phase indeed,
As we read.
My hat and stick I suddenly found fleeting,
And they whistled o'er the surface, smooth and black,
And the ice, with an unwonted warmth of greeting,
Slapt me suddenly and hard upon the back.
I didn't mind your laughing, if the laughter
Had left no sting of scorn to rankle after.
Though I'd joyously have flung myself before you
To adore you,
Still to sit with all one's might upon the ice
When I met you in the lordly local ball-room,
Where you queen'd it, the suburban world's desire,
Though your programme for my name had left but small room,
I somehow snatched five valses from the fire.
And I did stout supper-service for your mother,
While you wove the self-same spells o'er many another,
And I said, no doubt, the sort of things that they did,
In the shaded
Little nook beneath the palms upon the stair,
To my fair.
But I noticed, as I learned to know you better,
And you ceased to wile the victim at your feet,
There was very little silk about the fetter,
And 'twere flattery to say your sway was sweet:
Nay, you made the light and airy shrine of beauty
A centre for the most exacting duty,
And the fealty of the family undoubting
Met with flouting,
As a tribute which was nothing but your due,
As they knew.
Your Papa is getting elderly and bulky,
And he loves you as the apple of his eye,
Yet very little things will make you sulky,
And to meet his little ways you never try.
And I see him look a trifle hurt and puzzled,
And his love for you is often check'd and muzzled;
Yet I think, upon the whole, that I would rather
Be your father,
Than the lover you could torture at your ease,
If you please.
* * * * *
STRANGE, BUT TRUE.
Sir,--Under the heading of "Ecclesiastical Intelligence" in the
_Times_ of Saturday, I read that, "The LORD CHANCELLOR has preferred
the Rev. W.R. WELCH, of Hull, to the Vicarage of Withernwick, East
Yorkshire," I presume the LORD CHANCELLOR knows both the gentleman
and the place thoroughly, and so wisely elects which he prefers; but
to one who, like myself and thousands of others, know neither, it
strikes me that I would certainly prefer the place to the parson,
however worthy. It is, indeed, gratifying to see that the Highest
Representative of Law and Order in the realm, after HER GRACIOUS
MAJESTY, is so utterly uninfluenced by any mercenary motives. I send
this by Private Post, an old soldier, and am yours enthusiastically,
NOODLE DE NOODLE.
_The Retreat, Hanwell-on-Sea._
* * * * *
"BETTER LATE THAN NEVER."--Two Jurymen, says a paragraph in last
Saturday's _Times_, wrote to the Solicitor acting for a female
prisoner, one CUTLER, who had been convicted of perjury and sentenced
at Chester, to say that they "gave in to a verdict of Guilty because
it was very late, and one gentleman had an important business
engagement at home." This recalls the line, "And wretches hang that
Jurymen may dine." The remainder of ELLEN CUTLER's sentence of five
years' penal servitude is remitted. It is satisfactory to know that
these two had the courage of their opinions before it was too late.
* * * * *
[Illustration: SYMPATHETIC EGOISM OF GENIUS.
"DON'T RUN AWAY YET, OLD MAN! IT'S QUITE EARLY, AND I WANT TO HEAR ALL
ABOUT YOUR ACADEMY PICTURE, WHICH I'M TOLD IS SPLENDID."
[_Proceeds to describe his_ own _at great length, and then
suddenly finds out how late it is, and bolts!_]
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
_House of Commons, Monday, Jan. 26._--PLUNKET undoubtedly the most
successful Commissioner of Works of recent times. A little coolness
sprung up between him and CAVENDISH BENTINCK about those staircases
in Westminster Hall. But _chacun a son_ idea of a staircase. PLUNKET
quite as likely to be right as C.B. Always doing something to improve
arrangements of House. Does it quietly, too; Members know nothing
about it till they come down and find new Smoking-room, fresh
arrangements of lights, new rooms for Ministers, and occasionally a
priceless old table adorning Tea-room. Various accounts of its origin.
Some say Magna Charta signed on it. Others fixing earlier date and
attracted by the initials "W.R." clearly carved on left leg, affirm
that it is the very table on which WILLIAM REX took his five o'clock
tea after Battle of Hastings.
[Illustration: "Dear me!"]
Latest surprise prepared by First Commissioner is illumination of
entrance to House from Lobby, cunningly effected by electric lights
set within recesses of arch. SCHNAD-HORST, revisiting House after
long interval, astonished at this. "Making things very comfortable in
anticipation of our coming in," he says, smiling sweetly.
Later came upon NICHOLAS WOODS; found him standing in attitude of
patient and intelligent expectation. "What are you waiting there for?"
I asked. "Why don't you come in and hear SWINBURNE make one or two
speeches on Tithes Bill?"
"Well--er--fact is," said NICHOLAS, steadfastly keeping his eyes
on archway, "WILFRID LAWSON told me that if I was here about eleven
o'clock I would see PLUNKET and the ATTORNEY-GENERAL come out under
the archway dancing a _pas de deux_. Couldn't make out when I arrived
what the illumination was for; asked LAWSON. 'Oh' says he, 'it's the
First Commissioner's reminiscence of one of the alcoves at Vauxhall
Gardens.' Then he told me about PLUNKET and WEBSTER. Thought I'd like
to see it. Do you think it's all right?"
"Well," I said, "ALBERT ROLLIT _did_ tell me something about
ATTORNEY-GENERAL going on the Spree. But that was in Germany, and he
had his skates with him. Don't know how it'll be here. You mustn't
forget that WILFRID's something of a wag. Wouldn't advise you to wait
much after eleven o'clock."
House engaged all night on Tithes Bill. Not particularly lively.
Towards midnight TANNER, preternaturally quiet since House met,
suddenly woke up, and, _a propos de bottes_, moved to report progress.
COURTNEY down on him like cartload of bricks; declined to put Motion,
declaring it abuse of forms of House. This rather depressing. In good
old times there would have been an outburst of indignation in Irish
camp; Chairman's ruling challenged, and squabble agreeably occupied
rest of evening. But times changed. No Irish present to back TANNER,
who, with despairing look round, subsided, and business went forward
without further check.
_Business done_.--Tithes Bill in Committee.
_Tuesday_.--Mr. DICK DE LISLE came down to House to-night full of high
resolve. Hadn't yet been a Member of House when it shook from time
to time with the roar of controversy round BRADLAUGH, his oath, his
affirmation, and his stylographic pen. At that time was in Singapore,
helping Sir FREDERICK WELD to govern the Straits Settlement. But had
watched controversy closely, and had contributed to its settlement by
writing a luminous treatise, entitled, _The Parliamentary Oath_. Now,
by chance, the question cropped up again. BRADLAUGH had secured first
place on to-night's order for his Motion rescinding famous Resolution
of June, 1880, declaring him ineligible to take his seat. BRADLAUGH
ill in bed; sick unto death, as it seemed; but HUNTER had taken up
task for him, and would move Resolution. Of course the Government
would oppose it; if necessary, DE LISLE would assist them
with argument. In any case, they should have his vote. Heard
SOLICITOR-GENERAL with keen satisfaction. He showed not only the
undesirability and impossibility of acceding to proposition, but
denounced it as "absolutely childish." Mr. G. followed; but Mr. G.
said the same kind of things eleven years ago, when he was Leader of
triumphant party, and had been defeated again and again. Of course
same fate awaited him now. Government had spoken through mouth of
SOLICITOR-GENERAL, and there was an end on't.
Not quite. STAFFORD NORTHCOTE, unaccustomed participant in debate,
presented himself. Stood immediately behind OLD MORALITY, by way of
testifying to his unaltered loyalty. At same time he suggested that,
after all, would be as well to humour BRADLAUGH and his friends,
and strike out Resolution. Then OLD MORALITY rose from side
of SOLICITOR-GENERAL, and, unmindful of that eminent Lawyer's
irresistible argument and uncompromising declaration, said, "on the
whole," perhaps NORTHCOTE was right, and so mote it be.
The elect of Mid-Leicestershire gasped for air. Did his ears deceive
him, or was this the end of the famous BRADLAUGH incidents? OLD
MORALITY, in his cheerful way, suggested that, as they were doing the
thing, they had better do it unanimously. General cheer approved. DE
LISLE started to his feet. One voice, at least, should be heard in
protest against this shameful surrender. Began in half-choked voice:
evidently struggling against some strange temptation; talked about
the Parnell Commission; accused House of legalising atheism, and
whitewashing treason; argued at length with Mr. G. on doctrine of
excess of jurisdiction. Observed, as he went on, to be waving his
hands as if repelling some object; turned his head on one side as
if he would fain escape apparition; House looked on wonderingly.
At length, with something like subdued sob, DE LISLE gave way, and
Members learned what had troubled him. It was dear old _Mr. Dick's_
complaint. Standing up to present his Memorial against tergiversation
of OLD MORALITY, DE LISLE could not help dragging in head of CHARLES
THE FIRST. "As a Royalist," he said, "I should maintain that the House
of Commons exceeded its jurisdiction when it ordered King CHARLES THE
FIRST to be beheaded, but I never heard that it was proposed, after
the Restoration, to expunge the Resolution from the books."
Irreverent House went off into roars of laughter, amid which _Mr.
Dick_, more than ever bewildered, sat down, and presently went out
to ask _Miss Betsy Trottwood_ why they laughed.
_Business done_.--Resolution of June, 1880, declaring BRADLAUGH
ineligible to sit, expunged from journals.
_Thursday_.--As OLD MORALITY finely says, "The worm persistently
incommoded by inconvenient attentions will finally assume an
aggressive attitude." So it has proved to-night. SYDNEY GEDGE long
been object of contumelious attention. Members jeer at him when he
rises; talk whilst he orates; laugh when he is serious, are serious
when he is facetious. But the wounded worm has turned at last. SYDNEY
has struck. GEDGE has been goaded once too often.
It was COURTNEY brought it about. Been six hours in Chair in Committee
on Tithes Bill; feeling faint and weary, glad to refresh himself with
sparkling conversation of Grand Young GARDNER; GEDGE on his feet at
moment in favourite oratorial attitude; pulverising Amendment moved by
GRAY; thought, as he proceeded, he heard another voice. Could it be?
Yes; it was Chairman of Committees conversing with frivolous elderly
young man whilst he (S.G.) was debating the Tithes Bill! Should he
pass over this last indignity? No; honour of House must be vindicated;
lofty standard of debate must be maintained; the higher the position
of offender the more urgent his duty to strike a blow. Was standing at
the moment aligned with Chair; paused in argument; faced about to the
right and marched with solemn steps to the end of Gangway, the Bench
having been desolated by his speech so far as it had gone.
[Illustration: In revolt.]
"Sir," he said, bending angry brows on Chairman, "I am afraid my
speech interrupted your conversation. Therefore I have moved further
That was all, but it was enough. HERBERT GARDNER slunk away, COURTNEY
hastily turned over pages of the Bill; hung down his guilty head,
and tried to look as if it were MILMAN who had been engaged in
conversation. Now MILMAN was asleep.
_Business done_.--Level flow of Debate on Tithes Bill interrupted by
revolt of SYDNEY GEDGE.
_Friday_.--Rather a disappointing evening from Opposition point of
view. In advance, was expected to be brilliant field-night. Irish
Administration to be attacked all along line; necessity for new
departure demonstrated. SHAW-LEFEVRE led off with Resolution demanding
establishment of Courts of Arbitration. Large muster of Members. Mr.
G. in his place; expected to speak; but presently went off; others
fell away, and all the running made from Ministerial Benches.
SHAW-LEFEVRE roasted mercilessly. House roared at SAUNDERSON's
description of his going to interview SULTAN, and being shown into
stable to make acquaintance of SULTAN's horse. Prince ARTHUR turned
on unhappy man full blast of withering scorn. Don't know whether
SHAW-LEFEVRE felt it; some men rather be kicked than not noticed at
all; but Liberals felt they had been drawn into ridiculous position,
and murmured bad words. "What's the use," they ask, "of winning
Hartlepool out of doors, if things are so managed that we are made
_Business done_.--SHAW-LEFEVRE's Resolution on Irish Land Question
negatived by 213 Votes against 152.
* * * * *
"THERMIDOR" UP TO DATE.
(_TONED DOWN FOR ENGLISH RECEPTION._)
_Last Act--On the road to the Guillotine--Hero, instead of
Heroine, about to be executed--Heroine imploring Hero to sign
_Heroine_. Attach but your signature, and you are free!
_Hero_ (_after reading document in a tone of horror_). What, a vow to
marry, with the prospect of a breach of promise case to follow! Never!
Death is preferable! [_Exit to be guillotined. Curtain._
* * * * *
AN ARTIST AND A WHISTLER.--M. COQUELIN has summoned M. LISSAGARAY for
having thrown a whistle at him on the night of the _Thermidor_ row. It
is to be hoped that by this time M. LISSAGARAY will have been made to
pay for his whistle.
* * * * *
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
Envelope, Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.
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