Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 99., October 25, 1890
Produced by Malcolm Farmer, William Flis, and the Online Distributed
OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
October 25, 1890.
MR. PUNCH'S PRIZE NOVELS.
NO. IV.--BOB SILLIMERE.
(_BY MRS._ HUMPHRY JOHN WARD PREACHER, _AUTHOR OF "MASTER
[On the paper in which the MS. of this novel was wrapped, the
following note was written in a bold feminine hand:--"This
is a highly religious story. GEORGE ELIOT was unable to write
properly about religion. The novel is certain to be well
reviewed. It is calculated to adorn the study-table of a
Bishop. The L1000 prize must be handed over at once to the
Institute which is to be founded to encourage new religions in
the alleys of St. Pancras.--H.J.W.P."]
It was evening--evening in Oxford. There are evenings in other places
occasionally. Cambridge sometimes puts forward weak imitations. But,
on the whole, there are no evenings which have so much of the true,
inward, mystic spirit as Oxford evenings. A solemn hush broods over
the grey quadrangles, and this, too, in spite of the happy laughter of
the undergraduates playing touch last on the grass-plots, and leaping,
like a merry army of marsh-dwellers, each over the back of the other,
on their way to the deeply impressive services of their respective
college chapels. Inside, the organs were pealing majestically, in
response to the deft fingers of many highly respectable musicians,
and all the proud traditions, the legendary struggles, the well-loved
examinations, the affectionate memories of generations of proctorial
officers, the innocent rustications, the warning appeals of
authoritative Deans--all these seemed gathered together into one last
loud trumpet-call, as a tall, impressionable youth, carrying with him
a spasm of feeling, a Celtic temperament, a moved, flashing look,
and a surplice many sizes too large for him, dashed with a kind of
quivering, breathless sigh, into the chapel of St. Boniface's just as
the porter was about to close the door. This was ROBERT, or, as his
friends lovingly called him, BOB SILLIMERE. His mother had been an
Irish lady, full of the best Irish humour; after a short trial, she
was, however, found to be a superfluous character, and as she began to
develop differences with CATHERINE, she caught an acute inflammation
of the lungs, and died after a few days, in the eleventh chapter.
BOB sat still awhile, his agitation soothed by the comforting sense
of the oaken seat beneath him. At school he had been called by his
school-fellows "the Knitting-needle," a remarkable example of the
well-known fondness of boys for sharp, short nicknames; but this did
not trouble him now. He and his eagerness, his boundless curiosity,
and his lovable mistakes, were now part and parcel of the new life
of Oxford--new to him, but old as the ages, that, with their rhythmic
recurrent flow, like the pulse of--[_Two pages of fancy writing are
here omitted._ ED.] BRIGHAM and BLACK were in chapel, too. They were
Dons, older than BOB, but his intimate friends. They had but little
belief, but BLACK often preached, and BRIGHAM held undecided views on
life and matrimony, having been brought up in the cramped atmosphere
of a middle-class parlour. At Oxford, the two took pupils, and helped
to shape BOB's life. Once BRIGHAM had pretended, as an act or pure
benevolence, to be a Pro-Proctor, but as he had a sardonic scorn, and
a face which could become a marble mask, the Vice-Chancellor called
upon him to resign his position, and he never afterwards repeated the
One evening BOB was wandering dreamily on the banks of the Upper
River. He sat down, and thought deeply. Opposite to him was a wide
green expanse dotted with white patches of geese. There and then, by
the gliding river, with a mass of reeds and a few poplars to fill in
the landscape, he determined to become a clergyman. How strange that
he should never have thought of this before; how sudden it was; how
wonderful! But the die was cast; _alea jacta est_, as he had read
yesterday in an early edition of St. Augustine; and, when BOB rose,
there was a new brightness in his eye, and a fresh springiness in his
steps. And at that moment the deep bell of St. Mary's--[_Three pages
And thus BOB was ordained, and, having married CATHERINE, he accepted
the family living of Wendover, though not before he had taken
occasion to point out to BLACK that family livings were corrupt
and indefensible institutions. Still, the thing had to be done; and
bitterly as BOB pined for the bracing air of the East End of London,
he acknowledged, with one of his quick, bright flashes, that, unless
he went to Wendover, he could never meet Squire MUREWELL, whose
powerful arguments were to drive him from positions he had never
qualified himself, except by an irrational enthusiasm, to defend. Of
CATHERINE a word must be said. Cold, with the delicate but austere
firmness of a Westmoreland daisy, gifted with fatally sharp lines
about the chin and mouth, and habitually wearing loose grey gowns,
with bodices to match, she was admirably calculated, with her narrow,
meat-tea proclivities, to embitter the amiable SILLIMERE's existence,
and to produce, in conjunction with him, that storm and stress, that
perpetual clashing of two estimates without which no modern religious
novel could be written, and which not even her pale virginal grace
of look and form could subdue. That is a long sentence, but, ah!
how short is a merely mortal sentence, with its tyrannous full stop,
against the immeasurable background of the December stars, by whose
light BOB was now walking, with heightened colour, along the vast
avenue that led to Wendover Hall, the residence of the ogre Squire.
The Squire was at home. On the door-step BOB was greeted by Mrs.
FARCEY, the Squire's sister. She looked at him in her bird-like
way. At other times she was elf-like, and played tricks with a lace
"You know," she whispered to BOB, "we're all mad here. I'm mad,
and he," she continued, bobbing diminutively towards the Squire's
study-door, "he's mad too--as mad as a hatter."
Before BOB had time to answer this strange remark, the study-door flew
open, and Squire MUREWELL stepped forth. He rapped out an oath or two,
which BOB noticed with faint politeness, and ordered his visitor to
enter. The Squire was rough--very rough; but he had studied hard in
"So you're the young fool," he observed, "who intends to tackle me.
Ha, ha, that's a good joke. I'll have you round my little finger in
two twos. Here," he went on gruffly, "take this book of mine in your
right hand. Throw your eyes up to the ceiling." ROBERT, wishing to
conciliate him, did as he desired. The eyes stuck there, and looked
down with a quick lovable look on the two men below. "Now," said
the Squire, "you can't see. Pronounce the word 'testimony' twice,
slowly. Think of a number, multiply by four, subtract the Thirty-nine
Articles, add a Sunday School and a packet of buns. Result, you're a
freethinker." And with that he bowed BOB out of the room.
A terrible storm was raging in the Rector's breast as he strode,
regardless of the cold, along the verdant lanes of Wendover. "Fool
that I was!" he muttered, pressing both hands convulsively to his
sides. "Why did I not pay more attention to arithmetic at school? I
could have crushed him, but I was ignorant. Was that result right?"
He reflected awhile mournfully, but he could bring it out in no other
way. "I must go through with it to the bitter end," he concluded, "and
CATHERINE must be told." But the thought of CATHERINE knitting quietly
at home, while she read Fox's _Book of Martyrs_, with a tender smile
on her thin lips, unmanned him. He sobbed bitterly. The front-door
of the Rectory was open. He walked in.--The rest is soon told.
He resigned the Rectory, and made a brand-new religion. CATHERINE
frowned, but it was useless. Thereupon she gave him cold bacon for
lunch during a whole fortnight, and the brave young soul which had
endured so much withered under this blight. And thus, acknowledging
the novelist's artistic necessity, ROBERT died.--[THE END.]
* * * * *
WINTER SEASON AT COVENT GARDEN.--Opening of Italian Opera last
Saturday, with _Aida_. Very well done. "Wait" between Second and Third
Act too long: "Waiters" in Gallery whistling. Wind whistling, too, in
Stalls. Operatic and rheumatic. Rugs and fur capes might be kept on
hire by Stall-keepers. Airs in _Aida_ delightful: draughts in Stalls
awful. Signor LAGO called before Curtain to receive First Night
congratulations. Signor LAGO ought to do good business "in front,"
as there's evidently no difficulty in "raising the wind."
* * * * *
[Illustration: "L'ONION FAIT LA FORCE."
_John Bull_. "NOW, MY DEAR LITTLE PORTUGAL, AS YOU ARE STRONG BE WISE,
OR YOU'LL GET YOURSELF INTO A PRETTY PICKLE!"]
* * * * *
THE FIRE KING AND HIS FRIENDS.
(_WITH ACKNOWLEDGMENTS TO MONK LEWIS AND THE AUTHORS OF "REJECTED
"No hardship would be inflicted upon manufacturers, if
dangerous trades in general were subjected to such a
supervision as would afford the largest attainable measure
of security to all engaged in them. The case is one which
urgently demands the consideration of Parliament, not only for
the protection of work-people, but even for the protection
of the Metropolis itself. It should never be forgotten
that fire constitutes the gravest risk to which London is
The Fire King one day rather furious felt,
He mounted his steam-horse satanic;
Its head and its tail were of steel, with a belt
Of riveted boiler-plate proved not to melt
With heat howsoever volcanic.
The sight of the King with that flame-face of his
Was something exceedingly horrid;
The rain, as it fell on his flight, gave a fizz
Like unbottled champagne, and went off with a whizz
As it sprinkled his rubicund forehead.
The sound of his voice as he soared to the sky
Was that of a ghoul with the grumbles.
His teeth were so hot, and his tongue was so dry,
That his shout seemed us raucous as though one should try
To play on a big drum with dumb-bells.
From his nostrils a naphthaline odour outflows,
In his trail a petroleum-whiff lingers.
With crude nitro-glycerine glitter his hose,
Suggestions of dynamite hang round his nose,
And gunpowder grimeth his fingers.
His hair is of flame fizzing over his head,
As likewise his heard and eye-lashes;
His drink's "low-test naphtha," his nag, it is said,
Eats flaming tow soaked in combustibles dread,
Which hot from the manger he gnashes.
The Fire King set spurs to the steed he bestrode,
Intent to mix pleasure with profit.
He was off to Vine Street in the Farringdon Road,
And soon with the flames of fired naphtha it flowed
As though 'twere the entry to Tophet.
He sought HARROD's Stores whence soon issued a blast
Of oil-flame that lighted the City
Then he turned to Cloth Fair. Hold, my Muse! not too fast!
On the Fire King's last victims in silence we'll cast
A look of respectfullest pity.
But the Fire King flames on; Now he pulls up to snatch
Some fodder. The stable's in danger.
His whip is a torch, and each spur is a match,
And over the horse's left eye is a patch,
To keep it from scorching the manger.
But who is the Ostler, and who is his lad,
In fodder-supplying alliance,
Who feed the Fire King and his Steed? 'Tis too bad
That TRADE should feed Fire, and his henchman seem glad
To set wholesome Law at defiance.
See, Trade stocks the manger, and there is the pail
Full set by the imp Illegality!
That fierce fiery Pegasus thus to regale,
When he's danger and death from hot head to flame-tail,
Is cruelly callous brutality.
Ah, Justice looks stern, and, indeed, well she may,
With such a vile vision before her.
The ignipotent nag and its rider to stay
In their dangerous course is her duty to-day,
And to _do_ it the public implore her.
"By Jingo!" cries _Punch_, "you nefarious Two,
Your alliance humanity jars on!
If you feed the Fire Fiend, with disaster in view,
And the chance of men's death, 'twere mere justice to do
To have you indicted for arson!"
* * * * *
[Illustration: FELICITOUS QUOTATIONS.
"OH, ROBERT, THE GROUSE HAS BEEN KEPT TOO LONG! I WONDER YOU CAN EAT
"MY DEAR, 'WE NEEDS MUST LOVE THE HIGHEST WHEN WE SEE IT!'"
* * * * *
AT THE FRENCH EXHIBITION.
_Chorus of Arab Stall-keepers._ Come and look! Alaha-ba-li-boo! Eet
is verri cold to-day! I-ah-rish Brandi! 'Ere, _Miss_! you com' 'ere!
No pay for lookin'. Alf a price! Verri pritti, verri nah-ice, verri
cheap, verri moch! And so on.
_Chorus of British Saleswomen_. _Will_ you allow me to show you this
little novelty, Sir? _'Ave_ you seen the noo perfume sprinkler? Do
come and try this noo puzzle--no 'arm in _lookin'_, Sir. Very nice
little novelties 'ere, Sir! 'Eard the noo French Worltz, Sir? every
article is really very much reduced, &c, &c.
AT THE FOLIES-BERGERE.
SCENE--_A hall in the grounds. Several turnstiles leading to
_Showmen_ (_shouting_). Amphitrite, the Marvellous Floatin' Goddess.
Just about to commence! This way for the Mystic Gallery--three
Illusions for threepence! Atalanta, the Silver Queen of the Moon; the
Oriental Beauty in the Table of the Sphinx, and the Wonderful Galatea,
or Pygmalion's Dream. Only threepence! This way for the Mystic Marvel
o' She! Now commencing!
_A Female Sightseer_ (_with the air of a person making an original
suggestion_). Shall we go in, just to see what it's like?
_Male Ditto_. May as well, now we _are_ 'ere. (_To preserve himself
from any suspicion of credulity._) Sure to be a take-in o' some sort.
[_They enter a dim apartment, in which two or three people are
leaning over a barrier in front of a small Stage; the Curtain
is lowered, and a Pianist is industriously pounding away at a
_The F.S._ (_with an uncomfortable giggle_). Not much to see _so_ far,
_Her Companion_. Well, they ain't begun yet.
[_The Waltz ends, and the Curtain rises, disclosing a Cavern
Scene._ Amphitrite, _in blue tights, rises through the floor._
_Amphitrite_ (_in the Gallic tongue_). Mesdarms et Messures, j'ai
'honnoor de vous sooayter le bong jour! (_Floats, with no apparent
support, in the air, and performs various graceful evolutions,
concluding by reversing herself completely_). Bong swore, Mesdarms
et messures, mes remercimongs!
[_She dives below, and the Curtain descends._
_The F.S._ Is that all? I don't see nothing in _that_!
_Her Comp._ (_who, having paid for admission, resents this want of
appreciation_). Why, she was off the ground the 'ole of the time,
wasn't she? I'd just like to see _you_ turnin' and twisting about
in the air as easy as she did with nothing to 'old on by!
_The F.S._ I didn't notice she was off the ground--yes, that _was_
clever. I never thought o' that before. Let's go and see the other
_Her Comp._ Well, if you don't see nothing surprising in 'em till
they're all over, you might as well stop outside, _I_ should ha'
_The F.S._ Oh, but I'll notice more next time--you've got to get
_used_ to these things, you know.
[_They enter the Mystic Gallery, and find themselves in a
dim passage, opposite a partitioned compartment, in which
is a glass case, supported on four pedestals, with a silver
crescent at the back. The Illusions--to judge from a sound
of scurrying behind the scenes--have apparently been taken
_The Female Sightseer_ (_anxious to please_). They've done that
'alf-moon very well, haven't they?
_Voice of Showman_ (_addressing the Illusions_). Now then, 'urry up
there--we're all waiting for you.
[_The face of "Atalanta, the Silver Queen of the Moon,"
appears, strongly illuminated, inside the glass-box, and
regards the spectators with an impassive contempt--greatly to
_The Male S._ (_in a propitiatory tone_). Not a bad-looking girl, is
she? _Atalanta, the Queen of the Moon (to the Oriental Beauty in next
compartment_). Polly, when these people are gone, I wish you'd fetch
me my work!
[_The Sightseers move on, feeling crushed. In the second
compartment the upper portion of a female is discovered,
calmly knitting in the centre of a small table, the legs
of which are distinctly visible._
_The Female S._ Why, wherever has the _rest_ of her got to?
_The Oriental Beauty_ (_with conscious superiority_). That's what
you've got to find out.
[_They pass on to interview "Galatea, or Pygmalion's Dream,"
whose compartment is as yet enveloped in obscurity._
_A Youthful Showman_ (_apparently on familiar terms with all the
Illusions_). Ladies and Gentlemen, I shell now 'ave the honour of
persentin' to you the wonderful Galatear, or Livin' Statue; you will
'ave an oppertoonity of 'andling the bust for yourselves, which will
warm before your eyes into living flesh, and the lovely creecher live
and speak. 'Ere, look sharp, carn't yer'! [_To_ Galatea.
_Pygmalion's Dream_ (_from the mystic gloom_). Wait a bit, till I've
done warming my 'ands. Now you can turn the lights up ... there,
you've bin and turned 'em _out_ now, stoopid!
_The Y.S._ Don't you excite yourself. I know what I'm doin'.
(_Turns the lights up, and reveals a large terra-cotta Bust._) At
my request, this young lydy will now perceed to assoom the yew and
kimplexion of life itself. Galatear, will you oblige us by kindly
coming to life?
[_The Bust vanishes, and is replaced by a decidedly earthly
Young Woman in robust health._
_The Y.S._ Thenk you. That's all I wanted of yer. Now, will you kindly
return to your former styte?
[_The Young Woman transforms herself into a hideous Skull._
_The Y.S._ (_in a tone of remonstrance_). No--no, not that ridiklous
fice! We don't want to see what yer will be--it's very _loike_ yer,
I know, but still--(_The Skull changes to the Bust._) Ah, that's
more the stoyle! (_Takes the Bust by the neck and hands it round for
inspection._) And now, thenking you for your kind attention, and on'y
orskin' one little fyvour of you, that is, that you will not reveal
'ow it is done, I will now bid you a very good evenin', Lydies and
_The F.S._ (_outside_). It's wonderful how they can do it all for
threepence, isn't it? We haven't seen _She_ yet!
_Her Comp._ What, 'aven't you seen wonders enough? Come on, then. But
you _are_ going it, you know!
[_They enter a small room, at the further end of which are a
barrier and proscenium with drawn hangings._
_The Exhibitor_ (_in a confidential tone, punctuated by bows_).
I will not keep you waiting, Ladies and Gentlemen, but at once
proceed with a few preliminary remarks. Most of you, no doubt, have
read that celebrated story by Mr. RIDER HAGGARD, about a certain
_She-who-must-be-obeyed_, and who dwelt in a place called Kor, and you
will also doubtless remember how she was in the 'abit of repairing,
at certain intervals, to a cavern, and renooing her youth in a fiery
piller. On one occasion, wishing to indooce her lover to foller her
example, she stepped into the flame to encourage him--something went
wrong with the works, and she was instantly redooced to a cinder.
I fortunately 'appened to be near at the time (you will escuse a
little wild fib from a showman, I'm sure!) I 'appened to be porsin
by, and was thus enabled to secure the ashes of the Wonderful She,
which--(_draws hangings and reveals a shallow metal Urn suspended in
the centre of scene_), are now before you enclosed in that little urn.
She--where are you?
_She_ (_in a full sweet voice, from below_). I am 'ere!
_Showman_. Then appear!
[_The upper portion of an exceedingly comely Young Person
emerges from the mouth of the Urn._
_The F.S._ (_startled_). Lor, she give me quite a turn!
_Showman_. Some people think this is all done by mirrors, but it is
not so; it is managed by a simple arrangement of light and shade. She
will now turn slowly round, to convince you that she is really inside
the urn and not merely beyind it. (She _turns round condescendingly._)
She will next pass her 'ands completely round her, thereby
demonstrating the utter impossibility of there being any wires to
support her. Now she will rap on the walls on each side of her,
proving to you that she is no reflection, but a solid reality, after
which she will tap the bottom of the urn beneath her, so that you
may see it really is what it purports to be. (She _performs all these
actions in the most obliging manner_.) She will now disappear for a
moment. (She _sinks into the Urn._) Are you still there, She?
_She_ (_from the recess of the Urn_). Yes.
_Showman_. Then will you give us some sign of your presence! (_A hand
and arm are protruded, and waved gracefully._) Thank you. Now you can
come up again. (She _re-appears._) She will now answer any questions
any lady or gentleman may like to put to her, always provided you
won't ask her how it is done--for I'm sure she wouldn't give me away,
_would_ you, She?
_She_ (_with a slow bow and gracious smile_). Certingly not.
_The F.S._ (_to her Companion_). Ask her something--do.
_Her Comp._ Go on! _I_ ain't got anything to ask her--ask her
_A Bolder Spirit_ (_with interest_). Are your _feet_ warm?
_The Showman_. How old are you, She?
_She_ (_impressively_). Two theousand years.
_'Arry._ And quite a young thing, too!
_A Spectator_ (_who has read the Novel_). 'Ave you 'eard from LEO
_She_ (_coldly_). I don't know the gentleman.
_Showman_. If you have no more questions to ask her, She will now
retire into her urn, thanking you all for your kind attendance this
morning, which will conclude the entertainment.
[_Final disappearance of_ She. _The Audience pass out,
feeling--with perfect justice--that they have "had their
* * * * *
HOW IT'S DONE.
_A HAND-BOOK OF HONESTY._
NO. III.--GRANDMOTHERLY GOVERNMENT.
SCENE I.--_St. Stephen's._ Sagacious Legislator _on his legs
advocating a new Anti-Adulteration Act. Few M.P.'s present,
most of them drowsing_.
_Sagacious Legislator_. As I was saying, Sir, the adulteration of
Butter has been pushed to such abominable lengths that no British
Workman knows whether what he is eating is the product of the Cow
or of the Thames mud-banks. (_A snigger._) Talk of a Free Breakfast
Table! I would free the Briton's Breakfast Table from the unwholesome
incubus of Adulteration. At any rate, if the customer chooses to
purchase butter which is _not_ butter, he shall do it knowingly, with
his eyes open. (_Feeble "Hear, hear!"_) Under this Act anything which
is not absolutely unsophisticated milk-made Butter must be plainly
marked, and openly vended as Adipocerene!
[_Amidst considerable applause the Act is passed._
SCENE II.--_Small Butterman's shop in a poor neighbourhood.
Burly white-apron'd Proprietor behind counter. To him enter a
pasty-faced Workman, with a greasy pat of something wrapped in
a leaf from a ledger._
_Workman._ I say, Guv'nor, lookye here. This 'ere stuff as you sold my
old woman, is simply beastly. I don't believe it's butter at all.
_Butterman_ (_sneeringly_). And who said it _was_? What did your
Missus buy it as?
_Workman_. Why, Adipo--whot's it, I believe. But that's only another
name for butter of a cheaper sort, ain't it? Anyhow, it's no reason
why it should be nasty.
_Butterman_ (_loftily_). Now look here, my man, what do you expect?
That's Adipocerene, that is, and _sold as such_. If you'll pay for
Butter, you can have it; but if you ask for this here stuff, you must
take yer chance.
_Workman_. But what's it made on?
_Butterman_. That's no business of mine. If you could anerlyse
it--(mind, I don't say yer _could_)--into stale suet and
sewer-scrapings, you couldn't prove as it warn't Adipocerene, same as
it's sold for, could yer?
_Workman_ (_hotly_). But hang it, I don't _want_ stale suet and
sewer-scrapings, whatsomever you may call it.
_Butterman_ (_decisively_). Then buy Butter, and _pay_ for it like a
man, and don't come a-bothering me about things as I've nothink to do
with. If Guv'ment _will_ have it called Adipocerene, and your Missus
_will_ buy it becos it's cheap; don't you blame _me_ if you find it
nasty, that's all. Good morning!
[_Retires up, "swelling visibly."_
_Workman_. Humph! Betwixt Grandmotherly Government and Manufacturers
of Mysteriousness, where _am_ I? That's wot I want to know! [_Left
wanting to know._
* * * * *
TO ENGELBERG AND BACK.
_BEING A FEW NOTES TAKEN EN ROUTE IN SEARCH OF A PERFECT CURE._
The Engineers who constructed the gradually ascending road which,
slowly mounting the valley, finally takes you over the ridge, as it
were, and deposits you at a height of 3800 feet, dusty but grateful,
on the plain of Engelberg, must have been practical jokers of the
first water. They lead you up in the right direction several thousand
feet, then suddenly turn you round, and apparently take you clean back
again. And this not once, but a dozen times. They seem to say, "You
think you must reach the top _this_ time, my fine fellow? Not a bit of
it. Back you go again."
Still we kept turning and turning whither the Practical-joking
Engineers led us, but seemed as far off from our journey's end as
ever. A roadside inn for a moment deluded us with its light, but we
only drew up in front of this while our gloomy charioteer sat down
to a good square meal, the third he had had since three o'clock, over
which he consumed exactly five-and-twenty minutes, keeping us waiting
while he disposed of it at his leisure, in a fit of depressing but
At length we moved on again, and in about another half-an-hour
apparently reached the limit of the Practical-joking Engineers' work,
for our surly charioteer suddenly jumped on the box, and cracking
his whip furiously, got all the pace that was left in them out of
our three sagacious horses, and in a few more minutes we were tearing
along a level road past scattered _chalets_, little wooden toy-shops,
and isolated _pensions_, towards a colossal-looking white palace that
stood out a grateful sight in the distance before us, basking in the
calm white-blue blaze shed upon it from a couple of lofty electric
lights, that told us that up here in the mountains we were not coming
to rough it, but to be welcomed by the latest luxuries and refinements
of first-rate modern hotel accommodation. And this proved to be
the case. Immediately he arrived in the large entrance-hall, the
Dilapidated One was greeted by the Landlord of the Hotel et Kurhaus,
Titlis, politely assisted to the lift, and finally deposited in the
comfortable and electrically-lighted room which had been assigned to
"We are extremely full," announced the polite Herr to Dr. MELCHISIDEC;
"and we just come from finishing the second dinner,"--which seemed
to account for his being "extremely full,"--"but as soon as you
will descend from your rooms, there will be supper ready at your
"You'll just come and look at the Bath-chair before you turn in?"
inquired Dr. MELCHISIDEC, of the Dilapidated One, "It's arrived all
right from Zurich. Come by post, apparently."
"Oh, that's nothing," continued young JERRYMAN, "why, there's nothing
you can't send by post in Switzerland, from a house full of furniture,
down to a grand piano or cage of canaries. You've only got to clap
a postage-stamp on it, and there you are!" And the arrival of the
Bath-chair certainly seemed to indicate that he was telling something
very like the truth.
[Illustration: The Trick Chair.]
"I don't quite see how this guiding-wheel is to act," remarked Dr.
MELCHISIDEC, examining the chair, which was of rather pantomimic
proportions, critically; "but suppose you just get in and try it! 'Pon
my word it almost looks like a 'trick-chair'!" which indeed it proved
itself to be, jerking up in a most unaccountable fashion the moment
the Dilapidated One put his foot into it, and unceremoniously sending
him flying out on to his head forthwith. "A little awkward at first,"
he remarked, assisting the Dilapidated One on to his feet. "One has
to get accustomed to these things, you see; but, bless you, in a
day or two you won't want it at all. You'll find the air here like
a continual draught of champagne. 'Pon my word, I believe you feel
better already," and with this inspiriting assurance the Dilapidated
One, who had not only covered himself with dust, but severely bruised
his shins, saying that "he thought, perhaps, he did--just a little,"
was again assisted to the lift, and safely consigned to his room,
where he was comfortably packed away for the night.
"I say," says young JERRYMAN, next morning, "what a place for bells!"
[Illustration: A Peripatetic Peal.]
And young JERRYMAN was right, for I was awoke in the small hours of
the morning by a loud peal from the Monastery, as if the Prior had
suddenly said to himself, "What's the use of the bells if you don't
ring 'em? By Jove, I will!" and had then and there jumped from his
couch, seized hold of the ropes, and set to work with a right good
will. Then the hotels and _pensions_ took it up, and so, what with
seven o'clock, eight o'clock, and nine o'clock breakfasts, first
and second _dejeuners_, first and second dinners, interspersed
with "Office Hours" sounded by the Monastery, and the sound of
the dinner-bells carried by the cattle, Dingle-berg, rather than
Engelberg, would be a highly appropriate name for this somewhat noisy,
but otherwise delightful health-resort.
"I call this 'fatal dull' after Paris," remarked a fair Americaine to
young JERRYMAN; and, perhaps, from a certain point of view, she may
have been right; but, fatal dull, or lively, there can be no two
opinions about the life-giving properties of the air.
* * * * *
OLD JOE ENCORE.--Last Wednesday in the FARRAR _v._ Publisher
discussion, a Correspondent, signing himself JOHN TAYLOR, of Dagnall
Park, Selhurst, wrote to _The Times_ to "quote an anecdote" about
DOUGLAS JERROLD and "a Publisher." Rarely has a good old story been so
spoilt in the telling as in this instance. The true story is of ALBERT
SMITH and DOUGLAS JERROLD, and has been already told in the _Times_ by
a Correspondent signing himself "E.Y." It is of the same respectable
age as that one of ALBERT SMITH signing his initials "A.S.," and
JERROLD observing, "He only tells two-thirds of the truth." Perhaps
Mr. JOHN TAYLOR, of Dagnall Park, Selhurst, is going to favour us with
a little volume of "new sayings by old worthies" at Christmas time,
and we shall hear how SHERIDAN once asked TOM B---- "why a miller
wore a white hat?" And how ERSKINE, on hearing a witness's evidence
about a door being open, explained to him that his evidence would be
worthless, because a door could not be considered as a door "if it
were a jar," and several other excellent stories, which, being told
for the first time with the _verve_ and local colouring of which the
writer of the letter to _The Times_ is evidently a past-master, will
secure for the little work an enormous popularity.
* * * * *
A SCOTT AND A LOT.--"Thirty Years at the Play" is the title of Mr.
CLEMENT SCOTT's Lecture to be delivered next Saturday at the Garrick
Theatre, for the benefit of the Actors' Benevolent Fund. Thirty years
of Play-time! All play, and lots of work. Mr. IRVING is to introduce
the lecturer to his audience, who, up to that moment, will have been
"Strangers Yet," and this CLEMENT will be SCOTT-free to say what he
likes, and to tell 'em all about it generally. "SCOTT" will be on the
stage, and the "Lot" in the auditorium. Lot's Wife also.
* * * * *
ETHER-DRINKING IN IRELAND.--Mr. ERNEST HART (bless his heart and
earnestness!) lectured last week on "Ether-Drinking in Ireland." He
lectured "The Society for the Study of Inebriety"--a Society which
must be slightly "mixed"--on this bad habit, and no doubt implored
them to give it up. The party sang, "_How Happy could we be with
Ether_" and the discussion was continued until there was nothing
more to be said.
* * * * *
CLERGY IN PARLIAMENT.--As Bishops "sit" in the Upper House, why should
not "the inferior clergy" "stand" for the Lower House? If they get in,
why shouldn't they be seated? Surely what's right in the Bishop isn't
wrong in the Rector?
* * * * *
LITERARY ADVERTISEMENT.--The forthcoming work by the Vulnerable
Archdeacon F-RR-R, will be entitled, _The Pharrarsee and the
* * * * *
[Illustration: "TRAIN UP A CHILD," &C.
_Enter Fair Daughter of the House with the Village Carpenter_. "MAMMA,
YOU ALWAYS TOLD ME THAT KIND HEARTS WERE MORE THAN CORONETS, AND
SIMPLE FAITH THAN NORMAN BLOOD, AND ALL THAT?"
_Lady Clara Robinson_ (_nee Vere de Vere_). "CERTAINLY DEAR, _MOST_
_Fair Daughter_. "WELL, I'VE ALWAYS BELIEVED YOU; AND JIM BRADAWL HAS
ASKED ME TO BE HIS WIFE, AND I'VE ACCEPTED HIM. WE'VE ALWAYS LOVED
EACH OTHER SINCE YOU LET US PLAY TOGETHER AS CHILDREN!"
[_Her Ladyship forgets, for once, the repose that stamps her caste._]
* * * * *
OR, BLOWING THE BUGLE.
_(FRAGMENTS FROM THE LATEST (MIDLOTHIAN) VERSION OF "THE LORD OF THE
McGLADSTONE rose--his pallid cheek
Was little wont his joy to speak,
But then his colour rose.
"Now, Scotland! shortly shalt thou see
That age checks not McGLADSTONE's glee,
Nor stints his swashing blows!"
Again that light has fired his eye,
Again his form swells bold and high;
The broken voice of age is gone,
'Tis vigorous manhood's lofty tone.
The foe he menaces again,
Thrice vanquished on Midlothian's plain;
Then, scorning any longer stay,
Embarks, lifts sail, and bears away.
Merrily, merrily bounds the bark,
She bounds before the gale;
The "flowing tide" is with her. Hark!
How joyous in her sail
Flutters the breeze like laughter hoarse!
The cords and canvas strain,
The waves divided by her force
In rippling eddies, chase her course.
As if they laughed again.
'Tis then that warlike signals wake
Dalmeney's towers, and fair Beeslack.
And eke brave BALFOUR's walls (Q.C.
And Scottish Dean of Faculty)
Whose home shall house the great McG.
A summons these to each stout clan
That lives in far Midlothian,
And, ready at the sight,
Each warrior to his weapon sprung,
And targe upon his shoulder flung,
Impatient for the fight.
Merrily, merrily, bounds the bark
On a breeze to the northward free.
So shoots through the morning sky the lark,
Or the swan through the summer sea.
Merrily, merrily, goes the bark--
Before the gale she bounds;
So darts the dolphin from the shark,
Or the deer before the hounds.
McGLADSTONE stands upon the prow,
The mountain breeze salutes his brow,
He snuffs the breath of coming fight,
His dark eyes blaze with battle-light,
And memories of old,
When thus he rallied to the fray
Against the bold BUCCLEUCH's array,
His clansmen. In the same old way
He trusts to rally them to-day.
Shall he succeed? Who, who shall say?
But neither fear no doubt may stay
His spirit keen and bold!
He cries, the Chieftain Old and Grand,
"I fight once more for mine own hand;
Meanwhile our vessel nears the land,
Launch we the boat, and seek the land!"
To land McGLADSTONE lightly sprung,
And thrice aloud his bugle rung
With note prolonged, and varied strain,
Till Edin dun replied again.
When waked that horn the party bounds,
Scotia responded to its sounds;
Oft had she heard it fire the fight,
Cheer the pursuit, or stop the flight.
Dead were her heart, and deaf her ear,
If it should call, and she not hear.
The shout went up in loud Clan-Rad's tone,
"_That_ blast was winded by McGLADSTONE!"
* * * * *
RUM FROM JAMAICA--VERY.--When "the bauble" was removed from the table
of the House, by order of OLIVER CROMWELL, it was sent with somebody's
compliments at a later date to Jamaica, and placed on the Parliament
table. What became of it nobody knows. It is supposed that this
ensign of ancient British Royalty was swallowed up by an earthquake
of republican tendencies. Jamaica, of course, is a great place for
spices; but, in spite of all the highly spiced stories, the origin of
which is more or less aus-spice-ious, it is to be regretted that, up
to the present moment, what gave them their peculiar flavour, i.e.,
the original Mace, cannot be found.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE McGLADSTONE!
"TO LAND McGLADSTONE LIGHTLY SPRANG,
AND THRICE ALOUD HIS BUGLE RANG
WITH NOTE PROLONG'D AND VARIED STRAIN,
TILL BOLD BEN-GHOIL REPLIED AGAIN."
_"Lord of the Isles." Canto IV._]
* * * * *
WANTED---A SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF "CELEBRITIES."
When some years ago EDMUNDUS ED. MUNDI first introduced to London the
gentle art of Interviewing, the idea was in a general way a novelty
in this country. It "caught on," and achieved success. Some public men
affected, privately, not to like the extra publicity given to their
words and actions; but it was only an affectation, and in a general
way a great many suddenly found themselves dubbed "Celebrities,"
hall-marked as such by _The World_, and able therefore to hand
themselves down to posterity, in bound volumes containing this one
invaluable number as having been recognised by the world at large as
undoubted Celebrities, ignorance of whose existence would argue utter
social insignificance. So great was the _World's_ success in this
particular line, that at once there sprang up a host of imitators,
and the Celebrities were again tempted to make themselves still
more celebrated by having good-natured caricatures of themselves
made by "Age" and "Spy." After this, the deluge, of biographies,
autobiographies, interviewings, photographic realities, portraits
plain and coloured--many of them uncommonly plain, and some of them
wonderfully coloured,--until a Celebrity who has _not_ been done and
served up, with or without a plate, is a Celebrity indeed.
"Celebrities" have hitherto been valuable to the interviewer,
photographer, and proprietor of a Magazine in due proportion. Is it
not high time that the Celebrities themselves have a slice or two out
of the cake? If they consent to sit as models to the interviewer and
photographer, let them price their own time. The Baron offers a model
of correspondence on both sides, and, if his example is followed, up
goes the price of "Celebrities," and, consequently, of interviewed and
interviewers, there will be only a survival of the fittest.
_FROM A. SOPHTE SOPER TO THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS._
SIR,--Messrs. TOWER, FONDLER, TROTTING & Co., are now engaged in
bringing out a series of the leading Literary, Dramatic and Artistic
Notabilities of the present day, and feeling that the work which has
now reached its hundred-and-second number, would indeed be incomplete
did it not include _your_ name, the above-mentioned firm has
commissioned me to request you to accord me an interview as soon as
possible. I propose bringing with me an eminent photographer, and
also an artist who will make a sketch of your surroundings, and so
contribute towards producing a complete picture which cannot fail to
interest and delight the thousands at home and abroad, to whom your
name is as a household word, and who will be delighted to possess a
portrait of one whose works have given them so much pleasure, and
to obtain a closer and more intimate acquaintance with the _modus
operandi_ pursued by one of their most favourite authors.
I remain, Sir, yours truly,
A. SOPHTE SOPER.
_To the_ BARON DE BOOK-WORMS, _Vermoulen Lodge_.
_FROM THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS TO A. SOPHTE SOPER, ESQ._
DEAB SIR,--Thanks. I quite appreciate your appreciation. My terms
for an article in a Magazine, are twenty guineas the first hour,
ten guineas the second, and so on. For dinner-table anecdotes, the
property in which once made public is lost for ever to the originator,
special terms. As to photographs, I will sign every copy, and take
twopence on every copy. I'm a little pressed for time now, so if you
can manage it, we will defer the visit for a week or two, and then I'm
BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
_MR. A. SOPHTE SOPER TO THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS._
MY DEAR BARON,--I'm afraid I didn't quite make myself understood. I
did not ask _you_ to write the article, being commissioned by the
firm to do it myself. The photographs will not be sold apart from
the Magazine. Awaiting your favourable response,--
I am, Sir, Yours,
A. SOPHTE SOPER.
_FROM THE BARON TO A. SOPHTE SOPER._
DEAR SIR,--I _quite_ understood. With the generous view of doing me a
good turn by giving me the almost inestimable advantage of advertising
myself in Messrs. TOWERS & Co.'s widely-circulated Magazine, you
propose to interview me, and receive from me such orally given
information as you may require concerning my life, history, work, and
everything about myself which, in your opinion, would interest the
readers of this Magazine. I quite appreciate all this. You propose to
write the article, _and I'm to find you the materials for it_. Good. I
don't venture to put any price on the admirable work which your talent
will produce,--that's for you and your publishers to settle between
you, and, as a matter of fact, it has been already settled, as you
are in their employ. But I _can_ put a price on my own, and I do. I
collaborate with you in furnishing all the materials of which you are
in need. _Soit._ For the use of my Pegasus, no matter what its breed,
and, as it isn't a gift-horse, but a hired one, you can examine its
mouth and legs critically whenever you are going to mount and guide it
at your own sweet will, _I charge twenty guineas for the first hour_,
and _ten for the second_. It may be dear, or it may be cheap. That's
not my affair. _C'est a laisser ou a prendre._
The Magazine in which the article is to appear is not given away
with a pound of tea, or anything of that sort I presume, so that your
strictly honourable and business-like firm of employers, and you also,
Sir, in the regular course of your relations with them, intend making
something out of me, more or less, but something, while I get nothing
at all for my time, which is decidedly as valuable to me as, I
presume, is yours to you. What have your publishers ever done for me
that I should give them my work for nothing? Time is money; why should
I make Messrs. TOWER, FONDLER & Co. a present of twenty pounds, or,
for the matter of that, even ten shillings? If I misapprehend the
situation, and you are doing your work gratis and for the love of the
thing, then that is _your_ affair, not mine: I'm glad to hear it, and
regret my inability to join you in the luxury of giving away what it
is an imperative necessity of my existence to sell at the best price
I can. Do you honestly imagine, Sir, that my literary position will
be one farthing's-worth improved by a memoir and a portrait of me
appearing in your widely-circulated journal? If _you_ do, _I don't_;
and I prefer to be paid for my work, whether I dictate the material to
a scribe, who is to serve it up in his own fashion, or whether I write
it myself. And now I come to consider it, I should be inclined to make
an additional charge for _not_ writing it myself, Not to take you and
your worthy firm of employers by surprise, I will make out beforehand
a supposititious bill, and then Messrs. TOWER & Co. can close with my
offer or not, as they please.
L. s. d.
To preparing (in special costume) to receive Interviewer,
for putting aside letters, refusing to see tradesmen, &c. 3 0 0
To receiving Interviewer, Photographer, and Artist, and
talking about nothing in particular for ten minutes. 5 0 0
To cigars and light refreshments all round. 10 6
To giving an account of my life and works generally
(this being the article itself). 20 0 0
To showing photographs, books, pictures, playbills, and
various curios in my collection. 5 0 0
To being photographed in several attitudes in the back
garden three times, and incurring the danger of catching
a severe cold. 3 0 0
(***_On the condition that I should sign all photos sold
inspect books, and receive_ 10 _per cent. of gross receipts._)
To allowing black-and-white Artist to make a sketch of my
study, also of myself. 0 0 0
(***_On the condition that only this one picture is to
be done, and that if sold separately, I must receive_
10 _per cent. of such sale._)
Luncheon, with champagne for the lot, at 15s. per head 2 5 0
Cigars and liqueurs. 0 10 0
For time occupied at luncheon in giving further details of
my life and history. 10 0 0
Total L49 5 6
The refreshments are entirely optional, and therefore can be struck
Pray show the above to the eminent firm which has the advantage of
your zealous services, and believe me to remain
Your most sincerely obliged
BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
To the above a reply may be expected, and, if received, it will
probably be in a different tone from Mr. SOPHTE SOPER's previous
communications. No matter. There's an end of it. The Baron's advice to
all "Celebrities," when asked to permit themselves to be interviewed,
is, in the language of the poet,--
"Charge, Chester, charge!"
then they will have benefited other Celebrities all round, and the
result will be that either only those authors will be interviewed who
are worth the price of interviewing, or the professional biographical
compilers will have to hunt up nobodies, dress up jays as peacocks,
and so bring the legitimate business of "Interviewing" into
* * * * *
_Two Men in a Boat_. By Messrs. DILLON and O'BRIEN.
[Illustration: THE GRAND OLD CAMPAIGNER IN SCOTLAND.]
* * * * *
[Illustration: PROPOSED RAISING OF PICCADILLY.
"Let the road be raised, &c.... Only one house in Piccadilly at
present standing would suffer.... And I think the Badminton Club."
_Vile Letter to Times, Oct_. 11.
SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF THE PICCADILLY GOAT TO ELDERLY GENTLEMAN, WHO IS
QUIETLY DRESSING IN HIS ROOM ON SECOND FLOOR.
A CLUB ALMOST ENTIRELY DISAPPEARS. MEMBERS MAKE THE BEST OF THE
* * * * *
L'ART DE CAUSER.
(_WITH EFFECTS UP TO DATE._)
[English ladies, conscious of conversational defects, and
desirous of shining in Society, may be expected to imitate
their American Cousins, who, according to _The Daily News_,
employ a lady crammer who has made a study of the subject she
teaches. Before a dinner or luncheon party, the crammer spends
an hour or two with the pupil, and coaches her up in general
It really took us by surprise,
We thought her but a mere beginner,
And widely opened were our eyes
To hear her brilliant talk at dinner.
She always knew just what to say,
And said it well, nor for a minute
Was ever at a loss,--I may
As well confess--we men weren't in it!
The talk was of Roumania's Queen,
And was she equal, say, to DANTE?--
The way that race was won by _Sheen_,
And not the horse called _Alicante_--
Of how some charities were frauds,
How some again were quite deserving--
The beauties of the Norfolk broads--
The latest hit of Mr. IRVING--
Does sap go up or down the stem?--
The Boom of Mr. RUDYARD KIPLING--
The speeches of the G.O.M.--
The strength of Mr. MORLEY's "stripling"
_Was_ JONAH swallowed by the whale?--
The price of jute--we wondered all if
They'd have the heart to send to gaol
Those heroes, SLAVIN and McAULIFFE.
"Oh, maiden fair," I said at last,
"To hear you talk is most delightful;
But yet the time, it's clear, you've passed
In reading must be something frightful.
Come--do you trouble thus your head
Because you want to go to College
By getting out of Mr. STEAD
L300 for General Knowledge?"
"Kind Sir," she promptly then replied,
"Your guess, I quite admit, was clever,
And, if I now in you confide,
You'll keep it dark, I'm sure, for ever.
Yet do not get, I pray, enraged,
For how I got my information
Was simply this--_I have engaged_
_A Coach in General Conversation_,"
* * * * *
SERVED A LA RUSSE.
MY DEAR MR. PUNCH,
Will you allow me, as one who knows Russia by heart, to express my
intense admiration for the new piece at the Shaftesbury Theatre, in
which is given, in my opinion, the most faithful picture of the CZAR's
dominions as yet exhibited to the British Public. ACT I. is devoted
to "a Street near the Banks of the Neva, St. Petersburg," and here
we have a splendid view of the Winter Palace, and what I took to be
the Kremlin at Moscow. On one side is the house of a money-lender,
and on the other the shelter afforded to a drosky-driver and his
starving family. The author, whose name must be BUCHANANOFF (though he
modestly drops the ultimate syllable), gives as a second title to this
portion of his wonderful work, "The Dirge for the Dead." It is very
appropriate. A student, whose funds are at the lowest ebb, commits a
purposeless murder, and a "pope" who has been on the look-out no doubt
for years, seizes the opportunity to rush into the murdered man's
dwelling, and sing over his inanimate body a little thing of his own
composition. Anyone who has been in Russia will immediately recognise
this incident as absolutely true to life. Amongst my own acquaintance
I know three priests who did precisely the same thing--they are called
BROWNOFF, JONESKI, and ROBINSONOFF.
Next we have the Palace of the _Princess Orenburg_, and make the
acquaintance of _Anna Ivanovna_, a young lady who is the sister of the
aimless murderer, and owner of untold riches. We are also introduced
to the Head of Police, who, as everyone knows, is a cross between a
suburban inspector, a low-class inquiry agent, and a _flaneur_ moving
in the best Society. We find, too, naturally enough, an English
_attache_, whose chief aim is to insult an aged Russian General, whose
_sobriquet_ is, "the Hero of Sebastopol." Then the aimless murderer
reveals his crime, which, of course, escapes detection save at the
hands of _Prince Zosimoff_, a nobleman, who I fancy, from his name,
must have discovered a new kind of tooth-powder.
Next we have the "Interior of a Common Lodging House," the counterpart
of which may be found in almost any street in the modern capital of
Russia. There are the religious pictures, the cathedral immediately
opposite, with its stained-glass windows and intermittent organ, and
the air of sanctity without which no Russian Common Lodging House
is complete. Needless to say that _Prince Tooth-powder_--I beg
pardon--and _Anna_ listen while _Fedor Ivanovitch_ again confesses his
crime, this time to the daughter of the drosky-driver, for whom he has
a sincere regard, and I may add, affection. Although with a well-timed
scream his sister might interrupt the awkward avowal, she prefers to
listen to the bitter end. This reminds me of several cases recorded in
the _Newgatekoff Calendaroff_, a miscellany of Russian crimes.
After this we come to the Gardens of the Palace Taurida, when _Fedor_
is at length arrested and carted off to Siberia, an excellent picture
of which is given in the last Act. Those who _really_ know Russian
Society-will not be surprised to find that the Chief of the Police
(promoted to a new position and a fur-trimmed coat), and the principal
characters of the drama have also found their way to the Military
Outpost on the borders of the dreaded region. I say dreaded, but
should have added, without cause. M. BUCHANANOFF shows us a very
pleasant picture. The prisoners seem to have very little to do save to
preserve the life of the Governor, and to talk heroics about liberty
and other kindred subjects. _Prince Zosimoff_ attempts, for the
fourth or fifth time, to make _Anna_ his own--he calls the pursuit "a
caprice," and it is indeed a strange one--and is, in the nick of time,
arrested, by order of the CZAR. After this pleasing and natural little
incident, everyone prepares to go back to St. Petersburg, with the
solitary exception of the Prince, who is ordered off to the Mines. No
doubt the Emperor of RUSSIA had used the tooth-powder, and, finding
it distasteful to him, had taken speedy vengeance upon its presumed
I have but one fault to find with the representation. The play is
capital, the scenery excellent, and the acting beyond all praise. But
I am not quite sure about the title. M. BUCHANANOFF calls his play
"_The_ Sixth _Commandment_"--he would have been, in my opinion, nearer
the mark, had he brought it into closer association with the Ninth!
Believe me, dear _Mr. Punch_,
RUSS IN URBE.
* * * * *
IN OUR GARDEN.
"Suppose, TOBY dear boy," said the Member for Sark, "we start a
garden, and work in it ourselves. TEMPLE did it, you know, when he
was tired of affairs of State."
"Sir RICHARD?" I asked, never remembering to have seen the Member
for Evesham in the company of a rake.
"No; CHARLES THE SECOND's Minister, who went down to Sheen two
centuries before the Orleanist Princes, and grew roses. Of course
I don't mean to be there much in the Session. The thing is to have
something during Recess to gently engage the mind and fully occupy
This conversation took place towards the end of last Session but one.
By odd coincidence I had met the Member for Sark as I was coming
from OLD MORALITY's room, where I had been quietly dining with him,
JACKSON and AKERS-DOUGLAS made up party of four. It was second week
of August; everybody tired to death. OLD MORALITY asked me to look
in and join them about eight o'clock. Knocked at door; no answer;
curious scurrying going round; somebody running and jumping; heard
OLD MORALITY's voice, in gleeful notes, "Now then, DOUGLAS, tuck
in your tuppenny! Here you are, JACKSON! keep the mill a goin'!"
Knocked again; no answer; opened door gently; beheld strange sight.
The Patronage Secretary was "giving a back" to the FIRST LORD of
the TREASURY. OLD MORALITY, taking running jump, cleared it with
surprising agility considering AKERS-DOUGLAS'S inches. Then he trotted
on a few paces, folded his arms and bent his head; Financial Secretary
to Treasury, clearing AKERS-DOUGLAS, took OLD MORALITY in his stride,
and "tucked in his tuppenny" in turn.
Thought I had better retire. Seemed on the whole the proceedings
demanded privacy; but OLD MORALITY, catching sight of me, called out,
"Come along, TOBY! Only our little game. Fall in, and take your turn."
Rather afraid of falling over, but didn't like to spoil sport; cleared
OLD MORALITY capitally; scrambled over AKERS-DOUGLAS; but couldn't
"I can't get over him," I said, apologetically.
"No," said AKERS-DOUGLAS, "he's a Yorkshireman."
"'Tis but a primitive pastime," observed OLD MORALITY, when, later, we
sat down to dinner; "but remarkably refreshing; a great stimulant for
the appetite. Indeed," he added, as he transferred a whole grouse to
his plate, "I do not know anything that more forcibly brings home to
the mind the truth underlying the old Greek aphorism, that a bird on
your plate is worth two in the dish."
I gathered in conversation that when business gets a little heavy,
when time presses, and leisure for exercise is curtailed, OLD MORALITY
generally has ten minutes leap-frog before dinner.
"We used at first to play it in the corridor; an excellent place;
apparently especially designed for the purpose; but we were always
liable to interruption, and by putting the chairs on the table here
we manage well enough. It's been the making of me, and I may add,
has enabled my Right Hon. friends with increased vigour and ease
to perform their duty to their QUEEN and Country. The great thing,
dear TOBY, is to judiciously commingle physical exercise with mental
activity. What says the great bard of Abydos? _Mens sana in corpore
sano_, which being translated means, mens--or perhaps I should say,
men--should incorporate bodily exercise with mental exercitation."
Of course I did not disclose to the Member for Sark, what had taken
place in the privity of OLD MORALITY's room. That is not my way. The
secret is ever sacred with me, and shall be carried with me to the
silent tomb. But I was much impressed with the practical suggestions
of my esteemed Leader, and allured by their evident effect upon his
"Men," continued the Member for Sark, moodily, "do all kinds of things
in the Recess to make up for the inroads on the constitution suffered
during the Session. They go to La Bourboule like the MARKISS and
RAIKES; or they play Golf like Prince ARTHUR; or they pay visits to
their Mothers-in-law in the United States, like CHAMBERLAIN and LYON
PLAYFAIR; or they go to Switzerland, India, Russia, Australia, and
Sierra Leone. Now if we had a garden, which we dug, and weeded, and
clipped, and pruned ourselves, never eating a potato the sapling of
which we had not planted, watered, and if necessary grafted, with our
own hands, we should live happy, healthful lives for at least a month
or two, coming back to our work having renewed our youth like the
"But you don't know anything about gardening, do you?"
"That's just it. Anyone can keep a garden that has been brought up to
the business. But look what chances there are before two statesmen of,
I trust I may say without egotism, average intelligence, who take to
gardening without, as you may say, knowing anything about it. Think of
the charm of being able to call a spade a Hoe! without your companion,
however contentious, capping the exclamation. Then think of the long
vista of possible surprises. You dig a trench, and I gently sprinkle
seed in it--"
"Excuse me," I said, "but supposing _I_ sprinkle the seed, and _you_
dig the trench?"
"--The seed is carrot, let us suppose," the Member for Sark continued,
disregarding my interruption, his fine face aglow with honest
enthusiasm. "I, not being an adept, feeling my way, as it were,
towards the perfection of knowledge, put in the seed the wrong end
up, and, instead of the carrots presenting themselves to the earnest
inquirer in what is, I believe, the ordinary fashion, with the green
tops showing above the generous earth, and the spiral, rosy-tinted,
cylindrical form hidden in the soil, the limb were to grow out of
the ground, its head downward; would that be nothing, do you think? I
mention that only as a possibility that flashed across my mind. There
are an illimitable series of possibilities that might grow out of Our
Garden. Of course we don't mean to make money out of it. It's only
fair to you, TOBY, that I should, at the outset, beg you to hustle out
of your mind any sordid ideas of that kind. What we seek is, health
and honest occupation, and here they lie open to our hand."
This conversation, as I mentioned, took place a little more than a
year ago. I was carried away, as the House of Commons never is, by my
Hon. friend's eloquence. We got the garden. We have it now; but I do
not trust myself on this page to dwell on the subject.
* * * * *
FEMININE AND A N-UTAH GENDER.--Plurality of wives is abolished in
Utah. The husbands seem to have made no difficulty about it, but what
have the wives said?
* * * * *
"QUEEN'S WEATHER."--The weather is looking up. It was mentioned in the
_Court Circular_ last Wednesday week for the first time.
* * * * *
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