Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 99, November 15, 1890
Produced by Malcolm Farmer, Sandra Brown and the Online Distributed
PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
NOVEMBER 15, 1890.
MR. PUNCH'S PRIZE NOVELS.
NO. VI.--THRUMS ON THE AULD STRING.
(_By_ J. MUIR KIRRIE, _Author of "A Door on Thumbs," "Eight Bald
Fiddlers" "When a Man Sees Double," "My Gentleman Meerschaum," &c._
[With this story came a glossary of Scotch expressions. We
have referred to it as we went along, and found everything
quite intelligible. As, however, we have no room to publish
the glossary, we can only appeal to the indulgence of our
readers. The story itself was written in a very clear,
legible hand, and was enclosed in a wrapper labelled, "Arcadia
Mixture. Strength and Aroma combined. Sold in Six-shilling
cases. Special terms for Southrons. Liberal allowance for
We were all sitting on the pig-sty at T'NOWHEAD'S Farm. A pig-sty
is not, perhaps, a strictly eligible seat, but there were special
reasons, of which you shall hear something later, for sitting on this
The old sow was within, extended at full length. Occasionally she
grunted approval of what was said, but, beyond that, she seemed to
show but a faint interest in the proceedings. She had been a witness
of similar gatherings for some years, and, to tell the truth, they had
begun to bore her, but, on the whole, I am not prepared to deny that
her appreciation was an intelligent one. Behind us was the brae. Ah,
that brae! Do you remember how the child you once were sat in
the brae, spinning the peerie, and hunkering at I-dree I-dree I
droppit-it? Do you remember that? Do you even know what I mean? Life
is like that. When we are children the bread is thick, and the butter
is thin; as we grow to be lads and lassies, the bread dwindles, and
the butter increases; but the old men and women who totter about the
commonty, how shall they munch when their teeth are gone? That's the
question. I'm a Dominie. What!--no answer? Go to the bottom of the
class, all of you.
As I said, we were all on the pig-sty. Of the _habitues_ I scarcely
need to speak to you, since you must know their names, even if
you fail to pronounce them. But there was a stranger amongst us, a
stranger who, it was said, had come from London. Yesterday when I
went ben the house I found him sitting with JESS; to-day, he too, was
sitting with us on the pig-sty. There were tales told about him, that
he wrote for papers in London, and stuffed his vases and his pillows
with money, but TAMMAS HAGGART only shook his head at what he called
"such auld fowks' yeppins," and evidently didn't believe a single
word. Now TAMMAS, you must know, was our humorist. It was not without
difficulty that TAMMAS had attained to this position, and he was
resolved to keep it. Possibly he scented in the stranger a rival
humorist whom he would have to crush. At any rate, his greeting was
not marked with the usual genial cordiality characteristic of Scotch
weavers, and many were the anxious looks exchanged amongst us, as we
watched the preparations for the impending conflict.
After TAMMAS had finished boring half-a-dozen holes in the old sow
with his sarcastic eye, he looked up, and addressed HENDRY MCQUMPHA.
"HENDRY," he said, "ye ken I'm a humorist, div ye no?"
HENDRY scratched the old sow meditatively, before he answered.
"Ou ay," he said, at length. "I'm no saying 'at ye're no a humorist.
I ken fine ye're a sarcesticist, but there's other humorists in the
world, am thinkin."
This was scarcely what TAMMAS had expected. HENDRY was usually one of
his most devoted admirers. There was an awkward silence which made me
feel uncomfortable. I am only a poor Dominie, but some of my happiest
hours had been passed on the pig-sty. Were these merry meetings to
come to an end? PETE took up the talking.
"HENDRY, my man," he observed, as he helped himself out of TAMMAS'S
snuff-mull, "ye're ower kyow-owy. Ye ken humour's a thing 'at spouts
out o' its ain accord, an' there's no nae spouter in Thrums 'at can
match wi' TAMMAS."
He looked defiantly at HENDRY, who was engaged in searching for
coppers in his north-east-by-east-trouser pocket. T'NOWHEAD said
nothing, and HOOKEY was similarly occupied. At last, the stranger
"Gentlemen," he began, "may I say a word? I may lay claim to some
experience in the matter. I travel in humour, and generally manage to
do a large business."
He looked round interrogatively. TAMMAS eyed him with one of his keen
glances. Then he worked his mouth round and round to clear the course
for a sarcasm.
"So you're the puir crittur," said the stone-breaker, "'at's meanin'
to be a humorist."
This was the challenge. We all knew what it meant, and fixed our eyes
on the stranger.
"Certainly," was his answer; "that is exactly my meaning. I trust I
make myself plain, I'm willing to meet any man at catch-weights.
Now here, he continued," are some of my samples. This story about a
house-boat, for instance, has been much appreciated. It's almost
in the style of Mr. JEROME'S masterpiece; or this screamer about my
wife's tobacco-pipe and the smoking mixture. "Observe," he went on,
holding the sample near to his mouth, "I can expand it to any extent.
Puff, puff! Ah! it has burst. No matter, these accidents sometimes
happen to the best regulated humorists. Now, just look at these," he
produced half-a-dozen packets rapidly from his bundle. "Here we have
a packet of sarcasm--equal to dynamite. I left it on the steps of
the Savile Club, but it missed fire somehow. Then here are some
particularly neat things in cheques. I use them myself to paper my
bedroom. It's simpler and easier than cashing them, and besides,"
adjusting his mouth to his sleeve, and laughing, "it's quite killing
when you come to think of it in that way. Lastly, there's this
banking-account sample, thoroughly suitable for journalists and
children. You see how it's done. I open it, you draw on it. Oh, you
don't want a drawing-master, any fellow can do it, and the point is it
never varies. Now," he concluded, aggressively, "what have you got to
set against that, my friend?"
We all looked at TAMMAS. HENDRY kicked the pail towards him, and
he put his foot on it. Thus we knew that HEHDRY had returned to his
ancient allegiance, and that the stranger would be crushed. Then
"Man, man, there's no nae doubt at ye lauoh at havers, an' there's
mony 'at lauchs 'at your clipper-clapper, but they're no Thrums fowk,
and they canna' lauch richt. But we maun juist settle this matter.
When we're ta'en up wi' the makkin' o' humour, we're a' dependent on
other fowk to tak' note o' the humour. There's no nane o' us 'at's
lauched at anything you've telt us. But they'll lauch at me. Noo
then," he roared out, "'A pie sat on a pear-tree.'"
We all knew this song of TAMMAS'S. A shout of laughter went up from
the whole gathering. The stranger fell backwards into the sty a
"Man, man," said HOOKEY to TAMMAS, as we walked home; "what a crittur
ye are! What pit that in your heed?"
"It juist took a grip o' me," replied TAMMAS, without moving a muscle;
"it flashed upon me 'at he'd no stand that auld song. That's where the
humour o' it comes in."
"Ou, ay," added HENDRY, "Thrums is the place for rale humour." On the
whole, I agree with him.
* * * * *
SUGGESTIVE.--_My Musical Experiences_, by BETTINA WALKER, will
probably be followed by _My Eye_, by BETTINA MARTIN.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE YOUNG SPARK AND THE OLD FLAME.]
_Young Spark_. "TRY ME! YOU'VE TOLERATED THAT FUSTY OLD FOGEY LONG
_Old Flame (aside)_. "FLASHY YOUNG UPSTART!"]
["It is obvious that small tunnels for single lines, of the
usual standard gauge, may be constructed some distance below
the ground, and yet the atmosphere of such tunnels be as pure
as upon a railway on the surface."--_Illustrated London News,
on the City & South London Electric Company_.]
"_Young Spark_" _loquitur_:--
Your arm, my dear Madam! _This_ way, down the lift, Ma'am!
No danger at all, no discomfort, no dirt!
You love Sweetness and Light? They are both in my gift, Ma'am;
I'll prove like a shot what I boldly assert.
Don't heed your Old Flame, Ma'am, he's bitterly jealous,
'Tis natural, quite, with his nose out of joint;
You just let him bluster and blow like old bellows,
And try _me_ instead--_I_ will not disappoint!
Old Flame? He's a very fuliginous "Flame," Ma'am;
I wonder, I'm sure, how you've stood him so long;
He has choked you for years--'tis a thundering shame, Ma'am!
High time the Young Spark put a term to his wrong.
Just look at me! Am I not trim, smart, and sparkling,
As clean as a pin, and as bright as a star?
Compare me with him, who stands scowling and darkling!
So gazed the old gallant on Young LOCHINVAR.
He's ugly and huffy, and smoky, and stuffy,
And pokey, and chokey, and black as my hat.
As wooer he's dull, for his breath smells of sulphur;
Asphyxia incarnate, and horrid at that!
You _cannot_ see beauty in one who's so sooty,
So dusty, and dingy, and dismal, and dark.
He's feeble and footy; 'tis plainly your duty
To "chuck" the Old Flame, and take on the Young Spark.
A Cyclops for lover, no doubt you discover,
My dear Lady LONDON, is not _comme il faut_;
If I do not woo you the sunny earth over.
At least I lend light to love-making below.
He's just like old Pluto, Persephone's prigger;
_You_'ll follow Apollo the Younger--that's me!
He's sombre as Styx, and as black as a nigger.
_His_ lady-love, LONDON! Bah! Fiddle-de-dee!
His murky monopoly, Madam, is ended.
Come down, my dear love, to my subterrene hall!
I think you'll admit it is sparkling and splendid,
As clean as a palace, not black as a pall.
Electrical traction with sheer stupefaction
Strikes Steam, the old buffer, and spoils his small game.
You're off with the old Love, so try the new bold Love,
And let the Young Spark supersede the Old Flame.
[_Carries her off in triumph._
* * * * *
PARS ABOUT PICTURES.
Close upon a hundred years ago, when GEORGE THE THIRD was King,
MENDOZA opened a saloon in the Strand, whereat various studies in
Black and Blue might be enjoyed. To-day MENDOZA has a gallery in King
Street, which is devoted to studies in Black and White. You may say,
history repeats itself. Nothing of the kind. The gentleman of GEORGE
THE THIRD'S time devoted himself to the pugilistic art; the gentleman
of the time of VICTORIA gives his attention to graphic art. The one
was the patron of fists, the other of fingers--that makes all the
difference. MENDOZA the Past, closed eyes--MENDOZA the Present opens
them, and, if you go to the St. James's Gallery, you will find a
pleasant collection of Eye Art--open to all peepers. It is true it may
not be High Art, but you will find it, like Epps's Cocoa, "grateful
Mr. MCLEAN, who has had an Art-show in the Haymarket since the days
of GEORGE THE THIRD, or rather his ancestor had, is "quite up to time,
and smiling," with his present collection (your Old PAR can't help
using the argot of the P.R., and brings COLE, not to Newcastle, but to
the Haymarket, in "_A Bend in the River, near Maple Durham_." He shows
us the views of BURTON BARBER on "_Compulsory Education_," also a
wondrous picture of the "_Gate of the Great Mosque of Damascus_," by
BAUERNFEIND, "_A Venetian Brunette_," by FILDES, and many other works
that will well repay inspection, but of which there is no space for
anything more to be said by yours par-enthetically,
* * * * *
THE GENTLE ART (OF SNIGGLING).
["Whoever walks beside the river (the Ettrick), will observe
five or six or more men and boys, equipped with gigantic
wading-breeches, busy in each pool. They are only armed with
rods and flies, and thus have a false appearance of being
fair fishers.... The truth is that the apparent sportsmen are
snigglers, not anglers. They drive the top part of their rods
deep into the water, so as to rake the bottom, and then bring
the hook out with a jerk. Every now and then ... one of
the persecuted fishes ... is hauled out with short
Oh! the world's very bad, and our hearts they are sore
As we think of the errors and wrongs we have got to
Endure uncomplaining, and oh! we deplore
The things people do, that they really ought not to!
With Courtesy dead, and with Justice "a-bed,"
When the mention of Love only causes a giggle,--
But we'd manage to live and still hold up our head,
Were it not for the villain who ventures to sniggle.
With his rod and his hook see him carefully rake
The bed of the river, and gallantly wading,
Arrayed in his breeches, endeavour to make
Of genuine sport but a mere masquerading.
You might think him a fool for his trouble--but look!
(And it's true, though at first it appears to be gammon)
With a horrible jerk, as he pulls up his hook,
The sportsmanlike sniggler has landed a salmon!
As a nation of sportsmen, it rouses our ire
To hear of sport ruined by such a proceeding;
And to snigglers we earnestly wish and desire
To give the advice they so sadly seem needing.
Let them think, as they work their inglorious plan,
How old IZAAK must turn in his grave and must wriggle;
And may they in future all see if they can,
By learning to angle, forget how to sniggle!
* * * * *
IN OUR GARDEN.
Discovered on returning home that the Member for SARK had not at
all exaggerated the facts picturing disaster to our onion-bed. This
portion of the garden had been disappointing from the first. Early
in the Spring, when hope beat high, and the young gardener's fancy
lightly turned to thoughts of large crops, SARK and I were resting
after a frugal luncheon, when ARPACHSHAD suddenly appeared at the open
window. I knew from his beaming face that something was wrong.
Perhaps I should explain that ARPACHSHAD is our head gardener. We have
no other, therefore he is the head. Out of the garden he is known as
PETER WALLOPS. It was SARK who insisted upon calling him ARPACHSHAD.
SARK had noticed that about the time of the Flood there was singular
deliberation in entering upon the marriage state. Matrimony did not
seem to be thought of till a man had turned the corner of a century.
SHEM, himself, for example, was fully a hundred before his third
son, ARPACHSHAD, was born. But ARPACHSHAD was already a husband and a
father at thirty-five.
"That," said SARK, "is a remarkable circumstance that has escaped
the notice of the commentators. It indicates unusual forwardness
of character and a habit of swift decision. We hear nothing more of
ARPACHSHAD, but we may be sure he made things move. Now what we want
in this garden is a brisk man, a fellow always up to date, if not
ahead of it. Let us encourage WALLOPS by calling him ARPACHSHAD."
WALLOPS on being consulted said, he thought it ought to be a matter of
another two shillings a-week in his wages; to which I demurred, and it
was finally compromised on the basis of a rise of a shilling a-week.
As far as I have observed, SARK'S device, like many others he has put
forward, has nothing in it. WALLOPS couldn't be slower in going round
than is ARPACHSHAD. The only time he ever displays any animation is
when he discovers some fresh disaster. When things are going well
(which isn't often) he is gloomy and apprehensive of an early change
for the worse. When the worst comes he positively beams over it.
Difficult to say whether he enjoys himself more in an over-wet season,
or in one of drought. His special and ever-recurring joy is the
discovery of some insect breaking out in a fresh place. He is always
on the look-out for the Mottled Amber Moth, or the Frit-fly, or
the Currant Scale, or the Apple-bark Beetle, or the Mustard
Beetle,--"Black Jack," as he familiarly calls him. To see, as is
not unfrequent, a promising apple-tree, cherry-tree, or damson-tree,
fading under the attack of the caterpillars of the Winter Moth, makes
ARPACHSHAD a new man. His back unbends, his wrinkles smooth out, the
gleam of faded youth reillumines his countenance, and his eyes melt in
"The flies hev got at them honions," he said, on this Spring
afternoon. "I thought they would, and I reckon they're done for. Ever
seen a honion-fly, Sir? A nice, lively, busy-looking thing; pretty
reddish-grey coat, with a whitish face, and pale grey wings.
About this time of the year it lays its eggs on the sheath of the
onion-leaf, and within a week you've got the larvey burrowing down
into the bulb; after which, there's hardly any hope for your honion."
"Can nothing be done to save them?" SARK asked. As far me, I was too
down-hearted to speak.
"Well," said ARPACHSHAD, ruefully, not liking the prospect of
interfering with beneficent Nature, "if you was to get a bag of soot,
wait about till a shower was a coming on, carefully sprinkle the
plant, and let the soot wash in, _that_ might save a few here and
there. Or if you were to get a can of paraffin, and syringe them,
it would make the fly sit up. But I don't know as how it's worth the
trouble. Nater will have its way, and, if the fly wants the honion,
who are we that we should say it nay? I think, TOBY, M.P., if I was
you, I'd let things take their swing. It's a terrible thing to go a
interfering with Nater."
But we didn't follow ARPACHSHAD'S advice. Having undertaken to run
this garden, we were determined to do it thoroughly; so I got SARK to
sweep out the flues of the furnace in the greenhouse, in the course of
which he broke several panes of glass, not expecting, so he explained,
to find the handle of his brush so near the roof. We half filled a
sack with soot, and carried it to the onion-bed. Then we waited for
a wet day, usually plentiful enough in haymaking time, now long
deferred. ARPACHSHAD insisted that we were to make quite sure that
rain was coming--then sprinkle the soot over the unsuspectiong onion.
"We waited just too long, not starting till the rain began to fall.
Found it exceedingly unpleasant handling the soot under conditions of
moisture. But, as SARK said, having put our hands to the soot-bag,
we were not going to turn back. Nor did we till we had completed the
task, ARPACHSHAD looking on, cheered only by the hope that the heavy
rain would wash the soot off before it could have any effect on
the fly. On the whole, the task proved productive of reward. Either
ARPACHSHAD had been mistaken, and the crop had not been attacked by
the fly, or the soot had done its work. Anyhow, the bed bloomed
and blossomed, and, at the time I left for Midlothian, was looking
exceedingly well. Then came SARK'S telegram, as described in the last
chapter. After the fly came the mildew. Close on the heels, or
rather the wings, of the _Anthomyia Ceparum_, fell the _Peronospora
"It isn't often it happens," said ARPACHSHAD, rubbing his hands
gleefully;--"but, when you get one on the top of t'other, you don't
look for much crop in that particular year."
* * * * *
HOW IT'S DONE.
_A Hand-book to Honesty._
NO. V.--MONEY LENT (ONE WAY AMONG MANY.)
SCENE I.--_Apartment of innocent but temporarily impecunious person._
I.P. _discovered reading advertisements and correspondence._
_Impecunious Person_. Humph! It _sounds_ all right. I _have_ heard
that these Loan-mongers are sometimes scoundrels and sharks. But
this one is surely genuine. There is a manly frankness, a sort of
considerate and sympathetic delicacy about him, that quite appeals to
one. No inquiry fees, no publicity, no delay! Just what I want. Has
clients, men of capital, but _not_ speculators, who wish to invest
money on sound security at reasonable interest. Just so! Note of hand
of any respectable person sufficient. _That_'s all right. Advance at
a few hours' notice. Excellent! Let me see, the address is Fitz-Guelph
Mansions, W. That sounds respectable enough. A penniless shark would
hardly live _there_. By Jove, I'll write, and make an appointment _at
his own address_, as he suggests.
[_Does so, hopefully_.
SCENE II.--_Fitz-Guelph Mansions, W., at_ 11 A.M. _Enter_ Impecunious
_Impecunious Person_. Ah! I'm a little bit late, but here's the place
sure enough, and that's the number. Fine house, too. Nothing sharkish
about _this_, anyhow.
[_Makes for No. 14, consulting his watch. On door-step encounters
another person, also apparently in a hurry, and also consulting his
watch. This person is perhaps a trifle shabby-genteel in attire, but
genially pompous and semi-military in bearing. He makes as if to go,
but stopping suddenly, stares at_ I.P., _and addresses him._--
Ahem! I--a--beg pardon, I'm sure, but have you by any chance an
appointment for 11 A.M. at this address, with a Mr. MUGSNAP?
_I.P_. Why--a--yes, as a matter of fact, I have.
_Mr. Mugsnap_. Quite so. And your name is SOFTSHELL?
_I.P_. Well--yes, as a matter of fact, it is.
_Mr. Mugsnap (cheerily_). Ah! that's all right. Well met, Mr.
SOFTSHELL! (_Produces letter_.) This is yours, I fancy. The time was
eleven sharp, and you're just seven minutes and a quarter behind. I
was just off, for if I gave all my clients seven minutes and a quarter
grace, I should lose about four hours a day, Sir. (_Laughs jovially_.)
But no matter! Just step this way. (_Produces latch-key_.) But no, on
second thoughts I won't go back. Unlucky, you know! We'll step across
to the Wine Shades yonder, and talk our business over together with
a glass of sound port, my boy. Best glass of port in London, BUMPUS
sells, and as an old Army Man I appreciate it.
[_They cross to "The Shades," where_ Mr. MUGSNAP _wins upon his
companion by his hearty style, and all difficulties in the way of "an
early advance" are smoothed away in a highly satisfactory manner. A
couple of references, of course, "just as a matter of form," and a
couple of guineas for visiting them. Not an Inquiry Fee, oh! dear no,
merely "expenses." Some people apply for a loan, and, when everything
is arranged, actually decline to receive it! Must provide against_
that, _you knew. Within three days at the outside_, Mr. SOFTSHELL _is
assured, that money will be in his hands without fail. Meanwhile the
"couple o' guineas" leave his hands, and_ Mr. MUGSNAP _leaves_ him,
_hopeful, and admiring_.
_I.P. (strolling homeward_). Very pleasant person, Mr. MUGSNAP. Quite
a pleasure to deal with him. Sharks, indeed! How worthy people get
misrepresented! By the way, though, there's one question I forgot to
ask him. I'll just step back. Don't suppose he has gone yet.
[_Returns to No. 14, Fitz-Guelph Mansions. Knocks, and is answered by
smart and austere-looking Domestic._
_I.P_. Oh, just tell Mr. MUGSNAP I should like just _one_ word more
with him. Won't detain him a moment.
_Austere Domestic_. Mr. MUGSNAP! And who's Mr. MUGSNAP, pray? Don't
know any sech persing.
_I.P_. Oh yes, he lives here. Met him, by appointment, only an hour
ago. Hasn't he returned?
_A.D. (emphatically_). I tell you there ain't no Mr. MUGSNAP lives
here at all.
_I.P_. Oh _dear_, yes! Stout gentleman--military appearance--white
_A.S. (scornfully_). Oh, _him_! I saw sech a party 'anging about
suspiciously awhile ago, and _spoke to the perliceman about him_. But
I don't know him, and he don't live _here! [Shuts door sharply_.
_I.P. (perspiring profusely, as the state of things dawns upon him!
_) Phew! I see it all. "A plant." _That's_ why he met me on the
door-step. Of course he doesn't live here at all. Gave a respectable
address, and _watched for me outside!_ And the sleek-spoken shark is
gone! So are my two guineas!
[_Retires a sadder, and a wiser man_.
* * * * *
THE MAN OF SCIENCE.
[It has been suggested, with reference to an amusing article
in _Blackwood,_ on a new religion, that science is equal to
PROFESSOR PROTOPLASM _sings_:--
I'm a mighty man of science, and on that I place reliance,
And I hurl a stern defiance at what other people say:
Learning's torch I fiercely kindle, with my HAECKEL, HUXLEY, TYNDALL,
And all preaching is a swindle, that's the motto of to-day.
I'd give the wildest latitude to each agnostic attitude,
And everything's a platitude that springs not from my mind:
I've studied entomology, astronomy, conchology,
And every other 'ology that anyone can find.
I am a man of science, with my bottles on the shelf,
I'm game to make a little world, and govern it myself.
I'm a demon at dissection, and I've always had affection
For a curious collection from both animals and man:
I've a lovely pterodactyle, some old bones a little cracked, I'll
Get some mummies, and in fact I'll pounce on anything I can.
I'm full of lore botanical, and chemistry organical,
I oft put in a panic all the neighbours I must own:
They smell the fumes and phosphorus from London to the Bosphorus:
Oh, sad would be the loss for us, had I been never known.
I am a man of science, with my bottles on the shelf;
I'm game to make a little world, and govern it myself.
* * * * *
OUR OTHER "WILLIAM."--Question by the G.O.M. on quitting the
North,--"Stands Scotland where it did?"
* * * * *
Read _The World and the Will_, by JAMES PAYN, says the Baron.
Successful novelist is our "J.P." for England and the Colonies
generally. "The profits blazoned on the Payn," is a line he quotes,
with a slight difference of spelling, in his present three volumes,
which is full of good things; his own "asides" being, to my thinking,
quoth the Baron, by far the most enjoyable part of his books. Herein
he resembles THACKERAY, who used to delight in taking the reader
behind the scenes, and exhibiting the wires. Not so JAMES PAYN. He
comes in front, and comments upon the actions of his puppets, or upon
men and morals in general, or he makes a quip, or utters a quirk, or
proposes a quiddity, and pauses to laugh with you, before he resumes
the story, and says, with the older romancers, "But to our tale." Most
companionable writer is JAMES PAYN. Tells his story so clearly. A PAYN
to be seen through.
In the christening of his Christmas books, Mr. MERRY ANDREW LANG has
hit upon a genuine Happy Thought, on which the Baron begs sincerely
to congratulate him. It is a perfect little gold mine as a book-title
series. Last year M. ANDREW LANG wrote, and LANGMAN'S--no, beg
pardon--LONGMANS published _The Blue Fairy Book._ The _Blue Fairy
Book_, when it appeared, however, was read everywhere, so this year
the MERRY ANDREW issues _The Red Fairy Book_, which, of course, will
be more read than the other. Excellent notion! Where will it stop? Why
should it stop? Next year there'll be _The Green Fairy Book_; in
'92 the _Yellow Fairy Book_ (commencing with new version of _Yellow
Dwarf_), then the White, then the Black, then the Ver-millionth
edition, and so on and so on, _ad infinitum_, through all the possible
stages of the combination and permutation of colour.
_The Magazine of Art for 1890_, published by CASSELL & Co., is one
of the best of its kind for pictures and Art-articles, The Mixture as
"Christmas is coming"--but the Publishers seem to think that the
Merry Old Gentleman will be here to-morrow. Yet we know the proverbial
history of to-morrow. However, to humour the up-to-date notion, the
Baron recommends to his young friends who wish to amuse their elders,
_Dolldom_, a dolls' opera, by CLIFTON BINGHAM, set to music by FLORIAN
PASCAL. Some of the songs are exquisite. It would make a very funny
play, children imitating dolls. Published by J. WILLIAMS.
BLACKIE AND SON, are going it. Here are two more, by their
indefatigable writer, G.A. HENTY: _By Right of Conquest; or, With
Cortez in Mexico_. The young Sixteenth-Century boy, by his marvellous
adventures, proves _his_ right to be a hero in the Conquest of Mexico.
Of a more modern date is _A Chapter of Accidents_, which deals with
the Bombardment of Alexandria. The young fisher-lad has to go through
many chapters of adventure before he reaches a happy ending. _A Rough
Shaking_, by GEORGE MACDONALD, is a capital boys' book, while _The
Light Princess, and other Fairy Stories,_ by the same author, will
please the Baron's old-fashioned fairy-book readers at Christmas-time.
Whoever possesses the _Henry Irving Shakspeare_,--started originally
by my dear old enthusiastic friend the late FRANK MARSHALL, and now
concluded by the new volume of plays, poems, and sonnets,--possesses
a literary treasure. The notes are varied, interesting, and all
valuable. The illustrations exactly serve their purpose, which is the
MR. SMALLEY'S Letters are not to an _Inconnue_. They were written to
his paper, the _Tribune_, and have redressed the balance between the
Old World and the New by furnishing New York from week to week with
brilliant, incisive, and faithful pictures of life in London. The
initials, "G.W.S.," appended in their original form, are as familiar
throughout the United States as are those of our own "G.A.S." in the
still United Kingdom. Mr. SMALLEY goes everywhere, sees everything,
knows everybody, and his readers in New York learn a great deal more
of what is going on in London than some of us who live here. Most
public men of the present day, whether in politics, literature, or
art, have, all unconsciously, sat to "G.W.S." He has a wonderful gift
of seizing the salient points of a character, and reproducing them in
a few pellucid sentences. The men he treats of have many friends who
will be delighted to find that Mr. SMALLEY'S pen is dipped in just
enough gall to make the writing pleasant to those who are not its
topic. _Personalities_ is the alluring title of the first volume,
which contains forty-two studies of character. It is dangerous kind of
work; but Mr. SMALLEY has skilfully steered his passage. Written for
a newspaper, _London Letters_ (MACMILLAN & CO.) rank higher than
journalism. They will take their place in Literature.
November Number of the _English Illustrated Magazine_, excellent.
Wykehamists, please note Mr. GALE'S article, and Lord SELBORNE'S
introduction. The COOKE who presides in this particular kitchen serves
up a capital dish every month--and "quite English, you know."
My faithful "Co." has been rather startled by a volume called _The
Decline and Fall of the British Empire_, written by "Anonymous," and
published by the Messrs. TRISCHLER. The tome deals with Australia,
rather than England, and is dated a thousand years hence; so those who
have no immediate leisure will have plenty of time to read it before
the events therein recorded, so to speak, reach maturity.
I notice an advertisement of a book by Major ELLIS, entitled _The
Ewe-speaking People of the Slave Coast of West Africa_. These
Ewe-speaking folk must be a sheepish lot. Black-sheepish lot
apparently, as being in West Africa. Major ELLIS is the author also of
_The Tshi-speaking People_. These last must be either timidly bashful,
or else a very T-shi lot. After this, there's nothing ELLIS this week,
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
* * * * *
"QUITE A LITTLE (ROMAN) HOLIDAY."
(_An Intercepted Letter_.)
DEAREST BECKY,--I have had _such_ luck! Oh, _so_ fortunate! Fancy, we
_did_ get in, after all! You know Mr. TENTERFORE, of Somerset House,
has a friend a barrister, and this friend said, if we would be by the
door of the Court at eleven, he _thought_ he could slip us in. And he
did, my dear--he did! We got _capital_ places, and as we had brought
with us some sherry and sandwiches, we had "a real good time of it,"
as your brother calls it! We had our work, too, and so were _quite_
comfortable. The night-charges were _such_ fun! A lot of men and women
were brought before the Magistrate for being "drunk and incapable"
(that's a legal term, my dear), and got so chaffed! One of the
women was very old--such a silly frump!--she was still dreadfully
intoxicated I am afraid! Very sad, _of course_, but we couldn't help
laughing! She was _such_ a figure before they got rid of her! But this
was only the overture to the drama. After the night-charges were
over, the Court was cleared, but we were allowed to remain, as Mr.
WIGINBLOCK (our barrister friend) declared we belonged to the Press!
He said that MARY contributed to the _Blood and Thunder News_, and I
to the _Murder Gazette_! I am sure it must have been in _fun_, for
we have never _seen_ the papers. When lunch was over, in came the
Magistrate with _a number_ of the "_smartest_" people! Really, I was
_quite delighted_ to be in such _good_ company. All sorts of _nice_
people. And then--oh--it was _lovely_! We saw _her quite_ close,
and could watch the colour come and go in her cheeks! She is rather
pretty! She was wearing her _ordinary_ clothes; not the workhouse, nor
the ones _with the blood on them_, but some that had been sent in to
her since the inquest. I tried your opera-glasses. They are _simply
capital_, darling! We were much amused with _his_ evidence; and it was
really _excellent_ fun to listen to the howls of the crowd outside!
But I am not sure _he_ cared for them! We got away in _excellent_
time, and I hope to go again. I am trying _very hard_ (should it come
to anything) to be present at the _last scene of all!_ Wouldn't that
be _lovely_? I should have to be at the place, though, at _ten minutes
to eight o'clock!_ I don't think I should go to bed that night _at
all!_ If I did, I am _sure_ I should not sleep! It would be so very,
_very_ interesting! And now, my _dearest_, good-bye. Your ever _most_
* * * * *
"MINE EASE AT MY CLUB."--In its most useful and instructive theatrical
column last Sunday's _Observer_ (the only Observer of a Sunday in
London!) inserted this notice:--
"Mr. H.A. JONES is to read a paper at the Playgoers' Club,
Henrietta Street, Tuesday next."
Why announce it? Why not let the hard-worked HENRY AUTHOR JONES read
his paper at his Club in peace and quietness? Very hard on poor HENRY
DRAMATIC AUTHOR JONES, if he can't have a few minutes of peace (not
"piece," _bien entendu_) to himself. Leave him alone to take his ease
at his Club.
* * * * *
UNSATISFACTORY FOR LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS.--At a recent meeting of
Anarchists at New Jersey some were arrested, but MOST escaped.
* * * * *
[Illustration: A LAMENT FROM THE NORTH.
"AND THEN THE WEATHER'S BEEN SO BAD, DONALD!"
"OU AY, SIR. ONLY THREE FINE DAYS--AND TWA OF THEM SNAPPIT UP BY THE
* * * * *
THE "LAIDLY WORM" OF LONDON;
_Or, The Great Slum Dragon and Little Master County Council_.
["The Worm (at first neglected) grew till it was too large for
its habitation.... It became the terror of the country, and,
among other enormities, levied a daily contribution ... in
default of which it would devour both man and beast.... Young
LAMBTON was extremely shocked at witnessing the effects of
his youthful imprudence, and immediately undertook the
adventure."--_Legend of "The Lambton Worm," as related by
Old stories tell how Hercules
At Lerna slew a "Dragon;"
And the "Lambton Worm" (told by SURTEES)
The Durham men still brag on.
How the "Laidly Worm" was made to squirm
Old legends tell (they _can't_ lie!);
And of MORE, of More-hall, when, "with nothing at all,"
He slew the Dragon of Wantley.
Our Dragon here is a bigger beast
Than LAMBTON slew, or MORE did;
On poor men's bodies he doth feast,
And ill-got gold long hoarded.
He hath iron claws, and from his jaws
Foul fumings are emitted.
The folks, his prey, who cross his way,
Are sorely to be pitied.
Have you not heard how the Trojan horse
Held seventy men inside him?
_This_ Dragon's bigger, and of such force
That none may rein or ride him.
Men hour by hour he doth devour,
And would they with him grapple,
At one big sup he'll gobble them up,
As schoolboys munch an apple.
All sorts of prey this Dragon doth eat;
But his favourite food's poor people,
But he 'd swallow a city, street by street,
From cottage to church steeple.
Like the Worm of Wear, this Dragon drear,
Hath grown, and grown, and grown, Sir,
And many a lair of dim despair
The Worm hath made its own, Sir.
In Bethnal Green our Laidly Worm
Hath made a loathly den,
And there hath fed for a weary term
On the bodies and souls of men.
There doth it writhe, and ramp, and slower,
Whilst in its coils close prest
Are the things it thrives on--"Landlord Power,"
And "Vested Interest."
Now, who shall tackle this Dragon bold?
Lo! a champion appears.
He seems but small, and he looks not old--
A youth of scarce three years.
But "he hath put on his coat of mail,
Thick set with razors all,"
And a blade as big as a thresher's nail,
On that Dragon's crest to fall.
And like young LAMBTON, or young MORE,
He to the fight advances.
Yet looks to that Slum Dragon o'er,
With caution in his glances.
If he make shift that sword to lift,
And smite that Dragon dead,
No hero young song yet hath sung
A fouler pest hath sped.
Now guard ye, guard ye, young County C.!
That two-edged blade is big, Sir!
That Dragon's so spiky, he well might be
"Some Egyptian porcupig," Sir,
(As the singer of Wantley's Dragon says,
In his quaint and curious story.)
If this Dragon he slays, he shall win men's praise,
And legendary glory.
When London's streets are haunts of health
(Ah! happy if distant, when)
And the death-rate ruleth low, and Wealth
Feeds not on the filthy den;
The men to this champion's memory
Shall lift the brimming flagon,
And drink with glee to young County C,
Who slew the Grim Slum Dragon!
* * * * *
A "DARK CONTINENT" HINT.--Mr. STANLEY, it is said, now wishes he had
gone on his exploration journey quite alone, without any travelling
TROUP. It is a curious fact, but worth mentioning here, that, up to
now, the only mention of difficulties with a "Travelling Troupe" is
to be found in a little shilling book recently published by Messrs.
TRISCHLER & CO., at present nearing its fifty thousandth copy,
entitled, _A New Light thrown across the Darkest Africa_. Whether H.M.
STANLEY will appeal to this as evidence remains to be seen. We must
have the whole truth out about STANLEY'S Rear Column before we rear a
column to STANLEY.
* * * * *
The "NORFOLK BROADS," according to the _Standard_, are in future to be
the English cradle of the German "Bass." Not beer, but fish. There are
to be "no takers" at present, so the cradle will not be a Bass-in-net.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE "LAIDLY WORM" OF LONDON--AND YOUNG COUNTY COUNCIL.]
* * * * *
[Illustration: HUNTING PREDICAMENTS. No. 1.
_Miss Nelly (to her Slave, in the middle of the best thing of the
Season_). "OH, MR. ROWEL, DO YOU MIND GOING BACK? I DROPPED MY WHIP AT
THE LAST FENCE!"]
* * * * *
_Wednesday_.--Welcome once more to our old friend, _Norma, the
Deceived Druidess_, who was called _Norma_ for short, she being an
orphan, and having "nor par, nor ma." The Ancient Order of Druids,
with Arch-Druid _Oroveso_ in the chair, might have had a better brass
band. _Norma_ nowadays is not particularly attractive, and the
house, when it is given, cannot be expected to be more than normal or
_Thursday.--Orfeo._ First appearance of Miles. GIULIA and SOFIA
RAVOGLI in GLUeCK'S beautiful Opera, which has not been seen here for
many years, but--judging from its reception by a full and delighted
house--will be seen many times before Signor LAGO'S season comes to
an end. Enthusiastic reception of GIULIA RAVOGLI as _Orpheus_; double
recall after three of the four Acts; house insisting on having "_Che
faro_" all over again. Orchestra, under Signor BEVIGNANI, admirable.
Recreations of Demons and Furies, when let out of Gates of Erebus for
a half-holiday, peculiar, not to say eccentric. Demons lie on rocks,
with silver serpents round their necks as comforters, claw the air,
and trot round in circles, after which they exhibit Dutch-metalled
walking-sticks to one another with sombre pride. Furies trip measures
and strike attitudes in pink tights and draperies of unaesthetic hues,
when not engaged in witnessing, with qualified interest, incidental
dances by two _premieres danseuses._ Hades evidently less dull than
* * * * *
SUGGESTION.--Curious that no enterprising shaving-soap proprietor
has as yet, as far as we know, advertised his invention as "_Tabula
Rasa."_ This is worth thousands, and takes the cake--of soap.
* * * * *
(_Being a few Remarks a Apropos of a "British Academy of Letters_.")
MR. PUNCH, SIR,
I have been reading with some morbid interest a series of
contributions to the pages of a contemporary from several more
or less distinguished literary men who have apparently been
invited to express their opinions, favourable or the reverse,
on the recently launched proposition to establish in our
midst, after the French model, a "British Academy of Letters."
Some ask, "What's the use?" Others want to know who is to
elect the elected, and seem much exercised in their minds
as to the status and qualifications of those who ought to
be chosen for the purpose of discharging this all-important
function. As to what would be the use of an institution of
the kind, the answer is so obvious that I will not attempt to
reply to it. But if it comes to naming a representative body
capable of selecting the two or three thousand aspirants
who have already, in imagination, seen their claims to the
distinction recognised by the elective body to which has been
entrusted the duty of weighing their respective merits--well
then, to use a colloquial phrase, I may confidently say that
"I am all there!"
Of course. Royalty must head it, so I head the list of, say,
twelve Academic Electors, with the name of H.R.H. the Prince
of WALES. This should be followed up by that of some generally
widely-known personage, who has the literary confidence of
the public, and in this connection, I have no hesitation in
supplying it by that of the Compiler of _Bradshaw's Railway
Guide_. Several now should follow, of varied and even
conflicting interests, so as to satisfy any over-captious
criticism inclined to question the thoroughly cosmopolitan
character of the elective body. And so I next add, Mr. Sheriff
AUGUSTUS HARRIS, H.R.H. the Duke of CAMBRIDGE, the Proprietor
of PEARS' Soap, and the Beadle of the Burlington Arcade.
It might now be well to give a distinctively literary flavour
to the body, and so I am disposed to continue my list with the
names of the Poet Laureate and the City Editor of _Tit Bits_,
following them up with the representatives of commercial
enterprise, speculative art, and sportive leisure, guaranteed
respectively by the names of the Chairman of the Chelsea
Steam-boat Company, Mr. R. D'OYLY CARTE, and Prince HENRY
OP BATTENBERG. For the twelfth, and remaining name, I
would suggest that of Mr. HENRY IRVING, the Archbishop of
CANTERBURY, the Manager of Madame TUSSAUD'S Wax Works, Sir
WILFRID LAWSON, General BOOTH, Mr. SLAVIN, Mr. J.L. TOOLE, or
any other striking or notable one that arrests the eye with
the familiarity of long acquaintance. With the existing
deplorable position of the Pantomime literature of the
country, there can be little need to question further the
necessity of a British Academy of Letters. The naming of those
who are to constitute that institution is another thing;
but if an authoritative fountain-head, to discharge this
inevitable function, is sought, and the public puts the
question, "_Quis Nominabit_?" I think, Sir, you will admit
that I have most satisfactorily supplied the answer. Trusting
to your judicious appreciation of the full gravity of the
matter at issue, to publish this communication,
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
A VERY POSSIBLE FUTURE ACADEMICIAN.
* * * * *
BEFORE AND BEHIND.
(_From a Thoughtful Grammarian_.)
SIR,--In the _Times_' Court Circular, on Friday last, I read
"Mr. WILLIAM NICHOLL had the honour of singing before Her
MAJESTY and the Royal Family."
This was indeed an honour. I regret that the Courtly
Circularist did not tell us what Mr. NICHOLL sang before the
QUEEN and Royal Family, and also what the QUEEN and Royal
Family sang (solo and chorus?) after Mr. NICHOLL. But suppose
"before" does not here relate to time, but to position.
It would have been a novelty indeed, and one well worth
recording, if Mr. NICHOLL had had the honour of sinking
_behind_ the Royal Family. And then, what a compliment if Her
Gracious MAJESTY and the Royal Family had all turned round to
listen to him! If I am wrong in my interpretation of the
Court Circular's Circular Note, wouldn't it have prevented any
possible error to have said, "In the presence of"? I only ask
for information, and am
* * * * *
A NEW TRACT FOR THE SALVATION ARMY.--The "General," who is the biggest
BOOTH in the show, announced last week that he had been offered a big
tract of land. Hear! Hear! Where? Where? "Anywhere, anywhere out of
the world "--at least, out of our little world of Great Britain & Co.
Let not "the General" be too particular, but accept the tract,--though
he is more used to distributing tracts than accepting them,--and let
him and his army, his lads and lasses, go away and leave us to enjoy
our Sundays in peace and quiet.
* * * * *
NEW CITY FIRM (_adapted from West End by Our Own Scotchman_).--"SAVORY
* * * * *
[Illustration: SKY-SIGNS IN THE COUNTRY. (AS SEEN BY OUR ARTIST IN
SEARCH OF THE PICTURESQUE.)]
* * * * *
"YOU SEEM OUT OF SORTS, JAMES, EVER SINCE WE'VE COME NORTH. IT'S THE
CHANGE OF CLIMATE AND SCENERY, I S'POSE!" "IT'S WUSS NOR THAT, MARIAR.
IT'S THE CHANGE OF BEER!"]
* * * * *
AN EVENING WITH A CONJUROR.
SCENE--_A Suburban Hall. The Performance has not yet begun.
The Audience is limited, and low-spirited, and may perhaps
number--including the Attendants--eighteen. The only people in the
front seats are, a man in full evening dress, which he tries to
conceal under a caped cloak, and two Ladies in plush opera-cloaks. Fog
is hanging about in the rafters, and the gas-stars sing a melancholy
dirge. Each casual cough arouses dismal echoes. Enter an intending
Spectator, who is conducted to a seat in the middle of an empty
row. After removing his hat and coat, he suddenly thinks better--or
worse--of it, puts them on again, and vanishes hurriedly._
_First Sardonic Attendant (at doorway_). Reg'lar turnin' em away
to-night, _we_ are!
_Second Sardonic Attendant_. He come up to me afore he goes to the
pay-box, and sez he--"Is there a seat left?" he sez. And I sez to
'im, "Well, I _think_ we can manage to squeeze you in somewhere." Like
that, I sez.
[_The Orchestra, consisting of two thin-armed little girls,
with pigtails, enter, and perform a stumbling Overture upon a
cracked piano_. Herr Von KAMBERWOHL, _the Conjuror, appears on
platform, amidst loud clapping from two obvious Confederates
in a back row._
_Herr V. K. (in a mixed accent)._ Lyties and Shentilmans, pefoor I
co-mence viz my hillusions zis hevenin', I 'ave, most hemphadically to
repoodiate hall hassistance from hany spirrids or soopernatural beins
vatsohever. All I shall 'ave ze honour of showing you will be perform
by simple Sloight of 'and, or Ledger-dee-Mang! (_He invites any member
of the Audience to step up and assist him, but the spectators remain
coy._) I see zat I 'ave not to-night so larsh an orjence to select
from as usual, still I 'ope----(_Here one of the obvious Confederates
slouches up, and joins him on the platform. _) Ah, zat is goot! I am
vair moch oblige to you, Sare. (_The Confederate grins sheepishly._)
Led me see--I seem to remember your face some'ow. (_Broader grin from
Confederate._) Hah, you vos 'ere last night?--zat exblains it! But you
'ave nevaire assist me befoor, eh? (_Reckless shake of the head from
Confederate._) I thought nod. _Vair_ veil. You 'ave nevaire done any
dricks mit carts--no? Bot you vill dry? You nevaire dell vat you gan
do till you dry, as ze ole sow said ven she learn ze halphabet. (_He
pauses for a laugh--which doesn't come._) Now, Sare, you know a cart
ven you see 'im? Ah, zat is somtings alretty! Now I vill ask you to
choose any cart or carts out of zis back. (_The Confederate fumbles._)
I don't vish to 'urry you--but I vant you to mike 'aste--&c, &c.
_The Man in Evening Dress_. I remember giving BIMBO, the Wizard of the
West, a guinea once to teach me that trick--there was nothing in it.
_First Lady in Plush Cloak_. And can you _do_ it?
_The M. in E.D. (guardedly_). Well, I don't know that I could exactly
do it _now_--but I know how it's done.
[_He explains elaborately how it is done_.
_Herr Von K. (stamping, as a signal that the Orchestra may
leave off)._ Next I shall show you my zelebrated hillusion of ze
inexhaustible 'At, to gonclude viz ze Invisible 'En. And I shall be
moch oblige if any shentelmans vill kindly favour me viz 'is 'at for
ze burpose of my exberiment.
_The M. in E.D_. Here's mine--it's quite at your service. [_To his
companions. _] This is a stale old trick, he merely--(_explains as
before. _) But you wait and see how I 'll score off him over it!
_Herr V.K. (to the_ M. in E.D). You are gvide sure, Sare, you leaf
nossing insoide of your 'at?
_The M. in E.D. (with a wink to his neighbours_). On the contrary,
there are several little things there belonging to me, which I'll
thank you to give me back by-and-by.
_Herr V.K. (diving into the hat_). So? Vat 'ave we 'ere? A bonch of
flowairs! Anozzer bonch of flowairs? Anozzer--_and_ anozzer! Ha, do
you alvays garry flowairs insoide your 'at, Sare?
_The M. in E.D_. Invariably--to keep my head cool; so hand them over,
please; I want them.
[_His Companions titter, and declare "it really is_ too _bad of him!"_
_Herr V.K._. Bresently, Sare,--zere is somtings ailse, it feels
loike--yes, it ees--a mahouse-drap. Your haid is drouble vid moice,
Sare, yes? Bot zere is none 'ere in ze 'at!
_The M. in E.D. (with rather feeble indignation_.) I never said there
_Herr V.K_. No, zere is no mahouse--bot--[_diving again_]--ha! a
leedle vide rad! Anozzer vide rad! And again a vide rad--and one, two,
dree _more_ vide rads! You vind zey keep your haid noice and cool,
Sare? May I drouble you to com and dake zem avay? I don't loike ze
vide rads myself, it is madder of daste. [_The Audience snigger. _]
Oh, but vait--zis is a _most_ gonvenient 'at--[_extracting a large
feeding-bottle and a complete set of baby-linen_]--ze shentelman is
vairy domestic, I see. And zere is more yet, he is goot businessman,
he knows how von must hadvertise in zese 'ere toimes. 'E 'as 'elp me,
so I vill 'elp 'im by distributing some of his cairculars for 'im.
[_He showers cards, commending somebody's self-adjusting trousers
amongst the Audience, each person receiving about two dozen--chiefly
in the eye--until the air is dark, and the floor thick with them._
_The M. in E.D. (much annoyed_). Infernal liberty! Confounded
impudence! Shouldn't have had _my_ hat if I 'd known he was going to
play the fool with it like this!
_First Lady in Plush Cloak_. But I thought you knew what was coming?
_The M. in E.D_. So I did--but this fellow does it differently.
[Herr VON K. _is preparing to fire a marked half-crown from a
blunderbuss into a crystal casket_.
_A Lady with Nerves (to her husband_). JOHN, I'm _sure_ he's going to
let that thing off!
_John (a Brute_). Well, I shouldn't be surprised if he is. _I_ can't
_The L. with N_. You could if you liked--you could tell him my nerves
won't stand it--the trick will be every _bit_ as good if he only
_pretends_ to fire, I'm sure.
_John_. Oh, nonsense!--you can stand it very well if you _like_.
_The L. w. N_. I _can't_, John.... There, he's raising it to his
shoulder. JOHN, I _must_ go out. I shall scream if I sit here, I
_know_ I shall!
_John_. No, no--what's the use? He'll have fired long before you get
to the door. Much better stay where you are, and do your screaming
sitting down. (_The Conjuror fires._) There, you see, you _didn't_
scream, after all!
_The L. w. N_. I screamed to _myself_--which is ever so much worse for
me; but you never _will_ understand me till it's too late!
[Herr VON K. _performs another trick._
_First Lady in Plush Cloak_. That was very clever, wasn't it? I can't
_imagine_ how it was done!
_The M. in E.D. (in whom the memory of his desecrated hat is still
rankling_). Oh, can't you? Simplest thing in the world--any child
could do it!
_Second Lady_. What, find the rabbit inside those boxes, when they
were all corded up, and sealed!
_The M. in E.D_. You don't mean to say you were taken in by _that_?
Why, it was another rabbit, of course!
_First Lady_. But even if it _was_ another rabbit, it was wearing the
borrowed watch round its neck.
_The M. in E. D_. Easy enough to slip the watch in, if all the boxes
have false bottoms.
_Second L_. Yes, but he passed the boxes round for us to examine.
_The M. in E. D_. Boxes--but not _those_ boxes.
_First L_. But how could he slip the watch in when somebody was
holding it all the time in a paper bag?
_The M. in E. D_. Ah, _I_ saw how it was done--but it would take too
long to explain it now. I _have_ seen it so well performed that you
_couldn't_ spot it. But this chap's a regular duffer!
_Herr V. K. (who finds this sort of thing rather disturbing_). Lyties
and Shentilmans, I see zere is von among us who is a brofessional like
myself, and knows how all my leedle dricks is done. Now--_suddenly
abandoning his accent_--I am always griteful for hanythink that will
distrack the attention of the orjonce from what is going on upon the
Stige; naterally so, because it prevents you from follerin' my actions
too closely, and so I now call upon this gentleman in the hevenin'
dress jest to speak hup a very little louder than what he 'as
been doin', so that you will be enabled to 'ear hevery word of his
hexplanation more puffickly than what some of you in the back benches
have done 'itherto. Now, Sir, if you'll kindly repeat your very
hinterestin' remarks in a more haudible tone, I can go on between
like. [_Murmurs of "No, no!" "Shut up!" "We don't want to hear him!"
from various places_; The Man in Evening Dress _subsides into a
crimson taciturnity, which continues during the remainder of the
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S DICTIONARY OF PHRASES.
"_Inspector ---- gives you the impression of a particularly able and
open-minded Police-officer_;" i.e., "An easy prey to the interviewing
"_It could not, of course, be expected that a particularly shrewd and
able young Solicitor would be_ very _communicative about his client's
case_;" i.e., "Knew precious little himself, and didn't even offer me
* * * * *
QUITE THE KOCH OF THE WALK.--The great Berlin Bacteriologist.
* * * * *
ROBERT AT BURN'EM BEACHES.
They is still so jolly busy at the "Grand" that I had sum differculty
in getting leaf of habsense for Satterday, larst week, for to go with
a werry seleck Copperashun Party on a most himportent hexcurshun
to Burn'em Beaches about cuttin all the trees down, so that then it
woodn't be not Burn'em Beaches not no longer! Howewer, by promisin
for to stick to the "Grand" all thro' the cumming Winter, the too
Gentelmanly Managers let me go.
The fust thing as summat staggered me, in a long day of staggerers,
was the fack, that all the hole Party had a grand Royal Saloon all
to theirselves for to take them to Slough, but my estonishment ceased
when I saw that they was Chairmaned by the same "King of good fellers"
as took 'em all to Ship Lake on a prewious ocasion. They didn't have
not no refreshments all the way to Slough, so they was naterally all
pretty well harf starved by the time they got there, but there they
found a lovly Shampane Lunshon a waiting for to refresh xhawsted
Natur, and at it they went like One o'Clock altho it wasn't only
arf parst Elewen. Now for the second staggerer! One of the party,
a rayther antient Deputty, insted of jining the rest of the Party,
declared his intenshun to take his Lunch off the Sunshine which was
shining most brillient outside the room, and acordingly off he set a
warking up and down in it for three quorters of a hour, without not
no wittels nor no drink! till "the King of all good fellers" coodn't
stand it not no longer, and sent me out to him with sum sangwidges and
a bottel of Sham. He woodn't not touch no sangwidges, and ony took one
glass of wine, and told me to put by the bottel for his dinner, which
I did in course; but somehows, when he arsked for it arterwards, the
cork had got out, and the wine had got out, but I thinks I can wenture
to say as that not one drop of it was wasted, and werry good it was
We then set out on our luvly drive, me on the box-seat of one of the
Carridges, and the other pore fellers cramped up hinside. Sumhows or
other, weather it was hoeing to the nobel Lunch or not, I don't kno,
we lost our way, and found ourselves at larst, not where we all wanted
to be, but at a most bewtifool House of call, where they has the
werry sensebel custom that, when they thinks as wisiters has had enuff
drink, they won't let 'em have not a Drop More, and that is acshally
the name by which the ouse is known, both far and wide! Whether it's
a good plan for the howse, in course I don't kno, but Mr. FOURBES, the
souperintendent of the Beeches, says as nothink woodn't injuice 'em to
alter the name. Whether that singler custom had anythink to do with it
I don't kno, but our party didn't stay there long, and we soon found
ourselves at bewtifool Burn'em Beaches.
In course I didn't intrewde myself when they was a settling of the
himportant bizziness as they was cum about, so I strolled off to a
little willage as I seed in the distance, and which is acshally called
Egipt, tho it ain't much bigger than Whetstone Park, Hobern, the ome
of my herly birth! From a rayther hurryed conwersashun with a real
Native, I gathered the himportant fack that the one reason why all the
great big Beach Trees of the Forest had had their tops cut off, was,
that OLIWER CROMWEEL wanted the bows for his sojers to carry, so as to
make 'em look more than they was when he marched at their Hed to the
Seege of Winsor Carsel! What curius and hinteresting hinformashun we
can get from the werry humblest of our Feller Creturs when we goes the
rite way to git it!
I got back to the Party jest as they had cum to the werry senserbil
reserlushun that Nowember was not at all the best munth to see whether
Trees was really dead, or was ony shamming, so they determined, like
true patriots as they is, to adjourn the matter till the 1st of next
April, by which time they woud be able to decide.
On our way back to Slough they all got out to see Stoke Pogies Church,
where some great Poet was buried long long ago, who had wrote a most
lovely Poem there, all about what could be seen from the Churchyard
of an evening, and one of the party said, that the sperrit of the
bewtifool seen and of the luvly Poem was so strong upon him, that,
if they woud stand round the Toom, he woud try to recite some of its
sweetest lines, and he did so, and I heard one on 'em say, as we was
a driving back, that more than one among them had his eyes filled with
plessant tears as he lissened. Ah, it isn't for a pore Waiter like me
to write on these matters, but I hopes as I don't offend not anybody
when I says, that praps if jest a leetle more pains was taken for to
make us pore fellers understand, and feel, and share in the rapshur as
such poems seems to inspire in our betters, it might help to smooth,
if not to shorten, the long dreary road as lies between the Hignorant
and the Heddicated.
* * * * *
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