Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 99., August 23, 1890.
Produced by Malcolm Farmer, William Flis, and the Online Distributed
OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
August 23, 1890.
NOVELTY UP TO DATE.
The originality of the plot of _The English Rose_ (the new play at
the Adelphi) having been questioned, the following Scotch Drama is
published with a view of ascertaining if it has been done before.
Those of our readers who think they recognise either the situations
or any part of the dialogue, will kindly remember that treatment is
everything, and the imputation of plagiarism is the feeblest of all
charges. The piece is called _Telmah_, and is written in Three Acts,
sufficiently concise to be given in full:--
_The Horse Guards Parade, Elsinore, near Edinburgh._
_Enter MACCLAUDIUS, MACGERTRUDE, Brilliant Staff, and Scotch
Guards. The Colours are trooped._
_Then enter TELMAH, who returns salute of Sentries._
_MacClaudius_. I am just glad you have joined us, TELMAH.
_Telmah_. Really! I fancied some function was going on, but thought it
was a parade, in honour of my father's funeral.
_MacGertrude_ (_with a forced laugh_). Don't be so absurd! Your poor
father--the very best of men--died months ago.
_Telmah_ (_bitterly_). So long!
_MacClaudius_ (_aside_). Ma gracious! He's in one of his nasty
tempers, MACGERTRUDE. Come away! (_Aloud._) Believe me, I shall drink
your health to-night in Perrier Jouet of '74. Come!
[_Exeunt with Queen and Guards._
_Telmah_. Oh! that this too solid flesh would melt! (_Enter_ Ghost.)
Hallo! Who are you?
_Ghost_ (_impressively_). I am thy father's spirit! List, TELMAH, oh,
_Telmah_. Would, with pleasure, were I not already a Major in the
Army, and an Hon. Colonel in the Militia.
_Ghost_ (_severely_). None of your nonsense! (_More mildly._) Don't
be frivolous! (_Confidentially._) I was murdered by a serpent, who now
wears my crown.
_Telmah_ (_in a tone of surprise_). O my prophetic soul! Mine uncle?
_Ghost_. Right you are! Swear to avenge me!
_Telmah_ (_after an internal struggle_). I swear!
[_Solo for the big drum. Re-enter troops, spectral effect, and
ACT II.--_INTERIOR OF THE PALACE OF ELSINORE, NEAR EDINBURGH, ARRANGED
FOR PRIVATE THEATRICALS. MACCLAUDIUS, MACGERTRUDE AND COURT SEATED,
WITH TELMAH ACTING AS PROMPTER._
_MacClaudius_ (_aside to MACPOLONIUS_). Lord Chamberlain, have you
heard the argument? Is there no offence in't?
_MacPolonius_. Well, Sire, as I understand it is not intended for
public representation, I have not done more than glance at it. I am
told it is very clever, and called "_The Mouse-trap_."
_MacGertrude_. Rather an idiotic title! (_Contemptuously._) "_The
[_Business. A King on the mimic stage goes to sleep, and a
shrouded figure pours poison into his ear. MACCLAUDIUS rises
_Telmah_ (_excitedly_). He poisons him for his estate. His name's
MACGONZAGO. The story is extant, and writ in choice Italian. You shall
see anon how the murderer gets the love of MACGONZAGO's wife!
_MacClaudius_ (_angrily to MACPOLONIUS_). Chamberlain, we part this
day month! Ma gracious! [_Exit, followed by Queen and Court._
_Telmah_ (_exultantly_). Now could I drink hot blood, and do such
bitter business as the day would quake to look on!
_Ghost_ (_entering abruptly_). Well, do it! What's the good of all
this play-acting? Cut the ranting, and come to the slaughtering!
(_Seizes TELMAH by the arm._) If you are an avenger, behave as such!
[_TELMAH greatly alarmed, sinks on his knees before Ghost,
and the Curtain falls on the tableau._
ACT III.--_THE MILITARY TOURNAMENT AT THE AGRICULTURAL HALL, ELSINORE,
NEAR EDINBURGH, TELMAH, AND MACLAERTES, DISCOVERED FENCING._
_Captain MacOsric, R.A._ (_Superintendent of the Circus_). A hit, a
palpable hit! (TELMAH _and_ MACLAERTES _engage a second time, and_
MACLAERTES _wounds his opponent._) One to white! (_Points out_
MACLAERTES _with a small flag. Another round, when_ TELMAH _wounds_
MACLAERTES.) One to black!
[_Touches TELMAH with his flag._
_MacClaudius_ (_pouring out a glass of cheap champagne_). Here,
TELMAH, you are heated, have a drink!
_Telmah_. I'll play this bout first. Set it by awhile. (_Aside to
MAC-HORATIO, who smiles._) I know his cellar!
_MacGertrude_. I will take it for you, dear! (_Impatiently._) Give me
the cup? (_Seizes it._) The Queen carouses to thy fortunes, TELMAH!
[_Drinks eagerly and with gusto._
_MacClaudius_ (_aside_). The poisoned cup at eighteen shillings the
dozen! It is too late! Ma gracious! [_QUEEN dies in agonies._
_MacLaertes_. TELMAH, I am slain, and so are you--the foils are tipped
with poison! (_Speaking with difficulty._) Prod the old 'un!
_Telmah._ The point envenomed, too! Then venom do thy work!
[_Stabs King and dies._
_Ghost_ (_entering in blue fire, triumphantly to MACCLAUDIUS_). Now,
you'll remember me! [_MACCLAUDIUS dies._
[_Soft music. Scene sinks, discovering magnificent funeral
ceremony at the Abbey, Elsinore, near Edinburgh. A solemn
dirge (specially composed for this new and original piece) is
sung. Slow Curtain._
* * * * *
PROS AND CONS OF FOREIGN TRAVEL.
(_BY A HESITATING TRIPPIST._)
_Antwerp_.--Lots of Rubens, _but_ the Harwich route is objectionable
in "dusty" weather.
_Boulogne_.--Great attraction this year--Ex-Queen of NAPLES
installed--_but_ the port, at low tide, requires all the perfumes of
Araby, and more.
_Cologne_.--Cathedral finished, _but_ local scent is accurately
expressed by "Oh!"
_Dieppe_.--Casino cheery, _but_ the passage from Newhaven to French
coast at times too terrible for words.
_Etretat_.--Amusing society, _but_ the sanitary arrangements are
_Florence_.--The Capital of Art, _but_ at its worst in the dog days.
_Geneva_.--Within reach of Mont Blanc, _but_ hotels indifferent, even
when under "Royal Patronage."
_Heidelberg_.--Magnificent view from the Castle, _but_ too many Cooks
spoil the prospect.
_Interlaken_.--Jungfrau splendid, _but_ not free from 'ARRIES and
_Jerusalem_.--Interesting associations, _but_ travelling on mule-back
is a trial to born pedestrians.
_Kissingen_.--Out of the beaten track, _but_ query rather too much so.
_Lucerne_.--Lovely; _but_ comfort takes a back seat if the
Schweitzerhoff is full.
_Madrid_.--Plenty of pictures, _but_ cholera in the neighbourhood.
_Naples_.--Famous Bay never off, _but_ scarcely the place to face an
_Ouchy_.--Beau Rivage beyond all praise, _but_ environs uninteresting.
_Paris_.--Always pleasant--_save_ in August.
_Quebec_.--Possibly attractive to the wildly adventurous, _but_
scarcely worthy of a jaunt across the Atlantic.
_Rome_.--The City of the Popes and the Caesars, _but_ not to be thought
of before the early winter.
_St. Malo_.--Quaint old Breton port, _but_ journey from Southampton
frequently dangerous, and always disagreeable.
_Turin_.--Typical Italian town; _but_ why go here when other places
are equally accessible?
_Utrecht_.--Suggestive of cheap velvet, _but_ suggestive of nothing
_Vevey_.--Pleasantly situated, _but_ _triste_ to the last degree.
_Wiesbaden_.--Kept its popularity, in spite of its loss of _roulette_
and _trente et quarante_; _but_ Baden-Baden is preferable.
_X les Bains_.--Beautiful scenery, _but_ population chiefly invalids.
_Zurich_.--Might do worse than go there; _but_, on the other hand, why
not stay at home?
* * * * *
[Illustration: AN OBJECT OF COMPASSION.
PITY AN UNFORTUNATE MAN, DETAINED IN LONDON BY UNINTERESTING
CIRCUMSTANCES OVER WHICH HE HAS NO CONTROL, WHOSE FAMILY ARE ALL OUT
OF TOWN, WHOSE ESTABLISHMENT IS REPRESENTED BY A CARETAKER, AND WHOSE
CLUB IS CLOSED FOR ALTERATIONS AND REPAIRS.]
* * * * *
COCKNEY COQUETRY: A STUDY IN REGENT'S PARK.
SCENE--_NEAR THE BAND-STAND. TIME--7 P.M. ON A SUNDAY IN AUGUST._
_Polly_ (_about 22; a tall brunette, of the respectable lower
middle-class, with a flow of light badinage, and a taste for
_Flo_ (_18; her friend; shorter, somewhat less pronounced in
manner; rather pretty, simply and tastefully dressed; milliner
or bonnet-maker's apprentice._)
_Mr. Ernest Hawkins_ (_otherwise known as "ERNIE 'ORKINS";
19 or 20; _short, sallow, spectacled; draper's assistant; a
respectable and industrious young fellow, who chooses to pass
in his hours of ease as a blase misogynist_).
_Alfred_ (_his friend; shorter and sallower; a person with a
talent for silence, which he cultivates assiduously_).
_POLLY and FLO are seated upon chairs by the path, watching
the crowd promenading around the enclosure where the Band is
_Polly_ (_to FLO_). There's ERNIE 'ORKINS;--he doesn't see us yet.
'Ullo, ERNIE, come 'ere and talk to us, won't you?
_Flo_. Don't, POLLY. I'm sure _I_ don't want to talk to him!
_Polly_. Now you know you _do_, FLO,--more than I do, if the truth was
known. It's all on your account I called out to him.
_Mr. Hawkins_ (_coming up_). 'Ullo! so _you_'re 'ere, are you?
[_Stands in front of their chairs in an easy attitude. His
friend looks on with an admiring grin in the background,
unintroduced, but quite happy and contented._
_Polly_. Ah, _we_'re 'ere all right enough. 'Ow did _you_ get out?
_Mr. H._ (_his dignity slightly ruffled_). 'Ow did I get out? I'm not
in the 'abit of working Sundays if _I_ know it.
_Polly_. Oh, I thought p'raps _she_ wouldn't let you come out without
'er. (_Mr. H. disdains to notice this insinuation._) Why, how you are
blushing up, FLO! She looks quite nice when she blushes, don't she?
_Mr. H._ (_who is of the same opinion, but considers it beneath him
to betray his sentiments_). Can't say, I'm sure; I ain't a judge of
blushing myself. I've forgotten how it's done.
_Polly_. Ah! I dessay you found it convenient to forget. (_A pause.
Mr. H. smiles in well-pleased acknowledgment of this tribute to his
brazen demeanour._) Did ARTHUR send you a telegraph?--he sent FLO
one. [_This is added with a significance intended to excite Mr. H.'s
_Mr. H._ (_unperturbed_). No; he telegraphed to father, though. He's
gettin' on well over at Melbun, ain't he? They think a lot of him out
there. And now gettin' his name in the paper, too, like that, why--
_Flo_. That'll do him a lot of good, 'aving his name in the paper,
_Mr. H._ Oh, ARTHUR's gettin' on fine. Have you read the letters he's
sent over? No? Well, you come in to-morrow evening and have a look
at 'em. Look sharp, or they'll be lent out again; they've been the
reg'lar round, I can tell you. I shall write and blow 'im up, though,
for not sending me a telegraft, too.
_Polly_. You! 'Oo are _you_? You're on'y his brother, you are. It's
different, his sending one to FLO.
_Mr. H._ (_not altogether relishing this last suggestion_). Ah, well,
I dessay I shall go out there myself, some day.
[_Looks at Miss FLO, to see how she likes that._
_Flo_. Yes, you'd better. It would make you quite a man, wouldn't it?
[_Both girls titter._
_Mr. H._ (_nettled_). 'Ere, I say, I'm off. Good-bye! Come on, ALF!
_Polly_. No, don't go away yet. Shall you take _'er_ out with you,
_Mr. H._ What 'er? I don't know any 'er.
_Polly_ (_archly_). Oh, you think we 'aven't 'eard. 'Er where you live
now. _We_ know all about it!
_Mr. H._ Then you know more than what _I_ do. There's nothing between
me and anybody where _I_ live. But I'm going out to Ostralia, though.
I've saved up 'alf of what I want already.
_Polly_ (_banteringly_). You _are_ a good boy. Save up enough for _me_
_Mr. H._ (_surveying her with frank disparagement_). _You_? Oh, lor!
Not if I know it!
_Flo_ (_with an exaggerated sigh_). Oh dear, I wish I was over there.
They say they're advertising for maidservants--fifteen shillings a
week, and the washing put out. I'd marry a prince or a lord duke,
perhaps, when I got there. ARTHUR sent me a fashion-book.
_Mr. H._ So he sent me one, too. It was the Autumn fashions. They get
their Autumn in the Spring out there, you know, and their Christmas
Day comes in the middle of July. Seems rum, doesn't it?
_Flo_. He sent me his photo, too. He _has_ improved.
_Polly_. You go out there, ERNIE, and p'raps _you_'ll improve. [_FLO
_Mr. H._ (_hurt_). There, that's enough--good-bye.
[_Fausse sortie No. 2._
_Polly_ (_persuasively_). 'Ere, stop! I want to speak to you. Is your
_Mr. H._ (_glad of this opportunity_). My girl? I ain't got no girl. I
don't believe in 'em--a lot of--
_Polly_ (_interrupting_). A lot of what? Go on--don't mind _us_.
_Mr. H._ It don't matter. _I_ know what they are.
_Polly_. But you like Miss PINKNEY, though,--at the shop in Queen's
_Mr. H._ (_by way of proclaiming his indifference_). Miss PINKNEY? She
ought to be Mrs. SOMEBODY by this time,--she's getting on for thirty.
_Polly_. Ah, but she don't look it, does she: not with that lovely
coloured 'air and complexion? You knew she painted, I dessay? She
don't look--well, not more than thirty-two, at the outside. She
spends a lot on her 'air, I know. She sent our GEORGY one day to the
'air-dresser's for a bottle of the stuff she puts on, and the barber
sez: "What, do _you_ dye your 'air?" To little _GEORGY_! fancy!
_Mr. H._ Well, she may dye herself magenter for all I care. (_Changing
the subject._) ARTHUR's found a lot of old friends at Melbun,--first
person he come upon was a policeman as used to be at King Street; and
you remember that Miss LAVENDER he used to go out with? (_Speaking at_
FLO.) Well, her brother was on board the steamer he went in.
_Polly_. It's all right, FLO, ain't it? so long as it wasn't Miss
LAVENDER herself! (_To Mr. H._) I say, ain't you got a moustarsh
_Mr. H._ (_wounded for the third time_). That'll do. I'm off this
time! [_The devoted ALF once more prepares for departure._
_Polly_. All right! Tell us where you'll be, and we may come and
meet you. I daresay we shall find you by the Outer Circle,--where the
children go when they get lost. I say, ERNIE, look what a short frock
that girl's got on.
_Mr. H._ (_lingering undecidedly_). I don't want to look at no girls,
I tell you.
_Polly_. What, can't you see _one_ you like,--not out of all this lot?
_Mr. H._ Not one. Plenty of 'ARRIETS! [_Scornfully._
_Flo._ Ah! and 'ARRIES too. There's a girl looking at you, ERNIE; do
_Mr. H._ (_loftily_). I'm sure I shan't look at _her_, then. I
expected a cousin of mine would ha' turned up here by now.
_Polly_. I wish he'd come. P'raps I might fall in love with him,--who
knows?--or else FLO might.
_Mr. H._ Ah! he's a reg'lar devil, I can tell you, my cousin is. Why,
I'm a saint to _'im!_
_Polly_. Oh, I daresay! "Self-praise," you know!
_Mr. H._ (_with a feeling that he is doing himself an injustice_). Not
but what I taught him one or two things he didn't know, when he was
with me at Wandsworth. (_Thinks he won't go until he has dropped one
more hint about Australia._) As to Ostralia, you know, I've quite made
up my mind to go out there as soon as I can. I ain't _said_ nothing,
but I've been meaning it all along. They won't mind my going at home,
like they did ARTHUR's, eh?
_Flo_ (_in a tone of cordial assent_). Oh no, of _course_ not. It
isn't as if you were 'im, _is_ it?
_Mr. H._ (_disappointed, but still bent on asserting his own value_).
You see, I'm independent. I can always find a berth, _I_ can. I don't
believe in keeping on anywhere longer than I'm comfortable. Not but
what I shall stick to where I am a bit longer, because I've a chance
of a rise soon. The Guv'nor don't like the man in the Manchester
department, so I expect I shall get his berth. I get on well with the
Guv'nor, you know, and he treats us very fair;--we've a setting-room
to ourselves, and we can come and set in the droring-room of a Sunday
afternoon, like the family; and I often have to go into the City, and,
when I get up there, I can tell yer, I--
_Flo_ (_suddenly_). Oh! there's Mother! I must go and speak to her a
minute. Come, POLLY!
[_Both girls rise, and rush after a stout lady who is
disappearing in the crowd._
_Alfred_ (_speaking for the first time_). I say, we'll 'ook it now,
_Mr. H._ (_gloomily accepting the situation_). Yes, we'd better 'ook
[_They "'ook it" accordingly, and Miss FLO and Miss POLLY,
returning later, find, rather to their surprise, that their
victim has departed, and their chairs are filled by blandly
unconscious strangers. However, both young ladies declare that
it is "a good riddance," and they thought "that ERNIE 'ORKINS
never meant to go,"-- which seems amply to console them for
having slightly overrated their powers of fascination._
* * * * *
THE GROAN OF THE "GROWLER."
[_The British "Cabby," hearing of the new Parisian plan of
regulating Cab-fares by distance, which is to be shown by
an automatic apparatus, venteth his feelings of dismay and
disgust in anticipation of the application of the new-fangled
System nearer home._]
A Autumn-attic happaratus
For measuring off our blooming fares!
Oh, hang it all! They slang and slate us;
They say we crawls, and cheats, and swears.
And we surwives the sneering slaters,
Wot tries our games to circumvent,
But treating us like Try-yer-weighters,
Or chockerlate, or stamps, or scent!
Upon my soul the stingy dodgers
Did ought to be shut up. They're wuss
Than Mrs. JACKERMETTY PRODGERS,
Who earned the 'onest Cabman's cuss.
It's sickening! Ah, I tell yer wot, Sir,
Next they'll stick hup--oh, you may smile--
This:--"Drop a shilling in the slot. Sir,
And the Cab goes for just two mile!"
Beastly! I ain't no blessed babby,
Thus to be measured off like tape.
Yah! Make a autumn-attic Cabby,
With clock-work whip and a tin cape.
May as well, while you're on the job, Sir.
And then--may rust upset yer works!
The poor man of his beer they'd rob, Sir,
Who'd rob poor Cabby of his perks!
[Illustration: A CONTENTED MIND.
_Angelina_. "INCOMES UNDER L150 A YEAR ARE EXEMPT FROM INCOME-TAX.
ISN'T IT LUCKY, DARLING? WE JUST MISS IT BY FIVE POUNDS!"]
* * * * *
TO A FEATHER-HEADED POET.
Oh, mountainous mouther of molehills, weak wielder of terrors outworn,
Discharger of sulphurous salvoes, effetely ferocious in scorn,
Shrill shrieker and sesquipedalian, befoamed and befumed and immense
With the words that are wind on an ocean, whose depth is unfathomed of sense,
Red fury that smitest at shadows, black shadows of blood that is red
In the face of a soulless putrescence, doomed, damned, deflowered and dead;
Oh, robed in the rags of thy raging, like tempests that thunder afar,
In a night that is fashioned of Chaos discerned in the light of a star,
For the verse that is venom and vapour, discrowned and disowned of the free,
Take thou from the shape that is Murder, none other will thank thee, thy fee.
Yea, Freedom is throned on the Mountains; the cry of her children seems vain
When they fall and are ground into dust by the heel of the lords of the plain.
Calm-browed from her crags she beholdeth the strife and the struggle beneath.
And her hand clasps the hilt, but it draws not the sword of her might from its sheath.
And we chide her aloud in our anguish, "Cold mother, and careless of wrong,
How long shall the victims be torn unavenged, unavenging? How long?"
And the laugh of oppressors is scornful, they reck not of ruth as they urge
The hosts that are tireless in torture, the fiends with the chain and the scourge,
But at last--for she knoweth the season--serene she descends from the height,
And the tyrants who flout her grow pale in her sunrise, and pray for the night.
And they tremble and dwindle before her amazed, and, behold, with a breath,
Unhasting, unangered advancing, she dooms them to terror and death.
But she the great mother of heroes, the shield and the sword of the weak,
What lot or what part has her glory in madmen who gibber and shriek?
Her eye is as death to assassins, the brood of miasma and gloom,
Foul shapes that grow sleek upon slaughter, as worms that are hid in a tomb.
In the dawn she has marshalled her armies, the millions go marching as one,
With a tramp that is fearless as joy, and a joy that is bright as the sun.
But the minions of Murder move softly; unseen they have crept from their lair,
In a night that is darker than doom on the famishing face of despair.
And they lurk and they tremble and cower, and stab as they lurk from behind,
Like shapes from a pit Acherontic by hatred and horror made blind.
These are not the soldiers of Freedom; the hearts of her lovers grow faint
When the name of assassin is chanted as one with the name of a saint.
And thou the pale poet of Passion, who art wanton to strike and to kill,
Lest her wrath and her splendour abash thee and scorch thee and crush thee, be still.
* * * * *
A VERY SHORT HOLIDAY.
(_BY ONE WHO ENJOYED IT._)
It having occurred to me that within a few days I might get an entire
change by visiting some thoroughly French seaside places on the coast
of Normandy, I started _via_ Southampton for Havre.
I started mysteriously at midnight. Lights down. We glided out, almost
sneaked out, as if ashamed of ourselves. I had pictured to myself
sitting out on deck, enjoying the lovely air and the picturesque
view. _L'homme propose, la mer dispose._ I retired early, and
enjoyed neither the lovely air nor the picturesque view. "The rest
is--silence," or as much silence as possible, and as much rest as
[Illustration: The "Screen Scene," as played on a gusty night on the
covered terrace at Frascati's, Le Havre.]
8'30 A.M.--Le Havre. Consul's chief attendant,--_Lictor_, I
suppose, the master being a consul,--sees me and my baggage
through the customs--"customs more honoured in the breach than the
observance,"--and in five minutes I am--that is, _we_ are, the pair
of us--at the Hotel Frascati, which, whether it be the best or not
I cannot say, is certainly the liveliest, and the only one with a
covered terrace facing the sea where you can breakfast, dine, and
generally enjoy a life which, for the time being, is worth living.
_A propos_ of this terrace, I merely give the proprietor of Frascati
a hint,--the one drawback to the comfort of dining or breakfasting
in this upper terrace is the door which communicates with the lower
terrace, and through which everyone is constantly passing. We know
that _Il faut qu'une porte soit ouverte ou fermee_. But this is opened
and shut, or not shut, and, if shut, more or less banged, every three
minutes. If it isn't banged, it bursts open of its own accord, and
whacks the nearest person violently on the back, or hits a table, and
scatters the bottles, or, if not misbehaving itself in this way (which
is only when rude Boreas is at his rudest), it admits such a draught
as causes bald-headed men to rage, ladies to shiver, delicate persons
to sneeze, and, finally, impels the diners to raise such a clattering
of knife-handles on the different tables, as if they were applauding
a speech or a comic song. Then the _maitre-d'hotel_ rushes at the
door and closes it violently,--only for it to be re-opened a minute
afterwards by a waiter or visitor entering from the terrace below!
A mechanical contrivance and a light screen would do away with the
nuisance, for a nuisance it most undoubtedly is. The perpetual banging
causes headache, irritation, and indigestion, and those who have
suffered _n'y reviendront pas_, like several _Marlbrooks_. Let the
proprietor look to this, and, where most things are done so well, and
not unreasonably, don't let there be a Havre-and-Havre policy of hotel
I am writing this paper for the sake of those who have only a very
few days for a holiday, and like to make the most of it in the way
of thorough change. If you select Havre as your head-quarters for
Trouville, Cabourg, and Dives, _you must be a good sailor_, as you
can only reach these places by sea; and three-quarters of an hour bad
passage there, with the prospect of three-quarters of an hour worse
passage back at some inconvenient hour of the evening, destroys all
chance of enjoyment. If you're not a good sailor, remain on the Havre
side of the Seine, and there's plenty to be seen there to occupy you
from Saturday afternoon till Wednesday evening, when _The Wolf_ (what
a name!) makes its return voyage to Southampton.
If the sea at Dives, in 1066 A.D., had been anything like what it was
at Havre the other day, when I wanted to cross over to Dives, WILLIAM
THE CONQUEROR would never have sailed from that place for the invasion
of England. Dull as he might have found Dives, yet I am sure the
Conquering Hero would have preferred returning to Paris, to risking
the discomfort of the crossing. By the way, the appropriate station
in Paris for Dives would be Saint-Lazaire.
Then there are Honfleur, and Harfleur, and most people know Ste.
Adresse and Etretat. The views and the drives are not equal to those
about Ilfracombe and Lynton, and Etretat itself is only a rather
inferior kind of Lynmouth. Those who want bracing won't select either
Ste. Adresse or Etretat or Havre for a prolonged stay. Taking for
granted the short-holiday-maker will visit all these places, let me
give him a hint for one day's enjoyment, for which, I fancy, I shall
earn his eternal gratitude. Order a carriage with two horses at Havre,
start at nine or 9'30, and drive to Etretat by way of Marviliers.
Stop at the Hotel de Vieux Plats at Gonneville for breakfast. Never
will you have seen a house so full of curiosities of all sorts; the
walls are covered with clever sketches and paintings by more or less
well-known artists, and the service of the house is carried on by M.
and Mme. AUBOURG, their son and daughter, who, with the assistance
of a few neat-handed Phyllises, do everything themselves for their
customers, and are at once the best of cooks, _sommeliers_, and
waiters. So cheery, so full of life and fun, so quick, so attentive,
serving you as if you were the only visitor in the place, though
the little inn is as full as it can be crammed, and there are fifty
persons breakfasting there at the same moment.
[Illustration: Mademoiselle qui sait attendre.]
Every room being occupied, and every nook in the garden too, we are
accommodated with a rustic table in the "Grand Salon," part of which
is screened off as a kind of bar. The "Grand Salon" is also full of
quaint pictures and eccentric curiosities; it is cool and airy, bright
flowers are in the windows, and the floor is sanded. We had stopped
here to refresh the horses, intending to breakfast at Etretat. But so
delighted were we, a party of "_deux couverts_," with this good hotel,
and still more with the _famille Aubourg_, that, though we had driven
away, and were a mile further on our road to Etretat, we decided--and
Counsellor Hunger was our adviser too--on returning to this house
where we had noticed breakfast-table tastefully laid out for some
expected visitors, and had been in the kitchen, and with our own eyes
had seen, and with our own noses had smelt the appetising preparation
for the parties already in possession. So we drove back again rapidly,
much to the delight of our coachman, who had become very melancholy,
and was evidently forming a very poor opinion of persons who could
lose the chance of a breakfast _chez Aubourg_.
[Illustration: "Le vrai dernier!"]
How pleased Mlle. AUBOURG, the waitress, appeared to be when
we returned! All the family prepared to kill the fatted calf
figuratively, as it took the shape of the sweetest and freshest
shrimps as _hors d'oeuvre_, and then it became an omelette _au lard_
("O La!") absolutely unsurpassable, and a _poulet saute_, which was
about the best that ever we tasted. A good bottle of the ordinary
generous, fruit, and then a cup of recently roasted and freshly
ground coffee with a thimbleful of some special Normandy cognac,--in
which our cheery host joined us, and we all drank one another's
healths,--completed as good a _dejeuner_ as any man or woman of simple
tastes could possibly desire.
[Illustration: M. Aubourg fils comes out for a blow. The Son and Air.]
Then the cheery son of the house, dressed in a cook's cap and apron,
pauses in his work to join in our conversation. He tells us how he has
been in London, and can speak English, and is enthusiastic about the
satiric journal which _Mr. Punch_ publishes weekly. M. AUBOURG _fils_
who is a truthful likeness, on a large scale, of M. DAUBRAY, of the
Palais Royal, informs me that he can play the horn after the manner of
the guards on the coaches starting from the "White Horse," Piccadilly;
and so, when we start for Etretat, he produces a big _cor de chasse_,
and, while he sounds the farewell upon it, a maid rushes out and rings
the parting bell, and M. AUBOURG _pere_ waves his cap, and Madame
her hand, and Mlle. her _serviette_, and we respond with hat and
handkerchief until we turn the corner, and hear the last flourish of
the French "horn of the hunter," and see the last flourish of pretty
Mademoiselle's snow-white _serviette_. Then we go on our way to
Etretat, rejoicing. But, after this excitement, Etretat palls upon
us. After a couple of hours of Etretat, we are glad to drive up, and
up, and up, and get far away and above Etretat, where we can breathe
Far better is Fecamp which we tried two days after, and Fecamp
is just a trifle livelier than Westward Ho! Of course its Abbaye
is an attraction in itself. It is a place whose inhabitants show
considerable public spirit, as it is here that "Benedictine" is
made. When at Le Havre drive over to St. Jouin, and breakfast _chez
Ernestine_. Another day you can spend at Rouen, returning in the
evening to dinner. This is not intended as a chapter in a guidebook,
but simply as a hint at any time to those who need a thorough change
in a short time, and who do not care to go too far off to get it. When
they've quite finished building and paving Havre, I'll return there
and take a few walks. Now the authorities responsible for the paving
are simply the best friends of the boot-making interest, just as in
London the Hansoms collectively ought to receive a handsome Christmas
hat-box from the hatters. But mind this, when at Havre drive to
Gonneville, and breakfast _chez_ M. AUBOURG.
* * * * *
IN THE KNOW.
(_BY MR. PUNCH'S OWN PROPHET._)
I have had a communication from Mr. JEREMY, written in the execrable
English of which this calico-livered scoundrel is a consummate master,
and informing me that, if I care to join the staff of the journal
which Mr. J. directs, a princely salary shall be at my disposal.
Mr. J. inquires what special branch of fiction it would suit me to
undertake, as he proposes to publish a serial novel by an author of
undoubted imaginative power. Here is my answer to Mr. J. I will do
nothing for him. His compliments I despise. Flattery has never yet
caused me to falter. And if he desires to prop the tottering fortunes
of his chowder-headed rag, let him obtain support from the pasty-faced
pack of cacklers who surround him. I would stretch no finger to help
him, no, not if I saw him up to his chin in the oleo-margarine of
which his brains and those of his bottle-nosed, flounder-eared friends
seem to be composed. So much then for Mr. J. _Du reste_, as TALLEYRAND
once said, my important duties to the readers of this journal fully
absorb my time.
Last week I offered to the public some interesting details of the
family history of an exalted German prince, whose friendship and
good-will it has been my fortune to acquire by means of the dazzling
accuracy of my forecasts of racing events in this country. I may state
at once that the Grand Cross of the Honigthau Order, "_mit Diamanten
und Perlen_," which his Serene Highness was good enough to confer upon
me, has come to hand, and even now sparkles on a breast as incapable
of deceit as it is ardent in the pursuit of truth. Let this be an
incitement to the deserving, and a warning to scoffers who presume
to doubt me. Many other gratifying testimonies of foreign approval
have reached me. From the immense heap of them stored in my front
drawing-room, I select the following specimens:--
(I.) _BUENOS AYRES, MONDAY._
Revolution crushed entirely by your aid. At the crisis, General
Pompanilla read _all_ your published writings aloud to insurgent
chiefs. Effect was magical. They thought your prophecies _better than
ammunition_. Ha, ha! Their widows have fled the country. A pension
of a million _pesetas_ awarded to you. Rumours about my resignation
a mere blind. (_Signed_) Dr. Celman, _President_.
(II.) _BUENOS AYRES, MONDAY._
The traitor Celman has been vanquished, thanks to you. When ammunition
failed, we loaded with sporting prophecies. Very deadly. Treasury
cleared directly. One of your adjectives annihilated a brigade of
(_Here follow the signatures of the Leaders of the Union Civica, to
the number of_ 5,000.)
(III.) _GUATEMALA, SUNDAY._
Victorious army of Guatemala sends thanks to its brave champion. Your
inspired writings have been set to music, and are sung as national
hymns. Effect on San Salvadorians terrible. Only two deaf sergeants
left alive. _Guerra, Vittoria Matador, Mantilla_.
(_Signed_) BARILLAS, _President_.
(IV.) _SAN SALVADOR, SUNDAY._
Land pirates from Guatemala foiled, owing to valiant English
_Punch_-Prophet. Army when reduced to last biscuit, fed on racing
intelligence. Captain-General sustained nature on white native plant
called _Tehp_, much used by Indian tribe of _Estar-ting-prisahs_. My
body-guard performed prodigies on _Thenod_, the well-known root of the
_Cuff_ plant. Have adopted you as my grandson.
(_Signed_) Ezeta, _President_.
That is sufficient for one week. Those who wish for more in the
meantime, must call at my residence.
* * * * *
THE REAL GRIEVANCE OFFICE.
(_BEFORE MR. COMMISSIONER PUNCH._)
_AN ENGINEER OFFICER, R.N., INTRODUCED._
_The Commissioner_. Sorry to see you here, Sir, as your presence
argues that you have a right to demand redress.
_Engineer Officer, R.N._ I think, Sir, that we have a genuine
grievance is almost universally conceded. But, as our labours and
responsibilities have increased enormously of late years, perhaps you
will kindly allow me to describe our duties.
_The Com._ By all means.
_En. Of., R.N._ As the matter is of the greatest importance to
fourteen hundred officers, commanding ten thousand men, I hope you
will not consider me tedious in making the following statement. The
success of every function of the modern battle-ship depends upon
machinery for which the Engineer officers are directly responsible.
By its means the anchor is lifted, boats are hoisted, the ship is
steered, ventilated, and electrically lighted. Pure drinking water is
supplied for its hundreds of inhabitants. The efficiency of all the
elaborate arrangements of the hull for safety in collision, fire,
or battle, depends upon the Engineers. Their machinery trains and
elevates, loads and controls the heavy guns. The use of the Whitehead
torpedo and all its appliances would be an impossibility without the
Engineers. In addition to this there is the propulsion of the ship,
and the control and supervision of a large staff of artificers
and men. And yet the Engineer officers are the lowest paid class
of commissioned officers in the Royal Navy--this when, without
exaggeration, they may be described as the hardest-worked.
_The Com._ It certainly seems unfair that officers of your importance
should not receive ampler remuneration. When was the rate established?
_En. Of., R.N._ It has seen little change since 1870; and you
may judge of its justice when I tell you that a young Surgeon of
twenty-three, appointed to his first ship, receives more pay than
many Engineer officers who have seen fourteen years' service, and
have reached the age of thirty-five.
_The Com._ I am decidedly of opinion that your pay should be
increased, and I suppose (as evidently there has been "class feeling"
in the matter) you have had to suffer annoyance anent relative rank?
_En. Of., R.N._ (_with a smile_). Well, yes, we have. But if the
Engineer-in-Chief at the Admiralty (who, by the way, receives L1000
a-year, and yet is held responsible for the design and manufacture of
machinery costing L12,000,000 per annum) is admitted to be superior
to all other Engineer officers, we shall be satisfied. Still I cannot
help saying that the Chief Engineer of a ship is snubbed when all is
right, and only has his importance and responsibility allowed (when
indeed it is recognised and paraded) when anything is wrong! But let
_The Com._ I am afraid it is too late to do anything further this
Session, as the House is just up. However, if matters are not more
satisfactory at the end of the recess, let me know, and--but you
[_The Witness, after suitable acknowledgment, then withdrew._
* * * * *
"A LITTLE MORE THAN GAY BUT LESS THAN GRAVE."--Not very long ago, an
act of sacrilege was committed at Canterbury by a man, who robbed an
alms-box in the Cathedral. However, disregarding the precedent set
some time since by the Dean and Chapter (who it will be remembered dug
up and removed the bones of the honoured dead) the intruder abstained
from touching the vaults of those buried in consecrated ground.
* * * * *
[Illustration: DIGNITY IN DISTRESS.
_Small Boys_ (_to Volunteer Major in temporary command_). "I SAY,
GUV'NOR--HI! JUST WIPE THE BLOOD OFF THAT 'ERE SWORD!!"]
* * * * *
MIGHT BE BETTER!
Small game and scant! The Season's show
Of Birds, in bunches big, adjacent,
Will hardly take JOHN's eye, although
The Poulterer appears complacent,
Seeing, good easy man, quite clearly
That rival shops show yet more queerly.
It can't be said the Birds look young,
Or plump of breast, or fine of feather.
A skinnier lot than SOL has hung
Ne'er skimmed the moor or thronged the heather;
But for dull plumage, shrivelled crop,
Look at the Opposition shop!
Amongst the blind the one-eyed king
Is, not unnaturally, bumptious.
That Poulterer with a swaggering swing
Strides to his door, the stock looks "scrumptious"
In _his_ eyes; but thrasonic diction
To BULL will hardly bring conviction.
"Humph!" mutters JOHN. "A poorish lot!
Scarce tempting to the would-be diner;
This year, SOL,--or may I be shot!--
Your foreign birds appear the finer.
The Home moors have not yielded? Well, Sir,
Let's hope your stock, though scant, may sell, Sir!
"Eh? What? Do better later on?
Give a look in about November?
Well, for the time I must be gone,
Off to the Sea! But I'll remember.
My judgment heat or haste shan't fetter,
But, up to now--things _might_ look better!"
* * * * *
(_SELECTED FROM THE PROJECTED INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLBOY
_FROM_ TOMMY, _ETON, TO_ JULES, _LYCEE HENRI IV._
Mon cher "CHAP,"--Je connais pas votre surnom et c'est pourquoi je
vous appelle "chap,"--vous pouvez comprendre, je crois, que c'est
difficile de commencer un correspondence dans une langue qui n'est
pas le votre, et surtout avec un chap que vous ne connais pas, mais
il faut faire un commencement de quelque sorte, et malgre qu'on m'a
dit que vous "fellows," etes des _duffers_ (expression Anglaise. Un
_duffer_ c'est une personne qui n'est pas dans le "swim"), qui ne
comprenderaient pas un seul mot que je dirai sur le sujet, jamais le
plus petit, j'essayerai a expliquer brefment qu'est-ce que c'est que
Eh bien, le _cricket_ est un "stunning" jeu. "Stunning" est une autre
expression Anglaise qui veut dire qu'une chose est regulairement "a,
un," ou de me servir d'argot, "parfaitement de premiere cotelette," et
qui "prend le gateau." Pour faire un cote de cricket, il faut onze.
Je ne suis pas encore dans notre onze, mais j'espere d'etre la un de
ces jours. Mais pour continuer. Il y a le "wicket," une chose fait de
trois morceaux de bois, a qui le "bowler" jette la balle, dur comme
une pierre, et si ca vous attrappe sur le jambe, je vous promis, ca
vous fera sauter. Et bien, avant le wicket se place l'homme qui est
dedans et qui tient dans ces mains le "bat" avec lequel il frappe la
balle et fait des courses. L'autre jour dans un "allumette" entre deux
"counties," un professional qui s'appelle _Fusil_ a fait plus que deux
cents des courses.
Mais pour continuer encore. Si l'homme qui est dedans ne frappe pas la
balle, et la balle au contraire frappe les "wickets," on tourne a un
personage qui s'apelle le "Umpire" et lui dit, "Comment ca, Monsieur
l'Umpire?" et il dit, "Dehors!" ou, "Pas dehors!"--et quand tous les
onze sont "dehors" le innings est fini, et l'autre cote commence.
Et voila le cricket. N'est-ce pas qu'il est, comme j'ai dis, un
_stunning_ jeu? Eh bien, je crois que, pour une premiere lettre, j'ai
fait le chose en style. Ecrivez vous maintenant en reponse, et donnez
moi une description d'un de votre jeux, pour me montrer que vous
Francais ne sont pas, comme nous pensons en Angleterre, tous des
"duffers." Le votre sincerement, TOMMY.
_FROM JULES, LYCEE HENRI IV., TO TOMMY, ETON._
My excellent comrade,--I have just been in receipt of your epistle,
profound, interesting, but antagonistic concerning your JOHN BULL's
prizefighting, high life, sportsman's game, your _Jeu de Cricquette_,
about which I will reply to you in my next. Accept the assurance of my
most distinguished consideration, JULES.
* * * * *
A DANGEROUS CORNER.--A ring in Chemicals is proposed, which, if
formed, will cost the public about ten millions sterling. Whether
the said public will see any return for its money is problematical.
However, it may be hinted that the end of Chemicals is frequently
smoke, and sometimes an explosion which blows up the company!
* * * * *
[Illustration: MIGHT BE BETTER!
JOHN BULL. "HUMPH! SEEMS TO ME, MR. SALISBURY, YOUR _FOREIGN_ BIRDS ARE
THE FINEST THIS SEASON!"]
* * * * *
"We beseech your MAJESTY to accept our assurances of the
contentment of your MAJESTY's Canadian subjects with the
political connection between Canada and the rest of the
British Empire, and of their fixed resolve to aid in
maintaining the same."--_Loyal Address to the Queen from
Accept them? _Punch_ believes you, boys,
And store them 'midst our choicest treasures!
In these fierce days of factious noise
The Sage experiences few pleasures
So genuine as this outburst frank
Of "true Canadian opinion."
He hastens heartily to thank
The loyal hearts of the Dominion!
Mother and daughter should be tied
By trustful faith and free affection.
If ours be mutual love and pride,
Who's going to "sever the connection"?
Let plotters scheme, and pedants prate,
They will not pick our true love's true lock
Whilst truth and justice arm the State
With friends like AMYOT and MULOCH!
Mother and daughter! Love-linked like
Persephone and fond Demeter.
Fleet to advance, and strong to strike,
And yearly growing stronger, fleeter,
Miss CANADA need not depend
On Dame BRITANNIA altogether,
But she may trust her as a friend,
Faithful in fair or threatening weather.
Tour hand, Miss, with your heart in it,
You to the Mother Country proffer.
Beshrew the cynic would-be wit.
Who coldly chuckles at the offer!
BRITANNIA takes it, with a grip
That on the sword, at need, can clench too, too!
She will not that warm grasp let slip,
Health, boys of British blood,--and French
* * * * *
A NATIONAL APPEAL.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,--Cannot you do something to help us, and save us from
a permanent consignment to that wretched hole-in-a-corner back street
site thrust upon us at the rear of the National Gallery? We do not
know how far matters may have gone, but somebody wrote the other day
to _The Times_ to protest against the job, and we conclude, therefore,
it may not yet, perhaps, be too late to agitate for a stay of
execution. We are not difficult to please, and would be contented with
a modest but suitable home in any convenient locality. That such can
be found when really sought for, witness the happy facility with which
a fitting residence has been discovered in the east and west galleries
surrounding the Imperial Institute for the promised new National
Collection. At South Kensington _we_ had a narrow escape of a
conflagration, from too close a proximity to the kitchen of a shilling
_restaurant_. At Bethnal Green we have been having a prolonged merry
time of it, with damp walls behind us and leaking roofs above our
heads. At one time we were packed away in dusty obscurity, in the
cupboards of a temporary Government office; and looking back on the
past, fruitful as it is in recollections of official slights and
snubs, you may gather that we can have no very ambitious designs for
the future. We do, however, protest against being tacked on as a sort
of outside back-stair appendage to the National Gallery, that will
soon want the space we shall be forced to occupy for its own natural
and legitimate expansion. Suggest a site for us--anywhere else. There
is still room on the Embankment. Kensington Palace--is still in the
market. Why not be welcome there? As representatives for all of us, I
subscribe my name hereunder, and remain,
Your obedient servant,
JOSHUA REYNOLDS (late P.R.A.)
* * * * *
[Illustration: MR. JOSKINS BUYS A BOOK ON HORSEBREAKING, AND TRIES HIS HAND.
1. The first thing is to teach the Colt to Lead.
2. Next put on the Bridle, and drive him quietly.
3. After this you may get on his Back.
4. Ride him gently at first, and avoid using the Whip.
5. Make the Pupil understand, firmly but quietly, that you are his Master.
6. Then, after a few Lessons, you will have broken the Colt (or he will have
* * * * *
THE LESSON OF THE SEASON.
The Season's over; for relief
You're off to scale the Alps;
Say, do you, like some Indian Chief,
Look back and count your scalps?
Does someone rue your broken vows,
And sigh he has to doubt you;
Yet felt withal the week at Cowes
Was quite a blank without you?
Are hearts still broken, as of old,
In this prosaic time,
When love is only given for gold,
And poverty's a crime.
Say, are you conscious of a heart,
And can you feel it beating;
And is it ever sad to part,
And finds a joy in meeting?
The Seasons come, the Seasons go,
With store of good and ill;
Do all men find you cold as snow,
And unresponsive still?
O beautiful enigma, say,
Will love's sublime persistence
Solve for you, in the usual way,
The riddle of existence?
Alas! love is not love to-day,
But just a bargain made,
In cold and calculating way;
And if the price be paid,
A man may win the fairest face,
A maiden tall and queenly,
The daughter of some ancient race,
Who sells herself serenely.
What wonder that the cynic sneers
At such a rule of life;
That, after but a few short years,
Dissension should be rife.
Ah! Lady, you'll avoid heart-ache,
And scorn of bard satiric,
If haply you should deign to take
A lesson from our lyric.
* * * * *
[Illustration: IMITATION THE SINCEREST FLATTERY.
(_Effects of a Long Session in the House._)]
* * * * *
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN.
BORN, FEBRUARY 21, 1801. DIED AUGUST 11, 1890.
"Lead, kindly Light!" From lips serene as strong,
Chaste as melodious, on world-weary ears
Fall, 'midst earth's chaos wild of hopes and fears,
The accents calm of spiritual song,
Striking across the tumult of the throng
Like the still line of lustre, soft, severe,
From the high-riding, ocean-swaying sphere,
Athwart the wandering wilderness of waves.
Is there not human soul-light which so laves
Earth's lesser spirits with its chastening beam,
That passion's bale-fire and the lurid gleam
Of sordid selfishness know strange eclipse?
Such purging lustre his, whose eloquent lips
Lie silent now. Great soul, great Englishman!
Whom narrowing bounds of creed, or caste, or clan,
Exclude not from world-praise and all men's love.
Fine spirit, which the strain of ardent strife
Warped not from its firm poise, or made to move
From the pure pathways of the Saintly Life!
NEWMAN, farewell! Myriads whose spirits spurn
The limitations thou didst love so well,
Who never knew the shades of Oriel,
Or felt their quickened spirits pulse and burn
Beneath that eye's regard, that voice's spell,--
Myriads, world-scattered and creed-sundered, turn
In thought to that hushed chamber's chastened gloom.
In all great hearts there is abundant room
For memories of greatness, and high pride
In what sects cannot kill nor seas divide.
The Light hath led thee, on through honoured days
And lengthened, through wild gusts of blame and praise,
Through doubt, and severing change, and poignant pain,
Warfare that strains the breast and racks the brain,
At last to haven! Now no English heart
Will willingly forego unfeigned part
In honouring thee, true master of our tongue,
On whose word, writ or spoken, ever hung
All English ears which knew that tongue's best charm.
Not as great Cardinal such hearts most warm
To one above all office and all state,
Serenely wise, magnanimously great;
Not as the pride of Oriel, or the star
Of this host or of that in creed's hot war,
But as the noble spirit, stately, sweet,
Ardent for good without fanatic heat,
Gentle of soul, though greatly militant,
Saintly, yet with no touch of cloistral cant;
Him England honours, and so bends to-day
In reverent grief o'er NEWMAN's glorious clay.
* * * * *
FEE VERY SIMPLE.
"In a recent case of brigandage, people of all sorts and
classes were implicated, while one of the leading barristers
was imprisoned on suspicion."--_Report of Consul Stigano, of
SCENE--_Chambers of Mr. E.S. TOPPEL, Q.C., in the Inner
Temple. Mr. TOPPEL discovered in consultation with a
Chancery Barrister, two Starving Juniors, and sixteen
Masked Ruffians armed to the teeth._
_Mr. Toppel_. Now that we have the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief
Justice, and the President of the Divorce Division, securely locked
up together in the attic, _and gagged_, we may, I think, congratulate
ourselves on the success of our proceedings so far! We are, I am sure,
quite agreed as to there having been no other course open to us than
to imitate our Sicilian brethren of the robe, and take to a little
mild brigandage, considering the awful decay of legal business and
our own destitute condition. (_Sympathetic cries of Hear, hear! from
the Chancery Barrister, and the two Starving Juniors._) I have no
doubt that a few hours spent in our attic will induce the High Legal
Dignitaries I have mentioned (_laughter_) to pay up the modest ransom
we demand, and to take the additional pledge of secresy. Meanwhile,
I propose that these sixteen excellent gentlemen should re-enter the
private Pirate Bus' which is waiting down-stairs, and see whether the
Master of the Rolls could not be--er--"detained _in transitu_" (_more
laughter_) while proceeding to his Court. It would be best, perhaps,
as Lord ESHER belongs to the Equity side, for our friend here of the
Chancery Bar to accommodate him in _his_ Chambers.
_Chancery Barrister_ (_alarmed_). But I have only a basement!
_Mr. Toppel_ (_calmly_). A basement will do very well. (_To the
sixteen Masked Men_). You will probably find Lord ESHER somewhere
about Chancery Lane. Impress on him that our fee in his case is a
thousand guineas; _or_--both ears lopped off! [_Exeunt the Sixteen._
_First Junior_. I went upstairs just now, in order to see how our
distinguished prisoners were getting on. The CHANCELLOR, I regret to
say, seemed dissatisfied with the bread and water supplied to him, and
asked for "necessaries suitable to his status." He appeared inclined
to argue the point; so I had to gag him again.
_Mr. Toppel_. Quite right. You might have told him that he is now
governed by the _lex loci_, and that we shall reluctantly have to send
little pieces of him to his friends--I believe that is the "common
form" in brigand circles--if he persists in refusing the ransom. How
does the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE bear it?
_Second Junior_. Not well. The attic window is, fortunately, barred,
but I found him trying to--in fact, to _disbar_ it--(_laughter_)--and
to attract the attention of a passer-by. He is now secured by a chain
to a strong staple.
_Mr. Toppel_. I suppose he is not disposed to make the assignment to
us of half his yearly salary, which we suggested?
_Second Junior_. Not yet. He even threatens, when liberated, to bring
our conduct under the notice of the Benchers.
_Mr. Toppel_ (_grimly_). Then he must never be liberated! It's no
good beginning this method of what I may call, in technical language,
'seisin,' unless we go the whole hog. Well, if you two Juniors
will attend to our--em--_clients_ upstairs--(_laughter_)--I and our
Chancery friend will superintend the temporary removal of Lord ESHER
from the Court that he so much adorns. (_Noise heard._) Ah, that
sounds like Sir JAMES HANNEN banging on the ceiling! He must be
stopped, as it would be so very awkward if a Solicitor were to
call. Not that there's much chance of _that_ nowadays. (To Chancery
Barrister.) Come--shall we try a "set-off"? [_Exeunt. Curtain._
* * * * *
[Illustration: A PLEASANT PROSPECT!
THE LORDS OF THE ADMIRALTY PROCEED TO INSPECT THE FLEET AT THE CLOSE
OF THE MANOEUVRES. (WHAT WE MAY EXPECT IF THE GALES AND CASUALTIES
* * * * *
(_IMITATED FROM EDGAR POE, BY AN INDIGNANT "OBSTRUCTIVE."_)
"That (the defeat of our measures) was all due to
Obstruction.... It appears that Crown and Parliament are alike
to be disestablished, and that in their stead we are to put
the Obstructive and the Bore.... I should like to ask them
what kind of Government they think best, a Bureaucracy or a
Bore-ocracy?"--_Mr. Balfour at Manchester._
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a dry and dusty volume of Blue-Bookish lore,--
While I nodded nearly napping, suddenly there came a yapping,
As of some toy-terrier snapping, snapping at my study door.
"'Tis some peevish cur," I muttered, "yapping at my study door,--
Only that,--but it's a bore."
Ah! distinctly I remember, it was drawing nigh September,
And each trivial Tory Member pined for stubble, copse, and moor;
Eagerly they wished the morrow; vainly they had sought to borrow
From their SMITH surcease of sorrow, or from GOSCHEN or BALFOUR,
From the lank and languid "miss" the Tory _claque_ dubbed "Brave BALFOUR,"
Fameless else for evermore.
Party prospects dark, uncertain, sombre as night's sable curtain,
Filled them, thrilled them with fantastic funkings seldom felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of faint hearts, they kept repeating
Futile formulas, entreating Closure for the "Obstructive Bore"--
With a view to Truth defeating, such they dubbed "Obstructive Bore,"
As sought Truth, and nothing more.
Presently my wrath waxed stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Cur!" I said; "mad mongrel, truly off your precious hide, I'll score;
Like your cheek to come here yapping, just as I was gently napping;
You deserve a strapping,--yapping, snapping at my study door.
I shall go for you, mad mongrel!" Here I opened wide the door.
Darkness there, and nothing more!
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there nothing hearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams of Spooks, Mahatmas, Esoteric lore;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token.
Hist! there _were_ two words soft spoken, those stale words, "Obstructive Bore."
Bosh! I murmured, and some echo whispered back, "Obstructive Bore":
Merely that, and nothing more.
Back into my study turning, with some natural anger burning,
Soon again I heard a sound more like miauling than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is a grimalkin at my lattice.
Let me see if it stray cat is, and this mystery explore;
Where's that stick? Ah! wait a moment: _I_'ll this mystery explore;
It shall worry me no more!"
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a smirk and flutter,
In there popped a perky Jackdaw, yapping, miauling as before
(Queer mimetic noises made he), for no introduction stayed he,
But, with plumage sleek, yet shady, perched above my study door,--
Perched upon a bust of GLADSTONE placed above my study door,--
Perched, and croaked "Obstructive Bore!"
Then this mocking bird beguiling my tried temper into smiling
By the lank lopsided languor of the countenance it wore.
"Though you look storm-tost, unshaven, you," I said, "have found a haven,
Daw as roupy as a raven! Was it _you_ yapped at my door?
Tell me your confounded name, O bird in beak so like BALFOUR!"
Quoth the bird, "Obstructive Bore!"
Much I wondered this ungainly fowl to hear speak up so plainly,
Though his answer little meaning, little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no sober human being
Ever yet was blessed by seeing bird above his study door--
Bird or beast upon the Grand Old bust above his study door,
With the name, "Obstructive Bore."
But the Jackdaw, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spake only
That one word, as though in that his policy he did outpour.
Not another sound he uttered, but his feathers proudly fluttered.
"Ah!" I mused, "the words he muttered other dolts have mouthed before.
Who is he who thinks to scare me with stale cant oft mouthed before?"
Quoth the bird, "Obstructive Bore!"
Startled at the silence broken by reply so patly spoken,
Doubtless, mused I, what it utters is its only verbal store,
Learnt from some unlucky master, whom well-merited disaster
Followed fast and followed faster, till his speech one burden bore--
Till his dirges of despair one melancholy burden bore,
Parrot-like, "Obstructive Bore!"
But the Jackdaw still beguiling my soothed fancy into smiling.
Straight I wheeled my easy-chair in front of bird, and bust, and door;
Then, upon the cushion sinking, I betook myself to linking
Memory unto memory, thinking what this slave of parrot-lore--
What this lank, ungainly, yet complacent thrall of parrot-lore
Meant by its "Obstructive Bore."
This I sat engaged in guessing, strange similitude confessing,
'Twixt this fowl, whose goggle-eyes glared on me from above my door,
And a chap with long legs twining, whom I'd often seen reclining
On the Treasury Bench's lining, Irish anguish gloating o'er;
This same chap with long legs twining Irish anguish chuckling o'er,
Tories christened, "Brave BALFOUR."
Then methought the air grew denser. I remembered stout Earl SPENCER,
And the silly pseudo-Seraph who "obstructed" him of yore;
I remembered Maamtrasma, faction, partisan miasma,
CHURCHILL--CHURCHILL and his henchman, lank and languorous BALFOUR.
"What," I cried, "was ARTHUR, then, or RANDOLPH, in those days of yore?"
Quoth the bird, "Obstructive Bore."
"Prophet!" said I, "of things evil, prophet callous, cold, uncivil,
By your favourite '_Tu quoque_' how can _you_ expect to score?
Though your cheek may be undaunted, little memory is wanted,
And your conscience _must_ be haunted by bad memories of yore,
When you were--ah! well, _what_ were you? Tell me frankly, I implore!"
Quoth the bird, "Obstructive Bore."
"Prophet," said I, "of all evil! that we're going to the devil
All along of that 'Obstruction'--which of old you did adore.
Ere you won official Aidenn--is the charge with which is laden
Every cackling speech you make--if you _do_ represent BALFOUR,
That mature and minxish 'maiden' whom the PATS call 'Miss BALFOUR,'"--
Quoth the bird, "Obstructive Bore!"
"Here! 'tis time you were departing, bird or not," I cried, upstarting;
"Get you back unto the Carlton, they on parrot-cries set store.
Leave no feather as a token of the lies that you have spoken
Of the Man, Grand, Old, Unbroken! Quit his bust above my door.
Take thy claws from off his crown, and take thy beak from off my door!"
Quoth the bird, "Obstructive Bore!"
And the Jackdaw, fowl provoking, still is croaking, still is croaking,
On the pallid bust of GLADSTONE just above my study door,
And his eyes have all the seeming of a small attorney scheming;
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And the shape cut by that shadow which lies floating on the floor,
Looks (to me) OBSTRUCTIVE BORE!
* * * * *
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
SUBMARINE ENTERPRISE.--It is a pity, perhaps, that on the very first
occasion which enabled you to submit, for an experimental trial,
to the Dockyard Authorities at Portsmouth, your newly-designed
_Self-sinking and Propelling Submarine Electric Gun Brig_, your
vessel, owing, as you say, "to some trifling, though quite unforeseen,
hitch in the machinery," should have immediately turned over on its
side, upsetting a quantity of red-hot coal from the stoke-hole, and
projecting a stifling rush of steam among the four foreign captains,
and the two scientific experts whom you had induced to accompany you
in your projected descent under the bottoms of the three first-class
ironclads at present moored in the harbour. Your alternative ideas of
either cutting your vessel in half, and turning it into a couple of
diving-bells for the purpose of seeking for hidden treasure on the
Goodwin Sands, or of running it under water, for the benefit of those
travellers who wish to avoid all chances of sea-sickness, between
Folkestone and Boulogne, seem both worthy of consideration. On
the whole, however, we should be inclined to think that your last
suggestion--namely, that you should put yourself in communication
with some highly respectable marine-store dealer, with a view to the
disposal of your "Electric Submarine Gun Brig," _for the price of
old iron_, would, perhaps, prove the soundest of all. Still, don't be
* * * * *
NOTICE.--Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS.,
Printed Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no
case be returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed
Envelope, Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.
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