OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
February 21, 1891.
MR. PUNCH'S PRIZE NOVELS.
NO. XIII.—THROUGH SPACE ON A FORMULA.
(BY RULES SPURN, AUTHOR OF "GOWNED AND CURLED IN EIGHTY STAYS," "TWENTY THOUSAND TWEAKS SUNDERED THE FLEA," "A TEA WITH ICE," "A DOCTOR ON ROCKS AND PEPPERMINT," "A CAB-FARE FROM 'THE SUN,'" "THE CONFIDENCE OF THE CONTINENT," "ATTORNEY TO DISSENTERS UP AT PERTH," "LIEUTENANT SCATTERCASH," &C.)
["This," writes the Author, "is one of my best and freshest, although on a moderate computation it must be my thousand and first, or so. But I have really lost count. Still it's grand to talk in large numbers of leagues, miles, vastnesses, secrets, mysteries, and impossible sciences. Some pedants imagine that I write in French. That's absurd, for every schoolboy knows (and lots of them have told me) that I write only in English or in American. I have some highly dried samples of vivid adventure ready for immediate consumption. Twopence more and up goes the donkey, up, up, up to be a satellite to an undiscovered star. Brave Donkey! I follow."—R.S.]
The iceberg was moving. There was no doubt of it. Moving with a terrible sinuous motion. Occasionally an incautious ironclad approached like a foolish hen, and pecked at the moving mass. Then there was a slight crash, followed by a mild convulsion of masts, and spars, and iron-plates, and 100-ton guns, then two or three gurgles and all was still. The iceberg passed on smiling in triumph, and British Admirals wrote to the Times to declare that they had known from the first that H.M.S. Thunderbomb had been so faultily constructed, as to make a contest with a hen-coop a certainty for the hen-coop.
And still the iceberg was moving. Within its central chamber sat a venerable man, lightly clad in nankeen breeches, a cap of liberty, and a Liberty silk shirt. He was writing cabalistically. He did not know why, nor did he know what "cabalistically" meant. This was his punishment. Why was he to be punished? Those who read shall hear. The walls of the chamber were fitted with tubes, and electric wires, and knobs and buttons. A bright fire burned on the hearth. The thick Brussels carpet was littered with pot-boilers, all fizzing, and sputtering, and steaming, like so many young Curates at a Penny Reading. Suddenly the Philosopher looked up. He spoke to himself. "Everything is ready," he said, and pressed a button by his side. There was a sound as of a Continent expectorating, a distant nose seemed to twang, the door opened, and a tall lantern-jawed gentleman, wearing a goat-beard and an expression of dauntless cunning, stepped into the room.
"I guess you were waiting round for me," said Colonel ZEDEKIAH D. GOBANG (for it was indeed he), and sat down in an empty armchair, as if nothing had happened.
The Philosopher appeared not to notice. "Next character, please," he said, pulling out a long stop, and placing his square leg on the wicket which gave admission to his laboratory, while he waited for the entrance of the Third Man. There came a murmur like the buzz of a ton of blasting powder, in a state of excitement. A choir of angels seemed to whisper "Beefsteak and Pale Ale," as Lord JOHN BULLPUP dashed, without a trace of emotion, into the room, and sneezed three times without stopping to wipe his boots on the mat.
"One more," said the Philosopher. He hurled himself, feet first, at the ceiling, knocked his head against the floor, and called down the tube. "J'y suis!" came the answer, and the typical, light-hearted Frenchman, M. le Docteur REVERSI, with his thousand thunders, and his blue lower chest, tripped jauntily up to the other three. "And now," remarked the Philosopher, "we have got the lot complete. The story can start. Hurry up! Hark forrard! En avant!"
"Lend me your ears," said the Philosopher. They lent them, but without interest. Yet they were all keen business men. "Attention, my friends!" he continued, somewhat annoyed. "You know why I have summoned you. We have to make another journey together. The moon, the sea, the earth—we have voyaged and journeyed to them, and they are exhausted. It remains to visit the Sun, and to perform the journey in an iceberg. Do you see? Colonel GOBANG will supply the craft, Lord JOHN BULLPUP the stupid courage, and you, M. le Docteur," he added, admiringly, "will of course take the cake."
He paused, and waited for Lord JOHN's reply. It came prompt, and in the expected words.
"Is it a plum-pudding cake?" said Lord JOHN. The rest laughed heartily. They loved their jokes, small and old.
"Are we agreed?"
"Have you anything to ask?"
"Nothing. When do we start?"
"We are on our way."
"Shall we not melt as we approach?"
"We shall have a constant frost."
"Are you sure?"
"Certain. I have taken in a supply of Matinees, and a stock of Five-act Tragedies."
"Good. But how to raise the wind?"
Scarcely, had the question been asked, when a frightful explosion shook the iceberg to its foundations. The Doctor rushed to the gasbag. It was empty. He frowned. Lord JOHN was smoking his pipe; the Colonel was turning over the pages of an old Algebra. He muttered to himself, "That ought to figure it out. If x = the amount of non-compressible fluid consumed by a given labourer in y days, find, by the substitution of poached eggs for kippered herrings, how many tea-cups it will take to make a transpontine hurricane. Yes," he went on, "that's it. Yes, Sirree." And at these words the vast mass of congealed water rose majestically out of the ocean, and floated off into the nebular hypothesis. But the Philosopher had vanished.
When the explosion narrated in the last chapter took place, the Philosopher had been looking out of the window. The shock had hurled him with the speed of a pirate 'bus through the air. Soon he became a speck. Shortly afterwards he reached a point in his flight situated exactly 40,000 miles over a London publisher's office. There was a short contest. Centrifugal and centripetal fought for the mastery, and the latter was victorious. The publisher was at home. The novel was accepted, and the Philosopher started to rejoin his comrades lost in the boundless tracts of space.
"My faith," said Lord JOHN, "I am getting tired of this. Shall we never reach the Sun?"
"Courage, my friend," was the well-known reply of the brave little Doctor. "We deviated from our course one hair's-breadth on the twelfth day. This is the fortieth day, and by the formula for the precession of the equinoxes, squared by the parallelogram of an ellipsoidal bath-bun fresh from the glass cylinder of a refreshment bar, we find that we are now travelling in a perpetual circle at a distance of one billion marine gasmeters from the Sun. I have now accounted for the milk in the cocoa-nut."
"But not," said the Philosopher, as he popped up through a concealed trap-door, "for the hair outside. That remains for another volume." With that, he rang a gong. The iceberg splintered into a thousand pieces. The voyagers were each hurled violently down into their respective countries, where a savage public was waiting to devour them.
* * * * *
TOLSTOI ON TOBACCO.
[Count TOLSTOI has been declaiming against Tobacco in The Contemporary Review, and this in no way exaggerates his views.]
TOLSTOI fuming, in a pet, Raves against the cigarette; Says it's bad at any time, Leads to every kind of crime; And the man who smokes, quoth he, Is as wicked as can be.
TOLSTOI knew a man who said He cut off a woman's head; But, when half the deed was done. Lo, the murderer's courage gone! And he finished, 'tis no joke, Only by the aid of smoke.
TOLSTOI asks us, when do boys First essay Nicotian joys? And he answers, quite aghast, When their innocence is past. Gamblers smoke, and then again Smoking pleases the insane.
TOLSTOI, when he writes this stuff, Swears he's serious enough; Lately Marriage earned his sneers; At Tobacco now he jeers; Proving that, without the weed, Some folks may be mad indeed.
* * * * *
"Replying to Sir JOHN MACDONALD's manifesto, Mr. MERCIER said it was ridiculous to say that reciprocity was veiled treason, and meant annexation to the United States."—Times' Montreal Correspondent.
Uncle Sam (twangling his patent Reciprocity Banjo) sings:—
Oh, my love my passion can hear—and see, Over the garden wall; She is sighing, and casting sheeps' eyes at me, Over the garden wall: Miss CANADA muses; look at her there! My wooing and BULL's she is bound to compare, And she pretty soon will to join me prepare, Over the Garden Wall!
Over the garden wall, O sweetest girl of all! Come along do, you'll never regret; We were made for one another, you bet! 'Tis time our lips in kisses met, Over the Garden Wall!
Your father will stamp and your father will rave, Over the garden wall; And like an old madman no doubt will behave, Over the garden wall. M'KINLEY has riled him, he's lost his head. MAC's Tariff is stiff, but if me you'll wed, I'll give Reciprocity, darling, instead, Over the Garden Wall!
Over the garden wall! MACDONALD is bound to fall. 'Tis MAC against MAC, my Canadian pet. And M'KINLEY is bound to win, you bet! So join me, dear; we'll be happy yet, Over the Garden Wall!
One day you'll jump down on the other side, Over the garden wall; There's plenty of room, and my arms are wide. Over the garden wall: JOHNNY may jib, and Sir JOHN may kick, I have an impression I'll lick them—slick; So come like a darling and join me quick, Over the Garden Wall!
Over the garden wall! Dollars, dear, rule us all. Patriot sentiment's pretty, and yet Interest sways in the end, you bet! MERCIER's right; so pop, my pet, Over the Garden Wall!
Where there's a will there's always a way, Over the garden wall! MACDONALD's a Boss, but he's had his day, Over the garden wall! Tariffs take money, but weddings are cheap, So wait till old JOHNNY is snoring asleep, Then give him the slip, and to JONATHAN creep. Over the Garden Wall!
Over the garden wall! Your "Grand Old Man" may squall, And swear Miss CANADA's loyal yet. But loyalty bows to Dollars—you bet! 'Tis time our lips in union met Over the Garden Wall!
[Left twangling seductively.
* * * * *
DOMESTIC SERVICE.—My General Servant has just left me suddenly, on the ridiculous excuse that she was being "killed by overwork." She was not required to rise before 5 A.M., and she was generally in bed by twelve. Our house is not large, though rather lofty, and there are only fifteen in family. Of course I shall not pay her any wages, and shall retain her boxes; but how can I really punish her for her shameful desertion?—CONSIDERATE.
HAIR FALLING OFF.—My hair is coming off, not slowly, but in one great circular patch at the top of the head. A malicious report has in consequence been spread abroad in the neighbourhood that I have been scalped! What course ought I to adopt to (1) recover damages against my traducers, and (2) recover my hair?—LITTLE WOOL.
* * * * *
THE LIGHTS O' LONDON.
"The first practical constructive step towards lighting the City of London by means of electricity, was taken yesterday (Feb. 3), when the LORD MAYOR placed in position the first stone of the main junction-box for the electric conductors, at the top of Walbrook, close under the shadow of the western walls of the Mansion House."—Times.
Mr. William Sikes, Junior, loquitur:—
Well, I ham blowed! I say, look 'ere, you NANCY! Old Gog and Magog is woke up at last! Goin' to hilluminate the City. Fancy!! When this yer 'Lectric light is fairly cast On every nook and corner, hole and entry Of London, you and me is done, to-rights. A Slop at every street-end standin' sentry, Won't spile our game like lots o' 'Lectric Lights.
The Lights o' London? Yah! That's bin all boko. Were London lighted, how could you and me Garotte a swell, or give a tight 'un toko? We ain't got arf a chance where coves can see. 'Tis darkness plays our game, and we've 'ad plenty, But this means mischief, or my name ain't BILL. Wy, not one pooty little plant in twenty Could we pull orf if light spiled pluck and skill.
It's beastly, NAN, that's wot it is. Wy, blimy, Narrer ill-lighted streets is our best friends. Yer dingy nooks and slums, sombre and slimy, Is gifts wot Prowidence most kyindly sends To give hus chaps a chance of perks and pickins; But if the Town's chock-full of "arc" and "glow," With you and me, NAN, it will play the dickens. We must turn 'onest, NAN, and that's no go!
'Ang Science! Ile lamps and old Charlies—bless 'em!— Wos good for trade, our trade. Ah! if my dad Could see 'ow Larnin', Law, and Light oppress 'em, Our good old cracksmen-gangs, he'd go stark mad. As for the Hartful Dodger and old Fagin, Ah! they're well hout of it. Wot could they do With Science and her bloomin' fireworks plaguin' Their hartfullest little games the whole Town through?
Our only 'ope, my NAN, is in the Noodles, There's still some left in London I'll be bound. To lurk a crib, prig wipes, sneak ladies' poodles, Gits 'arder every day; we're watched all round. Many a programme wot looks vastly pooty, Mucked by the mugs, leads on to wus and wus. But if they do light up the dim, cramped, sooty. Gog-ruled old Town—wot's to become of hus?
* * * * *
MOST APPROPRIATE.—The Bishop of DURHAM has appointed Mr. T. DIBDIN Chancellor of the Diocese of Durham. He already holds the Chancellorships of Exeter and Rochester. Three Chancellorships, all on the high sees too! "THOMAS DIBDIN" is the right man in the right place.
* * * * *
PROVERB "UP TO DATE."—"Cumming events cast their shadows before." And let's hope the shadows will be speedily dispelled.
* * * * *
HOW IT'S DONE.
(A HANDBOOK TO HONESTY.)
NO. VIII.-"SOLD AGAIN!"
SCENE—An Auction-room, breathing an air of solid, if somewhat Philistinish suburban comfort and respectability. Amidst a labyrinthine accumulation of household furniture, a number of people are dispersed, many of them substantial-looking middle-class male and female "buyers," with lists and lead-pencils, on the look-out for "bargains," a sprinkling of the ancient race, and an outer fringe of casual, lounging, lookers-on. The gentleman in the rostrum is a voluble personage, with a rapidly roving eye, of preternatural quickness in picking up "bids." Attendants, shaggy men, in soiled shirt-sleeves, with saw-dusty whiskers, and husky voices. A pleasant-faced Paterfamilias, and his "Good lady," are discovered inspecting a solidly-built, well-seasoned, age-toned chest of mahogany drawers.
Paterfamilias (sotto voce). Just what you want, my dear, as far as I can see. What do you think?
Materfamilias. I like the look of them much, JOHN. None of your new, cheap, thinly-veneered, blown-together rubbish, smelling of shavings and French-polish. Solid ma'ogany, every bit; the drawers run as smoothly as could be wished, and—see! if there ain't actually some sprigs of dry lavender still a laying in 'em!
Paterfamilias (decidedly). Just so, my dear, I shall certainly bid for them. [Marks his catalogue vigorously.
Auctioneer (dropping his hammer smartly). Sold! Remove the first-class feather-bed, SAM. Buyer o' that has a bargain! (Nodding blandly to pleased purchaser). Really the prices at which things are going to-night are ruinous! 'Owever, there's no reserve, and the lucky public gets the pull. The next article, Ladies and Gents, No. 471, is a very superior, well-made, fully-seasoned, solid Spanish, ma'ogany chest of drawers. Chest o' drawers, SAM! (To Paterfamilias.) Would you mind standing a inch or so aside, Sir? Thanks! There they are, Ladies and Gentlemen, open to hinspection, and warranted to bear it. An unusually excellent lot, fit for the sleeping-apartment of a prince, at a price within the means of a pork-butcher. (Laughter.) Oh, it's righteous, Gents. No 'umbug about me. There's quality, if you like. Well worth a ten-pun note. What shall I have the pleasure of saying for this very superior article? 'Ow much for the chest o' drawers? Who bids for the ma'ogany chest? Thirty shillings. Thank you, Sir! Any advance on thirty shillings? Thirty-five! And six! Thirty-five-and-six for this very desirable little lot! Worth five times the amount, Ladies, as you know! What do you think. Mum? [To Materfamilias, who smiles vaguely, and looks at her husband.
Paterfamilias. Two pounds! [Feels he has made an impression.
Auctioneer. Two pounds! (Confidentially to P.) Your good lady knows a good bit o' stuff when she sees it, Sir! Two pounds for the chest! Two pounds! Any advance on a couple o' pounds? All done at two pounds? Going at two pounds! (Meeting silence, pretends to hear another bid). Two-pun-ten! Quite right, Sir! Very foolish to lose such a superior harticle for a pound or two. Going at two-pun-ten! Larst time, two-pun ten! Going—going—g—
Paterfamilias (hastily). Two-fifteen!
Auctioneer (cheerily). Two-fifteen! (Taking other imaginary bids.) Three-pounds! Three-five! (Thank you, Madam). Three-ten! Going at three-ten! Last time, three-ten! (To Paterfamilias.) Are you going to lose it, Sir? Worth double, I assure you! Ask your good lady!
Materfamilias (aside). Bid three-fifteen, JOHN, but not a penny more!
Paterfamilias (weakly). Three-fifteen!
Auctioneer. Three-fifteen! Four! Going at four! Last time at four! All done, four! Going, going—gone! (Drops hammer.) Sold at four pounds, SAM! (Looks round.) Who bid four? [No response, as the last bid was imaginary.
Sam (huskily). Gen'l'man as bid four jest slipped hout, Sir.
Auctioneer (tartly). Tut—tut—tut! Too bad, really. Well, Sir, then I must take your bid. Sold to this Gentleman, SAM, at Three-fifteen!
[Paterfamilias, highly pleased, pays deposit, and arranges to send for his bargain in the morning. As he and his "good lady" leave, they notice close by, three men with barrows, each bearing a blazingly red and strongly-smelling chest of drawers. Materfamilias complacently remarks on the manifest superiority of the article they have purchased, to "that red rubbish." Next morning they receive, instead of their own "bargain," one of those identical brand-new, badly-made, unseasoned, thinly-veneered "shop 'uns," which are "blown together" by the gross for such purposes. They protest, but vainly, notwithstanding their true assertion that the drawers they received contain "fresh shavings" instead of the "sprigs of blooming lavender" they had observed in those they thought they had purchased. Paterfamilias, a week later, looking in at the Auction-room, sees what he could swear to be the very chest of drawers he had purchased being "sold again" in a similar fashion.
* * * * *
"MY PRETTY JANUS, OH NEVER LOOK SO SHY!"
AUGUSTUS DRURIOLANUS is greater than ever. It is the penitential season of Lent; some excellent persons renounce all worldly amusements; others, not quite so excellent, and both lots thinking, it may be, no small beer of themselves, we may term the first lot Treble Excellent and the second Double Excellent—the latter division think that concerts possibly, sacred concerts certainly, and certain other forms of mild and non-theatrical entertainments, are of a sufficiently severe character to constitute, as it were, a form of discipline. Then there are the larger proportion of those "who," as Mrs. Malaprop would say, "'care for none of these things,' like GALILEO, my dear," and who inquire. "What is the state of the odds as long as we think we're happy?" and who would indulge in balls and theatres, and in every other form of amusement, while such pursuits afforded them, or seemed, to afford them, any pleasure. To the first section, i.e., the "unco guid," DRURIOLANUS has nothing to offer, not even a course of sermons by popular preachers; but to the two others he has much to say. For these, last Saturday, he commenced the first of his series of Lenten Oratorios at Covent Garden—it was the 14th of February, and this was his Valentine—and on the 17th, i.e., the Tuesday afterwards, having made, so to speak, a clean sweep of everything serious, out he comes with his Fancy Dress and Masked Ball. Elijah the Prophet, on Saturday, in the Covent Garden Calendar, must be reckoned among the "minor profits," seeing that the biggest profit would be found in the Bal Masque on Tuesday. Over the doors should be the motto, "Festina Lente," whereof the Druriolanian translation must be, "Keep it up in Lent." Ave Janus Druriolanus!
* * * * *
OLD TIMES REVIVED.
What! when London Assurance is going off so well every night, isn't it a pity that it should go off altogether? CHARLES WYNDHAM as Dazzle is delightfully flashy, and FARREN as the old beau, Sir Harcourt, admirable. Miss MOORE charming, Mrs. BEERE bright and sparkling; BOURCHIER quite up to "the Oxonian" mark of Tom and Jerry; BLAKELEY delicious, and GIDDENS as good a Dolly Spanker as you'd wish to see. It's too good to be "taken off." Not that the piece itself is a perfect gem, but the acting! Tout est la. Oddsfish, your Majesty, CHARLES REX, Merry Monarch of the Cri, don't remove it altogether, but let us have it just once or twice a week during the season. CHARLES, "our friend," do! It's worth while, if but to see you sitting carelessly at the end of the piece in that chair, R.H., as if you didn't care for anything or anybody. Only—cut the tag and come to the Curtain.
* * * * *
THE ETHICS OF MATCH-BOXES.
BY COUNT DOLLSTOI.
(INTENDED FOR A CONTEMPORARY, BUT FOUND TO BE TOO SHORT.)
What is the true explanation of the use which people make of matches—of safety matches, wooden matches, wax matches, and, less commonly, of fusees? Ask any man why he uses such things, and he will tell you that he does it to get a light, or because others do it.
Is this true? You will probably think so. Let us examine the question. Why does a man hold his hand in front of a match when he lights it in the street? To screen it from the wind, or to hide it from the sight of passers-by? Why do ladies leave the dinner-table before the men begin to smoke? To avoid the smell of tobacco—which is well known to be aromatic, healthy, and delightful—or because the natural modesty of women shrinks from witnessing the striking of a match? Why, in a railway-carriage, do you hold your fusee out of window when you light it? Is it because you do not care about being half-choked—a paltry plea—or is it to conceal from young persons who may be in the carriage the sparkle which must inevitably remind them of wicked and alluring eyes?
"To get a light, or because others do it." Is that true? Do not trifle with the question. Read all my works. Do not get them from a contemptible circulating library, but buy them.
Some may not yet be convinced that the striking of matches is suggestive and immoral. To me nearly everything is suggestive, but there are some stupid persons in England. I will be patient with them, and give them more evidence.
A wax match is called a vesta. Who was Vesta? But this is too horrible. I cannot pursue this point in a periodical which is read in families. I can only refer you to the classical dictionary, and remind you that everything must infallibly suggest its opposite. Again, there are matches which strike only on the box. It distresses me to write these words. The idea of "onlyness," of restriction, must bring matrimony to the mind of everyone. If you do not know what I think about marriage, buy The Kreutzer Sonata. It is not customary to have more than one wife. Consequently, anything which has one in it—as, for instance, the date of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR—reminds me of marriage, and is, therefore, degrading. Why, the very word "match" suggests marriage: and yet we allow young children to sell whole boxes of them in the streets. Horrible! Do you think our lower orders would become discontented, and strike, if they had not seen matches doing it first? Still more horrible!
Finally, you strike a match that never struck you, that never offended you in any way. Is that just, or even manly? Yet, in nine cases out of ten, the law takes no notice of the offence.
"To get a light, or because others do it." Are you not convinced now that, when you use these words, you are not speaking the truth?
I do not think I ever met anybody who was quite as moral, or quite as original, as I am. You should give a complete set of my works to each of your children. I might have generalised on the ill-effects of those vices from a special case—my own case. Had I done so, I could have got it printed. I can get anything printed that I write. I preferred to take a newer line, and to show you how vile you are when you use matches. Everything is vile. But you are wondering, perhaps, how a great novelist becomes a small faddist. You must wait till next month, and then read my article on the immorality of parting one's hair with a comb. A common table-fork is the only pure thing with which one can part one's hair. Combs deaden the conscience. But more of this anon.
* * * * *
What is this the Baron reads in the D.T. of Feb. 9, and in the Daily Graphic of the same date? Here is a portion of the extract from the D.T.:—"The Monthly Meeting of that quaint Literary Society, 'Ye Odd Volumes,' at Limmer's Hotel, brought together not merely a goodly show of the Volumes themselves, but an unusually large array of visitors," and then follows the distinguished list, the crowning point being reached when we come to the name of "The Baron de BOOK-WORMS of Punch," and in the Daily Graphic the daring reporter goes a step farther, as, after giving the name of a certain honoured guest, he parenthetically explains that this academical convive is the "Baron de B.-W.!" Erreur! I, the Baron de B.-W., being of sound mind and body, hereby declare that the Baron himself was not present. And why? Well, do my readers remember the honest milk-maid's retort to the coxcomb who said he wouldn't marry her? Good. Then, substituting "me" for "you," and "he" for "she," the Baron can adopt the maiden's reply. After this, other reasons would be superfluous.
How came the reporter to fall into so great an error? Who misinformed him? A worthy henchman, as indignant as was Sam Weller when he found his beloved master's name trifled with, writes to ask me, "Ain't nobody to be whopped for takin' this here liberty, Sir?" With the immortal Mr. Pickwick, the Baron replies, "Certainly not. Not on any account." And, whatever that sturdy henchman may murmur to himself, he at once obeys. "Bring me my books!" cries the Baron, "I am off to the review."
The Baron's Deputy writes, that he has again been steeping himself in poetry, and reports as follows:—Ionica (GEORGE ALLEN) is a little volume, which no admirer of true poetry should fail to possess. The author now calls himself W. CORY, but he was known by a different name to many generations of Etonians. His Muse generally wears a classical robe, but her speech is always delightfully musical. She has beautiful cadences, that haunt the memory like some old Volkslied. In spite of a careless confusion between "thou" and "you," I defy anybody to read "Heraclitus," to take only one instance, without a sense of pleasure which will compel him to learn the two verses by heart. But the Muse is pathetic, playful, and patriotic, too, when the occasion fits, and, whatever she sings, she sings with genuine taste and feeling. Would that we might hope for more of her pure music. So far the Deputy.
Was that excentric character in David Copperfield nameless, who was represented as sitting in some sort of slop-shop, wheezing out fiercely, "O my lights and liver! O goroo, goroo!" I think DICKENS didn't give him a name, good or bad; but his constant repetition of the above outlandish exclamations has impressed upon him an awful and terrific personality, which places him among the more popular creations of Dickensian genius. Of what is this a propos? you will ask the Baron. "Well," he will make reply, "it is a propos of cookery books, and bookery cooks; the latter being those who are not above teaching themselves from the sacred books of Cookery, and who can put in practice the lessons they learn therein. Now," quoth the Baron, "let me recommend you to ask at CHAPMAN AND HALL's for Hilda's 'Where Is It' of Recipes, a work got up as simply and substantially as a good dinner should be, with 'pages in waiting,' quite blank, all ready for your notes,—the book, like a dining-table, being appropriately interleaved; and there is, happy thought, a pencil in the cover-side most handy for the intending Lucullus." The season of Lent is an excellent one for cookery-books, because you can be studying for the dinner-giving season, and then—do not forget the generally excellent advice of your friend,
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE RIVAL "JARVIES;"
OR, THE IRISH JAUNTING CAR.
AIR:—"THE LOW-BACKED CAR."
"Honest John" sings:—
When first I knew CH-RL-S ST-RT, 'Twas in a happier day, The Jaunting Car he drove in Went gaily all the way. But now the Car seems all askew, Lop-wheel'd, and slack of spring; Myself and WILL, in fear of a spill, Feel little disposed to sing, As we sit on the Jaunting Car, The drivers at open war, Seem little to care For a Grand Old Fare, As they fight for the Jaunting Car.
CH-RL-S ST-RT at one rein, Sir, And J-ST-N at the other. Give prospect small of progress In pummelling one another. As Honest JOHN my chance is gone Of helping ill-used PAT, If the Union of Hearts in Shindy starts, And the Message of Peace falls flat. WILL and I on the Jaunting Car, With the couple of Jarvies at war, Are sad to our souls, Wherefore win at the polls If we lose on the Jaunting Car?
In battle's wild commotion, With proud and hostile SM-TH, O'er Land or Tithe, our hearts were blithe, Till P-RN-LL sapped our pith. But "Mr. Fox's" lethal darts Make "Union" all my eye; Our ranks they thin (whilst our enemies grin), As right and left they fly. Though we cling to the Jaunting Car, We were better out of it, by far; Not the G.O.M.'s art Can those Jarvies part Who fight for the Jaunting Car.
I rather like this Car, Sir, With GL-DST-NE by my side; But row galore is an awful bore. When two would-be whips collide. With J-ST-N seated forninst us, To victory we might haste, But with squabbling bhoys, and a deuce of a noise, Our efforts are cut to waste. Though we're perched on the Jaunting Car, Our purpose these madmen mar, Whilst W-LL-M and I, With a tear and a sigh, Hold on to the Jaunting Car.
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PAR ABOUT PICTURES.—Messrs. J. and W. VOKINS, Great Portland Street, have an interesting loan collection of some of the Old Giants of the English Water-colour School on view. There may be found TURNER, DE WINT, WILLIAM HUNT, HOLLAND, COPLEY FIELDING, STANFIELD, MULREADY, J.D. HARDING, besides many others. How good are the Old Giants, and their works are as bright and fresh as the day they were painted. Their reputations have not faded, neither have their pictures, and moreover, they are not likely to. And so say all of us! And so says, Yours paragonically, OLD PAR.
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What is it, that, with labour skilled, Though taking full three years to build, The place of better weapons filled? The Hundred-and-Ten-Tonner!
What was it, though, that had to stoop, When fired, to putting on a hoop, Spite this, yet found its muzzle "droop"? The Hundred-and-Ten-Tonner!
And what, that matters made more hot, Such curious ammunition got, It cost L400 a shot? The Hundred-and-Ten-Tonner!
Yet, much to the tax-payer's bliss, What, firing such a sum as this. At eighteen hundred yards would miss? The Hundred-and-Ten-Tonner!
What is it, spite the First Lord's grace, That guns of better make and case At half the cost could well replace? The Hundred-and-Ten-Tonner!
So, what no more upon the deep Should JOHN BULL floating useless keep, But quickly from his Navy sweep? The Hundred-and-Ten-Tonner!
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PROPOSED TUNNEL BETWEEN ENGLAND AND IRELAND.—An Irishman observed this would bridge over a lot of difficulties; he begged pardon, he meant it would Leth-bridge them over.
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CANDOUR IN COURT.
[In Savell v. the Duke of Westminster, Lord ESHER, Master of the Bolls, said:—"It was the demands for interrogatories and discovery of documents and commissions in cases of this simple nature which had made the practice of the Common Law so expensive, and caused the public to fly from Courts of Law as from a pestilence. This oppression must be put down."]
"How does it hap," quoth ESHER, M.R., "That Solicitors languish for lack of bread? That want of cases, as felt by the Bar, To cases of want has recently led? Oh, how does it come, and why, and whence, That men shun the Law as a pestilence?
"It can't be denied that the public tries To avoid an action by every means; To a Court it with much reluctance hies, And to arbitration madly leans. In fact—I say it without offence— It shuns the Law as a pestilence.
"'Tis all the fault," said this great Law Lord, "Of demands for inspection, and similar pleas; Of expenses that neither side can afford, Commissions and interrogator-ees; Till Pelion's piled on Ossa—and hence Men shun the Law as a pestilence.
"I call it oppression, and I'm a Judge! We must put it down, for the wrong's acute; And then the public no fees will grudge, But will rush to get suited with a suit; For Law, the perfection of common sense, Should never be shunned as a pestilence!"
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KING JOHN AT OXFORD.
The Oxford University Dramatic Society have acted another Shakspearian play with conspicuous success. To say that the O.U.D.S. have acted a play of SHAKSPEARE is to say nothing, seeing that they are compelled, under fear of the most dreadful punishments known to the University Calendar, to confine their histrionic efforts to the drama as SHAKSPEARE wrote it, with an occasional excursion into the dramatic verse of BROWNING. A great many, however, of the most influential members of the Hebdomadal Council are said to view any such departure from SHAKSPEARE with alarm, as calculated to impair the discipline and sap the morality of the tender nurselings confided to their charge, and it is doubtful if the experiment will be repeated. Long live the legitimate drama, say I, and so say all of us. But, after all, it may be questioned whether those who can listen unharmed to the broad, and, if I may say so, "illegitimate" humour of Faulconbridge in King John would take much damage from SHERIDAN, or LYTTON, or TOM TAYLOR, or even—though I make this particular suggestion with bated breath—from the performance of such burlesques as the A.D.C. at Cambridge from time to time offers to its patrons.
All this is, however, by the way. We must take the O.U.D.S. as we find it, and I must confess I found it in a very strong and flourishing condition during the performance of King John. The audience is not an easy one to act to. Not that it errs on the side of over-criticism. Rather it is too painfully friendly and familiar with the actors. Here is a stray example culled from the Stalls:—
Enter King PHILIP, the DAUPHIN, and attendant Knights.
Undergraduate in the Stalls (to his Neighbour). Halloa! There's old Johnnie in chain armour and a helmet. Did you ever see such a rum 'un? Let's make him laugh.
[They do, and the unfortunate Knight infects his fellow Knights at a moment when a specially stern demeanour is required.
Or again, as here:—
The DAUPHIN places his arm round the waist of the Lady BLANCH, and conducts her to the back of the stage.
Voice in the Dress Circle. Look out for the Proctor!
But in spite of these and similar exuberances, the play went well from first to last, and the enthusiasm of the audience was unbounded. It was stated on the programme that Mr. HENRY IRVING had lent the chain-mail and the tapestries. I have come to the conclusion that he lent himself as well, and then went and pretended he was his own son. At any rate, while Mr. HENRY IRVING (stated to be of New College) was declaiming as King John, I could have sworn that the impersonator of Shylock and Macbeth was walking the stage. Voice, gesture, and even mannerisms were there, toned down, of course, to suit the academic atmosphere, but manifest to all who know and love the great original. My hearty congratulations to the actor, whoever he was, on a most carefully studied and dignified rendering of his difficult part. Mr. ALAN MACKINNON, who grouped and arranged the whole of the play, was vigorous and spirited as Faulconbridge. He delivered his insults with immense force and go. The letter "r" is not an easy one for him to pronounce, but he struggled manfully with this obstacle, and after a time I got perfectly accustomed to the bold tones in which he ordered Austria to "hang a calf-skin chround those chrechreant limbs." King Philip's legs were, perhaps, too much inclined to independence, and never quite seemed to have made up their minds where they would settle down, but when once they were fixed the King was every inch a King. Little Miss MABEL HOARE made us all weep copiously as Arthur. I have kept Hubert to the last, in order to emphasise my opinion that Mr. CLARK, of New College, who acted this tender-hearted Chamberlain, carried off the chief honours of the performance. For consistent and restrained force, it would not have been easy to match Mr. CLARK's impersonation. Lady RADNOR's band was delightful, in light-blue and pink bows.
The fight in the Second Act was tremendous. Never have I seen such dreadful blows delivered with such immense vigour on any other stage. A very polite French Knight who had taken part in the combat accorded me the honour of an interview afterwards. I congratulated him, and suggested that so realistic a battle must have been long and carefully rehearsed. "Rehearsals!" he laughed; "not a bit of it. We just lace into one another's heads as hard as we can lick." For the benefit of Mr. D'OYLY CARTE and other fighting managers I have given these admirable words as they were spoken.
I had almost forgotten the ladies. There were three, Miss FFYTCHE, Mrs. CHARLES SIM, and Miss DOWSON, and they were all good—especially Mrs. SIM as Constance.
And so farewell, for the present, to the O.U.D.S. and to Oxford. I may mention, by the way, that hospitality is as extensive and port wine as abundant as ever in the neighbourhood of the High. Experto crede. Yours to a turn, A VAGRANT.
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A SOUTH-AFRICAN SENTIMENT.
(SEE PAPERS PASSIM.)
The Colossus of Rhodes as a marvel they toss us; To which we retort, our RHODES is a Colossus!
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A READY-MADE MILITARY CHAPLAIN.—"The Rev. the Dean of Battle." Evidently of the Church militant.
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THE PINK OF COURTESY, AND A TRUE BLUE.
Last week a Cambridge Graduate, a Layman, not a Reverend Don, kindly coached the Oxford Eight. The great Duke of WELLINGTON, courteously instructing the French Army how to defeat the English, would be an historical parallel. It is to be hoped that this sublime example of unselfish devotion to aquatic sport will be followed in other walks of life. We may expect to learn from the daily papers how,—
On Monday a Cabinet Council was held at Downing Street. Lord SALISBURY presided, and Mr. W.H. SMITH being indisposed, Mr. W.E. GLADSTONE (at a moment's notice) kindly consented to take his place.
On Tuesday General CAPRIVI went on leave, his place as confidential adviser to the Emperor of GERMANY being supplied during his absence by Prince Von BISMARCK.
The Czar of RUSSIA, wishing to take a short holiday in Denmark, has arranged that his place shall be supplied by Prince ALEXANDER, once of Battenberg, and late of Bulgaria. Before his return to St. Petersburg His Majesty is likely to spend some time as the guest of several leading Nihilists.
On Wednesday President CARNOT paid a long visit to General BOULANGER, with a view to submitting to that eminent statesman a scheme for the reorganisation of the French Army.
On Thursday the King of ITALY, having arranged to accompany Signor CRISPI in a yachting cruise to South America, the POPE took up his residence at the Quirinal, and presided at a National Council. Later in the day his Holiness reviewed the Roman garrison.
On Friday Mr. O'BRIEN gave a numerously attended "at home" in his new prison. Amongst those present were Mr. GLADSTONE, Lord SALISBURY, Mr. PARNELL, Mr. MCCARTHY, and Mr. TIM HEALY. It is understood that the result of this amicable meeting will be found in a spirit of reciprocity exhibited in the anti-Parnellites writing Mr. PARNELL's manifestoes for the Parnellites, and vice versa.
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QUERY BY IGNORAMUS.—From the Times' "Court Circular," Feb. 11:—"The following Ladies and Gentlemen had the honour of receiving invitations, and being received by HER MAJESTY afterwards in the Drawing Room." Well, Sir (writes our Correspondent) and where are they usually received? In the kitchen? The report doesn't mention whether it was the front or back Drawing Room.
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, February 9.—The ATTORNEY-GENERAL, with copy of Orders in his hand, casts reproachful, almost angry, glance on the harmless HOWORTH; that great diplomatist just dropped in from Arlington Street; been to see the MARKISS, and give him latest instructions as to conduct of public affairs, more especially with respect to Behring Sea, the Northampton Election, the Newfoundland Fisheries difficulty, and Assisted Education. A little fatigued with his exertions; doesn't observe WEBSTER's woful regard.
"If it hadn't been for him," ATTORNEY-GENERAL mutters, still glaring on elect of Salford, "shouldn't have to be down here now, answering these sort of questions."
No doubt HOWORTH was, though undesignedly, originator of the business. Saw in incident of Hartlepool election an opening for minimising effect. Wrapped purpose up in form of question addressed to ATTORNEY-GENERAL. Question in subtly diplomatic form insinuated against FURNESS charge of breach of Corrupt Practice Act. ATTORNEY-GENERAL, knowing that HOWORTH is the man who pulls the strings of statecraft, not only in Salford and London, but in Berlin and St. Petersburg, did not venture to decline to answer; gravely played up to his lead. Opposition laughed and cheered; saw their opening, and have since diligently filled it. Scarcely day passed since that questions on hypothetical cases, addressed to ATTORNEY-GENERAL, have not appeared on Orders. As they are moulded on HOWORTH's, which he answered fully, even genially, difficult to refuse reply. But there must be a limit to this kind of thing; reached to-day when caustic CAUSTON comes forward with request for gratuitous opinion on case submitted, involving difficult question of eligibility of Catholics for seat on Woolsack. SUMMERS, who, depressed by Irish domestic difficulty, hasn't put a question for three weeks, goaded into activity; puts down another on same subject. Mr. ATTORNEY respectfully declines to answer either. Opposition yell with derisive cheers.
Mr. ATTORNEY a man of equable temper, but this too much for him. Must find object of attack somewhere. Waited till HOWORTH had said adieu to five ladies whom he had been showing round the House. "Look here, HOWORTH," said Mr. ATTORNEY, his amiable visage clouded with unwonted wrath, "you content yourself with looking after the MARKISS, and keeping him straight, but don't you come round me any more with your confoundedly clever questions."
Business done.—Tithe Bill still on Report stage.
Tuesday.—Met JOHN MORLEY in corridor just now walking along with long stride and troubled countenance. "What's the matter?" I asked. "Is the French Revolution still troubling you, or are you in fresh difficulties On Compromise?"
"No, dear TOBY," he said; "like MARTHA, I am troubled with none of these things. The fact is, I am pining for opportunity to give battle to BALFOUR in the matter of his Government of Ireland. You remember I tabled notice of a Motion on the matter as soon as the House met in November. Then I was so anxious, so absorbed in the subject, that I forgot all about it till Brer FOX and Brer RABBIT appeared on the scene, and bid against each other for precedence. Thereupon I pulled my Resolution out of pigeon-hole; reminded OLD MORALITY of my prior claim; had it admitted, and day fixed. Should have come on last Monday, you know. Tithes Bill in hand all last week; everybody tired of it; agree there's really nothing in it; Opposition smouldering out; then suddenly, my Motion having been put down for Monday, interest in Tithes Bill swells; becomes absorbing. Couldn't possibly finish last Thursday; everyone so urgent to continue debate that House was Counted Out on Friday; yesterday was appropriated for further debate on Report stage; Thursday next is taken for Third Reading, and I'm put off till Monday."
"And who arranged all this?" I asked, with unfeigned sympathy.
"Well, it was our fellows, you know, with assistance of Irish Members. We are all so anxious to have it out with Prince ARTHUR that we made it impossible for debate on his iniquities to come on this week. TIM HEALY suddenly developed personal interest in Tithes Bill. Put down several new Clauses. So succeeded in perhaps indefinitely deferring debate on my Resolution. You know little, TOBY, of the thirst for battle. It's more exhausting than the conflict itself. You'll excuse me, I'll take another turn; to walk off the restless excitement is the only hope left for me."
And crossing his hands behind him, honest JOHN was off again, down the corridor, his red necktie gleaming in the further recesses like the lurid light of battle.
Business done.—Tithes Bill through Report stage.
Wednesday.—Marriage with Deceased Wife's Sister Bill on again. A hardy annual, carefully cultured in Commons, and regularly nipped in Lords. The speeches to-day naturally did not present any features riotously novel. HALL of Oxford (not the University, but the Brewery) seconded Motion for rejection of Bill. A beautiful speech, I thought, full of touching sentiments, delivered with much unction. His plea for the sanctity of sisterhood brought tears into eyes unused to excessive moisture. Didn't seem to have much to do with the Bill, but very touching.
"Like evening bells," I said to the Member for Sark.
"More like a barrel-organ," he responded, gruffly. "HALL has the oratorical manner of a street-preacher, and the emptiness of a tankard that a thirsty porter has held to his lips for sixty seconds. Like a skilfully-drawn glass of his own four-half, he's mostly froth; only, after all, there's something under the froth in the glass of 'HALL's Hextra,' and there's nothing beneath the sound of HALL's ambitious common-places."
SARK often says nasty things; seems in particularly disagreeable mood to-day. Even fell foul of the inoffensive Member for Crewe. WALTER MCLAREN, whilst declaring himself strongly in favour of Bill, wanted to throw it out because it didn't provide opportunity for women to marry their deceased husband's brother.
"McLAREN," snarled SARK, "is one of those typical Radicals who have no toleration. He's the sort of man who would bite off his nose to spite his face. Quiet, gentle, almost feminine, in his manner, he would think nothing of boiling you and me in molten lead if we didn't cross our t's exactly at the height he is accustomed to do, or dotted our i's at an angle which did not conform with his views. Scratch a Radical, TOBY my boy, and you'll find the Tyrant."
I'll take care to do no such thing.
Business done.—Deceased Wife's Sister Bill read Second Time by 202 Votes against 155.
Thursday.—After long period of anxiety, House to-night reassured. GEDGE, who hasn't been seen since he disappeared after obstructing passage through Committee of Tithes Bill, turned up again. Curiously regarded by House; looked for signs of privation, but no falling off visible, whether in physical contour or volume of voice. Tithes Bill during his absence has gone through Committee and Report stage. Now awaiting Third Reading. GEDGE proposed to continue his speech interrupted by stroke of Midnight, when House in Committee. Fixed himself obligingly behind GOSCHEN and HICKS-BEACH, so that they should miss nothing of his counsel, and started off. Instantly arose stormy cries for Division. GEDGE, wherever he has been, seems to have been well-fed, and kept generally in good fettle. Cheerfully accepted challenge to vocal contest. Every time he commenced sentence the boisterous chorus, "'vide! 'vide! 'vide!" rang though House. Opposition, who didn't want Bill, started it; Ministerialists, anxious to see Bill pass, took it up; a roaring, excited crowd; amid them GEDGE, grey-faced, imperturbable, with mouth wide open, shouting in the ear of the pleased CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER. Business done.—Tithes Bill read Third Time by 250 Votes against 161.
Friday.—The United Services come nobly to the front to-day, all about Nelson's Pillar in Sackville Street, Dublin. However it may be at Westminster, Irish Members can't abear obstruction at home; brought in Bill to remove Monument lower down street; long debate; towards close Admiral FIELD suddenly hove in sight; bore down on enemy.
"As humble naval officer," he roared, as through a speaking-trumpet, "I protest against addressing our immortal naval hero in the words of the Poet, saying unto him, 'Friend, go down lower.'"
General FRASER, V.C., sitting next to Admiral on Front Bench below the Gangway; bosom swelled with generous emulation; Navy attacked; duty of Army to come to its assistance. General doesn't often speak; appearances as public orator chiefly confined to responding to patriotic toast at dinners. This led him a little astray. Drawing himself up to full height, setting hands on hips, he began, in deep bass voice, "In rising to respond to this toast—" Then, remembering where he was, he executed strategic retreat, and addressed himself to SPEAKER.
Spectacle of the two veterans defending memory of NELSON deeply touched House. Nevertheless, Bill carried. Business done.—Counted Out at Half-past Seven.
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IN MONTAGU WILLIAMS' Later Leaves there is a small error, but of importance to the historian of the English Stage, which can be corrected in the next edition:—Mr. KEELEY never played Bob Mettles, and there is no such character in TOM TAYLOR's Our Clerks. Bob Nettles is one of the principal characters in To Parents and Guardians, and it was played by Mrs. KEELEY, her husband playing Waddilove. Middle-aged play-goers will remember both pieces; and in the latter, no one will forget ALFRED WIGAN as the French Tutor.
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CIVIL SERVICE NOTE.—The Directors of the Covent Garden Opera Company present their compliments to the C.S. Examiners, and trust that they will reconsider their determination to exclude the Italian language from their list of subjects. The Directors will be happy to give every facility to students during the forthcoming Opera season. Box Office now open. Reduction on taking a quantity.
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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.