OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
January 10, 1891.
MR. PUNCH'S PRIZE NOVELS.
NO. X.—THE FONDMAN.
(BY CALLED ABEL, AUTHOR OF "THE TEAMSTER.")
[The eminent Author writes to us as follows:—"How's this for a Saga? Do you know what a Saga is? Nor do I, but this is one in spite of what anybody may say. History be blowed! Who cares about history? Mix up your dates and your incidents, and fill up with any amount of simple human passions. Then you'll get a Saga? After that you can write a Proem and an Epilogue. They must have absolutely nothing to do with the story, but you can put in some Northern legends, and a tale about MAHOMET (by the way, I've written a play about him) which are bound to tell, though, of course, you were not bound to tell them. Ha, ha! who talked about thunderstorms, and passions, and powers and emotions, and sulphur-mines, and heartless Governors, and wicked brothers? Read on, my bonny boy. Vous m'en direz des nouvelles, but don't call this a novel. It's a right-down regular Saga."—C.A.]
THE BOOK OF STIFFUN ORRORS.
STIFFUN ORRORS was a gigantic fair-haired man, whose muscles were like the great gnarled round heads of a beech-tree. When a man possesses that particular shape of muscle he is sure to be a hard nut to crack. And so poor PATRICKSEN found him, merely getting his own wretched back broken for his trouble. GORGON GORGONSEN Was Governor of Iceland, and lived at Reykjavik, the capital, which was not only little and hungry, but was also a creeping settlement with a face turned to America. It was a poor lame place, with its wooden feet in the sea. Altogether a strange capital. In the month of Althing GORGON took his daughter to Thingummy-vellir, where there were wrestling matches. It came to the turn of PATRICKSEN and STIFFUN. STIFFUN took him with one arm; then, curling one leg round his head and winding the other round his waist, he planted his head in his chest, and crushing his ribs with one hand he gave a mighty heave, and clasping the ground, as with the hoofs of an ox, he flung him some two hundred yards away, and went and married RACHEL the Governor's daughter. That night he broke PATRICKSEN's back, as if he had been a stick of sugar-candy. After this he took his wife home, and often beat her, or set his mother on her. But one day she happened to mention PATRICKSEN, so he fled, cowed, humiliated, cap in hand, to Manxland, but left to her her child, her liberator, her FASON, so that she might span her little world of shame and pain on the bridge of Hope's own rainbow. She did this every day, and no one in all Iceland, rugged, hungry, cold Iceland, knew how she did it. It was a pretty trick.
This is the Isle of Man, the island of MATT MYLCHREEST, and NARY CROWE, but plenty of vultures, the island of Deemsters, and Keys, and Kirk Maughold, and Port y Vullin. Here at the Lague lived ADAM FATSISTER, the Deputy Governor, who had been selected for that post because he owned five hundred hungry acres, six hungrier sons, a face like an angel's in homespun, a flaccid figure, and a shrewd-faced wife, named RUTH. Hither came STIFFUN, to beg shelter. The footman opened the door to him, but would have closed it had not ADAM, with a lusty old oath, bidden him to let the man in. Hereupon STIFFUN's face softened, and the footman's dropped; but ORRORS, with an Icelander's inborn courtesy, picked it up, dusted it, and returned it to its owner. Shortly afterwards, STIFFUN became a bigamist and a wrecker, and had another son, whom, in honour of the Manxland Parliament, he christened MICHAEL MOONKEYS, and left him to be cared for by old ADAM, whose daughter's name was GREEBA. STIFFUN, as I have said, was a wrecker, a wrecker on strictly Homeric principles, but a wrecker, nevertheless. When storm-winds blew, he was a pitcher and tosser on the ocean, but, like other pitchers, he went to the bad once too often, and got broken on the rocks. Then came KANE WADE, and CHALSE, and MYLCHREEST, and they sang hymns to him.
"Ye've not lived a right life," said one. "Now, by me sowl, ye've got to die," sang another. "All flesh is as grass," roared a third. Suddenly FASON stood beside his bedside. "This," he thought, "is my father. I must kill him." But he restrained himself by a superhuman effort—and that was the end of ORRORS.
THE BOOK OF MICHAEL MOONKEYS.
MICHAEL and FASON were both the sons of ORRORS. They were both Homeric, and both fell in love with GREEBA, who flirted outrageously with both. These coincidences are absolutely essential in a tale of simple human passions. But, to be short, GREEBA married MICHAEL, who had become First President of the second Icelandic Republic. Thus GREEBA and MICHAEL were at Reykjavik. FASON followed, spurred by a blind feeling of revenge. About this time Mrs. FATSISTER took a dislike to her husband.
"Crinkum, crankum!" she said, "you'd have me toil and moil while you pat your nose at the fire."
"RUTH," said ADAM.
"Hoity toity!" cried she. "The house is mine. Away with you!" So poor old ADAM also set out for Reykjavik, and the boatmen cried after him, "Dy banne jee oo!" and he immediately jeeooed, as you shall hear. Last, GREEBA's six brothers packed up, and left for Reykjavik; and now that we have got all our characters safely there, or on the way, we can get on with the story. It may be mentioned, however, that Mrs. ADAM found a fever in a neglected cattle-trough. Being a grasping woman, she caught it, and took it home—and it killed her.
RED FASON meant to kill MICHAEL. That was plain. So he was tried by a Bishop and nine of his neighbours an hour or so after the attempt. And although the time was so short, all the witnesses had been collected, and all formalities completed. And FASON was dumb, but great of heart, and the Bishop condemned him to the sulphur-mines, for which he soon afterwards started with his long stride, and his shorn head, and his pallid face. Upon this the six brothers of GREEBA arrived, spread calumnies, and were believed. Their names were ASHER, JACOB, JOHN, THURSTAN, STEAN, and ROSS, but they preferred addressing one another as JOBBERNOWL, WASTREL, GOMERSTANG, BLUBBERHEAD, NUMSKULL, and BLATHERSKITE. It saved time, and made things pleasant all round. MICHAEL quarrelled with his wife, and there is no knowing what might have happened, if GORGON GORGONSEN, at the head of some Danish soldiers, had not upset the Republic, and banished MICHAEL to the sulphur-mines to join his brother.
THE BOOK OF RED FASON.
Poor ADAM arrived too late, yet he has his use in the tale, for his words to GORGON GORGONSEN were bitter words, such as the cruel old Governor liked not. And he harried him, and worried him, but without avail, for in Reykjavik money was justice, and ADAM had spent his. What availed it that a grey silt should come up out of the deposits of his memory? That was a totally unmarketable commodity in Reykjavik, as ADAM found to his cost. And in the end intending to shoot MICHAEL they shot FASON. And yet it is perfectly certain that the next chapter of this Saga, had there been a next, would have found all the characters once more in the Isle of Man. For nothing is more surely established than this: that a good (or a bad) Icelander, when he dies (or lives), goes always to the Isle of Man, and every self-respecting Manxman returns the compliment by going to Iceland. And thus are Sagas constructed. And this is the End.
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LAUNCE IN LONDON.
(SHAKSPEARE ADAPTED TO THE SITUATION.)
Enter LAUNCE with his dog.
Launce. When a poor man's cur shall cost him some thirteen shillings and sixpence within the year, look you, it goes hard; one that I brought up as a puppy; one of a mongrel litter that I saved from drowning, when three or four of his blind, breedless brothers and sisters went to it. Verily I will write to the Standard thereanent. Item—muzzle, two shillings; item—collar, under new order, two shillings and sixpence; item—engraving collar, under new order, one shilling and sixpence; item—licence, seven shillings and sixpence; total, thirteen shillings and sixpence, as aforesaid. Truly a poor man feeleth an amount like this, and hath to deny himself some necessary to preserve his affectionate companion, to wit, his dog. I have taught him, even as one would say, precisely, "thus would I teach a dog." O 'tis a foul thing when a dog cannot keep himself in all companies, but must grub for garbage in the gutter, and yap at constables' kibes! I would have, as one should say, one that takes upon himself to be a dog indeed, to be, as it were, a dog at all things. And art thou so, Crab? But verily 'tis I who have taught thee, that have also to pay for thee; and, whether the art wholly worth the cost, concerns not thee, but thy master. Thou hast of late many enemies in seats of office, and elsewhere; ministers, and scribes, and feeble folk in fidgety fear of hypothetical hydrophoby. "Out with the dog!" says one. "That cur looks mad!" says another; "Muzzle him!" says the third. "Knock me him on the head with a constable's staff!" cries the fourth; "Give him euthanasia at the Dog's Home!" suggests a fifth, with more sensibility; "Tax him, collar him, badge him, make his owner pay roundly for him!" saith the Minister of Agriculture. And they, between them, make me no more ado than whip me thirteen and six out of my pinched pocket to pay thee out of danger. How many masters would do this for their servant? Nay, I'll be sworn I have paid the fines inflicted by austere Magistrates, when thou, Crab, hast surreptitiously slipped thy muzzle, otherwise thou hadst been executed; I have "tipped" angry constables when thou hast stolen out not "under control," otherwise thou hadst suffered for't: thou thinkest not of this now! Nay, I remember the trick thou servedst me anigh the end of the year, when I had so far successfully dodged the Dog Tax for that season: did I not bid thee still mark me, and keep out of sight when the rate-collector called? When didst thou see me rush headlong upstairs and make madly for the collector's calves? Didst thou ever see me do such a fool's trick?
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AUDITORS IN WONDERLAND.
"If you please," said the Auditor of the Tottenham School Board accounts, "would you explain to me what that curious thing is that you have got in your hand?"
"With pleasure," replied the White Knight, who had recently been elected as a Member of the Board. "It's a Tellurium."
"I see that it cost the ratepayers four pounds to buy. What is the use of it?"
"Use?" said the White Knight, in mild surprise. "Oh, it's a most useful thing. A child who can't think of the right answer to a question about the stars, only has to put this thing on its head—at Examination time, you know—and it at once remembers all about it. It's got Electricity or something inside it. And the shape is my own invention."
"That's why it's called a Tellurium, then," remarked the Auditor, who could hardly help laughing, it all seemed so strange; "because, when they put it on, the children tell you the answer you want?"
"Yes; and WILLIAM TELL put an apple on his head, or on somebody else's head, and I thought the name would remind the children of that fact."
"Then the School must win an increased Government Grant, with this thing to help them," said the Auditor.
"Well," said the Knight, more despondently, "they have hardly had time to try it yet. In fact," he added, still more gloomily, "their teachers won't let them try it. But it's really an admirable idea, if it could be tried." And the White Knight fastened the curious object on his own head, whence it immediately fell with a crash upon the floor.
"It's too ridiculous!" exclaimed the Auditor, bursting into a little laugh. "I declare a Hektograph would be as useful for the children as this thing!"
"Would it?" asked the White Knight. "Does a Hektograph work well? Then we'll get one or two—several."
"And I notice," the Auditor went on, "that there is a thing called a Cyclostyle put down in the accounts. Please will you tell me what a Cyclostyle is, and what use it is for purposes of elementary education?"
"With pleasure," replied the White Knight, who seemed quite cheerful again; "it's an apparatus for catching cycles, if any should take to going round and round the room when the children are at their lessons. It does it in style, you see."
"But," said the Auditor, "it's not very likely that any cyclists would care to wheel their machines into a Board School, is it?"
"Not very likely, I daresay," the Knight answered, eagerly; "but, if any do come, I don't intend that we shall be without a machine for catching them quickly. And the plan is my own invention!"
"I should suppose it was," the Auditor observed. "I am sorry to be obliged to disallow the costs of all these inventions, but the ratepayers must not he forced to pay for fads; and, as you take such an interest in them, I am sure you won't mind, paying for them yourself. Good-day!"
* * * * *
(BORN, JANUARY, 1822. DIED, DECEMBER 26, 1890)
Helen, who fired the topmost towers of Troy, Should spare a smile for the North-German boy, Who, from a sketch of Ilium aflame, Was fired with zeal which led so straight to fame. 'Twas a far cry from that small grocer's shop To Priam's city; but will distance stop Genius, which scorns to fear or play the laggard? "The World's Desire" (as HELEN's called by HAGGARD) Might well have crowned on Ilium's windy cope, This patient follower-up of "The Heart's Hope!"
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SHOW OF THE OLD MASTERS AT BURLINGTON HOUSE.—This Exhibition opened last Saturday. It was such a peasoupy day that the Artiest of our Fine Arts' Critics couldn't get there. Old Masters, indeed! it was a good Old Foggy that prevented him from being in his place (and he knows his place too) on that occasion.
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CHRISTMAS IN TWO PIECES.
Pantomime! Pantomime!! The only DRURIOLANUS, and the only Pantomime in the Tame West. Therefore, it is almost a duty, let alone a pleasure, on the part of Parents and Guardians to take the young gentlemen from school, schools public and private, and the young ladies freed awhile from their Governesses, to see Beauty and the Beast at Drury Lane. "Is it a good Pantomime this year?" "That," as Hamlet once observed, though at that particular moment he was not thinking of Pantomimes, nor even of his own capital little drawing-room drama for distinguished amateurs, entitled The Mousetrap, "that is the question." And Mr. Punch's First Commissioner of Theatres can conscientiously answer, "Yes, a decidedly good Pantomime." If pressed farther by those who "want to know" as to whether it's the best Pantomime he ever saw, the First Commissioner answers, "No, it is not Beauty and the Best," and he is of opinion that he must travel, in a train of thought on the line of Memory, back to the PAYNES and the VOKESES in the primest of their prime, if he would recall two or three of the very best, mind you, the very best, Pantomimes ever seen in the Tame West. For real good rollicking fun, the Pantomimes at the Surrey and the Grecian used to be worth the trouble of a pilgrimage; but it was a trouble, for the show used to commence early and end late, and indigestion was the consequence of a disturbed dinner and the unaccustomed heartiness of a most enjoyable supper.
Drury Lane Pantomime commences at 7.30, and is not over till 11.30, and yet in these four hours there rarely comes over you any sense of weariness, except perhaps when the ballets are too long. From first to last the audience is expecting something, and is ready to accept every transition from one scene to another as a change for the better. Mr. HARRY NICHOLLS and Mr. HERBERT CAMPBELL are, of course, funny to look at as the conventional proud sisters; only, as they admit in one of their duets, "it's been done before," in Cinderella, for example; and, by the way, in choosing this subject of Beauty and the Beast, all resemblance between the two stories should have been got rid of, as, up to the Ball Scene, except for the absence of the Pumpkin and the Mice, it is difficult to distinguish between the two fairy tales. But, when last I saw Cinderella, wasn't ROSINA VOKES the sprightly heroine, and her brother with the wonderful legs the Baron? I think so: but I will not be too much of a laudator temporis acti, and will be thankful that one of the youthful Commissioners thoroughly enjoyed this Pantomime, though he was not absolutely certain as to what might be the effect of ghosts and skeletons on his very little brother, aged five or six, if he were brought to see this show. For my part, had I at an early age seen these skeletons which pervade the piece, and of whom two become elongated ghosts, I should have lain awake o' nights, seen horrible reproductions on the wall by the glimmer of the fire-light (spectral rush-lights were used when I was a small boy), screamed for help, and perhaps given my own private and practical version of the Ghost Scene in Richard the Third by not leaping out of bed and shouting, "Give me another horse!" (there was only one in the nursery, and that was a towel-horse), but by putting my head under the bed-clothes and shivering with fear till my nurse returned from her supper. Such on me, your present brave First Commissioner of Theatres, was the effect of merely seeing the interior of the Blue Chamber in Skelt's Scenes and Characters, with which I used to furnish my small theatre on the nursery table.
Well, this is all private and personal, and not much about the Drury Lane Pantomime, it is true; but, as everyone will see "The Only Pantomime" (we have reached the era of the "Onlys"), and be only too delighted, what need I say more than that the libretto is written by Mr. BILL-OF-THE-PLAY YARDLEY conjointly with Mr. DRURIOLANUS AUCTOR, and I daresay it was very witty and rhythmical and poetical, though I didn't catch much of it, and the songs were neither particularly well sung, nor remarkably humorous,—one, introduced by Miss VESTA TILLY (and, therefore, for this our joint authors are not responsible, except for permitting it to be done), being a distinct mistake, and utterly out of character with the part of the Prince, as written, which she was representing. And, a propos of songs, the music of this Pantomime lacks "go." WAGNER borrowed from pantomime his notion of dramatic music to carry on the action and tell the story of serious opera; but we don't want our Pantomimes to become Wagnerian; or, at all events, as the lamented GEORGE HODDER would have said, "Let's have plenty of the 'Wag,' and none of the 'nerian.'" What he would have exactly meant by this nobody would have known, but everyone would have laughed, as he was one of those self-patented jesters at whose witticisms the company laughed first and wondered afterwards.
DRURIOLANUS MAGNUS, not content with his own special pantomime-pie and a Drama at Covent Garden, has had a finger,—only a little one, perhaps, and not the thumb, with which JOHANNES HORNERIUS extracted the plum,—in the Christmas pie at the Prince of Wales's Theatre, of which the Manager is HORATIUS SEDGERIUS.
Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, patres et matres, et tutores, if you want to know what to take your little children, your bigger children, your boys and girls to see, and what you yourselves, familiar with your THACKERAY as I take you to be, would enjoy seeing, I say emphatically and distinctly, without any evasion, reservation, or mental equivocation, "Go and see, and take them all to see, The Rose and the Ring, written by SAVILE CLARKE, with music composed for it by WALTER SLAUGHTER, put on the stage by Les deux Ajax CAROLUS and AUGUSTUS HARRIS,—Christmas CAROLUS being facile princeps at this difficult business."
There is an excellent orchestra here, playing the musical game of "follow my leader" to perfection, and kept together, as sheep, by a CROOK. Mr. HARRY MONKHOUSE is very droll in the little he has to do. Mr. SHALE's speech as the Court Painter is capitally given, but there isn't enough of it. A touch more, a few more good lines, and the speech, as a showman's speech, would have been encored. Mr. S. SOLOMON as Jenkins, the Hall Porter, is made up so as to be the very fac-simile of THACKERAY's own illustration, and to reproduce that Master's sketches with more or less exactitude has evidently been the aim of all the actors; but Jenkins has been peculiarly successful, as has also Prince Bulbo, of whom more anon. As Polly in Act the First, and General Punchikoff in the Second, Miss EMPSIE BOWMAN was delightful, and her elder sister, Miss ISA BOWMAN, made every sharp point tell, and into the gold, of which success the name of BOWMAN is of good omen: and this is almost a rhyme. The part of Prince Giglis, in the absence of Miss VIOLET CAMERON, was satisfactorily rendered by Miss FLORENCE DARLEY. Miss MAUD HOLLAND looked and acted prettily as the Princess Angelica, and Madame AMADI was quite Thackerayan in her make-up as Countess Gruffanuff. Miss ATTALIE CLAIRE entered fully into the spirit of the merry piece; her rendering of a song with the refrain "Ah! well-a-day!" being deservedly encored.
I must not forget, indeed, I cannot forget, Mr. LE HAY as Bulbo, who, not only on account of his make-up being an exact reproduction of THACKERAY's sketch, gave us as good a grotesque performance as I've seen for some considerable time. To see him on the ground after the fight, tearing his hair out in handfulls, is something that will shake the sides of the most sedate or blase, and among the audience that will crowd to see this juvenile show, there will be very few sedate (I hope) and still fewer (I am sure) blase. It is an excellent performance throughout. But, my dear Mr. CAROLUS HARRIS, one word,—when you had that capitally-arranged and highly effective scene of Bulbo going to be beheaded, why did you not carry it a bit further, and make Bulbo on the point of kneeling down, and the burlesque axe poised in the air, and then, but not till then, the moment which, like the present winter, is "critical,"—then, I say, enter the Princess with the reprieve? As it is, the effect of this dramatically grouped scene is lessened by the absence of action, and Bulbo is off the scaffold ere the majority of the audience realise the peril in which his life has been placed.
I must not forget the army of children appearing from time to time as courtiers, cooks, fairies, soldiers, who will be the source of the greatest pleasure to children of all ages, from "little Trots" upwards. Nothing in this genuinely Christmas Piece is there which can do aught but delight and amuse the young people for whom primarily it was written. Let "all concerned in this" excellent piece of Christmas merriment accept the congratulations and best wishes for crowded houses—which they are sure to be for all the Matinees—from theirs truly, MR. P.'S FIRST COMMISSIONER.
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GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT.—Sir FRANCIS SANDFORD has created a profound feeling of disappointment among all classes of society by not having added, "and Merton," to his title. "Lord SANDFORD OF SANDFORD" is weak; but "Lord SANDFORD-AND-MERTON" would have been truly noble.
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SIR JULIAN PAUNCEFOTE's reply to President BLAINE: "The point o' this here observation lies in the Behring of it." (Captain Cuttle adapted.)
* * * * *
I tried Criss-Cross Lovers the other day, a Novel, in two or three vols., I don't remember which; but those may ascertain who are not choked off in the first hundred pages, as was the unfortunate Baron de B.-W. He had the presence of mind to put it down in time, and, after a few moments of refreshing repose, was, like Richard, "himself again," and able to tackle quite another novel.
In the English Illustrated Magazine, for this month, I have just read a most interesting account of a visit paid by the Very Rev. Dean of Gloucester to the Trappist Monastery of La Grande Chartreuse, which, thanks to the marvellous spirit of the Order known as Chartreuse Verte or Chartreuse Jaune, is one of the Religious Confraternities not suppressed by the Anti-monkical majority in the French Government. The Baron—the umble individual who now addresses you—has himself entered within these Monastic walls, inspected the buildings, seen all the monastic practical jokes, known as "regular cells," and has come away the better for the visit, with much food for reflection and refection en route in the voiture, and with spirituous comfort in green and yellow bottles. This paper, in the New Illustrated, is well worth reading.
The Baron has for some weeks had on his table, Golden Lines; The Story of a Woman's Courage, by FREDERICK WICKS. The Baron being, as he is bound to admit, almost human, was warned off the book by its title, which seems to suggest something in the tract line. The Publishers' name (BLACKWOOD) is, however, an invariable stamp of good metal. So the Baron picked up the book, was attracted by the remarkably clever illustrations, and finally, beginning at the beginning, he read to the end. It is a novel, and one of the best published this season; and all the better for being in one stout handsomely-printed volume. The plot is constructed with rare skill, the writing is good, and the people all alive. If it is WICKS's first work (and the Baron never heard of FREDERICK before) he should go on making candles of the same kind. Their illuminating power is rare.
"What shall we play at, and how shall we play it?" The satisfactory answer to these two questions, specially important at Christmas time, will be found in Professor HOFFMANN's Encyclopaedia of Card and Table Games, published by ROUTLEDGE. Here you will learn the mysteries of "Go-Bang," "Reverse,"—and after learning the latter, you, if Nature has blessed you with a tuneful voice, will be able to sing with GEORGE GROSSMITH (if he'll let you), "See me Reverse." The motto for the Professor's book should have been the emphatic exclamation of the street Arab, "My heye! such games!"
This is the sixth year of Hazell's Annual. Whatever information you require it will be difficult not to find in Hazell, clearly and not at all Hazelly expressed. A youthful friend whose pun, says the Baron, I hereby nail to the counter, on seeing this book on my desk, observed, "Yes, I'm nuts on HAZELL." The Baron frowned, and the youth withered away, as ALICE did—not the one who went to Wonderland, but an elder ALICE, whom our old friend "BEN BOLT" remembers.
SAMPSON LOW, & CO. publish "Wild Life on a Tidal Water," by P.H. EMERSON, who gives the adventures of a house-boat and her crew on Breydon Water in Norfolk; the photo-etchings are by EMERSON and GOODALL, "and therefore," says the Baron, "All-good."
Look into Harper's for January; among the harpers, listen to M. DE BLOWITZ harping on the journalistic string—good; and, his talent having served him to a pretty tune, 'tis well he should harp on it in Harper's. The Baron hopes that M. DE B. has spent a Harpy Christmas. Allow the B. DE B.-W. to draw his friends' attention to "A Military Incident," and two other short papers, in The Cornhill. BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
P.S.—The Baron says he is not going to be let in for a disquisition on the merits of various Pocket-books; but, if asked which he affectionates most as a genuine book of pockets, and for pockets, he puts his finger to the side of his nose, and wisely replies—"Walker."
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SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.
(AT A TRIAL FOR MURDER.)
Oh, dainty product of the March of Progress, Oh, glorious outcome of the Course of Time,— The watchful, well-attired Old Bailey ogress, Still finding sweetest stimulus in—Crime!
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SEASONABLE GREETING FOR SPIRITUALISTS.—I wish you a rappy New Year!
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BUMBLE AT HOME;
OR, THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT.
"Notwithstanding the most superlative, and, I may say, supernat'ral exertions on the part of this parish," said BUMBLE, "we have not been able to—do anythink."—Oliver Twist.
Mr. Bumble, loquitur:—
GR-R-R-R!!! Old-fashioned Winter, indeed! Well, I 'ope them as talks on it relishes it! The City seems give up to snow; which I can't say it greatly embellishes it. But, really, of all the dashed imperence,—s'posing of course as they meant it,— The greatest is that of the Papers appealing to Me to pervent it!
Ah! it's a hinsolent Hage, and without no respect for Authority. The cry of them demmycrat 'owlers is all for low In-fe-ri-or-ity. Things is about bottom uppards, as far as I judges, already, And if the porochial dignity's floored, what is left to stand steady?
Progressists, indeed! Ah, I'd "progress" 'em, pack o' perposterous hasses, A regular pollyglot lot, breeding strife 'twixt the classes and masses. The masses is muck; that's my motter, as who should have learnt it more betterer? BUMBLE could hopen the heyes of them BOOTHSES, JOHN BURNSES, ancetterer. Snow? Is it me brings the snow, and the hice, and the peasoupy slushiness, Making the subbubs one slough? No! The Age is give over to gushiness. Parties as writes to the Papers is snivellers, yus, every one of 'em, Barring the few as cracks jokes, though I own as I can't see the fun of 'em. Look at "UCALEGON," now, him as writes to a cheap daily journal, Along o' the '"Orrors of 'Ampstead," as he calls hy—wot's it?—"hybernal," (Wotever that crackjaw may mean) or that fellow, "INFELIX THE"— blow it. Sech names you can't write nor yet spell, if you're not a School Board or a Poet. Talks of our "hard hide," does, "INFELIX," I'd like to lay hands upon hisn! All becos Upper 'Ampstead, it seems, is a sort of a dark ice-bound prison. No 'busses, no trams, and no cabs, no grub, and no gas, and no water! Ha! ha! Pooty picter it is, and thanks be I don't dwell in that quarter! But wot's it to do with poor Me? If he wants it himproved he had best try Them proud County-Councillor coves, not come wallopping into the Westry. Wot use, too, to talk of Wienna? Don't know where that is, and don't wanter, But, 'cording to "SNOWBOUND," their style of snow-clearing beats ourn in a canter. Ratepayers' Defencers may rave, and the scribblers may scold or talk funny, But clean streets in Winter mean this,—you must plank down a dollup more money!
Me up and be doing meanwhile? No, not if I jolly well knows it. I likes my own fireside too well to go snow-clearing, don't you suppose it. A choice between slither and slush may come 'ard on the Mighty Metrolopus, But Westrydom ain't on the job, 'owsomever they worry and wallop us. Bless yer, we've stood it before, and can stand it agen, all this fussing. My game's a swig and a smoke; as for them—they can go on "discussing."
[Shuts door, and retires to his snuggery for spirituous solace.
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE COMPOSER COMING.
We are looking forward to Ivanhoe, by Sir ARTHUR S. SULLIVAN, Mus. Doc. From what our Musical Critic has seen of the score, he is able to wink his eye wisely but not too well, and to hint that as Mr. Guppy says, "There are chords"; and to make these chords in combination, the strings are admirably fitted. There is one chord (will it be recognised as belonging to Box?) which— But, as Sir ARTHUR says, "Where will be the surprise, if your Musical Critic tells everything beforehand?" He is right, quite right, and, thank goodness, he is quite well, and not ; but the Composer is in the playfullest of humours, and laughs over his recent row with ; in fact, he was in such good spirits, that, when I wanted to hear all about it, and I told him he could either sing it or play it to me, he replied, "You !" Exactly like him, which neither of these two is. However, I'm not offended, as I said to him, or rather said and sang to him, by way of reply. My Name's , and So it is.
* * * * *
A SEMI-OFFICIAL INTRODUCTION.
[BERRY was introduced in a semi-official way, and at once said, "Good morning, Ma'am."—See Daily Papers on Mrs. Pearcy's execution.]
KING DEATH has a great Ambassador who journeys through all the land, With a cap, and a strap, and a slip-noosed rope all ready to his hand. He's a genial man with a joke for all, and a smile on his jovial face, And a grip of the hand that is frank and free when he comes to the trysting place. And, oh, when the gloomy winter night is fading into the day, He comes to the cell and is introduced in a semi-official way; With a jolly "Good morning, Ma'am," he comes, and as quick as a morning dream He has corded his living parcel and flung it across the stream.
The stream flows silently onward, and the flood seems deep and strong, And some of us pause on the hither-bank slow-footed, and linger long. But early or late we must plunge in and battle across the tide, Though the beckoning shapes look dark and grim that wait on the farther side. But they whom the King's Ambassador, or ever their race be run, Has summoned, must leave at the moment the sight of the friendly sun. He's a kindly man, with a cheerful voice, but he never brooks delay When once he has come and been introduced in a semi-official way.
And, ah, how lightly the minutes fly, that once seemed heavy as lead, And the sleeper is fitfully tossing, alone on her prison bed. At the hour of eight must the journey be, when the passing bell doth toll, And God, it may be, who is merciful, will pity a sinful soul, "Arise," they say, "for you know full well who waits at the outer gate, With sheriffs to do his bidding, behold he is come in state. The time is short, and the minutes fly, but ere we forget it, stay, We must introduce the Ambassador in a semi-official way."
* * * * *
POLITE JUDGMENT.—A correspondence has been going on in the St. James's Gazette as to what six Gentlemen seated in a first class railway carriage ought to do if a Lady insists on thrusting herself upon them. Truth says, let her stand, unless she has been invited, and adds, that anyhow she, as an extra person, is a nuisance. Mr. Punch agrees with a difference, and says that the uninvited intruder who becomes a standing nuisance ought to be put down—by somebody giving her a seat.
* * * * *
(SOLILOQUY OF SMELFUNGUS WHILST LOOKING AT THE PICTORIAL PAPERS.)
Yes, it's an ill-wind that blows nobody good, Discomfort could hardly be greater, For home-staying fogies of mollyish mood, But think of the joy of the Skater! Gr-r-r-r-! Nose-nipped antiquity squirms in the street, When the North-Easter sounds its fierce slogan; But oh, the warm flush and the ecstasy fleet Of the fellow who rides a toboggan! FISH SMART's on the job in the ice-covered fens, And at Hampstead and Highgate they're "sleighing." There is plenty of stuff for pictorial pens, And boyhood at snowballs is playing. To sit by the fire and to grumble and croak At "young fools," I presume is improper, Yet (chuckle!) the Skater sometimes has a "soak," The Sleigher sometimes comes a cropper! [Left sniggering.
* * * * *
LOST IN THE MIST OF AGES.
(EXTRACTS FROM A CRITIQUE ON AN EXHIBITION TO SUCCEED THE GUELPHIAN, IN 19—.)
No. 76. Portrait of a Warrior. This picture is described in the Catalogue as the Duke of WELLINGTON, who, it will be remembered, won, in the early part of the last century, the Battle of Waterloo, and invented a new kind of boots. The face is adorned with long black whiskers and moustaches, and an eyeglass not unlike the traditional portrait of the great W.E. GLADSTONE, Second Earl of BEACONSFIELD, as depicted by a now nearly forgotten artist, called DUNDREARY SOTHERN, or SOTHERN DUNDREARY. The Duke (if, indeed, it be the Duke) is wearing the uniform of the 3rd Middlesex Artillery Volunteers, a corps that was raised some ten years after His Grace's death, a fact that would argue that the painting was either a posthumous work, or intended to represent someone else. Accepting the alternative suggestion, the picture may hand down to posterity the features of BURDETT COUTTS (husband of the Baroness of that name), J.L. TOOLE, the popular Comedian, HENRY IRVING (his friend), the Rev. C.H. SPURGEON, or (and this is the most likely hypothesis) PRINCE GEORGE of Wales.
No. 102. Miniature of a Lady Unknown. It is impossible at this lapse of time to identify the original of this portrait. No doubt she belonged to a short-lived and somewhat degraded class known as "professional beauties." In one hand she holds an instrument called an opera-glass, which was used in the last century at trials for murder at the Old Bailey. The hair she wears on her head is evidently false, and has been supplied from some foreign peasantry. Her hat is adorned with a stuffed bird, suggestive of the cruelty of her nature. As she holds in her other hand a book labelled, "The Art of Nursing," it may be conjectured that she is a frequent visitor to the Dissecting-Room, or the Accident Ward of a London Hospital. On the whole, perhaps, it is fortunate that her name has not been preserved by succeeding generations. She must, indeed, have been a contrast to her angelic descendants of the present day.
No. 2478. An Utensil Made of Brass. This strange-looking object may have been used by our ancestors as a helmet, or perhaps as a fish-kettle. It is, perhaps, rather large for the first, and a little too thick for the second. The Catalogue describes the exhibit as "a coal-scuttle." It is impossible to verify this assertion, as coal is now only found in specimen cases at museums, and a sketch of a coal-scuttle has not been seen for the last fifty years. It is, however, interesting as suggestive of a time when the world was not heated by volcanic hot water.
* * * * *
SEASONABLE REPLY (By Our Own Politest Letter-Writer.)—This is a model for a cautious answer at this time of year to an invitation to witness an out-of-door ceremony, the laying of a first stone, &c, &c, returning to London same day:—"Dear A——, if I am (1) alive, (2) well, (3) with no urgent business, (4) in London, and if the weather is (i.) fine, (ii.) fairly warm, (iii.) likely to last so, (iv.) wind S.W., (v.) no remains of sloshy thaw, (vi.) no frost; if there are comfortable conveyances to and from station; if there is a perfectly dry spot for me to stand on, and see and hear everything, and no draughts, and if there is a good lunch in a comfortable, dry, well-aired, and warmed room, with not too many guests, and plenty of good waiters, also with dry champagne,—say Pommery '80 or '84, for choice,—then you may expect me, and I accept, with the greatest possible pleasure.
Yours ever, D. DASH."
* * * * *
* * * * *
(OMITTED FROM THE NEW YEAR'S LIST LAST WEEK.)
Sir F. LEIGHTON, Bart., P.R.A., to be raised to the Peerage as the Earl of BURLINGTON, in order to adorn the House of Lords.
Mr. HENRY IRVING, to be Lord LYCAEUM, to please Baron BEEFSTEAK.
Mr. J.L. TOOLE, to be Baron BEEFSTEAK, to satisfy Lord LYCAEUM.
Miss FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE, to be Lady REDCROSS OF GENEVA; because she earned it nearly forty years ago.
"General" BOOTH, to be Viscount BOOMON, to collect subscriptions in the House of Lords.
Sir WILFRID LAWSON, Bart., will take the title of Lord DRINKWATER. N.B.—He will always have to appear in Court suit with pumps.
Viscount WOLSELEY will he made F.R.S., F.S.A., F.R.G.S., M.D., in order to add to his collection, if he hasn't them already.
Professor NORMAN LOCKYER will receive The Garter, to place among his Stars.
Lord TENNYSON, a Second Pension from the Civil List, to augment the one granted half a century or so ago.
The Donkey of the Brothers GRIFFITHS, the Order of the Thistle.
* * * * *
Some More of Them.—THE QUEEN has been further pleased to confer the dignity of a Peerage of the United Kingdom upon—
Mr. Sheriff AUGUSTUS HARRIS, who will, on taking his seat in the Upper House, assume the title of Lord AUGUSTUS DRURIOLANUS OF LONG ACRE.
Mr. S.B. BANCROFT, who will take that of Lord HAYMARKET.
Mr. WILLIAM BLACK, who will in future be known as Lord SHEILA OF THULE.
Messrs. SWAN AND EDGAR, who will assume the dignity, respectively, under the titles of Lords PICCADILLY and REGENT's CIRCUS, and the
BEADLE OF THE BURLINGTON ARCADE, who will accept the honour with the style and title of Lord BURLINGTON OF ARCADIA.
HER MAJESTY has also been further pleased to confer the dignity of a Baronetcy of the United Kingdom on the following Gentlemen; viz., Messrs. ENO, SCOTT, BEECHAM, CARTER, LAMPLOUGH, and COCKLE.
HER MAJESTY has further been pleased to confer the honour of Knighthood on several Gentlemen greatly distinguished for their services respectively to Art, Literature, and Science, whose names, however, it is not necessary to mention, but whose labours, had they been rewarded with that financial success that attends the efforts of a pushing and advertising tradesman would, doubtless, have earned them the more becoming dignity of a Peerage.
Her MAJESTY has further been pleased to confer the dignity of a Full Knight Grand Commander of the First Class of the most exalted Order of the Sceptre of India, on—
JOHN JAMES SMITH, Esq., THOMAS JENKINS ROBINSON, Esq., and JAMES WALLOP BROWN, Esq., of the Bengal Civil Service.
And also that of an equal dignity of the same exalted Order, on His Royal Highness, GINGEREE BABIHOY, JABBERJEEHOY, the Reigning Jam of Jollipore.*
*JOHN JAMES SMITH, Esq., educated at Harrow, Commissioner of Gunenjore, 1878; Collector of Poojah, 1880; Acting-Deputy at Boorgipore, 1887, &c., &c.
THOMAS JENKINS ROBINSON, Author of The Paper Rupee. What is its Commercial Value? Sat on the Puttialah Commission in 1870. Suspended for insubordination, 1882. Removed to Gallichuddah, 1888. Part Author of The Governor-General's Goose, and who is to Cook It?
JAMES WALLOP BROWN, Esq., son of JOHN WALLOP BROWN, Esq., of The Nut-crackers, Upper Putney. Author of Brown's Digest of Synthetical Illusions! Collector of Naggerpore, 1886; Boorafoola, 1885; Chourmgee, 1886, &c., &c.
H.R.H. the Jam of JOLLIPORE, the 29th descendant in direct line from GINGER KHAN, the conqueror of the Moguls. Gave 100,000 Rupees to the foundation of the New Indian Hospital in the Mile End Road. Translator of SHAKSPEARE into the Puttialah dialect, &c., &c. Founder of the European University of Jollipore.
* * * * *
Latest Additions.—Messrs. A. & F. PEARS. To be Companions of the Bath.
"General" BOOTH. To be Knight Commander of the Bath. To enable him to deal more effectually with the "Submerged Tenth."
ZADKIEL and Old MOORE. The Most Distinguished Order of The Tinsel Star. For eminent services to Astronomy.
Mr. W.H. STEAD. The Most Honourable Order of the Golden Scoop. For his enterprise in reviewing Reviews, and gallantry in storming Magazines.
Mr. MACDOUGALL. The Order of the Free Pass. For services to Morality. Mr. O'BRIEN. The Order of Retreat. For a short period.
* * * * *
* * * * *
AT THE END OF THE YEAR.
THE FRIEND'S REPLY.
I thought your lines a great success, (You always did write rather neatly) Although I must at once confess I can't agree with you completely.
Of course I recollect quite well How long we sat and smoked together, And how our conversation fell (As fall it will) upon the weather.
Our prospects then seemed bright and fair, (Our language certainly got stronger) We built our castles in the air, And by degrees our drinks grew longer.
Yes—in the game of law BEN wins, And many guineas in he's picking, But have you heard his wife has twins, And both of them alive and kicking?
And pompous JOE, now JOE, M.P., Is doubtless pleased at growing raucous Through speaking, since he's proud to be The Member for a Tory Caucus.
Yet I'm afraid for his poor brain, That such success will surely turn it, For every speech means so much strain, Since off by heart he has to learn it!
And mazy JACK, whose chance in life, We all of us considered shady, Has married money (and a wife); But tell me—do you know the lady?
DICK's dinners, too, I'm quite aware, Are noted—yet he's far from steady, Whilst TOM's fine house in Belgrave Square Is mortgaged, so they say, already.
Life, after all, is surely more Than guineas, Belgrave Square, or dinners. Life is a race—but yet, before You curse your luck, are these the winners?
* * * * *
And so, old friend, content I jog Along, amidst life's hurry-skurry, And smoke my bird's-eye, sip my grog, Without a care or thought to worry.
* * * * *
ON THE ICE.
SCENE—The Serpentine. On the bank, several persons are having their skates put on; practised Skaters being irritable and impatient, and others curiously the reverse, at any delay in the operation.
Chorus of Unemployed Skate-Fasteners. 'Oo'll 'ave a pair on for an hour? Good Sport to-day, Sir! Try a pair on, Mum! (to any particularly stout Lady). Will yer walk inter my porler, Sir? corpet all the w'y! 'Ad the pleasure o' puttin' on your skites last year, Miss! Best skates in London, Sir!
[Exhibiting a primaeval pair.
The Usual Comic Cockney (to his Friend, who has undertaken to instruct him). No 'urry, old man—this joker ain't 'arf finished with me yet! [To Skate-Fastener.] Easy with that jimlet, Guv'nor. My 'eel ain't 'orn, like a 'orse's 'oof! If you're goin' to strap me up as toight as all that, I shell 'ave to go to bed in them skites!... Well, what is it now?
Skate-Fastener. Reglar thing fur Gen'lm'n as 'ires skates ter leave somethink be'ind, jest as security like—anythink'll do—a gold watch and chain, if yer got sech a thing about yer!
The C.C. Oh, I dessay—not me!
Skate-F. (wounded). Why, yer needn't be afroid! I shorn't run away—you'll find me 'ere when yer come back!
The C.C. Ah, that will be noice! But all the sime, a watch is a thing as slips out of mind so easy, yer know. You might go and forgit all about it. 'Ere's a match-box instead; it ain't silver!
Skate-F. (with respect). Ah, you do know the world, you do!
The C.C. Now, ALF, old man. I'm ready for yer! Give us 'old of yer 'and ... Go slow now. What's the Vestry about not to put some gravel down 'ere? It's downright dangerous! Whoo-up! Blowed if I ain't got some other party's legs on!... Sloide more? Whadjer torking about! I'm sloidin' every way at once, I am!... Stroike out? I've struck sparks enough out of the back o'my 'ed, if that's all!... Git up? Ketch me! I'm a deal syfer settin' dayown, and I'll sty 'ere! [He stays.
A Nervous Skater (hobbling cautiously down the bank—to Friend). I—I don't know how I shall be in these, you know—haven't had a pair on for years. (Striking out.) Well, come—(relieved)— skating's one of those things you never forget—all a question of poise and equi—confound the things! No, I'm all right, thanks—lump in the ice, that's all! As I was saying, skating soon comes back to—thought I was gone that time! Stick by me, old fellow, till I begin to feel my—Oh, hang it all!... Eh? surely we have been on more than five minutes! Worst of skating is, your feet get so cold!... These are beastly skates. Did you hear that crack? Well, you may stay on if you like, but I'm not going to risk my life for a few minutes' pleasure! [He returns to bank.
The Fond Mother (from bank, to Children on the ice). That's right, ALMA, you're doing it beautifully—don't walk so much! (To French Governess), ALMA fay bocoo de progray, may elle ne glisse assez—nayse par, Ma'amzell?
Mademoiselle. C'est ELLA qui est la plus habile, elle patine deja tres bien—et avec un aplomb!
The F.M. Wee-wee; may ELLA est la plus viaile, vous savvy. Look at ELLA, ALMA, and see how she does it!
Mad. Vous marchez toujours—toujours, ALMA; tachez donc de glisser un petit peu—c'est beaucoup plus facile!
Alma. Snay pas facile quand vous avez les skates toutes sur un cote—comme moi, Ma'amzell!
F.M. Ne repondy a Ma'amzell, ALMA, and watch ELLA!
Ella. Regardez-moi, ALMA. Je puis voler vite—oh, mais vite ... oh, I have hurt myself so!
Alma (with sisterly sympathy). That's what comes of trying to show off, ELLA, darling! [ELLA is helped to the bank.
A Paternal Skate-Fastener. 'Ere you are, Missie—set down on this 'ere cheer—and you, too, my little dear—lor, they won't do them cheers no 'arm, Mum, bless their little 'arts! Lemme tyke yer little skites orf, my pooties. I'll be keerful, Mum—got childring o' my own at 'ome—the moral o' your two, Mum!
The F.M. (to Governess). Sayt un homme avec un bong ker. Avez-vous—er—des cuivres, Ma'amzell?
The P.S. (disgustedly). Wot?—on'y two bloomin' browns fur tykin' the skites orf them two kids' trotters! I want a shellin' orf o' you fur that job, I do ... "Not another penny"? Well, if you do everythink as cheap as you do yer skiting, you orter be puttin' money by, you ought! That's right, tyke them snivellin' kids 'ome—blast me if ever I—&c, &c, &c.
[Exit party, pursued by powerful metaphors.
The Egotistic Skater (in charge of a small Niece). Just see if you can get along by yourself a little—I'll come back presently. Practise striking out.
The Niece. But, Uncle, directly I strike out, I fall down!
The E.S. (encouragingly). You will at first, till you get into it—gives you confidence. Keep on at it—don't stand about, or you'll catch cold. I shall be keeping my eye on you!
[Skates off to better ice.
The Fancy Skater (to less accomplished Friend). This is a pretty figure—sort of variation of the "Cross Cut," ending up with "The Vine;" it's done this way (illustrating), quarter of circle on outside edge forwards; then sudden stop—(He sits down with violence.) Didn't quite come off that time!
The Friend. The sudden stop came off right enough, old fellow!
The F.S. I'll show you again—it's really a neat thing when it's well done; you do it all on one leg, like this—
[Executes an elaborate back-fall.
His Friend. You seem to do most of it on no legs at all, old chap!
The F.S. Haven't practised it lately, that's all. Now here's a figure I invented myself. "The Swooping Hawk" I call it.
His Friend (unkindly—as the F.S. comes down in the form of a St. Andrew's Cross). Y-yes. More like a Spread Eagle though, ain't it?
A Pretty Girl (to Mr. ACKMEY, who has been privileged to take charge of herself and her plain Sister). Do come and tell me if I'm doing it right, Mr. ACKMEY. You said you'd go round with me!
The Plain S. How can you be so selfish, FLORRIE? You've had ever so much more practice than I have! Mr. ACKMEY, I wish you'd look at my left boot—it will go like that. Is it my ankle—or what? And this strap is hurting me so! Couldn't you loosen it, or take me back to the man, or something? FLORRIE can get on quite well alone, can't she?
Mr. A. (temporising feebly). Er—suppose I give each of you a hand, eh?
The Plain S. No; I can't go along fast, like you and LAURA. You promised to look after me, and I'm perfectly helpless alone!
The Pretty S. Then, am I to go by myself, Mr. ACKMEY?
Mr. A. I—I think—just for a little, if you don't mind!
The Pretty S. Mind? Not a bit! There's CLARA WILLOUGHBY and her brother on the next ring, I'll go over to them. Take good care of ALICE, Mr. ACKMET. Good-bye for the present.
[She goes; ALICE doesn't think Mr. A. is "nearly so nice as he used to be."
The Reckless Rough. Now then, I'm on 'ere. Clear the way, all of yer! Parties must look out fur theirselves when they see me a comin', I carn't stop fur nobody!
[Rushes round the ring at a tremendous pace.
An Admiring Sweeper (following his movements with enthusiasm). Theer he goes—the Ornimental Skyter! Look at 'im a buzzin' round! Lor, it's a treat to see 'im bowlin' 'em all over like a lot er bloomin' ninepins! Go it, ole FRANKY, my son—don't you stop to apollergise!... Ah, there he goes on his nut agen! 'E don't care, not 'e!... Orf he goes agin!... That's another on 'em down, and ole FRANKY atop—'e'll 'ave the ring all to isself presently! Up agin! Oh, ain't he lovely! I never see his loike afore nowheres ... Round yer go—that's the stoyle! My eyes, if he ain't upset another—a lydy this time—she's done 'er skytin fur the d'y, any 'ow! and ole FRANK knocked silly ... Well, I ain't larfed ser much in all my life! [He is left laughing.
* * * * *
THE CURATE TO HIS SLIPPERS.
Take, oh take those boots away That so nearly are out-worn; And those shoes remove, I pray— Pumps that but induce the corn; But my slippers bring again, Bring again— Works of love, but worked in vain, Worked in vain!
* * * * *
Our Own First-Class Clipper sends us the following from the Manchester Guardian, Dec. 11th:—
GROCERY.—Wanted, a live Sugar Wrapper. Apply, &c.
SHOE TRADE.—Wanted, good Hand-sewn Men. Apply, &c.
DRAPERY.—Wanted, for the first three weeks in January, several Men, for sale. Apply by letter, stating experience, &c., to ——.
Would a Spirit Rapper be accepted for the first? and a man who had got a stitch in his side for the second? As for the third, there are so many people sold at Christmas time, that to provide a few men for sale would be no very difficult task.
* * * * *
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.