HotFreeBooks.com
Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 100, March 21, 1891
Author: Various
Home - Random Browse

PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 100.



March 21, 1891.



MY LADY.

She is not fair to outward view As many maidens be; (And into such a rage she flew On learning this from me;) And yet she's lovely, nay divine, Judged by her own peculiar line.

She's deeply read. She knows as much As average sixth-form boys; But not the greatest sage could touch The high, aggressive joys That imp her wing, like bird of prey, When in my dates I go astray.

Not only learning's pure serene Her soaring mind can charm; The tradesman, shrinking from a scene, Regards her with alarm, And many a 'bus conductor owns The pow'r of her metallic tones.

Contentiously content, she takes Her strident way through life, And goodness only knows what makes Her choose to be my wife. Courage, poor heart! Thy yearnings stifle. She's not a girl with whom to trifle.

* * * * *

KENSINGTON CORRESPONDENCE.

I.



Instead of the Sub-Kensington Gardens Railway scheme as proposed, why not a Sub-Serpentine Line? Start it from the South Kensington Station, District-cum-Metropolitan system, run it with one station well-underground in the middle of Exhibition Road, whence an easy ascent to the Imperial Exhibition, when passengers would come up to "carp the vital airs," then right away again, branching off left and right, thus bringing the mild Southerners into rapid, easy communication, at all reasonable hours, and at reasonable prices, with the rugged denizens of the Northern districts, East and West. If Kensington Gardens are to be touched at all—and, not being sacred groves, there is no reason why they should not be, faute de mieux—a transverse tunnelling from Kensington High Street to Queen's Road would do the trick. We will be happy to render any assistance in our power, and are,—Yours truly,

WILL HONEYCOMB, MOLE, FERRET & CO.,

(Burrow-Knights.)

II.

O sir,—Pleese don't let us ave no nasty railwaies and tunels in Kinsinton Gardins, were we now are so skludid, and the childern can play about, an no danger from nothink sep dogs, wich is mosley musseled, or led with a string, an we ain't trubbled about them, an can ave a word to say to a frend, or a cuzzin, you unnerstan, unner the treeses, so nice an quite, wich it wold not be wen disterbd by ingins, an smoke, skreeges, an steem-wizzels. O, Mr. P., don't let um do it.

Yours obeegentlee, SARA JANE, (Unner Nursrymade.)

III.

Sir,—The Railway underneath Kensington Gardens won't be noticed if only taken down deep enough below the surface. No blow-holes, of course. No disfigurement. Take it under the centre path, where there are no trees, then turn to the left outside the gate and burrow away to S. Kensington Station. I can then get across the park in three minutes for a penny; and now I have to walk, for which I haven't the time, or take a cab, for which I haven't the money.

Yours, A PRACTICAL PAUPER.

IV.

Sir,—I take this opportunity of pointing out that if anything at all is to be done with Kensington Gardens, why not make a real good Rotten Row there? That would he a blessing and a convenience. We're all so sick and tired of that squirrel-in-a-cage ride, round and round Hyde Park, and that half-and-half affair in St. James's Park. No, Sir; now's the time, and now's the hour. There's plenty of space for all equestrian wants, without interfering with the sylvan delights of nurserymaids, children, lovers of nature, and all sorts of lovers too. For my part, if this is not put forward as an alternative scheme, I shall vote for tunnelling under the Gardens out of simple cussedness. If the reply, authoritatively given, be that the two schemes can go and must go together, then I will vote for both, only let's have the equestrian arrangement first.

Yours, JOLTIN TROTT,

Mount, Street, W, Captain 1st Lights and Liver Brigade.

* * * * *

THE TRIUMPH OF BLACK AND WHITE.

"After all, the best of KEENE's life-work is to be found in the innumerable cuts which he contributed to Punch during a period of nearly forty years; and still more in the originals of these, the masterly pen-and-ink drawings which are now for the first time shown in a collected form to the Public."

So says Mr. CLAUDE PHILLIPS, in his "Prefatory Note," to the "Catalogue of a Collection of Drawings of the late CHARLES KEENE," now on view at the Rooms of the Fine Arts Society, 148, New Bond Street.

If the British Public possess that "taste for Art" and that "sense of humour" which some claim for and others deny to it, it (the B.P.) will throng the comfortable and well-lighted Gallery in New Bond Street, where hang some hundreds of specimens of the later work of the most unaffected humorist, and most masterly "Black-and-White" artist of his time. Walk up, Ladies and Gentlemen, and see—such miracles of delineation, such witcheries of effect, as were never before put on paper by simple pen-and-ink!

It is difficult to realise sometimes that it is pen and ink, and that only—all the delightful display of fresh English landscape and unsophisticated British humanity, teeming with effects of distance, hints of atmosphere, and suggestions of colour. Many a much-belauded brush is but a fumbling and ineffective tool, compared with the ink-charged crowquill handled by CHARLES KEENE. Look at "Grandiloquence!" (No. 220) There's composition! There's effect! Stretch of sea, schooner, PAT's petty craft, grandiloquent PAT himself, a nautical Colossus astride on his own cock-boat, with stable sea-legs firmly dispread, the swirl of the sea, the swish of the waves, the very whiff of the wind so vividly suggested!—and all in some few square inches of "Black-and-White!"

Look, again, at the breadth of treatment, the power of humorous characterisation, the strong charm of technique, the colour, the action, the marvellous ease and accuracy of street perspective in No. 16 ("The Penny Toy!"). Action? Why, you can see the old lady jump, let alone the frog! Fix your eye on the frightened dame's foot, and you'll swear it jerks in time to the leap of the "horrid reptile."

Or at that vivid bit of London "hoarding," and London low life, and London street-distance in "'Andicapped!" (No. 25.) Good as is the "gaol-bird," is not the wonderfully real "hoarding" almost better?

Who now can draw—or, for that matter, paint—such a shopkeeper, such a shop, such a child customer as those in "All Alive!" (No. 41), where the Little Girl a-tip-toe with a wedge of cheap "Cheddar" at the counter, comes down upon him of the apron with the crusher, "Oh, mother's sent back this piece o' cheese, 'cause father says if he wants any bait when he's goin' a fishin', he can dig 'em up in our garden!"

Are you a fisherman, reader? Then will you feel your angling as well as your artistic heart warmed by No. 75 ("The Old Adam") and No. 6 ("Wet and Dry"), the former especially! What water, what Scotch boys, what a "prencipled" (but piscatorial) "Meenister"! Don't you feel your elbow twitch? Don't you want to snatch the rod from SANDY McDOUGAL's hand, and land that "fush" yourself, Sawbath or no Sawbath?

But, bless us, one wants to describe, and praise, and purchase them all! A KEENE drawing, almost any KEENE drawing, is "a thing of beauty and a joy for ever" to everyone who has an eye for admirable art and adorable drollery. And good as is the fun of these drawings, the graphic force, and breadth, and delicacy, and freshness, and buoyancy, and breeziness, and masterly ease, and miraculous open-airiness, and general delightfulness of them, are yet more marked and marvellous. Time would fail to tell a tithe of their merits. An essay might be penned on any one of them—but fate forbid it should be, unless a sort of artistic CHARLES LAMB could take the task in hand. Better far go again to New Bond Street and pass another happy hour or two with the ruddy rustics and 'cute cockneys, the Scotch elders and Anglican curates, the stodgy "Old Gents" and broad-backed, bunchy middle-class matrons, the paunchy port-swigging-buffers, and hungry but alert street-boys, the stertorous cabbies, and chatty 'bus-drivers, the "festive" diners-out and wary waiters, the Volunteers and vauriens, the Artists and 'Arries, the policemen and sportsmen, amidst the incomparable street scenes, and the equally inimitable lanes, coppices, turnip-fields and stubbles, green glades and snowbound country roads of wonderful, ever-delightful, and—for his comrades and the Public alike—all-too-soon-departed CHARLES KEENE!

Nothing really worthy of his astonishing life-work, of even that part of it exhibited here, could be written within brief compass, even by the most appreciative, admiring, and art-loving of his sorrowing friends or colleagues. Let the British Public go to New Bond Street, and see for itself, in the very hand-work of this great artist, what he made manifest during so many years in the pages of Punch, namely, the supreme triumph of "Black-and-White" in the achievements of its greatest master.

* * * * *



The Frogs, who lived a free and easy life (As in the ancient fable) Though not quite clear from internecine strife, Fancied they were well able To do without a King. Batrachian wisdom Disdains the rule of fogeydom and quizdom, And Frogs as soon would take to bibs and corals, As ask a "King who might inspect their morals" From Jupiter. Then 'twas Juventus Mundi; The true King-maker now is—Mrs. GRUNDY, And she insisted that our modern Frogs Should have a King—the woodenest of King Logs. At first this terrified our Frogs exceedingly, And, sometimes passionately, sometimes pleadingly, They grumbled and protested; But finding soon how placidly Log rested Prone in the pool with mighty little motion, Of danger they abandoned the wild notion, Finding it easy for a Frog to jog On with a kind King Log. But in the fulness of the time, there came A would-be monarch—Legion his fit name; A Plebs-appointed Autocrat, Stork-throated, Goggle-eyed, Paul-Pry-coated; A poking, peering, pompous, petty creature, A Bumble-King, with beak for its chief feature. This new King Stork, With a fierce, fussy appetite for work; Not satisfied with fixing like a vice Authority on Town and Country Mice, Tried to extend his sway to pools and bogs, And rule the Frogs! But modern Frogdom, which had champions able, Had read old-AEsop's fable, And of King Stork's appearance far from amorous, Croaked forth a chorus clamorous Of resonant rebellion. These, upreared On angry legs, waved arms that nothing feared; King Log defending. Great CRAUGASIDES, Among batrachian heroes first with ease, With ventriloquial vehemence defied The long-beaked base usurper. At his side His fond companion, PHYSIGNATHUS swelled Cheeks humorously defiant; The ruddy giant CRAMBOPHAGUS, as tall as is a Tree, Flouted King Stork with gestures fierce and free, Sleek CALAMINTHIUS, aper deft of eld, Against the foe a pungent dart impelled; HYDROCHARIS too, (Most Terryble to view), Fared to the front, whilst smaller, yet as brave Tiny batrachian brethren, dusk of hue, PRASSOPHAGUS, PRASSOEUS, staunch and true, Webbed hands did wildly wave With the frog-host against the beaky bird— "He be our King?" they loudly cried. "Absurd!

Not Mercury, nor Jupiter we beg For a devouring despot, lank of leg, Of prying eye, and frog-transfixing beak; Though singly we seem weak, United we are strong to smite or scoff. Off, would-be tyrant, off!!!"

* * * * *

CHURCH AND STAGE.—Let no rabid Churchmen, of any school of thought, ever again take exception to the irreligious character of playhouse entertainments. Let them read the advertisement of the Lyceum Theatre in The Times for March 13:—"During Holy Week this theatre will be closed, re-opening on Saturday, March 28, with The Bells, which will also be played on Easter Monday night." Could any arrangement be more thoroughly in harmony with general ecclesiastical practice? Any liturgical student knows that the bells are played once on Holy Saturday, and that they should be played on Easter Monday is a matter of course.

* * * * *

TRACKS FOR THE TIMES.

[A Magistrate has just decided that the Police have a right to interfere with the growing practice of using the public roads of the Metropolis at night-time as running-grounds for athletes.]

I come from haunts of smoke and grime, I start in some blind alley, And race each night against Old Time Enthusiastically!

I dodge past frightened City gents, And sometimes send them flying, Which makes them cherish sentiments Not wholly edifying.

I wind about, and in and out, Along the crowded pavement, While here and there the mockers flout My costume and behavement.

I slip, I slide, I flash, I flee Amid the teeming traffic, And drivers often use to me Idioms extremely graphic.

I murmur when a Lawyer's view Absurdly tries to hinder My turning public roads into A private path of cinder.

Yet still to "spurt," agile, alert, Shall be my one endeavour; For Cits may stare, and Jehus swear, But I run on for ever!

* * * * *



* * * * *

A DIARY OF DOVER.

March, 1891.—Fearful storm in the Channel, when the Victoria is all but lost. Proposals in all the newspapers for the immediate commencement of an adequate harbour.

April, 1892.—Hurricane in the Channel, when seventeen ships are lost, and the Club Train Boat (without passengers) is carried, high and dry, as far as Amiens, by the force of the weather. Renewed suggestions for the immediate building of an adequate harbour.

May, 1893.—Cyclone in the Channel, in which the British Fleet disappears. The newspapers once more urge the immediate commencement of the proposed adequate harbour.

June, 1894.—Disaster in the Channel. Every single vessel swamped, owing to the terrific weather. Again the Press invites commencement of an adequate harbour.

July, 1895.—Members of both Houses of Parliament, invited to take part in a State function at Calais, having been put to considerable inconvenience, immediate orders are given for the prompt commencement of the much-needed adequate harbour at Dover.

August, 19—.—Proposed adequate harbour having employed the hands, night and day, of thousands of workmen, at enormous expense (owing to urgent pressure), is at length opened to the public, amidst universal rejoicing.

* * * * *

MR. PUNCH'S POCKET IBSEN.

(CONDENSED AND REVISED VERSION BY MR. P.'S OWN HARMLESS IBSENITE.)

NO. I.—ROSMERSHOeLM.

ACT I.

Sitting-room at Rosmershoelm, with a stove, flower-stand, windows, ancient and modern ancestors, doors, and everything handsome about it, REBECCA WEST is sitting knitting a large antimacassar which is nearly finished. Now and then she looks out of a window, and smiles and nods expectantly to someone outside. Madam HELSETH is laying the table for supper.

Rebecca (folding up her work slowly). But tell me precisely, what about this White Horse? [Smiling quietly.

Madam Helseth. Lord forgive you, Miss!—(fetching cruet-stand, and placing it on table)—but you're making fun of me!

Rebecca (gravely). No, indeed. Nobody makes fun at Rosmershoelm. Mr. ROSMER would not understand it. (Shutting window.) Ah, here is Rector KROLL. (Opening door.) You will stay to supper, will you not, Rector, and I will tell them to give us some little extra dish.

Kroll (hanging up his hat in the hall). Many thanks. (Wipes his boots.) May I come in? (Comes in, puts down his stick, sits down, and looks about him.) And how do you and ROSMER get on together, eh?

Reb. Ever since your sister, BEATA, went mad and jumped into the mill-race, we have been as happy as two little birds together. (After a pause, sitting down in arm-chair.) So you don't really mind my living here all alone with ROSMER? We were afraid you might, perhaps.

Kroll. Why, how on earth—on the contrary, I shouldn't object at all if you—(looks at her meaningly)—h'm!

Reb. (interrupting, gravely). For shame, Rector; how can you make such jokes!

Kroll (as if surprised). Jokes? We do not joke in these parts—but here is ROSMER.



[Enter ROSMER, gently and softly.

Rosmer. So, my dear old friend, you have come again, after a year's absence. (Sits down.) We almost thought that—

Kroll (nods). So Miss WEST was saying—but you are quite mistaken. I merely thought I might remind you, if I came, of our poor BEATA's suicide, so I kept away. We Norwegians are not without our simple tact.

Rosmer. It was considerate—but unnecessary. REB—I mean, Miss WEST and I often allude to the incident, do we not?

Reb. (strikes Taendstickor). Oh, yes, indeed. (Lighting lamp.) Whenever we feel a little more cheerful than usual.

Kroll. You dear good people! (Wanders up the room.) I came because the Spirit of Revolt has crept into my School. A Secret Society has existed for weeks in the Lower Third! To-day it has come to my knowledge that a booby-trap was prepared for me by the hand of my own son, LAURITS, and I then discovered that a hair has been inserted in my cane by my daughter HILDA! The only way in which a right-minded Schoolmaster can combat this anarchic and subversive spirit is to start a newspaper, and I thought that you, as a weak, credulous, inexperienced and impressionable kind of man, were the very person to be the Editor.

[REB. laughs softly, as if to herself. ROSMER jumps up and sits down again.

Reb. (with a look at Rosmer). Tell him now!

Rosmer (returning the look). I can't—some other evening. Well, perhaps— (To KROLL.) I can't be your Editor—because (in a low voice) I—I am on the side of LAURITS and HILDA!

Kroll (looks from one to the other, gloomily). H'm!

Rosmer. Yes. Since we last met, I have changed my views. I am going to create a new democracy, and awaken it to its true task of making all the people of this country noblemen, by freeing their wills, and purifying their minds!

Kroll. What do you mean? [Takes up his hat.

Rosmer (bowing his head). I don't quite know, my dear friend; it was REB—I should say. Miss WEST's scheme.

Kroll. H'm! (A suspicion appears in his face.) Now I begin to believe that what BEATA said about schemes—no matter. But, under the circumstances, I will not stay to supper.

[Takes up his stick, and walks out.

Rosmer. I told you he would be annoyed, I shall go to bed now. I don't want any supper. [He lights a candle, and goes out; presently his footsteps are heard overhead, as he undresses. REBECCA pulls a bell-rope.

Reb. (to Madam HELSETH, who enters with dishes). No, Mr. ROSMER will not have supper to-night. (In a lighter tone.) Perhaps he is afraid of the nightmare. There are so many sorts of White Horses in this world!

Mad. H. (shaking). Lord! lord! that Miss WEST—the things she does say! [REB. goes out through door, knitting antimacassar thoughtfully, as Curtain falls.

ACT II.

ROSMER's study. Doors and windows, bookshelves, a writing-table. Door, with curtain, leading to ROSMER's bedroom. ROSMER discovered in a smoking-jacket cutting a pamphlet with a paper-knife. There is a knock at the door. ROSMER says, "Come in." REBECCA enters in a morning wrapper and curl-papers. She sits on a chair close to ROSMER, and looks over his shoulder as he cuts the leaves. Rector KROLL is shown up.

Kroll (lays his hat on the table and looks at REB. from head to foot). I am really afraid that I am in the way.

Reb. (surprised). Because I am in my morning wrapper and curl-papers? You forget that I am emancipated, Rector KROLL.

[She leaves them and listens behind curtain in ROSMER's bedroom.

Rosmer. Yes, Miss WEST and I have worked our way forward in faithful comradeship.

Kroll (shakes his head at him slowly). So I perceive. Miss WEST is naturally inclined to be forward. But, I say, really you know— However, I came to tell you that poor BEATA was not so mad as she looked, though flowers did bewilder her so. (Taking off his gloves meaningly.) She jumped into the mill-race because she had an idea that you ought to marry Miss WEST!

Rosmer (jumps half up from his chair). I? Marry—Miss WEST! my good gracious, KROLL! I don't understand, it is most incomprehensible. (Looks fixedly before him.) How can people— (looks at him for a moment, then rises.) Will you get out? (Still quiet and self-restrained.) But first tell me why you never mentioned this before?

Kroll. Why? Because I thought you were both orthodox, which made all the difference. Now I know that you side with LAURITS and HILDA, and mean to make the democracy into noblemen, and accordingly I intend to make it hot for you in my paper. Good morning! [He slams the door with spite as REBECCA enters from bed-room.

Rosmer (as if surprised). You—in my bedroom! You have been listening, dear? But you are so emancipated. Ah, well! so our pure and beautiful friendship has been misinterpreted, bespattered! Just because you wear a morning wrapper, and have lived here alone for a year, people with coarse souls and ignoble eyes make unpleasant remarks! But what really did drive BEATA mad? Why did she jump into the mill-race? I'm sure we did everything we could to spare her! I made it the business of my life to keep her in ignorance of all our interests—didn't I, now?

Reb. You did—but why brood over it? What does it matter? Get on with your great, beautiful task, dear, (approaching him cautiously from behind), winning over minds and wills, and creating noblemen, you know—joyful noblemen!

Rosmer (walking about, restlessly, as if in thought). Yes, I know. I have never laughed in the whole course of my life—we ROSMERS don't—and so I felt that spreading gladness and light, and making the democracy joyful, was properly my mission. But now—I feel too upset to go on, REBECCA, unless— (Shakes his head heavily.) Yes, an idea has just occurred to me—(looks at her, and then runs his hands through his hair)—oh, my goodness, no—I can't.

[He leans his elbows on table.

Reb. Be a free man to the full, ROSMER—tell me your idea.

Rosmer (gloomily). I don't know what you'll say to it. It's this. Our platonic comradeship was all very well while I was peaceful and happy. Now that I'm bothered and badgered, I feel—why, I can't exactly explain, but I do feel that I must oppose a new and living reality to the gnawing memories of the past. I should, perhaps, explain that this is equivalent to an Ibsenian proposal.

Reb. (catches at the chairback with joy). How? at last—a rise at last! (Recollects herself.) But what am I about? Am I not an emancipated enigma? (Puts her hands over her ears as if in terror.) What are you saying? You mustn't. I can't think what you mean. Go away, do!

Rosmer (softly). Be the new and living reality. It is the only way to put BEATA out of the Saga. Shall we try it?

Reb. Never! Do not—do not ask me why—for I haven't a notion—but never! (Nods slowly to him and rises.) White Horses would not induce me! (With her hand on door-handle.) Now you know! [She goes out.

Rosmer (sits up, stares thunderstruck at the stove, and says to himself). Well—I—am— [Quick Curtain.

[The remaining two Acts of this subtle psychological study unavoidably held over.]

* * * * *

"KEEP YOUR HARE ON!"



In not following the advice given in the headline to this article, clever Mr. PINERO has made a mistake. Lady Bountiful with only a very little HARE is a disappointment. The majority of those who go to "Hare's Theatre" (they don't speak of it as "The Garrick") go to see the Lessee and Manager in a new part: and they go to see a lot of him: they don't ask merely for a small piece of HARE, if you please, though they might be satisfied with HARE in a small piece. Everyone goes expecting to see him in a good part in a good Comedy, his good part being equal to the better part of the whole entertainment; and if they don't so see him, they are disappointed. Why was Mr. GRUNDY's happy translation of Les Oiseaux peculiarly successful? because it was a light, fresh, and pretty piece, wherein the occasional phrase in a minor key was so artistically introduced as to be a relish to our enjoyment of the humour of the characters and of the situations; but all this would have gone for comparatively little had it not been for the excellence of Mr. HARE's rendering of the first-rate part of Goldfinch, which did not consist of occasional flashes, only to collapse and disappear in the penultimate Act, but continued right through to the end, dominating everything and everybody. This is not so with Lady Bountiful. The appearance of Roderick Heron, who is no creation of the Author's, as he admits, but merely Mr. Skimpole under another name, raises hopes at the commencement, which are blighted long before the finish. The part gutters out, as does Mr. CHARLES GROVE's John Veale, another "promise of spring." Young Mr. GILBERT HARE makes a most creditable first appearance as Sir Lucian Brent, Bart. He is easy and natural.

For the greater part of the educated audience, it might have been more useful if Sir Richard Philliter, Q.C., had gone about with an old Eton Latin Grammar in his pocket, instead of a Horace; and if Miss KATE RORKE had divided with him the quotation, "Nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapit." He, being rejected, might have commenced, "Nemo mortalium," and she might have continued, "omnibus horis;" then, both together, "sapit." Or when she had snubbed him, he might have made some telling remark about "Verbum personale," and so forth. The introduction of a quotation from Horace is likely rather to be resented than appreciated by the victims of a superior education. What a bad quarter of an hour or so Paterfamilias will have when Materfamilias asks him for the translation of these lines from Horace! Poor Pater will pretend not to have "quite caught them;" or "not been attending;" but to himself he will own how entirely he has forgotten his Latin, and perhaps he will make a good resolution to himself to "look up his Horace again." Then the learned young lady will be asked by her Mamma, or by her sharp young bothering sister, "what that Latin means," and though she might be able to construe it when she sees it, to translate it offhand at one hearing is a difficulty, and she will evade the question by saying, "Please, don't talk! I want to listen to the piece."

The youth in the Stalls, fresh from college or school, will be about as much equal to the translation offhand as is young Sir Lucian Brent when asked by Mr. CATHCART to give the meaning of the Latin on the ancient brasses in the old church, and they won't thank you for bringing school studies into playtime. On the whole, nothing is gained by this Dr. Panglossian introduction of Latin quotation; it doesn't help the action, nor emphasise a character, nor does it strengthen a situation, to bring in even the most appropriate lines which are not "in a language understanded of the people." Sir Richard Philliter, Q.C., might be known in private life to his friends as Sir HORACE DAVUS (Non Oedipus). Mr. CATHCART's Pedgrift, parish clerk and sexton, is an excellent little character-sketch, as is also that of Mrs. Hornutt, the pew-opener.

As for Mr. FORBES ROBERTSON and Miss KATE RORKE, they seemed to me to be what the author had made them—i.e., stagey. Miss DOLORES DRUMMOND, as Mrs. Veale, is very good, and Miss MARIE LINDEN, except in one stagey bit in the Third Act, plays with great care and judgment. The interior of the old country church (Act III.) is a masterpiece of scenic art and stage arrangement,—a perfect picture by Mr. W. HARFORD. I wish I could say the same of the denoument of the interrupted marriage, which strongly reminded me of a pictorial heading to some exciting chapter in a penny novelette or The London Journal. It is a very weak finish, and not strengthened or improved in any way by the line Sir Richard Philliter, Q.C., has to say, on which the Curtain descends. And what does everybody exclaim afterwards? Simply, "Why there's nothing for HARE to do in it. We thought we should see him again, and that he would come out all right at last." That's the feeling. They can't bear the idea of their favourite first-class Comedian being a sordid, swindling old villain, unless the character be exceptionally amusing. Lady Bountiful might be termed "A bald piece," because it has so little HARE.

* * * * *

THE BOAT-RACE TEN YEARS HENCE!

(WHEN NO DOUBT IT WILL BE CONDUCTED ON STRICTLY SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES.)

The crews were met together on the day fixed for the event in the Council Room of the Combined Universities Barge moored at Putney. Fifteen of the athletes wore the usual training mufti, which contrasted strongly with the garb of the sixteenth—a complete suit of flannels. "To quote our ancestors—'Why this thusness?'" asked the Camford Stroke, as he recognised one of his own men in this strange apparel.

"Why not?" replied the other; "surely we are not going to pull in tweeds?"

"We are not going to pull at all," explained the leader of the Oxbridge Eight, courteously; "I think we can manage the matter in a more satisfactory fashion. It was all very well in the Nineties to race in real earnest, but now that we have reached the Twentieth Century our civilisation teaches something better."

"Certainly!" returned the Camford Stroke; "and I think we had better get at once to business. Who has the sworn information of our respective coaches?"

"I have," replied the Hon. Solicitor to the rival Boating Clubs; "and, if you will allow me, I will produce them—or rather it, for the coaches have affirmed jointly."

All present bowing acquiescence, the man of law, putting on his spectacles, and opening a brief-bag, produced a document, and read as follows:—

"It is our opinion that Oxbridge, as the heavier crew, has an advantage over Camford, which is only lessened, and certainly not entirely removed, by the better training of the latter. Moreover, the steering of the Oxbridge coxwain is infinitely preferable to the steering of his rival. The times of the various trials, too, have in every instance given a distinct advantage to Oxbridge. Again, they have a better boat. So, given fine weather, the result is a foregone conclusion. Oxbridge must win, although no doubt Camford would make a good fight for it, and come in a respectable second."

"I suppose we may add, 'barring accidents'?" suggested the Camford Stroke, with rather a forced laugh.

"Sir!" exclaimed the Hon. Solicitor, with some severity. "In a company of gentlemen like those present, accidents always are barred!"

"Quite so," admitted the Camford champion, "and I suppose our committee of the latest Senior Wrangler and the youngest Double First have considered what I may call the atmospheric conditions under which the race would have taken place?"

"Yes, Sir, we have, and those conditions are all unfavourable to the success of Camford," was the ready reply.

"Then I think we have but one more thing to do—to give three hearty cheers for our opponents." said the Oxbridge Stroke, and a minute later the rafters rang with loud applause.

"But why shouldn't we have rowed it out?" asked the gentleman in flannels—he was a Freshman—a little later. "Surely that would have been more satisfactory."

"Not at all," was the reply. "The plan is merely a survival of the fittest!" and his answer afforded general satisfaction.

* * * * *

SHELLEY REVISED.

Most rhyming men Are cradled into poetry by fashion, And learn as formula what they print as passion.

* * * * *

The Development of Africa, by A.S. WHITE, is advertised. This is White on Black, and no player in hand. It should be immediately followed by Black on White, or Who takes the Pool? Exciting match, with one life each.

* * * * *



* * * * *

KEPT IN THE STABLE.

HEAD GROOM B-LF-R LOQ.:—

Kept in! Yes, by thunder! Be 't prudence or blunder, Gov's fondness for Tithe, or bad weather, or what, You're kept in the stable, though fit, ay, and able To lead the whole field and to win by a lot. A hunter I never bestrode half as clever! Tithe? Pooh! He's not in it, my beauty, with you. You've breed, style, and mettle, and look in rare fettle. If I had to settle, you know what I'd do!

These gentlemen-riders deem all are outsiders Save them: as if gent ever made A 1 jock! Ah! ADAM L. GORDON,[1] poor chap, had a word on Such matters. I'll warrant he sat like a rock, And went like a blizzard. Yes, beauty, it is hard To eat off your head in the stable like this. Too long you have idled; but wait till you're bridled! The hunt of the season I swear you won't miss,

It has been hard weather, although, beauty, whether 'Tis that altogether your chance that postponed, Or whether Boss SOLLY committed a folly— No matter! A comelier crack he ne'er owned, Although 'tis I say it who shouldn't. The way it Has snowed and has frozen may be his excuse; But when you're once started, deer-limbed, lion-hearted, I warrant, my beauty, you'll go like the deuce.

"A lean head and fiery, strong quarters, and wiry, A loin rather light, but a shoulder superb," That's GORDON's description of Iseult. (All whip shun When riding such rattlers, and trust to the curb.) That mare was your sort, lad. I guess there'll be sport, lad, When you make strong running, and near the last jump. And you, when extended, look "bloodlike and splendid." Ah! poor LINDSAY GORDON was sportsman and trump.

I see your sleek muzzle in front! It will puzzle Your critics, my boy, to pick holes in you then: There's howling "HISTORICUS,"—he's but a sorry cuss! WEG, too, that grandest of all grand old men; He's ridden some races; of chances and paces, Of crocks versus cracks he did ought to be judge. He sees you are speedy; when MORLEY sneers "Weedy," Or LAB doubts your staying, WEG knows it's all fudge!

We're biding our time, lad. Your fettle is prime, lad; Though we're frost-bound now, open weather must come, At least after Easter; and, beauty, when we stir. And forge to the front, lad, we'll just make things hum. In spite of much ruction concerning Obstruction, I wish—in a whisper—we'd started before, And, forcing the running, discarding all cunning, Romped in—as we will—'midst a general roar!

[Footnote 1: ADAM LINDSAY GORDON, the ardent, horse-loving Australian poet.]

* * * * *

MORE IBSENITY.

Ghosts at the Royalty. "Alas, poor Ghosts!" A shady piece. "No money taken at the doors" on this occasion, which is making a virtue of necessity. This being the case, Ghosts was, and if played again will, be witnessed by an audience mainly composed of "Deadheads." Lively this. The Critics have spoken out strongly, and those interested in this Ibsenity should read the criticisms presumably by Mr. CLEMENT SCOTT in The Telegraph and Mr. MOY THOMAS in The Daily News. Stingers; but as outspoken as they are true, and just in all their dealings with this Ibsenian craze.

* * * * *

"Les Oiseaux."—Mrs. RAM says she pities any unfortunate man whose wife has a fearful temper. She knows one such husband who quite quails before his wife, "and I'm not surprised," adds Mrs. R., "for I know her, and she's a regular ptarmigan."

* * * * *

The Coming Census.—CARLYLE said, "The population of the British Empire is composed of so many millions, mostly fools." Will the Census be taken on the First of April?

* * * * *



* * * * *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.



The Baron can highly recommend The Wages of Sin, by LUCAS MALET. "I am informed," says the B. DE B.-W., "that this is the nom de plume of an Authoress. This MALET should be Femalet." Be this as it may, the Baron, who is discretion itself, will not attempt to penetrate beyond the veil. Some of the writing is a bit tall; but thank heaven, my old aesthetic friend, "O-the-pity-of-it" occurs only once; and O the pity of it when he does so, and gives a "MAUDLE and POSTLETHWAITE" tone to the passage in question. What does "huffle" mean? (Vol. III., p. 82.) Genius has a right to create words; and when Genius does so, the very sound of the word conveys its meaning with and frequently without the context. "But I'm huffled," says the Baron, "if I understand it here." Still "huffled" is a good-substitute for strong language, when you're ruffled. Don't let the light-hearted reader be deterred by the slow pace of Volume One; but stick to it, and avoid skipping. A selfish mean cuss is the "hero," so to style him; and personally, the Baron would consider him in Society as a first-class artistic bore. The character is drawn with great skill, as are they all. The description of Mrs. Crookendon's after-dinner party is as life-like as if it were a well-staged scene in a well-written and well-cast Drama.

"I have been dipping into Country House Sketches, by C.C. RHYS," says the Baron, "and have come to the conclusion that if the author, youthful I fancy, would give himself time, and have the patience to 'follow my LEVER,' the result would be a Jack Hinton Junior, with a smack of Soapey Sponge in it." The short stories are all, more or less, good, and would be still better but for a certain cocksureness about them which savours of the man in a country house who will insist on telling you a series of good stories about himself, one after the other, until the guests in the smoking-room, in sheer despair of ever getting their turn of talking about themselves, or of turning on the tap of their own good stories, light their candles, yawn, and go pensively to bed.

My "Faithful Co." informs me that he has been reading some very excellent Sketches of England, by a "Foreign Artist," and a "Foreign Author." The latter is no less a person than the genial representative of the Journal des Debats in London, Mons. P. VILLARS. My "Co." says that, take it all round, this is one of the best books upon La Perfide Albion he has ever read. Both scribe and illustrator are evidently fond of the "Foreigners" they find in the British Isles. Mons. VILLARS, however, makes one startling assertion, which has taken my "Co," by surprise. The "Foreign Author" declares that "laughter never struck his ears." Now our Monsieur is an admirable raconteur, and if he ever told one of his capital stories to an Englishman of average intelligence, he must have heard laughter. He has also read a rather strange work called, What will Mrs. Grundy say? My "Co." declares that, considering its subject, the book, which is not without merit, might be recommended as a disciplinary exercise during Lent.

Says "Co. Junior," to the Baron, "Sir, I've just come across AUSTIN DOBSON and his Four Frenchwomen." "Hold!" cries the Baron, frowning. "No scandal." "Nay, Sir," quoth "Co. Junior," nervously. "'tis but the title of a book." "That is another thing," says the Baron, waving his hand, "proceed!" "It is about Mlle. DE CORDAY, Madame ROLAND, the Princesse DE LAMBALLE, and Madame DE GENLIS. I recommend it, Sir. Tolle, Lege! "And with a bow "Co. Junior," withdraws from the presence.

Quoth the Baron, "I was looking again into Saint Monica, just to see if I might like it any better than I did on the first occasion—which, "with me hand upon me hearrt," as Doctor O'Q. says, I cannot say I do,—when I came upon the following misprint,—"This woman, nevertheless, worshipped him as the god of her idoltary." It's a beautiful word, "idoltary," and so much better than the ordinary way of spelling it. So, after all, there is more in Saint Monica than I had expected. In fact, its chief fault is that it is too much spun out; and, just at this time, Saint Monica mustn't be associated in any sort of way with the House at Cambridge where they spin.

THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.

* * * * *

TO A DEBUTANTE.

Fair Maiden of unclouded brow Who, gaily, 'mid the gay the gayest, To England, Home, and Duty now Oblation payest.

Gay seeming,—if the milliner's Can cheer, the florist's homage sightly; And yet, unless my fancy errs, Thou shudderest slightly.

Is it a sigh for childhood's bliss, A dread of what is coming, come what May matrimonially—or is It draughty somewhat?

St. James's corridors are long As Art, as Life thy raiment brief is (Except the train, of course)—and strong Mamma's relief is.

In vulgar phrase, "Your mother knows You're out," at length. Such triumphs too dear Are sometimes purchased. I suppose She fidgets you, dear.

"The Countess!—bow, child, to the Earl!— Those terrible HYDE PARKES! Their posies Look quite too vulgar; cut them, girl. How red your nose is!

"Quick! take the powder-puff, my love— Not on your bouquet or your hair now!— Don't bungle so; you'll drop that glove— Please take more care now.

"You stoop like any bourgeoise chit. Who'd think you educated highly? No, not so stiff. Do blush a bit, And simper shyly."

Ah! Maiden fair of cloudless air. This kind of thing is hardly pleasant. Indeed, I'm thankful not to wear Thy shoes at present!

* * * * *

"THE FLOWERS THAT BLOOM, TRA-LA!"



In the Times for March 12th appeared a notice of The Spring Flower Show, wherein it was stated that a silver medal was awarded to Mr. BARR for his "pretty collections, which included the spurius Henry Irving." There's an "o" omitted, of course, but it's the same word. Who is the "spurious HENRY IRVING"? Where does this flower of the Drama flourish, away from the Lyceum Theatre? What and where does HENRICUS SPURIUS play? Does he appear in the Hare-Bells? Is he to bloom in Covent Garden? or is it, after all, only a plant? There is only one HENRICUS IRVINGUS, and he's not "spurius."

* * * * *

QUEER QUERIES.

HEALTH.—I am not an invalid, but I suffer from giddiness, a feeling of suffocation, with excruciating pains, and apparent cessation of the heart's action. I am also so nervous, that, whenever the door is opened, I begin to scream loudly. My mental feebleness finds vent in puns that have alienated my oldest friends. Could some Correspondent explain these symptoms? I do not believe in Doctors, but am taking "Soft-sawder's Emulgent Balsam of Aconitine." It does not seem to have done me much good yet, but that is probably due to my not having tried it long enough.—RATHER ANXIOUS.

* * * * *

A DANCING-ON-NOTHING GIRL.—Talk of The Dancing Girl at the Haymarket—of course people will talk—why she's nothing to the girls who dance to M. JACOBI's inimitable ballet-music at the Alhambra. Here they have a magic show, which "puzzles the Quaker;" and I don't mind admitting that I was the quaker when I saw a fair and comely young lady up in the air standing still and dancing on nothing at all! Certainly "Aerolithe" is as good as any of her marvellous predecessors, the Vanishing Girl included. As a conjuror, Mr. CARL HERTZ, who I take to be the inventor of the above illusion, is also uncommonly neat, and this "Ten o'Clock," to all lovers of the marvellous, can be recommended by

THE FACULTY FOR AMUSEMENT.

* * * * *



* * * * *

"OH, NO, WE NEVER MENTION HIM!"

[HER MAJESTY in the evening witnessed the performance of The Gondoliers, a Comic Opera, composed by Sir ARTHUR SULLIVAN, in the Waterloo Chamber, by the Savoy Theatre Company, under the management of MR. R. D'OYLY CARTE.—From the Times Court Circular, Monday, March 9.]

"A comic Opera, composed by Sir ARTHUR SULLIVAN." Quite so. But where does W.S. GILBERT come in? Let us see. After giving the programme, and after giving all the characters and the supers, the words "Dramatis Personae" occur as an after-thought, and underneath are the names of the Musical Director, Stage Manager, Wig Provider, &c., &c. Well, "W.S.G." doesn't come in here. After the highly successful performance, R. D'OYLY CARTE, says the Times C.C., "had the honour of being presented to HER MAJESTY, who expressed her warm appreciation of the manner in which the performance was conducted." Did R. D'OYLY think of mentioning that "the words" were by W.S.G.? And then it is told how D'OYLY refused to take any payment for the performance. Noble, generous-hearted, large-minded, and liberal D'OYLY! Sir ARTHUR COURTLY SULLIVAN's name was to the Bill, and so his consent to this extra act of generosity may be taken for granted. But what said Sir BRIAN DE BOIS GILBERT? By the merry-maskins, but an he be not pleased, dub me knight Samingo! Will D'OYLY be dubbed Knight? And what sort of a Knight? Well, remembering a certain amusing little episode in the more recent history of the Savoy Theatre, why not a "Carpet Knight"?

* * * * *

A MERE SUGGESTION FOR NEXT TIME.—Last Tuesday, under the heading of "To-day," the Times announced that "at the Society of Arts Mr. J. STARKIE GARDNER, as Cantor Lecturer, would discourse on 'Enamelling and Damascening,' Professor H. HERKOMER being in the Chair." Our excellent Bushian Professor was the right man in the right place, being so interested in theatrical matters; but, at the same time, wouldn't the lecture on "Damascening," or "How to Dam-a-scene," have been more suitably given at the Playwreckers' Club, with Mr. JERUMKY JERUM in the Chair?

* * * * *

SONG OF THE BELLS OF RICHMOND.—"Turn again, WHITTAKER, First Mayor of Richmond."

* * * * *



* * * * *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.

House of Commons, Monday Night, March 9.—Naval Estimates on again. Approach delayed by action of CAMERON; House been Counted Out on Friday; necessary for Government to set up Supply again; formal Motion made by JACKSON; CAMERON objects; deeply distressed to think that Government should have fallen so low as to permit Count Out. "It's really shocking," he said, "Here we are brought from our peaceful homes to London at this inclement season, to do the work of the nation. Assembled as usual on a Friday night; important business on; Ministers and their friends go off to dinner; and, it being found there are not Forty Members present, House is Counted Out at half-past eight. Night absolutely lost; Sitting criminally chucked away."

"Ah!" I said, sympathetically; "must have been very hard upon you, sternly attending to your duty whilst others gambolled in the shade. And then to be suddenly Counted Out! How many of you were there when the Count was made?"



"Well—er—you see, TOBY," said CAMERON, almost blushing; "the fact is I wasn't there myself, though that, of course, does not deter me from invoking censure on Ministers. Indeed I am not sure that the circumstance doesn't place me in a more favourable position. Outsiders, you know, see most of game. I was outside; had, in fact, comfortably gone off to dinner, expecting other people would stop to make House. But they didn't, and I feel I'm just the man to make it hot for OLD MORALITY and his friends, who ought to have been here."

Other people didn't seem to see it in quite that light. Condemnatory Motion negatived by 184 Votes against 42.

House thereupon took up Naval Estimates. Instantly Commodore HARCOURT appeared in offing; landed on Front Opposition Bench, diffusing unwonted smell of stale mussels and seaweed. Commodore looked very imposing pacing down quarter-deck towards Mace, with telescope under his arm, sou'wester pulled well over his ears, and unpolished square-toed boots rising above his knees. A blizzard outside; snow and wind; bitterly cold; but the Commodore soon made it hot all round. Fell upon JOKIM spars and sails, stem and starn. "Regularly claw-hammered him," as GEORGE HAMILTON said, drawing on naval resources for adequate adjective. Accused him of making a speech that would have become CHARLES THE FIRST. Talked about levying Ship Money; threatened a revolution; hinted at HAMPDEN, and, unrebuked by the SPEAKER, called unoffending Prince ARTHUR the "youthful STRAFFORD."

Splendid performance, only wanting an audience. But the storm inside House burst as suddenly as the blizzard without. Nobody knew that the Commodore was close-hauled, and meant business. Few present to witness the perturbed scene on the Treasury Bench:—OLD MORALITY huddled up against GEORGIE HAMILTON, who was nervously tearing sheet of paper into measured strips; JOKIM shaking in every limb, and white to the lips; Prince ARTHUR most successful of the group in maintaining his self-possession, though evidently not liking the reference to STRAFFORD. The Commodore, looking in his tarpaulins considerably more than six foot high, stormed and raged what time the snow and sleet beat a wild accompaniment on the melancholy windows.

Business done.—Commodore HARCOURT goes again on the rampage.

Tuesday.—HOWARD VINCENT rather staggered to-night. Favoured by fortune and the ballot, had secured first place for Motion on Friendly Societies. Useful thing for coming General Election to be remembered as advocate of cause of Working Man. Bestowed much care on terms of Resolution; invited Government to encourage more general voluntary provision for sickness and old age. Then adroitly dragged in the axiom that "Sound principles of provident Insurance should be included in the subjects prescribed by the Education Code for instruction in elementary schools." That meant to draw OLD MORALITY; succeeded a merveille.

"TOBY, dear boy," he said to me, half closing his eyes, and folding his arms, whilst a far-away look melted into newer softness his kindly countenance, "that reminds me of old days. Many a time have I written out in my copybook, 'Take care of your Neighbour's Pence, and your own Pounds will Take Care of Themselves.' 'Borrow an Umbrella, and put it away for a Rainy Day.' 'Half a Currant Bun is better than No Bread'; 'A Bird in a Pigeon Pie is better than three in the Bush.' Got heaps of copy-books filled with these and similar words of wisdom. HOWARD VINCENT is quite right. If there was more of this in our elementary schools, there would be, if I may say so, more men like me. You remember what Who's-This said, 'Let me write their copy-book headings, and I don't care who makes their laws.' HOWARD VINCENT is on the right tack; think we shall accept his Resolution."

So it would have been, if that eminent strategist had foregone his speech. If he had laid Resolution on the table, and said, "There you are," Government would have accepted it, and he would have had a night of triumph. But he would speak. Spoke for an hour, and utterly ruined chances of the Resolution he recommended.



HERBERT MAXWELL, put up from Treasury Bench to reply for Government, did his work admirably. After fearful fiasco with CHAPLIN last Friday, OLD MORALITY checked disposition to give young Ministers opportunity of distinguishing themselves. If MAXWELL made a mull of this, following on Friday week's catastrophe with CHAPLIN, it would be serious. MAXWELL won more than negative credit of not making mistake. He delivered excellent speech, showing complete mastery of subject.

Business done.—House Counted Out again.

Thursday.—An Irish night at last, Quite a long time since we talked of the distressful country. Wouldn't guess that Ireland was to the fore by looking at the Irish quarter. Usual when Prince ARTHUR is on his feet expounding and defending his policy for Irish camp to be bristling with contradiction and contumely. To-night only five there, including BRER RABBIT. BRER FOX promised to come, but hasn't turned up. Understood to be engaged in composition of new Manifesto. Towards midnight Prince ARTHUR, wearied of the quietude, observed that he didn't believe there was a single Irish Member present. Whereupon NOLAN, waking from sleep, under shadow of Gallery, indignantly shouted out, "What?" TANNER, just come in, roared, "Oh!" "Ah!" said Prince ARTHUR, and the conversation terminated.



Explanation of singular abstention is, that business under discussion is Vote on account of Relief of Distress in Ireland. Prince ARTHUR asks for L55,000 for that purpose; wouldn't do for Irish Members to obey their first instinct, and oppose Vote moved by Chief Secretary. If they were there, they might be expected to say, "Thank you;" so they stay away, one or two just looking in to contradict T.W. RUSSELL—"Roaring" RUSSELL, SARK calls him—when he gave an account of what he saw during a recent visit to Ireland.

Business done.—Relief voted for Irish Distress.

Friday Night.—Lo! a strange thing happened. Fell asleep just now, amid deadly dulness, depth of which no one outside House can comprehend. Woke up, hearing familiar voice. 'Twas the voice of Prince ARTHUR, I heard him complain; something about Ground-rents in London. Not, quite his subject; voice, too, didn't seem to come from Treasury Bench. But no mistaking it; same tone; same inflection. Now I come to think of it, more like way he used to talk before he came to govern Ireland. Opened eyes; looked down; behold! it was brother GERALD, opposing STUART's Motion on Land Tax. Very odd; think I'll go to sleep again.

Business done.—Slept.

* * * * *

THE SONG OF THE BACILLUS.

[Not a week passes without our hearing of a fresh agent to destroy the Bacillus.]

Once I flourished unmolested, now my troubles never cease: Man, investigating monster, will not let me rest in peace. I am ta'en from friends and kindred, from my newly-wedded bride, And exposed—it's really shameless—on a microscopic slide. Sure some philbacillic person a Society should start For Protection of Bacilli from the Doctor's baleful art.

KOCH the evil game first started, and his lymph came squirming in. But, 'twixt you and me, Bacilli did not care a single pin. We went elsewhere in the body, and it only made us roam, But it's hard, you must admit it, to be worried from your home, And methinks the hapless patient had much rather we had rest, When he finds us wildly rushing up and down his tortured breast.

Then came BERNHEIM and his dodges; his specific is to flood All the circulation freely with injections of goat's blood, That is really rather soothing, and it doesn't seem to hurt, Though they lacerate your feelings with an automatic squirt; Time will show if it's effective, but 'twill be revenge most sweet If the patients take to butting every single soul they meet.

Next fierce LIEBRIECH, quite a savage, has declared that we shall die Shattered and exacerbated by attacks of Spanish fly. We should like to ask the patient if he thinks he'll live at ease, With his system impregnated with that vile cantharides? We perchance may fall before it, waging an unequal strife, But it's any odds the patient will be blistered out of life.

Therefore, O my friends, take heart, and these indignities endure, Although every week brings news of an indubitable cure; We have lived and flourished freely ever since the world began, And our lineage is as ancient surely as is that of man; While I'll venture the prediction, as a wind-up to my song, That, despite these dreadful Doctors, we may haply live as long.

* * * * *

BLONDEL UP TO DATE.

(A FRAGMENT FROM A HISTORY OF THE FUTURE.)

And so it happened that the King was taken and imprisoned, no one knew whither. His followers, saving one, treated the matter very calmly. The exception, who was supposed to be wanting in his wits (he played on the barrel-organ), determined to do his best to rescue his Royal Master; and an idea occurred to him. He had noticed that when he performed on his musical instrument those who, perforce, were obliged to listen to him acted strangely. Some of his audiences had frowned, others had shaken their fists at him, and all had gone quickly away. Only once had a loiterer stayed behind, smiling a sweet smile, as if he were enjoying the music. To his regret, BLONDEL subsequently ascertained that the apparently charmed listener was stone deaf. So he argued that if his music had so great an effect upon the population of his native village it would work marvels in the wide world without. And thus, with a heart full of hope and courage, he started on his travels.

He wandered, turning the handle of his organ, for many a weary mile. He passed through towns, hamlets, and cities; the people put their heads out of their windows, and urged him imperiously to be gone; and as he hurried away he gazed at their faces, hoping to have seen the King, his Master, but without avail. He felt, that were His Majesty to hear his music, there would be a farther supply of language savouring rather of the dicing-house than the cathedral. But, alas! his search was in vain. At length, he reached London, and found it as silent as the grave! There were no German bands, no Niggers, not even a hurdy-gurdy! Greatly surprised, BLONDEL asked a policeman the meaning of this strange, this unlooked-for quietude!

"Strike up that organ of yours," said the constable, surlily, "and I will soon show you!"

BLONDEL turned his handle, and was immediately arrested.

"What for?" echoed the policeman; "why, for infringing the provisions of the Jacobi Street Music Prohibition Act!"

And with this brief explanation BLONDEL was carried off to prison!

* * * * *

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.

THE END

Home - Random Browse