OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
March 28, 1891.
THE G.P.O. CUCKOO.
It was a gallant Postmaster that armed him for the fray, And, oh, his eyes were gleaming as he summoned his array; To North and South the message went, to W. and E., And where, 'mid piles of ledgers, men make money in E.C.; From Highgate Hill to Putney one cry the echoes wakes. As the Postmen don their uniforms and shout aloud for RAIKES.
"Brave Postmen," spake an officer, who gazed upon the throng, "Ye tramp the streets by day and night, your hours are very long; Yet since you love the G.P.O. that thus your feet employs, We must not see you flouted by a perky pack of hoys. Swift rally round the Master who quavers not nor quakes, Our Red Knight of the Pillar-Box, the adamantine RAIKES.
"What? 'The Public want the Messengers'? We'll teach the Public sense, Which consists in looking pleasant while we pocket all their pence. Though the papers rave, we care not for their chatter and their fuss. They must keep at home their messages, or send them all through Us. And we'll crush these boy-intruders as a mongoose crushes snakes. They have sown, but we shall reap it—'tis the will of Mr. RAIKES."
* * * * *
But Punch was there, and listened, and his angry face grew red, Like the tape that RAIKES delights in, and he shook his ancient head, "RAIKES," he cried, "I doubt your wisdom, and I much incline to scorn Those who trespass on their neighbour's land, and cart away his corn. Let the man who makes the oven and laboriously bakes Take the profit on the loaves he sells, nor yield it all to RAIKES.
"You say you'll do the thing yourself: Monopoly decrees That, if boys go making honey, they must lose it, like the bees. But, oh, be warned, my Postmaster, it's not a pleasant thing To incur a bee's resentment and to suffer from its sting: And (to change my humble parallel) I like not him who takes A nest prepared by others, like the Cuckoo-Postman RAIKES!"
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SOUND AND SAFE.—We hear that Mr. W.H. GRIFFITHS is to be the new Lessee of the Shaftesbury. Years ago, to the popular inquiry, "Who's GRIFFITHS?" there was but one answer, "The Safe Man." Good omen for the Shaftesbury.
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SCENE—A Parliamentary Committee Room. Committee sitting at horse-shoe table. Bar crowded at table covered with plans, custards, buns, agreements, and ginger-beer. Huge plans hanging to walls. View in distance of St. Thomas's Hospital. East-West Diddlesex Railway Extension Bill under consideration. Expert Witness standing at reading-desk under examination.
Junior Counsel (for Promoters). You have told us that there is a cutting at Burnt House Mill, coloured red in plan—in your opinion do you think that the road passing; by Hoggsborough, coloured green, could be so diverted as to avoid the necessity of throwing a bridge over the River Crowe, coloured yellow?
Expert Witness (with great deliberation, and illustrating his remarks by references to a large plan). In my opinion I think the necessity of building a bridge over the River Crowe may be avoided by skirting the Swashbuckler Estate, and by making a new road that would cross the proposed line by a level crossing at Twaddlecomb, and ultimately reach Market Goosebury, coloured blue, by following the course of the Raisensworth, coloured black.
Junior Counsel. Thank you—that will do. [Sits down.
First Cross-Examining Q.C. (suddenly entering from another Committee Room, looking for his Junior—aside). Where on earth have we got to?
Chairman of Committee. Is this witness cross-examined?
First C.-E. Q.C. Certainly, Sir. Now I think you say that it is necessary to make a bridge over the River Crowe, coloured red in plan?
Expert Witness. No; I say that if the Swashbuckler Estate is skirted, &c., &c. [Repeats the answer he has already given.
Second Cross-Examining Q.C. (entering hurriedly, as his learned brother sits down). One moment, please. Now you say that it is absolutely necessary to pass the River Crowe, in plan coloured red, by a bridge?
Expert Witness. On the contrary, I say that if the Swashbuckler Estate, &c., &c. [Repeats his answer for the third time.
Third C.-E. Q.C. (entering hurriedly, as his predecessor resumes his seat). And now, Sir, that my learned friends have asked you their questions, I have to ask you mine. Be kind enough to say, for the benefit of the Right Hon. Chairman and the Hon. Members of the Committee, whether, in your opinion, in the construction of the proposed line, where the road reaches the neighbourhood of—(consulting plan)—Market Goosebury, coloured blue in the plan, and, as you will see, runs through the—(inspects plan closely)—Swashbuckler Estate—yes, the Swashbuckler Estate—and comes, as you will see, if you refer to the chart, near Twaddlecomb—having now sufficiently indicated the locality, I repeat, will you be kind enough to say whether, in your opinion, the necessity of building a bridge over the River Raven—(is prompted by Junior)—I should say, over the River Crowe—could be avoided?
Chairman of Committee (interposing). I would suggest that, as this question has been answered three times, the witness be excused further examination at the hands of Counsel not present at the examination-in-chief.
First C.-E. Q.C. (warmly). I consider this an infringement of the privileges of the Bar. The Right Hon. Chairman must remember that it is possible that a single reference in the examination-in-chief may only require cross-examination on the part of the Clients whom we represent. Besides, an expert witness's examination-in-chief is very seldom shaken, and all we can possibly want is a note taken by a learned friend who has acted as a Junior. All of us are occasionally wanted elsewhere.
Second C.-E. Q.C. (indignantly). Yes; and how can we attend to our Clients' interests if we are not allowed to be in two places at once?
Third C.-E. Q.C. (furiously). You have no right to act upon an old ruling that was never enforced. Why, such a regulation would ruin us—and many of us have wives and children!
[Exeunt defiantly, to return, later on, ready to brave imprisonment in the Clock Tower, if necessary, N.B.—Up to date the Tower is untenanted.
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"IN THE NAME OF THE LAW—PHOTOGRAPHS!"—MR. A. BRIEFLESS, Junr., having received a respectful invitation from some Brook Street Photographers to favour them (without charge) with a sitting, "to enable them to complete their series of portraits of distinguished legal gentlemen," regrets to say that, as he has already sat for another Firm making the same request (see Papers from Pump-handle Court), he is unable to comply with their courteous request. However, he is pleased to hear that a similar petition has been forwarded to others of his learned friends, one of whom writes to say, he "possesses a wig, and the right to wear it, but that there his connection with the Law begins and ends." Mr. A. BRIEFLESS, Junr., wishes the industrious Firm every success in their public-spirited undertaking.
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GOSCHEN CUM DIG.; OR, THE (FAR FROM) DYING SWAN.
(A LONG WAY AFTER LORD TENNYSON.)
"Were I to go further into detail, I should show you that the floodgates of (financial) abuse have been opened even to a much larger extent than I have described. We are getting into a system under which Parliament is treated, and the country is treated, to the exhibition of fictitious surpluses of revenue over expenditure."—Mr. Gladstone (at Hastings) on Mr. Goschen's Finance.
The backwater was snug and fair, And the gay Canoeist cavorted there. Thinks he, "I have built up everywhere A reputation for pluck and stay!" Amidst the reeds the river ran; Behind them floated a Grand Old Swan, And loudly did lament The better deeds of a better day; Ever the gray Canoeist went on, Making his memos. as he went.
"My foes are piqued, I must suppose, But cannot see their way to a 'Cry.'" (So mused the man with the Semite nose, As up the backwater he swept.) "What I like" (said he) "in this nook so shy, Is that I am quiet, and free as a swallow, Squaring accounts at my own sweet will. With never a fear of the Big Swan's Bill! The Swan's as quiet as though he slept. I fancy I've funked the fierce old fellow!"
The Grand Old Swan came out of his hole, Snorting with furious joy. Hidden by rushes he yet drew near, Behind the Canoeist, until on his ear Those snortings fell, both full and clear. Floating about the backwater shy, Stronger and stronger the shindy stole, Filling the startled Canoeist with fear; And the jubilant jobating voice, With menaces meaning and manifold, Flowed forth on a "snorter" clear and bold (As when a party-procession rejoice With drums, and trumpets, and with banners of gold), Until the Canoeist's blood ran cold, And over his paddle he crouched and rolled; And he wished himself from that nook afar (If it were but reading the evening star): And the Swan he ruffled his plumes and hissed, And with sounding buffets, which seldom missed, He walloped into that paddler gay (Bent on enjoying his holiday). He smote him here, and he spanked him there, Upset his "balance," rumpled his hair. "I'll teach you," he cried, with pounding pinions, "To come intruding in my dominions!" And the frightened flags, and the startled reeds, And the willow-branches hoar and dank, And the shaking rushes and wobbling weeds, And the wave-worn horns of the echoing bank, And the Grand Old Swan's admiring throng (Who yelled at seeing him going so strong) Were flooded and fluttered by that Stentor song!
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THE PROPOSED OLD ETONIAN BANQUET.—"Floreat Etona!" by all means, and may "HENRY's holy shade" never be less! But doesn't it seem rather like a contradiction in terms, for Old Etonians to sit down to an Eaten Dinner?—Yours, once removed,
A SIXTH-FORMOSUS PUER.
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* * * * *
ABOUT THE COURT.
At the Royal Court Theatre, which, as I read on the illustrated House Programme, is "Licensed by the London County Council to the Proprietors, Mrs. JOHN WOOD and Mr. A. CHUDLEIGH,"—is the LORD CHAMBERLAIN out of it in this quarter? (how can there be a Court without a Lord Chamberlain?), and, "under which king, Bezonian?" Was it in the days of The Happy Land?—but no matter. To resume. At the aforesaid Court Theatre is now being performed an original Farce, in Three Acts, written by Mr. R.R. LUMLEY. Ah! Ah! LUMLEY, this isn't quite up to your other piece, Aunt Jack. Mrs. JOHN WOOD is invaluable, and keeps the game alive throughout; while ARTHUR CECIL's Duke of Donoway—not a Comedy Duke, but a Duke in farcical circumstances—is excellent. WEEDON GROSSMITH is funny, but in make-up, tone of voice, and mannerisms, the part seems mixed up with one or two others that he has played, and is very far from being in the same category with Aunt Jack's crushed Solicitor. BRANDON THOMAS as Captain Roland Gurney, R.N., is very natural. The Office Boy of Master WILSON and the little Gridd of Master WESTGATE (very near Birchington when the boy is in Mrs. WOOD's hands), are capital. Miss CARLOTTA LECLERCQ's Duchess is equal to the occasion. The two girls' parts are unnatural and uninteresting. What ought to make the success of the piece is the scene where WEEDON GROSSMITH volunteers to sing "The Wolf," and everyone talks and chatters until the Babel ends in an explosion. It convulses the house with laughter; and if this situation had been so contrived,—as it might have been, allow me to say,—as to end the Act, the Curtain falling on the climax, the dashing down of the enraged musician's song and the exit of the Duke, the run of The Volcano would have been insured from now to Christmas. Is it too late to retrieve this? To quote the title of one of ANTHONY TROLLOPE's novels, "I say No!" There is so much that is genuinely funny in the piece, that if the alteration is done with a will, hic et nunc, why within a week the piece could be fixed securely in its place for the London season, and beyond it. Let funny little WEEDON reconsider his make-up, and come out as the flaxen-headed M.P. of a Saxon constituency. And a word in his ear,—SOTHERN fashioned Lord Dundreary out of a worse part than this. The Volcano shouldn't "bust up." That's my opinion, as
A FRIEND AT COURT.
* * * * *
A SCHOOL OF CRITICISM.
From the Queen. A Correspondent writes:—
"JOURNALISM.—I want to become a Dramatic Critic; how should I begin? I am fond of going to the theatre, but find it difficult to remember the plot of the play afterwards. What kind of notices do Editors prefer?—Histrionica."
Isn't it Mr. DAVID ANDERSON who has set up a flourishing School for Journalists? Why shouldn't there be a School for Critics? The Master would take his pupils to the Theatre regularly, and could lecture on the Play as it proceeded. Should Managers and Actors be so blind to the best interests of their Art as to refuse to allow the play to be stopped from time to time to allow of the Instructor's remarks, then he would have to wait until after each Act, and retire with his pupils into some quiet corner of the Refreshment-room, where he could give his lecture. Or teacher and pupils could hear a Scene or an Act every night,—and if they paid for their places (a reduction being made for a quantity), the particular drama they patronised would be considerably benefited by this plan.
There might be a uniform or an academic costume for these critical scholars—say Shakspearian collars, Undergraduate gown, and portable mortar-board, to fold up, and be sat upon. There might be a row reserved for them at the back of the Dress Circle, and twenty-five per cent. reduction on tickets for a series. The M.C., or Master of Critics, would take a fee for a course from each pupil. Fee to include seat at theatre, instruction, and supper afterwards.
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IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE,—"Hallo!" being the recognised telephonic summons in use between companies and individuals of all nationalities, may be already considered as "Hallo'd by a variety of associations."
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MR. PUNCH'S POCKET IBSEN.
(CONDENSED AND REVISED VERSION BY MR. P.'S OWN HARMLESS IBSENITE.)
NO. I.—ROSMERSHOeLM (CONCLUDED.)
Sitting-room at Rosmershoelm. Sun shining outside in the Garden. Inside REBECCA WEST is watering a geranium with a small watering-pot. Her crochet antimacassar lies in the arm-chair. Madam HELSETH is rubbing the chairs with furniture-polish from a large bottle. Enter ROSMER, with his hat and stick in his hand. Madam HELSETH corks the bottle and goes out to the right.
Rebecca. Good morning, dear. (A moment after—crocheting.) Have you seen Rector KROLL's paper this morning? There's something about you in it.
Rosmer. Oh, indeed? (Puts down hat and stick, and takes up paper.) H'm! (Reads—then walks about the room.) KROLL has made it hot for me. (Reads some more.) Oh, this is too bad! REBECCA, they do say such nasty spiteful things! They actually call me a renegade—and I can't think why! They mustn't go on like this. All that is good in human nature will go to ruin if they're allowed to attack an excellent man like me! Only think, if I can make them see how unkind they have been!
Reb. Yes, dear, in that you have a great and glorious object to attain—and I wish you may get it!
Rosmer. Thanks. I think I shall. (Happens to look through window, and jumps.) Ah, no, I shan't—never now. I have just seen—
Reb. Not the White Horse, dear? We must really not overdo that White Horse!
Rosmer. No—the mill-race, where BEATA—(Puts on his hat—takes it off again.) I'm beginning to be haunted by—no, I don't mean the horse—by a terrible suspicion that BEATA may have been right after all! Yes, I do believe, now I come to think of it, that I must really have been in love with you from the first. Tell me your opinion.
Reb. (struggling with herself, and still crocheting.) Oh—I can't exactly say—such an odd question to ask me!
Rosmer (shakes his head). Perhaps; I have no sense of humour—no respectable Norwegian has—and I do want to know—because, you see, if I was in love with you, it was a sin, and if I once convinced myself of that—
[Wanders across the room.
Reb. (breaking out). Oh, these old ancestral prejudices! Here is your hat, and your stick, too; go and take a walk.
[ROSMER takes hat and stick, first, then goes out and takes a walk; presently Madam HELSETH appears, and tells REBECCA something. REBECCA tells _her_ something. They whisper together. Madam H. nods, and shows in Rector KROLL, who keeps his hat in his hand, and sits on a chair._
Kroll. I merely called for the purpose of informing you that I consider you an artful and designing person, but that, on the whole, considering your birth and moral antecedents, you know—(nods at her)—it is not surprising. (REBECCA walks about, wringing her hands) Why, what is the matter? Did you really not know that you had no right to your father's name? I'd no idea you would mind my mentioning such a trifle!
Reb. (breaking out). I do mind. I am an emancipated enigma, but I retain a few little prejudices still. I don't like owning to my real age, and I do prefer to be legitimate. And, after your information—of which I was quite ignorant, as my mother, the late Mrs. GAMVIK, never once alluded to it—I feel I must confess everything. Strong-minded advanced women are like that. Here is ROSMER. (ROSMER enters with his hat and stick.) ROSMER, I want to tell you and Rector KROLL a little story. Let us sit down, dear, all three of us. (They sit down, mechanically, on chairs.) A long time ago, before the play began—(in a voice scarcely audible)—in Ibsenite dramas, all the interesting things somehow do happen before the play begins—
Rosmer. But, REBECCA, I know all this. KROLL—(looks hard at her). Perhaps I had better go?
Reb. No—I will be short—this was it. I wanted to take my share in the life of the New Era, and march onward with ROSMER. There was one dismal, insurmountable barrier—(to ROSMER, who nods gravely)—BEATA! I understood where your deliverance lay—and I acted. I drove BEATA into the mill-race ... There!
Rosmer (after a short silence). H'm! Well, KROLL—(takes up his hat)—if you're thinking of walking home, I'll go too. I'm going to be orthodox once more—after this!
Kroll (severely and impressively, to REB.). A nice sort of young woman you are! [Both go out hastily, without looking at REB.
Reb. (speaks to herself, under her breath). Now I have done it. I wonder why. (Pulls bell-rope.) Madam HELSETH, I have just had a glimpse of two rushing White Horses. Bring down my hair-trunk.
[Enter Madam H., with large hair-trunk, as Curtain falls.
Late evening. REBECCA WEST stands by a lighted lamp, with a shade over it, packing sandwiches, &c., in a reticule, with a faint smile. The antimacassar is on the sofa. Enter ROSMER.
Rosmer (seeing the sandwiches, &c.). Sandwiches? Then you are going I Why, on earth,—I can't understand!
Reb. Dear, you never can. Rosmershoelm is too much for me. But how did you get on with KROLL?
Rosmer. We have made it up. He has convinced me that the work of ennobling men was several sizes too large for me—so I am going to let it alone—
Reb. (with her faint smile). There I almost think, dear, that you are wise.
Rosmer (as if annoyed). What, so you don't believe in me either, REBECCA—you never did! [Sits listlessly on chair.
Reb. Not much, dear, when you are left to yourself—but I've another confession to make.
Rosmer. What, another? I really can't stand any more confessions just now!
Reb. (sitting close to him). It is only a little one. I bullied BEATA into the mill-race—because of a wild uncontrollable— (ROSMER moves uneasily.) Sit still, dear—uncontrollable fancy—for you!
Rosmer (goes and sits on sofa). Oh, my goodness, REBECCA—you mustn't, you know!
[He jumps up and down as if embarrassed.
Reb. Don't be alarmed, dear, it is all over now. After living alone with you in solitude, when you showed me all your thoughts without reserve,—little by little, somehow the fancy passed off. I caught the ROSMER view of life badly, and dulness descended on my soul as an extinguisher upon one of our Northern dips. The ROSMER view of life is ennobling, very—but hardly lively. And I've more yet to tell you.
Rosmer (turning it off). Isn't that enough for one evening P
Reb. (almost voiceless). No, dear. I have a Past—behind me!
Rosmer. Behind you? How strange. I had an idea of that sort already. (Starts, as if in fear.) A joke! (Sadly.) Ah, no—no, I must not give way to that! Never mind the Past, REBECCA; I once thought that I had made the grand discovery that, if one is only virtuous, one will be happy. I see now it was too daring, too original—an immature dream. What bothers me is that I can't—somehow I can't—believe entirely in you—I am not even sure that I have ennobled you so very much—isn't it terrible?
Reb. (wringing her hands). Oh, this killing doubt! (Looks darkly at him.) Is there anything I can do to convince you?
Rosmer (as if impelled to speak against his will). Yes, one thing—only I'm afraid you wouldn't see it in the same light. And yet I must mention it. It is like this. I want to recover faith in my mission, in my power to ennoble human souls. And, as a logical thinker, this I cannot do now, unless—well, unless you jump into the mill-race, too, like BEATA!
Reb. (takes up her antimacassar, with composure, and puts it on her head). Anything to oblige you.
Rosmer (springs up). What? You really will! You are sure you don't mind? Then, REBECCA, I will go further. I will even go—yes—as far as you go yourself!
Reb. (bows her head towards his breast). You will see me off? Thanks. Now you are indeed an Ibsenite.
[Smiles almost imperceptibly.
Rosmer (cautiously). I said as far as you go. I don't commit myself further than that. Shall we go?
Reb. First tell me this. Are you going with me, or am I going with you?
Rosmer. A subtle psychological point—but we have not time to think it out here. We will discuss it as we go along. Come!
[ROSMER takes his hat and stick, REBECCA her reticule, with sandwiches. They go out hand-in-hand through the door, which they leave open. The room (as is not uncommon with rooms in Norway) is left empty. Then Madam HELSETH enters through another door.
Madam H. The cab, Miss—not here! (Looks out.) Out together—at this time of night—upon my—not on the garden-seat? (Looks out of window.) My goodness! what is that white thing on the bridge—the Horse at last! (Shrieks aloud.) And those two sinful creatures running home!
_Enter ROSMER and REBECCA, _out of breath._
Rosmer (scarcely able to get the words out). It's no use, REBECCA—we must put it off till another evening. We can't be expected to jump off a footbridge which already has a White Horse on it. And, if it comes to that, why should we jump at all? I know now that I really have ennobled you, which was all I wanted. What would be the good of recovering faith in my mission at the bottom of a mill-pond? No, REBECCA—(lays his hand on her head)—there is no judge over us, and therefore—
Reb. (interrupting gravely). We will bind ourselves over in our own recognisances to come up for judgment when called upon.
[Madam HELSETH holds on to a chair-back, REBECCA finishes the antimacassar calmly as Curtain falls.
* * * * *
A GRAND OLD WETTERUN!
I ain't bin werry well lately, and, to crown the hole, I was cort in the Lizzard, I think, as they called it, on that awful Munday nite, and that was pretty nearly a settler for both my old bones and my breth, and might ha' bin quite so, if one of the werry kindest Members of the old Copperashun as I nos on, who had bin a dining with a jolly party on 'em, hadn't kindly directed my notise to about a harf bottle-full of werry fine old Port, with the remarkabel kind words, "That's just about what you wants, Mr. ROBERT, to take you ome safely this most orful nite!" And so it were, and I didn't waste a single drop on it.
However, I was obligated to have a good long rest, which I took out mostly in sleep; but, jest as I was preparing to set out for the "Grand Hotel," in comes my Son; and he says to me, "Guvnor," says he—I notise as he allers calls me Guvnor when he wants me to do sumthink—"I wants you to do me the favour to ask Mr. Punch for to do you a favour." "Why, what do you mean?" says I. "Why, this is what I means," says he. "About the grandest feller as ewer in the hole world gave up fifty years of his useful life to trying to make hundreds of stupid boys into clever boys, and hundreds of bad boys into good boys, and hundreds of dull boys into witty boys, is a going for to have a testymonial given him by sum of them hundreds of boys, me among 'em, to sellybrate his Jewbilly, same as the QUEEN had the other day. Ewery one of us as lives in London will jump at the chance; but the boys as he turns out from the great City of Lundon Skool is such reel fust-raters, that they gits snapped up direckly by Merchants and peeple, and sent all over the werld for to manidge their warious buzzinesses there, so we don't know how to get at 'em; but as Mr. Punch goes wherever any smart, clever English chap goes, if he wood most kindly let this littel matter be mentioned, the grandest, and sucksessfullest, ay, and wittiest Skool Master of modern times wood get his dew reward."
So says my Sun, and prowd I was to lissen to his words; and this is what I can add to them from my own knowlidg. There's sum of the old boys, as isn't quite as yung as when they left Skool, as has formed a club to dine together sumtimes, and tork of old times, like senserbel fellers as they is; and Mr. JOSEPH HARRIS, the gennelman in question, is allers there, and allers has to make a speech, and I am amost allers there too; and, to hear the joyful shouts of arty welcome with which his old pupils greets him when he rises for to speak, and their roars of larfter at his wit, and his fun, and his good-humer, while he is a speaking, is so wery remarkabel, that I sumtimes wanders whether it doesn't, a good deal of it, rise from the fact of his great School being so close to Mr. Punch's own horfice. But this is over the way, as the great writer says. May I be alowd to had that my speshal frend, and hewerybody's speshal frend, Mr. COOKE, is reddy to receive any number of subskripshuns at 30, New Bridge Street, E.C.
* * * * *
A NEW PROVIDENCE.—"My life is in your hands," as the Autobiographist said to his Publisher.
* * * * *
THE JOLLY YOUNG WATERMAN.
(LATEST VERSION; SUGGESTED BY A CASE AT THE LONDON SESSIONS.)
And did you not hear of a jolly young Waterman, Who on the river his wherry did ply? When rowing along with great skill and dexterity, A Cask of Madeira it caught his pleased eye. It looked so nice, he rowed up steadily, Transferred that cask to his boat right readily; And he eyed the dear drink with so eager an air, For the name on the cask not a jot did he care.
When smart EDDARD SAILL got that cask in his wherry, He cleaned it out—partly—with swiggings not small, And with his companions—what wonder?—made merry; Madeira's a wine that's not tippled by all. One fancies one hears 'em a laughing and cheering, Says EDDARD, "My boys, this is better than beering! A Waterman's life would be free from all care If he often dropped on treasure trove like that there."
And yet but to think now how strangely things happen! They copped him for "larceny by finding,"—that's all! But SAILL couldn't read, and the jury was kindly, So EDDARD got off, though his chance appeared small. Now would this young Waterman keep out of sorrow, No derelict casks let him—shall we say, borrow? Madeira is nice, but you'd best have a care, Before swigging the wine, that it's yours fair and square!
* * * * *
The Childhood and Youth of Dickens, a sort of short postscript to FORSTER's Life, very well got up by its publishers HUTCHINSON & Co., will interest those who for the third or fourth time are going through a course of DICKENS.
The Baron is an amateur of pocket-books and note-books. The best pocket-book must contain a calendar-diary, and as little printed matter, and as much space for notes, as possible. No pocket-book is perfect without some sort of patent pencil, of which the writing-metal, when used on a damp surface, will serve as well as do pen and ink on ordinary paper. Such a pocket-book with such a pencil the Baron has long had in use, the product of JOHN WALKER & Co., of Farringdon House. It should be called The Walker Pocket-book, or Pedestrian's Companion; for, as "He who runs may read," so, with this handy combination, "He who walks may write." The Baron is led to mention this a propos of a novelty by T.J. SMITH AND DOWNES, called The Self-registering Pocket Note-book, a very neat invention, qua Note-book only, but of which only one size has the invaluable patent pencil. The ordinary pencil entails carrying a knife, and, though this is good for the cutler—"I know that man, he comes from Sheffield"—yet it is a defect which is a constant source of worry to the ordinary note-taker. Otherwise, Messrs. SMITH AND DOWNES' artfulness in making the pencil serve as a marker, so that the latest note can at once be found, is decidedly ingenious, and may probably be found most useful. Experientia docet: Baronius tentabit.
While on the subject of pocket-books, the Baron must thank Messrs. CASSELL & Co. for the pocket volumes of the National Library edited by HENRY MORLEY, and ventures to recommend as a real travelling companion, Essays, Civil and Moral, by Francis Bacon. In the eighteenth Essay "Of Travel," the chief Diarists, "LETTS AND SON," might find a motto for their publications. The Baron directs their attention to this side of BACON from which this is a slice,—"Let Diaries, therefore, be brought in use." A new reading for advertising purposes would change "Let" into "Letts," or Letts could be interpolated in brackets. "A cheeky way of treating BACON," says the Baron's friend little FUNNIMAN (Author of Funniman's Poor Jokes); but, if nothing worse than this can be said against the Baron's suggestion, why, "Letts adopt it," says
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
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PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.
"In the words of the Postmaster-General, spoken yesterday (March 18th) from his room in St. Martin's-le-Grand, and distinctly heard by the head of a corresponding department in Paris, the triumph of the International Telephone is an accomplished fact."—Daily News.
Hallo!—are you there? That's the cue international, Henceforth we'll hope, and we trust it may lead To colloquies pleasant, relations more rational. May "saucers" and tubes telephonic succeed In setting the world "by the ears," in a fashion Not meant by the men who invented that phrase. May nail-biting nagging and rancorous passion Die out, like a craze!
Why, bless us, and save us! We ought to behave us A little bit better for all our new light. From incurable savagery nothing can save us If Science can't cool down our fondness for fight. With so many chances of "talking things over," Like comrades in council, across the broad sea, Nations ought to be nice, as a girl and her lover At five o'clock tea!
Eh? Vox et praeterea nihil? What matter How close ears may seem if the hearts are apart? Humph! Nothing go easy as cynical chatter; Distrust's diplomatic, and satire sounds "smart." But, as RAIKES suggests, there is something in hearing The "great human voice" o'er some three hundred miles, In spite of the scorn that's so given to sneering, The hate that reviles.
One wonders what TALLEYRAND, subtle old schemer! Would think of the Telephone were he alive. Wits sniff at the savant, and mock at the dreamer, Who else, though, so hard for humanity strive? BELLONA's sworn backers are woefully numerous; Peace, let us pray, may claim this as her friend; The "Sentiment" flouted by swashbucklers humorous Sways, at the end.
If language was given our thoughts for concealing, The Telephone—'tis but a travelling Voice!— Need not be the agent of reckless revealing, And caution must often be candour's wise choice. Unwisdom is sure to be sometimes caught napping, And tongues may wag foolishly e'en through the wire. Facilities freer for summary snapping No sage can desire.
Great diplomats, proud of their "able dispatches," From trusting the tube with their wisdom may shrink. The brain that in secret shrewd policies hatches, May not care to canvas 'cute schemes "o'er a drink." Yet times must be many when sense will be winner By chatting of trifles, which nations have riled, As freely as though vis-a-vis at a dinner, And carefully "tiled."
Now England and France can thus gossip together, And CARNOT and SALISBURY thus hob-a-nob, We'll hope for set-fair international weather. Our RAIKES and their ROCHE appear well "on the job." The Telephone's triumph at least is not sinister. Things should go easier somehow—with care, When patriot Minister greets patriot Minister, "Hallo!—are you there?"
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ANOTHER TELEPHONIC SUGGESTION.—Connect the Theatres and Opera Houses by Telephone with all the Clubs. On payment of a fixed charge, any member should be able to hear just as much of the piece or Opera as he might require. Something above the price of a Stall to be the maximum charge for one person to hear entire Opera. For half the Opera, say six shillings; for a quarter of it, three-and-six. For hearing one song in it, eighteen-pence; and, if certain songs be in great demand, the prices could be raised.
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EPIGRAMMATIC DEFINITION OF MOST PUBLIC BANQUETS WITH POSTPRANDIAL ORATORY.—"Stuff and Nonsense."
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HANDS AS THEY ARE SHOOK.
In healthier times, when friends would meet Their friends in chamber, park, or street, Each, as hereunder, each would greet.
Tour level hand went forth; you clasped Your crony's; each his comrade's grasped— If roughly, neither friend was rasped.
Such was the good old-fashioned one Of honest British "How d'ye do?" I think it manly still—don't you?
But now, when smug acquaintance hails A set that would be "smart," but fails, Another principle prevails.
The arm, in lifted curve displayed, Droops limply o'er the shoulder-blade, As needing some chirurgeon's aid:
The wrist is wrenched of JONES and BROWN, Those ornaments of London Town; Their listless fingers dribble down:
BROWN reaches to the knuckle-bones Of thus-excruciated JONES; BROWN's hand the same affliction owns.
At length his finger-tips have pressed The fingers of his JONES distressed: Both curvatures then sink to rest.
A sort of anguish lisped proceeds Prom either's mouth, but neither heeds The other's half-heroic deeds.
Exhausted, neither much can say; Complacent, each pursues his way; And JONES and BBOWN have lived to-day.
For both have sought by strenuous strain To demonstrate, in face of pain, That friends they were, and friends remain.
Ah, wonderful! Can Poets deem Self-sacrifice a fading dream? Are salutations what they seem?
Is BROWN some Altruist in disguise, And JONES an Ibsenite likewise, That thus they flop and agonise?—
Or are the pair affected fools, Who catch by rote the silly rules Of third-rate fashionable schools?
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(A PAGE FROM THE DIARY OF A CHAPERON.)
They commanded her to rise early. She knew that the day's doings would be a terrible ordeal, but she came of a bold and sturdy race, and felt herself equal to any emergency. And so as the morning broke—as daylight crept through the foggy air—she prepared for the sacrifice. Yes, sacrifice; for was it not a sacrifice to barter away youth, pride, nay, life itself! And I had a hand in the matter! Ah, me—but away with vain regret!
I have been told since that they were hours and hours arranging her toilette. So long did it take that she was scarcely able to break her fast. She had, I believe, a cup of tea, and if rumour is to be credited, a couple of slices of thin bread-and-butter! Well, it is over now, and I can think of it almost without tears!
I called for her shortly after noon—for the lot had fallen upon me, and I was destined to attend her to her doom—she was very calm, and even smiled as I kissed her. She shivered a little as she sank beside me. I bade her to wrap her shawl more closely around her, and after she had complied with my command she seemed more at ease.
And now our conveyance had come to a full stop. We were surrounded by a sea of vulgar, hideous faces, grinning and mocking at us! My charge clung to me for protection. The laughter and the jeers increased tenfold. Then I cast her away from me roughly, whereupon followed yells mixed with savage laughter. She, poor girl, regained her composure, and gazed at the multitude with the dignity of an outraged queen. And they laughed the more! Laughed the more!
At length we were set free, and made our way to a large apartment, where we were divested of our wraps, and left in costumes better adapted to late June than to early March, or mid-December. We were then ordered to advance. We were driven from one bitterly cold room to another, until we knew not whether the blood was circulating in our veins, or had frozen. We had many fellow-sufferers, and these poor creatures pushed against us, and fought with us. The great object of everyone was to get to the end of our journey!
She staggered bravely along, until at last they took away the yards of satin she carried round her arm, and spread it out behind. Then her name was uttered, or, rather, mispronounced. She sank on her knees; and, on regaining her feet, was hustled away, to follow a number of fellow-victims who had been treated with like indignity.
Once more there was the bitter cold. This time the draughts were met in that hall, and endured, until the conveyance arrived to move us on—she to stand for a couple of hours amidst gossiping friends, and I to go to bed.
But the seeds of death were sown! She never recovered the shock, and an addition to the inscriptions above the family-vault tells of her early decease!
And who was this poor girl? A homeless one, wandering the streets of London? or a political prisoner, on her way to Siberia? Neither! She was merely a debutante, attending her first (and last) Spring Drawing-room at Buckingham Palace!
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NOTE (by Our Own Noodle).—Father Buonaparte, at the Olympic, judging from the account of it in the Times, seems to consist of "a part" for our WILSON BARRETT, the remainder being skeletonish, or "boney."
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Somebody once said that ultimately the Solar System would probably become a branch of the General Post Office. The present Postmaster-General is obviously of opinion that that state of things has already come about.
To rule a realm as limitless as space, With the great G.P.O. as Central Sun, RAIKES is the man. Of Great Panjandrum race, He's Autocrat and Oracle in one. The Universe indeed were no great shakes Without RAIKES Rex for Ruler. Vivat RAIKES!!!
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, March 16.—House of Commons really looked to-night as if it meant fighting. No lack of matter for quarrel. Even before public business was reached, Orders bristled with Motions raising controversial points. Lord CHUNNEL-TANNEL, that man of peace, was to the fore; his Bill, extending Manchester. Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway into London via Lord's Cricket Ground, down for Second Reading. That redoubtable Parliamentary Archer BAUMANN also on alert. Has taken under his personal charge the social and material welfare of Metropolis; at one time HARRY LAWSON, on other side of House, disputed supremacy of position with him. But, as SARK says, BAUMANN has immense advantage of making Liberal speeches from Conservative side.
"If," says SARK, "I had to begin my Parliamentary life again, I would sit for a Tory borough, and advocate Radical notions. If it were possible, I would, with such a programme, like to represent one of the Universities, Oxford for choice. There's a sameness about fellows who fret up from Liberal benches and spout Radicalism, or about men who talk Toryism from the Conservative camp. It's what was expected; what the House of Commons enjoys is the unexpected. GRANDOLPH knows that very well. If he'd come out as a Liberal, he wouldn't have been half the power he is. The secret of success in political life, my young friend, is to sit in darkness, and clothe yourself with light. The thing doesn't hold good in the converse direction. A man sitting on Liberal benches, and talking Toryism, will gain cheers from other side, but not much else. Look at HORSMAN in the past; look at JOKIM in the present. Certainly he is CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER; but, even with that, I suppose you wouldn't call him a political success?"
SARK a little prosy and opinionated; otherwise a good fellow. Whilst his homily in progress ground considerably cleared. Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Bill put oft till to-morrow; Kensington Subway Bill withdrawn; BAUMANN triumphant. Still remained public business; OLD MORALITY led off with proposal to take Tuesdays and Fridays for morning sittings and Opposition mustered in great force; Mr. G. present, glowing with his own eulogy on ARTEMIS. OLD MORALITY moved Resolution with deprecatory deferential manner; only desire was to do his duty to QUEEN and Country and meet the convenience of Honourable Gentlemen sitting in whatever part of the House they might find themselves. Evidently expected outburst of indignant refusal, long debate, and a big division. Some indignation, but little debate and no division. Everyone on Opposition Benches seemed to expect some one else to declare himself irreconcilable. When question put, a pause; no one rose to continue the successive brief speeches; before you could say JAMES FERGUSON, Government had, on this 16th of March, practically secured all working time for remainder of Session.
"I feel like CLIVE," said OLD MORALITY; "or was it WARREN HASTINGS? Anyhow I am amazed at my own moderation."
Business done,—Morning Sittings arranged for rest of Session.
Tuesday.—"Lords" and Commons came in conflict to-day under novel circumstances. Lord TANNEL-CHUNNEL, pending settlement of question about making his Channel Tunnel, is promoting new trunk line of railway. Means to bring the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincoln line straight into London; terminus comes in by Lord's Cricket Ground; invades the sweet simplicity of St. John's Wood; artistic population of that quarter up in arms; shriek protest in Lord CHUNNEL-TANNEL's ear, and shake at him the angry fist. But TANNEL-CHUNNEL not a Baron easily turned aside from accomplishment of his projects. Squares Committee of "Lords"; impresses into support of his scheme representatives of all the big towns on the route; Manchester, Nottingham, Leicester, all cheer him on; Liberals, Conservatives, Dissentient Liberals, swell his majority. Second Reading of Bill carried by more than two to one.
"How's that, Umpire?" CHUNNEL-TANNEL asked, carrying out his bat. "Well played, indeed!" said the SPEAKER.
Seemed at one time as if blood would flow, and gore would stain the floor of House. BARNES and WIGGINS were in it, but what it was all about not quite clear. Something to do with a coal-truck. As far as could be made out from choked utterances of BARNES, there had at some remote period been a coal-truck despatched to London by the Midland route. Something happened to it; either it was delayed, or it arrived empty, or it didn't arrive at all. However, it was quite clear to BARNES that the time had come when a new line of railway giving direct access to London from the Midlands was an urgent necessity. WIGGINS observed to be wriggling in his seat during the BARNES oration. Made several attempts to catch SPEAKER's eye; at length succeeded; his suppressed fury was terrible to behold: his rage Titanic. He at least knew all about that coal-truck; though, as far as House was concerned, he did not succeed in lifting the mystery in which BARNES had enveloped it. Whether it was WIGGINS's coal, or merely WIGGINS's truck; whether WIGGINS happened to be in the truck when it went astray; or whether it was BARNES that was in it; or whether nothing was in it but the coal; or whether, coming back to an earlier point, there was no coal in the truck when it did (or did not) arrive at St. Pancras: these were questions the House vainly pursued, withered, as it was, under the wrath of WIGGINS The only point clearly perceived was, that BIGGINS is a director of Midland Railway.
In ordinary circumstances there are not to be found in House two more affable men than BARNES and WIGGINS. Amongst many other virtues, WIGGINS is, SARK tells me, one of the best judges of cigars in House, and is never without a sample in his case. It is sad to think that a man so gifted by nature, so favoured by fortune, should let his angry passions rise round a coal-truck. House, contemplating the episode, glad to shut it out by rushing off to Division Lobby. Business done.—Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway Bill, Read a Second Time, by 212 Votes to 103.
Thursday.—House engaged in considering Lords' Amendments to Tithes Bill. Things as dull as usual; House nearly empty; walk about corridors through tea-room, newspaper-room, and library; almost deserted; in smoking-room came upon little group playing cards; three of them; SOLICITOR-GENERAL, CHABLES RUSSELL, and ASQUITH, LOCKWOOD looking on.
"I suppose," I said, "they're playing whist; why don't you make up the hand?"
"Whisht! it's not whist!" LOCKWOOD whispered, keeping his eye closely fixed on game. "It's Baccarat. (Ah! CLARKE! I saw you. Come, pay up. You did that very clumsily.) It's the Tranby Court case you know. I'm not in it, but my learned brethren here hold briefs on either side, and they say they are bound, in the interests of their clients, to master the intricacies of the game. I must say they have managed very successfully to subordinate their horror of gambling. RUSSELL, you know, has a positive distaste for any game of chance. But as he says, a Barrister must sometimes put his prejudices in his pocket. ASQUITH brings to the game a serious aspect that positively sanctifies it. As for EDWARD CLARKE, he's wonderfully nimble. He was trying la poucette just now when I called out to him. As everything turns upon this, my learned friends say they must make themselves acquainted with it. But I hope it won't lead to any breaking up of families. I'm told the Judges who are likely to be trying cases in London before Whitsuntide, impelled by a similar sense of duty, are also studying Baccarat. The L.C.J. is reported to have developed a wonderful talent. As a family man, and Recorder of Sheffield, I'm glad I'm not briefed in the case."
Business done.—Tithes Bill.
Friday.—Young HARRY LAWSON, with his beaver up, moved Resolution approving the opening for certain hours, and under special regulations, of the National Museums and Galleries, closed in London to the public on Sundays, made capital and convincing speech; supported by men like JOHN LUBBOCK, and, from Conservative side, MAYNE and ELCHO. Earlier in sitting, the voice of Whitechapel, Hoxton, Shoreditch, and Bethnal Green, had been heard by petition, praying for the boon. But dear old ROBERT FOWLER knows better what is good for the people. Opposed Motion. OLD MORALITY, who never goes into his picture gallery at Greenlands after midnight on Saturday, whipped up Government forces; Motion lost by 166 against 39.
Mr. BUNG, who had been watching Debate from Distinguished Strangers' Gallery, hugely delighted. "S'elp me," he said, "that'll stop their little game for this Parliament, at least. What do they mean hinterfering with honest tradesmen? If you go opening your bloomin' mooseums and picter galleries on Sunday afternoons, what's to become of ME?"
Business done.—Mr. BUNG's; and very effectively, too.
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"FLAT, STALE, AND UNPROFITABLE."
HAMPDEN, farewell! Ere this you may have found The World you swore was flat is really round. But many a man, with brains beneath his hat. Swears that the World is round, and finds it flat.
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THE OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE BOAT-RACE.
(MARCH 21. OXFORD WON BY HALF A LENGTH.)
Great ZEUS! was ever such a race since 1829, When WORDSWORTH, SELWYN, MERIVALE began the mighty line, First of the stalwart heroes who matched their straining thews, And on great Thames's tide have fought the battle of the Blues? Who writes of pampered softness? Confusion on his pen: Still is there pluck in England, and still her sons are Men. And still the lads go gaily forth in snow, or wind, or rain, With hearts elate to row the race, and spurt, and spurt again. A health to you, brave AMPTHILL; the cheering echoes far; For FLEICHER and the NICKALLS' lads—nobile fratrum par. A shout goes up for WILKINSON, the stalwart and the strong, For REGGIE ROWE, and dauntless KENT, who kept the stroke so long. For POOLE, the tidy bowman, and HEYWOOD-LONSDALE too; Thrice thirty cheers for all of them, that gallant Oxford Crew. Nor,—though the years speed onward, and others wield the oar, Though others race and win or lose where we have raced before; Though others, while we watch the sport, should play as we have played, And scorn us prosy greybeards—shall ELIN's glory fade? NOBLE, and LORD, and FRANCKLYN, they each shall have their cheer, And BRADDON, small, but quick of eye, who craftily did steer, And ROWLATT, and FOGG-ELLIOTT, and LANDALE, of the Hall, And FISON, sturdy Corpus man—we cheer and praise them all. Punch loves all sturdy men and true, by whom great deeds are done, And toasts and cheers with all his might the Crews of '91.
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(Suggestions for alteration and adaptation to Modern Manners and Customs, after the Jackson decision by the Court of Appeal.)
Common Law.—"The tradition of ages shall prevail," save when it runs counter to the opinions of a leader-writer of a daily paper.
Equity.—(1). "No right shall be without a remedy," save when it is sentimentally suggested that somebody's right may be somebody else's wrong.
(2.) "Equity follows the law," at such a distance that it never comes up with it.
(3.) "Equity is equality," save when a man's wife is literally his better half.
(4.) "Where there is equal equity the law must prevail," in any view it pleases to take at the instance of the Lord Chancellor for the time being.
(5.) "Where the equities are equal the law prevails," in any course it likes to pursue.
(6.) "Equity looks upon that as done which is agreed to be done," especially when, after obtaining legal relief, the suitor ultimately finds himself sold.
Contracts.—(1.) "All contracts are construed according to the intentions of the parties," save where one of them subsequently changes his mind.
(2.) "The construction should be liberal" enough to suit the fancy of the Judge who enforces it.
(3.) "It should be favourable" to a long and angry correspondence in all the principal newspapers.
(4) "The contract should in general be construed according to the law of the country where made," but certainly not in particular.
(5.) "That testimony cannot be given to vary, but may to explain a written contract," save when someone suggests that this practice shall be reversed.
(6.) "He who employs an agent does it himself," unless it is considered advisable to take an opposite view of the matter.
Parent and Child.—"A father shall have the custody of his children," except when they get beyond his control and defy his authority.
Landlord and Tenant.—"A landlord has a right to receive his rent," if the tenant does not spend the money on something else.
Husband and Wife.—"A man has a right to the society of his wife." when she does not prefer to give her company elsewhere.
Birthright of an Englishman. (Popular traditionally but strictly speaking supplementary.)—"An Englishman's house is his castle," but only the pied a terre of the lawfully wedded sharer of his income.
OLD FATHER ANTIC.
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QUEER QUERIES.—CLIMATE OF THE BRITISH ISLES.—As the Gulf Stream produces such an effect on the English climate, would it not be feasible to add to the heat of the water in some way—say, by erecting powerful furnaces somewhere on the south coast of Florida, or by turning the lava from a volcano in the neighbourhood of the Gulf into the sea? I am not a man of science, but I should be glad to hear your opinion of the scheme.—SUFFERER FROM COLD.
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NOTICE.—Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS., Printed Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no case be returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed Envelope, Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.