OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
March 7, 1891.
IN A FOG.—A REMINISCENCE OF THE PAST MONTH.
SCENE—Main Thoroughfare near Hyde Park. Time 8 P.M. Nothing visible anywhere, but very much audible; horses slipping and plunging, wheels grinding, crashes, jolts, and English as she is spoke on such occasions.
Mrs. Flusters (who is seated in a brougham with her husband, on their way to dine with some friends in Cromwell Road). We shall be dreadfully late, I know we shall! I'm sure PEACOCK could go faster than this if he liked—he always loses his head when there's much traffic. Do tell him to make haste!
Mr. F. Better let him alone—he knows what he's doing.
Mrs. F. I don't believe he does, or he wouldn't dawdle like this. If you won't speak to him, I must. (Lets down the glass and puts out her head.) PEACOCK!
A Blurred Shadow on the Box. Yes, M'm.
Mrs. F.. What are we stopping for like this?
The Shadow. Fog very thick just 'ere, M'm. Can't see what's in front of us, M'm.
Mrs. F. It's just as safe to keep moving as to stand still—go on at once.
The S. Very good, M'm. (To horse.) Pull urp! [Crash!
Voice from the Unseen. What the blanky blank, &c.
Peacock. There is suthin in front, M'm. A van, from 'is langwich, M'm.
Mrs. F. (sinking back). MARMADUKE, this is awful. I'd no idea the fog was like this—or I should never have—(With temper.) Really, people have no right to ask one out on such a night.
Mr. F. (with the common-sense that makes him "so aggravating at times.") Well, FANNY, you could hardly expect 'em to foresee the weather three weeks ahead!
Mrs. F. At all events, you might have seen what it was going to be as you came home from the Temple. Then we could have sent a telegram!
Mr. F. It seemed to be lifting then, and besides, I—ah—regard a dinner-engagement as a species of kindly social contract, not to be broken except under pressing necessity.
Mrs. F. You mean you heard me say there was nothing but cold meat in the house, and you know you'll get a good dinner at the CORDON-BLEWITTS,—not that we are likely to get there to-night. Have you any idea whereabouts we are?
Mr. F. (calmly). None whatever.
Mrs. F. Then ask PEACOCK.
Mr. F. (lets down his window, and leans out). PEACOCK!
The Shadow. Sir?
Mr. F. Where have we got to now?
Peacock. I ain't rightly sure, Sir.
Mrs. F. Tell him to turn round, and go home.
Mr. F. It's no use going on like this. Turn back.
Peacock. I dursn't leave the kerb—all I got to go by, Sir.
Mr. F. Then take one of the lamps, and lead the horse.
Peacock. It's the young 'orse, Sir.
Mr. F. (sinking back). We must put up with it, I suppose.
[A smart crack is heard at the back of the carriage.
More Voices. Now, then, why the blanky dash, &c., &c.
Mrs. F. MARMADUKE, I can't sit here, and know that a bus-pole may come between us at any moment. Let us get out, and take a cab home at once.
Mr. F. There's only one objection to that suggestion—viz., that it's perfectly impossible to tell a cab from a piano-organ. We must find out where we are first, and then turn. PEACOCK, drive on as well as you can, and stop when you come to a shop.
Mrs. F. What do you want to stop at a shop for?
Mr. F. Why, then I can go in, and ask where we are.
Mrs. F. And how do you expect them to know where we are! (She sees a smear of light in the distance.) MARMADUKE, there's a linkman. Get out quick, and hire him to lead the way.
Mr. F. (who gets out, and follows in the direction of the light, grumbling to himself). Hallo!—not past the Park yet—here's the railings! Well, if I keep close to them, I shall—(He suddenly collides with a bench.) Phew! Oh, confound it! (He rubs his shins.) Now, if it hadn't been for FANNY, I—Where's that linkman? Hi!—you there!—stop! (The light stops.) Look here—I want you to come to my carriage, and show my man the way out of this!
Voice from behind the Railings. We got to find our own way out fust, Guv'nor. We're inside!
A Belated Reveller (lurching up to Mr. F.) Beg your pardon, bur cou' you dreck me nearesht way—er—Dawshon Plashe?
Mr. F. (savagely). First turning to the right, third to the left, and then straight on till you come to it!
The B.R.. I'm exsheedingly 'blished; (confidentially) fact ish, I'm shuffrin' shli' 'fection eyeshi', an' I 'shure you, can't shee anyshing dishtingly to-ni'. (He cannons against a lamp-post, to which he clings affectionately, as a Policeman emerges from the gloom.)
Policeman. Now then, what are you doing 'ere, eh?
The B.R. Itsh all ri', P'lishman, thish gerrilman—(patting lamp-post affectionately)—has kindly promished shee me home.
Mr. F. Hang it! Where's PEACOCK and the brougham? (He discovers a phantom vehicle by the kerb, and gets in angrily.) Now, look here, my dear, it's no earthly good—!
Occupant of the Brougham (who is not FANNY). Coward, touch a defenceless woman if you dare! I have nothing on me of any value. Help! Police!
[Mr. F., seeing that explanation is useless, lets himself out again, precipitately, dodges the Policeman, and bolts, favoured by the fog, until all danger of pursuit is passed, at the end of which time he suddenly realises that it is perfectly hopeless to attempt to find his own carriage again. He gropes his way home, and some hours later, after an extemporised cold supper, is rejoined by his Wife.
Mrs. F. (cheerfully). So there you are, MARMADUKE! I wasn't anxious—I felt sure you'd find your way back somehow!
Mr. F. (not in the best of tempers). Find my way back! It was the only thing I could do. But where have you been all this time, FANNY?
Mrs. F. Where? Why, at the BLEWITTS, to be sure! You see, after you got out, we had to keep moving on, and by-and-by the fog got better, and we could see where we were going to,—and the BLEWITTS had put off dinner half an hour, so I was not so very late. Such a nice dinner! Everybody turned up except you, MARMADUKE—but I told them how it was. Oh, and old Lady HOREHOUND was there, and said a man had actually got into her brougham, and tried to wrench off one of her bracelets!—only she spoke to him so severely that he was struck with remorse, or something, and got out again! And it was by the Park, close to where you left me. Just fancy, MARMADUKE, he might have got into the carriage with me, instead!
Mr. F. (gloomily). Yes, he might—only, he—er—didn't, you know!
* * * * *
* * * * *
"110-Ton Guns do not count for any practical purpose.... These monsters are the laughing-stock of everyone who takes the smallest interest in the subject. They are quite indefensible, and not worth making, even if they were unobjectionable, for the simple reason that everything we require can be done by smaller weapons.... It is believed that more of these useless monsters are to be made by way of reserve. It is an insane policy, designed simply to save somebody's amour propre, and we still hope to hear from Lord GEORGE HAMILTON that it has been abandoned."—"The Times" on the Naval Estimates.
"That a good little 'un is better than a bad big 'un," is an old and accepted maxim amongst the really knowing ones of the P.R. It is one, however, that now, as of yore, swell backers, self-conceited amateurs, and other pugilistic jugginses ore apt to ignore or forget.
Where, we wonder, would the slab-sided "Sprawleybridge Babe" or the shambling "Baldnob the Titan" have been in front of the small but active and accomplished "Duodecimo Dumps"? Why, where the vaunted "Benicia Boy" would have been after fifty rounds with TOM SAYERS—with his "Auctioneer" in full play. In fact, when a good little 'un meets a bad big 'un, it is very soon a case—with the latter—of "bellows to mend," or "there he goes; with his eye out!"
These remarks have been suggested by recent revelations concerning that much over-rated pet of the mugs—the "Woolwich Whopper," alias the "Elswick Folly," alias HAMILTON's "Novice."
The "W.W." always was a fraud, and, for all his lumbering bulk and "MOLINEAUX-like" capacity of "tatur-trap," never could train-on soundly, or—figuratively speaking—"spank a hole in a pound of butter." Many cleverish trainers, and still more ambitious backers of the "Corinthian Jay" species, have had a shy, professionally or monetarily, at the "Woolwich Whopper," and invariably with disastrous results. The "W.W.," though big enough in all conscience, is not of sound constitution, nor of the true wear-and-tear sort, is very difficult (and expensive) to train, and when brought fairly up to the scratch is certain to go bang to pieces after the first few rounds, if these are at all of a hot-and-hot character.
Still there are—worse luck!—certain parties connected, more or less, with the P.R. who—whether from interest, vanity, or sheer cussedness, still pin their faith to this "huge, lumbering, soft, long-shanked, top-heavy, shambling, thump-shirking Son of a Gun," as NOBBY NUPKINS, of the Nautical Division, pithily called him the other day. If some of these credulous or conceited coves had witnessed the little trial "scrap" which took place recently (on the strict Q.T.), at the "Admiral's Head," in the presence of Mr. JOHN B-LL (the famous P.R. referee), between the vaunted "Whopper" and a smart and handy light-weight known as "Quickfire," their owl-eyes might, having been a little opened, and their peacock-strut a bit modified.
The "Woolwich Whopper," for all his height and overwhelming weight, seemed to toe the scratch with awkward reluctance. He put up his dukes very fumblingly, and his attitude was decidedly of the "head-over-tip" character. Young "Quickfire," on the contrary, was erect as a dart, nimble on his pins as a girl at her first dance, and smart in delivery as a newly-promoted Postman, or the Parcels Express. He was all over his man in a brace of shakes, and the "Whopper," who looked as though he could have knocked holes in him if he could have hit him, could hardly land a "little one in" once in the course of a round, and then it was so short that it would hardly have brushed a bumble-bee off a buttercup.
The respected Referee, who watched the dust-up with careful interest, was much pleased with the promise of the smart light-weight, "Quickfire," who seems to have in him the makings of a fine fighter. Mr. B-LL did not disguise his disgust at the feeble figure cut by the "Whopper," about whose pretensions to first-class form, let alone Champion honours, it is to be hoped we shall hear little more for the future.
[Mem.—Mr. Punch suspects that the above edifying and idiomatic homily was intended for some sporting contemporary, but, with his accustomed courtesy, he gives it for what it is worth.]
* * * * *
TO A COMPLIMENTARY COUNSEL.
["Here the Plaintiff met the Defendant, who formed a strong attachment for her, at which he (the learned Counsel), did not wonder."—Extract from a recent Report.]
The Plaintiff she was very fair— I'd very gladly make a verse on Her face, her smile, her eyes, her hair, Her comely and attractive person. Last year a gentleman had stormed Her heart and swore that nought should sunder The strong attachment he had formed, At which you said you "did not wonder!"
Oh! tell me was it quite the thing, Of prudence shamelessly defiant, In such a pointed way to sing The praises of your pretty client. Had she been ugly—yes, or plain, Would you have reckoned it your duty To say how much it caused you pain To look and mark her lack of beauty?
Perhaps you meant the words you said, 'Twould be amusing to discover If she had really turned your head, And in her lawyer found a lover. Yet even should this be the case, You cannot well escape supporting This statement—that it's not the place In open Court to go a-courting.
When next a lady comes to say That He and She at last have parted, And that she'll make the villain pay For having left her broken-hearted, You'll recollect that in the Breach Of Promise Case, you must not blunder, But mention in your opening speech That at his love you do not wonder.
* * * * *
* * * * *
The Quiet Mrs. Fleming is very nearly being a good novel of the kind with which "once upon a time" Mr. F.C. PHILIPS used to delight us. Mr. RICHARD PRYCE's Quiet Mrs. F. might perhaps be placed in the same category with F.C.P.'s. Little Mrs. Murray, which was not by any means the Author's best. The story, like the Consols, is good enough for those who don't want much interest for their money. It may be safely recommended as a pleasant companion during a railway journey. The Baron does not consider that The Quiet Mrs. F. will make much noise in the novel-reading world.
A coloured leaflet, of autumnal tint, commands me, in the tone of a Wellington dispatch, to "order early" a new "Family Magazine," entitled, Golden Gates, edited by JOHN STRANGE WINTER. "I have not yet seen it," says the Baron, "but wish the adventurous pennyworth every possible success." Its bill of contents announces "a complete story," by the editress, and also a "complete novelette," by Mrs. LOVETT CAMERON. This looks well for the first number; and an editor's motto must be, "Take care of Number One." I suppose in each number there will be "A Winter's Tale."
Interesting reading for the Baron and his friends the Public, is Mr. ANDERSON's article, entitled Studies in Illustrated Journalism, in this month's Magazine of Art. Mr. ANDERSON is a trifle inaccurate in some details of his pleasantly-written and generally trustworthy sketch of the history of Mr. Punch, on which it is needless for the Baron to dwell hic et nunc. The Baron remembers the dapper, sportingly-attired "little HOWARD," who had the reputation of being "LEECH's only pupil," but who was never one of Mr. Punch's Staff Officers. In the same number of this Magazine is a brief, but carefully written notice of the Baron's old friend, convive, and fellow-worker on Mr. Punch's staff, CHARLES KEENE. "A superb Artist," writes Mr. SPIELMAN, "pure and simple"—true this, in every sense—"the greatest master of line in black and white that will live for many years to come." The engraving that accompanies this notice of our old friend is not a striking likeness of "CARLO," but it exactly reproduces his thoughtful attitude, with his pipe in his hand, so familiar to all his associates.
Hereby and herewith thanks-a-many are returned to the "Bibliographer," who is also the Secretary of the Sette of Odd Volumes, for his charming little brochure about Robert Houdin, his Life and Magical Deeds, by his truly,
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
* * * * *
A "STERNE" TRUTH (as to conviction under The Embezzlement and Larceny Act, 1861).—"They order this matter better in France."
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S PRIZE NOVELS.
(BY MISS REDNA TRIAL, AUTHOR OF "WEE JEW;" "A LARDY HORSEMAN"; "SPUN BY PRATING," &C., &C., &C.)
["I think you will like this book," writes the fair Author; "its tone is elevated and its intention good. The philosophic infidel must be battered into belief by the aid of philosophy mingled with kindness. Take KENAN, HAECKEL, HUXLEY, STRAUSS, and DRAPER—the names, I mean; it is quite useless and might do harm to read their books,—shake them up together and make into a paste, add some poetical excerpts of a moral tendency, and spread thick over a violent lad smarting under a sense of demerit justly scorned, Turn him out into the world, then scrape clean and return him to his true friends. Cards, race-meetings, and billiards may be introduced ad lib., also passion, prejudice, a faithful dog, and an infant prattler. Death-scenes form an effective relief. I have several which only need a touch or two to be complete. That is the way to please the publishers and capture the public. Try it, and let me know what you think.—R.T."]
Ah me, how shall we know the true, How mark the old, how fix the new? Or teach the babe in arms to say, "Base, bold, bad boys are cheap to-day"?
NARR. The White Witch.
SONOGUN scarcely knew what to do. He had been up all day, wandering about the lanes which surrounded the family mansion. A fitful light blazed in his magnificent eyes, his brow contracted until it assumed that peculiarly battered expression which is at once characteristic of a bent penny and consistent with the most sublime beauty. To be properly appreciated he must be adequately described. Imagine then a young man of twenty, who was filled with the bitterest hatred of the world, which he had forsworn two years ago, on being expelled from school for gambling. There was about him an air of haughty reserve and of indifference which was equally haughty. This it was his habit to assume in order to meet any neighbours who happened to meet him, and the result naturally was that he was not so popular as some inferior beings who were less haughty. In fact he had a very short way with his relations, for whose benefit he kept a shell into which he frequently retired. He was dangerously handsome, in the Italian style, and often played five bars of music over and over again, with one finger, to please his mother. Some women thought he was an Apollo, others described him as an Adonis, but everybody invariably ended or began by calling him an ancient Roman. He was sarcastic, satiric, and very strong. Indeed, on one occasion, he absolutely broke the feathers on a hand-screen, and on another he cracked three walnuts in succession without looking up. But, oh, the sufferings that young heart had undergone. Slapped by his nurse, reproved by his mother, expelled by his schoolmaster, and shunned by the society of the country-side, it was small wonder that the brave soul revolted against its fellow-men, and set its jaws in a proud resolve to lash the unfeeling world with the contempt of a spirit bruised beyond the power of such lotions as the worldly-wise recommended for the occasion. He whistled to his dog Stray, and clenched his fists in impotent anger. An expression of gentleness stole over his features. The idea was suggestive. He, too, the proud, the honourable, the upright would steal, and thus punish the world. He looked into his make-up box. It contained bitter defiance, angry scorn, and a card-sharper's pack of cards. He took them out; and thus SONOGUN, the expelled atheist, made up his mind.
On the green table of life the cards fall in many ways, and the proud king often has to bow his head before the meek and unassuming ace.—BINNS.
AND now began for SONOGUN a time of moral stress and torture such as he had never anticipated. It is an old saying, and perhaps (who knows?) a truism, that virtue is its own reward, not, perhaps, the reward that ambitious people look for, but the easy consciousness of superiority which comes to those who feel themselves to be on a higher level than the rest of the world, which struggles on a lower level. Another philosopher, nameless, but illustrious, has declared, in burning words, that "Honesty is the best policy," best in some form, perhaps hardly understood now, but no less real because we are unable to appraise it in the current coin of the realm over which Her Most Gracious Majesty, whom may Heaven preserve, holds sway. But SONOGUN had never thought of Heaven. To him, young, proud, gloomy, and moody, Heaven had seemed only—(Several chapters of theological disquisition omitted.—ED.) The click of the billiard-balls maddened him, the sight of a cue made him rave like a maniac. One evening he was walking homeward to Drury Lane. He had given his coat to a hot-potato-man, deeming it, in his impulsive way, a bitter satire on the world's neglect, that the senseless tubers should have jackets, while their purveyor lacked a coat. The rain was pouring down, but it mattered little to him. He had wrapped himself in that impenetrable mantle of cold scorn, and thus he watched with a moody air the crowd of umbrella-carrying respectabilities, who hurried on their way without a thought of him. Suddenly some one slapped him on the back, and, as he turned round, he found himself face to face with a couple of seedy-looking gentlemen.
"I perceive," began SONOGUN, "that you hate the world, having suffered much injustice from it."
"We do; we have!" was the cordial reply.
"I, too," continued SONOGUN, "have many grievances. But tell me who and what are you?"
"Our names are unknown even to ourselves," replied his new friends, for friends he felt them to be. "By profession we are industrial knights. That should be sufficient.
"It is;—more than sufficient," said the proud, honourable young man, "I will be one of you. We will take it out of the world together."
The bargain thus made was soon ratified. They procured cards, SONOGUN whistled to his dog Stray, and they all set out together to the nearest railway station to pick up their victims. This is the usual method, and thus card-sharpers are manufactured.
Nay, this is truth, though heart-strings break, And youth with gloomy brows hears:— Howe'er you try, you shall not make Silk purses out of sows' ears.
W. BRAUN, Soul-tatters.
In the present there is absolute redemption. Though a gulf should yawn, go not you to sleep, but rub your eyes; be up and doing.—JAKES.
In the meantime, SONOGUN's cousin, ACIS ARRANT, generally known to his jocular intimates as Knave ARRANT, had been living in luxury with his cousin's weak mother, whom he had contrived to marry. To effect this, however, he had been compelled to tear a will into little pieces, and had, at the same time, ruined that peace of his mind which he often gave to SONOGUN. The unfortunate consequence was, that SONOGUN did not value it in the least, and always returned it to him. And thus the relations of the two men, who should have been friends, the guardian and the ward, were always on a hostile footing, which only the most delicate handling could have healed. ACIS was not happy. When his glass told him he was old, he had no repartee ready, and could only speculate gloomily on the disagreeable fate which had compelled him to take part in a modern novel, and had evidently told him off to pass away into the unseen in Chapter 40.
But, of course, GLADYS and her father, the doctor, knew nothing about all this. GLADYS always looked happy; her hair, her mouth, her eyes, her ears, even her little unformed nose, all looked as happy as possible. She was a pleasant little patent moraliser, with a double escapement action for great occasions. On this evening all the family was gathered together, including the inevitable infant, whose prattle serves to soothe the gloomy perversity of morose heroes. On such an evening as this SONOGUN had seen them all years ago, and, though he was standing in the garden and all the windows were shut, he had heard every single whisper of the family conversation. The Doctor seemed to be troubled, and GLADYS came up to him in her caressing way.
"My dear," he said, simply, "SONOGUN is in trouble, and we must rescue him." No more was said, but the next moment GLADYS and her father had left by the London express.
All things are fair that are not dark; Yet all are dark that are not fair. And the same cat that slays the lark, Itself is often killed by care.—BOHER.
SONOGUN had seen a notice in a railway-carriage. "Beware of card-sharpers" was printed upon it, and it flashed upon him, with the force of a revelation, that it must be meant for him. Once more he made up his mind. He would fly. Fear lent him a spare pair of second-hand wings. He whistled to his dog Stray, and having thrown HAECKEL and RENAN out of the window, he flapped twice, and then soared up, Stray following as best he could. It was very dark, and the clouds were threatening. For a long time he avoided them, but at length he fell into a particularly damp one, and would inevitably have been drowned, had not the sagacious Stray brought men to his assistance. And thus SONOGUN, the scoffer, the agnostic, the moody, gloomy, morose, cast-iron, Roman-faced misanthrope, got home. That same evening he changed his clothes and his character, and on the following day married GLADYS.
* * * * *
"QUITE NEW AND ORIGINAL."
The fencing Lecture, entitled, The Story of Swordsmanship, seems to have been so great a success, last Wednesday, at the Lyceum, as to have aroused the ire of some Music-hall Managers, who earnestly contend that the Stage of the Theatre, that is, of the Drama pur et simple, very pure et very simple, should not be used or misused for the purpose of giving an entertainment, which, though given without scenes, was yet "illustrated with cuts."
It is highly probable that this offensive and defensive subject will be followed by other lectures more, perhaps, in keeping with theatrical tradition. We will not give our authority for this statement, but may intimate that that eminent professor of the P.R. and P.M.N.A.S.D., known within certain circles as The Slogger, will, at no very distant date, give at one of our most popular theatres a lecture, the first of a series, on Pugilism and the Drama.
Tickets, of course, to be obtained at the Box-office. The subject of the first Lecture will be Box and Fighting Cocks.
Among other things the eloquent professor will draw the attention of his audience to what a change in the history of the Stage, nay, perhaps, in the history of the world, would have occurred if to Box's inquiry as to his pugilistic capacity, Cox had replied, "I can!" and had there and then thrown himself, like Mr. Pickwick "into a paralytic attitude," and exclaimed, "Come on!" an invitation which the challenger would have been bound in honour to accept. The Lecturer will practically show how "to make a hit," and give an example from the life of the "early closing movement." The Lecture will be interspersed with songs, such as "Black Eyes and Blue Eyes," "Hand and Glove," "Ring! Ring!" "The Hymn to Floorer" a part-song, by four choristers, and "Me-fist-O's song" from Faust. Perhaps the next Lecture on the some subject will be given at The Umpire Theatre.
* * * * *
AN OLD CRY REVIVED (unpalatable to the French Painters and Patriots).—"A Berlin! a Berlin!"
* * * * *
SHAKSPEARE AND THE UNMUSICAL GLASSES.
Mr. PINERO, in his letter to the D.T., complained that, should the Music Halls obtain their wicked way, through the incompetence of the County Council to deal with the matter—(but is not DRURIOLANUS a Counti-Counciliarius, and ready to see justice done to the poor player, author, (and manager alike? Sure-ly!)—then a play at a Hall of Music (they used to be "Caves of Harmony" in THACKERAY's time, and the principal Hall of Music was SAM HALL) will be heard between "a puff at a cigar and a sip from a glass." Well, but what piece can get on without a puff or so? Would not a good cigar during a good piece be on additional "draw?" We have "Smoking Concerts"; why not "Smoking Theatricals"? But how about the Ladies? Years ago there were no smoking-carriages on the Railways. And what nowadays is the proportion of smoking to non-smoking compartments? Very small. The Ladies will decide this question. But how about the Actors? In modern pieces they never lose an opportunity of smoking. Why shouldn't the cigar be introduced into Shakspearian revivals? Anachronism to the winds!—which is a polite way of expressing "Anachronism be blowed!" 'Baccy be blowed too. Sir WALTER RALEIGH would have approved its introduction in Elizabethan days. In Twelfth Night for example, the line, "Help me to some light," is suggestive; so, also, in Macbeth—"Give us a light, then"—out comes the cigar. Titus Andronicus might be revived, with a view to inaugurating the innovation, and the line, "Some of you shall smoke," would be the signal for the production of many a cigar-case in point. Hamlet could, perhaps, find some authority for reading the line, "Will you play upon this pipe?" as, "Will you smoke this pipe?" And the other actor would reply, "Certainly—and thank you, my Lord, I have one of my own." Mr. EDWARD TERRY has no objection to The Churchwarden in his theatre, and his Churchwarden drew very well. However, we've had this discussion before. Will it end this time, as it has hitherto done, in smoke? Let us suppose a Shakspearian play under the proposed conditions:—
SCENE II.—Capulet's Garden. After ROMEO's soliloquy, which, perhaps, has produced a thirstiness among the audience, resulting in several orders for drinks having been given, JULIET appears on balcony.
"Juliet. Ah, me!" [Popping of corks, and striking of matches.
"Romeo. She speaks!—"
Fascinating Female Attendant in Stalls. One whiskey, Sir?
"Romeo. Oh, speak again, bright angel!"
Thirsty Party in Stalls. No; I said B. and S.—bring it quick.
"Romeo (continuing). As is a winged messenger of heaven."
Second Fascinating Attendant. Which Gent ordered gin-sling? (No one pays any attention. Attendant sees a mild man listening as earnestly as he can to the play.) Did you order a sling, Sir?
Earnest Listener (irritably). No, no—I don't want anything. There, I've lost the last part of ROMEO's speech.
[Steels himself against further distractions, and tries to concentrate all his attention on the play.
"Juliet. O, ROMEO! ROMEO! wherefore art thou, ROMEO?" &c.
"Romeo (aside). Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?"
Excited Somebody (in distant Stall, beckoning to Second Attendant). Here! Hi! Here! I ordered gin-sling.
Second Attendant (much relieved). Oh, you was it? D'you mind stretchin' across—(To gorgeous, eveningly-attired Lady, in row between). Beg pardon.
Gorgeous Lady (horribly disturbed). She'll spill it—you'll spill it—CHARLEY, why don't you—
Charles (her Friend). Here! (To Fascinating Attendant as politely as possible). Can't you go round with it—
Few Ancient Playgoers. Sssh! Sssh!
Second Attendant (to distant Customer). I'll bring it. 'Scuse me.
[Retraces her fascinating steps along front row. Chaff—exclamations—near and distant poppings of corks, striking of matches, and other accompaniments to JULIET's speech.
And so forth, ad libitum. The same thing going on all over the house during the remainder of the Shakspearean play.
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE GREAT WHALING EXPEDITION.
BY BILLY (H. SM-TH), THE (ST. STEPHEN'S) BO'SEN.
'Twas in Ninety One, d'ye see, Brave boys! With SOLLY I did sa-a-a-ail, When one Monday night We went out—not to fight, But we went for to catch a Whale. Brave boys! We went for to catch a Whale!
There was dirty weather about, Brave boys! Trade-winds was blowin' a ga-a-a-le, When the Skipper sings out, As we chopped about, "My eyes! there goes such a Whale! Brave boys! Dear eyes I there goes such a Whale!"
It were the whoppingest Whale, Brave boys! As ever whisked a ta-a-a-il; In the trough o' the sea It was Labouring free. And a lashin' the waves like a flail, Brave boys! A lashin' the waves like a flail.
We had heard o' that Whale afore, Brave boys! Says SOLLY, "I'll go ba-a-a-ail, The Rads would roar If that monster they sor-r! But we want to catch that Whale, Brave boys! We want to catch that Whale!
"Young GRANDOLPH has kep' a look-out Brave boys! Wich it weren't of no awa-a-a-il. Brum JOEY, no doubt, Is a-cruisin' about, But they mustn't catch that Whale, Brave boys! No, they mustn't catch that Whale."
There was only me and SOLLY, Brave boys! In that boat, with never a sa-a-a-il; And, it may seem folly, But we both was jolly, For we meant for to catch that Whale, Brave boys! We meant for to catch that Whale!
No harpoon, or such tackle we took. Brave boys! For we knowed they was no ava-a-a-il. No, we went for to look For that Whale—with a hook. That's how we went for that Whale, Brave boys! That's how we went for that Whale!
We knowed that a sprat was the bait, Brave boys! What was never knowed for to fa-a-a-il. So the sprat I throwed, Whilst SOLLY, he rowed, That's how we angled for that Whale, Brave boys! That's how we angled for that Whale!
He lashed, and he dashed, and he splashed, Brave boys! And he spouted on a werry big sca-a-a-le. But the skipper, he still held on, And that sprat what I have telled on, I dangled,—for to catch that Whale, Brave boys! I dangled,—for to catch that Whale!
"Strike! turn yer winch, pull in yer line! Brave boys! (Sings out SOLLY) and yer prize you'll na-a-a-il!" Then a rummy thing did 'appen Wich amazed me and the Cap'en; I struck,—but so did that Whale, Brave boys! I struck—but so did that Whale!
We found he was the better at a Strike, Brave boys! Fhwisk! He hit us such a wallop with his ta-a-a-il. With my hook, sprat, tackle too He just vanished from our view. So—we haven't yet caught that Whale, Brave boys! No,—we haven't yet caught that Whale!
[Footnote 1: Supposed to be rival whaling captains.]
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SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE.—The name of the "unknown steamer laden with gums and ivory," reported as having passed down the Congo last week, has been discovered to be The Dentist.
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THE LATEST IN TELEGRAMS.
(SEE DAILY PAPERS PASSIM.)
[ALL FROM THE RAZZLE-DAZZLE AGENCY.]
HUKIEWAUKIE, February 28.
An extraordinary incident has just stirred the heart of this populous Western centre to its depths. Some fifteen years ago Colonel ZACHARY B. DIBBS, one of the most prominent citizens of Hukiewaukie (then a mere collection of log-huts), disappeared without leaving any address to which his letters and papers were to be forwarded. Mrs. DIBBS, who was then about to give birth to the seventh scion of the house of DIBBS, was inconsolable, and ordered the fish-ponds in the vicinity to be subjected to a rigorous scrutiny. All her conjugal efforts proved fruitless, the missing Colonel was nowhere to be found, and, after a decent interval spent in the wearing of widow's weeds, Mrs. DIBBS was led to the local registrar's office by Sheriff's Deputy ORLANDO T. STRUGGLES. Time went on, and five flourishing STRUGGLESES were added by the former Mrs. DIBBS to the population of the town. On Thursday last, however, Colonel DIBBS was discovered by his eldest son, Mr. JERNIAH N. DIBBS, the well-known notary public, sitting in his familiar seat in the Fifth Street Saloon, drinking rum-shrub out of a tumbler. An explanation followed. Sheriff's Deputy STRUGGLES, in the handsomest manner, offered to resign all claim to the possession of the Colonel's spouse. The Colonel, however, would not hear of this. Finally it was decided to spin a five-dollar green-back for the lady. An inopportune gust of wind, however, carried off the fateful money, and the momentous question is still undecided. The Colonel has announced his intention of continuing a bachelor, even if he has to fight the matter up to the Supreme Court, and a large majority of the inhabitants of the town are willing to support him, with a view to making this a test case.
MUNCHAUSENVILLE, March 2.
Yesterday, as one of the chief tiger-purveyors of this city was engaged in exercising his troupe of fiery, untamed tigers, in the main street, two of the ferocious animals escaped from the string which has usually been found sufficient for their confinement. A general stampede of the inhabitants immediately followed, the majority finding refuge in the bar of the recently constructed Hotel Columbia, Mayor MADDERLEY and his amiable consort were, however, not so fortunate. The Mayor, being shortsighted, mistook the two denizens of the jungle for a couple of performing poodles, to whose training he had devoted much of his leisure, and who, as it happened, were at that precise moment expected on their return from the post-office, with the Mayor's mail in their mouths—a trick which had often amused the Mayor's friends. Mr. MADDERLEY advanced to stroke his supposed pets, and was much surprised to find himself torn in pieces before he had time to send for the city mace. Mrs. MADDERLEY, a stout, plethoric lady, would have been the next victim, had she not, with extraordinary presence of mind, declared herself dead the moment the animals approached her. This deceit (which, however, has been the subject of grave censure in many pulpits,) saved her life. Maddened by the taste of blood, the tigers next attacked Mr. LARIAT's grocery store. Here, however, they met their match in an army of Gorgonzola cheeses, which broke from their shelves, attacked the intruders with wonderful fury, and in ten minutes had so far subdued them that their owner was able to recapture them, and lead them home. The obsequies of Mr. MADDERLEY's shoes and his umbrella—all that was left of the unhappy Mayor—have just taken place amidst universal demonstrations of sympathy. The funeral cortege took an hour to pass a given point. Widow MADDERLEY proposes to sue the owner of her late husband's assassins.
LYNCHVILLE, March 3.
Two brothers, named respectively JOHN and THOMAS, quarrelled here yesterday about the ownership of a clasp-knife. They drew their revolvers at the same instant, and fired at a distance of two paces. Strangely enough the two deadly bullets met in the air, and, their force being exactly equal, they stopped dead and dropped to the ground, whence they were afterwards picked up and presented to the trustees of the Lynchville Museum of Fine Art. Nothing daunted, the fraternal contestants set to work with their bowie-knives, and were only separated after JOHN had inflicted on THOMAS ten mortal wounds and received from him one less. It is generally admitted that nothing could have been fairer than the conduct of the police, who formed a cordon round the duellists, and thus prevented the fussy interference which has so often brought similar affairs to a premature termination. The two coffins are to be of polished walnut-wood, and will be provided by the Friendly Society to which the two deceased belonged, as a last mark of affection and regard.
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(IRISH DONNYBROOK VERSION.)
Oirish Gentleman loquitur:—
Spilt mugs, chairs fallen, and scattered tables,— That's Oirish shindy, me bhoys, all over! "Union of Hearts" and such plisant fables, Won't greatly hamper the free-foight lover. What do you mean, Ye paltry spalpeen? True Oirish hearts from Old England to wean? Faix, not a bit of it! We'll jist have none of it! They're foighting frindly, and jist for the fun of it!
There's bould PARNELL, he looks fierce and fell, Wid his savage face, and his snickersnee steely. Faix, wouldn't he loike that same to stroike All into the gizzard of Misther HEALY? He looks so sullen At the pair a pullin' At his sinewy arm, and his onset mullin'! That thraitor, TIM, he'd be having his will on, But for tearful O'BRIEN, and dismal DILLON.
As for tarin' TIM, he'd be hot at him, Wid his ready sword from its scabbard flashin'! But that meddlin' JUSTIN will be a thrustin' Himself betune 'em, the duel dashin'! Och, I assure ye, Nor judge nor jury Could abate their ardour, or assuage their fury. Faix, Mount Vaysuvius, wid its flame and smother, Must take a back sate—whin they get at each other!
Och! a rale ruction hath a swate seduction, For us Oirish, BULL, though it mayn't be your way. PARNELL's a rum fish, and he seems to "scumfish" That Grand Ould Gintleman paping in at the doorway. Ye may call it "Rixe," Though I can't quite fix Its mayning; a plague on all polyglot thricks! Sthand asoide, O'BRIEN, DILLON, MCCARTHY! Let 'em foight it out—shure that's Oirish and hearthy!
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, February 23.—House empty to-night. Even the fog keeps out; nothing more important under consideration than Army Vote, including expenditure of L5,632,700. "And precious little too," says Colonel LAURIE, doing sentry march in the Lobby. "Wages going up everywhere! labour of all classes but one paid on higher scale than it used to be; but TOMMY ATKINS and his Colonel getting just the same now as they did twenty years ago, when living was much cheaper. There ought to be a rise all round, and so there would be, if the Army, following example of other organised bodies of day labourers, were to strike; think I'll mention it at Mess; should begin at the top. Why shouldn't the Colonels and Generals assemble in their hundreds, march to Hyde Park, where H.R.H. would address them from a stoutly-made tub? Moral effect would be enormous; shall certainly mention it at Mess. Perhaps, could get some practical hints from JOHN BURNS."
These remarks dropped by the Colonel before debate opened. During its progress received support from unexpected quarter. HARTINGTON, suddenly waking up from usual nap on Front Bench, wanted to know when War Office is going to carry out recommendation of Royal Commission on re-organisation of Naval and Military Departments? STANHOPE said everything turned upon vacancy in post of Commander-in-Chief. When that berth empty, the machine would move. No chance of immediate vacancy; the DOOK very comfortable where he is; not the sort of man to retire in face of enemy. The only way to carry out scheme recommended by Commissioners after prolonged inquiry was to get rid of the DOOK.
"I do trust," said STANHOPE, winking at the Strangers' Gallery, "that the public will not interfere in this matter. They have had the Report of the Commission in their hands for months. They have taken no notice of it, or any action upon it. I do hope, now their attention has been called to the matter by my noble and Radical friend opposite, they will not get up a fuss and insist that necessary and important reforms in the Army shall not be indefinitely postponed in order that the DOOK may draw his salary and enjoy his position. If the great mass of public opinion outside the Army plainly declared their wishes in that direction, we should have to yield; but, as I said before," and once more the Secretary furtively dropped his left eyelid as he looked up at the Strangers' Gallery, "I hope the public will not change their attitude on this subject."
"That's all very well," said LAURIE, who had now entered the House. "But it seems to me that when H.R.H. reads this curious speech, he'll be more inclined to fall in with our movement. In my mind's eye, I can already see him on the tub in Hyde Park, haranguing the mob of Colonels from under an umbrella."
Business done.—Army Estimates in Committee.
Tuesday.—Decidedly a Labour night, with Capital incidentally mentioned. First, OLD MORALITY announces appointment of Royal Commission to inquire into relations between Capital and Labour. His placid mind evidently disturbed by undesirable coincidence. On Saturday night, GRANDOLPH, suddenly remembering he had constituents at West Paddington, took a penny Road Car, and paid them visit. Delivered luminous speech on things in general. Recommended appointment of Royal Commission on relations between Labour and Capital. To uninstructed mind looks uncommonly like as if Ministers, reading this speech on Monday morning, had said to each other, "Halloa! here's RANDOLPH in the field again. Says we must have Labour Commission; suppose we must."
Nothing of the kind happened. Cabinet Council met at noon on Saturday and decided upon Royal Commission. GRANDOLPH didn't speak for some hours later. Odd that he should have hit on this Commission business; just like his general awkwardness of interference. Must prevent all possibility of mistake; so OLD MORALITY, in announcing Commission, innocently, but pointedly, stops by the way to mention that Ministers had decided upon it "last Saturday."
Wish GRANDOLPH had been here; would like to have seen the twinkle in his eye when he heard this little point made. But GRANDOLPH busy down by the Docks, picking up his outfit. Secret of the sudden and surprising growth of the beard out now. GRANDOLPH off to the gold-diggings, and beard usually worn there. Hardly knew him when I looked in the other day at Connaught Place; trying on his new things; pair of rough unpolished boots coming over his knees; belt round his waist holding up his trousers and conveniently suspending jackknife, tin pannikin, and water-bottle. "For use on the voyage," he explains. Then a flannel shirt open at the neck; a wide-awake cocked on one side of his head; and a pickaxe on his shoulder.
"I'm tired of civilisation, TOBY, and I am off to the diggins. Leave you and OLD MORALITY, and the MARKISS and JACOBY to look after politics. As for me, I'm going to look for gold. I'm not rushing blindfold into the matter. I've studied it with the highest and the deepest authorities—and what do I learn? Native gold is found crystallised in the forms of the octahedron, the cube, and the dodecahedron, of which the cube is considered as the primary form. It also occurs in filiform, capillary, and arborescent shapes, as likewise in leaves or membranes, and rolled masses. It offers no indications of internal structure, but, on being separated by mechanical violence, exhibits a hackly fracture. Its colour comprises various shades of gold yellow. Its specific gravity varies from 14.8 to 19.2. It is commonly alloyed by copper, silver, and iron, in very small proportions. I mean, if I may say so, to unalloy it"; and, swinging the pick round his head with a dexterity that testified to natural aptitude combined with diligent practice, GRANDOLPH chipped a fragment out of the marble mantelpiece, and, picking it up, eagerly examined it, as if in search of a hackly fracture.
I wished him good luck, and went back to the House, where I found BIDDULPH smiling behind SPEAKER's chair, watching ATKINSON illustrating the working of his Duration of Speeches Bill by ringing a muffin-bell, borrowed from a Constituent.
Thursday.—Should have been at work to-night on Army Estimates; but things getting a little mixed. Nearly 150 Members picknicking at Portsmouth; all the Colonels, the Bo'suns, the Captains, and the Admirals.
"Capital opportunity to get on with the Estimates," JACKSON whispered in OLD MORALITY's ear.
"No," said that pink of chivalry, "I will never take mean advantage of a man, even of an Admiral. Let us put on the Factories and Workshops Bill; won't take long; keep us going till they get back from Portsmouth."
So HOME SECRETARY moved Second Reading. "Mere formality, you know," he explained; "shall refer Bill to Committee on Trade, and there it will be thrashed out and shaped." But floodgates once opened not easily shut. The Factories and Workshops mean the Working-Man; Working-Man has Vote; General Election not far off; must show Working-Man who's his true friend. Everybody his true friend. Speeches by the dozen; COMPTON, after long sitting in patient attitude at last caught SPEAKER's eye. "A milk-and-water Bill," he scornfully characterised HOME SECRETARY's measure.
"Ah! COMPTON knows what the Working-Man likes," said WILFRID LAWSON. "A rum-and-milk Bill is more to his taste."
LYON PLAYFAIR delivered one of his luminous Lectures; full of reference to "certifying surgeons," and "half-time children."
"What's a half-time child?" I asked CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN.
"Fancy it's one prematurely born," he whispered back. "But really don't know; not on in this scene; ask MUNDELLA or pleeceman."
LYON PLAYFAIR knew all about it and much else.
"Wonderful man!" said the Member for SARK, gazing admiringly on his massive brow. "Always reminds me of what SYDNEY SMITH said about another eminent person. 'Look at my little friend JEFFREY. He hasn't body enough to cover his mind decently with. His intellect is indecently exposed.'"
Business done.—Factory and Workshops Bill read a Second Time.
Friday.—PROVAND brought on Motion raising vexed question of Taxation of Land. OLD MORALITY always on look-out to do kind thing; thought this would be good opportunity of trotting out CHAPLIN; had no chance of distinguishing himself since he became Minister. So CHAPLIN put up; made mellifluous speech. Unfortunately, Mr. G. present; listened to CHAPLIN with suspicious suavity; followed him, and, as JEMMY LOWTHER puts it, "turned him inside out, and hung him up to dry." Played with him like a cat with a mouse; drew him out into damaging statements; then danced on his prostrate body. About the worst quarter of an hour CHAPLIN ever had in House, with JOKEM on one side of him, and OLD MORALITY on other, tossing about on their seats, exchanging groans and glances, while CHAPLIN mopped the massive brow on which stood forth iridescent gleams of moisture.
"Meant it all for the best," said OLD MORALITY; "but who'd have thought of Mr. G. being here? CHAPLIN's a great Minister of Agriculture; but, when it comes to questions of finance, not quite on a par with Mr. G." Business done.—House Counted Out.
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CHAMBERS IN ST. JAMES'S STREET.
THE IDLER, by HADDON CHAMBERS, is a real good play, thoroughly interesting from the rising to the setting of the Curtain. The parts are artistically adjusted, the dialogue unforced, the acting un-stagey, and the situations powerfully dramatic. The climax is reached at the "psychological moment," and the Curtain descends upon all that a sympathetic audience can possibly desire to know of what must be once and for all the story of a life-time. "The rest is silence." Throughout the play there is no parade of false sentimentality, no tawdry virtue, no copy-book morality, no vicious silliness; and, so well constructed is the plot, that there is no need of a wearisome extra Act, by way of postscript, to tell us how all the characters met again at the North Pole or Land's End; how everybody explained everything to everybody else; how the Idler, becoming a busy-body, married the widow of Sir John Harding, M.P., who had had the misfortune to be drowned out shrimping; and how many other matters happened for which the wearied audience would not care one snap of the finger and thumb. On another occasion I shall have something to say about the acting, which, as far as the men are concerned, has certainly not been equalled since the days of Peril. The St. James's is in for a good thing with The Idler; and at this moment I may say, I would be ALEXANDER were I not, briefly,
DIOGENES "THE TUBMAN," B.C.L.
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ACTING—ON A SUGGESTION.—The Woman, always well informed, tells us on February 26, that, "owing to numerous applications," Mr. C.T. GREIN is negotiating for the Royalty Theatre, in order to give another Ibsenian performance. Now this is exactly what we suggested in our number for February 14. If the date suits, we will go and see Ghosts, and, if we succeed in keeping up our spirits after seeing Ghosts, we will give a candid opinion on the performance of the piece which hitherto we know only in print. En attendant, we shall have something to say about the recent performance of that piece of Ibsenity A Doll's House—in our next.
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WHAT'S IN A NAME?—On the recent occasion of the QUEEN's visit to Portsmouth, no one of the officials seems to have been more on the alert and more generally alive than Mr. DEADMAN, the Chief Constructor of the Yard.
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"EN ITERUM CRISPINUS!"—Hamlet on the real distinction between Theatres and Music Halls—
"To B. (and S.) or not to B. (and S.) that is the question!"
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HAPPY PROSPECT.—The Wild Birds, if the Bill for their protection becomes law, will remember, the Session of 1891 as a year of PEASE and Quiet.
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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.