OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
May 16, 1891.
MR. PUNCH'S PRIZE NOVELS.
(BY OLPH SCHREION, AUTHOR OF "SCREAMS," "THE ALLEGORY OF AN ASIAN RANCHE.")
["You will perceive," writes the Author of the following story, "that this is allegorical, but it is not by any means necessary that you should understand it. The chief charm of allegorical writing is its absolute freedom from the trammels of convention. You write something large and vague, with any amount of symbols thrown in. The words flow quite easily; you cover scores of pages. Then you read it over again next morning. If you understand it so little as to think some other fellow must have written it, you may be quite certain it is an allegory. When you print it, your public reads into it all kinds of mysterious and morbid religious emotions, and confused misinterpretations of life-problems, and everybody tacks on his own special explanation. That being so, it is quite unnecessary for you to explain things—which saves a great deal of trouble. The plan is an excellent one. Try it.—Yours, allegorically, O.S."]
TANT' SANNIE was stewing kraut in the old Dutch saucepan. The scorching rays of the African sun were beating down upon BONAPARTE BLENKINS who was doing his best to be sun-like by beating WALDO. His nose was red and disagreeable. He was something like HUCKLEBERRY FINN's Dauphin, an amusing, callous, cruel rogue, but less resourceful. TANT' SANNIE laughed; it was so pleasant to see a German boy beaten black and blue. But the Hottentot servants merely gaped. It was their custom.
But in the middle distance Life was playing marbles with the Unknown. And the Unknown said unto Life, "Give me an alley-tor." But Life replied, "Nay, for the commoneys are lying well, and the thumb of him that aimeth is seasoned unto the stroke." And the Unknown beat his sable wings together, and one black feather flitted far into the breast of the day and fell to earth. And there came a fair-haired Child plucking flowers in the desert with brows bent in thought.
And Life said unto the Child, "Play with me."
And the Unknown said, "Play with me."
But the Child raised its soft hand slowly and the tender fingers grew apart, and its thumb was poised in thought upon its nose, and it spake not at all. And the feather flitted far, far over the waste, and men came forth and gazed upon it, but it heeded them not.
Then said Life, "I am strong. Kings have need of me and earth is my dominion." But the Unknown gathered up the scattered marbles, concealing them gently, and answered only this—"I am a greater than Life."
And the Child strayed onwards and the feather flitted, and TANT' SANNIE still stewed kraut in the old Dutch saucepan. And BONAPARTE BLENKINS was glad.
Cruelty, cruelty, cruelty—all is cruelty! Boys are beaten; oxen are stabbed till the blood bursts forth; happy, industrious, dung-collecting beetles are bitten in two by careless, happy, beetle-collecting dogs—everything is wicked and cruel. The Kaffir has beautiful legs, but he will kick his wife, and TANT' SANNIE, alas! will not be there to drop a pickle-tub on his head. And over everything hangs that inscrutable charm which hovers for ever for the human intellect over the incomprehensible and shadowy. Omne ignotum pro mirifico, I might say, but I prefer the longer phrase.
And I stood at the gate of Heaven, I and TANT' SANNIE; and we spoke to everybody quite affably; and they all had time to listen to what we said, and to make suitable replies.
And I said, "Are we all here?"
And she said, "Not all."
And I said, "The absent are always in the wrong."
And she said, "I have heard that in French."
And I said, "Is not that impertinent?"
And she said, "No."
And a great Light fell across her face, as though a palm had smitten it, and the name of the palm was Hand, and its fruits were fingers five.
And again I addressed myself in terms of familiarity to the Ever-lasting, and I planted a book upon the clouds, where eight children lay prone with bees flying about their childish bonnets.
And there came a knock at my door.
"Eight o'clock!" said One. "Arise!"
"Nay," I answered; "it cannot be."
"But the water is hot within the can, and the table will be spread for them that break their fast."
"So be it. I rise." And behold it was a dream!
Far away the mother of the little nigger stood churning. Where is the mother of the little black nigger? She is churning slowly in the garden. But cannot the aunt of the good gardener churn herself? No; for she is in the orchard, plucking the apples, peaches, apricots, pears (Birnen), to give to the butler's grandmother.
And there came Life and The Ideal walking hand in hand. And behind them came Wealth and Vastness singing together. And Infinity was there, and Health, and Wisdom, and Love. And Reflection was mounted on a steed with Joy. And many other shapes followed, delicately arrayed in fine linen. And helmet-wearing Men in Blue marshalled the procession. And they spake roughly, saying, "Pass away there, pass away there!"
And I said, "Is this the Lord Mayor's Show?"
And One said, "No."
And I said, "Is it the Salvation Army?"
And again One said, "No."
And I said, "Is it SEQUAH?"
And One said again. "No."
And I said, "I have guessed enough."
And One said, "Yes."
But The Real was not there, and they passed away.
And One said, "I am Wealth," which was absurd, but No-one laughed. And they all danced a fandango on the points of their toes. And a shaft of light lay over them. And they wandered on. At last they came to a bad, wicked naughty, brimstone place. And I said to Some-one, "I like this. It seems a good place." And still No-one laughed. And Wealth touched me, and I was glad. And I said, "Give me millions, or buy a box of matches," and Law seized me and took me to the Cell. Then I said to the Beak, "Your Worship." And the Beak said unto me, "Begging again. Forty shillings." And again I woke. And it was all a striving and a striving and an ending in Nothing.
* * * * *
TO MLLE. JANE MAY.
"Au clair de la lune, Mon ami PIERROT, Prete-moi ta plume Pour ecrire un mot."
Prete-moi ta plume! Could wit borrow a feather From Cupid's own pinion, 'tis doubtfullish whether A "mot" might be made which should happily hit The "gold" of desert; and Love, aided by Wit, Though equal to eloquent passion's fine glow, Might both be struck mute by the Muse of Dumb-Show. That "actions speak louder than words" we all knew; But now we may add, "and more gracefully, too." Performances fine Punch has praised in his day, But how few take the pas of the Promise—of MAY!
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"NATIVE RACES AND THE LIQUOR TRAFFIC."—An important subject strangely omitted at the recent meeting of this Society was "The Consumption of Champagne on the Derby and Oaks Days." The Duke of WESTMINSTER will take the earliest opportunity of rectifying this error.
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JOKIM THE CELLARER; OR, THE BLEND.
AIR.—"SIMON THE CELLARER."
'Cute JOKIM the Cellarer keeps a large store Of choice Party Spirits, d'ye see; Scotch, Irish, and who can say how many more? An eclectic old soul is he. But mainly in "Blends" he is good, dark or pale, For he knows without them his best bottlings may fail; But he never faileth, he archly doth say, For he well knows what tap suits the taste of the day. And ho! ho! ho! his books will show He oft taps the barrels of Brummagem JOE!
JOE sits all the time in his own still-room, And a taster clever is he. 'Tis in vain that his enemies kick up a fume. And swear he is half a Torie. But there are sly meetings upon the backstair. And watchers say JOE is oft gossiping there. Now JOE distrusts someone who's Grand, and who's Old, And says that he must be kept "out in the cold." And ho! ho! ho! old JOKIM doth know That many a flask of his best comes from JOE.
'Cute JOKIM keeps blending JOE's taps and his own; Though knowing harsh rumours are rife; And Brummagem JOE is oft heard to declare, Their partnership may last for life. And JOKIM says, "some call Brum JOE a bad chap, But they'll soon learn to relish the taste of his tap, And while I may Brummagem JOE call my friend, I think I shall customers find for our 'Blend.'" While ho! ho! ho! he'll chuckle and crow; "What, turn up Brum JOE, my boys? No! no! no!"
* * * * *
Monday, May 4.—ZELIE DE LUSSAN's Carmen is about the best when all the other dear charmers are away, and in the character she will probably remain in possession of the field, or, rather, "the Garden," till the end of the season. The remainder as before, with DEVOYOD as Escamillo. But what has become of the "go" in the Toreador's great song? Where are the double encores? Where, indeed, the hearty applause? Surely it has gone the way of the March in Faust, once so enthusiastically received and cheered to the echo; and now—"March off!" It is true that, once let a "tuney tune" become vulgarised by street-musicians, and organic disease would be sufficient to kill it were it not tortured and ground to death by remorseless hands. But the Toreador's song and the March have not been the victims of an organised opposition. Perhaps, though, they may have been, only 'tis so long ago as not to be within the ken of the present deponent. Anyhow, the Toreador's song goes for nothing nowadays, and yet 'tis as good as ever.
Thursday.—We welcomed The Don. Not the Academic Don once so popularly represented by Mr. J.L. TOOLE, but MOZART's Italianised Spanish Don. A propos of Mr. TOOLE, it has always been the wonder of his friends, to whom the quality of his vocal powers is so well known, that he has never been tempted to renounce the simple histrionic for the lyric Drama. It is said, and "greatly to his credit," that, had it not been for his unwillingness to rob his friend SIMS REEVES of the laurel-crown he wears as first English Tenor of his age, he would long ago have set up a most dangerous opposition to that sweet singer, and have ridden off victoriously with "My Pretty Jane" seated up behind him, pillion-wise, on the noble steed known as "The Bay of Biscay O!"
But the above is an entr'acte, shorter than those at Covent Garden, by the way. M. MAUREL first-rate as the Don, both in acting and singing, even better in former than latter; but the dear old serenade, which never can be vulgarised, in spite of its popularity, was encored, and the encore was gracefully accepted, Signor BEVIGNANI being in the chair, and willing to tap the desk and announce, "Gentlemen! Monsieur MAUREL will oblige again!" Applause.
If all the village maidens could dress in a costume such as Miss ZELIE-ZERLINA wears, then, to take the best and nicest view of it, that village must be uncommonly prosperous. Probably tourists' visits are not few and far between: but anyhow, even the most unsuspicious bumpkin of a lover, would be inclined to ask a few questions about this finery. However, her performance was as fine as the dress, and she looked quite the ZELIE-ZERLINA, so fascinating to the Lord and the Lout.
Saturday.—Romeo et Juliette, that is, M. JEAN DE RESZKE and Mlle. EAMES. A nearly perfect performance. JEAN a trifle too stout for an ideal Romeo, but of course he couldn't go into training for the part at short notice. The spirit with which he played the part far outweighed the error of the flesh. Miss EAMES a charming Juliet in every way, though her singing of the waltz was not of dazzling firework brilliancy. Brother NED was the Frere Laurent. Excellent. The name Anglo-Frenchified, suggests a reverend gentleman who would meddle with legal marriages and perform private ceremonies without leave or licence from his Ordinary, and might be known as Brother Law-wrong, an Extra-Ordinary Friar. The House crammed full with an audience as brilliant as the performance.
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* * * * *
THE LAST SONG.
[Mr. SIMS REEVES was announced to sing "Total Eclipse" at his Farewell Concert on Monday.]
Farewell! A most unwelcome word to all Whom fifty years of charm have held in thrall: Total eclipse—of pleasure on their part Who love pure melody and polished Art. Memory will echo long the silvery chime Of such a voice as even ruthless Time Might stay his stride to listen to, and spare From the corroding touch. Some scarce will care To hear "Tom Bowling" sung by other lips, And when in tenor strains "Total Eclipse" Sounds next upon our ears, SIMS REEVES will seem To sing again to us as in a pleasant dream.
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, May 4.—Windbag SEXTON had fine opportunity to-night; made the most of it. SEYMOUR KEAY absent through greater part of sitting. Various rumours current in explanation of the happy accident. Influenza hinted at; but Grand Young GARDNER, who is familiar with both, says Grippe much too knowing to link itself with Member for Elgin and Nairn. Towards Eleven o'Clock, rumour set at rest by appearance of KEAY. Simple explanation of temporary absence is, that he has been at home, drawing up a few more Amendments.
In his absence. Windbag had it all to himself. How many speeches he has made through the dreary sitting am afraid to reckon up. Members going off to write letters, smoke a cigar, read evening papers, or dine, leave him on his legs, with one hand in pocket, and smile of serene satisfaction on face, prosing on. Coming back, they find him still in same position, apparently saying same thing. Has lately developed new oratorical charm. Constantly repeats his sentences, word for word. Everybody cleared out, even Mr. G., and JOHN MORLEY. Only Prince ARTHUR left languorous on Treasury Bench.
"Drooping like a lily out of water," MCEWAN says. Not that he's given to tropes of the kind; but, being lately at a wedding feast smothered in flowers, some of them have got into his conversation.
Business done.—In Committee on Irish Land Bill, but no forrader.
Tuesday.—"Do you think I ought to wear spurs, TOBY?"
It was Old MORALITY who spoke. We were in his room at House; just torn ourselves away from Committee on Irish Land Bill, where, at the moment, oddly enough SEXTON chanced to be speaking. Old MORALITY has been made Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, and is trying on his uniform. Rather piratical arrangement; blue cloth coat with large brass buttons, red sash round his waist, with holster thrust in it, containing the horse-pistol with which PITT armed himself when he sat at the window of Walmer Castle, looking across the Channel, momentarily expecting to discover BONEY crossing in a flat-bottomed boat. The trousers are of scarlet, with broad braid of gold lace on outer seams. Finally there is a truculent cocked hat, which OLD MORALITY persists in putting on with the peak astarn. The dress is picturesque, and OLD MORALITY's figure lends itself to it with peculiar grace and fitness.
"I fancy WELLINGTON wore spurs," the Lord Warden persisted.
Yes, I point out; but PITT didn't, nor did PALMERSTON. Anyhow just as well not to begin with spurs. Might in time grow up to them, as it were.
Wanted the Lord Warden to enter House in his uniform: sadly in need of sensation. One would certainly be provided if Old MORALITY were discovered sitting on Treasury Bench in his present costume.
"No," he said, "they would think I was going to move or second the Address. Should like to get used to the clothes a little before appearing in them in public places."
So go back to House myself, leaving the Lord Warden marching up and down, making believe he is on the ramparts at Walmer. Oddly enough, when I arrive Windbag SEXTON making a speech, the few Members present talking about Old MORALITY's promotion. A dangerous epoch in a man's life. People apt just then to discover all kinds of shortcomings, and reasons why the promotion should have fallen elsewhere. But no one grudges OLD MORALITY this high and ancient honour; a fresh chapter in the pleasant story of "Mr. SMITH," a new "Part of His Life." For five years he has sat on the Treasury Bench in succession to DISRAELI and GLADSTONE; now he will answer for the safety of the Cinque Ports in succession to PITT and WELLINGTON, DALHOUSIE and PALMERSTON. Business done.—OLD MORALITY made Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
Thursday.—"TAY PAY also among the Gentlemen of England!" exclaimed SAGE OF QUEEN ANNE'S GATE, for once almost moved out of his customary self-possession. It certainly seems so. Came about on Second Reading of London Tramways Bill; promoters want to bring tramway over Westminster Bridge, and along Embankment. DEMOS desires to go about his business on the tramway, and does not see why he should be arbitrarily stopped before he has accomplished his journey. Carriage folk say, No; let DEMOS and his penny tram stop at other side of the water, leaving the broad thoroughfare of the Embankment for what RADCLIFFE COOKE called "the gilded chariot."
Debate gone forward for some time. No one expected to find TAY PAY in this Galley. Since his return from Ameriky hasn't opened his voice in debate; spoken in public only once. That was to his constituents in Scotland Road, Liverpool; announced with portentous blast in advance that then and there the anxious world should learn what side he took in the leadership controversy. Others had declared themselves, whether for Brer FOX or Brer RABBIT. The momentous issue of TAY PAY's decision required further deliberation. So all the world had to wait till TAY PAY came home and saw his constituents. Result not altogether satisfactory. As TIM HEALY put it, "TAY PAY showed disposition to hunt with Brer FOX and run with Brer RABBIT." If in the end Brer FOX won, nothing in TAY PAY's Scotland Road speech need prevent him returning to his allegiance. If Brer FOX remained under a cloud, he could jog along with Brer RABBIT. Been careful not to spoil the little game by taking part in debate in House.
Now, on this London Tramways Bill, which touches neither Brer FOX nor Brer RABBIT, TAY PAY interposes. Conservatives snort impatiently when he rises; cry aloud for division; take it for granted that TAY PAY will back up DEMOS's demand for equal right of way. But TAY PAY has genuine little surprise in store; is loftily contemptuous of tramways, doncha. If they cross the bridge and approach the precincts of the West End, what is to become of carriage-folk? "A noisy and inconvenient system of locomotion," said TAY PAY, shuddering with disgust, as though he heard a coarse voice crying "Fares, please!"
House roared with laughter; RADCLIFFE COOKE talked about opposition "coming from Members who hoped to ride in gilded coaches"; CREMER rudely reminded TAY PAY that ten or fifteen years ago, he would have taken a very different view of the convenience of tramway cars. This wasn't pleasant; but when the Division bell rang, TAY PAY had the satisfaction of walking, alone amongst his Party, with the Gentlemen of England, triumphantly vindicating the rights of carriage-folk against tramway trabs. Long time since House of Commons witnessed a scene so rich as this in material for reflection. Business done.—TAY PAY declares against trams.
Friday.—Attendance on House gradually diminishing; what with influenza, and Irish Land Bill in Committee, Members gradually thinning off. No M.P. complete without his influenza. Barks shall not be out of anything if its humble, but conscientious Member can manage it; so I've "took" the influenza, or the influenza's "took" me. Don't exactly know how it came about. Anyhow, we're in bed together. Business done.—Don't know anything about it.
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LEAVES FROM A CANDIDATE'S DIARY.
Wednesday, April 30th, "George Hotel," Billsbury.—Spent yesterday and the day before in chambers at the Temple. No work as usual. Think I shall give it all up, and take entirely to politics. Yesterday afternoon a Mr. RICHARDSON GROGRAM called on me by appointment. He had written me a long letter stating that he had important information to communicate to me with reference to my candidature at Billsbury, and desired a short interview in order to lay it before me, Said he was "a Billsbury man born and bred, and naturally interested in everything that concerned the welfare of the old place, though for family reasons he had found it best to make the home of his riper manhood in the Metropolis." I smelt a rat, but thought it best to give him an interview. He is a tall man, with a dark beard, straight dark hair, a sallow face and shifty eyes, and was dressed rather like a dissenting clergyman. He was immensely genial in his manner, said he had read every word of my eloquent speeches, and thoroughly agreed with all I had said, though he himself would never have been able to say it half as well. He then asked me if I had heard of his "History of the Borough of Billsbury" in four volumes. I asked him who had published it and when, but he said he had been made the victim of intrigues, and had not yet secured a publisher, though there was any amount of money to be made out of the book. Would I like to read it in MS., and give him my candid opinion of it? Excused myself on the ground of great pressure of work. He talked like this for about twenty minutes, and at last came to what he called the chief purport of his visit. He said he had in the course of his investigations, been fortunate enough to acquire important and exclusive knowledge with regard to the early life of Sir THOMAS CHUBSON and his chief supporters in Billsbury. "If it is published," he continued, "it will absolutely blast the prospects of Radicalism in Billsbury. I am not a grasping man, but I must consider my family. Still, Sir, such is my respect and liking for you, that I am willing to place a sealed packet containing all these stories in your hands on payment of L150 down." I told him that wasn't my way either of fighting a constituency or of doing business, whereupon he became more voluble than ever, and I had no end of a job to get rid of the oily beast. JERRAM tells me to-day that he was once a solicitor's clerk in Billsbury, and had to leave on account of some missing money. Since then he appears to have lived a shady life, varied by attempts at blackmail. Faugh!
Came down to Billsbury to-day, to attend the inaugural dinner of the season of the Billsbury Cricket Club. I am a Vice-President, and so is CHUBSON. The dinner was held in the large room of the "Blue Posts Hotel." General BANNATYNE, an old Indian, who is the President of the Club, was in the chair, having CHUBSON on his right, and me on his left. Old CHUBSON, to whom I was introduced, seems not half a bad old fellow, but he can't speak a bit. The dinner was awful, everything as tough as leather, and the Cabinet Pudding more beastly than any Cabinet Pudding I ever tasted—which is saying a good deal. CHUBSON proposed, "Prosperity to the Billsbury C.C." "Politics," he said, "are like Cricket. We spend our time in bowling overs." At this point a young Conservative, who had drunk too much, shouted, "Ah, and you mostly change sides, too"—an allusion to the fact that CHUBSON is believed to have started in politics as a Tory. Somebody removed the interrupter, and CHUBSON finished his speech all right, but the incident must have annoyed him. I proposed "The Town and Trade of Billsbury," and started by saying what pleasure it gave anybody occupied in politics to take a part in a non-political celebration like this. "My friend, Sir THOMAS CHUBSON," I said, "and I have not met before, and I congratulate myself, therefore, on having been introduced to him to-day. We shall do our level best to bowl one another out, but I know we shall play the game according to the rules, and in that spirit of fair-play for which Englishmen in general, and Billsbury cricketers in particular, are celebrated."
This was rather mixed, but it went very well. I think I took the shine out of CHUBSON. Later on there was a shocking row between two of the town-councillors, who got to loggerheads over the question of the Billsbury Waterworks. It was smoothed over, however, after everybody had shouted "No politics!" for about ten minutes.
TOLLAND says we must begin to canvas a little soon. Horrible work, but absolutely necessary.
* * * * *
(BY A BUFFER.)
"Unfortunately (at bowls) one had to stoop to conquer: it is that stooping which (except in politics) plays the deuce with us after fifty."—James Payn's Plea for Bowls.
Yes, PAYN, you are right—as you commonly are— The vertebrae creak and the ribs seem to jar, When a man bends his back—after fifty— If only to pull off his boots; he at length Finds that curve in his spine is a strain on the strength Of which middle-age must be thrifty.
But Bowls! Yes, my boy, it's a jolly old game, Though athletic fanatics might vote it too tame, But sense is not baffled by bogies. The Emerald Green and the "bowls" and the "jack," Are beautiful—but for that bend in the back— To those the young furies call "fogies."
You have not to "sprint" o'er some acres of grass, To "slog" or to scamper, to "scrummage" or "pass," At the risk of your ribs, or "rheumatics"; You have not to treat your opponents like foes, Or "go for" your rival's shin-bone or his nose, As do the aforesaid fanatics.
But how pleasant the "green" in the cool of the day, The tankard of stingo, the yard of white clay, And the play and the chaff of good fellows! Although not a betting man howls out the odds, And no ring of mad backers—like gallery "gods"—- About us insensately bellows.
Yes, PAYN, the "crank in," and the "kiss of the Jack," All—save, as you say, that darned bend in the back— About the old game is delightful. We thank you for "trolling the bowl" once again, Ah! it were a pleasure to play it with PAYN— (By Jove, though—that loin-twinge was frightful!)
* * * * *
A THEATRICAL PLUNGE; OR, TAKING A HEDDA.
A plunge indeed! but fortunately the swimmers are strong, and able to save the suicidal Ibsenites. For my part,—that is, as one of the audience drawn by curiosity,—I should say that were it not for the excellent acting of all concerned in the piece, and especially of Miss ELIZABETH ROBINS as the Hanwellian heroine, IBSEN's Hedda Gabler would scarcely have been allowed a second night's existence at the Vaudeville. Miss ROBINS is so much in earnest—as a true artist should be—that she excites your curiosity to discover what on earth she is taking all this trouble about; and thus she compels your attention. That the result is eminently unsatisfactory is no fault of hers. The piece itself is stuff and nonsense; poor stuff and "pernicious nonsense." It is as if the author had studied the weakest of the Robertsonian Comedies, and had thought he could do something like it in a tragic vein.
In the last Act there is a situation reminding us strongly of one short scene in Caste; there—so delicately and touchingly treated by its author; here—so repulsively treated by IBSEN. Let it be reduced to serious burlesque, and let us have it played by PENLEY as George Tesman, ARTHUR ROBERTS (with a song) as Judge Brack, WEEDON GROSSMITH as Ejlbert Loevborg, Miss LOTTIE VENNE as Mrs. Hedda Tesman, Mrs. JOHN WOOD as Aunt Juliana, and Miss JESSIE BOND (with song and dance) as Mrs. Elvsted. It is announced in the bill as "IBSEN's Last Play." There's a crumb of comfort in this.
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OATMEAL PORRIDGE.—Would some Scotch housewife kindly enlighten me as to the proper mode of preparing the above delicacy? I fancy there must be some mistake about the method I have hitherto adopted. Is it really necessary to "boil for forty-eight hours, and then mix with equal quantities of gin, Guinness's Stout, Gum Arabic, and Epsom Salts?" I have followed this recipe (given me by a young friend, who says he has often been in Scotland) faithfully, but the result is not wholly satisfactory. I doubt whether genuine porridge should be of the consistency of a brick-bat, or taste of hair-oil.—UNDAUNTED.
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"BLOOD" V. "BULLION."
"Well then, it now appears you need my help. Go to then: you come to me, and you say, 'SHYLOCK, we would have moneys'—you say so; You that did void your rheum upon my beard, And foot me, as you spurn a stranger cur Over your threshold: moneys is your suit. What should I say to you? Should I not say 'Hath a dog money?'"
Merchant of Venice, Act I., Scene 3.
"With bated breath and whispering humbleness?" Not so! There comes a season when the stress Of insolent and exacting tyranny Makes the most patient turn. Autocracy, Without the despot's vaunted virtue, pride, Shows small indeed. Can Power lay aside Its swaggering port, and low petition make (Driven by those Treasury thirsts which never slake) For help from those it harries? PHARAOH's scourge Was the taskmaster's weapon, used to urge The Hebrew bondsmen to their tale of toil, But they round whom the Russian's knout thongs coil, Are of the breed of those the Russian palm Can make petition to. Could triumph balm The wounds of ages, here were balm indeed; But blood revolts. Race of the changeless creed, And ever-shifting sojourn, SHAKSPEARE's type Deep meaning hides, which, when the world is ripe For wider wisdom, when the palsying curse Of prejudice, the canker of the purse, And blind blood-hatred, shall a little lift, Will clearlier shine, like sunburst through a rift In congregated cloud-wracks. Shylock stands Badged with black shame in all the baser lands. Use him, and—spit on him! That's Gentile wont; Make him gold-conduit, and befoul the font,— That's the true despot-plan through all the days, And cackling Gratianos chorus praise. "The Jew shall have all justice." Shall he so? The tyrant drains, his gold, then bids him—"Go!" Shylock? The name bears insult in its sound; But he was nobler than the curs who hound The patient Hebrew from his home, and drive Deathward the stronger souls they dread alive. Shylock? So brand him, boors and babbling wags, Who scorn him, yet would share his money-bags; Who hate him, yet can stoop to such appeal! Beneath his meekness there's a soul of steel. High-featured, amply-bearded, see he stands Facing the Autocrat; those sinewy hands, Shaped but for clutching—so his slanderers say— The huckster bait can coldly put away "Blood against bullion." The Jew-baiting band Howl frantic execration o'er the land; Malign and menace, pillage, persecute; Though the heart's hot, the mouth must fain be mute. The edict fulminates, the goad pursues; Proscription, deprivation,—ay, they use All the old tortures, nor are then content, But crown the work with ruthless banishment. And then—then the proud Muscovite seeks grace, And gold, from kinsmen of the harried race! "He would have moneys" from the Hebrew hoard, To swell his state, or whet his warlike sword; Perchance buy heavier scourges for the backs Of lesser Hebrews, whom his wolfish packs Of salaried minions hunt. Take back thine hand, Imperious Autocrat, and understand Gold buys not, rules not, serves not, salves not all. Blood speaks—in favour of the helpless thrall Of tyranny. Here's no tame Shylock: he Shall not bend low, and in a bondsman's key, Make o'er his money-bags with unctuous grace To an enthroned enslaver of his race. "Well then, it now appears you need my help". (You—whose trained curs at my poor kinsmen yelp!) "What should I say to you? Should I not say, "Hath a dog money?" Blood's response is—"Nay!"
* * * * *
A somewhat curious association of names and ideas occurs in last week's Sporting and Dramatic, where there is an illustration of some ceremony taking place which is described as "The RAINE's Foundation May Day Celebration." Odd, that this particular RAINE should always fall on the First of May.
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* * * * *
ODE TO COMPENSATION.
(AFTER KIRKE WHITE.)
"That blessed word—'Compensation.'"
Come Compensation, come! Not in thy terrors clad, But in thy fairest, gentlest guise, Thy "blessed" name but terrifies The "Templar" and the "Rad."
Thou must not come as "Right," That is—alas!—"too steep." The Law has put its foot hard down, And "BUNG," so far, is quite done brown; It makes the "Witler" weep!
No "Vested Interest," Whereon to found a claim? And after all that we have done To keep the Tories in the run! It is a thundering shame!
We deemed Sir EDWARD CLARKE Knew what he was about; We thought good GOSCHEN, sharp and slick, Had "gently, gently done the trick," We have been sold, no doubt.
But FORREST FULTON comes,— Sharp fellow that F.F.! And in the Commons sneaks a vote Which sticks hard in the "Temperance" throat,— Dull churls, to justice deaf!
Come, Compensation, come! Come in by the back-door, Come unawares, come anyhow, Only do come to smooth the brow Of Wittlers weak and poor.
GOSCHEN has played us false; It makes our bosom ache. But to abate our indignation If he'll secure us Compensation, 'Twill compensation make.
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* * * * *
OVERHEARD AT EARL'S COURT.
First Citizen. And what did you see at the German Exhibition?
Second Citizen. A magnificent collection of German pictures, many German manufactures, and several German Bands.
First C. Are these the only attractions?
Second C. No, there is some cleverly painted canvas representing German scenery in the grounds.
First C. Anything else?
/Second C. I enjoyed the Switchback Railway.
First C. I see—anything else?
Second C. Well, the Scenes in the Circle added to my enjoyment, but, as an enthusiastic admirer of all that is German, I do not consider them entirely necessary.
First C. Anything further?
Second C. There are the lights and the company.
First C. But of course these are superfluous?
Second C. From a German point of view—entirely so. I consider them merely as fringe.
First C. Exactly—and, were they not there, you would extend as much patronage to the German Exhibition—you would go there as frequently?
Second C. Yes—in spirit, if not in person.
First C. And if for the German some other foreign element were substituted?
Second C. No doubt I should be present quite as much in person, but not in German spirit!
* * * * *
THE PICK OF THE PICTURES. (AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY.)
No. 129. "Love in Winter." By G.H. BOUGHTON, A. But a poor sort of amusement for this nice young lady to be walking out all alone with a big muff! eh? Mr. BOUGHTON, eh?
No. 292, Bar-Maids Resting. W.R. STEPHENS.
No. 346. "Moor and Mountain." By CHARLES STUART. The name CHARLES STUART suggests "restoration," but this is a brand new work. It is mostly mountain, and very little more.
No. 397. "Miss LYDIA LESLIE at her lessons" may be termed a group of One or Little Daughter and Less Sons. G.D. LESLIE, R.A.
No. 410. Two horses in a field during a Snowstorm. Good subject for a Tavern sign-board, entitled, "Two Out." EDWARD STOTT.
No. 452. "Mrs. X——," i.e., a lady with a good deal of dash. HUGH DE T. GLAZEBROOK.
No. 467. "Angela Vanbrugh" playing the Fiddle; or, All alone with her Beau. EDWIN LONG, R.A.
No. 558. Lady going out for a row. Odd sort of boat: Wherry Funny. E. BLAIR LEIGHTON.
No. 630. "Iona." By COLIN HUNTER, A. Buy it, and in Iona you'll own a good picture.
No. 664. "La Cigale." A sporting subject suggestive of "Got nothing on." It is not a portrait of La Cigale at the Lyric. H. RAE.
No. 714. Wind Lads and Wind-Lasses. FRANK DICKSEE, A.
No. 743. "If I had a donkey what wouldn't go.". ALFRED W. STRUTT.
No. 1006. A Little Duck. WILLIAM STRUTT. (Must be seen for title to be appreciated.)
No. 1106. Hares Apparent. WILLIAM FOSTER.
No. 1108. Napoleon leaving the room where Josephine is fainting on the floor. Short title, "Going Nap." LASLETT J. POTT.
* * * * *
THE ABC OF IBSENITY.
A is the ARCHER who booms in the World, B is the Banner of IBSEN unfurled. C the Commotion it makes for the minute, D is the Doll's House, and all there is in it. E is the Eagerness shown in the fray, F the Fanatics, who will have their way. G is a Ghost, and oh! there are lots of 'em, H is Heredity, making pot-shots of 'em. I is the Ibsenite so analytic, J is the Jeer of the Philistine critic. K is a Kroll, and a Pastor is he, L is a Lady, who comes from the Sea. M is the Master, speak soft as you name him, N stands for Norway, so eager to claim him. O his Opponents, who speak out their mind, P stands for Punch, where his dramas you'll find. Q is the Question, should Rosmer have wed her? R is Rebecca, who took such a header. S is the Speaker, which gets quite excited, T is the Temper, it shows uninvited. U the Unquestioning Faith of the some, V is the Vaudeville, where they all come. W stands for the Worshipping Few, X their Xtreme disproportionate view. Y ends Ibsenity, and, as everyone knows, Z brings an alphabet rhyme to a close.
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The Diary of a Pilgrimage occupies 175 pages of one of ARROWSMITH's three-and-sixpenny books, and no doubt the admirers of its author, Mr. JEROME K. JEROME, may possibly not grudge this amount when gauging its value by its attractive cover. It is "'ARRY Abroad," that's all. 'ARRY Abroad laughs and talks loudly in foreign churches, sneers and jeers at everything he does not understand—and this includes the greater portion of all he sees and hears—chaffs puzzled officials, and everywhere makes himself highly and exceptionally popular. In this Diary 'ARRY is occasionally rather amusing when he is endeavouring to be either serious or sentimental, or both. 'ARRY serious or 'ARRY sentimental, or 'ARRY sentimentally serious and expecting to be taken at his own valuation, is of course delightful, only a little of it goes a great way, and this Cockney pilgrim goes too far, especially when giving us his valuable opinion on the Passion Play. 'ARRY on the Passion Play, and the character of JUDAS ISCARIOT! As Hedda Gabler's husband observes on every possible opportunity—"Fancy that!" Only once the Baron finds himself in agreement with the travelling 'ARRY, and this happens when he says, "I must candidly confess that the English-speaking people one meets with on the Continent are, taken as a whole, a most disagreeable contingent." Yes, certainly, when they are all 'Arries. Set an 'ARRY to catch an 'ARRY, and of course to the regular right-down 'ARRY all other 'ARRIES, not 'appnin' to 'ave the honour of being 'is own partics, are detestably vulgar cads. The remainder of the book, i.e., 131 pages, is padded with essays, a fact not mentioned on the outside of the work, which, like charity, covers a multitude of sins. Whether this is quite a fair way of stating contents, is a question which the Baron supposes both Publishers and Author have thoroughly considered.
Don't skip ELLEN TERRY's Memoirs in The New Review. Nothing much in them, but delightfully chatty and amusing. See Murray's Magazine for Mr. GLADSTONE on the Murray Memoirs, in the number for the "Murray Month of May." When you are routing about for something short and amusing, take up the Cornhill, and read A Flash in the Pan. I have commenced, says the Baron, my friend GEORGE MEREDITH's One of the Conquerors. Now G.M. is an author whose work does not admit of the healthy and graceful exercise of skipping. Here the skipper's occupation is gone. G.M.'s work should be taken away by the reader far from the madding crowd and perused and pondered over. If Ponder's End is a tranquil place as the name implies, then to that secluded spot betake yourself with your GEORGE MEREDITH, O happy and studious reader, and ponder in peace.
Since the time of Richard Feverel, which I shall always consider his best, "of the very best" as ZERO of the Monte Carlo Bar has it, G.M. has developed into a gold-beater of epigrams. What once served him as a two-line epigram, is now spread out over a couple of pages. Two volumes instead of three would serve his turn far better, or rather the public's turn, for his own is a very peculiar one. But to my task, says the Baron, give me a slight refresher and a suck at the lemon as it were, or a sip of the lemonade, and at him again. Festina lente. More anon from
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
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ROBERT ON ENGLISH AND FOREIGN WAITERS.
Well, things is cumming to a pretty pass, things is, when I'm acshally told that, as it used to be said formerly, "No Hirish need apply for nothing," so now, we are told, that no English Waiters need apply at the Royal Nawal Xhibishun unless he bes a German!
I never knowed as Jack Tars, and Powder-Munkys, and Admerals (as is so fond of Port, that they takes the werry name), was so werry parshal to Germans, that they woud sooner go without their dinners and tease, than be waited on by any other gennelmen, most suttenly not. "O contrare," as the French Waiters says. It 'ud be a jolly long time, I shood think, before your real British Sailers wood learn to call a Waiter a Gasson, tho' as it means, I'm told, a Boy, there is sum little sense in it, coz there's, in course. Old Boys as well as yung ones; but what on airth meaning is there in a Kelner! as I'm acshally told all German Waiters insists on being called! Why the thing's too absurd to tork about.
Besides the British Publick is used to our little ways, as we are quite used to theirn, and they talk to us in that nice confidenshal tone about the different wines, et setterer, as no true Born Englishman ewer yet spoke to a Frenchman, much less a German. No, no, the hole thing's a mistake, as will soon be found out. And what a groce injustice to the native article. These sollem-looking Germans, not content with pushing our poor sons from their stools in our counting-houses, as Macbeth says, must now cum and take the werry bread out of their poor Father's mouths. Oh pale-faced shame, where's your blush? And think too of their himperance. Why they are acshilly a going for to have a hexibition of their own, here in Lundon, and does anyone think as they'll write up on the gates, "Only English Waiters need apply?" Why the hidear is ridiclous, but where's the difference I should like to kno. No, no, no one can kno better than I do, from a long and waried xperience, from the Grand old City, the ome of ospitality and turtle soup, to the "Grand" and "Metropole," the omes of lucksury and refinement, that the British Public likes his British Waiter, he likes his nice respecful ways, the helligent Bow with which he ands him his At, and the graceful hair with which he receeves his little doosure.
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SPECIMENS FROM MR. PUNCH'S SCAMP-ALBUM.
NO. IV.—THE HUSBAND'S OLD SCHOOL-FELLOW.
We will suppose that you are a young wife, and that your husband is absent in the City during the greater part of the day. One afternoon a card is brought in bearing the inscription:—
United Service Club. The Hermitage, Coventry.
Which document is followed closely by a tall, well-groomed, rather portly and florid stranger, with a military moustache, who greets you with the utmost cordiality. "I happened to find myself in this neighbourhood," he says, "and I could not—I really could not—resist this opportunity. My name, I venture to think, is a sufficient introduction?"
It is nothing of the sort—but you are too shy and too polite to admit it, so you merely murmur some incoherency. He detects you at once. "Ah!" he cries, in good-tempered reproach; "I see, I've been too sanguine. Now confess, my dear lady, you haven't a notion who I am!"
Thus brought to bay, you own that you have no clue to your visitor's identity—as yet. "Well—well," he says, tolerantly, "Time is a terrible sponge—though I had hoped that, even after all these years, your dear husband might have occasionally mentioned the name of his old school-chum! I've never forgotten him—no, all through the years I've been in India I've never forgotten dear old WALTER!"
"But my husband's name is WILLIAM!" you say here.
"He was always WALTER to me, Madam, or rather—WATTY. He was so like a favourite young brother of mine, who died young. That drew us together from the first. Did dear old WATTY never tell you how he saved my life once?... No? So like him!—he wouldn't. But he did, though; yes, by Gad, jumped into fifteen foot of water after me, and kept me up when I was going under for the last time. Pardon me, but I see a photograph upon your writing-table—surely, unless I am wrong, that—"
"That is a portrait of my only brother," you will say; "he is out in India with his regiment—perhaps you may have met him there?"
"Thought I knew the face—met him at Simla, several times," says the Captain; "wonderful how small the world is! But have you one of old WATTY's photos? I should so like to see whether the dear old chap has altered ... Ah, I should hardly have known him—and yet, yes, the same cheery, jolly look, I can trace the boy there, I can see my old WATTY again! No friends, my dear Mrs. GOSLING, like those we make in early youth! And he never mentions me now? Ah! well, he has a very charming excuse for forgetting the past—though I shall tell him when I see him that I do think he might have remembered his old school-friend a little better than he seems to have done. Your servant informed me that he was seldom at home quite so early as this, but I thought if I could not see him, I would at least give myself the pleasure of making the acquaintance of his wife, so I just ventured to come in for five minutes."
"WILLIAM will be so disappointed to have missed you," you say, eagerly; "can't you wait and let me give you some tea? He may be back in half an hour."
"In half an hour? Well, 'pon my word, you tempt me very much. I shouldn't like to go away without seeing him, but I must send away my cab first—no, it's not outside, left it at the corner of the road, as I wasn't certain of the number—I s'pose I've got enough silver to—no, I haven't, by Jove! Could you oblige me by change for a—well, really, this is very awkward. I've positively come out with only a shilling—thought it was a sovereign! I shall have to ask dear old WATTY to accommodate me—I've lent him many a half-crown in the old days. Absurd predicament to be in, and if I keep my cabman waiting, I don't know what he mayn't charge me. I took him three hours ago. I tell you what, my dear Mrs. GOSLING; If you'll advance me a sovereign, I could run out and settle with the fellow, and then it won't signify how long I wait for WATTY. Can you? Too good of you, I'm sure! WATTY will chaff me when he hears I've been borrowing like this, ha, ha!" Here your ear, sharpened by affection, catches a well-known turn of the latch-key at your front-door. "Why, how fortunate!" you exclaim, "here is my husband already, Captain CAULKER. He will come in as soon as he has changed his shoes."
"Capital!" cries the Captain. "Look here, Mrs. GOSLING,—I've just thought of a little joke. I want to see if he'll know me. Now you go and talk to him a little, and—presently, you know—say there's a man in the drawing-room, who's come to wind the clocks, and then I'll come in to where you are, and make believe to wind the clock there—do you see? I'd bet anything he won't spot me at first!"
You are young enough to be delighted at the idea of such a pretty little comedy, and you trip away to the study, and archly keep dear WILLIAM in conversation until the Captain is ready to make his appearance. At last, a little impatiently, you give the cue by mentioning that there is a clock-winder in the drawing-room. WILLIAM is amusingly suspicious, and insists on seeing the man. As the scene will be just as funny in the drawing-room, you accompany him thither—but there is no gallant Captain there affecting to wind your charming little Sevres clock (a wedding present)—he has gone, and—alas! without leaving a timepiece for anybody else to wind. And WILLIAM is most disagreeable and unpleasant about it!
* * * * *
NOTES FROM A NURSERY-GARDEN.
(BY AN AWFULLY CLEVER CHILD.)
DEAR MR. PUNCH,—I am a Poetess. I am told that the Age is old, and that Poetry is over. My age is ten, and my poetry is certainly not over. My nurse (one of those horrid critics) has ventured to suggest that I am not original. I leave you to judge. Yours impatiently, ENFANT TERRIBLE.
Alack! up Northern Primrose Hill (Sing, oh, JACK! sing, ah, GILL!) They climbed, and deemed it Helicon, Those childish bards, GILLETTE and JOHN, Their pails with Hippocrene to fill. (Sing, oh, JACK! sing, ah, GILL!)
Adown that Western Hill, alack! (Sing, ah, GILL! sing, oh, JACK!) Or e'er they gained the Muses' well, JACK kicked his bucket frail and, fell. And GILL was brought upon her back. (Sing, ah, GILL! sing, oh, JACK!)
TO A SCENTY PEDE.
How doth yonder miniature featness, Though wingless, with gossamer wit, Foregather mellifluent sweetness, While Fates unrelenting permit— Wise heir of bright hours, completeness Of blossoms that flicker and flit.
ON A JAPANESE SCREEN.
In Yeddo, where long lilies weep, Bo' Peep The shepherdess hath lost her sheep. She recks not where the sheep have strayed, Poor maid, Beneath the Boodha-Temple's shade.
Her solace is the Minstrel's: I'd Let slide My flocks of verse without a guide. So will they best return without A doubt— Or tale that mortal can make out.
So sweet! Child-Innocence, with upward-curling feet On buffet-seat, Resolving (as we all resolve) to eat. So sad! The ravening Spider from his eyrie mad Swoops, boldly bad, And scares (as spiders scare) the Pure and Glad.
ON A KLEPTOMANIAC.
Ah, Violin Cremonian! Ah, Pussy-cat of Ispahan! Moo-cow that dost outmoon the moon! Yes, dainty poodle, laugh away, And mock the pranks poor mortals play Who spoon the dish and dish the spoon!
* * * * *
TO THE QUEEN OF MAYS.
Give me an elfin, frolic MAY, No Queen with hoarse cadenzas, Who pipes a frozen roundelay Of spiteful influenzas.
My MAY shall air no voices crude. No chained and chilly dances— With wordless harmonies endued And pirouetting fancies.
She'll draw us round no Northern Poles With crowns of mimic roses. That mock our sad sepulchral souls And counterfeit our noses.
But white as hawthorn blossom, free As air to shed her pleasures, My mute, melodious MAY shall be The soul of wayward measures.
To put it plainly, while the ban Of Spring on us and gales is, I'll bask and smile and worship JEANNE Within the Prince of Wales's.
* * * * *
CONSERVATIVE COMMENT ON A RECENT ELECTION (after Mr. Middlewick).—"Humph! Inferior Dosset!"
* * * * *
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.