OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
December 5, 1891.
(A STORY OF THE TIMES, DEDICATED TO PROFESSOR MUNRO.)
KING COLE, although described as a "merry old soul," was in reality a tyrant. He had a number of subjects who used to work underground, and their labour was to bring to the surface the black diamonds of the earth. It was not altogether a pleasant occupation, but still, the task had to be accomplished. His Majesty was fond of ferocious practical jokes, and perchance this may have been the origin of the jocular description attached to his name. One day, some of his subjects complained that their hours of labour were too many.
"How long do you work?" asked the King.
"May it please you, Sire, sixteen," was the reply.
"Try what you can do with twelve," and they were about to depart rejoicing, when the Monarch called them back and added, "But mind you, I shall expect just as many black diamonds to be unearthed as before."
So the King's subjects worked only twelve hours, and strange to say, quite as many black diamonds were produced as in the olden days. Then the workmen began to grumble once more, and the King again interviewed them.
"Do you still work twelve hours?" he asked the deputation.
"Certainly, Your Majesty; but we think half would be quite enough," returned the spokesman.
"By all means—why not make it three hours?" and again his subjects were departing, rejoicing, when once more he added, "But I shall expect just the same output as before."
And he got it, for the men worked harder than ever. And then they came yet again to him. Once more they considered the hours of labour excessive. They thought sixty minutes plenty.
"So do I," replied the Monarch, "not only plenty, but too many. But as it is scarcely worth while employing you only half an hour a day, I shall make other arrangements."
And from that time forth he brought up his black diamonds from the centre of the earth by machinery!
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NOT "HALF A CHAP."—A well-known Clergyman, who "does nothing by halves." i.e., Dean HOLE.
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In the Christmas Numbers of the numerous picture-papers it is at first rather difficult to discover which is the genuine article illustrated, and which the advertisement, likewise illustrated. In the outside picture of the Christmas Number of The Penny Illustrated Paper, which represents a couple dancing together, I am not yet quite sure that the handsome Hebraic gentleman, dancing with a fair Anglo-Saxon girl, is not assuring his frightened-looking partner that "Epps's Cocoa is Grateful—Comforting," as stated in the paragraph immediately beneath the aforesaid picture. On the next page is a sad illustration entitled, "The Curse of Revenge. Lost to Human Aid." which turns out to be not a Christmas story at all, but an advertisement for Fruit Salt. Then opposite this commences a story by GEORGE R. SIMS; and at the foot of this page some one replies, "Mr. DOOLAN! There's no one of that name here now, Sir." Whereupon, being interested, the reader turns over page 1 to find at the head of page 2, not the continuation of the above interesting story in the shape of some remark on the part of the inquirer, nor any account of what happened after this reply had been given, but simply "Benson's Watches" followed by "Fry's Chocolate," then a picture (not an advertisement) facing that, and then on page 4 the remainder of the dialogue. It doesn't much matter perhaps, as the excitement aroused by the story is not violent, and the mistake of giving somebody else's card for your own does not occur here for the first time as the motive of a plot. CUTHBERT BEDE's name is to a "Christmas Carol," and Mr. JOHN LATEY's to a dramatically told tale called "Mark Temple's Trial," in which the imaginary heroine pays a visit to a very real person of the name of Madame KATTI LANNER, whose pupils are represented as all assembled, with bouquets and posies, to do honour to the birthday of their "well-loved mistress," who is at the same time, "the acknowledged mistress of the choreographic art." In this story, the author is to be complimented on his invention of the name, "Lord Morgagemore" as an ancient looking and highly aristocratic Irish title.
"Up to any game at Christmas, if it's not too high," says the Baron of Hampershire, who detests all game that is lofty, but is glad to welcome a Shakspearian Revival by MYERS & Co. in the shape of a Nine Men's Morris, a title the Baron recommends to the notice of Mr. WILLIAM MORRIS, yclept "BILLY," when he is making another bouquet of poesies. By the way, BIM BROS.' Almanac Cards, one of the Baron's Lady Helps describes as "decidedly dainty." Christmas is specially a card-playing season, a time of Pax to everybody.
From the Gordon Stables of HUTCHINSON & Co. issues the nightmare tale of The Cruise in the Crystal Boat; when finished, try their Family Difficulty, by SARAH DOUDNEY. Send to the Deanery of DEAN AND SON, ask for Baby's Biography and The Little One's Own Beehive. The Spindleside department of the Baron's Booking-Office recommends both the above for the Tiny Trots; while the Spearside tells the boys to go in for MANVILLE FENN's Burr Junior and Mrs. R. LEE's Adventures in Australia. Then for all-comers, procure BEATRICE HARRADEN's New Book of Fairies, for, our "Co." thus puts it, "This is all concerning those poor little Fairies, about whom no one takes any trouble, and who are left out in the cold at Christmas time." Thus for this week conclude the duties of Mesdames BLYTHE and GAY, the Baron's Lady Assistant Perusers. "I trust my gentle Public will benefit by their advice," quoth,
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
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"NOW YOU'RE QUITE THE GENTLEMAN!"
(A BALLAD OF BIRMINGHAM.)
["You will not find an alliance in which the weaker side has been so loyal, so straight, so single-hearted, so patriotic as the Liberal Unionists have been during the last five years.... Birmingham is the centre, the consecration of this alliance."—Lord Salisbury at Birmingham.
"Now I neither look for nor desire reunion" (with the Gladstonian Liberals.)—Mr. Chamberlain at Birmingham.]
AIR—"YE GENTLEMEN OF ENGLAND."
Ye Gentlemen of England, Who follow SALIS-BU-RY, How little did you count upon Assistance from J.C.! Give ear unto his speeches old, And they will plainly show Once he'd scorn to be borne Where the Tory breezes blow, Where the Lilies and Primroses bloom, And the Tory zephyrs blow.
If once he did oppose you, To-day he is at war With GLADSTONE and his Items. Faith, JOE has travelled far! The Primrose Dames shall teach him True patriot "form" to know. He is leal, and will kneel To the "Lilies" in fair row; To the pretty, winsome Primrose girls, Who buttonhole Brum JOE.
Ye Gentlemen of England, Whom once he did deride, How safe ye are, and how serene, With JOSEPH on your side. He talks no more of "Ransom" ('Tis P-e-n-s-i-o-n rather now), Brum JOE will not go Where the Hawarden winds do blow; Where HARCOURT thunders loud and long, And Gladstonians blare and blow.
The Orchid from his button JOE's willing to displace, To take the Primrose posy That's proffered by Her Grace. O gentle dame and dainty, What man could answer "No!" As you prest to his breast The most blessed flowers that blow, The blossoms loved by BEACONSFIELD The bravest blooms that blow?
O (Brummagem) Tory Beauty, 'Tis yours to consecrate The holiest Alliance Our land hath seen of late. Shall he reject its symbol, Or answer "Not for JOE!"? Nay, sweet girl, such a churl Were no "Gentleman" you know; And JOE is "quite the Gentleman," Brum BRUMMEL in full blow!
Then courage, all brave Unionists, And never be afraid Whilst Brummagem Republican Is witched by Primrose Maid. There is soft fascination In radiant rank, we know; And a posy, though primrosy, From soft hands makes soft hearts glow, Lilies—though they toil not nor spin Are beauteous—in full blow!
[Footnote 1: Mr. CHAMBERLAIN was once reported to have congratulated himself upon his co-operation with "English Gentlemen."]
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BORN NOV. 8, 1831. DIED NOV. 24, 1891.
Were clever wise, were grandiose great, How many a servant of the State Had left a more enduring name. But all is not for all; 'tis far From flaming meteor to fixed star, From notoriety to fame.
Picturesque son of brilliant sire, It wanted but the touch of fire Prometheus only knows to bring The flame divine in him to wake Who moved our plaudits when he spake, But stirred no passion when he'd sing.
The Orient pageantry he loved, The histrio not the hero moved, The dilettante not the sage. Hence in our England's East his hand Turned, in a story sternly grand, A motley mock-heroic page.
He by the Seine found fitter place For courtly wit and modish grace, Than by the Indus. There right well His facile talent served his Chief; And England hears with genuine grief That sudden-sounding passing bell.
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Who prizes Literature? All sorts and sizes Of literary wares now hang on "prizes." 'Tis not prose fictionists or poem-spinners The public rush for; no, 'tis "all the winners!" Letters in lotteries find support most sure— Let us be frank, and call them Lotteryture!
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A SENTIMENTAL DILEMMA.
How can I woo you in this ancient suit? You do not notice it, of course; I know it. My soul is burdened with a shapeless boot, Your heart is singing welcome to your poet. Here in the shadowy settle I can sit And sparkle with you, brightly confidential, But when into the lamp-bright zone you flit, I shrink into some corner penitential. A well-dressed crowd, their tailors all unpaid, Throng round you there, and cuffs and collars glisten; Of pity's blindness, as of scorn, afraid, I shun the merry fray, and darkling listen, For who could urge the timidest of suits, Conscious of such indifferent clothes and boots?
You think me quite as good as other men; Nay, more, I think you think me vastly better; Your candid glances seem to ask me when I'll seek to bind you in a willing fetter. Is this presumption? Not from friend to friend, Whose souls unite like clasping hands of lovers; Yet can I breathe no word of love, to end The delicate doubt that o'er the unspoken hovers. If I were hopeless that you loved me not, My hopeless love, confess'd, myself would flatter, But should the blissful dream be true, I wot That love confess'd the joy of love would shatter. My Queen, indeed as king I'd love to lord it; I cannot tell you that I can't afford it.
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POSSIBLE EXPLANATION:—"For many months nothing has been heard of Lieutenant IVANITCH," was the remark of our leading journal a propos of Russian disappearances. Is it not probable that IVANITCH, unable to find a post to suit him, has gone on tour with a "scratch company"?
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THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.
SCENE—Under the Colonnade of the Hotel Grande Bretagne, Bellagio. CULCHARD is sitting by one of the pillars, engaged in constructing a sonnet. On a neighbouring seat a group of smart people are talking over their acquaintances, and near them is another visitor, a Mr. CRAWLEY STRUTT, who is watching his opportunity to strike into the conversation.
Mrs. Hurlingham. Well, she'll be Lady CHESEPARE some day, when anything happens to the old Earl. He was looking quite ghastly when we were down at SKYMPINGS last. But they're frightfully badly off now, poor dears! Lady DRIBLETT lets them have her house in Park Lane for parties and that—but it's wonderful how they live at all!
Colonel Sandown. He looked pretty fit at the Rag the other day. Come across the SENLACS anywhere? Thought Lady SENLAC was going abroad this year.
Mr. Crawley Strutt. Hem—I saw it mentioned in the Penny Patrician that her Ladyship had—
Mrs. Hurl. (without taking the slightest notice of him). She's just been marryin' her daughter, you know—rather a good match, too. Not what I call pretty,—smart-lookin', that's all. But then her sister wasn't pretty till she married.
Col. Sand. Nice family she married into! Met her father-in-law, old Lord BLETHERHAM, the other morning, at a chemist's in Piccadilly—he'd dropped in there for a pick-me-up; and there he was, tellin' chemist all the troubles he'd had with his other sons marryin' the way they did, and that. Rum man to go and confide in his chemist, but he's like that—fond of the vine!
Mr. C.S. Er—er—it's becoming a very serious thing, Sir, the way our aristocracy is deteriorating, is it not?
Col. S. Is it? What have they been up to now, eh? Haven't seen a paper for days.
Mr. C.S. I mean these mixed marriages, and, well, their general goings on, I don't know if you're acquainted with a paper called the Penny Patrician? I take it in regularly, and I assure you—loyal supporter of our old hereditary institutions as I am—some of the revelations I read about in high life make me blush—yes, downright blush for them! [Mrs. HURLINGHAM retires.
Col. S. Do they, though? If I were you I should let 'em do their own blushin', and save my pennies.
Mr. C.S. (deferentially). No doubt you're right, Sir, but I like the Patrician myself—it's very smartly written. Talking of that, do you happen to know the ins and outs of that marriage of young Lord GOSLINGTON's? Something very mysterious about the party he's going to marry—who are her people now?
Col. S. Can't say, I'm sure—no business of mine, you know.
Mr. C.S. There I venture to think you're wrong, Sir. It's the business of everybody—the duty, I may say—to see that the best blood of the nation is not—(Col. S. turns into the hotel; Mr. C.S. sits down near CULCH.)—Remarkably superior set of visitors staying here, Sir! My chief objection to travel always is, that it brings you in contact with parties you wouldn't think of associating with at home. I was making that same remark to a very pleasant little fellow I met on the steamer—er—Lord UPPERSOLE, I think it was—and he entirely concurred. Your friend made us acquainted.—(PODBURY comes out of the hotel.)—Ah, here is your friend.—(To PODB.)—Seen his Lordship about lately, Sir?—Lord UPPERSOLE, I mean, of course!
Podb. UPPERSOLE? No—he's over at Cadenabbia, I believe.
Mr. C.S. A highly agreeable spot to stay at. Indeed, I've some idea myself of—Exceedingly pleasant person his Lordship—so affable, so completely the gentleman!
Podb. Oh, he's affable enough—for a boot-maker. I always give him a title when I see him, for the joke of the thing—he likes it.
Mr. C.S. He may, Sir. I consider a title is not a thing to be treated in that light manner. It—it was an unpardonable liberty to force me into the society of that class of person—unpardonable, Sir!
Podb. Didn't take much forcing, after he once heard me call him "Lord UPPERSOLE"! Where are all the others, eh? Thought we were going up to the Villa Serbelloni this afternoon.
Culch. I—er—have not been consulted. Are they—er—all going?
[With a shade of anxiety.
Podb. I believe so. You needn't be afraid, you know. HYPATIA won't have the chance of ragging you now—she and Miss TROTTER have had a bit of a breeze.
Culch. I rather gathered as much. I think I could guess the—
Podb. Yes, HYPATIA's rather uneasy about poor old BOB; thinks Miss TROTTER is—well, carrying on, you know. She is no end of a little flirt—you know that well enough!—(C. disclaims impatiently.) Here you all are, eh?—(To Miss P., Miss T., and BOB.)—Well, who knows the way up to the villa?
Miss T. It's through the town, and up some steps by the church—you cann't miss it. But Mr. PRENDERGAST is going to show me a short cut up behind the hotel—aren't you, Mr. PRENDERGAST?
Miss P. (icily). I really think, dear, it would be better if we all kept together—for so many reasons!
Culch. (with alacrity). I agree with Miss PRENDERGAST. A short cut is invariably the most indirect route.
Miss P. (with intention). You hear what Mr. CULCHARD says, my dear MAUD? He advocates direct ways, as best in the long run.
Miss T. It's only going to be a short run, my love. But I'm vurry glad to observe that you and Mr. CULCHARD are so perfectly harmonious, as I'm leaving him on your hands for a spell. Aren't you ever coming, Mr. PRENDERGAST?
[She leads him off, a not unwilling captive.
A PATH IN THE GROUNDS OF THE VILLA SERBELLONI.
Podb. (considerately, to CULCHARD, who is following Miss PRENDERGAST and him, in acute misery). Look here, old fellow, Miss PRENDERGAST would like to sit down, I know; so don't you bother about keeping with us if you'd rather not, you know!
[CULCHARD murmurs an inarticulate protest.
Miss P. Surely, Mr. PODBURY, you are aware by this time that Mr. CULCHARD has a perfect mania for self-sacrifice!
[CULCHARD drops behind, crushed.
AMONG THE RUINS AT THE TOP OF THE HILL.
Culch. (who has managed to overtake Miss T. and her companion). Now do oblige me by looking through that gap in the pines towards Lecco. I particularly wish you to observe the effect of light on those cliffs—it's well worth your while.
Miss T. Why, certainly, it's a view that does you infinite credit. Oh, you didn't take any hand in the arrangement? But ain't you afraid if you go around patting the scenery on the head this way, you'll have the lake overflow?
Bob. P. Ha-ha-ha! One in the eye for you, CULCHARD!
Culch. (with dignity). Surely one may express a natural enthusiasm without laying oneself open—?
Miss T. Gracious, yes! I should hope you wouldn't want to show your enthusiasm that way—like a Japanese nobleman!
Culch. (to himself). Now that's coarse—really coarse!—(Aloud.)—I seem to be unable to open my mouth now without some ridiculous distortion—
Miss T. My!—but that's a serious symptom—isn't it? You don't feel like you were going to have lock-jaw, do you, Mr. CULCHARD?
[CULCHARD falls back to the rear once more. Later—Mr. VAN BOODELER has joined the party; HYPATIA has contrived to detach her brother, CULCHARD has sought refuge with PODBURY.
Miss T. (to VAN B.). So that's what kept you? "Well, it sounds just too enchanting. But I cann't answer for what Miss PRENDERGAST will say to it. It mayn't suit her notions of propriety.
Mr. Van B. I expect she'll be superior to Britannic prejudices of that kind. I consider your friend a highly cultivated and charming lady, MAUD. She produces that impression upon me.
Miss T. I presume, from that, she has shown an intelligent interest in the great American novel?
Mr. Van B. Why, yes; it enlists her literary sympathies—she sees all its possibilities.
Miss T. And they're pretty numerous, too. But here she comes. You'd better tell her your plan right now.
Miss P. (in an earnest undertone to BOB, as they approach, followed by CULCH. and BOB). You must try and be sensible about it, BOB; if you are too blind to see that she is only—
BOB (sulkily). All right! Haven't I said I'd go? What's the good of jawing about it?
Mr. V.B. (to Miss P.) I've been telling my cousin I've been organising a little water-party for this evening—moonlight, mandolins, Menaggio. If you find that alliteration has any attractions, I hope you and your brother will do me the pleasure of—
Miss P. I'm afraid not, thanks. We have all our packing to do. We find we shall have to leave early to-morrow.
[_Van B.'s face falls; BOB listens gloomily to_ Miss T.'s rather perfunctory expressions of regret; PODBURY looks anxious and undecided; CULCHARD does his best to control an unseemly joy._
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THE GOOD NEW "TIMES."
Nobody, after visiting Terry's Theatre, can apply to Mr. PINERO's piece the hackneyed phrase,—used apologetically by an unconscionable reader after detaining the leading journal for three-quarters of an hour,—"Oh, there's nothing in The Times," for, in Mr. PINERO's piece there is plenty of amusement, if not of absorbing interest.
The story is that of a parvenu, whose sole object in life, to be recognised by "Society," is thwarted by the marriage of his good-for-nothing son with the daughter of an Irish lodging-house keeper. The struggles of Mr. and Mrs. Bompas to conceal this mesalliance, and the assistance given them in their difficulties by the Hon. Montague Trimble, constitute the motive of the play. But the question that must occur to the critical mind is, "Did the author mean this piece for high comedy, or farcical comedy?" If the former, then Mr. TERRY is wrong in his conception of the part; if the latter, everybody else is wrong in their conception of their parts.
It seems to me as if, in the course of rehearsal, the peculiarities distinguishing the character of Percy Egerton Bompas, M.P., had gradually become assimilated with the individualities of the actor, Mr. EDWARD TERRY. If Mr. PINERO so meant it, if he so wrote it for Mr. TERRY and for Mr. TERRY only, then there is nothing more to be said; Mr. PINERO's ideal is realised. But if the author did not intend Mr. TERRY's impersonation, then he must be content to sacrifice the ideal to the real, shrug his shoulders, and pocket his profits. Yet, as if making an appeal to the public to judge between the auctorial abstract and the representational concrete, Mr. PINERO not only publishes his playbook, but sells it in the theatre. Visitors to TERRY's, who buy the book, will judge the play by its stage interpretation that has had the advantage of the author's personal supervision and direction. The representation, therefore, is either more or less in accordance with his teaching, or flatly contradicts it.
The publication of the book of a comedy in a theatre may be thankfully received as a present help to the audience, and an aid to memory afterwards, or it may be considered as a protest on the part of the author who says, "Here's what I have written. See how they act it: whether it be farce or comedy, judge for yourselves. You pay your money, and you take your choice." Suffice it, then, to record that, on the night of this deponent's visit, the piece played from eight till past eleven, and that the audience from first to last was generally amused, but, I should be inclined to say, particularly disappointed at the collapse of Mr. TERRY's part in the last Act (the principal portion of which he passes curled up on a sofa, with the top of his forehead powdered white! Why?), and mystified by the sudden and apparently unnecessary revelation, made by Miss Cazalet, to the effect that Lucy Tuck (a mentally and physically short-sighted girl) is her illegitimate daughter; and these two last-named personages, though essential to the plot, fail unfortunately in rousing any sentiment of pity or of sympathy.
Mr. ELLIOT is excellent as the Hon. Montague Trimble; nothing better, apart from Mr. HARE's eccentric characters, has been seen on the stage for some considerable time. I hope the author is of the same opinion. Mr. FRED THORNE is capital as the Irish Member; and as Mrs. Hooley, an obtrusively Irish eccentricity of Thackerayan extraction, Miss ALEXES LEIGHTON is very good, for the character, as drawn by the author, is obtrusive, and is so meant to be. The Mrs. Egerton Bompas of Miss FANNY BROUGH is the woman to the life, and, in my humble judgment, Miss BROUGH's impersonation is well-nigh faultless. Whether, if the part of Egerton Bompas were played as high comedy, this would still improve Miss BROUGH's impersonation of Mrs. Bompas or not, it is difficult to decide; but I am inclined to think this would be the result. What does the author think? Most likely he will continue to "think"; it is the wiser course. Mr. HENRY V. ESMOND makes the lad, Howard Bompas, unnecessarily repulsive; but if, in doing so, he is only exactly carrying out the author's idea, i.e., "Master's orders," then he is no longer responsible for the overcharged colouring. The probable fate of this unhappy pair, an impulsive uneducated kind of Irish orange-girl married to a contemptible young sot, is not a pleasant termination to the story, nor is the anticipatory sadness felt for the future of this ill-assorted couple in any way dissipated by the stereotyped and perfunctory offer of marriage made by the young London Journal Nobleman to the daughter of the utterly crushed snob just before the Curtain descends.
Why the piece is called The Times, remains a mystery. To-day would have been better; that is, if by The Times is only meant "The Present Day." And if it doesn't mean this, what meaning has it? For alliterative advertisement it may be useful; e.g., "Times at TERRY's." The dialogue generally is easy, natural and telling.
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FOLLOW THE BARON!
["Such characters as he should retire into fiction, they are too exaggerated for real life."—"Times" on Mr. R.L. Stevenson's Sad Maron of Samou.]
Oh, most excellent true! How I thank thee, great Times, For teaching that phrase! 'Tis delicious! Fiction! The haunt of mad follies, crass crimes, Fads futile, and tastes meretricious. Oh, joy, to transport to that Limbo of Fools, Upon trial and honest conviction, The plagues of our Parties, our Churches, our Schools, Who ought to "retire into Fiction."
When WINDYWHAME, M.P., goes spouting about, His flatulent madness and malice; When SLUDGE, after years of dogmatical doubt, Finds Faith's Wonderland worthy of Alice; When POPINJAY airs his effeminate Art, And DOBBS sputters dirt in choice diction, Ye gods, there'd be joy in Church, Forum, and Mart, If the fools would "retire into Fiction."
Pragmatical pietists, sceptics obtuse Who Progress impede with crude cackle, Predestinate duffers of prattle profuse, Who the biggest world-problems would tackle; State-quacks, shouting Emperors, queer School-Board cranks, We'll give you our best benediction, And speed you at parting with heartiest thanks, If you'll only—"retire into Fiction!"
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ARMING THE AMAZONS.
(MODERN BRUMMAGEM VERSION.)
[At the meeting (at Birmingham) of the National Union of Conservative and Constitutional Associations, a resolution in favour of "considering the claims of women to be admitted to the franchise when entitled by ownership or occupation," was carried "by an overwhelming majority, amid loud cheers." Mrs. FAWCETT afterwards said, "What new forces were they (the Conservative Party) prepared to bring against the anarchy, socialism and revolution which were arrayed against them? The granting of women's suffrage would be against the disintegrating power of the other side, as women were everywhere anti-revolutionary forces.... This would add about 800,000 to the electorate. They would be, she believed, middle-aged women of property, than whom she thought they could not assemble more anti-revolutionary forces."]
Trojan Leader loquitur:—
To arm the Amazons against the Greeks, OVIDIUS hints, proud manhood galls and piques. No doubt; yet NASO did it in his day, And we, in ours, who, sorely-pressed, would stay The rising tide of Revolution, check Disintegration, of the claws who'd peck At our political sleeves and platform hearts Must not be frightened. "Rummiest of starts," The ribald Cockney cries; to see at length, "The Tory seeking to recruit his strength Prom those he dubbed, in earlier, scornfuller mood The crowing hens, the shrieking sisterhood!" Shade of sardonic SMOLLETT, haunt no more St. Stephen's precincts; list not to the roar Of the mad Midland cheers, when FEILDING's plan Of levelling (moneyed) Woman up to Man Wins "Constitutional" support and votes From a "majority" of Tory throats! Mrs. LYNN LINTON, how this vote must vex, That caustic censor of her own sweet sex! Wild Women—with the Suffrage! Fancy that, O fluent Lady, at tart nick-names pat! Girls of the Period? They were bad enough, But what a deal of skimble-skamble stuff Will Mrs. FAWCETT's Middle-aged Ones talk When these eight hundred thousand hens o' the walk Cackle for Order, Purity, and Peace!!!
Partlets may save our Capitol, as geese Once did the Roman; nigh a million—JUNOS, Roll back the tide of Revolution. Who knows? Not PRIAM-SALISBURY. Does he look askance At the new Amazonian Queen's advance? Does he hide apprehension with a smile? The Amazons are used to Grecian guile; ACHILLES-GLADSTONE sorely they mistrust. Which side will give them more than fain it must? To-day the Trojans show the friendlier front PENTHESILEA, whom the Greeks would shunt, Proffers her aid to Tory Troy, to keep High Ilium against the foes who creep Nearer and nearer to its sacred walls. ACHILLES o'er the trenches loudly calls, In menace fierce, thrasonic in his boast, His Myrmidons, a mad and motley host, Mean boundless mischief, the Palladium's gone If they are not repulsed. It must be done, Come what, come will. PRIAM has trimmed his sails To popular winds until the pilot fails To know the old and carefully charted course. His wisdom, and brave ARTHUR-HECTOR's force, May yet prove vain if no auxiliar hand Help yon Anarchic legions to withstand. The Amazonian host? Aha! Well hit! Scruple to take she-helping? Not a bit Too late for proud punctilio. No, this Queen Is not so lovely, of such royal mien, As hers who witched ACHILLES e'en in death. An elderly Amazon of shortish breath, With gingham huge and gig-lamps, though she hold That "Property" buckler broad and bossed with gold Is scarce a Siren—of the ancient style; More of Minerva's frown than Venus' smile! But then, eight hundred thousand!!! There's the rub. Recruited from the Platform and the Tub, With Middle-aged and Propertied Amazons, Ilium may master e'en the Myrmidons. Come, anti-revolutionaries, come! Strike Anarchy dead, and Socialism dumb! Accept new arms, ye maiden cohorts! Take The weapon that shall make ACHILLES shake, And reinforce, against the wiles of Greece, The powers of Property, Privilege, and Peace!
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"All's for the best," smirks fatuous DIVES. He Means, "I'm the best, and therefore all's for me."
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We understand that Mr. GLADSTONE has followed, with much interest, the speeches delivered in the country last week, and was observed to be visibly affected at the touching spectacle of the final reconciliation of Lord SALISBURY and Mr. CHAMBERLAIN at Birmingham. "They toil not, neither do they spin," he said, furtively wiping away a tear; "nevertheless, they seem made for each other's company."
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The Right Hon. Gentleman will take his turn next week, and a report is current in interested quarters, that he as gone into training under the personal direction of Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT and Mr. JOHN MORLEY, who assist to support him whilst he rehearses his speech. This is a fantasy of disordered imagination. Mr. G. is in splendid form, spoiling for a fight.
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A trustworthy Correspondent informs us that, owing to accidental displacement of his notes, a telling point was omitted from Lord SALISBURY's first speech at Birmingham. It was intended to come in at the passage where the PREMIER boldly flouted apprehension, of Ministerial disaster at the General Election. He had meant to cite Mr. JACKSON's appointment as conclusive proof that the Government would exist at least up to the year 1900.
"SHAKSPEARE," he should have said, "has written, 'a tanner will last you nine year,' and of course the duration of the Government will be co-incidental with the prolongation of the term of our Financial Secretary to the Treasury, withdrawn from commercial pursuits at Leeds."
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HERR VON DER BLOWITZOWN-TROMP has some interesting reminiscences of the lamented Baron MAC HINERY. "When he was appointed Legate at the Court of the Isle of Man," writes the great historian of our times, "he dined with me in passing through Nanterre. It was the very day the Marquis DE MOULIN had been elected Pompier. The other guests were, His Excellency the CON OF CRIM TARTARY, Prince ALLEZ-VOUS-EN, His Excellency the VICUNA of BRAZIL, the SANDWICH AMBASSADOR, the DOGE of VENICE, and the Baron MUNCHAUSEN, who was a kind of amateur partner of mine, in whom I had much confidence—I always left him with my day's correspondence ready to be committed to paper. In the course of the dinner a stupid garcon, handing the ice round, dropped a small piece down the back of the neck of the DOGE of VENICE. With great presence of mind Baron MUNCHAUSEN seized the poker (which fortunately happened to be in the fire), and, with inimitable dexterity, passed the red-hot brand between the DOGE's shirt-collar and his neck, and, deftly touching the piece of ice, melted it. It was an awkward moment. The canned lobster was just served, but no one thought of eating it. The CON of CRIM TARTARY turning to Baron MAC HINERY, said,—
"You, my Lord, who are disinterested in this matter, tell us what you think of it."
"I think," replied the Baron, with admirable sangfroid, "his Highness the DOGE would have felt better if the ice had been warmer, and the poker cooler."
Everybody laughed. The DOGE and Baron MUNCHAUSEN shook hands, and the dinner ended gaily.
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RYMOND, writing lui-meme with too infrequent pen, makes pathetic reference to the death of "one of the largest and best known purveyors of Rhine wine, with whom I have had business relations and personal intercourse for nearly thirty years." There is, we need hardly say, no basis for the insinuation thrown out by HENED that the business relations referred to were of the commission order sometimes established between purveyors of Rhine and other wines and gentlemen who have a wide circle of friends.
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THEORY AND PRACTICE.
SCENE—Interior of a First-class Railway Carriage. Theoretical Passenger and Practical Passenger discussing the "Unreadiness of England."
Theoretical Passenger (at the conclusion of a long account of the national shortcomings). Yes, my dear Sir, France has only to declare war to-morrow, and we are completely ruined! We cease to exist as a nation!
Practical Passenger (with a smile). But hasn't this been said about us—by ourselves—for any number of years?
Theo. Pas. Doubtless, but that does not make it the less true.
Prac. Pas. Possibly; still, it is encouraging to find that we do exist in spite of the "temptation to belong to other nations."
Theo. Pas. (annoyed). Ah! you treat the matter with levity; but I assure you it is a most serious thing! How would you like to be bombarded?
Prac. Pas. Not at all. The more especially as it would be a great expense to the enemy.
Theo. Pas. (with dignified resentment). I see you consider the subject a proper topic for raillery! It is a very fine day!
Prac. Pas. (in a conciliatory tone). No, no, I can assure you I am deeply interested. But how about our Fleet—surely that should protect us?
Theo. Pas. You must be very much behind the age to say so. Our Fleet is practically valueless. It is perfectly easy to invade us at a dozen places. If the French went to Ireland (as they did in the last century), the conquest of England would be assured. They would (with the assistance of a friendly peasantry), get their supplies and make good their footing.
Prac. Pas. But how about our Army?
Theo. Pas. A farce! An expensive farce. We have no Regulars, the Militia exists only on paper, and the Volunteers are valueless.
Prac. Pas. Then why not have a Conscription—that would bring up our Army with a run?
Theo. Pas. A Conscription! My dear Sir, the nation wouldn't think of such a thing! No, not for a single moment!
Prac. Pas. (after a pause). Well, what is to be done?
Theo. Pas. (promptly). Nothing, except to write to the papers and submit to our fate.
Prac. Pas. Is there any objection to the construction of the Channel Tunnel?
Theo. Pas. (carelessly). None in the least—but why do you ask?
Prac. Pas. Because, if in the case of war, the entire French nation pours into England;—as you say it will?
Theo. Pas. Certainly.
Prac. Pas. The best thing we can do is to utilise the Tunnel, pour into France, and stay there! It will be only changing sides!
[Conversation interrupted by whistle, and consequent rattle and darkness.
* * * * *
THE SPHINX AND THE STICK.
A SONG WHEREIN IS SUGGESTED A SUITABLE SUBJECT FOR AN IBSENITE TRAGEDY.
[Sir JAMES CRICHTON-BROWNE thinks that "the reserve and suppression of emotional movement which is observed in English people" will probably result in all the women becoming sphinxes, and all the men sticks.]
"Oh! do wag your head!" said the Sphinx to the Stick. "I can't," he replied, "or I would, darling, quick! If you'll only indulge in a shrug and some winks, You'll perhaps set me off," said the Stick to the Sphinx. "Nay, long 'inhibition,'" the Sphinx made reply, "Has imparted rigidity, love, to my eye." "'Emotional movement' no longer is mine," Sighed the Stick to the Sphinx; "though I greatly incline To a dig in your ribs, or a slap on your back (As a sign of my love), all my muscles are slack. My poor 'motor-centres' are all out of gear, And I can't even 'chuck' your soft chin, sweet, I fear. I'm sure such a stolid inflexible 'stick' you'll hate, But, though I adore you, I cannot gesticulate—" "My case is as bad," sighed the Sphinx to the Stick, "For I cannot 'bridle'—no more than a brick." Said the Stick to the Sphinx, "Ah, we once knew what love meant! But, thanks to the loss of 'emotional movement,' We can't give it 'graceful and chastened expression,' And so it seems slipping fast out of possession. Heigho! we had far better die, darling, quick! Since you are a Sphinx, love, and I'm but a Stick!"
* * * * *
VERY LIKELY—JUST NOW.—A place to spend a Quiet Sunday—Eastbourne.
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* * * * *
"ON THE HYP"-NOTIST.
(FRAGMENT FROM A ROMANCE PURELY IMAGINARY AND YET TO BE WRITTEN.)
The Savants were gathered together to consider the question of Hypnotism. They had been appointed by a learned Association, and their Hon. Secretary had distinguished himself by writing a letter, which if eccentric in punctuation, was yet to the point.
"We must not forget, Gentlemen," said one of the learned persons, "that we have been appointed to investigate the use of Hypnotism as a therapeutic agent. It will be our duty to ascertain, if it is possible, that operations can be performed under the shield of its anaesthesia."
"You are indeed right," replied another, "and it is fortunate in one sense that we have not had the advantage of greeting at our board, Doctor OWEN COLEMAN of Dunedin, Surbiton."
"Why so?" asked a third.
"Because," returned Savant No. 2, "that distinguished Member of the Medical Profession can give instances of successful treatment under the prescribed circumstances. For instance, JULES CLOQUET, as early as 1845 was using Hypnotism in the cause of painless surgery. However, our pleasant little gathering can do no harm."
"Perhaps not," acquiesced Savant No. 3. "Although it is only right to remark that had we had Dr. COLEMAN's knowledge, we should have possibly considered it qua Committee a trifle superfluous."
"Do you not think we ought to visit the Aquarium?" asked the first speaker. "I am told that there is a Hypnotist who appears there twice a-day, and whose exhibition, from a scientific point of view, should be decidedly interesting."
After this there was a speedy departure, and for some hours the Committee lounged about the Aquarium, They there saw a female acrobat of great strength. Then they paid a visit to the Alhambra, where they met a pleasant young lady, who, seemingly without any assistance, lifted four or five bulky gentlemen seated on a chair. This she did without any exertion and with a smiling countenance. On their return to their private room, they seemed somewhat hostile to the pretensions of the Hypnotist, whose feats they had just witnessed—they preferred to his performances the feats of the Magnetic Lady.
"Quite a mistake," said one; "instead of taking off a leg, or showing the strength of a billiard cue, he makes men believe that they are swimming in a tank!"
"Very undignified," remarked another; "it would have been so much better had he performed a surgical operation—say, setting a compound fracture of the leg, like that performed by two medical men in 1845; and more interesting to the vast majority of the audience."
"But the Alhambra was excellent," was the reply. "Suppose we send to our Committee a Report of the 'Magnetic Lady' and ignore the Hypnotist?"
And so it was decided, and it was time to write their Report. Then pens, ink, and paper were produced, and the Savants prepared for work. They had scarcely commenced, when a gentleman stood in their midst, and glared at them. He gave them each a disc, and commanded them to gaze upon its surface. Then, one by one, they fell over fast asleep. He placed them back in their chairs.
"Now for your Report," he murmured. "And so you would ignore my show and praise another! But you are in my power, and shall obey me! Write what I dictate!" And so they wrote. And, strange as it may appear to non-believers in Hypnotism, the Report, when published, was found to be an excellent advertisement for the Royal Westminster Aquarium!
* * * * *
* * * * *
OUR FINANCIAL COLUMN.
Orl Court, E.C.
I am preparing a big coup, and wish all my friends to be in it. My friends are legion, it is true, but they may depend upon me to do the best for all. Nothing on the gigantic scale I am now preparing has been seen or heard of in the Financial World since the days of the Flood, when NOAH's floating capital weathered the storm. What was the stock worth when Father NOAH once again touched land? Expect the biggest result ever known. I may be sanguine. I have the right to be so.
"PONY."—Yes. Buy A. and C.N.B.—Invest big cheque with yours truly. The only safe and profitable investment.
"D.A.H."—Don't you do it, or you'll be H.A.D. Send cheques here. Strict account kept, and gains delivered in cash by special messenger.
"A HESITATER."—Don't doubt for a moment. Sell everything right off, and invest proceeds by cheque with your friend."
"A.S.S."—The Dividend days of the "Ex-Nihilo-Fit Loan and Insurance Company are April 1, up to mid-day, and September 31.
So much for some of the principal Correspondents who require an answer in my weekly article. As for myself, I can only say that my motto is, "Confidentia Illimitata et Nulla Pecunia redditur." Within the last month the gross earnings of the office on behalf of my clients has been L12,345,678,910 which compares favourably with the previous month. Every penny of this, equal to 50 per cent. profit to every one of my clients, will be distributed within a week with a handsome bonus of twenty-five pounds to everyone sending in his coupon or cheque for fifteen sovereigns by twelve o'clock next Tuesday, after which hour it is impossible for any one, be he who he may, from Kaiser to Chimney-sweeper, to participate in the enormous profit which will have been honestly earned by
[Footnote 2: N.B.—Note change of address.]
* * * * *
SHORTLY TO APPEAR.—A Morning without Boots, by the Author of A Knight without Spurs.
* * * * *
POPULAR SONGS RE-SUNG;
OR, MISS BOWDLER AT THE MUSIC HALLS.
NO. III.—THE SPOOKS IN THE SQUARE.
AIR—"THE GOBLINS IN THE CHURCHYARD."
I went down to the Psychical Society one night, And heard them talk of Spooks and things that filled me with affright. The Psychical Society, as every member boasts, Was founded with the object of investigating Ghosts! Now Ghosts, the modern species, are of very various sorts, For like some plants, as botanists say, they seem to run to "sports." I used to think a spectre was a spectre, but I find The "Psychical" can furnish Spooks of every class and kind.
Some of the Ghosts are little, some of the Ghosts are big, Some come in the guise of a headless man, and some of a spectre pig. Some of them laugh "Ha! ha!" Some of them wail "Heigho!" And I felt that night in a doose of a fright before it was time to go.
I had read Phantasmagoria by that writer quaint but grand, Who penned The Hunting of the Snark and Alice in Wonderland. And I thought I knew a thing or two, or might be even three, About a Ghoul, and a Fay or Troll, and a Brownie or Banshee. I knew that a Banshee always howled, whilst a Goblin might but yawn, I also knew that a Poltergeist was not a Leprechaun, But the Psychicals, I'm bound to say, had me on "buttered toastes" With the wonderful changes which they rang on the good old Churchyard "Ghostes."
Some of their Ghosts were sages, some of them seemed sheer noddies; Some of the same like a "Wandering Flame," and others as "Astral Bodies." Some of theirs croaked "Ha! ha!" some of them chuckled "Ho! ho!" And I got so sad, I was heartily glad when I found it was time to go.
I dropped into the "Rose and Crown," a highly respectable tavern, For Ghosts are dry, and my thirst was high, my throat like a chalky cavern. I didn't have much, only four of cold Scotch, which is good to moisten chalk. The night was fine, it was twelve twenty-nine, so I thought I might just as well walk. But when I entered Trafalgar Square, I heard a mysterious sound; There was not even a Bobby in sight as I stole a glance around; But seated on NELSON's lions four, and perched on the neighbouring "posteses," I saw, as we said in our Nursery Rhyme, a dozen or so of "Ghosteses"!
Some of the Ghosts were short, some of the Ghosts were tall, Some of them had most preposterous noddles, and some of them none at all, They all gave a shrill "Ha! ha!" they all gave a hushed "Ho! ho!" I turned in a fright and I wished 'em good night—but they would not let me go!
Then one of the Ghosts began to speak; down on my knees I sank, "I am a Nobleman's Ghost," said he, "and mine offence is Rank! I never cared for the Common Herd, the People I loved to crush; My only remark on the Poor was 'Pooh!' my retort to the Toilers 'Tush!' And if they dared to grumble, why, I used to raise my rents, For I always held that the Mob were made to keep up the Cent-per-cents, And now in this Square I hear BURNS's blare, see the Red Banner wave, And Society swished by the Socialist; so I cannot rest in my grave."
Another Ghost commenced. He said: "I was a great R.A. (I remember the time when we used to meet in "the pepper-pots," over the way), My daubs were always hung on the line, for ourselves we used to judge, Our sole Ideal conventional cant, our technique broad brown smudge. And now BURNE JONES's pictures sell!!!"—here he writhed with a spectral twist— "And our 'broad brown smudge' gives way to the fudge cranks call 'Impressionist.' I've lost my head, as perhaps you mark—though I keep a ventriloquist tongue. What's the use of a head to an Artist Ghost, who has never a chance to be hung?"
CHORUS—SOME OF THE GHOSTS, &C.
A Lawyer's Ghost wept on his post, and then began to state That the Revolution of Sixty-eight—he meant of Six-and-eight— For the abolition of needless fees, and the stopping of useless jaw, Had capped the murder of Privilege by the massacre of Law: Order, this Spook went on to state, was the prey of police—less prank, All the real jam of life was lost with the abolition of Rank. Here he wept! Ah! can there be a sight a pitiful breast to thrill Like the Ghost of a Lawyer dropping a tear o'er the Ghost of a Lawyer's Bill?
CHORUS—SOME OF THE GHOSTS, &C.
I woke. A pain possessed my head. The gathered Ghosts were gone, And I lay there in Trafalgar Square, on a cold stone alone. I seemed to hear a wailing cry, a whisper on the breeze, Which said, in accents I well knew, "Now then, Time, Gentlemen, please!" It may have been the warning to recall those vagrant Ghosts To —— wheresoever they abide, poor pallid spectral hosts! What it all meant I cannot tell, but this at least I know, To that Psychical Society no more at night I'll go!
Some of the Ghosts did goggle, some of the Spooks did stare, But there they sat in a spectral row round "the Squirts" in Trafalgar Square. They all gave a loud "Ha! ha!" they all gave a loud "Ho! ho!" And I turned and fled, and got home to bed as the rooster began to crow!
* * * * *
THE NAKED TRUTH.—Our old friend, Mrs. RAMSBOTHAM, was reading, the other day, a letter in the Times about "Electrical Tramways," when she came upon a line stating that "two naked conductors" would be used. Much shocked, she was about to look at something else in the paper when she noticed that "one of the conductors was to be carried on poles," and another to be "laid rigid between the rails!" Horrified at this apparent brutality, the worthy lady has been writing letters (in draft) to the Commissioner of Police ever since!
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A FRIENDLY TIP TO THE FIGHTING FACTIONS.
Recrimination is vexation, Sedition is as bad; Home Rule the-o-ry much puzzles J.B. Such practice proves you mad!
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A TIMELY SUGGESTION.—Commenting upon the exceptionally bad case of the Rev. Mr. CLUTTERBUCK last week, the Times asks if something cannot be done to put down betting by turf-agencies, and stock-exchange gambling per "bucket-shops." We regret our inability to suggest an immediate remedy, but, as a warning and a reminder, let the last-named institutions be called "Clutterbucket-shops."
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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.