OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
July 25, 1891.
Tuesday, July 14.—Madame NORDICA is not at her best as Ada. It lacks colour—that is on the face and hands, where at least should be shown some more "colourable pretence" for being the daughter of so blackened a character as is her father Amonasro, played as a villain of the deepest dye by M. DEVOYOD. When the celebrated march was heard, the players didn't seem particularly strong in trumps, and the trumpets giving a somewhat "uncertain sound,"—a trifle husky, as if they'd caught cold,—somewhat marred the usually thrilling effect. Gorgeous scene; and RAVELLI the Reliable as Radames quite the success of the evening. Mlle. GUERCIA as Amneris seemed to have made up after an old steel plate in a bygone Book of Beauty. Where are those Books of Beauty now! And The Keepsake? Where the pseudo-Byronic poetry and the short stories by Mrs. NAMBY and Mr. PAMBY? But this is only a marginal note, not in the Operatic score. Signor ABRAMOFF was a powerful Ramphis, his make-up suggesting that his title would be more appropriately Rumfiz,—which would be an excellent Egyptian name. Very good House, but still suffering from reaction after Imperial visit, and not to recover itself till to-morrow, Wednesday, when the House is crowded with a brilliant audience to hear a brilliant performance of Otello. The Grand Otello Co. Covent Garden, Limited. Thoroughly artistic performance of Iago by M. MAUREL. His wicked "Credo" more diabolically malicious than ever it was at the Lyceum; an uncanny but distinctly striking effect. Then DRURIOLANUS ASTRONOMICUS gave us a scenic startler in the way of imitation meteoric effect. 'Twas on this wise: of course, neither DRURIOLANUS nor any other Manager can carry on an operatic season without stars, and so they are here, a galaxy of 'em, up above, on the "back cloth," as it is technically termed, shining brilliantly but spasmodically, strange portents in the operatic sky. Pity Astronomer Royal not here to see and note the fact. Next time Otello is given, if this atmospheric effect is to be repeated, the attendants in the lobbies might be permitted to supply powerful telescopes at a small fixed charge. But the greatest star of all is Madame ALBANI as Desdemona; a triumph dramatically and operatically. Her song in the last Act, the celebrated "Willow Song"—which of course no cricketer ought to miss hearing—was most beautifully and touchingly rendered. Those persons suffering from the heat of a crowded house, and dreading the difficulty of finding their "keb or kerridge" in good time, and who therefore quitted their seats before ALBANI sang the "Willow Song," must, perforce, sing the old refrain, "O Willow, we have missed you!" and go back for it whenever this Opera is played again. M. JEAN DE RESZK was not, perhaps, quite up to his usual form, or his usual former self; but, for all that, he justified his responsibility as one of the largest shareholders in the Grand Otello Company, Limited. All things considered, and the last best thing being invariably quite the best, Otello, or Symphonies in Black and White, is about the biggest success of the season.
* * * * *
(ACCOMPANYING A SET OF VERSES WHICH SHE BADE ME WRITE.)
Only a trifle, though, i' faith, 'tis smart, A jeu d'esprit, not art concealing art, Fruition of a moment's fantasy, Mere mental bubbles, verbal filagree.
But, though thy lightest wish I would not thwart, I prithee bid me play some other part Another time, and I will give thee carte Blanche to dictate; in truth aught else will be Only a trifle, Compared with versifying. I will dart, At thy behest, e'en to the public mart To buy a bonnet, or will gleefully Carry a babe through Bond Street. My sole plea Is—no more verses. Surely 'tis, sweetheart, Only a trifle.
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SUPPLEMENTARY AND CORRECTIVE.—In his Jubilee Number Mr. PUNCH remarked, "Merely to mention all the bright pens and pencils which have occasionally contributed to my pages would occupy much space." And space then was limited. But among the "Great Unnamed" should assuredly have been mentioned W.H. WILLS, one of the originators of Mr. PUNCH's publication, CLEMENT SCOTT the flowing lyrist, and author of "The Cry of the Children," &c., ASHBY STERRY of "Lazy Minstrel" fame, and "ROBERT," the genial garrulous "City Waiter," whilst the names of J.P. ("Dumb-Crambo") ATKINSON, and E.J. WHEELER, were omitted by the purest accident. The late H.J. BYRON contributed a series of papers. Mr. PUNCH hastens to put them—as he would gladly some others—"on the list," since, of no one of them, could it be truly said "he never would be missed." "HALBOT" was a misprint for "HABLT," "MAGUIN HANNAY" should read "MAGINN, HANNAY, &c.," and for "GEORGE SILVER" read "HENRY."
* * * * *
THE METROPOLITAN MINOTAUR;
OR, THE LONDON LABYRINTH AND THE COUNTY COUNCIL THESEUS.
["Certainly, if some members of the London County Council have their way, it will soon have plenty to occupy it without being called upon to form a scheme of water-supply for the Metropolis."—The Times.]
Bless me! Things combine so a hero to humble! I fancied that Bull-headed Minotaur—BUMBLE, Would fall to my hand like Pasiphae's monster To Theseus. But oh! every step that I on stir Bemuddles me more. I did think myself clever, But fear from the Centre I'm farther than ever, Oh, this is a Labyrinth! Worse than the Cretan! Yet shall the new Theseus admit himself beaten? Forbid it, great Progress! Your votary I, Ma'am, But in this Big Maze it seems small use to try, Ma'am. Mere roundaboutation's not Progress. Get forward? Why eastward, and westward and southward, and nor'ward, Big barriers stop me! Eh? Centralisation? Demolish that monster, Maladministration, Whose menaces fright the fair tower-crowned Maiden. Most willingly, Madam; but look how I'm laden, And hampered! Oh! I should be grateful to you, Ma'am, If, like Ariadne, you'd give me a clue, Ma'am. I'll never—like treacherous Theseus—desert you; My constancy's staunch, like my valour and virtue. Through Fire, Water, Wilderness trackless I'll follow, But astray in a Maze high ambition seems hollow!
* * * * *
WATERLOO TO WEYBRIDGE.
BY THE 6.5 P.M.
A young man—it's no matter who— Hailed a cab and remarked "Waterloo!" The driver, with bowed Head, sobbed out aloud, "Which station?" They frequently do.
A poet once said that to Esher The only good rhyme was "magnesher;" This was not the fact, And he had to retract, Which he did—he retracted with plesher.
A fancier cried: "There's one fault on The part of the sparrows at Walton; And that's why I fail To put salt on their tail— The birds have no tails to put salt on."
The dulness of riding to Weybridge Pleasant chat (mind the accent) may abridge, But not when it deals With detaching of wheels, Collisions, explosions, and Tay Bridge.
* * * * *
THE STOLEN PICTURES.—The Dbats informed us, last week, that the thief who stole TENIERS' pictures from the Museum at Rennes has been discovered. His punishment should "fit the crime," as Mr. GILBERT's Mikado used to say, and therefore he ought to be sentenced to penal servitude for Ten years.
* * * * *
* * * * *
LEAVES FROM A CANDIDATE'S DIARY.
Wednesday, June 11th.—Left Billsbury last Saturday, having in DICKY DIKES's words "broken the back of the blooming canvas." During my last night's round we went into a small house in one of the slums. The husband was out, but the wife and family were all gathered together in the back room. There were five children, ranging in age from ten down to two, and the mother looked the very picture of slatternly discomfort. We asked the usual questions, and I was just turning to go, when I heard a violent fit of convulsive coughing from a dark corner. The mother got up and went to the corner. I couldn't help following, and saw the most miserable spectacle I ever set eyes on. In a sort of cradle was lying the smallest, frailest and most absolutely pinched and colourless baby choking with every cough, and gasping horribly for breath. I don't know what I said, but the mother turned to DIKES and said, "He haven't much longer to cough. I shall want the undertakers for him soon." I asked her if nothing could be done, but she merely replied, "It'll be better so. We've too many mouths to feed without him." I couldn't stay longer after that, but fairly bolted out of the house.
Our people are jubilant about our prospects. The canvas shows, they say, a steady increase in our favour, the registrations have been uniformly good, and, best of all, Sir THOMAS CHUBSON again voted and spoke on the wrong side, when the Billsbury Main Drainage Bill came on for Second Reading in the House the other day. Our point is of course that, if this scheme were carried out, there would be a great deal of work for Billsbury labourers, and, somehow or other, a large amount of money would be spent in the town. We have rubbed this well in at every meeting we have held lately, and found it a most effective point during the canvas. CHUBSON and the Radicals talk about a great increase of the rates which would follow on it; but we pooh-pooh this, and point out that the ultimate saving would be enormous, and that the health of the town must be benefited. They don't like the business at all, and feel they've made a mistake.
Have been made on successive nights a Druid, a Forester, and a Loyal and Ancient Shepherd. All these three are Benefit Societies, and the mysteries of initiation into each are very similar. Colonel CHORKLE (who ought to have gone through the business long ago) was made a Druid with me. I never saw anybody so nervous. All the courage of all the CHORKLES seemed to have deserted him, and he trembled like a Volunteer aspen. I told Major WORBOYS on the following day that his Colonel, who I was sure might be trusted to face a hostile battery without flinching, had been very nervous when he was made a Druid. WORBOYS sneered, and said that he'd be willing to take his chance of CHORKLE's facing the battery or not, if CHORKLE would only learn to ride decently. "Give you my word of honour," said WORBOYS, "when the General inspected us last year, CHORKLE's horse ran away with him three times, and at last we had to march past without him. One of the tamest horses in the world, too. My boy JACK rides it constantly." But WORBOYS despises CHORKLE, and thinks he ought to command the regiment himself. He spread it all over Billsbury that CHORKLE was found hiding under a table when he was summoned to be initiated, and was dragged out screaming piteously for mercy.
On my last morning I was interviewed by a deputation from the Billsbury Branch of The Women's Suffrage League. The deputation consisted of Mrs. BOSER, the President of the Branch, Miss AMY GINGELL, the Secretary, and two others. It was a trying business. Mrs. BOSER is the most formidable person I ever met. I felt like a babe in her hands after she had glowered at me for five minutes. Finally I found myself, rather to my own astonishment, promising to vote for a Women's Suffrage Bill, and adding that Mrs. BOSER's arguments had convinced me that justice had in this matter been too long denied to women, and that for my part, if elected, I should lose no opportunity of recording my vote on the side of women. They seemed pleased, but the Meteor of the next day had a frightful leader about the "shameful want of moral fibre in a Conservative Candidate who was thus content to put the whole Constitution into the melting-pot, if by so doing he could only secure a few stray votes, and get the help of the women in his coal-and-blanket expeditions."
* * * * *
THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.
SCENE—An Excursion Agents' Offices. Behind the counters polite and patient Clerks are besieged by a crowd of Intending Tourists, all asking questions at once.
First Int. T. Here—have you made out that estimate for me yet?
Clerk. In one moment, Sir. (He refers to a list, turns over innumerable books, jots down columns of francs, marks, and florins; reduces them to English money, and adds them up.) First class fares on the Rhine, Danube and Black Sea steamers, I think you said, second class rail, and postwagen?
First Int. T. I did say so, I believe; but it had better be second class all through, and I can always pay the difference if I want to.
[The Clerk alters the sums accordingly, and adds up again.
Clerk. Fifty-five pounds fourteen and a penny, Sir. Shall I make you put the tickets now?
First Int. T. Um, no. On second thoughts, I'd like to see one of your short Circular Tours for the English Lakes, or Wales, before I decide.
[The Clerk hands him a quantity of leaflets, with which he retires.
Enter Mr. CLARENDON CULCHARD, age about twenty-eight; in Somerset House; tall; clean-shaven, wears glasses, stoops slightly, dresses carefully, though his tall hat is of the last fashion but two. He looks about him expectantly, and then sits down to wait.
Culchard (to himself). No sign of him yet! I do like a man to keep an appointment. If this is the way he begins—I have my doubts whether he is quite the sort of fellow to—but I took the precaution to ask HUGH ROSE about him, and ROSE said he was the best company in the world, and I couldn't help getting on with him. I don't think ROSE would deceive me. And from all I've seen of PODBURY, he seems a pleasant fellow enough. What a Babel! All these people bent on pleasure, going to seek it in as many directions—with what success no one can predict. There's an idea for a sonnet there.
[He brings out a pocket-book, and begins to write—"As when a—"
An Amurrcan Citizen (to Clerk). See here, I've been around with your tickets in Yurrup, and when I was at Vernis, I bought some goods at a store there, and paid cash down for 'em, and they promised to send 'em on for me right here, and that was last fall, and I've never heard any more of 'em, and what I want you should do now is to instruct your representative at Vernis to go round and hev a talk with that man, and ask him what in thunder he means by it, and kinder hint that he'll hev the Amurrcan Consul in his hair pretty smart, if he don't look slippier!
[The Clerk mildly suggests that it would be better to communicate directly with the American Consulate, or with the tradesman himself.
The A.C. But hold on—how'm I goin' to write to that sharp, when I've lost his address, and disremember his name? Can't you mail a few particulars to your agent, so he'll identify him? No. (Disappointed.) Well, I thought you'd ha' fixed up a little thing like that, anyhow; in my country they'd ha' done it right away. Yes, Sir! [He goes away in grieved surprise.
Enter Mr. JAMES PODBURY, age twenty-six; in a City Office; short, fresh-coloured, jaunty; close-cut fair hair, and small auburn moustache. Not having been to the City to-day, he is wearing light tweeds, and brown boots.
Podbury (to himself). Just nicked it!—(looks at clock)—more or less. And he doesn't seem to have turned up yet. Wonder how we shall hit it off together. HUGHIE ROSE said he was a capital good chap—when you once got over his manner. Anyhow, it's a great tip to go abroad with a fellow who knows the ropes. (Suddenly sees CULCHARD absorbed in his note-book.) So here you are, eh?
Culchard (slightly scandalised by the tweeds and the brown boots). Yes, I've been here some little time. I wish you could have managed to come before, because they close early here to-day, and I wanted to go thoroughly over the tour I sketched out before getting the tickets. [He produces an elaborate outline.
Podbury (easily). Oh, that's all right! I don't care where I go! All I want is, to see as much as we can in the time—leave all the rest to you. I'll sit here while you get the tickets.
An Old Lady (to Clerk, as CULCHARD) is waiting at the counter). Oh, I beg your pardon, but could you inform me if the 1'55 train from Calais to Basle stops long enough for refreshments anywhere, and when they examine the luggage, and if I can leave my handbag in the carriage, and whether there is an English service at Yodeldorf, and is it held in the hotel, and Evangelical, or High Church, and are the sittings free, and what Hymn-book they use?
[The Clerk sets her mind free on as many of these points as he can, and then attends to CULCHARD.
Culchard (returning to PODBURY with two cases bulging with books of coloured coupons). Here are yours. I should like you to run your eye over them, and see that they are correct, if you don't mind.
Podbury (stuffing them in his pocket). Can't be bothered now. Take your word for it.
Culchard. No—but considering that we start the first thing to-morrow morning, wouldn't it be as well to have some idea of where you're going? And, by the way, excuse me, but is it altogether prudent to keep your tickets in an outside pocket like that? I always keep mine, with my money, in a special case in an inner pocket, with a buttoned nap—then I know I can't lose them.
Podbury. Anything for a quiet life! (He examines his coupons.) Dover to Ostend? Never been there—like to see what Ostend's like. But why didn't you go by Calais?—shorter you know.
Culchard. Because I thought we'd see Bruges and Ghent on our way to Brussels.
Podbury. Bruges, eh? Capital! Anything particular going on there? No? It don't matter. And Ghent—let's see, wasn't that where they brought the good news to? Yes, we'll stop at Ghent—if we've time. Then—Brussels? Good deal of work to be done there, I suppose, sightseeing, and that? I like a place where you can moon about without being bothered myself; now, at Brussels—never mind, I was only thinking.
Culch. It's the best place to get to Cologne and up the Rhine from. Then, you see, we go rather out of our way to Nuremberg—
Podbury. Where they make toys? I know—pretty festive there, eh?
Culch. I don't know about festive—but it is—er—a quaint, and highly interesting old place. Then I thought we'd dip down to Constance, and strike across the Alps to the Italian Lakes.
Podbury. Italian Lakes? First—rate! Yes, they're worth seeing, I suppose. Think they're better than the Swiss ones, though?
Culch. (tolerantly). I can get the coupons changed for Switzerland, if you prefer it. The Swiss Lakes may be the more picturesque.
Podbury. Yes, we'll do Switzerland—and run back by Paris, eh? Not much to do in Switzerland, though, after all!
Culch. (with a faintly superior smile). There are one or two mountains, I believe. But, personally, I should prefer Italy.
Podbury. So should I. No fun in mountains—unless you go up 'em. What do you think of choosing some quiet place, where nobody ever goes—say in France or Germany—and, sticking to that. More of a rest, wouldn't it be? such a bore having to know a lot; of people!
Culch. I don't see how we can change all the tickets, really. If you like, we could stop a week at St. Goarshausen.
Podbury. What's St. Goarshausen like—cheery?
Culch. I understood the idea was to keep away from our fellow countrymen, and as far as I can remember St. Goarshausen, it is not overrun with tourists—we should be quiet enough there.
Podbury. That's the place for me, then. Or could we push on to Vienna? Never seen Vienna.
Culch. If you like to give up Italy altogether.
Podbury. What do you say to beginning with Italy and working back? Too hot, eh? Well, then, we'll let things be as they are—I daresay it will do well enough. So that's settled!
Culchard (to himself on parting, after final arrangements concluded). I wish ROSE had warned me that PODBURY's habit of mind was so painfully desultory. (He sighs.) However—
Podbury (to himself). Wonder now long I shall take to get over CULCHARD's manner. (He sighs.) I wish old HUGHIE was coming—he'd give me a leg over!
[He walks on thoughtfully.
* * * * *
OFF TO MASHERLAND.
(BY OUR OWN GRANDOLPH.)
I pause in my communications. Friends, real friends, have wired over accounts of me on the trip, which have not been written by "friendlies." Somebody wrote to Black and White what purported to be Notes about me aboard the gallant Grantully Castle, than which a better-found vessel—"found" is the word—never put to sea. This somebody ("bless him!"—DR-MM-ND W-LFF will know what I mean) observes that "he didn't notice" any particular gratitude on my part towards Captain HAY and his talented assistants. Hay! what? why, confound them, I was all gratitude! Is it because I did not run at him, embrace him, and shake his arms off, that therefore I did not feel grateful! I was awfully grateful. I felt inclined to alter the name of the vessel to the Gratefully Castle. But "she" (you always call a vessel "she"—isn't that nautical?) "is" as the song says "another's, and never can be mine!" so I can't change her name. I was overpowered by my feelings—and what does that mean but the swallowing, with a gurgle in the throat, of the silent tear, and the avoidance of the topic uppermost in one's mind at the moment.
"The soldier leant upon his sword, and wiped away a tear"—but the sailor didn't, Verb. sap. What did I do? Why, in my note of notes, my Private Diary, I made this mem., "Make Hay while the sun shines." Now what, I ask any unprejudiced person, what does this mean? If Captain HAY were suddenly to be promoted in the hay-day of his valuable career to be an Admiral, would he suspect that he owed this elevation to the man who, strictly obeying the ship's orders, never even spoke to the man at the wheel? Now to come to the next point. This correspondent girds at my having had a special cabin and a special steward. Why! the envious grumbler! if he had been as specially unwell as I was—but there, I own I lose patience with him—didn't I go out as a "Special," and if a Special doesn't have everything special about him, he is simply obtaining money under false pretences. I've a great mind—I hear the jeerer snigger in his sleeve—but I repeat emphatically I have a great mind to come back. "He will return, I know him well," my traducers may sing; and I shall return when I consider my special work specially done in my own special manner, and be blowed to em all, the detractors!
He grumbles because I had a special portable light all to myself, "when I wanted to play cards." Aha! do we see the cloven hoof now? Was I to play cards in the dark? Those who know me best know that I am all fair and above-board, and no hole-and-corner gambling for me. And what tale has he to tell? Why that "Another night, not using his special light at the time, two other passengers began a game of chess under its rays." Which they had no right whatever to do. But I winked at it, and when the first officer was coming his rounds I winked at them; but this friendly act on my part they did not heed, and consequently to save them from being put in irons and confined in the deepest dungeon beneath the Grantully Castle moat, I "came along just then," as he reports, "and removed the lamp to another part of the deck, leaving the chess-players in the dark"—as if this consequence were anything extraordinary when a lamp is removed! Why any schoolboy, the merest tyro in Scripture History, knows where the great Hebrew Lawgiver was when the candle went out. And were these passengers to be exempt from the action of Nature's ordinary laws! Bah!—"without a word of apology or explanation." I had winked, but they were worse than blind horses, and more resembled the inferior quadruped in obstinately refusing to move, or in subsequently acknowledging this act of thoughtful kindness on my part.
As to my eating for breakfast a flying-fish, which somebody on board had caught and given me, all I ask is, why shouldn't I? I never had eaten a flying-fish before, and I don't think I ever shall again. If the gentleman who caught it didn't want me to eat it, he should have said so: for there were three courses open to him; viz., first, to refuse to give it me; secondly, to give it me on condition that I kept it in memory of the occasion; thirdly, to throw it back into the sea. But there was only one course open to me when I got it, and that was the first course at breakfast; the second course was kidgeree. It was a small fish just enough for one, and now I rather fancy I remember this Black and White correspondent, for it must have been he, coming to my table, eyeing the fish, smacking his lips, and observing that he "had never had the chance of tasting a fried flying-fish." At that moment I was just finishing the tail (a sweet morsel and not the worst part by any means), and there was nothing left to offer him. So he went away disappointed, with a grudge against yours truly. This, Sir, is the true tale of the flying-fish, and if it isn't, let me hear the revised version from my aspersers and caluminators. I can write no more to-day. I am boiling over, and must go and kick somebody. Yours, &c.,
* * * * *
HANWELLIAN PRIZE COMPETITION.
1. Entrance fee, to defray cost of postage, &c., two guineas.
2. All communications to be written illegibly, and on both sides of the paper only—not on the edges.
3. The Committee do not bind themselves to accept the lowest or any tender; or to start at the time advertised in the Company's tables; or to be in any way responsible for their own actions.
4. Competitors will be prosecuted.
5. A prize of one shilling will be awarded to all competitors who fail; the winners will be able to make their way in life without prizes.
6. Human beings and others are not eligible for this competition.
Subject to the above conditions, it is requested that puzzles or questions may be forwarded to the following solutions:—
First Solution.—Twenty-eight, if before March 17th; one hundred and forty-six, if after that date.
Second Solution.—Put six pigs in the first stye; then go back and fetch the fox from the other side of the river, returning with the remaining cockatrice. Then put yourself in the second stye, never come put any more, and subtract.
Third Solution.—Positive, Regret; Comparative, Regatta; Superlative, Requiescat in pace.
Fourth Solution.—Countesses; because the sun (son) never sets there.
Fifth Solution.—Cut along dotted line to point A. Then fold back, and cross to point C, keeping mark B on the left. Stop, if you can, before getting to remark D. Bad language never does any good.
Sixth Solution.—This is a mere catch, and only suitable for quite young children. Of course, it is obvious that the elephant could not have been on the outside, because there never are two Mondays in the week. Hush! the Bogie Man. Exit.
* * * * *
* * * * *
OR, LE MONDE O L'ON S'ENNUIE.
["Now that the pageantry and the social stir evoked by the presence of the Imperial guests are over, there are few who will care to prolong the dreary and disappointing existence either of the Season or of the Session."—The Times.]
Ya-a-a-w! Yes, young man, you've 'it it there, penny-a-liner as you may be, And knowing, probably, no more about hus than a coster's baby; But dull it 'as been, and no kid, and dreary, too, and disappinting; Is it this Sosherlistic rot Society is so disjinting, The Hinfluenza, or Hard Times, them Hirish, or wotever is it? I couldn't 'ave 'eld on at all, I'm sure, but for the HEMP'ROR's visit. Ya-a-a-w! 'Ang it, 'ow I've got the gapes! Bring us a quencher, you young Buttons! And mind it's cool, and with a 'ed! Hour family is reg'lar gluttons For "Soshal Stir." The guv'nor, he's a rising Tory M.P., he is. And Missis all the Season through as busy as a bloomin' bee is, A gathering Fashion's honey up from every hopening flower. That's natty. I 'ave a turn for poetry; you're quite right there, my pretty PATTY. Lor! 'ow that gal admires these carves! But that's "irrevelant," as the sayin' is; Master and Missis both complain 'ow dull and slow the game they're playin' is. The Session? Yah! Give me the days, the dear old days of darling DIZZY! With him and GLADSTONE on the job a chap could say "Now we are busy." But SMITH's a slug, 'ARCOURT's a hum, and LABBY makes a chap go squirmish. Dull as ditchwater the whole thing. One longs e'en for a Hirish skirmish; But PARNELL's fo par, and his spite, 'ave knocked the sparkle out of PADDY. No; Parlyment's a played-out fraud, flabby and footy, flat and faddy. The Season's similar. Season? Bah? By sech a name it ain't worth calling. Shoulders like these and carves like those was not quite made for pantry-sprawling; But wot's the use? Trot myself hout for 'Ebrews, or some tuppenny kernel? No, not for JEAMES, if he is quite aweer of it! It's just infernal, The Vulgar Mix that calls itself Society. All shoddy slyness, And moneybags; a "blend" as might kontamernate a Ryal 'Igness, Or infry-dig a Hemperor. It won't nick JEAMES though, not percisely; Better to flop in solitude than to demean one's self unwisely. Won't ketch me selling myself off. I must confess my 'art it 'arrers To see the Strorberry-Leaves go cheap—like strorberries on low coster's barrers! Tuppence a pound! Yes, that's the cry. It's cheapness, that Rad fad, that's done it. Prime fruit ought to be scarce and dear, picked careful, and kept in the punnet. The same with all chice things I 'old, whether 'tis footmen's carves or peerages; But fools forget that good old rule in this yer queerest of all queer ages. Trade bad, things in the City tight, no Court worth mentioning, queer scandals, Socierty inwaded by a lot of jumped-up Goths and Wandals; Swell-matches few, gurls' chances poor, late Spring, and lots o' sloppy weather, With that there Hinfluenza—wich perhaps is wus than all together— All over the dashed shop! When was a Season sech a sell as this is? Wot wonder that it aggeravates us all, pertikler Me and Missis? Ah! But for our "Himperial Guests" the Times' young man names with sech feeling, I don't know wot I should 'ave done. A dismal dulness seems a-stealing Afore its time o'er every think; and now Our Guests's gone wot reason, As the Times sez, for trying to perlong the Session or the Season? Ya-a-a-w! I shall gape my 'ed off 'ere. The Row's a bore, the 'Ouse a fetter. And now the HEMP'ROR's slung 'is 'ook, the sooner we are horf the better!
* * * * *
A LUSUS NATUR.—A paragraph in the P.M.G., the other day, was headed, "A Lion Loose in a Circus." Bad enough. But a still more extraordinary incident would have been A Lion "tight" in a Circus.
* * * * *
MR. CHAUNCY DEPEW, the well-known American barrister, raconteur, and wit, is on his way to England. His visit is on business; probably to head a Depewtation.
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A NEW ELECTION "LAY."
Oh, young Mrs. BRAND has gone down to the East! To give the Electors a musical feast, And save her fine treble she weapons has none; Yet she means with that voice that the seat shall be won. So good at a lay, at a ballad so grand, There never was dame like the young Mrs. BRAND!
All boldly she's entered the Cambridgeshire halls, 'Mid the squires, and the parsons, the farmers, and thralls! Said DUNCAN, the foeman, "My friends, on my word, Of a stranger proceeding I never have heard. I don't wish to be rude, but I can't understand What you mean by this singing, oh young Mrs. BRAND!"
"You need not suspect me," the lady replied; "I care not how flows the electoral tide, I merely have come down to Wisbech to-day To sing a few stanzas, trill one little lay. I am tired of long speeches, Home-Rule I can't stand, But I do enjoy singing"—quoth young Mrs. BRAND.
So lovely her voice, so bewitching her grace, Such a treat—or such treating:—did never take place. While the Primrose Dames fretted, the Unionists fumed, She merely the thread of her roundel resumed; And the Duncanites whispered—"'Tis most underhand! We must send for a songstress to match Mrs. BRAND."
A change in her theme! She has altered the bar To Kathleen Mavourneen and Erin-go-bragh! Spell-bound stand the rustics; she's won the whole throng! To the lady they've given their votes "for a song." "'Twill be ours, will the seat—'tis the plot I have planned! Oh, Music hath charms!"—exclaimed young Mrs. BRAND.
There is mourning mid folk of the Wire-pulling Clan; Agents, Managers, Chairmen, are wild to a man, For the Cambridgeshire precedent means that their calling Has passed to the ladies excelling in—squalling! "Free teaching" has come, and "Free Music"'s at hand; Which we owe to the courage of young Mrs. BRAND.
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(AN APPEAL FROM THE KNIFE-BOARD OF A CITY OMNIBUS.)
[The latest complaint of "the Ladies" is that they are being "smoked off" the tops of the omnibuses.]
The "knife-board," sacred once to broad male feet, The "Happy Garden Seat," Invaded now by the non-smoking sex, Virginal scruples vex, And matronly anathemas assail. Alas! and what avail Man's immunities of time or place? The sweet she-creatures chase From all old coigns of vantage harried man. In vain, how vain to ban Beauty from billiard-room or—Morning Bus What use to fume or fuss? And yet, and yet indeed it is no joke! Where shall one get a smoke Without annoying Shes with our cheroots, And being badged as "brutes"? If a poor fellow may not snatch a whiff (Without the feminine sniff) Upon the "Bus-roof," where in thunder's name Shall he draw that same! The ladies, climb, sit, suffocate, and scoff, Declare they are "smoked off," Is there no room inside? If smoke means Hades, We, "to oblige the ladies," Have taken outside seats this many a year, Cold, but with weeds to cheer Our macintosh-enswathed umbrella'd bodies; Now we are called churl-noddies Because we puff the humble briar-root. Is man indeed a "brute" Because he may upon the knife-board's rack owe Some solace to Tobacco? If so it be, then man's last, only chance, Is in the full advance Of the "emancipated" sex. Sweet elves, Pray learn to smoke yourselves! Don't crowd us out, don't snub, and sneer, and sniff, But—join us in a whiff!
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A SHILLING IN THE POUND WISE.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,—As the School Board rate has already touched a shilling, and seems likely to go even higher, why should not some of our money be expended in teaching the young idea of the lower classes how to develop into more valuable citizens than they seem likely to become under present conditions? To carry out this idea, I jot down a few questions to be put to a School-Board scholar before the granting of the customary certificates:—
1. Describe the formation of a Regiment, and explain its position and duties in Brigade.
2. What are the duties of a Special Constable?
3. How would you set about putting horses into a fire-engine?
4. Describe the process of resuscitating a person apparently drowned. How would you revive a person rendered insensible by (1) cold, (2) by sunstroke.
5. Give simple remedies to be applied at once in case of bites by a mad dog, accidental poisoning by arsenic, and swallowing of spurious coin.
6. How would you set, (1) a leg, (2) an arm, (3) a broken finger? If a man is run over by a Hansom, what should you do? Describe an excellent substitute for a litter, when you can obtain nothing better.
7. State shortly what you consider your duty would be, (1) were the country invaded, (2) were London in the hands of the mob, (3) were your neighbourhood visited by fire, and decimated by the plague.
There, Mr. Punch, if every School-Board scholar could supply satisfactory answers to the above questions, I would not grudge my shilling in the pound—nay, possibly look with equanimity on eighteenpence!—Yours, cordially,
ONE WHO IS SCHOOL-BORED.
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* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, July 13. Emperor WILLIAM leaves to-day having taken affectionate farewell of Grandmamma. On the whole been most successful visit. Weather a little Frenchy in its tendency, but not all rain and thunder. If things could only have been kept comfortable to last moment there need have been nothing to mar success of event. Unfortunately, TANNER's active brain discovered opportunity of casting a stone at head of departing EMPEROR. Looking in at Charing Cross Telegraph Office, intending to send sixpenny-worth of genial remark to his late esteemed Leader PARNELL on result of Carlow election, TANNER observed "Gutknecht" on shaft of lead pencil gratuitously provided. Much puzzled at this; thought at first it was RAIKES's way of spelling good night; found on inquiry it was German.
TANNER's patriotic bosom filled with storm of indignation. "What!" he cried, apostrophising the absent RAIKES, "at a time when trade is declining, Ireland is unhappy, strikes are rampant, and human misery seems to have reached its bitterest point, at such a time it might be hoped you would have given up your days and nights to ameliorating the common lot, instead of which you go about importing lead pencils made in Germany, and so taking the very bread out of the mouth of the British Workman."
Might have asked question on subject a week ago when he made discovery; adroitly put it down for to-night; and so whilst Emperor WILLIAM was taking leave of Grandmamma in the stately halls of Windsor, TANNER was flinging a lead pencil at his retreating figure, stabbing him, so to speak, in the Imperial back with a commercial product retailed at the inconsiderable price of twopence-halfpenny a dozen.
With some sense of relief House got into Committee of Supply. Various questions brought up on Colonial Vote. P. and O. SUTHERLAND championed claims of Singapore for deliverance from arbitrary conduct of Government in levying military contributions. Doesn't often take part in Debate; showed to-night that abstention is not due to lack of debating faculty. Set forth case of his clients in clear business-like speech, which commanded attention of audience, for whom topic itself not particularly attractive.
"SUTHERLAND," said the Member for Sark, one of his most attentive listeners, "has introduced a new element into Parliamentary oratory. His intercurrent cough is the most remarkable adjunct to oratory I ever heard. Suppose the fact is, when he pauses, he is thinking over the next word, or surveying for a new line of argument. Other men would consult their notes. P. and O. indulges in a kind of clearing of his throat, a compromise between a cough and an articulate remark—commanding, conciliatory, threatening, beseeching, or convincing, according as the exigencies of the moment require. As a work of art, the only contemporary thing equal to it that I know, and that, of course, in quite a different way, is some of the bye-play of the old gentleman in L'Enfant Prodigue."
Business done.—In Committee of Supply.
Tuesday.—Met CHAPLIN just now, striding along corridor, mopping his statesmanlike brow with a bandana that would, on emergency, serve as foresail for one of the cattle-carrying steamers just now troubling the Minister for Agriculture.
"Anything gone wrong?" I asked, for it was impossible to be blind to his evident trepidation.
"No, dear boy, it's all right as it turns out, but it might have been otherwise. What do you think? LABBY's positively been moving the reduction of the Vote by the amount of my salary! Shouldn't have been surprised if some Member had got up, and, in neat speech, dilating on the enormous forward strides made by the Empire since Ministry of Agriculture was created, moved to double my screw. But to go and propose to dock it altogether at the end of the first year is, if I may say so, not encouraging."
"Oh," I said, "you mustn't mind SAGE of QUEEN ANNE'S GATE; his bark is worse than his bite."
"Yes, I know," said CHAPLIN; "but I should be obliged to him if he'd bark at someone else's heels. Not, mind you, that I care so much about the money question. Between you and me (though don't let it go further, or they might be holding me to my bargain), I would rather pay 2000 a year than not have a seat on the Treasury Bench in charge of a department. You've never tasted the delight of standing up in a full House and reading out answer to a question, whilst all the world hangs on your lips. Nor have you ever drunk the deep delight of explaining a Bill, or replying on behalf of HER MAJESTY's Government to an Amendment. The joy is all the greater to me, since it is newly acquired. For years I sat below the Gangway, striving to catch the SPEAKER's eye in competition with the herd, and when I succeeded Members either howled at me or left the House. Now I speak without waiting for the SPEAKER's call, and the House listens attentively to the utterances of the Minister for Agriculture. That's better than salary paid quarterly: worth paying for as I say. Still it's not pleasant to have LABBY seriously proposing to stop your wages. Wish he'd try it on someone else. There's PLUNKET for example; must put him up in that quarter."
Business done.—In Committee of Supply.
Thursday.—A long dull night varied by occasional squalls. An immense relief to Hon. Members, after sitting through an hour discussing Alienation of Crown Rights in Salmon Fishing in Scotland, on which CALDWELL delivers discourse, to have opportunity of exercising their lungs. MORTON a benefactor in this respect. As soon as ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS is discovered on his feet there goes forth a howl that shakes the building. To-night rather awkward circumstance followed. ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS rising for the eighth time, Members broke forth into agonised howl that lasted several minutes. Was stopped by sudden commotion at the Bar. Engineer PRIM rushed wildly in, gesticulating towards the astonished Chair, and disappeared. A body of workmen appearing mysteriously from depths beneath House, tumultuously crossed the doorway, and also vanished. Presently news came that flood of water was raging down staircase; gradually truth got at; a large water-main had burst in Upper Committee Corridor; cracked at startling sound of outburst upon ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS's re-appearance.
"This is all very well," said PLUNKET. "I am myself no enthusiastic admirer of MORTON's Parliamentary eloquence. Still, as First Commissioner of Works, I feel this thing must be discouraged. Must draw the line somewhere. Can't have our water-mains bursting with vicarious indignation because MORTON would speak eight times in Committee of Supply."
Business done.—Committee of Supply.
Friday.—In Lords to-night, STANLEY OF ALDERLEY, L.C.C., gave fresh advertisement to CALDERON's picture, "St. Elizabeth of Hungary." Not a pleasant subject, from any point of view, artistic or moral. Everybody but well-meaning people like STANLEY OF ALDERLEY, glad to drop it. He brings it forward at this late day; tries to make the MARKISS responsible for whole business. The MARKISS protests that STANLEY has had the advantage of him; hasn't even seen the picture. "The only idea I have been able to form of it," he said to delighted House, "is derived from a picture in Punch, in which ZO is showing her back to the Members of the County Council." Lords don't often indulge in hearty laughter; this too much for them, and STANLEY OF ALDERLEY temporarily extinguished, amid almost uproarious mirth.
Business done.—Supply in Commons.
* * * * *
HIT AND MISS.
[At Bisley, Miss LEALE, of Guernsey, has shot with considerable success. Miss LEALE, though only nineteen years old, is a shooting member of the National Rifle Association, and has won several prizes at the meetings of the Guernsey Rifle Association.]
The Whirligig of Time! Its latest turn see In this phenomenon who hails from Guernsey. We've often met, at pic-nics or at dances, Young ladies who were good at shooting—glances! And glances that, alas! have often filled us With tender feelings, if they have not killed us. We've met fair maidens, who have found it pleasant To tramp the moors for grouse, or shoot at pheasant; Of some indeed who've had a go at grisly; But never—until now—of one at Bisley. Yet there she is, and whilst her sisters, sitting At home, may spend their leisure time in knitting, She sits and shoots, nor does she very far get From where she aims, the centre of the target. Take off your hats to her as now we name her,—Miss LEALE, of Guernsey! Gladly we acclaim her For Womankind (triumphant in the Schools) high Renown henceforth will look for in the bull's-eye, And, tired of tennis, having quite with thimble done, Will strive for laurels at the Modern Wimbledon!
* * * * *
MONTI THE MATADOR.
(ORIGINALLY INTENDED FOR THE F-RTN-GHTLY R-V-W.)
"Yes, I'm better, and the Doctor tells me I've escaped once more. That Doctor hates you—I know it. He has saved me—to tell you the story—The story I have been trying to tell to some one for thirty years."
I was talking to Old MONTI, whose full name was MONTI DI PIETA—as a pledge of his respectability. He was a descendant of the Pornbrocheros del Treballos d'Oro. He was subsequently called Monkey—as a tribute to his character.
"I should like you to tell me," I said, "for you must know that for years I have seen the snows on the Lagartigo, and the moonlight on the—"
"Stop!" he cried—"you are going to begin padding. That will do for a magazine, not for me!" and he snapped his fingers at me.
But I was not to be put off. He was weak—a cripple—and I gave him the choice of listening to a personally-conducted tour in the South of Spain, or relating his adventures.
"I will have my revenge!" he muttered. "You shall hear my life from the beginning. You must know, then, that sixty years ago I was born, and—"
"Yes," I returned, interrupting him—"of poor parents. Your father was coarse, your mother pious. You learned all you could about bulls, which you kept from your father, and you were ultimately engaged as a bull-fighter—"
"Stop, stop!" he cried. "If you cut out about a dozen pages of my biography, at least let me explain how I saved my father. You must know—"
"I will do it for you in a line," I said, sharply. "Your father lost his temper, and tried bullying the bull (no joke), and you winked at the animal. He knew you, and stood still. The bull went for your father—you for the bull. Drive on!"
"Let me tell you then, how I prepared myself for the Ring by practising on a dummy bull.—I had no difficulty in sticking pins into it—it was quite calm. Then I tried the same game on a sheep, and got knocked down for my pains! One of my monkey tricks! Then I got acquainted with some Irish bulls, and letting them off on my friends got several thumps on the head."
"No," I interrupted him sternly, "get on with your story."
"Well, at length I met JUAN at the beginning of May."
"Make it first of April," I said, severely.
"He was the Toreador out of Carmen, to put it shortly," he continued, not deigning to notice my interruption—"and he introduced me to the bull-fight. Of course I had to pay my footing (a very uncertain one) in duros, or hard cash. Then every morning I ate a chuto (a sort of small cabbage) at my dinner—then they tried me as a capa, to test (so they said) my capability. The chief patron was the Duke of MEDICINA, who in early youth had been a doctor—hence his title—and I shall never forget his first greeting."
"Your story!" I interrupted, sternly, finding that the old man was once more becoming tedious.
"I returned," replied the dotard, with a senile chuckle, "that he was wrong. His answer was beyond my meaning—he muttered something about 'mutton and capa sauce.' I was engaged," continued the dotard, with a feeble grin, "as a capa for seventy years certain, with an annual benefit once in four years, with a salary of forty-two thousand a year—which in those days seemed to me to be a small fortune."
"They are wretchedly paid in Spain," I observed.
"They are," he acquiesced. "I was paid a week in advance, and have lived upon the proceeds ever since. And now my life was indeed a merry one. I was free of the Ring. Now I played the cornet in the Brassos Banderillos, and my performance pleased the aficionados (or advertising agents) so well, that my name was known throughout the Peninsula."
"Well," once more I interrupted, "I suppose you met a Spanish beauty, fell in love with her, and was cut out by a party of the name of JUAN?"
"However do you think of such clever things?" asked the old man, in a tone of extreme astonishment. "But you are right. I placed CLEMENCIA one day in the pal co (or part reserved for friends), and the bull tossed me. Ah, she trampled upon me—treated me like a mat. But I loved her and adored myself. Hence I was called a 'Mat-Adorer.' I repeat, the bull tossed me, and I did not come down heads."
"I was ill, and neglected, but soon recovered sufficiently to kill sixty-six bulls in succession."
"Surely you are exaggerating?"
"You are perfectly right," he answered, with a blush. "I killed sixty-five—the sixty-sixth was only mortally wounded. And now the people made an idol of me. I was absolutely worshipped"—
"Come to the point," I said, in a tone that showed I was not to be trifled with.
"No that was the fate of JUAN. At the end of a game of toros (which is Spanish for marbles) he said to me (in excellent Spanish), 'MONTI, me bhoy, philaloo! ye will shtay by me?' 'That will I—as shure as me name is TIM—I should say MONTI,' I responded, in choice Castilian. The bull came up, I looked him in the eye, raised my shillalo (a short Spanish club), and, crying 'Whist!' he cut for partners. JUAN was cut a deal."
"That bull was a ripper," I murmured.
"Bedad he was that, Sorr," returned the dotard, whose Spanish became more and more Castilian every moment. "CLEMENICA died the next morning. But I am remorseful—that I did not kill her myself. And now I have had my revenge! I have told ye the story! I know you—your name's H-A-R-"—
He gave a gasp and died.
But I too had my revenge. I sent the tale I had just heard to the F-rtn-ghtly R-v-w.
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