PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
November 14th, 1891.
LETTERS TO ABSTRACTIONS.
No. VI.—TO VANITY.
I think I can see you smirking and posturing before the abstract mirror, which is your constant companion. It pleases you, no doubt, to think that anybody should pay you the compliment of making you the object and the subject of a whole letter. Perhaps when you have read it to the end you will alter your mood, since it cannot please you to listen to the truth about yourself. None of those whom you infect here below ever did like it. Sometimes, to be sure, it had to be endured with many grimaces, but it was extraordinary to note how the clouds caused by the aggravated truth-teller passed away as soon as his departure had enabled the object of these reproaches to recover his or her false self again. What boots it, after all, to tell the truth? For those whom you protect are clad in armour, which is proof against the sharpest lance, and they can thus bid defiance to all the clumsy attacks of the merely honest and downright—for a time; but in the end their punishment comes, not always in the manner that their friends predict, but none the less inevitable in one manner or another. For they all fashion a ridiculous monster out of affectations, strivings and falsehoods, and label it "Myself;" and in the end the monster takes breath, and lives and crushes his despised maker, and immediately vanishes into space.
Permit me to proceed in my usual way, and to offer you an example or two. And I begin with HERMIONE MAYBLOOM. HERMIONE was one of a large family of delightful daughters. Their father was the well-known Dr. MAYBLOOM, who was Dean of Archester Cathedral. His massive and convincing volumes on The Fauna and Flora of the Mosaic Books in their Relation to Modern Botanical Investigation, must be within your recollection. It was followed, you remember, by The Dean's Duty, which, being published at a time when there was, so to speak, a boom in religious novels, was ordered by many readers under the impression that it was likely to upset their mature religious convictions by its assaults on orthodoxy. Their disappointment when two stout tomes, dealing historically with the status and duties of Deans, were delivered to them, was the theme of cheerful comment amongst the light-hearted members of the Dean's own family.
Was there ever in this world so delightful a family circle as that of the Deanery? The daughters were all pretty, but that was their smallest merit. They were all clever, and well-read, without a tinge of the bluestocking, and most of them were musical to the tips of their slender fingers. How merrily their laughter used to ring across the ancient close, and how playfully and gently they used to rally the dear learned old Dean who had watched over them and cared for them since Mrs. MAYBLOOM'S death, many years before, with all the tender care of the most devoted mother. And of this fair and smiling throng, "my only rosary," as the Dean used to call them, HERMIONE was, I think, the prettiest, as she was certainly the most accomplished. Every kind of gift had been showered upon her by Nature. When she played her violin, accompanied by her elder sister on the piano, tears trickled unbidden down the aquiline nose of the militant Bishop of Archester, the chapter stood hushed to a man, and the surrounding curates were only prevented by a salutary fear of ruining their chances of preferment from laying themselves, their pittances, and their garnered store of slippers at her pretty feet. Then in a fit of charming petulance, she would break off in the middle of the piece, lay down her violin, and, with a pretty imperiousness, command a younger sister to fetch her zither, on which to complete the subjugation of her adorers. And then her caricatures—summer-lightning flashes of pencilled wit, as I heard the Reverend SIMEON COPE describe them in a moment of enthusiasm after she had shown us her sketch of his rival, the Reverend STEPHEN HANKINSON.
But even in those days, while she still had about her all the fascinations of peerless beauty and fresh and glowing youth, I mistrusted her. Alone of all the sisters she seemed to me to be wanting in heart. I heard her several times attempt to snub her father, and once I noted how she spent a whole evening in moody silence, and refused to play a note, for no other reason that I could see except that Captain ARBLAST, of the 30th Lancers, the dashing first-born of the Bishop, who happened to be spending a few days of his long leave in Archester, devoted himself with all the assiduity of his military nature to twirling his heavy moustache in the immediate neighbourhood of SOPHY MAYBLOOM, and not in that of HERMIONE. Indeed, I have reason to know that, after the guests had departed, poor SOPHY had to endure from her sister a dreadful scene, the harsh details of which have not yet faded from her memory. And then I remembered, too, how it was a matter of family chaff against HERMIONE that once, not very long after she had entered upon her teens, she had sobbed convulsively through a whole night, because she had discovered that her juvenile arms were thin and mottled, and she imagined that she would never be able to wear a low dress, or shine in Society.
Such, then, was the beautiful HERMIONE, who for some years rode rough-shod over the hearts of all the males in Archester. Space fails me to enumerate all her engagements. She broke them one after another without a thought, and cast her admirers away as if they had been dresses of last year's fashion. Most of them, it must be said, recovered quickly enough, but the miserable COPE became a hopeless hypochondriac, and never smiled again. He died the other day, and HERMIONE's sketch of HANKINSON was found, frayed and soiled, in an ancient pocket-book which he always carried about with him. HANKINSON'S fate seemed at first to be worse. He took to poetry, morbid, passionate, yearning, unhealthy poetry, of the skimmed SWINBURNE variety, and for a time was gloomy enough. Having, however, engaged in a paper conflict with one of his critics, he forgot his sorrows, and though he still declares an overwhelming desire for death and oblivion about six times a year, in various magazines, he seemed, when I last saw him, fairly comfortable and happy. But, of course, he has never secured a vicarage.
To return to HERMIONE. She at last married a certain Mr. PARDOE, a barrister practising on the Archester Circuit, and established herself in town. Shortly afterwards she became the rage. Her beauty, her wit, her music, her dinners, her diamonds, were spoken of with enthusiasm. All the elderly roues, whose leathery hearts had been offered up at hundreds of shrines, became her temporary slaves. She coaxed them, cajoled them, and fooled them, did this innocent daughter of a simple-minded Dean, to the top of their various bents. She schemed successfully against countless rivals, in order to maintain her pre-eminence in the admiration of her circle. Her ambition knew no bounds. She changed her so-called friends every week; she cultivated grand passions for actors, authors, musicians, and even for professors. Sometimes she played to select audiences with all her old ravishing skill, but this happened more and more rarely, until at last she utterly declined, and even went so far as to flout H.S.H. the Duke of KALBSKOPF, who had been specially invited to meet her.
Then suddenly came the crash. She left her husband, in company with CHARLIE FITZHUBERT, the heir presumptive to the wealthy earldom of Battersea. On the following day Mr. PARDOE blew out his brains, leaving ten thousand pounds of debt and three young children. Six months afterwards the venerable Dean died, and sentimental people spoke of a broken heart. Then the Earl of BATTERSEA, in a fit of indignation, married, and was blessed with a son, the present Earl. CHARLIE FITZHUBERT married HERMIONE, but they are as poor as curates, and he hates her. I saw her two days ago in a shabby hired carriage. She is getting prematurely old, and grey, and wrinkled, and everybody avoids her, except her sister SOPHY, who still visits her, and suffers her ill-humour.
Charming story, isn't it? I shall write again soon.
Yours, in the meantime, DIOGENES ROBINSON.
* * * * *
NIGHT-MAILING.—"Night Mail between London and Paris" has been recently announced in all the papers as now ready and willing to take night-mailers from Victoria, L.C. & D., to the French Capital. It is to be a Third-class Night Mail, though a Knight of the First Class can, of course, travel by it should he be so disposed. Thirty shillings through fare for "a single;" but as the tariff doesn't explicitly inform us whether the passenger will be asked the question, "Married or single?" and so be charged accordingly, we may presume that a margin is left for a little surprise. The train of Night Mails—a kind of gay bachelor train, no females being of the party—is to start at 8:15 P.M., and to be in Paris at 5:50 A.M.
* * * * *
DRAWING THE BADGER.
(A Natural History Note.)
The Badger (Meles-Taxus) is at once one of the most inoffensive and (in one sense) offensive of our few remaining British Carnivora. He is described by NAPIER of Merchiston, in his Book of Nature and of Man, as a "quiet nocturnal beast, but if much 'badgered' becoming obstinate, and fighting to the last, in which it is a type of a large class of Britons, who like to be let alone, but when ill used can fight."
That great new authority on Natural History, Mr. G.A. HENTY (author of Those Other Animals), should be able to tell us much about the Badger. Therewith he would be able, in his own favourite fashion, to "point a moral" (against the Demogorgon Democracy), and "adorn a tale" (of laboured waggery). He might find the subject as suggestive of sardonic chaff as American women and Republican institutions.
What says the popular WOOD? He describes the Badger as "slow and clumsy in its actions," and as "rolling along so awkwardly that it may easily be mistaken for a young pig in the dusk of the evening." Woe, however, to whomsoever does take the creature for "a young pig." "Being naturally as harmless an animal as can be imagined, it is a terrible antagonist when provoked to use the means of defence with which it is so well provided."
We tax the patience of poor Meles-Taxus, Until he turns with tooth and claws and whacks us. The natural home of Taxus—the Exchequer— Harbours a creature that keeps up its pecker.
"For the purpose of so-called 'sport,' the Badger used to be captured and put into a cage ready to be tormented; at the cruel will of every ruffian who might chose to risk his dog against the sharp teeth of the captive animal."
This particular sort of "sport" is a little out of date. But "drawing a Badger" is not unknown even in these humanitarian days. Dogs will sometimes voluntarily rush in to risk their hides and muzzles against the aforesaid sharp teeth, &c. Look at those in the picture!
The two small, if aggressive, terriers seem unequally matched against the "clumsy" but strong-jawed and terribly-toothed Badger. They have drawn him, indeed, out of his hole, and one of them, at least, seems rather sorry for it, if you may judge by the way in which he turns tail and makes for his protector, the big Bull-Terrier. The ventripotent broken-haired tyke looks more valorous—for the moment. Yap! yap! yap! Meles-Taxus takes little notice of him, however. His eyes are on that sturdy specimen of Canis familiaris there, whose bold eyes in turn are on him. Both, perhaps, experience—
That stern joy which warriors feel In foemen worthy of their steel."
"Drawn by those two tiny yelpers? Not a bit of it! But you, my complacent canine Colossus—come on if you dare!" And he does dare, evidently. Whether he'll regret his daring remains to be seen.
* * * * *
The Memory of Milton.
MILTON forgotten? Nay, my BESANT, nay; Not wholly, even in this petty day, When learning snips, when criticism snaps, And the great bulk of readers feed on scraps. Still, still he finds his "audience fit, though few," The rest forget not since they never knew.
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The Off-Portsmouth Phrase-Book.
Have you caught a fish?
No, but I have bagged a cannon-ball.
Is the sea too rough for your boat?
No, the sea is not too rough, but the Torpedoes are decidedly embarrassing.
Is that a pretty shell that you are going to carry home to your children?
No, it is a live one, that, if it bursts a yard nearer, will blow us into smithereens.
Do you propose returning to your lodging to-night?
That is a matter that will be decided by the Commander of the nearest practising gun-boat.
* * * * *
* * * * *
Mr. HENRY AUTHOR JONES has taken a theatre wherein to play his own plays to his own taste. On the first night of The Crusaders this taste was not exactly the taste of the audience. Mr. HENRY AUTHOR JONES seemed to object to be tied to time, and the result was the prompt appearance of that terrible conqueror of things terrestrial, General Boredom. Since the initial performance, it is reported that matters have gone on more smoothly. According to the "usual sources of information" the dramatist has been cheered on leaving his theatre, and heartily congratulated. On one occasion he actually supplemented his piece with a speech! Apparently he was under the impression that there could not be too much of a good thing—JONES for choice! It may be that since the first performance, there has been some curtailment made in the play. To judge from appearances it was a question of cutting—either the author the play, or the public the theatre!
* * * * *
QUITE A NEW SPEC.—We have just received a prospectus of a Company entitled "The Monarch Insurance Society." Of course, all the Crowned Heads of Europe will be in it. We haven't yet read it, the title being sufficient for the present. Ca donne a penser. Will it provide New Monarchs for old ones? Will it give good sovereigns in exchange for bad ones? If so—where will the profit come in?
* * * * *
FRENCH AS SHE IS "WRIT."
The Standard's own Vienna Correspondent, when reporting the unpleasant incident in the life of the Duc d'ORLEANS, told us how the Prince, on unwittingly "accepting service," said to the astute lawyer's clerk, "Mais, Monsieur, ce n'est pas le moment." To which the clerk replied, "also in French," says the Standard, "One time is as good as another." But why was not the lawyer's clerk's French as she is spoke given as well as that of M. le Duc? And how much more telling it would have been had M. le Duc been served well and faithfully by a clerk like Perker's Mr. Lowten, fresh, very fresh, from a carouse at the "Magpie and Stump," or even by one of Messrs. Dodson and Fog's young men who enjoyed themselves so much when "a twigging" of the virtuous Mr. Pickwick.
"Mais, Monsieur, ce n'est pas le moment," says the Duke, to which our Mr. Lowten would have replied in Magpie-and-Stumping French, "Eggskewsy moy, Mossoo, le Dook, ung Tom is aussy bong qu'ung autre. Mossoo ler Dook ar maintenong peruse ler documong; voici le copy et voila two. Bonsoir, il faut que je l'accroche."
Whereupon he would have "hooked it," as it appears this particular lawyer's clerk did, and was not seen again. No doubt he joined a circle of admiring friends in the legal neighbourhood (some Magpies-and-Stumps still exist), where, over a glass and a cigar, he recounted the merry tale of how he had served a Duke.
* * * * *
The relation of Hypnotiser to the Hypnotised at the Aquarium may be simply described as "GERMANE to the subject.'
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SONG AND CHORUS FOR THE COUNTY COUNCIL ON NEXT DEBATE ON THE WATER SUPPLY—"Young BENN he was a nice young man."
* * * * *
THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS
SCENE—Gardens belonging to the Hotel du Parc, Lugano. Time, afternoon; the orchestra is tuning up in a kiosk. CULCHARD is seated on a bench in the shade, keeping an anxious eye upon the opposite door.
Culch. (to himself). She said she had a headache, and made her father and VAN BOODELER go out on the lake without her. But she certainly gave me to understand that she might come out when the band played, if she felt better. The question is, whether she means to feel better or not. She is the most tantalising girl! I don't know what to make of her. Not a single reference, as yet, to that last talk we had at Bingen. I must see if I can't recall it to her memory—if she comes. I'll wait here, on the chance of it—we are not likely to be dis—. Confound it all—PODBURY! (with suppressed irritation as PODBURY comes up). Well, do you want anything in particular?
Podb. (cheerfully, as he sits down). Only the pleasure of your society, old chap. How nicely you do put things!
Culch. The—er—fact is, I can't promise to be a particularly lively companion just now.
Podb. Not by way of a change? Ah, well, it's a pity—but I must put up with you as you are, I suppose. You see—(with a grin)—I've got that vow to work out.
Culch. Possibly—but I haven't. As I've already told you—I retire.
Podb. Wobbled back to Miss TROTTER again, eh? Matter of taste, of course, but, for my part, I think your first impression of her was nearer the truth—she's not what I call a highly cultivated sort of girl, y' know.
Culch. You are naturally exacting on that point, but have the goodness to leave my first impressions alone, and—er—frankly, PODBURY, I see no necessity (now, at all events) to take that ridiculous—hum—penance too literally. We are travelling together, and I imagine that is enough for Miss PRENDERGAST.
Podb. It's enough for me—especially when you make yourself so doosid amiable as this. You needn't alarm yourself—you won't have any more of my company than I can help; only I must say, for two fellows who came out to do a tour together, it's— [Walks away, grumbling.
Later. The band has finished playing; Miss TROTTER is on the bench with CULCHARD.
Miss T. And you mean to tell me you've never met anybody since you even cared to converse with?
Culch. (diplomatically). Does that strike you as so very incredible?
Miss T. Well, it strikes me as just a little too thin. I judged you'd go away, and forget I ever existed.
Culch. (with tender reproach). How little you know me! I may not be an—er—demonstrative man, my—er—feelings are not easily roused, but, once roused, well—(wounded)—I think I may claim to possess an ordinary degree of constancy!
Miss T. Well, I'm sure I ought to feel it a vurry high compliment to have you going round grieving all this time on my account.
Culch. Grieving! Ah, if I could only tell you what I went through! (Decides, on reflection, that the less he says about this the better.) But all that is past. And now may I not expect a more definite answer to the question I asked at Bingen? Your reply then was—well, a little ambiguous.
Miss T. I guess it's got to be just about as ambiguous now—there don't seem anything I can say. There's times when I feel as if it might be sort of elevating and improving to have you shining around; and there's other times when I suspect that, if it went on for any considerable period, likely I'd weaken. I'm not just sure. And I can't ever make myself believe but what you're disapproving of me, inside of you, most all the time!
Culch. Pray dismiss such—er—morbid misgivings, dear Miss TROTTER. Show that you do so by accepting me as your guide and companion through life!
Miss T. My! but that sounds like a proposal?
Culch. I intended it to bear that—er—construction. It is a proposal—made after the fullest reflection.
Miss T. I'm ever so obliged. But we don't fix things quite that way in my country. We want to feel pretty sure, first, we shann't get left. And it don't seem to me as if I'd had opportunities enough of studying your leading characteristics. I'll have to study them some more before I know whereabouts I am; and I want you to understand that I'm not going to commit myself to anything at present. That mayn't be sentiment, but I guess it's common-sense, anyway. And all you've got to do is, just to keep around, and kind of impress me with a conviction that you're the vurry brightest and best man in the entire universe, and I don't believe you'll find much difficulty about that. And now I guess we'll go into table d'hote—I'm just as ravenous!
Culch. (to himself, as he follows her). Really, this is not much better than RUSKIN, after all. But I don't despair. That last remark was distinctly encouraging!
SCENE—A large Salle a Manger, decorated in the Pompeian style. Table d'hote has begun. CULCHARD is seated between Miss TROTTER and a large and conversational stranger. Opposite are three empty chairs.
Culchard's Neighbour. Then you're going on to Venice? Well, you take my advice. When you get there, you ask for tunny. Don't forget—tunny!
Culch. (who wants to talk to Miss T.) Tunny? Thank you. I—er—will certainly remember his name, if I require a guide.
His N. A guide? No, no—tunny's a fish, Sir, a coarse red fish, with flesh like a raw beefsteak.
Culch. Is that so? Then I will make a point of asking for it—if I want raw beefsteak. [Attempts to turn to Miss T.
His N. That's what I did when I was at Venice. I sent for the Manager. He came. I said to him. "Look here, I'm an Englishman. My name's BELLERBY. (CULCHARD bows in patient boredom.) I've heard of your Venetian tunny. I wish to taste it. Bring me some!"
Culch. (crushingly). A most excellent method of obtaining it, no doubt. (To Waiter.) Numero vingt-sept, demi bouteille de Chianti, et siphon!
His N. You don't wait till I've done, Sir! I didn't obtain it—not at first. The man made excuses. I was prepared for that. I told him plainly, "I know what you're thinking—it's a cheap fish, and you fancy I'm ordering it out of economy!"
Culch. (raising his eyebrows for Miss T.'s benefit). Of course, he naturally would think so. And that is how you got your tunny? I see. [Mr. BELLERBY stares at him suspiciously, and decides to suppress the remainder of his tunny.
Miss T. This hotel seems to be thinning some. We've three ghosts right in front of us this evening.
Culch. (turning with effusion). So we have! My friend is one, and he'll be here presently, but I much prefer myself to see every seat occupied. There is something so depressing about a vacant chair, don't you think?
Miss T. It's calculated to put one in mind of Macbeth's little dinner-party, certainly. But you can cheer up, Mr. CULCHARD, here comes a couple of belated Banquos. My gracious; I do like that girl's face—she has such a perfectly lovely expression, and looks real superior too!
Culch. (who has just dropped his glasses into his soup). I—ah—which lady are you referring too? (He cleans and adjusts his glasses—to discover that he is face to face with Miss HYPATIA PRENDERGAST.) Oh ... I—I see—precisely, quite so! (He turns to BELLERBY to cover his confusion and avoid meeting Miss PRENDERGAST'S eye.) I beg your pardon, you were describing how you caught a tunny? Pray continue.
Mr. Bellerby (stiffly). Excuse me, I don't seem fortunate enough to have secured your undivided attention.
Culch. (with intense interest). Quite the contrary, I assure you! You were saying you always ordered it out of economy?
Mr. B. Pardon me—I was saying nothing of the sort. I was saying that I told the Manager I knew that was why he thought I ordered it—a rather different thing! "You're quite wrong," I said. "You may pay twopence-halfpenny a pound for it, and charge me half-a-crown, if you like, but I mean to taste that tunny!" I was determined not to be done out of my tunny, Sir!
Culch. (breathlessly). And what did the tunny—I mean the Manager—say to that?
Mr. B. Oh, made more difficulties—it wasn't to be got, and so on. At last I said to him (very quietly, but he saw I was in earnest), "Now I tell you what it is—I'm going to have that tunny, and, if you refuse to give it me,—well, I shall just send my courier out for it, that's all!" So, with, that, they brought me some—and anything more delicious I never tasted in all my life!
Culch. (to himself). If I can only keep him on at this tunny! (Aloud.) And—er—what does it taste like exactly, now?
Mr. B. (pregnantly), You order it, Sir—insist on having it. Then you'll know what it tastes like! [He devotes himself to his soup.
Culch. (with his eyes lowered—to himself). I must look up in another minute—and then! [He shivers.
* * * * *
One of our very occasional contributors, whose valuable time is mainly occupied by the composition of successful novels, sends us the following, written by his type-writer. From this specimen it will be gathered what a real economy in correcting letter-press a type-writer must be.
I send you my new book to reed and if you likit pleaase give me a legup. The story of my other book was anti-turkish but has not yet been probited in Constanple though it has reachd its tetenth edition, at least the ninth is neraly all shrubshcribed bedfore it isrereaddy. If my pullisher is not sasfide oughtbe. Never use pen now only typwritr so much quickerin tellgible convenent an leshble
Yours S SMUGGYNS
It strikes us that either the machine stammers, or that it was, at the time of writing, somewhat the worse for liquor, or that it is a very truthfully phonetic-writing but somewhat indiscreet amanuensis. At the same time herewith and hereby every success to our friend SMUGGYNS'S new book.
* * * * *
HARD LINES FOR HIM.—When the first stone of a new theatre in Cranbourne Street was laid the other day by some Magnates of the Theatrical Profession—beg pardon, "the Profession," we should have said—Mrs. BANCROFT made a telling impromptu speech, and then Mr. YARDLEY, ancient Cricketer and Modern Dramatist, was hit on the head—accidentally, of course—by the bottle which is in use on these occasions. "Very YARDLEY treated," observed Sir DRURIOLANUS, in his happiest vein. Not the first literary gent who, according to the ancient slang of the Tom-and-Jerry period, has been "cut" by ill-use of the bottle. But the unfortunate author's sorrows did not end with this sad blow, as, very soon afterwards, his dear friends the Critics, with profuse apologies for being compelled to handle him so severely, were down upon him for his new version of a French piece, entitled The Planter. So the logical sequence of events was, that first a blow was planted, and then appeared The Planter.
* * * * *
ECCLESIASTICAL LAYMAN.—At a meeting in Rome, the "Duke di SERMONETA" took the chair. If ever there were a staunch Churchman, this by his name, rendered in English as "Sermon-devourer," should be he.
* * * * *
OUR OWN FINANCIAL COLUMN.
Telegraphic Address—"Croesus, E.C."
Sir,—Let me first express my financial acknowledgments to the teeming millions who have honoured me, and benefited themselves by seeking my advice since my first letter appeared last week. Communications containing cheques, postal orders, and stamps, have poured in upon me in one unceasing torrent. The consignors have, in every case, been good enough to say that they handed all they possessed over to me, in the full confidence that I would invest the proceeds to the best advantage in some of the countless undertakings in which I wield a paramount influence. Their trust is fully deserved.
Investors will remember that, in the course of the last German Expedition to Central Africa, a tract of country, rich in every mineral deposit, and admirably fitted for the operations of husbandry, was discovered in lat. 42 deg., long. 65 deg.. The Germans at that time had not a single handkerchief left, and were unable, therefore to hoist the German flag over the palace of the native king, GUL-GULL. Private information of this was conveyed to me. I at once fitted out an Expedition at my own expense, placed myself at the head of it, and after terrible hardships, in the course of which no less than two hundred of my comrades either succumbed outright to the bite of the poisonous contango fly, or had to be mercifully dispatched by the hammer (a painless native form of death), in order to end their tortures, I succeeded in reaching the capital, where I was hospitably received by the king. After a negotiation of three weeks, His Majesty agreed, in the kindest and most affable manner, to concede to me his whole country together with all its revenues, minerals, royalties, timber, water-power, lakes, farm-houses, stock and manor-houses, the whole beautifully situated in the heart of a first-class sporting country, within easy reach of ten packs of hounds; the old residential palace replete with every modern comfort, and admirably adapted for the purposes of a gentleman desiring to set up in the business of kingship. It matters not what I had to pay for this. The secret is my own, and shall go to Westminster Abbey with me. The point is, that with the funds entrusted to me, I have formed the Cent-per-Central African Exploration and Investment Syndicate, and have allotted shares to all those whose contributions have come to hand. As to profit, I have calculated it on the strictest actuarial principles, and find it cannot be less than L100 for every L100 invested. This may seem small, but in these matters moderation is the soul of business. I shall have more to say on this subject next week.
Answers to Correspondents.
DISMAL JEMMY.—Why do you suggest that the motto of my new company should be, "Stealer et fraudax"? Is it a Latin joke? If so, don't write to me any more. Those who deal with me must be British to the backbone.
ANXIOUS.—You can't do better than send me those L50,000. I guarantee secrecy and quick returns. The Eyeoyu Land Trust is best for your purposes (Pref. deb. 492; stk. 18. 2. 3). Send money at once to CROESUS, E.C. Delay might be fatal.
CAPITALIST.—No doubt, as you say, Consols are Consols; but take my advice and don't give GOSCHEN your money. Why not try the United Bladder Mortgage Company? Bladders are bound to go up. They were floated at 10 and are now at 96. Verb. sap. No; L20,000 would not be too much.
"POTTER."—Something good may he done in Land Rails, if you can get near enough. Have a shot at them by all means.
"PRACTICAL JOKER."—Quite right. Sell them.
"ANXIOUS INQUIRER" wishes to be informed what is the difference between Preferred and Deferred. If he will tell us how much he expects to receive in each case, the mere calculation of the difference will be an easy matter; but to receive it is quite another affair. If he wishes to know the "distinction" between these two classes of "securities," it may be summed up in the answer to the question, "Will you have it now, or wait till you get it?"
"A PUZZLED ONE."—Sell everything.
"MEET ME BY MIDNIGHT."—Yes. A Loan.
"LAMBKIN."—Part with No. 2, &c., but take care of No. 1.
"TOTTIE TOTTS."—Here for private consultation from 5 to 7 P.M.
"RICHARD."—Buy Bizzy B's, Sell Early P's, and Spoiled Fives. Buy Jingoes.
"BRUNO."—"Bear" your burdens.
"ADA WITH THE GOLDENHAIR."—Send photo at once. Cannot advise until we know your figure.
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* * * * *
A JUBILEE GREETING!
(Set to a Song from Sir Walter Scott.)
NOVEMBER 9, 1891.
Mr. Punch (for self and everybody) loquitur:—
My Prince, 'tis for our coming King We all lift glass in hand; For him that loud hurrahs do ring To-day all round the land, My Prince, All round a loyal land!
Let sycophantish slave kotoo; You love not such display; Let courtiers cringe and creatures "boo." 'Tis not our English way, My Prince, 'Tis not our English way.
As FLORA to Prince CHARLIE bent It is no shame to bow; And you're a man to be content With man's respect, I trow, My Prince, With man's respect, I trow.
For Fifty Years we've known you, Sir, And liked you. Love is free! That's why the land is all astir, To hail your Jubilee, My Prince, To hail your Jubilee.
In Forty-Six Punch pictured you, "A Sailor every inch,"[A] Toasting "Mamma!" in a stiff brew Without a sign of flinch, My Prince, Without one sign of flinch.
In Seventy-One he stood beside Your door in sad "Suspense."[B] We saw the turn in that dark tide With thankfulness intense, My Prince, With gratitude intense.
From stage to stage your course he's marked Abroad as eke at home; Where'er you've travelled, toiled, skylarked; And now mid-age has come, My Prince, And now mid-age has come.
Come as it comes to all. Most true! But, "let the galled jade wince," Still Punch's pencil pictures you As every inch a Prince, My Prince, Yes, every inch a Prince!
And now your Jubilee we greet, With hearty English joy, Who, as those Fifty Years did fleet, Have watched you, man and boy, My Prince, Have watched you, man and boy.
When all is done that Prince can do, All is not done in vain. That's why we drink Good Health to you Again and eke again, My Prince, Again and eke again!
Punch turns him round and right about, And leads the British roar Which rises in one loyal shout, "Health to the Prince once more! My Prince, Health to him evermore!"
And health to her, the unfading flower From Denmark, o'er the foam. Ad multos annos, grace, and power, Love, and a Happy Home, My Prince, Love, and a Happy Home!
Now youth has gone, and manhood come, Your Jubilee we keep, Good-will shall strike detraction dumb, And sound from deep to deep, My Prince, From white-cliff'd deep to deep!
[Footnote A: See Cartoon, "Every Inch a Sailor," p. 129, Vol. XI., Sept. 26, 1846.]
[Footnote B: See Cartoon. "Suspense," p. 263, Vol. LXI., Dec. 23, 1871.]
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AN APPARENTLY HARD CASE.—Miss Print is responsible for a great deal. The other day a tender-hearted person read in a daily paper, that a stranger "arriving in Paris, did not even know where to go and die." How sad! But the compositor had only omitted the "n" from the last word of the sentence. So it wasn't so bad after all, though for the stranger bad enough.
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"Music's the Food."—At the Savoy Hotel the band of Herr WURMS is advertised to perform during dinner. The name of the dinner might follow suit, and be entitled "The Diet of Wurms, for Gentle and Simple." Of course the band of Herr WURMS is an attraction; "Wurms for bait," eh?
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OR, GREEK FOR HEIFER!
(By an Old Boy.)
Thee, Camus, reverend renown Thy grateful votaries seek, Foil'd are the Vandals who'd "send down" The Genius of Greek.
For Culture's jewell'd master-key They cupboard pick-locks tend, And in the cult of Mammon see Learning's true aim and end;
Pit shallow youth's impatient fuss Against the grit of CATO, Set IBSEN up for AESCHYLUS, And OLLENDORFF for PLATO;
For songs august of heroes sung, And epic hosts embattled, Enforce some pidgin-Latin tongue By every waiter prattled;
For nymphs, where o'er the fragrant pines A sea-bright sun uprises, Their fancy plays round primmest lines Of prigs receiving prizes.
From Sir JOHN CHEKE to Dr. JEBB, From CALVERLEY to MILTON, Clear spirits burst the Sophist-web, And rent the rook they built on.
WELLDON is falsely named in this, For sure, in slighting Greek, he Will Learning's final blessing miss, Her [Greek: kalos pepoieke].
What though the urchin deem it "rot" (Such hasty views we stoop'd to, Not seeing how on earth they got Tetummenos from Tupto)
Still let us learn, not beastly facts, The field of any booby, But how thought acts and interacts, And contraries can true be.
Though on oblivion's barren shores He give it quick sepulture, Still through reluctant passman's pores Instil the dew of culture.
Still give us of the rills divine That flow from haunted Helicon, Nor rend thyself to feed the swine, Like a perverted Pelican.
Keep far the time when every bee That booms in every bonnet, Shall find a chair of Apiary, And drone long lectures on it.
Still the large light and sweetness seek Of KEATS'S raptured vision, (Or KEATE'S)—till Greek at last meets Greek In brotherhood Elysian.
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A NEW TREASURE FOR. THE TREASURER OF BARTHOLOMEW'S.—Mr. Punch, G.P.E., General President of Everything, begs to congratulate Professor HUBERT HERKOMER, R.A.M.A., on his admirable portrait of Sir SYDNEY HEDLEY, and now, not only HEDLEY, but Full-Lengthly WATERLOW, Bart., of "Bart's," which H.R.H. correctly described as "a very fine work of Art, painted by one of our most eminent artists." Such approbation of Sir HUBERT HERKOMER is praise indeed! Mr. Punch, G.P.E., prefixes the "Sir" prophetically. For the present it may be taken as the last syllable, detached, of "Profes-sir"
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"WELLS, I NEVER!"—"Mr. WELLS," says the Times Correspondent, "has made 250,000 francs" (up to now), and "last year he made L20,000." Talk of the waters at various drinking or health-resorts abroad, why, their fame is as nothing compared with the unprecedented success of the WELLS of Monte Carlo. How the other chaps who lose must be like LEECH'S old gent "a cussin' and a swearin' like hanythink." So the two extremes at Monte Carlo may be expressed by the name of a well-known shopkeeping London firm, i.e., SWEARS AND WELLS.
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NOTHING LIKE LABOR.
(A Pleasant Prospect suggested by the evidence taken before the Royal Commission.)
And so the Un-employed rose from the ditch in which he had passed the night, and made for the town. It was early morning, and he thought he could possibly get something to do at the baker's.
"Want to work?" cried the foreman. "Why, my good fellow, it is all over for the next two days. The trade only allows four hours, so we begin at eight on one night, and carry it on until four on the following morning. People get their loaves a little stale, but old bread is said to be good for the digestion!"
So the Unemployed went on until he came to a half-built house. The workmen had left, but there was still a watchman on the premises.
"Want to work! Why what are you thinking about! Why, our trade only allows two hours a day, so we build a house by laying foundation-stones. It is rather slow, but very sure."
So the starving man continued his journey. He was unsuccessful at every trade centre. One industry allowed its members to work only for three hours a day, another two, a third four, and so on. There was only one exception to the rule, and this (so the doctor thinks) was caused by necessity. The undertakers were fully employed twelve hours out of the twenty-four. Even the public-houses were closed at noon. The workhouses and casual wards were never empty.
But being of a sanguine temperament, the Unemployed cheered his drooping spirits by murmuring, "Better luck to-morrow!" Then he retired to his rather damp quarters in the country ditch!
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Airy opening of article by Mr. GINLEY SCORCHSAM, a rising young author. "Asked by Editor of Magazin des Louvres to let him have a paper on Art as Applied to Drapery——"
Note by the Agonised Editor (who has been struggling with MS. for several hours). "And he did let me have it, with a vengeance!"
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LIGHT CONDUCT IN HEAVENLY BODIES.
DEAR MR. EDITOR,
What on earth, or rather what in the starry Heavens' name is the meaning of this heading to a paragraph in the Times of Tuesday, Nov. 3:—
"APPARENT DUPLICITY OF JUPITER'S SATELLITE No. 1."
Except that the stars are given to wink, I have never before heard of the Heavenly Bodies being accused, of immorality. It is true that the duplicity is said to be only "apparent" or alleged, but this is doubtless due to the precaution of the scientist to escape an action for libel. Flatterers have often been accused of this vice, and Satellites are not much better. A "Star" on the stage might perhaps thus acknowledge the presence of a friend and admirer in the Stalls or in the charmed Circle. But for a Heavenly Body to be guilty of duplicity, and above all for a "Number One" Heavenly Body, is too much. No more will the simple lines
"Twinkle, twinkle, little Star!"
be true. No; if "Jupiter's Satellite No. 1" takes to such light conduct, then shall we, have to read
"Wink, O wink, you little Star!"
Henceforth let astronomers be very careful what observations they make. To what a state of things are we coming, when at night all the sublunary world is nodding, and the Stars above are winking. If there's duplicity in a Satellite of Jupiter, how about Jupiter itself? Can we henceforth put any trust in the Planets? Are they in league with deceitful soothsayers, astrologers, and fortune-tellers? I cannot further pursue the painful subject. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Times for exposing duplicity in the highest places. Imagine treachery in Aurora Borealis! What an awful flirt she would be!! How she'd "wink the other eye!"
Yours, AN ASTRONOMER LOYAL.
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FROM MASHONALAND.—Inspired by the success of ARTHUR B., of DE GORSTIBUS NON DISPUTANDUM, and of Sir KETTLE-DRUMMOND WOLFF, our GRANDOLPH meditates a surprise return to his own native land and to Parliamentary life. He announces his intention of changing his name, and will call himself "Lord NIL DESPERANDUM CHURCHILL." Hail to the modern Coeur-de-Lion!"
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FINAL.—The Daily Chronicle says it does not regard Mr. GOSCHEN as one of the Puritans of finance. Well, no, perhaps, GEORGE JOACHIM'S finance—like his manner—is rather Cavalier!
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MR. FARMER-ATKINSON, M.P., attending the American Methodist Conference, has been supplying the United States with interesting illustrations of House of Commons manners. Incidentally he observed that Primitive Methodists, members of which body were largely represented in his audience, are "impostors." This led to some misunderstanding, and Mr. FARMER-ATKINSON, M.P., found it necessary to explain that he had used the term "simply in a Parliamentary sense." We learn by special Zadkiel telegram that, on emerging from the Hall after the meeting, the Rev. HERCULES EBENEZER (Omaha), bringing down his clenched fist on the crown of the hat of Mr. FARMER-ATKINSON, M.P., altered its situation in a direction that temporarily obscured the vision of the Hon. Member.
"What do you mean?" inquired Mr. FARMER-ATKINSON, M.P., struggling out of the wreck of his hat.
"I mean it in a purely Pickwickian sense," said the Rev. HERCULES EBENEZER (Omaha), with a seraphic smile that disarmed controversy.
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The GERMAN EMPEROR has lately rearranged his scheme of work for weekdays. From six A.M. to eight A.M. he gives lectures on Strategy and Tactics to Generals over forty years old. From eight to ten he instructs the chief actors, musicians and painters of Berlin in the principles of their respective arts. The hours from ten to twelve he devotes to the compilation of his Memoirs in fifty-four volumes. A limited edition of large-paper copies is to be issued. From twelve to four P.M. he reviews regiments, cashiers colonels, captures fortresses, carries his own dispatches to himself, and makes speeches of varying length to all who will listen to him. Any professional reporter found taking accurate notes of His Majesty's words is immediately blown from a Krupp gun with the new smokeless powder. From four to eight he tries on uniforms, dismisses Ministers and officials, dictates state-papers to General CAPRIVI, and composes his history of "How I pricked the Bismarck Bubble." From eight to eleven P.M. His Majesty teaches schoolmasters how to teach, wives how to attend to their families, bankers how to carry on their business, and cooks how to prepare dinners. The rest of the day he devotes to himself. On Thursday next His Majesty leaves Berlin on his tenth visit to the European Courts.
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There is no truth in the report that the Lord CHANCELLOR is arranging a Christmas party, to which shall be invited all the members and connections of his family for whom he has found places during his term of office. It is well known that the accommodation at Lord HALSBURY's town residence is comparatively limited.
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We regret to hear that Mr. JOHN O'CONNOR, M.P. (known in the House of Commons as "Long JOHN"), has decided to retire from political life. His personal experience during the Cork Election has convinced him that no man over 5 ft. 8 in. can safely take part in active politics.
"Bricks, dead cats, sections of chimney-pots, which flew harmless over the heads of the crowd, invariably struck me," said Mr. O'CONNOR, toying with the bandage over his left eyebrow.
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It is quite true, as reported in the newspapers, that Dr. GUTTERIDGE was not present when the final result of the polling in the Strand was made known, and that it was explained to the reporter he had been "called out to see a patient." The suggestion that the undertaking of this hopeless contest was designed solely to lead up to this incident, is one worthy only of the diseased imagination of a professional rival, who has no patients to call him out—even from Church.
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It is stated (and has been denied) that Herr VON DER BLOWITZOWN-TROMP is about to retire from his supervision of universal affairs exercised through the Special Paris Wire of a contemporary. We are glad to learn that this intention does not in any case imply absolute disappearance from the European Stage. It is no secret in diplomatic circles that the Herr has been approached on the question of his ascending the throne of Bulgaria. His keen insight into European politics has convinced him that this arrangement would afford a settlement of an ever-ruffled question. He has, we understand, stipulated that the Principality shall be raised to the status of a Kingdom. "I have," he said to the Emissary of the Powers who approached him on the subject, "been so long accustomed to associate with Crowned Heads, that in a Principality I should feel like a fish out of water."
With his usual considerateness, Herr VON DER BLOWITZOWN-TROMP has recognised the inconvenience that would be imposed on his subjects, if, in daily use, they were obliged to refer to him by his full title. He will, therefore, deign to be known on coins, postage-stamps, and in semi-official communications, as TROMP THE FIRST.
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There is no truth in the report that, on behalf of Mr. JOHN MORLEY, Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT waited upon Mr. CHAMBERLAIN, and asked him to name a friend; that the Right Hon. Gentleman "mentioned" Mr. JESSE COLLINGS; and that the two seconds have arranged a meeting at Boulogne. The idle rumour doubtless arose out of the fact that an acrimonious correspondence between the two former friends has been carried on in the columns of the Times.
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According to the newspaper reports, during the ceremony of acceptance by the Prince of WALES, as President of Bartholomew's Hospital, of "the portrait of Sir SYDNEY WATERLOW, the Treasurer," the portrait "occupied a prominent position on the platform, and the Hon. Baronet sat immediately in front of it." We learn that this arrangement led to some misunderstanding, people, on entering, not at first knowing which was the portrait, and which was Sir SYDNEY.
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ECHOES FROM THE LABOUR COMMISSION.
First Voice. I hear that you wish to give your evidence before this Commission?
Second Voice. Certainly, that is my desire. I am here to speak in the name of my fellow-labourers, and——
First V. Yes, thank you, that will do. You are in favour of Trade Unions?
Second V. I am. I feel that when rich and poor meet in mighty conflict, there is only—
First V. Yes, thank you, that will do. And you believe that strikes are beneficial?
Second V. I do consider them beneficial, most beneficial. I feel that labour must have its rights, and that the white dove of liberty has only to—
First V. Yes, thank you, that will do. And you are in favour of arbitration?
Second V. No, I am not. For when DIVES meets the beggars, then the cry of labour rises on the stilly night, and—
First V. Yes, thank you, that will do. And may I ask to what trade you belong?
Second V. I belong to none. Every thinking and right-minded man should care for his fellows as himself. Like an eagle on a snow-capped mountain, he should—
First V. Yes, thank you, that will do. Then may we ask, if you belong to no trade, what is your occupation?
Second V. My occupation is to talk to—
First V. Yes, thank you, that will do!
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NOTICE TO PROBABLE IRISH OBJECTORS ON BOTH SIDES.—The Novel that _Mr. Punch_ so recently praised, entitled _Tim_, is neither Irish nor political. Both sides can buy and enjoy it. A Parnellite author is thinking of adapting DICKENS, and bringing out a new version of an old_ Christmas book, to be entitled _Tiny Tim._
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OLD TIMES REVIVED.—The New Lord Mayor. Gracious EVANS!! "And," asks a middle-aged Correspondent, "during this Mayoralty will the Munching House be known as EVANS'S?"
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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.