OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
October 10, 1891.
* * * * *
ATROPOS AND THE ANTHROPOIDS.
(A DIRGE AT THE ZOO.)
["The Anthropoid apes, of which there was recently such a representative series in the Zoo, have dwindled sadly in numbers this year. The lamented decease of 'Sally' was referred to a few weeks ago; we have now to record the death of 'George,' the Orang-Outang."—Daily News.]
Late for the Chimpanzee the requiem rang, Now the bell tolls for the Orang-Outang. Well may spasmodic sobs choke childhood's gorge, Now they who sighed for "Sally" grieve for "George." A "wilderness of monkeys" can't console, For Anthropoids defunct. Of Apedom's whole, One little Chimpanzee, one Gibbon small, (Who ought to write his race's "Rise and Fall,") Alone remain to cheer the tearful Zoo, And mitigate lone boyhood's loud bohoo! "Sally" adieu! to "George" a long farewell! Ah! muffle if you please their passing bell! Only one thought can cheer us in the least; "No doubt the stock will shortly be increased." Thanks, Daily News! Wipe, childhood, the wet eye, And Apedom for dead kin soften the Simian sigh!
* * * * *
CHARITY'S WORD OF COMMAND.—"Present alms!"
* * * * *
OYSTERS (NOT) FOR EVER!
He was a gentle Fishmonger, and WILLIAMSON his name, No doubt you may have heard before his philanthropic game. The lack of oysters pained him much, for how could people royster And happy be in r-less months without the luscious oyster?
A look of pain was in his face, a pucker on his brow, Long time he pondered very hard to try and find out how. At last he cried, "Eureka! from France I'll go and bring them, And into beds I've got at home without a murmur fling them."
Then they came across the Channel, and he very sweetly said, "So glad to see you looking well, would you like to see your bed? For there, my little dears, you stay; you'll one day know the reason. I'll rouse you when the month of May makes natives out of season."
The Fishmongers, the Worshipful, sent down a man to see, He wrung his hands and shook his head, and said, "Oh, miseree! It pains me very deeply, and it drives me to distraction, You've done what's wrong, and I shall have to institute an action."
Then WILLIAMSON, he sobbed aloud, and shed a bitter tear, "Oh, hang it all," he cried, "why must you come and interfere? I quite admit, however, that I see your point precisely, So don't let's quarrel, let's be friends, and bring the action nicely."
They brought that friendly action, and the clever counsel tried To prove to FAUDELL PHILLIPS that the law was on his side. But the oyster-dealer found the law for him was one too many, So he had to pay the piper—to be quite exact, a penny.
And you who love your oyster in the latter end of May, In June, July, and August, too, will sadly rue the day, For philanthropic folk will find it unremunerative To introduce in summer-time this Franco-English native.
[Footnote 1: Oysters are to be six shillings a dozen this winter!! How many of the ordinarily careless will now be compelled to go by RULES without going in for Oysters. N.B.—"Action" in these verses is poetic license for "summons."]
* * * * *
"SAVE ME FROM MY FRIENDS!"
SCENE—A Place of Meeting. Enter Parliamentary Leader and his Subordinate. They greet one another effusively.
Leader (cordially). And now, my dear fellow, how are my interests?
Sub. (with much heartiness). Getting on capitally! Just been writing to all the papers to say that it is stupid to call you "Old Dot-and-go-one," because it is inapplicable to either your age or your mode of controversy.
Lead. (with a feeble smile). That was kind of you! But who had said it?
Sub. (airily). Oh, someone of about fourth-rate importance! and it had been quite forgotten you know. So I dragged it up again, and put it all right for you.
Lead. (shaking hands). Thanks, so very much. But if persons had forgotten it, why revert to it?
Sub. Oh, don't you see? Why, the point is, you are not a bit like it-not a scrap like it! Next week I shall write and say that it's rubbish to call you a turncoat, because you have always been consistent.
Lead. (anxiously). But is anybody calling me a turncoat?
Sub. Not that I know of, but they might, don't you see. So it's as well to be on the safe side. I shall say that, if any one did call you a turncoat, that the speaker would prove himself a liar! That ought to give you a leg up, oughtn't it?
Lead. (with some hesitation). My dear friend, you are most kind; but if you don't mind, I would be so immensely obliged if you would leave my interests alone.
Sub. (with great cordiality). What, leave your interests alone! Never! You may be always sure of my hearty support!
Lead. (earnestly). But as a personal matter, I must beg of you kindly to leave me alone.
Sub. (reluctantly). Well, of course, if you make it a personal matter, I must consent. But the Party will suffer.
Lead. (dryly). Possibly—from your point of view. [Exeunt.
* * * * *
JAWFUL NEWS!—The Diminution of the Jaw in the Civilised Races is the title of a pamphlet by Mr. F. HOWARD COLLINS. We haven't read it; but if it be in favour of the diminution of "jaw," we heartily recommend its study to all Members of Parliament, actual or intending, and to all post-prandial speechmakers generally.
* * * * *
Bumble (after reading Dr. T. Orme Duffield's Report to the Vestry of Kensington on the health and sanitary condition of the district), loquitur:—
Oh bother this sanit'ry bosh! Always piping the same dull old strains, One would think there wos nothink in life to be done but go sniffing the Drains! Wich my nose is a dalicot one, and I don't like the job, not by lumps; And I won't be perpetual poked up by these peeping and prying old pumps. "Bumbledom and Disease!" I like that,—like the Times' dashed himperence, I think. We porochial pots is to pass all our time a-prospecting for Stink! Doctor DUDFIELD thinks WE should inspeck, periodical, all privit dwellings, Discover and show up defecks, sech as fumings and leakings, and smellings, As "lurk unsuspected about," which the tenants theirselves do not twig, And the landlords, in course, don't remove. Well, your tenant is mostly a pig, And your landlord is sometimes a 'og; still between 'em we jest slip along, But do dooty for both of 'em? Snakes! that is coming it slightly too strong. The tenants 'old on jest as long as they can, and the landlords 'old orf. A sort of a ketchy sore-throat, or a bit of a qualm or a korf, Make some idjots go fair orf their chumps on diphtheria, and typhod and such; But then others, who don't like a hupset, put up with the lot, pooty much, Jest to save topsy-turvey and 'oles in the garden, and mud on the stairs; Landlords, likeways, is dabs at postponing, and patching, and 'ushing up scares. But if we are to spot wot goes quisby, and be the responsible chaps, Wheugh! we should 'ave a regular beanfeast with sockets and air-pipes and traps! No, no, westry worrying sneaks, it won't work. As for "W.B.E." He may frighten the Kensington lot, he won't 'ave no effeck upon Me! Diphtheria be jolly well dashed! It is often, as DUDFIELD explains, Mere "follicular(—hem!—) tonsillitis." Me bother my 'ed about Drains? Go to! I 'ave got other fish, in a manner of speaking, to fry, That L.C.C. gave itself airs and declared it would wipe my old heye With its bloomin' Big Pots and "Progressives." Aha! where the doose are they now? Mister ROSEBERY resigned, regular sick of bad manners and endless bow-wow; Now LIBBOCK and FARRER are orf. FARRER gave the Times one in the eye, 'Cos it seemed for to 'int even he of them precious Progressives wos shy. Swears their manners is quite up to dick, most consid'rit, and all that there stuff. Well they may 'ave been Brummels of course, but he seems to 'ave 'ad quite enough! 'Owsomever, wotever the cause, now they're quit of the Great Toffy Three, They must 'ave a new Chairman, in course, and—ha! ha!—wot a hopening for Me!! Porochial Bumble must rule, spite of fads, in a steady and sane age, And 'aving a heye on High Orfice I can't waste my time on mere Drainage!
[Kicks Report, and strikes an attitude.
* * * * *
* * * * *
HIDE AND SEEK.
Ah! Pirate KID's Treasure has done good we know, It suggested a rattling good story to POE. But the "Syndicate" started to seek where 'tis hid, Will probably find that same Treasure—"all KID!"
* * * * *
TEA IN TEN MINUTES.
(A SONG AT A RAILWAY STATION.)
AIR—"THEE, THEE, ONLY THEE."
Ten minutes here! The sun is sinking And longingly we've long been thinking, Of Tea, Tea, fragrant Tea!
The marble slabs we gather round, They're long in bringing what is wanted. The china cup with draught embrown'd Our thirsty souls are wholly haunted By Tea, Tea, fragrant Tea!
Now then, you waiter, stir, awaken! Time's up. I'll hardly save my bacon. Tea, Tea, bring that Tea!
At last! The infusion's rayther dark. But hurry up! Can't stay for ever! One swig! Br-r-r-r! Hang the cunning shark! Will't never cool? Nay, never, never! Tea, Tea, scalding Tea!
More milk; don't be an hour in bringing! Heavens! That horrid bell is ringing! "Take your seats, please!" Can't touch the Tea! Cup to the carriage must not take; Crockery may be lost, or broken; Refreshment sharks are wide awake. But—many a naughty word is spoken O'er Tea, Tea, scalding Tea!
* * * * *
NOTHING NEW.—The Editor of the Gentlewoman announces a forthcoming novel to be written by about a dozen or more novelists. Mr. Punch highly commends this spirited enterprise. The scheme is not absolutely a novelty, as in Mr. Punch's pages some time ago, was there not a "Limited Novel Co." of Authors and Artists to produce "Chikkin Hazard?" They combined, but did not collaborate. But any way, success to the Gentlewoman!
* * * * *
"WHERE IS DAT BARTY NOW?"—After the recent suicide of le pauvre General, the Boulangist party cannot be said to have been left without leaders, at all events, in England, as they have had leaders in all the papers, and actually two in the Times.
* * * * *
THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.
SCENE—A flight of steps by the lake in the grounds of the Insel Hotel, Constance. Time, late afternoon. A small boat, containing three persons, is just visible far out on the glassy grey-green water. BOB PRENDERGAST and PODBUBY are perched side by side on a parapet, smoking disconsolately.
Podbury. Do they look at all as if they meant to come in? I tell you what, BOB, vote we row out to them and tell them they'll be late for table d'hote. Eh? [He knocks out his pipe.
Prendergast (phlegmatically). Only be late for it ourselves if we do. They'll come in when they want to.
Podb. It's not safe for your sister,—I'm hanged if it is—going out in a boat with a duffer like CULCHARD! He'll upset her as sure as eggs.
Prend. (with fraternal serenity). With pin-oars? Couldn't if he tried! And they've a man with them, too. The less I see of that chap CULCHARD the better. I did hope we'd choked him off at Nuremberg. I hate the sight of his supercilious old mug!
Podb. You can't hate it more than I do—but what can I do? (Pathetically.) I've tried rotting him, but somehow he always manages to get the best of it in the end. I never saw such a beggar to hang on!
Prend. What on earth made you ask him to come on here, after he declared he wouldn't?
Podb. I! I ask him? He settled it all with your sister. How could I help it?
Prend. I'd do something. Why can't you tell him right out he ain't wanted? I would—like a shot!
Podb. It's not so easy to tell him as you think. We haven't been on speaking terms these three days. And, after all (feebly) we're supposed to be travelling together, don't you know! You might drop him a hint now.
Prend. Don't see how I can very well—not on my own hook. Might lead to ructions with HYPATIA, too.
Podb. (anxiously). BOB, you—you don't think your sister really—eh?
Prend. HYPATIA's a rum girl—always was. She certainly don't seem to object to your friend CULCHARD. What the dickens she can see in him, I don't know!—but it's no use my putting my oar in. She'd only jump on me, y'know!
Podb. (rising). Then I must. If that's what he's really after, I think I can stop his little game. I'll try, at any rate. It's a long worm that has no turning, and I've had about enough of it. The first chance I get. I'll go for him.
Prend. Good luck to you, old chap. There, they're coming in now. We'd better go in and change, eh? We've none too much time.
[They go in.
In the Lese-zimmer, a small gaslit room, with glazed doors opening upon the Musik-saal. Around a table piled with German and English periodicals, a mild Curate, the Wife of the English Chaplain, and two Old Maids are seated, reading and conversing. CULCHARD is on a central ottoman, conscientiously deciphering the jokes in "Fliegende Blaetter." PODBURY is at the bookcase, turning over odd TAUCHNITZ volumes.
The Chaplain's Wife (to the Curate, a new arrival). Oh, you will very soon get into all our little ways. The hours here are most convenient—breakfast (table d'hote) with choice of eggs or fish and coffee—really admirable coffee—from eight to nine; midday dinner at one. Supper at nine. Then, if you want to write a letter, the post for England goes out at—(&c., &c.) And on Sundays, eleven o'clock service (Evangelical, of course!) at the—(&c., &c.) My husband—(&c., &c.)
First Old Maid (looking up from a four days old "Telegraph"). I see they are still continuing that very interesting correspondence on "Our Children's Mouths—and are they widening?" One letter attributes it to the habit of thumb—sucking in infancy—which certainly ought to be checked. Now I never would allow any—
The Chaplain's Wife. Nor I. But corals are quite as bad. Only this afternoon I was telling a Lady in this hotel that her little boy would be much happier with a rubber ring. You get them at a shop in the Hoch-strasse I can take you to it at any time, or if you like to mention my name—(&c., &c.)
Second O.M. One correspondent thought the practice of eating soup with table-spoons tended to enlarge the mouth. I really believe there may be something in it. [A pause.
The Curate. The weather we have been having seems to have materially affected the harvest prospects at home; they say there will be little or no fodder for the cattle this year. I saw somewhere—I forget where it was exactly—a suggestion to feed cows on chickweed.
Podb. (at the bookcase). Capital thing for them too, Sir. Know a man who never gives his cattle anything else.
The Curate. Oh, really? And does he find the experiment answer?
Podb. They take to it like birds. And—curious thing—after he'd tried it a month, all the cows turned yellow and went about chirping and twittering and hopping. Fact, I assure you!
The Curate. Dear me—I should scarcely have—
[He gradually comes to the conclusion that he is being trifled with, and after a few moments of uncomfortable silence, gets up and quits the room with dignity.
Podb. (to himself). One of 'em gone! Now if I can only clear these old tabbies out, I can tackle CULCHARD. (Aloud, to Chaplain's Wife.) You don't happen to know if there's a good doctor here, I suppose? A lady was saying in the Musik-saal—the lady with the three daughters who came this afternoon—that she was afraid they were in for bad feverish colds or something, and asking who there was to call in.
The C.'s W. Oh, I've no belief in foreign doctors. I always find a few drops of aconite or pulsatilla,—I have my homoeopathic case with me now. Perhaps, if I went and had a talk with her I could—[She goes out energetically.
Podb. Another gone! (To the Old Maids.) So you ain't going down to the Cloisters to-night? I'm told there's to be some fun there—Hide-and-seek, or something—first-rate place for it, especially now the moon's up!
First Old Maid. Nobody told us a word about it. Hide-and-seek—and in those quaint old Cloisters too—It sounds delightful! What do you say, TABITHA. Shall we just—? Only to look on, you know. We needn't play, unless—
[The Two Old Maids withdraw in a pleased flutter. PODBURY crosses to CULCHARD.
Podb. (with determination). Look here, CULCHARD, I'd just like to know what you mean by the way you're going on.
Culch. I thought we were both agreed that discussions of this kind—
Podb. It's all bosh our travelling together if we're not to have any discussions. You've been on the sulk long enough. And I'll thank you to inform me what you're after here, going about alone with Miss PRENDERGAST like this, in the Museum with her all the morning, and on the lake again this afternoon,—it won't do, you know!
Culch. If she happens to prefer my society to yours and her brother's, I presume you have no claim to interfere.
Podb. I don't know about that. How about Miss TROTTER?
Culch. If I remember rightly, you yourself were not insensible to Miss TROTTER's—er—attractions?
Podb. Perhaps not; but I am not engaged to her—you are. You told me so in the train.
Culch. You entirely misunderstood me. There was no definite understanding between us—nothing of the sort or kind. In fact, it was merely a passing caprice. Since I have had the privilege of knowing Miss PRENDERGAST, I see clearly—
Podb. Then you mean to propose to her, eh?
Culch. That is certainly my intention; have you any objection to offer?
Podb. Only that I mean to propose too. I daresay my chances are as good as yours—even now.
Culch. I doubt it, my dear fellow; however, don't let me discourage you.
Podb. I don't intend to. (The figure of Miss PRENDERGAST is seen to pass the glazed doors, and move slowly across the Musik-saal; both rush to the door, and look after her.) She's gone out into the balcony. 'Jove, I'll go, too, and get it over!
Culch. I should not advise you to do so. It is possible she may have gone there with the—er—expectation of being joined by—by somebody else. [He smiles complacently.
Podb. You mean she gave you a rendezvous there? I don't believe it!
Culch. I did not say so. But I am not prepared to deny that I have been waiting here with some such expectation.
Podb. (holding the door). If you go, I go too—that's all.
Culch. Don't be absurd. You will only be de trop, I assure you.
Podb. De trop or not, I mean going—she shall choose between us.
Culch. (turning pale). I suppose you intend to enlighten her as to my—er—little flirtation (before I knew her) with Miss TROTTER? Do it, PODBURY, do it—if you think you'll gain any good by it!
Podb. Telling tales is not exactly in my line. But you don't go on that balcony without me—that's all.
Culch. Well, listen to reason, my dear fellow. What you propose is ridiculous. I—I don't mind conceding this: we'll each go, and—er tit up, as you call it, which goes first.
Podb. Done with you! (Produces a mark.) Sudden death. You're Eagle—I'm the other Johnny. (Tosses.) Eagle! Confound you! But I mean to have my innings all the same.
Culch. You're perfectly welcome—when I've had mine. I'll—er—wish you good evening.
[He stalks out triumphantly. PODBURY places himself in a position from which he can command a view of the Musik-saal, over the top of "ueber Land und Meer," and awaits results.
* * * * *
My friend, THOMAS GIDLING, is something indefinite and authoritative in the Post Office. He is a practical man. He can do fretwork, cook a steak, clean boots, find out what's wrong with the gas, and understand Waterloo Station; in an emergency he is invaluable. This is just as well, because destiny has decided that the life of THOMAS GIDLING shall be a series of emergencies. He has comfortable bachelor quarters at the very top of Parkington Chambers, which are situated in Bloomsbury.
One night last winter I had been dining with GIDLING at his Club; after dinner he proposed that we should go round to his flat for a talk and a smoke. GIDLING, being practical, can make coffee, which is a thing that they cannot do at GIDLING's Club, nor, indeed, at many others. So I consented.
We had climbed painfully to the top of Parkington Chambers, and had just got inside GIDLING's outer door, when we noticed a very marked and curious smell. "There's something wrong about this," remarked GIDLING, severely. I agreed with him, adding, out of a nervous politeness, from which I suffer sometimes, that I rather liked the smell, "Then you're an idiot," said GIDLING, who never suffers from politeness at all. He opened the door of his sitting-room, and then we saw at once what was the matter. The lower part of the chimney was on fire; the fire-place was covered with glowing masses of soot which had fallen. "HANKIN's had another nasty touch of that influenza," remarked GIDLING. HANKIN is GIDLING's servant, and at regular intervals becomes incapacitated for work. HANKIN himself says that it is influenza, and speaks of "another of them relapses;" GIDLING thinks that it is as a rule intoxication. As a matter of fact HANKIN would not be a bad servant if his zeal was distributed over him rather more evenly. It is always either excessive or defective. It comes out in lumps. In neglecting to have the chimney swept HANKIN had shown defect; in the way that he had piled up the fire he had shown excess. In subsequently absenting himself from the flat he had shown a certain amount of wisdom, for GIDLING was rather angry.
"Not but what I can put it all right," said GIDLING. "I'm a practical man. Fire Brigade? I thought you'd suggest a few fire brigades. No, not exactly. I'll show you how to stop a thing of this kind." He went into his bed-room, and returned with the water-jug. An iron ladder from the main staircase led through a trap-door in the roof. GIDLING went up this ladder with the water-jug, while I waited to see the result in the sitting-room, I could hear him walking about on the roof, and I looked out for a deluge of water to descend down the chimney into the fire-place. But no deluge came. Presently GIDLING descended and entered the room with the empty water-jug.
"Did it splash much?" he asked. "No, there was no water came down at all."
"Oh? Then I've emptied this water-jug down the wrong chimney. We'd better clear out of this."
At this juncture HANKIN returned, and GIDLING said a good deal to him. HANKIN was left to put out the fire, and we went back again to the Club. GIDLING seemed rather annoyed with me for laughing about his mistake.
"It's a deuced awkward thing," he said. "That water went down somebody's chimney, and it's put somebody's fire out. That means unpleasantness, you know, if he or she finds out who did it."
"Who live in the flats below yours?" I asked.
"An Art-student and her mother in the flat below mine—they are really most charming people, and I hope to goodness it wasn't their chimney that I poured the water down. I'm on rather friendly terms with them. Then on the first floor there's BUDWELL. He's a conceited affected ape. I only hope it was he who got the benefit of that water-jug. It's rather amusing, you know. BUDWELL's very much in love with Miss VANE (that's the Art-student), and she loathes him—at least I believe so. Poor beggar!" GIDLING laughed, sarcastically. "Yes, I hope that was BUDWELL's chimney, not the other."
It turned out afterwards that it was BUDWELL's chimney, and he found out that it was GIDLING who had done the deed. So BUDWELL determined on revenge. He climbed up on to the roof with a large bath-can of water, intending to empty it down GIDLING's chimney. Chimneys ought to be labelled. The whole of the contents of that can descended into Mrs. VANE's fireplace. BUDWELL called and apologised, but it was of no use. They considered it mean of BUDWELL to take revenge for what was only a mistake on GIDLING's part; and they were not very well pleased at having their own fire put out. "A chimney's not the place for a cataract, you know, Mr. BUDWELL," said Miss VANE.
BUDWELL went back to his own flat and brooded over his misfortunes. He had now grown still more angry with GIDLING, which was irrational of him; and he determined to take a still fiercer revenge. Late at night he conveyed the bath-can and several jugs, all full of water, on to the roof. There was no fear of his selecting Mrs. VANE's chimney by mistake this time. One by one he emptied the jugs and the water-can, and then descended to his own flat, fiendishly triumphant, as he thought of the havoc he must have made in GIDLING's fire-place.
But when he got to his own flat, he found that he had emptied all that water down his own chimney.
After that he gave up his revenges, together with his affections and his apartments. But GIDLING tells the story with considerable unction; the facts of it were partly derived from BUDWELL's servant and partly from Miss VANE—with whom GIDLING is beginning to be on more than friendly terms.
* * * * *
INTERNATIONAL NURSERY-TALE CONGRESS.
The Chair was taken by Mr. JOHN HORNER, P.R.I.N.T.C., lineal descendant of the celebrated "Jack" of that ilk.
The President said he had no desire to waste the meeting's valuable time. He would at once address himself (and the company present) to the myth, if myth it could be called, which had immortalised his own name. Need he say he alluded to the legend of "Little Jack Horner"? (Cheers.) Some commentators are of opinion that "HORNER." was a typographical error for "HOMER." But the prefix; and the epithet combined to militate against this ingenious and plausible, but specious, theory. "HOMER" was not in any sense "Little," nor was his Pagan name "JACK." Again, "Corner," in the second line, could not in any language have ever rhymed with "HOMER." He knew that "Cromer" furnished them with a rhyme for "HOMER;" but if this were accepted, what became of the ancient Greek, of the Syriac, of the Phoenician, of the Nimrodic legends, nay, of the very Iliad itself, if "HOMER" were a native of "Cromer"? (Loud and prolonged cheers.) No! "Jack Horner," or, as it was originally written, "Jakorna," was of Scandinavian origin, and it was, in all probability, a mythmic rhyth—No, beg pardon, he should say a rhythmic myth (Cheers) sung by a wandering Sam Oar Troupe on their visiting Egypt and the Provinces before the time of the Celtic-Phoenician O'SIRIS, or at least before the reign of RAMESES THE FIRST, ancestor of the great Scotch RAMSEY family—(Cheers)—at one of the social entertainments given on a non-hunting day by that eminent sportsman NIMROD. Then came the question of where was "the corner" in which Jakorna secluded himself? Of course, Christmas, as differentiating this pie from all others, was a modern substitution. The original word was probably "Kosmik." (The lecture was still proceeding when our Reporter left, the dryness of the subject having unfortunately affected his throat.)
* * * * *
* * * * *
"WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT?"
["The 'tehorni narod'—the inconceivably ill-used, patient, long-suffering 'black people,' as the moujiks of White Russia are grimly denominated by their rulers—are dying by thousands, of sheer starvation, without a hand being stretched out by the 'Tchin' to rescue them from the greedy jaws of Death."—Daily Telegraph.
The moujiks are remonstrating and even rebelling in consequence.]
"Little Father," we have suffered long, and sorrowed, We the "children" of the wonderful White Tsar, Steadfast patience from staunch loyalty have borrowed, Slaved for Slavdom still in Peace, and died in War; We have borne the yoke of power, and its abuses, We have trusted cells and shackles served their turn; Nay, that e'en the ruthless knout had noble uses; Now we starve—and think—and burn.
"Little Father," is your power then so paternal As in pious proclamation is set forth? If the round earth bears a brand of the infernal, Does the trail of it not taint our native North? Ay, we love it as in truth we've ever loved it. Our devotion, poorly paid, is firm and strong; Have our little pitied miseries not proved it, And our weary tale of wrong?
"Little Father," we are hungering now, neglected, While the foreigner shouts praises in our ports; We are honoured, say your scribes, loved, feared, respected, The proud Frank, we fought for you, your friendship courts. The golden price of it you hug most gladly. Well, that price, what is its destined end and aim? The indulgence of ambitions cherished madly? The pursuit of warrior fame?
Your realm is ever widening, Tsar, and lengthening, Though its peoples—your dear children—prosper not; Railways stretching, boundaries creeping, legions strengthening! And the end, O Tsar, is—where?—the purpose—what? The Afghan, Tartar, Turk feel your advancing, The Persian and the Mongol hear your tread, And an eager watchful eye is eastward glancing Where the Lion lifts his head.
And your children, "Little Father"? They are lying In their thousands at your threshold, waiting death. Gold you gather whilst your foodless thralls are dying! Is appeal, oh Great White Tsar, but wasted breath? On armaments aggressive are you spending What might solace the "black people" midst their dead? Of the millions the effusive Frank is lending Is there nothing left for bread?
* * * * *
[There has been some correspondence lately about Bouillabaisse, and a writer in the Evening News (who misquotes THACKERAY) actually gives a recipe without oil!]
Our THACKERAY in ancient days, Wrote of a very famous dish, And said in stanzas in its praise, 'Twas made of several kinds of fish. A savoury stew it is indeed, And he's "in comfortable case" Who finds before him at his need A smoking dish of Bouillabaisse.
And now folks laud that dish again, And o'er it raise a pretty coil, While one rash man we see with pain, Would dare to make it minus oil. Oh! shade of TERRE, you no doubt Would make once more the "droll grimace," At such a savage, who left out The olive oil, in Bouillabaisse.
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"THOUGHT-WAVES." (By an Un-Esoteric.)—The Theosophists talk mistily about "the concentration of mind-force on a thought-wave"—which seems only another way of saying that such minds are, at the time, "quite at sea."
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* * * * *
* * * * *
MONEY MAKES THE MAN.
(A Fragment from a Romance dedicated by Mr. Punch to Mr. Diggle.)
"It is entirely your own fault," said the intruder, as he put another silver tea-pot in his bag.
"I don't see that at all," replied the master of the house, moving uneasily in his chair.
"Well, I have not time to argue with you," returned the other, as he held up an enamelled ship of beautiful workmanship. "Dear me, this is really very fine. I have never seen anything like it before! What is it?"
"I got it at a sale in Derbyshire. I fancy it must be something like the old Battersea enamel."
"Very fine! And solid silver, too! Well, in all my experience, and I have been in the profession some twenty years, I have seen nothing like it. Beautiful! Lovely!"
"If you had not tied my hands behind my back," explained the master of the house, "I could show you, by lifting that lid, you would see prettier subjects in the interior of the vessel."
"You certainly tempt me," answered the intruder, "to give you an increased facility in moving. But it is against my rules. I always work in a methodical manner, and one of my regulations is, before I open the safe, I must bind the master of the house hand and foot in an arm-chair. But what were we talking about?"
"You were saying," returned the other, with a sigh, "that it was my own fault that I find myself in this painful, this ruinous position. As a man of education I cannot see how you can advance such a proposition."
"But that's the point. I am not a man of education. I don't know how to play the piano, and can scarcely manage a free-hand sketch of a cathedral. My Greek is shaky, and I speak French and German with an accent enough to drive a linguist mad. No, no, you take my word for it—this little incident would never have happened had you behaved wisely, and like a public-spirited citizen."
"What do you mean?" asked the householder.
"Why, this, that if you had paid more to the School Board, I would have received a better education, and have never been a housebreaker. As it is, I am only making up the difference between the sum you have paid, and the sum you should have expended."
And the burglar, helping himself to another silver tea-pot, continued his lucrative work.
* * * * *
THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.
The "true sphere of woman"—so HARRISON says— In effect—is the family circle. Some praise; But to geometricians it strange may appear, For a "circle" is only a part of a "sphere." Since woman appeared at the wickets, some think (Though male cricketers from the conclusion may shrink), That the true "sphere" of woman must be, after all, A leathern one—typed by a new cricket-ball. Young girls think a "Ball" of another guess sort Is the sphere in which woman may find truest sport. To harmonise all these opinions, 'tis clear, Is hard; but, whatever be woman's true sphere, Whether found in the dictum of "Positive" HARRISON, And what ladies call his "degrading comparison," Or otherwhere,—this will be certainly found, If you'll let angry women alone they'll "come round."
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"THE MAN FOR THE POST."—Sir JAMES FERGUSSON.
* * * * *
TALK FOR TRAVELLERS.
["The German officials at the frontier, since the relaxation of the passport regulations, have been ordered to treat foreign passengers with every politeness."—Daily Papers.]
Mein Herr, will you do us the honour to descend from the railway-carriage? It will be merely a matter of form. We need not disturb those gracious ladies, your wife and daughters.
This is the best way to the Customs. You will notice that we have swept the path that leads to the door.
Certainly, these arm-chairs are for the use of passengers. We have placed them there ourselves, and can recommend them.
Is it asking too great a favour to beg you to lend me the keys of your boxes? A hundred thousand thanks.
Your explanation is absolutely satisfactory. You are bringing these sixteen unopened boxes of cigars home for your grandmother. It is a most proper thing to do, and, under the circumstances, the duty will be remitted.
And these three hundred yards of lace of various makes and ages? An heir-loom! Indeed! Then, of course, the packet must pass duty-free.
As we have found nothing of consequence in this portmanteau of yours, it will be unnecessary to search the nineteen boxes of that gracious lady, your wife. No doubt she has obeyed your instruction not to smuggle. We are absolutely satisfied with your explanations, and are greatly obliged to you for your kindness and condescension.
This is the way to the carriage. We have placed steps before the door, as without a platform it is difficult to ascend.
No, Mein Herr, it is utterly impossible! We are forbidden by the EMPEROR himself to accept a gratuity.
Yes, Madam, it is indeed without charge. Do not tempt us. Instant dismissal is the penalty.
Certainly, Mein Herr, you could get the same politeness before the EMPEROR issued his Imperial instructions.
But then the charge was a thaler!
* * * * *
THE GREAT TWIN BRETHREN.
["I do not wish to call Mr. GLADSTONE by a name which would be both tasteless and pointless."—Mr. A.V. Dicey's Letter to the Times.]
Tasteless and pointless, DICEY? Well, the time is out of joint, And you were born to set it right, though not with "taste" and "point." We cannot all do all things, Sir, and if you save the State (As the great Twin Brethren mean to in despite of HARCOURT's hate), What does it matter, DICEY, if your letters are not quite In that style epistolary, which our fathers called "polite"? 'Tis a little too meticulous—in you—and rather late, After giving Mr. GLADSTONE such a wholesome slashing "slate." Take heart of grace, dear DICEY, and don't let Sir WILLIAM's "point" In your tough (if tasteless) armour find a vulnerable joint. "Old Timbertoes" won't trouble, Sir, to wish that you were dead, And his taste (not point) forbids him to call you "Old Wooden-head!"
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[A Visitor fishing off Deal Pier brought up a gold watch and chain on his hook. It is supposed to be one lost by a resident, but the lucky angler has not been seen since.]
Paradoxical portent! Most worthy of rhyme Is this fortunate angler who tried to kill time. Fate made him the offer, and, wisely, he book'd it; He not only killed time, but he caught it,—and "hook'd it."
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* * * * *
So high he floated, that he seemed to climb; The bladder blown by chance was burst by time. Falsely-earned fame fools bolstered at the urns; The mob which reared the god the idol burns. To cling one moment nigh to power's crest, Then, earthward flung, sink to oblivion's rest Self-sought, 'midst careless acquiescence, seems Strange fate, e'en for a thing of schemes and dreams; But CAESAR's simulacrum, seen by day, Scarce envious CASCA's self would stoop to slay, And mounting mediocrity, once o'erthrown, Need fear—or hope—no dagger save its own.
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FROM BRIGHT TO DULL.—In an interesting article on artificial reproductions of Nature's treasures, the Standard remarked that "Real diamonds have been turned out of the chemist's retorts." What a brilliant chemist he must have been! Probably of Hibernian origin, as among conversational sparklers there are few on record more brilliant than "Irish Diamonds." Stay, though! If the real diamonds were "turned out of the chemist's retorts," then his retorts, without these flashes of brilliancy, must have been a trifle dull, and he is no longer the chemist we took him for. "But," to quote our KIPLING, "that is another story."
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THE NEW EVANGEL.
[M. ZOLA, in his new Novel, glorifies War, and the regenerative mission of human bloodshed.]
"ZOLA on War," intensifies the "Hola!" Of purists who are all for "war on ZOLA!" Well, he whose pen is touched with tints from Tophet, Is the right man to pose as Red War's Prophet!
* * * * *
A TRIFLE FOR THE BUILDER.—"When are houses like difficulties?" And the practical man replies, "When they have to be 'faced.'"
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"Respected ANDREW LANG," writes the Baron's Assistant Reader, "I have read your criticism in Longman's Magazine upon Mr. BARRY PAIN's In a Canadian Canoe. It's an ugly piece of bludgeon work, I admit, but not convincing to anyone who has read the book of which you speak. You tear away a line or two from the context, and ask your readers to say if that is wit or humour. How your admirers would have protested had any sacrilegious critic ventured to treat one of your own immortal works in this manner. Essays in Little, a book which, by the way, appeared in the same series for which Mr. BARRY PAIN wrote, is a pleasant and inoffensive compilation, but even Essays in Little would have presented a sorry appearance if, let us say, ANDREW LANG had reviewed it in this perfunctory and extractory and arbitrary fashion. I remember that in that case the critics were respectfully enthusiastic. Even Mr. BLUDYER would have doffed his cap, I fancy, to one
Who rhymes, researches and reviews, Who sometimes writes like Genesis, And sometimes in the Daily News.
For, after all, you stand high in the journalistic world. Your opinion passes current in many a select circle. Not even your vagaries seem to have power to offend the worshippers to whom your word has long been a law, whether you spoke of golf, of salmon, of folk-lore or of books. The censure of a BLUDYER (I wonder what has brought that formidable name to my mind) can do little to discourage you. But Mr. BARRY PAIN is a young writer. And yet some one remarked that In a Canadian Canoe was better even than Essays in Little, and the audacious words were actually printed in a journal to which ANDREW LANG is an occasional contributor. I myself have never dared to go so far. There is something sacred about an established reputation. And I can honestly say that I like the elegant airy trifles which your little Muse has bestowed upon us, though I confess to a weariness when the talk is too much of golf-clubs and salmon rods. And I admire your appreciation of the original work of other men. In the present case you and I disagree upon a question of taste. That is all. Tant pis pour moi, I hasten to add. But I disagree in good company, for I note with some amusement, that the PAYN whom you rightly praise, has a kind and encouraging word for the PAIN whom you so vehemently disparage. And in this case I will stake my all upon the eulogy of JAMES PAYN as against the censure of ANDREW LANG. As you did me the honour to refer to something I had written, I thought myself bound in politeness to reply, and am
Your obedient servant,
AN A.R. IN THE B. DE B.-W.'s OFFICE."
* * * * *
A STRAIGHT TIP TO CANADIAN "CROSS COVES."
'Tis nice "in a Canadian Canoe" To practise what the ribald call "canoodling;" But what the deuce does the Dominion do, "In this galley," with this new game of "boodling?" "Paddle your own Canoe," dear, if you will, But kick all "cross coves" out, and trust to honest skill.
* * * * *
JOURNAL OF A ROLLING STONE.
DICK FIBBINS, my more or less "learned" instructor in practical law, goes out to a good many evening parties, I find. Casually remarks that he "danced three square dances, the other night, with old DAVIS's ugly daughter, the Solor (legal slang for Solicitor), in Caraway Street." It's DAVIS himself, not the daughter, that is the Solicitor, and, it seems she introduced the gay FIBBINS to her Papa. Hence another brief, a rather complicated one, on some dispute about a mortgage.
On the morning when the case is to come into Court, DICK the Brief-hunter, who has promised to take me there, seems nervous. Yet he is still confident that, if "old PROSER" is the judge, he will "pull the thing off." It will be, apparently, a case of "Pull FIBBINS, pull PROSER."
In Court I occupy a seat just behind him, because—as he observes—I've been "grinding away at the case, and know the subject down to the ground"—which I don't think he does. I therefore am to act as his reserves, also as his prompter, and to supply him with the names of cases which he has forgotten, and which he wishes to quote. Rather a responsible position. Should feel more confidence in result if FIBBINS had told me of this prompter arrangement before the very morning when the trial comes on.
"Old PROSER," appears to my untutored gaze to be rather a dignified occupant of the Bench. I don't know whether he cherishes any personal or professional animosity against DICK FIBBINS, but directly the latter opens his mouth to begin, PROSER seems inclined to jump down it.
"A complicated case of foreclosure?" he growls. "You needn't tell us that. All foreclosure cases are complicated. I ever saw one yet that wasn't."
FIBBINS goes along unimpeded for a minute or two, PROSER having thrown himself back with an air of resigned inattention, one of the other Judges taking furtive notes, and the third resting his elbows on his desk, and his head on his elbows, and eyeing me with a stony and meaningless stare. Can he suddenly have gone mad?
I have no time to consider this interesting point, as FIBBINS is again in difficulties about some precedent that he wants to quote, but which he has forgotten, and turns sharply round on me, saying, in a fierce whisper—
"What the doose is that case?"
I look hurriedly down on the sheet of paper on which (as I fancy) I have jotted down the authorities bearing on the subject, and reply, also in a whisper—"Cookson and Gedge."
"The Court, m'luds," FIBBINS airily proceeds, as if he were indebted entirely to his own memory for the information, "held in Cookson and Gedge that a mortgagor who desires to foreclose—"
"Where is the case you mention?" suddenly asks the Judge who was staring at me a moment ago. He is now engaged in first looking at my instructor suspiciously, and then at me, as if he thought that there was some horrible secret between us, which he is determined to probe to the bottom.
"Volume Six of the Law Reports, m'lud."
"Page?" snaps PROSER.
"Page 184, m'lud. As I was saying, the Court there held that the right to foreclose at any reasonable time is not taken away—"
This time the interruption comes from the Judge who I thought was going mad, but who now seems to be preternaturally and offensively sane.
"It would be odd," he observes, cuttingly, "if any Court had decided a point about mortgages in Cookson versus Gedge, because on looking at the page to which you have referred us, find that Cookson and Gedge was a running-down case!"
I glance at the paper before me in consternation; another moment, and the horrifying fact is revealed to me that the sheet of "authorities" I have brought with me bears, not on the mortgage case now before the Court, but on that previous six-guinea matter on which I had given ROGERS & Co. my valuable Opinion gratis.
I hear DICK FIBBINS, in this trying position, with the eyes of three Judges fixed on him, swearing at me under his breath in the most awful manner. But why did he depend on me? Why didn't he get up the case himself?
Deprived at one blow of most of his precedents, "shorn"—as the Breach of Promise Reports puts it—"of its usual attractions," FIBBINS's speech becomes an impotent affair. He has to quote such cases as he can remember, and as neither his memory nor his legal knowledge is great, he presents them all wrongly, and prematurely sits down. I see PROSER's wrinkled countenance illumined with an exultant smile. Just as I am moving out of Court (FIBBINS has to "move" in Court), because I am desirous of avoiding FIBBINS's wrath,—though I feel that this fiasco is more his fault than mine,—I hear the presiding judge (the mad one) say to the Defendant's Counsel that he need not trouble to address them. I know what that means—judgment for the Defendant!
Chancing half-an-hour later to enter a Strand Restaurant, part of which, I regret to say, is also a drinking-bar, I am startled at beholding the identical form and features of FIBBINS himself. He appears flushed—has two companions with him, to whom he is talking excitedly. I hear the words—"idiot"—"jackass of a pupil"—"regular sell"—and; but no, perhaps I had better not repeat all that I did hear. I decide to seek refreshment elsewhere.
Over the subsequent scene in FIBBINS's Chambers I prefer to draw a veil. It is sufficient to say that I was obliged to leave FIBBINS, and thereafter received a solid half-year's instruction in the Chambers of a learned Counsel who was not a briefless impostor.
I heard afterwards that he had added the story to his fund of legal dining-out anecdotes, and had considerably amplified it. It came out in a shape which made FIBBINS a hero, myself an imbecile of a rather malicious kind, PROSER helplessly cowering under FIBBINS's wealth of arguments, and the other two Judges reduced to admiring silence. I take this opportunity of stating that if anybody "cowered" in Court on that memorable occasion, it was certainly not poor old PROSER.
* * * * *
THE "DISAPPOINTMENT OF DECEMBER."
["It is too early yet (says the Telegraph) to announce the title of the latest of the Laureate's plays, but this much may be said, that it is written partly in blank verse and partly in prose, that it is what is known in theatrical circles as a 'a costume play,' and that the scene is laid in England. It may, however, interest sensitive dramatists to know that Lord TENNYSON is liberal enough to place the stage detail wholly in the competent hands of Mr. DALY. He does not wince if a line is cut here and there, or protest if a scene or a speech has to be supplied."]
Behold, I know not anything,— Except that if I write two Acts in verse, And two in prose, I might do worse Than having a Four Act song to sing.
I leave the dress we know to-day; On English ground my scene I set, And wonder if I touch as yet, What we have termed a "Costume Play!"
If I have over-writ, and laid, It may be here, it may be there, The fat too thickly on,—with care To cut it down be not afraid.
But oh, if here and there I seem To have half-said what I should say, Give me the start—I'll fire away, And keep up the poetic steam—
Ay! keep it up in lines that run As glibly from the Laureate's pen, That I shall by my fellow men Be greeted with "That's TENNYSON!"
In short, it will not be easy, from such scanty information as the Noble Rhymester has as yet given to the public, to say precisely what sort of a play this promised comedy, "half in prose, half in blank verse," will prove itself to be; but it is to be hoped with The Promise of May still fresh in the memory of many a playgoer, that the forthcoming effort may not, after all, turn out to merit the unpromising title of The Disappointment of December.
* * * * *
A MYSTERIOUSLY MASONIC LINE.—"Oh, for a Lodge in some vast wilderness!"
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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.