OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
February 20, 1892.
NO. II.—RATS'-RENTS, THE RENTERS AND THE RENTED.
[In which GINGER JIMMY gives his views of Lazarus, Dives, Dirt, Mother Church, Slum-Freeholders and "Freedom of Contract."]
"The Golgotha of Slumland!" That's a phrase as I am told Is made use of by a party,—wich that party must be bold,— In the name of Mister LAZARUS, a good Saint Pancrage gent, Wot has writ a book on Slumland, and its Landlords, and its Rent.
He's a Member of the "Westry 'Ealth Committee," so it seems, And the story wot he tells will sound, to some, like 'orrid dreams. But, lor bless yer! we knows better, and if sech 'cute coves as 'im Want to ferret hout the facks, they might apply to GINGER JIM.
There's the mischief in these matters; them as knows won't always tell. Wy, if you want to spot a "screw," or track up a bad smell, You've got to be a foxer, for whilst slums makes topping rent, There will always be lots 'anging round to put yer off the scent!
I can tell yer arf the right 'uns even ain't quite in the know, And there's lots o' little fakes to make 'em boggle, or go slow. Werry plorserble their statements, and they puts 'em nice and plain, And a crockidile can drop 'em when 'e once turns on the main.
All the tenants' faults; they likes it, dirt, and scrowging, and damp walls! They git used to 'orrid odours! O the Landlord's tear-drop falls. Werry often, when collecting of his rents, to see the 'oles Where the parties as must pay 'em up prefers to stick, pore souls!
No compulsion, not a mossel! Ah, my noble lords and gents Who are up in arms for Libbaty—that is, of paying rents— You've rum notions of Compulsion. NOCKY SPRIGGINS sez, sez 'e, While you've got a chice of starving, or the workus, ain't ye free!
Free? O vus, we're free all round like; there ain't ne'er a bloomin' slave, White or black, but wot is free enough—to pop into 'is grave; Though if they ketch yer trying even that game, and yer fail, Yer next skool for teaching freedom ain't the workus, but the jail!
'Andcuffs ain't the sole "Compulsion," nor yet laws ain't, nor yet whips; There is sech things as 'unger, and yer starving kids' white lips, And bizness ties, a hempty purse, bad 'ealth, and ne'er a crust; Swells may swear these ain't Compulsion, but we know as they means must.
Ah! wot precious rum things words is, 'ow they seems to fog the wise! If they'd only come and look at things, that is with their hown heyes, And not filantropic barnacles or goldian giglamps—lor! Wot a lob of grabs and gushers might shut up their blessed jor!
The nobs who're down on workmen, 'cos on "knobsticks" they will frown, Has a 'arty love for Libbaty—when keepin' wages down. Contrack's a sacred 'oly thing, freedom carnt 'ave that broke, But Free Contrack wot's forced on yer—wy, o'course, that sounds a joke.
If they knowed us and our sort, gents, they would know Free Contrack's fudge, When one side ain't got a copper, 'as been six weeks on the trudge, Or 'as built his little bizness up in one pertikler spot, And if the rent's raised on 'im must turn hout, and starve or rot!
Coarse words, my lords and ladies! Well, yer may as well be dumb, As talk pooty on the questions wot concerns hus in the Slum. There ain't nothink pooty in 'em, and I cannot 'elp but think Some of our friends 'as spiled our case by piling on the pink.
Foxes 'ave 'oles, the Book sez; well, no doubt they feels content, For they finds, or makes, their 'ouses, and don't 'ave to pay no rent; But our 'oles—well, someone builds 'em for us, such, in course is kind, But it ain't a bad investment, as them Landlords seems to find.
The Marquiges and Mother Church pick lots of little plums, And the wust on 'em don't seem to be their proputty in slums. Oh, I'd like to take a Bishop on the trot around our court, And then arsk 'ow the Church spends the coin collected from our sort.
Wot's the use of pictering 'errors? Let 'im put 'is 'oly nose To the pain of close hinspection; lot his venerable toes Pick a pathway through our gutter, let his gaiters climb our stairs; And when 'e kneels that evening, I should like to 'ear 'is prayers!
I'm afraid that in Rats' Rents he mightn't find a place to kneel Without soiling of his small clothes. Yus, to live in dirt, I feel Is a 'orrid degradation; but one thing I'd like to know, Is it wus than living on it? Let 'im answer; it's his go.
"All a blowing" ain't much paternised, not down our Court, it ain't. Wich we aren't as sweet as iersons, not yet as fresh as paint! For yer don't get spicy breezes in a den all dirt and dusk, From a 'apenny bunch o' wallflower, or a penny plarnt o' musk.
Wot do you think? Bless yer 'earts, gents, I wos down some months ago With a bout o' the rheumatics, and 'ad got so precious low I wos sent by some good ladies, wot acrost me chanced to come— Bless their kindness!—to a 'evvin called a Convalescent 'Ome.
Phew! Wen I come back to Rats' Rents, 'ow I sickened of its smells, Arter all them trees and 'ayfields, and them laylocks and blue-bells, And sometimes I think—pertikler when I'm nabbed by them old pains— Wot a proper world it might be if it weren't for dirt and drains.
Who's to blame for Dirt? Yer washups, praps it ain't for me to say, But—I don't think there'd be much of it if 'twasn't made to pay! Who does it pay? The Renters or the Rented? I've no doubt When you spot who cops the Slum-swag—wy, yer won't be so fur out!
[Footnote 1: Landlordism, by HENRY LAZARUS.]
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WRIGHT AND WRONG.
"We are getting on by leaps and bounds," remarked Mr. WILDEY WEIGHT, during a recent case. Whereat there was "laughter." But Mr. HORACE BROWNE, for Plaintiff, "objected to remarks of this kind." Then Mr. Justice COLLINS begged Mr. W. WRIGHT "not to make such picturesque interjections." Later on, Mr. HORACE BROWNE said to a Witness (whose name, "BURBAGE," ought to have elicited from Judge or Counsel some apposite Shakspearian allusion—but it didn't), "Then you had him on toast." This also was received with "laughter." But Mr. WILDEY WRIGHT did not object to this. No! he let it pass without interruption, implying by his eloquent silence that such a remark was neither a "picturesque interjection," nor sufficiently humorous for him to take objection to it. The other day, in a County Court, a Barrister refused to go on with a case until the Judge had done smiling! But—"This is another story."
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Two out of three, my GRACE! That sounds a drubber. No chance for England now to "win the rubber." We deemed you romping in, that second Cable; But your team didn't. Fact is, 'twasn't ABEL (Though ABEL in himself was quite a team). Well, well, your SHEFFIELD blades met quite the cream Of Cornstalk Cricketers. Cheer up, cut in! And when March comes, make that Third Match a Win! We're sure that while you hold the Captain's place, Your men will win or lose with a good GRACE!
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SUGGESTED TITLE FOR AN ACCOUNT OF A GORGEOUS BALLET OF UGLY GIRLS.—The Story of the Glittering Plain.
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THE TWO SHEPHERDS.
[Mr. JOHN MORLEY was, on Feb. 6, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, initiated a Hon. Member of the Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds, and afterwards, in a speech in the People's Palace, sharply criticised Mr. CHAMBERLAIN's plan for Old Age Pensions, expressing his preference for "more modest operations" in the direction of relaxing and enlarging the provisions of the Poor Law.]
To the Tune of Burns's "The Twa Herds."
O, all ye poor and aged flocks, Dealt with in fashion orthodox By Bumble bodies hard as rocks, And stern as tykes; And treated like mere waifs and crooks, Or herded Smikes!
Two brother Shepherds, as men thought, Have somehow fallen out and fought, Though each your welfare swore he sought; Flock-herding elves, What can this bickering have brought Between themselves?
O, earnest JOHN and jocund JOE, How could two Shepherds shindy so. Old Light and New Light, con. and pro? Now dash my buttons! A squabbling pastor is a foe To all poor muttons.
O Sirs, whoe'er would have expected That crook and pipe you'd have neglected, By foolish love of fight infected Concerning food? As though the sheep would have rejected Aught that is good!
What herd like JOSEPH could prevail? His voice was heard o'er hill and dale; He knew each sheep from head to tail In vale or height, And told whether 'twas sick or hale At the first sight.
But JOE had a new-fangled plan For feeding ancient sheep. The man Posed as a true Arcadian, With a great gift For zeal humanitarian, Combined with thrift.
But JOHN replied, "Pooh-pooh! Your scheme Is but an optimistic dream, Whose 'shadowy incentives' seem The merest spooks. Better the ancient plans, I deem, Food, folds, and crooks.
"You do not grapple with the case Of poorest sheep, a numerous race. As to the black ones, with what face Claim care for such? 'Tis hungry old sheep of good race My feelings touch.
"Your scheme will cost no end—and fail. No sheep who ever twitched a tail So foolish is—I would not rail!— As such a 'herd.' I'd 'modest operations' hail, But yours?—absurd!
"Better reform, relax, extend The old provisions. I commend Plenty of food, and care no end, For all poor sheep; But flocks would not get poor, my friend, Had they good keep!"
Fancy how JOE would cock a nose At "Cockney JOHN," as certain foes Called JOSEPH's rival. Words like those Part Shepherd swains. Sad when crook-wielders meet as foes On pastoral plains!
Such two! O, do I live to see Such famous pastors disagree, Calling each other—woe is me!— Bad names by turns? Shall we not say in diction free With BOBBIE BURNS?
"O! a' ye flocks, owre a' the hills By mosses, meadows, moors and fells. Come join your counsels and your skills To cowe the lairds. And get the brutes the power themsels To choose their herds!"
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"AND A GOOD JUDGE, TOO!"
There is a good Justice named GRANTHAM, Who tells lawyers truths that should haunt 'em. There are seeds of reform In his speech, wise as warm, And long may he flourish—to plant 'em!
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STRANGE BUT TRUE.—When does a Husband find his Wife out? When he finds her at home and she doesn't expect him.
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THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.
SCENE—On the Lagoons. CULCHARD and PODBURY's gondola is nearing Venice. The apricot-tinted diaper on the facade of the Ducal Palace is already distinguishable, and behind its battlements the pearl-grey summits of the domes of St. Mark's shimmer in the warm air. CULCHARD and PODBURY have hardly exchanged a sentence as yet. The former has just left off lugubriously whistling as much as he can remember of "Che faro," the latter is still humming "The Dead March in Saul," although in a livelier manner than at first.
Culch. Well, my dear PODBURY, our—er—expedition has turned out rather disastrously!
Podb. (suspending the Dead March, chokily). Not much mistake about that—but there, it's no good talking about it. Jolly that brown and yellow sail looks on the fruit-barge there. See?
Culch. (sardonically). Isn't it a little late in the day to be cultivating an eye for colour? I was about to say that those two girls have treated us infamously. I say deliberately, my dear PODBURY, infamously!
Podb. Now drop it, CULCHARD, do you hear? I won't hear a word against either of them. It serves us jolly well right for not knowing our own minds better—though I no more dreamed that old BOB would—Oh, hang it, I can't talk about it yet!
Culch. That's childishness, my dear fellow; you ought to talk about it—it will do you good. And really, I'm not at all sure, after all, that we have not both of us had a fortunate escape. One is very apt to—er—overrate the fascinations of persons one meets abroad. Now, neither of those two was quite—
Podb. (desperately). Take care! I swear I'll pitch you out of this gondola, unless you stop that jabber!
Culch. (with wounded dignity). I am willing to make great allowances for your state of mind, PODBURY, but such an expression as—as jabber, applied to my—er—well-meant attempts at consolation, and just as I was about to propose an arrangement—really, it's too much! The moment we reach the hotel, I will relieve you from any further infliction from (bitterly) what you are pleased to call my "jabber!"
Podb. (sulkily). Very well—'m sure I don't care! (To himself.) Even old CULCHARD won't have anything to do with me now! I must have somebody to talk to—or I shall go off my head! (Aloud). I say, old chap! (No answer.) Look here—it's bad enough as it is without our having a row! Never mind anything I said.
Culch. I do mind—I must. I am not accustomed to hear myself called a—a jabberer!
Podb. I didn't call you a jabberer—I only said you talked jabber. I—I hardly know what I do say, when I'm like this. And I'm deuced sorry I spoke—there!
Culch. (relaxing). Well, do you withdraw jabber?
Podb. Certainly, old chap. I like you to talk, only not—not against Her, you know! What were you going to propose?
Culch. Well, my idea was this. My leave is practically unlimited—at least, without vanity, I think I may say that my Chief sufficiently appreciates my services not to make a fuss about a few extra days. So I thought I'd just run down to Florence and Naples, and perhaps catch a P. & O. at Brindisi. I suppose you're not tied to time in any way?
Podb. (dolefully). Free as a bird! If the Governor had wanted me back in the City, he'd have let me know it. Well?
Culch. Well, if you like to come with me, I—I shall be very pleased to have your company.
Podb. (considering). I don't care if I do—it may cheer me up a bit. Florence, eh?—and Naples? I shouldn't mind a look at Florence. Or Rome. How about Rome, now?
Culch. (to himself). Was I wise to expose myself to this sort of thing again? I'm almost sorry I— (Aloud.) My dear fellow, if we are to travel together in any sort of comfort, you must leave all details to me. And there's one thing I do insist on. In future we must keep to our original resolution—not to be drawn into any chance acquaintanceship. I don't want to reproach you, but if, when we were first at Brussels, you had not allowed yourself to get so intimate with the TROTTERS, all this would never—
Podb. (exasperated). There you go again! I can't stand being jawed at, CULCHARD, and I won't!
Culch. I am no more conscious of "jawing" than "jabbering," and if that is how I am to be spoken to—!
Podb. I know. Look here, it's no use. You must go to Florence by yourself. I simply don't feel up to it, and that's the truth. I shall just potter about here, till—till they go.
Culch. As you choose. I gave you the opportunity—out of kindness. If you prefer to make yourself ridiculous by hanging about here, it's no concern of mine. I daresay I shall enjoy Florence at least as well by myself.
[He sulks until they arrive at the Hotel Dandolo, where they are received on the steps by the Porter.
Porter. Goot afternoon, Schendlemen. You have a bleasant dimes at Torcello, yes? Ach! you haf gif your gondoliers vifdeen franc? Zey schvindle you, oal ze gondoliers alvays schvindles eferypody, yes! Zere is som ledders for you. I vetch zem. [He bustles away.
Mr. Bellerby (suddenly emerging from a recess in the entrance, as he recognises CULCHARD). Why bless me, there's a face I know! Met at Lugano, didn't we? To be sure—very pleasant chat we had too! So you're at Venice, eh? I know every stone of it by heart, as I needn't say. The first time I was ever at Venice—
Culch. (taking a bulky envelope from the Porter). Just so—how are you? Er—will you excuse me?
[He opens the envelope and finds a blue official-looking enclosure, which he reads with a gradually lengthening countenance.
Mr. B. (as CULCHARD thrusts the letter angrily into his pocket). You're new to Venice, I think? Well, just let me give you a word of advice. Now you are here—you make them give you some tunny. Insist on it, Sir. Why, when I was here first—
Culch. (impatiently). I know. I mean, you told me that before. And I have tasted tunny.
Mr. B. Ha! well, what did you think of it? Delicious, eh?
Culch. (forgetting all his manners). Beastly, Sir, beastly! [Leaves the scandalised Mr. B. abruptly, and rushes off to get a telegram form at the bureau.
Mr. Crawley Strutt (pouncing on PODBURY in the hall, as he finishes the perusal of his letter). Excuse me—but surely I have the honour of addressing Lord GEORGE GUMBLETON? You may perhaps just recollect, my Lord—?
Podb. (blankly). Think you've made a mistake, really.
Mr. C.S. Is it possible! I have come across so many people while I've been away that—but surely we have met somewhere? Why, of course, Sir JOHN JUBBER! you must pardon me, SIR JOHN—
Podb. (recognizing him). My name's PODBURY—plain PODBURY, but you're quite right. You have met me—and you've met my bootmaker too. "Lord UPPERSOLE," eh? That's where the mistake came in!
Mr. C.S. (with hauteur). I think not, Sir; I have no recollection of the circumstance. I see now your face is quite unfamiliar to me.
[He moves away; PODBURY gets a telegram form and sits down at a table in the hall opposite CULCHARD.
Culch. (reading over his telegram). "Yours just received. Am returning immediately."
Podb. (do., do.). "Letter to hand. No end sorry. Start at once." (Seeing CULCHARD.) Wiring to Florence for room, eh?
Culch. Er—no. The fact is, I've just heard from my Chief—a—a most intemperate communication, insisting on my instant return to my duties! I shall have to humour him, I suppose, and leave at once.
Podb. So shall I. No end of a shirty letter from the Governor. Wants to know how much longer I expect him to be tied to the office. Old humbug, when he only turns up twice a week for a couple of hours!
The Porter. Peg your bardons, Schendlemen, but if you haf qvide done vid ze schtamps on your ledders, I gollect bostage schtamps, yes.
Culch. (irritably flinging him the envelope). Oh, confound it all. take them. I don't want them! (He looks at his letter once more.) I say, PODBURY, it—it's worse than I thought. This thing's a week old! Must have been lying in my rooms all this time—or else in that infernal Italian post!
Podb. Whew, old chap! I say, I wouldn't be you for something! Won't you catch it when you do turn up? But look here—as things are, we may as well travel home together, eh?
Culch. (with a flicker of resentment). In spite of my tendency to "jaw" and "jabber"?
Podb. Oh, never mind all that now. We're companions in misfortune, you know, and we'd better stick together, and keep each other's spirits up. After all, you're in a much worse hat than I am!
Culch. If that's the way you propose to keep my spirits up!—But let us keep together, by all means, if you wish it, and just go and find out when the next train starts, will you? (To himself, as PODBURY departs.) I must put up with him a little longer, I suppose. Ah me! How differently I should be feeling now, if HYPATIA had only been true to herself. But that's all over, and I daresay it's better so ... I daresay!
[He strolls into the hotel-garden, and begins to read his Chief's missive once more, in the hope of deciphering some faint encouragement between the lines.
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A TENNYSONIAN FRAGMENT.
So in the village inn the Poet dwelt. His honey-dew was gone; only the pouch, His cousin's work, her empty labour, left. But still he sniffed it, still a fragrance clung And lingered all about the broidered flowers. Then came his landlord, saying in broad Scotch, "Smoke plug, mon," whom he looked at doubtfully. Then came the grocer, saying, "Hae some twist At tippence," whom he answered with a qualm. But when they left him to himself again, Twist, like a fiend's breath from a distant room Diffusing through the passage, crept; the smell Deepening had power upon him, and he mixt His fancies with the billow-lifted bay Of Biscay, and the rollings of a ship.
And on that night he made a little song, And called his song "The Song of Twist and Plug," And sang it: scarcely could he make or sing.
"Rank is black plug, though smoked in wind and rain; And rank is twist, which gives no end of pain; I know not which is ranker, no, not I.
"Plug, art thou rank? Then milder twist must be; Plug, thou art milder; rank is twist to me. O Twist, if plug be milder, let me buy.
"Rank twist, that seems to make me fade away, Rank plug, that navvies smoke in loveless clay, I know not which is ranker, no, not I.
"I fain would purchase flake, if that could be; I needs must purchase plug, ah woe is me! Plug and a cutty, a cutty, let me buy."
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COMPLICATED CASE.—The other day, an Italian Organ-grinder was arrested for having shot one GIUSEPPE PIA. "He admitted the charge" (we quote the Globe), "but said the gun went off accidentally." When a Gentleman "admits the charge" (though indeed it was the other one who did that), how the gun went off seems to be a matter of secondary importance.
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THE NAME AND THE THING.—A vote of thanks to Sir CHARLES RUSSELL, after his address to the Liberal and Radical Association, was earned by a Wapping Majority.
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A LATTERDAY VALENTINE.
(LEAP YEAR: NEW STYLE.)
(FROM MISS ANASTASIA JAY, NEW YORK, TO THOMAS, EARL OF DUNBROWNE, LONDON.)
Valentines plebeian Cannot fix an Earl— I'm as you may see, an Ardent Yankee girl. Nothing "soft" you'll find here, No old-fashioned lay; Say then, you'll be mine, dear, In the modern way.
You (we haven't met as Yet I must record) Figure in Debrett as Out-and-out a Lord: Ancestors, a thousand, Dignities, a score— Hear my bashful vows, and Think this matter o'er.
I don't in for Pa go; Pa despised New York; Porpa in Chicago Cultivated pork: Ma was born a Gerald; Birth was Morma's pride— As the New York Herald Mentioned when she died.
Well, my pile's a million, That's a fact, you bet: I'm in our cotillon Quite the Broadway Pet: I can sing like PATTI; And to win I went For the Cincinnati Tennis Tournament.
I've a lovely right hand; For my face I've sat By electric light—and Elegant at that! I enclose the photo, Just for you to see, But deny in toto That it flatters me.
You, I've read, are rather "Up the Spout" for cash, Owing to your father Having been so splash: I from debt could free you, And in Politics Calculate to see you Bagging all the tricks.
Any Earl who marries ANASTASIA JAY Will (except in Paris) Get his little way, Fear no interference; Relatives remain,— But their disappearance Beats me to explain.
THOMAS, I adore thee!— "THOMAS" is thy name, Isn't it?—the more the Scandal and the shame! All I ask you, TOM, is Just one loving line, One type-written promise Publishing you mine.
Matrimony's heart is Houselike, "half-detached," Seldom save at parties Or in papers matched— Answer "Yes," or break'll This poor heart of mine. Be my Fin-de-Siecle, Be my Valentine!
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QUERY BY A DEPRESSED CONVALESCENT.—"This Influenza is nothing new, nor is the Microbe. Wasn't MICROBIUS an ancient classic writer? Didn't he treat this subject historically? There's evidently some confusion of ideas somewhere. As Hamlet says:—
'O, cursed spite That ever I was born to set it right.'
But I beg pardon, that 'set it right' shows that Hamlet was a Surgeon, not a Physician. Excuse me. 'To bed! To bed!'"
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SAD THOUGHT IN MY OWN LIBRARY.—I am a stranger among books. Resting on their shelves, they all turn their backs on me. En revanche, if I find among them a new one, a perfect stranger to me, I cut him.
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FKOM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, February 8.—The coming of Prince ARTHUR anxiously looked for as Members gathered for last Session of a memorable Parliament. When, in August last, he, with the rest of us, went away, OLD MORALITY still sat in Leader's place. He was, truly, just then absent in the flesh, already wasting with the dire disease that carried him off. It was JOKIM who occupied the place of Leader; Prince ARTHUR, content to sit lower down. It seemed to some that when vacancy occurred JOKIM, that veteran Child of Promise, would step in, and younger men wait their turn. But youth of certain quality must come to the front, as BONAPARTE testified even before he went to Italy, and as PITT showed when the Rockingham Administration went to pieces.
Prince ARTHUR came in shortly after four o'clock. House full, especially on Opposition Benches; faint blush suffused ingenuous cheek as welcoming cheer arose. Seemed to know his way to Leader's place, and took it naturally. Pretty to see JOKIM drop in on one side of him with MATTHEWS on the other, buttressing him about with financial reputation and legal erudition. Tableau quite undesigned, but none the less effective. Prince ARTHUR, young, hot-tempered and, though not without parts, prone to commit errors of judgment. But with JOKIM at his left shoulder, and HENRY MATTHEWS at his right, humble citizens looking on from opposite Benches, felt a sweet content. On such a basis, the Constitution might stand any blast.
In absence of Mr. G., who still dallies with the sunshine of Riviera, SQUIRE OF MALWOOD, fresh from hunting in the New Forest, more than fills the place of Leader of Opposition. A favourable opportunity for distinguishing himself marred by accidental prevalence of funereal associations.
"The Squire," said PLUNKET—watching him as, with legs reverently crossed, and elbow sympathisingly resting on box, carefully suggestive of life-sized figure of tombstone-mourner, he intoned his lamentation—"is not fitted for the part, and consequently overdoes it. L'Allegro is his line. Il Penseroso does not suit him."
Everyone glad when, sermon over, and the black-edged folios put aside, the Squire began business. Happy enough in his attack on JOKIM, always a telling subject in present House of Commons.
"He is," says SAGE OF QUEEN ANNE'S GATE, drawing upon his theatrical experiences, "like the Policeman in the Pantomime; always safe for a roar of laughter if you bonnet him or trip him up over the doorstep."
For the rest, as Prince ARTHUR pointed out when he came to reply, Squire's speech had very little to do with the Address, on which it was ostensibly based. Couldn't resist temptation of enlarging on financial science for the edification of the unhappy JOKIM.
"Finance," observed DICKY TEMPLE, "is HARCOURT's foible."
"Yes," said JENNINGS, whom everyone is glad to see back in better health, "and funeral sermons are his forte."
Through nearly hour and half the Squire mourned and jibed, Prince ARTHUR listening attentively, all unconscious of the Shades hovering about the historic seat in which he lounged, as nearly as possible, at full length—OLD MORALITY, kindly generous, pleased in another's prosperity; STAFFORD NORTHCOTE, marvelling at the madness of a world he has not been loth to quit; DIZZY tickled with the whole situation, though perhaps a little shocked to see a Leader of the House resting apparently on his shoulder-blades in the seat where from 1874 to 1876 there posed an upright statuesque figure with folded arms and mask-like face, lit up now and then by the gleam of eyes that saw everything whilst they seemed to be looking no whither. PAM was there, too, with slightly raised eyebrows as they fell on the youthful form already installed in a place he had not reached till he was almost twice the age of the newcomer. JOHNNY RUSSELL, scowled at the intruder under a hat a-size-and-half too big for his legs. CANNING looked on, and thought of his brief tenure of the same place whilst the century was young. Still further in the shade PITT joined the group.
"Well at least he was even younger when he came to our place," PAM whispered in DIZZY's ear, startling him as he inadvertently touched his cheek with the straw he still seems to hold in his teeth, as he did when JOHN LEECH was alive.
Prince ARTHUR, facing the crowded Opposition Benches, of course saw nothing of this; lounged and listened smilingly as the Squire, having shaken up JOKIM and his one-pound notes, went oft to Exeter to pummel the MARKISS.
Business done.—Address moved.
Wednesday.—Evidently going to be an Agricultural Labourer's Session. Small Holdings Bill put in forefront of Programme. District Councils hinted at. In this situation it was stroke of genius, due I believe to the MARKISS, that such happy selection was made of Mover of Address.
"It's trifles that make up the mass, my dear nephew," the MARKISS said, when this matter was being discussed in the Recess. "No detail is so small that we can afford to omit it. It was a happy thought of yours, perhaps a little too subtle for some intellects, to associate CHAPLIN with Small Holdings. In this other matter, let me have my way. Put up HODGE to move the Address. It will be worth 10,000 votes in the agricultural districts. I suppose he wouldn't like to come down in a smock frock with a whip in his hand? Don't know why he shouldn't; quite as reasonable as a civilian getting himself up as a Colonel or an Admiral. With HODGE in a smock frock moving the Address we'd sweep the country. But that I must leave to you; only let us have HODGE."
So it was arranged. But Member for Accrington wouldn't stand the smock-frock. Insisted upon coming out in war-like uniform. Trousers a little tight about the knees, and jacket perhaps a trifle too tasselly. But made very good speech in the circumstances.
Business done.—Bills brought in by the half hundred.
Thursday Night.—Things been rather dull hitherto. House as it were lying under a pall, "Every man," as O'HANLON says, "not knowing what moment may be his next." Still on Debate on Address. When resumed to-night, CHAMBERLAIN stepped into ring and took off his coat. When Members saw the faithful JESSE bring in sponge and vinegar-bottle, knew there would be some sport. Anticipation not disappointed. JOE in fine fighting form. Went for the SQUIRE OF MALWOOD round after round; occasionally turned to aim a "wonner" at his "Right Hon. Friend" JOHN MORELY. Conservatives delighted; had always thought just what JOE was saying, but hadn't managed to put their ideas into such easily fleeting, barbed sentences. Only once was there any shade on the faces of the country gentlemen opposite. That spread when JOE proposed to quote the "lines of CHURCHILL."
"No, no," said Lord HENRY BRUCE in audible whisper, "he'd better leave GRANDOLPH alone. Never knew he wrote poetry. If he did, there's lots of others. Why, when we're going on so nicely, why drag in CHURCHILL?"
Depression only momentary. Conservative cheers rose again and again as JOE, turning a mocking face, and shaking a minatory forefinger at the passive monumental figure of the guileless SQUIRE OF MALWOOD, did, as JOHN MORLEY, with rare outburst of anger, presently said, from his place in the centre of the Liberal Camp, "denounce and assail Liberal principles, Liberal measures, and his old Liberal colleagues."
After this it was nothing that, some hours later, O'HANLON, rising from a Back Bench, and speaking on another turn of the Debate, should observe, in loud voice, with eye fixed in fine frenzy on the nape of the Squire's neck, as he sat on the Front Bench with folded arms, "I do not believe in the Opposition Leaders, who have split up my Party, and are now living on its blood."
Business done.—JOSEPH turns and rends his Brethren.
Friday Night.—In Commons night wasted by re-delivery of speeches made last year by Irish Members pleading for amnesty for Dynamitards. JOHN REDMOND began it. No Irish Member could afford to be off on this scene, so one after another they trotted out their speeches of yester-year.
Lords much more usefully occupied in discussing London Fog. MIDDLETON moved for Royal Commission. MARKISS drew fine distinction. "What you really want to remedy," he said, "is not the fog itself, but its colour." Rather seemed to like the fog, per se, if only his particular fancy in matter of colour gratified. Didn't mention what colour he preferred; but fresh difficulty looming out of the fog evident. Tastes differ. If every man is to have his own particular coloured fog, our last state will be worse than the first.
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AN INFLUENZA SONG.
AIR—"OH, WE'RE ALL NODDIN'."
Oh, we've none coddlin', Cod, cod, coddlin'; Oh, we've none coddlin'. At our house at home!
Ha!—my Father has a cough— Now—my Mother has a wheeze; What!! my Brother has a pain In forehead, arms, chest, back and knees. So—we've three coddlin', &c.
How my eldest Sister aches From her forehead to her toes! And my second Brother's eyes Are weeping either side his nose. So—we've five coddlin', &c.
There's my eldest Brother down With a pain all round his head, Ah! I'm the only one who's up— Oh!... Oh!... I'll go to bed! So—we're all coddlin', &c.
As the Doctor orders Port, Orders Burgundy, Champagne, Good living and good drinking, Why we none of us complain, While we're—all coddlin', Cod, cod, coddlin', While we're all coddlin' At our house at home!
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BY A SMALL WESTERN.—Orientals take off their shoes on entering a Mosque. We remove our hats on entering a Church. Both symbolical; one leaves his understanding outside; the other enters with a clear head.
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HORACE IN LONDON.
TO THE COUNTY COUNCIL. (AD REMPUBLICAM.)
New vessel, now returning ship From this thy tried and trial trip, Refit in dock awhile: I fear Your ballast looks a trifle queer.
Your rigging ("rigging" is a word By other folk than seamen heard) Has got a little loose; you need An overhaul, you do indeed.
Your sails (or purchases?) should stay The stress—and Press—that on them weigh: This constant playing to the gods Will scarcely weather blustering odds.
In vain to blazon "London's Heart" As figure-head, if thus you part Unseaworthy; in vain to boast Your "boom"—a cranky boom at most.
We rate you, we who pay your rates: Beware the overhauling fates, Beware lest down you go at last The sport and puppet of the blast.
I always voted you a bore, But never quite so much before Besought you with a frugal mind To sail not quite so near the wind.
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MRS. R. AGAIN.—To our excellent old lady, being convalescent, her niece was reading the news. She commenced about the County Council, the first item in the report being headed, "An Articulated Skeleton." "Ah!" interrupted the good lady, "murder will out! And where did they find the skeleton of the Articulated Clerk?"
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PROFESSOR HUBERT HERKOMER has "dried his impressions," and given them to the public in a handsome volume brought out by MACMILLAN & CO. It is all interesting even to a non-artistic laic, for there is much "dry point" of general application in the Professor's lectures. Yet, amid all his learning and his light-hearted style, there is occasionally a strain of melancholy, as when he pictures himself to us as "etching and scratching on a bed of burr." Painful, very; likewise Dantesque,—infernally Dantesque. But there is another and a more cheerful view which the Baron prefers to take, and that is, the word-picture which the Professor gives us of his little room in his Bavarian home, where he says, "Under the seat by the table are my bottles"—ah! quite Rabelaisian this!—"with the mordants, and my dishes for the plates." Isn't this rare! "I should add, there is a stove near the door." O Sybarite! Doesn't this suggest the notion of a delightful little dinner a deux! With "the mordants,"—which is, of course, a generic name for sauces of varied piquancy,—and with his "dishes" artistically prepared and set before "the plates," as in due order they should be, he is as correct as he is original. A true bon vivant. The Baron highly commends the book, which only for the rare etchings it contains, is well worth the attention of every amateur of Art, and that he, the Baron, may, one of these days, dine with him, the Professor, is the sincere wish of his truly, and everybody else's truly,
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
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"STUFF AND (NO) NONSENSE!"—"Begorra, 'tis an ill wind that blows nobody any good," said The O'GORMAN DIZER, when he heard that on account of the Influenza there was a Papal dispensation from fasting and abstinence throughout the United kingdom.
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IN THE SEAT OF WISDOM.
At a meeting of the Drury Lane Lodge of Freemasons, said the Daily Telegraph, "with all due solemnity was Mr. S.B. BANCROFT installed in the Chair of King SOLOMON." This, whether an easy chair or not, ought to be the seat of wisdom. Poor SOLOMON, the very much married man, was not, however, particularly wise in his latter days, but, of course, this chair was the one used by the Great Grand Master Mason before it was taken from under him, and he fell so heavily, "never to rise again." How fortunate for the Drury Lane Masons to have obtained this chair of SOLOMON's. No doubt it was one of his wise descendants, of whom there are not a few in the neighbourhood of Drury Lane, who consented to part with this treasure to the Masonic Lodgers. So here's King SOLOMON BUSY BANCROFT's good health! "Point, left, right! One, two, three!" (They drink.)
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A QUERY BY "PEN."—There was a "Pickwick Exam." invented by CALVERLEY the Inimitable. Why not a "Pendennis" or "Vanity Fair" Exam.? A propos, I would just ask one question of the Thackerayan student, and it is this:—There was one Becky whom everybody knows, but there was another BECKY as good, as kind, as sympathetic, and as simple, as the first Becky was bad, cruel, selfish, and cunning. Where is BECKY the Second to be found in W.M. THACKERAY's Works?
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HER NOTE AND QUERY.—Mrs. R. was listening to a ghost-story. "After all," observed her nephew, "the question is, is it true? True, or not true 'there's the rub!'" "Ah! 'there's the rub!'" repeated our old friend, meditatively. "I wonder if that expression is the origin of the proverb, 'Truth is stranger than Friction?'"
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LOCAL COLOUR.—"I should like to give all my creditors a dinner," quoth the jovial and hospitable OWEN ORLROUND. "Where shall I have it?" "Well," replied his old friend JOE KOSUS, "have it at Duns Table."
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CITY MEN.—"Hope springs eternal," and the motto for a probable Lord Mayor in the not very dim and distant future must be "Knill desperandum."
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DOGS AND CATS—(CORRESPONDENCE.)—Sir,—A recent letter to the Spectator mentions the case of a man who "barked like a dog in his sleep." The writer would like to know if anyone has ever had a similar experience. Well, Sir, I knew a whole family of BARKERS, but I never heard them bark. I knew three CATTS, sisters, who kept a shop, and came from Cheshire; yet they were very serious persons, and never grinned. Since this experience I have doubted the simile of the Cheshire specimen of the feline race being founded on fact.—Yours, &c.,
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SIR,—Acquiescence in the state of the weather is no longer comme il faut. Bombarding the Empyrean is as little regarded as throwing stones at monkeys, that they may make reprisals with cocoa-nuts; yet the success of the rain-makers is very doubtful. Their premisses even are disallowed by many considerable authorities. The little experiment which I propose to submit to the meteorological officials is founded on a fact of universal experience, and, if successful, would be of immense utility. Every smoker must be aware that the force of the wind varies inversely as the number of matches. On an absolutely still day, with a heavy pall of fog over the streets, the striking of the last match to light a pipe is invariably accompanied by a breeze, just strong enough to extinguish the nascent flame. Now if two or three thousand men simultaneously struck a last match, the resulting wind would be of very respectable strength—anemometer could tell that.
My proposal then, is this. When anticyclonic conditions next prevail, and the great smoke-cloud incubates its cletch of microbes, let some 5,000 men, provided at the public expense with a pipe of tobacco and one match each, be stationed in the City, at every corner and along the streets, like the police on Lord Mayor's Day. At a given signal, say the firing of the Tower guns, each man strikes his match. Judging from the invariable result in my own case, this would be followed by 5,000 puffs of wind of sufficient strength to extinguish the lights, or, better still, to give the 5,000 men some thirty seconds of intense anxiety, while the wind plays between their fingers and over their hands and round the bowls of their pipes. Multiplying the men by the seconds (5,000 x 30) you get approximately the amount of the wind, in wear and tare and tret. If this experiment were conducted on a duly extensive scale round London; say at Brixton, Kensington, Holloway and Stepney; there can be no doubt that a cyclone would be established, and the fog effectually dissipated. The cost would be slight, and the pipe of tobacco would afford a welcome treat to many a poor fellow out of work in these hard times.
Yours obediently, PETER PPIPER.
The Cave, AEolian Road, S.W.
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ROBERT'S CURE FOR THE HINFLUENZY.
I hopes as I shall not be blamed for my hordacity in writin as I am writin, but it's reelly all the fault of my good-natred Amerrycan frend. He says as it's my bounden dooty to do so, if ony to prove the trooth of the old prowerb that tells us, "that Waiters rushes in where Docters fears to tread!" He's pleased to say as he has never bin in better helth than all larst Jennewerry at the Grand Hotel, and that he owes it all to my sage adwice.
"Allers let Nater be your Dick Tater!" In depressin times like these here, keep the pot a bilin' so to speak; and stand firm to the three hesses, Soup, Shampane, and Sunlight.
The Soup must be Thick Turtel, such as Natur purwides in this here cold seeson, not the Thin Turtel of Summer. The Shampane must be Rich Clicko, or the werry best Pummery, sitch as you can taste the ginerous grapes in, not the pore dry stuff as young Swells drinks, becoz they're told as how it's fashnabel; and the Sunlight can ginerally be got if you knows where to look for it. For instance now, in one of the cold foggy days of last month, my Amerrycan frend said to me, "What on airth, ROBERT, can a gentleman find to do on sitch a orful day as this?" So sez I, "Take a Cab to Wictoria Station, and go to the Cristel Pallis, wark about in the brillient sunshine as you will find there a waiting for you, for about two howers, not a moment longer, then cum strait back, and you shall find a lovly lunch."
And off he went, a larfing to think how he would emuse himself when he came back by pitching into pore me. But it does so happen as Waiters ain't not quite so deaf as sum peeple thinks 'em, and I've offen 'erd peeple say, that amost always, if you sees the Sun a trying for to peep thro the fog, and see how we all gits on without him, a leetle way out of town, on an 'ill, you will see him a shining away like fun!
Well, xacly at 2:30, in cums my frend, a grinnin away like the fablus Chesher Cat, and he says, says he, why Mr. ROBERT, you're a reglar conjurer! It was all xacly as you prosefied! I had two hours' glorious stroll in the Cristel Pallis Gardings in the lovly sunshine!
Hin ten minutes' time he was seated at a purfekly luvly lunch, and a peggin away with sitch a happytight as princes mite enwy!
In times like these, dine out reglar either two or three times a week, and drink generusly, but wisely, not too well, and on receiving the accustomed At, think of the ard times the pore Waiter has had to pass through lately, and dubble, or ewen tribbel the accustumd Fee. You'll never miss it, but, on the contrairy, will sleep all the sounder for it.
Never read no accounts in Noosepapers of hillnesses and sich-like, and keep a few little sixpences in your ticket pocket; then if a pore woman arsks you if you have a penny to spare, say no, but praps this will do as well, and give her a sixpence, and then see her look of estonished rapcher, aye, and ewen share it to some small degree.
Check a frown, and encouridge a smile, and the one will wanish away, and the other dewelope into a larf. Let your principle virtues be ginerosity and ope, and allers look on the brite side of ewerythink, as the Miller said to the Sweep.
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A HUMAN PARADOX.—The man who gives away his friends without losing them.
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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.