OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
January 9, 1892.
ON A NEW YEARLING.
My fire was low; my bills were high; My sip of punch was in its ladle; The clarion chimes were in the sky; The nascent year was in its cradle. In sober prose to tell my tale, 'Twas New Year's E'en, when, blind to danger, All older-fashioned nurses hail With joy "another little stranger."
The glass was in my hand—but, wait, Methought, awhile! 'Tis early toasting With paeans too precipitate A baby scarce an outline boasting: One week at least of life must flit For me to match it with its brothers— I'll wager, like most infants, it Is wholly different from others.
He frolics, latest of the lot, A family prolific reckoned; He occupies his tiny cot, The eighteen-hundred-ninety-second! The pretty darling, gently nursed Of course, he lies, and fondly petted! The eighteen-hundred-ninety-first Is not, I fancy, much regretted.
You call him "fine"—he's great in size, And "promising"—there issue from his Tough larynx quite stentorian cries; Such notes are haply notes of promise. Look out for squalls, I tell you; soft And dove-like atoms more engage us; Your fin-de-siecle child is oft Loud, brazen, grasping, and rampageous.
You bid me next his eyes adore; So "deep and wideawake," they beckon; We've suffered lately on the score Of "deep and wideawake," I reckon. You term me an "unfeeling brute," A "monster Herod-like," and so on— You may be right; I'll not dispute; I'll cease a brat's good name to blow on.
Who'll read the bantling's dawning days?— Precocious shall he prove, and harass The world with inconvenient ways And lisped conundrums that embarrass? (Such as Impressionists delight To offer each aesthetic gaper, And faddists hyper-Ibsenite Rejoice to perpetrate on paper?)
Or, one of those young scamps perhaps Who love to rig their bogus bogies, And set their artful booby-traps For over-unsuspicious fogies? Or haply, only commonplace— A plodding sort of good apprentice, Who does his master's will with grace, And hurries meekly where he sent is?
And, when he grows apace, what blend Of genius, chivalry and daring, What virtues might our little friend Display to brighten souls despairing? What quiet charities unknown, What modest, openhanded kindness, What tolerance in touch and tone For braggart human nature's blindness?
Or what—the worser part to view— Of wanton waste and reckless gambling, What darker paths shall he pursue With sacrilegious step and shambling? What coarse defiance, haply, hurl At lights beyond his comprehension— An attitudinising churl Who struts with ludicrous pretension.
I know not—only this I know, They're getting overstrained, my ditties, This kind of poem ought to flow Less like a solemn "Nunc Dimittis." 'Twas jaunty when I struck my lyre, And jaunty seems this yearling baby; But, as both year and song expire They're sadder, each, and wiser, maybe.
* * * * *
POPULAR SONGS RE-SUNG.
"Hi-tiddley-hi-ti; or, I'm All Right" is heard, "all over the place," as light sleepers and studious dwellers in quiet streets are too well aware. Why should it not be enlisted in the service of Apollo and Momus as well as of the Back Slum Bacchus? As thus:—
NO. V.—I-TWADDLEY-HIGH-DRY-HIGH-TONED-I! OK, I'M ALL RIGHT!
I'm a young writer grimly gay, My volumes sell, and sometimes pay. First log-rollers raised a rumour of a rising Star of Humour, Who had faced the Sphinx called Life, With amusing misery rife, So with sin, and woe, and strife, I thought I'd have a lark. With pessimistic pick I pottered round Pottered round, A new "funny" trick I quickly found, Smart and sound, Life's cares in hedonistic chuckles drowned, You be bound! The cynic lay I found would pay, In a young Man of Mark!
All of you come along with me! I'm for a rare new fine new spree! Everybody is delighted when the Philistines are slighted, All of you come my books to try! I-twaddley-I-ti I-I-I, Ego for ever! Buy! Buy! Buy! And I'm all right!
Down with the West I go; my pen Is bound to "fetch" the Upper Ten, With the aid of some "log-rolling," my "distinction" much extolling. Smart little scribes from near and far Say, with a sniff, "O here's a Star!" DICKENS on fine souls doth jar, THACKERAY is too dry, But his pessimistic air, rich and rare, Subtle, fair, Makes Philistia to stare, in a scare, And to blare; Whilst true Critics debonnaire, who are rare, With a flaire, For true humour, Swell of rumour The gregarious cry.
All of you come along with me! You'll have a rare new fair new spree! Paradox with "sniff" united, Poor Humanity snubbed and slighted. Humour's new cuvee, extra-dry. I-twaddley—high-dry-high-toned I! Come and worship the pessimist "I" For that's all right!
After I've taken the toffish Town, A second edition, at Half-a-crown, Seeks the suffrages—(and money, for on Swelldom you'll go "stoney")— Of the much derided Mob. Yes, the Proletariat "Bob" (With the Guinea of the Nob) must aid the Sons of Light. Gath and Askelon, you see, can give Me, L.S.D. All true Egoists love those pregnant letters Mystic Three! Flout Philistia with great glee, fair and free, But agree To take its "tin," Though with a grin Of pessimistic spite.
All of you come along with me! 'ARRY, who loves a fair old spree! "Mugwump" with fine morgue delighted, Cynic at "yearnestness" sore frighted! All of you come my "tap" to try! I-twaddley-high-dry-high-toned I! Come along, boys, Buy! Buy! Buy! And I'm all right!
* * * * *
* * * * *
NO. 1.—DOWN OUR COURT.
(In which Jim Juniper, better known as "Ginger Jimmy," discourses of Homes and Open Spaces, &c., and, puts a practical problem to the new "Public Health, and Housing Committee of the London County Council.")
My name is GINGER JIMMY, and I live, when I'm to hum, In Rats Rents, the kind o' nay'brood wot the Swells now calls a Slum. I'm a bit thick in the clear, like, and don't quite know wot they mean, But I guess it isn't mansions, and I'm sure it isn't clean.
They are always on the job now about Slums, and they do say They are going to clear our Court out on the suddent some fine day. Whether it's roads, or railways, or hotels, blowed if I know; Only 'ope they'll give us notice, and some place where we can go.
'One is 'ome, if but a dungheap; if you're pitchforked out of that, And turned loose in chilly London on the scoop, like a stray cat, With yer bits o' sticks permiskus in a barrer or a truck, I can tell yer you feels lost like, and fair down upon yer luck.
Heviction? When you're stoney-broke, your dubs all hup the spout, And you've nix to raise the rent on, I suppose you must turn hout; 'Cos without them "rights o' proputty" no country couldn't jog; But that brings a cove small comfort when 'e's 'ouseless, in a fog!
I 'ave knocked about a middlin' little bit, you bet I 'ave, And I ain't what Barber BIDDLECOMBE would call "a heasy shave"; But these Sanitary codgers give me beans, and no mistake. I am fly to most all capers, but don't tumble to their fake.
Seems to me all sentimental jor and cold chuck-out, it do. They may call their big Committees, and may chat till all is blue, But to shift me till they gives me somethink sweeter is all rot; Better leave my garret winder, and the flower in the pot.
That gerenum there looks proper; which I bought it of a bloke What does the "All a-blowin'!" with a barrer and a moke; And though tuppences is tuppences, I ain't so jolly sure As to spend two-d. upon it were to play the blooming cure
NICKY SPRIGGINS did chi-ike me. Reglar nubbly one is NOCK, With about as much soft feelink as a blessed butcher's block. He'd a made a spiffing Club Swell if he'd ony 'ad the chink, With them lips like a ham sandwidge, and them eyes as never blink.
And I ain't no softy, neither, bet your buttons. That don't pay, For you're 'bliged to keep yer eyes peeled and to twig the time o' day; But I've got a mash on flowers; they are better than four 'arf, Them red blazers in my winder; so let NOCKY 'ave his larf!
NOCKY tells me that the Westry means a-clearin' hout our place For to make a bit o' garding, wot they calls a Hopen Space, O I know the sort o' fakement, gravel walks, a patch o' grass, And a sprinkle of young lime-trees of yer Thames Embankment class.
Some bloke spots the place as likely, and praps buys it on the cheap, (Spekylators keeps their lids hup though the parish nobs may sleep,) Pooty soon the pot's a-bilin' about Hopen Spaces. Yus! And the chap as bought the bit o' ground is fust to raise the fuss.
Recreation for the People, Hopen Playgrounds for the Young! That's the patter of the platformers; and don't they jest give tongue! Well, it's opened with a flourish, and there's everyone content; Pertiklerly the landlords round as nobbles better rent.
But I don't object to gardings, not a'mossel—t'other quite; As I've said, a bit of green stuff and a flower is my delight; I wish London wos more hopen, and more greener, and more gay; Only people down our Court has got to live as well as play.
If they clears out the arf acre where we huddles orful close, We must all turn out, that's certain; where we'll turn to, goodness knows; And it won't be werry spashus, the new "Park" won't, arter all, With the graveyard railinks one side, and on t'other a blank wall.
Wot we want is decent 'ouses, at a rent as doesn't take 'Arf a cove's poor screw to pay it. That 'a the present landlord's fake! If they only knowed 'ow 'ard it is to meet "Saint Monday" square, When yer ealth is werry middlin', and the jobs is werry rare!
P'raps them Dooks, and Earls, and Marquiges, and Kernels, wot they states Has just clubbed theirselves together to keep down the bloomin' Rates, And to smash the Kounty Kouncil, as they've bunnicked the Skool Board, Jest a few of their hodd moments to our naybrood might afford.
They must 'ave a feelink 'art towards the poor, and no mistake, Or they wouldn't take sech trouble for the poor Ratepayers' sake, NOCKY SPRIGGENS sez it 'minds 'im of a League of Loving Cats To purtect from traps and pizen the poor mice and starvin' rats.
Jest like NOCKY's narsty way that is! But if them Dooks would try To assist the Kounty Kouncil in their new Committee—wy, They might 'elp our Health and Housing in a style as none could mock, Give the proud "Pergressives" what-for, and fair put the shut on NOCK.
Arter all yer Public Garding's little better than a chouse, While the landlord rents yer heart out for a wretched Privit 'Ouse. And yer Hopen Space's pootiness ain't much good to our sort, Who are shut up in the dismal dens called 'Omes, gents, down our Court.
Oh, Philanterpists, and Sanitrys, and Dooks, I do not mean To be rucking upon Charity, or rounding on wot's clean; But if yer wants to 'elp us as has lived so long in muck, The only thing wot's wanted ain't to give us the clean—chuck!
* * * * *
* * * * *
Q. What is meant by "Higher Education?"
'Arry. Getting a Tutor at so much a week. That's the way I should 'ire education—if I wanted it.
* * * * *
A DEFINITION.—"A pun on a word is a new sense."—Dr. JOHNSON, Junior.
* * * * *
THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.
SCENE—The Campo S.S. Giovanni e Paolo. Afternoon. CULCHARD is leaning against the pedestal of the Colleoni Statue.
Podbury (who has just come out of S. Giovanni, recognising CULCHARD). Hullo! alone, eh? Thought you were with Miss TROTTER?
Culchard. So I am. That is, she is going over a metal-worker's show-room close by, and I—er—preferred the open air. But didn't you say you were going out with the—er—PRENDERGASTS again?
Podb. So I am. She's in the Church with BOB, so I said I'd come out and keep an eye on the gondola. Nothing much to see in there, you know!
Culch. (with a weary irony). Only the mausoleums of the Doges—RUSKIN's "Street of the Tombs"—and a few trifles of that sort!
Podb. That's all. And I'm feeling a bit done, you know. Been doing the Correr Museum all the morning, and not lunched yet! So Miss TROTTER's looking at ornamental metal-work? Rather fun that, eh?
Culch. For those who enjoy it. She has only been in there an hour, so she is not likely to come back just yet. What do you say to coming into S.S. Giovanni e Paolo again, with me? Those tombs form a really remarkable illustration, as RUSKIN points out, of the gradual decay of—
Miss Trotter (suddenly flutters up, followed by an attendant carrying a studded halberd, an antique gondola-hook, and two copper water-buckets—all of which are consigned to the disgusted CULCHARD). Just hold these a spell till I come back. Thanks ever so much.... Well, Mr. PODBURY! Aren't you going to admire my purchases? They're real antique—or if they aren't, they'll wear all the better.... There, I believe I'll just have to run back a minute—don't you put those things in the gondola yet, Mr. CULCHARD, or they'll get stolen.
[She flutters off.
Culch. (helplessly, as he holds the halberd, &c.). I suppose I shall have to stay here now. You're not going?
Podb. (consulting his watch). Must. Promised old BOB I'd relieve guard in ten minutes. Ta-ta!
[He goes; presently BOB PRENDERGAST lounges out of the church.
Culch. If I could only make a friend of him! (To BOB.) Ah, PRENDERGAST! lovely afternoon, isn't it? Delicious breeze!
Bob. (shortly). Can't say. Not had much of it, at present.
Culch. You find these old churches rather oppressive, I daresay. Er—will you have a cigarette? [Tenders case.
Bob. Thanks; got a pipe. (He lights it.) Where's Miss TROTTER?
Culch. She will be here presently. By the way, my dear PRENDERGAST, this—er—misunderstanding between your sister and her is very unfortunate.
Bob. I know that well enough. It's none of my doing! And you've no reason to complain, at all events!
Culch. Quite so. Only, you see, we used to be good friends at Constance, and—er—until recently—
Bob. Used we? Of course, if you say so, it's all right. But what are you driving at exactly?
Culch. All I am driving at is this: Couldn't we two—er—agree to effect a reconciliation between the two ladies? So much pleasanter for—er—all parties!
Bob. I daresay. But how are you going to set about it? I can't begin.
Culch. Couldn't you induce your sister to lay aside her—er—prejudice against me? Then I could easily—
Bob. Very likely—but I couldn't. I never interfere in my sister's affairs, and, to tell you the honest truth, I don't feel particularly inclined to make a beginning on your account. [Strolls away.
Culch. (to himself). What a surly boor it is! But I don't care—I'll do him a good turn, in spite of himself! (Miss T. returns.) Do you know, I've just been having a chat with poor young PRENDERGAST. He seems quite cut up at being forced to side with his sister. I undertook to—er—intercede for him. Now is it quite fair, or like your—er—usual good-nature, to visit his sister's offences—whatever they are—on him? I—I only put it to you.
Miss T. Well, to think now! I guess you're about the most unselfish Saint on two legs! Now some folks would have felt jealous.
Culch. Possibly—but I cannot accuse myself of such a failing as that.
Miss T. I'd just like to hear you accuse yourself of any failing! I don't see however you manage to act so magnanimous and live. I told you I wanted to study your character, and I believe it isn't going to take me vurry much longer to make up my mind about you. You don't suppose I'll have any time for Mr. PRENDERGAST after getting such a glimpse into your nature? There, help me into the gondola, and don't talk any more about it. Tell him to go to Salviati's right away.
Culch. (dejectedly, to himself). I've bungled it! I might have known I should only make matters worse!
On the Piazzetta; it is moonlight, the Campanile and dome of San Giorgio Maggiore are silhouetted sharp and black against the steel-blue sky across a sea of silver ripples. PODBURY and CULCHARD are pacing slowly arm-in-arm between the two columns.
Culch. And so you went on to S. Giovanni in Bragora, eh? then over the Arsenal, and rowed across the lagoons to see the Armenian convent? A delightful day, my dear PODBURY! I hope you—er—appreciate the inestimable privileges of—of seeing Venice so thoroughly?
Podb. Oh, of course it's very jolly. Find I get a trifle mixed afterwards, though. And, between ourselves, I wouldn't mind—now and then, you know—just dawdling about among the shops and people, as you and the TROTTERS do!
Culch. That has its charms, no doubt. But don't you find Miss PRENDERGAST a mine of information on Italian Art and History?
Podb. Don't I just—rather too deep for me, y' know! I say, isn't Miss TROTTER immense sport in the shops and that!
Culch. She is—er—vivacious, certainly. (PODBURY sighs.) You seem rather dull to-night, my dear fellow?
Podb. Not dull—a trifle out of sorts, that's all. Fact is, I don't think Venice agrees with me. All this messing about down beastly back-courts and canals and in stuffy churches—it can't be healthy, you know! And they've no drainage. I only hope I haven't caught something, as it is. I've that kind of sinking feeling, and a general lowness—She says I lunch too heavily—but I swear it's more than that!
Culch. Nonsense, you're well enough. And why you should feel low, with all your advantages—in Venice as you are, and in constant intercourse with a mind adorned with every feminine gift!
Podb. Hul-lo! why, I thought you called her a pedantic prig?
Culch. If I used such a term at all, it was in no disparaging sense. Every earnest nature presents an—er—priggish side at times. I know that even I myself have occasionally, and by people who didn't know me, of course, been charged with priggishness.
Podb. Have you, though? But of course there's nothing of that about her. Only—well, it don't signify. [He sighs.
Culch. Ah, PODBURY, take the good the gods provide you and be content! You might be worse off, believe me!
Podb. (discontentedly). It's all very well for you to talk—with Miss TROTTER all to yourself. I suppose you're regularly engaged by this time, eh?
Culch. Not quite. There's still a ——. And your probation, that's practically at an end?
Podb. I don't know. Can't make her out. She wouldn't sit on me the way she does unless she liked me, I suppose. But I say, it must be awf—rather jolly for you with Miss TROTTER? She's got so much go, eh?
Culch. You used to say she wasn't what you call cultivated.
Podb. I know I did. That's just what I like about her! At least—well, we both ought to think ourselves uncommonly lucky beggars, I'm sure! [He sighs more heavily than ever.
Culch. You especially, my dear PODBURY. In fact, I doubt if you're half grateful enough!
Podb. (snappishly). Yes, I am, I tell you. I'm not grumbling, am I? I know as well as you do she's miles too good for me. Haven't I said so? Then what the devil do you keep on nagging at me for, eh?
Culch. I am glad you see it in that light. Aren't you a little irritable to-night?
Podb. No, I'm not. It's those filthy canals. And the way you talk—as if a girl like Miss TROTTER wasn't—!
Culch. I really can't allow you to lecture me. I am not insensible to my good-fortune—if others are. Now we'll drop the subject.
Podb. I'm willing enough to drop it. And I shall turn in now—it's late. You coming?
Culch. Not yet. Good-night. (To himself, as PODBURY departs.) You insensate dolt!
Podb. Good-night! (To himself, as he swings off.) Confounded patronising prig!
* * * * *
HUMPTY-DUMPTY UP AGAIN!
That hardy annual known as The Drury Lane Pantomime is in full vigour this year, its flowers of a more brilliant colour than ever, and its leaves, as evidenced by the book of words, are fresh and vigorous. In no other sense, however, does the Drury Lane Pantomime bear any resemblance to "a plant." There is no "take in" about it, except that even big Old Drury is not capable of holding all who would be present; and so it happens nightly I believe, that many are turned away from the doors bitterly disappointed. Such certainly was the case when the present deponent was installed,—without any unnecessary ceremony,—on a certain given night last week. "The book" is by the Every-knightly DRURIOLANUS and his faithful Esquire, HARRY NICHOLLS, who, much to everybody's regret, does not on this occasion appear as one of the exponents of his own work. There are Miss FANNIE LESLIE—too much "ie" in this name now, and one may ask "for why"?—Miss MARIE (not "MARY"—oh dear now!) LLOYD, Miss PATTIE—not PATTY of course—HEYWOOD, Mr. JOHN and Miss EMMA (dear me! not EMMIE!) D'AUBAN, and Messrs. HERBERT CAMPBELL as a grotesque monarch, Mr. DAN LENO as Queen of Hearts, Mr. FRED WALTON, wonderful in a frame as the living image of the Knave of Hearts, and a crowd of clever people. But among the entire dramatis personae, first and foremost, both the least and the greatest, is the impersonator of Humpty-Dumpty himself, the Yellow Dwarf alias Little TICH, who shares with the gorgeous spectacle and the exquisite combination of colours in Scene Eight, The Wedding, the first honours of the Great Drury Lane Annual. It is emphatically a Pantomime for children to see and to enjoy. The action is so rapid, song succeeds dance, and dance succeeds song, and permutations and combinations of colour are so brilliant and so frequent, that anyone who wants full change for his money and a bonus into the bargain, will find it in the return he will get for his outlay on visiting the Drury Lane Annual. And now about the Harlequinade. The "Opening," as it used to be called, which, terminating with the Grand Transformation Scene, ought to be, theoretically at least, only the introduction to the real business of the evening, that is, the "Pantomime business," concludes at 10.45, and allows three-quarters of an hour for what is called "the Double Harlequinade"—which consists of one old-fashioned English Pantomime-scene, followed by a comparatively modern—for 'tis not absolutely "new and original"—French Pantomime-scene, and this arrangement seems like, so to speak, pitting English Joey against French Pierrot. This friendly rivalry has had the effect of waking up the traditional Grimaldian spirit of Pantomime, and Mr. HARRY PAYNE's scene, besides coming earlier than usual, is, in itself, full of fun of the good old school-boyish kind; and if the Public, as Jury, is to award a palm to either competitor, then it must give a hand—which is much the same thing as "awarding a palm"—to its old friend, HARRY PAYNE, who, with TULLY LEWIS as Pantaloon, has pulled himself together, and given us a good quarter of an hour of genuine Old English Pantomime, compared with which the other, though its fooling is excellent in its own way, is only comic ballet d'action after the style of Fun in a Fog. I think that was the title, but am not sure, of the gambols with which the MARTINETTI troupe used to entertain us. The new and improved style of ballet-dancing introduced by the now celebrated pas de quatre at the Gaiety, is charming, as here and now represented by Miss MABEL LOVE and her graceful companions.
To sum up; as the inspired poet of the immortal ode on Guy Fawkes' Day saw no reason why that particular treason should ever be forgot, so I, but uninspired, and only mortal, am unable to ascertain the existence of any objection to the opinion that this Pantomime possesses staying power sufficient to carry itself on for an extra long run of several months over Easter, and, maybe, up to Whitsuntide. There is but one DRURIOLANUS, and the Pantomime is his Profit! The two authors have achieved what "all the King's horses and all the King's men" (not of Cambridge, of course) could not effect!—they have set Humpty-Dumpty on his legs again! And so congratulations to "all concerned"! And, without prejudice to Sir DRURIOLANUS,
I beg to sign myself, THE OTHER KNIGHT.
* * * * *
THE LAY OF THE ANALYTIC NOVELIST.
["It is not the patent, obvious results of the inner working of mind on which the modern novelist dwells, it is on that inner working itself."—Daily Chronicle.]
That odd barrel-organ, the human mind, I love to explore; 'tis the analyst's lune; But if I can only contrive to find How the pipes will grunt, and the handle will grind, I don't care a fig for the tune!
* * * * *
"HIT ONE OF YOUR OWN SIZE."—About the ups or downs of the Alexandra Palace, Mr. SHAW LEFEVRE shouldn't have a row with a LITTLER, specially when the LITTLER, who if he, with his friends, take over the lease of the Alexandra themselves, will then be a Lessor, is pretty sure to get the best of the discussion.
* * * * *
BY A THOUGHTFUL PHILOSOPHER.—Any remedy against London fogs must involve a grate change.
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE NEW MONITOR; OR, JOSEPH'S JOBATION.
["It is reasonable to assume that Mr. CHAMBERLAIN will at once perceive how his position has been altered by becoming the head of a party including many shades of opinion, instead of being, as he has been, the spokesman of a small set of politicians, earnest, no doubt, and active, but not quite in sympathy with all those who shared their fortunes."—The Times.
"The arrangements consequent on Lord HARTINGTON's succession to the Peerage have very much narrowed the freedom previously enjoyed by the Member for West Birmingham, and, in a corresponding degree, enlarged the sphere of his responsibilities.... The Statesman who has to act as guide and moderator at St. Stephen's will be careful, no doubt, not to compromise his authority by any indiscreet or extravagant insistance on remote and contentious issues."—The Standard.]
SCENE—St. Stephen's School. Present, Doctor T., Principal, Mrs. S., Matron, and Master JOE, Pupil, lately promoted to Monitorship in the Lower School.
Doctor T. Ahem! And so, JOSEPH, we have to congratulate you upon your—a—a—promotion!
Master Joe (coolly). You are very good, Sir, I'm sure. [Whistles.
Doctor T. Not at all, JOSEPH, not at all. That is to say—ahem!—you doubtless deserve it.
Mrs. S. Doubtless deserve it, JOSEPH! I always said you would turn out a better boy than, at one time I—that is to say, many—expected. It is a great consolation to me, JOSEPH, after all the care—
Master Joe (aside). And the numerous jobations!
Mrs. S. That I—that we have bestowed upon you, to find—ahem!—our best hopes so amply fulfilled.
Dr. T. Fulfilled, JOSEPH; whether amply or not it remains for you to prove.
Master Joe (carelessly). All right, Sir, I'll prove it fast enough.
Dr. T. I trust so, JOSEPH, I trust so, though "fast enough" is hardly the phrase I should have adopted, or—ahem!—recommended,—in the circumstances!
"Is there a word wants nobleness and grace, Devoid of weight, nor worthy of high place?"
You know what our excellent HORACE bids you do in such a case.
Master Joe (aside). Bothersome old Blimber!
Mrs. S. Yes, JOSEPH, slanginess, carelessness and extravagance of speech will not befit your present position, you know.
Master Joe. (aside). Prosy old Pipchin!
Dr. T. You could not, JOSEPH, put before you a better model than the boy whose post you assume, in consequence of his going to the Upper School; young HARTY, I mean, a boy who was ever a pattern of propriety, and one absolutely to be depended upon to maintain the prestige of the school, and—ahem!—the authority of the Masters, in every contingency.
Mrs. S. In every contingency, JOSEPH. How unlike that talented, but untrustworthy, senior of his, and of yours, WILL GLADSTONE; a lad whose leadership you once acknowledged, but whose pernicious influence, I am happy to find, you have lately quite cast off.
Master Joe (knowingly). Rather! Where there's a WILL there's a way; and WILL thought it must always be his way. But "not for JOE!"
Dr. T. Again, JOSEPH, is not that—ahem!—quotation from the popular minstrelsy of our time a leetle reminiscent of ruder, and more Radical days?
Master Joe. Perhaps so, Sir, perhaps so. Let me then say that "Ego primam tollo, nominor quoniam Leo" is a very pretty maxim for lions—and jackals. The former role I may not yet have risen to, but I'm hanged if I'll stoop to the latter.
Dr. T. Quite so, quite so! At any rate, not in such a questionable Leonina Societas. Remember, also, JOSEPH, what an awful example you have in young GRANDOLPH, with whom, at one time, you seemed a little intimate. You have only to reflect upon his fiasco, "to have the counsels of prudence borne in imperatively upon your mind, and the lesson will not be the less impressively taught if it is remembered that GRANDOLPH will be on the spot to take note of and profit by any mistakes that may be committed by his more deserving and successful rival."
Master Joe (aside). Lessons all round, eh? Seems to me all this grandmotherly advice is wondrous like a "wigging" in disguise. Perhaps they'll find I'm better at teaching than learning.
Mrs. S. Cavendo tutus, JOSEPH, safe by caution. The motto of your predecessor. You cannot do better than take it as your own.
Master Joe (innocently). Think not, Ma'am? I fancy every man ought to have his own motto. Now I was thinking of Cede nullis!
Doctor T. Tut—tut—tut, JOSEPH! Inappropriate,—in your present position. You will have to yield to many,—to those in authority over you, in fact. "Leaders! (and Monitors) have to subordinate their personal tastes, and even their individual convictions, to an enlarged conception of the general advantage."
Mrs. S. Yes, JOE, don't, whatever you do, compromise your authority by any indiscreet or extravagant insistance—
Master Joe (quickly, though with becoming gravity). Quite so, Ma'am! Very true, Sir! My "conceptions," I may say, have "enlarged" considerably of late, since I have found (as Mrs. S. well says) "how much of my antipathy" (to the powers that be) "was sheer prejudice." And, as to "the general advantage," I am sanguine that I shall find it consonant—if not identical—with my own.
Doctor T. (dubiously). Humph! Suppose you say yours with it, JOSEPH?
Master Joe (airily). As you please, Sir. Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to one another, you know.
Mrs. S. (aside). Smart boy, very! I fancy I should have more confidence in him if he were a little less so.
Doctor T. (gravely). You see, JOSEPH, there are some things in your earlier school career which your well-wishers would fain—forget. You were rather what is called, I think, "a young Radical" once, not to say "a bit of a pickle." You seemed not altogether out of sympathy with such revolutionary proceedings as "revolts" and "barring-outs," and even talked once, if I remember rightly, of putting the Principals "to ransom"—doctrines better worthy of a Calabrian brigand than of a public school-boy. But let bygones be bygones. Now that you are in a position of responsibility and—respectability, you will, of course, abandon all such revolutionary rubbish, and think not of yourself, but others; consider less the wild wishes of your inferiors than the wise commands of your betters.
Master Joe (solemnly). Oh, of course, Sir! And now, if you, Dr. Poloni—ahem!—Dr. T., and Mrs. Pip—I mean Mrs. S., have quite finished your wig—I should say wise counsellings, I think I'll—go out and play! [Does so.
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DYNAMITICAL ARGUMENTS.—The Apostles of "the Gospel of Dynamite" would, if they could, speedily convert a whole town—into a ruin.
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With a spice of Tristram Shandy, a dash of Ferdinand Count Fathom, and none the worse for the quaint flavouring thus given to the style and manner of the romance, The Blue Pavilions by "Q." is about as good a tale of rapid dramatic and exciting adventure as the Baron remembers to have read,—for some time at least. There is in it little enough of love, though that little is well and prettily told, but there is no lack of fighting at long odds and at short intervals, of hairbreadth escapes, and of such chances by land and sea as keep the reader, all agog, hurrying on from point to point, anxious to see what is to happen next, and how the expected is to eventuate unexpectedly. The story is for the most part told in a humorous devil-may-care-believe-it-or-not-as-you-like sort of way which compels attention, occasionally raises a smile, and always excites curiosity. As a one-barrel novel, this ought to score a gold right in the centre.
The writer of a little leader in the Daily News of last Wednesday seems to have been rather hard-up for a subject when he fell foul of the Messrs. MACMILLAN's cheap re-issue of A Jest-Book, compiled many years ago by Mr. Punch's MARK LEMON, "Uncle MARK," who brought the ancient Joe Miller up to that particular date. It was the last of the jest-books, and they are now quite out of fashion. A quarter of a century hence, no doubt, the fortunate possessor of one of these little books will come out with many a new jest, and be esteemed quite an original wit.
It would have been well for the writer of the above-mentioned leaderette had he referred to the ninth of ELIA's Popular Fallacies, and been thereby reminded how "a pun is a pistol let off at the ear; and not a feather to tickle the intellect." The Baron is prepared to admit that the lesson to be learned from this delightful Essay of CHARLES LAMB's is, that a pun once let off, has fizzled off, and cannot be repeated with its first effect. Now the honest historian of this, or of any pun, must reproduce in his narrative all the circumstances of time, place, and individuality that gave it its point; but the effect of the pun, the Baron ventures to think, it is impossible to convey in print to the reader, read he never so wisely, nor however vividly graphic may be the description. Yet if this same reader possesses the art of reading aloud, with some approach to the dramatic Dickensian manner, then, given an appreciative audience, it is probable that the pun itself would not lose much in recital. At best, however, the crispness of the original salt is impaired, though the flavour is not lost by keeping, and the enjoyment of it must depend on the new seasoning provided by the reciter. Of course, its piquancy may have been staled by too frequent use—but "this is another story." After all, is a jest-book meant to be taken seriously? A question which "nous donne a penser," quoth
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
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Blest if I know where I am in this murkiness made to benight us, Blest if I know what it means, this infernal Impressionist etching;
Surely some WHISTLER renowned in the gibbering realms of Cocytus Drew it—and draws us along through its avenues ghostlily stretching.
Lights flicker out in the gloom, like diminutive goblins that beckon; Onward we stagger and gasp in the grip of this emanence deadly:
How I would curse if I could, but not RABELAIS even I reckon Language could find, or a voice if he wished for the sulphurous medley.
Blest if I know who you are, wicked giant, colossal above me, Pluto perchance or, that fell spirit-ferryman, Charon uprising!
Blest if I know if survives in this demon-land anything of me, Blest!—It's a lamp-post, by George—a reality somewhat surprising!
London, how long shall thy sons rue this Angel of Death with his grim bow, Suffer this nightmare to last by its pestilence mangled and throttled?
Would magic Science could scare the black vista to luridest Limbo, Would that fresh breezes were tinned and the sunshine of Italy bottled!!
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* * * * *
THEFT V. THRIFT.
["The Economic Man, whose sole motive was selfishness, was created by ADAM SMITH."—Daily News.]
A century's gone, and still wiseacres plan A future for the Economic Man; But one fatality strikes us as comical,— That—up to now—he is not economical! The soulless thing whose motor sole is Self, Squanders, as well as snatches, sordid pelf. Perhaps if he could use as well as steal, The common wealth might prove the common weal.
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MR. PUNCH'S NEW-YEAR HONOURS, GIFTS, GOOD WISHES, AND GREETINGS.
(CONFERRED BY HIM, WITHOUT "OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION.")
To Her Most Gracious Majesty.—The Queendom of his heart.
To the Duke of Clarence, and the Princess May.—A Bridal Quick March.
To Prince George of Wales.—A Clean Bill of Health.
To Prince Christian.—"Eyes right!"
To Mr. Gladstone.—Freedom from the City, its fogs, and politics.
To the Duke of Devonshire.—A Peerage, and the right successor in Rossendale.
To Mr. Chamberlain.—His Cartoon for the week.
To Mr. Balfour.—An Irish "Order."
To Lord Randolph Churchill.—"Something new out of Africa."
To the Peerage.—General Sir FREDERICK ROBERTS. (The greatest "honour" of the lot, by Jove!)
To Henry Irving.—"A Health to the King" (HARRY THE EIGHTH), and any number of Nights' (run).
To Johnny Toole.—Rapid recovery, and "another kind love" from Toole-le-Monde!
To Mr. Punch's Young Men.—Privy Councillorships (to the Public) all round.
To Everybody.—A Happy New Volume!
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A QUESTION OF PRECEDENCE, BUT NOT A PRECEDENT.—It is a gracious act on the part of a Cabman, when, at a dinner-party, he gives the pas to an Omnibus-driver, at the same time courteously explaining this waiver of rights by saying that "at the present moment he is not standing on his rank."
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"THE COMPLEMENTS OF THE SEASON."—Christmas Boxes.
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In continuation of his interesting notes of incidents connected with the gathering of Ministers for the last Cabinet Council, Our Special Reporter states that the only contretemps arose in connection with the arrival of Mr. GOSCHEN. On alighting from his coupe the CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER handed the driver a dirty crumpled piece of paper.
"Hi! wot's this?" shouted the Cabman.
"A one-pound note," said the CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, blandly; "give me the change."
"Oh, no you don't," said the Cabman; "you try that on in the City, young feller. This is too far West."
Mr. GOSCHEN, evidently annoyed, carefully selected a worn-out shilling, and tossing it to the man, stalked haughtily into the Treasury. A moment later he hurriedly opened the door and looked out for the Cabman, but he had gone. It was understood, Our Reporter says, that the Right Hon. Gentleman had thought of a repartee.
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The Morning Papers announce, with tantalising brevity, that "Lord STRATHEDEN AND CAMPBELL has (sic) returned to Bruton Street from Berlin." We are in a position to add that the occasion of the noble Lords' journey to Berlin was of international interest. It is no secret at the Foreign Office that their Lordships have for some time been uneasy at the turn events are taking in the East. They have endeavoured to disguise from each other their perturbed feelings. But STRATHEDEN felt that CAMPBELL's eye was upon him, whilst CAMPBELL at last abandoned the futile effort of dissembling his uneasiness under the cold steel-grey glance of STRATHEDEN. They finally agreed that the best thing they could do was to set forth for Berlin, making secret detours in order to call at other of the principal capitals, and confer with the Foreign Ministers. The result, we are pleased to learn, has been most beneficial, and has, so to speak, contributed a hodful of mortar to the foundation on which rests the peace of Europe.
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Mrs. RAMSBOTHAM is disposed to regard HOMER as over-rated. The only book of his she ever read, she says, is Bombastical Furioso, and certainly that did not assuage her appetite for any more.
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Mr. STEAD has been taking into his confidence a universe thrilled with interest, with respect to certain presentiments which from time to time have struck his mind. One he dates in October, 1883, at which time he was sub-editor of an evening journal which Mr. JOHN MORLEY then edited. He had, he records, a presentiment that at an early approaching date, Mr. MORLEY would have quitted the establishment—dead Mr. STEAD genially anticipated—and that he would reign in Stead. In view of the public interest involved in these confessions, we have interviewed a certain Right Hon. Gentleman as to his susceptibility to presentiments.
"Well," he replied, "they are not usual with me; but I remember that for some time before the date mentioned, I felt that either Mr. STEAD or I must leave the paper."
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One of the earliest volumes issued in connection with the newly-devised Automatic Library in use on some lines of Railway, is entitled Beyond Escape. We understand that subsequent volumes will be Dashed to Pieces, The Broken Bridge, The Sprained Axle, The Wheelbox on Fire, The Gordon Guard, The Cruel Cowcatcher; or, Cut in Twain, The Colour-Blind Signalman, and Shunted and Shattered.
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OLD STYLE.—Nervous Witness about to leave the box, when his progress is arrested by Counsel on the other side.
Counsel (sharply). Now, Sir, do you know the value of an oath?
Witness (taken aback). Why, yes—of course.
Coun. (pointing at him). Come, no prevarication! Do you understand the value, or do you not?
Wit. (confused). If you will allow me to explain—?
Coun. Come, Sir, you surely can answer Yes or No—now which is it?
Wit. But you will not let me explain—
Coun. Don't be impertinent, Sir! Explanation is unneeded. Mind, you have been sworn, so if you don't know the value of an oath, it will be the worse for you.
Wit. But you won't let me speak.
Coun. Won't let you speak! Why, I can't get a word out of you. Now, Sir—in plain English—are you a liar or not?
Wit. (appealing to Judge). Surely, my Lord, he has no right to speak to me like this?
Judge. Be good enough to answer the Counsel's questions. I have nothing to do with it.
Coun. Now, Sir—once more; are you a liar, or are you not?
Wit. I don't think that's the way to speak to me—
Coun. Don't bully me, Sir! You are here to tell us the truth, or as much of it as you can.
Wit. But surely you ought to—
Coun. Don't tell me what I ought to do, Sir. Again; are you a liar, or are you not?
Wit. Please tell me how I am to reply to such a question?
Coun. You are not there to ask me questions, Sir, but to answer my questions to you.
Wit. Well. I decline to reply.
Judge (to Witness). Now you had better be careful. If you do not answer the questions put to you, it will be within my right to send you to gaol for contempt of Court.
Coun. Now you hear what his Lordship says, and now, once more, are you a liar, or are you not?
Wit. (confused). I don't know.
Coun. (to Jury). He doesn't know! I need ask nothing further! [Sits down.
Foreman (to Judge). May we not ask, my Lord, how you consider this case is being conducted?
Judge. With pleasure. Gentlemen! I will repeat what I remarked to the Master quite recently. I think the only word that will describe the matter is "noble." Distinctly noble!
[Scene closes in upon despair of Witness.
NEW STYLE.—Arrogant Witness about to leave the box, when his progress is arrested by Counsel on the other side.
Coun. I presume. Sir, that—
Wit. (sharply). You have no right to presume. Ask me what you want, and have done with it.
Coun. (amiably). I think we shall get on better—more quickly—if you kindly attend to my questions.
Wit. Think so? Well, it's a matter of opinion. But, as I have an engagement in another place, be good enough to ask what you are instructed to ask, and settle the matter off-hand.
Coun. If you will allow me to speak—
Wit. Speak!—I like that! Why I can't get a rational word out of you!
Coun. (appealing to Judge). Surely, my Lord, he has no right to speak to me like this?
Judge. Be good enough to attend to the Witness. I have nothing to do with it.
Wit. (impatiently). Now, Sir, am I to wait all day?
Coun. (mildly). I really venture to suggest that is not quite the tone to adopt.
Wit. Don't bully me, Sir! I am here to answer any questions you like to put, always supposing that you have any worth answering.
Coun. But come—surely you ought to—
Wit. I am not here to learn my duty from you, Sir. You don't know your subject, Sir. How long have you been called?
Coun. I decline to reply.
Judge (to Counsel). Now you had really better be careful. I wish to treat the Bar with every respect, but if you waste any more time I shall feel strongly inclined to bring your conduct before your Benchers.
Wit. You hear what his Lordship says. What are you going to do next?
Coun. (confused). I don't know.
Wit. (to Jury). He doesn't know! I needn't stay here any longer.
Judge (to Jury). May I ask you, Gentlemen, how you consider this case is being conducted?
Foreman of the Jury. With pleasure, my Lord. We were all using the same word which exactly describes the situation. We consider the deportment of the Witness "noble." Distinctly noble.
[Scene closes in upon despair of Counsel.
* * * * *
ROBERT IN A FOG!
Well, if we ain't a been and had a werry pretty dose of reel London Fog lately, I, for one, shood like to kno when we did have one. As for its orful effecks upon tempers, speshally female ones, Well, it's about enuff to drive a pore Waiter, let alone a hard-workin, middel-aged Husband, stark staring mad!
However, thank goodness, I've got one werry grand xception, and he reglar cheers me up with his constant good humer.
I need ardly say as it's my old Amerrycan friend, who has cum back to the Grand Hotel again, jest for to see what a reel London Winter is like, and he bears it all, fog and all, splendidly. He was jest in time to see Lord MARE's Sho from one of our best front winders, and if he didn't sit there and larf away as the pore soddened and soaked persession parsed by, speshally at the Lord MARE's six gennelmen with their padded carves and pink silk stockins, I never seed a gennelman larf. "Why on earth, Mr. ROBERT," he says to me, "why don't they have it in the bewtifool Summer, for it's reelly a very splendid performunce?" To which I replied, rather smartly, becoz I was naterally rayther cross, "Becoz it has allers bin held on the same honnerd day since the rain of Lord Mare ALLWINE, who rained sewen hunderd years ago." "And has probably rained ewer since," he larfingly replied, as he went out.
He thinks London a fine place for Theaters, and went sumware amost ewery nite afore the Fog begun; but that rayther tried him, speshally in the middle of the day; so he harsked me to tell him, from my long xperience, what was the best posserbel Lunch with which to fite agenst it. So I pulled myself together, and told him one of my good stories:—"One of our werry best City Judges, who is passed and gone, used to have a fat Buck sent to him wunce a year by the QUEEN, from Windsor Forest. He didn't care werry much for Wenson hisself, so he goes to BRING AND RYMER, wich is potical sort o' name, but it is the Turtel Firm, and he xchanges his Fat Buck for Turtel Lunches all through the cold, cold Winter, and they kep him helthy and strong for years."
"Then bring me one of his Lordship's Lunches at 2 o'clock sharp, to-day," said he, "and I'll try it." So I took him a scrumpshus bason of thick Turtel, and a pint Bottel of CLICKO's rich Shampane, and he finisht the lot, and said, "Bring me xactly the same splendid lunch ewery day the fog lastes." And I did; and he told me as how it enabeld him to face it bravely.
Well, now for my foggy story. On that orful Toosday as ewer was, I was a going to cross Cheapside near the Post Office, when a stout elderly Lady arsked me to see her over, and, just as we got to the Statty, in the middel of the road, down she fell, and dragged me down with her. A most kind Perliceman rushed to our asistance, and saved us both. I then, luckily, got her a Cab, and took her home to —— Square, and, after paying the Cabby jest what he chose to arsk, she arsked, with a sweet smile, if I shood be offended if she gave me jest a triful for praps saving her life, as she said. I told her, as I was only a pore Waiter, I was used to tips and strays; so she gave me a reel gold sovering, and a good arty squeeze of the hand, and paid the Cabby to take me home, and finisht by saying, "If you ever want a triful, Sir, you know where to get it." And all I has to add is, that I thinks as my better arf mite have been jest a leetel more grayshus, as I told her, with amost tears in my eyes, of the graitfool conduck of the Lady of —— Square.
* * * * *
CHRISTMAS IN GERMANY.—"The beauties of Leadenhall and Farringdon," said the D.T., "do not figure in 'der Hallen an der Spree.'" But in England, during Christmas time generally, we were "Hallen on der Spree." Rather!
* * * * *
"THE DRAMA OF TO-DAY."—A Morning Performance.
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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.