OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
July 30, 1892.
IAGO IN BIRMINGHAM.
(SHAKSPEARE ONCE MORE ON THE SITUATION.)
Iago MR. J-S-PH CH-MB-RL-N. Roderigo MR. J-SSE C-LL-NS.
Roderigo. Thou told'st me thou did'st hold him in thy hate.
Iago. Despise me, if I did not. The great ones of the City, In personal suit to make me his Lieutenant, Off-capped to him:—and, by the faith of man, I know my price—I am worth no worse a place; But he, as loving his own pride and purposes, Evades them with a bombast circumstance, Horribly stuffed with epithets of war; And, in conclusion, Nonsuits my meditators; for, "Certes," says he, "I have already chose my officer." And who was he? Forsooth, a great Arithmetician. * * * * * That never set a squadron in the field, Nor the division of a battle knows More than a spinster; unless the bookish theorick, Wherein the toged Consul can propose As masterly as he; mere prattle, without practice, Is all his soldiership. But, Sir, he had the Election!
* * * * *
A RESULT OF BEING HOSPITABLE.
SCENE—Small, but Fashionable Club in West-End.
Algy. Waiter! bring me a brandy-and-soda. Don't feel up to the average to-day.
Hughie. Late last night?
Algy. Yes. Went to Mrs. CRAMMERLY's Dance, Prince's Gate. Goodness knows why I went! I don't think they'll get me there again in a hurry.
Charlie (waking up from arm-chair). Were you a victim too? I didn't see you there!
Algy. No. Because I probably left before you arrived. I had had enough of it in an hour, and came on here to supper; not before I had nearly poisoned myself with a concoction that old CRAMMERLY was asserting loudly, was an "'80 wine."
Charlie (laughing). Ah! my dear friend, I had been there before, and knew the ropes. Took pretty good care to steer clear of the wine, and got a chap to give me a whiskey-and-soda.
Uninvited Member. May I ask where was this charming Party?
Algy. At the CRAMMERLY's, Prince's Gate. Colonel CRAMMERLY.
Uninvited M. Colonel CRAMMERLY! Let's see, was he an old Crimea man?
Algy. No!—He was Colonel in the Bounders Green Volunteers. (Roars of laughter.) You know "CRAMMERLY's Starch"—made a fortune out of it.
Charlie. He must have spent a bit of it last night. They say the flowers alone cost over a thousand pounds.
Enter Captain O.
Captain O. Talking about the Colonel CRAMMERLY Party, eh? (To Uninvited M.) Were you there?
Uninvited M. (very satirically). Oh, dear no! I fear I'm not smart enough to warrant my admittance into that charmed and select circle. [Roars of laughter.
Capt. O. By Jove, you were well out of it. (Addressing the Club generally.) Did—you ever see such—eh?
Charlie. I want to know where the deuce they get their men from.
Algy. I fancy they discover them in the City.
Jack. I never met—such shocking people before.
Capt. O. Too dreadful for words. I could only conclude they must have been relations. [Roars of laughter.
Jack. By the way, did you notice that there was a "bounder" who was reversing?
Uninvited M. (with great indignation). No!!!
Jack. I tell you it's a positive fact—I know it to my cost; for I was dancing with that youngest daughter, you know—the one who has the fluffy fringe over her forehead—and the brute bounced against us, and sent us flying. Never even apologised. If I could have got him outside, I declare I would have given him a deuced good hiding. A man like that ought to be kicked.
Uninvited M. Were the women any better?
Algy. Well, if you call Mrs. DASH any better!
Uninvited M. (with tragic intensity). You don't mean to say she was there!
Algy. I do.
Uninvited M. But do you mean to say that Mrs. CRAMMERLY has heard—
Jack. No. She's deaf. [Laughter.
Uninvited M. Well, you do surprise me! (After a long pause.) Any other shining lights of London Society?
Jack. No—except that fearful Mrs. JUSSOPH and her daughters, who honoured me with an invitation to their afternoon party at their suburban residence at West Kensington. I don't know whether you regard them as an illumination. [Roars of laughter.
Uninvited M. (triumphantly.) Good gracious! Then there was positively no one there that one knows.
Algy (thinking he has said something original). No one, that one wants to know.
Uninvited M. I suppose the whole thing was done for an advertisement—?
Algy. Possibly. Anyhow, once bitten, twice shy. They won't get me inside their stuccoed palace again.
Chorus of Those who were at the Party. Same here! [Pause.
Capt. O. (lighting cigar by candle). By the way, JACK, did old CRAM. ask you to Scotland for the 12th?
Capt. O. So he did me. Shall you go?
Jack. It depends—I think so—if I don't get anything better. I'm told it's a wonderful shoot. They pulled down over a thousand birds the first day, last year.
Capt. O. Does old CRAMMERLY shoot?
Jack. Oh dear no! He's as blind as a bat. He only rents it for his friends.
Capt. O. (greatly relieved). That's good news, for he's a terrible bore. He'd be a shocking nuisance on the Moors. I must say, I can't stand him at any price.
Jack. No, nor any of the family, for the matter of that. Well, ta, ta! Perhaps we shall meet there. I'm off to the Empire, to join some friends who've got a box.
[Exit to enjoy further hospitality.
* * * * *
"PERFIDIOUS ALBION" AGAIN.—Lieutenant MIZON, with his grievances against the British Niger Company, was feted last week in Paris. To inform Frenchmen that the British Company in question is not so niger as it has been painted would be useless at the present moment, when Frenchmen are still loud in their applause of the speech made by the Prefect of the Seine in such a Mizon-scene. [N.B.—Jeu de mot forwarded by our own "Prefect of the In-Seine."]
* * * * *
FROM NEWCASTLE.—Mr. HAMOND, M.P. for Newcastle, charged Mr. JOHN MORLEY with having made a certain statement. Mr. MORLEY denied it, and asked Mr. HAMOND to substantiate the charge. Mr. HAMOND could not do this, nor did he apologise. Is this the "'Amond honorable"?
* * * * *
Brave Sir CARLOS EUAN-SMITHEZ! basely have they borne thee down; Thousands, thirty, would they tip thee as a churl they'd tip a crown? Thou at home hadst shown that Sultan with emphatic toe the door; In Morocco thou didst coolly turn thy back upon the Moor.
Long in fiery Fez he lingered, subtle SMITHEZ, being bound To contract Commercial Treaty with the minions of MAHOUND. Full eight weeks' negociations smoothed that Treaty's parlous way; On the fifth July the Sultan swore it should be signed next day.
But the false Frank's furtive whisper at the Sultan's ear was heard. (When the Frank may foil the Saxon won't he do so? Like a bird!) And the treacherous Moorish Monarch, to his people's interest blind, Sold the sham he dubbed his honour, changed the thing he deemed his mind.
"Christian Knight," began the Monarch ("knight" was diplomat for "dog"), "There is something in your Treaty, that I relish—like roast hog. Know Morocco is no home for Factories and Colossal Stores; And the omnipresent Bagman is a bugbear to my Moors!
"All my Cadis, all my ladies, wish at—Hades Western Trade. You must make large alterations in the Treaty we've half made; Shape it not in Christian interests, Christian Knight, but in MAHOUND's, And—incline thine ear!—I'll give thee, Christian, Thirty Thousand Pounds!!!"
Enter black slave bearing Treasure! Ranged bags of glittering gold! Then upspake brave EUAN-SMITHEZ. "Hold, base Sultan; minion, hold! Dost thou think to bribe and buy a Christian Knight? A Paynim plan! If I take it, thou mayst sell me to a Moorish dog's-meat man!"
Then his steed obeyed his master, and he whinnied loud and free, Turned his back upon the tempter, caracoled with coltish glee; Struck out with his heels behind him, smote that slave upon the nose, Kicked the bags until the bullion in a Danae shower arose.
Never DON FERNANDO's charger, Bavieca, gave such spring, In the sawdust-sprinkled circus of AL-WIDDICOMB, the King! Never did DON GOMERSALEZ fill the Moslem with more fear, When he smote him o'er the mazzard with his streak-o'-lightning spear!
And the scattered gold flew widely, urged by that prodigious kick, Smote the Frank behind the throne, although he dodged amazing quick; Spattered that insulting Sultan, like a splash of London mud, Blackening his dexter eye, and from his "boko" drawing blood.
Then Sir CARLOS EUAN-SMITHEZ gave that Moorish Sultan beans, Holding it foul scorn—as did the pluckiest of Christian Queens— a Christian Knight should take an insult from a turban'd Moor, Without landing him a hot 'un, without giving him what-for!
Speed thee, speed thee, noble charger! Speed thee faster than the wind! Stout Sir CARLOS EUAN-SMITHEZ leaves that Moorish Fez behind; Shakes its sand from off his shoes, and, having wiped the Sultan's eye, Turns his back, and takes his hook, without e'en wishing him "Good-bye!"
* * * * *
* * * * *
Last Nights of the Season.—Monday.—"By General Desire," the Second and Third Acts of DE LARA-Boom-de-ay's Opera, called La Luce dell' Asia, followed by Cavalleria Rusticana. Was "by general desire" applied to the entire programme, or only to its first part? Well, we may take for granted that everyone wanted to hear and see again—but especially to hear—the Cavalleria. So the "special desire" must apply to La Luce solely and only. If so, then from this wording we gather that the general and uncontrollable desire to hear the Second and Third Acts of DE LA-RA-Boom's Opera did not extend to its Prologue, First Act, Fourth Act (if any), and Epilogue. But is it complimentary to a Composer to express a general wish to hear only certain portions of his work, implying thereby that the generally un-expressed desire is rather against than for re-hearing the other portions? All the same Sir COVENT GARDENIUS exercises a sound discretion in thus dealing with this particular Opera.
Tuesday.—BEMBERG's New Opera, Elaine.
Chorus.—Why was Elaine Given again? O DRURIOLAN- US, please explain!
And he did so, by saying in the programme "[fist] In consequence of its Great Success and by general desire." Ha! ha! look at the hand, with index-finger outstretched! By this sign, Sir DRURIOLANUS would have us to understand that "this Opera was not one which ever went without a hand." Moreover, Sir ORACLE tells us of its "Great Success;" note the capitals, and note also, the expression itself, which was not found in the announcement of the repetition of the Second and Third Acts of the Light Asian Opera on Monday. Isn't this an artful way of pitting Admirable BEMBERG against our own accomplished DE-LARA-Boom? "We" were not there either Monday or Tuesday, which, as far as the inimitable intermezzo of the "Rustic Chivalry" goes, was distinctly "our" loss. But they were going to do without us, and they did so; but whether ill or well, this deponent, meaning "We," knoweth not; and so, we're like Brer Rabbit, who lay low and said nothin'. Brer Wolf sezzee were kinder sorry he was unable to go Satterday arternoon for to hear Brer Fox's new Opera, Nydia, the Blind Girl.
Friday.—Don Giovanni.—Madame DOTTI, in taking the role of Donna Anna, "took the cake." Not going "a bit dotty," but in excellent form.
* * * * *
BE-LITTLER-ING MR. GLADSTONE'S MAJORITY.—Not that the G.O.M. is "coming of age in the olden times,"—as somebody's picture has it,—but that he is coming in with a mixed Majority of atoms difficult to be assimilated. This much exercises the wigorous brain of Mr. R.D.M. LITTLER, Q.C. writing to the Times. Of course R.D.M. LITTLER, Q.C.—which initials, being interpreted, may mean, "Railway Directors' Man"—is the Conservativest of Conservatives—"but that's another Tory," as one may say, adapting RUDYARD KIPLING's phrase,—and, difficult as the G.O.M. may find it to get on with the aid of a Little Majority, he couldn't get on any better with the aid of a Littler.
* * * * *
NOTE.—The Guide to Wild West Kensington should announce the objects of interest in this Buffalo Bill Show, not as "classified," but "Codyfied."
* * * * *
* * * * *
(MODERN VERSION BY A GRATEFUL COOK'S TOURIST.)
[Mr. THOMAS COOK, originator of the great "Personally Conducted" Tourist and Excursionist System, died on Monday the 18th July, aged 84 years.]
"Remote, unfriended, melancholy slow, Or by the lazy Scheldt, or wandering Po?" Nay, gentle GOLDSMITH, it is thus no more, None now need fear "the rude Carinthian boor," The bandit Greek, the Swiss of avid grin, Or e'en the predatory Bedouin. Where'er we roam, whatever realms to see, Our thoughts, great Agent, must revert to thee. From Parthenon or Pyramid, we look In travelled ease, and bless the name of COOK! Eternal blessings crown the wanderer's friend! At Ludgate Hill may all the world attend. Blest be that spot where the great world instructor Assumed the role of Personal Conductor! Blest be those "parties," with safe-conduct crowned, Who do in marshalled hosts the Regular Round; Gregarious gaze at Pyramid or Dome, The heights of Athens, or the walls of Rome, Then like flock-folded sheep, are shepherded safe home.
"Let observation, with extensive view, Survey mankind from China to Peru." By all means, yes, or even further fare, And Afric's forest huge and poisonous Pigmies dare. But, to avoid the lonely traveller's pain, From Ludgate Circus drag the well-linked chain; As Amurath to Amurath succeeds, So COOK to COOK! THOMAS's grandiose deeds What Tourist may forget? The great one's gone, But his vast enterprise shall still march on. What THOMAS started, is pursued by JOHN. Peace to the dust of the Great Pioneer, "Great COOK is dead, long live Great COOK!" we cheer.
* * * * *
DARK DOINGS.—Mrs. MARTHA RICKS, the emancipated black slave, who came all the way from Liberia to pay Her Gracious MAJESTY a morning call, may be now known as "The QUEEN's Black Woman," or as a companion silhouette to "SALISBURY's Black Man." Of course she will go back laden with valuable presents, quite a wealthy old lady, or "Ricks Pecuniarum."
* * * * *
THE DUFFER IN POLITICS.
My country neighbours at Mount Duffer are not literary. So very remote from this condition are they, that they regard men of letters as "awful men," in the Shakspearian sense of the word. Consequently, since those papers began to appear, sometimes, in the pages of Mr. Punch, I have risen in the general esteem. Even JOHN DUC MACNAB has been heard to admit, that though the MAC DUFFER is "nae gude ava' with the rod or the rifle, he's a fell ane with the pen in his hand. Nae man kens what he means, he's that deep." In consequence of the spread of this flattering belief, I have been approached by various local Parties, to sound my fathomless depths as a possible Candidate.
First came a deputation of Jacobites. They were all ladies, of different ages, young and old; all wore ornaments in which the locks of Queen MARY, CHARLES THE FIRST, Prince CHARLIE, and other Saints and Martyrs, were conspicuously displayed. Would I stand as a Jacobite? they asked, and generally in the interests of Romance and Royalism. I said that I would be delighted; but inquired as to whether we had not better wait for Female Suffrage. That seemed our best chance, I said. They replied, that FLORA MACDONALD had no vote, and what was good enough for her was good enough for them. I then hinted that it would be well to know for which King, or Queen, I was to unfurl the banner at Glenfinnon. I also suggested that the modern Crofters did not seem likely to rally round us. The first question provoked a split, or rather several splits in our Party. It appeared that some five or six Pretenders of both sexes, and of intricate genealogies, had their advocates. An unpleasant scene followed, and things were said which could never be forgiven. The deputation, which had been expected to stay to luncheon, retired in tears, exclaiming for a variety of monarchs all "over the water."
The local Gladstonians came next. I had never declared myself, they said. Was I for Home Rule? I said we must first review Mr. GLADSTONE's numerous writings about HOMER, and then come to Home Rule. "HOMER stops the way!" Were Mr. GLADSTONES Homeric theories compatible with a rational frame of mind? Here I felt very strong, and animated with a keen desire to impart information. The deputation said all this was ancient history. As to Home Rule itself, they said it really did not matter. What they wanted was, free poaching, free private whiskey-stills, free land, and a large head of game, to be kept up by the proprietor, for the benefit of the glen, as in old times. I said that these seemed to me to be Utopian demands. If you all fish, and shoot, and drown the keepers in the linn, I urged, there will soon be no game left for any of you. No Game-laws, I observed, and you will obviously have no poaching. There will be nothing to poach, and no fun in doing it. They said that they would pay keepers to hold the Southern bodies off, out of the rates, and the rates would be paid by the Laird—meaning me. I said I knew that several Lairds were standing on this platform, but that, personally, if my land and rents were to be taken away, I did not see how the rates were to be got out of my empty sporran. This was a new idea to them, but I cheered them up by saying I was in favour of Compulsory Access to Mountains, with no Personal Option in the matter. This was what the people needed, I said—they needed to be made to climb mountains, beginning with Box Hill. On Bank Holidays, I remarked, they never go to the top. They stay where the beer is. I would have a staff of Inspectors, to see that they went. The general limbs and lungs would be greatly improved, and the sale of whiskey, from private stills, would be increased.
This unlucky remark divided my Party. The Free Kirk Minister wore a blue ribbon, and was a Temperance-at-any-price politician. Two of "The Men," however,—a kind of inspired Highland prophets—had a still of their own, and they and the Minister nearly came to blows. The Party then withdrew, giving three cheers for Mr. GLADSTONE, but not pledging themselves to vote for me.
The Eight Hours' people were at me next. I said I saw that the Bill would provide employment for a number of people, but I added, that I did not see who was to pay the wages, nor who was to buy the goods. For, I remarked, you certainly cannot compete with foreign countries at this rate, and at home the Classes will be competing with you, being obliged to have recourse to manual labour. They said that was just what they wanted, everybody to labour with his hands. I answered that many of the Classes, a poor lot at best (cheers), would come on the Parish. Who was to pay the rates when everybody was working, and nobody was buying what was made? If there were no markets, where were you to sell your produce? They said they would live on the land. I answered that the land would not support the population: you would need to import bread-stuffs, with what were you going to pay for them? I added that my heart was with them, but that they could only attain their ends by massacring or starving three-fourths of the population, and who knew how he himself might fare, with a three-to-one chance against his survival? Suppose it did not come to that, I urged, suppose the Bill gave all the world employment; suppose that, somehow, it also paid their wages, or supported them, in a very short time you would need a Four Hours' Bill (cheers), a Two Hours' Bill, a One Hour's Bill, of course with no fall in wages. The constitution of things would not run to it.
They said that I had clearly not fought out the economic aspect of the question. I said that was how my hair was blanched, with trying to fight it out, but that, somehow, it always baffled me. I added remarks about squaring the circle, but they said it was a good deal easier to square Mr. GLADSTONE. The friends of Total Prohibition of Vaccination and of Beer were waiting, also a deputation, who wanted subscriptions for a SHELLEY Memorial, Russian Jews, Maxim guns for Missionaries, and other benevolent objects. I declined to see them, however, and was left to solitude, and to the reflection that I am unfitted for the sphere of active politics. In this belief the neighbours are now pretty generally agreed, which, as I have no keen ambition to shine in Parliament, is a very fortunate circumstance.
* * * * *
* * * * *
LADY GAY'S SELECTIONS.
Mount Street, Grosvenor Square.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,
The Race for the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown was productive of tremendous excitement, and everybody turned pale as the two gallant horses came up the straight, locked together, but the key to the situation—Parliamentary phrase, due to the prevalence of Elections—was held by the champion Orme, who managed to get home, "all out" by a neck!—at least, Lord ARTHUR said he was "all out," though how he could be "home" at the same time I don't quite understand—but he may have been alluding to the backers of Orvieto. I was told that St. Damien "made up a lot of ground at the finish;" but I can't say I noticed it myself, as the course looked to me exactly as it did before the race! Dear me! how pleased my friends the Duke and Duchess of WESTMINSTER did look! and with good reason, too—it was a wonderful task for Orme to accomplish, with only six weeks' training!—it must have been a special train all the time; in fact, the one he was brought to Sandown in, I suppose.
Being unable to go to Leicester, I took advantage of a military escort, offered me by—(no—let the gallant officer's name remain a secret—he little thought he was escorting a Press-lady)—to pay a visit to the New Wimbledon—and being nothing if not loyal, I chose the day when the shooting for the "Queen's" commenced. My escort informed me with an inane smile, that the Camp had experienced "Bisley weather;" the feebleness of which joke so annoyed me, that I am half inclined to put his name in the pillory of public print—(what a glorious expression for our own Midlothian Mouther)—but I refrain, for reasons connected with Lord ARTHUR.
I must say that I think Bisley has a more business-like look than Wimbledon ever had, though perhaps this is scarcely to the taste of the average feminine visitor, who used to enjoy pic-nicing to the accompaniment of whizzing bullets, and does not appreciate the latter without the former. The shooting was very uncertain in the first stage of the Queen's, as the wind was in a variable mood—(is the wind feminine, I wonder?)—going sometimes at eighteen and sometimes at thirty miles an hour, which was disconcerting and inconsiderate behaviour (it must be feminine!)—calculated to annoy any right-minded Volunteer! Indeed, one notoriously good shot, Private CHICKEN, although a good plucked one—having made six misses in ten shots—declined to be roasted by his friends, and retired into his casserole—which is French for tent, I believe—while several other marksmen (why marksmen?) found themselves carefully placing their bullets on other people's targets.
However, I was much struck with the equanimity with which reverses were accepted by the members of our gallant Amateur Army, and intend composing an ode in their honour, to be sung in camp to the accompaniment of bullets, bagpipes, and brass bands! (more alliteration for the Midlothian Maltese Marriage Merchant), the refrain of which will run thus:—
The Volunteer! The Volunteer!! No matter how the wind may veer! Will have no fear! and will not sweer! so do not jeer!!! the Volunteer!!!"
—appropriate patriotic music to which will be written by Signor CLEMENTI SCHIOTTI!
There is no racing of any importance this week, there being only a small Meeting under Pic Nic Rules, at a place called Goodwood—(I write of it in this contemptuous way, as I am not going myself)—somewhere on the coast of the Solent—to which I need not allude at any length; I will, therefore, only mention one race having been so successful lately, that I can afford to rest on my oars—(rather an insecure position by the way, for anyone who can't swim!) and remain as usual
Yours devotedly, LADY GAY.
CHESTERFIELD CUP SELECTION.
To win such a race as the Chesterfield Cup, Is a task wanting speed and endurance; And the duty of all, ere the ghost giving up, Is to quickly effect an Insurance."
P.S.—I don't see any sense in this, but the rhyme is good!
* * * * *
* * * * *
WILLIAM THE WHEELMAN.
Enthusiastic Cyclist loquitur:—
I have noticed with unfeigned and real pleasure, The rapid growth of Cycling. (How it jumps!) To those who have the energy and leisure It affords—(Confound this saddle! it so bumps!) What otherwise would be quite unattainable, A healthy, and a pleasurable form Of exercise. (Yes, health is hereby gainable; But I am most uncomfortably warm!)
It gives them the advantages of travel, (By Jingo! I was nearly over then! A tumble and the "gravel-rash" would gravel The nimblest of extremely Grand Old Men) Which, previous to the Cycle's happy advent, Were out of almost everybody's reach. (And to the "spirits" of the cycling-cad vent. 'Arry on Wheels the law must manners teach.)
It's really very much more profitable Than is the long luxurious rail way journey. (If in the saddle I feel not more stable, I'll be "unhorsed," like tilter in a tourney!) Monotonous the journey from the City, Along a fixed unalterable route. (This is an old "bone-shaker." 'Tis a pity! For over the front wheel one's apt to shoot.)
The traveller's whirled from station unto station, (I wish there were more stations on this road,) With hardly half a chance for observation. (If I know where I am, may I be blowed!), Without an opportunity to examine The district. (Wish that I could spot a pub! For I am overdone with thirst and famine, And see no chance of tipple or of grub!)
(I must travel many miles o'er clay or cobble, I fear, before I'll have a real rest, The big wheel and the little shift and wobble, I think the low pneumatic Cycle's best. Eh? "Dangerous to Cyclists!" That's a notice, I fancy, that suggests a spin down-hill. How stiff I feel! How very parched my throat is! Hold up! By Jove, but that was near a spill!)
I emphasise the fact that I consider That, physically—(Pheugh! that little wheel Is dangerous as poor old WELLER's "widder,") Yes, morally, and socially, I feel The benefits of Cycling are unbounded, Almost—(Almost I fear a nasty fall! I wish, with big and little wheel confounded, That I were on a Safety, after all!)
* * * * *
WHISPER BY AN ILL WIND.—If Alderman KNILL cannot conscientiously attend the Established Church service, whereat it is not essential for a Lord Mayor to be present, the Court of Aldermen ought to be proud of him, and elect him "Willy-Knilly" to be Lord Mayor all the same. Whatever may be the result, of Alderman KNILL nothing but good can be said. "Nil nisi bonum."
* * * * *
BLACK GAME.—"Bother Morocco!" says a Sportsman. "What's the news from the Moors?"
* * * * *
A PROSPECT OF THE TWELFTH.
(BY AN IMPRESSIONIST.)
Certainly, I can foresee my adventures. I can tell of my march over the heather, of my delight as the breezy air sweeps over the moors, and helps to bronze my already sunburnt face!
I can fancy the chatter of the keeper as he holds my second gun, and pays me that attention which can only be wiped off by tips! I can hear the sound of the first shot, and decipher the meaning of the initial puff of smoke!
I can see the shadows disappearing as lunchtime comes to hand. I can recognise the cart with its goodly contents, and the girls who will sit beside us as we discuss our modest pies (hot and savoury,) and quaff our '84. And then I can hear the retreating footsteps as the darlings trip away, leaving us to resume our chase after the birds.
And then the shadows will grow longer, and the sun will set behind the hills in a mass of purple, red, and gold; and it will be time for us to turn our faces towards the shooting-box that will shelter us through the long watches of the summer's night.
And lastly I can see the final halt at the poulterer's, as we purchase the grouse to fill our bags before the journeying home.
* * * * *
A GEOGRAPHICAL THEORY.—"Where is Liberia?" inquired one cultured person of another, a propos of Mrs. RICKS's interview with the QUEEN. "I'm sure I don't know," was the answer, "but—judging by the name—I should think it was exactly opposite to Siberia."
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* * * * *
NO. I.—TO A LADY ON WHOSE TABLE-CLOTH HE HAD UPSET THE MUSTARD-POT.
Dear Lady, in your dining-room I sat, a melancholy slave. Your smiles could hardly chase my gloom; While others jested, I was grave. And still you saw me sit and sit— "Enough of this," you said, "come, come, Be cheerful." While I merely bit A foolish, irresponsive thumb, And found no comfort in the act, And cursed myself, the clumsy Goth, As void of fingers as of tact, Who spilt the mustard on the cloth!
That was the cause of all my woe— Good lack, I blame my thumbs in vain; Still on the cloth's expanded snow I seem to see that yellow stain. And still you sit and speak me fair, And still your Butler grimly smiles, The while I paint in mustard there A sketch-map of the British Isles. I think it had repaid my guilt Had you flashed fire like Ashtaroth, And scorched the clumsy wretch who spilt That flood of mustard on your cloth.
Beef, pudding, cherry-tart, and cream, What more could mortal man desire? I munched them idly in a dream, My head sang like a village choir. I fumbled with the silver pot From which that tawny torrent ran; I heard you say it mattered not, To cheer a miserable man. So here I thank you; may I be Extinct as is the Behemoth Rather than spill by Fate's decree Once more the mustard on your cloth.
* * * * *
THE NEXT AFRICAN MISSION.
(TELEGRAPHIC PRECIS OF THE NEGOCIATIONS.)
First Day.—Arrived safely at the Sultan's capital. Everything in proper order. Draft Treaty in my trunk with my diplomatic uniform. Escort in marching order. Ammunition in waggon. Quite ready to commence negociations. Only waiting for the conjuring paraphernalia of Herr VON KLEVERMANN to come up with us. Thought that that special morning performance before the King and Queen of the Cannibal Islands would delay matters.
Second Day.—Herr VON KLEVERMANN and his traps have arrived in camp. Looked over the conjuring tricks. Sorry to find that one of the best (the Inexhaustible Bottle) has been stolen by the Queen of the Cannibal Islands. As time is an object, unable to send back to recover it. Might have to fight for it, too, which would possibly lessen the numbers of our escort. Experts declare that the Inexhaustible Bottle could only be secured at the point of the bayonet. Have arranged for a meeting with the Sultan to-morrow.
Third Day.—Sultan's toothache better. His Majesty having sent word that he would be glad to see me, I, accompanied by the Interpreter, the Commander of the Escort, and last, but certainly not least, Herr VON KLEVERMANN, arrived at the Palace. Found that the Lord High Chamberlain had been removed yesterday. The Lord High Executioner was acting in his stead. In fact, this overworked official seemed to be the solitary survivor of the Imperial Household. The Lord High Executioner told us that His Majesty had been very irritable yesterday. The Sultan, he said, was now in a good temper, and was quite harmless. I found His Majesty most gracious. However, he said that he was not quite prepared to sign a Commercial Treaty. He offered, in lieu of signature, to give me twelve sacks of emeralds (uncut), and the wives of six of his Field-Marshals. Explained that no representative of England could entertain such a suggestion. The Sultan, upon this, terminated the interview.
Fourth Day.—The Sultan having learned that Herr VON KLEVERMANN was a member of my suite, expressed a wish for a second meeting. I consequently attended at the Palace. Herr VON KLEVERMANN, having produced a number of artificial-flowers, a birdcage, and a rabbit, from an Opera-hat, His Majesty asked the price. I immediately replied, a Treaty of Commerce. I am to sail again to-morrow.
Fifth Day.—Had another interview with His Majesty. The Sultan wanted to know the terms of the proposed Treaty. I replied, free access to the interior for British merchandise, and the abolition of slavery. His Majesty replied, he did not mind the abolition of slavery so much, on the understanding that the regulation did not apply to him. Herr VON KLEVERMANN then produced his Magic hat, and brought out from it a cup of coffee, half-a-dozen recently-washed handkerchiefs, and a white mouse. The last item caused us to be hurriedly expelled from the Palace. It appears that the Sultan greatly objects to mice. The Interpreter should have informed me of this peculiarity.
Sixth Day.—Received a message from His Majesty to the effect that he would be glad to see me and Herr VON KLEVERMANN again, on the condition that nothing objectionable should be produced from the Magic hat. Herr VON KLEVERMANN once more gave a seance. The eminent entertainer extracted from the Gibus a portmanteau, a soup-tureen, and a lady's watch. His Majesty greatly delighted. He signed the Treaty, and possessed himself of the hat.
Seventh Day.—Knowing that it was as well to leave the country as soon as possible, started early. Herr VON KLEVERMANN had expressed his doubts whether His Majesty would be satisfied. It appears that the Magic hat requires a good deal of preparation to be effective. The Herr's forebodings of evil were speedily verified. The Mission had not gone a mile before we were followed by the entire army. We made a demonstration with the machine-gun, which had the effect of destroying six or seven brigades of the enemy. The Sultan in person, declared that he considered the Treaty null. Nothing to do but retire as best we could.
Eighth Day.—Deeply regret failure of the Mission. However, find that the King and Queen of the Cannibal Islands are anxious for annexation to England. They seem impressed with the notion that the British Government have power to cause a flow of spirits from the Inexhaustible Bottle which, since the departure of Herr VON KLEVERMANN, has ceased to yield alcoholic drinks. Of course, shall do nothing in this new matter until I receive further instructions.
Ninth Day.—Embarked on my return home.
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ADVICE TO THE G.O.M.
(FROM A MATHEMATICAL TORY.)
Take forty-two, and carry eight (Eight hours, I mean), then mind your eye; Bring all your items up to date, And do your best to multiply Your sheep by next subtracting votes From over-suffraged Tory goats. By Registration Law perplexed, Take "qualifying periods" next, And at one swoop reduce with glee Twelve months, or more, to only three. Add labour to your motley crew, Subtract (from life) a church or two. Produce, with geometric skill, The lines of many a promised bill. But state—the Unionists to vex— That Home Rule always equals x. Raise, in a rash, disastrous hour, Campaigning Ireland to a power. And thus, to prayers and protests deaf, Bisect the Empire. Q.E.F.
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PRETENCE VERSUS DEFENCE.
SCENE—Whitehall. Time—The Present. Enter Universal Inspector-General, accompanied by Mr. Admiralty Official.
Universal Inspector-General. So you are going to have Naval Manoeuvres after all, Mr. Admiralty Official?
Mr. Adm. Official. Yes, General, we are.
Un. Ins.-Gen. And are you going to do anything new this time?
Mr. Ad. Off. Nothing more than the usual meaningless cruising.
Un. Ins.-Gen. I read something about the landing of the wounded?
Mr. Ad. Off. Ah—that is new! We are going to "assume" a number of wounded. To quote from the Regulations—"Before the ships leave for the ports, officers in command of fleets and squadrons are to communicate to each Commander-in-Chief, by telegraph, the aggregate number of assumed wounded that may be expected to reach his port."
Un. Ins.-Gen. Tell me what do we want with these pointless Manoeuvres? Wouldn't it have answered everyone's purpose if there had been a lecture in lieu of them at the Royal United Service Institution?
Mr. Ad. Off. I should not be surprised.
Un. Ins.-Gen. Then why run into this unnecessary expense?
Mr. Ad. Off. You really must ask my successor!
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THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CANVASS.
(A PURELY IMAGINARY SKETCH.)
SCENE—A Portico in Portman Square. Mr. BENJAMIN GULCHER (an ardent Radical Artisan, canvassing the district on behalf of a "pal" of his, who is putting up as a Labour Candidate), discovered on the doorstep.
Mr. Gulcher (to himself—after knocking). Some might think it was on'y waste of time me callin' at a swell 'ouse o' this sort—but them as lives in the 'ighest style is orfen the biggest demmycrats. Yer never know! Or p'raps this Sir NORMAN NASEBY ain't made his mind up yet, and I can tork him over to our way o' thinking. (The doors are suddenly flung open by two young men in a very plain and sombre livery.) Two o' the young 'uns, I s'pose. (Aloud.) 'Ow are yer? Father in, d'yer know?
First Footman (loftily). I don't know anything about your father, I'm sure. Better go down the airey-steps and inquire there.
Mr. G. (annoyed with himself.) It's my mistake. I didn't see yer were on'y flunkeys at first. It's yer Guv'nor I want—the ole man!
First Footman (with cold dignity). If you are illewding to Sir NORMAN, he is not at home.
Mr. G. (indignantly). 'Ow can yer tell me sech a falsehood, when I can see him myself, a-dodgin' about down there in the passage! (Forces his way past the astonished men into the hall, and addresses a stately Butler in plain clothes.) 'Ere, Sir NASEBY, I've come in to 'ave a little tork with you on the quiet like.
The Butler (not displeased). I don't happen to be Sir NORMAN himself, my good man. Sir NORMAN is out.
Mr. G. Out, is he? that's a pity! I wanted to see him on important business. But look 'ere—p'raps his Missus is in—She'll do! (To himself.) I gen'ally git along with the wimmin-folk—some 'ow!
The Butler. I can't say if her Ladyship is at home. If you like to send up your name, I'll inquire.
Mr. G. You tell her Mr. BENJAMIN GULCHER is 'ere, if she'll step down a minnit. She needn't 'urry, yer know, if she's 'aving her dinner or cleanin' herself. (To himself, as the Butler departs noiselessly.) Civil-spoken party that—one o' the lodgers, seemin'ly. Roomy sort o' crib this 'ere. Wonder what they pay a week for it!
Butler (returning). Her Ladyship will see you, if you will step this way.
[Mr. G. is taken up a staircase, and ushered into the presence of Lady NASEBY, who is seated at her writing-table.
Lady N. (still writing). One moment, please. My husband is out just now—but if you will kindly state the nature of your business with him, I daresay I could—(She looks up.) Good Heavens! What could have possessed CLARKSON to show such a person as that in here! (To herself.)
Mr. G. (in his most ingratiating manner). Well, Mum, in the absence of his Lordship, I am sure you'll prove a 'ighly agreerble substitoot!
Lady N. (freezingly). May I ask you to tell me—in two words—what it is you wish to see him about.
Mr. G. Certingly you may, Mum! It's like this 'ere. I want your good Gentleman to promise me his vote and influence for Mr. JOE QUELCH, as we're runnin' for a Labour Candidate this Election.
Lady N. I really cannot answer for my husband's views on political matters, Mr.—a—SQUELCHER; I make it a rule never to interfere.
Mr. G. Jest what my old woman sez. I've learnt her not to argy with me on politics. But, yer see, a deal depends on the way a thing is done, and—(insinuatingly)—a good-lookin' woman liks yourself—(Lady N. gasps out a faint little "Oh!" here)—oh, I'm on'y tellin' yer what yer know already—'ud find it easy enough to get her better 'alf to vote her way, if she chooses. You take him some evenin'—say a Saturday, now—when he's jest 'ad enough to feel 'appy, and coax him into giving his vote to QUELCH. You know 'ow to do it! And he's the right man, mind yer, QUELCH is—the right man!
Lady N. (almost inaudibly). How—how dare you come into my house, and offer me this impertinent advice! How—?
Mr. G. (good-temperedly). Easy there, Lady—no impertinence intended, I'm sure. I shouldn't come in 'ere, intrudin' on the sacred privacy of the British 'Ome, which I'm quite aware an Englishman's 'Ouse is his Castle—and rightly so—if I didn't feel privileged like. I'm canvassing, I am!
Lady N. You are taking a most unpardonable liberty, and, if you have the slightest sense of decency—
Mr. G. (imploringly). Now look 'ere—don't let us 'ave a vulgar row over this! I ain't goin' to lose my temper. Strike—but 'ear me! If we don't think alike, there's no reason why you and me should fall out. I put that to you. It's likely enough you don't know JOE QUELCH?
Lady N. (with temper). I never heard of the man in my life!
Mr. G. (triumphantly). See there, now. That's where canvassing comes in, d'yer see? It's our honly way of combating the hignirance and hapathy of the Upper Classes. Well, I'll tell yer somethink about 'im. QUELCH worked as a lighterman on a barge fourteen years for eighteen bob a-week. Ain't that a Man of the People for yer? And if he gits into Parliment, he'll insist on Labour bein' served fust; he's in favour of Shortened Hours of Labour, Taxation o' Ground Rents, One Man one Vote, Triannual Parliments and Payment o' Members, Compulsory Allotments, Providin' Work by Gov'ment for the Unemployed, Abolition o' the 'Ouse o' Lords, and a Free Breakfast Table. Ah, and he means 'aving it too. That's what JOE is. But look 'ere, why not come and 'ear what he's got to say for yerself? He's 'oldin' a small open-air meetin' in Kipper's Court this evenin', ar-past eight percisely. You come and bring yer 'usban', and I'll guarantee you git a good place close to the cheer. I'll interdooce yer to him arterwards, and he'll answer any questions yer like to arsk him—fair and straight!
Lady N. (feebly). Thank you very much; but—but we are unfortunately dining out this evening, so I'm afraid—
Mr. G. (more in sorrow than in anger). There it is, yer see. Yer afraid. Afraid o' 'earing the truth. Carn't trust yerself to listen to both sides. But I don't despair of yer yet. See 'ere; is it 'Ome Rule that separates us? 'Cos, if so, it needn't. QUELCH don't care no more for 'Ome Rule than that 'ere penwiper do, between you and me! On'y, yer see, he carn't say so at present, d'yer ketch my meanin'? (Lady N. rings the bell in despair.) Oh, thankee, Mum, if you are so kind, I'll take whatever yer goin' to 'ave yerself, I ain't partickler.
Lady N. (as the Butler appears). CLARKSON, show this—this gentleman the way out.
Mr. G. Don't you trouble, old pal, I can find it for myself. (To Lady N.) I b'lieve, if the truth was known, you're comin' round already, Mum. I'll tell yer what I'll do. I'll leave some o' these 'ere little pamphlicks, as you might git your good man to run his eye over. "Why I am a Radikil," "The Infamy of Tory Gov'ment," "'Ow we are Robbed!" &c. And 'ere's a picter-poster—"The 'Orrers of Coercion under the Brutal BALFOUR!" Yer might put it up in yer front winder—it don't commit yer to nothing, yer know!—it'll amuse the kids, if you've any family.
Clarkson (in his ear). Will you walk downstairs quietly, or shall I have to pitch you?
Mr. G. (roused at last). What, I'm to cop the push, am I? An' what for, eh? What 'ave I done more than you swells ha' bin doin' ever since the Elections started? (To Lady N.) You come pokin' into our 'ouses, without waitin' to be invited, arskin' questions and soft-sawderin', and leavin' tracks and coloured picters—and we put up with it all. But as soon as one of us tries it on, what do yer do?—ring for the Chucker-out! Ah, and reason enough, too—yer know yer'll get beaten on the argyments! (Here he is gently but firmly led out by CLARKSON, and concludes his observations on the' stairs outside.) Stuck-up, pudden'-'eaded fossils!... battenin' on the People's brains!... your time'll come some day!... Wait till QUELCH 'ears o' this! &c., &c.
Lady N. (alone). Thank goodness he's gone!—but what an ordeal! I really must part with CLARKSON. And—whatever the Primrose League Council may say—I shall have to tell them I must give up canvassing. I don't think I can do it any more—after this!
* * * * *
"Read it!" said Everyone. "Read what?" asked the Baron. "The Wrecker," answered Everyone. "I will," quoth the Baron, promptly. And—it was done. It took some time to do, but of this more anon. The Baron's time is fully occupied, never mind how, but fully, take his word for it. A copy of The Wrecker was at once provided by its publishers, Messrs. CASSELL & Co., and the question for the Baron to consider, was not "What will I do with it?" but How, when, and where, will I read it? Clearly 'twas no ordinary book. Everybody was saying so, and what Everybody is saying has considerable weight. A book not to be trained through at express pace, so that the beauties of the surrounding scenery would be lost, but something that when once taken up cannot be put down again, like the brass knobs worked by an electric-battery,—something giving you fits and starts, and shocks, as do the electric brass-knobs aforesaid; something that, if you begin it at 4 P.M., exhausts you by dinner-time, and after dinner, keeps you awake till you read the last line at 2 A.M., and then tumble into bed parched, fevered, exhausted, but in ecstasies of delight, feeling as if you were the hero who had experienced all the dangers, and had come out of them triumphantly.
Such were the Baron's anticipations as to the joys in store for him on reading The Wrecker, by Messrs. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON and LLOYD OSBOURNE. The Baron hit on a plan, he must isolate himself as if he were a telephone-wire. "Good," quoth he, "Isolation is the sincerest flattery,—towards authors." The friend in need, not in the sense of being out at elbows, appeared at the right moment, as did the Slave of the Lamp to Aladdin. "Come to my house in the mountains," said this Genius, heartily; "come to the wold where the foxes dwell, not a hundred miles from a cab-stand, yet far far away,—amid lovely scenery, in beautiful air, to quiet reposeful rooms, with the silence of the cloister and the jollity of the Hall where beards wag all, in the evening, when the daily task is done." "Friend REGINALD SYDE, I thank thee," responded gratefully the Baron. "I am there!" And in less time than it takes to go the whole distance in a four-horsed coach with a horn blowing and the horses blown, the Baron, travelling by special express, was there,—all there! The Authorities on the line made no extra charge for taking The Wrecker as luggage.
The weather was favourable for reading; an interminable downpour, when one is grateful for any book, even a Dictionary of Dates, or the remains of a Boyle's Court Guide. The Brave Baron shut himself into his room, laid in stores of tobacco and grog, decided, in the course of half an hour, on a comfortable position, and then laid himself out for the perusal, not to say the study, of The Wrecker. Introductory Chapter excellent,—appetising. "Oliver asks for more," murmurs the Baron to himself, settling down to "the Yarn." Chapter I. Now a strange thing happened. The Story broke off! suddenly—inexplicably. Descriptions, yes, by the handful, by the cartload—all excellent, no doubt—and much to be appreciated by a reader with nothing on earth to do the whole year round; but, about page 53, the Baron began to be uneasy, shifted his pillows, refilled pipe, took "modest quencher," and then turned to grapple with The Wrecker. No good. Where the deuce had the Story got to? When would the excitement come in? Where was the sensation? Toiling on, went the Baron, stopping frequently to wish he had a dictionary wherein he might ascertain the meaning of strange, uncouth words and phrases, and to anathematise the Authors separately or together. Had OSBOURNE interfered with STEVENSON, or was STEVENSON allowing OSBOURNE to have his say, reserving himself for a grand coup at half-price? Would OSBOURNE chuck STEVENSON overboard, or was it to be t'other way off? At page 90 the Baron decided he would take a walk round, even if it were pouring cats and dogs, and exclaiming, "Air, air, give me air!" he rushed forth. It was fine. A brisk walk and a talk—just like King CHARLES "who walked and talked"—with his genial host REGI SYDE, restored the Baron's circulation, and made him wonder to himself at the reported great circulation of the book. Back to his room again—into easy chair—p. 100—Happy Thought. This book is about ships and sea, The Baron will be a Skipper!—and so he skips, skips, with great relief, until "A sail in sight appears,"—spell it "sale," and there's a picture of it—"He hails it with three cheers!"
Now the Story, at p. 134, begins in good earnest, and, except for the idle dilletante reader, all the foregoing, from the first Chapter, might go by the board—that is, as far as the Baron can make out. He speaks only for himself. The Chapter describing the sale by auction is first-rate; no doubt about it. The Baron's spirits, just now down to zero, rose to over 100 deg.. On we go: Throw over OSBOURNE, and come along with Louis STEVENSON of Treasure Island. Bah! that exciting Chapter was but a flash in the pan: brilliant but brief: and "Here we are!" growls the Baron, "struggling along among a lot of puzzling lumber in search of excitement number two, which does not seem to come until Chapter XXIV., p. 383." Then there is a good blow out—of brains, a scrimmaging, a banging, and a firing, and a scuffling, and a fainting, and one marvellous effect. And then—is heard no more. The Baron harks back, harks for'ard. No: puzzlement is his portion. Who was who, when everybody turned out to be somebody else? Where was the Money? or more important, Where is the Interest? "Well, that I cannot tell," quoth he, "but 'twas a famous queer Sto-ree!" Perhaps the Baron, reading against time, did not do it justice; or, perhaps he did. Anyway, meeting a Lady-Stevensonian admirer, the Baron ventured to communicate to her his great disappointment; whereupon she timidly whispered, "Well, Baron, to tell you the truth, I quite agree with you. I found it awfully tedious—except the sensations; but everybody is praising it; so please, O please, do not betray my secret!" "Madam, a lady's secret, even the universally-known Lady Audley's Secret, is inviolable when intrusted to
Your devoted Servant, THE BARON DE B.-W."
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I long for sunshine, such as there must be In Egypt, blazing on the native Fellah; I see no sun or sky, I only see My own Umbrella!
"No sun, no moon," as HOOD wrote long ago, "No sky," no star—called, by the Romans, stella— Like negative November here below, My own Umbrella!
Think not of "AMARYLLIS in the shade"! Can I play tennis in the rain with BELLA, Holding aloft, while through the flood I wade, My own Umbrella?
I'm sick of sitting in the Club to scoff; I'll take a walk. Hang me! Some English "fellah" Has left his rotten gamp, and carried off My own Umbrella!
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[fist] 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.