OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
October 10, 1892.
AT A HYPNOTIC SEANCE.
SCENE—A Public Hall in a provincial town. The Hypnotist—a tall, graceful, and handsome young man, in well-fitting evening clothes—has already succeeded in putting most of his subjects to sleep, and is going round and inspecting them critically, as they droop limply on a semicircle of chairs, in a variety of unpicturesque attitudes. The only Lady on the platform is evidently as yet in full possession of her senses.
First Female Spectator (to Second). MARIA MANGLES do take a time sending off, don't she?
Second F.S. (also a friend of Miss MANGLES). Yes, that she do—it gives her such a silly look, sitting there, the on'y one with her senses about her!
First F.S. It's all affectation—she could shut her eyes fast enough if she liked!
Second F.S. The 'Ipnotiser's coming round to her now—she'll have to go off now. (With a not unpleasurable anticipation.) I expect he'll make her do all manner o' ridic'lous things!
First F.S. Well, it will be a lesson, to her against making' herself so conspicuous another time. I shan't pity her.
The Hyp. (after a brief colloquy with Miss MANGLES). I see I am not likely to succeed with this Lady; so, with many thanks to her on behalf of myself and the audience for coming forward, I will detain her no longer.
[Applause, amidst which Miss M. descends to her seat in the body of the hall, with a smile of conscious triumph.
First F.S. (disappointed). I don't see what she's done to clap their hands about, myself!
Second F.S. Nor I neither—taking up his time all for nothing—depend upon it she wouldn't have gone up if he hadn't been so nice-looking!
First F.S. I wouldn't like to think that of her myself; but, anyhow, she didn't get much by it, did she? He soon sent her packing!
Male Spectator (to a Woman in front of him). Evening, Mrs. MIDGELLY—I see they've got your good man up on the platform.
Mrs. M. He will go, Mr. BUDKIN! He's gone up every night the 'Ipnotiser's been here, and says he feels it's going to do him good. So this evening I said I'd come in too, and judge for myself. What good he expects to get, laying there like a damp dishclout, I don't know!
[Meanwhile the Hypnotist has borrowed a silver-handled umbrella from the audience, and thrust it before the faces of one or two loutish-looking youths, who immediately begin to squint horribly and follow the silver-top with their noses, till they knock their heads together.
Mr. Budkin (to Mrs. MIDGELLY). He's going to give your husband a turn of it now.
[The umbrella-handle is applied to Mr. M., a feeble-looking little man with a sandy top-knot; he grovels after the silver-top when it is depressed, and makes futile attempts to clamber up the umbrella after it when it is held aloft.
Mrs. M. (severely). I haven't patience to look at him. A Kitten 'ud have had more sense!
The Hyp. (calling up one of the heavy youths). Can you whistle, Sir? Yes? Then whistle something. (The Youth whistles a popular air in a lugubrious tone.) Now you can't whistle—try. (The Youth tries—and produces nothing but a close imitation of an air-cushion that is being unscrewed.) Now, if I were not to wake him up, this young gentleman's friends would never enjoy the benefit of his whistle again!
Voice from a Back Row. Don't wake him, Guv'nor, we can bear it!
Hyp. (after restoring the lost talent, and calling up another Youth, somewhat smartly attired). Now, Sir, what do you drink?
The Youth (with a sleepy candour). Beer when I can get 'old of it.
A Friend of his in Audience. JIM's 'aving a lark with him—he said as 'ow he meant to kid him like—he ain't 'ipnotised, bless yer!
Hyp. But you like water, too, don't you? (JIM admits this—in moderation.) Try this. (He gives him a tumbler of water.) Is that good water?
Jim (smacking his lips). That's good water enough, Sir.
Hyp. It's bad water—taste it again.
[JIM tastes, and ejects it with every symptom of extreme disapproval.
Jim's Friend. Try him with a drop o' Scotch in it—'e'll get it down!
Hyp. (to JIM). There is no water in that glass—it's full of sovereigns, don't you see? (JIM agrees that this is so, and testifies to his conviction by promptly emptying the contents of the glass into his trousers' pocket) What have you got in your pocket?
Jim (chuckling with satisfaction). Quids—golden sovereigns!
Hyp. Wake up! Now what do you find in your pocket—any sovereigns?
Jim (surprised). Sovereigns? No, Sir! (After putting his hand in his pocket, bringing it out dripping, and dolefully regarding the stream of water issuing from his leg.) More like water, Sir.
[He makes dismal efforts to dry himself, amidst roars of laughter.
His Friend. Old JIM didn't come best out o' that!
Hyp. (to JIM). You don't feel comfortable? (Emphatic assent from JIM.) Yes, you do, you feel no discomfort whatever.
[JIM resumes his seat with a satisfied expression.
An Open-minded Spect. Mind yer, if this yere 'Ipnotism can prevent water from being wet, there must be something in it!
_Hyp._ I will now give you an illustration of the manner in which, by hypnotic influence, a subject can_ be affected with an entirely imaginary pain. Take this gentleman. (_Indicating the unfortunate Mr. MIDGELLY, who is slumbering peacefully._) Now, what pain shall we give him?
A Voice. Stomach-ache!
[This suggestion, however, is so coyly advanced that it fortunately escapes notice.
Hyp. Tooth-ache? Very good—we will give him tooth-ache.
[The Audience receive this with enthusiasm, which increases to rapturous delight when Mr. MIDGELLY's cheek begins to twitch violently, and he nurses his jaw in acute agony; the tooth-ache is then transferred to another victim, who writhes in an even more entertaining manner, until the unhappy couple are finally relieved from torment.
A Spect. Well, it's better nor any play, this is—but he ought to ha' passed the toothache round the lot of 'em, just for the fun o' the thing!
Mrs. Midgelly. I should ha' thought there was toothache enough without coming here to get more of it, but so long as MIDGELLY's enjoyin' himself, I shan't interfere!
[The Hypnot. has impressed his subjects with the idea that there is an Angel at the other end of the hall, and they are variously affected by the celestial apparition, some gazing with a rapt grin, while others invoke her stiffly, or hail her like a cab. Mr. MIDGELLY alone exhibits no interest.
Mr. Budkin (to Mrs. M.). Your 'usband don't seem to be putting himself out, Angel or no Angel.
Mrs. M. (complacently). He knows too well what's due to me, Mr. BUDKIN. I'm Angel enough for him!
Hyp. I shall now persuade this Gentleman that there is a beautiful young lady in green at the door of this hall. (To Mr. M.) Do you see her, Sir?
Mr. M. (rising with alacrity). I do. Lovely creature!
[He suddenly snatches up a decanter of water, and invites his invisible charmer, in passionate pantomime, to come up and share it with him—to the infinite delight of the Audience, and disgust of his Wife.
AFTER THE PERFORMANCE.
Mr. Midgelly (as he rejoins his Wife). I felt the influence more strongly to-night than what I have yet; and the Professor says, if I only keep on coming up every night while he's here, I shall soon be completely susceptible to—Why, whatever's the matter, my dear?
Mrs. M. Matter! You're quite susceptible enough as it is; and, now I know how you can go on, you don't catch me letting you get 'ipnotised again. You and your young lady in green indeed!
Mr. M. (utterly mystified). Me and my—I don't know what you're alluding to. It's the first I've heard of it!
Mrs. M. (grimly). Well, it won't be the last by a long way. Oh, the insight I've had into your character this evening, MIDGELLY!
[Mr. M. is taken home, to realise that Hypnotism is not altogether without its dangers.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THUNDERS FROM SNOWDON.
"Nothing could have served my purpose better, than to have drawn this illuminating flash out of the thunders," &c., &c.—Vide Duke of Argyll's Letter to The Times, and his Letter to Somebody who had drawn his Grace's attention to Mr. Gladstone's Snowdon Speech.
* * * * *
MEM. FROM WHITBREADFORDSHIRE.—Sir BLUNDELL MAPLE is reported to have said, "I'll give you a good tip. Back Duke—and my horses for the Cambridgeshire." New Carpet Knight not successful as a sporting tipster, seeing that Colonel DUKE, though he fought well, was beaten. Perhaps Sir BLUNDELL meant the Duke, who races every night at Drury Lane. That's a very good tip, as safe as houses—Drury Lane houses, of course.
* * * * *
A CITY PARADOX.
Our City Aldermanic lights Who talk (and live) a trifle high, In stern defence of civic rights Profess themselves prepared to die. And yet the Aldermanic crowd— It's amply true, say what you will— With open eyes have just allowed The Mayoralty to come to KNILL!
* * * * *
"HABITUAL DRUNKARDS COMMITTEE."—An awful-looking heading to a paragraph! What a picture the imagination may conjure up of a Committee of Habitual Drunkards! There would be the Honble. TOM TOPER, Lord SOTT, SAM SOKER, Marquis of MOPPS and BROOMS, Captain FUDDLE, DICK SWIZZLER, R.N., FRANK FARGONE (of the Daily Booze), with TITE ASA DRUMM in the Chair, or if not, under the table with the others.
* * * * *
CONVERSATIONAL HINTS FOR YOUNG SHOOTERS.
(BY MR. PUNCH'S OWN GROUSE IN THE GUN-ROOM.)
Many manuals have been published for the edification of beginners in the art of shooting. If that art can indeed be acquired by reading, there is no reason why any youth, whose education has been properly attended to, should not be perfectly proficient in it without having fired a single shot. But, Mr. Punch has noticed in all these volumes a grave defect. In none of them is any instruction given which shall enable a man to obtain a conversational as well as a merely shooting success. Every pursuit has its proper conversational complement. The Farmer must know how to speak of crops and the weather in picturesque and inflammatory language; the Barrister must note, for use at the dinner-table, the subtle jests of his colleagues, the perplexity of stumbling witnesses, and the soul-stirring jokes of Judges; the Clergyman must babble of Sunday-schools and Choir-practices. Similarly, a Shooter must be able to speak of his sport and its varied incidents. To be merely a good shot is nothing. Many dull men can be that. The great thing, surely, is to be both a good shot and a cheerful light-hearted companion, with a fund of anecdotes and a rich store of allusions appropriate to every phase of shooting. Mr. Punch ventures to hope that the hints he has here put together, may be of value to all who propose to go out and "kill something" with a gun.
No subject offers a greater variety of conversation than this. But, of course, the occasion counts for a good deal. It would be foolish to discharge it (metaphorically speaking) at the head of the first comer. You must watch for your opportunity. For instance, guns ought not to be talked about directly after breakfast, before a shot has been fired. Better wait till after the shooting-lunch, when a fresh start is being made, say for the High Covert half a mile away. You can then begin after this fashion to your host:—"That's a nice gun of yours, CHALMERS. I saw you doing rare work with it at the corner of the new plantation this morning." CHALMERS is sure to be pleased. You not only call attention to his skill, but you praise his gun, and a man's gun is, as a rule, as sacred to him as his pipe, his political prejudices, his taste in wine, or his wife's jewels. Therefore, CHALMERS is pleased. He smiles in a deprecating way, and says, "Yes, it's not a bad gun, one of a pair I bought last year."
"Would you mind letting me feel it?"
"Certainly not, my dear fellow here you are."
You then interchange guns, having, of course, assured one another that they are not loaded. Having received CHALMERS's gun, you first appear to weigh it critically. Then, with an air of great resolution, you bring it to your shoulder two or three times in rapid succession, and fire imaginary shots at a cloud, or a tuft of grass. You now hand it back to CHALMERS, observing, "By Jove, old chap, it's beautifully balanced! It comes up splendidly. Suits me better than my own." CHALMERS, who will have been going through a similar pantomime with your gun, will make some decently complimentary remark about it, and each of you will think the other a devilish knowing and agreeable fellow.
From this point you can diverge into a discussion of the latest improvements, as, e.g., "Are ejectors really valuable?" This is sure to bring out the man who has tried ejectors, and has given them up, because last year, at one of the hottest corners he ever knew, when the sky was simply black with pheasants, the ejectors of both his guns got stuck. He will talk of this incident as another man might talk of the loss of a friend or a fortune. Here you may say,—"By gad, what frightful luck! What did you do?" He will then narrate his comminatory interview with his gun-maker; others will burst in, and defend ejectors, or praise their own gun-makers, and the ball, once set rolling, will not be stopped until you take your places for the first beat of the afternoon, just as MARKHAM is telling you that his old Governor never shoots with anything but an old muzzle-loader by MANTON, and makes deuced good practice with it too.
"Choke" is not a very good topic; it doesn't last long. After you have asked your neighbour if his gun is choked, and told him that your left barrel has a modified choke, the subject is pretty well exhausted.
"Cast-off." Not to be recommended. There is very little to be made of it.
Something may be done with the price of guns. There's sure to be someone who has done all his best and straightest shooting with a gun that cost him only L15. Everybody else will say, "It's perfect rot giving such high prices for guns. You only pay for the name. Mere robbery." But there isn't one of them who would consent not to be robbed.
It sometimes creates a pretty effect to call your gun "My old fire-iron," or "my bundook," or "this old gas-pipe of mine."
"Bore." Never pun on this word. It is never done in really good sporting society. But you can make a few remarks, here and there, about the comparative merits of twelve-bore and sixteen-bore. Choose a good opening for telling your story of the man who shot with a fourteen-bore gun, ran short of cartridges on a big day, and was, of course, unable to borrow from anyone else. Hence you can deduce the superiority of twelve-bores, as being the more common size.
All these subjects, like all others connected with shooting, can be resumed and continued after dinner, and in the smoking-room. Talk of the staleness of smoke! It's nothing to the staleness of the stories to which four self-respecting smoking-room walls have to listen in the course of an evening.
(To be continued.)
* * * * *
* * * * *
BY-AND-BY LAWS FOR TRAFALGAR SQUARE.
(WHEN MEETINGS ARE HELD IN "TIMES OF POLITICAL OR SOCIAL CRISES.")
1. Cabs, omnibuses, carriages, and pedestrians will be expected to keep clear of the space occupied by the Demonstrators.
2. To prevent destruction of glass and removal of property from shop windows, tradesmen will be expected to put up their shutters several hours before the holding of the meeting.
3. No particular notice will be paid to the transference of property from one leader of labour to another. If done by stealth, it will be accepted as a proof of secret Socialism.
4. No objection will be raised to combats amongst the Demonstrators, with the restriction that no Government property is injured.
5. As the maintaining of the road is a matter of contract, Demonstrators wishing to emphasise their opinions, must bring their own stones.
6. As a good deal of property is expected to change hands during the various proceedings, an application with a description of lost goods, and photograph of supposed thief, can be addressed to the Chief Inspector of Police, Scotland Yard.
7. These regulations (which are tentative) will be in force until after the next General Election, when a fresh series will be published, to be followed by others as occasion may require.
* * * * *
A POOR ROAD TO LEARNING.
SCENE—Interior of a School Board Office. Official discovered hard at work, doing single-handed in London what is done by nearly a thousand officials combined in "Bonnie Scotland." Enter Female Applicant, with infant.
Applicant. Please, Sir, here's my boy. Can you take him?
Official. Certainly. Has he had any education?
App. Well, as he's rising five, not much.
Off. But does he know anything? For instance, has he learned any English history?
App. Not that I know of.
Off. Has he dipped into geography?
App. Well, I don't think he has.
Off. Can he cipher at all?
App. Not very well.
Off. Does he know what two and two make?
App. Well, he has never said he does.
Off. Can he write?
App. Well, no, he doesn't write.
Off. But I suppose he can read? Come, he at least can read?
App. Well, no, Sir, I am afraid he's not much of a scholar. I don't think he can read.
Off. Then he is absolutely ignorant—miserably ignorant.
App. Very likely, Sir,—you know best.
Off. Well, now, my good woman, I will tell you what we will do with him. We will teach him to read, write, and cipher, and give him an excellent education.
App. And you will take care of him, Sir?
Off. Of course we will take care of him; and as for his education, we will—
App. Oh, Sir, so long as you looks after him, never you mind about his education!
* * * * *
A PENITENT ROUNDEL.
I called you MAUDE. I only meant to tease, But somehow, ere I ended, came to laud Your charms in my poor verses. So in these I called you MAUDE.
"My name is MAUD." And I am overawed, Forgive the indiscretion if you please. The spirit Truth, they tell me, is abroad, And since she sojourns still across the seas, I swear I knew the final e a fraud— So that you suffered from no lack of e's I called you MAUDE!
* * * * *
KNILL NISI BOIMUM.
The good common sense of the Common Councilman and Liverymen of the City,—Liverymen not to be led astray by any false lights,—coupled with their truly English love of fairplay, prevailed, and the City Fathers on Goose Day were prevented from following in the goose-steps of that Uncommon Councilman who, bearing the honoured names of BEAUFOY (a fine old Norman-Baron title!) and of MOORE (shade of Sir THOMAS!), made so extraordinary a display of bigotry and ignorance as, it is to be hoped, is rare, and becoming rarer every day, among our worthy JOHN GILPINS of credit and renown East of the Griffin.
But in spite of this nonsensical hot-gospelling rant, Alderman and Sheriff STUART KNILL was elected Lord Mayor, while BEAUFOY MOORE was, so to speak, no MOORE, and, in fact, very much against his will and wish, was reduced to NIL. WILLY-KNILLY he had to cave in. Mr. Punch congratulates the Lord Mayor Elect, but still more does he congratulate the City Fathers on rising above paltry sectarianism, so utterly unworthy of time, place, and persons, and for standing up, in true English fashion, for freedom of worship coupled with absolute Liberty of Conscience.
* * * * *
THE PRIDE OF THE EMPIRE.
At this moment there is really a very excellent extertainment at the Empire Theatre of Varieties, something, or rather many things of which the Management may, and should be proud. A capital troupe of Bicyclists, a Spanish Dancer and singer—whose gestures to the multitude are more intelligible than her language—a graceful, serpentine dancer, and "a very peculiar American Comedian"—all these are a part of the programme. But the best item in this liberal bill of fare is Round the Town, a characteristic Ballet, in five tableaux. The composers of this pleasing piece are Madame KATTI LANNER, and Mr. GEORGE EDWARDES. As the lady is well known for her admirable dances, it may be safely presumed that the gentleman is solely responsible for the plot, or rather "the argument." It runs as follows:—"Dr. Burch, newly arrived in London with his pupils, wishes to show them the sights. What better to begin with than Covent Garden Market in the early morning?" Quite so, the more especially as the lads must be very backward boys. There are six of them, and the youngest seems about thirty, and the oldest about double that age. The Doctor must have rescued them from Epsom Race Course, and apparently is attempting to give them an education fitting them to follow what seems to be his own calling—the profession of an undertaker. These elderly pupils follow their kind preceptor (for, although he is called Burch, there is not the slightest suggestion of the rod about him, and, moreover, his charges are really too elderly to receive chastisement) to the Royal Exchange, the Thames Embankment, and, lastly, to the Empire. During their travels, they meet Mr. Rapless, known as "the Oofless Swell," (a part amusingly played by Mr. W. WARDE), and John Brough, a carpenter with a taste for ballet costumes and drink, the carpenter's wife, and the carpenter's child. Dr. Burch, who is evidently easy-going, but good-hearted, after flirting with a lady who has her boots cleaned before the Royal Exchange, suddenly developes into a philanthropist, not to say a divine. On the carpenter's wife and child appearing on the Thames Embankment in the characters of would-be suicides, the worthy pedagogue convinces them (to quote the programme) "That they have no right to take away the lives which the Almighty has placed in their hands." Mother and child are quickly convinced, and the neat but drunken father (Signorina MALVINA CAVALAZZI) appearing on the scene, the good man informs him that his wife and child are dead, "driven to an untimely grave by his (the intemperate but natty artisan's) desertion and cruelty." The effect of this inaccurate statement is startling. To quote once more from the argument, "incontinently the now penitent ruffian falls fainting to the ground." But he is brought back to himself, his better self, by his child whispering "Father!" The situation is full of pathos, even when witnessed from the Stalls. Recovering his senses, the converted carpenter promptly borrows money from the good old Doctor, and when that estimable gentleman is about to enter the Empire Theatre of Varieties (accompanied by his school), a little later he has the "satisfaction of seeing his protege Mortimer (the ex-ruffian), returning contentedly from his work." This is the simple but pathetic story that Mr. GEO. EDWARDES touchingly tells with the assistance of a full corps de ballet, five tableaux, and last, but certainly not least, the hints of Madame KATTI LANNER.
There are many remarkable persons in Round the Town. Notably an effeminate but substantial stock-broker, who looks like a stock-jobber's maiden-aunt in disguise. Another important personage is a representative of the Navy, whose figure suggests as an appropriate greeting, "Hip, hip, hip, hooray!" Both these characters are well-played, and although subordinate parts, make their mark, or rather, we should say, score heavily. Altogether; the ballet is excellent both in dances and plot. The first is a testimony of the good head of Madame KATTI LANNER, and the last of the equally good heart of Mr. GEORGE EDWARDES. There is no doubt that Round the Town will draw all London to see (in its realistic scenes) all London drawn!
* * * * *
WRITTEN A HUNDRED YEARS HENCE.
(FROM A COLLECTION OF COMMUNICATIONS SUPPLIED BY OUR PROPHETIC COMPILER.)
DEAR MR. PUNCH,—Forgive me for addressing you, but the urgency of the occasion warrants the intrusion. A hundred years since, the old Fighting Foudroyant was sold by the Admiralty to be broken up. The moment the Public of the Period learned the cruel fact through the customary sources of information, they flew to the rescue. Headed by the then LORD MAYOR, they raised a fund to bring back the discarded vessel, and yet in those distant days there were they who denied that the Foudroyant had ever done anything in particular. And now we propose doing the same thing. On the Thames there is an ancient steamboat called Citizen Z, that once belonged to the Company that started penny river lifts. It is certainly rather out of date, but is full of historical memories. It is said that the Cabinet travelled to Greenwich on its venerable boards, where they feasted on the half-forgotten Whitebait, and the entirely, superseded Champagne. It has carried, at one time or another, all the nobility to Rosherville, there to spend (as the old saying went) "a happy day," and yet it is proposed to break it up! Out upon the thought! Have we no veneration for our relics of the past? Cannot we appreciate a boat that should have had an honoured place in the Museum at Woolwich? Do not let this act of Vandalism be done. Save the steamer for the sake of its past.
Yours truly, A REAR-ADMIRAL.
H.M.S. Electric-Balloon, Skye.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,—I appeal to you, and I know I shall not appeal in vain. The picturesque Cabman's Shelter in the middle of Piccadilly is threatened! I hope you will exert your influence to preserve it. It absolutely teems with historical associations. Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL is supposed to have used it for writing his famous letter on the Poor-Laws, and to this day is shown the initials of CHARLES STUART PARNELL which were carved by that celebrated statesman on one of its benches about the middle of the last century—probably in 1854. And why is it to be removed? Simply because it is said to impede the traffic! Could anything be more absurd? Do, pray, save it from the hand of the ruthless "improver." Yours truly,
ONE WHO RESPECTS THE PAST.
Tumbledowns, West Kensington (late Reading).
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
(JEREMIAD BY A MIDDLE-AGED MARTYR TO THE GREAT SEASIDE SUPERSTITION.)
["To middle-aged people, at all events, nothing can be more trying and deleterious than holidays."—Daily News.]
Oh, thanks to thee, thanks to thee, sage unconventional! Heaven be blest, the truth's out, then, at last! Holiday woes—'twould take volumes to mention all!— Now, in the lump, meet a shrewd counterblast. Trying? Of course they are! Most deleterious? Scribe, let me clasp thee, in thought, to this breast! Holiday-hunting is Man's most mysterious, Maddening guest!
Quixote, I swear, was a model of sanity, When with the Holiday-seeker compared. Fidgety folly, and fussy inanity. These be the figments by which we are snared. Soon as you're drawn from your own cosy drawing-room, Far over flood, field, or foam—for your sins— Then, when your breast makes for vulturine gnawing room, Bother begins!
Bother, that bugbear of bufferish Middle-Age! Swift "scurry-funging" may do for the young, The "hey-diddle-diddle, the Cat-and-the-fiddle" age. "Over the moon" I myself once had sprung, Thirty years syne, in sheer fervour athletical— Now, like the dog, I would laugh, and look on. Once, with sheer "drive," I'd a sense sympathetical— Now I have none!
Holiday? Term, Sir, is simply a synonym For—waste of tissue! What doctor will dare Tell his poor patients so? I'll put my tin on him! Rest? Recreation? Pick-up? Change of air? All question-begging fudge-phrases of sophistry! Let city-toilers who're fagged or "run down," Autumnal quiet (in home or in office), try; Not "out of town."
Out of town? Where is the term that's claptrappier? Means out of temper, or out of your mind. Boot-black or old crossing-sweeper's far happier, Tied to his task in the town—as you'll find. Picking up coppers far better than picking up Shells by the sea, or sham friends on the snore. Bah! What have buffers to do with such kicking-up Heels? It's a bore!
Who'll start a League to be called Anti-Holiday? Bet half the middle-aged men-folk will join! Then we might get an occasional jolly day, Free from the pests who perplex and purloin. "Health-Resort" quackery, portmanteau-packery, Cheat-brigade charges and chills I might miss. Dear-bought jimcrackery, female knicknackery!— Oh! 'twere pure bliss!
* * * * *
["The Brighton Police have received orders to move on all organ-grinders."]
Bless you, Brighton Bobby, bless you, Boldly bringing balmy bliss! Barrel—organ barred—I guess you Banish blatant bands with this.
Brazen blasts, by boobies blowing, Bad as barrel's buzz can be. Bid them budge! I'd vote for throwing Beggars like these in the sea.
Battered bands from Bremen, Berlin; Bearded bandits, born between Bari and Bergamo, hurl in! Bathed—that's what they've never been!
Britons all, oh, be not laggards, But, like Brighton, move them on! Bad, bacteria-hearing black-guards, Beastly, blatant brutes, begone!
* * * * *
ANOTHER ABOUT THE NEW LORD MAYOR ELECT.—"It's a Knill wind that blows nobody any good." Signed, BOGIE MOORE.
* * * * *
L'ESPRIT DE CORPS (loq.). "SHAME! SHAME!—IS IT THUS YOU USE YOUR SWORDS? WHATEVER MAY HAVE HAPPENED, ARE WE NOT STILL 'GENTLEMEN OF THE LIFE GUARDS'?"
"It is stated that Lord METHUEN, after censuring the conduct of the regiment, requested the men who had cut the saddle-panels to step forward and own the act, which would in that case be dealt with simply as a case of insubordination. He gave them a few minutes to consider, but as none of them made any admission, he intimated that he should have to report the matter to the Commander-in-Chief as a mutiny."—Daily Paper, 30th Sept., 1892.]
* * * * *
* * * * *
["The shape of the hat is another token in which individuality asserts itself, and the angle at which it is worn. There are men who vary this angle with their different moods."—Article on "Men's Dress," Daily News, Sept. 10.]
You ask why I gaze with devotion At ALGERNON's features, my love? Nay, you are astray in your notion, My glance is directed above; His hair may be yellow or ruddy, No longer I'm anxious for that, But now I incessantly study The tilt of his hat.
At times it will carelessly dangle With an air of aesthetic repose, At others will point to an angle Inclined to the tip of his nose; When it rests on the side of his head, he Will smile at whatever befalls, When pushed o'er his brow, we make ready For numerous squalls!
When he starts for his train to the City It is put on exactly upright, And who would not view it with pity Return, mud-bespattered, at night? When early, so polished and glowing, Jammed on at haphazard when late; It forms a barometer, showing His mood up to date.
And you, who are young and unmarried, Give heed to my counsel, I pray; Do not, I entreat you, be carried By wealth or affection away; The heroine, novelists mention, "Eyes fondly his features." Instead, Observe, for your part, with attention, The hat on his head!
* * * * *
A NEW COLLECTION OF HIMS, ANCIENT AND MODERN.—The Church Congress at Folkestone.
* * * * *
LADY GAY'S SELECTIONS.
Mount Street, Grosvenor Square.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,
We were not overcrowded last week at Newmarket, and really the more one takes racing from a business point of view, the more attractive it becomes!—at least, I have found it so myself ever since it has been my duty to acquire information for the benefit of my readers.
There was only one thing that annoyed me during the week, and that was the inconsiderate behaviour of Windgall in winning the October Handicap, although it was a most extraordinary confirmation of my remarks anent his performance in the Leicester Handicap, in my last letter; but it is annoying that, when you select a horse to win a race, he runs second, and directly after wins a race for which he is not selected, beating the horse chosen by a length!—it puzzles me completely, as it is impossible in this case to put it down to want of good breeding! We were sorry not to have the Buccaneer-Orvieto match decided, as it would have been the event of the meeting; but, as the old proverb runs, "a wise owner is merciful to his beast," so Orvieto had an afternoon's rest at the price of L100!—rather more than some people might be inclined to pay for a game of forfeits!
The time is not yet ripe—(has anyone ever seen time get ripe, I wonder?)—for disclosing what I know about the Cesarewitch—(I never know whether I've spelt that correctly or not!—and the more you look at it the "wronger" it seems!)—but I may mention that I've heard great accounts of Kingkneel, who was bought the other day for Sir GREENASH BURNLEY (the latest favourite of fortune, and beloved of the ring)—and had he not earned a penalty—(this expression ought to be changed, as it implies, to my mind, which is an excellent average sample; a misdemeanor)—by winning a paltry thousand pounds race somewhere; I really believe the Cesare—no!—not again!—was at his mercy—but now, as the turf-writer puts it—"I shall look elsewhere!"—as if that would make any difference!—but of this race, more anon, and meantime, those who are fond of the "good things" of this life must not miss my selection for the big race of next week at Kempton—on the Jubilee Course, which said course, I am told, is by no means a Jubilee for the jockeys, owing to the danger in "racing for the bend."
There are several horses entered who seem to have great chances, making the race as difficult as a problem in Euclid—but my selection will most certainly be "there, or thereabouts," which is a comforting, if somewhat vague reflection.
Yours truly, LADY GAY.
DUKE OF YORK STAKES SELECTION.
The muse is dull!—the day is dead! And vain is all endeavour To light afresh the poet's spark— I can't find a rhyme for the winner, Iddesleigh,
P.S.—Really it's most thoughtless of owners to harass one with such names!
* * * * *
"IN THIS STYLE, TWO-AND-SIX."
(IN THE POUND).
SIR,—I have been much struck with the suggestion to do without hats, and have made trial of the system. It has also made trial of me, in the way of colds in the head, bronchial catarrh, &c., but I still persevere. It's so much cheaper! I have sold my stock of old hats for half-a-crown, and calculate that I shall save quite three shillings per annum by not buying new ones. Surely anybody can see that this is well worth doing! I am now seriously contemplating the possibility of doing without boots!
Yours truly, SAVE THE SAXPENCES.
SIR,—Talk about hair growing if you leave off hats! My hair was falling off in handfuls a little time ago. Did I abjure hats altogether? Not being a born idiot, I did not. But I saw that what was needed was proper ventilation aloft. So I had a specially-constructed top-hat made, with holes all round it. In fact there were more holes than hat, and the hatter scornfully referred to it as a "sieve." The invention answered splendidly. There was a thorough draught constantly rushing across the top of my head, with the speed and violence of a first-class tornado. My locks, before so scanty, at once began to grow in such profusion that it now seems impossible to stop them, except by liberal applications of "Crinificatrix," the Patent Hair Restorer. That checks the growth effectually. My general name among chance acquaintances is "Old Doormat." You can judge how thick my hair must be and I ascribe it entirely to the beneficent action of the draught, as before,
DEAR SIR,—Why would it be a mistake to say that a Negro was "as black as my hat?" Because I never wear one. The only inconvenience resulting is in wet weather—but, even then, I am prepared for all emergencies. I keep in my pocket a little square of black waterproof, to cover my head when it rains. In an Assize town, the other day, I was followed by an angry crowd, who imagined that I was one of the Judges, and that I had gone mad, and was walking about the streets with the black cap on! But all true reformers are treated in this way, even in England, the land of Liberty.
* * * * *
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!"— Ah, CARROLL! it is not in fun Your song's light lilt we snatch.
Our Jabberwock's a real brute, With mighty maw, and ruthless hand, Who ravage makes beyond compute In Civic Blunderland.
Look at the ogre's hideous mouth! His tiger-teeth, his dragon-tail! O'er Town, East, West, and North and South, He leaves his slimy trail.
And where he comes all Beauty dies, And where he halts all Greenery fades. Pleasantness flies where'er he plies His gruesomest of trades.
He blights the field, he blasts the wood, With breath as fierce as prairie flame; And where sweet works of Nature stood, He leaves us—slums of shame.
The locust and the canker-worm Are not more ruinous than he. "I'll take this Eden—for a term!" He cries, and howls with glee.
"Beauty? Mere bosh! Charm? Utter rot! What boots your 'Earthly Paradise,' Until 'tis made 'A Building Plot'? Then it indeed looks nice!
"O Jerry Street! O Jerry Park! O Jerry Gardens, Jerry Square!— You won't discover—what a lark!— One 'touch of Nature' there!
"'This handsome Villa Residence' Means mud-built walls and clay-clogged walks; And drains offensive to the sense, And swamps whence fever stalks.
"Beauty's best friends I drive away, Artists who sketch, ramblers who rove, Lovers who spoon, children who play,— All, all who Nature love.
"Nor do I give them wholesome homes For verdant meads—no, there's the fun! Stuccodom, frail and sickly, comes After 'Lot Twenty-One!'
"I make a clearing, dig a trench, Run up a shell of rotten bricks. And thus the rule of sham and stench Upon the 'site' I fix.
"The ugly and unhealthy still Associate with the name of Jerry; And thus I work my wicked will, And flourish, and make merry!"
'Twas so the Jerry-Jabberwock Sang in a suburb, void of shame, Blunderland's civic will to mock, And put its sense to shame.
This ogre of our towns to slay, Where is the urban "Beamish Boy"? CARROLL, when comes that "frabjous day," We'll "chortle in our joy."
Young County Council, are you one? 'Tis said you're but a Bumble-batch! Beware the Jobjob Bird, and shun The Bigot-Bandersnatch!
We'll pardon much that seems absurd, Excuse some blunders that bewilder, If you'll but "draw your vorpal sword" And slay—the Jerry-Builder!
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE MODERN MERCURY.
Behold that urchin, occupied In counting with an honest pride The marbles he has won! O tardy messenger of fate, Without distinction, small and great, Their telegrams, perforce, await Until your game is done.
Perchance a philosophic strain Makes you regard as wholly vain Our human bliss and woes; What matters, whether State affairs, Or news of good, or weighty carts, Or tidings relative to shares Within your bag repose?
Well, not by me will you be blamed; I like to see you not ashamed To dawdle for awhile; You furnish, by example sage, A moral for our busy age; And so, though others fume and rage, I watch you with a smile.
He moves at length, and now we'll see Which way ... This telegram for me? Oh, worst of human crimes Is such delay!—it's monstrous quite! I'll forward a complaint to-night! Here, pen and paper—let me write A letter to the Times!
* * * * *
MRS. RAM was heard to remark that she "didn't know a finer body of men than the Yokel Loamanry." Probably the old lady meant the Local Yeomanry.
* * * * *
LETTERS TO ABSTRACTIONS.
NO. XVI.—TO YOUTHFULNESS.
You are much misunderstood. For it is supposed that those who in this world bear your stamp upon them are to be recognised without trouble by the mere calculation of their years of life. No notion can be further from the truth. Mere absence of wrinkles, the presence or colour of the hair on the head, the elasticity of limbs, these do not of themselves, I protest, testify to youthfulness. I knew a lad of twenty, who, in the judgment of the world, was young. In mine he was one of the hoariest as he was one of the least scrupulous of men. No veteran that I ever met could have put him up to any trick, or added any experience to his store. He seemed to have a marvellous and intuitive experience of the ways of life, and of the tricks of men. No shady society came amiss to him. He gambled, in his way, as coolly, and with as careful a precision, as Barry Lyndon; he met the keen frequenters of the betting-ring on equal terms, and contrived, amid that vortex to keep his head above water. He had a faultless taste in wine—he knew a good cigar by an instinct. It is hardly necessary to add that, with all these accomplishments, he held and expressed the meanest opinion of human nature in general. Not even Sir ROBERT WALPOLE could have more cynically estimated the price at which men might be bought. As for women, this precocious paragon despised them, and women, as is their wont, repaid him by admiration, and, here and there, by genuine affection. I shudder to think how he might have developed in the course of years. It happened, however, that a shipwreck—a form of disaster against which cynicism and precocity afford no protection—removed him from the world before he had come of age. Now, to call this infant young, would have been a mockery. To all outward appearance, indeed, he was a boy, but his mind was that of a selfish and used-up roue of sixty, without illusions, and without hope.
Let me pass to a more pleasant subject, and one with which you, my dear boy, are more closely connected. I refer to my old friend. General VANGARD, the kindest and best-natured man that ever drew half-pay. Seventy years have passed over his head, and turned his hair to silver, but his heart remains pure gold without alloy. In vain do his whiskers and moustache attempt to give a touch of fierceness to his face. The kindly eyes smile it away in a moment. He stands six feet and an inch, his back his broad, his step springy; he carries his head erect on his massive shoulders with a leonine air of good-humoured defiance. To hear him greet you, to feel his hand-shake, is to get a lesson in geniality. I never knew a man who had so whole-hearted a contempt for insincerity and affectation. It was only the other day that I saw little TOM TITTERTON, of the Diplomatic Service, introduced to him. TOM is a devil of a fellow in Society. He warbles little songs of his own composition at afternoon teas, he insinuates himself into the elderly affections of stony-hearted dowagers, he can lead a cotillon to perfection, and is universally acknowledged as an authority on gloves and handkerchiefs. It was at a shooting-party that he and the General met. The little fellow advanced simpering, and raised a limp and dangling hand to about the height of his eyes. The General had extended his in his usual bluff and unceremonious manner. Naturally enough the hands failed to meet. A puzzled look came over the General's face. In a moment, however, he had grasped the situation, and TITTERTON's hand, and shaken the latter with a ferocious heartiness. "OW!" screamed TOM. It was a short exclamation, but a world of agony was concentrated into it. "The old bear has spoilt my shooting for the day," said TITTERTON to me afterwards, as he missed his tenth partridge. That very evening, I remember, there was a great discussion in the smoking-room on the subject of wrestling. One of the party, a burly youth of twenty-six, boasted somewhat loudly of the tricks that a Cornishman had lately taught him. For a long time the General sat silently puffing his cigar, but at length the would-be wrestler said something that roused him. "Would you mind showing me how that's done?" he said; "I seem to remember something about it, but it was done differently in my time. No doubt your notion's an improvement." Nothing loth the burly one stood up. I don't quite know what happened. The General seemed to stoop with outstretched hands and then raise himself with a spring as he met his opponent. A large body hurtled through the air, and in a moment the younger man was lying flat on the carpet amidst the shouts of the company. "It's the old 'flying mare' my boy," said the General to me, "a very useful dodge. I learnt it fifty years ago."
In the company of young men the General is at his very best. He knows all their little weaknesses, and chaffs them with delightful point and humour, though he would not, for all the world, give them pain. It is a pleasant sight to see the old fellow with a party of his young friends, poking sly fun at them, laughing with them, taking all their jests in good part, and thoroughly enjoying himself. He can walk most of them off their legs still, can row with them on the broad reaches of the Thames, and keep his form with the best of them; he can hold his gun straight at driven birds, and revel like a boy in a rattling run to hounds across country. All the youngsters respect him by instinct, and love the cheery old fellow, whose heart is as soft as his muscles are hard. They talk to him as to an elder brother, come to him for his advice, and, which is perhaps even more strange, like it, and follow it. Withal, the General is the most modest of men. In his youth he was a mighty man of war. It was only the other day that I heard (not from his own lips, you may be sure) the thrilling stories of his hand-to-hand conflict with two gigantic Russians in the fog of Inkermann, and of his rescue of a wounded Sergeant at the attack in the Redan. With women, old or young, the General uses an old-fashioned and chivalrous courtesy, as far removed from latter-day smartness as was BAYARD from BOULANGER. The younger ones adore him. They all seem to be his nieces, for they all call him Uncle JOHN.
A year or two ago the General fell ill, and the doctors shook their heads. It was touching to see the concern of all his young friends. CHARLIE CHIRPER, a gay little butterfly of a fellow, who never seemed to treat life as anything but a huge joke, became gloomy with anxiety. Twice every day he called to make inquiries, and, as the bulletins got worse, CHARLIE became visibly thinner. I saw him at the Club one evening, sitting moodily in a corner. "What's up, CHARLIE?" I said to him. "You look as if you'd been refused by an heiress." "The Old General's worse to-day," said CHARLIE, simply. "They're very anxious about him. No, dash it all!" he went on, "it's too bad. I can't bear to think of it. Such an old ripper as the General! Why must they take him? Why can't they take a useless chap like me, who never did anyone any good?" And the unaccustomed tears came into the lad's eyes as he turned his head away. But the old General battled through, and, thank Heaven, I can still write of him in the present tense.
Yours as always, my dear boy, DIOGENES ROBINSON.
* * * * *
(COMPANION VOLUME TO OTHER WORKS OF THE SAME KIND.)
A traveller in Italy during the middle ages knew a Chemist very well indeed. One day a rather stylish Lady, with a shifty look about the eyes, entered the shop and asked for some poison. "I cannot furnish you. Madam, with what you require. I have quarrelled with the undertaker." The Traveller subsequently ascertained that the name of the lady was LUCREZIA BORGIA.
* * * * *
Just before the Battle of Waterloo, FOUCHE met BONAPARTE, who was then in command of the French Army. He said, "You will find that, before this campaign is over, I shall have on one foot a BLUCHER, and on the other a WELLINGTON. It is fortunate for me I cannot find pairs of both! This is a proof (if one is needed) of the EMPEROR's fear of fate.
* * * * *
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS was (as a lad) very fond of exploration. One day he went over to America, and, arriving at his destination, christened it Columbia. The land of the Yankees, even now, is occasionally known by this appellation.
* * * * *
Mr. Punch one day was invited to listen to Someone's Recollections or Reminiscences. All went well for five minutes, when the Autobiographist, looking up from his Autobiography, found that Mr. Punch was fast asleep. The Sage slumbered as the Representative of the Public.
* * * * *
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.