OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
January 16, 1892.
* * * * *
SIR,—The proposal to extend the Cab Radius to five miles from Charing Cross is good in its way, but it does not go far enough. My idea is that the cheap cab-fare should include any place in the Home Counties. Cabmen should also be prevented by law from refusing to take a person, say, from Piccadilly to St. Albans, on the plea that their horse "could not do the distance." All assertions of that kind should be punished as perjury. Cabmen are notoriously untruthful. Why should not Cab Proprietors, too, be obliged to keep relays of horses at convenient spots on all the main roads out of Town in case a horse really proves unequal to going fifteen miles or so into the country, in addition to a hard day's work in London?—Yours unselfishly,
St. Albans. NORTHWARD HO!
SIR,—Why will people libel the Suburbs, and keep on describing them as dull? I am sure that a place which, like the one I write from, contains a Lawn Tennis Club (entrance into which we keep very select), a Circulating Library, where all the new books of two years' back are obtainable without much delay, a couple of handsome and ascetic young Curates, and a public Park, capable of holding twenty-six perambulators and as many nursemaids at one and the same time, can only fitly be described as an Elysium. Still, we should be grateful for better facilities for getting away from its delights now and then, and this proposal to extend the Cab Radius has the warmest support of Yours,
SIR,—By all means let us have cheaper Cabs in Greater London! The County Council should subsidise a lot of Cabs, to ply exclusively between London and the outskirts. Or why not a Government Cab Purchase Bill, like the Irish Land Purchase one? We want a special Minister for Public Locomotion—perhaps Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL would accept the post?
Yours, spiritedly, HAMPSTEAD HEATHEN.
* * * * *
"HARD TO BEER!"
(ADVANCE-SHEET FROM A PROJECTED ANTI-BACCHANALIAN TRAGI-FARCE, TO BE CALLED "BY ORDER OF THE KAISER.")
SCENE—A Market Place in Berlin. German Students carousing. Emissary of the Emperor seated at table apart watching them. Apprehensive Waiters nervously supplying the wants of their Customers.
First German Student. Another flagon of beer, Kellner!
Waiter. Here, Mein Herr! (Brings glass and, as he places it on the table, whispers aside.) Oh, beware, my good Lord—this is your second glass.
First Ger. Stu. (with a laugh). I know what I am about! And now, my friends, I give you a toast—The Liberty of the Fatherland!
Chorus of Students. The Liberty of the Fatherland! [They all drink.
Em. of the Emp. (apart). Ha!
[He makes an entry in his note-book.
First Ger. Stu. And now fill another glass. Fill, my comrades—I pray you, fill! Kellner! glasses round—for myself and friends.
Kellner (as before—supplying their wants and warning them). Oh, my gracious Lord, be careful! Your third glass—mind now, your third glass; you know the risk you are running! But one false drop and you are lost!
First Ger. Stu. (as before). Well, my good friend, be sure you supply us with no drop that is not good! Ha, ha, ha! Eh, KARL! eh, CONRAD! eh, HANS! Did you hear my merry jest?
[They all laugh.
Em. of the Emp. (as before). Ha! (making an entry in his note-book). And they laugh at a witless joke! Good! Very good!
First Ger. Stu. (joyously). And now, my comrades, yet another toast—The Prosperity of the People!
Chorus of Ger. Stu. (raising their glasses). The People!
[They all drink.
Em. of the Emp. (apart) Ha!
[He makes an entry in his note-book.
First Ger. Stu. And now, a final flagon! Kellner!
Kellner (as before). Oh, high-born customer, beware! This is your fourth glass! You know the law!
First Ger. Stu. (as before). That indeed I do! And I also know that my daily allowance is—or rather was—twelve quarts per diem! And now, comrades, our last toast—The Freedom of the Press!
Chorus of Ger. Stu. (raising their glasses). The Freedom of the Press!
[They all drink.
Em. of the Emp. (apart). This is too much! (He rises, and approaches the Students.) Your pardon, Gentlemen! But do you really believe in the toasts you have just drunk?
Chorus of Stu. Why, certainly!
Em. of the Emp. What, in the Liberty of the Fatherland?
Chorus of Stu. To be sure—why not?
Em. of the Emp. And the Prosperity of the People—mind you, only the People?
Chorus of Stu. Exactly—don't you?
Em. of the Emp. And further. You wish well to the Freedom of the Press?
Chorus of Stu. That was our toast! What next?
Em. of the Emp. (producing staff of authority). That, in the name of His Majesty, I arrest you!
Chorus of Stu. (astounded). Arrest us! Why?
Em. of the Emp. Because, if you believe in the Liberty of the Fatherland, ask for the Prosperity of the People, and admire the Freedom of the Press, you must be drunk!—very drunk! In virtue of the new law (which punishes the crime of intoxication), away with them!
[The Students are loaded with chains, and imprisoned, for an indefinite period, in the lowest dungeon beneath the castle's moat. Curtain.
* * * * *
OUR HUMOROUS COMPOSER.—What Sir ARTHUR SULLIVAN said or sung before deciding on taking a Villa at Turbie, on the Riviera,—"Turbie, or not Turbie, that is the question." He is now hard at work writing a new Opera (founded, we believe, on Cox and Box), and "I am here," he says, in his quaint way, "because I don't want to be dis-turbie'd."
* * * * *
Returned Prodigal sings, to the tune of "Randy Pandy, O!":—
Well, here I'm back from Mashonaland! Mine's hardly a proud position. My ideas in going were vaguely grand, And—look at my present condition!
I may cool my heels on this packing-case; 'Tis a little mite like me, Sir! Say my "candid friends," as they watch my face, "O.I.C.U.R.M.T., Sir!"
I'm the prodigal GRANDY-PANDY, oh! Returned to my native landy, oh! With a big moustache, and but little cash, Though the latter would come in handy, oh! Like the nursery Jack-a-dandy, oh! I may "love plum-cake and candy," oh! But tarts and toffies, or sweets of office, Seem not—at present—for GRANDY, oh!
Well, I chucked them up,—was it nous or pique? Is the prodigal worst of ninnies? The fatted calf, and the better half Of his father's love—and guineas,— May fall to his share as he homeward lies, When the husks have lost their flavour. My calf? Well, it does not greet my eyes, And I don't yet sniff its savour. I'm a prodigal GRANDY-PANDY, oh! Retired from Mashona-landy, oh! I'm left like a laggard. Grim RIDER HAGGARD (Whose fiction is "blood-and-brandy," oh!) Says Africa always comes handy, oh! For "something new." It sounds grandy, oh! But a telling new plot I'm afraid is not The fortune of GRANDY-PANDY, oh!
Did they miss me much? Well, I fancy not; (Though a few did come to greet me;) The general verdict's "A very queer lot!" Nor is SOL in a hurry to meet me. He does not spy me afar off. No! He would rather I kept my distance; And if to the front I again should go, 'Twon't be with his assistance. He deems me a troublesome GRANDY, oh' In political harness not handy, oh! I am out of a job, while BALFOUR is a nob, That lank and effeminate dandy, oh! Well, a prodigal son may be "sandy." oh! I am off for a soda-and-brandy, oh! And a "tub" at my Club, where I'm sure of a snub From the foes of returning GRANDY, oh!
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE CROSS-EXAMINER'S VADE MECUM.
Question. Have you a right to ask any question in Court?
Answer. Certainly, and the questioning is left to my discretion.
Ques. What do you understand by discretion?
Ans. An unknown quality defined occasionally by the Press and the Public.
Ques. Is the definition invariably the same?
Ans. No, for it depends upon the exigencies of the Press and the frivolity and fickleness of the Public.
Ques. Were you to refrain from questioning a Witness anent his antecedents, and subsequently those antecedents becoming known, his evidence were to lose the credence of the papers, what would be said of you?
Ans. That I had neglected my duty.
Ques. Were you to question a Witness on his past, and, by an interruption of the trial, that Witness's evidence were consequently to become superfluous, what would then be said of you?
Ans. That I had exceeded my duty.
Ques. Is it an easy matter to reconcile the interests of your clients with the requirements of Public Opinion.
Ans. It is a most difficult arrangement, the more especially as Public Opinion is usually composed of the joint ideas of hundreds of people who know as much about law as does a bed-post.
Ques. In the eyes of Public Opinion, whose commendation is the most questionable?
Ans. The commendation of a Judge, because it stands to reason (according to popular ideas) that a man who knows his subject thoroughly must be unable to come to any definite decision as to its merits.
Ques. And in the eyes of the same authority, whose commendation is the most valuable?
Ans. In the eyes of Public Opinion the most valuable commendation would come from a man who is absolutely ignorant of everything connected with a Counsel's practice, but who can amply supply this possible deficiency by writing a letter to the papers and signing himself "FAIR PLAY."
Ques. Is there any remedy for setting right any misconception that may have occurred as to the rights and wrongs of cross-examiners?
Ans. Yes, the Public might learn what the business of a cross-examiner really is.
Ques. I see, and having done this, can you recommend anything further?
Ans. Having learned a cross-examiner's business, the Public might then have time to attend—to its own!
* * * * *
THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.
SCENE—The Lower Hall of the Scuola di San Rocco, Venice. British Tourists discovered studying the Tintorets on the walk and ceiling by the aid of RUSKIN, HARE, and BAEDEKER, from which they read aloud, instructively, to one another. Miss PRENDERGAST has brought "The Stones of Venice" for the benefit of her brother and PODBURY. Long self-repression has reduced PODBURY to that unpleasantly hysterical condition known as "a fit of the giggles," which, however, has hitherto escaped detection.
Miss P. (standing opposite "The Flight into Egypt" reading). "One of the principal figures here is the Donkey." Where is Mr. PODBURY? (To P., who reappears, humbly proffering a tin focussing-case.) Thanks, but you need not have troubled! "The Donkey ... um—um—never seen—um—um—any of the nobler animals so sublime as this quiet head of the domestic ass"—(here BOB digs PODBURY in the ribs, behind Miss P.'s back)—"chiefly owing to the grand motion in the nostril, and writhing in the ears." (A spasmodic choke from PODBURY.) May I ask what you find so amusing?
Podb. (crimson). I—I beg your pardon—I don't know what I was laughing at exactly. (Aside to BOB.) Will you shut up, confound you!
A Stout Lady, close by (reading from HARE). "The whole symmetry of it depending on a narrow line of light." (Dubiously, to her Daughter.) I don't quite—oh yes, I do now—that's it—where my sunshade is—"the edge of a carpenter's square, which connects those unused tools" ... h'm—can you make out the "unused tools," ETHEL? I can't.... But he says—"The Ruined House is the Jewish Dispensation." Now I should never have found that out for myself. (They pass to another canvas.) "TINTORET denies himself all aid from the features.... No time allowed for watching the expression" ... (That reminds me—what is the time by your bracelet, darling?) "No blood, no stabbing, or cutting ... but an awful substitute for these in the chiaroscuro." (Ah, yes, indeed! Do you see it, love?—in the right-hand corner?) "So that our eyes"—(comfortably)—"seem to become bloodshot, and strained with strange horror, and deadly vision." (Not one o'clock, really?—and we've to meet Papa outside Florian's, for lunch at one-thirty! Dear me, we mustn't stay too long over this room.)
A Solemn Gentleman (with a troublesome cough, who is also provided with HARE, reading aloud to his wife).... "Further enhanced by—rook—rook—rook!—a largely-made—rook—ook!—farm-servant, leaning on a—ork—ork—ork—ork—or—ook!—basket." Shall I—ork!—go on?
His Wife. Yes, dear, do, please! It makes one notice things so much more!
[The Solemn Gentleman goes on.
Miss P. (as they reach the staircase). Now just look at this Titian, Mr. PODBURY! RUSKIN particularly mentions it. Do note the mean and petty folds of the drapery, and compare them with those in the TINTORETS in there.
Podb. (obediently). Yes, I will,—a—did you mean now—and will it take me long, because—
[Miss PRENDERGAST sweeps on scornfully.
Podb. (following, with a desperate effort to be intelligent). They don't seem to have any Fiammingoes here.
Miss P. (freezingly, over her shoulder). Any what, Mr. PODBURY? Flamingoes?
Podb. (confidently, having noted down the name at the Accademia on his shirt-cuff). No, "Ignoto Fiammingo," don't you know. I like that chap's style—what I call thoroughly Venetian.
[Well-informed persons in front overhear and smile.
Miss P. (annoyed). That is rather strange—because "Ignoto Fiammingo" happens to be merely the Italian for "an unknown Fleming," Mr. PODBURY. [Collapse of PODBURY.
Bob. (aside to PODBURY). You great owl, you came a cropper that time! [He and PODBURY indulge in a subdued bear-fight up the stairs, after which they enter the Upper Hall in a state of preternatural solemnity.
The Solemn G. Now what I want to see, my dear, is the ork—ork—angel that RUSKIN thinks TINTORETTO painted the day after he saw a rook—kic—kic—kic—kingfisher.
[BOB nudges PODBURY, who resists temptation heroically.
Miss P. (reading).... "the fig-tree which, by a curious caprice, has golden ribs to all its leaves."—Do you see the ribs, Mr. PODBURY.
Podb. (feebly). Y—yes. I believe I do. Think they grew that sort of fig-tree formerly, or is it—a—allegorical?
Miss P. (receiving this query in crushing silence). The ceiling requires careful study. Look at that oblong panel in the centre—with the fiery serpents, which RUSKIN finely compares to "winged lampreys." You're not looking in the right way to see them, Mr. PODBURY!
Podb. (faintly). I—I did see them—all of them, on my honour I did! But it gives me such a crick in my neck!
Miss P. Surely TINTORET is worth a crick in the neck. Did you observe "the intense delight in biting expressed in their eyes?"
Bob. (frivolously). I did, 'PATIA—exactly the same look I observed last night, in a mosquito's eye.
[PODBURY has to use his handkerchief violently.
The Stout Lady. Now, ETHEL, we can just spend ten minutes on the ceiling—and then we must go. That's evidently JONAH in the small oval. (Referring to plan.) Yes, I thought so,—it is JONAH. RUSKIN considers "the whale's tongue much too large, unless it is a kind of crimson cushion for JONAH to kneel upon." Well, why not?
Ethel. A cushion, Mother? what, inside the whale!
The Stout Lady. That we are not told, my love—"The submissiveness of Jonah is well given"—So true—but Papa can't bear being kept waiting for his lunch—we really ought to go now. [They go.
The Solemn G. (reading). "There comes up out of the mist a dark hand." Have you got the dark hand yet, my dear?
His Wife. No, dear, only the mist. At least, there's something that may be a branch; or a bird of some sort.
The S.G. Ha, it's full of suggestion—full of suggestion!
[He passes on, coughing.
Miss P. (to PODBURY, who is still quivering). Now notice the end one—"the Fall of Manna"—not that end; that's "the Fall of Man." RUSKIN points out (reading)—"A very sweet incident. Four or five sheep, instead of pasturing, turn their heads to catch the manna as it comes down" (here BOB catches PODBURY's eye) "or seem to be licking it off each other's fleeces." (PODBURY is suddenly convulsed by inexplicable and untimely mirth.) Really, Mr. PODBURY, this is too disgraceful! [She shuts the book sharply and walks away.
Outside; by the landing-steps.
Miss P. BOB, go on and get the gondola ready. I wish to speak to Mr. PODBURY. (To PODBURY, after BOB has withdrawn.) Mr. PODBURY, I cannot tell you how disgusted and disappointed I feel at your senseless irreverence.
Podb. (penitently). I—I'm really most awfully sorry—but it came over me suddenly, and I simply couldn't help myself!
Miss P. That is what makes it so very hopeless—after all the pains I have taken with you! I have been beginning to fear for some time that you are incorrigible—and to-day is really the last straw! So it is kinder to let you know at once that you have been tried and found wanting. I have no alternative but to release you finally from your vows—I cannot allow you to remain my suitor any longer.
Podb. (humbly). I was always afraid I shouldn't last the course, don't you know. I did my best—but it wasn't in me, I suppose. It was awfully good of you to put up with me so long. And, I say, you won't mind our being friends still, will you now?
Miss P. Of course not. I shall always wish you well, Mr. PODBURY—only I won't trouble you to accompany me to any more galleries!
Podb. A—thanks. I—I mean, I know I should only be in your way and all that. And—I'd better say good-bye, Miss PRENDERGAST. You won't want me in the gondola just now, I'm sure. I can easily get another.
Miss P. Well—good-bye then, Mr. PODBURY. I will explain to BOB.
[She steps into the gondola; BOB raises his eyebrows in mute interrogation at PODBURY, who shakes his head, and allows the gondola to go without him.
Podb. (to himself, as the gondola disappears). So that's over! Hanged if I don't think I'm sorry, after all. It will be beastly lonely without anybody to bully me, and she could be awfully nice when she chose.... Still it is a relief to have got rid of old TINTORET, and not to have to bother about BELLINI and CIMA and that lot.... How that beggar CULCHARD will crow when he hears of it! Shan't tell him anything—if I can help it.... But the worst of getting the sack is—people are almost bound to spot you ... I think I'll be off to-morrow. I've had enough of Venice!
* * * * *
* * * * *
In the admirably-compiled columns of "This Morning's News," given in the Daily News, we read with interest a paragraph occasionally appearing, furnishing information as to prices current in the Provision Market. We have made arrangements to supply our readers with something of the same character, which cannot fail to be valued in the household.
* * * * *
From numerous sources of information, we learn that prime English beef is underdone, which causes rather a run on mutton. Revenons, &c., is the watchword in many households. Poultry flies rather high for the time of year, and grouse is also up. Grice—why not? plural of mouse, mice—grice, we say, are growing more absent, and therefore dearer. Black game is not so darkly hued as it is painted, and a few transactions in wild duck are reported. Lard is hardening, as usual in frosty weather. Hares are not so mad as in March, still, on the approach of a passer-by, they go off rapidly. Rabbits, especially Welsh ones, are now excellent. As Christmas recedes, geese have stopped laying golden eggs. Turkey (in Europe, at least) is in high feather. Brill is now in brilliant condition; soles are right down to the ground, whilst eels begin to show themselves in pairs. Halibut is cheap, but sackbut is scarce, and psaltery requires such prolonged soaking before it is fit for the table, that purchasers fight shy of anything but small parcels. As for plaice, a large dealer tells us he has been driven to the conclusion that there is "no plaice like home."
* * * * *
We hear of a curious incident in connection with the revival of Henry the Eighth at the Lyceum. On Saturday night, a gentleman who had witnessed the play from the Stalls and carefully sat it out, demanded his money back as he went out. He did so on the ground that he had always understood that Henry the Eighth was by SHAKSPEARE, and found it credibly asserted that that gentleman had no part in the authorship of the piece. Mr. BRAM STOKER, M.A., was called to the assistance of the box-keeper, and ably discussed the point. Whilst declining to commit himself to the admission that SHAKSPEARE had no hand in the work, he quoted authority which assigned the authorship to FLETCHER and MASSENGER; in which case, he ingeniously argued, the authorship being dual, the price of the Stalls ought to be doubled. Conversation taking this turn, the gentleman, whose name did not transpire, withdrew.
* * * * *
Miss JANE COBDEN, ex-Alderman of the London County Council, who has long pluckily championed Woman's Rights, has now, according to an announcement in the papers, determined to assert her own, and get married. C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas—Aldermanic.
* * * * *
A telegram from Berlin states that Dr. PFEIFFER, a son-in-law of Professor KOCH, has succeeded in discovering the cause of influenza and its infection in a bacillus, which, when seen under the microscope, appears in the shape of a most minute rod. The best thing that can be done with this rod is to put it in pickle, and keep it there.
* * * * *
It is satisfactory to know that, at the approaching revival of Hubando, the Brigand, the handkerchiefs used by the Brigands in their famous scene of contrition at the end of the Third Act, are entirely of British manufacture. We understand that they are from the looms of Messrs. PUFF AND RECLAME.
* * * * *
In the First Act of the same piece, it will be remembered that the bridal party is captured whole by Hubando, disguised as a mendicant, in the recesses of one of the forests of the Abruzzi. The real pine-trees, which are to figure in the foreground of this striking scene, have been grown, with immense labour and expense, in the well-known nurseries of Messrs. WEEDEM AND POTTER, at Ditchington. The mendicant's rags, it should be added, are from one of our most celebrated slop-shops in the Ratcliff Highway.
* * * * *
* * * * *
"THERE'S THE RUB!"
(AN OLD STORY WITH A NEW APPLICATION.)
Champion Bill-Poster, loquitur:—
"Bill-stickers beware!" Ah! that's all very well, A wondrously wise, if conventional, warning. But I'm the legitimate "Poster"—a swell In the paste-pot profession, all "notices" scorning. A brush surreptitious, and Bills unofficial, No doubt, are a nuisance to people of taste, To Order offensive, to Law prejudicial, But who can object to my pot and my paste?
'Tis time that this Poster were up! Slap-dap-slosh! I think it a telling one. Brave, Big, Blue letters! Some rivals about, but their programmes won't wash; Those Newcastle noodles must own us their betters. I'm Champion Bill-Poster! Even Brum JOEY, Who flouted me once will acknowledge that fact. My Bills are so goey, and fetching, and showy, My paste so adhesive, my brush so exact!
Slap-slop-slidder-slosh! There's "stick-phast," if you like. Bill-sticking like this is an Art, and no error. Bold letters, brave colour! A poster to strike,— Admiration with some, and with some, perhaps, terror. I wish I quite knew that the former preponderate,— That is, sufficiently. Mutterings I hear,— But there, 'tis a Bill to admire, and to wonder at. Why, after five seasons' success, should I fear?
Hist! What is that? Thought I heard a low grunt. Hope not, I'm sure, for I'm sick of stye-voices ARTHUR of those, has no doubt, borne the brunt; Now in a semi-relief he rejoices Pigs are fit only for styes and nose-ringing. Never let Irish ones run loose and root, Rather wish ARTHUR were less sweet on flinging Pearls before pigs; as well feed 'em on fruit.
Hrumph! There. I thought so! Hrumph! hrumph! What a pest! Sure that big brute has his eye on my ladder. Has ARTHUR loosed him? He thinks he knows best, But a nasty spill now!—nothing well could be sadder Brutes always rub their broad backs and stiff bristles Against—anything that comes handy. Oh lor! How the brute shoulders, and snorts, grunts and whistles! Off to the gutter, you big Irish boar!
Not he! He nears me! It is ARTHUR's pet. Light ladder this; would capsize in a jiffy. His bristles he'd scrape and his tusks he would whet Against it, I wish he were drowned in the Liffey! Whisht! Get away! He's so heavy and big. There! round the ladder he's playing the fooler. Ah! there's the rub. PATRICK scumfish that Pig! If he doesn't mean deviltry I'm a—Home Ruler! [Left fidgetting.
* * * * *
Unasked, the Tax-Collector wild Presents to smirking MARY his Demand—on what the Roman styled "Kalendis Januariis."
Unasked, a Christmas-box to gain, Sweeps, lamplighters, and postmen come; Unasked—too often to remain— The wife's mammas of most men come.
Unasked, it looms—that ophicleide From Germany, with melodies Whereat the cow of story died; Whereat a modern fellow dies.
Unasked, partakes my Christmas cheer, (Whom oft, my front-door bell at, I've Surprised, the better much for beer)— My Cook's fraternal relative.
Unasked, my bills appear in shoals, "With compliments" from creditors; Unasked, in verse I send my soul's Throbs—with a stamp—to Editors.
Unasked, that editorial pack Return my "throbs" in heavy, new, Crisp envelopes, unstamped, alack! While I defray the Revenue.
* * * * *
MRS. RAM's nephew was reading aloud the prospectus of the Clerical, Medical, and General Life Assurance Society. She was much impressed by the idea of Clerical Assurance, and expressed herself greatly pleased at the Ven. Archdeacon FARRAR being one of the Directors. "But what puzzles me," observed the excellent lady, "is a paragraph headed 'Disposal of the Surplice.' I know that, years ago, there was a 'surplice difficulty.' But I thought that had been disposed of. Or," she added, brightening up, as if struck by a happy solution of the difficulty, "does it mean that the Clerical Assurance Society means to take in washing? Most useful if they do, and so paying."
* * * * *
DEFINITION OF "CHAFF."—The husk of Wit.
* * * * *
* * * * *
PLAYING OLD HARRY AT THE LYCEUM.
"I once did manage to make a cast correctly," writes ANDREW LANG, in his charming book anent the sport and pastime of fishing, and if ever HENRY IRVING made a cast to catch the public, it is now, when he uses as his bait SHAKSPEARE's Henry the Eighth, got up in a style which emphatically "beats the record," so utterly "regardless of expense" is it, with well-tried, responsible actors, in what may be called minor parts, though the majority of the dramatis personae are on a fair dramatic equality, and with Our ELLEN TERRY, as Queen Katharine, and himself as the great Lord Cardinal.
The first difficulty that HENRY IRVING had to face—literally to face—was that by no sort of art could he make up his features to be an exact portrait of CARDINAL WOLSEY. Personally, I prefer Mr. IRVING's picture of WOLSEY to the extant portraits, which concur in representing him as a heavy, jowly-faced man, who might be taken as a model for one of GUSTAVE DORE'S eccentric-looking ecclesiastics in the Contes Drolatiques, rather than as the living presentment of the great Chancellor, Statesman, and Churchman who ruled a cruel, crafty, sensual tyrant, and successfully guided the policy of England at home and abroad. HENRY IRVING's Cardinal is a grand figure, courtly, though somewhat too cringing withal, evidently despising the various means he uses to further the end he has in view, and looking upon the Lords, Courtiers and all around him as merely puppets, whose strings he holds to work them as he will.
Then, after seeing him as Sole Adviser of the Crown, after seeing him as Highest Judge in the Ecclesiastical Divorce Court in such splendid state as our Judge JEUNE may eye with envy, after seeing him in his own Palace, most courteous as Grand Master and liberal Provider of Right Royal Revels, he is exhibited to us in the deserted Hall, a spectacle for gods and men (that is, shown to the Gallery and the rest of the audience), the single figure of the Great Cardinal, fallen from his high estate; and to him, in place of all his princely retinue, comes his one faithful servant, CROMWELL, supporting his dying master, for dying he is, as he staggers feebly from the Palace at Bridewell. It is difficult to call to mind any situation in any play more genuinely affecting in its simplicity than this. The audience is held spell-bound,—yet, for my part, I should have welcomed a greater variety in tone and action.
Miss ELLEN TERRY's Queen Katharine is a "very woman." You can see how she has caught the King, and how she still holds him. She loves him, actually loves him, to the last to respect him is impossible, but she respects herself; and it is just this love for him, for what he was, not what he is, and her respect for herself, which Miss ELLEN TERRY marks so forcibly. Katharine is a foreigner, therefore is her bearing, though stately, less stolid than that of the typical English Tragedy Queen. The note of her dying scene, so striking by its simplicity, is its perfect tranquillity. Who's Griffith? Why the veteran HOWE (ah, Howe, When and Where did I first see you, Sir? Wasn't it in the days when good old Mortonian farces were the attraction at the Haymarket?) is "the safe man," and excellently well did he deliver his epitaph on Wolsey. But all are good, not forgetting our old friend the sterling, that is the ARTHUR STIRLING actor as Cranmer, and the youthful GILLIE FARQUHAR, unrecognisable as Lord Sands, looking as ancient as if he were The Sands of Time.
This revival is bound to have a long—it may be an unprecedentedly long—run. All of us dearly love a show. Moreover, 'tis educational; and the School Board should issue an Examination-paper on the history of HENRY THE EIGHTH and his times as exemplified by Mr. IRVING & CO. at the Lyceum.
P.S.—The cost of production of Henry the Eighth at the Lyceum was L250,000 3s. 63/4d. Mr. IRVING's nightly expenses are L10,999 2s. 51/2d. I thought it had been more, but the above information comes to me from a person whose veracity I should not like to question, except with the boundless sea between us.
* * * * *
CON. FOR THE C.O.S.—When SHAKSPEARE said, "The quality of mercy is not strained," did he mean that it was not strained through a Charity Organisation Society?
* * * * *
"READING between the Lines" is a dangerous occupation—when there's a Train coming.
* * * * *
* * * * *
CONFESSIONS OF A DUFFER.
The Fairies who came to my Christening provided me with a large collection of toys, implements, and other articles. There was a heart, a tender one, a pen of gold, a set of Golf-clubs, a bat, wickets, and a ball, oars and a boat, boxing gloves, foils, guns, rifles, books, everything, except ready money, that heart could desire. Unluckily one Fairy, who was old, deaf, plain, and who had not been invited, observed, "It is all very well, my child, but not one of these articles shall you be able to use satisfactorily." This awful curse has hung heavy on my doom. With a restless desire to shine and excel, at Lord's, on the river, on the Moors, in the forests, in Society, on the Links, bitter personal experience and the remarks of candid friends, tell me that the doom has come upon me. I am "an all-round Duffer," as my youngest nephew, aetat. XI., freely informed me, when I served twice out of court (once into the conservatory, the other time through the study window). I was a Duffer at marbles, also at tops, and my personal efforts in these kinds were constantly in liquidation. But what are marbles and tops! The first regular game I was entered at was Golf. Five is not too early to begin, and I began at five by being knocked down with a club which another small boy was brandishing. This naturally gave me an extreme zeal for the sport of MARY STUART, the Great Marquis of MONTROSE, CHARLES EDWARD (who introduced Golf into Italy), DUNCAN FORBES of Culloden, Mr. HORACE HUTCHINSON, and other eminent historical characters.
Almost everybody now knows that Golf is not Hockey. Nobody runs after the ball except young ladies at W—m—n! The object is to put a very small ball into a very tiny and remotely distant hole, with engines singularly ill adapted for the purpose. There are many engines. First there is the Driver, a long club, wherewith the ball is supposed to be propelled from the tee, a little patch of sand. The Tee and the Caddie have nothing to do with each other; nobody but a flippant Cockney sees any fun in plays upon words which, in themselves, are only too serious. Then there is a weapon called a Brassey. It is like unto a club, but is shod with brass, and is used for hitting a ball in "a bad lie" among long grass or heather. A small tomahawk, styled a Cleek, is employed when you don't know what else to play with. The same remark applies to an Iron, which is very good for missing the ball with, also for hitting to square leg when you meant to go straight. A "Mashy" is a smaller "iron." The skilful use these when the ball lies in sand, in gorse, or when they wish to make the ball soar for a short distance and then fall dead. A Putter is a short thickish club used for jogging the ball into the hole with. There are plenty of other kinds of clubs, also spoons, but these are enough to break the heart of any Duffer.
I am an old player, of forty years' standing, but, like Parolles I was "made for every man to breathe himself on." When my form is espied near the links, the players shirk off as if I were a leper. They are afraid I may want to make a match with them, and there is no falsehood from which they will shrink, in their desire to escape me. Even Ladies,—but this is a delicate theme. Beginners breathe themselves on me, and give me odds after two or three engagements.
Yet I don't know why I am so bad. True, I am short-sighted, never see the flag at the hole, play in the wrong direction, and talk a good deal on topics of academic interest during the round. The Golfer's mind should be a blank, and generally is "blank enough," like Sir Tor's shield. My mind is, perhaps, too active—that may be what is the matter with me. It is the same thing at whist—but of this hereafter. My Caddie, or arm-bearer, has his own views about the causes of my incompetence.
"Ye're no standing richt. Ye haud yer hands wrang. Ye tak' yer ee off the ba'. Ye're ower quick up. Ye're ower slow doun. Ye dinna swing. Ye fa' back. Ye haud ower ticht wi' yer richt hand. Ye dinna let your arms gang easy. Ye whiles tap, and whiles slice, and whiles heel, or ye hit her aff the tae. Ye're hooking her. Ye're no thinking o' what ye're doing. Ye'll never be a Gowfer. Lord! ony man can lairn Greek, but Gowf needs a heid."
Here are fifteen ways of going wrong, and there is only one way of going right! Fifteen things to think of, every time you take a driver in hand. And, remember, that is not nearly all. These fifteen fatal errors apply to long driving. You may (or at least I may, and do) make plenty of other blunders with the other weapons. Say the ball lies in sand—"a bunker," technically. If you hit it whack on the top, it disappears in a foot-mark. If you "tak' plenty o' sand," why, you get plenty of sand in your mouth, your eyes, down the back of your neck, and the ball is no forwarder. If you strike her quite clean, she goes like a bullet against the face of the bunker, soars in the air, falls on your head, and you lose the hole! Oh, Golf is full of bitterness!
Suppose we play a round. The ball is neatly "tee'd" on a patch of sand. I approach, I shuffle with my feet for a secure footing, I waggle my club in an airy manner. Then I take it up and whack it down. A variety of things may occur. I may smite the top of the hall, when it runs on for twenty yards and lies in a rut on the road. I may hit her on the heel of the club, when she spins, with much "cut" on, into the sea. I may hit her with the toe of the club, when she soars to square leg, and perhaps breaks a window. I used to try running in at the ball, as if it were a half-volley at Cricket, but that way lies madness. However, suppose that, in a lucid interval (as will happen), I hit her clean. She soars away, and falls within forty yards of a meandering burn. The hole, the haven where one would be, is beyond the burn.
I seize a cleek or an iron, it turns in my hand, cuts up the turf, and the ball rolls half a dozen feet. My opponent has crossed the burn. I try again; a fearful misdirected shot; the ball soars over the burn and lands in a road behind the hole. There is no hitting out of this road, or, if one does hit a desperate blow, the ball lands in an eccentric sand-hole, called the Scholar's Bunker. We start for the next hole. Meme jeu! Now we are in the gorse, now among the Station Master's potatoes, now in the railway, where all hope may be abandoned, now in bunkers many, now missing the ball altogether, when you feel as if your arms had flown off. As for "putting" the short strokes on the green, near the hole, if I hit sharp, the ball runs over the hole yards and yards beyond, or if I hit mild, it stops with an air of plaintive resignation, after dribbling for a foot or two. And the worst of it is that, sometimes, you will play as well as another for half-a-dozen holes. Then one thinks one has The Secret! But it falls from us, vanishes, we are topping and slicing, and heeling, and missing again as sorrily as ever.
The beauty of Golf is that there are so many ways of going wrong, and so many things to think of. A person of very moderately active mind has his ideas diverted by the landscape, the sea, the blossom on the gorse, the larks singing overhead, not to mention the whole system of the universe. He forgets to keep his eye on the ball, in devoting his energy to holding tight with his left, and being slow up. Or he remembers to keep his eye on the ball, and forgets the other essentials. Then an awful moment comes when he loses his temper. Thereby all is lost, honour (not to mention "the honour,") and everything. People in front, old people, are so provoking. They potter tardily along, pass ten minutes in considering a putt, shout and swear if you hit into them, and are not pleased if you sit down and smoke while you wait. The only entity that I don't lose my temper with is my partner. The worse he plays, the better am I pleased to have a brother in adversity. The subjective Golfer, however, is certainly a bore. He is "put off" by every simple circumstance, by his opponent wearing an unbecoming cap and the like. Afterwards, he will hold forth for hours on all his sorrows and all the sins of others. The Duffer is more modest and less apologetic. He is kept always playing (as I said) by the diabolical circumstance that he has lucid intervals, though rarely, when he plays like other people for three or four holes. I once, myself did the long hole in—but never mind. Nobody would believe me. The most amiable of Duffers was he who, after ten strokes in a bunker, cut his ball into three parts. "I am bringing it out," he said, "in penny numbers."
The born Duffer, I speak feelingly, is incurable. No amount of odds will put him on the level even of Scotch Professors. For the learned have divided Golf into several categories. There is Professional Golf, the best Amateur Golf, Enthusiasts' Golf, Golf, Beginners' Golf, Ladies' Golf, Infant Golf, Parlour Golf, the Golf of Scotch Professors. But the true Duffer's Golf is far, far below that. A Duffer like me is too bad for hanging. He should be condemned to play for life at Chorley Wood, or to bush-whack at Bungay.
* * * * *
FREE AND EASY THEATRES.—We have no sympathy whatever with the idea of a Theatre Libre or with a Free-and-Easy Theatre, but we shall be very glad when all Theatres are made Easy, Easy, that is, as to sitting accommodation, and Easy of egress and ingress. But if the space is to be enlarged, will not the prices have to be enlarged too? 'Tis a problem in the discussion of which The Players, which is a new journal, solely devoted to things Dramatic and Theatrical, would find congenial employment.
* * * * *
VENICE AT OLYMPIA.
["The water in the canals is two feet in depth, and is kept at a temperature of sixty degrees."
Vide the Press on "Venice at Olympia."]
O Jane, thou jewel of my heart— Thou object of my hopeless passion, Though Fate decrees that we must part, I'll leave thee in some novel fashion! I will not do as others do When cheated of prospective bridal, And quit the Bridge of Waterloo With header swift and suicidal.
I will not seek—as others seek— Some public-house in mean and low street, And drink—till haled before the Beak Who patiently presides at Bow Street. I will not throw—as others throw— My manly form, without compunction, Before the frequent trains that go At lightning speed through Clapham Junction.
For though my spirit seeks escape From all the carking cares that vex it, I will not plunge thee into crape By any ordinary exit: So when—in slang—I "take my hook," Detesting all that's mean and skimpy, a Reserved and numbered seat I'll book, And hie to Venice at Olympia.
I'll see the Show that draws the town— Its pageantry delight affording— As per the details noted down Where posters flame on every hoarding; And then the sixpence I will pay, Which in my pocket now I'm fondling, And try upon the water-way The new experience of gondling.
I know that death will seem delight When in the gondola I'm seated, For up to sixty Fahrenheit The Grand Canal is nicely heated; So—sick of life's incessant storm, Impatient of its kicks and pinches— I'll plunge within the water warm, And drown—in four-and-twenty inches!
* * * * *
After copious draughts of novels and romances which, the morning after, leave the literary palate as dry as a lime-kiln, or as Mrs. RAM would say, "as a lamb-kin," the Baron, thirsting for a more satisfying beverage, took up a volume, which he may fairly describe as a youthful quarto, or an imperial pinto, coming from the CHAPMAN AND HALL cellars, that is, book-sellers, entitled On Shibboleths, and written by W.S. LILLY. In a recent trial it came out that Mr. GEORGE MEREDITH is the accredited and professional reader for Messrs. CHAPMAN AND HALL. Is it possible that this eminent philosophical Novelist is indebted to a quiet perusal of Shibboleths for some of the quaint philosophical touches not to be read off schoolboywise, with hurried ellipses, blurting lips, and unintelligent brain, if any, which make One of Our Conquerors and others, worth perusal? Be this as it may, which is a convenient shibbolethian formula, the Baron read this book, and enjoyed it muchly. There is an occasional dig into the Huxleian anatomy, given with all the politeness of a Louis-the-Fifteenthian "M.A.," otherwise Maitre d'Armes, and a passing reference to "The People's WILLIAM" and the carrying out of the People's will—which is quite another affair,—all, to quote Sir PETER, "vastly entertaining." The chapter on the Shibboleth "Education" is, thinks the Baron, about the best. Mr. LILLY is a Satirist who, as GEORGIUS MEREDITHIUS MAGNUS might express it, is, in his fervour, near a truth, grasps it, and is moved to moral distinctness, mental intention, with a preference of strong, plain speech, and a chuck of interjectory quotation over the crack of his whip, with which tramping active he flicks his fellows sharply. With which Meredithism concludes
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
* * * * *
SIR,—The amazing popularity of the Costermonger Songs seems to me a significant phenomenon. While no humane person would deny to the itinerant vendor of comestibles that sympathy which is accorded to the joys and sorrows of his more refined fellow-creatures, it is impossible to view without alarm the hold which his loose and ungrammatical diction is obtaining in the most cultured salons of to-day. Anxious to minimise the danger, yet loth to check a sentiment of fraternity so creditable to our common humanity, I have devised a plan by which Mr. CHEVALIER's songs may he rendered in such-wise that while all their deep humanity is preserved, their English is so elevated as to be innocuous to the nicest sensibility. Permit me to give, just as a sample, my treatment of that very popular ballad, known, rubesco referens, as "Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road." Not being a singer, I have adopted Mr. CLIFFORD HARRISON's charming plan of speaking through the music of the song, and this is how I render the chorus:—
"'How is it with you?' was the universal exclamation of the residents in the vicinity.
"'With whom, WILLIAM, have you made an appointment?'
"'Have you, WILLIAM, purchased all the house-property in this thoroughfare?'
"Were my risible faculties exercised?—you ask me. Nay. Indeed I was actually apprehensive of a fatal issue.
"So striking was the effect produced upon those in the ancient Cantian highway."
This, Sir, not only gives the sense, but gives it, I venture to claim, in a form fit for the apprehension of the most refined. Judging, too, by the reception it met with at our recent Penny Readings, I am convinced that Mr. CHEVALIER's peculiar humour is thoroughly preserved, for, indeed, many of the audience laughed till I became positively concerned for their safety.
Yours faithfully, ROBERT BOWDLER SPALDING.
* * * * *
GOOD NEWS INDEED!
That fiendish malefactor, the Influenza Bacillus, has been caught at last! The peculiarity about him, confound him, is said to be his "immobility." Ugh! the hard-hearted infinitesimally microscopic monster! No tears, short-breathings, sighs, no groans, no sufferings, nothing will move him. There he remains, untouched, immobile. But there was one hopeful sign mentioned in the Times of last Saturday—the Bacillus was found "in chains, and in strings." Let the chains be the heaviest possible till he can be tried by a Judge and Jury; and don't resort to "strings" till the supply of chains has failed.
* * * * *
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.