OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
January 23, 1892.
THE COVENT GARDEN MASQUE.
Mumming—masking—masquerading; Fanning—fun—fanfaronading; Dancing—duncing—deft disguises; Singing—supping—strange (sur) prizes; Galloping and gallivanting Couples much in need of BANTING; All the customary make-up CLARKSON's customers can fake up; All the little childish raiment, Fatties don—for sylph and fay meant; Tally-hos and Hey-no-nonnies: Jackies—Jillies—Jennies—Johnnies— Barber's blockhead—nothing dafter— Heralding "Before and After": "Auntie's Bottle Hot"—a phial Only for external trial— Gems of London—gems of Paris— Arid gusts—AUGUSTUS HARRIS— Splitting mirth—some garbs that split, too— Aching heads next morning, ditto!
* * * * *
TO BE AVOIDED.—An Intemperate tone by a Temperance lecturer.
* * * * *
* * * * *
["What is Respectability?"—Daily Telegraph, Jan. 12.]
It's having money at the Bank. It's being a personage of rank. It's having spent three years at College With great, or little, gain of knowledge. It's going to Church twice every Sunday, And keeping in with Mrs. GRUNDY. It's clothes well-cut, and shiny hat, And faultless boots, and nice cravat. It may be Law, or Church, or Ale, Or Trade—on a sufficient scale. It's being "something in the City." It's carefully to shun being witty. It's letting tradesmen live on credit. It's "Oof"—to earn it, or to wed it.
* * * * *
PROFESSOR JOLLY, of Berlin, who, if his name express his disposition, ought to be a follower of Mark Tapley, reckons that twenty-five per cent. of the inmates of asylums have been inebriates. Is the Professor "Jolly well right?"
* * * * *
A DIALOGUE OF THE FUTURE.
SCENE—Rooms of a Cambridge Tutor.
PERSONS—A Tutor and an Undergraduate.
Tutor. I understand you were at Newmarket yesterday. Is that so?
Undergraduate. It is. I was.
Tutor. A shameless avowal. Are you aware that you have broken one of the disciplinary regulations of your College? I fear I must punish you severely. Have you anything to say why sentence should not be passed upon you. [Assumes the black College Cap.
Undergraduate. Yes, Sir, I have.
Tutor. Then say it at once.
Undergraduate. I went to Newmarket to see— [Hesitates.
Tutor. Proceed, Sir. Time presses. You went to see what?
Undergraduate. As a matter of fact, I was particularly anxious to see the Head of the University.
Tutor. What do you mean, Sir?
Undergraduate. The chief Dignitary of Cambridge, the Chancellor, the Duke of DEVONSHIRE.
Tutor. You are trifling with me.
Undergraduate. Not at all, Sir. The Chancellor was there in state. I saw him. My curiosity was satisfied, and I returned to Cambridge.
Tutor (after a pause). Ah, of course that alters the case. If you can assure me you did not go for the purpose of watching horse-races—
Undergraduate (breaking in). Certainly, Sir. I do give you the assurance.
Tutor. That being so, I dismiss you with a caution.
[Exit Undergraduate. The Tutor is left pondering.
* * * * *
ANOTHER RURAL CONFERENCE.
[A Church Dignitary, writing to The Globe, suggests that the rural reform most urgently needed is a better postal system in the shires.]
Radical Reformer (meeting Rural Labourer tramping to London). Yours is a typical case, my man. You are a victim of our insensate Land Laws, or exploded Feudalism. No doubt you are leaving the country because you could not find employment there?
Rural Labourer. 'Tisn't that so much. Old Gaffer always had summat for a man to do, I can tell ye.
Radical Reformer. Glad to hear it, though it's unusual. Then I suppose it is the intolerable dulness of the country that drives you away from it.
Rural Labourer. 'Tisn't that either. Things be a bit dull in winter-time, cert'nly. But there—we've a Public, also a Free Reading Room, and—
Radical Reformer (disappointed). Glad to hear it, again, I'm sure, though that also is unusual. Your house, now—rather, I ought to call it, your hovel, perhaps—lets in the rain badly—reeks with damp—only one room, and that a pigstye, eh?
Rural Labourer (offended). Come now, don't you call my house a pigstye! Three good rooms, and not a bit o' damp or dirt about it.
Radical Reformer. Then the wages are low, and a tyrannical landlord refuses allotments, eh?
Rural Labourer. Allotments! I could have as many as I wanted for the asking. But there—I didn't want 'em, y'see, and I didn't ask.
Radical Reformer (gravelled). Then would you explain to me what is the real reason of your determination to quit the country for Town?
Rural Labourer (surprised). Why, don't you know? There was only one collection and one delivery of letters daily! I couldn't stand that, of course. I expect I shall find more in Lunnon. Good-day!
* * * * *
* * * * *
BORN, JULY 15, 1808. DIED, JAN. 14, 1892.
One more great Voice gone silent! Friends or foes, None well could watch that long life's gentle close Without a softening thrill. A valiant champion of the faith he held, No conflict ever his strong courage quelled, Or shook his steadfast will.
Yet, were that all, some well might turn away With custom's passing courtliness, to-day, And bid a cold farewell To the great priest, shrewd marshaller of men, Subtle of verbal fence with tongue or pen, Ascetic of the cell.
But there was more; and many a hundred hearts, Who not in cleric conflict played their parts, Will mourn him well and long, Friend of the poor, apart from creed or clique, And ardent champion of the struggling weak Against the selfish strong.
Toiler for Temperance, hastener on of Light, In many a fray where right's at odds with might, Might's foes will miss their friend. Farewell! It moves the common heart to hear The crowning of so glorious a career By such a gracious end!
* * * * *
THE SANITARY CONGRESS AT VENICE.—Mrs. RAM's Nephew was talking on this subject, when his Aunt was heard murmuring to herself, "I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs;" then she looked up, and repeating the last word, observed, "Well, it never struck me before, often as I've heard that line quoted. But what an extraordinary thing to make a bridge of! I suppose it was painted over first, because I know that's how 'size' is commonly used."
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE BOXING IMBROGLIO.
Oh, SLAVIN, FRANK SLAVIN, you'd fain be a whacker Of SULLIVAN, JOHN, but you can't find a backer, While SULLIVAN, biggest of Yankee big fellows, Blows froth all the time from his own patent bellows. Well, fight if you must; I am sure you'll fight fair; Bag his wind if you can, FRANK, but don't beat the air.
* * * * *
Mr. CHAPLIN has, we hear, entered with native enthusiasm into his mission to the Agricultural Labourer. It was entirely his own idea. "The Liberals have their Rural Conferences," he said at a recent Cabinet Council, "and we should do something of the same kind; only we must go one better. Of course the delegates liked their trip to London (expenses paid, their free breakfast, their shake of Mr. GLADSTONE's hand, and the opportunity of gazing on the supple form of Mr. SCHNADHORST.) That's all very well for them. But think of the hundreds of thousands green with jealousy because they weren't selected for the trip? These are all ripe to vote for us at the General Election if only delicately handled. What you want is a man of commanding presence, unfailing tact, a knowledge of horses, and some gift of oratory. If no one else occurs to you, I'll go." No one else did occur to the mind of the Cabinet. So the Minister of Agriculture set forth on his missionary enterprise.
* * * * *
We have been gratified by the receipt of many tokens of interest and appreciation elicited by our paragraph last week, reporting the state of the household markets. One takes the form of a parcel of Russian tongues. "These," writes our esteemed Correspondent (we omit complimentary preface), "should before cooking be soaked for a week in cold water, and then boiled for a day." We are not disposed to spoil a ship for a ha'p'orth of tar, and shall improve upon these generous instructions. Having spent a week and a day in personally directing the preliminary process, we intend to grill the tongues for thirty-six hours, fry them for an afternoon, stew them for two days, hang them out of the window for five hours, and then bray them in a mortar. We fancy what is left will be worth eating.
* * * * *
RYMOND has been reading, with much interest, HENED's account of how he got the Influenza, and what he did with it. Apparently the first thing to do is, to "send for a thermometer," (as others would send for a Doctor), and take it to bed with you.
"Evidently," HENED writes last week in his journal, "when a person does not feel well, he should try his temperature, and, if it be abnormally high, he should go to bed, and stay there until it comes down."—"Of course," RYMOND observes, with rare lapse into cynicism, "when the bed comes down, he is bound to go."
* * * * *
MATRIMONY UP TO DATE.
[The Defendant in a recent breach of promise case wrote to his intended, "When we are married you will have to sit with me when I am queer."]
Dear Ladies, who contemplate marriage, And imagine you'll ride in a carriage, With a house of your own, and your servants to wait for you, I'm afraid there's a totally different fate for you. When the word has been said, and the honeymoon's over, And you're safely returned, say, from Folkestone or Dover, If you see your hub ailing, And painfully paling, And you wish to be off, and not linger about him, But enjoy to the full your new freedom without him, Remember, remember, From Jan. to December, You must tie yourselves down, and be constantly near With the pill-box and posset, And all that may cosset That bore of a husband, whenever he's queer.
* * * * *
CELA VA SANS DIRE.—In reply to the Salvationists' Solicitors, an opinion was given, signed by Sir CHARLES RUSSELL, with WIT. Why drag in WIT? When CHARLES RUSSELL's name appears, the wit is taken for granted.
* * * * *
THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.
SCENE—The Piazza of St. Mark at night. The roof and part of the facade gleam a greenish silver in the moonlight. The shadow of the Campanile falls, black and broad, across the huge square, which is crowded with people listening to the Military Band, and taking coffee, &c., outside the caffes. Miss TROTTER and CULCHARD are seated at one of the little tables in front of the Quadri.
Miss T. I'd like ever so much to know why it is you're so anxious to see that Miss PRENDERGAST and me friendly again? After she's been treating you this long while like you were a toad—and not a popular kind of toad at that!
Culch. (wincing). Of course I am only too painfully aware of—of a certain distance in her manner towards me, but I should not think of allowing myself to be influenced by any—er—merely personal considerations of that sort.
Miss T. That's real noble! And I presume, now, you cann't imagine any reason why she's been treading you so flat.
Culch. (with a shrug). I really haven't troubled to speculate Who can tell how one may, quite unconsciously, give offence—even to those who are—er—comparative strangers?
Miss T. Just so. (A pause.) Well, Mr. CULCHARD, if I wanted anything to confirm my opinion of you, I guess you've given it me!
Culch. (internally). It's very unfortunate that she will insist on idealising me like this!
Miss T. Maybe, now, you can form a pretty good idea already what that opinion is?
Culch. (in modest deprecation). You give me some reason for inferring that it is far higher than I deserve.
Miss T. Well, I don't know that you've missed your guess altogether. Are you through your ice-cream yet?
Culch. Almost. (He finishes his ice.) It is really most refreshing!
Miss T. Then, now you're refreshed, I'll tell you what I think about you. (CULCHARD resigns himself to enthusiasm.) My opinion of you, Mr. CULCHARD, is that, taking you by and large, you amount to what we Amurrcans describe as "a pretty mean cuss."
Culch. (genuinely surprised). A mean cuss? Me! Really, this unjustifiable language is most—!
Miss T. Well, I don't just know what your dictionary term would be for a man who goes and vows exclusive devotion to one young lady, while he's waiting for his answer from another, and keeps his head close shut to each about it. Or a man who backs out of his vows by trading off the sloppiest kind of flap-doodle about not wishing to blight the hopes of his dearest friend. Or a man who has been trying his hardest to get into the good graces again of the young lady he went back on first, so he can cut out that same dearest friend of his, and leave the girl he's haff engaged to right out in the cold. And puts it all off on the high-toned-est old sentiments, too. But I don't consider the expression, "a mean cuss," too picturesque for that particular kind of hero myself!
Culch. (breathing hard). Your feelings have apparently undergone a sudden change—quite recently!
Miss T. Well, no, the change dates back considerable—ever since we were at the Villa d'Este. Only, I like Mr. PODBURY pretty well, and I allowed he ought to have fair play, so I concluded I'd keep you around so you shouldn't get a chance of spoiling your perfectly splendid act of self-denial—and I guess I've kept you around pretty much all the time!
Culch. (bitterly). In other words, you have behaved like a heartless coquette!
Miss T. You may put it at that if you like. Maybe it wouldn't have been just the square thing to do if you'd been a different sort of man—but you wanted to be taught that you couldn't have all the fun of flirtation on your side, and I wasn't afraid the emotional strain was going to shatter you up to any serious extent. Now it's left off amusing me, and I guess it's time to stop. I'm as perfectly aware as I can be that you've been searching around for some way of getting out of it this long while back—so there's no use of your denying you'll be real enchanted to get your liberty again!
Culch. I may return your charming candour by admitting that my—er—dismissal will be—well, not wholly without its consolations.
Miss T. Then that's all right! And if you'll be obliging enough to hunt up my Poppa and send him along, I guess I can dispense with your further escort, and you can commence those consolations right away.
Culch. (alone). The little vixen! Saw I was getting tired of it, and took care to strike first. Clever—but a trifle crude. But I'm free now. Unfortunately my freedom comes too late. PODBURY's Titania is much too enamoured of those ass's ears of his—How the brute will chuckle when he hears of this! But he won't hear of it from me. I'll go in and pack and be off to-morrow morning before he's up!
Next Morning. In the Hall of the Grand Hotel Dandolo.
The German Porter (a stately person in a gold-laced uniform and a white waistcoat, escaping from importunate visitors). In von momendt, Matam, I attend to you. You want a larcher roum, Sare? You address ze manager, blease. Your dronks, Laties? I haf zem brod down, yes.
A Lady. Oh, Porter, we want a gondola this afternoon to go to the Lido, and do try if you can get us BEPPO—that nice gondolier, you know, we had yesterday!
The Porter. Ach! I do nod know any nah-ice gondolier—zey are oal—I dell you, if you lif viz zem ade mons as me, you cot your troat—yes!
Another Lady. Porter, can you tell me the name of the song that man is singing in the barge there?
Porter. I gannot dell you ze name—pecause zey sing always ze same ting!
A Helpless Man in knickerbockers (drifting in at the door). Here, I say. We engaged rooms here by telegram from Florence. What am I to give these fellows from the station? Combien, you know!
Porter. You gif zem two franc—and zen zey vill gromble. You haf engage roums? yes. Zat vill pe oal rahit—Your loggage in ze gondola, yes? I haf it taken op.
The H.M. No, it's left behind at Bologna. My friend's gone back for it. And I say, think it will turn up all right?
Porter. Eef you register it, and your vrient is zere, you ged it—yes.
The H.M. Yes, but look here, don't you know? Oughtn't I to make a row—a fuss—about it, or something, eh?
Porter (moving off with subdued contempt). Oh, you can make a foss, yes, if you like—you ged nossing!
Culch. and Podb. (stopping him simultaneously). I say, I want my luggage brought down from No. —— in time for the twelve o'clock—(To each other.) Hallo! are you off too?
Culch. (confused). Er—yes—thought I might as well be getting back.
Podb. Then I—I suppose it's all settled—with Miss T.—you know—eh?
Culch. Fortunately—yes. And—er—your engagement happily concluded?
Podb. Well, it's concluded, anyway. It's all off, you know. I—I wasn't artistic enough for her.
Culch. She has refused you? My dear PODBURY, I'm really delighted to hear this—at least, that is—
Podb. Oh, don't mind me. I'm getting over it. But I must congratulate you on better luck.
Culch. On precisely similar luck. Miss TROTTER and I—er—arrived at the conclusion last night that we were not formed to make each other's happiness.
Podb. Did you, by Jove? Porter, I say, never mind about that luggage. Do you happen to know if Mr. and Miss TROTTER—the American gentleman and his daughter—are down yet?
Porter. TRODDERS? Led me see; yes, zey ged zeir preakfast early, and start two hours since for Murano and Torcello.
Podb. Torcello? Why that's where BOB and Miss PRENDERGAST talked of going to-day! CULCHARD, old fellow, I've changed my mind. Shan't leave to-day, after all. I shall just nip over and see what sort of place Torcello is.
Culch. Torcello—"the Mother of Venice!" it really seems a pity to go away without having seen it. Do you know, PODBURY, I think I'll join you!
Podb. (not over cordially). Come along, then—only look sharp. Sure you don't mind? Miss TROTTER will be there, you know!
Culch. Exactly; and so—I think you said—will the—er—PRENDERGASTS. (To Porter.) Just get us a gondola and two rowers, will you, for Torcello. And tell them to row as fast as they can!
* * * * *
A FAIR PHILOSOPHER.
Ah! Chloris! be as simple still As in the dear old days; Don't prate of Matter and Free Will, And IBSEN's nasty plays, A girl should ne'er, it seems to me, Have notions so pedantic; 'Twere better far once more to be Impulsive and romantic.
There was a time when idle tales Could set your heart aflame; But now the novel nought avails, Philosophy's your game. You talk of SCHOPENHAUER with zest, And pessimistic teaching; Believe me that I loved you best Before you took to preaching.
There's still some loveliness in life, Despite what cynics say; It is not all ignoble strife, That greets us on our way. Then prithee smooth that pretty brow, So exquisitely knitted; Mankind in general, I trow, Can do without being pitied.
We'll linger over fans and frills, Discuss dress bit by bit, As in days when the worst of ills Were frocks that would not fit. 'Twas frivolous, but I'm content To hear you talk at random; For life is not all argument, And "Quod est demonstrandum."
You smile, 'twill cost you then no pang, To be yourself once more, To let philosophy go hang, With every Buddhist bore. "Pro aris," like a Volunteer, A girl should be, "et focis;" Supposing then you try, my dear, A new metempsychosis.
* * * * *
A COMPLICATED CASE.—The careless little boy who caught a cold from his cousin, caught it hot from his mother afterwards.
* * * * *
VENICE IN LONDON.
(BY A MOSQUITO "OUT OF IT.")
Oh, it's all very fine, Mr. IMRE KARALFY, Thus to blazon your "Venice in London" around, To portray the Piazzetta for 'ARRY and ALFY, But dispense with my tintinnabulary sound. Ask the Tourist if, reft of my wee fellow-creatures, On the face of the waters (and watermen) blown, He can honestly recognise Venice's features In their miniature—or, for that matter, his own.
Ever watchful, we guard, Messrs. ALFY and 'ARRY, With our trumpet and spear for the Doges, their mute, Opalescent, profanity-proof sanctuary, And we swell the lagoon—and lagoonster, to boot. Stare away at this pageant of eld—ever new 'tis,— In the glimmering gondolas loll, if you like; But I'll warrant one eye would be closed to their beauties, Could I only escape for a second on strike.
Could I quiver concealed by yon mimic Rialto, Till I swooped with a warrior's music and swing, Were I only allowed, as I ought, and I shall, to Be avenged on your barbarous hordes with my sting. I would tilt at the fogs that mock Italy's glory, I would pounce on the rabble—an insolent fry;— With my forefathers' motto, "Pro Patria mori," I'd annihilate ALFY and 'ARRY—and die!
* * * * *
The Real Japan is the title modestly given by Mr. HENRY NORMAN to his book published by FISHER UNWIN. This, my "CO." remarks, seems to imply that all the rest (including the lady BIRD's not unknown work) is, as the Gentleman in trouble, who wanted to secure the advocacy of Mr. Jaggers, said, "cagmagger." This tone of bumptiousness is occasionally apparent in passages of the book, and is perhaps sufficiently explained by the circumstance, mentioned in the preface, that a number of the papers originally appeared in the Pall Mall Gazette. Foible apart, HENRY the Norman has contributed an interesting chapter to the history of a singularly attractive people. There is nothing new in the heavier parts, which smell vilely of Blue Books, and might as well have been written in Northumberland Street as in Yokohama. HENRY is best in the glimpses he gives of the people living their daily life—in the hands of justice, at school, working at their Arts and Crafts, dining and dancing.
In The Poet's Audience and Delilah, CLARA SAVILE CLARKE (whether Miss or Mrs. the Baron is unaware, and must apologise for stating the name as it appears tout court) has written two interesting but tragic stories. The Baron does not like being left in doubt as to the fate of any hero or heroine in whom he may have been interested, and therefore calls for "part second" to the first story. Delilah, short and dramatic. The Baron shrinks from correcting a lady's grammar, but to say "Mrs. Randal Morgan lay down the law" is not the best Sunday English as she is spoke. From Fin-de-Siecle Stories, by Messrs LAWRENCE AND CADETT, the Baron selects "A Wife's Secret" (nothing to do with the old play of that name), "Mexico," and "Honour is Satisfied." Try these, and you'll have had a fine specimen of an interesting passe-temps collection says,
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
* * * * *
In an article on the Salvationist disturbances at Eastbourne, the Times said that after the scuffle, "the Army reformed its dishevelled battalions, and marched back to its 'citadel' without molestation." In another sense, the sooner a reformation of the entire Army is effected in the exercise of Christian charity, which means consideration for their neighbours' feelings, the better for themselves and for the non-combatants of every denomination.
* * * * *
"A BAR MESS."—Recent difficulties about latitude of Counsel in Cross-examination.
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE BRIDAL WREATH.
H.R.H. THE DUKE OF CLARENCE AND AVONDALE.
BORN, JAN. 8, 1864. DIED, JAN. 14, 1892.
"I thought thy bridal to have deck'd ... And not have strew'd thy grave."—Hamlet.
But yesterday it seems, That, dreaming loyal dreams, Punch, with the People, genially rejoiced In that Betrothal Wreath; And now relentless Death Silences all the joy our hopes had voiced.
The Shadow glides between; The garland's vernal green Shrivels to greyness in its spectral hand. Joy-bells are muffled, mute, Hushed is the bridal lute, And general grief darkens across the land.
Surely a hapless fate For young hearts so elate, So fired with promise of approaching bliss! Oh, flowers we hoped to fling! Oh, songs we thought to sing! Prophetic fancy had not pictured this.
Young, modest, scarce yet tried, Later he should have died, This gentle youth, loved by our widowed QUEEN! So we are apt to say, Who only mark the way, Not the great goal by all but Heaven unseen.
At least our tears may fall Upon the untimely pall Of so much frustrate promise, unreproved; At least our hearts may bear In her great grief a share, Who bows above the bier of him she loved.
Princess, whose brightening fate We gladly hymned of late, Whose nuptial happiness we hoped to hymn With the first bursts of spring, To you our hearts we bring Warm with a sympathy death cannot dim.
Death, cold and cruel Death, Removes the Bridal Wreath England for England's daughter had designed. Love cannot stay that hand, And Hymen's rosy band Is rent; so will the Fates austere and blind.
Blind and austere! Ah, no! The chill succeeds the glow, As winter hastes at summer's hurrying heel. Flowers, soft and virgin-white, Meant for the Bride's delight, May deck the pall where love in tears must kneel.
Flowers are they, blossoms still, Born of Benignant Will, Not of the Sphingian Fate, which hath no heed For human smiles or tears; The long-revolving years Have brought humanity a happier creed.
Prince-Sire of the young dead, Mother whose comely head Is bowed above him in so bitter grief; Betrothed one, and bereaved, Queen who so oft hath grieved,— Ye all were nurtured in this blest belief.
Hence is there comfort still, In a whole land's good-will, In hope that pallid spectre shall not slay. The unwelcome hand of Death Closes on that white wreath; But there is that Death cannot take away!
[Footnote 1: See Cartoon, "England, Home, and Beauty!" p. 295, December 19, 1891.]
* * * * *
AT MRS. RAM'S.—They were talking of Mr. JOHN MORLEY. "He's not a practical politician," said some one, "he's a doctrinaire." "Is he, indeed?" said our excellent old Lady, "then I daresay I met him when I was in Scotland." Observing their puzzled expression, she added, "Yet it's more than likely I didn't, as, when in the North, I was so uncommonly well that I never wanted a medical man." Subsequently it turned out that she had understood Mr. J.M. to be a "Doctor in Ayr."
* * * * *
SONG FOR LORD ROSEBERY.
(AFTER "TOM TUG," IN THE "WATERMAN.")
Then farewell, my County Council, Cheek, and fads, and bosh farewell, Never more in Whitehall Gardens Shall your ROSEB'RY take a spell.
* * * * *
CHANGE OF NAME SUGGESTED.—Why call the place Monte Carlo, why not Mont "Blanc" Junior? The Leviathan Winner who broke the record and the tables, Mr. HILL WELLS, might also alter his name according to his luck. A run of HILL-luck would settle him: but when "WELL's the word," he could forget the HILL-doing of the previous day.
* * * * *
* * * * *
CONFESSIONS OF A DUFFER.
II.—THE SOCIAL DUFFER.
If my Confessions are to be harrowing, it is in this paper that they will chiefly provoke the tear of sentiment. Other Confessors have never admitted that they are Social Duffers, except Mr. MARK PATTISON only, the Rector of Lincoln College; and he seems to have Flattered himself that he was only a Duffer as a beginner. My great prototypes, J.J. ROUSSEAU, and MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF, never own to having been Social Duffers. But I cannot conceal the fact from my own introspective analysis. It is not only that I was always shy. Others have fled, and hidden themselves in the laurels, or the hedgerows, when they met a lady in the way—but they grew out of this cowardly practice. Often have I, in a frantic attempt to conceal myself behind a hedge, been betrayed by my fishing-rod, which stuck out over the top. The giggles of the young women who observed me were hard to bear, but I confess that they were not unnatural.
Shyness is a fine qualification in a Social Duffer, and it is greatly improved by shortness, and, as one may say, stupidity of sight. I never recognise anyone whom I know; on the other hand, I frequently recognise people whom I never saw before in my life, and salute them with a heartiness which they fail to appreciate. Once, at an evening party, where the Princess BERGSTOL was present, a lady, who had treated me with hospitable kindness, I three times mistook her; once for an eminent novelist, once for a distinguished philanthropist, and once for an admired female performer on the Banjo. I carried on conversations with her in each of these three imaginary characters,—and I ask you, is this the way to shine in Society? You may say, "Wear spectacles"—but they are unbecoming. As to an eye-glass, somehow it irritates people even more than mere blindness does. Besides, it is always dropping into one's soup.
People are always accosting me, people who seem vaguely familiar, and then I have to make believe very much that I remember them, and to wait for casual hints. The more I feel confident that I know them, the more it turns out that I don't. It is an awful thing to stop a hansom in the street, thinking that its occupant is your oldest College friend, and to discover that he is a perfect stranger, and in a great hurry. Private Views are my particular abomination. At one such show, seven ladies, all very handsome and peculiarly attired, addressed me in the most friendly manner, calling me by my name. They cannot have taken me for either of my Doubles,—one is a Cabinet Minister, one is a dentist,—for they knew my name, The MACDUFFER of Duff. Yet I had not then, nor have I now, the faintest idea who any one of the seven was. My belief is that it was done for a bet. The worst of it is when, after about five minutes, I think I have a line as to who my companion really is, then, my intelligent features lighting up, I make some remark which ruins everything, congratulate a stockbroker on getting his step, or an unmarried lady on the success of her son in the Indian Civil Service examination.
The thing goes so far that I have occasionally mistaken my wife's relations for old friends. Then, when I am hostile, it is just as bad. I never, indeed, horsewhipped the wrong man, but that is only because I never horsewhipped anybody at all, Heaven forefend! But once I did mean to cut a man, I forget why. So I cut the wrong man, a harmless acquaintance whose feelings I would not have hurt for the world. Of course I accidentally cut all the world. Some set it down to an irritable temper, and ask, "What can we have done to The MACDUFFER?" Others think I am proud. Proud! I ask, what has a Duffer to be proud of? Nobody, or very few, admit that I am just a Duffer; a stupid, short-sighted, absent-minded child of misfortune.
All these things do not make my life so pleasant to me that I, the MACDUFFER, should greatly care to dine out. Ah, that is a trial. First, I never know my host and hostess by sight. Next, in a summer dusk, I never know anybody. Then, as to conversation, I have none. My mind is always prowling about on some antiquarian hobby-horse, reflecting deeply on the Gowrie Conspiracy, or the Raid of Ruthven, or the chances in favour of PERKIN WARBECK's having been a true man. Now I do object to talking shop, I am not a lawyer, nor yet am I an actor; I do not like people who talk about their cases, or their parts. It would he unbecoming to start a conversation on the authenticity of "HENRY GORING's Letter." Then I never go to the play, I do not even know which of the Royal Family is which: modern pictures are the abominations of desolation to me; in fact, I have no "conversation-openings." A young lady, compelled to sit beside me, has been known to hum tunes, and telegraph messages of her forlorn condition to her sister, at the opposite end of the table. I pitied her, but was helpless. My impression is that she was musical, poor soul! When I do talk, things become actively intolerable. I have no tact. To have tact, is much like being good at Halma, or whist, or tennis, or chess. You must be able to calculate the remote consequences of every move, and all the angles and side-walls from which the conversational hall may bound. It is needless to say that, at whist, I never know in the least what will happen in consequence of the card I play; and life is very much too short for the interminable calculations of chess. It is the same in conversation. I never know, or, if my sub-consciousness knows, I never remember, who anybody is. I speak to people about scandals with which they are connected. I frankly give my mind about Mr. DULL's poems to Mr. DULL's sister-in-law. I give free play to my humour about the Royal Academy in talk with the wife of an Academician of whom I never heard. I am like Jeanie Deans, at her interview with Queen CAROLINE, when, as the MACALLUM MORE said, she first brought down the Queen, and then Lady SUFFOLK, right and left, with remarks about unkind mothers, and the Stool of Penitence.
Thus you may see me forlorn, with each of my neighbours turning towards me the shoulder of indignation. I do not blame them, but how can I help it? It is the Fairy's fault: the curse has come upon me. WILLIAM BUFFY, the Statesman, has a great clan of kinsfolk. Did I ever express my views about WILLIAM BUFFY, but one of Clan Buffy was there, to be annoyed? When I find out what has occurred, I become as red as any tomato, but that does nobody any good.
Oh, I am a Pariah, I am unfit to live! In a savage country, to which my thoughts often wander, I would stumble over every taboo, and soon find myself in the oven. As it is, I stumble over everything, stools and lady's trains, and upset porcelain, and break all the odds and ends with which I fidget, and spill the salt, and then pour claret over it, and call on the right people at the wrong houses, and put letters in the wrong envelopes: one of the most terrible blunders of the Social Duffer. Naturally, in place of improving, MACDUFFER gets worse and worse: every failure which he discovers makes him more nervous: besides he knows that, of all his errors, he only finds out a small per-centage. Where can he take refuge? If Robinson Crusoe had been a social Duffer, he and Friday would not have been on speaking terms in a week. People think the poor Duffer malignant, boorish, haughty, unkind; he is only a Duffer, an irreclaimable, sad, pitiful creature, quite beyond the reach of philanthropy. On my grave write, not MISERRIMUS (though that would be true enough), but FUTILISSIMUS.
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A GLADSTONIAN MENU.
The following menu of a banquet, said to have been given at Biarritz not long ago, has been forwarded to us:—
Faux Col. Maree Coulante. Bonne Femme.
Harpe Irlandaise, Sauce Verte. Anguilles Glissantes.
Petits Cultivateurs en Caisses. Tete de Joseph frite, Sauce Jesse. Conservateurs Foudroyes en brochette.
Vieille Main Parlementaire a la Renard. Parti de Parnell a la Conscience Nonconformiste.
Discours en Branches. Pommes Maitre du Ministere. Choux d'Homere.
Sucrerie d'Office. Conseils de Paroisse a la Cirque d'Ete. Mots de Labouchere.
Plans Varies. Elections Assorties.
The waiting was done by Candidates, and during the evening the band played a selection, containing such well-known pieces as "Souvenir de Mitchelstown," the opening chorus of "Mose in Egitto," "Ou sont nos Ducs," "Partant pour le Sud," and "Irland, Irland ueber alles."
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MR. BAYLY'S COAST-SPECTRE.
"It is scarcely credible that, at this moment, the elaborate telegraphic system of this country has little or no connection with our Lighthouses and Coastguard Stations." So said, quite recently, the Illustrated London News in an excellent article, appropriately entitled, "A Flagrant Scandal." It is scarcely credible, and creditable not at all. "Shiver my timbers!" cries Mr. Punch (in a nautical rage), "if there is a purpose for which JOHN BULL should eagerly utilise his 'telegraphic system,' it is for the saving of his sailors' lives." Mr. ROBERT BAYLY, of Plymouth, wrote a letter to the Times, "giving some instances in which lamentable loss of life was solely due to the inability of the Lighthouse-keeper or Coastguard to communicate in time with the nearest life-boat station." Think of that, ye British Gentlemen, who sit at home at ease.
Aren't you ashamed of yourselves at the very thought of it! Well may "T. LAWRENCE-HAMILTON, M.R.C.S., late Honorary President of the Fishermen's Federation," say, in an indignant letter to Mr. Punch:—"Perhaps ridicule may wake up some of our salary-sucking statesmen, and permanent, higher, over-paid Government officials, who are legally and morally responsible for the present state of chaotic confusion in which these national matters have been chronically messed and muddled." Perhaps so, my valiant M.R.C.S. And, if so, that "ridicule" shall not be wanting—on Mr. Punch's part, at least. Here goes, for once:—
IMPORTUNATE MR. BAYLY.
A SONG OF A SHAMEFUL SEA-COAST SCANDAL.
AIR—"Unfortunate Miss Bailey."
A Captain bold, of British birth, might bless his stars and garters, That if he must be wrecked at all, it should be near home quarters; But Britons' conscience smites them when we hear of lives lost daily For want of—some electric wires! So says stout ROBERT BAYLY. Ah, BOB BAYLY! Importunate BOB BAYLY!
At night, when he retires to rest, is BULL, the brave and clever, Troubled with thoughts of Jack Tars lost for want of care? No, never. But sure, JOHN's nightcap would wag wild, his ruddy cheek wax palely, If he only realised the tale as told by Mr. BAYLY. Ah, R. BAYLY! Importunate R. BAYLY!
Avaunt, BOB BAYLY! So will cry officials cold and steely, Who do not wish to be disturbed while pottering genteely, At their old business of Red Tape circumlocuting gaily, By tales of wrecks for want of wires, as truly told by BAYLY. Oh, R. BAYLY! Importunate R. BAYLY!
Importunate? And quite right too! This shame must once for all close, Or Punch will plant some stirring kicks on—well, somebody's small-clothes. The scandal's getting far too grave, alas! to sing of gaily, But Punch in earnest will back up brave HAMILTON and BAYLY! Go it, BAYLY! Be importunate still, BOB BAYLY!
See to it, Mr. BULL! Mr. Punch, echoing Importunate Mr. BAYLY and Indignant LAWRENCE HAMILTON, lays it upon you as one of the most urgent of New Year duties!
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THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA.
THE ACTORS' OWN PRESS-NOTICES COMPANY LIMITED.
"Then came each actor with his Association." Shakespeare, New Reading.
CAPITAL—quite excellent. The usual thing in sharing terms.
The Managers of London who live at home at ease.
The Actors of England who have a pretty taste for literature.
BANKERS.—The Wild Time Bank, late PUCK's Limited.
SOLICITORS.—Messrs. BOX AND COX, Bouncer Buildings.
AUDITORS.—Messrs. HEXTRA, SUPER, NUMERY & CO., Mum Street, E.C.
SECRETARY (pro tem.).—A. PLYACK TORR.
OFFICES.—In the Adelphi.
This Company has been formed for the purposes of establishing a thoroughly reliable newspaper in the interests of the Drama, and the shareholders belonging to the Theatrical Profession of the United Kingdom.
1. To uphold every Shareholder's claim to Acting as an Art.
2. To secure the best possible criticism by enabling every shareholder to write the notices of his own performances.
3. To take cognisance of the literature that grows up around the Stage, especially criticism in other quarters.
4. To notice the Drama all the world over, when space permits.
5. To support the work of the Profession in general, and the Shareholders in particular.
6. To afford a means of exercising hobbies.
7. To contain Articles by any of the recognised critics ("distinguished writers of the day").
8. To serve as a Directory, or Vade Mecum, or Press-notes container for the benefit of the Shareholders.
Many leading theatrical lessees, managers, and actors, have expressed themselves strongly in favour of the necessity of establishing a paper, written by themselves, for themselves, to read. Without such an organ it is impossible that they can be adequately represented.
The need of such a journal has long been felt by those whose theatrical notices have been the reverse of satisfactory.
A large number of prominent players have promised to take shares, and advertise, not only in the advertisement columns, but in other parts of the proposed paper.
The price of the paper will be hereafter settled by the Directors, who feel that this is a mere matter of detail. The charge for advertisements will be very moderate, to suit the requirements of the shareholders.
Pictures and all sorts of clever things will be introduced when the capital is subscribed, but it's no use making promises until the bankers have got the money.
If there is a rush for shares (as anticipated), those who come first will have the preference.
It may be stated that lots of people have promised to become shareholders which is satisfactory. But it is necessary to add that no one will be permitted to become a contributor to the paper even of the most interesting nature (i.e., Press notices, &c.), until he has contributed to its capital.
It is the intention of the Promoters that the majority of the shares that be allotted to persons in or connected with the profession, so that there shall be no nonsense from outsiders.
No promotion money will be paid to anyone. The only preliminary expenses will be those connected with law and stationery.
It is proposed to start the Journal at once, per contract. The Promoters are in communication with a gentleman who will make a first-rate Editor, and who will (they believe) be delighted to accept such an appointment if offered to him. Special arrangements will be made for the insertion of such advertisements as "Wigs on the Green" and "Curtain Razors."
As the paper will be sent about largely, it should have a good circulation, and the Promoters give as a standing toast, "Success to the Advertisement Department!"
Under such brilliant auspices, both the Company and the paper (as the legal advisers, Messrs. BOX & COX would say) "should be satisfied."
In the event of no money being received, the amount will be returned without deductions.
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CRIES WITHOUT WOOL.
NO. 1.—"HALL THE WINNERS!"
Of all the cries this world can boast— A loud, unconscionable host— There's one that I detest the most— It haunts me o'er my morning toast, It scares my luncheon's calm and dinner's. It dogs my steps throughout the week, That cursed crescendo of a shriek; I cannot read, or write, or speak, Undeafened by its howl unique, That demon-yell of "Hall the Winners!"
I'm not, I own, a racing man; I never loved a horse that ran, And betting is a vice I ban; Still, to the sporting caravan— Or good, or bad, or saints, or sinners— I bear no malice; nor would take A leaf from any books they make; Why then, should they, for mercy's sake, Pursue me till my senses ache With that relentless "Hall the Winners?"
If it were only but a few, But "Hall the Winners!"—why, the crew Must winning be the whole year through! Why can't a veteran or two Retire in favour of beginners? I'd rather welcome e'en the strain Of "Hall the Losers!" than remain A martyr frenzied and profane To that importunate refrain Of (There! they're at it!!) "Hall the Winners!"
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THE HONOUR OF THE BAR.
TO THE EDITOR OF PUNCH.
SIR,—As the London Charivari is recognised all the world over as the universally acknowledged organ of the legal profession in England, will you permit me to make an explanation nearly touching my professional reputation. A few days since, a Correspondent to one of your contemporaries complained that the leading Counsel of the epoch were in the habit of accepting fees they never intended to earn. He more than hinted that we Barristers were prone to receive cheques for briefs that we knew we would never attend to; that we were ready to be paid for being present in one Court, when we knew that we were sure to be engaged in another. And so and so on.
Now there can be but one interpretation to such a statement. I am reluctantly compelled to believe that some learned friend or other, annoyed at my increasing practice, has levelled this blow at me, with a view to lessening my prosperity. Will you let me say then, once and for all, I have never received fees for briefs to which I have paid no attention; that my presence has never been required in one Court when I have been professionally engaged in another? My Clerk, PORTINGTON, who has been with me for many years, will tell anyone interested in the matter, that I am most careful not to accept papers promiscuously. In conclusion, anyone who knows me will refuse to believe that I have ever accepted more business than that to which I have been able to give proper attention. It is not my custom to crowd my mantelpiece with papers appealing to me in vain for my consideration. At this moment I have not a single matter demanding my care, except a bundle sent in to me three years ago by a madman.
Believe me, yours most truly, (Signed) A BRIEFLESS, JUNIOR. Pump-Handle Court, January 18, 1892.
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TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING.—Mr. Punch is glad to congratulate everybody on the improvement in the health of JOHN LAWRENCE TOOLE, comedian. It may be remembered that Mr. TOOLE, being at Mr. EDMUND ROUTLEDGE's house, and suddenly feeling unwell, was pressed by his kind host to stay there the night. He accepted and stopped about three weeks. Mr. J.L. TOOLE recommends the "ROUTLEDGE Treatment" to everybody. He is enthusiastic on the subject. So many persons have acted on his advice, and when calling on Mr. ROUTLEDGE, in quite a casual and friendly way, apparently, have been suddenly taken worse, that the benevolent publisher who feels deeply the necessity of showing these distressing visitors at once to the door, wishes it generally to be known that "Open House" is closed as a "Casual Ward," and that he is not at home to anybody; except bona fide visitors who will give their written word, under penalties, not to be taken ill during their brief interview with him.
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NOTICE.—Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS., Printed Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no case be returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed Envelope, Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.