OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
March 12, 1892.
DOING THE OLD MASTERS.
(A SKETCH AT BURLINGTON HOUSE.)
IN GALLERY NO. I.
The Usual Elderly Lady (who judges every picture solely by its subject). "No. 9. Portrait of Mrs. BRYANSTON of Portman. By GAINSBOROUGH." I don't like that at all. Such a disagreeable expression! I can't think why they exhibit such things. I'm sure there's no pleasure in looking at them!
Her Companion (who finds no pleasure in looking at any of them). No, I must say I prefer the Academy to these old-fashioned things. I suppose we can get a cup of tea here, though?
An Intelligent Person. "Mrs. BRYANSTON of Portman." Sounds like a made-up name rather, eh? Portman Square, and all that, y'know!
His Friend (with a touching confidence in the seriousness of the authorities). Oh, they wouldn't do that sort of thing here!
A Too-impulsive Enthusiast. Oh, JOHN, look at that lovely tiger up there! Isn't the skin marvellously painted, and the eyes so natural and all! It's a Landseer of course!
John. Catalogue says STUBBS.
The Enth. (disenchanted). STUBBS? I never heard of him. But it's really rather well done.
The Man who is a bit of a Connoisseur in his way (arriving at a portrait of Mrs. BILLINGTON). Not a bad Romney, that.
His Friend (with Catalogue). What makes you think it's a Romney?
The Conn. My dear fellow, as if it was possible to mistake his touch. (Thinks from his friend's expression, that he had better hedge.) Unless it's a Reynolds. Of course it might be a Sir Joshua, their manner at one period was very much alike—yes, it might be a Reynolds, certainly.
His Friend. It might be a Holbein—if it didn't happen to be a Gainsborough.
The Conn. (effecting a masterly retreat). Didn't I say Gainsborough? Of course that was what I meant. Nothing like Reynolds—nor Romney either. Totally different thing!
IN GALLERY NO. II.
Mr. Ernest Stodgely (before JAN STEEN's "Christening"). Now look at this, FLOSSIE; very curious, very interesting. Gives you such an insight into the times. This man, you see, is wearing a hat of the period. Remarkable, isn't it?
Miss Featherhead. Not so remarkable as if he was wearing a hat of some other period, ERNEST, is it?
The Elderly Lady (before a View of Amsterdam, by Van der Heyden). Now, you really must look at this, my dear—isn't it wonderful? Why, you can count every single brick in the walls, and the tiny little figures with their features all complete; you want a magnifying-glass to see it all! How conscientious painters were in those days! And what a difference from those "Impressionists," as they call themselves.
Her Comp. (apathetically). Yes, indeed; I wonder whether it would be better to get our tea here, or wait till we get outside?
The Eld. L. Oh, it's too early yet. Look at that poor hunted stag jumping over a dining-room table, and upsetting the glasses and things. I suppose that's LANDSEER—no, I see it's some one of the name of SNYDERS. I expect he got the idea from LANDSEER, though, don't you?
Her Comp. Very likely indeed, dear; but (pursuing her original train of thought) you get rather nice tea at some of these aerated bread-shops; so perhaps if we waited—(&c., &c.)
IN GALLERY NO. III.
Two Pretty Nieces with an Elderly Uncle (coming to "Apollo and Marsyas," by Tintoretto). What was the story of Apollo and Marsyas, Uncle?
The Uncle. Apollo? Oh, come, you've heard of him, the—er—Sun-God, Phoebus-Apollo, and all that?
His Nieces. Oh, yes, we know all that; but who was Marsyas, and what does the Catalogue mean by "Athena and three Umpires?"
The Uncle. Oh—er—hum! Didn't they teach you all that at school? Well they ought to have, that's all? Where's your Aunt—where's your Aunt?
Mr. Ernest Stodgely (before the Portrait of the Marchesa Isabella Grimaldi). There, FLOSSIE, don't you feel the greatness of that now? I'm curious to know how it impresses you!
Miss Featherhead. Well, I rather like her frock, ERNEST. How funny to think aigrettes were worn so long ago, when they've just gone out again, don't you know. It must have been difficult to kiss a person across one of those enormous ruffs, though, don't you think?
IN GALLERY NO. IV.
Mr. Schohorff (loudly). Ah, that's a picture I know well; seen it many a time in the Octagon Boudoir at dear old HATCHMENT's. But it looks better lighted up. I remember the last time I was down there they told me they'd been asked to lend it, but the Countess didn't seem to think (&c., &c.).
Mrs. Frivell (before "Death of Dido," by Liberale da Verona). Why is she standing on that pile of furniture in the courtyard, though?
Mr. F. Because AEneas had jilted her, and so she stabbed herself on a funeral pyre after setting fire to it, you see.
Mrs. F. (disapprovingly). How very odd. I thought they only did that in India. But who are all those people looking-on?
Mr. F. Smart people of the period, my dear. Of course Dido would send out invitations for a big function like that—Wind-up of the season—Farewell Reception—sure to be a tremendous rush for cards. Notice the evident enjoyment of the guests. They are depicted in the act of remarking to one another that their hostess is doing all in her power to make the thing go off well. Keen observer of human nature, old LIBERALE!
Mrs. F. Selfish creatures!
IN THE VESTIBULE.
Mrs. Townley-Ratton (about to leave with her husband, encounters her cousins, the Miss RURAL-RATTONS, who have just arrived). Why, SOPHY, MARY! how are you? this is too delightful! When did you come up? How long are you going to be in town? When can you come and see me?
Miss Sophy Rattan (answering the two last questions). Till the end of the week. What will be the best time to find you?
Mrs. T.R. (warmly). Oh, any time! I'm almost always in—except the afternoons, of course. I'm going out to tea or something every day this week!
Miss Sophy R. Well, how would some time in the morning—
Mrs. T.R. The morning? No, I'm afraid—I'm afraid it mustn't be the morning this week—so many things that one has to see to!
Mr. T.R. (lazily). You'd better all come and dine quietly some evening.
[He yawns, to tone down any excess of hospitality in this invitation.
Mrs. T.R. (quickly). No, that would be too cruel, when I know they'll want to go to a theatre every night! And besides, I really haven't a single free evening this week. But I must see if we can't arrange something. You really must drop me a line next time you're coming up! Good-bye, dears, we mustn't keep you from the pictures—such a fine collection this winter! Love to your Mother, and say I shall try to call—if I possibly can!
Mr. T.R. (as they descend the stairs). I say, SELINA, you forgot to ask 'em where they are. Shall I run back and find out, eh?
Mrs. T.R. Not on any account. They're probably at the Grand as usual, and if they're not, it will be a very good excuse if I can't call. You are such a fusser, ALFRED!
_Miss Sophy_ (_to_Miss MARY_). What a let-off! I wouldn't have minded lunch so much—but _dinner_—no, thank you, my dear!
Miss Mary (gloomily). She may call on Mother and ask us all yet.
Miss Sophy. She doesn't know where we are, and I took good care not to tell her. It's getting too dark to see much, but we'll just walk through the rooms, to say we've done it—shall we? [They do.
* * * * *
A SETTLER FOR MR. WOODS.—Mrs. RAM does not at all wonder at Amateurs being able to "pick up old pieces of china at CHRISTY's," for she has often heard that you've only got to go to King Street, where anyone may see them "knocked down under a hammer."
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* * * * *
"OFF HIS FEED!"
SCENE—The St. Stephen's Stables. Stall of the Favourite, "Majority," who is being inspected by the great "Vet." (S-L-SB-RY) in presence of the Groom (B-LF-R), and the Stable-help (CH-PL-N).
Stable-help (anxiously). Why, he used to be a stunner, and a safe and steady runner, And we trusted him, most confident, for landing us the Stakes Now, what can the cause of this be? He's a-looking queer and quisby; And his off fore leg seems shaky, and the rest ain't no great shakes.
Groom (sharply). Not too much of it, you HARRY! You are here to fetch and carry, And not to pass opinions in the presence of the Vet. But he does look dicky, Mister; I've tried bolus, I've tried blister, But I haven't got him up to his old form by chalks, Sir, yet!
Vet. (dubiously). You're a bit new at the "biz.," lad, and I tell you what it is, lad,— These thoroughbreds aren't managed like a dray-horse, don'tcher know. They want very careful feeding, and Sangrado purge or bleeding Won't suit our modern strain—of man or horse. Steady, lad! Woa! [Examines him.
Groom (rather sulkily). Well, Sir, what do you make it?
Vet. Off his feed?
Groom. Well, he don't take it. Not voracious, so to speak, Sir, as he do when cherry ripe.
Vet. Ah-h-h! May want a change of diet. Eye is neither bright nor quiet, And his coat seems dull and roughish, though he's sound in pulse and pipe.
Stable-help. Don't take kindly to his fodder, and, what I thinks even odder, With a temper like a hangel, gits a bit inclined to kick. Landed 'Art Dyke a fair wunner!
Groom (testily). Well, you are an eighty-tonner At superfluous patter, HARRY!
Stable-help (aside). Lor! His temper's gitting quick! What has been and popped the acid in his style so prim and placid? Doesn't shine like what he thought to as head-groom. Yus, there's the rub!
Vet. (looking at sieve). Seem to shy that feed!
Groom. I mixed it with the greatest care, and fixed it With an eye to tempt his appetite, but there, he's off his grub!
Vet. (to Stable-help). Takes your green stuff better?
Stable-help. True, Sir!
Groom. But too much o' that won't do, Sir. Can't live on tares entirely! (Aside.) This here boy's too full of beans.
Vet. Ah! I see the whole position. He's a bit out of condition, Wants a tonic and skilled treatment. Yes, no doubt that's what it means. With an appetite that's picksome comes a temper tart and tric But a pick-me-up—I'll send one—will, I'm sure set all that square. And if there's further wasting, then, without too headlong hasting, Give him, as soon as possible—a little Country Air!
* * * * *
LORD WILDERMERE'S MOTHER-IN-LAW.
She's as bad as can be, but she's "Precious" to me, Though her conduct cannot be called free from a flaw; For in spite of blackmail, I have vowed ne'er to fail In the duty I owe to my Mother-in-law.
There have been flippant sneers and conventional jeers, At a worthy relation that I hold in awe; Though it angers my wife, all the joy of my life Comes from drawing big cheques—for my Mother-in-law.
Peccadilloes she had, but she isn't all bad, And the folks who have sneered shall their libels withdraw; To our dance she shall come, and the world be struck dumb At the way that I've whitewashed my Mother-in-law.
She shall rise from the slime of what people called crime, To a virtuous height, for I always foresaw 'Twould be wise to proclaim to all ages the fame Of that much-maligned female—a Mother-in-law.
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* * * * *
DEATH IN THE POP.
Rather alarmed by reading in paper about "explosive buttons." Seems that combs, collars, cuffs, buttons and things made to imitate ivory and tortoiseshell are really highly combustible. Lady in West of England had her dress ignited by sudden explosion of a "fancy" button! In consequence, advise my wife "to use that new hairbrush I gave her very gingerly, or she'll be blown up." She wants to know "why I didn't find that out before buying it." Difficult to find suitable reply. Result—nobody blown up so far, except myself.
Combing my few remaining locks. No harm in comb, I suppose, as maker assured me it was "only made of celluloid." Comb suddenly driven a couple of inches into my head, with loud report! In bed for three weeks. Write to maker, who says, "Didn't I know celluloid was mixture of camphor and gun-cotton?" No, I didn't.
Playing billiards, when sufficiently recovered. Just executing fiftieth spot-stroke in succession, when—an explosion! Cue driven out of my hand, and half-way down marker's throat. Turns out that ball was a mixture of Turkish Delight and nitroglycerine, and objected to my hitting it. Marker brings action, and gets damages out of me.
Little later. New fancy waistcoat. Buttons like pearl. Rub one, to give extra polish—Bang!—explosion. Where am I? In the middle of next week, on which date I write this.
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CON. BY A WELSHER.—Why has Wales more Clerks than England?—Because it has a Penman more.
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(An Effort in the Spasmodic-Obscure, after the American Original quoted by Mr. James Payn in "Our Note-Book.")
Two Spooks, swirled fast along the Vast, Meeting each other "at the double," Collided, squirmed, then howled aghast, Each to the other, "What's your trouble?"
"Alas!" one whined, "Rymed Rot I read, Affected to admire, and quote it!" The other wailed, with shame-bowed head, "My case is even worse,—I wrote it!"
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THE SCALE WITH THE FALSE WEIGHTS.
(A PAGE FROM THE NEWGATE CALENDAR—UP-TO-DATE EDITION.)
The two Convicts were tried at the same Assizes, put in the same dock and sentenced by the same Judge. So a companionship sprang up between them considering that one was by birth and education a Gentlemen, and the other was not. And they went to the same prison, and listened to the same words of the same Chaplain, and took their occasional exercise in the same practising yard. And as luck would have it, they served the same time, and were liberated at the same moment.
"I am afraid I must say good-bye, GILES," said ST. JAMES, as they emerged into freedom from the portals of the gaol. "Good fellow as you are, GILES, you do not belong to my set, and your presence would be embarrassing."
"Oh, would it!" returned GILES, who had already recognised some of his friends. "Well, I don't want to press my company on anyone."
"No offence!" exclaimed ST. JAMES, "I beg you—no offence! But we have both to begin life again, and union is not strength in a case such as ours!"
"Oh, no offence!" acquiesced GILES, as he accompanied some of his pals to a neighbouring public-house.
ST. JAMES, left to his own devices, hurried to the Chambers that he used to rent before he went to prison. They were "To Let." He rang the bell, and the porter started back when he saw him.
"Hope you don't want to enter, Sir," said he; "but the Guv'nor gave strict orders, as if you called, that you was not to go in. It ain't my fault, Sir, but the Guv'nor is the Guv'nor!"
Disheartened by this rebuff, he tried the house of a friend, but was so scornfully received, that he made up his mind never to visit another acquaintance. Of course he found that his name had been removed from his Clubs, and not a single individual would recognise him. He was an outcast, and a ruined man. So he walked about the streets until his shoes were in holes, and his last penny exhausted. Then he lay down to sleep. But this was against the regulations, and so he was hustled from pillar to post, until at last he found himself in a very low part of town. He was trudging past a public-house, when who should emerge from its cheerful-looking recesses but GILES. "Hallo!" cried the young man, who seemed the picture of health, "are you down?"
"Yes—very," returned ST. JAMES. "I haven't a friend in the world, and no one will have anything to say to me."
"What a shame!" cried the other. "Why, with me, I have had a rare old time! Everybody has been pleased to see me."
"But hasn't your conviction injured you?"
"Not particularly. I have lots of people who support me. Why, if we were too particular with one another, we shouldn't have a pal in the world! Hope there's nothing wrong."
"Why, don't you call this wrong? Here are you, as jolly as possible, and I—a miserable man!"
"Can't be helped. We are in the same box."
"Are we?" said the semi-genteel Convict. "Well, I should have scarcely believed it! Then, I suppose I must comfort myself with the thought that the same law applies to the rich as the poor."
"Does it?" returned the commoner Convict. "Then all I can say is, that whatever the law may be, the punishment is never the same." And ST. JAMES, with a bitter sigh, wished he could change places with his more fortunate dock-mate.
* * * * *
THE CHEF'S NEW DISH FOR TRAVELLERS.—"Insurance of Passengers' Luggage."—Bravo, THOMAS COOK AND SON! Not "too many Cooks," but "just Cooks enough!" Hitherto the traveller had only to present himself ready "dressed" to be thoroughly Cook'd, and done throughout, to a turn. Now, in addition, his baggage can be book'd and Cook'd; and, should any "Gravy delictum" happen to it, the value of the lost portmanteau and boxes will be handed over to the aggrieved passenger.
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PATHETIC DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENT STATE OF MR. GEORGE ALEXANDER.—"He is running WILDE at the St. James's Theatre.—Yours, L.W.F."
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CONFESSIONS OF A DUFFER.
VI.—THE DUFFER AT WHIST.
Whist, it seems to me, is an affair of eyes, memory, and calculative ratiocination. As to eyes, I have a private theory that mine are bewitched. It is not mere short sight. At school and college I have seen Greek words on the printed page, and translated them correctly, and come to grief, because these words, on inspection, were somehow not there. Explain this I cannot, but it is a fact. The same with Whist; I see spades where clubs are, and diamonds for hearts, and a cold world accuses me of revoking and of carelessness, but it is not carelessness. It is something gone askew in phenomena. Thus, when I am a witness as to facts in a trial, perjury is the softest word for my testimony, so the Court thinks, because the Court is blessed with the usual relations between objective facts, and subjective impressions. I admit that I am less fortunate, but when I try to go into this, I am interrupted. However, this is why I revoke.
Then as to memory, I have none, for cards. It is extremely difficult, indeed impossible, to recall who played what, after the cards are once out of sight. I could tell you, like the man in the story, that such and such a statement is on the ninety sixth page of the fifth volume of GIBBON, the page on the left, half-way down; useless things of that sort I remember: cards, not. As to calculation and inferences, I give it up. I just first play out all my kings, then all my aces, I lead trumps, if I have a bunch of them, and then it is my partner's turn to make his little points. I return his lead when I happen to think of it, which is not often. That is all I have to confess, but I have a friend, a brilliant player I call him, and he permits me to contribute his experiences, as mine are short and simple. To my mind, Whist would not be a bad game, if the element of skill were excluded; but give me Roulette. If foreign ladies would not snatch up my winnings, I should be a master at Roulette, where genius is really served, for I play on inspiration merely. But let me turn to the confessions of my friend, my Mentor, I may call him, a man who is a Member of the Burlington itself, one who has had losses, go to! Hear him speak:—
"I have always sympathised," he says, "with Mr. Pickwick, in regard to his experiences at Whist; that is to say, his experience on the second occasion narrated in his history. The first time, it will be remembered, all went well, when, owing to unfortunate lapses on the part of 'the criminal Miller,' who omitted to 'trump the diamond' and subsequently revoked, he and the fat gentleman were worsted in an encounter with Mr. Wardle's mother and the immortal hero.
"But at Bath there was a different tale to tell, the Dowager Lady Snuphanuph and Mrs. Colonel Wugsby, proved too able for him and Miss Bolo, who when he played a wrong card, which, like me, he probably did every other time, looked a small armoury of daggers, and subsequently in a beautiful instance of the figure known to the grammarian as Hendiadys, went home in tears and a Sedan chair."
Bearing in mind the advice attributed to TALLEYRAND, I have conscientiously endeavoured to become a Whist-player; but it is becoming increasingly obvious to me, that owing to the malison pronounced at my birth, my room is generally preferred to my company. And yet I have studied the subject according to my lights. Every instance of Whist in fiction which comes under my notice receives my undivided attention, and when I read Miss BROUGHTON, such a sentence as, "I suppose," she said, "that it's the right thing to play out all one's aces first? Her partner conscientiously endeavoured to veil the expression of extreme dissent which this proposition called forth, and with such success that the ace of hearts instantly and confidently followed his brother."
When I read hints like these, I garner them up for my own future use. I have pored over every known text-book on the subject, from MATTHEWS and HOYLE to CAVENDISH. I once went so far as to learn the proper leads by rote, forgetting them all within a week; and owing to my inveterate habit of endeavouring to justify the most flagitious acts by a supposed reference to authority, have earned for myself the name of "Pole."
There are some with whom I play, who contrive to make me feel more at my ease than do others, and even look upon me in virtue of my playing with "those men at the Club" as one having authority; for among the blind the one-eyed man is king. There is my Mother-in-law for instance, now I really enjoy a rubber with her. We sit down after dinner at a table scant of cloth, and either much too small or so inconveniently large that I cannot see the trump at the other end of it. She usually begins operations by misdealing, which is precisely what always happens to me with a new pack; nor do I yet understand how it is that the expert manages to deal at about sixty miles an hour without a mistake, whereas when my turn comes every other card seems to get stuck to its neighbour by a very superior kind of glue, so that they all come out in batches of twos and threes as it were, instead of one by one.
But when the deal has come right, her next step is to sort her cards, which she does by placing all her trumps apart from the others between her third and fourth fingers; I can thus tell how many she has, and am further assisted by her generally dropping one or two in the process face upwards on the table. This would be punishable at the Club; but as she would consider it "mean" were any allusions made to it, nothing happens. Towards the end of the hand her attention is apt to wander, and owing to her abstraction play comes to a dead halt. When a hint is offered that we are waiting for her, with prompt and business-like alacrity but regardless of the rigorous formula, "Place your cards, please," she will say, "Who led a spade?" there being at the time a club, a heart, and a diamond on the table. Then, being the only one who has a card of the leader's suit left, she revokes but is not found out. When she leads out of turn, as happens on an average four or five times every rubber, if I am against her, I call a suit from her partner, upon which she says, flaring up, "Is that the way you play at the Club? 'Cheats never thrive.'" Nor do we, for the simple reason, that she seldom holds less than three honours in each suit, and from five to six trumps besides!
This, as I said, is the sort of Whist I rather enjoy; but when it comes to playing in sober earnest at the Club, there is a different tale to tell.
(This different tale will be told in the Duffer's next.)
* * * * *
"AIRY FAIRY LILLY UN!"—One day last week, MR. W.S. LILLY—i.e. W. "SHIBBOLETHS" LILLY—delivered an excellent lecture on the Papal-Italian question, and although at Birmingham, it was by no means a brummagem discourse. But to quote the immortal ballad of Billy Taylor, "When the Captain he come for to hear on't, He werry much applauded what she'd done," and, to apply the lines to the present instance, "When the POPE he comes for to hear on't," will he "werry much applaud," the opinions honestly and courteously enough expressed in this lecture? By the way, "LEO and the Lilly" would make a fine subject for a historical cartoon. The learned Lecturer took care to observe, with all the true modesty of the humble flower from which his name is derived, that he spoke only the opinion of a party, which party, whether small, considerable, or large, his audience could judge for themselves with the unclothed optic, as the party in question was, not to put too fine a point on it, Himself.
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"A LITTLE HOLIDAY!"
[It is proposed that 450,000 colliers belonging to the Miners' Federation should cease work for a week or a fortnight. This, it is said, is regarded as an "amicable" Strike, not against the Masters, but to raise the price of coal by producing an artificial scarcity, and thus avoiding a threatened reduction of wages consequent upon over-production. This the Miners call, "Going on Play."]
Out-of-Worker to Out-on-Player:—
Who talks of "Solidarity of Labour,"— A favourite shibboleth in these our days?— To recognise one's duty to one's neighbour Is that which all—in theory—will praise. And Unions are upheld, and "Blacklegs" scouted— Friends of Fraternity their heads must break To prove their loyal brotherhood undoubted!— But here there seems to be some slight mistake.
Going on Play, mate, you of the broad shoulders? Take holiday awhile from pick and lamp? Well your hard toil impresses all beholders, Sweating amidst black seams and choking "damp." A "holiday," for rest and recreation, None would begrudge you. But at the expense Of every other worker in the nation? I don't quite see it! Maybe I am dense.
A "friendly" Strike, you call it; "amicable"! Nice sounding words! Strikes mostly mean hot war. But in to-day's wild Socialistic Babel Blest if I always know just where we are. But if I'm out of work, or out of fuel, Me and a many thousand like me, mate, Your "friendly" conflict seems a leetle cruel To us, with idle hands or empty grate.
I'd like to taste the sweets of "solidarity" In this connection; so would my pale friend; He's a poor Clerk. I fancy human charity, All round, a lot of bitter strife would end; And if that's "solidarity," I'm for it; But in your "play" are you considering us? No need for snivelling bunkum; I abhor it; But does fraternity shape itself thus?
Must fight for your own hand? Oh, ah! precisely. Only that's ISHMAEL, after all, right out. Maybe that for yourself you're acting wisely,— Though even that seems open to some doubt,— But if your self-advancement means a smasher To mill-hand, poor mechanic, labourer, clerk, Without a fire to fry his slender "rasher," Fraternity's outlook still looks rather dark.
With Coal two bob a hundred, and still rising, Poor folk who buy it by the fourteen pound, (Dukes at St. James's Hall, this sounds surprising, But if you'd understand it, just look round!) Dockers and Brickies, charwomen and "childer," With such small deer, mate, as my friend and me, Find one more "Social Question" to bewilder The small brains left us by chill poverty.
Fighting our battle? Humph! A rather roundabout Way of so doing! P'r'aps your Masters, too, Would claim the same—there are such Bosses found about; Westminsters, Liveseys, Norwoods, and that crew, All for our good, not only Strike-Committees, But Rate-payers' Defence Leagues, and the like! Oh, the poor Propertied Classes! How one pities Those victims of the School Board, Council, Strike!
If Miners and Mine-Owners pull together To raise the price of Coal—well, it may suit Both them and you. But, in this bitter weather, Your "Solidarity" brings us bitter fruit. When our pinched fire dies down to its last ember, The picture of you "making holiday" thus Won't warm our wives and kids. Strike!—but remember That what is "Play" to you means death to us!
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A POSER FOR MR. WEATHERBY.—Mrs. RAM is not in the least astonished at its being said that certain horses turn out "regular flyers," because, she says, "she has often heard of mares' nests."
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"MINER PREMISES."—In the Coal Districts.
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[Illustration: "A LITTLE HOLIDAY!!"
WORKING-MAN AND } "AH! IT'S ALL VERY WELL,—BUT WHAT'S PLAY POOR CLERK. } TO YOU IS DEATH TO US."
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WHAT DO THEY MEAN BY IT?
In an interesting description (that appeared in the Times for Saturday, February 27) of the working of the "Jacquard Card-Preparing Machine," which is, it appears, "a machine for superseding the human brain, eye, and hand"—(so that soon all who can afford it will be fitted up with these machines, and keep their brains, eyes, and hands in reserve for very special occasions)—it was stated that "the blank cards are automatically fed to the punches." That punches should be spelt without the capital P is of course a Printer's error, deserving capital punishment. Mr. P. thinks it right to state in answer to numerous inquiries, that all his Punches speak by the card. But as to even the smallest of the Punch family being "fed" on cards, or getting his or her living by cards, the statement is utterly at variance with the facts. Mr. P. is quite sure that the "Jacquard Automatic Reading and Punching Syndicate" will at once retract the injurious statement, or the youthful, vigorous and pugnacious Punches will be inquiring of Mr. P., as Sam Weller did of Mr. Pickwick when that gentleman's great name was apparently taken in vain, "Ain't nobody to be whopped for takin' this here liberty?" that is, adapting the question to the present occasion, "Ain't nobody's head to be Punch'd for this mis-use of an ancient and honourable name?"
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THE NAIL-MAKERS' STRIKE.—They refuse to work unless higher wages are paid "down on the nail."
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CRIES WITHOUT WOOL.
NO. II.—THE GROWL OF THE BEAR.
(BY A SINGER IN "AIR.")
["In consequence of the rumour that,... American stocks declined heavily.... The rumour proved totally without foundation."—Any Money-article; any day.]
There is little that goads us with fiercer despair (Those who buy, you perpend, stock, debenture or share, Such as speculate mainly; investors are rare—) Than this growl ill-conditioned of pestilent Bear!
With a craftiness planned and a malice unfair, Improvising a scare unsubstantial as air— Now it's "war," now "disease," and the world must prepare For the death of, say, GOULD, or a Chilian flare;
Or the "cutting of rates:" I am quite unaware What it means, I declare, but it's "cutting," I swear, To a person like me, not a flush millionaire Who must "realise" scrip,—and the canker of care.
It would seem, we could e'er so conveniently spare From a world too competitive, blarneyed with blare, Both the Yankee of Wall-Street, his London confrere, And all criers of "Lost!" when no losses are there;
All the wreckers, whose lair is secure past compare, All who batten on bones with a maw debonair, And the carcase of Poverty torture and tear With historical fraud, and benevolent glare.
Who will join me in sport that is novel—who'll dare In his prosperous pit to go baiting the "Bear," Who will lead him a dance, who his talons will pare, And make summary work of this ursine affair?
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"MUST IT COME TO THIS?"
SCENE—_The War Office. Present Mr. STANHOPE; to him enter Inspector-General PUNCH.
Mr. Stanhope. Ah, Sir, glad to see you. Can I do anything for you?
Inspector-General. Well, not for me—but you may and must do something for those I represent—the Volunteer Officers.
Mr. Stan. Oh, you have come about them, have you? Well, you saw what I said about them in my Memorandum the other day?
In.-Gen. I noticed what you did not say—you hoped during the present year to see some practical proposals.
Mr. Stan. Well, what do you want more?
In.-Gen. The proposals themselves.
Mr. Stan. They will come in good time.
In.-Gen. No time in this matter will be good—except the present.
Mr. Stan. Oh, you leave it to me, you will see it will be all right.
In.-Gen. No—unless you attend to the matter at once—now—at this moment.
Mr. Stan. How you do take me up! What a hurry you are in!
In.-Gen. Shilly-shallying to the rear—action to the front. Now, then, produce your proposals.
Mr. Stan. (reluctantly producing a paper from a pigeon-hole). Well, here they are—(giving them)—what do you think of them?
In.-Gen. (after a hurried perusal). Humph! At any rate let them he published at once, that those interested may be able to come to an immediate decision as to their utility. Do you hear, Sir? Adieu! [Exit.
(And if the SECRETARY of STATE for WAR is a wise man, he will act upon the hint thus offered him.)
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[Mr. JOHN MORLEY having said that he would be sorry for the country whose young men ceased to dream dreams, Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL twitted him with having described the Progressive party as young men who dream dreams, and added, "They are words which I will never let die."]
Dreams, my dear Lord? Well, there are dreams and dreams, Are those of BURNS much worse than those of WEMYSS? Are WESTMINSTER's vain visions, though mature The dreamer, less absurd or more obscure Than those of some "young man" who dares to hope That he with crowded London's ills can cope? "Behold this dreamer cometh!" So of old The sons of JACOB, envious, scornful, cold, And fearful for their privilege of birth And of possession, in derisive mirth, Cried at young JOSEPH's coming. A "young man," O reverend oracle! Yet his wit outran, His wisdom far outsoared, for all their boast, The nous collective of the elder host; And PHARAOH, when his "wise men" vainly schemed, Found statesmanship in a young man who dreamed. You will not let them die? Well, as you list! The words, Sir, with a Machiavellian twist, Tickle the ears of those smart word-fence blinds, And garbled catch-words win unwary minds, And, maybe, witless votes. Poor London dreams Of—many things most horrible to WEMYSS! The nightmare-incubus of old abuse Propertied privilege, expense profuse Of many lives for one, the dead-hand's grip On the slow generations, the sharp whip Of a compulsory poverty, the gloom Of that high-rated den, miscalled a Home! All these it knows, and many miseries more, And dreams of—Betterment! You'll "never let die. JOHN MORLEY's words?" You cannot, though you try. In vain 'gainst dreaming youth you feign to scream, Because you're yet a Young Man—and you Dream!
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, February 29.—Mr. G. looked in to-night from the Riviera; greeted with rousing cheer from Opposition; didn't expect to see him to-day; just arrived from Mediterranean via Paris; most men in such circumstances would have gone straight home, read their letters, had quiet dinner, "and so to bed," as the late Mr. PEPYS occasionally remarked.
"That's all very well for you elderly fellows, TOBY," said Mr. G., beaming with health and smiles. "ARMITSTEAD, for example, went straight off home. I was careful to see about that; he's a fine fellow, and I humoured him by letting him suppose he was looking after me as far as Biarritz, and on to Pau. In no other way could I have got him to make a holiday. Think I rather wore him out at St. Raphael. When a man gets over sixty he doesn't care about his ten or fifteen mile walk before luncheon. However, I brought ARMITSTEAD back all right, and, packing him off home at Charing Cross, just popped in here to see how you are getting on."
In respect of business, not getting on at all. Things going awry. Ministerialists won't come up to scratch in Division Lobby; Majority that used to flash forth a hundred-candlelight strong, now flickered down to a score. Opposition growing jubilant and aggressive; Irish Members, long quiescent, waking up as of yore. To-night Prince ARTHUR, stung to quick by remarks from JOHN DILLON, made rattling speech defending his Irish policy; poured contumely and scorn on heads of Irish Members.
"You," he said, with gesture of passionate scorn, "see no source of regeneration for Ireland but in refusal of tenants to pay their rent."
Lord ELCHO and other young bloods on Ministerial Bench cheered; old stagers looked grave.
"Ah, ah!" said CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, looking on from the Front Opposition Bench, "I spy the beard of the Irish Secretary under the muffler of the Leader of the House."
"Dear me," said ESSLEMONT, who overheard the remark; "I don't remember BALFOUR with a beard when he was at the Irish Office. You're not mixing him up with GRANDOLPH?"
"Get thee to a nunnery, worthy draper," said CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, "and in that leisurely retirement read your SHAKSPEARE."
"A nunnery!" cried ESSLEMONT, more than ever bewildered; "why they wouldn't let me in. I suppose you mean a monastery; but man and boy for fifty years I've gone to Kirk, and nothing would—" By this time CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN was out of hearing.
Business done.—One Vote in Committee of Supply.
Tuesday.—The MARKISS not in his place in Lords to-night. Looked in at Arlington Street to inquire if absence was due to illness.
"Not at all, TOBY," said the MARKISS who, indeed, looked quite fit. "There was nothing particular on the paper to-night, so I didn't go down. It's necessary for Nephew ARTHUR to be regular in his attendance on the Commons. But in the Lords it's different. A happy fortune places the Leader there in a position that relieves him from strain of unbroken attendance. With STRATHEDEN AND CAMPBELL looking after foreign policy, and DENMAN taking charge of home affairs, my post is really a sinecure. They talk about ending or mending of the House of Lords; but as long as we are blessed with this remarkable combination of legislative and administrative capacity we can laugh at the idle threats."
It was DENMAN who took the floor to-night; moved Second Reading of a Bill, the simple and comprehensive object of which was to repeal Local Government Acts of England and Scotland. These passed only a Session or two ago by continuous united effort of both Houses of Parliament. DENMAN been closely watching them in operation. Finds them disappointing, and so would have them repealed. House fully constituted, with LORD CHANCELLOR on Woolsack, Mace on Table, and quorum present; gravely listens, whilst tall, white-haired, sad-faced man rambles on in plaintive voice, urging proposition which, if carried out, would arrest machinery of Local Government throughout the Kingdom, leaving all to be gone over again. No one smiles, much less winks or wags the head. It is just as solemn and as orderly as if it were the MARKISS himself submitting a Resolution or making a statement. Only, when the plaintive voice ceases and the tall figure is reseated on the Bench, nobody proposes to continue the conversation. LORD CHANCELLOR rapidly gabbles shibboleth in which "content" stumbles over "not content."
"Notcontentshaveit," says LORD CHANCELLOR, by way of last word; leaves Woolsack; the few Peers slowly pass out. It seems the House has adjourned, DENMAN's Motion being negatived without Division, and Local Government in England and Scotland will proceed to-morrow as it has gone on to-day.
Business done.—House of Commons, having agreed to meet at two o'clock to-morrow instead of twelve, makes up for it by getting itself Counted Out at eight o'clock.
Wednesday.—Came across LOCKWOOD this afternoon in remote part of corridor, gesticulating whilst he recited some lines. Fancy he's getting up that lecture on the "Lawyers in Pickwick," announced for delivery in York on the 15th. Most interesting undertaking. As CHARLES RUSSELL says, "Coke-upon-Lyttleton will have to take a back shelf in the Law libraries when Lockwood-upon-Dickens is in circulation."
Wonder how he finds time for these excursions into the bye-paths of literature? Hands full at the Bar; frequent attendant here; and yet he has time to discover Pickwick! He tells me great secret of capability for this kind of work is plain living and regular habits.
"A chop or steak at eight o'clock with a potato (boiled in its jacket) and a tumbler of toast-and-water; that's my regular dinner; leaves me clear-headed and free for a couple of hours' work at my briefs before I go to bed. Except when kept down at House, rarely out of bed after eleven. Up at five; cold bath; dry toast; hot milk; another grind at my briefs; ride down to Court; at it all day, with intervals for Abernethy biscuit when Court adjourns; and so the mill goes round."
"Don't you think," said BOB REID, "it's a little unprofessional of LOCKWOOD going into this Pickwick business? The cases were never, that I know of, reported in the Law Journal. Good fellow LOCKWOOD, but a little apt to stray outside the ropes. Now he's started lecturing, there's no knowing how far he'll go. We may see him on the stage bowling BEERBOHM TREE out as Hamlet, or even with his face corked, dancing a breakdown at St. James's Hall. What does he want to go a-lecturing for? Do you think he'll draw?"
"Draw!" I cried. "Why, he's always drawing; he's drawn for Punch." That shut up Master BOB. When you want to hear disparaging remarks about a man, nothing like going to his bosom friend. Business done.—Irish.
Thursday.—Mr. G. in fine form to-night; delivered two speeches, each in highest form of Parliamentary Debate. Infinite variety in manner. Before dinner, Prince ARTHUR moved to take Morning Sittings on Tuesdays and Fridays for rest of Session. That means virtual appropriation on very threshold of Session of time belonging to private Members. They furious; Mr. G. in benignest mood; shocked, he must confess, at Prince ARTHUR's unparalleled greed; but not disposed to turn a deaf ear to his importunity. "If you'd make it Easter, now," he said, with winning voice and manner, "limit the scope of resolution to that date, I'm not sure that I should feel disposed to say you nay."
Prince ARTHUR jumped at proposal. Sufficient unto Easter are the Morning Sittings thereof. If he wanted more he could ask again. Meanwhile he was in possession of what he wanted.
House looked on in amazement at this little scene. Opposition expected Mr. G. would have thundered forth denunciations of Prince ARTHUR's audacity. Here he was making terms with the enemy; doing it all, too, with imposingly judicial manner that was irresistible. Before House quite knew where it was, everything was settled.
"'Now I'm furnished, Now I'm furnished, for my flight'—of oratory."
It was BLUNDELL MAPLE chanting this line, sung in another place by Hecate. Flight didn't amount to more than asking question as to whether audiences at unlicensed places of entertainment (in neighbourhood of Tottenham Court Road or elsewhere) open for Radical or Liberal entertainments, are duly protected from fire? Members went off to dinner, pondering on this conundrum. Came back to find Mr. G. on his legs again, denouncing proposition to vote L20,000 for survey of railway from Mombasa to Nyanza. A splendid piece of invective; almost literally shrivelled up poor JOKIM, at whom some of the scorching flame was pointed with outstretched forefinger. For more than half an hour, at period of night when most gentlemen of his years are snugly tucked up in bed, Mr. G. held the audience entranced, thunderous cheers rolling forth in rapid succession from Liberal ranks, now and then answered by low growl from Ministerialists.
"What a man it is!" cried KENRICK, looking on with monumental suavity; "almost sorry he left us. Sometimes, at his best, he equals our JOE." Business done.—A couple of Votes in Supply.
Friday.—BRYCE at last got access to mountains in Scotland.
Been wandering round foot of them through many Sessions, and several Parliaments. Always something happened to prevent his reaching the top. Don't believe he'd have got there to-night, only for FARQUHARSON.
When F. came forward to second Motion, incidentally observing, "I'm the proprietor of a mountain myself," we felt something must be done, and BRYCE's Motion was agreed to.
FARQUHARSON, for rest of evening, object of respectful regard. Some inquiry as to where he kept his mountain. Did he bring it to Town with him when he came up for the Session? And, when at home, was he in habit of leaving it out all night?
"Don't happen to have it about you, I suppose?" WILFRID LAWSON asked, eyeing his trousers' pockets.
FARQUHARSON very reticent on subject. Rumour, just before House adjourned, that his mountain is one of those situated in the Moon—but this only envy.
Business done.—Access secured to FARQUHARSON's mountain and others in Scotland.
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STRANGE CHARGE AGAINST A GREAT POET.—Lord TENNYSON's Robin Hood is to be produced at DALY's, New York, and simultaneously, to secure copyright, by one performance only, at the Lyceum. We never thought TENNYSON a plagiarist before this, but here is proof positive he's at it now,—Lord TENNYSON's robbing Hood!!
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