OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
July 26, 1890.
(BY MR. PUNCH'S OWN TYPE WRITER.)
NO. XVI.—THE HURLINGHAM GIRL.
It is not so easy as it might appear to define the Hurlingham Girl with complete accuracy. To say of her that she is one whose spirits are higher than her aspirations, would be true but inadequate. For, at the best, aspirations are etherial things, and those of the Hurlingham Girl, if they ever existed, have been so recklessly puffed into space as to vanish almost entirely from view. In any case they afford a very unsubstantial basis of comparison to the student who seeks to infer from them her general character. Yet it would be wrong to assume that she has dispensed with the etherial on account of her devotion to what is solid. Indeed nothing is more certain about her than the contempt with which she has been willingly taught to look upon all the attainments that are usually dignified with this epithet. History and geography, classics and mathematics, modern languages (her own and those of foreign nations), all these she candidly despises. Let others make their nests upon the shady branches of the tree of learning. For herself she is fain to soar into the empyrean of society, and to gaze with undazzled eyes into the sun of the smart set. She has of course had the advantage of teachers of all sorts, but the claims made upon her time by thoughtless parents have usually been so great as to leave her at the end of her school-room period with a few brittle fragments of knowledge, which shift and change in her mind as the bits of glass might shift in a kaleidoscope from which the looking-glass had been omitted. It is enough for her if, in place of historical dates, she knows the fashionable fixtures, whilst Sandown and Kempton, Ascot and Goodwood, Hurlingham, and the Ranelagh, supply her with a variety of knowledge infinitely more interesting and "actual" than the dry details of population, area, climate, and capital towns, which may be learnt (by others) from primers of geography.
Although it is, from their and her point of view, eminently desirable that the parents of the Hurlingham Girl should be rich, yet it is by no means absolutely necessary. It is, however, essential that they should possess a social position which will ensure to them and to their daughter an easy entrance into that world which considers itself, not perhaps better, but certainly good. Her mother has probably discovered long since that the task of being thwarted by her daughter is an intolerable addition to her social burdens. She therefore permits her, with as much resignation as she can command, to take her own course in all those matters that do not conflict directly with the maternal plans, and she may even come to take a pride in the bold and dashing independence by which her daughter seeks to relieve her of all responsibility, if not of all anxiety.
It is naturally during the London Season that the life of the Hurlingham Girl is at its fullest and best. On week-day mornings she is a frequent attendant in the Row, the means of her father being apparently sufficient to provide her with a sleek and showy Park hack and an irreproachable groom. Thence she hastens home to rest and dawdle until the hour arrives for luncheon, to which meal she has invited the youth who happens to be temporarily dancing attendance upon her, for it is understood in many houses that luncheon is an open meal for which no formal invitation from a parent is necessary. In the afternoon there is always a bazaar, an amateur concert, an exhibition, a fashionable matinee or a Society tea-party to be visited. For the evening there are dinners, and theatres, and an endless succession of dances, at which the flowers, the suppers, and the general decorations possess as much or as little variety as the conversation of those who overcrowd the rooms to an accompaniment of dance-music that may once have been new.
But of course there are distractions. Now and again Society seeks relief from its load of care by emigrating en masse for the day to a race-meeting at Sandown or Kempton. There the Hurlingham Girl is as much at home as though she were native to the spot, sprung, as it were, from the very turf itself. The interest she takes or pretends to take in racing is something astounding. For in truth she knows nothing about horses, their points, their pedigrees, or their performances. Yet she chatters about them and their races, their jockeys, their owners, the weight they carry, their tempers, and the state of the betting market, with a glib assurance which is apt to put to shame even those of her male companions who have devoted a lifetime to the earnest study of these supreme matters. In imitation of these gentlemen she will assure those who care to listen to her, that she has had a real bad day, not having managed to get on to a single winner, and that if it hadn't been for a fluke in backing Tantivy, one, two, three, she would have been reduced to a twopence in the pound condition of beggary. She will then forget her imaginary losses, and will listen with amusement and interest while a smooth-faced lad criticises with as much severity as he can command in the intervals of his cigarettes the dress, appearance, and general character of a lady whom she happens to dislike. On the following day she will visit Hurlingham in order to be looked at as a spectator at a polo match, in which she has no interest whatever. After this she is entertained at dinner together with a select party, which includes the young married lady who is her bosom friend and occasional chaperon, by a middle-aged dandy of somewhat shady antecedents, but of great wealth and undoubted position. On Sunday mornings she may not always go to Church, but she makes up for this neglect by the perfect regularity of her attendance at Church parade. In the afternoon she will go to Tattersall's to inspect horses. Ascot could not continue without her, and Goodwood would crumble into ruins if she were absent. This at least is her opinion, and thus the months flit by and leave her just as wise as they found her. For she never reads a book, and illustrates by constant practice her belief that the fashionable intelligence of the Morning Post is a sufficient mental pabulum for a grown-up woman.
It is unnecessary to describe further the pursuits and occupations of the Hurlingham Girl. With regard to her appearance and dress, it must be admitted that she displays considerable taste. She is always neat, polished, perfectly groomed—in a word, smart. It may be that it takes nine tailors to make a man. It is certain that it takes only one to make a well-dressed woman. Yet she does not always, of course, wear tailor-made costumes, for on the Sundays that she spends on the river, her impertinently poised straw hats, her tasteful ribbons, her sailor's knots, her collars, her manly shirts, and the general appropriateness of her dress, excite the envy of those who declare that they would not imitate her for worlds, merely because nature has made it impossible for them to be like her. Handsome she is undoubtedly, with the beauty that comes of perfect health undisturbed by thoughts of the why and the wherefore, or by anticipations of a troublesome to-morrow. Yet to the casual observer who beholds this admirably decorated creature, her conversation is disappointing. She revels in slang. Catch-words and phrases which are not called vulgar only because the better classes use them, come trippingly, but never with a pleasant effect from her lips. Nor has she that sense of reticence which is said to have been the distinguishing mark of unmarried girlhood at some former period. That she should talk frivolously on great subjects, if she talks on them at all, is only to be expected. It would be well if her curiosity and her conversation left untouched delicate matters, the existence of which she may suspect but ought certainly to ignore.
After she has thus flaunted her brilliant health and beauty through several Seasons, she may begin to tire of an existence, which in spite of its general freedom, is subject to certain restraints. She therefore decides to emancipate herself by submitting to a husband. She finds no difficulty, with the assistance of her mother, in discarding the penniless subaltern who has devoted himself to her, and whom she has induced to believe that she preferred to the whole world. Having received an offer from a gentleman of presentable looks and immense possessions, she promptly accepts it, and gains to her own surprise a considerable reputation for judgment and discretion. It is quite possible that after a year or two of giddy married life she may decline gradually into a British Matron, respected alike on account of her increasing family, and her substantial appearance.
* * * * *
THE BOY THE FATHER OF THE MAN.—The Chairman of the Infant Insurance Committee, asked a skilled witness, "Is a man his own child, or another person's child?" This led to an altercation, and the room had to be cleared while the question was debated. On the return of the Public, the query was repeated without a satisfactory result. And yet the evident answer is, that he is another person's child, except when he is "a self-made man."
* * * * *
PUNCH TO PRIMROSE.
"A good one to follow, a bad one to beat!" Don't envy the man who succeeds to your seat, My clever ex-L.C.C. Chairman. Fanatics and faddists will mar the best schemes, Unless they're restrained from unholy extremes By the hand of a strong and a fair man.
Your lubber, when first he adventures on wheels, Has little control of his head or his heels. With knees on the shake, and arms shrinking, He scrambles about on the slippery floor, Like a toper at large, or a mad semaphore, Half wishing he hadn't gone rinking.
But, guided discreetly, supported at need, The clumsiest novice at last may succeed, His knees and his elbows controlling; And you, my dear PRIMOSE, have played such a part. You have given your promising pupil a start, And—so to speak—set the wheels rolling.
He ought to do now; let us hope that he will. The thanks mainly due to your judgment and skill Mr. Punch, for the Public, here offers, The boy's a bit clumsy,—most novices are; But, give him fair play, and he may prove a "star," In spite of the sneerers and scoffers.
* * * * *
* * * * *
ON WITH THE NEW LOVE.
(MR. PUNCH TO HIS BOYS AT BISLEY.)
Well, here you are, my bonny boys! No doubt you felt regret at parting With well-known Wimbledonian joys. But here you look all right, at starting. You've not been quite deranged by RANGER; Of that there never was much danger.
Small thanks to him! Well, well, perhaps; But never mind. Anger's too grisly To be long held by such smart chaps; And you can make Bulls'-eyes at Bisley; And "sheep's'-eyes" seem to show you're "on With that New Love"—New Wimbledon!
'Tis Juliet now—not Rosaline; Well, Romeo, take my benediction. The Maid is fair, her dwelling fine. And here you need not fear "Eviction." "Disturbance" caused some indignation, But, after all, there's "Compensation."
Your New Love's fair, furze-garmented, And brightly crowned with golden bracken. Your loyalty of heart and head, Of love (and lead) I'm sure won't slacken. "Bless ye, my children! May your New Love Be firm and lasting as 'tis true love!"
* * * * *
THE PROFESSIONAL GUEST.
ON A HOUSE-BOAT AT HENLEY.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,
When I received a wire from an old and dear school-friend, saying, "LUCY disappointed; come for week; wire me, Goldfields, Henley—KITTY," I felt that the Art which I had been so assiduously cultivating for some time past was to be put in practice at last. I had long decided that there was a grand opening for girls (the true unemployed) in the idea, and I had determined to make a good thing out of it myself. KITTY' S telegram was somewhat vague, I admit; but gossip having thrown a side-light on it, I knew that it came from Henley, where she and her husband (whom I had never yet seen) had a House-boat for the Regatta week. To answer in the affirmative, pack my box, and catch the next train to Henley, was small work to a "Professional Guest."
When I arrived, I walked straight out of the station to the nearest wharf, and, chartering a punt, had my luggage and myself placed on board, and then told the small boy, who "manned" the craft, to take me to the Goldfields. I was not too well pleased when he threw doubts, not only on her whereabouts, but on her existence. Neither the small boy nor a big man, nor an old woman standing by, knew anything about it; and I had determined to take the next train to Town, when a flannel-clad young man, with a heavy face and a peevish voice, called out from the bank, "I've been looking for you everywhere." It proved to be KITTY'S husband, but, as we were totally unacquainted with each other's appearances, it was not wonderful that his search for me had been ineffectual. He seemed much annoyed, however, and only vouchsafed one remark as we punted, or, rather, waltzed (for the small boy was a "dry bob," I think), down stream towards the Goldfields. "It's all KITTY'S fault,—LUCY'S come." Of course this was awkward, but, on arrival, KITTY was so hospitable, and LUCY so pretty, that, though our sleeping and dressing apartment was astonishingly small, and I made the odd girl out at dinner, I felt I could not mind much, and I also got over the little contretemps of my dressing-bag being dropped into the river—"by accident," said KITTY'S husband.
Owing to the heat and the unaccustomed noise of the river, neither LUCY nor I slept much; and, though we were told next morning we could not have any baths, the whole scene was so bright and sparkling that nobody (except KITTY'S husband, who seemed of a morose disposition) could with reason have complained of anything. It continued to sparkle till the first train came down from town, when our guests and the rain arrived together. It was a dreadful nuisance, as the awning, which, with the flowers, had cost us hours to arrange, speedily got soaked, and had to be taken down. Then, of course, the sun came out again, and for a time the heat was intense. In fact, one lady, who would eat her lunch on the roof, grew quite faint, and had to be helped down to KITTY'S husband's room. After lunch, we all ventured out in various small craft, and again I was unlucky in my waterman. I was sure he had never punted before, and it proved to be so; for when I asked him if he had had much practice this season, he answered, the while he wrung the water from his garments, that "he'd only seen it done, and it looked easy." We managed, however, by dint of banging on to other people's boats, to get along very well, until an ill-judged "shove" sent us right out into the course, just as the race of the day was coming along. I am not quite clear as to what then took place; only I know that everything was "fouled." KITTY'S husband, who had a bet on, was furious, and glared at me for the rest of the day—a condition of things I pretended not to see. That night we had a rat-hunt on board, but we lost the animal, as LUCY diverted our attention by falling into the river. It was most inconvenient of her, as she wetted our mutual sleeping apartment dreadfully.
The second day was almost a replica of the first, varied only by KITTY'S husband fancying he had a sunstroke. The third and last day was, however, not the success we could have wished. During the night the weather turned hot, and the food turned—well, not good,—and next morning the obligatory sacrifice to Father Thames was appalling. Then when the necessary viands did not arrive from London, I in my capacity of "professional guest," and of being always ready for any emergency, volunteered to forage in Henley town. Oh! that expedition. I fought at the fishmonger's, battled at the butcher's and baker's, grovelled at the grocer's, and finally ended by committing a theft at the butterman's. The number of our visitors was large, and was much augmented by friends' friends, who came in battalions. It may have been the extra weight on board, or it may be that the hunted rat had designed a base revenge, but during lunch, and just as KITTY'S husband was beginning to be genial, an odd idea seized me that the river was rising. Yes! And the bank behind us was rising too. And gracious! the water was flowing over the little promenade place, and running about the floor of the saloon; and then the Goldfields gave a lurch and a shiver, and settled down in the mud, with a foot-and-a-half of dirty water downstairs, and nothing but the roof left us to perch upon.
How we ever recovered our belongings I don't know. All I remember is, being taken to the station in an old green wherry, and coming back to town seventeen in a second-class carriage. My last view of the wreck embraced KITTY, propped up against the railing of the roof, and making tea on a table, which looked more like tipping over than standing straight. KITTY'S husband was muttering to himself as he handed round the cups; and, as I moved off through the crush of boats, I fancied I caught the word "JONAH." Of course I may have been mistaken, as my name is not that, but
THE ODD GIRL OUT.
* * * * *
ODE TO MONEY.
(BY A POPTIMIST.)
Hair that is golden grows olden, Hopes that are golden decay; Suns that are bright, and embolden The tourist to go on his way, Leaving his gingham tight folden, Turn to a drizzling grey. But gold of the Mint is all-golden, Safe in the strictest assay.
Cynics may rail against money, Spurn its beneficent power; Bears spurn impossible honey, Foxes the grapes that are sour. Men, who can never be funny, Scoff at the funny man's dower; Lands where it seldom is sunny Find little praise for a flower.
When a man's safe at his bankers, What does it mean, let us think— Freedom from care and its cankers, Plenty of victuals and drink? Nay, but it opens the garden Of tender illusion and joy, Where faults find immediate pardon, And worrying ways don't annoy. In the light of futurity's favours Fair gratitude burgeons amain, And the flittermouse Love never wavers In truth to the Psyche of gain. Bountiful Money! 'Twill make you Worthy in manners and birth; Beauty for better will take you (Little as that may be worth), Hosts by the hand kindly shake you, Crowds, when you wish to be funny, Mind doing homage to Money, Laugh with inordinate mirth. Sages and moralists blame thee, Stoics stand gloomy above thee, Preachers with obloquy name thee, Hermits and anchorites shame thee, But symbol of all that is sunny, Coy, courteous, flattering Money, I love thee, I love thee, I love thee!
* * * * *
"BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!"
(AN OPEN LETTER TO SOMEBODY.)
DEAR NOBLE CORRESPONDENT TO THE TIMES,—We see that you are doing your best to defend the proposed destruction of the Lincoln's Inn Gateway in Chancery Lane. In the course of your exertions, you have been not too civil to several worthy persons, and inaccurate in your description of the Society of Antiquaries. Now, do take our advice. We know you were a clever "Silk" when you practised at the Bar, and we have heard that your forefathers (for a generation or so) were excellent hands at Banking; but, in the name of Lombard Street, do let Archaeology alone!
With the best of wishes,
* * * * *
CHANCE FOR BUYERS.—Last week, among the Tuesday's arrangements in the Daily Telegraph, was announced:—"Bath Horse Show." Did this include "Bath Towel-Horse Show?" Fine chance for sporting Mr. BLUNDEL MAPLE. M.P., as a Towel-Horse dealer. "Great Towel-Horse Show in Tottenham Court Road!" The sale of yearlings and the pedigrees would be interesting.
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE TOMATO-CURE FOR DYSPEPSIA.
Don't talk to me of colocynth or famed cerulean pill, Don't mention hyoscyamus or aloes when I'm ill; The very word podophyllin is odious in mine ears, The thought of all the drugs I've ta'en calls up the blinding tears; The Demon of Dyspepsia, a sufferer writes to say, At sight of the Tomato-plant will vanish quite away.
The Faculty will diet you till indigestion stops, On what have always seemed to me interminable slops; A dainty dish is sure to be the worst thing you can eat; The bismuth and the charcoal come like nightmares after meat. Away with all restrictions now, bring mutton, beef, and veal, As long as ripe Tomatoes come to supplement a meal.
Hepatic action, doctors say, is very hard to start, And if you have too much of it, that also makes you smart; And so the fate of many folks, especially in town, Is first to stir the liver up, and then to calm him down. Now he can trouble us no more, although we go the pace; A diet of Tomatoes keeps the tyrant in his place.
Away with deleterious drugs, for here's a plant been found, Worth all the weird concoctions that dispensers can compound: Get fresh Tomatoes, red and ripe, and slice and eat, and then— You'll find that you are liver-less, and not like other men. Come ye who dire dyspepsia's pangs impatiently endure, It cannot hurt, and may do good, this new Tomato-Cure.
* * * * *
SWEETS TO THE ACID.—In an excellent speech, last week, Mr. HENRY IRVING suggested that a Charitable Organisation Society should be established for the Distribution of Art Relief. He rightly contended that the Beautiful was as necessary to perfect happiness as the Severely Useful. Drains (excellent things in their way) are scarcely on a level with Pictures. This is an idea that the so-called "goody-goody folk" find a difficulty in accepting; possibly because most of them personally represent everything that is unlovely.
* * * * *
"WAX TO RECEIVE, AND MARBLE TO RETAIN."
According to an evening paper, the wedding-present of Colonel GOURAUD to a distinguished couple took the novel and charming form of a phonograph, recording, for all time, the musical portion of the marriage ceremony. In all probability, this precedent will be widely followed, and a set of waxen phonographic cylinders will be a familiar feature in the list of presents at every wedding of any pretensions to smartness. Still, there may be cases in which those who intend to imitate Colonel GOURAUD'S example would do well to consider first whether the conditions are equally appropriate. For instance, young JACK RIVENLUTE is not a bad fellow, though he may not be given to sentiment, and VIOLA MANDOLINE is a very charming girl, if she is apt to be a trifle high-flown and exacting at times. When they marry—(they have not even met at present, but they will marry, the year after next, unless Mr. Punch's Own Second-sighted Seer grossly deceives himself)—when they marry, VIOLA'S Uncle JOHN will be the person to present them with the then orthodox phonograph and appurtenances. But if he could foresee the future as distinctly as Mr. Punch's Seer has done in the following prophetic visions, he might substitute a biscuit-box, or a fish-slice and fork, a Tantalus spirit-case, or even a dumb-waiter, as likely, on the whole, to inspire a more permanent gratitude.
FIRST ANNIVERSARY—SAY, IN 1893.
SCENE—A CHARMING DRAWING-ROOM. TIME—ABOUT 9:30 P.M.
Mr. RIVENLUTE is on a chair by the open window; Mrs. RIVENLUTE on a low stool by his side.
Mrs. R. (for the fiftieth time). I can't ever thank you nearly enough for this lovely ring, JACK dear!
Jack (rather gruffly). Oh, it's all right, Pussy. Glad you like it, I'm sure. Do they mean to bring in the lamps? It's pitch dark.
Mrs. R. I'll ring presently—not just yet. It was so dear of you to remember what day it was!
Jack (who only just remembered it in time, as he was driving home). Been a brute if I hadn't!
Mrs. R. You couldn't be a brute, JACK, if you tried—not to me. I'm so glad we haven't got to go out anywhere to-night, aren't you?
Jack (heartily). Rather! Beastly bore turning out after dinner. What on earth are you up to over there?
Mrs. R. (who has risen, and has apparently been winding up some instrument in the corner—as she returns). Oh, it's only something I wanted to do this evening.... Now, JACK, listen!
[The phonograph begins to click and whirr.
Jack. That beastly cat in the room again! Turn it out quick—it's going to be ill.
Mrs. R. (laughing a little hysterically). No—no, JACK, it isn't poor Snowball this time! Wait, and you will hear something.
[The "Voice that Breathed o'er Eden" is suddenly rendered by an organ and full choir: the remarks of two choristers (who are having a little difference over a hymn-book), and the subdued sniffs of MRS. MANDOLINE, being distinctly audible between the verses.
Mrs. R. (breaking down). Oh, JACK, isn't it beautiful? Wasn't it sweet of Uncle JOHN to give it to us!
Jack (who, privately, would have infinitely preferred a small cheque). Yes—he's a good old buffer at bottom.
Mrs. R. He's a perfect old love! Tell me, JACK, you're not sorry you married me, are you?
Jack. What a thing to ask a fellow Of course I'm not!
Mrs. R. (softly). Do you know, JACK, I'm sometimes sorry I married you, though.
Jack (uneasily). Come, I say, you know—what on earth for?
Mrs. R. Because I should like to marry you all over again!... Ah, I knew I should frighten you! (The final "Amen" of the Choir dies away, amid the coughing, rustling, and nasal trumpeting of last year's Congregation.) There are some more cylinders, JACK—shall we put them in next?
Jack (who feels sufficiently solemnised). Well, if you ask me, I think they'll keep till next year. Pity to disturb the effect of that last, eh?
SAME SCENE AND TIME. MRS. RIVENLUTE DISCOVERED ALONE.
Mrs. R. He might at least have made some allusion to the day—it would have been only decent! He can't possibly have forgotten! I don't know, though, very likely he has.... Well, I'm not going to remind him! I suppose he means to stay downstairs, smoking, as usual, all the evening. Oh, if I could only make him ashamed of himself just once!... I know! Uncle JOHN'S phonograph! He can't help hearing that. (She winds it up, as JACK R. enters, yawning.) Dear me, this is an unexpected honour. (Softening slightly.) Have you come up to keep me company—for once?
Jack. Well, to tell you the truth, my dear, I fancy I left the evening paper here. An, there it is.
[He seizes it, and prepares to go.
Mrs. R. You can read it here, if you like, you know—I don't mind your smoking.
Jack. Thanks—but it's cosier in the study.
Mrs. R. Of course I know that any place where I don't happen to be is cosier in your opinion.
Jack. Oh, hang it, don't begin all that again—there, I'll stay! (He chooses a comfortable chair.) What the doose is that?
[The phonograph has begun to buzz and hum.
Mrs. R. Hush!—it's Uncle JOHN'S present.
[The "Wedding March" strikes up with a deafening blare.
Jack (startled). Bless my soul! I thought something had blown up. "Hallelujah Chorus," is it—or what?
Mrs. R. (coldly). As it happens, it is MENDELSSOHN'S "Wedding March."
Jack. Sounded familiar somehow. 'Jove! MENDELSSOHN was determined to let 'em know he was married!
Mrs. R. That was intended to let people know we were married. It is our Wedding March.
Jack. Ours? You said it was MENDELSSOHN'S just now! But what are you turning it on now, for?
Mrs. R. Do you remember what day this is, by any chance?
Jack. Haven't an idea. Isn't there a calendar on your writing-table?—that ought to tell you, if you want to know.
Mrs. R. Thank you, I don't require a calendar. To-day is the twenty-third—the day you and I were married. [Sighs.
Jack. 'Pon my word I believe you're right. The twenty-third—so it is! [He becomes silent.
Mrs. R. (to herself, as the "Wedding March" continues jubilantly). He is ashamed of himself. I knew he would be—only he doesn't quite know how to tell me so; he will presently.... I wish I could see his face.... If he is only sorry enough, I think I shall forgive him. JACK! (Softly.) JACK dear! (A prolonged snore from the arm-chair. She goes to him and touches his arm.) You had better go down-stairs and have your cigar, hadn't you? It may keep you awake! (Bitterly.)
Jack (opening his eyes). Eh?—oh! Well, if you're sure you don't mind being alone, I rather think I will.
Mrs. R. I should infinitely prefer being alone—I am so used to it.
[Exit JACK, as the "Wedding March" comes to a triumphant conclusion.
SAME SCENE. TIME, 11:30 P.M. MRS. MANDOLINE DISCOVERED WITH HER DAUGHTER.
Mrs. M. Nearly twelve, and JACK not in yet—on this of all days, too! VIOLA, you will be weak, culpably weak, if you don't speak to him, very seriously, when he does come in.
Mrs. R. (ruefully). I can't, Mother. We're not on speaking terms just now, you know.
Mrs. M. Then I shall. Fortunately, I am on speaking terms with him—as he will find out! (A ring.) There he is, at last! Go, my poor darling, leave me to bring him to a sense of his disgraceful conduct. (Mrs. R. retires by the back drawing-room.) How shall I begin? Ah, poor JOHN'S phonograph! How lucky I remembered it! (Selecting a cylinder.) There, if anything can pierce his hard heart, that will!
[Winds up machine, which breaks into a merry marriage peal as JACK enters in evening dress.
Jack (sullenly). Now just look here, VIOLA—(recognising Mrs. M.) Hullo, the Mum!
Mrs. M. (raising her voice above the clamour). Mum no longer, Sir. Do you hear those bells?
Jack. Do I hear those bells? Am I deaf? The whole Parish can hear them, I should think!
Mrs. M. I don't care if they do. I want to touch your conscience, if I can, and I still hope—bad as you are—that when the voices of those bells—so long silent—rung in anticipation of such a very different future—fall upon your ear once more, they may—
Jack (with a sardonic laugh). "So long silent!" I like that. Sorry to disappoint you, my dear Mamma, but that phonograph, as a domestic stimulant, was played out long ago—it has played me out often enough! Perhaps you don't know it, but really VIOLA has rather overdone it. Whenever we have a tiff, she sets the "Voice from Eden" at me; if she chooses to consider herself ill-used, I am treated to a preserved echo of our marriage vows, and the Bishop's address; when she is in the sulks, I get the congratulations in the vestry; and if ever I grumble at the weekly bills, it's drowned in the "Wedding March!" As for your precious bells, I can't dine with a man at the Club without hearing the confounded things pealing out the moment I let myself in. That infernal phonograph, which you seem to fondly imagine will make me burst into tears, and live happy ever after, has driven me out of the house many a time when I was willing enough to stay at home; but to be put through one's wedding ceremony three times a week is enough to send any fellow to the Club, or out of his mind. I'd smash the d——d thing with pleasure, only it seems to afford VI some consolation. I can't say I find it soothing myself.
[Before Mr. MANDOLINE can think of a suitable reply, Mrs. R. enters from the inner room, where she has remained till now. She is carrying a small steel poker, which she silently places in the hand of her astonished husband.
Jack. Hullo! you here? What's this for?
[Staring blankly at the poker.
Mrs. R. (meekly). To—to smash the d——d thing with.
[The marriage peal ceases abruptly, as Mrs. MANDOLINE, comparatively reassured, discreetly leaves the couple to come to a better understanding without further assistance.
* * * * *
OUR BOOKING OFFICE.
The Gentlewoman, No. 1, has appeared. It gives, or rather sells, an overwhelming lot for the money, which is sixpence. Sixpenn'orth of all sorts. Plenty of readable information. Illustrations not the best feature in it. Crowds of advertisements. The menus, if carefully sustained, may prove very useful to those who "dinna ken." As to the type of The Gentlewoman, well, the first picture is of Her Imperial Majesty the QUEEN, and with this type of the Gentlewoman we shall all be satisfied, dicit BARONIUS DE BOOK-WORMS.
"What a sight o' Books!" cries the Baron, remembering the clever Parrot who uttered a similar exclamation at a Parrot Competition. First, here is Blossom Land and Fallen Leaves, by CLEMENT SCOTT, published by HUTCHINSON & CO., which is an interesting and useful book to those who are able to take a holiday in Cromer, and marvel at the sunset, and notice how "in the far distance a couple of lovers advance towards the fading light"—I'll be bound that deeply engaged couple didn't catch sight of the "chiel takin' notes"—and how did he know for certain they were a couple of lovers? Why not brother and sister? Why not husband and wife? Why not uncle and aunt?—but with an experienced eye the canny SCOTT made a pretty shrewd guess—and it is a pleasant companion, is this book, to those who cannot visit Cromer, or any of the other places mentioned in Blossom Land, and who reading it at home will only wish they could do so, and will promptly make arrangements for paying (the "paying" is the difficult part) a visit not only to Cromer but also to Caen, Etretat, Cabourg,—carefully noting C.S.'s account of his "cruise upon wheels," and his sensible remarks on Parisianising these otherwise tranquil resorts. From Havre to Hammersmith is a bit of a jump, but it is from a bustling port to a peaceful spot—"a Harbour of Refuge" at Nazareth, where the Baron sincerely trusts the good Little Sisters of the Poor are no longer Poor-rated L120 per annum, just by way of parochial encouragement, I suppose, to other charitable persons for relieving the parish "of an incubus of four hundred." The work of these self-sacrificing women cannot be over-rated in one sense, but in the parochial sense (if parochials have any) they can hardly be rated enough. Really a delightful book for all comers and goers.
"What have we here?" inquires the Baron—Seven Summers, An Eton Medley, by the Editors of the Parachute and Present Etonian. Now, Heaven forgive my ignorance, but I have never seen the Parachute nor the Present Etonian, so without prejudice I dip into this book, and am at once much interested and amused by a paper "On Getting Up." Not "getting up" linen, or "getting up lessons," but getting up in the morning, ever a hard-worker's hardest task. It will remind many a middle-aged Etonian of the days when he was very young, and early school was very early. "The Inner Man" is another amusing paper, and forty years has made no alteration in the "sock-cad." American slang has evidently tinged Etonian style. "What in the name of purple thunder," and "in the name of spotted Moses," and so forth, are Americanisms, and the tone of these two smart Etonian writers has a certain Yankee ring in it. Why not leave this sort of thing to MARK TWAIN, BRET HARTE & CO., who are past masters of their own native slang? Seven Summers will interest and amuse Etonians of all ages.
And here, attracted by a quaintly-designed cover, the Baron takes up Ballads from Punch, and other Poems, by WARHAM ST. LEGER, published by DAVID STOTT. That a considerable number of these have appeared in Mr. Punch's pages, by whose kind permission they are reprinted, is quite sufficient guarantee for their excellence. The Lay of the Lost Critic, The Plaint of the Grand Piano, are capital specimens of the author's humour, and Christmas Eve of his true pathos. No influence of American humour visible in any of these. As a rule, the Baron doesn't recommend betting, but advises his readers to go in for this St. Leger.
The contents of The Universal Review this month are varied, interesting, but not sensational. The article on Westminster Abbey, by FREDERICK GEORGE LEE, D.D., with its humorous notes and observations, will have a charm for many readers, and so will that on the painter BERNADINO LUINI. The novel entitled, The Wages of Sin, is now at the first chapter of the fifth book, and there is an illustration representing a lady in a Victoria pulling up in Waterloo Place. Underneath is the legend—"She leaned forward smiling, beckoning as the Victoria drew up against the curb." First, she is not leaning forward; secondly, she doesn't appear to be "smiling;" thirdly, she doesn't seem to be "beckoning;" and, fourthly, though the horse is being pulled back, probably on the "curb," yet, if the author means that the carriage is being pulled up against the pavement, then why didn't he say so, and write it "kerb?" I like being a trifle hypercritical just now and then, says THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
* * * * *
AN INTERNATIONAL HERO.
There has been recently a discussion in The World as to where Cox and Box (for which Sir ARTHUR wrote some of his best music) first saw the light. It was decided in favour of the Librettist at whose residence the Triumviretta was given privately, in presence of a distinguished audience. But there was one person who might have given invaluable evidence, and that was Box himself. Why did he not step forward? Where was he? The explanation is given in the Paris Figaro of Thursday, July 17:—
"M. Box, le nouveau Ministre d'Haiti a Paris, a ete recu hier matin par le President de la Republique."
Of course, Cox will receive an appointment. Perhaps M. Box banks at Cox's. Will Sergeant-Major BOUNCER be gazetted to the Hayti'eth Regiment? Whatever may be in store for these immortal personages, it is satisfactory to know that, for the present, Box at least is provided for. It was like his true British nature not to disguise his identity under some such gallicised form of his name as BOITE, or LOGE. There is, perhaps, no surname in our language so truly national as Box. "JOHN BOX" might well be substituted for "JOHN BULL." It is characteristic of our British pugilism. Vive M. Box!
* * * * *
IN THE KNOW.
(BY MR. PUNCH'S OWN PROPHET.)
Various events are approaching, and it is only fair that I should give the readers of this journal the benefit of my advice and my opinions. In good time I shall have something to say about Goodwood—something that will make the palaeolithic cauliflower-headed dispensers of buncombe and bombast sit up and curse the day on which fate allowed them to be born. There are some who profess to attach importance to the goose-billed mouthings and vapourings of the butter-brained crew who follow in the wake of the most notorious professor of humbugging pomposity that even this age, rich as it is in putty-faced impostors, has ever produced. Well, let them. For my own part I follow the advice of the French King to the beautiful Marquise DE CENTAMOURS. "Sire," the Marquise is reported to have said, "quelle heure est-il?" To which the witty monarch at once replied, "Madame, si vous avez besoin de savoir l'heure, allez done la demander au premier gendarme?" The story may be found with others in the lately published memoirs of Madame DE SANSFACON. In a similar spirit I answer those who pester me about horses.
I understand that Barrister Bill, Sidesplitter, and Fiery Harry, showed up excellently at Newmarket last week. I have always prophesied well of these three splendid animals, who take their feeds as regularly, and with as much gusto as they gallop a mile on heather when the barometer points to set fair. At the same time I consider that only a papoose, made of string and sawdust, would give more than L10,000 for any one of them.
Complaints have reached me that some of my remarks have given pain in an exalted quarter. It is the common lot of those who are honest to be misunderstood, and, for myself, I wish to claim no exemption from the rule. My one aim is to benefit my readers, and to advance truth. For this I would sacrifice the smiles of Courts, and incur the shallow sneers of the grovelling, chowder-headed horde of flunkeys who sit in high places. My work bears witness to my merit. Need I say more?
* * * * *
* * * * *
"TOO MANY COOKS—!"
A BRET-HARTEISH BALLAD.
MORAL BILL BUTTONS SINGS:—
I reside at Greenlands (Henley), and my name is MORAL BILL; I'm a model of well-meaning, which makes up for want of skill; And I'll tell, in simple language, what I know about the shine Which demoralised our kitchen, and which bust up our Big Dine.
But first I would remark that it is not a prudent plan For any culinary gent to flout his fellow-man; And, if a colleague can't agree with his peculiar whim, To wait on that same colleague, and trip up the heels of him.
Now nothing could be nicer, or more beautiful to see. Than the first three years' proceedings of our Cooks (and we had three), Till JOACHIM (of Goshen) made a dish (of devilled bones), Which he flaunted in the face of ARTHUR B. with swelling tones.
Then ARTHUR made an entree; he constructed it with care, And he vowed that e'en APICIUS would have owned it rich and rare. And when JOACHIM protested that "soup first" was a fixed rule, ARTHUR B. insinuated that his colleague was a mule.
And then he smiled a languid smile; sneering was ARTHUR'S fault, And he had one squirmy snigger which was worse than an assault. He was a most sarcastic man, this languid ARTHUR B., And he aimed at being Chef, which JOKIM said was fiddlededee.
Now I hold it's not the duty of a culinary gent To say his colleague is a Moke—at least to all intent; Nor should the individual who happens to be meant Reply by chucking crockery to any great extent.
Then Number Three Cook tried to raise an ill-done roti, when He tripped o'er ARTHUR'S heels, and fell upon his abdomen; And presently the various plats were mingled on the floor; And the subsequent proceedings let us draw a curtain o'er.
For in less time than I write it every Cooky dropped his dish, And our menu was as mucked as our worst enemy could wish; And the way those Cookies chivied in their anger was a sin, And the only dinner left 'em was the cheese—which I took in.
And this is all I have to say concerning this sad spill; For I live at Greenlands (Henley), and my name is Moral BILL; And I've told in simple language all I know about the shine That demoralised our kitchen, and upset the year's Big Dine!
* * * * *
A SWEET HOME FOR NANCY.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,—The other evening, wishing to enjoy a little music, I went to the Lyric Theatre, and found that the opera chosen for performance was called Sweet Nancy, founded upon a novel with some similar title by Miss RHODA BROUGHTON. The prettiest tune I heard was one that I fancy had been played before, and my belief is the stronger as Mr. HENRY NEVILLE referred to it as "a dear old song." It had to do with "Darby and Joan," and reminded me of J.L. MOLLOY'S delightful song with that title. The rest of the music was not very striking. Even to those who hold that the plot of an Opera is only of secondary importance, Sweet Nancy could not have appeared to be exactly teeming with incidents. However, it was very nicely played by Miss HUGHES, and that now mature Lancashire Lad, the aforesaid HENRY NEVILLE. Without declaring that I should like to see it every evening for a thousand years (which I believe is a facon de parler even in China), I certainly could sit it out again. If I wished to be a fault-finder I should say that the piece is too long, and seems all the longer because some of the characters are supposed to represent schoolboys, and a girl of thirteen. The adapter is Mr. BUCHANAN—a poet and a playwright. This gentleman, I believe, has made many other pieces (more or less) his own, with (more or less) success. He seems to have a knack of turning old plays into new ones. I live in hope that when I next visit this great Metropolis I shall find that he has re-written the School for Scandal, and brought Hamlet up to date.
Yours always, A CRITIC FROM THE COUNTRY.
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE OPERA-GOER'S DIARY.
Monday to Saturday.—Nothing particular this week. Second July Meeting at Newmarket took a lot of people away, and the thunder, hail and rain frightened a lot more away on Thursday, so may as well discuss Esmeralda, which I hadn't time to do last week. Rather a mixed affair to start with when you have a French libretto, set by an English Composer, and played at the Royal Italian Opera, Covent Garden. No matter. A big success for everyone concerned, from DRURIOLANUS downwards. No one could have wished for a better Esmeralda than Madame MELBA, though she did not make the most of that first charming song, "L'Hirondelle." One Swallow, however, doesn't make an Opera, and Madame MELBA soon pulled herself together, and threw herself into the work when she saw Mons. JEAN DE RESZKE, as Phoebus, winning fresh laurels.
The Quasimodo of M. DUFRICHE, of the Vibrato school, was dramatically good, but not great; but Claude Frollo was both great and good. These two have been defrauded of their rights by the undramatic Librettist, who has done about as little as possible with the excellent materials at his command. What a scene might have been the final one between Quasimodo and Claude, when Claude Frollo is pitched over the battlements. I forget what becomes of Quasi; but if he stabs himself, or is stabbed, that would be quite sufficient for dramatic justice and effect. Then, of course, the absurd ceremony used by Clopin, and the real unwillingness of Esmeralda to become Gringoire's wife, would dispose of the marriage, unless Gringoire were previously got rid of (for I don't remember how the novel ends) and Esmeralda would be united to Phoebus, while Fleur-de-Lys could marry De Chevreuse, or anybody else.
The Goat, too, has a wretched part: to be left out after the first scene is too bad. Something might have been done with him, if he had only been put into a chaise; but perhaps Esmeralda and Phoebus reserve him for further use in the course of a couple of years or so, when Djali, drawing a goat-chaise containing a little Esmeralda and a little Phoebus, followed by a nurse and Papa and Mamma, would make a sensation at some fashionable seaside resort.
Mons. MONTARIOL played and sang well as Gringoire, and Mons. WINOGRADOFF was most artistic as Clopin, Amusing to see Mons. LASSALLE as Claude Frollo, melodramatically hiding behind the window-curtains, just as Phoebus enters the room followed by Esmeralda. So evidently was the curtain shaken, that Phoebus would most certainly have detected the sneak, or he might have asked Esmeralda, "What's that?" and have asserted his belief that it could not possibly be the cat, but he might have accepted her explanation had she informed him that it was the Goat. What a chance here lost for a situation of the Goat behind curtains butting Claude Frollo! However, it was all "purtendin'," and JEAN DE RESZKE as Phoebus didn't see what he would most certainly have noticed immediately had he been himself. Magnificently got up; mise-en-scene excellent; band and chorus all that could be wished.
* * * * *
BULLY FOR THE COLONEL!
"The Hon. Member had availed himself of the privilege accorded to Members of Parliament in debate to fire a shameful barbed arrow at Colonel CADDELL, in order that some of the mud might stick."—Colonel Saunderson in the House of Commons.
Come, listen to my story: it's a sort of shilling-shock tale, With no end of fire and fury, and a modicum of blood, And a Colonel who mixed metaphors as Yankees mix a cocktail, And a quiverful of arrows, shameful arrows, barbed with mud.
It was DILLON who had used them, and he spoke of Tipperary, Tipperary new and rentless, where the tenants have combined. And the Parnellites were gathered like the chicks of Mother CAREY, When they feel the tempest rising, and give warning of the wind.
And the pale and angry Tories sat impatient of the battle. And the benches of the Commons, where they love a fight, grew full; And, although they knew 'twas better not to hurry people's cattle, They implored their fiery Colonel to oblige them with a bull.
But the Colonel needs no prompting, straight rises to address them, And his eye now flames in fury, and now twinkles like a star; And he turned on Mr. PARNELL'S men, and didn't rightly bless them, This flashing, dashing, slashing militaire from North Armagh.
And before a man could whistle there were ructions and denials, Shouts and countershouts of anger—quite a House of Commons scene; While the Colonel, who had bottled all his wrath, poured out the vials On the heads of Irish gentlemen whose wigs were on the green.
'Twas in vain they sought to daunt him; like a flock of noisy sparrows When a hawk comes grimly swooping, or like moths that tempt the wick, So they scattered when the Colonel told the House of shameful arrows, Which were fired (I quote the Colonel) in the hope that mud might stick.
When Sir BOYLE, the ever famous, smelt a rat (you've heard the story)— Saw it floating in the air, he promptly nipped it in the bud; But I think our modern Colonel gets the greater share of glory For inventing shameful arrows that could only spatter mud.
And, oh, ye sons of Erin, when the coat-tails next are trailing, Make your weapons on this pattern, think of SAUNDERSON, his bull; And no mother's son will suffer, though the missiles should come hailing, If you only use mud-arrows, or shillelaghs made of wool
* * * * *
DEVOUT WISH OF IRISH LANDLORDS FOR MR. BALFOUR.—"May his shadowing never grow less!"
* * * * *
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, July 14.—Government again narrowly escaped defeat. Last time it was Ascot; this time Marlborough House Garden Party. "This Session," says T. HARRINGTON, "I've taken to subscribing to The Morning Post; study its fashionable news; look out for arrangements likely to draw men away from House; then me and SAGE put our heads together; arrange for Division; take it smart, and Government left in lurch."
To-day opportunity found in Motion for Select Committee on constitution of Scotch Committee. AKERS-DOUGLAS proposed twenty-one members, all Scotch but one. "Let us have the lot Scotch," says ROBERTSON; moves Amendment accordingly. House pretty full, knowing crisis at hand; Government Whips scouting for Members.
"Tell you what I'll do," says PENROSE FITZGERALD to AKERS-DOUGLAS; "I hate garden-parties and that sort of thing, but as we shall be in a hole if Division now rushed, I'll take cab, run up to Marlborough House, fetch down some men; inconvenient, you know; works against grain; would rather be down here helping you than mingling in glittering throng; but, as the Governor says, duty is our loadstar; say the word, and I'll go off to Pall Mall and fetch a lot down."
"FITZGERALD," said AKERS-DOUGLAS, wringing his hand, "you're a brick. You always think of the right thing, and are ready to do it."
DOUGLAS paused to wipe away tear drawn from his sensitive glands by this evidence of self-sacrifice. When he'd done it, looking again at FITZGERALD'S briskly-retreating figure, couldn't help noting how smartly he was got up; summer pants; white waistcoat; the short "reefer," familiar in the Lobby, cast aside for the courtly frock coat; observed him as he strode forth, producing pair of lavender kid gloves.
"Odd," said DOUGLAS, reflectively. "FITZGERALD never expected to go to Garden Party; down here to help me; sudden emergency, and spirit of self-devotion, suggested to him to run over, and see what could be done; happy chance to find him, by exception, in the right rig. It would never have done for him to rush over to Marlborough House to meet the QUEEN in his 'reefer.' Curious, when I come to think of it. Hope there's not more in it than meets the eye."
But there was.
Debate on ROBERTSON'S Amendment abruptly closed; Division rushed; position of Government critical; AKERS-DOUGLAS anxiously on look-out for FITZGERALD and the Marlborough House relief party; but they came not, and on Division Government saved by skin of teeth and eight votes. An hour later, PENROSE FITZGERALD returned to Lobby with guilty look; carefully avoided AKERS-DOUGLAS; that able captain too broken-hearted at the perfidy to be angry; "NOAH'S dove didn't treat him so," he said to himself; but all he said to FITZGERALD was, "Pleasant Party at Marlborough House, I suppose?" "Yee-es," said FITZGERALD; "rather; couldn't get back quite as soon as I expected."
Business done.—Irish Votes in Supply.
Tuesday.—Regular set-to of Irish Members on Prince ARTHUR. MADDEN gallantly threw himself across body of his chief, but got such fearful pummelling retired into silence for rest of sitting. What made it worse for ARTHUR was Chairman's ruling; pulled him up more than once amid loud cheers from Opposition. TIM HEALY on war-path; quotes TENNYSON with odd variation; represents Prince ARTHUR as saying of Irish Members, "You have not got the pose that marks the cast of VERE DE VERE." Proceedings occasionally lively; grow a little monotonous after first five hours. Met STUART hurrying off, humming to himself the air, "Haste to the Wedding."
"Aren't you going to stay for division?" I asked.
"No," said he. "I mustered; strikes only on the box; when you ask for it, see that you get it; none other genuine. Have an important engagement to-morrow morning. If you're waking COLMAN early, COLMAN early, TOBY dear."
Stared at this incoherent speech; thought at first he was mad or had dined. Then I remembered that to-morrow, at Norfolk, he marries Miss COLMAN.
Business done.—More Irish Votes.
Thursday.—E pur si muove; that is to say, it will move; they'll all move, in spite of BRAMWELL. London, probably, the only population in the world that possesses the supernatural patience necessary to submit to having its movements obstructed by bars and gates put up across some of its principal thoroughfares. Oddly enough, they congregate round congeries of Railway Stations in the North. To-day, ROSEBERY in Lords moves Second Reading of Bill designed to have them swept away. BRAMWELL protests. "Speaking," he said, "in name of over two hundred people who live in district affected by the Bill, I ask your Lordships to reject it." This too much even for House of Lords. That alleged luxury of two hundred people should weigh against convenience of the population of London was a little monstrous. BRAMWELL kept his countenance admirably. LORD CHANCELLOR looked on admiringly.
"That's the man for me, TOBY," he said. "If we could only have a House of Lords all BRAMWELLS, with me on Woolsack, we'd make Old England once more a merry spot."
Rest of House, however, would not enter into joke. MARKISS admitted that, being a constant passenger by Great Northern Railway, he generally "said a dam" when passing these gates. This felt to be a shocking state of things. Gates and bars must be bundled off, if only to prevent use of bad language by PRIME MINISTER. BRAMWELL reluctantly admitted this, still pleading with touching eloquence for preservation of the obstruction.
"My Lords," he said, "think of what you're doing to this great capital, of which we are all so justly proud. The Tower has become a disused place, and its historic hill no more reverberates to the merry chopping of the headsman's axe. Temple Bar has gone, and long ago have vanished the heads that used to look wistfully down on the passing chairmen. The chairmen themselves have sped into eternity, and in their place circles the Hansom cab. No more does the lovely, lonely oil lamp swing at the corners of our streets. Your Lordships can wend your way homeward as far West as Kensington, or as far North as Highbury, without meeting the casual footpad. The town is drained; the river is embanked; our streets are paved; and we have a penny post. Almost all that is left to us of the good old times are these bars, arbitrarily set up across our thoroughfare, watched by a gentleman in a seedy suit, and a rain-beaten hat girt with tarnished golden lace. I beseech your Lordships, by your memories of infancy, by your love of our old Constitution, by the faith of your Order, by your fidelity to your Sovereign, to spare these last lingering relics of the London that helped to make our Empire great."
House plainly touched at this outburst of eloquence. Lord BANGOR closed his eyes, and clasped his hands, as if in Church. If there can be any arrangement made in Committee by which the gates and bars, after removal, may be placed in convenient order round BRAMWELL'S residence, so that he shall be forced to make detours as he goes about his daily business, it shall be done. With this understanding, Amendment withdrawn, and Bill read Second Time.
Business done.—In Commons, more about Irish Votes.
Friday.—Vote for Irish Prisons Board on in Committee of Supply. Interesting conversation between Prince ARTHUR and recent inmates of the prisons. O'BRIEN protests that the treatment was abominable. Prince ARTHUR cites O'B.'s personal appearance in proof that things are not so bad as they are painted. "Four times you've been in prison," he urged, "and see how well you look." DILLON takes objection to the prison garb; discloses strong yearning to see Prince ARTHUR arrayed in it. ARTHUR quite content with his present tailor. SHAW-LEFEVRE joins in conversation; ARTHUR looks at him longingly. "They say we shan't be in office another year, TOBY," he observed, as SHAW-LEFEVRE proceeded at some length; "but I should like to be CHIEF SECRETARY long enough to get a chance of running SHAW-LEFEVRE in. He's very slippery; knows how near he may go without incurring actual risk; but I'll have him some day." Business done.—Irish Votes happily concluded.
* * * * *
A SPORTING STYLE.
Prefatory Note.—It is a common mistake to suppose that the present generation frowns upon the literary achievements of the descriptive reporter who chronicles the great deeds of athletes, oarsmen, pugilists, and sportsmen generally. On the contrary, if we may pretend to judge from a wide and long-continued study, we should say that the vates sacer of the present day, though he may not rival his predecessors in refinement and classical allusion, is by no means inferior to them in wealth of language and picturesque irrelevancy. Sporting reporting, in fact, was never more of a fine art, and on the whole has rarely been better paid, than it is at the present day. In the hope that many a young journalist may be helped in his struggle for fame and fortune, Mr. Punch proposes to publish a short manual of sporting reports, with examples and short notes, that may explain the technique of the business to the aspirant.
1. Always remember that you are a sporting reporter, and be as sportive as you can. The dig-in-the-ribs and chuck-her-under-the-chin style is always effective.
2. Speak of everybody by his Christian name or his nick-name.
3. If you think a man ought to have a nickname, invent one for him.
4. Employ stock quotations wherever they are least required, and give a music-hall flavour to every report.
5. If possible, misquote.
6. Avoid all simple language.
7. Patronise all titled sportsmen, and pat wealthy bookmakers on the back.
8. Never miss an opportunity of showing that you are on familiar terms with the sun, moon, rain, wind, and weather in general. Do this, as a rule, by means of classical tags vulgarised down to the level of a costermonger's cart.
9. Spin out your sentences.
10. Mix up your metaphors, moods, tenses, singulars, plurals, and the sense generally.
11. Refer often to "the good old days" you don't remember, and bewail the decadence of sport of all kinds.
12. Occasionally be haughty and contemptuous, and make a parade of rugged and incorruptible honesty. In short, be as vain and offensive as you can.
13. Set yourself up as an infallible judge of every branch of sport and athletics.
First Example.—Event to be reported: An American pugilist arrives at Euston, and is received by his English friends and sympathisers.
O'FLAHERTY IN ENGLAND.
ARRIVAL OF THE CHAMPION. HIS RECEPTION. WHAT HE THINKS OF ENGLAND.
It was somewhere towards "the witching hour of noon" that the broad and splendid artery of commerce, to wit, the Euston Road, became, for the nonce, a scene of unwonted, and ever-increasing excitement. Old Plu had promised, as per Admiral FITZROY'S patent hocus-pocusser, to give us a taste of his quality; and it is unnecessary, in this connection, to observe that the venerable disciple of Swithin the Saint was as good as his word. But Britons never never shall be slaves. England expected every man to do his duty. Forward the Light Brigade, and so on to where glory and an express train were waiting, or would be waiting, before you had time to knock a tenpenny nail on the head twice. The company on the platform comprised the elite of the sporting world. "Bluff" TOMMY POPPIN, the ever courteous host of "The Chequers," "BILL" TOOTWON, by his friends yclept the Masher, JAKE RUMBELO, the middle-weight World's Champion, were all there, wreathed in silvery smiles, and all on the nod, on the nod, on the nod, as the poet hath it, though why "hath it" no man can tell, in words that will last while Old Sol, the shiner, drives his spanking tits along the azure road. Punctual to the moment the train steamed into the station, and the giant form of O'FLAHERTY, the "man in a million," leaped out of the railway carriage, amid the plaudits of all the blue blood of England's sports. In answer to inquiries the Champion laughingly said, "he guessed this was a mighty wet country for a dry man," and proceeded to the refreshment-room, where he "asked a p'leece-man"—oh no, not at all, but, "Deep as the rolling Zuyder Zee, he drank the foaming juice of Grapes." Thence a move was made to the palatial office of the Sporting Standard, where the Champion was introduced to the Staff. Hands all round followed, and a glorious day wound up with a visit to the theatrical resorts of the latter-day Babylon, in company with some of the right sort, though these be getting both fewer and farther between than in the good old days.
[Footnote 1: An agreeable variant for this is Ju. P.]
* * * * *
AUSTRALIA AT ST. PAUL'S.
[On the 17th of July the Earl of ROSEBERY unveiled a Memorial erected in St. Paul's Cathedral to the late Right Hon. WILLIAM BEDE DALLEY, of New South Wales, mainly through whose personal exertions, when Chief Secretary to the Ministry there, the Colonial Contingent was dispatched to the aid of England in the Soudan. This, as Lord ROSEBERY said, is the first Memorial which has been erected to a Colonist in our Metropolitan Cathedral.]
The mighty Empire reared upon the main, He "cherished, served, and laboured to maintain." And who will doubt the claim by this made good To neighbouring NELSON, and our COLLINGWOOD? His country holds her loyal son's remains; But here, whilst WREN'S huge dome rolls back the strains Of the great organ's golden mouths, or while Paean or requiem sounds along the aisle Sacred to mighty memories, DALLEY'S name Inscribed amongst our home-born heirs of fame Shall stand, and show to all our Island brood Australia's love, and England's gratitude.
* * * * *
VERY MUCH AT SEA.
As there appears to be some confusion with regard to the exact nature of the programme scheme for the forthcoming Naval Autumn Manoeuvres, the following sketch, gleaned from recent inquiry on the subject made at Whitehall, may, if he can manage to follow it, possibly serve to enlighten the uninitiated outsider.
An enemy's fleet, having, it is supposed, escaped the vigilance of the Channel Squadron, consisting of H.M. First-class Battle-ship Blunderer, accompanied by the third-class cruiser Jack-ass, and the torpedo-boats Corkscrew and Tooth-brush, which, also it is supposed, represent a fleet of thirty-six iron-clads, twenty-six armoured cruisers, attended by fifty torpedo vessels, have sailed victoriously up the Thames, and, having seized the Serpentine, command the, equally supposed, Milk Supply of Bayswater, Paddington, and the whole of the North of London. This news having been conveyed to another fancied fleet that is covering a convoy of ships, imagined to be attempting to land corn, that they have brought from ports across the Atlantic, simultaneously at Pegwell Bay, Margate, and the Isle of Dogs, it is again supposed that, acting under sealed orders, they elude the enemy, and dividing their forces, make for Gravesend, Liverpool, Dundee, "The Welsh Harp" at Hendon, and Yarmouth. The problem, therefore, presented to Admiral FLYOFF, who is in command of the defending squadrons, will be, after utilising the supposed coast defences, and mining the Serpentine, to force the enemy to accept the issue of an open action on the Regent's Canal, and the Ornamental Water at the Crystal Palace. Failing this, it will be left to the Umpires, who, being supposed to be in several places at the same time, will be provided with a tricycle, fog-horn, and telescope, to enable them to adjudge the exact amount of success or failure following respectively on each effort, with as near a resemblance as is possible to the probable issues in real warfare. Any matters remaining in dispute and undecided, will be ultimately settled by the First Lord, who will toss up with a two-headed halfpenny, specially provided for, in the Estimates, for the purpose.
A glance at the above will show that the scheme, though simple in conception, may easily become complicated; but if kept in view, with an accompanying reference to the daily letters of the Correspondents of five Penny Papers, by anyone, who will further pick out the names and positions of places named, and mark them with pins on the Railway Map attached to Bradshaw's Guide, it may serve to throw some light on the course of events, and leave the inquiring investigator, though still very much at sea, yet in possession of some scraps of useful information.
* * * * *
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.
* * * * *