PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
FOR THE WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 18, 1841.
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THE HEIR OF APPLEBITE.
HAS A GREAT DEAL TO SAY ABOUT SOME ONE ELSE BESIDES OUR HERO.
Kindness was a characteristic of Agamemnon's disposition, and it is not therefore a matter of surprise that "the month"—the month, par excellence, of "all the months i'the kalendar"—produced a succession of those annoyances which, in the best regulated families, are certain to be partially experienced by the masculine progenitor. O, bachelors! be warned in time; let not love link you to his flowery traces and draw you into the temple of Hymen! Be not deluded by the glowing fallacies of Anacreon and Boccaccio, but remember that they were bachelors. There is nothing exhilarating in caudle, nor enchanting in Kensington-gardens, when you are converted into a light porter of children. We have been married, and are now seventy-one, and wear a "brown George;" consequently, we have experience and cool blood in our veins—two excellent auxiliaries in the formation of a correct judgment in all matters connected with the heart.
Our pen must have been the pinion of a wild goose, or why these continued digressions?
Agamemnon's troubles commenced with the first cough of Mrs. Pilcher on the door-mat. Mrs. P. was the monthly nurse, and monthly nurses always have a short cough. Whether this phenomenon arises from the obesity consequent upon arm-chairs and good living, or from an habitual intimation that they are present, and have not received half-a-crown, or a systematic declaration that the throat is dry, and would not object to a gargle of gin, and perhaps a little water, or—but there is no use hunting conjecture, when you are all but certain of not catching it.
Mrs. Pilcher was "the moral of a nurse;" she was about forty-eight and had, according to her own account, "been the mother of eighteen lovely babes, born in wedlock," though her most intimate friends had never been introduced to more than one young gentleman, with a nose like a wart, and hair like a scrubbing-brush. When he made his debut, he was attired in a suit of blue drugget, with the pewter order of the parish of St. Clement on his bosom; and rumour declared that he owed his origin to half-a-crown a week, paid every Saturday. Mrs. Pilcher weighed about thirteen stone, including her bundle, and a pint medicine-bottle, which latter article she invariably carried in her dexter pocket, filled with a strong tincture of juniper berries, and extract of cloves. This mixture had been prescribed to her for what she called a "sinkingness," which afflicted her about 10 A.M., 11 A.M. (dinner), 2 P.M., 3 P.M. 4 P.M. 5 P.M. (tea), 7 P.M., 8 P.M. (supper), 10 P.M., and at uncertain intervals during the night.
Mrs. Pilcher was a martyr to a delicate appetite, for she could never "make nothing of a breakfast if she warn't coaxed with a Yarmouth bloater, a rasher of ham, or a little bit of steak done with the gravy in."
Her luncheon was obliged to be a mutton-chop, or a grilled bone, and a pint of porter, bread and cheese having the effect of rendering her "as cross as two sticks, and as sour as werjuice." Her dinner, and its satellites, tea and supper, were all required to be hot, strong, and comfortable. A peculiar hallucination under which she laboured is worthy of remark. When eating, it was always her declared conviction that she never drank anything, and when detected coquetting with a pint pot or a tumbler, she was equally assured that she never did eat anything after her breakfast.
Mrs. Pilcher's duties never permitted her to take anything resembling continuous rest; she had therefore another prescription for an hour's doze after dinner. Mrs. Pilcher was also troubled with a stiffness of the knee-joints, which never allowed her to wait upon herself.
When this amiable creature had deposited herself in Collumpsion's old easy-chair, and, with her bundle on her knees, gasped out her first inquiry—
"I hopes all's as well as can be expected?"
The heart of Pater Collumpsion trembled in his bosom, for he felt that to this incongruous mass was to be confided the first blossom of his wedded love; and that for one month the dynasty of 24, Pleasant-terrace was transferred from his hands to that of Mrs. Waddledot, his wife's mother, and Mrs. Pilcher, the monthly nurse. There was a short struggle for supremacy between the two latter personages; but an angry appeal having been made to Mrs. Applebite, by the lady, "who had nussed the first families in this land, and, in course, know'd her business," Mrs. Waddledot was forced to yield to Mrs. Pilcher's bundle in transitu, and Mrs. Applebite's hysterics in perspective.
Mrs. Pilcher was a nursery Macauley, and had the faculty of discovering latent beauties in very small infants, that none but doting parents ever believed. Agamemnon was an early convert to her avowed opinions of the heir of Applebite, who, like all other heirs of the same age, resembled a black boy boiled—that is, if there is any affinity between lobsters and niggers. This peculiar style of eloquence rendered her other eccentricities less objectionable; and when, upon one occasion, the mixture of juniper and cloves had disordered her head, instead of comforting her stomachic regions, she excused herself by solemnly declaring, that "the brilliancy of the little darling's eyes, and his intoxicating manners, had made her feel as giddy as a goose." Collumpsion and Theresa both declared her discernment was equal to her caudle, of which, by-the-bye, she was an excellent concocter and consumer.
Old John and the rest of the servants, however, had no parental string at which Mrs. Pilcher could tug, and the consequence was, that they decided that she was an insufferable bore. Old John, in particular, felt the ill effects of the heir of Applebite's appearance in the family, and to such a degree did they interfere with his old comforts, without increasing his pecuniary resources, that he determined one morning, when taking up his master's shaving water, absolutely to give warning; for what with the morning calls, and continual ringing for glasses—the perpetual communication kept up between the laundry-maid and the mangle, and of which he was the circulating medium—the insolence of the nurse, who had ordered him to carry five soiled—never mind—down stairs: all these annoyances combined, the old servant declared were too much for him.
Collumpsion laid his hand on John's shoulder, and pointing to some of the little evidences of paternity which had found their way even into his dormitory, said, "John, think what I suffer; do not leave me; I'll raise your wages, and engage a boy to help you; but you are the only thing that reminds me of my happy bachelorhood—you are the only one that can feel a—feel a—"
"Caudle regard," interrupted John.
"Caudle be ——." The "rest is silence," for at that moment Mrs. Waddledot entered the room, gave a short scream, and went out again.
The month passed, and a hackney-coach, containing a bundle and the respectable Mrs. Pilcher, &c., rumbled from the door of No. 24, to the infinite delight of old John the footman, Betty the housemaid, Esther the nurserymaid, Susan the cook, and Agamemnon Collumpsion Applebite the proprietor.
How transitory is earthly happiness! How certain its uncertainty! A little week had passed, and the "Heir of Applebite" gave notice of his intention to come into his property during an early minority, for his once happy progenitor began to entertain serious intentions of employing a coroner's jury to sit upon himself, owing to the incessant and "ear-piercing pipe" of his little cherub. Vainly did he bury his head beneath the pillow, until he was suffused with perspiration—the cry reached him there and then. Cold air was pumped into the bed by Mrs. Applebite, as she rocked to and fro, in the hope of quieting the "son of the sleepless." Collumpsion was in constant communication with the dressing-table—now for moist-sugar to stay the hiccough—then for dill-water to allay the stomach-ache. To save his little cherub from convulsions, twice was he converted into a night-patrole, with the thermometer below zero—a bad fire, with a large slate in it, and an empty coal-scuttle.
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SURREY ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS.
"Variety," say our school copy-books, "is charming;" hence this must be the most charming place of amusement in London. The annexed list of entertainments was produced on Tuesday last, when were added to the usual passe-temps, a flower and fruit show. Wild beasts in cages; flowers of all colours and sizes in pots; enormous cabbages; Brobdignag apples; immense sticks of rhubarb; a view of Rome; a brass band; a grand Roman cavalcade passing over the bridge of St. Angelo; a deafening park of artillery, and an enchanting series of pyrotechnic wonders, such as catherine-wheels, flower-pots, and rockets; an illumination of St. Peter's; blazes of blue-fire, showers of steel-filings, and a grand blow up of the castle of St. Angelo.
Such are the entertainments provided by the proprietor. The company—which numbered at least from five to six thousand—gave them even greater variety. Numerous pic-nic parties were seated about on the grass; sandwiches, bottled stout, and (with reverence be it spoken) more potent liquors seemed to be highly relished, especially by the ladies. Ices were sold at a pastry-cook's stall, where a continued feu-de-joie of ginger-pop was kept up during the whole afternoon and evening. In short, the scene was one of complete al fresco enjoyment; how could it be otherwise? The flowers delighted the eye; Mr. Godfrey's well-trained band (to wit, Beethoven's symphony in C minor, with all the fiddle passages beautifully executed upon clarionets!) charmed the ear; and the edibles and drinkables aforesaid the palate. Under such a press of agreeables, the Surrey Zoological Gardens well deserve the name of an Englishman's paradise.
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ON THE SCIENCE OF ELECTIONEERING.
To the progress of science and the rapid march of moral improvement the most effectual spur that has ever been applied was the Reform Bill. Before the introduction of that measure, electioneering was a simple process, hardly deserving the name of an art; it has now arrived at the rank of a science, the great beauty of which is, that, although complicated in practice, it is most easy of acquirement. Under the old system boroughs were bought by wholesale, scot and lot; now the traffic is done by retail. Formerly there was but one seller; at present there must be some thousands at least—all to be bargained with, all to be bought. Thus the "agency" business of electioneering has wonderfully increased, and so have the expenses.
In fact, an agent is to an election what the main-spring is to a watch; he is, in point of fact, the real returning-officer. His importance is not less than the talents and tact he is obliged to exert. He must take a variety of shapes, must tell a variety of lies, and perform the part of an animated contradiction. He must benevolently pay the taxes of one man who can't vote while in arrear; and cruelly serve notices of ejectment upon another, though he can show his last quarter's receipt—he must attend temperance meetings, and make opposition electors too drunk to vote. He must shake hands with his greatest enemy, and palm off upon him lasting proofs of friendship, and silver-paper hints which way to vote. He must make flaming speeches about principle, puns about "interest," and promises concerning everything, to everybody. He must never give less than five pounds for being shorn by an honest and independent voter, who never shaves for less than two-pence—nor under ten, for a four-and-ninepenny goss to an uncompromising hatter. He must present ear-rings to wives, bracelets to daughters, and be continually broaching a hogshead for fathers, husbands, and brothers. He must get up fancy balls, and give away fancy dresses to ladies whom he fancies—especially if they fancy his candidate, and their husbands fancy them. He must plan charities, organise mobs, causing free-schools to be knocked up, and opponents to be knocked down. Finally, he must do all these acts, and spend all these sums purely for the good of his country; for, although a select committee of the house tries the validity of the election—though they prove bribery, intimidation, and treating to everybody's satisfaction, yet they always find out that the candidate has had nothing to do with it—that the agent is not his agent, but has acted solely on patriotic grounds; by which he is often so completely a martyr, that he is, after all, actually prosecuted for bribery, by order of the very house which he has helped to fill, and by the very man (as a part of the parliament) he has himself returned.
That this great character might not be lost to posterity, we furnish our readers with the portrait of
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THE STATISTICAL SOCIETY.
This useful society will shortly publish its Report; and, though we have not seen it, we are enabled to guess with tolerable accuracy what will be the contents of it:
In the first place, we shall be told the number of pins picked up in the course of the day, by a person walking over a space of fifteen miles round London, with the number of those not picked up; an estimate of the class of persons that have probably dropped them, with the use they were being put to when they actually fell; and how they have been applied afterwards.
The Report will also put the public in possession of the number of pot-boys employed in London; what is the average number of pots they carry out; and what is the gross weight of metal in the pots brought back again. This interesting head will include a calculation of how much beer is consumed by children who are sent to fetch it in jugs; and what is the whole amount of malt liquor, the value of which reaches the producer's pocket, while the mouth of the consumer, and not that of the party paying for it, receives the sole benefit.
There are also to be published with the Report elaborate tables, showing how many quarts of milk are spilt in the course of a year in serving customers; what proportion of water it contains; and what are the average ages and breed of the dogs who lap it up; and how much is left unlapped up to be absorbed in the atmosphere.
When this valuable Report is published, we shall make copious extracts.
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A NOVEL ENTERTAINMENT.
Novelty is certainly the order of the day. Anything that does not deviate from the old beaten track meets with little encouragement from the present race of amusement-seekers, and, consequently, does not pay the entrepreneur. Nudity in public adds fresh charms to the orchestra, and red-fire and crackers have become absolutely essential to harmony. Acting upon this principle, Signor Venafra gave (we admire the term) a fancy dress ball at Drury-lane Theatre on Monday evening last, upon a plan hitherto unknown in England, but possibly, like the majority of deceptive delusions now so popular, of continental origin. The whole of the evening's entertainment took place in cabs and hackney-coaches, and those vehicles performed several perfectly new and intricate figures in Brydges-street, and the other thoroughfares adjoining the theatres. The music provided for the occasion appeared to be an organ-piano, which performed incessantly at the corner of Bow-street, during the evening. Most of the elite of Hart-street and St. Giles's graced the animated pavement as spectators. So perfectly successful was the whole affair—on the word of laughing hundreds who came away saying they had never been so amused in their lives—that we hear it is in agitation never to attempt anything of the kind again.
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Dunn, the bailless barrister, complained to his friend Charles Phillips, that upon the last occasion he had the happiness of meeting Miss Burdett Coutts on the Marine Parade, notwithstanding all he has gone through for her, she would not condescend to take the slightest notice of him. So far from offering anything in the shape of consolation, the witty barrister remarked, "Upon my soul, her conduct was in perfect keeping with her situation, for what on earth could be more in unison with a sea-view than
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It is well known that the piers of Westminster Bridge have considerably sunk since their first erection. They are not the only peers, in the same neighbourhood that have become lowered in the position they once occupied.
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ASSERTION OF THE UNINTELLIGIBLE.
OR, "A KANTITE'S" FLIGHTS AT AN EXORDIUM.
FLIGHT THE FIRST.
He who widely, yet ascensively, expatiates in those in-all-ways-sloping fields of metaphysical investigation which perplex whilst they captivate, and bewilder whilst they allure, cannot evitate the perception of perception's fallibility, nor avoid the conclusion (if that can be called a conclusion to which, it may be said, there are no premises extant) that the external senses are but deceptive media of interior mental communication. It behoves the ardent, youthful explorator, therefore, to ——, &c. &c.
FLIGHT THE SECOND.
In the Promethean persecutions which assail the insurgent mentalities of the youth and morning vigour of the inexpressible human soul, when, flushed with AEolian light, and, as it were, beaded with those lustrous dews which the eternal Aurora lets fall from her melodious lip; if it escape living from the beak of the vulture (no fable here!), then, indeed, it may aspire to ——, &c. &c.
FLIGHT THE THIRD.
If, with waxen Icarian wing, we seek to ascend to that skiey elevation whence only can the understretching regions of an impassive mutability be satisfactorily contemplated; and if, in our heterogeneous ambition, aspirant above self-capacity, we approach too near the flammiferous Titan, and so become pinionless, and reduced again to an earthly prostration, what marvel is it, that ——, &c. &c.
FLIGHT THE FOURTH.
When the perennial Faustus, ever-resident in the questioning spirit of immortal man, attempts his first outbreak into the domain of unlimited inquiry, unless he take heed of the needfully-cautious prudentialities of mundane observance, there infallibly attends him a fatal Mephistophelean influence, of which the malign tendency, from every conclusion of eventuality, is to plunge him into perilous vast cloud-waves of the dream-inhabited vague. Let, then, the young student of infinity ——, &c. &c.
FLIGHT THE FIFTH.
Inarched within the boundless empyrean of thought, starry with wonder, and constellate with investigation; at one time obfuscated in the abysm-born vapours of doubt; at another, radiant with the sun-fires of faith made perfect by fruition; it can amaze no considerative fraction of humanity, that the explorer of the indefinite, the searcher into the not-to-be-defined, should, at dreary intervals, invent dim, plastic riddles of his own identity, and hesitate at the awful shrine of that dread interrogatory alternative—reality, or dream? This deeply pondering, let the eager beginner in the at once linear and circumferent course of philosophico-metaphysical contemplativeness, introductively assure himself that ——, &c. &c.
As, "in the silence and overshadowing of that night whose fitful meteoric fires only herald the descent of a superficial fame into lasting oblivion, the imbecile and unavailing resistance which is made against the doom must often excite our pity for the pampered child of market-gilded popularity;" and as "it is not with such feelings that we behold the dark thraldom and long-suffering of true intellectual strength," of which the "brief, though frequent, soundings beneath the earthly pressure will be heard even amidst the din of flaunting crowds, or the solemn conclaves of common-place minds," of which the "obscured head will often shed forth ascending beams that can only be lost in eternity;" and of which the "mighty struggles to upheave its own weight, and that of the superincumbent mass of prejudice, envy, ignorance, folly, or uncongenial force, must ever ensure the deepest sympathy of all those who can appreciate the spirit of its qualities;" let the initiative skyward struggles towards the zenith-abysses of the inane impalpable ——, &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c.
Dramatic Authors' Theatre, Sept. 16, 1841.
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MASTER PUNCH,—Mind ye's, I've been to see these here Secretens at the English Uproar 'Ouse, and thinks, mind ye's, they aint by no means the werry best Cheshire; but what I want to know is this here—Why don't they give that wenerable old genelman, Mr. Martinussy, the Hungry Cardinal, something to eat?—he is a continually calling out for some of his Countrys Weal, (which, I dare say, were werry good) and he don't never git so much as a sandvich dooring the whole of his life and death—I mention dese tings, because, mind ye's, it aint werry kind of none on 'em.
I remains, Mr. PUNCH, Sir, yours truly,
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DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE STATUE OF GEORGE CANNING AND SIR ROBERT PEEL.
The new Premier was taking a solitary stroll the other evening through Palace-yard, meditating upon the late turn which had brought the Tories to the top of the wheel and the Whigs to the bottom, and pondering on the best ways and means of keeping his footing in the slippery position that had cost him so much labour to attain. While thus employed, with his eyes fixed on the ground, and his hands buried in his breeches-pockets, he heard a voice at no great distance, calling in familiar tone—
"Bob! Bob!—I say, Bob!"
The alarmed Baronet stopped, and looked around him to discover the speaker, when, casting his eyes upon the statue of George Canning in the enclosure of Westminster Abbey, he was astonished to perceive it nodding its head at him, like the statue in "Don Giovanni," in a "How d'ye do?" kind of way. Sir Robert, who, since his introduction to the Palace, has grown perilously polite, took off his hat, and made a low bow to the figure.
STATUE.—Bah! no nonsense, Bob, with me! Put on your hat, and come over here, close to the railings, while I have a little private confab with you. So, you have been called in at last?
PEEL.—Yes. Her Majesty has done me the honour to command my services; and actuated by a sincere love of my country, I obeyed the wishes of my Royal Mistress, and accepted office; though, if I had consulted my own inclinations, I should have preferred the quiet path of private—
STATUE.—Humbug! You forget yourself, Bob; you are not now at Tamworth, or in the house, but talking to an old hand that knows every move on the political board,—you need have no disguise with me. Come, be candid for once, and tell me, what are your intentions?
PEEL.—Why, then, candidly, to keep my place as long as I can—
STATUE.—Undoubtedly; that is the first duty of every patriotic minister! But the means, Bob?
PEEL—Oh! Cant—cant—nothing but cant! I shall talk of my feeling for the wants of the people, while I pick their pockets; bestow my pity upon the manufacturers, while I tax the bread that feeds their starving families; and proclaim my sympathy with the farmers, while I help the arrogant landlords to grind them into the dust.
STATUE.—Ah! I perceive yon understand the true principles of legislation. Now, I once really felt what you only feign. In my time, I attempted to carry out my ideas of amelioration, and wanted to improve the moral and physical condition of the people, but—
PEEL.—You failed. Few gave you credit for purely patriotic motives—and still fewer believed you to be sincere in your professions. Now, my plan is much easier, and safer. Give the people fair promises—they don't cost much—but nothing besides promises; the moment you attempt to realise the hopes you have raised, that moment you raise a host of enemies against yourself.
STATUE.—But if you make promises, the nation will demand a fulfilment of them.
PEEL.—I have an answer ready for all comers—"Wait awhile!" 'Tis a famous soother for all impatient grumblers. It kept the Whigs in office for ten years, and I see no reason why it should not serve our turn as long. Depend upon it, "Wait awhile" is the great secret of Government.
STATUE.—Ah! I believe you are right. I now see that I was only a novice in the trade of politics. By the bye, Bob, I don't at all like my situation here; 'tis really very uncomfortable to be exposed to all weathers—scorched in summer, and frost-nipped in winter. Though I am only a statue, I feel that I ought to be protected.
PEEL.—Undoubtedly, my dear sir. What can I do for you?
STATUE.—Why, I want to get into the Abbey, St. Paul's, or Drury Lane. Anywhere out of the open air.
PEEL.—Say no more—it shall be done. I am only too happy to have it in my power to serve the statue of a man to whom his country is so deeply indebted.
STATUE.—But when shall it be done, Bob? To-morrow?
PEEL.—Not precisely to-morrow; but—
STATUE.—Next week, then?
PEEL.—I can't say; but don't be impatient—rely on my promise, and wait awhile, wait awhile, my dear friend. Good night.
STATUE.—Oh! confound your wait awhile. I see I have nothing to expect.
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THE BEAUTY OF BRASS.
Tom Duncombe declares he never passes McPhail's imitative-gold mart without thinking of Ben D'Israeli's speeches, as both of them are so confoundedly full of fantastic
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PUNCH AT THE ART-UNION EXHIBITION AGAIN
Limited space in our last number prevented our noticing any other than the Sleeping Beauty; and, as there are many other humorous productions possessing equal claims to our attention in the landscape and other departments of art, we shall herein endeavour to point out their characteristics—more for the advantage of future purchasers than for the better and further edification of those whose meagre notions and tastes have already been shown. And as the Royal Academicians, par courtesy, demand our first notice, we shall, having wiped off D. M'Clise, R.A., now proceed, baton in hand, to make a few pokes at W.F. Witherington, R.A., upon his work entitled "Winchester Tower, Windsor Castle, from Romney Lock."
This is a subject which has been handled many times within our recollection, by artists of less name, less fame, and less pretensions to notice, if we except the undeniable fact of their displaying infinitely more ability in their representations of the subject, than can by any possibility be discovered in the one by W. F. Witherington, R.A. If our remarks were made with an affectionate eye to the young ladies of the satin-album-loving school, we should assuredly style this "a duck of a picture"—one after their own hearts—treated in mild and undisturbed tones of yellow, blue, and pink—and what yellows! what blues! and what pinks! Some kind, superintending genius of landscape-painting evidently prepared the scene for W.F. Witherington, R.A. It displays nothing of the vulgar every-day look of nature, as seen at Romney Lock, or any other spot; not a pebble out of its place—not a leaf deranged—here are bright amber trees, and blue metallic towers, prepared gravel-walks, and figures nicely cleaned and bleached to suit; it is, in truth, the most genteel landscape ever looked on. Nothing but absolute needlework can create more wonderment. Fie! fie! get thee hence, W.F. Witherington, R.A.
Just placed over the last-mentioned picture, and, doubtlessly so arranged that the gentle R.A. should find that, although his bright specimen of mild murder may be adjudged the worst in the collection, still there are others worthy of being classed in the same order of oddities. Behold No. 19, entitled, "Landscape—Evening—J.F. Gilbert," and selected by Mr. John Bullock from the Royal Academy. "What's in a name?" In the charitable hope that there is a chance of this purchaser being toned down in the course of time, after the same manner that pictures are, and, by that process, display more sobriety, we most humbly offer to Mr. B. our modest judgment upon his selection (not upon his choice, but upon the thing chosen). That it is a landscape we gloomily admit; but that it represents "Evening" we steadily deny. The exact period of the day, after much puzzling and deliberation, we cannot arrive at; one thing yet we are assured of—that it has been painted in company with a clock that was either too fast or too slow. The composition, which has very much the appearance of the by-gone century, is a prime selection from the finest parts of those very serene views to be found adorning the lowest interiors of wash-hand basins, with a dash from the works of Smith of Chichester, whose mental elevation in his profession was only surpassed by the high finish of his apple-trees, and the elaborate nothingness of his general choice of subject. In the foreground of the picture, the artist has, however, most aptly introduced the two vagabonds invariably to be seen idling in the foregrounds of landscapes of this class—two rascally scouts who have put in appearance from time immemorial; they are here just as in the works alluded to, the one sitting, the other of course standing, and courteously bending to receive the remarks of his friend. By the side of the stream, which flows through (or rather takes up) the middle of the picture, and immediately opposite to the two everlastings, is a little plain-looking agriculturist, who appears to be watching them. He is in the careless and ever-admitted picturesque position of leaning over a garden fence; but whether the invariables are aware of the little gentleman, and are consequently conversing in an undertone, we leave every beholder to speculate and settle for himself. Behind the worthy small farmer, and coming from the door of his residence, most cleverly introduced, is his wife (we know it to represent the wife, from the clear fact of the lady's appearance being typical of the gentleman's), who is in the act of observing that the children are waiting his presence at table, and adding, no doubt, that he had better come in and assist her in the cabbage-and-bacon duties of the repast, than lose his time and annoy the family.
We must now draw the spectator from the above-mentioned objects to a little piscatorial sportsman, who, apart from them, and in the retirement of his own thoughts upon worms, ground-bait, and catgut, lends his aid, together with a lively little amateur waterman, paddling about in a little boat, selfishly built to hold none other than himself—a hill rising in the middle ground, and two or three minor editions of the same towards the distance, carefully dotted with trees, after the fashion of a ready-made portable park from the toy depot in the Lowther Arcade—two bee-hives, a water-mill, some majestic smoke, something that looks like a skein of thread thrown over a mountain, and the memorable chiaro-scuro, form the interesting episodes of this glorious essay in the epic pastoral.
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Observations on the Epic Poem of Giles Scroggins and Molly Brown—resumed.
The fatal operation of the unavoidable, ever-impending, ruthless shears of the stern controller of human destiny, and curtailer of human life—the action by which
"Fate's scissors cut Giles Scroggins' thread,"
or rather the thread of Giles Scroggins' life, at once and most completely establishes the wholesome moral as to the fearful uncertainty of all sublunary anticipations, and stands forth a beautiful beacon to warn the over-weaning "worldly wisemen" from their often too-fondly-cherished dreams of realising, by their own means and appliances, the darling projects of their ambitious hopes!
The immediate effect of the operation performed by Fate's scissors, or rather by Fate herself—as she was the great and absolute disposer—to whom the implement employed was but a matter of fancy; for had Fate so chosen, a bucket, a bowie-knife, a brick-bat, a black cap, or a box of patent pills, might, as well as her destructive shears, have made a tenant for a yawning grave of doomed Giles Scroggins. We say, the immediate effect arising from this cutting cause was one in which both parties—the living bride and defunct bridegroom—were equally concerned, their lover's co-partnership rendering each liable for the acts or accidents of the other; therefore as may be (and we think is) clearly established, under these circumstances,
"They could not be mar-ri-ed!"
There is something deliciously affecting in the beautiful drawing out of the last syllable!—it seems like the lingering of the heart's best feelings upon the blighted prospects of its purest joys!—the ceremony that would have completed the union of the loving maiden and admiring swain, blending, as it were, like the twin prongs of a brass-bound toasting-fork, their interests in one common cause. The ceremony of love's concentration can never be performed! but the heart-feeling poet extends each tiny syllable even to its utmost stretch, that the tear-dropping reader may, while gulping down his sympathies, make at least a handsome mouthful of the word.
We now approach, with considerable awe, a portion of our task to which we beg to call the undivided attention of our erudite readers. Upon referring to the original black-letter quarto, we find, after each particular sentence, the author introduces, with consummate tact, a line, meant, as we presume, as a kind of literary resting-place, upon which the delighted mind might, in the sweet indulgence of repose, reflect with greater pleasure on the thrilling parts, made doubly thrilling by the poet's fire. The diversity of these, if we may so express them, "camp stools" of imagination, is worthy of remark, both as to their application and amplitude. For instance, after one line, and that if perused with attention, comparatively less abstruse than its fellows, the gifted poet satisfies himself with the insertion of three sonorous, but really simple syllables, they are invariably at follows—
But when two lines of the poem—burning with thought, bursting with action—entrance by their sublimity the enraptured reader, greater time is given, and more extended accommodation for a mental sit-down is afforded in the elaborate and elongated composition of
"Whack! fol-de-riddle lol-de-day!"
These introductions are of a high classic origin. Many professors of eminence have quarrelled as to whether they were not the original of the "Greek chorus;" while others, of equal erudition, have as stoutly maintained, though closely approximating in character and purpose, they are not the "originals," but imitations, and decidedly admirable ones, from those celebrated poets.
A Mr. William Waters, a gentleman of immense travel, one who had left the burning zone of the far East to visit the more chilling gales of a European climate, a philosopher of the sect known as the "Peripatetic," a devoted follower of the heathen Nine, whose fostering care has ever been devoted to the tutelage of the professors of sweet sounds; and therefore Waters was a high authority, declared in the peculiar patois attendant upon the pronunciation of a foreign mode of speech—that
was to catch him wind! And
"Whack! fol-de-riddle lol-de-day,"
to let "um rosin up him fuddlestick!" These deductions are practical, if not poetical; but these are but the emanations from the brain of one—hundreds of other commentators differ from his view.
The most erudite linguists are excessively puzzled as to the nation whose peculiar language has been resorted to for these singular and unequalled introductions. The
has been given up in despair. The nearest solution was that of an eminent arithmetician, who conjectured from the word too (Anglice, two)—and the use of the four cyphers—those immediately following the T and L—that they were intended to convey some notion of the personal property of Giles Scroggins or Molly Brown (he never made up his mind which of the two); and merely wanted the following marks to render them plain:—
T—oo (two)—either shillings or pence—and L—oo: no pounds!
This may or may not be right, but the research and ingenuity deserve the immortality we now confer upon it. The other line, the
"Whack! fol-de-riddle lol-de-day!"
has, perhaps, given rise to far more controversy, with certainly less tangible and satisfactory results.
The scene of the poem not being expressly stated in the original or early black-letter translation, many persons—whose love of country prompted their wishes—have endeavoured to attach a nationality to these gordian knots of erudition. An Hibernian gentleman of immense research—the celebrated "Darby Kelly"—has openly asserted the whole affair to be decidedly of Milesian origin: and, amid a vast number of corroborative circumstances, strenuously insists upon the solidity of his premises and deductions by triumphantly exclaiming, "What, or who but an Irish poet and an Irish hero, would commence a matter of so much consequence with the soul-stirring "whack!" adopted by the great author, and put into the mouth of his chosen hero?" Others again have supposed—which is also far more improbable—that much of the obscurity of the above passage has its origin from simple mis-spelling on the part of the poet's amanuensis—he taking the literal dictation, forgetting the sublime author was suffering from a cold in the head, which rendered the words in sound—
"Riddle lol the lay;"
whereas they would otherwise have been pronounced—
"Riddle—all the day"—
that being an absolute and positive allusion to the agricultural pursuits of Giles Scroggins, he being generally employed by his more wealthy master—a great agrarian of those times—in the manly though somewhat fatiguing occupation of "riddling all the day:" an occupation which—like this article—was to be frequently resumed.
* * * * *
A NEW THEORY OF POCKETS.
DEFINITION Pocket, s. the small bag inserted into clothes.—WALKER (a new edition, by Hookey).
We are great on the subject of pockets—we acknowledge it—we avow it. From our youth upwards, and we are venerable now, we have made them the object of untiring research, analysis, and speculation; and if our exertions have occasionally involved us in contingent predicaments, or our zeal laid us open to conventional misconstructions, we console ourselves with Galileo and Tycho Brahe, who having, like us, discovered and arranged systems too large for the scope of the popular intellect, like us, became the martyrs of those great principles of science which they have immortalized themselves by teaching.
The result of a course of active and careful (s)peculations on the philosophy and economy of pockets, has led us to the conviction that their intention and use are but very imperfectly understood, even by the intelligent and reflective section of the community. It is, we fear, a very common error to regard them as conventional recesses, adapted for the reception and deposit of such luxurious additaments to the attire as are detached, yet accessory and indispensable ministers to our comfort. Now this delusive supposition is diametrically opposed to the truth. Pockets (we must be plain)—pockets are not made to put into, but to take out of; and, although it is of course necessary that, in order to produce the result of withdrawal, they be previously furnished with the wherewithal to withdraw, yet the process of insertion and supply is only carried on for the purpose of assisting the operation of the system.
And having, we trust, logically established this point, we shall hazard no incautious position in asserting that the man who empties a pocket, fulfils the object for which it was founded and established. And although, unhappily, a prejudice still exists in the minds of the uneducated, in favour of emptying their own pockets themselves, it must be evident that none but a narrow mind can take umbrage at the trifling acceleration of an event which must inevitably occur; or would desire to appropriate the credit of the distribution, as well as to deserve the merit of the supply.
We perceive with concern and apprehension, that pockets are gradually falling into disuse. To use the flippant idiom of the day, they are going out! This is an alarming, as well as a lamentable fact; and one, too, strikingly illustrative of the degeneracy of modern fashions. Whether we ascribe the change to a contemptuous neglect of ancestral institutions, or to an increasing difficulty in furnishing the indispensable attributes of the pocket, it is alike indicative of a crisis; and we confess that it is matter of astonishment to us, that in these days of theory and hypothesis, no man has ventured to trace the distress and the ruin now impending over the country, to the increasing disrespect and disuse of—pockets.
By way of approving our conjecture, let us contrast the garments of the hour with those of England in the olden time—long ago, when boards smoked and groaned under a load of good things in every man's house; when the rich took care of the poor, and the poor took care of themselves; when husband and wife married for love, and lived happily (though that must have been very long ago indeed); the athletic yeoman proceeded to his daily toil, enveloped in garments instinct with pockets. The ponderous watch—the plethoric purse—the massive snuff-box—the dainty tooth-pick—the grotesque handkerchief; all were accommodated and cherished in the more ample recesses of his coat; while supplementary fobs were endeared to him by their more seductive contents: as ginger lozenges, love-letters, and turnpike-tickets. Such were the days on which we should reflect with regret; such were the men whom we should imitate and revere. Had such a character as we have endeavoured feebly to sketch, met an individual enveloped in a shapeless cylindrical tube of pale Macintosh—impossible for taste—incapable of pockets—indefinite and indefinable—we question whether he would have regarded him in the light of a maniac, an incendiary, or a foreign spy—whether he would not have handed him immediately over to the exterminators of the law, as a being too depraved, too degraded for human sympathy. And yet—for our prolixity warns us to conclude—and yet the festering contagion of this baneful example is now-a-days hidden under the mask of fashion. FASHION! and has it indeed come to this? Is fashion to trample on the best and finest feelings of our nature? Is fashion to be permitted to invade us in our green lanes, and our high roads, under our vines and our fig-trees, without hindrance, and without pockets? For the sake of human nature, we hope not—for the sake of our bleeding country, we hope not. No! "Take care of your pockets!" is one of the earliest maxims instilled into the youthful mind; and emphatically do we repeat to our fellow-countrymen—Englishmen, take care of your pockets!
* * * * *
Critics, as well as placemen, are occasionally sinecurists, and, like the gentlemen of England immortalised by Dibdin, are able, now and then, to "live at home at ease"—to dine (on dining days) in comfort, not having to rise from table to give authors or actors their dessert. This kind of novelty in our lives takes place when managers produce no novelties in their theatres; when authors are lazy, and actors do not come out in new parts but are contented with wearing out old ones—when, in short, such an eventless theatrical week as the past one leaves us to the enjoyment of our own hookahs, and the port of our cellar-keeping friends. The play-bills seem to have been printed from stereotype, for, like the laws of the Medes and Persians, they have never altered—since our last report.
This unexpected hot weather has visited the public with many a "Midsummer night's dream," although it is—and Covent Garden has opened because it is September; Sheridan's "Critic" has been very busy there, though PUNCH'S has had nothing to do. "London Assurance" is still seen to much advantage, and so is Madame Vestris.
The Haymarket manager continues to wade knee-deep in tragedy, in spite of the state of the weather. The fare is, however, too good for any change in the carte. "Werner" forms a substantial standing dish. The "Boarding School" makes a most palpable entree; while "Bob Short," and "My Friend the Captain," serve as excellent after-courses. The promises recorded in the Haymarket bills are, a new tragedy by a new author, and an old comedy called "Riches;" a certain hit, if the continued success of "Money" be any criterion.
It is with feelings of the most rabid indignation that we approach the Strand Theatre, and the ruthless threat its announcements put forth of the future destruction of the only legitimate drama that is now left amongst us; that is to say, "PUNCH." When Thespis and his pupil Phynicus "came out" at the feasts of Bacchus; when "Roscius was an actor in Rome;" when Scaramouch turned the Materia Medica into a farce, and became a quack doctor in Italy; when Richardson set up his show in England—all these geniuses were peregrinate, peripatetic—their scenes were really moving ones, their tragic woes went upon wheels, their comedies were run through at the rate of so many miles per hour; the entire drama was, in fact, a travelling concern. Punch, the concentrated essence of all these, has, up to this date, preserved the pristine purity of his peripatetic fame; he still remains on circuit, he still retains his legitimacy. But, alas! ere this sheet has passed through the press, while its ink is yet as wet as our dear Judy's eyes, he will have fallen from his high estate: Hall will have housed him! Punch will have taken a stationary stand at the Strand Theatre!! The last stroke will have been given to the only ancient drama remaining, except the tragedies of Sophocles, and "Gammer Gurton's Needle."
With feelings of both sorrow and anger, we turn from the pedestrian to the equestrian drama. The Surrey has again, as of yore, become the Circus; she has been joined to Ducrow and his stud by the usual symbol of union—a ring. "Mazeppa" is ridden by Mr. Cartlitch, with great success, and the wild horse performed by an animal so highly trained, that it is as tame as a lap-dog—has galloped through a score or so of nights, to the delight of some thousands of spectators. The scenes in the circle exhibit the usual round of entertainment, and the Merryman delivers those reliques of antique facetiae which have descended to the clowns of the ring from generation to generation, without the smallest innovation. Thus the Surrey shows symptoms of high prosperity, and properly declines to fly in Fortune's face by attempting novelty.
The Victoria continues to kill "James Dawson," in spite of our prediction. The bills, however, promise that he shall die outright on Monday next, and a happy release it will be. The proprietor of "Sadler's Wells" is making most spirited efforts to attract play-goers to the Islington side of the New River, by a return to the legitimate drama of his theatre, viz.—real water; while his box check-taker has kept one important integer of the public away; namely, that singular plural we—by impertinence for which we have exhausted all patience without obtaining redress.
There are, we hear, other theatres open in London, one called the "City of London," somewhere near Shoreditch; another in Whitechapel, both terrae incognitae to us. The proprietors of these have handsomely presented us with free admissions. We beg them to accept our thanks for their courtesy; but are sorry we cannot avail ourselves of it till they add the obligation of providing us with guides.
* * * * *
THE CORN LAWS AND CHRISTIANITY.
Doctor Chalmers refused to attend the synod of Clergymen gathered together to consider the relative value of the Big and Little Loaf, on the ground that the reverend gentlemen were beginning their work at the wrong end. Wages will go up with Christianity, says the Doctor; cheap corn will follow the dissemination of cheap Bibles. "I know of no other road for the indefinite advancement of the working classes to a far better remuneration, and, of course, a far more liberal maintenance, in return for their toils, than they have ever yet enjoyed—it is a universal Christian education." Such are the words of Doctor CHALMERS.
We perfectly agree with the reverend doctor. Instead of shipping Missionaries to Africa, let us keep those Christian sages at home for the instruction of the English Aristocracy. When we consider the benighted condition of the elegant savages of the western squares,—when we reflect upon the dreadful scepticism abounding in Park-lane, May-fair, Portland-place and its vicinity,—when we contemplate the abominable idols which these unhappy natives worship in their ignorance,—when we know that every thought, every act of their misspent life is dedicated to a false religion, when they make hourly and daily sacrifice to that brazen serpent,
when they offer up the poor man's sweat to the abomination,—when they lay before it the crippled child of the factory,—when they take from life its bloom and dignity, and degrading human nature to mere brute breathing, make offering of its wretchedness as the most savoury morsel to the perpetual craving of their insatiate god,—when we consider all the "manifold sins and wickednesses" of the barbarians in purple and fine linen, of those pampered savages "whose eyes are red with wine and whose teeth white with milk,"—we do earnestly hope that the suggestion of Doctor Chalmers will be carried into immediate practical effect, and that Missionaries, preaching true Christianity, will be sent among the rich and benighted people of this country,—so that the poor may believe that the Scriptures are something more than mere printed paper, seeing their glorious effects in the awakened hearts of those who, in the arrogance of their old idolatry, called themselves their betters!
"A universal Christian education!" To this end, the Bench of Bishops meet at Lambeth; and discovering that locusts and wild honey—the Baptist's diet—may be purchased for something less than ten thousand a year,—and, after a minute investigation of the Testament, failing to discover the name of St. Peter's coachmaker, or of St. Paul's footman, his valet, or his cook,—take counsel one with another, and resolve to forego at least nine-tenths of their yearly in-comings. "No!" they exclaim—and what apostolic brightness beams in the countenance of CANTERBURY—what celestial light plays about the fleshy head of LONDON—what more than saint-like beauty surprises the cowslip-coloured face of EXETER—what lambent fire, what looks of Christian love play about and beam from the whole episcopal Bench!—"No!" they cry—"we will no longer have the spirit oppressed by these cumbrous trappings of fleshy pride! We will promote an universal Christian education—we will teach charity by examples, and live unto all men by a personal abstinence from the bickerings and malice of civil life. We will not defile the sacred lawn with the mud of turnpike acts—we will no longer sweat in the House of Lords, but labour only in the House of the Lord!"
Their Christian hearts sweetly suffused with sudden meekness, the Bishops proceed—staff in hand, and Bible under arm—from Lambeth Palace. How the people make way for the holy procession! Hackney-coachmen on their stands uncover themselves, and the drayman, surprised in his whistle, doffs his beaver to the reverend pilgrims. With measured step and slow, they proceed to Downing-street; the self-deputed Missionaries, resolved to give her Majesty's ministers "a Christian education." Sir ROBERT PEEL is immediately taken in hand by the Bishop of EXETER; who sets the Baronet to learn and exemplify the practical beauties of the Lord's Prayer. When Sir ROBERT comes to "give us this day our daily bread," he insists upon adding the words "with a sliding scale." However, EXETER, animated by a sudden flux of Christianity, keeps the baronet to his lesson, and the Premier is regenerated; yea, is "a brand snatched from the fire."
Lord LYNDHURST makes a great many wry mouths at some parts of the Decalogue—we will not particularise them—but the Bishop of London is resolute, and the new Lord Chancellor is, in all respects a bran-new Christian.
Lord STANLEY begs that when he prays for power to forgive all his enemies, he may be permitted to except from that prayer—DANIEL O'CONNELL. The Bishop is, however, inexorable; and O'Connell is to be prayed for, in all churches visited by Lord STANLEY.
Several of the bishops, smitten by the heathen darkness of the great majority of the Cabinet—affected by their utter ignorance of the practical working of Christianity—burst into tears. It will not be credited by those disposed to think charitably of their fellow-creatures, that—we state the melancholy fact upon the golden word of the Bishop of EXETER—several Cabinet ministers had never heard of the divine sentence which enjoins upon us to do to others as we would they should do unto us. Sir JAMES GRAHAM, for instance, declared that he had always understood the passage to simply run—"Do others;" and had, therefore, in very many acts of his political life, squared his doings according to the mutilated sentence. All the Cabinet had, more or less, some idea of the miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes. Indeed, many of them confessed that with them, the Loaves and the Fishes had, during their whole political career, contained the essence of Christianity. Sir EDWARD KNATCHBULL, Lord ELLENBOROUGH, and GOULBURN declared that for the last ten years they had hungered for nothing else.
We cannot dwell upon every individual case of ignorance displayed in the Cabinet. We confine ourselves to the glad statement, that every minister from the first lord of the treasury to the grooms in waiting, vivified by the sacred heat of their schoolmaster Bishops, illustrate the great truth of Doctor CHALMERS, that the poor man can only obtain justice "by a universal Christian education."
The Bench of Bishops do not confine their labours to the instruction of the Cabinet. By no means. They have appointed prebends, deans, canons, vicars, &c., to teach the members of both houses of Parliament practical Christianity towards their fellow-men. Lord LONDONDERRY has sold his fowling-piece for the benefit of the poor—has given his shooting-jacket to the ragged beggar that sweeps the crossing opposite the Carlton Club—and resolving to forego the vanities of grouse, is now hard at work on "The Acts of the Apostles." Colonel SIBTHORP—after unceasing labour on the part of Doctor CROLY—has managed to spell at least six of the hard names in the first chapter of St. Matthew, and can now, with very slight hesitation, declare who was the father of ZEBEDEE'S children!
"An universal Christian education!" Oh, reader! picture to yourself London—for one day only—operated upon by the purest Christianity. Consider the mundane interests of this tremendous metropolis directed by Apostolic principles! Imagine the hypocrisy of respectability—the conventional lie—the allowed ceremonial deceit—the tricks of trade—the ten thousand scoundrel subterfuges by which the lowest dealers of this world purchase Bank-stock and rear their own pine-apples—the common, innocent iniquities (innocent from their very antiquity, having been bequeathed from sire to son) which men perpetrate six working-days in the week, and after, lacker up their faces with a look of sleek humility for the Sunday pew—consider all this locust swarm of knaveries annihilated by the purifying spirit of Christianity, and then look upon London breathing and living, for one day only, by the sweet, sustaining truth of the Gospel!
Had our page ten thousand times its amplitude, it would not contain the briefest register of the changes of that day!
There is a scoundrel attorney, who for thirty years has become plethoric on broken hearts. The scales of leprous villany have fallen from him; and now, an incarnation of justice, he sits with open doors, to pour oil into the wounds of the smitten—to make man embrace man as his brother—to preach lovingkindness to all the world, and—without a fee—to chant the praises of peace and amity.
Crib the stockbroker meets Horns a fellow-labourer in the same hempen walk of life. Crib offers to buy a little Spanish of Horns. "My dear Crib," says Horns, "it is impossible; I can't sell; for I have just received by a private hand from Cadiz, news that must send the stock down to nothing. I am a Christian, my dear Crib," says Horns, "and as a Christian, how could I sell you a certain loss?"
A mistaken, but well-meaning man, although a tailor, meets his debtor in Bow-street. A slight quarrel ensues; whereupon, the debtor (to show that the days of chivalry are not gone) kicks his tailor into the gutter. Does the tailor take the offender before Mr. JARDINE? By no means. The tailor is a Christian; and learning the exact measure of his enemy, and returning good for evil, he, in three days' time, sends to his assailant a new suit of the very best super Saxony.
How many quacks we see rushing to the various newspaper offices to countermand their advertisements! What gaps in the columns of the newspapers themselves! Where is the sugary lie—the adroit slander—the scoundrel meanness, masking itself with the usage of patriotism? All, all are vanished, for—the Morning Herald is published upon Christian principles!
Let us descend to the smallest matters of social life. "Will this gingham wash?" asks Betty the housemaid of Twill the linen-draper. Twill is a Christian; and therefore replies, "it is a very poor article, and it will not wash!"
We are with Doctor Chalmers for Christianity—but not Christianity of one side. "Pray for those who despitefully use you," say the Corn Law Apostles to the famishing; and then, cocking their eye at one another, and twitching their tongues in their mouths they add—"for this is Christianity!"
* * * * *
ENCOURAGEMENT OF NATIVE TALENT.
Her Majesty has, it seems, presented the conductor of the Gazette Musicale with a gold medal and her portrait, as a reward for his constant efforts in the cause of music (vide Morning Post, Sept. 9). From this, it may be supposed, foreigners alone are deemed worthy of distinction; but our readers will be glad to learn, that Rundells have been honoured with an order for a silver whistle for PUNCH. His unceasing efforts in the causes of humbug, political, literary, and dramatic, having drawn forth this high mark of royal favour.
* * * * *
PUNCH'S PENCILLINGS—NO. X.
* * * * *
THE OMEN OUTWITTED:
OR, HOW HIS REVERENCE'S HEELS TOOK STEPS TO SAVE HIS HEAD.
"So, Dick, I mean your 'reverence,' you like the blessed old country as well as ever, eh, lad?"
"As well, ay, almost better. My return to it is like the meeting of long-parted friends—the joy of the moment is pure and unalloyed—all minor faults are forgotten—all former goodness rushes with double force from the recollection to the heart, and the renewal of old fellowship grafts new virtues (the sweet fruits of regretted absence) upon him who has been the chosen tenant of our 'heart of hearts.'"
"His reverence's health—three times three (empty them heeltaps, Jack, and fill out of the fresh jug)—now, boys, give tongue. That's the raal thing; them cheers would wake the seven sleepers after a dose of laudanum. Bless you, and long life to you! That's the worst wish you'll find here."
"I know that right well, uncle. I know it, feel it, and most heartily thank you all."
"Enough said, parson. By dad, Dick, its mighty droll to be calling you, that was but yesterday a small curly-pated gossoon, by that clerical mouthful of a handle to your name. But do you find us altered much?"
"There is no change but Time's—that has fallen lightly. To be sure, yesterday I was looking for the heads of my strapping cousins at the bottom button of their well-filled waistcoats, and, before Jack's arrival, meant to do a paternal and patriarchal 'pat' on his, at somewhere about that altitude; a ceremony he must excuse, as the little lad of my mind has thought proper to expand into a young Enniskillen of six feet three."
"He's a mighty fine boy—the lady-killing vagabone!" said the father, with a kind look of gratified pride; and then added, as if to stop the infection of the vanity, "and there's no denying he's big enough to be better." Here a slight scrimmage at the door of the dining-room attracted the attention of the "masther."
"What's the meaning of that noise, ye vagabones?"
"Spake up, Mickey."
"Is it me?" "It is." "Not at all, by no means. Let Paddy do it, or Tim Carroll; they're used to going out wid the car, and don't mind spaking to the quality." "Take yourselves out o'that, or let me know what you want, and be pretty quick about it, too."
The result of this order was the appearance of Tim Carroll in the centre of the room—a dig between the shoulders, and vigorously-applied kick behind, hastening him into that somewhat uneasy situation, with a degree of expedition perfectly marvellous.
"Spake out, what is it?" "Ahem!" commenced Tim; "you see, sir (aside), I'll be even wid you for that kick, you thief of the world—you see, Paddy (bad manners to him) and the rest o' the boys, was thinking that, owing to the change o' climate, Master Richard—that is, his new riverence—has gone through by rason of laving England and comin' here—and mighty could, no doubt, he was on the journey—be praised he's safe—the boy, sir, was thinkin', masther dear, it was nothing but their duty, and what was due to the family, to ax your honour's opinion about their takin' the smallest taste of whiskey in life, jist to be drinking his riverence's Masther Richard's health, and"—"Success to him!" shouted the chorus at the door. "That's it!" said the masther. "And nothing but it!" responded the chorus. "Nelly, my jewel! take the kays and give them anything in dacency!" "Hurrah! smiling good luck to you, for ever and afther!" "That'll do, boys! but stay: it's Terence Conway's wedding night—it's a good tenant he's been to me—take the sup down there, and you'll get a dance; now be off, you devils!"
"Many thanks to your honour!" chorused the delighted group; and "I done that iligant, anyhow," muttered the gratified, successful, and, therefore, forgiving orator. "I'll try again. Ahem! wouldn't the young gentlemen just step down for a taste?" "By all manes!" was chimed at once; their hats were mounted in a moment, and off they set.
Terence Conway's farm was soon reached; the barn affording the most accommodation for the numerous visitors, was fitted up for the occasion. It was nearly full, as Terence was a popular man—one that didn't grudge the "bit and sup," and never turned his back upon friend or foe. Loud and hearty were the cheers of the delighted tenantry, as the three sons of their beloved landlord passed the threshold. The appearance of the "stranger" was received with no such demonstrations of welcome; on the contrary, there was a sullen silence, soon after broken by suppressed and angry murmurs. These were somewhat appeased by one of the sons introducing his "cousin," and endeavouring to joke the peasants into good-humour, by laughingly assuring them his "reverence" was but a bad drinker, and would not deprive them of much of the poteen; then passing his arm through the parson's, he led the way, as it afterwards turned out, rather unfortunately, to the top of the barn, and there, followed by his brothers, they took their seats.
The entrance of the Catholic priest (a most amiable man) at this moment attracted the entire attention of the party, during which time Tim Carroll elbowed his way to the place where his master was seated, and calling him partially aside, whispered, "Master John, dear, tell his riverence, Master Richard, to go."
"Sure, is not he entirely in black?"
"Well, what of it?"
"What of it? Houly Paul! the likes o' that! If my skin was as hard as a miser's heart, I wouldn't put it into a black coat, and come to a wedding in it; it's the devil's own bad omen, and nothing else!"
"You are right! What a fool I was not to tell Dick! Cousin, a word!"
Here the clamour became somewhat louder, the priest taking an active part, and speaking rapidly and earnestly in their native tongue to the evidently excited peasantry. He suddenly broke from them, and hastening to the Protestant clergyman, grasped his hand, and, shaking it heartily, wished him "health, long life, and happiness:" and lifting a tumbler of punch to his lips, drank off nearly half its contents, exclaiming the customary, "God save all here!" He then presented the liquor to the stranger, saying in a low earnest voice, "Drink that toast, sir!"
This order was instantly complied with. The clear tones of the young man's unfaltering voice and the hearty cordiality of his utterance had a singular effect upon the more turbulent; the priest passed rapidly from the one to the other, and endeavoured to say something pleasant to all, but, despite his attempts at calmness, he was evidently ill at ease.
Tim Carroll again sidled up to his young master.
"The boys mane harrum, sir," said Tim; "but never mind, there's five of us here. We've not been idle, we've all been taking pick o' the sticks, and divil a stroke falls upon one of the ould ancient family widout showing a bruck head or a flat back for it."
"What am I to understand by this?" inquired the young stranger.
"That you're like Tom Fergusson when he rode the losing horse—you've mounted the wrong colour; and, be dad, you are pretty well marked down for it, sir; but never mind, there's Tim Carroll looking as black as the inside of a sut-bag. Let him come on! he peeled the skin off them shins o' mine at futball; maybe, I won't trim his head with black thorn for that same, if he's any ways obstropolis this blessed night."
"Silence, sir! neither my inclination nor sacred calling will allow me to countenance a broil! I have been the first offender—to attempt to leave the room now would but provoke an attack; leave this affair to me, and don't interfere."
"By the powers! if man or mortal lifts his hand to injure you, I'll smash the soul out of him! Do you think, omen or no omen, I'll stand by and see you harmed?—not a bit of it! If you are a parson and a child of peace, I have the honour to be a soldier, and claim my right to battle in your cause."
Maugre the pacific tone of the unfortunately-accoutered ecclesiastic, there was something of defiance in his flashing eye and crimson cheek, as he turned his brightening glance upon what might almost be called the host of his foes; and the nervous pressure which returned the grasp of his cousin's sinewy hand, spoke something more of readiness for battle than could have been gathered from his expressed wishes.
"If, Jack, it comes to that, why, as human nature is weak—excuse what I may feel compelled to do; but for the present pray oblige me by keeping your seat and the peace; or, if you must move and fidget about, go and make that pugnacious Tim Carroll as decent as you can."
"I'll be advised by you, Dick; but look out!" So saying, the stalwart young officer bustled his way to the uproarious Tim.
It was well he did so, or bloodshed must have ensued, as at that moment a tall and powerful man, brother-in-law to the bride, lifted his stick, and after giving it the customary twirl aimed a point-blank blow at the head of the ill-omened parson. The bound of an antelope brought the girl to the spot; her small hand averted the direction of the deadly weapon, and before the action had been perceived by any present, or the attempt could be resumed, she dropped a curtesy to the assailant, and in a loud voice, with an affected laugh, exclaimed—
"You, if you plaise, sir;" and, turning quickly to the fiddler, continued: "Any tune you like, Mr. Murphy, sir; but, good luck to you, be quick, or we won't have a dance to-night!"
"Clear the floor!—a dance! a dance!" shouted every one.
In a few seconds the angry scowl had passed from the flushed cheeks of Dan Sheeny, and there he was, toe and heeling, double shuffling, and cutting it over the buckle, to the admiration of all beholders. The bride was seated near the stranger—he perceived this, and suddenly quitting his place, danced up to her, and nodding, as he stopped for a moment, invited her to join him. She was ever light of foot, and, as she said afterwards, "would have danced her life out but she'd give the poor young gentleman a chance." Long and vigorously did Dan Sheeny advance, retire, curvette, and caper. The whiskey and exertion at length overcame him, and he left the lady sole mistress of the floor. By this time murmurs had again arisen, and all eyes were turned upon the intruder, who had been intently engaged observing the dancers. It was an accomplishment for which he had been celebrated previous to his taking orders, and the old feeling so strongly interested him, that he was absorbed in the pleasure of witnessing the activity and joyousness of the performers. He turned his head for an instant—a heavy hand was laid upon his shoulder. On his starting up, he saw nothing but the smiling Norah pressing the arm of a tall peasant, and curtseying him a challenge to join her "on the floor." He paused for a moment, then gaily taking her hand, advanced with her to the centre. All eyes were bent upon them, but there was no restraint in the young parson's manner. The most popular jig-tune was called for—to it they went; his early-taught and well-practised feet beat living echoes to the most rapid bars. A foot of ground seemed ample space for all the intricate compilation of the raal Conamera "capers." The tune was changed again and again; again and again was his infinity of steps adapted to its varying sounds: to use a popular phrase, you might have heard a pin drop. Every mouth was closed, every eye fixed upon his rapid feet; and, when at length wearied with exertion, the almost fainting girl was falling to the earth, her gallant partner caught her in his arms, and, like an infant, bore her to the open air, one loud and general cheer burst from their unclosed lips; a few moments restored the pretty lass to perfect health. Her first words were, "Leave me, sir, and save yourself." It was too late; borne on the shoulders of the admiring mob, who, despite his suit of sables (now rendered innoxious by the varying colour of the crimson kerchief the young bride bound round his neck), he was soon seated in the chair of honour, and there, surrounded by his friends, finished the night the "lion of the dance." And thus it was that his "Reverence's heels took steps to preserve his head."—FUSBOS
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TRANSACTIONS AND YEARLY REPORT. OF THE HOOKHAM-CUM-SNIVEY LITERARY, SCIENTIFIC, AND MECHANICS' INSTITUTION.
(Continued from our last.)
An important and advantageous arrangement in the transactions of the society, since its foundation, has been the institution of the classes "for the acquisition of a general smattering of everything," more especially as concerning the younger branches of society. It is, however, much to be regretted, that the public examination of the juvenile members, upon the subjects they had listened to during the past course, did not turn out so well as the committee could have wished. The various professors had taken incredible pains to teach the infant philosophers correct answers to the separate questions that would be asked them, in order that they might reply with becoming readiness. Unfortunately the examiner began at the wrong end of the class, and threw them all out, except the middle one. We sub-join a few of the questions:—
State the distance, in miles, from the Hanwell Lunatic Asylum to the Tuesday in Easter week, and show how long a man would be going from one to the other, if he travelled at the rate of four gallons a minute.
Required to know the advantages of giving tracts to poor people who cannot read, and how many are equivalent to a sliding-scale penny buster, in the way of nourishment.
"Was Lord John Russell in his Windsor uniform, ever mistaken for a two-penny postman; if so, what great man imagined the affinity?
The School of Design and Drawing has made very creditable progress, and the subscribers will be gratified in learning, that one of the pupils sent in a design for the Nelson Testamonial, which would in all probability have been accepted, had not the decision been made in the usual preconcerted underhand manner. Following the columnar idea of Mr. Railton, our talented pupil had put forth a peculiarly appropriate idea: the shaft would have been formed by a sea-telescope of gigantic proportions, pulled out to its utmost extent. On the summit of this Nelson would have been seated, as on the maintop, smoking his pipe, from which real smoke would have issued. This would have been produced by a stove at the bottom of the column, whose object was to furnish a steady supply of baked potatoes, uninfluenced by the fluctuations of the market, to the cabmen of Trafalgar-square, and the street-sweepers at Charing-cross. The artist who designed the elegant structure at King's-cross, which partakes so comprehensively of the attributes of a pump, a watch-house, a lamp-post, and a turnpike, would have superintended its erection, and a carved figure-head might have been purchased, for a mere song, to crown the elevation. It would not have much mattered whether the image was intended for Nelson or not, because, from its extreme elevation, no one, without a spy-glass, could have told one character from another—Thiers from Lord John Russell, George Steevens from Shakspere, Muntz from the Duke of Brunswick, or anybody else.
The museum of the institution has been gradually increasing in valuable additions, and donations are respectfully requested from families having any dust-collecting articles about their houses which they are anxious to get rid of.
The first curiosities presented were, of course, those which have formed the nucleus of every museum that was ever established, and consisted of "South Sea Islander's paddles and spears, North American mocassins and tomahawks, and Sandwich (not in Kent, but in the Pacific Ocean) canoes and fishing-tackle. In addition, we have received the following, which the society beg to acknowledge:—
The jaw-bone of an animal, supposed to be a cow, found two feet below the surface, in digging for the Great Western Railway, near Slough.
Farthing, penny, and sixpence, of the reign of George the Fourth.
Piece of wood from the red-funnel steam-boat sunk off the Isle of Dogs, in August, 1841, which had been under water nearly six days.
A variety of articles manufactured from the above, sufficient to build a boat twelve times the size, may be purchased of the librarian.
A floor-tile, in excellent preservation, from the old Hookham-cum-Snivey workhouse kitchen, before the new union was built.
Specimens of pebbles collected from the gravel-pits at Highgate, and a valuable series of oyster-shells, discovered the day after Bartholomew-fair, near the corner of Cock-lane.
A small lizard, caught in the Regent's-park, preserved in gin-and-water, in a soda-water bottle, and denominated by the librarian "a heffut."
Advertisement half of a Times newspaper for March, 1838.
Playbill of the English Opera during Balfe's management, supposed to be that of the memorable night when 16l. 4s. was taken, in hard cash, at the doors.
View of the Execution of the late Mr. Greenacre in front of Newgate, published by Catnach, from a drawing by an unknown artist. (Very rare!)
MS. pantomime, refused at the Haymarket, entitled "Harlequin and the Hungarian Daughter; or, All My Eye and Betty Martinuzzi," with the whole of the songs, choruses, and incidental combats and situations. Presented by the author, in company with a receipt for red and green fire.
Bound copy of Sermons preached at Hookham-cum-Snivey Church, by the Reverend Peter Twaddle, on the occasions, of building a dusthole for the national schools; of outfitting the missionaries who are exported annually to be eaten by the Catawampous Indians; on the death of Mr. Grubly, the retired cheesemonger, who endowed the weathercock; and in aid of the funds of the "newly-born-baby-clothes-bag-and-basket-institution:" printed at the desire of his, "he fears, in this instance, too partial" parishioners, and presented by himself.
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OUR FOREIGN RELATIONS.
The treaty of the four powers, to which Chelsea, Battersea, Brompton, and Wandsworth are parties, and from which Pimlico has hitherto obstinately stood aloof, has at length been ratified by the re-entry of that impetuous suburb into the general views of Middlesex. We have now a right to call upon Pimlico to disarm, and to cut off its extra watchman with a promptitude that shall show the sincerity with which it has joined the neighbouring powers in the celebrated treaty of Kensington. It is already known that, by this document, Moses Hayley is recognised as hereditary beadle, and Abraham Parker is placed in undisturbed possession of the post of waterman on the coach-stand in the outskirts. We are not among those who expect to find a spirit of propagandism prevailing in the policy of the powers of Pimlico. The lamplighter who lights the district is a man of sound discernment, and there is everything to hope from the moderation he has always exhibited.
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SIBTHORP ON THE CORN LAW.
Sibthorp came out in full fig at Sir Robert Peel's dinner. While he was having his hair curled, and the irons were heating, he asked the two-penny operator what was his opinion of the corn-law question. The barber's answer suggested the following con.:—
"Why am I like a man eating a particular sort of fancy bread?"—"Because," answered the tonsor, "you are having
This reply made the Colonel's hair stand on end, taking it quite out of curl.
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The boy Jones, in one of his visits to the Palace, to avoid detection, secreted himself up the kitchen chimney. The intense heat necessary for the preparation of a large dish of white-bait for her Majesty's dinner compelled him to relax his hold, and in an instant he was precipitated among the Blackwall delicacies. The indignant cook immediately demanded "his business there." "Don't you see," observed the younker, "I'm
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PUNCH'S INFORMATION FOR THE PEOPLE.
Definition.—The history of "naturals"—which chiefly include the human species—and of "simples" (herbs), occupies the branch of science we are about to enlighten our readers upon. It treats, in fact, of animated nature; while physical history—instead of being the history of Apothecaries' Hall, as many suppose—deals exclusively with inanimate matter.
Of genus, species, and orders.—If, in the vegetable world, we commence with the buttercup, and trace all the various kinds and sizes of plants that exist, up to the pine (Norwegian), and down again to the hautboy (Cormack's Princesses); if, among the lower animals, we begin with a gnat and go up to an elephant, or select from the human species a Lord John Russell, and place him beside a professor Whewell, we shall see that nature provides an endless variety of all sorts of everything. Now, to render a knowledge of everything in natural history as difficult of acquirement as possible to everybody, the scientific world divides nature into the above-mentioned classes, to which Latin names are given. For instance, it would be vulgarly ridiculous to call a "cat" by its right name; and when one says "cat," a dogmatic naturalist is justified in thinking one means a lion or tiger, both these belonging to the category of "cats;" hence, a "cat" is denominated, for shortness, felis AEgyptiacus; an ass is turned into a horse, by being an equus; a woman into a man, for with him she is equally homo.
Of this last species it is our purpose exclusively to treat. The variety of it we commence with is,
THE BARBER (homo emollientissimus.—TRUEFIT).
Physical structure and peculiarities.—The most singular peculiarity of the barber is, that although, in his avocations, he always is what is termed a "strapper," yet his stature is usually short. His tongue, however, makes up for this deficiency, being remarkably long,—a beautiful provision of nature; for while he is seldom called upon to use his legs with rapidity, his lingual organ is always obliged to be on the "run." His eyes are keen, and his wits sharp; his mouth is tinged with humour, and his hair—particularly when threatening to be gray—with poudre unique. Manner, prepossessing; crop, close; fingers, dirty; toes, turned out. He seldom indulges in whiskers, for his business is to shave.
1. Habits, reproduction, and food.—A singular uniformity of habits is observable amongst barbers. They all live in shops curiously adorned with play-bills and pomatum-pots, and use the same formulary of conversation to every new customer. All are politicians on both sides of every subject; and if there happen to be three sides to a question, they take a triangular view of it.
2. Reproduction.—Some men are born barbers, others have barberism thrust upon them. The first class are brought forth in but small numbers, for shavers seldom pair. The second take to the razor from disappointment in trade or in love. This is evident, from the habits of the animal when alone, at which period, if observed, a deep, mysterious, melo-dramatic gloom will be seen to overspread his countenance. He is essentially a social being; company is as necessary to his existence as beards.
3. Food.—Upon this subject the most minute researches of the most prying naturalists have not been able to procure a crumb of information. That the barber does eat can only be inferred; it cannot be proved, for no person was ever known to catch him in the act; if he does masticate, he munches in silence and in secret.
 Not so of drinking. Only last week we saw, with our own eyes, a pot of ale in a barber's shop; and very good ale it was, too, for we tasted it.
Geographical distribution of barbers.—Although the majority of barbers live near the pole, they are pretty diffusely disseminated over the entire face of the globe. The advance of civilization has, however, much lessened their numbers; for we find, wherever valets are kept, barbers are not; and as the magnet turns towards the north, they are attracted to the east. In St. James's, the shaver's "occupation's gone;" but throughout the whole of Wapping, the distance is very short
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A LECTURE ON MORALITY.—BY PUNCH.
Moral philosophers are the greatest fools in the world. I am a moral philosopher; I am no fool though. Who contradicts me? If any, speak, and come within reach of my cudgel. I am a moral philosopher of a new school. The schoolmaster is abroad, and I am the schoolmaster; but if anybody says that I am abroad, I will knock him down. I am at home. And now, good people, attend to me, and you will hear something worth learning.
The reason why I call all moral philosophers fools is, because they have not gone properly to work. Each has given his own peculiar notions, merely, to the world. Now, different people have different opinions: some like apples, and others prefer another sort of fruit, with which, no doubt, many of you are familiar. "Who shall decide when doctors disagree?"