OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
May 2, 1891.
SONGS OF THE UN-SENTIMENTALIST.
A DUSTMAN'S SILENT TEAR.
I know not how that Dustman stirred my ire: He may have failed to call when due: but he— My breast being charged with economic fire,— Was mulcted of his customary fee. I was informed, at first he did not seem To grasp the cruel sense of what he heard, But asked, "Wot's this 'ere game?" as if some dream Of evil portents all his pulses stirred; Then, muttering, he turned, and went his way Dejected, broken! I had stopped his beer! Ah! from that Dustman who, alas! can say I did not wring a sad and silent tear!
I thought the matter o'er. I vowed no more, That I with grief would moisten any eye; Henceforth, whene'er that Dustman passed my door, Upon his beer he knew he could rely! Nay more! For never heeding if my bin Were full or empty, I that Dustman hailed; His grateful smile my one desire to win; I felt I could not help it if I failed. Twice every week he came,—his twopence drew: That Dustman seemed to brighten with his beer. And, if he wept, thank Heaven, at least I knew With joy, not grief, he shed his silent tear!
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LEAVES FROM A CANDIDATE'S DIARY.
Thursday, April 16.—On looking through my book I find that I am now a member of ten Billsbury Cricket Clubs, to most of which I am a Vice-President. Not bad, considering that my average in my last year at school was four, and that I didn't play more than half-a-dozen times at Oxford. TOLLAND says there are many more Foot-ball Clubs than Cricket Clubs—a pleasant prospect for me in the Autumn. Have also had to subscribe to six Missions of various kinds, four Easter Monday Fetes, six Friendly Societies, three Literary and Scientific Institutes, five Temperance Associations, four Quoit Clubs, two Swimming Clubs, seven Sunday Schools, five Church or Chapel Building Funds, three Ornithological Societies, two Christian Young Men's Associations, three Children's Free Dinner Funds, one Angling Association, not to speak of Fire Brigade, Dispensaries, and Brass Bands. Have also given a Prize to be shot for by Volunteers, as CHUBSON gives one every year. What with L80 subscription to the Registration Fund, things are beginning to mount up pretty considerably.
Have spoken at three meetings since the Mass Meeting. TOLLAND said, "You needn't refer to Sir THOMAS CHUBSON yourself. Leave our people to do that. They enjoy that kind of thing, and know how to do it." They do, indeed. At our last meeting, HOLLEBONE, the Secretary of the Junior Conservative Club, went on at him for twenty minutes in proposing resolution of confidence in me. "Sir THOMAS," he said, "talks of his pledges. The less Sir THOMAS says about them the better. I can't walk out anywhere in Billsbury for two minutes without tripping over the broken fragments of some of Sir THOMAS's pledges. It's getting quite dangerous. Sir THOMAS, they say, made himself. It's a pity he couldn't put in a little consistency when he was engaged on the job. We don't want any purse-proud Radical knights to represent us. We want a straightforward man, who says what he means; and you'll agree with me, fellow-townsmen, that we've got one in our eloquent and popular young Candidate."
This went down very well. Next day, however, the Meteor "parallel-columned" Sir THOMAS CHUBSON's career and mine. Mine occupied six lines; Sir THOMAS's "Life of honourable and self-sacrificing industry" ran to nearly a column. "It will be observed," said the Meteor, "that there is a good deal of blank space in Mr. PATTLE's comparative career; but this no doubt recommends him to his Conservative friends, who are quite equal to filling it brilliantly with their imaginative rhetoric about his chances of success."
Primrose Day, the day after to-morrow. We're going to have a great demonstration at Billsbury. Mother is going down with me to-morrow.
April 20th, "George Hotel," Billsbury.—The Demonstration yesterday was a splendid success. At ten o'clock in the morning the Conservative Band marched up to the Hotel and played patriotic airs under the window. Mother and I drove to the Beaconsfield Club in an open carriage and pair, escorted by the band. Mother's bonnet was all primroses, and she carried an immense bouquet of them. Carlo came with us and sat on the back-seat. His collar was stuck full of primroses, and small bunches were tied on to the tufts on his back and at the end of his tail. I wore a buttonhole of primroses, and carried a huge primrose wreath to be placed round the bust of LORD BEACONSFIELD, which stands in the hall of the Club. The coachman and horses too were all tricked out with bunches. TOLLAND and CHORKLE, and all the leaders of the Party, met us at the entrance of the Club, and the ceremony of depositing the flowers all round the bust began. CHORKLE, who once shook hands with DIZZY in the lobby of the House, made a great speech, mostly composed of personal reminiscences of our great departed leader. (By the way CHORKLE has six children, five of them being sons, whose names are BENJAMIN DISRAELI CHORKLE, CECIL SALISBURY CHORKLE, STRAFFORD THOROUGH CHORKLE, HOBBES LEVIATHAN CHORKLE, and RANDOLPH CHURCHILL CHORKLE.) The sixth, eighteen months old, is a girl. Her name is WILLIAMINA HENRIETTA SMITH CHORKLE. They were all present, covered with primroses. I added a few words about the inspiring effect that the contemplation of LORD BEACONSFIELD's career must have upon the youth of the country. Mother's bouquet kept falling off the place she had put it on, and two or three enthusiasts always dashed forward to pick it up, causing a good many collisions. In the middle of my speech, Carlo walked into the centre of the hall, sat down and proceeded to gnaw off the primroses which had been tied to his tail. He then ate them all solemnly, and after that rolled over on his back with his paws stuck straight out, pretending he was dead. I must tell Mother not to bring that dog again. There was a great banquet in the evening. VULLIAMY came down for it and spoke very kindly about me in his speech. Said he had followed my career with profound interest and pleasure from my earliest years. I've only known him a year.
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NOTHING LIKE DISCIPLINE!
(EXTRACT FROM THE DIARY OF PRIVATE ATKINS, PRINCE'S COMPANY, 4TH BATTALION, H.M.'S GUZZLEBEER GUARDS.)
Monday.—Joined the Regiment. Appeared on Parade, and was requested to come to "attention," although the Sergeant must have seen that I was "standing at ease." Expressed a desire that the Commanding-officer should rectify the mistake, when all ended amicably. Sergeant apologised, and promised that it should not occur again. Satisfied. Both Sergeant and Commanding-officer well up in their duties!
Tuesday.—Bugle sounded too early for Assembly. Sent a message to the Adjutant by his orderly (with my compliments) saying that I would feel much obliged if the Parade were postponed an hour. Adjutant returned his compliments, with a request that I would give in writing my reason for desiring a delay. Explained (by word of mouth) that I wanted to read the newspapers. Parade consequently postponed as requested. Obliging chap the Adjutant!
Wednesday.—Warned for Guard. Sent for the Major of my half-battalion (don't like bothering the Commanding-officer about every trifle), and explained that, although the Surgeon had seen me, and reported me fit, I had a presentiment that the easterly winds would play the very mischief with me if I went "Sentry Go." Major thought, perhaps it would be better if I were struck off duty. Excused Guard in consequence. Good sort Major of my half-battalion!
Thursday.—Sorry to find rations very unsatisfactory. Complained to the Officer of the day, who reported the matter to the Captain. Captain said he would have asked the entire company to dine with him at his Club had he not been engaged. He then passed us on to his Subs. The latter most obligingly gave us some food at a Restaurant. Chateaubriand excellent, Sole a la Normande decent, but Potage a la bisque too rich. Mistake to order the latter, as one can never get it really good, except on the Continent. Wine tol-lol. Pol Royer of '84. However, spent a very pleasant evening. Both Subs, when you know them, not half bad fellows!
Friday.—Rather a head, and felt generally out of sorts. Warned for Kit-inspection. Couldn't stand this, so called upon General Commanding District. Not at home, but was asked would I see his locum tenens? Replied in the negative, as I don't believe in go-betweens. Didn't return to barracks, as I thought I might get a breath of sea-air at Southend.
Saturday.—Arrested and conveyed to the Guard-room. Suppose I shall be released with a caution. At any rate, for the present, diary confiscated.
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* * * * *
In the heart of fair Ind, which JOHN BULL hopes to keep, Trade planted a Garden—a Garden of Sleep; 'Neath the hot Eastern sky—in the place of good corn— It is there that the baneful white Poppy is born,— Chinese Johnny's desire, lending dreams of delight, Which are his when the poppy-juice cometh in sight. Oh! the Mart hath no heart, and Trade laugheth to scorn The plea of friend PEASE, where the Poppies are born.
In this Garden of Sleep, where white Poppies are spread, Fair INDIA plucketh the opiate head. JOHN BULL says. "My dear, PEASE's tales make me creep. He swears it, fills graves with 'pigtails,' who seek sleep!" Fair INDIA replies, "That may possibly be; But they Revenue bring, some Six Millions, you see! Turn me out if you will, smash the Trade if you must; But—you'll make up the money somehow, Sir, I trust!"
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* * * * *
In view of the intense public excitement aroused by the statement that Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL, in his expedition to Mashonaland, is only going to take two books with him—SHAKSPEARE and MOLIERE—an Inquiring Correspondent has recently written to several eminent persons on this subject, and has received—so he says—the following replies:—
SIR,—You ask me what books I should take if I were contemplating a visit to the Dark Continent, like Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL. The question, in the abstract, and without reference to my own personality, is an interesting one, and no doubt human fallibility would, in the case you suppose, induce me to take several volumes of my own Gleanings with me,—not so much for their intrinsic merits, as because perhaps they might form a new kind of literature for native African potentates. HOMER, too, of course. At my time of life, however, I must be excused from grappling with any new Continents, dark or otherwise. I find that Ireland is quite dark enough for me just now. Excuse a card. Yours, W.E. GL-DST-NE.
SIR,—As I am not "contemplating an expedition to the Dark Continent," and have no sympathy with Hottentots, there seems to be no sufficient reason for my answering your questions, or for your asking them. S-L-SB-RY.
SIR,—Your question is ridiculous. The only books worth taking to Africa, or anywhere else, would be a bound copy of last year's Review of Reviews, GENERAL BOOTH's epoch-making volume, and—this is indispensable—SIR C. D-LKE's invaluable Problems of Greater Britain. When I went to Rome, I naturally took with me the "hundred best books in the world." They were a little heavy, but I thought the POPE would like to see them. However, circumstances prevented my presenting them to His Holiness. Yours, W.T. ST-D.
SIR,—I don't know much about books. I've just written rather a good one on Cricket, and I think if I were going to Africa I should take a supply. From all I've heard of TIPPOO TIB, I should think he would enjoy the game; at any rate TIPPOO ought to be able to master tip and run without much difficulty. W.G. GR-CE.
SIR,—Having consulted my relatives—also CAPTAIN M-L-SW-RTH—as to whether there would be any impropriety in giving a reply to your questions, I am happy to say that they seem to think there would be none, but that on the contrary it might even assist the takings at the Aquarium. I may therefore mention that if I were proceeding to Central Africa there is only one book I should dream of taking with me. That would be a copy of the Proceedings of the London County Council, since the joyful date of its advent on this planet. Yours obediently, Z-o.
SIR,—The one book I should take with me to Africa would be DR. PETERS' recent valuable work—More Light on Dark Africa. I should give it to the Dwarfs. It would make capital poisoned arrows. H.M. ST-NL-Y.
SIR,—The only book worth thinking about for such an expedition as you mention would be STANLEY's In Darkest Africa. Its Maps would be invaluable,—as presents for a rival explorer, whom one might desire to mislead as to his route. CARL P-T-RS.
* * * * *
MR. HERKOMER AND MR. PENNELL.
PROFESSOR HERKOMER defends the use of Photography for the engraver's purposes, and clearly thinks that what TENNYSON ought to have written, in Locksley Hall, was—
"And the thoughts of men are widened by a Process of the Sun's."
He also comforts himself with the reflection that being called over the coals in the National Observer, is one of the PENNELL-ties of success.
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S POCKET IBSEN.
(CONDENSED AND REVISED VERSION BY MR. P.'S OWN HARMLESS IBSENITE.)
NO. III.—HEDDA GABLER.
SCENE—The cheerful dark Drawing-room. It is afternoon. HEDDA stands loading a revolver in the back Drawing-room.
Hedda (looking out, and shouting). How do you do, Judge? (Aims at him.) Mind yourself! [She fires.
Brack (entering). What the devil! Do you usually take pot-shots at casual visitors? [Annoyed.
Hedda. Invariably, when they come by the back-garden. It is my unconventional way of intimating that I am at home. One does do these things in realistic dramas, you know. And I was only aiming at the blue sky.
Brack. Which accounts for the condition of my hat. (Exhibiting it.) Look here—riddled!
Hedda. Couldn't help myself. I am so horribly bored with TESMAN. Everlastingly to be with a professional person!
Brack (sympathetically). Our excellent TESMAN is certainly a bit of a bore. (Looks searchingly at her.) What on earth made you marry him?
Hedda. Tired of dancing, my dear, that's all. And then I used TESMAN to take me home from parties; and we saw this villa; and I said I liked it, and so did he; and so we found some common ground, and here we are, do you see! And I loathe TESMAN, and I don't even like the villa now; and I do feel the want of an entertaining companion so!
Brack. Try me. Just the kind of three-cornered arrangement that I like. Let me be the third person in the compartment—(confidentially)—the tried friend, and, generally speaking, cock of the walk!
Hedda (audibly drawing in her breath). I cannot resist your polished way of putting things. We will conclude a triple alliance. But hush!—here comes TESMAN.
[Enter GEORGE, with a number of books under his arm.
George. Puff! I am hot, HEDDA. I've been looking into LOeVBORG's new book. Wonderfully thoughtful—confound him! But I must go and dress for your party, Judge. [He goes out.
Hedda. I wish I could get TESMAN to take to politics, Judge. Couldn't he be a Cabinet Minister, or something?
[A short pause; both look at one another, without speaking. Enter GEORGE, in evening dress, with gloves.
George. It is afternoon, and your party is at half-past seven—but I like to dress early. Fancy that! And I am expecting LOeVBORG.
[EJLERT LOeVBORG comes in from the hall; he is worn and pale, with red patches on his cheek-bones, and wears an elegant perfectly new visiting-suit, and black gloves.
George. Welcome! (Introduces him to BRACK.) Listen—I have got your new book, but I haven't read it through yet.
Loevborg. You needn't—it's rubbish. (Takes a packet of MSS. out.) This isn't. It's in three parts; the first about the civilising forces of the future, the second about the future of the civilising forces, and the third about the forces of the future civilisation. I thought I'd read you a little of it this evening?
Brack and George (hastily). Awfully nice of you—but there's a little party this evening—so sorry we can't stop! Won't you come too?
Hedda. No, he must stop and read it to me and Mrs. ELVSTED instead.
George. It would never have occurred to me to think of such clever things! Are you going to oppose me for the Professorship, eh?
Loevborg (modestly). No; I shall only triumph over you in the popular judgment—that's all!
George. Oh, is that all? Fancy! Let us go into the back drawing-room and drink cold punch.
Loevborg. Thanks—but I am a reformed character, and have renounced cold punch—it is poison.
[GEORGE and BRACK go into the back-room and drink punch, whilst HEDDA shows LOeVBORG a photograph album in the front.
Loevborg (slowly, in a low tone). HEDDA GABLER! how could you throw yourself away like this!—Oh, is that the ORTLER Group? Beautiful!—Have you forgotten how we used to sit on the settee together behind an illustrated paper, and—yes, very picturesque peaks—I told you all about how I had been on the loose?
Hedda. Now, none of that, here! These are the Dolomites.—Yes, I remember; it was a beautiful fascinating Norwegian intimacy—but it's over now. See, we spent a night in that little mountain village, TESMAN and I!
Loevborg. Did you, indeed? Do you remember that delicious moment when you threatened to shoot me down—(tenderly)—I do!
Hedda (carelessly). Did I? I have done that to so many people. But now all that is past, and you have found the loveliest consolation in dear, good, little Mrs. ELVSTED—ah, here she is! (Enter Mrs. ELVSTED.) Now, THEA, sit down and drink up a good glass of cold punch. Mr. LOeVBORG is going to have some. If you don't, Mr. LOeVBORG, GEORGE and the Judge will think you are afraid of taking too much if you once begin.
Mrs. E. Oh, please, HEDDA! When I've inspired Mr. LOeVBORG so—good gracious! don't make him drink cold punch!
Hedda. You see, Mr. LOeVBORG, our dear little friend can't trust you!
Loevborg. So that is my comrade's faith in me! (Gloomily.) I'll show her if I am to be trusted or not. (He drinks a glass of punch.) Now I'll go to the Judge's party. I'll have another glass first. Your health, THEA! So you came up to spy on me, eh? I'll drink the Sheriff's health—everybody's health!
[He tries to get more punch.
Hedda (stopping him). No more now. You are going to a party, remember. [GEORGE and TESMAN come in from back-room.
Loevborg. Don't be angry, THEA. I was fallen for a moment. Now I'm up again! (Mrs. E. beams with delight). Judge, I'll come to your party, as you are so pressing, and I'll read GEORGE my manuscript all the evening. I'll do all in my power to make that party go!
George. No? fancy! that will be amusing!
Hedda. There, go away, you wild rollicking creatures! But Mr. LOeVBORG must be back at ten, to take dear THEA home!
Mrs. E. Oh, goodness, yes! (In concealed agony.) Mr. LOeVBORG, I shan't go away till you do!
[The three men go out laughing merrily; the Act-drop is lowered for a minute; when it is raised, it is 7 A.M., and Mrs. ELVSTED and HEDDA are discovered sitting up, with rugs around them.
Mrs. E. (wearily). Seven in the morning, and Mr. LOeVBORG not here to take me home yet! what can he be doing?
Hedda (yawning). Reading to TESMAN, with vine-leaves in his hair, I suppose. Perhaps he has got to the third part.
Mrs. E. Oh, do you really think so, HEDDA? Oh, if I could but hope he was doing that!
Hedda. You silly little ninny! I should like to scorch your hair off. Go to bed! [Mrs. E. goes. Enter GEORGE.
George. I'm a little late, eh? But we made such a night of it. Fancy! It was most amusing. EJLERT read his book to me—think of that! Astonishing book! Oh, we really had great fun! I wish I'd written it. Pity he's so irreclaimable.
Hedda. I suppose you mean he has more of the courage of life than most people?
George. Good Lord! He had the courage to get more drunk than most people. But, altogether, it was what you might almost call a Bacchanalian orgy. We finished up by going to have early coffee with some of these jolly chaps, and poor old LOeVBORG dropped his precious manuscript in the mud, and I picked it up—and here it is! Fancy if anything were to happen to it! He never could write it again. Wouldn't it be sad, eh? Don't tell anyone about it.
[He leaves the packet of MSS. on a chair, and rushes out; HEDDA hides the packet as BRACK enters.
Brack. Another early call, you see! My party was such a singularly animated soiree that I haven't undressed all night. Oh, it was the liveliest affair conceivable! And, like a true Norwegian host, I tracked LOeVBORG home; and it is only my duty, as a friend of the house, and cock of the walk, to take the first opportunity of telling you that he finished up the evening by coming to mere loggerheads with a red-haired opera-singer, and being taken off to the police-station! You mustn't have him here any more. Remember our little triple alliance!
Hedda (her smile fading away). You are certainly a dangerous person—but you must not get a hold over me!
Brack (ambiguously). What an idea! But I might—I am an insinuating dog. Good morning! [Goes out.
Loevborg (bursting in, confused and excited). I suppose you've heard where I've been?
Hedda (evasively). I heard you had a very jolly party at Judge BRACK's. [Mrs. ELVSTED comes in.
Loevborg. It's all over. I don't mean to do any more work. I've no use for a companion now, THEA. Go home to your Sheriff!
Mrs. E. (agitated). Never! I want to be with you when your book comes out!
Loevborg. It won't come out—I've torn it up! (Mrs. E. rushes out, wringing her hands.) Mrs. TESMAN, I told her a lie—but no matter. I haven't torn my book up—I've done worse! I've taken it about to several parties, and it's been through a police-row with me—now I've lost it. Even if I found it again, it wouldn't be the same—not to me! I am a Norwegian literary man, and peculiar. So I must make an end of it altogether!
Hedda. Quite so—but look here, you must do it beautifully. I don't insist on your putting vine-leaves in your hair—but do it beautifully. (Fetches pistol.) See, here is one of General GABLER's pistols—do it with that!
[He takes the pistol, and goes out through the hall-door; as soon as he has gone, HEDDA brings out the manuscript, and puts it on the fire, whispering to herself, as Curtain falls.
* * * * *
CAN A MAN IMPRISON HIS WIFE?
(AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL CONSIDERATION OF THE QUESTION, BY AN EMINENT LEGAL AUTHORITY.)
It may be remembered that (I trust) in deserved acknowledgment of my professional pre-eminence, I received, some little while ago, the appointment of a Deputy-Assistant-Revising-Barristership. In performing the duties of this important office, I sometimes have to incur bodily risk—the more especially when I have to distinguish between the rival claims of the political parties that I am sorry to say have made Lambville-cum-Minton the antithesis of heaven upon earth. On the occasion to which I particularly wish to refer, I was accompanied by my Wife, to my secret annoyance, as I am afraid the Lady who does me the honour to share my name is unduly apprehensive of my safety, and, besides this general plea, I had yet another special reason for desiring her absence. To tell the truth, I had been greatly moved by a decision given in the Court of Appeal, whereby it seemed to me (and no doubt to many of my learned friends) the custody of a wife by her husband had become an empty phrase, signifying nothing. I felt that if, by any means, I could get this judgment set aside, I would not only confer upon myself, as a married man, a signal benefit, but, moreover, as a Counsel, obtain increased professional distinction. However, I was embarrassed by the presence of my Wife, when I came to consider the best mode in which marital authority might be assumed to raise the question of the right of habeas corpus. I had returned to my room before the opening of the Registration Court at Lambville-cum-Minton, in rather a disturbed frame of mind. Truth to tell, my Wife, having learned that political feeling was rising so high in the town that it was possible that the Deputy-Assistant-Revising-Barrister might be assaulted by either or both of the rival factions, had done her best to dissuade me from taking my customary seat.
"What shall I do, to say nothing of the darling children, if you are brought home on a hurdle?" she sobbed out.
I assured her that there was a very remote risk of my succumbing to such a fate, as the conveyance home on a hurdle raised the presumption that the victim had been hunting, a sport in which I seldom, I may say, never indulged. But this explanation did not reassure her, and she left me in tears. Her emotion caused me much pain, the more especially as my proposed task seemed to me, under the circumstances, a species of domestic treason. However, I hardened my heart, and sat down to consider the facts of the case. To allow the right of seizure to be argued, it would be necessary to take my Wife out of the custody of someone other than myself. Her mother, a most estimable old lady, with whom I have had many a pleasant and exciting game of backgammon, seemed a right and proper person to assist me in carrying out my project. But the objection immediately occurred to me that it would be an exceedingly difficult matter to induce her to hold my Wife from me unless I desired her to take such a course. But if I made this request, would not the proceeding savour of collusion? To meet this obstacle I came to the conclusion that I might get my Wife to pay a visit to her mother, and then, appropriately disguised, seize and carry her off. By locking her in the conveyance and riding on the box, I could preserve my incognito until reaching home, and then I might confine her in her own room with assumed harshness, and possibly (of this I had some doubt) get her to complain of her imprisonment. By keeping my Wife's domicile a close secret, her mother would be induced to visit me to ask my professional assistance in recovering her daughter. Thus approached it would be possible to so advise the old lady that in the result she would demand my Wife's presence in Court under a writ of habeas corpus. Then would come my opportunity. Of course I would produce my Wife, and having carefully prepared my arguments, would deliver an oration that would fill columns of the newspapers, and hand down my name to generations to come as the authority on marital rights. I saw in the near future wealth and restored domestic happiness. But the first thing to do was to lock up my Wife. And at this point it occurred to me that it was time for me to walk over to the Revision Court. I hastily gathered certain necessary articles into my brief-bag, and putting on my hat, grasped the handle of the door. To my surprise I found that I could obtain no egress. I rang the bell—and instead of a servant my Wife answered the summons. "The door is locked, dear," I observed, "and as the key seems to be on the other side, will you kindly open it, as I am in a hurry to be off."
"You will stay where you are," was the reply. "You are not going to get killed by attending a nonsensical Revision Court."
"But I must go," I explained; and then assuming a tone of authority I rarely adopt, I added, "and you will be good enough to open the door at once."
"I shall do nothing of the sort," replied my Wife, calmly. "I locked you in, and I shan't let you out."
"What, Madam," I exclaimed; "do you defy my authority?"
"Certainly!" was the immediate response, "You may say or think what you like, but you don't leave this house to-day as sure as I am your lawfully wedded Wife."
And as a matter of fact I didn't!
(Signed.) A. BRIEFLESS, JUNIOR.
* * * * *
Monday.—To see MADAME ALBANI as Violetta the consumptive heroine of "La Traviata." Charmingly sung and admirably, nay, most touchingly, acted. MAUREL excellent as Germont Senior, and MONTARIOL quite the weak-minded masher Alfredo. What a different turn the story might have taken had it occurred to Violetta to have a flirtation with the handsome middle-aged pere noble! At one time it almost seemed as if there had been some change in motive of the Opera since I last saw it, and that the above original idea was about to be carried out. But no; in another second Germont-Maurel as "Old Maurelity" (by kind permission of TOBY, M.P.) had pulled himself together, and Albani-Violetta was in the depths of remorseful sorrow. In that gay and festive supper scene, where a physician, unostentatiously styled Il Dottore (he would probably be Ill Dottore the morning after) is present to look after the health of the guests, and perhaps to "propose" it, I noticed with pleasure that, on the tables, DRURIOLANUS ALDERMANICUS, mindful of civic feasts, had placed bottles of real champagne, or at least real champagne-bottles. This interested the audience muchly, and numerous were the glasses turned in the direction of the bottles—of course 'tis opera-glasses I mean, yer honour,—in order to ascertain what particular wanity was La Traviata's favourite; but the bottles were so placed that only one unimportant word on the label was visible. Was it Pommery '80 tres sec?—Or what was it? Impossible to see: it was not mentioned in the dialogue, so "Mumm" might have been the word. But at all events, if the wine is one which requires advertisement, the guests should be told to be very careful to leave the bottles in the same position as in the old prefatial stage-directions "the reader of the play" is supposed to be; i.e., "on the stage, facing the audience."
Wednesday.—Rigoletto. M. MAUREL as the Jester; acting good, voice too loud. ALBANI, as Gilda, overwhelmed with encores. M. MONTARIOL's Il Duca is Alfredo over again, only confirmed in a vicious career. To obtain an encore for the great but now hackneyed song, "La Donna e mobile," a wonderful rendering is absolutely essential, and somehow something seems wanting to the success of Rigoletto when this song goes for nothing and is passed without a rapturous "bis, bis!" which makes a Manager rub his hands and smilingly say to himself, "Good bis-ness."
Thursday.—Lohengrin I believe, but wasn't there. Hope the Opera went all right without me. Can't be in more places than one at the same moment. Same remarks apply to Friday and Saturday.
* * * * *
TO MISS ALICE ATHERTON AT THE STRAND THEATRE.
To see her in Our Daughters! worth the money! She 'ATH ER "TON" so genuinely funny! Yes, ALICE, in such acting, dance, or song, We recognise thy talent et ton "ton."
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Of the Modern Bill of Costs, the Ancient "Bill of the Play," SHAKSPEARE, and the present representative of the Ancient Mariner, L.C.J. COLERIDGE, both observe, "Oh, reform it altogether!"
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HYMEN AND CUPID.
(FIN-DE-SIECLE VERSION, SOME WAY AFTER MOORE.)
HYMEN, late, his love-knots selling, Called at many a maiden's dwelling; But he found too well they knew him; None were prompter to pooh-pooh him. "Who'll buy my love-knots? Who'll buy my love-knots?" Soon as that old cry resounded. How his baskets were surrounded!
Maidens mocked, with laughter dying, Those fool-knots of HYMEN's tying; Dames, who once with him had sided, Openly his wares derided. "Who'll buy my love-knots? Who'll buy my love-knots?" All at that old cry came flocking, Mocking in a style quite shocking.
"Here are knots," said HYMEN, taking Some loose nooses of Law's making. "Pooh!" the nymphs cried. "Who can trust 'em? We have changed your queer old custom. Who'll buy your love-knots? Who'll buy your love-knots? Women they bind not, nor tie men. You're a helpless gaoler, HYMEN!
"When the bargain is completed, We have but to cry, 'We're cheated!' And you'll find you're sold most sadly. Love-knots? Fools'-knots! They tie badly. Who'll buy your love-knots? Who'll buy your love-knots? Burdens you would lay our backs on— Our reply is—TOLSTOI! JACKSON!"
HYMEN dropped his torch; its splutter Was extinguished in the gutter. "At my torch and crown of roses These young minxes cock their noses. Who'll buy my love-knots? Who'll buy my love-knots?" What's the use? 'Twixt Law and Passion, HYMEN's plainly out of fashion!
LOVE, who saw the whole proceeding, Would have laughed but for good breeding. "Best join me," he cried, "Old Chappie! IBSEN read, be free, and happy! Who'll buy your love-knots? Who'll buy your love-knots? Have a spree—all shackles scorning, Come! We won't go home till morning!'"
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A BACONIAN THEORY;
OR, TRYING IT ON.
SOLOMON isn't in it with Judge BACON. The point was whether Mrs. MANLEY had made Miss DOROTHY DENE's dresses to fit or not. "To fit or not to fit, that was the question." The Judge gave his decision after a fair trial of the two costumes—this might be remembered on both sides as "the trying-on case,"—that, according to the evidence of unimpeachable witnesses represented by the Judge's own common-sense and artistic eye for effect, two of the dresses and a cloak didn't fit, and that so far, the Defendant, Miss DOROTHY, must consider herself, in a dress-making sense, "non-suited." Mrs. MANLEY had, of course, undertaken to provide fits for her customers, and for having partially failed, her customers determined to return the compliment, by "giving her fits" if possible. So the parties came before Judge BACON, and appealed to His Honour. And the learned Judge mindful of ancestral Baconian wisdom, "Cast a severe eye upon the example"—that is, he examined the dresses most critically,—"but a merciful eye upon the person,"—for the fair Plaintiff and fair Defendant His Honour showed himself a most fair Judge, unwilling, as BACON, "to give beans" to either party, and so dismissing them with his beany-diction. But, pauca verba,—and may we always have nothing but praise to bestow on Bacon's Essays.
* * * * *
(BY AN UNIONIST.)
I "prefer PARNELL"? Oh dear, no! There is no man I've hated so. But, since he turned a fierce derider Of him he calls the "Grand Old Spider;" Since he has "blown" the Home-Rule "gaff," And whelmed the Gladstone gang with chaff; Since he has almost wiped out PIGOTT, Half justified the Orange bigot; Proved part of the Times' charge at least, And won the "Hill-men," lost the Priest;— Since then—why, hang it, 'tis such fun, I half forgive him all he's done; I'll back him, bet on him, and grin; Give him my vote, and hope he'll win. But I prefer him? Goodness gracious! Why can't Gladstonians be veracious?
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SIR HENRY LOCH'S "STRAIGHT TIP" TO THE INTRUSIVE BOERS IN MASHONALAND.—"Play us none of your 'treks'!"
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HELMUTH KARL BERNHARD VON MOLTKE.
BORN, OCTOBER 26TH, 1803. DIED, APRIL 24TH, 1891.
Strong, silent Soldier, whom the unmarked years Shaped to such service of the Fatherland As seldom to one firm, unfailing hand, A State hath owed; to-day a People's tears Bedew the most illustrious of biers! The waning century hastening to its close Hath scarce a greater on its glory-roll, Hope of thy land, and terror of its foes; Of foresight keen, and long-enduring soul! War's greatness is not greatest; there are heights Of splendour pure mere warriors scarce may scale, But thou wert more than battle's scourge and flail, Calm-souled controller of such Titan fights As mould man's after-history. When thy star Shone clear at Koniggraetz, men gazed and knew The light that heralds the great Lords of War; And when o'er Sedan thy black Eagles flew And the bold Frank, betrayed and broken, drew One shuddering gasp of agony and sank, When thy long-mustered legions rank on rank Hemmed the fair, fated City of men's love, Then thy star culminated, shone above All but the few fixed beacon-lights, which owned A new compeer. Long steadfastly enthroned In German hearts, and all men's reverence, Suddenly, softly thou art summoned hence, To the great muster, full of years and fame! How thinks he, lord of a co-equal name, Thine ancient comrade in war's iron lists, Just left, and lone, of the Titanic Three Who led the Eagles on to victory? Calmest of Captains, first of Strategists. BISMARCK must bend o'er thy belaurelled bier With more than common grief in the unbidden tear!
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JOKIM AND JOHN.—The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER is following Mr. JOHN HOLLINGSHEAD's example. The latter started "No fees" for Play-time, and the former advocates "No fees" for School-time.
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ROBERT AT THE CHILDREN'S FANCY BALL.
Well, I've said it afore, and now I says it agane, as I don't bleeve as sich another both bewtifool and elligant site is to be seen in all the world, as is to be seen at these anniwersary yearly festivals in our nobel Egipshun All at the honoured Manshun House.
Of course I don't no what sort of intertainement was held there when the aincient Egipshuns had it, or weather they ewer was there at all—for I ain't much of a hantiquery; but, from what I've seen of some on 'em at the British Mewseum, I should think as there werry peculyar style of dress was not much sooted to such occashuns.
I thinks, upon the hole, as the children's dresses on this speshal ocashun "beat the record," as the runners and jumpers says, both for illigance and wariety, and, shoud I atemt to describe 'em, where on airth shoud I begin! But, as I must begin sumwheres, I hopes as I shan't awake the biling jealousy of all the other mothers present when I says as I gives the Parm Tree to the two rayther youthfool Beef Eaters. As for the number of Angels and Fairys, with most lovly wings, they was so numerus, and so bewtifool, that ewen I, a pore Hed Waiter, coudn't help the thort, that they was a giving me my first glimpse of Pairodice. Then again I noticed as the grashus and hansum LADY MARESS—who I should ha liked to ha seen putting herself at the hed of them all, and leading em all round the bewtifool All—had most kindly inwited a few poor creetures, such as nusses, and charity Gals, and plow boys, and setterer, just to let 'em see what they may sum day cum to be, if so be as they is all good.
There was a lot of Hartists a going about makin skitches of the werry prettiest dresses insted of the werry prettiest faces, as I shood most suttenly have done. One of 'em wanted for to take my picter, but as I coudn't bleeve it was for my bewty, and was quite sure it wasn't for my full heavening dress, and coud therefore ony be for fun, I respekfully declined.
It is roomered among us Hed Waiters, that the QUEEN's own Daughter, which she's a Hempress, has told her son, which he's the HEMPEROR of GERMANY, and is a comin here next July, that the werry loveliest site as the Grand Old Copperashun can posserbly show him, will be a reppytishun of the glorious seen as I seed with my own delited eyes on Wensdy last.
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"Oh Willow! Willow!" Mr. GRACE's memories of Forty years of Cricket are full of interest, of enthusiasm, and of good stories. "My Early Cricket Days" will hugely interest young would-be Willow-wielders. "Cricketers I have Met" is excellent reading, the Champion being as generous in appreciation as keen in judgment. On the science of the game he, of course, speaks as one having authority. THACKERAY said he never saw a boy without wishing to give him a sovereign. The "Co." for some time to come will not look on an athletic lad without longing to give him a copy of "Cricket; by W.G. GRACE." He hopes that lots of other "dasters" will feel the same yearning, and act upon it.
One of the "Co." reports that he has been reading a work on Decorative Electricity, by Mrs. J.S.H. GORDON, and a very pretty and original little book he found it, full of suggestions, ingenious, fanciful, and practical, all at once—a rare combination. "Those about to" instal—and most of us will find ourselves in that position, sooner or later—will gain some invaluable hints and ideas from this volume, which, in addition to its other merits, is charmingly illustrated. Before very long we shall all be modern Aladdins, and summon our Slave of the Lamp as a matter of course. But there is plenty of scope for imagination in devising the form of his appearance, notwithstanding, and Mrs. GORDON's book shows us how the Genius may be compelled to present himself in a variety of pleasing and fantastic shapes.
The Baron is of opinion that The Seal of Fate, by Lady POLLOCK and W.H. POLLOCK, is an interesting but somewhat discursive novel. Will it be followed by The Fate of the Seal, a tale of the Fishery Question?
BARON DE BOOK-WORMS & Co.
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* * * * *
UPON AFRIC'S SHORE;
OR, THE BATTLE OF THE HEROES.
(NOT BY THE AUTHOR OF "THE BATTLE OF LIMERICK.")
Ye lovers of the nation, Who burn with indignation, And England's obfuscation perpetually deplore; Ye flouters of our factions, And partisan distractions, How like ye the transactions upon Afric's shore?
Ye've all heard of the Lion Who a rival cast his eye on, (You'll find him in Bombastes) and thought the brute a bore. Such rival Leos flourish, And mutual hatred nourish, With a snapping almost currish, upon Afric's shore.
Faith their manes are always waving, And their claws for contest craving, And their forms are always rampant, and they're ever at full roar, And in book and morning paper, They still clapperclaw and caper, And they worry, snarl and vapour about Afric's shore.
There was EMIN, sage pacific, The serene and scientific, Who a wondrous reputation in a hero-patriot bore, Until "rescued" by brave STANLEY, Who declared him weak, unmanly. Oh! 'tis strange how heroes can lie about Afric's shore.
Then BARTTELOT and TROUP, JEPHSON, JAMESON—a group Who each of each "made soup"—off each other tried to score; And in many a verjuiced "vollum" STANLEY's jovial "Rear Column" Was discussed in manner solemn, anent Afric's shore.
Then the "foreign element" To it tooth and nail they went, And the Battle of the Heroes it grew livelier than before. Now that man, and now this man, Now DE BRAZZA and now WISSMANN, Made it hot for poor Old England upon Afric's shore.
Now comes PETERS! He has slanged STANLEY awfully, and banged The "Rescue" party badly. It is getting a big bore, When, with tempers hot as Indies, Heroes smash each other's windies, Pursuing of their shindies about Afric's shore.
It is doubtless "moighty fine," Being what Titmarsh called "a line," And it does Society's "sowl" good (no doubt) to hear him roar; But 'tis folly to suppose He must rush upon his foes, And hit them on the nose, upon Afric's shore.
* * * * *
EARLY CLOSING MOVEMENT.—When Mr. SMITH proposed shutting up shop early on Tuesdays and Fridays, SIR ROBERT FOWLER was all for singing, "We won't go home till morning (three times), Till daylight doth appear." But, as Falstaff asks, "What doth gravity out of bed after midnight?" No, Sir ROBERT, doughty knight, take good advice, and hie thee, armed Night-cap-a-pie, to thy couch. Don't get up till morning, Till (long after) daylight doth appear!
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE PARTY PETER BELL.
A potterer, Sir, he was by trade, A Party Potterer, much respected, And every year, when Spring appeared, The yellow blooms, to bards endeared, In swarms by PETER were collected.
He roved among the vales and streams, In the green wood and hollow dell, And, upon April's nineteenth day, Big buttonholers made display Upon the heart of PETER BELL.
In vain through each succeeding year Did Nature mourn her lessening store. A Primrose on the river's brim A Party emblem was to him, And it was nothing more!
* * * * *
DISINFECTING THE WIGS.—"L'Enfant Prodigue," which is filling the Prince of Wales's Theatre day and night, has much in it that is delightful. Perhaps there is nothing quite excels the subtle touch in the programme where it is written: "The theatre is disinfected by the Sanitas Company, Limited. The Wigs by Clarkson."
* * * * *
CURIOUS, AND "MORE ANON!"—The Evelyn v. Hurlbert trial was as full of literary interest as a sale of old books and manuscripts. Specially valuable were copies of Evelyn's Diary; while, in spite of the pressing demand, Murray's Memoirs were uncommonly scarce. Victorious Mr. HURLBERT! Yet for all his triumph, he will be, for some time, a "very much Murray'd man."
* * * * *
A SAVOY QUESTION.—The general idea of the forthcoming new Opera at the Savoy appears to be "all Dance to SOLOMON's music." Is it to be a pantomime-drama, like L'Enfant Prodigue, or simply a ballet? If neither, where do song-words and dialogue come in?
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, April 20.—The other week T.C. BARING was sitting among us, one of the Members for the City of London. Now BARING is no more, and to-night HUCKS GIBBS comes in to take his place. VICARY G. brought his father down; watched him take oath and has undertaken generally to see him through. In fact, when GIBBS pere hesitated about taking the proffered seat for the City, VICARY undertook to fill it; finally, GIBBS pere being warmly pressed, consented to sit, and VICARY stood aside. But he will come in by-and-by, when he has given his father a turn.
"Age before honesty, is my motto," said VICARY, when I complimented him upon the fine feeling he has shown throughout these negotiations. "I always think that we young fellows lose nothing by giving our elders a start. My father, you know, sometime ago wanted to change the name of our firm. Suggested it should be called SONS & ANTONY GIBBS. There's something in it; but on the whole, better leave things as they are. ANTONY GIBBS & SONS known all over the world; always embarrassing to change style of an old firm; so, for the present, at least, we leave things alone. Come along, Pater; think I'll take you home now. Never rush wildly into new engagements; you've had the excitement of being sworn in, and signing the roll of Parliament. You hadn't been in the place ten minutes before TIM HEALY gave you a chance of voting on a London City Bill, and that's enough for one night. By-and-by you shall stay all night and enjoy yourself in Committee on Irish Land Bill."
So ANTONY GIBBS AND SON went off before dinner. Didn't miss much; grinding away at Irish Land Bill; most soul-depressing experience of modern life; no heart in it; no reality; SAGE of Queen Anne's Gate brings up amendment after amendment, and makes successive speeches; SEYMOUR KEAY does ditto; SHAW-LEFEVRE adds new terror to situation by taking voluminous notes which promise illimitable succession of orations; House empty; PRINCE ARTHUR has the full length of Treasury Bench on which to lounge. Occasionally Division-bell rings; Members troop in by the hundred; follow their leaders into Lobby right or left, deciding question they haven't heard debated, and mere drift of which two-thirds don't understand.
BRER FOX absent to-night, which precludes possibility of flare-up in Irish Camp. TIM faithful to his post, but lacks inspiration of contiguity to BRER FOX.
"PARNELL's played out," said TIM, referring in course of evening to BRER FOX's reception in his latest run through Ireland. "He may ramp and roar here, but his game's up in Ireland."
"And is he resigned to the situation?" I asked.
TIM looked at me, half winking his miraculously preserved right eye.
"Did you ever hear, TOBY, what the weeping widow said to the parson, who asked, 'Was your husband resigned to die?' 'He had ter be,' she said, choking a sob."
Business done.—Very little in the Irish Land Bill.
Tuesday.—Mr. G.'s presence at Morning Sitting gave only possible fillip to interminable Debate on Land Purchase Bill. BRER FOX still away, so comparative peace reigns in Irish Camp. TIM HEALY no one to butt his head against; COLONEL NOLAN too busy deploying his army of five men; showing them how to retreat in good order when Division-bell rings, and how, when it is decided to vote, they shall pass out through one door, march in at the other, cross the floor, and look as much as possible as if they were ten instead of five. T.W. RUSSELL—"Roaring" RUSSELL, as his old colleague in Temperance fights, WILFRID LAWSON, calls him—frequently on his legs. At sound of his voice, Mr. G. gets his back up; interposes interjections and corrections; and presently, when he can stand it no longer, plunges into a speech.
Another time SAUNDERSON draws him. "I am very sorry," said Mr. G., who has been itching to speak for last half-hour, "that the hon. and gallant Gentleman has dragged me into debate by gross misstatements."
Being there, however, Mr. G. enjoys himself passably well, grinding SAUNDERSON to powder, and hewing RUSSELL to pieces before the Lord STRATHEDEN AND CAMPBELL, who are sleeping peacefully together in the Gallery. "Like the Babes in the Wood," said PLUNKET, looking up smilingly at the face in the Gallery, which looks twice as wise when asleep as the ordinary man does in full possession of his senses.
"I know," Mr. G. continued, in measured accents of polite scorn, "that the eloquence of the hon. and gallant Gentleman (meaning SAUNDERSON) is as ungovernable as I am afraid it is sometimes unprofitable. In the exercise of the understanding which the Almighty has given him, he has represented me as being a supporter of this Bill."
Words cannot convey adequate impression of the subtlety of emotion conveyed by this unwonted, perhaps unprecedented, invocation. An unmistakeable, though unspoken, indication of mingled feeling—pity for one so meagrely endowed, and marvel that, out of boundless stores, the Deity could, even in this instance, have been so chary of gifts.
Business done.—Still less in Committee on Irish Land Bill.
Thursday.—Rival shows in both Houses to-night. Lords running the Newfoundland Delegates at the Bar; in the Commons Budget on. On the whole, Commons drew the fullest House, to which JOKIM descanted for nearly three hours. If he'd taken two, the speech would have been a third less long, and three times as successful. Still the Budget comes but once a year, and CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER feels bound to make the most of opportunity. Pretty plain sailing for first two hours. Then JOKIM ran aground. It was General STAMPS that did it all. Appeared unexpectedly in long list of details setting forth Estimates for Revenue in coming year. Nobody ever heard before of the General; thought, at least, he must belong to the Army Estimates. But JOKIM would have him in, spurs and epaulettes, and all.
"General STAMPS," he said, regardless of grammar, "have fallen off." JOKIM, in his loose way, omitted to say off what; presumed to be his horse. House not sorry to hear it; had enough of the mysterious warrior. But he was up again a few minutes' later. "General STAMPS," JOKIM continued, in his airy fashion, "apart from the Death Duties, I reduce from L6,700,000 to L5,900,000."
"Better reduce him to the ranks at once," said Admiral FIELD, who is a terrible martinet.
But JOKIM took no notice of the suggestion; floundered along, bungling terribly. Committee tried to help him out; that didn't help matters much. To have a Member in one part of the House filling up an awkward pause by suggesting "dried fruit," another "coffee," a third "rum," and a fourth "probate duty," when after all, JOKIM was thinking of the Income Tax or General STAMPS, evidently not designed to advance matters.
"The Committee knows what I mean," JOKIM said, piteously, looking round out of a morass a little deeper than he'd been in lately. But that is exactly what the Committee didn't do.
"Then," said JOKIM, "you'll understand the figures when you read them in the papers to-morrow." Something in that; House mollified; still can't help thinking that if it is to wait till next morning to read report of Chancellor's Budget Speech in order to understand his statements, some preliminary time might be saved in the evening.
Business done.—Budget brought in.
Friday Night.—Missed OLD MORALITY from Treasury Bench; looked in his room; found him in arm-chair, collapsed, by fire-place, with copy of Morning Advertiser in his hand.
"What's the matter?" I asked. "Surely you've not been reading JOKIM's Budget Speech right through!" He certainly looked as if he had.
"No, TOBY," he said; "it's not that; it's the Leader. Haven't you seen what the Morning Advertiser says about me? 'For the first time in our recollection he (that's me) bears on his political escutcheon a deep smudge of dishonour': and that's all because JOKIM wouldn't take a penny off a barrel of beer, and twopence off a gallon of spirits. It's the injustice I feel most acutely. It doesn't seem fair that Mr. BUNG should try to intimidate JOKIM by abusing me."
"It is hard," I said; "but it's no use sitting moping here. Come along into House; they're in Committee on the Land Bill; an hour or two of that'll freshen you up." And it did.
Business done.—In Committee on the Irish Land Bill.
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NOTICE.—Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS., Printed Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no case be returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed Envelope, Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.