PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
APRIL 16, 1892
WRESTLING WITH WHISTLERS.
(A REMINISCENCE OF A RECENT EXHIBITION.)
SCENE—The Goupil Gallery. Groups of more or less puzzled Britons discovered, conscientiously endeavouring to do justice to the Collection, having realised that Mr. WHISTLER's work is now considered entitled to serious consideration, but feeling themselves unable to get beyond a timid tolerance. In addition to these, there are Frank Philistines who are here with a fixed intention of being funny, Matrons with a strongly domesticated taste in Art, Serious Elderly Ladies, Literal Persons, &c., &c.
A Lady (after looking at a representation of Old Battersea Bridge—in the tone of a person who feels she is making a liberal concession). Well, do you know, I must say that isn't so bad. I shouldn't so much mind having that in the room, should you?
Her Companion (dubiously). Well, I don't know. He's put a steamer in. Should you think there were steamers in—a—(vaguely)—those days?
First Lady (evidently considering Mr. WHISTLER capable of any eccentricity). Oh, I don't suppose he would mind that much.
First Literal Person (coming to the portrait of Miss ALEXANDER). Well—(plaintively)—he might have put a nicer expression on the child!
Second Do. Do. Yes—very unpleasing. (Refers to Catalogue.) Oh, I see it says—"It is simply a disagreeable presentment of a disagreeable young lady."
First Do. Do. (rejoicing that the painter has vindicated himself this time). Ah—that explains it, then. Of course if he meant it—!
A Serious Elderly Lady. There's one thing I must say I do like, my dear, and that's the way he puts down all the unfavourable criticisms on his pictures. So straightforward and honest of him, I call it.
Her Companion. Yes, but I expect he can't help seeing how right and sensible the critics are, you know. Still—(charitably)—it shows he would do better if he could!
An Advanced Nephew (who is endeavouring to convert a Philistine Uncle to the superiority of the Modern School). Now here, Uncle, look at this. Look at the way the figure looms out of the canvas, look at the learning in the simple sweep of the drapery, the drawing of it, and the masterly grace of the pose—you don't mean to tell me you don't call that a magnificent portrait?
His Uncle. Who's it of? That's what I want to know first.
Nephew (coldly). You will find it in the Catalogue, no doubt—No. 41.
Uncle (looking it up). "Arrangement in Black. La Dame au Brodequin Jaune."—the lady in a yellow something or other. Tchah! And not a word to tell you who she's supposed to be? If I pay a shilling for a Catalogue, I expect to find information in it. And let me ask you—where's the interest in looking at a portrait when you're not told who it's intended for?
[The Nephew, not being prepared to answer this difficult query, leads his relative gently up to a "Nocturne in Opal and Silver." The Uncle conveys his opinion of it by a loud and expressive snort.
First Prosaic Person (before No. 28). Valparaiso, is it? (Hopefully.) Well, come, I ought to recognise this—I've been there often enough. (Inspecting it closely.) Ha—um!
Second P.P. (with languid interest). Is it like?
First P.P. I could tell you better if he'd done it by daylight. I can't make out this in the front—looks to me like the top of a house, or something. Don't remember that.
Second P.P. I think it's meant for a jetty, landing-stage, or that sort of thing, and, when you look into it, there's something that seems intended for people—most extraordinary, isn't it?
The Domesticated Matron (who is searching for a picture with a subject to it). There, CAROLINE, it's evidently a harbour, you see, and ships, and they're letting off fireworks—probably for a regatta, Does it tell you what it is in the Catalogue?
Caroline (after consulting it). It only says, "A Nocturne in Blue and Gold"—oh yes—(reading)—"a splash and splutter of brightness, on a black ground, to depict a display of fireworks."
Her Mother (gratified at her own intelligence). I thought it must be fireworks. He seems quite fond of fireworks, doesn't he?
First Facetious Philistine. Hullo, what have we got here? "Crepuscule, in Flesh-colour and Green." Very like one, too, daresay—when you know what it is.
Second F.P. As far as I can make it out, a Crepuscule's either a Harmony inside out, or a Symphony upside down—it don't much matter.
A Lady (who is laboriously trying to catch the right spirit). "The Blue Wave at Biarritz." Now I do admire that. And what I like even better than the Blue wave is this great Brown one breaking in the foreground—so exactly like water, isn't it, DICK?
Dick (not a Whistlerite). Y—yes—just. Only it's a rock, you know.
The Lady. But if that's the way he saw it, DICK!
Dick. Here's a thing! "St. Mark's, Venice." I'll trouble you! What's he done with the flagstaffs and the bronze horses and the pigeons? I never saw the place look like that.
The Lady. Because it didn't happen to be foggy while we were there, that's all.
First Pros. Person. Ah, there's old CARLYLE, you see! Dear me, what a very badly fitting coat—see how it bulges over his chest!
Second P.P. Yes. I daresay he buttoned the wrong button—philosopher and all that sort o' thing, y'know.
First P.P. (sympathetically). Well, I do think WHISTLER might have told him of it!
IN THE SECOND ROOM.
The Matron in Search of a Subject. Ah, now, this really is more my idea of a picture. Quite a pretty cretonne those curtains, and there's a little girl reading a book, and a looking-glass with reflections and all, and a young lady in a riding-habit—just going out for a ride.
Caroline. Yes. Mother. Or just come in from one.
Her Mother. Do see what it's called. "The Morning Canter" or "Back from the Row"—something of that kind, I expect it would be.
Caroline. All it says is, "A Harmony in Green and Rose."
The Mother (disappointed). Now, why can't he give it some sensible name, instead of taking away all one's interest!
The Phil. Uncle (whom a succession of Symphonies and Harmonies has irritated to the verge of fury). Don't talk to me, Sir! Don't tell me any of these things are pictures. Look at this—a young woman in an outlandish dress sitting on the floor—on the bare floor!—in a litter of Japanese sketches! And he has the confounded impertinence to call it a "Caprice"—a "Caprice in Purple and Gold." I'd purple and gold him, Sir, if I had my way! Where's the sense in such things? What do they teach you? What story do they tell? Where's the human interest in them? Depend upon it, Sir, these things are rubbish—sheer rubbish, according to all my notions of Art, and I think you'll allow I ought to know something about it?
His Nephew (provoked beyond prudence). You certainly ought to know more than that, my dear Unc—Are you going?
The Uncle (grimly). Yes—to see my Solicitor, Sir. (To himself, savagely.) That confounded young prig will find he's paid dear enough for his precious Whistlers—if I don't have a fit in the cab!
[He goes; the Nephew wonders whether his attempt at proselytising was quite worth while.
A Seriously Elderly Lady. I've no patience with the man. Look at GUTSTAVE DORE, now. I'm sure he was a beautiful artist, if you like. Did he go and call his "Leaving the Praetorium" a "Symphony" or a "Harmony," or any nonsense of that kind? Of course not—and yet look at the difference!
An Impressionable Person (carried away by the local influence—to the Man at the wicket, blandly). Could you kindly oblige me by exchanging this "Note in Black and White" for an "Arrangement in Silver and Gold"?
[Finds himself cruelly misunderstood, and suspected of frivolity.
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The Rev. No. 354, writing from Dartmoor, requests us to inform his numerous friends in Bath and elsewhere that his health is much improved by the bracing air, and that he is occupied in revising for the press his course of Sermons to the Young on the Moral Virtues. He is also anxious to inform his creditors that his accounts are now completely in order. It is a source of great comfort to him to reflect that he was able to obtain considerable sums of money from his friends in Bath, before he was obliged to leave that city, and that, with the residue of this money, obtained so to speak from PETER, he will now have the satisfaction of paying a farthing in the pound to PAUL, in other words, to his creditors.
Mrs. BRINVILLIERS was yesterday visited by her friends. Our readers will be glad to know that she is quite well and has escaped the influenza epidemic.
Mr. ST. LEONARDS, with the consent of the Governor, takes this opportunity of thanking the friends who have so kindly condoled with him on the unavoidable interruption to his long and arduous work in the service of his country. He hopes that nothing will prevent him from displaying equal zeal in the still more arduous labour, which, also for the benefit of his country, he is now compelled to undertake for a certain period.
Miss DODGER is still unwell. The HOME SECRETARY has not yet sent instructions for a special drawing-room to be fitted up in the prison, nor has he, up till now, given any permission for Miss DODGER's afternoon receptions, and five o'clock teas. It is generally considered that the probability of his doing so, without a Special Act of Parliament, is still very remote.
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["I learn from St. Petersburg, that, last Saturday, conferences were begun between Russia and Germany on the admission of the former to the new commercial treaties."—The Times Paris Correspondent on "Russia and the Central Commercial League."]
La Belle France, the Forsaken One, loquitur:—
What do I hear? Oh, do I hear aright, Over the garden wall? My latest love, my gallant Muscovite, Is this the end, this all? My heartbeats fast, a mist obscures my sight. Support me, or I fall!
What can he mean? Whatever is she at?— Ah! well I know her game! GERMANIA is a vile coquette, a cat. Seducing my new flame With mercenary lures, and low at that! It is a cruel shame!
But six short months ago and I to him Indeed seemed all in all. A stalwart lover, though tant soit peu grim, I fancied him my thrall. And was it after all pretence, or whim? Oh, prospect, to appal!
I know my envious rivals said as much, But that I deemed their spite, Was't but my money he desired to clutch? I lent it—with delight! Were his mere venal vows? His bonds but such As SAMSON snapped at sight?
See how she purrs, false puss! She deems her dot May well out-glitter mine. And he! That slow seductive smile I know. At Cronstadt by the brine, To that dear dulcet voice, not long ago, My ears did I incline.
Ah! and those fine moustachios' conquering curl Subdued my maiden heart. For me those tendril-tips he'd twist and twirl, Looking so gay, so smart; And now he does it for another girl, And I—I stand apart.
Did I not give my heart to him—false one!— And also—well, my "stocking"? Nor after her "commercial" charms he'll run, My modest beauties mocking. Hist! I believe of me they're making fun! O Ciel! 'tis simply shocking!
Hist! I can hear her, the sly cat. How fond Her glances bold and bright! Her bag is brimming, mine's a broken bond. I dreamed not me he'd slight For such mere bagman beauty, tamely blonde, But—ah! was BLOWITZ right?
[Footnote 1: "The success of a Russian Loan is not dearly purchased by a little effusion, which, after all, commits Russia to nothing." (See Cartoon "Turning the Tables," Sept. 26, 1891.)]
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DR. VAUGHAN, of Salford, is to be the New Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster. He is a bright cheerful-looking man now, but it is to be feared that the extra toil and trouble of London may soon give his features a Care-Vaughan expression.
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THE BOUNDS OF SCIENCE.
(FRAGMENT FROM A FIN DE MONDE ROMANCE.)
The Student had read many things, but he had not yet considered the subject of Coal. He knew that it was expensive, but he had not imagined that there was so little in the world. But he at length obtained the requisite knowledge, and set to work to put things to-rights. He called upon the Secretary of a Transatlantic Ocean Steamer Company, and remonstrated with him upon the waste with which the transactions of his institution were conducted.
"You carry your passengers too rapidly," he observed.
"As how?" asked the Secretary.
"Why I am given to understand that the power generated by the coal gives each person on board your ships a rate of progression night and day of twenty-four horses."
"And, if it does—what then?"
"Why, it is too much," returned the Student. "All the coal in the world will be exhausted in something like four or five hundred years; and so, while there is yet time, I had better go somewhere where coal is a secondary consideration. What shall I do?"
And then the Secretary advised the Student to take a ticket to the Centre of Africa—and the Student followed his advice. But the day before the boat started, the Student once more appeared.
"I am afraid," said he, "I must ask you for the return of my money. I find that it will be useless for me to go to the Centre of Africa, as the Sun is about to cease giving warmth."
"Dear me!" cried the Secretary, "I was under the impression that the Sun was timed to last about one hundred millions of years?"
"It may have been in the far distant past," returned the Student, sadly, "but recent statistics fix the termination of the Sun's existence at a much nearer date. There is no doubt that the Sun will not last more than four millions of years, or five millions at longest. Now give me my money!"
And (of course) the bullion was promptly returned.
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LETTERS TO ABSTRACTIONS.
NO. XII.—TO PLAUSIBILITY.
DEAR OLD PLAU,
Hear you have been seen about again with GENIALITY. Poor GENIALITY, it may be admitted, is often something of a fool when he is by himself, but when you and he begin to hunt in couples, you are a deadly pair. I once knew a St. Bernard dog—you will perceive the analogy by-and-by—who lived on terms of friendship with a Skye terrier. By himself Rufus was a mild and inoffensive giant. He adored the house-cat, and used to help her, in a ponderous way, with the care of her numerous family. Many a time have I seen him placidly extended before a fire, while puss used his shaggy body as a sleeping box, and once he was observed to help that anxious tabby-mother with the toilet of her kittens by licking them carefully all over. At every lick of Rufus's huge prehensile tongue a kitten was lifted bodily into the air, only, however, to descend washed and unharmed to the ground. But out of doors, in the society of Flick, Rufus's whole nature seemed to change. He became a demon-exterminator of cats. Led on by his yelping little friend, he chased them fiercely to their last retreats, and, if he caught them, masticated them without mercy. Once too, on a morning that had been appointed for a big covert-shoot, I noticed this strangely assorted pair come into the breakfast-room panting and dirty. They were not usually afoot before breakfast. What could their condition mean? A flustered keeper arrived shortly afterwards and explained everything. "Them two dogs o' yourn, Sir," he said, "the big 'un and the little 'un, 'ave run all the coverts through. There's not a pheasant left in 'em. They're sailin' all over the country."
The truth was that Flick had organised the expedition with extraordinary secrecy and cunning. He had persuaded Rufus to join him, and the result was that we shot forty pheasants instead of the three hundred on which we had counted.
Now, my dear PLAU, I merely record this little story, and leave you to apply it. But I may remind you of incidents that touch you more nearly. Do you remember GORTON? Many years ago GORTON went to Oxford with a brilliant reputation. Every triumph that the University could confer was held to be within his grasp. His contemporaries looked upon him as a marvellous being, who was destined to rise to the top of whatever tree he felt disposed to climb. He was really a delightful fellow, fresh, smiling, expansive, amusing, and his friends all worshipped him. Of course he went in for the Hertford. His success was certain; it was merely a question as to who should be second. On the evening before the examination began, there was a strange commotion in GORTON's College. GORTON, who was supposed to have been reading hard, was found at about twelve o'clock in the quad in his nightgown. He was on all fours, and was engaged in eating grass and roaring out ribald snatches of Latin songs in a shrill voice. When the porter approached him he said he was a hippogriff, and that in another ten minutes he intended to fly to Iffley and back in half a second. He was carried up to bed raving horribly. On the following day he grew calmer, and in a week he was himself again. But by that time, of course, the examination was over, and DUBBIN was soon afterwards announced as the successful competitor.
Judging the past by what I know now, I cannot doubt that the madness of GORTON was what patrons of the prize-ring call a put-up job, for he never afterwards showed the smallest symptom of lunacy. He had not worked sufficiently, and knew he must fail. So he became temporarily insane, to avoid defeat and maintain his reputation for scholarship. He left Oxford without taking a degree, and owing money right and left—to tradesmen, to his friends, to his tutor. Then he disappeared for some years.
Next he suddenly cropped up again in Ireland. A small borough constituency had been suddenly declared vacant. GORTON happened to be staying in the hotel. He promptly offered himself as a candidate, and plunged with extraordinary vigour into the contest. The way that man fooled a simple-hearted Irish electorate was marvellous. They came to believe him to be a millionnaire, a king of finance, a personage at whose nod Statesmen trembled, a being who mingled with all that was highest and best in the land. He cajoled them, he flattered them, he talked them round his little finger, he rollicked with them, opened golden vistas of promise to everyone of them, smiled at their wives, defied the Lord Lieutenant, and was elected by a crushing majority over a native pork-merchant who had nothing but his straightforward honesty to commend him. Of course there was a petition, and equally of course GORTON was unseated. Then came the reckoning. GORTON had apparently intimated that two of the great London political Clubs were so warmly interested in his candidature as to have undertaken to pay all his expenses. But when application was made to these institutions, their secretaries professed a complete and chilling ignorance of GORTON, and the deputation from Ballywhacket, which had gone to London in search of gold, had to return empty-handed to their native place, after wasting a varied stock of full-flavoured Irish denunciation on the London pavements. But GORTON was undaunted. He actually published an address in which he lashed the hateful ingratitude of men who betrayed their friends with golden words, and abandoned them shamefully in the hour of defeat. But never, so he said, would he abandon the betrayed electors of Ballywhacket. Others might shuffle, and cheat and cozen, but he might be counted upon to remain firm, faithful, and incorruptible amidst the seething waves of political turpitude.
Having issued this, he vanished again, and was heard of no more for six or seven years. Then he gradually began to emerge again. He was engaged in the completion of an immense work of genealogical research, which was intended to cast an entirely new light on many obscure incidents of English history. For this he solicited encouragement—and subscriptions. He enclosed with his appeals some specimen pages, which appeared to promise marvels of industry and research. His preface was a wonderful essay, of which a HAYWARD would scarcely have been ashamed. In this way he gathered a large amount of money from historical enthusiasts with more ardour than knowledge, and from old friends who, knowing his real ability, believed that he had at last determined to justify the opinions of him which they had always held and expressed. It is unnecessary to add that not another line was written. For several years ill health was supposed to hinder him. We read piteous stories of his struggles against the agonies of neuralgia and rheumatics, some of us threw good money after bad in the effort to relieve the imaginary sufferer; but to this day the proofs of PERKIN WARBECK's absolute claim to the throne, and of JACK CADE's indubitable royal descent remain in the scheming brain of GORTON. Eventually the poor wretch did die in penury, but over that part of his story I need not linger. The irony of fate ordained that when he was actually in want he should wish to be thought in possession of a large income.
I knew a Clergyman once—at least I had every reason to believe him to be a lawfully ordained Minister of the Church of England. He was taken on as temporary Curate in a remote district. His life, while he remained there, was exemplary. He was untiring in good works; the poor adored him, the well-to-do honoured him. We all thought him a pattern of unselfish and almost primitive saintliness, and when he departed from us he went with a silver inkstand, a dining-room clock and a purse of sovereigns, subscribed for by the parish. The odour of his sanctity had scarcely evaporated before we discovered, with horror, that the man had never been ordained at all! He was an impostor, masquerading under an assumed name, but while he was with us he did good and lived a flawless life. These matters puzzle me. Perhaps you, my dear PLAU, can explain.
Yours, DIOGENES ROBINSON.
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A RATHER LARGE ORDER.—Amongst the many suggested plans for housing the collection of pictures once offered by Mr. TATE to the Nation, is a scheme for turning the Banqueting-hall at Whitehall to a useful and good account. As a thoughtful Artist has observed in this connection, "At this moment the spacious building is tied round the necks of the Members of the United Service Institution like a white elephant."
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A MONEY-LENDER said he had never been inside a Church since the day he looked in at hymn-time, and heard them singing, "With one per cent. let all the earth," and he didn't want to hear anymore.
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TRYING TO THE TEMPER.—Mrs. R. says nothing can induce her to eat cross buns, as they are sure to disagree with her.
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All who are interested in the theatrical celebrities of past times will do well to read a brief, indeed, a too brief paper, about DOROTHY JORDAN, written by FITZGERALD MOLLOY, for The English Illustrated Magazine of this month. The Baron does not remember if THACKERAY touched on the story of this talented Actress in his Lectures on "The Four Georges;" but the sad finish to the brilliant career of Mrs. JORDAN could hardly have escaped the great Satirist as being one instance, among many, illustrating the wise King's advice as to "not putting your trust in Princes;" "or," for the matter of that, and in fairness, it must be added, "in any child of man." Poor DOROTHY, or DOLLY JORDAN! but now a Queen of "Puppets," and now—thus, a mere rag-dolly. Ah, CLARENCE!—"False, fleeting, perjured CLARENCE!" as SHAKSPEARE wrote of that other Duke in Crookback'd RICHARD's time, for whom the "ifs" and "ands" of life were resolved for ever in a final "butt."
In the issue for 1891 of that most interesting yearly Annual, The Book-Worm, for which the Baron, taking it up now and again, blesses ELLIOT STOCK, of Paternoster Row, there is a brief but interesting account of The Annexed Prayer-Book, which, after some curious chances and changes, was at last ordered to be photographed page by page, without being removed from the custody of Black Rod. "By means of an elaborate system of reflecting," the process of photographing was carried on in the House of Lords. It is satisfactory to all Book-worms to know that so important a work was not undertaken without even more than the usual amount of reflection.
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
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THE HAMLET IN THE HAYMARKET.
With Mr. TREE's impersonation of Hamlet most London playgoers are by this time acquainted, though not yet familiar. It is a most interesting performance, especially to those who remember the inauguration of startling new departures by CHARLES FECHTER. The question for every fresh Hamlet must always be, "How can I differentiate my Hamlet from all previous Hamlets? What can I do that nobody has as yet thought of doing?" "To be or not to be" Hamlet, "that is the question"; whether 'tis better continuously to suffer the tortures of uncertainty as to what you might have achieved had you essayed the part, or to take up the study of it, and ceasing to shiver on the bank, leave off your damnable faces, and plunge in? Mr. TREE has plunged, and is going on swimmingly.
Mrs. TREE's Ophelia sane, is charming. Her distraught Ophelia is very mad indeed, and her method in her madness is excellent.
There is a curious monotony in some of the stage-business. Thus, Ophelia pauses in her exit and comes up quietly behind the absent-minded Prince as if to play bo-peep with him: then, later on, after his apparently brutal treatment of her, Hamlet returns, and, while he is stooping and in tears, he kisses her hair and runs away noiselessly as if this also were another part of the same game. Then again, in the Churchyard, after the scandalous brawling (brought about by the stupid ignorance of a dunderheaded ecclesiastic, to whose Bishop Laertes ought to have immediately reported him), Hamlet returns to weep and throw flowers into the grave. Now excellent "returns" are dear to the managerial heart, and consoling to his pocket, when they attest the overflowing attendance of "friends in front;" but when "returns" are on the stage, their excellence may be questioned on the score of monotony. Now, as to the Churchyard Scene, permit me to make a suggestion:—the Second Gravedigger has been commissioned by the First Gravedigger, with money down, to go to a neighbouring publican of the name of YAUGHAN, pronounced Yogan or Yawn,—probably the latter, on account either of his opening his mouth wide, or of his being a sleepy-headed fellow,—and fetch a stoop of liquor. Now, when all the turmoil is over, the remaining gravedigger would at once set to work, as in fact he does in this scene at the Haymarket; but here he just shovels a handful of mould into the grave, and then, without rhyme or reason (with both of which he has been plentifully supplied by SHAKSPEARE), suddenly away he goes, merely to allow for the "business" of Hamlet's re-entrance. But why shouldn't there be here, prior to the return of Hamlet, a re-entrance of the Second Gravedigger, as if coming back from friend YAUGHAN's with the pot of ale? The sight of this would attract First Gravedigger, and take the thirsty soul most readily from his work to discuss the refreshment in some shady nook. Then by all means let Hamlet return to pour out his grief; and on this picture ought the Curtain effectively descend.
A novel point introduced by Mr. TREE is that his Hamlet, entertaining an affectionate remembrance of the late YORICK, assumes a friendly and patronising air towards YORICK's successor, a Court Fool, apparently so youthful that he may still be supposed to be learning his business. So when His Royal Highness Hamlet has what he considers "a good thing" to say, Mr. TREE places the novice in jesting near himself, and pointedly speaks at him; as e.g., when, in reply to the King's inquiry after his health, he tells him that he "eats air promise-crammed," adding, with a sly look at the Court Fool, "you cannot feed capons so." Whereat the Fool, put into a difficult position, through his fear of offending the Prince by not laughing, or angering the King (his employer) by laughing, has to acknowledge the Prince's witticism with a deferential, but somewhat deprecatory, snigger.
Again, when Hamlet is "going to have a lark" with old Polonius—a proceeding in exquisitely bad taste by the way—Mr. TREE's Hamlet attracts the young Court Jester's attention to his forthcoming novelty. Now this time, as the repartee is about as rude a thing as any vulgar cad of an 'ARRY might have uttered, the professional Jester, who evidently does not owe his appointment to the Lord Chamberlain's favour, and is exempt from his jurisdiction, grins all over his countenance, and hops away to explain the jest to some of the courtiers, while Hamlet himself, to judge by his smiling countenance, is clearly very much pleased with his own performance in showing a Jester how the fool should be played. And this notion is consistent with the character of a Prince who takes upon himself to lecture the Actors on their own art. There is no subtler touch in SHAKSPEARE's irony than his putting these instructions to players in the mouth of a noble amateur. Of the revival, as a whole, one may truthfully say, Ca donne a penser, and, indeed, the study of Hamlet is inexhaustible.
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WITH THEIR EASTER EGGS.
The Emp-r-r of G-rm-ny.—Presentation copy of the light and leading satirical English Paper.
The Cz-r of R-ss-a.—Letter of regret from President C-RN-T.
The Pr-s-d-nt of the Fr-nch R-p-bl-c.—Secretly-obtained copy of proposed treaty for a Quadruple Alliance.
The K-ng of It-ly.—Scheme for a modus vivendi.
The P-pe.—Duplicate copy of ditto.
Ch-nc-ll-r C-pr-vi.—Permit for leave of absence.
Pr-nce V-n B-sm-rck.—A song, "The Return of the Pilot."
The M-rq-s of S-l-sb-ry.—Date of the General Election.
The Ch-nc-ll-r of the Exch-q-r.—Comments on the Budget.
F-rst L-rd of the Tr-s-ry.—New rules for the game of Golf.
Rt. Hon. W.E. Gl-dst-ne.—Set of Diaries for the next twenty years.
The P-t L-r-te.—The Order of "The Foresters."
The Oxf-rd E-ght.—The Blue Riband of the Thames.
S-r A-g-st-s Dr-r-l-n-s.—A month's well-deserved rest.
N-b-dy in P-rt-c-l-r.—A legacy of L100,000.
Ev-ryb-dy in G-n-r-l.—Rates and taxes.
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THE DYNAMITE DRAGON.
A dragon! Faugh! that foul and writhing Worm Seems scarcely worthy of the ancient term That fills old myth, and typifies the fight 'Twixt wrathful evil and the force of right. The dragons of the prime, fierce saurian things With ogre gorges and with harpy wings, Fitted their hour; the haunts that gave them birth, The semi-chaos of the early earth, The slime, the earthquake shock, the whelming flood, Made battle ground for the colossal brood. But now, when centuries of love and light Have warmed and brightened man's old home; when might Is not all sinister, nor all desire Fierce appetite, that all-devouring fire,— When life is not alone a wasting scourge, But from the swamps of soulless strife emerge Some Pisgah peaks of promise where the dove Finds footing, high the whirling gulfs above,— Now the intrusion of this loathly shape, With pestilence-breathing jaws that blackly gape For indiscriminate prey, is sure a thing To set celestial guards once more a-wing; To fire a new St. Michael or St. George With the bright death to cleave the monster's gorge, And trample out the Laidly Worm's last breath In the convulsions of reluctant death. A crawling, craven, sneaking, snaking brute; Purposeless spite, and hatred absolute, In hideous shape incarnate! Venomed Gad In Civilisation's path; malignant-mad, And blindly biting; raising an asp-neck In Beauty's foot-tracks, and prepared to wreck The ordered work of ages in a day, To raze and shatter, to abase and slay. Blind as the earthquake, headlong as the storm, Yet in such hideous subter-human form, Vulgar as venomous! Dragon indeed, And dangerous, but with no soul save greed, No aim save chaos. Bloody, yet so blind, The common enemy of humankind; Whose age-stored works and ways it yearns to blast, To smite to ruined fragments, and to cast Prone—as itself is prone—in common dust. The Beautiful, the Wise, the Strong, the Just, All fruit of labour, and all spoil of thought, All that co-operant Man hath won or wrought, All that the heart has loved, the mind has taught Through the long generations, hoarded gains Of plastic fancies, and of potent brains; Thrones, Temples, Marts, Art's alcoves, Learning's domes, Patrician palaces, and bourgeois homes. Down, down!—to glut its spleen, the paltry thing, Impotent, save to lurk, and coil, and spring, But powerful as the poison-drop, once sped, That creeps, corrupts, and leaves its victim—dead! As the asp's fang could turn to pulseless clay The Pride of Egypt, so this Worm can slay If left long covert for its crawling course. Up, up against it every virile force, And every valorous virtue! By its hiss 'Tis known hostis humani generis, Let Civilisation snatch St. Michael's sword, And slay this Dragon, of a tribe abhorred The meanest and the most malignant Worm Which can spill venom, but, attacked, will squirm, Shrink, splutter, vanish. With no noble end, All men must be its foes, blind hatred its sole friend!
* * * * *
[In his spot-barred Billiard-Match with H. COLES, PEALL made breaks of 108, 133, 64, 52, 78, 77, and 80.]
Break, break, break On thy Billiard-board, oh P.! As easy as cutting butter The business seems to thee.
"Oh, well that the spot is barred," The knowing ones glibly say, "Or we might get no chance Of a COLES' strike here to-day."
And the marvellous game goes on. Till the watchers have their fill; And one drops off, and dreams He's taken the "Red" for a pill.
Break, break, break! And there's one that will broken be; For the Pony I put on the other man Will never come back to me.
* * * * *
SUGGESTION FROM "CHILDE HAROLD" AT OLYMPIA.—"I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Size And paint," &c., &c.
* * * * *
* * * * *
ON THE FIRST GREEN CHAIR.
Reach it, attendant; wicked winter flies off: Place it with pomp for me to sit and stare Up at the sun who banquets us with cries of "Chair!"
Long have we pined in darkness most uncanny: Now to Hyde Park return its gauze of gold, Jewels of crocus and enhancements mani- -fold.
Welcome, delicious zephyr, blithe new-comer, Urging to purchase patent-leather boots, Hats of a virgin glossiness, and summer suits.
Welcome, attire of carnival-carousers, Suddenly bursting on the 'wildered view. Mine—I don't mind confessing it—are trousers new,
These that, serene in atmosphere serenest, Droop o'er a Chair, whose emerald taunts the trees— Green are the leaves, and greener than the greenest Peas!
All things must end: to-morrow may be icy: Wither too soon the joys that freshest are; End will sweet summer reveries, and my ci- gar.
Ends too that master-piece of Messrs. HYAM Bashfully hinted at in line sixteen; Green was the Chair I sat on—and now I am green!
* * * * *
"ALL'S (FAIRLY) WELL."
SCENE—The War Office. Sanctum of the COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF. H.R.H. is seated on a chair. To him enter (after being properly complimented by a couple of Grenadiers on guard over an area) INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF EVERYTHING, Field-Marshal PUNCH.
Inspector-General (sharply). Well, Sir! (COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF comes briskly to attention.) No, your Royal Highness, you can be seated. I don't want to disturb you—much! And now, how is the Easter Review getting on?
Com.-in-Chief. First-rate, Sir. Excellent, Sir! Couldn't be better, Sir!
Insp.-Gen. (dryly). I have heard those phrases before, your Royal Highness—especially "couldn't be better"—and found subsequently that things ought to have been better, very much better, Sir.
Com.-in-Chief (anxiously). But I assure you, Sir, that this time we are doing our level best. Why, Sir, fancy, we are going to have thirty thousand men under arms! Think of that, Sir—thirty thousand men!
Insp.-Gen. About the numbers of a German Brigade, or is it a Regiment?
Com.-in-Chief (with a forced laugh). Come, Sir, I see you are joking! Yes, thirty thousand men, and some of them are going down fully equipped. Why, for instance, the Artists will march the whole way to the scene of the operations with their own regimental transport! And so will the 1st London Engineers. Think of that, Sir!
Insp.-Gen. And how much have you gentlemen here had to do with that, Sir? Why, the Volunteers would have been left in a state of utter unpreparedness had not the public taken the initiative. What did the War Office and the Horse Guards do towards giving them their kit?
Com.-in-Chief. Well, it is all right now, Sir. And we are going to have a splendid time of it. The idea is that a hostile force has landed at Deal during the early hours of Monday morning, and—
Insp.-Gen. (interrupting). Yes, I have read all that in the papers. But come, tell me who is to command?
Com.-in.-Chief (rather taken aback). Well, Sir, the customary crew. I suppose BILLY SEYMOUR.
Insp. Gen. (severely). I presume, your Royal Highness, that you refer to General Lord WILLIAM SEYMOUR, who will be in command at Dover.
Com.-in-Chief (abashed). Certainly, Sir. You are a little particular to-day, Sir.
Insp. Gen. (gravely). I am always particular—very particular—when I have to deal with the Volunteers. Well, Sir, General Lord WILLIAM SEYMOUR, commands at Dover—proceed, Sir; pray proceed.
Com.-in-Chief. Then, Sir, there's General GOODENOUGH at Maidstone, and General DAWSON-SCOTT at Chatham.
Insp.-Gen. Is he a Volunteer?
Com.-in-Chief (laughing). Why no, Sir; of course not, Sir. Why he's in the Royal Engineers. Although in my Crimean days we never considered Sappers soldiers. We used to say that—
Insp.-Gen. (severely). No levity, Sir. And pray who else is to be in command?
Com.-in-Chief. Well, Sir, I shall be present myself on Saturday, and then take the March-past on Monday.
Insp.-Gen. Yes; but how about the Volunteers? What about them? Why don't you let the officers command their own men?
Com.-in-Chief. Why, Sir, you see in time of war—
Insp.-Gen. (interrupting). You would find Volunteer officers as capable as any others. Your Royal Highness has no doubt studied the lessons taught by the war between the Northerners and the Southerners in America?
Com.-in-Chief. I have glanced at the subject, Sir, at the Royal United Service Institute. And may I venture to hope that you are satisfied, Sir?
Insp.-Gen. (after a pause). Well, yes, I think you are doing better. But, in future, give a share of the command to Volunteers pur et simple. And now just jot down what I have further to say to you.
[Scene closes in upon the COM.-IN-CHIEF taking notes.
* * * * *
CONNECTED WITH THE PRESS.
At a recent meeting of the Institute of Journalists, it was proposed that future candidates for membership should undergo an examination to test their qualifications before election. Should the proposal be adopted, no doubt some such paper as the following will be set to those desirous of obtaining the right of adding "M.I.J." to their names.
1. Would you as a Reporter venture to use such expressions as "devouring element" or "destructive fluid" in sending in "flimsy" to a London Daily Paper? State when you would consider yourself entitled to describe yourself "a Special."
2. What are the rights of a Journalist at a free luncheon? If an Editor finds himself present, should he return thanks for the Press himself, or leave that duty in the hands of a bumptious Reporter.
3. Write an essay upon the Law of Libel, and say when a paper, (1) should apologise, (2) fight it out, and, (3) settle it out of Court.
4. Define the difference between a "comment of public importance" and a "puffing advertisement."
5. What is "log-rolling?" Give examples to illustrate the meaning of the word.
6. Show, concisely, why the World could not revolve without the Press, and why the Press would cease to be without your own personal assistance.
* * * * *
UPON JULIA'S COAT.
Whenas my JULIA wears a sack, That hides the outline of her back, I cry, in sore distress, "Alack!" She showed a dainty waist when dressed In jacket; true, the size confessed That whalebone had its shape compressed. Still was her form sweet as her face, But now what change has taken place! This "sack coat" hides all maiden grace. Although men's clothes are always vile, The coat, the trousers and the "tile"! Some sense still lingers in each style. But women's garments should be fair, All graceful, gay and debonair. And if they lack good sense, why care? O JULIA, cease to wear a sack, A garb all artists should attack, In which both sense and beauty lack!
* * * * *
DRINKS AND DRAMAS.
("HENRY THE EIGHTH is a Soda-water Play."—Mr. Irving's Evidence before the Committee.)
Mr. Irving has now completed his list of refreshments suited to performances. They can be obtained, like Mr. GOSCHEN's reserve of shillings, "on application," which does not mean gratis.
Macbeth.—Very fine old Scotch.
Romeo and Juliet.—Rum and Milk.
Merchant of Venice.—Port(1 A.).
Charles the First.—Bottled Ale (with a fine head).
Much Ado About Nothing.—Benedictine.
* * * * *
A BERLIN CITIZEN'S DIARY.
(TRANSLATED BY OUR FIRST STANDARD BOARD SCHOLAR.)
["It is stated that the soldier who, on Friday last, fired at and killed a man who threatened him while on sentry duty before the barracks in the Wrangel-strasse, Berlin, has been promoted to the rank of corporal, for what is described as his correct conduct on the occasion. The passerby, who was wounded at the same time, still lies in a precarious condition."—St. James's Gazette, April 6.]
April 1.—I go walking near barracks; see man looking quietly at building. Suddenly fires the sentry with his long distance rifle, so that the straight onward through the harmless onlooker's heart and through my never sufficiently to be regretted right arm passing bullet in the remote distance a child kills. Long live our good Emperor and his glorious army! Carried home insensible.
June 1.—At last am I from arm-amputation recovered and walk again out. The sentry was for his on the first April quite courageous act to be Sergeant promoted. Here comes a Sergeant! He is it! Look curiously at him whereupon he me in the leg shoots. Long live our Emperor! Again carried home.
Sept. 1.—Again out, in invalid chair, meet same man, now Lieutenant. I murmur sadly, "Ah, my friend, I gave you a leg-up indeed!" Then he, saying that I him insulted have, my remaining arm with his sword off cuts. I respect our Emperor, but I love not his soldiers now. Must hire an amanuensis.
January 1.—After my long illness go I once again, Unter den Linden, in my invalid chair—that is to say, what is left of me. My enemy is now a Colonel. Shall I him again see? Heaven forbid! Alas, he comes even now, with those weapons which so rapidly him increase, and me diminish! I say nothing, but he, seeing me, with his sword my last limb off cuts. I love not even our Emperor now.
May 1.—To-day is the Socialists' Day, and I can once more out-dragged be. I am now a without legs or arms Socialist. My enemy can be promoted now only by my body. He has become a General and Count—(Here the Diary ends abruptly.)
"Berlin, May 2.—Yesterday an unfortunate Gentleman, without arms or legs, when passing the Royal Palace in his invalid chair, was attacked by a distinguished officer, who ran his sword through the heart of the unoffending civilian. The assassin was immediately promoted, as is usual in such cases, and is now Field Marshal Prince BLUTUNDRUHM VON SCHLACHTHAUSEN."—London Daily Papers.
* * * * *
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, April 4.—ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS has adde a new terror to Parliamentary life. It is bad enough to have him unexpectedly rising from a customary seat; usually finds a place on top Bench below Gangway, whence, in days that are no more, NEWDEGATE used to lament fresh evidences of Papal ascendancy. House grown accustomed to hearing the familiar voice from this accustomed spot. To-night, conversation on question of Privilege been going forward for some time. Seemed about to reach conclusion, when suddenly, far below the Gangway in Irish quarter, ominous sound broke on startled ear.
At first all eyes turned to NEWDEGATE's old quarters; but the voice evidently did not proceed thence. Following the sound, Members came upon ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS breaking out in a fresh place. Otherwise, all the same; the flat-toned voice, the imperturbable manner that awaits cessation of storm of obloquy, and then completes interrupted sentence; the conviction that somebody (generally the Government) is acting dishonestly, and needs a watchful eye kept upon him; the information conveyed that the Eye is now turned on—all were there, each identified ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS. Up again and again during preliminary discussion, always shouted at, and ever quietly waiting till noise has subsided, when he finishes the interrupted sentence, and begins another.
Business done.—In Committee on Small Holdings.
Tuesday.—Happy circumstance in the history of all Administrations that there is never lacking a friend on their own side to keep them on the right path. RADCLIFFE COOKE suddenly developed tendency towards personally conducting the Government. Hitherto appeared as a docile follower. New state of affairs arose in connection with Breach of Privilege by Cambrian Railway Directors. HICKS-BEACH last night gave notice to take into consideration Special Report of Select Committee charging Directors with Breach of Privilege. BEACH proposed to wait awhile till "the other side" had got up a case or two, to show that if Masters were prone to punish their Servants for giving inconvenient evidence on question of Hours of Labour, the Servants were no better when they had power to inflict
on each other similar punishment. BEACH made his proposal in matter-of-fact way, anticipating general concurrence. But CHANNING objected; GEORGE TREVELYAN did not approve the suggestion; while the SQUIRE OF MALWOOD eagerly seized BEACH's maladroit phrase about "the other side," and made great play with it. Probably BEACH might have disregarded this action from Opposition Benches; but different when RADCLIFFE COOKE rose from Bench immediately behind Ministers, and in severely judicial manner criticised proposed action of President of Board of Trade. BEACH said nothing at moment; after some hours' reflection, announced withdrawal of original proposition and intention of proceeding with indictment of Cambrian Directors without waiting for case of "the other side."
To-day he moved that on Thursday the accused should appear at Bar of House. This on point of being agreed to when COOKE again appeared on scene; with increased impressiveness of manner argued against BEACH's proposal. Prince ARTHUR began to look uneasy; no knowing where this sort of thing would end if it spread. What with SEXTON on one side correcting grammar of Ministerial Resolutions, and RADCLIFFE COOKE on the other amending their procedure, it really seemed time to go to the country. Something like condition of paralysis stealing over Treasury Bench when SPEAKER came to assistance of Ministers, and benignly but effectively pointed out to COOKE that he was one too many, was in fact spoiling the broth. COOKE tried to argue the matter out, but SPEAKER peremptory and Ministers saved from fresh rebuff.
"It's all very well for them arguing round the subject like that," said MACLURE, nervously mopping his forehead. "But it's a very different thing with me, at my age and fighting weight. An Insurance Broker, Director of various Railway and other Companies, formerly Major of the 40th Lancashire Volunteers, a Trustee for three Church livings, and father of a large family, to be brought up on a Breach of Privilege is no slight matter. Indignity is aggravated by the locality. 'The Bar' is the last place in the world where the friends of JOHN WILLIAM MACLURE would think it likely to find him."
Business done.—In Committee on Small Holdings.
Thursday Night.—After all, MACLURE didn't have to stand at the Bar to-night, so his feelings were saved a peculiarly painful wrench. But the Chairman of Cambrian Railway held a special meeting at Bar. It was attended by Mr. BAILEY HAWKINS, and Mr. JOHN CONACHER, Manager of the Company. The SERGEANT-AT-ARMS also looked in, bringing the Mace with him.
"Now if they were really going to have anything at the Bar," said MACLURE, looking wistfully on, "a drop of mulled port or anything like that, Mace would come in handy. Suppose ERSKINE would dip it in the jorum and stir the liquor round."
So MACLURE joked, and so, as JULIUS 'ANNIBAL, naturally well-posted up in this epoch of history, reminds me, NERO fiddled whilst Rome burned. Fact is, MACLURE in terrible funk; mental condition shared by his Chairman, Co-director, and the Manager. The latter, resolved to sell his life dearly, brought in his umbrella, which gave him a quite casual hope-I-don't-intrude appearance as he stood at the Bar.
Members at first disposed to regard whole matter as a joke. Cheered MACLURE when he came in at a half trot; laughed when, the Bar pulled out, difficulty arose about making both ends meet.
"That's the Chancellor of the Exchequer's duty," said WILFRID LAWSON; "GOSCHEN ought to go and lend a hand."
Bursts of laughter and buzz of conversation in all parts of the House; general aspect more like appearance at theatre on Boxing Night when audience waits for curtain to rise on new pantomime. Only the SPEAKER grave, even solemn; his voice occasionally rising above merry din with stern cry of "Order! order!"
"Of course, now they're at the Bar they can order what they please," said TANNER. Well the SPEAKER didn't hear him. Later, on eve of final division, he offered another remark in louder tone. SPEAKER thundered down upon him like a tornado, and TANNER quiet for rest of sitting.
HICKS-BEACH's speech gave new and more serious turn to affairs. Concluded with Motion declaring Directors guilty of Breach of Privilege and sentencing them to admonition. But speech itself clearly made out that Directors were blameless; all the bother lying at door of Railway Servant who had been dismissed. Speech, in short, turned its back on Resolution. This riled the Radicals; not to be soothed even by Mr. G. interposing in favourite character as GRAND OLD PACIFICATOR. Storm raged all night; division after division taken; finally, long past midnight, Directors again brought up to the Bar, the worn, almost shrivelled, appearance of CONACHER's umbrella testifying to the mental suffering undergone during the seven hours that had passed since last they stood there.
SPEAKER, with awful mien and in terrible tones, "admonished" them; and so to bed.
Business done.—Cambrian Directors admonished for Breach of Privilege.
Tuesday, April 12.—House adjourns to-day for Easter Holidays; good many adjourned after Friday's Sitting; some waited to hear JOKIM bringing in his Budget last night. Few left to-day to wind up the business. HUGHES, gallant Colonel who represents Woolwich, here a few minutes ago. But he's gone too. "Sometimes," he said, with a far-away smile, "they call me 'the Woolwich Infant.' If I am such a very big gun, perhaps the best thing I can do is to go off."
I follow his example.
Business done.—Adjourned for Easter Holidays.
* * * * *
THE LEGEND OF THE MUTTON BONE.
(BY OUR NEWLY-MARRIED POETESS.)
When the world is full of flowers and of butterflies at play, I could sit beneath the roses eating chocolates all day; But my heart is very heavy as I ponder with dismay On the Mutton Bone a-lying in the Larder!
For GEORGE has squandered sixpence on a telegram from town, To say that he has come across "that dear old chappie—BROWNE," And to dine with us this evening he means to bring him down— And the Mutton Bone is lying in the Larder!
I have just been down to see it, and my courage sinks a-new, Though Cook has kindly promised me her very best to do— Which means that she'll convert into an appetising stew The Mutton Bone a-lying in the Larder.
But I suddenly remember, with a blush of rosy pink, That Cook—alas! is given to the frequent use of drink, And if she once gets muddled up—perhaps she'll never think Of the Mutton Bone a-lying in the Larder!
* * * * *
As the western sun is gilding all the heather of the moor, Down the basement stairs I'm creeping—till a widely open door Shows me Cook in heavy slumber on her cherished kitchen floor— And the Mutton Bone is lying in the Larder!
O GEORGE, there'll be no dinner, dear, for you and BROWNE to-day! I picture to myself the pretty words that you will say— And I seize my guinea bonnet—and I wander far away From the Mutton Bone a-lying in the Larder!
* * * * *
MOTTO FOR A SOAP CO.—"Nothing like Lather."
* * * * *
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.