PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
June 18, 1892
THE COURIER OF THE HAGUE.
(BY THE "VACUUS VIATOR.")
He is an elderly amiable little Dutchman in a soft felt hat; his name is BOSCH, and he is taking me about. Why I engaged him I don't quite know—unless from a general sense of helplessness in Holland, and a craving for any kind of companionship. Now I have got him, I feel rather more helpless than ever—a sort of composite of Sandford and Merton, with a didactic, but frequently incomprehensible Dutch Barlow. My Sandford half would like to exhibit an intelligent curiosity, but is generally suppressed by Merton, who has a morbid horror of useful information. Not that BOSCH is remarkably erudite, but nevertheless he contrives to reduce me to a state of imbecility, which I catch myself noting with a pained surprise. There is a statue in the Plein, and the Sandford element in me finds a satisfaction in recognising it aloud as WILLIAM the Silent. It is—but, as my Merton part thinks, a fellow would be a fool if he didn't recognise WILLIAM after a few hours in Holland—his images, in one form or another, are tolerably numerous. Still, BOSCH is gratified. "Yass, dot is ole VOLLIAM," he says, approvingly, as to a precocious infant just beginning to take notice. "Lokeer," he says, "you see dot Apoteek?" He indicates a chemist's shop opposite, with nothing remarkable about it externally, except a Turk's head with his tongue out over the door. "Yes, I, speaking for Sandford and Merton, see it—has it some historical interest—did VOLLIAM get medicine there, or what?" "Woll, dis mornin dare vas two sairvans dere, and de von cot two blaces out of de odder's haid, and afderwarts he go opstairs and vas hang himself mit a pedbost," BOSCH evidently rather proud of this as illustrating the liveliness of The Hague. "Was he mad?" "Yass, he vas mard, mit a vife and seeks childrens." "No, but was he out of his senses?" "I tink it vas oud of Omsterdam he vas com," says BOSCH. "But how did it happen?" "Wol-sare, de broprietor vas die, and leaf de successor de pusiness, and he dells him in von mons he will go, begause he nod egsamin to be a Chimigal—so he do it, and dey dake him to de hosbital, and I tink he vas die too by now!" adds BOSCH, cheerfully. Very sad affair evidently—but a little complicated. Sandford would like to get to the bottom of it, but Merton convinced there is no bottom. So, between us, subject allowed to drop. Sandford (now in the ascendant again) notices, as the clever boy, inscription on house-front, "Hier woonden GROEN VAN PRINSTERER, 1838-76." "I suppose that means VAN PRINSTERER lived here, BOSCH?" "Yass, dot vas it." "And who was he?" "He vas—wol, he vos a Member of de Barliaments." "Was he celebrated?" "Celebrated? oh, yass!" "What did he do?" (I think Merton gets this in.) "Do?" says BOSCH, quite indignantly, "he nefer do nodings!" BOSCH takes me into the Fishmarket, when he directs my attention to a couple of very sooty live storks, who are pecking about at the refuse. "Dose birts are shtorks; hier dey vas oblige to keep alvays two shtorks for de arms of de Haag. Ven de yong shtorks porn, de old vons vas kill." Sandford shocked—Merton sceptical. "Keel dem? Oh, yass, do anytings mit dem ven dey vas old," says BOSCH, and adds:—"Ve haf de breference mit de shtorks, eh?" What is he driving at? "Yass—ven ve vas old, ve vas nod kill." This reminds BOSCH—Barlow-like—of an anecdote. "Dere vas a vrent to me," he begins, "he com and say to me, 'BOSCH, I am god so shtout and my bark is so dick, I can go no more on my lacks—vat vas I do?' To him I say, 'Wol, I dell you vat I do mit you—I dake you at de booshair to be cot op; I tink you vas make vary goot shdeak-meat!'" Wonder whether this is a typical sample of BOSCH's badinage. "What did he say to that, BOSCH?" "Oh, he vas vair moch loff, a-course!" says BOSCH, with the natural complacency of a successful humorist.
We go into the Old Prison, and see some horrible implements of torture, which seem to exhilarate BOSCH. "Lokeer!" he says, "Dis vas a pinition" (BOSCH for "punishment") "mit a can. Dey lie de man down and vasten his foots, and efery dime he was shdrook mit de can, he jomp op and hit his vorehaid.... Hier dey lie down de beoples on de back, and pull dis shdring queeck, and all dese tings go roundt, and preak deir bones. Ven de pinition vas feenish you vas det." He shows where the Water-torture was practised. "Nottice 'ow de vater vas vork a 'ole in de tile," he chuckles. "I tink de tile vas vary hardt det, eh?" Then he points out a pole with a spiked prong. "Tief-catcher—put'em in de tief's nack—and ged 'im!" Before a grim-looking cauldron he halts appreciatively. "You know vat dat vas for?" he says. "Dat vas for de blode-foots; put 'em in dere, yass, and light de vire onderneat." No idea what "blode-foots" may be, but from the relish in BOSCH's tone, evidently something very unpleasant, so don't press him for explanations. We go upstairs, and see some dark and very mouldy dungeons, which BOSCH is most anxious that I should enter. Make him go in first, for the surroundings seem to have excited his sense of the humorous to such a degree, that he might be unable to resist locking me in, and leaving me, if I gave him a chance.
Outside at last, thank goodness! The Groote Kerk, according to BOSCH, "is not vort de see," so we don't see it. Sandford has a sneaking impression that I ought to go in, but Merton glad to be let off. We go to see the pictures at the Mauritshuis instead. BOSCH exchanges greetings with the attendants in Dutch. "Got another of 'em in tow, you see—and collar-work, I can tell you!" would be a free translation, I suspect, of his remarks. Must say that, in a Picture-gallery, BOSCH is a superfluous luxury. He does take my ignorance just a trifle too much for granted. He might give me credit for knowing the story of ADAM and EVE, at all events! "De Sairpan gif EVA de opple, an' EVA she gif him to ADAM," BOSCH carefully informs me, before a "Paradise," by RUBENS and BRUEGHEL. This rouses my Merton half to inquire what ADAM did with it. "Oh, he ead him too!" says BOSCH in perfect good faith. I do wish, too, he wouldn't lead me up to PAUL POTTER's "Bull," and ask me enthusiastically if it isn't "real meat." I shouldn't mind it so much if there were not several English people about, without couriers—but there are. My only revenge is (as Merton) to carefully pick out the unsigned canvases and ask BOSCH who painted them; whereupon, BOSCH endeavours furtively to make out the label on the frames, and then informs me in desperation, "it was 'School.'—yass, he baint him!" BOSCH kindly explains the subject of every picture in detail. He tells me a DROOCHSLOOT represents a "balsham pedder." I suppose I look bewildered, for he adds—"oppen air tance mit a village." "Hier dey vas haf a tispute; dis man say de ham vas more value as de cheese—dere is de cheese, and dere is the ham." "Hier is an old man dot marry a yong vife, and two tevils com in, and de old man he ron avay." "Hier he dress him in voman, and de vife is vrighten." "Hier is JAN STEEN himself as a medicine, and he veel de yong voman's polse and say dere is nodings de madder, and de modder ask him to trink a glass of vine." "Hier is de beach at Skavening—now dey puild houses on de dunes—bot de beach is schdill dere." Such are BOSCH's valuable and instructive comments, to which, as representing Sandford and Merton, I listen with depressed docility. All the same, can't help coming to the conclusion that Art is not BOSCH's strong point. Shall come here again—alone. We go on to the Municipal Museum, where he shows me what he considers the treasures of the collection—a glass goblet, engraved "mit dails of tobaggo bipes," and the pipes themselves; a painting of a rose "mit ade beople's faces in de leafs;" and a drawing of "two pirts mit only von foots."
Outside again. BOSCH shows me a house. "Lokeer. In dot house leef an oldt lady all mit herself and ade sairvans. She com from Friesland, yassir." Really, I think BOSCH is going to be interesting—at last. There is a sly twinkle in his eye, denoting some story of a scandalous but infinitely humorous nature. "Well, BOSCH, go on—what about the old lady?" I ask, eagerly, as Merton. "Wol, Sir," says BOSCH, "she nefer go noveres." ... That's all! "A devilish interesting story, Sumph, indeed!" to quote Mr. Wagg.
But, as BOSCH frequently reminds me, "It vas pedder, you see, as a schendlemans like you go apout mit me; I dell you tings dot vas nod in de guide-books." Which I am not in a position to deny.
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BY ONE OF THE UNEMPLOYED.—"It is a curious fact," wrote the Recording Angel, a very superior sort of person to "the Printer's Devil," on the Daily Telegraph, "that in Greater London last week the births registered were just one more than twice the number of deaths. Thus grows the population in this great Babylon." Very appropriate, in this instance, is the title of "Great Baby-lon." If you put it down an "e," my Lord, and spell it "berths," then these are by no means in proportion to the unemployed youth in search of them.
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There was a sound of revelry by day, And England's Capital had gathered then, Her Beauty and her Masherdom, and gay Spring's sun shone o'er smart women and swell men; A thousand shops shone showily; and when MAY came to Mayfair, FLORA to Pall-Mall, Shrewd eyes winked hope to eyes which winked again, And maids heard sounds as of the marriage-bell. But hush! hark! a harsh sound strikes like a sudden knell!
Did ye not hear it? Is it howling wind? The tram-car rattling o'er the stony street? The groans of M.P.'s wearily confined To the dull House when night and morning meet, Dragged to Divisions drear with dawdling feet?
No, hark! that heavy sound breaks in once more, The street, the hall its echoes now repeat, And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before! Arm! Arm! it is—it is—the Elections' opening roar!
'Tis in our midst—that figure draped and dim, Whose mocking music makes us all afraid. "Death as the Foe!" Can it indeed be Him? Duller, more dirge-like tune was never played On strings more spirit-chilling. Feet are stayed Though in mid-waltz, and laughter, though at height, Hushes, and maidens modishly arrayed For matrimonial conquest, shrink with fright; And Fashion palsied sits, and Shopdom takes to flight.
Ah! then and there are hurryings to and fro And gathering tears, and poutings of distress, And cheeks all pale, which some short hours ago Glowed with the deep delights of Dance and Dress; And there are sudden partings, such as press The hope from Spoons of promise, meaning sighs Which ne'er may be repeated; who can guess If ever more shall meet those mutual eyes, When Dissolution snaps the Season's tenderest ties?
And there is scuttling in hot haste: the steed, The Coaching Meet, the Opera's latest star, The Row, the River, the Vitellian feed,— All the munitions of the Social War, Seem fruitless now, when peal on peal afar And near, the beat of the great Party Drum Rouses M.P.'s to platform joust and jar, While tongue-tied dullards scarcely dare be dumb, When the Whips whisper "Go!" Wirepullers clamour "Come!"
"Too bad! Too bad!" The Influenza chilled, Court-mourning marred, the Season's earliest prime, And now, just as with hope young breasts are filled, When young leaves still are verdant on the lime, When diners-out are having a good time, When Epsom's o'er and Ascot is at hand; To cut all short, is scarcely less than crime. Confusion on that wrangling party-band Whose Dissolution deals the doldrums round the land!
Ah! wild and high those Phantom-fiddlings rise!— All jocund June with palsying terror thrills; Fashion sits frozen dead with staring eyes. How that dread dirge the ambient Summer fills Savage and shrill! Smart frocks, soft snowy frills, Long trains which dancing Beauty deftly steers. Through waltzes wild or devious quadrilles,— All vanish; bosoms white, beset with fears; Beat flight as that fell strain falls harsh on Beauty's ears.
And June yet waves above them her green leaves, Dewy with Springtide's night-drops as they pass Grieving,—if aught that's modish ever grieves,— Over the unreturning chance. Alas! Their hopes are all cut down ere falls the grass. That with corn-harvest might have seen full blow. See how foiled Shopdom flies, a huddled mass Of disappointment, hurrying from the foe, Who all their Season's prospects shatters, and lays low.
Last month beheld them full of lusty life. Beauty, and Wealth, and Pleasure, proudly gay; This music brings the signal-sound of strife, This month the marshalling to arms. Away! Party's magnificently sham array The muster of Mode's mob will soon have rent. Play on, O Phantom, ominously play! Death as the Foe! They fly before thee, blent, Maid, Matron, Masher, Mime, in general discontent!
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DEBT.—"SIMPLE SIMON" writes: "A man owes me money which he cannot pay. He lives in furnished lodgings, and has given me a Bill of Sale on the furniture. Is this sufficient security? He also offers to insure his life for L200 if I will advance him L100, which will be the cost of the first premium, which he says is always heavy. I am disposed to close with this offer. Am I prudent?"—Prudent is hardly the word to describe you. We should not in your position make the advance mentioned. A retreat would be much better tactics. We fancy, from your description, that your friend would do well as a Company Promoter.
STOCK-DEALING TRANSACTIONS.—"Will you advise me under the following circumstances?" asks "CHEERFUL SOUL," on a post-card. "I placed L50 with an Outside Broker as a speculation for the rise in Cashville and Toothpeka First Preference. Yesterday I received a note to say I had lost my money, as 'cover had run off.' On repairing to the Broker's Office, I was surprised to find it apparently deserted. What is my remedy?"—We should imagine that the Broker had "run off" too. Your remedy is—not to speculate again. "Flutters" lead to the Gutters.
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THE WAY THEY HAVE IN THE ARMY.
(A CONVERSATION—PURELY IMAGINARY.)
SCENE—Pall Mall. Present, SECRETARY OF STATE and Military Adviser.
Mil. A. I want to know your ideas about the Autumn Manoeuvres. Are we to have any this year?
Sec. of S. (with a melancholy smile). That depends upon circumstances not entirely under my control.
Mil. A. Oh, yes; I know. But Governments may come and Governments may go, but the State flows on for ever. Whatever you commence they will have to carry out.
Sec. of S. Can we have these Manoeuvres without expense?
Mil. A. Well, scarcely. For instance, there is the ammunition.
Sec. of S. Oh, we can get over that! Every soldier, when he is supposed to fire, can say, "Bang!" or words to that effect. We might add the direction to the new Provisional Drill-Book.
Mil. A. (drily). Yes, you might; and it would prove about as useful as the other regulations in that remarkable volume! Well, suppose the difficulty of ammunition surmounted, what next?
Sec. of S. Well, I suppose we shall have to spend some money on the farmers for rights of way and the rest of it?
Mil. A. I suppose so, if you want the troops to move over an unfamiliar country.
Sec. of S. But I am not sure I do. Why shouldn't they learn how to defend Aldershot? Then it would cost nothing. What next?
Mil. A. Well, there will be the Commissariat expenses.
Sec. of S. Suppose food costs the same in most places. Besides, isn't TOMMY ATKINS supposed to purchase his own victuals?
Mil. A. Yes, theoretically I suppose he is; but practically he—
Sec. of S. Oh, bother practice! Of course he must, somehow; he must pay for the Commissariat out of his own pocket.
Mil. A. Well, then there is the question of transport. Of course, many regiments have their own waggons and carts, but for a special occasion I think it would be advisable if—
Sec. of S. (interrupting). What nonsense! Why, of course we will make them all walk. It will do them a world of good!
Mil. A. Well, as we want to bring some from Scotland, it will distinctly be a long walk—a very long walk indeed!
Sec. of S. (heartily). So much the better—so much the better!
Mil. A. (sarcastically). I fancy you will have to pay a large bill in shoe-leather!
Sec. of S. (aghast). So we shall! Oh, bother the Manoeuvres just now! The fact is, I have to think of other things!
[Scene closes in upon Secretary thinking of other things.
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STUDIES IN THE NEW POETRY.
MR. PUNCH's first example of the New Poetry was, it may be remembered, in the rhymed, irregular style. It is not a difficult style. The lines may be long or short; some may groan under an accumulation of words, while others consist of merely two or three—a most unfair distribution. The style of the following specimen, (also by Mr. H-NL-Y) is, however, even easier to manage. There are no rhymes and very few restrictions. The lines are very short, and a few words, therefore, go a very long way, which is always a consideration, even if you don't happen to be paid by the column. This style is very fierce and bloodthirsty and terrible. Timid people are, therefore, advised, for the sake of their nerves, not to read any farther.
THE SONG OF THE POKER.
The Poker, Clanging. I am the Poker the straight and the strong, Prone in the fire grate, Black at the nether end, Knobby and nebulous.
Fashioned for fight In the Pit Acherontic: Many have grappled me, Poised me and thrust me Into the glowing, The flashing and furious Heart of the fire. Raked with me, prized with me, Till on a sudden Besparked and encircled With Welsh or with Wallsend, Shattering, battering They drew me away. Others in rivalry, Thinking to better The previous performance, Seized me again; Pushed with a leverage Hard on the haft of me, Till with the shocks Sank the red fire, Shivered and sank Subdued into blackness. That is my Toil; I am the Poker.
Oh, and the burglar's head Often hath felt me, Hard, undesirable Cracker of craniums. I have drunk of the blood, The red blood, the life-blood Of the wife of the drunkard. Hoh! then, the glory. The joyous, ineffable Cup of fulfilment, When the policeman, Tall with a bull's-eye, Took me and shook me, Produced me in evidence, There in the dim Unappeasable grisliness Of the Police-Court. Women to shrink at me, Men to be cursed with me, Bloodstained, contemptuous, Laid on the table. I am the Minister, Azrael's Minister. I am the Poker.
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Wednesday.—Great German Night. Third Part of the Festival Play for Four Nights by RICHARD WAGNER, with (thank goodness just to lighten it) an English translation by the Messrs. CORDER.
"Sursum Corder!" A light and airy work as everyone knows is Der Ring des Nibelungen, or The Nibelung's Ring, requiring all the power of lungs to get the true ring out of the work. Hard work for singers, more so for orchestra, and most so for audience. As for the "Ring," there are a lot of animals in the Opera, but no horse, so the Circus entertainment is not complete until Bruennhilde shall appear in the next part of the tetralogy, with her highly-trained steed. Odd! Throughout two long (and, ahem! somewhat weary, eh?) Acts, not a female singer visible on stage (though one sings "like a bird" off it,—that is, quite appropriately, "at the wings"), and not until the Third Act, does Erda the witch "rise from below," and we all saw her and 'Erd 'er. Then, later on, appears Bruennhilde, asleep, "in a complete suit of gleaming plate-armour, with helmet on her head and long shield over her body," a style of free-and-easy costume which, as everyone knows, is highly conducive to sleeping in perfect comfort. No wonder Siegfried mistakes her for a man-in-armour out of the Lord Mayor's Show, and exclaims,
"Ha, a Warrior, sure! I scan with wonder his form!"
(I was scanning with wonder the verses,—but passons!)—he continues:—
"His haughty head Is pressed by the helm!"
This at first sight looks nautical; and therefore his next question is, "Can I speak to the man at the wheel?" He decides that, as the sleeping warrior "heaveth his breast," and "is heavily breathing," it will be a humane act to give him a little air,—[which is done in the orchestra whatever air there is],—and then Siegfried asks himself if it won't be as well, or "better, to open his byrnie?" Those among the audience who have been carefully reading the translation up to this point, here look up and closely watch Siegfried's proceedings, being evidently uncertain as to what "his byrnie" may be. Some clever person in Stalls observes that up to now, he has always thought that "'byrnie' was the affectionate diminutive for a mountain 'byrne' in Scotland." Which clever person had evidently much to learn. However the effect of the operation for "byrnie" (which ought to have been performed by Dr. BYRNIE YEO, ever ready to rescue a fellow-creature in distress) is to show that the supposed Knight is a Lady. Whereupon Siegfried with "surprise and astonishment starts back" exclaiming:—
"This is no man! Burning enchantment"—he meant "Byrnieing"—"charges my heart;"—(what charge does a heart make in these circumstances?)—"fiery awe falls on my eyesight;" (bad symptoms these!)—"My senses stagger and sway,"—So he swaggers and stays.
It is some time before he can pull himself together, and then the "Bewitched Maiden" awakes and addresses him bewitchingly. This causes him to be taken with a fit of "exalted rapture," while the lady, on her part, cannot help being "deeply stirred."
After a mad wooing, she laughs in a "wild transport of passion," calls him a "high-minded boy," likewise "a blossoming hero," also "a babe of prowess;" all which epithets, styles and titles, are in quite the vein of Falstaff addressing Prince Hal. Then, in return, Siegfried can hit on no better compliment than to style her "a Sun" and "a Star." Having thus exhausted their joint-stock of complimentary endearments, they throw themselves into each other's arms. On which situation the Curtain discreetly falls.
All very fine and large, of course. Orchestra splendid. Siegfried and Bruennhilde recalled four times. Everybody, including Mr. MAHLER the Conductor, and Sir AUGUSTUS WAGNERENSIS, called before Curtain. Madame ROSA SUCHER had her evening all to herself, to go wherever she liked, as she had only to drop in at the Opera at 11 P.M., don her armour in which to appear before the public at midnight, sing a few solos, join in a duet, and be off the stage again by 12:30 A.M. punctually.
The English translation will repay perusal. There are in it some really choice morsels. This subject must be considered at the earliest operatunity.
The Singing Dragon is delightful throughout, and his death as tragic as anything in Pyramis and Thisbe as played by Bottom the Weaver & Co, Limited.
Saturday.—Production of the Illustrious ISIDORE DE LARA's Light of Asia. So the operatic day, that is Saturde-ay, finishes with generally-expressed opinion that this Opera is a
Everything scenically and stage-managerially that could be done to make The Light of Asia brilliant, Sir DRURIOLANUS has done; but, after a first hearing, it strikes me that, regarded as a work for the stage, it is a mere Night-light of Asia, which, like Macbeth's "brief candle," will go "out," and "then be heard no more." If, however, it be relegated to the concert-hall, as a Cantata, The Light of Asia may appear lighter than it does on the boards of Covent Garden, where, intended to be a dramatic Opera, it only recalls to me the title of one of RUDYARD KIPLING's stories, viz., The Light that Failed.
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A SUTTON THOUGHT.—Mr. CHAMBERLAIN can now allude to Lord ROSEBERY as "a Sutton person of his acquaintance."
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AN OLD SONG REVIVED.
(As sung by the Champion Ulster "Comique," Colonel S-nd-rs-n, to the old tune of "De Groves of de Pool," written by "honest Dick Millikin.")
Whillaloo! If they droive us to foighting, 'Tis ourselves who will lead 'em a dance, Till, loike the Cork bhoys, they're deloighting, Back again to their homes to advance! No longer in beating such rebels We'll take than in baiting a bull. How they'll squake, in effeminate trebles, When Ulster's battalions are full! Ri fol didder rol didder rol!
We trate 'em as loving relations? We trust to the "Union of Hearts"? We heed the Grand Old One's orations? We play the Minority's parts? We bow to the yoke of TIM HEALY? We stoop to the Papisthry rule? Faix! them who imagine it really Must fancy that "Orange" spells "fool." Ri fol didder rol didder rol!
We consint to a sham House o' Commons Established on ould College Green? They fancy we're Radical rum 'uns! Allaygiance we owe to our QUEEN! But we're fly to their thraitorous dodges; Our loyalty's edge would they dull? Fwit! We'll pour like a flood from our Lodges, And crack every "National" skull! Ri fol didder rol didder rol!
We're all friends of Law and of Order, But would they wrench us from the Crown? We'll soon be a-singing "Boyne Water," And marching to "Croppies, lie down!" 'Tis we have the Men and the Money, We don't want to foight, we're quite cool. But, by Jingo, our foes will look funny, When Ulster turns out 'gin Home Rule! Ri fol didder rol didder rol!
To-day in our myriads we muster. Friendly warning is all that we mean. About SOLLY's "incitement" Rads fluster; We're thrue to the Crown and the QUEEN: But Ulster no "pathriot" shall sever, And Ulster no "Papish" shall school. Whillaloo! Here's the Union for ever, And into the Boyne wid Home Rule! Ri fol didder rol didder rol!
Och! Here's to Dutch WILLIAM the Pious! And here's to VICTORIA the Good! If they think we won't foight, let 'em try us! They mock at an Orangeman's mood, But once set the Green 'gainst the Yellow, (Wid no one our coat-tails to pull,) And I pity the pathriots who bellow (Like bhoys in a bog) for Home Rule! Ri fol didder rol didder rol!
Come, all loyal props of the nation, Come fill up a bumper all round! Drink success to our great federation; With Brummy JOE's blessing 'tis crowned. He says we are heroes, right stingo, He vows W.G.'s an old fool. No, we don't want to fight, but, by Jingo, Whin we do—it's all up wid Home Rule! Ri fol didder rol didder rol! [Left "bombinating."
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A BACHELOR'S GROWL.
Oh, the beautiful women, the women of ancient days, The ripe and the red, who are done and dead, With never a word of praise; The rich, round SALLIES and SUSANS, the POLLIES and JOANS and PRUES, Who guarded their fame, and saw no shame In walking in low-heeled shoes.
They never shrieked on a platform; they never desired a vote; They sat in a row and liked things slow, While they knitted or patched a coat. They lived with nothing of Latin, and a jolly sight less of Greek, And made up their books, and changed their cooks On an average once a week.
They never ventured in hansoms, nor climbed to the topmost 'bus, Nor talked with a twang in the latest slang; They left these fashions to us. But, ah, she was sweet and pleasant, though possibly not well-read, The excellent wife who cheered your life, And vanished at ten to bed.
And it's oh the pity, the pity that time should ever annul The wearers of skirts who mended shirts, And never thought nurseries dull. For everything's topsy-turvy now, the men are bedded at ten, While the women sit up, and smoke and sup In the Club of the Chickless Hen.
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THE USEFUL CRICKETER.
(A CANDID VETERAN'S CONFESSION.)
I am rather a "pootlesome" bat— I seldom, indeed, make a run; But I'm rather the gainer by that, For it's bad to work hard in the sun.
As a "field" I am not worth a jot, And no one expects me to be; My run is an adipose trot, My "chances" I never can see.
I am never invited to bowl, And though, p'raps, this seems like a slight In the depths of my innermost soul I've a notion the Captain is right.
In short, I may freely admit I am not what you'd call a great catch; But yet my initials are writ In the book against every match!
For although—ay, and there is the rub— I am forty and running to fat, I have made it all right with the Club, By presenting an Average Bat!
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PRIVATE REFLECTIONS OF THE PUBLIC ORATOR AT CAMBRIDGE.
(AS RECORDED BY MR. PUNCH'S PATENT PHONOGRAPH.)
Deadly business, this Latin joking. One speech is bad enough, but fifteen are absolutely crushing. Still it must be done. Shade of CICERO, befriend me! Here goes:—
"What on earth can I say about the DUKE OF EDINBURGH? Mustn't offend these blessed Royalties. Am told they never take kindly to jokes. Let me see, he served on the Euryalus (query? ought I to bring in Nisus). Travelled a great deal—multorum vidit et urbes. Mem. Work this up. By the way, ALFRED's his name. Bring in ALFRED and the cakes. ALFRED thrashed Danes. PRINCE OF WALES married a Dane. To be worked up. Sailor-Prince: mem. O navis referent, etc. See also VIRGIL's description of storm. Prince plays fiddle. Might say that VIRGIL was poet quem vicina Cremonae Mantua genuit. Did this, years ago, for old JOACHIM, but can use it again. Never mind the vae nimium miserae vicina Cremonae. Prince won't know about that. What's the best Latin for Admiral? Daughter betrothed to Crown PRINCE OF ROUMANIA. Can get in Roman legionaries. Ripping!!
"NORTHBROOK's fairly easy. Oxford man. Mustn't mention he only got Second Class. Never mind, India will pull me through. Conquests of ALEXANDER, and all that sort of thing. Must look up RUDYARD KIPLING for latest tips. Dusky brothers (Query, sub-fusci fratres?) good Academical joke this; sure to fetch the VICE-CHANCELLOR. Pity the CHANCELLOR's so poor in Latin.
"CRANBROOK next. Bother all these brooks! He's a Viscount (Vice-Comes DE CRANBROOK). Lord President of Council; looks after education. That'll do it. Who's this fool that has sent a post-card asking me to say something about Educatio libera? Num est tuus servus canis ut hanc rem faciat?
"HENRY JAMES. Dear me! No University education. Must refer to CICERO as a barrister. Solicitor Generalis doesn't sound right somehow. Refused to be Lord Chancellor. Mem. Get good joking Latin for Woolsack. Factory and Workshops Act must see me through.
"JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN. Hard nut to crack. Can't say I like him myself. Birminghamiae decus; civium consensu ter—What the dickens is Mayor in Latin? Did anybody make screws in ancient Rome? Mem. Work up orchids and eyeglass. Una cum Cancellario nostro seni grandi restitit. Absolutely no literary distinction. Still, he's got a son who was a Cambridge man. Must get in a sly dig at OSCAR BROWNING and East Worcestershire. Something about old-age pensions. Bah, I hate the job!
"JOHN MORLEY. Humph! Delicate ground. Home Rule's got to be skimmed over. Only consistent Home-Ruler of the lot (sibi constat). Books by the dozen (lucidus ordo, etc.). French Revolution (res novae). Ardent reformer (res renovanda radicitus). Ought to drag in impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis acer. Better not, on second thoughts.
"That's enough for one morning. Polish off the rest to-morrow. Mem. WEBSTER won two miles against Oxford (duo millia passuum; Oxoniensibus triumphatus, and a few japes about Isthmian games. Must fetch them). Remember to give ROBY one or two for himself over his Latin grammar. Mostly wrong. He'd better stick to making reels of cotton. SEELEY and the others can wait."
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MR. HARDUP lately came into a large fortune, and changed his name to SKATTERKASH. He has started a coach, and drives four duns. "The duns used always to be after me," says he; "now I've got 'em before me. It's a pleasant reminder of unpleasant times."
* * * * *
(IN THE SUMMER EVENINGS, AFTER EIGHT.)
As they are, always.—Closed. Within, a solitary policeman, moping. Without, the jaded citizens, gasping on a dusty road, and gazing through the iron railings at the cool groves within. A mile away, or nearer, some military bands (paid—by whom?—no matter—ultimately by tax-payers, who don't get much for their money), bored to death for lack of work, and any number of charitable institutions spending half their funds in advertising for more.
As they might be, sometimes.—Open. At the gate energetic policemen taking the shillings of eager citizens who crowd in to sit and smoke in the cool groves, lighted by inexpensive Chinese lanterns, and to listen to the music of the military bands, now alert, cheerful and occupied. Scattered through the cool groves a few energetic, but unobtrusive, policemen, seeing that everyone behaves as quietly as at the Fisheries or the Healtheries. And (the next morning) any number of charitable institutions receiving the shillings thus virtuously and profitably spent.
* * * * *
SYLLOGISMS OF THE STUMP.
(SELECTED—AND CONDENSED—FROM RECENT PLATFORM "ARGUMENTS.")
There is no principle, no precedent, no reason why, if the majority desire anything, a Legislative sanction should not be given to their decision.
The majority in Ireland desire Home Rule.
Therefore, it would be an outrage to the minority to give Legislative sanction to that desire.
* * * * *
The influence of Women in politics must be elevating and refining.
That influence can be most effectively and legitimately exercised by and through possession of the Electoral Franchise.
Therefore it would unsex and degrade women to give them the Parliamentary vote.
* * * * *
It is useless to receive a deputation (say, upon Eight Hours' Day legislation) unless you "mean business" in that matter.
I do not mean business in that matter—at present.
Therefore I shall be delighted to receive the deputation.
* * * * *
Liberal Legislation is bad for the country.
The present Government has successfully accomplished more Liberal Legislation than any of its predecessors.
Therefore the country should vote for the present Government.
* * * * *
The Gladstone Government of 1880 made many serious mistakes.
I was a leading Member of that Government.
Therefore you cannot go wrong in following me now.
* * * * *
Mr. C. made a slashing attack on Lord R., and addressed to him certain awkward questions and posing arguments to which he is bound to attempt an answer.
Lord R. made a dashing rejoinder to Mr. C., and devoted the whole of his speech to answering Mr. C.'s questions and arguments.
Therefore Lord R. showed bad taste and temper, and wasted his own time and the public's.
* * * * *
I have altered my opinion of many men since 1885.
Many men have altered their opinion of me since that same date.
Therefore they are either fickle fools or idolatrous items.
* * * * *
I followed my Leader until 1881.
Some follow him still.
Therefore either they don't know what they do, or don't mean what they say.
* * * * *
If any logical-minded reader should object that these so-called syllogisms are not really syllogisms at all, we should agree with him. But then they are not only the brief and formal expression of long-winded so-called arguments, which are not really arguments at all, but which, veiled in floods of verbiage, are duly presented to the public, from platform and Press, as though they really were so. Moral:—The clear analysis of stump-oratory generally takes the form of a reductio ad absurdum.
* * * * *
MUTUAL ADVERTISEMENT BY THE COURT JESTER.—At the Shaftesbury Theatre is announced A Play in Little. At the Court they might announce a LITTLE in a Play. [N.B.—For explanation see Cast under Clock.] Just now, very little in any play.
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* * * * *
FROM A LAHORE PAPER.—"Punch," the writer ought to have said "Mr. Punch,"—"possesses a battery of guns, and maintains a standing army of 1,200 men." Quite correct. Wonderful how they get the news out there. The guns fire a hundred jokes per minute; all killing ones. The standing army do the thing well, and will stand anything (well-iced) to all friends within reasonable limits, under command of Mr. Punch, President.
* * * * *
VERY NATURAL.—Mrs. BROWN POTTER, tired of playing a Hero, is now coming out as a Heroine before the Chaff'dsbury Theatre is shut up.
* * * * *
ROD and RIVER is the title of a useful book about fly-fishing (it only needs "fly-leaves" for notes to make it perfect), written by a Major bearing the appropriate name of FISHER. One note he might append for the benefit of intending Etonians, that those who, not having "passed" their swimming examination, venture to go on the "river", are in danger of the "rod."
* * * * *
MRS. RAM was told that Mr. JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN is a giant in intellect. She said, "I don't know much about intellect, but he must be a very big giant to carry an orchard in his buttonhole."
* * * * *
(AN ODE TO THE MODERN FLORA.)
Oh, Flora, fair Goddess of Flowers, skies brighten, the gardens are glowing, And lo! 'tis the season of Flower Shows, when everything seems "All-a-blowing!" And what the dickens you've been up to with the dictionary, I'm dashed if there's any possibility of knowing.
Talk about "Volapueck." Why, it isn't a circumstance compared with the floral goddess's crack-jaw. I've been trying to read the account of a Flower Show to my wife. Now, at patter-songs I've a slick tongue and slack jaw. I can do "John Wellington Wells" pretty patly; but to read through a horticultural article Would give an alligator instantaneous tetanus; and of meaning the words seem to have no particle. I should like to be introduced, in its Bornean home, to the glorious plant called Caelo Dyana. But fancy a footman having to announce Madame SPATHOGLOTTIS KIMBALLIANA! Odont. Uro-Skinneri sounds like something medical and epidermic, but then we're informed that its sepals and petals Are "reticulated in tender brown and broad rosy-mauve," which immediately sends one "off the metals." The Masdevallias may be a respectable family, though I should not care to marry into it, But "the hybrid M. Mundyana representing M. Veitchii x M. Ignea" (though "a wonderfully glowing orange" by all accounts), sounds so exceedingly mixed and mongrel that I'd certainly eschew it. "A noble Catt: Gigas" sounds rather aristocratic: "Catt: Jacomb," I suppose, is a sort of a relative; But Od. Citrosmum, sounds awfully odd, and is not my notion of a reassuring appellative. And what are you to make of Odont. crisp. Sanderae, which, whomsoever "Sanderae" may be, I don't want to "crisp" him; "A sport of nature unequalled" they call him, and no doubt his name is, for I can neither clearly articulate, stutter or lisp him. I've not a doubt that, whoever he is, he is probably liked and considered by some a gem. Gyp. Chamberlainianum has a political sound, and has a strong savour of a floral Brummagem.
And then comes "Odont. vex. Bleui splendidissimum," which sounds like an appeal for "Two Lovely Blue Eyes." But if it means something entirely different, I shall hear it without the smallest surprise. In fact, looking further, I find, it's "an artificial hybrid from Odont. vexillarium x Odont. Roezlii." That's a staggerer. But Dend. phalaenopsis Schroderae Dellense is a still bigger horticultural swaggerer. O. Coradenei! likewise O. Crispum! I only wish that your Godmother, Flora, Would insist upon shorter and more intelligible names for her modern offspring. By bright Aurora, I can't go on worshipping at your floral shrine if the ritual is polyglot gibberish, and what's more, I won't, Ma'am. In the word (queerly spelt) of which you seem very fond, I earnestly say, Flower Goddess, Odont. Ma'am!!!
* * * * *
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
Thursday, June 9.—The great strength of the Liberal Party lies in its illimitable resources of Leadership. When in ordinary times Mr. G. is away, there is either the SQUIRE OF MALWOOD or JOHN MORLEY to take his place. Now, in these last days of dying Parliament, the Squire follows Mr. G.'s leadership even to extent of stopping away from House. JOHN MORLEY been here for short while to-night, but as soon as he saw House comfortably in Committee he, too, departed. Seemed as if Opposition, thus deserted, would stagger blindly on till it fell in some ditch. At critical moment BOBBY SPENCER quietly appeared on scene; naturally and irresistibly dropped into seat of Mr. G. on otherwise almost empty front Bench. No sounding of drums or braying of trumpets. BOBBY quietly walks up, brushing past ATHERLY JONES standing at the Bar, and takes his proper place.
Effect upon House instant and soothing. Prince ARTHUR looks up relieved. No one more interested in presence of strong hand on the rein of Opposition than the Leader of the House. Business immediately settles down to even and rapid pace. It is generally understood that BOBBY is desirous that the Government shall have every assistance given them in disposing of the remaining business. ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS shows himself a little restive. Here is a great opportunity fleeting past; vote after vote put from Chair agreed to almost as rapidly as it can be recited. After half-a-dozen have been galloped through, ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS moves uneasily in his seat. Anxiously watches the youthful figure seated on front Bench. Bang goes another Million. ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS can sit it no longer; jumps up and wants to know something. BOBBY, half-turning, regards him with grave eyes. Speaks no word, but ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS knows what is passing through his mind; his fluent speech falters; presently he sits down, shrivelled up, as it were, under the reproachful glance of the new Leader. Thus the hours pass, and the votes too, till by midnight all the money is voted for the Navy, and whole blocks of Civil Service Estimates have been passed.
Business done.—Supply voted with both hands.
Friday.—Army Estimates on in Committee of Supply. Gather from general conversation that things are awful. FRASER, V.C., says they are going to the dogs. WALTER BARTTELOT "going," as he sometimes asks permission to do, "one step farther," says they've gone. STANHOPE evidently expecting an assault on his Department, brought in with him a stout stick. "When JULIUS 'ANNIBAL PICTON got up just now, and gave a brief resume of the operations in which his great ancestor defeated FLAMINIUS and SERVILIUS at the Lake of Thrasymenus; pretty to see how STANHOPE almost involuntarily made a pass at him with the stick.
"Question! Question!" cried STUART WORTLEY, from behind the SPEAKER's chair.
"This is the question," retorted J.A.P., "or it is at least leading me up to it. I am about, Mr. COURTNEY, to show how, supposing the War Office at Carthage had been managed on the same principles as those which govern the conduct of the Right Hon. Gentleman, my illustrious ancestor, instead of routing the enemy, would have fled from the face of FLAMINIUS, scuttled off before SERVILIUS, and would never have lived to vanquish VARROW at Cannes."
"You rather had STANHOPE there," said POLTALLOCH meeting J.A.P. in the Lobby afterwards, and shouting down at him a few words of hearty encouragement.
Business done.—Another gallop through the Votes.
* * * * *
LADY GAY'S SELECTIONS.
Phantom Lodge, Ascot.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,
Here I am once more at Ascot—beloved of Women and Milliners! Ascot, I mean, not myself, as I'm thankful to say women don't like me—Milliners don't count as women, of course, being so very liberal-minded; and that's the advantage of being "somebody," and having a figure—you can get all your gowns on the condition of telling everyone (in strict confidence) who "built" them! I had a most fatiguing day yesterday, as, after arriving, I had to show the Baroness all my Ascot "confections," and I made the poor dear quite jealous, which, of course, vexed me, as she is quite my dearest friend! I was much gratified to see my protest against these "glove contests" so admirably and cleverly "seconded" (I'm afraid that's a fighting expression) by one of your wonderful Artists in Black-and-White (black and blue it might have well been on this occasion)—though, by the way, he must have been present himself, or he wouldn't have seen how ashamed of his own face every man was! We shall have the dear wretches wearing veils next, I suppose!
On every hand I hear great complaints of the "moderate lot" our English Three-year-olds have turned out; and the Vicomte DE FOSSE-TERRE (a descendant of the historical QUEEN OF NAVARRE) quite upset our dinner-party last night by claiming immense superiority for the French horses of the same age—why should this be?—I don't consider the French ahead of us in politeness, so why should they be so in breeding? However, the fact remains, that no English Horse will run in the French Derby this year!
Lord STONEHENGE tells me we may expect the "Dissolution" very shortly, and I'm sure the poor Members must be glad of it, for this weather makes one long to dissolve—though I must say it seems to me an absurd time to choose, as it will stop the Season and upset everybody's arrangements! These things will be better managed when we get a "House of Peeresses" at the head of affairs—and that is only a question of time, I feel sure!
But now to glance at the Ascot Programme—it is such a lengthy and important one, that a mere glance will be quite sufficient for me, whereas a man would study the thing for a week and then know nothing about it! I will just mention a few horses that my readers will do well to "keep their eye on," that is if they can—for really at Ascot one does not pay much attention to the races—and in conclusion I will give my "one-horse selection" for the last in the Gold Cup. The expression "one-horsed," is, I believe, generally used contemptuously, but it must serve till I find time to think out another, which is impossible at present, as the luncheon-gong has just sounded, and I have visions of a lobster-salad and iced Hock-Cup! And now to prophesy? On the "Queen's Birthday" a "Sprightly" "Buccaneer" gave an "Order" to attack "Harfleur", captured the town, and at the end of the "Comedy" paid the "Bill!"
Yours devotedly, LADY GAY.
GOLD CUP TIP.
The bloom on the leaf of a first-rate cigar Is expressed by the trade as "Flor Fina," But the sight, to a racing-man, finer by far Is the bloom of the mare "Caterina!"
* * * * *
GOOD NEWS!!—"Apprehended Great Cyclone!" So ran the heading of a paragraph in the Daily Telegraph last Friday. We trust this turbulent person once apprehended, will be sentenced and imprisoned.
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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.