PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
June 25, 1892
"VERSAILLES" IN LEICESTER SQUARE.
(OR, THE NEW BALLET AT THE EMPIRE, AS IT APPEARS THROUGH MR. PUNCH'S PINCE-NEZ.)
TABLEAU I.—The Park at Versailles. "Gardeners," according to the "Argument" supplied with programmes, "are seen busily preparing for the arrival of King Louis the Fourteenth and his Court." If tickling the gravel gently with brooms, and depositing one petal a-piece in large baskets is "busily preparing," they are. The Gardeners, feeling that they have done a very fair afternoon's work, dance a farandole in sabots, after which Ladies and Cavaliers arrive and prepare to dance too; the Cavaliers select their partners by chasing them on tiptoe, the Ladies run backwards, and coyly slap their favourites' faces with bouquets. Here, according to Argument, "refreshments are served by Pages." Don't see any; these particular Pages seem to have been cut. Dance follows: the Vicomte Raoul de Bragelonne arrives, but stands apart, taking no part in the dance, and looking melancholy. Fancy he is wishing he had learnt dancing in his boyhood, or else waiting for the refreshments to be served. On referring to Argument, however, discover that "his mind is occupied by thoughts of Louise de Lavalliere, who was betrothed to him in her childhood." Stupid not to see this for oneself. So obvious. Enter Louise. Think Raoul informs her in pantomime that one of the bows on her dress has "come undone;" she rewards him for this act of politeness by taking the bow off and pinning it on his breast. Raoul not satisfied, pleads for another, to put on his hat. Louise refuses, can't ruin her new frock like that for him. Find I'm wrong again. Argument says, "he implores her to fulfil the wish of his own and their parents' hearts by naming the nuptial day. Louise is confused, and bids him wait." He retires brokenhearted, in search of the refreshments, and the Cavaliers, with whom a very little dancing on gravel and a warm afternoon goes a long way, retire with him. The ladies, left alone, "now freely express their opinions on the merits of their late companions," which seems natural enough. Louise dissents; doesn't see anything particularly rude in their conduct, "Cavaliers are like that—will rush off for refreshments alone after every dance and leave their partners." At least, that's how I understood her. Missed the point again. Argument informs me she has been answering, "abruptly that the Sun (meaning the King) absorbs her whole soul, and that she has no thoughts to bestow on mere planets." She said all that in a shake of the head and two shrugs, so "abruptly" is quite the right word. Other ladies annoyed with her, and show it by walking past and waggling their fingers in her face, which appears to depress Louise considerably. Then they go out, after the Cavaliers, or the refreshments. Meanwhile Louis the Fourteenth has entered at the back and overheard all. He knows what the shake and shrugs meant, and smiles and nods knowingly to himself. "Oh, I am an irresistible Monarch, I am!" he seems to be saying. "I'll follow this up." So he struts down with a fixed smile on his face, like the impudent young dog he is, and pats his chest passionately at her. Louise startled. "Don't go away," says Louis in pantomime. "I say, there's an arbour in that shrubbery,—let's go and sit in it—do!" Louise undecided; tries to excuse herself. "Earwiggy? not a bit of it!" Louis assures her (he wouldn't be so confident about it if he had seen his Gardeners at work); "come along!" Louise still timid; suggests spiders. Louis vows that no spider shall harm her while he lives to protect her, and draws her gently towards the shrubbery; he does this several times, but on each occasion her dread of insects returns, and she recoils shrinking. The King puts his arms round her to give her courage, and at this instant, Raoul de Bragelonne returns, sees the back of someone embracing the maiden who was betrothed to him in childhood, draws his sword—and recognises his Sovereign. "Whew!" his expression says plainly enough. "Now I have put my foot in it nicely!" He takes off his hat and apologises profusely; but Louis is indignant. What's the use of being a Roi Soleil if you can't ask a lady of your Court to sit in an arbour without being interrupted like this? He swells visibly, and intimates that he will pay Raoul out for this in various highly unpleasant ways. Louise kneels to him for pardon. Louis subsides gradually, but still shows the whites of his eyes; finally he tells Raoul to be off. Raoul is submissive—only wants to know where he's to go to. Louis points to Heaven, evidently regal politeness forbids him to indicate any other place. Raoul goes off perplexed, and no wonder. Then, as the Argument explains, "a trumpet-call is heard," and Louise "bewildered," perhaps because it is the signal to go and dress for dinner, escapes to the palace; and Louis, feeling that the arbour is only a question of time, follows. Then Musketeers come off duty and get up an assault-at-arms, until their careful captain, afraid that they will hurt themselves with those nasty swords, orders them to stop, and the First Tableau is over.
TABLEAU II.—Rich hangings have fallen close to the footlights, to represent an "Ante-room in the Palace." Attendants bring on two dressing-tables. Enter the two principal danseuses, who are about to dress for the Grand Ballet, when Lulli, the Composer, and Prevot, the Maitre de dance du Roi, come in and very inconsiderately propose a rehearsal, which of course must be an undress rehearsal—then and there. This not unnaturally puts both the ladies out of temper; they object to the ballet-skirts supplied by the Management as skimpy, and one of them throws up her part, which almost reduces Lulli to tears. The other undertakes it at a moment's notice, whereupon the first lady tries to scratch her eyes out, and then has a fit of hysterics. Both ladies have hysterics. A bell rings and, suddenly remembering that a Royal Ante-room is rather a public place to dress in, they catch up the ballet-skirts and flee, Attendants remove the dressing-tables. Tableau over. Plot where it was.
TABLEAU III.—Grand Reception Room in the Palace. Enter the Queen, sulky, because Louis has taken all the Pages, and only left her a couple of Chamberlains. Enter Louis, more impudent than ever. They take their places on a dais; the hangings at head of a flight of steps behind are withdrawn, and the first "Grand Ballet Divertissement" begins. Louis frankly bored, knowing there's another to come after that. Ballet charming, but he doesn't deign to glance at it, gives all his attention to a stuffed lamb on the top of the steps. Bevy after bevy of maidens disclosed behind hangings, each more bewitching and gorgeously attired than the last—but they don't interest Louis,—or else the presence of the Queen restrains him. Instructive to note the partiality of the Corps de Ballet. When Signorina DE SORTIS dances, they are so overcome that they lean backwards with outstretched arms in a sort of semi-swoon of delight. But the other lady may prance and whirl and run about on the points of her toes till she requires support, and they merely retire up and ignore her altogether. There is a dancing Signor in pearl grey, who supports first one Signorina and then the other with the strictest impartiality, and finally dances with both together, to show that he makes no distinctions and has no serious intentions. All this time Louis has been getting more and more restless; now and then he makes some remark, evidently disparaging, to the Queen, who receives it coldly. But at last he can't stand it any longer. "Call this dancing! I'll show 'em how to dance!" his look says. "Where's LOUISE?" And he gets up, pulls himself together, and invites her to come and dance a minuet. Queen disgusted with him, but pretends not to notice. Louis goes through minuet with extreme satisfaction to himself. Enter Page with an immense cushion, on which is "a bracelet of great value" (Argument again). Queen excited—thinks it's for her; but Louis stops the dance, takes the bracelet, and gives it to Louise. "A present from Paris. There, that's for being a good girl—take it, and say no more about it." She does, and they finish the minuet. Louis, on turning round to the dais, discovers that the Queen has gone away, which he seems to think most unreasonable of her—just when he was dancing his very best! There is more ballet, after which the King discovers that Louise is missing too. Her Page comes on and hands him a letter, which he opens triumphantly. "A rendezvous, eh? Never knew jewellery fail yet! How I am carrying on, to be sure!" says his face. But, as he reads, his eyes begin to roll, and he has another attack of swelling. Then the curtains at the back are withdrawn again, and on the top of the steps, where the stuffed lambs were, he sees Louise de Lavalliere in a nun's robe, entering a Convent. Louis can't believe it; he thinks it must be part of the performance, though not on the original programme. As he goes nearer to see, the curtains close, open again—and there is nothing. And the baffled monarch realises the melancholy truth—Louise has gone into a nunnery, without even returning the "bracelet of great value"! Whereupon the Act-drop mercifully falls, and veils his discomfiture. And that's all!
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LADY GAY'S SELECTIONS.
DEAR MR. PUNCH.—Several people who do not know me as the writer of the "Selections," have told me that they took the tip about "Balmoral" for the Manchester Cup, but backed it to win instead of to be last—thereby winning money!—now—of course the last thing a tipster wishes, is that his prophecy should turn out successful, therefore I am delighted at the result, as also was Sir MINTING BLOUNDELL, who won a good stake, and is the only person who knows the secret of my incognito. He congratulated me most heartily on my success, which he said was the more wonderful as he knew the owner did not much fancy the horse!—but, as I told him—if owners of race-horses knew as much as some of the public—(to say nothing of the prophets)—they would never lose the money they do, and would probably give up racing! The selection was entirely my own "fancy." I need scarcely say, I never ask an owner anything, and if he volunteers the information that he thinks his horse "has a good chance," I find as a rule, it's just as well to "let the horse run loose," as they put it; though that is an expression I never quite understood, as I've never yet seen a horse "run loose" in a race, except on one or two occasions when the jockey has been thrown at the start—which now I come to think of it, may be the origin of the expression!
So Ascot is once more a departed glory! We all shivered on Tuesday, got roasted on Wednesday, were comfortable on Thursday, and resigned on Friday—and on the whole the toilette show was successful; though I fancy some of the best gowns were held over for Goodwood—one of mine was at all events—but my goodness!—if only our great grandmothers could have seen some of our modern petticoats!—more elaborate than any dress they ever saw!—but then, as Lord HARPER REDCLYFFE said, our great grandmothers never got off and on coaches with an admiring crowd looking on, as we have to do now-a-days; and you have to be pretty smart not to get hung up on the wheels—though as Lady HARRIETT ENTOUCAS said, "my dear Lady GAY—what is the use of wearing all this loveliness unless one—" but perhaps it will annoy her if I tell what she did say!
The Royal Hunt Cup was a beautiful race, although the winner was not supposed to be the best of "JEWITT's lot;" but I am told he is one of those who "will not do his best at home," being beaten in the trial—and after all, how very human that is—for how many men one knows who are perfect bears in their home circle!
Of the horses I advised my readers to "Keep an eye on," only one, Buccaneer, put in an appearance, and won the Gold Cup; so that my warning as to the difficulty of doing this, was fully borne out by the result. My Gold Cup selection did not run, and had I known that Ermak would have been his sole opponent, I should have made him my tip; but I do not pretend to be Ermakulate! (That's awful—please forgive me, dear Mr. Punch!) From the way St. Angelo won the Palace Stakes, I can't help thinking he would have won the Derby but for the French horse Rueil, who tried to eat him during the race—(how shameful to let the poor thing get so hungry)—and this of course interfered with his chance—as you really cannot attend to two things at a time with a satisfactory result, unless they be sleeping and snoring!
I presume that this sort of thing is meant when one reads in the sporting papers that such-and-such a horse was "nibbled at!"—but I really think that those who saw St. Angelo on Thursday, saw the winner of the Leger! There is no race of any special importance next week, either at Windsor or Sandown, but I will give my weekly tip for the probable last in the Windsor June Handicap, and meanwhile I may as well say that I shall grace with my presence the Newmarket July Meeting, and, emulating the example of other tipsters who send "Paddock Wires," I shall be happy to supply anyone with my two-horse-a-day "Songs from the Birdcage," at five guineas a-week—(a reduction to owners)—at which price my selections must be cheap.
Yours devotedly, LADY GAY.
WINDSOR JUNE HANDICAP.
If "SHAKSPEARE" spells "ruin," as Managers say, Tragedians all should be needy! But a fortune was made by the best of his day, And an Actor of "notes" was "Macready."
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Why is the Dissolution of Parliament like the human tongue?—Because it is in everybody's mouth.
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"CUTS!" OR, WE NEVER SPEAK AS WE PASS BY.
We never speak as we pass by! Alas! it was not always so. But now I cannot catch his eye, And, when I come, he's prompt to go. "Il me reverra." So I said When I resigned, his love to try, But see how WILHELM turns his head! We never speak as we pass by!
Not indispensable! Absurd! I built the Empire, made the Crown. Of Emperor WILHELM who had heard But for my prowess and renown? And Emperor WILHELM cocks his nose, Regards me with averted eye; And, just as though, we now were foes, We never speak as we pass by!
The boy, the ingrate, the young cock, Who thinks he's eagle when he crows; Old Aquila is he to mock? I'll cut his comb ere matters close. And yet, and yet he keeps it up, And Germany demands not why! He bangs away like a big Krupp— We never speak as we pass by.
My HERBERT, you should hold my place, But you must share your sire's cold snub. Did I promote the lion's race To be kicked out by its least cub? This wedding-favour's gay and smart. I to Vienna's bridal fly; But something rankles in my heart;— We never speak as we pass by!
Will FRANCIS-JOSEPH see his way To—help Coriolanus back? I can't believe I've had my day; It makes ambition's heart-strings crack. But that imperious youngster shuts The door of hope howe'er I try. Are we for ever to be "cuts," And never speak as we pass by?
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AN EARL'S COURT IDYL.
SCENE—A knick-knack stall outside the Wild West Arena. Behind the counter is a pretty and pert maiden of seventeen or so. A tall and stately Indian Warrior, wrapped in a blue blanket, lounges up, and leans against the corner, silent and inscrutable.
The Maiden (with easy familiarity). 'Ullo, CHOC'LIT, what do you want? (The Chieftain smiles at her with infinite subtlety, and fingers a small fancy article shaped like a bottle, in seeming confusion.) Like to see what's inside of it? Look 'ere then. (She removes the cork, touches a spring, and a paper fan expands out of the neck of the bottle; CHOCOLATE is grimly pleased, and possibly impressed, by this phenomenon, which he repeats several times for his own satisfaction.) Ah, that fetches you, don't it, CHOC'LIT? (The Warrior nods, and says something unintelligible in his own tongue.) Why don't yer talk sense, 'stead o' that rubbish?
[CHOCOLATE watches her slyly out of the corners of his eyes; presently he puts the bottled-fan inside his blanket, and slouches off in a fit of pretended abstraction.
The Maiden (imperiously). 'Ere, come back, will yer? Walkin' off with my things like that! Fetch it 'ere—d'jear what I tell yer? (CHOCOLATE lounges over the counter of an adjoining Bovril stall, and affects a bland unconsciousness of being addressed. After awhile he peeps round and pats his blanket knowingly, and, finding she takes no further notice of him, lounges back to his corner again.) Oh, 'ere you are again! Now jest you put that bottle back. (The Warrior giggles, with much appreciation of his own playfulness.) Look sharp now. I know you've got it!
Chocolate (with another giggle). Me no got.
[He intimates that the person at the Bovril stall has it.
The Maiden. You needn't think to get over Me that way! It's inside o' that old blanket o' yours. Out with it now, or I'll make yer! (CHOCOLATE produces it chuckling, after which he loses all further interest in it, his notice having been attracted by a small painted metal monkey holding a miniature cup and saucer.) Want to buy one o' them monkeys? (She sets its head nodding at the Indian, who is gravely interested in this product of European civilisation.) All right, pay for it then—they're ninepence each.
[The Warrior plays with it thoughtfully, apparently in the faint hope that she may be induced to make him a present of it, but, finding that her heart shows no sign of softening to such an extent, the desire of acquiring the monkey becomes so irresistible that, after much diving into his robes, he fishes up three coppers, which he tenders as a reasonable ransom.
The Maiden (encouragingly). That's all right, so far as it goes; you've on'y got to give me another sixpence—twice as much as that, you know. Come on! (CHOCOLATE meditates whether as an economical Indian Chieftain, he can afford this outlay, and finally shakes his head sadly, and withdraws the coppers.) Oh, very well, then; please yourself, I'm sure! (CHOCOLATE's small black eyes regard her admiringly, as he tries one last persuasive smile, probably to express the degree to which the possession of a nodding monkey would brighten his existence.) It ain't a bit o' good, CHOC'LIT, I can't lower my price for you; and what's more, I'm not going to!
[CHOCOLATE examines the monkey once more undecidedly, then puts it gently down with a wistful reluctance, and drifts off.
The Maiden (calling after him). You like to do your shoppin' cheap, don't you, CHOC'LIT? Everythink for nothen' is what you want, ain't it? I know yer!
[The Warrior stalks on impassively, ignoring these gibes; whether he is reflecting on the beauty and heartlessness of the Pale-face Maiden, or resolving to save up for the monkey if it takes him a lifetime, or thinking of something else totally different, or of nothing whatever, is a dark secret which he keeps to himself.
* * * * *
THE PLAYFUL SALLY.
O SARAH B.! O Mr. ABBEY! What un-ABBEY thought induced you to select so dreary a play as Pauline Blanchard wherewith to weary the British Public? And what a finish! Pauline, all for the sake of her disappointed lover, kills her husband with a sickle!—a sickle-ly sight—and then reaps her reward. M. PERON, the Maire, was effective. Ancient Angelina, Mme. GILBERTE FLEURY, "fetched" everybody, and in her turn was fetched by M. FLEURY from a loft where stage-business had taken her in the previous Act, in order to receive her share of the plaudits. We hear that SARAH has accepted a One-Act piece called Salammbo, by OSCAR WILDE. Naturally we all see SARAH in the first part of Sal. Perhaps the "ambo" means SARAH and OSCAR. Being an Eastern subject, SARAH sees the chance in it of a Sara-scenic success. On Saturday last, with her wonderful La Tosca in the afternoon, and her Dame aux Camelias (the "O'Camelias" sounds like an Irish title) at night, SARAH regularly "knocked them" in the Shaftesbury Avenue. No one interested in dramatic art should miss seeing SARAH, at all events, in La Dame aux Camelias.
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PARTICULAR AND GENERAL RELATIONSHIP.—Mr. GEORGE CURZON, as the Saturday Review remarks in its notice of Curzon's Persia, "is not the first of his family who has written a good book of Eastern travel." The author, then, is not a first, but a second, or third CURZON, and this particular work of authorship creates a new kinship, as his travels are, now, related to the public.
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Wednesday.—The Irish Question, heard for the first time operatically, put by The O'WAGNER in his music-story of "Tristan und Isolde." The story is decidedly a triste 'un and is old no doubt of it. Frau SUCHER first rate as the Irish Princess Isolde. Herr ALVARY plays Her Tristan; good, but not great. All vary well. As Kurwenal, Herr KNAPP, in spite of his name, kept everyone awake, and did his very best; in fact, "went Knapp."
Fraeulein RALPH was charming as Braugaene, and her manner of inducing the Princess of the Most Distressful Country to take to the bottle—KINAHAN's L.L.L.—deserved the encore which she ought to have received. No matter—Fraeulein RALPH played with spirit, which is a dangerous thing to do as a rule. House crammed: not packed.
Thursday.—Long live the Don! Vive MOZART! Don Giovanni's taste as to ladies changed as he grew older. The two musical Duchesses who accompany Don Ottavio when he is singing are usually, fine and large; but Zerlina, the Don's latest fancy, is petite. Why does Signor CARACCIOLO make Masetto an idiotic old bumpkin? EDOUARD DE RESZKE is admirable as the cowardly Leporello, and MAUREL fine as the Im-maurel Don. With what an air he salutes Zerlina! The air is MOZART's "La ci darem," and therefore perfect. ZELIE DE LUSSAN delightful as that arrant flirt Zerlina. The Statue was rather in the dark. The Stalls couldn't see him "noddin', nid nid noddin'." Let Sir DRURIOLANUS look to this, and say to the Limelighter, quoting GOETHE, "More light! More light!"
Friday.—Carmen. Commend me at once to Madame DESCHAMPS-JEHIN as Carmen. Her name is too long, and there's a little too much of her, figure-ratively speaking. A trifle over-size for quite an ideal Carmen, but then Madame D.-JEHIN is so good that we cannot have too much of her. Acting excellent. Madame EMMA EAMES EMMA-nently first-rate as Michaela. We all know JEAN DE RESZKE'S Don Jose, which up to now is hard to beat; so for LASSALLE as Escamillo,—the great song encored, of course. Signor CARACCIOLO as Dancairo (of a mixed race, Irish Dan and Egyptian Cairo—a regular Bohemian), and RINALDINI as Remendado, capital, not overdone. Mlle. BAUERMEISTER as Frasquita, and AGNES JANSON as Mercedes, looked winning, especially when playing cards.
Saturday.—Cavalleria Rusticana. Most appropriate when everybody is talking of the elections and "going to the country."
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GIRLS OF THE PERIOD.
(From Miss Mary Logic to Miss Rosa Blackbord.)
MY DEAR ROSA,
I fancy I told you that my Uncle JACK was coming home from sea. I had not seen him for six years—in fact he left England when I was a child of four or so. As you know, I am now ten. I naturally was rather curious to meet him. Well he is here, and I am fairly puzzled. He is rather a nice fellow—partly educated. He is distinctly shaky with his Classics, and has evidently forgotten half his Mathematics. However we got on pretty well. He seemed to be interested in my lecture upon Astronomy, and said "I seemed to be a hand at Chemistry." Well so I am. As you know, when I was a mere child I was always fond of experiments of an analytical character. He asked me if I had a doll, and I suppose he referred to the old lay-figure that I was wont to sketch before I took to studying from the nude. And now you will ask, why I am writing to you, when both you and I are so busy—when we are both preparing for matriculation? When we have so little spare time at our disposal?
I will tell you. The fact is, he accuses me of ignorance in the biographical section of my studies. He gave me the history of a gentleman who used a blue dye for his moustache and murdered his wives with impunity. Then he related the adventures of a lady who slept for a hundred years from the wound of a spinning needle. I had to confess (although a constant reader of the Lancet) I had never heard of the case before. Then he recounted the adventures of a traveller who seems to have had a life of considerable interest. This person obtained quite a number of diamonds, with the assistance of a huge bird called a Roc. Then he had much to say about a dwarf who defeated (in really gallant style) several men of abnormally large stature. He laughed when I had to confess that I had never heard of these people before. He gave me their names. The wife-slaughterer was called Bluebeard; the lady who slumbered for a hundred years, The Sleeping Beauty (I suppose she preferred to keep her anonymity); the traveller's name was Sindbad, and the dwarf was Jack the Giant-Killer. Have you heard of any of these people?
Your affectionate Cousin, MARY.
(Reply to Same, from Miss Rosa Blackbord.)
MY DEAR MARY,
As you are many weeks my junior (to be precise, exactly two months), I hasten to answer your letter. I have searched all my Biographical Dictionaries, but cannot find the people of whom you are in search. As for myself, I have never heard of Bluebeard, know nothing of The Sleeping Beauty, and am sceptical of the existence of Sindbad and Jack the Giant-Killer. Like Mrs. Prig, who doubted the existence of Mrs. Harris, "I don't believe there were no such persons." By the way, you ought to read DICKENS. He is distinctly funny, and I can quite understand his amusing our grandmothers. I generally turn to his works after a long day with HOMER or EURIPIDES.
Your affectionate Cousin, ROSA.
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"NE PLUS ULSTER."—Decidedly, Ulster can't go beyond "its last," or rather, its latest, most utter utterances. So far, "words, words, words;" but from words to blows there is a long interval, especially when their supply of breath having been considerably exhausted, there is not much to be feared from their "blows." However, so far, the men with Ulsterior views have been patted on the back by the Times, and "approbation from Sir HUBERT STANLEY is praise indeed." Yet, had the meeting been of Nationalists! "But," as Mr. KIPLING's phrase goes, "that is another story." For, from the Times leader-writer's point of view, "that in the Orangeman's but a choleric word which in the Nationalist is rank blasphemy." However, the steam is let off through the spout, and by the time the Nationalist's dream of Home Rule is realised, all efforts to the contrary on The part of gallant little Ulster will probably be "Ulster vires."
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ADVICE GRATIS.—DEAFNESS. (To "EXPERIMENTALIST.")—Yours seems a peculiar form of this painful complaint. We cannot understand why you should feel "as if wind were always coming from your left ear." Try blowing into the ear with the bellows three times a day. It may drive the wind back. For the "fulness, throbbing, &c.," we should advise ramming a good-sized darning-needle as far as it will go into the orifice. After that—or even before—it might be best to consult a competent medical man.
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"WHEN GREEK MEETS GREEK;"
OR, MANOEUVRING FOR A HOLD.
Ye who have read in HOMER's mighty song How sage ULYSSES, AJAX towering strong, Met at the funeral games on Trojan sands, With knotted limbs and grip of sinewy hands, To wrestle for the prize, attend, draw near, And a new tale of coming tussle hear!
When great ACHILLES called them to the lists, Those men of massive thews and ponderous fists, "Scarce did the chief the vigorous strife propose, When tower-like AJAX and ULYSSES rose. Amid the ring each nervous rival stands Embracing rigid with implicit hands." Now Greek meets Greek again, but wrestling now Is not as on old Ilion's shore, I trow; Not now the olive crown, the long-wool'd sheep, Is prize; 'tis Power they strive to win and keep. By diverse dodges and by novel "chips," Subtler "approaches," and more artful "grips," The rival champions strive to lock and fell, Gallia's devices, found to answer well In wary onset and in finish slow, Old Attic swiftness, seen in hold and throw. Supplement or supplant. When AJAX stood Before ULYSSES, neither seemed in mood For long manoeuvring. To the clutch they came With sinews of snap-steel and souls of flame. "Close lock'd above, their heads and arm are mix'd; Below their planted feet at distance fix'd: Like two strong rafters, which the builder forms Proof to the wintry winds and howling storms; Their tops connected, but at wider space Fix'd on the centre stands their solid base." So in old days. Now wrestlers shift like snakes, And dodge a la DUBOIS, for mightier stakes Than olive, parsley, or the champion's belt Can furnish forth. Long time hath it been felt That two superior champions, age-long foes, At last must come to a conclusive close. "Defiled with honourable dust they roll, Still breathing strife, and unsubdued of soul; Again they rage, again to combat rise,"— For one must win; these cannot share the prize. Great GLADSTONIDES—place allow to age!— A chief of seasoned strength and generous rage, Fell, at their last encounter, to the skill Of him the swart of look, the stern of will, Broad-shouldered SALISBURION. Such defeat Valiant and vigorous veteran well might fret. He erst invincible, the Full of Days, The Grand Old One, full-fed with power and praise. ACHILLES-NESTOR, to no younger foe, Because of one chance slip and casual throw, The Champion's Belt is ready to resign; Nor may his foe the final fall decline. So "Greek meets Greek" in wrestling rig once more. Not AJAX or ULYSSES sly of yore, Nor modern STEAD MAN, JAMESON, or WEIGHT, Was e'er more eager for the sinewy fight. Much time is spent in "getting into grips." Mark how each wrestler crouches, feints, and slips! Mark how they circle round and round the ring, Like wary "pug," like tiger on the spring, Cautious as one, though as the other bold, Eye, foot, and hand manoeuvring for a hold! And when indeed they close in mutual clutch, And put the champion honours to the touch, Strain every muscle, try each latest "chip," Which man shall first relax his sinewy grip, Be hiped, back-heeled, cross-buttocked, or bored down,— That's just the question that now stirs the town. The funeral games of a dead Parliament Bring every hero eager from his tent: Say, will ULYSSES, for his art renown'd, O'erturn the strength of AJAX on the ground? Or will the strength of AJAX overthrow The watchful caution of his artful foe? Will SALISBURION fairly hold his own, Or be by white-lock'd GLADSTONIDES thrown? All ask, all wonder much, but who may say? "Another story" that, and for another day!
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MRS. RAMSBOTHAM's attention was directed to a letter in the Standard, of June 14, headed:—"Nancy and the Cambridge Delegates." She supposes that "this is another Spinning House case like that of DAISY HOPKINS and the Cambridge Undergraduates." Mrs. M. is indignant. "Delegate, indeed! most in-delegate I call it."
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INHARMONIOUS COLOURS.—"It is understood," observes the Observer, "that Mrs. BROWNE-POTTER and Mr. BELLEW part company." Evidently BROWNE and B(EL)LEW don't go well together. Even the Potter's Art cannot effect a successful blend.
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A "DEGREE BETTER."—Why should not a bankrupt who has successfully passed his examination be granted a degree, and add "C.B." ("Certificated Bankrupt") to his name?
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SLY OLD SOCRATES!
(A FRAGMENT FROM THE VERY NEWEST "REPUBLIC.")
Thrasymachus-Shiptonides (after introducing a Deputation). What we demand is a legal reduction of the hours of labour, and what we want of you, SOCRATES, is your invaluable aid in getting it.
Socrates (smiling). Most heartily do I wish you may get it—in both cases. But how say you; is the principle of permanence in a state or community, or class, best effected by harmony, or as it were, unity of action in all its members?
All (after looking at each other, and rubbing their chins). How not, SOCRATES?
Socrates (rubbing his hands). Entirely so! And your class then are unanimous in favour of a legal reduction of the hours of labour?
Thrasymachus-Shiptonides (bothered). Well—ahem!—hardly so, perhaps. But (valiantly), at least three-quarters of a million who met in the Park gathering at sixteen platforms, were substantially agreed.
Socrates. Humph! Over forty-six thousand to each platform. That's a far greater number than even I ever addressed. How did you count them, or ascertain their views?
Thrasymachus-Shiptonides (flustered). Well, I've had twenty years' experience of mob-mustering, and I think I ought to know.
Polemarchus-Steadmanides. But will you, SOCRATES, give us your opinions of the opinion of these three-quarters of a million.
Socrates (laughing). By Hercules! that were a task more tremendous than all his Labours.
Cephalus-Pearsonides (aside). By Vulcan, this is his wonted irony. He never inclines to answer a question forthrightly, but to use irony, or evasion, or what the Hibernians call "shenanigan," rather than answer, if anyone asks him anything.
Thrasymachus-Shiptonides (aside, hastily). Yes, yes! But you must not tell him that, here and now!
Socrates (blandly). Friends, as you suggest that the proceedings should be of a conversational or dialectical nature, a plan which falleth in with my views also, I will, if you please, catechise you categorically, so as to get further into the interior of the question, and of your—ahem!—minds.
Of this catechising, the reporter gives the following condensed summary.
Do you suggest that I should turn my back on myself? No, that would be rude. Or give myself away? Nay, that were—unthrifty. Can two solid things occupy the same space at the same time? By Zeus, no! Home-Rule—a very solid thing—fully occupies my mind—for the present. When a Gladstone-bag is full, can you put more into it? By Mercury, no! But could you not reconsider the packing! Not if the contents consist of one article only. You would like me to pack it with your Eight Hours' Bill? Prodigiously! Your strong personality, would push forward even a worse thing. How near are you to unanimity? As near as considerable difference of opinion will allow us to come. Is an unascertained minority to coerce an unwilling majority? Our Council has not discussed that? Do you know the relative proportions of majority and majority in organised and unorganised trades; how their respective opinions are to be ascertained, and, if ascertained, how legally enforced; if, and how, two millions and a half are to commit eleven millions to certain binding laws, and involve them in legal consequences? No! Yes! Hardly! Not quite! More or less! Well, we're not quite sure, &c., &c.
Socrates (smiling). Now, tell me, THRASYMACHUS, is this the "harmony, or, as it were, unity of action," on which only, as we agreed, we could found "the principle of permanency in a state or community?"
Thrasymachus-Shiptonides (hurriedly). Well, what you say, SOCRATES, is very nice, and clear, and logical, and conclusive, in an argumentative sense, and your attitude is very noble and high-and-mighty—I mean highminded and all that. And we're very grateful—but deeply disappointed that you couldn't say something quite different—in view of the General Election, you know! (Meaningly.)
Socrates (mildly, but firmly). It is not my political duty to say pleasant things all round, but to ascertain—and tell—the Truth.
All (deferentially). Well, we are all tremendously thankful! (aside) for small mercies! Logic scores in argument, but votes tell at the poll. And if we do not run at least a hundred Labour Candidates to enlighten you as to our "unanimity," call us—items! [Exeunt.
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Matinees of Peril are advertised at the Haymarket. Most Matinees deserve this description.
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THE ARCHDEACON ANSWERED.
[At the Annual Meeting of the Curates' Augmentation Fund, Archdeacon KAYE, of Lincoln, urged the desirability of imposing some limitation to the number ordained to the Ministry of the Church of England, as three-fifths of the Clergy were in poverty.]
"Oh, sad indeed it is to think," Quoth good Archdeacon KAYE, "That though our Clergy are so 'High,' So low should be their pay!
"They fly to money-lenders' lures, To speculative chances; Advancement they appear to lack. And so they get advances.
"This 'Discipline of Clergy' Bill On us is rather rough; Surely the bills our tradesmen bring Are discipline enough!
"A fresh supply of Rectories Must really soon be found; All would be square, if once there were Sufficient to go round.
"To get the Clergy out of their Pecuniary holes, The sole and only cure I see Would be—a Cure of Souls!
"'One man, one Vicarage!'—the cry To stir a thoughtless nation; But just at present let us try Restricted Ordination!"
"Free Trade in Curates!" shout our girls, Responsive from their pew; "You say there are too many, but We know there are too few!
"Think of the budding Candidates For Orders, whom, no doubt, This limiting of out-put would Excessively put out!
"If Curates now are destitute, A brighter future beacons; 'Tis only fair that all should share The stipends of Archdeacons!"
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J.L.T. (to Dr. Irving). "I SAY, HENRY,—'SCUSE MY GLOVE,—I'VE BEEN A DON MYSELF, DON'TCHERKNOW. I CAN GIVE YOU A TIP OR TWO ABOUT PLAYING THE PART!"]
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A GIFTED BEING.—The Daily Telegraph of June 11, in giving us some news from Cambridge about the Mathematical Tripos, had this paragraph—
"The Senior Wrangler, Mr. PHILIP HERBERT COWELL, son of Mr. H. COWELL, Privy Council Bar, was born in 1870, and was previously educated at Rev. E. St. JOHN PARRY's School, Stoke, Slough."
Now didn't such a start in life as being educated "previously" to being "born," give Mr. COWELL a somewhat unfair advantage over the other competitors? Very few come into the world with such a chance. "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them," says SHAKSPEARE. But to come into the world, like MINERVA, armed College-cap-a-pie, is, as Dominie Sampson would have said, "Pro-di-gi-ous!"
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, June 13.—House filled up in marvellous style to-night. Through all last week Benches nearly empty; the few Members present sunk in depths of depression. To-night, scene changed; Benches crowded; buzz of conversation testified to ill-repressed excitement. Mr. G., amongst others, back in his place. "And looking uncommonly fit too," says FRANCIS GEORGE, Viscount BARING; "not at all sure he won't, after all, outlive Our JOE. At any rate, he's in fine condition for the little mill that's coming off."
What everyone gathered to hear was Prince ARTHUR's views as to date of Dissolution. He has, up to now, successfully maintained attitude of absolute ignorance that Dissolution is even pending. Up to to-night the blessed word on everyone's tongue has not passed his lips. When, a fortnight ago, Mr. G. diplomatically approached topic, the Prince, with charmingly puzzled look, talked of something else. Nearest approach he can bring himself to make to topic, is to refer to arrangements of public business. This afternoon, when he stood at Table, a ringing cheer went up from serried hosts of Ministerialists; answered by closed-up ranks of Opposition. "Ha! ha!" said STUART, scenting the battle from afar, "that is the first challenge and reply in the great fight. Soon as BALFOUR's finished I shall take the Shoreditch 'bus, and look up my Constituents at Hoxton."
Prince ARTHUR, with eyebrows slightly raised, stood waiting for opportunity to speak; evidently marvelling at this unwonted and unaccountable outburst of clamour. When it ceased, he observed, quite incidentally, that perhaps it would be convenient for him to make a statement "as to prospects of concluding business before termination of the Session." The Session, note. Not the life of Parliament, nor anything to do with so disturbing a thing as Dissolution. Kept this up through long business statement; only at conclusion accidentally stumbled on the word, and then regarded the prospect as so uninteresting and immaterial, that he could not come nearer to its contemplation than an interval of seven days. Not before the end of one week, and not after the middle of another, was as near as he thought it worth while to approach such trifling contingency.
Business done.—A great deal.
Tuesday.—Quite touching to observe SQUIRE OF MALWOOD's friendly interest in progress of public Bills. GORST, in arranging business of Sitting, anxious not to appear too grasping, put down only limited number of Bills on Orders. "Why not put down all you've got?" the Squire asks, with mildly benevolent glance bent on Treasury Bench. "Supposing list is run through, there is end of your opportunity; whereas, if you put 'em all down you're ready to benefit by any accident, and may some night do wonderful stroke of business, working everything off."
Prince ARTHUR listens attentively, regarding with questioning look the Grand Grey Figure on other side of Table. "When I was at school," he says, "we were taught, in a foreign tongue, a maxim about fearing the Greeks when they brought presents. Not quite sure the right Hon. Gentleman is chiefly concerned for interests of Government and advance of public business. But I'll consider his suggestion."
Business advancing by leaps and bounds; attendance small; Opposition effaced itself; only CLARK and ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS take objection to anything. Being in Committee of Supply they naturally want to know about things. The Squire privily approaches them in turn and entreats them to desist, which they regretfully do. Presently trouble breaks out in fresh quarter. FERGUSSON takes opportunity on Post Office Vote to ask Candidates at forthcoming Election to ignore appeal made to them by Telegraph Clerks for pledge to vote for Select Committee to inquire into working of Telegraph service. Says Mr. G. and Squire concur with him in his protest. This brings up GEORGE HOWELL, big with indignation at what he calls "a conspiracy against the Working Men of the country." HARRY LAWSON and STOREY join in. FERGUSSON sorry he spoke; didn't mean anything; Opposition mollified; vote agreed to.
Business done.—Supply closed.
Thursday.—Mr. G. hurried in just now, a little late. Been these two hours at Carlton Gardens wrestling with representatives of the British workman on Eight Hours' Question. A little out of breath with skipping upstairs and running along corridor to be in time. Otherwise, as fresh as if his afternoon had been spent lounging on lawn at Dollis Hill, where the other night the Archbishop of CANTERBURY went to dine with him. Wants to know about the date of Dissolution. It will be convenient, he says, "at least, for those who have youth and vigour sufficient again to submit themselves to the constituencies." Mr. G.'s face wrinkled into smile as he uttered this witticism. House spontaneously burst into cheer as hearty on the Conservative side as with Opposition.
Rattling on with business. SPEAKER out of breath with putting the question and declaring "the Ayes have it." Irish Education Bill not only passed Committee, but reported and read a Third Time. SEXTON sits content, having done good stroke of work in amending Bill. Managed affair with skill, address and indomitable perseverance. Resisted all temptation to make long speeches; pegged away at his Amendments, and carried the most important in teeth of the Ulstermen.
"All very well," said DUNBAR BARTON, "JACKSON giving way to those fellows, and Prince ARTHUR saying, as TOOLE does on the House-boat, 'Oh, it's nothing!' It may be nothing to him, but it's a good deal to us. MACARTNEY and I have done our duty. For myself I shall say no more. I was christened DUNBAR BARTON. Henceforth let me be known as DUM BARTON."
Business done.—More than ever.
Friday.—Met BROOKFIELD in corridor just now. Capital fellow BROOKFIELD, though not very well known in House, much less to fame outside. Was in the 13th Hussars; is now promoted to the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of 1st Cinque Ports Rifle Volunteers. Has sat for Rye these seven years, but never yet spoke. This the more remarkable since he is a trained student of art of public speaking; has, indeed, just written profound treatise on the business. FISHER UNWIN sent me copy from Paternoster Square. Sat up all night reading it. The speech of "our worthy Member," proposing "The Town and Trade of X," is thrilling. Another, put into the mouth of "the youngest bachelor present," responding for "the Ladies," makes your flesh creep. BROOKFIELD's idea novel and ingenious. Sets forth what he calls a conventional speech. This fills up Column A. In Column B. he comments on it, rather severely sometimes; in Column C. throws out suggestions which, duly followed, make speech perfect. All possible occasions are dealt with, whether responding for Bishop and Clergy, Army, Navy, Reserve Forces, House of Commons, or House of Lords. BROOKFIELD, moreover, goes behind the scenes; shows the wretched man who has to make speech preparing it. You see him making up his mind what he has to say; jotting down a note; revising it after asking everyone he meets what he thinks of it. Then you write out your speech; learn it off; get up to address company; things swim before your eyes; tongue cleaves to roof of mouth; and you sit down.
Admirable book: useful on all occasions of daily life; invaluable on eve of General Election. Surprised to find BROOKFIELD looking miserably dejected. Tell him he ought to be quite otherwise. Explains that, fact is, means to catch SPEAKER's eye. Parliament can't last many more days; hasn't made maiden speech yet; must do it now, or never; Rye getting anxious. Could I give him a few hints? With great pleasure; full of the subject. Begin at the beginning. Ideas; memoranda; methods: (a) The arrangement of speech, (b) the management of the voice, (c) attitude or gesture. On this last I am very particular. "Holding up one finger," I say, "is a favourite way of bespeaking special attention to some 'point' which you are trying to make; and waving the right hand, with outstretched arm, the forefinger leading, is an easy and not ungraceful method of illustrating the narrative portion of your speech. For the more vehement passages, a sudden flourish of the hand upwards, over your head, generally accompanies some aggressive, triumphant assertion, such as, 'I care not who he may be!' And a similar movement downwards, with both hands, would indicate some indignant complaint, such as, 'And never, from that day to this, have they fulfilled their promise.'"
"Excellent!" cried LEVESON-GOWER, who, as I spoke, involuntarily waved the right hand, the forefinger leading.
"Yes." said BROOKFIELD, looking a little more uneasy than before; "very clear, and to the point; but fancy—er—I've heard it before."
"Of course you have," I said. "It's in your book; see page 123. Mind you let me know when your speech in the House is coming off, After reading The Speaker's A B C, I wouldn't miss it for anything." Business done.—Dissolution postponed.
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HORACE IN LONDON.
TO A MINERAL WATER. (AD FONTEM BANDUSIUM.)
O well of Malvern, immaculate fountain; Worthy to blend with the Dew of the Mountain, To-morrow, thy rill, gushing brightly, SCHWEPPE shall aerate slightly;
SCHWEPPE (pronounced with an accent as spelt, Sir.) SCHWEPPE, purveyor of soda and seltzer, And potass (for gout in one's joint meant.) Unto the QUEEN, "by appointment."
Thee not the furnace of Sirius raging Touches; thy natural cool is assuaging, Unmixed, to the temperate classes, Mixed, for the thirst of wild asses.
Malvern, with me for thy rhapsodist, what'll Rival the sparkle of bard and of bottle— The bottle in cups effervescent, In couplets the bard, as at present.
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"LIKE NIOBE" (suggested advertisement for the Strand Theatre). Instead of boards up on which is inscribed, "House Full," "No Standing Room," and so forth, why not simply, "Niobe—all tiers" (full).
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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.