PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
NOVEMBER 12, 1892
THE GAME OF THE LITTLE HORSES.
(A SKETCH AT THE CASINO, DINARD.)
On either side of the circular Race-course, with its revolving metal horses, is a Green Table, divided into numbered squares, around which the Players, who are mostly English, are sitting or standing. A Croupier with his rake presides at each table. In an obscure corner of the balcony outside, Miss DAINTREE and her Married Sister have just established themselves. There is a Ball at the Casino, and the Orchestra are heard tuning up for the next dance.
The Married Sister. But SYLVIA, why have you dragged me out here to sit in the dark? I thought you were engaged for this?
Miss Daintree. So I am—to such a horrid little man. That's why I fled. He won't think of coming here after me!
The M.S. What made you give him a dance at all?
Miss D. JACK brought him up to me—so naturally I thought he was a dear friend of his, but it seems he only sat next to him at table d'hote, and JACK says he pestered him so for an introduction, he had to do it—to get rid of him. So like a brother, wasn't it?... Oh, AMY, he's coming—what shall I do? I know he can't dance a little bit! I watched him trying.
The M.S. Can't you ask him to sit it out?
Miss D. That's worse! Let's hope he won't notice us.—Ah—he has!
[Mr. CUBSON, a podgy young man with small eyes and a scrubby moustache, wearing a tailless evening-coat and a wrinkled white waistcoat, advances.
Mr. Cubson. Our dance, I believe? (The Orchestra strikes up.) Isn't that the Pas de Quatre? To tell you the truth, I'm not very well up in these new steps, so I shall trust to you to pull me through—soon get into it, y'know.
Miss D. (to herself). If I could only get out of it! (She rises with a look of mute appeal to her Sister.) We can go through this room. (They pass into the Salle des Petits Chevaux.) Stop one minute—I just want to see which horse wins. Don't you call this a fascinating game?
Mr. C. Well, I don't understand the way they play it here—too complicated far me, you know!
Miss D. (to herself). Anything to gain time! (Aloud.) Oh, it's quite simple—you just put your money down on any number you choose, and say "Sur le"—whatever it is, and, if it wins, you get seven times your stake.
Croupier. Tous sont payes—faites vos jeux, Messieurs,—les jeux sont partis!
Miss D. I know what I should do—I should back 7 this time. I've a presentiment he'll win.
Mr. C. Then why don't you back him?
Miss D. Because I don't happen to have brought any money with me.
Mr. C. Oh, I daresay I can accommodate you with a franc or two, if that's all.
Miss D. Thank you, I won't trouble you: but do back him yourself, just to see if I'm not right.
Croupier. Les jeux sont faits. Rien ne va plus!
Mr. C. (throwing a franc on the table). Sur le sept! (To Miss D.) I say, he's raked it in. What's that for?
Miss D. For the Bank, or Charity, or something—they always do that if you stake too late.
Mr. C. Swindle, I call it. And I should have won, too—it is 7. I've had enough of this—suppose we go and dance?
Miss D. Why, you're not going to give in already—after so nearly winning, too?
Mr. C. Ah, well, I'll have just one more go—and then we'll be off. I'm going to try the 9 this time. [He stakes.
Miss D. I should have gone on the 4—it's time one of the even numbers won again.
Mr. C. Oh, would you? All right, then. (To Cr.) Pas sur le neuf—le quatre. (The Croupier transfers the franc to 4.) They're off—can't tell the winner yet. Now they're slower—4's good—4's very good. See where he's stopped, not an inch from the post! This isn't half a bad game.
[A horse with a red flag at his head, labelled No. 9, creeps slowly up, and stops just ahead of 4.
Croupier. Neuf, impair, et rouge!
Mr. C. It's 9 after all—and I backed him first. (In an injured tone.) I should have won if you hadn't said that about 4!
Miss D. (with secret delight). I won't advise any more. What are you going to back?
Mr. C. We really ought to be dancing—but I'll try my luck once more on No. 4. I shall put on two francs this time.
Miss D. Shall you? How reckless! I heard someone say just now that No. 1 hasn't won for a long time.
Mr. C. I took your advice once too often. There—4's going to win—see how he's going round—no, he's passed.
[A horse with a yellow flag, labelled No. 1, stops close to the post.
Croupier. L'As, impair, et jaune!
Miss D. Didn't I tell you so?
Mr. C. You only said I hadn't won—not that he would. If you had spoken more plainly—! I don't think much of this game—I've dropped four francs already. How about that dance?
Miss D. (ironically). It would be rather a pity to go away without getting all that money back, wouldn't it?
Mr. C. (seriously). Perhaps it would. You're sure you're in no hurry about this dance?
Miss D. On the contrary!
Mr. C. Well, look here, I'm going to put on a five-franc piece this time—so be careful what you advise.
Miss D. Oh, I really couldn't undertake such a responsibility.
Mr. C. I shall follow this man then, and back five. (He does; the horses spin round, and the race is won by a horse with a tricoloured flag labelled No. 5.) There, I've done it without you, you see. (The Croupier pushes a heap of ivory counters towards him, which he takes up with trembling hands.) I say, I scooped in thirty-five francs over that! Not bad, is it? I'm glad I waited!
Miss D. Yes, it's better fun than dancing, isn't it?
Mr. C. Oh, lots—at least I didn't mean that quite—
Miss D. Didn't you? I did. What are you going to back next?
Mr. C. Well, I must just have one more turn, and then we'll go and get that dance over. I'm going to plunge this time. (He spreads his counters about the board.) There, I've put five francs on each colour and ten each on 8 and 9. You see, by hedging like that, you're bound to pull off something!
Miss D. (as the horses spin round). All the yellow flags are out of it.
Mr. C. Doesn't matter, 9's red, and he's going first-rate—nothing to beat him!
Miss D. Unless it's 5, and then you lose. (No. 5 wins again.) How unfortunate for you. 5 generally does win twice running, somehow.
Mr. C. (with reproach). If you had thought of that a little sooner, I shouldn't have lost twenty francs! (A player rises, and Mr. C. secures the vacant chair.) More comfortable sitting down. I must get that back before I go. I've got about twenty francs 'left, I'll put five on yellow, and ten on 9. (He does. Croupier. "Deux, pair, et rouge!") Only five left! I'll back yellow again, as red won last. (He does. Croupier. "Quatre, pair, et rouge!" He turns to Miss D. for sympathy.) I say, did you ever see such beastly bad—? A Frenchman (behind him). Plait-il? Mr. C. (confused). Oh, rien. I wasn't speaking to you, M'soo. (To himself.) Where on earth has that girl got to? She might have waited! She's gone back to the balcony! (He goes out in pursuit of her.) Oh, I say, Miss—er—DAINTREE, if you're ready for that "Pas de Quatre," I am. Hope I haven't kept you waiting.
Miss D. (sweetly). Not' in the very least. Are you sure you've quite finished playing?
Mr. C. As I 'ye lost all I'd won and a lot on the top of that, I should rather think I had finished playing.
Miss D. So has the Orchestra—quite a coincidence, isn't it? You were so absorbed, you see!—No, I won't keep you out here, thanks; my sister will take care of me.
Mr. C. (to himself, as he departs rather sheepishly). I've offended that girl—I could see she was wild at missing that Barn Dance. I wish I had danced it, I'm sure,—it would have saved me several francs. It was all her own fault. However, I'll ask her for a waltz another evening, and make it up to her that way. Confound those Petits Chevaux!
Miss D. AMY, he's gone,—and I haven't danced and I haven't sat out with him—and he can't' say it's my fault either! (She kisses her hand to the Petits Chevaux inside.) Thanks, ever so much, you dear little beasts!
* * * * *
THE BRUMMAGEM BIRDCATCHER.
(A LAY OF A LABOUR PROGRAMME.) AIR—"THE RATCATCHER'S DAUGHTER."
In Vestminster not long ago there dvelt a lad named JOEY; He vos not raised in Vestminster, but in a place more goey. At snaring birds he vos a dab, of eggs (and plots) a hatcher; And he vos called young Vistling JOE, the Brummagem Birdcatcher.
Young JOE of Grand Old VILL-I-AM, at fust vos pal most chummy, But second fiddle vos not quite the instrument for Brummy. Says he, "Old VILL vants his own vay, the vicked old vote-snatcher! But that arrangement vill not suit the Brummagem Birdcatcher!
"I am as artful, qvite, as he, and much more young and active; I've a sweet vistle of my own the birds find most attractive. My nets may be unauthorised, and my decoys not his'n; Vot odds, ven those decoys vill draw, those nets the birds imprison?
"VILLIAM's a old Monopolist, or vould be if I'd let him; But on this here pertikler field I'll lick him, that I'll bet him. I am a cove as hates the Nobs; I dearly loves my neighbour; And if I have a feeling heart it is for Honest Labour!
"VILLIAM's decoys are out of date but ven I'd shake and rummage'em He gets his back up like a shot. He's jealous of Young Brummagem! I'll set up on my own account; and I've a new half dozen Of nice decoys vich I am sure the shyest birds vill cozen.
"I am not arter nightingales, the pappy poet's darlings, I'm qvite content vith blackbirds brisk, and even busy starlings. The birds vot delve, vot track the plough, vot vatch the rustic thatcher, Are good enough—in numbers—for the Brummagem Birdcatcher.
"VILLIAM may lure his Irish larks, and redpoles, tits, and finches, Good British birds vill do for me. I'm vun as never flinches From spreading of my nets all vide; vot comes I can't determine, But I don't care for carrion-birds, I looks on 'em as wermin!
"And so I ups and spreads my nets. Vot if the birds see plainly? My vistle is so vondrous sveet, I shall not spread 'em wainly, Then, my decoys! Ah! them's the boys! In patience and in skill I am The cove to catch a big bird-batch, and qvite a match for VILL-I-AM!"
Old VILLIAM and young Vistling JOE are rivals, vot vere pardners! And some vill back the Brummyites, and some the Grand Old Harward'ners; But vichsoever from the fight of victory be the snatcher, The Midlands own a champion in the Brummagem Birdcatcher.
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"A ROYAL LINE" (IN THE BILLS).—The successor to King Henry the Eighth (at the Lyceum) will be King Lear the First. "Le Roi est mort! Vive le Roi!"
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The Baron pauses in the midst of his varied literary and philosophic studies to look into No. 46, Vol. iv., Part ii., of Our Celebrities, a publication which has been admirably conducted by the late and the present Count ASTROROG, which is the title, when he is at home, of the eminent photographer and proprietor of the Walery-Gallery. First comes life-like portrait of the stern Sir EDWARD W. WATKIN, on whose brow Time, apparently, writes no wrinkles, though Sir EDWARD could put most of us up to a few. Nor, strange to say, are there any lines on his countenance, probably because he has so many other lines, existing and contemplated, in his eye.
But 'tis not alone thy inky cloak, good Sir EDWARD, that attracts the Baron, nor is it the business-like profile of THOMAS DE GREY, sixth Lord Walsingham, Chairman of the Ensilage Committee, that gives the Baron matter for special admiration; but it is the perfectly charming portrait of "'DAISY PLESS' H.S.H. the Princess HENRY OF PLESS," which rivets the Baron's attention, and causes him to exclaim, "She is pretty, Pless her!" Miss CORNWALLIS WEST, but now a DAISY, now a Princess, came up as a flower at Ruthin Castle, and "in 1891 Prince HENRY OF PLESS," says the brief narrative written by A. BULL (an example of "a bull and no mistake") "wooed and won the beauty of the Season,"—lucky 'ARRY PLESS!—and then Prince 'ARRY took his bride to Furstenstein, in Silesia, "a fine schloss, with beautiful gardens and terraces,"—in short, "a Pleasaunce." Count ASTROROG may do, as he has done, many excellent photographic portraits, but this one will be uncommonly "hard to beat," and King of Photographers as he seems to be, it is not every day that he has so charming a subject as Princess DAISY presented to him. Receive, Count ASTROROG-WALERY, of the Walery-Gallery, without any raillery, the congratulations most sincere of the
BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
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"THE PLAYERS ARE COME!"
First Player (who has had a run of ill-luck). I'm regularly haunted by the recollection of my losses at Baccarat.
Second Player. Quite Shakspearian! "Banco's" Ghost.
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CONVERSATIONAL HINTS FOR YOUNG SHOOTERS.
LUNCH (continued).—How delightful it is to awaken interest in the female breast, to make the heart of lovely woman go pit-pat, as her eyes read the words one's pen has written. Even in drawing-rooms and boudoirs, it seems, bright eyes have marked these attempts to teach a correct conversational manner to those who engage in game-shooting. Here is one letter of the hundreds that Mr. Punch has one by one pressed to his gallant lips with an emotion that might, perhaps, not have been expected from one of his years and discretion. But how shall time or caution prevail against universal love? The flame burns on with an unquenchable ardour. Beautiful beings, the Punch of your affections is true to you all. He takes you in a lump and loves you. He takes you singly and adores you, passionately but paternally. Here, therefore, is the letter:—
DEAREST MR. PUNCH,
We have all been so delighted to read your articles about shooting. I read them to Papa after dinner in the drawing-room. Mamma says she doesn't understand such matters; but, of course, things have altered very much since her young days, as she is always telling us. Now I want to ask your opinion about an important point. Do you think girls ought to go out and join the men at lunch? We all think it so delightful, but FRED, my eldest brother, makes himself extremely disagreeable about it—at least he did till last week, when EMILY RAYBURN, who is my very dearest friend, was staying with us. Then he told me we might come for a change, but we were to go home again directly afterwards. Generally he says that women are a bore out shooting. Please tell us, dear Mr. Punch, what you really think about it.
With much love, yours always,
P.S.—I am so glad you write the word "lunch," and not "luncheon." I told FRED that—but he went to Johnson's Dictionary, and read out something about "Lunch" being only a colloquial form of "luncheon." Still, I don't care a little bit. Dr. JOHNSON lived so long ago, and couldn't possibly know everything—could he?
My darling young lady, I reply, your letter has made a deep impression on me. Dr. JOHNSON did, as you say, live many years ago; so many years ago, in fact, that (as a little friend of Mr. Punch once said, with a sigh, on hearing that someone would have been one hundred and fifty years old if he had been alive at the present day) he must be "a orfle old angel now." The word "lunch" is short, crisp, and appetising. The word "luncheon" is of a certain pomposity, which, though it may suit the mansions of the great, is out of place when applied to the meals of active sportsmen. So we will continue, if you please, to speak of "lunch." And now for your question. My charming ROSE, this little treatise does not profess to do anything more than teach young sportsmen how to converse. I assume that they have learnt shooting from other instructors. And as to the details of shooting-parties, how they should be composed, what they should do or avoid, and how they should bear themselves generally—the subject is too great, too solemn, too noble to be entered upon with a light heart. At any rate, that is not my purpose here. It was rude—very rude—of FRED to say you were a bore—and I am sure it wasn't true. I can picture you tripping daintily along with your pretty companions to the lunch rendezvous. You are dressed in a perfectly fitting, tailor-made dress, cut short in the skirt, and displaying the very neatest and smallest pair of ankles that ever were seen. And your dear little nose is just a leetle—not red, no, certainly not red, but just delicately pink on its jolly little tip, having gallantly braved the north wind without a veil. To call you a bore is absurd. But men are such brutes, and it is as certain as that two and two (even at our public schools) make four, that ladies are—what shall I say?—not so popular as they always ought to be when they come amongst shooters engaged in their sport. Even at lunch they are not always welcomed with enthusiasm. This is, perhaps, wrong, for, after all, they can do no harm there.
But, darling ROSE, I am sure FRED was perfectly right to send you home again directly the meal was over, though it must have wrung his manly heart to part from EMILY RAYBURN. Even, I, the veteran sportsman Punch, have qualms when a poor bird has been merely wounded, or when a maimed hare shrieks as the dog seizes it. I cannot, as I say, discuss the ethics of the question. The good shot is the merciful shot. But, after all, in killing of every kind, whether by the gun or the butcher's knife, there is an element of cruelty. And therefore, my pretty ROSE, you must keep away from the shooting. Besides, have I not seen a good shot "tailor" half-a-dozen pheasants in succession, merely because a chattering lady—not a dear, pleasant little lump of delight like you, ROSE—had posted herself beside him, and made him nervous? By all means come to lunch if you must, but, equally by all means, leave the guns to themselves afterwards. As for ladies who themselves shoot, why the best I can wish them is, that they should promptly shoot themselves. I can't abide them. Away with them!
But, in order that the purpose of this work may be fulfilled, and the conversational method inculcated, I here give a short "Ladies-at-lunch-dialogue," phonographically recorded, as a party of five guns was approaching the place of lunch, at about 1:30 P.M.
First Sportsman (addressing his companion). Now then, TOMMY, my son, just smarten yourself up a bit, and look pretty. The ladies are coming to lunch.
Tommy (horror—struck.) What? The women coming to lunch? No, hang it all, you're joking. Say you are—do!
First Sp. Joking? Not I! I tell you six solid women are going to lunch with us. I heard 'em all talking about it after breakfast, and thinking it would be, oh, such fun! By the way, I suppose you know you've got a hole in your knickerbockers.
Tommy (looking down, and perceiving a huge and undisguisable rent). Good Heavens! so I have. I must have done it getting over the last fence. Isn't it awful? I can't show like this. Have you got any pins?
[The Keeper eventually promises that there shall be pins at the farm-house.
Another Sportsman (bringing up the rear with a companion). Hope we shan't be long over lunch. There's a lot of ground to cover this afternoon, and old SYKES tells me they've got a splendid head of birds this year, I always think—(He breaks off suddenly; an expression of intense alarm comes over his face.) Why, what's that? No, it can't be. Yes, by Jingo, it is. It's the whole blessed lot of women come out to lunch, my wife and all. Well, poor thing, she couldn't help it. Had to come with the rest, I suppose. But it's mean of CHALMERS—I swear it is. He ought not to have allowed it. And then, never to let on about it to us. Well, my day's spoilt, if they come on with us afterwards. I couldn't shoot an ostrich sitting with a woman chattering: to me. Miss CHICKWEED's got her eye on you. LLOYD. She's marked you. No good trying to do a ramp. You're nailed, my boy, nailed!
Lloyd. Hang Miss CHICKWEED! She half killed me last night with all kinds of silly questions. Asked me to be sure and bring her home a rocketing rabbit, because she'd heard they were very valuable. Why can't the women stay at home?
[They walk on moodily.
A few minutes later. Lunch has just begun.
Miss Chickweed (middle-aged, but skittish). Oh, you naughty men, how long you have kept us waiting! Now, Captain LLOYD, did you shoot really well? Or, were you thinking of—Well, perhaps I oughtn't to say. See how discreet I am. But do tell me, all of you, exactly how many birds you shot—I do so like to hear about it. You begin, Captain LLOYD. How many did you shoot? (Without waiting for an answer.) I'm sure you must have shot a dozen. Yes, I guess a dozen. And, oh, do give me a feather for my hat! It will be so nice to have a real feather to put in it. And we've got such a treat for you. MARY, you tell them. No, I'll tell them myself. If you're all very good at lunch, we're going to walk with you a little afterwards. There!
[But, at this awful prospect, consternation seizes the men. CHALMERS (the host) makes frantic signs to his wife, who (having, somehow, been "squared") affects not to see. A few desperate attempts are made to express a polite joy; but the lunch languishes, and, darkness closet over the melancholy scene.
* * * * *
A NAVAL INQUIRY.—The Howe and the why?
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THE VANISHING RUPEE.—A CRY FROM INDIA.
A Colonel laments the disappearance of the Rupee, and shows how, whenever he had a step up in his Regiment (each time growing in importance and having more calls on his purse), the Rupee at once took a step down, decreasing in importance and reputation.
As a "Sub," free from family ties, With constant "fivers" from the Pater, The Rupee I thought a goodly size, Though once its value was much greater.
Raised to Captain's rank, it so fell out I fell in love with the Station belle, Got spliced; the Rupee, at once, no doubt, In spite, not in love, but value fell.
Children came, money went, all U P, I thought, when promotion brought more pay (What luck!); but that slippery Rupee Decreased more visibly from that day.
Cramming! Schooling! Bills by every post! But now, as Colonel, I think I see My way; but I count without my host. Vanished, like a ghost, has the Rupee!
[Footnote 1: By this I do not mean the Barmaid who presides over the stale buns at our Railway Refreshment-room; I refer to the prettiest girl at the Military Station where I was quartered.]
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PREMIER AND PHYSICIAN.
(IMAGINARY REPORT OF AN UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE INTERVIEW.)
So you got through your labours at Oxford, my dear friend, without feeling any ill effects?—Certainly, never enjoyed myself more. Everyone paid the deepest attention. One Don actually used an ear-trumpet.
Well, and what do you intend doing next?—Oh, lots of things. You see my Parliamentary work is next to nothing—not a moment more than ten hours a-day. So I must do something with my spare time.
Certainly, I have no objection. But I should like to hear your programme.—I have only got it into form for a week or so. Before the end of the year I shall have it ship-shape. But say for November. Shall we say November?
Certainly. What do you propose doing in November?—Well, I think I shall retranslate the works of HOMER, and write an exhaustive article in the Encylopaedia Britannica (new edition) on the "Life of WELLINGTON."
And that is all? Well, and a fair amount, too!—All! What nonsense! Why, that will take me less than no time. Then I think I shall ascend Mont Blanc, so as to be able to see how the summit looks in winter. Then I shall translate the Waverley Novels into Swedish.
Well, you might be worse employed, but you must not overdo it.—Overdo it! Certainly not! Why, I am strong as a horse. And that reminds me, I think I shall attempt a long-distance ride on my own account. I feel sure that I can do better than those German and Austrian fellows.
Where do you propose to ride?—From John o' Groat's to the Land's End, I fancy, will be the course. I ought to do it in three days.
Of course you will use more than one horse?—Oh, certainly. No cruelty. And I think I shall try the walk myself on foot, just to see if a horse will be able to keep up with me.
And is there any other exploit that you contemplate?—I thought I might perhaps dine with the new Lord Mayor.
What! dine with the new Lord Mayor! Why, you would never be able to bear the strain; the great exertion!—I was half afraid you might say this, so I have written and respectfully declined the invitation!
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Here's a pretty fine business, my MAGOG!!! Where are we a-drifting to now? These here tears in my eyes you must twig; I detect the glum gloom on your brow. Most natural, MAGOG, most natural! Loyal old giants, like us, Must be cut to the heart by these times, which they get every year wus and wus! It's Ikybod, MAGOG; I see it a-written all over the shop. Our glory's departed, old partner. And where is it going for to stop? That Feast of BELSHAZZER weren't in it for worritting warnings of woe; Which our beautiful Annual Banquet will soon not be worth half a blow. It's not half a blow-out as it is, not compared with old glorious gorges. I wish, oh I wish, MAGOG mine, we was back in the times of the GEORGES, Or even DICK WHITTINGTON's days, which for Giants was quite good enough; But they've spoilt all the good things of life with their Science, and Progress, and stuff. I see how it's drifting, dear MAGOG. The Munching House and the Gildhall. Did use to be London's fust pride. Is it so in these days? Not at all! Whippersnappers cock snooks at us, MAGOG; A ignerent pert L.C.C., To whom Calipash is a mistry, whose soul never loved Calipee, A feller elected by groundlings, who can't tell Madeira from Port, Some sour-faced suburban Dissenter—he, MAGOG, may make us his sport, Without being popped in the pillory! Proper old punishment that! As all the old punishments was. We're a-getting too flabby, that's flat. The gallows, the stocks, and the pillory kept rebel rascals in hor, But now every jumped-up JACK CADE, or WAT TYLER can give us his jor Hot-and-hot, without fear of brave WALWORTH's sharp dagger, or even a shower Of stones, rotten heggs, and dead cats. Yah! The People has far too much power With their wotes, and free speech, and such fudge. Ah! if GLADSTONE, and ASQUITH, and BURNS, And a tidy few more of their sort, in the pillory just took their turns, Like that rapscallion, DANIEL DEFOE, what a clearance he'd have of the cads Who worrit us out of our lives with Reform, and such humbugging fads!
Ah, GOG, I am quite of your mind! Which I don't mind admitting that KNILL To a Protestant Giant like me was the least little bit of a pill. Stillsomever, he's Lord Mayor now, and did ought to be backed up as such, For what City Fathers determine it ain't for outsiders to touch. But where are the Big Pots? The Banquet seems shorn of its splendour to-day. No Premier, nor no Foreign Sec., nor no Chancellor!!! Really, I say This is rascally Radical imperence! How can they dare stop away, From the greatest event of the year, when the words of ripe wisdom, well wined, Should fall from grave turtle-fed lips to make heasy the poor Public mind, As when PALMERSTON, DIZZY, and SALISBURY, spoke from that time-honoured Chair! And that GLADSTONE—he ain't no great loss!—but to think the Woodchopper should dare To neglect his fust duty like this!!! Oh! it's Ikybod, just as you say, My GOG. Civic glory's burst up, and the splendour of Lord Mayor's Day Is eclipsed by that L.C.C. lot and their backers. I'm full, GOG, of fears; The look-out's enough to depress us, and move the poor Turtle to tears. It's Ikybod, Ikybod, Ikybod! Oh, for the days that were gayer, No GLADSTONE, no ROSEBERY, no HARCOURT!!! Wy, next we shall have no Lord Mayor!
* * * * *
VERY CRUEL.—Mrs. R. was very much annoyed at something she said having been misreported by a friend. "I can't trust him," said the excellent Lady; "he twists and gargles everything I say."
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OFTEN TALKED ABOUT BUT NEVER SEEN.—"A Clean Sweep."
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THE MAN WHO WOULD.
I.—THE MAN WHO WOULD BE LAUREATE.
His name was LEGION. He had kept his eye on the Laureateship from his early boyhood, when he sent verses to the Poets' Corner of the Bungay Weekly Mail, which sometimes published them; then he cut them out, and pasted them neatly in a book, which he still possesses. He always wrote on an occasion. "Lines on the Recovery of My Sister EMILY from the Mumps"; "Dirge on the Decease of a Favourite Squirrel," beginning, "No more!" but there was always plenty more where that came from, and is still. At College he was one of the three men who wrote in College Rhymes, and secured for that periodical a circulation by taking a hundred copies each. LEGION sent dozens of his, marked, to every poet he heard of, generally addressing them "Dear ALURED" (if that was the Minstrel's Christian name), or, in verse, "Brother, my Brother, my sweet, swift Brother!" This annoyed some poets, who did not answer; others were good-natured, and would reply,—
"DEAR SIR,—I have to acknowledge, with many thanks, your Cebren and Paris, and anticipate much pleasure from its perusal."
LEGION kept all these letters in a book, and published some of them as advertisements of his Cebren and Paris (an unsuccessful Newdigate), when it appeared in a volume, with an astonishingly decorative cover. It was a classical piece, in blank verse. Cebren, the father of Oenone, is represented asking Paris what his intentions are as regards that lady. It was piece of classical genre, the author said: such interviews must have occurred when a young Trojan prince, with no particular expectations, paid marked attentions to the daughter of a River-god, like Cebren. Here is a specimen piece,—
"Now mark me, Paris," said the River-god, Seated among the damp lush water-weeds, His tresses crowned with crow's-foot,—"Mark my words, Thou dalliest with my daughter; what thine aim, I ask, and crave an answer—great thy line, The lineage of renowned Laomedon. Thy sires have wedded goddesses ere now. But wealthy though the House of Troy may be. Thy father has a monstrous family, Daughters and sons as countless as the rills That Ida sends to be my tributaries. What he can give thee, what thy prospects are, What settlements thou art prepared to make, If thou wouldst lead Oenone to the altar, This would I know; excuse an anxious sire!"
Then Paris murmured:— "Honourable but vague, Remote, but honourable, my purpose is:" And that great River-god arose in flood, Monstrous, and murmuring, and to the main. He swept the works of men and oxen down, And had not Paris climbed into a tree, He ne'er had crossed the ocean; never seen The fairest face that launched a thousand ships, And burned the topless towers of Ilium.
Some accused LEGION of plagiarising the last line and a half, which reminded them, they said, of MARLOWE. But he replied that great wits jump, that it was an accidental coincidence. The public, which rarely cares much for poetry, was struck by Cebren and Paris. "There is in it," said the Parthenon, "an original music, and a chord is struck, reverberating from the prehistoric years, which will find an answer in the heart of every father of a family." The Clergy at large quoted Cebren and Paris in their charges and sermons, and the work was a favourite prize at seminaries for young ladies. Consequently all the other poets, whom nobody buys, arose, and blasphemed Cebren and Paris in all the innumerable reviews. This greatly, and justly, added to the popularity of LEGION's book. He followed it up by Idylls of the Nursery, a volume of exquisite pieces on infants as yet incapable of speaking or walking. This had an enormous success among young newly-married people, an enthusiastic class of the community. At recitations you might hear—
Tootsy, wootsy, pooty sing, Mammie's darling, icky thing! Coral lips that fret the coral, Innocence completely moral. Sweet Babe, They say, Naught rhymes to Babe, In any lay Save "astrolabe,"— And Tippoo Saib! Oh, tiny face, And tiny feet, Oh, infant grace, So incomplete, Kiss me, my Sweet!
In sequence to these effusions, LEGION poured forth Ballades, and Rondeaux, and wrote a Chant Royal on a General Election which occupied a whole column of a newspaper, and needed three men to read, with a boy for the "envoy." But this ditty was not thought to have seriously affected the voting classes in any direction. LEGION was now usually spoken of as "the versatile Mr. LEGION," a compliment which never failed to annoy him hugely. Sated with popular applause, he turned into a vein of new poetry, and produced The Song of the Spud, which, his admirers averred was "racy of the soil." A grand English Opera, on the Pilgrimage of Grace, was performed, at immense expense, LEGION being the Librettist. It was patriotic, but not exactly popular. Still, with all these claims on his country, LEGION lived in hopes which were wofully disappointed; for, when his chance came at last, a Prime Minister of modern ideas declared that, as a Laureate is not useful, he must be ornamental. Now, neither LEGION, nor any of his rivals, could be called decorative, whatever they might have been in their youth. They needed laurels, for the same reason as JULIUS CAESAR. The wreath was therefore offered (by a Plebiscite conducted in a newspaper) to the young Lady-poet whose verses and photograph secured the greatest number of votes; the Laureate, in every case, to resign, on attaining her twenty-fifth birthday. The beautiful and accomplished Mrs. JINGLEY JONES triumphed in this truly modern competition, and her book was rushed into a sale of two hundred and fifty copies. After this check the writing of poetry ceased to attract male enterprise—to the extreme joy of Publishers and Reviewers; though the market for waste-paper received a shock from which it never rallied. The youthful male population of England determined never to become Poets, unless they were born Poets, a resolution on which, at all times, a minority of the race had acted, with the best results.
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"NOTES AND PAPER."—There is a lot of "paper" about from "Walker—London." No, Mr. JOHNNIE TOOLE, Sir, not your "paper," for your House is crammed and your "paper" is at a premium. But this particular WALKER, of Warwick House, London, sends forth "Society Stationery"—"which," as Mrs. Gamp would have said, "spelling of it with an 'a' instead of an 'e,' Society never is." Among the lot there's an "Antique Society Paper," which should be a Society Paper as old as the world itself, or it might be used by a Fossilised Fogey Club. WALKER & Co.'s new "Society Paper," whether antique or modern, is pretty and quite harmless—till pen and ink are at work on it; and then—but that's another story.
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COSTS AS THEY ARE AND WILL BE.
(TWO SCENES FROM A FARCICAL TRAGEDY SHOWING THAT SOME OF THE JUDGES' RECOMMENDATIONS MIGHT BE ADOPTED IMMEDIATELY.)
THE PRESENT (AS THEY ARE). SCENE—SOLICITOR'S PRIVATE ROOM. SOLICITOR AWAITING WEALTHY CLIENT. CLERK IN ATTENDANCE.
Solicitor. The lady is to be shown in the moment she arrives; and mind, I am not to be disturbed as long as she is here.
Clerk. Yes, Sir. [Exit.
Sol. Quite pleasant way of spending a morning. (Enter Client.) Ah, my dear lady, and how are you?
Client. Very well, thank you; but BOBBY is not so well, and as for MARY—
[Enters into long domestic details.
Sol. (in a sympathetic tone). Dear me! And what has given me the pleasure of seeing you here to-day?
Client. I only looked in to ask you how you thought our suit was going on?
Sol. Oh, capitally! You know, we have had several appointments before the Chief Clerk in Chambers, and—
[Enters into long explanation, bristling with technicalities.
Client (quite at sea). Dear me, what a complicated affair a Chancery suit is! I had no idea we should have to do all this. But won't it be very expensive?
Sol. (smiling). Well, yes; but it will all be paid out of the estate. You, my dear lady, won't have to pay anything for it—I mean out of your own pocket.
Client. Oh, that is delightful! Because you see with the carriages and the opera-box— And that reminds me, I think I shall give up the opera-box. Do you know last Season the music was magnificent, but quite too learned. I think— (Gives her views at great length upon the Opera, past, present and future. At the end of her remarks—) But how I do run on! I am afraid I am taking up your time.
Sol. Not at all. I have nothing particular to do, and our interview comes out of the estate. Now are you sure we can do nothing for you this morning? The last time you were here we got copies of all the orders for you. I hope you received them safely.
Client (laughing). Why, I do not think I have opened the packet! I came across a bundle the other day, and could not make out what it was, and laid it aside, because I saw your name upon it and thought it must have something to do with that troublesome Chancery suit.
Sol. (laughing). Well, my dear Madam, that parcel represented several pounds. However, it doesn't matter; you won't have to pay for it, as it will come out of the estate. And now, what can we do for you? Have you looked into the accounts carefully?
Client. No, and I am rather fond of figures.
Sol. Then we will send you a copy for, say, the last five years.
Client. Shall I be able to make them out?
Sol. You ought to be able to do so, my dear Madam. They will be prepared by a leading firm of Accountants, and we will check them ourselves before we send them to you. Is there anything else?
Client. No thanks—I think not. And now I must say good-bye. I am ashamed to take up so much of your valuable time.
Sol. Not at all. I shall be amply remunerated out of the estate. (Exit Client. Solicitor gives his Clerk the heads for six folios of a bill of costs, and then observes—) Not a bad morning's work!
THE FUTURE (AS THEY WILL BE). SCENE—THE SAME. SOLICITOR AND CLERK DISCOVERED.
Sol. Now mind, on no account is she to be admitted. She talks about all sorts of things and takes up my time dreadfully, and now the Court won't pass "luxurious costs," and objects to payment out of the estate, I can charge nothing. So mind, she is not to be admitted.
Clerk. Very good, Sir. [Exit.
Sol. Yes. At my very busiest time, when every moment is valuable! (Enter Client.) What you, my dear Madam! I really am too busy to attend to you this morning.
Client (astonished). Why you said you were always pleased to see me!
Sol. But that was before the Judges' recommendations were adopted. Nowadays we must not let you run up costs until we have explained to you in writing what you are about. And as all you say will come out of your own pocket, and not out of the estate, it is only fair to warn you.
Client. What, out of my own pocket! Then I shall be off.
Sol. Sorry to give up our pleasant conversations, but they run into money. (Exit Client, when the Solicitor shakes his head to the Clerk who has brought his rough draft of costs, and to which nothing now can be legally added, and observes—) Not a good day's work!
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THE BOOM-DE-AY POET.
["Mr. RICHARD MORTON, the author of "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay," has been called to prove what would be a reasonable figure for the whole proprietary rights of a song."—Times Law Reports, Nov. 3rd.]
He came before the public t'other day!— The Author of "Ta-ra-ra-Boom-de-ay!" 'Twas in a case before Judge GRANTHAM brought (It should have been in Justice "COLLINS'" Court) When the Inspired Bard the Jury faced. As he within the witness-box was placed. He told us how his Pegasus would fly From plain (two guineas) up to (ten) the sky! But for the song he wrote for LOTTIE fair We hope he was a-Lottie'd a large share In all its earnings. May it not be long Ere he produce another catching song; But should he fail, then when the poet's clay Be laid to rest, it will suffice to say, "Vixit. He wrote 'Ta-ra-ra-Boom-de-ay!'"
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MRS. R., on hearing that a Cricket-team, though not first-rate, had a leaven of good players, inquired how they could have more of them.
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Covent Garden, Tuesday, Nov. 1st.—Tristan und Isolde. About the dullest thing that even a much-enduring Wagnerite ever heard. Glass down to zero.
Wednesday.—Glass up again. Orfeo with the two RAVOGLI and the marvellous BAUERMEISTER as Cupid. Wonderful little lady BAUERMEISTER-singer! I've said it before, and I repeat it emphatically, BAUERMEISTER is "a little treasure" to an Operatic Manager. MASCAGNI's Cavalleria Rusticana was the second course to-night, in which this adaptable lady, the Cupid of the first piece, appeared as old heart-broken grey-haired Lucia, the mother of the gay Turiddu. Were Sir AUGUSTUS inclined to introduce a little light English jocosity into this serious Opera, he might give a line to the implacable Alfio, saying, "I've come to rid you of Turiddu!" If MASCAGNI had heard this, he would have composed an additional Intermezzo expressing the whole force of the idea.
Thursday.—Carmen expected, but tenor off colour, so change of air (or should say airs) recommended, and adopted. Audience sent to the country, or, rather, Rusticana brought to them.
Friday.—House crammed. Great excitement to hear MELBA as Aida, the darky girl. Everybody delighted, except perhaps MELBA herself, who, on seeing the bouquets, must have murmured, "Trop de fleurs!" Everybody good. Quite the best night of the Season. To-night BAUERMEISTER appears as Sacerdotessa. So this week she has been Cupid, an old Peasant woman, Frascita, a Brigand's Young Woman; and then, being repentant, she finishes as a Priestess! It's a whole life-time in a few days.
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LADY GAY'S DETECTION.
Berkeley Square, W.
MR. PUNCH, Sir,
I am surprised to find a Journal of your standing lowering itself to follow the example of the so-called "Society Journals" by inserting contributions from women!—I have discovered, no matter how, that My Wife, who always declares she hates letter-writing, has for months past contributed a long weekly letter to Punch, dealing with racing from a humorous (save the mark!) point of view! Now I never make jokes myself—at least intentionally—nor do I think it becomes a man of position to do so—and I quite agree with SWIFT or SHERIDAN (I know it was one of these infernal clever literary chaps) who said, "A humorous woman is a delusion and a snare!"—so you may imagine my disgust at finding My Wife writing for a Journal!—why couldn't she have asked Me to help her?—and signing her articles anonymously too!—for I need hardly tell you she is no more "GAY" than I am!—at all events when in my society!
Like most busy idlers (that is not intended for a joke)—I go racing a bit, and of course "have a bit on" like other people, and having tried all the turf-prophets in turn, with unsatisfactory results, I was delighted to hear from a friend that "a new DANIEL had come to judgment" in the person of a tipster on Punch, who was "wonderful good"—(it was just the time when she did blunder on to a winner)—and I made up my mind to follow the new Prophet DANIEL; but, by Jove! it resulted in a loss, and DANIEL landed me among the lions in no time! These are not jokes, but sober facts—I plunged heavily on all the "Selections," and am now in the pleasant position of owing the Ring a substantial sum in addition to "the old," through following My Wife's advice—whilst her banking-account is considerably augmented through having laid against her own tips! This may be humorous, but as i said, I don't approve of humour when exercised on myself!
I laughed most consumedly at some of her articles, but on looking them over again—(she has kept the lot, pasted in a book—a monument to my fatuity!)—I don't think so much of them now I know she wrote them, and see that I could have made numberless valuable suggestions had she only seen fit to consult me! Of course I could stop any further contribution on her part, but consideration for your readers (?) prevents that—to say nothing of her determination to continue—so I have therefore consented to her odd whim, on the condition that in future I "edit" her contributions;—I need hardly assure you that I shall confine my "editing" strictly to these limits, and that your own Editor need be under no apprehension as to my usurping his place,—ably as I should, no doubt, fill it!
My Wife begs me to follow her example, and conclude with a verse—(I don't know where she picked up such a bad habit)—but—while bowing to her wishes—(I am always polite)—to a certain extent, I absolutely decline to make the verse other than blank!
Believe me, Yours obediently, CHARLES POMPERSON (Bart.).
I must confess that if compelled To write for any Journal, I should prefer as a matter of choice To write for Punch!
[On a slip of paper found in Sir CHARLES's envelope, we have the following from our valued contributress—[ED.]:—"DEAR MR. PUNCH,—I am too upset to write—you shall hear from me next week. Tours as devotedly as ever,—LADY GAY."]
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ANECDOTAGE.—Mr. Punch one day was reading aloud from a book of anecdotes when Mr. WEEDON GROSSMITH was present. "What rot!" observed the representative of Lord Arthur Pomeroy. And Mr. Punch agreed with him.
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PICTURING THE VARIOUS MODES OF MELODRAMATIC MURDER. (BY OUR "OFF-HIS"-HEAD POET.)
NO. II.—THE POISON MURDER.
Sit close to your friend, for a frightful end Is at hand for the miser Jew! Sit tight to your seat while the pulses beat— Nestle close to your neighbour, do! For he'll perish, alas! From a property glass Filled with nothing whatever—neat!
He's there by himself, counting piles of pelf Of a counterfeit gamboge hue. He's wizened and dried like old Arthur Gride, That the novelist DICKENS drew. In the midst of his heaps, He conveniently sleeps With his glass at his right-hand side!
Keep watch on the door while he snores his snore— See it open a foot or two! Oh! well is it planned! for the wobbling hand Of the villain, with bottle blue, Knows at once where to pass To the property glass Of the melodramatic brand!
The murderer goes; the Jew's eyes unclose, And they look for his liquor true! Sit tight while the treat is at fever heat; For I saw by that bottle blue, And I knew by its label too, That the stuff it contained, If by anyone drained, Must prove fatal if taken neat!
The poison he lifts, and the lot he shifts! Oh! unfortunate miser Jew! What use is your gold, now your time is told, And your moments in life are few? You may writhe where you sit Like an eel in a fit, But you'll die like the Jews of old! You may struggle a lot, And get awfully hot, But you'll have to lie stiff and cold! You may wriggle no end, But you're a dead 'un, my friend— Till the Curtain is quite unrolled!
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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.