PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
OCTOBER 29, 1892
IMPRESSIONS OF "IL TROVATORE."
(BY A MATTER-OF-FACT PHILISTINE AT COVENT GARDEN.)
ACT I. SCENE 2.—Leonora's confidant evidently alive to the responsibilities of her position. Watch her, for example, when her Mistress is about to confide to her ear the dawn of her passion for Manrico. She walks Leonora gently down to the footlights, launches her into her solo, like a boat, and stands aside on the left, a little behind, with an air of apprehension, lest she should come to grief over the next high note, and a hand in readiness to support her elbow in case she should suddenly collapse. Then, feeling partially reassured, she goes round to inspect her from the right, where she remains until her superior has completed her confidences, and it is time to lead her away. Operatic confidant sympathetic—but a more modern heroine might find one "get on her nerves," perhaps. Manrico a very robust type of Troubadour—but oughtn't a Troubadour to carry about a guitar, or a lute, or something? If Manrico has one, he invariably leaves it outside. Probably doesn't see why, with so many competent musicians in the orchestra, he should take the trouble of playing his own accompaniments. And why does the Curtain invariably come down as soon as swords are drawn? Tantalising to have all the duels and fighting done during the entr'actes.
ACT II. SCENE 1.—Azucena insists on telling Manrico a long and rather improbable story of how, in a fit of absorption, she once burnt her own son in mistake for the Conte di Luna's, Manrico listens, as a matter of filial duty—because, after all, she is his mother—but he is clearly of opinion that these painful family reminiscences are far better forgotten. Perhaps he suspects that her anguish may be due to a severe fit of indigestion—the symptoms of which are almost indistinguishable from those of operatic remorse. At all events, he does not find his parent a cheerful companion, and, as soon as he finds a decent excuse for escape, takes it.
SCENE 2.—The Cloisters of a Convent. Enter the Conte di Luna, with followers, to abduct Leonora. The followers range themselves against a wall in the background, until the Count has finished "Il Balen." If their opinion was asked, they would probably be in favour of his making rather less noise about it, if he really means business—but of course it is not their place to interfere. Leonora enters to take the veil, with procession of nuns, preceded by four female acolytes—or are they pages?—in white tights, carrying tapers. The Count and his followers are evidently a little taken aback—an abduction not quite so simple an affair as they expected. While they are working themselves up to it, Manrico appears, as the stage-direction says, "like a phantom." In a helmet, with a horsehair tail, and a large white cloak, he does look extremely like the Ghost in Hamlet, and which is, perhaps, why the Count, under the impression that he is an apparition from some other Opera, allows him to Walk off with Leonora under his very nose. Swords are drawn—with the usual result of bringing down the Curtain.
ACT III. SCENE 1.—Soldiers discovered carousing, as wildly as is possible on four gilded cruets, and a dozen goblets. Azucena is brought before the Count, and manacled. Operatic handcuffs—a most humane contrivance—with long links, to permit of the freest facilities for entreaty and imprecation. Soldiers, who have been called to arms, but stayed, from a natural curiosity to hear what the Conte di Luna had to say to the Gipsy, go off, as she is led away to prison, with a sense that they have seen all there is to be seen, and a vague recollection that there is some fighting to be done somewhere.
SCENE 2.—Leonora, and Manrico are about to be married; everything prepared—four apathetic bridesmaids, and the four acolytes in tights—who have possibly been kindly lent by the Convent for the occasion—in a vacuous row at the back of the scene. Fancy Manrico has forgotten to give them the usual initial brooches, and they feel the wedding is a poky affair, and take no interest in it. Leonora herself is in low spirits—seems to miss the confidant, and to be oppressed with a misgiving that the wedding is not destined to come off. Misgivings on the stage are never thrown away—the wedding is interrupted immediately by a crowd of men, in small sugar-loaf caps, who carry the bridegroom off to fight—whereupon, of course, the Curtain falls.
ACT IV. SCENE 1.—Leonora listening outside the tower in which Manrico is being tortured, after having been taken prisoner in a combat during the entr'acte. Here a confidant might have comforted her considerably by representing that they couldn't be torturing the poor Troubadour so very seriously so long as he is able to take part in a duet—but unfortunately Leonora seems to have discharged the confidant after the Second Act—an error of judgment on her part, for she is certainly incapable of taking care of herself. A cool-headed, sensible confidant, for instance, would have taken care that the bargain with the Conte di Luna was conceived and carried out in a more business-like spirit.
"Now do be careful," she would have said. "Make sure that the Count keeps his word before you break yours. Don't go and see Manrico yourself—it can do no good, and will only harrow you! If you really must go, don't take a quick poison first—or you'll die in his dungeon, and spoil the whole thing!" Which is just what Leonora—like the impulsive operatic heroine she is—proceeds to do, and is cruelly misunderstood by Manrico, in consequence, besides hastening his doom by disappointing the Count, whose irritation was only natural, and pardonable, under the circumstances.
Don't quite see myself why the Count should be so horrified on learning that the person he has just had executed was his long-lost brother. It is not as if they had ever been friendly, or were at all likely to become so, considering their previous relations. Depend upon it, when he has time to think the matter over calmly, he will recognise that things are better as they are, and that Fate has solved his domestic difficulties in the only possible manner. A Troubadour Brother, with a revengeful and quite unpresentable gipsy foster-mother, would have proved very trying persons to live with.
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"A CHIEL'S AMANG YE MAKING NOTES."—Sir ARTHUR SULLIVAN sat next to Sir HENRY HAWKINS during part of the recent sensational trial at the Ancient Bailey, making, of course not taking, notes. Sir HENRY occasionally conversed with the Knight of Music. Did the latter hum, sotto voce, "And a good Judge too!" with other selections from Trial by Jury? Everyone glad Sir ARTHUR is so well. Perhaps after this he will return to Real Eccentric Gilbertian Opera, and go away for "change of air." The "Carte" is at the door, ready to take him, but his original "Gee Gee" has gone to America.
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"Mister" Rosebery, loquitur:—
A Star and Garter! Here's a go! Well, well, no doubt 'twas to be worn meant; And, as mere personal adornment, It does look smartish, dontcher know!
All personal adornment's vain, Held Dr. WATTS, holds dear McDOUGALL; For dowdy dress and habits frugal Befit the Democratic strain.
And I'm a Democrat—of course! The BENJAMIN FRANKLIN of the Peerage! And yet—ah! truly 'tis a queer age— Decoration has some force!
I wonder what the L.C.C. Will say to this! That I should spurn it? JOHN BURNS may swear I ought to burn it. Still—it looks natty round my knee.
I need not wear it when I sit Among the broadcloth'd heirs of BUMBLE! But Foreign Minister too humble Were butt of diplomatic wit.
Battersea's pride my pride may scourge. Well—he may find he's caught a Tartar. A robe—a coronet—a garter!— Materials for a new "PRIDE'S PURGE"!
The keen-eyed Democratic lynx May watch me with alert suspicion, As but a half-disguised patrician, But—shame to him who evil thinks!
[Left posturing complacently.
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[Illustration: SOMETHING LIKE A MOUNT.
Sportsman (with gun). "HILLO, ALGIE, BEEN CUB-HUNTING? HOW DOES THE YOUNG 'UN GO?"
Algie. "SPLENDIDLY, OLD FELLOW, SPLENDIDLY! NEVER CARRIED SO WELL IN MY LIFE! GOT CLEAN AWAY WITH ME AS SOON AS THEY FOUND,—COULDN'T HOLD HIM A BIT—BOLD AS A LION, NOTHING STOPS HIM,—WENT SLICK THROUGH A FLIGHT O' FAIR-HOLED POSTS AND RAILS, SMASHED A GATE INTO MATCHWOOD,—TWENTY MINUTES STRAIGHT AS THE CROW FLIES THROUGH AND OVER EVERYTHING,—AND, HANG ME, IF HE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN GOING YET, IF HE HADN'T PUT HIS FOOT INTO A RABBIT-HOLE CROSSING CRUMPLER COMMON, AND COME A REGULAR CROWNER. DON'T KNOW WHERE THE DEUCE THE HOUNDS WENT TO! HAD A GLORIOUS GALLOP, THOUGH, ALL TO MYSELF!"]
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THE COUNTY-COUNCILLOR'S DIARY.
(A FEW YEARS HENCE.)
Monday.—To-day's meeting of the Council rather stormy. The Council's Clerk of the Works, who superintends the fifty thousand builders, bricklayers, &c., who are now employed directly by us, reports that, unless the concessions demanded by the men are granted, they will all go out on strike to-morrow. The concessions are—Free beer three times a-day; half-holiday every other day at full day's wages; and a month's trip to the Riviera in winter, paid for out of the rates. Clerk of the Works (appointed, on elective principle, by the men themselves) describes these demands as "highly moderate and reasonable." Council unable to agree with him. After sitting for six hours, amid frightful uproar, Council breaks up, without coming to any decision.
Tuesday.—Workmen have struck! Awkward, as they have just pulled down north side of Strand, to make room for double lines of electric tramways in centre of roadway, and whole street in an awful litter. Begin to wish we had not "Abolished the Contractor" quite so hastily.
Wednesday.—Another meeting of Council. Quite unanimous to go on resisting men's demands. Clerk of Works reports that the Council's scavengers, plumbers, carters, lamp-lighters, and turncocks, are all threatening to strike, in sympathy with bricklayers. In consequence of evident enjoyment with which Clerk makes this announcement, proposal to decrease his salary from that of a Lord Chancellor to that of a Puisne Judge, carried nem. con. In spite of attacks on Council in the Press, satisfactory that it knows how to keep up its dignity at this crisis.
Thursday.—Matters getting serious. A deep fall of snow has occurred, and Council's men refuse to clear it away, or let others do the work! In addition, Strand tradesmen come in body to Spring Gardens to say that "nobody can get near their shops, and they are being rapidly ruined." Hastily-convened meeting of the Council. Proposal to ask our old Contractor to rebuild Strand and clear snow away. Our old Contractor declines to tender for the job! He says, "Council has abolished the Middleman, and had better get on without him, if it can!" Rude, but forcible.
Friday.—Council heroically decides to do the work itself. Am told off by Chairman to help remove old bricks on the Strand site. Have first to dig snow away to get at bricks. Intense amusement of hostile crowd, from whom we are protected by a cordon of police. Bark my shins badly against wheel of cart. Chairman—who has been extremely energetic in running up and down a ladder with a hod of mortar over his shoulder, which he thinks is bricklaying—falls from ladder and is taken off to Charing Cross Hospital; amid shower of brickbats. Crowd wants to know "which is McDOUGALL." When they find out, pelt him with snowballs. BURNS—who has stuck loyally to Council—fiercely denounced as a "blackleg" by crowd. Amusing at any other time. Home in evening dead tired, under police escort. Find all my front windows smashed! After all—was it wise to abolish the Contractor?
Saturday.—Whole County Council, protected by several regiments from Aldershot, a park of Artillery, and all the City Police (Council's own Police being out on strike, in sympathy with bricklayers), manage with great difficulty to fill ten carts with rubbish, and then adjourn to Spring Gardens. Refreshments and free sticking-plaster handed round before Meeting takes place. Meeting unanimously decides to re-establish old Middleman system! Sir JOHN LUBBOCK humorously suggests that it is, at any rate, better than the "muddle-man" system which we have tried and found wanting. Bonus of L5,000 out of rates, enthusiastically voted to any Contractor who will tender for job of clearing snow and widening Strand.
Later.—High Court disallows our "precept" for the L5,000 bonus—says we must pay it out of our own pockets!
Wish I had never stood for London County Council!
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ROBERT'S COMPANIONS. NO. 2.
Another of our speshal lot is good old SAM, with his wunderfool memmery. He won't tell not nobody his age. But he acshally swears as he remembers the time when there wasn't not no Cabs, nor no Homnybusses nor no Hallways, nor no Steam Botes, nor no Perlice, in all Lundon! And when there was grate droves of Cattel and Sheep druv thro' the streets, and people used to have to put up bars at their doors to keep 'em out. And menny and menny a time has he seen a reel live Bullock march into his Master's Counting 'Ouse, with his two wild horns a sticking out, and as it was to narrer for him to turn hisself round, he used to have to be backed out tale foremost, with a fierce dog a barking at his nose.
Ah, them must have been rayther rum times, them must! How the peepel got about he don't seem quite to remember; but he says, as how as amost all on 'em lived at their warious shops and warehouses, and so mostly walked. There was, it seems, a few ramshackel old coaches, called Ackney Coaches—coz, they was all maid at Ackney, I suppose—all drorn by two ramshackel old Osses, and with werry shabby old drivers with wisps of stror round their shabby old hats. Then some brite Genus went and inwented Cabs, and they soon cut out the Ackney Coaches, which all went back to Ackney, and was never seen no more. And then, sum ewen briter Genus went and inwented Homnybusses, and they rayther estonished the Cabs, and what the next brite Genus will inwent in that line, I don't know, and SAM don't know, and I don't suppose as nobody else don't. But the most wunderfullest thing of all must have bin the having of no Perlice! For SAM, acshally declares, that before Perlice was inwented by Sir ROBERT PEEL—therefore wulgarly called Bobbys and Peelers—the only pertecters as London had at night was a lot of werry old men, all crissened CHARLEY, who used to sit in little boxes, such as the Solgers has at the QUEEN's Pallaces, with a little lantern hanging up in front, and when the Church Clocks all struck the hour, they all used to git out of their boxes and wark up and down the streets a calling out, "Parst Three o'Clock!" or "Parst Five o'Clock!" as it mite happen to be, and then go back to their little boxes, and hang up their lanterns, and quietly go to sleep! Ah, them must have been werry nice times for Messrs. DICK TUPPIN, JACK SHEPHARD, BILL SIKES, and Cumpny, unlimited. But, SAM says, as they made up for it by hanging ewery body as stole amost anythink, such as a sheep, or a fi-pound note, or a gold watch, and that on Mondays, which was Hanging Days, he has offen and offen stood at the hend of the Hold Baley and seen sum five or six pore retches, with white nite caps on, all a hanging together! and he says it all so serously that we are forced to bleeve him.
Then there's old slowcoach Jo, the tea-totaller. We all likes to work with him, and for a werry good reeson. But he's rayther a comical feller is Jo. He says, when peeple cums to know all the true fax of the case, they'll willingly pay dubble price for tea-total Waiters. And he reelly is such a poor simple fellow that I werrily bleeves as he bleeves hisself when he says it. I carn't think what he means by it; but BROWN says as it's a perfeckly shameful attack on the charackter of all us Waiters as ain't such fools as to be Tea-totallers, and that we really ort all of us to cut him. But no—I'm in favour of Free Trade in Waiters as in Wine, and I shoud think that, in this pertickler case, his hobstinacy brings its own punishment. For what can be a creweller life for a poor Waiter to lead, than to be constantly surrounded by harf emty bottels of most bewtifool Wines, of all kinds, so as to suit the most fastidgeous Waiter's taste, and not ellowd to taste ewen one glass of 'em! I thinks as I've heard of sum unfortnit hindiwidial, in holden times, as used to be seated down hevrey day to a werry scrumpshus dinner, but, whatever he fixt his mind upon, the Doctor woudn't allow him to taste it, not by no means. His name, I think, was SANKY PANSER, some relashun of MOODY and SANKY, I sposes. His master's name was DAN QUICKSHOT, ony another name, I bleeves, for BUFFALO BILL. But that was nothink of a case to wun as my son WILLIAM told us of the other day. It seems as there was, wunce upon a time, a Greshian Gent, by the name of TANTLUS, who, becoz he was found out in helping hisself to sum werry speshal brand of Neckter, was condemned to stand up to his neck in water for ewer so many years; and altho he was so dredfool thusty that he would have drunk a lot of ewen that cold, thin stuff, he wasn't allowed not to taste a drop; and, not only that, but there was a lot of most bewtifool frute a hanging jest above his pore hed, and whenever he tried jest to pluck a bit of it, the crewel wind blowed it away out of his reach. Hence the prowerb, "You be blowed!"
In course I don't pertend to know how these things was manidged in former times, but I werry much douts whether ewen a Greshian Gent's constitushun coud posserbly have stood it for ewer so menny years!
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CARON AND CHARON.
(AFTER DIPPING INTO MAJOR LE CARON'S "RECOLLECTIONS.")
MAJOR LE CARON! Major! True, a greater Or more accomplished spy who ever knew? And so original! In fact, the pater Of all deception yields the palm to You! Courageous, honest, crafty, how you met Wile with wile wilier! And then, forsooth, You so transformed yourself to suit each set, That it is praise to say, "you lied like truth!" And in an honest cause! Renown'd Ulysses, That craftiest hero yields to you in guile. You touch the gold! You're not the man who misses A chance! You caught the wariest with your smile! "CARON!" The "h" is dropped, or we could fix (And so we can if Greek the name we make) You as the ancient Ferryman of Styx, Punting the Ghosts across the Stygian lake. The simile is nearly perfect, note, For you, with your Conspirators afloat, Were, as you've shown us, all in the same boat.
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AT IT AGAIN!
The following correspondence and extracts have been sent to Mr. Punch for publication:—
I.—Koniglich-Kaiserlicher Ober-Hof-Rath Doctor Hermann Dummwitz von Hammelfleisch to The Emperor-King William the Second.
MOST GRACIOUS IMPERIAL MAJESTY,
I have the honour to announce to your Majesty, that my spouse, the beautiful and accomplished clergyman-daughter, ANNA ANSELMA, whom, by your Majesty's ever-to-be-with-gratitude-remembered permission, I last year to the altar led, is now of good hope, and will shortly, if all should go well, add one to your Majesty's loyal and submissive subjects. I make this announcement in accordance with your Majesty's Hochzeit's Decree, Section 6.
And I remain, &c. &c. &c., DUMMWITZ VON HAMMELFLEISCH.
II.—William the Second to K.K.O.H.R.D.H.D. von Hammelfleisch.
I have received your letter. In accordance with Section 7 of my Hochzeit's Decree, I graciously give permission for the birth of the child referred to in your communication. I beg, at the same time, to point out that, by my Supplementary Decree (Proportions of Sexes), issued last week, it is necessary that the child should be a boy. Communicate this at once to the Frau K.E. Ober-Hof-Rathin Doctorin A.A. VON HAMMELFLEISCH.
(Signed) WILLIAM I. ET R.
III.—K.K.O.H.R.D. von Hammelfleisch to the Emperor-King, William the Second.
MOST IMPERIAL MAJESTY,
Your with-satisfaction-received letter has been to my wife communicated. She desires me to assure you that she is your Imperial Majesty's obedient subject, (Signed) D. VON H.
IV.—Extract from the "Reich's Anzeiger."
"Frau ANNA ANSELMA VON HAMMELFLEISCH, having last week given birth to a girl in contravention of his Imperial Majesty's Supplementary Decree (No. 10. Proportions of Sexes), it is our painful duty to announce that the Herr Doctor DUMMWITZ VON HAMMELFLEISCH has been dismissed from his post as K.K. Ober-Hof-Rath, and will immediately be prosecuted for the crime of lese Majeste."
V.—Extract from the "Reich's Anzeiger," a month later
"The prisoner, HAMMELFLEISCH, was yesterday condemned to twenty years' solitary confinement in the fortress of Spandau. The wretched man acknowledged the justice of his sentence, and begged others to take warning by his fate."
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LADY GAY'S SELECTIONS.
Mount Street, Grosvenor Square.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,—Most delightful weather favoured us last week at Gatwick and Sandown, and most of the horses I mentioned as worth following either finished nowhere or were not there at all, which I think is a fair average record for a Turf prophet! I heard at Sandown that sweeping reforms are to be expected in Turf matters next Season, but I will not harp too much on this string, as more able pens than mine have undertaken it—though how a "pen" can harp on a string I don't quite see—or hear, it should be.
I certainly think Brandy would have won the Gatwick Handicap, but I suppose the bottle is getting low, and is being reserved in case the Cambridgeshire is run on a cold day! And that brings me to the consideration of this great race. I do not propose to analyse the form of all the horses, but will devote my attention to a few of the likely ones—who should feel complimented thereat (I suppose a horse; can feel a compliment just as well as it can a whip)—from which might spring the winner. First and foremost, then, La Fleche has, in my opinion, enough weight to carry, even if the jockey is included, as I believe is the case—and I was told by Sir CHARLEY WHITELEY, that to win the Newmarket Oaks she had to be "bustled up"—a fashion which I thought had quite gone out!—anyhow, many people think she is "not the same mare she was"—though how they can have changed her I don't quite understand, but it would not surprise me to find Windgall the best of the Baron's on the day.
There are several horses spoken of as "rods in pickle," but as a rule, these animals stop at "rods" and never get to "poles" much less "perches!" Should Sir JAS. MILLER win the race, the town may resound with many a merry Joedel, but this is trying weather for voices, though I believe he is running untried, but certainly trying! There was some doubt as to the starting of a great favourite, owing to a report that the owner had been "forestalled"—an excuse which always sounds very weak to me, as surely if outsiders can back a horse at a long price, the owner should also be able to do so, and thus put backers "in the cart"—where some of them would present a picture which might lead people to think the "cart" was on its way to Tyburn! There appears to be considerable doubt as to whether Buccaneer has eaten anything lately or not, so I must discard him; but I think if he were given a sherry and bitters at once he might recover his appetite and win, as he is known to be a "glutton" for work! JEWITT's best will take some beating, when we know which it is, which we shall do shortly, as no stable is more ready than this to let everyone into the secret of their "good things;", so if some Whisperer, should tell you that his Suspender is broken, it is on the cards that the Pensioner may still be able to walk home in safety! But enough of this (as your readers will doubtless say!)—and let us come to the point as the knife said to the pencil—so I will conclude by recommending a "maximum" on my choice, and as it is a foreign one, I must necessarily break out into foreign poetry—(just as easy to—),
Le type le plus "noir" dans le monde, Le nomme, on dit, Le Chouan! Mais, roule au dessous de l'onde, Devient "Blanc" comme Kairouan!
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(WHO WOULD HAVE ME SHOW HER MY HAND.)
Too pretty Palmist, oh, refrain, Nor thus my Destinies importune To bare the map of trite and plain Misfortune.
Methinks, that I, sweet sorceress, Whose weird persuasions fascinate us, Can read my stars without express Afflatus.
"I'm o'er ambitious"—more than true; To fail, the lot of clever men 'tis. Who's not a genius in his two- And-twenties.
(Your two-and-twenties bide above, While mine—I'm in the sere and yellow— But I was once the model of A fellow.)
"My line of head is vague; now quite Down in the depths, now past the skyline"— Hard lines! The line that sways a kite Is my line.
"My line of heart is insecure—" Let "x" be hearts; to render scarce "x," Let "I"-s divide it; eyes are your Unfair sex.
"My love will ne'er endure:" you wrong My passion: sooth, it will, if you're it: Yet stay: to wed?—I couldn't long Endure it.
"My line of life is slurred and queer." It always was—a hankey-pankey Of glories missed—a fine career, But manque.
So there, forbear to spell my fate; I've saved you that sibylline trouble; You could but this true estimate Redouble.
Still, if you clasp my hand, and plead, And, pouting, claim your second-sight, it May chance that though you may not read, You'll write it.
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WAS, IS, AND WILL BE.
(THREE PERIODS OF BIOGRAPHY.)
PAST (Historical).—General SIMEON SNOOKES was one of the greatest Commanders that ever figured in an European war. His defence of Herren-Bayoz, in 1796, will be long remembered by those of his grateful countrymen who feared that the Corsican upstart would get the upper hand in the semi-fraternal struggle in the Portugo-Hispanian Peninsula. A service nearly as important was performed when SNOOKES (then a Colonel), led the forlorn hope that gave PEGGE WELL BEY (the Turkish conqueror) into the grasping hands of the British Government. Yet still another victory was scored when Captain SNOOKES forced the gates of Ram and Mar, and brought the proud Earls of the Five Free Ports to their knees and their senses. That he should have received the freedom of the City of London was as it should have been, and it must have been gratifying to his sorrowing friends and relatives that Royalty itself should have been represented at his obsequies. His fame as a victorious General will never fade, and although his private life may have been uninteresting, his connection with the noble family of DE SCROGGYNS will for ever gain for him the respect of his fellow-countrymen.
PRESENT (Anecdotal).—General SNOOKES—better known in the last century as "SIMPLE SIMON"—was a most interesting personage. Of his military career it is unnecessary to speak, as it was extremely commonplace, and void of incident. He was a petit maitre—and numerous tales are told of his gallantry. On one occasion, meeting Lady BESSIE FRIZZYHEAD; on the Green at Turnham, he called attention to the fairness of the sunset. "Quite like cream, Lady BESSIE," said the old beau, taking a pinch of snuff. "Whipped, you mean," replied the malicious maiden, with a smile. "SIMPLE SIMON" simpered, but never forgave the liberty. At another time the General was speaking to the late Duke of York, when that illustrious personage commanded the British Army. "I say, SIMMY," exclaimed H.R.H., "if the French invade us, you must look after Number One." "You mean, Sir," was the prompt answer, "Number One Hundred and One!" The King, hearing this anecdote a little later, made "SIMPLE SIMON" his extra Equerry. But perhaps the best story of all was that told of his interview with Dean SWIFT. "I propose listening to your Reverence on Sunday," said the simple one. "Oh, indeed!" replied the sarcastic ecclesiastic. "Then we shall have a case of a Gulliver come to judgment!" Many other good stories are told of this General, whose career was rather in the drawing-room than in the field of glory. He died in 1825, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. At his funeral there was a large assemblage of the best-known people of the day, and amongst them the Editor of the National Defender. "Sic transit gloria," said some-one. "Mundi!" added the journalist.
FUTURE (Conjectural).—SNOOKES, SIMEON. No one knows who this person was, but it is shrewdly conjectured that he may have had some official connection (possibly as a Government contractor) with one of the ancient wars. As his monument is defaced, and there are no records of his family, it is useless to attempt to make his biography any fuller.
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* * * * *
A SONG OF A SETTLEMENT.
AIR—"The Death of Nelson."
Near NELSON's monument, with gloom opprest, The rowdy mourns a Question, now at rest. But ASQUITH's laurels shall not fade with years, Whose canny settlement the public cheers.
'Twas in Trafalgar's Square, We heard the spouters blare, Each rough rejoicing then. They scorned churl WARREN's yoke, Of order made a joke, And claimed the Rights of Men. But ASQUITH came, the cool and brave, And poured oil on the troubled wave. His speech was just a beauty! Along each line this meaning ran:— "England respects true Rights of Man, But means enforcing Duty."
No more rude mobs may roar, A nuisance and a bore, Where'er BURNS lead the way. As victory is this claimed By spouts, by cool sense tamed? All right! Let them hooray! But dearly is their conquest bought, 'Twas scarce for this mad GRAHAM fought 'Tis fair, though—there's its beauty. All just claims met by this shrewd plan, The speechifying Rights of Man, Plus the Policeman's duty.
ASQUITH's clear, certain sound, Will spread dismay around; Some circles. "We believed! ASQUITH was on our side," The roughs will say. "He's tried, And we—well, we're deceived. If we're permitted in this Square To muster there, why should we care? The game has lost its beauty! Licence unfettered is our plan. Who cares a cuss for Rights of Man, Checked by that bugbear Duty?"
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PRESENTED AT COURT.
MR. PUNCH, SIR,
I am indignant—disgusted! I went last night to see a new piece, called The Guardsman, at the Court Theatre, the plot of which, reminded me—'tis merely a coincidence—of Incognita, now going strong in St. Martin's Lane. The coincident being that a certain young man won't marry an uncertain young lady whom they want him to marry, because he is in love with quite another young lady (as he thinks) who (the incognita) turns out to be the very lady whom he is required to wed. However, that's not what I'm writing about. I leave criticism to your "professional gent." Well, Sir, it was very amusing, and very well acted. But from a military point of view, shameful, Sir!—shameful! The people about me were laughing, and said that the lines were good; that, take it all round, it ought to be a success; that it was most amusing. But how could I appreciate anything when I found a Captain in the Guards, on the Queen's Birthday, walking about in plain leather boots! It was as bad, in my mind, as when Mr. CHARLES WARNER, in the piece called In the Ranks, appeared as a private in the same distinguished Regiment in patent leathers! And what was the Captain doing, Sir, in mess uniform at his uncle's chambers, when he was supposed to be on guard at the Tower? At least so I understood him to be, but I may have been wrong. At any rate, an odd sort of place to dine at, if he was not on duty, and if he were, he should not have left his post. Moreover, where was his scarf, as orderly officer? But perhaps he was not on duty, and had dropped in upon the mess (in the height of the Season!) in a friendly sort of way. Well, that might explain matters a bit, but not to my entire satisfaction. And my wife tells me that it is rather late to make alterations in a Court dress the day before the Drawing-Room. And she says, too, that she has never been hustled and crushed when she has gone to Buckingham Palace. And if it comes to that, Sir, I have accompanied her, and can vouch for the strict accuracy of the statement. But these are minor matters. What I cannot stand are The Guardsman's boots!
Yours more in anger than in sorrow,
AN OLD SOLDIER.
Mars Lodge, Cutsaddleborough, Tomatkinshire.
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RHYMES FOR THE TIMES.
If I were a missionary On the plains of Uganda, I'd leave that position airy Ere, at dawn, anew 'gan day.
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QUESTION FOR A DICKENSIAN EXAMINATION PAPER.—"Here's Pip—Ask Pip. Pip's our mutual friend." In which of DICKENS's Novels does this occur?
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THE BATTLE OF THE BARDS;
OR, THE LISTS FOR THE LAURELS.
FYTTE THE SECOND.
"Wire in, my warblers!" PUNCHIUS cried. "To 'wire,' Though slangy, sounds appropriate to the Lyre." Then forth there toddled with the mincing gait Of some fair "Tottering Lily," him, the great New Bard of Buddha! Grave, and grey of crest. 'Tis he illumes the nubibustic West With the true "Light of Asia"—or, at least, Such simulacrum of the effulgent East As shineth from a homemade Chinese lantern. No HAFIZ he, or SAADI, yet he can turn Authentic Sanscrit to—Telegraphese, And make the Muse a moon-faced Japanese. Leaderesque love of gentle gush and "Caps.," Is blent in him with fondness for the Japs. "Wah! wah! futtee!—wah! wah, gooroo!" he cried, And twanged his tinkling orient lyre with pride.
THE MOANING OF THE BARDS.
No moaning of the bards! A pleasant quip! No manufactured gloom to dim that far light! Of dirge's luxury deprive my lip? So suns might say there shall be no more starlight!
Lamping is not required at day's full noon, Lanterns are out of place in dawn's fair flush-light; But when dark night sets in, and there's no moon, There is a chance for stars, or even a rushlight.
No moaning of the bards? That were hard lines For minor line-spinners, imperial TENNYSON! Owls only have their chance when day declines, That's why the night-birds crown thee with prompt benison.
LEWIS has wailed and warbled—twiddlingly: ALFRED has—rootley-tootlely—wailed and warbled; WILLIAM's young Muse hath wept—then why not Me, Whose brow, not less than theirs, with woe is marbled?
ROBERT and AUSTIN (DOBSON) took their turns; There is some talk, too, of Sir THEODORE MARTIN. Seeing my lips, too, thrill, my heart, too, burns, Why the great contest should I take no part in!
May be I do not carry guns enough To epically glorify King ARTHUR, But I have penned some reams of rhythmic stuff Concerning (please admire the rhyme!) SIDDARTHA.
(That, as an "assonance," is quite as good As "sang it," and "began it.") Ornamental And Eastern Mythos draws me; but I'm good At "Poems National and Non-Oriental."
I love the Hindoos, I adore the Japs; I'm fond of scraps of Oriental lingo; Yet I'm a patriot, and have hymned, perhaps, As much as most, my native god, great Jingo!
I think a Muse with twinkly almond orbs, Would—as a change—in England prove most fetching; Is it not plain Jap Art our Art ahsorbs! Why not in singing, then, as well as sketching?
I'm sure my "GEISHA" is as good a girl As Vivien, or Faustine, or e'en Dolores. Is she more frail, less fair, that perfect pearl Of Singing Girls, Xipangu's great'st of glories?
Knocks her nice little flat nose on the floor, In Japanese politeness, my "Half Jewel." ALGERNON's nymphs, in song or in amour Are always coarse and generally cruel.
"Pearls of the Faith," is a most pious work, Although AL-MUTAHALI is the stringer. But only he who hates "The Unspeakable Turk," On that account would blame the Christian singer!
"Lotus and Jewel!" Doesn't that sound nice? My mild Jap Muse may be a roguey-poguey; But there's no stimulus to pleasant vice About a holy Brahman or chaste Yogi.
"Land of the Rising Sun," delightful "Third Kingdom of Merry Dreams," of you I'm amorous. Must that exclude me from the Wreath? Absurd! I'm prettily pious, and I'm gently glamorous.
My Knighthood proves that I am quite O.K., My dear D.T. will answer for my morals; I'm steeped in Sanscrit lore, and so must say I can't see why I should not wear the laurels!
"Quite so," said Punch. "I like your rhyme—and cheek; Still, there be others yet to hear—next week!"
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APOLOGIA ARRYGATENSIS.—"'ARRY in Arrygate" was so much sought after everywhere that it was thought Mr. Punch could not possibly supply the great demand for this article with sufficient celerity and dispatch. Hence it happened that the Harrogate Advertiser enthusiastically reproduced the entire article as published in Mr. Punch's pages, without saying "with your leave, or by your leave," to the Proprietors representing Mr. Punch. So, Mr. Punch, always kindly and courteous, was compelled in this instance to "know the reason why." Whereupon The Harrogate Advertiser acknowledged that it did not "harrogate to itself" any sort of right to republish wholesale without acknowledgment anything that has appeared in Mr. Punch's pages, and at once handsomely apologised for this instance of priggishness quite unprecedented in the Harrogate Advertiser's columns (Vide Harrogate Advertiser, October 15). Box and Cox are satisfied. Causa flnita est. Vive 'ARRY! Likewise 'Arrygate! And, know, all men, by these presents, that Mr. P. is quite wide-awake.
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ANECDOTAGE.—Said the Old Parliamentary Hand, entering Christ Church, "I prefer this House to the other!" It was the success of the visit.
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LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES!
["It is to be sincerely hoped that there is no truth in the rumour that a paper for children will shortly make its appearance, entirely written and illustrated by children under fifteen years of age."—St. James's Gazette, October 12th.]
Why, churlish critic, do you hope sincerely The rumour, which you mention, is untrue? Mere prejudice makes you regard severely The cause of liberty which we pursue. We are, The Prattler will establish clearly, Quite competent to edit a review; The age of greatest wisdom will be seen To be decidedly below fifteen.
We never showed, as we need hardly mention, That fabled ignorance about the stars, From earliest days we spoke about 'declension,' And argued on the atmosphere of Mars; While parents we put up with, more attention We paid towards another kind of "pars."; Full soon was lit the journalistic flame,— We lisped in leaders, for the leaders came.
That foolish custom, which, at present smothers Our youthful genius, we shall supersede. Here are some papers which, with many others, Will make The Prattler eminent indeed;— A series on "The Management of Mothers," Will meet, we hope, a long-experienced need; Elsewhere we'll note, in some attractive way, The latest long-clothes fashion of the day.
Instruction in the art of window-breaking, And modes to tame a fiery governess, Descriptions of perambulator-making— No need on details to lay further stress, You'll own our journalistic undertaking, Must prove an unequivocal success; While you, who uttered this untimely sneer, Will blush, apologise, and disappear!
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MY FIRST BRIEF.
When you, my first brief, were delivered, Every fibre in me quivered With delight. I seemed to see Myself admitted a Q.C.; Piles of briefs upon the table, More work to do than I was able; Clients scrambling for advice, Then LORD CHANCELLOR in a trice.
I seized my virgin pencil blue, Marked and perused you through and through. The story brief, instructions short, Defendant in a County Court, It needed not an ounce of sense To see that you had no defence. But, erudite in English law, I fashioned bricks without the straw.
Around my chamber-floor I sped. Harangued the book-case on each head; DEMOSTHENES and CICERO On hearing me had cried a go. Then I must own that I was nettled— Out of Court the case was settled. All my points were left unmade, And the fee is left unpaid.
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[Professor LOMBROSO writes in the Revue des Revues that all women are liars. Mr. VICTOR HORSLEY writes in the Times that one of Miss COBBE's statements is a lie.]
Shameful, shocking, rude Professor! CRICHTON BROWNE—your predecessor In attacks, would-be suppressor Of the higher Education—once compared them To the Pantaloon, and scared them, But he was polite, and spared them Words like "liar."
Lie, indeed! There is a middle Course—say "fib" or "tarradiddle," "Not quite true," "A sort of riddle Facts to smother." We, who love the fair romancer— Be she talker, singer, dancer, What you will, she's sweet—we answer, "You're another!"
As for you, rough Mr. HORSLEY, Arguing so very coarsely, May I say yours is a worse lie,— Rhyming badly? You, so skilled in vivisection, Could cut up Miss COBBE's objection, With your tongue in some subjection, Not thus madly.
Why, LOMBROSO would despise you, Though he is so rude. These "lies" you Freely write make folks surmise you An impostor, Not the lady. You've not "licked" her. (Slang to suit you) though you're VICTOR. Since you stoop to contradict her Like a coster.
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SONGS OUT OF SEASON.—MY CARETAKER.
A mysterious thing For our commonplace day, Is the lady I sing In the following lay.
While I'm shooting the grouse, Or enjoying the sea, She takes care of my house For a nominal fee.
For ten shillings a-week Does this wonderful woman Undertake, so to speak, An existence inhuman.
Like their dwellings the rabbits Deep in darkling retreats, This weird widow inhabits Subterranean seats.
What with humour "contrary," Or ironic despair, She denominates "airey"— From its absence of air!
It would give me the blues Household gods to uphold With a Lloyd's Weekly News Of some fifty days old.
In a Stygian gloom, Far from sun and ozone, She sits locked in her room, Uncompanioned, alone.
At a knock, at a call How she shivers and starts! She's "that nervous"—and "Hall Of 'er fambly 'as 'earts."
Not till gloaming obscure Cools hot London at last, Hies she forth to procure Her ideal repast.
"A red 'erring, an inion, Just of dripping a bite" —This is not my opinion, Hers verbatim I cite.
But I fancy, though loth to Thus detract from her merits, (And I've her solemn oath too!) That she's "partial to sperrits."
For once suddenly coming (She supposed me away) I was struck by her humming "Ta-ra-ra Boom de Ay!"
And not humming it only; Also dancing the same,— This bereaved, honest, lonely Deferential dame!
"Ta-ra-ra Boom de Ay!" In my desolate hall; I, though prone to be gay, Didn't like it at all.
"Which," she said, "it was Fits— The Sint Biteus"—her fling!— Yes! The Caretaker, it's A mysterious thing.
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CONVERSATIONAL HINTS FOR YOUNG SHOOTERS.
(BY MR. PUNCH'S OWN GROUSE IN THE GUN-ROOM.)
How well I remember a certain day in the by-gone years, when for the first time a great truth suddenly burst upon me in all its glory. The morning's sport had been unsuccessful. We were all fairly tired, and some of us, in spite of the moderate temperature, were perspiring freely. For we had been walking up late partridges most of the morning, with just an occasional shot here and there at pheasants in covert. Now, late partridges are perhaps the least amenable of created things. They cherish a perfectly ridiculous conviction that nature, in endowing them with life, intended that they should preserve it, and consequently they hold it to be their one aim and object to fly, whirring and cheeping, out of sight, long before even an enthusiastic shot could have a chance of proving to them how beautifully a bird can be missed. For some reason or other, our host had refused or had been unable to drive the birds. One result was that we had tramped and tramped and tramped, getting only rare shots, and doing but little execution. Another result was, that the place was simply littered with lost tempers, and we sat down to lunch very much out of conceit with ourselves, our guns, our cartridges, the keepers, the dogs, and everything else. The pleasant array of plates and glasses, and the savoury odours of the meats mitigated, but did not dispel the frowns. Then suddenly there dropped down amongst us, as it were from the sky, the Great Woodcock Saga. In a moment the events of the morning were forgotten, brows cleared, tempers were picked up, and an eager hilarity reigned over the company, while the adventures of the wonderful bird were pursued from tree to tree, from clump to clump, through all the zig-zags of his marvellous flight, until he finally vanished triumphantly into the unknown.
Now the Great Woodcock Saga is brought about in this way:—First of all suppose that a woodcock has shown himself somewhere or other during the morning. If he was seen it follows, as the day follows the night, (1), that everybody shot at him at the most fantastic distances without regard to the lives and limbs of the rest of the party; (2), that (in most cases) everybody missed him; (3), that everybody, though having, according to his own version, been especially careful himself, has been placed in imminent peril by the recklessness of the rest; (4), that everybody threw himself flat on his face to avoid death; and (5), that the woodcock is not really a bird at all, but a devil. The following is suggested as an example of Woodcock-dialogue, the scene being laid at lunch:—
First Sportsman (pausing in his attack on a plateful of curried rabbit). By Jupiter! that was a smartish woodcock. I never saw the beggar till he all but flew into my face, and then away he went, like a streak of greased lightning. I let him have both barrels; but I might as well have shot at a gnat. Still, I fancy I tickled him up with my left.
Second Sportsman (a stout, jovial man, breaking in). Tickled him up! By gum, I thought I was going to be tickled up, I tell you. Shot was flying all round me—bang! bang! all over the place. I loosed off twice at him, and then went down, to avoid punishment. Haven't a notion what became of him.
Third Sportsman (choking with laughter at the recollection). I saw you go down, old cock. First go off, I thought you were hit: but, when you got that old face of yours up, and began to holler "Wor guns!" as if you meant to bust, why I jolly soon knew there wasn't much the matter with you. Just look at him, you chaps. Do you think an ordinary charge of shot would go through that? Not likely.
Fourth Sportsman (military man). Gad, it was awful! I'd rather be bucketed about by EVELYN WOOD for a week than face another woodcock. I heard 'em shoutin', "Woodcock forward! Woodcock back! Woodcock to the right! Woodcock to the left! Mark—mark!" Gad! thinks I to myself, the bally place must be full of 'em. Just then out he came, as sly as be blowed. My old bundook went off of its own accord. I bagged the best part of an oak tree, and, after that, I scooted. Things were gettin' just a shade too warm, by gad! A reg'lar hail-storm, that's what it was. No, thank you, thinks I; not for this party—I'm off to cover. So that's all I know about it. Thanks, TOMMY—do you mind handin' round that beer-jug?
First Sportsman (rallying him). Just think of that. And we're all of us taxed to keep a chap like that in comfort. Why you're paid to be shot at—that's what you're there for, you and your thin red line, and all that. By Jupiter! we don't get our money's worth out of you if you're going to cut and run before a poor, weak, harmless woodcock.
[Military Sportsman is heavily chaffed.
Military Sportsman. Oh, it's all very well for you Johnnies to gas like that—but, by Gad, you didn't seem over-anxious to stand fire yourselves. Why your teeth are chattering still, BINKS.
Binks. Ah, but I'm only a poor civilian.
Military Sportsman. Well, I cut and ran as a civilian. See? Did anyone shoot the bloomin' bird, after all?
The Host. Shoot him? I should think not. The last I saw of him he was sailing off quite comfortable, cocking snooks at the whole lot. Have another go of pie, JOHNNY?
So that is the Great Woodcock Saga, the absolute accuracy of which every sportsman is bound to recognise. And the great truth that burst upon me is this, that if you want to restore good temper to a shattered party, you must start talking about woodcocks. If you saw a woodcock in the morning, talk about that one. If not, begin about the woodcock you saw last week, or the woodcock somebody else missed the week before. But whatever you do, always keep a woodcock for a (metaphorically) rainy day. Bring him out at lunch next time you shoot, and watch the effect.
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"GRIEVANCES OF CIVIL SERVANTS."—Sir, seeing this heading in the Times to a letter which I didn't stop to read, I can only say, for my part, that us servants as is really civil ought not never to have any "grievancies." Tips is the reward to "civil servants."—Yours, THE BUTLER.
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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.