PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
APRIL 15th 1893
Edited by Sir Francis Burnand
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A CROWDED, gas-lit, stuffy hall, A prosy speaker, such a duffer, A mob that loves to stamp and bawl, Noise, suffocation—how I suffer!
What is he saying? "Mr. G. Attacks the British Constitution, It therefore—er—er—falls to me To move the first—er—resolution:
"That—er—the Shrimpington-on-Sea United Primrose Habitations Pronounce ('Hear, hear!') these Bills to be Iniquitous (cheers) innovations."
I'll bear this heat and noise no more; My constitution would be weaker. I hurry out, and find, next door, Another meeting and its speaker;
Another crowded, stuffy hall, A frantic shouter, greater duffer, A mob more prone to stamp and bawl, Noise, suffocation still I suffer.
What is he saying? "Mr. G., Despite drink's cursed coalition, Dooms publicans (groans), as should be, On earth, as elsewhere, to perdition!
"I move, the Shrimpington-on-Sea United Bands of Hope, with pleasure, Pronounce the Veto Bill to be A great (cheers), good (shouts), just (roars) measure."
Enough! O frantic fools who rave And call it "Temperance"! This body Would drive me to an early grave; I'll hurry home and get some toddy.
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ADVICE TO A YOUNG PARTY SCRIBE.
YOU may, an it please you, be dull, (For Britons deem dulness "respectable"); Stale flowers of speech you may cull, With meanings now scarcely detectable; You may wallow in saturnine spite, You may flounder in flatulent flummery; Be sombre as poet YOUNG'S "Night," And dry as a Newspaper "Summary"; As rude as a yowling Yahoo, As chill as a volume of CHITTY; But oh, Sir, whatever you do, You must not be witty!
Plod on through the sand-wastes of Fact, Long level of gritty aridity; With pompous conceit make a pact, Be bondsman to bald insipidity; Be slab as a black Irish bog, Slow, somnolent, stupid, and stodgy; Plunge into sophistical fog, And the realms of the dumpishly dodgy. With trump elephantine and slow, Tread on through word-swamps, dank and darkling; But no, most decidedly no, You must not be sparkling!
Be just as unjust as you like, A conscienceless, 'cute special-pleader; As spiteful as Squeers was to Smike, (You may often trace Squeers in a "leader.") Impute all the vileness you can, Poison truth with snake-venom of fable, Be fair—as is woman to man, And kindly—as CAIN was to ABEL. Suggest what is false in a sneer, Suppress what is true by confusing; Be sour, stale, and flat as small-beer, But don't be amusing!
Party zealots will pardon your spite, If against their opponents it sputters, The way a (word) foeman to fight, Is to misrepresent all he utters. That does not need wisdom or wit, (Ye poor party-scribes, what a blessing!) No clean knightly sword, but a spit Is the weapon for mangling and messing; Wield that, like a cudgel-armed rough Blent with ruthless bravo,—such are numerous!— Lie, slander, spout pitiful stuff, But—beware of the humorous!
For if you should fall into fun, You might lapse into manly good-nature, And then—well your course would be run! No,—study up spleen's nomenclature; Learn all the mad logic of hate, And then, though your style be like skilly, Your sense frothy Styx in full spate. And your maxims portentously silly; You will find party scope for your pen, Coin meanness and malice to money; But sour dulness must keep to his den, And never be funny.
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THE FOX AND THE GUINEA-PIGS.
(A Financial Fable.)
["There are dozens of Companies now existing with the Duke of PUFFBALL, Sir BONUS BARE-ACRES, Bart., Major GUINEA PIG, M.P., and the like, figuring upon the Board of Directors. A short, but drastic Act, making all such figureheads directly responsible, would go far to prevent similar occurrences, and to abolish a delusive, if not a fraudulent system."—Herbert T. Reid's Letter to the Times.]
SMART Mr. FOX, whose brain no conscience troubles, Floated a Company—for blowing bubbles! "Bubbles?" the duller creatures cried in chorus, "Are you not coming nursery nonsense o'er us? What is the use of bubbles—save to boys?" "Hush!" cried 'cute Reynard. "Do not make a noise! Bubbles—if bright—are cunning's best decoys. Bubbles are only wind plus soap and water; But well-stirred suds, and well-blown flatulence, In this fool world, have influence immense, And draw unthinking dupes from every quarter. Eloquence is but Wind, yet flowery trope Is Humbug's favourite lure; And what is Diplomatic Skill but soap? Trust me! Success is sure! Bubbles are bright, bewitch the mob, float far, And cost the blower little. The watery sphere looks like a world, a star, And when it bursts, being exceeding brittle, Where it explodes (as at the rainbow's foot) There's hidden treasure—for the clever brute Who knows that gulls are the great wealth-bestowers, Bubbles mean solid bullion—for the blowers!"
The shrewder animals applauded. Lupus Cried, "We are with you, so you do not dupe us!" Ursus and Taurus also, Bull and Bear, Were eager in the game to take a share. Said Vulpus to the assembled quadrupeds, "Company Boards, like ships, need figureheads, Wooden but ornamental! Eh? You twig? Sweet are the uses of—the Guinea Pig! Dull, but respectable and decorative, That tribe, to whom credulity is native. They'll sit around our Board in solemn row, And never, never 'want to know, you know,' Beyond convenient limits. Their proud presence Will fill our flock with faith; their acquiescence, So readily secured by liberal fees, Will make the mob accept our schemes with ease. Behold them! They will give us little trouble By wanting—well, to analyse the Bubble; So they get something for themselves more solid, They'll sit serene and stolid In titled sloth and coronetted slumber. I can secure them, friends, in any number; For Guinea Pigs are numerous and prolific And as decoys their influence is mirific. So whilst we work our Bubble-blowing rigs, Hurrah, for Guinea Pigs! They'll take our fees, assent to our suggestions, And ask no awkward questions."
The rank's the guinea's stamp, says Scotland's ROB, But if you want to bubble, juggle, job, You'll find, with Vulpus, the Promoter big, Rank is the stamp of the true Guinea Pig!
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THE POOR MAN AND HIS BEER.
[Mr. CHAMBERLAIN, at Birmingham, said, "We know that the Government propose to deprive the working classes of their beer." ("Shame!" and a Voice, "They don't!")]
"ROB the poor Workman of his glass of beer!!!" And can that clap-trap, then, still raise a cheer? The British Workman has a thirsty throat, The British Workman also has a Vote, One will protect the other—if it cares to. But if he'd close, by vote, the shops such snares to His tipple-tempted and intemperate throttle He robs himself of access to the bottle,— If robbery it's called—'tis not another, (Who is a swell, with cellars) his poor brother Deprives of that long-hackneyed, much-mouthed "glass." The British Workman is not quite an ass, And where he wants to whet (with beer) his throat, Where are you like to get your two-thirds Vote? Whether there's wisdom in this vaunted Veto, Is quite another question sense must see to. And general justice judge. But those who cheer The stale old fudge about the Poor Man's Beer, Should learn it is a dodge of vested pelf, And, rich or poor, a man can't rob himself. It is the poor who suffer from temptation, And drink's detestable adulteration, That crying ill which no one dares to tackle! Whilst Witlers howl, and Water-zealots cackle. The poor are poisoned, not by honest drink, But lethal stuff that might scour out a sink. The Poor Man's Beer, quotha! Who'll keep it pure? Not rich monopolists, nor prigs demure, Those shriek for freedom, these for prohibition, "Vend the drugged stuff sans scrutiny or condition!" Cries Vested Interest. "Close, by law or Vote, The Witler's tavern and the Workman's throat!" Shouts the fanatic. Which, then, fad or pelf, Cares really, solely, for the Poor Man's self? Nay; the Monopolist fights for his money, The Monomaniac for his craze. How funny To hear one shout for freedom, t'other cheer The poisoner's cant about the Poor Man's Beer!
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WHY is it evident that Mr. ARTHUR BALFOUR didn't know much of Ireland until last Monday week, April 3? Because 'twas then he went to Larne.
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Statesmen, Historians, and such, may think that, between the years 1871 and 1876, "the Egyptian Question" turned upon the extravagance of ISMAIL PASHA, and the financial complications that followed thereupon. Readers of the Recollections of an Egyptian Princess (BLACKWOOD) will know better. The real Egyptian Question of that epoch was, whether the English Governess of the Khedive's daughter should get her mistress's carriage at the very hour she wanted it; whether she should have the best rooms in any palace or hotel she might chance to be located in; and whether she should have her meals served at the time and in the fashion she had been accustomed to in the family mansion at Clapton or Camberwell. Many stirring passages in the book deal with these and cognate matters. None delights my Baronite more than one in which a driver named HASSAN figures. HASSAN, ordered for eight o'clock, sometimes came at nine. Occasionally at six. "He asked for 'backseesh,' which" Miss CHENNELLS writes, "I did not consider myself bound to give, as he never did anything for me." On two occasions, her heart warming, she coyly pressed a florin into his hand, with dire results. "He was," she records, "much worse after it" (the florin, which he seems to have taken neat), "and would, when driving, stoop down, and look through the front window of the brougham, shouting 'Backseesh!'" However, Miss CHENNELLS got even with HASSAN. She followed her usual course when things went ill. She complained to her pupil, the Princess. Next morning, when the unsuspecting HASSAN drove into the court-yard, "he was told by the Eunuchs to descend from the box, was conducted to an inner receptacle, and," Miss CHENNELLS grimly adds, "then and there bastinadoed." Incidentally, in connection with the English Governess's struggle for supremacy in the City of the Pharaohs, we get pictures of life in the Harem, and glimpses of the lavish magnificence of the Khedieval Court, with its French embroidery on Eastern robes. It was with the object of describing these scenes, viewed from a rare vantage point, that the story was written. But not the least interesting character is that, unconsciously drawn, of the prim, practical, precise English Governess, pushing her way through the crowd of courtiers and Ethiopian slaves, peering through gold-rimmed eyeglasses into the recesses of the Harem, and glaring angrily at the hapless Eunuchs, who, going their morning rounds, visit her bedroom, regardless of the twine with which, before entering on her virgin slumbers, she had sedulously fastened the lockless door. Altogether a delightful book, says PASSIM PASHA, the accredited representative of the Baron DE BOOK-WORMS.
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Those who like "Just a tale by twilight, When the lights are low, And the glittering shadows Softly come and go," will do well to expend the comparatively small sum of one shilling, which, in certain ready-money quarters, is reduced to tenpence, or even ninepence, on Grim Tales, written by E. NESBIT, of which "The Ebony Frame" (which should have been called "The Speaking Likeness,") "The Mystery of the Semi-Detached," "Life-size, in Marble," and "A Mass for the Dead," are the best, the last-mentioned being the only one that ends, as all otherwise purposeless tales should end, happily. The Stories are grim enough, in all conscience, but they are told in a hearty sort of fashion, which, while relieving them of some of their weirdness, is calculated to impress the reader with an idea of the honesty and bona fides of the narrator. Thus far,
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
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MEM. FOR THE NEXT EPSOM MEETING,—WHY is the Winner of the Derby always like a Table d' hote?—Because he's so much ahead.
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR A CRIMINAL COLLEGE.
(Suitable for Use at the Prison University, Elmira.)
Question. What is a crime?
Answer. A discovered breach of the law.
Q. And a virtue?
A. Its antithesis—the same thing unsuspected.
Q. What should be the chief occupation of a criminal?
A. A serious study of the law, with a view to its successful evasion.
Q. Is there a law for the rich and a law for the poor?
A. Certainly not; but a well-feed Q.C. is more than a match for a briefless Counsel whose professional sustenance is "soup."
Q. What is now generally considered to be the highest line of crime?
A. The malpractice that is frequently inseparable from holding of important positions on the Boards of bogus public Companies.
Q. What is necessary to secure a livelihood out of burglary?
A. A clear head, a knowledge of chemistry and kindred subjects, and a fair amount of capital.
Q. Why is ready money necessary?
A. Because the calling of a burglar nowadays is attended by various compulsory expenses. A successful burglar should be able to purchase skeleton-keys and "jemmies" of the most exquisite and delicate quality. Moreover, he should be able to entertain largely, and to keep a yacht.
Q. Is swindling ever known to be legal?
A. Scarcely; still it can often be practised with impunity on the Stock Exchange and the Turf.
Q. Is petty larceny lawful?
A. Only when practised on the belongings of your wife, and even in this case it is well to keep her in ignorance of the provisions of the Married Woman's Property Act.
Q. What are the advantages of a sojourn in the newly organised Elmira establishment?
A. An inmate is taught a trade, or even a profession.
Q. And now, in conclusion, considering that a breach of the law is necessary to secure admission to the University, what would you consider the most appropriate motto for the Institution?
A. "Honesty is not (at first) the best policy."
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"BACK US UP!"—It is stated that, on the new School Board for the Henley-in-Arden district, a Mr. H. BACCHUS has been elected. May BACCHUS (and the classic "fat venison") never be absent from this Board! Probably, nowadays, BACCHUS is a strong supporter of the Temperance Movement, if not himself a Total Abstainer.
LETTERS TO ABSTRACTIONS.
No. XVIII.—TO FAILURE.
SIR,—Hitherto, I seem to have been submitting to you examples that cannot properly be described as failures. This was not my purpose. I wished rather to describe one or two characters whose ruin, to a greater or smaller degree, you have compassed by your influence. But some sprite seemed to take possession of my pen; my efforts were unsuccessful, and I was led away from my original purpose. Perhaps that is one of the penalties of addressing you. We shall see! In any case let me proceed with my task as best I may.
It happened to me once—the date is immaterial—that after a considerable absence, I returned to London. You know, perhaps, how it fares with those who, for any length of time, become exiles from their native land. All the institutions, the small no less than the great, that go to make up our varied social life at home, become glorified as it were, and loom larger through the mist of absence. They become part and parcel of a traveller's patriotism, even if in his home-life he took no part in them. I was due to return at the end of May, in time for the Derby-day. I am not a racing-man. I had never seen the Derby run, chiefly, I fancy, because I had never had any desire to see it. But I remember that amongst my brother-exiles, I was being eternally congratulated on the good luck that took me home in time for this great national event. "What, you are going to be back by the end of May," one of them would say; "why you'll be able to go to the Derby?" So that in time, I came to accept this possibility as a specially enviable feature of my home-coming. From that, to making up my mind to go to the Derby was but a step, I took it, and on the great day I made one of the mighty crowd on Epsom Downs. I don't remember much about the race. I met many friends who asked me, as is common in such cases, if I was back already; a question to which it seems difficult to find a suitable reply, if one's bodily presence is not to be accepted as a sufficient evidence of the fact. Many others volunteered to put me on to various absolute certainties, and one man chilled my newly-born racing-patriotism by observing, that he would as soon have thought of seeing FRED ARCHER at a meeting of the British Association.
I don't mean to describe the scene on the Downs. One crowd is much like another; and, when you have said something of the proverbial good-nature of a British crowd, you have done all that can be justly required of you, after seeing a hunted wretch all but torn in pieces by a mob of blackguards worse than himself. However, I think I enjoyed myself well enough. Others enjoyed themselves more, and amongst these was a party of roystering, jovial fellows, who ate a hearty luncheon, and drank much champagne, on the top of a hired drag. One of them particularly attracted my attention. Somewhere, I knew, I had seen that curious, clean-shaved, bull-frog face before. It was perfectly familiar to me, but, for the life of me, I couldn't recall the circumstances in which I had previously set eyes on it. He appeared to be the leader of the revels, and kept his companions in fits of laughter at his sallies. I beat my brains to remember him, but all in vain. All that I could arrive at was a sense of incongruity, an impression of the unexpected in the spectacle I had witnessed.
In the evening I went to the "Frivolity," to see the latest rays of the lamp of burlesque. That scene, at any rate, was familiar. There, in all their spotless panoply of expressionless face, and irreproachable shirt-front, sat the golden lads of the Metropolis in their rows, images of bored stupidity, stiffly cased in black and white. There too, were to be seen the snowy shoulders and the sparkling jewels of the ladies both of the smart and of the higher half world, with here and there an extensive dowager to add weight and decorum to the throng. The curtain drew up on one of the usual scenes of rejoicing. Shapely ladies, in tights, chorused their delight at the approaching nuptials of a great lord's daughter. Then the contented peasantry of the surrounding district stepped forward to swell the joyful strains, and to be regaled with draughts of sparkling emptiness from the inexhaustible beaker wielded by the landlord of the neighbouring inn. And there, under the broad hat of one of these rejoicing peasants, I recognised the bull-frog face that had puzzled me that day at Epsom. In a flash I remembered him and all the scenes in which he had played a humble part. Far back from the dimness of some of my earliest theatrical experiences, up to the present moment, I followed him on his career, simulating joint merriment, bearing one of many banners, carrying a pike or a halberd in an army similarly armed, conspiring in a mantle, draining a brimming goblet, but never—at least within my recollection—taking a part of any individuality, or one that gave him a chance of singing or speaking a single line by himself. He had been one of the ruck when I had first seen him, and now, after at least twenty years, the ruck still claimed him for its own. I remember I had woven a sort of romance about him. There, I had thought to myself, is a man who, no doubt, began his stage career with high aspirations, and noble ambitions. It cannot have been his aim to figure for ever merely as one of a crowd. And I had pictured him gradually losing hope, and wearing his heart out in the bitterness of deferred ambition as he walked gloomily through life, with the stamp of failure on his brow. The picture was a pathetic one, you must admit, worthy to take its place on the line with the well-known fancy sketch of the Clown who, after making the masses split their sides, goes home to a private life of penury and despair.
Well, that day I had seen a piece of my friend's private life at Epsom. Nothing could have been farther removed from misery. A light-hearted gaiety reigned in his face and ruled his every gesture. His companions seemed to bow to him, as to their leading humorist and mirth-maker. I was stimulated by the collapse of my elaborate illusion to make inquiries about him. I found that he had been born almost on the stage, and had taken part in stage-life from his earliest years. He never had any ambition: so long as he could be on the stage, and take part in its life, his desires were satisfied. He lived an absolutely contented life, smoked infamous tobacco out of clay-pipes, and was in high repute amongst his intimates as a singer of jovial songs, and a teller of brisk theatrical anecdotes. There was not a spark of envy in his nature. He honoured the great actors, and was always ready to do all he could to smooth the path of any nervous youngster with excellent advice and cheerful help. He is still acting. Anybody who wishes can see him on any night, helping to troll forth the chorus of a song of Mexican warriors in the great spectacular drama of Montezuma. There is no more perfectly-satisfied being in existence. On that I am prepared to stake my life. Let this tale then be a warning to those who are over-hasty to construct romances of pathetic contrast on an insufficient foundation. One hugs such stories to one's heart, and it is something of a wrench to have to give them up in the light of a fuller knowledge.
And here I am, having all but reached the limits of my appointed space, without apparently having gone one step nearer to the fulfilment of the task on which I set out. I can only ask you to take the will for the deed in the meantime. And after all, if this unambitious actor had only been what I imagined him to be, I could not have produced an apter example. But he had the impertinence to live his life in his own way, and that did not happen to accord with the theories I had been led to form about it. Shall I never be able to come to the point? I have not yet given up all hope?
Yours as usual,
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THE UNIVERSAL VENT.
(For Vacuity, Vanity, Verbosity, Virulence, and Venom.)
IF you've been burning the midnight taper, And of new policies deem yourself shaper; If at the world you're a green-gosling gaper, Or of old "JUNIUS," juvenile aper; Bumptious Scotch Duke, or irate Irish Draper, Crammed with conceit, which must publicly caper; Angry old woman, or frivolous japer; Thraso or termagant, Tadpole or Taper, To blow off your steam, or your gas, or your vapour, There's one fool-loved fashion—'tis write to the paper!
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"I AM in a state of suspense," said a Clergyman. "I am sorry to hear it," replied his friend. "Why are you suspended?"
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A PILGRIM'S PROGRESS.
(Fragments of a Discourse, delivered under the similitude of a Dream, but of symbolic and purely secular significance.)
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Now, at the end of this Valley of Obstruction was another, called the Valley of the Shadow of Disunion; and the Pilgrim must needs go through it, because the way to the Plain of Progress and the Pinnacle of Passage lay through the midst of it.
Now this Valley is a very perilous place,—a place where none care to dwell, and which few attain to pass through. And here the Pilgrim was worse put to it than in his previous encounter with the Apollyon of Obstruction.
I saw then in my dream that when the Pilgrim was got to the borders of the Shadow of Disunion, there met him certain men, aforetime his fellow-travellers, making haste to go back; to whom the Pilgrim spake as follows:—-
Pilgrim. Whither are you going?
Men. Back again! And we would have you do so too, if either life, peace, or honour is prized by you.
Pilgrim. Why, what's the matter?
Men. Matter? We were going that way as you are going, and went as far as we durst; and indeed we were almost past coming back.
Pilgrim. But what have you met with?
Men. Why, we were almost in the Valley of the Shadow of Disunion, where abide Disruption, Dishonour, and Disaster, but that, by good hap, keeping a BRIGHT look-out, we looked before us, and saw the danger ere we came to it.
Pilgrim. But what have you seen?
Men. Seen? Why the Valley itself, which is as dark as pitch; we also saw there the hobgoblins, bogies, and dragons of the pit; we also heard in that Valley a continual howling and yelling, as of a people under unutterable misery, who there sat bound in affliction and chains; and over that Valley hang the discouraging clouds of Confusion; Discord, also, doth always spread its wings over it. In a word, it is every whit dreadful, being utterly without Law and Order.
Pilgrim. Nevertheless I perceive not yet, by what you have said, but that this is my way to the desired haven.
Men. Be it thy way—we will not choose it for ours!
So they parted, and the Pilgrim went on his way, but still with his sword drawn in his hand, for fear lest he should be assaulted.
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I saw then in my dream, as far as this Valley reached, there was on the right hand a very deep ditch, that, to wit, dismally known to some as the Last Ditch, whereinto the blind have oftentimes urged the blind, even threatening therein to plunge and perish, rather than acknowledge certain things which subsequently they nevertheless proceeded pretty peaceably to accept. Again, behold, on the left hand, there was a very dangerous quag or bog, into which if even a good, or grand, man falls, he finds no bottom for his foot to stand on.
The pathway was here also exceedingly narrow, and therefore the Pilgrim was the more put to it; for when he sought, in the dark, to shun the ditch on the one hand, he was ready to tip over into the bog on the other; also, when he sought to escape the bog, without great carefulness, he would be ready to fall into the ditch. Thus he went on, and I heard him sigh bitterly, for, besides the dangers mentioned above, the pathway was here so dark that ofttimes, when he lifted up his foot to go forward, he knew not where or upon what he should set it next.
"Now," thought the Pilgrim, "what shall I do?" And ever and anon the flame and smoke would come out in such abundance, with sparks and hideous noises (things that cared not for the Pilgrim's sword) that he was forced to put up his blade, and betake himself to another weapon called Tactics. Thus he went on a good while, yet still the flames would be reaching towards him; also, he heard doleful voices, and rushings to and fro, so that sometimes he thought he should be torn in pieces, or trodden down like mire in the streets. This frightful sight was seen, and these direful noises were heard by him for a long while together; and coming to a place where he thought he heard a great company of fierce opponents (as it were a numerous and influential Deputation, or a prodigious Procession) coming forward to meet him, he stopped, and began to muse what he had best to do. Sometimes he had half a thought to go back; then again he thought he might be half-way through the Valley. He remembered, also, how he had already vanquished many a danger, and that the peril of going back might be much more than to go forward. So he resolved to go on; yet the bogies, hobgoblins, and dragons of the pit seemed to come nearer and nearer, besetting him with boding warnings, angry expostulations, and menacing outcries from both sides of his strait and perilous pathway, as well from the bog that was on the one hand, as from the ditch that was on the other.
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And here, as it seemed, my Dream did lapse and intermit, and I lost sight, for a while, of the Pilgrim and his perils, much musing whether he, though verily valiant and of manifest good will, were wise in making this dangerous adventure, or at all like to fare safely through and escape the ditch, the bog, the darkness, and the demoniac denizens of this dismal Valley of the Shadow of Disunion.
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May success attend the preliminary Operatic canter which Sir DRURIOLANUS is taking with such preliminary cantors as he has got together at Drury Lane. Faust was effectively given, with ESTHER PALLISER as a gentle Marguerite, Signor GIANNINI as a very robust Faust—quite a tenore robusto—and Signor CASTELMARY as the very deuce of a Mephistopheles, with eyebrows and moustachios sufficient to frighten even the gay and festive Marta, played with spirit by Mlle. BIANCOLI. "Mons." DUFRICHE represented the Mons who laboured hard to please, and who, as Valentine, did well and died well. Herr FELD conducted. "Well Felded!"
Then out came the ever fresh, the ever free Bohemian Girl. Never was such a girl! Quite a NINON DE L'ENCLOS! Beautiful for ever! Still dreaming of Marble Halls (Music Halls nowadays) "with vassals and serfs by her si-i-ide," and no better Bohemian Girl to be seen just now than Madame ALBU as Arline. So "Arl in to begin!" and see and hear BALFE'S pretty little Girl of Bohemia while she is still visible and audible at Drury Lane. Mr. EADIE a trifle gawky as Thaddeus, but then he finds himself in an awkward situation, especially when he has to fumble for the documentary evidence of his birth, attested at a Bohemian Registry Office. CARL ARMBRUSTER conducted this, and then up got Herr FELD "with his little lot," represented by the unrivalled and unequalled Cavalleria Rusticana. Ah! Cavalleria is a treat, even when its performance is not absolutely perfect. The music is charming from first to last; ever fresh and delightful.
That wonderful Intermezzo was excellently given, and enthusiastically encored. As yet the Intermezzo has had no successful rival. It stands alone, and is, of all compositions, the most—well, words fail me—it is a whole dramatic story, within a few bars' compass—it is sweetness and sadness, and then it soothes you to rest, and so you drop off quietly to sleep, until you are awoke by the cessation of sound, when you rouse yourself, with an effort, to applaud, and to beg that you may have just one more delicious dose of it—and doze from it. Saturday finishes with Carmen, and Sic transit gloria Operatica for the past week. All right up to now!
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SPECTATOR.—A very curious and interesting little story. We ourselves once had a dog who on returning home from a walk always chained himself up in the back-kitchen and bit the butler. He would then howl bitterly, slip his collar, and run to the nearest police station, where he gave himself into custody and insisted on cleaning out his own cell and appearing on the following morning before the Magistrate. This shows that dogs can reason. Our dog eventually died of being constantly quoted by Curates a Temperance Lectures. This was disappointing, as we had never grudged him either attention or butlers. One of our butlers had a cork leg,—but that is another story.
SUB SILENTIO.—(1) A dog's chief value is conversational. At afternoon teas such an animal is a wonderful resource after you have exhausted the picture-shows, the theatres, and all the scandals. You can lead off about his pedigree. "He's champion bred on both sides," always sounds well. A funny man is sure to say, "Champion bread-and-butter you mean. Ha! ha!" at the same time offering the animal some from the tea-table, to mark his point. This may be previously arranged, if you prefer it. Throw in a few stories about his wonderful intelligence in distinguishing the baker's boy from the mistress of the house, to the detriment of the former, and wind up by narrating how he once found his way home to Piccadilly from Pekin. All dogs do this in one way or another, so you will be quite safe. Then everybody else contributes his own special Spectatorial dog-story, and your tea will pass off without a dull or an accurate moment.
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HOW NOT TO DO IT.
(Act from a Farce ready for Performance pending the settlement of the Labour Question.)
SCENE—Interior of a Provided Work Office. Benevolent Organiser discovered looking over a list.
Ben. Org. Yes, I think this will do very well indeed. New pump, fresh road. Ought to keep them going comfortably through the rest of the winter. (Enter Unemployed.) Well, my good man, and what do you want?
Unemployed (in a whining tone). Me and my mates, Sir, are out of work. It's no fault of ours, and——
Ben. Org. Well, we will see what we can do.
Unem. Thankee kindly, Sir, I'm sure 'arf a sufferin, or even 'arf a dollar——
Ben. Org. (ignoring this suggestion). Now, let me see—what's your trade?
Unem. A watch-maker. So you see, as the Press says, you can't send me to mend roads, or build pumps.
Ben. Org. No, no. I have overlooked your class. But stay—I think I can forward you to a friend. Let me see, what time is it? (Produces watch, and lets it fall.) Dear me! It has stopped, as I live! (With vivacity.) My dear fellow, here is a chance for you. You shall mend it.
Unem. (freshening up). Only too pleased to take your watch.
[Possesses himself of the time-piece, and exit hurriedly.
Enter Constable with Unemployed in custody.
Constable. This your watch, Sir?
Unem. (rapidly). Which was given to me by the kind gentleman to mend. But I gladly return it, as me and my mates have determined not to do any more work for fear that we should injure our brothers who are doing nothing. [Exit.
Constable. Lucky I kept my eye upon him, Sir. If I hadn't, you would never have seen him again—nor your watch either.
Ben. Org. Is there so much guile in the world?
Con. Yes, Sir, a pretty fine lot. But I can't stand palavering or those rowdies loafing around will pull the house about our ears. When the Unemployed are idle, the police have enough to do! Ponder over it, Sir; ponder over it! [Curtain, and Ben. Organiser left pondering.
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A VELL VORN MOTTO.—In his sound and sensible reply to a congratulatory address, H. E. Cardinal VAUGHAN suggested "Amare et servire" as the motto for the Christian capitalist. To the first verb the capitalist would, it is probable, make no objection; but as to the second, he would be inclined to move as an amendment, that, "for 'i' in servire should be substituted 'a'." At all events, Amare et servare is the narrower view taken on the broader of the two roads in life.
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AUTHOR! AUTHOR!—Mr. J. L. TOOLE advertises that in consequence of "the Phenomenal Success" of Walker—London, it is to be kept going throughout the season. Excellent. But, for the sake of Mr. J. M. BARRIE, its talented author, it is to be hoped that the conditions of the performance of his popular play are not "fee nominal." But for this J. L. T.—which initials stand for Jenerous Lavish TOOLE—will have already made ample provision.
DOUBLE BALLADE OF PROPER NAMES.
I've met (in wax) VOLTAIRE, The atheist, TOM PAINE, The "blatant beast," HEBERT, Called also "Pere DUCHENE"; The bluff Sir HARRY VANE, The boys' delight, DEFOE, Brave ABRAHAM DUQUESNE, And "BAYARD" OUDINOT.
Fell "JEAN qui rit" BARRERE, The Tartar, TAMERLANE, The "sea-green" ROBESPIERRE, The sportive "Pea-Green" HAYNE. The boxer, "Big Ben" BRAIN, The convert, BENDIGO, The social WALTER CRANE, And gay BOCCACCIO.
The gloomy BAUDELAIRE, The wise Professor BAIN, Truth-loving LABOUCHERE, The anatomic QUAIN, The dramatist, SEDAINE; The polished MARIVAUX, The able critic, TAINE, And keen LA ROCHEFOUCAULD.
The learned brothers HARE, The "mummer," JOHN MACLEAN, The dismal poet, BLAIR, The funny CORNEY GRAIN; That "innocent," MARK TWAIN, The Spaniard, CANDAMO, The gentle JULIAN FANE, And EDGAR ALLAN POE.
The perjured knight, MACAIRE, The recreant BAZAINE, The pious LACORDAIRE, The Anglophobist, BLAINE; The rebel Gen'ral WAYNE, The gen'rous WATERLOW, The "good time coming" SWAIN, And wise old CICERO.
The Dutch sea-dog, LE MAIRE, The warlike Prince EUGENE, The gallant Earl of STAIR; Grim PHILIP, King of Spain, Our Saxon ATHELSTANE, The false queen, ISABEAU, The nine days queen, Queen JANE, And Madame D'HOUDETOT.
My Lady CASTLEMAINE, The ghostly Mrs. CROWE, The fleshy EVELEEN RAYNE, And Mrs. BEECHER STOWE.
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Thursday, April 6.—Met again after so-called Easter Holidays. Mr. G. early in his place, looking as blooming as the Spring flower in his buttonhole. "The BRIGHT 'UN from Brighton," was MARJORIBANKS'S way of announcing the Chief, as he entered from behind SPEAKER'S Chair. Spoke for hour-and-half on moving Second Reading of Home-Rule Bill. General impression is everything possible been already said on subject. This conviction so deeply impressed that Members will not come back to resume Debate. Benches only half full whilst Mr. G. delivering what will rank as historic speech. Situation accepted to extent that ten days or fortnight must be given up to Second-Reading Debate. Wouldn't be respectful, or even decent, to dispose of stage of such a measure in less time. Well known that this Sahara of observation will not influence single vote. If arrangements had been made with due notice to take division to-night, after Mr. G. had urged Second Reading of Bill, and HICKS-BEACH had moved rejection, the majority would have been exactly the same as it will be a fortnight hence, when end is reached after multitudinous talk. Not by a vote more, nor a vote less, will Government majority be varied. Still, usual thing to talk for week or fortnight upon Bill of this kind. House will not fail in its duty to QUEEN and Country. A dolorous prospect, judging from to-night's experience. Mr. G. kept audience well together. Members increased as he spoke; but when ST. MICHAEL rose, audience dispersed like leaves in wintry weather.
"An excellent fellow BEACH," said CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, "But in his House of Commons speech always gives one the idea that, through a blameless existence, he has been rolled upon by the melancholy ocean."
Certainly his speech has depressing effect. Members, with one consent, go out to think over what he is probably going to say. Convenient arrangement for them, but does not add to hilarity of proceedings, or vary impression CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN'S figure of speech conveys.
After BEACH, BIRRELL, with a new chapter of Obiter Dicta. Some of the smartest things addressed to the empty seat where CHAMBERLAIN should have been on view. But JOSEPH not yet come up out of Egypt. Had he been here, and House a little fuller, the new chapter would have gone off capitally. As things turned out, there was a fatal unreality in situation, which House quick to realise. Pretty to see Members, as BIRRELL struggled with his notes, involuntarily sniffing, as if they recognised familiar whiff of midnight lamp.
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"Worst of these impromptus prepared beforehand," said ST. JOHN BRODRICK, himself a master of spontaneous speech, "is, you never know in what circumstances they may have to be delivered."
Towards midnight, some refreshment in the incursion of SWIFT MACNEILL. Came up smiling; handing himself round, as it were, for inspection, as sample of kind of persecution of Protestants that would follow in Ulster on enactment of Home-Rule Bill. "I'm a Protestant, Mr. SPEAKER," he shouted, beaming on the Chair, "and I'm sent here by a majority of 2,500 Catholic peasants to represent an Ulster Constituency."
SWIFT MACNEILL'S smile infectious. It illumined with something of saintly halo the depressed figure of Dr. BARTON, who, again breaking his vow of silence, confessed that yesterday he had been enrolled as Member of an Organisation in Ulster sworn to resist Home-Rule. "I don't know, Mr. SPEAKER," he said, in hoarse whisper, "what that act may involve, and I don't care. It may lead to my spending the remainder of my days in penal servitude." Whereat the jaded House merrily laughed.
Business done.—Second Reading Home-Rule Bill moved.
Friday.—A dull night, my masters. Still harping on Home Rule. Second night's debate on Second Reading. Naturally supposed to be in heyday of vigour. But Benches empty; level of oratory third-rate; STANSFELD a hoary Triton among the Minnows; ELLIS ASHMEAD BARTLETT (Knight) gloomily views the scene. "Thought you were going to speak to-night?" I said, "Read the announcement in the papers." Never forget the haughty, withering glance of ELLIS ASHMEAD.
"Sir," he said, "I talk only with my peers."
So suppose we shall have him one day next week, when CHAMBERLAIN, GRANDOLPH, and BALFOUR take part in fray. Begins to look as if, for all practical purposes, might as well have deferred meeting of House till Monday.
"Mr. G. a great man," says DAVITT. "Insisted upon us coming back on Thursday, to debate Home-Rule Bill. He can do most things; he can bring a horse to the water, but he can't make him debate."
Business done.—Eight hours' talk round Home-Rule Bill.
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INFLUENCE OF MUSIC.—I recently noticed a paragraph in a Medical Journal advising persons suffering from Insomnia to try a musical box in their bed-rooms; and I therefore purchased a rather expensive one, which plays six tunes, with drum and trumpet accompaniment. Something seems to have gone wrong with the mechanism, as, after being fully wound up, it remains obstinately silent for an hour or so, at the end of which period it suddenly starts off at break-neck speed, and repeats one of the tunes backwards over and over again. Nothing that I can do will stop it. Could some musical expert kindly advise in this case? After a most agitated night, due to the vagaries of the instrument, I took it into bed with me, hoping to drown the noise; but the vibration of the drums under the bed-clothes was terrific! I then placed the machine in my bath, and covered it with water; but it continued to play with undiminished vigour. It is still playing. Some Museum, or a Government engaged in sub-marine experiments, might like to have it; or it might be suited for a Deaf and Dumb Asylum. It will be sold cheap.
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["Several carriage-makers in London have, it is said, received orders of late for Sedan chairs."—Daily Paper.]
WHAT wonder if our hansom-hiring Fair Should now adopt a coach distinctly rarer? As Cabby often treats them like a bear, Henceforth our ladies may prefer a bearer!
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"THE SILVER SHELL."—Mr. H. J. W. DAM'S new Play (the initial letters, save the name—and as to the name, absit omen!) treats of Russian life. There is a "toff" in it, played by Mr. KENDAL, whose name is Prince Karatoff, which reminds us of the Duke of Turniptop. Or, if he is an insouciant sort of person, he would more properly be titled, Prince Don't-Kar-a-toff. Unfortunate name, too, is Boris Ivanitch. Perhaps a Big Bore is Ivanitch; and as to the family title, Ivanitch—well, considered theatrically, it sounds unpleasantly like belonging to a scratch company. There's a bomb in it, which, we were informed, in a D. T. note, "appears as part of the furniture of a drawing-room." The entire furniture-covering is made, we are privately informed, of "bombazine," and the explosion may be expected to be terrific. For the sake of the clever Managers of the Court, not forgetting their H. J. W. DAM clever author, we trust The Silver Shell will be, for many months to come, an occasion for the public to silver shell out.
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Obvious punctuation errors have been corrected.
Page 178: 'fou' corrected to 'you'. (What did you Pay for these?)