PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
FEBRUARY 18, 1893.
Picturing the Various Modes of Melodramatic Murder. (By Our "Off-his"-Head Poet.)
NO. IV.—THE "OVER-THE-CLIFF" MURDER.
It may be this—that the Villain base Has insulted the hero's girl; It may be this—that he's brought disgrace On a wretchedly-acted Earl. I care not which it may chance to be, Only this do I chance to know— A cliff looks down at a canvas sea And some property rocks below!
You say, perhaps, it is only there From a love of the picturesque— You hint, maybe, that it takes no share In the plot of this weird burlesque; But cliffs that tremble at every touch, And that flap in the dreadful draught, Have something better to do—ah, much! Than to criticise Nature's craft!
The cliff is there, and the ocean too, And the property rocks below. (These last, as yet, don't appear to you, But they're somewhere behind, I know.) The cliff is there, and the sea besides (As I fancy I've said before), And yonder alone the Villain hides Who is thirsting for someone's gore!
And now there comes to the Villain bold The unfortunate Villain Two. He's here to ask for the promised gold For the deeds he has had to do. But words run high, and a struggle strong Sends the cliff rocking to and fro, And Villain Two topples off ere long To the property rocks below!
The scene is changed. The revolving cliff Now exhibits its other side. The corpse is there, looking very stiff— Even more than before it died! The crime is traced to the hero JACK, Notwithstanding the stupids know Deceased was thrown by the Villain black To the property rocks below!
* * * * *
RHYMES FOR READERS OF REMINISCENCES.
If the day's (as usual) pitchy, Take up ANNE THACKERAY RITCHIE! If you're feeling "quisby-snitchy," Seek the fire—and read your RITCHIE! If your nerves are slack or twitchy, Quiet them with soothing RITCHIE. If you're dull as water ditchy, You'll be cheered by roseate RITCHIE. Be you achey, sore, chill, itchy, Rest you'll find in Mrs. RITCHIE! May her light ne'er shine with slacker ray, Gentle daughter of great THACKERAY!
* * * * *
"WORDS! WORDS! WORDS!"—The decision in "the Missing Words (and money) Competition" is, in effect, "No more words about it, but hand over the L23,628 to the National Debt Commissioners." Advice this of STIRLING value.
* * * * *
You Fall, Eiffel!
Are the Panama sentences rather hard? So Monsieur EIFFEL pro tem. disappears. To walk round about a prison yard Is the Tour d'Eiffel for a couple of years.
* * * * *
EVIDENT.—The little song for Mr. HARRY LAWSON to sing on reading Mr. CHARLES DARLING'S letter in the Times of Thursday last—"Charley is my Darling!"
* * * * *
A REAL "OPENING" FOR A SMART YOUNG (POLITICAL) MAN.—The settling, on rational grounds, of the great and much-muddled up "Sunday-Opening" Question.
* * * * *
CUE FOR THE CRITICS (if the New Coinage does not seem an improvement upon the Jubilee failures).—Pepper Mint!
* * * * *
IMPORTANT FINANCIAL QUESTION FOR ITALIANS.—Are the Banks of the Tiber secure?
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["Mr. HENRY BLACKBURN, lecturing at the London Institution, Finsbury Circus, said English people were not an artistic nation, and instead of getting better, they appeared to be rapidly getting worse. The author of the present day was losing the sincerity and the individuality which ought to characterise him.—Daily Paper."]
Oh, gaily did we hasten to the London Institution, Expecting some amusement in our inartistic way, And little did we reckon on the awful retribution Which Mr. HENRY BLACKBURN had in store for us that day.
We'd fondly looked towards him for an eulogistic blessing, But got instead a general and comprehensive curse, We are, as he informed us, with an emphasis distressing, By nature inartistic, and are daily getting worse.
Thereafter he directed magisterial attention Upon the hapless authors who a fleeting fame had got; He drew no nice distinctions, nor selected some for mention, But, with superb simplicity, he just condemned the lot.
Every man of them is sinning with an ignorance persistent, Poet, novelist and critic, or whatever be their sphere, Their "individuality" is almost non-existent, And only on occasions, if at all, are they "sincere."
Well, what, then, is the remedy? Will Mr. BLACKBURN fix it? Must all our fiction travel from the cultured Continent? Or dares we snap our fingers at this haughty ipse dixit, And read our inartistic books in very great content?
* * * * *
MR. PERKS, M.P., has undertaken to bring in a Bill for "the Abolition of Registrars at Nonconformist Marriages." If successful, the Ministers will lose their "Perks."
* * * * *
In the Field's Dog-for-sale column, there recently appeared, wedged in between descriptions of vendible Beagles and Bloodhound Pups, the following remarkable advertisement:—
BLOODHOUND, 40-Tonner, for SALE; built by Fife of Fairlie; has all lead ballast, and very complete inventory.—For price, which is moderate, and particulars, apply, &c.
Most interesting canine specimen this. The Managers of the Zoological Gardens should at once apply, if by this time they have not already done so, and secured the "Forty-tonner Bloodhound," with complete inventory, "built by FIFE of Fairlie."
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Nursery-Rhyme for the Neo-Crinolinists.
GIRLS and Matrons, who wins the day, Now WINTER and JEUNE have had their say? Come with a hoop to concert or ball, Come with balloon-skirts, or come not at all!
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A Candid Friend.
SCENE—Brown's Study—the well-known "Brown's Study," of course. BROWN is reading the fortieth chapter of his three-volume Autobiography to JONES.
Brown (pausing in his gigantic work). Well, tell me, honestly, have you any fault to find with it?
Jones. Well—hum!—it wants finish.
[Looks at his watch, rises hurriedly, and exits quickly.
* * * * *
Why, on an Illustrated Paper, should the position of the reproducer of Artists' black-and-white work be a higher one than that of the Artists themselves? Because he undertakes "Graver" responsibilities.
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(Modern Agricultural Version.)
[BURIDAN is said to have been the inventor of the dilemma of the ass between two absolutely equal bundles of hay, he maintaining that the ass's choice must be so equally balanced that he would starve, there being no motive for preference.]
Long-patient Issachar, o'erladen muncher Of heaps of "vacant chaff well-meant for grain," If, like the pious spouse of Jerry Cruncher, You "flop," and, camel-wise, won't rise again To bear big burdens that strength staggers under, On fodder most inadequate, what wonder?
To wallop a poor "donkey wot won't go," The good old song suggests is cruel folly. Give him some fragrant hay, then cry "Gee-woa!" The lyrist hints, in diction quaintly jolly. From starving moke you'll get no progress steady; The well-fed ass responds to "Gee-up, Neddy!"
Poor brute, between two piles of sapless chaff, While such big burdens weigh your weary shoulders, Your choice is difficult! Cynics may laugh, But pity for your plight moves kind beholders. Cockneys cry, "Kim hup, Neddy!" or "Woa, Emma!" But Punch compassionates your hard dilemma.
What choice between the chaff of arid Rad And that of equally dry-and-dusty Tory? CHAPLIN would feed you on preposterous fad, And GARDNER on—postponement! The old story! While the grass grows the horse may starve. Poor ass! Party would bring you to a similar pass!
"A certain Mister JESSE COLLINGS" poses As your particular friend and patron. Quite so! JOSEPH and he cock their pugnacious noses At their old Chief, venting their zeal (and spite) so. CODLIN—no, COLLINGS—is the friend. "Lard bless 'ee, Turn WILLYUM oop, and try JOSEPH and JESSE!"
"WILLYUM"—who wields a very pretty flail— Drubs them delightfully, 'midst general laughter. But oh, poor ass, aching from head to tail, Pray, what the better is your state thereafter? BURIDAN'S Ass was surely your twin brother. There's such small difference 'twixt one and t'other!
* * * * *
POLITICS IN PLAY.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,—I notice that that eminent author, Mr. HENRY ARTHUR JONES, has written a play called The Bauble Shop, in which he has introduced the room of the Prime Minister in the House of Commons as one of his most striking tableaux. I have not yet had the advantage of seeing what I feel sure must be an admirable comedy, but in justice to myself I must ask you to publish a portion of a piece of my own, which seems to me to bear some resemblance to what I suppose I must call (as it has enjoyed priority of production) the Criterion original. I call my drama The Walking Gentleman, or the Young Premier, and I beg to submit to you the last Scene (a very short one) of the last Act. Here it is in extenso:—
SCENE.—ANGELINA'S Boudoir. ANGELINA discovered waiting for EDWIN.
Angelina (anxiously). And, will he never come! Ah! that House—that House! With its blazing beacon from the Clock Tower; it——(With a cry of joy.) Ah, he is here!
Edwin (entering hurriedly and taking ANGELINA in his arms). My own one! Yes, I say it advisedly, my own one! Mine—Mine—for ever!
Ang. Nay, EDWIN; you forget the claims the Government—the country—have upon your time!
Edw. No, darling, I do not. The Division has been taken; it is all over. At the last moment I rose in my place in the House, and made purposely one of the most injudicious orations ever heard within those respected walls. I disgusted friends, alienated adherents, and in every possible manner strengthened the hands of the Opposition; and, darling we are beaten—yes, beaten—by a thumping majority.
Ang. (in tears). Oh, EDWIN, EDWIN! I am so sorry!
Edw. Nay, do not weep. For thy dear sake I accepted the sacrifice. I am no longer leader of the House, I am no longer head of the Administration, and now I shall have ample leisure. Yes, darling, smile once more. Now I shall have time to be married. Now I can speak with hope of a honeymoon!
There, Mr. Punch! If that would not overwhelm the Stalls and Boxes with painful emotion, and bring down the Pit and Gallery with thunders of applause, I am a Dutchman!
Yours obediently, GARRICK SHAKSPEARE SNOOKS.
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* * * * *
MARY-ANNER ON THE COMING MODE.
["That there is much to be said for crinoline on hygienic grounds, and on those of cleanliness, must be obvious to its most prejudiced opponents."—Lady JEUNE "In Defence of Crinoline."]
DEAR POLLY,—This comes hooping—I mean hoping, as you're heard, As the QUEEN and the PRINCESS O' WALES declines to be absurd, And put their foot in it—dear me!—I mean to put it down Upon the coming Crinerline! A-arsting of the Crown To hinterfere with hus, dear,—wich I means the female sect,— In our Fashions, is fair himperence. But, wot can yer expect From parties—wich they may be litterary, or may not— As carn't see any beauty in balloon-skirts? Reglar rot! I'm a-pinin' for it, POLLY, wich in course, my dear, I mean That convenient, cleanly cover-all, wot's called the Crinerline! It hides so much, my POLLY; wich I'm sure, my dear, you'll twig! As dear Lady JUNE informs hus, the too-little or too-big, The scraggy and the crummy ones, the lanky 'uns and the lumps, Will be grateful for a fashion as is kind to bones and 'umps. Eel-skin skirts may suit the swells, dear, and the straight, and slim, and tall, And—well, them whose wardrobe's plentiful; they don't suit me at all; Wich I'm four-foot-ten and stoutish, as to you is well beknown; I'm a bit short in the legs like, my limbs do not run to bone. Now my purse won't run to petticuts and cetrer hevery week, As a pound a month won't do it. Ho! it's like their blessed cheek, Missis JOHN STRANGE WINTER'S Ammyzons as Lady JUNE remarks— To swear Crinerline is "ojus," dear, and 'idjous. 'Twill be larks To see them a wearin 'ooped-skirts, as in course they're bound to do, When they fair become the fashion. Yus, for all their bubbaroo. The seving thousand Leaguers, and their Leader will cave in, And wear wot now they swear is jest a shame, dear, and a sin. I do not care a snap wot the opinion of the men is, Nor yet for the hesthetecks, nor the toffs as play at Tennis; I sez 'Ooped Skirts for hever! This STRANGE WINTER'S out o' tune, I prefers the Summer, POLLY, wich I mean dear Lady JUNE. Anti-Crinerline be jiggered! I've got one dear mother wore, Though the steels is a bit twisted, and the stuff a trifle tore, I can fake it up, when Fashion gives the watch-word, I've no doubt, And I ony wish 'twould come, dear, with my first fine Sunday hout. Drat these sniffy snapping Leaguers! Ho! they fancy they're high-tone, But I'll give 'em the straight griffin. Leave our petticuts alone! They may take it from me, POLLY, they'll soon drop their bloomin' banner, If all women show the sperrit of,
Yours trooly, MARY-ANNER.
* * * * *
CUE FOR KENNINGTON (especially after the smart seconding of the Address in the Lower House).—"MARK—BEAUFOY!"
* * * * *
AN EXAMPLE OF A "SUSPENSORY BILL" would be a small account from your haberdasher's for a pair of braces.
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THE MAN FROM BLANKLEY'S.
A STORY IN SCENES.
SCENE VI.—The Dining-room, as before. Lord STRATHSPORRAN is still endeavouring to grasp the situation.
Lord Strath. (to himself). Don't want to make a fuss, but I suppose I ought to do something. Good little chap, my host—didn't like to tell me I'd made a mistake; but his wife's a downright vixen. Better make it right with her. (To Mrs. TID.). I—I'm afraid I ought to have found out long before this what an intruder you must consider me; but your husband——.
Mrs. Tid. Pray say no more. Mr. TIDMARSH chose to act on his own responsibility, and of course I must put up with the consequences.
Lord Strath. (to himself). It's hard lines to have to leave MARJORY like this; but this is more than I can——(Aloud.) After that, of course I can only offer to relieve you of my presence as soon as——
Mrs. Tid. (horrified). Not for worlds! I can't have my party broken up now. I insist on your staying. I—I have no complaint to make of your conduct—so far!
Lord Strath. Very kind of you to say so. (To himself.) Pleasant woman this! But I don't care—I will stay and see this out; it's too late to go in to the CARTOUCHES now, and I won't leave MARJORY till——(Aloud.) Miss SEATON—MARJORY—I'm in a most awfully difficult position—do let me tell you about it!
Miss Seaton (penitently). Oh, Douglas, I—I know—I heard.... I'm so sorry—I mean, I'm so glad! Please forgive me for treating you as I did!
Lord Strath. You did let me have it pretty straight, didn't you, MARJORY? But, of course, you thought me am impudent cad for calmly coming in to dinner uninvited like this—and no wonder!
Miss Seaton (to herself). He doesn't know the worst—and he shan't, if I can help it! (Aloud.) It doesn't matter what I thought—I—I don't think it now. And—and—do tell me all you can about yourself!
[They converse with recovered confidence.
Uncle Gab. (to himself). For all the notice that stuck-up young swell takes of me, I might be a block of wood! I'll make him listen to me. (Aloud.) Ahem! My Lord, I've just been telling my niece here the latest scandal in high-life. I daresay your Lordship has heard of that titled but brainless young profligate, the Marquis of MANX?
Lord Strath. MANX? Oh, yes—know him well—sort of relation of mine. Never heard a word against him, though!
Uncle Gab. (in confusion). Oh, I—I beg your Lordship's pardon—I wasn't aware. No doubt I got the name wrong.
Lord Strath. Ah—or the facts. Great mistake to repeat these things—don't you think? Generally lies.
[He resumes his conversation with Miss S.
Uncle Gab. (nettled). It's all very well for you to stand up for your order, my Lord; but it's right I should tell you that the Country doesn't mean to tolerate that den of thieves and land-grabbers—I need hardly say I refer to the House of Lords—much longer! We're determined to sweep them from the face of the earth. I say so, as the—ah—mouthpiece of a large and influential majority of earnest and enlightened Englishmen!
Lord Strath. (to himself). Fancy the mouthpiece has had quite enough champagne! (Aloud.) My dear Sir, you can begin sweeping to-morrow, so far as I am concerned. I'm no politician.
Uncle Gab. (warming). No politician! And yet you sit in the Upper House as one of our hereditary legislators, obstructing the will of the People! Do you mean to tell me there's no incongruity in that!
[Consternation among the company.
Lord Strath. A good deal, I daresay, if I sat there—only I don't—haven't had the honour of being elected at present.
Mrs. Tid. (hastily). He means he—he has other things to do, Uncle—don't excite yourself so! (To Lord S. in a whisper.) You're only exposing yourself by talking of what you know nothing about. Surely you know that Peers aren't elected!
Lord Strath. I was under the impression they were—in Scotland; but it's not worth arguing about.
Uncle Gab. You're evading the point, my Lord. I'm trying to put plain sense——
Lord Strath. (wearily). I know—but—er—why try? Wouldn't plain nonsense be rather more amusing—at dinner, don't you know?
Uncle Gab. (stormily). Don't think you're going to ride roughshod over me, my Lord! If you think yourself above your company——
Lord Strath. I assure you I've no idea what I've said or done to offend you, Sir. It was perfectly unintentional on my part.
Uncle Gab. (relaxing). In that case, my Lord, no further apology is needed. I—ah—accept the olive-branch!
Lord Strath. By all means—if I may trouble you for the olives.
Uncle Gab. (effusively). With all the pleasure in life, my Lord. And, without withdrawing in any sort or kind from any of my general opinions, I think I express the sentiment of all present when I say how deeply we feel the honour——
Lord Strath. (to himself). Good Lord—he's going to make a speech now! (Little GWENDOLEN enters demurely and draws up a chair between his and her mother's.) Saved, by Jove! Child to the rescue? (To her.) So you're going to sit next to me, eh? That's right! Now what shall I get you—some of those grapes?
Gwen. No, a baby orange with silver paper round it, please. What is it, Miss SEATON? [She rises and goes to Miss S.
Miss Seaton (whispering). Now, darling, be careful—you know what I told you—you mustn't tell tales or repeat things!
Gwen. Not even if I'm asked, Miss SEATON?... No?... Would you be displeased? Then I won't. (Returning to her seat and addressing Lord S. confidentially.) Do you know why I've come to sit next to you? Because I want to see how you behave. You aren't just like one of our regular dinner-party guests, are you, you know?
Lord Strath. (humbly). I'm afraid not, my dear; but you'll be kind to me for all that, won't you?
Gwen. (primly). Miss SEATON says we should never be unkind to anybody, whatever their position is. And I think you're rather nice. I wish Papa would have you to dine with us often, but perhaps you're expensive?
Lord Strath. (laughing). I don't know, Miss GWENNIE, I've been feeling uncommonly cheap all the evening!
Gwen. (reflectively). Mamma always says everything's much cheaper at BLANKLEY'S.
Mrs. Tid. (to Uncle GAB.). Growing such a big girl, isn't she? and getting on wonderfully with her lessons. I must get her to recite one of her little pieces for you, Uncle, dear—she does it so prettily!
Uncle Gab. Hey, GWEN—I'll bet you one of these sugar-biscuits you don't know who it is you're chatting away so freely to!
Gwen. Oh yes, I do, Uncle; but I'm being very kind to him, so that he mayn't feel any different, you know!
Uncle Gab. Upon my word—what will you get into that little noddle of yours next, I wonder!
Gwen. (after deliberation). Preserved ginger, I think—I like ginger better than biscuits. (To Lord S.) You can reach it for me.
Uncle Gab. Come, come, young lady, where are your manners? That's not the way to speak to that Gentleman. You should say—"Will your Lordship be so very kind as to pass the preserved ginger?"
Lord Strath. (impatiently). Please don't, GWENNIE! I like your own style much the best! [He helps her to the preserve.
Uncle Gab. You mustn't allow the child to take liberties, my Lord. Now, GWEN, suppose you tell me and his Lordship here something you've been learning lately—don't be shy, now!
Mrs. Tid. Yes, GWENNIE—tell Uncle a little tale—repeat something to him, come, darling!
Gwen. No, I shan't, Mamma!
[She pegs away stolidly at the preserved ginger.
Uncle Gab. Hullo? 'Shan't' to your Mother? This how you bring the child up, MARIA?
Mrs. Tid. Not when Mother asks you to, GWEN? And Uncle wanting to hear it so! No? Why won't you?
Gwen. Because Miss SEATON told me not to—and I won't, either.
Uncle Gab. Hah—Miss SEATON seems the supreme authority here, evidently—better get her permission, MARIA!
Miss Seaton (distressed). Indeed. I—I never meant—GWENNIE didn't understand me quite—that is all!
Gwen. Oh, Miss SEATON! when you said I wasn't to tell tales or repeat things—you did say so!
Miss Seaton. Yes, yes, but that was a different kind of tale altogether, GWENNIE,—you may tell a fairy tale!
Gwen. (obstinately). If I mayn't tell any kind of story I like, I shan't tell any at all—so there!
Uncle Gab. Pretty behaviour, upon my word! Children didn't behave like that in my young days, MARIA! I should no more have dared to refuse to tell my elders anything they—but it strikes me you leave her too much with her governess—who, by the bye, has been going on with his Lordship in a manner that well, really I shouldn't have thought——!
Mrs. Tid. (mortified and angry). I am not at all satisfied with Miss SEATON in many ways, Uncle—you can safely leave her to me!
[She gives the signal; Lord STRATH. opens the door.
Lord Strath. (to Miss SEATON, as she passes, last but one). I—I suppose I shall get a word with you upstairs?
Mrs. Tid. (overhearing—to herself). I'll take good care he doesn't! (To Lord S., waspishly.) Let me advise you to be very careful!
[Lord STRATH. closes the door after her, with relief and amazement.
SCENE VII.—On the Stairs.
Mrs. Tid. (detaining Miss SEATON). I hope you are satisfied with yourself, Miss SEATON? You ought to be, I'm sure—after encouraging my own child to disobey me, and behaving as you did with that most ill-bred and impertinent impostor!
Miss S. (indignantly). He is nothing of the sort! Mrs. TIDMARSH, you—you don't understand! Please let me tell you about him!
Mrs. Tid. I have no desire whatever to hear. I am only sorry I ever permitted you to dine at all. It will be a lesson to me another time. And you will be good enough to retire to your own room at once, and remain there till I send for you! [She passes on.
Miss Seaton (following). But I must tell you first what a mistake you are making. Indeed he is not——!
Mrs. Tid. I don't care what he is. Another word, Miss SEATON,—and we part! [She sweeps into the Drawing-room.
Miss Seaton (outside). I have done all I can! If I could only hope the worst was over! But it doesn't matter much now. I know I shall never see DOUGLAS again!
[She goes sorrowfully up to her room.
(End of Scene VII.)
* * * * *
"THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA" AT OXFORD.
The Oxford University Dramatic Society, unlike the Cambridge A. D. C., is compelled by the Authorities to walk only amidst the high peaks and sometimes monotonous solitudes of the legitimate drama. The Two Gentlemen of Verona, which was chosen for this term's performance, is, if the truth must be told, an uninteresting stage-play. The story is of the slightest; there is scarcely a genuinely dramatic incident from beginning to end. The audience wearies of a succession of pretty pictures and sentimental soliloquies or dialogues, mouths begin to gape, and the attention wanders. Is this sacrilege? If it be, I must be content to be sacrilegious. But there is scope for careful and graceful acting, and of this the O. U. D. S. took full advantage.
Mr. WHITAKER'S Valentine was a very pleasing performance. He spoke his lines admirably, grouped himself (if the Hibernianism be permissible) excellently, and showed himself in every sense a well-graced actor. Mr. PONSONBY'S Launce, too, was capital, carefully thought out and consistently rendered. One or two of the actors in tights seemed unduly conscious of their hands and knees, but, on the whole, the acting was of good average excellence. The Ladies here are real Ladies, not stuffed imitations, as at Cambridge. Mrs. SIM, Mrs. MORRIS, and Miss FARMER, were all good. But the one really brilliant performance was that of Crab, the dog, by a wonderful Variety performer from the Theatre Royal, Dogs' Home, Battersea. If this gorgeously ugly, splendidly intelligent, and affectionately versatile animal is sent back at the conclusion of the run of the piece to be asphyxiated at Battersea, I shall never believe in the gratitude or humanity of the O. U. D. S.
* * * * *
In the arid life of the book-reviewer there is sometimes found the oasis of opportunity to recommend to a (comparatively) less suffering community a book worth reading. My Baronite has by chance come upon such an one in Timothy's Quest, by KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN. The little volume is apparently an importation, having been printed for the Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass. It is published in London by GAY AND BIRD, a firm whose name, though it sounds lively, is as unfamiliar as the Author's. Probably from this combination of circumstances, Timothy's Quest has, as far as my Baronite's quest goes, escaped the notice of the English Reviewer. That is his personal loss. The book is an almost perfect idyl, full of humanity, fragrant with the smell of flowers, and the manifold scent of meadows. It tells how Timothy, waif and stray in the heart of a great city, escaped from a baby-farm to whose tender cares he had been committed; how, in a clothes-basket, mounted on four wooden wheels, cushioned with a dingy shawl, he wheeled off another waif and stray, a prattling infant; and how, accompanied by a mongrel dog named Rags, the party made its way to a distant village, nestling in the lap of green hills with a real river running through it. Here boy and baby—and Rags too—find New England friends, whom it is a privilege for nous autres to know. Samanthy Ann is a real live person, and so is Jabe Slocum—a long, loose, knock-kneed, slack-twisted person, of whom Aunt Hitty Tarbox (whom GEORGE ELIOT might have sketched) remarked he would have been "longer yit if he hedn't hed so much turned up fur feet." Timothy's Quest is the best thing of the kind that has reached us from America since Little Lord Fauntleroy crossed the Atlantic.
(Signed) "Nihil obstat," BARON DE B.-W.
* * * * *
SYNONYM FOR A CHEMISE DE NUIT.—"A Nap-sack."
* * * * *
* * * * *
WITH "THE OLD MASTERS."
At Burlington House.—Real treat. No. 6. Portrait of CHARLES DIBDIN, the Nautical Poet and Songster. Painted by Sir WILLIAM BEECHEY, R.A. Appropriate, a "Beechey Head."
No. 11. "Girl Sketching." By Sir JOSHUA REYNOLDS, P.R.A. Everybody knows that the sun stood still for JOSHUA; here you may see how, for Sir JOSHUA, the daughter stood still.
No. 36. Our old friend, "A Chat round the Brasero." By PHILLIP OF SPAIN, i.e., JOHN PHILLIP, R.A. It ought to have been called "A Good Story." No chatting is going on, but the worthy padre has just told them a story which, like the picture itself, is full of local colour. The padre has given a "Phillip" to the conversation.
No. 43. "Portrait of an Actor." By ZOFFANY, R.A. Who is the Actor? The Painter we know; but the Actor—? "Ars longa, vita brevis"—and "then is heard no more."
No. 48. Another Portrait of another Actor. By ZOFFANY. Name! Name! Did they both appear for "one night only"—come "like shadows, so depart"?
No. 75. "Portrait of a Lady"—an old lady, but such an old lady! By REMBRANDT. What a cap! What a frill! What a pocket-handkerchief! Delighted to see such a specimen of "Old Dutch!" Homely old Dutchess!
No. 78. "The Fishmonger." By VAN OSTADE. The fish as fresh to-day as when it was originally bought.
No. 109. Wonderful! VAN DYCK'S "Burgomaster Triest." As the eminent critic and punster, JOSEPH VON MUeLLER, observed to VAN DYCK, "DYCK, my boy, thou wilt never paint a better than this Burgomaster of Triest if thou Tri-est ever so!"
Then quoth my companion, "Come to the BLAKE Collection." Ahem! Into the Black-and-White Room. Ugh!... "That way madness lies." No more to-day, thank you.
* * * * *
BEASTLY SUPERIORITY.—(Konundrum by the "Boxing Kangaroo," on hearing of the "Wrestling Lion.")—What is tamer than a tame lion? Why, of course, a Lion Tamer.
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(An Apology accompanying a Purse.)
Do you like it? I wonder! Or think you it's stupid To send such a commonplace gift as a Purse? Do you sigh for the tinsel, and gauze, and the Cupid, And the wonderful sentiments written in verse? Well, suppose I had sent them. You'd murmur, "How pretty!" Then not see them again as you put them away. Shall I candidly tell you I thought 'twere a pity Just to send you a gift that would last for a day?
But consider the times and the seasons—how many! When a purse—something in it—will save you from fuss. When you're posting a letter (to me), or a penny You may want for a paper, a tram, or a 'bus. When you've done with the purse, as you carefully lock it, And look with all proper precaution to see That the gold is still there, as it goes in your pocket, Let a thought or two, sweetheart, come straying to me.
I've explained as I could. Do you still go on sighing For the commoner Valentine—tinsel and gauze, With the pictures of wonderful cherubim flying In a reckless defiance of natural laws? If you do—well, forgive me. Don't think me unkind. You Know I'd not treat yourself in so heartless a style, And so let this gift, as you use it, remind you Of one whom you won, my dear, outright, with your smile.
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SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT suggests that "Parish Councils will do everything for the distressed Agriculturists." Sir WILLIAM should advertise the remedy out of his Farmercopoeia—"Try Parish's Food for Agricultural Infants in distress."
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A MEERY JEST.—Said the AMEER to an English friend, "Yes, I am uncertain of my position. I Am 'eer to-day and gone to-morrow."
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THE BECKET, NOT A BECKET.
BECKET has beaten the record. By the way, how the real original THOMAS A BECKET would have beaten The Record, if the latter ecclesiastical journal had existed in his time, and had given his Grace of Canterbury some nasty ones in a leading article! But "that is another story." It is some time since HENRY IRVING,—than whom no actor takes more thought, whether as to his author's lines, or to his own lines when "making up,"—has achieved so great and so genuine a success, and a success that will last in the memory of playgoers for many years to come, as he has in placing TENNYSON'S Becket on the stage, and himself playing the part of the great Archbishop. By the side of this ecclesiastic, his Wolsley is, so to speak, nowhere.
In SHAKSPEARE'S time Becket would have been a difficult subject to tackle; as indeed did KING HENRY find him,—an uncommonly difficult subject to tackle. But fortunately for English history in dramatic form, it was left for TENNYSON to treat the incidents of the story with a free hand, poetic touch, and a liberal mind. Once, towards the close of the tragedy, HENRY IRVING, austere, yet pitiful, going "to meet his King," brought to my thoughts Savonarola. Grander far than Savonarola was Thomas Becket, soldier, priest, and martyr.
Then his tender compassion for the unfortunate Rosamond, a most difficult character—nay, a characterless character—for any actress to play! Becket as archbishop and actor, seems to pity her for being so colourless. TENNYSON couldn't do without her, yet he could do very little with her.
Our ELLEN TERRY is a sweet loving gentle figure, clinging to her royal lover with a sort of fond hope that one of these days things in general would turn out all right; but in the meantime she is living always "in a maze." The love-scene (taking place in a marvellously effective stage set) between her and Henry is charming. Poor Henry! With Eleanor the Dark and Rosamond the Fair,—whom he was obliged to keep dark,—the life of the monarch, like that of the policeman, was "not a happy one." Eleanor the Queen, as a divorcee, was not Henry's wife; but Rosamond, if, as is supposed, the King had married her, was his wife and not his mistress. It is just this point that ought to be emphasised, in order to give the right clue to Eleanor's character and conduct in regard to her treatment of Rosamond. Rosamond must be right and virtuous; Eleanor wrong and vicious; the King fond, weak, and capricious. To regard the whole story as one of a mere amour is to entirely miss the beauty of the gentle Rosamond's nature. She is at once "gentle and simple."
And herein seems to me to have been the puzzlement in the poet's mind; he was in doubt whether to regard Henry's attachment to Rosamond as only a liaison—to represent Becket as so treating it, or to place Eleanor manifestly in the wrong, as being herself not the wife she pretends to be. "Go to a nunnery, go!" is the end of it all. But at that nunnery, it seems, Fair Rosamond remained for some time permissu superiorum as, I suppose, a lady-boarder, not assuming the habit of even a postulant, much less compelled, as a novice, to be shorn of her hair, and so to appear in the final Transformation Scene as "The Fair One without the golden locks." This freedom of action on the part of Rosamond shows what it is to be a postulant in a convent of a Poetically Licensed Order.
The Scene of the Martyrdom, "Becket's crown," is thrillingly impressive. The faithful Monks are well played by Messrs. HAVILAND and BISHOP—a real Bishop on the Stage, among all these representatives of various sees—while Mr. FRANK COOPER is a rough-and-ready Fitzurse leader of the four "King's-men," who, of course, are all Fellows of King's, Cambridge, and probably, therefore, under the ancient statutes, Old Etonians. Master LEO BYRNE, aged eleven or thereabouts, makes quite a big part of little Geoffrey, whose affections are divided between Ma, Pa, and his nurse Margery ("with a song"), the latter capitally played and sung by Miss KATE PHILLIPS.
Where all the scenery is good, it is difficult, perhaps to single out one set for especial praise; but my advice is, on no account miss the Second Scene of the Prologue, "on the Battlements of a Castle in Normandy," painted by W. TELBIN. "Rosamond's Bower," by HAWES CRAVEN, is equally perfect in another and of course totally distinct line. To pronounce upon Professor STANFORD'S music when "the play's the thing" is impossible. The entr'actes deserve such special attention as they are not likely to command when the audience is relaxing and refreshing itself.
On the whole, I should be inclined to say that the Lyceum has not had so big a success since Faust: a success due to the popularity of the subject represented, and the perfection of its representation. At least so thinks.
THE BUSY B. IN A BOX.
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PHILOSOPHIC Sages have generally been careless of their personal appearance. Soap and water has not been their strong point. The exception is DIOGENES, who was seldom out of his tub.
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APPROPRIATE DAY FOR A MUSICAL SERVICE IN CHURCH.—"Sunday within the Octave."
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday Night, February 6.—"Did you ever destroy your offspring, TOBY?" Rather curious question to ask any fellow. To me particularly startling. There are family traditions that, in accordance with sort of Malthusian doctrine, some of my young relations, my contemporaries in fact, were put out of the way even before their innocent eyes had grown accustomed to the light of a beneficent heaven. Thought at first GEORGE WYNDHAM meant something personal; was really thinking of his own woes.
"That's my speech," he said, showing me with melancholy smile quite a bundle of manuscript. "Worked at it all yesterday, instead of going to church. Read every Blue Book about Uganda; studied the map, and could pass an examination in the matter of its rivers and valleys, its hills and lakes, its various tribes, who are always murdering each other. Prince ARTHUR, you know, asked me to resume Debate at to-night's Sitting. Great opportunity; meant to make most of it; then, when I'm in my place conning my manuscript, Prince ARTHUR gives me up. Mr. G. reads text of PORTAL'S instructions, and shows we've nothing to complain about or to criticise. Rather hard on a young fellow not unduly given to speech-making. Tell you what, TOBY, if you've got three-quarters of an hour to spare, and will come with me into the Lobby, I'll read you my speech."
Much touched at this kindness. Unfortunately had an engagement which prevented my availing myself of it.
KENNAWAY and Alphabet COUTTS in same box as WYNDHAM; get out of it in different fashion. They, also, had prepared speeches, unknowing what turn affairs would take. Weren't going to waste them, so delivered them at length. They had everything but an audience. House could not prevent them reeling off their speeches, but wouldn't stay to listen. Everybody happy all round, and evening agreeably wasted.
Business done.—More talk round Address.
Tuesday.—Pretty to see DON'T-KEIR HARDIE just now escorted into House arm-in-arm with CHARLES EDWARD HOWARD VINCENT, C.B., formerly of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, now Colonel of the Queen's Westminster Volunteers. Some talk of the two Members temporarily changing coats whilst they addressed the House. This was HOWARD VINCENT'S suggestion.
"I fancy, Brother HARDIE," he said, "it would picturesquely emphasise the situation, don't you know, if we thus made community of at least our coats. That's rather a remarkable garment you wear. If I put it on, and you wore mine, then House would see how thoroughly one we are. Do you mind?"
"Well," said HARDIE, dubiously, "there's a good many things in the pockets, and they might get loose if you went mauling round with the coat. So I think, if you don't mind, we'll go in our own duds."
"Oh, as you please," said the Colonel, coldly, a little hurt at this evidence of lack of confidence on part of his new pal.
So DON'T-KEIR HARDIE, moving Amendment to Address, orated in his own clothes, whilst HOWARD VINCENT sat above Gangway near him, and punctuated his speech with persistent cry of "Hear! hear!" A notable figure his friend made. Evidently in the ranks of the Unemployed in the DON'T-KEIR HARDIE household are the comb and brush. Through a mass of black hair, matted on head and chin, DON'T-KEIR looked on House of Commons. The coat HOWARD VINCENT hankered after was rather a jacket, cut short, so as to hide little of the effulgence of his murky mustard-hued trowsers. Pockets alike of trowsers and jacket were bulging with letters and papers. You could see when he stood up to speak that he had just posted a letter to himself, sticking it in his waistcoat pocket, which only half concealed its surface.
"I don't exactly know how it is," said GORST, curiously regarding DON'T-KEIR HARDIE, and his eruption of correspondence, "but our friend, for whom I shall certainly vote, somehow reminds me of Mrs. Jellaby. The same earnestness of vague purpose, the same self-devotion to public questions, and the same large correspondence. I wouldn't be surprised, if you had the opportunity of examining our friend's hands, if you found them rather inked than horny. Still, I shall vote for him, and say something, if not exactly in his favour, at least a few words that will puzzle our fellows and rile the Bench opposite."
Business done.—DON'T-KEIR HARDIE moved Amendment to Address, calling upon Parliament to provide for Unemployed; negatived by 276 votes against 109.
Wednesday.—"It was a good thing to win the Inverness Burghs," said the SQUIRE OF MALWOOD just now, reflectively stroking his chin. "But it was not all gain. FINLAY worth a good deal to us. In moments of profoundest depression he acted upon Mr. G. with remarkable tonic effect. Often when we sat on other side, things going bad, and Mr. G. has seemed a little dull, he has accidentally turned round, and caught sight of FINLAY, sitting, as you will remember he did, just behind us. In a moment our revered Chief was another man. His eye flashed, colour came back to his face, every nerve vibrated: Mr. G. was himself again. On the whole, I fancy FINLAY was worth more to us than the two votes on a Division, for which we have bartered him."
Much in what the SQUIRE says. It turned out this afternoon he did not mourn as one who has no hope, FINLAY gone, but JESSE COLLINGS remains. Has in degree, the same physical and mental effect on Mr. G. that FINLAY had. This afternoon Mr. G. sitting on Treasury Bench, apparently waiting for Division. Debate on JESSE COLLINGS'S Amendment to Address flickering out. HENRY FOWLER, in vigorous speech, had replied for Government. EDWARD STANHOPE said a few words; nothing to be done but to take Division. Whilst STANHOPE speaking, Mr. G. turned round to see how forces were mustered. Accidentally his eye fell on benevolent visage of JESSE COLLINGS, just then lit up with smile of genial satisfaction at compliment paid him by personal reference in STANHOPE'S speech. In an instant Mr. G.'s visage and attitude altered. The spell had worked, and to surprise of House he followed STANHOPE, falling straightway upon the unsuspecting JESSE, treating him, as GRANDOLPH, an amused and interested spectator of the scene, observed, "with all the vigorous familiarity Pantaloon is accustomed to meet with at Christmastide."
Business done.—Mr. G. "goes for" JESSE COLLINGS.
Friday, 2 A.M.—Long time since I saw Liberals in such fighting trim as at this moment. Been at it all night discussing REDMOND'S motion for release of Dynamitards. ASQUITH made speech that has confirmed and improved his Parliamentary position. At quarter to one this morning Division taken, giving thumping majority, 316, to Government. When figures announced, Ulster Member moved Adjournment of Debate. Wants to talk about release of Gweedore prisoners.
"Right you are," said SQUIRE OF MALWOOD; "Twelve o'Clock Rule suspended; we can sit all night. Fire away!"
Prince ARTHUR, forgetful of many cheerful nights he has sat up hearing the chimes in company with TIM HEALY, protested against this as tyrannical proceeding. Irish Members massed below Gangway howled with delight. Their turn come now. Long they groaned under Prince ARTHUR'S iron heel. Now they've got him down, and dance round him with shouts of exultation and Homeric bursts of laughter. Hardly can his voice be heard above the din; but he pegs along, finally turning his back on jubilant mob below Gangway; addresses himself to SPEAKER, edging in a sentence amid comparative pauses in uproar. PRINCE ARTHUR protests he will not yield to force; Liberals opposite, cheered by news from Walsall, following fast on heels of triumph at Halifax, laugh and scoff. Mr. G. safely packed off to bed; the SQUIRE and his brother officers on Front Bench evidently ready to make a night of it. TIM HEALY, radiant with this rare and rosy reflection of the good old times, observes it is "an excellent hour of the evening to begin fresh work."
More hubbub; House divides, showing Government in possession of majority of 80. Renewed tumult when they come back from the Lobby. JESSE COLLINGS rising, with intent to implore House to remember its dignity, is met with such swift, sudden, rampant roar of "Rat! Rat!" that after ineffectual contest, he subsides. Another Division; Government majority gone up one. Fresh Motion made for Adjournment; Members tightening their belts for all-night sitting, when SQUIRE OF MALWOOD unexpectedly gives in. "Go on! go on!" excited Liberals cry.
"No," said the dignified Old Roman, throwing an imaginary toga over substantial shoulder. "No? they have done enough to make their position clear before the country. Let them go to bed." So at 2:20 A.M. they went.
Business done.—Blowing great guns.
Friday Night.—A flash in the pan at the opening of the Sitting, when PRINCE ARTHUR, meaning to smite at the unoffending figure of the SQUIRE OF MALWOOD, hit Mr. G. He explained, and apologised; thereafter, a long, dull night.
DAVITT took his seat, amid loud cheers from both sides. A curious episode in his history, honourable both to him and House. A real good man DAVITT, with all the modesty of sterling merit. Still, inclined to be argumentative. Had scarcely taken his seat, when he came up to me, and said, "It's very well for you, Toby, to be M.P. for Barks; but I'm M.P. for Tenpence. Yes, that's the precise sum it cost me to win my seat."
New Members come, and old ones depart. Everybody sorry to hear of the death of LOUIS JENNINGS, a fine-natured, high-souled man, of brilliant intellect and wide culture. In later Sessions has been handicapped by the cruel illness that carried him off whilst in his prime. But he made his mark at Westminster as he had done in New York, India, and Printing House Square.
Business done.—Still talking round Address.
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THE LEGAL INFANT'S GUIDE TO KNOWLEDGE.
CONCERNING THE STOCK EXCHANGE.
Question. What is the Stock Exchange?
Answer. The best English substitute for Monte Carlo.
Q. Has it any rivals?
A. Certainly; the Turf and the Card-room.
Q. In your opinion, is the Stock Exchange preferable to the alternatives you have mentioned?
A. It is, as it is more business-like, and consequently more respectable.
Q. Has politics anything to do with speculation at Capel Court?
A. To a certain extent; but a good unscrupulous untruth is better than the tottering of kingdoms.
Q. Is the dissemination of false news permissible?
A. Only by operators for the rise or fall.
Q. What is a flutter?
A. The performance of a financial operation with the assistance of a tossed-up halfpenny.
Q. When is it advisable to indulge in a flutter?
A. At the moment when your credit is greater than your balance at the Banker's.
Q. What is a balance?
A. An unknown quantity—to the impecunious.
Q. Is it necessary for the impecunious to suffer want?
A. Not if the lack of funds is concealed from the tradespeople.
Q. Ought not a (legal) infant to pay his debts?
A. Only at the instigation of a County-Court Judge, or if they happen to be debts of honour.
Q. What is a debt of honour?
A. Usually the outcome of a discreditable transaction.
Q. Is the nonpayment of a tradesman dishonourable?
A. No, for such a payment is not a "necessary." Payment only becomes a "necessary" when you bet with a man of your own order.
Q. Is it possible to do without money?
A. Yes, when you can live upon your acquaintances.
Q. From your last answers it would appear that money seems sometimes capable of being treated with levity. Can you give me an instance when cash is not a light subject?
A. Yes when it is under weight, and is, consequently, refused at your Banker's.
Q. What is the best method of obtaining the full value of a light sovereign?
A. By obtaining in return for it change in silver from a friend.
Q. Is silver of the same value as gold?
A. No, silver is a token; and in the instance to which I have referred, it would be a token of confidence.
Q. Would this transaction be amusing?
A. Yes, to everyone but the friend.
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Time-Work versus Piece-Work!
(By John Bull, Employer of Labour.)
Payment of Members? Well, well, I don't mind, If Members who're worthy of payment I find. But then all this quarrelsome cackle must cease— If my M.P.'s I pay—like my Smiths—by the piece, I may yet get good work; but 'twere folly, nay, crime, To pay seven hundred praters for wasting my time!
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A MAN WHO MAY BE SAID TO "KNOW THE ROPES."—M. BLONDIN.
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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.
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Transcriber's Note—typographical errors fixed:
exit changed to exits at the end of "A Candid Friend" corrected a misplaced quotation mark in "Mary-Anner" added a missing apostrophe in "Mary-Anner" added a missing period in "The Man from Blankley's"