PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
FEBRUARY 25, 1893.
No. V.—AGRICULTURAL DEPRESSION.
(Scene and Persons as usual.)
First Well-informed Man. There hasn't been much in this debate on the Addresses.
Second W. I. M. Oh. I don't know. They've promised a pretty big list of measures. How they're going to find time for the lot I can't make out.
First W. I. M. (contemptuously). Yes, that's always the way with these Governments. They all talk mighty big at the beginning of the Session, and then, at the end, they've done nothing, absolutely nothing; at least, nothing that's any good to anybody. Parliament's getting to be nothing but a bear-garden. The House won't be a fit place for a gentleman to be seen in soon.
Second W. I. M. (spitefully). You didn't seem to think it would be such a bad place for one gentleman, about eight months ago. You were after a constituency yourself, weren't you?
First W. I. M. Well, and what if I was? I told you at the time why I thought of standing. I thought I could do some good, but I precious soon found they were a miserable lot, so I made 'em my bow. "Gentlemen," I said, "you can worry it out among yourselves, and, when you've agreed, you can let me know."
Second W. I. M. And they never did let you know, did they? Went and elected another Johnny. Deuced bad taste I call it.
Inquirer (creating a diversion). Look here, I say, what's all this talk about Agricultural Depression? What does it mean?
First W. I. M. What does it mean! Why, my dear chap, I should have thought that any schoolboy knew that our agriculture is being simply ruined. If things go on like this, we shan't have a farmer left. They're all on the verge of bankruptcy.
Inquirer (doggedly). I daresay you're right; but, anyhow, I know, when I was at Chilborough, the other day, I saw a lot of farmers about, and they looked pretty fat and comfortable. That's why I can't make out what it all means.
First W. I. M. (resignedly). Well, I suppose I must explain it all, from the very beginning. The first point is, we've got Free Trade, and the farmers want Protection; and old GLADSTONE and all the rest of them say they're not to have it. Well, that isn't likely to put the farmers in a good temper, is it? Then, of course, the Americans, and the Russians, and the Indians see their chance, and they send ship-loads of food into this country, and the taxes have to be paid all the same by our farmers.
Second W. I. M. (interrupting). What taxes?
First W. I. M. (flustered). I wish you wouldn't break in just as I'm trying to make things clear. Why, the taxes on food, of course.
Second W. I. M. There aren't any taxes on food.
First W. I. M. Oh, indeed! Well, then, how do you explain Free Trade, and rent, and all that?
Second W. I. M. Now you're getting a bit nearer. It's all a question of rent. Free Trade's got absolutely nothing to do with it. What we want in this country is a Sliding-scale.
Inquirer. What's a Sliding-scale?
Second W. I. M. (taken between wind and water). A Sliding-scale? Let me see—it's very difficult to put these things shortly. A Sliding-scale is a——well, it's a sort of patent mechanical contrivance for weighing out things, so as to make it fairer than ordinary scales do. (Plunges recklessly.) You can make it slide up or down, you know, and fix it at any point you like.
Inquirer. Really! What a rum-looking thing it must be. Have you ever seen one?
Second W. I. M. Oh yes. They've got two or three in every big town.
Average Man. When did you last see it?
Second W. I. M. (suspiciously). Oh, I haven't seen one for some time. It may perhaps be a little different now.
Average Man. Ah! [A pause.
Inquirer. I see the Government's going to have an inquiry about Agricultural Distress. How are they going to work it?
First W. I. M. Royal Commission, of course.
Second W. I. M. No, no. It's going to be a Select Committee.
First W. I. M. Well, what is the difference?
Second W. I. M. Surely you know that. They only have Royal Commissions for labour and that sort of thing. Committees don't get any pay, you know.
Inquirer. Of course. I ought to have remembered that. But who's this Lord WINCHILSEA AND NOTTINGHAM, who's cutting about the country, talking about agriculture! What does he know about it? I don't seem to recollect his name.
First W. I. M. He's a Peer.
Inquirer. Yes, I know that; but why do they call him Lord WINCHILSEA and NOTTINGHAM?
Average Man. Because that's his name. [A pause.
Inquirer (resuming). But what is he driving at?
First W. I. M. He's got hold of the right end of the stick. It's just this way. (To Inquirer, who winces under the imputation.) You're a foreign country, and I'm a British farmer. Well, you grow your corn for nothing, and then you chuck it into my markets. Well, what I want to know is, where do I come in? You may call that Free Trade, if you like—I call it ruin. The result is, I'm smashed up, and the whole country goes to the devil!
Second W. I. M. But you ought to consider the consumer.
First W. I. M. What do you mean by the consumer?
Second W. I. M. Why, myself, for instance. I get the benefit of it.
First W. I. M. Ah, you may think you do, but you don't really. In the end you've all to pay more for everything.
Average Man. Well, I'm pretty happy as things are.
First W. I. M. Oh, of course—and you'd let the land go out of cultivation. That's mere selfishness.
Inquirer. How's that? Can't they work the land now?
First W. I. M. What a question! Of course they can't.
Inquirer (anxiously). But I've seen 'em ploughing a bit lately.
First W. I. M. My dear Sir, they do it just to occupy time—they must do something.
Inquirer. Of course—of course. [Terminus.
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Our amiable old friend, Mrs. R., came across a book entitled Playthings and Parodies, by BARRY PAIN. "Oh, I must buy that!" she exclaimed. "I've seen him so often in the Pantomime at Drury Lane! And fancy his being an Author, too! But I don't so much wonder at it, because I remember that, when I was a little girl, there was a celebrated Shakspearian Clown at Astley's called BARRY, and he sailed in a tub drawn by geese down the Thames, and there was a wonderful Pantomime actor of the name of PAIN. And now this talented gentleman turns out to be an Author as well!!"
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["He was one of those who believed that, even in the ordinary legislation of the House, and still more in a measure of such complexity, it was the utmost folly to talk of finality!"—Mr. J. Redmond the Home-Rule Bill.]
Are our sage legislators, then, set upon finding A measure that's "final, conclusive, and binding," As lawyer-phrase puts it? They might as well try To fix dawn in the East, or nail clouds to the sky! There's nothing that's "final" in infinite time, That great, goalless, measureless race-course sublime? In which relays of runners must keep up the race? There's nothing "conclusive" in limitless space; And "binding" man's soul to his best of to-day For the future of growth, in an absolute way, Were folly as futile as binding an oak To the seedling's first prop, or the sapling's first yoke; For provisional law, not for secular life, Such phrases are fit. Yet to heal age-long strife By the very best "betterment" now in our ken, Till—a better shines forth's the first duty of men. Do right to the height of our sight's actuality!— Yes, that is our best—and our only—Finality!
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An odd Advertisement frequently catches our eye. It is "Dr. Gordon Stables's Health Series." Have the Gordon Stables anything to do with "the Gordon Hotels"? If not, why not? as evidently they could work together to their mutual benefit.
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A History of Medicine, by Dr. EDWARD BERDOE, is announced as shortly to appear. It will be illustrated by a Black (-and-White) draughtsman.
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DESIGNS FOR MI-CAREME.
(To be worn as Costumes at the next International Fancy-Dress Ball.)
The Emperor W-ll-m.—PAUL PRY on Tour.
The Czar of R-ss-a.—Protection.
The Sultan of T-rk-y.—Wrecked in Port.
The Khedive of Eg-y-t.—Young Hopeful.
The President C-rn-t.—A Dissolving View.
Prince von B-sm-rck.—The Shadow of the Past.
Count C-pr-vi.—The Substance of the Future.
Vicomte de L-ss-ps.—A Lock on the Suez Canal.
The Pr-m-r.—A Scotch Mixture of HOMER and Home Rule.
Sir W-ll-m H-rc-t.—The latest of the Plantagenets.
Mr. J-hn M-rl-y.—"To Dublin from Pall Mall."
Lord R-nd-lph Ch-rch-ll.—The Prodigal Returned.
Mr. Speaker P-l.—The chucker in.
Mr. L-b-ch-re.—The Spirit of Te—ruth.
The Marquis of S-l-sb-ry.—The Irish Emigrant.
Mr. Arth-r B-lf-r.—Golf surviving Government.
Mr. H-nry Irv-ng.—A Canterbury Pilgrim.
Miss Ell-n T-rry.—A NUN, with none like her.
Mr. J. L. T-le.—A Walker, Running, London and the Provinces.
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"I'M MANXIOUS TO KNOW."—The Isle of Man, it appears from Mr. SPENCER WALPOLE'S book, has thriven on Home Rule. We all know that Club Land gets on very well, Club-law being administered by men only, seeing that men only are the governing and governed. But "Home" is the antithesis of the Club, and Home Rule, domestically, means Female sovereignty. In the Isle of Man-sans-Woman there can be no Home Rule properly so called. It must be "Homo Rule."
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"HOME, SWEET HOME!"
(Latest Parliamentary Version.)
Returned Wanderer sings:—
'Mid gold-fields and lion-haunts though we may roam, Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home; A charm from the past seems to hallow us there, Which, trot round the globe, you will not meet elsewhere. Home! Home! Sweet, sweet home! Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!
An exile from home freedom dazzles in vain; Ah! give me my lowly front-bench seat again. The cheers, sounding sweetly, that come at my call, Give me these, and old pals of mine, dearer than all. Home! Ho-ome! Sweet, sweet home! Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!
(Extra or encore verses on his own account.)
The first seat was mine, but I forfeited that; Will they welcome the waif, kill the calf that is fat? Will dear ARTHUR rejoice to receive his lost chief? Will the Wanderer's return bring regret, or relief? Home! Ho-ome! Sweet, sweet home! Be it ever so humble (winks) there's no place like home!
So humble! Oh yes! So seemed David, no doubt, Till he struck at GOLIATH and put him to rout. My giant—his name, too, begins with a G— Braves the whole of our hosts. I—no matter—we'll see. Home! Ho-ome! Sweet, sweet home! Be it ever so humble (grins), there's no place like home!
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TREATS FOR TOMMY.—"What shall I do to amuse our little boy, aged fourteen, when he returns home for Easter Vacation?" Why, certainly improve his mind. Procure for him a free admission to the Geological Society, and let him hear a paper on "Anthracite and Bituminous Coal-beds," likewise on "Inclusions of Tertiary Granite." Take him to the Linnean Society, and treat him to a lecture "On the Differentiation of the Protozoan Body Microscopically Sectionised." Another evening may be given to "Mosses and Sphagnums," not to be confounded with "Moses and Magnums." After this little course, he may write to say that during the next vacation he would prefer remaining at school.
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"I can't drink Champagne," quoth General BOOZER; "it gives me a red nose." "No, it won't," replied his medical adviser; "that is, not if you drink Pommery and Grey-nose."
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THE MAN FROM BLANKLEY'S.
A STORY IN SCENES.
SCENE VIII.—In the Drawing-room—Time, about 10. Mrs. BODFISH and Mrs. DITCHWATER are talking in confidential undertones on a settee. Miss BUGLE'S anxiety concerning her invalid Cockatoo has already obliged her to depart. Mrs. GILWATTLE is lecturing her Niece on a couch by the fire, while little GWENDOLEN is in a corner with a Picture-book.
Mrs. Bodfish (in a wheezy whisper). If he had condescended to make himself agreeable all round, I shouldn't say a word; but to sit there talking to that little forward governess, and never an audible word from first to last—well, I quite felt for poor dear Mrs. TIDMARSH being so neglected at her own table.
Mrs. Ditch. Ah, my dear, if she will have the aristocracy to dine with her, she must put up with such treatment. I wouldn't stoop to such presumption myself. And, if I did, I would have a couple of entrees, and everything carved off the table! He'll go away with such a poor opinion of us all!
Mrs. Bod. He must have noticed how the vegetable dishes were chipped! And I'm sure I was ashamed to see she had put out those old-fashioned doyleys with the finger-glasses. I wonder she never thought of getting some new ones. I saw some the other day in the Grove, hand-worked, at only five-pence three-farthings!
Mrs. Ditch. I could see something was weighing on her mind, or she'd have talked more to him. What is his title? It sounded like "STRATSPODDLE." I must look it out in my Peerage. Would he be an Earl now, or what?
Mrs. Bod. I don't expect he's more than a Viscount, if so much. I do think she might have presented us to him, though!
Mrs. Ditch. It isn't the fashion to introduce, nowadays. But I consider we are quite entitled to speak to him, if we get an opportunity—in fact, he would think it very odd if we didn't! (&c., &c.)
Mrs. Gilwattle. Well, MARIA, I say, as I said before, don't let it turn your head, that's all! Depend upon it, this young nobleman isn't so affable for nothing. He wouldn't dine with you like this unless he expected to get something out of it. What that something may be, you best know!
Mrs. Tid. (to herself). A guinea, at the very least! (Aloud.) I'm sorry you think my head's so easily turned, Aunt JOANNA! If you'd noticed how I behaved to him, you wouldn't say so. Why, I scarcely spoke to the man!
Mrs. Gilw. I was watching you, MARIA. And sorry I was to see that being next to a member of the nobility overawed you to that extent you could hardly open your mouth. So unlike your Uncle GABRIEL!
Mrs. Tid. (hurt at this injustice). Overawed, indeed! I'm sure it was no satisfaction to me to see him here! No, Aunt the only people I welcome at my table are those in my own rank of life—relations and old friends like you and the others. And how you can think I was dazzled by a trumpery title when I sent him in with the Governess——!
Mrs. Gil. Ah, you make too much of that girl, MARIA. I've noticed it, and others have noticed it. She takes too much upon herself! The idea of letting her forbid GWENDOLEN to recite—no wonder your authority over the child is weakened! I should have insisted on obedience.
Mrs. Tid. (roused). I hope I know how to make my own child obey me. GWENDOLEN, come out of that corner. Put down your book. (GWEN. obeys.) I wish you to repeat something to your Auntie—what you refused to say downstairs—you know what I mean!
Gwen. Do you mean the thing Miss SEATON said I wasn't to, because you'd be angry?
Mrs. Tid. (majestically). Miss SEATON had no business to know whether I should be angry or not. She is only your Governess—I am your Mother. And I shall be extremely angry if you don't repeat it at once—in fact, I shall send you off to bed. So you can choose for yourself.
Gwen. I don't want to go to bed ... I'll tell, if I may whisper it.
Mrs. Tid. Well, if you are too shy to speak out loud, you may whisper. You see, Aunt, I am not quite such a cipher as you fancied!
[GWEN. puts her mouth to Mrs. GILWATTLE'S ear, and proceeds to whisper.
SCENE IX.—Breakfast-room—Time, the same as in the foregoing Scene. Mr. TIDMARSH, after proposing to "join the ladies," much to the relief of Lord STRATHSPORRAN, has brought him in here on the transparent pretext of showing him a picture.
Mr. Tid. (carefully closing the door). I only just wanted to tell you that I don't at all like the way you've been going on. It's not my wish to make complaints, but there is a limit!
Lord Strath. (hotly). There is—you're very near it now, Sir! (To himself.) If I quarrel with this little beggar, I shan't see MARJORY! (Controlling his temper.) Perhaps you'll kindly let me know what you complain of?
Mr. Tid. Well, why couldn't you say you didn't smoke when my Uncle offered you one of his cigars? You must have felt me kick you under the table!
Lord. Strath. I did—distinctly. But I gave you credit for its being accidental. And, if you wish to know, I said I smoked because I do. I don't see why you should expect me to lie about it!
Mr. Tid. I don't agree with you. I consider you ought to have had more tact, after the hint I gave you.
Lord Strath. It didn't occur to me that you were trying to kick tact into me. And, naturally, when I saw your Uncle about to smoke——
Mr. Tid. That was different, as you might have known. Why, one cigar is as much as my wife can stand!
Lord Strath. You—er—wouldn't wish her to smoke more than one, surely?
Mr. Tid. (outraged). My wife smoke! Never did such a thing in her life! She don't allow me to smoke. She wouldn't allow Mr. GILWATTLE if he wasn't her Uncle. And I can tell you, when she comes down in the morning, and finds the curtains smelling of smoke, and hears you were the other, I shall catch it!
Lord Strath. Sorry for you—but if you had only made your kick a trifle more explanatory——
Mr. Tid. That's not all, Sir. When you saw me and my Uncle engaged in talking business, what did you cut in for with a cock-and-bull story about the Boxing Kangaroo being formed into a Limited Company, and say the Kangaroo was going to join the Board after allotment? You couldn't really believe the beast was eligible as a Director—an animal, Sir!
Lord Strath. Why not? They have guinea-pigs on the Board occasionally, don't they? But of course it was only a joke.
Mr. Tid. You weren't asked to make jokes. My Uncle doesn't understand 'em—no more do I, Sir!
Lord Strath. No, I gathered that. (Breaking out.) Confound it all, Sir, what do you mean by this? If you didn't want me, why couldn't you tell me so? You knew it before I did! I don't understand your peculiar ideas of hospitality. I've kept my temper as long as I could; but, dash it all, if you force me to speak out, I will!
Mr. Tid. (alarmed). No, no, I—I meant no offence—you won't go and let everything out now! It was a mistake, that's all—and there's no harm done. You got your dinner all right, didn't you? By the way, talking of that, can you give me any idea what they'll charge me for this, eh? What's the regular thing now?
Lord Strath. (to himself). Extraordinary little bounder—wants me to price his dinner for him! (Aloud.) Couldn't give a guess!
Mr. Tid. Well, considering I sent round and all that, I think they ought to make some reduction—y'know. But you've nothing to do with that, eh? I'm to settle up with BLANKLEY'S?
Lord Strath. I should say he would prefer your doing so—but it's really no business of mine, and—er—it's getting rather late——
Mr. Tid. (opening the door). There, we'll go up. And look here, do try and be a bit stiffer with my Uncle. It's too bad the way he goes on my-lording you, y'know. You shouldn't encourage him!
Lord Strath. I wasn't aware I did. (To himself.) Trying, this. But never mind, I shall see MARJORY in another minute!
Mr. Tid. (to himself). The airs these chaps give themselves! Oh, lor, there's Uncle GABRIEL hooking on to him again. If he only knew! [He follows them upstairs uneasily.
SCENE X.—In the Drawing-room; GWENDOLEN is still whispering in Mrs. GILWATTLE'S ear.
Mrs. Gilw. Eh? You're tickling my ear, child—don't come so close. Louder. Yes, go on. "Sat next to him at dinner?" Well, what about him?... What?... What's the child talking about now?... "A gentleman out of BLANKLEY'S shop"!! "Hired for the evening"!!! Let her alone, MARIA, I know who's telling the truth! So this is your precious Nobleman, is it? Oh, the deceit of it all!
[The door opens, and Uncle GABRIEL enters, clinging affectionately to Lord STRATHSPORRAN'S arm.
Uncle Gab. And when I take a fancy to a young fellow, my Lord, I don't allow any social prejudices to stand in the way. I should say just the same if you were a mere nobody. We ought to see more of one another. I should esteem it a distinguished favour if you'd honour me and my wife by dropping in to a little dinner some evening; no ceremony; just a few quiet pleasant people like ourselves. We'll see if we can't fix a day with my wife.
[He steers him across to Mrs. GILWATTLE.
Lord Strath. (to himself). Now, how the deuce am I going to get out of this? And what have they done with MARJORY?
Uncle Gab. JOANNA, my love, I've been telling his Lordship here how delighted and honoured we should be to see him at dinner some——
[Mrs. GILWATTLE rises slowly, bristling with indignation, and glares speechlessly at the unconscious Lord STRATHSPORRAN, while Mrs. TIDMARSH vainly attempts to appease her, as her husband and the other men enter. Tableau.
End of Scene X.
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"At the Window."
In dull days of sensational horrors, and wild would-be humorous hums, What delight to fly darkness, and watch the "Auld Licht," from "A Window in Thrums"! Let pessimists potter and pule, and let savages slaughter and harry; Give me Hendry, and Tammas, and Jess, and a smile, and a tear born of BARRIE.
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"The French," says Mrs. R., "have been shown up in a very queer light by all these Panama candles."
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THE HOUSE THAT BILL (SYKES) BURGLED.
(Namely, that of Messrs. WALTER CROSS & CO., Jewellers, 8, Holywell Street, Strand, as narrated in the Times of the 16th inst.)
This is the House that BILL burgled.
This is the window, plastered with brown-paper and treacle, and then broken, belonging to the House that BILL burgled.
This is the rope-ladder, attached to the window, plastered with brown-paper and treacle, &c.
This is the show-case, reached by way of the rope-ladder attached to the window, plastered with brown-paper and treacle, &c.
This is the "burglar-alarm," lately connected with the show-case, reached by way of the rope-ladder, attached to the window, &c.
This is the bell that belonged to the "burglar-alarm," lately connected with the show-case, &c.
This is the wire that rang the bell, that belonged to the "burglar-alarm," lately connected with the show-case, &c.
This is the telephone that communicated with Bloomsbury, set in motion by the bell, rung by the wire, &c.
This is the dog who barked at the bell, agitated by the telephone that communicated with Bloomsbury, &c.
This is the man unshaven, unshorn, aroused from his sleep in the early morn by the dog who barked at the bell, &c.
These are the "Bobbies," all forlorn, called on by the man unshaven, unshorn, aroused from his sleep in the early morn, by the dog who barked at the bell, &c.
And this is the burglar, smiling in scorn, who escaped by the rope-ladder, window-sill-borne, and evaded the Bobbies all forlorn, called on by the man, unshaven, unshorn, aroused from his sleep in the early morn, by the dog who barked at the bell, agitated by the telephone, set in motion by the wire, attached to the burglar-alarm, connected with the show-case, reached by way of the rope-ladder, hooked to the window, plastered with brown-paper and treacle, belonging to the House that BILL burgled.
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SUGGESTIONS FOR RIDE PARK.
"Many improvements," the Daily News writes, "in the arrangement of the Parks in the West End" have been made. Have they? Perhaps visible to the eye assisted by Mr. Weller's "pair o' patent double million magnifyin' gas microscopes of hextra power." But why, for the hundredth time we ask, and every equestrian asks as well, why aren't rides made across Kensington Gardens from Princes' Gate to Bayswater? Beautiful rides they would be under the trees, and thus varying the wearisome monotony of the round and round squirrel-in-a-cage sort of routine exercise, to which the Rotten-Row Riders are purgatorially bound. Also, why not a ride right across Hyde Park from the Achilles Statue to an exit facing about Albion Street, Bayswater? What difficulties can there be which a First Commissioner of Works representing an actively Liberal and Progressive policy could not carry out for the benefit of the Mounted Liver Brigade and the Light Cavalry?
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Old Father Thames is still rather dirty. We often hear of "The Thames Basin." Why doesn't Father Thames use it,—with soap? What a chance here for a P**rs' advertisement.
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A BIG LION AMONG THE LITTLE 'UNS.
"Daniel in the Lions' Den" will occur to many on reading how HENRY IRVING ventured into and actually dined as the distinguished guest of a society styling itself "The Playgoers' Club." But after all, whether these were real leonine cubs, or only "lions stuffed with straw," the Real Lion of the evening was the Daniel come to Judgment, HENRY IRVING, who, having partaken of the "chicken and champagne," and acknowledged the goodness thereof, gave them the less smooth side of his own tongue with charming frankness.
"I do not hesitate to tell you," purred the Lion, sweetly, "that there have been times when the genius of frankness which possesses the Club"—he did not allude to the existence among them of any other sort of genius—"has not appeared to be allied with the finest discrimination. (Laughter.)"
Yes—the poor little Lions laughed—it was all they could do, unless they had whimpered, and promised not to offend again. It must have been a delightful evening. To what other banquets will our leading Histrion be invited? To the Pittites' Club Dinner? To the Wreckers' Banquet? Will he be entertained by the Dissentient Gallery-Boys' Club, and finish up with a supper strictly confined to the upper Circles' Society? Instead of "Give your orders, Gents—the Waiter's in the room!" of old days, the Chairman will probably advise the enterprising Playgoers to "Ask for 'orders,' Gents—the Manager's in the room." However, if these heaven-born dramatic critics occasionally hear a few words of good advice from so honest a guest as HENRY IRVING, such gatherings may perhaps serve some useful purpose.
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Gladstone's Aside on the Irish Members.
You are, in faith, like women—divil doubt you!— For "there's no living with you, or without you."
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VERY BAD DRAINAGE.—Because the London School Board built schools with defective drainage, the London Ratepayers are to be mulcted in L250,000. A nice drain this on our pockets!
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THE POLITE SPEAKER.
(Intended for the use of courteous Members of Parliament.)
Question. I trust you quite acknowledge that strong language is absolutely unnecessary in Westminster?
Answer. Quite, especially when a compensating description can be found for every suitable term of abuse.
Q. You grasp the idea. How would you describe NERO fiddling during the burning of Rome?
A. I should say that he was a musician with a turn for pleasing variations.
Q. Very good. And how would you speak of GUY FAUX on the eve of blowing up the House of Commons?
A. An experimentalist who would have been a useful lecturer upon chemistry at the Royal Institution.
Q. And could you refer to Blue Beard after the discovery of the cause of his last widowerhood without giving offence?
A. Yes; as a married man who objected on principle to the Mormon practice of being wedded to more than one wife at a time.
Q. Yes. And what would you say of MARIE DE MEDICIS, who is reported to have fired at the Huguenots from the Louvre?
A. I should say that her late Majesty took such an interest in field sports, as nowadays would have secured her election to the Gun Club.
Q. And, lastly, were you asked to describe HENRY THE EIGHTH after he had slaughtered most of his wives, plundered all the monasteries, and imprisoned or executed many of his subjects, what would you call him?
A. Without hesitation I should refer to him as "an excited politician."
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"CONTINUOUS-SOUNDING MACHINES."—Lots of 'em on view in the House of Commons. But, for the genuine article, consult a "Colomb" of the Times.
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"I love those cradle-songs," said Mrs. R. "The other day I heard—I forget who it was—sing a most charming alibi."
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Through happy years, that number now I ween A dozen, or—to be correct—thirteen, My comfortable better-half you've been, O SERAPHINE!
The ups and downs of life we two have seen— From Camberwell, of stucco-fronted mien, To quaintly-decorated Turnham Green, O SERAPHINE!
Till Grandma's money came with golden sheen, You lent a hand at SARAH'S weekly clean, And did not tilt your nose at margarine, O SERAPHINE!
And now that I've been made a Rural Dean, Your figure is no longer slim, my Queen; You'd scarcely make a graceful ballerine, O SERAPHINE!
But after dinner as you doze each e'en, From your disjointed mutterings I glean Your mind is running on a crinoline, O SERAPHINE!
Oh, let me not appear to speak with spleen— Yet pause!—nor go to Madame ANTONINE To get yourself a—you know what I mean, O SERAPHINE!
For if that huge and hideous machine Should thrust its bilious bulginess between A blameless couple, such as we have been, My SERAPHINE,
I will not condescend to make a "scene," But—if you needs must have your crinoline— Good-bye!—you cannot have your Rural Dean, O SERAPHINE!
* * * * *
["In Vienna a Club has been formed among young men of fashion for the encouragement of marriage with poor girls."—James Payn, in "Illustrated News."]
O youth of Wien, what does this mean? Can you forget you are All hochgeboren as of yore Was King COPHETUA?
To wed a lot of girls sans dot Is strange, and yet you are No more afraid of beggar maid Than King COPHETUA.
But if you break the vow you take, And dowries get, you are A thousand pound to forfeit bound, Which beats COPHETUA.
So you by stealth can't marry wealth, Not if in debt you are; But, as we see, resemble the Late King COPHETUA.
O men elsewhere, Mammas declare How hard to net you are! You can't be led poor girls to wed Like King COPHETUA.
Consider, then, these noble men, And you'll regret you are Unmarried still, and quickly will Do like COPHETUA!
* * * * *
PUT A STOP TO IT!—A Correspondent, signing himself "O'NOODLE," asks, "What does this mean? See Cook's Guide-Book to Paris, page 23:—'Visitors should take the precautions against pickpockets recommended by the Administration.'" A comma or a dash after "precautions," and another after "pickpockets," or put pickpockets into brackets—handcuff 'em, in fact—and then O'NOODLE will get at the sense of the paragraph.
* * * * *
A DOLE-FUL PROSPECT.
Easter.—Wonder what the effect of the BISHOP'S appeal to the "loyal laity," to come down heavily with Easter Offerings to the Clergy, will be? Rather an exciting day for me. Hard-up is not the word for my condition at present. Can't keep myself, and have to keep a Gardener and a Curate!
A lot of cast-off clothes arrive from "A SYMPATHETIC PARISHIONER!" How degrading! Wish BISHOP OF WORCESTER hadn't said that he knew a Clergyman who stayed in bed because he had no decent clothes to wear. Congregation seem to think he meant me! Two blankets, and a rig-out of "Cellular under-clothing," from "CHURCH DEFENCE," addressed to "Our Beloved but Impoverished Incumbent." Quite insulting! Give blankets to Gardener, and send the Cellular things to Curate, as his tendencies are distinctly monastic.
Letter from a Newmarket Bookmaker! Says he hears I'm in want of Easter Offerings, so he offers to "put me on to a good thing for the Derby." I am, apparently, to forward him a L5 note, and he returns me L50 "without fail." Tempting, but haven't got a L5 note to send.
Arrival at my quiet Vicarage of a donkey, a cow, two pigs, and a dozen barndoor fowls! Perhaps, in honour of the pigs, I might call this a "sow Easter!" The whole menagerie sent by neighbouring farmers. Wish they'd send me arrears of rent for glebe instead; yet I daren't ask for them. Evidently intended as Easter "gifts in kind;" but not the kind I want. Send donkey on to Curate, and tether cow in back-yard, not having a field. Pigs temporarily accommodated in back kitchen. Cook threatens to give notice.
Church. Offertory goes to me to-day! Don't half like it. Feel like a schoolboy expecting to be tipped. Curate rather glum. Finds he thinks my sending the donkey to him was meant to insult him. When I assure him it wasn't, he cheers up, and says he'll hold the plate. Does so. Seems very heavy. Curate distinctly winks at me, which is against the Rubrics, no doubt, but still seems to be an augury of happy tidings about the sum collected. On his way to Vestry, Curate whispers to me "Two-fifty!" What does he mean? Is it two fifty pounds, or shillings? It's neither—it's pence! Really, if this is all the "loyal laity" can do, I may as well disestablish myself.
Best Easter Offering of all comes by post. Offer of position as Under-Cashier in a firm of eminent Bone-boilers. Write to accept offer with thanks. Better to boil bones for other people than to have all the flesh taken off my own.
* * * * *
THE NEW COINAGE.
Art will now adorn our purses, Hitherto an artless place; More than pictures, songs, or verses, This should elevate the race.
Is it safe to be prophetic? Will the miser, once abused, Be considered quite aesthetic, With the connoisseur confused?
Will the banker, grown artistic, Talk a jargon new and strange? Will this feeling, subtle, mystic, Even reach the Stock Exchange?
Will it from the City banish Dress that artists should eschew? Will the hallowed "topper" vanish, And the frock-coat fade from view?
Will the cabman now be willing, After driving half a mile, To accept a high-art shilling, Not with oaths, but with a smile?
Will the porter at the station While his thanks pause on his lip, Gaze in silent admiration At the beauty of his tip?
"Music hath," so CONGREVE stated, "Charms to soothe the savage breast"; Numismatic art is fated May be to be likewise blest.
* * * * *
(Lord Dufferin and the Gallic Vermin.)
[At the Annual Dinner of the British Chamber of Commerce in Paris, Lord DUFFERIN took occasion to refer trenchantly, but temperately, to the long series of calumnies lately directed against him by certain sections of the French Press.]
Yes, DUFFERIN, yes, the Reptile Press Is not confined to realms Teutonic. You squelch it—could you well do less?— With an urbanity fine, ironic. France is too chivalrous, too polite, To back these crawlers, venomous, "varment"!— But our Ambassador does quite right To—brush them lightly from his garment.
* * * * *
A "Plucky" Answer.
Q. Who was PROCRUSTES? What was the Bed of PROCRUSTES?
A. He was an ancient philosopher who never would get up in the morning. Hence the word for a person who puts off or delays; viz., "One who Procrustinates."
* * * * *
THE WHITTINGTON RECORD BROKEN.—"Mr. HURST," The Athenaeum gossip informs us, "has been four times Mayor of Bedford." He ought to be perfect in the part, for certainly it has been well re-hearsed.
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, February 13.—House filled from floor to topmost range of gallery. Terrible rumour that it is also peopled underneath. Members sitting on two front benches evidently restless through opening passages of Mr. G.'s speech. Weird whispering heard, apparently rising from boots of FIRST LORD of the TREASURY. GRANDOLPH pricks up his ears; fancies he recognises voice familiar in Harley Street. First thought, whispered commentary must come from Ladies' Gallery. Right Hon. Gentlemen look up, and conclude it is too remote. Besides, Ladies never talk in the Gallery.
"Moreover than which," said FERGUSSON, staring stolidly at open network of iron floor, "it comes from quite different quarter."
Even Mr. G., absorbed as he was with great topic, evidently noticed the odd state of things, for towards end of magnificent speech he dropped his voice right down through the grating into the chamber below, so that Strangers in distant Gallery lost the purport of his words. Above-board—or rather above iron grating—House presented spectacle worthy of occasion. Last time anything like it seen was in April, 1886, when first Home-Rule Bill introduced. Singularly like it this afternoon, with chairs blocking the floor in fashion to which LORD-CHAMBERLAIN, looking down from Peers' Gallery, admitted he would not permit in any other theatre. Side-galleries filled; Members thronging Bar, sharing the steps of SPEAKER'S Chair, peeping round from behind its recess, sitting on the Gangway steps. The Lords' Gallery thronged, with somewhat disorderly fringe of Viscounts jostling each other on the steps. Not an inch of room to spare in the Diplomatic Gallery, whilst happy strangers rose tier beyond tier on the benches behind. Over the clock H.R.H., debonnaire as usual, able to extract fullest pleasure and interest out of passing moment. By his side, his son and heir; not the one who sat there on the April night nine years ago, but the younger brother, with Cousin MAY facing him through the grille of Ladies' Gallery. Many other gaps filled up on floor of House, the biggest those created by the flitting of BRIGHT and PARNELL.
The figure at table answering to Speaker's call, the "FIRST LORD of the TREASURY" is the same, though different. Marvellously little different, considering all that has passed since '86, and remembering the weight of added years when they come on top of fourscore. Scantier the hair, paler the face and more furrowed; but the form still erect, the eye flashing, the right hand beating vigorously, as of yore, on the long-suffering box; the voice even better than it was for a certain period towards close of 1880 Parliament; the mental vision as clear; the fancy as luxuriant; the logic as irresistible; the musical swing of the stately sentences as harmonious. For two hours and a quarter, unfaltering, unfailing, Mr. G. held the unrivalled audience entranced, and sat down amid a storm of cheering, looking almost as fresh as the posy in his button-hole.
Business done.—Mr. G. introduces Home-Rule Bill.
Tuesday.—COLONEL SAUNDERSON going about to-day just as if nothing had happened yesterday. But something did. Little misunderstanding arose in connection with appropriation of a Seat. The Colonel, of course, in the row at the door of the House, between eleven and noon. Two hundred Members waiting to get in as soon as doors opened. "Nothing like it seen in civilised world since the rush for Oklahoma," says Lord PLAYFAIR, who has been in the United States. "Then, you remember, the intending settlers, gathering from all parts, bivouacked on line marked by military, and on appointed day, at fixed hour, at sound of gun, made the dash into the Promised Land. Lack some of those particulars here. But the passion just the same; equally reckless; every man first, and the Sergeant-at-Arms take the hindmost."
PLAYFAIR himself came down two hours later, intending to take his seat in Peers' Gallery, but, finding another mob at entrance, almost as turbulent, concluded he would not add to the tumult by wrestling with anybody for a place in the front rank. So, meeting a Bishop, who had come down with similar intent and abandoned endeavour from analogous reason, they went for a walk in the Park.
SAUNDERSON not a man of that kind. Thoroughly enjoyed himself for exciting three-quarters of hour. Was in first flight of heated and dishevelled senators who crossed the Bar when door flung open, and elderly Messenger was simultaneously flattened at back of it. SAUNDERSON dropped on to first convenient seat; folded his arms; beginning to view the scene when, like the person in the pastoral poem, "he heard a voice which said,"—"You're sitting on my hat!"
"Well," replied Colonel, genially recognising Irish Member of same Province, but another faith, "now you mention it, I thought I did hear something crunch." On examination, found remains of hat.
"Come out of my seat!" said the other Ulster man.
"Not at all," said the Colonel.
"Then I'll take you!" said the Ulster man.
"Do so," said the Colonel. Ulster man seized Colonel by collar and coat, and tugged violently. Rest of conversation was carried on with the Ulster man lying on his back, at full length, partly under his seat. "There was no hat here when I arrived," said the Colonel.
"Then how did it get there?" said the Ulster man, under the seat.
"That's for you to explain," said the Colonel, politely assisting Ulster man to rise. "If, when a gentleman is taking his seat, an Hon. Member places his hat upon it, accidents will happen."
Ulster man threatens to bring question under notice of SPEAKER. "Begad, I hope he will," said the Colonel, smiling grimly. "If you know the gentleman, TOBY, tell him I'll keep him in hats through Leap Year if he'll only do it. I should like to give the House an unadorned narrative of the incident. JOHN ROCHE'S deer-stealing story would be nothing to it."
Business done.—Debate on Home-Rule Bill.
Thursday.—GRANDOLPH back again at old post on Front Opposition Bench. All the Parliamentary world gathered to greet him. H.R.H. in old familiar seat over clock, whence, up to Monday, his pleasant presence had long been missed. Not a seat vacant on floor of House. Galleries crammed, whilst, through grille of Ladies' Gallery, bright eyes rained influence. GRANDOLPH had arranged to resume Debate on Home-Rule Bill; should have come on bright and fresh as soon as questions were over. Meanwhile sat on Front Opposition Bench, awaiting the signal to dash in. Incessantly playing with beard, in fashion that testified to high state of nervousness.
Everything excellently planned, the man, the hour, and the surroundings. Only thing forgotten was the dog—dog, you know, that has a little place down at Epsom, and turns up on course just as the ranged horses are straining at the bit, and the flag is upheld for the fall. On this occasion, Irish dog, of course. Introduced in artfullest way. ESMONDE, mildest-mannered man that ever whipped for Irish party, casually, as if he were inviting him to have a cigarette, asked WOLMER across House whether it was true that he had called Irish Members "forty paid mercenaries"? WOLMER, an equally well-dressed, civil-spoken young man, smilingly admitted that it was quite true he had couched a remark in the terms quoted, but had certainly not meant anything offensive to Irish Members. Indeed, general aspect of noble Lord, and his tone, suggested feeling of surprise that ESMONDE and his friends should not rather have felt complimented by the observation challenged.
This turned out to be polite crossing of swords before duel to the death, a shaking of hands before deadly set-to without gloves. SEXTON suddenly dashed in, and, with back-handed stroke at WOLMER, went for the Times who had adopted and improved upon the Viscount's genial remarks. Assault admirably planned; carried on with irresistible vigour, sweeping down earlier resistance of SPEAKER. Showed what SEXTON can do when so deeply moved as to forget himself, and resist besetting temptation to play the fatal windbag.
An hour-and-half's tussle all round House; at end Irish held the field, and, without dissentient voice, Times article declared to be "gross and scandalous breach of privileges of House."
But the hour and half had passed, and with it RANDOLPH'S chance of supreme success. House of Commons, though greedy for excitement, will never stand two doses in quick succession. After scene like that, which to-night filled House with fire and smoke, anything that follows is anti-climax. It was a cruel fate, which GRANDOLPH bore uncomplainingly, and fought against with quiet courage. Painfully nervous when he broke the silence of two years, the still crowded House had difficulty in catching his opening sentences. But, as he went on, he recovered himself, and regained mastery over an audience evidently eager to welcome his permanent return to position of old supremacy.
Business done.—The Wanderer returned. Slow music. Air—"Come, Kill the fatted Calf."
Saturday, 12:50, A.M.—Mr. G. just brought in Home-Rule Bill, amid ringing cheers from Ministerialists, who rise to their feet, and wildly wave their hats as PREMIER passes to table. Been some effective speaking on this last night of Debate. CHAMBERLAIN, BLAKE, and JOHN MORLEY, each excellent in varied way. Only few Members present to hear BODKIN insert maiden speech in dinner-hour. A remarkable effort, distinguished, among other things, by necessity of SPEAKER twice interposing, second time with ominous threat that BODKIN could not be tolerated much longer. BODKIN, resuming thread of his discourse, humbly apologised, kept his eye (BODKIN'S eye) warily on SPEAKER, and, when he saw him preparing to rise for third time, abruptly resumed his seat,—returned hurriedly to the needle-case, so to speak,—and thus avoided worse things.
Business done.—Home-Rule Bill read a First Time.
* * * * *
No doubt of it! A great diplomatic stroke on the part of Mr. JOHN HARE is this revival of Diplomacy—i.e., SARDOU'S Dora in an English-made dress—at the Garrick Theatre. An unequivocal success (of which more "in our next") on Saturday night for everybody; and, after the Play was over, the audience, inspired by "the gods," called Mr. and Mrs. BANCROFT before the curtain. Mrs. BANCROFT, in the course of an admirable little speech, said, "If I stood here till next week, I should not be able to express all I feel." Now as, by the right time, it was exactly 11:54 P.M. Saturday night, this clever lady would certainly not have been able in the time to express all she felt, or to say all she would have liked to say, seeing there were only six minutes left before "next week" began.
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE OLD FRENCHMAN AND THE YOUNG.
(After a Well-known Original.)
"You are old, 'Le Grand Francais,'" the young Frank said, "And your hair has become very white. Yet the Judges award you five years, it is said— I can't think, at your age, it's quite right."
"Such Gaul gratitude, boy!" Le Grand Francais replied, "As it brightens history's page; In my youth I served France, was her boast and her pride; And France has forgotten my age."
* * * * *
"I hear," said Mrs. R., "that there is some question of real or sham Constables at Burlington House. Why not refer it to the Chief Commissioner of Police?"
* * * * *
Sad, but True.
Your journalist may be a scribe of sense, or comicality, Avoiding the sensational, the silly, and the shoppy; But he can never make a claim to true originality, His contributions always being recognised as "copy."
* * * * *
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.