PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
VOLUME 93, SEPTEMBER 3rd 1887
edited by Sir Francis Burnand
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SOME NOTES AT STARMOUTH.
3 P.M.—Arrive at Starmouth—the retired Watering-place at which I propose to write the Nautical Drama that is to render me famous and wealthy. Leave luggage at Station, and go in search of lodgings. Hotel out of the question—table d'hote quite fatal to inspiration. On the Esplanade, noting likely places with critical eye. Perhaps I am a little fastidious. What I should really like is a little cottage; two bow-windows, clematis on porch, flagstaff, and cannon (if it wouldn't go off) in front. I could achieve immortality in a place like that. Sea-view, of course, indispensable. Must be within sight of the ever-changing ocean, within hearing of "the innumerable laughter of the waves"—I know what the phrase means, though I shouldn't like to have to explain it, and the waves just now are absolutely roaring.
3.15.—Still noting; plenty of time, and Starmouth "all before me where to choose." More than a mile of Esplanade, and several brass plates and cards advertising "Apartments." Must be cautious—not throw the handkerchief in a hurry. Haven't seen the ideal place yet.
3.30.—Better make a beginning. Try "Blenheim House" (all the houses here either bear ducal, naval, or frankly plebeian names, I observe). Ring: startling effect—grey-mouldy old person, with skeleton hands folded on woollen tippet, glides in a ghastly manner down passage. They really ought to put up a warning to people with nerves, as M. VAN BEERS does at his Salon Parisien. Feel as if I had raised a ghost. Wonder if she waits on lodgers—if so, my dinners will be rather like the banquet GULLIVER had at Laputa. "Has she rooms to let at once?" "No?" "Oh!" Well out of that!
3.45.—Warming to my work. Ring at door in "Amelia Terrace." Maid appears—nice-looking girl, rather. "Have you"—I begin—when I see a boy at the ground-floor window. Don't object to boys, as a class, but this particular boy is pallid, with something round his throat, and an indescribable air about him of conscious deadliness, and pride in the unusual terror he inspires, which can only be accounted for by recent Measles. Never under the same roof with that boy! He eyes me balefully, and I stare back, fascinated. "Have you," I begin again—(I am full of resource, thank goodness!) "a Mrs. WALKER—(first appropriate name that occurs to me)—staying here?" By a horrible coincidence, they have! She has taken the ground-floor—where that boy is! Awkward—very.... I manage to gasp out, "Then will you please mention that I called?" and retire before she can ask my name. Presence of mind, again!
4 P.M.—Still seeking. Not so fastidious as I was. Have given up the cottage, and clematis, and flagstaff. Only place answering that description belongs—or so I inferred, from his language—to a retired sea-captain, whom I disturbed in his nap to inquire whether he let lodgings. As it happened, he didn't. Then (as I very nearly went back and told him) what right had he to sport a brass plate? However, I got some good racy dialogue for the Nautical Drama out of him.
4.15.—More failures. Starmouth busy digesting, which it does publicly in bow-windows. I must not be so particular. I will do without balconies—even bow-windows—but I cannot, I will not, sit on horsehair furniture.
4.20.—After all, so long as I get a sea-view, what matters? I can be nautical and dramatic on any kind of chair. And "Collingwood House," too—what a name for me! I will go in. Rejected again—nothing till Thursday fortnight! I am beginning to feel like an unpopular man at a dance. I regard the people wallowing at the windows with a growing hate; they are the elect—but that is no reason why they should parade it in that ostentatious way—bad taste!... Can't get any rooms along these terraces—I subdue my pride, and try a back-street.
4.30.—Nature too strong for me—I must face the sea. Surely there must be some cards I have overlooked!... Thought so! staring me in the face all the time! Ring—ghost effect again—same old grey lady! She asks me, in hollow tones, what I want. I ask her whether I left my umbrella here (full of resource!) "No!" "Oh!" Back-street again after that.
4.40.—Even the back-streets will have none of me! I grow morbid. Remember words of song, entreating vague somethings (perhaps stars) "to smile on their vagabond boy"—no one smiles on me. And I to have vapoured about "throwing the handkerchief." Fool—fool!... They are more sympathetic in the back-streets, though. "Starmouth is very full!" They say, complacently, "they don't know if there's any place I could get into, not to say at once—they really don't!"
5 P.M.—Back on the Esplanade again. Why, I certainly haven't been here before. Ring. While I am waiting for some one to appear, face rises at window—the measly boy! Confound these terrace-houses, all alike! This time I don't wait—I bolt. They will think I am a clown out for a holiday, but I can't help that.
5.15.—No, I must draw the line somewhere. At "Hatfield House," (good address this) landlady appears with eruptive face, powdered—effect not entirely happy—but I waive that. She has rooms—but the sitting-room is out at the end of a yard, and I am to get to my bed room through the kitchen! Can't write an epoch-making drama under those conditions.
5.30.—I am growing humbler—I would almost take a coal-cellar now. Think I will go back to Hatfield and recant.... I have. "Very sorry—this moment let".... "Oh!"
5.35.—At last! May choicest blessings light upon the head of PLAPPER!—or rather of Mrs. PLAPPER, as her husband is out. She has taken me in! Charming rooms—not actually facing the sea, but with capital view of it round corner from bow-window. PLAPPER is an optician—wonder whether it is weak eyes, or wifely duty, that makes Mrs. P. wear blue spectacles? Everything arranged—terms most reasonable—now to recover luggage. Stop; better ask address—or I might never be able to find my optician again—like Mrs. Barrett Browning and her lost Bower! "You've only got to use PLAPPER'S name, Sir, anywhere, and it will be all right," says Mrs. P. with natural pride. Very convenient. For instance: Stern Constable (to me). "Can't come in here, Sir." Myself. "Can't I, though? PLAPPER!" And in I go! Or I am in a scrape of some sort: "Have you anything to say?" asks the Inspector. I whisper in his ear, "PLAPPER!" And they grovel and release me.
5.45.—Odd—but now I find myself wondering ungratefully, whether I mightn't have done better than PLAPPER, after all. This is human nature, I suppose—but discreditable. I am overjoyed—really. I no longer hate people. I too am an initiate! But I can pity poor devils who are houseless, I hope.... I order sundry things: "Send them in to PLAPPER'S." Luggage regained and sent back—to PLAPPER'S. I feel self-respect once more.
6 P.M.—Returning to PLAPPER'S. And in this secure retreat my Nautical drama is destined to see the light—if PLAPPER only knew! I feel an affection already for this humble temporary home. Mrs. P. meets me at the door. "So sorry, Sir—but you can't have the rooms, after all! PLAPPER had let 'em quite unbeknown to me!"
And this is Saturday! I am under a curse!
* * * * *
Lament by the Rev. S. D. Headlam.
What was it first my fancy fed, My steps to the Alhambra led, And finally quite turned my head? The Ballet!
What, when I studied it apart, Struck me with force that made me start, As being a noble form of Art? The Ballet!
And what, when seen night after night, Inspired me with supreme delight, And made me to the Pall-Mall write? The Ballet!
But what, when kindled with its fire, I hoped my Bishop to inspire, Alas! excited but his ire? The Ballet!
And what, although the orthodox Two places in an upper box I offered him,—but gave him shocks? The Ballet!
Ah! what, though every nerve I've strained To see the dancers' battle gained, Leaves me episcopally chained? The Ballet!
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LAST FRUITS OF THE SESSION.—Pairs.
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"The modern Venetian takes pleasure not only in neglecting but in persecuting the palace and the gondola.... As to the gondola, the mass of Venetians possess none, and rarely go in them.... They forget that the much-desired foreigner does not come to Venice to read signboards from a steamboat up and down the Grand Canal; and, by handing over this magnificent waterway to a company of foreign speculators, they have well-nigh reduced the ancient body of gondoliers to beggary. The steamers are numerous and noisy.... If one contrasts the passengers of these rival craft, the gondola and the vaporetto, one asks which, as a body, most contribute to the prosperity of Venice, and so merits most consideration.... The penny steamer and the gondola are irreconcileable, and cannot exist long together, for the simple reason that the gondoliers cannot earn a support, and must take to other avocations."
"EXSUL'S" Letter to the Times on "The Venice of To-day."
Shade of CHILDE HAROLD sings:—
Yes, this is Venice; yon's the Bridge of Sighs; The palace and the prison, still they stand: But 'midst the maze foul funnel fumes arise. As by the touch of an enchanter's hand, A hundred such their smoky wings expand, Around me, and a dying glory smiles On what was once the poet's, artist's land, Soot smears the winged Lion's marble piles, And Venice reeks like Hull, throned on her hundred isles.
She looks a swart sea Cyclops, from the ocean, Rising with smutted walls and blackened towers; The vaporetto, with erratic motion, Muddies the waters with its carbon-showers. And such she is! Progress's dismal dowers Have spoilt the picture; now the eye may feast On garish signs and posters. Gracious powers! Sewing-machines and hair-washes at least Might spare the Grand Canal. Trade is an ogre-ish beast!
In Venice Vulcan's echoes hiss and roar, And idle sits the hapless Gondolier. His Gondola is crumbling on the shore, The Penny Steamer's whistle racks his ear. 'ARRY exults—but Beauty is not here; Trade swells, Arts grow—but Nature seems to die. Hucksters may boast that Venice is less "dear," "Progresso!" is the Press, the Public cry; But, by great RUSKIN'S self, the thing is all my eye.
For unto us she had a spell beyond Cheap dinners and Advertisement's array Of polychrome, of which Trade seems so fond. Alas! the Dogeless city's silent sway Will lessen momently, and fade away, When the Rialto echoes to the roar Of vaporetti, and in sad decay The Gondola, its swan-like flittings o'er, Neglected rots upon the solitary shore.
Such is the Venice of my youth and age, Its spell a void, its charm a vacancy. Rosy Romance, thou owest many a page, Ay, many that erst grew beneath mine eye, To what was once the loved reality Of this true fairy-land; but I refuse To deck with Art's fantastic wizardry A haunt of Trade. Mine is not Mammon's Muse, She will not sing for hire of Soaps, or Silks, or Shoes.
I know that there are such,—but let them go,— They came like ghouls, they'll disappear like dreams. But oh! my Venice, dare they treat thee so? I fain would flay the Vandal horde; still teems My mind with memories of thy towers and streams,— All that I sought for in thy midst, and found. Must these too go? The ogre Progress deems Such fair and flattering phantasies unsound; Now other voices speak, and other sights surround.
"The spouseless Adriatic mourns her lord," Ay, and yet worse, Venetian souls grow rude. The Gondola lies rotting unrestored, The Gondolier unhired must lounge and brood, Or stoop to "stoking" for his daily food, On board a puffing fiend that by "horse pow'r" Measures its might. Oh! base ingratitude! Dogs! ye one day shall howl for the lost hour, When Venice was a Queen, with loveliness for dower.
Gondolas ruled, and now the Steam Launch reigns, A stoker shovels where a lover knelt. This thing of steam and smoke that stinks and stains, Might suit the tainted Thames, the sluggish Scheldt; But the Canal, which for long years hath felt The sunshine of Romance—that downward go? This is the deadliest blow that Trade hath dealt; Enough to bring back blind old DANDOLO, To fight his country's latest most debasing foe.
Before St. Mark still glow his steeds of brass, But garish signboards glitter in the sun; And up and down the watery alleys pass The snorting steamers. Venice lost and won, Her thirteen hundred years of beauty done, Sinks to an Isle of Dogs. Let her life close! Better be whelmed beneath the waves, and shun Ev'n in destruction's depths her Vandal foes, Than live a thrall to Trade, a scourge to eyes and nose.
Dreams of Romance—all shattered! They revile Our "Ruskinismo," do these souls of dust, Who care not for their sumptuous marble pile, Oh, sons unworthy of their splendid trust! With his oar broken, and his dry keel thrust, Unused ashore, the Gondolier recalls Gay days and nights of glory, such as must Too oft remind him who his land enthrals, And flings a sordid cloud o'er Venice' shining walls.
How can the Childe's poetic shade refuse To plead his cause, on his base foe make war? Perchance redemption from a phantom Muse, Whose voice now faintly echoes from afar, May come, and check his sordid conqueror's car, E'en in its roll of victory, snatch the reins, From Greed's foul hands and further havoc bar, Say, shall the Penny Steamer's petty gains, Banish the Gondolier, and hush his cheery strains?
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VIRTUES OF OMISSION.
PEOPLE—Mr. IMPREY, Mr. GEORGE SMITH (of Coalville), and others—are actually to be found contending for the barren honour of having invented that terrible nuisance of a catch-phrase, "Three Acres and a Cow!" Strange and morbid perversion of ambition! As well fight for the deep discredit of having been the first to hit upon such kindred controversial horrors as the boring and question-begging "gags" of "Law and Order," "Patriot first, and Party-man afterwards," "Hand over to the tender mercies, &c.," "Disintegration of the Empire," or even that most hackneyed of political phrases, "Grand Old Man" itself. Now, if any one took credit to himself for never, never having uttered the "Acre and Cow" Shibboleth, or made use of any others of these soul-sickening bits of polemical claptrap, Mr. Punch could understand, and admire, and envy. There be things that everybody—possessed of sense and sobriety—would "rather not have said."
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THE WAY OF THE WIND.
By an anxious Unionist.
[Mr. T. W. RUSSELL has formally withdrawn from the Unionist Party.]
Ah! sorely tossed is our poor "Union" bark, We shall not get to port without a tussle. They say the wind will change against us. Hark! That wind seems rising; I can hear its RUSSELL.
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A FIGHT FOR THE FORTY.—Sir EDWARD HAMLEY is, admittedly, one of the greatest strategists the British Army possesses. Although in the prime of life, this gallant officer will be "automatically retired," unless he receives a military appointment before the end of October. It has been suggested that he should be employed to work out a scheme for the protection of London. This will be far easier work for him to do than to have to frame a defence of the Government that has so long, and so strangely, and (some say) so maliciously overlooked him.
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CON: FOR THE CONSIDERATE.—Why is Happiness like an Act of Parliament? Because you can never tell its value until it is passed.
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ALL IN PLAY.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,
This year has been a great one for America in London. The Exhibition in West Kensington, with its Wild West Show, has attracted its thousands, and at this moment two dramas (both from the United States) are very popular in the Strand and Oxford Street. A few nights ago, anxious to save you the trouble of filling a stall with your customary urbanity and critical acumen (to say nothing of your august person and opera-glasses), I visited the Princess's, to assist at a performance of The Shadows of a Great City. It was really a most amusing piece, written by JEFFERSON, the Rip Van Winkle of our youth, who you will remember was wont in years gone by to drink to the health of ourselves and our wives and our families at the Adelphi. The City was New York, and the most substantial of the Shadows, Mr. J. H. BARNES, a gentleman who might be aptly described as one of the "heaviest" of our light comedians. He played a fine-hearted sailor with an earnestness of purpose that carried all before it. I cannot conscientiously say that he gave me the idea that he was exactly fitted to take command of the Channel Fleet, but after seeing him I retained the impression that he would have felt entirely at home on the quarter-deck of a Thames Steamboat. Mr. HARRY NICHOLLS, who has so often assisted to make the fortune (as a jocular scoundrel) of a Drury Lane melodrama, was also in the cast, and so was Miss CICELY RICHARDS, the Belinda of Our Boys. Then there was Miss MARY RORKE, a most sympathetic heroine, and several other excellent performers, whose names, however, were less familiar to me.
The play, admirably mounted with capital scenery, recalled a number of pleasant memories. Here was a suggestion of The Ticket of Leave Man, there a notion from The Colleen Bawn, and yonder ideas from The Long Strike and Arrah-na-Pogue. There is nothing new under the sun, and The Shadows of a Great City is no exception to the rule. However, it is a thoroughly exciting play, full of murder and mirth, wrong-doing and waggery, startling incidents, and side-splitting comicalities. It was certainly greatly enjoyed, when I saw it, by the audience, who cheered Mr. BARNES and Miss RORKE to the echo, and hissed all their enemies to their heart's content, as a reward for the most effectively-simulated villany.
Very soon all the Theatres will be busy with the Autumn-cum-Winter Season. The first on the List is Drury Lane, which, reserving PAYNE for the Pantomime at Christmas, opens in September with Pleasure.
Always yours sincerely, ONE WHO HAS GONE TO PIECES.
* * * * *
Still at Royat. Hotel Continental.—A propos of PULLER "airing his French" Miss LOUISA METTERBRUN said something delighful to him the other day at dinner. PULLER had been instructing us all in some French idioms until Madame METTERBRUN set him right in his pronunciation. He owned that he had made a slip. "But," says he, wagging his head and pulling up his wristbands with the air of a man thoroughly well satisfied with himself generally, "but I think you'll allow that I can speak French better than most Englishmen, eh?"
Madame METTERBRUN doesn't exactly know what to say, but Miss LOUISA comes to the rescue. "O Mr. PULLER"—he is frequently at their house in London, and they know him intimately—"I always say to Mamma, when we're abroad, that I do like to hear you talk French"—PULLER smirks and thinks to himself that this is a girl of sense and rare appreciation—"because," she goes on quietly, and all at table are listening, "because your speaking French reminds me so of home." Her home is London. I think PULLER won't ask Miss LOUISA for an opinion on his French accent again in a hurry.
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I have just been reading VICTOR HUGO'S Choses Vues. Admirable! Fuite de Louis Philippe! What a pitiful story. Then his account, marvellously told, and the whole point of the narrative given in two lines, of what became of the brain of TALLEYRAND. Graphically written is his visit to THIERS on behalf of ROCHEFORT. Says THIERS to him, "Cent journaux me trainent tous les matins dans la boue. Mais savez-vous mon procede? Je ne les lis pas." To which HUGO rejoined, "C'est precisement ce que je fais. Lire les diatribes, c'est respirer les latrines de sa renommee." Most public men, certainly most authors, artists, and actors, would do well to remember this advice, and act upon it.
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"Choses Vues," written "Shows Vues" would be a good heading for an all-round-about theatrical and entertainment article in Mr. Punch's pages. Patent this.
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PULLER has recovered his high spirits. The temperature has changed: the waters are agreeing with him. So is the dinner hour, which M. HALL, our landlord, kindly permits us to have at the exceptional and un-Royat-like hour of 7.30. At dinner he is convivial. Madame METTERBRUN and her two daughters are discussing music. Cousin JANE is deeply interested in listening to Madame METTERBRUN on WAGNER. The young Ladies are thorough Wagnerites. La Contessa is unable to get a word in about SHAKSPEARE and SALVINI, and her daughter, who, in a quiet tone and with a most deliberate manner, announces herself as belonging to the "Take-everything-easy Society," is not at this particular moment interested in anything except the menu, which she is lazily scrutinising through her long-handled pince-nez.
Mrs. DINDERLIN, having succumbed to the usual first attack of Royat depression, is leaning back in her chair, smelling salts and nodding assent to the Wagnerite theories, with which she entirely agrees. For my own part, I am neutral; but as the METTERBRUNS are thorough musicians,—the mother being a magnificent pianist, and the eldest daughter a composer,—I am really interested in hearing all they have to say on the subject. Our bias is, temporarily, decidedly Wagnerian, for Cousin JANE, who is really in favour of "tune," and plenty of it,—being specially fond of BELLINI and DONIZETTI,—in scientific musical society has not the courage of her opinions.
From composers the conversation travels to executants, and we name the favourite singers. After we have pretty well exhausted the list, and objected to this one as having a head voice, or to that as using the vibrato, or to the other as dwelling on an upper note ("queer sort of existence," says PULLER, gradually coming up, as it were to the surface to open his mouth for breath,—whereat Cousin JANE smiles, and Miss CASANOVA lazily nods approbation of the joke—while the rest of us ignore PULLER, putting him aside as not wanted just now,—when down he goes again), we generally agree that GAYARRE is about the best tenor we have had in London for some time; that SANTLEY is still unequalled as a baritone; that there is no one now to play and sing Mephistopheles like FAURE; that M. MAUREL is about the finest representative of Don Giovanni; that Miss ARNOLDSON shows great promise; that ALBANY is unrivalled; that MARIE ROZE is difficult to beat as Carmen; and that it is a pity that PATTI'S demands are so exorbitant; and having exhausted the list of operatic artists,—Madame and her daughters holding that certain Germans, with whose names we, unfortunately for us, are not even acquainted, are far superior to any French or Italian singers that can be named—there ensues a pause in the conversation, of which the Countess CASANOVA takes advantage, and extending her right hand, which movement sharply jingles her bracelets, and so, as it were, sounds a bell to call us to attention, cuts in quickly with an emphatic, "Well, I don't profess to understand music as you do. I know what I like"—("Hear! hear!" sotto voce from PULLER, coming up again to the surface, which draws a languidly approving inclination of the head from Miss CASANOVA, and a smile, deprecating the interruption, from Cousin JANE),—"and I must say," continues the Countess, emphatically, "I would rather have one hour of SALVINI in Othello, than a whole month of the best Operas by the best composers,—WAGNER included," and down comes her hand on the table, all the bracelets ringing down the curtain on the first act.
We, the non-combatants, feel that the mailed gauntlet has been thrown down by the Countess as a challenge to the METTERBRUNS.
"O Mother!" faintly remonstrates Miss CASANOVA, who loves a stall at the Opera. She fears that her mother's energetic declaration means war, and fans herself helplessly.
I am preparing to reconcile music and the drama, and am getting ready a supply of oil for what I foresee will be troubled waters, as the METTERBRUNS are beginning to rustle their feathers and flap their wings,—when PULLER, leaning well forward, and stretching out an explanatory hand, with his elbow planted firmly on the table, ("Very bad manners," says Cousin JANE afterwards to me) says genially, "Well, voyez vous, look here, you may talk of your WAGNERS and SHAKSPEARES, and GAYARRES, and PATTIS, but, for singing and acting, give me ARTHUR ROBERTS. Yes," he repeats pleasantly but defiantly, and taking up, as it were, the Countess's gauntlet, "SALVINI'S not in it with ARTHUR ROBERTS."
The Countess's fan spreads out and works furiously. The steam is getting up. The METTERBRUNS open their eyes, and regard one another in consternation. They don't know who ARTHUR ROBERTS is.
"Not know!" exclaims PULLER, quite in his element. "Well, when you come to London, you send to me, and I'll take you to hear him."
"He's a Music-Hall singer," says the Countess, fanning herself with an air of contemptuous indifference.
"Music-Hall Ar-tiste!" returns PULLER, emphasising the second syllable, which to his mind expresses a great deal, and makes all the difference. "Now, Miladi," he goes on, imitating the manner of one of his own favourite counsel, engaged by PULLER & CO., conducting a cross-examination, "Have you ever seen him?"
"Yes," she replies, shrugging her shoulders, "once. And," she adds, making the bracelets jingle again, as with a tragedy queen's action of the right arm she sweeps away into space whole realms of Music Halls and comic singers, "that was quite enough."
"Didn't he make you laugh?" continues PULLER, still in the character of a stern cross-examiner.
"Laugh!" almost shrieks the Countess, extending her hands so suddenly that I have only time to throw myself back to avoid a sharp tap on the head from her fan. "Heavens! not a bit! not the least bit in the world! He made me sad! I saw the people in the stalls laughing, and I said,"—here she appeals with both hands to the majority of sensible people at large—still at large—"'Am I stupid? am I dull? Do I not understand?'"
"O Mother!" expostulates her daughter, in her most languid manner, "he was funny!"
"Funny!" ejaculates the Countess, tossing her head.
"I'd rather see ARTHUR ROBERTS than SALVINI," says PULLER, waggishly, but with conviction.
"I think I would, for choice," says Miss CASANOVA, meditatively, but seeing the Countess's horrified expression of countenance, she takes care to add more languidly than ever, as if taking the smallest part in an argument were really too exhausting, "but then, you know, I really don't understand tragedy, and I love a laugh."
"Prefers ARTHUR ROBERTS to SALVINI!" exclaims the Countess, and throws up her hands and eyes to the ceiling as if imploring Heaven not to visit on her the awful heresy of her child.
Here I interpose. SALVINI, I say, is a great Artiste, no doubt of it, a marvellous Tragedian; and ARTHUR ROBERTS is not, in the true dramatic sense of the word, a genuine Comedian; but he is, in another sense a true Comedian, though of the Music-Hall school.
"What a school!" murmurs the Countess, and with a pained expression of countenance as though she were suffering agonies.
The METTERBRUNS see the difference. Madame remembers a fat comic man in Berlin, at some garden, who used to wear a big hat and carry a large pipe, and make her laugh very much when she was a girl. Certainly, in his way, he was an artist. Is this ARTHUR ROBERTS anything like MAX SPLUeTTERWESSEL? At this point, as we have finished coffee, and the Countess finds the room hot, I propose adjourning the debate to the Restaurant in the garden, as we are too late for the band at the Casino Samie.
The party is broken up in order to walk down to our rendezvous.
PULLER, whose idea of making things pleasant, and, as he expresses it, "sweetening everyone all round," is to order "drinks" for everybody, insists upon the party taking "consommations"—he loves saying this word—at his expense. The Countess at first objects, as also does Madame METTERBRUN; but, on PULLER'S explaining that he belongs to "The Two-with-you Society," they accept this explanation as utterly unintelligible but perfectly satisfactory; and so, accepting PULLER'S al fresco hospitality, we form a cheerful group round two tables put together for our accommodation. PULLER'S hospitality has taken the form of grenadines, chartreuses, and "sherry-gobblers,"—he loves this word too,—for us all round, and he has ordered for himself a strange mixture, which perfumes the night air as if some nauseous draught had been brought out of a chemist's shop, and which looks like green stagnant water in a big glass. It is called by PULLER, with great glee, an "Absinthe gummy."
Anything nastier to look at or to smell I am not acquainted with in the way of drinks. However, he is our host, and I have a grenadine before me of his ordering, and between my lips an excellent cigar which is his gift. I can only say mildly, "It looks nasty;" and Cousin JANE expresses herself to the same effect, remarking also as she looks significantly towards me, that it is late, and that I am not keeping Royat hours. I promise to come away in ten minutes. PULLER is in the highest possible spirits: surrounded by this company, all drinking his drinks, he as it were takes the chair and presides. He knocks on the table, which brings the waiter, to whom he says, holding up a couple of fingers "Two with you,"—whereat the waiter only smiles upon the eccentric Englishman, shakes his head, and wisely retires.
"Ah, Miladi," says PULLER, "you must take a course of ROBERTS. He's a rum 'un." Then he sings, "He's all right when you know him, but you've got to hear him fust."
His guests politely smile, all except the Countess. I preserve a discreet silence. Taking this on the whole for encouragement, PULLER commences the song from which he has already quoted the chorus. What the words are I do not catch, but as PULLER reproduces to the life the style and manner of a London Music-Hall singer, and cocks his hat on one side, it is no wonder that the French people at the other table turn towards us in amazement.
"For goodness sake, MR. PULLER!" cries the Countess, rising from her chair in consternation. JANE also rises, Miss CASANOVA is laughing nervously. The METTERBRUNS look utterly astonished. I feel I must stop this at once.
"My dear fellow," I say, magisterially, "you really mustn't do this sort of thing"—he is breaking out again with "O what a surprise!"—but I get up from my seat to reprove him gravely. "You would not do this if you were in a London Restaurant."
"No," he replies, not in the least offended—"that's the lark of it. I belong to 'The Out-for-a-lark-and-Two-with-you Society.' Don't you mind me," he adds; then turning with a pleasant wink to the ladies, who have been putting on their wraps and mantles, and are preparing to leave, he sings again,—
"I'm all right when you know me— But——"
We leave him to finish the song by himself.
And to think that my friend PULLER, with his hat cocked on one side, a big cigar in his mouth, a tumbler of "absinthe gummy" before him, a rakish expression in his eye, is the same PULLER to whom, as partner in the firm of HORLER, PULLER, PULLER (J), BAKER AND DAYVILLE, Solicitors, I would trust my dearest interests in any matter of property, of character, even of life itself! The strange story of Hyde and Jekyll is no fiction, after all.
* * * * *
WHITMAN IN LONDON.
(Adapted from the American.)
Oh, site of Coldbath Fields Prison! Oh, eight and three-quarter acres of potential Park for the plebs! I gaze at you; I, WALT, gaze at you through cracks in the black hoarding, Though the helmeted blue-coated Bobby dilates to me on the advantages of moving on. I marvel at the stupidity of Authorities everywhere. I stand and inhale a playground which in a week or two will be turned into a Post Office by Government orders! Instead of plants growing here, bricks will be planted. Instead of girlhood, boyhood playing here, cash will be counted, stamps will be affixed (savagely) by the public, and letters weighed when the young women have time, and also inclination, to do so. I, from the wild Western Continent, wilder myself, weep for this Park soon to be devoured. I am like a buck-jumper: I buck at it. I am like the Giant Cowboy: only I am not gigantic, and I am cowed by it. Oh, Northerly end of Farringdon Street! Oh, Coldbath Fields Square! Oh, dwellers in all the adjacent slums and rookeries, redolent of old clothes' shops, swarthy Italian organ-grinders, and the superannuated herring, Are you going to see another House of Correction—a Postal one—built where the old one stood? If so, it is I who correct you: I, who am so correct myself!
And you, too, Clerkenwell Gaol! What are the dodrotted Authorities going to do with you? Eh? Clear you away, and build a Board School there? But why build anything? Clerkenwell is mine: I am a propos of Clerkenwell: Clerkenwell is a propos of me. Morally, if not legally, it is mine; morally it is yours as well, you wizened, pallid, blue-nosed, dunderheaded Metropolitan Citizen! In this jungle of houses, what is wanted is fresh air. Everyone of you toilers should be given the real "Freedom of the City," by having free spaces bestowed on you. It is better to learn how to expand the limbs, and play rounders, and leap over the frog, and fly kites, Than to acquire in a school-room elementary education, consisting of algebra and Assyrian hieroglyphics, spelling, Greek, Italian, and advanced trigonometry. Allons, then! Esperanza! Also cui bono! Go to your Home Secretary, your Postmaster in General, and tell them that no Post Office or School shall be built on this spot, Because I, WALT, hailing hoarsely from Manhattan, have spotted it, And Punch, the lustrous camerado, the ineffable dispensator, will spot it too!
* * * * *
* * * * *
"Shall I fetch your thunderbolt, Jove?" inquired Ganymede.—Ixion in Heaven.
Modern Jupiter loquitur:—
A bolt, a potent one, and brought at need! That B-LF-R is a ready Ganymede. And yet—and yet—ah, well, upon my soul, A troublous function is the Thunderer's role. 'Tis vastly fine, of course; if fate would smile, I fancy that the Cloud-Compeller's style Would suit me sweetly; just the line I love; Resolute rule's the appanage of a Jove. But SHELLEY's dismal Demogorgon's self, That solemn, shadowy, stern, oracular elf, Plus obstinate Prometheus, did not play Such mischief as the parties do to-day, With Law and Order. Who would be a god When force forsakes his bolt, and fear his nod?
Yes, here's the bolt forged ready to my hand, But,—will it fly obedient to command, And hit the mark I mean? Would I were sure; Then should I hold my new-found seat secure, Without a thought of Saturn, or that Hour Which sets a term e'en to Olympian pow'r. But what if like a boomerang, it fly Back to my hand, or, worse, into mine eye? Ah, Ganymede, Jupiter Tonans seems A splendid part, in young ambition's dreams, But, Ganymede, who would aspire, I wonder, To be a Jove who's half afraid to thunder? With doubts about the handling of my bolt, And half Olympus in half-veiled revolt; With hostile Titans mustering on the plain, And old Prometheus "popping up again"; With Demogorgon lurking down below, Disguised as Demos, with its muffled, low, But multitudinous slowly-swelling voice, How should I in Olympian power rejoice? I grasp the bolt; I cannot well refuse it; But—I half hope I may not have to use it!
* * * * *
"HOMES IN THE HILLS."
[The absence of skilled nursing in the British Military Hospitals in India having long been felt to be a serious evil, leading to the needless sacrifice of brave and valuable lives, the SECRETARY of STATE has sanctioned the employment of Lady Nurses in these hospitals. The Government of India have undertaken the whole cost in connection with this scheme, except the provision of "Homes in the Hills," as restorative resorts for the Nursing Sisters, when their own health feels the strain of their arduous duties in such a climate as that of the plains of India. The money required for this most essential purpose the Government consider might be "appropriately left to the active benevolence of private individuals interested in the welfare of the British Soldier in India."
For aid towards the establishment of these "Homes in the Hills," Lady ROBERTS, wife of the gallant Indian hero, Sir FREDERICK ROBERTS, makes an appeal which Mr. Punch desires most earnestly to second.
Subscriptions will be received by the Alliance Bank, Simla; Messrs. Cox & Co., Craig's Court, London; and by Lady ROBERTS herself.]
To nurse our stricken Soldiers! Nobler task, Or more ennobling, can our Sisters ask? Whilst stout hearts suffer, soft ones shall not fail In selfless readiness to soothe and save, Sharing the tribute rendered by the brave To FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE.
Her sex's strong and sweet exemplar, she Must surely send across the orient sea To "NORA ROBERTS," as a kindred heart, Message of warm good-will. And we at home For whom our soldiers fight, and watch, and roam, Shall we not do our part?
'Tis sad to think that in that burning land, For lack of ministry from woman's hand, Strong men and gallant boys have sunk and died. Gladdening to hear that Nursing Sisters now, To cool hot lips and ease pain-fevered brow, Will seek our Soldiers' side.
But who shall nurse the Nurses? When the strain Of ministry on India's torrid plain Brings the fatigue that, long-neglected, kills, They'll need, as health-resorts whereto to send, For rest restorative, the soldiers' friend, Homes in the cooler hills.
For these the Lady of our gallant Chief, Whose brilliant march brought Candahar relief, Pleads to a public whom that honoured name Alone should stir to sympathy and aid. Help for the Helpers! Punch is not afraid That plea will miss its aim!
* * * * *
* * * * *
(From Crowded-out Correspondents.)
SIR,—The plan of your Correspondent, "A DOUBTFUL SAILOR," who alleges that he avoids sea-sickness by drinking two bottles of Champagne before starting, and then goes on board accompanied by his Family Doctor, who administers alternately nitrous oxide gas and ginger beer to him every ten minutes till the passage is over, though no doubt an efficacious preventive, strikes me as less simple than the means I invariably employ to secure a comfortable crossing. They are easily available, and are as follows. Before I start I provide myself with a six-foot mattrass, several yards of rope, and four screw-hooks, which, the moment I enter the cabin, I proceed with a large gimlet to fasten to the ceiling, and, before the Steward or passengers have had time to protest, I have rigged myself up a capital swinging bed in the very centre of the vessel. To jump in, occupy it, and keep officials at bay with an umbrella, only needs a little nerve and practice, and when once fairly out of port, specially if it be rough, one is not very easily dislodged. In the course of thirteen passages, I have only been overturned eleven times, in nine of which I was cut down by order of the Captain; and though on several occasions, through clinging to the swinging-lamp, I brought it down in the struggle, and had to pay for the damage, I can confidently recommend any one who has a horror of the Channel crossing, and does not mind a brisk physical encounter with three Stewards, the First Mate, and half the crew of one of the Folkestone and Boulogne boats, to follow my example.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant, ABAFT THE FUNNEL.
SIR,—"ONE WHO HASN'T YET DONE IT," wants to know how, travelling with only one ticket, he can secure an entire third-class compartment for the whole journey to himself. I will tell him. Let him install himself in his quarters taking with him five full life-sized lay-figures dressed in old great-coats with hats pulled down over their ears and eyes, and let him arrange these picturesquely about the carriage in attitudes indicative of the suffering of much internal torture. Then let him stand at the window with a genial and good-humoured expression on his face, and pointing over his shoulder to the scene behind him, explain briefly to any passengers who are thinking of entering, that he is travelling with "five aged uncles in the last stage of delirium from a contagious and infectious fever," and he will find they will instantly desist from their efforts and hurry to another portion of the train. To carry out this little ruse successfully it may be sometimes necessary to wink at the ticket-collector and give him threepence, but this does not follow as a matter of course. The plan will be found to work excellently on comparatively short excursions to the sea-side, during which people sent in search of health are necessarily anxious to avoid anything approaching to the risk of contagion. For longer distances, such as a journey to the North for instance, there is nothing like travelling with an Indian Chief, and if possible, with a hyaena. The appearance of the former in gleaming paint and feathers brandishing a tomahawk and uttering wild war-whoops at every station, will be sure to prevent the intrusion of women with babies, while even a country farmer, on seeing the hyaena emerge from under the seat, and on your remarking smilingly, "He isn't muzzled, but I don't think he'll bite," will be likely to select some other compartment. I have travelled from King's Cross to Inverness several times under the above conditions, and except on one occasion at Perth, where the hyaena got loose and eat thirteen half-crown breakfasts, for which I had to pay, and on one other at Edinburgh, when the Indian Chief scalped a ticket-collector by mistake, I have never met with any sort of contretemps, but enjoyed the journey in comfort, and kept the carriage the whole way entirely to myself. At this season of the year when so many who are off "for the grouse," think twice before putting their hands into their pockets for the exorbitant fare of a journey first-class, my method of securing all its comfort at half the cost, may possibly find some votaries willing to profit by my experience. Such as it is, it is thus freely placed at their disposal.
By yours inventively, THERE AND BACK.
SIR,—Your Correspondent, a "STIFLED INVALID," wants to know how, in these days of ill-drained and ill-ventilated lodgings, he can secure a breath of fresh sea-air without the risk of being prostrated by a local fever, or poisoned by sewer gas. His course is simple enough. He has only to do as I have done. Let him get a furniture-van (if he is a married man with a family, he will want more—I have five), and hire a traction-engine to drag him to some well-known watering-place, and deposit him on the Pier. I have tried the experiment, as yet, with every prospect of success. Here am I, with my five vans, well installed at the end of the Pier of a well-known fashionable health resort, the band playing twice a day, with the fresh air blowing all about me, and the sea surrounding me on every side. We managed to get on when the man who takes the tickets was away having his dinner. The situation is quite delightful, and but for the fact that all the local Authorities have commenced proceedings against me, and that there was a slight riot last night during an ineffectual attempt made by six-and-thirty cart-horses to move me on to the Marine Parade, I have every reason to be satisfied with the result of my experiment. I am living rent free, and, beyond the cost of a family ticket for the Pier, which, though it is disputed by the Committee, I insist gives me a right to have my vans on as well, have, as yet, been put to no expense whatever. There was a report that the Local Fire Brigade had resolved, in the event of my not moving off, to force me to do so by "pumping" me out, but I am loth to believe this. Meantime we are having some excellent fishing with a lawn-tennis net. The traction-engine is to call for me in a month. Strongly recommending my "Plan of Campaign" to a "STIFLED INVALID," I beg to subscribe myself, your obedient servant,
NO LAND LUBBER.
* * * * *
THE NOVEL-READER'S VADE MECUM.
Question. I believe you are a very rapid reader of fiction?
Answer. Certainly. My average rate is three and a half volumes a day. This gives me plenty of time for meals, sleep and skipping.
Q. Do you skip a great deal?
A. A very great deal. For instance, I have skipped about two-thirds of Isa, by the Editor of the North-Eastern Daily Gazette, in spite of it being only in a couple of volumes, and containing for an introduction the following rather lengthy sentence:—"If the devil were in a laughing mood, what could seem more grimly humorous to him than the vision of a fair young spirit striving consciously after ethereal perfection, but overweighted unconsciously by the bonds and fetters of human infirmity and passion, and dragged at last headlong down the abysmal descent to perdition?" "Abysmal" is good—very good.
Q. Well, and what of the book itself?
A. Chiefly horrors. Nightmare after a pork-chop supper I fancy. Nelly Jocelyn (Widow), is a welcome contrast. One of the best things Miss JEAN MIDDLEMASS has done. The character of Paul Cazalet capitally drawn and foreign local colouring admirable.
Q. What do you think of His Own Enemy?
A. Fancy the title somehow must refer to the Author. Clerical sketches full of unconscious humour. Two volumes but very big ones. Quite a relief to get to A False Start,—by HAWLEY SMART, which is most entertaining. But in this case the name of the Author is a safe guarantee for something worth reading.
Q. What do you think of A Modern Circe?
A. I fancy it is not quite so good as Molly Brown, by the same Author.
Q. What do you know of Molly Brown?
A. Nothing—I have not read it.
Q. What have you to say about Scamp?
A. That it is by the Author of The Silent Shadow, which I fancy must be the sequel of another novel called The Garrulous Ghost. In the first chapter the heroine Scamp, (a young lady) is discovered up a tree from which coign of vantage she throws a yellow-paper-covered novel at the gardener's head.
Q. The first chapter then must be vastly entertaining?
A. Vastly. I am absolutely dying to read the chapters that follow it, and will—some day.
Q. What is Brother or Lover about? A. I don't know—do you?
Q. This is trifling! Pray describe Out of Tune.
A. Ought to have been called Out of Paganini—founded upon that distinguished fiddler's life, although (as the Author says) "it is necessarily speculative as to its details."
Q. Have you read In the King's Service?
A. Some of it. Fancy it deals with the Peninsular War.
Q. How about Jill and Jack?
A. Book I imagine written before the title. Rather hard work to get up the hill which ends with the last chapter.
Q. What is Hidden in my Heart?
A. Seemingly the words which finish the third volume, "It is two years now since Hubert died, and to-morrow is my second wedding-day."
Q. Is this the first novel that the Authoress has written?
A. Oh dear no. She has also published Out of Eden, Quite True, and a book which apparently refers to the late-in-life "finishing" of an uneducated ecclesiastic called The Vicar's Governess.
Q. Don't you think that you are rather hard upon the novelists?
A. I hope not. I am sure I owe them a deep, deep debt of gratitude.
Q. How so? A. Without them I should be a victim to insomnia.
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE WHISTLING RELIEF.
(A Song for the Sleepy.)
"Baron H. DE WORMS informed Mr. LAWSON, that the Board of Trade had communicated with some of the Railway Companies as to the nuisance caused to the inhabitants of the Metropolis by the constant use of railway whistles at night, and the Board were assured that every effort would be made to reduce the nuisance."—Parliamentary Report.
AIR—"The Whistlin' Thief."
When one is tired or ill, And fain asleep would be, A whistle loud and shrill Oft brings the "big, big D." "DE WORMS," young LAWSON said, "This whistling is a bore." "All right," says the Baron; "don't you be afraid. They'll whistle at night no more."
"I've lived a long time, Baron," Says Punch, "in the world, my dear, But of a nuisance settled at once, I never yet did hear. Yet if you'll lessen nocturnal shines, And let us sleep or think, Your jolly good health all the commonwealth In a bumper deep will drink."
* * * * *
ECCENTRIC CONDUCT OF A JOURNALIST ON THE SPREE.—The Editor of the Berlin Echo has offered a prize for the best Poem in praise of the Mother-in-Law. This singular demand proves that the gentleman cannot be married.
* * * * *
CHANGE OF NAME.
If thus Penny Papers are freely allowed To fling right and left their absurd imputations, To find a new name for the quill-driving crowd Will surely be one of our first obligations. The Penny-a-Liner for long has been known As a genial gusher, a fine phrase-refiner; But now that he false and malignant has grown, We must call him "The Penny Maligner."
* * * * *
THE FLY AND THE FARMERS.
"The Hessian Fly is causing great alarm amongst the agriculturists. Its extinction is attracting the attention of the Faculty."—Daily Paper.
Now we number the Potato Beetle 'mong the scares gone by; But a cuss has found its way to Fields of corn—the Hessian Fly. Unde derivatur "Hessian"? Named from whence the fly had flown, Under quite a wrong impression, No such thing in Hesse's known.
Cecidomyia destructor, (What long names have little things!) Comes o'er Ocean by conductor; Straw, pestiferous, pupae, brings. They turn, each, into a small gnat, Not a blow-fly, bottle-blue; Cecidomyia, vulgo, gall-gnat, Galls both growths and growers too.
So the Farmers, full of trouble, Help imploring go about, They are told to burn the stubble; No way else to stamp it out. True the Chalcis is reputed, On the Gall-gnat's grub to feed; But, for service to be suited, How that parasite can they breed?
Yet there is a vermin-killer, Like to thin the dipterous pest, To the farmer and the miller, Which instruction may suggest. What may be, the question narrows, If they doubt they can but try, Is, if let alone, the sparrows Might keep down the Hessian Fly.
* * * * *
BLESS HIS 'ART.—If there is anything in a name, the recently suggested appointment of Artin Effendi as Turkish Commissioner at Sofia ought to mean something. Certainly the situation is one demanding the exercise of no little diplomatic art. But the question is, whether the proposed Commissioner has got, as ROBERT would put it, his art in the business. There's the point.
* * * * *
A PRETTY KETTLE OF FISH.—The Riots at Ostend.
* * * * *
THE SIGH OF THE SEASON.
Good-bye dinner, good-bye lunch, Good-bye turtle, good-bye punch, Good-bye jambon soaked in cham., Good-bye venison, cutlets lamb, Good-bye salmon, smelts, and sole, Good-bye HEIDSIECK'S Monopole, Good-bye hock, sauterne, and sherry, Good-bye all that makes me merry, Good-bye liqueurs, petite verre, Good-bye Sauce au Vin Madere, Good-bye all these joys of life, Good-bye fork, and good-bye knife, Good-bye all I take when out, Good-bye then this twinge of gout!
* * * * *
WORTH NOTICE.—There is this slight difference between the conventional Yankee and the average Home Ruler, that whilst the former swears "by Gum," the latter swears by G. O. M.
* * * * *
"THE STORY OF A KISS."—(A "Novel" Reading.)—Kiss and tell! For shame!
* * * * *
INTERIORS AND EXTERIORS. No. 51.
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday August 22.—Peers at last face the inevitable. As records have shown there has been for week or two no work for them to do. Still, they have eased their tender consciences by assembling to see HALSBURY take the Woolsack. (Always a pleasing spectacle. Innate grace of LORD CHANCELLOR comes out in every step and gesture.) To-night there was, as usual, nothing to do; but Noble Lords really could not again make believe that Nation could not get on without them. So stayed away, and for one night House of Lords abolished.
In Commons at hour for commencing public business barely a quorum present. Both Front Bench and Treasury Bench vacant. GEORGE BALFOUR, always ready to throw himself into breach, took possession of seat of Leader of Opposition, and calmly gazed across table. Never should it be said as long as he had seat in House that Liberals were as sheep without a shepherd. Few Members on back benches visibly brightened up at sight of veteran volunteer.
Only a few questions, but unwonted difficulty in getting through them. Some cases the questioner not present. In others Minister addressed not yet arrived. MCARTHUR had question down pretty early in list. SPEAKER called upon him. No response. Went on to next question. Quarter of an hour later, all other questions run through. MCARTHUR coming in put his question to Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs. FERGUSSON, who had also just arrived, supposing that MCARTHUR had put question in due course, apologised to him for not having been in his place; whereat House laughed uproariously. Very grateful in these times for anything that looks like joke.
P. STANHOPE brought under notice of Home Secretary case of enterprising parish constable in North Hunts. P.C., a supporter of Her Majesty's Government, resented Liberal candidate presenting himself before constituency. Determined he should not be heard. Brought down enormous rattle; swung it about throughout candidate's speech. JOSEPH GILLIS pricked up his ears. What a notion this would be for adaptation to Parliamentary usage! Suppose he had rattle and swung it whilst SAUNDERSON or JOHNSTON were speaking? Will consult SPEAKER as to how far this would be in order. HOME SECRETARY declined to be responsible for either parish constable or his rattle.
Business done.—Votes on Supply.
Tuesday.—Lords sat ten minutes to-night. Home to dinner, with sense of deserving well of country.
Commons at work again in Supply. Considered Vote for Science and Art Department, South Kensington. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK contributed one or two speeches of great interest. Thin attendance, and prevalent air of lassitude. But, whilst on legs, C.-B. riveted attention. Very indignant with neglect of Art in common life. Old Members accustomed to Right Hon. Gentleman's little trick, of which he is sole repository. But new Members tremble, and grow pale, as, when denouncing any person or practice, Right Hon. Gentleman mysteriously raises his hair till it stands on end. Once this phenomenon came about when he denounced certain weighing-machines, which, he said, had recently been put up at London railway stations. Tops of this machine, he said, were supported by two columns, one supposed to be Ionic, and the other Doric.
"As matter of fact," said C.-B., his hair slowly uprising, "they're neither one thing nor the other, but simply German!"
As he spoke, fixed fiery eye on HOME SECRETARY. MATTHEWS, so accustomed to be badgered, and feeling his perfect innocence in this respect, shook his head. Phenomenon witnessed again when BENTINCK discovered that picture, bought at CHRISTIE'S for 120 guineas, subsequently sold to National Gallery for 400. Hair rose in angry protest.
Business done.—Thirteen Votes passed.
Thursday.—Dreary wilderness of House of Commons blossomed to-night like a rose-garden. Yesterday, and for days before, empty benches and a fagged remnant wrestling with routine votes. To-night House crowded, and buzz of excitement filled chamber. GLADSTONE going to move hostile Resolution on Government proposal to proclaim Land League. Every Member in town early in his place. Members from afar arrived post haste. Even RANDOLPH, temporarily returns. Old Morality smiles ghastly smile of welcome, but knees tremble as he wonders what RANDOLPH means to do. The O'GORMAN MAHON back again, PARNELL having elected him for Carlow County. The old boy as young as ever, and full of reminiscences of his early Parliamentary career, which goes back immeasurable distance.
"Ah," he said, looking at the Mace, "there it is agin. I remimber well the afternoon—we always sat in the afternoon thin—when CROMWELL came down, and said, 'Take away that bauble, ye spalpeens, or I'll make it worse for ye.' I was younger then, TOBY me bhoy, indade quite a young man."
Old boy's limp is, I fancy, getting better. He has suffered it for some years now. Seems that one day towards the close of last century BURKE flung dagger on floor of House by way of peroration. Weapon rebounded, and struck The MAHON on the instep. If you step into the lavatory with him, he'll show you the scar.
"A mere thrifle, a mere thrifle, acushla! They were lively bhoys when I was in me proime."
GLADSTONE in fine form and excellent voice. Honoured occasion by donning one of his biggest collars and a new necktie. Curious proof of his persuasiveness how he gradually talked his necktie round till knot rested under left ear. BALFOUR squealed forth his disapprobation for upwards of an hour. Rather a pitiful spectacle, the more so by reason of the contrast.
"He should try to avoid immediately following GLADSTONE," said RANDOLPH, looking down contemptuously at his former friend.
Best speeches after first, longo intervallo, were BRADLAUGH'S and ROBERTSON'S, the Scotch Solicitor-General. Conservatives quite forgotten their old animosity to Member for Northampton. As for Parnellites, cheer him madly as they do PARNELL. Certainly BRADLAUGH has acquired House of Commons' manner. Speeches in good style and full of point.
Quite a treat to hear such speech as ROBERTSON'S from Treasury Bench. Mem. for Markiss. Why not double his salary, and let him speak from MATTHEWS'S brief, and, above all, from BALFOUR'S?
Business done.—Debate on Proclamation of National League.
Friday.—Amphibious old Warrior, who has been Admiral afloat, Generalissimo ashore, and is now Member for County Carlow, reappeared to-night, and took oath. It was a moving scene. Old veteran got up in rather young-looking costume, light tweed, with white waistcoat, in cut what young beau of twenty might wear.
"Why, Colonel," said CYRIL FLOWER, a judge of these things, "you look younger than ever in your new suit!"
"New, bedad," says The MAHON, "why I had 'em made to go to the wedding of WILLIAM and MARY. All Mimbers of Parliament invoited; special seats in Abbey; and, what's more, a good luncheon at BELLAMY'S. Haven't worn suit lately; thought it would do for this festive occasion."
The MAHON'S advance to table to take oath a triumphal progress. Members on both sides cheered like mad. The Colonel stopped half way, and, facing friends and countrymen, blew them a kiss from tips of fingers. Turning to Ministerialists, who joined in applause he bowed gracefully. Clerks had greatest difficulty in convoying him to SPEAKER'S Chair. Broke away from escort, and shook hands with Old Morality. No joke when The MAHON shakes hands. Pumps away violently for several moments, as if ship were leaking, and all depended on him. Next got hold of BALFOUR, and avenged long woes of Ireland. At last got at SPEAKER. Thought he'd never let go. Pumped away till the SPEAKER had hardly breath to call "Order! order!" Finally flopped himself down next to GLADSTONE, on Front Bench, and gave him fearful shaking up.
This, liveliest episode in debate. Some pretty good speaking, but everyone sick to death of topic.
A little movement of interest when HARTINGTON rose; but happiest moment when bell rang, and Division actually at hand. Business done.—Proclamation of Land League approved.
* * * * *
A SUMMER SOLILOQUY.
By Jaques Junior.
A bee, or not a bee? That is the question. Whether 'twere better not to mind, and suffer The stings that every summer are our portion, Or take the trouble but to move an arm, And, by opposing, end them. It flies—it creeps, It creeps, perchance it stings! Then comes the rub, When we have shuffled off our clothing. Soft, 'Twas but a bluebottle! How sweet it is To lie like this i' the sun, and think of nought Save how sweet 'tis to lie, and think of nought; And that meseems to many wordy sages Were small refreshment in this windy time. How many are there who do cheat themselves, And with themselves the many, that they are The very vaward leaders of the fray, The lictors of the pomp of intellect. Whereas they are the merest driven spray, The running rabble heralding the march Impelled by what they herald;— Who ever glance behind to see which way—— Oh, my prophetick soul! my Aunt ELIZA!
[He is stung!
* * * * *
IRISH NET PROFIT.
In connection with the establishment, thanks chiefly to the munificence of Lady BURDETT-COUTTS and the Duke of NORFOLK, at Baltimore (Cork) of a New Industrial Fishery School to the end of teaching the fishermen there how to make the most of their hauls, the Times, as one example of the need of that instruction for those toilers of the Sea, very justly observes that "their ignorance of the art of curing fish causes them endless loss." The hap of Kill or Cure may be hazarded by physicians, but the practice of fishermen should be to kill and cure too—kill first and cure afterwards. Sure, no Irishman can fail to see the force of that. An Irish peasant sometimes when his pig is poorly, kills the animal, as he says, to save its life, whereby, of course, he means, to save his bacon. Fishermen should be up to curing all fish that are curable—except—they are not bootmakers—the cure of soles!
* * * * *
—> 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.
* * * * *
Missing and illegible/damaged punctuation has been repaired.
Page 100: 'delighful' corrected to 'delightful'. [Miss LOUISA METTERBRUN said something delightful to him the other day at dinner.]
Page 105: repeated 'if' corrected to 'it'. [...specially if it be rough,]
Page 105: eat [sic] ...where the hyaena got loose and eat thirteen half-crown breakfasts...
...As it was a letter from a reader, 'eat' may have been his manner of speech; therefore, I have left it as such.