OR, THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
APRIL 12, 1890.
A SUGGESTION FROM PUMP-HANDLE COURT.
MY DEAR MR. PUNCH,—As the representative of Justice in this country, I appeal to you. And when I write this, you must not imagine that I claim, in my own person, to represent Justice—no, Sir, I only to some extent suggest the Law—a very different matter. But, Sir, as suggesting the Law, I apply to you for redress on behalf of hundreds, nay, thousands, of members of a very noble and learned profession. Sir, you will have noticed that the Law Courts are congested. Look through the daily list (this you can do when term recommences), and you will find, that although Chancery is doing fairly well, there is scarcely a movement in Common Law. The reason for this is obvious. Nearly all the Common Law Judges are away, and business is simply at a standstill. Now, Sir, I am very reluctant to give their Lordships more trouble than necessary, but I do think, for all our sakes, that increased facility should be afforded for trying cases single-handed. It should be managed in this wise. But here, perhaps, in the cause of intelligibility, you will permit me to describe my method in common (dramatic) form.
SCENE—A Court in the Queen's Bench Division. Judge seated at a table covered with telephones. Bar benches empty, two Litigants (laymen) discovered in the well.
His Lordship. Now, Gentlemen, as you are appearing in person, you can say and do what you please. It does not matter to me in the least, to use a colloquial expression, what you are up to. All I would ask is, that I shall not be disturbed until the time comes for me to deliver my ruling.
Litigants (together). Certainly, my Lord. (They both commence quarrelling.)
His Lordship (with C. C. C. telephone to ear, and mouth to corresponding tube). Quite right. I agree with the verdict of the Jury, and sentence the Prisoner at the Bar to seven years' penal servitude. (With Q. B. D. No. 4 laid on.) After carefully considering all the evidence that has been submitted to the Jury, and giving due weight to the fact that the Defendant's vehicle was admittedly on the wrong side of the road, I have no hesitation in declaring L100 damages a just award. (Dropping tube, and taking up apparatus of Q. B. D. No. 5, sitting as Divisional Court.) I entirely concur in the judgment my learned Brother has just delivered. (Dropping tube, and addressing Litigants before him). Well, and now you two gentlemen—how are you getting on?
Litigants (together). Oh, please, my Lord, we have made it up.
His Lordship. Ah! I see; you have had no lawyers to advise you. Well, now that that matter is settled, the Court must stand adjourned until to-morrow, as I have business requiring my attention in Chambers. (To Usher). See that the telephones are switched on accordingly. [Exeunt omnes.
There, my dear Mr. Punch, could not some such arrangement as that I have shadowed forth above be reached during the present Vacation? The situation is really serious. Entre nous, PORTINGTON (my excellent and admirable clerk) has not made an entry in my fee-book for more than a fortnight—on my word of honour, Sir, more than a fortnight!
(Signed) A. BRIEFLESS, JUNIOR.
Pump-handle Court, Temple, 5th of April, 1890.
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ROUTLEDGE'S Atlas of the World is not a short biography of Mr. EDMUND YATES, but a pocketable (if you've got the opportunity) volume, with sixteen coloured maps. It is pleasant to see that, though the Atlas bears the imprimatur of ROUTLEDGE, the name of AYR is not effaced from the Map of Scotland. True that Ayrshire is coloured green, but Ayr is quite outside this, in fact it has got outside the coast-line, and is represented as being quite out at sea. More in this than meets the eye.
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Tuesday.—The fifty-sixth day of Signor DONTUCCI'S sixty days fast was completed to-day. The Italian who, on the first day, weighed 140 lbs., has lost 100 lbs. up to the present, but he seems as confident and cheerful as ever.
A somewhat disagreeable incident marred the harmony of yesterday's proceedings. A boy, who was looking on, happened to drop half a penny bun in the vicinity of the Signor, who reached towards it, and having managed, after some struggles, which created much amusement amongst the onlookers, to pick it up, was about to convey it to his mouth. He would no doubt have eaten it if the senior member of the Medical Committee, appointed to watch the proceedings, had not interfered. The fragment was removed, and it was pointed out to DONTUCCI that such an act on his part was unfair not only to himself, but to the large number of sportsmen who had made bets on the event.
Wednesday.—The fifty-seventh day of this marvellous feat was signalised by the appearance of four of the Italian's rib-bones, both his collar-bones, and one shin-bone. The Medical Committee treat this as a comparatively unimportant development of the fast, but to the outside public, who swarm to the exhibition, the Signor presents a decidedly dilapidated and ludicrous appearance. He has lost eight pounds more since yesterday. It was somewhat comical to watch him eyeing a stout young nurserymaid, who had brought a plump baby with her. Such cannibalistic desires show that our boasted civilisation is, after all, only skin deep.
Saturday.—An immense crowd had assembled to watch the completion of the great fast. As the hour approached bets were freely hazarded on the result, odds of five to four on the Signor's survival finding a ready market. Much amusement was created by a feeble murmur from DONTUCCI, in which he was understood to declare that he was starving, one well-known patron of sport asking him, jocularly, if the smell of a beefsteak would do him any good. On the first stroke of two o'clock an enthusiastic shout rent the air, and a body of sympathisers insisted on carrying the Italian shoulder-high through the building and the adjacent streets in procession. We regret to say that, under their well-intentioned, but not very gentle handling, DONTUCCI suffered severely. Should he succumb to this comparatively rough treatment it will be a matter of regret, as his contribution to scientific knowledge is considerable. From his condition at the end of the fast, it may be now accepted as a fact, that a man who never eats must ultimately die of starvation.
We understand that the proceeds of this wonderful exhibition of pluck and endurance are sufficient to make a handsome dividend for the shareholders an absolute certainty.
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ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
CAVALRY EXPEDIENTS.—The startling announcement that appeared a few days since in the papers, to the effect, that from the Official Returns at the War Office it seems that for 18,000 men there are only 11,000 horses available, certainly justifies you in your suggestion that the Cavalry Regiments in Her Majesty's Service should at once be supplied with Four-Wheeled Cabs. In this way, a seat could be provided for every cavalry soldier in the Army; and as there would, instead of a deficiency (for four Dragoons, Lancers or Hussars, could ride in one cab), positively be a surplus of cattle, an extra horse could be strapped on to the top of each vehicle. This animal, in the case of the one in the shafts being disabled in action, could be hauled down and put in its place. The Cabs might be iron-plated and so offer the advantages of increased protection to the gallant soldiers inside. A charge of "four-wheelers" would, as you suggest, be certainly a striking if not imposing sight, and as they drew up on the field of battle, and discharged each their freight of four, they would certainly surprise a foreign foe. Anyhow this seems the only method, with the present limited supply of horses, of bringing the English Cavalry Soldier, mounted, into action.
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All at sea in an (Easter) egg, Like a Witch of the good old days! What is it moves you, my Puck, I beg? Say, is it purpose, or simple craze? There is nous and pluck In our modern Puck, And many admire him, and some wish him luck; But the Men of Gotham reached no good goal By going to sea in an open bowl. The business of brewing storms may do For a Witch, my GRANDOLPH, but scarce for you, And the Petrel-part, played early and late, Must spoil a man for a Pilot of State. The knowing Nautilus sets her sails In a way to weather the roughest gales; But an egg for bark, with an imp for crew, To navigate Politics' boundless blue, Looks crank and queer; Drifting comes dear— It may pay for a day, but scarce for a year. A Puck-like sprite it may please to see "All things befall preposterously." But pure perversity soon out-pegs, GRANDOLPH, "as sure as eggs is eggs!"
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ALL THROUGH LONDON FOR A SHILLING.—The Fine Art Society in Bond Street, has a marvellous exhibition in the London-pictures by HERBERT MARSHALL—he ought to be called for ever afterwards the City Marshall—so well does he understand all moods of our great city, so admirably can he translate every phase of its atmosphere, and each subtlety of its colour. Just a hundred pictures this clever artist shows, and everyone is a portrait of an old friend. This Gallery is the very place to take country cousins to. Just turn them loose here for a couple of hours, and they will get a better idea of what London is really like, than if they stopped in the Metropolis for a month.
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(Not without a Precedent.)
Yesterday Her Majesty's First Class Battle-ship Blunderer, her extensive repairs having been nearly completed, received her full complement of men and stores, and proceeded up Channel, to try her two strengthened but bent old muzzle-loading 79-ton guns, ringed and bound on a new principle. Some apprehension was expressed that the discharge might, owing to her high free-board, possibly do some serious damage to her hull—a fear which happened to be only too well founded; for though fired at an elevation of 97, the first shot carried away the davits, forecastle, bridge, life-boats, gunwale companion and larboard marling-spike, the water pouring in, literally in volumes, through the shrouds, and rapidly extinguishing the fires. Further progress being difficult under the circumstances, the Captain, acting under the advice of the Civil Experimental Director of the Admiralty, thought it unwise to continue the test without a farther thorough overhauling of the ship, and she was in the course of the afternoon towed back once again to the repairing-yard. No astonishment was expressed at the result of the experiment. It is satisfactory to know that it is estimated roughly that the cost of the damage effected by the one tentative shot will not exceed L14,900.
The Sluggard, Coast Defence Seventh Class Armoured Cruiser, having had the boilers from the old Phlegethon fitted to her new triple revolving expansion engines, made her experimental trip over the measured mile yesterday afternoon, under forced draught. Somehow, the speed realised under the circumstances, appeared to disappoint the experts who had come to take note of the proceedings, for though the captain gave the order "to pipe all hands to sit on the safety valve," and himself by putting his own cabin furniture into the furnaces, managed to set both the smoke-stacks on fire, only 5.08 knots could be got out of the ship. This, under the existing conditions, was considered "bad going," and it is probable that if the Sluggard has to be attached, as it is stated she is to be, in time of war, to a flying squadron in the Pacific, she will have to be supplied with another set of boilers, a more powerful engine, and possibly a new hull. The authorities at the Dockyard, it is stated, are taking the matter under consideration, with a view to the application of one or more of these remedial alternatives.
Her Majesty's First Class Battle-ship, Hamilton, has received the second of the four 75-ton guns that are to complete her armament. It is confidently hoped that if the same satisfactory rate of production can be maintained, she will be nearly ready for active service at the end of the year after next.
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THE FIRST SWALLOW!—Look out for it! It will be a rare sight! Quite enough to "make" a summer at the Aquarium, when SUCCI takes his first mouthful at a square meal.
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A (PITCHED) OUTING.
Monday.—Start off in the coach we've hired, for a week's jolly Easter coaching trip in Southern counties. Just read "leader" in D. T. on subject, and letter from "MACLISE" saying that he did it with twelve friends, and total cost only one pound a head per day! Lucky to have secured such a good amateur whip as BOB to drive our four-in-hand. Don't mind a pound a day—for one week. Original, and rather swell way of taking a holiday. Lovely warm day when we start. Should say, when we're off, only word "off" suggests unpleasant possibilities.
Tuesday.—Only did ten miles yesterday. Ought to have covered twenty-five. Provoking! BOB didn't seem accustomed to the reins. Said they were "a rum lot, and he'd never seen any like them before." Got them entangled in legs of off hind horse (think this is what he's called), and it took an hour, and the help of five wayfarers (down near Putney), to disentangle them. Each of the five demanded (and got—to save a row), half-a-crown for the job. BOB rather sulky. We had to put up for the night at a country inn, somewhere beyond Raynes Park. Gentlemen of party slept on kitchen floor, among suburban black-beetles. Pic-nicky, but would have preferred beds.
To-day start very early, without breakfast, as resources of the country inn exhausted. Do thirty miles without accident. Rather nervous work, because one of "leaders" (unlike "leader" in newspaper) shies at everything it meets. BOB half flicked the eye out of a man in passing through Guildford—awful row! Row only ended by a five-pound note as compensation. BOB says we shall all have to subscribe. Expenses mounting up.
Wednesday.—Frightfully cold East wind. Is this enjoyment? Wish I were in a snug railway carriage. Ladies of party retire into inside of coach. Very selfish!
Thursday.—Bad cold from yesterday. And to-day it's snowing! Thank Heaven—only a week of it! BOB wants me to drive! Says he feels he's in for influenza. Real fact is that we've got into nasty hilly country, and BOB'S rather afraid of horses bolting. Find now that he's never driven anything but a donkey in a low pony-carriage before! Isn't he driving donkeys now? Time will show.
Friday.—Much too cold and wet to go on. Hurrah! Nice country hotel, but charges awful. Proprietor doesn't often have a coaching party billeted on him, and is determined to make most of it. Evidently believes we're millionaires. Stupid of BOB to do this sort of thing.
Saturday.—Off—I mean, on—again! Cost so far, has already risen to two guineas a day per head, and as four of party have deserted us and gone back (by train) to Town, expenses for return journey likely to be still heavier.
BOB at breakfast, gives us the "straight tip"—says he's going to "tool us back to Town in one day—only forty miles." Delighted at prospect. To carry out his programme, BOB has to get extra speed out of horses. Result—he gives us all the "straight tip"—down near Horsham—into a neighbouring field!
A wheel off! Horse disabled! Telegraph to owner to come and fetch his coach; we go back (dejectedly) by rail. Bruised all over. Expenses enormous. Give me a jolly week in Paris next Easter!
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An "Indignant One" writes:—"Sir—our house is infested with mice. Seeing a gentleman's name in the Times with the words 'Mus. Doc.' after it, I sent to him. If I had wanted to have a horse cured, and had seen 'equus doc.' after somebody's name, I should have acted in the same manner. I have sent three times and obtained no answer. If I do not hear from him by to-night's post, informing me why he does not come and give me a prescription for curing this plague of mice, I shall publish his name and address as an impostor, and the sooner he drops the 'Mus. Doc.' the better." [We publish the grievance. Our Correspondent is too learned. Let him call at the Royal Academy of Music.—ED.]
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THE TRIVIAL ROUND.
Being the Utterances of Mrs. Jabberly Jones on Show Sunday.
[Not Intended for Publication.]
Well, there, my dear child, it's no use making a fuss about it—one must do it, and there's an end of it! People in our position ought to be ready to make some sacrifice for Art. I ordered luncheon half-an-hour earlier on purpose. Last year I only did thirty studios, and I want to do much more than that this afternoon, if I can. Of course, I know I shall be a perfect wreck to-morrow, but one expects that. I do wish Artists wouldn't live in such out-of-the-way places. I'm sure CHANDLER is out of temper already—I can tell by the way he is driving. Yes, this will do nicely, CHANDLER; we will walk the rest. Quite a string of carriages, you see. It would never have done to have left Mr. MELBURY out! No, he didn't exactly send me a card, but I've met him somewhere, and that does quite as well. Oh, my dear, it will be all right; keep close to me, and you needn't even open your lips. Very tastefully decorated, isn't it? Eccentric, of course, but they're all like that. Such a mass of azaleas. I daresay they're only hired for the Sunday, you know, but a very charming effect. Straight on to the studio? Thank you, I know the way perfectly. How are you, dear Mr. MELBURY? I couldn't dream of leaving you out, you know. My daughter. Thanks; but I can see beautifully where I am. Oh, of course I recollect the subject. How clever of you to choose it, and how originally you've treated it, too! Not for the Academy? Why, surely they'd never reject that! Oh, because of the glass? I see. Well, I think all pictures ought to be glazed, myself—such an improvement. Good-bye, such a pleasure to have seen it; so many thanks. EUGENIA, dear, you must really tear yourself away. So many places to go to; good-bye, good-bye!... Well, to tell you the truth, my dear, the glass got in the way, and I've no more idea what the picture was about than you have. Still, I'm very glad we went in, all the same. Now where shall we go next? Most of the people seem going into that studio across the road, so there's sure to be something worth seeing there. No, I don't know whose it is, but what does that matter? they're always glad to see you on Show Sunday....
EUGENIA, my dear, I don't like to see you putting yourself forward so much at your age. Of course I knew as well as you did that it wasn't JAMES THE FIRST that MONMOUTH rebelled against, though I'm not in the school-room. It's not at all pretty of you to correct your mother in that ostentatious manner, and don't let it occur again. There, you needn't say another word. We'll just pop in here for a minute, and then we must drive on somewhere else. I wish I could see you taking more interest in Art, EUGENIA. I thought you would enjoy being taken out like this!... Well, yes, I think we will have just a cup.... Good-bye—thank you so much—quite the pictures of the year. Such a treat—oh, not at all—I never flatter.... By the way, EUGENIA, did we go up and see his pictures? I thought not. I was dying for a cup of tea, and so,—and then, meeting Mr. HOLLAND PARK in the hall like that, I naturally congratulated him. Oh, nonsense—we can't go back now—we shall see them some time, I daresay. I wish I could get CULLENDER to send me up some of that pretty pinky-coloured cake for my afternoons—it was really quite nice. If I had only thought of it, I would have asked Mr. PARK how it was made. And what becoming caps those maids had on! Models, no doubt. Drive as fast as you can, CHANDLER, it's getting so late. Quite the other side of London—the poor horses, and on Sunday, too!—but it's a little education for you, my dear ...
Look at the carriages—such grand ones, too, most of them; but I've always heard he's a man of extraordinary talent ... Mrs. and Miss JABBERLY JONES.... How do you do?...
Quite a distinguished gathering, wasn't it, EUGENIA? So pleasant coming across dear Lady HIGHSNIFF like that. Your father and I met her in the Riviera, you know. She knew me directly I introduced myself. That's one thing about Art, it does bring you into the very best society. No, I can't say I cared much about his pictures this year—portraits are so very uninteresting, you know—they tell you nothing, unless you happen to know the people, and then you never recognise them. I thought all his were dreadful. Oh, I know I said I should expect to see them all hung on the line—but what of that? One can't be perfectly candid in the world, my dear, much as one would wish to be. What is that you're saying? "On the Hanging Committee this year?" How can you possibly know? "You heard him say so?" Then you ought to have stopped me, instead of standing there like a shy school-girl. Not that he would think I meant anything by a remark like that—why should he? I'm sure I tried to say everything that was pleasant!
I hope I am the last person to practise insincerity, my dear,—it's a thing I have the greatest horror of. Only one doesn't like to hurt people's feelings, don't you see? One can only just hint that a picture isn't quite—especially when one doesn't pretend to know much about it. Not that I am incapable of speaking out when I feel it my duty. If one sees where a little improvement would make all the difference, one ought to mention it. And Artists are so grateful for suggestions of that kind—they like to know how it strikes a perfectly fresh eye. I remember telling the President last year that one of his figures was just a leetle bit out of drawing, and that the folds of his drapery didn't hang right, and he bowed most beautifully and thanked me—but when I came to see the picture exhibited, I found he hadn't altered it a bit! So it really is hardly worth while speaking plainly—painters are so very opinionated.
What a long way it is to Mr. FITZJOHN'S to be sure, and the afternoon turning quite chilly—don't take all the rug, my dear, please!
Oh, don't apologise, Mr. FITZJOHN—quite light enough for me, I assure you. Thank you, I will sit down, we've been seeing pictures—good, bad, and indifferent—all the afternoon, so fatiguing, you know, so many ideas to grasp. I don't mean that that's the case with your pictures ... Yes, very nice, charming. Let me see, didn't you exhibit the large one last year? No? Ah! then it's my mistake, I seem to have seen it so often before—a favourite subject with Artists, I suppose. So difficult to hit on anything really original nowadays. But I daresay you despise all that sort of thing. Well, good-bye, I mustn't keep my coachman waiting any longer.
Perhaps, I was a little annoyed, my dear, never offering us a cup of tea or anything, after coming all that way, but I don't think I showed it, did I? Yes, I am rather tired, and I really think that if it wasn't that I can't bear disappointing people, I should turn back now. But we must just drop in on that poor little Mr. HAVERSTOCK, now we are so near. The poor man was so anxious that I should see his pictures—we needn't stay long.
There, Mr. HAVERSTOCK, you see I haven't forgotten! though we're rather late, and we shall have to drive back directly to dress—we're dining out this evening, you know. What a nice studio! small, of course, but then you don't want a large room, do you? What a quantity of pictures! How you must have worked! If you send in so many, one of them's sure to get in, isn't it? Still, I should have thought that if you had painted only one or two, and taken great pains with them, it might—oh, most of them are your friend's? and only these two yours? Well, no doubt you are quite right not to be too ambitious. Why, this is quite charming—really quite charming, isn't it, EUGENIA? Oh, I quite understand it isn't yours, Mr. HAVERSTOCK. I suppose your friend has been painting much longer than you have? No? really! Younger, is he? but some people have a natural turn for it, haven't they? Have you had many visitors this afternoon? Ah, well, they will come some day, I daresay. Now I'm going to be very rude, and make a suggestion. Perhaps if you burnt one or two pastilles, or those Japanese joss-sticks, you know,—they're quite cheap—you'd get rid of some of the smell of the paint and the cigarettes—or is it pipes? Oh, I don't mind it, you know, but some do....
Poor dear fellow, I'm afraid he'll never get on. And what a pig-stye to paint in! Well, I'm glad I've done my duty, EUGENIA. Mind you remember all the places we've been to. Home, please, CHANDLER.
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I ain't bin quite so owerwhelmed with my warious Comisshuns from my lucky winners on the Boat Race as I hexpected to be, but the werry smallest on 'em is allus welcome.
I rayther think as "S. B." who enclosed me a Post Order for 1s. 6d., must have bin mistaken as to the price of my Book, which it is 2s. 6d., so with that and the thrippence for Postage, I didn't git much out of "S. B.," but I thanks him for his kind intentions.
The Gent who wrote from Tattersall's, and sined hisself "THE RIVER PLUNGER," and enclosed me two bad harf-crowns, I must leave to his hone cowardly conshence, and the arrowing reflexun that he werry nearly got me into trubbel when I tried to pass one on 'em at our nayburing Pub. Luckily, my rayther frequent wisits to that most useful mannerfactory has made me werry well known there, so I was aloud to correct my littel mistake.
The last letter which I has jest receeved is as follers:—
"GOOD OLD BOB! "COLNEY HATCH, April 1st.
"I won 2 tenners on the Boat Race, thanks to your straight tip, one on Cambridge, and one on Oxford, so I enclose you your Commission of 20s.
Yours truly, UNCLE DICK."
Wood it be beleeved, the check was drawn upon Thames Bank! But there, I must dress for my purfeshnal dooties. ROBERT.
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MR. PUNCH'S DICTIONARY OF PHRASES.
"Elegant Queen Anne Cottage;" i.e., Delightful—if you could only live entirely in the porch.
"A Bijou Residence;" i.e., Last occupant was a lady, with tastes as dubious as her character.
"A First-class Family Mansion;" i.e., Two large reception-rooms, and the rest kennels.
"An Eligible Surburban Residence;" i.e., A stucco box, with two bay-windows, a slate roof, and a romantic or aristocratic name—"Killiecrankie," "Glaramara," or "Penshurst," for choice.
"Let me congratulate you on that last Article of yours in the 'Flail.' Awfully smart, and will make some of them 'sit up' a bit!" i.e., Most malicious thing I ever read, and will make him hosts of enemies.
"I can't play without my Notes—if I'd only known;" i.e., She should have asked me to dinner, not merely to come in in the evening. Bah!
"Thanks very much; I'll look at my list, and see what night I've got free;" i.e., Catch me accepting. Awfully slow party.
"I was told that the people of Furseborough were devoted to the good cause, but I never expected such enthusiasm as they have displayed to-night;" i.e., Why the deuce don't they cheer all together, instead of clapping here and clapping there? Must try to stir them up.
"Now you are an audience of intelligent men;" i.e., I wish that bald-headed old fool, with a wart on his nose, would sit in a back row where I couldn't see him.
"You have all heard the details of what took place in a certain district, not so very long ago;" i.e., I wish devoutly I could remember the details, the name of the district, and the date. However, they don't know, so it's all right.
"By that remark I am suddenly reminded of an incident, &c.;" i.e., Here's an opportunity for bringing in that carefully prepared story!
"A moral victory;" i.e., Any electoral defeat which "sheer fudge" can extenuate, or party sophistry explain away.
"Regret that it's not suitable to this Magazine;" i.e., Rot.
"Mr. So-and-So's MS. is under consideration;" i.e., Beneath it.
AFTER A SONG.
"Who's that by?" i.e., Not that I care. But I'm nearest.
IN A STUDIO.
"Ah! THAT'S a picture!" i.e., And a thoroughly bad picture too.
"It will be within your Ludship's recollection;" i.e., Your Ludship has been asleep and forgotten all about it.
"As your Ludship pleases;" i.e., Stupid old Foozle!
"Must do it for the sake of the Regiment;" i.e., An excuse for any folly or extravagance, from keeping a pack of hounds to entertaining Royalty.
"All our Privates (off parade) wear gloves and carry canes;" i.e., Colonel of Militia regiment, safe in the knowledge that the Battalion he commands is three hundred miles away, thinks it wise to indulge in a little fancy portraiture.
"It is reported, on reliable authority, that at the Cabinet Council which took place yesterday afternoon, &c.;" i.e., The "authority" in question being the cook's assistant's boy, who had taken in the Under-Secretary's lunch, and had half-a-minute's confidential conversation with the office messenger on the back staircase.
"On the fall of the Curtain, there seemed to be some division of opinion among the audience;" i.e., A boy in the gallery hissed.
"The Prisoner, who did not appear to appreciate the very serious, &c.;" i.e., Formula to be used in all cases of crime of more than ordinary brutality.
"Much curiosity prevails in literary circles respecting the authorship of that very remarkable Novel, 'Flat as a Pancake.'" (Advt.)
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A Daughter's Sacrifice. By Messrs. F. C. PHILIPS, and PERCY FENDALL. For the sake of appearances, one of these authors might have sacrificed the first letter of his name, so that they could have been brought out, at a premium of course, as PHILIPS and PHENDALL, or FILIPS and FENDALL. However, this is nothing against the novel, which is a goodish sort of bad one, or a baddish sort of good one. Virginibus puerisque? No, the Baron thinks not; likewise the Baroness, who enjoyed it immensely and read it at a single sitting, entertains the same opinion. There is more genuine humour in some of the sketches of scenes and character, not absolutely essential to the plot, in this book, than in any of Mr. PHILIPS'S previous works,—as far, that is, as I can remember. The fault of the story is the sanctification, as it were, of suicide. What is the rule with Mr. PHILIPS'S heroines, as far as I am acquainted with them? "When in doubt, take poison." With this reservation, the novel is thoroughly interesting, well written, too spun out, but there is plenty of exercise in it for our friend "The Skipper," who will, however, lose much of the humour of the book by the process. It is published by WHITE & CO.
In the New Review, Sir MORELL MACKENZIE warns smoking vocalists. This is timely in this smoking-concert time. The Merry ANDREW-RIDER-LANG-HAGGARD story starts well: may it so finish, and win by two heads. Read "MARY DAVIES at Home" in The Woman's World: interesting. E. A. ABBEY'S illustrations to ANDREW LANG'S—encore LANG!—comments on The Merchant of Venice are in his Abbeyest manner.
My faithful "Co." is employing his Easter holidays in reading "shockers." He has already been dreadfully upset by A SOCIETY SCANDAL, which, he declares, reminds him of "OUIDA" toned down with milk and water. It is by "RITA," who, as author of Mystery of a Turkish Bath, Sheba, &c., &c., &c. (see cover), can no longer be called a new writer. Fair Phyllis of Lavender Wharf, by Mr. JAMES GREENWOOD (the "Amateur Casual"), forms vol. 39 of "The Bristol Library." It is scarcely up to the standard of Called Back, and others of Mr. ARROWSMITH'S popular shilling publications, but is not uninteresting. Mr. JAMES SKIPP BORLASE, in The Police Minister, tells "A Tale of St. Petersburg." As an Irishman might say, no one could "Bore lase," so there is really no necessity to Skipp him. It would scarcely be fair to tell the plot of this thrilling narrative, but it may be hinted that The Police Minister is not a chaplain attached to the Court at Bow Street. The illustrated cover to The Mynn's Mystery, by Mr. G. MANVILLE FENN, shows a gentleman in the act of thrusting a knife into the shaggy body of Bruin, from which it may be gathered that the point of the story is a little hard to bear. But perhaps the best title that has appeared for many years is Stung by a Saint, which should be the sequel to a book called Kissed by a Sinner. My faithful "Co." has not yet had time to read this last contribution to the shilling novelties, but expects to find that the hero or heroine must be either a right-minded wasp, or a more than usually conscientious mosquito.
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS & CO.
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The Penalties of Greatness.
Be great, my son, and in the public eye All your life long you'll have to walk in fetters. Gossip your daily scourge; and when you die They'll make a market of your private letters, And try to mix you in some mess of scandal; 'Tis question if the game is worth the candle!
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LEARNING BY ART.—The Painters in Water-Colours have done good service to their Royal Institute by the exhibition of their works this season. On the whole, or rather walls, a very worthy show. "Royal Windsor," by Mr. KEELEY HALSWELLE, although suggestive of mist, is not likely to be overlooked. Then Miss ROSE BARTON'S "South Kensington Station" seems to give great satisfaction to those who can identify the coloured bottles in the shop-window of a local chemist. Miss KATE GREENAWAY is well to the front with "The Portrait of a Little Boy" and "An Angel visiting the Green Earth" both of which are described by members of the "so-called" fair sex "sweetly pretty." Mr. E. H. CORBOULD'S companion paintings of "At Home" and "Not at Home," are suggestive of incidents in the life of a Military Doctor, seemingly partial to wearing his uniform habitually in a house that has been presumably decorated under the direction of a heraldic stationer. The Military Doctor in the second picture is winking. Altogether the subject is unconventional.
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AFTER THE REVIEW.
Col. Punch loquitur:—
The usual Compliments! Of course, of course! If we could only thrive on casual flattery! But praise won't raise a troop of foot or horse, Equip a squadron, Sir, or mount a battery. Soft words won't butter parsnips—that's plain speech. Circumlocution is so hard to teach!
Of course the boys behaved themselves right well, "As usual," so you say with great propriety. We've heard from many a military swell And bland civilian, even to satiety, Similar words; but if you think that praises Will satisfy us, you must think us "daisies."
Vulgar vernacular you'll please excuse, Camp-language is not that of a Committee. If folks conceive we muster to amuse Cheap-trippers, or ourselves, it is a pity. 'Tis not for Easter sport we toil—and pay, "Stone-broke to make a British holiday."
Pay! Yes, we're out of pocket, some of us, More than we can, or than we will, afford. Patriot spirit does not want to fuss, But carpet-knight and ornamental Lord Who for their "work" are well remunerated, Don't know our case; 'tis time that it were stated.
When good men are retiring, driven out From service by extravagant expenses, The virtues of the System you must doubt, Or any Englishman who's in his senses. If we are worth our salt, as you assure us, Surely from pocket-loss you might secure us!
Verb, sap., Ask HAMLEY; he is "in the know," And he has tried—with some success—to teach you. I know the usual fine official flow; 'Tis time the voice of rough sound sense should reach you. A long, harsh dieting of stint and snubbing For patriot youth is not nutritious "grubbing."
Reviewing the Review, you say nice things; Well, if we've done our duty, do yours also. Alternate verbal pats and scornful flings, Are scarce good policy, or what I call so. To do our duty is, of course, our pleasure, But to be fined for doing it's hard measure.
To get ourselves equipped seems hard enough, But lots of us are always out of pocket By giving unpaid service! That's sheer stuff! If this shocks Government, I wish to shock it, Because improvement hinges truth's success on; And this, I think, is a sound Easter Lesson.
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AN UNCHRISTIAN CAVEAT.
[AGNES LAMBERT was charged at Marylebone Police Court with stealing a purse at a Confirmation service at Christ Church, Regent's Park. Mr. E. BEARD, barrister, submitted that there was not sufficient evidence for the case to go to a jury, Mr. BEARD remarking, that the place was a church. Mr. MARSHAM retorted, "Yes; and what right had a woman like her to be there?"]
What right? A largish question, learned Sir, Larger, perchance, than struck your legal mind. Smitten with sudden anger against her Whose face in such a scene 'twas strange to find; Close the Church-doors to creatures of her kind? Stay, Rhadamanthus! Pharisaic taste Is no safe guide to Charity's true rule. Beware, lest like King DAVID, in his haste, You trust the zeal experience should school To thought more kindly and to care more cool. What right? Suppose her sinner, even then The sacred precinct hath far wider scope Than any dwelling set apart of men. This temple is the LORD'S, from base to cope. Here faltering Faith and half-extinguished Hope Find entrance unrebuked of Charity. What right? E'en so SIMON the Pharisee Might have demanded of the MAGDALEN, And with a fairer reason. But restrain The weariest waif from entrance to the fane Where pure young girls come for a special grace, Whither the smug-faced citizen may pace, The modish lady trail her silken skirt? Nay, Sir, it is too arbitrary-rash, This caveat, and with Charity must clash, Here sinful souls and spirits sorely hurt Find their last refuge and sole hope. Wherefore Against no soul that suffers close that door! Let MAGDALEN look on, if so she please, At these pure maidens. Can it injure these? Whilst the scene's influence on her spirit dark Not Rhadamanthus in his seat may mark.
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ANOTHER "COUNT OUT."—HERBERT BISMARCK.
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(By Mr. Punch's Own Type-Writer.)
No. VIII.—THE INVALID LADY.
The Invalid Lady is, as often as not, the only daughter of parents whose social position is higher than the figure of their yearly income. Nevertheless, they contrive, by means of gallant struggles, to keep on the high level of the sacred appearances. They are seen wherever smart people ought to be seen, they do everything that smart people ought to do; their Victoria is well appointed, their little house in Mayfair is prettily furnished, and both they and their servants are always well dressed. Upon the birth of the frail and solitary pledge of affection, with which fate, after passing them by for many years, at length afflicted them, their situation became almost desperate; but, by a judicious curtailment here, and a discreet omission there, they managed once more to strike a balance slightly in their own favour. Having passed their child safely through the nursery into the school-room, they combined with other parents to secure the services of governesses and teachers, under whose instruction the square pegs of knowledge might be fitted to the round holes of girlish brains. The future Invalid resented this process by frequent head-aches, which were allowed to withdraw her from her studies to the comfortable ignorance of the drawing-room sofa. Eventually, however, she was considered to be finished, and, having been carefully packed and labelled by her mother, was delivered, after a journey through two seasons, to a rich and rising Member of Parliament, who paid the carriage, and married the parcel.
And now the comforts of life, and its laziness, begin for her. For whereas her parents were forced to pinch themselves in many places, in order to assume the flush of wealth, and were unable to relax for a moment the busy society vigilance in which their daughter had to bear her part, there is, in the paradise of her new existence, a moneyed repose, which permits her, on the pretence of weariness, to cease from troubling herself about anything. This does not, however, prevent her from becoming a cause of infinite trouble to others. Her maid is worn to a shadow by the perpetual search for handkerchiefs and eau de Cologne, with which to bathe the aching forehead of her mistress. Her friends are distracted by the recital of her tales of shattered nerves, and merciless migraines; her husband finds his existence embittered by a constant change of butlers, and a perpetual succession of cooks, over whom his feeble wife exercises about as much control as the President of the French Republic over his short-lived Ministries. But, as yet, she has not attained to the full and perfect glory of the Invalid's life.
During the next five years she is still to be seen occasionally at evening parties and afternoon teas in the houses of her friends. She also becomes the mother of two children, a boy and a girl. After her second confinement she is prostrated by a slight illness, and during her convalescence she makes up her mind that life is made tolerable only by illness and the delicate attentions that accompany it. She is confirmed in this opinion by the discovery that her figure is no longer adapted to the prevailing fashion of everyday dress, and that her complexion looks better in her own room and beneath her own arrangement of curtains than in the vulgar glare of unmitigated daylight. She therefore enters with a light heart and a practically unimpaired constitution, upon a prolonged period of tea-gowns, chaises longues, and half-lights, and is recognised everywhere as an Invalid.
Henceforward she takes no concern in the pleasant labours or the social amenities of life. The busy hum of the great world beats outside her chamber, men and women are born, and marry and die, society may be convulsed with scandals, kingdoms may totter to their fall in a crash of wars and tumults, but the Invalid lies through the tedious days propped on pillows, and recks only of her own comfort. Her husband is raised to high office in the Government of the day, her boy plays cricket at Lord's or rows in his University Eight, her daughter grows in years and beauty, but she herself reposes, strong in the blessed luxury of feeble health, and in the impenetrable selfishness with which she exacts a minute and unswerving devotion from those who surround her.
But her life is not altogether or even chiefly passed in England. Every year with the approach of autumn she flits to the Riviera. Three slaves, her husband, her daughter, and her maid, follow humbly the triumphal procession of her invalid carriage, and thus she arrives at the charming villa where for the next few months she will hold her court. For the confirmed invalid is a more highly exalted being in Nice than in London. Whereas beneath our own dull skies there is still some merit in being robust and healthy, in the South of France, precedence both in rank and social influence, often varies directly according to the nature and length of an illness. The Invalid Lady, therefore, is in an unassailable position, and may permit to herself slight indulgences, which in London, might wreck her career as an invalid. She establishes an afternoon for tea and ices and gossip, she attaches to herself a foreign prince, she even organises pic-nics, and enters upon a mild flirtation with a middle-aged Baronet, she reads French novels of the newest school and discusses their tendency with a long-haired lyricist who has lately published a volume of poems entitled, Love and Languor.
Once every winter the Invalid Lady gets up a bazaar for the benefit of the Petites Soeurs des Pauvres. Her husband lends his garden, her daughter writes all the letters, makes all the purchases, and, with her young friends, completes all the arrangements, whilst the Invalid Lady herself looks on in occasional disapproval of the work that others are doing. When the great day arrives, and all the company of intending purchasers is gathered together in the garden, the Invalid is drawn gently into their midst in a long, wheeled chair. She is robed in a tea-gown of exquisite taste and design, the prevailing colour of which may be the new "Eau de Carmes," mixed with ivory-coloured chiffons. As it is thoroughly understood that she cannot walk, her feet, which peep from under her laces, are arrayed in delicately open and striped silk stockings, and in tiny shoes, which are decorated each with a single diamond sparkling in the centre of a black bow. Thus apparelled, she is wheeled slowly about, to receive the congratulations of her intimates on her charitable spirit, and on the organising power which would do a strong man credit.
In course of time her daughter marries, and leaves her. She then establishes by her side a poor but devoted friend, with whom she eventually quarrels for not speaking with sufficient respect of one of the five mortal ailments with which she believes herself to be afflicted. Death, whom she apparently courts with a weary longing, will have none of her. The hale and hearty drop off, but the invalid, querulous, weak, and hysterical, survives into a remote future, and having become a great grandmother, fades out of existence in the possession of all her faculties.
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NOVEL ADVICE FROM LINCOLNSHIRE.
"Real people with splendid mothers would seldom become novelists, because their mother's lore would prepare them for a safer career, or they themselves, I think, would seldom have that intense observant nature which a novelist must have. I suppose most of our greatest writers, who have not created good mothers, have been left much to themselves when they were young, either because their mothers had no sympathy with them, or because they were motherless."—"A LINCOLNSHIRE GIRL," in the Daily News.
There's a girl away in Lincolnshire, where green is mostly worn, Who knows all about a novelist, and all about his trade. And, oh, ye English Novelists, repay her not with scorn, When she says that by his mother every novelist is made. If you fail she knows the reason, she can tell it at a glance— You have had a splendid mother, so you never had a chance.
If your nature is observant, if your nature is intense, If you track elusive motives through the mazes of the mind; If you fly o'er plot and passion as a hunter flies a fence, And leave panting mediocrity a hundred miles behind; Why then you may be certain, though the thought may give you pain, That your mother wasn't splendid, or your toil would be in vain.
An unsympathetic mother who neglects her baby boy, Oh, she knows not what advantages she showers on his head. Let her frown upon her infant and deprive him of his toy, That's the training for a novelist who wishes to be read. He had better have a sea-cook for his mother, or a gun, Than one who, being splendid, blasts the future of her son.
So, ye publishers of novels, if your mills are short of grist, Find a child whose mother loathes him, and adopt him as your own, Give him pens and ink and paper, saying, "Write, Sir Novelist, You are quite the biggest certainty that ever yet was known. You may not write good grammar, or be careful how you spell, But your mother wasn't splendid, so your books are sure to sell!"
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Some amiable Statistician has recently been computing the amount of pills taken in England annually. He has omitted "Club-Pilling." The severe committee men are, pace IBSEN, the real Pillars of Society.
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
Extracted from the Diary of Toby. M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, March 31.—PLUNKET had his annual innings, defending Royal Palaces from attack of mob led by SAGE OF QUEEN ANNE'S GATE. Vote under discussion on account of Royal Palaces. SAGE been looking into matter; has come to conclusion that Kensington Palace might be turned into popular restaurant. At one time knew something about management and arrangement of Aquarium. Why not have sort of West-End Aquarium at Kensington Palace? Grounds admirably suited for merry-go-rounds and other popular devices for whiling a happy hour away. Then Kew Palace. Who lived there? GEORGE THE THIRD was, he believed, the last tenant, and during his term of occupancy His Majesty was unfortunately cracked. There were other palaces and annexes, each lent to some lady or gentleman. As they lived rent-free, SAGE thought the least they could do would be to pay the cost of repairs.
CHAPLIN, sitting on Treasury Bench, listened to this conversation with lowering brow. HER MAJESTY had but lately testified afresh to her wisdom and discernment by calling him to her councils; and yet there were men so lost to all sense of decency as to wrangle over the wages of a rat-catcher at Buckingham Palace or the turncock at Kensington. PLUNKET a little too mild with these gentry. Only let the Minister of Agriculture loose on them, and they would learn a salutary lesson. But Minister for Agriculture nothing to do in this galley. All he could do was to stand at the Bar, with hands on hips, regarding the little band of malcontents. Peradventure the sight of him might serve to bring them to a better way of thinking.
Standing there when Bell rang for Division. Beaten off at Kensington, the mob now marched down on Hampton; raiding on Hampton Court Park; clamouring for admittance for the public who paid the piper. Committee divided; Minister of Agriculture, with his breast aflame with righteous indignation strode into Lobby; doors shut and locked; CHAPLIN looking round, discovered he had been followed by remarkable contingent; There was the SAGE, and PICKERSGILL, and CAUSTON, and CREMER, and PICTON looking more than ever like "his great predecessor in spoliation, HENRY THE EIGHTH." Was it possible that he had coerced them by the glance of his falcon eye? Had they been unable to resist the moral persuasion of his presence? They had surely meant to vote against money for Hampton Court. Yet, here they were in the Lobby with him. CHAPLIN'S bosom began to swell with more inflation than usual. Such a triumph rare in Parliamentary history. PLUNKET been arguing, protesting, cajoling by the hour, and had done nothing. CHAPLIN had only looked, and had drawn them into the same Lobby as himself.
Pleased meditation broken in upon by a murmur growing into hilarious shout. Unruly mob pressed around him laughing and jeering; wild with delight. Truth suddenly dawned on CHAPLIN. Had in perturbation of moment, walked into wrong Lobby. Got in with Radical mob. No way out; no help for it; Vote must be recorded against estimates, against his colleagues in the Government, against keeping up Hampton Court, and in despite of the Gracious Sovereign of whom, a short hour ago, he had been the favoured Minister. Business done.—Supply. CHAPLIN votes against the Government, refusing them Supply.
Tuesday.—OLD MORALITY did great stroke of business to-day; completed it in his usual innocent-looking fashion. When House met for morning sitting large batch of votes to be dealt with; passed only two last night; same proportion of advance would leave Departments in state of pickle; money urgently needed; how to get it?
"You leave it to me," said OLD MORALITY, nodding mysteriously to JACKSON.
JACKSON left it accordingly. When House met to-day secret out. Members thought they were coming down for a morning sitting; might talk away about Votes till Seven o'clock, let one or two pass, then go off for Easter Holidays. Found OLD MORALITY had put spoke in their wheel. In first place on Orders appeared Notice of Motion giving precedence to Government business at evening sitting, and again to-morrow.
"What's this?" says SAGE OF QUEEN ANNE'S GATE, starting as if viper had bit him.
"What's which?" says OLD MORALITY, blandly.
"Why," says SAGE, "this Notice of Motion. Thought all arranged that House at its rising at Seven o'clock adjourn for Easter Recess."
"Ah, yes," says OLD MORALITY, his eyes fixed dreamily on the broadening parting of SAGE'S hair. "The feathered race, as we all know, with pinions skims the air; not so the mackerel, and still less the bear. Ah, who has seen the mailed lobster rise, clap her broad wings, and claim the equal skies? As the Hon. Member says, it was arranged that we should rise at seven, and adjourn for Easter Holidays; only we must get Votes first. I am most anxious, as far as is compatible with duty to QUEEN and Country, to meet views of Hon. Members in all parts of House. That view converges, as I may say, on the holidays. Well, the holidays need not be impinged upon. We can all be off at Seven o'Clock, or even before, if we pass the Votes; otherwise must sit to-night and to-morrow. Do not expect it will be necessary; merely put down Motion as matter of precaution." Precaution served. Members not liking prospect of coming back after dinner, still less of spending Wednesday at Westminster, voted money with both hands, and by Six o'Clock Class I. in Civil Estimates agreed to.
"A wonderful man, OLD MORALITY," said R. N. FOWLER, walking off. "Only you and me, TOBY, thoroughly appreciate him. Yah, yah!" Business done.—Adjourned till Monday, April 14.
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(An entirely Imaginary Sketch of an Utter Impossibility.)
6 P.M.—Return to town, to find that that very afternoon my house in Bayswater has been robbed by my servants, who have all decamped. They have taken my wife's jewel-case, containing diamonds to the value of L7,000, cash-box full of securities, fifteen gold repeaters, all the silver plate in the house, together with the dining-room sideboard, set of skittles, twelve-light gas chandelier, drawing-room grand piano, two original landscapes by TURNER, a set of family portraits, dinner service, all my clothes, roasting-jack, and the umbrella-stand. Instantly summon Policeman from over the way. Shakes his head unconcernedly, and says it is "no business" of his, and he can't go off his beat to attend to it. Hurry off to Local Office, and make my complaint. They only smile. They regard me with the languid interest that, say, a horse might exhibit were a lady to present herself in leathers minus a riding-habit. Don't know why I think of a horse—later on their presence calls to mind an animal traditionally far less sagacious, and I don't mean a mule! Feel slightly irritable, and ask them to send a Constable round at once, to see the condition of the house. They decline. Ask them "Why?" They refuse to tell me. I express astonishment, and again state my case categorically. They ask me if I think they've nothing better to do than attend to "every cock-and-bull story" that is brought to them. I get angry, and threaten them that I'll complain to Scotland Yard. They tell me if I don't shut up they'll soon finish the matter for me by "running me in" myself. I am about to point out the disgraceful character of their conduct to them, when, noticing the Inspector whispering some orders to two of his subordinates, I think it best to take to my heels, which I do, pursued by a couple of Constables, whom I manage to escape, and, jumping into a Hansom, drive to Head Quarters.
8 P.M.—Have stated my case and written it all out, as requested, "fully," twice on paper. Official says, "that will do." Ask him whether he won't telegraph to Dover, Folkestone, Newhaven and Portsmouth, to enable the Police to stop suspicious people leaving by to-night's Mails. He says, "Certainly not." I ask him "Why?" He asks me what business is that of mine? I answer that it is "every business of mine." He retorts, "Oh! is it? Well, you had best be off. You won't get nothing more out of us." Grow very angry at this, but express myself with moderation; am about to remonstrate with him, when I notice that he is also whispering some secret orders to two subordinates, and I think it best once more to take to my heels, which I do, again hotly pursued by a couple of Constables. Turning a corner, however, I fortunately manage to escape them, and finding myself opposite the door of the Detective Department, step in.
10 P.M.—Have again stated the whole of my case "fully." They think if I am prepared to pay up pretty freely, they can help me, and recommend, as a preliminary step, the despatch of ten Detectives, two each respectively to Clapham Junction, Herne Bay, Margate, Gravesend and Tooting Common. Pull out my cheque-book and arrange for this at a handsome figure. Pass the night myself in company with an eleventh Detective, in going over second-hand furniture establishments in the Mile End Road, with a search-warrant, in the hopes of coming across my dining-room sideboard and umbrella-stand, but to no purpose.
10 A.M. (Next Morning).—None of my missing property recovered, and nothing more heard of any of it. The ten Detectives, however, return from Clapham Junction, Herne Bay, Margate, Gravesend and Tooting Common, each having arrested respectively, three people, answering vaguely the description given by me of some of my servants. The whole thirty are brought to my house at Bayswater, for "identification," but as they contain among their number a Rural Dean, two M.P.'s. a Dowager Duchess, a Major-General in the Army, a celebrated Medical Man, and a popular Author, and as all are furious at what they call "a gross infringement of their liberty," I am not likely, I fear, to hear the last of it. However, let me hope, they'll do, as I have done, and call in the Police to help them. As for me, my only chance of redress seems to be to write to the papers. So—here goes!
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SIGNS OF THE SEASON.
(By a West-End Shopkeeper.)
The voice of the horse-dealer's heard in the land, The Season, it says, will be full, gay, and grand; He is happy, and gives the most hopeful accounts. Well, the horse-dealer rises by virtue of "mounts," The thing in mid-March to keep hope well alive Was the prospect, in June, of a jolly full Drive, The wiseacres Long-Acre stir with delight. And oh! don't we hope the wiseacres are right!
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TWO HEADS NOT BETTER THAN ONE!
There is not the slightest truth in the report that the following short story, said to have been written by MM. ERCKMANN and CHATRIAN since their quarrel, will be more fully developed before republication.
Note.—This title is believed to have been furnished by M. ERCKMANN, but will probably be changed to The Baby's Niece, by M. CHATRIAN.
CHAPTER I. (By M. E.)
NAPOLEON regarded the burning town with a feeling of dismay. He had counted upon the ancient Russian capital as a basis of support when the time should come to retire. As he looked at the fire, luridly reflected in the snow, MARIE approached him and fell upon her knees.
"Sire!" she cried, "A boon! I ask you to save KOSMOF! I beg of you my lover's life!"
The Man of Destiny gazed upon her with a cold smile, full of cruel meaning, and replied, "Life for life—you know my conditions!" MARIE gave a piercing shriek and sank into unconsciousness.
CHAPTER II. (By M. C.)
To wake again and find the sun shining brightly on her own Alsatian home! Yes, all the nonsense about NAPOLEON and Moscow had been a dream, more—a nightmare! The good Cure was playing with the niece of her baby brother. JULES was hard at work cutting down apples in the orchard, which were soon to become cider in the press of the farmstead.
"My Father," said MARIE, with a coquettish toss of her pretty head, "and so you think JULES too good for me?"
"Scarcely that, my daughter," replied the amiable old Priest, with a sweet, calm smile; "but I feel that you must do a great deal to be worthy of so brave a man."
"Brave?" echoed MARIE. "Why, what do we want with bravery in these piping times of peace? Nowadays we have no NAPOLEON—all is tranquil."
"You are indeed right, my daughter," returned the old Priest, as he walked towards the chapel. "We do live in peaceful days—there is, indeed, no NAPOLEON!"
CHAPTER III. (By M. E.)
"LIAR!" shouted BUONAPARTE, coming up at the moment, at the head of the remnant of his Army. "I will soon show you whether we live in tranquil times or no!"
And, ordering up a cannon, MARIE, JULES, and the Priest were tied to the wheels.
"Mercy!" they implored.
There was a flash, an explosion, and MARIE, JULES, and the Priest were blown to atoms.
No one remained save Napoleon!
CHAPTER IV. (By M. C.)
YES, NAPOLEON, and one other—the Niece of the Baby! She was a fine strapping wench of twenty. Shocked by the cruel outrage committed in her quiet Alsatian home, this brave maiden seized the family blunderbuss, and fired. It burst with such violence that both NAPOLEON and herself were killed on the spot. Nay, more—thousands within miles! Besides, at this moment there was an epidemic raging, that, in one single instant, killed the Army, and all the Russians, and, in fact, everybody! There!
Note by M. E.—My honoured confrere is a spiteful pig!
Note by M. C.—My esteemed colleague is a demented donkey!
P.S. by M. E.—Pooh! P.S. by M.C.—Yah!
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NOTICE.—Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS., Printed Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no case be returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed Envelope, Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.
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