OR, THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
MARCH 15, 1890.
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S MORAL MUSIC-HALL DRAMAS.
No. VIII.—JACK PARKER;
Or, The Bull who knew his Business.
Jack Parker ("was a cruel boy, For mischief was his sole employ." Vide Miss JANE TAYLOR.)
Miss Lydia Banks ("though very young, Will never do what's rude or wrong."—Ditto.)
Farmer Banks } By the Brothers GRIFFITHS. Farmer Banks's Bull }
Chorus of Farm Hands.
SCENE—A Farmyard. R. a stall, from which the head of the Bull is visible above the half-door. Enter Farmer BANKS with a cudgel.
Farmer B. (moodily).
When roots are quiet, and cereals are dull, I vent my irritation on the Bull.
[We have Miss TAYLOR'S own authority for this rhyme.
Come hup, you beast! (Opens stall and flourishes cudgel—the Bull comes forward with an air of deliberate defiance.)
Oh, turning narsty, is he?
(Apologetically, to Bull.)
Another time will do! I see you're busy!
[The Bull, after some consideration, decides to accept this retractation, and retreats with dignity to his stall, the door of which he carefully fastens after him. Exit Farmer BANKS, L., as LYDIA BANKS enters R., accompanied by Chorus. The Bull exhibits the liveliest interest in her proceedings, as he looks on, with his forelegs folded easily upon the top of the door.
Song—LYDIA BANKS (in Polka time.)
I'm the child by Miss JANE TAYLOR sung; Unnaturally good for one so young— A pattern for the people that I go among, With my moral little tags on the tip of my tongue, And I often feel afraid that I shan't live long, For I never do a thing that's rude or wrong!
Chorus (to which the Bull beats time).
As a general rule, one doesn't live long, If you never do a thing that's rude or wrong!
My words are all with wisdom fraught, To make polite replies I've sought; And learned by independent thought, That a pinafore, inked, is good for nought. So wonderfully well have I been taught, That I turn my toes as children ought!
Chorus (to which the Bull dances). This moral lesson she's been taught— She turns her toes as children ought!
Lydia (sweetly). Yes, I'm the Farmer's daughter—LYDIA BANKS; No person ever caught me playing pranks! I'm loved by all the live-stock on the farm,
[Ironical applause from the Bull.
Pigeons I've plucked will perch upon my arm, And pigs at my approach sit up and beg,
[Business by Bull.
For me the partial Peacock saves his egg, No sheep e'er snaps if I attempt to touch her, Lambs like it when I lead them to the butcher! Each morn I milk my rams beneath the shed, While rabbits flutter twittering round my head, And, as befits a dairy-farmer's daughter, What milk I get I supplement with water,
[A huge Shadow is thrown on the road outside; LYDIA starts.
Whose shadow is it makes the highway darker? That bullet head! those ears! it is——JACK PARKER!
[Chord. The Chorus flee in dismay, as JACK enters with a reckless swagger.
I'm loafing about, and I very much doubt if my excellent Ma is aware that I'm out; My time I employ in attempts to annoy, and I'm not what you'd call an agreeable boy! I shoe the cats with walnut-shells; Tin cans to curs I tie; Ring furious knells at front-door bells— Then round the corner fly! 'Neath donkeys' tails I fasten furze, Or timid horsemen scare; If chance occurs, I stock with burrs My little Sister's hair!
[The Bull shakes his head reprovingly.
Such tricks give me joy without any alloy,— but they do not denote an agreeable boy!
[As JACK PARKER concludes, the Bull ducks cautiously below the half-door, while LYDIA conceals herself behind the pump, L.C.
Jack (wandering about Stage, discontentedly).
I thought at least there'd be some beasts to badger here! Call this a farm—there ain't a blooming spadger here!
[Approaches stall—Bull raises head suddenly.
A bull! This is a lark I've long awaited! He's in a stable, so he should be baited.
[The Bull shows symptoms of acute depression at this jeu de mot; LYDIA comes forward indignantly.
Lydia. I can't stand by and see that poor bull suffer! Excitement's sure to make his beef taste tougher!
[The Bull emphatically corroborates this statement.
Be warned by Miss JANE TAYLOR; fractured skulls Invariably come from teasing bulls! So let that door alone, nor lift the latchet; For if the bull gets out—why, then you'll catch it!
Jack. A fractured skull? Yah, don't believe a word of it!
[Raises latchet: chord; Bull comes slowly out, and crouches ominously. JACK retreats and takes refuge on top of pump; the Bull, after scratching his back with his off foreleg, makes a sudden dash at LYDIA.
Lydia (as she evades it), Here, help!—it's chasing. Me!—it's too absurd of it.
[The Bull intimates that he is acting from a deep sense of duty.
Lydia (impatiently). You stupid thing, you're ruining the moral!
[The Bull persists obstinately in his pursuit.
Jack (from top of pump). Well dodged, Miss BANKS! although the Bull I'll back!
Lydia. Come quick—this Bull's mistaking me for JACK!
Jack. He knows his business best, I shouldn't wonder.
Farm-hands (philosophically). He ain't the sort o' Bull to make a blunder.
[They look on.
Lydia (panting). Such violent exercise will soon exhaust me!
[The Bull comes behind her.
Oh, Bull, it is unkind of you ... you've tossed me!
[Falls on ground, while the Bull stands over her, in readiness to give the coup de grace; LYDIA calls for help.
A Farm-hand (encouragingly). Nay, Miss, he seems moor sensible nor surly— He knows as how good children perish early!
[The Bull nods in acknowledgment that he is at last understood, and slaps his chest with his forelegs.
Lydia. Bull, I'll turn naughty, if you'll but be lenient! Goodness, I see, is sometimes inconvenient. I promise you henceforth I'll try, at any rate, To act like children who are unregenerate!
[The Bull, after turning this over, decides to accept a compromise.
Jack. And, LYDIA, when you ready for a lark are, Just give a chyhike to your friend—JACK PARKER!
[They shake hands warmly.
Lydia. I thought to slowly fade away so calm and beautiful. (Though I didn't mean to go just yet); But you get no chance for pathos when you're chivied by a bull! (So I thought I wouldn't go just yet.) For I did feel so upset, when I found that all you get By the exercise of virtue, is that bulls will come and hurt you! That I thought I wouldn't go just yet!
Chorus. We hear, with some regret, That she doesn't mean to go just yet. But a Bull with horns that hurt you is a poor return for virtue, And she's wiser not to go just yet!
[The Bull rises on his hindlegs, and gives a forehoof each to LYDIA and JACK, who dance wildly round and round as the Curtain falls.
[N.B.—Music-hall Managers are warned that the morality of this particular Drama may possibly be called in question by some members of the L. C. C.]
* * * * *
I linger on the same old stage Which I have graced so long, Though oft, when sick, or in a rage, I've sworn to give up song, Still somehow, like mellifluous REEVES, I flow, and flow, and flow. Stage-stars, though fond of taking leaves Are very loth to go.
Teutons, once again, Greet me once again! Old songs I'm singing, Shall I sing in vain?
Once more I front the same old House, And hear the same "Encore!" My rivals slink as slinks the mouse When Leo lifts his roar. I'll take my turn with potent voice, In solo or in glee. At my rentree my friends rejoice They only wanted ME!
Teutons, once again! Greet me once again! Old strength is waking, Shall it wake in vain?
* * * * *
THE CRY OF THE CITY CHILDREN.
(For Playing Fields.)
[A conference of delegates of various Athletic Clubs was held on March 4, in the Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, for the purpose of considering the necessity for the further provision of Playing fields for the people of the Metropolis.]
Would you see Town Children playing, O my brothers, With their bats and leathern spheres? They are herding where the slum-reek fumes and smothers, And that isn't play, one fears. The young rustics bat in verdant meadows, The young swells are "scrummaging" out west; They are forming future GRACES, STODDARTS, HADOWS; They are having larks, which, after all, is best. But the young Town Children, O my brothers, They are mooning all the day; They are idling in the play-time of the others, For they have no place to play!
Do you recollect they used to play at cricket In the bye-streets years ago, With a broomstick for a bat, a coat for wicket? Now the Bobbies hunt them so! The old ladies grumble at their skipping; The old gents object to their tip-cat; So they squat midst slums that shine like dirty dripping, Not knowing what the dickens to be at. And the young Town Children, O my brothers, Do you ask them why they stand Making mud-pies, to the horror of their mothers, In their dirty Fatherland?
They look up with their pale and grubby faces, And they answer—"Cricket? Us? Only wish we could, but then there ain't no places; Wot's the good to make a fuss? Yes, you're right, Guv, this is dirty fun and dreary; But 'Rounders' might just bring us 'fore the Beak, And if we dropped our peg-top down a airey, They would hurry up and spank us for our cheek. Arsk the swell 'uns to play cricket, not us nippers; We must sit here damp and dull, 'Midst the smell of stale fried fish and oily kippers, 'Cos the Town's so blooming full."
True, true O children! I of old have seen you Playing peg-top, aye, like mad. In the side-streets, and upon a village green you Could scarce have looked more glad. I have seen you fly the kite, and eke "the garter", Send your "Rounders'" ball a rattling down the street. If you tried such cantrips now you'd catch a tartar In the vigilant big Bobby on his beat. If you tossed the shuttle-cook or bowled the hoop now, A-1's pounce would be your doom. In the streets at Prisoner's Base you must not troop now, There's no longer any room!
So you sit and smoke the surreptitious 'baccy, And deal in scurril chaff; Vulgar JENNY boldly flirts with vicious Jacky, You're too knowing now by half. They're unchildish imps, these Children of the City, Bold and blase, though their life has scarce begun, Growing callous little ruffians—ah, the pity!— For the lack of open space, and youthful fun. Bedford's Bishop says the Cricket pitch is driven Further, further, every day; And the crowded City grows—well not a heaven, Where there is no room for play.
So, if Cricketers and Footballers, who gather, Find Town Children space for sport, Punch will be extremely pleased with them; so, rather, Will the thralls of lane and court. ALFRED LYTTLETON, so keen behind the wicket; Lord KINNAIRD, who once was hot upon the ball, Give our Arabs chance of football and of cricket. And you'll fairly earn the hearty thanks of all; For the young City Children, doomed to rummage In dim alleys foul as Styx, Never else may know the rapture of a "scrummage," Or "a slashing drive for Six!"
* * * * *
A DESIRABLE "RAIKES'" PROGRESS.—In the direction of concession to the overworked and underpaid Post-Office employes.
* * * * *
* * * * *
A JUBALEE PERFORMANCE.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,—After The Cotter's Saturday Night, which is a fine broad Scotch setting of Rantin' Roarin' Robbie's poem, came The Dream of Jubal. This, as I take it, was a work produced in the Jubalee Year. I don't know who JUBAL was, at least I've only a vague idea. Rather think he was a partner of TUBAL. TUBAL, JUBAL & CO., Instrument Makers. From this Oratorio I gather that JUBAL was an enthusiastic amateur, but that the only musical instrument he possessed was a tortoise-shell,—whether comb or simple shell I couldn't quite make out. However, comb or shell, he worked hard at it, until one morning, when he was practising outside the house (I expect TUBAL & CO. wouldn't stand much of it indoors), the birds started a concert in opposition to his solo. This quite drowned his feeble notes, and drove him half frantic. In despair he lay down under the shade of a tree and fell asleep, and in his dreams he saw the instrument which he had invented gradually developed into a "Strad", and from that into the most glorious instrument of our time; namely, the banjo. This so soothed and pleased him, that, waking up, he adorned his tortoise-shell with flowers, and sang aloud to all his descendants in all time and tune, and out of all time and tune, if necessary, to join him in praising the invention of Music generally, and of this Jubalee instrument in particular.
Mr. JOSEPH BENNETT has given a most effective description of the dream; the accompanied recitation being very fine indeed, and splendidly performed by Miss JULIA NEILSON, who, like JUBAL, has been in the Tree's Shadow at the Haymarket. Fine triumphal march and chorus. Your own MAGGIE MCINTYRE, and your Mr. BARTON McGUCKIN, were in excellent form, and everybody was delighted, with the exception of one person,—who is always a peu pres, never quite satisfied, and therefore rightly named,
"ALL-BUT HALL, S.W."
* * * * *
"HARLOWE THERE!"—This now familiar exclamation might be appropriately adopted as the motto of the Vaudeville Theatre during the run of Clarissa. She does run, too, poor dear—first from home, then from Lovelace's, and then "anywhere, anywhere, out of the world!" By the way, is it quite fair of Mr. THOMAS THORNE, in the absence of a friend and brother comedian, to speak of himself, as he does in this piece, as "a mere Toole"? How can such a metamorphosis have taken place? We trust that Mr. THOMAS THORNE, Temporary Tragedian, will amend his sentiments.
* * * * *
SIR W. V. HARCOURT, on the night when he was so huffy, "left the House." True: he certainly did not "carry the House with him."
* * * * *
(By Mr. Punch's Own Type-Writer.)
No. IV.—THE GIDDY SOCIETY LADY.
The Giddy Lady is one who, having been plunged at an early age into smart society, is whirled perpetually round in a vortex of pleasures and excitements. In the effort to keep her head above water, she is as likely as not to lose it. This condition she naturally describes as "being in the swim." In the unceasing struggle to maintain herself there, she may perhaps shorten her life, but she will apparently find a compensation in the increased length of her dressmaker's bills. She is ordinarily the daughter of aristocratic parents, who carefully allowed her to run wild from the moment she could run at all. By their example she has been taught to hold as articles of her very limited faith, that the serious concerns of life are of interest only to fools, and should, therefore (though the inference is not obvious), be entirely neglected by herself, and that frivolity and fashion are the twin deities before whom every self-respecting woman must bow down.
Having left the Seminary at which she acquired an elementary ignorance of spelling, a smattering of French phrases as used by English lady novelists, and a taste for music which leads her in after-life to prefer Miss BESSIE BELLWOOD to BEETHOVEN, she is soon afterwards brought out at a smart dance in London. From this point her progress is rapid. Balls and concerts, luncheons and receptions, dinners and theatres, race meetings and cricket matches, at both of which more attention is paid to fashion than to the field, follow one another in a dizzy succession. She has naturally no time for thought, but in order to avoid the least suspicion of it, she learns to chatter the slang of the youthful Guardsmen and others who are her companions. A certain flashing style of beauty ensures to her the devotion of numerous admirers, to whom she babbles of "chappies" and "Johnnies," and "real jam" and "stony broke," and "two to one bar one," as if her life depended upon the correct pronunciation of as many of these phrases as possible in the shortest time on record. She thus comes to be considered a cheerful companion, and at the end of her third season, marries a jaded man of pleasure, whose wealth is more considerable than his personal attractions, and who, for some inscrutable reason, has been approved by her parents as a suitable husband.
She treats matrimony as an emancipation from rules which she has rarely seen any one else observe, and has never honoured herself, and after a few years, she becomes one of that gaudy band of Society ladies who follow with respectful imitation the giddy vagaries of the Corinthians of a lower grade. She dines often without her husband at smart restaurants, where she has constant opportunities of studying the manners of her models. She adores the burlesques at the Gaiety and the Avenue, and talks, with a complete absence of reserve and a disregard of pedantic accuracy, about the lives and adventures of the actresses who figure there. She can tell you, and does, who presented LOTTIE A. with a diamond star, and who was present at the last supper-party in honour of TOTTIE B. Nor is she averse to being seen and talked about in a box at a Music-Hall, or at one of the pleasure-palaces in Leicester Square. She allows the young men who cluster round her to suppose that she knows all about their lapses from strict propriety, and that she commends rather than condemns them. Causes celebres are to her a staple of conversation, her interest in them varying directly as the number of co-respondents.
It is impossible, therefore, that the men who are her friends should treat her with that chivalrous respect which an obsolete tradition would seem to require, but they suffer no loss of her esteem in consequence. Such being her behaviour in the society of men, the tone of her daily conversation with friends of her own sex may be readily imagined, though it might not be pleasant to describe. Suffice it to say, that she sees no shame in addressing them, or in allowing herself to be addressed by a name which a Court of law has held to be libellous when applied to a burlesque actress. She is always at Hurlingham or the Ranelagh, and has seen pigeons killed without a qualm. She never misses a Sandown or a Kempton meeting; she dazzles the eyes of the throng at Ascot every year, and never fails at Goodwood.
Twice a year the Giddy Lady is compelled by the traditions of her caste to visit Paris, in order to replenish her exhausted wardrobe. On these occasions she patronises only the best hotel, and the most expensive and celebrated of men-dressmakers, and she is "fitted" by a son of the house, of whom she talks constantly and familiarly by his Christian name as JEAN, or PIERRE, or PHILIPPE. During the shooting season she goes from country-house to country-house. She has been seen sometimes with a gun in her hands, often with a lighted cigarette between her lips. Indeed she is too frequent a visitor at shooting-luncheons and in smoking-rooms, where a woman, however much she may attempt to disguise her sex, is never cordially welcomed by men. The conventions of the society in which she moves seem to require that she should be attended during her visits by a cavaliere servente, who is therefore always invited with her. Their pastime is to imitate a flirtation, and to burlesque love, but neither of them is ever deceived into attributing the least reality to this occupation, which is often as harmless as it is always absurd.
These and similar occupations, of course, leave her no time to attend to her children, who are left to grow up as best they may under the fostering care of nursery-maids and of such relations as may choose, from time to time, to burden themselves with the olive-branches of others. Her husband has long since retired from all competition with her, and leaves her free to follow her own devices, whilst he himself follows the odds. She is often supposed to be riding for a fall. It is certain that her pace is fast. Yet, though many whisper, it is quite possible that she will ride to the end without open damage.
Of her dress and her jewels it need only be said that she affects tailor-made costumes and cat's-eye bangles by day, and that at night she escapes by the skin of her teeth from that censure which the scantiness of her coverings would seem to warrant, and which Mr. HORSLEY, R.A., if he saw her, would be certain to pronounce.
In middle age she loses her brilliant complexion. Yet, for reasons best known to herself, her colour continues to be bright, though her spirits and her temper seem to suffer in the effort to keep it so. As old age advances, she is as likely as not to become a gorgon of immaculate propriety, and will be heard lamenting over the laxity of manners which permits girls to do what was never dreamt of when she was a girl herself.
* * * * *
THE PINT OF IT.
How curious that our youngest boy, aged fifteen months, should have already become partially paralysed, and be afflicted, besides, with anaemia, rickets, and growing inability to digest the smallest particle of food!
If it were not that we procure our milk from the "Hygienic Unskimmed Lacteal Fluid and Food for Babes Company, Limited," I should begin to believe that there might be something wrong with the beverage which forms the staple of his infantile dietary.
The Company professes to sell milk "pure from the cow." From the quality of this morning's supply, I should be inclined to fancy that that cow is suffering from an advanced stage of atrophy.
As our eldest child, aged two-and-a-half, is still totally unable to walk, and its legs have become mere shrivelled sticks, I really must call in an Analyst to test our milk.
Heavens! The Analyst reports that more than half the cream has been "separated"—which seems to mean removed—and that its place has been supplied by "65 per cent. of impure water."
Under these circumstances, I hardly think that the fine of five shillings, and half-a-crown costs, which the Magistrate has inflicted on the Company, quite meets the justice of the case, or will be sufficient to stop such adulteration in the future.
* * * * *
Buffalo Bill and Leo Pope.
Went BUFFALO BILL to see the Pope pass by. Then were the Cow-boys cowed by the POPE'S eye, With which, like many an English-speaking glutton, They'd often met, and fastened on, in mutton. The difference vast at once they did espy, Betwixt a sheep's eye and a Leo's eye. Says Shiney WILLIAM to himself, "I'm blest!" And so he was, and so were all the rest.
* * * * *
FROM A NAUTICAL INQUIRER.—"Please, Sir, what's the uniform of an Admiral of the 'Bouillon Fleet'? I see this Fleet advertised, but have been unable to obtain any information about it at the Admiralty, where I have called repeatedly to make inquiries." [Consult "The First Lord!" The first lord you meet will do.—ED.]
* * * * *
"GRENADIERS TO THE FRONT!"
I must confess, my dear Editor, I was greatly gratified at your gracefully recognising my twenty years' service, spent in the defence of my QUEEN and my country (in the Militia), by asking me to be present at the initial performance of the Guards Burlesque Company of Fra Diavolo in the Theatre Royal, Recreation Room, Chelsea Barracks, S.W.
The place was not entirely new to me. Last year it had been my good fortune to see Ivanhoe, with Mr. NUGENT in the principal character—a gallant and talented gentleman, who was, alas! conspicuous by his absence on the present occasion. I was given to understand that this year the Grenadiers were ordered "to the front," and that the command had been obeyed, the list of the Dramatis Personae amply proved.
The music was admirably selected by Mr. EDWARD SOLOMON, the "Baker Roll" from Pickwick going capitally. The scenery, by the Hon. ARNOLD KEPPEL (late Scots Guards), was good, and "the writing up to date," by Mr. YARDLEY (never to be forgotten on the field of cricket), was better.
For the rest, I may say that the Guards' Burlesque Company, from a theatrical professional stand-point, were hardly "Gaiety form," but, as amateurs, they were simply magnificent. There was no supper—but this is a detail. Yours sincerely,
A VERY OLD SOLDIER.
The Plains of Waterloo, in rear of the Army and Navy Stores, S. W.
* * * * *
"LENT LECTURES."—A Correspondent signing himself "MISSING LINK," says, that he frequently sees Lectures advertised as above, and wants to know if they come into the same category with "Borrowed Sermons." [Don't know. Consult Mr. F. JEUNE, Q.C., or the Archbishop of CANTERBURY.—ED.]
* * * * *
"THAT ought to be an interesting and amusing article in Lippincott's Magazine for March," observed Mrs. RAM—"I mean the one called, 'Who are the Christy Minstrels'?" We referred to the number. No such article in it; but one entitled, "Who are Christian Ministers?" Probably this was it. Near enough for Mrs. R.
* * * * *
(A Delightful "All-The-Year-Round" Resort for the Fashionable Composer.)
EX. I.—RESPECTING THE LOVER'S INDIFFERENCE FOR THE ADVANTAGES OF CIVILISATION.
I am waiting in darkness to greet her— Why in darkness I cannot explain, For there's plenty of gas in the meter, And enough, I suppose, in the main! But 'tis darkness so unpenetrating, And 'tis darkness so dismally deep! And I'm waiting, and waiting, and waiting, Like the chap in "A Garden of Sleep."
I've been patiently waiting to meet her, Till I'm thoroughly sick of this gloom; It is ten by my Benson repeater— It was six when I entered the room! But I must not begin to grow weary, And to stamp, and to fret, and to curse! The surroundings are certainly dreary, But they might be decidedly worse!
I am waiting, still waiting, to greet her!— Here all night I'm determined to stand, For a prettier girl, or a sweeter, There is not to be seen in the land! If I go, I am sure to regret it, So I'll make up my mind here to stay. What though time is departing? Well, let it! I shall wait here for ever and aye!
The Walery-Gallery Co.—for WALERY has transformed himself into a Limited Liability—is bringing out a series of "Sporting Celebrities," with sporting notes, monographs, and dramatic notes too. The photographs are excellent. Two in each monthly number. The monographs are right enough, but the sporting and dramatic notes in a monthly, are either not sufficient or too much. Three portraits and three monographs, one sportswoman and two sportsmen in each number would be better, at least, so it seems to the learned Baron, who would sum up the requisites for making the Walery-Gallery Sporting Series a success in a Shakspearian quotation, adapted for this special occasion,—"More art and less matter."
The Baron is always much interested in the Revue de Famille, directed and largely contributed to by M. JULES SIMON, who is also a pretty regular contributor to its pages. In December last, M. SIMON wrote a thoughtful and interesting article on L'Education des Femmes, and M. FRANCISQUE SARCEY, a very amusing paper on Le Timide au Theatre. The number for February (it is only a bi-monthly publication) has a paper on L'Influence (not the influenza) des Femmes en France, the only fault of which is its length; and GYP gives a satirical sketch called Nos Docteurs, which hardly seems in keeping with the family character of the Revue. The March Number is now out, and can be procured at HACHETTE'S. It is one of the best French serials.
A delightful book is Yorkshire Legends and Traditions, collected and recounted by the Rev. THOMAS PARKINSON. He who writes of fairies and of witches should of course possess some potent spell—(how many members of the School-Board, had they lived a couple of hundred years ago, would have been punished as witches for teaching "spelling," it is pleasant to imagine)—and Mr. PARKINSON'S great charm is his apparent belief in the wonders he relates. Even when he occasionally alludes to "popular superstition," you feel it is only a phrase introduced evidently out of consideration for the unphilosophic prejudices of his "so-called" Nineteenth-Century readers, who pride themselves on being HUXLEYS in the full blaze of scientific light, and yet would shrink from passing a night in a haunted room, or, if alone, would go a mile out of their way to avoid an uncanny spot. The greatest mistake made by narrators of the marvellous is attempting to account for the unaccountable. This book is, I believe, one of a series now being published by ELLIOT STOCK, of Paternoster Row, a stock which Your Own Baron recommends as a safe investment, for the book alone is a good dividend, the interest being kept up all through; and it is satisfactory to hear that, as the other counties of England, and perhaps of Ireland and Scotland, are being dealt with in a similar manner, there is a good reserve-fund of information and amusement.
Mr. RUNCIMAN, in The Fortnightly, brings a serious indictment of plagiarism against Mr. RIDER HAGGARD, which it strikes me he would be unable to sustain in a Court of Common Sense before MR. PRESIDENT PUNCH, unless it were first laid down as a fixed principle, that a writer of fiction must never have recourse to any narrative of facts whereon to base his Romance.
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
* * * * *
* * * * *
SWEET LAVENDER.—Miss SPRULES, whose "Lavender Farm" in Surrey was recently visited by a ubiquitous P. M. Gazetter, appears to be a real scenter of attraction. "Does it pay?" asked the Interviewer. And of course the Lady's answer was, "Scent per scent."
* * * * *
"JUNKETING" IN LONDON.—Last Saturday a grand Devonian Dinner took place at the Criterion. Of course, only La Creme de la Creme of Devon were present.
* * * * *
THE "SO-CALLED" NINETEENTH CENTURY FOR THIS MONTH.—"'Palmer' qui ... ferat." Has the gallant Corporal any more to Tel-(el-Kebir)?
* * * * *
FROM "1ST FLAT, COLNEY HATCHWELL."—The song of "Be Mine" is a great success. The song "Be Minor" ought to be a greater.
* * * * *
NEW NOVEL, shortly to appear, by a Director of the London and Westminster Bank, entitled, Allsopps and Conditions of Men.
* * * * *
UNGRAMMATICAL BUT QUITE CORRECT.—When a Gentleman asks, at a book-stall, "Have you a number of Woman here?"
* * * * *
WHAT'S "a bore for coal is fun for us!" Mem. by Shareholder, S. E. Line.
* * * * *
* * * * *
"Off?" Thank goodness, yes! Always was—confound it!— An unsavoury mess, Foulness reeking round it. Resurrection pie Not in it for nastiness. Dished-up—who knows why?— With unseemly hastiness. Of the chef's poor skill, Feeblest of expedients. Sure we've had our fill Of its stale ingredients. Toujours perdrix? Pooh! That is scarce delightful; Toujours Irish Stew Very much more frightful. Thrice-cooked colewort? Ah! That no doubt were tedious; But this hotch-potch? Pah! Thought of it is hideous. It has been too long Piece de resistance; Take its odour strong To unsniffing distance.
Waiter's self looks sick At the very thought of it. Oh, remove it, quick! Customers want nought of it. Eh? One hungry sinner Asks another plateful? He should have his dinner Snatched by harpies fateful. Kitchen never yet Knew a failure greater. Few its end regret. Surely not the Waiter. He his finger had In the pie—or gravy. Did he? Well, 'tis sad. He must cry "Peccavi!" But whoever mixed, Or whoever boiled it, Our opinion's fixed, He, or they, quite spoiled it. 'Tis the general scoff, Butt of chaff and rudeness. Irish Stew is "Off", Finally—Thank Goodness!
* * * * *
REVISED VERSION. "IN GLOBO."—The author of Dixon's Johnsonary, who last week sent us a paragraph about the Globe Theatre (where, he said, it was pleasant to find the name of SHAKSPEARE once more associated with that of his great contemporary, JOHN BENSON), was wrong in saying that Miss DOROTHY DENE is taking the part of Hippolyta in The Midsummer Matinee's Dream. It is very kind of so conscientious an artiste to "take anybody's part." But, as a matter of fact, Miss DOROTHY is appearing as Helena, La belle Helene, in the same drama.
* * * * *
"SPRING HATS FOR LADIES."—Are they going to adopt the gibus?
* * * * *
MORE TO FOLLOW.
The dinner given by Mr. JAMES STAATS FORBES, Chairman of the L.C. & D. Railway, last Wednesday, to M. EIFFEL, and the French Engineers, was a big success. As the P. M. G., which, being now edited by a chef,—at least, he is a man-Cook,—authoritatively informed us, in anticipation of this feast, "The Continent and Great Britain have been ransacked for delicacies." There is to be another banquet, we hear, and more "ransacking." Once again will that delightfully-entertaining Chairman, J. S. FORBES, of the Lucullus Chatting and Dining Line, present a menu which will be unexampled in culinary history. By great favour we are permitted to present a few of the delights of this bill of fare, in which a SOYER would have rejoiced, a UDE have delighted, and of which a BRILLAT-SAVARIN might indeed have been proud. No expense in ransacking has been spared. They are sending to the prairie for prairie oysters; to Egypt for Pot-au-feu (soupe a la mauvaise femme); to Jerusalem for artichokes, to Bath for chaps, and Brussels for sprouts. Bordeaux will be ransacked for pigeons, Scotland for Scotch woodcock, Wales for rabbits, Sardinia for sardines, and Turkey for rhubarb. Special messengers are travelling through Germany in search of sausages; others are in Ireland seeking supplies of the stew of that country. Bombay is being ransacked for its celebrated Bombay ducks, Guinea for fowls, Norfolk for dumplings, and Chili for vinegar. Merchant traders are already in treaty with Madeira for cakes; and while Naples is being ransacked for ices, the Government Stationery Office at home will yield an almost inexhaustible supply of wafers.
The guests, led by a choir arrayed in twenty-four sheets, also supplied by the Stationery Office, will sing a delightful compound of the drinking chorus in Through the Looking-Glass, and "The Bonnets of Bonny Dundee," which will go as follows, all (who can) standing:—
Let's fill up our glasses with treacle and ink, And anything else that is pleasant to drink, And hook the best port and let us gay free, And hurrah for STAATS FORBES and the L. C. & D.!
We can only give these few hints, as of course, this is but a small portion of the menu, a mere pennyworth to any amount of ransacking.
* * * * *
* * * * *
A COLONIAL FRIEND PAYS ME A VISIT.
* * * * *
"LE KICKE-BALL" IN FRANCE.
MON CHER MONSIEUR PUNCH,—That you have been the victim of "a 'oax," crafty, ingenious, and abominable, there is now no shadow of a doubt. That letter palmed off on to your good and trustful nature the week before last, with the signature of "LE HEADS MASTERRE," professing to deal with the subject of the International athleticism, I should unfailingly pronounce, after cursory investigation, to be a forgery, impudent and profound. For survey the facts: while it proposed, in a set of regulations bizarre and fantastic, to abolish "Le 'Arf-back," as a superfluous officer in the French game, a contest took place in the very centre of this Paris, in which not only the "'Arf-back," but the "Three-quarterre-back" was referred to as having been changed four times in the progress of one game! Nor was this all. So highly and efficiently trained by the indefatigable Principal had been the French "'Ome-team," that,—glorious announcement to make,—they succeeded in carrying off the victory, not merely from one of your Public School Clubs, representing only one country, but from a united "Onze," that might have been regarded with a natural and excusable patriotic pride, as the combined force of all the whole civilised world. Yes, the force opposed to our courageous youths of the Lycee Janson de Sailly comprised not only Englishmen, but other nationalities, including sons of the American United States and Holland. Against this formidable combination the active and sportsmanlike youth of our re-awakened athletic France scored a victory, easy, swift, and complete, of two tries to nothing.
For further particulars, I refer you to the newspapers of the period, that furnish the details of the affair. In them you will see that, so far from "Le Scrimmage" being abandoned, on the contrary, several, of a character hotly contested, and severe, appear to have arisen in the efforts necessary to secure les deux "tries"; for though no mention is made of the Hospital ambulance, yet it is hinted that much sticking-plasterre must have been used in fastening up and healing the many contusions, grave, startling, and various, resulting from the furious kicking of legs, and struggling of bodies, inevitable in the progress of "Un Scrimmage" in which Three-quarters-back, 'Arf-backs, Forwards, and even Goal-keeperes were often mingled in confusion, bewildering and prolonged, and only saved from being deadly and prostrating by the admirable elan and courageous spirit with which it was encountered.
No, mon cher Monsieur Punch, I do not say that when our Athletic Committee commence their investigations of the dangers obvious and definite connected with the conduct of your jeu de Cricquette, that they may not alter the constitution and weight of the ball, which I understand is made of lead, and weighs ten pounds and three-quarters, and reduce the size of les batte-clubs, themselves instruments to an excessive degree ponderous and grotesque, probably eliminating entirely from the field such dangerously-located officers as "Le Long-stoppe," "Le square-legge," and, above all, "Le wicket-keepere," but this does not affect their action in considering the reformation of the rules for the legitimate and reasonable conduct of the game of "Kicke-ball." No, mon cher Monsieur, these they are agreeable to leave as they are, remembering that the ball, formidable though he may be on account of his size, is harmless as a butterfly in the contact, being filled only with air. Moreover they see no reason to change when an "Onze" of this New Athletic France can, with the old rules, claim as she does the noble victory of le deux "tries" to nothing, and enables the writer of this letter of correction, with a satisfaction that is keen and infinite, and a pride that is profound and pardonable, to subscribe himself hereunder,
A THREE-QUARTERRE-BACK OF THE RECENTLY VICTORIOUS LYCEE.
* * * * *
QUESTION OF PARENTAGE.—Prof. HUXLEY, returning to the charge against Socialism, declares Capital to be "the Mother of Labour". If so, surely "the child was mother of the—woman!"—to adopt WORDSWORTH'S seeming paradox. The first family, when first doomed to Labour, had surely very little Capital.
When ADAM delved and EVE span Where was then the—"Middleman"?
* * * * *
A City Correspondent sends us this Advertisement from the Daily Chronicle:—
The MANAGERS of the STOCK EXCHANGE are about to APPOINT an ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT of WAITERS. Applications, accompanied by Testimonials, must be made in writing, on or before the 15th March, to the Secretary, the Stock Exchange, from whom full particulars of the duties and salary can be obtained. Candidates must be under 40 years of age.
He is afraid lest it should have escaped our ROBERT'S eye. Under forty years of age is rather young for a Superintendent, perhaps; but no doubt ROBERT, who, as he says, "is not for any pertikler age, but for all time," would be equal to the occasion.
* * * * *
* * * * *
(A Report of a Meeting yet to be held.)
A meeting of the Improved Saloon Palace Coach Combination (Limited), was held at the Offices of the Company on Thursday last, when Lord BURLINGTON ARCADIA (in the absence of the Duke of UTOPIA) was called upon to preside.
The noble Chairman said he was delighted to see so many benevolent-looking shareholders present. He admitted that he felt a little nervous, as no doubt the Board of Directors (of whom he had the honour to be one) had acted to a great extent upon their own responsibility in conducting the business of the Company. Encouraged by the comments of the Press, the Board considered they owed a duty to the Public second only in importance to the duty they owed to the shareholders. Nowadays, great trading communities had no right to act selfishly—they must think not only of those who owned the capital, but also of that vast majority whose comfort it should be their pleasure to enhance.
The paper to which he specially referred suggested that various improvements should be made. All the Saloon Palace cars of the Company, it was proposed, should be repainted in various colours, to facilitate identification; but this would cost money—(loud cheers)—and he was happy to say they had money to spend. They had spent it. (Murmurs.) He was sure that they would be pleased when they learned the manner in which that money had been spent. Instead of being hoarded up to swell the dividend—(groans.)—it had been absorbed in improvements which would confer great benefits upon the community. (Uproar.)
A SHAREHOLDER. What have we to do with the community?
The CHAIRMAN explained that as the greater included the lesser, the community must include the Shareholders. ("No, no!") He was sorry to hear those sounds of dissent, but what had been done could not be undone. (Loud and prolonged groaning). He trusted that he would be treated with courtesy. ("Hear, hear!") He had come to the meeting at considerable inconvenience. (Cheers.) As a matter of fact, he had little stake in the Company, as some time since he had disposed of the vast bulk of his shares. (Groans.) However, he would continue. As they knew, the vehicles were now fitted with warm bottles in winter and air-cushions in summer. Every passenger had a velvet upholstered arm-chair. Flowers were supplied in great profusion in the interior of the vehicles, and costly shrubs arranged on the platform supporting the cushioned garden-seats of the exterior. As the additional weight to be drawn in consequence of these improvements was considerable, it had been considered advisable to increase the number of horses to each vehicle from two to six. (Groans.) New routes had been selected—for instance, special services of carriages had been arranged up and down the Belgrave Road, the Mall, Hammersmith, the Upham Park Road, Chiswick, and round Brompton Square. Then he might say——
A SHAREHOLDER. We know all this, but how about the dividend? (Cheers.)
The CHAIRMAN regretted the interruption. However, as the meeting wished to enter into the subject of finance—(cheers and cries of "We do")—he might say, that no dividend would be declared this half-year, but——
At this point of the proceedings there was a rush for the platform, and, shortly afterwards, the meeting noisily separated.
We are informed, that the inquest upon the bodies of the Chairman and his co-Directors, will be held early next week.
* * * * *
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
Extracted From the Diary of Toby, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, March 3.—OLD MORALITY, decently dressed in black, stood at table to-night, reading through the space of an hour his discourse on Report of Parnell Commission. A decorous, almost funereal function. J. G. TALBOT enjoyed it thoroughly. "So like being in church on Sunday afternoon," he said. "Wish OLD MORALITY could have seen his way to put on white neck-tie, and brought his notes bound up in black cover."
Service proceeded very well without these details. JEMMY LOWTHER early fell victim to gentle influence of occasion. Long before OLD MORALITY had reached his fourthly, JAMES, with head reverently bent on his chest, sweetly slept; dreamt he was a boy again, sitting in the family pew at Easington-cum-Liverton, listening to his revered grandfather bubbling forth orthodoxy. Up in Distinguished Strangers' Gallery sat a little boy on his father's knee. Long he listened to the gentle murmur, broken now and then by a yawn from a back bench, or the rustling of the manuscript as it was turned over folio by folio. It was a great occasion for him; his first visit to the Chamber which still echoed with the tones of his father's uncle, JOHN BRIGHT. He kept gallantly awake as quarter-hour sped after quarter-hour, and then, reminiscent of a nursery story somewhere told, his too audible whisper broke in upon the slumbering gallery.
"Papa, hasn't the Gentleman brought his Amen with him?"
It came at last. Perhaps none so grateful as OLD MORALITY. Curious to note how, when beholding the welcome last folio of his discourse, OLD MORALITY, uplifting his voice, said, "And now to——", there was a sudden movement in the crowd, a shuffling of feet, a rustling of garments, a motion as if the congregation were about to rise to receive the benediction. But OLD MORALITY was only about to observe, "And now to bring these imperfect remarks to a conclusion, I would entreat the House to consider the great interests at stake, to vindicate the reputation of this House, and to do their duty to their Queen and Country."
After peace, the storm. GLADSTONE ruffled prevalent calm with a tornado of virile eloquence. Grand Old Man in fine form. If he had had the arrangement of course of events, nothing could have been more successfully designed than the contrast. For OLD MORALITY'S gentle commonplaces, his pallid platitudes, his copy-book headings strung together in timid flight after the Good and the True, here rushed a flood of burning eloquence, carrying with it the whole audience; jubilant the Opposition, faintly resisting the Ministerialists. GLADSTONE had no copy-book before him, only the merest skeleton of notes. These, with what seemed to the intently-listening audience the fewest, simplest touches, he informed and inflamed with flesh and blood. Spoke for an hour and forty minutes—a marvellous feat for any man, a miracle of mental and physical force for an octogenarian.
HICKS-BEACH followed; but spell broken; the listening throng, filling the chamber from floor to topmost range of gallery, swiftly melted away. Thus it came to pass there were few to see HARCOURT as presently he went forth whimpering. He, the champion slogger, accustomed to rampage round the tents of the enemy, and bring his shillelagh down on any head accidentally protruding, had been himself attacked. HICKS-BEACH girded at him to-night in comparatively gentle fashion. HARCOURT tossed about on bench and pettishly protested; claimed SPEAKER'S protection; SPEAKER declined to interfere. Then, digging lusty knuckles into moist eyes, he sobbed, "I—I—am not going to stay to be abused in this manner; shan't play!" and so went forth, amid the jeers and mocking laughter of naughty boys opposite. Business done.—Debate on Parnell Commission Report opened.
Tuesday.—Haven't seen anything more charming for a long time than ELLIOTT LEES' plunge into debate on the Parnell Commission Report. Rose at same time as CHARLES LEWIS, squaring his elbows, stretching his legs and crooking his knees, as if had just dismounted, after winning steeplechase. CHARLES LEWIS, Bart., on feet at same time; might reasonably be supposed to claim precedence, having Amendment on paper, in addition to wide Parliamentary reputation. LEES didn't even look at Bart. Began his remarks, taking it as a matter of course that SPEAKER would call on him. House doesn't like CHARLES LEWIS, Bart., so called on LEES, and Bart. withdrew, angrily snorting.
Very few Members present. Getting on for dinner-hour. General conviction that it's going to be a dull night. Nothing can help it. But GLADSTONE waits, and presently, attracted by LEES' superb sense of superiority, sits with hand to ear, listening with kindly smile. Nothing delights Grand Old Man so much as youth, especially aggressive youth—youth that knows about everything, with fuller information and judgment more accurate than its elders. This is what, years ago, first attracted him to RANDOLPH. Now sits listening while YOUNG TWENTY-NINE, who represents Omniscience and Oldham, in drawling voice, hesitating for a word, but having no hesitation in keeping the House waiting for it, settles the question that for two years has riven parties and convulsed continents.
YOUNG TWENTY-NINE knew all about it from the beginning. Wasn't born in 1860 for nothing. When his own party were rushing headlong down to destruction, arranging for appointment of Commission, he had warned them of their error. But no use going back on the irrevocable. Thing is, what is to be done now? YOUNG TWENTY-NINE casting patronising look on OLD EIGHTY, listening on the Front Opposition Bench, would really like to have voted for his Amendment. But, on his conscience, couldn't; too strongly drawn, doncha; why hadn't he taken counsel of some young friend, and drafted his Amendment with more moderation? At same time, YOUNG TWENTY-NINE couldn't do otherwise than condemn the Times for its recklessness in publishing the forged letters. Generally approved the conduct of ATTORNEY-GENERAL; regarded the proceedings of Irish Members with mixed feelings, and, on the whole, would vote for Resolution. Whereat OLD MORALITY, long on tenterhooks, gave sigh of honest relief, and Grand Old Man went off to dinner with a twinkle in his eye and an amused smile lighting up his countenance. Writ moved to-night for new election for Stoke, WILLIE BRIGHT having had enough of it. "Good-bye, TOBY," he said, as he cleared out his locker; "they call me W. LEATHAM BRIGHT, now I suppose it will be W. LEAVE-'EM."
Business done.—Debate on Report of Commission.
Wednesday.—Curious little difficulty arose at meeting of House to-day. No House to meet. On Wednesdays SPEAKER takes chair at twelve o'clock. Crosses Lobby, accompanied by Sergeant-at-Arms carrying Mace, and tall gentleman in shorts carrying train. Walks up floor between rows of Members, standing and bending heads like sheaves of corn over which wind passes. To-day benches bare. Chamber empty. SPEAKER feels like one who treads alone some banquet-hall deserted, whose guests are fled, whose garlands dead, and all but he departed. Only in this case they haven't arrived. CHAPLAIN in his place, ready to say his prayers. Everything here but congregation. House, it is well known, thrilled with excitement over Parnell Commission Report. Throbbing with anxiety to debate it. Manages somehow to dissemble its feelings, smother its aspirations. Presently two Members drop in; take their seats.
"Rather a small gathering," whispered the SPEAKER, pleasantly.
"Yes," says CHAPLAIN, forlornly looking round empty chamber. "A very small gathering indeed; might almost call it a pimple."
Word scarcely Parliamentary in this connection.
"Order! order!" said the SPEAKER, sotto voce; and, to avoid the beginning of the sundering of friendship, CHAPLAIN read prayers.
Business done.—Debate on Parnell Commission Report.
Thursday.—For ordinary mild-mannered man, JUSTIN MCCARTHY to-night dealt CHARLES LEWIS, Bart., what The Marchioness used to call "a wonner." Yesterday, LEWIS delivered carefully prepared diatribe on Report. Not particularly friendly to Ministers, especially JOKIM; but death on Irish Members. MCCARTHY to-day complained that, without giving notice, Bart. had made personal attack on him; and, what was worse, holding Report in hand, and purporting to quote from it, had misled House on matter of fact.
"But then," said JUSTIN, sweetly smiling, "the Hon. Baronet is a lawyer—a lawyer of the school of Mr. Sampson Brass."
Pretty graphic that; House cheered and laughed, consumedly. But what about the phrase being Parliamentary? Is there to be one rule for Chaplain of House, and another for Member for Derry?
Business done.—Still on Commission Report.
Friday Night.—Supposed to have reached full tide of surging Debate to-night. Been piling up agony all week. Now nearing crisis. Lobbies thrilling with excitement; corridors crowded with senators; competition for SPEAKER'S eye threatens personal danger. A great occasion, a memorable struggle. That's the sort of thing imagined outside by ingenuous public. Fact is, when SPEAKER came back from chop at twenty minutes to nine, House almost as empty as on Wednesday afternoon. Count called; bell rang; only thirty-five Members mustered; no quorum; adjourned.
Business done.—House Counted Out.
* * * * *
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.
* * * * *