OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
MARCH 29, 1890.
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MR. PUNCH'S MORAL MUSIC-HALL DRAMAS.
No. IX.—UNDER THE HARROW.
A Conventional Comedy-Melodrama, in two Acts.
SIR POSHBURY PUDDOCK (a haughty and high-minded Baronet).
VERBENA PUDDOCK (his Daughter).
LORD BLESHUGH (her Lover).
SPIKER (a needy and unscrupulous Adventurer).
BLETHERS (an ancient and attached Domestic).
ACT I.—SCENE—The Morning Room, at Natterjack Hall, Toadley-le-Hole; large window open at back, with heavy practicable sash.
Blethers. Sir POSHBURY'S birthday to-day—his birthday!—and the gentry giving of him presents. Oh, Lor! if they only knew what I could tell 'em!... Ah, and must tell, too, before long—but not yet—not yet! [Exit.
Enter Lord BLESHUGH and VERBENA.
Verb. Yes, Papa is forty to-day; (innocently) fancy living to that age! The tenants have presented him with a handsome jar of mixed pickles, with an appropriate inscription. Papa is loved and respected by every one. And I—well, I have made him a little housewife, containing needles and thread.... See! [Shows it.
Lord Blesh. (tenderly). I say, I—I wish you would make me a little housewife!
[Comedy love-dialogue omitted owing to want of space.
Verb. Oh, do look!—there's Papa crossing the lawn with, oh, such a horrid man following him!
Lord B. Regular bounder. Shocking bad hat!
Verb. Not so bad as his boots, and they are not so bad as his face! Why doesn't Papa order him to go away? Oh, he is actually inviting him in!
Enter Sir POSHBURY, gloomy and constrained, with SPIKER, who is jaunty, and somewhat over-familiar.
Spiker (sitting on the piano, and dusting his boots with a handkerchief). Cosy little shanty you've got here, PUDDOCK—very tasty!
Sir P. (with a gulp). I am—ha—delighted that you approve of it! Ah, VERBENA! [Kisses her on forehead.
Spiker. Your daughter, eh? Pooty gal. Introduce me.
[Sir POSH. introduces him—with an effort.
Verbena. (coldly). How do you do? Papa, did you know that the sashline of this window was broken? If it is not mended, it will fall on somebody's head, and perhaps kill him!
Sir. P. (absently). Yes—yes, it shall be attended to; but leave us, my child, go. BLESHUGH, this—er—gentleman and I have business of importance to discuss.
Spiker. Don't let us drive you away, Miss; your Pa and me are only talking over old times, that's all—eh, POSH?
Sir P. (in a tortured aside). Have a care, Sir, don't drive me too far! (To VERB.) Leave us, I say. (Lord B. and VERB. go out, raising their eyebrows.) Now, Sir, what is this secret you profess to have discovered?
Spiker. Oh, a mere nothing. (Takes out a cigar.) Got a light about you? Thanks. Perhaps you don't recollect twenty-seven years ago this very day, travelling from Edgware Road to Baker Street, by the Underground Railway?
Sir P. Perfectly; it was my thirteenth birthday, and I celebrated the event by a visit to Madame TUSSAUD'S.
Spiker. Exactly; it was your thirteenth birthday, and you travelled second-class with a half-ticket—(meaningly)—on your thirteenth birthday.
Sir P. (terribly agitated). Fiend that you are, how came you to learn this?
Spiker. Very simple. I was at that time in the temporary position of ticket-collector at Baker Street. In the exuberance of boyhood, you cheeked me. I swore to be even with you some day.
Sir P. Even if—if your accusation were well-founded, how are you going to prove it?
Sp. Oh, that's easy! I preserved the half-ticket, on the chance that I should require it as evidence hereafter.
Sir P. (aside). And so the one error of an otherwise blameless boyhood has found me out—at last. (To SPIKER.) I fear you not; my crime—if crime indeed it was—is surely condoned by twenty-seven long years of unimpeachable integrity!
Sp. Bye-laws are bye-laws, old buck! there's no time limit in criminal offences that ever I heard of! Nothing can alter the fact that you, being turned thirteen, obtained a half-ticket by a false representation that you were under age. A line from me, even now, denouncing you to the Traffic Superintendent, and I'm very much afraid——
Sir P. (writhing). SPIKER, my—my dear friend, you won't do that—you won't expose me? Think of my age, my position, my daughter!
Sp. Ah, now you've touched the right chord! I was thinking of your daughter—a nice lady-like gal—I don't mind telling you she fetched me, Sir, at the first glance. Give me her hand, and I burn the compromising half-ticket before your eyes on our return from church after the wedding. Come, that's a fair offer!
Sir P. (indignantly). My child, the ripening apple of my failing eye, to be sacrificed to a blackmailing blackguard like you! Never while I live!
Sp. Just as you please; and, if you will kindly oblige me with writing materials, I will just drop a line to the Traffic Superintendent——
Sir P. (hoarsely). No, no; not that.... Wait, listen; I—I will speak to my daughter. I promise nothing; but if her heart is still her own to give, she may (mind, I do not say she will) be induced to link her lot to yours, though I shall not attempt to influence her in any way—in any way.
Sp. Well, you know your own business best, old Cockalorum. Here comes the young lady, so I'll leave you to manage this delicate affair alone. Ta-ta. I shan't be far off.
[Swaggers insolently out as VERB. enters.
Sir P. My child, I have just received an offer for your hand. I know not if you will consent?
Verb. I can guess who has made that offer, and why. I consent with all my heart, dear Papa.
Sir P. Can I trust my ears! You consent? Noble girl! [He embraces her.
Verb. I was quite sure dear BLESHUGH meant to speak, and I do love him very much.
Sir P. (starting). It is not Lord BLESHUGH, my child, but Mr. SAMUEL SPIKER, the gentleman (for he is at heart a gentleman) whom I introduced to you just now.
Verb. I have seen so little of him, Papa, I cannot love him—you must really excuse me!
Sir P. Ah, but you will, my darling, you will—I know your unselfish nature—you will, to save your poor old dad from a terrible disgrace ... yes, disgrace, listen! Twenty-seven years ago—(he tells her all). VERBENA, at this very moment, there is a subscription on foot in the county to present me with my photograph, done by an itinerant photographer of the highest eminence, and framed and glazed ready for hanging. Is that photograph never to know the nail which even now awaits it? Can you not surrender a passing girlish fancy, to spare your fond old father's fame? Mr. SPIKER is peculiar, perhaps, in many ways—not quite of our monde—but he loves you sincerely, my child, and that is, in itself, a recommendation. Ah, I see—my prayers are vain ... be happy, then. As for me, let the police come—I am ready! [Weeps.
Verb. Not so, Papa; I will marry this Mr. SPIKER, since it is your wish. [Sir POSH. dries his eyes.
Sir P. Here, SPIKER, my dear fellow, it is all right. Come in. She accepts you.
Sp. Thought she would. Sensible little gal! Well, Miss, you shan't regret it. Bless you, we'll be as chummy together as a couple of little dicky-birds!
Verb. Mr. SPIKER, let us understand one another. I will do my best to be a good wife to you—but chumminess is not mine to give, nor can I promise ever to be your dicky-bird.
Enter Lord BLESHUGH.
Lord B. Sir POSHBURY, may I have five minutes with you? VERBENA, you need not go. (Looking at SPIKER.) Perhaps this person will kindly relieve us of his presence.
Sp. Sorry to disoblige, old feller, but I'm on duty where Miss VERBENA is now, you see, as she's just promised to be my wife.
Lord B. Your wife!
Verb. (faintly). Yes, Lord BLESHUGH, his wife!
Sir P. Yes, my poor boy, his wife!
[VERBENA totters, and falls heavily in a dead faint, R.C., upsetting a flower-stand; Lord BLESHUGH staggers, and swoons on sofa, C., overturning a table of knicknacks; Sir POSHBURY sinks into chair, L.C., and covers his face with his hands.
Sp. (looking down on them triumphantly). Under the Harrow, by Gad! Under the Harrow! [Curtain, and end of Act I.
* * * * *
WELL, you have got your way, my lad, And may it prove good all round. Liberal pay is your right, I say, For your grim work underground.
Rise of pay and a shorter day? Excellent things, belike, Yet would they were sought in another way Than the cruel road of a Strike.
I see you've been having a smoke, my lad; What did you see in the smoke? Why, some things good, and many things bad, And nought that is matter for joke.
At every puff there's a picture of gloom, A moral in every pull. Motionless wheels and idle loom, What is their meaning in full?
Capital's greed and Labour's need These be fair matters for fight. Must Trade, though, suffer and poor hearts bleed? Must wrong be the road to right?
Glad there is talk of a better way, Truly 'tis worth the search; For little you'll profit by higher pay If Commerce be left in the lurch.
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* * * * *
A BOAT-RACE VISION.
(By an Oxbridge Enthusiast.)
WINDS from the East may provoke us, Making us angry and ill, Dust of the Equinox choke us, Yet we will welcome thee still, Spring, now the runnels of primrose and crocus Trickle all over the hill;
Now, when the willow and osier Flicker in diffident green; Now, when the poplars are rosier, When the first daisies are seen, And the windows of draper and hosier Are bright with their 'Varsity sheen.
"Not what it was, Sir, in my time," Grumbles a fogey, or two; "Then we had really a high-time, Lord, what mad things we would do! Skylarking! Well, it was sky-time. Blue! It was nothing but blue!"
Well, let the people and papers Say what it please them to say, Shops of the politic drapers Follow them, sombre or gay, "Men" be austere, or cut capers, Still 'tis a glorious day!
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Visions of Sandford or Ely, Baitsbite, or Abingdon Lock, Skies that are stormy or steely, Seas that we ship with a shock, "Coaches," whose mouths are not mealy, "Faithfuls," who riverward flock,
Mornings, inclement and early, Stinted tobacco and beer, Tutors reluctant and surly, "Finals" unpleasantly near— All are forgot in the hurly— Lo! the long looked-for is here!
Now, at the start, as I'm eyeing The back, that I know like a friend, I wonder which flag will be flying In front at the winning-post bend— Shall we triumph, or, fruitlessly trying, Row it out, game to the end?
Point after point we are clearing, Mile after mile we have sped; Multiplied roaring and cheering Sound as they sound to the dead. Surely the end we are nearing! Yes, but I know they're ahead!
Then is the toiling and straining Out of the tail of my eye Somehow I see we are gaining— Look at the wash running by! Now, in the minutes remaining, Somehow we'll do it, or die.
There are blades flashing beside us, Dropping astern one by one. Now they creep up—they have tied us— No! The spurt dies—they are done! Gods of the 'Varsity guide us!— Bang! "Easy all!" We have won!
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THE Coal Strike was easily settled, as all that had to be discussed were "Miner Considerations."
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"FOR THIS RELIEF, MUCH THANKS!"
"As a sign of this gratitude, I confer upon you the dignity of Duke of LAUENBURG, and shall also send you my life-sized Portrait."—The German Emperor to Prince Bismarck.
GOD bless you, dear Prince! Since your purpose is fixed, It is useless, I know, to dissuade you. I permit you to go, though my feelings are mixed, And unmake, as my grandfather made, you. Yet deem not ungrateful your Emperor and King; Let me pay you my thanks at the Court rate. So I make you a Duke, ere I let you take wing, And, O Prince, I will send you my Portrait!
O Pilot undaunted, brave heart and strong hand When our planks were all riven asunder, You alone grasped the helm, and took boldly your stand, Nor blanched at the blast and the thunder. And now, safe in port, we award you a prize Of a value that men of your sort rate. So, Prince, I will have myself painted life-size Every inch, and I'll send you the Portrait.
Fresh storms may be brewing. I'll face them myself. I am young, and, O Prince, you grow older. Stay ashore, if you wish it, retire to the shelf, And let those steer the ship who are bolder. Yet it shall not be said that, in parting from you, Your King gave his thanks at a short rate; So be henceforth a Duke, and accept as your due What I gratefully grant you—my Portrait!
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A RATEPAYER'S REPLY.
To Mr. Stanhope's Latest Serio-comic, Patriotic Song.
YOUR story's good, STANHOPE, as far as it runs, For JOHN BULL, at last, looks like getting his guns. But though you talk big on the strength of the four With which you've just managed to arm Singapore, We would like you to state precisely how long 'Twill take you to get the next batch to Hong Kong! For you talk in a not very confident way Of those that are destined to guard Table Bay. Your speech, too, with doubt seems decidedly laden, When noting the present defences of Aden. Though you finish the list with the news, meant to cheer That Ceylon "should be" safe by the end of the year. You think, to sum up, that a gratified nation Should greet your glad statement with wild jubilation! Well, the country does not get too often a chance Of an honest excuse for a genuine dance, And would step it quite gladly, if only assured It could once from old dodges feel safely secured, Being certain its guns, before setting to caper, Do not exist merely on War-Office paper!
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MR. PUNCH'S DICTIONARY OF PHRASES.
"You are one of the few people with whom I can really enjoy a quiet talk, all to our two selves;" i.e., "I should be very sorry to introduce you to any of my set."
"What, YOU here?"; i.e., "Wonder how the deuce this confounded cad got an invitation."
"Ah, by the way, just let me introduce you to Farrodust. You two fellows ought to know each other;" i.e., "Call that killing two bores with one stone."
"Thanks for a most delightful evening. So sorry to have to run away;" i.e., "Bored to extinction, and fairly famished. Must run down to the Club for a snack and a smoke."
"I'll look at my list when I get home;" i.e., "You don't catch me."
"Drop in any day;" i.e., "When the chances are I shan't be in."
"No party;" i.e., "Must ask him, and do it as cheaply as possible."
"Come as you are;" i.e., "Be careful to wear evening dress."
"Don't trouble to answer;" i.e., "Think it very rude if you don't."
"What! going already!" i.e., "Thank goodness! Thought she'd never move."
"What a fine child!" i.e., "Don't know whether the brat is a boy or girl, but must say something."
(To be continued.)
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(By Mr. Punch's Own Type-Writer.)
No. VI.—THE POLITICAL WOMAN.
THE Political Woman is one upon whom, if she may be believed, the world has never smiled. She avenges herself by recounting her wrongs and those of her sex to all who can be induced to listen to her. In early youth she will have taught herself by a superficial study of political history that all great movements have depended for their success upon Women, and that men, though they may ride on the whirlwind have had but little hand in directing the storm. The base ingratitude which has hitherto attended feminine effort in general, has aroused in her breast a quite particular and personal resentment against all men who have the misfortune to disagree with her. Hence it comes that the males who bask in the sunshine of her approval are but few. It is noticeable, that although she openly despises men, she makes herself, and wishes to make her fellow women as masculine as is compatible with the wearing of petticoats, and the cultivation of habitual inaccuracy of mind. Moreover, although she has a fine contempt, of which she makes no concealment, for most women, she selects as the associates of her political enterprises and her daily life, only those men whose cast of mind would suit better with the wearing of gowns than of trousers.
The Political Woman is far removed from the ordinary members of Primrose Leagues and Women's Federations, with whom the country abounds. Her over-mastering political appetite would find no satisfaction in the mere wearing of badges, the distribution of blankets, the passing of common-place resolutions, or the fearful joy of knowing a secret password and countersign. Such trifles are, in her opinion, mere whets for the political banquet. For herself she requires far stronger meat. From the fact, that the race of women is in physical energy inferior to that of men, she has apparently deduced as an axiom, that nature intended them to be equal in every respect. Few women agree with her, fewer still show any desire for the supposed boons to the attainment of which she is constantly urging them. Yet, the knowledge of these facts only seems to render the Political Woman more determined in the prosecution of her quest, and more bitter in her attacks upon men.
At school the Political Woman will have been highly thought of as a writer of vigorous essays, in which unconventional opinions were expressed, in ungrammatical language. She will have formed a Debating Society amongst her fellow-pupils, and, having caused herself to be elected perpetual President, she will leave the Presidential arm-chair at the beginning of every debate, in order to demolish by anticipation all who may venture to speak after her. She will play various kinds of music upon the piano with a uniform vigour that would serve well for the beating of carpets, and will express much scorn for the feeble beings who use the soft pedal, or indulge in the luxury of a "touch."
Having left school with an ill-assorted mass of miscellaneous knowledge, she will show her contempt for ordinary feminine accomplishments by refusing to attend dances, and by crushing mild young men whom misfortune may have thrown in her way. Having discovered from one of these that he imagines the Rebecca Riots to be an incident of Old Testament History, and has no definite views upon the currency question, she will observe, in a tone of some bitterness, that "These are our Governors!" and, having left him in a state of collapse, will scale the ramparts of political discussion, in company with a Professor, who happens to be unmarried and a Member of Parliament. After making love for some months, by means of an interchange of political tracts, these two will be married in a registrar's office, and will spend their honeymoon in investigating the social requirements of Italian organ-grinders.
From this moment she exists chiefly as a Member or President of innumerable Committees. No sooner does the shadow of a political idea flit through her brain, than she forms a Committee to promote its development. When not engaged in forming or in sitting upon Committees, she occupies herself in delivering lectures "to Women only," or in discussing the Woman's Suffrage question with the Member of Parliament for her district (whom she despises) by means of letters, which she subsequently publishes in the journal of which she is, by this time, the proprietor, editor, and staff combined.
In a regrettable moment of absent-mindedness she bore to the Professor a son, whom she brings up on Spartan principles, and little else. Her home is a centre of slatternly discomfort. She rises early, but, having locked herself into her study, for the better composition of a discourse on "The Sacred Right of Revolt for Women," she forgets that both the tea and the coffee are locked in with her, and learns subsequently with surprise, but without regret, that her husband drank water to his breakfast. She then proceeds to regenerate the working-man, by proving to him, that his wife is a miserable creature for submitting to his sway, and rouses an audience of spectacled enthusiasts to frenzy by proclaiming, that she is ready to lead them to the tented field for the assertion of rights which the malignity of men has filched from them. Later on, she presides over her various Committees, and she returns home to find that her child has burnt himself by falling on to the dining-room fire, and that her cook has given warning.
She will eventually fail to be elected a member of the School Board, and having written a strong book on a delicate social question, will die of the shock of seeing it adversely reviewed in The Spectator.
* * * * *
THE great success which, in their own estimation, has attended the endeavour to establish a series of Night Field Sports in the neighbourhood of Melton Mowbray, so dashingly led off recently with a regular across country Steeple Chase, "by lamplight," has, it is said, induced the spirited organisers to extend their field of experiment; and it is alleged that tennis, golf, hockey, and football are all to be tried in turn, under the new conditions. That some excitement may be reasonably looked for from the projected contests may be gathered from a reference to the subjoined score, put on paper by the newly constituted "Melton Mowbray Midnight Eleven," who, in a recent trial of strength with a distinguished local Club, it will be seen, showed some capital, if original play, in meeting their opponents in the national game, conducted under what must have been necessarily somewhat novel and unfamiliar conditions.
The boundaries of the field in which the wickets were pitched were marked out with night-lights, the only other illumination being supplied by a couple of moderator lamps, held respectively by the Umpire and Square-leg. The costume, of course, comprised a night-shirt and a pair of bed-room slippers, with which was also worn a pink dressing-gown,—pink being the colour adopted by the Club. Owing to the absence of any moon, and also to the fact that the night was a rather boisterous one, on account of the persistency both of wind and rain, the play suffered from some disadvantages. However, the Eleven went pluckily to the wicket with the following result:—
Mr. GEORGE P-G-T, mistaking, in the obscurity, the Umpire for his wicket, gets out of his ground, and is instantly stumped out 0
Mr. SYDNEY P-G-T treads on his wicket 0
Mr. OTTO P-G-T takes the Wicket-keeper's head for the ball, and trying to "play it to leg," gives it in consequence such a severe blow, that he is obliged to accompany the Wicket-keeper in a cab to a hospital without finishing his innings 0
Mr. W. CH-PL-N treads on his wicket 0
Count Z-BR-SKI makes 497 in one hit. The ball being, however, only three yards off, but escaping notice, owing to the darkness, he is kept on the move for twenty-nine min. and a half 497
Mr. A. B-RN-BY stumbles over his wicket 0
Mr. G. W-LS-N sits on his wicket 0
Captain R-B-NS-N run out through losing his way in trying to find the wicket 0
Mr. E. H-N-AGE trying a forward drive, but not able to see, plays the whole of his wicket into the face of cover-point, whom he severely bruises, and is, consequently, given out 0
Captain W-RN-R takes the Long-stop for the Bowler; and, so getting the wrong side of his wicket, is bowled out in his first over 0
Mr. MCN-L misled by the lights on the adjacent hedges, making a hit, loses his way in trying a run; and finally, wandering into a neighbouring field, unable to make his way in the dark, rests in a ditch, in which he ultimately goes to sleep,—Not Out 0
Wides (bowled chiefly at the Umpire). 1322 Byes, &c. 704 —— 2523
At the conclusion of the innings, as daylight was beginning to break, it was determined to draw the stumps, it being settled that play should be resumed on the following midnight, when the opposing team were to take their turn at the wicket.
* * * * *
"POUR LES BEAUX YEUX."—Last week Dr. OGLE lectured excellently well and very wisely on the statistics of marriage in England. Altogether, it appears that this is not a marrying age. Those young men and maidens who are in search of partners for life, must keep their eyes open, and——Ogle. Very leery advice would be expected from anyone of the name of OGLE.
* * * * *
ROBERT ON THE BOAT-RACE.
AT the moment as I rites on the most importentest ewent of the hopening Spring, the warst majority of the four millions on us is a passing their days and nites in wundering which blew side will win. Why they is both blew, puzzles me. If so be as they was both saleing boats, in course I coud unnerstand it, but, as they ain't, I gives up the puzzle, and gos a-head.
By the by, BROWN has given me a strate tip, which I ginerously gives to all my numerus readers. If it's a nice light day, Cambrige will suttenly win; but if it's a dull, dark day, Hoxford will suttenly not lose. So if any of my frends drops their money, it suttenly won't be my fault.
I remember as one year we had 'em all to dinner at the Manshun House after the Race, and werry remarkabel fine appytites they all seemed to have, winners and loosers alike. I spose as Hoxford lost that time, and most likely from the same cause. For I remembers as the Company werry kindly drunk the elth of the man who pulled the ropes on that occasion, and he was just sech another little feller as the won as lost last year, and wen he returned thanks he sed werry wisely, I thort, as he shood never pull the ropes again in a great match, for if your boat won nobody didn't give you no praise for it, but if it lost, everybody said as it was your fault.
I seed a good many of my respected Paytrons on that ocasion a injoying of theirselves in their serveral ways. The Maria Wood state Barge was there in all her glory, and plenty of gay company aboard, including several members of the honoured Copperashun. In fack you ginerally sees a fair number on 'em when there's anythink a going forred, whether of a usefool or a hornymental caracter. One or two other wessels carried their onered flag. But I looked in wane for any, the werry slightest, simptom of the County Counsel of London having put in a appearance. Poor Fellers, what with plenty of dull, dry hard work, and not a partikle of rashnal injoyment, no not ewen such a trifle as a bit of free wittles or a drop of free drink, what will they be looking like at the end of their second year of hoffis? Why it's my beleef as their werry best frends won' kno 'em. No wunder as they all wants to get free admissions to all the Theaters and Music Alls. Rayther shabby idear for a full blown County Counsellor, when a shilling will take him amost anywheres.
I thinks upon the hole as I prefers a Boat Race to an Horse Race. In the fust place the grand excitement lasts much longer, in the nex place of course their ain't no crewel whipping and spurring of the two gallant Crews to make 'em go faster than possible, in the nex place their ain't not no dust, and what a blessed loss that is I spose most on us knows by his own blinded xperience, in the nex place there ain't but werry little showting and borling and skreaming, and far beyond all, one is abel direckly after the race is over, insted of rushing off to a scrowged tent and paying 3s. 6d. for a bit of cold beef, werry Carelessly served, to set down carmly and comfortably in one's littel cabbin, and partake in peas and quiet of all the good things as kind friends has purvided, while gliding smoothly along our own butifool River a returnin to that peacefool home to witch one's thorts allers naterally turns wen the plesure or the bizziness of the day is all over, and our strengths is replenisht with plenty of good wittles and drink.
* * * * *
"GO TO BATH!"—Yes, to make sketches and flattering comments, but not to ridicule the dulness and dinginess of the place, or the local papers will "slate" you. They don't like "the New Bath Guy'd!"
* * * * *
"LENTEN ENTERTAINMENT."—Going to see SUCCI the fasting man. By the way, very wrong of SUCCI not to avail himself of the Papal dispensation.
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * *
DROPPING THE PILOT.
GREAT Pilot, whom so many storms have tried, To see thee quit the helm at last, at last, And slow descend that vessel's stately side, Whilst yet waves surge and skies are overcast, Wakes wondering memories of that mighty past, Shaped by a guiding hand, Strong to direct as strenuous to command. When yet did a great ship on the great sea Drop Pilot like to thee?
The "wakeful Palinurus" of old song Drowsed at the last, and floods his corpse did whelm; But thou hast ever been alert as strong, Pilot who never slumbered at the helm. Impetuous youth aspires to rear a realm, And the State-bark to steer In other fashion. Is it faith or fear Fills the old Pilot's spirit as he moves Slow from the post he loves?
No "branch in Lethe dipped by Morpheus" slacks This Pilot's sight, or vanquishes his force. The ship he leaves may steer on other tacks; Will the new Palinurus hold her course With hand as firm and skill of such resource? He who, AEneas-like, Now takes the helm himself, perchance may strike On sunken shoals, or wish, on the wild main, The old Pilot back again.
These things are on the knees of the great gods; But, hap what hap, that slow-descending form, Which oft hath stood with winds and waves at odds, And almost single-handed braved the storm, Shows an heroic shape; and high hearts warm To that stout grim-faced bulk Of manhood looming large against the hulk Of the great Ship, whose course, at fate's commands, He leaves to lesser hands!
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, March 17.—St. Patrick's Day in the evening. Every Irish Member carries in buttonhole bit of withered grass; at least looks like withered grass. DICK POWER says it's shamrock. Anyhow it leads to dining-out, and business to fore being nothing more important than voting a few millions sterling for the Navy, House almost empty.
"So much the better for me," says GEORGIE HAMILTON, in charge of Navy Estimates; "the fewer Members the more Votes."
So it proved. Whilst GEORGIE descanting on excellence of Naval Administration, House so empty that Count moved. A little hard this on a Minister in charge of most important department of State; but, after all, Votes were the thing, and Votes were taken hand-over-hand. GEORGIE'S oration being cut short by attempt to Count he sat down, and as quick as Chairman could put question L3,312,500 of our hard-earned money was voted. Hadn't been in the House five minutes when bang went another million. Only half-a-dozen of us present, including WILSON of Hull, who sat on edge of Bench, with hat in hand, staring at COURTNEY, as he ticked off million after million. For myself, as representing a Constituency of the Gentlemen of England, grew rather to like it. Something exhilarating in the consciousness that you, being one of eight Members representing the House of Commons, can say "Aye" or "No" to proposal to vote a million sterling more or less. "The question is," says COURTNEY, "that a sum not exceeding L1,103,200 be voted to HER MAJESTY on account of sums falling due for victualling, clothing and Naval establishments. Those that are of that opinion, say 'Aye;' contrary 'No.'"
Well, what shall you do? Pretty stiff sum; get a pretty lot of victuals for the million; several suits of clothes for the L103,000. Should you, just to show your independence, knock off the odd L200? No. Barks likes the thing done generously. Why throw in a note of discord? Besides, it doesn't all come out of your pocket. So you say "Aye;" GEORGIE HAMILTON nods in grateful appreciation; COURTNEY seems relieved; the thing's done, and you walk out with a glowing consciousness of having behaved handsomely.
Slight coolness sprung up between OLD MORALITY and GRANDOLPH. Of late been on rather friendly terms, despite occasional kicking over of the traces by GRANDOLPH.
"Boys will be boys," OLD MORALITY says, smiling genially on his young friend. To-day little hitch arisen; GRANDOLPH has sent to papers text of his Memorandum addressed to FIRST LORD of TREASURY in 1888, warning them against appointing Special Commission. GRANDOLPH, having set forth with masterly force his objections to scheme, winds up with remark:—"These reflections have been sketched out concisely. If submitted to a Statesman, many more, and much graver reflections, would probably be suggested." OLD MORALITY hadn't noticed it before; but now words in print stare him in face, doesn't like it. "'Submitted to a Statesman,'" he murmured—"what does the fellow mean? Weren't they submitted to Me?"
Business done.—Voted money by hands-full.
Tuesday.—As a means of suffusing Treasury Bench with hearty, unaffected hilarity, nothing so effective as a defeat in Division Lobby. Noticed this twice of late. The other night, when HAMLEY'S Motion on behalf of Volunteers was, malgre lui, carried against the Government, you'd have thought, to look on Treasury Bench, that some good news had suddenly flashed upon them. OLD MORALITY beaming with smiles; STANHOPE smirking; and even the countenance of JOKIM convulsively working with what was understood to be signs of merriment. Same thing happened to-night. BUCHANAN brought forward Motion proposing to intrust to County Councils duty of maintaining and protecting rights of way in Scotland. Scotch Members united in support of popular demand, only MARK STEWART having his doubts. Even FINLAY made bold to hint Government would do well to listen to demand. CHAMBERLAIN openly and effectively declared on behalf of Resolution; Government seemed to be in tight place; OLD MORALITY moved uneasily in seat; still it would never do to interfere with Dukes and others furtively or openly engaged in the task of closing up paths over mountains, or shutting off walks by the lakes. Very awkward and inconsiderate of CHAMBERLAIN going off on this tack.
"Can't eat your cake and have it, you know," OLD MORALITY said, unconsciously forming the words on his copy of the Orders in large copy-book hand, "Mustn't play fast and loose with custodians of the Union. Oughtn't to look back when you put your hand to the plough. Should go the whole hog or none." These and other comforting phrases he wrote out in best copper-plate, filling up time whilst House cleared for Division. But when Tellers came back, and it was known that Resolution was carried against Government, clouds passed away.
OLD MORALITY tore up his copy-book headings, thrust hands in pockets; assumed truculently jovial air; nearly died of laughing when SPEAKER announced figures showing Government had been defeated by 13. His hilarity contagious. Mr. BIDDULPH standing for a moment in the doorway below the shadow of the Gallery, looked on, his face slowly broadening into responsive smile.
"Well," said he, "of all the rollicking dogs I ever came across, there never was a pack to equal Her Majesty's Ministers in the hour of defeat."
Business done.—BUCHANAN'S Right of Way Motion carried against Government by 110 against 97.
Wednesday.—"I like this quite quiet hour, TOBY," said the SPEAKER, as I sat on the Treasury Bench, he at Table, waiting for a quorum. "It gives me opportunity of reading in Freeman's Journal verbatim reports of speeches by TANNER, SHEEHY, and WILLIAM REDMOND. Heard them delivered, of course; but there are some pleasures one likes to renew."
Should have begun business at twelve; now getting on for one. ALBERT ROLLIT in charge of Bankruptcy Bill with back to wall waiting for a quorum. "Must see," he says, "if I can't frame Clause dealing specially with Parliamentary proceedings. We shall shortly be bankrupt here if this sort of thing goes on. Composition of four and a-half hours' sitting on Wednesday afternoon scarcely enough to justify honourable discharge."
Everything comes to man who waits. Quorum came for ROLLIT. Numbers increased as he proceeded with singularly lucid address, investing even Bankruptcy with subtle charms. Gave the tone to thoroughly business Debate; and, even in less than the maimed period of time allotted, had carried his Bill through Second Reading.
Business done.—Bankruptcy Bill read Second Time.
Thursday.—JOHN O'CONNOR pervading House with profoundest mystery. When Orders of Day called on, JOHN rose to his full height (6 foot 4 of human kindness and geniality), and said, "Mr. SPEAKER!" Motion was, that House should go into Committee of Supply. According to New Rules, SPEAKER leaves Chair without putting Question; Question not put, obvious no one could discuss it. But here was JOHN insisting on catching the SPEAKER'S eye.
"Mr. SPEAKER!" he repeated, "I want to discuss some of the irregularities of the Government."
But SPEAKER had executed strategic retreat; Chair empty; JOHN standing on tiptoe, followed retreating figure with despairing cry, "Mr. SPEAKER!" House half hoped SPEAKER would return; dying with curiosity to know what fresh irregularity on part of Government JOHN had discovered; but no help for it. Chair empty; technically "No House;" and JOHN, slowly subsiding, shutting up like a reluctant telescope, resumed seat.
Prince ARTHUR, back from Golf at Eastbourne, looking better for his holiday, lounged on Treasury Bench watching scene. "Alas!" he cried, eyeing JOHN with dreamy glance, what time the fingers of his hand—a strayed reveller—fitfully played with the rolled copy of his Orders, as if it were his cherished Mandoline—
"Alas for those who never sing, But die with all their music in them."
Business done.—Vote on Account passed.
Friday.—Lords had nice little "plant" on to-night. The SAGE OF QUEEN ANNE'S GATE got first place in other House for Motion decreeing their abolition. "Such larks!" says the MARKISS; "let's get up big debate here on House of Commons subject; draw away their men; leave SAGE in lurch."
So arranged Debate on Report of Parnell Commission for to-night. Full dress affair; all the big guns to go off; Curiosity as to how they'd treat too familiar subject. Plan answered admirably. Both shows running together, Lords, as most novel entertainment, fuller spectacular entertainment, drew the cake. Instead of crowded House that usually waits when SAGE lunges at the Lords, beggarly array of empty Benches. Rather depressing even for imperturbable SAGE. Little later, Members finding things dull in Lords, came back in time to hear GEORGE CURZON. Capital speech; sparkle on the top; but some quiet depths of closely reasoned argument below.
Business done.—SAGE'S Motion for abolition of Lords negatived by 201 Votes against 139. Thus reprieved, Lords ordered Report of Parnell Commission to be duly recorded.
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THE OLD BOND-STREET GALLERIES.
WHY they are called the Old Bond-Street Galleries, when there is so much that is new to be seen there, it is impossible to say. Why not call it the New Gallery? Perhaps those trusty Tudors—who are rather more than two doors off—Messrs. COMYNS CARR and HALLE, might object, and, even then, only half the truth would be told. Let us ag-gravate them, and call it the Ag-New Gallery at once! Unless it would be considered an ag-rarian outrage, it would be impossible to give it a better ag-nomen. Ha! ha! No matter what you call it, so long as you call and see the collection of Water-colours. There is a vastly good "Pygmalion and Galatea," by our own JOHN TENNIEL; there are some tender Idyls, by FREDERICK WALKER, a delicious "Reverie," by LESLIE, a delightful "Pet," by E. K. JOHNSON, wondrous Landscapes, by BIRKET FOSTER, a riverain poem, by C. J. LEWIS, and Dutch Symphonies, by WILFRID BALL. Sir JOHN GILBERT, T. S. COOPER, and F. DICKSEE, are well represented; and among the earlier Water-colour Masters we may find such distinguished names as J. M. W. TURNER, P. de WINT, COPLEY FIELDING, and DAVID COX. There are lots of others, and, if you are left to browse amid nearly three hundred excellent pictures, you ought to enjoy yourself very much indeed, and find your mind so much improved when you come out, that you will think it belongs to somebody else. In spite then of the carping of CARR, and the hallucinations of HALLE, we declare this to be the Ag-New Gallery.
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"LA Nona."—Is the new malady fact or fiction? Don't know, but anyhow it's your "Grandmother."
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