OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
August 16, 1890.
(BY MR. PUNCH'S OWN TYPE WRITER.)
NO. XVII.—THE SPURIOUS SPORTSMAN.
There is in sport, as in Society, a class of men who aspire perpetually towards something as perpetually elusive, which appears to them, rightly or wrongly, to be higher and nobler than their actual selves. But whereas a man may be of and in Society, without effort, by the mere accident of birth or wealth, in sport, properly understood, achievement of some kind is necessary before admission can be had to the sacred circle of the elect. What the snob is to Society, the Spurious Sportsman is to sport; and thus where the former seeks to persuade the world that he is familiar with the manners, and accustomed to the intimate friendship of the great and highly placed, the latter will hold himself out as one who, in every branch of sport has achieved many notable feats on innumerable occasions.
Such a man, of course, is not without knowledge on the matters of which he speaks. He has probably hunted several times without pleasure, or fished or shot here and there without success. But upon these slender foundations he could not rear the stupendous fabric of his deeds unless he had read much, and listened carefully to the narrations of others. By the aid of a lively and unscrupulous imagination, he gradually transmutes their experiences into his own. What he has read becomes, in the end, what he has done, and thus, in time, the Spurious Sportsman is sent forth into the world equipped in a dazzling armour of sporting mendacity. And yet mendacity is, perhaps, too harsh a word; for it is of the essence of true falsehood that it should hope to be believed, in order that it may deceive. But, in the Spurious Sportsman's ventures into the marvellous, there is generally something that gives ground for the exercise of charity, and the appalled listener may hope that even the narrator is not so thoroughly convinced of the reality of his exploits as he would, apparently, desire others to be. And there is this also to be said in excuse, that sport, which calls for the exercise of some of the noblest attributes of man's nature, not infrequently leads him into mean traps and pitfalls. For there are few men who can aver, with perfect accuracy, that they have never added a foot or two to their longest shot, or to the highest jump of their favourite horse, and have never, in short, exaggerated a difficulty in order to increase the triumph of overcoming it. But the modesty that confines most men within reasonable limits of untruthfulness has no restraining power over the Spurious Sportsman, to whom somewhat, therefore, may be forgiven for the sake of the warning he affords.
He is, as a rule, a dweller in London, for it is there that he finds the largest stock of credulity and tolerance. To walk with him in the streets, or to travel with him in a train, is to receive for nothing a liberal education in sport. No man has ever shot a greater number of rocketing pheasants with a more unerring accuracy than he has—in Pall Mall, St. James's Street, or Piccadilly. He will point out to you the exact spot where he would post himself if the birds were being driven from St. James's Square over the Junior Carlton Club. He will then expatiate learnedly on angle, and swing, and line of flight, and having raised his stick suddenly to his shoulder, by way of an example, will knock off the hat of an inoffensive passer-by. This incident will remind him of an adventure he had while shooting with Lord X.—"A deuced good chap at bottom; a bit stiff at first, but the best fellow going when you really know him"—through the well-known coverts of his lordship's estate. When travelling safely in a railway-carriage, he is the boldest cross-country rider in existence. He will indicate to you a fence full of dangers, and having taught you how it may best be cleared, will add, that it is nothing to one that he jumped last season with the Quytchley. "My dear Sir," he will say, "a man who was riding behind me was so astounded that he measured it then and there with a tape he happened to have with him; Six foot of post and rail as stiff as an iron-clad, and twenty foot of gravel-pit beyond." He will also speak with infinite contempt of those who "crane" or stick to the roads. It will sometimes happen to him to get invited—really invited—to an actual country house where genuine sport is carried on. Here, however, he will generally have brought with him his wrong gun, or his "idiot of a man" will have packed the wrong kind of cartridges, or his horse will have suddenly developed an unaccountable trick of refusing, which results in a crushed hat and a mud-stained coat for his rider. These little accidents will by no means dash his spirits, or impair his volubility in the smoking-room, where he may be heard conducting a dull discussion on sporting records, or carrying on an animated controversy about powder, size of shot or bore, choke, the proper kind of gaiter, or the right stamp of horse for the country. Having shot with indifferent results on a very big day through coverts, he will afterwards aver that such sport is very poor fun, and that what he really cares about is a tramp over heather or turnips, and a small bag at the end of the day; but if he should ever be found on a grouse moor, or a partridge shooting, he will sneer at the inferior quality of a sport which requires that a man should exhaust himself with useless walking exercise before he gets near his birds. "Covert-shooting is the game, my boy;" he will say, "most difficult thing in the world when the pheasants are tall, and the finest test of a real sportsman," and with that he will miss his twentieth grouse, and call down imprecations on the dogs, the light, the keeper, and his own companions.
The Spurious Sportsman is often an officer of the auxiliary forces. He knows by heart every button of the British Army, talks much upon questions of discipline, and has a more sharply defined and more permanent mark of sunburn across his forehead than any regular officer. He is also a great stickler for etiquette, and prefers to be addressed as Major or Colonel, as the case may be. He bears his rank upon his visiting-cards, and frequents a military Club. In the society of other Spurious Sportsmen he is at his best and noblest. They gather together at their resorts, each with the sincere conviction that every other member of the little coterie is a confirmed humbug. Yet they never fail to bring their store of goods, their anecdotes, their experiences, their adventures, and their feats, to a market where admiration and applause are paid down with a liberal hand; for though all know their fellows to be impostors, they are content to sink this knowledge in the desire to gain acceptance and credence for themselves, and thus there never comes a whisper of doubt, hesitation, or disbelief to mar the perfect harmony in which the Spurious Sportsmen live amongst themselves. Yet, when they have separated, they never fail to hold one another up to ridicule and contempt.
The Spurious Sportsman thus spends the greater part of his life in building up a reputation out of nothing. As time goes on, he becomes more and more anecdotically experienced, and, if possible, even less actual. He will have lost his nerve for riding, and a sight which gets daily weaker will have caused him to abandon even the pretence of handling his gun; but he will seek a recompense by becoming a sporting authority, and will pass a doddering old age in lamenting over the decay of all those qualities which formerly made a sportsman a sportsman, and a man a man.
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MR. PUNCH'S DICTIONARY OF PHRASES.
"My right honourable and learned friend;" i.e., "A professional politician, devoid alike of principle and capacity."
"I pass from that matter;" i.e., "Find it somewhat embarrassing."
"I don't know where my honourable friend gets his facts from;" i.e., "He should try and get out of his inveterate habit of lying."
"A monument of antiquated Norman tyranny," or, "A relic of early English fraud and ignorance;" i.e., "A statute which I and my Party wish to repeal."
"The most precious constitutional legacy of those who fought and bled," &c., &c.; i.e., Ditto ditto impugned by the opposite Party.
"I am instructed, my Lord, that this is, in fact, the case;" i.e., "I see that, as usual, you have got upon a false scent; but as this suits the book of my client, the solicitor (whose nod at this moment may mean anything, and, therefore, why not approval?), I encourage the mistake."
LECTURER AT A BATTLE PANORAMA.
"It is a well-known historical fact that—;" i.e., "You needn't believe a word of it."
"A bank of heavy clouds lowers in the horizon;" i.e., "The black paint has been laid on thick."
"The plain stretches far away;" i.e., "About five yards."
* * * * *
'ARRY ON THE 'OLIDAY SEASON.
Dear CHARLIE,—'Ow are yer, my pippin? 'Ere's 'oliday season come round, And I'm off on the galoot somewheres, and that pooty soon, you be bound; But afore I make tracks for dear Parry, or slope for the Scheldt or the Rhine, My 'art turns to turmuts and you, and I feel I must drop yer a line.
You gave me a invite this season, I know, my dear boy. Well, yer see It's this way. The green tooral-looral's all right, but it 'ardly suits Me! When you're well in the swim, my dear CHARLIE, along o' the reglar eleet, You must do as they do, for a swell, like a Bobby, must stick to his beat.
It's expected, old man, it's expected. Jest fancy me slinging my 'ook For old Turmutshire, going out nuttin', or bobbing for fish in a brook! Not der wriggle, dear boy, I assure you. Could stars of Mayfair be content To round upon Rome or the Riggi, and smug up in Surrey or Kent?
No fear! Cherry orchards is pooty, and 'ops 'as admirers, no doubt; But it's only when sport is afoot as the country's worth fussin' about. Your toff likes the turmuts or stubbles when poultry is there to be shot. But corn-fields and cabbage-beds, CHARLIE? Way oh! that's all middle-class rot.
There wos a time, CHARLIE, I own it, when Richmond 'ud do me to rights. And a fortnight at Margit meant yum-yum to look for and dream on o' nights; I was innercent then, a young geeser, too modest for this world, dear boy; Didn't know you'd to do wot was proper, and not what you think you'd enjoy.
Ah! Nobbles obliges, old pardner, and great is the power of "form"; Rads may rail at "the clarses" like ginger, but all on us likes to be "warm," And rub shoulders with suckles more shiny. Wy, life's greatest pulls, dont cherknow, Are to look up to sparklers above us, and down on poor duffers below.
'Ardly know wich is lummiest, swelp me! It's nuts to 'ook on to a swell, Like I did at a Primrose meet lately with sweet Lady CLARE CARAMEL. When her sunshade shone red on my face, mate, me givin' my arm through the crush, Wy I felt like Mong Blong in the mornin', and looked like a bride, one big blush.
NODDY SPRIGGINS, he spotted me, CHARLIE,—him being left out in the cold,— And to see him sit down on his topper, and turn off as yaller as gold, Wos as good as a pantermime. Oh! if there's one thing more nicer than pie, It's to soar like a bird in the sight of the flats as can't git on the fly.
But I'm wandering, CHARLIE, I'm wandering. 'Oliday form is my text. Last year it was Parry and Switzerland; 'ardly know where to go next. I should much like to try Monty Carlo, and 'ave a fair flutter for once, But I fear it won't run to it, pardner; my boss is the dashdest old dunce.
Won't raise me to three quid a week, the old skinflint. Though travelling's cheap, It do scatter the stamps jest a few, if you don't care to go on the creep. Roolette might jest set me up proper, but then, dontcherknow, it might not, And I fear I should come back cleared out, if my luck didn't land me a pot.
Oh, dash them spondulicks! The pieces is all as I wants for my 'elth. And then them darned Sosherlist jugginses 'owl till all's blue agin Wealth. It gives me the ditherums, CHARLIE; it do, dear old man, and no kid. Wy, they 'd queer the best pitches in life, if they kiboshed the Power of the Quid!
There's Venice again! I could start this next week with a couple o' pals; But yer gondoler's 'ardly my form, and I never wos nuts on canals. WAGGLES says they're not like the Grand Junction, as creeps sewer-like through our parks; Well, WAGGLES may sniff; I'm not sure, up to now, mate, as Venice means larks.
'Arf a mind to try Parry once more. It's a place as you soon git to love; There is always some fun afoot there, as will keep a chap fair on the shove. Pooty scenery's all very proper, but glaciers and snow-peaks do pall, And as to yer bloomin' Black Forests, the Bor der Boolong beats 'em all.
After all, there is something quite 'ome-like in Parry—so leastways I think; It's a place where you don't seem afraid to larf 'arty, or tip gals the wink; Sort o' san janey feeling about it, my pippin'—you know wot I mean. You don't feel too fur from old Fleet Street, steaks, "bitter," and "God Save the Queen!"
When your Britisher travels, he travels, but likes to be Britisher still; With his Times and his "tub" he is 'appy; without 'em he's apt to feel ill. Wy, when I was last year in Parry, I went for a Bullyvard crawl One night arter supper, when who should I spot but my pal BOBBY BALL.
He wos doin' the gay at a Caffy, was BOB, petty vair, and all that, Togged up to the nines with his claw-hammer, cuff-shooters, gloves, and crush-hat. "Wot cheer, BOBBY, old buster!" I bellered; and up from his paper he looks. Ah! and didn't we 'ave a rare night on it, CHARLIE! We both know our books.
But wot do you think BOB was reading? The Times! I could twig it at once. He might 'ave 'ung on to Gil Blars, or the Figgero,—BOB ain't a dunce— But lor! not a bit on it, CHARLIE; the Britisher stuck out to rights; 'Twas JOHN BULL's big, well-printed old broad-sheet! Jest one of the pootiest sights!
TORTONI'S is all very spiffing, the Bullyvard life is A 1, And the smart little journals of Parry, though tea-paper rags, is good fun; But a Briton abroad is a Briton; chic, spice, azure pictures, rum crimes, Is all very good biz in their way, but they do not make up for our Times!
Well, I'm not on for Turmutshire, CHARLIE, not this time; and now you know why. Carn't yer jest turn the tables, old hoyster, and come for a bit of a fly? Cut the chawbacons, run up to London, jine me, and we'll pal off to Parry; And if yer don't find it a 'Oliday Skylark, wy, never trust.
* * * * *
VICE VERSA.—The French Ministers are away from Paris for their vacation. M. DEVELLE, it is said, has gone to La Bourboule. This is better for the place than La Bourboule going to the Develle.
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* * * * *
THE GERMAN HINTERLAND.
(NEW SONG TO AN OLD TUNE.)
Where is the German Hinterland? Wherever on a foreign strand There lies a handy sea-coast track, With fertile country at its back, On which to lay a Teuton hand; There is the German Hinterland!
Where is the German Hinterland? Wherever commerce can expand, Without much danger or expense, O'er someone's "sphere of influence,"— That "someone" failing to withstand— There is the German Hinterland!
* * * * *
A PUZZLE.—The Dunlo case came to an end. Miss BELLE BILTON remains Lady DUNLO—and quite right too. Yet, if she is still the wife of Lord DUNLO, how is it that she is engaged to AUGUSTUS DRURIOLANUS? Yet such is the fact. Is she to be the Belle of the Beauty and the Beast (Pantomime)? If so, her Ladyship will look splendid, as she is a Belle Built 'un.
* * * * *
PROVERBIAL PARLIAMENTARY PHILOSOPHY.—"The course of business never did run smooth."—W.H. SMITH.
* * * * *
The paper on "Old Q.," in the Gentleman's Magazine, by EDWARD WALFORD, M.A., is interesting up to a certain point, but after that disappointing. "Oliver," says the Baron, impersonating Oliver for the time being, "asks for more." And much the same observation have I to make on another paper about Irish Characters in English Dramatic Literature, by W.J. LAWRENCE. Although the writer ranges from SHAKESPEARE to BOUCICAULT, and mentions authors, plays, and actors, yet he has omitted HUDSON who, after POWER and, before BOUCICAULT, was, in his own particular line, one of the best delineators of Irish character on the stage. He played chivalrous parts that BOUCICAULT would not have attempted. There are historical Irish types still to be represented; and when Irish melodrama, with its secret plots, murders, wicked land-agents, jovial muscular-christian priests, comic male peasants, and pretty and virtuous female ditto, shall have taken a rest for a while, Irish Comedy may yet have its day.
The very best letter I have ever seen on this important subject appeared August 9th, written by that eminent author, who makes a vain attempt at concealing his identity under the signature of "ARCHIMILLION," and addressed to the Great Journalistic Twin Brethren, the Editorial Proprietors and Proprietorial Editors of The Whirlwind, whose Court Circular reporter (this by the way) might appropriately adopt the historic name of "BLASTUS, the King's Chamberlain." The argument in ARCHIMILLION'S remarkable letter is decidedly sound. But surely he is wrong in supposing that the astral reverberation of the podasma (one in six) could possibly be ratiocinated on the coleoptic intensity! Perhaps he will deny that he ever said so. But did he mean it? To me this has been the sweet familiar study of a lifetime, and, without boastful egoism, I may say I am considered, by all who know anything about the matter, a first-rate authority on this subject, or on any other, says
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
* * * * *
TIT FOR TAT!
(FROM A HISTORY OF ENGLAND, TO BE WRITTEN IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.)
The Intelligent Foreigner carefully picked his way amongst the ruins to Downing Street, and was soon in consultation with the Premier.
"This merely is a call of courtesy," he observed; "of course I am not in the least bound to give you notice, but think it civil to do so."
The British Premier bowed, as if inviting farther particulars.
"Well, O-HANG-HIT and I have settled everything," continued the Visitor; "he takes the Isle of Wight, while I assume the Protectorate of Scotland, India, and the Channel Islands."
"What!" exclaimed the British Premier, aghast at the information. "And what if we resist?"
"Resist!" laughed the New Zealander, "Why that would cost a halfpenny in the pound more Income Tax, and your rate-payers would never submit to that! Besides, our disease-spreading torpedoes (to which our own people are acclimatised) would soon silence opposition!"
"Very true," returned the British Premier, sorrowfully, "very true, indeed. Well, and what next?"
"Then O-HANG-HIT has a monopoly of English Beer, and we consent to the cession of Gibraltar to DUNT-KAR-ACUSSER. The simplest thing in the world!"
"But where do I come in?" asked the Briton.
"Oh, you don't come in at all. But don't be alarmed, we are only contributing our quota to the glorious cause of Peace!" And the Intelligent Foreigner showed the British Premier a report of a speech made by Lord SALISBURY, at the Mansion House, on August 6, 1890.
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TRANSCENDENTAL NEOPHYTE.—Mr. JOHN BURNS has joined the Kabbylists.
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OUR YOTTING YORICK.
How can I send you "a sketch of anything I see," when I haven't seen anything for the last twenty-four hours. Impossible! utterly impossible! You simply want me to do impossibilities, and I am only mortal. Voila! I don't complain; I only say I can't draw what I don't see; and as to sending funny sketches when it's raining in torrents, and been doing so for the last forty-eight hours three minutes and twenty-one and a-half seconds, I'm—well, I can't—simplement. Torrents of rain. Anyone can draw water—but draw rain! Yes, when on horseback, I can draw rein. Good that, "when you come to think of it,"—considering that I'm 1900 miles from an English joke, so that this you may say is far-fetched, only 'tisn't fetched at all, as I send it. Think I've left out an "0," and it's 19,000. It seems like it. Here we are in Petersburg. Mist's cleared off. We're anchored close to Winter Palace, and I've just seen a droschki-driver, whom I sketch. Not unlike old toy Noah's-Ark man, eh? Something humorous at last, thank Heaven! But did I come 1900 miles to see this? Well, "Neva no more!"
Mister Skipper says I ought to go to the Petershoff. All very well to say so, but where is Peter, and now far is he "hoff"? That's humorous, I think, eh? You told me to go and "pick up bits of Russian life," and so I'm going to do it at the risk of my own, I feel sure, for I never saw such chaps as these soldiers, six feet three at the least, every man Jackski of 'em, and broad out of all proportion. However, I'll go on shore, and try to get some fun out of the Russians, if there's any in them. If I'm caught making fun of these soldiers, I shouldn't have a word to say for myself! The Skipper says that he's heard that the persecution of the Jews has just begun again. Cruel shame, but I daren't say this aloud, in case anyone should understand just that amount of English, and then—whoopski!—the knout and Siberia! So I'll say "nowt." Really humorous that, I'm sure, and 19,000 miles from England.
To-day—I don't know what to-day is, having lost all count of time—is a great day with the Russians. I don't understand one word they say, and as to reading their letters—I mean the letters of their alphabet—that is if they've got one, which I very much doubt,—why I might as well be a blind man for all I can make out. Somehow I rather think that it's the Emperor's birthday. Guns and bells all over the place. Guns going off, bells going on. Tremendous crowds everywhere. "I am never so lonely," as somebody said, "as when I'm in a crowd." That's just what I feel, especially when the crowd doesn't talk a single word of English. The Russians are not ill-favoured but ill-flavoured, that is, in a crowd. I cheered with them, "Hiphiphurrahski! Hipski! Hurrah-ski!" What I was cheering at I don't know, but I like to be in it, and when at Petersburg do as the Petersburgians do.
Having strayed away from our yachting party, or yachting party having strayed away from me, I found myself (they didn't find me though; they have been finding me in wittles and drink during the whole of the voyage,—humorous again, eh? It's in me, only there's a depression in the Baltic. Why call it Baltic? Nobody on board knows) outside the fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul. I daresay there's some legend about their having built it, but, as I remarked before, my knowledge of the Russian tongue is limited to what I get dried for breakfast, and that doesn't go far when there are many more than myself alongside the festive board—and so I couldn't get any explanation. But I managed to sneak inside the fortress—and then,—lost my way!!! Couldn't get out. "If you want to know your way, ask a Policeman" in London, and, in St. Petersburg, ask a Bobbiski. Here's one with a sword—at least, I think he's one. I said, "Please, Sir, which way?" Then I tried him with French—"Ou est," says I, "le chemin pour aller out of (I couldn't remember the French for 'out of') cette confounded fortress?" He wouldn't understand me. I tipped him a wink—I tipped him a two-shilling piece. It wasn't enough I suppose, as he called another fellow. The other chap came up,—what he was I don't know—but suddenly, from their awful manner, their frowns, and violent expressions, it occurred to me, "Hang it all! they take me for a Jew!" Never was so alarmed. With great presence of mind I pointed to my nose—they saw the point at once. Then the pair of them marched me off ("to Siberia," thinks I! and I wondered how far we should have to walk!) to the courtyard, where I had entered, and then passed me through the gate on to the road again. Then I fled to the yacht!! Away! Away!
Never will I venture out of the yacht again, until I can do so safely. Expect me back soon. Ah, what an escape!—to think I might have languished for the best of my days in irons or in the mines out in Siberia, like Rip Van Winkle, or the Prisoner of Chillon, who dug himself out with his nails (when I was a boy I remember it, and tried to do it in the garden), and came up with a long beard when everyone was dead and gone. I may return as a stowaway, but anyhow expect me, and prepare the fatted outlet. That's humorous, isn't it, eh?
Yours, JETSAM, THE Y.Y.
19,000 miles away too! Just imagine!
* * * * *
The Proprietors of the "Automatic Chair" having had reason to think their invention such a success that they have turned it into a Company, a stimulus has been given to ingenuity in this direction, with the result that the following prospective advertisement, or something very much like it, may shortly be expected to see the light:—
THE AUTOMATIC FURNITURE SUPPLY ASSOCIATION, started for the purpose of meeting the daily-increasing demand for self-acting and trouble-saving appliances in the domestic arrangements of the modern household, beg to inform their patrons that they are now able to supply them with
THE AUTOMATIC FOUR-POSTER.—This ingeniously constructed piece of furniture will tuck up the occupant, rock him to sleep, and pitch him out on to the floor at a given hour in the morning, thoroughly waking him by the operation, when it will of its own accord fold itself up into a conveniently-shaped parcel, not bigger than an ordinary carriage umbrella. The Association further desire to inform their patrons that they have also invented a
PATENT AUTOMATIC SHOWER-BATH AND WASH-HAND-STAND, that will forcibly seize the user, thoroughly souse him from head to foot, scrub, wash, and dry him. Finally folding itself up into a convenient lounge, on which he can complete his toilette at leisure. They also are prepared to supply their
AUTOMATIC DINNER-TABLE AND APPETITE COMBINED, upon taking a seat at which, the diner will be immediately served with a course consisting of soup, fish, joint, and vegetables, choice of entrees, sweets, cheese, and celery, with an appetite to enable him to relish the repast as it proceeds. After-dinner speeches, phonographically introduced, can be supplied at a slight additional charge. They, moreover, have in hand an
AUTOMATIC BUTLER-DETECTING SIDEBOARD, which, by an ingenious contrivance, on the Butler opening it for the purpose of helping himself to a glass of wine, instantly blows up with a loud explosion, that obliges him to desist in his design. But their chief triumph is their
AUTOMATIC AND MECHANICAL SHAREHOLDER, who, immediately on being shown the Prospectus, puts his name down for the required number of Shares as indicated to him. This last the Association regard as a great success, but they have several other startling novelties in active preparation.
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STARS IN THE STRAND; OR, THE HORSE AND THE LADY.
MY DEAR MR. PUNCH,
One of the greatest attractions in Town to the Country Cousin I need scarcely say is the Theatre. Speaking for myself, it is the place I earliest visit when I get to London, and consequently I was not surprised to find myself the other evening in the Adelphi, on the first night of a new play. As an Irishman might guess, from its name (The English Rose), the piece is all about Ireland. Both State and Church are represented therein—the former by a comic sergeant of the Royal Constabulary, and the latter by a priest, who wears a hat in the first Act that would have entirely justified his being Boycotted. The plot is not very strong, and suggests recollections of the Flying Scud, Arrah Na Pogue, and The Silver King. The acting is fairly satisfactory, the cast including a star, supported by an efficient company. The star is a horse that pranced about the stage in the most natural manner possible, carefully avoiding the orchestra. In spite, however, of his anxiety to keep out of the stalls, suggestive as they were (but only in name) of the stable, some little alarm was created in the neighbourhood of the Conductor, which did not entirely subside until the fall of the curtain. But the sagacious steed knew its business thoroughly well, and was indeed an admirable histrion. Only once, at the initial performance, did this intelligent creature remember its personality, and drop the public actor in the private individual. The occasion was when it had to put its head out of a loose-box to listen to the singing of a serio-comic song by a lady, dressed as a "gossoon." For a few minutes the talented brute made a pretence of eating some property foliage, and then, catching sight of the audience, it deliberately counted the house! I regret to add that, in spite of the valuable support afforded by this useful member of the Messrs. GATTI's Company, its name did not appear in the playbill.
A few evenings later I had a second time the advantage of being present at a first night's performance. The occasion was, the production of The Great Unknown, by AUGUSTIN DALY's Company of Comedians. I found the piece described as a "new eccentric Comedy," but, beyond a certain oddness in the distribution of the characters of the cast, did not notice much novelty or eccentricity. The life and soul of the evening's entertainment was Miss ADA REHAN, a talented lady, who (so I was told) has made her mark in Rosalind, in As You Like It, and Katharina, in the Taming of the Shrew. I can quite believe that Miss REHAN is a great success in parts of the calibre of the Shakspearian heroines I have mentioned; nay, more, I fancy she would do something with Lady Macbeth, and be quite in her element as Emilia, in Othello. But, as she had to play an ingenue, aged eighteen, in The Great Unknown, she was not quite convincing. It was a very good part. In the First Act she had to coax her papa, and flirt with her cousin; in the second, to respond to a declaration of love with a burst of womanly feeling; and, in the third, to play the hoyden, and dance a breakdown. All this was done to perfection, but not by a young lady of eighteen. Miss ADA REHAN was charming, but looked, and I fancy felt, many years older than her legal majority. I question whether she was an ingenue at all, but, if she were, she was an ingenue of great and varied experience. When Mrs. BANCROFT appeared as the girl-pupil in School, she was the character to the life; but when Miss REHAN calls herself Etna, throws herself on sofas, and hugs a man with less inches than herself, we cannot but feel that it is very superior play-acting, but still play-acting. Take it all round, I was delighted with the lady at the Lyceum, and the horse at the Adelphi, and nearly regret that, having to leave town, I shall not have the opportunity of seeing either of them again.
Yours faithfully. A CRITIC FROM THE COUNTRY.
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A HOLIDAY APPEAL.
[Last year Mrs. JEUNE'S "Country Holiday Fund" was the means of sending 1,075 poor, sickly, London children for a few weeks into the country, averting many illnesses saving many lives, and imparting incalculable happiness. Mrs. JEUNE makes appeal for pecuniary assistance to enable her to continue this unquestionably excellent work.]
It is Holiday Time, and all such as can pay, For the Summer-green country are up and away; But what of the poor pale-faced waifs of the slums? Oh, the butterfly flits, and the honey-bee hums O'er the holt and the heather, the hill and the plain, But they flit and they hum for Town's children in vain; Unless—ah! unless—there is hope in that word!— Mrs. JEUNE'S kindly plea by the Public is heard. Heard? Everyone feels 'tis a duty to listen. The eyes of the children will sparkle and glisten, In hope of the beauty, at thought of the fun, For they know their kind champion, and what she has done, And is ready to do for them all once again, If folks heed her appeal. Shall she make it in vain? Three weeks in the country for poor BOB and BESS! Do you know what that means, wealthy cit? Can you guess, Dainty lady of fashion, with "dots" of your own, Bright-eyed and trim-vestured, well-fed and well-grown? Well, BOBBY'S a cripple, and BESS has a cough, Which, untended, next winter may "carry her off," As her folks in their unrefined diction declare; They are dying, these children, for food and fresh air, And their slum is much more like a sewer than a street, Whilst their food is—not such as your servants would eat; Were they housed like your horses, or fed like your dogs. They would think themselves lucky; that's how the world jogs! But three weeks in the country! Why, that would mean joy, And new life for the girl, and fresh strength for the boy. The meadow would heal them, the mountain might save, Won't you give them a chance on the moor, by the wave? Why, of course! You have only to know, Punch to ask, And you'll jump at the job as a joy, not a task! Come, delicate dame, City CROESUS rotund, And assist Mrs. JEUNE'S "Country Holiday Fund!" Mr. Punch asks, for her, your spare cash, and will trouble you To send it to Thirty-seven, Wimpole Street, W.!
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THE EMPIRE IS PIECE, OR, RATHER, BALLET.
Now that the weather is so uncertain, that one day it may be as sultry as the tropics, and the next suggestive of Siberia, it is as well to know where to go, especially when al fresco entertainments are impossible. To those who are fond of glitter tempered with good taste, something suitable to their requirements is sure to be found at the Empire. At this moment (or, rather, every evening at 10:30 and 9) there are two excellent ballets being played there, called respectively Cecile and the Dream of Wealth. The first is dramatic in the extreme, and the last, with its precious metals and harmonious setting, is worth its weight in notes—musical notes. There is plenty of poetry in both spectacles—the poetry of motion. Further, as containing an excellent moral, it may be said that this pair of spectacles is suitable to the sight of everyone, from Materfamilias up from the country to Master JACKY home for his Midsummer holidays.
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THE CLOSE OF THE INNINGS.
Bowler. Over at last!
Wicket-keeper. Humph! Yes, but not "all out!" Time's up! All glad to leave the field, no doubt; But I'm not satisfied.
Bowler. You never are!
Wicket-keeper. Some thought you, when you joined the team, a star, Equal, at least, to SPOFFORTH, FERRIS, TURNER, Yet sometimes you have bowled like a school-learner.
Bowler. That's most discouraging! Come now, I say, You know that every Cricketer has "his day," Whilst the best bat or trundler may be stuck. And, though he try his best, be "out of luck." Ask W.G. himself! Early this season He couldn't score, for no apparent reason. Now look at him! Almost as good as ever!
Wicket-keeper. Well, ye-e-s! But you were thought so jolly clever. To me it seems 'tis your idea of Cricket To smash the wicket-keeper—not the wicket. Look at my hands! They're mostly good to cover me; With you, by Jingo, I need pads all over me!
Bowler. Oh, well, you know, fast bowling, with a break, Not every wicket-keeper's game to take. You are not quite a SHERWIN or a WOOD, Or even a McGREGOR. You're no good At bowling that has real "devil" in it.
Wicket-keeper. The—dickens I am not! Just wait a minute! I have stood up to GRANDOLPH at his wildest. You know his pitch and pace; not quite the mildest, Scarce equal, certainly, to "demon" DIZZY, But when he's on the spot he keeps one busy. It's not your "devil," JOKIM, that I dread; That's easy, when you're "bowling with your head," But when you sling them in, as you've done lately, Swift but not straight, why, then you vex me greatly. Your pet fast bumpy ones, wide of the wicket, Perhaps look showy, but they are not Cricket.
Bowler. Oh, bother! You're the crossest of old frumps. Why, bless you, SMITH, I stood behind the stumps Long before you put gloves on!
Wicket-keeper. I dare say, But when we took you in our team to play 'Twas for your bowling. I don't want to scoff At chance bad luck, but you have not come off! Now, BALFOUR doesn't give "no balls" and "wides," Or make it hot for knuckles, shins, and sides, As you've been doing lately. "Extras" mount When you are bowling, and your blunders count To our opponents,—not to mention me. Although two broken fingers, a bruised knee, A chin knocked out of shape, and one lost tooth Are trying little items, to tell truth.
Bowler. Hang it! If you're so sweet on ARTHUR B., Try him next Season, but don't chivey me!
[Goes off huffily.
Wicket-keeper (to Umpire). I take them without flinching. Umpire, don't I? I'll do my duty to my Team and County As long as I've a knuckle in its place; I have not many—look! And see my face! No, when the game's renewed, JOKIM must try To keep the wicket clearly in his eye, Not the poor wicket-keeper, or you'll see "Retired, hurt" will be the end of Me!
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AN OLD RAILWAY AND A NEW LINE.
At the last General Meeting of the L.C. & D., their Chairman made one of his best speeches. Prospects were bright, and hearts were light, just to drop into poetry. Sir E. WATKIN, alias S. Eastern WATKIN, had some time ago been assured judicially of the fact that Folkestone meant Folkestone as clearly as Brighton means Brighton, or Ramsgate means Ramsgate, and the two great Companies were, it was hoped, soon to come to an agreement and live happily ever afterwards. Among other plans for the future, the popular and astute Chairman more than hinted that the day was not far distant when, in consequence of the increasing patronage bestowed on the improved third-class carriages, the trains of the L.C. & D. Company would be made up of first and third, and the middle class would be out of it altogether. This will be a blow to those whose travelling motto has hitherto been "In medio tutissimus ibis." But, on the other hand, if the second-class be dropped, the L.C. & D. can adopt the proud motto, "Nulli Secundus." Mr. Punch, Universal Managing Director, in charge of thousands of lines, wishes them the benefit of the omen.
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"LEBE WOHL! HELGOLAND!"
(AN INCIDENT OF THE CESSION—HITHERTO UNREPORTED.)
The Representative of BRITANNIA'S Might had departed in appropriate state, and the German Emperor had reached his destination. The new landlord was most anxious to take possession. He was all impatience to appear before his recently-acquired subjects, to show to them the Military Uniform he had assumed after discarding that garb he loved so well—the grande tenue of an Honorary Admiral of the Fleet in the service of VICTORIA, Queen, Empress, and Grandmother. There was a consultation on board the Hohenzollern, and then a subdued German cheer. The Chief Naval Officer approached His Majesty, cocked-hat in hand.
"Sire," he said, falling on one knee; "all is now ready."
"But why has there been this delay?" asked WILLIAM THE SECOND, in a tone of imperial command.
"Sire, we could not find the island. Unhappily we had mislaid—" and then the naval officer paused—
"Your charts and field-glasses?" queried His Majesty.
"No, Sire," was the reply. Then, after some hesitation, the chief of the German sailors continued, "The fact is, Your Majesty, I had lost my microscope, and—" But further explanation was drowned in the sound of saluting artillery. And the remainder of the day was devoted (by those who could find room on the island) in equal proportions to smoke and enthusiasm.
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IN THE KNOW.
(BY MR. PUNCH'S OWN PROPHET.)
Last week I published a dispatch conveying to me the exalted approval of H.S.H. the Grand Duke of PFEIFENTOPF. The closing words of His Serene Highness's gracious letter informed me that I had been appointed a Knight of the Honigthau Order, one of the most ancient and splendid orders known to chivalry.
When HUNDSVETTER VON VOGELANG, of whom the ancient Minnesingers relate that in his anger he was wont to breathe forth fire from his mouth and smoke from his nostrils, when, as I say, the valiant and gigantic HUNDSVETTER, with his band of faithful retainers (amongst whom one of our own CAVENDISHES—der Zerschnittens as they called him, found a place), was assailed in his ancestral Castle of Meerschaum by the wild hordes of the Turkish Zig-'arets, it is said that, with one aged attendant, he mounted the topmost tower, prepared, if no sign of succour showed itself, to cast himself to the ground or perish in the attempt. But just as he had hurled his seneschal over the battlements, in order, as he playfully observed, to make the falling softer, his eye was arrested by a wreath of smoke in the middle distance. "May I perish," said the gallant but sorely-reduced Teuton warrior, "if that be not the war-sign of my uncle PFEIFENTOPF." Hastening downstairs, he apprised his followers that succour was at hand. Armed with klehs, they made a desperate sally, and, having taken the Zig-'arets between two fires, utterly extinguished them. That night HUNDSVETTER'S only daughter, the lovely and accomplished BREIA, was solemnly married by the Archbishop of TAeNDSTICKOR, assisted by the Rev. WILHELM SCHWANZPUDEL and the Rev. CONRAD RATTENZAHN, cousin of the bride, to the K.K. OBERPOTZTAUSENDER VON THUTWEH, the leader of PFEIFENTOPF'S advance-guard. The bride's going-away dress was composed of a simple bodice of best Sheffield steel, with a gown of Bessemer composite to match, and, in honour of the event, the Honigthau Order was ceremoniously founded.
I have cited this tale at length, because some carping, malevolent scribes have dared to insinuate, actually to insinuate in print, that the Grand Duke and his Order have no existence. To these jelly-faced purveyors of balderdash I only say this:—How, if His Serene Highness be a myth, could I receive from him the letter I published last week? But, to make assurance doubly sure, I sent the following dispatch to the Grand Duke:—"Mooncalves cast anserous doubts on your serene existence, and on that of Order. Kindly make me Grand Cross, and send decoration in diamonds.". To this I have received the following reply:—"You are Grand Cross made. Order mit diamenten und perlen now is being at the post-office by my Grand Chamberlain for transmission abroad registered."
This should strike detraction dumb, I propose also to publish a selection of congratulations from other Continental potentates, but of this, as SHAKSPEARE says, Anon, anon!
Permit me, in the meantime, to go half-way towards revealing my identity by adopting a pseudonym drawn from an immortal work, and subscribing myself prophetically yours (and the public's),
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A NEW PLAGUE.
SIR,—I understand that those who suffer oppression are permitted to turn to you for relief, and I am told, further, that there is no wrong which you are unable to remedy. Listen for a few moments to my tale of woe, and then say if you can strike a blow on my behalf. I am an author, that is to say, I have written a book, and have lately published it at my own expense. I was told by a friend of mine, who has some experience in these matters (he is the Sporting Correspondent of the Fortnightly Glass of Fashion), that it would be well for me to make some arrangement with my publishers as to Royalty. I therefore gave orders that presentation copies, suitably bound, were to be forwarded to Her Gracious MAJESTY and the rest of the Royal Family, including, of course, the Duke of CLARENCE. My publisher seemed surprised, but offered no objection, and I was therefore able to congratulate myself on having successfully smoothed over a difficulty which, if I am to believe Mr. WALTER BESANT, too often troubles the young author. This, however, is neither here nor there. I merely mention the incident to show that I am not altogether lacking in savoir faire.
As I said, I am an author. My book is a romance entitled, The Foundling's Farewell. Of course you have heard of it. It is blood-curdling but sympathetic, romantic but realistic, pathetic and sublime. The passage, for instance, in which the Duke of BARTLEMY repels the advances of the orphan charwoman is—but you have read it, and I need not therefore enlarge further upon it. After it had been published two days, I began to look eagerly into all the daily and weekly papers for critical notices of my magnum opus. I persisted for a fortnight, and failing to see any, wrote an angry letter to my publishers. On that very day the last post brought me three letters in unknown hands. I opened the first listlessly, I read what it contained, and (may an author confess his weakness?) gave a wild shout of triumph when I found that one of the enclosures was a newspaper extract referring to my work. Here it is, as it appeared on the form enclosed:—
THE UNITED ASSOCIATION OF COMBINED PARAGRAPHISTS.
MR. WILLIAM WHORBOYS.
(FROM THE PIMLICO POTTERER. JULY 6TH.)
"Amongst the books of the month we may notice The Foundling's Farewell, by MR. WILLIAM WHORBOYS, an author whose name we have not hitherto met with. It is a romance of surpassing interest, the subject being treated with all the convincing power of a master-hand. We shall look forward eagerly to MR. WHORBOY'S next work."
With this there came a polite letter from the U.A.C.P., asking me to allow them to supply me with all newspaper cuttings referring to me or to my book from "the entire English, American, and Continental Press." Another leaflet stated the terms on which they were prepared to take this immense trouble on my behalf.
Here, at last, thought I to myself, is Fame. The other two letters contained the same extract, and similar requests from "The Universal Notice-Mongers," and "The British Cutting Company (Limited)." I decided in favour of the U.A.C.P., sent them two guineas, and waited. Three days afterwards there came a scrubby little roll of paper, with a halfpenny stamp on it. I saw the magic letters U.A.C.P. upon it, and tore it open. It contained a newspaper cutting, which nothing but my desire to be truthful would force me to publish. But here it is:—"The stuff that is palmed off upon a hapless public by aspiring idiots, who are vain enough to imagine that they are novelists, is astounding. The latest of these is a certain WILLIAM WHORBOYS, whose book, The Foundling's Farewell, is remarkable only for its ungrammatical dulness, &c, &c." The next post brought me the same cutting, sent gratuitously, out of spite, I suppose, by the two Extract Companies to whom I had preferred the U.A.C.P., and from four others who desired my custom. During the following week not a day passed without the receipt of that accursed cutting from some new extract company. Since then I have waited some months, but nothing more has appeared. My subscription, I find, has only a year to run. The question is, what can I do? My life has been blighted by the U.A.C.P., poisoned by "The Universal Notice-Mongers," and the cup of happiness has been dashed from my lips by "The British Cutting Company (Limited)."
I know I am not alone in this. My friend HARTVIG, who is an actor, has been similarly treated. He gets all the insulting notices of his great performances with extraordinary regularity, but never a favourable one. BUNCOMBE, who is standing for Parliament, receives bushels of extracts from the local Radical paper, he being a Tory Democrat. We intend to combine and do something desperate. Is there not some method of winding up Companies, or putting them into liquidation, or appointing receivers? Pray let me know, and oblige yours in misery,
Author of "The Foundling's Farewell."
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RUMOURS FOR THE RECESS.
Monday.—We hear, from a source which cannot possibly be mistaken, that a thorough reconstruction of the Cabinet is imminent. Mr. SM-TH goes at once to the Upper House. Mr. B-LF-R becomes First Lord, and Leader of the Commons. A position will be found for Mr. G-SCH-N somewhere on the Gold Coast, and thus room will be made for Lord R-ND-LPH CH-RCH-LL, whose popularity in official Conservative circles is undiminished. Lord H-RT-NGT-N will probably not become Prime Minister just yet.
Tuesday.—Since yesterday, some slight modifications in Ministerial arrangements have been made. Mr. SM-TH, for example, does not go to the House of Lords, nor Mr. G-SCH-N to the Gold Coast. Moreover, no attempt has been made to induce Lord R-ND-LPH to enter the Cabinet, and Mr. B-LF-R is not to be Leader of the House. Otherwise, the rumoured reconstruction was quite correct. Lord H-RT-NGT-N'S acceptance of the post of Prime Minister is considered to be merely a matter of time.
Wednesday.—No fresh reconstruction is announced to-day, as Ministers are mostly out of Town. Lord H-RT-NGT-N declines to be interviewed on the subject of the Premiership.
Thursday.—An entirely fresh readjustment of Ministerial forces is on the tapis. Great excitement prevails at Westminster. Nobody exactly knows why, but it is expected that substitutes will be found for Mr. G-SCH-N, Mr. SM-TH, Mr. B-LF-R, Mr. M-TTH-WS, Mr. R-TCH-E, and Lord H-LSB-RY. Lord H-RT-NGT-N is said to have referred all persons who questioned him about his acceptance of the Premiership, to Lord S-L-SB-RY.
Friday.—Mr. M-TTH-WS has been offered the Governorship of Madras, and has declined. He has been sounded as to whether he would accept the High Commissionership of the unexplored parts of Central Africa, and has replied evasively. Two prominent Members of the Cabinet are said not to be on speaking terms, and are practising the dumb alphabet in consequence. It is positively asserted, that the Lord Advocate will be the next Leader of the House of Commons. Lord H-RT-NGT-N'S chances of the Premiership have not improved.
Saturday.—A total and absolutely fresh reconstruction of the Cabinet, giving everybody a new place, and every place a new holder, is expected immediately. Details will follow shortly. For the present Lord H-RT-NGT-N remains outside the Cabinet, and has gone to Newmarket.
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WEEK BY WEEK.
We have often been asked how we contrive to put together every week the delightful paragraphs which appear in this column. The system is really wonderfully easy, and, with proper instruction, a child could do it. The first point is to select an item of intelligence about which few people care to hear. This must be spun out very thin and long, and adorned with easy extracts from TUPPER, the copy-books, or Mr. W.H. SMITH'S speeches. Then wrap it up in a blanket of humour, sprinkle with fatuousness, and serve cold.
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For instance, you hear that grey frock-coats are very much worn. On the system indicated above you proceed as follows:—It is curious to observe how from year to year the customs and fashions of men with regard to their wearing apparel change. Last year black frock coats were de rigueur. This year, we are informed by a Correspondent who has special opportunities of knowing what he is writing about, various shades of grey have driven out the black. No doubt it is every man's duty to himself and his neighbours to array himself becomingly, according to the fashion of the hour, but we are inclined to doubt the wisdom of this latest move. It is often said, that the grey mare is the better horse, but when the horse itself has a grey coat, the proverb seems inapplicable.
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The rest of the space allotted can be filled with political gossip and personal items, with here and there some inspired twaddle about foreign personages, of whom no one has ever heard before or desires to hear again.
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We beg to state that we offer this information gratis to all intending journalists. If they follow our system they must succeed.
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"SAY!"—Speaking of the relations between England and France in Africa, and of the proposed Bill for a Sahara railway, connecting Algeria with Lake Tchad, the Times' Paris Correspondent says:—"England, it is explained, agrees not to go beyond Say, on the Niger." This sounds ominous. It was Lord GRANVILLE'S indisposition to go beyond "Say" (and to shrink when it came to "Do") which got us into hot water in Africa before. Mr. Punch hopes, despite this disquieting sentence, that Lord SALISBURY, after his excellent speech at the Mansion House, is unlikely to fall into the same fatal error.
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, August 4.—GEORGE CAMPBELL been with us many Sessions; heard and seen a good deal of him, but really seems only now to be coming out. Has taken up the Police Bill, "and I wish," says HENRY MATTHEWS, sotto voce, "the Police would in return take him up." GEORGE literally overwhelms the place, breaks out everywhere; began at earliest moment with question of precedence. Cardinal MANNING been granted precedence on certain Royal Commissions. "Why should the Cardinal be thus honoured?" GEORGE wants to know. "There is the Moderator of the Scotch Free Church. Why shouldn't he, too, have princely rank?"
LORD ADVOCATE snubs CAMPBELL, and he momentarily resumes his seat. Ten minutes later shrill cry of pibroch heard again. Everyone knows that CAMPBELL is coming, and here he is, tall, gaunt, keen-faced, shrill-voiced, wanting to know at the top of it which of HER MAJESTY'S Ministers advises HER MAJESTY on questions of precedence?
"There is," said GORST, reflectively gazing on his manly form, "one precedence we would all concede to CAMPBELL. We would gladly write on the bench where he usually sits—
'Not lost, but gone before.'"
But which is his seat? Usually the lank form and the shrill voice simultaneously uprise from the middle of the second Bench behind Mr. G.; but GEORGE has a little way of pleasantly surprising the House. Members looking across see this Bench empty. "Ah! ah!" they say to themselves, "the CAMPBELLS are gone. Now we'll have a few minutes' peace and get on with business." Suddenly, a propos of anything that may be going on, or of nothing at all, the unmistakeable voice breaks on the ear from under the shadow of the Gallery, from the corner of the Bench, sometimes from below the Gangway, and a deep low groan makes answer. Again a little while and this seat is vacated; the Minister in charge of Bill, looking hastily round, flatters himself that CAMPBELL really has gone, when lo! from some other remote and unfrequented spot the terrible cry is uplifted, and, without looking up, men know CAMPBELL is making his fifteenth speech.
"On the whole," says PLUNKET, "I'm not sure that the habits of POE'S raven were not less irritating. It is true that on its first arrival it hopped about the floor, wherein it resembles our honourable friend; but afterwards, having once perched upon the pallid bust of Pallas, it was good enough to remain there. Bad enough, I admit; but surely that situation preferable to ours, not knowing from moment to moment from what particular quarter CAMPBELL may next present himself."
Business done.—Police Bill obstructed.
Tuesday.—HANBURY came down to-day full of virtuous resolution and stern resolve. Privileges of House of Commons have been struck at, and through him; DARTMOUTH, Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire, has been writing things in the papers; rebukes HANBURY, "as a Magistrate for Staffordshire," for having made certain speech in. Commons about Grenadier Guards. HANBURY hitherto said nothing in public on the matter; has been in communication with DARTMOUTH by post and telegram; has boldly vindicated privileges of Commons; has brought the insolent Lord Lieutenant to his knees; but till this moment has made no public reference to the part he played. Has borne, unsoothed by companionship, the sorrow of the House of Commons.
Now hour has struck; he may come to the front, and, with habitual modesty of men, indicate rather than describe the imperishable service he has done the Commons. House, all unconscious of what is in store for it, wantons at play. Innumerable questions on paper. SUMMERS coming up fresh with batch of new conundrums. PATRICK O'BRIEN "having had his attention called" to some verses by SWINBURNE, proposes to read them. House wickedly delighted at prospect of SWINBURNE being haltingly declaimed with North Tipperary accent localised by companionship with the Town Commissioners of Nenagh; SPEAKER thinks it might be funny, but wouldn't be business; so PATRICK: having begun, "Night brings but one red star—Tyrannicide," is sternly pulled up. OLD MORALITY says he's never seen "the publication;" has asked friends near him, and everyone says he has neither seen, heard, nor read of it. "The House," says the SPEAKER, by way of crushing ignominy, "has no control over the poet SWINBURNE."
So House deprived of its anticipated lark; all the while HANBURY, with hands in pockets, sits staring gloomily forth, rather pitying than resentful. House of course does not know what is in store for it; still this trifling at the very moment when, though all inconspicuously, the Commons have been saved from contumelious outrage, racks the soul that carries with it the momentous secret.
At last HANBURY'S opportunity comes! Rises slowly, solemnly, to full height; in deep base tones, asks permission to make personal statement. House instantly alert, and attentive; baulked of its fun with PATRICK, here is promise of fresh larks. HANBURY, his profound base notes sometimes trembling with emotion, proceeds to unfold his story; reads long letter from Dartmouth; Members, discovering that the portentous business relates to some trumpery correspondence in the newspapers, begin to cough, shuffle their feet, and even cry "Agreed!" HANBURY stops aghast. Can it be possible? When he has been vindicating privileges of Commons, can Members thus lightly treat incident? But he will read them another letter, one he wrote to Lord DARTMOUTH. Anguished roar burst forth from House; louder cries of "Agreed! Agreed!" HANBURY, gasping for breath, looks round from side to side. They cannot understand; will read them another letter; begins; storm increases; HANBURY persists. Surely House will be delighted to hear his final rejoinder to DARTMOUTH? On the contrary, House will have no more; and HANBURY, pained and panting, resumes his seat, and business goes forward as if he had not interposed.
Business done.—A sudden rush. All contentious Bills through final stage.
Saturday.—Session suddenly collapsed. "Like over-ripe tree," says Prince ARTHUR, dropping into poetry, "the fruit has fallen in a night." Benches nearly empty; Votes passing in basketsful; prorogue next week; to-day, practically, last working time. OLD MORALITY just come in, in serge suit; left his straw hat in his room; off shortly on cruise in Pandora; already shipped store of nautical phrases. Putting his open hand to the side of his mouth, he (when GEORGE CAMPBELL was making one of his last speeches), shouted out, "Belay there!" SPEAKER pointed out that this was not Parliamentary phrase. If Right Hon. Gentleman wanted to move the Closure, he should do so in the form provided. OLD MORALITY, standing up, hitching his trousers at the belt, scraping his right foot behind him, and pulling his forelock, retorted—
"I ask your honour's pardon; but these lubbers are so long-winded." "Order! Order!" said SPEAKER.
Said good-bye, wishing him luck on the voyage; at parting pressed on my acceptance a little book; found it a copy of the Golden Treasury Edition of Sir THOMAS BROWN'S Religio Medici; page 167 turned down; passage marked; read these words:—
"Though vicious times invert the opinions of things and set up a new ethics against virtue, yet hold thou fast to OLD MORALITY."
"I will," I said; and pressing his hand sheered off.
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ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
INVALID TOURING OPPORTUNITY.—Your idea of personally conducting a party of paralytics, cripples, and other helpless invalids on a "flying Continental trip," in which you propose including visits to all the recognised "Cures," either by baths or drinking waters in Europe, strikes us as quite admirable, and the further advantages you offer in the shape of your being accompanied by six Bath-chairs, a donkey, a massage doctor, a galvanising machine, fire-escape, and a hearse, seem to meet the demands of the most nervous and exacting patients more than half way. Your provision, too, for the recreation of your party—such an important consideration where the nerves have been shattered and the health feeble—by the engagement of a Learned Musical and Calculating Pig, and a couple of Ethiopian Pashas, who can munch and swallow half-a-dozen wine-glasses, and, if requested, remove their eye-balls, seems to offer a prospect of many an evening's startling and even boisterous amusement; and if the Pig should have been palmed off on you by fraud, you not having found it able to "calculate" at all, or even select with its snout a number not previously fastened to a piece of onion, though assisted in its selection, according to the directions, "with a smart prod with a carving-fork," there still, as you truly say, remains the alternative of disposing of it advantageously to some German sausage-maker. As to the Ethiopian Pashas, if their feats, as is just possible, shock and horrify, rather than divert and amuse your invalid audience, you can, as you suggest, easily leave them behind on your way, in settlement of one of your largest hotel bills. Let us know when you start. Your "half-dozen paralytics" being let down in a horse-box by a crane on to the boat, ought to create quite a sensation, and we shall certainly be on the look-out for it.
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NOTICE.—Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS., Printed Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no case be returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed Envelope, Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.
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