PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
August 9, 1890.
FIRST AID TO TOMMY ATKINS.
Sir,—I visited the Military Exhibition the other day according to your instructions, my bosom glowing with patriotic ardour. If anything besides your instructions and the general appropriateness of the occasion had been necessary to make my bosom glow thus, it would have been found in the fact that I formerly served my country in a Yeomanry Regiment. I shall never forget the glorious occasions on which I wore a cavalry uniform, and induced some of my best friends to believe I had gone to the dogs and enlisted. However, to relate my Yeomanry adventures, which included a charge by six of us upon a whole army, would be to stray from my point, which is to describe what I saw at the Military Exhibition. I was lame (oh, dear no, not the gout, a mere strain) and took a friend, an amiable young man, with me to lean upon.
"There's one place I really do know," he had said to me, "and that's this bally place."
I therefore felt I was safe with him. We arrived. We entered. "Take me," I said, "to the battle-pictures, so that I may study my country's glories."
"Right!" he answered, and with a promptitude that does him immense credit, he brought me out into a huge arena in the open air with seats all round it, a grand stand, and crowds of spectators. The performance in the arena so deeply interested me that I forgot all about the pictures. I saw at once what it was. Detachments of our citizen soldiers were going through ambulance drill. The sight was one which appealed to our common humanity. My daring, dangerous Yeomanry days rose up again before me, and I felt that if ever I had had to bleed for my QUEEN I should not have bled untended. Even my companion, a scoffer, who had never risen above a full privacy in the Eton Volunteers, was strangely moved. There were, I think, ten detachments, each provided with a stretcher and a bag containing simple surgical appliances. All that was wanted to complete the realism of the picture was the boom of the cannon, the bursting of shells, and the rattle of musketry. In imagination I supplied them, as I propose to do, for your benefit, Sir, in the following short account.
It was a sultry afternoon; the battle had been raging for hours; the casualties had been terrible. "Dress up, there, dress up!" said the Sergeant in command, addressing detachment No. 2, "and you, JENKINS, tilt your forage-cap a leetle more over your right ear; BROWN, don't blow your nose, the General's looking; God bless my soul, THOMPSON, you've buckled that strap wrong, undo it and re-buckle it at once." With such words as these he cheered his men, while to right and left the death-dealing missiles sped, on their course. "Stand at ease; 'shon! Stand at ease! 'shon!" he next shouted. A Corporal at this point was cut in two by a ball from, a forty-pounder, but nobody paid any heed to him. Stiff, solid, and in perfect line, stood the detachments waiting for the word to succour the afflicted. At last it came. In the midst of breathless excitement the ten bent low, placed their folded stretchers on the ground, unbuckled and unfolded them, and then with a simultaneous spring rose up again and resumed their impassive attitude. "Very good," said the Sergeant, "very good. THOMPSON you were just a shade too quick; you must be more careful. Stand at ease!" and at ease they all stood.
But where were the wounded? Aha! here they come, noble, fearless heroes, all in line, marching with a springy step to their doom.
One by one they took their places, in line at intervals of about ten yards, and lay down each on his appointed spot to die, or be wounded, and to be bandaged and carried off. But now a terrible question arose. Would there be enough to go round? I had only counted nine of them, which was one short of the necessary complement, but at this supreme moment another grievously wounded warrior ran lightly up and lay down opposite the tenth detachment. We breathed again.
And now began some charming manoeuvres. Each detachment walked round its stretcher twice, then stood at ease again, then at attention, then dressed up and arranged itself, and brushed, itself down. All this while their wounded comrades lay writhing, and appealing for help in vain. It was with difficulty that, lame as I was, I could be restrained from dashing to their aid. But at last everything was in order. Stretchers were solemnly lifted. The detachments marched slowly forward, and deposited their stretchers each beside a wounded man. Then began a scene of busy bandaging. But not until the whole ten had been bound up, legs, arms, heads, feet, fingers &c, was it permissible to lift one of them from the cold cold ground which he had bedewed with his blood.
"Now then," said the Sergeant, "carefully and all together. Lift!" and all together they were lifted and placed in their stretchers. More play with straps and buckles, more rising and stooping, and then the pale and gasping burdens were at last raised and carried in a mournful procession round the ground. But when they arrived at the place where the ambulance was supposed to be, they had all been dead, three-quarters of an hour. "Dear me," said the Sergeant, "how vexing. ROBINSON, your chin-strap's gone wrong. Now, all together. Drop 'em!" And so the day ended, and the pitiless sun sated with, &c., &c., &c.
I afterwards visited the Field Hospital to see a number of wax figures in uniform, cheerfully arranged as wounded men in all the stages of pain and misery. How encouraging for TOMMY ATKINS, I thought to myself; but at this moment my supporter informed me that he had remembered where to find the battle-pictures, and thither therefore we proceeded, thankful in the knowledge that if either of us ever happened to be struck down in battle he would be well looked after by an admirably drilled body of men.
I am, Sir, Yours as usual, LE PETIT SHOWS.
* * * * *
THE PROFESSIONAL GUEST AT A COUNTRY HOUSE.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,
Trusting that you take some interest in my fate, after the more or less pleasant (?) week I spent at Henley, I hasten to let you know that I am again visiting friends, though this time on terra firma, and that the customary trials of the "Professional Guest" are once more my portion. The very evening of my arrival, I discovered that a man with whom I had not been on speaking terms for years was to be my neighbour at dinner, and that a girl (who really I cannot understand any one asking to their house) with the strangest coloured hair, and the most unnaturally dark eyes, was taken in by the host, and called "darling" by the hostess. After dinner, which, by reason of the "range" being out of order, was of a rather limited type, they all played cards. That is a form of amusement I don't like—I can't afford it; and this, coupled with the fact that I was not asked to sing, somewhat damped my ardour as regards visiting strange houses.
A hard bed, and a distant snore, kept me awake till break of day, when, for a brief space, I successfully wooed Morpheus. I think I slept for seven minutes. Then a loud bell rang, and several doors on an upper floor were heavily banged. I heard the servants chattering as they went down to breakfast. Then there was silence, and once more I composed myself to rest, when the dreadest sound of all broke on my ear. The baby began to cry. Then I gave it up as hopeless, but it was with a sensation of being more dead than alive that I crawled down to breakfast—late, of course. One is always late the first morning in a strange house—one can never find one's things. I bore with my best professional smile the hearty chaff of my host (how I hate a hearty man the first thing in the morning) and the audible remarks of the dear children who were seated at intervals round the table. But my patience well-nigh gave way when I found that our hostess had carefully mapped out for her guests a list of amusements (save the mark!) which extended not only over that same day, but several ensuing ones.
I am not of a malice-bearing nature, but I do devoutly pray that she, too, may one day taste the full horror of being tucked into a high dog-cart alongside of a man who you know cannot drive; the tortures, both mental and physical, of a long walk down dusty roads and over clayey fields to see that old Elizabethan house "only a mile off;" or the loathing induced by a pic-nic among mouldering and utterly uninteresting ruins. All this I swallowed with the equanimity and patience born of many seasons of country-house visiting; I even interviewed the old family and old-fashioned cook, on the subject of a few new dishes, and I helped to entertain some of those strange aboriginal creatures called "the county." But the announcement one afternoon, that we were to spend the next in driving ten miles to attend a Primrose League Fete in the private grounds of a local magnate, proved too much for me. Shall you be surprised to hear that on the following morning I received an urgent telegram recalling me to town? My hostess was, or affected to be, overwhelmned that by my sudden departure I should miss the fete. I knew, however, that the "dyed" girl rejoiced, and in company with the objectionable man metaphorically threw up her hat.
As I passed through the Lodge-gates on my way to the station I almost vowed that I would never pay another visit again. But even as I write, an invitation was brought me. It is from my Aunt. She writes that she has taken charming rooms at Flatsands, and hopes I will go and stay with her there for a few days. She thinks the sea air will do me good. Perhaps it will. I shall write at once and accept.
THE ODD GIRL OUT.
FROM OUR YOTTING YORICK, P.A.
Aboard the Yot "Placid," bound for Copenhagen (I hope).
You told me when I set sail (I didn't set sail myself, you understand, but the men did it for me, or rather for my friends, Mr and Mrs. SKIPPER, to whose kindness I owe my present position—which is far from a secure one,—but no matter), you said to me, YORICK Yotting has no buffoonery left in him? I too, who was once the life of all the Lifes and Souls of a party! Where is that party now? Where am I? What is my life on board? Life!—say existence. I rise early; I can't help it. I am tubbed on deck: deck'd out in my best towels. So I commence the day by going to Bath. [That's humorous, isn't it? I hope so. I mean it as such.]
"Send me notes of your voyage to Sweden and Norway, and the land of Hamlet. You'll see lots of funny things, and you'll take a humorous view of what isn't funny; send me your humorous views." Well, Sir, I sent you "Mr. Punch looking at the Midnight Sun." pretty humorous I think ("more pretty than humorous," you cabled to me at Bergen), and since that I have sent you several beautiful works of Art, in return for which I received another telegram from you saying, "No 'go.' Send something funny." The last I sent ("The Church-going Bell," a pretty peasant woman in a boat—"belle," you see) struck me as very humorous. The idea of people going to Church in a boat!
What was I to do? Well—here at last I send you something which must be humorous. It looks like it. Mr. Punch driving in Norway, in a cariole. Mr. Punch anywhere is humorous; and with TOBY too; though I am perfectly aware that TOBY, M.P., is in his place in the House; but then TOBY is ubarquitous. That's funny, isn't it?—see "bark" substituted for "biq," the original word being "ubiquitous." This is the sort of "vuerdtwistren" at which they roar in Sweden.
It's all tres bien (very well) but how the deuce can you be funny in the Baltic? Why call it Baltic? For days and nights at sea, sometimes up, more often down, and a sense of inability coming over me in the middle of the boundless deep. Alas, poor YORICK!
Then breakfast. Then lunch. Then dinner. No drinking permitted between meals: to which regulation. I am gradually becoming habituated. It is difficult to acquire new habits. Precious difficult in mid-ocean, where there isn't a tailor. [Humorous again, eh?] I now understand what is the meaning of "a Depression is crossing the Atlantic." There's an awful Depression hanging about the Baltic.
I send you a sketch of Elsinore, as I thought it would be, and Elsinore as it is. Elsinore is like the Pumping Works at Barking Creek. And I've come all this way to see this!! Elsinore! I'd rather go Elsewhere-inore,—say, Margate.
Think I shall put this in a bottle, cork it up, and send it overboard, and you'll get it by Tidal Post. Whether I do this or not depends on circumstances over which I may possibly have no control. Anyhow, at dinner-time, I shall ask for the bottle. When you ask for it, see that you get it.
Yours truly, JETSAM
(or Yotting Artist in Black and White). 10 A.M. Swedish time 9.5 in English miles. Longitude 4 ft. 8 in. in my berth. Latitude, any amount of.
* * * * *
AN EXCELLENT RULE.—We are informed that "extreme ugliness" and "male hysteria" are admitted as "adequate disqualifications" for the French Army. If the same rule only applied to the English House of Commons, what a deal of noise and nonsense we should be spared!
* * * * *
THE DYING SWAN.
(Latest Version, a long way after the Laureate.)
"THAMES 'SWAN UPPING.'—The QUEEN'S swanherd and the officials of the Dyers' and Vintners' Companies arrived at Windsor yesterday on their annual 'swan-upping' visit, for the purpose of marking or 'nicking' the swans and cygnets belonging to HER MAJESTY, and the Companies interested in the preservation of the birds that haunt the stream between London and Henley. It is said that the Thames swans are steadily decreasing owing to the traffic on the upper reaches of the river, and other causes detrimental to their breeding."—The Times.
July was wet,—a thing not rare— With sodden ground and chilly air; The sky presented everywhere A low-pitched roof of doleful grey; With a rain-flusht flood the river ran; Adown it floated a dying Swan, And loudly did lament. It was the middle of the day, The "Swanherd" and his men went on, "Nicking" the cygnets as they went.
The "Swanherd" showed a blue-peaked nose, And white against the cold white sky Shone many a face of those Who o'er the upper reaches swept, On swans and cygnets keeping an eye. Dyers and Vintners, portly, mellow Chasing the birds of the jetty bill Through the reed clusters green and still; And through the osier mazes crept Many a cap-feathered crook-armed fellow.
The lone Swan's requiem smote the soul With the reverse of joy. It spake of sorrow, of outfalls queer, Dyeing the floods once full and clear; Of launches wildly galumphing by, Washing the banks into hollow and hole; Sometimes afar, and sometimes a-near. All-marring 'ARRY'S exuberant voice, With music strange and manifold, Howling out choruses loud and bold As when Bank-holidayites rejoice With concertinas, and the many-holed Shrill whistle of tin, till the riot is rolled Through shy backwaters, where swan-nests are; And greasy scraps of the Echo or Star, Waifs from the cads' oleaginous feeds, Emitting odours reekingly rank, Drift under the clumps of the water-weeds, And broken bottles invade the reeds, And the wavy swell of the many-barged tug Breaks, and befouls the green Thames' bank. And the steady decrease of the snow-plumed throng That sail the upper Thames reaches among, Was prophesied in that plaintive song.
* * * * *
DOING IT CHEAPLY.
A re-action against the extravagance which marked the entertainments of the London Season of 1890 having set in, the following rules and regulations will be observed in the Metropolis until further notice.
1. Persons invited to dinner parties will be expected to furnish their own plate and linen, and some of the viands and wines to be used at the feast.
2. To carry out the above, a menu of the proposed meal will form a part of every card of invitation, which will run as follows:—"Mr. and Mrs. —— request the honour of Mr. and Mrs. ——'s company to dinner, on —— when they will kindly bring with them enough for twelve persons of the dish marked —— on the accompanying Menu, P.T.O."
3. Persons invited to a Ball will treat the supper as a pic-nic, to which all the guests are expected to contribute.
4. On taking leave of a hostess every guest will slip into her hand a packet containing a sum of money sufficient to defray his or her share of the evening's expenses.
5. Ladies making calls at or about five o'clock, will bring with them tea, sugar, milk, pound-cake, cucumber sandwiches, and bread and butter.
6. As no bands will be furnished at evening parties, guests who can play will be expected to bring their musical instruments with them. N.B. This does not apply to pianofortes on the premises, for which a small sum will be charged to those who use them.
7. Should a cotillon be danced, guests will provide their own presents, which will become the perquisites of the host and hostess.
8, and lastly. Should the above rules, compiled in the interest of leaders of Society, be insufficient to keep party-givers from appearing in the Court of Bankruptcy, guests who have partaken of any hospitality will be expected to contribute a gratuity, to enable the Official Receiver to declare a small and final dividend.
* * * * *
PERQUISITES.—"Nice thing to belong to National Liberal Club," observed Mr. G., who didn't dine at that establishment for nothing, "because, you see, they go in there for 'Perks.'"
* * * * *
Noblesse oblige! And what's the obligation, Read in the light of recent demonstration? A member of "our old Nobility" May be "obliged," at times, to play the spy, Lay traps for fancied frailty, disenthrall "Manhood" by "playing for" a woman's fall; Redeem the wreckage of a "noble" name By building hope on sin, and joy on shame; Redress the work of passion's reckless boldness By craven afterthoughts of cynic coldness; Purge from low taint "the blood of all the HOWARDS" By borrowings from the code of cads and cowards! Noblesse oblige? Better crass imbecility Of callow youth—with pluck—than such "nobility"!
* * * * *
HOME-ING.—Dr. BARNARDO'S delightfully simple plan of getting a little boy to sign an affidavit to the effect that he was so happy at Dr. BARNARDO'S Home, Sweet Home, and that, wherever he might wander, there was really no place on earth like Dr. BARNARDO'S Home, may remind Dickensian students of a somewhat analogous method apparently adopted by Mr. Squeers when, on his welcome return to Dotheboys Hall, he publicly announced that "he had seen the parents of some boys, and they're so glad to hear how their sons are getting on, that there's no prospect at all of their going away, which, of course, is a very pleasant thing to reflect upon for all parties." The conduct of such parents or relatives who send children or permit them to be sent to Dr. BARNARDO'S Home, Sweet Home, where, at all events, they are well fed and cared for, bears some resemblance to that of Graymarsh's maternal aunt, who was "short of money, but sends a tract instead, and hopes that Graymarsh will put his trust in Providence," and also to that of Mobb's "mother-in-law," who was so disgusted with her stepson's conduct (for DICKENS meant step-mother when he wrote "mother-in-law"—an odd lapsus calami never subsequently corrected) that she "stopped his halfpenny a-week pocket-money, and had given a double-bladed knife with a corkscrew in it to the Missionaries, which she had bought on purpose for him." We don't blame Dr. BARNARDO—much; but we do blame these weak-knee'd parents and guardians, who apparently don't know their own minds. In the recent case which was sarcastically treated by the Judge, Dr. B. found that he could buy GOULD too dear.
SOMETHING LIKE A REVOLUTION!
(From Our Own Correspondent on the Spot.)
Samol Plazo, 8 A.M.—My plat of egsibaconi has just been knocked out of the hands of my servant, PATPOTATO, by a bullet. My man (who is of Irish extraction) thinks that the long-expected revolution must have commenced; "for," as he argues, "when everything is down, something is sure to be up." I think so too. I am now going to Government House. If I don't get this through, make complaint at the Post Office, for it will be their fault not mine.
9 A.M.—Am now at Head Quarters. Not much trouble getting here. Came by a bussi, a local conveyance drawn by two horses, and much used by the humbler classes. On our road one of the steeds and the roof of the bussi were carried away by a shell, but as I was inside this caused me little annoyance, and I got comfortably to my destination with the remainder. Just seen the President, who says laughingly, that "there has been practically nothing but perfect peace and quiet." I doubt whether this can be quite the case, as he was sitting in front of Government House, which was at that very moment undergoing a vigorous bombardment. When I pointed this out to him, he confessed that he had noticed it himself, but did not think much of it. He was in excellent spirits, and told me a funny story about the narrow escape of his mother-in-law. I am now off to see how the other side are progressing. If the Post Office people tell you they can't send my telegrams to you, refuse to believe them.
10 A.M.—As I suspected, from the first, there has been a disturbance. I thought it must be so, as I could not otherwise understand why my cabbi should have been blown into the air, while passing through a mined street on the road here. I am now at the Head Quarters of the Oniononi, who seem to be in great strength. They appear to be very pleased that the fleet should have joined them, and account for the action by saying that the sailors, as bad shots, would naturally blaze away at the biggest target—Government House. So far, the disturbances have caused little inconvenience. I date this 10 A.M., but I cannot tell you the exact time, as the clock-tower has just been carried away by a new kind of land torpedo.
12, NOON.—I am now once again at the Government Head Quarters. As I could get no better conveyance, I inflated my canvas carpet-bag with gas, and used it as a balloon. I found it most valuable in crossing the battery which now masks the remains of what was once Government House. The President, after having organised a band of pic-pockettini (desperadoes taken from the gaols), has gone into the provinces, declaring that he has a toothache. By some, this declaration is deemed a subterfuge, by others, a statement savouring of levity. The artillery are now reducing the entire town to atoms, under the personal supervision of the Minister of Finance, who deprecates waste in ammunition, and declares that he is bound to the President by the tie of the battle-field.
2 P.M.—Have rejoined the Oniononi, coming hither by ricochet on a spent shell. The people are entirely with them, and cheer at every fresh evidence of destruction. Found a well-known shopkeeper in ecstasies over the ruins of his establishment. He said that, "Although the revolution might be bad for trade, it would do good, as things wanted waking up." A slaughter of police and railway officials, which has just been carried out with infinite spirit, seems to be immensely popular. If you don't get this, make immediate complaint. Don't accept, as an excuse, that the wires have been cut, and the office razed to the ground. They can get it through, if they like.
4 P.M.—Just heard a report that I myself have been killed and buried. As I can get no corroboration of this statement, I publish it under reservation. I confine myself to saying that it may be true, although I have my doubts upon the subject.
6 P.M.—It seems (as I imagined) that the report of my death and funeral is a canard. This shows how necessary it is to test the truth of every item of information before hurrying off to the Telegraph Office. Efforts are now being made to bring about a reconciliation between the contending parties.
8 P.M.—The revolution is over. When both sides had exhausted their ammunition, peace naturally became a necessity. The contending parties are now dining together, al fresco, as the town is in ruins. Nothing more to add save, All's well that ends well!
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S DICTIONARY OF PHRASES.
"Merry Christmas to you, Sir, and many on 'em!" i.e., "Have you got that half-crown handy?"
IN THE SMOKING-ROOM.
"Quite so; but then, you see, that's not my point;" i.e., "It was, ten minutes ago."
"Yes, but allow me one moment;" i.e., "Kindly give me your close attention for twenty-five minutes."
"Not your fault, indeed! Mine for having so long a train;" i.e., "Awkward toad!"
"Where did you get that lovely dress, dear?" i.e., "That I may avoid that dress-maker."
"Whose talents have been seen to better advantage:" i.e., "A cruel bad actor—but can't say so."
"When the nervousness of a first night has been got over;" i.e., "Never saw a worse play—but it may catch on."
"The Author's modesty prevented him from responding to loud calls;" i.e., "Timid youth, probably. Foresaw brickbats."
* * * * *
"BRAVO, TORO!"—M. CONSTANS will not allow Bull-fighting in Paris, even for "the benefit of the Martinique sufferers." Quite right! But if he would only discourage "Bull-fighting" in Egypt—the sort of "Bull-fighting" desired by Chauvinist M. DELONCLE—he would do good service to the land of the Pyramids, to the poor fellah, and to civilisation.
* * * * *
NOTE FROM BRIGHTON.—The exterior of the recently-opened Hotel Metropole, is so effective, that the Architect, Mr. WATERHOUSE, R.A., is likely to receive many commissions for the erection of similar hostelries at our principal marine resorts. He will take out letters patent for change of name, and be known henceforward as Mr. SEA-WATERHOUSE, R.A. By the way, the Directors of the Gordon Hotels Co. wish it to be generally known that they have not started a juvenile hotel for half-price children, under the name of the Gordon Boys' Hotel.
* * * * *
Who remembers a certain story called, if I remember aright, The Wheelbarrow of Bordeaux, that appeared in a Christmas Number of the Illustrated London News some years ago? If no one else does, I do, says the Baron; and that sensational story was a sensational sell, wherein the agony was piled up to the "n'th," and just as the secret was about to be disclosed, the only person who knew it, and was on the point of revealing it, died. This is the sort of thing that Mr. RUDYARD KIPLING has just done in this month's Lippincott's Magazine. It is told in a plain, rough and ready, blunt style, but so blunt that there's no point in it. And the idea,—that is if the idea be that the likeness of the assassin remains on the retina of the victim's eye, and can be reproduced by photography,—is not a novelty. Perhaps this story in Lippincott comes out of one of Mr. RUDYARD KIPLING'S pigeon-holes, and was just chucked in haphazard, because Editorial Lippincott wanted something with the name of the KIPLING, "bright and merry," to it. It's not very "bright," and it certainly isn't "merry."
Black's Guide to Kent for 1890, useful in many respects, but not quite up to date. The Baron cannot find any information about the splendid Golf Grounds, nor the Golf Club at Sandwich; it speaks of Sir MOSES MONTEFIORE'S place on the East Cliff of Ramsgate as if that benevolent centenarian were still alive; and it retains an old-fashioned description of Ramsgate as "The favorite resort of superior London tradesmen"—"which," says the Baron, "is, to my certain knowledge, very far from being the case." It talks of the "humours of the sands," and alludes to what is merely the cheap-trippers' season, as if this could possibly be the best time for Ramsgate. The Guide knows nothing, or at least says nothing, of the Winter attractions; of the excellent pack of harriers; of the delightful climate from mid-September to January; of the southern aspect; of the pure air; of the many excursions to Ash, Deal, Sandwich, Ickham, and so forth; nor can the Baron discover any mention of the Granville Hotel, nor of the Albion Club, nor of the sport for fishers and shooters; nor of the Riviera-like mornings in November and in the early Spring, which are the real attractions of Ramsgate, and make it one of the finest health-resorts in Winter for all "who love life, and would see good days." "It reminds me," says the Baron, puffing off his smoke indignantly, "of Mr. IRVING and a certain youthful critic, who, in his presence at supper, had been running down Macbeth, finding fault with the Lyceum production of it, and ridiculing SHAKSPEARE for having written it. When he had quite finished HENRY IRVING, 'laying low' in his chair at the table, adjusted his pince-nez, and, looking straight at the clever young gentleman, asked, in the mildest possible tone, 'My dear Sir, have you ever read Macbeth?' So," resumes the Baron, "I am inclined to ask Mr. BLACK'S young man, 'Do you know Ramsgate?' And of course I mean the Ramsgate of 1890."
From the specimens of London City that have been sent for inspection by Messrs. FIELD & TUER, of the Leadenhall Press, who are bringing it out, the Baron augurs a grand result, artistically and financially. It is to be published at forty-two shillings, but subscribers will get it for a guinea, so intending possessors had evidently better become subscribers. The history of the Great City is to be told by Mr. W.J. LOFTIE, so that it starts with an elevated tone and the loftiest principles, and the illustrations will be by Mr. WM. LUKER, a talented draughtsman who, as a Luker-on has seen most of the games in the City. In consequence of some piratical publisher having attempted to bring out a work under the same title, intended to deceive even the elect, Messrs. FIELD & TUER have secured the copyright of the title London City, by the ingenious device of publishing, for one farthing each, five hundred copies of a miniature pamphlet bearing this title, and containing the explanation. The value of these eccentric farthing pamphlets may one day be thousands of pounds. Mem.—Twopence would be well invested in purchasing four of them.
Salads and Sandwiches is an attractive title, specially at this season. The arrangement of the book is, like the salad, a little mixed. When, however, the knowing Baron finds that abomination known as salad dressing, or "salad mixing," which is sold at the grocer's, recommended by a writer who professes to teach salad-making, then he closes the book, and reads no more that day. This author, who is in his salad days, might bring out a book entitled How to Suck Eggs; or, Letters to my Grandmother. It is a suggestion worth considering, says
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
TO PYRRHA ON THE THAMES.
O Pyrrha! say what youth in "blazer" drest, Woos you on pleasant Thames these summer eves; For whom do you put on that dainty vest, That sky-blue ribbon and those gigot sleeves.
"Simplex munditiis," as HORACE wrote, And yet, poor lad, he'll find that he is rash; To-morrow you'll adorn some other boat, And smile as kindly on another "mash."
As for myself—I'm old, and look askance At flannels and flirtation; not for me Youth's idiotic rapture at a glance From maiden eyes: although it comes from thee.
* * * * *
IN THE KNOW.
(By Mr. Punch's Own Prophet.)
I am a modest man, as well as an honest one. Censure cannot move me by one hair's breadth from the narrow path of rectitude; praise cannot unduly puff me up. Had I been other than I am, this last week would have gone fatally near to ruining that timid and shrinking diffidence which (I say it without egotism) marks me off from the poisonous, pestilential, hydrocephalous, putty-faced, suet-brained reptiles who disgrace the profession to which I belong. All I wish now to do is to point out that I am the only prophet who indicated, without any beating about the bush, that Marvel would win the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood. My admirers have recognised the fact, and my private residence has been choked by an avalanche of congratulatory despatches, including two or three from some of the highest in the land. H.S.H., the Grand Duke of PFEIFENTOPF says:—"You have me with your writings much refreshed. I have the whole revenues of the Grand Duchy against one thousand flaschen of lager bier gebetted, and I have won him on your noble advice on Marvel. I make you Commander of the Honigthau Order." I merely cite this to show that my appreciators are not to one country confined—I mean, confined to one country.
What did I say last week, in speaking of the Stewards' Cup horses? By the well-known grammatical figure known as the hysteroproteron, I mentioned Marvel last, intending, of course, as even a buffalo-headed Bedlamite might have seen, that he should be first. And he was first. But to make assurance doubly sure, and to bring prophecy down to the intellectual level of a bat, I added, in speaking of the winner, that he "would certainly be a Marvel." I say no more. As the great Cardinal once observed to his chief of police, "Je te verrai souffle d'abord," so I reply to those who wish me to reveal the secret of my success. Mr. J. knows it not, and no single member of the imbecile, anserous, asinine, cow-hocked, spavin-brained, venomous, hugger-mugger purveyors of puddling balderdash who follow him has the least conception of my glorious system. But I am willing to teach, though I have nothing to learn. For six halfpenny stamps those who desire to know, shall receive my pamphlet on "Book-making." Every applicant must send his photograph with his application, not necessarily for publication, but as a guarantee of good faith.
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"SUR LE TAPIS."—It was a carpet that ostensibly parted an eminent firm of composer, author, and theatrical manager. W.S.G. didn't want D'OYLY CARPET—no, beg pardon, should have written D'OYLY CARTE to have carte blanche. [Pretty name this. Is there a BLANCHE CARTE? If not, "make it so."]—to do whatever he liked whenever he liked with the decorating and upholstering of the theatre. And recently another carpet, not in connection with the above firm, created a difficulty. What's a thousand-guinea carpet to a man who likes this sort of thing? Nothing. Yet as amici curiae, we would have thought that that Tottenham Road carpet might have been kept out of Court. Wasn't that a Blunder, MAPLE?
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FROM NILE TO NEVA.
["And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage."—Exodus.
"The Russian Government, by the new edicts legalises persecution, and openly declares war against the Jews of the Empire."—Times.]
"BEWARE!" 'Tis a voice from the shades, from the dark of three thousand long years, But it falls like the red blade of RA, and should echo in Tyranny's ears With the terror of overhead thunder; from Nile to the Neva it thrills, And it speaks of the judgment of wrong, of the doom of imperious wills. When PENTAOUR sang of the PHARAOH, alone by Orontes, at bay, By the chariots compassed about of the foe who were fierce for the fray, He sang of the dauntless oppressor, of RAMESES, conquering king; But were there such voice by the Neva to-day, of what now should he sing? Of tyranny born out of time, of oppression belated and vain? Put up the old weapon, O despot, slack hand from the scourge and the chain; For the days of the PHARAOHS are done, and the laureates of tyranny mute, And the whistle of falchion and flail are not set to the chords of the lute. True, the Hebrew, who bowed to the lash of the Pyramid-builders, bows still, For a time, to the knout of the TSAR, to the Muscovite's merciless will; But four millions of Israel's children are not to be crushed in the path Of a TSAR, like the Hittites of old, when great RAMESES flamed in his wrath Alone through their numberless hosts. No, the days of the Titans of Wrong Are past, for the Truth is a torch, and the voice of the peoples is strong. Even PENTAOUR, the poet of Might, spake in pity that rings down the years Of the life of "the peasant that tills" of his terrible toil and his tears; Of the rats and the locusts that ravaged, and, worse, the tax-gathering horde Who tithed all his pitiful tilth with the aid of the stick and the cord; And the splendour of RAMESES pales in the text of the old Coptic Muse, And—one hears the mad rush of the wheels that the fierce Red Sea billow pursues!
O Muscovite, blind in your wrath, with your heel on the Israelite's neck, And your hand on that baleful old blade, Persecution, 'twere wisdom to reck The PHARAOH'S calm warning. Beware! Lo, the Pyramids pierce the grey gloom Of a desert that is but a waste, by a river that is but a tomb, Yet the Hebrew abides and is strong. AMENEMAN is gone to the ghosts, He the prince of the Coptic police who so harried the Israelite hosts When their lives with hard-bondage were bitter. And now bitter bondage you'd try. Proscription, and exile, and stern deprivation. Beware, Sire! Put by That blade in its blood-rusted scabbard. The PHARAOHS, the CAESARS have found That it wounds him who wields it; and you, though your victim there, prone on the ground, Look helpless and hopeless, you also shall find Persecution a bane Which shall lead to a Red Sea of blood to o'erwhelm selfish Tyranny's train. "Beware!" Tis the shade of MENEPTHA that whispers the warning from far. Concerning that sword there's a lesson the PHARAOH may teach to the TSAR! * * * * *
"REWARDS FOR GALLANTRY."—Among the numerous rewards mentioned in the Times of last Thursday, the magnificent gold watch, with monogram in diamonds, presented by the Royal Italian Opera Company to AUGUSTUS DRURIOLANUS at the close of the present exceptionally successful season, was not mentioned. Most appropriate present from the persons up to tune to one who is always up to time. The umble individual who writes this paragraph only wishes some company—Italian, French, no matter which—would present him with a golden and diamonded watch. "O my prophetic soul! My Uncle!!"
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THE PRICE OF IT.
GLADSTONE'S latest Benedicite Is bestowed on "free publicity." 'Tis the thing that we all strive at, Praise in speech, and hate—in private! Where are pride, reserve, simplicity? Fled for ever—from Publicity!
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"MORE LIGHT!"—The Berners Hotel Co., with Mr. GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA as Chairman, should at once be advertised as "The G.A.S.-Berners Hotel Co.," and, of course, no electric lighting would be used. Mr. SIMS REEVES is also a Director of this Hotel Company. So it starts with a tenner.
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Socialistic Military Novel. By JAMES ODD SUMMER. One Iron Soldier, and the Led Captain.
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MR. PUNCH'S MORAL MUSIC-HALL DRAMAS.
No. XII.—CONRAD; OR, THE THUMBSUCKER.
(Adapted freely from a well-known Poem in the "Struwwelpeter.")
Conrad (aged 6). Conrad's Mother (47). The Scissorman (age immaterial).
SCENE—An Apartment in the house of CONRAD'S Mother, window in centre at back, opening upon a quiet thoroughfare. It is dusk, and the room is lighted only by the reflected gleam from the street lamps. CONRAD discovered half-hidden by left window-curtain.
Conrad (watching street). Still there! For full an hour he has not budged beyond the circle of yon lamp-post's rays! The gaslight falls upon his crimson hose, and makes a steely glitter at his thigh, while from the shadow peers a hatchet-face and fixes sinister malignant eyes—on whom? (Shuddering.) I dare not trust myself to guess! And yet—ah, no—it cannot be myself! I am so young—one is still young at six!—What man can say that I have injured him? Since, in my Mother's absence all the day engaged upon Municipal affairs, I peacefully beguile the weary hours by suction of consolatory thumbs. (Here he inserts his thumb in his mouth, but almost instantly removes it with a start.) Again I meet those eyes! I'll look no more—but draw the blind and shut my terror out. (Draws blind and lights candle; Stage lightens.) Heigho, I wish my Mother were at home! (Listening.) At last. I hear her latchkey in the door!
Enter CONRAD'S Mother, a lady of strong-minded appearance, rationally attired. She carries a large reticule full of documents.
Conrad's M. Would, CONRAD, that you were of riper years, so you might share your Mother's joy to-day, the day that crowns her long and arduous toil as one of London's County Councillors!
Conrad. Nay, speak; for though my mind be immature, one topic still can charm my infant ear, that ever craves the oft-repeated tale. I love to hear of that august Assembly (his Mother lifts her bonnet solemnly) in which my Mother's honoured voice is raised!
C's. M. (gratified). Learn, CONRAD, then, that, after many months of patient "lobbying" (you've heard the term?) the measure by my foresight introduced has triumphed by a bare majority!
Con. My bosom thrills with dutiful delight—although I yet for information wait as to the scope and purpose of the statute.
C's. M. You show an interest so intelligent that well deserves it should be satisfied. Be seated, CONRAD, at your Mother's knee, and you shall hear the full particulars. You know how zealously I advocate the sacred cause of Nursery Reform? How through my efforts every infant's toys are carefully inspected once a month—?
Con. (wearily). Nay, Mother, you forget—I have no toys.
C's. M. Which brings you under the exemption clause. But—to resume; how Nursery Songs and Tales must now be duly licensed by our Censor, and any deviation from the text forbidden under heavy penalties? All that you know. Well; with concern of late, I have remarked among our infancy the rapid increase of a baneful habit on which I scarce can bring my tongue to dwell. (The Stage darker; blind at back illuminated.) Oh, CONRAD, there are children—think of it!—so lost to every sense of decency that, in mere wantonness or brainless sloth, they obstinately suck forbidden thumbs! (CONRAD starts with irrepressible emotion.) Forgive me if I shock your innocence! (Sadly.) Such things exist—but soon shall cease to be, thanks to the measure we have passed to-day!
Con. (with growing uneasiness). But how can statutes check such practices?
C's M. (patting his head). Right shrewdly questioned, boy! I come to that. Some timid sentimentalists advised compulsory restraint in woollen gloves, or the deterrent aid of bitter aloes. I saw the evil had too deep a seat to yield to such half-hearted remedies. No; we must cut, ere we could hope to cure! Nay, interrupt me not; my Bill appoints a new official, by the style and title of "London County Council Scissorman," for the detection of young "suck-a-thumbs."
[Here the shadow of a huge hand brandishing a gigantic pair of shears appears upon the blind.]
Con. (hiding his face in his Mother's lap). Ah, Mother, see!... the scissors!... On the blind!
C's. M. Why, how you tremble! You've no cause to fear. The shadow of his grim insignia should have no terror—save for thumb-suckers.
Con. And what for them?
C's. M. (complacently). A doom devised by me—the confiscation of the culprit thumbs. Thus shall our statute cure while it corrects, for those who have no thumbs can err no more.
[The Shadow slowly passes on the blind, CONRAD appearing relieved at its departure. Loud knocking without. Both start to their feet.
C's M. Who knocks so loud at such an hour as this?
A Voice. Open, I charge ye. In the Council's name!
C's M. 'Tis the Official Red-legged Scissorman, who doubtless calls to thank me for the post.
Con. (with a gloomy determination). More like his business, Madam, is with—Me!
C's. M. (suddenly enlightened). A Suck-a-thumb?... you, CONRAD?
C. (desperately). Ay,—from birth!
[Profound silence, as Mother and Son face one another. The knocking is renewed.
C's. M. Oh, this is horrible—it must not be! I'll shoot the bolt and barricade the door.
[CONRAD places himself before it, and addresses his Mother in a tone of incisive irony.
Con. Why, where is all the zeal you showed of late? is't thus that you the Roman Matron play? Trick not a statute of your own devising. Come, your official's waiting—let him in! (C's. M. shrinks back appalled.) So? you refuse!—(throwing open door)—then—enter, Scissorman!
[Enter the Scissorman, masked and in red tights, with his hand upon the hilt of his shears.
The S. (in a passionless tone). Though sorry to create unpleasantness, I claim the thumbs of this young gentleman, which my own eyes have marked between his lips.
C's. M. (frantically). Thou minion of a meddling tyranny, go exercise thy loathsome trade elsewhere!
The S. (civilly). I've duties here that must be first performed.
C's. M. (wildly). Take my thumbs for his!
The S. 'Tis not the law—which is a model of lucidity.
Con. (calmly). Sir, you speak well. My thumbs are forfeited, and they alone must pay the penalty.
The S. (with approval). Right! Step with me into the outer hall, and have the business done without delay.
C's. M. (throwing herself between them). Stay! I'm a Councillor—this law was mine! Hereby I do suspend the clause I drew.
The S. You should have drawn it milder.
Con. Must I teach a parent laws were meant to be obeyed? [To Sc.] Lead on, Sir. (To his Mother with cold courtesy.) Madam,—may I trouble you?
[He thrusts her gently aside and passes out with the S.; the door is shut and fastened from without. C's. M. rushes to door which she attempts to force without success.
C's. M. In vain I batter at a senseless door, I'll to the keyhole train my tortured ear. (Listening.) Dead silence!... is it over—or, to come? Hark! was not that the click of meeting shears?... Again! and followed by the sullen thud of thumbs that drop upon linoleum!...
[The door is opened and CONRAD appears, pale but erect,—N.B. The whole of this scene has been compared to one in "La Tosca"—which, however, it exceeds in horror and intensity.
C's. M. They send him back to me, bereft of both! My CONRAD! What?—repulse a Mother's Arms!
Con. (with chilling composure). Yes, Madam, for between us ever more, a barrier invisible is raised, and should I strive to reach those arms again, two spectral thumbs would press me coldly back—the thumbs I sucked, in blissful ignorance, the thumbs that solaced me in solitude, the thumbs your County Council took from me, and your endearments scarcely will replace! Where, Madam, lay the harm in sucking them? The dog will lick his foot, the cat her claw, his paws sustain the hibernating bear—and you decree no law to punish them! Yet, in your rage for infantine reform, you rushed this most ridiculous enactment—its earliest victim your neglected son!
C's. M. (falling at his feet). Say, CONRAD, you will some day pardon me?
Con. (bitterly, as he regards his maimed hands.) I will,—the day these pollards send forth shoots!
[His Mother turns aside with a heartbroken wail; CONRAD standing apart in gloomy estrangement as the Curtain descends.
"RUNNING HIS EYE OVER THEM."
GRANDOLPH muses:—"My Kingdom for a horse!" Ah, well! The question is,—which is my Kingdom? I'm bound to own there is a spell In Turfdom, Stabledom, and Ringdom, The spell that Lord GEORGE BENTICK knew, As DIZZY tells, I feel it too.
He won brief leadership, who might Have won the Derby! Which was better? There's rapture in a racer's flight, There's rust on the official fetter. Of me the Press tells taradiddles! Well, I do set the fools strange riddles!
"Fourth Party!" He was no bad start For a new stable, but he's done with. "Tory Democracy!" No heart! But 'tis a mount I've had good fun with. "Leader!" "Economy!" "Sobriety!" My Stable has not lacked variety.
What does NORTH say? A ragged lot? Try a new string? And you, DUNRAVEN? Humph! Fancy does blow cold and hot. Audacious now, and now half craven. Well, freak's an unexhausted fount. Mentor, can you guess my next mount?
* * * * *
MY PITHY JAYNE.
[DR. JAYNE, Bishop of Chester, at a Conference of the Girl's Friendly Society, at Chester, said that until they were prepared to introduce basket-making into London Society as a substitute for quadrilles and waltzes, he was not disposed to accept it as an equivalent for balls and dances among girls of other classes.]
AIR.—"My Pretty Jane."
My pithy JAYNE, my plucky JAYNE, Punch fancies you looked sly When you met them, met them down at Chester, And gave them "one in the eye." Bigotry's waning fast, my boy, But Cant we sometimes hear, And Chester cant is pestilent cant, My Lord, that's pretty clear. Then pithy JAYNE, my plucky JAYNE, Of smiting don't be shy; But meet them, meet the moonstruck Puritans And tell them it's all my eye.
'Tis only play, and harmless play, Like kissing in the ring, When lads and lasses of spirits gay Dance like young lambs in Spring. That Spring will wane too fast, alas! But while it yet is here, Let youth enjoy, or girl or boy, The dance to youth so dear. Then pithy JAYNE, my plucky JAYNE, Don't heed the bigot's cry, But meet them, meet them down at Chester And teach them Charity!
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, July 28.—STRATHEDEN and CAMPBELL are amongst the most regular visitors to our lobby from House of Lords. RAVENSWORTH and UMBRELLA run them pretty close, but come in only a good second. Moreover, whilst RAVENSWORTH and UMBRELLA rarely go beyond the lobby, STRATHEDEN and CAMPBELL press forward into Gallery reserved for Peers, and there sweetly go to sleep, "Like Babes in the Wood," says Colonel MALCOLM, turning over leaves of Orders as if he would like to complete the simile by acting the part of the birds. To-night STRATHEDEN and CAMPBELL leave us forlorn. They have business in their own House; been long concerned for interests of State as affected by the MARKISS'S persistence in combining office of Premier with that of Foreign Secretary.
"It would be too much even for us," said STRATHEDEN, in conversation we had before House met; "and," he continued, "though I say it what shouldn't, I don't know any arrangement that would be happier or more complete than if we undertook the job. What do you say, CAMPBELL? Would you be Premier, or would you take the Foreign Seals?"
"The Premier place is yours," said CAMPBELL, gallantly; "at least, it is now. When we first started in life we used to call ourselves CAMPBELL and STRATHEDEN. You'll find it so in the Peerages of earlier date; now it's the other way about, and STRATHEDEN takes the pas."
"That was entirely your doing, CAMPBELL, said STRATHEDEN; so modest, so retiring, so thoughtful! After we'd been known as CAMPBELL and STRATHEDEN for good many years, you came to me and said it was my turn now. I objected; you insisted; and here we are, a power in the State, an object of interest in the Commons, STRATHEDEN and CAMPBELL in the Lords."
"A little awkward, don't you think," I ventured to say, edging in a word, "for you two fellows to take this strong stand against duality?"
"Not at all," said STRATHEDEN and CAMPBELL, both together; "we are authorities on the subject, and we say that the MARKISS cannot in his single person adequately perform the dual duties pertaining to his high offices; therefore we shall go and move our resolution protesting against arrangement."
Pretty to see them marching off. Always walk on tip-toe; ROSEBERY says it is a practice adopted so as not to disturb each other when engaged in thinking out deep problems; two of the best and the happiest old fellows in the world; their only trouble is that on divisions their vote should count as only one. CAMPBELL, in whom hot Cupar blood flows, once proposed to raise question of privilege, but soothed by STRATHEDEN, who has in him a strong strain of the diplomatic character of his grandfather, ABINGER.
Business done.—In the Lords, STRATHEDEN and CAMPBELL raised question of MARKISS as Premier and Foreign Secretary. In Commons, Anglo-German Agreement sanctioned.
Tuesday.—Scotch Members had their innings to-night; played a pretty stiff game till, at twelve o'clock, stumps drawn. All about what used to be called the Compensation Bill. Got a new name now; Compensation Clauses dropped; but JOKIM finds it dreary work dragging the wreck along.
"Seems to me, Tony," he said with a sob in his voice, "that whatever I do is wrong. This Bill has gone through various transmogrifications since; with a light heart, I brought it in as part of Budget scheme. But it's all the same. Hit high or hit low, I can't please 'em. Begin to think if there were any other business open for me, should chuck this up."
"Ever been in the carpet-cleaning line?" said MAPLE-BLUNDELL, in harsh voice, and with curiously soured face. Generally beams through life as if it were all sunshine. Now cloud Seems to have fallen over his expansive person, and he is as gloomy as JOKIM.
"It's all very well for you," he continues, glowering at JOKIM, "to complain of your lot; but till you go into the carpet-cleaning line you never know what vicissitudes mean. One day, alighting from your four-in-hand, and happily able to spare to Tottenham Court Road a few moments from direction of national affairs, you look in at your shop; enter a lady who says she wants a carpet cleaned. 'Very well' you say rubbing your hands, and smiling blandly; 'and what will be the next article.' Nothing more. Only this blooming carpet, out of which, when the job is finished and it is sent home you make a modest five bob. Your keen insight into figures, JOKIM, will convince you that the coin colloquially known as five bob won't go far to enable you to cut a figure in Society, drive four-in-hand, give pic-nics in your park to the Primrose League, and subscribe to the Canton Fund. However, there it is; carpet comes; you send it out in usual way, and what happens? Why it blows itself up, kills two boys, lames a man, and then you discover that you've been entertaining unawares a carpet worth L1000 which you have to pay. Did that ever happen to you at the Treasury?" MAPLE-BLUNDELL fiercely demanded. JOKIM forced to admit that his infinite sorrows had never taken that particular turn.
"Very well, then," snapped MAPLE-BLUNDELL, "don't talk to me about your troubles. As far as I know this is the only carpet in the world valued at L1000; it is certainly the only one that ever went off by spontaneous combustion; and I had this particular carpet in charge, at the very moment when it was ready to combust spontaneously."
"Yes," said JOKIM, softly, as MAPLE-BLUNDELL went off, viciously stamping on the carpet that covers the Library floor, "we all have our troubles, and when I think of MAPLE-BLUNDELL and his combustible carpet I am able the better to bear the woes I have."
Business done.—In Committee on Local Taxation Bill.
Thursday.—"True, TOBY," OLD MORALITY said, in reply to an observation, "I am a little tired, and naturally; things haven't been going so well as they did; but I could get along well enough if it wasn't for SUMMERS. CONEYBEARE'S cantankerous; STORY is strenuous; TANNER tedious; and DILLON denunciatory. But there's something about SUMMERS that is peculiarly aggravating. In the first place, he is, as far as appearances go, such a quiet, amiable, inoffensive young man. Looking at him, one would think that butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, much less that Mixed Marriages in Malta should keep him awake at night, and the question of International Arbitration should lower his appetite. Yet you know how it is. He seems to have some leisure on his hands; uses it to formulate conundrums; comes down here, and propounds them to me. Just look at his list for to-night. LINTORN SIMMONDS'S Mission to the POPE; Customs' Duty in Algeria; International Arbitration; Walfish Bay, and Damara Land, together with the view the Cape Colonies may take of the Anglo-German Agreement. That pretty well for one night; but he's gone off now, to look up a fresh batch, which he'll unfold to-morrow. Now is the winter of our discontent, which is chilly enough; but, for my part, I often think that life would be endurable only for its SUMMERS."
Haven't often heard OLD MORALITY speak so bitterly; generally, even at worst time, overflowing with geniality; ready to take kindest view of circumstances, and hope for the best. But SUMMERS, surveying mankind from China to Peru in search of material for fresh conundrum, too much for mildest-mannered man. OLD MORALITY, goaded to verge of madness, jumps up; hotly declines to reply to SUMMERS; begs him to address his questions to Ministers to whose Department they belonged.
Business done.—Local Taxation Bill through Committee.
Friday.—Still in our ashes live our wonted fires. Dwelling just now amid ashes of expiring Session; everything dull and deadly; pounding away at Local Taxation Bill; Scotch Members to the fore, for the fortieth time urging that the L40,000 allotted them in relief of school fees shall be made L90,000. House divides, and also for fortieth time says "No;" expect to go on with next Amendment; when suddenly HARCOURT springs on OLD MORALITY'S back, digs his knuckles into his eyes, bites his ear, and observes that he "has never seen a piece of more unexampled insolence." OLD MORALITY, when he recovers breath, goes and tells the Master—I mean the SPEAKER. SPEAKER says HARCOURT shouldn't use language like that; so HARCOURT subsides, and incident closes as rapidly and suddenly as it opened.
A little later COMPTON goes for RAIKES; hints that he sub-edited for Hansard portions of a speech delivered in House on Post Office affairs. RAIKES says "Noble Lord charged me with having deliberately falsified my speech." COMPTON says he didn't. "Then," said RAIKES, with pleading voice that went to every heart, "I wish the Noble Lord had the manliness to charge me with deliberate falsification." COMPTON refused to oblige; RAIKES really depressed.
"Don't know what we're coming to, TOBY," he said, "when one almost goes on his knees to ask a man to charge him with deliberate falsification, and he won't do it. Thought better of COMPTON; see him in his true light now." Business done.—A good deal.
* * * * *
A SPORTING STYLE.
Our next example of a true sporting style will be constructed on the basis of Nos. 11, 12, and 13 of the Rules. These, it will be remembered, require the writer to refer to "the good old days;" to be haughty and contemptuous, with a parade of rugged honesty; to be vain and offensive, and to set himself up as an infallible judge of every branch of sport and athletics. This particular variety of style is always immensely effective. All the pot—boys of the Metropolis, most of the shady bookmakers, and a considerable proportion of the patrons of sport swear by it, and even the most thoughtful who read it cannot fail to be impressed by its splendour. This style deals in paragraphs. Second Example.—Event to be commented on: A Regatta.
I am led to believe by column upon column of wishy-washy twaddle in the morning papers, that Henley Regatta has actually taken place. The effete parasites of a decayed aristocracy who direct this gathering endeavour year after year to make the world believe that theirs is the only meeting at which honour has the least chance of bursting into flower. I have my own opinions on this point. Really, these tenth transmitters of foolish faces become more and more brazen in their attempts to palm off their miserable two-penny-halfpenny, tin-pot, one-horse Regatta as the combination of all the cardinal virtues.
* * * * *short
These gentry presume to dictate to rowing men what shall constitute the status of the Amateur. For my own part (and the world will acknowledge that I have done some rowing in my time) I prefer the straight-forward conduct of any passing rag-and-bone merchant to the tricks of the high and mighty champions of the amateur qualification in whose nostrils the mere name of professional oarsman seems to stink. These pampered denizens of the amateur hothouse would, doubtless, wear a kid-glove before they ventured to shake hands with one who, like myself, despises them and their absurd pretensions.
* * * * *short
As for the rowing, it was fantastic. I wasn't there. Indeed, those who know me, would never think so meanly of me as to suppose that I would attend this Regatta pour rire. But I know enough to be sure that the Eights were slow, the Fours deficient in pace, the pairs on the minus side of nothing, and the scullers preposterous. Rowing must be in a bad way when it can boast no better champions (save the mark!) than those who last week aired their incompetence, and impeded the traffic of the people upon the Thames. Time was when an oarsman was an oarsman, but now he is a miserable cross between a Belgravian flunkey and a riverside tout. Which is all I care to say on an unsavoury matter.
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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.