PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
JULY 5, 1890
WEEK BY WEEK.
We understand that careful observers have noted a considerable amount of disturbance in the House of Commons during the past three weeks. Various reasons have, as usual, been advanced to account for this phenomenon, one eminent politician having gone so far as to hint darkly at the existence of Cave-men (or Troglodytes), who dwell in barrows.
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The weather has been subject to strange variations. The mean temperature of the isothermal lines, when reduced to fractions of an infinitesimal value, has been found to correspond exactly to the elevation of the nap on the hat of a certain sporting Earl. Dividing that by the number of buttons on a costermonger's waistcoat, and adding to the quotient the number of aspirates picked up in the Old Kent Road on a Saturday afternoon, the result has been computed as equal to the total amount of minutes occupied by a vendor of saveloys in advertising his wares in the Pall Mall Clubs.
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Candour is at times inconvenient. A prominent member of a Metropolitan Vestry was informed two days ago by one of the permanent scavengers of the district, that he "wasn't worth the price of a second-hand boot-lace." On inquiring the meaning of this curious phrase, he was told that "his blooming head would be knocked off for two-pence." We understand that the Vestryman's vote on a question of salary is responsible for the indignation of the scavenger, a member of a class usually noted for their somewhat ceremonious courtesy.
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Those who propose to travel this year will doubtless be glad to learn that the Hessian fly has been observed in unusual abundance in Westphalia. This succulent morceau is now eaten fried, with a sauce of devilled lentils and oil.
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It appears, after all, that there is no very definite foundation for the report that Sir EDWARD WATKIN is said to be disappointed in the competitive designs sent in for his Tower, because none of them provide sleeping accommodation for 2000 people on the top storey. Of course something must have given rise to the rumour, but it is not easy to say exactly what. One competitor has already, however, it appears, intimated his readiness to make the required addition, by hanging his beds over the side of the Tower on "extended poles." The question is, "Would Sir WATKIN be able to induce his patrons 'to turn in' under such conditions?" There's the rub.
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STANLEY'S Darkest Africa (SAMPSON LOW) swamps all other books just now, except, of course, the Other STANLEY book, called A Light on the Keep-it-Quite-the-Darkest Africa (TRISCHLER & Co.) which follows closely at its heels. The real STANLEY narrative is most interesting and exciting; it is a book that will make everyone "sit up"—at night to read it. The centre of attraction is in the answer to the question, "How did I find EMIN?" Which is, "Quite well, thank you."
My faithful "Co." reports that he has been doing his duty nobly as a novel-reader. He has already devoured Vol. III. of the Man with a Secret. He would attack Vols. I. and II. if he had not had (so he says) quite enough of the Man and his Secret. Innocent Victims is written in the temperance interest. "Co." has every sympathy with the cause of undiluted water, but fears that this "story of London Life and Labour" may end in drink. He found it himself a little dry, and was not cheered by the name of the author, HUGH DOWNE, which seemed to suggest he could not get up again. He is eagerly waiting for more fiction, as "Expiation" by OCTAVE THANET has scarcely satisfied his craving for the weird and the horrible. In the meanwhile, he has found a cheerful interlude in Sanity and Insanity, a text-book (written in a popular yet scientific strain) of the maladies of the mind. He says, that Dr. MERCIER, the author, is to be congratulated on having treated a rather "jumpy" subject in a manner that can offend no one. "Co." had no idea up to now, that "t'other was so like unto which."
All the Magazines for July are in, but the Baron has been unable to open them, and "Co." has cut them. BARON DE BOOK-WORMS & Co.
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ADVICE TO GIRL GRADUATES.
(AFTER CHARLES KINGSLEY—AT A RESPECTFUL DISTANCE.)
Dress well, sweet Maid, and let who will be clever. Dance, flirt, and sing! Don't study all day long. Or else you'll find, When other girls get married, You'll sing a different song!
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SAD NEWS FROM ETON.—"Bever" is dead. Sorrowing boys followed the bier. The Bever-age has ceased to exist. What next? Will the characteristic Etonian top-hat follow the Bever?
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SCENE—Office of the Commanding Commander-in-Chief. The C.C.-in-Chief discovered. To him enter H.R.H. GEORGE RANGER.
H.R.H.G.R. You sent for me, Mr. Punch. I beg pardon, I should say, your Excellency?
C.C.-in-C. (severely). Be careful, Sir, and remember in whose presence you are! I believe about a month ago you asked for subscriptions in aid of the National Rifle Association?
H.R.H.G.R.. Yes, Mr. P.—I should say, your Excellency.
C.C.-in C. And I presume the N.R.A. have been put to very great expense in changing from Wimbledon to Bisley?
H.R.H.G.R. Yes, I am sorry to say so,—personally sorry. Although the bullets may have played the mischief with the adjoining property, still I think—
C.C.-in-C. (severely). We are not discussing Wimbledon now, Sir. Am I right in assuming that the reason funds were requested was to put Bisley in a proper condition for the reception of the Volunteers?
H.R.H.G.R. Of course. I am sure I am the best friend of the Volunteers, and—
C.C.-in-C. (interrupting). How comes it then that when the Volunteers (whose own ranges are being closed all round London) ask for permission to shoot at Bisley, they are told that they may not have it, because "the range is required for the regular troops."
H.R.H.G.R. Well, as Commander-in-Chief, of course I must consider the Army, and as—
C.C.-in-C. President of the N.R.A., you should consider the Volunteers—but you don't! Now see here, if I hear any more of this sort of thing, I tell you frankly that—
[Scene closes in, as the threat is too terrible for publication.]
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MR. PUNCH'S DICTIONARY OF PHRASES.
"A. Nobleman wishes particularly to recommend his Coachman, who is leaving his service, solely owing to domestic changes;" i.e., Having been detected falsifying his stable accounts, and threatened in consequence with prosecution, he retaliates by a menace to disclose certain unpleasant family secrets, picked up in the servants' hall, to a Society journal.
"If applied but once gently with the palm of the hand, it will afford the sufferer delightful and instantaneous relief;" i.e., It at once removes the skin, and if rubbed in with vigour will flay a horse.
"I feel that I have already trespassed upon your patience, and detained you an unconscionable time;" i.e., "Your attention seems flagging. I want a moment or two for reflection, and a cue to go on again."
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THE RACK OF THE RATE-PAYER.
(BY A VICTIM OF "QUINQUENNIAL VALUATION.")
"Parochial Authorities have a way of their own in interpreting Acts of Parliament, and a very peculiar way indeed of dealing with the Valuation Act.... Overseers go their own way, and interpret the Act according to their knowledge and experience; and in many cases experience is lacking, and knowledge an altogether unknown quantity.... When dealing with leasehold property, overseers positively revel in the most delightful caprice. The leaseholder's property is dealt with kindly or the reverse, just as it is in this or that parish."—James's Gazette.
Tennyson talks of "gay quinquenniads." Yes, But he would mention them with less elation If he had my experience, I guess, Of the not gay Quinquennial Valuation! I am not now so young as once I was, I have arrived at the Golosh and Gamp Age, I am not equal to contend—that's poz— With the Parochial Fathers on the rampage. Ah me, these Vestry vultures on the pounce! They scare me, skin me, bully me, and bilk me. Soon of my flesh they'll scarce have left an ounce, They so persistently maul, mulct, and milk me. Once in five years they send me papers blue, And papers white, and likewise papers yellow; They "want to know, you know," indeed they do. First the "First Clerk," a devil of a fellow! Challenges me to up and tell him all About gross value, also value rateable. It's all pure fudge. I am their helpless thrall, To an extent in civil speech unstateable. They will not take my word. If I appeal, They hale me up before a stern Committee, Fellows with brazen faces, hearts of steel, And destitute of manners as of pity. My solemn statement, or my mild demur, To them a subject of fierce scorn and scoff is; An honest citizen feels but a cur When snapped and snarled at by these Jacks-in-Office. They're sure to have the pull of me somehow; Oh! I've read "Handbooks." I've attended Meetings Where angry ratepayers raise fruitless row; But, bless you, these bold roarings turn to bleatings, When they the cruel inquisition face Of some austere Committee of Assessment. Until I found myself in that dread place I never knew what fogged and foiled distress meant. Between them and my Landlord I've no peace. I'm honest, but they treat me as "a wrong one." I'm a Shopkeeper, holding a short lease (My Landlord takes good care it's not a long one). Once in seven years the Landlord lifts my Rent, And once in five my Rates the Assessor raises, Values, Gross, Rateable, so much per cent.? Bah! the attempt to fathom them but crazes! The only regular rule is—Up! Up! Up! And any protest only brings upon you Your Landlord's wrath, and cheek from some sleek pup, Who bullies you; and laughs when he has done you. "Pay and look pleasant," is the official rule, And as to wife and child, and food and raiment, You may attend to them, poor drudging fool! When of your Rent and Rates you've made full payment. Yes, Rent and Rates! they are the modern gods, And Moloch's tyranny was not more cruel. With Landlord or with Vestry get at odds, And you're gone coon; they'll soon give you your gruel. Just now Vestrydom's victims are a-howl With rage at skinning; but their indignation Will fade, and they will feed the Official Ghoul Until the next Quinquennial Valuation. And then—well, Lord knows what may happen then, Unless—unless—and that is most improbable— Ratepayers rise together—show they're men, And not mere sheep gregarious, warm-fleeced, robbable. Meanwhile the Vestry Vultures gorge their fill, And I am warned—by friends—"Don't put their backs up!" Their backs! And we sing "Rule Britannia" still!! Will no one chaw these fine official Jacks up?
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THE KREUTZER SONATA.
One Pozdnisheff by name Played the matrimonial game; Pleased by a little curl, Which round his heart did twirl, And taken by a jersey (Exported from the Mersey); He felt, poor man, half-witted When he saw how well it fitted!
The mother, with her jersey-clad young daughter, Asked the lover to a party on the water. Soft things he now could say To the maiden all the way, Till she caught him—who imagined he had caught her!
Now there came a young musician, Troukachevsky, Who, at Petersburg, resided on the Nevsky; And to play with him the flighty wife was fated In the famed duet to KREUTZEE dedicated.
The husband who perceived things were not right, Home suddenly returned at dead of night. His boots he'd taken off; He was careful not to cough; And his plans so well were woven, That they still performed Beethoven. But, neither being deaf, They at last heard Pozdnisheff. Poor wife! He so affrights her, That she plays no more the Kreutzer.
If on each foot he'd had a slipper To Troukachevsky (who was saved) The husband would have p'rhaps behaved Much in the style of Jack the Ripper. He put to flight the dilettante (Who hadn't finished half the andante), But feared the servants' mockings Should they see him in his stockings, Racing along the corridor:— Not that he thought it horrid, or Harsh to transfix him with a dagger, (He could not bear the fiddler's swagger), But felt quite sure so droll a figure Would make his rude domestics snigger.
And now his wife cries out for mercy (No more she wears that fetching jersey); And all in vain she pity claims: The dagger ruthlessly he aims, And through the whale-bone of her corset Tries unsuccessfully to force it. At last he feels that he's succeeded, A little more than p'rhaps was needed. Ah, that by taking out the knife He now could bring her back to life!
'Twas his habit, when he got into a pet, Invariably to light a cigarette; And, having killed his wife, he never spoke One word until he'd had a quiet smoke.
When he saw that it was time, he called a p'liceman, And exclaimed, "Oh, I have broken the Tsar's peace, man. I've killed my wife!—I did it in a fury— But I wish the matter brought before a jury." And the jury, after hearing all the case, Said, "Not Guilty. We'd have done it in his place." And he lately, in a Russian railway carriage, Told Count TOLSTOI all the story of his marriage.
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"The Law of Arms is such."—Mr. Punch greatly regrets that he was unable to be present at the Annual Inspection of the Inns of Court Volunteers, when members were requested to "show every article of equipment and clothing of which they were in possession." No doubt the exhibition was as interesting as imposing. It is rumoured that the display of wigs and gowns (worn in Court) and lawn-tennis blazers (used in the Temple Gardens) was absolutely magnificent. It is further reported that the large collection of go-to-meeting hats, frock-coats, and patent-leather boots extorted universal admiration from all beholders. To his sorrow, a prior engagement prevented Mr. A. BRIEFLESS Junior, (who is an Hon. Member of the Corps), from putting in an appearance.
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WHAT IT WILL COME TO;
OR, THE COURT, THE CHASE, AND THE CURSE.
"Mr. MONTAGU WILLIAMS used some strong language yesterday in reference to the small room in which he was called upon to administer Justice while the Worship Street Police Court is being renovated."—Evening Paper.
SCENE—A small apartment in a Metropolitan Police Court. Presiding Magistrate and Clerk discovered.
Presiding Magistrate. There! You and I can sit here, and the rest can remain outside. And now I will take the night charges.
Voice from Passage (without). Please, your worship, as I was on duty last night, this man—
Builder (putting his head in). Sorry to trouble you, Sir, but we have got something to do to the flooring. Must ask you to be off.
P.M. (restraining his indignation). Very well; the Court is adjourned to the back garden. (Scene changes to that locality.) Come, this is better! Fresh air, in spite of the smuts! And now, Constable, go on with your evidence.
Police Constable. Well, your Worship, as I was on duty last night, this man—
Builder (entering). Very sorry to trouble you again, Sir, but there's something wrong with the drains. We think the pipes are out of order, and so we shall have to dig them up. So, if you don't mind moving—
P.M. (restraining his indignation). Very well; the Court is adjourned to the coal-cellar. (Scene changes to that locality.) Come, this is not so bad! Very cool, if rather damp. And now, Constable, go on with your evidence.
Police Constable. Well, your Worship, as I was on duty last night, this man—
Coalheaver (speaking through hole in roof). Sorry to disturb you, gents, but as me and my mates are going to put some coals in this here cellar, I thought it good manners to tell you all to clear out.
P.M. (restraining his indignation). The Court is adjourned to the housetop. (Scene changes to that locality.) Come, this is not so bad! Nice breeze up here. A little difficult to sit upon a sloping roof, perhaps; but one gets accustomed to everything. And now, Constable, go on with your evidence.
Police Constable. Well, your Worship, as I was on duty last night, this man—
Sweep (entering). Sorry to disturb you, mates, but I am just agoing to sweep the chimneys; and—
Police Magistrate (unable to restrain his indignation any longer). Oh—!!!
[The Curtain hurriedly conceals the strong but natural exclamation.]
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* * * * *
AT THE MILITARY TOURNAMENT.
SCENE—THE AGRICULTURAL HALL. TENT-PEGGING GOING ON.
Stentorian Judge (in Arena). Corporal BINKS! (The Assistants give a finishing blow to the peg, and fall back. Corporal BINKS gallops in, misses the peg, and rides off, relieving his feelings by whirling his lance defiantly in the air.) Corporal BINKS—nothing!
A Gushing Lady. Poor dear thing! I do wish he'd struck it! he did look so disappointed, and so did that sweet horse!
The Judge. Serjeant SPANKER! (Sergeant S. gallops in, spears the peg neatly, and carries it off triumphantly on the point of the lance, after which he rides back and returns the peg to the Assistants as a piece of valuable property of which he has accidentally deprived them) Sergeant SPANKER—eight! (Applause; the Assistants drive in another peg.) Corporal CUTLASH! (Corporal C. enters, strikes the peg, and dislodges without securing it. Immense applause from the Crowd.) Corporal CUTLASH—two!
The Gushing Lady. Only two, and when he really did hit the peg! I do call that a shame. I should have given him more marks than the other man—he has such a much nicer face!
A Child with a Thirst for Information. Uncle, why do they call it tent-pegging?
The Uncle. Why? Well, because those pegs are what they fasten down tents with.
The Child. But why isn't there a tent now?
Uncle. Because there's no use for one.
Uncle. Because all they want to do is to pick up the peg with the point of their lance.
Child. Yes, but why should they want to do it?
Uncle. Oh, to amuse their horses. (The Child ponders upon this answer with a view to a fresh catechism upon the equine passion for entertainment, and the desirability, or otherwise, of gratifying it.)
A Chatty Man in the Promenade (to his Neighbour). Takes a deal of practice to strike them pegs fair and full.
His Neighbour (who holds advanced Socialistic opinions). Ah, I dessay—and a pity they can't make no better use o' their time! Spoiling good wood, I call it. I don't see no point in it myself.
The Chatty Man. Well, it shows they can ride, at any rate.
The Socialist. Ride? O' course they can ride—we pay enough for 'aving 'em taught, don't we? But you mark my words, the People won't put up with this state of things much longer—keepin' a set of 'ired murderers in luxury and hidleness. I tell yer, wherever I come across one of these great lanky louts strutting about in his red coat, as if he was one of the lords of the hearth, well—it makes my nose bleed, ah—it does!
The Chatty Man. If that's the way you talk to him, I ain't surprised if it do.
The Judge. Sword versus Sword! Come in, there! (Two mounted Combatants, in leather jerkins and black visors, armed with sword-sticks, enter the ring; Judge introduces them to audience with the aid of a flag.) Corporal JONES, of the Wessex Yeomanry; Sergeant SMITH, of the Manx Mounted Infantry. (Their swords are chalked by the Assistants.) Are you ready? Left turn! Countermarch! Engage! (The Combatants wheel round and face one another, each vigorously spurring his horse and prodding cautiously at the other; the two horses seem determined not to be drawn into the affair themselves on any account, and take no personal interest in the conflict; the umpires skip and dodge at the rear of the horses, until one of the Combatants gets in with a rattling blow on the other's head, to the intense delight of audience. Both men are brushed down, and their weapons re-chalked, whereupon they engage once more—much to the disgust of their horses, who had evidently been hoping it was all over. After the contest is finally decided, a second pair of Combatants enter; one is mounted on a black horse, the other on a chestnut, who refuses to lend himself to the business on any terms, and bolts on principle; while the rider of the black horse remains in stationary meditation.) Go on—that black horse—go on! (The chestnut is at length brought up to the scratch snorting, but again flinches, and retires with his rider.)
The Crowd (to rider of black horse). Go on, now's your chance! 'It him! (The recipient of these counsels pursues his antagonist, and belabours him and his horse with impartial good-will until separated by the Umpires, who examine the chalk-marks with a professional scrutiny.)
The Judge. Here, you on the black horse, you mustn't hit that other horse about the head. (The man addressed appears rebuked and surprised under his black-wired visor; The Judge, reassuringly.) It's all right, you know; only, don't do it again, that's all! (The Combatant sits up again.)
The Gushing Lady. Oh, I can't bear to look on, really. I'm sure they oughtn't to hit so hard—how their poor dear heads must ache! Isn't that chestnut a duck? I'm sure he's trying to save his master from getting hurt—they're such sensible creatures, horses are! (Artillery teams drive in, and gallop between the posts; the Crowd going frantic with delight when the posts remain upright, and roaring with laughter when one is knocked over.)
DURING THE MUSICAL RIDE.
The Gushing Lady. Oh, they're simply too sweet! how those horses are enjoying it—aren't they pets? and how perfectly they keep step to the music, don't they?
Her Friend (who is beginning to get a trifle tired by her enthusiasm). Yes; but then they're all trained by Madame KATTI LANNER, of Drury Lane, you see.
The G.L. What pains she must have taken with them; but you can teach a horse anything, can't you?
Her Friend. Oh, that's nothing; next year they're going to have a horse who'll dance the Highland Fling.
The Socialist. A pretty sight? Cost a pretty sight o' the People's money, I know that. Tomfoolery, that's what it is; a set of dressed-up bullies dancin' quadrilles on 'orseback; that ain't military manoeuvrin'. It's sickenin' the way fools applaud such goins on. And cuttin off the Saracen's 'ed, too; I'd call it plucky if the Saracen 'ad a gun in his 'and. Bah, I ate the ole business!
His Neighbour. Got anybody along with you, Mate?
The Socialist. No, I don't want anybody along with me, I don't.
His Neighbour. That's a pity, that is. A sweet-tempered, pleasant-spoken party like you are oughtn't to go about by yourself. You ought to bring somebody just to enjoy your conversation. There don't seem to be anybody 'ere of your way of thinkin'.
DURING THE COMBINED DISPLAY.
The Gushing Lady (as the Cyclist Corps enter). Oh, they've got a dog with them. Do look—such a dear! See, they've tied a letter round his neck. He'll come back with an answer presently. (But, there being apparently no answer to this communication, the faithful but prudent animal does not re-appear.)
AFTER THE PERFORMANCE.
The Inquisitive Child. Uncle, which side won?
Uncle. I suppose the side that advanced across the bridges.
Child. Which side would have won if it had been a real battle?
Uncle. I really couldn't undertake to say, my boy.
Child. But which do you think would have won?
Uncle. I suppose the side that fought best.
Child. But which side was that? (The Uncle begins to find that the society of an intelligent Nephew entails too severe a mental strain to be frequently cultivated.)
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THE OPERA-GOER'S DIARY.
Monday 23.—Operatic world all agog to hear, and to see, Le Prophete. First appearance for many years. Great things expected of JEAN DE RESZKE as Jean of Leyden, and Mlle. RICHARD as Fides. Great expectations not disappointed. Scene in Cathedral magnificent as a spectacle. But scene in Cathedral between JEAN and his unhappy mother still grander as acting. Le Prophete is remarkable too, as being an Opera without Mlle. BAUERMEISTER in it. Skating scene, with a nice ballet, rather a frost. "Not sufficient go in it," observes veteran Opera-goer, with book in his hand, dated eighteen hundred and sixty something, containing a cast of characters which, he says, though he doesn't show me the book, comprises the names of MARIO, GRISI, VIARDOT-GARCIA, and HERR FORMES. A more veterany veteran tells me that GRISI and VIARDOT never played together in this, but that GRISI succeeded VIARDOT as Fides.
Even the veteran is pleased, and acknowledges that thirty years ago they couldn't have done it as they do now, barring the skating scene, where, he insists upon it, the original "go" is wanting. The fact is, we have long passed the days when "rinking" was a novelty on the stage or off it. But what a jolly lot these Anabaptists were! They enjoyed themselves with their dancing-girls and their picnicking on the ice. Substitute General BOOTH for Jean of Leyden, and the tambourine girls for PALLADINO and the ballet, and then you have a modern version of Le Prophete.
Delightful to see M. MIRANDA as one of the three Anabaptists, Mathisen (a good name in the city, with only a letter changed), striking a sixteenth century flint, for the purpose of lighting a candle, but, failing in the attempt, compelled to destroy sixteenth-century illusion, and employ, in a sneaking kind of way, the nineteenth-century match, which strikes only on its own box. Mlle. NUOVINA, not so good here as in the part of Marguerite, but there is very little for a soprano to do. JEAN reckless in the final drinking song.
The voice of DRURIOLANUS OPERATICUS is heard at the wings. The stage-manager's assistant is evidently nervous, and the curtain, after once going up a little way and coming down again, ascends suddenly, in spite of adjuration of DRURIOLANUS to "Wait! wait!" No hitch, and in another moment DRURIOLANUS, calm, but with suppressed emotion, is watching the scene from the front.
"Ah," he murmurs to himself, "if I could only get Guildhall to do what I like in on that Ninth, of November when I shall be Lord Mayor. I'd soon show 'em what's what. I'd have a coronation, or investiture, scene to which this should be mere child's play."
EDOUARD DE RESZKE excellent as Zacharias—a, name chiefly associated with one of Lieutenant COLE'S characters, a Mawworm who looks over the screen; and M. MONTARIOL good as a lighter-hearted Anabaptist. A memorable revival.
Tuesday.—Les Huguenots. Return of Mlle. BAUERMEISTER after one night's absence. Wednesday.—Carmen, as before.
Thursday.—Rigoletto. Fine house to hear this Opera. Le Prince s'amuse. The Princess also. Mlle. MELBA excellent; should be known as "Her Grace." M. LASSALLE, not ideal Jester, physically, but, vocally, never was Rigoletto better. Signor VALERO a good Ducal tenor: he scores a treble—(a thing to be done in whist and music)—i.e., treble encore for "La Donna e Mobile." Madame SCALCHI, of course, good as usual, and Signor MIRANDA (why not FERDINAND MIRANDA, and be thoroughly Shakspearian at once?) energetic as Monterone. FERDINAND MIRANDA always conscientious actor. Not last, but quite the least, comes Mlle. BAUERMEISTERSINGER, as Giovanna, without whom no Opera at Covent Garden can be considered as really complete. This is the only defect on
Friday Night, in Le Prophete, which is given again and again—no part for Mlle. BAUERMEISTERSINGER. Every place in the House taken. Profit here and Loss for those who can't get seats to hear it. Great excitement to know whether DRURIOLANUS is elected Sheriff or not. Early in the evening contradictory rumours in Lobby. At last the numbers are up. DRURIOLANUS elected. Uncommonly well he will look in his robes of office. DRURIOLANUS OPERATICUS COUNTI-COUNCILARIUS SHERIFFUS! All hail!
Saturday.—Cannot be present. Have telegraphed to DRURIOLANUS,—"Dear Sheriff, cannot come; but don't close House; let Opera go on as usual." I believe it did.
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SARAH JEANNE AT HIS MAYERJESTY'S.
SARAH JEANNE of Arc. SARAH wrapt up in the visionary creation is comparatively lost in the part; that is, until she comes out magnificently in the last scene but one. Otherwise, except to look the Martyr, and to languish, nothing much for SARAH to do. Cathedral scene here rivals that at Covent Garden. SARAH wins and thrills the audience: her voice soothes them in their most ruffled humour, even after the audience has been kept waiting nearly twenty-five minutes between the Acts. Everyone disappointed that the funeral pile does not catch fire, and that the Curtain does not descend on a sensational scene, for which Captain SHAW and his Merry Men would have to be in attendance. The cast good all round, but it's more of an Opera, or a religious play, than a Melodrama. GOUNOD'S music not particularly striking, and the March sounds familiar. SARAH JEANNE holds the audience spell-bound to the end, rather by what she doesn't than by what she does, except in the great scene already mentioned. Jeanne d'Arc is to run on till further notice, and then Madame SARAH will appear in some of her well-known parts, and take a temporary farewell of the British Public. To those who have hitherto neglected opportunities of seeing SARAH JEANNE let this notice be a warning, and let them in their thousands hurry up to His Mayerjesty's.
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"CAN WORMS SEE?"—Vide St. James's Gazette and Field. Correspondent says worms do not shrink from candle-light, but immediately withdraw under the glare of a bull's-eye lantern. Evidently for exact information, "Ask a Policeman." Also consult Baron DE WORMS. He sees his way about well enough.
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"Three Men in a Boat!" And you don't often see Pair oars and their cox. in a nastier fix. They started all right, did this nautical Three, But they've managed to get in no end of a mix. That Steersman, he thought a good deal of his Stroke, And there seemed scarce a steadier oarsman than Bow, But they must have got "skylarking." Ah! it's no joke, And the question is what are they going to do now? For danger's a-head, and 'twill tax all their skill To avoid a capsize and a horrible spill.
What can they be up to? a gazer might say, As he watched their eccentric career from the banks. Three 'ARRIES at large on a Bank Holiday Could hardly indulge in more blundering pranks. Stroke "catches a crab" in the clumsiest style, (And they called him a fine finished oarsman, this chap!) At his "Catherine-wheeler" a Cockney might smile, As he tumbles so helplessly back in Bow's lap. And Bow!—well, he's snapped off the blade of his scull, And poor Cox's steering-gear's all "in a mull."
It's all that Stroke's fault—so the whisper goes round. He would try new dodges, uncalled-for, unproved, They were "going great guns," when he suddenly found That, to make himself Champion (and get himself loved By the river-side "Bungs" and their large clientele), He must—set a new stroke in the midst of a spin— A policy plainly predestined to fail, And one, we must own, scarce deserving to win. And so he has smashed up a shining success, And got himself into a deuce of a mess.
So various voices! And this was the oar They triumphantly won from a great rival crew; The cool-headed, steady-nerved Stroke, bound to score; The fellow who funking or failure ne'er knew. He hurry, or falter, catch crabs, miss, or muff? No, no; lesser men might—say, GL-DST-NE or SM-TH— But he was not made of such common-place stuff, His nerve was all steel, and his muscle all pith. And now he's adrift amidst snags, stumps, and rooks, And the Coxswain has just lost his rudder—poor Cox.!
And danger's ahead, and the full of the weir Sounds close, as that Stroke tumbles "head over tip." No wonder poor Bow, his oar bladeless, looks queer. No wonder the Steersman his yoke-lines lets slip. The Three are "In Trouble," of that there's no doubt; Stroke mutters, "Obstruction!" Bow talks of "a foul." But when you have muffed it, and foes are about, It isn't much use at bad fortune to growl. No; Stroke, Bow, and Coxswain must "go it like bricks," If they mean to get out of this troublesome fix.
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ERRATUM.—Mr. Punch last week paid the Notts' Cricketer, GUNN, a well-deserved compliment on his great innings of 228 against the Australians. He intended to represent him as piling-up that huge score "against the best bowling." The obviously accidental substitution of the word "batting" for "bowling" here, caused "the Nottingham Giant" to be credited with a novel cricketing performance, to which even he would hardly be equal. The proverbial Irish gun that could "shoot round a corner," would not be "in it" with a GUNN who could "bat against batting!" As a Correspondent (in slightly different words) suggests:—
"When a Champion Batsman's performance extolling, 'Tis well to distinguish, 'twixt batting and bowling!"
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EXCHANGE NO ROBBERY.—According to Mr. Punch's sharp contemporary, the Lancet, the effect of bagpipe-playing upon the teeth is to blunt them; in fact, in course of time, to wear them away. To the auditor the music has a contrary effect. Mr. Punch is able to say, from experience, that he has never listened to the National instrument of Grand Old Scotland without having his teeth set on edge.
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TOUTING FOR TOURISTS.
TO THE EDITOR
OF ANY PAPER THAT INSERTS GRATUITOUS ADVERTISEMENTS.
SIR,—Kindly contradict the rumour, which I find is widely spread and appears to be credited in some quarters, that an extensive sewage farm has been established in front of the most fashionable terrace in Slushborough-on-Sea, and that a Smallpox Hospital is about to be built upon the Pier. "Salubrious Slushborough" still continues (in spite of the machinations of jealous Northbourne) to be the most select, popular, and healthy resort on the British coasts.
Yours disinterestedly, THE MAYOR OF SLUSHBOROUGH.
SIR,—A report (proceeding, I have reason, to believe, from ill-conditioned residents at Slushborough) is being disseminated to the effect, that the water-supply of Northbourne is largely tainted with typhus and diphtheria germs, and that an epidemic is already ravaging this place. As a matter of fact, the only case of illness of any kind in this town at present is a patient brought over from Slushborough in the last stage of blood-poisoning, owing to the defective drainage system there, and who, in this salubrious and invigorating atmosphere, is now rapidly recovering.
I remain, Yours &c., THE MAYOR OF NORTHBOURNE.
SIR,—In view of the correspondence with regard to the present condition of our popular seaside resorts, it will, I feel sure, interest your readers to learn that an examination of the air of Whitecliffe lately made by a local analyst, reveals the fact that it contains fifty-five per cent. more ozone than is to be found on the top of Mont Blanc! I publish this piece of intelligence purely in the interests of science, and as I am writing I may perhaps take the opportunity to mention that apartments here are both good and reasonable, and the bathing first-rate. The same analyst incidentally discovered that the air at Chorkstone is largely laden with poisonous bacteria.
Yours truly, THE MAYOR OF WHITECLIFFE.
SIR,—At this time of year, when our glorious Lees are in the full radiance of their summer beauty, it becomes a mere act of Christian duty to warn intending holiday-makers to avoid Whitecliffe, and to select Chorkstone as their place of sojourn instead. An eminent local medical man asserts that morbiferous germs exist to a very dangerous degree in the Whitecliffe atmosphere, and that the Whitecliffe water is rendered almost solid by the multitude of bacilli it contains. Another Chorkstone resident, who lately visited Whitecliffe, found the air so relaxing that he fainted away, and had it not been for the kindness of the landlord of a certain hotel, who had him carried out of his bar and driven off in a trap to his own home, he believes he would have succumbed! Comment is needless.
Yours impartially, THE MAYOR OF CHORKSTONE.
SIR,—There is not the slightest foundation for the ridiculous canard as to the inhabitants of this picturesque and abnormally fashionable town being "in a state of complete panic, owing to the fact that all the convicts recently confined at Shortland have broken out, and are indulging in frightful excesses in the neighbourhood." The convicts have not broken out; but an epidemic of gratuitous mendacity has done so, it appears.
Yours indignantly, THE MAYOR OF CURDSMOUTH.
P.S.—Have you heard about the sanitary state of Shutmouth? Shocking!
SIR,—As I hear that it is rumoured that M. PASTEUR has discovered an entirely new and most dangerous kind of bacillus in the neighbourhood of pine-trees, perhaps I may mention, in order to reassure our myriads of intending summer visitors, that the death-rate at this town is one in ten thousand, and that we should have had no death-rate at all last week, if the one person referred to had not met with an unfortunate accident. All the Shutmouth doctors are starving.
Yours, THE MAYOR OF SHUTMOUTH.
P.S.—Ought not something to be done to check the mortality at Curdsmouth? It is disgraceful!
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TO THE RIGHT WHEEL, BARROW!
CAINE'S action shakes the Unionists' dominion; Against it piteous appeals seem vain; But 'tis, in his late colleagues' pained opinion, Not "the nice conduct of a clouded CAINE!"
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"THE SEA! THE SEA!"
A BUSINESS-LIKE BALLAD.
(PENNED BY MR. PUNCH ON BEHALF OF "NOBODY'S BOYS.")
"We propose soon to take our rescued Street-Arabs for 'A Fortnight's Holiday under Canvas'—by the sea, if possible."—Appeal of Mr. J.W.C. Fegan, of the Boys' Home, Southwark.
Thalatta! Thalatta! Not XENOPHON'S Greeks, O benevolent Public, but "Nobody's Boys," Wild Arabs of London, by tenderness tamed, at the sight of the sea vent exuberant joys In vociferous shoutings! Imagine the rapture of wrecks from the gutter and waifs from the slum, When first on their ears falls the jubilant thrill of the sky-soaring lark, or the wild bee's low hum! Imagine the pleasure of plunging at will into June's leafy copses of hazel and lime, Of scudding through acres of grasses knee-high, and of snuffing the fragrance of clover and thyme. But what is all this to the dumb-stricken wonder, swift followed by outbursts of full-throated glee, Which fancy can picture, when London's pale outcasts from some grassy cliff catch first sight of the Sea! Thalatta! Thalatta! There's many a lad who has never before had a glimpse of the wave; For these are of those who, from London's dark wastes 'tis the aim of their leaders to rescue and save. "Nobody's Boys," the lost waifs of the city, foredoomed, but for aid, to debasement and crime, Possible gallows-birds,—they with wan faces late cleansed from the rookery's hideous grime, Snatched from the gutter whilst boyhood bears hope with it, gathered and tended with vigilant care. Servants of soul-thrift their volunteer champions! Weeds of the slum, with fresh soil and sweet air, Grow into grace and fair fruitage. These pariahs, "Southwark Boys," strays from the slime-sodden east, FEGAN takes forth in gay troops to the meadows, in freshness of nature to frolic and feast, Climb in the woodlands and plunge in the waters, ramble and scramble through tangle-hedged lanes, Fish in the pools with youth's primitive tackle, breathe quickening vigour through bosoms and brains. Picture the boys "camping out" on the commons, and gipsying gaily in tents midst the heather, Armed with their canvas and blankets and boilers and pannikins well against hunger and weather. Picture them—CALLOT'S free brush might have managed it—gathered in pow-wow around the camp-fire, Sun-tanned and wind-browned, in picturesque raiment, with wisp of the wild hop or trail of the briar Hat-wreathed or button-holed. BURNS should have sung of them; trim-skirted Muse, with punctilious tastes, Were not at home with these waifs from the rookery, pastured at large in free Nature's wild wastes, Bounding, and breathing fresh air, romping, wrestling, and disciplined only to cleanness and order. Otherwise free as the tent-dwelling Arabs, or outlaws of Sherwood, or bands of the Border. Picture it! FEGAN'S pink pamphlet has pictured it. Read it, all lovers of Nature and youth, All who have care for the wrecks of humanity, all who are moved by the spirit of ruth. Ere Spring returns, far Canadian homesteads will house their contingents of "Nobody's Boys." Let them take with them kind thoughts of Old England, and memories sweet of its rare rural joys. Let them "camp out" once again, by the ocean, and plunge in the billow, and rove on the sands; Know the true British brine-whiff by experience. Help, British Public, their friends' kindly hands. Good is the work, and the fruit of it excellent; giving poor wastrels a fair start in life, Taste of true pleasure, and wholesome enjoyment, aid in endeavour, and strength for the strife. What better use for spare cash at this season? Come then, Punch readers, right willingly come! Mr. Punch knows scarce a cause more deserving, or worthy of aid, than the Southwark Boys' Home!
Mem.—Mr. J.W.C. FEGAN, of the Boys' Home, Southwark, the writer of the pleasant pamphlet entitled Camping Out, makes appeal towards the expenses of giving "a fortnight's holiday under canvas—by the sea, if possible"—to the waifs and strays in Mr. FEGAN'S Homes. To that gentleman, and NOT to Mr. Punch, subscriptions should be sent. Remittances may be made to him (by P.O.O., payable at General Post-Office, or by cheque crossed "London and County Bank") at the Boys' Home, 95, Southwark Street, London, S.E.
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, June 23.—A gleam of glory in sombre chamber of the Peers; a thin streak of red making its devious way between the table and the Benches. At the head comes Black Rod, giving some relief to the glittering spectacle; Garter King-at-Arms, without whom British Constitution would be a vain thing, follows. Then the Prince of WALES, looking a trifle anxious; is bringing out his son and heir to take his place in the hereditary chamber; anxious that all should go well. Next the new Duke of CLARENCE, looking very well in his new Peer's robes, on which his fair mother, seated with her daughter in side galleries, casts approving glance. Then the Duke of EDINBURGH, with the stalwart Hereditary Grand Marshal, Jockey o' Norfolk, and Aveland, Lord Great Chamberlain.
Procession strolled in in quite casual way; passed Woolsack to which HALSBURY lent grace and dignity; New Peer handed his credentials to LOBD CHANCELLOR; but HALSBURY, above all things, man of cautious habits. No doubt everything was right and in order; presence of Prince of WALES guarantee of it; but HALSBURY not to be taken in. All very well, but all in due order. So new Peer taken charge of by the Reading Clerk; Procession moved on to table; documents mumbled over; oath taken; roll signed. New Peer turned to look at LORD CHANCELLOR; decidedly more friendly; haughty, forbidding, distrustful look, vanished from his ordinarily genial countenance. Young Peer encouraged to venture on friendly nod; LORD CHANCELLOR in response, lifted three-cornered hat, and on replacing it, was observed to cock it slightly on one side. Procession now moved on towards doorway by side of Throne, where was set three chairs.
"A little slow isn't it, Sir," said Duke of CLARENCE to H.R.H.; "suppose we sit down here a bit; Black Rod will go and fetch us a flagon of Malmsey wine; am told they always keep a butt on the premises for stray Dukes."
"No Malmsey for you, CLARENCE," said the Gracious Parent; "but if you'd like to sit down a moment, you may."
So new Peer sat in middle chair, Father and Uncle anxiously regarding him. LORD CHANCELLOR slewed round on Woolsack to see what was going on behind him. New Peer, making himself quite at home, put on hat; finding LORD CHANCELLOR staring at him, uplifted it; LORD CHANCELLOR did same with his. Duke tried it again; LORD CHANCELLOR, comically half turned round on the Woolsack, followed suit.
"Do it a third time, CLARENCE," whispered H.R.H., entering into fun of thing. So the new Peer, always with his eyes gravely fixed on LORD CHANCELLOR, who, in the excitement of the moment, had got his left leg cocked over the Woolsack, did it a third time; LORD CHANCELLOR did the same; Princesses in the Gallery sweetly smiling; Garter King-at-Arms totting off the number of salutes; and Black Rod thanking his stars that presently, when they left the House, he could walk face forward, not as when he visited the Commons, walking backward like a crab.
"I think that'll do," said H.R.H. "HALSBURY is in very uncomfortable attitude; besides this is a sort of game that palls after the third round. Go and say good-bye to HALSBURY, and we'll go and have a cup of tea with your mother."
Procession reformed; New Peer led up to Woolsack, where LORD CHANCELLOR, with little gesture of surprise, as if he had only now caught sight of him for first time, shook hands with him. Prince of Wales lifted his cap to LORD CHANCELLOR; LORD CHANCELLOR lifted his cap to Prince of WALES; the other Princes followed suit; Black Rod toddled off; and the gay and gorgeous procession disappeared through the doorway, leaving the Chamber in sudden twilight, as if the sun had dipped below the horizon.
An exceedingly friendly meeting all round; quite contagious.
"TOBY, M.P., I presume?" said BROADHURST, as I walked out. He had been looking on, and had quite caught the graceful manner of the LORD CHANCELLOR. I raised my hat three times, and went on to the Commons, where there were wigs on the Green.
Business done.—In Commons, Compensation Clauses withdrawn.
Tuesday.—TIM HEALY puts final spoke in wheel of Compensation Bill. Rose after questions on paper disposed of, and asked for ruling of SPEAKER on an important point affecting Parliamentary Procedure. TIM'S manner boded ill for the Government—deferential, low-voiced, with total absence of self-assertion or aggression, TIM stood, the very model of a modest young man.
"Yes," said Prince ARTHUR, "but I hope he's not going to say anything about Irish business. When he's in this mood, I prefer he should address himself to my dear friend JOKIM."
TIM had anticipated Prince ARTHUR'S wishes. It was about Compensation Bill that he desired to consult SPEAKER. JOKIM, as last turn in devious course, had proposed to dodge difficulty about Compensation by accumulating proceeds of increased till some indefinite period, when great reform of Licensing should be introduced. "But," says TIM, almost begging pardon for interposing, "in Budget Bill it has been specifically decreed that proceeds of tax should be appropriated during present Session." Accumulation, TIM urged, with a vague notion that he was dropping into poetry, is not Appropriation. SPEAKER agreed with him: consternation on Treasury Bench; Ministers tried to put bold face on affairs; could not discuss question now; would do so by-and-by; confident they could show there was nothing in TIM'S objection. An hour later, when time came to resume Committee on Compensation Bill, OLD MORALITY announced that it would be postponed to give Ministers opportunity to consider point suggested by TIM. Shout of exultation went up from Opposition Benches: prolonged fight had been won at last; the obnoxious Bill was floored, and TIM had done it.
OLD MORALITY, standing at table in attitude where natural nobility of character struggled with accidental depression, said: "Success, Mr. SPEAKER, is a mark no mortal wit of surest hand can always hit. For whatsoe'er we perpetrate, we do but row; we are steered by fate, which in success often disinherits, for spurious causes, noblest merits. Great occasions, Mr. SPEAKER, are not always true sons of great and mighty resolutions, nor, I may add, do the boldest attempts bring forth events still equal to their worth. That may be the case with us; but at least we shall carry to our homes the consciousness that we have diligently striven to do our duty to our QUEEN and our country." General cheering at this little speech, and scarcely dry eye on Treasury Bench.
Business done.—Compensation Bill in fresh difficulties.
Thursday.—Sitting remarkable for two speeches from ordinarily silent Members. Began and ended proceedings. First was by WHARTON, on presenting petition signed by over half a million persons in favour of Compensation Clauses of Licensing Bill. Petition brought down in three cases by PICKFORD'S van. Conveniently disposed on floor of House; occupied the whole space. Perturbation on Treasury Bench at the report that there was Royal Commission going forward in other House. Time of the Session when these are frequent. Black Rod arrives; requests attendance of Members to hear Commission read. Advances towards table, bowing to chair; retires backward; SPEAKER follows him. How would it be to-day, with floor blocked with towering cases? Black Rod an old sailor, might haul himself up hand-over-hand, and skip across tops of cases; but never do for the SPEAKER so to scramble out. Hasty and anxious inquiry made. Turned out to be no Royal Commission to-day; so new disaster for Ministers avoided.
WHARTON succeeds somehow when presenting Petition in casting sort of Cathedral Close air over proceedings. Life-long association with cathedrals and their precincts have invested him with placid charm of manner: would have made an excellent Dean; gone off capitally as a Canon; now, as he waves his hand towards the space lately crowded by the Petition, wears subtle, indescribable, but unmistakable air, as if he were taking part in a Confirmation Service.
The other orator, GRIMSTON, considerably less ecclesiastical in his manner. Appeared suddenly on scene at midnight: maiden speech; very effective. "Mr. COURTNEY, Sir," he said, diffidently hiding his hands in his trousers' pockets, "I claim the indulgence the House always extends to young Members, in rising to address it for the first time. I beg to move that the question be now put," Question put accordingly; debate Closured, and so home.
Business done.—Quite a lot. Licensing Clauses finally dropped; Allotments Bill read Third Time; Barracks Bill through Committee.
Friday.—Police in possession of House to-night. MATTHEWS moved Second Reading of Bill dealing with Force. Quite unusual consensus of approval, considering it is a Government Bill. Only for GEORGE CAMPBELL, chorus would have been unanimous. But GEORGE, looking in from Zanzibar, where he had called after a brief trip through Jerusalem and Madagascar, denounced the measure as "thoroughly bad." House thereupon passed Second Reading without division.
Business done.—Police Bill read Second Time.
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"The Oof Bird" is the Auk, as Cornhill Mag. says its eggs cost L170 apiece,—of course when fresh. What a big lark!—Yours, 'ARRY.
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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.