OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
September 27, 1890.
(BY MR. PUNCH'S OWN TYPE WRITER.)
NO. XIX.—THE SERVANT OF SOCIETY.
The Servant of Society is one who, having in early life abdicated every claim to independent thought or action, is content to attach himself to the skirts and coat-tails of the great, and to exist for a long time as a mere appendage in mansions selected by the unerring instinct of a professional tuft-hunter. It is as common a mistake to suppose that all tuft-hunters are necessarily of lowly birth and of inferior social position, as it is to believe them all to be offensive in manner and shallow in artifice. The coarse but honest Snob still perhaps exists, and here and there he thrusts and pushes in the old familiar way; but more often than not the upstart who has won his way to wealth and consideration finds himself to his own surprise courted and fawned upon by those whose boots his abilities would have fitted him to black, and his disposition prompted him to lick. Noble sportsmen are proud to be seen in his company, aristocratic guinea-pigs are constantly in his pocket in the congenial society of the great man's purse, art willingly reproduces his features, journalism enthusiastically commemorates his adventures, and even Royalty does not thrust away a votary whose ministrations are as acceptable as they are readily performed. Without much effort on his own part he is raised to pinnacles which he imagined impossible of access, and soon learns to look down with a contempt that might spring of ancient lineage and assured merit, upon the hungry crowd whose cry is that of the daughter of the horse-leech.
But the genuine Servant of Society is of a different stamp. Ordinarily he is of a good family, and of a competence which both differs from and resembles his general character in being possessed at once of the attributes of modesty and assurance. From an early age he will have been noted for the qualities which in after-life render him humbly celebrated in subordinate positions. At school he will have had the good fortune to be attached as fag to a big boy who occupied an important place as an athlete, and whose condescending smiles were naturally an object of greater ambition to the small fry than the approval of the school authorities. For him he performed with much assiduity the various duties of a fag, happy to shine amongst his companions as the recipient of the great boy's favours. To play the jackal without incurring universal dislike is (at school) no very easy task, but he accomplishes it with discretion and with a natural aptitude that many maturer jackals might envy.
At the age of seventeen he is withdrawn from school. His own marked disinclination saves him from a military career, and he is subsequently sent to pass a year or two upon the Continent of Europe, in order that he may first of all pass the examination for the Diplomatic Service, and subsequently foil foreign statesmen with their own weapons, and in their own language. Returning, he secures his nomination, and faces the Examiners. Providence, however, reserves him for lower things. The Examiners triumph, and the career of the Servant of Society begins in earnest. The position of his parents secures for him an entrance into good houses. He is a young man of great tact and of small accomplishments. He can warble a song, aid a great lady to organise a social festivity, lead a cotillon, order a dinner, and help to eat it, act in amateur theatricals, and recommend French novels to inquiring matrons. His manners are always easy, and his conversation has that spice of freedom which renders it specially acceptable in the boudoirs of the smart. The experience of a few years makes plain to him that, in social matters, the serious person goes down before the trifler. He therefore cultivates flippancy as a fine art, and becomes noted for a certain cheap cynicism, which he sprinkles like a quasi-intellectual pepper over the strong meat of risky conversation. Moreover, he is constantly self-satisfied, and self-possessed. Yet he manages to avoid giving offence by occasionally assuming a gentle humility of manner, to which he almost succeeds in imparting a natural air, and he studiously refrains from saying or doing anything which, since it may cause other men to provoke him, may possibly result in his being forced to pretend that he himself has been ruffled. Yet it must be added that he is always thoroughly harmless. He flutters about innumerable dovecots, without ever fluttering those who dwell in them, and, in course of time, he comes to be known and accepted everywhere as a useful man. As might be supposed, he is never obtrusively manly. The rough pursuits of the merely athletic repel him, yet he has the knack of assuming an interest where he feels it not, and is able to prattle quite pleasantly about sports in which he takes little or no active part. At the same time it must be admitted that he holds a gun fairly straight, and does not disgrace himself when the necessity of slaughtering a friend's pheasants interrupts for a few hours the rehearsals of private theatricals, in company with the friend's wife. Certainly he is not a fool. He gauges with great accuracy his own capacities, and carefully limits his ambition to those smaller desires which, since they exact no vaulting power, are never likely to bring about a fall on the other side. The objects of his admiration are mean; and since he meanly admires them, he comes quite naturally under the Thackerayan definition of a Snob.
Whilst he is still a year or two on the fair side of thirty, it may happen that a turn of the political wheel will bring into high office a statesman who is quite willing to be served by those who are able to make themselves useful to him, without exacting from them solidity either of character or of attainments. With him the Servant of Society, with an instinct that does credit to his discernment, will have established friendly relations. The politician was first amused and then impressed by his versatility; now, having the opportunity, he offers to him the position of Assistant Private Secretary (unpaid), and it is scarcely necessary to say that the young man accepts it with a gratitude which proves that he believes his patron capable of conferring further favours. From this time forward he begins to abandon the merely frivolous air that has hitherto distinguished him. He lays in a mixed stock of solemnity, mystery, and importance, and occasionally awes the friends of his flippant days by assuming the reticent look and the shake of the head of one who is marked off from common mortals by the possession of secrets the revelation of which might, perhaps, imperil the peace of the world. In country-houses, in London drawing-rooms, and at Clubs, where he had hitherto been mentioned with a laugh as "Little So-and-So," he comes to be talked of as "So-and-So—of course you know him—Lord BLANK'S Private Secretary." Thus he becomes quite a personage. But he is far from abandoning the role of Servant of Society. Indeed, he only enlarges and glorifies the scope of his ministrations, without in any way ceasing to cultivate those smaller trifles which stood him in such good stead at the outset of his career. He now has the satisfaction of seeing many of those who desire anything that a Cabinet Minister can give, cringing to one whom they despise, and who rejoices in the knowledge that he can afford to patronise them, and perhaps crush them by obtaining for them that which they want.
When, in the course of a few years, Lord BLANK'S party ceases to direct the government of the country, his Assistant Private Secretary follows him into the cold shade of adversity and opposition, and stands by him with exemplary usefulness and fidelity. But, though he is often pressed, he never contests a constituency, feeling, perhaps, that it is impossible to serve both Society and the Caucus. In time his name becomes the common property of all Society journals—his biography is published in one, his discreet service is extolled in another, while a third goes so far as to hint that, if the truth were known, it would be found that the various departments of the State could not possibly carry on their affairs without his enlightened counsel. He adopts an antique fashion of dress, in order to emphasise his personality. He wears a stock, and a very wide-brimmed hat, and carries a bunch of seals dangling from a fob.
At forty-five he marries the daughter of a powerful Peer, and, shortly afterwards, insures so much of the favour of Royalty as to be spoken of as a persona grata at Court. Henceforward his services are often employed in delicate negotiations, which may necessitate the climbing of many back-stairs. On such occasions, and after it has been announced in the papers that "Mr. So-and-so was the bearer of an important communication" from one great person to another, it is his custom to show himself in his Clubs and in crowded haunts, so that he may enjoy the pleasure of being pointed out, digita praetereuntium, and of catching the whispers of those who nudge one another as they mention his name.
Finally, it will be rumoured that he has been collecting materials for the Memoirs which he proposes shortly to publish. But though he never disclaims the intention, and is even understood, on more than one occasion, to allude in conversation to the precise period of his life to which his writing has then brought him, it is quite certain that he will never carry out the intention, or bring out the book. At the age of sixty he will still be a young man, with a gay style of banter peculiarly his own. Towards the end of his life he will often talk darkly of great events in which he has played a part, and of extraordinary services which only he could have performed; and when he dies, the country will be called upon to mourn for one who has saved it from social degradation, and from political disaster.
* * * * *
A PIG IN A POKE.
[According to the Standard, by the new Meat Inspection Law, just come into force in the United States, American cattle and pigs for export to England, France, or Germany, are to be inspected before leaving America, with a view to removing the grounds of objection on the part of those Governments to the unrestricted reception of these important American exports. Should any foreign Government, fearful of pleuro-pneumonia or trichinosis, refuse to trust to the infallibility of the American inspectors, the President of the United States is authorised to retaliate by directing that such products of such foreign State as he may deem proper shall be excluded from importation to the United States.]
O SENATOR EDMONDS, of verdant Vermont, Of wisdom you may be a marvellous font; But you'll hardly get JOHN,—'tis too much of a joke!— To buy in your fashion a Pig in a Poke; Which nobody can expect!
To slaughter your Cattle when reaching our shore, You probably think is no end of a bore; But even your valiant Vermonters to please, We cannot afford to spread Cattle-disease, Which nobody can desire.
A Yankee Inspector is all very fine, But if pleuro-pneumonia crosses the line, And with BULL'S bulls and heifers should play up the deuce, A Yankee Inspector won't be of much use, Which nobody can dispute.
A Yankee Inspector you seem to suppose is A buckler and barrier against trichinosis; Bat trichinae pass without passports. Bacilli And microbes that Yankee might miss willy-nilly, Which nobody can deny.
Port-slaughter restrictions may limit your trade. Well, your Tariffs Protective to help us aren't made, And we cannot run dangers to plump up your wealth, Until you can show us a clean bill of health, Which nobody can assert.
And as to that cudgel tucked under your arm, You fancy, perhaps, it will act as a charm. No, JONATHAN! JOHN to your argument's dull, And you will not convince him by cracking his skull, Which nobody can suppose.
The Gaul and the Teuton seem much of my mind, And, despite your new Law, you will probably find That Yankee Inspectors, plus menaces big, Rehabilitate not the American Pig, Which nobody can affirm.
No, JONATHAN, JOHNNY feels no animosity, He'd like, with yourself, to have true Reciprocity; But neither your Law, nor a smart cudgel-stroke, Will make him—or them—buy your Pig in a Poke— Which nobody can particularly wonder at, after all; now can they, JONATHAN?
* * * * *
"NOMINE MUTATO."—For some weeks there was a considerable amount of correspondence in the Times, anent "Ecclesiastical Titles," which suddenly disappeared. Was the topic resumed one day last week under the new heading, "The Symbolical Representation of Ciphers?"
* * * * *
LATEST FROM THE LYCEUM.—With a view to supplying the entire world with the current number, Mr. Punch goes to press at a date too early to permit of a criticism of Ravenswood. So he contents himself (for the present) by merely recording that at the initial performance on Saturday last all went as happily ("merrily," with so sombre a plot, is not the word) as a marriage-bell. There was a striking situation towards the end of the drama which was both novel and interesting. Mr. IRVING received and deserved a grand reception, and it was generally admitted that amongst the many admirable impersonations for which MISS ELLEN TERRY is celebrated, her Bride of Lammermoor appropriately "takes the cake!"
* * * * *
MY PRETTY JANE.
[It is said that the price of wheat and the marriage-rate go together, most people getting married when wheat is highest.]
My pretty JANE, my dearest JANE, Ah, never look so shy, But meet me, meet me in the market, When the price of wheat rules high. The glut is waning fast, my love, And corn is getting dear; Good (Hymen) times are coming, love, Ceres our hearts shall cheer. Then pretty JANE, though poorish JANE, Ah, never pipe your eye, But meet me, meet me at the Altar, For the price of wheat rules high!
Yes, name the day, the happy day, I can afford the ring; For corn rules high, the marriage rate Mounts up like anything; The "quarter" stands at fifty, love, Which, for Mark Lane is dear. Our wedding day is coming, love, Our married course is clear. Then, pretty JANE, if poorish JANE, Ah, never look so shy; But meet me, meet me at the Altar, When the price of wheat rules high!
* * * * *
* * * * *
(BY A TOWN MOUSE.)
Come back to Town! Why wander where The snow-clad peaks arise? Our English sunsets are as fair, With red September skies. Soft is the matutinal mist Through which the trees loom brown; Come back, if only to be kist,— Come back to Town!
For evermore, in days like these, When musing on your face, My sad imagination sees Another in my place. Say, do you listen to his prayer, Or slay him with a frown? At any rate I can't be there. Come back to Town!
Why linger by some far-off lake Or Continental strand? St. Martin's Summer comes to make A glory in the land. The river runs a golden stream Where WREN'S great dome looks down; Thine eyes, methinks, have brighter gleam; Come back to Town!
I hear your voice upon the wind, In dreamland you appear; But do you wonder that I find The day so long and drear? Lentis adhaerens brachiis come Once more my life to crown; Without thee 'tis too burdensome. Come back to Town!
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S DICTIONARY OF PHRASES.
AT AN AFTERNOON CALL.
"So glad to see you at last. Now don't let me interrupt your talk with Mrs. VEREKER;" i.e., "If I do, I shall be let in for being button-holed."
"Do let me get you some tea—you must be dying for a cup;" i.e., "Know I am."
"So sorry—I fear everything is cold. Do let me have some fresh tea made for you;" i.e., "He can't accept that offer."
IN A NON-SMOKING CARRIAGE.
"You don't mind my cigar, do you?" i.e., "I know he does, but I'm not going to waste it."
(Reply to the above query.)
"Oh, not at all!" i.e., "Beastly thing! If he wasn't so confoundedly selfish and stingy, he'd throw it away."
* * * * *
I'm afloat, I'm afloat on the coaly black Tyne! The draft licence sent me I begged to decline; Though other chaps had 'em, they were not for me; I prefer a free flag, on the strictest Q.T. A sly "floating factory" thus I set up (I'm a mixture of RUPERT the Rover and KRUPP). At Jarrow Slake moored, my trim wherry or boat I rejoiced in, and sung "I'm afloat! I'm afloat!" For quick-firing guns ammunition I made, Engaging (says FORD) in the contraband trade. An inquest was held, but its verdict cleared me. I'm afloat, I'm afloat, and the Rover is free!
I fear not the Government, heed not its law. Much rumpus is made, we shall hear lots of jaw: An explosion took place on October the third, My sly "floating factory" blew up like a bird. It killed one poor fellow, and damaged a lot, But I am a Great Gun, and got off like a shot; Indeed all were well, but for cold Colonel FORD, Who blames me, the Rover! Too bad, on my word! The Pirate of Elswick shall not be the sport of a fussy Commission's ill-tempered Report. To bring me to book is all fiddlededee— I'm afloat, I'm afloat, and the Rover is free!
I contraband, careless? Why, everyone owns That is natural, 'neath the black flag and cross-bones. No mere paltry maker of fireworks am I, But a Rover who's free, whose sole roof is the sky. The law of the land may the petty appal. But frighten the Rover? Oh no, not at all! And ne'er to Commissions or Colonels I'll yield, Whilst there's Black Tyne to back me or Whitehall to shield. Unfurl the Black Flag! shake its folds to the wind! And I'll warrant we'll soon leave sea-lawyers behind. Up, up with the flag! Pirate's licence for me! I'm afloat, I'm afloat, and the Rover is free!
* * * * *
DEFINITION OF MILITARY MANOEUVRES.—"Peace-work."
DARWINITES.—"The Evolutionary Squadron."
* * * * *
Speaking of Reynart the Fox, I was made, by a slip of the printer's hand—I am accustomed to seeing slips from his hand, which is quite another thing—to say that this mediaeval romance "presents a truer picture of life than novels in which vice is punished and virtue patiently rewarded." After considering for some time what on earth I could have meant by "patiently rewarded," I remembered that I had written "patently rewarded." The printer put my "i" out; and without an "i" it was very difficult to perceive the sense of the phrase.
Nutshell Novels, by that crack writer—no, not "crack'd"—and poet, whose verses send a frill right through us, Mr. J. ASHBY-STERRY, are coming out. Capital title. As SHAKSPEARE says, "Sermons in stones, novels in nutshells, and good in everything." SHELLEY'S poems might be brought out in pocketable form under a similar title, Nut-Shelley Poems. I have not yet seen the volume in question, only heard tell of it, and should not be surprised to hear that the central novel and the best was a short military novel, entitled The Kernel. Messrs. HUTCHINSON & Co. are the publishers. I hope Mr. STERRY has illustrated them himself. He can draw and paint, but he won't, and there's an end on't. He must follow up the Nutshells with a volume of Crackers, about Christmas time.
Just been looking through London Street Arabs, by Mrs. H.M. STANLEY, published by CASSELL & Co., which firm—whose telegraphic address is "Caspeg, London," and a good name too—writes to the Baron thus:—"In forwarding you an early copy"—small and early—"of Mrs. Stanley's book, we will ask you to be good enough"—("I am 'good enough'" quoth the Baron)—"to confine your extracts from the Introduction to an extent not exceeding one-third of the whole." "Willingly, my dear 'Caspeg,'" replies the Baron, who does not like being dictated to, and, to gratify your wish to the utmost, he will make no extracts at all from the book, a proceeding which ought mightily to delight "Caspeg, London." What next? Will publishers send to the Baron, and request him not even to breathe the names of their books? By all means. He has no objection, as, whether sent to him for review, or purchased by him pour se distraire, the Baron only mentions those he likes, or, if he mentions those he dislikes, 'tis pro bono publico, and there's an end on't. Mrs. STANLEY appreciates humour, as the following anecdote will show—But, dear me, the Baron is forgetful—he begs "Caspeg's" pardon; he mustn't quote. Mrs. STANLEY can be truly sympathetic with sorrow, as the following story proves—no, "Caspeg," the story must not follow. Never mind—the Baron's dear readers will read it for themselves if they feel "so dispoged." The Baron supposes that all this was written and drawn while Mrs. STANLEY was Miss DOROTHY TENNANT, because her recorded opinion, probably, as a spinster, is (and here the Baron "quotes" not, but "alludes"), that you can find better artistic material in this line at home, than you can obtain by seeking it abroad; yet when she married, off she went to Milan, Venice, and so forth. For pleasure, of course, not work; but work to her is evidently pleasure. May happiness have accompanied her everywhere! The drawings are pretty, rather of the goody-good "Sunday-at-home-readings" kind of illustrations. And what on earth has a sort of pictorial advertisement for "Somebody's Soap" got to do with Street Arabs? "Washed Ashore; or, Happy At Last," might be the title of this mer-baby picture, in which two naked children, not Street Arabs, or Arabs of any sort, are depicted as examining the inanimate body of a nondescript creature, half flesh and half fish, which has been thrown up by the waves "to be left till called for" by the next high-tide, when, perhaps, its sorrowing parents, Mr. and Mrs. MERMAN, or its widowed mother, Mrs. MERWOMAN, arrayed in sea-"weeds," may come to claim it and give it un-christian burial. But that the Baron, out of deference to the wishes of "Caspeg, London," does not like to quote one single line, he could give Mrs. STANLEY'S own account of how this picture of the Mer-baby came to be included in the Street Arab Collection. For such explanation the Baron refers the reader to the book itself. "Caspeg," farewell!
I have, the Baron says, commenced the first pages of The Last Days of Palmyra. Good, so far; but several new books have come in, and Palmyra cannot receive my undivided attention, says
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
P.S.—My faithful "Co." has been reading Ferrers Court, by JOHN STRANGE WINTER, author of Bootle's Baby and a number of other novelettes of like kind. He says that he is getting just the least bit tired of Mignon, and the plain-spoken girls, and the rest of them. By the way, he observes that it seems to be the fashion, judging from the pages of Ferrers Court, in what he may call "Service Suckles," to talk continually of a largely advertising lady's tailor. If this custom spreads, he presumes that the popular topic of conversation, the weather, will have to give place to the prior claims for consideration of Somebody's Blacking, or Somebody-else's Soap. This is to be regretted, as, in spite of the sameness of subject of the Bootle's Baby series, JOHN STRANGE WINTER is always more amusing than nine-tenths of his (or should it be her?) contemporaries. B. De B.-W. & Co.
P.S. No. 2.—The Baron wishes to add that on taking up the Bride of Lammermoor in order to refresh his memory before seeing the new drama, he was struck by a few lines in the description of Lucy Ashton, which, during rehearsals, must have been peculiarly appropriate to her representative at the Lyceum, Miss ELLEN TERRY. Here they are:—"To these details, however trivial, Lucy lent patient and not indifferent attention. They moved and interested Henry, and that was enough to secure her ear." "Great Scott!" indeed! Perfectly prophetic, and prophetically perfect. B. DE B.-W.
* * * * *
* * * * *
STALKING THE SAGACIOUS STAG.
SPORTING NOTES FROM OUR SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE.
I had an invite from JEPSON, a Stock Exchange acquaintance, who has rented a Moor for the winter months, and who, happening to hear that I and my two foreign friends were in the neighbourhood, most kindly asked me to come and have a look at his box, and bring them with me.
"I hear," he writes, "that the deer are very lively, and if you want to show your foreign friends some first-rate British Sport, you can't do better than bring them."
Need I say that I jumped at this. Coming along on the top of the coach, that takes us to Spital-hoo, the place my friend has rented, I have been endeavouring to describe what I imagine to be the nature of the sport of Deer-stalking to the Chief and the Bulgarian Count. The former, who has been listening attentively, says that, from my description, stalking a stag must be very much the same as hunting the double-humped bison in Mwangumbloola, and that the only weapon he shall take with him will be a pickaxe. I have pointed out to him that I don't think this will be any use, as in deer-stalking I fancy you follow the stag at some distance, but he seems resolute about the pickaxe, and so, I suppose, I must let him have his way. The Bulgarian Count was deeply interested in the matter, and says that evidently the proper weapon to use is a species of quick-firing, repeating Hotchkiss, and that he has one now on its way through Edinburgh, the invention of a compatriot, that will fire 2700 two-ounce bullets in a minute and a-half. I fancy, if he uses this, he will surprise the neighbourhood; but, of course, I have not said anything to interfere with his project.
We have arrived at Spital-hoo all safe and sound, and JEPSON has given us a most cordial welcome. But I must now have once more recourse to my current notes.
I have now been something like five hours on the tramp, plodding my way through a deep glen in a pine forest, but have not yet come across any sign of a stag, I started with the Chief and the Count, but the former soon went off at a tangent somewhere on his own hook, and the latter, who had got his Hotchkiss with him and found it heavy work to drag it up and down the mountain paths, I have left behind to take a rest and recuperate himself. I pause in my walk and listen. The forest is intensely still. Not a sign of a stag anywhere.
JEPSON is left at home, as he is expecting a couple of local Ministers to tea, but he has told me I'm "bound to come across whole herds of them," if I only tramp long enough. Well, I've been at it five hours, and I certainly ought to have spotted something by this time. By Jove, though, what's that moving in the path ahead of me? It is! It is a stag! A magnificent fellow—though he appears to have only one horn. But, how odd! I believe he has seen me, and yet doesn't seem scared! Yes, he is actually approaching in the most leisurely fashion in the world. But that isn't the correct thing. In deer-stalking, I'm sure you ought to stalk the deer, not the deer stalk you. And this creature is absolutely coming down on me. Oh! I can't stand this. I shall have a shot at him. Bang! Have fired—and missed! And, by Jove, the stag doesn't seem to mind! He is coming nearer and nearer. He actually comes close to where I am kneeling, and with facetious friendliness removes my Tam o'Shanter! But, hulloah! who is this speaking? "Ha, and would ye blaze awa wi' your weepons upon poor old Epaminondas, mon!" It is an aged Highlander who is addressing me, and he has just turned out of a bye-path. He is fondling the creature's nose affectionately, and the stag seems to know him. I remark as much.
"Ha! sure he does," he replies, "Why there's nae a body doon the glen but has got a friendly word for puir Old Epaminondas. You see he's blind o' one 'ee, and he's lost one o' his antlers, and he's a wee bit lame, and all the folk here about treat him kindly, when ye thought to put that bit o' lead into him just noo, sure he was just oomin' to ye for a bit o' oatmeal cake."
I express my regret for having so nearly shot the "Favourite of the Glen" through inadvertence! I explain that I came out deerstalking, and did not expect, of course, to come across a perfectly tame and domestic stag.
"A weel, there's nae mischief done," continues my interlocutor; "but it's nae good a stalking Epaminondas, for he's just a sagacious beastie altogether."
* * * * *
Here we are at the Lodge. But, hulloah! what's this uproar on the lawn? A herd of deer dashing wildly over everything, flowerbeds and all, and, yes, absolutely five of them bursting into the house, through one of the drawing-room windows, while JEPSON and the two kirk Ministers emerge hurriedly, terrified, from the other. Crash! And what's that? Why, surely it can't be—but yes, I believe it is—yes, it positively is the Chief's pickaxe that has flown through the air, and just smashed through the upper panes, scattering the glass in a thousand fragments in all directions!
And thus ends my Stalking for the Present, and (probably) the Future!
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE BRITISH LION AND THE GERMAN FOX; OR, A MISTAKE SOMEWHERE.
THE SEQUEL OF A FABLE.
(SEE "THE GERMAN FOX AND THE BRITISH LION," PUNCH, NOVEMBER 17, 1888.)
"When Fox with Lion hunts, one would be sorry To say who gains—until they've shared the quarry!" Such was the Moral Of the first chapter of our modern Fable. Is the co-partnership still strong and stable, Or are there signs of quarrel More than mere querulous quidnuncs invent To break companionship and mar content?
Reynard has settled down into that latitude, Pilgrim, perhaps, but certainly a Trader. Does he not show a certain change of attitude, Suggestive rather less of the Crusader, Eager to earn the black-skinned bondsman's gratitude, Than of the Bagman with his sample-box? Ah, Master Fox! Somehow the scallop seems to slip aside, And that brave banner, which, with honest pride You waved, like some commercial Quixote—verily 'Tis not to-day so valorously flaunted, And scarce so cheerily. You boast the pure knight-errantry so vaunted, Some two years since, Eh? You unfeigned Crusading zeal evince? Whence, then, that rival banner Which you coquet with in so cautious manner? Hoisting it? Humph! Say, rather, just inspecting it. But whether with intention of rejecting it, Or temporising with the sly temptation And making Proclamation Of views a trifle modified, and ardour A little cooled by thoughts of purse and larder. Why, that's the question. Reynard will probably resent suggestion Of playing renegade, in the cause of Trade, To that same Holy, Noble, New Crusade. "Only," he pleads, "don't fume, and fuss, and worry, The New Crusade is not a thing to hurry; I never meant hot zealotry or haste— Things hardly to the solid Teuton taste!"
And Leo? Well, he always had his doubts, Yet to indulge in fierce precipitate flouts Is not his fashion. The Anti-Slavery zeal, with him a passion, He knows less warmly shared by other traders; But soi-disant Crusaders Caught paltering with the Infidels, like traitors, And hot enthusiast Emancipators Who the grim Slavery-demon gently tackle, Wink at the scourge, and dally with the shackle, Such, though they vaunt their zeal and orthodoxy, Seem—for philanthropists—a trifle foxy!
* * * * *
Reclame (Gratis).—Where is the Lessee of the Haymarket? He ought to have been in India. He was wanted there. The Daily News, last week, told us in its Morning News Columns that "at a place called Beerbhoom"—clearly the Indian spelling of Beerbohm—"there was a desirable piece of land lying waste"—the very spot for a theatre—"because it was reputed to be haunted by a malignant goddess,"—that wouldn't matter as long as the "gods" were well provided for. Then it continues, "They" (who?) "did all they could to propitiate her, setting apart a tree—." Yes; but it wasn't the right tree: of course it ought to have been a BEERBHOOM TREE. His first drama might have shown how a Buddhist priest couldn't keep a secret. Thrilling!
* * * * *
WOMAN'S HAPPIEST HOUR.
(BY A SOUR OLD CYNIC.)
A Yankee Journal raises wordy strife About "the happiest hour of Woman's life." I'll answer in less compass than a sonnet:— "When she outshines her best friend's smartest bonnet!"
* * * * *
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE PLEASURES OF GETTING UP EARLY TO GO "CUBBING."
1. The Meet was to be at Cropper's Gorse, 5:30. At 4:30 Thompson called for me. He said he knew the way perfectly.
2. After we had gone a couple of miles, a steady rain came on. I didn't think much of the beauties of early morning.
3. "Well, my man," said Thompson, "seen the hounds? This is Cropper's Gorse, I suppose?" "Noa, Sur; this be Cropper's Plantation. The Gorse be four miles over yonder!"
4. "Extraordinary thing I should have been mistaken," said Thompson. "Never mind. Let's canter on, and we'll see some fun yet."
5. "Hi! my boy, is this Cropper's Gorse?" asked Thompson. "Noa, Sur. This be Cropper's Common. The Gorse be five miles over yonder!"
6. Then Thompson had the decency to say, "Let's go back and have breakfast."]
* * * * *
RATS IN COUNCIL.
A mass meeting of Rats was held (unknown to the Park-keepers) under the Reformer's Oak in Hyde Park, at midnight of last Sunday. The object of the gathering was to protest against the proposal made by a Correspondent of The Times, that the "sewer-rats who had established themselves in the sylvan retreat" known as Hyde Park Dell, should be exterminated by means of "twenty ferrets and a few capable dogs."
Mr. RODENT (Senior) was called upon to preside. He took the hillock amid waving of tails and much enthusiasm, and remarked that he trusted that that vast assembly, one of the most magnificent demonstrations that even Hyde Park had ever known, would show by its orderly behaviour, that Rats knew how to conduct business. (Cheers.) They lived in strange times. A barbarous suggestion had been made to evict them—to turn them out of house and home, by means of what he might call Emergency Ferrets. (Groans, and cries of "Boycott them!") He feared that boycotting a ferret would not do much good. (A squeak—"Why not try rattening?"—and laughter.) Arbitration seemed to him the most politic course under the circumstances. (Cheers.) They were accused of eating young moor-chicks. Well, was a Rat to starve? ("No, no!") Did not a Rat owe a duty to those dependent upon it? (Cheers, and cries of "Yes!") He appealed to the opinion of the civilised world to put a stop—At this point in the Chair-rat's address, an alarm of "Dogs!" was raised, and the meeting at once dispersed in some confusion.
* * * * *
Who would not be a Journalist-at-Arms? Life for that paladin hath poignant charms. Whether in pretty quarrel he shall run Just half an inch of rapier—in pure fun— In his opponent's biceps, or shall flick His shoulders with a slender walking-stick. The "stern joy" of the man indeed must rise To raptures and heroic ecstacies. Oh, glorious climax of a vulgar squabble, To redden your foe's nose, or make him hobble For half a week or so, as though, perchance, He'd strained an ancle in a leap or dance! Feeble sword-play or futile fisticuffs Might be disdained by warriors—or roughs; But to the squabbling scribe the farce has charms. Who would not be a Journalist-at-Arms?
* * * * *
A thoroughly well appointed and handsomely furnished COUNTRY MANSION (Elizabethan or Jacobaean period preferred) wanted immediately. It must contain not less than 50 bedrooms, appropriate reception-rooms, and a hall capable of being utilised for fetes and gala entertainments on a large scale, and must stand in the midst of extensive timbered grounds, surrounded by orangeries, hot-houses, and beautifully kept pleasure grounds replete with the choicest pieces of statuary and ornamental fountains arranged for electrical illumination, the perfect installation of which on the premises, on the newest principles, is regarded as a sine qua non by the Advertiser. The shooting over four or five hundred acres, and the meeting of not less than three packs of hounds in the immediate neighbourhood, with salmon and trout fishing within easy distance of the mansion, are also considered indispensable. Particulars as to the surrounding country gentry are requested. Write also stating whether any recognised race-meeting is held in the immediate vicinity. The distance of the property from town must not be more than half an hour's railway journey, and the inclusive rent must not exceed five and twenty shillings a week.
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
ODE TO OZONE.
(BY A POOR PATERFAMILIAS.)
"London is a terrible consumer of ozone."—Standard.
A'R—"The Dutchman's Little Dog."
O where and O where, is our treasured Ozone? O where, and O where can it be? From London to leeward 'tis utterly gone, To windward but little floats free.
Since SCHOeNBEIN of Basle discovered the stuff, We've lived half a cen-tu-ree. If of it we only could swallow enough, How healthy, how happy were we!
Condensed form of oxygen, essence of air That's fresh, or electricitee, Ozone is the stuff shaken health to repair. 'Tis for it we all fly to the sea!
Solidified Ozone they talk about now, To be bought in small bricks like pressed tea. The air that is cheering when breathed on one's brow In cubic foot-blocks would bring glee.
How pleasant to buy one's Ozone, like one's coal, And store it up an-nu-al-lee! And not fly for it to some dull cockney hol Just because it is dug by the Sea!
Ah yes, let us have it, this needful Ozone, In portable parcels! Ah me! No longer need Paterfamilias groan At the cost of that month by the Sea!
* * * * *
SHAKSPEARIAN MOTTO FOR THE NEW UNIONISM.—(Dedicated to the Artisan left out in the cold.)—"In the ambush of my name, strike home!"—Measure for Measure.
* * * * *
TO MY UMBRELLA.
'Twere hard indeed to try to get A theme without some poem on it— A vilanelle, a triolet, An ode, an epic, or a sonnet. CASTARA'S charms were sung of old, Both SWIFT and SIDNEY, wrote to STELLA, But mine it is to first unfold The praise of my beloved Umbrella.
You are not difficult to please, Although no doubt a trifle "knobby;" Whilst I'm reclining at mine ease, I leave you standing in the lobby. I ever treat you thus, and yet I haven't got a friend who's firmer; In point of fact, you even let Me shut you up without a murmur.
Now some seek solace sweet in smoke, And make a pipe their AMARYLLIS; So think not that I do but joke In calling you my darling PHYLLIS. And though the gossips never spare For ill-report to seek a handle, The (indiarubber) ring you wear Prevents the very thought of scandal.
"Fair weather, friend," we've often heard Used as a term to throw discredit, Though clearly it were quite absurd If speaking of yourself one said it. When skies are blue (a thing that's rare) I in the coolest way forsake you, But when the Forecast tells me "Fair," Or "Settled Sunshine," then I take you.
I like to think of one sweet day When cats and dogs it kept on raining, (Why "cats and dogs," it's right to say, Who will oblige me by explaining?) When someone, who had golden hair, And I were walking out together, And underneath your sheltering care, Were happy spite of wind and weather.
One day I asked a friend to dine, The friend I most completely trusted. We sat and chatted o'er the wine, He liked the port—my fine old crusted. At length we said "Good-night." He went But not alone. For to my sorrow My mind with jealousy was rent, To find you missing on the morrow.
You had eloped! Yet all the same I felt quite sure you were his victim, When back a sorry wreck you came, I very nearly went and kicked him! Did Love take wings, and fly away? Grew my affection less? No, never! To tell the truth, I'm bound to say I fondly loved you more than ever!
With him—the man who was my friend— It's pretty clear you got on badly; Your ribs, somehow, seem prone to bend, Your silken dress seems wearing sadly. It's very hard, I know, to part, And sentimental feelings smother, But even though it break my heart, I'm going, next week, to get another.
* * * * *
EPITAPH ON A PLATE OF VENISON (a suggestion, at the service of those who collect menu cards).—"Though lost to sight, to memory deer!"
* * * * *
HISTORY AS SHE IS WROTE!
Last week the St. James's Gazette published an article proving that the Bastille, so far from being a gloomy prison, was the most delightful of hotels. This historical record has, however, caused no surprise in 85, Fleet Street, because the following extract from a very old diary has for years been awaiting publication. The time has now arrived for it to see the light.
GAY MOMENTS AT THE ANCIENT BAILEY.
Newgate, September 29, 17—.—Got up with the assistance of my valet, and held my customary levee. The Governor of the place asked my permission to enter my luxuriously furnished apartments, to show me an amusing set of irons that had been discovered in one of the cells used during the last two hundred years for the storage of fire-wood. The droll things were called the "Little Ease," and seemingly, were intended to create merriment. One of the officers was complacent enough to assume them, and caused great diversion by his eccentric gestures. My levee was not quite so successful, as is generally the case, as that tedious old gossip, GUIDO FAUX, obtained admission. As usual he had a grievance. It appears that a report has got abroad that he was executed in the days of our late lamented Monarch, JAMES THE FIRST of Great Britain, and SIXTH of Scotland. Says GUIDO, "If this be believed by the multitude there will be a demand for my expulsion, and what shall I do if I be turned out?" Condoled with him, and escaped his importunities by joining with Master JOHN SHEPPARD, and Squire TURPIN in a game of "Lorne Ten Hys," a recreation recently introduced by my good neighbour Monsieur CLAUDE DU VAL. Failed in making a goal, and put out thereat. However, regained my usual flow of spirits on receiving a polite request from the Governor to join him and his good Dame in a visit to the Tower of London, to call upon Lady JANE GREY—once Queen—and now a guest in that admirable institution. Was graciously received by Her Ladyship, who is now of advanced age. Her Ladyship was vastly amused at the news that had reached her that some chroniclers do insist that she has lost her head. "I have in good sooth lost my teeth," laughed the venerable gentlewoman "but my head is as firmly set upon my shoulders as ever. I do verily believe that it must be some mad piece of waggery of that Prince of good fellows, Sir WALTER RALEIGH. The aged Knight is always up to some of his nonsense!" After playing a game of quoits with Lord BALMARINO and the Tower Headsman (whose office is a well-paid sinecure), I returned to Newgate, greatly pleased with my morning's promenade. In the afternoon, entertained the Governor at dinner, who declared that he could never get so good a meal in his own quarters. "Strap me, no!" I exclaimed: "and, were it not that our food was excellent, who would stay at Newgate?" For I confess that, although there are pleasure-gardens, and every sort of amusement and comfort, Newgate, at times, is decidedly damp. Then I raised a glass of punch to my lips, and wished him the same luck that I myself enjoyed. "And that I had!" quoth he. "Would I were prisoner instead of Governor. But it would not be meet. I am not a man of sufficient quality!" And now I must bring this entry to a conclusion, for there is to be a theatrical performance in the dining-hall. Little DAVID GARRICK is to play the principal male character, while Mistress NELLIE GWYNE, Mistress SIDDONS, and Mistress PEG WOFFINGTON, are also in the cast. The title of the piece is Hamlet, and I am told it is written by a young man new to Town. The name of the author is either SHAKSPEARE or SMITH. I am not sure which, but think SMITH.
* * * * *
P.S.—Open my Diary once again. Hamlet a poor piece. It is now said that it was written by BACON or BUCHANAN. Of the former I know nothing, and posterity must discover the identity of the latter. For the rest, if again I am pressed to go to the Play—strap me! but, comfortable as I am, I will pack up my traps, and be off from Newgate—for ever!
* * * * *
THE REAL GRIEVANCE OFFICE.
(BEFORE MR. COMMISSIONER PUNCH.)
A SHAREHOLDER IN A GAS COMPANY INTRODUCED.
The Commissioner (sharply). Well, Sir, what is it?
Shareholder. I have come to complain about the Gas Companies—
The Com. I am not surprised. They are generally causing some one or other trouble.
Shareh. No, I beg your pardon, Sir, but you misunderstand me. I am interested in the prosperity of Gas Companies—
The Com. Then I pity you, for they are certain, sooner or later, to be superseded by the Electric Light.
Shareh. Will you allow me to continue? I am annoyed that some one has been complaining in the Times that "A Chief of a Rental Department" (invariably a person of the highest respectability) has a right to the title of "an arbitrary cove!"
The Com. No doubt someone (who showed his wisdom in appealing to so powerful a tribunal) gave his reasons?
Shareh. Well, yes; he certainly had been served with a demand to pay L1 4s. 10d. within three days, to "prevent the necessity" of the gas supply to his premises being discontinued at a time when he and his family were out of Town, and his house was closed for the recess.
The Com. Prima facie, that seems a strong order! And I suppose the complainant wrote to the Gas Company, and got no redress?
Shareh. Well, yes. But then, you see, this demand for payment within three days may have been a final notice.
The Com. (drily). Seems to have been very final indeed! Was there anything on the face of the notice to distinguish it from an ordinary unstamped circular?
Shareh. No, I believe not. But, then, possibly, the account had been submitted to him before.
The Com. How do you know? Speaking from my own experience, a demand-note is generally left at the house when the master is away, and the Collector does not take the slightest trouble to collect the money. He leaves it to chance whether the money is sent or not. Surely you must know that in your character of a householder?
Shareh. Well, yes; I fancy that the collector does sometimes act in a very perfunctory manner.
The Com. And that servants frequently are unable to distinguish between the open circular of a Gas Company asking for the settlement of an account, and the open circular of a touting coal merchant asking for custom? And when this happens, both find a home in the dust-hole. Is not that so?
Shareh. Well, yes—very likely—but the law is—
The Com. (sternly). The Law and its name should not be lightly taken in vain. I have seen on a Gas Company's circular the terrors of a statute invoked to secure prompt payment of a few shillings! After all, the Gas Companies (albeit monopolists) are merely traders, and the Public are the customers. If a butcher, a baker, or a candle-stick maker invariably attempted to secure immediate payment by reference on the invoice to the usefulness of the County Court, it is more than possible that that butcher, that baker, or that candle-stick maker, would speedily have to retire from business via the Bankruptcy column of The London Gazette. Thus Gas Companies, who adopt a like unpleasant tone, are regarded as the natural enemies of the Public generally. You have a grievance—as a shareholder of one of these Associations—but this is not the place to obtain redress. If you want to improve your position, keep your eye upon your employes, and teach them the meaning of that well-worn phrase, Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re! You may go!
[The Witness then retired, with difficulty repressing a painful exhibition of the most acute emotion.]
* * * * *
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.
* * * * *