PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
June 13, 1891.
AT A MUSIC HALL.
SCENE—The Auditorium of a Music Hall, the patrons of which are respectable, but in no sense "smart." The occupants of the higher-priced seats appear to have dropped in less for the purpose of enjoying the entertainment than of discussing their private affairs—though this does not prevent them from applauding everything with generous impartiality.
The Chairman. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Celebrated Character-Duettists and Variety Artistes, the Sisters SILVERTWANG, will appear next!
[They do; They have just sung a duet in praise of Nature with an interspersed step-dance. "Oh, I love to 'ear the echo on the Moun-ting!" (Tiddity-iddity-iddity-iddity-um!) "And to listen to the tinkle of the Foun-ting!" (Tiddity, &c.)
A White-capped Attendant (taking advantage of a pause, plaintively). Sengwidges, too-pence!
Voluble Lady in the Shilling Stalls (telling her Male Companion an interminable story with an evasive point). No, but you 'ear what I'm going to tell you, because I'm coming to it presently. I can't remember his name at this moment—something like BUDKIN, but it wasn't that, somewhere near Bond Street, he is, or a street off there; a Scotchman, but that doesn't matter! (Here she breaks off to hum the Chorus of "Good Ole Mother-in-Law!" which is being sung on the stage.) Well, let me see—what was I telling you? Wait a minute, excuse me, oh, yes,—well, there was this picture,—mind you, it's a lovely painting, but the frame simply nothing, not that I go by frames, myself, o' course not, but I fetched it down to show him—oh, I know what you'll say, but he must know something about such things; he knew my uncle, and I can tell you what he is—he's a florist, and married nineteen years, and his wife's forty—years older than me, but I've scarcely spoke to her, and no children, so I fetched it to show him, and as soon as he set eyes on it, he says—(Female "Character-Comic" on Stage, lugubriously. "Ritolderiddle, ol de ray, ritolderiddle, olde-ri-ido!") I can't tell you how old it is, but 'undreds of years, and Chinese, I shouldn't wonder, but we can't trace its 'istry—that's what he said, and if he don't know, nobody does, for it stands to reason he must be a judge, though nothing to me,—when I say nothing, I mean all I know of him is that he used to be—(Tenor Vocalist on Stage. "My Sweetheart when a Bo-oy!") I always like that song, don't you? Well, and this is what I was wanting to tell you, she got to know what I'd done—how is more'n I can tell you, but she did, and she come straight in to where I was, and I see in a minute she'd been drinking, for drink she does, from morning to night, but I don't mind that, and her bonnet all on the back of her head, and her voice that 'usky, she—(Tenor. "She sang a Song of Home Sweet Home—a song that reached my heart!") And I couldn't be expected to put up with that, you know, but I haven't 'alf told you yet—well, &c., &c.
IN THE RESERVED STALLS.
First Professional Lady, "resting" to Second Ditto (as Miss FLORRIE FOLJAMBE appears on Stage). New dresses, to-night.
Second Ditto. Yes. (Inspects Miss F.'s costume.) Something wrong with that boy's dress in front, though, cut too low. Is that silver bullion it's trimmed with? That silver stuff they put on my pantomime-dress has turned quite yellow!
First Ditto. It will sometimes. Did you know any of the critics when you were down at Slagtown for the Panto?
Second Ditto. I knew the Grimeshire Mercury, and he said most awfully rude things about me in his paper. I was rather rude to him at rehearsal, but we made it up afterwards. You know LILY'S married, dear?
First Ditto. What—LILY? You don't mean it!
Second Ditto. Oh, yes, she is, though. She went out to Buenos Ayres, and the other day she was taken in to dinner by the Bishop of the Friendly Isands.
First Ditto. A Bishop? Fancy! That is getting on, isn't it?
Miss Foljambe (on Stage, acknowledging an encore). Ladies and Gentlemen, I am very much obliged for your kind reception this evening, but having been lately laid up with a bad cold, and almost entirely lost my vice, and being still a little 'orse, I feel compelled to ask your kind acceptance of a few 'ornpipe steps, after which I 'ope to remain, Ladies and Gentlemen, always your obedient 'umble servant to command—FLORRIE FOLIJAMBE!
[Tumultuous applause and hornpipe.
Chairman. Professor BOODLER, the renowned Imitator of Birds, will appear next!
The Professor (on Stage). Ladies and Gentlemen, I shall commence by an attempt to give you an imitation of that popular and favourite songster, the Thrush—better known to some of you, I daresay, as the Throstle, or Mavis! (He gives the Thrush—which somehow doesn't "go.") I shall next endeavour to represent that celebrated and tuneful singing-bird—the Sky-lark. (He does it, but the Lark doesn't quite come off.) I shall next try to give you those two sweet singers, the Male and Female Canary—the gentleman in the stalls with the yellow 'air will represent the female bird on this occasion, he must not be offended, for it is a 'igh compliment I am paying him, a harmless professional joke. (The Canaries obtain but tepid acknowledgments.) I shall now conclude my illustrations of bird-life with my celebrated imitation of a waiter drawing the cork from a bottle of gingerbeer, and drinking it afterwards.
[Does so; rouses the audience to frantic enthusiasm, and retires after triple re-call.
The Voluble Lady in the Shilling Stalls (during the performance of a Thrilling Melodramatic Sketch). I've nothing to say against her 'usban', a quiet, respectable man, and always treated me as a lady, with grey whiskers—but that's neither here nor there—and I speak of parties as I find them—well. That was a Thursday. On the Saturday there came a knock at my door, and I answered it, and there was she, saying, as cool as you please—(Heroine on Stage. "Ah, no, no—you would not ruin me? You will not tell my husband?") So I told her. "I'm very sorry," I says, "but I can't lend that frying-pan to nobody." So I got up. Two hours after, as I was going down-stairs, she come out of her room, and says,—"'Allo, ROSE, 'ow are yer?" as if nothing had 'appened. "Oh, jolly," I says, or somethink o' that sort—I wasn't going to take no notice of her—and she says, "Going out?" like that. I says. "Oh, yes; nothing to stay in for," I says, careless-like; so Mrs. PIPER, she never said nothing, and I didn't say nothing; and so it went on till Monday—well! Her 'usban' met me in the passage; and he said to me—good-tempered and civil enough, I must say—he said—(Villain on Stage. "Curse you! I've had enough of this fooling! Give me money, or I'll twist your neck, and fling you into yonder mill-dam, to drown!") So o' course I'd no objection to that; and all she wanted, in the way of eatables and drink, she 'ad—no, let me finish my story first. Well, just fancy 'er now! She asked me to step in; and she says, "Ow are you?" and was very nice, and I never said a word—not wishing to bring up the past, and—I didn't tell you this—they'd a kind of old easy chair in the room—and the only remark I made, not meaning anythink, was—(Hero on Stage. "You infernal, black-hearted scoundrel! this is your work, is it?") Well, I couldn't ha' put it more pleasant than that, could I? and old Mr. FITKIN, as was settin' on it, he says to me, he says—(Hero. "Courage, my darling! You shall not perish if my strong arms can save you. Heaven help me to rescue the woman I love better than my life!") but he's 'alf silly, so I took no partickler notice of 'im, when, what did that woman do, after stoopin' to me, as she 'as, times without number—but—Oh, is the play over? Well, as I was saying—oh, I'm ready to go if you are, and I can tell you the rest walking home.
[Exit, having thoroughly enjoyed her evening.
* * * * *
TO ROSE NORREYS AS "NORA."
Dear ROSE, in your way, you're as brimful of Art As a picture by REYNOLDS, a statue by GIBSON; And we'll never cut you, though we don't like your part, Pretty ROSE, in A Doll's House, as written by IBSEN, Yet we crowd on your track, as the hounds on the quarry's, And, though carping at Nora, delight in our NORREYS.
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* * * * *
[MR. PUNCH'S "TABLEAU." SOCIETY IN COURT.]
Up betimes and to the Court at the New Palace of Justice hard by the Strand, and near the sign of the Griffin which has taken the place of Temple Bar, upon which did stand long ago the heads of traitors. There did I see a crowd high and low trying to get in. But the custodians and the police mighty haughty, but withal courteous, and no one to be admitted without a ticket signed by the Lord Chief Justice. And I thought it was a good job my wife was not with me. She had a great longing to see a sensation action (as the journals have it), and she being of a fiery disposition and not complacent when refused, might have made an uproar, which would have vexed me to the heart. But in truth I found no trouble. It did seem to me that they did not see me as I entered in. And plenty of room and no crowding, at which I was greatly contented, as I love not crushing. Pretty to see the crowd of fine folks! And there were those who had opera-glasses. And when the Bench was occupied by the Lord Chief Justice—a stately gentleman—and the other persons of quality, how they did gaze! And the dresses of the ladies very fine, and did make the place—which was splendid, and they tell me the largest in the building—like a piece at the play-house! And the Counsel, how they did talk! Mighty droll to hear them contradict! One would have it that Black was White; which convinced me I had fallen into error, until another had it that he who had spoken was wrong, and White was Black! Good lack! who shall decide when Counsel differ? and I was mightily content that I was not on the jury, although one of these good people did have the honour of asking a question of His Royal Highness. And it was answered most courteously, at which I was greatly pleased and contented. Then did I hear the witnesses. In a mighty dread that I might be called myself! For that which did seem plain enough when he who was in the box was asked by his Counsel, did appear all wrong when another questioned him. And the Jury, looking wise, and making notes. And it is droll to see how civil everyone is to the Jury, who, methinks, are no cleverer than any of us? The Lord Chief Justice himself smiling upon them, and mighty courteous! And met my friend, A. Briefless, Junior, who it seems, is always in the Courts, and yet doeth no business. And he did say that it was the strongest Bar in England. And he did tell me how Sir Charles was eloquent, and Sir Edward was clever at fence, and how young Master Gill was most promising. And I noticed how one fair Lady, who was seated on the Bench, did seem to arrange everything. And many beauties there, who I did gaze upon with satisfaction. To see them in such gay attire was a pretty sight, and did put my heart in a flutter. And I was pleased when the Court adjourned for luncheon; and it did divert me much to see what appetites they all had! Some had brought sandwiches, and, how they did eat them! But the Lord Chief Justice soon back again, and more witnesses examined until four of the clock, when the day was over. So home, and described to my wife what I had seen, except the damsels.
* * * * *
LEAVES FROM A CANDIDATE'S DIARY.
Billsbury, Sunday, May 25.—CHORKLE'S dinner came off last night. The dinner-hour was seven o'clock. CHORKLE'S house is in The Grove, a sort of avenue of detached houses shaded by trees. The Colonel himself was magnificent. He wore a most elaborately-frilled shirt-front, with three massive jewelled studs. His waistcoat was beautifully embroidered in black with a kind of vine-leaf pattern, the buttons being of silver, with the regimental badge embossed upon them. His handkerchief was a gorgeous one of blue silk. He wore it in his waistcoat, carefully arranged, so as to show all round above the opening. It looked something like the ribbon of some Order at a distance. Mrs. CHORKLE is rather a pleasant woman, with a manner which suggests that she is much trampled on by her domineering husband. How on earth she ever induced herself to marry him I can't make out. The chief guests were Sir CHARLES and Lady PENFOLD. Sir CHARLES'S father was a large Billsbury contractor, who made no end of money, and represented Billsbury in the House a good many years ago. He was eventually made a Baronet for his services to the Party. The present Sir CHARLES doesn't take much interest in politics, occupying himself chiefly in hunting, &c., but they are people of great consideration in Billsbury; in fact Lady PENFOLD is the leader of Society in Billsbury, and not to know them is to argue yourself unknown. Sir CHARLES himself is an Oxford man, and we had a good deal of talk about the old place.
"Yes," he said, "I was at the House more than thirty years ago, and to tell you the truth, it's the only House (with a capital H), that I ever wanted te be in."
The fact of the matter, so JERRAM told me, was that Sir CHARLES did once want to stand for Parliament, but somehow or other the scheme fell through, and since then he's always spoken rather bitterly of the House of Commons. Their daughter, whom I took in to dinner, is a very pretty girl of nineteen, with plenty to say for herself. She told me they were going to be in London for about three weeks in June and July, so I hope to see something of them. Besides the PENFOLDS there were Mr. and Mrs. TOLLAND; Mrs. TOLLAND in a green silk dress with more gold chains wound about various parts of her person than I ever saw on any other woman. Two officers of CHORKLE'S Volunteers were there with their wives, Major WORBOYS, an enormous, red-whiskered man who doesn't think much, privately, of CHORKLE'S ability as a soldier, and Captain YATMAN, a dapper little fellow, whose weakness it is to pretend to know all about smart Society in London.
Altogether there were twenty guests. Precisely at seven o'clock a bugle sounded on the landing outside the drawing-room to announce dinner. Everything in the CHORKLE family is done by bugle-calls. They have reveille at 7 A.M., the sergeants' call for the servants' dinner, and lights out at eleven o'clock every night. As soon as the call was finished, CHORKLE went up to Lady PENFOLD. "Shall we march, Lady PENFOLD?" he said. "Sir CHARLES will bring up the rear with Mrs. C." And thus we went down-stairs.
The dinner was a most tremendous and wonderful entertainment, and must have lasted two hours, at the very least. There were two soups, three fishes, dozens of entrees, three or four joints—the mere memory of it is indigestive. The talk was almost entirely about local matters, the chief subject of discussion being the Mastership of the Foxhounds. The present Master is not going to keep them on, as he is a very old man, and everybody seems to want Sir CHARLES to take them, but he hangs back. Difficulties about the subscription, I fancy.
In the middle of dinner there was a fiendish row outside. I saw poor Mrs. CHORKLE turn pale, while the Colonel got purple with fury, and upset his champagne as he turned to say something to the butler. Discovered afterwards that the disturbance was caused by two of the young CHORKLES, who had got out of their bedrooms, and were lying in ambush for the dishes. HOBBES LEVIATHAN CHORKLE had carried off a dish of sweetbreads, for which STRAFFORD THOROUGH CHORKLE had expressed a liking. The result was, that HOBBES LEVIATHAN got his head punched by STRAFFORD THOROUGH, who then rubbed his face with sweetbread.
After dinner there was music, but not a whiff of tobacco.
Mother comes to open the Bazaar on Wednesday.
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June 6th.—Rather gratifying to find that my service to the Church—I don't mean Church Services—have at length been recognised. Just received intimation of my appointment to Bishopric of Richborough. How wild it will make my dear old friend, Canon STARBOTTLE, to be sure! Well—I must accept it as a call, I suppose!
July.—Had no idea being made a Bishop was such an expensive business. No end of officials connected with Cathedral, all of whom demand their fee. After spending at least L500 in this way, found there was an additional fee of a hundred guineas for "induction into the temporalities." As there are no temporalities nowadays, this is simply extortion. Remarked so to the Dean, who replied (nastily, I think), "Oh, it's for the interest of the Church not to have paupers for Prelates." I retorted at once, rather ably, that "I could not conceive a better plan for bringing Prelates to pauperism than the exaction of extortionate fees at Installation." Dean replied, sneeringly, "Oh, if you don't value the honour, I suppose there's still time for you to resign." Resign, yes; but should I get back my five or six hundred pounds?
Next year.—Strange, how I seem to be singled out for preferment. Am to be "translated," it seems, to diocese of Minchester. Can't very well refuse, but really am only just getting over drain on my purse last year owing to my accepting Bishopric here. And on inquiry, find that fees at Minchester much heavier than anywhere else! Is this really a call? Certainly a call on my pocket. And my family cost such a tremendous lot. And then I've had to do up the Palace, left by my predecessor in a perfectly shocking state of disrepair!
Later.—My worst apprehensions were realised! Fee for Consecration huge! Fee for Installation, monstrous! Fee for Investiture, a perfect swindle! Isn't there a song beginning "Promotion is vexation, Translation is as had?" Translation is worse! Shall really have to consider whether there would be anything unepiscopal in negotiating a little loan, or effecting a mortgage on the Palace.
Year Later.—Have been offered vacant Archbishopric! No, thanks! Late Archbishop almost swamped by the fees, and he was a rich man. I am a poor man—thanks to recent preferments—and can't afford it. An Archbishop in the Bankruptcy Court would not look well. "His Grace attributed his position to expenses connected with the various Installation ceremonies, and offered a composition of one-and-sixpence in the pound, which was unanimously declined by the creditors." When will they do away with gate-money in the Church?
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Some savants were the other day puzzling their heads to find a convenient and familiar word for the illumination produced by the electric spark. Surely it is Edisunlight.
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"Well," quoth the Baron DE BOOK-WORMS, as he sat down to dinner on a Friday, a week ago, "I must say I have never, never been better in my life! Why, dear me, it is quite a year since I was ill!"
"Beroofen!" exclaimed an Italian Countess of dazzling beauty, at the same time rapping the table with one of the bejewelled forks which form part of the Baron's second-best dinner-service.
"Why 'Beroofen'?" asked the Baron.
"It is a spell against the consequences of boasting," the lady explained. "My mother was a bit of a magician."
"And you, my dear Countess, are bewitching. Your health!" And, pledging her, the Baron drank off a bumper of Pommery '80 tres sec, and laughed joyously at the notion of his rapping the table—all "table-rapping" being a past superstition, or supperstition when not at dinner,—and murmuring, "Beroofen!" And so he didn't do it. "Beroofen" never passed his lips: the champagne did; but not "Beroofen."
* * * * *
"Ugh I—I feel so shivery-and-livery. Ugh!—so chilly. Here! Send for Dr. ROBSON ROOSTEM PASHA!" cried the Baron, clapping his hands, and a thousand ebon slaves bounded off to execute his commands. Had they not done so, they themselves might have suffered the fate intended for the commands, and have themselves been rapidly executed.
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"You've got 'em," quoth Dr. ROBSON ROOSTEM PASHA.
"Not 'again'!" cried the Baron, surprised, never having had 'em before.
"No: the phenomena," said the Eminent Medico.
"Have I?" murmured the Baron, and sank down into his uneasy chair. It was an awful thing to have the Phenomena. It might have been the measles in Greek. Anything but that! Anything but that! But Dr. ROOSTEM explained that "phenomena" is not Greek for measles, though perhaps Phenomenon might be Greek for "one measle;" but this would be singular, very singular.
"I must tap you," continued the friend-in-need. "No—no—don't be alarmed. When I say 'tap,' I mean sound you."
Then he began the woodpecking business. In the character of Dr. Woodpecker he tapped at the hollow oak chest, sounded the Baron's heart of oak, pronounced him true to the core, whacked him, smacked him, insisted upon his calling out "Ninety-nine," in various tones, so that it sounded like a duet to the old words, without much of the tune—
"I'm ninety-nine, I'm ninety-nine!"
the remainder of which the Baron had never heard, even in his earliest childhood.
So it was a quarter of an hour of inspiration, musical and poetic, and, at its expiration, Dr. MARK TAPLEY, as the Baron declared he must henceforth be called, announced that there was nothing for it but to make the Baron a close prisoner in his own castle, where he would have to live up to the mark, as if he were to be shown, a few months hence, at a prize cattle-show, among other Barons of Beef.
"Champagne Charley is your name, so is Turtle soup, so is succulent food, and plenty of it. Generally provision the fortress, and withstand the assaults of the enemy. If a bacillus creeps in through a loophole, knock him on the head with the best champagne at hand, and, if you're not worse in a day or two, you'll be better in a week! Au revoir!" Exit Dr. MARK TAPLEY.
* * * * *
And so the Baron remained within, and sent for his books, and above all One of Our Conquerors, by "The GEO. M.," who is the CARLYLE of Novelists. The first volume was missing. In a few days it had returned. The first chapters, however, seemed still wandering. But the Baron was better, and could follow them slowly, though not without effort, wondering whither he was being led. When he arrives at Chapter VII., unless the novelist ceases to meander, the Baron will exclaim with Hamlet, "Speak! I'll go no further!" Yet, 'tis marvellous clever and entertaining withal.
* * * * *
Perhaps there will be a vacation after this attack of Miss Influenza on the unfortunate Baron. Alas! for the present, it is La Donna Influenza who is "One of Our Conquerors!"
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This morning, after a fortnight of it, the Baron was about to announce that he was better, but at the outset he paused, corrected himself, and, tapping the breakfast-table with his fork, he exclaimed, "Beroofen!"
Moral.—Be quite sure you're out of the wood, though maybe you were never in it, and even then don't congratulate yourself. "Mumm"'s the word (so's "Pommery" also by the way, not forgetting "Greno," all such being excellent Fizzic for the Epidemic), as to your state of health, and don't forget the charm—"Beroofen!"
* * * * *
(SKETCHED, IN METRICAL SPASMS, BY A SUFFERER THEREFROM.)
Damp days, Chill nights; Morning haze, Evening blights; Grey skies, Sodden earth; Butterflies Weak at birth; Gloom over, Grime under; Soaked clover. Hail, thunder; Wind, wet, Squelch, squash; Gingham yet, Mackintosh; Lawns afloat, Paths dirt; Top-coat, Flannel shirt; Lilacs drenched, Laburnums pallid; Spirits quenched, Souls squalid; Tennis "off," Icy breeze; Croak, cough, Wheeze, sneeze; Cramped cricket, Arctic squall; Drenched wicket, Soaked ball; Park a puddle. Row a slough; Muck, muddle, Slush, snow; Hay-fever (No hay!) Spoilt beaver, Shoes asplay; Lilies flopping, Washed-out roses; Eaves dropping, Red noses; Pools, splashes, Spouts, spirts; Swollen sashes. Gutters, squirts; Limp curls, Splashed hose; Pretty girls, Damp shows; Piled grates, Cold shivers; Aching pates, Sluggish livers; Morn cruel, Eve a biter; Hot gruel, Sweet nitre; Voice a creaky Cracked cadenza, Face "peaky," INFLUENZA!!! Gloom growing, Glum, glummer Noses (and nothing else) blowing,— That's Summer!
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We're quite the gay Frenchmen now at the Italian Opera: Faust in French, Manon in French, Romeo et Juliette in French, Le Prophete in French; American singers, and Dutch singers—for if Mr. VAN DYCK isn't as much a Double Dutchman as VANDERDECKEN or any other Van, except PICKFORD & CO.'s, then am I myself a Dutch native—and, by the way, I'm always equal to a dozen of 'em any time during the right and proper season. Not for many a long day and night has there been a better show at Covent Garden. Miss EAMES, the Brothers DE RESZKE, VAN DYCK, MELBA; the two RAVOGLI girls, specially GIULIA, as tuneful contralto; MAUREL, the cultured artist; SIBYL SANDERSON, the simple child of Nature; AGNES JANSON, with more sauce Hollandaise; marvellous MRAVINA for the French Queen, "with a song;" and, above all, Madame ALBANI, in tip-top voice, acting and singing better than ever.
Tuesday.—June 2 was a Diamond Night in front. H.R.H.'s present: Diamond Queens and Princesses of Society all on view. DRURIOLANUS, in his glory, beams on everyone.
Wednesday.—State Ball counter-attraction to Opera. Won't do to go in rumpled silks and satins, and drooping feathers, like hens after the rain, to a Court Ball. So Opera suffers; those present trying to look as if they had been invited to State Ball, but didn't care about going, or couldn't go, on account of recent family affliction. However, as DRURIOLANUS is reported to have appeared in full fig at State Ball, he couldn't expect others less interested in the performance than himself to cut the Court and come to the Opera. To-night, M. PLANCON as Mephistopheles, a thinner demon than Brother NED DE RESZKE, but un bon diable tout de meme.
Friday Night.—Notable for excellent performance of Rigoletto, or The Little Duke and The Big Duck respectively personified by Signor RAVELLI and GIULIA RAVOGLI. Three "R"s in such a combination. Quite "R's Poetica." Beg pardon.
"Tag" on the week,—if our friends in front are pleased as they appear to be, then DRURIOLANUS and Council—not the County, but the Covent Garden Council—are satisfied. Curtain.
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THE ALARMED AUTOCRAT!
"The Czar declared that he was determined to continue resolutely to the end the policy upon which he had entered, with a view to the solution of the Jewish difficulty, adding that it was the Jews themselves who had forced that policy upon him by their conduct.... 'Down to the present time' (His Majesty remarked), 'there has never been a single Nihilistic plot, in which Jews have not been concerned.'"—The Times' Correspondent at Moscow.
The Great White CZAR he has put down his foot; On the neck of the Hebrew that foot he will plant. Can fear strike a CAESAR—a Russian to boot? Can a ROMANOFF stoop to mere cowardly cant? Forbid it traditions of Muscovite pride! An Autocrat's place is the Conqueror's car, But he who that chariot in triumph would ride, Must not earn a name as the White-livered CZAR!
No, no, scurril scribe, dip your pen in rose-pink, Or the Censor's black blurr shall your slander efface A CAESAR turn sophist, an Autocrat shrink? Pusillanimous spite mark the ROMANOFF race? Too wholly absurd! What is this we have heard Which on courtier spirits must painfully jar? Who is he, this mal a propos "little bird" Who twitters such tales of the White-livered CZAR?
The Wolf and the Lamb? We all know that old tale. But the Wolf, though a tyrant, was scarcely a cur. He bullied and lied, but he didn't turn pale, Or need poltroon terror as cruelty's spur. But a big, irresponsible, "fatherly" Prince Afeared—of a Jew? 'Tis too funny by far! The coldest of King-scorning cynics might wince At that comic conception, a White-livered CZAR!
No; Russia is heaven, the CZAR is a saint, And the poor "Ebrew Jew" is a troublesome pest; But is he the thing to make CAESAR go faint, Or disturb an Imperial Autocrat's rest? The Jew's all to blame—as a matter of course; The weak and the weary invariably are; But weakness on power harsh tyranny force? That's an argument worthy a White-livered CZAR.
An Israelite meshed in a 'Nihilist plot Is a pitiful picture. Ungrateful indeed Is the poor Russian Jew, not content with his lot— As a slave to the Slav. But expel the whole breed? Apply that same rule to your subjects all round, And one fancies you'll find it too sweeping by far. The vast realm of Muscovy then might be found A wilderness—save for the White-livered CZAR.
The pick of your people, the best of your blood, Your purest of women, your bravest of men, O CZAR, have they not, in despair's dusky mood, Turned Nihilist, plotted, been banished? What then? Best banish them all, as you'd banish the Jew; 'Twill sweep your dominions more clear than red war. Picture Russia a waste with one resident—you, Perched high—and alone—as the White-livered CZAR!
Maybe they malign you. It cannot be sooth That you talk like an angry illogical girl. Yes, banish the Hebrews, as wholly as ruth. Be cold in your wrath as the Neva's chill swirl, Snub friendly remonstrance, blunt satire's keen blade. With a blot of black ink! Will it carry you far? A CAESAR must not be a fool or afraid; There's no place in earth's round for a White-livered CZAR!
* * * * *
SAD FINISH.—We see advertised, "George Meredith, A Study. By HANNAH LYNCH." Poor GEORGE! "Taken from life," of course. There's an end of him! Lynch'd!
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Messrs. R. Osgood & Co. in advertising Miss SARAH ORME JEWETT'S book, Strangers and Wayfarers, quotes an extract from one of Mr. RUSSEL LOWELL'S letters, which runs thus:—
"I remember once at a dinner of the Royal Academy, wishing there might be a toast in honour of the Little Masters, such as TENNIEL, DU MAURIER, and their fellows."
He "wished" it, but was the wish a silent one, or did it find expression in a speech? No matter: there are the Old Masters and the Young Masters, there are the Middle-Aged Masters; there are the Great Masters; and, according to Mr. RUSSELL LOWELL, there are "the Little Masters," without any middle term at all. "The Little Masters," like children in the nursery of Art, not admitted to dinner, but who come in afterwards for dessert. May they come in for their just deserts, as no doubt they will some day. Well, according to this Lowelly estimation of merit, these would be the Lesser Masters, and after them the No Masters at all, except perhaps the Toast-Masters. But why not follow a kind of public school classification which divides one form—of course all the artists belong to the very best form, and, like Sir FREDERICK the President, show the very best form—into several compartments, so that we should have in one form say, the Fifth, Upper Fifth, Middle Fifth, subdivided into Upper and Lower Middle, then Lower Fifth, with a similar subdivision? Orders of merit to be worn in the button-hole could then be distributed, and a new Order of the "B.P.", not "British Public," but "Brush and Pencil," could be instituted, to be entitled fully, "The Masters of the Black and White Art."
In the Fortnightly, besides an article on the prevailing epidemic, by Sir MORRELL MACKENZIE, M.D., which finishes with much the sort of general advice that was given by Mr. Justice Starleigh to Sam Weller, to the effect that "You had better be careful, Sir," whoever you are, who read this short, but generally interesting paper. There is an anonymous paper on an imaginary election at the Royal Academy, noticeable only for an excellent imitation of Mr. GEORGE MEREDITH'S style. The Novelist is supposed to look in casually, and, finding an election imminent, he offers sage words of counsel, and then begs to be allowed to "float out of their orbit by a bowshot." It seems to me that the paper was written for the sake of this one short paragraph, which, as a close parody, is inimitable. A Modern Idyll, by the Editor, Mr. FRANK HARRIS, is, as far as this deponent is concerned, like the Rule of Three in the ancient Nursery Rhyme, for it "bothers me," and, though written with considerable dramatic power, yet it seems rather the foundation for a novel which the Author felt either disinclined to continue, or unable to finish. ALTER HEGO (in the Office of the B. de B.-W.)
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THE TYRANTS OF THE STRAND!
(FRAGMENT FROM A ROMANCE, FOUNDED UPON A MODERN STRIKE.)
It was a dark and stormy night. The wind howled, the rain pelted, and the poor travellers were drenched to the skin. They shaded their eyes, and peered forth into the blackness to see if succour was at hand. Their strength was exhausted, and they felt they could go no further. Oh! what would they not have given to be once more on board the tight little craft they had abandoned! But no! it was not to be. They must seek for help from another quarter! Suddenly there emerged from the darkness a strange-looking structure, that with its lights seemed bent upon running them down. They signalled for help, and the grotesque vessel was hove to.
"What do you want?" asked a gruff voice, to their great delight, in English. "What are you a haling us for?"
"We are shipwrecked travellers," explained the spokesman of the party; "and we ask for conveyance to a place of safety."
"A place of safety—sounds like a cab-stand," muttered the other. "Well, jump in." Thus invited, the shipwrecked travellers entered what seemed to them to be a welcome harbour of refuge. But they had not proceeded far when the man who had already spoken to them again addressed them.
"Come—all of you—turn out—but first pay me," and then he mentioned a considerable sum of money.
"Have you no mercy?" cried a fair-haired girl, pointing to the white and rain-drenched locks of her ancient parents.
"Not a bit, Miss," returned the semi-savage, with a hideous grin.
"And who are you, rude man?" she asked, plucking up in her very despair some spirit. "Are you the Captain?"
"Much the same thing—I am called the Conductor."
"And what is the name of this dreadful conveyance?" again questioned the damsel, with a shuddering glance at what seemed to be a straw-strewn cabin.
"It is called," replied the man, defiantly, "the Pirate Bus!" On hearing this, the entire party uttered a despairing cry, and fainted!
* * * * *
THE TRAVELLER'S FRIEND.
(A HINT FOR THE COMING HOLIDAYS.)
DEAR MR. PUNCH,—As we are within measurable distance of the time when everyone will be thinking of going abroad, perhaps you will allow me to make a practical suggestion. No doubt you will have observed that, according to the Correspondent of the Times, recounting the "recent railway outrage in Turkey," the Brigands "chose five of the most opulent-looking of their victims, and told them that they meant to hold them to ransom." I am not surprised at this occurrence, for something of the same sort once happened to me. I am very well to do, and I am fond of what I believe is vulgarly called "globe-trotting." I do not care to be encumbered with too much luggage, and if there is a thorn to the rose of my sweet content it is the objection that my wife makes to my personal appearance. She will have it that a suit of thoroughly comfortable dittos is not the proper garb for a stroll on the Boulevards des Italiens, or a lounge on the Piazza San Marco. As for my wide-awake, she declares (and I can assure you that I have not had it for more than ten years) it is absolutely disgraceful!
But to my story. I have said that I myself was once attacked by Brigands. Our train was stopped in strictly regulation fashion. I believe the customary number of engine-drivers, stokers, and guards were shot, or otherwise accounted for. Then the passengers were inspected. I was rather nervous, for, truth to tell, my pockets were lined with untold gold and notes. The Chief of the Brigands—a most gentlemanly person—glanced at my coat with a slight shudder of pain, and then raised his eyes to my head-gear. That seemed to satisfy him. "Set him free!" he cried to the two ruffians who guarded me, "and never let him see me again!" I never did!
ONE WHO WAS SAVED BY HIS HAT,
The Retreat, Old Closeborough.
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE BUSMEN'S ALPHABET.
A is the Ache which the Drivers delay. B is the Bus, which they're chained to all day. C 's the poor Cad who is sick of his trade. D is the Dividend that must be paid. E 's the day's End, which finds him dead-beat. F is the Food he has no time to eat. G is his Good, for which nobody cares. H is the Horse who so much better fares. I 's the Increase in his pay that he waits, J 's the fine Jump he'll soon take with his mates. K is the Knife-board, which funds should provide. L are the Ladies, who now go outside. M is the Money that's earned every day. N the New lines, that they start, and make pay. O Opposition, they speedily chase. P is the Public that fills every place. Q is the Question, that hints at Reform. R the Reply, that soon raises a storm. S the Shareholder, blind in his greed. T is the Tension which he'd better heed. U 's the Upset he won't certainly like. V 's the Vigorous Vengeance of strike. W Wisdom that comes somewhat late. X Express Action which may avert Fate! Y, Yell triumphal, the men win the day. Z—"Zounds!" which is all Directors can say.
* * * * *
[A Monument to BENDIGO, the famous prize-fighter, has been lately erected at Nottingham.]
Old Prize-fighter soliloquises:—
If ever to the "Pelican" alone or with a friend I go, I sigh for men of muscle who could fight a fight like BENDIGO. He didn't fight in feather-beds, or spend his days in chattering, But faced his man, and battered him, or took his foeman's battering. He didn't deal in gas, or waste his time in mere retort at all; But now the "pugs" are interviewed, and journalists report it all. A man may call it what he will, brutality or bravery, I'd rather have the prize-ring back than give a purse to knavery. Knaves fight for points, the audience shouts and wrangles in allotting 'em; I hate their fancy-work, I'm off to take the train to Nottingham. I like a Man; though modern men and modern manners mend, I go To drop a last regretful tear o'er poor departed BENDIGO.
* * * * *
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, June 1.—House of Commons, as usual at this time of Session, driven against wall in its struggles with appointed work. With brief recesses, been at work since November last. One thing everyone insists on is that Prorogation shall take place at end of July. Difficult to see how even by most masterly management that can be accomplished. Apart from Education Bill, enough work in hand, if Supply be fairly dealt with, to carry us on to last week in July. Every moment precious; every quarter of an hour lost an irretrievable misfortune.
Accordingly, to-day, meeting in the freshness and vigour of new week, House takes up a local Bill dealing with pilotage in Bristol Channel. Two or three Members talk about it for hour and a half. House neither knowing nor caring anything on subject, empties; Division bell sounds through all the rooms and corridors. How is a man to vote when the question abruptly submitted is, "That the Pilotage Provisional Orders No. 1 Bill be now read a Second Time?" Still, it's as well to vote, as it runs up average attendance on Divisions, at which at election times constituents sometimes glance. Fortunately, in this case, MICHAEL BEACH, as one of Members for Bristol, took part in Debate and Division. As useful this as sign-post to belated traveller at four cross-roads. Conservatives and Liberals crowded at Bar keep their eye on President of Board of Trade, watching which way he would go. He led the way into the "Aye" lobby. Thither followed him all the Conservatives, all the Liberals trooping into the "No" lobby. When Noses were counted, it was found that 165 voted "Aye," 119 "No." And thus it came to pass that the Pilotage Provisional Order No. 1 Bill was read a Second Time.
One gathered from chance expressions, and especially from the interest taken in the affair by Members for City of Bristol, that Bristol had special interest in the Bill. In addition to MICHAEL BEACH'S support, WESTON on Liberal side, HILL on Conservative Benches, supported Second Reading. Sinking political differences, Member for East Bristol, and Member for South Bristol, agreed upon plan of campaign.
"You, WESTON," said Colonel HILL who, having obtained his military rank in the peaceful pursuits of commercial shipping, is a master of strategy, "speak so low that they can't hear a word you say, whilst I, concealing a miniature speaking-trumpet in my mouth, will roar at them as if a stout North-Easter were blowing through the lanyards of our first battalion, deployed in open order."
Tactics succeeded admirably. Sir JOSEPH WESTON, a mild, aldermanic person, presented himself from quarter behind Front Opposition Bench, and, to all appearances, delivered an admirable address. His lips moved, his right hand marked the rhythm of his ordered speech; now his eyes flashed in reprobation, and anon smiled approval. But not a sound, save a soft murmur, as of distant dripping waterfall, was heard. L'Enfant Prodigue wasn't in it for successful pantomime.
When the movement stopped, and the Alderman was discovered to be sitting down, the martial-nautical HILL sprang up from Bench on other side, and the stillness was broken by a rasping voice, that woke DICKY TEMPLE out of his early slumber. The strategy, cleverly conceived, was admirably carried out, and Bristol, thanks to diversified talent of its Members, got its Bill. Only it seemed a pity that an hour and a half of precious public time should incidentally have been appropriated.
Business done.—Irish Land Bill in report stage.
Tuesday.—House of Lords the scene of a thrilling performance to-night. Usually meets for business at half-past four. On Tuesdays, in order to give Noble Lords opportunity for preparing for exhaustive labours, public business does not commence till half-past five.
Punctually at that hour, a solitary pedestrian might have been observed walking up the floor of the historic Chamber. A flowing gown hid, without entirely concealing, his graceful figure; a full-bottomed wig crowned his stately head, as the everlasting snows veil the lofty heights of the Himalayas. He looked neither to the right hand nor to the left, but with swinging stride strode forward. At the end of the Chamber stood the Throne of England, on which, in days gone by, HARCOURT'S Plantagenet fathers sat, and in which some day—who knows?—the portly frame of him who now proudly bears the humble title, SQUIRE OF MALWOOD, may recline.
But that is another story. The gowned-and-wigged figure observed walking up the floor of the House of Lords at half-past five on a June evening, was not making for the Throne. Before that piece of furniture stood a bench, in appearance something like the familiar ottoman of the suburban drawing-room. It was the Woolsack, and the svelte figure, swinging towards it with the easy stride of superlative grace and comparative youth, was the LORD HIGH CHANCELLOR! Before him, at respectful distance, went his Purse-bearer, ready to produce the wherewithal should his Lordship desire a pick-me-up by the way. Behind him came the Mace-bearer, and, a foot further in the rear, Black Rod.
Odsfakins! a stately procession, which ought to have been set in the centre of an admiring multitude. But the LORD CHANCELLOR'S springy footfall echoed through an almost empty chamber. DENMAN was faithful at his post, ready to move that some Bill be read a Second Time on that day nine months. Here and there, on widely severed benches, perched a Peer, whilst from the Gallery, where he had been accommodated with a seat, the smiling mobile face of Mr. Justice DAY peered forth. He had just looked in on his way home from the Courts, interested in a scene where some day he may take his place as Brother BRAMWELL and Brother COLERIDGE have done.
The keen eyes of the great LORD CHANCELLOR flashed round the chilling scene. Clerk at the table mumbled something about Provisional Orders.
"Those that are of that opinion say 'Content,'" observed the LORD CHANCELLOR. "Contrary, 'Not Content;' the Contents have it. This House will now adjourn."
Then uprose the LORD HIGH CHANCELLOR, and with the same stately swinging step, moved towards the doorway, with the Purse-bearer, the Mace-bearer, and Black Rod in his train. It was twenty-five minutes to Six; full five minutes had elapsed since the House of Lords met. Now House of Lords had adjourned, and the throbbing pulses of an Empire on which the sun never sets beat with steadier motion, knowing that all was well. Business done.—House of Lords adjourned.
Thursday.—Rather a painful scene just now between PRINCE ARTHUR and the SQUIRE of MALWOOD. T.W. RUSSELL proposed new Clause on Irish Land Bill, which provided for reinstatement of evicted tenants; received with general applause, and finally agreed to. In the midst of general congratulations and shaking hands, the SQUIRE lounged in, and with many back-handed slaps at the Government, added his approval to the general chorus. The Ministry were hopelessly bad, but this clause, though proposed by a supporter of theirs, was moderately good.
"Singular thing," said Prince ARTHUR, in meditative tone, as if he were talking to himself, "that the Right Hon. Gentleman can never interfere in debate, however far removed the subject may be from the arena of Party Politics, without forthwith dragging it into the arena."
"That," said BALFOUR, Q.C., who chanced to be on the Front Opposition Bench, "is a striking example of the misapprehension under which acute minds occasionally labour. I have known my Right Hon. friend for many years; we have sat on this Bench together in Opposition, and have worked in the same Ministry, and I confess it is a little shocking to me to hear him accused of tendency to enter upon controversial topics. I am myself a man of peace, and do not readily assume an attitude of reproof; but, as Mr. HENRY ARTHUR WILSON said when he stood over the improvised Baccarat-table with a piece of chalk in his hand, the line must be drawn somewhere, and I am inclined to rule it at the place where my friend HARCOURT is accused of wilfully and designedly disturbing the Parliamentary peace." Business done.—Still on the Land Bill.
Friday Night.—Still grinding away at the report stage of Land Bill; don't get any forrader; been at it a week, and to-night just as many Amendments on the paper as there were on Monday. All night upon a single new Clause. Everybody wearied to death. Even WINDBAG SEXTON a little moody; not had such a good night as usual; the debate lasting throughout sitting, and, there being only one Motion before the House, SEXTON (with the SPEAKER in the Chair) could speak only once; that he did, at considerable length. But a poor consolation for lost opportunity.
Congratulated the suffering SPEAKER on this accident; pointed out to him things were bad enough; but might be worse.
"I suppose, TOBY," he said, "you never read PRIOR? Haven't looked him up for many years; but, sitting here through this week, there is one couplet—from his Solomon, I think—ever running through my mind:—
'ABRA was ready ere I called her name; And, though I call'd another, ABRA came.'
Just like SEXTON."
Business done.—One Clause added to Land Bill.
* * * * *
"GREY APES OF AGE."
"Grey hair is fashionable for the youthful," Says a Mode oracle acknowledged truthful. Strange that Society should have a rage For that anomaly—artificial Age! Dust on their heads our pretty women toss, Just to deprive it of its pristine gloss. Make ashen-white your eyebrows, there, and lashes, Precocious hags! The world's but dust and ashes. Wrinkles and crowsfeet next must have their turn (To limn them in let toilette artists learn), Then make each belle bald, scraggy-necked and toothless, Grey hair alone won't make Society youthless. Let belles turn beldams if they find it jolly. But they might be consistent in their folly!
* * * * *
MUSICAL, THEATRICAL, AND JUDICIAL.—The Daily Telegraph, quoting from the Middlesex County Times, last Saturday, stated that, "The LORD CHANCELLOR had added the name of Mr. W.S. GILBERT, Poet and Dramatist, to the Commission of the Peace for the County of Middlesex." So is it said that another "W.S.," one WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE—who, by the way, also had a GILBERT in the family—was, in his latter years, made a J.P." Mr. WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE GILBERT—if he will kindly allow us so to style him, as uniting the qualities of poet and dramatist—should receive a special and peculiar title. Let him, then, be henceforth known as "The Poetic Justice of the Piece."
* * * * *
THE "HIRED PRIEST."
[Mr. GLADSTONE says, "If the priest is to live, he must beg, earn, or steal."]
Now, here's a needy Vicar; who will hire him? He can preach, Can confute a boat of infidels and crush them with a text. If a Sunday school is started, he's the very man to teach, If you snub him he may hate it, but he'll never show he's vexed. He can spend his days in visiting the alleys and the slums, And support his own existence, and his family's, on crumbs.
Come, come, Sir, you are generous. What! eighty pounds a year? It's a fortune for a Vicar; I am sure he won't refuse. Why it's sixteen hundred shillings, he will take it, never fear; For though priests are scarcely beggars, yet they can't afford to choose. He hasn't got a single vice; I'll guarantee him sound, And he'll make a crown go farther than an ordinary pound.
And here we have a Bishop; we don't do things by halves; He requires a roomy palace, he is sturdy, stout and tall. You can have him as he stands, Sir, with his gaiters and his calves; Five thousand hires the Bishop, apron, appetite and all. What? You much prefer the Vicar with his collar and his tie? And you'd rather pay him extra? Here's your health. Sir; so would I.
* * * * *
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