PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
December 17th, 1892.
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SCENE—A Railway-carriage in a suburban morning train to London. There are four Passengers, two of whom are well-informed men, while the third is an inquirer, and the fourth an average man. They travel up to London together every morning by the same train. The two Well-informed Men and the Average Man are City men; the Inquirer is a young Solicitor. They have just finished reading their morning papers, and are now ready to impart or receive knowledge.
Inquirer. They don't seem to be making much of this Monetary Conference in Brussels.
First Well-informed Man. Of course they're not. I knew how it would be from the start. I met HARCOURT some time ago, and told him what I thought about it. "You mark my words," I said, "the whole blessed thing will be a failure. You haven't sent out the right men, and they're certain to waste their time in useless academic discussions." He seemed surprised, but he hadn't got a word to say.
Inquirer (deeply impressed). Ah!
First W. I. M. The thing's really as simple as A B C. Here are we, a country with a gold standard, and we find that gold has appreciated. What's the consequence? Why, silver goes down everyday, and commerce is dislocated,—absolutely dislocated. All we have to do is to——
Second W. I. M. (breaking in). One moment! When you say gold has appreciated, you mean, of course, that the purchasing power of gold has increased—in other words, commodities are cheaper. Isn't that so?
First W. I. M. Yes. Well, what then?
Second W. I. M. What's your remedy? Do you think you can make things better by fixing a ratio between gold and silver? In the first place, you can't do it; they've got nothing to do with one another.
First W. I. M. (triumphantly). Haven't they? What have you got to say, then, about the Indian rupee? That's where the whole of your beautiful system comes to grief. You can't deny that.
Second W. I. M. The Indian rupee has got nothing to do with it. My theory is, that it's all due to the American coinage of silver, and (vaguely), if we do the same as they, why, we shall only make things worse. No, no, my boy, you've got hold of the wrong end of the stick, there. Look at the Bland Bill. Do you want to have that kind of thing in England?
Inquirer. God forbid! By the way, what was the Bland Bill?
Second W. I. M. What! you don't know what the Bland Bill was? Don't you remember it? It provided that a certain amount of silver was to be coined every year, and the Treasury was to hold the surplus until it reached a certain value, and then,—but every schoolboy knows what happened.
Average Man. What did happen, as a matter of fact?
Second W. I. M. (scornfully). Why, the market was flooded.
First W. I. M. Yes, and that exactly proves my point. Make fifteen the ratio between gold and silver, and you'll never have the market flooded again.
Second W. I. M. (hotly). How do you make that out?
First W. I. M. It's as plain as a pikestaff. Make silver your legal tender for large amounts in this country, and you stop all these United States games at one blow.
Second W. I. M. Fiddlesticks! I suppose you'll want us to believe next that if we become bi-metallists, corn and everything else will go up in value?
First W. I. M. Of course it will. We've only got to get Germany and France, and the rest of them to come in, and the thing's as good as done. What I say is, adopt bi-metallism, and you relieve trade and agriculture, and everything else.
A. M. Do you mean we shall have to pay more for everything?
First W. I. M. No, of course not; I mean that the appreciation of gold is a calamity which we've got to get rid of.
A. M. I don't see it. If my sovereign buys more than it did years ago, that seems to be a bit of a catch for me, don't it?
First W. I. M. Ah, I daresay you think so, but you're wrong. If you fix a ratio, things may be dearer, but you'll have twice as much purchasing power.
Inquirer (anxiously). How do you fix a ratio?
Second W. I. M. Ah, that's the question!
First W. I. M. That's not my business. I say it ought to be fixed, and it's for the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Bank of England to do it.
Second W. I. M. (decisively). The Bank can't do it. Its Charter won't allow it.
Inquirer. How's that? I never quite understood the Charter.
Second W. I. M. By the Charter the Bank has to——
[But at this moment, the train having drawn up at a station, an intruder gets into the carriage. He is severely frowned upon, and the conversation, thus checked, is not resumed.
Inquirer (getting out at terminus, to First W. I. M.). I think I've got a pretty clear notion of Bi-metallism now, thanks to you.
First W. I. M. (modestly). Oh, it's quite simple, if you only take the trouble to give your mind to it.
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OUR "MISSING WORD COMPETITION."
Guaranteed exempt from any Treasury prosecution under 1st Jingo, B. IV. Cap (Fit) 1, sec (Pommery) '74. (Heading, "Wish you may get it.")
DESIRES TO CONVEY TO ALL, URBI ET ORBI, HIS VERY KINDEST ....... AND BEST....... FOR THE COMING CHRISTMAS, 1892.
N.B.—Coupons must be cut from the current number, and should be sent to SIR JOHN BRIDGE, Bow-Street, E.C., with shillings for the Poor Box to same address.
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THE QUEEN AND THE SONGSTRESS.—In consequence of Her Gracious MAJESTY'S marked approbation of Miss PALLISER'S operatic performance at Windsor Castle, Sir DRURIOLANUS WINSORENSIS UBIQUITOSUS has serious thoughts of asking the young cantatrice to change her name to Miss ROYAL PALLIS-ER; or, if she has the honour of singing "By Command" in London, to Miss BUCKINGHAM PALLIS-ER.
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"NEXT PLEASE!"—My Brother's Out—new work by Mrs. LOVETT CAMERON, Authoress of A Sister's Sin.
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"THE WANDERING MINSTREL."
(Modern Kensington Version.)
[The London County Council has declined to co-operate with the Kensington Vestry in a representation to the Home Secretary for more efficient control over itinerant musicians, street-cries, and similar nuisances, on the ground that though the Council has power to make bye-laws for this object, there are no means of enforcing them.]
SCENE—Highly respectable Terrace in Kensington. The exterior of MR. TAMBOUR'S house. Enter JEM BAGGS (R.H.) playing the clarinet badly.
Jem B. (loq.) Vell now! that's vot I calls wery tidy vork! Bob and a tanner for seven doors ain't none so dusty, blow me! Summat better this 'ere than orkin' "'All the new and popilar songs of the day for a penny!" Vot miserable vork that vos to be sure! I vos allays a cryin' about the streets, "Here y' are—one 'undered and fifty on 'em pootily bound in a Monster Song Book for a penny!—Here's 'Ran-ta-rar-roopy-ay!'—'Mary, they 'ave raised my Screw'—'Sling yer 'ook, yer 've got no oof, John.'—'Snide Sammy courted Sally Brown'—'On the Banks of the yaller Lea.'—'Chummies! Chummies!'—'Fanny Tooney'—'The Man who ran the Muglumberer's Building Society'—'Dandy Dan, the Whelk Man, and 'is Donah'—'He vos famed for gargling Fizz'—'His there a Lip vot never Lapped?'—'A Life on the Lotion-Lay'—'If I 'ad a Monkey on, vouldn't I go!'—'Down to the Derby vith a Shallow and a Moke'—'Oh, say not Modern Art is Sold'—for the small charge of a penny!" I dessay I might ha' been at that there callin' to this werry day, if it hadn't been for BOSKY BILL. I shall never forget BOSKY BILL'S a-sayin' to me—says he, "I say, JEM BAGGS, vy don't yer take to the singin' line?" "Cos I sings vorser than 'The Big Bounce,'" says I. "Vorser!" says he, "Vhy so much the betterer!" "Woice ain't vanted," says he, "only leather and brass. Leather for yer lungs, and brass for yer face, and there yer are, in the 'Alls or out on 'em." "But 'ow about them Bye-Laws, BILLY?" says I. "Bye-Laws be bust!" says he, scornful. "Who's to henforce 'em? Westries and County Councils can't. Bobbies—bless 'em!—von't," says he. "So there yer are, JEM BAGGS!" In course I tvigged. Vith my woice and a vistle, sez I, they'll villingly give a tanner to git rid of me! And they do! Oh, I know the walley of peace and qvietness, and never moves hon hunder sixpence! (Looking up at the house.) But I know as there's a hartist covey lives 'ere. Notice-plate says, "Mister TAMBOUR is hout." Valker! I know vot that means. I thinks as how he'll run to a shilling. Anyhow, I'll kick him for a bob.
[He strikes up, taking care to make as much noise at possible.
'Tis hof a great Council in London doth dvell; Jest vot they are arter 'tvould floor me to tell. They're qvite a young body—not seving years old— But they've spent a large fortin in silver and go-o-old. Singing, Ills ve vill cure all on the Sosherlist lay.
As the Council vere a sitting in their Chamber von day, The Westry come to them, and thus it did say:— "Ve're off to the Home Sec., street shindies to stay, So put on your toppers, and come vith hus, pray!" Singing, &c.
"Nay, Westry," said the Council, "your vish is declined, To co-operate (at present) ve can't make up our mind; Our Bye-Laws the Bobbies von't enforce. 'Tis a bore! But the Public must bear it just a year or two more!" Singing, &c.
"Go to, County Council!" that Westry replied, "You svagger no end, and put on lots of side; But vhen plain reform 'tis our vish to begin, By your aid ve don't benefit not von single pin!" Singing, &c.
[His melodious flow is interrupted by a violent rapping at the window, and the sudden opening of the street-door.
Jem Baggs (loq.) Aha! I knew they couldn't stand that werry long. Out comes the sarvint vith tuppence or thruppence, and a horder for me to "move on." Valker! There ain't no Bobby in sight, and I shan't shift under a shilling. Vell, they may say vot they likes agin the County Council; I says they're jolly good fellers, and I'll drink their bloomin' 'ealth out o' that hartist cove's bob, ven I gets it. [Tunes up again.
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AT A VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT.
SCENE—"The Nebuchadnezzar's Head," in the City. Time—The luncheon hour. The interior, which is bright, and tastefully arranged, is crowded with the graminivorous of both sexes. Clerks of a literary turn devour "The Fortnightly" and porridge alternately, or discuss the comparative merits of modern writers. Lady-clerks lunch sumptuously and economically on tea and baked ginger-pudding. Trim Waitresses move about with a sweet but slightly mystic benignity, as conscious of conducting a dietetic mission to the dyspeptic.
A Vegetarian Fiance (who has met his betrothed by appointment, and is initiating her into the mysteries). I wish you'd take something more than a mustard-and-cress roll, though, LOUISE—it gives you such a poor idea of the thing. (With honest pride.) You just see me put away this plate of porridge. At the "Young Daniel," where I usually lunch, they give you twice the quantity of stuff they do here.
Louise (admiringly). I'm so glad I've seen you lunch. Now I shall be able to fancy every day exactly what you are having.
Her Fiance (to assist her imagination). Mind you, I don't always have porridge. Sometimes it's mushroom croquettes, or turnip and onion rissoles,—whatever's going. Now yesterday, for instance, I had——
[He details exactly what he had, and she listens to these moving episodes with the rapt interest of a Desdemona.
First Literary Clerk. No; but look here, you don't take my point. I'm not running down SWINBURNE—all I'm arguing is, he couldn't have written some of the things BROWNING did.
Second L. C. Of course not—when BROWNING had written them—that's nothing against him.
First L. C. (warmly). I'm not saying it is. I'm telling you the difference between the two men—now BROWNING, he makes you think!
Second L. C. He never made me think, that's all I know.
Third L. C. Nor yet me. Now, 'ERBERT SPENCER, he does make you think, if you like!
First L. C. Now you're getting on to something else. The grand fault I find with SWINBURNE, is——
Second L. C. Hold hard a bit. Have you read him?
Third L. C. Yes, let's 'ave that first. 'Ave you read 'im?
First L. C. (with dignity). I've read as much of him as I care to.
Second L. C. (aggressively). What have you read of his? Name it.
First L. C. I've read his Atlantis in Caledonia, for one thing.
Second L. C. (disappointed). Well, you don't deny there's poetry in that, do you?
First L. C. I don't call it poetry in the sense I call WALT WHITMAN poetry—certainly not.
Second L. C. There you touch a wider question—there's no rhyme in WHITMAN, to begin with.
First L. C. No more there is in MILTON; but I suppose you'll admit he's a poet.
[And so on, until none of them is quite sure what he is arguing about exactly, though each feels he has got decidedly the best of it.
First Lady Clerk (at adjoining table, to Second L. C.). How excited those young men do get, to be sure. I do like to hear them taking up such intellectual subjects, though. Now, my brothers talk of nothing but horses, and music-halls, and football, and things like that.
Second L. C. (pensively). I expect it's the difference in food that accounts for it. I don't think I could care for a man that ate meat. Are you going to have another muffin, dear? I am.
An Elderly Lady, with short hair and spectacles (to Waitress). Can you bring me some eggs?
Waitress. Certainly, Madam. How would you like them done—a la cocotte?
The E. L. (with severity). Certainly not. You will serve them respectably dressed, if you please!
Waitress (puzzled). We can give you "Convent eggs" if you prefer it.
The E. L. I never encourage superstition—poach them.
Enter a Vegetarian Enthusiast, with a Neophyte, to whom he is playing Amphitryon.
The Veg. Enth. (selecting a table with great care). Always like to be near the stove, and out of the draught. (The prettiest Waitress approaches, and greets him with a sacerdotal sweetness, as one of the Faith, while to the Neophyte—whom she detects, at a glance, as still without the pale—she is severely tolerant.) Now, what are you going to have? [Passing him the bill of fare.
The Neoph. (inspecting the document helplessly). Well, really, er—I think I'd better follow your lead.
The Veg. Enth. I generally begin with a plate of porridge myself—clears the palate, y'know.
The Neoph. (unpleasantly conscious that it wouldn't clear his ). I'm afraid that, at this time of day—to tell you the truth (with desperate candour), I never was a porridge lover.
[The Waitress regards him sorrowfully.
The Veg. Enth. Pity! Wholesomest thing you can take. More sustenance to the square inch in a pint of porridge than a leg of mutton. However (tolerantly), if you really won't, I can recommend the rice and prunes.
The Neoph. (feebly). I—I'd rather begin with something a little more——
Waitress (with a sad foreknowledge that she is casting pearls before a swine). We have "Flageolet Fritters and Cabbage," or "Parsnip Pie with grilled Potatoes"—both very nice.
The Neoph. (braving the unknown). I'll have some of this—er—"Cinghalese Stew." [He awaits the result in trepidation.
Customer (behind, dictating his bill). "What have I had?" Let me see. Braised turnip and bread sauce, fricassee of carrot and artichoke, tomato omelette, a jam roll, and a bottle of zoedone.
[The Waitress makes out his voucher accordingly, and awards it to him, with a bright smile of approval and encouragement.
The Enth. V. (who has overheard). A most excellent selection! That's a man, Sir, who knows how to live! Ha! here's my porridge. Will you give me some brown sugar with it, please? And—(to the N.)—there's your stew—smells good, eh?
The Neoph. (tasting it, and finding it a cunning compound of curried bananas and chicory). I—I like the smell—excellent indeed!
[He attacks the stew warily.
The Enth. Veg. (disposing of his porridge). There! Now I shall have some lentils and spinach with parsley sauce, and a Welsh rarebit to follow—and I think that will about do me. Will you—oh, you haven't finished your stew yet! By the way, what will you drink? I don't often indulge in champagne in the middle of the day; but it's my birthday—so I think we might venture on a bottle between us, eh?
The Neoph. (in whom the Cinghalese Stew has excited a lively thirst). By all means. I suppose you know the brands here?
The Veg. Enth. Only one brand—non-alcoholic, of course. Manufactured I believe, from—ah—oranges.
The Neoph. Exactly so. After all, I'd just as soon have bottled ale—if they keep it, that is.
The Veg. Enth. Any quantity of it. What shall it be? They've "Anti-Bass Beer," or "Spruce Stout;" or perhaps you'd like to try their "Pennyroyal Porter?" I'm rather partial to it myself—capital tonic!
The Neoph. I—I've no doubt of it. On second thoughts, if you don't mind, I'd rather have water. (To himself.) It doesn't look Vegetarian!
The Veg. Enth. (more heartily than ever). Just as you please, my boy. But you don't mean to say you've done!
The Neoph (earnestly). Indeed, I couldn't touch another morsel, really!
The Veg. Enth. I thought that stew looked satisfying; that's where it is, you see—a man can come here and get a thoroughly nutritious and filling meal for the trifling sum of fourpence—and yet you meet people who tell you Vegetarianism is a mere passing fad! It's a force that's making itself increasingly felt—you must be conscious of that yourself already?
The Neoph. (politely). Y-yes—but it's not at all unpleasant at present—really!
Enter a couple of Red-faced Customers from the country, who seat themselves.
First Redf. C. Well, I dunno how you 're feelin'—but I feel as if I could peck a bit.
Second Do. I can do wi' soom stokin' myself. Tidy soort of a place this. 'Ere, Missy!—(to one of the Waitresses, who awaits his commands with angelic patience) you may bring me and my friend a choomp chop a-piece, not too mooch doon, and a sorsedger, wi' two pots o' stout an' bitter—an' lo-ook sharp about it!
[Sensation—the Waitress gives them, gently, but firmly, to understand that these coarse and carnivorous propensities must be indulged elsewhere; whereupon they depart, rebuked and abashed, as Scene closes.
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THE Baron, on behalf of small Baronites, thanks Messrs. CASSELL & Co. for Fairy Tales in Other Lands, by JULIA GODDARD, as they are dear old friends with new faces.
One of the Assistants in the Baronial Office says, that The Coming of Father Christmas is most exquisitely heralded by E. F. MANNING, in the daintiest of books. 'Tis published by FREDERICK WARNE & Co. So if you warne't to make a nice present, you know where to go and get it.
If DEAN AND SON are "limited," their stock is unlimited; and, all things considered as far as possible, the Baron's Chief Retainer opines that the picture-books from the Deanery of DEAN AND SON are still the best, and, in kind, the most varied for children. "Which nobody can Dean-y!" The Little One's Own Wonderland is a delightful realm, wherein the very little ones can wander with interest through coloured pictures and easy fairy tales. Among the coloured picture series, the Old Mother Hubbard of 1793, with its contrast, Old Mother Hubbard of To-day, is very amusing.
J. S. FRY AND SONS send out through SELL'S Advertising Agency samples of their daintiest specialities in bonbonnieres. Being issued by a SELL, one fears a take in; but as 'tis all good, the agency of SELL secures a Sale. The chocolates are sure to go down with everyone.
We all know what the sincerest form of flattery is, and certainly our dear old pet, Alice in Wonderland, whose infinite variety time cannot stale, will gracefully acknowledge the intenseness of the compliments conveyed in Olga's Dream, as written by NORLEY CHESTER, illustrated by Messrs. FURNISS AND MONTAGU (the illustrations will carry the book), and published by Messrs. SKEFFINGTON. It would be a preternaturally wise child who could quite grasp some of the jokes and up-to-date allusions. However, the real original Alice (in Wonderland, and Through the Looking-glass) with the great Master's, JOHN TENNIEL'S, illustrations, is still, as Mr. Sam Weller said of the Governor, "paramount."
Light and airy are the Soap Bubble Stories blown by FANNY BARRY through her pen-pipe. Wonder is that, in this advertising age, she didn't dedicate them to PEARS.
The Baron's Assistant has a word to say about the Diaries for this next year. If you want a useful Diary, the B. A. would recommend the "Registered Back-loop Pocket Diary," got up, like a sportsman, in the best of leathers by JOHN WALKER & Co., or, "as Friend JOHNNIE observes," HENRY IRVING would say—"to put it briefly, 'WALKER—London.'"
The Baron has recently received two books, not strictly speaking "Christmas Books," though they are, et cela va sans dire, books published at Christmas-tide, the one practical and parliamentary, the other philosophical and phenomenal; the former dedicated to the Right Honourable ARTHUR BALFOUR by LUCY, and the latter dedicated to Lord HALIFAX by LILLY. Two prettier names for authors, or rather, to judge of the writers' sex by the sound of the names, for authoresses, could not well be chosen. But authors masculine they are, the pair of them. Mr. W. S. LILLY is to be congratulated on his very taking title, The Great Enigma, and all classes of readers will be glad to be informed that it has nothing whatever to do with the Irish Question. If any reader expects to find the Great Enigma solved by the LILLY who toils and spins, then he must not be surprised if the author says to him in effect, "Davus sum, non Oedipus."
From A Diary of the Salisbury Parliament, by Mr. H. LUCY, anyone can quaff or sip, just as his thirst for Parliamentary knowledge may be feverish or moderate, but healthy. It is thoroughly interesting, most amusing, and really valuable for reference withal. 'Tis written, too, in so impartial a spirit, that it would be difficult to gather from these pages to which political Party the Diarist belongs, but for his exuberant eulogy of the wonderful Grand Old Man. Mr. LUCY is the Parliamentary PEPYS. The sketches are by an Old Parliamentary Hand, yclept HARRY FURNISS, and assist the reader unfamiliar with the House of Commons to form a pretty accurate idea of the men who are, and of the men who were, and what they wear, and how they wear.
The most interesting part of JAMES PAYN'S latest novel, A Stumble on the Threshold, to Cambridge men or Camford men (for in this story the names are synonymous), will be the small-beer chronicle of small College life in their University some thirty years ago. The slang phrases of that remote period are perhaps somewhat confused with those of a more modern time, just as an old Dutch Master will introduce his own native town and the costume of his fellow-countrymen into a picture representing some great Scriptural subject, thus bringing it, so to speak, up to date, and giving us an artistic realisation of what may be concisely termed "the historic present." In the second volume (this novel is complete in two volumes) the sketches of river-life, including a delightful one of the old lock-keeper, are refreshingly breezy. The story, slight in itself, is skilfully worked out; and the only disappointing part of it—that is, at least to the Baron's thinking—is, that the villain of the earlier part of the tale does not turn up again as the real culprit, though the Baron is certain that every reader must expect him to do so, and must feel quite sure that, in spite of the author's reticence on the subject, it was he who really committed the murder, and escaped even the author's detection, unless, out of sheer soft-heartedness towards the puppets of his own creation, JAMES PAYN knowingly let him off at the last moment. The judicial portion of the novel, including the scene in the Coroner's court, is just what would have been expected from an impartial "J.P."
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A DEGREE BETTER.—The Degree of Doctor of Music is to be revived at Cambridge. The duties will be to attend ailing Musicians and Composers. When appointed, the Doctor will go out to Monte Carlo, or thereabouts, to see how Sir ARTHUR SULLIVAN is getting on. Sir ARTHUR will, of course, regulate his conduct at the tables by the prescriptions of his Medical Adviser.
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MR. WAGGSTAFF AND HIS DOCTOR.—He was ordered by his Doctor to walk two miles a day. "Can't do it in London," was the patient's reply; "never walk more than one mile. But," he said, brightening up, "I'll go to Paris, as one mile there is equal to double the distance in England. How's that? I'll tell you. I do half a mile out, half a mile back: one mile; et voila two!"
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"LITTLE TICH" AND "COLLINS."—The former, not the Little Tich of Drury Lane Pantomime, but Sir HENRY TICHBORNE, Bart., has, for absence of mind and body, thus not fulfilling his duties as High Sheriff, been fined by Mr. Justice COLLINS five hundred pounds—quids pro quo—unless he can show some just cause or impediment. "He wants TICH-ing up a bit," thought Mr. Justice, but he didn't say so.
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REPORTS OF CRACKERS.—If among our old friend SPARAGNAPANE & Co.'s Crackers there are any that will "go off" better than others it will be those called The True Lovers' Code Cosaques. This is the latest addition to the School-Board Education Code for the Christmas Holidays.
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"THE MISSING WORD." (?)
THIS is "The Maiden All Forlorn," bowed down with burdens scarce to be borne, Waiting a blast on Hope's clarion horn, loud as the "Cock that crew in the morn." Bucolic, wheat-crowned, she—Micawber seems she, waiting for something to turn up—somehow. Poor Agriculture! Care's merciless vulture has harried her vitals, and furrowed her brow.
All are her friends—so each talker pretends— from CHAPLIN the cheery, to WINCHILSEA wise, And valorous MUNTZ, who the land-question shunts, and "goes the whole hog" for Protection and rise; With rollicking LOWTHER, who's no Malagrowther, but larkily hints that the look-out is mournful; And NETHERSOLE, rustic and most nubibustic, of law and of logic complacently scornful.
Poor latter-day Ceres! Quidnuncs and their queries will hardly restore her her loved long-lost daughter, (Fair Profits) whom Pluto ("the Foreigner") stole. Vainly landlords and farmers breathe forth fire and slaughter At Free Trade—that Circe on whom they've no mercy,—and howl down the speeches of those she's enchanted. The one "Missing Word" may sound wholly absurd to cool sense, but to them 'tis the one thing that's wanted.
HOARE's wrath fiercely waxes. Reduction of Taxes? Low Rents? More improvements in modes of production? Pooh! SAUNDERS and RILEY must be far more wily to get him to yield to their Red Rad seduction. He stands midst his ruins (like MARIUS) making of faith in Protection an open confession. 'Tis Duties on Food will alone do us good, nought else can now cure "the prevailing depression."
The Missing Word! Maiden Forlorn, 'tis a poser you put to the country, the cliques, and the classes, The Landlord, The Farmer, the Labourer! Say they agree, what response may you hope from "the Masses." Those tiresome "Consumers"? Old myths and new rumours are like the East wind, Maiden, mighty unfilling; Bucolic ideas and crude panaceas won't help you, though with them all Fad-dom is thrilling.
Yes, Fads make strange bedfellows, WINCHILSEA tells us, in this far more wise than he's wholly aware of. But CHAPLIN-cum-WALSH cannot turn back time's tide. And Punch, who all interests has to take care of, Must tell you in kindness, that only sheer blindness can say of Protection the true Missing Word it is, Though men, my poor Maiden, with worries o'erladen, will lend ear to Quackdom's most arrant absurdities!
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Suggestions for New Musical Publications.
A COMPANION to The Stars of Normandy, to be entitled, The North Pole-Star (the words by COLD-WETHERBY), to be sung by CHARLES VERY CHILLEY. If sung at St. James's Hall, admission generally, one shilling. Freeze-seats, nothing.
"The Carnival" is announced, as "MOLLOY'S last hit." We hope not. We trust that it is only Misther JAMES MOLLOY's latest hit. "Never say die!"
As a companion to "Come Dance the Romaika," will be published, "Come Read the Romeike," set up and composed by the Press Cutting Agency.
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RATHER STARTLING.—A Correspondent sends us a cutting from a paper:—
"Mr. MOODY, the Evangelist, who was a passenger on the Spree, ... preached an able discourse."
She says, "I can read no more to-day. Mr. MOODY, as 'a passenger on the Spree,' is too much for my feelings." As Joe said to Pip, "What larks!" Yours truly, SHOCKED!
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THE MAN WHO WOULD.
IV.—THE MAN WHO WOULD BE A CRITIC.
ST. BARBE, as a literary man and critic, always professed a desire to live in a quiet neighbourhood. Therefore, as I approached his house, on the almost inaccessible slopes of Campden Hill, I was amazed to see a large and increasing crowd assembled in the vicinity. Pushing my way through, I saw that St. BARBE'S windows were broken, glass was in a weak minority in the panes, and, what was more singular, the breakage seemed to be done from within! Objects were flying out into the garden, and those objects were books. I had the curiosity and agility to catch a few as they fell, and to pick others up. They were mostly volumes of Poetry, and, in every case, they bore ST. BARBE'S name on the fly-leaf, with a flattering manuscript inscription by the author. Some of the authors' names were unknown to me; in others I recognised ladies of title whom I had read about in the Society Journals. Urging my way through a hot fire of octavos, I rang the bell. The maid who opened the door said, "You're not an Interviewer, Sir?"
"Great Heavens, no!" I replied.
"It is lucky for you, Sir; he's got an air-gun, and winged two Interviewers to-day, and shot one in the hat."
"I am a friend of Mr. ST. BARBE'S." I explained, scarcely audible amidst the yells of that man of letters.
"He's awful bad to-day, Sir, assaulted a parcels-delivery man, who was too heavy for him."
So speaking, the maid led me to ST. BARBE'S study. He was now quiet, and only groaning softly as he reposed on the sofa; the fragments of furniture and the torn letters which covered the floor, proved, however, that the crisis had been severe, for a man who likes a quiet neighbourhood. I felt his pulse, injected morphine, and asked him how he did?
"Better," said ST. BARBE, feebly. "I've been clearing them out."
"Clearing what out?" I asked.
"Presentation copies of books, from the authors," he said; and added, "and the devils of publishers."
At this moment the postman knocked, and the maid brought in some letters with an air of anxiety.
ST. BARBE tore the envelopes open, "There, and there, and there!" he cried, thrusting them into my hands, while his features bore a satanic expression of hatred and contempt.
As he seemed to wish it, I read his correspondence, while he absently twirled the poker in his hands, and gnashed his teeth.
"What is the matter with you, old man?" I asked. "These notes seem to be very modestly and properly expressed:—
"DEAR SIR,—You will be astonished at receiving a letter from a total stranger; but the sympathy of our tastes, which I detect in all you write, induces me to send you my little work on The Folk Lore of Tavern Signs."
Here ST. BARBE sat down on the hearth, and scattered ashes on his head, in a manner unbecoming an Englishman.
"I don't see what annoys you so," I remarked, "or in this:—
"DEAR MR. ST. BARBE,—You will not remember me, but I met you once at Lady CAERULEA SMITHFIELD'S, and therefore I take the liberty of sending you my little book of verses."
Here he rolled on the floor and gnawed the castor of a chair. I had heard of things like this in the time of the PLANTAGENETS, but I never expected to see nowadays such ferocity of demeanour.
"It is signed MARY MIDDLESEX," I said. "She's very pretty, and a Countess, or something of that sort. What's the matter with you?"
"Try the next," he said.
"MY DEAR SIR,—Being well aware of the interest you take in the fragments of DIONYSIUS SCYTOBRACHION, I have requested my publisher to send you my little work on his Quelle. BOUNDER, as you are aware"—— Here he pitched his clock into the mirror, and groaned audibly. I tried another:—
"DEAR MR. ST. BARBE,—I know how busy you are, but you can always spare an hour or two for the work of a friend. My Love well Lost, in three volumes, is on its way to you. I wish you to review it in all the periodicals with which you are connected. Last time I wrote a novel, my nephew reviewed it, very perfunctorily, in the Pandrosium; this time I want only to be reviewed by my friends." He was kicking on the sofa, and apparently trying to commit suicide with the pillows.
"Command yourself, ST. BARBE," I said; "this behaviour is unworthy either of a Christian or a philosopher. These letters, which irritate you so much, are conceived in a spirit of respectful admiration. The books which you have been heaving through the window are, no doubt, of interest and value."
"Waste paper, every one of them," he moaned. Then he added, as he rumpled his hair in a frantic manner, "I'd like to see you, old cock, if you had to live this life! It isn't living, it's answering humbugging letters, and opening brown-paper parcels, all day long, all the weary day. And my temper, which was angelic, and my manners, which were the mirror of courtesy, are irretrievably ruined. And my time is wasted, and my stationer's bill is mere perdition. It begins in the morning; I try to be calm; I sit down to write replies to all these pestilent idiots."
"Your admirers?" I said.
"They're not admirers; they only cadge for reviews. Time was, they say, when critics were bribed. Ha! ha! Now they all expect to be praised for nothing. And the parcels of books they send." Here I noticed a London Parcels Delivery van, laden with brown-paper packages of books. Quickly the maid rushed out, and induced the driver to remember that he was a family man, and he went on his way without calling.
"They come all day long," my poor friend went on, "and all of them are trash, rubbish that they shoot here; shoot, ha! ha'" and he took down a Winchester rifle, and crept stealthily to the window. Luckily none of his enemies were in view.
"No waste-paper basket is big enough to hold them all," he said, ruefully, "and once a week I make a clearance. The neighbours are beginning to murmur," he added, "There is no sympathy, in England, for a man of letters. Letters, indeed! I write them all day to these impostors, these amateurs;" and he bit a large piece out of a glass, which was standing handy.
"Is there no way of escaping from this persecution?" I asked, with sympathy.
"None—none! I have written to the Times; I have applied to the Magistrates; I have penned letters which might melt the heart of a stone; I have even been unmannerly, I fear, now and then, for I cannot always dissemble! No!" he cried, "I am doomed,—
'Presentation copies sore Long time he bore'—
write that on my sepulchre."
Here he broke down, and wept like a child. Poor fellow! he is now under restraint, and I expect soon to hear that we have lost ST. BARBE, at heart a kind, benevolent man, but sorely treated by authors. Such are the dangers of a critical career, and so wearing are the facilities of the Parcels Post. Others may perish like him, men deserving of a better fate. But to appeal to authors for mercy is vain, I know; far from sympathising with taste and culture in distress, they actually complain that they are harshly treated by critics. They little know what they themselves inflict.
* * * * *
DIARY OF A STATESMAN.
("Made in France.")
Monday.—Immense enthusiasm. The Ministry never so strong. When asked my intentions, replied, "My intentions are the intentions of my country." They nearly shook my hand off in their delight. Grand official reception in the evening. Everyone there. All the Diplomatic body offered congratulations.
Tuesday.—Ministry suddenly threatened by an unseen danger. Everything going smoothly, when someone in the back benches interrogated us about an open window in the corridors. Considering the question frivolous, declined to answer. Enormous excitement, all the Members shaking their fists, and gesticulating. "Urgency" asked for. We protested; and, after a heated debate, secured the passing to the Order of the Day pur et simple by a majority of two! Too close to be pleasant.
Wednesday.—We have been defeated! The window incident was renewed. The Minister of Justice explained that it was the accidental carelessness of a Commissionnaire of Police. Although the man was brave, and crippled by a wound, the Chamber demanded his immediate dismissal. We protested. "Urgency" was voted by a majority of 343, and we immediately resigned. Bore to have to pack up!
Thursday.—Have refused to join no less than five combinations. Too dangerous. None of them seemed sufficiently stable. Six men have been tried, but at present without result. Well, if nothing is done by to-morrow morning, I shall go into the country for a little shooting. Fido is quite ready—he has his coat out, his moustache curled, and can carry a bag in his mouth. He is very good at tricks too. Altogether a thorough sporting dogue.
Friday.—Back again. Others being unable to form a Cabinet, have formed one myself. Think it will hold together, but one never knows. So far we have had an overwhelming vote of confidence. Put it to the Members whether we might do what we pleased with the windows. "Yes," and "Urgency" voted almost simultaneously. No doubt a veritable triumph!
Saturday.—Everything went smoothly until the afternoon, when a Deputy wished to know the correct time. Minister of Education gave it as a quarter to six. It was proved that he was wrong. He should have said ten minutes to the hour. Serious Ministerial crisis in consequence. Fearful excitement. A Bill brought in and passed legalising everything that four men and a boy might decide. Ministry forced to protest; turned out in consequence. Base ingratitude; but a time will come! Generally hop in and out of office twice in a fortnight. Quite accustomed to it. Good exercise.
Sunday.—Released from my Ministerial duties. Shall have a day's shooting with Fido in consequence. But I must be back again to-night, because I am sure to be expected to form a New Ministry to-morrow!
* * * * *
Query.—Why cannot Mr. GLADSTONE eat more than two-thirds of a rabbit, whether boiled or curried? Answer.—It does not matter what Mr. GLADSTONE or anybody else can do, as nobody can eat a rabbit (w)hole.
* * * * *
* * * * *
"SMALL BY DEGREES, AND BEAUTIFULLY LESS."
DEAR MR. PUNCH,—I see that the authorities at Monte Carlo very properly have refused permission to Doctors, their wives and families, to visit the tables of the Casino. I have not yet ascertained the reason for the prohibition, but no doubt it is because the "powers that be" consider Physicians too valuable to the community to run the risk of endangering their lives in the excitement of play. If we may accept this as a basis, we can see how the idea can be developed. If it is right to exclude Doctors, why then, as a kindred class, Lawyers should also be refused admission. Of course Clergymen of all denominations are, even now, conspicuous by their absence. If they are not, the decree of banishment should refer also to the wearers of the cloth.
We have now got rid of Doctors, Lawyers, and Parsons—three of the Professions. To be consistent, we must take the fourth. This will prevent Musicians from gambling. But if Musicians are tabooed, why not Actors? And if Actors, why not Artists? And if we except Artists, we must join Literature and Science, or there might be jealousy. And now we have excluded Doctors, Lawyers, Parsons, Musicians, Actors, Artists, Authors, Men of Science, and everyone more or less connected with them.
Now we must remember what is bad for the master must be equally bad for the man. So if a Doctor is excluded, a Chemist, an Undertaker, and a Grave-digger would also be kept away. A Lawyer would carry with him Judges, Magistrates, Clerks, and Law Stationers. The Clergy would represent everyone connected with a church, from an Archbishop to a Bell-ringer. Then, if we are to take away the Professions, Commerce must follow—wholesale and retail. In one blow we keep out of the rooms nearly the entire community.
Still there are the Army, the Navy, and the Civil Service. But these are all more or less branches of the original class. They, like the Doctors, work for the public good. Without an Army and Navy and a Civil Service, how would the State exist? So they must go. And now we have very little left. We have lost the Doctors, the Clergy, the Lawyers, the Contributors to Fine Arts, the Merchants, the Traders, and the Servants of the Crown. Naturally the lower orders would follow the lead of the upper classes, and then there would be only the Croupiers left. And as the Croupiers may not play themselves, and would have the play of no one to superintend, they, too, might be excused, as their labour would be in vain.
And now having reduced the visitors of the tables to an unknown quantity, I may disappear myself. Yours retiringly,
Spanish Castle, Isle of Skye. AN EX-X.
* * * * *
A RUSH OF ONE.—The Times, a few days ago, alluding to the unemployed loafer, said, "it is he who flocks" to Relief Committees, and so forth. How delightful to be able to flock all by yourself! It recalls the bould Irish soldier who "took six Frenchmen prisoners by surrounding them"?
* * * * *
THE GRAMMAR OF ART.—"Art," spell it with a big or little "a," can never come first in any well-educated person's ideas. "I am" must have the place of honour; then "Thou Art!" so apostrophised, comes next.
* * * * *
* * * * *
FROM PENCIL TO PEN.
(A Story of the Merry Yule-Tide Season.)
Publisher's Sanctum. Publisher and Author discovered in conference.
Publisher. And so I thought that, perhaps, with your kind assistance, we might work off some of the blocks that have been left on our hands under the unfortunate circumstances I have just related.
Author. Certainly. Quite easy. You want to get a Christmas Number out of them. All right—give me the subjects, and I will just jot down how they shall be worked in. We will commence—hero and heroine—say, for the moment, Edwin and Angelina.
Pub. (looking at pictures). I fancy this is intended for somewhere in the neighbourhood of the North Pole. Sailors surrounded by white bears on an iceberg.
Auth. Very good. Edwin's father was an Arctic explorer. Write under sketch, "The old man had many a startling adventure in the silent land of eternal snow." Go on.
Pub. Here is, seemingly, a quarrel to the death, in the time of CHARLES THE SECOND. Ball-room, with Cavaliers and their Ladies. Central group, a fight with swords. Can we do anything with it?
Auth. Why, certainly. Edwin excites the jealousy of Angelina's cousin Reginald. The latter calls out the former at a fancy-dress dance. Label it—"Captain de Courcy was too impatient to wait until the ball was over, but challenged his rival as the company were on the eve of going down to supper." Drive on!
Pub. This seems rather a puzzle,—a ship sinking in mid-ocean.
Auth. The very thing. Edwin having lost all his money on the Stock Exchange, goes to Australia for more gold. Label—"The storm was terrific, and the Belgravia had much difficulty in weathering this gale of almost unprecedented violence". Next, please!
Pub. Why here are some sketches of Venice, St. Petersburg, China, and North Wales.
Auth. I can take them en bloc. Edwin and Angelina, before they return home, go upon a honeymoon. Work them all in. Anything else?
Pub. A man being shot by a company of French soldiers. Is that of any use?
Auth. First-rate fate for the wicked Reginald. Goes to France during the Franco-German War as a Special Correspondent, and is shot as a Prussian spy. Couldn't be better. Anything else?
Pub. A village crowd looking at a representation of "Punch and Judy."
Auth. Obviously a recollection of Edwin's schooldays. Label it—"Sometimes he would join the crowd, watching an exhibition of perambulating puppets." Anything else?
Pub. A man being thrown from his horse into a brook.
Auth. All right! Angelina first falls in love with Edwin when nursing him after an accident in the hunting-field. Label it—"His horse swerved, and Edwin was thrown with great violence into the water." Anything else?
Pub. A man with a dark lantern looking, I think, at a mile-stone.
Auth. Reginald, before his death in France, tries to enter burglariously the dwelling-house of his hated rival. Label—"The misguided wretch paused for a moment while he examined one of the mile-stones." Anything further?
Pub. Only two. Which shall we have, a happy or a wretched ending?
Auth. Either you please. One's as easy as the other. What are they?
Pub. First a man dying in the prairie is threatened by a vulture.
Auth. Evidently Edwin. You see, we have already disposed of the wicked cousin. What is the other?
Pub. Oh, the conventional thing—bridal party in a village church. I wish we could use both.
Auth. So we can. Cut down bridal block, and punch out enough of sky in prairie to make room for it. Then give the legend, "And Edwin died happily, for in his vision he saw his love once more as he had hoped to see her. With his last breath he blessed her as she stood beside him at the altar." That will do, and then I can finish off with, "Who knows they may not meet again? THE END."
Pub. And now I want to ask your opinion about some trade advertisements. I want to know if we can work them in?
[Scene closes in upon arrangements of a business-like character.
* * * * *
(By a Jubilant Juryman.)
[Kissing the Book is now to be dispensed with as part of a Juryman's duties.]
LIP to lip is pleasant altogether, But there is no charm in lip to leather All the bards who've sung of osculation, Down from OVID to song's last sensation, Could not lend romance, or even sense, To the Court's poor labial pretence, Always meaningless, and most unpleasant. Here the past is bettered by the present. Kissing is the due of Love and Beauty, Dull and dismal when 'tis made mere duty. Mere lip-loyalty to Love means little— But to Truth? 'Tis not worth jot or tittle! When from lip to lip in cold formality Passed the grubby cover, in reality Binding kissing made no oath more binding Nor more easy Justice's clear finding. Therefore, thanks to common sense,—long missing— That makes obsolete one form of kissing!
* * * * *
"THERE AND BACK."
FIRST night at Covent Garden of new Opera, Irmengarda, by Chevalier, not Chevalier Coster, but Chevalier EMIL BACH. In this plot the women of a besieged city are allowed to leave it, carrying whatever is most precious on their backs—but this one BACH can't carry Irmengarda, which is, however, not too, too precious, but is supportable. Sir DRURIOLANUS OPERATICUS "gives a Back," and it's "Over!" First Act, while performing, is promising; second very much after, or behind the first. House full. Everybody good, specially VALDA and ABRAMOFF. Mr. ARMBRUSTER conducted the MASCAGNI-cum-WAGNER-&-CO. music. Everybody happy, specially BACH himself, who was not backwards in coming forwards, and bowing his acknowledgments.
By the way, as in Act III. the King enters "a-riding a-riding," this Opera may be distinguished from any of BACH'S future works by being called The Horse-BACH Opera. Not to exhaust the punning possibilities in the name of the composer, it may be incidentally noted that, original and fresh as every air in this Opera may be, yet this present work consists entirely of "BACH Numbers." No more on this subject at present.
Last week of Opera by night at Covent Garden, as the Garden is turned into a Race-course for The Prodigal Daughter's steeplechase, and Drury Lane is wanted for the Pantomime. Sir DRURIOLANUS has his hands full—likewise his pockets. "So mote it be!"
* * * * *
TO MY PARTNER.
"MISS RED SASH"—my programme can't even relate Your name, and I know nothing more Of your tastes. Do you talk of high Art—or the state Of the floor?
Has Girton or Newnham endeavoured to clog With stiffest of science your brain; Or are you prepared to discourse of the fog And the rain?
Do politics please you? Uganda, perhaps, Or the Cabinet crisis in France? Or would you remark that a great many chaps Never dance?
Is IBSEN your idol, with plays that are noise, Some say nauseous; is he a sage? Or are you contented to see a live horse On the stage?
You love PADEREWSKI, and would not be false To your faith in BRAHMS, GRIEG, WAGNER and CO.; or you are awfully pleased with this valse, And this Band?
I'll fan you, and hear if you then will repeat Facts on currents of air, or simoom; Or simper, and smilingly speak of the heat Of the room.
* * * * *
A GOOD "SECOND".—A Dutch Oyster.
* * * * *
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.