OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
December 3, 1892.
THE MAN WHO WOULD.
III.—THE MAN WHO WOULD GET ON.
"I dreamed," said the Scotch Professor, "that I was struggling for dear life with a monstrous reptile, whose scaly coils wound about my body, while the extremity of his own was lost in the distance. At last I managed to shake myself free, and setting my foot on his neck, I was preparing to cut his throat, when the animal looked up at me with an appealing expression, and said, 'At least you might give me a testimonial!'"
This professional nightmare (for the labours of a Scotch instructor consist, to a great extent, in writing testimonials, or in evading requests for them), suggested to one of his audience the history of SAUNDERS MCGREGOR, the Man who would Get on. In boyhood, SAUNDERS obtained an exhibition, or bursary, to the University of St. Mungo's. This success implied no high degree of scholarship, for the benefice was only open to persons of the surname of MCGREGOR, and the Christian-name of SAUNDERS. The provident parents of our hero, having accidentally become aware of this circumstance, had their offspring christened SAUNDERS, and thus secured, from the very first, an opening for the young man.
At St. Mungo's, SAUNDERS was mainly notable for a generous view of life, which enabled him to look on the goods of others as practically common among Christians. A pipe of his own he somehow possessed, but tobacco and lights he invariably borrowed, also golf-balls, postage-stamps, railway fares, books, caps, gowns, and similar trifles; while his nature was so social, that he invariably dropped in to supper with one or other of his companions. The accident of being left alone for a few moments in the study of our Examiner, where SAUNDERS deftly possessed himself of a set of examination-papers, enabled him to take his degree with an ease and brilliance which very considerably astonished his instructors. By adroitly using his good fortune, SAUNDERS accumulated a pile of most egregious testimonials, and these he regarded as the mainspring of success in life. He had early discovered in himself a singular capacity for drawing salaries, and as he had unbounded conceit and unqualified ignorance, he conceived himself to be fit for any post in life to which a salary is attached. He had also really great gifts as a crampon, or hanger-on, and neglected no opportunity, while he made many, of securing useful acquaintances. Thus it was the custom of his college to elect, at stated periods, a man of eminence as Rector. SAUNDERS at once constituted himself secretary of a committee, and, without consulting his associates, wrote invitations to eminent politicians, poets, painters, actors, editors, clergymen, and other people much in the public eye. In these effusions he poured forth the innocent enthusiasm of his heart, expressing an admiration which might seem excessive to all but its objects. They, with the guilelessness of mature age and conscious merit, were touched by SAUNDERS'S expressions of esteem, which they set down to hero-worship, and a fervent study of Mr. CARLYLE'S works. Only one of the persons addressed, unluckily, could be elected; but SAUNDERS added their responses to his pile of testimonials, and frequently gave them good epistolary reason to remember his existence and his devotion.
His earliest object was to become secretary to somebody or something, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Society for the Protection of Aborigines, or Ancient Monuments, or even as Secretary to the Carlton Club, SAUNDERS felt he could do his talents justice in any of these positions. If anything was to be had, SAUNDERS was the boy to ask for it; nay more, to ask other people to ask. Private Secretaryships to Ministers, or societies, or great Clubs, are not invariably given to the first applicant who comes along, even if he appeals to testimonials in the Junior Mathematical Class from Professor MCGLASHAN of St. Mungo's. But SAUNDERS was not daunted. He would write to one notable, informing him that his grandmother had been at a parish school with the notable's great uncle—on which ground of acquaintanceship he would ask that the notable should at once get him a post as Secretary of a Geological Society, or as Inspector of Manufactories, or of Salmon Fisheries, or to a Commission on the Trade of Knife-grinding.
Another notable he would tell that he had once been pointed out to him in a railway station, therefore he was emboldened to ask his correspondent to ask his Publisher, to get at the Editor of the Times, and recommend him, SAUNDERS, as Musical Critic, or Sub-editor, or Society Reporter. Nor did SAUNDERS neglect Professorships, and vacant Chairs. His testimonials went in for all of them. He was equally ready and qualified to be Professor of Greek, Metaphysics, Etruscan, Chemistry, or the Use of the Globes, while Biblical criticism and Natural Religion, prompted his wildest yearnings. Though ignorant of foreign languages, he was prepared to be a correspondent anywhere, and though he was purely unlearned in all matters, he proposed to edit Dictionaries and Encyclopaedias, of course with the assistance of a large and competent staff. His proofs of capacity for a series of occupations that would have staggered a CRICHTON, was always attested by his old College testimonials, for SAUNDERS was of opinion that the courteous obiter dictum of a Professor was an Open Sesame to all the golden gates of the world. Meanwhile, he supported existence by teaching the elements of the classic languages, with which he had the most distant acquaintance, to little boys, at a Day School. But one of these pupils came home, one afternoon, in tears, having been beaten on the palms of the hands with a leathern strap, in addition to the task of writing out the verb [Greek: tupto]. This punishment was inflicted because, in accordance with SAUNDERS'S instructions, he had represented the Cyclops of Euripides as "sweeping the stars with a rake." The original words of the Athenian poet do not bear this remarkable construction, so SAUNDERS was dismissed from the only work which he had ever made even a pretence of doing. He has not the energy, nor the lungs necessary for the profession of an agitator; he has not the grammar required in a penny-a-liner, he cannot cut hair, and his manners unfit him for the occupation of a shop-assistant, so that little is left open to SAUNDERS but the industry of the Blackmailer. The office of Secretary to a Missionary in a Leper settlement, on an island of Tierra Del Fuego, is, however, vacant; and, if the many important personages with whom SAUNDERS has corresponded will only make a united effort, it is possible that the Man who would Get on may at last be got off, and relieve society from the burden of his solicitations. May the comparative failure in life of SAUNDERS MCGREGOR act as a warning to those who think that they shall be heard, by men, for their much asking!
P.S.—This does not apply to women. We have just been informed that Mr. SAUNDERS MCGREGOR, M.A., is about to lead to the altar the only and orphan daughter of the late ALISTER MCFUNGUS, Esq., of Castle Fungus, Dreepdaily, N.B., the eminent introducer of remarkably improved processes in the manufacture of Heel-ball.
* * * * *
"ONE DOWN, T'OTHER COME ON!"—Mr. HORACE SEDGER has a Prima Donna supply always on tap. After two of them have retired from the principal part in Incognita, the lively Miss AIDA JENOURE—("'Aid 'em JENOURE,' she ought to be called," quoth Mr. WAGGSTAFF)—comes to the rescue, and "on we goes again" with an excellent danseuse, too, thoroughly in earnest, as her name implies, which sounds like Miss Sin-cere and is written Miss ST. CYR.
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE FIGHT FOR THE STANDARD.
(MODERN MONETARY VERSION.)
'Twas the gallant Golden Knight downed his visor for the fight. All true champions delight in hard tussles. With his yellow Standard reared at his back, no foe he feared, And his gaze all comers queered, There at Brussels.
Like Sir Kenneth, only more so, he expanded his fine torso. His Standard—bold he swore so—flying proudly, Still supreme should flow and flaunt, its defenders none should daunt. 'Twas a very valiant vaunt. Shouted loudly.
Now the Silver Knight had sworn—that the Standard so long borne By the Aureate One, in scorn irreducible Should not solitary wave. He'd squabosh that champion brave, Or would find a torrid grave— In some crucible!
Such cremation he would dare if that Standard he might bear To the dust, and upraise there one more Silvery. For this Argent Knight, though pale, was right sure he could not fail, He was proud of his white mail, And his skill—very!
So here, Gentles, you behold that brave Knight in mail of Gold, Sworn his Standard to uphold high and aureate; And that blusterous battle-bout, twixt those champions stern and stout, Will inspire, I have no doubt, Our next Laureate!
Yank Knights-Errant may evince interest grave; that Indian Prince Will alternate swell and wince as they struggle; The young Scottish Knight BALFOUR (who looks callow more than dour) Hopes the Silver Knight may score, By some juggle.
But in spite of Yank and Scot, and the Bimetallic lot, They who're fly to what is what, back the Gold 'un. And did I bet—for fun—ere this Standard fight is done, I should plank my ten to one On the Old 'Un!
* * * * *
Fog, haze, smoke or cloud, almost daily enshroud The Metropolis—place we should shun— And day after day the reports briefly say, "Bright sunshine at Westminster—none," Yes, none! O Sol, not a ray; no, not one!
The Times says that lots, quite a fine group of spots, Are discernible now on the sun; Have these stopped heat or light, so that weather-wise write, "Bright sunshine at Westminster—none?" Yes, none! O Sol, what have you been and done?
Have these sun-spots increased? We know London, at least, Is a spot unconnected with sun; All day long we burn gas, the report is, alas! "Bright sunshine at Westminster—none," Yes, none! O Sol, you old son of a gun!
* * * * *
LADY GAY'S SELECTION.
Mount Street, Berkeley Square.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,
I am proud of being the "selection" referred to above, though, as a matter of fact it was I who "selected" GAY from the numerous sweet young things submitted for my approval during the Season when I was considered "the parti"!—but on this point I maintain a noble silence! In spite of the old Welsh proverb, "Oh, wad some Gay the giftie gie us," &c. &c., I was a bit puzzled on reading GAY's letters, at the similarity of names, but thought it only a coincidence, until she was so upset by the one she read when abroad, that she confessed everything, and asked my advice!—It's very strange how all these clever women, when they get into a fix, apply for assistance to weak "man!" eh? Now that flat-racing is over, we are "resting on our oars" for a time—(that is literally true, for the country has been mostly under water lately!)—but we shall shortly have a cut-in at steeplechasing, when GAY will doubtless have some new experiences to relate; meanwhile, allow me to subscribe myself—(I like to subscribe to everything good)—Yours explanatorily,
(Lord) ARTHUR FLEETWOOD.
* * * * *
ALL ROUND THE FAIR.
IN THE "FINE ART" EXHIBITION.
Rustic Art Patrons discovered applying their eyes to peepholes, through which a motley collection of coloured lithographs of the Crimean Campaign, faded stereoscopic-views, Scriptural engravings, and daubed woodcuts from the "Illustrated Police News," is arranged for their inspection.
First Art Patron (waiting for his turn at the first peephole). Look alive theer, GE-ARGE, ain't ye done squintin' at 'un yet?
Ge-arge (a local humorist). 'Tis a rare old novelty, BEN, th' latest from London, and naw mistake 'bout it!
Ben (with disappointment, as he succeeds to the peephole). Why, 'tain't on'y ADAM an' EVE afoor th' Fall! that ain't so partickler noo, as I can see—Lar dear, they're a settin' nekked on a live lion, and a nursin' o' rabbits! (At the next hole ADAM and EVE are represented "After the Fall," overwhelmed with confusion, while the lion is stalking off scandalised, with a fine expression of lofty moral indignation.) 'Ere they are agen! that theer lion thinks he's played sofy to 'en long 'nough, seemin'ly!
Ge-arge (from a further peephole). I say, BEN, 'ere's Mrs. PEARCEY a murderin' Mrs. 'OGG down this 'un—we're a-gittin' along!
Ben (puzzled). They must ha' skipped out a deal. I'm on'y at "CAIN killin' ABEL!"
Female Patron (to Proprietor). 'Ere, Master, I can't see nothen' down 'ere—'tis all dark like!
Proprietor. Let me 'ave a look! You shud put your 'ands so, each side o' your eyes, and—(He looks.) 'Um, it is rayther—but what else do yer expeck? It's a "View o' Paris by Night," ain't it—that's all right!
OUTSIDE "PROFESSOR PUGMAN'S SPARRING SALOON."
The Professor (on a little platform, with a pair of Pupils). Now then, all you as are lovers o' the Noble and Manly Art o' Self-Defence, step inside and see it illusterated in a scientific an' fust-class manner! This (introducing first Pupil, who rubs his nose with dignity) is 'OPPER of 'Olloway, the becoming nine-stun Champion. This hother's BATTERS o' Bermondsey, open to fight any lad in England at eight-stun four. Is there anyone among you willing to 'ave a round or two with either on 'em fur a drink an' admission free?—if so, now's his time to step forward—there's no waiting, mind yer?
Joe (to Melia). I b'lieve as 'ow I could tackle the little 'un—I used to box above a bit.
Melia. Don't ye now, JOE; you'll on'y go and git yourself 'urt or summat!
Joe. I shan't git 'urt. 'Ere, Master, I'm game fur to put on the gloves wi' 'im.
Prof. Git inside with yer then! (To Crowd.) Now then for the Great Glove Contest—Just goin' inside to begin—Mind, there's no waitin'!
Joe. 'Ere, MELIA, come along in, and look arter my 'at an' coat.
Melia. I dussen't, JOE! I can't abear to see no fightin', I'll bide 'ere till ye come out.
[JOE enters the tent, followed by the Pupils and a few Connoisseurs.
Prof. (looking into the interior of tent through a slit in the canvas). Theer they are! Oh my, what a pictur'! They're puttin' on the gloves now, make 'aste if you're goin' in! (The Crowd hesitate.) 'Ere! (To the Champions.) Step outside once more and show yourselves!
[The Champions appear, re-mount the platform, and are introduced all over again.
Melia (intercepting her swain). JOE, 'ow are ye gittin' on? You don't look none the worse so fur; is it neelly over?
Joe (gruffly). Neelly over! why, we ain't begun yet—nor likely to wi' all this bloomin' palaverin'!
Melia. I do wish 'twas over—Kip a good 'art, JOE; don't let 'un go knockin' ye about!
Joe (with a slight decrease of confidence). Theer's a way to talk! I doan't reckon as 'ow he'll kill me, not in three rounds, I doan't, but if I'd a-know'd there'd be all this messin' about fust, I'd a—
[He goes inside gloomily.
INSIDE THE SPARRING SALOON.
The Spectators are waiting patiently around the ropes; the Professor is still on the platform, expatiating on the coming contest. JOE has found a friend whom he has entrusted with his hat and coat.
Joe (to the Friend). Jest kip a heye on these 'ere, will ye!
[He hands him a huge pair of highlows.
Prof. (calling in). Fur the larst time, come outside and show yerselves, all on yer!
The Friend. You got to go out agin, JOE, better putt on yer coat an' 'at, not to ketch cold!
Joe. Ah, and I'll 'ave to 'ave they bo-oots on agen, too. (He gets into his things in a great flurry, and hastens outside.) 'Tis enough to take th' 'art out of a man, thet 'tis!
[More exhortations from Proprietor, until the last Spectator has been induced to enter the Saloon, whereupon the Champions return, and the hangings at the entrance are finally drawn.
Prof. (acting as Timekeeper). Now then, all ready? (To JOE.) In you go—What are yer waitin' for? Never mind about takin' orf yer boots! Gentlemen, BATTERS o' Bermondsey is agoin' to fight three rounds with a volunteer, one o' your own men. Whatever you see between 'em (solemnly), pass no remarks! Time!
[JOE and "BATTERS o' Bermondsey" walk round each other and make a fumbling attempt to shake hands, after which JOE, while preparing to deliver a blow with extreme caution and deliberation, is surprised by a smart smack on his cheek, which makes him stagger; he recovers himself and prances down on BATTERS with a windmill action.
Batters (limping into his corner). 'Ere, I say, ole man—moind my tows—foight at yer right end!
Joe (apologetically). I didn't mean nothing unfair-like—I warnted fur to take off them 'ere boots—but I warn't let!
Batters. I'll let ye—fur 'taint no corpet slippers as you've got on, ole feller, I tell yer strite!
[JOE removes the offending boots.
Spectators (during the second round, which is fought with more spirit than science on JOE'S part). Ah, JOE ain't no match for 'un—he let un 'ave it then, didn't he? My word! but it's "Go 'ome an' tell yer Mother, an' ax yer Uncle 'ow ye be" with 'un, pretty near every time!
Prof. (with affected rapture). Oh dear! Oh lor! What doins! Time! you two, afore ye kill one another! Now, Gentlemen, a good clap, to encourage 'em. I think you'll agree as the Volunteer is showin' you good sport; and, if you think him deservin' of a drink, p'raps one o' you will oblige with the loan of a 'at, which he'll now take round. (The hat is procured, and offered to JOE, who, however, prefers that the collection should be made by deputy.) Don't forgit 'im, Gentlemen! (Coppers pour into the hat, and the last round is fought; B. of B. ducking JOE'S blows with great agility, and planting his own freely in various parts of JOE'S anatomy.)
Spectators. 'E'll be knocked out in a minnit, 'e will! Don't sim to git near 'un no 'ow. Look a' that—and thar agin! Ah, JOE got one in that time—but the tother's the better man—'e don't touch 'un without 'ittin' of 'un—d'ye see? Time! Ah, and time it was time, too—fur 'im!
Prof. (to JOE, as he sits blinking, and blowing his nose with vigour). That was a jolly good fight—tho' rough. You've some notion o' sparrin'—we'd soon make a boxer o' you. 'Ere's your share of the collection—sevenpence ap'ny. We give you the extry ap'ny, bein' a stranger. Would you feel inclined to fight six rounds, later on like, with another of our lads, fur ten bob, now?
Joe (making a futile attempt to untie his glove with his teeth). Much obliged, Master, but I've 'ad about enough spree a'ready to do me fur a bit.
Prof. Are there any two friends in 'ere as 'ud like to fight a round or two?
[Two Rustics step forward valiantly—a tall dark man and a little red-haired one—and, after the usual preliminaries, square up at a safe distance.
Spectators (to the tall man). Why don't ye step up to 'un, JIM? Use yer right 'and a bit! (To the short one.) Let out on 'un, TOM!
[TOM, thus exhorted, lands an unexpected blow on JIM'S eye.
Jim (suddenly ducking under the rope in great dudgeon). 'Twas a cowardly blow! I didn' stan' up to be 'it in th' fa-ace i' that way; I've 'ad enoof of it!
Tom. Come back and fight it out! (Soothingly.) Why, ye come at me like a thunderin' great lion, ye did!
Jim (putting on his hat and coat, sulkily). Loi-on or noan, I ain't gawin' to hev naw moor on it, I tell 'ee. [Groans from Spectators.
Prof. Don't be 'ard on 'im, Gents; it ain't 'is fault if he's on'y bin used to box with bolsters, and as he ain't goin' to finish 'is rounds, it's all over for this time, and I 'ope you're all satisfied with what you've seen.
A Malcontent. I ain't. I carl it a bloomin' swindle. I come 'ere to see some sparrin', I did!
Prof. Step inside the ropes then, and I'll soon show yer some! (This invitation is hastily declined.) Well, then, go outside quiet, d'jear me? or else you'll do it upside down, like ole JOHN BROWN, in 'arf a sec., I can tell yer!
[The Malcontent departs meekly, and reserves any further observations until he is out of hearing.
Melia (to JOE). Lor, I wish now I'd been there to see ye; I do 'ope ye weren't too rough with 'un, though, JOE. What shall we do next?—'ave a turn on the swings, or the swishback circus, or the giddy-go-round—or what? (JOE shakes his head.) Why won't ye, JOE?
Joe (driven to candour). Why?—'cause it 'ud be throwin' away money, seein' I've got 'em all goin' on inside o' me at once as 'tis, if ye want to know! I feel a deal more like settin' down quiet a bit, I do, if I cud find a place.
Melia (with an inspiration). Then let's go and 'ave our likenesses took!
[She cannot understand why JOE should be so needlessly incensed at so innocent and opportune a suggestion.
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THE "BEST EVIDENCE"—HOW NOT TO GET IT.
Have been summoned to attend as a Witness in the trial of the six roughs who first drugged and then savagely ill-treated a foolishly convivial citizen in Whitechapel. Don't know if it was wise of me to tell the Police that I could identify the men. Since my evidence before the Magistrate came out, I have had thirty-seven threatening letters, my front windows have been broken several times over, and a valuable dog poisoned. Still, evidently a patriotic duty to "assist the course of Justice;" and no doubt I shall be compensated.
So this is the "Central Criminal Court," is it? Should hardly have believed it possible. Outside mean and dirty.
Interior, meaner and much dirtier. Speak to Usher. Usher most polite. Glad, that at any rate, they do know how to treat important Witnesses. Am assured I shall have a seat "close to the Judge." Produce my witness-summons. Demeanour of Usher suddenly changes. I shall have to go to the "Witnesses' Waiting-room in the old Court." Where's that? He doesn't know. I'd better ask a Policeman. It now flashes across me that Usher mistook me for a wealthy, and probably generous spectator, and thought when I was fumbling in my pocket for my summons, I was looking for half-a-crown for him! Depressing.
Policeman leaves me in a dark, draughty passage, with a bench on each side. "But where is the waiting-room?" I ask an attendant. "This is the waiting-room," he replies. More like the Black Hole. Was it wise of me to give information to the Police?
Two Days later.—They crammed forty Witnesses into that passage! No seats for half of them. We had one chair, and Usher took it away "as a lady wanted it in Court." Lady no doubt a spectator—did she hunt in her pocket for half-a-crown? Anyhow, after two days in the passage, I have just given my evidence in Court, with fearful cold on my lungs, owing to the draught. Very hoarse. Ordered by Judge, sternly, to "speak up." Conscious that I looked a wretched object. Jury regarded me with evident suspicion. Severely cross-examined. Mentioned to Judge about my windows being smashed, &c.; could I receive anything for it? "Oh, dear no," replied the Judge; "we never reward Witnesses." Amusement in Court—at my expense. In fact, the course of Justice generally seems to be altogether at my expense. Home in a cab and a fever. Find ten more threatening letters, and an infernal machine under area-steps. Go to bed. Doctor says I am in for pneumonia and bronchitis, he thinks. Tells me I am thoroughly run down, and asks me, "What I've been doing to reduce myself to this state?" I reply that, "I have been assisting the course of Justice." Doctor shrugs his shoulders, and I hear him distinctly mutter, "More fool you!" I agree with Doctor, cordially. Am quite certain now that it was unwise to tell Police that I could identify those criminals. If this is the way in which Witnesses are treated, let Justice in future assist itself!
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My Baronite has been reading Mona Maclean, Medical Student. (BLACKWOOD.) "It is," he tells me, "a Novel with a purpose—no recommendation for a novel, more especially when the purpose selected is that of demonstrating the indispensability of women-doctors." Happily GRAHAM TRAVERS, as the author (being evidently a woman) calls herself, is lured from her fell design. There is a chapter or two of talk among the girls in the dissecting-room and the chemical laboratory, with much about the "spheno-maxillary fossa," the "dorsalis pedis," and the general whereabouts of "Scarpa's triangle." But these can be skipped, and the reader may get into the company of Mona Maclean when she is less erudite, and more womanly. When not dissecting the "plantar arch," Mona is a bright, fearless, clever girl, with a breezy manner, refreshing to all admitted to her company. The episode of her shopkeeping experience is admirably told, and affords the author abundant and varied opportunity of exercising her gift of drawing character. Mona Maclean is, apparently, a first effort at novel-writing. The workmanship improves up to the end of the third volume; and Miss TRAVERS' next book will be better still.
To Mr. J. FISHER UNWIN comes the happy thought of issuing, in a neatly-packed box, the whole twenty volumes of the Pseudonym Library—and a very acceptable Christmas-Box it will make. The volumes, with their odd, oblong shape, are delightful to hold; the type is good, and the excellence of the literary matter is remarkably well kept up over the already long series. Mr. UNWIN promises fresh volumes, introducing to the British public Finnish and Danish authors, or Danish first, and the others to Finnish.
See how these Poets love one another! How touching is the dedication of ALFRED AUSTIN'S latest volume to GEORGE MEREDITH! May both live long and prosper, is the hearty wish of their friend,
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
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THE ROYAL ROAD TO COMFORT.—A DREAM.
The rival Steamboats were on the alert. It was a misty night, and it was a difficult matter to make out the lights of Calais Harbour.
"We shall catch him yet," said the Captain of the Blue Vessel.
"He will not escape us," observed the C.O. of the Red.
Suddenly the Blue started at full steam ahead, and was lost to sight in Calais harbour. She was quickly followed by the Red, moving with equal expedition.
The vessels reached the quay nearly at the same time. Then there was confusion and sounds of military music. Evidently the Illustrious Personage had embarked. Then the mist cleared away.
"He is safe on board," said the Captain of the Blue Vessel, and his Mate indulged in a short laugh of triumph.
"It does not matter," observed the Commanding Officer of the Red; "the Blue may have his person, but we have his luggage!"
And then the cheers were renewed again and again, and the Illustrious Personage came to the conclusion that English enterprise was not without its disadvantages!
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BOGEY OR BENEFACTOR?
Timid Ratepayer loquitur:—
O lor! O dear! What have we here? What a nondescript, huge NID-NODDY! None know, I'm sure, what I have to endure. It's enough to frighten a body! They are always up to some queer new game, and a giving me some fresh master; But this one is a crux from the sole of his foot to the crown of his comical castor.
He looks as big as all out-of-doors, and e'en BUMBLE was hardly as bumptious. He'd make my London a Paradise, which is a prospect that's perfectly scrumptious. But oh! he is big, with the funniest rig; a Titan who, if he should tumble, Might squelch me as flat as an opera-hat, and make me regret old BUMBLE.
Noodledom ruled me for many long years; this means, I am told, a new Era; But bad as a Booby may be as a Boss, what about a colossal Chimaera? I don't say he's that, but with body of goat, dragon's tail, and the head of a lion, A creature were hardly more "mixed" than this monster, whose rule for the time I must try on.
A complex, conglomerate, Jack-of-all-Trades! Well, I trust he'll be master of some of them! Largo al factotum! He's game for all tasks, and—I wish I was sure what would come of them. Most representative? Palpable that! And his plans most sublime (so he says) are; But he looks just as motley a nondescript as the image of Nebuchadnezzar.
The elephant who can root up a huge oak, or handle a needle or pin, is Less marvellous much, and it may be, of course, that the folks who distrust him are ninnies. I hope so, I'm sure. There are evils to cure, and of room for improvement there's plenty; And all must admit that, whatever his faults, he cannot be called far niente.
He does look a bit of a Bogey, but then he may prove just a big Benefactor, And if he should work on the cheap, kill Corruption, and kick out the knavish Contractor, Without piling Pelion on Ossa (of rates) on my back, till my legs with the "tottle" limp, I shall "learn to love him" as Giant Beneficent, not a big, blundering Bottle-Imp!
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OPERA-GOER'S DIARY.—Otello (the Grand Otello Company, Limited) was the feature last week. GIANINI a stout Otello, much and Moor. MELBA a charming Desdemona, but not a great part for her. DUFRICHE as Iago, good, but not good enough for him. Sir DRURIOLANUS gives Carmen at Windsor Castle, before the QUEEN! Aha! Where now is LAGO Factotum and His Special Patronaged Royal Box at the Olympic? DRURIOLANUS Victor, with all the honours.
* * * * *
AT A RINK.
Round and round, and to and fro At a rink, Pretty girls, with cheeks that glow Rosy pink; Graceful, gleeful, gliding, go, Whilst they link Arms together, like the flow Past its brink Of a river's eddy—so Duffers think They can glide. See one start slow, Shyly shrink, Fearful lest his end be woe, Sheepish slink, Skates on unaccustomed toe Strangely clink, Hot and thirsty he will grow, Long for drink; All around amusement show, Laugh and wink, But they look as black as crow, Or as ink, If he fall against them. Oh, In a twink On the floor, not soft but low, See him sink! Whilst he murmurs gently, "Blow This old rink!"
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LOGICAL AND ENGINE-IOUS.—Why object (though we do) to Advertisements of all sorts along our Railway lines? Surely, wherever the Locomotive goes, there is the very place for puffing.
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CONVERSATIONAL HINTS FOR YOUNG SHOOTERS.
(WITH WHICH IS INCORPORATED "ANECDOTES.")
Let us imagine, if you please, that the toils and trampings of the day are over. You are staying at a comfortable country-house with friends whom you like. You have had a good day at your host's pheasants and his rabbits. Your shooting has been fairly accurate, not ostentatiously brilliant, but on the whole satisfactory. You have followed out the hints given in my previous Chapters, and are consequently looked upon as a pleasant fellow, with plenty to say for himself. After tea, in the drawing-room, you have had an hour or two for the writing of letters, which you have of course not written, for the reading of the morning papers from London which you have skimmed with a faint interest, and for the forty or eighty or one hundred and twenty winks in an armchair in front of the fire, which are by no means the least pleasant and comforting incident in the day's programme. You have dressed for dinner in good time; you have tied your white tie successfully "in once;" you have taken in a charming girl (ROSE LARKING, let us say) to dinner. The dinner itself has been good, the drawing-room interlude after dinner has been pleasantly varied with music, and the ladies have, with the tact for which they are sometimes distinguished, retired early to bed-rooms, where it is believed they spend hours in the combing of their beautiful hair, and the interchange of gossip. You are in high spirits. You think, indeed you are sure (and again, on thinking it well over, not quite so sure), that the adorable ROSE looked kindly upon you as she said good-night, and allowed her pretty little hand to linger in your own while you assured her that to-morrow you would get for her the pinion-feather of a woodcock, or die in the attempt. You are now arrayed in your smoking-coat (the black with the red silk-facings), and your velvet slippers with your initials worked in gold—a birthday present from your sister. All the rest are, each after his own fashion, similarly attired, and the whole male party is gathered together in the smoking-room. There you sit and smoke and chat until the witching hour of night, when everybody yawns and grave men, as well as gay, go up to their beds.
Now, since you are an unassuming youngster, and anxious to learn, you ask me probably, how you are to bear yourself in this important assembly, what you are to speak about, and how? The chief thing, I answer, is not to be a bore. It is so easy not to be a bore if only you give a little thought to it. Nobody wants to be a bore. I cannot imagine any man consciously incurring the execration of his fellow-men. And yet there exist innumerable bores scattered through the length and breadth of our happy country, and carrying on their dismal business with an almost malignant persistency. Longwindedness, pomposity, the exaggeration of petty trivialities, the irresistible desire to magnify one's own wretched little achievements, to pose as the little hero of insignificant adventures, and to relate them to the whole world in every dull detail, regardless of the right of other men to get an occasional word in edgewise—these are the true marks of the genuine bore. He must know that you take no interest in him or his story. Even if you did, his manner of telling it would flatten you, yet he fascinates you with that glassy stare, that self-conscious and self-admiring smirk, and distils his tale into your ears at the very moment when you are burning to talk over old College-days with CHALMERS, or to discuss an article in the Field with SHABRACK.
I remember once finding myself, by some freak of mocking destiny, in a house in which two bores had established fortified camps. On the first night, we all became so dazed with intolerable dulness, that our powers of resistance faded away to the vanishing point. Both bores sallied out from their ramparts, laid our little possessions waste, and led, each his tale of captives back with him, gagged, bound, and incapable of struggle.
So next day, when the accustomed train Of things grew round our sense again,
we agreed together, those of us, I mean, who had suffered on the previous night, that something must be done. What it was to be we could not at first decide. We should have preferred "something lingering, with boiling oil in it," but at last we decided on the brilliant suggestion of SHABRACK, who was of the party, that we should endeavour by some means or other to bring the two bores, as it were, face to face in a kind of boring-competition in the smoking-room that very night, to engage them in warfare against one another and ourselves to sit by and watch them mutually extinguishing one another; a result that, we were certain, could not fail to be brought about, owing to the deadly nature of the weapons with which each was provided. Both the bores, I may observe, shot execrably during the day. In the evening, after a short preliminary skirmish, from which SHABRACK the hussar extricated us with but little loss, that which we desired came to pass. It was a terrible spectacle. In a moment both these magnificent animals, their bristles erect, and all their tusks flashing fiercely in the lamp-light, were locked in the death-grapple. Every detail of the memorable struggle is indelibly burnt into my brain. Even at this distance of time, I can remember how we all looked on, silent, awestruck, fascinated, as the dreadful fight proceeded to its inevitable close. For the benefit of others, let me attempt to describe it in the appropriate language of the Ring.
GREAT FIGHT BETWEEN THE KENTISH PROSER AND THE HAMPSHIRE DULLARD.
Round I.—Both men advanced, confident, but cautious. After sparring for an opening, the Proser landed lightly on the jaw with,—"When the Duke of DASHBURY did me the honour to ask me to his Grace's noble deer-forest." He ducked to avoid the return, but the Hampshire Champion would not be denied, and placed two heavy fish-stories fair in the bread-basket. The Proser swung round a vicious right-hander anecdote about a stag shot at 250 yards, but the blow fell short, and he was fairly staggered by two in succession ("the tree-climbing rabbit," and "the Marquis of DULLFIELD'S gaiters"), delivered straight on the mouth. First blood for the Dullard. After some hard exchanges they closed, and fell, the Dullard underneath.
Round II.—Both blowing a good deal. The Proser put up his Dukes, and let fly with both of them, one after another, at the Dullard's conk, drawing claret profusely. Nothing daunted, the Dullard watched his opportunity, and delivered a first-class Royal Prince on the Proser's right eye, half closing that optic. The men now closed, but broke away again almost directly. Some smart fibbing, in which neither could claim an advantage, ensued. The round was brought to a close by some rapid exchanges, after which the Proser went down. Betting 6 to 4 on the Dullard.
Round III., and last.—Proser's right peeper badly swollen, the Dullard gory, and a bit groggy, but still smiling. Proser opened with a ricochet, which did great execution, but was countered heavily when he attempted to repeat the trick, the Dullard all but knocking him off his legs with a fifty-pound salmon. After some slight exchanges they began a hammer-and-tongs game, in which Proser scored heavily. Dullard, however, pulled himself together for a final rush. They met in the middle of the ring, and both fell heavily. As neither was able to rise, the fight was drawn. Both men were heavily damaged, and were carried away with their jaws broken.
There you have the story. The actual result was that these two ponderous bores all but did one another to death. So exhausted were they by the terrible conflict, that our comfort was not again disturbed by them during this particular visit. We were lucky, though at first we scarcely saw it, in getting two evenly matched ironclad bores together. If we had had only one, the matter would have been far more difficult.
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Goosey, Goose, Uganda, With whom will you wander, With the English, with the French? Or with King MWANGA?
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ADVICE GRATIS (by a Bill Poster).—"Invest all your savings in hoardings."
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THE COMPLIMENT OF COIN.
(AN EXTRACT FROM MR. PUNCH'S PURELY IMAGINARY CONVERSATIONS.)
SCENE—Interior of a Palace. Emperor and Empress discovered discussing the former's tour in foreign parts.
Emperor (finishing a good story). So after I had made a hearty meal off the bread-and-milk, I gave the old woman a note for five thousand thalers, and told her to buy a three-sous portrait of myself so that she might see the Sovereign that she had saved from starvation. Ha! ha! ha! Wasn't it amusing?
Empress (smiling). Very, dear; but wasn't it a little expensive? Surely you could have got the bread-and-milk for a smaller sum?
Emperor. Of course I could! But then, don't you see, it made me popular. It's in all the papers, and reads splendidly!
Empress. Yes, of course, dear. By the way, I found this volume (producing book bound in velvet with real gold clasps) in your overcoat. May I peep into it?
Emperor (doubtfully). I don't think you will find it particularly interesting. I have just jotted down my petty cash disbursements.
Empress (opening book and glancing at contents). Dear me! Why the total amounts to L15,000! I see it's put in English money.
Emperor. Yes, it saves trouble. When I am travelling I get rather confused with all coinage save that of Mother's Fatherland.
Empress. But surely L15,000 is a lot to expend upon extras?
Emperor. Depends on the view you take of things. I had a lot of things to buy.
Empress. But surely this must be wrong? Shoeblack fifty guineas!
Emperor (lightly). No, I think that's all right. You see, the fellow, after he had cleaned my boots, suddenly recognised me, called me Sire, and sang the "Wacht am Rhein." I couldn't, after that, give him less.
Empress. Well, you know best, dear; but I should have thought you could have got your boots cleaned for rather less!
Emperor. Possibly; but I should have lost the story. And you know it reads so well.
Empress. And here's another rather big item. L800 for a London cabman!
Emperor. I consider that the cheapest item in the lot. He wanted more!
Empress. And here are several items of seventy pounds apiece. What were they for?
Emperor. Oh, nothing in particular. Little girl picked up my handkerchief, and a little boy asked me for a kite. Was obliged to give them each a bundle of tenners. It would have been so mean if I had given them less. But there, I told you you wouldn't find the book at all interesting. If you will pass it to me, I will lock it up.
Empress. Oh, certainly, dear. (Gives up volume.) And now, darling, I am going to ask you a favour. You never saw such a pet of a coronet as they have at Von ——'s. Now I want you to buy it for me particularly.
Emperor (embarrassed). Certainly, dear—but you know, we are not too well off.
Empress. Oh, but it is simply charming. Rubies round the edge, and a cross of brilliants and emeralds. And, really, so cheap. They only want L100,000 for it!
Emperor. Very nice indeed; but just at this moment it would be a little inconvenient to produce so large a sum.
Empress. Large sum! Why, the rubies alone are worth all the money.
Emperor. Yes, I know, dear. And now I must hurry away; duty, my love, comes before pleasure. See you soon.
[Exit hurriedly, to attend a review. In the meanwhile, Coronet remains in the jeweller's shop-window. Curtain.
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AN EVENING FROM HOME.
There used to appear daily—and it may be appearing daily now, for aught I know, only, speaking on oath, I haven't lately noticed it—a question addressed by Everybody in General, or by Nobody in Particular to Everybody Else, which took this form: "Where shall we dine to-day?" I forget what the answer was, but, as a rule, the domesticated man, with a good cook in his own kitchen, could answer it offhand by saying to himself, "'Where shall we dine to-day?' Why, at home, of course—where better?—and catch me moving out afterwards." But, if he were contemplating the unpleasant certainty of having post-prandially to leave his hearth and home in order to visit some theatre, opera, or concert, then it might occur to him that he could do the thing well, and give his party a novel treat, if, in French fashion, he took them somewhere to dine, previous to doing their play. Thus it occurred to Yours truly, Y TI-BULLUS BIBULUS, a day or two ago, when, dressed in his classical evening Togaryii in a Currus Pulcher (with a Cursor alongside anticipating denarii, and risking the sharp rebuke of a probable Cursor inside the vehicle) he was passing the Oxford Music Hall, and a brightly decorated Restauration caught his observant eye. Was it new, or was it a Restauration restored? Its name, in large letters, "FRASCATI." This seemed at once to lend itself to a familiar jingle, and I found myself humming,—
Oh, did you never hear of Frascati? 'Tis not far from Rome, eh my hearty? The place looks so fine, I will there go and dine, And I'll bring with me all of my party!
Horatian inspiration! I like to find out a new dining-place. Years ago, by the merest accident sailing north, I discovered the Holborn, and, since then, how many have not blessed the Columbus Holbornius? I do not ask how many have done so. "That is another story." Since then, the taste for dining domestically away from home has come considerably into fashion. The Ladies like it, and the Law allows it. (Quotation from Merchant of Venice adapted to occasion—Restaurant edition—Portia for two.) It is a cheerful change, it assists the circulation of coin, it is an aid to the solution of the problems of Bimetallism, it rejuvenesces the home-fire-sider, it developes ideas, restores the balance of temper; and, if only the dinner be good, everybody goes away delighted,—guests are satisfied, the host is pleased, the waiter smiles on the tipper, the tipper on the manager, the manager on the proprietor, and all is Joy and Junketing! Judge my surprise, when to me, TIBULLUS, entering Frascati, and as Cicerone, informing my friends (all eager and hungry, and therefore unwilling to dispute) how Frascati was the ancient Tusculum, a well-known face appears welcoming us with smiles. It is Signor HAMPI, better known as Mr. HAMP of Holborn. "Salve!" quoth I, as TIBULLUS. "The same to you, Sir," responds HAMPIUS. "Now," said my friend WAGSTAFFIUS, without whom no party is complete, "Now we shall be Hamp-ly satisfied."
The arrangement of the Frascati is a novelty; it is all so open and, though there are plenty of staffers about, not in the least stuffy. It would take a considerable crowd to overcrowd the place and to demoralise the troops of well-disciplined waiters, all under the eye of the ever-vigilant generalissimo of the forces, who in his white waist-coat, black tie, and frock-coat of most decided cut and uncompromising character—there is much in a frock-coat and something too in the wearing of it—is here, there, and everywhere, and only waiting till the last moment, and the right one, when the banquet is ended, to give the word of command, "Charge!"—and the charge (decidedly moderate and previously named in the carte du jour) is received with satisfaction and defrayed with delight.
I have only one suggestion to make, and that affects the music not the meal. Let the music be adapted to the dishes; and not only should the course of time be considered as it progresses, but also the time of the course. For example,—who that has an ear for music can swallow oysters deliberately and sedately while the band is playing a mad galop? Let there be something very slow and pianissimo for the hors d'oeuvres: something gentle and soothing for the oysters; there can be an indication of heartiness in the melody that ushers in the soup, as though giving it a warm welcome. There should be a mincing minuet-like movement for the entrees, a sparkling air for the champagne, and something robust for the joint. A sporting tune for the game: sweet melody for the sweets, and a grand and grateful Chorale—a kind of thanksgiving service as it were—when the last crumb and the last bit of cheese have been swept away.
After this to The Pavilion, in plenty of time to hear the ubiquitous ALBERT CHEVALIER singing his celebrated coster-songs. Signor COSTA was a well-known name in the musical world some years ago; CHEVALIER Coster is about the best-known now. These ditties are uncommonly telling; the music is so catching and so really good. Then his singing of the little Nipper "on'y so 'igh, that's all," has in it that touch of nature which makes you drop the silent tear and pretend you are blowing your nose. Capital entertainment at the "Pav." Ingress and egress is not difficult, and the place doesn't become inconveniently hot. The sweet singer with the poetic name of HERBERT CAMPBELL is very funny; which indeed he would be, even if he never opened his mouth. Such a low comedian's "mug!"
But of all the pretty things to be seen in its perfection here (I have seen it elsewhere, and was not so struck by it) is the Skirt Dance. It is "real elegant," graceful, and picturesque. What a change has come over the Music-hall entertainment since—since—"since even I was a boy!" says the Acting Manager, Mr. EDWARD SWANBOROUGH,—evergreen in the true sense of the word. A vast improvement, no doubt of it. But, with such good amusement for the public, why on earth do the Music-Halls want to do "Dramatic Sketches"? And, if they do them, then, judging by what I saw at the "Pav," I am fain to ask again, why, in the name of SHAKSPEARE, and the musical glasses, should the theatres object?
Does anyone seriously think that Othello or King Lear is wanted at the Music-Halls, or that SHERIDAN'S School for Scandal wouldn't empty any Music-Hall of its patrons? It is the "variety" which is the charm of the Music-hall show, and if any one part of the variety show is a bit too long—longer let us say, than the time it takes to smoke one-eighth of a fair-sized cigar and to drink half a glass of something according to taste—then the audience will pretty plainly express what they understand by Variety, what they have paid to see, and what they mean to have for their money; and if they don't get it there, they'll go somewhere else where it will be given them. The summing-up, Gentlemen, is that, if you want a pleasant evening, you can't do better than dine at Frascati and afterwards patronise the "Pav." Such is the opinion of
Y TI-BULLUS BIB.
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NOTICE.—Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS., Printed Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no case be returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed Envelope, Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.