OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
January 21, 1893.
CONVERSATIONAL HINTS FOR YOUNG SHOOTERS.
(With an Excursus on Beaters.)
Of the many varieties of keeper, I propose, at present, to consider only the average sort of keeper, who looks after a shooting, comprising partridges, pheasants, hares, and rabbits, in an English county. Now it is to be observed that your ordinary keeper is not a conversational animal. He has, as a rule, too much to do to waste time in unnecessary talk. To begin with, he has to control his staff, the men and boys who walk in line with you through the root-fields, or beat the coverts for pheasants. That might seem at first sight to be an easy business, but it is actually one of the most difficult in the world. For thorough perverse stupidity, you will not easily match the autochthonous beater. Watch him as he trudges along, slow, expressionless, clod-resembling, lethargic, and say how you would like to be the chief of such an army. He is always getting out of line, pressing forward unduly, or hanging back too much, and the loud voice of the keeper makes the woods resound with remonstrance, entreaty, and blame, hurled at his bovine head. After lunch, it is true, the beater wakes up for a little. Then shall you hear WILLIAM exchanging confidences from one end of the line to the other with JARGE, while the startled pheasant rises too soon and goes back, to the despair of the keeper and the guns. Then, too, are heard the shouts of laughter which greet the appearance of a rabbit, and the air is thick with the sticks that the joyous, beery beaters fling at the scurrying form of their hereditary foe. It is marvellous to note with what a venomous hatred the beater regards the bunny. Pheasant or partridge he is careless of; even the hare is, in comparison, a thing of nought, but let him once set eyes on a rabbit, and his whole being seems to change. His eye absolutely flashes, his chest heaves with excitement beneath the ancient piece of sacking that protects his form from thorns. If the rabbit falls to the shot, he yells with exultation; if it be missed, an expression of morose and gloomy disappointment settles on his face, as who should say, "Things are played out; the world is worthless!"
All these characteristics are the keeper's despair; though, to be sure, he has staunch lieutenants in his under-keepers; and towards the end of the day he can always count on two sympathising allies in the postman and the policeman. These two never fail to come out in the afternoon to join the beaters. It is amusing to watch the demeanour of the beaters in the policeman's presence. Some of them, it is possible, have been immeshed by the law, and have made the constable's acquaintance in his professional capacity. Others are conscious of undiscovered peccadilloes, or they feel that on some future day they may be led to transgress rules, of which the policeman is the sturdy embodiment. None of them is, therefore, quite at his best in the policeman's presence. Their attitude may be described as one of uneasy familiarity, bursting here and there into jocular nervousness, but never quite attaining the rollicking point. You may sometimes take advantage of this feeling to let off a joke on a beater. Select a stout, plethoric one, and say to him, "Mind you keep your eye on the policeman, or he'll poach a rabbit before you can say knife." This simple inversion of probabilities and positions is quite certain to "go." A hesitating smile will first creep into the corners of the beater's eye. After an interval spent in grappling with the jest, he will become purple, and finally he will explode.
During the rest of the day you will hear him repeating your little pleasantry either to himself or to his companions. You can keep it up by saying now and then, "How many did the constable pocket that last beat?" (Shouts of laughter.) Thus shall your reputation as a humorist be established amongst the beating fraternity—("that 'ere Muster JACKSON, 'e do make a chap laugh, that 'e do," is the formula)—and if you revisit the same shooting next year, a beater is sure to take an opportunity of saying to you, with a grin on his face, "Policeman's a comin' out to-day, Sir; I'm a goin' to hev my eye tight on 'im, so as 'e don't pocket no rabbits," to which you will reply, "That's right, GEORGE, you stick to it, and you'll be a policeman yourself some day," at which impossible anticipation there will be fresh explosions of mirth. So easily pleased is the rustic mind, so tenacious is the rustic memory.
But the head-keeper recks not of these things. All the anxiety of the day is his. If, for one reason or another, he fails to show as good a head of game as had been expected, he knows his master will be displeased. If the beaters prove intractable, the birds go wrong, but the burden of the host's disappointment falls on the keeper's shoulders. His are all the petty worries, the little failures of the day. The keeper is, therefore, not given to conversation. How should he be, with all these responsibilities weighing upon him? Few of those who shoot realise what the keeper has gone through to provide the sport. Inclement nights spent in the open, untiring vigilance by day and by night, a constant and patient care of his birds during the worst seasons, short hours of sleep, and long hours of tramping, such is the keeper's life. And, after all, what a fine fellow is a good keeper. In what other race of men can you find in a higher degree the best and manliest qualities, unswerving fidelity, dauntless courage, unflinching endurance of hardship and fatigue, and an upright honesty of conduct and demeanour? I protest that if ever the sport of game-shooting is attacked, one powerful argument in its favour may be found in the fact that it produces such men as these, and fosters their staunch virtues. Think well of all this, my young friend, and do not vex the harassed keeper with idle and frivolous remarks. But you may permit yourself to say to him, during the day, "That's a nice dog of yours; works capitally."
"Yes, Sir," the keeper will say, "he's not a bad 'un for a young 'un. Plenty of good blood in him. His mother's old Dido. I've had to leave her at home to-day, because she's got a sore foot; but her nose is something wonderful."
"Did you have much trouble breaking him?"
"Lor' bless you, Sir, no. He took to it like a duck to the water. Nothing comes amiss to him. You stand there, Sir, and you'll get some nice birds over you. They mostly breaks this way."
That kind of conversation establishes good relations, always an important thing. Or you may hint to him that he knows his business better than the host, as thus:—
"I must have been in the wrong place that last beat. Not a single bird came near me."
"Of course you were, Sir. I knew how it would be. I wanted you fifty yards higher up, but Mr. CHALMERS, he would have you here. Lor, I've never known birds break here. Now then, you boys, stop that chattering, or I sends you all home. Seem to think they're out here to enjoy theirselves, instead of doing as I tells 'em. Come, rattle your sticks!"
Thus are the little beaters and the stops admonished.
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FROM A MODERN ENGLISH EXAMINATION-PAPER
Which young Mr. D. Brown went in to floor, but which floored him.
Question. What is the meaning of "to deodorise." Give the derivation.
Answer. "To deodorise" is to gild the statue of a heathen deity. Literally "to gild a god." This compound verb is derived from "Deus," dative "Deo," and the Greek verb "[Greek: dorixo], i.e. to gild."
Q. What is a "Manicure"? Give its derivation.
A. It is another term for a Mad Doctor. Its derivation is obvious—"Maniac Cure." The last syllable of the first word being omitted for the sake of convenience in pronunciation.
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THE COMING OF THE BOGEYS.
I had a Dream, which was not all a Dream. (By Somnus and old Nox I fear 'twas not!) Common-sense was extinguished, and Good Taste Did wonder darkling on the verge of doom. I saw a Monster, a malign, marine, Mysterious, many-whorled, mug-lumbering Bogey, Stretched (like Miltonian angels on the marl) In league-long loops upon the billowy brine. Beshrew thee, old familiar ocean Bogey, Thou spectral spook of many Silly Seasons, Beshrew thee, and avaunt! Which being put In post-Shakspearian vernacular, means Confound, you, and Get out!!! The monstrous worm Wriggling its corkscrew periwinkly twists Of trunk and tail alternate, winked huge goggles Derisively and gurgled. "Me get out, The Science-vouched, and Literature-upheld, And Reason-rehabilitated butt Of many years of misdirected mockery? You ask omniscient HUXLEY, cocksure oracle On all from protoplasm to Home Rule, From Scripture to Sea Serpents; go consult Belligerent, brave, beloved BILLY RUSSELL! Verisimilitude incarnate, I Scorn your vain sceptic mirth! Besides, behold The portent riding me, as Thetis rode The lolloping, wolloping sea-horse of old! Is it less likely that I should remain Than she return?" Then, horror-thrilled, I gazed At her, the Abominable, the Ogreish Thing; The soul-revolting, sense-degrading She, Who swayed and sickened, scourged and scarified The unwilling slaves of fashion and discomfort A quarter of a century since! She sat, A spectral, scraggy, beet-nosed, ankle-less, Obtrusive-panted, splay-foot, slattern-shape, Of grim Medusa-faced Immodesty, Caged cumbrously in a stiff, swaying, swollen, Shin-scarifying, hose-revealing frame Of wide-meshed metal, like a monster mousetrap— Hideous, indecent, awkward! Oh, I knew her— This loathly revenant, revisiting The glimpses of the moon. She shamed my sight, And blocked my way, and marred my young men's art, Twenty years syne and more. 'Twas CRINOLINA, The long-abiding, happily banished horror We hoped to see no more. Shall she return To vex our souls, unsex our wives and daughters, And spoil our pictures as she did of old? Forbid it, womanhood and modesty! And if they won't, let manhood and sound sense Arise in wrath and warn the horror off, Ere she effect a lodgment on the limbs Of pretty girls, or clothe our matron's shapes With shame as with a garment. "Get thee gone!" Cries Punch, and shakes his gingham in her face. "The Silly Season's Nemesis we may stand, But thou, the loathlier Bogey? Garn away! (As 'LIZA said to amorous 'ARRY 'AWKINS) Avaunt, skedaddle, slope, absquatulate, Go, gruesome ghoul—go quickly—and for ever!!!"
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MRS. R.'S nephew read out an announcement to the effect that Messrs. MACMILLAN were about to publish Lord CARNARVON'S "Prometheus Bound." "Indeed!" exclaimed Mr. R.'s excellent aunt. "That's very vague. Doesn't it say how it's to be bound?—whether in calf or vellum?"
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["There is scarcely one of us who does not violate some rule of English grammar in every sentence which he speaks."—Daily News.]
Never we dreamt of this horrible blundering! Up to the present, we cheerfully spoke Quite unaware of our errors, nor wondering How many rules in each sentence we broke.
Now we can scarcely pronounce the admission that Grammar and parsing we freely neglect, Scarcely can dare to make humble petition that Someone or other will cure this defect!
Often we err in the use of each particle, Seldom observe where our adverbs belong, Wholly misplace the indefinite article, In our subjunctives go hopelessly wrong!
What can we do? Will the Daily News qualify As an instructor in matters like these? How can we quickest successfully mollify Those whom our errors must sadly displease?
Scarce can we venture the veriest platitude, May not its grammar be shamefully weak? You, Mr. Punch, can rely on our gratitude, If you will tell us—how ought we to speak?
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A DARK SAYING.—Had HILDA DAWSON—who, as reported in the D. T. one day last week, was haled before Sir PETER EDLIN—been a character in some play of SHAKSPEARE'S, to whom the Bard had given these words to utter—"And this is what you call trial by Jury! Why they are not fit to try shoemakers!" what voluminous suggestions and explanations of the meaning of this phrase would not the learned Commentators have written! What emendations, alterations, or amendments of the text would not have been proposed! Perhaps, some hundreds of years hence, this dark saying of HILDA DAWSON'S will engage the close attention of some among the then existing learned body of Antiquaries.
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"SOUNDS RATHER LIKE IT."—In France the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has gone to the DEVELLE.
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THE HAYMARKET HYPATIA.
That I never could struggle through CHARLES KINGSLEY'S novel Hypatia, is, as far as I am personally concerned, very much in favour of my pronouncing an unbiassed opinion on the "new classical play" ("Historical," if you like, but not "classical," and there is not the slightest chance of its becoming a "classic") written by G. STUART OGILVIE, entitled Hypatia, and "founded on KINGSLEY'S celebrated Novel," which "celebrated Novel" is, for me at least, not only "celebrated," but "remarkable," as being one of the very few works of fiction (excepting always the majority of KINGSLEY'S works) completely baffling my powers of endurance.
Mr. STUART OGILVIE'S Drama may be a clever adaptation of a story difficult to adapt; but that his play is powerfully dramatic, even when it arrives at what, as I conceive, was intended to be its strongest dramatic situation in the Second Scene of the Third Act, no one but an Umbra (to be "classical"), a sycophant, a "creature," or a contentious noodle, could possibly assert. Yet, as a series of tableaux vivants, illustrating scenes in the public and private life of Issachar the Jew,—and that Jew Mr. BEERBOHM TREE, so artistically made up as to be absolutely unrecognisable by those who know him best,—the action is decidedly interesting up to the end of the Third Act. After that, all is tumult. The gay and seductive Orestes, Prefect of Alexandria (carefully played by Mr. LEWIS WALLER) is slain, anyhow, all higgledy-piggledy, by the Jew, Issachar, whose seductive daughter Ruth (sweetly and gently represented by Miss OLGA BRANDON) this gay LOTHARIO of a Prefect has contrived, not, apparently, with any great difficulty, to lead astray, or, to put it "classically," to seduce from the narrow path of such virtue as is common alike to Pagan, Jew, and Christian. As for handsome Hypatia herself, magnificent though Miss JULIA NEILSON be as a classic model for a painter, she is nowhere, dramatically, in the piece, when contrasted with the unhappy Jewish Family of two. It is the story of Issachar, his daughter and Orestes, that absorbs the interest; and, as to what becomes of Cyril and his Merry Monks, of Philammon (which, when pronounced, sounds like a modern Cockney-rendering of PHILIP HAMMOND, with the aspirate omitted and the final "d" dropped), of old Theon (who never appears but he is immediately sent away again, and therefore might be termed "The-on-and-off-'un"), and, finally, of even that charming specimen of a Girton Girl-Lecturer on Philosophy Hypatia herself, well—to adopt HOOD'S couplet about the Poor in London,—
"Where they goes, or how they fares, Nobody knows and nobody cares."
The entire interest is centred in Issachar, and had the author devised some strong dramatic climax (such as occurs in that play of SARDOU'S where SARAH B. stabs PAUL BERTON) with which to finish the piece, when the Prefect should have been killed either by Issachar or by Miriam (SARDOU would have made Issachar's daughter the heroine—the SARA BERNHARDT of the piece) then, in the penultimate Act, anything tragic, or otherwise, might picturesquely and appropriately have happened to the classic Girton girl, Hypatia, and Master Phil 'Ammon, the good young Monk so inclined to go wrong, to the great contentment of the audience.
Mr. TREE makes a thoroughly oriental type of Issachar, and it is within an ace of being a grand impersonation. What that ace exactly is, it is somewhat difficult to say, but what is wanting is wanting in his great scene with his daughter. If the dramatist had given him such another final chance as I have already suggested, the character might have been dramatically perfected in Mr. TREE'S hands. As it is, both by author and actor it is left "to be finished in our next."
Mr. TERRY is good as the amatory Monk, and Miss JULIA NEILSON is statuesquely graceful as Hypatia. If I say "she is making strides in her profession," I must be taken to allude not to her vast improvement histrionically, but to the long steps which she takes across the stage.
The costumes are admirable, especially that of Issachar, on whose attire the Messrs. NATHAN as Israel-lights-and-leaders must be considered high authorities.
Mr. ALMA TADEMA, R.A., is responsible for the designs of the scenery by Messrs. JOHNSTONE, HANN, HALL, and HARKER. [Great chance for 'ARRY 'ere! "Scenery by 'ANN—a lady artist of course—then 'ALL and then 'ARKER, from designs by HALMA TADEMA." "I s'pose HALMA'S a artistic shemale," 'ARRY would say: "cos I know as there's another HALMA on the stage, leastways on the Music 'All stage, and she's HALMA STANLEY."] Whatever the designing ALMA may have done, I cannot say much for the reproduction of his favourite game of marbles. The "marble halls" lack polish; but the Market Place, The Court of Hypatia's House, Issachar's snuggery, and a Street in Alexandria, are highly effective pictures. But I should like to know if in Mr. ALMA TADEMA'S design for the Monk's dress, Mr. FRED TERRY found a small black and silver crucifix of very modern workmanship suspended from the girdle, as this religious emblem did not come into use until a much later date. By the way, ecclesiastical ornaments must have been cheap in those days to warrant Bishop Cyril (strongly rendered by Mr. FERNANDEZ) flaunting about the streets of Alexandria in such rainbow robes as, in a later age, would have led people to imagine that he had just broken out of the stained glass window of a Gothic Cathedral. Two thousand years hence the New Zealand dramatist may represent the Archbishop of CANTERBURY as walking about London in his lawn sleeves with coronation cope and mitre, or Cardinal HERBERT VAUGHAN as wearing his scarlet hat and robes, and riding in a Hansom cab, having been unable to pick up his own Cardinal's train. All this were hypercriticism, but that the name of ALMA TADEMA, R.A., is a public guarantee for academical accuracy.
Anyhow, Hypatia, if not "a famous victory"—is at least a fine spectacle, with some fine acting in it, but this is mainly confined to Mr. BEERBOHM TREE. As the very heavy father, Mr. KEMBLE has not been allowed half a chance. Why should he not alternate characters with Mr. FERNANDEZ, and for three nights a week appear as Cyril the Bishop, while FERNANDEZ would be Hypatia's parent who has to grovel on the steps while his highly educated child is lecturing, who has to comfort her in her terror, and be turned out neck and crop whenever nobody on the scene wants him, which by the way, happens rather frequently.
The music to a Drama is generally a minor affair, but, in this instance, it is both major and minor, and has been specially written for the piece by Dr. HUBERT PARRY. As this play is not an "adaptation from the French," the music of this Composer is the only article de Parry about the piece, and, being strikingly appropriate, it proves an attraction of itself. It is conducted by the Wagnerian ARMBRUSTER, who, with his Merry Men, is hidden away under the stage, much as was the Ghost of Hamlet's father whom Hamlet irreverently styled "Old Truepenny." Altogether a notable piece. Prosit!
THE B IN A BOX.
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CHEAP LAW IN THE CITY.
Probable Development of the new "London Chamber of Arbitration," for the economical Settlement of Disputes without recourse to Litigation
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The one volume entitled My Flirtations, written by MARGARET WYNMAN (so like a real name!), and published by Messrs. CHATTO AND WINDUS, consists of short stories setting forth the varied experiences of an uncommonly 'cute young lady. It is a literary portfolio of lively sketches of men and women, "their tricks and their manners," all most amusing, and told in a naturally easy and epigrammatic style. Some of the characters are evidently intended for portraits, which anyone living in the London world could easily label—(which by changing "a" into "i" would be the probable consequence)—were he not baffled by the art of the skilful writer, and by the equally skilful illustrator—our Mr. PARTRIDGE—who have, the pair of them, combined to throw the reader off the right scent. The one mistake—not a fatal error, however,—which this authoress has made, is that of getting herself engaged in the last story. Not married, fortunately; only engaged. Consequently the match can be broken off. Let her be "engaged" on another volume. She can be married at the end of volume three, and may give us her experiences as the wife of Mr. Whoever-it-may-be. Will the clever authoress accept this well-meant hint from her literary and critical admirer, THE GALLANT BARON DE B.-W.?
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ROBERT WITH THE CHILDREN AT GILDHALL.
Well, I don't quite kno as I quite hunderstans what's bin a goin on in our old Sacred Gildall, or weather it's all xactly what sum of our werry sollemest Holldermen, or ewen our werry anshent Depputys, might admire; but I must say, for myself, that too thowsand more owdashus boys, and larfing gals, I never seed nor herd than I did on Toosday larst, for about fore hours, in old Gildall aforesaid!
Jest to show how the werry best, aye and the werry wisest on us, gets carried away by the site of swarms of appy children a enjoying thereselves, as praps they never did afore, I feels myself compelled to state, that our good kind Lord MARE was so delighted to see sich swarms of appy children all round him and looking up to him so appy and so grateful, that, jest afore it was time to go, he acshally told 'em a most wunderful story all about two great Giants as lived in the rain of King LUD, on Ludgate Hill. I was that estonished when he begun, as to amost think that GOG and MAGOG, as stood on both sides of him, would begin to grin, but that was, of course, only a passing delushun. But didn't all the children lissen with open mouths when the Lord MARE told 'em that one of the Giants had too heads, and the other three! and that a very good boy named JACK managed to kill 'em both!
And so all was ended but the cheering, and that the pore delited children kept up till they all marched out, smiling and appy, and wishing as such glorious heavenings was in store for them in grand old Gildall for many, many years to come, and with sitch a Lord Mare to see as everything was done as it had been done that jolly heavening.
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DWARFS.—Of course there are dwarfs. Lots of 'em all over the world. At least no experienced traveller ever yet made a stay in any country without becoming acquainted with plenty of people who were "uncommonly 'short' just at that moment,"—"that moment" being when the impecunious traveller wanted to obtain a slight loan. The author of Borrow in Spain would have been an authority on such a subject.
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TRANSFORMATION SCENE.—Dear Sir, I see by the paper that "Mr. EDMUND YATES has been made a J. P." Odd! What does "J. P." stand for? Oh, of course, "JOE PARKINSON." But does "E. Y." on becoming "J. P." cease to be "MOI-MEME"?—Yours, M. MUDDLE.
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THE LATEST TRADE OUTRAGE!
(Scene from the New and Unpopular Sensation Drama of "The Monopoly-Monster and the Maid Forlorn.")
["A large number of complaints have reached the Board of Trade with regard to increase in the new rates adopted by Railway Companies as from January 1 ... among other complaints of increase of rates for the conveyance of milk, grain, hay and other agricultural produce, firewood, live stock, coal and coke, iron and hardware."—Sir COURTENAY BOYLE to the Secretary of the Railway Companies Association.]
Oh! who'll bring a rescue or two to the help of a much-injured Maid, Thus cruelly bound hand and foot, and by miscreants ruthlessly laid On the lines, in the Pathway of Peril? The Monster snorts nearer! Bohoo! 'Tis a Melodrame-crisis of danger!—and who'll bring a rescue or two?
The Maid (British Trade), has been harried and hunted by villains and robbers, By bold, bad, black-masked foreign foes, and by home-bred monopolist jobbers. In town or in country alike the poor dear has been chevied and chased. By rivals deceitful and dark, and by kindred deboshed and debased.
She once was a proud reigning beauty, who now is a maid all forlorn, As hopeless and helpless, and tearful as RUTH midst the alien corn. Or poor Proserpine snatched by dark Pluto afar from the day and the light; Torn away—like this maiden—from Ceres, and wrapt—like this maiden—in night.
Perchance she was just a bit haughty in virginal safety and pride; No rival too near her high throne, Prince FORTUNIO aye at her side; But now a poor PERDITA, prone at the feet of her foes she lies bound, And that melodramatic thud-thud draweth near—a most menacing sound!
Ah! sure 'twas enough to deprive the Maid of Protection, her trust! But this is the last straw of burden that bows her poor back to the dust. That Monster should be her sworn henchman, and now she lies bound in his path! Oh! where is the hero who'll rush to her rescue, in chivalrous wrath?
Such champion always turns up—on the stage! CHAPLIN, WINCHILSEA, BOYLE, HOWARD-VINCENT & Co., here's your chance. Shall she be that big Monster's mere spoil? Ah! Surely the Maid is too lovely to leave to the murderous crew Of the Monster Monopoly's myrmidons! Who'll bring a rescue or two?
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Her First Appearance.
"What! a new Magazine!" just so, First number, January, "Oh! So far? yet farther sure will go The Mother."
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"SCHOOL ATTENDANCE IN BAD WEATHER."—"SANDFORD" writes of this to the Times. Why doesn't MERTON—our TOMMY MERTON—speak? And what has the venerated Mr. BARLOW got to say?
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"THE SITUATION IN EUROPE."—Monte Carlo (i.e., for the winter months).
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A is an Afghan, whose knife bids one quail; B is a Boer, who made England turn pale; C is a Chinaman, proud of his tail; D is a Dutchman, who loves pipe and ale; E is an Eskimo, packed like a bale; F is a Frenchman, a Paris fidele; G is a German, he fought tooth and nail; H is a Highlander, otherwise Gael; I is an Irishman, just out of gaol; J is a Jew at a furniture sale; K is a Kalmuck, not high in the scale; L is a Lowlander, swallowing kale; M a Malay, a most murderous male; N a Norwegian, who dwells near the whale; O is an Ojibway, brave on the trail; P is a Pole with a past to bewail; Q is a Queenslander, sunburnt and hale; R is a Russian, against whom we rail; S is a Spaniard, as slow as a snail; T is a Turk with his wife in a veil; U a United States' Student at Yale; V a Venetian in gondola frail; W Welshman, with coal, slate,—and shale; X is a Xanthian—or is he too stale?— Y is a Yorkshireman, bred by the Swale; Z is a Zulu;—and now letters fail.
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THE LATEST PARADOX.—JOHN STRANGE WINTER is taking Summer-y proceedings against the Coming Crinoline. Henceforth she will be always known as "the WINTER of our Discontent."
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"GOOD BUS."—From the Times money article we learn that PARR'S Banking Co., Limited, is paying 19 per cent. The price of the shares, therefore, must be considerably "above par." Capital this, for Ma'!
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THE LAY OF THE (MUSIC-HALL) LAUREATE.
Ah! Who talks of the reversion of the Laurel, Of your MORRISSES, and SWINBURNES, and that gang? I could lick them in a canter—that's a moral! I'm the most prolific bard who ever sang. Of the modern Music Hall I'm chosen Laureate, My cackle and my patter fill the Town; I'm more popular than BURNS, a thing to glory at; My name is PINDAR BOANERGES BROWN.
You have never heard it mentioned? Highly probable A hundred duffers flourish on my fame; But the Muse is so peculiarly rob-able, And I am very little known—by name? But ask the Big BONASSUS—on the Q. T.— Or ask the Sisters SQUORKS, of P. B. B. And they'll tell you Titan Talent, Siren Beauty, Would be both the frostiest fizzles but for Me!
Gracious Heavens! When I think of all the cackle I have turned out for the heroes of the Halls!!! No wonder that the task I've now to tackle— Something new and smart for TRICKSY TRIP!—appals. I have tried three several songs—and had to "stock 'em," She's imperative; her last Great Hit's played out, And she wants "a new big thing that's bound to knock 'em." And "she'd like it by return of post!"—No doubt!!!
She does four turns a night, and rakes the shekels; She sports a suit of sables and a brougham. Five years ago a lanky girl, with freckles, First fetched 'em with my hit, "The Masher Groom." And now her limbs spread pink on all the posters, And now she drives her pony-chaise—and Me! Poet-Laureate? I should like to set the boasters The tasks I have to try for "TRICKSY T."
I am vivid, I am various, I am versatile; I did "Up to the Nines" for DANDY DOBBS, And "Smacky-Smack" for "TIDDLUMS,"—Isn't hers a tile?— "Salvation Sue"—the stiffest of stiff jobs— For roopy-raspy-voiced and vain "OEOLIA," Who dubs herself the SCHNEIDER-PATTI BLEND; And now, a prey to stone-broke melancholia, I sit and rack my fancy, to no end!
My ink runs dry, my wits seem gone wool-gathering; And yet I know that over half the town My "stuff" the Stars are blaring, bleating, blathering, Sacking a tenner where I pouch a crown. I know that my—anonymous—smart verses, Are piling oof for middlemen in sacks, My verse brings pros. seal-coats and well-stuffed purses My back care bows, whilst profits lade their backs.
If you'll show me any "Poet" more prolific, If you'll point to any "patterer" more smart, One whose "patriotic" zeal is more terrific, Who can give me at snide slang the slightest start, Who can fit a swell, a toff, a cad, a coster, At the very shortest notice, as I can, Why, unless he is a swaggering impostor, I will gladly hail him as the Coming Man!
But he'll have to be a dab at drunken drivel, And he'll have to be a daisy at sick gush, To turn on the taps of swagger and of snivel, Raise the row-de-dow heel-chorus and hot flush. He must know the taste of sensual young masher, As well as that of aitch-omitting snob; And then—well, I'll admit he is a dasher, Who, as Laureate (of the Halls) is "on the job!"
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THE MAN FROM BLANKLEY'S.
A STORY IN SCENES
SCENE I.—Breakfast-room at No. 92a, Porchester Square, Bayswater. Rhubarb-green and gilt paper, with dark olive dado: curtains of a nondescript brown. Black marble clock on grey granite mantelpiece; Landseer engravings; tall book-case, containing volumes of "The Quiver," "Mission-Work in Mesopotamia," a cheap Encyclopedia, and the "Popular History of Europe." Time, about 9:45. Mr. MONTAGUE TIDMARSH is leaving to catch his omnibus. Mrs. T. is at her Davenport in the window.
Mr. T. (from the door). Anything else you want me to do, MARIA?
Mrs. T. Don't forget the turbot—and mind you choose it yourself—and the lobster for the sauce—oh, and look in at SEAKALE'S as you pass, and remind him to be here punctually at seven, to help JANE with the table, and say I insist on his waiting in clean white gloves; and be home early yourself, and—there, if he hasn't rushed off before I remembered half——(Mr. T. re-appears at the door.) What is it now, MONTAGUE? I do wish you'd start, and have done with it, instead of keeping JANE at the front door, when she ought to be clearing away breakfast!
Mr. T. Very sorry, my love—I was just going, when I met a Telegraph-boy with this, for you, I hope there's nothing wrong with Uncle GABRIEL, I'm sure.
Mrs. T. Don't stand there holding it—give it to me. (She opens it.) "Regret impossible dine to-night—lost Great Aunt very suddenly.—BUCKRAM." How provoking of the man! And I particularly wished him to meet Uncle GABRIEL, because he is such a good listener, and they would be sure to get on together. As if he hadn't all the rest of the year to lose his Aunt in!
Mr. T. That's BUCKRAM all over. Never can depend upon that fellow. (Gloomily.) Now we shall be thirteen at table!
Mrs. T. Nonsense, MONTAGUE—we can't be! Let me see—Uncle GABRIEL and Aunt JOANNA, two; the DITCHWATERS, four; BODFISHES, six; TOOMERS, eight; Miss BUGLE, nine; Mr. POFFLEY, ten; CECILIA FLINDERS, eleven, ourselves—we are thirteen! And I know Uncle will refuse to sit down at all if he notices it; and, anyway, it is sure to cast a gloom over the whole thing. We must get somebody!
Mr. T. Couldn't that Miss—what's her name? SEATON—dine, for once?
Mrs. T. The idea, MONTAGUE! Then there would be one Lady too many—if you can call a Governess a Lady, that is. And I do so disapprove of taking people out of their proper station.
Mr. T. I might wire to FILLETER or MAKEWAYT—but I rather think they're both away, and it won't do to run any risk. Shall I bring home STERNSTUHL or FEDERFUCHS? Very quiet, respectable young fellows, and I could let one of 'em go off early to dress.
Mrs. T. Thank you, MONTAGUE—but I won't have one of your German clerks at my table—everyone would see what he was in a minute. And he mightn't even have a dress-suit! Let me think ... I know what we can do. BLANKLEY supplies extra guests for parties and things. I remember seeing it in the paper. We must hire a man there. Go there at once, MONTAGUE, it's very little out of your way, and tell them to be sure and send a gentlemanly person—he needn't talk much, and he won't be required to tell any anecdotes. Make haste, say they can put him down to my deposit account.
Mr. T. I don't half like the idea, MARIA, but I suppose it's the only thing left. I'll go and see what they can do for us.
[He goes out.
Mrs. T. I know he'll make some muddle—I'd better do it myself! (She rushes out into the passage.) JANE, is your Master gone? Call him back—there, I'll do it. (She calls after Mr. T.'s retreating form from the doorstep.) MONTAGUE! never mind about BLANKLEY'S. I'll see to it. Do you hear?
Mr. T.'s Voice (from the corner). All right, my love, all right! I hear.
Mrs. T. I must go round before lunch. JANE, send Miss SEATON to me in the breakfast-room. (She goes back to her desk; presently Miss MARJORY SEATON enters the room; she is young and extremely pretty, with an air of dejected endurance.) Oh, Miss SEATON, just copy out these menus for me, in your neatest writing, and see that the French is all right. You will have plenty of time for it, as I shall take Miss GWENDOLEN out myself this morning. By the way, I shall expect you to appear in the drawing-room this evening before dinner. I hope you have a suitable frock?
Miss Seaton. I have a black one with lace sleeves and heliotrope chiffon, if that will do—it was made in Paris.
Mrs. T. You are fortunate to be able to command such luxuries. All my dresses are made in the Grove.
Miss Seat. (biting her lip). Mine was made when we—before I—— [She checks herself.
Mrs. T. You need not remind me quite so often that your circumstances were formerly different, Miss SEATON, for I am perfectly aware of the fact. Otherwise, I should not feel justified in bringing you in contact, even for so short a time, with my relations and friends, who are most particular. I think that is all I wanted you for at present. Stop, you are forgetting the menus.
[Miss SEATON collects the cards and goes out with compressed lips as JANE enters.
Jane. Another telegram, if you please, M'm, and Cook would like to speak to you about the pheasants.
[Illustration: THE POET LAUREATE OF THE MUSIC HALLS. A STUDY. [See p. 33.
Mrs. T. Oh, dear me, JANE! I wish you wouldn't come and startle me with your horrid telegrams—there, give it to me. (Reading.) "Wife down, violent influenza. Must come without her, TOOMER." (Resentfully.) Again! and I know she's had it twice since the spring—it's too tiresomely inconsid—no, it isn't—it's the very best thing she could do. Now we shall be only twelve, and I needn't order that man from BLANKLEY'S, after all. Poor dear woman, I must really write her a nice sympathetic little note—so fortunate!
SCENE II.—Mrs. TIDMARSH'S Bedroom—Time 7:15. Mrs. T. has just had her hair dressed by her Maid.
Mrs. T. You might have given me more of a fringe than that, PINNIFER. You don't make nearly so much of my hair as you used to! (PINNIFER discreetly suppress the obvious retort.) Well, I suppose that must do. I shan't require you any more. Go down and see if the lamps in the drawing-room are smelling. (PINNIFER goes; sounds of ablutions are heard from Mr. T.'s dressing-room.) MONTAGUE, is that you? I never heard you come in.
Mr. T.'s Voice (indistinctly.) Only just this moment come up, my dear. Been putting out the wine.
Mrs. T. You always will leave everything to the last. No, don't come in. What? How can I hear what you say when you keep on splashing and spluttering like that?
Mr. T.'s Voice (from beneath a towel.) That dozen of Champagne Uncle GABRIEL sent has run lower than I thought—only two bottles and a pint left. And he can't drink that Saumur.
Mrs. T. Two bottles and a half ought to be ample, if SEAKALE manages properly—among twelve.
Mr. T.'s V. Twelve, my love? you mean fourteen!
Mrs. T. I mean nothing of the sort. Mrs. TOOMER'S got influenza again—luckily, so of course we shall be just twelve.
Mr. T.'s V. MARIA, why didn't you tell me that before? Because I say, look here!——
[He half opens the door.
Mrs. T. I won't have you coming in here all over soap, there's nothing to get excited about. Twelve's a very convenient number.
Mr. T.'s V. Twelve! Yes—but how about that fellow you told me to order from BLANKLEY'S? He'll be the thirteenth!
Mrs. T. MONTAGUE, don't say you went and ordered him, after I expressly said you were not to mind, and that I would see about it myself! You heard me call after you from the front door?
Mr. T.'s V. I—I understood you to say that I was to mind and see to it myself; and so I went there the very first thing. The Manager assured me he would send us a person accustomed to the best society, who would give every satisfaction. I couldn't be expected to know you had changed your mind!
Mrs. T. How could you be so idiotic! We simply can't sit down thirteen. Uncle will think we did it on purpose to shorten his life, MONTAGUE, do something—write, and put him off, quick—do you hear?
Mr. T.'s V. (plaintively). My love, I can't write while I'm like this—and I've no pen and ink in here, either!
Jane (outside). Please, Sir, SEAKALE would like a word with you about the Sherry you put out—it don't seem to ta—smell quite right to him.
Mrs. T. Oh, never mind Sherry now. (She scribbles on a leaf from her pocket-book.) Here, JANE, tell SEAKALE to run with this to BLANKLEY'S—quick.... There, MONTAGUE I've written to BLANKLEY'S not to send the man—they're sure to keep that sort of person on the premises; so, if SEAKALE gets there before they close, it will be all right.... Oh, don't worry so.... What? White ties! How should I know where they are? You should speak to JANE. And do, for goodness sake, make haste! I'm going down.
Mr. T. (alone). MARIA! hi.... She's gone—and she never told me what I'm to do if this confounded fellow turns up, after all! Hang it, I must have a tie somewhere!
[He pulls out drawer after drawer of his wardrobe, in a violent flurry.
* * * * *
THE RAILWAY SERVANT'S VADE MECUM.
(For Use in the Training School when the proposed Institution has been established.)
Question. What are the duties of a Porter?
Answer. To move passengers' luggage with the greatest possible expedition.
Q. Is there any exception to that general rule?
A. Yes, when the passenger is late, and there seems some doubt about the bestowal of a tip.
Q. How would he inform passengers that they have to change carriages for, say, Felstead, Margate, Highgate, Winchester and Scarborough.
A. By shouting, in one word, "Change-Felgit-Highchester-and-Boro!"
Q. If he had to call a Cab for an elderly Lady with three boxes, or a military-looking Gentleman with an umbrella, which passenger would first claim his attention?
A. Why, of course, the Captain.
Q. What is the customary charge of a Guard for reserving a compartment?
A. A shilling for closing one of the doors, half-a-crown for locking both.
Q. What are the duties of a Booking-Clerk?
A. If very busy, a Booking-Clerk may walk leisurely from one pigeon-hole to the other, and ask the passenger to repeat his demand, and then take some time in finding the required amount of change. If the passenger is irritable, and in a hurry, the Clerk can stop to explain, and remonstrate. In the case of an inquiry as to the progress of the trains, a busy Booking-Clerk can refer impatient passengers to the time-table hanging outside the station.
Q. When is a Booking-Clerk usually very busy?
A. When he happens to be in a bad temper.
Q. Ought a suggestion from the Public that the Public will write to his superiors have any effect upon a Booking-Clerk?
A. Not if the Public has just taken an express ticket in London either for Melbourne, Australia, or Timbuctoo.
Q. What is the best course for the Public to pursue under such circumstances?
A. To bear it either with or without a grin.
Q. Is there much point about a Pointsman?
A. Not after he has been on duty some eighteen hours.
Q. And does his application of the break suggest anything?
A. Yes, a break in this catechism. More on a future occasion.
* * * * *
A SUGGESTION FOR PANTOMIME.—The good Fairy, Sir DRURIOLANUS, triumphing over Evil Spirits, King Fog, Frost ("he's a nipper, he is!"), and Slush, the obstructionists. Evil Spirits disappear, Good Spirits prevail, and, as Kate Nickleby's lunatic lover observed, "All is gas and gaiters!" Messrs. DAN LENO and CAMPBELL are doing great business just now. Vive DRURIOLANUS PANTOMIMICUS IMPERATOR!
* * * * *
A Meeting between the "Unemployed and Mr. GLADSTONE." What a contrast!
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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.