Transcriber's Note: The short pieces "Suppositious" and "Quite Another Thing" were moved from their original positions accompanying the illustration "The Political Fancy Dress Ball at Covent Gardent" to the end, to prevent the "Essence of Parliament" article from being broken in the middle.
OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
March 4, 1893.
A BALLAD OF WEALTHY WOOING.
Ah, why, my Love, receive me With such tip-tilted scorn? Self-love can scarce retrieve me From obloquy forlorn; 'Twas not my fault, believe me, That wealthy I was born. Of Nature's gifts invidious I'd choose I know not which; One might as well be hideous As shunn'd because he's rich. O Love, if thou art bitter, Then death must pleasant be; I know not which is fitter, Not I—(or is't "not me"?)
'Tis not that thou abhorrest, Oh, maid of dainty mould! The foison of the florist, The goldsmith's craft of gold; Nor less than others storest Rare pelts by furriers sold; But knowing I adore thee, And deem all graces thine, My choicest offerings bore Just because they are mine. Then, smile not, dear deceiver, Keep no kind word for me, Enough that the receiver Is thou—(or is it "thee"?)
When others come, how trimly Thou sett'st thy chatty sail! For me alone all dimly Seemeth the sun to fail. Young FRANK he frowneth grimly, And thou turn'st haughty pale. 'Tis not the taint of "City," For here be scores who sport Their Mayfair manners pretty In Cop-the-Needle Court. Ah, chill me not so coolly, A Croesus though I be— The one who loveth truly I swear is I—(or "me"?)
But what availeth grammar As taught in straitest schools— The hammer of the Crammer Forging Bellona's tools— Or words that humbly stammer Regardless of the rules? And what availeth fretting, Deep sighs, and dwindling waist, And what the sad forgetting Of culinary taste, Since still thou fondly spurnest Five hundred thou. (or "thee."?) And on young STONEY turnest Love's eye—(or is it "me"?)
* * * * *
SAD CONCLUSION.—To be virtuous for virtue's sake, without prospect of reward, this is to be good for nothing!
* * * * *
* * * * *
"I do not wish to make a joke," Mr. INDERWICK, Q.C., is reported to have observed in the course of examining the plaintiff in a divorce case, but, in spite of this pathetic announcement, which passed without any comment from the Judge, the ruling passion was too strong for him, and he continued, "but Artists' models are not always models of virtue, are they?" Not new, not by any means new, of course, but he had apologised beforehand, and he couldn't help it; as the weak heroine, who yields to strong temptation in a French novel or play, usually acknowledges "C'etait plus fort que moi." The inflammable materials being in close contact, there was nothing to 'inder-wick from catching fire when in proximity to a spark of genius. Yet so powerfully had the eminent Queen's Counsel's prefatial apology affected the court and the audience, that his saucy sally—(for there is life in the old sally yet, whether in our alley or in this Court)—was not followed by the usually reported "laughter." How was it received? Doubtless with decorous silence and downcast eyes, expressive of sweet memories of dear old jokes made long ago, in happier and brighter times, "when all the world was young."
When a good old joke is again brought into Court with or without apology, instead of its being received with respectful silence, we should like to read that it was greeted with "tears" or "sobs." It would, indeed, not be unbecoming on the part of the Judge if, unable to control his emotion, he had immediately arisen, and, in broken judicial utterances, had adjourned the Court for the day, out of respect to the memory (for old jokes) of the Leader or Junior who had apologetically perpetrated one. Should Mr. INDERWICK try this again, the new effect, as above suggested, may be obtained to the satisfaction of all parties, except, maybe, those to the suit, "whom," as one learned brother might say with another, and still profounder apology, "such a proceeding would not suit at all."
* * * * *
LINES ON A LIFE-BELT.
(After Waller's "On a Girdle.")
["According to the evidence of the only two witnesses who sailed with her, no Life-belts were forthcoming, when the Life-belts might have given many of those on board a last chance of life."—The "Times" on the Inquiry into the Wreck of the "Roumania."]
Shipwrecked Passenger loquitur:—
That which would give me ease of mind, And hope of life, I cannot find. No monarch but would give his crown For a Life-belt, when ships go down.
It would relieve extremest fear, That circlet light, that cork-lined sphere; But in dark nooks below above, The careless crew such trifles shove!
A narrow compass, and yet there Dwells safety, but for want of care. Give me the Belt, which can't be found, And I might live, who must be drowned!
* * * * *
A certain noble Lord was supposed to have somewhat disparaged one of his horses on sale by describing him as "a Whistler." JAMES MCNEILL, "of that ilk," was of opinion that this description, supposing the animal to have been "a genuine Whistler," ought to have increased its value considerably.
* * * * *
The Musical Coster Craze.
Customer. Have you a copy of COSTA'S Eli?
Shopman. No, Sir; we have none of CHEVALIER'S songs.
* * * * *
SUPERLATIVE!—The appointment of Mr. DUFF, M.P., to be Governor of New South Wales is a "positive" good, seeing that they might have appointed "a comparative Duffer."
* * * * *
LOVELY CHEESE! OR, A WELSH RARE-BIT.
AIR—"Lovely Night." Dissenting Anti-Church Mice sing:—
Lovely Cheese! Lovely Cheese! To Church Mice thou art most dear, But do please, but do please Let us also share thy cheer: For though our "freedom" gladsome seems, Too oft it brings poor fare alone; But aided by what haunts our dreams, How many joys Church Mice have known! Lovely Cheese! Lovely Cheese! Long we've yearned to draw more near To the ease, toothsome ease, Of the dwellers in thy sphere!
Lovely cheese! Lovely cheese! When a mouse thy cover nears, Growling fit his heart to freeze, Some keen-claw'd (Church) cat appears. But now—that knife portends a boon; Monopoly slice by slice 'twill slay. We, too, may get—let it be soon!— Our bit of cheese, some day, some day! Lovely Cheese! Lovely Cheese! When that cover's lifted clear, With what ease, with what ease We poor mice may share Church cheer!
* * * * *
There was a feeling of uncertainty in the House of Commons last Wednesday, as to what should be taken to constitute "A Religious Body." Not to go harking back to the Rev. SYDNEY SMITH'S definition of "a Corporation"—which, without speaking it profanely, cannot be here quoted without offending eyes polite,—one may say that "A Religious Body" is a contradiction in terms. It is simply "A Soul-less Thing."
* * * * *
"What's the name of that German Beer?" asked Mrs. R., "I rather think it is Pil-sen-ner. It sounds to me more like medicine."
* * * * *
THE MAN FROM BLANKLEYS.
A STORY IN SCENES.
SCENE XI.—The Drawing-room. Mrs. GILWATTLE is still unable to express her feelings by more than a contemptuous glare.
Uncle Gabriel. My—ah—love, you didn't hear me. I was saying I've almost prevailed on his Lordship——
Mrs. Gilwattle (becoming articulate). His Lordship, indeed! If that's a Lord, I don't wonder you're such a Radical!
Uncle Gab. Why—why—what's come to you, JOANNA? My Lord, I hope you'll excuse her—she's a little——
Mrs. Gil. Fiddlesticks! You've been made a fool of, GABRIEL! Can't you see for yourself that he's neither the manners nor yet the appearance of a real nobleman—or anything but what he is?
Uncle Gab. (dropping Lord S.'s arm). Eh? If you're not a Lord, Sir, what else are you?
Lord Strath. (wavering between wrath and amusement). Afraid I can't enlighten you—I'm extremely curious to know myself.
Mrs. Tid. (distractedly). Oh, Aunt, it wasn't my fault, really! MONTAGUE would have him! And—and we sent round to say he wouldn't be required—we did indeed! Please, please don't tell anybody!
Mrs. Gil. (rigidly). It is my duty to let everyone here know how disgracefully we have been insulted to-night, MARIA, and might have gone away in ignorance, but for that innocent child—who has done nothing, that I can see, to deserve being shaken like that! I'm not going to sit by in silence and see a man passed off as a Lord who is nothing more nor less than one of the assistants out of BLANKLEY'S shop, hired to come and fill a vacant seat! Yes, GABRIEL, if you doubt my word, look at MARIA—and now ask that young man to dine!
[Profound sensation among the company.
Uncle Gab. I—ah—withdraw the invitation, of course—it is cancelled, Sir, cancelled!
Feminine Murmur. I had a feeling, the moment he came in, as if—so thankful now I didn't commit myself by so much as—ah, my dear, it all comes from a desire to make a show!—&c., &c.
Uncle Gab. It's the bare-faced impudence of coming here on false pretences, that I can't get over. Come, Mr. SHOPWALKER, COUNTERJUMPER, or whatever you really are, what have you got to say for yourself?
Lord Strath. Say? Why——
[He struggles to control his countenance for a moment, until he is convulsed at last by irrepressible laughter.
All (except the TIDMARSHES). He's laughing—positively laughing at Us! The brazenness of it!
Lord Strath. (regaining composure). I—I'm awfully sorry, but it struck me suddenly as so——After all, the joke is only against myself. (To himself.) Must try and get my unfortunate hostess out of this fix—not that she deserves it! (Aloud.) If you will kindly let me explain, I think I can——
Mr. Tid. (suddenly). Oh, hang explaining! It's all out now, and you'd better leave it there!
Lord Strath. I can't, indeed. I must make you all understand that this well-meaning lady with the highly-developed sense of duty has done our host and hostess a grave injustice, besides paying me a compliment I don't deserve. I'm sorry to say I can't claim to be half as useful a member of the community as any of the very obliging and attentive gentlemen in Mr. BLANKLEY'S employment. If I'm anything, I'm a—an Egyptologist, in an amateur sort of way, you know. A—in fact, I'm writing a book on Ancient Egypt.
The Others. A literary man! As if that made it any better!
Lord Strath. I merely mention it because it led me to write to Mr. CARTOUCHE—whom I happened to hear of as a famous collector—and ask to be allowed to call and inspect his collection. Mr. CARTOUCHE (who lives, I believe, at No. 92, next door) very kindly wrote, giving me leave, and inviting me to dine at the same time, and—I know it was unpardonably careless of me—but somehow I came here instead, and, Mr. and Mrs. TIDMARSH being both too—er—hospitable to undeceive me, I never found my mistake out till too late to put it right, without inconveniencing everybody. That's really all.
[Uneasy reaction in the company.
Uncle Gab. (pompously). Ha—hum—no doubt that puts a somewhat different complexion on the case, but it doesn't explain your conduct in calling yourself Lord STRATHFOOZLEUM, or whatever it was.
Lord Strath. I think you mean STRATHSPORRAN. I did call myself that, because it happens to be my name.
Mrs. Tid. (passionately). I don't believe it.... I can't. If it is, why did Miss SEATON call you "Mr. CLAYPOLE"?
Lord Strath. I beg your pardon—CLAYMORE. Because, when we last met, I was DOUGLAS CLAYMORE, with no prospect whatever, as it seemed then, of being anything else.
Mrs. Tid. (faintly). Then he really is—Oh!
[She sinks on the couch, crushed.
Uncle Gab. Ha, well, my Lord, I'm glad this little misunderstanding is so satisfactorily cleared up, and if I may venture to hope for the honour of your company,—shall we say Friday wee——(Lord S. looks at him steadily.) Oh, if your Lordship has some better engagement, well and good. Makes no difference to me I assure you. JOANNA, our carriage must be here by now, say good-bye and have done with it! Good-night, MARIA, I'll see you don't expose me to this again!
SCENE XII.—The guests have all taken leave with extremely frosty farewells; Mr. TIDMARSH is downstairs superintending their departure. GWENNIE has been pardoned on Lord S.'s intercession, and dismissed, in much bewilderment, to bed. Mrs. TIDMARSH and Lord STRATHSPORRAN are alone.
Mrs. Tid. (hysterically). Oh, Lord STRATHSPORRAN, when I think how I——What can I ever say to you?
Lord Strath. Only, I hope, that you forgive my stupidity in blundering in here as I did, Mrs. TIDMARSH.
Mrs. Tid. It was a good deal your fault. If you had only said who you really were—if my husband had not been idiot enough to misunderstand—if Miss SEATON had been more straightforward, all this would never——!
Lord Strath. We were all the victims of circumstances, weren't we? But I, at least, have no reason to regret it. And, if I may ask one last indulgence, will you—a—let me have an opportunity of saying good-bye to Miss SEATON?
Mrs. Tid. She, she doesn't deserve—Oh, I don't know what I'm saying. Of course, Lord STRATHSPORRAN, anything, anything I can do to——I will send her down to you, if you will only wait. She shall not keep you long!
Lord Strath. (alone, to himself). It's an ill wind, &c. I shall have MARJORY all to myself, now! To think that—but for a lucky blunder—I should be spelling out scarabs and things on the wrong side of that wall at this moment, and never dreaming that MARJORY was so——Ah, she's coming! (Miss SEATON enters, looking pale and disconsolate.) MARJORY, you've no idea what you've missed! I must tell you—it's too good to lose. What do you think all these good people have been taking me for? You'll never guess! They actually believed I was hired from BLANKLEY'S! Give you my word they did!... Why don't you laugh, MARJORY?
Miss Seaton (faintly). I—I am laughing. No, DOUGLAS, I'm not. I can't; I haven't the conscience to. Oh, I never meant you to know—but I must tell you, whatever comes of it! I believed it too, at first. (Tragically.) I did, DOUGLAS!
Lord Strath. Did you though, MARJORY? Then, by Jove, I must have looked the character!
Miss Seaton (timidly). I knew you—you weren't very well off, DOUGLAS, and so I fancied you might——Oh, I know it was hateful of me ever to think such a thing, but I did. And you can never really forgive me!
Lord Strath. Couldn't think of it! Shall I tell you something else, MARJORY? I've a strong impression that you will not be an inmate of this happy English household much longer.
Miss Seaton. I'm sure I shan't, from Mrs. TIDMARSH'S expression just now. But I don't care!
Lord Strath. Don't be reckless. How do you know there isn't a moral lion about? And where will you go next, MARJORY?
Miss Seaton (with a shrug). I don't know. I suppose to anybody who wants a Governess, and doesn't mind taking her without a reference, if there is such a person!
Lord Strath. Well, oddly enough, I fancy I know somebody who has been trying for a long time to find a young person of just your age and appearance, and might be induced to waive a reference on a personal interview. (Miss SEATON looks incredulous.)... MARJORY, don't you understand? If I hadn't been such a pauper, I'd have spoken long ago, when we were up in Scotland together, only it didn't seem fair then. I—I daresay I've no better chance now; but, at least, I've more right to speak than I had, and—and—will you have me, MARJORY? (She turns away.) I—I won't worry you, dear, if you really can't care about me in that way; but—but if you only could, MARJORY, even a little!
Miss Seaton. DOUGLAS!...
Same Scene—somewhat later.
Lord Strath. Not yet, MARJORY—I can't let you go just yet!... Must I, really? Before I've said half what I wanted!... Well—in one minute, then. And you're coming to my people as soon as you can get out of this, MARJORY; and I shall see you every day, till—till we shall never be separated any——Confound it!—who's that? [Mr. TIDMARSH enters suddenly.
Mr. Tid. Oh—er—Lord STRATHSPORRAN, sorry to interrupt you, but—hem—my wife, who's feeling too unwell to come down again, desires me to say that, in her opinion, Miss SEATON has been here quite long enough. [Miss SEATON escapes by the back drawing-room.
Lord Strath. I entirely agree with Mrs. TIDMARSH; but I am happy to say that Miss SEATON will not remain here very much longer, as she has just done me the honour of consenting to be my wife. Good night, Sir, and many thanks for a most er—eventful evening.
[He goes out.
Mr. Tid. (making an effort to escort him downstairs, but giving it up, and sitting down heavily on a settee instead). She'll be Lady STRATHSPORRAN! And I shall have to break it to MARIA—after she's just gone in and stuck a month's salary and immediate notice on her pincushion! Oh, lor—as if my poor wife hadn't trouble enough to bear as it was!
* * * * *
HARE-ING HIS DIPLOMACY.
As I have already conveyed, in a short note last week, the first night of the revival of Diplomacy, viz., Saturday, Feb. 18th, will be for ever memorable in the annals of the English stage in general, and in the reminiscences of Mr. JOHN HARE in particular, whenever he may choose to give them to the public. It will also afford matter for a brilliant chapter in the second or third series of Mr. and Mrs. BANCROFT'S On and Off the Stage. A great night, too, for the eminent adapters Messrs. SCOTT and STEPHENSON, once known as "the Brothers ROWE," who rowed in the same boat.
Never, at any time, has this version of the French play been so well cast as it is now at Garrick Theatre, though nervousness told on all the actors, especially on the elder ones, except, apparently, Mrs. BANCROFT, in whose performance there was hardly any trace of it, though once she nearly missed her cue while resting awhile at the back of the stage.
The part of Lady Henry Fairfax has literally nothing whatever to do with the plot, and were it not played as it is now, and played so capitally by Mrs. BANCROFT, it would be better, for an English audience at least, if omitted entirely, or reduced to a few appropriate lines in pleasant places. An English audience wants the story, when once begun, to go on without any break or interruption; and indeed, but for dramatic effect, an English audience is inclined to resent even the division of a piece into Acts, unless such arrangement is evidently necessitated by some heavy mechanical change of scenery.
So our audiences would decidedly prefer to have the roles of Lady Henry and The Marquise de Rio Zares (with her wearisome iteration about "Don ALVA," and played with rather too much accentuation by Lady MONCKTON) reduced to the smallest possible algebraic expression. Mr. BANCROFT was the same Count Orloff as he was years ago on the little stage of the old Prince of Wales's Theatre; his action more deliberate than when he was younger and more impetuous; his pauses for meditation longer by a thought or so than of yore; while in his tone and manner there was just a delicately-deepened colouring of the genuine original Bancroftian "Old Master." To Mr. BANCROFT, resuscitating our old courtly friend Count Orloff (now Count Orl-on-again), I would address the once well-known line from "Woodman, spare that Tree"—
"Touch not a single bow!"
ARTHUR CECIL, too, as Baron Stein, excellent, cela va sans dire; yet, somehow, his effects now seem to me to be laid on with too broad a brush, especially in the scene of his last appearance, where he makes a sly, and, for the Baron Stein, a rather over-elaborated and farcical attempt to recapture the letter he has just given up. FORBES ROBERTSON is good from first to last as the very weak-knee'd Julian Beauelere, sufficiently emotional in the strong situations, and never better than when the character itself is at its weakest; that is, in the one great scene with his wife.
The Algie Fairfax, of Mr. GILBERT HARE, was natural where the authors have allowed him to be natural, and best, therefore, in the last Act, where he has become a responsible personage in a diplomatic office. The "three-men-in-a-difficulty" scene went as well as ever, though, on the whole, played far too slowly, and with so much "suppressed force," that the celebrated "Monsieur! a vos ordres!" when Orloff suddenly breaks out into "the language of diplomacy," did not electrify the house. On the contrary, the audience took it very quietly, awaiting with some curiosity the interference of Henry Beauclerc. And it was at this point that the services of Mr. JOHN HARE in this character were invaluable. Never had his crisp incisive style produced more marked effect. It is a pity that in the Third Act, which being the weak point of the play requires all the strength of the actor to be seriously employed, Mr. HARE should have given a very light comedy, nay, even a farcical touch to his treatment of the "business" of sniffing the perfume—when he is literally "on the scent"—and to the momentous situation of his interview with Zicka. "Maintenant a nos deux!" Odd that, in his treatment of the strength of the scent, SARDOU should have shown the feebleness of his methods. Yet so it is. The play, at this point, being practically played out, he carelessly chucks the puppets into a corner. He has made his great scenes, and there's an end of it; let the weakest go to the wall.
Last of all to be mentioned with unstinted praise is Miss KATE RORKE. It is as well to remember throughout that we are witnessing a play of semi-French, not purely domestic English life, and the essence of the play could not be adapted to ordinary English notions. Julian Beauclerc, for example, in England, would never have challenged Count Orloff; he might have had "a deuce of a row with him"; et voila tout. Dora, as a young Irish girl, and not, as she is here, a half-breed, would never have threatened to suicide herself out of the window, though all else she, as a not particularly well-educated, but certainly very impulsive girl, might probably have done. Her great scene, where she bangs her fists against the looked doors, shrieking to her husband to return—an effect to be led up to and made within the space of a minute—was, if I may be allowed to say so, without being suspected of exaggeration, "just perfect." That some considerable time will elapse before the enthusiasm aroused by this revival dies out among the patrons and lovers of the Drama-at-its-best is the private opinion, publicly expressed, of Yours, truly, "THE ONE MAN SEEN" IN A BOX.
P.S.—When Diplomacy shall have accomplished its Hundred Nights, Mr. HARE can announce its Scentenary.
* * * * *
A LAST STRAW.
(By One who has to Make Bricks with It.)
["... It is rumoured that a measure will shortly be introduced for transferring the duties of Revising Barristers to Magistrates."]
Go, tell the budding blooms they'll ne'er have dew more, Go, doom the summer trees to languish leafless— A like effect this ultra-fiendish rumour Works in the drooping bosoms of the Briefless.
No more Reviserships! No paltry pittance For Themis' harvesters, too often sheafless! Is this the Constitution, once Great Britain's; This, your provision for the meekly Briefless?
As well proclaim to such as slave at Sessions, A world unburglarised and wholly thiefless, As rob the least rewarded of professions Of its ancestral comfort for the Briefless.
What's to become of us?—I speak for many, Idle and "Unemployed," but oh! not griefless; Please, please kind Government to spare a penny, Or yet Trafalgar Square shall rouse the Briefless.
Yes! Don't imagine, uncomplaining creatures Are quite disorganised and limp, and chiefless; Our jaw is one of our most drastic features, And Art is long, though Life perforce be Briefless.
* * * * *
* * * * *
"'BEN' TROVATO."—Odd that the French author of such truly Parisian stories as Coeur d'Actrice, L'Amour pour Rire, Flirtage, and others du meme genre, should be named "TILLET." There is a "du" before the French author's name, and it is of course proverbial that even a certain person in the Lower House shall have his "due." 'Tis just this, that, as far as name goes, differentiates him from t'other TILLET, "which his Christian name is BEN."
* * * * *
Further Fall in Irish Stocks.
(Vide Daily Papers, Feb. 24, 1893.)
Though mongers of panic, with malice satanic, The credit of Ireland be troublin', Home Rule cannot shake her, nor severance break her, So long as her capital's D(o)ublin.'
* * * * *
WEATHER FORECAST BY MRS. R.—"After this cold snowy weather," she observed, oracularly, "we may expect what they call 'equally obnoxious gales.'"
* * * * *
* * * * *
PUTTING IT PLEASANTLY.
[Mr. FOWLER announced the Government's willingness to appoint "a small Commission" to consider how the City could be amalgamated with the rest of London.]
"Dilly, Dilly, come and be killed!" Cried good Mrs. Bond to the ducks, in the story. Conceive with what rapture the victims were thrilled, And then picture the joy of our Turtle friends, filled With sweet premonitions of glory!
No little testudinate triflers are these, Unmindful of doom unforbodingly playing. The cook's charming manners are likely to please, But the flash of that knife Snapping Turtles might freeze, 'Tis so strangely suggestive of—slaying.
The civic Brer Terrapin certainly seems Extremely content with its time-honoured station. Our "young men" may dream highly optimist dreams, But Turtledom feareth what Turtledom deems The perils of—Unification!
"No compulsion, of course, only, darlings, you must!" That's their reading au fond of the C. C. Cook's attitude. "'Amalgamate' Us? Doosed cool, most unjust! Your offer inspires us with dismal distrust, Your 'Commission' won't move us to gratitude.
"We love the traditions of Old London Town, We Turtles. Pray leave us alone, and don't bother! Amalgamate? Nay, on the notion we frown! Like the lion and lamb we'll together lie down—— When the one is safe inside the other!"
Alack and alas! But the new Mrs. Bond Means mischief, we fear, with her kind "Dilly, Dilly!" And well may the Turtles droop fins and despond. When the snug isolation of which they're so fond, They must part with at last, willy-nilly!
* * * * *
(A long way after Lord Tennyson.)
["Lord WOLMER ... pointed out that Mr. GLADSTONE'S majority of forty would be wiped out if the 'paid mercenaries' of the Irish-American factions were withdrawn, or were even unable to keep up a steady attendance in the House of Commons."—The Times.
"The proposed Bill to Provide for the Payment of Members of Parliament ... is a bold attempt to transfer to the tax-payers of Great Britain the burden of supporting at Westminster the Irish Nationalist Members."—Ibid.]
Glory of Irishman, glory of orator, going it strong, Paid by his countrymen's mites from across the Atlantic Sea— Glory of PAT, to spout, to struggle, right Ireland's old wrong! Nay, but they aim not at glory, or Home Rule (swears WOLMER, swears he): Give 'em the glory of living on us and our L. S. D.!
The wages of swells are high; if high wage to a Minister's just. Shall we have the heart low wages to hard-worked M.P.'s to deny? Mercenaries? What then are those toffs in high places of trust, Who live on our golden largess? Will WOLMER inform us just why We may give wages to Wealth, and not unto Poverty?
* * * * *
"Down Among the Dead Men."
Silly spook-hunters show a wish to learn If (hic!) departed spiritsh e'er return! Did they, I should not have so dry a throttle, Nor would it cost so mush to—passh the bottle! Thersh no returning (hic!) of Spiritsh fled, And (hic!) "dead men"—worsh luck!—continue dead!
* * * * *
WANTED BADLY.—A "close time" for Autograph-hunting. Alas! the great—and even the not-so-very-great—are "made game of" all the year round.
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S CHILD'S GUIDE TO KNOWLEDGE.
Question. What is a holiday?
Answer. The hard work of that wearisome pursuit known as "pleasure."
Q. To whom are holidays profitable?
A. To the butchers, the pastry-cooks, and last, but certainly not least, the doctors.
Q. What are the ends of holidays?
A. Pills and Bills.
Q. What are pills?
A. The means by which fortunes are made, and in another sense Clubs kept select.
Q. And Bills?
A. Necessary evils laid on the table in the House of Commons, and thrown into the waste-paper basket in the domestic circle.
Q. What is Parliament?
A. An assembly of men in which hats are worn when the Members don't want to talk, and removed when they wish to show what amount of brains they may possess.
Q. What is a hat?
A. Generally a nuisance.
Q. What is cover?
A. The profit made by an Outside Broker out of his too confiding customers.
Q. What is the difference between an Outside Broker and an Inside Broker?
A. One is associated with the Stock Exchange, and the other is usually made comfortable with a pot of beer and a penny paper in the kitchen.
Q. What is a kitchen?
A. The source from which happiness or misery flows under the superintendence of a cook.
Q. Describe a cook.
A. As a food-preparer he, or she, is often an executioner.
Q. What is a century?
A. When obtained by a cricketer, an honour; when achieved by an individual, a distinction that must be shortly followed by extinction.
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OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.—JOHN OLIVER HOBBES'S last contribution to FISHER UNWIN'S charming Pseudonym Library is well named A Study in Temptations. It is not in itself an attractive title, but it accurately indicates the style of the book. It is a study for a novel rather than an accomplished work. One expects, my Baronite says, that in some leisure time the author will come back and finish it. It is well worth the labour, being full of living characters. Lady Warbeck in particular, is excellent, reminiscent of, and worthy of THACKERAY. The temptingly arranged pages glitter with shrewd thoughts admirably phrased. BARON DE B.-W.
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NO DOUBT AS TO THE ANSWER.—In the list of "Noblemen and Gentlemen" (invidious distinction, by the way) attending the Levee at St. James's Palace, whose name would be always found?—Why that of "JAMES O. FORBES, of Corse."
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NEW (NORWEGIAN) NONSENSE VERSE.
(After seeing Ibsen's Dramas.)
There was a young female in Norway, Who fancied herself in a poor way, Because she felt that Her sweet sex was squeezed flat, As though caught in cold Destiny's doorway.
This rebellious young woman of Norway Cried, "Man, in his coarse, brutal boor-way, Would wipe his big feet On my sex soft and sweet; But I'll be no mere mat in Man's doorway!"
And so this young woman of Norway Got IBSEN to write, in cock-sure way, Concerning her woes, And tip-tilted her nose, Crying, "Now womankind will have more way!"
But alas! this young woman of Norway Still feels that her soul's in a poor way, Because, in a play, She won't charm (so they say) Or draw crowds through the theatre's doorway.
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LATEST A PROPOS OF THE COVENT GARDEN FANCY DRESS BALLS.—"Of course," observed Mrs. R., "as ladies do not want to be recognised, they simply go in dummy noses."
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LEGAL QUERY.—When a leading Barrister gets someone to "devil" for him, may the latter's occupation be correctly described as "devilry"?
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AN ORLEANS PLUM.—Prince HENRI D'ORLEANS (says the Times) has just been rebuking the British people for the Chauvinism of their Oriental policy. Like the late M. MASSIE, whose shade he invokes, the young Prince seems to object to us, not because we commit any specific acts of hostility, but "because we look on in a most aggravating fashion." This is truly funny! One country may steal a—Tonkin, but another may not look over a boundary! Prince HENRY presents a peculiarly close parallel to KEENE'S infuriated (and incoherent) Paterfamilias, who angrily commanded his silent son "not to look at him in that tone of voice!"
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OPERA AND DISESTABLISHMENT.—La Damnation de Faust was produced most successfully at the Theatre at Monte Carlo. According to some stern moralists, who regard the Principality as a gambling-hell upon earth, this particular Opera was in a quite congenial atmosphere. Odd that in the two Principalities, Monte Carlo and Wales, the objects for Disestablishment should be so diametrically opposite. In Wales it is the particular Church, and at Monte Carlo it is the not-at-all-particular t'other word, unmentionable twice in the same paragraph to ears polite.
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NEW READING.—(By a Musical Lady Latinist.)—"Amor et melle et KELLIE est fecundissimus."
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, February 20.—New Chairman to-day; dropped in in most casual way. Wondered to see MELLOR wandering about Library and corridors at three o'clock in afternoon in full evening dress. "Going out to tea?" I asked, in my genial way.
"Order! order!" said MELLOR; "the Hon. Member will please give notice of that question." And he stalked off, trying to convey to the mind of his astonished interlocutor as near an approach to back view of COURTNEY as could be attained, without loan of late Chairman's famous summer pantaloons.
Everything explained later. Soon as questions over, Mr. G., rising and fixing glittering eye on SPEAKER, observed, "I beg to move that you, Sir, do now leave the Chair." Strangers in Gallery pricked up their ears; thought SPEAKER been doing something, and was now in for it. Right Hon. Gentleman offered no defence, but meekly left Chair. Mr. G. up again like a shot. "I beg to move that Mr. MELLOR do take the Chair," he said. Then MELLOR (fortuitously on spot in evening dress) stepped into Chair, where through six Sessions, COURTNEY has sat ruling the whirlwind out of order, and riding on the storm. All done in moment. Before you knew where you were, there was new Chairman of Committees proposing vote of L2,000 for rearrangement of rooms in Houses of Parliament. ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS rose, with evident intent of wanting to know "about these rooms," when irrepressible Mr. G. on his feet again. "I beg to move," he said, addressing Chairman, "that you do report progress, and ask leave to sit again."
Rather hard this on MELLOR. Just got into Chair; beginning to feel comfortable. Had proposed subject that might have agreeably occupied Committee for half an hour, when here comes the untameable, irresistible, peremptory Mr. G., and bundles him off. At first some signs of inclination to resist. New Chairman, having put question and declared it carried, should forthwith have stepped away from the table. MELLOR dropped into Chair again.
A moment of embarrassment. COURTNEY, looking critically on form below Gangway, grimly smiled. Members under Gallery tittered. Clerk nudged new Chairman in ribs. MELLOR sat on till, lifting his eyes, discovered Mr. G. meaningly regarding him. Knew he'd be up again if he didn't go; so with promising alacrity, hopped out of Chair, and disappeared from ken of House.
"Well, I don't know," said honest BILL CREMER. "Of course I don't hold with COURTNEY'S goings-on in the political field, and he can scarcely have expected us to keep him on in a snug berth. But this I will say, the manners of the new Chairman may, so to speak, be more MELLOR, but, as Chairman of Committees, COURTNEY'll be hard to beat."
Business done.—"Ban, ban, Caliban, got a new Premier, get a new man"—in Chairman of Committees.
Tuesday.—"The life of Her Majesty's Ministers," said the GRAND YOUNG GARDNER, moodily contemplating his spats, "is not an entirely happy one. I think I may add that is peculiarly the case with the MINISTER for AGRICULTURE. I must say, if the language, be not regarded as too flowery——"
"The MINISTER for AGRICULTURE," I said, desiring to put GARDNER at his ease, "would be fully justified in using cauliflowery language."
"Thank you. Then I'll say I go to bed with tuberculosis, and get up with HARRY CHAPLIN. The casual observer is, doubtless, aware that CHAPLIN has an eye. He sees it gleaming through the eyeglass. I feel it ever upon me. It is no slight thing to have succeeded a statesman of the calibre of CHAPLIN. But when he persistently sits opposite you, critically observing all your movements with that air of supreme intelligence which more than hints that, as MINISTER for AGRICULTURE, he was personally acquainted with every one of the cattle on a thousand hills, it is an ordeal that calls into play all the higher faculties of Man. As to the tuberculosis, it is always breaking out in unexpected places; people concerned insist upon regarding me as personally responsible for the visitation."
"But," I said, "you have your little holiday, Saturday to Monday, and get out to dinner on off-nights?"
"No," he sighed, "the MINISTER for AGRICULTURE has no off-nights; and if I go to church at the seaside on a Sunday, the Church-warden in passing round the collection-plate, is sure to steal into my hand a telegram, announcing a fresh outbreak of tuberculosis. As to going out to dinner——"
"Ministers," CAUSTON here observed, "never dine out when the House is sitting, unless commanded by the QUEEN, and Whips can't be spared even to dine with HER MAJESTY."
"As to going out to dinner," continued the GRAND YOUNG GARDNER, ignoring the interruption of his genial colleague, "it is impossible. It was said, I believe by one of themselves, 'The Guard dies, but never surrenders.' I may add, the MINISTER for AGRICULTURE lunches but never dines. What would become of the Government if a division-bell rang and he was found out of the way? Now to-night, you would say, looking at the business, I might well be spared. We commence with KIMBER on disparities in the representation of constituencies. ROLLIT will follow in the interests of undersized flat-fish. What has the MINISTER for AGRICULTURE to do with flat-fish of whatever size? you might ask. To the casual observer, nothing. But, looking ahead, as the responsibilities of my position make it necessary I should habitually do, I recall the fact that sometimes the placid pilchard is cast upon our shores in such quantities as to be carted away for manurial purposes. I am not intimately acquainted with the pilchard. It is not like the terrapin a land fish. I am not sure it is flat. Still I have a strong impression it is undersized. Therefore it might come within the purview of the discussion on ROLLIT'S motion. MUNDELLA, as you say, is in charge of the debate, and I might comfortably go to dinner. But what does MUNDELLA know of manure? No; the MINISTER for AGRICULTURE remains, and will dine,—if necessary die, at his post."
Business done.—8:10 P.M., House Counted Out, whilst GRAND YOUNG GARDNER is explaining how it was he couldn't go out to dinner.
Friday, 12:30 A.M.—Storm subsided. Magnificent whilst it lasted. GRANDOLPH in fine form. Mr. G., under his influence, renewed his youth like the eagle. At same time, though Welsh Church may be doomed, supply of cabs on night like this inadequate. Better be put in yard in good time. KENYON lingers on scene, still asking for Bill to be "taken de die in diem." "As if he were giving a prescription," said WILFRID LAWSON, back from Mansion House, where he has seen his portrait presented to Lady LAWSON. KENYON, with eye on Bishop of ST. ASAPH, up in Peers' Gallery, made desperate resistance to attack on Church. Bishop looked a little grave when KENYON dropped into metaphor.
"Bill like bagged fox, don't you know," said KENYON, nodding confidentially to SPEAKER. "Meant to run any way you like. What I mean to say is—" and here he turned for approval to Lord Bishop, consorting in Gallery with his fighting Dean, "this fox is so tainted with insincerity, or aniseed, that the hounds may just as well shut up their noses, and have nothing to do with it."
With this sage remark, and, something horribly like a wink at the Bishop, KENYON sat down. Up again later, when Closure moved. HICKS-BEACH, in temporary command of Opposition, deprecated resistance. But KENYON'S blood up. With strong effort of self-restraint he stopped himself midway in stentorian shout, "Yoicks!" dexterously turned the "Yo" into "No," and so saved himself from reproof of SPEAKER. Having got the "No!" he made most of it. Nothing left but to clear House for Division. Members near entreated KENYON to desist from further opposition. No use fighting Closure; only meant another Division and twenty minutes' prolongation of sitting. KENYON, with eye reverently fixed on Bishop, immovable. Others might falter on the way; might palter with the truth; might parlay with the enemy. KENYON would have no compromise, no surrender. "Yoic——" he meant "No! no!" and he shouted it too.
"Will the Hon. Member name another teller?" said the wary SPEAKER, when House cleared for Division. KENYON, evidently still seeing the fox steal away, Aniseed at the Helm and Insincerity at the Prow, almost stumbled on the name "YOICKS!" Again stopped himself just in time, and looked forlornly round; eye finally resting on Peers' Gallery. If only the Bishop could "tell" with him! That evidently out of order. Bishop belonged, to other House. No one volunteering to stand with him in the breach, and two tellers being a necessary preliminary to Division, KENYON bent his head in silent grief, and leave given to bring in Bill which ASQUITH remorselessly admitted was first step towards Disestablishment of Welsh Church.
Business done.—Welsh Church Suspensory Bill read First Time, by majority of 56, in excited House of 546 Members.
Friday Night.—After the storm, the customary calm. Spent night in discussing tempting themes of Local Taxation in London, and Superannuation of School-teachers. On latter subject that preux Chevalier, TEMPLE, laying down the lute, and leaving Amaryllis in the shade, delivered luminous speech; convinced CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER; made him promise to fork out.
Business done.—Much of useful kind.
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"SUPPOSITIOUS."—"Well," observed our old friend, who was discussing a recent case that had been headed "Romance in the Court of Chancery," "this all comes from bringing up a child that they pretended was their own. I mean what they call 'A Superstitious Child.'"
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QUITE ANOTHER THING.—With reference to a recent burglary at Sir THOMAS PIGOT'S, it is stated that "thieves were known to be in the neighbourhood, and the police have the matter in hand." Wouldn't it be better if they had the thieves there?
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