PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
VOLUME 104, MAY 6TH 1893
edited by Sir Francis Burnand
A PATHETIC LAMENT.
(Respectfully addressed to one of the Promoters of the Anti-Advertisement League by a Repentant Subscriber.)
BEING gifted with decent taste and a sensitive eye, I have never been much beguiled By advertisements, crude in colour, and ten feet high (Which, in fact, I rather reviled); And, as for gigantic signs swinging up in the sky— They drove me perfectly wild!
Then the lurid posters on paling and chimney-stack Were the terror of every town— Till a League was started by Mr. WILLIAM BLACK For the purpose of putting them down; And the sympathetic invited its efforts to back With an annual half-a-crown.
So I cheerfully paid the fee, and my name was enrolled, And a solemn oath I swore; (As is usual on such occasions,—or so I'm told) That, in future, no shop or store Which aggressively advertised any article sold I would patronise any more!
But that mad rash oath I recall with a vain regret, As I brood in bitter complaint, On the number of useful things that I'm dying to get— And my conscience tells me I mayn't! As their various virtues are vaunted in letters of jet, Or gaudier gilding and paint!
I should like to be clean if I could—but I cannot cope, Without saponaceous aid, With a shower of London smuts—and I'm losing hope, Getting daily a dingier shade, In a futile search for a genuine Toilet-soap That has shunned meretricious parade!
My villa would be—when it's furnished—the cosiest nest, But I fear it is doomed to be bare; For upholsterers' puffs are now a persistent pest, And so shamelessly each will declare His "Elegant Dining and Drawing-room suites" are the "cheapest and best"— That I daren't choose so much as a chair!
I would fly to the Ocean shore, or the Continent, To escape from a lot accurst; But here, by my own parole, I'm a prisoner pent! I must find a Company first That doesn't resort to obtrusive advertisement— And the Railway ones are the worst!
And now I'm developing symptoms of bodily ills, But, however sanguine I've felt, Of a cure from So-and-So's Syrup, Elixir, or Pills, Or his Neuro-magnetic Belt— Can I buy, when their fame is based on a stratum of bills Down every area dealt?
And even my path to a tranquil tomb is barred While that oath continues to bind; For a coffin and funeral car will be somewhat hard For a faithful adherent to find— When already each undertaker has left a card With his terms and "inquiries kind"!
So you see, Mr. WILLIAM BLACK, what a mess I've made! And you'll own my dilemmas are due To the oath which I took when I followed your precious crusade. If its terms were drafted by you, You may know some ingenious means their effect to evade— Kindly drop me a line if you do!
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TO BLACKHAM'S BOYS.
(The Australian Cricketers have arrived in England.)
WELCOME, JOHN MCCARTHY BLACKHAM, And his boys! 'Tis safe to back 'em, GIFFEN, BANNERMAN, and TURNER, To teach BULL—a cheerful learner! Austral Cricket "up to date." BRUCE and TRUMBLE—rather late— Owing to Lutetia's charms! Soon will join their chums in arms. LYONS and M'LEOD are ready; Dashing GEORGE and ALEC steady, And the others, prompt to pitch 'em (Stumps) on the old sward at Mitcham. Punch will wish you all fair weather, And fair luck! Now, all together!!! May we meet 'em oft—and whack 'em Fairly—these brave boys of BLACKHAM!
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HABEAS CORPUS SUSPENDED.—What is wanted just now is a "J bez Corpus" Act.
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AN AIRY NOTHING.—According to a Radical paper "the poor man's tobacco pays 10-1/2d. in the shilling to taxation, while the rich man's cigar pays only 1/2d. in the shilling to taxation." This may be very true, but is the question worth discussing? It is sure to end in smoke!
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HOW THEY ARE SERVED IN SERVIA.—Among some interesting items, a telegram informed us how "the Young King presided at a Council of Ministers. The ceremonial is the same as during his father's time, only two guards stand at the door, and refreshments are handed round at short intervals." The italics are ours. Rather! What a pleasant Cabinet Council. Why isn't the convivial plan adopted here? Mr. G., in the chair, would knock the table with the hammer every ten minutes and call out, "Give your orders, Gents! the Waiter's in the room!" A real Harmonious Meeting.
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THE FUTURE HOPED BY HAWKINS.
(A Cockney Carol by a cruelly-used Coster-Investor. With apologies to clever Albert Chevalier.)
["I desire to express, and I cannot do it too strongly, that there is no credit to be attached to the conduct of the directors in this particular case. It would be more satisfactory to me if directors had a proper sense of their responsibility. It is a cruel thing that people should be deluded out of their savings by high-sounding names. At the same time, there is no criminal law which will punish a director who scandalously neglects his duty, though he takes his money. I think the law might well be altered."—Mr. Justice Hawkins.]
AIR.—"The Future Mrs. 'Awkins."
I'm done, my little doner! I'm jest about a goner! My savings all U. P.! You always said I shouldn't; but resist big names I couldn't, No, they fairly nobbled me. Now Mister Justice 'AWKINS, 'onest 'ENERY HAWKINS, Some Directors' wool does comb. So 'elp me bob, I'm crazy. I must ha' bin a daisy! Won't it bust our 'umble 'ome! (Spoken or sung.) Won't it! O LIZER! Sweet LIZER! If I die in the Big 'Ouse, I'll only 'ave myself to blame. D'y'ear, LIZER? Dear LIZER! Fancy me bein' nicked by a 'igh-soundin' name!
At their sly board-meetin's wot must be their greetin's! Oh, they knows wot they're about! The public tin they close up, at us turns their nose up— Fox and Guinea-pigs—no doubt. I likes their style, dear LIZER. Ain't it a surpriser? Cop me on the 'op like this!!! Sure, I must be dreamin'! In my sleep start screamin'. There, don't cry, old gal! Let's kiss! (Spoken or sung.) Come now! O LIZER! Dear LIZER! If I lose yer luv by this I'll only 'ave myself to blame! D'y'ear, LIZER? Dear LIZER! 'Onest 'ENERY 'AWKINS sez it's a dashed shame!
Hartful as a "bonnet," you depend upon it, Mister Fox, with tail sly-curled! Jest about the sweetest, neatest, and completest Diddle in the wide, wide world. Wot sez 'ENERY 'AWKINS, 'onest 'ENERY 'AWKINS? Law wants alterin' right away. P'raps it may be one day, but were it next Monday, Me and you 'twould not repay! (Spoken or sighed.) Would it? O LIZER! Sweet LIZER! Strikes me wot is called the Law is often fuss, and fraud, and fudge! But dear LIZER! D'y'ear, LIZER? Mister Justice 'AWKINS is a fust-class Judge!
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QUERY AT SOME FASHIONABLE SEA-SIDE RESORT.—Do the unpleasant odours noticeable at certain times arise from the fact of the tide being high? If so, is the tide sometimes higher than usual, as the—ahem!—odours certainly are?
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SHAKSPEARIAN QUESTION TO A COMPANY.—(To be replied to in the negative.)—"What, are you HANSARD yet?" (Mer. of Venice, iv., 1.)
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SONG FOR AN EMPEROR AFTER A (FRIENDLY) VISIT TO CANOSSA.— "Be it ever so humbling, there's no place like Rome!"
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, April 24.—House nearly Counted Out just now, although it's Budget Night and usual Resolutions not yet passed. Catastrophe averted, and sitting continued. CHILDERS come back to old scene. Looking on from below Gallery, says it's the quietest Budget Night he remembers. Usually scene one of seething excitement. One or more Trades expect taxes affecting them will either go up or go down. Lobby besieged by anxious representatives. Nothing of the sort to-night. When SQUIRE of MALWOOD rose to expound his mystery, Benches not fuller than on ordinary night. Of those present there was no speculation in the eyes they turned upon the CHANCELLOR standing at table. The SQUIRE, a great Parliamentary artist, attuned voice and manner to prevailing tone; avoided anything approaching oratorical style; plain business statement to make; accomplished it in fine head-clerkly manner.
An unfailing tradition about Budget Speech is that it shall contain at least one quotation from the Classics. Mr. G. from year to year observed this custom with splendid effect. LOWE'S Ex luce lucellum is famous in history; nearly became the epitaph of a Ministry; certainly was the funeral wail over a carefully-constructed Budget. The SQUIRE to-night felt bound to observe tradition; but in accordance with his nature did it modestly, adventuring nothing more recondite than citation of the familiar line that serves to mark WREN'S resting-place in Westminster Abbey. TOMMY BOWLES took opportunity of remarking that he was "disappointed with the Budget." This mental attitude, though not quite unexpected, threw fresh gloom over proceedings, and talk, reduced to whisper, finally died out.
Business done.—Budget brought in.
Tuesday.—The young men behind PRINCE ARTHUR out on the war-path. "Tell you what," says LEGH of Lyme; "let's have BRYCE's scalp."
"By the Holy Roman Empire, yes!" cried GEORGE CURZON, to whom genial observation was addressed. "Let's get at him about his snubbing SEFTON, in matter of appointment of Lancashire County Magistrates. 'Twill serve a double debt to pay. We'll have a lark—'Quelles alouettes!' as it is written in the French translation of Great Expectations, in the passage reporting conversation between Pip and Joe Gargery. Moreover than which, we'll put a spoke in business arrangements of Mr. G., and stave off Home Rule by so long."
"Be careful," said PRINCE ARTHUR; "ticklish subject, you know. They're sure to have HALSBURY up, and there unquestionably was a degree of monotony about his appointments to Commission of Peace."
"Oh bother HALSBURY," said CURZON, to whom nothing is sacred. "He's used to it by this time. You know what happened to the viper who bit the Cappadocian's hide? HALSBURY's all right."
"Boys will be boys," said PRINCE ARTHUR, looking at them regretfully, and thinking of his own forty-five years. "But perhaps it will be just as well if I clear out;" which he did, and so missed a lively debate.
That Elderly Young Man, HANBURY, not in best form for such operations. Lacks lightness of touch. HENRY JAMES also better out of it. Gave performance serious turn, when he declared that in borough of Bury BRYCE, as soon as he came into office, appointed eight Magistrates, all Liberals. That sounded very bad; Mr. G. looked serious; some disposition shown on Treasury Bench to draw apart from BRYCE. All very well to talk about HALSBURY'S goings on; but if this sort of thing done by Liberal purists, things seem rotten all round. When BRYCE came to reply, he quietly added to JAMES'S statement of case that, when he went to the Duchy, he found of eighteen Magistrates sixteen were Unionists, only two Liberals. He had, it is true, appointed six Liberals and two working-men, whose politics he did not know. Bury Bench, accordingly, now consisted of sixteen Unionists, eight Liberals, and two working-men. Members wondered if JAMES knew that when he made his statement? Hoped he didn't. All very well with wig and gown on, and brief in hand; but House doesn't like this kind of thing in debate.
CURZON'S statement about sad condition of Magisterial Bench at Southport, owing to machinations of an iniquitous Chancellor of the Duchy, turned out to be not more completely based on fact than was JAMES'S. But difference of manner in dealing with case, everything. No one took CURZON seriously, and so no harm done. His explanation of preponderance of Conservative Magistrates on Lancashire Bench delightful. As good as some touches of DIZZY, of whose younger, lighter manner, he much reminded old-stagers. It was true, he admitted that, on Lancashire Bench, preponderance of Magistrates was with Conservatives. (Chancellor of Duchy gave figures as he found them arranged when he came into office. On the Borough Benches, 507 Unionists, against 159 Liberals; on the County Bench, 522 Unionists, against 142 Liberals, a proportion of nearly four to one.) But how had it been brought about? asked the Strayed Reveller from the Corea. "Why, it is because the disturbing, mischievous policy of the Right Hon. Gentleman opposite" (this with indignant sweep of the arm towards Mr. G., feigning sleep on the Treasury Bench) "has driven into the opposite ranks most of the intelligent, respectable men, from whom Justices are chosen."
On Division, Vote of Censure on BRYCE negatived by 260 votes; against 186. "I'm not sure," said JOKIM, whose views of humour are limited, "that, what I may call the gain of three hours lost, is worth the price paid; to wit, the opportunity given to BRYCE of disclosing the actual state of things in Lancashire in the matter of Magisterial Bench, and the consequent doubling of the Ministerial Majority."
"Well, as I remarked before," said Prince ARTHUR, who had come back for the Division, "Boys will be boys."
Business done.—Employers' Liability Bill, with aid of Closure, read Second Time.
Thursday.—Pretty to watch Mr. G. struggling with feeling of expediency against temptation to make a speech. House in Committee on Budget Bill; JOKIM been discoursing at large on its proposals. Quite lively. SQUIRE of MALWOOD looked on, listening with generous approval, albeit he was target for JOKIM'S jocularity. This time last year positions reversed. It was he criticising JOKIM'S Budget. Now it was JOKIM'S turn, and the SQUIRE magnanimously stood the racket. Mr. G. sat by his side, an attentive listener, evidently strongly drawn to join in the fray. But it was plainly the SQUIRE'S show, and its direction must be left to him. When there followed long succession of eminent men discussing Budget, Mr. G. felt that if he remained any longer he must yield to temptation. Accordingly, withdrew from scene. Returned again an hour later; still harping on the Budget; the SQUIRE had spoken twice, and there seemed nothing to be done but to work off whatever remaining speeches had been prepared in Opposition camp.
DORINGTON dragged in case of farmer, and small landowner; conversation turned on Depression of Agriculture; the WOOLWICH INFANT presented himself to view of sympathetic House as specimen of what a man of ordinarily healthy habits might be brought to by necessity of paying Income-tax on the gross rental of house property. A procession of friends of the Agriculturist was closed by portly figure of CHAPLIN, another effective object-lesson suitable for illustration of lectures on Agricultural Depression. Mr. G., feeling there was no necessity for speech, had resolutely withstood the others. CHAPLIN at the table, proved irresistible. To him, CHAPLIN is embodiment of the heresy of Protection, Bi-metallism, and other emanations of the Evil One. When CHAPLIN sat down, PREMIER romped in, and, having delivered the inevitable speech, went off home, soothed, and satisfied.
Business done.—Budget Scheme passed through Committee.
Friday.—Almost forgot we still have House of Lords. Shall be reminded of their existence by-and-by. For the nonce, they are courteously quiescent, the world forgetting, by the world forgot. Just a little flare-up to-night. Ireland, of course; CAMPERDOWN wanting to know what about the Evicted Tenants Commission? Are the Government going to legislate upon it, or will they forbear? SELBORNE supernaturally solemn; dragged in JAMES THE SECOND as the nearest approach to any head of a Government quite so wicked as Mr. G. Lords much interested in this. Don't hear so much now of JAMES THE SECOND as we did when at school. The establishment of points of resemblance between Governments of his day and that presided over by Mr. G., a novelty in debate. Imparted to political controversy a freshness long lacking.
Just after seven, debate adjourned. For all practical purposes, it might as well have been concluded. But House doesn't get many opportunities of debate; not disposed riotously to squander this chance one.
Business done.—Commons had Morning Sitting; scrupulously devoted the last five minutes of it to public business.
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OPERATIC NOTE,—There's not much magic about The Magic Ring at the Prince of Wales's until the Second Act, in which the extravagantly comic "business" of Messrs. MONKHOUSE and KAYE, the burlesque acting of Miss SUSIE VAUGHAN, and the comic trio dance between the two low comedians and the sprightly soprano, Miss MARIE HALTON, are worth the whole of Act I. When is burlesque not burlesque? When it is Comic Opera. Burlesque was reported dead. Not a bit of it, only smothered; and it may come up fresh for a long run, or at all events, "fit" for a good spurt.
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Even the old-fashionedest Toriest of Tory Farmers are longing, hoping, and even praying, for the downfall of the Rain. If we don't have it soon, and it may have arrived ere this appears, Marrowfats, as articles de luxe, will be "Peas at any price!"
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It was the Palace of the Board, The Board of London's Schooling, Where Members lately have enjoyed Some high artistic fooling.
"Oh, why"—hear Mr. COXHEAD plead, In tones of sheer amazement— "Do hideous faces wrought in glass Stare down from every casement?"
Then up spake General MOBERLY, The Board's supreme apologist, And told them all the time of day Like any good horologist.
"The Architect," quoth he, "had planned To grave upon the panes Portraits of bygone Classic wights, Of British youth the banes.
"But as the Chairman of the Works' Committee he had said, That CICERO should be deposed, And DIGGLE reign instead.
"To oust HERODOTUS would be An inexpensive job, And SOCRATES should be bowled out By a seductive LOBB."
Further, he argued that it would Only be right and manly If ARCHIMEDES did resign His pane to LYULPH STANLEY.
And out he brought his final word Both modestly and soberly— "I think that JULIUS CAESAR might Give place to General MOBERLY!"
O Boardmen, shall the little plan Be thus allowed to pass? It will, unless your Veto stop This filling of the glass!
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(An Appeal. After E. A. Poe.)
"Fair Isle, that from the fairest of all flowers Thy gentlest of all gentle names doth take!" How many memories of fierce seismic powers At sight of thee, as now thou art, awake! How many scenes of what departed bliss! How many thoughts of what entombed hopes! Did FALB foresee such ruinous wreck as this? No more sits Peace upon thy verdant slopes! Subscriptions! Ah, that magical sweet sound Appeals to all, or should appeal. More! More! Suffering demands still more! Charity's ground Punch now must hold thy flower-enamelled shore, O Hyacinthine Isle! O purple Zante! "Isola d'oro! Fior di Levante!"
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NEW NAME FOR IT. (By a non-believer in the much-talked-of—and talking—"League."),—Imperial Fad-oration!
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"IN THE KEY OF RUTHENE."
[The most gorgeous red yet discovered has lately been produced from the rare metal ruethenium.]
Who'll sell me a second-hand lyre and a plectrum, Or (since it's the fashion) a mandoline? Con amore I'd sing the new shade of the spectrum— No spook, though it haunts me—its name is Ruthene.
Nay, don't be alarmed, for I'm no supersubtle Decadent bard with an eye full of green; I merely (to copy the late Captain Cuttle) Am "making a note" in the key of Ruthene.
Well, R's a red letter, you see its ray glow forth— Look in your "dic" if you doubt what I mean; Red, rufous, rouge, ruddy, rose, russet, and so forth, Have all rolling r's like resplendent Ruthene.
More "clamant" than carmine, vermilion, crimson, Costlier than diamond or ultramarine— A deuce of a theme to chant lyrics or hymns on, Or rummage for orotund "rot," is Ruthene.
Orange-hued are the Odalisque's henna-dyed fingers, English girls' lips are encarnadine; A rubicund flame round the toper's nose lingers— But I'm blest if they rival the blush of Ruthene.
Pink huntsman, gules ensign, deep flush of the sunset, Cardinal's scarlet, "red" gold have I seen, With red ruin, red rhubarb, red herring—but none set My iris afire as does red-hot Ruthene.
The quest, though, is simpler of Roc's egg or Sangreal, Easier to fashion a flying machine, Than for my Muse to fake up (forgive Cockney slang) real Readable rhymes in praise of Ruthene.
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THE SCOTTISH TREVELYANDERER.
(Mr. Hozier's Version.)
[Mr. HOZIER (on the Second Reading of the "Registration of Votes (Scotland) Amendment Bill") said, "the fame of Mr. GERRY, the Governor of Massachusetts, would sink into insignificance if this Bill were to pass. In future they would not talk of Gerrymandering, but of Trevelyandering.... Trevelyandering, however, was a game at which two could play; in fact, in the words of the poet, they might fairly say:—
"What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, And possibly two can Trevelyander!"]
AIR—"The British Grenadiers."
Some talk of Gerrymander, and some of HERCHELLES, Of HALSBURY and Mr. BRYCE, and such great names as these. But of all the world's great jobbers (swears HOZIER) none compare With the job, job, job, job, job, job, of the "Tre-vel-yan-der-er!"
GERRY, of Massachusetts, was smartish, for his time, But HOZIER "goes one better," it moves his soul to rhyme. Our Scottish Wegg (sans timber leg) drops into verse—though queer. About the game—which two can play—of the "Tre-vel-yan-de-rer!"
There's Jove, the god of thunder, and Mars, the god of war, Brave Neptune, with his trident, but here's a greater, far! HOZIER-Apollo now is seen descending from his sphere To string betimes impromptu rhymes on the "Tre-vel-yan-de-rer!"
Then let us fill a bumper, and drink a health to those Who, "dropping into poetry," leave lesser wits to prose, And especially to HOZIER, who raised a ringing cheer, By his doggerel delightful on the "Tre-vel-yan-de-rer!"
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MR. G. "SHADOWED."—Of course even Mr. G. cannot be "The Shadowless Man," except under the terms of that weird story, "which is impossible." The Police have arrived at one important point about the recently arrested TOWNSEND. They now say, "We know that man, he comes from Sheffield."
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A WORK OF—SOME IMPORTANCE.
"Let who will give me a plot, I will write their dialogue." (Extract from Uncommon-place Book of Mr. O. WILDE.) Now when the author of A Woman of No Importance and of Lady Windermere's Fan has to find his own materials for a plot ("'Play-wrights' materials for plots made up.' Idea for Literary and Dramatic Advertisement" Note-book, O. W.)—well, he does find them, and makes them his own. ("Adoption not adaptation. A clear distinction.—N.B. I confer the 'distinction'" O. W.) Certainly "Our OSCAR" possesses the happy knack of turning out some well-polished epigrams up to Drawing-room date. And so it happens that, during the first two Acts, when Mr. WILDE'S dramatis personae are all gathered together, with nothing to do and plenty to say, their conversation is light and airy, with an occasional sparkler coming out ("A summer night, with, at intervals, a brilliant meteor flashing through the sky." Uncom. P. B., O. W.), that crackles, goes pop like the weasel of the old song, and "then is heard no more," as was the case with Macbeth's poor player, and, as he was a poor player, his fate was not undeserved.—(Mem. "A Lady Nickleby or Duchesse de Malapropos, to misquote.—For example, she might say, as quoting Shakspeare, 'Life's but a walking candle.'" O. W.)
We all remember how poor Mr. Dick couldn't keep King Charles's Head out of his manuscript. The Author of No Importance is similarly affected. Left to himself for a plot, he cannot keep melodrama out of his play, and what ought to have been a comedy pure and simple (or the reverse) drops suddenly into old-fashioned theatrical melodrama. During the first two Acts Lady Hunstanton, Lady Caroline Pontefract, Mrs. Allonby, Lord Illingworth, The Venerable James Daubeny, D.D., talk on pleasantly enough until interrupted by the sudden apparition of the aforesaid King Charles the First's Head, represented by the wearisome tirades, tawdry, cheap, and conventional, belonging to the Lytton-Bulwerian-Money period of the Drama, of which a considerable proportion falls to the share of the blameless Miss JULIA NEILSON, who, as la belle Americaine, HESTER WORSLEY, in her attitude towards her audience, resembles the blessed Glendoveer, inasmuch as it is "hers to talk, and ours to hear." Deeply, too, does everyone sympathise with lively Mrs. BERNARD BEERE, who, as Mrs. Arbuthnot, a sort of up-to-date Mrs. Haller, is condemned to do penance in a kind of magpie costume of black velvet, relieved by a dash of white, rather calling to mind the lady whom CHARLES DICKENS described as "Hamlet's Aunt," her funereal attire being relieved by a whitened face with tear-reddened eyes. It is these two characters, with Gerald Arbuthnot, Mr. FRED TERRY, who, like the three gruesome personages in Don Giovanni, will intrude themselves into what might have been a pleasant, interesting comedy of modern manners, if only it had had a good comedy plot.
Taken as a whole, the acting is admirable. Mr. TREE, as the titled cad, Lord Illingworth, is perfect in make-up and manner. Certainly one of the many best things he has done. It is a companion portrait to the other wicked nobleman in The Dancing Girl. ("There is another and a worse wicked nobleman" N. B., O. W.) But this is no fault, and, indeed, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find fault with Mr. TREE'S Lord Illingworth. Mrs. TREE as Mrs. Allonby, is a very charming battledore in the game of repartee-shuttlecock, who with eight other principal characters in the piece, has nothing whatever to do with the plot. To the character of Lady Hunstanton, as written in the Mrs. Nickleby vein, and as played by Miss ROSE LECLERCQ, the success is mainly due; and "for this relief much thanks." It is here and in the comedy characters of the Archdeacon (Mr. KEMBLE excellent in this) and of Lady Caroline Pontefract (who couldn't have a better representation than Miss LE THIERE) that Mr. O. WILDE shows what he can do as a writer of comedy, both in the quality of the material and its introduction at the right moment. ("The right speech at the wrong moment, or the wrong speech at the right moment, both are fatal. Thus is it that comedies become tragedies, and tragedies comedies." U.P.N.B., O. W.) At the Haymarket the "play's" not "the thing," it is the playing. ("Likewise the writing," O. W.)
However, it is not for the plot, or for the Bulwery-Lyttony orations, or for the familiar melodramatic situations that audiences will seek the Haymarket. No, it will be to hear the Christy-Minstrel epigrammatic dialogue in the first two Acts, to laugh heartily at Miss LECLERCQ as Lady Nickleby Hunstanton, to smile on the Archdeacon and Lady Caroline, and to enjoy the first-rate acting all round.
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MEMS, FROM THE O. W. UNCOMMONPLACE BOOK.
"Essentials for success of modern play are 'Latitude and Platitude.' First being risky is saved by second."
Receipt for Play-making.—First catch your epigrams: preserve them for use: serve with sauce piquante un pen risquee distributed impartially among a variety of non-essential dramatis personae, invented for the purpose. Provide fine old crusted copybook moral sentiments, to suit bourgeois palate: throw in the safe situation of some one concealed, behind door or window, listening to private conversation. Add one well-tried effective dramatic situation to bring down curtain on penultimate Act, and there's a stage-dish to set before the appreciative B. P., if only it can be presented to them effectively garnished by a clever and popular Manager at a first-class theatre.
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FLOWERS OF FASHION.
The Botanical Afternoon Fete of last Wednesday was a brilliant gathering in brilliant weather. Privileged is "the Inner Circle" to have in its midst these lovely gardens. "The Flowers that bloom in the Spring, tra la!" were all out uncommonly early—long before the earliest worm, which hasn't a chance against these very early risers. "All a-growing!" on the part of the flowers, and "all a-blowing" on the part of the Band of the Second Life Guards. Among the distinguished company present we noticed the Crimson Queen, looking immensely well, the blushing Duchess of ALBANY, the Duchesse de VALLOMBROSA, Admiral COURBET, in a striking costume of "deep yellow splashed with red" (where had he been?), the Ladies DAPHNE PINK and CALLAS WHITE, and Marechal NIEL. For "Uriah Heep," who "loves to be 'umble," a Silver Medal was awarded to Mr. PIKE. "The prize, that's my point," observed the sharp PIKE. Funny Fish PIKE.
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A PENNY WISE.—The new import of the latest Budget may be aptly called "A Penny for your Thoughts," as no one pays a tax upon his income as it really exists, but as (for Income-tax assessment purposes) he believes it to be.
THE PICK OF THE R.A. PICTURES.
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No. 18. John Hare, Esq., as seen and painted by Sir JOHN E. MILLAIS, Bart., R.A., "The Hare Apparent"—to every spectator. But what an unpleasant position! The eminent Actor is either studying a part, or has the Box-office account-book in his hand, and wants a quiet moment for serious thought or close calculation; and yet, in the next room to him (No. 19), one of Mr. ORCHARDSON'S young ladies is singing and playing a yellow chrome-atic scale, and in the room overhead (No. 17), Mr. NETTLESHIP'S tiger has broken loose, and is taking a bath. When rescued from these surroundings, this will remain at home a Hare-loominous picture for the family.
No. 28. "Toe-Toe chez Ta-Ta." Miss TOETOE, in blue, at work and looking down, says to the other girl, TATA, who is maliciously smiling at her, "Oh dear! I do hope that no one will look at my right thumb or my toes! O Mr. WOODS, A., why was my right thumb left like this?"
No. 34. In this Mr. MORLEY FLETCHER shows us a Female Martyr in Tomartyr-coloured dress, preparatory to being taken off to the Auto da fe.
No. 45. "An Undress Rehearsal" STUART G. DAVIS.
No. 49. "On the Temple Steps." By JOHN GRIFFITHS. For years we've known that GRIFFITHS is "the safe man" to follow. But, unless this is a work of pure imagination, anyone well acquainted with the Temple Pier and the Temple Steps will naturally ask, "Where are the Steam-boats?"
Nos. 51, 52, and 53. The first is a Harmony in Sea by Mr. HENRY MOORE, A., and the second is Mr. MILLER'S—(WILLIAM not JOSEPH MILLER)—Colonel Hornsby-Drake. This Drake seems out of his element, as he ought to have been floating about with the wild fowl that belong naturally to the picture below.
"Four little whitey boys out for a run, Ate early greeny food. Then there were none!"
Painted by AMY SAWYER. "Not a work of imagination, my dear little boys, because you were seen by AMY—that is, AMY saw yer!"
No. 70. Study in Patisserie. Design for a chocolate ornament covered with sugar. Recommended by Messrs. CLARK AND HAMILTON.
No. 71. Lion in Desert. Very tame. Mr. HERBERT DICKSEE.
No. 76. The New Skirt Dance. . . We strongly recommend the study of this picture to admirers of the "Skirt Dance." It shows how one of the male sex may attempt it—that is, according to the idea of the designer, HERBERT DICKSEE.
No. 88. Colonel W. Barnardiston. "First Chairman of West Suffolk County Council." Painted by HUBERT HERKOMER, R.A. If he is "First Chairman," it doesn't matter what he is afterwards, since he has been immortalised by the admirable painting of HUBERT HERKOMER. He'll remain "First Chairman" in the Dramatis Personae of this year's Catalogue, at all events, and be H. H.'s "Perpetual First Chairman," too, be the other where he may.
No. 103. "Elder Bush." By H. W. B. DAVIS, R.A. From the title you might expect it to be the portrait of a Presbyterian "Elder" named "BUSH." But it isn't. Look at it. It is the sweetest, most natural, perfectest of charming "bits" of rural Nature in the whole show. There's no beating about this bush; in fact this Elder Bush is one that is very hard to beat.
No. 130. His Grace the Duke of Devonshire. Encore! Bravo, Mr. HUBERT HERKOMER. You're are a-going it this year, you are, Sir! You've given the Duke all his Grace, and there's a kind of orange tint about him, which, just now, is not without its political signification.
No. 132. We must go to Kennington (T. B. KENNINGTON) to see "The Queen of Love." She is sitting on a tiger's skin, and has her hand on the head of the savage beast, which shows its fangs. "A fang-see subject," says 'ARRY JOKER.
No. 158. HONEYMOONERS. "Here we are again!" Same kind of Stone Fruit from MARCUS STONE, R.A. "Sparkles this Stone as it was wont!"—Cymbeline. ii., 4. [To be continued in our next.
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AMONG THE IMMORTALS AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY BANQUET LAST SATURDAY.—H.R.H. made one of his usually happy speeches; the Duke of CAMBRIDGE, the Earl of ROSEBERY, and Lord HERSCHELL represented the comedy element; while Lord KELVIN and Mr. LESLIE STEPHEN were perfect in what, theatrically speaking, is termed "the heavy lead;" and certainly their speeches were—ahem!—weighty. Pretty to note how His Scarlet-robed Eminence entered the room, not only with a grace all his own, but with His Grace of CANTERBURY as well. Never was the President, Sir FREDERICK LEIGHTON, more effective in all his speeches, and especially when replying to the toast of "The Academy," where the perfection of his speech lay in the subtle concealment of its art, and in the genuine earnestness of his advice to students urbi et orbi.
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SPORTING ANSWER (Garden).—TOTTIE: The flower you have forwarded to us is not a flower at all. It is an East African rhinoceros. We have returned it as requested, by parcel post.
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(A Cockney Pastoral in Spring time.)
Who-o-o-f! It's hot amost as Summer-time; yet what a blessed breeze Is a-whiffing round the corners, and a-whoostling through the trees! And the sunlight on the roof-slates, all aslant to the blue sky, Seems to twinkle like the larfter in a pooty gurl's blue eye, When you swing in the dance, and she feels you've got 'er step: And the trees—ah! bless their branches!—through the winter weeks they've slep', When the worrying winds would let 'em, all as black and mum as mutes, A-waiting for the blackbirds, with their calls like meller flutes. Just to whistle them awake like. Oh! but now they stir and rouse Like a girl who has bin dreamin' of her lover in a drowse, And wakes up to feel 'is kisses on 'er softly poutin' lips. How they burst, all a-thirst for the April shower that drips Tinkle-tink from leaf to leaf, washing every spraylet clean From the sooty veil of London, which might dim the buddin' green Of the pluckiest lime-tree, sproutin' o'er brown pales in a back-yard; For these limes bud betimes, and they find it middlin' hard To make way at windy corners, when the lamp as lights 'em through, Like gold on green in pantomimes, is blown till it burns blue, By the angry nor'east gusts. But the nor'east wind to-day Is less like a rampin' lion than some new-born lamb at play. Wy, the laylock's out aready, purple spires and creamy clumps. Oh, that scent of shower-washed laylock! There's a somethin' in me jumps As I ketch it round some corner, where the heart-shaped leaflets small Cluster up against the stucco, as they did about that wall, Grey, and gritty, and glass-spiked, of our tumble-down old cot Out Epping way, in boy-time long ago, and quite a lot Of remembrances came crowding, like good ghostes, in that scent; There's the mother's call to dinner, there's the landlord's call—for rent! And the call of the rooks,—and another call, fur off, Like a whisper from a grave-yard, green and silent. Some may scoff At a Cockney's chat of laylocks. I could bury my old phiz In their crisp and nutty coolness, as I did when flirty Liz, My first sweetheart, sent me packing, one Spring mornin'—for a while— And them blossoms cooled my anger—most as much as the arch smile Which won me back to wooin'. There's a blackbird on the top Of yon tall, half bare acacia, pipes as if he'd never stop, Tryin' all his tunelets over, like a sort of talking flute:— "Chip-chip! Tsee-tsee! Chu-chu! Chu-rook!" goes the bird of sable suit. "We-know-it! We-know-it! We-know-it! Bring-the-whip!—the whip!—the whip! "Chu-rook-chu-chu! Chu-rook-chu-chu! Tsee-tsee-chu-chu-chip-chip!" So he pours his pantin' heart out in a song half tune, half patter, Like a meller music-haller of the tree-tops! Ah—what matter That 'tis only London's outskirts, that I'm a poor Cockney cove, When this Wondrous Spring is on us? As my shallow on I shove, And blare out my "All-a-blowing, All-a-growing!" down the streets, There's a something fresh and shining-like in every face I meets! Tis the Spring-love breaking through them! Wy, the very dirt looks clean In the shimmer of the sunlight, and the shadow of the green. All-a-blowing! All-a-growing! When I shout, I seem to sing, For my cry takes on a music. It's the very Voice of Spring!
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THE DEARTH OF GENIUSES.
(Dedicated to the Right Hon. A. J. Balfour.)
Cried Genius A. to Genius B., "Let's summon Genius C., And, to make a partie carree, we will call in Genius D." And when they were assembled these solemn four sat down, And they all read Mr. BALFOUR'S speech, and read it with a frown.
Said Genius A., "No Geniuses? By Heaven, he's talking rot!" And Genius B. replied thereto, "I can't say he is not." And C. and D., the poets, who warble like the birds, Agreed with Genius A. and B. in scorning BALFOUR'S words.
"A Genius may arise, he says; that's coming it too strong; Why, dash it, I can count up three in prose and eke in song!" Thus A. began; the three replied, "You're not an egoist; You quite forgot to add yourself, and so complete the list."
"We'll prove it on the spot," declared dramatic Genius A. "You three shall sit as judges, and I will read my play. 'Tis a drama of the passions, all strictly based on facts, And they break the Decalogue to bits in five exhaustive Acts."
"That might be good," said B.; "but I've a little thing, I guess, Which ought to take precedence, a novel in MS.; With characters so deftly drawn in all their changing scenes, That THACKERAY and DICKENS must be knocked to smithereens."
But C. broke in; his hair was long, his eyes were very wild, He was in truth a strangely-garbed and most poetic child; Said he, "Your plays and novels may all be very well, But I've an epic poem here on Happiness in Hell."
And D., the pretty lyricist, he hummed and then he hawed, "I've half a hundred sonnets here to MABEL, MADGE, and MAUD. I'll read them first, and then I'll read"—the other three grew pale— "My last new book, The Musings of a Town-bred Nightingale."
* * * * * And so they sat, and talked and talked, the argument waxed hot, For each one was a Genius born, and none would budge a jot. And till they settle who begins, and which of them shall yield, I fear the "dearth of Geniuses"—see speech—must hold the field.
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RATHER A LONG SHOT.—How to "attempt the life of the PREMIER." Discharge a revolver in the neighbourhood of Downing Street, and listen to the report in the evening papers.
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