OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
MARCH 1, 1890.
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UNTILED; OR, THE MODERN ASMODEUS.
"Tres volontiers," repartit le demon. "Vous aimez les tableaux changeans: je veux vous contenter."
Le Diable Boiteux.
"Though cold the coxcomb, and though coarse the boor, Though dulness haunts the rich and pain the poor, In this colossal city, Yet London is not Rome, O Shade!" I said. "A later JUVENAL should not find her dead To purity and pity."
"Satire, of shames and follies in sole quest, Is a one-eyed divinity at best," My guide responded, slowly. "The tale of ZOILUS hath its moral still. Such critics are but blowflies, their small skill To carrion given wholly.
"Not all the Romans of DOMITIAN's days Were such as live in JUVENAL's savage lays; Not all the Latian ladies Were HIPPIAS or COLLATIAS. Neither here May all be gauged by satire's rule severe, Or earth would be a Hades.
"The scalpel hath no terrors for the sound, Nor is the hand that wields it harshly bound To ceaseless vivisection. The Cynic sharply sees, but sees not far; The eye that hunts the mote may miss the star Too great for scorn's detection.
"Dream not, oh friend, because I let the light On lurid London through the cloak of night (As was my undertaking.) That I've a spirit wholly given to scorn, Or blind to all, save sin, that with the morn Will see a bright awaking.
"Yet could the freedman's son but wield his flail In London, there are those might shrink and pale As did DOMITIAN'S minion. PARIS lives yet, pander and parasite Still flaunt in bold impunity, despite A custom-freed opinion.
"Dull in the drawing-room, our beardless boys Can sparkle in the haunts of coarser joys, Coldness and muteness vanish When TULLIA dances or when POLLIO sings. With riotous applause the precinct rings, There chill restraint they banish.
"Behold Lord LIMPET in his gilded Box, His well-gloved palms and scarlet silken socks Actively agitated; He who erewhile about the ball-room stood A solemn, weary, whispering thing of wood, And sneered, and yawned, and waited."
"Wondrous!" I cried. "The youngster's cheeks flush red, Wide laugh his lips, and swiftly wags his head, He cheers, he claps, he chuckles. Can he, the languid lounger limp and faint Give way to mirth with the mad unrestraint Of boys with ribs and knuckles?
"Frankly canaille is that dancing chit Slang and suggestiveness serve her for wit, And impudence for beauty. Yet frigid 'Form' melts at her cockney spell, 'Form,' which votes valsing with the reigning belle An undelightful duty.
"Bounds on the arch-buffoon, with flexile face, With bagman smartness and batrachian grace. Is he not sweet and winning? Mime of the gutter, mimic of the slum, Muse of the haunts unspeakable, else dumb, A satyr gross and grinning?
"LIMPET smiled," he said. "SHAKSPEARE'S boldest wit Leaves LIMPET listless, but each feature lit At that last comic chorus. London is full of LIMPETS; clownings please The well-groom'd mob, though ARISTOPHANES Would miserably bore us.
"Untile the Town entirely? Nay, good friend, That were to affright the timid, and offend The tender and the trustful. Unlifted yet must lie the dusky screen That veils the viler features of the scene, The dread and the disgustful."
"Shadow!" I said, "Civilisation fails, While surfeits Idleness, and Labour pales. For all its spread and glitter, The Titan City lacks its crowning grace And glory, whilst its pleasure is so base, Its bondage is so bitter."
"True!" sighed the Shadow, and a softened smile Seemed to illume the coldness, void of guile, Of those phantasmal features. "When from the City's gloom shall flash to light This truth: The sleek and selfish sybarite Is meanest of God's creatures?"
"Shadow!" I cried. But in the darkness dim Those lineaments did waver and dislimn Like clouds at the sun's waking. Alone I stood; fled was the night, the dream, And o'er the sleeping City's sullen stream Babylon's grey dawn was breaking.
* * * * *
A DIAG-NOSE-IS OF WINE.—The Case of Champagne set before Mr. Alderman and Sheriff DAVIES. Of course, the worthy Alderman, who is a judge of wine, needed only to raise the glass to his nose. He smelt it to see if it was Corke'd. But in answer to the charge of false labelling, it should have been simply pleaded that, at the manufactory, the labels were not simply put on, but Clapt-on. Whether this defence would have gone to mitigate the fine of twenty pounds, is another matter. The Alderman's decision was given, much as the public generally pay for Champagne,—good or bad,—that is, "through the nose."
* * * * *
THE CHAMELEON "REPORT".
Entirely New Version.
("The bearings of it lie in the application,"—to a certain Report.)
Time to the eager seems to lag, Howe'er his glass be shaken; Yet struck the hour when from the bag The Creature should be taken.
Three Judges sage had cooped it there Three Judges wise, three Judges fair, At him Society will ejaculate Who hints a Judge is not immaculate. The Judge's ermine none dares dim (Unless the Judge differs from him).
Now men discussed, with glee or dolour, The question of the Creature's colour. "Black as my hat," cries one, "I know." "Nay!" shouts another, "white as snow!" Whether the thing revealed should prove To ape the Raven or the Dove, Was matter of dispute most furious; Angry were most, and all were curious.
At last arrived the eventful day When from the bag the thing must crawl, And lo! the Creature's tint was grey, Which disappointed all.
But though Truth brings a brief confusion To obstinate foregone conclusion, Prejudice, routed most dismally, Will quickly to Unreason rally. And so the one side would remark That for a grey 'twas wondrous dark; The other side did more than hint They never saw so light a tint; "Deep iron-grey!" said one, "Oh, stuff!" Another cried at most a buff! "In tint below, in hue above, 'Tis little deeper than a Dove! In fact, looked at in a strong light, 'Tis scarce distinguishable from white!" "White!" yelled a third, with rage half throttled, "With jet-black streaks 'tis thickly mottled. If not pure Raven, all must own No Magpie hath a sootier tone!"
And so the rival parties raged and wrangled; Judgment considered whilst the bigots jangled, And the great bulk of them 'twas sad to find, Wore party-coloured specs., or else were colour-blind!
* * * * *
The Hare Apparent in a New Pair of Spectacles.
* * * * *
Shareholder. "HALLO! I DON'T SEEM TO BE GETTING MUCH OUT OF THIS! WHAT'S THE MATTER?"
Standard. "MATTER? THERE'S A LEAKAGE SOMEWHERE!"
* * * * *
ALL FOR THE SAKE OF THE ARMY!
From Mr. C. Bounder to Mr. T. Tenterfive.
DEAR TOMMY,—I say, can't you give me a leg up, to get the Government to adopt my confounded pop-guns? The foreigners don't seem to see them much, and, hang it all! a true-hearted Johnnie should give his native land the first chance.
From Mr. T. Tenterfive to Mr. C. Bounder.
DEAR CHARLEY,—I'm afraid I'm not of much use. Send in application about your pop-guns, and I will look after it as much as can. You mustn't expect much, as the Department has a way of knocking a thing about for months—sometimes years—and then quietly shelving it. Hope to see you soon.
Report of Ordnance Committee, to be forwarded to the Adjutant-General.
We have examined the Bounder Patent Ironclad Pocket Revolving Cannonette, and consider it a weapon that might possibly be introduced into the Service with advantage, if the cost of production is not excessive.
Report of Adjutant-General, to be forwarded to Quartermaster-General.
I enclose report of Ordnance Committee of which I approve. However, as the matter involves a financial question, your opinion thereon would be of great value.
Report of the Quartermaster-Gen., to be forwarded to Inspector-Gen. of Fortifications.
CAN offer no suggestion about the cost of production until it can be ascertained whether the Cannonette will be suitable for Home Defences. What is your opinion on this point?
Report of Inspector-General of Fortifications, to be forwarded to Secretary of State.
No doubt the Cannonette might be used in a variety of ways. But it will be observed that the Ordnance Committee raised the question of expense—a matter that scarcely concerns my Department.
Memo. of Secretary of State, to be forwarded to Financial Secretary.
PLEASE read inclosed Report, and send on.
Report of Financial Secretary, to be forwarded to the Director-General of Ordnance.
It is premature to consider the question of expense until it has been decided that the introduction of this Cannonette will be of advantage to the Service. The Ordnance Committee use the words, "Might possibly," which are not, in themselves, a strong recommendation. It must be borne in mind that the Army Estimates must be calculated with the greatest attention to economy.
Report of Director-General of Ordnance to Commander-in-Chief.
I HAVE examined Cannonette, which appears to have been constructed on the lines of a weapon manufactured in the reign of HENRY THE EIGHTH, of which there is a specimen in the Museum at Woolwich.
Endorsement of Commander-in-Chief. (Packet to be put in Pigeon-hole 404,567 B.)
POSSIBLY something in the notion—immediate attention unnecessary.
From Mr. T. Tenterfive to Mr. C. Bounder.
DEAR CHARLEY,—Have just been looking through our papers relative to your pop-gun. I am afraid you will have to wait for a decision a good long while.
* * * * *
Proud Mother. "I SEE, HERBERT, 'S.P.G.' SEVERAL TIMES OCCURRING AMONG YOUR EXPENSES. I'M GLAD TO FIND YOU CAN SPARE SOMETHING OCCASIONALLY FOR THAT EXCELLENT SOCIETY."
Schoolboy. "IT'S NOT EXACTLY THAT, MUMMY DEAR. IT STANDS FOR 'SUNDRIES—PROBABLY GRUB!'"
* * * * *
ANOTHER OF ROBERT'S XSTRORNERRY ADWENCHURS.
It was ony the beginnin of larst week, as I was a seekin to begile my rayther tiresum lezzure by a wark down Cornhill—tho which is hup and which is down that rayther strait hill it is sumtimes difficult to say—that jest as I was a passing by the, to me, amost sacred establishment of Messrs. BRING AND RHYMER, the great Cooks, as amost everybody knos and reweres, I seed a henwellop a laying on the pavement, which I naterally picked up, and put in my pocket quietly, and then, crossing over to the Royal Xchange, jest hoppersit, I sets down on one of the forms kindly purwided by the generus Copperashun and the Mersers Company, six of one, and arf a dozzen of the other, for the rest of the weary traveller.
Then I quietly hopened my henwellop—which, strange to say, hadn't no name on it—and hinside it I found a check for twenty-five pounds! It was payable to "No. 2,437, or Bearer." I was that estonished that I amost thort I shoud have feinted, the more so as won of the Beedles was a looking at me rayther pointedly, as I thort, tho I dessay it was ony my gilty conshence, which, as sumboddy says, makes cowards of ewen Hed Waiters, as well as all the rest of us. So I quietly put my henwellop with its corstly contents into my pocket, and quietly warked away bang into the Bank as was printed in the check, and there I hands it to the Clark at the Counter as bold as brass. Well, he jest looks at it, and then he says, "How will you take it,—short?" So I larfs, and I says, "I shood like it all, please." Then he larfs, and he says, "Gold or Notes?" So I says, "Sum of each, please, in a little bag." So he gave it me, and then, I so astonishes his week nerves by what I next said, that he turned amost pail. "I now wants you," I sed, "to send one of your yung gennelmen with me to the Firm as drawed that check; for it isn't reelly mine, for I ony found it!" So he did, as it was ony a little ways off; and there, sure enuff, was too most respectful looking Gents in a counting-'ouse a counting out their money, like the King in the Fairy Tail.
"Well, my good man, and what do you want?" one of 'em said to me. So I told 'em, and at the close of my story emtied out all the contents of my little bag to the werry uttermost harf sovverain. "And, who is this gennelman?" they said. "Oh," said I, "he is the Clark from the Bank cum for to see that I acted on the square." "Well, you needn't wait any longer," they said to him; so off he went.
So the elder one, he says to me, what is your name? "ROBERT", I naterally replied, and amost xpected he was a going to arsk me, "who gave me that name," but he didn't. So he larfed, and he said, "But there are so many of that name about, that you must tell me somethink more." So I plucked up my curridge, and I says, boldly, "Please, Gennelmen, I am ROBERT the City Waiter!" Well, I thinks as I never seed such a change as cum over them too highly respectabel City Gents! They larfed quite out loud, and they both got up and shook hands with me, and then they larfed again, and then one on 'em said, what a lucky thing it was that their lost check had fallen into sich honnest hands! Ah, what a grand thing is a good karacter!—it's even better than reel Turtel and Madeary!
They then made me set down, and they larfed, and they chatted away, and arsked me lots of questions, all about my warious experiences, and the young one arsked me if I rememberd the dinner at the Manshun 'Ouse, when he asked me for sum more champane, saying, "I 'spose it is had lib?" To which, he said, I replied, "Suttenly not! you can have as much as you like!" And then they both larfed again quite hartily, tho' I'm sure I coudn't see what there was to larf at.
They then arsked me jest to step out for a minnit or two, and when they called me in they told me how pleased they was with my conduck, and, if not offending me, they begged my acceptnse of a trifle, which shall be nameless, but which made that memmurable day about the most proffitablest I ewer remember.
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MR. PUNCH'S MORAL MUSIC-HALL DRAMAS.
No. VII.-RECLAIMED! (CONCLUDED.)
[Our readers will doubtless recollect the thrilling situation upon which we were forced to drop the curtain. Lady BELLEDAME, the hardened Grandmother of Little ELFIE, has, under the influence of that angel-child, just vowed to amend, when, in the person of her minion, MONKSHOOD, she is reminded of the series of atrocious crimes she had been contemplating through his instrumentality. Struck with remorse, she attempts to countermand them—only to find that her orders have already been executed with a too punctual fidelity! Now we can go on.]
Lady B. (in a hoarse whisper). You—you have left the parcels ... all—all? Tell me—how were they received? Speak low—I would not that yonder child should awake and hear!
Little Elfie (behind the screen, very wide awake indeed). Dear, good old Grannie—she would conceal her generosity—even from me! (Loudly.) She little thinks that I am overhearing all!
Monks. I could have sworn I heard whispering.
Lady B. Nay, you are mistaken—'twas but the wind in the old wainscot. (Aside.) He is quite capable of destroying that innocent child; but, old and attached servant as he is, there are liberties I still know how to forbid. (To M.) Your story—quick!
Monks. First, I delivered the cigars to Sir VEVEY LONG, whom I found under his verandah. He seemed surprised and gratified by the gift, selected a weed, and was proceeding to light it, whilst he showed a desire to converse familiarly with me. 'Astily excusing myself, I drove away, when——
Lady B. When what? Do not torture a wretched old woman!
Monks. When I heard a loud report behind me, and, in the portion of a brace, two waistcoat-buttons, and half a slipper, which hurtled past my ears, I recognised all that was mortal of the late Sir VEVEY. You mixed them cigars uncommon strong, m'Lady.
Elfie (aside). Can it be? But no, no. I will not believe it. I am sure that dear Granny meant no harm!
Lady B. (with a grim pride she cannot wholly repress). I have devoted some study to the subject of explosives. 'Tis another triumph to the Anti-tobacconists. And what of Lady VIOLET POWDRAY—did she apply the salve?
Monks. Judging from the 'eartrending 'owls which proceeded from Carmine Cottage, the salve was producing the desired result. Her Ladyship, 'owever, terminated her sufferings somewhat prematoor by jumping out of a top winder just as I was taking my departure——
Lady B. She should have died hereafter—but no matter ... and the Upas-tree?
Monks. Was presented to the PERGAMENTS, who unpacked it, and loaded its branches with toys and tapers; after which Mr. PERGAMENTS, Mrs. P., and all the little PERGAMENTS joined 'ands, and danced round it in light 'arted glee. (In a sombre tone.) They little knoo as how it was their dance of death!
Lady B. That knowledge will come! And the beer, MONKSHOOD—you saw it broached?
Monks. Upon the village green; the mortality is still spreading, it being found impossible to undo the knots in which the victims had tied themselves. The sweetmeats were likewise distributed, and the floor of the hinfant-school now resembles one vast fly-paper.
Lady B. (with a touch of remorse). The children, too! Was not my little ELFIE once an infant? Ah me, ah me!
Elfie (aside). Once—but that was long, long ago. And, oh, how disappointed I am in poor dear Grandmamma!
Lady B. MONKSHOOD, you should not have done these things—you should have saved me from myself. You must have known how greatly all this would increase my unpopularity in the neighbourhood.
Monks. (sulkily). And this is my reward for obeying orders! Take care, my Lady. It suits you now to throw me aside like a—(casting about for an original simile)—like a old glove, because this innocent grandchild of yours has touched your flinty 'art. But where will you be when she learns——?
Lady B. (in agony). Ah, no, MONKSHOOD, good, faithful MONKSHOOD, she must never know that! Think, MONKSHOOD, you would not tell her that the Grandmother to whom she looks up with such touching, childlike love, was a—homicide—you would not do that?
Monks. Some would say even 'omicide was not too black a name for all you've done. (Lady BELLEDAME shudders.) I might tell Miss ELFIE how you've blowed up a live Baronet, corrosive sublimated a gentle Lady, honly for 'aving, in a moment of candour, called you a hold cat, and distributed pison in a variety of forms about this smiling village; and, if that don't inspire her with distrust, I don't know the nature of children, that's all! I might tell her, I say, and, if I'm to keep my mouth shut, I shall expect it to be considered in my wages.
Lady B. I knew you had a good heart! I will pay you anything—anything, provided you shield my guilt from her ... wait, you shall have gold, gold, MONKSHOOD, gold!
[Chord. Little ELFIE suddenly comes from behind screen; limelight on her. The other two shrink back.
Elfie. Do not give that bad old man money, Grandmother,—for it will only be wasted.
Lady B. Speak, child—how much do you know?
[Chord. Lady B. collapses on chair.
Lady B. (with an effort). And now, ELFIE, that you know, you scorn and hate your poor old Grandmother—is it not so?
Elfie. It is wrong to hate one's Grandmother, whatever she does. At first, when I heard, I was very, very sorry. I did think it was most unkind of you. But now, oh, I can't believe that you had not some good, wise motive, in acting as you did!
Lady B. (in conscience-stricken aside). Even this cannot shatter her artless faith ... Oh, wretch, wretch!
[Covers her face.
Monks. Motive—I believe you there, Missie. Why, she went and insured all their lives aforehand, she did.
Lady B. MONKSHOOD, in pity hold your peace!
Elfie (her face beaming). I knew it—I was sure of it! Oh, Granny, my dear, kind old Granny, you insured their lives first, so that no real harm could possibly happen to them—oh, I am so happy!
Lady B. (aside). What shall I say? Merciful Powers, what shall I say to her?
[Disturbed sounds without.
Monks. I don't know what you'd better say, but I can tell you what your Ladyship had better do—and that is, take your 'ook while you can. Even now the outraged populace approaches, to wreak a hawful vengeance upon your guilty 'ed!
Lady B. (distractedly). A mob! I cannot face them—they will tear me limb from limb. At my age I could not survive such an indignity as that! Hide me, MONKSHOOD—help me to escape!
Monks. There is a secret underground passage, known only to myself, communicating with the nearest railway station. I will point it out, and personally conduct your Ladyship—for a consideration—one thousand pounds down.
[The noise increases.
Elfie. No, Grannie, don't trust him! Be calm and brave. Await the mob here. Leave it all to me. I will explain everything to them—how you meant no ill,—how, at the very time they thought you were meditating an injury, you were actually spending money in insuring all their lives. When I tell them that——
Monks. Ah, you tell 'em that, and see. It's too late now—they are here.
[Shouts without. Lady B. crouches on floor. Little ELFIE goes to the window, throws open the shutters, and stands on balcony in her fluttering white robe, and the limelight.
Elfie. Yes, they are here. Why, they are carrying torches!—(Lady B. groans)—and banners, too! I think they have a band ... Who is that tall, stout gentleman, in the white hat, on horseback, and the lady in a pony-trap, with, oh, such a beautiful complexion! There is an inscription on one of the flags—I can read it quite plainly. "Thanks to the generous Donor!" (That must be you, Grandmother!) And there are children who dance, and scatter flowers. They are asking for a speech. (Speaking off.) "If you please, Ladies and Gentlemen, my Grandmamma is not at all well, but she wishes me to say she wishes you a Merry Christmas, and is very glad you all like your presents so much. Good-bye, good-bye! (Returning down Stage.) Now they have gone away, Granny ... They did look so grateful!
Lady B. (bewildered). What is this? Sir VEVEY, Lady VIOLET,—alive, well? This deputation of gratitude? Am I mad, dreaming—or what does it all mean?
Monks. (doggedly). It means that the sight of this 'ere angel-child recalled me to a sense of what I might be exposin' myself to by carrying out your Ladyship's commands; and so I took the liberty of substitootin gifts more calculated to inspire gratitude in their recipients—that's what it means.
Lady B. Wretch!—then you have disobeyed me? You leave this day month!
Elfie (pleading). Nay, Grandmother, bear with him, for has not his disobedience spared you from acts that you might some day have regretted?... There, Mr. Butler, Granny forgives you—see, she holds out her hand, and here's mine; and now——
Lady B. (smiling tenderly). Now you shall sing us "Woa, Lucinda!"
[Little ELFIE fetches her banjo, and sings, "Woa, Lucinda!" her Grandmother and the aged Steward joining in the dance and chorus, and embracing the child, to form picture as Curtain falls.
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(By Mr. Punch's Own Type-writer.)
No. II.—THE CORINTHIAN LADY.
The Corinthian Lady is the latest resultant of the two forces of ennui and dissipation acting on a Society that is willing to spend money and desires to kill time. She has played many parts, some (of infinitesimal proportions), on the burlesque stage, others in the semi-private life of her own residence in the South-west district of London. Her versatility has gained for her many admirers and a precarious income, but so long as she possesses the former she scorns to live upon the latter. Being unquestionably a real lady, she has been elected an honorary member of a night club to which undoubted gentlemen resort. There she occasionally consents to dance; more often she sups to an accompaniment of Viennese music, loud and mirthless laughter, jests which are as fatuous as they are suggestive, and wine which, unlike the humour of the plated youths, her companions, is always sparkling and sometimes dry.
Her real name is a mystery, which, however, she did not find attractive. Having, therefore, abandoned it, she generally substitutes for it the patronymic of a Norman peer, but, lest this should be thought too strong, she dilutes it by the addition of a pet name drawn from the nursery. By this title her fame is celebrated amongst many foolish young men who singe themselves at the flame of her friendship, and many others who, wishing to be thought wise, pretend to know her. Like all doves, she plumes herself on her good looks. Unlike them, she is proud of her bad habits; but she is a stern censor, and shows scant mercy to those colleagues who, surpassing her in the former, lack means or chances to attain to the splendour of the latter. Should one of these happen to be admitted to a club she frequents, or to a supper-party she honours with her presence, she has been known to wrap herself in her sealskins, and to depart indignantly in her private brougham.
She possesses the secret of nocturnal youth, and her eyes are warranted to kill across a supper-table, yet she is no longer young, and sometimes betrays herself by her anecdotes of familiar associations with "boys" who have long since passed into respectability and middle-age. Though she adores diamonds, she frequently sells them, and includes in the transaction those who have purchased them for her; yet she retains and wears as many jewels as would furnish forth a Duchess in a Bow Bells novel. But her elbow gloves, which rarely come within a measurable distance of godliness, inevitably proclaim the Corinthian.
She is constant only in her love of excitement, and in her devotion to change, whether it be of the persons of her adorers, or of the colour of her hair. Having early in life learnt the lesson that only those who possess are happy, she endeavours to assure herself against misery by transferring to herself the wealth of those who fall under her influence, or aspire to her affections. She apes what she conceives to be the manners of good society by a languid affectation of refinement and a supercilious drawl, yet she has been known to clothe herself in objurgations as in a tea-gown, and to repel with scurrility the advances of those who are not moneyed. She earns a certain popularity by the display of a kind of rough good-nature, and the possession of a pet poodle. She has been seen on a coach at Ascot, and in a launch at Henley Regatta, together with a select company of those who cultivate excitement by not looking at the exertions of horses or athletes, whilst they themselves drink Champagne. Nor is she unknown in the boxes of the Gaiety or the Avenue, whither she repairs after dining at the Cafe Royal. She goes, but not alone, to Monte Carlo, and returns, under a different escort, to London, after losing a great deal of the money of other people.
She was once married to a racing man of shady reputation and great wealth, but having soon wearied of the mock-respectability of a quasi-matrimonial existence, she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Justice BUTT at a moment when he is engaged neither upon the probate of wills nor on the collisions of ships. Yet her dislike of one husband who happened for a time to be her own has not in the least impaired her affections for the husbands, actual or to be, of others. No lady can be considered truly Corinthian unless she has figured as the defendant in an action for goods supplied by a milliner. It is thus that the Public learns the Corinthian value of silks, and satins, and laces, and decorative butterflies.
Finally, however, in spite of her gallant and protracted struggles, the years overtake her. She begins to be talked of with a pitying contempt as "OLD SO-AND-SO"; art ceases to outwit Nature, and she herself can no longer deceive men. For some time she clings to the fringe of the society she once adorned; but sinking gradually from the Corinthian to the Continental, from the Continental to the Cavour, from the Cavour to a supper-less Music-hall existence, and hence, after many misfortunes, to the cold comfort of the pavement, she ends her days decrepit, obscure, and unfriended, in the back bed-room of a Soho lodging.
* * * * *
[It is said that the Psychical Society could find no authentic stories of ghosts in Boston, U.S.A.]
Not a ghost in bumptious Boston! Do the souls of men whose books, So they tell us, outshine DICKENS, rise superior to "spooks"? Do the phantoms, having read them, fly in terror and in pain At the cult of vivisection of La belle Americaine? HOWELLS puffs up DUDLEY WARNER, who declares his HOWELLS fine. Do the spectres hate "log-rolling," and to haunt the place decline?
Are there no ghosts in New England? Really, this is something new. Where did famous Rip van Winkle see old HUDSON'S phantom crew? Are the Katskills now unhaunted, where those silent elders bowled, And Rip brought the keg of liquor, and the awful thunder rolled? Or do those immortal spectres very wisely count as nought All the tricks of spirit-rappers and sham readers of our thought?
Did the Pilgrims of the Mayflower, as we must perforce surmise, Leave ancestral ghosts behind them when they sailed 'neath alien skies? There is something in the notion, for it was a risky trip, And a spectre is a nuisance when he gibbers on board ship. So, no doubt, those sturdy people, when they crossed Atlantic foam, From an economic motive, left their phantoms all at home.
Or it may be disembodied spirits, when abroad they walk, Cannot stand the stucco culture and the egotistic talk; WARNER may have "lovely manners," HOWELLS swears he has, but then Ghosts have seen as good in days of stately dames and high-born men; While a curious nasal accent, just a soupcon of a twang, May cause spectres of refinement an involuntary pang.
So it seems the phantoms shun it, be the reason what it may, Not a single ghost of Boston owns to living there to-day. Possibly, if we but knew it, an American's too spry, And he takes his spirit with him when he condescends to die; Any way the "spooks" have vanished, and the spectres of old time Only live in cheap romances and the poet's idle rhyme.
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FORTUNATE AND ECONOMICAL.
DRURIOLANUS OPERATICUS didn't go over to Brussels the other day for nothing. What he had in his pocket at starting we are not aware, but it is certain that, while abroad, he collared a tenner, which is to last him through the ensuing season at Covent Garden. The new tenor's name is "YBOO." Beautiful name! "Why boo?" Ask Sir Pertinax Macsycophant, who tells us that "boo'ing" (not "for BALFOUR") is the only way to get on in life. The tenor, if successful, will be able to reply to "Y-BOO" with the satisfactory answer—"Because I'm called before the Curtain."
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Jones (nervously conscious that he is interrupting a pleasant tete-a-tete). "A—I'M SORRY TO SAY I'VE BEEN TOLD TO TAKE YOU IN TO SUPPER, MISS BELSIZE!"
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Yes; "one man in his time plays many parts," But GRANDOLPH posing on a Temperance platform? Young Tories who so praised their hero's arts Hardly expected him to show in that form. He was their Coming Champion; he'd revive The memories of the mighty days of BEAKY. Him they could trust to keep the game alive; Was he not vigorous, various, cool, and cheeky? GLADSTONE he'd beard, Corruption he would throttle. And here he stands behind the Water-Bottle!
As the political Puck he was rare fun, As young Bellerophon he was a wonder; He'd see that England had the biggest gun, He'd end the era of expensive blunder. E'en as Jack Sheppard collaring GLADSTONE'S "swag," The Tory-Democratic hosts admired him; And when he seemed to stumble or to lag, They swore he'd be "all there"—when they required him. But did they picture him upon the stump As the Grand Young Apostle of the Pump?
He, whose amazing advent was all fire, Stoop to the leaden level of cold water? A spectacle indeed to tame and tire The zeal of his most confident supporter. What will DUNRAVEN say? Quidnuncs will quiz, And Balfour-worshippers will smirk and chuckle, And ask if he considers it "good biz" To the Teetotal interest to truckle. They may be right—or wrong, these babblers busy. They were not always right about BEN DIZZY.
Meanwhile he poses there as advocate Of this last panacea of his adoption. He holds the only way to save the State Is Temperance, enforced by Local Option. Spirited Foreign Policy? Anon! Fiscal Economy? Quite secondary! All is no use till the Drink-Demon's gone! BUNG, who so loved him, feels his colour vary; And, while he perorates to all men's wonder. Smug WILFRID smiles and whispers, "That's my thunder!"
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My faithful "Co." has been reading Marooned, by Mr. CLARK RUSSELL, an author who delights in stories of nautical adventure. My worthy follower declares that the novel, although rather spun out, is full of interest. He was especially pleased with Mr. CLARK RUSSELL'S anxiety to make his meaning clear when talking of things maritime. He particularly instances a passage in Vol. II., page 17. Here it is: "It is proper I should state here, for the information for those to whom sea-terms are unintelligible, that a studding-sail-boom is a long smooth spar that reeves through irons, fixed upon the yard to which it belongs." How land-lubbers would be able to understand the marine technicalities Mr. RUSSELL introduces into his stories without explanations such as this, it would be difficult to say. But with such assistance, a studding-sail-boom becomes as easy of identification as a marling-spike lashed to a forecastle spinaker-boom, close hauled aport under trysails, blowing out like flags from the grips of clew-lines and leech-lines towards the close of a second dog-watch! Shiver LINDLEY MURRAY'S timbers! but what can be finer than a bulkhead battened down with the scandalised main-sail of a top-gallant clipper-rigged halliard! Ah, what indeed!
"Co." has also been improving his mind by reading a new edition of Mr. JOSEPH FOSTER'S Noble and Gentle Families of Royal Descent, in which he has found, amongst other interesting matter, the recently much discussed pedigree of the Duke of FIFE. Like all Mr. FOSTER'S books of reference, the two handsome volumes are invaluable to the genealogist, and no library can be accurately said to be quite complete without them.
BARON DE BOOK-WORMS & CO.
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DAUBIGNY IN BOND STREET.—Through the organisation of Messrs. BOUSSOD, VALADON & CO., and the kindness of Mr. JAMES STAATS FORBES, Mr. W. CUTHBERT QUILTER, Mr. ALEXANDER YOUNG, and other courteous collectors, we are enabled to enjoy, at the Goupil Gallery, as many as forty-three works by this distinguished paysagiste of the Barbizon School. Nothing of the "daub" to be seen here excepting in the first half of the name. Charming collection. Nice boys they were of the Barbizon School, all in the best form. Mr. Punch recommends everybody not to neglect to pay an immediate visit to this superb exhibition.
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LE KICK-BALLE FIGHT.
"No definite date has yet been fixed for the football match which is to take place here between an English and a French eleven, the latter consisting of pupils from the Lycee Janson de Sailly, but the preliminary negotiations are still proceeding."—Letter of Paris Correspondent.
MON CHER MONSIEUR,
It is with the feelings of a 'Igh Life-Sporting-Gentlemans most ecstatic and profound, that I find myself preparing "Le Onze" of the great spirited youths of our Lycee, who have, brave-souled heroes, volunteered to meet on the veritable champ de bataille of the kicke-legges-match your Public-school-team, who have thrown in their faces the challenge glove of combat. I say, I am preparing, but this means, of course, with such modifications of your Jeu-de-Rugby rules, which, indeed, turn the struggle into un vrai carnage, degrading alike to humanity and civilisation, as will permit the enlightened children of our great, refined and Republican France, to meet their antagonists not with the savage antics of Blood-thirsty Cannibals, which seem to characterise what you term "le scrimmage," as practised by your contending "'ome-teams" at le Hovals and other arenas, where meet and rend each other with the fury unrestrained, terrible and indescribable of the wild beasts and gladiators of the barbaric Roman Circus, of ancient times, but with the humanised activity of that expurgated and refined form of the contest which has enabled the courageous but reasoning youth of this great reforming and Republic France of ours, to throw open wide her arms and welcome to her heart elastic and generous Le Kick-Balle Fight, as henceforth her own chosen and peculiar national game.
You can understand, Mon cher Monsieur, that I cannot, in the short space at my disposal in this limited letter, do more than merely outline the suggestion of the New Rules, but when I assure you that they have been cautiously thought out, drawn up and revised by a carefully selected Committee, comprising, among other noted experts, a Major-General of Engineers, two Analytical Chemists, a Balloon Proprietor, an Archbishop, a Wild-beast Tamer, a Ballet Master, a Professor of Anatomy, a Patent Artificial Limb Maker, and a Champion Fighter of Le Boxe Americain, you will see that the features of the game, gay, murderous, active, and terrible, have all been considered with a due regard to their preservation where this has been found compatible with the sacredness of human life and the protection of le shin from too much furious and brutal bruising. But here I subjoin a few of the simpler "New Provisions" as adopted by the Committee.
1. "Le Balle."—He will be constructed of Gold-beater's Skin, and covered with Pink or Blue Satin, with perhaps a few White Silk Bows, sewn on to him for the purpose of elegant adornment. It is this making of "Le Balle," a light, gay, and altogether ethereal creation which will strike the key-note of the new game of Le Kick-Balle Fight as a recognised pastime for the courageous youth of modern France.
2. Le Onze, will all wear one uniform, which will consist of white satin slippers, pantalons of cashmere, with feather pillows worn as a protection strapped over the knees, a bolster being wound round the body to safeguard the chest, ribs, and spinal column. A broad gay, coloured satin sash with a cocked hat and ostrich feathers completes the costume. The last to indicate, owing to the risks and dangers in which the combatants may be involved, its association with le vrai champs de bataille, to which, but for the "new provisions" it would bear such a terrible and striking resemblance.
3. "Le 'Arf-back."—This dangerous officer is abolished altogether, the Committee being of opinion, unanimous and decisive, that the position is only provocative of strife.
4. "Le Forward."—He is for the same reason equally abolished, and in the French game exists no more.
5. "Le Goal-keepere."—He may keep "Le Goal" if he can do so without danger of being struck in the face with "Le Balle."
6. "Le Balle" must, on no account, be touched with the foot, but merely slapped playfully, enough for the purposes of propulsion, with the palm of the open hand.
7. "Le Scrimmage." This barbarous and savage entanglement is absolutely defendu. No two opposing combatants must ever, under any circumstances, permit themselves to touch each other. The great skill of the new game will be, by subtle and appropriate gesticulation, to dance out of each other's way. On any two opposing combatants, by any chance, touching each other, "Le Capitaine" of either side will appeal to the Umpire, and, after the manner of "Le jeu de Cricket," will propose for him the simple question, "Mister Umpire, 'ow is that?" Upon which, that official saying "Out!" the two offenders will be struck from the game, and enjoy no share of "Le gate-money," if that is the prize for which the two teams are honourably contending.
The above, Mon cher Monsieur, are the principal Rules, as arranged by the Committee, and you will see that they have been drawn up with a view to eliminating the bloodthirsty boule-dogue ferocity from a pastime which, under the title of Le Kick-Balle Fight, bids fair to become the characteristic sport, gay, active, and courage-inspiring, of our modern French youth awakened with elan and ardour to the athletic spirit of the age which has overtaken them.
Receive, Mon cher Monsieur, the assurance of my most distinguished consideration,
Le Heads-Masterre of the Lycee Janson de Sailly.
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THE FARTHING NOVEL SERIES.
Now that the entire works of the late WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE can be purchased (allowing for discount) for fourpence-halfpenny, it seems strange that no publisher has issued the more celebrated of our romances at the rate per volume of the smallest coin of the realm. That it can be done will be obvious to the meanest comprehension. All that is required is brevity and intelligibility. It is only necessary to give an outline of the story—the sketchier the better. If a little "local colouring" can be thrown in, no harm will be done. But that local colouring must be distinctly modern. Again, if sentiments calculated to be popular with the class by whom the series is likely to be purchased are introduced, a distinct gain will be the consequence. But as an example is better than pages of description, a sample is subjoined:—
Or, The Disguised Knight, the Distressed Jewess, and the Templar who did not Behave like a Gentleman.
"You are very welcome," said CEDRIC the Saxon, for the fifth time, as Sir BRIAN DE BOIS-GILBERT took down the Fair ROWENA to supper. "As for you, WILFRID the Pilgrim, sit below the salt, and, Sir Seneschal, keep your eyes upon the horn spoons."
"And this is the curse of the land," murmured the heir, as he helped himself to plum-pasty, the forerunner of plum-pudding. "It is this haughtiness that causes our yeomen to strike, and makes ROBIN HOOD, Friar TUCK, and the rest of his merry men possible!"
The next day joined in the tournament. It was a grand sight. The horses pranced, the plumes flowed in the wind. The refreshments were executed by contract, at so much a head, by a body of adventurers, who had combined together to keep down prices.
"Nay, beshrew thee, man!" exclaimed JOHN, the Smith, to THOMAS the Jones—a contraction of joiner. "It is these combinations—co-operations, as Sir EVANS, the Clerk at the church over yonder hath it—that ruin trade." Before THOMAS the Jones or joiner could reply, there was a crash, and it was known that Sir BRIAN had been overcome by a Knight who had no crest.
"He does not deserve to win," said a Herald to a Pursuivant—"defrauding us of our fees! No coat-of-arms; no pedigree! It is simply disgraceful."
"Ay, and so it is," replied the under-officers of the College of Arms. "But see yonder is ISAAC of YORK the Jew. Join me in a bond, and we will avail ourselves of his usury." And within twenty-four hours the two gentles had borrowed one-and-sevenpence-halfpenny!
In the meanwhile Sir BRIAN had carried off REBECCA, been slain, and disposed of.
Then there was a magnificent wedding, as WILFRID of Ivanhoe, no longer the disowned, but the heir to estates belonging to a highly respectable county family led his bride to the altar.
"Methinks she takes the cake," whispered WAMBA the Jester.
"Not until after the breakfast," replied RICHARD COEUR DE LION, throwing off his disguise as the Nameless Knight, and appearing in the full costume of a monarch.
"Long live the King!" shouted the populace.
"You are right to utter that wish," returned His Majesty, "so long as I reign without attempting to govern. Believe me, it is better to have universal suffrage than a despot who may be at once cruel and incompetent."
"In fact, an idiot," put in a reporter, who was doing the ceremony for a local record.
"Quite so," acquiesced the Monarch; and then, turning to the newly-married pair, he observed, "Bless you, my children! Mark me, I order you to live in happiness for ever afterwards."
And IVANHOE and his bride obeyed the royal command.
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TORY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, February 17.—"Better be in your place early," said CHAPLIN, passing me as he marched with long strides across resounding corridor.
"Yes, I know. OLD MORALITY'S going to say what Government will do about PARNELL Commission's Report; everybody anxious to know."
"It's not that, dear boy, not that," said our new Minister, in compassionate tone. "I have two questions to answer. First time, don't you know; everybody dying to see how it goes off; warrant you they shan't be disappointed."
COBB the Curious came on with first interrogatory. All about fox-hunting and fox-hunters. Pretty to see COBB, having submitted his question under ten sub-heads, place hands on knees and fix Minister with steady stare. CHAPLIN advanced to table with graceful carriage and confident bearing; produced with imposing flourish a sheaf of notes, foolscap size, stoutly sewn, apparently exceeding a dozen in number; began to read with practised elocutionary art; drew the covert, "so to speak," as T. W. RUSSELL protests he said when telling the men of Manchester that WILLIAM O'BRIEN must be taken by the throat. No draw; went to next covert—I mean turned over another folio. House began to murmur; CHAPLIN, accepting involuntary applause, read on with increased impressiveness and complacency; murmurs grew into shout. At view-halloa! fox started; fifth folio now reached; only seven more to read. CHAPLIN began to wish GOSCHEN or OLD MORALITY would go and fetch him glass of water. Cries from crowd grew louder. At last CHAPLIN, looking up, beheld, through astonished glasses, Opposition indulging in roar of contumely. Wouldn't have taken him more than quarter of an hour or twenty minutes to finish his few remarks, and yet a lot of miserable Members who didn't know a fox from a hare wouldn't let him go on! Struggled gallantly for some minutes; at last sat down; whole pages of his answer unrecited.
Speeches all night in continued Debate on the Address. PARNELL has moved Amendment arraigning BALFOUR'S administration in Ireland. WILLIAM O'BRIEN, chancing to be out of prison, looks in and delivers fiery harangue in support of Amendment. But yesterday, BALFOUR, his gaoler; ordered his food; not too much of it and not full variety; fixed his hours of going to bed and getting up. Now prison-doors opened by lapse of time; O'BRIEN walks out through Westminster Hall into House of Commons; stands before SPEAKER on equal terms with his whilom gaoler, and scolds him magnificently. By-and-by BALFOUR will probably have his turn again, and O'BRIEN will be eating and drinking the bread and water of affliction. Meanwhile, storms at top of his voice, beats the air with long lean arm and clenched hand, and makes dumb dogs of English Members sad with musing on the inequalities of fortune, which has given these Irishmen the great gift of pointedly saying what they have at heart.
Business done.—Debate on Address.
Tuesday.—"Well," said THOMAS BAYLEY POTTER, sinking slowly into corner seat, grateful to find that PETER O'BRIEN was his neighbour, for PETER finds it possible to pack himself into a limited space and THOMAS BAYLEY'S proportions are roomy—"well it is nice to see how these old colleagues love one another. Come next April, I have sat in House man and boy for twenty-five years. Have found that on some pretext, on one occasion or another, they are always at it, scratching each other's face, pulling one another's hair, or stabbing each other in the back. Why don't they all join the Cobden Club, sink minor differences, and be friends ever after?"
As THOMAS BAYLEY thus mused, he gazed across Gangway on to Front Opposition Bench. An interesting incident developing. HENRY JAMES on his legs (generally on one) opposing PARNELL'S Amendment to Address. He stands between the outstretched legs of his two dear and right hon. friends, GLADSTONE and JOHN MORLEY. Just beyond JOHN MORLEY, TREVELYAN sits. At the other side of GLADSTONE, HARCOURT towers, toying with the gracious folds of his massive chin, looking straight before him with sphynx-like gaze. According to etiquette and usage, JAMES should be addressing the Chair; but his back is turned to SPEAKER. He faces half round to Front Opposition Bench, and, with left foot clasped round right ankle, elbow of right arm leaning on box, and clenched left hand swinging to and fro in perilous proximity to a grand old proboscis, he literally drives home his argument. House may listen, if it pleases, like crowd closing in on street squabble; HENRY JAMES is having it out with his old friends and Leader; professing fullest respect, and even reverence for his right hon. friend the Member for Midlothian, but at same time showing how utterly, hopelessly wrong he and his have gone since his former Solicitor-General parted company.
HARCOURT, a little out of it, sits and ponders, possibly thinking of the days when he was plain Mr. VERNON HARCOURT, and, seated below the Gangway, used, in company with his young friend, Mr. HENRY JAMES, to bait GLADSTONE, then on Treasury Bench, hastening to the catastrophe of 1874.
"Makes me feel quite old," said THOMAS BAYLEY POTTER, dexterously appropriating another half-inch of the space that rightfully belonged to PETER O'BRIEN. "Seems but yesterday that HARCOURT and JAMES were in the running, one for Attorney-General, the other Solicitor-General. But getting it, having got it, or having abandoned it, seems all to lead to the same end—the worrying of the Grand Old Man."
Business done.—PARNELL'S Amendment to Address negatived by 307 Votes against 240.
Wednesday.—LYCIDAS is dead—dead in his prime! It was this very morning, in the earliest moments of its birth, that I watched JOSEPH GILLIS walking up the floor shoulder to shoulder with old friend DICK POWER, "telling" in division on PARNELL'S Amendment to Address. Beaten, of course, but majority diminished, and JOEY beamed as he walked across Lobby towards Cloak-Room. Rather a sickly beam, compared with wild lights that used to flash from his eyes in the old times, when majority against Home Rule was a great deal more than 67.
"Yes, I am a little tired, TOBY, dear boy," he said. "These dull sittings and early adjournments don't suit me. I was better and stronger in the old times, when we used to sit up all night and fight all day. Remember thirteen years ago, when I slept for an hour on two chairs in the Library? Returned to House at five in morning; found them all looking jaded and worn; cheered them up by saying I'd come back like a giant refreshed. Well, I'll go home now, have a good sleep, be all right in the morning."
And when we are gathered in House for Wednesday's sitting we learn that all is right indeed, and that poor old JOEY B. lies quiet, with face upturned, in his alien lodgings off Clapham Common.
He would be surprised if he knew with what warm and sincere feeling his sudden taking-off is mourned. At the time he spoke of, thirteen years back, he was certainly the most abhorred person on the premises, and gleefully chuckled over consciousness of the fact. But the House, with nearer knowledge, learned to recognise his sterling qualities, and now, when Death rounds off with tragic touch the comicalities of his public life, everyone has a kindly word to say for JOSEPH GILLIS.
Business done.—Debate on Address.
Thursday.—"Curious," said CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, "how habits ingrained in early life, born in the blood as it were, come out at chance times. Here's OLD MORALITY been for a generation practically divorced from business affairs in the Strand, and yet look at him now, and listen to him!"
Strange transmogrification truly. Arose on question put by HUNTER as to when the ten volumes of evidence, upon which Report of Special Committee founded, would be on the bookstalls. OLD MORALITY at the table in a moment, his manner brisk yet deferential, his hands involuntarily wandering over the books and papers scattered about, as if he were looking for special edition someone on other side of counter had asked for.
"The Evidence," he said, "given before the Special Commission occupies eleven volumes, consisting of the Evidence and Appendix, and they will probably be followed by a twelfth volume containing Index matter. We trust that the first eleven volumes will be ready for delivery to customers before the 1st of March."
PETER O'BRIEN, not yet expanded since compressed by contiguity of THOMAS BAYLEY POTTER, asked whether complete copies of the evidence would be supplied to other persons incriminated, but not being Members of the House? OLD MORALITY at the counter again; the old Adam in him stronger than ever. Here was a pretty proposal! Bound to supply this interesting work gratuitously to Members of Parliament; to go beyond that most unbusinesslike.
"No, Sir," he said, firmly; "it is open to other persons to obtain the volumes by purchase."
House roared with laughter, turned delighted from this little comedy to face the gloomy prospect of STANSFELD on District Councils.
Business done.—Still harping on Address.
Friday Night.—"Strange," said J. A. PICTON, slowly rubbing his brawny hands, "how in our ashes live our wonted fires."
Dwelt amongst dead ashes all week; dreary dulness. To-night, in very last hour of week, Debate suddenly flashes forth in brilliant flame, worthy of old traditions. CHAMBERLAIN, with his back to the wall, faced and flanked by jeering, scornful, angry Liberals. Explains why he's going to vote with Government against demand for Free Education. A tough, dialectical job, requiring skill, temper, courage. CHAMBERLAIN displays each quality. Cool, collected, master of the situation, deftly warding off thundering blows, and now and then changing, with swift action, from defensive to offensive. A pretty sight, worth waiting a week for.
Business done.—ACLAND'S Motion for Free Education rejected by 223 Votes against 163.
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SONG FOR MR. STANSFELD, M.P.
(Adapted from Mr. J. L. Toole's "Speaker's Eye".)
In Eyer-land I used to try, But I never could catch a P'leeceman's eye. I never could catch—— [Whistles.
Chorus of Members, led by the Speaker.
He never could catch——
Mr. Stansfeld and Chorus ensemble.
I } never could catch the P'leeceman's eye. He}
Copies should be on sale in the House, with an illustration by Mr. FRANK LOCKWOOD, Q.C., M.P.
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Forthcoming Book, a "Standard" Work (in the Press), New Edition of Allsopp's Fables. N.B.—This volume will contain two extra Fables, illustrating the proverb of "Allsopps to Cerberus," and "There's many a slip between the mug and the Hind-lip." Many novel pints will be introduced.
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"FESTINA LENTE."—Get through Lent festively.
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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.
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