OR, THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
MARCH 8, 1890.
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THE LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL AND THE LYCEUM THEATRE.
APPEAL OF MR. HENRY IRVING. RESULT.
(A not impossible Extract from Next Year's Morning Papers.)
Yesterday, before the Theatres Committee of the London County Council, the appeal of MR. HENRY IRVING (the well-known actor and manager) against the decision of the Sub-Committee to refuse a licence to the Lyceum Theatre, came on for hearing.
After MR. HENRY IRVING (who appeared in person) had addressed the Committee at some length, dwelling upon the character of the pieces he had produced during his management, and the care and expense with which they had been mounted, several members of the Committee expressed a wish to put questions to him, which MR. IRVING promised to answer to the best of his ability.
MR. HECKLEBURY. I think you told us that Hamlet was one of your favourite parts? Is it not the fact that the chief character in the play drives his fiancee to madness and suicide by his cruelty, slays her father and brother, together with his own step-father, and procures the death of two of his school-fellows?
MR. IRVING admitted that this was so. (Sensation.)
MR. HECKLEBURY. That is all I wanted to ask you.
MR. FUSSLER. I understand that you have produced a play called Othello on more than one occasion; perhaps you will inform us whether the following passages are in your opinion suitable for public declamation? (Mr. FUSSLER then proceeded to read several extracts to which he objected on account of their offensive signification.)
MR. IRVING protested that SHAKSPEARE, and not himself, was responsible for such passages.
MR. FUSSLER. Unfortunately, SHAKSPEARE is not before us—and you are. You admit that you have produced a play containing lines such as I have just read? That is enough for Us.
MR. MEDLAM. Unless I am mistaken, the hero in Othello is not only a murderer but a suicide?
MR. IRVING. Undoubtedly. (Sensation.)
MR. MEDLAM. We have heard something of a piece called The Bells. I seldom attend theatres myself, except in the exercise of my public functions, but I do happen to have seen that particular play on one occasion. Does my memory mislead me in saying, that you committed a brutal and savage murder in the course of the drama?
MR. IRVING said that, as a matter of fact, the murder took place many years before the curtain rose—otherwise, the Member's memory was entirely accurate.
MR. MEDLAM. Whenever the murder was committed, it remains undetected, and the criminal escapes all penalty—is not that the case?
MR. IRVING urged that the Nemesis was worked out by the murderer's own conscience.
MR. MEDLAM said that was all nonsense; a person's conscience could not be made visible on the stage, and here a murderer was represented as dying several years after his crime, in his own bedroom, respected by all who knew him. Did MR. IRVING intend to tell them that such a spectacle was calculated to deter an intending murderer, or did he not? That was the plain question.
MR. IRVING thought that intending murderers formed so inappreciable an element in his usual audiences, that they might safely be left out of the calculation.
MR. MEDLAM. But you might have an intending murderer among your audience, I suppose?
MR. IRVING'S reply was not audible in the reporters' gallery.
MR. PARSEEKER. I should like to hear what you have to say about duelling, MR. IRVING—I mean, is it, or is it not, a practice sanctioned by the laws of this country?
MR. IRVING said that he did not quite understand the drift of such a question; but, since they asked him, he should say that duelling was distinctly illegal.
MR. PARSEEKER. You will understand the drift of my question directly, MR. IRVING. I have made it my business to acquaint myself with your dramatic career, and I find that you have played as hero at various times in Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Corsican Brothers, and The Dead Heart, besides Macbeth. Am I wrong in saying that in each of these pieces you fight a duel?
MR. IRVING. No. I fight a duel in each of them, except Macbeth, in which there is no duel, only a hand-to-hand combat. I do commit a murder in Macbeth.
A MEMBER. MR. IRVING'S tastes seem rather to run in the direction of murders. (Laughter.)
After the report of the Official Censor upon the general tone of the Lyceum plays during the last fifteen years had been read a second time and adopted, the Chairman, without more than a formal consultation with his colleagues, proceeded to announce the decision of the Committee. He said that they had not come to their present conclusion without long and anxious deliberation. They were now the constituted guardians of the public morals, and must fulfil their functions without fear or favour. (Applause.) They must look at the character of the performances at each theatre, considering only whether they were or were not beneficial to morality. In the past, under a regime happily now at an end, public opinion had been shamefully lax, and official control purely nominal; plays had been repeatedly performed, and even welcomed as classics, which he did not hesitate to say were full of incidents that were revolting to all well-regulated minds. SHAKSPEARE, who, with his undoubted talents, should have known better, was, so far from being an exception, one of the worst offenders. The Council must free themselves from the shackles of conventional tolerance. (Applause.) Evil was evil—murder was murder—coarseness was coarseness—whether treated by SHAKSPEARE or anybody else. Nor could the Committee shut their eyes to the fact that Mr. IRVING'S histrionic ability, and his popularity with those who attended his exhibitions could only intensify the injurious effect which such representations must have upon young and impressionable minds. In his opinion, much as he regretted having to say so, the Lyceum was nothing less than a School of Murder. It aggravated rather than extenuated the evil to be told, as they had been told, that all these deeds of violence had been represented on the stage with every aid which money, art and research could give. Again, was it desirable that the Democracy should derive their ideas of the family life of crowned heads from being admitted into the scandalous secrets of the household of Hamlet? Or did they wish to see an injured husband following the example of Othello? A thousand times no. These things must be stopped. The Council was very far from taking a Puritanical view of the question—(applause)—they fully recognised that the stage was a necessary social evil, and, as such, must be tolerated until the public taste was sufficiently purified to refuse it further countenance; but, in the meantime, the Council must insure that such exhibitions as they were prepared to sanction were of a kind consistent with the preservation of good manners, decorum, and of the public peace—(applause)—none of which conditions, in the unanimous opinion of the Committee, was fulfilled by the class of entertainment which the appellant IRVING had, by his own admission, persisted in providing. On those grounds alone the Committee dismissed the Appeal, and declared the Lyceum Theatre closed till further notice. He might say, however, that they might possibly be induced, after a certain interval, to reconsider the question, and allow the theatre to be reopened on MR. IRVING'S undertaking to produce dramas of an entirely unobjectionable character in future. (MR. IRVING begged for some more definite leading as to the dramas alluded to.) The Chairman said that he had been informed that an illustrated periodical called Punch was publishing a series of Moral Dramas, in which the sentiments and incidents were alike irreproachable. Let MR. IRVING promise to confine himself to these, and the Council would see about it. ( MR. IRVING then withdrew, without, however, having given any definite undertaking, and the Committee adjourned.)
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"The Eiffel Tower is 1000 feet high; if the Forth Bridge were put up on end, it would be 5280 feet in height. The tower has in its construction 7500 tons of iron; the bridge has 53,000 tons of the best steel. The tower was made in about six months; the bridge has required seven years. The Eiffel Tower is a wonderful thing; but, then, how much more wonderful is the Forth Bridge!"—Illustrated London News.
The Bridge. You took lots of beating, my sky-scraping friend, But BENJAMIN BAKER has compassed that end; I am sure Monsieur EIFFEL himself would allow That the Bridge licks the Tower; so where are you now?
The Tower. J'y suis et j'y reste, my big friend and great rival, I hope for a long and a glorious survival; But don't mind admitting—all great souls are frank— That you—for the present at least—take first rank 'Midst the mighty achievements adorning our sphere Of our latest of Titans, the Great Engineer.
The Bridge. All hail, Engineering! No wonder you're proud Of a work in whose honour all praises are loud; No wonder 'tis opened by princes and peers Amidst technical triumph and popular cheers; No wonder that BENJAMIN BAKER feels glad, Sir JOHN FOWLER and COOPER quite other than sad. 'Twas a very big job, 'tis a very big day, And the whole country joins in the Scotchmen's Hooray!
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What train of thought was it that led the indefatigable PERCY FITZGERALD to write, The Story of Bradshaw's Guide, which appears in one of the most striking wrappers that can be seen on a railway book-stall? How pleasant if we could obtain a real outside coat-pocket railway guide just this size. It is a pity that the Indefatigable and Percy-vering One did not apply to Mr. Punch for permission to reprint the page of Bradshaw which appeared in Mr. Punch's Bradshaw's Guide, marvellously illustrated by BENNETT, many years ago. This magnum opus in parvo is really interesting and amusing, but if there is one thing more than another which he who runs and reads desiderates of an author writing of time-tables and guides, it is accuracy. Now, in one particular instance, our PERCY is inaccurate. He writes: "Close on fifty years have passed by, and the guide with every year has continued, like Mr. Stiggins, to be a 'swellin' wisibly.'" The Brave Baron challenges PERCY to mortal combat on this issue, defying him to prove that Mr. Stiggins was ever described within the limits of Pickwick, as "swellin' wisibly." Will the erudite biographer of Bradshaw be surprised to learn, that, in the first place, the description "swellin' wisibly" was never applied to Mr. Stiggins at all, but was used by Mr. Weller senior, as illustrating the condition of a "young 'ooman on the next form but two" from where he was sitting, who had "drank nine breakfast cups and a half, and," he goes on to whisper to Sam, "She's a swellin' wisibly before my wery eyes." In the second place, the expression was employed at a time when Mr. Stiggins was not present, but, in his official character, as "a deligate from the Dorking branch of our society, Brother Stiggins" was in attendance downstairs. With these two exceptions, one mistake of omission, and one of commission, the Baron confers his imprimatur on the Story of Bradshaw's Guide, and recommends it to the public.
For a first-rate, short, well-constructed, and sensationally interesting story, let me recommend my readers to The Peril of Richard Pardon. Only one possible objection do I see to it, and that is a matter of my own private opinion, which is, that Richard Pardon is the most irritating idiot ever created by an author. For the sake of the story, it was necessary that he should be weak; but he is such a very backboneless man, and yet quite strong enough to support the fabric of the plot. Then one is cleverly put off the scent by a certain Richard Mortlock, from whom the reader expects much more than ever comes out. The sequel of this capital novelette must be Richard Mortlock. I have quite forgotten to say that The Peril of Richard Pardon is by Mr. B. L. FARJEON, whom I have to thank for making time pass too rapidly on many a previous occasion. The Hour Before Dinner Series—not that this is the genuine title, but it might be, and is a suggestion—is a real "boon and a blessing" to those who, like Podgers, in JOHN HOLLINGSHEAD'S immortal farce, "only have a 'our," not for "their dinner," but for their novel-reading throughout the day. FARJEON soit beni! (Signed) The Baron de Book-Worms.
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AN EVENTFUL WEEK.
(From a Prophetic Journal of Events, looming possibly somewhere a-head.)
Monday.—London, having now been without coal for sixteen weeks, and people having kept their kitchen-fires alight by burning their banisters and bedroom furniture, several noted West-end houses undertake to deliver the arms and legs of drawing-room chairs ("best screened"), at L26 5s. a ton for cash.
Tuesday.—All the petroleum in the country having now been exhausted for heating purposes, and Piccadilly being, in consequence, illuminated by a night-light in one lamp-post in every three, a "Discontented Ratepayer" commences a correspondence in the Times, commenting on the matter in a severe temper.
Wednesday.—Several Colliery Owners, in despair, descend into their own mines for the purpose of trying to raise some coal themselves, but their employes, declining to assist in hauling them up again, they are left to their fate, and nothing more is heard of them.
Thursday.—A Syndicate of Noblemen determine to try for coal on the spot, by sinking a mine in the middle of Belgrave Square, when, on arriving at a depth of 2500 feet, they come across an active volcano, which proves such a nuisance to the neighbourhood, that the Vestry is applied to by several parishioners to put a stop to it. On their sending the Sanitary Inspector to investigate the matter, he orders the mine to be closed. On this being done, the scheme collapses, several of the Syndicate, as a consequence, in despair emigrating to Tierra del Fuego.
Friday.—A set of studs and a drawing-room tiara of "Best Wallsend," are shown in a window of a jeweller's in Bond Street, and attract such crowds that the Police have to be called in to prevent a block in the traffic, and keep the pavement clear for foot passengers.
Saturday.—Furious street riots commenced by a noble Duke in Grosvenor Place pulling up the wood pavement in front of his house, and having it carted rapidly into his coal-cellars. The move becoming popular, spreads in all directions, with the result of leading to serious collisions with the local Vestry Authorities, who call in the aid of the Police.
Sunday.—The Archbishop of CANTERBURY preaches to an enormous congregation in Westminster Abbey, on the "Plague of Darkness" in Egypt by the light of a one-farthing candle. This being, by some misadventure, inadvertently knocked over, the assembled multitude are enabled to realise, to some extent, the gloomy horrors of the situation as described by the reverend preacher, and, stumbling over each other, retire to unlighted streets and fireless hearths, to face another week of the consequences of the "Trade Problem," with the solution of which they have been brought face to face.
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GRAND OLD BILLEE.[A]
"It is stated that the captaincy of Deal Castle ... is to be offered to Mr. GLADSTONE, the captaincy being in the gift of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports."—Daily News.
There were three sailors of London city Who found their (Party) ship at sea, Although with programmes, authorised and unauthorised, Most carefully they had loaded she.
There was greedy JOE and glosing JIMMY, And the third was named Grand Old BILLEE; And they were reduced to the piteous prospect Of grubbing on one split (Party) pea.
Says greedy JOE to glosing JIMMY, "For captaincy I am hungaree." To greedy JOE says glosing JIMMY, "Then you and I must get rid of he."
Says greedy JOE to glosing JIMMY, "With one another we should agree. With me as Captain, and you as First Mate, If it wasn't for Grand Old BILLEE."
"Oh, BILLEE, we're going to chuck you over, So prepare for a bath in the Irish Sea." When BILL received this information, His dexter optic winked he.
"First let me take an observation From the main-top over the Irish Sea!" "Make haste, make haste," says glosing JIMMY, Whilst JOE he fumbled his snickersnee.
So BILLY went up to the main-top-gallant mast, And began to count o'er the Irish Sea; And he scarce had come to eighty-six, or so, When up he jumps. "Land Ho!" shouts he.
"I can see Ould Ireland! There's the Bay of Dublin; With a distant glimpse of Amerikee. And the Parliament upon College Green, bhoys, With a right good glass I can (almost) see."
So they went ashore, and the crew when mustered Kicked Guzzling JOE, and cashiered JIMMEE. But as for Grand Old BILLEE, they gave him Of the old "Deal Castle" the captaincy!
[Footnote A: As various versions of the popular song of "Little Billee" have been set to music and sung, no apology is needed for the insertion in these pages of the version most up to date.]
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
House of Commons, Monday, February 24.—"Look here, TOBY, M.P.," said ARTHUR BALFOUR, almost fiercely; "if you suppose that I enjoy this sort of thing, you're quite mistaken." Hadn't supposed any such thing; hadn't, indeed, referred to the matter. Only looked at him inquiringly, as ATTORNEY-GENERAL for IRELAND, trudging stolidly through the mire, attempted to answer CHARLES RUSSELL. "If I am Irish Secretary, as TREVELYAN once said, I'm an English gentleman, and if you suppose I have any sympathy with the sort of thing that goes on at Clongorey, you're mistaken. But I am answerable for law and order, and law and order I maintain."
Thus ARTHUR, quite querulous. Have noticed sometimes, when a man hopelessly in the wrong, he is inclined to turn on his best friend and rend him. This Clongorey business, truly, a bad one. When, just now, SEXTON moved adjournment of House, in order to call attention to it, Conservatives rose with one accord and went forth. They know WINDBAG SEXTON of old, and thought he was probably going to favour them with one of his usual exercises. Better this once have stopped and listened. Interesting to see how two hundred English gentlemen would have voted had they learned all about Clongorey. Happily less, far less, than usual of the windbag about SEXTON. His story, in truth, needed no assistance from wind instrument. Farms at Clongorey simply strips of reclaimed bog land, on which struggling tenants had built miserable shanties; got along in good times; just managed to keep body and soul together, and pay the rent—rent on land they had literally created, and for huts they had actually built. Two years ago came a flood; swamped them. Asked landlord to make temporary reduction on rent, to tide over troublesome times. Landlord offered a pitiful trifle. What was thought of this shown by County Court Judge, who, on cases that came before him, permanently reduced rent by thrice amount of temporary reduction proffered. Judge further suggested that arrears should be wiped out. Landlord declined to listen to suggestion. Tenants drowned out by the cruel river, dragged out by the relentless landlord. Stood by whilst the emergency men wrenched roofs off their huts, and set fire to the ruins. A neighbour offered them shelter, enlarging out-buildings on her farm. Down came the police on workmen engaged in this act of charity. A hundred police, paid for by tax-payer, swooped down with fixed bayonets on Clongorey, arrested labourers, handcuffed them, marched them off to police barracks.
This is the simple Story of Clongorey, reduced to facts not denied by BALFOUR or ATTORNEY-GENERAL, divested of all incidental matters alleged, such as the parading of the handcuffed prisoners through the crowded streets of the town, the police making raids among the crowd, naturally gathered to see the sight. "One man had his eyeball burst, another his skull broken." CHARLES RUSSELL, not given to exaggerated views, somewhat reputable as a legal authority, with law-books in hand stated his opinion that, apart from incidents of the foray, magistrates and police were acting illegally.
"Well," said LONG LAWRANCE, turning his back on House of Commons, "I'm glad they've made me a Judge. Have ever been what is called a good Party-man; believe in BALFOUR; always ready to back him up with my vote; but, dash my wig (now that I'm going to wear a full-bottomed one) if I like voting to render possible the repetition of a business like this at Clongorey. Must begin to cultivate a judicial frame of mind; so I'll go for a walk on the terrace." LAWRANCE'S view evidently taken in other quarters of Conservative camp, for, after diligent whipping up, Ministerial majority reduced to 42. Business done.—Address agreed to.
Tuesday.—Midst a mass of Notices of Motion, a sea of troublous words, GEORGE TREVELYAN drops in a score which shines forth with light of common sense. "Why," he asks, "does not Parliament rise at beginning of July, sitting through winter months for whatsoever longer period may be necessary for the due transaction of public business?"
Why not? On Friday, the 14th March, TREVELYAN will put the question in formal way before House, so that they may vote on it. Conservative majority may well be expected to support it. No new thing; simply revival of older fashion. Our great grandfathers knew better than to swelter in London through July, pass the Twelfth of August at Westminster, and go off forlorn and jaded in the early days of September. Hunting men may have objections to raise; but then hunting men, though eminently respectable class, are not everybody, not even a majority; may even be spared to go hunting as usual. WALPOLE hunted like anything, yet in WALPOLE'S day Parliament oftener met in November than at any other time of year, and with due provision for Christmas holidays, sat into early summer. The thing can be done, and ought to be done—will be done if TREVELYAN sticks to it. Not nearly such a revolution in Procedure as that which, only a couple of years ago, established the automatic close of Debate at midnight. Who is there would like to go back to the old order of things in this respect?
Got into Committee of Supply to-night on Vote for Houses of Parliament. TONY LUMPKIN turned up again. Last Session, in moment of inspiration, TONY spluttered forth a joke; likened new staircase in Westminster Hall to SPURGEON'S Pulpit. It is just as like the River Thames or Finsbury Park; but that's where the fun lies. Incongruity is the soul of wit. Everybody laughed last Session when TONY, with much gurgling, produced this bantling; brings it out again to-night.
"Can't have too much of a good thing, TOBY," he says, wrestling with his exuberant shirt-front, and rubbing his hair the wrong way. "Always had my joke, you know, down in the country. Remember the little affair of the circuitous drive? This is what you may call my urban class of humour. SPURGEON'S Pulpit, Ha, ha!"—and TONY walked off delighted with himself.
Business done.—Supplementary Estimates.
Thursday.—Pity that prejudice should be allowed to stand in way of doing the best thing. Talk just now of pending vacancies on the Bench; such talk recurrent; sometimes more talk than vacancy. "But I pass from that," as ARTHUR BALFOUR says, when gliding over knotty points of question put from Irish Benches. If not vacancy to-morrow, sure to be within week, or month, or year. Why not make JEMMY LOWTHER a Judge? It is true he has no practice at the Bar; but he was "called," and, I believe, went. That is a detail; what we desire in our Judges are, a certain impressive air, a striking presence, and an art of rotund speech. JAMES has played many parts in his time—Parliamentary Secretary to the Poor-Law Board, Under-Secretary for the Colonies, Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Steward of the Jockey Club. In this last capacity he, a year ago, temporarily assumed judicial functions. How well he bore himself! with what dignity! with what awful suavity! with what irreproachable integrity!
That this manner is ingrained, is testified to on the occasions, too infrequent, when JEMMY rises in House. To-night BUCHANAN asked HOME SECRETARY a question, involving disrespect of rabbit-coursing. JAMES, the great patron of British sport in all developments, slowly rose, and impressively interposed. Was his Right Hon. friend, the HOME SECRETARY, aware that rabbit-coursing, conducted under recognised and established regulations, affords pastime to large masses of the industrious population who are unable, from their pecuniary circumstances, to indulge in the more expensive forms of sport? Those were JEMMY'S words, each syllable deliberately enunciated. What a study for the aspirant to Parliamentary style!
Kindly Earl of RAVENSWORTH, who still haunts the Chamber in which Lord ESLINGTON once had a place, chanced to hear this question. Delighted with it. Wished he could introduce something of that sort in House of Lords. Went about Lobby with his faithful umbrella (companion of his daily life, wet or shine) murmuring the musical phrases. "Recognised and established regulations," "afford pastime to large masses of industrious population," "unable from pecuniary circumstances," "the more expensive forms of sport." That all very well, but not quite all. Easy enough to catch the trick of speech; who but JEMMY LOWTHER can add the indefinable personal gifts which invest even the commonplace with impressiveness?
Business done.—Lots. Ministers bring in Bills by the half-dozen.
Friday.—Such alouettes! SAGE OF QUEEN ANNE'S GATE, who can't abear scandals, brought on alleged iniquity of Government in connection with Cleveland Street affair. Got off his speech; ATTORNEY-GENERAL replied; then SAGE proposed to offer few supplementary remarks. In course of these appeared frank declaration of his private opinion that everything the MARKISS says must be taken cum grano Salis-BURY; only the way he put it was much worse than that. COURTNEY asked him to withdraw. "Shan't!" said the SAGE. Then COURTNEY named him (calling him, by the way, "Mr. HENRY LABOUCHERE.") OLD MORALITY, rising to height of duty and occasion, moved that SAGE be suspended.
"Oh, hang it!" cried Opposition—"can't agree to that."
Divided on proposal; beaten, and SAGE hung up for a week. "He'll be pretty well dried by that time," grimly muttered the ATTORNEY-GENERAL, whom the SAGE had stroked the wrong way.
Business done.—Vote on Account agreed to.
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"A DOSE OF GREGORY."
It is some time since I have tasted a dramatic mixture so much to my liking as Mr. GRUNDY'S Gregory's Mixture, known to the public, and likely to be highly popular with the public too, as A Pair of Spectacles. Art more refined than Mr. HARE'S, as Benjamin Goldfinch in this piece, has not been seen on the stage for many a long day; nor, except in A Quiet Rubber, do I remember Mr. HARE having had anything like this particular chance of displaying his rare skill as a genuine comedian of the very first rank.
Everyone remembers, or ought to remember, DICKENS'S "Brothers Cheeryble." Well, Benjamin Goldfinch has all the milk of human kindness which characterised these philanthropic Gemini. As to moral characteristics, he is these two single gentlemen rolled into one, while physically, his exterior rather conjures up the picture of Harold Skimpole, though his eyes beam with the youthful impetuosity of old Martin Chuzzlewit when he caned Pecksniff. To this delightfully guileless good Samaritan, the rough, nay brutal, Uncle Gregory from Sheffield, with a heart apparently as hard as his own ware, is a contrast most skilfully brought out by Mr. CHARLES GROVE. Though the part of Uncle Gregory does not require the delicate treatment demanded by that of Goldfinch, yet it might very easily be overdone; but never once does Mr. GROVE overshoot the mark, although the author has imperilled its success by too frequent repetition of a catch-phrase, "I know that man," "I know that father," "I know that friend," and so forth, which is sometimes on the verge of becoming wearisome. Indeed, even now, I should be inclined to cut out at least half a dozen of these variations of the original phrase. His short but sufficient representation of the effects of too much lunch on Uncle Gregory is masterly. So realistic, in the best sense of the word, is the impersonation of these two characters, that one is inclined to resent the brutality of Uncle Gregory, when one sees the change suddenly effected in the sweet and sympathetic nature of Benjamin Goldfinch, and when we see him suspicious of everybody, and even of his young wife, whom he loves so dearly, we murmur, "Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!" And, indeed, but that it is impossible to help laughing from first to last, the final scenes of this charming piece, replete with touches of real human nature, would send an audience away crying with joy, to think of the possible goodness existent in the world, of which one occasionally hears, but so seldom sees, except on the stage.
Not a part in this piece is even indifferently played. The two young men, Mr. RUDGE HARDING, and Mr. SYDNEY BROUGH, both very good, the latter having better dramatic opportunities, and making the most of them. Mr. DODSWORTH just the very man for Friend Lorimer; Mr. CATHCART is Joyce, the Butler; and of the two Shoemakers, respectively played by Mr. KNIGHT and Mr. BYRON, I can only say, "I know those shoemakers."
As for the Ladies, Miss KATE RORKE looks very pretty, and acts charmingly as young Mrs. Goldfinch; Miss HORLOCK is very nice as Lucy Lorimer, delivering herself of a little bit of picturesque sentiment about feeding the birds (Les Petits Oiseaux is the title of the old French piece, if I remember rightly) in a rather too forcedly ingenuous manner, but behaving most naturally in the interrupted courtship scene, and being generally very sympathetic. I mustn't omit Miss HUNTER, pink of parlour-maids, not the conventional flirty soubrette nor the low-comedy waiting-woman, but a self-respecting, responsible young person, conscious of her own and her young man's moral rectitude, and satisfied with quarter-day and the Post-Office Savings Bank.
Only one single fault have I to find with the piece, and as it cannot be entirely remedied, though it might be modified, I will mention it. The title is a mistake; that can't be altered now: but the attempt at illustrating the double-meaning conveyed in the title by the practical "business" of changing the material glasses and thus hampering the actor by the necessity of altering his expression and his manner in accordance with his deposition or his resumption of these spectacles, seems to me to be childish to a degree, and tends towards turning this simple tale into a kind of fairy story, in which the spectacles play the part of a magic potion or charm, such as Mr. W. S. GILBERT would use in his Creatures of Impulse, his Fogarty's Fairy, and his Sorcerer, whenever he wishes to bring about a sudden and otherwise inexplicable transition from one mental attitude to another, and entirely opposite. But for the earnestness of the actors, this reductio ad Fairydum would have imparted an air of unreality to the characters and incidents which does not belong to them. The plot is a model of neat construction; and, to everyone at all in doubt as to where to pass an agreeable evening, I say, "Go to the Garrick Theatre." By the way, a Correspondent suggests that A Pair of Spectacles is an illustration of "The Hares Preservation Bill,"
JACK IN A BOX.
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A DISCLAIMER.—The Right Hon. Mr. HENRY CHAPLIN, M.P., Anti-muzzle-man and Minister of Agriculture, wishes to deny explicitly that, when, by a lapsus calami, he was made to describe Mr. TAY PAY O'CONNOR as "peeping from behind the Speaker's chair," he ever intended to fix upon that honourable gentleman the sobriquet of "Peeping Tom"; nor had he any idea of sending him to Coventry. What he did say was——but it doesn't much matter what "he did say," what he didn't say is so much more to the point.
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THE STANLEY AND AFRICAN EXHIBITION.—One of the largest contributors will be Mr. BONNY. This sounds well; at all events, it's BONNY. The French, who are now welcoming their own private African hero, le Capitaine TRIVIER, back to his native land, may be induced to place their trophies under Mr. BONNY'S care, as, if Imperialists, they can then say they have a BONNY-part in this Exhibition.
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FROM AN INDIGNANT CORRESPONDENT.—"Sir,—I sent you a joke three months ago, which you have not used. Since then I have made arrangements for the joke to appear elsewhere." [What a chance we have lost!—ED.]
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"THE BIG GUN!"
Grand Old Gunner loquitur:—
'Tis a regular "Mons Meg" of a cannon! The swabs, they have been every one, Very hard the Grand Old (Gunner) Man on, But what will they think of this gun? Double shotted, and charged to the muzzle, And trained by my hands and my eye, The foes I conceive it will puzzle, And tempt them to fly.
Mere skirmishing, up to the present, With pop-guns, and flint-locks, and such; But now! They will not find it pleasant, When once this huge touch-hole I touch. Mighty CAESAR! I guess they won't like it; Great SCOTT! won't it just raise a din? And don't they just wish they could spike it Before we begin?
The fun of it is, they have furnished The filling themselves, unaware. The shot they've cast, polished, and burnished, The powder were prompt to prepare. It's pitiful, quite, their position, To see, the unfortunate elves! Their carefully-stored ammunition Thus turned on themselves.
Their batteries big it should batter, Their trenches should burst and blow up, Their forces allied it should scatter, It's worse than an Armstrong or Krupp. Chain-shot for swift slaughter's not in it, For spreading it's better than grape, They'll all be smashed up in a minute, Scarce one can escape.
Now, MORLEY, my boy, and brave PARNELL, I'll lay it; just follow my hand. That plain will soon look like a charnel, With all that remains of their band; The "fragments of him called McCARTY" (Referred to, I think, in the song) Were huge chunks to the scraps that their Party Will show before long.
They shall see what I can do, when ready, As Grand Old (Artillery) Man. Right, PARNELL! left, MORLEY! Now, steady!!! Stop! Just one last peep, whilst I can! I do hope, dear boys, there's no blunder; I think it is loaded all right. Are they horribly frightened, I wonder? Well, now for a sight!!!
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OLD FRIENDS AND COUNSEL.
Our old friend MADDISON MORTON'S Box and Cox runs SHAKSPEARE'S works generally very near in the matter of daily application. But fancy its being quoted as an authority by Sir HORACE DAVEY, in his masterly reply to t'other side in the Bishop of LINCOLN'S case. Yet so it was. "Bishop COSIN," said Sir HORACE, "had erroneously assumed that a letter had been written by CALVIN to KNOX, whereas it had been really written to an Englishman named Cox." So it was a mistake of the postman, after all, and it only wants the introduction of the name of Box to make the whole thing perfect and satisfactory. "It will be within the recollection of the Court," Sir HORACE might have continued, "that Cox was prevented from becoming the husband of PENELOPE ANNE, relict of WILLIAM WIGGINS, Proprietor of Bathing Machines at Margate and Ramsgate, by the sudden and totally unforeseen union of the lady in question with one KNOX, whose residence, as the Musical Revised Version has it, was usually 'in the Docks'; and with this marriage of PENELOPE ANNE WIGGINS with Mr. KNOX of the Docks, Messrs. BOX AND COX professed themselves entirely and completely satisfied, as it is my earnest hope that Your Grace, and My Lords the Bishops, will also be. And should this be the result, then I assure Your Grace that there will not be a happier party sit down this night to supper than 'READ and others,' of which fact you may take your Davey."
On the Learned Counsel resuming his seat, there would have been considerable applause, which, of course, would have been instantly suppressed.
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NOTES "IN GLOBO."—Dorothy was long ago taken off the stage of the Prince of Wales's to make room for Paul Jones. But another DOROTHY has recently reappeared at the Globe Theatre in the pretty Shakspearian fairy-play entitled, A Midsummer Night's Dream, wherein DOROTHY DENE enacts the part of Hippolyta. By the way, the lady who used to speak of that immortal work, Dixon's Johnsonary, the other day referred to SHAKSPEARE as being "contemporaneous with that great wit—dear me—what was his name?—who wrote Every Man in his own Humour—oh, I remember—JOHN BENSON." Eminently satisfactory.
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"The St. Petersburgh tailors have hit upon an effectual device for obtaining payment of their bills. Immense black-boards are hung up in the most conspicuous place in the reception-room; thereon are chalked, in letters as big as arrow-headed inscriptions, the names of their hopelessly-indebted clients, and the amount of their indebtedness."
Who always seemed serene and bland; Who never asked for "cash in hand," Quite pleased that my account should "stand"? My Tailor!
Who catered for the gilded throng, Who chid me when my taste was wrong, Whose credit—and whose price—was long?— My Tailor!
Who chatted when I felt depressed, Who proffered wine with friendly zest, Whose weeds were ever of the best?— My Tailor!
Who with sartorial oil anoints My vanity, who pads my joints, And fortifies my weakest points?— My Tailor!
But who in future, much I fear, Will greet me with no words of cheer, But talk of "settling"—language queer?— My Tailor!
Who silently will point his hand To figures white on black-board grand. Where all my unpaid "items" stand?— My Tailor!
Who'll thus expose me to my peers, Bring on me jibes, and flouts, and sneers, Male sniggerings, and female tears?— My Tailor!
Who'll frown when I suggest a loan, And ne'er produce Clicquot or Beaune, But for his "checks" demand my own?— My Tailor!
Who'll take my "measures" when he wills, But only if I take his "bills," And add one more to human ills?— My Tailor!
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TAKEN AS YOU LIKE IT.
MY DEAR EDITOR,
It was most kind of you to ask me to go to the St. James's Theatre, the other evening, to see Mrs. LANGTRY, after I had told you that since my recovery from the influenza, I had unfortunately lost my memory. "Don't you know anything about As You Like It?" you asked. I pondered deeply, and then replied, that I half fancied it was a GERMAN REED'S Entertainment, that would have gone better had it included a part for Mr. CORNEY GRAIN. You told me I was wrong, but intimated that my ignorance on the subject would make my notice the more impartial. So I went.
As to the play—was I pleased with As You Like It? Well, I have known worse, but I have seen better. It seemed a mixture of prose and verse, with several topical allusions that appeared, somehow or other, to have lost their point. For instance, a dull dog of a jester (played in a funereal fashion by Mr. SUGDEN) stopped the action of the piece, for what seemed to me (no doubt the time was actually less) some three-quarters of an hour, while he explained the difference between the "retort courteous" and "the reproof valiant." The plot was as thin as a wafer, but as it is, no doubt, generally known, I need not further refer to it. Mrs. LANGTRY was a most graceful and pleasing Rosalind. She acted with an earnestness worthy of a better cause, and afforded not a trace of the amateur. Of Miss VIOLET ARMBRUSTER as Hymen, I might say, with a friend who spent several hours in knocking off the impromptu—
TO A SEASONABLE VIOLET.
Had always Hymen Such mien, such carriage, You ne'er would fly, men, The state of marriage!
Mr. LAWRENCE CAUTLEY, as Orlando, had an uphill part. At times (thanks to the author) he appeared in situations that were absolutely ridiculous. For instance, he leaves an old retainer (capitally played by that soundest of sound actors, Mr. EVERILL) dying of starvation, and, sword in hand, appears at a pic-nic of the banished Duke, to demand refreshment. "I almost die for food, and let me have it," says Orlando, and is welcomed by the Duke to his table. And what does Orlando do? Does he seize the boar's head, or something equally attractive, and rush back to his fainting servitor with the prize? Not a bit of it! He leisurely delivers fourteen lines of blank verse about the "shade of melancholy boughs," "the creeping hours of time," and "blushing, hides his sword!" In my neighbourhood happened to be one of the greatest advocates of our generation, and I heard this legal luminary whisper, "while that fellow is talking, the old servant will die of starvation," and the legal luminary was entirely and absolutely right. Adam would have died of starvation while his garrulous master was posturing. A country wench called Audrey was admirably impersonated by Miss MARION LEA, and the remainder of the cast was, on the whole, satisfactory. Stay, it is only just that I should single out for special commendation Mr. ARTHUR BOURCHIER, who played a character, to whom reference was frequently made as "the melancholy Jaques," faultlessly. Here again the author committed an indiscretion. Jaques (by the way, why was not Mr. SUGDEN'S role described as, "the more melancholy Touchstone?") is permitted to stop the action of the piece to deliver some thirty lines commencing with the trite truism, "all the world's a stage." Mr. BOURCHIER spoke his words with excellent discretion, but I cannot help thinking that, in the cause of Art, the speech should have been cut out, and I have no doubt, that Mr. BOURCHIER, as a true artist, will cordially agree with me.
And so, to quote Mrs. LANGTRY in the Epilogue, "farewell;" but in spite of what you have said to the contrary, I am still of opinion, my dear Editor, that As You Like It must have been originally intended for Mr. and Mrs. GERMAN REED'S Entertainment, minus Mr. CORNEY GRAIN.
Sincerely Yours, A CORRESPONDENT WITHOUT A MEMORY.
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ART-AUCTIONEER'S RELIGION, "CHRISTIE-anity."
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AN ASTRAL COMPLICATION.
In periods of sleep, despair, Of aberration, we have guessed We were not altogether there, But seldom known where was the rest.
Our Astral Bodies wander far, Whenever they will not be missed. Strange things in earth and heaven are For the devout theosophist.
Young WILFRID wooed the wealth of CLARE; But ah, in spite of golden dearth, His mind and heart approved more fair KATE'S intellect and moral worth.
"Prudence my steps inspire!" he said; And automatically to The residence of CLARE he sped, And gained an instant's interview.
"Fairest," he cried, "my homage deep Ah, not your rank, your wealth command! These idle baubles, lady, keep. Give me alone this lily hand!"
"I will," she said. (The dinner gong That moment sounded.) "Haste away; But meet me in the social throng To-morrow—that is, Saturday."
That self-same hour—the clock struck eight— In Holloway began to muse The charming and the gifted KATE On logarithms most abstruse.
Her door stood wide! Who entered there? 'Twas WILFRID spoke in hollow tone. "With me life's logarithms share, KATE, that I cannot solve alone!"
"I will," she answered. "But begone! Strange chaperons inspect, explore. The Principal, the stairs is on!" He sighed, and vanished from the door.
Next eve, amid the social throng, Serene stood CLARE at WILFRID'S side; And dreaming not that aught was wrong, She gaily questioned and replied.
Till WILFRID suddenly was 'ware, Close by, of a familiar face, And realised with wild despair All, all the horror of the case!
"Oh, what is wrong?" cried CLARE in awe. Calmly, he answered. "It was He, My Astral Body, that she saw. Oh, which am I? Oh, woe is me!"
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EAST-ERN ART IN BOND STREET.—"So let the world jog along as it will, I'll be Japanese-y still! Japanese-y, Japanese-y. I'll be Japanese-y still!" Can't help singing when we see Mr. EAST'S pictures of Japan at the Fine Art Society's Gallery. This clever artist sojourned in that country from March to September. He kept his eyes open and his hand ever busy, and has brought back more than a hundred pictures—fresh, brilliant, and original. Such marvellous aspects of scenery, such wealth of colour, such novelty do we behold, that we long to start off at once to Yokohama, to Nikko, to Hakone, to Tokiyo, or any one of these delightful places—singing. "Let's quit this cold climate so dull and Britannical, And revel in sunshine and colour Japanical!"
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PROBABLE PUBLICATION.—Companion work to Sardine and the Sardes, by the same author, to be entitled Sardinia and the Sardines, illustrated in oils, and sold in tincases. Great reduction (at lunch time) on taking a quantity.
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THE GREAT LINCOLN TRIAL STAKES.
Lambeth is in darkness. A Policeman with a bull's-eye prevents my driver's energetic endeavours to drive through the Palace wall. I stumble into the large hall known as the Library. "Here," said I to myself, "is taking place the historic trial of the Bishop of LINCOLN." The weird scene strongly resembles the Dream Trial in The Bells, where the judges, counsel, and all concerned, are in a fog. Will the limelight flash suddenly upon the chief actor, the Bishop of LINCOLN, as he takes the stage and re-acts the part that has caused the trial? Archbishop BANCROFT founded this library, so theatrical associations are natural. The only lights in the long and lofty library (excepting the clerical and legal) are a dozen or two wax candles and a few oil-lamps, but of daylight, gaslight, or electric, nothing. I can hear the voice of JEUNE, Q.C., the JEUNE premier of this ecclesiastical drama.
They have commenced proceedings. In this, the Archbishop's Court, they, very properly, begin with prayer. So does the House of Commons. "Any special form of orison?" I ask in a whisper of the JEUNE premier, Q.C. "Yes," he answers in a subdued tone. "Look in your prayer-book for 'form of prayer to be used by those at sea.' That's it." Then he has to continue his argument.
At the further end of the library we have the Church, represented by an Archbishop and five Bishops; also a Judge, in a full-bottomed wig, who has evidently got in by mistake. Then we have the Law, represented by a row of Q.C.'s, their juniors, and attendants; and then a chorus of ordinary people, and common, or Thames Policemen. But where's the Bishop of LINCOLN? Not among the Thames Policemen? Not in the Dock? Where? Aha! I see him. I focus him. I sketch him. Veni, vidi, vici! I show result on paper to Official. "Oh, no," he says; "that's not the Bishop, that's THINGUMMY," a Clerk of the Court, or something. Hang THINGUMMY! Official disappears. Lights, ho! a link on Lincoln! I determine to find him. The Bishops sit round three tables, on a raised platform. The Archbishop of CANTERBURY sits in the centre; on his right is the mysterious Judge, in full wig, and red robes; this is the Vicar-General, Sir JAMES PARKER DEANE, Q.C.; next to him sits Assessor Dr. ATLAY, Bishop of HEREFORD, who looks anything but happy; his hair has the appearance of being impelled by a strong draught, and his hand is to his face, as if the draught had produced toothache. The portly Bishop of OXFORD is on his right, and like the other corner man, the Bishop of SALISBURY, he scribbles away at a great rate in a huge manuscript book, or roll of foolscap. On the left of the Archbishop sits the Bishop of LONDON, who severely questions the Counsel, and evidently relishes acting the school-master over again. The Bishop of ROCHESTER sitting on LONDON'S left, supplies the comedy element, so far as facial expression goes; his mouth is wide open, and he holds some papers in front of him in an attitude which suggests that he will presently break forth into song. But where, oh where, is the Bishop of LINCOLN? Ah, I see him. I sketch him. I write his name under sketch, and show it to one of the Reporters. He scribbles across it, "Wrong." I write, "Where is he?" He waves me away. I believe the Bishop is at the other side of the long table, by his Counsel. There is a candle in front of him. I make my way to the other side. I find the Bishop is an old lady! I write, "Where does the Bishop of LINCOLN sit?" on a piece of paper, and take it to an Official. He cannot see to read it, so some time is lost while he finds a convenient candle. He looks towards me, and points to a corner.
Good! At last! There is an old gentleman, in plain clothes it is true, but still otherwise every inch a Bishop or a Butler, or perhaps both in one,—say Bishop BUTLER. I have just finished a careful study of him, when he turns round and whispers, "Please, Sir, can you tell me which is the Bishop of LINCOLN?" I shake my head angrily, and move away. I'll bide my time. JEUNE premier is answering the hundred-and-seventh question of the Bishop of LONDON, and is being "supported" by Sir WALTER PHILLIMORE. It amuses me to hear these two clever Counsel, in this natural and ecclesiastical fog, carrying on an animated legal conversation with each other, ignoring the Bishops; not that the latter seem to mind, as they scribble merrily away at their folios. Are their Right Reverend Lordships engaged in writing their Sunday sermons?
But where is the Bishop? He ought to be near his Counsel. The severe Sir HORACE DAVEY sits writing letters; next to him the affable Dr. TRISTRAM, then the rubicund Mr. DANKWERTS, but no Bishop. One o'clock! The Bishops rise for Lunch and Levee. "Where, oh where! is the Bishop of LINCOLN?" I ask JEUNE premier. "Quick—I want to sketch him before he leaves!"
"The Bishop!" returns the First Ecclesiastical Young Man, smiling. "Oh, he never comes near the place." Exit JEUNE premier. I appeal to the austere Sir HORACE DAVEY. "I can't tell you," says sir HORACE—"DAVEY sum, non OEdipus." And off he goes, to argue another sort of a case about Baird language and the Pelican Club. He will say no more. On this occasion only, HORACE is TACITUS. I do not find the Bishop, and quit Lambeth.
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THE LITTLE DUC AND HIS BIG BILL.
The restaurateur evidently considered that he "didn't kill a pig every day," when he stuck Le Petit Duc for this now historic bill, which, as given in full by the Figaro, Mr. Punch reproduces here for general edification:—
Un artichaut barigoule 12fr. Un chateaubriand 16 " 1 sole 10 " 1 noix de veau 10 " 1 homard 25 " 1 salade 3 " 1 caneton aux navets 25 " 6 ecrevisses 15 " Hors d'oeuvre 5 " Une assiette de fruits 16 "
Whenever it may be the lot of any distinguished Member of the Upper House to be sent to the Tower of London, or a Member of the Lower to be shut up in the Clock Tower, the Provisional Government for the time being will know what to charge for its provisions. The restaurateur addressed his little account, "A Sa Mageste (sic) Louis Philippe-Robert ('ROBERT' was in it) Duc d'Orleans." In styling Le Petit Duc "His Majesty" the artful restaurateur evidently had in view a future restauration. The restaurateur, who expected to provide the young Duke of ORLEANS with a second dinner, of course quoted SHAKSPEARE, and exclaimed enthusiastically—
"I must go victual Orleans forthwith!"
Henry V., Part I., Act I., Sc. 5.
But the youthful Duc or Duckling wasn't to be caught and stuffed a second time.
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A SATURDAY SERIES.—"Hunters' Dams" was the heading of an article in last week's Saturday Review. As the counter-jumper politely says, "What will be the next article?" We look forward with interest to "Shooters' Swearings," "Anglers' Affirmations," "Coursers' Curses," and a few others that may suggest themselves.
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ROYAL SOCIETY OF PAINTER-ETCHERS.—At the pleasant Gallery, 5A, Pall Mall East, is a good show of needle-work. One of the most prolific contributors is a certain clever gentleman whose name may possibly be familiar to some of our readers, one REMBRANDT VAN RHYN, who sends no less than a hundred works.
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(By Mr. Punch's Own Type-Writer.)
No. III.—THE YOUNG M.P.
For the proper production of the young M.P. there are many receipts, but only one is genuine. Take a rickety boy, and provide him with a wealthy father, slightly flavoured with a good social position and political tastes. Send him to a public school, having first eliminated as much youthfulness as is compatible with continued existence. Add some flattering masters, and a distaste for games. Season with the idea that he is born for a great career. Let him be, if possible, verbose and argumentative, and inclined to contradict his elders. Eliminate more youth and transfer hot to a University. Add more verbosity, and a strong extract of priggishness. Throw in a degree, and two speeches at the Union. Set him to simmer for two years in a popular constituency, and serve him up, a chattering pedant of twenty-four, at Westminster.
In the course of the contest which resulted in his return to the House of Commons, the young M.P. will have tasted the sweets of advertisement by seeing his name constantly placarded in huge letters on coloured posters. He will have been constantly referred to as "Our popular young Candidate," and he will thus have become convinced that the welfare of his country imperatively demands his immediate presence and permanent continuance in Parliament. When the genial butcher who, besides retailing the carcases of sheep and oxen, sits in the Town Council, and presides over one of the local political associations, declared, as he often has at other contests and of other candidates, that never, in the course of his political career, had he listened to more mature wisdom, adorned with nobler eloquence, than that which had fallen from "Our young and popular Candidate," he was merely satisfying a burning desire for rhetorical expansion, without any particular regard to accuracy of statement. But the candidate himself greedily gulps that lump of flattery, and all the praise which is the conventional sauce for every political gander. On this he grows fat, and being, in addition, puffed up by a very considerable conceit of his own, he eventually presents an aspect which is not pleasing, and assumes (towards those who are not voters in the Constituency) a manner which can scarcely be described as modest.
The majority of his Constituents regard him simply as an automatic machine for the regular distribution of large subscriptions. He regards himself as a being of great importance and capacity, and endowed with the power of acting as he likes, whilst the local wirepullers look upon him as a convenient mask, behind which they may the more effectively carry on their own petty schemes of personal ambition.
As a Candidate, moreover, the young M.P. will have discovered that the triumph of his party depends not merely or even chiefly upon the due exposition of those political principles with which he may have lately crammed himself by the aid of a stray volume of MILL, and a Compendium of Political History, but rather upon the careful observance of local custom and local etiquette, and the ceaseless effort to trump his adversary's every trick. He will thus have become the President of the local Glee Club, the Patron of a Scientific Association, and a local Dog Show, the Vice-President of four Cricket Clubs and of five Football Clubs, a Member of the Committee of the Hospital Ball, and of the Society for Improving the breed of Grey Parrots; to say nothing of the Guild for Promoting the happiness of Middle-aged Housemaids, and the local Association for the Distribution of Penny Buns, at cheap prices, to the deserving poor. Moreover, before he has discovered the true relation of benefit societies to politics, he will find himself a Member of the Odd Fellows, the Foresters, the Hearts of Oak, the Druids, and the Loyal and Ancient Order of Free and Accepted Buffaloes, with the right, conferred by the last-named Society, of being addressed on lodge nights as if he were a Baronet, or, at least, a Knight.
Having thus met and shaken hands with the working-man during his hours of festive relaxation, the young M.P. will be properly qualified for discussing those social questions which form the chief part of every aspirant's political baggage. Being gifted with a happy power of enunciating pompous platitudes with an air of profound conviction, and of spreading butter churned from the speeches of his leaders on the bread of political economy, he will be highly thought of at meetings of political leagues of either sex, or of both combined. It is necessary that he should catch the eye of the Speaker during his first Session. He will afterwards talk to his Constituents of the forms of the House in the tone of one who is familiar with mysteries, and is accustomed to mingle on terms of equality with the great and famous. He will bring in a Bill which an M.P. who was once young, has abandoned, and, finding his measure blocked, will discourse with extreme bitterness of the obstruction by which the efforts of rising political genius are oppressed.
In London Society the young M.P. may be recognised by an air of conscious importance as of one who carries the burden of the State upon his shoulders, and desires to impress the fact upon others. He may be flattered by being consulted as to the secret intentions of foreign Cabinets or the prospects of party divisions. He will then speak at length of his leaders as "we," and will probably announce, in a voice intended not so much for his immediate neighbours as for the thoughtless crowd beyond, that "we shall smash them in Committee," and that "AKERS-DOUGLAS" (or ARNOLD MORLEY, as the case may be) "has asked me to answer the fellows on the other side to-morrow. I am not sure I shall speak," the MS. of his speech being already complete. On the following day he will speak during the dinner-hour to an audience of four, and, having escaped being counted out, will be greatly admired by his Constituents. He will assiduously attend all social functions, and will not object to seeing his name in the paragraphs of Society papers. It is not absolutely necessary that the young M.P. should be bald, but it is essential that he should wear a frock-coat. It is well, also, that his dress should be neat, but not ostentatiously spruce, lest the more horny-handed of his supporters should take umbrage at an offensive assumption of superiority over those whose votes keep him in place.
Custom demands that the young M.P. should travel extensively, and that he should enlighten his home-staying Constituents as to the designs of Barataria, the labour question in Lilliput, and the prospects of federation in Laputa, by means of letters addressed to the local newspaper. He will also interview foreign potentates and statesmen, and cause the fact to be published through the medium of REUTER. On his return, he will write a book, and deliver a lecture before the Mutual Improvement Society of the town he represents. He will then marry, in order that he may attend Mothers' meetings by deputy, and cause his wife to make lavish purchases at a local bazaar, which he will have opened. Shortly afterwards he will select an unpopular fad, which certain members of his own party approve, and will take a vigorous stand against it on principle, thus earning the commendation of all parties as a man of independent views, and unswerving rectitude.
If, at a subsequent election, he should chance to be rejected at the poll, he will publicly profess that he is delighted to be relieved of an uncongenial burden, whilst assuring his friends in private that the country in which able and honest men are neglected must be in a very bad way. He will, however, publish an address to the electors, in which he will claim a moral victory, and will assure them that it will ever be one of his proudest memories to have been connected with their constituency. He will spend his period of retirement on the stump, and, unless he be speedily furnished with another Constituency, will entertain doubts as to the sanity of his party leaders. Subsequently he will find himself again in the House of Commons, and, having been spoken of as a young man for about a quarter of a century, will at last become an Under-Secretary of State, and a grandfather, in the same year.
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MASTER SINGERS.—Sir,—In accordance with your request, I visited the Meistersingers' Club (an institution which, seemingly from its name, has been established as a memorial to WAGNER), where a "dramatic performance" was given last week that had many points of interest to the languid pleasure-seeker, wearily thirsting for fresh sources of amusement. The evening's entertainment commenced with a play obligingly described by the author as a farce, which was followed by a new and original operetta, containing some very pretty music by Mr. PERCY REEVE, with the exquisitely droll title of The Crusader and the Craven. The one lady and two gentlemen who took part in this were, from a prompter's point of view, nearly perfect. Mr. R. HENDON as Sir Rupert de Malvoisie (the Crusader) suggested, by his accent and gestures, that he must have come from the East—how far East, it boots not to inquire. Miss FLORENCE DARLEY was a good Lady Alice, and Mr. J. A. SHALE an efficient "Craven." Later on an operatic performance is threatened. If the thrilling series of arrangements on the back of the Programme is to be accepted as authentic, the members of the Club will be invited to have Patience. It would be difficult to find a more appropriate accessory to a Night with the Meistersingers. No one asked me to have any supper, Yours, A HAND AT CLUBS.
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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.