Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 101, September 26, 1891 by Various
file which includes the original illustrations. See 14046-h.htm or 14046-h.zip: (http://www.gutenberg.net/dirs/1/4/0/4/14046/14046-h/14046-h.htm) or (http://www.gutenberg.net/dirs/1/4/0/4/14046/14046-h.zip)
PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
SEPTEMBER 26, 1891
THE WAITERS' STRIKE.
(_AT THE NAVAL EXHIBITION._)
The German Waiter waxeth fat; he grows exceeding proud; He is a shade more kicksome than can fairly be allowed. The British Press goes out to dine--the Teuton, they relate, Throws down his napkin like a gage, and swears he will not wait.
Now there are many proverbs--some are good and some are not-- But the Teuton was misled who cried, "Strike while the _entrée_'s hot!" Like readers with no book-marks, all the rebels lost their place, And vanished out of Chelsea in their dress-suits and disgrace.
And I'm told that there were murmurings and curses deep and low In darksome public-houses in the road of Pimlico, And a general impression that it was not safe to cross The temper of that caterer, Mr. MACKENZIE ROSS.
O Waiter, German Waiter! there are many other lands Where you can take your creaking boots and eke your dirty hands; And we think you'll have discovered, ere you reach your next address, That in England German Waiters aren't the Censors of the Press.
* * * * *
MARLOWE AT CANTERBURY.
"Keep up the Christopher!" a recommendation adapted _urbi et orbi_ which, quoting _Mr. Puff_, our HENRY when speaking at Canterbury ought to have given after the unveiling of KIT MARLOWE's statue. We hope that the unveiling address will not prove unavailing, and that the necessary funds may soon be forthcoming for the completion of the work. For the present all that has been effected by the ceremony is to have given the _Times_ and _Telegraph_ opportunities for interesting leading articles at a very dull season when material is scarce; also it has given the author of _Tom Cobb_ and other remarkable plays a chance of writing to the _Times_; and finally it has broken in upon the well-earned holiday of the indefatigable and good-natured HENRY. But there was one question not put by our HENRY. It ought to have arisen out of the record of MARLOWE's interment, but didn't. "The burial register of St. Nicholas, Deptford," said the _Times_ of September 16, "contains the entry, 'CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE, slain by FRANCIS ARCHER, June 1, 1593.'" The entry maybe taken as veracious, although made by "a clerk of St. Nicholas." [MARLOWE was a dramatist; was ARCHER a dramatic critic?]
* * * * *
TWO WORDS IN SEASON.
(_HUMBLY DEDICATED TO THOSE EMINENT CONTROVERSIALISTS, LORD GRIMTHORPE AND MR. TALLACK._)
A little more grammar, a touch of the file To smooth the rough edge of his tongue and his style; And some friends, who could soften his temper or check it, Might amend Baron GRIMTHORPE, who once was called BECKETT.
Some scorn for the faddists who ask us to hug, Not with ropes but with pity, the pestilent Thug, And some sense (of which Fate, it would seem, says he shall lack,) Of the value of logic would much improve TALLACK.
* * * * *
ANOTHER STRIKE THREATENED.--The advent of the brother of the reigning King of SIAM threatens to cause embarrassment in some English houses where HIS HIGHNESS might expect to be received. JEAMES has positively declined to throw open a door and announce, "Prince DAMRONG!" "Such langwidge," he says, "is unbecoming and beneath Me--leastways unless it is remembered in the wages."
* * * * *
WHY SHOULD MERIT WAIT?
We have reason to believe that Sir HENRY EDWARDS, whose stone image adorns a thoroughfare in Weymouth, will not long be left in sole possession of the honour of having a monument dedicated to him in his lifetime. In view of an interesting event pending in his family, it is proposed that a statue shall be erected to Sir SAMUEL WILSON, M.P., in the grounds at Hughenden. The project has so far advanced that the inscription has been drafted, and we are pleased to be able to quote it:--
To Perpetuate the Memory of Sir SAMUEL WILSON, Kt., A good Husband, a kind Father, A great Sheep-Farmer. Twice elected to the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, He once sat for the borough of Portsmouth. He built Wilson Hall for Melbourne University, And bought Hughenden Manor for Himself. He introduced Salmon into Australian Waters, And married his Eldest Son To the Sixth Daughter of the Duchess of MARLBOROUGH.
Of such is the Colony of Victoria.
* * * * *
"Dear Miss DOLLIE RADFORD," writes the Assistant-Reader, "I trust I am right in the feminine and unconjugal prefix; but, be that as it may, I wish simply to tell you that, at the instigation of a lettered friend, I have spent a few moments very wisely in reading your thin little book of verse, _A Light Load_. (ELKIN MATHEWS.) I feel now as if I had been gently drifting down a smooth broad river under the moonlight, when all nature is quiet. I don't quite know why I feel like that, but I fancy it must be on account of some serene and peaceful quality in your poems. Here, then, there are sixty-four little pages of restfulness for those whose minds are troubled. You don't plunge into the deep of metaphysics and churn it into a foam, but you perch on your little bough and pipe sweetly of gorse and heather and wide meadows and brightly-flashing insects; you sing softly as when, in your own words--
"--gently this evening the ripples break On the pebbles beneath the trees, With a music as low as the full leaves make, When they stir in some soft sea-breeze."
One of my "Co." says he always reads anything that comes in his way bearing the trade-mark BLACKWOOD. His faith has been justified on carrying off with him on a quiet holiday, _His Cousin Adair_, by GORDON ROY. The book has all the requisites of a good novel, including the perhaps rarest one of literary style. _Cousin Adair_ is well worth knowing, and her character is skilfully portrayed. As a foil against this high-minded, pure-souled unselfish girl, there are sketched in two or three of the sort of people, men and women, more frequently met with in this wicked world. But _Cousin Adair_ is good enough to leaven the lump. GORDON ROY is evidently a _nom de plume_ that might belong to man or woman. My "Co." is inclined to think, from certain subtle touches, that he has been entertained through three volumes by a lady.
BARON DE BOOK-WORMS & Co.
[Illustration: A Puff to swell the Sale.]
* * * * *
WHAT'S IN A TITLE?
(_TO THE AUTHOR OF "VIOLET MOSES."_)
With a title so lucky (though luck's all my eye), Your book's sure of readers I'll wager my head. For not even a Critic will dare to reply, When he's asked to review it, "I'll take it as re(a)d."
* * * * *
FROM THE LATEST COLWELL-HATCHNEY EXAMINATION PAPER IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES FOR THE CAKE SCHOLARSHIP.--_Question_. What is the feminine of _Beau temps? Answer_ (_immediately given_). Belle-Wether.
* * * * *
THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.
SCENE--_A Bridge over the Pegnitz, at Nuremberg. Time, afternoon. The shadows of the old gabled and balconied houses are thrown sharply on the reddish-yellow water. Above the steep speckled roofs, the spires of St. Lorenz glitter against the blue sky. CULCHARD is leaning listlessly upon the parapet of the bridge_.
_Culchard_ (_to himself_). How mediæval it all is, and how infinitely restful! (_He yawns._) What a blessed relief to be without that fellow PODBURY! He's very careful to keep out of my way--I've scarcely seen him since I've been here. He must find it dreadfully dull. (_He sighs._) I ought to find material for a colour-sonnet here, with these subdued grey tones, those dull coppery-greens, and the glowing reds of the conical caps of those towers. I _ought_--but I don't. I fancy that half-engagement to MAUD TROTTER must have, scared away the Muse. I wonder if PODBURY has really gone yet? (_Here a thump on the back disposes of any doubt as to this._) Er--so you're still at Nuremberg? [Awkwardly.
[Illustration: "Er--I have brought you the philosophical work I mentioned."]
_Podbury_ (_cheerfully_). Rather! Regular ripping old place this--suits me down to the ground. And how are _you_ getting on?
_Culch._ Perfectly, thanks. My mind is being--er--stimulated here in the direction most congenial to it.
_Podb._ So's mine. By the way, have you got a book--don't mean a novel, but a regular improving book--the stodgier the better--to lend a fellow?
_Culch._ Well, I brought an _Epitome of Herbert Spencer's Synthetic Philosophy_ away with me to dip into occasionally. It seems a very able summary, and you are welcome to it, if it's of any use to you.
_Podb._ SPENCER, eh?--he's a stiff kind of old bird, ain't he? He'll do me to-rights, thanks.
_Culch._ It strikes me, PODBURY, that you must find the time rather long, to want a book of that kind. If you wish to resume our--ah--original relations, I am quite ready to overlook what I am sure was only a phase of not unnatural disappointment.
_Podb._ (_cheerily_). Oh, _that's_ all right, old fellow. I've got over all that business. (_He colours slightly._) How soon did you think of moving on?
_Culch._ (_briskly_). As soon as you please. We might start for Constance to-morrow, if you like.
_Podb._ (_hesitating_) Well, you see, it's just this: there's a fellow staying at my hotel--PRENDERGAST, his name is--rattling good sort--and I've rather chummed up with him, and--and he's travelling with a relation of his, and--well, the fact is, they rather made a point of my going on to Constance with _them_, don't you see? But I daresay we could work it so as to go on all together. I'll see what they say about it.
_Culch._ (_stiffly_). I'm exceedingly obliged--but so large a party is scarcely--however, I'll let you know whether I can join you or not this evening. Are you--er--going anywhere in particular just now?
_Podb._ Well, yes. I've got to meet PRENDERGAST at the _Café Noris_. We're going to beat up some stables, and see if we can't hire a couple of gees for an hour or two before dinner. Do you feel inclined for a tittup?
_Culch._ Thanks, but I am no equestrian. (_To himself, after PODBURY's departure._) He seems to manage well enough without me. And yet I do think my society would be more good for him than--. Why did he want to borrow that book, though? Can my influence after all-- (_He walks on thoughtfully, till he finds himself before an optician's window in which a mechanical monkey is looking through a miniature telescope; the monkey suddenly turns its head and gibbers at him. This familiarity depresses him, and he moves away, feeling lonelier than ever._)
_ON THE TERRACE OF THE BURG. HALF AN HOUR LATER._
_Culch._ (_on a seat commanding a panorama of roofs, gables, turrets, and spires_). Now this is a thing that can only be properly enjoyed when one is by oneself. The mere presence of PODBURY--well, thank goodness, he's found more congenial company. (_He sighs._) That looks, like an English girl sketching on the next seat. Rather a fine profile, so regular--general air of repose about her. Singular, now I think of it, how little repose there is about MAUD. (The Young Lady _rises and walks to the parapet._) Dear me, she has left her india-rubber behind her. I really think I ought-- (_He rescues the india-rubber, which he restores to the owner._) Am I mistaken in supposing that this piece of india-rubber is your property?
_The Y.L._ (_in musically precise tones_). Your supposition is perfectly correct. I was under the impression that it would be safe where it was for a few moments; but I am obliged to you, nevertheless. I find india-rubber quite indispensable in sketching.
_Culch._ I can quite understand that. I--I mean that it reduces the--er--paralysing sense of irrevocability.
_The Y.L._ You express my own meaning exactly.
[_CULCHARD, not being quite sure of his own, is proportionately pleased._
_Culch._ You nave chosen an inspiring scene, rich with historical interest.
_The Y.L._ (_enthusiastically_). Yes, indeed. What names rise to one's mind instinctively MELANCHTHON, JOHN HUSS, KRAFT, and PETER VISCHER, and DÜRER, and WOHLGEMUT, and MAXIMILIAN THE FIRST, and LOUIS OF BAVARIA!
_Culch._ (_who has read up the local history, and does not intend to be beaten at this game_). Precisely. And the imperious MARGRAVE OF BRANDENBURG, and WALLENSTEIN; and GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS, and GOETZ VON BERLICHINGEN. One can almost see their--er--picturesque personalities still haunting the narrow streets as we look down.
_The Y.L._ I find it impossible to distinguish even the streets from here, I confess, but you probably see with the imagination of an artist. _Are_ you one by any chance?
_Culch._ Only in words; that is, I record my impressions in a poetic form. A perfect sonnet may render a scene, a mood, a passing thought, more indelibly than the most finished sketch; may it not?
_The Y.L._ That is quite true; indeed, I occasionally relieve my feelings by the composition of Greek or Latin verses, which I find, on the whole, better adapted to express the subtler emotions. Don't you agree with me there?
_Culch._ (_who has done no Greek or Latin verse since he left school_). Doubtless. But I am hindering your sketch?
_The Y.L._ No, I was merely saturating my mind with the general effect. I shall not really begin my sketch till to-morrow. I am going now. I hope the genius of the place will inspire you.
_Culch._ Thank you. I trust it will--er--have that effect. (_To himself, after the Young Lady has left the terrace._) Now, that's a very superior girl--she has intellect, style, culture--everything the ideal woman _should_ have. I wonder, now, whether, if I had met her before--but such speculations are most unprofitable! How clear her eyes looked through her _pince-nez_! Blue-grey, like Athene's own. If I'd been with PODBURY, I should never have had this talk. The sight of him would have repelled her at once. I shall tell him when I take him that book that he had better go his own way with his new friends. I shall spend most of to-morrow on this terrace.
SCENE--_The Conversations-Saal at the Wurtemburger-Hof. Evening. PODBURY at the piano; BOB PRENDERGAST and his sister HYPATIA seated near him._
_Podb._ (_chanting dolefully_)--
Now then, this party as what came from Fla-an-ders, What had the com-plex-_i_-on rich and rare, He went and took and caught the yeller ja-aun-ders-- And his complexion isn't what it were!
_Mr. and Miss Prendergast_ (_joining sympathetically in chorus_). And his complexion _isn't_ what it _were_!
[_There is a faint knock at the door, and CULCHARD enters with a volume under his arm. None of the three observes him, and he stands and listens stiffly as PODBURY continues,--_
Well, next this party as what came from Fla-an-ders, Whose complex-shun was formi-ally rare, Eloped to Injia with ELIZA SA-AUN-DERS, As lived close by in Canonbury Square.
_Culch._ (_advances to piano and touches PODBURY's arm with the air of his better angel_). Er--I have brought you the philosophical work I mentioned. I will leave it for an occasion when you are--er--in a fitter frame of mind for its perusal.
_Podb._ Oh, beg pardon, didn't see you, old fellow. Awfully obliged; jam it down anywhere, and (_whispering_) I say, I want to introduce you to--
_Culch._ (_in a tone of emphatic disapproval_). You must really excuse me, as I fear I should be scarcely a congenial spirit in such a party. So good night--or, rather--er--good-bye. [_He withdraws._
_Miss Hypatia P._ (_just as C. is about to close the door_). Please don't stop, Mr. PODBURY, that song is quite too deliciously inane!
[_CULCHARD turns as he hears the voice, and--too late--recognises his Athene of that afternoon. He retires in confusion, and, as he passes under the window, hears PODBURY sing the final verse._
The moral is--Now _don't_ you come from Fla-an-ders, If you should have complexions rich and rare; And don't you go and catch the yaller ja-aun-ders, Nor yet know girls in Canonbury Square!
_Miss Hypatia P._ (_in a clear soprano_). "Nor yet know girls in Canonbury Square!"
[_CULCHARD passes on, crushed._
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE STERNER SEX!
"HULLO, GERTY! YOU'VE GOT FRED'S HAT ON, AND HIS COVER COAT?"
"YES. DON'T YOU LIKE IT?"
"WELL--IT MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE A YOUNG MAN, YOU KNOW, AND THAT'S SO EFFEMINATE!"]
* * * * *
DOGGEREL BY A "DISHER."
[On September 1 the Free Education Act came into force throughout England and Wales.]
Remember, remember The first of September And Free Education's sly plot; I know no reasons Why cancelling fees on The poor should not silence Rad rot!
* * * * *
A NOTE AND QUERY.--At the enthronement of Dr. MACLAGAN as Archbishop of York "the band of the First Royal Dragoons," says the _Daily Graphic_, "played an appropriate march." That the band of the Royal Dragoons should symbolically and cymballically represent the Church Militant is right enough; but what is "a march appropriate" to an Archbishop? One of BISHOP's glees would have been more suitable to the occasion. Henceforth Dr. MACLAGAN can say, if he likes, "I'_m Arch_-bishop of Canterbury!"
* * * * *
"THE GREAT LOAN LAND."--Russia.
* * * * *
THE GROUSE THAT JACK SHOT.
(_A SOLEMN TRAGEDY OF THE SHOOTING SEASON._)
This is the Grouse that _Jack_ shot.
This is the friend who expected the Grouse that _Jack_ shot.
This is the label addressed to the friend who expected the Grouse that _Jack_ shot.
This is the Babel where lost was the label addressed to the friend, &c.
This is the porter who "found" the "birds" in the Babel where lost was the label, &c.
This is the dame with the crumpled hat, wife of the porter who "found" the "birds," &c.
This is the cooking-wench florid and fat of the dame with the crumpled hat, &c.
This is the table where diners sat, served by the cooking-maid florid and fat of the dame with the crumpled hat, &c.
This is the _gourmand_ all forlorn, who dreamed of the table where diners sat, served by the cooking-wench florid and fat, &c.
This is the postman who knocked in the morn awaking the _gourmand_ all forlorn from his dream of the table, &c.
And this is _Jack_ (with a face of scorn), thinking in wrath of "directions" torn from the parcel by Railway borne, announced by the postman who knocked in the morn, awaking the _gourmand_ all forlorn, who dreamed of the table where diners sat, served by the cooking-wench florid and fat of the dame with the crumpled hat, wife of the porter who "found" the "birds" in the Babel where lost was the label addressed to the friend who expected the Grouse that _Jack_ shot!
If in the Shooting Season you some brace of birds would send (As per letter duly posted) to a fond expectant friend, Pray remember that a railway is the genuine modern Babel, And be very very careful _how you fasten on the label_!
* * * * *
A MUSICAL SUGGESTION.
(_CERTAINLY NEW AND ORIGINAL._)
Why doesn't one of our talented composers--Sir ARTHUR, or Mr. MACKENZIE, or Mr. STANFORD, or Mr. EDWARD SOLOMON--write a Cantata, entitled _The Weather?_ The subject is thoroughly English, and lends itself so evidently to much variety in treatment. The title should be, _The Weather: a Meteorological Cantata_.
It should commence with a hopeful movement, indicative of the views of various people interested in the weather as to future probabilities. The sportsman, the agriculturist, the holiday-maker, likewise the livery-stable keeper, and the umbrella manufacturer would, _cum multis aliis_, be all represented; Songs without Words; the Sailor's Hope; then wind instruments; solo violin; the Maiden's Prayer for her Sailor-love's Safety, &c. Then "as the arrows" (on the _Times_ chart) "fly with the wind," so would the piccolo, followed by the trombone, and thus the approach of the storm would be indicated. Roll on drum, distant thunder; the storm passes off, and we have a beautiful air (the composer's best), which delights and reassures us.
All at once, "disturbances advance from the Atlantic;" grand effect, this!
Sudden Fall of Barometer! (This would be something startling on drum and cymbals, with, on 'cello, a broken chord.) Momentary relief of a "light and fresh breeze" (hornpipe), interrupted by showers from the West and winds from the North; then strong wind from East (something Turkish here); light breeze from Scotland (Highland Fling); Anticyclonic movement; "Depression" on the hautbois; increase of wind; then thunder, lightning, rain--all the elements at it! Grand effect!! Crash!!! and ... for _finale_, calm sea, sun shining, joyful chorus, Harvest Home, weddings, &c., &c., &c.
I've nothing more to say. Surely this outline is sufficient. Only if any Composer does make use of this idea, and become famous thereby, let him not be ungrateful to the suggester of this brilliant notion (copyright), whose name and address may be had for the asking at the Fleet Street Office.
* * * * *
SOME CIRCULAR NOTES.
_RECOVERY--WAITER--VICOMTE--CHÂTEAU--RECEPTION--NIGHT--MORNING-- WORKERS--HEADSTONES--MEMORIES--STONES--EXPLANATIONS--BREAKFAST-- OFF--BACK AGAIN._
[Illustration: "Karascho!" exclaims Daubinet.]
DAUBINET, quite recovered from his fatigue, sings "Blass the Prince of WAILES" enthusiastically, and at intervals ejaculates queer, uncouth words in the Russian tongue. Breakfast with Russian tongue. He asks the waiter for "_minuoschhah karosh caviar_." To which the waiter adroitly replies, "_parfaitement M'sieu_" and disappears. Returning ten minutes afterwards, the wily attendant makes no further allusion to the supposed errand that has taken him out of the room.
Then DAUBINET, remembering that we are literally "here to-day and gone to-morrow," says we must visit his friend the Vicomte. I cannot catch the Vicomte's name; I manage to do so for half an hour at a time, and then it escapes me. As we are in this champagney country, I write it down as M. le Vicomte DE CHAMPAGNIAC. We are to dine and sleep there. A Night in a French Château. "But this is another story."
On our arrival at the Château de Quelquechose we are right royally and heartily received. Delightful evening. _Vive la Compagnie_! Magnificent view from my bedroom. In the clear moonlight I can see right away for miles and miles over the Champagne valleys. At 6.30 we are in the break, and within an hour or so are "All among the barley," as the song used to say, which I now apply to "All amongst the Vineyards." Peasants at work everywhere: picking and sorting. How they must dislike grapes! Of course they are all teetotallers, and no more touch a drop of champagne than a grocer eats his own currants, or a confectioner his own sweetmeats. I suppose the butcher lives exclusively on fish, and his friend, the neighbouring fishmonger, is entirely dependent on the butcher for his sustenance, except when game is in, and then both deal with the gamester or poulterer. There are some traders in necessaries who can make a fair deal all round. The only exception to this rule, for which, from personal observation, I can vouch, is the tobacconist, who is always smoking his own cigars.
Wonderful this extensive plain of vineyards! and what stunted little stumps with leaves round them are all these vines! Not in it with our own graceful hops. No hedges or ditches to separate one owner's property from another's. To each little or big patch of land there is a white headstone with initials on it, as if somebody had hurriedly and unostentatiously been buried on the spot where he fell, killed in the Battle of the Vineyards, by a grape-shot. At first, seeing so many of these white headstones with initials on each one, I conclude that it is some peculiar French way of marking distances or laying out plots, and I find my conclusion is utterly erroneous.
"These white stones," M. VESQUIER. explains, "mark the boundaries of different properties." Odd! The plain is cut up into little patches, and champagne-growers, like knowing birds, have popped down, on "here a bit and there a bit and everywhere a bit" from time to time, so that one headstone records the fact that "here lies the property of J.M.," and within a few feet is another headstone "sacred to the memory of P. and G.," or P. without the G.; then removed but a step or two is a stone with a single "A." on it. and a short distance from the road is "H."--poor letter "H" apparently dropped for ever. Here lie "M.," and "M. and C.," and several other heroes whose names recall many a glorious champagne. And so on, and so on; the initials recurring again quite unexpectedly, the plots of ground held by the same proprietor being far apart. But, as it suddenly occurs to me, if these champagne-growers are all in the same plains for twenty miles or more round about, all in much the same position, and all the grapes apparently the same, why isn't it all the same wine?
"_Karascho!_" exclaims DAUBINET, who, under the hot rays of the early morning sun, is walking in his shirt-sleeves, his coat over his arm, his hat in one hand, and a big sunshade in the other, "I will tell you." Then he commences, and except for now and then breaking off into Russian expletives, and interspersing his discourse with selections from British national melodies, his explanation is lucid, and the reasons evident. Soil and sun account for everything; the soil being varied, and the sun shifty. "_Pou ni my? comprenez-vous?_" he asks.
[Illustration: "Da Karascho! All r-r-right!"]
I do perfectly, at the moment; but subsequently trying to explain the phenomena scientifically, I find that I have not quite penetrated the mystery _au fond_. We visit the Wine-press, which (_Happy Thought!_) would be an appropriate title for a journal devoted entirely to the wine-growing and wine-vending interests.
"And now," says M. le Vicomte, "we must return to breakfast, or the sun will be too strong for us."
So back we go to our eleven o'clock _déjeuner_ in a beautifully cool room, of which repast the sweetest little cray-fish, fresh from the river, are by no means the worst part of the entertainment. Then coffee, cigars, and lounge. Yes, there are some things better managed in France than _chez nous_; and the division of the day between labour and refreshment is, in my humble opinion, one of them. In the contriving of dainty dishes out of the simplest materials, the French seem to hold that everything is good for food in this best of all possible worlds, if it be only treated on a wise system of variation, permutation, and combination. We discuss these subjects of the higher education until arrives the inevitable hour of departure. Let us not linger on the doorstep. Into the trap again. _Bon voyage! Au revoir!_ And as passing out of the lodge-gate we get a last glimpse of the party waving adieux to us from the upper terrace, DAUBINET flourishes his hat, and sings out at the top of his voice, "We're leaving thee in sorrow, ANNIE," which is more or less appropriate, perhaps; and then, as the last flutter of a pocket-handkerchief is seen, he finishes with "And blass the Prince of WAILES!" After which he subsides, occasionally breaking the silence to sigh aloud, "_O Maman!_" and thenceforth, for the greater part of the journey to Paris, he slumbers in a more or less jumpy manner.
_At the Grand Hotel, Paris_.--"Aha!" cries M. le Baron BLUM,--always in full Blum at the Grand Hotel,--"At last! arrived!" as if he had expected us for several weeks past,--"How are you? I have your rooms ready for you!" He must have seen us driving into the courtyard, and settled our numbers there and then, not a minute ago. It's a great thing for weary travellers to be welcomed on arrival. No matter if they're forgotten again the next moment, and not thought of again until the hour of their departure. It is the welcome that is everything; it implies so much, and may mean so little. But, at the Grand, Paris, _Avis aux Messieurs les voyageurs, _"When in doubt, consult BLUM!" We enjoy a good but expensive dinner at the Maison Dorée. For myself, I prefer the simple fare at half the price to be found _chez Noël_, or at some other quiet and moderate restaurants that I could name. Next morning a brief but welcome breakfast at Amiens, a tranquil crossing, and we are bidding each other adieu at the Victoria Station. Music to the situation, "_Home once more_." Good-bye to my excellent _ami_ DAUBINET, who stays a few hours in London, and then is off to Russia, Egypt, Iceland, Australia.
"_Da Karascho!_ All r-r-right!"
And so ends a pleasant holiday trip to the Champagne Country, or real "Poppy-Land."
* * * * *
V.--A BORN ARISTOCRAT.
Whenever I forgot to put the matches in my pocket on leaving the chambers, I used to buy a box from a boy who stood at the street corner, where the 'busses stop. He was a small boy, somewhat ragged and occasionally a good deal splashed with mud. He was bright and energetic, and he did a very fair trade. There was an air of complete independence about him, which one does not often find in match-boys. His method of recommending his wares was considerably above the average of the peripatetic vendor; it suggested a large emporium, plate glass, mahogany counters, and gorgeous assistants with fair hair parted in the middle:
"Now off'rin! A unooshally lawge box of wax vestas for one penny. Shop early and shop often. Foosees, Sir? Yessir. Part o' a bankrupt's stock."
This was smart of him. By differing a little from the usual match-boy manner, he attracted more attention, and grins, and coppers.
One morning I had climbed up to the top of the 'bus and taken my seat, when I saw that the boy had followed me.
"No use," I said; "I don't want any this morning."
"Well, I ain't sellin' none this mornin', Sir. I'm goin' a ride on this 'ere 'buss. My wife's got the carridge hout in the Park; so I'm druv to takin' busses--same as you, Sir." He took the seat next to mine, and added seriously, "I expecks as you ain't likely to be buyin' no more matches from me."
"My name is REGGERNULD, Sir. Yer see, I'm movin' inter other premises, as yer might say. I've give up my stand at yon corner." He jerked his thumb in the direction of it.
"What's that for?"
"Oh--well--nothin'. Some of 'em think I'm a fool for doin' it. The fac' was--I couldn't quite git on with my comp'ny there?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that other boy what come last Toosday, and started sellin' pipers at my corner. You don't know 'oo 'e is, p'r'aps, nor 'oo I am." I did not know, and I was very willing to get the story out of REGINALD.
"Well, I come o' pretty mod'rately 'spectable folks, I do; and I ain't goin' to chum up with no thieves' sons an' as like as not thieves theirselves. No thankyer. Them Board Schools is a deal too mixed. Thet's 'ow I come to know about thet boy. 'Is father 'ad a barrer, thet were what _'is_ father did for a livelihood, an' 'is mother were up afore the beaks for poppin' shirts what she'd took in to wash. Well, I ain't one to brag, but my father were a 'air-dresser's assistant in Pimlico. Pretty well up, too, 'e was. The way 'e'd shive yer were sutthin' to see. Shivin'? Yer couldn't call it shivin'; it were gen'us, thet's what it were. Speccilation rooined 'im. 'E stawted a small plice of 'is own, and bust. Then 'e took to the turf, and bust agin. Then Mother begun dress-mikin' and there weren't no dress-mikin' to be 'ad; so that bust. We was unfortnit. Heve'rythin' as we touched bust. But we never run no barrers, an' we never was up afore no beaks, and if there weren't such a thund'rin' lot of us, I shouldn't be doin' this now. Anywye, I respecs myself. So I'm goin' to start a new pitch an' chawnce it."
I inquired where the new pitch was to be.
"I'm swoppin' with another boy (EDDUDS 'is nime is) up fur end o' this street. 'E ain't so perticler as I am. Clerks lives there mostly, an' the biz ain't so good as it was in my old plice. Them clerks wears top-'ats, an' consequently they daren't smoke pipes. They cawn't afford to smoke cigars, and cigarettes is off'rin' eyep'ny oices to a stawvin' man. So they don't smoke at all, an' don't want no matches. An' I don't blime 'em, mind yer. Pussonally, I chews--but if I smoked a pipe I wouldn't do it with one o' them 'ats on. 'Cos why? 'Cos I believes in a bit o' style. Not that I'm stuck-up as yer might say, but I don't see no sense in lettin' myself down. If I'd liked I could 'a made it so 'ot fur thet newspiper boy that 'e'd 'ave 'ad to go. I could 'a mopped up the puddles with 'im if I'd wanted. But I wouldn't. I wouldn't conterminate myself by so much as 'avin' a word with 'im. I'd sooner leave--even if I lose money on it. My father were one for style too, afore 'is shop bust. Thet's 'ow it is, yer see. Some goes up, and some goes down. We've come down, but I draws the line somewheer fur all thet--sure's my name's REGGERNALD. An' what do you think?"
I told him that I was rather inclined to think that he was an idiot, and tried to show him why he was an idiot. But he would not be convinced. Class prejudice was strong within 'im.
"Look 'ere," he said, "you may think I'm young to be a'visin' o' you, Sir. But jest mark my words--you cawn' be too keerful what comp'ny yer gits familyer with. I gits off 'ere. All--right, kinducter, yer needn't stop."
* * * * *
MORE EXCITEMENT IN PARIS.
[Illustration: Portrait of English Tourist searched in Paris on suspicion of having a valuable Porcelain Vase concealed about his person.]
[Illustration: The Porcelain Vase in question.]
["A valuable porcelain vase having been stolen from Versailles Palace, a band of English tourists who were visiting the place have been searched by the police; but nothing was found upon them, and they have been liberated."--_St. James's Gazette, Sept_. 17.]
* * * * *
HOLIDAY FARE IN CORNWALL.
A roll on the billow, A Loaf by the shore, A Fig for fashion, And Cream galore!
* * * * *
"WHAT'S IN A NAME?"
Mr. AUGUSTIN DALY says, "I have never found, as CHATTERTON did, that SHAKSPEARE spelt Ruin." Perhaps he has been more inclined to think that SHAKSPEARE spelt REHAN, eh?
* * * * *
[Illustration: TRULY CONSCIENTIOUS.
_Toyshopman_. "BEG PARDON, MISS, BUT HERE'S YOUR CHANGE, WHICH YOU'D FORGOTTEN--ONE-AND-NINEPENCE!"
_Little Maid_. "OH, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! BUT WE'RE NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE MONEY FROM ANYBODY BUT GRANDPAPA!"]
* * * * *
TURNING THE TABLES;
OR, THE BEAR AS LEADER.
["The French believed so implicitly in Russian friendship, even when there was nothing whatever to indicate its existence, that they may be excused for rating at more than they are worth expressions of goodwill, which, after all, are as ambiguous as they are tardy.... The success of a Russian Loan is not dearly purchased by a little effusion, which, after all, commits Russia to nothing. French sentiment is always worth cultivating in that way, because, unlike the British variety, it has a distinct influence upon investments."--_Daily Paper_.]
"But just fancy the confusion When a bear has burst his fetters!"
HEINE's _Atta Troll_.
Oh! why does your eye gleam so bright? Russian Bear? Oh! why does your eye gleam so bright? You've broken your fetters. Like some of your betters, Your freedom moves some with affright. All right? Well, _that_'s reassuring,--oh! _quite_!
Yes, your optic gleams piggishly bright, Russian Bear; It gleams with true ursine delight. 'Tis done--France is won, And 'tis capital fun To hold it in shackles, which, slight-- Ho! ho!-- Yet fit so remarkably tight.
The chains may feel light as a thread, Russian Bear! As light and as slight as a thread; But though light be the chain. Will his might and his main Again rend it in twain? Fear is fled! Quite fled! And old animosity dead. Haw! haw!
Nay, laugh not I pray you so loud, Russian Bear! Oh! laugh not so loud and so clear! Though sly is your smile The heart to beguile, Bruin's chuckle is horrid to hear, O dear! And makes quidnuncs quake and feel queer.
You have quite turned the tables, that's true, Russian Bear, The dancer did use to be _you_. Now _you_ thump the tabor, And France, your "dear neighbour," Seems game to dance on till all's blue. Hurroo!
Alliances _are_ pretty things, Russian Bear! Seductive and promising things; That rat-a-tat-too, Which suggests a Review-- Makes his legs whirl as swiftly as wings. How he springs And leaps to the wild whillaloo!
You pipe and he dances this time, Russian Bear! The Bear and his Leader change places. Quicker and quicker he, Steps; Miss TERPSICHORE Scarce could show prettier paces. _Houp là!_ _Atta Troll_ could not rival his graces.
He who pays for the Pipe calls the tune-- Russian Bear! Pooh! _that_ old saw's quite obsolete. Just look at that stocking! What matters men's mocking? _He_'ll pay, but your tune is so sweet-- Rat-tat-too!-- That it keeps him at work hands and feet!
How long? That remains to be seen, Russian Bear; But in spite of political spleen, And Treaties and Fables, You _have_ turned the tables. Such sight is not frequently seen.
You've slipped yourself out of your chains, Russian Bear; 'Till hardly a shackle remains In Black Sea or Bosphorus. This may mean loss for us, Bruin cares not whilst he gains.
Treaties and protocols irk, Russian Bear; And therefore are matters to shirk. Berlin and Paris, No longer must harass This true friend of France--and the Turk. Hrumph! hrumph! Well, well, we shall see how 'twill work!
* * * * *
"HANGING THEOLOGY."--Readers of the _Times_ have been for some time in a state of suspense--most appropriately--as to the result of the correspondence carried on by Lord GRIMTHORPE & Co. under the above heading. At all events the Editor of the _Times_ has been giving his correspondents quite enough rope to ensure the proverbial termination of their epistolary existence.
* * * * *
[Illustration: "TURNING THE TABLES."
("The success of a Russian Loan is not dearly purchased by a little effusion, which, after all, commits Russia to nothing. French sentiment is always worth cultivating in that way, because, unlike the British variety, it has a distinct influence upon investments." --_Daily Paper_.)]
* * * * *
[Dr. MORTIMER GRANVILLE, in a letter to the _Times_, attacks the logic and disputes the dogmas of the fanatical Teetotaller, and carries the war into the enemy's country by boldly asserting that "incalculable harm has been done to the average human organism, with its functions, which we are wont to classify as mental and physical, by the spread of teetotal views and practices."]
Oho! Doctor MORTIMER GRANVILLE, You are scarcely as bland as DE BANVILLE. On the Knights of the Pump Your assertions come thump Like an old Cyclops' "sledge" on his anvil.
Fanatical logic _is_ "quisby"; Each crank in his bonnet has _his_ bee. They swagger, dod rot'em!-- Like loud Bully _Bottom_ When playing the _Thraso_ to "_Thisby_."
Total abstinence purely pernicious? Oh, Doctor, that's really delicious! That's turning the tables On faddists, whose fables Do make the judicious suspicious.
Your modest and moderate drinker, Who's also a fair-minded thinker, Would look in the face The fell scourge of our race. Sense from logic should not be a shrinker.
But drinking and drunkenness, truly, Should not be confounded unduly. Fanatics here blunder; As far they're asunder As Tempe and Ultima Thule!
We thank you, whose lucid urbanity Assures us our favourite "vanity" (To quote cheery SAM) Need _not_ be a "dram" To drive us to death or insanity.
Good wine and sound ale have their uses, To distinguish 'twixt which and abuses The clear-headed want; But illogical cant Will ne'er solve our worst social _cruces_.
"Table waters and watery" wines, Sir, Don't cheer up a man when he dines, Sir. To gases and slops, And weak "fizzles," and "pops," The weak stomach only inclines, Sir.
Like teetotal cant, they're "depressing," And if you can give them a dressing. With logic compact, Firmly founded on fact, Sober sense will bestow its best blessing.
But drunkenness, Doctor is awful, 'Tis that we could wish made unlawful. 'Tis that which will prick A man's conscience when sick Of fanatics of flatulent jaw full.
Your sots are sheer abominations, But they who deserve castigations Much more than poor "drunks," Are those pestilent skunks Who _poison the people's potations_!
Good wine and sound ale need apology? No! But there's something to follow, G.! Distilling and Brewing Must work our undoing _When branches of mere Toxicology_!
Good malt, hop, and grape, though fermented, May leave a man well and contented, But poisons infernal (See any Trade Journal!) Drive decent souls drunk and demented.
_Verb. sap._! You'll, excuse the suggestion. They soften brains, ruin digestion; Sap body and soul, In the (drugged) Flowing Bowl. There, Doctor, 's the real Drink Question!
Meanwhile, _Punch_ admires your plain speaking. Enough of evasion and sneaking! Let fact, logic stout, And sound pluck fight it out. Truth's "at home" to right valorous seeking.
Of course, my dear Doctor, you'll catch it. The Pump is aggressive; you match it. Whoever proves right, Your pluck starts a good fight, And _Punch_ is delighted to watch it!
* * * * *
THE CONQUERED "WORTH."
(_SOME WAY AFTER POE'S_ "_CONQUEROR WORM_.")
["When women no longer interest themselves in silks and satins, ribbons and furbelows, it will be an infallible sign that the great drama of humanity is at length played out, and that the lights are to be turned down, and the house left to silence and the dark."--_Daily Chronicle_.]
Lo! 'tis a gala night Within the "Rational" latter years! A female throng, dowdy, bedight In veils, and drowned in tears, Sits in a theatre, to see A play of hopes and fears, Whilst the orchestra breathes fitfully The music of the spheres.
Mimes, dressed in fashion now gone by, Mutter and mumble low, And hither and thither fly: Mere puppets they who come and go At the bidding of a huge formless Thing That shifts the scenery to and fro, Ruling the World from flat and wing-- Paris and Pimlico!
That motley drama--oh, be sure It shall not be forgot! With its Phantom chased for evermore By a crowd that seize it not, Through a circle that ever returneth in To the self-same spot; With much of Folly, and waste of Tin, And Vanity soul of the plot.
But see, amid the mimic rout A mystic shape intrude! A formless thing that writhes from out The scenic solitude! It writhes! it squirms!--with mortal pangs, Mocked at by laughter rude; There's no more snap in its sharp fangs, Which once that crowd subdued.
Out--out are the lights--out all! And over each pallid form, The curtain, Mode's funeral pall, Comes down amidst hisses in storm; And the audience, dowdy, but human, Uprising proclaim, with wild mirth, That the play is the Comedy "Woman," And the hero the conquered "WORTH."
* * * * *
It is a noticeable thing That when Kent bines produce their crop, Swelldom is always "on the wing," And Slumdom "on the Hop"!
* * * * *
THE LATEST WEATHER-WISE DOGGEREL.
_BY A SCIENTIFIC RAIN-MAKER._
[It is stated that rain may be brought down by the explosion of dynamite and blasting-powder attached to oxyhydrogen balloons and kite-tails.]
Evening red and morning grey Will send the traveller on his way; But--blasting-powder on kites' tails spread, Will bring down rain upon his head.
_RETORT BY A WASHED-OUT WAYFARER._
If dynamite would bring _fine_ weather, Scientists might be in fine feather, As 'tis, I sing, to the schoolboy tune, "Yah-bah! (oxyhydrogen) balloon!"
* * * * *
FATHER AND SON.
(_A POSSIBLE DIALOGUE AFTER A RECENT DECISION AT MARYLEBONE._)
_Father_. And now, my dear Son, I must ask you for your rent.
_Son_. But surely, Father, I am entitled to a room in your house?
_Father_. Out of my love and affection; but this is a matter of business; and, if you desire to be a Voter, you must behave as such.
_Son_. But I have had some difficulty in scraping up enough to pay you.
_Father_. Surely, eighteen shillings a-week is a reasonable sum for an apartment, however small, in Mayfair?
_Son_. I do not deny it; still it seems hard that I should be mulcted to that extent some fifty times a-year.
_Father_. I cannot see the hardship, _nor_ the money!
_Son_. If you really want it, it is here.
[_Produces a pocket-book, from which he takes sufficient change to satisfy the claim._
_Father_ (_pocketing coin_). Thank you; and now we may say, adieu!
_Son_. But how about dinner--am I not to dine with you?
_Father_. Dine with me! What an idea! Why should you?
_Son_. Because I am your Son.
_Father_. You mean someone infinitely more important--my Lodger.
_Son_. And you absolutely refuse me food?
_Father_. Not I, my boy; not I! It is the law! If I was to give you what you ask, you and I would be had up for bribery.
_Son_. Then you prefer patriotism to paternal affection?
_Father_. Well, to be candid with you, I do! It is distinctly cheaper!
* * * * *
MUSCOVITE VERSION OF A MUSIC-HALL CHORUS.
HIRSCH! HIRSCH! HIRSCH! Here comes the Bogie Man! He wants to help the Hebrews; he'll catch them if he can. HIRSCH! HIRSCH! HIRSCH! He's hit upon a plan, And all the persecutors cry, "Here comes the Bogie Man!"
* * * * *
LINES ON A PHOTOGRAPH.
DOWNEY has photographed "the FIFES" at home. Aha! Domestic music! FIFE and "drum "!
* * * * *
[Illustration: MR. PUNCH ON TOUR. A LITTLE HOLIDAY IN WALES.]
* * * * *
OUR REAL DESIDERATUM.
(_BY A "WELL-INFORMED" FOOL._)
Ah! I was fogged by the Materialistic, By HUXLEY and by ZOLA, KOCH and MOORE; And now there comes a Maëlstrom of the Mystic, To whirl me further yet from sense's shore. Microbes were much too much for me, bacilli Bewildered me, and phagocytes did daze, But now the author 'cute of "Piccadilly," HARRIS the Prophet, the BLAVATSKY craze, Thibet, Theosophy, and Bounding Brothers-- No, Mystic Ones--Mahatmas I _should_ say, But really they seem so much like the others In slippery agility!--day by day Mystify me yet more. Those germs were bad enough, But what are they compared with Astral Bodies? Of Useless Knowledge I have almost had enough, I really envy uninquiring noddies, I would not be a Chela if I could. I have a horror of the Esoterical. BESANT and OLCOTT _may_ be wise and good, They seem to me pursuing the chimerical. Maddened by mysteries of "Precipitation," The Occult Dream and the Bacillus-Dance; We need Societies for the propagation Of Useful--_Ignorance_!
* * * * *
DWARFS IN AND ABOUT LONDON.
Sir,--We need not go so far afield as Messrs. HALIBURTON & CO. in search of dwarfs. In the suburbs of London, and even in the more densely-populated districts of this vast Metropolis, there are numbers of people who are uncommonly short. About quarter-day these extraordinary individuals may be heard of, but are rarely seen; which fact, however, affords no proof of their non-existence.
Yours, TAXOS GATHEROS.
* * * * *
LATEST PUBLICATION (OF THE POLITICAL NATURAL HISTORY SERIES).--_Curious Development of French Froggies into Toadies of Russia_.
* * * * *
[Illustration: "WHEN A MAN DOES NOT LOOK HIS BEST."--NO. 1.
WHEN HE MAGNANIMOUSLY CONSENTS TO GO ON THE PLATFORM AT A CONJURING PERFORMANCE, AND UNWONTED OBJECTS ARE PRODUCED FROM HIS INSIDE POCKETS.]
* * * * *
TO THE GRAND OLD CRICKETER.
Dear Dr. GRACE, the season through You've struggled on, and striven gamely; Your leg, for all you've tried to do, Has made your record come out lamely; Your county suffers, too, with you; Your failures very dear have cost her. But better luck in 'ninety-two To you, old friend, and good old Gloucester!
* * * * *
THE MODERN CAGLIOSTRO; OR, THE POWER OF THE SPIRITS.
(_A PAGE FROM A ROMANCE UP TO DATE._)
And so PETER, learning that the veteran Alchymist was to be seen on the presentation of a small coin of the realm, approached the old man's residence. He had heard that the Sage had discovered the secret of immortality--barring accidents, he would live for ever.
"Now that JOSEPHINE is true to me," he murmured, "I have no objection to a further century of existence, or even two."
And he continued his walk. He had never seen so many taverns in his life. On every side of him were distilleries, public-houses, and beer-shops. He marvelled that a man of so many summers should have chosen such a bibulous spot for his home.
"He must be exceedingly eccentric," he thought to himself; "however, that is nothing to me. If he can teach me how to live continuously, this bag of gold, now mine, shall change masters."
The small coin of the realm was presented, and PETER stood face to face with the Sage of the Ages.
"What do you want?" asked the ancient Alchymist, with a glistening eye. "What d'ye want with an old man--a very old man?" And the Sage wept.
"I meant not this," remonstrated PETER, greatly distressed at the incident. "I came here merely to crave your aid. I wish to live now, for JOSEPHINE is true to me."
"Who's JOSEPHINE?" asked the Sage, in the same thick voice. "Never heard of JOSEPHINE. JOSEPHINE's bore--swindle! Old JOSEPHINE's jolly humbug!"
"Well, let that pass," said PETER, "I am here to ask you why you have lived so long. You are one hundred and twenty-seven years old, I think, and yet you are still alive."
"Why, certainly. But you know all about it. Secret no longer. Dr. MORTIMER GRANVILLE has told the _Times_ how it's done. Consider it great shame. Takes the bread, so t' speak, out of one's mouth." Here the Sage gave a lurch and seated himself accidentally on a stuffed alligator. Seeing that his host was about to indulge in an untimely nap, PETER thought the moment had arrived to urge him to reveal his wonderful secret. "I implore you to tell me how you have managed to live for so many years when all your contemporaries are gone."
"Well, sure I don't mind," was the reply. "Won't hurt me--may do you good. Want to know how it's managed?"
"That I do, indeed," was the earnest answer,
"Why reason I've lived for more than century and quarter is this! I've never been--mind, never been during all that time--see--during all that time--never been sober!"
PETER was astounded.
"Why, Sir WILFRID LAWSON says--" he began.
"Never mind what Sir WILF-LAWSON says, I say if you want, keep your health you must--hic--always--be--in--in--intoxicavated! Now go to public-house. My patients in public-houses yonder."
And, urged by a sense of duty, PETER withdrew; and, joining the Sage's cures, found them in various stages of renewed health, and increased intoxication.
* * * * *
THE BITTER CRY OF THE BRITISH BOOKMAKER.
(_AFTER A FAMOUS ORIGINAL._)
'Tis a very good land that we live in To lend, or to lose, or to give in; But to _sell_--at a profit--or keep a man's own, 'Tis the very worst country that ever was known. Men give cash for their wines, wives, weeds, churches and cooks, But your genuine Briton _won't_ pay for his--Books!
* * * * *
JOURNAL OF A ROLLING STONE.
Since my call to the Bar, have been treating myself to rather a long roll abroad. Now, however, the time has come to devote myself to the work of the profession, which seems to mean studying practical law with some discreet and learned Barrister.
[Illustration: Dick Fibbins.]
Met a few nights ago, at dinner, a very entertaining fellow. Full of legal anecdotes. Told that it was DICK FIBBINS, a Barrister, "and rather a rising one." DICK (why not RICHARD?) talked about County Courts with condescending tolerance; even the High Court Judges seemed (according to his own account) to habitually quail before his forensic acumen.
Mentioned to FIBBINS that I had just been "called," and was "thinking of reading in a Barrister's chambers;" and he seemed to take the most friendly and generous interest in me at once--asked me, indeed, to call on him any day I liked at his chambers in Waste Paper Buildings, which I thought extremely kind, as I was a complete stranger.
Go next day. Clerk, with impressive manner, receives me with due regard to his principal's legal standing. (_Query_--has a _rising_ Barrister any standing?) Ushered into large room, surrounded with shelves containing, I imagine, the Law Reports from the Flood downwards. Just thinking what an excellent "oldest inhabitant" METHUSELAH would have made in a "Right of Way" case, when DICK FIBBINS rises from the wooden arm-chair on which he has been sitting at a table crowded with papers, and bundles tied up in dirty red tape, and shakes hands heartily.
"What's your line of country?" he asks--"Equity or Common Law?"
I admit that it's Common Law. Have momentary feeling that Equity sounds better, Why _Common_ Law?
"Quite right," he says, encouragingly; "much the best branch. _I_ am a Common-Law man too." Refers to it as if it were a moral virtue on his--and my--part to have avoided Equity. Wonder if Equity men talk in this way about "Common" Lawyers? If so, oughtn't there to be more _esprit de corps_ in the Profession?
"Been before old PROSER, Queen's Bench Division, to-day," he proceeds. "Do you ever sit in Court?"
I reluctantly confess that I have not made an habitual point of doing so.
"Ah," he says, finding that I can't contradict him as to what did really happen in old PROSER's Court to-day; "you _should_ have been there just now. Had BLOWHARD, the great Q.C., opposed to me. But, bless you, he couldn't do anything to speak of against my arguments. PROSER really hardly would listen to him once or twice. Made BLOWHARD quite lose his temper, I assure you."
"So he lost his case, too, I suppose?" I remark, humorously.
"Um," replies FIBBINS, sinking into despondency, "not exactly. PROSER didn't quite like to decide _against_ BLOWHARD, you know; so he--so he--er--decided _for_ him, in fact. Of course we appeal. It won't," goes on FIBBINS, more cheerfully, "do BLOWHARD's clients a bit of good. Only run their bill up. I'm safe to win before the Court of Appeal. Lord Justice GRILL a first-rate lawyer--sure to reverse old PROSER. I can," he ends with conscious pride, "twist GRILL round my finger, so to speak."
The idea of twisting a Lord Justice round one's finger impresses me still more with DICK FIBBINS's legal genius. How lucky I am to have made his acquaintance! Feel impelled to ask, as I do rather nervously, not knowing if a bitter disappointment does not await me.
"Do you--er--take legal pupils ever?"
I feel that I've put it in a way that sounds like asking him if he indulges in drink. But FIBBINS evidently not offended. He answers briskly, with engaging candour.
"Well, to tell you the truth, though I've often been asked to--quite pestered about it, in fact--I've never done so hitherto. The Solicitors don't like it quite--makes 'em think one is wasting the time which ought to be given to their briefs on one's own pups--I mean pupils."
Perhaps, after all, FIBBINS will dash my hopes (of becoming his "pup!" _Query_, isn't the word _infra dig._--or merely "pleasantly colloquial?") to the ground.
"I was," I say boldly, "going to ask you if you would let _me_ read with you."
"Were you?" replies DICK, apparently intensely astonished at the idea; "By Jove! I should be really sorry to disappoint _you_. Yes," he goes on in a burst of generosity, "I will make room for you--there!"
This is really kind of DICK FIBBINS. We finally arrange that I am to come in two days' time--at the usual, and rather pretentious, fee of one hundred guineas for a year's "coaching"--and begin work.
"You'll see some good cases with me--good fighting cases," FIBBINS remarks, as I take my leave. "When there are no briefs, why, you can read up the Law Reports, you know. My books are quite at your disposal."
"But," I remark, a little surprised at that hint about no briefs--I thought DICK FIBBINS had more than he knew what to do with--"I suppose--er--there's plenty of business going on here?"
"Oh, heaps," replies FIBBINS, hastily. Then, as if to do away with any bad impression which his thoughtless observation about no briefs might have occasioned in my mind, he says, heartily,--
"And, when I take old PROSER up to the Court of Appeal, _you shall come too, and hear me argue!_"
I express suitable gratitude--but isn't it rather "contempt of Court" on FIBBINS's part to talk about "taking up" a Judge?--and feel, as I depart, that I shall soon see something of the real inner life of the Profession.
* * * * *
ON THE MARLOWE MEMORIAL.
(_UNVEILED BY MR. HENRY IRVING AT CANTERBURY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1891._)
MARLOWE, your "mighty line" Though worthy of a darling of the Nine, Has--in quotation--many a reader riled. Like SHAKSPEARE's "wood-notes wild," And POPE's "lisped numbers," it becomes a bore When hackneyed o'er and o'er By every petty scribe and criticaster. Yet we must own you master Of the magnificent and magniloquent. And modern playwrights might be well content Were they but dowered with passion, fancy, wit, Like great ill-fated "KIT."
* * * * *
THE LAST OF THE CANTERBURY TALES.
BEFORE THE UNVEILING.
_She_. What do you know about MARLOWE?
_He_. Isn't it somewhere near Taplow?
_She_. I think not, because Mr. IRVING went to unveil MARLOWE, and I don't think he is a rowing-man.
_He_. But he may be doing it for Sir MORELL MACKENZIE, who has a place at Wargrave.
_She_. Yes, but then the papers would have said something about it--wouldn't they?
_He_. Very likely; they would say anything in the silly season.
AFTER THE UNVEILING.
_She_. Well, I know all about MARLOWE now. He was a great poet--greater than SHAKSPEARE, or thereabouts.
_He_. Always thought that they would find some fellow greater than SHAKSPEARE. SHAKSPEARE always bores me awfully. But what did _this_ fellow write?
_She_. Oh, lots of things! _Faust_, amongst the rest.
_He_. Come, that must be wrong, for _Faust_ was written by GOUNOD. Wasn't it?
_She_. Now! I come to think of it, I suppose it was--or BERLIOZ.
_He_. Yes, they did it together. But where does MARLOWE come in?
_She_. Well, I am not quite sure.
_He_. You had better write to Mr. IRVING about it; he will tell you. He's awfully well up in the subject. As for me, I'm still under the impression that Marlow is somewhere on the river.
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Writers can't speak in public. So says WALTER. They mumble, stumble, hammer, stammer, falter! BESANT, why grumble at fate's distribution? To writers, sense; to speakers, elocution! Some books are bosh, but all experience teaches "Rot's" native realm is--After-dinner Speeches!
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