Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 104, February 4, 1893 by Various
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OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
February 4, 1893.
[Illustration: WHEN A MAN DOES NOT LOOK HIS BEST.
_Burglar_ (_taking the ground heavily_). "NAOW, 'OOEVER'D 'A' THOUGHT O' THE HOWNER O' THAT THERE HINNERCENT LITTLE VILLA BEIN' A PERFESSIONAL 'CHUCKER-HOUT'?!!!"]
* * * * *
LAMENT OF THE (WOULD-BE) IRISH EMIGRANT.
(_Latest Version, with apologies to Lady Dufferin._)
[Senator CHANDLER, in _The North-American Review_, recommends that immigration into the United States should be suspended, at least for a year.]
Oi'm sittin' on the stile, MARY, an' lookin' o'er the tide, An' by jabers Oi'm afraid, Aroon, that there Oi'll _have_ to bide! The grass is springin' fresh an' green in Ould Oireland, but oh moy! If there's any green in JONATHAN'S land, _it is not in his oi_!
The States are awful changed, MARY; it is not _now_ as _then_, When they lifted a free latch-string to all exiled Oirishmen. Now we miss the whoop ov welcome; they suggest it's loike our cheek, And Oi'm listenin' for brave LOWELL'S words--which CHANDLER does _not_ speak!
It seems to me their Aigle for full Freedom no more pants, And the Senator, he mutthers ov "degraded immigrants." Says they can't "assimilate" us; faix, the wurrud sounds monstrous foine, But Oi fancy that it's maning is, "We mane to draw the loine!"
Shure, we're "ignorant and debased," dear; and the poor won't now find friends Even in free Columbia! So 'tis thus the ould boast ends! "Stop 'em--for a year," says CHANDLER; "we'll be holding our Big Show, An' poverty, an'--well, Cholera, are not wanted _thin_, you know."
It's an artful move, my MARY, but, it stroikes me, a bit thin, And it won't come home consolin', to "the poor ov Adam's kin." Faix! they won't stop 'cabin passengers,' big-wigs, an' British Peerage, But--_they don't want the poor devils that crowd over in the steerage_!
So Oi'm sittin' on the stile, MARY, and there Oi'll loikely sthop, For they don't require poor PADDY in their big new CHANDLER'S Shop. Uncle SAM'S some punkins, MARY, but he's not a great green goose; An' he's goin' to sthop a braggin' ov that latch-string always loose!
* * * * *
MIXED NOTIONS--NO. IV. EGYPT.
_Two_ Well-Informed Men, _an_ Inquirer, _and an_ Average Man, _in suburban morning train to London_.
_First Well-Informed Man_ (_reading his paper_). Oh, I say, dash it, this'll never do. Here's this young KHEDIVE of Egypt kicking up a shine, and dismissing British Ministers. We can't have that, you know.
_Inquirer._ What Ministers has he dismissed?
_First W. I. M._ Why, British Ministers,--at least (_reading on_) I mean Egyptian Ministers; that's to say, chaps whom we appointed.
_Second W. I. M._ Come, come, we couldn't appoint Egyptian Ministers, could we?
_First W. I. M._ Oh, it comes to exactly the same thing; they're appointed subject to our proviso (_consulting paper_), yes, subject to our veto, and then this little whipper-snapper goes and gives them the chuck. He'll jolly soon have to climb down off that.
_Average Man._ Gently! The young chap's King, after all, isn't he? I thought Kings might appoint or dismiss Ministers as they liked.
_First W. I. M._ Oh, rot! The QUEEN can't appoint her own Ministers. We all know that. They're appointed by the Prime Minister. Any fool knows that.
_Inquirer._ But who appoints the Prime Minister?
_First W. I. M._ He appoints himself, and tells the QUEEN he's done it. They all go and kiss hands and get their seals, or something of that sort.
_Inquirer._ Of course, of course. I forgot that. But how about these Egyptian beggars?
_First W. I. M._ The KHEDIVE'S had the cheek to dismiss the Ministry, and shove another lot in. I see Lord CROMER has been to the Palace to protest.
_Inquirer._ Lord CROMER! Who's he?
_First W. I. M._ My dear fellow, fancy not knowing that! Lord CROMER'S our Ambassador at Cairo.
_Second W. I. M._ Oh, nonsense. There are no ambassadors at Cairo.
_First W. I. M._ Aren't there? Oh, indeed. Well, then perhaps you'll tell me what Lord CROMER is?
_Second W. I. M._ He's our Minister. That's what they call them.
_Inquirer._ Was it him the KHEDIVE dismissed, then?
_Second W. I. M._ (_laughing heartily_). No, no; we haven't got to that yet. He dismissed his own Johnnies, of course; Egyptians. Lord CROMER'S the English Minister.
_Average Man._ No, he isn't. He's the English Agent.
_Second W. I. M._ Oh, well, it's the same thing.
_First W. I. M._ (_taking his revenge_). No, it isn't at all the same thing; it's a very different thing. A Minister's only just short of an Ambassador, and an Agent (_pauses_)--well, he's something quite different. I don't think he gets as much pay for one thing, and of course he can't live in the Embassy.
_Inquirer._ But who does live in the Embassy, then?
_First W. I. M._ It's unoccupied, of course.
_Average Man._ No, it isn't. There isn't any Embassy at all. [_A pause._
_Inquirer_ (_returning to the charge_). But look here, who _is_ Lord CROMER? I never heard of him before. I thought we'd got BARING or ROTHSCHILD, or somebody representing us in Egypt.
_First W. I. M._ (_with smiling superiority_). My dear chap, you're thinking of Sir EVELYN BARING. He left Egypt long ago.
_Inquirer._ Why did he leave?
_First W. I. M._ Old GLADSTONE gave him the sack.
_Second W. I. M._ No, he didn't. GLADSTONE wasn't in power when BARING left Egypt. It was SALISBURY who dismissed him.
_First W. I. M._ I bet you a sov. it was GLADSTONE.
_Second W. I. M._ And I bet you a sov. it was SALISBURY.
_Average Man._ You'll both lose. It was neither.
_First W. I. M._, _Second W. I. M._ (_together_). Bosh! That's impossible.
_Average Man._ It's a fact.
_First W. I. M._ (_triumphant_). Well, how do you account for his not being there now?
_Average Man._ He is there.
_First W. I. M._ He isn't. Lord CROMER'S there. Here it is. (_Producing Times._) "Lord CROMER has protested in person." So come!
_Average Man._ All right. I know all that. Only, unfortunately, they're one and the same person.
_First W. I. M._, _Second W. I. M._ (_together_). Oh, I daresay; and you think we're going to swallow that. You tell that to your Grandmother! [_Both remain absolutely unconvinced._
_Inquirer._ But what's this about the French? What have they got to do with it?
_Second W. I. M._ Oh, they've got their fingers in every pie; always making mischief.
_First W. I. M._ Quite true; but they'll find we're going to sit tight in spite of them, so the sooner they cart themselves and their blessed old Pyramids out of the country the better.
_Inquirer._ Why should they take the Pyramids?
_First W. I. M._ Well, they built 'em, so I suppose they've got a right to do what they like with them.
_Inquirer._ Of course. [_Terminus._
* * * * *
[Illustration: "H.M.S. 'TOKO.'"
_Nurse Britannia._ "ALLOW ME TO INFORM YOUR HIGHNESS HERE COMES A BOX OF SOLDIERS YOU _MUSTN'T_ PLAY WITH."]
* * * * *
_The Red Spider_, by BARING GOULD, is to be dramatised. What a chance this would have been for the "Brothers WEBB," were they still in stage-land.
* * * * *
SOLE SURVIVORS.--The uppers of a Tramp's highlows.
* * * * *
SHARP FIGHTING AT RANGOON.--We hope soon to hear that the Kachins are Kachin' it hot.
* * * * *
ADVICE TO THOSE "UP A GUM TREE" (_by "Non Possum_").--Come down as quickly as you can, and don't stick there.
* * * * *
[Illustration: A LESSON IN FRENCH.
_Fräulein Schnips_ (_who does not devote as much attention to the Toilet as she does to Study, addresses Master Edward who has been made to join in his Sister's lessons during his holidays_). "EDFARD, FOT IS 'I VASH MY HANDS' IN FRENCH?"
_Master Edward_ (_sulkily_). "JE ME LAVE LES MAINS."
_F. S._ "NOW DEN. 'I DO NOT VASH MY HANDS.' GU'EST-CE GUE C'EST GUE ÇA?"
_Master Edward_ (_seizing his opportunity_). "EH BIEN, C'EST UNE HABITUDE SALE, DONT VOUS DEVRIEZ AVOIR HONTE!"]
* * * * *
(_Latest Egyptian Version of Milton Welling's popular Song._)
Mr. BULL _to_ Miss EGYPT, _sings_:--
I know not when the day shall be, I know not when we two shall part; What farewell you will give to me, Or will your words be sweet or tart? It may not be till years have passed, Till France grows calm, young ABBAS grey; But I am pledged--so, love, at last, Our hands, our hearts must part--_some day_! Some day, some day, Some day I shall leave you! Love, I know not when or how, (So I can but vaguely vow) Only this, only this, (Which I trust won't grieve you), Only this--I _can't_ go now, I can't _go_ now, I can't go _Now_!
I know not if 'tis far or near, Some six months' hence, while we both live; I know not who the blame shall bear, Or who protest, or who forgive; But when we part, some day, some day, France, fairer grown, the truth may see, And all those clouds be rolled away That darken love 'twixt her and me. Some day, some day, Some day I must leave you! Lawks! I know not when or how, (Though the Powers kick up a row), Only this, only this, (Which I won't deceive you), Only this--I can't go _now_, I shan't go _now_, I won't go _Now_!
* * * * *
IS SCIENCE PLAYED OUT?
["In a grain of butter you have 47,250,000 microbes. When you eat a slice of bread-and-butter, you therefore must swallow as many microbes as there are people in Europe."--"Science Notes" in _Daily Chronicle_.]
Charlotte, eating bread-and-butter, Read this Note with horror utter, And (assisted by the cutter) Went on eating bread-and-butter! Man will say--with due apology To alarmed Bacteriology-- Spite of menacing bacilli, Man _must_ eat, friend, willy-nilly! And where _shall_ he find due foison If e'en bread-and-butter's poison? Science told our amorous Misses Death may be conveyed _in kisses_; But it did not keep the nation From promiscuous osculation. Now it warneth the "Young Person" (Whom GRANT ALLEN voids his curse on) "Bread-and-butter Misses" even In _their_ food may find death's leaven! Never mind how this is made out! Science--as a Bogey's--played out. Spite all warnings it may utter, Women _will_ have Bread-and-Butter!
* * * * *
OUT OF WORK.
(_After reading "Outcast London" by the Daily Chronicle's Special Commissioner at the East End._)
Divines inform us that the Primal Curse On poor humanity was Compulsory Work; But Civilisation has devised a worse, Which even Christian effort seems to shirk. The Worker's woes love may assuage. Ah, yes! But what shall help Compulsory Worklessness? Not Faith--Hope--Charity even! All the Graces Are helpless, without Wisdom in high places. Though liberal alms relieve the kindly soul, You can't cure destitution by a dole. No, these are days when men must dare to try What a Duke calls--ARGYLL the high-and-dry-- "The Unseen Foundations of Society"; And not, like wealthy big-wigs, be content With smart attacks on "Theories of Rent." Most theories of rent we know, the fact is What we have doubts about, Duke, is--the practice! When Rent in Power's hands becomes a rack To torture Toil, bold wisdom will hark back To the beginnings and the bases; ask _What_ hides beneath that Economic mask Which smiles unmoved by Sorrow's strain and stress On half-starved Work and whole-starved Worklessness!
* * * * *
THE MAN FROM BLANKLEY'S.
A STORY IN SCENES.
SCENE IV.--Mrs. TIDMARSH'S _Drawing-room_; MR. TIDMARSH _has just shaken hands with the latest arrival, and is still in the utmost perplexity as to the best manner to adopt towards him. The other Guests are conversing, with increased animation, at the further end of the room._
_Lord Strathsporran_ (_to_ Mr. TIDMARSH). Afraid I'm most abominably late--had some difficulty in getting here--such a fog, don't you know! It's really uncommonly good of you to let me come and see your antiquities like this. If I am not mistaken, you have got together a collection of sepulchral objects worth coming any distance to study. [_He glances round the room, in evident astonishment._
_Mr. Tid._ (_to himself_). Nice names to give my dinner-party! Impudent young dog, this--Lord or no Lord! (_Aloud, with dignity._) I--ha--hum--don't think that's quite the way to speak of them, Sir--my Lord, I suppose I _ought_ to say!
_Lord Strath._ Oh, I expect a most interesting evening, I assure you.
_Mr. Tid._ Well, I--I daresay you'll have no cause to complain, so far as _that_ goes, Lord--er--STRATH--you'll excuse me, but I haven't _quite_ got accustomed to that title of yours.
_Lord Strath._ (_smiling_). Not surprised at that--feel much the same myself.
_Mr. Tid._ Ha--well, to tell you the honest truth, I should have been just as pleased if you had come here _without_ any handle of that sort to your name.
_Lord Strath._ Quite unnecessary to tell me so--and, you see, I couldn't very well help myself.
_Mr. Tid._ (_to himself_). BLANKLEY sends 'em _all_ out with titles--then his _is_ bogus! (_Aloud._) Oh, I don't blame _you_, if it's the rule; only--(_irritably_)--well, it makes me feel so devilish _awkward_, you know!
_Lord Strath._ Extremely sorry--don't know why it should. (_To himself._) Queer little chap my host. Don't _look_ the Egyptologist exactly. And where does he keep all his things? Downstairs, I suppose. (_He turns, and recognises_ Miss SEATON.) MARJORY SEATON--here! and I've been trying to hear something of her ever since I came back from Gîzeh--this _is_ luck! (_To her._) How do you do, Miss SEATON? No idea we should meet like this!
_Miss Seaton_ (_in a low constrained voice_). Nor I, Mr. CLAYMORE. [Mr. TIDMARSH _catches his Wife's eye, and crosses to her._
_Mrs. Tid._ (_sotto voce_). MONTAGUE, isn't it time you introduced me to this Lord Whatever-it-is? As the person of highest rank here, he certainly ought to take _me_ in!
[Illustration: "I look upon him simply as a human being."]
_Mr. Tid._ He's _done_ it, MARIA. He's no more a Lord than I am. Miss SEATON knows him--I just heard her call him "Mr. CLAYTON," or some name like that!
_Mrs. Tid._ (_aghast._) So _this_ is the sort of person you _would_ go and engage! He'll be found out, MONTAGUE, I can see Uncle edging up towards him already. And anyhow, you know what his opinions are. A pretty scrape you've got us into! Don't stand gaping--bring the man up to me this minute--I must give him a hint to be careful. (_Lord S. is led up and presented._) Sit down here, please, in this corner, Lord--(_with a vicious emphasis_)--STRATH-_BLANKLEY_. (Lord. S. _obeys in mild amazement._) Really, my husband and I were _hardly_ prepared for so _aristocratic_ a guest--we are such plain humdrum people that a title--a _real_ title like your _lordship's_--ahoo!--(_with an acid titter_)--is, well--_rather_ overwhelming. I only hope you will be able to--er--sustain it, or otherwise----
_Lord Strath._ (_lifting his eyebrows._) Am I to understand that you did not expect me, after all? Because, if so,--I----
_Mrs. Tid._ Oh, yes, we _expected_ you, and of course, you will be treated exactly the same as everybody else--except--I don't know if my husband warned you about not touching the champagne? No? Oh, well, you will drink _claret_ please, _not_ champagne. I daresay you prefer it.
_Lord Strath._ Thank you, I should indeed--if you have any misgivings about your champagne.
_Mrs. Tid._ We must draw _some_ distinction between you and our regular guests, as I'm sure you'll understand.
_Lord Strath._ (_to himself._) Poor devils--if they only knew! But what an unspeakable snob this woman is! I'd give something to get out of this house--if it wasn't for MARJORY. I must have a word with her before dinner--strikes me she's put out with me about something or other.
_Mrs. Gilwattle_ (_to her Husband_). Did you ever see anything like the way MARIA'S talking to that young nobleman, GABRIEL? as easy and composed as if she'd kept such company all her life--it's a wonder how she can _do_ it!
_Uncle Gab._ Look at the finishing she's had! And after all, he's flesh and blood like ourselves. She might introduce you and me to him, though--it looks as if she was ashamed of her own relations. I shall go up and introduce myself in a minute, and do what I can to make the young fellow feel himself at home. (_Intercepting_ Lord S. _in the act of moving towards_ Miss SEATON.) Excuse me, my Lord, but, as the uncle of our worthy host and hostess, I should like the honour of shaking you by the hand. (_He shakes hands._) My name's GILWATTLE, my Lord, and I ought to tell you before I go any further that I've no superstitious reverence for rank. Whether a man's a lord or a linen-draper, is exactly the same to me--I look upon him dimply as a human being.
_Lord Strath._ Quite so? he--ah--generally _is_, isn't he?
_Uncle Gab._ Very handsome of your Lordship to admit it, I'm sure--but what I _mean_ to say is, I regard any friend of my niece and nephew's as a friend of mine--be he a Duke or be he a Dustman.
_Lord Strath._ Unhappily for me, I'm neither a Duke nor a Dustman, and--er--will you kindly excuse me? (_To himself as he passes on._) That old gentleman makes me quite ill. Ah, MARJORY at last! (_To_ Miss SEATON.) You've scarcely spoken a word to me yet! I hoped somehow you'd look a little pleased to see me--after all this time!
_Miss Seaton._ Pleased? I can hardly be that under the circumstances, Mr. CLAYMORE!
_Lord Strath._ Well, I only thought--we used to be such friends once. You seem so changed!
_Miss Seaton._ I am not the only one who is changed, I think. You seem to have changed everything--even your name. What ought I to call you, by the way, I didn't catch it exactly. "Lord SOMEBODY," wasn't it?
_Lord Strath._ Never mind the confounded name, I have heard quite enough of it already! It's not my fault if I'm what I am. _I_ never wanted to be STRATHSPORRAN!
_Miss Seaton._ Then you really are Lord STRATHSPORRAN! Oh, DOUGLAS, how _could_ you?
_Lord Strath._ I didn't. It was all that accident to my poor uncle and cousin. And I'm about the poorest Peer in Scotland; if _that's_ any excuse for me!
_Miss Seaton._ How can it be any excuse for your coming here? Have you no pride, DOUGLAS!
_Lord Strath._ My goodness, what is there to be proud about? Why _shouldn't_ I dine with anybody, provided----?
_Miss Seaton._ Please don't excuse yourself--I can't bear it. You _know_ it is unworthy of you to be here!
_Lord Strath._ I don't indeed. I came here simply as a----
_Miss Seaton._ Don't trouble to tell me--I know _everything_. And--and you ought to have _died_ rather than descend to this!
_Lord Strath._ Ought I? Died, eh? That never occurred to me; and, after all, MARJORY, _you_'re here! What's wrong? What have I let myself in for?
_Miss Seaton_ (_bitterly_). What have you let yourself _out_ for, you mean, don't you?
_Lord Strath._ (_mystified_). _I_ don't know! I believe my man let me out; and, anyway, what _does_ it matter now I've come? There's dinner announced. MARJORY, before we're separated, just tell me what on earth I've done to deserve this sort of thing!
_Miss Seaton_ (_with a little gesture of despair_). Is it possible you want to be told how _horribly_ you have disappointed me!
[_The couples are forming to go down._
_Lord Strath._ (_stiffly_). I can only say the disappointment is mutual!
[_He moves away, and awaits his hostess's directions._
_Little Gwennie_ (_stealing up to her Governess_). Oh, Miss SEATON, _haven't_ I been good? I've kept quite quiet in a corner, and I haven't said a single word to anybody ever since he came. But _what_ nice Gentlemen BLANKLEY does send, doesn't he?
_Mrs. Tid._ (_on_ Uncle GABRIEL'S _arm_). Oh, I quite forgot _you_, Lord--ah--STRATHPORRIDGE. As you and Miss SEATON seem to be already acquainted, perhaps you will have the goodness to take her down? You will sit on my left--on the fireplace side--and--(_in a whisper_)--the less you say the better!
_Lord Strath._ I am _quite_ of your opinion. (_To himself._) Can't make my hostess out, for the life of me--or MARJORY either, if it comes to that! This is going to be a lively dinner-party, I can see!
[_He gives his arm to_ Miss SEATON, _who accepts it without looking at him; they go downstairs in constrained silence._
(_End of Scene IV._)
* * * * *
QUEER QUERIES.--CITY IMPROVEMENTS.--How much longer are we to wait for the widening of the whole of Cheapside, the removal of the Post-Office Buildings to a more convenient site, and the total and unconditional sweeping away of Paternoster Row and the south side of Newgate Street? These slight alterations are _imperatively required_. They will only cost about ten millions, and what are ten millions to the Corporation? As I purchased the five square yards on which my little tobacco-shop is built in confident expectation of being bought out at a high figure, I consider that any further delay in the matter involves something like a breach of public faith. Why should not the Government help? They have lots of money, and I haven't.--DISINTERESTED.
* * * * *
"FACTS AND FIGURES."--The business of the Labour Commissioner has to be very delicately managed. There must be a good deal of "give and take" in the work. However much "taking" there may be, there is sure to be plenty of _Giffen_.
* * * * *
There is something fascinating about the title of Mr. MCCULLAGH TORRENS' book, published in one handsome volume, by BENTLEY. There should be a good deal in _Twenty Years in Parliament_, more so when the epoch covers recollections of PALMERSTON in his green old age, Mr. GLADSTONE in his prime, BRIGHT in his political prize-fighting trim, COBDEN, TOM DUNCAN, MONCKTON MILNES, JOHN STUART MILL, ISAAC BUTT, and a host of other ghosts that have flitted off the scene. My Baronite turned to the book with gusto, read it through with patience, and left it with disappointment. Mr. TORRENS knew all these men personally; in fact, he was indispensable to them. One marvels to find, from hints dropped and assertions boldly made, how much they were severally indebted to him for counsel and inspiration through the twenty years the narrative vaguely covers. The figures of the men named loom large in history; but they were all stuffed. The wires were pulled by plain unappreciated MCCULLAGH TORRENS. The weight of the responsibility has had the effect of somewhat muddling the narrative, and, from time to time, the diligent reader does not know exactly where he is. He begins with some episode in which DIZZY, with arm affectionately linked with that of MCCULLAGH TORRENS, is walking along Pall Mall, when a passing Bishop obsequiously takes off his hat and bows. MCCULLAGH modestly says this obeisance was paid to DIZZY, but _we_ know very well it was to MCCULLAGH. Then, before we know where we are, we are in the middle of an account of the Bulgarian atrocities, the Russo-Turkish war, what Count BEUST said to MCCULLAGH, and how, in debate on the Vote of Six Millions, "a Right Hon. friend who sat next to me urged me to add a few words to what had been better said by others in this sense." Better said! Oh, MCCULLAGH! Oh, TORRENS! There is an ancient story of an old gentleman who had a treasured anecdote connected with the going off of a gun. When he could not drag it in otherwise, he was wont to furtively lift his foot and kick the table. "Hallo, what's that?" he cried. "Sounds like a gun; that reminds me"--and then the story. Thus Mr. TORRENS drags in successive Parliamentary episodes through twenty years--the Disestablishment of the Church, the Charity Commission, State Aid to Emigrants, School Board for London, Extradition, Artisans' Dwellings; gives a not very clear summary of events leading up to each, and then treats the entranced reader to the heads of the speech he delivered. The book would have been more accurately entitled had it been called _Twenty Years of McCullagh Torrens_, and old Members of the House of Commons will agree that this is a little too much.
BARON DE BOOK-WORMS & CO.
* * * * *
Some hold it a terrible fault of omission That Parsons sit not on the Poor-Law Commission. Alas! Hope would smile, but she finds it a rarity For "Faith" not to hamper the freedom of Charity. The world will look bright when we find in high places A perfect accord 'twixt the Three Christian Graces!
* * * * *
THE FIRST BAL MASQUÉ OF THE SEASON.--Big success. Greater crowd there than when these entertainments came to an end at the beginning of last year. All sorts of disguises were permitted, but it is said that two _viveurs_ who came late, disguised in liquor, were denied entrance. The Snow Man found it very hot, and melted. Prizes were to be given away. But there was one prize, an elegant lady, closely masked and hooded, whose identity remained a puzzle to everybody. At last "she gave herself away." The happy recipient congratulated himself on winning the prize.
* * * * *
NEXT, PLEASE!--Suggested subject for the next Newspaper Controversy:--"Is ROBERT BUCHANAN played out?"
* * * * *
"RENT REDUCTIONS" can generally be satisfactorily made _pro tem._ with a needle and thread.
* * * * *
[Illustration: "THE PLAY'S THE THING!"
"COULD I HAVE A FORTNIGHT'S LEAVE, SIR?" "WHAT FOR, PRAY?" "URGENT PRIVATE THEATRICALS!"]
* * * * *
THE FISHERMAN AND THE GENIUS.
(_Fragmentary and Unfinished Extracts from the Arabian Nights, Up to Date._)
"Sir," said SHEEVERREADY, "how pleasant soever these stories may be that I have told your Majesty hitherto, they do not come near that of the Fisherman and the Genius."
* * *
There was an ancient, but hale and opulent Fisherman, who had fished with much success for many a day in troubled waters. This practice of his involved him, of course, in extremely arduous labours, but resulted, generally, in securing him a fair share of hard-earned spoil, to the great envy of other fishermen of less hardihood and enterprise. He imposed it upon himself, however, as a law, not to cast his nets save during a certain season--or session, as he called it--which usually arrived but once a year.
His fortune, for some fishing seasons past, had been of a variable, and not too satisfactory sort. It is _not_ encouraging, after casting one's nets during a prolonged spell of rough weather, and confidently anticipating a good draught of fish, to perceive that, instead of fish, there is nothing in one's net save such unsought spoil as the carcase of an Egyptian ass, a basket-full of gravel and slime of no substantial utility, or quantities of stones and mud, fit for nothing but for use as missiles among quarrelsome boys.
"O Fortune," cried he; "be not so persistently perverse, nor persecute an ancient fisherman who groweth a-weary of tumultuous billows, turbid floods, broken and filth-obstructed nets, and unprofitable hauls!"
* * *
Now, behold, it was told to this Fisherman by a certain Grand Old Voice, vague but sonorous, and voluble exceedingly, that if he would only make a complete change in his nets, and in the fashion of his fishing, miraculous draughts would become as common as minnows in a brook. This Voice visited our Fisherman often in his visions. And, behold, the Fisherman essayed the schemes suggested by the Voice. Not at first, it must be admitted, with supreme success, or entire satisfaction to the Fisherman himself. The Voice, however, attributed this qualified fortune to the Fisherman's lack of perfect trust, and of entire reform in his fashion of fishing. "Behold," cried the Voice, vibrating vehemently, "you have allowed yourself to be diverted by the sinister councils of antiquated obscurantists from implicit faith in my programmes and prescriptions!"
"And what, in brief and plain language, _are_ these latter?" inquired the anxious but puzzled Fisherman.
"Nay," answered the Voice, sardonically; "that were to inquire too nicely. But place your fortunes absolutely in my charge; follow my lead with unquestioning loyalty, and verily you shall see great results."
* * *
The Fisherman, much impressed with these assurances, cast his nets once more in the new fashion; and when he thought it was time, he drew them in as formerly, with great difficulty. But, instead of fish, found nothing in them but a vessel of brass, which, by the weight, seemed to be full of something; and he observed that it was shut up with singular tightness, and sealed up with a thick coating of official-looking wax. And the Seal was Green, green as the abounding grass, or the scarce four-leaved shamrock of that amazing Isle of Emeralds, which some deem as much matter of myth as SINDBAD'S Valley of Diamonds.
* * *
The Fisherman examined the vessel on all sides, and shook it to see if what was in it made any noise, but heard nothing. This circumstance, with the impression of the seal upon the cover (which seemed to represent two Hearts linked in Union by some mystic abracadabra of unknown words) made him think there was something precious--or at least peculiar--in it. To try this, he opened it. He presently turned the mouth downward, but nothing came out, which surprised him extremely. He set it before him, and while he looked upon it attentively, there arose from it a very thick smoke, which obliged him to retire two or three paces from it.
The smoke ascended to the clouds, and, extending itself along the sea and upon the shore, formed a great mist, which we may well imagine did mightily astonish the Fisherman. When the smoke was all out of the vessel, it slowly took shape, and became a solid-seeming body, of which there was formed a Genius twice as high and broad as any giant with which the Fisherman had been aforetime familiar. At the sight of a monster of such unsizeable bulk, and from which issued, in as yet unintelligible accents, a Voice which seemed strangely familiar to his ears, the Fisherman----Here SHEEVERREADY perceiving day, broke off her story--for the time.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE FISHERMAN AND THE GENIUS.
(_Vide "Arabian Nights."_)]
* * * * *
[Illustration: VERY CONSIDERATE.
_Mr. Phunkie._ "DEAW ME!--NEW RAILS, I DECLARE! NOW IF THERE IS A THING WHICH IS ANNOYING TO THE AGRICULTURIST, IN THE PRESENT STATE OF DEPRESSION, IT IS FOR PEOPLE TO GO RECKLESSLY SMASHING THINGS OF THAT SORT. I SHALL CERTAINLY PUT MYSELF TO THE INCONVENIENCE OF GOING _ROUND_--AHEM!--AS AN EXAMPLE!"]
* * * * *
"THE TICKET-OF-LEAVE MAN" AT CAMBRIDGE.
Well done, the A. D. C.! Their performance of TOM TAYLOR'S romantic, pathetic, melodramatic, crib-cracking, head- (though not always side-) splitting play, was an admirable one, carefully rehearsed, well stage-managed, and played with a fine feeling for the capital situations in which the piece abounds. Especially good was Mr. BROMLEY-DAVENPORT'S _Jem Dalton_, a finished and truculent presentment of which any young amateur and many an old professional might be proud. _Hawkshaw_ (Mr. DICKINSON), too, was excellent, and the _Bob Brierly_ of Mr. THORNTON, the _Sam Willoughby_ of Mr. THEOBALD, the _Green Jones_ of Mr. NORMAN, and the _Maltby_ of Mr. MARTINEAU, were all good in their several ways. As for the ladies--but who does not know the A. D. C. ladies, those visions of female loveliness, with big hands bass voices, and projecting knees? Mr. AGAR, whose waist cannot have really measured more than twenty inches round, was refined and charming as _Emily St. Evremond_, while Mr. CORNISH, though taller than most of his male associates, played _May Edwards_ quietly, and sympathetically. _Mrs. Willoughby_, the stage realisation of ARTHUR SKETCHLEY'S _Mrs. Brown_, had full justice rendered to her garrulous good-nature by Mr. STONE. But enough. It was a good performance. Memories came floating back of a notable performance of this same play by the A. D. C. far back in the remote ages between '70 and '80. The _Bob Brierly_ of those days has been Under-Secretary of State for India, _Hawkshaw_, the Detective, occupies a thorny throne as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, while _Jem Dalton_ has become the Burglar at the Court Theatre--a very natural transition. Very great was Mr. BROOKFIELD fifteen years ago as the Cracksman, but great, also, was Mr. BROMLEY-DAVENPORT last week. _Dixi!_
* * * * *
DEARTH OF DANCING-MEN.
My JULIA has been unusually fortunate this evening. She has only had to sit out thirteen dances, and has already been given half a polka by Mr. LAYSIBOHNS, who, however, seemed too tired to finish it. Her view is, that "half a loafer is better than no dance."
In order to get men, we have been obliged to invite the gentlemanly crossing-sweeper at the end of our road, two hawkers who sell blocks of wood in the street, a respectable coal-heaver, and our green-grocer's assistant. They have each had half-a-dozen dancing lessons (at our expense), and are to be paid a guinea a-piece, on condition that they dance at least six dances before going down to supper.
Our boy BOB, who is always trying to be funny, says he is afraid engaging these people will turn put a "valse step."
It certainly is rather slow for the Girls who have not had a partner all the evening. Still, I did _not_ expect them to bring pencils and paper with them, and play games of "consequences" in the billiard-room.
Since Gentlemen have taken to sharing a dance among several Ladies, they have become very conceited. My EMILY is congratulating herself that she has secured one undivided sixteenth part of the next Lancers with that dear Mr. WYNN INGWAYS.
A good part of Mr. MASHER'S income is, it is said, derived from the fact that Mothers, sooner than see their Girls sit idle all the evening, are willing to allow him a handsome commission on suitable introductions.
BOB has asked JULIA a riddle, which is--"What is the difference between a game of whist and a ball-room?" The answer seems to be, that in whist you cut for partners, but, in a ball-room, possible partners cut you.
It is quite true that we have decided to emigrate to North-West Colorado, as my Girls say they will have far more chance of partners in a country where the "surplus population" consists entirely of males.
* * * * *
[Illustration: TROP DE ZÈLE.
_Hostess._ "WHY ARE SOME OF THE LIQUEUR GLASSES _EMPTY_, KATHLEEN?"
_The New Parlour Maid._ "IF YOU PLEASE, MY LADY, THEY'RE FOR THIM AS DON'T TAKE ANY LIQUEUR!"]
* * * * *
A BACK-STREET BALLAD.
I passed along a dim back-street, Margarina! In search of something good to eat, Margarina! O pallid tripe! O "faggots" queer! Was ever such strange human cheer? And O my heart, I loathed thee so, There on show, there on show, Margarina!
I saw thee in a sallow dab, Margarina! Upon the grubby marble slab, Margarina! O sickening stodge! O greasy shine! O "Dairy Produce" miscalled "Fine"! O haunt of all blue-flies that blow, There on show, there on show, Margarina!
I fled along that gloomy street, Margarina! Disgusted, sickened, sad, dead-beat, Margarina! Yet still I see that dingy slab, That oleaginous pale, pale dab. And thou art still on sale I know, Where soot-flakes all, and blue-flies blow, Margarina!
But every night at my snug tea, Margarina! Over my toast I muse on thee, Margarina! I sniff that smell, I see that dab, That greasy, grimy, marble slab. And thou art still the same I know, The slum's strange love, the slum's strange love. The poor man's "Butter," there on show! Margarina!
* * * * *
MRS. RAM, who had been listening to a conversation among golf-players, and now flatters herself on knowing something about the game, observed--"I suppose, in the Season, instead of Five-o'clock Teas, the fashion at Hurlingham and those places will be to have Golf Teas." She didn't know that it was spelt 'Tees.'
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M. P.
_House of Commons, Tuesday, Jan. 31st._--Back again in old place, with SPEAKER in Chair, Mace on table, and Serjeant-at-Arms on guard. Nothing changed except the Government. Some old familiar faces gone; others replace them. Same old bustle, hearty greeting, and effusive hand-shaking.
"There's only one thing," says ERSKINE, of Cardross, "that equals the hilarity of the opening of a New Session, and that is the joy with which the boys go off on the day of Prorogation."
ERSKINE been in the Chair by the cross-benches some years now. Naturally growing philosophical; insensibly cultivates habit of sententious speech.
"Wonder you can be so garrulous, TOBY," he says, "considering the number of Speeches you hear in a Session. We take in eloquence at the pores, and I for one have no tendency toward exudation."
"Ah," I said, "perhaps that's the lack of exercise. Dear old GOSSET! he was better off in that respect. Remember how he used to waltz up and down between doorway and table with BRADLAUGH? A heavy partner, too, especially taken after dinner. But, on score of health, not by any means an undesirable variation on sedentary life."
"Well, well," said ERSKINE, whose forbears were out in '45, "we must hope for the best." And the gallant Scot's hand involuntarily sought the hilt of his sword as his keen eye roved over the Clan gathered below the Gangway.
A little odd at first to see Mr. G. on the Bench to the right of SPEAKER, Prince ARTHUR facing him on Opposition Bench. They seem to assume altered position quite naturally. Mr. G. looks pretty much as he has done any time these two years back. Eager, straight-backed, bright-eyed, smiling gaily in response to cheer that greets him from at present undivided majority.
"Pretty well, thank you, TOBY. Only one thing the matter with me, and that, you know, doesn't mend as the years pass. Looking over MCCULLAGH TORRENS' book the other day, I noted what DIZZY said when that genial statesman, the former Member for Finsbury, inquired after the health of Lady BEACONSFIELD. 'They tell me she is better, but you know what better is at 83.' I'm as well as can be expected going o' 84. I must admit it's pretty well. I'll undertake to walk a mile, run a mile, eat a meal, and make a speech with any fellow ten years my junior."
Certainly no one on Treasury Bench exceeds Mr. G. in vivacity or overflowing energy. SQUIRE OF MALWOOD looks very fit, but there's a massivity about his mirthful mood that becomes a Chancellor of the Exchequer with a contingent surplus. Is much comforted by consciousness that, whilst SAGE OF QUEEN ANNE'S GATE views composition of Ministry with mixed feelings, and will not commit himself to promise of fealty till he is in possession of full details of their policy, he unreservedly approves the SQUIRE.
On other side, Her Majesty's late Ministers in state of almost boisterous hilarity. Evidently inclined to regard deposition as a joke. Prince ARTHUR beaming with delight. Something curiously like a smile wreathes stolid countenance of Sir JAMES FERGUSSON.
"It's their turn now," says Prince ARTHUR, gleefully rubbing his hands, "and I wish them joy of it. As for me, I shall live my Saturday to Monday in peace, and shall go to the Opera every Wednesday night in the Season."
"You can go oftener if you like," said ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT (Knight). "You may depend on my remaining here. I've thought of a good many things to say during the last six years."
"Ha," said Prince ARTHUR, thoughtfully, "then perhaps I may absent myself through portions of other nights of the week."
_Business done._--Address moved.
* * * * *
[Illustration: PARLIAMENTARY SHOOTING BEGINS, JANUARY 31.]
* * * * *
HIS LITTLE GAME AT THE COMEDY.
[Illustration: Opening the Case.]
[Illustration: Briscoe, having lost one suit, gains another.]
Mr. Lestocq's amusing farce, _The Sportsman_, now being played at the Comedy Theatre, must inevitably recall to the experienced play-goer the plot and situations of _The Serious Family_ and _The Colonel_, _Truth_, _The Candidate_, _Artful Cards_, and it may be some others of the same extensive dramatic family. In this piece the husband, under pretence of joining a shooting-party, is accustomed to absent himself from home, in order to indulge his propensity for gambling, and he invariably brings home to his wife the hares and rabbits he has shot. This is "his little game." Just so did the husband in _The Serious Family_, when _Aminadab Sleek_ remarks that he has seen something very like them at a neighbouring poulterer's. In the Second Act the police make a raid on the gambling Club, and the husband escapes in any coat he can lay hold of, following the example of the unfortunate hero of _Artful Cards_, only that the situation at the end of _that_ Second Act was far stronger in that play than it is in _The Sportsman_. In _Artful Cards_ the unfortunate hero escaped, carrying a trombone, which turned up in evidence against him when he was inventing plausible explanations to his wife. In fact, _The Sportsman_ is concocted out of excellent old material cleverly worked up, with only one new point in it, to which, as it has escaped the eye of the English adapter, it would be useless to draw his attention; yet, had he seen it, he might therefrom have developed a really original sequence of perplexing situations. The dialogue is not particularly brilliant; jerky, not crisp. But such is the "go" of the principals, and especially of Mr. HAWTREY, who is the life and soul of the farce, that the laughter is hearty and continuous.
* * * * *
PATRIOTISM AT THE LAW COURTS.
(_As we expect to see it._)
["THE INNS OF COURT AND THE VOLUNTEERS.--A Meeting was held yesterday afternoon in the Banqueting Hall of Lincoln's Inn for the purpose of taking such steps as might be deemed necessary to revive the former numerical strength of the Inns of Court Corps of Volunteers, now sadly below its proper strength."--_Daily Paper._]
Frequent Meetings in the Banqueting Hall will soon rectify the "reduced condition," and, after a few gatherings, a gallant and learned Q. C. will don his ancient tunic, and present himself at Head Quarters.
* * * * *
"THE ETERNAL FEMININE!"
(_By a candid--if capricious--Conjugator._)
_Amo, amas_--All love a lass!
_Amamus, amatis_--Churls cry, _jam satis_!
_Amat, amant_--But that's masculine cant!
_Amem, ames_--We wish to please.
_Amemus, ametis_--'Cos love so sweet is.
_Amet, ament_--Man's never content!
_Amavissem_--We yearn to kiss 'em.
_Amavisses_--They accept our kisses.
_Ama, amato_--Lips like a tomato.
_Amate, amanto_--Move many a canto.
_Amare, amavisse_--We Marry sweet Missy.
_Amans, amaturus_--Her charms to secure us.
_Amandum, amandi_--As wives they come handy.
_Amando, amandum_--But we don't understand 'em.
_Amandum, amando_--Their novels are grand, oh!
_Amatum, amatu_--Cries male critic, "I'll slate you!"
_Amor, amaris, amatur_--Woman goes like thunder when a starter!
_Amamur, amamini, amantur_--And she swears she'll lick us in a canter!
_Amemur, amemini, amentur_--And 'twill take us all our time to prevent her!
* * * * *
THE NEWEST HUMOUR.
["The atmospheric envelope of the Globe is at present in a baccilophil humour."--_Professor_ PETTENKOFER _on Microbes, quoted by_ JAMES PAYN.]
Is that the humour o 't, O learned Nym? Well, these be days of mad and morbid whim, When would-be wits strain wildly at a joke As an o'erladen ox against the yoke. But "a baccilophil humour"!--in the air! Science does love the unlearned soul to scare, But what does this thing mean? With fear to fill us? Can aught thus love and cherish the Bacillus? O "atmospheric envelope" _thy_ humour Is worse than--Blank's--if we may trust this rumour. Since microbe "humour" fills both air and earth, Farewell to honest fun and wholesome mirth! Adieu to genial DICKENS, gentle HOOD! Hail to the peddling pessimistic brood Whose "nimini-pimimi" mouths, too small by half To stretch themselves to a Homeric laugh, Mince, in a mirror, to the "Paphian Mimp!" MOMUS is dead, and e'en that tricksy imp Preposterous _Puck_ hath too much native grit To take the taste of OSRICK turned a wit. Humour baccilophil, microbic merriment, Might suit him better. He will try the experiment. His mirth's a smirk and not a paroxysm; "Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism" Do not disturb the "plie" of his prim lips, Neither do cynic quirks and querulous quips. Mirth would guffaw--when hearts and mouths were bigger, OSRICK would shrink from aught beyond a snigger, Such as is stirred by screeds of far-fetched whim. Ay! that's the humour o't, sententious Nym. Let's hail a dying century's latest birth,-- The Newest Humour--purged from taint of Mirth!
* * * * *
MRS. RAM'S practical knowledge of French is not marvellous. She was discussing the question as to whether the French Working-classes cared for malt liquor as brewed in England. The excellent Lady observed--"I don't think so, because, if I remember rightly, when I was in Paris, I was told always to give the coachman money for drink, and this they called 'poor beer.' So they couldn't care for 'strong ale,' such as ours."
* * * * *
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