Produced by Malcolm Farmer, William Flis, and the Online Distributed
OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
April 18, 1891.
LEAVES FROM A CANDIDATE'S DIARY.
_March 13_.--Left Billsbury this morning by nine o'clock train, and
came back to London. Brought with me the _Billsbury Standard_, and
the _Billsbury Meteor_ (the Radical paper.) Both have accounts of last
night's meeting. Rather different, though.
The era of indecision is past. In another column we give a
full account of the important meeting of the Council of the
Conservative Association, which was held last night for the
purpose of selecting a Conservative Candidate for Billsbury.
The proceedings were enthusiastic and unanimous ... Mr.
RICHARD B. PATTLE, the selected Conservative Candidate, is
a young man of the highest promise. He had a distinguished
career at Oxford, where he obtained honours in History, and
represented his College in the Torpid races for eight-oared
crews. Since then he has been called to the Bar, where he
has already secured a lucrative practice.... His speech last
night had the right ring about it. It was eloquent, practical,
convincing, modest and decided, thoroughly in harmony with the
best traditions of the Conservative party, and remarkable for
the proof it afforded of the devotion of Conservatives at all
times to the highest interests of the working classes. We have
no hesitation in declaring, as Colonel CHORKLE did last night,
that with such a Candidate to oppose him, the fate of Sir
THOMAS CHUBSON may be considered as already decided. If only
all Conservatives will put their shoulders to the wheel and
work hard, the stigma under which Billsbury now labours will
be swept away. A Mass Meeting of Conservative electors will be
held on an early date to ratify the decision of the Council,
and inaugurate the period of hard work throughout the
Last night the Conservatives gave their annual performance of
the good old farce entitled, _Choosing a Candidate; or, Who's
got the Money-bags?_ We are glad to be able to congratulate
this distinguished body of amateurs on the modest success
which attended their efforts. Most of the performers are
well-known to the Billsbury public. Alderman TOLLAND, as the
heavy father, provoked screams of laughter by the studied
pomposity of his manner. His unctuous rendering of the
catch-phrase, "Constitutional Progress," has lost none of its
old force. Mr. CHORKLE was, perhaps, not so successful as
we have sometimes seen him in his representation of a real
Colonel, but the scene in which he attacked and routed
LINDLEY MURRAY, went extremely well. Mr. JERRAM as a singing
journalist, was admirable. We cannot help wondering why so
remarkable an actor should confine himself to the provincial
stage. We had almost forgotten to mention that the part of
_The Candidate_ was, on this occasion, assigned to a Mr.
RICHARD PATTLE, a complete novice, whose evident nervousness
seriously imperilled the success of the piece. He had omitted
to learn his part adequately, and the famous soliloquy, "The
country has need of me," was painfully bungled. Mr. PATTLE has
few qualifications for the ambitious _role_ he essayed, and
his friends would be doing an act of true kindness if they
insisted on his withdrawal from a profession for which he is
in no way fitted. The performance will be repeated as usual
I suppose the _Meteor_ people think that witty. When I got home, an
awful thing happened. Mother, of course, wanted to see the papers,
so I gave her the _Standard_, with which she was much pleased. She
said it was evident I had made a wonderful impression, and that the
Billsbury Conservatives were particularly sensible people! But, by
some mistake, I left the _Meteor_ lying on the drawing-room table. It
seems that, in the afternoon, that sharp-tongued old hag, Mrs. SPIGOT,
called. She saw the _Meteor_, took it up, and said, "Dear me, is this
something about your son?" Mother, thinking it was the _Standard_,
said, "Oh yes--do read it, Mrs. SPIGOT; it's a wonderfully accurate
account, RICHARD says;" and that old cat read it all through. She then
smiled, and said, "Yes, very flattering indeed." After she had gone,
mother took it up, and, to her horror, found what it was. She was
furious. When I got home in the afternoon, I found her in a state of
what Dr. BAKER calls "extreme nervous excitement," with the _Meteor_
lying in little scraps all over the drawing-room, just as if a
paper-chase had been through there. She said, "Don't let me ever see
that infamous paper again, DICK. The man who wrote it owes you some
grudge, of course. Such a scoundrel ought to be denounced." I said I
quite agreed with her. Later on, met VULLIAMY at the Club. We spoke
about Billsbury. He asked me, with a sort of chuckle, if I'd seen the
_Star_, and advised me to have a look at it, as there was something
about me in it. This is what I found in the column headed "Mainly
"Mr. RICHARD PATTLE, who is to be the Conservative Candidate for
Billsbury at the next election, is a young man of twenty-six. At
Oxford he was generally called 'PODGE PATTLE' by his friends He took a
fourth class in History. His oratorical efforts at the Union were not
very striking, but he rowed in his College Torpid, which was bumped
"Mr. PATTLE, as maybe inferred from his nickname, is neither tall nor
thin. He is a member of the Middle Temple, but his eloquence has not
yet astonished the Courts of Law. His father died five years ago,
leaving him a considerable fortune, part of which he proposes to waste
in the hopeless attempt to turn out Sir THOMAS CHUBSON."
Confound the people, I wish they'd mind their own business and leave
_March_ 17.--Haven't been down to Billsbury again yet, but go the day
after to-morrow to speak at a Mass Meeting of Conservative electors.
However, I've had shoals of letters from the place--nearly all of
them asking for subscriptions. The Five Bars Cricket Club, the Lilies
Cricket Club, the Buffaloes Cricket Club, and the Blue Horse Cricket
Club have all elected me a vice-president, and solicit the honour of
my support. The Billsbury Free Dispensary is much in want of funds,
and the Secretary points out that Sir THOMAS CHUBSON has subscribed L5
regularly every year. The United Ironmongers' Friendly Society wishes
me to be an Honorary Member. CHUBSON subscribes L2 2s. to them. The
Billsbury Brass Band, and three Quoit Clubs (the game is much played
there) have elected me a member. The Secretary of the former sent me a
printed form, which I was to fill up, stating what instrument I meant
to play, and binding myself to attend at least one Band practice every
week. Three "cases of heartrending distress" have appealed to me,
"knowing the goodness of my heart." I shall have to consult TOLLAND,
or some one, about all this. I get the _Meteor_ and the _Standard_
every day. The former goes on chaffing. Don't think JERRAM, in the
_Standard_, writes as smartly as the other chaps. Must try to get
him stirred up a bit. Just received letter from TOLLAND, saying he
wants to talk to me before meeting about "matters connected with
the Registration." More money, I suppose. Romeike, and all kinds of
Press-Cutting Associations, keep on sending me that extract from the
_Star_, till I'm fairly sick of it. They all want me to subscribe for
Press-Cuttings. See them blowed first.
* * * * *
WHAT IT MAY COME TO!
SCENE--_The Central Criminal Court. The usual Company
assembled, and the place wearing its customary aspect.
"Standing room only" everywhere, except in the Jury Box, which
is empty. Prisoner at the Bar_.
_Judge_. This is most annoying! Owing to the refusal of the Jury
to serve, the time of the Bar, the Bench, and, I may even add, the
prisoner, is wasted! I really don't know what to do! Mr. TWENTYBOB, I
think you appear for the accused?
_Counsel for the Defence_. Yes, my Lord.
_Judge_ (_with some hesitation_). Well, I do not for a moment presume
to dictate to you, but it certainly would get us out of a serious
difficulty if your client pleaded guilty. I suppose you have carefully
considered his case, and think it advisable that he should not
withdraw his plea?
_Counsel for the Defence_. No, my Lord, I certainly cannot advise him
to throw up his defence. It is a serious--a deeply serious--matter for
him. I do not anticipate any difficulty in establishing his innocence
before an intelligent jury.
_Judge_. But we can't get a jury--intelligent or otherwise.
_Counsel for the Defence_. If no evidence is offered, my client should
_Counsel for the Prosecution_. I beg pardon, but I must set my friend
right. Evidence _is_ offered in support of the charge, my Lord.
_Judge_. Yes; but there is no properly constituted body to receive
and decide upon its credibility. I am glad that the Grand Jury (to
whom I had the privilege of addressing a few observations upon our
unfortunate position) have ignored a larger number of bills than
usual; still the present case is before the Court, and I must dispose
of it. Can you assist us in any way, Mr. PERPLEBAGGE?
_Counsel for the Prosecution_ (_smiling_). I am afraid not, my Lord.
_Judge_. Well, I suppose I have no alternative but to order the
Prisoner to be taken back to--
_Prisoner_. To the place I was in last night? No, thankee!--not me!
Look here, gemmen all, we knows one another, don't we? Well, just to
oblige you--as Darmoor ain't 'alf bad in the summer, and as in course
I _did_ do it--I plead guilty!
_Judge_ (_with a sigh of relief_). Prisoner at the Bar, we are
infinitely beholden to you! [_Passes regulation sentence with grateful
* * * * *
THE INVECTIVE OF H-RC-RT.
(_A FRAGMENT IN HEXAMETERS, NOT BY GEORGE MEREDITH._)
Heigh me! brazen of front, thou glutton for Ground Game, how can one,
Servant here to thy mandates heed thee among the Tories?
Surely thy mission is fudge, oh, DAWNAY, Conservative Colonel!
I, Sir, hither I fared on account of the cant-armed Sportsmen,
Pledged to the combat; they unto me have in no wise a harm done,
Never have they, of a truth, come putting my Hares and my Rabbits,
Never in deep-soiled Hampshire, the nurser of heroes and H-RC-RTS,
Ravaged; but if I found them among my trampled Carnations,
Hares or Rabbits, or gun-bearing Tories, by Jingo, I'd pot 'em!
O hugely shameless! Thee shall we follow to do an injustice
Unto the farmers, seeing the Hares a-munching their crops up?
I do not sit at the feet of the blatant Bordesley Gamaliel,
Or of the unregenerate Agricultural Minister.
Close time? Fudge! The Hares were _intended_ at last to perish
Either by sounding gun or the gaping jaws of the greyhound.
Food for the people? Cant! The promotion of Sport is the purpose
Plain of this pestilent Bill, which neutralises the victory
Won, with much labour, by Me, my gift to the sons of the furrow.
DAWNAY talks as though the Hare were a "domiciled animal."
Shows what a deal _he_ knows of Hares--save the pleasure of killing 'em.
Shall I give the nourishing farmers up to this pillage?
Nay, sure mine were the hands did most in the storm of the combat,
Ay, and when peradventure we share the booty amongst us,
After the General Election, the Tories may find--but no matter-r-r!
Surely a time will come,--not a "close time" that for the Tories,--
I being outraged, _then_ will give them particular pepper!
* * * * *
1900 (_Somewhere about_).--Introduction into London of new Patent
Smokeless Fuel, as experimentally exhibited in 1891 before the Prince
of WALES and Empress FREDERICK in York Road, King's Cross. A few
public-spirited householders insist on their cooks using it in the
kitchen. Cooks of public-spirited householders unanimously give
warning. No quotation of Fuel Company's shares on Stock Exchange.
1900 (_Later_).--Very reforming Parliament just returned. Use of new
Fuel made compulsory. Fuel shares go up from a nominal 2s. 6d. a share
to L437 6s. 8d. at a bound.
1901.--London already much cleaner. Only two fogs (white) in whole
of last winter. Consequent intense surprise of old residents, cabmen,
link-boys, porters, and pickpockets.
1902.--Retirement of several individuals, who declare they "liked the
good old London fogs," to Black Country. Statue in Parian marble of
inventor of new Fuel blocks erected on Thames Embankment.
1904.--Government buys up patent rights of Company, at ruinous
sacrifice. A Minister of Chimneyculture appointed, with Cabinet rank.
Blocks reduced in price, and sold at all Post Offices across the
counter. Postal messengers, on receipt of telephonic orders, bring
truckfuls to any address within ten minutes.
1905.--Green veils come into general use this summer, to keep off
glare from white stone houses and other buildings in West-End of
London. Several cases of partial loss of sight from extreme whiteness
of dome of St. Paul's. Dean ordered (by County Council) to have dome
lamp-blacked. Dean declines. Vote of thanks to him from resident staff
of Ophthalmic Hospital.
1906.--Owing to surprising and overpowering health of inhabitants
(caused by total absence of smoke and fogs), County Council
establishes Gymnasia, Rowing Matches, and free public Pugilistic
Contests, in order to work off surplus muscular energies of
1907.--Emigration of 2000 Doctors (who have no work to do) to one of
General BOOTH's Colonies at South Pole. Show (in Temple Gardens) of
delicate ferns and roses grown in atmosphere of Strand.
1908.--Strike of Whitewashers, Laundresses, and House Painters,
against lack of employment. Go about singing, "Oh, call the Fog-Fiend
back to us!" with refrain, "Oh, when the Fogs were here with us, Would
we had used them more!"
1909.--Last surviving Chimney-sweeper, provided with a well-ventilated
chamber at Madame Tussaud's. Special charge of sixpence for adults,
threepence for children, made for privilege of seeing him.
1910.--Rest of inhabitants of England, as well as foreign invalids,
flock to London because of noted purity and salubrity of its climate.
Riviera deserted. London a little over-crowded, but very clean.
* * * * *
THREE ACRES AND AN EGG.
The following pleasing announcement appears in the advertisement
columns of the _East of Fife Record_.--
WANTED, COTTAGERS and others to HATCH EGGS. Liberal Terms.
We are glad to see the men of Fife thus taking the lead in creating
new openings for the agricultural labourer. Of course the weather will
have much influence upon the success of the new avocation. To sit out
hatching eggs in one of such blizzards as we have had since Christmas
would be exceedingly inconvenient, upon whatever "Liberal terms."
But, given a fair summer day or a quiet autumn evening, there seems
something quite idyllic in the picture of the agricultural labourer
sitting out in his own Three Acres hatching eggs,--probably laid by
* * * * *
[Illustration: OLD FRIENDS.
"DO YOU EVER SEE BOBBIE BOUNCER NOW?"
"OH DEAR NO! HE'S _FAR_ TOO GREAT A SWELL! IF ONE PITCHES INTO
ANYTHING HE DOES, HE CUTS UP ROUGH, IF YOU PLEASE, AND GIVES ONE THE
COLD SHOULDER! THOSE VERY SUCCESSFUL FELLOWS ALWAYS DO!"
"AND BILL JAKES?"
"POOR OLD STICK-IN-THE-MUD! HAD TO DROP HIM! DOOCID SIGHT TOO FOND OF
TELLING ONE THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT ONESELF, WHEN ONE'S NOT INCLINED FOR
IT, YOU KNOW! ALWAYS THE WAY WITH THOSE FELLOWS WHO DON'T GET ON!"]
* * * * *
THE FRIEND OF LABOUR.
How doth the provident M.P.
Improve each shining hour,
And in the "Labour Question" see
Hopes of return to power!
How skilfully he shapes his "sell,"
How neatly spreads his "fakes"!
On Labour's ear they sound right well,
The promises he makes.
Skilled Labour, Labour without skill,
He would have busy, too;
Nay, he would find some Labour still
For idle "hands" to do.
Yet, Labour, whatsoe'er he say,
To trust him be not fast;
Or you'll discover, some fine day,
He'll diddle you at last!
* * * * *
QUEER QUERIES.--COMBUSTIBLES.--I have five hundred barrels of Kerosene
Oil, and three hundred of Paraffin, stored in a large room in the
basement of my premises. Upstairs, on the top floor, there are about
two hundred assistants at work. I now want to use part of the same
room for the manufacture of fireworks. The place I don't think is too
dark, as I have it constantly lighted by naked gas-jets. Would there
be any need to take out a licence? The surrounding property, although
very crowded, is only of a poor description.--INSURED.
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S POCKET IBSEN.
(_CONDENSED AND REVISED VERSION BY MR. P.'S OWN HARMLESS IBSENITE._)
NO. II.--NORA; OR, THE BIRD-CAGE (ET DIKKISVOeIT).
_The same Room--except that the sofa has been slightly moved, and one
of the Japanese cotton-wool frogs has fallen into the fireplace.
Mrs. LINDEN sits and reads a book--but without understanding a single
_Mrs. Linden_ (_laying down book, as a light tread is heard outside_).
Here he is at last! (_KROGSTAD comes in, and stands in the doorway._)
Mr. KROGSTAD, I have given you a secret _rendezvous_ in this room,
because it belongs to my employer, Mr. HELMER, who has lately
discharged you. The etiquette of Norway permits these slight freedoms
on the part of a female Cashier.
_Krogs._ It does. Are we alone? (_NORA is heard overhead dancing the
Tarantella._) Yes, I hear Mrs. HELMER's fairy footfall above. She
dances the Tarantella now--by-and-by she will dance to another tune!
(_Changing his tone._) I don't exactly know why you should wish to
have this interview--after jilting me as you did, long ago, though?
_Mrs. L._ Don't you? _I_ do. I am a widow--a Norwegian widow. And
it has occurred to me that there may be a nobler side to your nature
somewhere--though you have not precisely the best of reputations.
[Illustration: "Oh, you prillil squillikins!"]
_Krogs._ Right. I am a forger, and a money-lender; I am on the staff
of the Norwegian _Punch_--a most scurrilous paper. More, I have been
blackmailing Mrs. HELMER by trading on her fears like a low cowardly
cur. But, in spite of all that--(_clasping his hands_)--there are the
makings of a fine man about me _yet_, CHRISTINA!
_Mrs. L._ I believe you--at least, I'll chance it. I want some one to
care for, and I'll marry you.
_Krogs._ (_suspiciously_). On condition, I suppose, that I suppress
the letter denouncing Mrs. HELMER?
_Mrs. L._ How can you think so? I am her dearest friend: but I can
still see her faults, and it is my firm opinion that a sharp lesson
will do her all the good in the world. She is _much_ too comfortable.
So leave the letter in the box, and come home with me.
_Krogs._ I am wildly happy! Engaged to the female Cashier of the
Manager who has discharged me, our future is bright and secure!
[_He goes out; and Mrs. LINDEN sets the furniture straight;
presently a noise is heard outside, and HELMER enters,
dragging_ NORA in. She is in fancy dress, and he in an open
_Nora_. I shan't! It's too early to come away from such a nice party.
I _won't_ go to bed! [_She whimpers._
_Helmer_ (_tenderly_). There'sh a naughty lil' larkie for you, Mrs.
LINEN! Poshtively had to drag her 'way! She'sh a capricious lil'
girl--from Capri. 'Scuse me!--'fraid I've been and made a pun. Shan'
'cur again! Shplendid champagne the Consul gave us--'counts for it!
(_Sits down, smiling._) Do you _knit_, Mrs. COTTON?... You shouldn't.
Never knit. 'Broider. (_Nodding to her, solemnly._) 'Member that.
Alwaysh _'broider_. More--(_hiccoughing_)--Oriental! Gobblesh
_Mrs. Linden_. I only came in to--to see NORA's costume. Now I've seen
it, I'll go. [_Goes out._
_Helmer_. Awful bore that woman--hate boresh! (_Looks at NORA, then
comes nearer._) Oh, you prillil squillikins, I _do_ love you so!
Shomehow, I feel sho lively thishevenin'!
_Nora_ (_goes to other side of table_). I won't _have_ all that,
_Helmer_. Why? ain't you my lil' lark--ain't thish our lil' cage?
Ver-_well_, then. (_A ring._) RANK! confound it all! (_Enter
Dr. RANK._) RANK, dear old boy, you've been (_hiccoughs_) going it
upstairs. Cap'tal champagne, eh? _'Shamed_ of you, RANK! [_He sits
down on sofa, and closes his eyes gently._
_Rank_. Did you notice it? (_with pride_). It was almost incredible
the amount I contrived to put away. But I shall suffer for it
to-morrow (_gloomily_). Heredity again! I wish I was dead! I do.
_Nora_. Don't apologise. TORVALD was just as bad; but he is always so
good-tempered after champagne.
_Rank_. Ah, well, I just looked in to say that I haven't long to live.
Don't weep for me, Mrs. HELMER, it's chronic--and hereditary too. Here
are my P.P.C. cards. I'm a fading flower. Can you oblige me with a
_Nora_ (_with a suppressed smile_). Certainly. Let me give you a
[_RANK lights his cigar, after several ineffectual attempts,
and goes out._
_Helmer_ (_compassionately_). Poo' old RANK--he'sh very bad
to-ni'! (_Pulls himself together._) But I forgot--Bishness--I mean,
bu-si-ness--mush be 'tended to. I'll go and see if there are any
letters. (_Goes to box._) Hallo! someone's been at the lock with a
hairpin--it's one of _your_ hairpins! [_Holding it out to her._
_Nora_ (_quickly_). Not mine--one of BOB's, or IVAR's--they both wear
_Helmer_ (_turning over letters absently_). You must break them
of it--bad habit! What a lot o' lettersh! _double_ usual quantity.
(_Opens KROGSTAD's._) By Jove! (_Reads it and falls back completely
sobered._) What have you got to say to _this_?
_Nora_ (_crying aloud._) You shan't save me--let me go! I _won't_ be
_Helmer_. Save _you_, indeed! Who's going to save _Me_? You miserable
little criminal. (_Annoyed._) Ugh--ugh!
_Nora_ (_with hardening expression_). Indeed, TORVALD, your
singing-bird acted for the best!
_Helmer_. Singing-bird! Your father was a rook--and you take _after_
him. Heredity again! You have utterly destroyed my happiness. (_Walks
round several times._) Just as I was beginning to get on, too!
_Nora_. I have--but I will go away and jump into the water.
_Helmer_. What good will _that_ do me? People will say _I_ had a hand
in this business (_bitterly_). If you _must_ forge, you might at least
put your dates in correctly! But you never _had_ any principle! (_A
ring._) The front-door bell! (_A fat letter is seen to fall into the
box; HELMER takes it, opens it, sees enclosure, and embraces NORA._)
KROGSTAD won't split. See, he returns the forged I.O.U.! Oh, my poor
little lark, _what_ you must have gone through! Come under my wing,
my little scared song-bird.... Eh? you _won't!_ Why, what's the matter
_Nora_ (_with cold calm_). I have wings of my own, thank you, TORVALD,
and I mean to use them!
_Helmer_. What--leave your pretty cage, and (_pathetically_) the old
cock bird, and the poor little innocent eggs!
_Nora_. Exactly. Sit down, and we will talk it over first. (_Slowly._)
Has it ever struck you that this is the first time you and I have ever
talked seriously together about serious things?
_Helmer_. Come, I do like that! How on earth could we talk about
serious things when your mouth was always full of macaroons?
_Nora_ (_shakes her head_). Ah, TORVALD, the mouth of a mother of a
family should have more solemn things in it than macaroons! I see
that now, too late. No, you have wronged me. So did Papa. Both of
you called me a doll, and a squirrel, and a lark! You might have made
something of me--and instead of that, you went and made too much of
me--oh, you _did_!
_Helmer_. Well, you didn't seem to object to it, and really I don't
exactly see what it is you _do_ want!
_Nora_. No more do I--that is what I have got to find out. If I had
been properly educated, I should have known better than to date
poor Papa's signature three days after he died. Now I must educate
_myself_. I have to gain experience, and get clear about religion, and
law, and things, and whether Society is right or I am--and I must go
away and never come back any more till I _am_ educated!
_Helmer_. Then you may be away some little time? And what's to become
of me and the eggs meanwhile?
_Nora_. That, TORVALD, is entirely your own affair. I have a higher
duty than that towards you and the eggs. (_Looking solemnly upward._)
I mean my duty towards Myself!
_Helmer_. And all this because--in a momentary annoyance at finding
myself in the power of a discharged Cashier who calls me "I say
TORVALD," I expressed myself with ultra-Gilbertian frankness! You talk
like a silly child!
_Nora_. Because my eyes are opened, and I see my position with the
eyes of IBSEN. I must go away at once, and begin to educate myself.
_Helmer_. May I ask how you are going to set about it?
_Nora_. Certainly. I shall begin--yes, I shall _begin_ with a course
of the Norwegian theatres. If _that_ doesn't take the frivolity out of
me, I don't really know what _will_! [_She gets her bonnet and ties it
_Helmer_. Then you are really going? And you'll never think about me
and the eggs any more! Oh, NORA!
_Nora_. Indeed, I shall, occasionally--as strangers. (_She puts on a
shawl sadly, and fetches her dressing-bag._) If I ever do come back,
the greatest miracle of all will have to happen. Good-bye! [_She goes
out through the hall; the front-door is heard to bang loudly._
_Helmer_ (_sinking on a chair_). The room empty? Then she _must_ be
gone! Yes, my little lark has flown! (_The dull sound of an unskilled
latchkey is heard trying the lock; presently the door opens, and Nora,
with a somewhat foolish expression, reappears._) What? back already!
Then you _are_ educated?
_Nora_ (_puts down dressing-bag_). No, TORVALD, not yet. Only, you
see, I found I had only threepence-halfpenny in my purse, and the
Norwegian theatres are all closed at this hour--and so I thought I
wouldn't leave the cage till to-morrow--after breakfast.
_Helmer_ (_as if to himself_). The greatest miracle of all _has_
happened. My little bird is not in the bush _just_ yet!
[_NORA takes down a showily bound dictionary from the shelf
and begins her education_; HELMER _fetches a bag of macaroons,
sits near her, and tenders one humbly. A pause. NORA
repulses it, proudly. He offers it again. She snatches at
it suddenly, still without looking at him, and nibbles it
thoughtfully as Curtain falls._
THE END (_with Mr. Punch's apologies to the Master_).
* * * * *
(_BY MR. PUNCH'S OWN TYPE WRITER._)
NO. XXIV.--THE GIVER OF PARTIES.
It may be that "Party," in the sense of a hospitable entertainment, is
an obsolete word, and that those who speak of "giving a party" prove
themselves, by the mere expression, to be fogeys whom the rushing
stream of London amusements has long since thrown up on the sandy bank
of middle age, there to grow dull and forget that their legs were
ever apt for the waltz, or their digestions able to cope with lobster
mayonnaise at 2 A.M. Yet, though he who thus speaks may not be as
smart as a swell, or as much up to date as a church-parade-goer, the
expression will serve, for it indicates comprehensively enough every
variety of entertainment known to the London Season--the dance, the
dinner, the reception, the music at home, the tea-party, and the
theatre-party, for all these in her benevolence does the Giver of
Parties offer to us, and all these does she find the world of London
eager to accept. Now it would seem, one would imagine, to be the
easiest thing in the world, if only the money be not wanting, to give
a party. A hostess, so someone may say, has but to invite her friends,
to light her rooms, to spread her tables, to set the champagne
flowing, to order an awning, and to hire music and a linkman, and the
thing is done. The result of all this will no doubt be a party--of a
sort, but of a sort far different, however gorgeous it may be, from
the splendid and widely-advertised gatherings which the genuine Giver
of Parties organises. For in the one variety it is just possible that
enjoyment may be one of the main objects sought and attained; in the
latter it is certain that enjoyment, though it is not always absent,
must yield the precedence to social success and promotion in the scale
of Society. These are the objects that the Giver of Parties, as it is
proposed to describe her, has at heart, and to their attainment she
devotes herself with a persistent and all-embracing energy which no
disappointment is capable of daunting. The envy of her friends, the
smiles and the presence of Royalty, may be hers, but there is always
some loftier height to which she must climb before she can say to
herself, "_J'y suis, j'y reste_," and be thankful.
Her life has known many changes. Her parents were county people of
good descent and position, but of a reduced income, for which they
apparently sought compensation in an increasing family, mostly
daughters. It was necessary that she should marry young, and she
submitted to necessity by accepting the proposal of a man some ten
years her senior, who had already come to be favourably spoken off for
the success of his commercial ventures. It is needless to add that all
her relations took good care to impress upon her mind the fact that
the alliance was an honour to her husband, whose wealth, even though
it might in time rival that of the ROTHSCHILDS, could never make him
fit to be mentioned in the same breath with one who numbered among her
remoter ancestors a Baron, who had fought and bled on many fields for
King CHARLES THE FIRST. However, the marriage took place in spite of
the inequality of rank, and the much-honoured husband bore his wife
with him to London, where for a time the modest comfort of a house in
distant Bayswater satisfied them. Business prospered, and money came
pouring in. The wife, who, it must be said, had undeniable beauty,
excellent manners, and the trick of intuitively adapting herself to
any society, was taken up by a great lady who happened to see her
holding a stall at a large bazaar in which the fashionable world
took some interest. Acting upon the great lady's suggestion, she was
photographed in the becoming Tyrolese peasant's costume which she
wore as a stall-holder, and the photograph was in some mysterious way
engraved in all the illustrated papers of the following week. Her name
was enshrined in paragraphs, she was observed in the Royal Enclosure
at Ascot, she was introduced to a Royal personage who was pleased to
confer upon her the distinction of his smiles, and to mention her to
the select circle of his intimates as "a very pretty, pleasant little
woman." And thus she was started upon the thorny path of ambitious
It is well known that the sacred fire of fashion burns--or is supposed
to burn--in Belgravia alone. Its warmth drew her irresistibly.
Bayswater became too cold to hold her, and early in the following
year it was announced that a large house in the purlieus of Grosvenor
Square had been purchased by her husband. However, she was content to
climb by degrees, and, in her first season of social brilliancy, she
restricted herself to a small and early dance, and a musical evening.
At the dance, universal admiration was excited by the lavish profusion
of the flowers with which her staircase was adorned, by the excellent
quality of the champagne, and the inexhaustible supply of oysters.
At the musical evening the music was as admirably rendered as it
was completely neglected. And at both parties only those people were
present as to whose social status and absolute "rightness" there could
be no question. Indeed the dancer, whose foot had been trodden upon
at the former, might console herself with the thought that none but
a noble boot had caused her pain; while at the latter the sounds of
heavy breathing, which mingled inharmoniously with Mlle. FALSETTI's
_bravura_, were forgiven, in consideration of the exalted rank of
their producer. Her success seemed now to be assured, and even the
muttered discontent of a neglected husband, who was foolish enough to
prefer comfort to smartness, began to subside. In the following year
her entertainments became even more splendid, and less comfortable.
She took a house at Ascot, and, triumph of triumphs! a scion of
Royalty deigned to accept her hospitality.
After this, one would have supposed that she might have reposed for
a space. But the penalty of social life is its never-ending necessity
for movement. Jealous rivals abound to dispute a hardly-won supremacy,
and the least sign of faltering may involve extinction. Yet it must
be said that she is kind to her own, even when she is most brilliant.
She brings out a daughter to be the delight of young Guardsmen, and
marries her to a widowed Peer; she furbishes up forgotten relations,
and allows them to shine in the rays of her glory; she is charitable
after the manner of fancy fairs, and the hospitality of her house
becomes proverbial. But, in the midst of all the bustle, the
confusion, and the rattling turmoil of her career, she sometimes sighs
for the undistinguished ease of her life in the pre-Royal days, sighs,
and returns with fresh vigour to the struggle.
And so the pleasureless days of the pleasure-seeker follow one
another, each with its particular legacy of little strivings, until,
at the last, consolation may come from the thought that there is
at least one place where there are many mansions, but no social
* * * * *
NEW PRAYER-BOOK REVISION.--Several alterations will now have to be
made in the marriage service. If it be permissible for the bride to
omit her promise "to obey," as is reported to have been the case at a
wedding last week, why should any undertaking "to love," "to honour,"
"to cherish," and so forth remain in the text? With all this left
out, a marriage, which, of course, will no longer be an ecclesiastical
rite, will hardly be a very civil ceremony. In course of time all the
promises will be made either explicitly or implicitly conditional, the
only question being what is the least possible obligation that can be
incurred by both contracting parties at the smallest possible expense.
* * * * *
[Illustration: FIN DE SIECLE CHILDREN.
_He_. "I SAY, HILDA, I _SHOULD_ SO LIKE TO GIVE YOU A KISS!"
_She_ (_who WILL pick up such strange expressions from the Boys_).
"WOULD YOU, INDEED? 'I LIKE YOUR CHEEK'!"
_He_. "I'M SURE I SHOULD LIKE _YOURS_!"]
* * * * *
NOT CAUGHT YET!
The Boy and the Bird! And the Bird looks so old;--
Scarce the species of fowl to be easily "sold,"--
And the Boy is so young! It seems almost absurd
To suppose that that pinch is to capture that Bird!
An old form of chase, if the legends run right;
Like that, much akin, of the wild goose in flight.
But salt, just like chaff and the plainly spread net,
Was never regarded as promising yet.
But now? Well, the Birds of the age, like its Boys,
Its Wives, and its Weather, its Tastes and its Toys,
Have suffered a change, not a sea-change, but one
Which floors half the maxims, and spoils half the fun.
Simple SIMON? Well, that's not as clear as it looks.
The typical noodles of nursery books
Were podgy and chubby, or lanky and pale,
And--they tried to drop salt on poor dicky-bird's tail!
A fat boy in tight breeks with a palpable bait
May look a great fool; but I guess we must wait,--
Before we bemock him as crass and absurd,--
To see--what effect it will have on the Bird!
The trial's well timed, and the bait looks "not bad;"
The Boy _may_ "know his book," though he's only a lad.
Birds sometimes fall victims to Boys on the prowl,
And the Voter Bird is _not_ the wariest fowl.
The Voter Bird shortly must show what he's worth
He may be the stupidest dicky on earth,
Predestinate victim to salt-pinch or net;
But then he may _not_,--and he is "not caught _yet_!"
* * * * *
AN AUTOCRAT'S ASPIRATION.--Pan-Slavism for Holy Russia, and
Pan-Slav(e)ism for the rest of Europe.
* * * * *
LAND AND BRAIN.
(_A PAGE FROM A VADE MECUM FOR POLITICAL ECONOMISTS._)
_Question_. Can you tell me how long an Author has a right to the
profits arising out of his literary labours?
_Answer_. Forty-two years, or the term of his natural life plus
seven years further, whichever may be the longer.
_Q._ And should Lord MONKSWELL's Copyright Bill, which has
been read a First Time in the House of Peers, become law, will not
this right be extended to thirty years after the death of the Author?
_A._ It will, to his great advantage. The same measure contains
other valuable provisions to secure to the Author the just profit of
_Q._ But will not these advantages be purchased at the price of a
loss to the general good?
_A._ Very likely--the community will suffer for the benefit of the
_Q._ In like manner a Patentee, who invents a most useful article,
enjoys (for a consideration) a monopoly of its sale, does he not?
_A._ For fourteen years. This enables him to recoup himself for
the thought and labour he has employed in the most useful article's
_Q._ If Author and Inventor were allowed an absolute monopoly of
the profits arising out of their brain-work, it would be immoral?
_A._ No doubt, as the individuals would benefit at the cost of the
_Q._ Why should a butterman, then, have an absolute right in the
sale of his butter?
_A._ Because butter is butter, and brains are merely brains.
_Q._ And would it not be for the benefit of the community if the
landowner of a freehold were deprived of his rights after a term of
years, and his holding be given to the public?
_A._ Oh dear, no! Land, as RUDYARD KIPLING would say, "is
quite another story!"
* * * * *
COUNSEL'S MOTTO (_objected to in the Committee Rooms_).--"Absence
makes the fees grow stronger."
* * * * *
[Illustration: NOT CAUGHT YET!
MASTER LONDON-COUNTY-COUNCIL. "IF I CAN ONLY GET NEAR ENOUGH!!!"]
* * * * *
[Illustration: "Oh, I mustn't Catch the Speaker's Eye!"]
The first night of the Mixed Italian Opera Season, 1891. We open
with GLUeCK's _Orfeo_, and, in a strong opera-glass, we drink to
DRURIOLANUS OPERATICUS, and say, "Here's G-luck t'you!" Nothing can
begin the season better than the appearance of GIULIA and SOFIA
RAVOGLI--specially GIULIA--"There's something 'bout GIULIA So werry
peculia'"--(_Old Song_)--in this short Opera, that is to say, an Opera
which should be short were it not for the "waits" between the Scenes
and Acts, which, as it is in the nature of weights to do, must always
make even the lightest Opera seem heavy. Mlle. GIULIA sang and acted
perfectly. Her rendering of the last song was most pathetic. This
delicious melody the audience would have had over and over again, not
in merry mood, for we are never merry in the hearing of such sweet
music, but in appreciative sympathy with the woes of _Orpheus_ so
sweetly expressed. The lines in _Bombastes_ rise in my memory:--
"So ORPHEUS sang of old, or poets lie,
On consideration, however, I will _not_ quote the remainder, but will
say simply that we were all charmed. Welcome, at the commencement of
another season, to Mlle. BAUERMEISTER, appearing as _Cupid_. To-morrow
she will be _Dame Marta_! Wonderful! "Time cannot stale her infinite
variety." How is it, O _premiere danseuse_, my pretty pretty Polly
Hop-kino PALLADINO, Principal Shade among all these Happy but Shady
characters, that thou didst not choose a classic dance in keeping with
the character of the music and of the ideal--I distinctly emphasise
"_ideal_"--surroundings? What oughtest thou to represent in the
Elysian Fields? A Salvationised "Dancing Girl," without bonnet and
tambourine? Nay, not so; but rather the very spirit of classic grace
and elegance, moving rhythmically to melodious measure. In such a
Scene as this ought to be, we want as much idealism as your graceful
art can lend, otherwise we are only among our old friends, "the
ladies and gentlemen of the Chorus"--bless em!--representing most
substantially the "Shades of the Blessed," who appear to be Shades
of every colour. GIULIA RAVOGLI, however, kept us entranced in the
ancient classic land where once we used to wander. "_Vive Lempriere!_"
[Illustration: Talking about Marguerite behind her Back; or, "'Tails'
out of School."]
_Second Night_.--_Faust_, with a new _Marguerite_, Gay dog, _Faust_.
How many _Marguerites_ have there been even in my time! Same old
story. _Faust_ not a whit improved by experience--going on just the
same as ever. His new _Marguerite_ does credit to his choice, for
Mlle. EAMES--(isn't she Miss EAMES, and neither Mademoiselle nor
Signora? And doesn't she hail from Columbia?--but no matter)--is a
sweet-looking _Marguerite_, with a voice as true as is her heart to
_Faust_. A genuine _Gretchen_, simple not brilliant. Brilliancy she
leaves to property diamonds, but awakes enthusiasm, by her judicious
acting over the inert body of _Valentine_, when she attempts no sudden
Colwell-Hatchney shriek, always so perilous. Signor PEROTTI looked as
_Faust_ might have done, had he been elected an Alderman of the City
of London and acted up to the character. If DRURIOLANUS had lent him
his Sheriff's chain to wear, Signor PEROTTI would have been perfect,
that is from this point of view. M. MAUREL excellent as _Mephisto_
in a new suit of clothes. He appears now as "The Gentleman in
Grey"--rather suggestive of his having become a Volunteer, and a
member, of course, of "the Devil's Own." Imagine _Mephistopheles_
re-dressed at last! On both nights Signor MANCINELLI, the Conductor,
seemed pleased, and that's something.
[Illustration: The New Faust, a mixture of Henry the Eighth and
Great feature in Covent Garden this year is the decoration of the
Pit-tier Lobby. DRURIOLANUS, feeling happy at the Opera prospects, and
rejoicing in a full subscription, said to the Committee, "Gentlemen,
let's have 'glasses round'!" Some officious person, hearing this,
mistook the meaning of the great Chief, and straightway ran off and
ordered _looking-glasses all round for the Lobby!_ Grand effect!
brilliant! dazzling!--too much so, in fact; several glasses too
much. So, after a couple of nights' reflection, when the _habitues_
came on Thursday, behold, two or three of the aristocratic mirrors
or Peer-glasses had disappeared, the hat-pegs of former times had
been restored, the wounded susceptibilities of the Stall-keepers
whose occupation was partly gone, were healed, and where gloom was
spreading, wreathed smiles once more prevailed. Even now these
Opera-glasses are rather too powerful. Still, "let us see ourselves
as others see us," is a good practical motto for the loiterer in the
lobby, as he catches sight of himself, _en passant_, and wonders who
that chap is, whose face he has seen somewhere before, but whose name
he can't for the life of him recollect.
_Thursday_.--_Carmen_. Disappointed with JULIA RAVOGLI in this, though
there are some fine bits of acting in it. Didn't care much about
Sister SOFIA as _Mickie the Maiden_, M. LUBERT's _Don Jose_ good but
not great; and M. CELLI, who, in default of M. DEVOYOD's not being
able to appear, took the part of _Escamillo_, was great, but not very
good. He was, however, well supported by Signor RANDEGGER and the
Orchestra, and considering the difficulties he had to struggle with,
including an apology in the bills, he came out of it safely.
_Saturday_.--Re-appearance of the great DE RESZKE Brothers, JOHN and
NED (what's JOHN without an 'ed?) in _Lohengrin_. Admirable. JULIA
RAVOGLI excellent as _Ortruda_, and M. MAUREL equally so as _Freddy_.
But why did he "feather his skull," like the Jolly Young Waterman, in
so remarkable a style? However, his _Freddy_ is a feather in his cap
with which he ought to be satisfied. Miss EAMES as _Elsa_ even better
than as _Marguerite_. Crammed house. "Friends in front" more than
satisfied. Good start.
* * * * *
SONGS OF THE UN-SENTIMENTALIST.
THE EARLY GREEN PEA.
Oh, the early green pea! the early green pea!
Is the dish of all dishes to set before me!
You may tell me of salmon caught fresh from the Tay,
The beauties of plump white spring chicken display,
The strawberry ripened three months before date--
All these and much else you may set on my plate!
But of them, no not one, stirs such rapture in me
As the sweet, mellow taste of the Early Green Pea!
Oh, the early green pea, the pea of my taste,
Must be gently assisted, not forced in hot haste,
Lest the flavour it yield prove delusive and flat,
In no way suggesting the young Marrowfat!
But if it do this, oh what more could I wish,
Than to see a young duckling form part of the dish!
So with such a banquet spread out before me,
Can you ask why I worship the Early Green Pea!
* * * * *
IN MEMORIAM.--As a tribute expressive of the high estimation in which
the late Mr. P.T. BARNUM was held in England, why not endow a "Barnum
Exhibition" at one of the Colleges of either University? We have
"Smith's Prizeman," why not "Barnum Exhibitioner"?
* * * * *
"THE PRODIGY SON."--The three-act pantomime play at the Prince of
Wales's has "caught on," as we predicted it would. Manager SEDGER
thinks of temporarily adopting as his motto for this theatre, "Speech
is silvern, silence is golden."
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE RAIKES' PROGRESS.]
* * * * *
SWORD VERSUS LANCET!
(_AN INCIDENT IN THE NEXT WAR._)
"Now," said the Surgeon-Field-Marshal-Commanding-in-Chief, as he
stood before his men; "I have the greatest confidence in your skill.
There is not one of you present who cannot perform an operation as
successfully as myself;" here there was a murmur of polite denial
in the ranks. "Nay, it is no flattery--I mean it. These are my last
instructions. We are few, the enemy are many. We are not only soldiers
but medical men. And as medical men it is our business to cure the
wounds that we inflict in our more strictly military capacity."
Again there was a murmur--this time of cordial approval.
"Well, Gentlemen, as we have been taught in our drill, what the first
rank breaks, the rear rank must bandage up. This would be all very
well if our numbers were told by thousands, or even hundreds, instead
of tens. But to-day we must use the bayonet rather than the lancet,
the bullet in preference to the pill." Stealthy applause followed this
observation. "But be careful. Common humanity calls upon us to do as
little damage as possible. You know your anatomy sufficiently well to
avoid inflicting a wound upon a vital part, and can so arrange that
your blows shall incapacitate rather than functionally derange. And
now, my friends, put your instrument-boxes and pharmacopoeias in your
haversacks, and draw your swords. All ready? Yes! Then, 'Up, Guards,
and at them!'"
With a wild cheer the Royal Regiment of Physicians and Surgeons (which
had recently been admitted into the Service on the footing of the
Royal Engineers) rushed forward. It was a beautiful sight to see
them performing the most delicate operations in the kindest manner
imaginable. The enemy trembled, wavered, and fled. In a moment the
Royal Regiment had put up their swords and taken out their medical
appliances. Their military duties done, and they were doctors once
again, ready to help those who demanded their semi-civilian services.
They had scarcely been engaged in this manner ten minutes when the
Surgeon-Field-Marshal-Commanding-in-Chief cantered up to them. "Men,"
he cried, "drop your surgical instruments, and draw your swords. The
enemy are again upon us! We must take their fort!"
In a moment the Royal Regiment was on the march. On their way, some of
their comrades, wounded by the foe (in a bungling fashion), appealed
to them for succour.
"Very Sorry," replied the Surgeon-Field-Marshal-Commanding-in-Chief,
in a tone of commiseration; "very sorry indeed, but we can't attend to
you. At this moment we are acting in our strictly military capacity!"
And the Royal Regiment of Physicians and Surgeons, full of enthusiasm
(but in rather loose formation) continued their march to the fort.
* * * * *
[Illustration: Night Mare.]
_Tourmalin's Time Cheques_, drawn on the bank of eccentric imagination
by ANSTEY-GUTHRIE, is well worthy of the author of _Vice Versa_. The
construction of the story is as artful as it is artistic, but the
Baron cannot give his reason for this opinion without jeopardising
the reader's pleasure. Still the Baron feels pretty certain that when
the much-amused and greatly-chuckling but diligent and conscientious
peruser of this light-hearted romance arrives at the last few pages,
he will frown, rub his eyes, refer back to the very commencement of
the story,--and then? Will he bless ANSTEY and blow GUTHRIE, or bless
GUTHRIE and blow ANSTEY, or will he, being more tickled than ever,
rush off to recommend it at once to his best friends, anticipating
renewed delight from their pleasure and perplexity? The Baron
wishes that ANSTEY and GUTHRIE had settled between them to call it
_Tourmalin's Time Bargains_; but it is very likely that if ANSTEY
suggested it, GUTHRIE rejected it, or, if the Baron may be permitted
to say so without infringement of copyright, "_vice versa_." It
is a great satisfaction to know that unlike the ERCKMANN-CHATRIAN
collaboration, the ANSTEY-GUTHRIE partnership cannot be dissolved.
JEKYL-AND-HYDE can cease to be, and JEKYL may alone survive; but the
Baron rejoices in the fact of the mysterious bond between ANSTEY
and GUTHRIE being indissoluble. Read _Tourmalin's Time Cheques_, and
remember the prognostications of THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
* * * * *
[Illustration: A SWEEPING REFORM.
_Crossing Sweeper_. "WOT'S THIS HERE? WOT! DO AWAY WITH THE
'CLEAN-YOUR-DOOR-STEP' HAMATOOR, AND MAKE IT A PAID PURFESSION!! WHY,
S'HELP ME, THEY'LL BE DOIN' AWAY WITH ME AND MY BROOM NEX', AND P'RAPS
'AVE THE CROSSIN'S SWEP' BY MASHEENERY! YAH!"]
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FBOM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
_House of Commons, Monday, April 6._--School reopened after Easter
Holidays. OLD MORALITY duly in his place, but not many of the boys.
Civil Service Estimates on; PLUNKET in charge on Ministerial side;
SAGE OF QUEEN ANNE'S GATE Leader of Opposition. Hammered away all
night on old familiar lines. Ghosts of old acquaintances feebly
crossed floor, disappearing behind SPEAKER's chair. Kensington Palace,
with its cost; Bushey House; Cambridge Cottage; admission to Holyrood
Palace; the deer in Home Park at Hampton Court; the pheasants in
Richmond Park; the frescoes in House of Lords; the Grille of the
Ladies' Gallery: the British Consular House at Cairo--each came up
in turn; talked about; protested against; explained; divided upon,
and voted. PLUNKET left to himself on Treasury Bench; bore up with
unflagging energy and perennial patience; has heard same points raised
every year since he was First Commissioner; has made same replies, and
has seen Votes passed. Long before he was in office same thing used
to go on with other First Commissioners. That was before the SAGE had
taken to politics. Good old RYLANDS--"Preposterous PETER"--was then
the Grand Inquisitor. But it was the same deer, the same gas-bills,
the same question of free residence for "that eminent warrior," as the
SAGE to-night called him, the Dook of CAMBRIDGE.
Oddly enough, almost only flash of humour through long sitting came
from GEORGE CAMPBELL. Gave graphic description of his hanging about
Holyrood Palace hankering after admission. According to existing
regulation, admission to be gained only after bang goes two saxpences.
For sixteen years Sir GEORGE ever lured to vicinity; sometimes
casually entered doorway, proposing to loiter past ticket-collector;
stopped by demand of a shilling, had resisted temptation. That was
sad, but what he felt most acutely was injury done to his nation.
Americans visiting Edinburgh on their way to Paris went to Holyrood:
charged a shilling. "Ha! ha!" they cried, "see these stingy Scotchmen.
They charge a shilling before they throw open their one Palace door,
whilst in England you may roam through the Palaces free of charge,"
"Sir," cried Sir GEORGE, his voice under generous excitement of the
moment taking on rasping tone, "the arrangement is prejudicial to the
reputation of Scotchmen."
"This," said the SAGE, "will, I think, be an opportunity of going out
for another cigarette."
_Business done_.--Handsful of Votes in Supply.
[Illustration: "Another cigarette."]
_Tuesday_.--NAPOLEON B. BOLTON strolled down to House to-night,
intending to hear what TOMLINSON had to say on Emigration
arrangements. In family circle it has always been considered that,
as far as personal resemblance to NAPOLEON BONAPARTE goes, the late
Prince JEROME wasn't in it with the Member for St. Pancras. BOLTON
blushingly pooh-poohs the fond little fancy; but he is of kindly
disposition; not inclined to insist on his opinion in controversy to
other people's. Indeed, has gone so far as to furnish himself with
fancy dress, fashioned on the style of that worn by the great NAPOLEON
on State occasions. To-night, been at a children's party, showing
himself in his uniform. Am told that, when he folds his arms, throws
back his head, and recites, "On Linden, when the sun was low," you
would think the Great Emperor had come back from St. Helena.
Intended to-night to create sensation in House. Doubted whether, as
he was not about to move the Address, he would be permitted to enter
with sword by his side. But he would be free of the smoke-room; might
posture in the Lobby; might read an evening paper in the tea-room,
whilst others enviously glanced at his epaulettes.
Here he was at ten minutes past nine standing in his favourite
attitude at the Bar, no one having challenged his entrance. Fact is,
House was up; not Counted Out, but having duly gone through the Orders
and passed the Second Reading of an important measure. Such a day the
Government had had! At Morning Sitting had ramped through the Orders,
advancing Bill after Bill through critical stages. House nearly empty;
Opposition effaced; Irish Members all absent except Brer RABBIT, who
wanders about looking for Brer FOX. The only note of discord sounded
in voice of GEORGE CAMPBELL. Report of Supply reached at a quarter
to seven. At ten minutes to seven, in accordance with Rule ordering
Morning Sitting, Debate must stop. One or two questions asked; quickly
answered by PLUNKET; Vote after Vote agreed to on report stage. Then
CAMPBELL gets up and wants to know about lighting the National History
Museum at night?
Twelve minutes to seven.
PLUNKET looks anxiously at clock. If CAMPBELL would put his question
and sit down he might be answered, and report stage got through. But
CAMPBELL goes on till hand of clock points to ten minutes to seven.
"Order, order!" cries SPEAKER. Time limit reached; no more debate;
CAMPBELL not finished yet; attempts to proceed; angry shouts of
"Order! Order!" before which he subsides. Then, watching opportunity,
suddenly bolts up again and wants to explain that he was not opposing
the passage of report stage of Supply. "No, but you talked it out,"
said PLUNKET, with something less than his customary suavity.
[Illustration: Napoleon B. Bolton.]
This happened more than two hours ago. There has been the suspension
of the Sitting, the resumption at nine o'clock, the Second Reading
of the Rating of Machinery Bill; and now all is over, the guests are
fled, the garlands dead, and all but NAPOLEON B. BOLTON departed. He,
in fact, has only just arrived, and wishes he had not been in such
a hurry to quit the circle where of late he was the object of awed
_Thursday_.--House filled up to-night; flowing tide evidently with us,
including Mr. G., back after his holidays. Also Prince ARTHUR; been in
training for some weeks in anticipation of long spurt in Committee on
Irish Land Bill. Irish Members also returned in considerable force.
Expected to find TIM HEALY arrive in fragments; but he's all there,
much as usual.
"How's Brer FOX?" I asked him, wishing to hear latest news from
"Oh," said he, "PARNELL's looking up."
"What do you mean?" I asked, astonished at this testimony.
"I mean, he's on his back, and, being in that position, must of course
be looking up, if he's looking anywhere at all."
Light-hearted TIM! Time does not wither, or DALTON O'BRIEN stale, his
Scotch Members on before Ireland was approached. Something about the
Scotch Private Bill Procedure Bill. Formidable List of Amendments to
LORD-ADVOCATE's proposal to nominate Committee. All the Clans muster.
NOVAR moves Amendment; CAMPBELL-BANNER-MAN objected that thirteen
Scotch Members, including LENG and LYON PLAYFAIR, "would not make an
adequate Committee." ROBERT-SON brought against the LORD-ADVOCATE the
grave charge that he was "interpolating an extraneous and alien body
into this business." Lord KINGSBURY, ex-Lord-Advocate, happened to be
under Gallery on chance visit to House. Heard this remark with huge
delight. Reminded him of the times when he used to sit through long
nights with back fairly set against the Gangway post of Treasury
Bench, invoking blessings on head of Duke of ARGYLL, and driving the
Liberal Scotch Members wild with his perpetual smile of content.
[Illustration: "Interpolating an extraneous and alien body."]
_Business done_.--Committee on Irish Land Bill started.
_Friday Night_.--When House met at Morning Sitting OLD MORALITY
discovered on Treasury Bench, looking more than usually guileless.
Been badgered all week about Labour Committee. When going to disclose
names of Commissioners and set forth terms of reference? Only
yesterday Brer RABBIT put the question, intimating that whenever the
announcement was made Adjournment of House would be moved in order
to protest against omission of DAVITT's name. OLD MORALITY answering,
said it was possible he might be able to make the announcement to-day,
but much more likely on Monday.
Everyone thought it would be Monday. Brer RABBIT in his place to-day,
but his men absent. OLD MORALITY, with positively a halo of innocency
round his head, suddenly appeared at table; read out the list of
Commissioners. Brer RABBIT's hand forced; must needs forthwith ask
leave to move the Adjournment.
"Got your forty men?" asked the SPEAKER.
"Not quite," said Brer RABBIT, apologetically.
Only twenty-nine; so Brer RABBIT bowled out, and opportunity lost.
"Dear me!" said OLD MORALITY; "how very unfortunate. Now if I'd only
waited till Monday, House would have been quite full; Brer RABBIT
would have got his forty men twice over; we should have had an
embarrassing Debate, and lost several hours of the sitting. As things
have turned out, we can now go straight on with business."
_Business done_.--In Committee on Irish Land Bill.
* * * * *
THE RETURN OF THE WANDERER.--JOHNNIE has come marching home. JOHN
LAWRENCE TOOLE, of the wide world generally, of London peculiarly, and
of King William Street particularly, has returned. Divine WILLIAMS,
always on the spot for any remarkable event, foresaw the happy day
when, in _Henry the Eighth_, Act v., So. 3, he wrote, "The great TOOLE
come!" May we venture to surmise that it will not be long ere we see
the announcement of our favourite comedian's appearance in an entirely
new and original farce entitled _Ici on Parle Francais_?
* * * * *
WHAT'S IN A NAME? (_From a Correspondent_).--Sir, I send you a cutting
from a communication of J. MORTIMER GRANVILLE's, to _The Lancet_, No.
3,527, p. 798. Which when found make a note of:--"_Instead of thallin
I use a Periodohydromethyloxychinolin, because that is better borne,
and seems to be more effective than the Tetrahydroparaquinasol_."
These two words would be a good penn'orth in a telegram. Yours,
* * * * *
PREMIERE AND DERNIERE, OR SHORTEST RUN ON RECORD.
_Dramatic Author_ (_to very friendly critic_). Seen my new piece? eh?
_Premiere_ last night.
_Very friendly Critic_. Dear me! "One night only!" Hope they've got
something ready for this evening. [_Exit, chuckling._
* * * * *
NOTICE.--Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS.,
Printed Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no
case be returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed
Envelope, Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.