Produced by Malcolm Farmer, Sandra Brown and the Online Distributed
PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
August 9, 1890.
FIRST AID TO TOMMY ATKINS.
Sir,--I visited the Military Exhibition the other day according to
your instructions, my bosom glowing with patriotic ardour. If anything
besides your instructions and the general appropriateness of the
occasion had been necessary to make my bosom glow thus, it would have
been found in the fact that I formerly served my country in a Yeomanry
Regiment. I shall never forget the glorious occasions on which I wore
a cavalry uniform, and induced some of my best friends to believe
I had gone to the dogs and enlisted. However, to relate my Yeomanry
adventures, which included a charge by six of us upon a whole army,
would be to stray from my point, which is to describe what I saw at
the Military Exhibition. I was lame (oh, dear no, not the gout, a mere
strain) and took a friend, an amiable young man, with me to lean upon.
"There's one place I really _do_ know," he had said to me, "and that's
this bally place."
I therefore felt I was safe with him. We arrived. We entered. "Take
me," I said, "to the battle-pictures, so that I may study my country's
"Right!" he answered, and with a promptitude that does him immense
credit, he brought me out into a huge arena in the open air with seats
all round it, a grand stand, and crowds of spectators. The performance
in the arena so deeply interested me that I forgot all about the
pictures. I saw at once what it was. Detachments of our citizen
soldiers were going through ambulance drill. The sight was one which
appealed to our common humanity. My daring, dangerous Yeomanry days
rose up again before me, and I felt that if ever I had had to bleed
for my QUEEN I should not have bled untended. Even my companion,
a scoffer, who had never risen above a full privacy in the Eton
Volunteers, was strangely moved. There were, I think, ten detachments,
each provided with a stretcher and a bag containing simple surgical
appliances. All that was wanted to complete the realism of the picture
was the boom of the cannon, the bursting of shells, and the rattle of
musketry. In imagination I supplied them, as I propose to do, for your
benefit, Sir, in the following short account.
It was a sultry afternoon; the battle had been raging for hours; the
casualties had been terrible. "Dress up, there, dress up!" said the
Sergeant in command, addressing detachment No. 2, "and you, JENKINS,
tilt your forage-cap a leetle more over your right ear; BROWN, don't
blow your nose, the General's looking; God bless my soul, THOMPSON,
you've buckled that strap wrong, undo it and re-buckle it at once."
With such words as these he cheered his men, while to right and left
the death-dealing missiles sped, on their course. "Stand at ease;
'shon! Stand at ease! 'shon!" he next shouted. A Corporal at this
point was cut in two by a ball from, a forty-pounder, but nobody
paid any heed to him. Stiff, solid, and in perfect line, stood the
detachments waiting for the word to succour the afflicted. At last it
came. In the midst of breathless excitement the ten bent low, placed
their folded stretchers on the ground, unbuckled and unfolded them,
and then with a simultaneous spring rose up again and resumed their
impassive attitude. "Very good," said the Sergeant, "very good.
THOMPSON you were just a shade too quick; you must be more careful.
Stand at ease!" and at ease they all stood.
But where were the wounded? Aha! here they come, noble, fearless
heroes, all in line, marching with a springy step to their doom.
One by one they took their places, in line at intervals of about ten
yards, and lay down each on his appointed spot to die, or be wounded,
and to be bandaged and carried off. But now a terrible question arose.
_Would there be enough to go round?_ I had only counted nine of them,
which was one short of the necessary complement, but at this supreme
moment another grievously wounded warrior ran lightly up and lay down
opposite the tenth detachment. We breathed again.
And now began some charming manoeuvres. Each detachment walked round
its stretcher twice, then stood at ease again, then at attention, then
dressed up and arranged itself, and brushed, itself down. All this
while their wounded comrades lay writhing, and appealing for help
in vain. It was with difficulty that, lame as I was, I could be
restrained from dashing to their aid. But at last everything was in
order. Stretchers were solemnly lifted. The detachments marched slowly
forward, and deposited their stretchers each beside a wounded man.
Then began a scene of busy bandaging. But not until the whole ten had
been bound up, legs, arms, heads, feet, fingers &c, was it permissible
to lift one of them from the cold cold ground which he had bedewed
with his blood.
"Now then," said the Sergeant, "carefully and all together. Lift!"
and all together they were lifted and placed in their stretchers. More
play with straps and buckles, more rising and stooping, and then the
pale and gasping burdens were at last raised and carried in a mournful
procession round the ground. But when they arrived at the place
where the ambulance was supposed to be, they had all been dead,
three-quarters of an hour. "Dear me," said the Sergeant, "how vexing.
ROBINSON, your chin-strap's gone wrong. Now, all together. Drop 'em!"
And so the day ended, and the pitiless sun sated with, &c., &c., &c.
I afterwards visited the Field Hospital to see a number of wax figures
in uniform, cheerfully arranged as wounded men in all the stages
of pain and misery. How encouraging for TOMMY ATKINS, I thought
to myself; but at this moment my supporter informed me that he had
remembered where to find the battle-pictures, and thither therefore
we proceeded, thankful in the knowledge that if either of us ever
happened to be struck down in battle he would be well looked after by
an admirably drilled body of men.
I am, Sir,
Yours as usual,
LE PETIT SHOWS.
* * * * *
THE PROFESSIONAL GUEST AT A COUNTRY HOUSE.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,
Trusting that you take some interest in my fate, after the more or
less pleasant (?) week I spent at Henley, I hasten to let you know
that I am again visiting friends, though this time on _terra firma_,
and that the customary trials of the "Professional Guest" are once
more my portion. The very evening of my arrival, I discovered that a
man with whom I had not been on speaking terms for years was to be my
neighbour at dinner, and that a girl (who really I cannot understand
_any one_ asking to their house) with the strangest coloured hair, and
the most unnaturally dark eyes, was taken in by the host, and called
"darling" by the hostess. After dinner, which, by reason of the
"range" being out of order, was of a rather limited type, they all
played cards. That is a form of amusement I don't like--I can't afford
it; and this, coupled with the fact that I was not asked to sing,
somewhat damped my ardour as regards visiting strange houses.
A hard bed, and a distant snore, kept me awake till break of day,
when, for a brief space, I successfully wooed Morpheus. I think I
slept for seven minutes. Then a loud bell rang, and several doors on
an upper floor were heavily banged. I heard the servants chattering as
they went down to breakfast. Then there was silence, and once more I
composed myself to rest, when the dreadest sound of all broke on my
ear. _The baby began to cry._ Then I gave it up as hopeless, but it
was with a sensation of being more dead than alive that I crawled down
to breakfast--late, of course. One is always late the first morning in
a strange house--one can never find one's things. I bore with my best
professional smile the hearty chaff of my host (how I hate a hearty
man the first thing in the morning) and the audible remarks of the
dear children who were seated at intervals round the table. But
my patience well-nigh gave way when I found that our hostess had
carefully mapped out for her guests a list of amusements (save the
mark!) which extended not only over that same day, but several ensuing
I am not of a malice-bearing nature, but I do devoutly pray that she,
too, may one day taste the full horror of being tucked into a high
dog-cart alongside of a man who you know cannot drive; the tortures,
both mental and physical, of a long walk down dusty roads and over
clayey fields to see that old Elizabethan house "only a mile off;"
or the loathing induced by a pic-nic among mouldering and utterly
uninteresting ruins. All this I swallowed with the equanimity and
patience born of many seasons of country-house visiting; I even
interviewed the old family and old-fashioned cook, on the subject of
a few new dishes, and I helped to entertain some of those strange
aboriginal creatures called "the county." But the announcement one
afternoon, that we were to spend the next in driving ten miles to
attend a Primrose League _Fete_ in the private grounds of a local
magnate, proved too much for me. Shall you be surprised to hear that
on the following morning I received an urgent telegram recalling me
to town? My hostess was, or affected to be, overwhelmned that by my
sudden departure I should miss the _fete_. I knew, however, that
the "dyed" girl rejoiced, and in company with the objectionable man
metaphorically threw up her hat.
As I passed through the Lodge-gates on my way to the station I almost
vowed that I would never pay another visit again. But even as I write,
an invitation was brought me. It is from my Aunt. She writes that she
has taken charming rooms at Flatsands, and hopes I will go and stay
with her there for a few days. She thinks the sea air will do me good.
Perhaps it will. I shall write at once and accept.
THE ODD GIRL OUT.
FROM OUR YOTTING YORICK, P.A.
_Aboard the Yot "Placid," bound for Copenhagen (I hope)._
You told me when I set sail (I didn't set sail myself, you understand,
but the men did it for me, or rather for my friends, Mr and Mrs.
SKIPPER, to whose kindness I owe my present position--which is far
from a secure one,--but no matter), you said to me, YORICK Yotting
has no buffoonery left in him? I too, who was once the life of all
the Lifes and Souls of a party! Where is that party now? Where am _I_?
What is my life on board? Life!--say existence. I rise early; I can't
help it. I am tubbed on deck: deck'd out in my best towels. So I
commence the day by going to Bath. [That's humorous, isn't it? I hope
so. I mean it as such.]
"Send me notes of your voyage to Sweden and Norway, and the land of
_Hamlet_. You'll see lots of funny things, and you'll take a humorous
view of what isn't funny; send me your humorous views." Well, Sir, I
sent you "_Mr. Punch looking at the Midnight Sun_." pretty humorous I
think ("more pretty than humorous," you cabled to me at Bergen), and
since that I have sent you several beautiful works of Art, in return
for which I received another telegram from you saying, "No 'go.' Send
something funny." The last I sent ("_The Church-going Bell_," a
pretty peasant woman in a boat--"_belle_," you see) struck me as very
humorous. The idea of people going to Church in a boat!
What was I to do? Well--here at last I send you something which _must_
be humorous. It looks like it. _Mr. Punch_ driving in Norway, in a
_cariole. Mr. Punch_ anywhere is humorous; and with TOBY too; though I
am perfectly aware that TOBY, M.P., is in his place in the House;
but then TOBY is ubarquitous. That's funny, isn't it?--see "bark"
substituted for "biq," the original word being "ubiquitous." This is
the sort of "_vuerdtwistren_" at which they roar in Sweden.
It's all _tres bien_ (very well) but how the deuce can you be funny in
the Baltic? Why call it Baltic? For days and nights at sea, sometimes
up, more often down, and a sense of inability coming over me in the
middle of the boundless deep. Alas, poor YORICK!
Then breakfast. Then lunch. Then dinner. No drinking permitted between
meals: to which regulation. _I am gradually becoming habituated._ It
is difficult to acquire new habits. Precious difficult in mid-ocean,
where there isn't a tailor. [Humorous again, eh?] I now understand
what is the meaning of "a Depression is crossing the Atlantic."
There's an awful Depression hanging about the Baltic.
I send you a sketch of Elsinore, as I thought it would be, and
Elsinore as it is. Elsinore is like the Pumping Works at Barking
Creek. And I've come all this way to see this!! Elsinore! I'd rather
go Elsewhere-inore,--say, Margate.
Think I shall put this in a bottle, cork it up, and send it overboard,
and you'll get it by Tidal Post. Whether I do this or not depends on
circumstances over which I may possibly have no control. Anyhow, at
dinner-time, _I shall ask for the bottle._ When you ask for it, see
that you get it.
_(or Yotting Artist in Black and White). 10 A.M. Swedish time 9.5 in
English miles. Longitude 4 ft. 8 in. in my berth. Latitude, any amount
* * * * *
AN EXCELLENT RULE.--We are informed that "extreme ugliness" and "male
hysteria" are admitted as "adequate disqualifications" for the French
Army. If the same rule only applied to the English House of Commons,
what a deal of noise and nonsense we should be spared!
[Illustration: A METROPOLITAN METAMORPHOSIS.
_The Awful Result of Persistent "Crawling."_]
* * * * *
THE DYING SWAN.
_(Latest Version, a long way after the Laureate.)_
"THAMES 'SWAN UPPING.'--The QUEEN'S swanherd and the officials
of the Dyers' and Vintners' Companies arrived at Windsor
yesterday on their annual 'swan-upping' visit, for the purpose
of marking or 'nicking' the swans and cygnets belonging to HER
MAJESTY, and the Companies interested in the preservation of
the birds that haunt the stream between London and Henley. It
is said that the Thames swans are steadily decreasing owing
to the traffic on the upper reaches of the river, and other
causes detrimental to their breeding."--_The Times_.
July was wet,--a thing not rare--
With sodden ground and chilly air;
The sky presented everywhere
A low-pitched roof of doleful grey;
With a rain-flusht flood the river ran;
Adown it floated a dying Swan,
And loudly did lament.
It was the middle of the day,
The "Swanherd" and his men went on,
"Nicking" the cygnets as they went.
The "Swanherd" showed a blue-peaked nose,
And white against the cold white sky
Shone many a face of those
Who o'er the upper reaches swept,
On swans and cygnets keeping an eye.
Dyers and Vintners, portly, mellow
Chasing the birds of the jetty bill
Through the reed clusters green and still;
And through the osier mazes crept
Many a cap-feathered crook-armed fellow.
The lone Swan's _requiem_ smote the soul
With the reverse of joy.
It spake of sorrow, of outfalls queer,
Dyeing the floods once full and clear;
Of launches wildly galumphing by,
Washing the banks into hollow and hole;
Sometimes afar, and sometimes a-near.
All-marring 'ARRY'S exuberant voice,
With music strange and manifold,
Howling out choruses loud and bold
As when Bank-holidayites rejoice
With concertinas, and the many-holed
Shrill whistle of tin, till the riot is rolled
Through shy backwaters, where swan-nests are;
And greasy scraps of the _Echo_ or _Star_,
Waifs from the cads' oleaginous feeds,
Emitting odours reekingly rank,
Drift under the clumps of the water-weeds,
And broken bottles invade the reeds,
And the wavy swell of the many-barged tug
Breaks, and befouls the green Thames' bank.
And the steady decrease of the snow-plumed throng
That sail the upper Thames reaches among,
Was prophesied in that plaintive song.
* * * * *
DOING IT CHEAPLY.
A re-action against the extravagance which marked the entertainments
of the London Season of 1890 having set in, the following rules and
regulations will be observed in the Metropolis until further notice.
1. Persons invited to dinner parties will be expected to furnish their
own plate and linen, and some of the viands and wines to be used at
2. To carry out the above, a _menu_ of the proposed meal will form a
part of every card of invitation, which will run as follows:--"Mr. and
Mrs. ---- request the honour of Mr. and Mrs. ----'s company to dinner,
on ---- when they will kindly bring with them enough for twelve
persons of the dish marked ---- on the accompanying _Menu_, P.T.O."
3. Persons invited to a Ball will treat the supper as a pic-nic, to
which all the guests are expected to contribute.
4. On taking leave of a hostess every guest will slip into her hand a
packet containing a sum of money sufficient to defray his or her share
of the evening's expenses.
5. Ladies making calls at or about five o'clock, will bring with
them tea, sugar, milk, pound-cake, cucumber sandwiches, and bread and
6. As no bands will be furnished at evening parties, guests who can
play will be expected to bring their musical instruments with them.
N.B. This does not apply to pianofortes on the premises, for which a
small sum will be charged to those who use them.
7. Should a _cotillon_ be danced, guests will provide their own
presents, which will become the perquisites of the host and hostess.
8, _and lastly_. Should the above rules, compiled in the interest
of leaders of Society, be insufficient to keep party-givers from
appearing in the Court of Bankruptcy, guests who have partaken of any
hospitality will be expected to contribute a gratuity, to enable the
Official Receiver to declare a small and final dividend.
* * * * *
PERQUISITES.--"Nice thing to belong to National Liberal Club,"
observed Mr. G., who didn't dine at that establishment for nothing,
"because, you see, they go in there for 'Perks.'"
* * * * *
_Noblesse oblige!_ And what's the obligation,
Read in the light of recent demonstration?
A member of "our old Nobility"
May be "obliged," at times, to play the spy,
Lay traps for fancied frailty, disenthrall
"Manhood" by "playing for" a woman's fall;
Redeem the wreckage of a "noble" name
By building hope on sin, and joy on shame;
Redress the work of passion's reckless boldness
By craven afterthoughts of cynic coldness;
Purge from low taint "the blood of all the HOWARDS"
By borrowings from the code of cads and cowards!
_Noblesse oblige?_ Better crass imbecility
Of callow youth--_with_ pluck--than such "nobility"!
* * * * *
HOME-ING.--Dr. BARNARDO'S delightfully simple plan of getting a little
boy to sign an affidavit to the effect that he was so happy at Dr.
BARNARDO'S Home, Sweet Home, and that, wherever he might wander, there
was really no place on earth like Dr. BARNARDO'S Home, may remind
Dickensian students of a somewhat analogous method apparently adopted
by _Mr. Squeers_ when, on his welcome return to Dotheboys Hall, he
publicly announced that "he had seen the parents of some boys, and
they're so glad to hear how their sons are getting on, that there's
no prospect at all of their going away, which, of course, is a very
pleasant thing to reflect upon for all parties." The conduct of such
parents or relatives who send children or permit them to be sent to
Dr. BARNARDO'S Home, Sweet Home, where, at all events, they are well
fed and cared for, bears some resemblance to that of _Graymarsh's_
maternal aunt, who was "short of money, but sends a tract instead, and
hopes that _Graymarsh_ will put his trust in Providence," and also
to that of _Mobb's_ "mother-in-law," who was so disgusted with
her stepson's conduct (for DICKENS meant step-mother when he wrote
"mother-in-law"--an odd _lapsus calami_ never subsequently corrected)
that she "stopped his halfpenny a-week pocket-money, and had given a
double-bladed knife with a corkscrew in it to the Missionaries, which
she had bought on purpose for him." We don't blame Dr. BARNARDO--much;
but we do blame these weak-knee'd parents and guardians, who
apparently don't know their own minds. In the recent case which was
sarcastically treated by the Judge, Dr. B. found that he could buy
GOULD too dear.
SOMETHING LIKE A REVOLUTION!
_(From Our Own Correspondent on the Spot.)_
[Illustration: Our Correspondent at Breakfast.]
_Samol Plazo_, 8 A.M.--My _plat_ of _egsibaconi_ has just been knocked
out of the hands of my servant, PATPOTATO, by a bullet. My man (who
is of Irish extraction) thinks that the long-expected revolution
must have commenced; "for," as he argues, "when everything is down,
something is sure to be up." I think so too. I am now going to
Government House. If I don't get this through, make complaint at the
Post Office, for it will be their fault not mine.
9 A.M.--Am now at Head Quarters. Not much trouble getting here. Came
by a _bussi_, a local conveyance drawn by two horses, and much used by
the humbler classes. On our road one of the steeds and the roof of the
_bussi_ were carried away by a shell, but as I was inside this caused
me little annoyance, and I got comfortably to my destination with the
remainder. Just seen the President, who says laughingly, that "there
has been practically nothing but perfect peace and quiet." I doubt
whether this can be quite the case, as he was sitting in front of
Government House, which was at that very moment undergoing a vigorous
bombardment. When I pointed this out to him, he confessed that he had
noticed it himself, but did not think much of it. He was in excellent
spirits, and told me a funny story about the narrow escape of his
mother-in-law. I am now off to see how the other side are progressing.
If the Post Office people tell you they can't send my telegrams to
you, refuse to believe them.
[Illustration: Narrow Escape of Our Correspondent.]
10 A.M.--As I suspected, from the first, there _has_ been a
disturbance. I thought it must be so, as I could not otherwise
understand why my _cabbi_ should have been blown into the air, while
passing through a mined street on the road here. I am now at the
Head Quarters of the Oniononi, who seem to be in great strength. They
appear to be very pleased that the fleet should have joined them, and
account for the action by saying that the sailors, as bad shots, would
naturally blaze away at the biggest target--Government House. So far,
the disturbances have caused little inconvenience. I date this 10
A.M., but I cannot tell you the exact time, as the clock-tower has
just been carried away by a new kind of land torpedo.
12, NOON.--I am now once again at the Government Head Quarters. As I
could get no better conveyance, I inflated my canvas carpet-bag with
gas, and used it as a balloon. I found it most valuable in crossing
the battery which now masks the remains of what was once
Government House. The President, after having organised a band of
_pic-pockettini_ (desperadoes taken from the gaols), has gone into
the provinces, declaring that he has a toothache. By some, this
declaration is deemed a subterfuge, by others, a statement savouring
of levity. The artillery are now reducing the entire town to atoms,
under the personal supervision of the Minister of Finance, who
deprecates waste in ammunition, and declares that he is bound to the
President by the tie of the battle-field.
[Illustration: Our Correspondent in an Elevated Position.]
2 P.M.--Have rejoined the Oniononi, coming hither by ricochet on a
spent shell. The people are entirely with them, and cheer at every
fresh evidence of destruction. Found a well-known shopkeeper in
ecstasies over the ruins of his establishment. He said that, "Although
the revolution might be bad for trade, it would do good, as things
wanted waking up." A slaughter of police and railway officials, which
has just been carried out with infinite spirit, seems to be immensely
popular. If you don't get this, make immediate complaint. Don't
accept, as an excuse, that the wires have been cut, and the office
razed to the ground. They can get it through, if they like.
4 P.M.--Just heard a report that I myself have been killed and buried.
As I can get no corroboration of this statement, I publish it under
reservation. I confine myself to saying that it may be true, although
I have my doubts upon the subject.
6 P.M.--It seems (as I imagined) that the report of my death and
funeral is a canard. This shows how necessary it is to test the truth
of every item of information before hurrying off to the Telegraph
Office. Efforts are now being made to bring about a reconciliation
between the contending parties.
8 P.M.--The revolution is over. When both sides had exhausted their
ammunition, peace naturally became a necessity. The contending parties
are now dining together, _al fresco_, as the town is in ruins. Nothing
more to add save, All's well that ends well!
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S DICTIONARY OF PHRASES.
_"Merry Christmas to you, Sir, and many on 'em!" i.e.,_ "Have you got
that half-crown handy?"
IN THE SMOKING-ROOM.
_"Quite so; but then, you see, that's not my point;" i.e.,_ "It _was_,
ten minutes ago."
_"Yes, but allow me one moment;" i.e.,_ "Kindly give me your close
attention for twenty-five minutes."
_"Not your fault, indeed! Mine for having so long a train;" i.e.,_
_"Where did you get that lovely dress, dear?" i.e.,_ "That I may avoid
_"Whose talents have been seen to better advantage:" i.e.,_ "A cruel
bad actor--but can't say so."
_"When the nervousness of a first night has been got over;" i.e.,_
"Never saw a worse play--but it may catch on."
_"The Author's modesty prevented him from responding to loud calls;"
i.e.,_ "Timid youth, probably. Foresaw brickbats."
* * * * *
"BRAVO, TORO!"--M. CONSTANS will not allow Bull-fighting in Paris,
even for "the benefit of the Martinique sufferers." Quite right! But
if he would only discourage "Bull-fighting" in Egypt--the sort of
"Bull-fighting" desired by Chauvinist M. DELONCLE--he would do good
service to the land of the Pyramids, to the poor fellah, and to
* * * * *
NOTE FROM BRIGHTON.--The exterior of the recently-opened Hotel
Metropole, is so effective, that the Architect, Mr. WATERHOUSE, R.A.,
is likely to receive many commissions for the erection of similar
hostelries at our principal marine resorts. He will take out
letters patent for change of name, and be known henceforward as Mr.
SEA-WATERHOUSE, R.A. By the way, the Directors of the Gordon Hotels
Co. wish it to be generally known that they have not started a
juvenile hotel for half-price children, under the name of the Gordon
* * * * *
Who remembers a certain story called, if I remember aright, _The
Wheelbarrow of Bordeaux_, that appeared in a Christmas Number of the
_Illustrated London News_ some years ago? If no one else does, I do,
says the Baron; and that sensational story was a sensational sell,
wherein the agony was piled up to the "n'th," and just as the secret
was about to be disclosed, the only person who knew it, and was on
the point of revealing it, died. This is the sort of thing that Mr.
RUDYARD KIPLING has just done in this month's _Lippincott's Magazine_.
It is told in a plain, rough and ready, blunt style, but so blunt that
there's no point in it. And the idea,--that is if the idea be that the
likeness of the assassin remains on the retina of the victim's eye,
and can be reproduced by photography,--is not a novelty. Perhaps
this story in _Lippincott_ comes out of one of Mr. RUDYARD KIPLING'S
pigeon-holes, and was just chucked in haphazard, because Editorial
_Lippincott_ wanted something with the name of the KIPLING, "bright
and merry," to it. It's not very "bright," and it certainly isn't
_Black's Guide to Kent_ for 1890, useful in many respects, but not
quite up to date. The Baron cannot find any information about the
splendid Golf Grounds, nor the Golf Club at Sandwich; it speaks of
Sir MOSES MONTEFIORE'S place on the East Cliff of Ramsgate as if
that benevolent centenarian were still alive; and it retains an
old-fashioned description of Ramsgate as "The favorite resort of
superior London tradesmen"--"which," says the Baron, "is, to my
certain knowledge, very far from being the case." It talks of
the "humours of the sands," and alludes to what is merely the
cheap-trippers' season, as if this could possibly be the best time for
Ramsgate. The _Guide_ knows nothing, or at least says nothing, of
the Winter attractions; of the excellent pack of harriers; of the
delightful climate from mid-September to January; of the southern
aspect; of the pure air; of the many excursions to Ash, Deal,
Sandwich, Ickham, and so forth; nor can the Baron discover any mention
of the Granville Hotel, nor of the Albion Club, nor of the sport for
fishers and shooters; nor of the Riviera-like mornings in November and
in the early Spring, which are the real attractions of Ramsgate, and
make it one of the finest health-resorts in Winter for all "who
love life, and would see good days." "It reminds me," says the Baron,
puffing off his smoke indignantly, "of Mr. IRVING and a certain
youthful critic, who, in his presence at supper, had been running
down _Macbeth_, finding fault with the Lyceum production of it,
and ridiculing SHAKSPEARE for having written it. When he had quite
finished HENRY IRVING, 'laying low' in his chair at the table,
adjusted his pince-nez, and, looking straight at the clever young
gentleman, asked, in the mildest possible tone, 'My dear Sir, have you
ever _read Macbeth?_' So," resumes the Baron, "I am inclined to ask
Mr. BLACK'S young man, 'Do you _know_ Ramsgate?' And of course I mean
the Ramsgate of 1890."
From the specimens of _London City_ that have been sent for inspection
by Messrs. FIELD & TUER, of the Leadenhall Press, who are bringing it
out, the Baron augurs a grand result, artistically and financially. It
is to be published at forty-two shillings, but subscribers will get
it for a guinea, so intending possessors had evidently better become
subscribers. The history of the Great City is to be told by Mr. W.J.
LOFTIE, so that it starts with an elevated tone and the loftiest
principles, and the illustrations will be by Mr. WM. LUKER, a talented
draughtsman who, as a Luker-on has seen most of the games in the City.
In consequence of some piratical publisher having attempted to bring
out a work under the same title, intended to deceive even the elect,
Messrs. FIELD & TUER have secured the copyright of the title _London
City_, by the ingenious device of publishing, for one farthing each,
five hundred copies of a miniature pamphlet bearing this title, and
containing the explanation. The value of these eccentric farthing
pamphlets may one day be thousands of pounds. _Mem_.--Twopence would
be well invested in purchasing four of them.
_Salads and Sandwiches_ is an attractive title, specially at this
season. The arrangement of the book is, like the salad, a little
mixed. When, however, the knowing Baron finds that abomination known
as salad dressing, or "salad mixing," which is sold at the grocer's,
recommended by a writer who professes to teach salad-making, then he
closes the book, and reads no more that day. This author, who is in
his salad days, might bring out a book entitled _How to Suck Eggs; or,
Letters to my Grandmother_. It is a suggestion worth considering, says
THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.
TO PYRRHA ON THE THAMES.
O Pyrrha! say what youth in "blazer" drest,
Woos you on pleasant Thames these summer eves;
For whom do you put on that dainty vest,
That sky-blue ribbon and those _gigot_ sleeves.
"_Simplex munditiis_," as HORACE wrote,
And yet, poor lad, he'll find that he is rash;
To-morrow you'll adorn some other boat,
And smile as kindly on another "mash."
As for myself--I'm old, and look askance
At flannels and flirtation; not for me
Youth's idiotic rapture at a glance
From maiden eyes: although it comes from thee.
* * * * *
IN THE KNOW.
_(By Mr. Punch's Own Prophet.)_
I am a modest man, as well as an honest one. Censure cannot move me
by one hair's breadth from the narrow path of rectitude; praise cannot
unduly puff me up. Had I been other than I am, this last week would
have gone fatally near to ruining that timid and shrinking diffidence
which (I say it without egotism) marks me off from the poisonous,
pestilential, hydrocephalous, putty-faced, suet-brained reptiles who
disgrace the profession to which I belong. All I wish now to do is
to point out that _I am the only prophet_ who indicated, without any
beating about the bush, that _Marvel_ would win the Stewards' Cup
at Goodwood. My admirers have recognised the fact, and my private
residence has been choked by an avalanche of congratulatory
despatches, including two or three from some of the highest in the
land. H.S.H., the Grand Duke of PFEIFENTOPF says:--"You have me with
your writings much refreshed. I have the whole revenues of the Grand
Duchy against one thousand _flaschen_ of lager bier gebetted, and I
have won him on your noble advice on _Marvel_. I make you Commander of
the Honigthau Order." I merely cite this to show that my appreciators
are not to one country confined--I mean, confined to one country.
What did I say last week, in speaking of the Stewards' Cup horses? By
the well-known grammatical figure known as the _hysteroproteron,_
I mentioned _Marvel_ last, intending, of course, as even a
buffalo-headed Bedlamite might have seen, that he should be first. And
he was first. But to make assurance doubly sure, and to bring prophecy
down to the intellectual level of a bat, I added, in speaking of the
winner, that he "would certainly be a _Marvel_." I say no more. As the
great Cardinal once observed to his chief of police, "_Je te verrai
souffle d'abord,"_ so I reply to those who wish me to reveal the
secret of my success. Mr. J. knows it not, and no single member of
the imbecile, anserous, asinine, cow-hocked, spavin-brained, venomous,
hugger-mugger purveyors of puddling balderdash who follow him has the
least conception of my glorious system. But I am willing to teach,
though I have nothing to learn. For six halfpenny stamps those who
desire to _know_, shall receive my pamphlet on "Book-making."
Every applicant must send his photograph with his application, not
necessarily for publication, but as a guarantee of good faith.
* * * * *
"SUR LE TAPIS."--It was a carpet that ostensibly parted an eminent
firm of composer, author, and theatrical manager. W.S.G. didn't want
D'OYLY CARPET--no, beg pardon, should have written D'OYLY CARTE to
have _carte blanche_. [Pretty name this. Is there a BLANCHE CARTE? If
not, "make it so."]--to do whatever he liked whenever he liked with
the decorating and upholstering of the theatre. And recently another
carpet, not in connection with the above firm, created a difficulty.
What's a thousand-guinea carpet to a man who likes this sort of
thing? Nothing. Yet as _amici curiae_, we would have thought that that
Tottenham Road carpet might have been kept out of Court. Wasn't that a
[Illustration: THE LOVE LETTER.--A STUDY OF INDISCRETION.]
* * * * *
FROM NILE TO NEVA.
["And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve
with rigour. And they made their lives bitter with hard
"The Russian Government, by the new edicts legalises
persecution, and openly declares war against the Jews of the
"BEWARE!" 'Tis a voice from the shades,
from the dark of three thousand long years,
But it falls like the red blade of RA, and
should echo in Tyranny's ears
With the terror of overhead thunder; from
Nile to the Neva it thrills,
And it speaks of the judgment of wrong, of
the doom of imperious wills.
When PENTAOUR sang of the PHARAOH, alone
by Orontes, at bay,
By the chariots compassed about of the foe
who were fierce for the fray,
He sang of the dauntless oppressor, of RAMESES,
But were there such voice by the Neva to-day,
of what now should he sing?
Of tyranny born out of time, of oppression
belated and vain?
Put up the old weapon, O despot, slack hand
from the scourge and the chain;
For the days of the PHARAOHS are done, and
the laureates of tyranny mute,
And the whistle of falchion and flail are not
set to the chords of the lute.
True, the Hebrew, who bowed to the lash of
the Pyramid-builders, bows still,
For a time, to the knout of the TSAR, to the
Muscovite's merciless will;
But four millions of Israel's children are not
to be crushed in the path
Of a TSAR, like the Hittites of old, when great
RAMESES flamed in his wrath
Alone through their numberless hosts. No,
the days of the Titans of Wrong
Are past, for the Truth is a torch, and the
voice of the peoples is strong.
Even PENTAOUR, the poet of Might, spake in
pity that rings down the years
Of the life of "the peasant that tills" of his
terrible toil and his tears;
Of the rats and the locusts that ravaged, and,
worse, the tax-gathering horde
Who tithed all his pitiful tilth with the aid
of the stick and the cord;
And the splendour of RAMESES pales in the
text of the old Coptic Muse,
And--one hears the mad rush of the wheels
that the fierce Red Sea billow pursues!
O Muscovite, blind in your wrath, with
your heel on the Israelite's neck,
And your hand on that baleful old blade,
Persecution, 'twere wisdom to reck
The PHARAOH'S calm warning. Beware!
Lo, the Pyramids pierce the grey gloom
Of a desert that is but a waste, by a river
that is but a tomb,
Yet the Hebrew abides and is strong.
AMENEMAN is gone to the ghosts,
He the prince of the Coptic police who so
harried the Israelite hosts
When their lives with hard-bondage were
bitter. And now bitter bondage you'd try.
Proscription, and exile, and stern deprivation.
Beware, Sire! Put by
That blade in its blood-rusted scabbard. The
PHARAOHS, the CAESARS have found
That it wounds him who wields it; and you,
though your victim there, prone on the ground,
Look helpless and hopeless, you also shall find
Persecution a bane
Which shall lead to a Red Sea of blood to
o'erwhelm selfish Tyranny's train.
"Beware!" Tis the shade of MENEPTHA
that whispers the warning from far.
Concerning _that_ sword there's a lesson the
PHARAOH may teach to the TSAR!
* * * * *
"REWARDS FOR GALLANTRY."--Among the numerous rewards mentioned in the
_Times_ of last Thursday, the magnificent gold watch, with monogram
in diamonds, presented by the Royal Italian Opera Company to AUGUSTUS
DRURIOLANUS at the close of the present exceptionally successful
season, was not mentioned. Most appropriate present from the persons
up to tune to one who is always up to time. The umble individual who
writes this paragraph only wishes some company--Italian, French, no
matter which--would present _him_ with a golden and diamonded watch.
"O my prophetic soul! My Uncle!!"
* * * * *
THE PRICE OF IT.
GLADSTONE'S latest Benedicite
Is bestowed on "free publicity."
'Tis the thing that we all strive at,
Praise in speech, and hate--in private!
Where are pride, reserve, simplicity?
Fled for ever--from Publicity!
* * * * *
"MORE LIGHT!"--The Berners Hotel Co., with Mr. GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA
as Chairman, should at once be advertised as "The G.A.S.-Berners Hotel
Co.," and, of course, no electric lighting would be used. Mr. SIMS
REEVES is also a Director of this Hotel Company. So it starts with a
* * * * *
Socialistic Military Novel. By JAMES ODD SUMMER. _One Iron Soldier,
and the Led Captain._
[Illustration: FROM THE NILE TO THE NEVA.
SHADE OF PHARAOH. "FORBEAR! THAT WEAPON ALWAYS WOUNDS THE HAND THAT
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S MORAL MUSIC-HALL DRAMAS.
No. XII.--CONRAD; OR, THE THUMBSUCKER.
_(Adapted freely from a well-known Poem in the "Struwwelpeter.")_
_Conrad (aged 6). Conrad's Mother (47). The Scissorman (age
SCENE--_An Apartment in the house of_ CONRAD'S _Mother, window in
centre at back, opening upon a quiet thoroughfare. It is dusk, and the
room is lighted only by the reflected gleam from the street lamps._
CONRAD _discovered half-hidden by left window-curtain._
_Conrad (watching street)._ Still there! For full an hour he has not
budged beyond the circle of yon lamp-post's rays! The gaslight falls
upon his crimson hose, and makes a steely glitter at his thigh, while
from the shadow peers a hatchet-face and fixes sinister malignant
eyes--on whom? _(Shuddering.)_ I dare not trust myself to guess! And
yet--ah, no--it cannot be myself! I am so young--one is still young at
six!--What man can say that I have injured him? Since, in my Mother's
absence all the day engaged upon Municipal affairs, I peacefully
beguile the weary hours by suction of consolatory thumbs. _(Here he
inserts his thumb in his mouth, but almost instantly removes it with
a start.)_ Again I meet those eyes! I'll look no more--but draw the
blind and shut my terror out. _(Draws blind and lights candle; Stage
lightens.)_ Heigho, I wish my Mother were at home! _(Listening.)_ At
last. I hear her latchkey in the door!
_Enter_ CONRAD'S Mother, _a lady of strong-minded appearance,
rationally attired. She carries a large reticule full of documents._
_Conrad's M._ Would, CONRAD, that you were of riper years, so you
might share your Mother's joy to-day, the day that crowns her long and
arduous toil as one of London's County Councillors!
_Conrad._ Nay, speak; for though my mind be immature, one topic still
can charm my infant ear, that ever craves the oft-repeated tale. I
love to hear of that august Assembly _(his Mother lifts her bonnet
solemnly)_ in which my Mother's honoured voice is raised!
_C's. M. (gratified)._ Learn, CONRAD, then, that, after many months
of patient "lobbying" (you've heard the term?) the measure by my
foresight introduced has triumphed by a bare majority!
_Con._ My bosom thrills with dutiful delight--although I yet for
information wait as to the scope and purpose of the statute.
_C's. M._ You show an interest so intelligent that well deserves it
should be satisfied. Be seated, CONRAD, at your Mother's knee, and you
shall hear the full particulars. You know how zealously I advocate the
sacred cause of Nursery Reform? How through my efforts every infant's
toys are carefully inspected once a month--?
_Con. (wearily)._ Nay, Mother, you forget--I _have_ no toys.
_C's. M._ Which brings you under the exemption clause. But--to resume;
how Nursery Songs and Tales must now be duly licensed by our Censor,
and any deviation from the text forbidden under heavy penalties? All
that you know. Well; with concern of late, I have remarked among our
infancy the rapid increase of a baneful habit on which I scarce
can bring my tongue to dwell. _(The Stage darker; blind at back
illuminated.)_ Oh, CONRAD, there are children--think of it!--so lost
to every sense of decency that, in mere wantonness or brainless
sloth, they obstinately suck forbidden thumbs! (CONRAD _starts
with irrepressible emotion.)_ Forgive me if I shock your innocence!
_(Sadly.)_ Such things exist--but soon shall cease to be, thanks to
the measure we have passed to-day!
_Con. (with growing uneasiness)._ But how can statutes check such
_C's M. (patting his head)._ Right shrewdly questioned, boy! I come
to that. Some timid sentimentalists advised compulsory restraint in
woollen gloves, or the deterrent aid of bitter aloes. _I_ saw the evil
had too deep a seat to yield to such half-hearted remedies. No; we
must cut, ere we could hope to cure! Nay, interrupt me not; my Bill
appoints a new official, by the style and title of "London County
Council Scissorman," for the detection of young "suck-a-thumbs."
_[Here the shadow of a huge hand brandishing a gigantic pair of shears
appears upon the blind.]_
_Con. (hiding his face in his Mother's lap)._ Ah, Mother, see!... the
scissors!... On the blind!
_C's. M._ Why, how you tremble! You've no cause to fear. The shadow of
his grim insignia should have no terror--save for thumb-suckers.
_Con._ And what for _them_?
_C's. M. (complacently)._ A doom devised by me--the confiscation of
the culprit thumbs. Thus shall our statute cure while it corrects, for
those who have no thumbs can err no more.
_[The Shadow slowly passes on the blind_, CONRAD _appearing relieved
at its departure. Loud knocking without. Both start to their feet._
_C's M._ Who knocks so loud at such an hour as this?
_A Voice._ Open, I charge ye. In the Council's name!
_C's M._ 'Tis the Official Red-legged Scissorman, who doubtless calls
to thank me for the post.
_Con. (with a gloomy determination)._ More like his business, Madam,
_C's. M. (suddenly enlightened)._ A Suck-a-thumb?... _you_, CONRAD?
_C. (desperately)._ Ay,--from birth!
_[Profound silence, as Mother and Son face one another. The knocking
_C's. M._ Oh, this is horrible--it must not be! I'll shoot the bolt
and barricade the door.
[CONRAD _places himself before it, and addresses his Mother in a tone
of incisive irony._
_Con._ Why, where is all the zeal you showed of late? is't thus that
you the Roman Matron play? Trick not a statute of your own devising.
Come, your official's waiting--let him in! (C's. M. _shrinks back
appalled._) So? you refuse!--(_throwing open door_)--then--enter,
_[Enter the_ Scissorman, _masked and in red tights, with his hand upon
the hilt of his shears._
_The S. (in a passionless tone)._ Though sorry to create
unpleasantness, I claim the thumbs of this young gentleman, which my
own eyes have marked between his lips.
_C's. M. (frantically)._ Thou minion of a meddling tyranny, go
exercise thy loathsome trade elsewhere!
_The S. (civilly)._ I've duties here that must be first performed.
_C's. M. (wildly)._ Take my thumbs for his!
_The S._ 'Tis not the law--which is a model of lucidity.
_Con. (calmly)._ Sir, you speak well. My thumbs are forfeited, and
they alone must pay the penalty.
_The S. (with approval)._ Right! Step with me into the outer hall, and
have the business done without delay.
_C's. M. (throwing herself between them)._ Stay! I'm a
Councillor--this law was _mine!_ Hereby I do suspend the clause I
_The S._ You should have drawn it milder.
_Con._ Must I teach a parent laws were meant to be obeyed? [_To_ Sc.]
Lead on, Sir. _(To his_ Mother _with cold courtesy.)_ Madam,--may I
_[He thrusts her gently aside and passes out with the_ S.; _the door
is shut and fastened from without._ C's. M. _rushes to door which she
attempts to force without success._
_C's. M._ In vain I batter at a senseless door, I'll to the keyhole
train my tortured ear. _(Listening.)_ Dead silence!... is it over--or,
to come? Hark! was not that the click of meeting shears?... Again! and
followed by the sullen thud of thumbs that drop upon linoleum!...
_[The door is opened and_ CONRAD _appears, pale but erect,--N.B. The
whole of this scene has been compared to one in "La Tosca"--which,
however, it exceeds in horror and intensity._
_C's. M._ They send him back to me, bereft of both! My CONRAD!
What?--repulse a Mother's Arms!
_Con. (with chilling composure)._ Yes, Madam, for between us ever
more, a barrier invisible is raised, and should I strive to reach
those arms again, two spectral thumbs would press me coldly back--the
thumbs I sucked, in blissful ignorance, the thumbs that solaced me
in solitude, the thumbs your County Council took from me, and your
endearments scarcely will replace! Where, Madam, lay the harm in
sucking them? The dog will lick his foot, the cat her claw, his paws
sustain the hibernating bear--and you decree no law to punish
_them_! Yet, in your rage for infantine reform, you rushed this most
ridiculous enactment--its earliest victim your neglected son!
_C's. M. (falling at his feet)._ Say, CONRAD, you will some day pardon
_Con. (bitterly, as he regards his maimed hands.)_ I will,--the day
these pollards send forth shoots!
_[His_ Mother _turns aside with a heartbroken wail_; CONRAD _standing
apart in gloomy estrangement as the Curtain descends._
[Illustration: "RUNNING HIS EYE OVER THEM".
_Colonel North and Lord Dunraven._ "COME ALONG WITH US, GRANDOLPH.
WE'VE GOT A BETTER LOT THAN THAT."]
"RUNNING HIS EYE OVER THEM."
GRANDOLPH _muses_:--"My Kingdom for a horse!"
The question is,--which _is_ my Kingdom?
I'm bound to own there _is_ a spell
In Turfdom, Stabledom, and Ringdom,
The spell that Lord GEORGE BENTICK knew,
As DIZZY tells, _I_ feel it too.
He won brief leadership, who might
Have won the Derby! Which was better?
There's rapture in a racer's flight,
There's rust on the official fetter.
Of me the Press tells taradiddles!
Well, I do set the fools strange riddles!
"Fourth Party!" He was no bad start
For a new stable, but he's done with.
"Tory Democracy!" No heart!
But 'tis a mount I've had good fun with.
"Leader!" "Economy!" "Sobriety!"
My Stable has not lacked variety.
What does NORTH say? A ragged lot?
Try a new string? And you, DUNRAVEN?
Humph! Fancy does blow cold and hot.
Audacious now, and now half craven.
Well, freak's an unexhausted fount.
Mentor, can _you_ guess my next mount?
[Illustration: A CAREFUL MAN.
_Host._ "HULLO! WATERING MY CHAMPAGNE! AFRAID OF ITS GETTING INTO
YOUR _HEAD_, I SUPPOSE?"
_Guest._ "No! IT'S NOT MY _HEAD_ I'M AFRAID OF WITH _YOUR_
* * * * *
MY PITHY JAYNE.
[DR. JAYNE, Bishop of Chester, at a Conference of the Girl's
Friendly Society, at Chester, said that until they were
prepared to introduce basket-making into London Society as a
substitute for quadrilles and waltzes, he was not disposed to
accept it as an equivalent for balls and dances among girls of
AIR.--"_My Pretty Jane_."
My pithy JAYNE, my plucky JAYNE,
_Punch_ fancies you looked sly
When you met them, met them down at Chester,
And gave them "one in the eye."
Bigotry's waning fast, my boy,
But Cant we sometimes hear,
And Chester cant is pestilent cant,
My Lord, that's pretty clear.
Then pithy JAYNE, my plucky JAYNE,
Of smiting don't be shy;
But meet them, meet the moonstruck Puritans
And tell them it's all my eye.
'Tis only play, and harmless play,
Like kissing in the ring,
When lads and lasses of spirits gay
Dance like young lambs in Spring.
That Spring will wane too fast, alas!
But while it yet is here,
Let youth enjoy, or girl or boy,
The dance to youth so dear.
Then pithy JAYNE, my plucky JAYNE,
Don't heed the bigot's cry,
But meet them, meet them down at Chester
And teach them Charity!
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
[Illustration: Turning over fresh Leaves.]
_House of Commons, Monday, July 28._--STRATHEDEN and CAMPBELL are
amongst the most regular visitors to our lobby from House of Lords.
RAVENSWORTH and UMBRELLA run them pretty close, but come in only
a good second. Moreover, whilst RAVENSWORTH and UMBRELLA rarely go
beyond the lobby, STRATHEDEN and CAMPBELL press forward into Gallery
reserved for Peers, and there sweetly go to sleep, "Like Babes in the
Wood," says Colonel MALCOLM, turning over leaves of Orders as if he
would like to complete the simile by acting the part of the birds.
To-night STRATHEDEN and CAMPBELL leave us forlorn. They have business
in their own House; been long concerned for interests of State as
affected by the MARKISS'S persistence in combining office of Premier
with that of Foreign Secretary.
"It would be too much even for us," said STRATHEDEN, in conversation
we had before House met; "and," he continued, "though I say it what
shouldn't, I don't know any arrangement that would be happier or more
complete than if we undertook the job. What do you say, CAMPBELL?
Would you be Premier, or would you take the Foreign Seals?"
"The Premier place is yours," said CAMPBELL, gallantly; "at least,
it is now. When we first started in life we used to call ourselves
CAMPBELL and STRATHEDEN. You'll find it so in the _Peerages_ of
earlier date; now it's the other way about, and STRATHEDEN takes the
"That was entirely your doing, CAMPBELL, said STRATHEDEN; so modest,
so retiring, so thoughtful! After we'd been known as CAMPBELL and
STRATHEDEN for good many years, you came to me and said it was my turn
now. I objected; you insisted; and here we are, a power in the State,
an object of interest in the Commons, STRATHEDEN and CAMPBELL in the
"A little awkward, don't you think," I ventured to say, edging in a
word, "for you two fellows to take this strong stand against duality?"
"Not at all," said STRATHEDEN and CAMPBELL, both together; "we are
authorities on the subject, and we say that the MARKISS cannot in his
single person adequately perform the dual duties pertaining to his
high offices; therefore we shall go and move our resolution protesting
Pretty to see them marching off. Always walk on tip-toe; ROSEBERY says
it is a practice adopted so as not to disturb each other when engaged
in thinking out deep problems; two of the best and the happiest old
fellows in the world; their only trouble is that on divisions their
vote should count as only one. CAMPBELL, in whom hot Cupar blood
flows, once proposed to raise question of privilege, but soothed by
STRATHEDEN, who has in him a strong strain of the diplomatic character
of his grandfather, ABINGER.
_Business done._--In the Lords, STRATHEDEN and CAMPBELL raised
question of MARKISS as Premier and Foreign Secretary. In Commons,
Anglo-German Agreement sanctioned.
_Tuesday._--Scotch Members had their innings to-night; played a pretty
stiff game till, at twelve o'clock, stumps drawn. All about what used
to be called the Compensation Bill. Got a new name now; Compensation
Clauses dropped; but JOKIM finds it dreary work dragging the wreck
"Seems to me, Tony," he said with a sob in his voice, "that whatever
I do is wrong. This Bill has gone through various transmogrifications
since; with a light heart, I brought it in as part of Budget scheme.
But it's all the same. Hit high or hit low, I can't please 'em. Begin
to think if there were any other business open for me, should chuck
"Ever been in the carpet-cleaning line?" said MAPLE-BLUNDELL, in harsh
voice, and with curiously soured face. Generally beams through life
as if it were all sunshine. Now cloud Seems to have fallen over his
expansive person, and he is as gloomy as JOKIM.
[Illustration: Floored by the Carpet.]
"It's all very well for you," he continues, glowering at JOKIM, "to
complain of your lot; but till you go into the carpet-cleaning line
you never know what vicissitudes mean. One day, alighting from your
four-in-hand, and happily able to spare to Tottenham Court Road a few
moments from direction of national affairs, you look in at your shop;
enter a lady who says she wants a carpet cleaned. 'Very well' you say
rubbing your hands, and smiling blandly; 'and what will be the next
article.' Nothing more. Only this blooming carpet, out of which, when
the job is finished and it is sent home you make a modest five bob.
Your keen insight into figures, JOKIM, will convince you that the coin
colloquially known as five bob won't go far to enable you to cut a
figure in Society, drive four-in-hand, give pic-nics in your park to
the Primrose League, and subscribe to the Canton Fund. However, there
it is; carpet comes; you send it out in usual way, and what happens?
Why it blows itself up, kills two boys, lames a man, and then you
discover that you've been entertaining unawares a carpet worth L1000
which you have to pay. Did that ever happen to you at the Treasury?"
MAPLE-BLUNDELL fiercely demanded. JOKIM forced to admit that his
infinite sorrows had never taken that particular turn.
"Very well, then," snapped MAPLE-BLUNDELL, "don't talk to me about
your troubles. As far as I know this is the only carpet in the world
valued at L1000; it is certainly the only one that ever went off by
spontaneous combustion; and I had this particular carpet in charge, at
the very moment when it was ready to combust spontaneously."
"Yes," said JOKIM, softly, as MAPLE-BLUNDELL went off, viciously
stamping on the carpet that covers the Library floor, "we all have
our troubles, and when I think of MAPLE-BLUNDELL and his combustible
carpet I am able the better to bear the woes I have."
[Illustration: ? ? ?] _Business done._--In Committee on Local
_Thursday._--"True, TOBY," OLD MORALITY said, in reply to an
observation, "I am a little tired, and naturally; things haven't been
going so well as they did; but I could get along well enough if it
wasn't for SUMMERS. CONEYBEARE'S cantankerous; STORY is strenuous;
TANNER tedious; and DILLON denunciatory. But there's something about
SUMMERS that is peculiarly aggravating. In the first place, he is, as
far as appearances go, such a quiet, amiable, inoffensive young man.
Looking at him, one would think that butter wouldn't melt in his
mouth, much less that Mixed Marriages in Malta should keep him awake
at night, and the question of International Arbitration should lower
his appetite. Yet you know how it is. He seems to have some leisure
on his hands; uses it to formulate conundrums; comes down here, and
propounds them to me. Just look at his list for to-night.
LINTORN SIMMONDS'S Mission to the POPE; Customs' Duty in Algeria;
International Arbitration; Walfish Bay, and Damara Land, together with
the view the Cape Colonies may take of the Anglo-German Agreement.
That pretty well for one night; but he's gone off now, to look up a
fresh batch, which he'll unfold to-morrow. Now is the winter of our
discontent, which is chilly enough; but, for my part, I often think
that life would be endurable only for its SUMMERS."
Haven't often heard OLD MORALITY speak so bitterly; generally, even at
worst time, overflowing with geniality; ready to take kindest view of
circumstances, and hope for the best. But SUMMERS, surveying mankind
from China to Peru in search of material for fresh conundrum, too much
for mildest-mannered man. OLD MORALITY, goaded to verge of madness,
jumps up; hotly declines to reply to SUMMERS; begs him to address his
questions to Ministers to whose Department they belonged.
_Business done._--Local Taxation Bill through Committee.
_Friday._--Still in our ashes live our wonted fires. Dwelling just now
amid ashes of expiring Session; everything dull and deadly; pounding
away at Local Taxation Bill; Scotch Members to the fore, for the
fortieth time urging that the L40,000 allotted them in relief of
school fees shall be made L90,000. House divides, and also for
fortieth time says "No;" expect to go on with next Amendment; when
suddenly HARCOURT springs on OLD MORALITY'S back, digs his knuckles
into his eyes, bites his ear, and observes that he "has never seen a
piece of more unexampled insolence." OLD MORALITY, when he recovers
breath, goes and tells the Master--I mean the SPEAKER. SPEAKER says
HARCOURT shouldn't use language like that; so HARCOURT subsides, and
incident closes as rapidly and suddenly as it opened.
A little later COMPTON goes for RAIKES; hints that he sub-edited
for _Hansard_ portions of a speech delivered in House on Post Office
affairs. RAIKES says "Noble Lord charged me with having deliberately
falsified my speech." COMPTON says he didn't. "Then," said RAIKES,
with pleading voice that went to every heart, "I wish the Noble Lord
had the manliness to charge me with deliberate falsification." COMPTON
refused to oblige; RAIKES really depressed.
"Don't know what we're coming to, TOBY," he said, "when one almost
goes on his knees to ask a man to charge him with deliberate
falsification, and he won't do it. Thought better of COMPTON; see him
in his true light now." _Business done._--A good deal.
* * * * *
A SPORTING STYLE.
Our next example of a true sporting style will be constructed on
the basis of Nos. 11, 12, and 13 of the Rules. These, it will be
remembered, require the writer to refer to "the good old days;" to be
haughty and contemptuous, with a parade of rugged honesty; to be vain
and offensive, and to set himself up as an infallible judge of every
branch of sport and athletics. This particular variety of style is
always immensely effective. All the pot--boys of the Metropolis, most
of the shady bookmakers, and a considerable proportion of the patrons
of sport swear by it, and even the most thoughtful who read it cannot
fail to be impressed by its splendour. This style deals in paragraphs.
_Second Example._--Event to be commented on: A Regatta.
I am led to believe by column upon column of wishy-washy twaddle in
the morning papers, that Henley Regatta has actually taken place. The
effete parasites of a decayed aristocracy who direct this gathering
endeavour year after year to make the world believe that theirs is
the only meeting at which honour has the least chance of bursting
into flower. I have my own opinions on this point. Really, these tenth
transmitters of foolish faces become more and more brazen in their
attempts to palm off their miserable two-penny-halfpenny, tin-pot,
one-horse Regatta as the combination of all the cardinal virtues.
* * * * *short
These gentry presume to dictate to rowing men what shall constitute
the status of the Amateur. For my own part (and the world will
acknowledge that I have done some rowing in my time) I prefer the
straight-forward conduct of any passing rag-and-bone merchant to the
tricks of the high and mighty champions of the amateur qualification
in whose nostrils the mere name of professional oarsman seems
to stink. These pampered denizens of the amateur hothouse would,
doubtless, wear a kid-glove before they ventured to shake hands with
one who, like myself, despises them and their absurd pretensions.
* * * * *short
As for the rowing, it was fantastic. I wasn't there. Indeed, those who
know me, would never think so meanly of me as to suppose that I would
attend this Regatta _pour rire_. But I know enough to be sure that the
Eights were slow, the Fours deficient in pace, the pairs on the minus
side of nothing, and the scullers preposterous. Rowing must be in a
bad way when it can boast no better champions (save the mark!) than
those who last week aired their incompetence, and impeded the traffic
of the people upon the Thames. Time was when an oarsman was an
oarsman, but now he is a miserable cross between a Belgravian flunkey
and a riverside tout. Which is all I care to say on an unsavoury
* * * * *
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