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OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
July 11, 1891.
MORE _POT-POURRI_ FROM THE PARK.
SCENE–_The Park, near Cumberland Gate, on almost any fine afternoon. Behind the rails separating the turf from the paths, Orators, Preachers, and Reciters are holding forth, for the delectation of small groups, who are mostly engaged in discussing some totally different subject. A set debate, with a time-limit, and a purely ornamental Chairman, is in progress between a Parnellite and an Anti-Parnellite. The reader will kindly imagine himself to be passing slowly along the line._
_A Youthful Socialist_ (_haranguing the usual crowd of well-to-do loungers, and working himself up to the requisite white-heat of factitious fury_). And what are these Capitalists? I’ll tell yer. Jest a lot o’ greedy gobblers and profit-mongering sharks, as eat up the smaller fry. And what are _you_? Why, you’re the small fish as eat mud–and let yourselves _be_ gobbled! (_The crowd accept this definition of themselves with perfect gaiety and good-humour._) Some will tell yer that these lazy, idle loafers, work as hard as what we do ourselves. (_Derisive laughter at this ridiculous idea._) Mind yer, I’m not saying they don’t. _Honly_, the ‘arder they work, the worse it is for us; because the more they work the more they _rob_! That’s what they send their sons to Oxford and to Cambridge–as was built and endowed for the benefit of us, the labourin’ classes–for. They send ’em there to learn _’ow to rob_!
[_Here a discussion breaks out between a Sceptic and a Spiritualist, who, with half-a-dozen interested auditors, have been putting their heads together in a corner._
_The Sceptic_. No,–but keep to the point,–you’re shufflin’ the question. I want to argue this out on logical grounds. I know as well as _you_ do that, if only I ‘ave ‘armony and a round table in my family, I can make that table dance the poker–but what I’m puttin’ to _you_ is (_triumphantly_), ‘ow does that prove to me as I’m in communication with the Bogie Man? That’s what _you’ve_ got to answer.
[Illustration: “Yer may sometimes hentertain a angel unawares!”]
_The Y.S._. We Soshalists ‘ate the Tories as we ‘ate sin. Why, young polertician as I ham, &c., &c.
_The Spiritualist_ (_an elderly and earnest person_). All I can reply to you is, we Spiritualists do not think–we _know_ that these phenomena appear–yes, as surely as I know I am ‘olding this stick in my ‘and.
_The Sceptic_ (_pityingly_). There you go again, yer see–that stick ain’t the point. _I_ can see the stick. A stick ain’t a phenomena–you’re confusin’ two different things. Now I’m goin’ to offer you a fair challenge. You perdooce me a Spirit–not in a back room, with the lights out, but _’ere_, in broad daylight, in this Park–you get that Spirit to naturalise itself, or whatever you call it, and I’ll _believe_ in ‘im. Come, now!
_A Bystander_. Ah, that’s the way to corner _’is_ sort. ‘E knows ‘e carn’t _do_ it!
_The Spiritualist_ (_with a smile of sad superiority_). Ridicule ain’t argyment. [_The discussion continues._
_The Young Socialist_. Don’t tork to me of Patriotism! What have the likes of you and me got to be patriotic about? I’m a Universalist, I am, and so long as a man rallies round our glorious Red Flag (_here he waves a dingy scarlet rag on a stick_), it’s all one to me whether his own colour is black, yeller, green, brown, _or_ white!
_Reciter Number One_ (_in the midst of a thrilling prose narrative about a certain_ “‘ARRY,” _who has apparently got into legal difficulties for having thrown a cocoa-nut stick at a retired Colonel_). Well, I went into the Court ‘ouse, and there, sure enough, was my pore mate ‘ARRY in the dock, and there was hold Ginger-whiskers (_laughter_) a setting on the bench along with the hother beaks, lookin’ biliouser, and pepperier, and more happerplecticker nor ever! “Prison-ar,” he sez, addressin’ ‘ARRY (_imitation of the voice and manner of a retired Colonel_), “Prison-ar, ‘ave you–har–hanythink to say in your beyarf–har?” And then, hall of a sudden, I sor a flash come into my dear ‘ole comride ‘ARRY’s heyes, as he strightened ‘imself in the dock, and gave the milingtery sloot, and then, in a voice as sounded as true and sweet and clear as a bell, he sez–
_A Dingy and Unprepossessing Preacher_ (_unctuously_). Well beloved friends, as I was telling yer, I went ‘ome to the ‘ouse of that pious Methodist lady, and she told me as ‘ow she ‘ad two dear unconverted sons, an’ I knelt down (_&c., &c._), an’ after that we ‘ad our tea, and then I preached a sermon–ah, I well remember I took my tex from (_&c. &c._)–an’ then she gave me supper (_more unctuously still_), as nice a bit o’ cold beef and ‘ome-brewed ale as ever I wish to taste, and I slep’ that blessed night in a warm comfortable bed–and this (_drawing the inevitable moral_) this brings me round to what I started on, inasmuch as it proves (_with a forbidding smile_) as ‘ow yer may sometimes hentertain a angel unawares!
_Reciter Number Two_ (_giving his own private version of “The Ticket of Leave Man.”_) Fourpence ‘ap’ny, Gentlemen, is _not_ a very ‘arty nor corjial recognition of my talent; _’owever_, I will now perceed with the Drarmer. The Curtain rises upon the Second Hact. Hover three years ‘ave elapsed since _Robert Brierley_–(&c.) We are in _May Hedwardses_ lodgings. She is torkin to ‘er goldfinch. If you boys don’t give over larkin’ and stand back, you’ll get a cuff on some of your ‘eds. “Goldie,” she sez, “I’ve ‘ad a letter from _’Im_ this morning!” And the bird puts his little ‘ed a one side, and a’most seems as if he compre’ended ‘er meanin’! _Mrs. Willoughby_ is ‘eard outside sayin’, “May I come in?” I will now hendeavour to give you a imitation of _Mrs. Willoughby_.
[_He cocks his hat rather more on one side, to indicate feminine garrulity, and continues._
_Anti-Parnellite Irishman_ (_warmly_). Is it kape to the point? Oi till that white-feeced an’ black-hearrted loiar, TIM MURPHY, that if he interrups me wance more whoile o’im in possession o’ the chair, oi’ll step down an’ call ‘m to orrder by landin’ ‘um a clump on the conk!
_Reciter Number Three_ (_who is working his way through a bloodcurdling poem, with a hat on the ground before him_):–
And on came them maddened ‘orses, with their foiery, smokin’ breath; As were bearin’ the woman I lurved to a crule and ‘orrible death! [_Pathetically._
‘Ow could I save my darlin’ from layin’ a mangled ‘eap On the grorss below where the buttercups blow, along of the innercent sheep! (_Wildly._) I felt my brine was reeling–I’adn’t a minnit to lose! [_He strains forward, in agony._
With a stifled prayer, and a gasp for air, I–
[_Here he suddenly becomes aware of an overlooked penny on the grass, and replaces it carefully in the hat before proceeding._
_First Bystander_ (_discussing Physical Courage with a friend_). No, I never ‘ad no pluck. I don’t see the use of it myself–on’y gits you into rows’. (_Candidly._) I’m a blanky coward, I am.
_His Friend_ (_admiringly_). Give us yer ‘and. Yer can’t be a blankier coward than _me_!
_The A.P._ (_with just pride_). Oi’ve been wan o’ the biggest libertines in this or anny other city in me toime–there’s no blagardhism oi’d have put beyant me–but oi till ye this. If PARNELL was to come up to me here, now, and ask me to sheek um by the hand, oi’d say, “Shtand back, ye d—-d scoundthrel!” Ah, oi would _that_!
_Belated Orator_ (_perorating to an embarrassed stranger on a seat before him, under a muddled impression that he is addressing a spell-bound multitude_). I tell yer–yes, hevery man, and hevery woman among yer–(_Here he bends forward, and touches his hearer’s right and left elbow impressively_) don’t you go away under the impression I’m talking of what I don’t understan’! (_The Stranger shifts his leg and looks another way_.) I speak sense, don’t I? _You_ never ‘eard nothin’ like this afore, _any_ of yer, _’ave_ yer? That’s because I read between the lines! (_Waving his arm wildly._) An’ I want heach man and boy of you to ‘member my words, and _hact_ upon them when the time comes!
[_Here he staggers off with a proud and exalted air, to the immense relief of his hearer._
_A Professional Pietist_ (_with a modest working capital of one hymn and a nasal drone_). “My richest gynes” … (_To Charitable Passer_. A copper, Sir? bless your kind ‘art!) “I cayount” … (_Examining it._ A bloomin’ French ‘ap’ny!) … “but loss; And pour contemp'” … (Call yerself a Christian gen’lman, yer–&c.) … “on a–a–ll my proide!”
(_Here the Reader will probably have had enough of it._)
* * * * *
A REAL TREAT.–_Advice to Covent-gardeners_.–If _Carmen_ is to be done again this season with the same cast as it had on Saturday last, no one who cares for an exceptionally first-rate performance should miss this opera-tunity. There is no better representative of _Carmen_ than Mlle. ZELIE DE LUSSAN,–how can there be, since the Spanish Gipsy heroine of the plot is herself a _Loose ‘un_? Madame MELBA was charming as _Mickie Ella_, the Irish girl in Spain. M. LASSALLE appeared as _Escamillo_. the bull-fighter, in a novel, and doubtless a correct, costume, and his great _Toreador_ song was vociferously encored. Then, finally, JEAN DE RESKE, who made of the usually idiotic _Don Jose_ a fine acting as well as a fine singing part. It drew a big house, and would have been a pretty dish to set before an Emperor on Wednesday, if, on that occasion, the Opera itself were the only consideration.
* * * * *
THE FIRE KING’S ABDICATION.
“My palate is parched with Pierian thirst, Away to Parnassus I’m beckoned.”
I sing of the glories of Fire King the First! (Who’s fit to be Fire King the Second?)
Captain EYRE MASSEY SHAW is a “Sovereign” indeed, Abdicating? Alas! that too true is;
For he’s a Fire King of a different breed From the Monarch described by MONK LEWIS.
No mere King of Flames, fiery-faced _a la_ SKELT, Inhabiting regions most torrid,
With a breath that is warranted copper to melt, And eyes indescribably horrid.
He hath not a blazing Bardolphian nose, He is not _flamboyant_ or furious;
His Crown’s a brass helmet, his Sceptre a hose; True Fire King,–all others are spurious.
For he rules the flames; he has done so for long; And now that he talks of retiring,
Men mourn for the fire-queller cautious and strong, Whose reign they’ve so long been admiring.
Clear-headed, cool Captain, great chief M.F.B., All London is sorry to lose you;
As kindly as kingly, from prejudice free; No danger could daunt or confuse you.
As doffing your helmet, and dropping your hose, You bid us farewell, we all own you
As one of Fiend Fire’s most redoubtable foes; As that thirty years we have known you.
Our Big Boards might job, and our Big Wigs might jaw, But, spite of their tricks and their cackle, One Chief we could trust; we were sure that our SHAW His duty would manfully tackle.
So farewell, great Fire King! Your crown you lay by; E’en you cannot lay by your credit.
Ignipotent Knight? Well, you ought to stand high In the next Honour-List! _Punch_ has said it!
* * * * *
OFF TO MASHERLAND.
(_BY OUR OWN GRANDOLPH._)
_THE MAGNUM OPUS._
_A propos_ of this heading, what a treasure a _Magnum Opal_ would be. This remark is only “by the way.” My motto is Business First, Play (on words) afterwards. So to work.
I really think I shall take to Guide-book writing. _Grandolph’s Guides_ would be immensely popular. I’m sure I can do it–for upon my word I can do a’most anything if I only buckle to. By the way, ‘_Buckle_’ suggests history. Can go in for “making history” when I’ve done this work. WILLIAMS–not MONTAGU the Magistrate–(good title this for something)–but my friend the Companionable Captain —- is at work; when he has done, he reads out a few descriptive paragraphs for my approbation, or the contrary. When I nod it means that I like it; when I don’t nod, he has to wait till I do. I generally begin nodding about the middle of the first paragraph.
“Well,” says he, the other day, quite suddenly, “I’m glad you like it all so much.”
“Like all what?” I exclaimed, blowing the cigar-ash off my pyjamas, and wondering to myself how I could have been so absorbed in his reading aloud as to have let my half-smoked havannah tumble on to the floor.
“Why, all I’ve been reading to you for the last hour and a half,” returned the Captain, apparently somewhat annoyed; peppery chap, the Captain,–‘Curried’ Captain when on board Sir DONALD’s boat,–but to resume. Says the Curried Captain, still a bit annoyed, “You passed all the paragraphs, one after the other, and whenever I stopped to ask you how you liked it, you nodded.”
I didn’t like to hurt the gallant scribe’s feelings, but the fact is that he, as a reader, has a very soothing-syrupy tone and, I fancy, that in less than a quarter of an hour, judging by the moiety of my cigar. I must have fallen fast asleep.
“That’s posted, is it?” I ask, evading further explanation. “It is,” he answers. “But I’ve got another lot–“
“Good!” I interrupt him, rather abruptly I own, but, from experience I say it, if I don’t take myself when in the humour–‘on the hop,’ so to speak, as they said of the _scarabaeus_ in Kent–(trust _me_ for natural history and plenty of it)–I’m no use at all. Now at this moment I am wide awake, a giant refreshed; so I light another fragrant weed, and call for another cool drink, as I haven’t the smallest idea what became of the one I ordered when the Gallant Graphist commenced reading; I rather suspect he ‘put it to his lips when so dispoged,’ and that, in this instance also, he mistook my nod for silent but emphatic encouragement.
“Now,” I say to the Amiable Amanuensis and Adaptable Author, “you read your stuff aloud with emphasis and discretion, and I’ll chuck in the ornamental part. Excuse me, that’s _my_ drink,” I say, with an emphasis on the possessive pronoun, for the Soldierly Scribe, in a moment of absorption, was about to apply that process to my liquor. He apologises handsomely, and commences his recital. In the absence of a gong,–one ought never to travel without a gong,–I whack the tea-tray with a paper-knife. “All in to begin!”
“_The mail train_,” &c., &c. I make my notes, and remark that MURRAY and BRADSHAW lost a great chance in not having long ago secured the services of the Corresponding Captain. “_The railroad passes through mountain scenery of exceptional_,” &c., &c. BRADSHAW and MURRAY, not to mention BAEDEKER and BLACK, absolutely not in it with the Wandering Warrior. “_About thirty miles from Cape Town_”–
A SIMPLE SUGGESTION.
I stop him at this point. “Couldn’t we have a song here?”
“Why?” asks the Simple Soldier, glaring at me, and pulling his moustache.
“Just to lighten it up a bit,” I explain. “You see ‘About thirty miles’ and so forth, suggests the old song of _Within a Mile of Edinboro’ Town_.”
“Don’t see it,” says the Virtuous Veteran, stolidly.
“Well, I’ll make a note of it,” and I add pleasantly, as is my way, “if it’s a song, I’ll make _several notes_ of it.”
“Um!” growls the Severe Soldier, and once again I defeat him in an attempt at surprising my outpost, i.e., my tumbler of cool drink. He apologises gruffly but politely, and then continues his reading.
ON WE GOES AGAIN.
He continues to read about “_distances,” “so many feet above sea-levels,” “engineering skill_,” &c., &c., which I observe to him will all make capital padding for a guide-book, when I am suddenly struck by the sound of the word I had just used, _viz._, ‘padding.’
“By Jove!” I exclaim.
“What is it?” asks the Confused Captain, looking up from his MS.
“‘Padding,'” I reply–“Only add a ‘ton’ to it, and that will give it just the weight I require. Don’t you see?” I ask him, impetuously. But he merely shakes his head, and lugs at his moustache. I explain the idea, as if it were a charade. I say, “The whole notion is ‘padding–ton.’ See?”
The Ruminating Reader thinks it won’t do. “Yes it will,” I urge–“it will lighten it up. Who wants statistics without anecdote? Now for an anecdote; and I knock one off, _sur le champ_, about the engine-driver, the stoker, and several other persons, all on the look-out for promotion, informing me of their being _Paddington men of considerable political influence at home_. The Cautious Captain accepts the anecdote, interpolates it, and after I have called for and imbibed another tumbler of ‘my own partik,’ and lighted another cigar, the Conscientious Captain resumes his entertainment.”
He reads on. Another drink, just to rivet my attention. Will he take something? No? Then _I_ will. His health, and song–I mean ‘treatise,’ or whatever he calls it–say ‘lecture.’ Wish we’d had a piano. Never will travel without one again. _Mem._–Gong and piano. I don’t pretend to be a thorough musician, but as a one-fingered player I’d give Sir CHARLES HALLE odds and beat him. Now then–let’s see where were we. Another tumbler iced. Good. _Allez!_ Captain, go ahead!
Somehow or another, after this–that is, I can only time it by the fact of my having called for a fourth or fifth glass of iced drink, or it may have been my half-dozenth, for time does fly so,–the Captain having, I suspect, drank the greater part of the previous one whenever I didn’t happen to be looking that way–I begin to think I must have once more given my assent by nodding to a lot of stuff of which I could not nave heard more than three pages, as, when I arouse myself from my reverie, the tumbler is empty, the Captain has gone out, and so has my cigar.
“Action is the word!” said I, suddenly jumping up; and, having seized a spade, and provided myself with a large sack, which I carried across my shoulders, I set off for the diamond-fields. Unrecognised by a soul, I went to work on my own account; and the brilliant things I saw–far more brilliant than even the witticisms of WOLFFY, or the sarcasms of ARTHUR B! Into my sack go thousands of diamonds! The sack is full! _Aladdin_ and the Lamp not in it with me! “Hallo!” shouts a voice, gruffly. I could see no one. “_Vox et praeterea nil_,” as we used to say at Eton. Suddenly I felt myself collared. I made a gallant attempt at resistance. A spade is a spade I know, but what is a spade and one against twenty with pistols and daggers, headed by the redoubtable Filliblusterer THOMAS TIDDLER himself? “Strip him!” said T.T., shortly.
Will you believe that the only way in which in this country they arrive at implicitly believing every word you utter, is by denuding you of all your clothes, so as to get at the naked truth, holding you up by the heels for the purpose of shaking the diamonds out of you, in case any are concealed in your hair, mouth, ears, eyes and so forth.
“He has diamonds on the brain!” I hear some ruffian exclaim, and in another second–
* * * * *
Well–what happened I cannot tell you: I must have fainted. When I came to myself I was lying by the chair in which I had been previously sitting when listening to the Captain’s reading, and bending over me with a glass of water in his hand, was the faithful and clever Doctor whose companionship on this voyage of discovery I am daily and hourly learning to appreciate at its proper value. I fancy the ship’s crew were round about me, with the Engineer and the Chaplain. I feel inclined to say, “HARDY, HARDY, kiss me, HARDY!” and then something about “Tell them at home”–but the words stick in my throat, as they did in _Macbeth’s_ throat (only they were other words) when he was on his throat-sticking expedition. (Little Shakspearian reference thrown in here, and no extra charge.)
“How many of these has he had?” I hear the Doctor say, and I perceived that he was holding up an empty tumbler. I should like to explain that, as we were engaged in composition, there had been ‘composing draughts.’ I fancy I caught the tone of the Clever Captain’s voice in reply, but the next minute I felt myself being lifted up and carried off. I wished to tell them of my strange adventure, and how I had barely escaped with my life, but somehow drowsiness overcame me, and I must have fallen asleep.
BUSINESS AS BEFORE.
To-day I sit down to write out this strange story. Once I asked the Cautious Captain and the Doubting Doctor “if they had seen anything of my pickaxe and the sack of diamonds.” But they only smiled at one another, elevated their eyebrows, then winked, and laughed.
What is their little game?
No matter. I will lie low. My motto is “Diamonds are trumps.” I’m not here as _Aladdin_ for nothing. “Aha!” as the old melodramatic villain used to say, “a time will come! No mattar!”
I don’t know whether it is owing to my voyage in a DONALD CURRIE steamer–’twas the first opportunity that ever I had of tasting a DONALD CURRIE, and excellent it is, as of course, was all our “board” on board–(send this joke to WOLFFY–he’ll work it up and make a real _impromptu_ sparkler of it–and I don’t grudge him the _kudos_ of it, not one little bit)–or to the change of air, but I am bound to say openly that I do think the G.O.M. has been right about most things, especially about Majuba (who was _Pa_ JUBA? Send this to DRUMMY WOLFFY), and–well, I shall have more to say on this subject. If this meets the eye of any friendly person, will he kindly remember me to my Uncle? Thanks. That’s the ticket. More anon.
[Illustration: (Signature) Grandolph the Explorer.]
* * * * *
ROBERT ON THE HEMPERER’S WISIT TO THE CITY.
The pore owerworked Committee has gone and got thereselves into a nice mess, and all by their kindness in wanting to let as many people as possibel see the grate show on Friday. They has acshally bin and ordered a grate bilding with rows of seats, out in Gildhall Yard, enuff to hold about a thousand Ladies and Gentlemen, all in their best close, with capital views of ewerybody and ewerythink, and now they are told that it won’t be posserbel not to give em nothing to heat or to drink, tho’ they must set there quite quiet for at least three hours! I wunder what they will all think of Copperashun Horspitality after that!
I’m told as one werry respectable but ancient Deputy acshally surgested, that after the Hemperer and Hempress and their sweet had all gone home, all the whole thousand starving wisitors should be turned into Gildhall and allowed to eat and drink all the fragments as was left. Yes, Mr. Deputy, all wery kind and thortful of you as regards the harf-starved wisitors, but how about us Waiters? You, with all your experience, ewidentally don’t know the wally of what such eminent Swells as Hemperers and Hempresses leaves on their plates, and the skrambel for ’em drectly as they leaves. Why, I have acshally seen with my own estonished eyes, a lady, after enquiring of me which chair a sutten elustreous person had set in, stoop down and kiss its harm, wich was nex to kissin _his_ hand, and then give harf-a-crown for harf a happel as was left on the plate! Ah, that’s what I calls true loyalty, and werry much it is admired by all of us.
I hunderstands as the Government, wanting to estonish the Hemperer, has lent the City a reglar army of troops to stand on both sides of the Streets from Buckinham Pallis all the way to Gildhall. And in case the estonishing site shood make him feel just a leetle dazed, the jolly old Copperashun has bin and gone and hired no less than three Millingterry Bands of Music to play to him, and cheer him up.
There was a talk of engaging all the many German Bands, as makes our streets so musical, to give the Hemperer a serrynade at Lunch; but Mr. WEST HILL, of the Gildhall Skool of Music, thort it might be too much for His Madjesty’s feelinx, so the highdear was given up. I werily bleeves that of all the many anxious buzzoms as is a beating with suppressed emotion for next Friday, the carmest and the all serenest of the lot is that of ROBERT.
* * * * *
“A BOOK OF BURLESQUE.”
A volume most welcome on table or desk Is DAVENPORT ADAMS’s _Book of Burlesque_. He deals with the subject from earliest days, To modern examples and Gaiety plays.
We’ve extracts from PLANCHE and GILBERT to hand, With puns ta’en from BYRON and jokes from BURNAND. There’s fun at your asking wherever you look, And not a dull page you’ll declare in the book. You’ll find it delightful, for no one Macadams The road of the reader like DAVENPORT ADAMS.
* * * * *
LIBERTY AND LICENCE.–It is said that _The Maske of Flowers_ would never have drawn gold on Monday last to the coffers of that excellent charity, the Convalescent Home at Westgate-on-Sea had not one of the Prominent Performers consented to become the responsible and actual Manager of the “Theatre Royal, Inner Temple.” By the terms of his licence he was bound, amongst other things, to see that no smoking was permitted in the auditorium, no exhibition of wild beasts was allowed on the premises, and no hanging took place from the flies. It is satisfactory to learn (that, in spite of many Benchers being present) none of these wholesome regulations were infringed. It is true that the Music of the _Maske_ was duly executed, but then this painful operation was conducted (by Mr. PRENDERGAST) from the floor of the building, and not from its roof. Thus the orders of the LORD CHAMBERLAIN were strictly observed by a Barrister, who can now claim to have been Manager of a genuine Temple of the Drama.
* * * * *
A REMINDER.–Mr. EDMUND B.V. CHRISTIAN, in _Baily’s Magazine_, quoted by the _P.M.G._ last Thursday, complains “that cricket, the most popular of games, fills so small a space in literature.” Does he forget that CHARLES DICKENS devoted one entire Christmas Book to _The Cricket on the Hearth_?
* * * * *
LETTERS TO ABSTRACTIONS.
NO. I.–TO SOCIAL AMBITION.
DEAR SIR, OR MADAM,
I trust you will observe and appreciate the discreet ambiguity of style with which I have chosen to address you. I may assure you at once that I have done this not without considerable thought. For, though I have often watched you in the exercise of your energies, I have never yet been able to satisfy myself as to whether I ought to class you amongst our rougher sex, or include you in the ranks of those who wear high heels, and very low dresses. Sometimes you fix your place of business in a breast adequately covered by a stiff and shining shirt-front and a well-cut waistcoat. Sometimes you inhabit the expansive bosom of a matron. Nor do you confine yourself to one class alone out of the many that go to the composition of our social life. You have impelled grocers to ludicrous pitches of absurdity; you have driven the wife of a working-man to distraction because her neighbour’s front room possesses a more expensive carpet, of a sprucer pattern than her own. Clerks have suffered acutely from your stings, and actresses have spent many a sleepless night under your malign influence. You have tortured Dukes on the peaks of gracious splendour where they sit enthroned as far above common mortals as they ought to be above the common feeling of envy; and you have caused even Queens to writhe because there happened to be a few stray Empresses in the world.
On the whole, then, I think I do wisely in leaving the question of your sex a doubtful one. You would wish it so left yourself, otherwise so powerful a personality as yours would, I am certain, have revealed itself with greater clearness to an honest investigator, such as I humbly trust I have proved myself. But, be that as it may, I can assert with perfect confidence that you are no respecter of persons, though it must, in fairness, be added, that one of your chief functions seems to be to implant an exaggerated respect and admiration of others in the minds of your victims. In saying this I praise your impartiality, while I hint a dislike of your ordinary methods. Not that I have any hope of causing you to desist. For to desist would be to cease to exist, and I cannot fairly expect you to commit suicide, however much I may desire it. Moreover, your subjects–for, to be candid, you are a despot–seem to like you. You minister so craftily to their self-esteem, you flatter their vanity with an adroitness so remarkable, that, after a few feeble struggles, they resign themselves, body and soul, to your thrall. Even then you proceed warily. Your first labour is to collect, with patient care, all the little elements of dissatisfaction that are latent in every nature, and to blend them with the petty disappointments to which even the best of us are liable. The material thus obtained you temper with intentions that seem to be good, and eventually you forge out of it a weapon of marvellous point and sharpness, with which you mercilessly goad your victims along the path that leads to ridicule and disaster.
Let me take an instance which I am sure you will remember. When I first met little DABCHICK, I thought I had never seen a happier mortal. He was clever, good-natured, and sprightly. He sold tea somewhere in Mincing Lane, and on the proceeds of his sales he managed to support a wife and two pleasant children in reasonable comfort at Balham. Mrs. DABCHICK could not be accused by her best friends of over-refinement, but everybody agreed that she was just the homely, comfortable, housewifely person who would always make DABCHICK happy, and be a good and careful mother to his children. Often in the old days when I came down to Balham and took pot-luck with DABCHICK, while Mrs. DABCHICK beamed serenity and middle-class satisfaction upon me from the other end of the table, and the juvenile JOHNNY DABCHICK recited in a piping treble one of Mr. GEORGE R. SIMS’s most moving pieces for our entertainment, often, I say, have I envied the simple happiness of that family, and gone back to my bachelor chambers with an increased sense of dissatisfaction. Why, I thought to myself, had fate denied to me the peaceful domesticity of the DABCHICKS? I was as good a man as DABCHICK, probably, if the truth were known, a better than he. Yet there he was with a good wife, an agreeable family, and a comfortable income to compensate him for his extravagance with the letter h, while I had to toil and moil in solitary gloom.
Now, however, all is changed. In an evil moment for himself, DABCHICK speculated largely and successfully in the Gold Trust of Guatemala. In a very short time his income was multiplied by ten. The usual results followed. The happy home in Balham was given up. “People about here,” said DABCHICK, “are such poor snobs”–and a more ornate mansion in South Kensington was taken in its stead. The old friends and the old habits were dropped. JOHNNY DABCHICK was sent to Eton with an immoderate allowance of pocket-money, and was promptly christened “PEKOE” by his schoolfellows. Mrs. DABCHICK rides in a huge landau with blue wheels, and leaves cards on the fringes of the aristocracy. DABCHICK himself aspires to Parliament, and never keeps the same circle of friends for more than about six months. He knows one shady Viscount to whom rumour asserts that he has lent immense sums of Guatemalan money, and the approach of a Marquis makes him palpitate with emotion. But he is a profoundly miserable man. Of that I am assured. It amuses me when I meet him in pompous society to address him lightly as “DAB,” and remind him of the dear old Balham days, and the huge amount of bird’s-eye we used to smoke together. For his motto now is, “_Delenda est Balhamia_”–I speak of course figuratively–and half-crown havannahs have usurped the place of the honest briar. I know the poor wretch is making up his mind to cut me, but I must bear it as best I may.
Now, my dear Sir or Madam, for this melancholy deterioration in the DABCHICKS you are entirely responsible. I am saddened as I contemplate it, and I appeal to you. Scarify Dukes and Duchesses, make vain and useless social prigs as miserable as you like, but leave the DABCHICKS of this world alone. They are simple folk, and really I cannot think that the game is worth the candle.
Believe me to be, your obedient servant,
* * * * *
Advised by friend to try Norfolk Broads for holiday. Oulton Broad, Wroxham Broad, Fritton Decoy (curious name!), Yare, Waveney, and no end of other rivers. Yachting, shooting, fishing, pretty scenery, divine air, he says. Have come down to Yarmouth for a start.
Up the Bure in a yacht, and into river Thurne. All right so far. Fish scarce. My pilot says, “wait till I get to Hickling Broad. _Full_ of bream and roach.” I agree to wait.
In Hickling Broad. Surprised to find notice-boards up all round saying, “sailing” is prohibited in the Broad, also fishing and shooting! “What’s the meaning of this?” I ask pilot. He says, “it’s all the doings of the Lord of the Manor.” Wants to keep the Broad free from tourists. He certainly does it “as to the Manor born.” Quite a village autocrat. Shall I be the “Village HAMPDEN?” I will.
Fishing. Several men on bank shouting at me. One comes off in a boat and serves me with a summons. This might almost be called a Broad hint to go away! But I don’t go. I stop and fish. Another man comes off in boat and threatens me with action “on behalf of riparian owners.” Tell him “ripe-pear-ian season isn’t till Autumn, and I shall wait here till then.” He doesn’t see the joke–perhaps too broad for him.
Other yachtsmen, we hear, have been stopped, and threatened. Yachtsmen up in arms generally. Savage artists wander along banks, denouncing Lord of Manor of Hickling. Say they have “right of way” along banks (sounds as if they were Railway Guards). Hear that Lord of Manor is going to put a gunboat on Broad, also torpedoes. Hear, also, that Wroxham Broad–one of the biggest–is to be closed in same way.
Disgusted at such inhospitality. Back to Yarmouth. Give up yacht, and decide to go to Switzerland instead. Find Yarmouth yacht-owners furious with Hickling’s Lord of Bad Manners. Say “closing the Broads will ruin them.” Very likely, but it’ll help the foreign hotel-keeper. Glad to see they’ve started a “Norfolk Broads Protection Society,” subscriptions to be sent to Lloyd’s Bank. “I know a Bank”–and all lovers of natural scenery and popular rights ought to know it too, and help in giving the Hickling obstructionist a “heckling,” when he takes the matter (also the Manor) into Court.
* * * * *
[Illustration: INANITIES OF THE DRAWING-ROOM.
“SEEN THE _ENFANT PRODIGUE_, MR. SOFTEY?”
“NO; WAITING TILL THEY DO IT IN _ENGLISH_!”]
* * * * *
A TRIPLE ALLIANCE.
(_A SCENE OF TO-DAY, IN A SHAKSPEARIAN SETTING._)
_Mr. Punch_. “How now, my hearts! Did you never see the picture of ‘_We Three_?'”
_Emperor_. Marry, forfend, _Mr. Punch_! Well quoted indeed, and, pertinently, from the Swan! “A mellifluous, voice, as I am a true Knight!” But talk not of things triune too openly, lest quidnuncs overhear, and L-B-CH-RE devise thereanent fresh heckling interrogations for the Treasury Bench.
_Mr. Punch_. Nay, Kaiser; ’tis not the actual Triple, but the conceivable Quadruple, that perturbs the importunates. _We_ Three form an informal but fast-knit trinity, that can offend none but churls, and affright none but dullards. Peace, Goodfellowship, Wit! By my bauble, a triad that PYTHAGORAS himself might have favoured! Talking of Threes, Kaiser, it’s your third visit to us–and, believe me, you are thrice welcome.
_Emperor_. “Yea, and I thank your pretty sweet wit for it. But look you, pray, all you that kiss my lady Peace at home” (as _Jack Falstaff_ put it), that–you gird not too suspiciously at those who would fain embrace her abroad!
_Mr. Punch_. Well quoted, Sir, though not directed to _mine_ address. But “A good wit will make use of anything. I will turn diseases to commodity.” Two diseases of the time are, faction and fussiness–the one a fever, the other a prurigo. The one makes little of greatness, the other makes much of littleness. You have been the mark of both, young Hohenzollern!
_Emperor_. “An’t please you, it is the disease of not listening, the malady of not marking, that _I_ am troubled withal.”
_Mr. Punch_. _Falstaff_ again, and pertinently applied. Fitly did the Fat Knight say that he was not only witty himself, but the cause that wit is in other men.
_Prince_. By cock and pye, _Poins_,–_Punch_ I mean–am _I_ to be out of this tournament of tags, this joust of quotations? Marry, not so!
[_Grasps the EMPEROR’s hand cordially._
“The Prince of WALES doth join with all the world In praise of–Kaiser WILHELM; by my hopes, I do not think a braver gentleman,
More active-valiant, or more valiant-young, More daring, or more bold, is now alive To grace this latter age with noble deeds.”
_Mr. Punch_. Bravo! “Delivered with good respect.” Your Royal Highness has fairly capped us! _Harry Monmouth_, KAISER, could not more fitly have
“Trimmed up your praises with a princely tongue; Spoke your deserving like a chronicle.”
and _Harry Hotspur_ less deserved the praise.
_Emperor_. “I will imitate the honourable Romans in brevity.” I can but thank you both! (_To the PRINCE._)
“By heavens, I cannot flatter; I defy The tongues of soothers; but a braver place In my heart’s love hath no man than yourself.”
_Mr. Punch_. That’s as it should be. If ’twere not always wholly so–but no matter! I love not to speak in needless or heedless dispraise of dignities, of “Shouting Emperors,” or “Madcap Princes,” but rather–
“As in reproof of many tales devised,– Which oft the ear of greatness needs must hear,– By smiling pick-thanks and base newsmongers.”
Sweet WILLIAM (of Avon, _bien entendu_), hath armed us in advance against even the latest developments of the detestable. The “base newsmongers” of the day are to be shunned as carefully as the “smiling pick-thanks.” They would set strife between the two sides of a sixpence or a sovereign. In vain, let us hope! Than that Uncle should admire Nephew, and Nephew respect Uncle, who could wish more or better–for both? We Three!!! My Emperors and Heirs-Apparents, pray charge your glasses! Something _like_ a Triple Alliance! A Veritable League of Peace! Kaiser; at least this is as pleasant as the proceedings on board the _Cobra_ during her passage down the Elbe, _n’est-ce pas_? No formal appending of Statecraft’s Scarlet Seals, or scrawly Imperial Signs-manual need we for our Amicable Treaty. A handclasp and a Loving-cup shall suffice us for marking the happy accord of Peace–Goodfellowship–Mirth!!! These be verily the “Central Powers,” which RUDINI _might_ have referred to when he said,–“Our Alliance, firmly and sincerely maintained, will assure the Peace of Europe for a long time to come.” So mote it be! Let us toast them–in a Bumper!
[_Left doing so._
* * * * *
[Illustration: A TRIPLE ALLIANCE.
“THE PRINCE OF WALES DOTH JOIN WITH ALL THE WORLD IN PRAISE OF–KAISER WILHELM; BY MY HOPES, I DO NOT THINK A BRAVER GENTLEMAN,
“MORE ACTIVE-VALIANT, OR MORE VALIANT-YOUNG, MORE DARING, OR MORE BOLD, IS NOW ALIVE TO GRACE THIS LATTER AGE WITH NOBLE DEEDS.”]
* * * * *
(_BY MR. PUNCH’S OWN OARSMAN._)
Sir,–This letter is private and is not intended for publication. I particularly beg that you will note this, as on a former occasion some remarks of mine, which were intended only for your private eye, were printed. I of course accepted your assurance that no offence was meant, and that the oversight was due to a person whose services had since the occurrence been dispensed with; but I look to you to take care that it shall not happen again. Otherwise the mutual confidence that should always exist between an editor and his staff cannot possibly be maintained, and I shall have to transfer my invaluable services to some other paper. The notes and prognostications which I have laboriously compiled with regard to the final results of the Regatta will arrive by the next post, and will, I flatter myself, be found to be extraordinarily accurate, besides being written in that vivid and picturesque style which has made my contributions famous throughout the civilised world.
There are one or two little matters about which I honestly desire to have your opinion. You know perfectly well that I was by no means anxious for the position of aquatic reporter. In vain I pointed out to you that my experience of the river was entirely limited to an occasional trip by steamboat from Charing Cross to Gravesend. You said that was an amply sufficient qualification, and that no aquatic reporter who respected himself and his readers, had ever so far degraded himself as to row in a boat and to place his body in any of the absurd positions which modern oarsmanship demands. Finding you were inexorable, and knowing your ridiculously hasty temper, I consented finally to undertake the arduous duties. These circumstances, however, make it essential that you should give me advice when I require it. For obvious reasons I don’t much like to ask any of the rowing men here any questions. They are mostly in what they call hard training, which means, I fancy, a condition of high irritability. Their strokes may be long, but their tempers are, I regret to say, painfully short. Besides, to be candid, I don’t wish to show the least trace of ignorance. My position demands that I should be omniscient, and omniscient, to all outward appearance, I shall remain.
In the first place what is a “lightship?” As I travelled down to Henley I read in one of the newspapers that “practice for the Royal Regatta was now in full swing, and that the river was dotted with lightships of every description.” I remember some years ago passing a very pleasant half hour on board of a lightship moored in the neighbourhood of Broadstairs. The rum was excellent. I looked forward with a lively pleasure to repeating the experience at Henley. As soon as I arrived, therefore, I put on my yachting cap (white, with a gold anchor embroidered in front), hired a boat and a small boy, and directed him to row me immediately to one of the lightships. I spent at least two hours on the river in company with that boy–a very impudent little fellow,–but owing no doubt to his stupidity, I failed to find a single vessel which could be fairly described as a lightship. Finally the boy said they had all been sunk in yesterday’s great storm, and with that inadequate explanation I was forced to content myself. But there is a mystery about this. Please explain it.
Secondly, I see placards and advertisements all over the place announcing that “the Stewards Stand.” Now this fairly beats me. Why should the stewards stand? They are presumably men of a certain age, some of them must be of a certain corpulence, and it seems to me a refinement of cruelty that these faithful officials, of whom, I believe, the respected Mayor of Henley is one, should be compelled to refrain from seats during the whole of the Regatta. It may be necessary for them to set an example of true British endurance to the crowds who attend the Regatta, but in that case surely they ought to be paid for the performance of their duties.
Thirdly, I have heard a good deal of talk about the Visitors’ Cup. Being anxious to test its merits, I went to one of the principal hotels here, and ordered the waiter to bring me a quart of Visitors’ Cup, and to be careful to ice it well. He seemed puzzled, but went away to execute my orders. After an absence of ten minutes he returned, and informed me, with the Manager’s compliments, that they could not provide me with what I wanted, but that their Champagne-cup was excellent. I gave the fellow a look, and departed. Perhaps this is only another example of the asinine and anserous dunderheadedness of these crass provincials. Kindly reply, _by wire_, about all the three points I have mentioned.
I have been here for a week, but have, as yet, not been fortunate enough to see any crews. Indeed, I doubt if there are any here. A good many maniacs disport themselves every day in rickety things which look something like gigantic needles, and other people have been riding along the bank, and, very naturally, abusing them loudly for their foolhardy recklessness. But no amount of abuse causes them to desist. I have puzzled my brains to know what it all means, but I confess I can’t make it out. I fancy I know a boat when I see one, and of course these ridiculous affairs can’t be boats.
Be good enough to send me, by return, at least L100. It’s a very difficult and expensive thing to support the dignity of your paper in this town. Whiskey is very dear, and a great deal goes a very short way.
THE MAN AT THE OAR.
_Henley-on-Thames, July 4_.
* * * * *
A COMMON COMPLAINT.
(_BY A DAILY VICTIM._)
O Editors, who earn your daily bread By giving us all kinds of information, There’s something that I fear ought to be said, Which may–which will arouse your indignation; For you may not be happy when it’s more than hinted Your news is such that we can’t read it when it’s printed.
Yet I would have you fully understand The real reason why I choose to quarrel With what you print–your columns are not banned Because their contents are at all immoral Yet if there _is_ a scandal, though a small amount of it, You sometimes soil your pages with a long account of it.
Far other reasons urge me to reveal
My feelings on this matter–to assail your Too common practice, and say why I feel Your daily efforts are a daily failure; Your paper by its columns and its size confuses me, And worse–there’s nothing in it in the least amuses me.
Can you indeed in seriousness suppose– To me, I tell you, naught could be absurder– That anywhere at all there can be those Who read the noisome details of a murder, Or take delight in knowing that in such a county Some teeming, triple mother earns the Royal Bounty?
Ibsenity! Amid the maze of words
I find it difficult to pick my way right; _This_ critic at the Master only girds, _That_ promptly hails him as the “premier playwright.” Whilst I don’t mind confessing that I swear right roundly At mention of a subject that I hate profoundly.
Then Parliament–without the slightest doubt Of all dull things the dullest. What could be more Distressing than to have to read about
The coming (?) KEAY, whose other name is SEYMOUR? And now that Patriots’ speeches flow with milk and honey, They’re very much less Irish, and of course less funny.
The Bye-Elections _are_ a little fun, I laugh to note the jubilant precision With which you tell me that a seat that’s won Exactly counts two votes on a division, Though this is all I care for, and am bored at knowing How pleased is Mr. GLADSTONE with the tide that’s flowing.
Yet all these many, varied forms of pain Are trifling, small and hardly worth attention. One thing is so much worse–oh! pray again The “epidemic” never, never mention,
And promptly tell your poet that the rhyme “cadenza” Must never more be worked in for the Influenza!
* * * * *
DEFEAT–OR SOMETHING NEAR IT.
When a few months ago on the Thames with the oar The ‘Varsities met in a contest of strength, 7 to 2 were the odds that the Dark Blues would score A win, which they did–by a lucky _half-length_: And last week, when the thousands assembled at Lord’s To see Cambridge win by an innings–at Cricket’s Great luck they’re astonished, as Fortune awards The Light Blues the game–by a _couple of wickets_!
* * * * *
[Illustration: FLOWERS OF SOCIETY AT THE BOTANICAL GARDENS. WEDNESDAY NIGHT.]
* * * * *
A BALLADE OF EVENING NEWSPAPERS.
The evening shadows gather round the room; How full of joy it were to sit and greet The twilight slowly deepening into gloom, And in the cool forget the noontide heat. The busy hum, the noise of passing feet, Such quiet calm could scarcely serve to mar, Did there not come to us from out the street, _Globe_, _Evening News_, _Pall Mall_, _St. James’s_, _Star_!
The gaily-coloured omnibuses loom,
Approach, and disappear with footsteps fleet, The crossing-sweepers blithely ply the broom, Policemen slowly pace upon their beat. We buy the blossoms with their fragrance sweet, And only on our senses sadly jar
The noises of the ruffians who repeat, _Globe_, _Evening News_, _Pall Mall_, _St. James’s_, _Star_!
The latest aspect of the latest boom, The starting price of winners and of wheat, The thousand lives lost in a late simoom, A conflagration, or a bursting leat,
How gallant gentlemen can stoop to cheat, The spicy current gossip of the Bar–
Can all be found in this or that news-sheet, _Globe_, _Evening News_, _Pall Mall_, _St. James’s_, _Star_!
Friend, if you wish for happiness complete, Look for it in some hamlet distant far. Forget–where catkins blow and lambkins bleat– _Globe_, _Evening News_, _Pall Mall_, _St. James’s_, _Star_!
* * * * *
QUEER QUERIES.–FISH-DIET.–I am writing an important historical work, which takes a great deal out of my brain, and I shall be glad to know what is the best kind of diet for nourishing the brain-cells. Fish has been strongly recommended to me. Would a herring and a half for breakfast take me through a chapter on the Norman Conquest? If a herring and a half does for WILLIAM the Conqueror, how many would be necessary for ELIZABETH? Would a whole salmon or barrel of oysters be best for tackling our early Constitutional History?–MACAULAY JUNIOR.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THINGS ONE WOULD RATHER HAVE LEFT UNWRITTEN.
_Proud Father_ (_reading his Son’s School Report_). “MANNERS VULGAR–VERY VULGAR. BUT PERHAPS THIS IS HEREDITARY!”]
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.
_House, of Commons, Monday, June 29_.–Early promise of JAMES BAIN, Knight, begins to be realised. Created profound sensation on night he took his seat, by walking about with his hat on. SPEAKER down on him with swift stern reproof. BAIN couldn’t make out what all the bother was about. Seeing a friend on Bench below him, thought he would go and have a chat with him. Members seated all about had their hats on; he had cautiously mounted his without reproof, and now, when he moved three steps with his hat on, Members howled, “Order! order!” and SPEAKER joined in the cry. Six or seven Members having explained to him that though a Member may wear his hat when seated, the stability of the Constitution is imperilled if he does not uncover when he moves, albeit a step, to the right or left, the new Member passed remainder of sitting in safety.
[Illustration: Barran de Leeds.]
Next night in his place when BARTLEY was speaking from corner seat below Gangway, BAIN on top Bench behind. Thought he would stroll out. Not going to be caught again moving about with his hat on. Carefully took it off, and holding it firmly in right hand, walked with springy steps down Gangway and, crossing between BARTLEY and the Chair, made for the door. As he emerged in full view, there went up from a hundred throats such a howl of indignation that BAIN stood stock still; stared round with look of astonishment. Were they howling at him? No doubt about it. SPEAKER also calling “Order! order!” in those thrillingly solemn tones. What had he done now? hat in his hand; could someone else’s by any chance have got on his head? Passed his left hand over massive brow. No, all right. Best thing to do would be to get off premises as quickly as possible. So BAIN bolted.
“My dear fellow,” said BARRAN, running after him, “you know you mustn’t do that any more. You’re a young man, and I’m an old one. I know all the ropes in this machine. When you want anything ask me.”
“Well,” said BAIN, “since you are so kind, I’d like to ask you what I’ve done now?”
“Done?” cried BARRAN, “why you’ve crossed between a Member on his legs and the Chair. If you wanted to go out, you should have gone round by the back of the Bench.”
After this BAIN disappeared for some days. Getting coached up in Parliamentary practice. Back to-night and made maiden speech. Quite delightful; button-holed House as it were; informed Members he was sent there with a mandate; incidentally mentioned that he was a Magistrate in several counties; waved his arm in defiance of School Board and sat down, after declaiming, with much animation, a new and original peroration. “Gentlemen,” he said,–“I mean Mr. SPEAKER, I’m for the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill.”
This would have been speech of the evening only for HENRY FOWLER’s. That admirable in every way; a distinct and far advance on a Parliamentary position won by sheer hard work and ability; an epoch in a Parliamentary career already notable for its steady progress. Pity Mr. G. wasn’t present to witness the triumph of the most promising of his recruits of the ’80 Parliament.
_Business done_.–HENRY FOWLER’s Instruction to Education Bill negatived by 267 against 166.
_Tuesday_.–“My studies as you know, dear TOBY, have not specially lain in the domain of history,” said Professor STOKES, in the course of a brief address delivered to me in a corner of the Library. “The pure dry light of mathematics has had an irresistible attraction for me. Possibly, therefore, I am wrong in some more or less immaterial points when I say that, since the time of WARWICK, we have had no one prominently in English public affairs with quite the same influence as is possessed by my Right Hon. friend JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN. The time is gone by when kings were made and unmade. But my Right Hon. friend has done more than anyone to make the present Ministry possible, and, having made them, he claims the right to direct, and, in some respects, even to mould their policy. A very curious phenomenon, very curious indeed. If you were not so evidently in a hurry, I should like to dilate upon it.”
[Illustration: “The pure dry light of Mathematics.”]
A good deal in what the Professor says; CHAMBERLAIN, as a rule, most considerate in his attitude. At much pains to preserve an appearance suitable to a Gentleman who sits on the Opposition Benches, and is supposed to know no more of the secret councils and intentions of the Ministry than anyone else in same quarter of House. Made a slip in earlier stages of Education Bill; talked about “Our Bill,” and disclosed familiarity with its details remarkable since, at the time he spoke, it was not printed. Doesn’t blunder twice along same road. Pretty to see him yesterday inviting LORD-ADVOCATE across the table to explain details of measure, he asked leave to introduce, dealing with state of things in Highlands and Islands of Scotland. CHAMBERLAIN being much interested in question, having marked it for his own, might be supposed to have been consulted by LORD-ADVOCATE before Bill was drafted. All a mistake. JOSEPH knew no more about it than an ordinary Member of Opposition, and would be much obliged if LORD-ADVOCATE would briefly sketch his Bill.
To-night, on Committee on Education Bill, MUNDELLA moved Amendment extending beyond fourteen years limit of age at which fee grants would be made. DYKE obdurate. JOKIM wrung his hands, and protested thing couldn’t be done. Hour after hour Debate went forward, Ministers refusing to budge; JOSEPH chanced to look in after dinner; thinks it would be well to accept Amendment; says so in brief incisive speech, a very model of debate; and OLD MORALITY straightway capitulates. Remarkable state of things; as a study more interesting even than mathematics.
_Business done_.–Education Bill in Committee.
_Thursday_.–Land Purchase Bill came on in Lords for Committee stage. House unusually crowded; quite animated in appearance; when at length it gets into Committee LORD CHANCELLOR leaves Woolsack and, still wearing wig and gown, lends new air of grace and dignity to Ministerial Bench. Sits between MARKISS and ASHBOURNE. Wonder what the MARKISS thinks of him? For a cheerful, social, soothing hour, imagine nothing more supreme than the confidences of the MARKISS in respect to some half-dozen other of his colleagues.
[Illustration: Lord Colchester.]
Before Committee is reached, The MCCULLUM MORE comes to front, and modestly engrosses attention. Other Peers prepared, once in while, to buckle down to hard night’s work, fighting over Clauses of Bill in Committee. That sort of obscure labour might suit them, but not the thing to attract the MCCULLUM MORE. Had already enjoyed himself on Second Reading, delivering one of those orations which, as COLCHESTER says, may be magnificent but are not debate. That should have satisfied vanity of ordinary man; but the MCCULLUM MORE not an ordinary man. There were several things he forgot to say in the speech. Others had occurred to him since. He might, without stopping progress of business, work them off in Committee; but in Committee he must needs stand on level with ordinary Peers anxious to get on with business, and his observations would probably not be reported. Thing to do was to move Instruction to Committee. This would bring him on first thing in a full House, before Peers had wearied themselves with application to real business. So gave notice of Instruction. Doesn’t matter in what terms; sufficient that he was able to deliver his speech. MARKISS a little sarcastic in begging him _not_ to press Instruction. Nobody showed inclination to debate it, but it had served its turn. Having delivered his speech, The MCCULLUM MORE stalked off home, leaving to others the drudgery of Committee work.
_Business done_.–Land Bill through Committee in Lords.
_Friday Night_.–Education Bill through Committee. Last scene of all a little lively owing to revolt on Conservative side. RICHARD TEMPLE led it in speech of unwonted eloquence. Quite overflowing wealth of imagery: described School Board as the ogre that eats up everything; that enough by way of description; but TEMPLE rising to fresh heights, went on to characterise it as the thin edge of the wedge.
Capital speech of quite another kind from JENNINGS. As the Member for Sark says, JENNINGS when he has anything to say to the House of Commons _talks_, doesn’t speechify; style excellent, and so is the matter. House would like to hear a little oftener from JENNINGS; due to it from Stockport who has also sent us GEDGE.
_Business done_.–Education Bill through Committee.
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SONGS OF THE UNSENTIMENTALIST.
THE GREENGROCER’S REBUKE.
We gave a little dinner; and I own,
Led by a wish with style to stamp the _fete_, Palmed off, as though a butler of our own, A skilled Greengrocer we had in “to wait.”– I thought he seemed to sway beneath the fish– And stagger with a half familiar smile, When, lo! he fell, remarking blandly, “Thish All comes of tryin’ to do the thing in shtyle!” I thundered, “Leave the room!” He saw my fix, And but retorted, “‘Ere, you ain’t a Duke! I’m not a-goin’ without my three-and-six!” Thus came on me that Greengrocer’s Rebuke!
That banquet was our last. No more we “dined,” In, now and then, perchance a friend might drop. It is our boast that he will ever find
At least the welcome of a homely chop. Some day, perhaps, when I have made my pile, And can from ostentatious show refrain, Without the Greengrocer to purchase “style,” I possibly once more may entertain!
And so,–I know not how it came about, But if by chance, it is a happy fluke
That I at length without the slightest doubt Have lived to bless that Greengrocer’s Rebuke!
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QUELCHING QUELCH.–Mr. QUELCH, before the Labour Commission, is said to have expressed his opinion that “the liberty to combine should not involve the liberty not to combine.” Doesn’t Mr. QUELCH see, that without “liberty not to combine” there _cannot_ be any “liberty to combine.” For if a man is not at liberty to abstain from combination, it is obvious that he is compelled to combine; and compulsion is hardly liberty. Freedom lies in choice, and Mr. QUELCH would leave the workman none.
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A MASK ON A MASK.
[A face-mask, the latest addition to the toilet, worn during the hours of sleep, is designed to remove wrinkles.]
Wear masks at night? Nay, when I saw your face, Old but unwrinkled, topped with sunny ringlets, Dear Lady OLDGARDE, while you made the pace, And flitted like a fairy borne on winglets From boy to boy, and flirted here and there With that unchanging smile of rouged enamel, I thought, “Since you are rich beyond compare, And since the needle’s eye doth bar the camel, ‘Tis right perhaps that wealth should purchase youth, And peaceful age become a ceaseless playtime; Still, if you’d wear _two_ masks to hide the truth, Oh, wear this last one always _in the daytime_.”
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