The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, Or The London Charivari, Volume 102, March 26, 1892, by Various This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Punch, Or The London Charivari, Volume 102, March 26, 1892 Author: Various Release Date: December 20, 2004 [EBook #14389] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PUNCH *** Produced by Malcolm Farmer, William Flis, and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team
Ye Moderates of London
Who sat at home at ease,
Ah! little did you think upon
The dangerous C.C.'s!
While comfort did surround you,
You did not care to go
Spots to vote
When the stormy winds did blow.
The voter should have courage
No danger he should shun;
In every kind of weather
All sorts of risks should run.
Not he! So bold Progressives
Will tax him, and he'll know
He must pay
In their way,
Which is neither sure nor slow.
But when the Thames Embankment,
The finest road in town,
Is riotous with tramcars,
Will that make rates come down?
Will all these free arrangements,
Free water, gas, do so?
Oh, they may!
Who can say?
And the Companies may go.
When LIDGETT and McDOUGALL
Are censors of the play,
We can patronise the Drama
In a strictly proper way;
When PARKINSON's Inspector
Of Ballets, we shall know
He will stop
If he sees a dancer's toe.
Such grandmaternal rulers
Will settle life for us,
And Moderates, escaping
All canvassing and fuss,
Can still, from cosy firesides,
Through three long years or so,
Jumps the cat,
And which way the wind does blow.
["Last Tuesday Mr. FRANK LOCKWOOD, Q.C., M.P., delivered a lecture entitled 'The Law and Lawyers of Pickwick,' to a large gathering of the citizens of York, which place he represents in Parliament."—Daily Telegraph.]
Oh, LOCKWOOD the Lecturer hath a rare store
Of quips, and of cranks, with good stories galore,
For a cheery Q.C. is he!
A cheery Q.C. and M.P.
With pen and with pencil he never doth fail,
And every day he hath got a fresh tale.
"A Big-vig on Pig-vig," he quaintly did say,
When giving his lecture at York t'other day.
For Ho! ho! ho!
FRANK LOCKWOOD can show
How well he his DICKENS
Doth know, know, know!
Chorus.—For Ho! ho! ho! &c.
["Programmes and introductions are going out of fashion at balls."—Weekly Paper.]
SCENE—Interior of a Drawing-room during a dance. Sprightly Damsel disengaged looking out for a partner. She addresses cheerful-looking Middle-aged Gentleman, who is standing near her.
She. I am not quite sure whether I gave you this waltz?
He. Nor I. But I hope you did. I am afraid it is nearly over, but we shall still have time for a turn. [They join the dancers.
She. Too many people here to-night to make waltzing pleasant.
He. Yes, it is rather crowded. Shall we sit out?
She (thankfully, as he has not quite her step.) If you like. And see, the band is bringing things to a conclusion. Don't you hate a cornet in so small a room as this? So dreadfully loud, you know.
He. Quite. Yes, I think it would have been better to have kept to the piano and the strings.
She. But the place is prettily decorated. It must have cost them a lot, getting all these flowers.
He. I daresay. No doubt they managed it by contract. And lots of things come from Algeria nowadays. You can get early vegetables in winter for next to nothing.
She. Yes, isn't it lovely? All these palms, I suppose, came from the Stores.
He. No doubt. By the way, do you know the people of the house at all?
She. Not much. Fact was, I was brought. Couldn't find either the host or hostess. Such a crowd on the staircase, you know.
He. Yes. Rather silly asking double the number of people the rooms will hold, isn't it?
She. Awfully. However, I suppose it pleases some folks. I presume they consider it the swagger thing to do?
He. I suppose they do. Do you know many people here?
She. Not a soul, or—
He. You would not have spoken to me?
She. Well, no—not exactly that. But—
He. You have no better excuse ready. Quite.
She. How rude you are! You know I didn't quite mean that.
He. No, not quite. Quite.
She. By the way, do you know what time it is?
He. Well, from the rooms getting less crowded, I fancy it must be the supper hour. May I not take you down?
She. You are most kind! But do you know the way?
He. I think so. You see, I have learned the geography of the place fairly well.
She. How fortunate! But if I accept your kindness, I think I should have the honour of knowing your name.
He. Certainly; my name is SMITH.
She. Any relation of the people who are giving the dance?
He. Well, yes. I am giving the dance myself—or rather, my wife is.
She. Oh, this is quite too delightful! For now you can tell me what to avoid.
He. Certainly; and I have the pleasure of speaking to—?
She. You must ask my chaperon for my name. You know, introductions are not the fashion.
He. And your chaperon is—?
She. Somewhere or other. In the meanwhile, if you will allow me?
He (offering his arm). Quite!
[Exeunt to supper.
Little Miss MUFFIT
Reposed on a tuffet,
Consuming her curds and whey—
She had dozens of dolls,
And some cash in Consols
Put by for a rainy day.
But though calm and content
While she drew Three per Cent.,
The Conversion unsettled her mien,
And she said, "Though they've thrown us
This Five-Shilling Bonus,
I cannot brook Two pounds fifteen!"
Comes a Broker outsider—
Who chanced to have spied her,
And "Options" and "Pools" he extols—
When he pictures the profit
(Commission small off it),
She cheerfully sells her Consols.
Then she starts operations
With fierce speculations
In Stocks of all manner and shape;
But whatever she chooses
Her "cover" she loses,
And sees it run off on the tape.
So alas! for Miss MUFFIT—
She now has to rough it,
And never gets jam with her tea;
While the Bucket-shop Dealer
Employs a four-wheeler,
Regardless of L. S. and D.
SCENE—Parlour of Private House, Oxford. TIME—Quite recently. Cook wishes to speak to her Mistress.
Cook. Please, 'm, I should like to go out this evening, 'm, which it's to see them Frogs at the New Theayter.
Mistress. But it's all Greek, and you won't understand it.
Cook. O yes, 'm. I once saw the Performin' Fleas, and they was French, I believe, leastways a Frenchman were showin' of 'em, and I unnerstood all as was necessary.
[After this, of course she obtains permission.
Mrs. Ram's Uncle (on the maternal side) has recently joined the religious sect known as the Plymouth Brethren. This has greatly distressed the good Lady. "If it had been anything else," she says, "a Moravian Missionary, or a Christian Brother-in-law, I wouldn't have minded. But to think that an Uncle of mine should have become a Yarmouth Bloater is a little hard on a poor woman no longer in her idolescence."
Young WILHELM was a wilful lad,
And lots of "cheek" young WILHELM had.
He deemed the world should hail with joy
A smart and self-sufficient boy,
And do as it by him was told;
He was so wise, he was so bold.
If anyone dared stop his play,
He screamed out—"Take the wretch away!
Oh, take my enemy away!
I won't have any foes to-day!"
His old adviser WILHELM swore
Was a pig-headed senile bore.
He meant to try another tack,
So his Old Pilot got the sack.
Nay more, one day, in a fierce squall,
He smashed his picture on the wall;
Tore up the papers when they said
He was a little "off his head."
He yelled, in his despotic way,
"Not any Press for me," I say!
"Oh, take that nasty Punch away
I won't have any Punch to-day!"
He deemed himself, and this was odd,
A sort of new Olympian god;
And when the wise, who watched his whim,
Sighed, "Have the gods demented him?
Quem deus vult, et cetera" he
Was just as mad as mad could be;
And, just like other angry boys,
Kicked over tables, smashed his toys,
And cried out, "Take the things away!
I'll have nought but new toys to-day!"
"Prudence?" he yelled; "what do I care?"
And here he kicked the old pet Bear
His sire and grandsire had so cherished,
Till the old policy had perished
With Wilful WILHELM, who preferred
The Eagles. With a pole he stirred
Big Bruin up. "Oh, I'll surprise him!
And, if he growls, I'll 'pulverise' him."
Some thought that picking rows with Bruin
Meant folly, if it did not ruin;
But when they whispered words of warning,
Then Wilful WILHELM, counsel scorning,
Shrieked, "Take the nasty brute away!
I won't have any Bears to-day!"
Now, WILHELM, do not be absurd,
But listen to a friendly word!
You are a clever boy, no doubt,
And very smart, and very stout,
Like young AUGUSTUS, dainty eater,
Whose story is in Struwwelpeter.
Did'st ever read those truthful stories,
Good Dr. HEINRICH HOFFMANN's glories,
Which round the world have travelled gaily,
By Nursery pets consulted daily?
If not, just get "Shock-headed PETER";
Read of AUGUSTUS, the soup-eater,
And stuck-up "JOHNNY Head-in-Air,"
Who came down "bump" all unaware.
And "Fidgety PHILIP." You'll confess them
Pointed,—and don't try to suppress them,
Like Princes, party-men and papers
Which can't admire all your mad capers!
My Wilful WILHELM, you'll not win
By dint of mere despotic din;
By kicking everybody over
In whom a critic you discover,
Or shouting in your furious way,
"Oh, take the nasty Punch away!
I won't have any Punch to-day!"
WHAT THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, MR. PUNCH, SAYS TO THE ARTISTS' CORPS.—"Gentlemen, you would no doubt like a brush with the enemy, to whom you will always show a full face. Any colourable pretence for a skirmish won't suit your palette. You march with the colours, and, like the oils, you will never run.' You all look perfect pictures, and everybody must admire your well-knit frames. Gentlemen, I do not know whether you will take my concluding observation as a compliment or not, but I need hardly say that it is meant to be both truthful and complimentary, and it is this, that though you are all Artists, you look perfect models,"
Mr. Boozle (soliloquises). "MY MEDICAL MAN TOLD ME NEVER ON ANY ACCOUNT TO MIX MY WINES. SO I'LL FINISH THE CHAMPAGNE FIRST, AND THEN TACKLE THE CLARET!"
[On Monday the 14th a "lion-tamer" was torn to pieces in a show at Hednesford.]
Shame to the callous French, who goad
The horse that pulls a heavy load!
Shame to the Spanish bull-fight! Shame
To those who make of death a game!
We English are a better race:
We love the long and solemn face;
We fly from any cheerful place,—
But, other days, we like a show.
There may be danger, as we know;
We put the thought of that aside,
For noble sport is England's pride:
We'd advertise a railway trip,
To see a wretched tamer slip
And die beneath the lion's grip,—
A REALLY EXCEPTIONALLY REMARKABLE AND NOTEWORTHY FACT.—To-day, Thursday, March 17.—Fine Spring weather. Have sat for over half-an-hour at a window looking on to the street, between 3·30 and 4·15 P.M., and have not once heard either the whole or any portion of the now strangely popular "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!" ... As I write this ... ha!... The grocer's book!... "Boom-de-ay" without the "Ta-ra." The spell is broken! N.B.—As this delightful song has now a certain number of Music-"hall-marks," the places where it is sung can be spotted and remembered as "Ta-ra's Halls."
Gather ye fish-bones while ye may,
The luncheon hour is flying,
And this same cod, that's boiled to-day,
To-morrow may be frying.
The handsome clock of ormolu
A quarter past is showing,
And soon 'twill be a quarter to,
When you must think of going.
That man eats best who eats the first,
When fish and plates are warmer,
But being cold, the worse and worst
Fare still succeeds the former.
Then be not coy, but use your lungs,
And while ye may, cry "Waiter!"
For having held just now your tongues,
You may repent it later.
The Times (loq.). "AH! WONDERFUL INSTINCT, AND OCCASIONALLY USEFUL. BUT I'M NOT PARTICULARLY PARTIAL TO HIM!"
The Belgian Master has tried, as he has already informed the world, "to write SHAKSPEARE for a company of Marionnettes." Encouraged by his extraordinary success, he has soared higher yet, and adapted our greatest national drama for the purposes of the (Independent) itinerant Stage. We are enabled by the courtesy of his publishers to give a few specimen scenes from this magnum opus, which, as will be seen, requires somewhat more elaborate mounting and mechanical effects than are at present afforded by the ordinary Punch Show. In M. MAETERLINCK's version, Ponsch becomes the Prince of Half-seas-over-Holland; he is the victim of hereditary homicidal mania, complicated by neurotic hysteria. Inflamed by the insinuations of Mynheer Olenikke—a kind of Dutch Mephistopheles and Iago combined—he is secretly jealous of his consort the Princess Jödi's preference for the society of Djoë, the Court Jester and Society Clown. Here is our first sample:—
A Chamber in the Castle. Princess JÖDI discovered at a window with DJOË.
Jödi. Lo! lo! a shower of stars is falling upon the fowl-house!
Djoë. Oh! oh! a shower of stars upon the fowl-house? (A water pipe in the back-garden bursts suddenly and splashes them.) Ah! ah! I am wet all over! Have you a pocket handkerchief?
Jödi. Oh, look! a comet—an enormous one—has descended into the water-butt! The sky is blood-red, and the moon has turned the colour of green cheese. This bodes some disaster!
Djoë. It is unsettled—rainy—unpleasant weather. Can you lend me an umbrella?
Jödi. I cannot lend you an umbrella, because I have lent mine to the gardener's wife. Owls are roosting on the chimney-pots, and a stickleback has jumped out of the pond. Hush, my Lord the Prince approaches!
[Prince PONSCH enters, bearing a stout staff, which he nurses gloomily, like an infant; a hurricane is heard in the middle distance; the waterpipe sobs strangely and then expires; a blackbeetle comes out of a cupboard and runs uneasily about, until a flash of lightning enters down the chimney and kills it. PONSCH stands glaring at DJOË and the Princess.
Djoë (hastily). There is going to be a storm. Do not forget what I have uttered. Good evening!
[He goes; the wind whistles a popular air through the keyhole.
Jödi (nervously). What an appalling evening! I have never seen the like of such a sky.
Ponsch. There is something about you this evening—how beautiful you are looking! Bring BEBBI-PONSCH.
Jödi (fetching the Infant Prince). Here he is. Why do you look so strangely at him?
Bebbi-Ponsch (a small, but important part). Is Pa-a-par poo-oorly? Won't he p'ay wiz me no mo-ore?
Ponsch. The soul of a little stage-child looms from under his green eyes! OLENIKKE was right, and I— No matter. I will open the window.
[Opens it, and throws BEBBI-P. out. Sound of water-splash audible.
Jödi. Oh my! Oh my! What have you done? He has fallen right into the moat—on one of the swans!
Ponsch. Indeed—on one of the swans? (A pot of mignonnette is blown off the window-sill by a gust.) I will close the window. (Closes it; a hailstorm beats on the panes.) Is that really a hailstorm—or only birds?
Jödi. I can hear nothing. (P. strikes her suddenly on the head with staff.) Someone is knocking at my door. Come in! I cannot see anything now.
Ponsch. Can you, indeed, see nothing? [He strikes her again.
Jödi. Now I can see stars. I feel as if purple mills were going round in my head. I shall never kiss anybody any more. Oh! oh! oh! [She dies.
Ponsch. She was a beautiful woman, do you know? Oh, how lonely I shall feel hereafter! (A black dog is heard scratching and sniffing outside the door.) It is only Tobbi. Someone has trod on your toe, my poor Tobbi. Come in. Give me your paw. (Tobbi enters, and flies suddenly at his nose.) Oh, my nose is bleeding! Let us go to the pond. I do not know why I feel so melancholy this evening. [He goes out, pursued by Tobbi.
SAMPLE No. II.—A Hall in Castle Ollendorff. A Marionnette Theatre at the back of Stage. DJOË, a Belgian Bedell, and Dutch Dolls-in-waiting discovered.
Djoë. Green flames are running along the walls, and blue globes are bounding about the back garden. I have never seen such a night. Here comes the Prince.
[Enter PONSCH, conscience-stricken; all bow.
Ponsch. I am not melancholy, but I have hardly any hair. Let the Play commence!
Curtain of Marionnette Show rises; a Clown is seen chasing a butterfly.
A Councillor. Oh! oh! oh! [Uproar; the Clown and Butterfly are withdrawn. A Skeleton appears on the Stage, and dances his head and limbs off in a blue light.
Ponsch (rising). That was done purposely! You are driving at something. Confess it! Is there no topic more cheerful? I cannot bear it any longer!
[Knocks down DJOË with his staff. A combat, during which DJOË several times obtains possession of the weapon, and wounds PONSCH. N.B.—Note the striking resemblance here to the similar, but very inferior, Scenes in "Hamlet."
The Dutch Dolls (running about). Both of them bleeding already! There's blood on the walls already! Already blood on the walls! (&c.).
The Bedell. The Prince has slain DJOË. Take him into custody.
[PONSCH strikes the Bedell down.
The B. Ha! ha! ha! (Tries to rise—but is struck again). Ha! ha! (PONSCH strikes once more.) Ha!
[The Bedell dies; a draught enters under the door and blows out two of the candles; a thunderbolt is heard coming down-stairs, and the Ghost of JÖDI suddenly appears from behind a tapestry representing "The Finding of Moses."
Ponsch (to Ghost). Have you any hearse-plumes at hand? Do not be angry with me. Can you hear my teeth? I am only a poor little old man. Will you please undo my necktie? (cf. "King Lear"). Let us go to breakfast. Will there be muffins for breakfast?
[Exit, leaning heavily on Ghost's arm.
The Dutch Dolls (with conviction). One more such night as this, and all our heads would have gone bald!
SAMPLE No. III.—The Courtyard with a scaffold and gibbet. A blood-red moon is sailing amid the currant-bushes, and a shower of stars proceeds uninterruptedly. PONSCH discovered looking through the fatal noose.
Djakketch (the Court Executioner). Can you see anything through the loop?
Ponsch. Not yet. I cannot see the audience anywhere.
Djak. No; we are probably above the heads of the audience. But can't you distinguish Mr. WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE?
Ponsch. Wait one moment. No, I cannot see Mr. SHAKSPEARE anywhere.
Djak. Because he has had to take a back seat. Look again. Can you see nothing?
Ponsch. I can make out an omnibus in the street. It is green.
Djak. Ay, ay! A Bayswater 'bus. They are green. But don't you see any of the general public?
Ponsch. I can see Mr. WILLIAM ARCHER, and some new Critics, and unconventional Dramatists. They are following the text with books of the Play. But there are no more errand-boys with baskets.
Djak. This is wonderful. No more errand-boys with baskets?
Ponsch. No more small children with babies!
Djak. No more small children? Do pray let me look. (PONSCH retires, and DJAKKETCH puts his head through the loop.) Oh, I can see plainly now. There is not a single spectator left. They have all been bored to death!
Ponsch. All bored to death? Now then, lift your head a little, and I will fondle you. [Pulls the cord towards himself.
Djak. Oh, what have you put round my neck? Oh me! You are going to ... oh, you are!
Ponsch. Oh, I am!
[Exeunt all, except DJAKKETCH, who ceases kicking gradually. A peacock is heard warbling in a cemetery round the corner; a barn-door fowl jumps on a wheelbarrow, and crows.
Old liquor born on my birthday, a twin to me,
Whether ordained wit and mirth to put into me,
Or passions that witch and defy us,
Or, peradventure, the sleep of the pious.
Vaunt not its shippers, my friend, but produce it—an
Actual, "forty-five," languorous Lusitan,
Befitting, whate'er be its label,
You, my good host, and the guest at your table.
Steeped though you frown in this dryasdust clever age,
Dare you presume to resist such a beverage?
Why, ELDON, that dragon of virtue,
Never imagined its vintage could hurt you.
Liquor like this from a bottle whose crust is whole,
Liquor like this rubs the rust from the rusty soul;
The faddist it mellows: the private
Secrets of State it can somehow arrive at.
Under its spell frolics Hypochondriasis;
Poverty learns what a millionnaire's bias is,
Yes, Poverty, such a spell under,
Laughs at the County Court's impotent thunder.
Fill, then! A bumper we'll empty between us to
Bacchus, the Pas-de-trois Graces, and Venus too,
With all of that classical ilk, man—
Till the stars fade with the morn and the milkman.
I am shrouded in impenetrable gloom-de-ay,
For I feel I'm being driven to my doom-de-ay,
By an aggravating ditty
Which I don't consider witty;
And they call the horrid thing, "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!"
Every 'bus-conductor, errand-boy, and groom-de-ay,
City clerk, and cheeky crossing-sweep with broom-de-ay
Makes my nervous system bristle
As he tries to sing or whistle
That atrocious and absurd "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!"
So I sit in the seclusion of my room-de-ay,
And deny myself to all—no matter whom-de-ay—
For I dread a creature coming
Whose involuntary humming
May assume the fatal form, "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!"
Oh, I fear that when the Summer roses bloom-de-ay,
You will read upon a well-appointed tomb-de ay:—
"Influenza never lick'd him,
But he fell an easy victim
To that universal scourge—'Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!'"
One of the Baron's Assistant Readers has been reading a really interesting, well written novel in two volumes, by MARY BRADFORD-WHITING. It is called Denis O'Neil, and tells of the adventures of a young Irish Doctor who gets entangled in the plots of one of those Secret Societies that used to exist in "the most distressful country that ever yet was seen," some twenty years ago. The romance contains some clever sketches of character. The story (published by BENTLEY) ends sadly, and those who want to find fault with it will say it is too short.
The Leadenhall Press,—immortalised by its invention of that invaluable work of art, "The Hairless Author's Paper Pad," which the Baron herewith and hereby strongly recommends to Mr. GLADSTONE, who has so much writing to do with a pad on his knee, and for this purpose Mr. G. would find this the "knee plus ultra" of inventions,—this same Leadenhall Press has recently published a story without a title, offering a reward of £100 to any individual, or to be divided between such individuals, as may guess it. The story is in effect about a youth who lost his right eye in fighting another boy, and who subsequently revenged himself by depriving his antagonist of an eye by a violent stroke at Lawn-tennis. What can be the title? The Baron has had the following suggestions made to him:—"Eye for an Eye," "The Egotist," "My Eye!" "Aye! aye!" "Ocular Demonstration," "A Man of One Eye-dear!" "Eyes Righted," "One Left," "The Other Eye," "Two Pupils and One Eye," "You and Eye," "The Eyes Have It." The Baron "winks the other eye," and will be very glad should any hint of his have assisted a deserving person to gain the reward offered by Mr. TUER. En attendant the Baron has hit upon a still more novel idea. He will write some contributions towards short stories, and his readers shall finish them. The terms will be these:—The Baron commences a chapter, or a few lines of it, and leaves it unfinished, then his readers shall finish the sentence, and sometimes the chapter, for themselves. If the sentence, or the chapter, as the case may be, shall turn out to be exactly what the Baron would have written had he continued it, then he, the Baron, will award £100 to the successful candidate, or will award a division of that sum among the successful candidates. Every competitor shall pay the Baron £50. And to insure such payment, each competitor's cheque for this amount must accompany his or her contribution.
EXAMPLE.—CHAPTER I.—The harvest-moon was slowly rising. The heather, dried and burnt by the mid-day sun, appeared, to the eye unaccustomed to this aspect of the country, to be merely a rugged divergence from the main road. Descending carefully from his dog-cart, a small man in a big coat, muffled up to the eyes, proceeded leisurely to—
Now, then, what did he leisurely proceed to do? There's a fortune in it!—somewhere!—says
Mr. Huggins. "WHAT A 'EAVENLY DINNER IT WAS!"
Mr. Buggins. "B'LIEVE YER! MYKES YER WISH YER WAS BORN 'OLLER!"
First Jolly Bather (singing, quaveringly):—
Spring's delights are now revi-i-i-vi-i-i-ng,
Verdant leaflets deck each spr-a-ay!
Second Jolly Bather (impatiently). Don't, ARTHUR, make that row! B-r-r-r! (Shivers.) Spring's delights, indeed! And as to the "verdant leaflets" (unless you mean election squibs), where are they?
First Ditto. Ah, "verdant leaflets" not a bad name for Financial Reform tracts, et id genus omne. Touch of your old satirical Saturday-Reviewish style there, Nunky!
Second Ditto (hastily). Oh, bother! What are we here for?
First Ditto (coolly). Why, to bathe, I presume.
Second Ditto. Bah! One would think, ARTHUR, we belonged to that society of lunatics who make a point of taking a matutinal plunge in the Serpentine every morning, all the year round, even if they have to break the ice to do it! Ineffable idiots! [Curls up.
First Ditto. Well, we may as well put a good face on it, Uncle.
Second Ditto. Ah, yes, you can say so—at your age, ARTHUR. I like my morning tub in my bath-room—with the chill off.
[Wraps his towel round his neck.
First Ditto. (Sings again, tremolo):—
Why linger shivering on the brink,
And fear to launch away?
Second Ditto (sharply). Why, you're at it again, ARTHUR! And a Conventicler's hymn, too, this time. I'm a-a-shamed of you.
First Ditto. Ah! that's what LABOUCHERE, O'KELLY, CONYBEARE, and Company say! I don't mind; in fact, as I told 'em, I rather like it. Does me a world of good.
Second Ditto (admiringly). Ah! you have got a nerve, ARTHUR. I will say that for you. Still, you've been giving them something to "guy" you about lately, you know.
First Ditto (sharply). Ah! have I? Well, "I can assure you that I am the last person in the world to object to a process from which I have profited so much."
Second Ditto. Oh, yes, that was all very well for them, over yonder. In fact, I own it was rather neatly put.
First Ditto (slily). Didn't "lack finish," was sufficiently "ad unguem," eh, Nunky?
Second Ditto (moodily). Ah! what do you youngsters know about those fine old fighting days? I didn't love DIZZY, but he was a neat hand with the foils, boy.
First Ditto. Especially in a bout with a friend,—with the buttons off. But I say, this isn't bathing, you know!
Second Ditto. No. (Eyeing the stream distastefully.) Hadn't we better postpone the pleasure till a little later in the season, ARTHUR. When those "Spring's delights" of which you melodiously twangle are a leetle more en évidence.
First Ditto (pipes). Hawthorn buds give joyful tidings.
Welcome, youths, 'tis bright bath-day!
Second Ditto. Ah! if we're here to do the Eclogue business, STREPHON can take his turn, as well as CORYDON. [Sings.
Let us plunge into the ri-i-i-v-e-e-r!
Leave our vesture on the bank!
First Ditto. Bless me, STREPHON, how you shi-i-v-e-e-r!
Second Ditto. 'Tis like a fishmonger's tank!
First Ditto. Pooh! 'tis lovely—when you're in it;
One bold header, and 'tis done!
Second Ditto. Ah, quite so, but—wait a minute,
Till I've warmed me with a run.
That will stir my circulation;
For the moment I am "friz."
First Ditto. Magnifique! my dear relation;
But, you'll own, it is not "biz."
Both. We must o-o-o-ow-n it is not "biz!"
Second Ditto. Well, no, I suppose it isn't, ARTHUR. By the way, what's that row behind there?
First Ditto. (looking). By Jove! it's that Gladstone gang! They've tracked us! (Sings)—
They're after us! They're after us!
We're the individuals they require.
Second Ditto. (sardonically). What a lyric répertoire you have, ARTHUR! Old English glee, Puritan psalmody. Music-hall song, all come equally well to you, it seems. But those roughs mean mischief, Nephew mine!
First Ditto. Doubtless! They always do. And they've done some lately, drat them! I say, wouldn't they like to shove us in, as they did the old witches, to see if we can swim?
Second Ditto. By Jove! I shouldn't wonder if they tried. Don't you think, ARTHUR, (valiantly) it would be better, more manly, and more politic, perchance, to plunge in than to be pushed?
First Ditto (drily). Ah! just as the brave sheep—
"Committed suicide to save themselves from slaughter."
Second Ditto. Oh, hang your quotations! Happy omen! 'Tis Leap Year, is it not? Just a leap; though, like DERBY's, it be "in the dark," and—well, we shall know where we are, anyhow!
First Ditto. Ah, just so; and that's something!
Hairdresser. "ANY BAY-RUM, SIR?"
Middy. "THANK YOU—A—NO! NOT QUITE so EARLY IN THE MORNING—YOU KNOW!"
It seems Sir E.C., Q.C., likes
The blatant, brazen, Boothian band,
Admires "abstaining" zeal that strikes
The biggest drum with boldest hand.
He says, "You must not judge some others' case
By tastes much more refined," less commonplace.
Yet, as Sir EDWARD disagrees
With those whose tastes he thus divined,
It's manifestly clear he sees
His taste in music's not "refined."
'Twas written long ago by CHAUCER's pen,
"The gretest clerkes ben not the wisest men."
At the Prince of Wales's, Mr. ARTHUR ROBERTS, as Captain Crosstree, is more ARTHUR ROBERTS than ever, and, consequently, immensely droll. While he is on the stage, the audience is convulsed with spasmodic laughter, excepting when he tries to forget himself and his drollery in a loyal attempt at doing justice to Messrs. SIMS' AND PETTITT's words, and to the serious business of some situation intended to be dramatic. At such moments the laughter of the House is checked, a sudden gloom comes over the faces that were but now on the broad grin, even the lineaments of Mr. ROBERTS become agonised, and the audience, like Christopher Sly when bored by the Duke's players, mutter to themselves, "would t'were done." But these painful seconds, which, at the time, seem hours, are, we are glad to say, but brief and passing shadows over Mr. ROBERTS' own quaint humour which speedily reasserts itself, and, the Pettitt-and-Sims fetters being cast aside, the People's ARTHUR is himself again, and more so than ever. And, when he is himself, he is simply the most absurd person that ever faced the footlights.
Miss NELLIE STEWART is a pretty singing, dancing, twisting, twirling Susan. But what induced handsome Miss MARION BURTON, once so gay and sprightly as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, to essay this musically dreary part of William, and, further, to wear a costume about as unlike that of the nautical and traditional William as can well be imagined, is a puzzle to anyone who knows what she has done and can do. Not a bit of dash in the character; all the good old conventional British Tar taken right out of it. She can indeed say with the fool in The Yeomen of the Guard, "I've got a song to sing, oh!" for she has two or three, but her "voice is wasted on the desert air," as they go for nothing, and therefore probably nobody else could make them go for anything.
Mr. ARTHUR WILLIAMS is funny, but his Variety Show scene, with soliloquy and song, is too long; or rather, it would not be too long, if the piece were only cut down to a two hours' entertainment.
Let this "Comic Opera," for so is it described in the bills, be cut down as ruthlessly, but not as blindly, as William cut down Crosstree; let something catching be substituted for most of the music of the First Act,—specially omitting the "Why, certainly!" interpolation, which is a feeble but evident imitation of Mr. W.S. GILBERT's classic "What, never?" "Well, hardly ever;" let the music of the Second Act be taken out by handfuls, and, if possible, let what remains be replaced by something sparkling; then, with less of sweet but sad William—for the present version of the part is quite "BURTON's Anatomy of Melancholy,"—with less of fascinating but squirming Susan, far less of minor characters generally, and more, by comparison, of the two MACS—meaning the two ARTHURS with the plural names ROBERTS and WILLIAMS,—also a telling song for Mr. CHAUNCEY OLCOTT (whose singing now wins an encore for an indifferent ballad),—with the Captain's-giggy hornpipe of Mr. WILLIE WARD retained, as also the graceful dancing of Miss KATIE SEYMOUR, and then, omitting as much of the plot and authors' written dialogue as can be conveniently spared,—very little of it would be missed,—there is no rhyme or reason why Blue-Eyed Susan should not run on as a Variety Entertainment for any number of nights and days, during which fresh material can be constantly substituted by Messrs. ROBERTS & Co. of the Drollery Company, Unlimited, without racking the fertile brains of Messrs. PETTITT AND SIMS.
Major Spooneleigh. "AND YOU RIDE SO WELL, AND—ER—YOU DRIVE SO WONDERFULLY WELL, AND—ER—YOU DANCE SO—ER—BEAUTIFULLY, AND YOU—ER—PLAY LAWN-TENNIS SO—ER—EXQUISITELY, AND—ER—OF COURSE YOU FISH ALSO?"
Mrs. Dasher. "NEVER FOR COMPLIMENTS, I ASSURE YOU; AND CERTAINLY NOT IN SHALLOW WATERS!"
House of Commons, Monday, March 14.—JACKSON turned up to-night answering questions from Irish Members. This reminds us he's Irish Secretary. Been so of course since Parliament met; but quite forgotten it. Mention this to the SPEAKER who looked a little dull while Captain PRICE was discoursing on Navy Affairs in Committee of Supply. So went up to have a little chat with him in the Chair.
"My dear TOBY," he said, "I don't know whether you meant it, but you've paid JACKSON the highest compliment it is possible to convey. When in these times the CHIEF SECRETARY so manages to conduct business of his department that he himself is temporarily forgotten, he's doing it surpassingly well. My big brother ROBERT was once Chief Secretary, though perhaps you forget that also. He resigned because, as he said, there was not enough work to keep an active man going. That was long time ago. I daresay you had no chance of forgetting during the last five years that Prince ARTHUR was Chief Secretary?"
Cannot claim to have invented the compliment the SPEAKER discerned; merely mentioning matter of fact; but, as he says, when in these days a Chief Secretary manages to get himself forgotten, the wheels at the Irish Office must be going pretty smoothly. JACKSON has not brought about this miraculous change by laying himself out to flatter or court Irish Members. He is exactly the same as he was when he filled office of Financial Secretary; doubtless the same as when he looked after his tanyard in Yorkshire. Goes straight to the point in simple unaffected business manner that ruffles no sensibilities. Fancy he could tan a hide in such a way that it would not feel any resentment.
A predecessor at the Irish Office who succeeded, in more troublesome times, in living on peaceable terms with Irish Members, was CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN. Irish Members, swift judges of character, taking measure of both, came to conclusion nothing to be gained by rowing round them. What killed FORSTER, and turned GEORGE TREVELYAN's hair grey, made CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN smile—not an offensive smile, but one of interested amusement. JACKSON's sense of humour not so keen, but his imperturbability even more impregnable. If Irish Member trailed his coat before him, JACKSON would say, "My dear fellow, won't you get cold? Let me help you on with your coat."
SQUIRE OF MALWOOD, a judge on this particular point, says the MARKISS missed the greatest chance he has had for six months in not putting JACKSON in place of OLD MORALITY.
"Precious good thing for us, TOBY," says the SQUIRE, "that he didn't. JACKSON the very model [pg 156] of a Leader of House, and Prince ARTHUR—well he's Prince ARTHUR."
"But I suppose you don't mean," I venture to ask, "that JACKSON is the exclusive type of a successful Leader?"
"No," says the SQUIRE, with a far-away look.
Business done.—Two Votes in Supply.
Tuesday.—Spent doleful afternoon in Committee of Supply. Circumstances call upon Members below Gangway, Radicals or Irishmen, to come to front, and make at least show of doing something. SAGE OF QUEEN ANNE'S GATE pricks up his ears when Chairman puts question to allow £6 7s. 11d. on account of Sheerness Police Court. Why should Northampton contribute its quota, however small, to expenses of Sheerness Police Court? Debate and Division; after which, the SAGE retired to smoke cigarette through rest of afternoon, and discuss probable date of Dissolution.
Then Irish Members come on. Cream seems spooned off the mass in preparation for festivities on St. Patrick's Day, and only the skimmest of skim milk left. WEBB wobbles to the front; talks out vote for Chicago Royal Committee, although ATTORNEY-GENERAL tells him it will be all right as to Irish interests; being now close upon ten minutes to seven, when Committee must adjourn, WEBSTER hasn't time to make detailed explanations, but promises to do so on Report. WEBB maunders on all the same, and Vote postponed.
Great day for FLYNN. TIM HEALY thinks he's pretty smart as a debater; SEXTON believes he knows a thing or two; O'BRIEN is understood to be something of an orator. FLYNN will show House how all these qualities may be combined in one man. Does it by the tiresome twenty minutes, the lamentable half-hour; popping up on every question with comically judicial air; talking on with fatal feeble flatulent fluency, whilst GILL sits nursing his hat awaiting his turn.
Alack for Irish humour, eloquence and deviltry, that it should come to this!
Whilst FLYNN once again turns on the tap of his tepid dish-water, news comes that Lord HAMPDEN died this morning in far-off Pau. HAMPDEN was the BRAND who sat in Chair during Parliament of 1874, and wrestled nightly with the "bhoys" when they were in their prime—MAJOR O'GORMAN rollicking through the night; JOSEPH GILLIS with lean hand outstretched and his "It seems to me, MR. SPEAKER"; PARNELL in the white heat of passion; DELAHUNTY with his One Pound Notes, and poor MCCARTHY DOWNING with his scared look and his indescribable but unmistakable air of one accustomed to frequent the best society in Skibbereen.
After a fourth speech from FLYNN, with another to follow from WEBB, one almost envies the EX-SPEAKER lying at rest at the foot of the Pyrenees.
Business done.—A few Votes in Supply.
Thursday.—St. Patrick's Day in the evening. Irish Members rose to occasion; indeed, at one time O'KELLY and JOHN O'CONNOR rose together; remained on their legs in defiance of Standing Orders and angry protest of Chairman. Seemed as if someone must be suspended pour encourager les autres. Storm suddenly stilled; rising passion subdued by appearance of ALPHEUS CLEOPHAS on the scene, wanting to know about the Refreshment-bar in the Lobby. which, he said, was lowering to the dignity and respectability of House.
Friday 12·15 A.M.—All this in Committee of Supply, which came to end at midnight. Then Report of Supply brought on; uproar renewed; Vote for Irish Teachers' Pension Fund under discussion. Irish Members mysteriously disappeared; SEXTON, understood to have ready prodigious speech on the subject, nowhere to be found. "JOHN O'CONNOR," NOLAN hoarsely whispered, "you have the longest legs in the Party; go and look up the bhoys, and I'll talk."
Silently but swiftly LONG JOHN stole forth on his mission; NOLAN nobly performed his part. At end of forty minutes' breathless talk, the Colonel, feeling his mouth growing parched, moved adjournment of House. SPEAKER didn't recognise relevancy of argument; declined to put the question.
"The Hon. Member," he said, "has spoken for forty minutes, and not given a single reason in favour of his proposal."
"I was coming to that point," said NOLAN, "and, if it is quite in order, I will now approach it."
Ruled out of order. LONG JOHN, back from his foray, in course of which had hunted up SEXTON, threw himself into breach; moved the adjournment for irresistible reason.
"I object," he said, "to this important subject being dealt with at nearly one o'clock in the morning on St. Patrick's night."
T.W. RUSSELL, condoled with his compatriots below Gangway on difficulties of situation. "Certainly hard," he said, "that on St. Patrick's night they should be called upon to discuss questions involving facts and figures." BALFOUR opposed adjournment; CONYBEARE strode in; commenced what promised to be long speech; Prince ARTHUR moved Closure; carried by nearly a hundred majority.
1·35 A.M.—House just back after division on question of adjournment; Ministerialists in full muster and full of fight; 41 for adjournment, 121 against. As if nothing been said during previous hour-and-half, ILLINGWORTH urges Prince ARTHUR to concede adjournment; PRINCE ARTHUR rises to reply. Irish Members, pulling themselves together, walk steadily out, amid ribald laughter from Ministerialists. Once more the CURSE OF CAMBOURNE turns up. This seems, quite naturally, to suggest the Closure; sort of automatic procedure; CONYBEARE—Closure. One more division just to wind up, and at ten minutes past two Vote carried and House up.
Business done.—Revival of old times.
Saturday, 1·20 A.M.—House just up, after prolonged wrangle, lasting, with interval for dinner, straight through from two o'clock yesterday afternoon. Met then for Morning Sitting designed to make progress with financial business. For four hours disputed how business was to be arranged. This left one hour for doing it. Sitting suspended at seven, resumed at nine.
At it again talking about Royalties on Gold in Wales. Domestic Policy in Zululand, the Irish Question in the Falkland Islands, and Parliamentary Reporting. All this led gently up to passing Vote on Account; a conclusion finally arrived at with the assistance of the Closure.
Business done.—Vote on Account taken.
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