The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 1, August 21, 1841, 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, Vol. 1, August 21, 1841 Author: Various Release Date: February 7, 2005 [EBook #14924] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PUNCH *** Produced by Syamanta Saikia, Jon Ingram, Barbara Tozier and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team
The conversation now subsided into “private and confidential” whispers, from which I could learn that Miss O’Brannigan had consented to quit her father’s halls with Terence that very night, and, before the priest, to become his true and lawful wife.
It had been previously understood that those of the guests who lived at a distance from the lodge should sleep there that night. Nothing could have been more favourable for the designs of the lovers; and it was arranged between them, that Miss Biddy was to steal from her chamber into the yard, at daybreak, and apprise her lover of her presence by flinging a handful of gravel against his window. Terence’s horse was warranted to carry double, and the lady had taken the precaution to secure the key of the stable where he was placed.
It was long after midnight before the company began to separate;—cloaks, shawls, and tippets were called for; a jug of punch of extra strength was compounded, and a doch an dhurris11. A drink at the door;—a farewell cup. of the steaming beverage administered to every individual before they were permitted to depart. At length the house was cleared of its guests, with the exception of those who were to remain and take beds there. Amongst the number were the haberdasher and your uncle. The latter was shown into a chamber in which a pleasant turf fire was burning on the hearth.
Although Terence’s mind was full of sweet anticipations and visions of future grandeur, he could not avoid feeling a disagreeable sensation arising from the soaked state of his boots; and calculating that it still wanted three or four hours of daybreak, he resolved to have us dry and comfortable for his morning’s adventure. With this intention he drew us off, and placed us on the hearth before the fire, and threw himself on the bed—not to sleep—he would sooner have committed suicide—but to meditate upon the charms of Miss Biddy and her thousand pounds.
But our strongest resolutions are overthrown by circumstances—the ducking, the dancing, and the potteen, had so exhausted Terence, that he unconsciously shut, first, one eye, then the other, and, finally, he fell fast asleep, and dreamed of running away with the heiress on his back, through a shaking bog, in which he sank up to the middle at every step. His vision was, however, suddenly dispelled by a smart rattle against his window. A moment was sufficient to recall him to his senses—he knew it was Miss Biddy’s signal, and, jumping from the bed, drew back the cotton window-curtains and peered earnestly out: but though the day had begun to break, it was still too dark to enable him to distinguish any person on the lawn. In a violent hurry he seized on your humble servant, and endeavoured to draw me on; but, alas! the heat of the fire had so shrank me from my natural dimensions, that he might as well have attempted to introduce his leg and foot into an eel-skin. Flinging me in a rage to the further corner of the room, he essayed to thrust his foot into my companion, which had been reduced to the same shrunken state as myself. In vain he tugged, swore, and strained; first with one, and then with another, until the stitches in our sides grinned with perfect torture; the perspiration rolled down his forehead—his eyes were staring, his teeth set, and every nerve in his body was quivering with his exertions—but still he could not force us on.
“What’s to be done!” he ejaculated in despairing accents. A bright thought struck him suddenly, that he might find a pair of boots belonging to some of the other visitors, with which he might make free on so pressing an emergency. It was but sending them back, with an apology for the mistake, on the following day. With this idea he sallied from his room, and groped his way down stairs to find the scullery, where he knew the boots were deposited by the servant at night. This scullery was detached from the main building, and to reach it it was necessary to cross an angle of the yard. Terence cautiously undid the bolts and fastenings of the back door, and was stealthily picking his steps over the rough stones of the yard, when he was startled by a fierce roar behind him, and at the same moment the teeth of Towser, the great watch-dog, were fastened in his nether garments. Though very much alarmed, he concealed his feelings, and presuming on a slight previous intimacy with his assailant, he addressed him in a most familiar manner, calling him “poor fellow” and “old Towser,” explained to him the ungentlemanly liberty he was taking with his buckskins, and requested him to let go his hold, as he had quite enough of that sport. Towser was, however, not to be talked out of his private notions; he foully suspected your uncle of being on no good design, and replied to every remonstrance he made with a growl and a shake, that left no doubt he would resort to more vigorous measures in case of opposition. Afraid or ashamed to call for help, Terence was kept in this disagreeable state, nearly frozen to death with cold and trembling with terror, until the morning was considerably advanced, when he was discovered by some of the servants, who released him from the guardianship of his surly captor. Without waiting to account for the extraordinary circumstances in which he had been found, he bolted into the house, rushed up to his bed-chamber, and, locking the door, threw himself into a chair, overwhelmed with shame and vexation.
But poor Terence’s troubles were not half over. The beautiful heiress, after having discharged several volleys of sand and small pebbles against his window without effect, was returning to her chamber, swelling with indignation, when she was encountered on the stairs by Tibbins, who, no doubt prompted by the demon of jealousy, had been watching her movements. He could not have chosen a more favourable moment to plead his suit; her mortified vanity, and her anger at what she deemed the culpable indifference of her lover, made her eager to be revenged on him. It required, therefore, little persuasion to obtain her consent to elope with the haberdasher. The key of the stable was in her pocket, and in less than ten minutes she was sitting beside him in his gig, taking the shortest road to the priest’s.
I cannot attempt to describe the rage that Terence flew into, as soon as he learned the trick he had been served; he vowed to be the death of Tibbins, and it is probable he would have carried his threat into effect, if the haberdasher had not prudently kept out of his way until his anger had grown cool.
“So,” said I, addressing the narrator, “you lost the opportunity of figuring at Miss Biddy’s wedding?”
“Yes,” replied the ‘wife-catcher;’ “but Terence soon retrieved his credit, for in less than three months after his disappointment with the heiress, we were legging it as his wedding with Miss Debby Doolan, a greater fortune and a prettier girl than the one he had lost: and, by-the-bye, that reminds me of a funny scene which took place when the bride came to throw the stocking—hoo! hoo! hoo! hoo!”
Here my friends, the boots, burst into a long and loud fit of laughter; while I, ignorant of the cause of their mirth, looked gravely on, wondering when it would subside. Instead, however, of their laughter lessening, the cachinnations became so violent that I began to feel seriously alarmed.
“My dear friends!” said I.
“Hoo! hoo! hoo! hoo! hoo!” shouted the pair.
“This excessive mirth may be dangerous”—
A peal of laughter shook their leathern sides, and they rolled from side to side on their chair. Fearful of their falling, I put out my hand to support them, when a sense of acute pain made me suddenly withdraw it. I started, opened my eyes, and discovered that I had laid hold of the burning remains of the renowned “wife-catchers,” which I had in my sleep placed upon the fire.
As I gazed mournfully upon the smoking relics of the ancient allies of our house, I resolved to record this strange adventure; but you know I never had much taste for writing, Jack, so I now confide the task to you. As he concluded, my uncle raised his tumbler to his lips, and I could perceive a tear sparkling in his eye—a genuine tribute of regard to the memory of the venerated “Wife Catchers.”
Wrote Paget to Pollen,
With face bright as brass,
“T’other day in the Town Hall
You mention’d an ass:
“Now, for family reasons,
I’d like much to know,
If on me you intended
That name to bestow?”
“My lord,” says Jack Pollen,
“Believe me, (’tis true,)
I’d be sorry to slander
A donkey or you.”
“Being grateful,” says Paget,
“I’d ask you to lunch;
But just, Sir John, tell me.
Did you call me PUNCH?”
“In wit, PUNCH is equalled,”
Says Pollen, “by few;
In naming him, therefore,
I couldn’t mean you,”
“Thanks! thanks! To bear malice,”
Save Paget, “I’m loath;
Two answers I’ve got, and I’m
Charm’d with them both.”
Lisette has lost her wanton wiles—
What secret care consumes her youth,
And circumscribes her smiles?—
A spec on a front tooth!
Fitzsmall, who drinks with knights and lords,
To steal a share of notoriety,
Will tell you, in important words,
He mixes in the best society.
We find, by the Times of Saturday, the British teasel crops in the parish of Melksham have fallen entirely to the ground, and from their appearance denote a complete failure. Another paragraph in the same paper speaks quite as discouragingly of the appearance of the American Teazle at the Haymarket.
|A stands for Aristocracy, a thing I should admire;|
|B stands for a Bishop, who is clothed in soft attire;|
|C beginneth Cabinet, where Mamma keeps her tools;|
|D doth stand for Downing-street, the “Paradise of Fools;”|
|E beginneth England, that granteth the supplies;|
|F doth stand for Foreigners, whom I should patronize;|
|G doth stand for Gold—good gold!—for which man freedom barters;|
|H beginneth Honors—that is, ribbons, stars, and garters;|
|I stands for my Income (several thousand pounds per ann.);|
|J stands for Johnny Bull, a soft and easy kind of man;|
|K beginneth King, who rules the land by “right divine;”|
|L’s for Mrs. Lilly, who was once a nurse of mine.|
|M beginneth Melbourne, who rules the roast and State;|
|N stands for a Nobleman, who’s always good and great.|
|O is for the Opera, that I should only grace;|
|P stands for the Pension List, for “servants out of place.”|
|Q’s the Quarter’s Salary, for which true patriots long;|
|R’s for Mrs. Ratsey, who taught me this pretty song;|
|S stands for the Speech, which Mummy learns to say;|
|T doth stand for Taxes, which the people ought to pay;|
|U’s for the Union Work-house, which horrid paupers shun;|
|V is for Victoria, “the Bess of forty-one;”|
|W stands for War, the “noble game” which Monarchs play;|
|X is for the Treble X—Lilly drank three times a day;|
|And Y Z’s for the Wise Heads, who admire all I say.|
A popular encyclopædia of the requisites for gentility—a companion to the toilet, the salons, the Queen’s Bench, the streets, and the police-stations, has long been felt to be a desideratum by every one aspiring to good-breeding. The few works which treat on the subject have all become as obselete as “hot cockles” and “crambo.” “The geste of King Horne,” the “ΒΑΣΙΛΙΚΟΝ” of King Jamie, “Peacham’s Complete Gentleman,” “The Poesye of princelye Practice,” “Dame Juliana Berners’ Book of St. Alban’s,” and “The Jewel for Gentrie,” are now confined to bibliopoles and bookstalls. Even more modern productions have shared the same fate. “The Whole Duty of Man” has long been consigned to the trunk-maker, “Chesterfield’s Letters” are now dead letters, and the “Young Man” lights his cigar with his “Best Companion.” It is true, that in lieu of these, several works have emanated from the press, adapted to the change of manners, and consequently admirably calculated to supply their places. We need only instance “The Flash Dictionary,” “The Book of Etiquette,” “A Guide to the Kens and Cribs of London,” “The whole Art of Tying the Cravat,” and “The Hand-book of Boxing;” but it remains for us to remove the disadvantages which attend the acquirement of each of these noble arts and sciences in a detached form.
The possessor of an inquiring and genteel mind has now to wander for his politeness to Paternoster-row22. “Book of Etiquette.” Longman and Co.; to Pierce Egan, for his knowledge of men and manners; and to Owen Swift, for his knightly accomplishments, and exercises of chivalry.
We undertake to collect and condense these scattered radii into one brilliant focus, so that a gentleman, by reading his “own book,” may be made acquainted with the best means of ornamenting his own, or disfiguring a policeman’s, person—how to conduct himself at the dinner-table, or at the bar of Bow-street—how to turn a compliment to a lady, or carry on a chaff with a cabman.
These are high and noble objects! A wider field for social elevation cannot well be imagined. Our plan embraces the enlightenment and refinement of every scion of a noble house, and all the junior clerks in the government offices—from the happy recipient of an allowance of 50£ per month from “the Governor,” to the dashing acceptor of a salary of thirty shillings a week from a highly-respectable house in the City—from the gentleman who occupies a suite of apartments in the Clarendon, to the lodger in the three-pair back, in an excessively back street at Somers Town.
With these incentives, we will proceed at once to our great and glorious task, confident that our exertions will be appreciated, and obtain for us an introduction into the best circles.
We trust that our polite readers will commence the perusal of our pages with a pleasure equal to that which we feel in sitting down to write them; for they call up welcome recollections of those days (we are literary and seedy now!) when our coats emanated from the laboratory of Stultz, our pantaloons from Buckmaster, and our boots from Hoby, whilst our glossy beaver—now, alas! supplanted by a rusty goss—was fabricated by no less a thatcher than the illustrious Moore. They will remind us of our Coryphean conquests at the Opera—our triumphs in Rotten row—our dinners at Long’s and the Clarendon—our nights at Offley’s and the watch-house—our glorious runs with the Beaufort hounds, and our exhilarating runs from the sheriffs’ officers—our month’s sporting on the heathery moors, and our day rule when rusticating in the Bench!
We are in “the sear and yellow leaf”—there is nothing green about us now! We have put down our seasoned hunter, and have mounted the winged Pegasus. The brilliant Burgundy and sparkling Hock no longer mantle in our glass; but Barclay’s beer—nectar of gods and coalheavers—mixed with hippocrene—the Muses’ “cold without”—is at present our only beverage. The grouse are by us undisturbed in their bloomy mountain covert. We are now content to climb Parnassus and our garret stairs. The Albany, that sanctuary of erring bachelors, with its guardian beadle, are to us but memories, for we have become the denizens of a roomy attic (ring the top bell twice), and are only saluted by an Hebe of all-work and our printer’s devil!
ON DRESS IN GENERAL.—L’habit fait le moine.—It has been laid down by Brummel, Bulwer, and other great authorities, that “the tailor makes the man;” and he would be the most daring of sceptics who would endeavour to controvert this axiom. Your first duty, therefore, is to place yourself in the hands of some distinguished schneider, and from him take out your patent of gentility—for a man with an “elegant coat” to his back is like a bill at sight endorsed with a good name; whilst a seedy or ill-cut garment resembles a protested note of hand labelled “No effects.” It will also be necessary for you to consult “The Monthly Book of Fashions,” and to imitate, as closely as possible, those elegant and artistical productions of the gifted burin, which show to perfection “What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties!” &c.—You must not consult your own ease and taste (if you have any), for nothing is so vulgar as to suit your convenience in these matters, as you should remember that you dress to please others, and not yourself. We have heard of some eccentric individuals connected with noble families, who have departed from this rule; but they invariably paid the penalty of their rashness, being frequently mistaken for men of intellect; and it should not be forgotten, that any exercise of the mind is a species of labour utterly incompatible with the perfect man of fashion.
The confiding characters of tailors being generally acknowledged, it is almost needless to state, that the faintest indication of seediness will be fatal to your reputation; and as a presentation at the Insolvent Court is equally fashionable with that of St. James, any squeamishness respecting your inability to pay could only be looked upon as a want of moral courage upon your part, and
[The subject of dress in particular will form the subject of our next chapter.]
If I had a thousand a-year,
(How my heart at the bright vision glows!)
I should never be crusty or queer,
But all would be couleur de rose.
I’d pay all my debts, though outré,
And of duns and embarrassments clear,
Life would pass like a bright summer day,
If I had a thousand a-year.
I’d have such a spicy turn-out,
And a horse of such mettle and breed—
Whose points not a jockey should doubt,
When I put him at top of his speed.
On the foot-board, behind me to swing,
A tiger so small should appear,
All the nobs should protest “’twas the thing!”
If I had a thousand a-year.
A villa I’d have near the Park,
From Town just an appetite-ride;
With fairy-like grounds, and a bark
O’er its miniature waters to glide.
There oft, ’neath the pale twilight star,
Or the moonlight unruffled and clear,
My meerschaum I’d smoke, or cigar,
If I had a thousand a-year.
I’d have pictures and statues, with taste—
Such as ladies unblushing might view—
In my drawing and dining-rooms placed,
With many a gem of virtù.
My study should be an affair
The heart of a book-worm to cheer—
All compact, with its easy spring chair,
If I had a thousand a-year.
A cellar I’d have quite complete
With wines, so recherché, well stored;
And jovial guests often should meet
Round my social and well-garnish’d board.
But I would have a favourite few,
To my heart and my friendship more dear;
And I’d marry—I mustn’t tell who—
If I had a thousand a-year.
With comforts so many, what more
Could I ask of kind Fortune to grant?
Humph! a few olive branches—say four—
As pets for my old maiden aunt.
Then, with health, there’d be nought to append.
To perfect my happiness here;
For the utile et duloc would blend.
If I had a thousand a-year.
The Buckets are a large family! I am one of them—my uncle Job Bucket is another. We, the Buckets, are atoms of creation; yet we, the Buckets, are living types of the immensity of the world’s inhabitants. We illustrate their ups and downs—their fulness and their emptiness—their risings and their falling—and all the several goods and ills, the world’s denizens in general, and Buckets in particular, are undoubted heirs to.
It hath ever been the fate of the fulness of one Bucket to guarantee the emptiness of another; and (mark the moral!) the rising Bucket is the richly-stored one; its sinking brother’s attributes, like Gratiano’s wit, being “an infinite deal of nothing.” Hence the adoption of our name for the wooden utensils that have so aptly fished up this fact from the deep well of truth.
There be certain rods that attract the lightning. We are inclined to think there be certain Buckets that invite kicking, and our uncle Job was one of them. He was birched at school for everybody but himself, for he never deserved it! He was plucked at college—because some practical joker placed a utensil, bearing his name, outside the door of the examining master, and our uncle Job Bucket being unfortunately present, laughed at the consequent abrasion of his, the examining master’s, shins. He was called to the bar. His first case was, “Jane Smith versus James Smith” (no relations). His client was the female. She had been violently assaulted. He mistook the initial—pleaded warmly for the opposing Smith, and glowingly described the disgraceful conduct of the veriest virago a legal adviser ever had the pain of speaking of. The verdict was, as he thought, on his side. The lady favoured him with a living evidence of all the attributes he was pleased to invent for her benefit, and left him with a proof impression of her nails upon his face, carrying with her, by way of souvenir, an ample portion of the skin thereof. Had the condensed heels of all the horses whose subscription hairs were wrought into his wig, with one united effort presented him with a kick in his abdominals, he could not have been more completely “knocked out of time” than he was by the mistake of those cursed initials. “What about Smith?” sent him out of court! At length he
“Cursed the bar, and declined.”
He next turned his attention to building. Things went on swimmingly during the erection—so did the houses when built. The proprietorship of the ground was disputed—our uncle Job had paid the wrong person. The buildings were knocked down (by Mr. Robins), and the individual who had benefited by the suppositionary ownership of the acres let on the building lease “bought the lot,” and sent uncle Job a peculiarly well-worded legal notice, intimating, “his respectable presence would, for the future, approximate to a nuisance and trespass, and he (Job) would be proceeded against as the statutes directed, if guilty of the same.”
It is impossible to follow him through all his various strivings to do well: he commenced a small-beer brewery, and the thunder turned it all into vinegar; he tried vinegar, and nothing on earth could make it sour; he opened a milk-walk, and the parish pump failed; he invented a waterproof composition—there was fourteen weeks of drought; he sold his patent for two-and-sixpence, and had the satisfaction of walking home for the next three months wet through, from his gossamer to his ci-devant Wellingtons, now literally, from their hydraulic powers, “pumps.”
He lost everything but his heart! And uncle Bucket was all heart! a red cabbage couldn’t exceed it in size, and, like that, it seemed naturally predestined to be everlastingly in a pickle! Still it was a heart! You were welcomed to his venison when he had it—his present saveloy was equally at your service. He must have been remarkably attached to facetious elderly poultry of the masculine gender, as his invariable salute to the tenants of his “heart’s core” was, “How are you, my jolly old cock?” Coats became threadbare, and defunct trousers vanished; waistcoats were never replaced; gossamers floated down the tide of Time; boots, deprived of all hope of future renovation by the loss of their soles, mouldered in obscurity; but the clear voice and chuckling salute were changeless as the statutes of the Medes and Persians, the price and size of penny tarts, or the accumulating six-and-eightpences gracing a lawyer’s bill.
Poor uncle Job Bucket’s fortune had driven “him down the rough tide of power,” when first and last we met; all was blighted save the royal heart; and yet, with shame we own the truth, we blushed to meet him. Why? ay, why? We own the weakness!—the heart, the goodly heart, was almost cased in rags!
Right, reader, right; we were a puppy. Lash on, we richly deserve it! but, consider the fearful influence of worn-out cloth! Can a long series of unchanging kindness balance patched elbows? are not cracked boots receipts in full for hours of anxious love and care? does not the kindness of a life fade “like the baseless fabric of a vision” before the withering touch of poverty’s stern stamp? Have you ever felt—
“Eh? what? No—stuff! Yes, yes—go on, go on.”
We will!—we blushed for our uncle’s coat! His heart, God bless it, never caused a blush on the cheek of man, woman, child, or even angel, to rise for that. We will confess. Let’s see, we are sixty now (we don’t look so much, but we are sixty). Well, be it so. We were handsome once—is this vanity at sixty? if so, our grey hairs are a hatchment for the past. We were “swells once!—hurrah!—we were!” Stop, this is indecent—let us be calm—our action was like the proceeding of the denuder of well-sustained and thriving pigs, he who deprives them of their extreme obesive selvage—vulgo, “we cut it fat.” Bond-street was cherished by our smile, and Ranelagh was rendered happy by the exhibition of our symmetry. Behold us hessianed in our haunts, touching the tips of well-gloved fingers to our passing friends; then fancy the opening and shutting of our back, just as Lord Adolphus Nutmeg claimed the affinity of “kid to kid,” to find our other hand close prisoner made by our uncle Bucket.
“How are you, old cock?”
“Who’s that, eh?”
“A lunatic, my lord (what lies men tell!), and dangerous!”
“Good day! [Exit my lord]. This way.” We followed our uncle—the end of a blind alley gave us a resting-place.
“Bravo!” exclaimed our uncle Bucket, “this is rare! I live here—dine with me!”
A mob surrounded us—we acquiesced, in hopes to reach a place of shelter.
“All right!” exclaimed he of the maternal side, “stand three-halfpence for your feed.”
We shelled the necessary out—he dived into a baker’s shop—the mob increased—he hailed us from the door.
“Thank God, this is your house, then.”
“Only my kitchen. Lend a hand!”
A dish of steaming baked potatoes, surmounted by a fractional rib of consumptive beef, was deposited between the lemon-coloured receptacles of our thumbs and fingers—an outcry was raised at the court’s end—we were almost mad.
“Turn to the right—three-pair back—cut away while it’s warm, and make yourself at home! I’ll come with the beer!”
We wished our I had been in that bier! We rushed out—the gravy basted our pants, and greased our hessians! Lord Adolphus Nutmeg appeared at the entrance of the court. As we proceeded to our announced destination,—“Great God!” exclaimed his lordship, “the Bedlamite has bitten him!” A peal of laughter rang in our ears—we rushed into the wrong room, and our uncle Job Bucket picked us, the shattered dish, the reeking potatoes, and dislodged beef, from the inmost recesses of a wicker-cradle, where, spite the thumps and entreaties of a distracted parent, we were all engaged in overlaying a couple of remarkably promising twins! We can say no more on this frightful subject. But—
“Once again we met!”
Our pride wanted cutting, and fate appeared determined to perform the operation with a jagged saw!
Tom Racket died! His disease was infectious, and we had been the last person to call upon him, consequently we were mournful. Thick-coming fancies brooded in our brain—all things conspired against us; the day was damp and wretched—the church-bells emulated each other in announcing the mortalities of earth’s bipeds—each toll’d its tale of death. We thought upon our “absent friend.” A funeral approached. We were still more gloomy. Could it be his? if so, what were his thoughts? Could ghosts but speak, what would he say? The coffin was coeval with us—sheets were rubicund compared to our cheeks. A low deep voice sounded from its very bowels—the words were addressed to us—they were, “Take no notice; it’s the first time; it will soon be over!”
“Will it?” we groaned.
“Yes. I’m glad you know me. I’ll tell you more when I come back.”
“Gracious powers! do you expect to return?”
“Certainly! We’ll have a screw together yet! There’s room for us both in my place. I’ll make you comfortable.”
The cold perspiration streamed from us. Was there ever anything so awful! Here was an unhappy subject threatening to call and see us at night, and then screw us down and make us comfortable.
“Will you come?” exclaimed the dead again.
“Never!” we vociferated with fearful energy.
“Then let it alone; I didn’t think you’d have cut me now; but wait till I show you my face.”
Horror of horrors!—the pall moved—a long white face peered from it. We gasped for breath, and only felt new life when we recognised our uncle Job Bucket, as the author of the conversation, and one of the bearers of the coffin! He had turned mute!—but that was a failure—no one ever died in his parish after his adopting that profession!
He has been seen once since in the backwoods of America. His fate seemed still to follow him, and his good temper appeared immortal—his situation was more peculiar than pleasant. He was seated on a log, three hundred miles from any civilised habitation, smiling blandly at a broken axe (his only one), the half of which was tightly grasped in his right hand, pointing to the truant iron in the trunk of a huge tree, the first of a thriving forest of fifty acres he purposed felling; and, thus occupied, a solitary traveller passed our uncle Job Bucket, serene as the melting sunshine, and thoughtless as the wild insect that sported round the owner “of the lightest of light hearts.”—PEACE BE WITH HIM.
A gentleman of the name of Stuckey has discovered a new filtering process, by which “a stream from a most impure source may be rendered perfectly translucent and fit for all purposes.” In the name of our rights and liberties! in the name of Judy and our country! we call upon the proper authorities to have this invaluable apparatus erected in the lobby of the House of Commons, and so, by compelling every member to submit to the operation of filtration, cleanse the house from its present accumulation of corruption, though we defy Stuckey himself to give it brightness.
New honours heaped on roué Segrave’s name!
A cuckold’s horn is then the trump of fame.
Under this head it is our intention, from time to time, to revert to numberless free exhibitions, which, in this advancement-of-education age, have been magnanimously founded with a desire to inculcate a knowledge of, and disseminate, by these liberal means, an increased taste for the arts in this vast metropolis. We commence not with any feelings of favouritism, nor in any order of ability, our pleasures being too numerously divided to be able to settle as to which ought to be No. 1, but because it is necessary to commence—consequently we would wish to settle down in company with the amiable reader in front of a tobacconist’s shop in the Regent Circus, Piccadilly; and as the principal attractions glare upon the astonishment of the spectators from the south window, it is there in imagination that we are irresistibly fixed. Before we dilate upon the delicious peculiarities of the exhibition, we deem it absolutely a matter of justice to the noble-hearted patriot who, imitative of the Greeks and Athenians of old, who gave the porticoes of their public buildings, and other convenient spots, for the display of their artists’ productions, has most generously appropriated the chief space of his shop front to the use and advantage of the painter, and has thus set a bright example to the high-minded havannah merchants and contractors for cubas and c’naster, which we trust will not be suffered to pass unobserved by them.
The principal feature, or, rather mass of features, which enchain the beholder, is a whole-length portrait of a gentleman (par excellence) seated in a luxuriating, Whitechapel style of ease, the envy, we venture to affirm, of every omnibus cad and coachman, whose loiterings near this spot afford them occasional peeps at him. He is most decidedly the greatest cigar in the shop—not only the mildest, if his countenance deceive us not, but evidently the most full-flavoured. The artist has, moreover, by some extraordinary adaptation or strange coincidence, made him typical of the locality—we allude to the Bull-and-Mouth—seated at a table evidently made and garnished for the article. The said gentleman herein depicted is in the act of drinking his own health, or that of “all absent friends,” probably coupling with it some little compliment to a favourite dog, one of the true Regent-street-and-pink-ribbon breed, who appears to be paying suitable attention. A huge pine-apple on the table, and a champagne cork or two upon the ground, contribute a gallant air of reckless expenditure to this spirited work. In reference to the artistic qualities, it gives us immoderate satisfaction to state that the whole is conceived and executed with that characteristic attention so observable in the works of this master333. We have forgotten the artist’s name—perhaps never knew it; but we believe it is the same gentleman who painted the great author of “Jack Sheppard.”, and that the fruit-knife, fork, cork-screw, decanter, and chiaro-scuro (as the critic of the Art Union would have it), are truly excellent. The only drawback upon the originality of the subject is the handkerchief on the knee, which (although painted as vigorously as any other portion of the picture) we do not strictly approve of, inasmuch as it may, with the utmost impartiality, be assumed as an imitation of Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of George the Fourth; nevertheless, we in part excuse this, from the known difficulty attendant upon the representation of a gentleman seated in enjoyment, and parading his bandana, without associating it with a veritable footman, who, upon the occasion of his “Sunday out,” may, perchance, be seen in one of the front lower tenements in Belgrave-square, or some such locale, paying violent attentions to the housemaid, and the hot toast, decorated with the order of the handkerchief, to preserve his crimson plush in all its glowing purity. We cannot take leave of this interesting work without declaring our opinion that the composition (of the frame) is highly creditable.
Placed on the right of the last-mentioned work of art, is a representation of a young lady, as seen when presenting a full-blown flower to a favourite parrot. There is a delicate simplicity in the attitude and expression of the damsel, which, though you fail to discover the like in the tortuous figures of Taglioni or Cerito, we have often observed in the conduct of ladies many years in the seniority of the one under notice, who, ever mindful of the idol of their thoughts and affections—a feline companion—may be seen carrying a precious morsel, safely skewered, in advance of them; this gentleness the artist has been careful to retain to eminent success. We are, nevertheless, woefully at a loss to divine what the allegory can possibly be (for as such we view it), what the analogy between a pretty poll and a pol-yanthus. We are unlearned in the language of flowers, or, perhaps, might probe the mystery by a little floral discussion. We are, however, compelled to leave it to the noble order of freemasons, and shall therefore wait patiently an opportunity of communicating with his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex. In the meantime we shall not he silent upon the remaining qualities of the work as a general whole—the young lady—the parrot—the polyanthus, and the chiaro-scuro, are as excellent as usual in this our most amusing painter’s productions.
As a pendant to this, we are favoured with the portrait of a young gentleman upon a half-holiday—and, equipped with cricket means, his dexter-hand grasps his favourite bat, whilst the left arm gracefully encircles a hat, in which is seductively shown a genuine “Duke.” The sentiment of this picture is unparalleled, and to the young hero of any parish eleven is given a stern expression of Lord’s Marylebone ground. We can already (aided by perspective and imagination) see him before a future generation of cricketers, “shoulder his bat, and show how games were won.” The bat is well drawn and coloured with much truth, and with that strict observance of harmony which is so characteristic of the excellences of art. The artist has felicitously blended the tone and character of the bat with that of the young gentleman’s head. As to the ball, we do not recollect ever to have seen one in the works of any of the old masters so true to nature. In conclusion, the buttons on the jacket, and the button-holes, companions thereto, would baffle the criticism of the most hyper-fastidious stab-rag; and the shirt collar, with every other detail—never forgetting the chiaro-scuro—are equal to any of the preceding.
We had prepared an announcement of certain theatricals extraordinary, with which we had intended to favour the public, when the following bill reached us. We feel that its contents partake so strongly of what we had heretofore conceived the exclusive character of PUNCH, that to avoid the charge of plagiarism, as well as to prevent any confusion of interests, we have resolved to give insertion to both.
As PUNCH is above all petty rivalry, we accord our collaborateurs the preference.
Red Lion Court, Fleet Street.
SIR,—Allow me to solicit your kindness so far, as to give publicity to this bill, by placing it in some conspicuous part of your Establishment. The success of the undertaking will prove so advantageous to the public at large, that I fear not your compliance in so good a cause.
I am, Sir, your’s very
VIVANT REGINA ET PRINCEPS.
ENGLISH OPERA HOUSE,
WELLINGTON-STREET NORTH, STRAND.
Conducted by the Council of the Dramatic Authors’ Theatre, established for the full encouragement of English Living Dramatists.
The generous National feelings of the British Public are proverbially interested in every endeavour to obtain “a Free Stage and Fair Play.” The Council of the Dramatic Authors’ Theatre seek to achieve both, for every English Living Dramatist. Compelled, by the state of the Law, to present on the Stage a high Tragic Composition IN AN IRREGULAR FORM (in effecting which, nevertheless, regard has been had to those elements of human nature, which must constitute the essential principles of every genuine Dramatic Production), they hope for such kind consideration as may be due to a work brought forward in obedient accordance with the regulations of Acts of Parliament, though labouring thereby under some consequent difficulties; the Law for the Small Theatres Royal, and the Law for the Large Theatres Royal, not being one and the same Law. If, by these efforts, a beneficial alteration in such Law, which presses so fatally on Dramatic Genius, and which militates against the revival of the highest class of Drama, should be effected, they feel assured that the Public will Participate in their Triumph.
On THURSDAY, the 26th of AUGUST, will be presented, for the First Time,
(Interspersed with Songs and Music).
Taken by him from his “magnificent” Dramatic Poem, entitled, The Hungarian Daughter.
The Solos, Duets, Chorusses, and every other Musical arrangement the Law may require, by Mr. DAVID LEE.
The following Opinions of the Press on the Actable qualities of the Dramatic Poem, are selected from a vast mass of similar notices.
“Worthy of the Stage in its best days.”—The Courier.
“Effective situations; if well acted, it could not fail of success.”—New Bell’s Messenger.
“The mantle of the Elizabethan Poets seems to have fallen on Mr. Stephens, for we have scarcely ever met with, in the works of modern dramatists, the truthful delineations of human passion, the chaste and splendid imagery, and continuous strain of fine poetry to be found in The Hungarian Daughter.”—Cambridge Journal.
“Equal to Goethe. All is impassioned and effective. The Poet has availed himself of every tragic point, and brought together every element; nor, with the exception, of Mr. Knowles’s Love, has there been a single Drama, within the last four years, presented on the Stage at all comparable.—Monthly Magazine.
After which will be performed, also for the First Time, An Original Entertainment in One Act, Entitled
By the Author of Jacob Faithful, Peter Simple, &c. &c.
No Orders admitted.—No Free List, the Public Press excepted.
Now for our penny trumpet.
READER,—Allow us to solicit your kindness so far as to give publicity to the following announcement, by buying up and distributing among your friends the whole of the unsold copies of this number. The success of this undertaking will prove so advantageous to the public at large, and of so little benefit to ourselves, that we fear not your compliance in so good a cause.
VIVANT KANT ET TOMFOOLERIE.
WELLINGTON-STREET SOUTH, STRAND.
Conducted by the Council of the Fanatic Association established for the full encouragement of Timber Actors and Wooden-headed Dramatists.
The general National feelings of the British Public are proverbially interested in every endeavour to obtain “a blind alley, and no Fantoccini.” Compelled by the New Police Act to move on, and so present our high tragic composition by small instalments (in effecting which, nevertheless, regard has been had—This parenthesis to be continued in our next), we hope for such kind consideration as may be due, when it is remembered that the law for the out-door PUNCH and the law for the in-door PUNCH is not one and the same law. Oh, law!
On SATURDAY, the 28th of AUGUST, will be presented,
(Interspersed with Drum and Mouth Organ),
Taken from his “magnificent” Dramatic Poem, entitled, “PUNCH NUTS UPON HIMSELF.”
The following Opinions on the Actable qualities of Punchinuzzi, are selected from a vast mass of similar notices.
“This ere play ‘ud draw at ony fare.”—The late Mr. Richardson.
“This happy poetic drama would be certain to command crowded and elegant courts.”—La Belle Assemblée.
“We have read Punchinuzzi, and we fearlessly declare that the mantle of that metropolitan bard, the late Mr. William Waters, has descended upon the gifted author.”—Observer.
“Worthy of the streets in their best days.”—Fudge.
No Orders! No Free List! No Money!!.
It is with no common pride that PUNCH avails himself of the opportunity presented to him, from sources exclusively his own, of laying before his readers a copy of the original draft of the Speech decided upon at a late Cabinet Council. There is a novelty about it which pre-eminently distinguishes it from all preceding orations from the throne or the woolsack, for it has a purpose, and evinces much kind consideration on the part of the Sovereign, in rendering this monody on departed Whiggism as grateful as possible to its surviving friends and admirers.
There is much of the eulogistic fervour of George Robins, combined with the rich poetic feeling of Mechi, running throughout the oration. Indeed, it remained for the Whigs to add this crowning triumph to their policy; for who but Melbourne and Co. would have conceived the happy idea of converting the mouth of the monarch into an organ for puffing, and transforming Majesty itself into a National Advertiser?
MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,
I have the satisfaction to inform you, that, through the invaluable policy of my present talented and highly disinterested advisers, I continue to receive from foreign powers assurances of their amicable disposition towards, and unbounded respect for, my elegant and enlightened Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and of their earnest desire to remain on terms of friendship with the rest of my gifted, liberal, and amiable Cabinet.
The posture of affairs in China is certainly not of the most pacific character, but I have the assurance of my infallible Privy Council, and of that profound statesman my Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in particular, that the present disagreement arises entirely from the barbarous character of the Chinese, and their determined opposition to the progress of temperance in this happy country.
I have also the satisfaction to inform you, that, by the acute diplomatic skill of my never-to-be-sufficiently-eulogised Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that, after innumerable and complicated negotiations, he has at length succeeded in seducing his Majesty the King of the French to render to England the tardy justice of commemorating, by a fête and inauguration at Boulogne, the disinclination of the French, at a former period, to invade the British dominions.
GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS,
I have directed the estimates for the next fortnight to be laid before you, which, I am happy to inform you, will be amply sufficient for the exigencies of my present disinterested advisers.
The unequalled fiscal and arithmetical talents of my Chancellor of the Exchequer have, by the most rigid economy, succeeded in reducing the revenue very considerably below the actual expenditure of the state.
MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,
Measures will be speedily submitted to you for carrying out the admirable plans of my Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, and the brilliant author of “Don Carlos,” for the prevention of apoplexy among paupers, and the reduction of the present extravagant dietary of the Unions.
I have the gratification to announce that a commission is in progress, by which it is proposed by my non-patronage Ministers to call into requisition the talents of several literary gentlemen—all intimate friends or relations of my deeply erudite and profoundly philosophic Secretary of State for the Home Department, and author of “Yes and No,” (three vols. Colburn) for the purpose of extending the knowledge of reading and writing, and the encouragement of circulating libraries all over the kingdom.
My consistent and uncompromising Secretary of State for the Colonies, having, since the publication of his spirited “Essays by a gentleman who has lately left his lodgings,” totally changed his opinions on the subject of the Corn Laws, a measure is in the course of preparation with a view to the repeal of those laws, and the continuance in office of my invaluable, tenacious, and incomparable ministry.
CAUTION.—We have just heard from a friend in Somerset House, that it is the intention of the Commissioners of Stamps, from the glaring puffs embodied in the above speech, to proceed for the advertisement duty against all newspapers in which it is inserted. For ourselves, we will cheerfully pay.
A German, resident in New York, has such a remarkably hard name, that he spoils a gross of steel pens indorsing a bill.
Such, we are credibly assured, was the determination of these liberal and enlightened leathers. They had heard frequent whispers of a general indisposition on the part of all lovers of consistency to stand in their master’s shoes, and taking the insult to themselves, they lately came to the resolution of cutting the connexion. They felt that his liberality and his boots were all that constituted the idea of Burdett; and now that he had forsaken his old party and joined Peel’s, the “tops” magnanimously decided to forsake him, and force him to take to—Wellingtons. We have been favoured with a report of the conversation that took place upon the occasion, and may perhaps indulge our readers with a copy of it next week.
In the mean time, we beg to subjoin a few lines, suggested by the circumstance of Burdett taking the chair at Rous’s feast, which strongly remind us of Byron’s Vision of Belshazzar.
Burdett was in the chair—
The Tories throng’d the hall—
A thousand lamps were there,
O’er that mad festival.
His crystal cup contain’d
The grape-blood of the Rhine;
Draught after draught he drain’d,
To drown his thoughts in wine.
In that same hour and hall
A shade like “Glory” came,
And wrote upon the wall
The records of his shame.
And at its fingers traced
The words, as with a wand,
The traitorous and debased
Upraised his palsied hand.
And in his chair he shook,
And could no more rejoice;
All bloodless wax’d his look,
And tremulous his voice.
“What words are those appear,
To mar my fancied mirth!
What bringeth ‘Glory’ here
To tell of faded worth?”
“False renegade! thy name
Was once the star which led
The free; but, oh! what shame
Encircles now thine head!
Thou’rt in the balance weigh’d,
And worthless found at last.
All! all! thou hast betray’d!”—
And so the spirit pass’d.
This is a cause of thorough orthodox equity standing, having commenced before the time of legal memory, with every prospect of obtaining a final decree on its merits somewhere about the next Greek Kalends. In the present term,
COUNSELLOR BAYWIG moved, on the part of the plaintiff, who sues in formâ pauperis, for an injunction to restrain the Whig Justice Company from setting a hungry Scotchman—one of their own creatures, without local or professional knowledge—over the lands of which the plaintiff is the legal, though unfortunately not the beneficial owner, as keeper and head manager thereof, to the gross wrong of the tenants, the depreciation of the lands themselves, the further reduction of the funds standing in the name of the cause, the insult to the feelings and the disregard of the rights of gentlemen living on the estate, and perfectly acquainted with its management; and finally, to an unblushing and barefaced denial of justice to all parties. The learned counsel proceeded to state, that the company, in order to make an excuse for thus saddling the impoverished estates with an additional incubus, had committed a double wrong, by forcing from the office a man eminently qualified to discharge its functions—who had lived and grown white with honourable years in the actual discharge of these functions—and by thrusting into his place their own needy retainer, who, instead of being the propounder of the laws which govern the estates, would be merely the apprentice to learn them; and this too at a time when the company was on the eve of bankruptcy, and when the possession which they had usurped so long was about to pass into the hands of their official assignees.
LORD HIGH INQUISITOR.—What authorities can you cite for this application?
COUNSELLOR BAYWIG.—My lord, I fear the cases are, on the whole, rather adverse to us. Men have, undoubtedly, been chosen to administer the laws of this fine estate, and to guard it from waste, who have studied its customs, been thoroughly learned in its statistics, and interested, by blood and connexion, in its prosperity; but this number is very small. However, when injustice of the most grievous kind is manifest, it should not be continued merely because it is the custom, or because it is an “old institution of the country.”
LORD HIGH INQUISITOR.—I am quite astonished at your broaching such abominable doctrines here, sir. You a lawyer, and yet talk of justice in a Court of Equity! By Bacon, Blackstone, and Eldon, ‘tis marvellous! Mr. Baywig, if you proceed, I shall feel it my duty to commit you for a contempt of court.
COUNSELLOR BAYWIG.—My lord, in that case I decline the honour of addressing your lordship further; but certainly my poor client is wronged in his land, in himself, and in his kindred. It is shocking personal insult added to terrible pecuniary punishment.
LORD HIGH INQUISITOR.—Serve him right! We dismiss the application with costs.
Some of the uninitiated in the art and mystery of book-making conceive the chief tax must be upon the compiler’s brain. We give the following as a direct proof to the contrary—one that has the authority of Lord Hamlet, who summed the matter up in three
“Words! Words! Words!”
In one column we give a common-place household and familiar term—in the other we render it into the true Bulwerian phraseology:
|Does your mother know you are out?||Is your maternal parent’s natural solicitude allayed by the information, that you have for the present vacated your domestic roof?|
|You don’t lodge here, Mr. Ferguson.||You are geographically and statistically misinformed; this is by no means the accustomed place of your occupancy, Mr. Ferguson.|
|See! there he goes with his eye out.||Behold! he proceeds totally deprived of one moiety of his visual organs!|
|Don’t you wish you may get it?||Pray confess, are you not really particularly anxious to obtain the desired object?|
|More t’other.||Infinitely, peculiarly, and most intensely the entire extreme and the absolute reverse.|
|Quite different.||Dissimilar as the far-extended poles, or the deep-tinctured ebon skins of the dark denizens of Sol’s sultry plains and the fair rivals of descending flakes of virgin snow, melting with envy on the peerless breast of fair Circassia’s ten-fold white-washed daughters.|
|Over the left.||Decidedly in the ascendant of the sinister.|
From the nobleman who is selected to move the address in the House of Lords, it would seem that the Whigs, tired of any further experiments in turning their coats, are about to try what effect they can produce with an old Spencer.
As the weather is to decide the question of the corn-laws, the rains that have lately fallen may be called, with truth, the reins of government.
The extraordinary attachment which the Whigs have displayed for office has been almost without parallel in the history of ministerial fidelity. Zoologists talk of the local affection of cats, but in what animal shall we discover such a strong love of place as in the present government? Lord John is a very badger in the courageous manner in which he has resisted the repeated attacks of the Tory terriers. The odds, however, are too great for even his powers of defence; he has given some of the most forward of the curs who have tried to drag him from his burrow some shrewd bites and scratches that they will not forget in a hurry; but, overpowered by numbers, he must “come out” at last, and yield the victory to his numerous persecutors, who will, no doubt, plume themselves upon their dexterity at drawing a badger.
The dramatic world has been in a state of bustle all the week, and parties are going about declaring—not that we put any faith in what they say—that Macready has already given a large sum for a manuscript. If he has done this, we think he is much to blame, unless he has very good reasons, as he most likely has, for doing so; and if such is the case, though we doubt the policy of the step, there can be no question of his having acted very properly in taking it. His lease begins in October, when, it is said, he will certainly open, if he can; but, as he positively cannot, the reports of his opening are rather premature, to say the least of them. For our parts, we never think of putting any credit in what we hear, but we give everything just as it reaches us.
Tin is twopence a hundredweight dearer at Hamburgh than at Paris, which gives an exchange of 247 mille in favour of the latter capital.
A good deal of conversation has been excited by a report of its being intended by some parties in the City to establish a Bank of Issue upon equitable principles. The plan is a novel one, for there is to be no capital actually subscribed, it being expected that sufficient assets will be derived from the depositors. Shares are to be issued, to which a nominal price will be attached, and a dividend is to be declared immediately.
The association for supplying London with periwinkles does not progress very rapidly. A wharf has been taken; but nothing more has been done, which is, we believe, caused by the difficulty found in dealing with existing interests.
The Tories are coming into office, and the Parliament House is surrounded with scaffolds!
Want places, in either of the above lines, three highly practical and experienced hands, fully capable and highly accomplished in the arduous duties of “looking after any quantity of loaves and fishes.” A ten years’ character can be produced from their last places, which they leave because the concern is for the present disposed of to persons equally capable. No objection to look after the till. Wages not so much an object as an extensive trade, the applicants being desirous of keeping their hands in. Apply to Messrs. Russell, Melbourne, and Palmerston, Downing-street Without.
“It is very odd,” said Sergeant Channell to Thessiger, “that Tindal should have decided against me on that point of law which, to me, seemed as plain as A B C.” “Yes,” replied Thessiger, “but of what use is it that it should have been A B C to you, if the judge was determined to be D E F to it?”
The Belfast Vindicator has a story of a sailor who pledged a sixpence for threepence, having it described on the duplicate ticket as “a piece of silver plate of beautiful workmanship,” by which means he disposed of the ticket for two-and-sixpence. The Tories are so struck with this display of congenial roguery, that they intend pawning their “BOB,” and having him described as “a rare piece of vertu(e) première qualité” in the expectation of securing a crown by it.
Mr. Muntz requests us to state, in answer to numerous inquiries as to the motives which induce him to cultivate his beard, that he is actuated purely by a spirit of economy, having, for the last few years, grown his own mattresses, a practice which he earnestly recommends to the attention of all prudent and hirsute individuals. He finds, by experience, that nine square inches of chin will produce, on an average, about a sofa per annum. The whiskers, if properly attended to, may be made to yield about an easy chair in the same space of time; whilst luxuriant moustachios will give a pair of anti-rheumatic attrition gloves every six months. Mr. M. recommends, as the best mode of cultivation for barren soils, to plough with a cat’s-paw, and manure with Macassar.
The Earl of Stair has been created Lord Oxenford. Theodore Hook thinks that the more appropriate title for a Stair, in raising him a step higher, would have been Lord Landing-place, or Viscount Bannister.
The Augean task of cleansing the Treasury has commenced, and brooms and scrubbing-brushes are at a premium—a little anticipative, it is true, of the approaching turn-out; but the dilatory idleness and muddle-headed confusion of those who will soon be termed its late occupiers, rendered this a work of absolute time and labour. That the change in office had long been expected, is evident from the number of hoards discovered, which the unfortunate employés had saved up against the rainy day arrived. The routing-out of this conglomeration was only equalled in trouble by the removal of the birdlime with which the various benches were covered, and which adhered with most pertinacious obstinacy, in spite of every effort to get rid of it. From one of the wicker baskets used for the purpose of receiving the torn-up letters and documents, the following papers were extracted. We contrived to match the pieces together, and have succeeded tolerably well in forming some connected epistles from the disjointed fragments. We offer no comment, but allow them to speak for themselves. They are selected at random from dozens of others, with which the poor man must have been overwhelmed during the past two months:—
MY LORD,—In the present critical state of your lordship’s situation, it behoves every lover of his country and her friends, to endeavour to assuage, as much as possible, the awkward predicament in which your lordship and colleagues will soon be thrown. My dining-rooms in Broad-street, St. Giles’s, have long been held in high estimation by my customers, for
and I can offer you an excellent basin of leg-of-beef soup, with bread and potatoes, for threepence. Imitated by all, equalled by none.
N.B. Please observe the address—Broad-street, St. Giles’s.
A widow lady, superintendent of a boarding-house, in an airy and cheerful part of Kentish Town, will be happy to receive Lord Melbourne as an inmate, when an ungrateful nation shall have induced his retirement from office. Her establishment is chiefly composed of single ladies, addicted to backgammon, birds, and bible meetings, who would, nevertheless, feel delighted in the society of a man of Lord Melbourne’s acknowledged gallantry. The dinner-table is particularly well furnished, and a rubber is generally got up every evening, at which Lord M. could play long penny points if he wished it.
Address S.M., Post-office, Kentish Town.
Grosjean, Restaurateur, Castle-street, Leicester-square, a l’honneur de prévenir Milord Melbourne qu’il se trouvera bien servi à son établissement. Il peut commander un bon potage an choux, trois plats, avec pain à discretion, et une pinte de demi-et-demi; enfin, il pourra parfaitement avoir ses sacs soufflés44. French idiom—“He will be well able to blow his bags out!”—PUNCH, with the assistance of his friend in the show—the foreign gentleman. pour un schilling. La société est très comme-il-faut, et on ne donne rien au garçon.
(Rose-coloured paper, scented. At first supposed to be from a lady of the bedchamber, but contradicted by the sequel.)
Flattering deceiver, and man of many loves,
My fond heart still clings to your cherished memory. Why have I listened to the honied silver of your seducing accents? Your adored image haunts me night and day. How is the treasury?—can you still spare me ten shillings?
JOHN MARVAT respectfully begs to offer to the notice of Lord Melbourne his Bachelor’s Dispatch, or portable kitchen. It will roast, bake, boil, stew, steam, melt butter, toast bread, and diffuse a genial warmth at one and the same time, for the outlay of one halfpenny. It is peculiarly suited for lamb, in any form, which requires delicate dressing, and is admirably adapted for concocting mint-sauce, which delightful adjunct Lord Melbourne may, ere long, find some little difficulty in procuring.
May it plese my Lord,—i have gest time to Rite and let you kno’ wot a sad plite we are inn, On account off your lordship’s inwitayshun to queen Wictory and Prince Allbut to come and Pick a bit with you, becos There is nothink for them wen they comes, and the Kitchin-range is chok’d up with the sut as has falln down the last fore yeers, and no poletry but too old cox, which is two tuff to be agreerble; But, praps, we Can git sum cold meet from the in, wot as bin left at the farmers’ markut-dinner; and may I ask you my lord without fear of your
on the reseat of this To send down sum ham and beef to me—two pound will be Enuff—or a quarter kitt off pickuld sammun, if you can git it, and I wish you may; and sum german silver spoons, to complement prince Allbut with; and, praps, as he and his missus knos they’ve come to Take pot-luck like, they won’t be patickler, and I think we had better order the beer from the Jerry-shop, for owr own Is rayther hard, and the brooer says, that a fore and a harf gallon, at sixpence A gallon, won’t keep no Time, unless it’s drunk; and so we guv some to the man as brort the bushel of coles, and he sed It only wanted another Hop, and then it woud have hopped into water; and John is a-going to set some trimmers in The ditches to kitch some fish; and, praps, if yure lordship comes, you may kitch sum too, from
Yure obedient Humbl servent and housekeeper,
MY LORD,—Probably your cellars will be full of choke-damp when the door is opened, from long disuse and confined air. I have men, accustomed to descend dangerous wells and shafts, who will undertake the job at a moderate price. Should you labour under any temporary pecuniary embarrassment in paying me, I shall be happy to take it out in your wine, which I should think had been some years in bottle. Your Lordship’s most humble servant,
Dealer in Marine Stores.
I’ve wander’d on the distant shore,
I’ve braved the dangers of the deep,
I’ve very often pass’d the Nore—
At Greenwich climb’d the well-known steep;
I’ve sometimes dined at Conduit House,
I’ve taken at Chalk Farm my tea,
I’ve at the Eagle talk’d with Rouse—
But I have NOT forgotten thee!
“I’ve stood amid the glittering throng”
Of mountebanks at Greenwich fair,
Where I have heard the Chinese gong
Filling, with brazen voice, the air.
I’ve join’d wild revellers at night—
I’ve crouch’d beneath the old oak tree,
Wet through, and in a pretty plight,
But, oh! I’ve NOT forgotten thee!
I’ve earn’d, at times, a pound a week—
Alas! I’m earning nothing now;
Chalk scarcely shames my whiten’d cheek,
Grief has plough’d furrows in my brow.
I only get one meal a day,
And that one meal—oh, God!—my tea;
I’m wasting silently away,
But I have NOT forgotten thee!
My days are drawing to their end—
I’ve now, alas! no end in view;
I never had a real friend—
I wear a worn-out black surtout,
My heart is darken’d o’er with woe,
My trousers whiten’d at the knee,
My boot forgets to hide my toe—
But I have NOT forgotten thee!
The business habits of her gracious Majesty have long been the theme of admiration with her loving subjects. A further proof of her attention to general affairs, and consideration for the accidents of the future, has occurred lately. The lodge at Frogmore, which was, during the lifetime of Queen Charlotte, an out-of-town nursery for little highnesses, has been constructed (by command of the Queen) into a Royal Eccalleobion for a similar purpose.
“A clever fellow, that Horseleech!” “When Vampyre is once drawn out, what a great creature it is!” These, and similar ecstatic eulogiums, have I frequently heard murmured forth from muzzy mouths into tinged and tingling ears, as I have been leaving a company of choice spirits. There never was a greater mistake. Horseleech, to be candid, far from being a clever fellow, is one of the most barren rascals on record. Vampyre, whether drawn out or held in, is a poor creature, not a great creature—opaque, not luminous—in a word, by nature, a very dull dog indeed.
But you see the necessity of appearing otherwise.—Hunger may be said to be a moral Mechi, which invents a strop upon which the bluntest wits are sharpened to admiration. Believe me, by industry and perseverance—which necessity will inevitably superinduce—the most dreary dullard that ever carried timber between his shoulders in the shape of a head, may speedily convert himself into a seeming Sheridan—a substitutional Sydney Smith—a second Sam Rogers, without the drawback of having written Jacqueline.
Take it for granted that no professed diner-out ever possessed a particle of native wit. His stock-in-trade, like that of Field-lane chapmen, is all plunder. Not a joke issues from his mouth, but has shaken sides long since quiescent. Whoso would be a diner-out must do likewise.
The real diner-out is he whose card-rack or mantelpiece (I was going to say groans, but) laughingly rejoices in respectful well-worded invitations to luxuriously-appointed tables. I count not him, hapless wretch! as one who, singling out “a friend,” drops in just at pudding-time, and ravens horrible remnants of last Tuesday’s joint, cognizant of curses in the throat of his host, and of intensest sable on the brows of his hostess. No struggle there, on the part of the children, “to share the good man’s knee;” but protruded eyes, round as spectacles, and almost as large, fixed alternately upon his flushed face and that absorbing epigastrium which is making their miserable flesh-pot to wane most wretchedly.
To be jocose is not the sole requisite of him who would fain be a universal diner-out. Lively with the light—airy with the sparkling—brilliant with the blithe, he must also be grave with the serious—heavy with the profound—solemn with the stupid. He must be able to snivel with the sentimental—to condole with the afflicted—to prove with the practical—to be a theorist with the speculative.
To be jocose is his most valuable acquisition. As there is a tradition that birds may be caught by sprinkling salt upon their tails, so the best and the most numerous dinners are secured by a judicious management of Attic salt.
I fear me that the works of Josephus, and of his imitators—of that Joseph and his brethren, I mean, whom a friend of mine calls “The Miller and his men”—I fear me, I say, that these are well-nigh exhausted. Yet I have known very ancient jokes turned with advantage, so as to look almost equal to new. But this requires long practice, ere the final skill be attained.
Etherege, Sedley, Wycherley, and Vanbrugh are very little read, and were pretty fellows in their day; I think they may be safely consulted, and rendered available. But, have a care. Be sure you mingle some of your own dulness with their brighter matter, or you will overshoot the mark. You will be too witty—a fatal error. True wits eat no dinners, save of their own providing; and, depend upon it, it is not their wit that will now-a-days get them their dinner. True wits are feared, not fed.
When you tell an anecdote, never ascribe it to a man well known. The time is gone by for dwelling upon—“Dean Swift said”—“Quin, the actor, remarked”—“The facetious Foote was once”—“That reminds me of what Sheridan”—“Ha! ha! Sydney Smith was dining the other day with”—and the like. Your ha! ha!—especially should it precede the name of Sam Rogers—would inevitably cost you a hecatomb of dinners. It would be changed into oh! oh! too surely, and too soon. Verbum sat.
I would have you be careful to sort your pleasantries. Your soup jokes (never hazard that one about Marshal Turenne, it is really too ancient,) your fish, your flesh, your fowl jests—your side-shakers for the side dishes—your puns for the pastry—your after-dinner excruciators.
Sometimes, from negligence (but be not negligent) or ill-luck, which is unavoidable, and attends the best directed efforts, you sit down to table with your stock ill arranged or incomplete, or of an inferior quality. Your object is to make men laugh. It must be done. I have known a pathetic passage, quoted timely and with a happy emphasis from a popular novel—say, “Alice, or the Mysteries”—I have known it, I say, do more execution upon the congregated amount of midriff, than the best joke of the evening. (There is one passage in that “thrilling” performance, where Alice, overjoyed that her lover is restored to her, is represented as frisking about him like a dog around his long-absent proprietor, which, whenever I have taken it in hand, has been rewarded with the most vociferous and gleesome laughter.)
And this reminds me that I should say a word about laughers. I know not whether it be prudent to come to terms with any man, however stentorian his lungs, or flexible his facial organs, with a view to engage him as a cachinnatory machine. A confederate may become a traitor—a rival he is pretty certain of becoming. Besides, strive as you may, you can never secure an altogether unexceptionable individual—one who will “go the whole hyaena,” and be at the same time the entire jackal. If he once start “lion” on his own account, furnished with your original roar, with which you yourself have supplied him, good-bye to your supremacy. “Farewell, my trim-built wherry”—he is in the same boat only to capsise you.
“And the first lion thinks the last a bore,”
and rightly so thinks. No; the best and safest plan is to work out your own ends, independent of aid which at best is foreign, and is likely to be formidable.
I may perhaps resume this subject more at large at a future time. My space at present is limited, but I feel I have hardly as yet entered upon the subject.
Ye banks and braes o’ Buckingham,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair,
When I am on my latest legs,
And may not bask amang ye mair!
And you, sweet maids of honour,—come,
Come, darlings, let us jointly mourn,
For your old flame must now depart,
Depart, oh! never to return!
Oft have I roam’d o’er Buckingham,
From room to room, from height to height;
It was such pleasant exercise,
And gave me such an appetite!
Yes! when the dinner-hour arrived,
For me they never had to wait,
I was the first to take my chair,
And spread my ample napkin straight.
And if they did not quickly come,
After the dinner-bell had knoll’d,
I just ran up my private stairs,
To say the things were getting cold!
But now, farewell, ye pantry steams,
(The sweets of premiership to me),
Ye gravies, relishes, and creams,
Malmsey and Port, and Burgundy!
Full well I mind the days gone by,—
‘Twas nought but sleep, and wake, and dine;
Then John and Pal sang o’ their luck,
And fondly sae sang I o’ mine!
But now, how sad the scene, and changed!
Johnny and Pal are glad nae mair!
Oh! banks and braes o’ Buckingham!
How can you bloom sae fresh and fair!
This delightful watering-place is filling rapidly. The steam-boats bring down hundreds every day, and in the evening take them all back again. Mr. Jones has engaged a lodging for the week, and other families are spoken of. A ball is also talked about; but it is not yet settled who is to give it, nor where it is to be given. The promenading along the wooden pier is very general at the leaving of the packets, and on their arrival a great number of persons pass over it. There are whispers of a band being engaged for the season; but, as there will not be room on the pier for more than one musician, it has been suggested to negotiate with the talented artist who plays the drum with his knee, the cymbals with his elbow, the triangle with his shoulder, the bells with this head, and the Pan’s pipes with his mouth—thus uniting the powers of a full orchestra with the compactness of an individual. An immense number of Margate slippers and donkeys have been imported within the last few days, and there is every probability of this pretty little peninsula becoming a formidable rival to the old-established watering-places.
Perhaps it was the fashion at the court of Queen Anne, for young gentlemen who had attained the age of sixteen to marry and be given in marriage. At all events, some conjecture of the sort is necessary to make the plot of the piece we are noticing somewhat probable—that being the precise circumstance upon which it hinges. The Count St. Louis, a youthful attaché of the French embassy, becomes attached, by a marriage contract, to Lady Bell, a maid of honour to Queen Anne. The husband at sixteen, of a wife quite nineteen, would, according to the natural course of things, be very considerably hen-pecked; and St. Louis, foreseeing this, determines to begin. Well, he insists upon having “article five” of the marriage contract cancelled; for, by this stipulation, he is to be separated from his wife, on the evening of the ceremony (which fast approaches), for five years. He storms, swears, and is laughed at; somebody sends him a wedding present of sugar-plums—everybody calls him a boy, and makes merry at his expense—the wife treats him with contempt, and plays the scornful. The hobble-de-hoy husband, fired with indignation, determines to prove himself a man.
At the court of Queen Anne this seems to have been an easy matter. St. Louis writes love-letters to several maids of honour and to a citizen’s wife, finishing the first act by invading the private apartments of the maiden ladies belonging to the court of the chaste Queen Anne.
The second act discovers him confined to his apartments by order of the Queen, having amused himself, while the intrigues begun by the love-letters are hatching, by running into debt, and being surrounded by duns. The intrigues are not long in coming to a head, for two ladies visit him separately in secret, and allow themselves to be hid in those never-failing adjuncts to a piece of dramatic intrigue—a couple of closets, which are used exactly in the same manner in “Foreign Affairs,” as in all the farces within the memory of man—ex. gr.:—The hero is alone; one lady enters cautiously. A tender interchange of sentiment ensues—a noise is heard, and the lady screams. “Ah! that closet!” Into which exit lady. Then enter lady No. 2. A second interchange of tender things—another noise behind. “No escape?” “None! and yet, happy thought, that closet.” Exit lady No. 2, into closet No. 2.
This is exactly as it happens in “Foreign Affairs.” The second noise is made by the husband of one of the concealed ladies, and the lover of the other. Here, out of the old “closet” materials, the dramatist has worked up one of the best situations—to use an actor’s word—we ever remember to have witnessed. It cannot be described; but it is really worth all the money to go and see it. Let our readers do so. The “Affairs” end by the boy fighting a couple of duels with the injured men; and thus, crowning the proof of his manhood, gets his wife to tolerate—to love him.
The piece was, as it deserved to be, highly successful; it was admirably acted by Mr. Webster as one of the injured lovers—Mr. Strickland and Mrs. Stirling, as a vulgar citizen and citizeness—by Miss P. Horton as Lady Bell—and even by a Mr. Clarke, who played a very small part—that of a barber—with great skill. Lastly, Madlle. Celeste, as the hero, acquitted herself to admiration. We suppose the farce is called “Foreign Affairs” out of compliment to this lady, who is the only “Foreign Affair” we could discover in the whole piece, if we except that it is translated from the French, which is, strictly, an affair of the author’s.
If, dear readers, you have a taste for refined morality and delicate sentiment, for chaste acting and spirited dialogue, for scenery painted on the spot, but like nothing in nature except canvas and colour—go to the Victoria and see “Mary Clifford.” It may, perhaps, startle you to learn that the incidents are faithfully copied from the “Newgate Calendar,” and that the subject is Mother Brownrigg of apprentice-killing notoriety; but be not alarmed, there is nothing horrible or revolting in the drama—it is merely laughable.
“Mary Clifford, or the foundling apprentice girl,” is very appropriately introduced to the auditor, first outside the gates of that “noble charity-school,” taking leave of some of her accidental companions. Here sympathy is first awakened. Mary is just going out to “place,” and instead of saying “good bye,” which we have been led to believe is the usual form of farewell amongst charity-girls, she sings a song with such heart-rending expression, that everybody cries except the musicians and the audience. To assist in this lachrymose operation, the girls on the stage are supplied with clean white aprons—time out mind a charity-girl’s pocket-handkerchief. In the next scene we are introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Brownrigg’s domestic arrangements, and are made acquainted with their private characters—a fine stroke of policy on the part of the author; for one naturally pities a poor girl who can sing so nicely, and can get the corners of so many white aprons wetted on leaving her last place, when one sees into whose hands she is going to fall. The fact is, the whole family are people of taste—peculiar, to be sure, and not refined. Mrs. B. has a taste for starving apprentices—her son, Mr. Jolin B., for seducing them—and Mr. B. longs only for a quiet life, a pot of porter, and a pipe. Into the bosom of this amiable family Mary Clifford enters; and we tremble for her virtue and her meals! not, alas, in vain, for Mr. John is not slow in commencing his gallantries, which are exceedingly offensive to Mary, seeing that she has already formed a liaison with a school-fellow, one William Clipson, who happily resides at the very next door with a baker. During the struggles that ensue she calls upon her “heart’s master,” the journeyman baker. But there is another and more terrible invocation. In classic plays they invoke “the gods”—in Catholic I ones, “the saints”—the stage Arab appeals to “Allah”—the light comedian swears “by the lord Harry”—but Mary Clifford adds a new and impressive invocative to the list. When young Brownrigg attempts to kiss, or his mother to flog her, she casts her eyes upward, kneels, and placing her hands together in an attitude of prayer, solemnly calls upon—“the governors of the Foundling Hospital!!” Nothing can exceed the terrific effect this seems to produce upon her persecutors! They release her instantly—they slink back abashed and trembling—they hide their diminished heads, and leave their victim a clear stage for a soliloquy or a song.
We really must stop here, to point out to dramatic authors the importance of this novel form of conjuration. When the history of Fauntleroy comes to be dramatised, the lover will, of course, be a banker’s clerk: in the depths of distress and despair into which he will have to be plunged, a prayer-like appeal to “the Governor and Company of the Bank of England,” will, most assuredly, draw tears from the most insensible audience. The old exclamations of “Gracious powers!”—“Great heavens!”—“By heaven, I swear!” &c. &c., may now be abandoned; and, after “Mary Clifford,” Bob Acres’ tasteful system of swearing may not only be safely introduced into the tragic drama, but considerably augmented.
But to return. Dreading lest Miss Mary should really “go and tell” the illustrious governors, she is kept a close prisoner, and finishes the first act by a conspiracy with a fellow-apprentice, and an attempt to escape.
Mr. Brownrigg, we are informed, carried on business at No. 12, Fetter-lane, in the oil, paint, pickles, vinegar, plumbing, glazing, and pepper-line; and, in the next act, a correct view is exhibited of the exterior of his shop, painted, we are told, from the most indisputable authorities of the time. Here, in Fetter, lane, the romance of the tale begins:—A lady enters, who, being of a communicative disposition, begins, unasked, unquestioned, to tell the audience a story—how that she married in early life—that her husband was pressed to sea a day or two after the wedding—that she in due time became a mother, and (affectionate creature!) left the dear little pledge at the door of the Foundling Hospital. That was sixteen years ago. Since then fortune has smiled, and she wants her baby back again; but on going to the hospital, says, that they informed her that her daughter has been just “put apprentice” in the very house before which she tells the story—part of it as great a fib as ever was told; for children once inside the walls of that “noble charity,” never know who left them there; and any attempt to find each other out, by parent or child, is punished with the instant withdrawal of the omnipotent protection of the awful “governors.” This lady, who bears all the romance of the piece upon her own shoulders, expects to meet her long-lost husband at the Ship, in Wapping, and instead of seeking her daughter, repairs thither, having done all the author required, by emptying her budget of fibs.
The next scene is harrowing in the extreme. The bills describe it as Mrs. Brownrigg’s “wash-house, kitchen, and skylight”—the sky-light forming a most impressive object. Poor Mary Clifford is chained to the floor, her face begrimed, her dress in rags, and herself exceedingly hungry. Here the heroine describes the weakness of her body with energy and stentorian eloquence, but is interrupted by Mr. Clipson, whose face appears framed and glazed in the broken sky-light. A pathetic dialogue ensues, and the lover swears he will rescue his mistress, or “perish in the attempt,” “calling upon Mr. Owen, the parish overseer,” to make known her sufferings. The Ship, in Wapping, is next shown; and Toby Bensling, alias Richard Clifford, enters to inform his hearers that he is the missing father of the injured foundling, and has that moment stepped ashore, after a short voyage, lasting sixteen years! He is on his way to the “Admiralty,” to receive some pay—the more particularly, we imagine, as they always pay sailors at Somerset House—and then to look after his wife. But she saves him the trouble by entering with Mr. William Clipson. The usual “Whom do I see?”—“Can it be?”—“After so long an absence!” &c. &c., having been duly uttered and begged to, they all go to see after Mary, find her in a cupboard in Mrs. B.’s back-parlour, and—the act-drop falls.
We must confess we approach a description of the third act with diffidence. Such intense pathos, we feel, demands words of more sombre sound—ink of a darker hue, than we can command. The third scene is, in particular, too extravagantly touching for ordinary nerves to witness. Mary Clifford is in bed—French bedstead (especially selected, perhaps, because such things were not thought of in the days of Mother Brownrigg) stands exactly in the middle of the stage—a chest of drawers is placed behind, and a table on each side, to balance the picture. The lover leans over the head, the mother sits at the foot, the father stands at the side: Mary Clifford is insane, with lucid intervals, and is, moreover, dying. The consequence is, she has all the talk to herself, which consists of a discourse concerning the great “governors,” her cruel mistress, and her naughty young master, interlarded with insane ejaculations, always considered stage property, such as, “Ah, she comes!” “Nay, strike me not—I am guiltless!” Again, “Villain! what do you take me for?—unhand me!” and all that. Then the dying part comes, and she sees an angel in the flies, and informs it that she is coming soon (here it is usual for a lady to be removed from the gallery in strong hysterics), and keeps her word by letting her arm fall upon the bed-clothes and shutting her eyes, whereupon somebody says that she is dead, and the prompter whistles for the scene to be changed.
In the last scene, criminal justice takes its course. Mrs. Brownrigg, having been sentenced to the gallows, is seen in the condemned cell; her son by her side, and the fatal cart in the back-ground. Having been brought up genteelly, she declines the mode of conveyance provided for her journey to Tyburn with the utmost volubility. Being about to be hanged merely does not seem to affect her so poignantly as the disgraceful “drag” she is doomed to take her last journey in. She swoons at the idea; and the curtain falls to end her wicked career, and the sufferings of an innocent audience.