Let me earnestly implore you, good Mr. PUNCH, to give publicity to a new invention in the art of poetry, which I desire only to claim the merit of having discovered. I am perfectly willing to permit others to improve upon it, and to bring it to that perfection of which I am delightedly aware, it is susceptible.
It is sometimes lamented that the taste for poetry is on the decline—that it is no longer relished—that the public will never again purchase it as a luxury. But it must be some consolation to our modern poets to know (as no doubt they do, for it is by this time notorious) that their productions really do a vast deal of service—that they are of a value for which they were never designed. They—I mean many of them—have found their way into the pharmacopoeia, and are constantly prescribed by physicians as soporifics of rare potency. For instance—
“—— not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world.
Shall ever usher thee to that sweet sleep”
to which a man shall be conducted by a few doses of Robert Montgomery’s Devil’s Elixir, called “Satan,” or by a portion, or rather a potion, of “Oxford.” Apollo, we know, was the god of medicine as well as of poetry. Behold, in this our bard, his two divine functions equally mingled!
But waiving this, of which it was not my intention to speak, let me remark, that the reason why poetry will no longer go down with the public, as poetry, is, that the whole frame-work is worn out. No new rhymes can be got at. When we come to a “mountain,” we are tolerably sure that a “fountain” is not very far off; when we see “sadness,” it leads at once to “madness”—to “borrow” is sure to be followed by “sorrow;” and although it is said, “when poverty comes in at the door, love flies out of the window,”—a saying which seems to imply that poverty may sometimes enter at the chimney or elsewhere—yet I assure you, in poetry, “the poor” always come in, and always go out at “the door.”
My new invention has closed the “door,” for the future, against the vulgar crew of versifiers. A man must be original. He must write common-sense too—hard exactions I know, but it cannot be helped.
I transmit you a specimen. Like all great discoveries, the chief merit of my invention is its simplicity. Lest, however, “the meanest capacity” (which cannot, by the way, be supposed to be addicted to PUNCH) should boggle at it, it may be as well to explain that every letter of the final word of each alternate line must be pronounced as though Dilworth himself presided at the perusal; and that the last letter (or letters) placed in italics will be found to constitute the rhyme. Here, then, we have
On going forth last night, a friend to see,
I met a man by trade a s-n-o-b;
Reeling along the path he held his way.
“Ho! ho!” quoth I, “he’s d-r-u-n-k.”
Then thus to him—“Were it not better, far,
You were a little s-o-b-e-r?
’Twere happier for your family, I guess,
Than playing off such rum r-i-g-s.
Besides, all drunkards, when policemen see ’em,
Are taken up at once by t-h-e-m.”
“Me drunk!” the cobbler cried, “the devil trouble you!
You want to kick up a blest r-o-w.
Now, may I never wish to work for Hoby,
If drain I’ve had!” (the lying s-n-o-b!)
I’ve just return’d from a tee-total party,
Twelve on us jamm’d in a spring c-a-r-t.
The man as lectured, now, was drunk; why, bless ye,
He’s sent home in a c-h-a-i-s-e.
He’d taken so much lush into his belly,
I’m blest if he could t-o-dd-l-e.
A pair on ’em—hisself and his good lady;—
The gin had got into her h-e-a-d.
(My eye and Betty! what weak mortals we are;
They said they took but ginger b-e-e-r!)
But as for me, I’ve stuck (’twas rather ropy)
All day to weak imperial p-o-p.
And now we’ve had this little bit o’sparrin’,
Just stand a q-u-a-r-t-e-r-n!”
A man in New-York enjoys such very excellent spirits that he has only to drink water to intoxicate himself.
with unparalleled gratification, begs to state that he has it in
to announce, that in consequence of
to the citizens of London having satisfactorily convinced her
that a change of ministry
be productive of a corresponding transformation of measures, and that the late
for the guerdon of office could only have emanated from a highly commendatory desire on the part of the disinterested and patriotic belligerents
or their country,
ever solicitous to enchain the hearts of her devoted subjects, by an impartial exercise of her prerogative, has determined to submit to the
some of those desirable places, so long known as the stimuli to the
of the nineteenth century.
at present in possession of Lord Melbourne. This will be found a most eligible investment, as it embraces a considerable extent of female patronage, comprising the appointments of those valuable legislative adjuncts,
together with those household desiderata,
and an unlimited
at present occupied by Lord John Russell. This lot must possess considerable attraction for a gastronomical experimentalist, as its present proprietor has for a long time been engaged in the discovery of how few pinches of oatmeal and spoonsful of gruel are sufficient for a human pauper, and will be happy to transfer his data to the next fortunate proprietor. Any gentleman desirous of embarking in the manufacture of
would find this a desirable investment, more particularly should he wish to form either
as there are plans for the one, and hints for the other, which will be thrown into the bargain, being of no further use to the present noble incumbent.
at present the property of Lord Normanby. Is admirably calculated for any one of a literary turn of mind, offering resources peculiarly adapted for a proper cultivation of the Jack Sheppard and James Hatfield “men-of-elegant-crimes” school of novel-writing—the archives of Newgate and Horsemonger-lane being open at all times to the inspection of the favoured purchaser.
will determine the sale of this desirable lot in a few days.
now in the occupancy of Lord Palmerston. Possesses advantages rarely to be met with. From its connexion with the continental powers, Eau de Cologne, bear’s grease, and cosmetics of unrivalled excellence, can be procured at all times, thus insuring the favour of the divine sex,
“From the rich peasant-cheek of bronze,
And large black eyes that flash on you a volley
Of rays, that say a thousand things at once,
To the high dama’s brow more melancholy.”
The only requisite (besides money) for this desirable lot is, that the purchaser must write a bold round hand for
understand French and Chinese, and be an
admirably adapted for younger sons and poor relatives.
The whole of the proceeds (by the advice of her Majesty’s Cabinet Council) will be devoted to the erection of a
Cards to view may be had at the Treasury any day after the meeting of Parliament.
“Very like a whale!” as the schoolmaster said when he examined the boy’s back after severely flogging him.
All the world is familiar with the “Diary of a Physician,” the “Diary of an Ennuyée,” the “Diary of a Lady of Rank,” and Heaven knows how many other diaries besides! but who has ever heard of, or saw, the “Diary of a Lord Mayor,—that day-book, or blotter, as it may be commercially termed, of a gigantic mind? Who has ever perused the autobiography of the Lama of Guildhall, Cham of Cripplegate, Admiral of Fleet Ditch, Great Turtle-hunter and Herod of Michaelmas geese? We will take upon ourselves to answer—not one! It was reserved for PUNCH to give to his dear friends, the public, the first and only extract which has ever been made from the genuine diary of a late Lord Mayor of London, or, as that august individual was wont, when in Paris, to designate himself on his visiting tickets—
“FEU LORD MAYOR DE LONDRES.”
How the precious MS. came into our possession matters little to the reader; suffice it to say, it is a secret which must ever remain confined to the bosoms of PUNCH and his cheesemonger.
Nov. 10, eight o’clock.—Dreamed a horrid dream—thought that I was stretched in Guildhall with the two giants sitting on my chest, and drinking rum toddy out of firemen’s buckets—fancied the Board of Aldermen were transformed into skittle-pins, and the police force into bottles of Harvey’s sauce. Tried to squeak, but couldn’t. Then I imagined that I was changed into the devil, and that Alderman Harmer was St. Dunstan, tweaking my nose with a pair of red-hot tongs. This time, I think, I did shout lustily. Awoke with the fright, and found my wife pulling my nose vigorously, and calling me “My Lord!” Pulled off my nightcap, and began to have an idea I was somebody, but could not tell exactly who. Suddenly my eye rested upon the civic gown and chain, which lay upon a chair by my bed-side:—the truth flashed upon my mind—I felt I was a real Lord Mayor. I remembered clearly that yesterday I had been sworn into office. I had a perfect recollection of the glass-coach, and the sheriffs, and the men in armour, and the band playing “Jim along Josey,” as we passed the Fleet Prison, and the glories of the city barge at Blackfriars-bridge, and the enthusiastic delight with which the assembled multitude witnessed—
I could also call to mind the dinner—the turtle, venison, and turbot—and the popping of the corks from the throats of the champagne bottles. I was conscious, too, that I had made a speech; but, beyond this point, all the events of the night were lost in chaotic confusion. One thing, however, was certain—I was a bonâ fide Lord Mayor—and being aware of the arduous duties I had to perform, I resolved to enter upon them at once. Accordingly I arose, and as some poet says—
“Commenced sacrificing to the Graces,
By putting on my breeches.”
Sent for a barber, and authorised him to remove the superfluous hair from my chin—at the same time made him aware of the high honour I had conferred upon him by placing the head of the city under his razor—thought I detected the fellow’s tongue in his cheek, but couldn’t be certain. Mem. Never employ the rascal again.
9 o’clock.—Dressed in full fig—sword very troublesome—getting continually between my legs. Sat down to breakfast—her ladyship complimented me on my appearance—said I looked the beau ideal of a mayor—took a side glance at myself in the mirror—her ladyship was perfectly right. Trotter the shoemaker announced—walked in with as much freedom as he used to do into my shop in Coleman-street—smelt awfully of “best calf” and “heavy sole”—shook me familiarly by the hand, and actually called me “Bob.” The indignation of the Mayor was roused, and I hinted to him that I did not understand such liberties, upon which the fellow had the insolence to laugh in my face—couldn’t stand his audacity, so quitted the room with strong marks of disgust.
10 o’clock.—Heard that a vagabond was singing “Jim Crow” on Tower-hill—proceeded with a large body of the civic authorities to arrest him, but after an arduous chase of half-an-hour we unfortunately lost him in Houndsditch. Suppressed two illegal apple-stalls in the Minories, and took up a couple of young black-legs, whom I detected playing at chuck-farthing on Saffron-hill. Issued a proclamation against mad dogs, cautioning all well-disposed persons to avoid their society.
12 o’clock.—Waited upon by the secretary of the New River Company with a sample of the water they supply to the City—found that it was much improved by compounding it with an equal portion of cognac—gave a certificate accordingly. Lunched, and took a short nap in my cocked hat.
1 o’clock.—Police-court. Disposed of several cases summarily—everybody in court amazed at the extraordinary acuteness I displayed, and the rapidity with which I gave my decisions—they did not know that I always privately tossed up—heads, complainant wins, and tails, defendant—this is the fairest way after all—no being humbugged by hard swearing or innocent looks—no sifting of witnesses—no weighing of evidence—no deliberating—no hesitating—the thing is done in an instant—and, if the guilty should escape, why the fault lies with fortune, and not with justice.
3 o’clock.—Visited the Thames Tunnel—found Brunel a devilish deep fellow—he explained to me the means by which he worked, and said he had got nearly over all his difficulties—I suppose he meant to say he had nearly got under them—at all events the tunnel, when completed, will be a vast convenience to the metropolis, particularly to the lower classes. From the Tunnel went to Billingsgate-market—confiscated a basket of suspicious shrimps, and ordered them to be conveyed to the Mansion-house. Mem. Have them for breakfast to-morrow. Return to dress for dinner, having promised to take the chair at the Grand Annual Metropolitan Anti-Hydro-without-gin-drinking Association.
Here a hiatus occurs in the MS.; but from cotemporary authorities we are enabled to state that his lordship was conveyed home at two o’clock on the following morning, by some jolly companions.
“Slowly and sadly they smoothed his bed, And they told his wife and daughter To give him, next day, a couple of red- Herrings and soda-water.”
The gay Daffodilly, an amorous blade,
Stole out of his bed in the dark,
And calling his brother, Jon-Quil, forth he stray’d
To breathe his love vows to a Violet maid
Who dwelt in a neighbouring park.
A spiteful old Nettle-aunt frown’d on their love;
But Daffy, who laugh’d at her power,
A Shepherd’s-purse slipp’d in the nurse’s Fox-glove,
Then up Jacob’s-ladder he crept to his love,
And stole to the young Virgin’s-bower.
The Maiden’s-blush Rose—and she seem’d all dismay’d,
Array’d in her white Lady’s-smock,
She call’d Mignonette—but the sly little jade,
That instant was hearing a sweet serenade
From the lips of a tall Hollyhock.
The Pheasant’s eye, always a mischievous wight,
For prying out something not good,
Avow’d that he peep’d through the keyhole that night;
And clearly discern’d, by a glow-worm’s pale light,
Old Dowager Peony, deaf as a door,
Who wish’d to know more of the facts,
Invited Dame Mustard and Miss Hellebore,
With Miss Periwinkle, and many friends more,
One evening to tea and to tracts.
The Butter-cups ranged, defamation ran high,
While every tongue join’d the debate;
Miss Sensitive said, ‘twixt a groan and a sigh,
Though she felt much concern’d—yet she thought her dear Vi—
Had grown rather bulbous of late.
Thus the tale spread about through the busy parterre:
Miss Columbine turn'd up her nose,
And the prude Lady Lavender said, with a stare,
That her friend, Mary-gold, had been heard to declare,
The creature had toy’d with the Rose.
Each Sage look’d severe, and each Cocks-comb look’d gay,
When Daffy to make their mind easy,
Miss Violet married one morning in May,
And, as sure as you live, before next Lady-day,
She brought him a Michaelmas-daisy.
The Duke of Normandie accounts for the non-explosion of his percussion-shells, by the fact of having incautiously used some of M’Culloch’s pamphlets on the corn laws. If this be the case, no person can be surprised at their not going off.
The anxiety of the Whigs to repeal the timber duties is quite pardonable, for, with their wooden heads, they doubtlessly look upon it in the light of a poll-tax.
Head of a Botecudo previous to disfigurement.
Head of a Butecudo disfigured by chin and ear pendants.
Head of a Botecudo disfigured by civilisation.
“If an European,” says Sir Joshua Reynolds, in one of his Discourses, “when he has cut off his beard, and put false hair on his head, or bound up his own hair in formal, hard knots, as unlike nature as he can make it, and after having rendered them immoveable by the help of the fat of hogs, has covered the whole with flour, laid on by a machine with the utmost regularity—if, when thus attired, he issues forth and meets a Cherokee Indian who has bestowed as much time at his toilet, and laid with equal care and attention his yellow and red ochre on such parts of his forehead and cheeks as he judges most becoming, whichever of these two despises the other for this attention to the fashion of his country, whichever first feels himself provoked to laugh, is the barbarian.”
Granting this, the popular advocates of civilisation certainly are not the most civilised of individuals. They appear to consider yellow ochre and peacocks’ feathers the climax of barbarism—marabouts and kalydor the acme of refinement. A ring through the nose calls forth their deepest pity—a diamond drop to the ear commands their highest respect. To them, nothing can show a more degraded state of nature than a New Zealand chief, with his distinctive coat of arms emblazoned on the skin of his face; nor anything of greater social elevation than an English peer, with the glittering label of his “nobility” tacked to his breast. To a rational mind, the one is not a whit more barbarous than the other; they being, as Sir Joshua observes, the real barbarians who, like these soi-disant civilisers, would look upon their own monstrosities as the sole standard of excellence.
The philosophy of the present age, however, is peculiarly the philosophy of outsides. Few dive deeper into the human breast than the bosom of the shirt. Who could doubt the heart that beats beneath a cambric front? or who imagine that hand accustomed to dirty work which is enveloped in white kid? What Prometheus was to the physical, Stultz is to the moral man—the one made human beings out of clay, the other cuts characters out of broad-cloth. Gentility is, with us, a thing of the goose and shears; and nobility an attribute—not of the mind, but (supreme civilisation!) of a garter!
Certain modern advocates appear to be devout believers in this external philosophy. They are touchingly eloquent upon the savage state of those who indulge in yellow ochre, but conveniently mute upon the condition of those who prefer carmine. They are beautifully alive to the degradation of that race of people which crushes the feet of its children, but wonderfully dead to the barbarism of that race, nearer home, which performs a like operation upon the ribs of its females. By them, also, we are told that “words would manifestly fail in portraying so low a state of morals as is pictured in the lineaments of an Australian chief,”—a stretch of the outside philosophy which we certainly were not prepared to meet with; for little did we dream that this noble science could ever have attained such eminence, that men of intellect would be able to discover immorality in particular noses, and crime in a certain conformation of the chin.
That an over-attention to the adornment of the person is a barbarism all must allow; but that the pride which prompts the Esquimaux to stuff bits of stone through a hole in his cheek, is a jot less refined than that which urges the dowager-duchess to thrust coloured crystals through a hole in her ear, certainly requires a peculiar kind of mental squint to perceive. Surely there is as great a want of refinement among us, in this respect, as among the natives of New Zealand. Why rush for subjects for civilisation to the back woods of America, when thousands may be found, any fine afternoon, in Regent-street? Why fly to Biddy Salamander and Bulkabra, when the Queen of Beauty and Count D’Orsay have equally urgent claims on the attention and sympathies of the civiliser?
On the subject of civilisation, two questions naturally present themselves—the one, what is civilisation?—the other, have we such a superabundance of that commodity among us, that we should think about exporting it? To the former question, the journal especially devoted to the subject has, to the best of our belief, never condescended a reply; although, like the celebrated argument on the colour of the chameleon, no two persons, perhaps, have the same idea of it. In what then, does civilisation consist, and how is it to be generally promoted? Does it, as Sir E.L. B—— would doubtlessly assure us, does it lie in a strict adherence to the last month’s fashions; and is it to be propagated throughout the world only by missionaries from Nugee’s, and by the universal dissemination of curling-tongs and Macassar—patent leather boots and opera hats—white cambric pocket-handkerchiefs and lavender-water? Or, does it consist, as the Countess of B—— would endeavour to convince us, in abstaining from partaking twice of fish, and from eating peas with the knife? and is it to be made common among mankind only by distributing silver forks and finger-glasses to barbarians, and printing the Book of Etiquette for gratuitous circulation among them? Or, is it, as the mild and humane Judge P—— would prove to us, a necessary result of the Statutes at Large; and can it be rendered universal only by sending out Jack Ketch as a missionary—by the introduction of rope-walks in foreign parts, and the erection of gallows all over the world? Or, is it, as the Archbishop of Canterbury contests, to be achieved solely by the dissemination of bishops, and by diffusing among the poor benighted negroes the blessings of sermons, tithes, and church rates? Christianity, it has, on the other hand, been asserted, is the only practical system of civilisation; but this is manifestly the idea of a visionary. For ourselves, we must confess we incline to the opposite opinion; and think either the bishops or Jack Ketch (we hardly know which we prefer) by far the more rational means. Indeed, when we consider the high state of civilisation which this country has attained, and imagine for an instant the awful amount of distress which would necessarily accrue from the general practice of Christianity among us, even for a week, it is clear that the idea never could be entertained by any moral or religious, mind. A week’s Christianity in England! What would become of the lawyer, and parsons? It is too terrible to contemplate.
These are the continental-trip days. All the world will be now a-touring. But every one is not a Dr. Bowring, and it is rather convenient to be able to edge in a word now and then, when these rascally foreigners will chatter in their own beastly jargon. Ignorant pigs, not to accustom themselves to talk decent English! Il Signor Marchese Cantini, the learned and illustrious author of “Hi, diddlo-diddlino! Il gutto e’l violino!”, has just rendered immense service to the trip-loving natives of these lovely isles, by preparing a “Guide to Conversation,” that for utility and correctness of idiom surpasses all previous attempts of the same kind. With it in one hand, and a bagful of Napoléons or Zecchini in the other, the biggest dunce in London—nay, even a schoolmaster—may travel from Boulogne to Naples and back, with the utmost satisfaction to himself, and with substantial profit to the people of these barbarous climes. The following is a specimen of the way in which Il Signor has accomplished his undertaking. It will be seen at a glance how well he has united the classical with the utilitarian principle, clothing both in the purest dialect; ex. gr.:—
|THIS IS ENGLISH.||THIS IS FRENCH.||THIS IS ITALIAN.|
|Does your mother know you’re out?||Madame, votre maman, sait-elle que vous n’êtes pas chez vous?||La vostra signora madre sa che siete uscito di casa?|
|It won’t do, Mr. Ferguson.||Cela nese passera, Monsieur Ferguson, jamais!||Questo non fara cosi, il Signore Fergusoni!|
|Who are you?||Est-ce que vous aviez jamais un père?||Chi è vossignoria?|
|All round my hat.||Tout autour mon chapeau.||Tutto all’ interno del mio capello!|
|Go it, ye cripples!||C’est ça! Battez-vous bien—boiteux; cr-r-r-r-matin!||Bravo! bravo, stroppiati! Ancora-ancora!|
|Such a getting up-stairs!||Diantre! comme on monte l’escalier!||Come si ha salito— è maraviglioso!|
|Jump, Jim Crow.||Sautez, Monsiuer Jaques Corbeau!||Salti, pergrazia, Signor Giamomo Corvo!|
It would not be fair to rob the Signor of any more of his labour. It will be seen that, on the principle of the Painter and his Cow, we have distinctly written above each sentence the language it belongs to. It is always better to obviate the possibility of mistakes.
The horrors of an omnibus,
Indeed, I’ve cause to curse;
And if I ride in one again,
I hope ‘twill be my hearse.
If you a journey have to go,
And they make no delay,
’Tis ten to one you’re serv’d like curds,
They spill you on the WHEY.
A short time since my wife and I
A short call had to make,
And giving me a kiss, she said—
“A buss you’d better take!”
We journey’d on—two lively cads,
Were for our custom triers;
And in a twinkling we were fix’d
Fast by this pair of pliers!
My wife’s arm I had lock’d in mine,
But soon they forced her from it;
And she was lugg’d into the Sun,
And I into the Comet!
Jamm’d to a jelly, there I sat,
Each one against me pushing;
And my poor gouty legs seem’d made
For each one’s pins—a cushion!
My wife some time had gone before:
I urged the jarvey's speed,
When all at once the bus set off
At fearful pace, indeed!
I ask’d the coachee what caused this?
When thus his story ran:—
“Vy, a man shied at an oss, and so
An oss shied at a man!”
Oh, fearful crash! oh, fearful smash!
At such a rate we run,
That presently the Comet came
In contact with the Sun.
At that sad time each body felt,
As parting with its soul,
We were, indeed, a little whirl’d,
And shook from pole to pole!
Dunn, the miller of Wimbledon, has recently given his infant the Christian name of Cardigan. If there is truth in the adage of “give a dog a bad name and hang him,” the poor child has little else in perspective than the gallows.
Why, y-e-s—‘twas rather late last night;
In fact, past six this morning.
My rascal valet, in a fright,
Awoke, and gave me warning.
But what of that?—I’m very young.
And you’ve “been in the Oven,” or,
Like me, you’re wrong’d by rumour’s tongue,
So—pray don’t tell the Governor.1 1. The author is aware there exists a legitimate rhyme for Porringer, but believes a match for governor lies still in the terra incognita of allowable rhythm.
I dined a quarter after seven,
With Dashall of the Lancers;
Went to the opera at eleven,
To see the ballet-dancers.
From thence I saunter’d to the club—
Fortune to me’s a sloven—or,
I surely must have won one rub,
But—mind! don’t tell the Governor!
I went to Ascot t’other day,
Drove Kitty in a tandem;
Upset it ’gainst a brewer’s dray—
I’d dined, so drove at random.
I betted high—an “outside” won—
I’d swear its hoofs were cloven, or
It ne’er the favourite horse had done,
But—don’t you tell the Governor.
My cottage ornée down at Kew,
So picturesque and pretty,
Cost me of thousands not a few,
To fit it up for Kitty.
She said it charm’d her fancy quite,
But (still I can’t help loving her)
She bolted with the plate one night—
You needn’t tell the Governor.
My creditors are growing queer,
Nay, threaten to be furious;
I’ll scan their paltry bills next year,
At present I’m not curious.
Such fellows are a monstrous bore,
So I and Harry Grosvenor
To-morrow start for Gallia’s shore,
And leave duns—to the Governor.
Sir Hussey Vivian was relating to Sir Robert Peel the failure of the Duke of Normandie’s experiment with a terrible self-explosive box, which he had buried in a mound at Woolwich, in the expectation that it would shortly blow up, but which still remains there, to the great terror of the neighbourhood, who are afraid to approach the spot where this destructive engine is interred. Sir Robert, on hearing the circumstance, declared that Lord John Russell had served him the same trick, by burying the corn-law question under the Treasury bench. No one knew at what moment it might explode, and blow them to ——. “The question,” he added, “now is—who will dig it out?”
We have every reason to believe, unless a very respectable authority, on whom we are in the habit of relying, has grievously imposed upon us, that a very illustrious personage has consulted a certain exalted individual as to whether a certain other person, no less exalted than the latter, but not so illustrious as the former, shall be employed in a certain approaching event, which at present is involved in the greatest uncertainty. Another individual, who is more dignified than the third personage above alluded to, but not nearly so illustrious as the first, and not half so exalted as the second, has nothing whatever to do with the matter above hinted at, and it is not at all probable that he will be ever in the smallest way mixed up with it. For this purpose we have cautiously abstained from giving his name, and indeed only allude to him that there may be no misapprehension on this very delicate subject.
The Times gives a horrible description of some mesmeric experiments by a M. Delafontaine, by which a boy was deprived of all sensation. We suspect that some one has been operating upon the Poor Law Commissioners, for their total want of feeling is a mesmeric phenomenon.
That Bulwer’s from fair Lincoln bann’d,
Doth threaten evil days;
For, having much waste time on hand,
Alas! he’ll scribble plays.
Once there lived, as old histories learnedly show, a
Great sailor and shipbuilder, named MISTER NOAH,
Who a hulk put together, so wondrous—no doubt of it—
That all sorts of creatures could creep in and out of it.
Things with heads, and without heads, things dumb, things loquacious,
Things with tails, and things tail-less, things tame, and things pugnacious;
Rats, lions, curs, geese, pigeons, toadies and donkeys,
Bears, dormice, and snakes, tigers, jackals, and monkeys:
In short, a collection so curious, that no man
E’er since could with NOAH compare as a show-man
At length, JOHNNY BULL, with that clever fat head of his,
Design’d a much stranger and comical edifice,
To be call’d his “NEW HOUSE”—a queer sort of menagerie
To hold all his beasts—with an eye to the Treasury.
Into this he has cramm’d such uncommon monstrosities,
Such animals rare, such unique curiosities,
That we wager a CROWN—not to speak it uncivil—
This HOUSE of BULL’S beats Noah’s Ark to the devil.
Lest you think that we bounce—the great fault, we confess, of men—
We proceed to detail some few things, as a specimen
Of what are to be found in this novel museum;
As it opens next month, you may all go and see ‘em.
Five Woods, of five shades, grain, and polish, and gilding,
Are used this diversified chamber in building.
Not a nail, bolt, or screw, you’ll discover to lurk in it,
Though six Smiths you will find every evening at work in it.
A Forman and Master you’ll see there appended too,
Whose words or instructions are never attended to.
A Leader, whom nobody follows; a pair o’ Knights,
With courage at ninety degrees of old Fahrenheit’s;
Full a hundred “Jim Crows,” wheeling round about—round about,
Yet only one Turner’s this House to be found about.
Of hogs-heads, Lord knows, there are plenty to spare of them,
But only one Cooper is kept to take care of them.
A Ryder’s maintain’d, but he’s no horse to get upon;
There’s a Packe too, and only one Pusey to set upon.
Two Palmers are kept, holy men, in this ill, grim age,
To make every night their Conservative pilgrimage.
A Fuller, for scouring old coats and redressing them;
A Taylor to fashion; and Mangles for pressing them.
Two Stewarts, two Fellowes, a Clerk, and a Baillie,
To keep order, yet each call’d to order are, daily.
A Duke, without dukedom—a matter uncommon—
And Bowes, the delight, the enchantment of woman.
This house has a Tennent, but ask for the rent of it,
He’d laugh at, and send you to Brussels or Ghent for it.
Of the animals properly call’d so, a sample
We’ll give to you gentlefolks now, for example:—
There are bores beyond count, of all ages and sizes,
Yet only one Hogg, who both learned and wise is.
There’s a Buck and a Roebuck, the latter a wicked one,
Whom few like to play with—he makes such a kick at one.
There are Hawkes and a Heron, with wings trimm’d to fly upon,
And claws to stick into what prey they set eye upon.
There’s a Fox, a smart cove, but, poor fellow, no tail he has;
And a Bruen—good tusks for a feed we’ll be bail he has.
There’s a Seale, and four Martens, with skins to our wishes;
There’s a Rae and two Roches, and all sorts of fishes;
There’s no sheep, but a Sheppard—“the last of the pigtails”—
And a Ramsbottom—chip of the old famous big tails.
Now to mention in brief a few trifles extraneous,
By connoisseurs class’d, “odds and ends miscellaneous:”—
There’s a couple of Bells—frights—nay, Hottentots real!
A Trollope, of elegance le beau ideal.
Of Browne, Green, and Scarlett men, surely a sack or more,
Besides three whole White men, preserved with a Blakemore.
There’s a Hill, and a Hutt, and a Kirk, and—astounding!
The entire of old Holland this house to be found in.
There’s a Flower, with a perfume so strong ‘twould upset ye all;
And the beauty of Somers is here found perpetual.
There’s a Bodkin, a Patten, a Rose, and a Currie,
And a man that’s still Hastie, though ne’er in a hurry.
There is Cole without smoke, a “sou’-West” without danger;
And a Grey, that to place is at present a stranger.
There’s a Peel,—but enough! if you’re a virtuoso
You’ll see for yourself, and next month you may do so;
When, if you don’t say this New House is a wonder,
We’re Dutchmen—that’s all!—and at once knuckle under.
The Tories at Waterford carried the day,
And the reign of the Rads is for ever now past;
For one who was Wyse he got out of the way,
And the hopes of the other proved Barron at last.
We are sorry to perceive that trade was never in a more alarming state than at present. A general strike for wages has taken place amongst the smiths. The carpenters have been dreadfully cut up; and the shoemakers find, at the last, that it is impossible to make both ends meet. The bakers complain that the pressure of the times is so great, that they cannot get the bread to rise. The bricklayers swear that the monopolists ought to be brought to the scaffold. The glaziers, having taken some pains to discover the cause of the distress, declare that they can see through the whole affair. The gardeners wish to get at the root of the evil, and consequently have become radical reformers. The laundresses have washed their hands clean of the business. The dyers protest that things never looked so blue in their memory, as there is but a slow demand for
The butchers are reduced to their last stake. The weavers say their lives hang by a single thread. The booksellers protest we must turn over a new leaf. The ironmongers declare that the times are very hard indeed. The cabmen say business is completely at a stand. The watermen are all aground. The tailors object to the government measures;—and the undertakers think that affairs are assuming a grave aspect. Public credit, too, is tottering;—nobody will take doctors’ draughts, and it is difficult to obtain cash for the best bills (of the play). An extensive brandy-ball merchant in the neighbourhood of Oxford-street has called a meeting of his creditors; and serious apprehensions are entertained that a large manufacturer of lollypops in the Haymarket will be unable to meet his heavy liabilities. Two watchmakers in the city have stopped this morning, and what is more extraordinary, their watches have “stopped” too.
The figure, stuffed with shavings, of a French grenadier, constructed by the Duke of Normandie, and exhibited by him recently at Woolwich, which he stated would explode if fired at by bullets of his own construction, possitively objected to being blown up in such a ridiculous manner; and though several balls were discharged at the man of shavings, he showed no disposition to move. The Duke waxed exceedingly wroth at the coolness of his soldier, and swore, if he had been a true Frenchman, he would have gone off at the first fire.
“What’s the difference between the top of a mountain and a person afflicted with any disorder?”—“One’s a summit of a hill, and the other’s ill of a summut.”
Τὸ βακχικὸν δώρημα λαβὲ, σὲ γὰρ Φιλω̑.—EURIPIDES.
“Accept this gift of To-Baccha—cigar fellow.”
Though the dog-days have not yet commenced, muzzlin is very general, and a new sort of shally, called shilly-shally, is getting remarkably prevalent. Shots are still considered the greatest hits, for those who are anxious to make a good impression; flounces are out in the morning, and tucks in at dinner-parties, the latter being excessively full, and much sought after. At conversaziones, puffs are very usual, and sleeves are not so tight as before, to allow of their being laughed in; jewels are not now to be met with in the head, which is left au naturel—that is to say, as vacant as possible.
“Why is the Gazette like a Frenchman’s letter?”—“Because it is full of broken English.”
In the strangers’ gallery in the American house of representatives, the following notice is posted up:—“Gentlemen will be pleased not to place their feet on the boards in front of the gallery, as the dirt from them falls down on the senators’ heads.” In our English House of Commons, this pleasant penchant for dirt-throwing is practised by the members instead of the strangers. It is quite amusing to see with what energy O’Connell and Lord Stanley are wont to bespatter and heap dirt on each other’s heads in their legislative squabbles!
Sir Peter Laurie has made a sad complaint to the Lord Mayor, of the slippery state of the wooden pavement in the Poultry, and strongly recommended the immediate removal of the blocks. This is most barbarous conduct on the part of Sir Peter. Has he lost all natural affection for his kindred, that he should seek to injure them in public estimation? Has he no secret sympathy for the poor blocks whom he has traduced? Let him lay his hand upon his head and confess that—
“A fellow feeling; makes us wondrous kind.”
PUNCH.—Well, Sir Robert, have you yet picked your men? Come, no mystery between friends. Besides, consider your obligations to your old crony, Punch. Do you forget how I stood by you on the Catholic question? Come, name, name! Who are to pluck the golden pippins—who are to smack lips at the golden fish—who are to chew the fine manchet loaves of Downing-street?
PEEL.—The truth is, my dear Punch—
PUNCH.—Stop. You may put on that demure look, expand your right-hand fingers across the region where the courtesy of anatomy awards to politicians a heart, and talk about truth as a certain old lady with a paper lanthorn before her door may talk of chastity—you may do all this on the hustings; but this is not Tamworth: besides, you are now elected; so take one of these cigars—they were smuggled for me by my revered friend Colonel Sibthorp—fill your glass, and out with the list.
PEEL.—(Rises and goes to the door, which he double locks; returns to his seat, and takes from his waistcoat pocket a small piece of ass’s skin.) I have jotted down a few names.
PUNCH.—And, I see, on very proper material. Read, Robert, read.
PEEL.—(In a mild voice and with a slight blush.)—“First Lord of the Treasury, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Robert Peel!”
PUNCH.—Of course. Well?
PEEL.—“First Lord of the Admiralty—Duke of Buckingham.”
PUNCH.—An excellent man for the Admiralty. He has been at sea in politics all his life.
PEEL.—“Secretary for Foreign Affairs—Earl of Aberdeen.”
PUNCH.—An admirable person for Foreign Affairs, especially if he transacted ’em in Sierra Leone. Proceed.
PEEL.—“Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—Lord Wharncliffe.”
PUNCH.—Nothing could be better. Wharncliffe in Ireland! You might as well appoint a red-hot poker to guard a powder magazine. Go on.
PEEL.—“Secretary for Home Department—Goulburn.”
PUNCH.—A most domestic gentleman; will take care of home, I am sure. Go on.
PEEL.—“Lord Chancellor—Sir William Follett.”
PUNCH.—A capital appointment: Sir William loves the law as a spider loves his spinning; and for the same reason Chancery cobwebs will be at a premium.
PEEL.—“Secretary for the Colonies—Lord Stanley.”
PUNCH.—Would make a better Governor of Macquarrie Harbour; but go on.
PEEL.—“President of the Council—Duke of Wellington.”
PUNCH.—Think twice there.—The Duke will be a great check upon you. The Duke is now a little too old a mouser to enjoy Tory tricks. He has unfortunately a large amount of common sense; and how fatal must that quality be to the genius of the Wharncliffes, the Goulburns, and the Stanleys! Besides, the Duke has another grievous weakness—he won’t lie.
PEEL.—“Secretary for Ireland—Sir H. Hardinge.”
PUNCH.—Come, that will do. Wharncliffe, the flaming torch of Toryism, and Hardinge the small lucifer. How Ireland will be enlightened, and how oranges will go up!
PEEL.—“Lord Chamberlain—Duke of Beaufort.”
PUNCH.—Capital! The very politician for a Court carpet. Besides, he knows the etiquette of every green-room from the Pavilion to the Haymarket. He is, moreover, a member of the Garrick Club; and what, if possible, speaks more for his State abilities—he used to drive the Brighton coach!
PEEL.—“Ambassador at Paris—Lord Lyndhurst.”
PUNCH.—That’s something like. How the graces of the Palais Royal will rejoice! There is a peculiar fitness in this appointment; for is not his Lordship son-in-law to old Goldsmid, whilom editor of the Anti-Galliean, and for many years an honoured and withal notorious resident of Paris! Of course BEN D’ISRAELI, his Lordship’s friend, will get a slice of secretaryship—may be allowed to nib a state quill, if he must not use one. Well, go on.
PEEL.—That’s all at present. How d’ye think they read?
PUNCH.—Very glibly—like the summary of a Newgate Calendar. But the truth is, I think we want a little new blood in the next Cabinet.
PEEL.—New blood! Explain, dear Punch.
PUNCH.—Why, most of your people are, unfortunately, tried men. Hence, the people, knowing them as well as they know the contents of their own breeches’ pockets, may not be gulled so long as if governed by those whose tricks—I mean, whose capabilities—have not been so strongly marked. With new men we have always the benefit of hope; and with hope much swindling may be perpetrated.
PEEL.—But my Cabinet contains known men.
PUNCH.—That’s it; knowing them, hope is out of the question. Now, with Ministers less notorious, the Cabinet farce might last a little longer. I have put down a few names; here they are on a blank leaf of Jack Sheppard.
PEEL.—A presentation copy, I perceive.
PUNCH.—-Why, it isn’t generally known; but all the morality, the wit, and the pathos, of that work I wrote myself.
PEEL.—And I must say they’re quite worthy of you.
PUNCH.—I know it; but read—read Punch’s Cabinet.
PEEL (reads).—“First Lord of the Treasury, and Chancellor of the Exchequer—the Wizard of the North.”
PUNCH.—And, wizard as he is, he’ll have his work to do. He, however, promises that every four-pound loaf shall henceforth go as far as eight, so that no alteration of the Corn Laws shall be necessary. He furthermore promises to plant Blackheath and Government waste grounds with sugar-cane, and to raise the penny post stamp to fourpence, in so delicate a manner that nobody shall feel the extra expense. As for the opposition, what will a man care for even the speeches of a Sibthorp—who can catch any number of bullets, any weight of lead, in his teeth? Go on.
PEEL.—“First Lord of the Admiralty—T.P. Cooke.”
PUNCH.—Is he not the very man? Who knows more about the true interests of the navy? Who has beaten so many Frenchmen? Then think of his hornpipe—the very shuffling for a minister.
PEEL.—“Secretary for Foreign Affairs—Gold dust Solomons.”
PUNCH.—Show me a better man. Consider the many dear relations he has abroad; and then his admirable knowledge of the rates of exchange? Think of his crucible. Why, he’d melt down all the crowns of Europe into a coffee service for our gracious Queen, and turn the Pope’s tiara into coral bells for the little Princess! And I ask you if such feats ain’t the practical philosophy of all foreign policy? Go on.
PEEL.—“Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—Henry Moreton Dyer.”
PUNCH.—An admirable person. As Ireland is the hotbed of all crimes, do we not want a Lord Lieutenant who shall be able to assess the true value of every indiscretion, from simple murder to compound larceny? As every Irishman may in a few months be in prison, I want a Lord Lieutenant who shall be emphatically the prisoner’s friend. Go on.
PEEL.—“Secretary for Home Department—George Robins.”
PUNCH.—A man so intimately connected with the domestic affairs of the influential classes of the country. Go on.
PEEL.—“Lord Chancellor—Mr. Dunn, barrister.”
PUNCH.—As it appears to me, the best protector of rich heiresses and orphans. Go on.
PEEL.—“Secretary for the Colonies—Money Moses.”
PUNCH.—A man, you will allow, with a great stake, in fact, with all he has, in one of our colonial possessions. Go on.
PEEL.—“President of the Council—Mrs. Fry.”
PUNCH.—A lady whose individual respectability may give a convenient cloak to any policy. Go on.
PEEL.—“Secretary for Ireland—Henry Moreton Dyer’s footman.”
PUNCH.—On the venerable adage of “like master like man.” Go on.
PEEL.—“Lord Chamberlain—The boy Jones.”
PUNCH.—As one best knowing all the intricacies, from the Royal bed-chamber to the scullery, of Buckingham Palace. Besides he will drive a donkey-cart. Go on.
PEEL.—“Ambassador at Paris—Alfred Bunn, or any other translator of French Operas.”
PUNCH.—A person who will have a continual sense of the necessities of his country at home; and therefore, by his position, be enabled to send us the earliest copies of M. Scribe’s printed dramas; or, in cases of exigency, the manuscripts themselves. And now, Bobby, what think you of Punch’s Cabinet?
PEEL.—Why, really, I did not think the country contained so much state talent.
PUNCH.—That’s the narrowness of your philosophy; if you were to look with an enlarged, a thinking mind, you’d soon perceive that the distance was not so great from St. James’s to St. Giles’s—from the House of Commons to the House of Correction. Well, do you accept my list?
PEEL.—Excuse me, my dear Punch, I must first try my own; when if that fails—
PUNCH.—You’ll try mine? That’s a bargain.
In compliance with my usual practice, I send you this letter, containing a trifling biographical sketch, and an offer of my literary services. I don’t suppose you will accept them, treating me as for forty-three years past all the journals of this empire have done; for I have offered my contributions to them all—all. It was in the year 1798, that escaping from a French prison (that of Toulon, where I had been condemned to the hulks for forgery)—I say, from a French prison, but to find myself incarcerated in an English dungeon (fraudulent bankruptcy, implicated in swindling transactions, falsification of accounts, and contempt of court), I began to amuse my hours of imprisonment by literary composition.
I sent in that year my “Apology for the Corsican,” relative to die murder of Captain Wright, to the late Mr. Perry, of the Morning Chronicle, preparing an answer to the same in the Times journal; but as the apology was not accepted (though the argument of it was quite clear, and much to my credit), so neither was the answer received—a sublime piece, Mr. PUNCH, an unanswerable answer.
In the year 1799, I made an attempt on the journal of the late Reverend Mr. Thomas Hill, then fast sinking in years; but he had ill-treated my father, pursuing him before Mr. Justice Fielding for robbing him of a snuff-box, in the year 1740; and he continued his resentment towards my father’s unoffending son. I was cruelly rebuffed by Mr. Hill, as indeed I have been by every other newspaper proprietor.
No; there is not a single periodical print which has appeared for forty-three years since, to which I did not make some application. I have by me essays and fugitive pieces in fourteen trunks, seven carpet bags of trifles in verse, and a portmanteau with best part of an epic poem, which it does not become me to praise. I have no less than four hundred and ninety-five acts of dramatic composition, which have been rejected even by the Syncretic Association.
Such is the set that for forty-three years has been made against a man of genius by an envious literary world! Are you going to follow in its wake? Ha, ha, ha! no less than seven thousand three hundred times (the exact number of my applications) have I asked that question. Think well before you reject me, Mr. PUNCH—think well, and at least listen to what I have to say.
It is this: I am not wishing any longer to come forward with tragedies, epics, essays, or original compositions. I am old now—morose in temper, troubled with poverty, jaundice, imprisonment, and habitual indigestion. I hate everybody, and, with the exception of gin-and-water, everything. I know every language, both in the known and unknown worlds; I am profoundly ignorant of history, or indeed of any other useful science, but have a smattering of all. I am excellently qualified to judge and lash the vices of the age, having experienced, I may almost say, every one of them in my own person. The immortal and immoral Goethe, that celebrated sage of Germany, has made exactly the same confession.
I have a few and curious collection of Latin and Greek quotations.
And what is the result I draw from this? This simple one—that, of all men living, I am the most qualified to be a CRITIC, and hereby offer myself to your notice in that capacity.
Recollect, I am always at Home—Fleet Prison, Letter L, fourth staircase, paupers’-ward—for a guinea, and a bottle of Hodges’ Cordial, I will do anything. I will, for that sum, cheerfully abuse my own father or mother. I can smash Shakspeare; I can prove Milton to be a driveller, or the contrary: but, for preference, take, as I have said, the abusive line.
Send me over then, Mr. P., any person’s works whose sacrifice you may require. I will cut him up, sir; I will flay him—flagellate him—finish him! You had better not send me (unless you have a private grudge against the authors, when I am of course at your service)—you had better not send me any works of real merit; for I am infallibly prepared to show that there is not any merit in them. I have not been one of the great unread for forty-three years, without turning my misfortunes to some account. Sir, I know how to make use of my adversity. I have been accused, and rightfully too, of swindling, forgery, and slander. I have been many times kicked down stairs. I am totally deficient in personal courage; but, though I can’t fight, I can rail, ay, and well. Send me somebody’s works, and you’ll see how I will treat them.
Will you have personal scandal? I am your man. I will swear away the character, not only of an author, but of his whole family—the female members of it especially. Do you suppose I care for being beaten? Bah! I no more care for a flogging than a boy does at Eton: and only let the flogger beware—I will be a match for him, I warrant you. The man who beats me is a coward; for he knows I won’t resist. Let the dastard strike me then, or leave me, as he likes; but, for a choice, I prefer abusing women, who have no brothers or guardians; for, regarding a thrashing with indifference, I am not such a ninny as to prefer it. And here you have an accurate account of my habits, history, and disposition.
Farewell, sir; if I can be useful to you, command me. If you insert this letter, you will, of course, pay for it, upon my order to that effect. I say this, lest an unprincipled wife and children should apply to you for money. They are in a state of starvation, and will scruple at no dastardly stratagem to procure money. I spent every shilling of Mrs. Jenkinson’s property forty-five years ago.
I am, sir, your humble servant,
Son of the late Ephraim Jenkinson, well known to Dr. O. Goldsmith; the Rev. — Primrose, D.D., Vicar of Wakefield; Doctor Johnson, of Dictionary celebrity; and other literary gentlemen of the last century.
[We gratefully accept the offer of Mr. Diogenes Jenkinson, whose qualifications render him admirably adapted to fill a situation which Mr. John Ketch has most unhandsomely resigned, doubtlessly stimulated thereto by the probable accession to power of his old friends the Tories. We like a man who dares to own himself—a Jenkinson.—ED.]
His Royal Highness Prince Albert, who has occasionally displayed a knowledge and much liking for the Fine Arts, some time since expressed an intimation to display his ability in sketching landscape from nature. The Royal Academicians immediately assembled en masse; and as they wisely imagined that it would be impolitic in them to let an opportunity slip of not being the very foremost in the direction of matters connected with royalty and their profession, offered, or rather thrust forward, their services to arrange the landscape according to the established rules of art laid down by this self-elected body of the professors of the beauties of nature. St. James’s-park, within the enclosure, having been hinted as the nearest and most suitable spot for the royal essay, the Academicians were in active service at an early hour of the appointed day: some busied themselves in making foreground objects, by pulling down trees and heaping stones together from the neighbouring macadamized stores; others were most fancifully spotting the trees with whitewash and other mixtures, in imitation of moss and lichens. The classical Howard was awfully industrious in grouping some swans, together with several kind-hearted ladies from the adjoining purlieus of Tothill-street, who had been most willingly secured as models for water-nymphs. The most rabidly-engaged gentleman was Turner, who, despite the remonstrances of his colleagues upon the expense attendant upon his whimsical notions, would persist in making the grass more natural by emptying large buckets of treacle and mustard about the ground. Another old gentleman, whose name we cannot at this moment call to recollection, spent the whole of his time in placing “a little man a-fishing,” that having been for many years his fixed belief as the only illustration of the pastoral and picturesque. In the meantime, to their utter disappointment, however, his Royal Highness quietly strolled with his sketch-book into another quarter.
Mr. Briefless begs to inform the public and his friends in general, that he has opened chambers in Pump-court.—N.B. Please to go down the area steps.
In consequence of the general pressure for money, Mr. Briefless has determined to do business at the following very reduced scale of prices; and flatters himself, that having been very long a member of a celebrated debating society, he will be found to possess the qualities so essential to a legal advocate.
Motions of cause, 6s. 6d.—Usual charge, 10s. 5d.
Undefended actions, (from) 15s.—Usually (from) 2l. 2s.
Actions for breach of promise (from) 1l. 1s.—Usually (from) 5l. 5s. to 500l.
Ditto, with appeals to the feelings, (from) 3l. 3s.
Ditto, ditto, very superior, 5l. 5s.
Ditto, with tirades against the law (a highly approved mixture), 3l. 3s.
N.B. To the three last items there is an addition of five shillings for a reply, should one be rendered requisite. Mr. Briefless begs to call attention to the fact, that feeling the injustice that is done to the public by the system of refreshers, he will in all cases, where he is retained, take out his refreshers in brandy, rum, gin, ale, or porter.
Injured innocence carefully defended. Oppression and injustice punctually persecuted. A liberal allowance to attorneys and solicitors.
A few old briefs wanted as dummies. Any one having a second-hand coachman’s wig to dispose of may hear of a purchaser.
“Ah! sure a pair was never seen,
More justly form’d—”
Jack, said my uncle Ned to me one evening, as we sat facing each other, on either side of the old oak table, over which, for the last thirty years, my worthy kinsman’s best stories had been told, “Jack,” said he, “do you remember the pair of yellow-topped boots that hung upon the peg in the hall, before you went to college?”
“Certainly, uncle; they were called by every one, ‘The Wife Catchers.’”
“Well, Jack, many a title has been given more undeservedly—many a rich heiress they were the means of bringing into our family. But they are no more, Jack. I lost the venerated relics just one week after your poor dear aunt departed this life.”
My uncle drew out his bandanna handkerchief and applied it to his eyes; but I cannot be positive to which of the family relics this tribute of affectionate recollection was paid.
“Peace be with their soles!” said I, solemnly. “By what fatal chance did our old friends slip off the peg?”
“Alas!” replied my uncle, “it was a melancholy accident; and as I perceive you take an interest in their fate, I will relate it to you. But first fill your glass, Jack; you need not be afraid of this stuff; it never saw the face of a gauger. Come, no skylights; ’tis as mild as new milk; there’s not a head-ache in a hogshead of it.”
To encourage me by his example, my uncle grasped the huge black case-bottle which stood before him, and began to manufacture a tumbler of punch according to Father Tom’s popular receipt.
Whilst he is engaged in this pleasing task, I will give my readers a pen-and-ink sketch of my respected relative. Fancy a man declining from his fiftieth year, but fresh, vigorous, and with a greenness in his age that might put to the blush some of our modern hotbed-reared youths, with the best of whom he could cross a country on the back of his favourite hunter, Cruiskeen, and when the day’s sport was over, could put a score of them under the aforementioned oak table—which, by the way, was frequently the only one of the company that kept its legs upon these occasions of Hibernian hospitality. I think I behold him now, with his open, benevolent brow, thinly covered with grey hair, his full blue eye and florid cheek, which glowed like the sunny side of a golden-pippin that the winter’s frost had ripened without shrivelling. But as he has finished the admixture of his punch, I will leave him to speak for himself.
“You know, Jack,” said he, after gulping down nearly half the newly-mixed tumbler, by way of sample, “you know that our family can lay no claim to antiquity; in fact, our pedigree ascends no higher, according to the most authentic records, than Shawn Duffy, my grandfather, who rented a small patch of ground on the sea-coast, which was such a barren, unprofitable spot, that it was then, and is to this day, called ‘The Devil’s Half-acre.’ And well it merited the name, for if poor Shawn was to break his heart at it, he never could get a better crop than thistles or ragweed off it. But though the curse of sterility seemed to have fallen on the land, Fortune, in order to recompense Shawn for Nature’s niggardliness, made the caverns and creeks of that portion of the coast which bounded his farm towards the sea the favourite resort of smugglers. Shawn, in the true spirit of Christian benevolence, was reputed to have favoured those enterprising traders in their industry, by assisting to convey their cargoes into the interior of the country. It was on one of those expeditions, about five o’clock on a summer’s morning, that a gauger unluckily met my grandfather carrying a bale of tobacco on his back.”
Here my uncle paused in his recital, and leaning across the table till his mouth was close to my ear, said, in a confidential whisper—
“Jack, do you consider killing a gauger—murder?”
“You do?” he replied, nodding his head significantly. “Then heaven forgive my poor grandfather. However, it can’t be helped now. The gauger was found dead, with an ugly fracture in his skull, the next day; and, what was rather remarkable, Shawn Duffy began to thrive in the world from that time forward. He was soon able to take an extensive farm, and, in a little time, began to increase in wealth and importance. But it is not so easy as some people imagine to shake off the remembrance of what we have been, and it is still more difficult to make our friends oblivious on that point, particularly if we have ascended in the scale of respectability. Thus it was, that in spite of my grandfather’s weighty purse, he could not succeed in prefixing Mister to his name; find he continued for a long time to be known as plain ‘Shawn Duffy, of the Devil’s Half-acre.’ It was undoubtedly a most diabolic address; but Shawn was a man of considerable strength of mind, as well as of muscle, and he resolved to become a juntleman, despite this damning reminiscence. Vulgarity, it is said, sticks to a man like a limpet to a rock. Shawn knew the best way to rub it off would be by mixing with good society. Dress, he always understood, was the best passport he could bring for admission within the pale of gentility; accordingly, he boldly attempted to pass the boundary of plebeianism, by appearing one fine morning at the fair of Ballybreesthawn in a flaming red waistcoat, an elegant oarline22. A beaver hat. hat, a pair of buckskin breeches, and a new pair of yellow-topped boots, which, with the assistance of large plated spurs, and a heavy silver-mounted whip, took the shine out of the smartest squireens at the fair.
“Fortunately for the success of my grandfather’s invasion of the aristocratic rights, it occurred on the eve of a general election, and as he had the command of six or eight votes in the county, his interest was a matter of some importance to the candidates. Be that as it may, it was with feelings little short of absolute dismay, that the respectable inhabitants of the extensive village of Ballybreesthawn beheld the metamorphosed tenant of ‘The Devil’s Half-acre,’ walking arm-in-arm down the street with Sir Denis Daly, the popular candidate. At all events, this public and familiar promenade had the effect of establishing Mister John Duffy’s dubious gentility. He was invited to dine the same day by the attorney; and on the following night the apothecary proposed his admission as a member of the Ballybreesthawn Liberal reading-room. It was even whispered that Bill Costigan, who went twice a-year to Dublin for goods, was trying to strike up a match between Shawn, who was a hale widower, and his aunt, an ancient spinster, who was set down by report as a fortune of seven hundred pounds. Negotiations were actually set on foot, and several preliminary bottles of potteen had been drunk by the parties concerned, when, unfortunately, in the high road to happiness, my poor grandfather caught a fever, and popped off, to the inexpressible grief of the expectant bride, who declared her intention of dying in the virgin state; to which resolution, there being no dissentient voice, it was carried nem. con.
“Thus died the illustrious founder of our family; but happy was it for posterity that the yellow-topped boots did not die along with him; these, with the red waistcoat, the leather breeches, and plated spurs, remained to raise the fortunes of our house to a higher station. The waistcoat has been long since numbered with the waistcoats before the flood; the buckskins, made of ‘sterner stuff,’ stood the wear and tear of the world for a length of time, but at last were put out of commission; while the boots, more fortunate or tougher than their leathern companions, endured more than forty years of actual service through all the ramifications of our extensive family. In this time they had suffered many dilapidations; but by the care and ingenuity of the family cobbler, they were always kept in tolerable order, and performed their duty with great credit to themselves, until an unlucky accident deprived me of my old and valued friends.”
That knowing jockey Sir Robert Peel has stated that the old charger, John Bull, is, from over-feeding, growing restive and unmanageable—kicking up his heels, and playing sundry tricks extremely unbecoming in an animal of his advanced age and many infirmities. To keep down this playful spirit, Sir Robert proposes that a new burthen be placed upon his back in the shape of a house-tax, pledging himself that it shall be heavy enough to effect the desired purpose. Commend us to these Tories—they are rare fellows for
Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer has frequently been accused of identifying himself with the heroes of his novels. His late treatment at Lincoln leaves no doubt of his identity with
“So Lord John Russell is married,” said one of the Carlton Club loungers to Colonel Sibthorp the other morning. “Yes,” replied that gallant punster; “his Lordship is at length convinced that his talents will be better employed in the management of the Home than the Colonial department.”
At a time when the glory of England stands—like a door shutting or opening either way—entirely upon a pivot; when the hostile attitude of enemies abroad threatens not more, nor perhaps less, than the antagonistic posture of foes at home—at such a time there is at least a yet undug and hitherto unexplored mine of satisfaction in the refreshing fact, that the Thames is fostering in his bosom an entirely new navy, calculated to bid defiance to the foe—should he ever come—in the very heart and lungs, the very bowels and vitals, the very liver and lungs, or, in one emphatic word, the very pluck of the metropolis. There is not a more striking instance of the remarkable connexion between little—very little—causes, and great—undeniably great—effects, than the extraordinary origin, rise, progress, germ, development, and maturity, of the above-bridge navy, the bringing of which prominently before the public, who may owe to that navy at some future—we hope so incalculably distant as never to have a chance of arriving—day, the salvation of their lives, the protection of their hearths, the inviolability of their street-doors, and the security of their properties. Sprung from a little knot of (we wish we could say “jolly young,” though truth compels us to proclaim) far from jolly, and decidedly old, “watermen,” the above-bridge navy, whose shattered and unfrequented wherries were always “in want of a fare,” may now boast of covering the bosom of the Thames with its fleet of steamers; thus, as it were, bringing the substantial piers of London Bridge within a stone’s throw—if we may be allowed to pitch it so remarkably strong—of the once remote regions of the Beach33. Chelsea., and annihilating, as it were, the distance between sombre southwark and bloom-breathing Battersea.
The establishment of this little fleet may well be a proud reflection to those shareholders who, if they have no dividend in specie, have another species of dividend in the swelling gratification with which the heart of every one must be inflated, as, on seeing one of the noble craft dart with the tide through the arches—supposing, of course, it does not strike against them—of Westminster Bridge, he is enabled mentally to exclaim, “There goes some of my capital!” But if the pride of the proprietor—if he can be called a proprietor who derives nothing from his property—be great, what must be the feelings of the captain to whose guidance the bark is committed! We can scarcely conceive a nobler subject of contemplation than one of those once indigent—not to say absolutely done up—watermen, perched proudly on the summit of a paddle-box, and thinking—as he very likely does, particularly when the vessel swags and sways from side to side—of the height he stands upon.
It may be, and has been, urged by some, that the Thames is not exactly the place to form the naval character; that a habit of braving the “dangers of the deep” is hardly to be acquired where one may walk across at low tide, on account of the water being so confoundedly shallow: but these are cavillings which the lofty and truly patriotic mind will at once and indignantly repudiate. The humble urchin, whose sole duty consists in throwing out a rope to each pier, and holding hard by it while the vessel stops, may one day be destined for some higher service: and where is the English bosom that will not beat at the thought, that the dirty lad below, whose exclamation of “Ease her!—stop her!—one turn ahead!”—may one day be destined to give the word of command on the quarterdeck, and receive, in the shape of a cannon-ball, a glorious full-stop to his honourable services!
Looking as we do at the above-bridge navy, in a large and national light, we are not inclined to go into critical details, such as are to be met with, passim, in the shrewd and amusing work of “The Passenger on board the Bachelor.” There may be something in the objection, that there is no getting comfortably into one of these boats when one desires to go by it. It may be true, that a boy’s neglecting “to hold” sufficiently “hard,” may keep the steamer vibrating and Sliding about, within a yard of the pier, without approaching it. But these are small considerations, and we are not sure that the necessity of keeping a sharp look out, and jumping aboard at precisely the right time, does not keep up that national ingenuity which is not the least valuable part of the English character. In the same light are we disposed to regard the occasional running aground of these boats, which, at all events, is a fine practical lesson of patience to the passengers. The collisions are not so much to our taste, and these, we think, though useful to a certain extent for inculcating caution, should be resorted to as rarely as possible.
We have not gone into the system of signals and “hand motions,” if we may be allowed to use a legal term, by which the whole of this navy is regulated; but these, and other details, may, perhaps, be the subject of some future article for we are partial to
Newcastle-street, July —, 1841.
MR. PUNCH,—Little did I think wen i’ve bin a gaping and starin’ at you in the streats, that i shud ever happli to you for gustice. Isntet a shame that peeple puts advurtusmints in the papers for a howsmaid for a lark, as it puts all the poor survents out of plaice into a dredfool situashun.
As i alwuss gets a peep at the paper on the landin’ as i takes it up for breckfus, i was unfoughtunite enuf to see a para—thingem-me-bob—for a howsmaid, wanted in a nobbleman’s fameli. On course, a young woman has a rite to better hursef if she can; so I makes up my mind at wunce—has i oney has sicks pouns a ear, and finds my own t and shuggar—i makes up my mind to arsk for a day out; which, has the cold mutting was jest enuf for mastur and missus without me, was grarnted me. I soon clears up the kitshun, and goes up stares to clean mysef. I puts on my silk gronin-napple gownd, and my lase pillowrin, likewise my himitashun vermin tippit, (give me by my cussen Harry, who keeps kumpany with me on hot-dinner days), also my tuskin bonnit, parrersole, and blacbag; and i takes mysef orf to South-street, but what was my felines, wen, on wringing the belle, a boy anser’d the daw, with two roes of brarse beeds down his jacket.
“Can i speek a word with the futman?” says i, in my ingaugingist manner.
“i’m futman,” says he.
“Then the cook,” says i.
“We arn’t no cook,” says he.
“No cook!” says i, almose putrifide with surprise; “you must be jokin’”—
“Jokin’,” says he; “do you no who lives here?”
“Not exacly,” says i.
“Lord Milburn,” says he.
i thort i shud have dropt on the step, as a glimmerin’ of the doo shot aX my mine.
“Then you don’t want no howsmaid?” says i.
“Howsmaid!” says the boy; “go to blazes: (What could he mean by
“No; i’ve toled fifty on ye so this mornin’—it’s a oaks.”
“Then more shame of Lord Milborn to do it,” says i; “he may want a place hissef some day or other,” sayin’ of which i bounsed off the doorstep, with all tho dignity i could command.
Now, what i wants to no is, wether i can’t summons his lordship for my day out. Harry sais, should i ever come in contract with Lord Milborn, i’m to trete him with the silent kontempt of
The present occupants of the government premises in Downing-street, whose leases will expire in a few days, are busily employed packing up their small affairs before the new tenants come into possession. It is a pitiful sight to behold these poor people taking leave of their softly-stuffed seats, their rocking-chairs, their footstools, slippers, cushions, and all those little official comforts of which they nave been so cruelly deprived. That man must, indeed, be hard-hearted who would refuse to sympathise with their sorrows, or to uplift his voice in the doleful Whig chorus, when he hears—
When, in a melo-drama, the bride is placing her foot upon the first step of the altar, and Ruffiaano tears her away, far from the grasp of her lover; when a rich uncle in a farce dies to oblige a starving author in a garret; when, two rivals duellise with toasting-forks; when such things are plotted and acted in the theatre, hypercritics murmur at their improbability; but compare them with the haps of the drama off the stage, and they become the veriest of commonplaces. This is a world of change: the French have invaded Algiers, British arms are doing mortal damage in the Celestial Empire, Poulett Thomson has gone over to Canada, and oh! wonder of wonders! Astley’s has removed to Sadler’s Wells!! The pyrotechnics of the former have gone on a visit to the hydraulics of the latter, the red fire of Astley’s has come in contact with the real water of the Wells, yet, marvel superlative! the unnatural meeting has been successful—there has not been a single hiss.
What was the use of Sir Hugh Middleton bringing the New River to a “head,” or of King Jamie buying shares in the speculation on purpose to supply Sadler’s Wells with real water, if it is to be drained off from under the stage to make way for horses? Shade of Dibdin! ghost of Grimaldi! what would you have said in your day? To be sure ye were guilty of pony races: they took place outside the theatre, but within the walls, in the very cella of the aquatic temple, till now, never! We wonder ye do not rise up and “pluck bright Honner from the vasty deep” of his own tank.
Sawdust at Sadler’s Wells! What next, Mr. Merriman?
If Macready had been engaged for Clown, and set down to sing “hot codlins;” were Palmerston “secured” for Pierrot, or Lord Monteagle for Jim Crow, who would have wondered? But to saddle “The Wells” with horses—profanity unparalleled!
Spitefully predicting failure from this terrible declension of the drama, we went, in a mood intensely ill-natured, to witness how the “Horse of the Pyrenees” would behave himself at Sadler’s Wells. From the piece so called we anticipated no amusement; we thought the regular company would make but sorry equestrians, and, like the King of Westphalia’s hussars, would prove totally inefficient, from not being habituated to mount on horseback. Happily we were mistaken; nothing could possibly go better than both the animals and the piece. The actors acquitted themselves manfully, even including the horses. The mysterious Arab threw no damp over the performances, for he was personated by Mr. Dry. The little Saracen was performed so well by le petit Ducrow, that we longed to see more of him. The desperate battle fought by about sixteen supernumeraries at the pass of Castle Moura, was quite as sanguinary as ever: the combats were perfection—the glory of the red fire was nowise dimmed! It was magic, yes, it was magic! Mr. Widdicomb was there!!
Thinking of magic and Mr. Widdicomb (of whom dark hints of identification with the wandering Jew have been dropped—who, we know, taught Prince George of Denmark horsemanship—who is mentioned by Addison in the “Spectator,” by Dr. Johnson in the “Rambler,” and helped to put out each of the three fires that have happened at Astley’s during the last two centuries), brought by these considerations to a train of mind highly susceptible of supernatural agency, we visited—
the illustrious professor of Phœnixsistography, and other branches of the black art, the names of which are as mysterious as their performance.
One only specimen of his prowess convinced us of his supernatural talents. He politely solicited the loan of a bank-note—he was not choice as to the amount or bank of issue. “It may be,” saith the play-bill, “a Bank of England or provincial note, for any sum from five pounds to one thousand.” His is better magic than Owen Glendower’s, for the note “did come when he did call it!” for a confiding individual in the boxes (dress circle of course) actually did lend him, the Wizard, a cool hundred! Conceive the power, in a metaphysical sense, the conjuror must have had over the lender’s mind! Was it animal magnetism?—was it terror raised by his extraordinary performances, that spirited the cash out of the pocket of the man? who, perhaps, thought that such supernatural talents might be otherwise employed against his very existence, thus occupying his perturbed soul with the alternative, “Your money or your life!”
This subject is deeply interesting to actors out of engagements, literary men, and people who “have seen better days”—individuals who have brought this species of conjuration to a high state of perfection. It is a new and important chapter in the “art of borrowing.” We perceive in the Wizard’s advertisements he takes pupils, and offers to make them proficient in any of his delusions at a guinea per trick. We intend to put ourselves under his instructions for the bank-note trick, the moment we can borrow one-pound-one for that purpose.
Besides this, the Wizard does a variety of things which made our hair stand on end, even while reading their description in his play-bill. We did not see him perform them. There was no occasion—the bank-note trick convinced us—for the man who can borrow a hundred pounds whenever he wants it can do anything.
Everybody ought to go and see him. Young ladies having a taste for sentimental-looking men, who wear their hair à la jeune France; natural historians who want to see guinea-pigs fly; gamesters who would like to be made “fly” to a card trick or two; connoisseurs, who wish to see how plum-pudding may be made in hats, will all be gratified by a visit to the Adelphi.
We heard the “Macbeth choruses” exquisitely performed, and saw the concluding combat furiously fought at this theatre. This was all, appertaining unto Macbeth in which we could detect a near approach to the meaning and purpose of the text, except the performance of the Queen, by Mrs. H. Vining, who seemed to understand the purport of the words she had to speak, and was, consequently, inoffensive—a rare merit when Shakspere is attempted on the other side of the Thames.
The qualifications demanded of an actor by the usual run of Surrey audiences are lungs of undeniable efficiency, limbs which will admit of every variety of contortion, and a talent for broad-sword combats. How, then, could the new Macbeth—a Mr. Graham—think of choosing this theatre for his first appearance? His deportment is quiet, and his voice weak. It has, for instance, been usually thought, by most actors, that after a gentleman has murdered his sovereign, and caused a similar peccadillo to be committed upon his dearest friend, he would be, in some degree, agitated, and put out of the even tenor of his way, when the ghost of Banquo appears at the banquet. On such an occasion, John Kemble and Edmund Kean used to think it advisable to start with an expression of terror or horror; but Mr. Graham indulges us with a new reading. He carefully places one foot somewhat in advance of the other, and puts his hands together with the utmost deliberation. Again, he says mildly—
“Avaunt! and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee!”
in a tone which would well befit the situation, if the text ran thus:—
“Dear me, how singular! Pray go!”
When he does attempt to vociferate, the asthmatic complaint under which he evidently labours prevents him from delivering the sentences in more copious instalments than the following:—
“I’ll fight—till—from my bones—my flesh—be hacked!”
We may be told that Mr. Graham cannot help his physical defects; but he can help being an actor, and, above all, choosing a part which requires great prowess of voice. In less trying characters, he may prove an acquisition; for he showed no lack of judgment nor of acquaintance with the conventional rules of the stage. At the Surrey, and in “Macbeth,” he is entirely out of his element. Above all, let him never play with Mr. Hicks, whose energy in the combat scene, and ranting all through Macduff, brought down “Brayvo, Hicks!” in showers. The contrast is really too disadvantageous.
But the choruses! Never were they more bewitchingly performed. Leffler sings the part of Hecate better than his best friends could have anticipated; and, apart from the singing, Miss Romer’s acting in the soprano witch, is picturesque in the extreme.
Fanny Elsler has made an enormous fortune by her trips in America. Few pockets are so crammed by hops as hers.
Oscar Byrne, professor of the College Hornpipe to the London University, had a long interview yesterday with Lord Palmerston to give his lordship lessons in the new waltz step. The master complains that, despite a long political life’s practice, the pupil does not turn quick enough. A change was, however, apparent at the last lesson, and his lordship is expected soon to be able to effect a complete rota-tory motion.
Mademoiselle Taglioni has left London for Germany, her fatherland, the country of her pas.
The society for the promotion of civilization have engaged Mr. Tom Matthews to teach the Hottentots the minuet-de-la-Cour and tumbling. He departs with the other missionaries when the hot weather sets in.
Charles Kean is becoming so popular with the jokers of the day, that we have serious thoughts of reserving a corner entirely to his use. Amongst the many hits at the young tragedian, the two following are not the worst:—
“Kean’s juvenile probation at Eton has done him good service with the aristocratic patrons of the drama,” remarked a lady to a witty friend of ours. “Yes, madam,” was the reply, “he seems to have gained by Eaton what his father lost by drinking.”
“How Webster puffs young Kean—he seems to monopolise the walls!” said Wakley to his colleague, Tom Duncombe. “Merely a realisation of the adage,—The weakest always goes to the wall,” replied the idol of Finsbury.