The heir of Applebite continued to squall and thrive, to the infinite delight of his youthful mamma, who was determined that the joyful occasion of his cutting his first tooth should be duly celebrated by an evening party of great splendour; and accordingly cards were issued to the following effect:—
MR. AND MRS. APPLEBITE
REQUEST THE HONOUR OF
COMPANY TO AN EVENING PARTY,
On Thursday, the 12th inst.
Quadrilles. An Answer will oblige.
It was the first home-made party that Collumpsion had ever given; for though during his bachelorhood he had been no niggard of his hospitality, yet the confectioner had supplied the edibles, and the upholsterer arranged the decorations; but now Mrs. Applebite, with a laudable spirit of economy, converted No. 24, Pleasant-terrace, into a perfect cuisine for a week preceding the eventful evening; and old John was kept in a constant state of excitement by Mrs. Waddledot, who superintended the ornamental department of these elaborate preparations.
Agamemnon felt that he was a cipher in the house, for no one condescended to notice him for three whole days, and it was with extreme difficulty that he could procure the means of “recruiting exhausted nature” at those particular hours which had hitherto been devoted to the necessary operation.
On the morning of the 12th, Agamemnon was anxiously engaged in endeavouring to acquire a knowledge of the last alterations in the figure of La Pastorale, when he fancied he heard an unusual commotion in the lower apartments of his establishment. In a few moments his name was vociferously pronounced by Mrs. Applebite, and the affrighted Collumpsion rushed down stairs, expecting to find himself another Thyestes, whose children, it is recorded, were made into a pie for his own consumption.
On entering the kitchen he perceived the cause of the uproar, although he could see nothing else, for the dense suffocating vapour with which the room was filled.
“Oh dear!” said Mrs. Applebite, “the chimney’s on fire; one pound of fresh butter—”
“And two pound o’lard’s done it!” exclaimed Susan.
“What’s to be done?” inquired Collumpsion.
“Send for my brother, sir,” said Betty.
“Where does he live?” cried old John.
“On No. 746,” replied Betty.
“Where’s that?” cried the whole assembled party.
“I don’t know, but it’s a hackney-coach as he drives,” said Betty.
A general chorus of “Pshaw!” greeted this very unsatisfactory rejoinder. Another rush of smoke into the kitchen rendered some more active measures necessary, and, after a short discussion, it was decided that John and Betty should proceed to the roof of the house with two pailsful of water, whilst Agamemnon remained below to watch the effects of the measure. When John and Betty arrived at the chimney-pots, the pother was so confusing, that they were undecided which was the rebellious flue! but, in order to render assurance doubly sure, they each selected the one they conceived to be the delinquent, and discharged the contents of their buckets accordingly, without any apparent diminution of the intestine war which was raging in the chimney. A fresh supply from a cistern on the roof, similarly applied, produced no better effects, and Agamemnon, in an agony of doubt, rushed up-stairs to ascertain the cause of non-abatement. Accidentally popping his head into the drawing-room, what was his horror at beholding the beautiful Brussels carpet, so lately “redolent of brilliant hues,” one sheet of inky liquid, into which Mrs. Waddledot (who had followed him) instantly swooned. Agamemnon, in his alarm, never thought of his wife’s mother, but had rushed half-way up the next flight of stairs, when a violent knocking arrested his ascent, and, with the fear of the whole fire-brigade before his eyes, he re-rushed to open the door, the knocker of which kept up an incessant clamour both in and out of the house. The first person that met his view was a footman, 25, dyed with the same sooty evidence of John and Betty’s exertions, as he had encountered on entering his own drawing-room. The dreadful fact flashed upon Collumpsion’s mind, and long before the winded and saturated servant could detail the horrors he had witnessed in “his missuses best bed-room, in No. 25,” the bewildered proprietor of No. 24 was franticly shaking his innocently offending menials on the leads of his own establishment. Then came a confused noise of little voices in the street, shouting and hurraing in the fulness of that delight which we regret to say is too frequently felt by the world at large at the misfortunes of one in particular. Then came the sullen rumble of the parish engine, followed by violent assaults on the bell and knocker, then another huzza! welcoming the extraction of the fire-plug, and the sparkling fountain of “New River,” which followed as a providential consequence. Collumpsion again descended, as John had at last discovered the right chimney, and having inundated the stewpans and the kitchen, had succeeded in extinguishing the sooty cause of all these disasters. The mob had, by this time, increased to an alarming extent. Policemen were busily employed in making a ring for the exhibition of the water-works—little boys were pushing each other into the flowing gutters—small girls, with astonished infants in their arms, were struggling for front places against the opposite railings; and every window, from the drawing-rooms to the attics, in Pleasant-terrace were studded with heads, in someway resembling the doll heads in a gingerbread lottery, with which a man on a wooden leg was tempting the monied portion of the juvenile alarmists. Agamemnon opened the door, and being flanked by the whole of his household, proceeded to address the populace on the present satisfactory state of his kitchen chimney. The announcement was received by expressions of extreme disgust, as though every auditor considered that a fire ought to have taken place, and that they had been defrauded of their time and excitement, and that the extinguishing of the same by any other means than by legitimate engines was a gross imposition. He was about remonstrating with them on the extreme inconvenience which would have attended a compliance with their reasonable and humane objections, when his eloquence was suddenly cut short by a jet d’eau which a ragged urchin directed over him, by scientifically placing his foot over the spouting plug-hole. This clever manoeuvre in some way pacified the crowd, and after awaiting the re-appearance of the parish engineer, who had insisted on a personal inspection of the premises, they gave another shout of derision and departed.
Thus commenced the festivities to celebrate the advent of the first tooth of the Heir of Applebite.
This delightful watering-place is filled with beauty and fashion, there being lots of large curls and small bonnets in every portion of the town and neighbourhood.
We understand it is in contemplation to convert the mud on the banks of the river into sand, in order that the idea of the sea-side may be realised as far as possible. Two donkey cart-loads have already been laid down by way of experiment, and the spot on which they were thrown was literally thronged with pedestrians. The only difficulty likely to arise is, that the tide washes the sand away, and leaves the mud just as usual.
The return of the imports and exports shows an immense increase in the prosperity of this, if not salubrious sea-port, at least healthy watercourse. It seems that the importation of Margate slippers this year, as compared with that of the last, has been as two-and-three-quarters to one-and-a-half, or rather more than double, while the consumption of donkeys has been most gratifying, and proves beyond doubt that the pedestrians and equestrians are not so numerous by any means as the asinestrians. The first round of a new ladder for ascending the balconies of the bathing-rooms was laid on Wednesday, amidst an inconvenient concourse of visitors. With the exception of a rap on the toes received by those who pressed so much on the carpenter employed as to retard the progress of his work, all passed off quietly. After the ceremony, the man was regaled by the proprietor of the rooms with some beer, at the tap of the neighbouring hotel for families and gentlemen.
This inestimable composition, which cures all disorders, and keeps in all climates, may be had of every respectable bookseller on the face of the globe. Price 3d.
SIR,—Having incautiously witnessed two consecutive performances of Mr. Macready in the “Lady of Lyons,” the comic portions of them threw me into a state of deep and chronic melancholy, which the various physicians employed were unable to cure. Hearing, however, of your excellent medicine, I took it regularly every Saturday for five weeks, and am now able to go about my daily employment, which being that of a low comedian, was materially interfered with by my late complaint.
I remain, with gratitude, yours truly,
New Strand Theatre.
SIR,—I was, till lately, private secretary to Lord John Russell. I had to copy his somniferous dispatches, to endure a rehearsal of his prosy speeches, to get up, at an immense labour to myself, incessant laughs at his jokes. At length, by the enormous exertions the last duty imposed upon me, I sunk into a hopeless state of cachinnatory impotence: my risible muscles refused to perform their office, and I lost mine. I was discharged. Fortunately, however, for me, I happened to meet with your infallible “Pills to Purge Melancholy,” and tried Nos. 1 to 10 inclusive of them.
With feelings overflowing with gratitude, I now inform you, that I have procured another situation with Sir James Graham; and to show you how completely my roaring powers have returned, I have only to state, that it was I who got up the screeching applause with which Sir James’s recent jokes about the Wilde and Tame serjeants were greeted.
I am, Sir, yours,
Late “over”-Secretary, and Author of the “Canadian Rebellion.”
SIR,—Being the proprietor of several weekly newspapers, which I have conducted for many years, my jocular powers gradually declined, from hard usage and incessant labour, till I was reduced to a state of despair; for my papers ceasing to sell, I experienced a complete stoppage of circulation.
In this terrible state I had the happiness to meet with your “Essence of Guffaw,” and tried its effect upon my readers, by inserting several doses of your Attic salt in my “New Weekly Messenger,” “Planet,” &c. &c. The effects were wonderful. Their amount of sale increased at every joke, and has now completely recovered.
I am, Sir,
Note.—This testimonial is gratifying, as the gentleman has hitherto failed to acknowledge the source of the wonderful cure we have effected in his property.
SIR,—As the author of the facetious political essays in the “Morning Herald,” it is but due to you that I should candidly state the reason why my articles have, of late, so visibly improved.
In truth, sir, I am wholly indebted to you. Feeling a gradual debility come over my facetiæ, I tried several potions of the “New Monthly” and “Bentley’s Miscellany,” without experiencing the smallest relief. “PUNCH” and his “Essence of Guffaw” were, however, most strongly recommended to me by my friend the editor of “Cruikshank’s Omnibus,” who had wonderfully revived after taking repeated doses. I followed his example, and am now completely re-established in fine, jocular health.
I am, Sir,
THE “OWN CORRESPONDENT.”
Inestimable SIR,—A thousand blessings light upon your head! You have snatched a too fond heart from a too early grave. My life-preserver, my PUNCH! receive the grateful benedictions of a resuscitated soul, of a saved Seraphina Simpkins!
Samuel, dearest PUNCH, was false! He took Jemima to the Pavilion; I detected his perfidy, and determined to end my sorrows under the fourth arch of Waterloo-bridge.
In my way to the fatal spot I passed—no, I could not pass—your office. By chance directed, or by fate constrained, I stopped to read a placard of your infallible specific. I bought one dose—it was enough. I have now forgotten Samuel, and am happy in the affection of another.
Publish this, if you please; it may be of service to young persons who are crossed in love, and in want of straw-bonnets at 3s. 6d. each, best Dunstable.
I am, yours,
Architect of Tuscan, straw, and other bonnets, Lant-street, Borough.
CAUTION.—None are genuine unless duly stamped—with good humour, good taste, and good jokes. Observe: “PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI, price Threepence,” is on the cover. Several spurious imitations are abroad, at a reduced price, the effects of which are dreadful upon the system.
The following pictorial joke has been sent to us by Count D’Orsay, which he denominates
All our attempts to discover the wit of this tableau d’esprit have been quite fu-tile. Perhaps our readers will be more successful.
Wanted, by Mons. Lafontaine, a few fine able-bodied young men, who can suffer the running of pins into their legs without flinching, and who can stare out an ignited lucifer without winking. A few respectable-looking men, to get up in the room and make speeches on the subject of the mesmeric science, will also be treated with. Quakers’ hats and coats are kept on the premises. Any little boy who has been accustomed at school to bear the cane without wincing will be liberally treated with.
HORACE TWISS, on being told that the workmen employed at the New Houses of Parliament struck last week, to the number of 468, declared that he would follow their example unless Bob raised his wages.
“Now the Poor Law is the only remedy for all the distresses referred to contained in the whole of the Baronet’s speech.”—Morning Chronicle, Sept. 21.
Oh! dear Doctor,
Most worthy follower in the steps
Of Dr. Epps,
And eke that cannie man
Old Dr. Hanneman—
Two individuals of consummate gumption,
The patient’s labouring under a consumption,
To save him from a trip across the Styx,
To ancient Nick’s
In Charon’s shallop,
If the consumption be upon the canter,
It should be put upon the gallop
For, “similia similibus curantur,”
Great medicinal cod
(Beating the mode
Of old Hippocrates, whom M.D.’s mostly follow,
Which would make
A patient take
No end of verjuice for the belly-ache;
And find, beyond a question,
A power of good in
A lump of cold plum-pudding
For a case of indigestion.
And just as sage,
In this wise age,
’Faith, Dr. Peel, is your law;
Which, as a remedy
Would recommend the Poor Law.
There is at present in London a gentleman with an enormous beard, who professes the science of animal magnetism, and undertakes to deprive of sense those who come under his hand; but as those who flock to his exhibition have generally left all the sense they possess at home, he finds it difficult to accomplish his purposes. If it is animal magnetism to send another to sleep, what a series of Soirées Mesmériques must take place in the House of Commons during the sitting of Parliament! There is no doubt that Sir Robert Peel is the Lafontaine of political mesmerism—the fountain of quackery—and every pass he makes with his hand over poor John Bull serves to bring him into that state of stupefaction in which he may be most easily victimised. While Lafontaine thrusts pins into his patient, the Premier sends poor John into a swoon, for the purpose of, as it is vulgarly termed, sticking it into him; and as the French quack holds lucifers to the nostril, Peel plays the devil under the very nose of the paralysed sufferer. One resorts to electrics, the other to election tricks, but each has the same object in view—to bring the subject of the operation into a state of unconsciousness. If the Premier would give a Matinée Politique, it would prove a formidable rival to the Soirée Mesmérique of the gentleman in the beard, who seems impressed with the now popular idea, that genius and a clean chin are wholly incompatible.
‘Sir B. HALL is still Sir B. Hall. Where is the peerage—the “B-all and end-all” of his patriotism? Really the Whigs ought to have given the poor dog a bone, considering with what perseverance he has always been
When a person holds an argument with his neighbour on the opposite aide of the street, why is there no chance of their agreeing?—Because they argue from different premises.
Looking into an Australian paper the other day, we cast our eye over a list of subscriptions for the “St. Patrick’s Orphan School, Windsor;” which, after enumerating several sums, varying from 10l. to five shillings, ended with the following singular contributions:—
At first we were disposed to be amused with the heterogeneous nature of the contributions, but, on reflection, we felt disposed to applaud a plan which enabled every one to bestow a portion of any article of which he possesses a superabundance. If, for instance, a similar subscription were began here, we might expect to find the following contributions:—
Fair Daphne has tresses as bright as the hue
That illumines the west when a summer-day closes;
Her eyes seem like violets laden with dew,
Her lips will compare with the sweetest of roses.
By Daphne’s decree I am doom’d to despair,
Though ofttimes I’ve pray’d the fair maid to revoke it.
“No—Colin I love”—(thus will Daphne declare)
“Put that in your pipe, if you will, sir, and smoke it.”
Once I thought that she loved me (O! fatal deceit),
For she wore at the dance the gay wreath I had twined her;
She smiled when I swore that I envied each sweet,
And vow’d that in love’s rosy chains I would bind her.
I press’d her soft hand, and a blush dyed her cheek;
“Oh! there’s love,” I exclaim’d, “in that eye’s liquid glancing.”
She spoke, and I think I can still hear her speak—
“You know about love what a pig knows of dancing!”
The “late of” Middlesex, during his visit to Switzerland, happened to be charged, at a cottage half-way up the Jura, three farthings for seven eggs. Astonished and disgusted at the demand, he vehemently declared that things were come to a pretty
We understand Sir James Graham has lately been labouring under severe and continued fits of vertigo, produced, as his medical attendants state, by his extraordinary propensity for turning round.
It is not generally known that the above gentleman has been officially engaged by the eminent and philanthropic pauper-patrons, to put his principles into practice throughout the whole of the Unions in the United Kingdom.
Knowing the extraordinary appetite of the vulgar for anything approaching the unintelligible and marvellous, we feel sorry to be obliged, by a brief detail of this gentleman’s early life and habits, to divest the present phenomenon of much of its apparent wonder and romance.
Mr. Cavanagh was in infancy rather remarkable for the many sleepless nights he occasioned his worthy parents by his juvenile intimations that fasting at that time was no part of his system. He progressed rapidly in his powers of consumption, and was indeed a child of
or, as his nurse expressed it, he was alwaist good for three rounds at breakfast, not at all to be sneezed at luncheon, anything but bad at dinner, hearty at tea (another three-rounder), and very consistent at supper.
“Reverse of fortune changes friends”—reverse of circumstances, alas! too often changes feeds!—pecuniary disappointments brought on a reduction of circumstances—reduction of circumstances occasioned a reduction of meals, and the necessity for such reduction being very apparent to a philosophic mind, engendered a reduction of craving for the same. Perhaps nothing could have proved more generally beneficial than the individual misfortunes of Mr. Bernard Cavanagh, which transferred him to one of those Elysiums of brick and mortar, the “Poor Law Union.” Here, as he himself expresses it, the fearful fallacies of his past system were made beautifully apparent; he felt as if existence could be maintained by the infinitesimal process, so benevolently advocated and regularly prepared, that one step more was all that was necessary to arrive at dietary perfectibility. That step he took, it being simply, instead of next to nothing, to live on nothing at all; and now, such was his opinion of the condiments supplied, he declares it to be by far the pleasantest of the two.
It has been reported that Mr. Bernard Cavanagh’s powers of abstinence have their latent origin in enthusiasm. This he confesses to be the case, his great admiration for fasting having arisen from the circumstance of his frequently seeing the process of manufacturing the pauper gruel, which sight filled him with most intense yearnings to hit upon some plan by which, as far as he was concerned, he might for ever avoid any participation in its consumption.
That immense cigar, the mild Cavanagh! favours us with the following practical account of his system; by which he intends, through the means of enthusiasm, to render breakfasts a superfluity—luncheons, inutilities—dinners, dreadful extravagancies—teas, iniquitous wastes—and suppers, supper-erogatories.
Mr. B.C. proposes the instant dismissal, without wages or warning, of all the cooks, and substitution of the like number of Ciceros; thereby affording a more ample mental diet, as the followers will be served out with orations instead of rations. For the proper excitement of the necessary enthusiasm, he submits the following Mental Bill of Fare:—
The above forms a brief abstract of Mr. B.C.’s plan, furnished and approved by the Poor Law Commissioners. We are credibly informed that the same enlightened gentleman is at present making arrangements with Sir Robert Peel for the total repeal of the use of bread by all operatives, and thereby tranquillising the present state of excitement upon the corn-law question; proving bread, once erroneously considered the staff of life, to be nothing more than a mere ornamental opera cane.
Concluding remarks on an Epic Poem of Giles Scroggins and Molly Brown.
The circumstance which rendered Giles Scroggins peculiarly ineligible as a bridegroom eminently qualified him as a tenant for one of those receptacles in which defunct mortals progress to “that bourne from whence no traveller returns.” Fancy the bereaved Molly, or, as she is in grief, and grief is tragical, Mary Brown, denuded of her scarf and black gloves, turning faintly from the untouched cake and tasteless wine, and retiring to the virtuous couch, whereon, with aching heart, the poet asserts she, the said
“Poor Molly, laid her down to weep;”
and then contemplate her the victim of somnolent consequences, when—
“She cried herself quite fast asleep,”
Here an ordinary mind might have left the maiden and reverted “to her streaming eyes,” inflamed lids, dishevelled locks, and bursting sigh, as satisfactory evidences of the truth of her broken-heartedness, but the “great anonymous” of whom we treat, scorns the application of such external circumstances as agents whereby to depict the intenseness of the passion of the ten thousand condensed turtle-doves glowing in the bosom of his heroine. Sleep falls upon her eyes; but the “life of death,” the subtle essence of the shrouded soul, the watchful sentinel and viewless evidence of immortality, the wild and flitting air-wrought impalpabilities of her fitful dreams, still haunt her in her seeming hours of rest. Fancy her feelings—
“When, standing fast by her bed-post,
A figure tall her sight engross’d,”
and it cried—
“‘I be’s Giles Scroggins’ ghost.’”
Such is the frightful announcement commemorative of this visitation from the wandering spirit of the erratic Giles. Death has indeed parted them. Giles is cold, but still his love is warm! He loved and won her in life—he hints at a right of possession in death; and this very forgetfulness of what he was, and what he is, is the best essence of the overwhelming intensity of his passion. He continues (with a beautiful reliance on the faith and living constancy of Molly, in reciprocation, though dead, of his deathless attachment) to offer her a share, not of his bed and board, but of his shell and shroud. There is somewhat of the imperative in the invitation, which runs thus:—
“The ghost it said so solemnly,
‘Oh, Molly, you must go with me,
All to the grave, your love to cool.’”
We have no doubt this assumption of command on the part of the ghost—an assumption, be it remembered, never ventured upon by the living Giles—gave rise to some unpleasant reflections in the mind of the slumbering Molly. Must is certainly an awkward word. Tell any lady that she must do this, or must do that, and, however much her wishes may have previously prompted the proceeding, we feel perfectly satisfied, that on the very shortest notice she will find an absolute and undeniable reason why such a proceeding is diametrically opposed to the line of conduct she will, and therefore ought to, adopt.
With an intuitive knowledge of human nature, the great poet purposely uses the above objectionable word. How could he do otherwise, or how more effectually, and less offensively, extricate Molly Brown from the unpleasant tenantry of the proposed under-ground floor? Command invariably begets opposition, opposition as certainly leads to argument. So proves our heroine, who, with a beautiful evasiveness, delivers the following expostulation:—
“Says she, ‘I am not dead, you fool!’”
One would think that was a pretty decent clincher, by way of a reason [pg 125] for declining the proposed trip to Giles Scroggins’ little property at his own peculiar “Gravesend;” but as contradiction begets controversy, and the enlightened poet is fully aware of the effect of that cause, the undaunted sprite of the interred Giles instantly opposes this, to him, flimsy excuse, and upon the peculiar veracity of a wandering ghost, triumphantly exclaims, in the poet’s words—words that, lest any mistake should arise as to the speaker by the peculiar construction of the sentence, are rendered doubly individual, for—
“Says the ghost, says he, vy that’s no rule!”
There’s a staggerer! being alive no rule for not being buried! how is Molly Brown to get out of that high-pressure cleft-stick? how! that’s the question! Why not in a state of somnolency, not during the “death of each day’s life; no, it is clear, to escape such a consummation she must be wide awake.” The poet sees this, and with the energy of a master-mind, he brings the invisible chimera of her entranced imagination into effective operation. Argument with a man who denies first premises, and we submit the assertion that vitality is no exception to the treatment of the dead, amounts to that. We say, argument with such a man is worse than nothing; it would be fallacious as the Eolian experiment of whistling the most inspiriting jigs to an inanimate, and consequently unmusical, milestone, opposing a transatlantic thunder-storm with “a more paper than powder” “penny cracker,” or setting an owl to outstare the meridian sun.
The poet knew and felt this, and therefore he ends the delusion and controversy by an overt act:—
“The ghost then seized her all so grim,
All for to go along with him;
‘Come, come,’ said he, ‘e’er morning beam.’”
To which she replies with the following determined announcement:—
“‘I von’t!’ said she, and scream’d a scream,
Then she voke, and found she’d dream’d a dream!”
These are the last words we have left to descant upon: they are such as should be the last; and, like Joseph Surface, “moral to the end.” The glowing passions the fervent hopes, the anticipated future, of the loving pair, all, all are frustrated! The great lesson of life imbues the elaborate production; the thinking reader, led by its sublimity to a train of deep reflection, sees at once the uncertainty of earthly projects, and sighing owns the wholesome, though still painful truth, that the brightest sun is ever the first cause of the darkest shadow; and from childhood upwards, the blissful visions of our gayest fancy—forced by the cry of stern reality—call back the mental wanderer from imaginary bliss, to be again the worldly drudge; and, thus awakened to his real state, confess, like our sad heroine, Molly Brown, he too, has dreamt a dream.
Father Francis O’Flynn, or, as he was generally called by his
parishioners, “Father Frank,” was the choicest specimen you
could desire of a jolly, quiet-going, ease-loving, Irish country priest of
the old school. His parish lay near a small town in the eastern part of
the county Cork, and for forty-five years he lived amongst his flock,
performing all the duties of his office, and taking his dues (when he got
them) with never-tiring good-humour. But age, that spares not priest nor
layman, had stolen upon Father Frank, and he gradually relinquished to his
younger curates the task of preaching, till at length his sermons dwindled
down to two in the year—one at Christmas, and the other at Easter,
at which times his clerical dues were about coming in. It was on one of
these memorable occasions that I first chanced to hear Father Frank
address his congregation. I have him now before my mind’s eye, as he
then appeared; a stout, middle-sized man, with ample shoulders, enveloped
in a coat of superfine black, and substantial legs encased in long
straight boots, reaching to the knee. His forehead, and the upper part of
his head, were bald; but the use of hair-powder gave a fine effect to his
massive, but good-humoured features, that glowed with the rich tint of a
hale old age. A bunch of large gold seals, depending from a massive
jack-chain of the same metal, oscillated with becoming dignity from the
lower verge of his waistcoat, over the goodly prominence of his
“fair round belly.” Glancing his half-closed, but piercing eye
around his auditory, as if calculating the contents of every pocket
present, he commenced his address as follows:—“Well, my good
people, I suppose ye know that to-morrow will be the
Pattern—a corruption of Patron—means, in
Ireland, the anniversary of the Saint to whom a holy well has been
consecrated, on which day the peasantry make pilgrimages to the
3. Pretty girl of Saint Fineen, and no doubt ye’ll all be for going to the blessed well to say your padhereens;2 but I’ll go bail there’s few of you ever heard the rason why the water of that well won’t raise a lather, or wash anything clean, though you were to put all the soap in Cork into it. Well, pay attintiou, and I’ll tell you.—Mrs. Delany, can’t you keep your child quiet while I’m spaking?—It happened a long while ago, that Saint Fineen, a holy and devout Christian, lived all alone, convaynient to the well; there he was to be found ever and always praying and reading his breviary upon a cowld stone that lay beside it. Onluckily enough, there lived also in the neighbourhood a callieen dhas3 called Morieen, and this Morieen had a fashion of coming down to the well every morning, at sunrise, to wash her legs and feet; and, by all accounts, you couldn’t meet a whiter or shapelier pair from this to Bantry. Saint Fineen, however, was so disthracted in his heavenly meditations, poor man! that he never once looked at them; but kept his eyes fast on his holy books, while Morieen was rubbing and lathering away, till the legs used to look like two beautiful pieces of alabasther in the clear water. Matters went on this way for some time, Morieen coming regular to the well, till one fine morning, as she stepped into the water, without minding what she was about, she struck her foot against a a stone and cut it.
“‘Oh! Millia murdher! What’ll I do?’ cried the callieen, in the pitifulles voice you ever heard.
“‘What’s the matter?’ said Saint Fineen.
“‘I’ve cut my foot agin this misfortinat stone,’ says she, making answer.
“Then Saint Fineen lifted up his eyes from his blessed book, and he saw Morieen’s legs and feet.
“‘Oh! Morieen!’ says he, after looking awhile at them, ‘what white legs you have got!’
“‘Have I?’ says she, laughing, ‘and how do you know that?’
“Immediately the Saint remimbered himself, and being full of remorse and conthrition for his fault, he laid his commands upon the well, that its water should never wash anything white again.—and, as I mentioned before, all the soap in Ireland wouldn’t raise a lather on it since. Now that’s the thrue histhory of St. Fineen’s blessed well; and I hope and thrust it will be a saysonable and premonitory lesson to all the young men that hears me, not to fall into the vaynial sin of admiring the white legs of the girls.”
As soon as his reverence paused, a buzz of admiration ran through the chapel, accompanied by that peculiar rapid noise made by the lower class of an Irish Roman Catholic congregation, when their feelings of awe, astonishment, or piety, are excited by the preacher.44. This sound, which is produced by a quick motion of the tongue against the teeth and roof of the mouth, may be expressed thus; “tth, tth, tth, tth, tth.”
Father Frank having taken breath, and wiped his forehead, resumed his address.
“I’m going to change my subject now, and I expect attintion. Shawn Barry! Where’s Shawn Barry?”
“Here, your Rivirence,” replies a voice from the depth of the crowd.
“Come up here, Shawn, ’till I examine you about your Catechism and docthrines.”
A rough-headed fellow elbowed his way slowly through the congregation, and moulding his old hat into a thousand grotesque shapes, between his huge palms, presented himself before his pastor, with very much the air of a puzzled philosopher.
“Well, Shawn, my boy, do you know what is the meaning of Faith?”
“Parfictly, your Rivirence,” replied the fellow, with a knowing grin. “Faith means when Paddy Hogan gives me credit for half-a-pint of the best.”
“Get out of my sight, you ondaycent vagabond; you’re a disgrace to my flock. Here, you Tom M’Gawley, what’s Charity?”
“Bating a process-sarver, your Rivirence,” replied Tom, promptly.
“Oh! blessed saints! how I’m persecuted with ye, root and branch. Jim Houlaghan, I’m looking at you, there, behind Peggy Callanane’s cloak; come up here, you hanging bone slieveen55. A sly rogue. and tell me what is the Last Day?”
“I didn’t come to that yet, sir,” replied Jim, scratching his head.
“I wouldn’t fear you, you bosthoon. Well, listen, and I’ll tell you. It’s the day when you’ll all have to settle your accounts, and I’m thinking there’ll be a heavy score against some of you, if you don’t mind what I’m saying to you. When that day comes, I’ll walk up to Heaven and rap at the hall door. Then St. Pether, who will be takin’ a nap after dinner in his arm-chair, inside, and not liking ta be disturbed, will call out mighty surly, ‘Who’s there?’”
“‘It’s I, my Lord,’ I’ll make answer.
“Av course, he’ll know my voice, and, jumping up like a cricket, he’ll open the door as wide as the hinges will let it, and say quite politely—
“‘I’m proud to see you here, Father Frank. Walk in, if you plase.’
“Upon that I’ll scrape my feet, and walk in, and then St. Pether will say agin—
“‘Well, Father Frank, what have you got to say for yourself? Did you look well afther your flock; and mind to have them all christened, and married, and buried, according to the rites of our holy church?’
“Now, good people, I’ve been forty-five years amongst you, and didn’t I christen every mother’s soul of you?”
Congregation.—You did,—you did,—your Rivirence.
Father Frank.—Well, and didn’t I bury the most of you, too?
Congregation.—You did, your Rivirence.
Father Frank.—And didn’t I do my best to get dacent matches for all your little girls? I And didn’t I get good wives for all the well-behaved boys in my parish?—Why don’t you spake up, Mick Donovan?
Mick.—You did, your Rivirence.
Father Frank.—Well, that’s settled:—but then St. Pether will say—“Father Frank,” says he, “you’re a proper man; but how did your flock behave to you—did they pay you your dues regularly?” Ah! good Christians, how shall I answer that question? Put it in my power to say something good of you: don’t be ashamed to come up and pay your priest’s dues. Come,—make a lane there, and let ye all come up with conthrite hearts and open hands. Tim Delaney!—make way for Tim:—how much will you give, Tim?
Tim.—I’ll not be worse than another, your Riverence. I’ll give a crown.
Father Frank.—Thank you, Timothy: the dacent drop is in you. Keep a lane, there!—any of ye that hasn’t a crown, or half-a-crown, don’t be bashful of coming up with your hog or your testher.66. A shilling or a sixpence.
And thus Father Frank went on encouraging and wheedling his flock to pay up his dues, until he had gone through his entire congregation, when I left the chapel, highly amused at the characteristic scene I had witnessed.
Our gallant Sibthorp was lately invited by a friend to accompany him in a pleasure trip in his yacht to Cowes. “No!” exclaimed Sib.; “you don’t catch me venturing near Cowes.” “And why not?” inquired his friend. “Because I was never vaccinated,” replied the hirsute hero.
Once upon a time—says an old Italian novelist—a horse fell, as in a fit, with his rider. The people, running from all sides, gathered about the steed, and many and opposite were the opinions of the sudden malady of the animal; as many the prescriptions tendered for his recovery. At length, a great hubbub arose among the mob; and a fellow, with the brass of a merryandrew, and the gravity of a quack-doctor, pressed through the throng, and approached the beast. Suddenly there was silence. It was plain to the vulgar that the solemn new-comer had brought with him some exquisite specific: it was evident, from the grave self-complacency of the stranger, that with a glance, he had detected the cause of sickness in the horse,—and that, in a few seconds, the prostrate animal, revivified by the cunning of the sage, would be up, and once more curvetting and caracoling. The master of the steed eyed the stranger with an affectionate anxiety; the mob were awed into breathless expectation. The wise man shook his head, put his cane to his nose, and proceeded to open his mouth. It was plain he was about to speak. Every ear throbbed and gaped to catch the golden syllables. At length the doctor did speak: for casting about him a look of the profoundest knowledge, and pointing to the steed, he said, in a deep, solemn whisper,—“Let the horse alone!” Saying this, the doctor vanished!
The reader will immediately make the application. The horse John Bull is prostrate. It will be remembered that Colonel SIBTHORP (that dull mountebank) spoke learnedly upon glanders—that others declared the animal needed a lighter burthen and a greater allowance of corn,—but that the majority of the mob made way for a certain quacksalver PEEL, who being regularly called in and fee’d for his advice, professed himself to be possessed of some miraculous elixir for the suffering quadruped. All eyes were upon the doctor—all ears open for him, when lo! on the 16th of September,—PEEL, speaking with the voice of an oracle, said—“It is not my intention in the present session of Parliament to submit any measures for the consideration of the House!” In other words—“Let the horse alone!”
The praises of the Tory mob are loud and long at this wisdom of the doctor. He had loudly professed an intimate knowledge of the ailments of the horse—he had long predicted the fall of the poor beast,—and now, when the animal is down, and a remedy is looked for that shall once more set the creature on his legs, the veterinary politician says—“Let the horse alone!”
The speech of Sir ROBERT PEEL was a pithy illustration of the good old Tory creed. He opens his oration with a benevolent and patriotic yearning for the comforts of Parliamentary warmth and ventilation. He moves for papers connected with “the building of the two houses of Parliament, and with the adoption of measures for warming and ventilating those houses!” The whole policy of the Tories has ever exemplified their love of nice warm places; though, certainly, they have not been very great sticklers for atmospheric purity. Indeed, like certain other labourers, who work by night, they have toiled in the foulest air,—have profited by the most noisome labour. When Lord JOHN RUSSELL introduced that imperfect mode of ventilation, the Reform Bill, into the house, had he provided for a full and pure supply of public opinion,—had he ventilated the Commons by a more extended franchise,—Sir ROBERT PEEL would not, as minister, have shown such magnanimous concern for the creature comforts of Members of Parliament—he might, indeed, have still displayed his undying love of a warm place; but he would not have enjoyed it on the bench of the Treasury. As for ventilation, why, the creature Toryism, like a frog, could live in the heart of a tree;—it being always provided that the tree should bear golden pippins.
We can, however, imagine that this solicitude of Sir ROBERT for the ease and comfort of the legislative Magi may operate to his advantage in the minds of certain honest folk, touched by the humanity which sheds so sweet a light upon the opening oration of the new minister. “If”—they will doubtless think—“the humane Baronet feels so acutely for the Lords Spiritual and Temporal,—if he has this regard for the convenience of only 658 knights and burgesses,—if, in his enlarged humanity, he can feel for so helpless a creature as the Earl of COVENTRY, so mild, so unassuming a prelate as the Bishop of EXETER—if he can sympathise with the wants of even a D’ISRAELI, and tax his mighty intellect to make even SIBTHORP comfortable,—surely the same minister will have, aye, a morbid sense of the wants, the daily wretchedness of hundreds of thousands, who, with the fiend Corn Law grinning at their fireless hearths—pine and perish in weavers’ hovels, for the which there has as yet been no ‘adoption of measures for the warming and ventilating.’” “Surely”—they will think—“the man whose sympathy is active for a few of the ‘meanest things that live’ will gush with sensibility towards a countless multitude, fluttering into rags and gaunt with famine. He will go back to first principles; he will, with a giant’s arm, knock down all the conventionalities built by the selfishness of man—(and what a labourer is selfishness! there was no such hard worker at the Pyramids or the wall of China)—between him and his fellow! Hunger will be fed—nakedness will be clothed—and God’s image, though stricken with age, and broken with disease, be acknowledged; not in the cut-and-dried Pharisaical phrase of trading Church-goers, as a thing vested with immortality—as a creature fashioned for everlasting solemnities—but practically treated as of the great family of man—a brother, invited with the noblest of the Cæsars, to an immortal banquet!”
Such may be the hopes of a few, innocent of the knowledge of the stony-heartedness of Toryism. For ourselves, we hope nothing from Sir ROBERT PEEL. His flourish on the warming and ventilation of the new Houses of Parliament, taken in connexion with his opinions on the Corn Laws, reminds us of the benevolence of certain people in the East, who, careless and ignorant of the claims of their fellow-men, yet take every pains to erect comfortable hospitals and temples for dogs and vermin. Old travellers speak of these places, and of men being hired that the sacred fleas might feed upon their blood. Now, when we consider the history of legislation—when we look upon many of the statutes emanating from Parliament—how often might we call the House of Commons the House of Fleas? To be sure, there is yet this great difference: the poor who give their blood there, unlike the wretches of the East, give it for nothing!
Sir ROBERT’S speech promises nothing whatever as to his future policy. He leaves everything open. He will not say that he will not go in precisely the line chalked out by the Whigs. “Next session,” says. Sir ROBERT, “you shall see what you shall see.” About next February, Orson, in the words of the oracle in the melo-drama, will be “endowed with reason.” Until then, we must accept a note-of-hand for Sir ROBERT, that he may pay the expenses of the government.
“I have already expressed my opinion, that it is absolutely necessary to adopt some measures for equalising the revenue and expenditure, and we will avail ourselves of the earliest opportunity, after mature consideration of the circumstances of the country, to submit to a committee of the whole house measures for remedying the existing state of things. Whether that can be best done by diminishing the expenditure of the country, or by increasing the revenue, or by a combination of those two means—the reduction of the expenditure and the increase of the revenue—I must postpone for future consideration.”
Why, Sir ROBERT was called in because he knew the disease of the patient. He had his remedy about him. The pills and the draught were in his pocket—yes, in his patriotic poke; but he refused to take the lid from the box—resolutely determined that the cork should not be drawn from the all-healing phial—until he was regularly called in; and, as the gypsies say, his hand crossed with a bit of money. Well, he now swears with such vigour to the excellence of his physic—he so talks for hours and hours upon the virtues of his drugs, that at length a special messenger is sent to him, and directions given that the Miraculous Doctor should be received at the state entrance of the patient’s castle, with every mark of consideration. The Doctor is ensured his fee, and he sets to work. Thousands and thousands of hearts are beating whilst his eye scrutinizes John Bull’s tongue—suspense weighs upon the bosom of millions as the Doctor feels his pulse. Well, these little ceremonies settled, the Doctor will, of course, pull out his phial, display his boluses, and take his leave with a promise of speedy health. By no means. “I must go home,” says the Doctor, “and study your disease for a few months; cull simples by moonlight; and consult the whole Materia Medica; after that I’ll write you a prescription. For the present, good morning.”
“But, my dear Doctor,” cries the patient, “I dismissed my old physician, because you insisted that you knew my complaint and its, remedy already.”
“That’s very true,” says Doctor PEEL, “but then I wasn’t called in.”
The learned Baldæus tells us, that “Ceylon doctors give jackall’s flesh for consumptions.” Now, consumption is evidently John Bull’s malady; hence, we would try the Ceylon prescription. The jackalls are the landowners; take a little of their flesh, Sir ROBERT, and for once, spare the bowels of the manufacturer.
A highly important and interesting survey of the coast between Arundel-stairs and Hungerford-market pier, is now being executed, under the superintendence of Bill Bunks, late commander of the coal-barge “Jim Crow.” The result of his labours hitherto have been of the most interesting nature to the natural historian, the antiquarian, and the navigator. In his first report to the magistrates of the Thames-police, he states that he has advanced in his survey to Waterloo-bridge stairs, which he describes as a good landing-place for wherries, funnies, and small craft, but inadequate as a harbour for vessels of great burthen. The shore from Arundel-street, as far as he has explored, consists chiefly of a tenacious, dark-coloured substance, very closely resembling thick mud, intermixed with loose shingles, pebbles, and coal-slates. The depth of water is uncertain, as it varies with the tide, which he ascertains rises and falls every six hours; the greatest depth of water being usually found at the time when the tide is full in, and vice versa. He has also made the valuable discovery, that a considerable portion of the shore is always left uncovered at low water, at which periods he availed himself of the opportunity afforded him of examining it more minutely, and of collecting a large number of curious specimens in natural history, and interesting antiquarian relics. As we have had the privilege of being permitted to view them in the private museum of the “Stangate-and-Milbank-both-sides-of-the-water-united-for-the-advancement- of-Science-Association,” we are enabled to lay before our readers the particulars of a few of these spoils, which the perseverance and intrepidity of our gallant countryman, Bill Bunks, has rescued from the hungry jaws of the rapacious deep; viz.:—
“A case of shells.” The greater number of the specimens are pronounced, by competent judges, to be shells of the native oyster; a fact worthy of note, as it proves the existence, in former ages, of an oyster-bed on this spot, and oysters being a sea-fish, it appears evident that either the sea has removed from London, or London has withdrawn itself from the sea. The point is open to discussion. We hope that the “Hookham-cum-Snivey Institution” will undertake the solution of it at one of their early meetings.
“The neck of a black bottle, with a cork in it.” This is a very interesting object of art, and one which has given rise to considerable discussion amongst the literati. The cork, which is inserted in the fragment of the neck, is quite perfect; it has been impressed with a seal in reddish-coloured wax; a portion of it remains, with a partly obliterated inscription, in Roman characters, of which we have been enabled to give the accompanying fac-simile.
With considerable difficulty we have deciphered the legend thus:—The first letter B has evidently been a mistake of the engraver, who meant it for a P, the similarity of the sounds of the two letters being very likely to lead him into such an error. With this slight alteration, we have only to add the letter O to the first line, and we shall have “PRO.” It requires little acuteness to discover that the second word, if complete, would be “PATRIA;” and the letters BR, the two lowest of the inscription, only want the addition of the letters IT to make “BRIT.” or “BRITANNIARUM.” The legend would then run, “PRO PATRIA BRITANNIARUM,” which there is good reason to suppose was the inscription on the cellar seal of Alfred the Great, though some presumptuous and common-minded persons have asserted that the legend, if perfect, would read, “BRETT’S PATENT BRANDY.” Every antiquarian has, however, indignantly refused to admit such a degrading supposition.
“A perfect brick, and two broken tiles.” The first of these articles is in a high state of preservation, and from the circumstance of portions of mortar being found adhering to it, it is supposed that it formed part of the old London Wall. We examined the fragments of the tiles carefully, but found no inscription or other data, by which to ascertain their probable antiquity: the tiles, in short, are buried in mystery.
“A fossil flat-iron.” This antediluvian relic was found imbedded in a Sandy deposite opposite Surrey-street, near high-water mark.
“An ancient leather buskin,” supposed to have belonged to one of the Saxon kings. This singular covering for the foot reaches no higher than the ancle, and is laced up the front with a leathern thong, like a modern highlow, to which it bears a very decided resemblance.
“A skeleton of some unknown animal.” Antiquarians cannot agree to what genus this animal belonged; ignorant people imagine it to have been a cat.
“A piece of broken porcelain.” This is an undoubted relic of Roman manufacture, and appears to have formed part of a plate. The blue “willow pattern” painted on it shows the antiquity of that popular design.
There are several other extremely rare and curious antiquities to be seen in this collection, which we have not space to notice at present, but shall take an early opportunity of returning to the valuable discoveries made by the indefatigable Mr. Bunks.
A report of so extraordinary a nature has just reached us, that we hasten to be the first, as usual, to lay the outlines of it before our readers, with the same early authenticity that has characterised all our other communications. Mr. Yates is at present in Paris, arranging matters with Louis Philippe and his family, to appear at the Adelphi during the ensuing season!!
It would appear that the mania for great people wishing to strut and fret their four hours and a quarter upon the stage is on the increase—at least according to our friends the constituent members of the daily press. Despite the newspaper-death of the manager of the Surrey, by which his enemies wished to “spargere voces in vulgum ambiguas” to his prejudice (which means, in plain English, to tell lies of him behind his back), we have seen the report contradicted, that Mrs. Norton was about to appear there in a new equestrian spectacle, with double platforms, triple studs of Tartar hordes, and the other amphitheatrical enticers. We ourselves can declare, that there is no foundation in the announcement, no more than in the on dit that the Countess of Blessington was engaged as a counter-attraction, for a limited number of nights, at the Victoria; or her lovely niece—a power in herself—had been prevailed upon to make her début at the Lyceum, in a new piece of a peculiar and unprecedented plot, which was prevented from coming off by some disagreement as to terms between the principal parties concerned. For true theatrical intelligence, our columns alone are to be relied upon; bright as a column of sparkling water, overpowering as a column of English cavalry, overlooking all London at once, as the column of the Monument, but not so heavy as the column of the Duke of York.
Mais revenons à nos moutons: which implies (we are again compelled to translate, and this time it is for the benefit of those who have not been to Boulogne), “we spoke of Louis Philippe and his family.” This sagacious monarch, foreseeing that the French were in want of some new excitement, and grieving to find that the pompe funèbre of Napoleon, and the inauguration of his statue upon the monument of the victories that never took place, had not made the intense impression upon the minds of his vivacious subjects that he had intended it should produce, begins to think, that before long a fresh émeute will once more throw up the barricades and paving-stones in the Rue St. Honoré and Boulevard des Italiens. As such, with the prudent foresight which has hitherto directed all his proceedings, he is naturally looking forward to the best means of gaining an honest livelihood for himself and family, should a corrupted national guard, or an excited St. Antoine mob take it into their heads to dine in the Tuileries without being asked. Having read in the English newspapers, which he regularly peruses, of the astounding performances of the Wizard of the North at the Adelphi, more especially as regards the “paralysing gun delusion,” he commences to imagine that he is well qualified to undertake the same responsibility, more especially from the practice he has had in that line from pistols, rifles, fowling-pieces, and, above all, twenty-barrel infernal machines. He has therefore offered his services at the Adelphi, and Mr. Yates, with his accustomed energy, and avowed propensity for French translations, has agreed to bring him over. If we remember truly, the Wizard says in his programme, that the secret shall die with him. We beg to inform him, in all humility, that he deceives himself, for Louis Philippe and the Duke d’Aumale know the trick as well as he does. They would ride through two lines of sans culottes, all armed to the teeth, without the least injury. They would catch the bullets in their teeth, and take them home as curiosities.
Orleans, from his knowledge of the English language, will probably become the adapter of the pieces “from the French” about to be produced. The Duke de Nemours will be engaged to play the fops in the light comedies, a line which, it is anticipated, he will shine in; and the Prince de Joinville can dance a capital sailor’s hornpipe, which he learnt on board the Belle Poule, a name which our own sailors, with an excusable disregard for genders, converted into “The Jolly Cock.” Of course, from his late experience, d’Aumale will assist Louis Philippe, upon emergency, in the gun trick, and, with the other attractions, a profitable season is sure to result.
By Dr. Reid’s new plan for ventilating the House of Commons, a porous hair carpet will be required for the floor; to provide materials for which Mr. Muntz has, in the most handsome manner, offered to shave off his beard and whiskers. This is true magnanimity—Muntz is a noble fellow! and the lasting gratitude of the House is due to him and his hairs for ever.
It is expected that Mr. Snooks and family will pass the winter at Battersea, as the warmth of the climate is strongly recommended for the restoration of the health of Mrs. Snooks, who is in a state of such alarming delicacy, as almost to threaten a realisation of the fears of her best friends and the hopes of the black-job master who usually serves the family.
Mr. Snivins gave a large tea-party, last week, at Greenwich, where the boiling water was supplied by the people of the house, the essentials having been brought by the visitors.
Mr. Popkins has left his attic in the New-Cut, for a tour on the Brixton tread-mill.
K 32 left his official residence at the station-house, for his beat in Leicester-square, and repaired at once to a public-house in the neighbourhood, where he had an audience of several pickpockets.
We are authorised to state, that there is no foundation whatever for the report that a certain well-known policeman is about to lead to the altar a certain unknown lady. The rumour originated in his having been seen leading her before the magistrate.
Dick Wiggins transacted business yesterday in Cold Bath-fields, and picked the appointed quantity of oakum.
Mr. Baron Nathan has left Margate for Kennington. We have not heard whether he was accompanied by the Baroness. The Honourable Miss Nathan, when we last heard of her, was dancing a hornpipe among a shilling’s worth of new laid eggs, at Tivoli.
A few minutes after Sir Robert Peel left Privy-Gardens, in a carriage and four, for Claremont, Sam Snoxell jumped up behind the Brighton stage, from which he descended, after having been whipped down, at Kennington.
The celebrated savant Sir Peter Laurie, whose scientific labours to discover the cause of the variation of the weathercock on Bow Church, have astonished the Lord Mayor and the Board of Aldermen, has lately turned his attention to the subject of railroads. The result of his profound cogitations has been highly satisfactory. He has produced a plan for a railway on an entirely new principle, which will combine cheapness and security in an extraordinary degree. We have been favoured with a view of the inventor’s plans, and we have no hesitation in saying that, if adopted, the most timid person may, with perfect safety, take
Our readers are informed that, despite the belligerent character of the correspondence between the fierce Fitz-Roy and the “Gentle” Shepherd, although it came to a slight blow, there is nothing to warrant an anticipation of their
The Tories have engaged Bernard Cavanagh, the Irish fasting phenomenon, to give lectures on his system of abstinence, which they think might be beneficially introduced amongst the working-classes of England. This is a truly Christian principle of government, for while the people fast, the ministers will not fail to prey.
The Whigs they promised every day
To cure the ills which did surround us;
It should have been, “no cure, no pay!”
For now we’re worse than when they found us.
The Tory clique at length are in,
And vow that they will save the nation,
So kindly give us, to begin—
Exchequer bills and ventilation.
Oh! the artful Tories dear,
Oh! the dear, the artful Tories
They alone perceive, ’tis clear,
That taxes tend to England’s glories.
The Whigs declared cheap bread was good;
To satisfy the people’s cravings
They tried to take the tax off wood—
Lord knows what might be done with shavings!
The Tories vow these schemes were wrong,
And adverse to good legislation;
Therefore, propose (so runs our song)—
Exchequer bills and ventilation.
Oh! the artful Tories dear,
Oh! the dear and artful Tories;
They alone perceive, ’tis clear,
Taxes tend to England’s glories.
The Whigs became the poor man’s foe,
Mix’d ashes in his cup of sorrow;
Nor thought the pauper’s “lot of woe,”
Perchance might be their own to-morrow.
The Tories said they were his friend,
That they abhorr’d procrastination;
So give—till next July shall end—
Exchequer bills and ventilation.
Oh! the artful Tories dear,
Oh! the dear and artful Tories;
They alone perceive, ’tis clear,
Taxes tend to England’s glories.
Sir Robert Peel seems impressed with the necessity of providing the citizens of London with additional parks, where they may recreate themselves, and breathe the free air of heaven. But, strange as it may seem, the people cannot live on fresh air, unaccompanied by some stomachic of a more substantial nature; yet they are forbidden to grumble at the diet, or, if they do, they are silenced according to the good old Tory plan of
Colonel Sibthorp thinks he recollects having been Hannibal once—long ago—although he cannot account for his having been beaten in the Pun-ic war.
The public are aware that this important national undertaking, which is now about to be commenced, is to be a prodigious cast-iron light-house on the Goodwin Sands. Peter Borthwick and our Sibby are already candidates for the office of universal illuminators. Peter rests his claims chiefly on the brilliancy of his ideas, as exemplified in his plan for lighting the metropolis with bottled moonshine; while Sib. proudly refers to our columns for imperishable evidences of the intensity of his wit, conscious that these alone would entitle him to be called “the light of all nations.” We trust that Sir Robert Peel will exercise a sound discretion in bestowing this important situation. Highly as we esteem Peter’s dazzling talents—profoundly as we admire his bottled moonshine scheme—we feel there is no man in the world more worthy of being elevated to the lantern than our refulgent friend Sibthorp.
Let our Treatise of Dramatic Casualties be that which treateth of the misfortunes contingent upon the profession of dramatic authors. Now, of unfortunate dramatic authors there be two grand kinds—namely, they that be unfortunate before the production of their works, and they that be unfortunate after the production of their works.
And first, among them that be unfortunate before the production of their works may he enumerated—
And secondly, of them that be unfortunate after the production of their works, there be some whose pieces are successful, and there be some whose pieces are not successful.
And firstly, of unfortunate authors whose pieces are unsuccessful there be—
Secondly, of those unfortunate authors who have been successful, there be—
And there be divers other calamities which we have neither space nor time to enumerate, but which be all incentives to abstain from dramatic writing.
Modern legislation is chiefly remarkable for its oppressive interference with the elegant amusements of the mob. Bartholomew-fair is abolished; bull-baiting, cock-pits, and duck-hunts are put down by act of Parliament; prize-fighting, by the New Police—even those morally healthful exhibitions, formerly afforded opposite the Debtors’ Door of Newgate, for the sake of example—that were attended by idlers in hundreds, and thieves in thousands—are fast growing into disuse. The “masses” see no pleasure now: even the hanging-matches are cut off.
Deeply compassionating the effects of so illiberal an innovation, Mr. G. Almar the author to, and Mr. R. Honner the proprietor of, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, have produced an exhibition which in a great degree makes up for the infrequent performances at the Old Bailey. Those whose moral sensibilities are refined to the choking point—who can relish stage strangulation in all its interesting varieties better than Shakspere, are now provided with a rich treat. They need not wait for the Recorder’s black cap and a black Monday morning—the Sadler’s Wells’ people hang every night with great success; for, unless one goes early, there is—as is the case wherever hanging takes place—no standing room to be had for love or money.
The play is simply the history of Jack Ketch, a gentleman who flourished at the beginning of the last century, and who, by industry and perseverance, attained to the rank of public executioner; an office he performed with such skill and effect that his successors have, as the bills inform us, inherited “his soubriquet” with his office. He is introduced to the audience as a ropemaker’s apprentice, living in the immediate neighbourhood of Execution-Dock, and loving Barbara Allen, “a young spinster residing at the Cottage of Content, upon the borders of Epping Forest, supporting herself by the produce of her wheel and the cultivation of her flower-garden.” He beguiles his time, while twisting the hemp, by spinning a tedious yarn about this well-to-do spinster; from which we infer Barbara’s barbarity, and that he is crossed in love. The soliloquy is interrupted by an elderly man, who enters to remark that he has come out for a little relaxation after a hard morning’s work: no wonder, for we soon learn that he is the Jack Ketch of his day, and has, but an hour before, tucked up two brace of pirates. With this pleasing information, and a sharp dialogue on his favourite subject with the hero, he retires.
Here the interest begins; three or four foot-stamps are heard behind; Jack starts—“Ah, that noise,” &c.—and on comes the author of the piece, “his first appearance here these five years.” He approaches the foot-lights—he turns up his eyes—he thumps his breast—and goes through this exercise three or four times, before the audience understand that they are to applaud. They do so; and the play goes on as if nothing had happened; for this is an episode expressive of a “first appearance these five years.” Gipsy George or Mr. G. Almar, whichever you please, having assured Jack Ketch that he is starving and in utter destitution, proceeds to give five shillings for a piece of rope, and walks away, after taking great pains to assure everybody that he is going to hang himself. Before, however, he has had time to make the first coil of a hempen collar, Jack looks off, and descries the stranger in the last agonies of strangulation, amidst the most deafening applause from the audience, whose disgust is indignantly expressed by silence when he exits to cut the man down. Their delight is only revived by the apparition of Gipsy George, pale and ghastly, with the rope round his neck, and the exclamation that he is “done for.” Barabbas, the hangman, who re-appears with the rest, is upbraided by Jack for coolly looking on and letting the man hang himself, without raising an alarm. Mr. B. answers, that “it was no business of his.” Like Sir Robert Peel and the rest of the profession, it was evidently his maxim not to interfere, unless “regularly called in.” The Gipsy, so far from dying, recovers sufficiently to make to Jack some important disclosures; but of that mysterious kind peculiar to melodrama, by which nobody is the wiser. They, however, bear reference to Jack’s deceased father, a clasp-knife, a certain Sir Gregory of “the gash,” and the four gentlemen so recently suspended at Execution-Dock.
The residence of Content and Barbara Allen is a scene, the minute correctness of which it would be wicked to doubt, when the bills so solemnly guarantee that it is copied from the “best authorities.” Barbara opens the door, makes a curtsey, produces a purse, and after saying she is going to pay her rent, is, by an ingenious contrivance of the Sadler’s Wells’ Shakspere, confronted with her landlord, the Sir Gregory before-mentioned. All stage-landlords are villains, who prefer seduction to rent, and he of the “gash” is no exception. The struggle, rescue, and duel, which follow, are got through in no time. The last would certainly have been fatal, had not the assailant’s servant come on to announce that “a gentleman wished to speak to him at his own residence.” The lover (who is of course the rescuer) deems this a sufficient excuse to let off his antagonist without a scratch; Barbara rewards him with an embrace and a rose, just as another rival intrudes himself in the person of Mr. John Ketch. The altercation which now ensues is but slight; for Jack, instead of fighting, goes off to Fairlop-fair with another young lady, who seems to come upon the stage for no other purpose than to oblige him. At the fair we find Jack’s spirits considerably damped by the prediction of a gipsy, that he will marry a hangman’s daughter; but, after the jumping in sacks, which forms a part of the sports, he rescues Barbara from being once more assailed by her landlord. Thereupon another component of the festive scene—our friend the hangman—declares that she is his daughter! “Horror” tableau, and end of Act I.
After establishing a lapse of four years between the acts, the author takes [pg 132]high ground;—we are presented with the summit of Primrose-hill, St. Paul’s in the distance, and a gentleman with black clothes, and literary habits, reading in the foreground. This turns out to be “The Laird Lawson,” Barbara’s favoured lover and benevolent duellist. Though on the top of Cockney Mount, he is suffering under a deep depression of spirits; for he has never seen Miss Allen during four years, come next Fairlop-fair. Having heard this, the audience is, of course, quite prepared for that lady’s appearance; and, sure enough, on she comes, accounting for her presence with great adroitness:—having left the city to go to Holloway, she is taking a short cut over Primrose-hill. The lovers go through the mode of recognition never departed from at minor theatres, with the most frantic energy, and have nearly hugged themselves out of breath, when the executioner papa interrupts the blissful scene, without so much as saying how he got there; but “finishers” are mysterious beings. Barabbas denounces the laird; and when his consent is asked for the hand of Miss Barbara, tells the lover “he will see him hanged first!”
The moon, a dark stage, and Jack Ketch in the character of a foot-pad, now add to the romance of the drama. Not to leave anything unexplained, the hero declares, that he has cut the walk of life he formerly trod in the rope ditto, and has been induced to take to the road solely by Fate, brandy and (not salt, but) Barbara! By some extraordinary accident, every character in the piece, with two exceptions, have occasion to tread this scene—“Holloway and heath near the village of Holloway” (painted from the best authorities), just exactly in time to be robbed by Ketch; who shows himself a perfect master of his business, and a credit to his instructor; for Gipsy George rewards Jack for saving him from hanging, by showing his friend the shortest way to the gallows.
In the following scene, the plot breaks out in a fresh place. The man with the “gash,” and Gipsy George are together, going over some youthful reminiscences. It seems that once upon a time there were six pirates; four were those pendents from the gibbet at Execution-Dock one hears so much about at the commencement; the fifth is the speaker, Gipsy George; and “you,” exclaims that person, striking an attitude, and addressing Sir Gregory, “make up the half-dozen!” They all formerly did business in a ship called the “Morning Star,” and whenever the ex-pirate number five is in pecuniary distress, he bawls out into the ear of ci-devant pirate number six, the words “Morning Star!” and a purse of hush-money is forked out in a trice. In this manner Gipsy George accumulates, by the end of the piece, a large property; for six or eight purses, all ready filled for each occasion, thus pass into his pockets.
The “best authorities” furnish us, next, with an interior; that of “the Mug, a chocolate house and tavern,” where a new plot is hatched against the crown and dignity of the late respected George the First, by a party of Jacobites. These consist of a half-dozen of Hanoverian Whigs, who enter, duly decorated with an equal number of hats of every variety of cock and cockade. The heroine seems to have engaged herself here as waitress, on purpose to meet her persecutor, Sir Gregory, and her late lover, Jack Ketch. What comes of this rencontre it is impossible to make out, for a general mélée ensues, caused by a discovery of the plot; which is by no means a gunpowder plot; for although a file of soldiers present their arms for several minutes full at the conspirators, not a single musket goes off. Perhaps gunpowder was expensive in the reign of George the First. Jack Ketch ends the act with a dream—an apropos finale, for we caught several of our neighbours napping. The scene in which this vision takes place is the crowning result of the painter’s researches amongst the “best authorities;” it being no less than “a garret in Grub-street, in which the great Daniel De Foe composed his romance of Robinson Crusoe!!”
A fishing-party—whose dulness is relieved by a suicide—opens the last act: one of the anglers having finished a comic song—which from its extreme gravity forms an appropriate dirge to the forthcoming felo-de-se—goes off with his companion to leave the water clear for Barbara Allen, who enters, takes an affecting leave of her laird lover, and straightway drowns herself. Jack Ketch is now, by a rapid change of scene, discovered in limbo, and condemned to death; why, we were too stupid to make out. The fatal cart—very likely modelled after “the best authorities”—next occupies the stage, drawn by a real horse, and filled with Sir Gregory Gash (who it seems is going to be hanged) and Jack Ketch not as a prisoner, but as an officer of the crown; for we are to suppose that Mr. Barabbas, having retired from the public scaffold to private life, has seceded in favour of Jack Ketch, who is saved from the rope himself, on condition of his using it upon the person of Sir Gregory and every succeeding criminal. All the characters come on with the cart, and a dénouement evidently impends. The distracted lover demands of somebody to restore his mistress, which Gipsy George is really so polite as to do; for although the bills expressly inform us she has committed “suicide,” and we have actually seen her jump into the river Lea; yet there she is safe and sound!—carefully preserved in an envelope formed partly by the Gipsy himself, and partly by his cloak. She, of course, embraces her lover, and leaves Jack Ketch to embrace his profession with what appetite he may; all, in fact, ends happily, and Sir Gregory goes off to be hanged.
This, then, is the state to which the founders of the Newgate school of dramatic literature, and the march of intellect, have brought us. Nothing short of actual hanging—the most revolting and repulsive of all possible subjects to enter, much less to dwell in any mind not actually savage—must now be provided to meet the refined taste of play-goers. In the present instance, nothing but the actual spiciness of the subject saved the piece from the last sentence of even Sadler’s Wells’ critical law; for in construction and detail, it is the veriest mass of incoherent rubbish that was ever shot upon the plains of common sense. The sketch we have made is in no one instance exaggerated. Our readers may therefore easily judge whether we speak truly or not.
When Napoleon first appeared before the grand army after his return from Elba—when Queen Victoria made her débût at the assemblage of her first parliament—when Kean performed “Othello” at Drury Lane immediately after he had caused a certain friend of his to play the same part in the Court of King’s Bench—the public mind was terribly agitated, and the public’s legs instinctively carried them, on each occasion, to behold those great performers. When—to give these circumstances their highest application,—“Punch,” on Thursday last, came out in the regular drama, the excitement was no less intense. Boxes were besieged; the pit was choked up, and the gallery creaked with its celestial encumbrance.
As the curtain drew up, there would have been a death-like silence but for the unparalleled sales that were taking place in apples, oranges, and ginger-beer. Expectation was on tip-toe, as were the persons occupying that department of the theatre called “standing-room.” The looked-for moment came; the “drop” ascended, and the spectators beheld Mr. Dionysius Swivel, a pint of ale, and Punch’s theatre!
“Tragedy,” saith the Aristotelian recipe for cooking up a serious drama, “should have the probable, the marvellous, and the pathetic.” In the tableau thus presented, the audience beheld the three conditions strictly complied with all at once. “It was highly probable,” as Mr. Swivel observed to the source of pipes, ’bacca, and malt—in other words, to the landlady he was addressing—that his master, the showman, was unable to pay the score he had run up; it was marvellous that the proprietor of so popular a puppet as “Punch” should not have even the price of a pint of ale in his treasury; lastly, that circumstance was deeply pathetic; for what so heart-rending as the exhibition of fallen greatness, of broken-down prosperity, of affluence regularly stumped and hard-up! The fact is, that “Punch,” his theatre, and corps dramatique, are in pawn for eight-and-ninepence!
In the midst of this distress there appears a young gentleman, giving vent to passionate exclamations, while furiously buttoning up a tight surtout. The object of his love is the daughter of the object of his hate. Mr. Snozzle, having previously made his bow, overhears him, and being the acting manager of “Punch,” and having a variety of plots for rescuing injured lovers from inextricable difficulties on hand, offers one of them to the lover, considerably over cost price; namely, for the puppet-detaining eight-and-ninepence, and a glass of brandy-and-water. The bargain being struck, the scene changes.
To the happiness of being the possessor of “Punch,” Mr. Snozzle adds that of having a wonderful wife—a lady of universal talents; who dances in spangled shoes, plays on the tamburine, and sings Whitechapel French like a native. This inestimable creature has already gone round the town on a singing, dancing, and cash-collecting expedition; accompanied by the drum, mouth-organ, and Swivel. We now find her enchanting the flinty-hearted father, Old Fellum. Having been instrumental, by means of her vocal abilities, in drawing from him a declaration of amorous attachment and half-a-crown, she retires, to bury herself in the arms of her husband, and to eradicate the score, recorded in chalk, at Mrs. Rummer’s hotel.
In the meantime Snozzle, having sold a plot, proceeds to fulfil the bargain by executing it. He enters with PUNCH’S theatre, to treat Old Fellum with a second exhibition, and his daughter with an elopement; for in the midst of the performance the young lady detects the big drum in the act of “winking at her;” and she soon discovers that PUNCH’S orchestra is no other than her own lover. Fellum is delighted with the show, to which he is attentive enough to allow of the lovers’ escaping. He pursues them when it is too late, and having been so precipitate in his exit as to remember to forget to pay for his amusement, Swivel steals a handsome cage, parrot included.
Good gracious! what a scene of confusion and confabulation next takes place! Fellum’s first stage in pursuit is the public-house; there he unwittingly persuades Mrs. Snozzle that her spouse is unfaithful—that he it was who “stole away the old man’s daughter.” Mrs. Snozzle raves, and threatens a divorce; Snozzle himself trembles—he suspects the police are after him for being the receiver of stolen goods, instead of the deceiver of unsuspecting virtue. Swivel dreads being taken up for prigging the parrot; and a frightful catastrophe is only averted by the entrance of the truant lovers, who have performed the comedy of “Matrimony” in a much shorter time than is allowed by the act of Parliament.
Mrs. Keeley played the tamburine, and the part of Snozzle femme. This was more than acting; it was nature enriched with humour—character broadly painted without a tinge of caricature. The solemnity of her countenance, while performing with her feet, was a correct copy from the expression of self-approbation—of the wonder-how-I-do-it-so-well—always observable during the dances of the fair sex; her tones when singing were unerringly brought from the street; her spangled dress was assuredly borrowed from Scowton’s caravan. As a work of dramatic art, this performance is, of its kind, most complete. Keeley’s Snozzle was quiet, rich, and philosophical; and Saunders made a Judy of himself with unparalleled success. Frank Finch got his deserts in the hands of a Mr. Everett; for being a lover, no matter how awkward and ungainly an actor is made to represent him.
“We believe, from the first, Day was intended to mount, and wherefore it was made a mystery we know not.—DOINGS AT DONCASTER.”—[Sunday Times.]
Poor Coronation well may say,
“A mystery I mark;
Though jockey’d by the lightest Day
They tried to keep me dark.”