"The Wrongheads have been a considerable family ever since England was England."
Morning and evening, from every village within three or four miles of the metropolis, may be remarked a tide of young men wending diurnal way to and from their respective desks and counters in the city, preceded by a ripple of errand-boys, and light porters, and followed by an ebb of plethoric elderly gentlemen in drab gaiters. Now these individuals compose—for the most part—that particular, yet indefinite class of people, who call themselves “gentlemen,” and are called by everybody else “persons.” They are a body—the advanced guard—of the “Tiptoes;” an army which invaded us some thirty years ago, and which, since that time, has been actively and perseveringly spoiling and desolating our modest, quiet, comfortable English homes, turning our parlours into “boudoirs,” ripping our fragrant patches of roses into fantastic “parterres,” covering our centre tables with albums and wax flowers, and, in short (for these details pain us), stripping our nooks and corners of the welcome warm air of pleasant homeliness, which was wont to be a charm and a privilege, to substitute for it a chilly gloss—an unwholesome straining after effect—a something less definite in its operation than in its result, which is called—gentility.
To have done with simile. Our matrons have discovered that luxury is specifically cheaper than comfort (and they regard them as independent, if not incompatible terms); and more than this, that comfort is, after all, but an irrelevant and dispensable corollary to gentility, while luxury is its main prop and stay. Furthermore, that improvidence is a virtue of such lustre, that itself or its likeness is essential to the very existence of respectability; and, by carrying out this proposition, that in order to make the least amount of extravagance produce the utmost admiration and envy, it is desirable to be improvident as publicly as possible; the means for such expenditure being gleaned from retrenchments in the home department. Thus, by a system of domestic alchemy, the education of the children is resolved into a vehicle; a couple of maids are amalgamated into a man in livery; while to a single drudge, superintended and aided by the mistress and elder girls, is confided the economy of the pantry, from whose meagre shelves are supplied supplementary blondes and kalydors.
Now a system of economy which can induce a mother to “bring up her children at home,” while she regards a phaeton as absolutely necessary to convey her to church and to her tradespeople, and an annual visit to the sea-side as perfectly indispensable to restore the faded complexions of Frances and Jemima, ruined by late hours and hot cream, may be considered open to censure by the philosopher who places women (and girls, i.e. unmarried women) in the rank of responsible or even rational creatures. But in this disposition he would be clearly wrong. Before venturing to define the precise capacity of either an individual or a class, their own opinion on the subject should assuredly be consulted; and we are quite sure that there is not one of the lady Tiptoes who would not recoil with horror from the suspicion of advancing or even of entertaining an idea—it having been ascertained that everything original (sin and all) is quite inconformable with the feminine character—unless indeed it be a method of finding the third side of a turned silk—or of defining that zero of fortune, to stand below which constitutes a “detrimental.”
The Misses Tiptoe are an indefinite number of young ladies, of whom it is commonly remarked that some may have been pretty, and others may, hereafter, be pretty. But they never are so; and, consequently, they are very fearful of being eclipsed by their dependents, and take care to engage only ill-favoured governesses, and (but ‘tis an old pun) very plain cooks. The great business of their lives is fascination, and in its pursuit they are unremitting. It is divided in distinct departments, among the sisters; each of whom is characterised at home by some laudatory epithet, strikingly illustrative of what they would like to be. There is Miss Tiptoe, such an amiable girl! that is, she has a large mouth, and a Mallan in the middle of it. There is Jemima, “who enjoys such delicate health “—that is, she has no bust, and wears a scarf. Then there is Grace, who is all for evening rambles, and the “Pilgrim of Love;” and Fanny, who can not help talking; and whom, in its turn, talking certainly cannot help. They are remarkable for doing a little of everything at all times. Whether it be designing on worsted or on bachelors—whether concerting overtures musical or matrimonial; the same pretty development of the shoulder through that troublesome scarf—the same hasty confusion in drawing it on again, and referring to the watch to see what time it is—displays the mind ever intent on the great object of their career. But they seldom marry (unless, in desperation, their cousins), for they despise the rank which they affect to have quitted—and no man of sense ever loved a Tiptoe. So they continue at home until the house is broken up; and then they retire in a galaxy to some provincial Belle Vue-terrace or Prospect-place; where they endeavour to forestall the bachelors with promiscuous orange-blossoms and maidenly susceptibilities. We have characterised these heart-burning efforts after “station,” as originating with, and maintained by, the female branches of the family; and they are so—but, nevertheless, their influence on the young men is no less destructive than certain. It is a fact, that, the more restraint that is inflicted on these individuals in the gilded drawing-room at home, the more do they crave after the unshackled enjoyment of their animal vulgarity abroad. Their principal characteristics are a love of large plaids, and a choice vocabulary of popular idiomatic forms of speech; and these will sufficiently define them in the saloons of the theatres and in the cigar divans. But they are not ever thus. By no means. At home (which does not naturally indicate their own house), having donned their “other waistcoat” and their pin (emblematic of a blue hand grasping an egg, or of a butterfly poised on a wheel)—pop! they are gentlemen. With the hebdomadal sovereign straggling in the extreme verge of their pockets—with the afternoon rebuke of the “principal,” or peradventure of some senior clerk, still echoing in their ears—they are GENTLEMEN. They are desired to be such by their mother and sisters, and so they talk about cool hundreds—and the points of horses—and (on the strength of the dramatic criticisms in the Satirist) of Grisi in Norma, and Persiani in La Sonnambula—of Taglioni and Cerito—of last season and the season before that.
We know not how far the readers of PUNCH may be inclined to approve so prosy an article as this in their pet periodical; but we have ventured to appeal to them (as the most sensible people in the country) against a class of shallow empirics, who have managed to glide unchidden into our homes and our families, to chill the one and to estrange the other. Surely, surely, we were unworthy of our descent, could we see unmoved our lovely English girls, whose modesty was wont to be equalled only by their beauty, concentrating all their desires and their energies on a good match; or our reverend English matrons, the pride and honour of the land, employing themselves in the manufacture of fish-bone blanc-mange and mucilaginous tipsy-cakes; or our young Englishmen, our hope and our resource, spending themselves in the debasing contamination of cigars and alcohol.
On a recent visit of Lord Waterford to the “Holy Land,” then to sojourn in the hostel or caravansera of the protecting Banks of that classic ground, that interesting young nobleman adopted, as the seat of his precedency, a Brobdignag hod, the private property of some descendant from one of the defunct kings of Ulster; at the close of an eloquent harangue; his lordship expressed an earnest wish that he should be able to continue
a hope instantly gratified by the stalwart proprietor, who, wildly exclaiming, “Sit aisy!” hoisted the lordly burden on his shoulders, and gave him the full benefit of a shilling fare in that most unusual vehicle.
“SIR ROBERT PEEL thinks a great deal of himself,” says the British Critic. “Yes,” asserts PUNCH, “he is just the man to trouble himself about trifles.”
Roebuck was seated in his great arm chair,
Looking as senatorial and wise
As a calf’s head, when taken in surprise;
A half-munch’d muffin did his fingers bear—
An empty egg-shell proved his meal nigh o’er.
When, lo! there came a tapping at the door:
“Come in!” he cried,
And in another minute by his side
Stood John the footboy, with the morning paper,
Wet from the press. O’er Roebuck’s cheek
There passed a momentary gleam of joy,
Which spoke, as plainly as a smile could speak,
“Your master’s speech is in that paper, boy.”
He waved his hand—the footboy left the room—
Roebuck pour’d out a cup of Hyson bloom;
And, having sipp’d the tea and sniff’d the vapour,
Spread out the “Thunderer” before his eyes—
When, to his great surprise,
He saw imprinted there, in black and white,
That he, THE ROE-buck—HE, whom all men knew,
Had been expressly born to set worlds right—
That HE was nothing but a parvenu.
Jove! was it possible they lack’d the knowledge he
Boasted a literary and scientific genealogy!
That he had had some ancestors before him—
(Beside the Pa who wed the Ma who bore him)—
Men whom the world had slighted, it is true,
Because it never knew
The greatness of the genius which had lain,
Like unwrought ore, within each vasty brain;
And as a prejudice exists that those
Who never do disclose
The knowledge that they boast of, seldom have any,
Each of his learned ancestors had died,
By an ungrateful world belied,
And dubb’d a Zany.
That HE should be
Denied a pedigree!
Appeared so monstrous in this land of freedom,
He instantly conceived the notion
To go down to the House and make a motion,
That all men had a right to those who breed ‘em.
Behold him in his seat, his face carnation,
Just like an ace of hearts,
Not red and white in parts,
But one complete illumination.
He rises--members blow their noses,
And cough and hem! till one supposes,
A general catarrh prevails from want of ventilation.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in me you see
A member of this house (hear, hear),
With whose proud pedigree
The “Thunderer” has dared to interfere.
Now I implore,
That Lawson may be brought upon the floor,
And beg my pardon on his bended knees.
In whatsoever terms I please.
I, too, propose,
To pull his nose:
No matter if the law objects or not;
And if the printer’s nose cannot be got,
The small proboscis of the printer’s devil
Shall serve my turn for language so uncivil!
The “Thunderer” I defy,
And its vile lie.
(As Ajax did the lightning flash of yore.)
I likewise move this House requires—
No, that’s too complimentary—desires,
That Mr. Lawson’s brought upon the floor.
The thing was done:
The house divided, and the Ayes were—ONE!
Last evening a most diabolical, and, it is to be regretted successful, attempt, was made to kiss the Princess Royal. It appears that the Royal Babe was taking an airing in the park, reclining in the arms of her principal nurse, and accompanied by several ladies of the court, who were amusing the noble infant by playing rattles, when a man of ferocious appearance emerged from behind some trees, walked deliberately up to the noble group, placed his hands on the nurse, and bent his head over the Princess. The Honourable Miss Stanley, guessing the ruffian’s intention, earnestly implored him to kiss her instead, in which request she was backed by all the ladies present.11. This circumstance alone must at once convince every unprejudiced person of the utter falsity of the reports (promulgated by certain interested parties) of the disloyalty of the Tory ladies, when we see several dames placed in the most imminent danger, yet possessing sufficient presence of mind to offer lip-service to their sovereign.—EDITOR. Morn. Post. He was not, however, to be frustrated in the attempt, which no sooner had he accomplished, than he hurried off amidst the suppressed screams of the ladies. The Royal Infant was immediately carried to the palace, where her heart-rending cries attracted the attention of her Majesty, who, on hurrying to the child, and hearing the painful narration, would, in the burst of her maternal affection, have kissed the infant, had not Sir J. Clarke, who was fortunately present, prevented her so doing.
Dr. Locock was sent for from town, who, immediately on his arrival at Windsor, held a conference with Sir J. Clarke, and a basin of pap was prepared by them, which being administered to the Royal Infant, produced the most satisfactory results.
We are prohibited from stating the measures taken for the detection of the ruffian, lest their disclosure should frustrate the ends of justice.
His Royal Highness Prince Albert, during the sojourn of the Court at Windsor Castle, became, by constant practice in the Thames, so expert a swimmer, that, with the help of a cork jacket, he could, like Jones of the celebrated firm of “Brown, Jones, and Robinson,” swim “anywhere over the river.” Her Majesty, however, with true conjugal regard for the safety of the royal duck, never permitted him to venture into the water without
Michelly, of the Morning Post, was boasting to Westmacott of his intimate connexion with the aristocracy. “The area-stocracy, more likely,” replied the ex-editor of the Argus.
How often are we—George Stephens-like—to be called upon to expend our invaluable breath in performing Eolian operations upon our own cornopean! Here have we, at an enormous expense and paralysing peril, been obliged to dispatch our most trusty and well-beloved reporter, to the fens in Lincolnshire, stuffed with brandy, swathed in flannel, and crammed with jokes; from whence he, at the cost of infinite pounds, unnumbered rheumatisms, and a couple of agues, caught, to speak vulgarly, “in a brace of shakes,” has forwarded us the following authentic account of the august proceedings which took place in that county on the anniversary of the great St. Michaelmas.
Tuesday night.—Depths of the fens—just arrived—only time to state all muck—live eels and festivity—Sibthorp in extra force—betting 6 to 4 “he cooks everybody’s goose”—no takers—D’Israeli says it’s a gross want of sympathy—full account to-morrow—expect rare doings—must conclude—whrr-rh-h—tertian coming on—promises great shakes.
I am, sincerely and shiveringly,
YOUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.
Wednesday morning.—The day dawned like a second deluge, and the various volunteer dramatis personæ seemed like the spectres of the defunct water-dogs of Sadler’s Wells. An eminent tallow-chandler from the east end of Whitechapel contracted for the dripping, and report says he found it a very swimming speculation. Life-preservers, waterproof and washable hats, were on the ground, which, together with Macintoshes and corks, formed a pleasing and varied group. The grand stand was graced by several eminent and capacious geese; nor was the infantine simplicity of numerous promising young goslings wanting to complete the delightful ensemble.
The business of the day commenced with a grand commemorative procession of homage to the prize goose, the representative of whom, we are proud to say, fell by election to the envied lot of the gallant, jocose, and Joe Millertary Colonel Sibthorp.
Trumpeter in Ordinary to “all the geese,” and
himself in particular,
On his extraordinary Pegasus, beautifully represented by a Jackass,
Idealised with magnificent goose’s wings.
Mr. GEORGE STEPHENS, Grand Master of Hanky-panky.
Balancing on the Pons Asinorum of his Nose the Identical goose-quill
with which he indited the Wondrous Tale of Alroy,
Mr. BEN D’ISRAELI (much admired).
The great Stuffer and Crammer, bearing a stupendous dish
Of Sage and Onions,
Seated in a magnificent Sauce-boat, supported on either side by
Two fly pages bearing Apple-sauce,
And a train-bearer distributing mustard,
SIR EDWARD GEORGE ERLE LYTTON BULWER.
Grand Officiating Gravy Spoon,
A character admirably sustained, and
supported to the life, by
PETER BORTHWICK, M.P. and G.O.G.S.
Drawer and Carver-in-Chief,
Bearing some splendidly-dissected giblets, with gilt gizzard under his
right arm, and plated liver under his left,
Surgeon WAKLEY, M.P.
Hereditary Champion of the Pope’s Nose,
Bearing the dismembered Relic enclosed in a beautifully-enamelled
DANIEL O’CONNELL, M.P.
The grand Prize Goose,
Reclining on a splendid willow-pattern well dish,
Colonel WALDO SIBTHORP!
Supported by CHARLES PEARSON, and Sir PETER LAURIE,
With flowery potatoes and shocking greens.
With a magnificent banner, bearing an elaborate average rate of the price
And the cheapest depôts for the same,
JOSEPH HUME, M.P.
This imposing procession having reached the grand kitchen, which had been erected for the occasion, the festivities instantly commenced by the Vice-Goose, Sir EDWARD LYTTON ERLE BULWER, proposing the health of the gallant Chairman, the Great-grand Goose:—
“Mr. Chairman and prize goose,—The feelings which now agitate my sensorium on this Michaelmasian occasion stimulate the vibratetiuncles of the heartiean hypothesis, so as to paralyse the oracular and articulative apparatus of my loquacious confirmation, overwhelming my soul-fraught imagination, as the boiling streams of liquid lava, buried in one vast cinereous mausoleum—the palace-crowded city of the engulphed Pompeii. (Immense cheers.)—I therefore propose a Methusalemic elongation of the duration of the vital principle of the presiding anserian paragon.” (Stentorian applause, continued for half-an-hour after the rising of the Prize Goose) who said—
“Fellow Geese and Goslings,—Julius Cæsar, when he laid the first stone of the rock of Gibraltar—Mr. Carstairs, the celebrated caligrapher, when he indited the inscription on the Rosetta stone—Cleopatra, when she hemmed Anthony’s bandanna with her celebrated needle—the Colossus of Rhodes, when he walked and won his celebrated match against Captain Barclay—Galileo, when he discovered and taught his grandmother the mode of sucking eggs—could not feel prouder than I do upon the present occasion. (Cheers.) These reminiscences, I can assure you, will ever stick in my grateful gizzard.”
Here the gallant Colonel sat down, overcome by his feelings and several glasses of Betts’ best British brandy.
Song—“Goosey, goosey gander.”
Mr. D’ISRAELI then rose, and said,—“Chair, and brethren of the quill, I feel, in assuming the perpendicular, like the sun when sinking into his emerald bed of western waters. Overcome by emotions mighty as the impalpable beams of the harmonious moon’s declining light, and forcibly impressed as the trembling oak, girt with the invisible arms of the gentle loving zephyr; the blush mantles on my cheek, deep as the unfathomed depths of the azure ocean. I say, gentlemen, impressed as I am with a sense—with a sense, I say, with a sense—” Here the hon. gentleman sat down for want of a termination.
Song—“No more shall the children of Judah sing.”
Mr. PETER BORTHWICK (having corked himself a handsome pair of mustachios), next rose, and said,—“Most potent, grave, and reverend signors, and Mr. Chairman,—if it were done, when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly’—in rising to drink—‘my custom always of an afternoon’—the health of Sir Peter Laurie, and whom I can ask, in the language of the immortal bard, ‘where gottest thou that goose look,’ I can only say, ‘had Heaven made me such another,’ I would not”— Then Peter Borthwick sat down, evidently indisposed, exclaiming—“The drink, Hamlet, the drink!!!”
Here our reporter left the meeting, who were vociferously chanting, by way of grace, previous to the attack on the “roast geese,” the characteristic anthem of the “King of the Cannibal Islands.”
It has been rumoured that Mr. Bernal, the new member, has been for some weeks past suffering from a severe attack of scarlet fever, caused by his late unparliamentary conduct in addressing the assembled legislators as—gentlemen. We are credibly informed that this unprecedented piece of ignorance has had the effect, as Shakspere says, of
Roebuck, the ex-attorney, and member for Bath, who has evinced a most commendable love of his parents, from his great-grandfather upwards, seeing the utter impossibility of carrying through the “whole hog” conviction of their respectability, and finding himself in rather an awkward “fix,” on the present occasion begs to inform the editor of the Times, that he will be most happy to accept a compromise, on their literary and scientific attainments, at the very reasonable rate of
Of the early history of England nothing is known. It was, however, invaded by the Normans; but whether they were any relations of the once celebrated Norman the pantaloon, we have no authentic record. The kingdom had at one time seven kings—two of whom were probably the two well-known kings of Brentford. Perhaps, also, the king of Little Britain made a third; while old king Cole may have constituted a fourth; thus leaving only a trifling balance of three to be accounted for.
Alfred the Great is supposed to have been originally a baker, from his having undertaken the task of watching the cakes in the neat-herd’s oven; and Edward the Black Prince was probably a West Indian, who found his way to our hospitable shores at an early period.
We now come to King John, who ascended the throne after putting out his nephew’s eyes with a pair of curling-irons, and who is the first English Sovereign who attempted to write his own name; for the scrawl is evidently something more than his mark, which is attached to Magna Charta.
We need say nothing of Richard the Third, with whom all our play-going friends are familiar, and who made the disgraceful offer, if Shakspeare is to be believed, of parting with the whole kingdom for a horse, though it does not appear that the disreputable bargain was ever completed.
The wars of York and Lancaster, which, though not exactly couleur de rose, were on the subject of white and red roses (that is to say, China and cabbage), united the crown in the person of Henry the Seventh, known to the play-going public as the Duke of Richmond, and remarkable for having entered the country by the Lincolnshire fens; for he talks of having got into “the bowels of the land” immediately on his arrival.
Henry the Eighth, as everybody knows, was the husband of seven wives, and gave to Mr. Almar (the Sadler’s Wells Stephens) the idea of his beautiful dramatic poem of the Wife of Seven Husbands.
Elizabeth’s reign is remarkable for having produced a mantle which is worn at the present day, it having been originally made for one Shakspeare; but it is now worn by Mr. George Stephens, for whom, however, it is a palpable misfit, and it sits upon him most awkwardly.
Charles the First had his head cut off, and Mr. Cathcart acted him so naturally in Miss Mitford’s play that one would have thought the monarch was entirely without a head all through the tragedy.
Cromwell next obtained the chief authority. This man was a brewer, who did not think “small beer” of himself, and inundated his country with “heavy wet,” in the shape of tears, for a long period.
Charles the Second, well known as the merry monarch, is remarkable only for his profligacy, and for the number of very bad farces in which he has been the principal character. His brother James had a short reign, but not a merry one. He is the only English sovereign who may be said to have amputated his bludgeon; which, if we were speaking of an ordinary man and not a monarch, we should have rendered by the familiar phrase of “cut his stick,” a process which was soon performed by his majesty.
The crown now devolved upon William and Mary, upon whom half-a crown a-piece was thus settled by the liberality of Parliament. William was Prince of Orange, a descendant probably of the great King Pippin.
Anne of Denmark comes next on our list, but of her we shall say nothing; and as the Georges who followed her are so near own time, we shall observe, with regard to them, an equally impenetrable mystery.
The British Critic, the high church, in fact, steeple Tory journal, tells its readers, “if we strike out the first person of Robert’s speeches, ay, out of his whole career, they become a rope untwisted,” &c. &c. &c. This excited old lady is evidently anxious to disfigure the head of the government, by scratching Sir Robert Peel’s I’s out.
Muntz, in rigging Wakley upon the late article in the Examiner, likening the member for Finsbury, in his connexion with Sir Robert Peel, “to the bird which exists by picking the crocodile’s teeth,” jocularly remarked, “Well, I never had any body to pick my teeth.” “I should think not, or they would have chosen a much better set.”
READER, did you ever want twenty pounds? You have—you have!—I see it—I know it! Nay, never blush! Your hand—your hand!
Silence!—nonsense—stuff; don’t, don’t prevaricate—own it as I do,—own it and rejoice.
READER.—Really, sir, this conduct—
Is strange. Granted; don’t draw back; come, a cordial gripe. We are friends; we have both suffered from the same cause. There, that’s right—honest palm to palm. Now, how say you—have you ever wanted twenty pounds?
READER.—Frankly, then, I have.
Mind to mind, as hand to hand. Have you felt as I did? Did its want cloud the sun, wither the grass, and blight the bud?
But how, marry, how? What! you decline confession—so you may—I’ll be more explicit. I was abroad, far from my “father-land”—there’s a magic in the word!—the turf we’ve played on, the hearts we love, the graves we venerate—all, all combine to concentrate its charm.
READER.—You are digressing.
Thank you, I am; but I’ll resume. While I could buy them, friends indeed were plenty. Alas! prudence is seldom co-mate with youth and inexperience. The golden dream was soon to end—end even with the yellow dross that gave it birth. Fallacious hopes of coming “posts,” averted for a time my coming wretchedness—three weeks, and not a line! The landlord suffered from an intermitting affection, characteristic of the “stiff-necked generation;”—he bowed to others—galvanism could not have procured the tithe of a salaam for me. His till was afflicted with a sort of sinking-fundishness. I was the contractor of “the small bill,” whose exact amount would enable him to meet a “heavy payment;” my very garments were “tabooed” from all earth’s decencies; splashes seemed to have taken a lease of the bottoms of my trousers. My boots, once objects of the tenderest care of their unworthy namesake, seemed conscious of the change, and drooped in untreed wretchedness, desponding at the wretched wrinkles now ruffling the once smooth calf! My coat no more appeared to catch the dust; as if under the influence of some invisible charm, its white-washed elbows never struck upon the sight of the else all-seeing boots; spider never rushed from his cell with the post-haste speed with which he issued from his dark recess, to pick the slightest cobweb that ever harnessed Queen Mab’s team, from other coats; a gnat, a wandering hair left its location, swept by the angry brush from the broad-cloth of those who paid their bills—as far as I was concerned—all were inoculated with this strange blindness. It was an overwhelming ophthalmia! The chambermaid, through its fatality, never discovered that my jugs were empty, my bottle clothed with slimy green, my soap-dish left untenanted. A day before this time had been sufficient service for my hand-towel; now a week seemed to render it less fit to taste the rubs of hands and soap. Dust lost its vice, and lay unheeded in the crammed corner of my luckless room.
READER.—I feel for you.
Silence! the worst is yet to come. At dinner all things changed—soup, before too hot to drink, came to my lips cool as if the north wind had caressed it; number was at an end; I ranked no longer like a human being; I was a huge ought—a walking cypher—a vile round O. I had neither beginning nor end. Go where I would—top, bottom, sides, ‘twas all the same. Bouilli avoided me—vegetables declined growing under my eyes—fowls fled from me. I might as well have longed for ice-cream in Iceland—dessert in a desert. I had no turn—I was the last man. Nevertheless, dinner was a necessary evil.
Was excluded from the calendar. Night came, but no rest—all things had forgotten their office. The sheets huddled in undisturbed selfishness, like knotted cables, in one corner of the bed; the blankets, doubtless disgusted at their conduct, sought refuge at the foot; and the flock, like most other flocks, without a directing hand, was scattered in disjointed heaps.
READER.—Did not you complain?
I did—imprimis—to boots—boots scratched his head; ditto waiter—waiter shook his; the chambermaid, strange to say, was suddenly deaf.
READER.—And the landlord?
Did nothing all day; but when I spoke, was in a hurry, “going to his ledger,” Had I had as many months as hydra, that would have stopped them all.
READER.—You were to be pitied.
I was. I rose one morning with the sun—it scorched my face, but shone not. Nature was in her spring-time to all others, though winter to me. I wandered beside the banks of the rapid Rhine, I saw nothing but the thick slime that clogged them, and wondered how I could have thought them beautiful; the pebbles seemed crushed upon the beach, the stream but added to their lifelessness by heaping on them its dull green slime; the lark, indeed, was singing—Juliet was right—its notes were nothing but “harsh discords and unpleasing sharps”—a rainbow threw its varied arch across the heavens—sadness had robbed it of its charm—it seemed a visionary cheat—a beautiful delusion.
READER.—I feel with you.
I thank you. I went next day.
The glorious sun shed life and joy around—the clear water rushed bounding on in glad delight to the sweet music of the scented wind—the pebbly beach welcomed its chaste cool kiss, and smiled in freshness as it rolled again back to its pristine bed. The buds on which I stepped, elastic with high hope, sprung from the ground my foot had pressed them to—the lark—[pg 137]
READER.—You can say nothing new about that.
You are right. I’ll pass it, and come at once to an end. My boots stood upright, conscious of their glare; a new spring rushed into my bottles; Flora’s sweets were witnessed in my dress; a mite, a tiny mite, might have made progress round my room, nor found a substance larger than itself to stop its way. My lips at dinner were scalded with the steaming soup; the eager waiters, rushing with the choicest sauce, in dread collision met, and soused my well-brushed coat. I was once more number one!—all things had changed again.
READER—Except the rainbow.
Ay, even that.
READER,—Indeed! how so?
If still impalpable to the gross foot of earth, it seemed to the charmed mind a glowing passage for the freed spirit to mount to bliss!
READER.—May I ask what caused this difference?
You may, and shall be answered. I had received—
There is a large class of people in the world—the business of whose lives is to hunt after and collect trifling curiosities; who go about like the Parisian chiffonniers, grubbing and poking in the highways and byeways of society, for those dearly-prized objects which the generality of mankind would turn up their noses at as worthless rubbish. But though the tribe of curiosity-hunters be extremely numerous, Nature, by a wise provision, has bestowed on them various appetites, so that, in the pursuit of their prey, they are led by different instincts, and what one seizes with avidity, another rejects as altogether unworthy of notice.
The varieties of the species are interminable; some of them are well known, and need no description—such as the book-worm, the bird-stuffer, the coin-taster, the picture-scrubber, &c.; but there are others whose tastes are singularly eccentric: of these I may mention the snuff-box collector, the cane-fancier, the ring-taker, the play-bill gatherer, to say nothing of one illustrious personage, whose passion for collecting a library of Bibles is generally known. But there is another individual of the species that I have not yet mentioned, whose morbid pleasure in collecting relics and memorials of the most revolting deeds of blood and crime is too well authenticated to be discredited. I believe that this variety, which I term “The Criminal Curiosity Hunter,” is unknown to every country in the world, except England.
How such a horrible taste should have been engendered here, is a question not easily solved. Physiologists are inclined to attribute it to our heavy atmosphere, which induces gloomy thoughts and fancies; while moralists assign as its cause, the sanguinary spirit of our laws, our brutal exhibitions of hanging, drawing and quartering, of gibbettings, whippings, brandings, and torturings, which degrade men’s natures, and give them a relish for scenes of blood and cruelty.
It happened that I had occasion to call on one of those “Criminal Curiosity Hunters” lately. He received me with extreme urbanity, and pointing to an old-fashioned-looking arm-chair, requested me to be seated.—I did so.
“I suppose, sir,” said he, with an air of suppressed triumph, “that you have no idea that you are now sitting in a remarkable chair?”
I assured him I was totally unconscious of the fact.
“I can tell you, then,” he replied, “that it was in that chair Fauntleroy, the banker, who was hanged for forgery, was sitting when he was arrested.”
“Fact, sir! I gave ten guineas for it. I thought also to have obtained the night-cap in which he slept the night before his execution, but another collector was beforehand with me, and bribed the turnkey to steal it for him.”
“I had no idea there could be any competition for such an article,” I observed.
“Ah! sir,” said he, with a deep sigh, “you don’t know the value of these interesting relics. I have been for upwards of thirty years a collector of them, and I have now as pretty a museum of Criminal Curiosities as you could desire to see.”
“It seems you have been indefatigable in your pursuit,” said I.
“Yes,” he replied, “when a man devotes himself to a great object, he must go to it heart and soul. I have spared neither time nor money in my pursuit; and since I became a collector, I have attended the execution of every noted malefactor throughout the kingdom.”
Perceiving that my attention was drawn to a common rope, which served as a bell-pull, he said—
“I see you are remarking my bell-cord—that is the identical rope, sir, which hanged Bellingham, who shot Mr. Perceval in the House of Commons. I offered any sum for the one in which Thistlewood ended his life to match it—but I was unfortunately disappointed; and the laws have now become so disgracefully lenient, that I fear I shall never have an opportunity of procuring a respectable companion rope for the other side of my mantel-piece. And ‘tis all owing to the rascally Whigs, sir—they have swept away all our good old English customs, and deprived us of our national recreations. I remember, sir, when Monday was called ‘hanging day’ at the Old Bailey; on that morning a man might he certain of seeing three or four criminals swung off before his breakfast. ‘Tis a curious study, sir, that of hanging—I have seen a great many people suffer in my time: some go off as quiet as lambs, while others die very reluctantly. I have remarked, sir, that ‘tis very difficult to hang a Jew pedlar, or a hackney-coachman—there’s something obstinate in their nature that won’t let them die like other men. But, as I said before, the Whigs and reformers have knocked up the hanging profession; and if it was not for the suicides, which, I am happy to say, are as abundant as ever, I don’t know what we should do.”
After my friend’s indignation against the anti-hanging principles of Reform had subsided a little, he invited me to examine his curiosities, which he had arranged in an adjoining room.
“I have not,” said he, as we were proceeding thither, “confined my collection to objects connected with capital offenders only; it comprehends relics of every grade of crime, from murder to petty larceny. In that respect I am liberal, sir.”
We had now reached the door of the apartment, when my conductor, seizing my arm suddenly, pointed to the door-mat upon which I had just set my foot, and said, “Observe that mat, sir; it is composed of oakum picked by the fair fingers of the late Lady Barrymore, while confined in the Penitentiary.”
I cast a glance at this humble memorial of her late ladyship’s industry, and passed into the museum. In doing so, I happened to stumble over a stable-bucket, which my friend affirmed was the one from which Thurtell watered his horse on his way to Probert’s cottage. Opening a drawer, he produced a pair of dirty-looking slippers, the authentic property of the celebrated Ikey Solomons; and along with them a pair of cotton hose, which he assured me he had mangled with his own hands in Sarah Gale’s mangle. In another drawer he directed my attention to a short clay pipe, once in the possession of Burke; and a tobacco-stopper belonging to Hare, the notorious murderer. He had also preserved with great care Corder’s advertisement for a wife, written in his own hand, as it appeared in the weekly papers, and a small fragment of a tile from the Red Barn, where Maria Martin was murdered by the same Corder. He also possessed the fork belonging to the knife with which some German, whose name I forget, cut his wife’s and children’s throats; and a pewter half-quartern measure, used at the Black Lion, in Wych-street, by Sixteen-string Jack.
There were, likewise, in the collection several interesting relics of humorous felony; such as the snuff-box of the Cock-lane ghost—the stone thrown by Collins at William the Fourth’s head—a copy of Sir Francis Burden’s speech, for which he was committed to the Tower—an odd black silk glove, worn by Mr. Cotton, the late ordinary of Newgate—Barrington’s silver tooth-pick—and a stay-lace of Miss Julia Newman.
These were but a small portion of the contents of the museum; but I had seen enough to make me sick of the exhibition, and I withdrew with the firm resolution never again, during my life, to enter the house of a Criminal Curiosity Hunter.
We had intended to have arranged, for the use of future syncretics, a system of coincidences, compiled from the plots of those magnificent soul-stirring extravaganzas produced and acted at the modern temples of the drama—the chaste Victoria—the didactic Sadler’s Wells—and the tramontane Pavilion: but we have found the subject too vast for comprehension, and must content ourselves with noting some of the more exorbitant and refined instances of genius and hallucination displayed in those mighty works. Among these the following are pre-eminent:—
It is a remarkable thing that mothers are always buried on the tops of inaccessible mountains, and that, when it occurs to their afflicted daughters to go and pray at their tombs, they generally choose a particularly inclement night as best adapted for that purpose. It is convenient, too, if any murder took place exactly on the spot, exactly twenty years before, because in that case it is something agreeable to reflect upon and allude to.
It is remarkable that people never lie down but to dream, and that they always dream quite to the purpose, and immediately on having done dreaming, they wake and act upon it.
It is remarkable that young men never know definitely whose sons they are, and generally turn out to belong to the wrong father, and find that they have been falling in love with their sisters, and all that sort of thing.
N.B. Wanted, a new catastrophe for these incidents, as suicide is going out of fashion.
It is remarkable that whenever people are in a particular hurry to be off, they make a point of singing a song to put themselves in spirits, and as an effectual method of concealing their presence from their enemies, who are always close at hand with knives.
It is remarkable that things always go wrong until the last scene, and then there is such hurry and bustle to get them right again, that no one would ever believe it could be done in the time; only they know it must be, and make up their minds to it accordingly.
One word more. Like St. Dunstan’s feet, which possessed the sacred virtue of self-multiplication, and of which there existed three at one time, it appears to be a prerogative of epithets of the superlative degree to attach themselves to any number of substantives. Thus the most popular comedian of the day is five different men—the most beautiful drama ever produced is two farces—an opera and a tragedy—and the most decided hit in the memory of man is the “Grecian Statues”—“The Wizard of the Moon”—“The Devil’s Daughter”—“Martinuzzi”—and “The Refuge for the Destitute.”
“There has for the last few days been a smile on the face of every well-dressed gentleman, and of every well-to-do artisan, who wend their way along the streets of this vast metropolis. It is caused by the opposition exhibition of Friday night in the House of Commons.”
Such is the comfortable announcement of a Tory morning paper,—the very incarnation of spiteful imbecility. Such is the self-complacency of the old Tory hag, that in her wildest moments would bite excessively,—if she only had teeth. She has, however, in the very simplicity of her smirking, let out the whole secret—has, in the sweet serenity of her satisfaction, revealed the selfishness, the wickedness of her creed. Toryism believes only in the well-dressed and the well-to-do. Purple and fine linen are the instrumental parts of her religion. She subscribes, in fact, to forty-three points; four meals a day being added to her Christian Thirty-nine Articles. Her faith is in glossy raiment and a full belly. She has such a reverence for the loaves and fishes, that in the fulness of her devotion, she would eat them—as the author of the Almanach des Gourmands advises the epicure to eat a certain exquisite dainty—“on her knees.” She would die a martyr at the fire;—but then it must be lighted in the kitchen.
The parliamentary exhibition which, according to the Sycorax of Toryism—a Sycorax with double malice, but no potency—has set all the well-dressed and well-to-do part of “this vast metropolis” off in one simultaneous simper, took place on the following motion made by Mr. FIELDEN:—
“Resolved,—That the distress of the working people at the present time is so great through the country, but particularly in the manufacturing districts, that it is the duty of this House to make instant inquiry into the cause and extent of such distress, and devise means to remedy it; and, at all events, to vote no supply of money until such inquiry be made.”—(Hear, hear.)
This motion was negatived by 149 to 41; and it is to this negative that, according to the avowal of our veracious contemporary, we owe the radiant looks that have lighted up the streets of London for the past few days. In the same sense of the writer, but in the better words of the chorus of Tom Thumb—
“Nature seemed to wear a universal grin!”
It being always premised and settled that the term nature only comprehends the people with sleek coats and full stomachs. Nature abhors a vacuum,—therefore has nought to do with empty bellies. Happy are the men whose fate, or better philosophy, has kept them from the turnips and the heather—fortunate mortals, who, banned from the murder of partridges and grouse, have for the last few days of our contemporary, been dwellers in merry London! What exulting faces! What crowds of well-dressed, well-fed Malvolios, “smiling” at one another, though not cross-gartered! To a man prone to ponder on that many-leaved, that scribbled, blurred and blotted volume, the human face,—that mysterious tome printed with care, with cunning and remorse,—that thing of lies, and miseries, and hypocritic gladness,—that volume, stained with tears, and scribbled over and over with daily wants, and daily sufferings, and daily meannesses;—to such a reader who, from the hieroglyphic lines of feigned content, can translate the haggard spirit and the pining heart,—to such a man too often depressed and sickened by the contemplation of the carnivorous faces thronging the streets of London—faces that look as if they deemed the stream of all human happiness flowed only from the Mint,—to such a man, how great the satisfaction, how surpassing the enjoyment of these “last few days!” As with the Thane of Cawdor, every man’s face has been a book; but, alas! luckier than Macbeth, that book has been—Joe Miller!
Every well-dressed gentleman has smiled, but then the source of his satisfaction has been the rags fluttering on the human carcases in the manufacturing districts. Every well-to-do artisan has wended his way along the streets showing his teeth, but then at his own sweet will he can employ those favoured instruments on roast or boiled: hence his smile for those who, gifted with the like weapons, bear them as men bear court swords, for ornament, not use. Alas! the smirk of the well-dressed may be struck into blank astonishment by the fluttering of rags—by a standard of tatters borne by a famine-maddened myriad; the teeth of the dragon want may be sown, and the growth may, as of old, be armed men.
Yet can we wonder at the jocoseness of those arrayed in lawn and broad-cloth—can we marvel at the simper of the artisan fresh from his beef and pudding, solaced with tobacco and porter? Surely not; for the smile breaks under the highest patronage; nay, even broad grins would have the noblest warranty, for his Grace the Duke of Wellington has pronounced rags to be the livery only of wilful idleness—has stamped on the withering brow of destitution the brand of the drunkard. Therefore, clap your hands to your pulpy sides, oh well-dressed, well-to-do London, and disdaining the pettiness of a simper, laugh an ogre’s laugh at the rags of Manchester—grin like a tickled Polyphemus at the hunger of Bolton!
Our babbling, anile friend, in the very looseness of her prating has let out the truth. Or rather—a common custom with her—she has talked in her sleep. Her very weakness has, however, given a point to her revelation.
“Diamonds dart their brightest lustre,
from a palsy-shaken head!”
In the midst of her snores she has but revealed the plot entered into between those most respectable conspirators, Broad Cloth and Beef, against those old offenders, those incorrigible miscreants, Rags and Want! The confederacy is, to be sure, older than the crucified thieves; but then it has not been so undisguisedly avowed. Broad Cloth has, on the contrary, affected a sympathy with tatters, though with a constancy of purpose has refused an ell from its trailing superfluity to solace the wretchedness; the tears of Beef dropt on the lank abdomen of Starvation, are ancient as post diluvian crocodiles.—but it has spared no morsel to the object of its hypocritic sorrow. Now, however, even the decency of deceit is to be dropt, and Broad Cloth is to make sport with the nakedness of the land, and merry Beef is to roar like the bulls of Bashan at the agonies of famine!
As the winter approaches we are promised increasing sources of amusement from the manufacturing districts. What sunny faces will break though the fogs of November—what giggling will drown the cutting blasts of January! Eschewing the wise relaxation of pantomimes, we shall be taught to consult the commercial reports in the newspapers as the highest and fullest source of salutary laughter. How we shall simper when mills are stopped—how crow with laughter when whole factories are silent and deserted! How reader—(for we acknowledge none who are not well-dressed and well-to-do)—how you will scream with joy when banks break!—and how consult the list of bankrupts as the very spirit and essence of the most consummate fun. Insolvency shall henceforth be synonymous with repartee—and compositions with creditors practical bons mots.
Oh! reader—(but mind, you must, we say, to be our reader, be well-dressed and well-to-do; for though we owe the very paper beneath your eye to rags, we trust we are sufficiently in the mode to laugh contemptuously at such abominations)—oh! reader, quit your lighter recreations; seek not for merriment in fictitious humour; it is a poor, unsatisfactory diet, weak and watery; but find substantial drollery from the fluttering of tatters—laugh, and with the crowing joy, grow sleek and lusty at the writhings and the lamentations of want!
We have, however, a recent benevolent instance of the political and social power of dress—an instance gathered from the Court of Spain. The organ (or rather barrel-organ of Toryism, for it has only a set number of tunes) which played our opening quotation, also grinds the following:—
“The Regent Espartero, and the tutor Arguelles, are doing all in their power to keep the young Queen and the Infanta in good humour, encouraging the Princesses in many little indulgences suitable to their age and sex, especially in the article of dress, in which their royal mother was more than inattentive. This line of conduct, coupled with the expected arrival of the Infant, Don Francisco de Paula and his family, who are to be received with every mark of respect, indicates that the present rulers of Spain, aware of their critical situation, wish to strengthen themselves by the support of the great majority of the royal family.”
Thus, if the royal family of Spain have an excess of courtesy and benevolence towards the people, such blessings will drop upon them from the fringed petticoats of the little sovereign. Thus curiously considered, may we not trace a bounteous political measure to the lace veil of a Queen, and find a great national benefit in the toe of a slipper?
Happy Spaniards! Give fine clothes to your rulers, and they yearn with benevolence towards the donors. They do not walk about the streets of Madrid, smiling in the strength of their wardrobe at the nakedness of those who have subscribed the bravery. Oh, ye “well-dressed gentlemen,” and oh, ye “well-to-do artisans!”—be instructed by the new petticoats of Queen Isabella, and smile no at rags and famine.
There is not a more interesting science than geology, which, as our readers are aware, treats principally of mud and minerals. The association at Hookham-cum-Snivey has been very active during the summer, and may be said to have been up to its knees in dirt and filth, gravel and gypsum, coal, clay and conglomerate, for a very considerable period.
It having been determined to open a sewer where the old Hookham-road meets with the ancient Roman footpath at Snivey, the junction of which gives name to the modern town, the Geological Association passed a strong resolution, in which it was asserted, that the opportunity had at length arrived for solving the great doubt that had long perplexed the minds of the inhabitants as to whether the soil in the neighbourhood was crustaceous or carboniferous. The crustaceous party had been long triumphing in the fact, that a mouldy piece of bread had been found at two feet below the surface, when digging for the foundation of a swing erected in a garden in the neighbourhood; but the carboniferous enthusiasts had been thrown into ecstacies, by the sexton having come upon a regular strata of undoubted cinders, in clearing out a piece of ground at the back of the parson’s residence. Some evil-disposed persons had the malice to say that the spot had been formerly the site of a subsequently-filled-up dusthole; but the crustaceous party, depending as they did upon a single piece of bread—all crumb too—however genuine, could not be said to have so much to go upon as the carboniferous section, with their heap of cinders, the latter being large in quantity, though of doubtful authority.
However, the opening of the sewer was looked forward to with intense interest, as being calculated to decide the great question, and all the principal geologists were on the spot several hours before operations commenced, for the purpose of inspecting the surface of the ground before it was disturbed by the spade and pickaxe of the labourer.
It was found that the earth consisted of an outer coat of dust, amongst which were several stones, varying in size, with here and there a bone picked exceedingly clean, and evidently belonging to a sheep; all of which facts gave promise of most gratifying results to the true lover of geology. At length the labourer came in sight, and was greeted with loud cheers from the crustaceous party, which were ironically echoed by the disciples of the carboniferous school, and a most significant “hear, hear,” proceeded from an active partisan of the latter class, when the first stroke of the pickaxe proclaimed the commencement of an operation upon which so much was known to depend for the interests of geology. The work had proceeded for some time amid breathless interest, interrupted only by sneers, cheers, jeers, and cries of “Oh, oh!” or “No, no!” As the throwing up of a shovelful of earth excited the hopes of one party, or the fears of the other, when a hard substance was struck upon, which caused a thrilling sensation among the bystanders. The pressure of the geologists, all eager to inspect the object that had created so much curiosity, could hardly be restrained, and the president was thrown, with great violence, into the hole that had been dug, from which he was pulled with extraordinary strength of body, and presence of mind, by the honorary treasurer.
The hard substance was found to consist of a piece of iron, of which it appeared a vein, or rather an artery, ran both backwards and forwards from the spot where it was first discovered. The confusion was at its height, for it was supposed a mine had been discovered, and a long altercation ensued; the town-clerk claiming it in the name of the lord of the manor, while the beadle, with a confused idea about mines being royal property, leaped into the hole, and, in the Queen’s name, took possession of everything. A desperate struggle ensued, in which several geologists were laid straight upon the strata, and were converted into secondary deposits on the surface of the earth; when the lamplighter, coming by, recognised the hard iron substance as the large main of the Equitable Company. It became therefore necessary to relinquish any further investigation on the spot originally chosen, and the matter was postponed to another day, so that the great crustaceous and carboniferous question remains exactly where it did, to the great injury of the harmony and good feeling that has never yet prevailed, though it is hoped it some time or other may prevail, among the inhabitants.
But though public investigation of geological truth is for a time at a stand-still, we are glad to be able to record the following remarkable instance of private enterprise:—
A very active member of the association—the indefatigable Mr. Grubemup—determined to leave no stone unturned for the purpose of making observations, went out, attended by a single assistant, and made a desperate attempt to turn the mile-stone in the Kensington-road, in the hope of finding some geological facts at the bottom of it. After several hours’ labour before day-break, to avoid interruption from the police, he succeeded in introducing the point of a pickaxe beneath the base of the stone; and eventually he had the satisfaction of removing it from its position, when he made the following geological observations:—He found a primary deposit of dark soil, and, on putting his spectacles to his eyes, he distinctly detected a common worm in a state of high salubrity. This clearly proved to him that there must formerly have been a direct communication between Hookham-cum-Snivey and the town of Kensington, for the worm found beneath the milestone exactly resembled one now in the Hookham-cum-Snivey Museum, and which is known as the vermis communis, or earth-worm, and which has always excited considerable interest among the various visitors. Mr. Grubemup, encouraged by this highly satisfactory result, proceeded to scratch up with his thumb-nail a portion of the soil, and his geological enterprise was speedily rewarded by a fossil of the most interesting character. Upon close inspection it proved to be a highly crystallised rat’s-tail, from which the geologist inferred that there were rats on the Kensington-road at a much earlier period than milestones. We have not heard that the ingenious gentleman carried his examination further, but in the present state of geology, any contribution to the science, however small, will be thankfully received by the knowledge-loving community.
I saw at Lord George’s rout,
Amid a blaze of ton;
And such a tournure ne’er “came out”
For Maradon Carson!
For who that mark’d that sylph-like grace
That full Canova hip,
That robe of rich Chantilly lace,
That faultless satin slip,
Could doubt that she would be the belle
To make a thousand waistcoats swell?
I saw her seated by my lord,
As joli comme un ange;
She took some pate perigord.
And after that blanc mange:
A glass of Moyse’s pink champagne
Lent lustre to ses eux.
And then—I heard a Grisian strain—
It was her sweet adieux;
And I—my friend the butler sought,
To slake with stout each burning thought.
It is at length decided that Aldgate pump is to be painted, but the vestry have not yet determined what the colour is to be. It is thought, to suit the diversity of opinions in the parish cabinet, that it will be painted in a harlequin pattern.
It is seriously contemplated to attempt the removal of the ancient “Hot Codlings” stand from the west-end of Temple Bar. The old woman who at present occupies the premises is resolved to resist to the utmost so unjust an aggression.
The Corporation of the City of London have, in the most liberal manner, given a plot of ground, eighteen by thirteen and a half-inches, for the erection of a pickled whilks and pennywinkle establishment, at the corner of Newgate-street and the Old Bailey. This will be a valuable boon to the Blue-coat boys, and will tend to cause a brisk influx of loose coppers to this hitherto much-neglected spot.
The disgraceful state of the gutter-grating in Little Distaff-lane has, at length, awakened the attention of the parish authorities. For several days past it has been choked by an accumulation of rubbish, but we are now enabled, on good authority, to state that the parish-beadle has been directed to poke it with his staff, which it is hoped will have the effect of removing the obstruction.
The Commissioners of Woods and Forests have ordered plans and estimates to be laid before them for the erection of a duck-house on the island of the pond in St. James’s Park.
It has been decided that the exhibition of fancy paper on the boards of the enclosure of Trafalgar-square is to continue open to the public till further notice.
By a recent Act of Parliament, foot passengers crossing Blackfriars-bridge are allowed to walk on whichever side of it they like best.
For “Sir James Graham denied that he ever changed his friends or his principles,” read “hanged his friends or his principles.”
For “Lord John Russell said that he had strenuously endeavoured to keep pace with the march of Reform,” read “keep place with the march of Reform.”
For “though Sir Robert Peel is the ostensible head, the Duke of Wellington holds the reins of the present administration,” read “the Duke of Wellington holds the brains of the present administration.”
For “Colonel Sibthorp said he despised the man who suffered himself be made the tool of a party,” read “the fool of a party.”
Our lively neighbours on the opposite side of the Pas de Calais (as they are pleased, in a spirit of patriotic appropriation, to translate the Straits of Dovor), have lately shot off a flight of small literary rockets about Paris, which have exploded joyously in every direction, producing all sorts of fun and merriment, termed Les Physiologies—a series of graphic sketches, embodying various every-day types of characters moving in the French capital. In the same spirit we beg to bring forward the following papers, with the hope that they will meet with an equally favourable reception.
We are about to discuss a subject as critical and important to take up as the abdominal aorta; for should we offend the class we are about to portray, there are fifteen hundred medical students, arrived this week in London, ripe and ready to avenge themselves upon our devoted cranium, which, although hardened throughout its ligneous formation by many blows, would not be proof against their united efforts. And we scarcely know how or where to begin. The instincts and different phases, under which this interesting race appears, are so numerous, that far from complaining of the paucity of materials we have to work upon, we are overwhelmed by mental suggestions, and rapidly-dissolving views, of the various classes from Guy’s to the London University, from St. George’s to the London Hospital, perpetually crowding upon our brains (if we have any), and rendering our ideas as completely muddled as those of a “new man” who has, for the first week of October, attended every single lecture in the day, from the commencement of chemistry, at nine in the morning, to the close of surgery, at eight in the evening. Lecture! auspicious word! we have a beginning prompted by the mere sound. We will address you, medical students, according to the style you are most accustomed to.
Gentlemen,—Your attention is to be this morning directed to an important part of your course on physiology, which your various professors, at two o’clock on Saturday afternoon, will separately tell you is derived from two Greek words, so that we have no occasion to explain its meaning at present. Magendie, Müller, Mayo, Millengen, and various other M’s, have written works upon physiology, affecting the human race generally; you are now requested to listen to the demonstration of one species in particular—the Medical Student of London.
Lay aside your deeper studies, then, and turn for a while to our lighter sketches; forget the globules of the blood in the contemplation of red billiard balls; supplant the tunica arachnoidea of the brain by a gossamer hat—the rete mucosum of the skin by a pea-jacket; the vital fluid by a pot of half-and-half. Call into play the flexor muscles of your arms with boxing-gloves and single-sticks; examine the secreting glands in the shape of kidneys and sweetbreads; demonstrate other theories connected with the human economy in an equally analogous and pleasant manner; lay aside your crib Celsus and Steggall’s Manual for our own more enticing pages, and find your various habits therein reflected upon paper, with a truth to nature only exceeded by the artificial man of the same material in the Museum of King’s College. Assume for a time all this joyousness. PUNCH has entered as a pupil at a medical school (he is not at liberty to say which), on purpose to note your propensities, and requests you for a short period to look upon him as one of your own lot. His course will commence next week, and “The New Man” will be the subject.
Every one knows that about this time of the year geese are in their prime, and are particularly good when stuffed with sage; which accounts for the fact, that Sibthorp has made some sage remarks, so that he may not lose by comparison with the “foolish birds,” with whom he feels a natural sympathy.
We have never been able to discover the connexion between geese and Michaelmas. There is a reason for associating ducks with Midsummer: we can understand the meaning of poultry at Christmas, for birds are appropriate to a period when every one sends in his bill; but why poor St. Michael should be so degradingly associated with a goose is beyond our comprehension, and baffles our ingenuity. If St. Michael had been a tailor, or an actor, or an author, we could have understood how goose might have applied to him; but as he was neither one nor the other, we really are at a loss to conceive why a goose should have become so intimately associated with his name and character.
Among other curious incidents, it may be remarked that, with an instinctive dread of goose, the redoubtable Martinuzzi drew in his horns, just on the eve of Michaelmas, and the Syncretics have just shut up shop in time to avoid the “compliments of the season” that they had every right and every reason to anticipate would be bestowed, if not with a “liberal hand,” at least with “a lavish mouth,” by their audience.
It must be remembered by all the geese against whom PUNCH thinks proper to indulge his wit, that at this season of the year they must expect to be roasted. Upon the whole, however, we have a high respect for “the foolish bird,” and when it is remembered that the geese saved Rome, we do not think we are wrong in suggesting the possibility of England being yet saved by Lord Coventry, or any other cackler in either house of Parliament.
Admiral Napier observed that “retired lawyers got better paid than retired admirals.” A gross injustice, as their vocations bear an extraordinary similarity; par example—both are attachés of the Fleet: in an action, both know the necessity of being bailed out to prevent swamping. One service is distinguished by its “davits,” the other by its “affidavits;” and they are mutually and equally admired for, and known by, their craft. The only difference between them being, that the lawyer serves “two masters”—the admiral, invariably, three masters. If the same remark applies to the members of the army-list, as well as to those of the navy and law, we must say that it is an extremely shabby method of
The following list of outrages, recently perpetrated in the vicinity of a notoriously bad house near Westminster Abbey, has not appeared in any of the daily papers:—
LORD MELBOURNE—frightfully beaten, and turned out of his house by a gang of Peelites.
LORD JOHN RUSSELL—struck on the head by a large majority, and flung into a quandary.
LORD COTTENHAM—tripped up by a well-known member of the swell mob, and robbed of his seals.
MR. ROEBUCK—stripped and treated with barbarous inhumanity by a notorious bruiser named the Times. The unfortunate gentleman lies to the present moment speechless from the injuries he has sustained.
LORD NORMANBY—stabbed with some sharp instrument, supposed to be Lord Stanley’s tongue.
LORD MORPETH—struck in the dark by an original idea, from the effects of which he has not yet recovered.
Roebuck, in complaining of the stigmas cast by the Times upon his pedigree, and vehemently insisting on the character of his family tree, was kindly assisted by Tom Duncombe, who declared the genus indisputable, as nobody could look in Roebuck’s face without perceiving his family tree must have been the “plane-tree.”
You say I have forgot the vow
I breath’d in days long past;
But had I faithful been, that thou
Hadst loved me to the last.
Without me, e’en a throne thou’dst scorn—
With me, contented beg!
False maid! ’tis not that I’m forsworn,—
The boot’s on t’other leg.
Amidst the revel thou wast gay,
The blithest with the song!
Though thou believ’dst me far away,
An exile at Boulogne.
’Twas then, and not till then, my heart
To love thee did refuse;
My vows became (false that thou art!)—
Another pair of shoes!
DEAR TOM,—Everything is going on gloriously—the British arms are triumphant—and we now only require the Emperor of China’s consent to our taking possession of his territory, which I am sorry to say there is at present no likelihood of obtaining. However, there is little doubt, if we be not all swept off by ague and cholera, that we shall be able to maintain our present position a few months longer. Our situation here would be very comfortable if we had anything to eat, except bad beef and worse biscuit; these, however, are but trifling inconveniences; and though we have no fresh meat, we have plenty of fish in the river. One of our men caught a fine one the other day, which was bought and cooked for the officers’ mess, by which means we were all nearly destroyed—the fish unfortunately happening to be of a poisonous nature; in consequence of which a general order was issued the next day, forbidding the troops to catch or eat any more fish. The country around the factory is beautiful; but we deem it prudent to keep within the walls, as the Chinese are very expert at picking up stragglers, whom they usually strangle. Beyond this we cannot complain of our situation; fowls are extremely abundant, but I have not seen any, the inhabitants having carried them up the country along with their cattle and provisions of every description. The water here is so brackish that it is almost impossible to drink it; there are, however some wells of delicious water in the neighbourhood, which would be a real treasure to us if the Chinese had not poisoned them. Notwithstanding these unavoidable privations, the courage of our troops is indomitable; a detachment of the ——th regiment succeeded last week in taking possession of an island in the river, nearly half an acre in extent; it has, however, since been deemed advisable to relinquish this important conquest, owing to the muddy nature of the soil, into which several of our brave fellows sank to the middle, and were with difficulty extricated. A gallant affair took place a few days ago between two English men-of-war’s boats and a Chinese market junk, which was taken after a resolute defence on the part of the Chinaman and his wife, who kept up a vigorous fire of pumpkins and water-melons upon our boats, until their supply was exhausted, when they were forced to surrender to British valour. The captured junk has since been cut up for the use of the forces. Though this unpleasant state of affairs has interrupted all formal intercourse between the Chinese and English, Captain Elliot has given a succession of balls to the occupants of a small mud fort near the shore, which I fear they did not relish, as several of them appeared exceedingly hurt, and removed with remarkable celerity out of reach of the Captain’s civilities. Thus, instead of opening the trade, this proceeding has only served to open the breach. The Emperor, I hear, is enraged at our successes, and has ordered the head and tail of the mandarin, Keshin, to be sent in pickle to the imperial court at Pekin. A new mandarin has arrived, who has presented a chop to Captain Elliott, but I hope, where there is so much at stake, that he will not be put off with a chop. There is no description of tea to be had in the market now but gunpowder, which, by the last reports, is going off briskly. Our amusements are not very numerous, being chiefly confined to yawning and sleeping; of this latter recreation I must confess that we enjoy but little, owing to the mosquitos, who are remarkably active and persevering in their attacks upon us. But with the exception of these tormenting insects, and a rather alarming variety of centipedes, scorpions, and spiders, we have no venomous creatures to disturb us. The weather is extremely hot, and the advantages of the river for bathing would be very great if it were not so full of sharks. I have much more to relate of our present cheering prospects and enviable situation, but a ship is on the point of sailing for England, so must conclude in haste.
Ever, dear Tom, yours,
The Examiner observes, in speaking of the types of the new premier’s policy,—“The state, I am the state,” said the most arrogant of French monarchs. “The administration, I am the administration,” would seem to say Sir Robert Peel. In the speech explanatory of his views, which cannot be likened to Wolsey’s “Ego et Rex meus,” because the importance of the ego is not impaired by any addition.—This literally amounts to a conviction, on the part of the editor of the Examiner, that the premier’s expression is all in his “I.”
“HUMMING” BIRDS.—With Memoir and Portraits of Peel, Stanley and Aberdeen.
BIRDS OF THE “GAME” KIND.—Portrait and Memoir of Mr. Gully.
FISHES OF THE “PERCH” GENUS.—Biographical notices of the late Ministry.
RUMINATING ANIMALS, Vol. 1.—Contents: Goats, &c. Portrait of Mr. Muntz.
RUMINATING ANIMALS, Vol. 2.—Contents: Deer, Antelopes, &c. Portrait of Mr. Roebuck.
MARSUPIALS, OR “POUCHED” ANIMALS.—With many plates. Portrait and Memoir of Daniel O’Connell, Esq.
BRITISH BUTTERFLIES.—Portrait and Memoir of Sir E. Lytton Bulwer.
COMPLETION OF THE WORK.—Considerable progress has been making in the concluding volume of the series. Rats, with portraits of Burdett, Gibson, Wakley, et genus omne; but the subject is so vast that no definite time can be fixed for its publication.
MR. WAKLEY begs to inform the Lords of the Treasury, the editor of the Times, and the Master of the Mint, that ever anxious to rise in the world, he has recently been induced to undertake the sweeping of Conservative flues, and the performance of any dirty work which his Tory patrons may deem him worthy to perform. Certain objections having been made as to his qualifications for a climbing boy, Mr. W. pledges himself to undergo any course of training, to enable him to get through the business, and to remove any apprehension of his ever becoming
SIR PETER LAURIE, in commenting upon the late case of false imprisonment, where two young men had been unjustifiably handcuffed by the police, delivered himself of the following exquisite piece of rhetoric:—“He did not think it possible that such a case of abuse could pass unnoticed as that he had just heard. The general conduct of the police was, he believed, good; but the instances of arbitrary conduct and overbearing demeanour set to flight all the ancient examples brought forward to enrich by contrast the serious parts of the glorious genius of Shakspeare.” We never understood or imagined there was an Anacreon among the aldermen, a Chaucer in the common council, or a Moliere at the Mansion-house. We have now discovered the Peter Lauriate of the City—the poet of the Poultry. Who, in the face of the above sentence, can deny his right to these titles, if, like ourselves, they are
A clergyman, lately preaching to a country congregation, used the following persuasive arguments against the vice of swearing:—“Oh, my brethren, avoid this practice, for it is a great sin, and, what is more, it is ungenteel!”
The family of the “Sponges” distributes itself over the entire face of society—its members are familiar with almost every knocker, and with nearly everybody’s dinner-hour. They not unfrequently come in with the eggs, and only go out with the last glass of negus. They seem to possess the power of ubiquity; for, go where you will, your own especial sponge (and everybody with more than two hundred a-year has one), is sure to present himself. He is ready for anything, especially where eating, love, duelling, or drinking, is concerned. To oblige you, he will breakfast at supper-time, or sup at breakfast-time; he will drink any given quantity, at any time, and will carry any number of declarations of love to any number of ladies, or of challenges to whole armies of rivals: thus far he is useful; for he is obliging, and will do anything—but pay.
When he has absorbed all the moisture his victims are able to supply, he may be seen walking about in moody solitude in the parks, where he sponges upon the ducks, and owes for the use of the chairs. In this dry and destitute condition, behold the sponge of the Covent-Garden Comedy—Captain Tarradiddle. He is in St. James’ Park; for, possessing imaginary rather than substantial claims to military rank, he flits about the Horse-Guards to keep up his character. A person is already upon the stage, for whom you instinctively shudder—you perceive, at once, that he is “in” for dinner, wine, theatre, and supper—you pity him; you see the sponge, speciously, but surely, fasten himself upon his victim like a vampire. Mr. Pye Hilary, being a barrister and a man of the world, resigns himself, however, to his fate. As to shaking off his leech, he knows that to be impossible; and he determines to make what use of him he can. There is a fine opportunity, for Mr. Pye Hilary is in love, in despair, and in waiting: he expects his mistress’s abigail; in negociating with whom, he conceives Tarradiddle will be a valuable assistant. Mrs. Tattle arrives. Preliminaries having been duly settled, articles offensive and defensive are entered into, to carry out a plan by which the lover shall gain an interview with the mistress; and the treaty is ratified by a liberal donation, which the Captain makes to the maid out of his friend’s purse. The servant is satisfied, and goes off in the utmost agitation, for Miss Mayley and her guardian are coming; and she dreads being caught in the fact of bribery. Mr. Hilary trembles; so does the young lady, when she appears; and the agitation of all parties is only put an end to by the fall of the act-drop.
If any class of her Majesty’s subjects are more miserable than another, it is that of gentlemen’s servants. One of these oppressed persons is revealed to us in the next act. Poor fellow! he has nothing to do but to sit in the hall, and nothing to amuse him but the newspaper. But his misfortunes do not end here: as if to add insult to injury, the family governess presumes to upbraid him, and actually insists upon his taking a letter to the post. Mr. Nibble declines performing so undignified a service, in the most footman-like terms; but unfortunately, as it generally happens, in families where there are pretty governesses and gallant sons, Miss de Vere has a protector in the Hon. Charles Norwold, who overhears her unreasonable demand, and with a degree of injustice enough to make the entire livery of London rave with indignation, inflicts upon his father’s especial livery, and Nibble’s illustrious person, a severe caning. The consequence of this “strike” is, that Nibble gives warning, Lord and Lady Norwold are paralysed at this important resignation; for by it they discover that a secret coalition has taken place between their son and the governess—they are man and wife! Good heavens! the heir of all the Norwolds marry a teacher, who has nothing to recommend her but virtue, talent, and beauty! Monstrous!—“What will the world say?”
The treaty formed between Mistress Tattle and Mr. Pye Hilary is in the next act being acted upon. We behold Captain Tarradiddle, as one of the high contracting parties’ ambassador, taking lodgings in a house exactly opposite to that in which Miss Mayley resides. Of course nothing so natural as that the Captain should indulge his friend with a visit for a few days, or, if possible, for a few weeks. It is also natural that the host, under the circumstances, should wish to know something of the birth, parentage, and education of his guest, of which, though an old acquaintance; he is, as yet, entirely ignorant. Now, if it be possible to affront a real sponge (but there is nothing more difficult), such inquiries are likely to produce that happy consummation. Tarradiddle, however, gets over the difficulty with the tact peculiar to his class, and is fortunately interrupted by the announcement that Tattle is in the parlour, duly keeping her agreement, by bringing her mistress’s favourite canary, which, having flown away quite by accident, under her guidance, has chosen to perch in Hilary’s new lodging, on purpose to give him the opportunity of returning it, and of obtaining an interview with Miss Mayley. The expedient succeeds in the next scene; the lover bows and stammers—as lovers do at first interviews—the lady is polite but dignified, and Tarradiddle, who has been angling for an invitation, has his hopes entirely put to flight by the entrance of the lady’s guardian, Mr. Warner, who very promptly cuts matters short by ringing the bell and saying “Good evening,” in that tone of voice which always intimates a desire for a good riddance. This hint is too broad ever to be mistaken; so the sponge and his victim back out.
Mr. Warner is a merchant, and all merchants in plays are the “noblest characters the world can boast,” and very rich. Thus it has happened that Warner has, through a money-agent, one Grub, been enabled to lend, at various times, large sums of money, to Lady Norwold—her ladyship being one of those who, dreading “what will the world say?” is by no means an economist, and prefers “ruin to retrenchment.” As security for these loans, the lady deposits her jewels, suite by suite, till the great object of all Warner’s advances gets into his possession—namely, a bracelet, which is a revered relic of the Norwold family. So far Warner, in spite of a troublesome ward, and his late visitors, is happy; but he soon receives a letter, which puts his happiness to flight. His daughter, who has been on a visit in Paris, became, he now learns, united some months before, to Charles Norwold, and a governess in his father’s family. By further inquiries, he learns that the son is discarded, and is, with his wife, consigned to beggary, for fear of—“what will the world say?”
The fourth act exhibits one of the scenes of human life hitherto veiled from the eyes of the most prying—a genuine specimen of the sponge species—at home! Actually living under a roof that he calls his own; in company with a wife who is certainly nobody else’s. She is ironing—Tarradiddle is smoking, and, like all smokers, philosophising. Here we learn the Honourable Charles Norwold and his wife have taken lodgings; hither they are pursued by Hilary, who has managed to ingratiate himself with Warner, and undertaken to trace the merchant’s lost daughter; here, to Pye’s astonishment, he finds his friend and sponge. Some banter ensues, not always agreeable to the Captain, but all ends very pleasantly by the entrance of Warner, who discovers his daughter, and becomes a father-in-law with a good grace.
The denouement is soon told:—Warner, having received his daughter and her husband, gives a party at which Lady, and afterwards Lord Norwold, are present. Here Warner’s anxiety to obtain the bracelet is explained. He reminds his lordship that he once accused his elder brother of stealing that very bauble; and the consequence was, that the accused disappeared, and was never after heard of. Warner avows himself to be that brother, but declines disturbing the rights or property of his lordship, if he will again receive his son. This is, of course, done. Hilary jokes himself into Miss Mayley’s good graces, and Tarradiddle, in all the glories of a brown coat, and an outrageously fine waistcoat, enters to make the scene complete, and to help to speak the tag, in which all the characters have a hand; Mrs. Glover ending by making a propitiatory appeal to the audience in favour of the author, who ought to be very grateful to her for the captivating tones in which she asked for an affirmative answer to the question—
“What will the world say?”
Circumstances prevent us from giving any opinion whatever, except upon the scenery, the appointments, and the acting. The first is beautiful—the second appropriate and splendid—the last natural, pointed, and in good taste.
A clergyman was explaining to the gallant officer the meaning of the phrase “born again;” but it was quite unintelligible to Sib., who remarked that he knew no one who could bear him even once.
“Do you read the notice to correspondents in PUNCH?” quoth Sib.—“I do,” replied Hardinge, “and I wonder people should send them such trash.”—“Pooh!” retorted the punster—“Pooh! you know that wherever PUNCH is to be found, there are always plenty of spoons after it.”
“It’s a wonder you’re not drunk,” said Sibthorp to Wieland—“a great wonder, because—do you give it up?—Because you’re a tumbler full of spirits.”
The correspondent of a London paper, writing from Sunderland respecting the report that Lord Howick had been fired at by some ruffian, says, with great naïveté, “a gun was certainly pointed at his lordship’s head, but it is generally believed there was nothing in it.”—We confess we are at a loss to know whether the facetious writer alludes to the gun or the head.
A Tory evening paper tells its readers that Sir Robert Peel expects a harassing opposition from the late ministry, but that he is prepared for them on all points. This reminds us of the defensive expedient of the hedgehog, which, conscious of its weakness, rolls itself into a ball, to be prepared for its assailants on all points.
Mister F. &c. &c. &c. Bayley is anxious to treat for a course of lessons in the purest Irish. None but such as will conceal a West Indian patois will be of the slightest use. For particulars, and cards to view, apply to Mr. Catnach, Music and Marble Warehouse, Seven-dials.