Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk was a tall young man, a thin young man, a pale young man, and, as some of his friends asserted, a decidedly knock-kneed young man. Moreover he was a young man belonging to and connected with the highly respectable firm of Messrs. Tims and Swindle, attorneys and bill-discounters, of Thavies’-inn, Holborn; from the which highly respectable firm Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk received a salary of one pound one shilling per week, in requital for his manifold services. The vocation in which Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk laboured partook peculiarly of the peripatetic; for at all sorts of hours, and through all sorts of streets was Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk daily accustomed to transport his anatomy—presenting overdue bills, inquiring after absent acceptors, invisible indorsers, and departed drawers, for his masters, and wearing out, as he Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk eloquently expressed it, “no end of boots for himself.” Such was the occupation by which Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk lived; but such was not the peculiar path to fame for which his soul longed. No! “he had seen plays, and longed to blaze upon the stage a star of light.”
That portion of time which was facetiously called by Messrs. Tims and Swindle “the leisure” of Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, being some eight hours out of the twenty-four, was spent in poring over the glorious pages of the immortal bard; and in the desperate enthusiasm of his heated genius would he, Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, suddenly burst forth in some of the most exciting passages, and with Stentorian lungs “render night hideous” to the startled inhabitant of the one-pair-back, adjoining the receptacle of his own truckle-bed and mortal frame.
Luck, whether good or evil, begat Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk an introduction to some other talented young gentlemen, who had so far progressed in histrionic acquirements, that from spouting themselves, they had taken to spouting their watches, and other stray articles of small value, to enable them to pay the charges of a private theatre, where, as often as they could raise the needful, they astonished and delighted their wondering friends. Among this worshipful society was Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk adopted and enrolled as a trusty and well-beloved member; and in the above-named private theatre, in suit of solemn black, slightly relieved by an enormous white handkerchief, and a well-chalked countenance, did Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, at or about the hour of half past eight—being precisely sixty minutes behind the period announced, in consequence of the non-arrival of the one fiddle and ditto flute comprising, or rather that ought to have comprised, the orchestra—made his début, and a particularly nervous bow to the good folks there assembled, “as and for” the character “of Hamlet, the Danish Prince.”
To describe the “exclamations of delight,” the “tornadoes of applause,” the earthquakes of rapture, or the “breathless breathing” of the entranced audience, would beat Mr. Bunn into fits, and the German company into fiddle-cases; so, like a newspaper legacy, which is the only one that never pays duty, we “leave it to our reader’s imagination.”
The die was cast. Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk’s former avocations became intensely irksome—if he served a writ it was no longer a “writ of right.” Copies for “Jenkins” were consigned to “Tompkins;” “Brown” declined pleading to “Smith” and Smith declared off Brown’s declaration. In inquiries after “solvent acceptors,” Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk was still more abroad. In the mystification of his brains, all answers seemed to be delivered “per contra.” Forlorn hopes on three-and sixpenny stamps were converted into the circulating medium; “good actors” were considered “good men” in the very reverse of Shylock’s acceptation of the term; and astonished indorsers succeeded in “raising the wind” upon “kites” they would have bet any odds no “wind in the world could induce to fly.” Everything in this world must come to an end—bills generally do in three months: so did these, and so did Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk’s responsible and peripatetic avocations in the highly respectable firm of Messrs. Tims and Swindle, attorneys, and to their cost, through the agency of Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, bill-discounters, of Thavies’ Inn, Holborn; they, the said highly respectable firm of Tims and Swindle, handing over to Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk the sum of four and tenpence, being the balance of his quarter’s salary, which, so great was Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk’s opinion of the solvency of the said highly respectable firm, he had allowed to remain undrawn in their hands, together with a note utterly and totally declining any further service or assistance as “in” or “outdoor” or any sort of clerk at all, from Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, and amiably recommending the said Horatio to apply elsewhere for a character; the which advice Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk attended to instanter, and received, in consideration of the sum of thirty shillings, that of “Richard the Third” from the Dramatic Committee of Catherine Street. If Hamlet was good, Richard (among the amateurs) was better; and if Richard was better, Shylock (at “one five”) was best, and Romeo and all the rest better still: and it may be worthy of remark, that there is no person on earth looked upon by admiring managers as more certain of success than the “promising young man who PAYS for his parts.”
Now it so happened that Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk’s purse became an exceedingly “Iago”-like, “something, nothing, trashy” sort of affair—in other words, that its owner, Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, was regularly stumped; and as the Amateur Dramatic Theatrical Committee “always go upon the no pay no play system,” Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk was about to incur the fate of Lord John Russell’s tragedy, and become regularly “shelved.”
In this dilemma Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk addressed all sorts of letters to all sorts of managers, offering himself for all sorts of salaries, to play the best of all sorts of business, but never received any sort of answer from one of them! Returning to his solitary lodging, after a fortnight’s “half and half” of patience and despair, and just as despair was walking poor patience to Old Harry, Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk encountered one of his histrionic acquaintance, who did the “three and sixpenny walking gents,” and dramatic general postmen, or letter-deliverers, at “the Private.” In the course of the enlightened conversation between the said friend, Mr. Julius Dilberry Pipps, and Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, Julius Dilberry Pipps expressed an earnest wish that he “might be blowed considerably tighter than the Vauxhall balloon if ever he see such a likeness of Mr. Hannibal Fitzflummery Fitzflam,” the “great actor of the day,” as his “bussom and intimate,” Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk! A nervous pressure of Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk’s “pickers and stealers” having nearly reduced to one vast chaos the severely compressed digits of the enthusiastic Julius Dilberry Pipps, the invisible green broad-cloth envelopments and drab lower encasements, crowned with gossamer and based with calf-skin, wherein the total outward man of Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk was enrobed, together with his ambulating anatomy, evanished from the startled gaze of the deserted and finger-contused Julius Dilberry Pipps! Having asserted the entire realisation of his hastily-formed wish, in the emphatic words, “Well, I am blowed!” and a further comment, stating his conviction that “this was rayther a rummy go,” Mr. Julius Dilberry Pipps reduced his exchequer the gross amount of threepence, paid in consideration of the instant receipt of “a pint o’porter and screw,” to the fumigation of which he applied with such excessive vigour, that in a few moments he might be said, by his own exertions in “blowing a cloud,” to be corporeally as well as mentally “in nubibus.”
To account for the rapid departure of Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, we must inform our readers the supposed similarity alluded to by Julius Dilberry Pipps, between the “great creature,” Hannibal Fitzflummery Fitzflam, and Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, had been before frequently insisted upon: and this assertion of the obtuse Julius Dilberry Pipps now seemed “confirmation strong as proof of holy writ.” Agitated with conflicting emotions, and regardless of small children and apple-stalls, Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk rushed on with headlong speed, every now and then ejaculating, “I’ll do it, I’ll do it!” A sudden overhauling of his pockets produced some stray halfpence; master of a “Queen’s head,” a sheet of vellum, a new “Mordaunt,” and an “envelope,” Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, arrived at his three-pair-back, indited an epistle to the manager at the town of ——, with extraordinary haste signed the document, and, in “the hurry of the moment,” left the inscription thus—H.F. FITZFLAM! The morrow’s post brought an answer; the terms were acceded to, the night appointed for his opening; and Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk found, upon inspecting the proof of the playbill, the name in full of “Mr. Hannibal Fitzflummery Fitzflam,” “the great tragedian of the day!”
Pass we over the intervening space, and at once come to the momentous morning of rehearsal. The expected Roscius arrived like punctuality’s self, at the appointed minute, was duly received by the company, who had previously been canvassing his merits, and assuring each other that all stars were muffs, but Fitzflam one of the most impudent impostors that ever moved. “I, sir,” said the leader of the discontented fifteen-shillings-a-week-when-they-could-get-it squad, “I have been in the profession more years than this fellow has months, and he is getting hundreds where I am neglected: never mind! only give me a chance, and I’ll show him up. But I suppose the management—(pretty management, to engage such a chap when I’m here)—I suppose they will truckle to him, and send me on, as usual, for some wretched old bloke there’s no getting a hand in. John Kemble himself (and I’m told I’m in his style), I say, John Kemble, my prototype, the now immortal John, never got applause in ‘Blokes!‘—But never mind.” As a genealogist would say, “Fitz the son of Funk” never more truly represented his ancestral cognomen than on this trying occasion. He was no longer with amateurs, but regulars,—fellows that could “talk and get on somehow;” that were never known to stick in Richard, when they remembered a speech from George Barnwell; men with “swallows” like Thames tunnels: in fact, accomplished “gaggers” and unrivalled “wing watchers.” However, as Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk spoke to none of them, crossed where he liked, cut out most of their best speeches, and turned all their backs to the audience, he passed muster exceedingly well, and acted the genuine star with considerable effect. So it was at night. Some folks objected to his knees, to be sure; but then they were silenced—“What! Fitzflam’s knees bad! Nonsense! Fitzflam is the thing in London; and do you think Fitzflam ought to be decried in the provinces? hasn’t he been lithographed by Lane? Pooh! impudence! spite!” The great name made Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk “the great man,” and all went swimmingly. On the last night of his engagement, the night devoted to his benefit, the house was crammed, and Mr. [pg 170]Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, reflecting that all was “cock sure,” as he should pocket the proceeds and return to London undiscovered, was elevated to Mahomet’s seventh heaven of happiness, awaiting with impatience the prompter’s whistle and the raising of the curtain: where for a time we will leave him, and attend upon the real “Simon Pure”—the genuine and “old original Hannibal Fitzflummery Fitzflam.”
(To be continued.)
SIR R. PEEL has been recently so successful in fishing for adherents, that, since bobbing so cleverly for Wakley, he has baited his hook afresh, and intends to start for Minto House forthwith; having his eye upon a certain small fish that is ever seen Russelling among the sedges in troubled waters. We trust Sir Bob will succeed this time in
Sir,—Knowing that you are everywhere, the Secretary of State has desired me to request you will inquire into the alleged distress, and particularly into the fact of people who it is alleged are so unreasonable in their expectations of food, as to die because they cannot get any.
I have the honour to be, &c.
Sir,—I have received your note. I am everywhere; but as everything is gay when I make my appearance, I have not seen much of the distress you speak of. I shall, however, make it my business to look the subject up, and will convey my report to the Government.
I think it no honour to be yours, &c.; but
I have the very great honour to be myself without any &c.
In compliance with the above correspondence, Punch proceeded to make the necessary inquiries, and very soon was enabled to forward the following
Sir,—In compliance with my undertaking to inquire into the public distress, I went into the manufacturing districts, where I had heard that several families were living in one room with nothing to eat, and no bed to lie upon. Now, though it is true that there are in some places as many as thirty people in one apartment, I do not think their case very distressing, because, at all events, they have the advantage of society, which could not be the case if they were residing in separate apartments. It is clear that their living together must be a matter of choice, because I found in the same town several extensive mansions inhabited by one or two people and a few servants; and there are also some hundreds of houses wholly untenanted. Now, if we multiply the houses by the rooms in them, and then divide by the number of the population, we should find that there will be an average of three attics and two-sitting-rooms for each family of five persons, or an attic and a half with one parlour for every two and a half individuals; and though one person and a half would find it inconvenient to occupy a sleeping room and three-quarters, I think my calculation will show you that the accounts of the insufficiency of lodging are gross and wicked exaggerations, only spread by designing persons to embarrass the Government.
With regard to the starvation part of the question, I have made every possible inquiry, and it is true that several people have died because they would not eat food; for the facts I shall bring to your notice will prove that no one can have perished from the want of it. Now, after visiting a family, which I was told were in a famishing state, what was my surprise to observe a baker’s shop exactly opposite their lodging, whilst a short way down the street there was a butcher’s also! The family consisted of a husband and wife, four girls, eight boys, and an infant of three weeks old, making in all fifteen individuals. They told me they were literally dying of hunger, and that they had applied to the vestry, who had referred them to the guardians, who had referred them to the overseer, who had referred them to the relieving officer, who had gone out of town, and would be back in a week or two. Not even supposing there were a brief delay in attending to their case, at least by the proper authorities, you will perceive that I have already alluded to a baker’s and a butcher’s, both (it will scarcely be believed at the Home-office) in the very street the family were residing in. Being determined to judge for myself, I counted personally the number of four-pound loaves in the baker’s window, which amounted to thirty-six, while there were twenty-five two-pound loaves on the shelves, to say nothing of fancy-bread and flour ad libitum. But let us take the loaves alone,
|36||loaves, each weighing four pounds,|
|will give||144||pounds of wheaten bread;|
|To which must be added||50||pounds (the weight of the 25 half-qtns.),|
|Making a total of||194||pounds of good wholesome bread,|
which, if divided amongst a family of fifteen, would give 12 pounds and 14 fractions of a pound to each individual. Knocking off the baby, for the sake of uniformity, and striking out the mother, both of whom might be supposed to take the fancy bread and the flour, which I have not included in my calculation, and in order to get even numbers, supposing that 194 pounds of bread might become 195 pounds by over weight, we should get the enormous quantity of fifteen full pounds weight of bread, or a stone and one-fourteenth, (more, positively, than anybody ought to eat), for the husband and each of the children (except the baby, who gets a moiety of the rolls) belonging to this starving family!!! You will see, Sir, how shamefully matters have been misrepresented by the Anti-Corn-Law demagogues; but let us now come to the butcher’s meat.
It will hardly be credited that I counted no less than fourteen sheep hanging up in the shop I have alluded to, while there was a bullock being skinned in the back yard, and a countless quantity of liver and lights all over the premises. Knocking off the infant again for the sake of uniformity, you will perceive that the fourteen sheep would be one sheep each for every member of this family, including the mother, to whom we gave half the rolls and flour in the former case, and there still remains (to say nothing of the entire bullock for the baby of three weeks, which no one will deny to be sufficient) a large quantity of lights, et cetera, for the cat or dog, if there should be such a wilful extravagance in the family. With these facts I close my report, and I trust that you will see how thoroughly I have proved the assertion of the Duke of Wellington—that if there is distress, it must be in some way quite unconnected with a want of food, for there is plenty to eat in every part of the country.
I shall be happy to undertake further inquiries, and shall have no objection to consider myself regularly under Government.
LORD JOCELYN, in his recent work upon China, while writing upon the pastimes and amusements of the people, expresses great satisfaction at the entertainment afforded travellers in their private assemblies; though he confesses, as a general principle, he should always avoid making one in the more promiscuous
The arrangement of the supper-table displayed the deep research of Mesdames Applebite and Waddledot in the mysteries of gastronomical architecture. Pagodas of barley-sugar glistened in the rays of thirty-six wax candles and four Argand lamps—parterres of jellies, gravelled round with ratafias or valanced with lemon-peel, trembled as though in sympathy with the agitated bosoms of their delicate concocters—custards freckled with nutmeg clustered the crystal handles of their cups together—sarcophagi of pound cakes frowned, as it were, upon the sweetness which surrounded them—whilst fawn-coloured elephants (from the confectionary menagerie of the celebrated Simpson of the Strand) stood ready to be slaughtered. Huge stratified pies courted the inquiries of appetite. Chickens boiled and roast reposed on biers of blue china bedecked with sprigs of green parsley and slices of yellow lemon. Tanks of golden sherry and
wooed the thirsty revellers; and never since the unlucky dessert of Mother Eve have temptations been so willingly embraced. The carnage commenced—spoons dived into the jelly—knives lacerated the poultry and the raised pies—a colony of custards vanished in a moment—the elephants were demolished by “ivories11. Anglicè, Teeth.—THE one PIERCE.”—the sarcophagi were buried—and the glittering pagodas melted rapidly before the heat and the attacks of four little ladies in white muslin and pink sashes. The tanks of sherry and port were distributed by the young gentlemen into the glasses and over the dresses of the young ladies. The tipsy-cake, like the wreck of the Royal George, was rescued from the foaming ocean in which it had been imbedded. The diffident young gentlemen grew very red about the eyes, and very loquacious about the “next set after supper;” whilst the faces of the elderly ladies all over lie room looked like the red lamps on Westminster Bridge, and ought to have been beacons to warn the inexperienced that where they shone there was very little water. The violent clattering of the plates was at length succeeded by a succession of merry giggles and provoking little screams, occasioned by the rapid discharge of a park of bonbons.
Where the “slight predilection” was reciprocated, the Orlando Simses and the Tom Walkers were squeezing in beside the blushing idols of their worship and circling the waists of their divinities with their arms, in order to take up less room on the rout-stool.
Mamas were shaking heads at daughters who had ventured upon a tenth sip of a glass of sherry. Papas were getting extremely jocular about the probability of becoming grand-dittos. Everybody else was doing exactly what everybody pleased, when Mrs. Applebite’s uncle John emerged from behind an epergne, and vociferously commanded everybody to charge their glasses; a requisition which nobody was bold enough to dispute. Uncle John then wiped his lips in the table-cloth, and proceeded to inform the company of a fact that was universally understood, that they had met there to celebrate the first dental dawn of the heir of Applebite. “I have only to refer you,” said uncle John, “to the floor of the next room for the response to my request—namely, that you will drain your glasses; and, in the words of nephew Agamemnon Collumpsion Applebite, ‘partake of our dental delight.’” This eloquent address was followed by immense cheering and a shower of sherry bottoms, which the gentlemen in their “entusymusy” scattered around them as Hesperus is reported to dispense his tee-total drops.
Nothing could be going on better—no woman could feel prouder than Mrs. Waddledot, when—we hope you don’t anticipate the catastrophe—when two of the Argand lamps gave olfactory demonstrations of dissolution. Sperm oil is a brilliant illuminator, but we never knew any one except an Esquimaux, or a Russian, who preferred it to lavender-water as a perfume. Old John was in a muddle of misery—evidently
and was only relieved from his embarrassment by the following fortunate occurrence:—
By-the-bye, we have just recollected that we have an invitation to dinner. Reader—au revoir.
An Abstract and Brief Chronicle of the Times. Very small duodecimo. By Mr. ROEBUCK.
A New Dissertation on the Anatomy of the Figures of the Multiplication Table. By JOSEPH HUME.
Outlines of the Late Ministry, after Ten Years (Teniers). By Lord MELBOURNE.
Recollections of Place. By Lord JOHN RUSSELL.
Mythological Tract upon the Heathen Deity Cupid. By Lord PALMERSTON.
Explanatory Annotations on the Abstruse Works of the late Joseph (vulgo Joe) Miller. With a humorous etching of his tombstone, and Original Epitaph. By Colonel SIBTHORP.
Also, by the same Author, an Ornithological Treatise on the various descriptions of Water-fowl; showing the difference between Russia and other Ducks, and why the former are invariably sold in pairs.
A few words on Indefinite Subjects, supposed to be Sir Robert Peel’s Future Intentions. By Mr. WAKLEY.
We hasten to lay before our readers the following authentic reports of the latest debates in the United States’ Congress, which have been forwarded to us by our peculiarly and especially exclusive Reporters.
New York.—The greatest possible excitement exists here, agitating alike the bosoms of the Whites, the Browns, and the Blacks; a universal sympathy appears to exist among all classes, the greater portion of whom are looking exceedingly blue. The all-absorbing question as to whether the “war is to be or not to be,” seems an exceedingly difficult one to answer. One party says “Yes,” and another party says “No,” and a third party says the above parties “Lie in their teeth;” and thereupon issue is joined, and bowie-knives are exchanged—the “Yes” walking away with “No’s” sheathed in the middle of his back, and the “No” making up for his loss by securing the “Yes’s” somewhere between his ribs. All the black porters are looking out for light jobs, and rushing about with shutters and cards of address, bearing high-minded “Loco-focos” and shot-down “democrats” to their respective surgeons and houses. This unusual bustle and activity gives the more political parts of the city an exceedingly brisk appearance, and has caused most of the eminent surgeons, not attached to either party, to be regularly retained by the principal speakers in these most interesting debates.
In Congress great attention is paid to the comfort of the various members, who are all provided with spittoons, though they are by no means compelled to tie themselves down to the exclusive use of those expectorant receptacles; on the contrary, much ingenuity is shown by some of the more practised in picking out other deposits; a vast majority of the Kentuckians will back themselves to “shoot through” the opposition member’s nose and eye-glass without touching “flesh or flints.”
The prevailing opinion appears to be, that should we come to a fight they will completely alter the costume of the country, and “whop us into fits.” Their style of elocution is masterly in the extreme, redolent with the sagest deductions, and overflowing with a magnificent and truly Eastern redundancy of the most poetical tropes. I will now proceed to give you an extract from the celebrated speaker on the war side—“the renowned Jonathan J. Twang.”
“I rather calculate that tarnal, pisoned, alligator of a ring-tailed, roaring, pestiferous, rattlesnake, that critter ‘the Old Country,’ would jist about give up one half its skin, and wriggle itself slick out of the other, rayther than go for to put our dander up at this present identical out-and-out important critical crisis! I conceit their min’stry have got jist about into as considerable a tarnation nasty fix, as a naked nigger in the stocks when the mosquitoes are steaming up a little beyond high pressure. I guess Prince Albert and the big uns don’t find their seats quite as soft as buttered eels in a mud bank! Look here—isn’t it considerable clear they’re all funking like burnt Cayenne in a clay pipe; or couldn’t they have made a raise some how to get a ship of their own, or borrow one, to send after that caged-up ’coon of a Macleod? It’s my notion, and pretty considerable clear to me, they’re all bounce, like bad chesnuts, very well to look at, but come to try them at the fire for a roast, and they turn out puff and shell. They talk of war as the boy did of whipping his father, but like him, they daresn’t do it, and why not? why, for the following elegant reasons:—Since they have been used to the advantages of doing their little retail trade with our own go-ahead and carry-all-before-it right slick-up-an-end double-distilled essence of a genuine fine and civilised country, the everlasting ’possums have become habituated to some of the manners of our enlightened inhabitants. We have nothing to do but refuse the supply of cottons, and leave them all with as little shirts to their backs as wool on a skinned eel. Isn’t it the intercourse with this here country that enables them to speak their very language with something rayther like a leetle correctness, though they’re just about as far behind us as the last jint of the sea-sarpent is from his eye-tooth?
“Doesn’t all international law consist in keeping an everlasting bright look-out on your own side, and jamming all other varments slick through a stone wall, as the waggon-wheel used up the lame frog? (Hear, hear.) I say—and mind you I’ll stick to it like a starved sloth to the back of a fat babby—I say, gentlemen, this country, the United States (particularly Kentucky, from which I come, and which will whip all the rest with out-straws and rotten bull-rushes agin pike, bagnet, mortars, and all their almighty fine artillery), I say, then, this country is considerable like a genuine fac-simile of the waggon-wheel, and the pretty oneasy busted-up old worn-out island of the bull-headed Britishers, ain’t nothing more than the tee-totally used-up frog. (Hear, hear.)
“I expect they’d have just as much chance with us as a muzzled monkey with a hiccory-nut. Talk of their fleet! I’ll bet six live niggers to a dead ’coon, our genuine Yankee clippers will whip them into as bad a fix as a flying-fish with a gull at his head and a shark at his tail. They’re jist about as much out of their reckoning as the pig that took to swimming for his health and cut his throat trying it on.
“It’s everlasting strange to me if, to all future posterity coming after us, the word ‘Macleod’ don’t shut up their jaws from bragging of British valour just about as tight as the death-squeeze of a boa-constrictor round a smashed-up buffalo!
“If it wa’n’t for the distance and leaving my plantation, I’d go over with any on you, and help to use up the lot myself! Let them ‘come on,’ as the tiger said to the young kid, and see what ‘I’ll do for you.’ They talk of sending out their chaps here, do they; let them; they’ll be just about as happy as a toad in hot tar, and that’s a fact.” Here Jonathan J. Twang sat down amid immense cheers; at the conclusion of which, Mr. Peter P. Pellican, from the back-woods, requested—he, Peter P. Pellican, being from Orleans—that Mr. Jonathan J. Twang would retract certain words derogatory to the state represented by Peter P. Pellican. Mr. Jonathan J. Twang replied in the following determined refusal:—“I beg to inform the last speaker, Mr. Peter P. Pellican, from the back-woods, that I’ll see him tee-totatiously tarred, feathered, and physicked with red-hot oil and fish-hooks, before I’ll retract one eternal syllable of my pretty particular correct assertions.”
This announcement created considerable confusion. The President behaved in the most impartial and manly manner, indiscriminately knocking down all such of both parties who came within reach of his mace, and not leaving the chair until he had received two black eyes and lost two front teeth. The general mêlée was carried on with immense spirit; the more violent members on either side pummelling each other with the most hearty and legislative determination. This exciting scene was continued for some time, until during a short cessation a member with a broken leg proposed an adjournment till the following day, when the further discussion could be carried on with Bowie-knives and pistols; this proposition was at once acceded to with immense delight by all parties. If well enough (as I have two broken ribs, my share of the row) I will forward you an authentic statement of this interesting proceeding.
A wicked one lies buried here,
Who died in a decline;
He never rose in rank, I fear,
Though he was born to shine.
He once was fat, but now, indeed,
He’s thin as any griever;
He died,—the Doctors all agreed,
Of a most burning fever.
One thing of him is said with truth,
With which I’m much amused;
It is—That when he stood, forsooth,
A stick he always used.
Now winding-sheets he sometimes made,
But this was not enough,
For finding it a poorish trade,
He also dealt in snuff.
If e’er you said “Go out, I pray,”
He much ill nature show’d;
On such occasions he would say,
“Vy, if I do, I’m blow’d.”
In this his friends do all agree,
Although you’ll think I’m joking,
When going out ’tis said that he
Was very fond of smoking.
Since all religion he despised,
Let these few words suffice,
Before he ever was baptized
They dipp’d him once or twice.
Our Sibthorp, while speaking of the asinine qualities of Peter Borthwick, remarked, that in his opinion that respectable member of the Lower House must be indebted to the celebrated medicine promising extreme “length of ears,” and advertised as
How melancholy an object is a “polished front,” that vain-glorious and inhospitable array of cold steel and willow shavings, in which the emancipated hearth is annually constrained by careful housewives to signalise the return of summer, and its own consequent degradation from being a part of the family to become a piece of mere formal furniture. And truly in cold weather, which (thanks to the climate, for we love our country) is all the weather we get in England, the fire is a most important individual in a house: one who exercises a bland authority over the tempers of all the other inmates—for who could quarrel with his feet on the fender? one with whom everybody is anxious to be well—for who would fall out with its genial glow? one who submits with a graceful resignation to the caprices of every casual elbow—and who has never poked a fire to death? one whose good offices have endeared him alike to the selfish and to the cultivated,—at once a host, a mediator, and an occupation.
We have often had our doubts (but then we are partial) whether it be not possible to carry on a conversation with a fire. With the aid of an evening newspaper by way of interpreter, and in strict confidence, no third party being present, we feel that it can be done. Was there an interesting debate last night? were the ministers successful, or did the opposition carry it? In either case, did not the fire require a vigorous poke just as you came to the division? and did not its immediate flame, or, on the contrary, its dull, sullen glow, give you the idea that it entertained its own private opinions on the subject? And if those opinions seemed contrary to yours, did you not endeavour to betray the sparks into an untenable position, by submitting them to the gentle sophistry of a poker nicely insinuated between the bars? or did you not quench with a sudden retort of small coal its impertinent congratulation at an unfortunate result? until, when its cordial glow, penetrating that unseemly shroud, has given evidence of self-conviction, you felt that you had dealt too harshly with an old friend, and hastened to make it up with him again by a playful titillation, more in jest than earnest.
But this is all to come. Not yet (with us) have the kindly old bars, reverend in their attenuation, been restored to their time-honoured throne; not yet have the dingy festoons of pink and white paper disappeared from the garish mantel. Still desolate and cheerless shows the noble edifice. The gaunt chimney yawns still in sick anticipation of deferred smoke. The “irons,” innocent of coal, and polished to the tip, skulk and cower sympathetically into the extreme corner of the fender. The very rug seems ghastly and grim, wanting the kindly play of the excited flame. We have no comfort in the parlour yet: even the privileged kitten, wandering in vain in search of a resting-place, deems it but a chill dignity which has withdrawn her from the warm couch before the kitchen-fire. Things have become too real for home. We have no joy now in those delicious loiterings for the five minutes before dinner—those casual snatches of Sterne, those scraps of Steele. We have left off smiling; we are impregnable even to a pun. What is the day of the month?
Surely were not October retrospectively associated (in April and glorious May) with the grateful magnificence of ale, none would be so unpopular as the chilly month. There is no period in which so much of what ladies call “unpleasantness” occurs, no season when that mysterious distemper known as “warming” is so epidemic, as in October. It is a time when, in default of being conventionally cold, every one becomes intensely cool. A general chill pervades the domestic virtues: hospitality is aguish, and charity becomes more than proverbially numb.
In twenty days how different an appearance will things wear! The magic circle round the hearth will be filled with beaming faces; a score of hands will be luxuriously chafing the palpable warmth dispensed by a social blaze; some more privileged feet may perchance be basking in the extraordinary recesses of the fender. We shall consult the thermometer to enjoy the cold weather by contrast with the glowing comfort within. We shall remark how “time flies,” and that “it seems only yesterday since we had a fire before;” forgetful of the hideous night and the troublous dreams that have intervened since those sweet memories. And all this—in twenty days.
We are no innovators: we respect all things for their age, and some for their youth. But we would hope that, in humbly looking for a fire in the cold weather, even though November be still in the store of time, we should be exhibiting no dangerous propensities. If, as we are inclined to believe, fires were discovered previously to the invention of lord mayors, wherefore should we defer our accession to them until he is welcomed by those frigid antiquities Gog and Magog? Wherefore not let fires go out with the old lord mayor, if they needs must come in with the new? Wherefore not do without lord mayors altogether, and elect an annual grate to judge the prisoners at the bar in the Mansion House, and to listen to the quirks of the facetious Mr. Hob-ler?
We perceive that the fair dames of Nottingham have, with compassionate liberality, presented to Mr. Walter, one of the Tory candidates at the late election, a silver salver. What a delicate and appropriate gift for a man so beaten as Master Walter!—the pretty dears knew where he was hurt, and applied a silver salve—we beg pardon, salver—to his wounds. We trust the remedy may prove consolatory to the poor gentleman.
The diminutive chroniclers of Animalcula-Chatter, called small-talk, have been giving a minute description of the goings on of His Grace of Wellington at Walmer. They hint that he sleeps and wakes by clock-work, eats by the ounce, and drinks and walks by measure. During the latter recreation, it is his pleasure, they tell us, to use one of Payne’s pedometers to regulate his march. Thus it is quite clear the great Captain will never become a
The Post-office in Downing-street has been besieged by various inquirers, who are anxiously seeking for some information as to the expected arrival of the Royal Male.
Sir Peter Laurie discovered during his residence in Boulogne that veau is the French for veal. On his return to England, being at a public dinner, he exhibited his knowledge of the tongues by asking a brother alderman for a slice of his weal or woe.
Six young girls, inmates of the Lambeth workhouse, were brought up at Union Hall, charged with breaking several squares of glass. In their defence, they complained that they had been treated worse in the workhouse than they would be in prison, and said that it was to cause their committal to the latter place they committed the mischief. What a beautiful picture of moral England this little anecdote exhibits! What must be the state of society in a country where crime is punished less severely than poverty?
Old England, bless’d and favour’d clime!
Where paupers to thy prisons run;
Where poverty’s the only crime
That angry justice frowns upon.
“What an uncomfortable bed Peel has made for himself!” observed Normanby to Palmerston. “That’s not very clear to me, I confess,” replied the Downing-street Cupid, “as it is acknowledged he sleeps on a bolstered cabinet.” The pacificator of Ireland closed his face for the remainder of the day.
The latest case of monomania, from our own specially-raised American correspondent:—A gentleman who fancied himself a pendulum always went upon tick, and never discovered his delusion until he was carefully wound up in the Queen’s Bench.
The first of all the royal infant males
Should take the title of the Prince of Wales;
Because ’tis clear to seaman and to lubber,
Babies and whales are both inclined to blubber.
We perceived by a paragraph copied from the “John o’Groats Journal,” that an immense Whale, upwards of seventy-six feet in length, was captured a few days since at Wick. Sir Peter Laurie and Alderman Humphrey on reading this announcement naturally concluded that the Wick referred to was our gracious Queen Wic, and rushed off to Buckingham-palace to pay their united tribute of loyalty to the long-expected Prince of Wales.
I’m going to seal a letter, Dick,
Some wax pray give to me.
I have not got a single stick,
Or whacks I’d give to thee.
In our last we briefly adverted to the gratifying fact that Mr. Barry had at least a thousand superficial feet on the walls of the new Houses of Parliament at the services of the historical painters of England; and we also, in a passing manner, suggested a few compositions worthy of their pencils. A reconsideration of the matter convinces us that the subject is too important—too national, to be adopted as merely the fringe of our article; and we have therefore determined within ourselves to devote our present essay to a serious discussion of the various pictures that are, or ought, to decorate the interior of the new House of Commons. As for the House of Lords, we see no necessity whatever for lavishing the fine inspirations of art on that temple of wisdom; inasmuch as the sages who deliberate there are, for the most part, born legislators, coming into the world with all the rudiments of government in embryo in their baby heads, and, on the twenty-first anniversary of their birthday, putting their legs out of bed adult, full-grown law-makers. It would be the height of democratic insolence to attempt to teach these chosen few: it would, in fact, be a misprision of treason against the sovereignty of Nature, who, when making the pia mater of a future peer of England, knows very well the delicate work she has in hand, and takes pains accordingly. It is different when she manufactures a mob of skulls which, by a jumble of worldly accidents, or by the satire of Fortune in her bitterest mood, may ultimately belong to Members of the House of Commons. These she makes, as they make blocks in Portsmouth-yard, a hundred a minute. All she has to do is to fulfil her contract with the world, taking care that there shall be no want of the raw material for Members of Parliament, leaving it to Destiny to work it up as she may. We have not the slightest doubt, by-the-by, that poor Nature is often very much confounded by the ultimate application of her own handiwork. We can fancy the venerable old gossip at her business, patting up skulls as serenely as our lamented great grandmother (she wrote a very pretty book on the beauties of population, and illustrated the work, too, with portraits from her own hand) was wont to pat up apple-dumplings:—we can imagine Nature—good old soul!—looking over her spectacles at the infant dough, and saying to herself as she finishes skull by skull—“Ha! that will do for a pawnbroker;”—“That, as it’s rather low and narrow, for a sharp attorney;”—“That for a parish constable;”—“That for a clown at a fair,”—and so on. And we can well imagine the astonishment of simple-hearted old Nature on getting a ticket for the gallery of the House of Commons (for very seldom, indeed, has she been known to show herself on the floor), to see her skull of a pawnbroker on the shoulders of a Chancellor of the Exchequer; her caput of the sharp attorney belonging to a Minister of the Home Department; her head of a parish constable as a Paymaster of the Forces; and the dough she had intended to swallow knives and eat fire at wakes and fairs gravely responded to as “an honourable and gallant member!” Whereupon, who can wonder at the amazement and indignation of Mother Nature, and that, with a keen sense of the misapplication of her skulls, she sometimes abuses Mother Fortune in good set terms, mingling with her reproaches the strongest reflections on her chastity?
We have thought it due to the full consideration of our subject so far, to dwell upon the natural difference between the skull of a Peer and the skull of a Commoner. The skull of the noble, as we have shown, is a thing made to order—fitted up, like Mr. MECHI’S pocket-dressing-case, with the ornamental and useful: no instrument can be added to it—the thing is complete. Hence, to employ historical painters for the education of the House of Lords would be a useless and profligate expenditure of art and money. It would be to paint the lily LONDONDERRY—to add a perfume to the violet ELLENBOROUGH. All Peers being from the first—indeed, even in utero—ordained law-makers, statute-making comes to them by nature. How much history goes to prove this, showing that the House of Lords—like the Solomons of the fleur-de-lis—have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing! To attempt to instruct a Peer would be as gross an impertinence to the instinct of his order as to present MINERVA—who no doubt came from the head of JOVE a Peeress in her own right—with a toy alphabet or horn-book.
For the skulls of the House of Commons,—that is, indeed, another question! We are so far utilitarian that we would have the pictures for which Mr. BARRY offers a thousand feet selected solely with a view to the dissemination of knowledge amongst the many benighted members of the House of Commons. We would have the subjects so chosen that they should entirely supersede Oldfield’s Representative History; never forgetting the wants of the most illiterate. For instance, for the politicians on the fifth form, the SIBTHORPS and PLUMPTRES, whose education in their youth has been shamefully neglected, we would have a nice pictorial political alphabet. We do not pride ourselves, be it understood, upon writing unwrinkled verse; we only present the subjoined as a crude idea of our plan, taken we confess, from certain variegated volumes, to be had either of Mr. SOUTER, St. Paul’s Churchyard, or Messrs. DARTON and HARVEY, Holborn.
A was King ALFRED, a monarch of note;
B is BURDETT, who can well turn a coat.
Here we would have the chief incidents of Alfred’s life nicely painted, with BURDETT, late Old Glory, and now Old Corruption. As for the poetry, when we consider the capacities of the learners, that cannot be too simple, too homely. The House, however, may order a Committee of Versification, if it please; all that we protest against is D’ISRAELI being of the number.
C is the CORN-LAWS, that famish’d the poor;
D is the DEBT, that will famish them more.
Here, for the imaginative artist, is an opportunity! To paint the wholesale wickedness and small villanies of the Corn-laws! What a contrast of scene and character! Squalid hovels, and princely residences—purse-proud, plethoric injustice, big and bloated with, its iniquitous gains, and gaunt, famine-stricken multitudes! Then for the Debt—that hideous thing begotten by war and corruption; what a tremendous moral lesson might be learned from a nightly conning of the terrific theme!
We have neither poetic genius nor space of paper to go through the whole of the alphabet; we merely throw out the above four lines—and were we not assured that they are better lines, far more musical, than any to be found in BULWER’S SIAMESE TWINS, we should blush much nearer scarlet than we do—to give an idea of the utility and beautiful comprehensiveness of our plan.
The great difficulty, however, will be to compress the subjects—so multitudinous are they—within the thousand feet allowed by the architect. To begin with the Wittenagemot, or meeting of the wise men, and to end with portraits of Mr. Roebuck’s ancestors—to say nothing of the fine imaginative sketch of the Member for Bath tilting, in the mode of Quixote with the steam-press of Printing-house-square—will require the most extraordinary powers of condensation on the parts of the artists. Nevertheless, if the undertaking be even creditably executed, it will be a monument of national wisdom and national utility to unborn generations of Members. What crowds of subjects press upon us! The History of Bribery might make a sort of Parliamentary Rake’s Progress, if we could but hit upon the artist to portray its manifold beauties. The Windsor Stables and the Education of the Poor would form admirable companion-pictures, in which the superiority of the horse over the human animal could be most satisfactorily delineated—the quadruped having considerably more than three times the amount voted to him for snug lodging, hay, beans, and oats, that the English pauper obtained from Parliament for that manure of the soil—as congregated piety at Exeter Hall denominates it—a Christian education!
What a beautiful arabesque border might be conceived from a perusal of the late Lord Castlereagh’s speeches! We should here have Parliamentary eloquence under a most fantastic yet captivating phase. Who, for instance, but the artist to PUNCH could paint CASTLEREAGH’S figure of a smug, contented, selfish traitor, the “crocodile with his hand in his breeches’ pocket?” Again, does not the reader recollect that extraordinary person who, according to the North Cray Demosthenes, “turned his back upon himself?” There would be a portrait!—one, too, presenting food for the most “sweet and bitter melancholy” to the GRAHAMS and the STANLEYS. There is also that immortal Parliamentary metaphor, emanating from the same mysterious source,—“The feature upon which the question hinges!” The only man who could have properly painted this was the enthusiastic BLAKE, who so successfully limned the ghost of a flea! These matters, however, are to be considered as merely supplementary ornaments to great themes. The grand subjects are to be sought for in Hansard’s Reports, in petitions against returns of members, in the evidence that comes out in the committee-rooms, in the abstract principles of right and wrong, that make members honest patriots, or that make them give the harlot “ay” and “no,” as dictated by the foul spirit gibbering in their breeches’ pockets.
That we may have painted all these things, Mr. BARRY offers up one thousand feet. Oh! Mr. B. can’t you make it ten!
PUNCH’s PENCILLINGS.—No. XV.
From the period of our last Chapter our friend commences to adopt the attributes of the mature student. His notes are taken as before at each lecture he attends, but the lectures are fewer, and the notes are never fairly transcribed; at the same time they are interspersed with a larger proportion of portraits of the lecturer, and other humorous conceits. He proposes at lunch-time every day that he and his companions should “go the odd man for a pot;” and the determination he had formed at his entry to the school, of working the last session for all the prizes, and going up to the Hall on the Thursday and the College on the Friday without grinding, appears somewhat difficult of being carried into execution.
It is at this point of his studies that the student commences a steady course of imaginary dissection: that is to say, he keeps a chimerical account of extremities whose minute structure he has deeply investigated (in his head), and received in return various sums of money from home for the avowed purpose of paying for them. If he really has put his name down for any heads and necks or pelvic viscera at the commencement of the season, when he had imbibed and cherished some lunatic idea “that dissection was the sheet-anchor of safety at the College,” he becomes a trafficker in human flesh, and disposes of them as quickly as he can to any hard-working man who has his examination in perspective.
He now assumes a more independent air, and even ventures to chalk odd figures on the black board in the theatre. He has been known, previously to the lecture, to let down the skeleton that hangs by a balance weight from the ceiling, and, inserting its thumb in the cavity of its nose, has there secured it with a piece of thread, and then, placing a short pipe in its jaws, has pulled it up again. His inventive faculties are likewise shown by various diverting objects and allusions cut with his knife upon the ledge before him in the lecture-room, whereon the new men rest their note-books and the old ones go to sleep. In vain do the directors of the school order the ledge to be coated with paint and sand mixed together—nothing is proof against his knife; were it adamant he would cut his name upon it. His favourite position at lecture is now the extremity of the bench, where its horse-shoe form places him rather out of the range of the lecturer’s vision; and, ten to one, it is here that he has cut a cribbage-board on the seat, at which he and his neighbour play during the lecture on Surgery, concealing their game from common eyes by spreading a mackintosh cape on the desk before them. His conversation also gradually changes its tone, and instead of mildly inquiring of the porter, on his entering the school of a morning, what is for the day’s anatomical demonstration, he talks of “the regular lark he had last night at the Eagle, and how jolly screwed he got!”—a frank admission, which bespeaks the candour of his disposition.
Careful statistics show us that it is about the end of November the new man first makes the acquaintance of his uncle; and observant people have remarked, as worthy of insertion in the Medical Almanack amongst the usual phenomena of the calendar—“About this time dissecting cases and tooth-instruments appear in the windows, and we may look for watches towards the beginning of December.” Although this is his first transaction on his own account, yet his property has before ascended the spout, when some unprincipled student, at the beginning of the season, picked his pocket of a big silver lancet-case, which he had brought up with him from the country; and having, pledged it at the nearest money-lender’s, sent him the duplicate in a polite note, and spent the money with some other dishonest young men, in drinking their victim’s health in his absence. And, by the way, it is a general rule that most new men delight to carry big lancet-cases, although they have about as much use for them as a lecturer upon practice of physic has for top boots.
Thus gradually approaching step by step towards the perfection of his state, the new man’s first winter-session passes; and it is not unlikely that, at the close of the course, he may enter to compete for the anatomical prize, which he sometimes gets by stealth, cribbing his answers from a tiny manual of knowledge, two inches by one-and-a-half in size, which he hides under his blotting-paper. This triumph achieved, he devotes the short period which intervenes before the commencement of the summer botanical course to various hilarious pastimes; and as the watch and dissecting-case are both gone, he writes the following despatch to his governor—
MY DEAR FATHER,—You will, I am sure, be delighted to learn that I have gained the twenty-ninth honorary certificate for proficiency in anatomy which you will allow is a very high number when I tell you that only thirty are given. I have also the satisfaction of informing you that the various professors have given me certificates of having attended their lectures very diligently during the past courses.
I work very hard, but I need not inform you that, with all my economy, I am at some expense for good books and instruments. I have purchased Liston’s Surgery, Anthony Thompson’s Materia Medica, Burns and Merriman’s Midwifery, Graham’s Chemistry, Astley Cooper’s Dislocations, and Quain’s Anatomy, all of which I have read carefully through twice. I also pay a private demonstrator to go over the bones with me of a night; and I have bought a skeleton at Alexander’s—a great bargain. This, when I “pass,” I think of presenting to the museum of the hospital, as I am under great obligations to the surgeons. I think a ten-pound note willl clear my expenses, although I wish to enter to a summer course of dissections, and take some lessons in practical chemistry in the laboratories with Professor Carbon, but these I will endeavour to pay for out of my own pocket. With my best regards to all at home, believe me,
Your affectionate son,
As soon as the summer course begins, the Botanical Lectures commence with it, and the polite Company of Apothecaries courteously request the student’s acceptance of a ticket of admission to the lectures, at their garden at Chelsea. As these commence somewhere about eight in the morning, of course he must get up in the middle of the night to be there; and consequently he attends very often, of course. But the botanical excursions that take place every Saturday from his own school are his especial delight. He buys a candle-box to contain all the chickweed, chamomiles, and dandelions he may collect, and slinging it over his shoulder with his pocket-handkerchief, he starts off in company with the Professor and his fellow-herbalists to Wandsworth Common, Battersea Fields, Hampstead Heath, or any other favourite spot which the cockney Flora embellishes with her offspring.
The conduct of medical students on botanical excursions generally appears in various phases. Some real lovers of the study, pale men in spectacles, who wear shoes and can walk for ever, collect every weed they drop upon, to which they assign a most extraordinary name, and display it at their lodgings upon cartridge paper, with penny pieces to keep the leaves in their places as they dry. Others limit their collections to stinging-nettles, which they slyly insert into their companions’ pockets, or long bulrushes, which they tuck under the collars of their coats; and the remainder turn into the first house of public entertainment they arrive at on emerging from the smoke of London to the rural districts, and remain all day absorbed in the mysteries of ground billiards and knock-‘em-downs, their principal vegetable studies being confined to lettuces, spring onions, and water-cresses. But all this is very proper—we mean the botanical part of the story—for the knowledge of the natural class and order of a buttercup must be of the greatest service to a practitioner in after-life in treating a case of typhus fever or ruptured blood-vessel. At some of the Continental Hospitals, the pupil’s time is wasted at the bedside of the patient, from which he can only get practical information. How much better is the primrose-investigating curriculum of study observed at our own medical schools!
MR. GROVE.—This insufferably ignorant, and, therefore, insolent magisterial cur, who has recently made himself an object of unenviable notoriety, by asserting that “the Irish would swear anything,” has shown himself to be as stupid as he is malignant. Would, for instance, the most hard-mouthed Irishman in existence venture to swear that—
If “the Irish would swear” to the above, we confess they “would swear anything.”
SIR JAMES CLARK is in daily attendance at the Palace. We suppose that he is looking out for a new berth under Government.
We have just heard of an event which has shaken the peace of a highly respectable house in St. Martin’s Court, from the chimney-pots to the coal-cellar. Mrs. Brown, the occupier of the first floor, happened, on last Sunday, to borrow of Mrs. Smith, who lived a pair higher in the world, a German silver teapot, on the occasion of her giving a small twankey party to a few select friends. But though she availed herself of Mrs. Smith’s German-silver, to add respectability to her soirée, she wholly overlooked Mrs. Smith, who was not invited to partake of the festivities. This was a slight that no woman of spirit could endure; and though Mrs. Smith’s teapot was German-silver, she resolved to let Mrs. Brown see that she had herself some real Britannia mettle in her composition. Accordingly when the teapot was sent up the following morning to Mrs. Smith’s apartments, with Mrs. Brown’s “compliments and thanks,” Mrs. Smith discovered or affected to discover, a serious contusion on the lid of the article, and despatched it by her own servant back to Mrs. Brown, accompanied by the subjoined note:—
“Mrs. Smith’s compliments to Mrs. Brown, begs to return the teapott to the latter—in consequence of the ill-usage it has received in her hands.”
Mrs. Brown, being a woman who piques herself upon her talent at epistolary writing, immediately replied in the following terms:—
“Mrs. Brown’s compliments to Mrs. Smith, begs to say that her paltry teapot received no ill usage from Mrs. Brown.—Mrs. B. will thank Mrs. S. not to put two t’s at the end of teapot in future.”
This note and the teapot were forthwith sent upstairs to Mrs. Smith, whose indignation being very naturally roused, she again returned the battered affair, with this spirited missive:—
“Mrs. Smith begs to inform Mrs. Brown, that she despises her insinuations, and to say, that she will put as many t’s as she pleases in her teapot.
“P.S.—Mrs. S. expects to be paid 10s. for the injured article.”
Again the teapot was sent upstairs, with the following reply from Mrs. Brown:—
“Mrs. Brown thinks Mrs. Smith a low creature.
“P.S.—Mrs. B. won’t pay a farthing.”
The correspondence terminated here, the German-silver teapot remaining in statu quo on the lobby window, between the territories of the hostile powers; and there it might have remained until the present moment, if Mrs. Brown had not declared, in an audible voice, at the foot of the stairs, that Mrs. Smith was acting under the influence of gin, which reaching the ears of the calumniated lady, she rushed down to the landing-place, and seizing the teapot, discharged it at Mrs. Brown’s head, which it fortunately missed, but totally annihilated a plaster figure of Napoleon, which stood in the hall, and materially damaged its own spout. Mrs. Brown, being wholly unsupported at the time, retired hastily within the defences of her own apartments, which Mrs. Smith cannonaded vigorously for upwards of ten minutes with a broom handle; and there is every reason to believe she would shortly have effected a practicable breach, if a reinforcement from the kitchen had not arrived to aid the besieged, and forced the assailant back to her second-floor entrenchments. Mrs. Smith then demanded a truce until evening, which was granted by Mrs. Brown; notwithstanding which the former lady was detected, in defiance of this arrangement, endeavouring to blow up Mrs. Brown through the keyhole.
There is no telling how this unhappy difference will terminate; for though at present matters appear tolerably quiet, we know not (as in the case of the Canadas) at what moment we may have to inform our readers that
We last week described the different strata of society comprehended in the INFERIOR SERIES, and the lower portion of the Clapham Group. We now beg to call the attention of our readers to a most important division in the next great formation—which has been termed the TRANSITION CLASS—because the individuals composing it are in a gradual state of elevation, and have a tendency to mix with the superior strata. By referring to the scale which we gave in our first section, it will be seen that the lowest layer in this class is formed by the people who keep shops and one-horse “shays,” and go to Ramsgate for three weeks in the dog-days. They all exhibit evidences of having been thrown up from a low to a high level. The elevating causes are numerous, but the most remarkable are those which arise from the action of unexpected legacies. Lotteries were formerly the cause of remarkable elevations; and speculation in the funds may be still considered as amongst the elevating causes, though their effect is frequently to cause a sudden sinking. Lying immediately above the “shop and shay” people, we find the old substantial merchant, who every day precisely as the clock strikes ten is in the act of hanging up his hat in his little back counting-house in Fenchurch-street. His private house, however, is at Brixton-hill, where the gentility of the family is supported by his wife, two daughters, a piano, and a servant in livery. The best and finest specimens of this strata are susceptible of a slight polish; they are found very useful in the construction of joint stock banks, railroads, and other speculations where a good foundation is required. We now come to the Russell-square group, which comprehends all those people who “live private,” and aim at being thought fashionable and independent. Many individuals of this group are nevertheless supposed by many to be privately connected with some trading concern in the City. It is a distinguishing characteristic of the second layer in this group to have a tendency to give dinners to the superior series, while the specimens of the upper stratum are always found in close proximity to a carriage. Family descent, which is a marked peculiarity of the SUPERIOR CLASS, is rarely to be met with in the Russell-square group. The fossil animals which exist in this group are not numerous: they are for the most part decayed barristers and superannuated doctors. Of the ST. JAMES’S SERIES it is sufficient to say that it consists of four strata, of which the superior specimens are usually found attached to coronets. Most of the precious stones, as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, are also to be found in this layer. The materials of which it is composed are various, and appear originally to have belonged to the inferior classes; and the only use to which it can be applied is in the construction of peers. Throughout all the classes there occur what are called veins, containing diverse substances. The larking vein is extremely abundant in the superior classes—it is rich in brass knockers, bell handles, and policemen’s rattles; this vein descends through all the lower strata, the specimens in each differing according to the situation in which they are found; the middle classes being generally discovered deposited in the Coal-hole Tavern or the Cider-cellars, while the individuals of the very inferior order are usually discovered in gin-shops and low pot-houses, and not unfrequently
Father Thames, not content with his customary course, has been “swelling it” in the course of the week, through some of the streets of the metropolis. As if to inculcate temperance, he walked himself down into public-house cellars, filling all the empty casks with water, and adulterating all the beer and spirits that came in his way; turning also every body’s fixed into floating capital. Half empty butts, whose place was below, came sailing up into the bar through the ceiling of the cellar; saucepans were elevated from beneath the dresser to the dresser itself; while cups were made “to pop off the hooks” with surprising rapidity.
But the greatest consternation that prevailed was among the rats, particularly those in the neighbourhood of Downing-street, who were driven out of the sewers they inhabit with astounding violence.
The dairies on the banks of the Thames were obliged to lay aside their customary practice of inundating the milk; for such a “meeting of the waters” as would otherwise have ensued must have proved rather too much, even for the regular customers.
Why is it impossible for a watch that indicates the smaller divisions of time ever to be new?—Because it must always be a second-hand one.
So decidedly does this animal belong to the Bimana order of beings, that to his two legs he is indebted for existence. Most of his fellow bipeds live by the work of their hands, except indeed the feathered and tailor tribes, who live by their bills; but from his thighs, calves, ancles, and toes, does the opera-dancer derive subsistence for the less important portions of his anatomy.
Physiology.—The body, face, and arms of the opera-dancer present no peculiarities above the rest of his species; and it is to his lower extremities alone that we must look for distinguishing features. As our researches extend downwards from head to foot, the first thing that strikes us is a protuberance of the ante-occipital membranes, so great as to present a back view that describes two sides of a scalene triangle, the apex of which projects posteriorly nearly half way down the figure. That a due equilibrium may be preserved in this difficult position (technically called “the first”), the toes are turned out so as to form a right angle with the lower leg. Thus, in walking, this curious being presents a mass of animated straight lines that have an equal variety of inclination to a bundle of rods carelessly tied up, or to Signor Paganini when afflicted with the lumbago.
Habits.—The habits of the opera-dancer vary according as we see him in public or in private life. On the stage he is all spangles and activity; off the stage, seediness and decrepitude are his chief characteristics. It is usual for him to enter upon his public career with a tremendous bound and a hat and feathers. After standing upon one toe, he raises its fellow up to a line with his nose, and turns round until the applause comes, even if that be delayed for several minutes. He then cuts six, and shuffles up to a female of his species, who being his sweetheart (in the ballet), has been looking savage envy at him and spiteful indignation at the audience on account of the applause, which ought to have been reserved for her own capering—to come. When it does, she throws up her arms and steps upon tiptoe about three paces, looking exactly like a crane with a sore heel. Making her legs into a pair of compasses, she describes a circle in the air with one great toe upon a pivot formed with the other; then bending down so that her very short petticoat makes a “cheese” upon the ground, spreads out both arms to the roués in the stalls, who understand the signal, and cry “Brava! brava!!” Rising, she turns her back to display her gauze jupe élastique, which is always exceedingly bouffante: expectorating upon the stage as she retires. She thus makes way for her lover, who, being her professional rival, she invariably detests.
It is singular that in private life the habits of the animal differ most materially according to its sex. The male sometimes keeps an academy and a kit fiddle, but the domestic relations of the female remain a profound mystery; and although Professors Tom Duncombe, Count D’Orsay, Chesterfield, and several other eminent Italian-operatic natural historians, have spent immense fortunes in an ardent pursuit of knowledge in this branch of science, they have as yet afforded the world but a small modicum of information. Perhaps what they have learned is not of a nature to be made public.
Reproduction.—The offspring of opera-dancers are not, as is sometimes supposed, born with wings; the truth is that these cherubim are frequently attached by their backs to copper wires, and made to represent flying angels in fairy dramas; and those appendages, so far from being natural, are supplied by the property-man, together with the wreaths of artificial flowers which each Liliputian divinity upholds.
Sustenance.—All opera-dancers are decidedly omnivorous. Their appetite is immense; quantity and (for most of them come from France), not quality, is what they chiefly desire. When not dining at their own expense, they eat all they can, and pocket the rest. Indeed, a celebrated sylphide—unsurpassed for the graceful airiness of her evolutions—has been known to make the sunflower in the last scene bend with the additional weight of a roast pig, an apple pie, and sixteen omelettes soufflées—drink, including porter, in proportion. Various philosophers have endeavoured to account for this extraordinary digestive capacity; but some of their arguments are unworthy of the science they otherwise adorn. For example, it has been said that the great exertions to which the dancer is subject demand a corresponding amount of nutriment, and that the copious transudation superinduced thereby requires proportionate supplies of suction; while, in point of fact, if such theorists had studied their subject a little closer, they would have found these unbounded appetites accounted for upon the most simple and conclusive ground: it is clear that, as most opera-dancers’ lives are passed in a pirouette, they must naturally have enormous twists!
The geographical distribution of opera-dancers is extremely well defined, as their names implies; for they most do congregate wherever an opera-house exists. Some, however, descend to the non-lyric drama, and condescend to “illustrate” the plays of Shakespeare. It is said that the classical manager of Drury Lane Theatre has secured a company of them to help the singers he has engaged to perform Richard the Third, Coriolanus, and other historical plays.
Why has a clock always a bashful appearance?—Because it always keeps its hands before its face.
The Chronicle has been making a desperate attempt to come out in Punch’s line; he has absolutely been trying the “Too-too-tooit—tooit;” but has made a most melancholy failure of it. We could forgive him his efforts to be facetious (though we doubt that his readers will) if he had not kidnapped three of our own particular pets—the very men who lived and grew in the world’s estimation on our wits; we mean Peter Borthwick, Ben D’Israeli, and our own immortal Sibthorp. Of poor Sib. the joker of the Chronicle says in last Tuesday’s paper—
“We regret to hear that Col. Sibthorp has suffered severely by cutting himself in the act of shaving. His friends, however, will rejoice to learn that his whiskers have escaped, and that he himself is going on favourably.”
We spent an entire night in endeavouring to discover where the wit lay in this cutting paragraph; but were obliged at last to give it up, convinced that we might as well have made
What am I? Mary, wherefore seek to know?
For mystery’s the very soul of love.
Enough, that wedding thee I’m not below,
Enough, that wooing thee I’m not above.
You smile, dear girl, and look into my face
As if you’d read my history in my eye.
I’m not, sweet maid, a footman out of place,
For that position would, I own, be shy.
What am I then, you ask? Alas! ’tis clear,
You love not me, but what I have a year.
What am I, Mary! Well, then, must I tell,
And all my stern realities reveal?
Come close then to me, dearest, listen well,
While what I am no longer I conceal.
I serve my fellow-men, a glorious right;
Thanks for that smile, dear maid, I know ’tis due.
Yes, many have I served by day and night;
With me to aid them, none need vainly sue.
Nay, do not praise me, love, but nearer come,
That I may whisper, I’m a bailiff’s bum.
Why start thus from me? am I then a thing
To be despised and cast aside by thee?
Oh! while to every one I fondly cling
And follow all, will no one follow me?
Oh! if it comes to this, dear girl, no more
Shalt thou have cause upon my suit to frown;
I’ll serve no writs again; from me secure,
John Doe may run at leisure up and down,
Come to my arms, but do not weep the less,
Thou art the last I’ll e’er take in distress.
“Pray, Sir Peter,” said a brother Alderman to the City Laurie-ate the other day, while discussing the merits of Galloway’s plan for a viaduct from Holborn-hill to Skinner-street, “Pray, Sir Peter, can you inform me what is the difference between a viaduct and an aqueduct?” “Certainly,” replied our “City Correspondent,” with amazing condescension; “a via-duck is a land-duck, and an aqua-duck is a water-duck!” The querist confessed he had no idea before of the immensity of Sir Peter’s scientific knowledge.
Prodigious! The minor drama has exhausted its stock of major crimes: parricide is out of date; infanticide has become from constant occurrence decidedly low; homicide grows tame and uninteresting; and fratricide is a mere bagatelle, not worthy of attention. The dramatist must therefore awaken new sympathies by contriving new crimes—he must invent. In this the Sadler’s Wells genius has been fortunate. He has brought forward a novelty in assassination, which is harrowing in the extreme: it may be called Farm-house-icide! Just conceive the pitch of intense sympathy it is possible for one to feel, while beholding “the murder of a lone farm-house!” Arson is nothing to it.
Out of this novel domiciliary catastrophe the author of “Margaret Mayfield” has formed a melodrama, which in every other respect is founded, like a chancellor’s decree, upon precedent; it being a good old-fashioned, cut-throat piece, of the leather-breeches-and-gaiter, plough-and-pitchfork school. A country-inn parlour of course commences the story, where certain characters assemble, who reveal enough of themselves and of the characters assumed by their fellows (at that time amusing themselves in the green-room), to let any person the least acquainted with the literature of melodrama into the secret of the entire plot. There is the villain, who is as usual in love with the heroine, and in league with three ill-looking fellows sitting at a separate table. There too is the old-established farmer, who has about him a considerable sum of money—a fact he mentions for the information of his pot-companions, on purpose to be robbed of it. The low comedian as usual disports himself upon a three-legged stool, dressed in the never-to-be-worn-out short non-continuations, skirtless coat, and “eccentric” tile.
A scene or two afterwards, and we are surprised to find that the farmer is safely housed, and that he has not been robbed upon a bleak moor on a dark stage. But we soon feel a sensation of awe, when we learn that before us is the interior of the very farm-house that is going to be murdered. The farmer and his wife go through the long-standing dialogue of stage-stereotype, about love and virtue, the price of turnips, and their only child; and the husband goes to some fair with a friend, who had just been rejected by his sister-in-law in favour of the villain. The coast being left clear, the villain and his accomplices enter, and we know something dreadful is going to happen, for the farmer’s wife is gone out of the way on purpose not to interrupt. The villain draws a knife and drags his sweetheart into an out-house, and then the wife comes on to describe what is passing; for the audiences of Sadler’s Wells would tear up the benches if they dared to murder out of sight, without being told what is going on. Accordingly, we hear a scream, and the sister of the screamer exclaims,—“Ah, horror! He draws the knife across her throat! (Great applause.) But no; she takes up a broken ploughshare and escapes! (A slight tendency to hiss.) Now he seizes her hair, he throws her down. Ah! see how the blood streams from her——.” (Intense delight as the woman falls flat upon the boards, supposed to be overcome with dread.) A bloody knife, of course, next enters, grasped by the villain; who, as usual, remarks he is sorry for what has happened, but it can’t be helped, and must be made the best of. The woman having suddenly recovered, escapes into an additional private box, or trunk, placed on the stage for that purpose; stating that she will see what is going on from between the cracks. The villain then murders the child, and walks off with his hands in his pocket; leaving, as is always the case, the fatal knife in a most conspicuous part of the stage, which for some seconds it has all to itself. The farmer comes in, takes up the knife, and falls down in a fit, just in time for the constables to come in and to take him up for the murder. The wife jumps out of the box, and by her assistance a tableau is formed for the act-drop to fall to.
Our readers, of course, guess the rest. The farmer is condemned to be hanged; and in the last scene he is one of the never-omitted procession to the gallows. At the cue, “Now then, I am ready to meet my fate like a man,” the screech in that case always made and provided is heard at a distance. “Hold! hold! he is innocent!” are the next words; and enter the wife with a pair of pistols, and a witness. The executioner pardons the condemned on his own responsibility; and the villain comes on, on purpose to be shot, which is done by the farmer, who seems determined not to be accused of murder for nothing.
To these charming series of murders we may add that of the Queen’s English, which was shockingly maltreated, without the least remorse or mitigation.
Mr. Ross has had the last sitting of the Princess Royal for her portrait, and the Tories the last sitting of Mr. Walter for Nottingham.
Colonel Sibthorp presents his compliments to his dear friend and fellow, PUNCH, and seeing in the Times of Wednesday last a long account of the extraordinary arithmetical powers of a new calculating machine, invented by Mr. Wertheimber, he is desirous of asking the inventor, through the ubiquitous pages of PUNCH, whether his, Mr. W.’s apparatus—which, as his friend George Robins would say, is a lot which seems to be worthy only of the great Bidder—(he thinks he had him there)—whether this automatical American, or steam calculator, could solve for him the following queries:—
If the House of Commons be divided by Colonel Sibthorp on the Corn Laws, how much will it add to his credit?
How many times will a joke of Colonel Sibthorp’s go into the London newspapers?
Extract the root of Mr. Roebuck’s family tree, and say whether it would come out in anything but vulgar fractions.
Required the difference between political and imperial measures, and state whether the former belong to dry or superficial.
If thirty-six be six square, what is St. James’s-square?—and if the first circles be resident there, say whether this may not be considered as an approximation to the quadrature of the circle.
State the contents of the House of Commons upon the next motion of Sir Robert Peel, and whether the malcontents will be greater or less.
Required the capacities in feet between a biped, a quadruped, and a centipede, and say whether the foot of Mr. Joseph Hume, being just as broad as it is long, may not be considered as a square foot.
Express, in harmonious numbers, the proportion between the rhyme and the reason of Mr. Benjamin D’Israeli’s revolutionary epic, and say whether this is not a question of inverse ratio.
Whether, in political progression, the two extremes, Duke of Newcastle and Feargus O’Connor, are equal to the mean Joseph Hume.
Is it possible to multiply the difficulties of the Whigs, and, if so, am I the figure for the part?
What is the difference between the squares of Messrs. Tom Spring and John Gully, and whether the one is the fourth, fifth, or what power of the other?
Peter Borthwick lately arrived at the highest possible pressure of indignation, while reading some of the insolent fulminations from the Celestial Empire. But Peter was sorely at a loss to account for their singular names: he was instantly enlightened by the Finsbury interpreter, our Tom Duncombe, who rendered the matter clear by asserting it was because the Emperor was very partial to a
Joe Hume has written over to Wakley (postage unpaid) begging of him to take warning by his beating at Leeds; as he much fears, should Mr. Wakley continue his present line of conduct, when he next presents himself to his Finsbury constituents there is great probability of