The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, January 25th, 1890, by Various This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, January 25th, 1890 Author: Various Editor: Francis Cowley Burnand Release Date: December 31, 2009 [EBook #30818] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PUNCH *** Produced by Neville Allen, Malcolm Farmer and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
"Très volontiers," repartit le démon. "Vous aimez les tableaux changeans: je veux vous contenter."
"'The Humours of the Town!' Archaic phrase,
Breathing of Brummel and the dandy days
Of curly hats and gaiters!
'Humours' seem rarer now, at least by night,
In this strange world of gilt and garish light,
And bibulous wits and waiters."
So I. The Shadow smiled. "There's food for mirth
In every nook of the sun-circling earth
That human foot hath trodden.
Man, the great mime, must move the Momus vein,
Whether he follow fashion or the wain,
In ermine or in hodden.
"A City of Strange Meetings! Motives strong
Why men in well-dressed multitudes should throng,
Abundant are and various.
Strongest, perhaps, the vague desire to meet;
No animal as Man so quick to greet,
So aimlessly gregarious.
"In Council, Caucus, Causerie, there's an aim
Which many know and some might even name;
But see yon motley muster,
Like shades in Eblis wandering up and down!
Types there of every 'Show Class' in the Town
Elbow and glide and cluster."
I see long rooms, en suite, with lofty walls,
And portières sombre as Egyptian palls;
I hear the ceaseless scuffle
Of many trim-shod feet; the thin sweet sound
Of stricken strings which faintly echoes round
Those draperied vistas muffle.
Susurrus of a hundred voices blent
In the bland buzz of cultured chat; intent
Set faces mutely watching
From cushioned corner or from curtained nook;
Hands that about old ears attentive crook,
The latest scandal catching.
Cold rock-hewn countenances, shaven clean,
Hard lips, and eyes alert with strength and spleen;
Visages vain and vapid,
All wreathed with the conventional bland smile
That covers weary scorn or watchful guile,
Shift here in sequence rapid.
"Why is this well-dressed mob thus mustered here?"
I asked my guide. "On every face a sneer
"Curls—when it is not smirking.
Scorn of each other seems the one sole thing
In which they sympathise, the asp whose sting
Midst flowery talk is lurking."
"Friend, mutual mockery, masked as mutual praise,
Is a great social bond in these strange days.
Rochefoucauld here might gather
Material for new maxims keen and cold.
They meet, these convives, if the truth be told,
For boredom and bland blather.
"Royston's Reception,—ah! yes; beastly bore!
But must drop in for half an hour, no more.
The usual cram,—one knows it.
Big pudding with a few peculiar "plums."
Everyone kicks, but everybody comes.
Don't quite know how he does it!'
"So Snaggs, the slangy cynic. See him there
With pouching shirt-front and disordered hair,
Talking to Cramp the sturdy,
Irreverent R. A. And he,—that's Joyce,
The shaggy swart Silenus, with a voice
Much like a hurdy-gurdy.
"You see him everywhere, though none knows why;
Every hand meets his grip, though every eye
Furtively hints abhorrence.
Society's a gridiron; fools to please,
Wise men must sometimes lie as ill at ease
As might a new St. Lawrence."
A buzz, a bustle! How the crowd makes way,
And parts in lines as on some pageant day!
'Tis the Great Man, none other,
"Bland, beaming, bowing quick to left and right;
One hour he'll deign to give from his brief night
To flattery, fuss and pother.
"Though the whole mob does homage, more than half
Behind their hands indulge in sorrel chaff,
And venomous invective.
And he, the hard-faced Cleon with his ring
Of minor satellites? Could glances sting
His were not ineffective!
"Crouched in yon corner, huddled chin to knees,
Like some old lion sore and ill at ease
Left foodless in the jungle,
Sits Grumper, growling oaths beneath his breath
At Cleon, who—to him—sums party-death
And diplomatic bungle.
"'Beshrew him for a——!'" "Grumper's speech is strong;
Flanders and screeds of old satiric song
Blend in his vigorous diction.
Around, in lounging groups or knots apart,
Are lesser lights of thought, small stars of art,
And petty chiefs of fiction.
"Hosts of the nameless, fameless, 'Small Unknown';
Men who can form a 'corner', float a loan,
Wire-pull a local Caucus,
But cannot paint poor pictures, write bad plays,
Or on a platform wildly flame or praise
In rolling tones or raucous.
"These lounge and hover, sip champagne and whiff
Mild cigarettes; these too, in secret sniff
At 'the whole queer caboodle.'
Why do they meet? How shall I say, good friend?
Modern symposiasts seem a curious blend
Of porcupine and poodle.
"'In these Saturnian days Amphitryon spreads
His meshes wide, and counts not brains but heads.
The Tadpoles and the Tapers
Are scorned by the few Titans; true; but aims
Differ; to some 'tis much to see their names
Strung in the morning papers.
"So Private Views are popular, and men
Meet just to prompt the social scribe's smart pen.
Taste too austerely winnows
Town's superflux of chaff from its scant wheat:
Our host prefers to mix, in his Great Meet,
The Tritons and the minnows!"
"With mutual scorn!" I cried. "Has Fashion power
Thus to unhumanise the 'Social Hour,'
Theme of old poets' vaunting?
Gregarious spites and egotisms harsh!—
Foregathering of frog-swarms in a marsh
Yields music as enchanting."
Mr. Punch. Well, Master Jack Horner, where have you been this time?
Master J. H. Polly and I visited Madame Tussaud's,—they have got Mr. Sala there, looking so amiable! We were pleased to see him! And Polly afterwards would take me into the Chamber of Horrors! But I paid her out by getting her to try a boat on "Ye Ocean Wave," as they call it, at Hengler's!
Mr. P. Done anything else?
Master J. H. To be sure. Looked in at "Niagara," where they have got a Forest of Christmas trees. Capital! Popped into "Waterloo," opposite. Smashed skull in a trophy of arms amongst the relics—lovely! The picture, too, not half bad. Then improved our minds at the Tudor Exhibition.
Mr. P. And where else have you been?
Master J. H. To the Crystal Palace, where they have got Cinderella this year. It's first-rate!
"Vanity Un-Fair."—A week ago a caricature of one of the most popular and pleasant-looking of officials—a scholar and a gentleman—Mr. Edward Pigott—the Examiner of Plays, was published in Vanity Fair. Unrecognisable as a portrait, the picture was painfully hideous. Why it should have been allowed to appear is a mystery, as Mr. Pigott is a man that either is, or should be, without an enemy. There is only one thing to be done—our contemporary (following a recent precedent preserved in its own columns) should publish an apology.
"Speed the Parting."—The last four weeks of Barnum at Olympia are announced. If this is a fact, won't there arise a chorus of general jubilation from Theatrical Managers? Rather!
"Ana."—Obiter dicta anent the Parnell Commission will be published in one supplementary volume, entitled, Osheana.
[A writer on Fashion says, "The latest fad is the wearing of large daggers in the hair, which renders a lady quite dangerous to her neighbours."]
Ethelinda hath a dagger; Irving gave it; calmly there,
As the fashion is, she sticks it in her coronal of hair.
It looks very like the dagger 'bout which Macbeth told such fibs,
That cold steel which tickled Duncan underneath his royal ribs.
Whomsoever she approaches, that three-cornered dagger prods,
And a hecatomb of corpses follows when her head she nods.
Kate and Margaret were wounded as if they'd been to the wars,
Hilda too and Olga owe her very aggravating scars.
Ben and Ted have both been prodded, and unhappy Lionello,
Looks as if he'd been engaging in a terrible duello.
If the fashion thus continues of stilettos worn like this,
Men must case their heads in helmets, or ne'er go near girls, I wis.
Nathless, were I Ethelinda's mother, I would say, "Beware!
If you must keep such a dagger, leave it upstairs—with your hair."
Ethelinda fiercely would repel the base insinuation,
But the hint might save her neighbours any further laceration.
Dear Mr. Punch,
During the Winter Vacation, now at an end, I have been visiting some of the theatres with a view to educating my eldest son. Hearing that in A Man's Shadow at the Haymarket there was a representation of "the Assize Chamber, Palais de Justice, Paris," I took Northbutt (the name I have given to my boy, in recognition of the kindness that is habitually shown to the Junior Bar by two of the most courteous Judges of modern times) to that temple of the Drama, and was delighted at the dignity and legal acuteness displayed by Mr. Kemble as the President of the Court. On referring to the programme, I found that the part of the Usher was played by Mr. Robb Harwood, and I trust that learned Gentleman (I cannot help feeling that from his Christian name, Mr. Harwood must be connected with the law) will forgive me if I make a few suggestions. It has been my good fortune to be present in a French Court, and I can assure Mr. Robb, that the Usher is an infinitely more important personage than he represents him to be. I am not a dramatist, but I can readily understand that it might interfere with the interest of the play, and perhaps, unduly damage the importance properly attributable to the utterances of the Lessee of the theatre, were Mr. Robb to give increased prominence to his rôle while Mr. Beerbohm Tree is present in the character of Lucien Laroque. But this is unnecessary, as Mr. Kemble about the middle of the sitting very properly adjourns the Court presumably for luncheon. It is then, that the Usher should emerge from his comparative obscurity, and, so to speak, make his mark. I jot down a rough idea of my notion in dramatic form for the consideration of the adapter of the piece, Mr. Robert Buchanan.
Scene—The Assize Chamber (Palais of Justice, Paris). Mr. Kemble has just retired with his colleagues to luncheon. Mr. Beerbohm Tree, as Laroque, has been removed in the custody of an old officer, in a uniform produced by Messrs. Nathan, from a sketch by "Karl." (Vide Programme.) Mr. Fernandez is seen seated beneath the dock. Advocates fraternise with a Young Abbé, who has evidently a taste for sensational murder cases.
Usher (to Crowd). Now then, Gentlemen, although the Court has retired, you must keep order. (A murmur.) What, my authority defied! Gendarmes, do your duty! (The Gendarmes suppress Crowd.) M. l'Abbé, a word with you. (The Abbé approaches Usher respectfully.) I am told by the Nurse of Mademoiselle Suzanne that Madame Laroque is dying. Can you kindly let me see the Doctor who has the case in hand?
M. L'Abbé (glad of something to say). Certainly, Monsieur. The Doctor is one of my intimate friends, and will be proud of an introduction.
[Retires, in search of the Medical Man.
Usher. Thank you! (is given a letter by Mr. Beerbohm Tree, who has reappeared as his own Shadow). Well, Sirrah, what do you want?
Mr. Tree's Shadow (clearing his throat). Urrerrer! Take that to Mr. Fernandez over yonder, and wake him up with it! Urrerrerrer!
Usher. With pleasure; but (smiling) what a quaint noise! (Approaching Mr. Fernandez.) Monsieur, allow me to offer you my snuff-box—it is heartily at your service. (Mr. Fernandez accepts the courtesy with effusion.) And now, my old friend, take this packet, which I fancy is from your wife. I hope Madame is well? (Mr. Fernandez smilingly bows and eats a sandwich.) I am delighted to hear it. (Sternly to Mr. Tree, who has entered in another disguise.) Well, Monsieur, and what do you want with me?
Mr. Tree in another disguise (seizing the opportunity of showing his well-known versatility). I am the Doctor who is attending Madame Laroque! She is very ill! Believe me, Usher—— (Makes a pathetic speech in a new voice with appropriate gesticulation, finishing with these words), and if he dies, she will die also!
Usher (who has been weeping). Sad! sad! sad! Ah! Monsieur, you have a hand of silver——
Mr. Tree (in the other disguise). And a heart of gold!
Usher (wiping his eyes). Dear me his story has affected me strangely! But, I must dissemble! Let not the hollow heartless crowd see my emotion! I must laugh and joke, although my heart may be breaking! (Suddenly.) I will tell a good story to Mr. Fernandez who, I notice, is deeply concerned at the news contained in the letter he has just received from his wife—that news may be the revelation of her own miserable past! (Approaching the Counsel for the Defence.) Ah, my old and valued friend, let me cheer you up with an amusing anecdote. You must know that once upon a time a man was seated before the kitchen-fire watching a leg of mutton! His dog was seated near him!
Mr. Fernandez (in an undertone—as himself). Go away!
Usher (ignoring the interruption). The dog seized the mutton, and the man cast the stool after him—thus it was said that two legs, finding four legs had stolen one leg, threw after him three legs! Ha! ha! ha! You will see two legs—the man—four legs, the dog—one leg, the mutton—and three legs, the stool! A quaint conceit! A quaint—ha! ha! ha!—a quaint conceit indeed!
Mr. Fernandez (as before, but more so). Go away!
[Mr. Kemble here returns, and the Usher resumes his ordinary manner. Scene concluded according to Mr. Buchanan's version.
Wishing you the compliments of the season (in which Northbutt joins),
I remain, dear Mr. Punch,
Pump-handle Court, Temple, 20th Jan., 1890.
"It's very odd—but I can't get rid of my Pictures. The House is full of them!"
"Can't you get your Grocer to give 'em away with a Pound of Tea, or something?"
"It is reported from Gibraltar, that the 110-ton guns of the Benbow, have developed defects similar to those recently developed in the Victoria."—Naval Intelligence.
There was a hoodwinked Man
Who, in buying his big guns,
Very often by the nose was deftly led, led, led.
For when he fired them first
They did everything but burst,
Though guaranteed by Whitehall's Naval head, head, head!
So when by foes defied
At length in action tried
'Tis found that they won't fire a single shot, shot, shot.
Let us hope, at any rate,
Though the Nemesis come late,
That some party who's to blame will get it hot, hot, hot!
The usual Jocose 'Arry (who has come here, with 'Arriet, for no very obvious reason, as they neither of them know or care about any history but their own).
Well, I s'pose as we are 'ere, we'd better go in a buster for a book o'the words, eh? (To Commissionnaire.) What are yer doin' them c'rect guides at, ole man? A shillin'? Not me! 'Ere, 'Arriet, we'll make it out for ourselves.
A Young Man (who has dropped in for five minutes—"just to say he's been, don't you know"). 'Jove—my Aunt! Nip out before she spots me ... Stop, though, suppose she has spotted me? Never can tell with gig-lamps ... better not risk it.
[Is "spotted" while hesitating.
His Aunt. I didn't recognise you till just this moment, John, my boy. I was just wishing I had someone to read out all the extracts in the Catalogue for me; now we can go round together.
[John affects a dutiful delight at this suggestion, and wonders mentally if he can get away in time to go to afternoon tea with those pretty Chesterton Girls.
An Uncle (who has taken Master Tommy out for the afternoon). This is the way to make your English History real to you, my boy!
[Tommy, who had cherished hopes of Covent Garden Circus, privately thinks that English History is a sufficiently unpleasant reality as it is, and conceives a bitter prejudice against the entire Tudor Period on the spot.
The Intelligent Person. Ha! armour of the period, you see! (Feels bound to make an intelligent remark.) 'Stonishing how the whole art of war has been transformed since then, eh? Now—to me—(as if he was conscious of being singular in this respect)—to me, all this is most interesting. Coming as I do, fresh from Froude——
His Companion (a Flippant Person). Don't speak so loud. If they know you've come in here fresh, you'll get turned out!
Patronising Persons (inspecting magnificent suit of russet and gilt armour). 'Pon my word, no idea they turned out such good work in those times—very creditable to them, really.
The Uncle. Now, Tommy, you remember what became of Katherine of Aragon, I'm sure? No, no—tut—tut—she wasn't executed! I'm afraid you're getting rather rusty with these long holidays. Remind me to speak to your mother about setting you a chapter or so of history to read every day when we get home, will you?
Tommy (to himself). It is hard lines on a chap having a Sneak for an Uncle! Catch me swotting to please him!
'Arry. There's old 'Enery the Eighth, you see—that's 'im right enough; him as 'ad all those wives, and cut every one of their 'eds off!
'Arriet (admiringly). Ah, I knew we shouldn't want a Catalogue.
The Int. P. Wonderfully Holbein's caught the character of the man—the—er—curious compound of obstinacy, violence, and good-humour, sensuality, and—and so on. No mistaking a Holbein—you can tell him at once by the extraordinary finish of all the accessories. Now look at that girdle—isn't that Holbein all over?
Flippant P. Not quite all over, old fellow. Catalogue says it's painted by Paris Bordone.
The Int. P. Possibly—but it's Holbein's manner, and, looking at these portraits, you see at once how right Froude's estimate was of the King.
F. P. Does Froude say how he got that nasty one on the side of his nose?
A Visitor. Looks overfed, don't he?
Second V. (sympathetically). Oh, he did himself very well; you can see that.
The Aunt. Wait a bit, John—don't read so fast. I haven't made out the middle background yet. And where's the figure of St. Michael rising above the gilt tent, lined with fleurs-de-lis on a blue ground? Would this be Guisnes, or Ardres, now? Oh, Ardres on the right—so that's Ardres—yes, yes; and now tell me what it says about the two gold fountains, and that dragon up in the sky.
[John calculates that, at this rate, he has a very poor chance of getting away before the Gallery closes.
The Patronising Persons. 'Um! Holbein again, you see—very curious their ideas of painting in those days. Ah, well, Art has made great progress since then—like everything else!
Miss Fisher. So that's the beautiful Queen Mary! I wonder if it is really true that people have got better-looking since those days?
[Glances appealingly at Phlegmatic Fiancé.
Her Phlegmatic Fiancé. I wonder.
Miss F. You hardly ever see such small hands now, do you? With those lovely long fingers, too!
The Phl. F. No, never.
Miss F. Perhaps people in some other century will wonder how anybody ever saw anything to admire in us?
The Phl. F. Shouldn't be surprised.
[Miss F. does wish secretly that Charles had more conversation.
The Aunt. John, just find out who No. 222 is.
John. (sulkily). Sir George Penruddocke, Knight.
His Aunt (with enthusiasm). Of course—how interesting this is, isn't it?—seeing all these celebrated persons exactly as they were in life! Now read who he was, John, please.
The Int. Person. Froude tells a curious incident about——
Flippant P. I tell you what it is, old chap, if you read so much history, you'll end by believing it!
The Int. P. (pausing before the Shakspeare portraits.) "He was not for an age, but for all time."
The Fl. P. I suppose that's why they've painted none of them alike.
A Person with a talent for Comparison. Mary, come here a moment. Do look at this—"Elizabeth, Lady Hoby"—did you ever see such a likeness?
Mary. Well, dear, I don't quite——
The Person with &c. It's her living image! Do you mean to say you really don't recognise it?—Why, Cook, of course!
Mary. Ah! (apologetically)—but I've never seen her dressed to go out, you know.
The Uncle. "No. 13, Sir Rowland Hill, Lord Mayor, died 1561"——
Tommy (anxious to escape the threatened chapters if possible). I know about him, Uncle, he invented postage stamps!
First Patronising P. "A Tooth of Queen Katherine Parr." Dear me! very quaint.
Second P. P. (tolerantly). And not at all a bad tooth, either.
'Arriet (comes to a case containing a hat labelled as formerly belonging to Henry the Eighth). 'Arry, look 'ere; fancy a king going about in a thing like that—pink with a green feather! Why, I wouldn't be seen in it myself!
'Arry. Ah, but that was ole 'Enery all over, that was; he wasn't one for show. He liked a quiet, unassumin' style of 'at, he did. "None of yer loud pot 'ats for Me!" he'd tell the Royal 'atters; "find me a tile as won't attract people's notice, or you won't want a tile yerselves in another minute!" An' you may take yer oath they served him pretty sharp, too![Pg 41]
'Arriet (giggling). It's a pity they didn't ask you to write their Catalogue for 'em.
The Aunt. John, you're not really looking at that needlework—it's Queen Elizabeth's own work, John. Only look how wonderfully fine the stitches are. Ah, she was a truly great woman! I could spend hours over this case alone. What, closing are they, already? We must have another day at this together, John—just you and I.
John. Yes, Aunt. And now—(thinks there is just time to call on the Chestertons, if he goes soon)—can I get you a cab, or put you into a 'bus, or anything?
His Aunt. Not just yet; you must take me somewhere where I can get a bun and a cup of tea first, and then we can go over the Catalogue together, and mark all the things we missed, you know.
[John resigns himself to the inevitable rather than offend his wealthy relative; the Intelligent Person comes out, saying he has had "an intellectual treat," and intends to "run through Froude again" that evening. 'Arry and 'Arriet depart to the "Ocean Wave" at Hengler's. Gallery gradually clears as Scene closes in.
Since the Shah spent a pleasant evening in the Theatre of Varieties North of Leicester Square (and if it comes to that, long before) the Empire has been a notable place of entertainment. At the present moment there is an exceptionally strong programme. Two ballets, both extremely good. The first, "The Paris Exhibition," pleasingly recalls the glories and expenses of last year so inseparably connected with the Cairo street dancing and the Tour Eiffel. The second, "A Dream of Wealth," is interesting amongst other matters for proving conclusively that the Demon of Avarice (conscientiously impersonated by Signor Luigi Albertieri), is a singularly gentlemanly creature, and not nearly so black as he would conventionally be painted. The story of the divertissement by Madame Katti Lanner, if rather obscure, is still thoroughly enjoyable. It would seem that a miser with a comic but sound-hearted clerk, after an altercation with some well-fed representatives of "the most distrissful" tenantry that ever yet were seen, makes the acquaintance of "an apparition," and dreams that he is the tenant of his own jewel-casket. In his sleep he is present at a ballet replete with silver and gold and precious stones, to say nothing of shapely limbs and pretty faces, and makes great friends with the "apparition," who shows him much graceful courtesy, with the assistance of one of her acquaintances, that singularly gentlemanly creature, the Demon of Avarice. That all ends happily goes without saying.
But perhaps the feature of the Empire Theatre of Varieties (a title justified by the programme—a document, by the way, for which a uniform charge of two pence should be made, instead of "anything you please, Sir," subsequently translatable into at least sixpence) is the realisation, by Miss Amy Roselle, of The Woman and the Law, written by Mr. Clement Scott. The accomplished actress, in a simple black dress, in front of a scene suggestive of (say) an unused ball-room in the Vatican, holds her audience in her grasp. In spite of the smoke of the stalls, the levity of the lounge, and the general incongruity of her surroundings, Miss Roselle scores nightly a distinct success. Lastly, Mlle. Vanoni, returning to the scene of her former triumphs, once again delights all beholders by the sprightliness of her singing and dancing. No reason to fear the disruption of the Empire at present.
I had come back from India. I was in Southampton. Only a few months before I had been teaching whist to the natives on the banks of the Ganges, and I had made my fortune out of the Indian rubber. I wonder if they remember the great Sahib who always had seven trumps and only one other suit. Tailoring is in its infancy over there, and the natives frequently had no suit at all. I had not placed my money in the Ganges banks, because they are notoriously unsafe. I had brought it with me to Southampton. I was rich, but solitary. Yet I was a dashing young fellow, especially in my printed conversation. When it rained, I said "dee." Just smack your lips over the delightful wickedness of it, and then proceed.
There was nothing to do. I couldn't go to Ryde, although the waiter assured me it was a pleasant trip. Neither did I care to go for a walk. The situation was at a dead-lock, and I said so.
"Well," said the waiter, "there's the quay."
So I went to the quay. I heard a sweet young voice remark, "What a shocking bad hat!" I fell in love with her at once. She was with a governess—obviously French—who remonstrated.
"'Ush! Naughty! Signor will overhear you, Mees Smith. Then I give you spanks."
"Well, he shouldn't wear such a bad hat, Mademoiselle."
I was just turning round to introduce myself, when I saw that they had both stepped on to the steamer. I followed them. The French Governess seemed to be in doubt about the boat.
"Antelope of the western horizon," she said, to a surly onlooker, "I will give you three piastres and a French halfpenny if you have ze goodness to tell me if this is ze Ryde steamer."
"How the dickens am I to know whether it's the right steamer or not, when I don't know where you're going to?" asked the man.
I knocked him down at once, and as he rose to return the compliment my hat fell off. Miss Smith caught it on the tip of her toe as it was falling, sent it twenty feet into the air, caught it again in her large beautiful hands, and pressed it firmly down over my eyes.
In the wilds of Assam one gets unused to the grand freedom and cultured geniality of English ladies. I hardly knew what to do, but I extricated myself slowly from the folds of the hat, chucked her under the chin, and remarked, "Houp-là!" The French Governess had retired to the cabin to be ill, and we were rapidly steaming from the quay.
"Don't!" said Miss Smith, looking very shy and pretty.
"Certainly not," I replied. "Of course you will have some tea with me?"
"Oh, my!" she murmured, in her sweet, refined voice. "Well, I must first go and look after poor Mlle. Donnerwetter."
While she was below, I secured two umbrellas from the stoker, and improvised a sort of tent with this and a back number of the Times. I also procured a few delicacies such as young girls love—a pot of French mustard, two bottles of ginger-beer, some shrimps, and several large buns. I spread them all out in a row. It seemed to make them look more luscious, somehow. We were very warm and cosy, seated over the boiler of the engine. Was I in love? Pshaw! Decidedly not, and yet—well, she looked very pretty as she sat there, chattering freely about herself, and lightly dusting with her handkerchief one of the shrimps which was a trifle soiled. I gathered from her conversation that she was very rich, that she had no parents, and would lose all her money if something happened.
"And is that something—er—marriage?" I ventured to ask.
"Gar'n!" she replied, in her pretty school-girl slang. "What are yer getting at?"
"Suppose the boiler blew up, what then?"
"Ah!" she replied, sadly; "Mademoiselle will blow me up if she finds us out. Listen! she's calling."
"Then it's all right, because if she calls now she'll find us in."
At this moment the steamer reached its destination, and I was compelled to leave Miss Smith. However, I followed her and the Governess until they entered the gates of Plumfields, a large school for young ladies. Why should I go back to Southampton? I think I will remain at Ryde.
(To be concluded in Four Chapters.)
The Prince "Starring" at Poole.—His Royal Highness was just as successful last week at Poole in Dorsetshire (everyone who was there will indorse it) as he was at Pyramids in Egypt.
"What! going to wear that frightful Gown? And at your own Dance, too?"
"That's just why! To-night they have to ask Me!"
Dame Partlet broods in reverie beatific
Over as nice a "sitting"
Of golden eggs as ever fowl prolific
Tended, untired, unflitting.
Sound eggs and of good stock, there is no doubt of them.
"What will come out of them?
That question interests nor Partlet only;
No; while the speckled beauty
Sits in quiescent state, content though lonely,
The poultry-yard's prime duty
Filling her soul, how many minds are watching
That hopeful hatching!
Worthy Exchequer Hen! Layer and sitter
Of really first-rate quality.
Though rival fowls are enviously bitter,
That doth not bate her jollity.
Her duties Caquet Bonbec's game to tackle,
Without much cackle.
And then, what luck! A "run" unprecedented,
Or almost so; and fodder
With which the Laureate's Bird had been contented:
Fortune has freaks far odder
Than e'en a poet's whimsies, any day,
Her rivals say.
She must, they swear, have "raked in golden barley,"
Like the great Fleet Street "Cock."
Their jealous jeremiads, sour and snarly,
Partlet's prim feelings shock.
'Luck! Not at all: but the reward emphatic
Of skill villatic."
"Of course 'tis obvious that the Tory rooster
Has 'crammed a plumper crop'
Than Grand Old Chanticleer, that barn-yard boaster,
Whose crowings now must stop,
He thought his 'Surplus' none would nearly equal.
Behold the sequel?
'Not quite as many eggs? No, but far finer,
And not one will be addled.
He, in his day, was a Distinguished Shiner,
But then the yard he saddled
With cross-bred cocktail chicks, unprofitable
For nest or table."
So Partlet, in her own complacent musings;
And as for the outsiders,
Reckoning up their probable gains and losings,
Some fain would be deriders
Of her, her fortune, and the brood forthcoming,
Which she seems summing.
"Don't count your chickens ere they're hatched!" they snigger.
(Old saws are always dear to the censorious)
"We've seen small chickens out of eggs much bigger.
You Tory hens are always so vainglorious.
We'd see—before we join this Farm-yard Chorus—
The birds before us.
"'Free Education'; Chick? 'Free Breakfast-table'?
Or else 'Income-Tax Penny'?
Humph! All good breeds! We cannot say we're able
To cackle against any.
Were they but in our nest, we'd hatch 'em gladly,
But doubt you sadly!"
Meanwhile complacent Partlet sits and broods,
As for the Public, well, of all the moods
They clearly love the dative;
And, so the brood be good, won't greatly bother
As to who's mother!
I see, by an advertisement, that a cork tip put to a cigarette prevents tongue irritation. I have no objection to my wife's smoking, if she will use these cigarettes. Her "tongue irritation" is something too trying to
P. S.—Might call these cigarettes the "Xan-cork-tippé Cigarettes."
Street Music.—If the sole musical solace of the children of the back slums be the Italian organ-grinder, let him remain there; but don't let him emerge thence to worry and drive to distraction authors, composers, musicians, artists, and invalids. It was mainly the organ-grinding nuisance that killed John Leech.
"Holy Trinity Church," said the Pall Mall Gazette recently, "contains many notable memorials of past times." Among others, appears to be the head of the Earl of Suffolk, who was beheaded in 1554. This though a memorial of times past, can hardly be pronounced a relic of pastimes, except by those to whom beheading was good sport.[Pg 43]
Mr. Punch's Special Nuisance Commissioner continued yesterday afternoon this adjourned inquiry, which, having now arrived at the stage of dealing with "street-music," at present attracting so much public notice, invested the proceedings with an unusual amount of interest.
The Commissioner, on taking his seat, said that, since they last met, he had been rather puzzling himself with the distinction that might be drawn between a "particular" and a "general" or a "pretty general" nuisance, and he had come to the conclusion that he much doubted whether this latter kind had any definite existence, as there were always to be found disagreeable people, themselves the most intolerable nuisances, ready to support and encourage anything that might prove a source of annoyance or even distraction to their more rational neighbours. It was by these growling and cantankerous philanthropists that German "Bands of Three," or even damaged bagpipes, were invited by halfpence to make hideous noises in quiet back-streets. He merely offered these remarks for what they were worth, in passing, and he would now proceed to listen to such fresh evidence as might be forthcoming.
A Nervous Invalid (who was led in tottering, and immediately supplied with a chair, into which he sank in an exhausted condition) said, in a feeble voice, that his present shattered state he attributed solely to the never-ceasing strain to which his nerves had been subjected by the continuous Babel of street-noises that invaded the suburban quarter in which he had been induced to take up his residence in the belief that he was ensuring himself a quiet and snug retreat. (Sensation.) From the moment when he was roused from his slumbers in the early morning by Sweeps who came to attend to somebody else's chimneys—(cries of "Shame!")—to a late hour, frequently close on eleven at night, when a loud-lunged urchin bawled out a false alarm of a local murder in the "latest edition," his whole life was one continual contest with organs, with or without monkeys or babies, shouting fern-vendors, brass bands, broken-winded concertinas, Italian brigands, choruses of family beggars, tearing milk-carts, itinerant twilight ballad-singers, and other disturbers of the public peace. (Groans.) And the result, from the series of shocks his system had now been continually sustaining for several years, was the condition to which the Commissioner could see he had been reduced, which he could only characterise as that of one who, once blithe, gay, happy, and active, was now a complete physical and mental wreck, to whom, if he could see no prospect of coming relief, the gloom of life appeared to stretch away as a vast wilderness, with a prospect of such overwhelming depression, that he could only conclude his evidence with the significant but heartrending warning that he could face it no longer! The Witness here fairly broke down, and, bursting into a hysterical fit of weeping, had to be led from the room by a bevy of sympathising friends.
The Commissioner (much moved). Dear me! this is very distressing! Can the Police be of no use? (A Voice. "Not the slightest!") Indeed! Ah! that's very awkward. However, we had better proceed with the evidence. Is there anyone to be heard on the other side?
A Big Drum of the Salvation Army hereupon said he had something to say.
The Commissioner. By all means. We are all attention.
The Big Drum said he had been frequently charged with creating a disturbance. This charge he utterly repudiated. Of course, if such trifles as destroying the tranquillity of an English Sunday, disturbing the peaceful worship of other denominations, creating a street obstruction or two, frightening an occasional omnibus horse into a fit of kicking, and perhaps leading up to some local excitement culminating in a possible riot, be regarded as "disturbing the public peace" then, of course, the Salvationists must plead guilty. As to "making a noise," their mission was to "make a noise," and he flattered himself that the "Big Drum" was not behind-hand, at all events, in that business. As far as "making a noise" was concerned, all processions accompanied by bands aimed at this. The Salvation Army was only in the same boat with the rest. (Oh! oh!)
The Commissioner. Just so. And for that reason a short Act should be passed licensing only such processions as have a national, civic, or State character as their raison d'être. That, I think, would effectively dispose of the big drum nuisance. (Cheers.)
A Flute-player, who from his habit of playing, in the dim twilight, Scotch airs without sharps or flats, but with sudden turns and trills, had become the terror of several quiet suburban squares, was here about to be heard in his own defence, when the proceedings were interrupted by strains of a German Band that had taken up its station in the street outside, and commenced an imperfect rehearsal of an original valse composed by the Conductor.
On the Commissioner having given orders that it should be stopped forthwith, and it being intimated to him that, in the absence of any policeman, it declined to move off or cease playing under eighteen-pence; he thereupon expressed himself strongly on the present unsatisfactory condition of the existing law, and, explaining at the top of his voice, that it would be no use continuing his remarks through a noise in which he could not possibly make himself heard, hastily adjourned the meeting. And thus the business of the day came suddenly to an unexpected and abrupt conclusion.
In the gay play-house mingle
The gallant and the fair;
The married and the single,
And wit and wealth, are there;
And shirt-front spreads in acres,
And collar fathoms high;
Dressmakers and unmakers
In choice confections vie.
A sight to soften rockses!
Yet low my spirit falls,
For she is in the boxes.
And I am in the stalls.
The music's lively measure,
The curtain's plushy fold,
I hear untouched with pleasure,
Unsolaced I behold.
And rank and fashion vainly
My wandering eyes survey,
Though Mrs. B. and Lady C.
Look well in green and grey.
The watchful leader knocks his
Desk, as the prompter calls,
And she is in the boxes,
And I am in the stalls.
How dully moves the drama
To one whose heart is dumb.
In listless panorama
The actors go and come.
The couple just before me
Keep bobbing to and fro.
It doesn't even bore me
To see them doing so.
The lover closely locks his
Emotions one and all,
When she is in the boxes,
And he has got a stall.
But sudden brilliance reaches
The playwright's mouthing shams,
And the long-winded speeches
Grow brisk as epigrams.
My heart, in sudden clover,
With smiles adorns my face,
For, when the Act is over,
I need not keep my place.
I'll chase my fears, like foxes,
When next the curtain falls—
I'll then be in the boxes,
Though now I'm in the stalls.
Doctor. "No, Sir; it is nearly obsolete in practice. We don't Bleed now as they used to do formerly."
Atrabilious Patient. "Ah?!—not with the Lancet, you mean!"
Monday.—We are a party of twelve at breakfast. A merry party. With children we make fifteen. Some one reads out about Russian Influenza. We laugh. In the daytime, we ride, lounge, shoot. Dinner. Somebody is indisposed and doesn't appear. Also a child has caught cold. But Russian Influenza!—absurd!
Tuesday.—We are a party of ten this morning at breakfast. Only three children appear. One, a boy who hears his holidays have been extended over the fortnight, is very happy. No Russian Influenza here. Our hostess does not think it necessary to send for the Doctor, who lives three miles off, as the two children have only a slight cold, and the two guests don't happen to be quite well, that's all. Headache slightly, both. At dinner our host, who won't believe in Russian Influenza, says that he's afraid he has rheumatism coming on. Hot grog, we all agree, is the best remedy. Remedy accordingly, with pipes. Two of the ladies retire early, "not feeling quite the thing," and at eleven our host says he thinks he'll turn in. We bid him good-night, hope he'll be better, and then sit down and discuss news. Odd that people and children should be taken ill, but no one will for a moment admit the possibility of Influenza touching us.
Wednesday. Seven at breakfast. No host. No children down for breakfast; but all apparently "down" with cold, or—something. Hostess comes in, apologises for being late, but much bothered about children, specially the boy who has got extra fortnight. He's got "something" now besides extra fortnight. "Something," but not Influenza. Very feverish in the night; so were the two ladies; so was the host. The hostess, who is great in medicines, specially new ones, has cupboards full of bottles of Eno and Pyrrhetic Saline (or some such name—I'm not sure that it isn't "Pyrotechnic Saline") and her latest fad is Salt Regal. "Children like it," she says," because it turns pink, and is pretty to look at." If some of her simple remedies, including foreign waters with strange names on them, don't succeed, she will send for Doctor. We begin to think of returning to town. Also begin to wonder if all this can possibly be the Epidemic.
Thursday.—Dinner, rather dull. The Butler is feeble. Crossing the parquet he is down with a dish. In another hour he is down with—shall we begin to say—Influenza? I thought Influenza was sneezing and coughing and the most violent of colds. Yet I hear very little of that in the house. I shall pack up and leave to-morrow morning. Sharp pain in back as I stoop over portmanteau. Feel queer in head. Pains all down my legs. Within an hour pains everywhere. Remember at school when one boy obstructed another's view, the latter would ask him to "get out of the light, as your father wasn't a glazier, and I can't see through you." Think my father must have been a glazier as I am so full of "panes." How bad my head must be to make this jest.
Friday.—Don't know how many at breakfast. I'm not. Doctor summoned, visits me. "I suppose," I say, by way of instructing him in the view that I want him to take, "I suppose I've got a slight chill, and this afternoon I shall be able to wrap up and get to town?" "Oh, dear, no," replies Doctor. "You'll take Ammoniated Quinine at once." "You don't mean to say that it's——" "Influenza?" he asks. I nod. Yes, that is exactly what it is, they have all got it in the house, he tells me, and no one will be able to leave for the next ten days! How pleasant for our hosts! I did not believe in Influenza. I do now. Its French name is La Grippe. Je suis grippé. This means more than a weak name like "Influenza."
Not for the first time, and not for the last, Mr. Punch asks, where is The Public Prosecutor? Why is it that the observations of Mr. Justice Butt and Sir Henry Hawkins are disregarded? Very much "for the public benefit" was the sentence of one year's imprisonment passed on the journalist who, without one tittle of trustworthy evidence, attempted to blast the character of an innocent man. But is it not still more for the public benefit that professional perjurers, suborners of witnesses, and fabricators of false evidence—the suborners first and foremost—should be publicly proceeded against, and treated with the utmost rigour of the law? Winser, the cabman, who gave his false evidence so gaily in the Thirkettle Case, has been had up, and sentenced. Having dealt with Winser, it is only a short step from Winser to Slough—but perhaps such a slough of muck, that it wants the pluck of a Hercules in the Augæan stable to commence operations, and a deus ex-machinâ—that is, the Public Prosecutor from the Treasury—to see that the proceedings are not abortive. Oh, where, and Oh, where is The Public Prosecutor?[Pg 48]
RRIVING at the Great Northern Station at King's Cross, and desirous of testing the culture of the clerk at the Booking-office, you ask for a first-class return for Hetfelle. The clerk mechanically puts out his hand towards the receptacle for tickets, drops it, stares at you, and says Hetfelle is not on their line. You insist that it must be, being clearly set forth in Domesday Book. The clerk shows a disposition to speak alliteratively but disrespectfully of Domesday, and, as the crowd presses at your heels, you yield to modern prejudice, and take your ticket for Hatfield. Still, you have the satisfaction of knowing that it was Hetfelle when the Abbey of Ely held it by favour of King Edgar.
When Ely was made a bishopric, the Bishops lived at Hetfelle, which presently came to be known as Bishops Hatfield, and a sumptuous palace was built, that housed in turn a son of Edward the Third, and the son and heir of Henry the Eighth. The latter Prince coming to the throne, under the title of Edward the Sixth, he gave Hatfield to his sister, the Princess Elizabeth. When, in due time, you arrive at Hatfield, your host takes you out, leading you by the stately avenue to show you the oak under which Elizabeth was sitting, reading Greek, when news came to her that Mary was dead, and Elizabeth reigned in her stead.
"La reine est morte; Vive la reine!" you opportunely remark.
"Quite so," says the Markiss, evidently struck by your readiness of rejoinder.
You approach Hatfield House by the gateway near the Church, and enter an oblong court bounded by the west wing of the Bishop's Palace, now a stately wreck, with horses stabled in the Hall where one time Bishops and Princes sat at meat. You feel inclined to linger here, and moralise upon the theme. But you perceive your noble host awaiting you on the broad steps of the magnificent Jacobean mansion, a picture worthy to be set in such a framework. It is like a portrait of one of the earlier Cecils stepped out of the frame in the Long Gallery. The stately figure is attired in white doublet, trunks, and hose, embroidered with pearls. On the purple surcoat, lined with red, gold buttons gleam. The white ruff is fastened at wrist and throat with gold buttons: the black cap is solely adorned with a knot of pearls; a golden cord hangs from the neck; the right hand rests upon the head of a large dog, that has, perhaps, a rather stuffed look; whilst the left negligently lounges on the hip above the ready sword.
Is it Thomas, Earl of Exeter? Or is it his half-brother, Robert, Earl of Salisbury, joint ancestor of the two great branches of the Cecil family? Or is it, perchance, Robert, Earl of Salisbury, or James Cecil, first Markiss?
A familiar voice breaks the charm, and discloses the secret.
"Welcome to Hatfield, Toby, dear boy; but don't suppose that every day I am got up in this style. It is only in honour of your visit, and as soon as you are gone, I doff my doublet and hose, put on an old coat, and go down into my workshop, where I have a little tinkering to do with one of the electric wires which has gone wrong, and threatens to burn up the premises. So glad to see you. Always think these informal conferences between individual members of the two Houses are not only personally agreeable, but may be fraught with the greatest benefit to the State, which we both serve. Wait till you see my dog move."
The noble Markiss, stooping down a little stiffly (owing to the tightness of the hose), turned a clock-key. After a few rotations, the dog, being set in the right direction, moved out of the way.
"Yes," said the Markiss, pleased at my enthusiasm, "that is rather a triumph, I think. It is common enough to see an automatic dog move its two fore-paws; but, observe, all the paws here work in natural sequence. Took me six months to bring this to perfection, working at it at the time when you would read in the newspapers of my conspiring with Hartington to keep out Gladstone, or negociating with Bismarck to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for him in Africa."
Your host leads you to King James's Room, a fine apartment, which stands to-day in exactly the state in which the King left it when he got up to breakfast. But the place is a little stuffy, and you do not care for the particular state of fadedness yet reached by the Turkey carpet. Walking beside your host, with one eye on the sword, which seems determined to get between somebody's legs, you pace the Marble Hall, cricking your neck with gazing upon the heads of the Cæsars that look down on you from panels in the coved ceiling. Up you go by the grand staircase with its massive carved baluster with unclothed Highlanders playing the bagpipes and lions bearing heraldic shields; into the Long Gallery, with its coats of mail, its antique japanned cabinets, its cradle in which Elizabeth squealed, its massive fireplaces, its rare panelling; into the Armoury, where you try on several suits of armour and handle relics of the Great Armada cast ashore in the spacious times of Elizabeth; on to the Library with its rare collection of papers, including Lord Burleigh's Diary, in which you are privileged to read in the original manuscript the well-known poem which tells how:
"Here he lives in state and bounty,
Lord of Burleigh, fair and free,
Not a lord in all the county
Is so great a lord as he."
On to the Summer Dining-room through the Winter Dining-room, into the Drawing-room, and thence into the Chapel where you admire the painted window of Flemish work, representing in compartments various scriptural subjects.
You have been so interested in the journey, that there has been no time for Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoigne-Cecil, P.C., K.G., Third Marquis of Salisbury, Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and Prime Minister of England, to tell you the story of his life. This you the less regret, as the Markiss is manifestly growing increasingly uncomfortable in his doublet and hose. So he conducts you to the hall, and bids you a friendly farewell. As you walk down the Avenue—"The Way to London," as Cecils dead and buried used to call it—you turn to take one last look at the noble pile, Italian renaissance in character, of two orders, the lower Doric, the upper Ionic, with a highly-enriched Elizabethan central gate-tower, and stepped gables.
Vultne Gubernator rursus spoliare Hiemales
Holidies? Durum debet habere jecur!
Nunc iterum versus—pejor Fortuna—Latinos
(Deque meo capite) concoquere ille jubet.
Fecit idem quondam; nunc et—cogitatio læta!—
Stratagemà veteri vendere eum potero.
Materiæ sors ulla, puto, descendit eôcum;
Namque Latina illi "mortua lingua" manet.
De quo nunc scribam?—Vidi spectacula Barni,
Et res, considero, non ita prava fuit.
Sed quia Neronem atque Romam introducere oportet?
Est socio prorsus sat dare cærulea!
Tunc vidi Dominum Silvæ Coventis ad Hortum,
Et Circum Hengleri, Pantomimosque simul.
Ad scholam redco—lamentor dicere—mox nunc;
Notio nuda manet bestialissima mi!
O utinam tactum possem capere Influenzæ!
Cuncta habeo morbi symptoma, dico patri.
"Undique mortalitas "—addo—"excessiva videtur.
In valli est Tamesis particulare malus!"
"Russigenus morbus! Frigus commune cerebri;"
Ille ait arridens. "Hoc Russ in urbe vocas?"
"Sed pueros per me fortasse infectio tanget;
Oh, nonne in cera Busbius (arguo) erit!"
Jingo! Gubernator respondit—"Shammere cessa!
Aut aliquid de quo vere dolere dabo!"
Hei mihi! Deposuisse pedem nunc ille videtur.
Sunt lineæ duræ!—Terminat Holidies.
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