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Title: Baboo Jabberjee, B.A.
Author: Anstey, F., 1856-1934
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Baboo Jabberjee, B.A." ***

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[Transcriber's Note: Italicized text is indicated with _underscores_.
Upright text used within italicized passages for emphasis is indicated
with ~tildes~. Inconsistencies in "Shakspeare" spellings have been
retained, but obvious errors have been corrected and are listed at the
end of this document.]


[Illustration: Frontispiece _"UNACCUSTOMED TO DARK-COMPLEXIONED
GENTLEMEN."_]


BABOO JABBERJEE, B.A.


F. Anstey


THE WAYFARER'S LIBRARY

J. M. DENT & SONS, Ltd.
  LONDON


CONTENTS

                                                                 PAGE

I

_Mr Jabberjee apologises for the unambitious scope of his
    work; sundry confidences, criticisms, and complaints._          1

II

_Some account of Mr Jabberjee's experiences at the
    Westminster Play._                                              9

III

_Mr Jabberjee gives his views concerning the Laureateship._        18

IV

_Containing Mr Jabberjee's Impressions at The Old Masters._        24

V

_In which Mr Jabberjee expresses his Opinions on
    Bicycling as a Pastime._                                       33

VI

_Dealing with his Adventures at Olympia._                          42

VII

_How Mr Jabberjee risked a Sprat to capture something
    very like a Whale._                                            50

VIII

_How Mr Jabberjee delivered an Oration at a Ladies'
    Debating Club._                                                60

IX

_How he saw the practice of the University Crews,
    and what he thought of it._                                    69

X

_Mr Jabberjee is taken to see a Glove-Fight._                      75

XI

_Mr Jabberjee finds himself in a position of extreme
    delicacy._                                                     80

XII

_Mr Jabberjee is taken by surprise._                               88

XIII

_Drawbacks and advantages of being engaged. Some Meditations
    in a Music-hall, together with notes of certain things that
    Mr Jabberjee failed to understand._                            96

XIV

_Mr Jabberjee's fellow-student. What's in a Title? An
    invitation to a Wedding. Mr J. as a wedding guest, with
    what he thought of the ceremony, and how he distinguished
    himself on the occasion._                                     105

XV

_Mr Jabberjee is asked out to dinner. Unreasonable behaviour
    of his betrothed. His doubts concerning the social
    advantages of a Boarding Establishment, with some scathing
    remarks upon ambitious pretenders. He goes out to dinner,
    and meets a person of some importance._                       114

XVI

_Mr Jabberjee makes a pilgrimage to the Shrine of
    Shakespeare._                                                 125

XVII

_Containing some intimate confidences from Mr Jabberjee,
    with the explanation of such apparent indiscretion._          135

XVIII

_Mr Jabberjee is a little over-ingenious in his excuses._         138

XIX

_Mr Jabberjee tries a fresh tack. His visit to the India
    Office and sympathetic reception._                            146

XX

_Mr Jabberjee distinguishes himself in the Bar Examination,
    but is less successful in other respects. He writes
    another extremely ingenious epistle, from which he
    anticipates the happiest results._                            155

XXI

_Mr Jabberjee halloos before he is quite out of the Wood._        164

XXII

_Mr Jabberjee places himself in the hands of a
    solicitor--with certain reservations._                        173

XXIII

_Mr Jabberjee delivers his Statement of Defence, and makes
    his preparations for the North. He allows his patriotic
    sentiments to get the better of him in a momentary
    outburst of disloyalty--to which no serious importance
    need be attached._                                            182

XXIV

_Mr Jabberjee relates his experiences upon the Moors._            190

XXV

_Mr Jabberjee concludes the thrilling account of his
    experiences on a Scotch Moor, greatly to his own
    glorification._                                               199

XXVI

_Mr Jabberjee expresses some audaciously sceptical opinions.
    How he secured his first Salmon, with the manner in which
    he presented it to his divinity._                             207

XXVII

_Mr Jabberjee is unavoidably compelled to return to town,
    thereby affording his Solicitor the inestimable benefit
    of his personal assistance. An apparent attempt to pack
    the Jury._                                                    216

XXVIII

_Mankletow ~v.~ Jabberjee. Notes taken by Mr Jabberjee
    in Court during the proceedings._                             225

XXIX

_Further proceedings in the Case of Mankletow ~v.~
    Jabberjee. Mr Jabberjee's Opening for the Defence._           235

XXX

_Mankletow ~v.~ Jabberjee (part heard). Mr Jabberjee
    finds cross-examination much less formidable than he had
    anticipated._                                                 245

XXXI

_Mankletow ~v.~ Jabberjee (continued). The Defendant
    brings his Speech to a somewhat unexpected conclusion, and
    Mr Witherington, Q.C., addresses the Jury in reply._          255

XXXII

_Containing the conclusion of the whole matter, and (which
    many Readers will receive in a spirit of chastened
    resignation) Mr Jabberjee's final farewell._                  265



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

                                                               PAGE

_"Unaccustomed to dark-complexioned gentlemen."_        _Frontispiece_

_Baboo Hurry Bungsho Jabberjee, B.A._                          viii

_"Let out! Let out!!"_                                            5

_"A golden-headed umbrella, fresh as a rose."_                   15

_"Miss Jessimina Mankletow."_                                    25

_"I instantaneously endured the total upset!"_                   37

_"With a large, stout constable."_                               47

_"Was accosted by a polite, agreeable stranger."_                51

_"A weedy, tall male gentleman."_                                61

_"A beaming simper of indescribable suavity."_                   81

_"I became once more the silent tomb."_                          91

_"In garbage of unparagoned shabbiness."_                        99

_"The spectators saluted me with shouts of joy as the
    returned Shahzadar."_                                       107

_"Some haughty masculine might insult her under
    my very nose."_                                             115

_"It was here," I said, reverently, "that the swan of
    Avon was hatched!"_                                         129

_"Ascended his bicycle with a waggish winkle in his eye."_      141

_"Pitch it strong, my respectable Sir!"_                        151

_"Huzza! Tol-de-rol-loll!"_                                     157

_"A royal command from the Queen-Empress."_                     169

_"Would be greatly improved by the simple addition
    of some knee-caps."_                                        179

_"I am addressed by an underbred street-urchin as a
    'Blooming Blacky!'"_                                        187

_"Of incredible bashfulness and bucolical appearance."_         191

_"I presented my trophy and treasure-trove to the
    fairylike Miss Wee-Wee."_                                   203

_"Whether he had wha-haed wi' hon'ble Wallace?"_                209

_Baboo Chuckerbutty Ram._                                       219

_"Fresh as a daisy, and fine as a carrot fresh scraped."_       227

_Mr Justice Honeygall._                                         237

_Witherington, Q.C._                                            247

_"Jabberjee's face gradually lengthens."_                       261


The text and illustrations of this book are reproduced by kind
permission of the Proprietors of _Punch_.

[Illustration: _Baboo Hurry Bungsho Jabberjee, B.A._]



INTRODUCTORY LETTER FROM BABOO JABBERJEE.

_To the Hon'ble ---- Punch._

VENERABLE AND LUDICROUS SIR.--Permit me most respectfully to bring
beneath your notice a proposal which I serenely anticipate will turn up
trumps under the fructifying sunshine of your esteemed approbation.

Sir, I am an able B.A. of a respectable Indian University, now in this
country for purposes of being crammed through Inns of Court and Law
Exam., and rendering myself a completely fledged Pleader or Barrister in
the Native Bar of the High Court.

Since my sojourn here, I have accomplished the laborious perusal of your
transcendent and tip-top periodical, and, hoity toity! I am like a duck
in thunder with admiring wonderment at the drollishness and jocosity
with which your paper is ready to burst in its pictorial department.
But, alack! when I turn my critical attention to the literary contents,
I am met with a lamentable deficiency and no great shakes, for I note
there the fly in the ointment and _hiatus valde deflendus_--to wit the
utter absenteeism of a correct and classical style in English
composition.

To the highly educated native gentleman who searches your printed
articles, hoping fondly to find himself in a well of English pure and
undefiled, it proves merely to fish in the air. Conceive, Sir, the
disgustful result to one saturated to the skin of his teeth in best
English masterpieces of immaculate and moderately good prose extracts
and dramatic passages, published with notes for the use of the native
student, at weltering in a hotchpot and hurley-burley of arbitrarily
distorted and very vulgarised cockneydoms and purely London
provincialities, which must be of necessity to him as casting pearls
before a swine!

And I have the honour to inform you of a number of cultivated lively
young native B.A.'s, both here and in my country, who are quite capable
to appreciate really fine writing and sonoriferous periods if published
in your paper, and which would infallibly result in a feather in your
cap and bring increase of grit to the mill.

If, Honoured Sir, you feel disposed to bolster yourself up with the wet
blanket of a _non possumus_, and reply to me that your existing
quill-drivers are too fat-witted and shallow-pated for the production of
more pretentiously polished lucubrations--aye, not even if they burn the
night-light oil and hear the chimes at midnight! I will not be
hoodwinked by the superficiality of your _cui bono_, and shall make you
the answer that I am willing _for an exceedingly paltry honorarium_ to
rush into the Gordian knot and write you the most superior essays on
every conceivable and inconceivable subject under the sun, as per
enclosed samples which I forward respectfully for your delightful and
golden opinions, guaranteeing faithfully that all of your readers in
every hemisphere and postal district will fall in love with such a new
departure and fresh tack.

The specimens I send are _not my best_, only very ordinary and humdrum
affairs--but _ex pede Herculem!_ Hon'ble Sir, and you will see how
transcendentally superior are even such poor effusions compared to the
fiddle-faddle and gim-crack style of article with which you are being
fobbed off by puzzle-headed and self-opiniated nincompoops.

I can also turn out rhymed poetry after models of Poets TENNYSON,
COWPER, Mrs HEMANS, SOUTHEY, & Co., _done to a tittle_, so as not to be
detected, even by the cynosure, as mere spurious imitation, but in every
respect up to the mark and the real Simon Pure.

Therefore, Hon'ble Sir, do not hesitate to strike while the iron is
incandescent and bleed freely, even if it should be necessary, prior to
engaging your humble petitioner's services, to turn out one or more of
your present contributioners crop and heels, and lay them on the shelf
of their own incompetencies. Remember that the slightest act of volition
on your part can exalt my pecuniary status to the skies, as well as
confer distinguished and unparagoned ennoblement upon your _cacoëthes
scribendi_.

I remain, respected Sir, Your most obsequious Servant,

            HURRY BUNGSHO JABBERJEE, B.A.

P.S. and N.B.--Being so unacquainted with the limner's art, I cannot _at
present_ undertake the etching of caricatures _et hoc genus omne_.
However, if such is your will, Hon'ble Sir, I will take the cow by the
horns, after preliminary course of instruction at Government Art School,
all expenses, &c., to be defrayed on the nail out of your purse of
Fortunatus, seeing that your esteemed correspondent is so hard up
between two stools that he is reduced to a choice of Hodson's Horse!

H. B. J.



[Illustration: banner]


I

_Mr Jabberjee apologises for the unambitious scope of his
    work; sundry confidences, criticisms and complaints._


When I first received intimation from the supernal and spanking hand of
Hon'ble _Mr Punch_, that he smiled with fatherly benignity at my humble
request that he should offer myself as a regular poorly-paid
contributor, I blessed my stars and was as if to jump over the moon for
jubilation and sprightfulness.

But, heigh-ho! _surgit amari aliquid_, and his condescending patronage
was dolefully alloyed with the inevitable dash of bitters which, as Poet
SHAKSPEARE remarks, withers the galled jade until it winces. For with an
iron heel has Hon'ble _Mr P._ declined sundry essays of enormous length
and importance, composed in Addisonian, Johnsonian, and Gibbonian
phraseology on assorted topics, such as "Love," "Civilisation,"
"Matrimony," "Superstition," "Is Courage a Virtue, or _Vice Versâ_?" and
has recommended me instead to devote my pen to quite ephemeral and
fugacious topics, and merely commit to paper such reflections, critical
opinions, and experiences as may turn up in the potluck of my daily
career.

What wonder that on reading such a _sine quâ non_ and ultimatum my _vox
faucibus hæsit_ and stuck in my gizzard with bashful sheepishness, for
how to convulse the Thames and set it on fire and all agog with
amazement at the humdrum incidents of so very ordinary an existence as
mine, which is spent in the diligent study of Roman, Common,
International, and Canonical Law from morn to dewy eve in the
lecture-hall or the library of my inn, and, as soon as the shades of
night are falling fast, in returning to my domicilium at Ladbroke Grove
with the undeviating punctuality of a tick?

However, being above all things desirous not to let slip the golden
opportunity and pocket the root of all evil, I decided to let my
diffidence go to the wall and boldly record every jot and tittle,
however humdrum, with the critical reflections and censorious
observations arising therefrom, remembering that, though the fabulous
and mountain-engendered mouse was no doubt at the time considered but a
fiasco and flash in the pan by its maternal progenitor, nevertheless
that same identical mouse rendered yeomanry services at a subsequent
period to the lion involved in the compromising intricacies of a
landing-net!

Benevolent reader, _de te fabula narratur_. Perchance the mousey
bantlings of my insignificant brain may nibble away the cords of
prejudice and exclusiveness now encircling many highly respectable
British lions. Be not angry with me therefore, if in the character of a
damned but good-natured friend, I venture on occasions to "hint dislike
and hesitate disgust."

The majestic and magnificent matron, under whose aegis I reside for rs.
20 per week, is of lofty lineage, though fallen from that high estate
into the peck of troubles, and compelled (owing to severely social
disposition) to receive a number of small and select boarders.

Like _Jepthah_, in the play of _Hamlet_, she has one fair daughter and
no more, a bewitching and well-proportioned damsel, as fine as a
fivepence or a May-day queen. Notwithstanding this, when I summon up my
courage to address her, she receives my laborious politeness with a
cachinnation like that of a Cheshire cheese, which strikes me all of a
heap. Her female parent excuses to me such flabbergasting demeanour on
the plea that her daughter is afflicted with great shyness and maidenly
modesty, but, on perceiving that she can be skittish and genial in the
company of other masculines, I am forced to attribute her
contumeliousness to the circumstance that I am a native gentleman of a
dark complexion.

In addition, I have the honour to inform you of further specimens of
this inurbanity and bearishness from officials who are perfect strangers
to the writer. Each morning I journey through the subterranean bowels of
the earth to the Temple, and on a recent occasion, when I was
descending the stairs in haste to pop into the train, lo and behold,
just as I reached the gate, it was shut in my nose by the churlishness
of the jack-in-office!

At which, stung to the quick at so unprovoked and unpremeditated an
affront, I accosted him severely through the bars of the wicket,
demanding sarcastically, "Is _this_ your boasted British Jurisprudence?"

The savage heart of the Collector was moved by my expostulation, and he
consented to open the gate, and imprint a perforated hole on my ticket;
but, alack! his repentance was a day after the fair, for the train had
already taken its hook into the Cimmerian gloom of a tunnel! When the
next train arrived, I, waiting prudently until it was quiescent, stepped
into a compartment, wherein I was dismayed and terrified to find myself
alone with an individual and two lively young terriers, which barked
minaciously at my legs.

[Illustration: "LET OUT! LET OUT!!"]

But I, with much presence of mind, protruded my head from the window,
vociferating to those upon the platform, "Let out! Let out!! Fighting
dogs are here!!!"

And they met my appeal with unmannerly jeerings, until the controller of
the train, seeing that I was firm in upholding my dignity of British
subject, and claiming my just rights, unfastened the door and permitted
me to escape; but, while I was yet in search of a compartment where
no canine elements were in the manger, the train was once more in
motion, and I, being no daredevil to take such leap into the dark, was a
second time left behind, and a loser of two trains. Moreover, though I
have written a humbly indignant petition to the Hon'ble Directors of the
Company pointing out loss of time and inconvenience through incivility,
and asking them for small pecuniary compensation, they have assumed the
rhinoceros hide, and nilled my request with dry eyes.

But I shall next make the further complaint that, even when making every
effort to do the civil, the result is apt to kill with kindness; and--as
King CHARLES THE FIRST, when they were shuffling off his mortal coil,
politely apologised for the unconscionable long time that his head took
to decapitate--so I, too, must draw attention to the fact that the
duration of formal ceremonious visits, is far too protracted and long
drawn out.

_Crede experto._ A certain young English gentleman, dwelling in the
Temple, whose acquaintance I have formed, earnestly requested that I
should do him the honour of a visit; and recently, wishing to be hail
fellow well met, I presented myself before him about 9.30 A.M.

He greeted me with effusion, shaking me warmly by the hand, and begging
me to be seated, and making many inquiries, whether I preferred India
to England, and what progress I was making in my studies, &c., and so
forth, all of which I answered faithfully, to the best of my abilities.

After that he addressed me by fits and starts and _longo intervallo_,
yet displaying so manifest and absorbent a delight in my society that he
could not bring himself to terminate the audience, while I was to
conceal my immense wearisomeness and the ardent desire I had conceived
to leave him.

And thus he detained me there hour after hour, until five minutes past
one P.M., when he recollected, with many professions of chagrin, that he
had an appointment to take his tiffin, and dismissed me, inviting me
cordially to come again.

If, however, it is expected of me that I can devote three hours and a
half to ceremonial civilities, I must respectfully answer with a _Nolo
episcopari_, for my time is more precious than rubies, and so I will beg
not only Mr MELLADEW, Esq., Barrister-at-law, but all other Anglo-Saxon
friends and their families, to accept this as a _verbum sap._ and wink
to a blind horse.



II

_Some account of Mr Jabberjee's experiences at the
    Westminster Play._


Being forearmed by editorial beneficence with ticket of admission to
theatrical entertainment by adolescent students at Westminster College,
I presented myself at the scene of acting in a state of liveliest and
frolicsome anticipation on a certain Wednesday evening in the month of
December last, about 7.20 P.M.

At the summit of the stairs I was received by a posse of polite and
stalwart striplings in white kids, who, after abstracting large circular
orifice from my credentials, ordered me to ascend to a lofty gallery,
where, on arriving, I found every chair pre-occupied, and moreover was
restricted to a prospect of the backs of numerous juvenile heads, while
expected to remain the livelong evening on the tiptoe of expectation and
Shank's mare!

This for a while I endured submissively from native timidity and
retirement, until my bosom boiled over at the sense of "_Civis Romanus
sum_," and, descending to the barrier, I harangued the wicket-keeper
with great length and fervid eloquence, informing him that I was
graduate of high-class Native University after passing most tedious and
difficult exams with fugitive colours and that it was injurious and
deleterious to my "_mens sana in corpore sano_" to remain on legs for
some hours beholding what I practically found to be invisible.

But, though he turned an indulgent ear to my quandary, he professed his
inability to help me over my "_pons asinorum_," until I ventured to play
the ticklish card and inform him that I was a distinguished
representative of Hon'ble _Punch_, who was paternally anxious for me to
be awarded a seat on the lap of luxury.

Then he unbended, and admitted me to the body of the auditorium, where I
was conducted to a coign of vantage in near proximity to members of the
fair sex and galaxy of beauty.

Thus, by dint of nude gumption, I was in the bed of clover and seventh
heaven, and more so when, on inquiry from a bystander, I understood that
the performance was taken from Mr TERRISS'S Adelphi Theatre, which I had
heard was conspicuous for excellence in fierce combats, blood-curdling
duels, and scenes in court. And I narrated to him how I too, when a
callow and unfledged hobbardyhoy, had engaged in theatrical
entertainments, and played such parts in native dramas as heroic
giant-killers and tiger slayers, in which I was an "_au fait_" and
"_facile princeps_," also in select scenes from SHAKSPEARE'S play of
_Macbeth_ in English and being correctly attired as a Scotch.

But presently I discovered that the play was quite another sort of
Adelphi, being a jocose comedy by a notorious ancient author of the name
of TERENCE, and written entirely in Latin, which a contiguous damsel
expressed a fear lest she should find it incomprehensible and obscure. I
hastened to reassure her by explaining that, having been turned out as a
certificated B.A. by Indian College, I had acquired perfect familiarity
and nodding acquaintance with the early Roman and Latin tongues, and
offering my services as interpreter of "_quicquid agunt homines_," and
the entire "_farrago libelli_," which rendered her red as a turkeycock
with delight and gratitude. When the performance commenced with a scenic
representation of the Roman Acropolis, and a venerable elderly man
soliloquising lengthily to himself, and then carrying on a protracted
logomachy with another greybeard--although I understood sundry
colloquial idioms and phrases such as "_uxorem duxit_," "_carum mihi_,"
"_quid agis?_" "_cur amat?_" and the like, all of which I assiduously
translated _vivâ voce_--I could not succeed in learning the reason why
they were having such a snip-snap, until the interval, when the lady
informed me herself that it was because one of them had carried off a
nautch-girl belonging to the other's son--which caused me to marvel
greatly at her erudition.

I looked that, in the next portion of the performance, I might behold
the nautch-girl, and witness her forcible rescue--or at least some
saltatory exhibition; but, alack! she remained _sotto voce_ and
hermetically sealed; and though other characters, in addition to the
elderly gentlemen, appeared, they were all exclusively masculine in
gender, and there was nothing done but to converse by twos and threes.
When the third portion opened with a long-desiderated peep of
petticoats, I told my neighbour confidently that now at last we were to
see this dancing girl and the abduction; but she replied that it was not
so, for these females were merely the mother of the wife of another of
the youths and her attendant ayah. And even this precious pair, after
weeping and wringing their hands for a while, vanished, not to appear
again.

Now as the entertainment proceeded, I fell into the dumps with
increasing abashment and mortification to see everyone around me, ay,
even the women and the tenderest juveniles! clap the hands and laugh in
their sleeves with merriment at quirks and gleeks in which--in spite of
all my classical proficiency--I could not discover _le mot pour rire_ or
crack so much as the cream of a jest, but must sit there melancholy as a
gib cat or smile at the wrong end of mouth.

For, indeed, I began to fear that I had been fobbed off with the
smattered education of a painted sepulchre, that I should fail so
dolorously to comprehend what was plain as a turnpike-staff to the
veriest British babe and suckling!

However, on observing more closely, I discovered that most of the
grown-up adults present had books containing the translation of all the
witticisms, which they secretly perused, and that the feminality were
also provided with pink leaflets on which the dark outline of the plot
was perspicuously inscribed.

Moreover, on casting my eyes up to the gallery, I perceived that there
were overseers there armed with long canes, and that the small youths
did not indulge in plaudations and hilarity except when threatened by
these.

And thereupon I took heart, seeing that the proceedings were clearly
veiled in an obsolete and cryptic language, and it was simply matter of
rite and custom to applaud at fixed intervals, so I did at Rome as the
Romans did, and was laughter holding both his sides as often as I beheld
the canes in a state of agitation.

I am not unaware that it is to bring a coal from Newcastle to pronounce
any critical opinion upon the ludibrious qualities of so antiquated a
comedy as this, but, while I am wishful to make every allowance for its
having been composed in a period of prehistoric barbarity, I would still
hazard the criticism that it does not excite the simpering guffaw with
the frequency of such modern standard works as _exempli gratiâ_, _Miss
Brown_, or _The Aunt of Charley_, to either of which I would award the
palm for pure whimsicality and gawkiness.

Candour compels me to admit, however, that the conclusion of the
Adelphi, in which a certain magician summoned a black-robed,
steeple-hatted demon from the nether world, who, after commanding a
minion to give a pickle-back to sundry grotesque personages, did
castigate their ulterior portions severely with a large switch, was a
striking amelioration and betterment upon the preceding scenes, and
evinced that TERENCE possessed no deficiency of up-to-date facetiousness
and genuine humour; though I could not but reflect--"_O, si sic omnia!_"
and lament that he should have hidden his _vis comica_ for so long under
the stifling disguise of a _serviette_.

I am a beggar at describing the hurly-burly and most admired disorder
amidst which I performed the descent of the staircase in a savage
perspiration, my elbows and heels unmercifully jostled by a dense,
unruly horde, and going with nose in pocket, from trepidation due to
national cowardice, while the seething mob clamoured and contended for
overcoats and hats around very exiguous aperture, through which
bewildered custodians handed out bundles of sticks and umbrellas, in
vain hope to appease such impatience. Nor did I succeed to the recovery
of my hat and paraphernalia until after twenty-four and a half minutes
(Greenwich time), and with the labours of Hercules for the golden
fleece!

[Illustration: "A GOLDEN-HEADED UMBRELLA, FRESH AS A ROSE."]

For which I was minded at first to address a sharp remonstrance and
claim for indemnity to some pundit in authority; but perceiving that by
such fishing in troubled waters I was the gainer of a golden-headed
umbrella, fresh as a rose, I decided to accept the olive branch and bury
the bone of contention.



III

_Mr Jabberjee gives his views concerning the
    Laureateship._


It is "_selon les règles_" and _rerum naturâ_ that the QUEEN'S Most
Excellent Majesty, being constitutionally partial to poetry, should
desire to have constant private supply from respectable tip-top genius,
to be kept snug on Royal premises and ready at momentary notice to
oblige with song or dirge, according as High Jinks or Dolorousness are
the Court orders of the day.

But how far more satisfactory if Right Hon'ble Marquis SALISBURY,
instead of arbitrarily decorating some already notorious bard with this
"_cordon bleu_" and thus gilding a lily, should throw the office open to
competition by public exam, and, after carefully weighing such
considerations as the applicant's _res angusta domi_, the fluency of his
imagination, his nationality, and so on--should award the itching palm
of Fame to the poet who succeeded best in tickling his fancy!

Had some such method been adopted, the whole Indian Empire might to-day
have been pleased as _Punch_ by the selection of a Hindoo gentleman to
do the job--for I should infallibly have entered myself for the
running. Unfortunately such unparalleled opportunity of throwing soup to
Cerberus, and exhibiting colour-blindness, has been given the slip,
though the door is perhaps still open (even at past eleven o'clock P.M.)
for retracing the false step and web of Penelope.

For I would respectfully submit to Her Imperial Majesty that, in her
duplicate capacity of Queen of England and Empress of India, she has
urgent necessity for a Court Poet for each department, who would be
_Arcades ambo_ and two of a trade, and share the duties with their
proportionate pickings.

Or, if she would be unwilling to pay the piper to such a tune, I alone
would work the oracle in both Indian and Anglo-Saxon departments, and
waive the annual tub of sherry for equivalent in cash down.

And, if I may make the suggestion, I would strongly advise that this
question of my joint (or several) appointment should be severely taken
up by London Press as matter of simple justice to India. This is without
prejudice to the already appointed Laureate as a swan and singing bird
of the first water. All I desire is that the Public should know of
another--and, perchance, even rarer--avis, who is _nigroque simillima
cygno_, and could be obtained dog cheap for a mere song or a drug in the
marketplace, if only there is made a National Appeal to the Sovereign
that he should be promoted to such a sinecure and _ære perennius_.

As a specimen of the authenticity of my divine flatulence, please find
inclosed herewith copy of complimentary verses, written by myself on
hearing of Poet AUSTIN'S selection. Indulgence is kindly requested for
very hasty composition, and circumstance of being greatly harrowed and
impeded at time of writing by an excruciating full sized boil on back of
neck, infuriated by collar of shirt, poulticings, and so forth.


            CONGRATULATORY ODE

_To Hon'ble Poet-Laureate Alfred Austin, Esq._

  Hail! you full-blown tulip!
  Oh! when the wheezing zephyr brought glad news
  Of your judicious appointment, no hearts who did peruse,
  Such a long-desiderated slice of good luck were sorry at,
  To a most prolific and polacious Poet-Laureate!
  For no _poeta nascitur_ who is fitter
  To greet Royal progeny with melodious twitter.
    Seated on the resplendent cloud of official Elysium,
    Far away, far away from fuliginous busy hum
    You are now perched with phenomenal velocity
    On vertiginous pinnacle of poetic pomposity!
  Yet deign to cock thy indulgent eye at the petition
  Of one consumed by corresponding ambition,
  And lend the helping hand to lift, pulley-hauley,
  To Parnassian Peak this poor perspiring Bengali!
    Whose _ars poetica_ (as per sample lyric)
    Is fully competent to turn out panegyric.
  What if some time to come, perhaps not distant,
  You were in urgent need of Deputy-Assistant!
  For two Princesses might be confined simultaneously--
  Then, how to homage the pair extemporaneously?
  Or with Nuptial Ode, lack-a-daisy! What a fix
  If with Influenza raging like cat on hot bricks!
    In such a wrong box you will please remember yours truly,
    Who can do the needful satisfactorily and duly,
    By an _epithalamium_ (or what not) to inflame your credit
    With every coronated head that will have read it!
    And the _quid pro quo_, magnificent and grand Sir!
    Would be at the rate of four annas for every stanza,
  Now, thou who scale sidereal paths afar dost,
  Deign from thy brilliant boots to cast the superfluous star-dust
      Upon
          The head of him
              Whose fate depends
                  On Thee!

(_Signed_) BABOO HURRY BUNGSHO JABBERJEE.


The above was forwarded (_post-paid_) to Hon'ble AUSTIN'S official
address at Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey (opposite the Royal
Aquarium), but--hoity-toity and _mirabile dictu!_--no answer has yet
been vouchsafed to yours truly save the cold shoulder of contemptuous
inattention!

What a pity! Well-a-day, that we should find such passions of envy and
jealousy in bosom of a distinguished poet, whose lucubrated productions
may (for all that is known to the present writer) be no great shakes
after all, and mere food for powder!

The British public is an ardent lover of the scintillating jewellery of
fair play, and so I confidently submit my claims and poetical
compositions to be arbitrated by the unanimous voice of all who
understand such articles.

Let us remember that it is never too late to pull down the fallen idol
out of the gilded shrine in which it has established itself with the
egotistical isolation of a dog with the mange!



IV

_Containing Mr Jabberjee's Impressions at The Old
    Masters._


I have the honour to report that the phantom of delight has recently
recommenced to dance before me.

[Illustration: "MISS JESSIMINA MANKLETOW."]

Miss JESSIMINA MANKLETOW, the perfumed, moony-faced daughter of the
gracious and eagle-eyed goddess who presides over the select boarding
establishment in which I am resident member, has of late emerged from
the shell of superciliousness, and brought the beaming eye of
encouragement to bear upon my diffidence and humility.

This I partly attribute to general impression--which I do not condescend
to deny--that, at home, I occupy the social status of a Rajah, or some
analogous kind of big native pot.

So, on a recent Saturday afternoon, she invited me to escort her and a
similar young virginal lady friend, by name Miss PRISCILLA PRIMMETT, to
Burlington House, Piccadilly, and, as _Prince Hamlet_ appositely
remarks, "Look here upon this picture and on this." Which I joyfully
accepted, being head-over-heels in love with Art, and the possessor of
two magnificent coloured photo-lithographs, representing a
steeplechase in the act of jumping a trench, and a water-nymph in the
very _décolleté_ undress of "_puris naturalibus_," weltering on a rushy
bed.

We proceeded thither upon the giddy summit of a Royal Oak omnibus, and
on arriving in the vestibulum, were peremptorily commanded to undergo
total abstinence from our umbrellas.

Being accompanied by the span-new silken affair with the golden head,
which, as I have narrated _supra_, I was so lucky to obtain
promiscuously after witnessing the Adelphi of the Westminster college
boys, I naturally protested vehemently against such arbitrary and
tyrannical regulations, urging the risk of my unprotected umbrella being
feloniously abducted during unavoidable absence by some unprincipled and
illegitimate claimant.

But, alack! I was confronted with the official ultimatum and _sine quâ
non_, and have subsequently learnt that the cause of this self-denying
ordinance is due to the uncontrollable enthusiasm of British Public for
works of art, which leads them to signify approbation by puncturing
innumerable orifices by dint of sticks or umbrellas in the process of
pointing out tit-bits of painting, and on account of the detrimental
influence on the marketable value of pictures thus distinguished by the
plerophory of the _Vox Populi_.

Nevertheless, my heart was oppressed with many misgivings at having to
hand over three hostage umbrellas--one being masculine and two feminine
gender--and receiving nothing in exchange but a wooden medallion of no
intrinsic worth, bearing the utterly disproportionate number of over one
thousand! Next, after, at Miss JESSIMINA'S bidding, having purchased a
sixpenny index, we ascended the staircase, and on shelling out three
shillings cash payment, were consecutively squeezed through a restricted
wicket as if needles going through the eye of a camel.

I will vouchsafe to aver that my interior sensations on penetrating the
first gallery were those of acute and indignant disappointment, for will
it be credited that a working majority of the exhibits were second, or
even third and fourth-hand mechanisms of an unparagoned dingitude, and
fit only for the lumbering room?

Perhaps I shall be told that this wintry exhibition is a mere stopgap
and makeshift, until a fresh supply of bright new paintings can be
procured, and that it is _ultra vires_ to obtain such for love or money
before the merry month of May.

Still I must persist in denouncing the penny wisdom and pound foolery of
the Academicals in foisting off upon the public such ancient and
fish-like articles that have long ceased to be _bon ton_ and in the
fashion, since it is undeniable that many are over fifty years, and some
several centuries behind the times!

It is to be hoped that these parsimonious Misters will soon recognise
that it is not possible for modern up-to-date Art to be florescent under
this retrograde and fossilized system, and be warned that such
untradesmanlike goings-on will deservedly forfeit the confidence and
patronage of their most fastidious customers.

Miss JESSIMINA remarked more than once that such and such a picture was
not in _her_ taste and she would never have chosen it personally, while
Miss PRIMMETT declared that she would not have had her likeness taken by
Hon'ble Sir JOSH GAINSBORO, or Misters VELASKY and VANDICK, not even if
they implored her on their bended marrowbones, and that, as for a
certain individual effeminately named ETTY, it was a wonderment to her
how respectable people could stand in front of such brazen performances!
These remarks are trivial, perhaps, but even straws will serve as cocks
of the weather on occasions, and, moreover, I shall certify that the
most general tone was of a critical and disapproving severity, and it
was quite evident that the greater portion of the spectators could have
done the job better themselves.

A certain Mister TURNER came in for the BENJAMIN'S mess of obloquy,
having represented Pluto, the god of wealth, in the act of carrying off
a female Proserpine, but the figures so Lilliputian, and in such a
disproportionate expansion of confused sceneries, that the elopement
produced but a very paltry impression. The slipshod carelessness of this
painter may be realised from the fact that in a composition styled
"_Blue Lights to Warn Steamboats off Shoal Water_," the blue lights are
conspicuous by their total absence, and the mistiness of the
atmospherical conditions renders it difficult to distinguish either the
steamers or the shoals with even tolerable accuracy!

In the ulterior room were sundry productions from Umbrian and Milanese
and other schools, such being presumptively the teaching establishments
over which Hon'ble REYNOLDS and TURNER and GREUZY and Co. predominated
as Old Masters. But surely it is unfair, and like seething a kid in the
maternal nutriment, to class such crude and hobbardyhoy performances
with works by more senile hands!

Here I observed a painting to illustrate scenes in the life of an
important celebrity, who was childishly represented many times over
having separate adventures in the space of a few square feet, and of a
Brobdingnacian bulkiness compared to his perspective surroundings.

Had this been the work of an Indian artist, native gentlemen out there
would simply have smiled pitiably at such ignorance, and given him the
gentle admonishment that he was only to make a fool of himself for his
pains. There was also a picture of a Diptych, in two portions, with a
background of gilt, but the figure of the Diptych himself very poorly
represented as an anatomy.

Where all is so so-so, and below par, it is perhaps invidious to single
out any for hon'ble mention; but loyalty as a British subject obliges me
to speak favourably of a concern lent by Her Majesty the QUEEN, and
representing a bombastical youth engaged in a snip-snap with a meek and
inoffensive schoolfellow, who supports himself on one leg, and is
occupied in sheltering his nose behind his arm, until his widowed and
aged mother can arrive to rescue her beloved offspring from his grave
crisis.

This at least can be commended as being true to nature, as I can attest
from personal experience of similar boyish loggerheads, although, owing
to preserving my _sang froid_, I was generally able to remove myself
with phenomenal rapidity from vicinity of shocking kicks by my truculent
assailant.

Let me not omit to mention a painting of "_Polichinelle_" by a Gallic
artist, which Miss PRIMMETT said was the French equivalent to _Punch_.
At which, speaking loudly for instruction of bystanders, I assured them,
as one familiarly connected with Hon'ble _Punch_, who regarded me as a
son, such a portrait was the very antipode to his majestic lineaments,
nor was it reasonable to suppose that he would allow his counterfeit
presentment to be depicted in the undignified garbage of a buffoon!

I trust that I may be gratefully remembered by my Liege Lord, and that
he will be gracious enough to entertain me favourably with something in
the shape of prize or bonus in reward for such open testimony as the
above.

I have only to add that the custodian preserved the inviolability of our
umbrellas with honorable fidelity, and that we moistened the drooping
clay of our internal tenements at an Aërated Tea Company with a
profusion of confectionaries, for which my fair friends with amiable
blandness permitted me the privilege of forking out.



V

_In which Mr Jabberjee expresses his Opinions on
    Bicycling as a Pastime._


In consequence of the increasing demands of the incomparable Miss
JESSIMINA upon the dancing attendance of your humble servant, I am
lately become as idle as a newly painted ship, and have not drunk in the
legal wisdom of the learned _Moonshees_ who lecture in the hall of my
Inn of Court, or opened the ponderous treatise of Hon'ble Justice
BLACKSTONE or ADDISON on _Torts_, for many a blank day.

Still, as Philosopher PLATO observed, "_Nihil humani alienum a me
puto_," and my time has not been actually squandered in the theft of
Procrastination, but rather employed in the proper study of Mankind, and
acquiring a more complete knowingness in _Ars Vivendi_.

So I think it worth to direct public attention to the dangers of a
practice which threatens to develop into an epidemical kind of plague,
and carry the deteriorating trails of a serpent over our household
families, unless promptly scotched by benevolent firmness of a paternal
Government.

Need I explain I am alluding to the nowaday passion for propelling
oneself at a severe speed by dint of unstable and most precarious
machinery? It is now the exception which breaks the rule to take the air
in the streets without being startled by the unseemly spectacles of
go-ahead citizens straddled upon such revolutionary contrivances,
threading their way with breakneck velocity under the very noses of
omnibus and other horses, and ringing the shrill welkin of a
tintinnabulating gong!

Nay, even after the Curfew has taken its toll from the knell of parting
day, and darkness reigns supreme, they will urge on their wild career,
illuminated by the dim religious light of a small oil lamp!

I possess no knack of medical knowledge, but I boldly state my opinion
that such daredevilry must necessarily inflict a deleterious result to
the nervous organisms of these riders; and, who knows, of their
posterity?

For no one can expect to have hairbreadth escapes from the running
gauntlet continuously, without suffering a shattering internal panic,
while catastrophes of fatal injury to life and limb have become _de
rigueur_.

_Experto crede_--for I can support my _obiter dictum_ by the crushing
weight of personal experience. A few mornings since I had the honour to
escort Miss JESSIMINA MANKLETOW and a middle-aged select female boarder
into the interior of Hyde Park. The day was fine, though frigid, and I
was wearing my fur-lined overcoat, with boots of patent Japan leather,
and a Bombay gold-embroidered cap, so that I was a mould of form and the
howling nob.

Picture my amazement when, as I promenaded the path beside the waters of
the Serpentine lake, I beheld a wheeled cavalcade of every conceivable
age, sex, and appearance; senile gaffers and baby buntings;
multitudinous women, some plump as a duckling, others thin as a
paper-thread; aye, and even priests in sanctimonious black and
milk-white cravats, rolling swiftly upon two wheels, and all agog to
dash through thick and thin!

On seeing which, the matured lady boarder did exclaim upon the
difficulties of the performance, and the vast crowd that had collected
to view such a _tour de force_, but I, perceiving that those seated upon
the machines used no exorbitant exertions, and, indeed, appeared to be
wholly engrossed in social intercourse, responded that no skill was
required to circulate these bicycles, which, owing to being surrounded
with air-cushions, would proceed _proprio motu_ and without meandering.

Thereupon Miss MANKLETOW expressed an ardent desire to behold myself
upon one of these same machines, and--as we were now close to the effigy
of Hon'ble Duke of WELLINGTON disguised as an Achilles, near which were
certain _bunniahs_ trafficking with bicycles--I, wishing to pleasure my
fair companion, approached one of these contractors and bargained with
him for the sole user of his vehicle for the space of one calendar hour,
to which he consented at the _honorarium_ of one rupee four annas.

But, on receiving the bicycle from his hands, I at once perceived myself
under a total impossibility of achieving its ascent--for no sooner had I
protruded one leg over the saddle than the foremost wheel averted
itself, and the entire machine bit the dust, which afforded lively and
infinite entertainment to my feminine companions.

I, however, reproached the _bunniah_ for furnishing a worn-out effete
affair that was not in working order or a going concern, but he, by
assuring me that it was all right, cajoled me into trying once more.

[Illustration: "I INSTANTANEOUSLY ENDURED THE TOTAL UPSET!"]

So, divesting myself of my fur-lined overcoat, which I commanded a
hobbardyhoy of the sweeper class to hold, I again mounted upon the
saddle, while the proprietor of the machine sustained it in a position
of rectitude, and then, supporting me by the superfluity of my
pantaloons, he propelled me from the rear, counselling me to press my
feet vigorously upon the paddles. But it all proved as the labour of
Sisyphus, for the seat was of sadly insufficient dimensions and
adamantine hardihood, and whenever the bicycle-man released his hold,
I instantaneously endured the total upset!

Then again I reproved him for his _Punica fides_, informing him that I
required a machine that would run with smooth progressiveness, precisely
similar to those I beheld in motion around me. To which he replied that
I must not expect to be able to ride _impromptu_ as well as individuals
who had only mastered the accomplishment by long continuity of practice
and industry.

"Oh, man of wily tongue!" I addressed him. "Not thus will you bamboozle
my supposed simplicity! For if the art were indeed so difficult as you
pretend, how should it be acquired by so many timid and delicate
feminines and mere nurselings? This machine of yours is nothing but an
obsolete _hors de combat_ with which it is not humanly possible to work
the oracle!"

At which, waxing with indignation, he leaped upon it, and to my
surprise, did easily propel it in whatsoever direction he pleased, and
its motive power appeared to be similar in every respect to the rest;
so, beguiled by his representations that, under his instructions, I
should speedily become a _chef-d'oeuvre_, I once more suffered myself
to mount the machine; but whether from superabundant energy of my
foot-paddling, or the alarming fact that we were upon the descent of a
precipitous slope, I was soon horrified at finding that my instructor
was stripped out, and I abandoned to the lurch of my Caudine fork!

Oh, my goodness! My heart turns to water at the nude recollection of
such an unparalleled predicament, for the now unrestrained bicycle
_vires acquirit eundo_, and in seven-league boots! While I, wet as a
clout with anxiety and perspiration, did grasp the handles like the
horns of a dilemma, calling out in agonised accents to the
bystanders,--"Help! I am running away with myself! Half a rupee for my
life-preserver!"

But they were all as if to burst with laughter, and none had the
ordinary heroism to intervene, and I with ever increasing rapidity was
borne helplessly down the declivity towards the gates of Hyde Park
Corner, when, by the benevolence of Providence, the anterior wheel ran
under a railing, and I flew off like a tangent into the comparative
security of a mud-barrow!

On my return and solicitous inquiry for my fur-lined overcoat, I had the
further shock to discover that it was _solvitur ambulando_!

After such a shuddering experience and narrow squeak of my safety, I
confidently appeal to the authorities to extinguish this highly
dangerous and foolhardy sort of so-called amusement, or at the very
least to issue paternal orders that, in future, no one shall be
permitted to ride upon any bicycle possessing less than three wheels,
or guilty of a greater celerity than three (or four) miles per hour.

The fair Miss MANKLETOW amended this proposal by suggesting that the
Public should be restricted at once to perambulators; but this is,
perhaps, _majori cautelâ_, and an instance of the over-solicitude of the
female intellect, for it is not feasible to treat an adult, who has
assumed the _toga virilis_ and tall hat, as if he was still mewling and
puking in a tucker and bib.



VI

_Dealing with his Adventures at Olympia._


The dialoquial form is now become an indispensible _factotum_ in
periodical literature, and so, like a _brebis de Panurge_, I shall
follow the fashion occasionally,--though with rather more obedience to a
literary elegant style of phraseology than my predecessors in _Punch_
have thought worth to practise.

Time: the other morning. Scene: the breakfast table at Porticobello
House, Ladbroke Grove. Myself and other select boarders engaged in
masticating fowl eggs with their concomitant bacon, while intelligently
discussing topical subjects (for we carry out the poetical recipe of
"Plain thinking and high living").

_Miss Jessimina_ (_at the table-head_). The papers seem eloquent in
laudation of the Sporting and Military Show at Olympia. How I should
like to go if I had anyone to take me!

_Mr Wylie_ (_stingily_). And I would be enraptured at so tip-top an
opportunity, but for circumstance of being stonily broken.

     [_Helps himself to the surviving fowl egg._

_Mr Cossetter_ (_in sepulchral tone_). Alack! that doctorial
prescriptions do nill for me such nocturnal jinks; otherwise----

     [_He treats himself to a digestible pill._

_Myself_ (_taking a leap into the darkness and deadly breaches_). Since
other gentlemen are not more obsequious in gallantry, I hereby tender
myself for honour of accompanyist and _vade mecum_.

_Miss Jess._ (_lowering the silken curtains of her almond-like orbs_).
Oh, really, PRINCE! So _very_ unexpected! I must obtain the expert
opinion of my Mamma.

Mistress MANKLETOW did approve the jaunt on condition of our being
saddled by a select lady boarder of the name of SPINK as a _tertium
quid_ to play at propriety; at which I was internally disgusted, fearing
she would play the old gooseberry with our _tête-à-tête_.

Having arrived at Olympia, we perambulated the bazaar prior to the
commencement of the shows, and here (after parting with rs. 8 for three
seats on the balcony) I did bleed more freely still, for Miss JESSIMINA
expressed a passionate longing to possess my profile, snipped out of
paper by the scissors of a Silhouette, for which I mulcted one shilling
sterling.

And, after all, although it proved the _alter ego_ and speaking likeness
of my embossed Bombay cap and golden spectacles, she found the fault
that it rendered my complexion of a too excessive murksomeness; not
reflecting (with feminine imperceptivity) that, the material being
black as a Stygian, this criticism applied to the portraitures of all
alike!

Farther on I presented her and the female gooseberry with a
pocket-handkerchief a-piece, interwoven by a mechanism with their
baptismal appellation (another rupee!).

Then we arrived at a cage containing an automatic Devil revealing the
future for a penny in the slit, and Miss JESSIMINA worked the oracle
with a coin advanced by myself, and the demon, after flashing his optics
and consulting sundry playing-cards, did presently produce a small paper
which she opened eagerly.

_Miss Jess._ (_after perusal_). Only fancy! It says I'm "to marry a dark
man, and go for a long journey, and be very rich." What ridiculous
nonsense! do you not think so, PRINCE?

_Myself_ (_with a tender sauciness_). Poet SHAKSPEARE asserts there are
more things in Heaven and earth than the Horatian philosophy. I am not a
superstitious--and yet this mechanical demon may have seen correctly
through the brick wall of Futurity. Have you not a worshipful adorer who
might be described as dark, and to whose native land it is a long
journey?

_Miss Jess._ (_with the complexion of a tomato_). It's time we took our
seats for the performance. And you are not to be a silly!

It is notorious that the English female vocabulary contains no more
caressing and flattering epithet than this of "a silly," so that I
repaired to my seat immoderately encouraged by such gracious
appreciation.

Of the show, I can testify that it was truly magnificent, though the
introductory portion was somewhat spoilt by the too great prevalence of
the bicycle, which is daily increasing its ubiquity, nor do I see the
rationality of engaging a _sais_ in topped boots to attend upon each
machine, under the transparent pretentiousness of its belonging to the
equine genus, since it can never become the similitude of a horse in
mettlesome vivacity.

My companions marvelled greatly at the severe curvature of the
extremities of the cycle-track, which were shaped like the interior of a
huge bowl, and while I was demonstrating to them how, from scientific
considerations and owing to the centrifugal forces of gravitation, it
was not possible for any rider to become a loser of his equilibrium--lo
and behold! two of the competitors made the _facilis descensus_, and
were intermingled in the weltering hotchpot of a calamity.

But on being disentangled they did limp away, and it is allowable to
hope that they suffered no serious dismantling of their vital organs.
Still, I cannot approve of these bicycle contentions, which are
veritable provocative flights at the providential features.

After the termination I conducted my _protégées_ to the Palmarium, where
we sat under a shrub imbibing lemon crushes, brought by a neat-handed
Phyllis in the uniform of a house-maid intermixed with a hospital nurse.

Here occurred a most discomposing _contretemps_, for presently Miss
JESSIMINA uttered the complaint that two strangers were regarding
herself and Miss SPINK with the brazen eyes of a sheep, and even making
personal comments on my nationality, which rendered me like toad under a
harrow with burning indignation.

At length, being utterly beside myself with rage, I summoned one of the
Phyllises and requested her to take steps to abate the nuisance, being
met with a smiling "_Nolo Episcopari_." So, entreating my companions not
to give way to panic and leave their cause in my hands, I went in search
of a policeman.

Unfortunately some time flew before I could find one at liberty to
understand my crucial position, nor could I obtain from him a legal
opinion as to whether I could administer a cuff or a slap in the ear to
my insulters without incurring risk of retaliation in kind.

[Illustration: "WITH A LARGE, STOUT CONSTABLE."]

And, on returning to the spot with a large, stout constable, I had the
mortification to discover that the two impolite strangers had departed,
and that Misses MANKLETOW and SPINK were similarly imperceptible.

However, after prolonged search and mental anxiety, I returned alone,
and was rewarded by finding my fair friends arrived in safety; and
hearing that the two strangers had explained, in the gentlemanly terms
of an apology, that they had mistaken them for acquaintances.

Consequently I am thankful that I did not execute my design of assault
and battery, more especially as I am the happy receiver of many handsome
compliments on all sides upon the tactfulness and _savoir faire_ with
which I extricated myself from my shocking fix.

At which my countenance beams with the shiny resplendency of
self-satisfaction.



VII

_How Mr Jabberjee risked a Sprat to capture something very like a
    Whale._


I am this week to narrate an unprecedented stroke of bad luck occurring
to the present writer. The incipience of the affair was the addressing
of a humble petition to the indulgent ear of Hon'ble _Punch_, calling
attention to the great copiousness of my literary out-put, and the
ardent longing I experienced to behold the colour of money on account.
On which, by returning post, my parched soul was reinvigorated by the
refreshing draught of a _draft_ (if I may be permitted the rather
facetious _jeu de mots_) payable to my order.

So uplifted by pride at finding the insignificant crumbs I had cast upon
the journalistic waters return to me after numerous days in the improved
form of loaves and fishes, I wended my footsteps to the bank on which my
cheque was drafted, and requested the bankers behind the counter to
honour it with the equivalent in filthy lucres, which they did with
obsequious alacrity.

[Illustration: "WAS ACCOSTED BY A POLITE, AGREEABLE STRANGER."]

After closely inspecting the notes to satisfy myself that I had not been
imposed upon by meretricious counterfeits, I emerged with a beaming
and joyful countenance, stowing the needful away carefully in an
interior pocket, and, on descending the bank step, was accosted by a
polite, agreeable stranger, who, begging my pardon with profusion,
inquired whether he had not had the honour of voyaging from India with
me in the--the--for his life he could not recall the name of the
ship--he should forget his own name presently!

"Indeed," I answered him, "I cannot remember having the felicity of an
encounter with you upon the _Kaisar-i-Hind_."

The Stranger: "To be sure; that _was_ the name! A truly magnificent
vessel! I forget names--but faces, never! And yours I remember from the
striking resemblance to my dear friend, the Maharajah of Bahanapúr--you
know him?--a very elegant young, handsome chap. A splendid _Shikarri_! I
was often on the verge of asking if you were related; but being then but
a second-class passenger, and under an impecunious cloud, did not dare
to take the liberty. Now, being on the bed of clover owing to decease of
wealthy uncle, I can address you without the mortifying fear of
misconstruction."

So, in return, I, without absolutely claiming consanguinity with the
Maharajah (of whom, indeed, I had never heard), did inform him that I,
too, was munching the slice of luck, having just drawn the princely
instalment of a salary for jots and tittles contributed to periodical
_Punch_. Whereat he warmly congratulated me, expressing high
appreciation of my articles and abilities, but exclaiming at the
miserable paucity of my _honorarium_, saying he was thick as a thief
with the Editor, and would leave no stone unturned to procure me a
greater adequacy of remuneration for writings that were dirt cheap at a
Jew's eye.

And presently he invited me to accompany him to a respectable sort of
tavern, and solicited the honour of my having a "peg" at his expense; to
which I, perceiving him to be a good-natured, simple fellow, inflated by
sudden prosperity, consented, accepting, contrary to my normal habitude,
his offer of a brandy panee, or an old Tom.

While we were discoursing of India (concerning which I found that, like
most globular trotters, he had not been long enough in the country to be
accurately informed), enters a third party, who, it so happened, was an
early acquaintance of my companion, though separated by the old lang
sign of a longinquity. What followed I shall render in a dialogue form.

The Third party: Why, TOMKINS, you have a prosperous appearance,
TOMKINS. When last met, you suffered from the impecuniosity of a
churched mouse. Have you made your fortune, TOMKINS?

_Mr Tomkins._ I am too easy a goer, and there are too many rogues in
the world, that I should ever make my own fortune, JOHNSON! Happily for
me, an opulent and ancient avuncular relative has lately departed to
reside with the morning stars, and left me wealth outside the dream of
an avaricious!

_Mr Johnson_ (_enviously_). God bless my soul! Some folks have the good
luck. (_To me, whispering._) A poor ninny-hammer sort of chap, he will
soon throw it away on drakes and ducks! (_Aloud, to ~Mr TOMKINS.~_)
Splendid! I congratulate you sincerely.

_Mr T._ (_in a tone of dolesomeness_). The heart knoweth where the shoe
pinches it, JOHNSON. My lot is not a rose-bed. For my antique and
eccentric relative must needs insert a testamentary condition commanding
me to forfeit the inheritance, unless, within three calendered months
from his last obsequies, I shall have distributed ten thousand pounds
amongst young deserving foreigners. To-morrow time is up, and I have
still a thousand pounds to give away! But how to discover genuine young
deserving foreigners in so short a space? Truly, I go in fear of losing
the whole!

_Mr J._ Let me act as your _budli_ in this and distribute the remaining
thousand.

_Mr T._ From what I remember of you as a youth, I cannot wholly rely on
your discretion. Rather would I place my confidence in this gentleman.

     [_Indicating myself, who turned orange with pleasure._

_Mr J._ Indeed? And how know you that he may not adhere to the entire
thousand?

_Mr T._ And if he does, it is no matter, if he is a genuine deserving. I
can give the whole to him if I am so minded, and he need not give away a
penny of it unless inclined.

     [_At which I was fit to dance with delight._

_Mr J._ I deny that you possess the power, seeing that he is a British
subject, and as such cannot be styled a "foreigner."

_Mr T._ There you have mooted a knotty point indeed. Alas, that we have
no forensic big-wig here to decide it!

_Myself_ (_modestly_). As a native poor student of English law, I
venture to think that, by dint of my legal attainments, I shall be
enabled to crack the Gordian nut. I am distinctly of opinion that an
individual born of dusky parents in a tropical climate _is_ a foreigner,
in the eye of British prejudice, and within the meaning of the testator.
[_And here I maintained my assertion by a logomachy of such brilliancy
and erudition that I completely convinced the minds of both auditors._

_Mr J._ (_grumblingly, to ~Mr TOMKINS~_). Assuming he is correct, why
favour _him_ more than _me_?

_Mr T._ Because instinct informs me that a gentleman with such a face as
his--however dusky--may be trusted, and with the untold gold!

_Mr J._ (_jealously_). And I am not to be trusted! If you were to hand
me your _portemonnaie_ now, full of notes and gold, and let me walk into
the street with it, do you doubt that I should return? Speak, TOMKINS!

_Mr T._ Assuredly not; but so, too, would this gentleman. (_To me, as
~Mr JOHNSON~ sneered a doubt._) Here, you, Sir, take this _portemonnaie_
out into the street for five minutes or so, I trust to your honour to
return it intact. (_After I had emerged triumphantly from this severe
ordeal of my ~bonâ fide~._) Aha, JOHNSON! am I the judge of men or not?

_Mr J._ (_still seeking, as I could see, to undermine me in his friend's
favour_). Pish! Who would steal a paltry £50 and lose £1000? If I had so
much to give away, I should wish to be sure that the party I was about
to endow had corresponding confidence in _me_. Now, though I have always
considered you as a dull, I know you to be strictly honest, and would
trust you with all I possess. In proof of which, take these two golden
sovereigns and few shillings outside. Stay away as long as you desire.
You will return, I know you well!

_Myself_ (_penetrating this shallow artifice, and hoisting the
engine-driver on his own petard_). Who would not risk a paltry £2 to
gain £1000? Oh, a magnificent confidence, truly!

_Mr J._ (_to me_). Have you the ordinary manly pluck to act likewise? If
you are expecting him to trust you with the pot of money, he has a right
to expect to be trusted in return. That is logic!

_Mr T._ (_mildly_). No, JOHNSON, you are too hasty, JOHNSON. The cases
are different. I can understand the gentleman's very natural hesitation.
I do not ask him to show his confidence in me--enough that I feel I can
trust _him_. If he doubts my honesty, I shall think no worse of him;
whichever way I decide eventually.

      [_Here, terrified lest by hesitation I had wounded him at
      his quick, and lest, after all, he should decide to entrust
      the thousand pounds to ~Mr JOHNSON~, I hastily produced all
      the specie and bullion I had upon me, including a valuable
      large golden chronometer and chain of best English make, and
      besought him to go into the outer air for a while with them,
      which, after repeated refusals, he at last consented to do,
      leaving ~Myself~ and ~Mr JOHNSON~ to wait._

_Mr J._ (_after tedious lapse of ten minutes_). Strange! I expected him
back before this. But he is an absent-minded, chuckle-headed chap. Very
likely he is staring at a downfallen horse and has forgotten this
affair. I had better go in search of him. What? you will come, too.
Capital! Then if you go to the right, and I to the left, we cannot miss
him!

But, alack! we did; and, in a short time, both Misters were invisible to
the nude eye, nor have I heard from them since. Certain of my
fellow-boarders, on hearing the matter, declared that I had been diddled
by a bamboozle-trick; but it is egregiously absurd that my puissance in
knowledge of the world should have been so much at fault; and, moreover,
why should one who had succeeded to vast riches seek to rob me of my
paltry possessions? It is much more probable that they are still
diligently seeking for me, having omitted, owing to hurry of moment, to
ascertain my name and address; and I hereby request Mr TOMKINS, on
reading this, to forward the thousand pounds (or so much thereof as in
his munificent generosity he may deem sufficient) to me at Porticobello
House, Ladbroke Grove, W., or care of his friend, the Editor of _Punch_,
by whom it will (I am sure) be honourably handed over intact.

Nor need Mr TOMKINS fear my reproaches for his dilatoriness, for there
is a somewhat musty proverb that "Procrastination is preferable to
Neverness."



VIII

_How Mr Jabberjee delivered an Oration at a Ladies' Debating Club._


Miss SPINK (whom I have mentioned _supra_ as a feminine inmate of
Porticobello House) is _in additum_ a member of a Debating Female
Society, which assembles once a week in various private Westbourne Grove
parlours, for argumentative intercourse.

So, she expressing an anxious desire that I should attend one of these
conclaves, I consented, on ascertaining that I should be afforded the
opportunity of parading the gab with which I have been gifted in an
extemporised allocution.

On the appointed evening I directed my steps, under the guidance of the
said Miss SPINK, to a certain imposing stucco residence hard by, wherein
were an assortment of female women conversing with vivacious garrulity,
in a delicious atmosphere of tea, coffee, and buttered bread.

[Illustration: "A WEEDY, TALL MALE GENTLEMAN."]

After having partaken freely of these comestibles, we made the
adjournment to a luxuriously upholstered parlour, circled with
plush-seated chairs and adorned with countless mirrors, and there we
began to beg the question at issue, to-whit, "_To what extent has Ibsen
(if any) contributed towards the cause of Female Emancipation?_"
which was opened by a weedy, tall male gentleman, with a lofty and a
shining forehead, and round, owlish spectacle-glasses. He read a very
voluminous paper, from which I learnt that IBSEN was the writer of
innumerable new-fangled dramas of very problematical intentions,
exposing the hollow conventionalisms of all established social usages,
especially in the matrimonial department.

When he had ceased there was a universal and unanimous silence, due to
uncontrollable female bashfulness, for the duration of several minutes,
until the chairwoman exhorted someone to have the courage of her
opinions. And the ice being once fractured, one Amurath succeeded
another in disjointed commentaries, plucking crows in the teeth of the
assertions of the Hon'ble Opener and of their precursors, and resumed
their seats with abrupt precipitancy, stating that they had no further
remarks to make.

Then ensued another interim of golden "Silence and slow Time," as Poet
KEATS says, which was as if to become Sempiternity, had not I, rushing
in where the angels were in fear of slipping up, caught the Speaker in
the eye, and tipped the wink of my _cacoëthes loquendi_.

To prevent disappointment, I shall report my harangue with verbose
accuracy.

_Myself_ (_assuming a perpendicular attitude, inserting one hand among
my vest buttons, and waving the other with a graceful affability_).
"HON'BLE MISS CHAIRWOMAN, MADAMS, MISSES, AND HON'BLE MISTER OPENER, the
humble individual now palpitating on his limbs before you is a denizen
from a land whose benighted, ignorant inhabitants are accustomed to
treat the females of their species as small fry and fiddle faddle. Yes,
Madams and Misses, in India the woman is forbidden to eat except in the
severest solitude, and after her lord and master has surfeited his pangs
of hunger; she may not make the briefest outdoor excursion without
permission, and then solely in a covered _palkee_, or the hermetically
sealed interior of a blinded carriage. (_Cries of 'Shame.'_) In the
Zenana, she is restricted to the occupation of puerile gossipings, or
listening to apocryphal fairy tales of so scandalising an impropriety
that I shrink to pollute my ears by the repetition even of the tit-bits.
(_Subdued groans._)

"Such being the case, you can imagine the astonishment and gratification
I have experienced here this evening at the intelligence and forwardness
manifested by so many effeminate intellects. (_A flattered rustle and
prolonged simpering._)

"The late respectable Dr BEN JOHNSON, gifted author of _Boswell's
Biography_ (_applause_), once rather humorously remarked, on witnessing
a nautch performed by canine quadrupeds, that--although their
choreographical abilities were of but a mediocre nature--the wonderment
was that they should be capable at all to execute such a hind-legged
feat and _tour de force_.

"Similarly, it is to me a gaping marvel that womanish tongues should
hold forth upon subjects which are naturally far outside the radius of
their comprehensions.

"The subject for our discursiveness to-night is, '_To what extent has
Ibsen contributed to the Cause (if any) of Female Emancipation?_' and
being a total ignoramus up to date of the sheer existence of said
hon'ble gentleman, I shall abstain from scratching my head over so
Sphinxian a conundrum, and confine myself to knuckling to the obiter
diction of sundry lady speakers.

"There was a stout full-blown matron, with grey curl-shavings and a
bonnet and plumage, who declaimed her opinionated conviction that it was
degrading and _infra dig._ for any woman to be treated as a doll.
(_Hear, hear._) Well, I would hatch the questionable egg of a doubt
whether any rationalistic masculine could regard the speaker herself in
a dollish aspect, and will assure her that in my fatherland every
cultivated native gentleman would approach her with the cold shoulder of
apprehensive respectfulness. (_The bonneted matron becomes ruddier than
the cherry with complacency, and fans herself vigorously._)

"Next I shall deal with the tall, meagre female near the fire-hearth, in
abbreviated hair and a nose-pinch, who set up the claim that her sex
were in all essentials the equals, if not the superiors, of man. Now,
without any gairish of words, I will proceed baldly to enumerate various
important physical differentiations which---- (_Intervention by Hon'ble
Chairwoman, reminding me that these were not in disputation._) I bow to
correction, and kiss the rod by summing up the gist of my argument,
viz., that it is nonsensical idiotcy to suppose that a woman can be the
equivalent of a man either in intellectual gripe, in bodily
robustiousness, or in physical courage. Of the last, I shall afford an
unanswerable proof from my own person. It is notorious, _urbi et orbi_,
that every feminine person will flee in panicstricken dismay from the
approach of the smallest mouse.

"I am a Bengali, and, as such, profusely endowed with the fugacious
instinct, and yet, shall I quake in appalling consternation if a mouse
is to invade my vicinity?

"Certainly I shall not; and why? Because, though not racially a
temerarious, I nevertheless appertain to the masculine sex, and
consequentially my heart is not capable of contracting at the mere
aspect of a rodent. This is not to blow the triumphant trumpet of sexual
superiority, but to prove a simple undenied fact by dint of an _a
fortiori_.

"Having pulverised my pinched-nose predecessor, I pass on to a speaker
of a very very opposite personality--the well-proportioned, beauteous
maiden with azure starry eyes, gilded hair, and teeth like the seeds of
a pomegranate (oh, _si sic omnes!_), who vaunted, in the musical accents
of a cuckoo, her right to work out her own life, independently of
masculine companionship or assistance, and declared that the saccharine
element of courtship and connubiality was but the exploded mask of man's
tyrannical selfishness.

"Had such shocking sentiments been aired by some of the other lady
orators in this room, I must facetiously have recalled them to a certain
fabular fox which criticised the unattainable grapes as too immature to
merit mastication; but the particular speaker cannot justly be said to
be on all fours with such an animal. Understand, please, I am no
prejudiced, narrow-minded chap. I would freely and generously permit
plainfaced, antiquated, unmarriageable madams and misses to undertake
the manufacture of their own careers _ad nauseam_; but when I behold a
maiden of such excessive pulchritude---- (_Second intervention by
Hon'ble Chairwoman desiring me to abstain from personal references._) I
assure the Hon'ble Miss CHAIRWOMAN that I was not alluding to herself,
but since she has spoken in my wheel with such severity, I will conclude
with my peroration on the subject for debate, namely, the theatrical
dramas of Hon'ble IBSEN. When, Madams and Misses, I make the odious
comparison of these works, with which I am completely unacquainted, to
the productions of Poet SHAKSPEARE, where I may boast the familiarity
that is a breeder of contempt, I find that, in _Hamlet's_ own words, it
is the 'Criterion of a Satire,' and I shall assert the unalterable _a
priori_ of my belief that the melodious Swan of Stony Stratford, whether
judged by his longitude, his versical blankness, or the profoundly of
his attainments in Chronology, Theology, Phrenology, Palmistry,
Metallurgy, Zoography, Nosology, Chiropody, or the Musical Glasses, has
outnumbered every subsequent contemporary and succumbed them all!"

With this, I sat down, leaving my audience as _sotto voce_ as fishes
with admiration and amazement at the facundity of my eloquence, and
should indubitably have been the recipient of innumerable felicitations
but for the fact that Miss SPINK, suddenly experiencing sensations of
insalubriousness, requested me, without delay, to conduct her from the
assemblage.

I would willingly make a repetition of my visit and rhetorical triumphs,
only Miss SPINK informs me that she has recently terminated her
membership with the above society.



IX

_How he saw the practice of the University Crews, and what he thought of
    it._


The notorious Intercollegian Boat-race of this _anno Domini_ will be
obsolete and _ex post facto_ by the time of publication of the present
instalment of jots and tittles, still I am sufficiently presumptive to
think that the cogitations and personal experiences of a cultivated,
thoughtful native gentleman on this coerulean topic may not be found
so stale and dry as the remainder of a biscuit.

First I will make a clean bosom with the confession that, though
ardently desirous to witness such a Titianic struggle for the _cordon
bleu_ of old Father Antic the Thames, I was not the actual spectator of
the affair, being previously contracted to escort Miss MANKLETOW (whose
wishfulness is equivalent to legislation) to a theatrical matutinal
performance, which she would in nowise consent to renounce, alleging
that she had already seen the Boat-race to the verge of satiety, and
that the spectacle was instantaneous and paltry.

However, on acquainting my kind and patronising father, Hon'ble _Punch_,
of my disappointment, he did benevolently propose, as a _pis aller_ and
blind bargain, a voyage in the steam launch-boat of the official
coachman of one of the crews so that I might ascertain how the trick was
done.

And at 10 A.M. on the day of assignation I presented myself at the
riparian premises of a certain Boating Society, and, on exhibiting my
letter of credit to the Mentor or Corypheus aforesaid, was received _à
bras ouverts_ and with an urbane offhandedness.

After I had hung fire and cooled my heels on the banks for a while, I
was instructed to enter a skiff, which conveyed me and others to a
steamship of very meagre dimensions, whereupon owing to the heel of one
of my Japan leather shoes becoming implicated in the wire railing that
circumvented the desk, I was embarked in a horizontal attitude, and
severely deteriorated the tall chimneypot hat which I had assumed to do
credit to the hon'ble periodical I represented. (_Nota bene._ Hatmaker's
bill for renovating same, 2 rupees 8 annas--which those to whom it is of
concern will please attend to and refund.)

On recovery of my head-gear and equanimity, I stationed myself in close
proximity to the officiating coach for purpose of being on the threshold
of inquiries, and proceeded to pop numerous questions to my neighbours.
I ascertained, among other things, that the vessels are called
"eights," owing to their containing nine passengers; that the ninth is
called the "cock," and is a mere supernumerary or understudent, in case
any member of the crew should be overcome by sickishness during the
contest and desire to discontinue.

It appears that the race is of religious and ceremonious origin, for
only "good men" are permitted to compete, and none who is a wine
drunkard, a gluttonous, or addicted to any form of tobacco. Moreover,
they are to observe a strict fast and abstinence for many weeks previous
to the ordeal. The most prominent ecclesiastics and Judges of the
Supreme Courts are usually chosen from this class of individuals, which
is a further proof of the sanctimoniousness attached to the competition.

Consequently I was the more surprised at the disrespectful
superciliousness of their _Fidus Achates_ or dry nurse, who, stretching
himself upon his stomach in the prow, did shout counsels of perfection
at his receding pupils.

Such criticisms as I overheard, seemed to me of a very puerile and
captious description, and some of an opprobrious personality, _e.g._, as
when a certain oarman was taunted with being short--as though he were
capable of adding the cubic inch to his stature!

Another I heard advised to keep his visual organs in the interior of the
boat, though, being ordinary optics and not at all of a vitreous
composition, they could not be removable by volition. Again, a third was
reproached because of the lateness with which he had made his beginning;
but, as it was not asserted that he was inferior to the rest, the
tardiness of his initiation was surely rather honourable than
disgraceful!

I observed that said trainer did stickle almost prudishly for propriety,
being greatly shocked at the levity with which the rowers were attired
and entreating them to keep their buttons well up, though indeed I could
discern none, nor was there much which was humanly possible to be
buttoned.

For myself, I must make the humble complaint that the Hon'ble Coach was
defective in courteous attention to my inquisitiveness, which he totally
ignored. For I could not prevail upon him to explain what thing it was
that he directed the oarmen to "wait for," to "spring at from a
stretcher," and "catch at the beginning;" nor why they were forbidden to
row with their hands, not being quadrumanous, and able to employ their
feet in such a manner; nor whether when he commanded them to "get in at
once," he intended them to leap into the waters or to return to the
landing-place, nor why they did neither of these things; nor why he
should express satisfaction that a certain rower had got rid of a lofty
feather, which would indubitably have added to the showiness of his
appearance.

Again, hearing him anxiously inquire the time after a stoppage, I was
proceeding to explain how gladly I would have given him such
information, but for the unavoidable absence of my golden chronometer,
owing to the failure of Misters TOMKINS and JOHNSON to restore the same,
whereupon he treated me in such a "please-go-away-and-die" sort of style
that I subsided with utmost alacrity.

On the return voyage the Collegiate eight was challenged to a spurting
match by a scratched crew, which appeared to me to be the superior in
velocity, though it seemed it was then too late to make the happy
exchange.

When the practice was at an end and the Blues in a state of quiescence,
I intimated my desire to harangue them and express my wonderment and
admiration at beholding them content to suffer such hardships and perils
and faultfinding without expostulation or excuses for their
shortcomings, and all for no pecuniary recompense, but the evasive
reward of a _nominis umbra_. And I would have reminded them of the
extended popularity of their performance, and that it was an unfairness
to muzzle the ox that treadeth upon one's corn, appealing to them to
stand up for their rights, and refuse to compete except for the
honorarium of a _quid pro quo_.

But the official instructor, seeing me about to climb upon the poop, to
deliver my oration, entreated me with so much earnestness to desist that
I became immediately aphonous.



X

_Mr Jabberjee is taken to see a Glove-Fight._


A young sprightly Londoner acquaintance of mine, who is a member of a
Sportish Club where exhibitions of fisticuffs are periodically given,
did generously invite me on a recent Monday evening to be the
eye-witness of this gladiatorial spectacle.

And, though not constitutionally bellicose, I eagerly accepted his
invitation on being assured that I should not be requisitioned to take
part personally in such pugilistic exercises, and should observe same
from a safe distance and coign of vantage, for I am sufficiently a lover
of sportfulness to appreciate highly the sight of courage and science in
third parties.

So he conducted me to the Club-house, and by the open sesame of a ticket
enabled me to penetrate the barrier, after which I followed his wake
downstairs, through rooms full of smoking and conversing sportlovers
mostly in festal attire, to a long and lofty hall with balconies and a
stage at the further end with foliage painted in imitation of a forest,
which was tenanted by press reporters.

The centre of the hall was monopolised by a white square platform
confined by a circumambience of rope, which I was informed was the
veritable theatre of war and cockpit.

Presently two hobbardyhoys made the ascent of this platform with their
attendant myrmidons, and did proceed to remove their trouserings and
coats until they were in the state of nature with the exception of a
loincloth, whereupon the President or Master of the Ceremonies
introduced them and their respective partisans by name to the
assemblage, stating their precise ponderability, and that these juvenile
antagonists were fraternally related by ties of brotherhood.

At which I was revolted, for it is against nature and _contra bonos
mores_ that relations should be egged on into family jars, nor can such
proceedings tend to promote the happiness and domesticity of their home
circle. However, on such occasion when the youths were in danger of
inflicting corporal injuries upon each other, the President called out
"Time" in such reproving tones that they hung their heads in
shamefulness and desisted. And at length they were persuaded into a
pacification, and made the _amende honorable_ by shaking each other by
the hand, whereat I was rejoiced, for, as Poet WATT says, "Birds which
are in little nests should refrain from falling out."

The victory was adjudged to the elder brother--in obedience, I suppose,
to the rule of Primogeniture, for he did not succeed in reducing his
opponent to a _hors de combat_.

Next came a more bustling encounter between Misters BILL HUSBAND and
MYSTERIOUS SMITH, which was protracted to the duration of eight rounds.
I was largely under the impression that Mister HUSBAND was to win, owing
to the acclamations he received, and the excessive agility with which he
removed his head from vicinity of the blows of Mister MYSTERIOUS SMITH.

It was truly magnificent to see how they did embrace each other by the
neck, and the wonderment and suspicion in their glances when one
discovered that he was resting his chin upon the padded hand of his
adversary, and from time to time the Hon'ble Chairman was heard ordering
them to "break away," and "not to hold," or requesting us to refrain
from any remarks. And at intervals they retired to sit upon chairs in
opposing corners, where they rinsed their mouths, and were severely
fanned by their bearers, who agitated a large towel after the manner of
a punkah. But, in the end, it was Mysterious Mister SMITH who hit the
right nail on the head, and was declared the conquering hero, though
once more I was incapacitated to discover in what precise respects he
was the _facile princeps_.

Around the hall there were placards announcing that smoking was
respectfully prohibited, and the President did repeatedly entreat
members of the audience to refrain from blowing a cloud, assuring them
that the perfume of tobacco was noxious and disgustful to the
combatants, and threatening to mention disobedient tobacconists by name.

Whereupon most did desist; but some, secreting their cigars in the
hollow of their hands, took whiffs by stealth, and blushed to find it
flame; while others, who were such grandees and big pots that their own
convenience was the first and foremost desideratum, continued to smoke
with lordliness and indifference.

And I am an approver of such conduct--for it is unreasonable that a
well-bred, genteel sort of individual should make the total sacrifice of
a cigar, for which he has perhaps paid as much as two or even four
annas, out of consideration for insignificant common chaps hired to
engage in snipsnaps for his entertainment.

The last competition was to be the _bonne bouche_ and _pièce de
résistance_ of the evening, consisting of a rumpus in twenty rounds
between Misters TOM TRACY of Australia, and TOMMY WILLIAMS, from the
same hemisphere, at which I was on the tiptoe of expectation.

But, although they commenced with dancing activity, one of the TOMS in
the very first round sparred the other under the chin with such
superabundant energy that he immediately became a recumbent for a
lengthy period, and, on being elevated to a chair, only recaptured
sufficient consciousness to abandon the sponge.

And then, to my chapfallen disappointment, the Chairman announced that
he was very sorry and could not help it, but that was the concluding box
of the evening.

I will reluctantly confess that, on the whole, I found the proceedings
lacking in sensationality, since they were of very limited duration, and
totally devoid of bloodshed, or any danger to the life and limb of the
performers. For it is not reasonably possible for a combatant to make a
palpable hit when his hands are, as it were, muzzled, being cabined,
cribbed, and confined in padded soft gloves. I am not a squeamish in
such cases, and I must respectfully submit that the Cause of True Sport
can only be hampered by such nursery and puerile restrictions, for none
can expect to compound an omelette without the fracture of eggs.

Upon remarking as above to my young lively friend, he assured me that
even a gloved hand was competent to produce facial disfigurement and tap
the vital fluid, and offered to demonstrate the truth of his statement
if I would be the partaker with him in a glove-box.

But, though doubting the authenticity of his assertions, I thought it
prudential to decline the proof of the pudding, and so took a
precipitate leave of him with profuse thanks for his unparagoned
kindness, and many promises to put on the gloves with him at the first
convenient opportunity.



XI

_Mr Jabberjee finds himself in a position of extreme delicacy._


It is an indubitable fact that the discovery of steam is the most
marvellous invention of the century. For had it been predicted
beforehand that innumerable millions of human beings would be
transported with security at a headlong speed for hundreds of miles
along a ferruginous track, the most temporary deviation from which would
produce the inevitable cataclysm and no end of a smash, the working
majority would have expressed their candid opinion of such rhodomontade
by cocking the contemptuous snook of incredulity.

And yet it is now the highly accomplished fact and matter of course!

Still, I shall venture to express the opinion that the pleasurability of
such railway journeys is largely dependent upon the person who may be
our travelling companion, and that some of the companies are not quite
careful enough in the exclusion of undesirable fellow-passengers. In
proof of which I now beg to submit an exemplary instance from personal
experience.

I was recently the payer of a ceremonial visit to a friend of my
boyhood, namely, BABOO CHUCKERBUTTY RAM, with whom, finding him at
home in his lodgings in a distant suburb, I did hold politely
affectionate intercourse for the space of two hours, and then departed,
as I had come, by train, and the sole occupant of a second-class dual
compartment divided by a low partition.

At the next station the adjoining compartment was suddenly invaded by a
portly female of the matronly type, with a rubicund countenance and a
bonnet in a dismantled and lopsided condition, who was bundled through
the doorway by the impetuosity of a porter, and occupied a seat in
immediate opposition to myself.

[Illustration: "A BEAMING SIMPER OF INDESCRIBABLE SUAVITY."]

When the train resumed its motion, I observed that she was contemplating
me with a beaming simper of indescribable suavity, and though she was of
an unornamental exterior and many years my superior, I constrained
myself from motives of merest politeness to do some simperings in
return, since only a churlish would grudge such an economical and
inexpensive civility.

But whether she was of an unusually ardent temperament, or whether,
against my volition, I had invested my simper with an irresistible
winsomeness, I cannot tell; but she fell to making nods and becks and
wreathed smiles which reduced me to crimsoned sheepishness, and the
necessity of looking earnestly out of window at vacancy.

At this she entreated me passionately not to be unkind, inviting me to
cross to the next compartment and seat myself by her side; but I did
nill this invitation politely, urging that Company's bye-laws
countermanded the placing of boots upon the seat-cushions, and my utter
inability to pose as a _Romeo_ to scale the barrier.

Whereupon to my lively horror and amazement, she did exclaim, "Then I
will come to _you_, darling!" and commenced to scramble precipitately
towards me over the partition!

At which I was in the blue funk, perceiving the _arcanum_ of her design
to embrace me, and resolved to leave no stone unturned for the
preservation of my bacon. So, at the moment she made the entrance into
my compartment, I did simultaneously hop the twig into the next, and she
followed in pursuit, and I once more achieved the return with
inconceivable agility.

Then, as we were both, like _Hamlet_, fat and short of breath, I
addressed her gaspingly across the barrier, assuring her that it was as
if to milk the ram to set her bonnet at a poor young native chap who
regarded her with nothing but platonical esteem, and advising her to sit
down for the recovery of her wind.

But alack! this speech only operated to inspire her with _spretæ injuria
formæ_, and flourishing a large stalwart umbrella, she exclaimed that
she would teach me how to insult a lady.

After that she came floundering once again over the partition, and
guarding my loins, I leapt into the next compartment, seeing the affair
had become a _sauve qui peut_, and devil take the hindmost: and at the
nick of time, when she was about to descend like a wolf on a fold, I
most fortunately perceived a bell-handle provided for such pressing
emergencies and rung it with such unparalleled energy, that the train
immediately became stationary.

Then, as my female persecutress alighted on the floor of the compartment
in the limp condition of a collapse, I stepped across to my original
seat, and endeavoured to look as if with withers unwrung. Presently the
Guard appeared, and what followed I can best render in the dramatical
form of a dialogue:--

_The Guard_ (_addressing the ~Elderly Female~, who is sitting smiling with
vacuity beneath the bell-pull_). So it is you who have sounded the
alarm! What is it all about?

_The Elderly Female_ (_with warm indignation_). Me? I never did! I am
too much of the lady. It was that young coloured gentleman in the next
compartment.

     [_At which the tip of my nose goes down with
     apprehensiveness._

_The Guard._ Indeed! A likely story! How could the gentleman ring this
bell from where he is?

_Myself_ (_with mental presence_). Well said, Mister GUARD! The thing
is not humanly possible. _Rem acu tetigisti!_

_The Guard._ I do not understand Indian, Sir. If you have anything to
say about this affair, you had better say it.

_Myself_ (_combining discretion with magnanimousness_). As a chivalrous,
I must decline to bring any accusation against a member of the weaker
sex, and my tongue is hermetically sealed.

_The Eld. F._ It was _him_ who rang the alarm, and not me. He was in
this compartment, and I in that.

_The Guard._ What? have you been playing at Hide-and-seek together,
then? But if your story is watertight, he must have rung the bell in a
state of abject bodily terror, owing to your chivying him about!

_The Eld. F._ It is false! I have been well educated, and belong to an
excellent family. I merely wanted to kiss him.

_The Guard._ I see what is your complaint. You have been imbibing the
drop too much and will hear of this from the Company. I must trouble
you, Mam, for your correct name and address.

_Myself_ (_after he had obtained this and was departing_). Mister Guard,
I do most earnestly entreat you not to abandon me to the tender mercies
of this feminine. I am not a proficient in physical courage, and have no
desire to test the correctness of Poet POPE'S assertion, that Hell does
not possess the fury of a scorned woman. I request to be conducted into
a better-populated compartment.

_The Guard_ (_with complimentary jocosity_). Ah, such young good-looking
chaps as you ought to go about in a veil. Come with me, and I'll put you
into a smoker-carriage. You won't be run after there!

So the incident was closed, and I did greatly compliment myself upon the
sagacity and coolness of head with which I extricated myself from my
pretty kettle of fish. For to have denounced myself as the real alarmist
would have rendered the affair more, rather than less, discreditable to
my feminine companion, and I should have been arraigned before the
solemn bar of a police-court magistrate, who might even have made a Star
Chamber matter of the incident.

All is well that is well over, but when you have been once bitten, you
become doubly bashful. Consequently, this humble self will take care
that he does not on any subsequent occasion travel alone in a railway
compartment with a female woman.



XII

_Mr Jabberjee is taken by surprise._


Diligent perusers of my lucubrations to _Punch_ will remember that I
have devoted sundry jots and tittles to the subject of Miss JESSIMINA
MANKLETOW, and already may have concluded that I was long since up to
the hilt in the tender passion. In this deduction, however, they would
have manufactured a stentorian cry from an extreme paucity of wool; the
actual fact being that, although percipient of the well-proportionate
symmetry of her person and the ladylike liveliness of her deportment, I
did never regard her except with eyes of strictly platonic philandering
and calf love.

It is true that, at certain seasons, the ostentatious favours she would
squander upon other young masculine boarders in my presence did reduce
me to the doleful dump of despair, so that even the birds and beasts of
forest shed tears at my misery, and frequently at meal-times I have
sought to move her to compassion by neighing like horse, or by the
incessant rolling of my visual organs; though she did only attribute
such _ad misericordiam_ appeals to the excessive gravity of the cheese,
or the immaturity of the rhubarb pie.

But I was then a labourer under the impression that I was the odd man
out of her affections, and it is well known that, to a sensitive, it is
intolerable to feel that oneself is not the object of adoration, even to
one to whom we may entertain but a mediocre attraction.

On a recent evening we had a _tête-à-tête_ which culminated in the utter
surprise. It was the occasion of our hebdomadal dancing-party at
Porticobello House, and I had solicited her to become a copartner with
this unassuming self in the maziness of a waltz; but, not being the
carpet-knight, and consequently treading the measure with too great
frequency upon the toes of my fair auxiliary, she suggested a temporary
withdrawal from circulation.

To which I assenting, she conducted me to a landing whereon was a small
glazed apartment, screened by hangings and furnished with a profusion of
unproductive pots, which is styled the conservatory, and here we did sit
upon two wicker-worked chairs, and for a while were mutually _sotto
voce_.

Presently I, remarking with corner of eye the sumptuousness of her
appearance, and the supercilious indifference of her demeanour, which
made it seem totally improbable that she should ever, like _Desdemona_,
seriously incline to treat me as an _Othello_, commenced to heave the
sighs of a fire-stove, causing Miss JESSIMINA to accuse me of desiring
myself in India.

I denied this with native hyperbolism, saying that I was content to
remain in _statu quo_ until the doom cracked, and that the conservatory
was for me the equivalent of Paradise.

She replied that its similitude to Paradise would be more startling if a
larger proportion of the pots had contained plants, and if such plants
as there were had not fallen into such a lean and slippered stage of
decrepitude, adding that she did perpetually urge her mamma to incur the
expense of some geranium-blooms and a few fairy-lamps, but she had
refused to run for such adornments.

[Illustration: "I BECAME ONCE MORE THE SILENT TOMB."]

And I, with spontaneous gallantry, retorted that she was justified in
such parsimony, since her daughter's eyes supplied such fairy
illumination, and upon her cheeks was a bloom brighter than many
geraniums. But this compliment she unhappily mistook as an insinuation
that her complexion was of meretricious composition, and seeing that I
had put my foot into a _cul-de-sac_, I became once more the silent tomb,
and exhaled sighs at intervals.

Presently she declared once more that she saw, from the dullness of my
expression, that I was longing for the luxurious magnificence of my
Indian palace.

Now my domestic abode, though a respectable spacious sort of residence,
and containing my father, mother, married brothers, &c., together with a
few antique unmarried aunts, is not at all of a palatial
architecture; but it is a bad bird that blackens his own nest, and so I
merely answered that I was now so saturated with Western civilisation,
that I had lost all taste for Oriental splendours.

Next she inquired whether I did not miss the tiger-shooting and
pig-sticking; and I replied (with veraciousness, since I am not the _au
fait_ in such sports) that I could not deny a liability to miss both
tigers and pigs, and, indeed, all animals that were _feræ naturæ_, and
she condemned the hazardousness of these jungle sports, and wished me to
promise that I would abstain from them on my return to India.

To this I replied that before I agreed to such a self-denying ordinance,
I desired to be more convinced of the sincerity of her interest in the
preservation of my humble existence.

Miss JESSIMINA asked what had she done that I should be in dubitation as
to her _bona fides_?

Then I did meekly remind her of her flirtatious preferences for the
young beef-witted London chaps, and her incertitude and disdainful
capriciousness towards myself, who was not a beetlehead or an obtuse,
but a cultivated native gentleman with high-class university degree, and
an oratorical flow of language which was infallibly to land me upon the
pinnacle of some tip-top judicial preferment in the Calcutta High Court
of Justice.

She made the excuse that she was compelled by financial reasons to be
pleasant to the male boarders, and that I could not expect any marked
favouritism so long as I kept my tongue concealed inside my damask cheek
like a worm in bud.

Upon which, transported by uncontrollable emotion, I ventured to embrace
her, assuring her that she was the cynosure of my neighbouring eyes, and
supplied the vacuum and long-felt want of my soul, and while occupied in
imprinting a chaste salute upon her rosebud lips--who'd have thought it!
her severe matronly parent popped in through the curtains and, surveying
me with a cold and basilican eye, did demand my intentions.

Nor can I tell what I should have responded, seeing that I had acted
from momentary impulsiveness and feminine encouragement, had not Miss
JESSIMINA, with ready-made female wit, answered for me that it was all
right, and that we were the engaged couple.

But her mother expressed an ardent desire to hear my _vivâ voce_
corroboration of this statement, informing me that she was but a poor
weak widow-woman, but that, if it should appear that I was merely the
giddy trifler of her daughter's young, artless affections, it would be
her dolesome duty to summon instantaneously every male able-bodied
inmate of her establishment, and request them to inflict deserved
corporal chastisement upon my person!

So, although still of a twitter with amazement at Miss JESSIMINA'S
announcement, I considered it the better part of valour to corroborate
it with promptitude, rather than incur the shocking punches and kicks of
numerous athletic young commercials; and, upon hearing the piece of good
news, Mrs MANKLETOW exploded into lachrymation, saying that she was
divested of narrow-minded racial colour prejudices, and had from the
first regarded me as a beloved son.

Then, blessing me, and calling me her Boy, she clasped me against her
bosom, where, owing to the exuberant redundancy of her ornamental
jetwork, my nose and chin received severe laceration and disfigurement,
which I endured courageously, without a whimper.

When I have grown more accustomed to being the lucky dog, I shall
commence cockahooping, and become merry as a grig. At the present moment
I am only capable of wonderment at the unpremeditated rapidity with
which such solemn concerns as betrothals are knocked off in this
country.

But if, as _Macbeth_ says, such jobs are to be done at all, then it is
well they were done quickly.



XIII

_Drawbacks and advantages of being engaged. Some Meditations in a
    Music-hall, together with notes of certain things that Mr Jabberjee
    failed to understand._


My preceding article announced the important intelligence of my
betrothal, in which I was then too much the neophyte to express any very
opinionated judgment as to the pros or cons of my approaching
_benediction_ as a _Benedick_ (if I may be allowed a somewhat humorous
pun).

_L'appétit vient en mangeant_, and I am blessing my stars more fervidly
every day for the lucky windfall which has bolted upon me from the blue.

All the select boarders were speedily informed of my engagement, and the
males though profuse in their congratulations, did manifest their
green-eyed monster by sundry veiled chucklings and rib-pokings, while
the ladies--especially Miss SPINK--are become less pressing in their
attentions, and address me as "Prince" with increased frequency, and in
a tone of tittering acidulation.

This, however, is attributable to natural disappointment; for it was
notorious that all of them, even the least prepossessing, were on the
tiptoe of languishing expectancy that I should cast my handkerchief in
one of their directions. But the feminine nature is not capable of
sustaining the good-fortune of another member of their sex with
good-humoured complacency!

On the other hand, I enjoy many privileges and bonuses. I am permitted
to enter Mrs MANKLETOW'S private parlour _ad libitum_, and there
converse with my beloved, calling her "JESSIE," and even embrace her in
moderation. I may also embrace her Mother, and address her as "Mamma,"
which affords me raptures of a less tumultuous kind.

Moreover now, when I conduct my _inamorata_ to an entertainment, it is
no longer _de rigueur_ for any third party to impersonate a gooseberry!

The mention of entertainments reminds me that, a few evenings ago, I
escorted her to a music-hall, wherein, although I had previously
believed myself a past master in the shibboleth of London Cockneyisms
and technical terminology, I heard and saw much which was _au bout de
mon Latin_, and the head impossible to be made out of the tail.

_E.g._, there were two young lady-performers alleged by the programme to
be "Serios and Bone Soloists," whereas they were the reverse of
lugubrious; nor were their physiognomies fleshless or osseous; but, on
the contrary, so shapely and well-favoured that JESSIE did remonstrate
with me upon the perseverance with which I gazed at them.

And I could not at all find anyone to explain to me the difference
between a "_Comedian_" and a "_Comic_"; or a "_Comedian and Patterer_"
and an "_Eccentric Comedian_"; or a "_Society Belle_" and a "_Burlesque
Artiste_"; or, again, "_A Sketch Artiste_" and a "_Speciality Dancer_."
For to me they seemed precisely similar. There were "_four Charming
Lyric Sisters_," who performed a dance in long expansive skirts, and in
conclusion did all turn heels-over-head in simultaneity; but this, it
seems, was--contrary to my own expectancy--_not_ to dance a speciality.
Speaking for my humble part, I am respectfully of opinion that lovely
woman loses in queenly dignity by the abrupt execution of a somersault;
however, the feat did indubitably excite vociferous applause from the
spectators.

Further there appeared a couple of Duettists in ordinary evening
habiliments, who sang in unison with egregious melodiousness. One was
plump as a partridge; the other thin as a weasel; and they related how
they were both the adorers of a certain lovely damsel called "SALLY,"
who was the darling of their co-operative hearts, and resided in their
Alley. And of all the days in the week they loved Sunday, because then
they were dressed in all their best, and went for a walk with SALLY.

I should have thought that it was not humanly feasible for SALLY to
continue such periodical promenades without exhibiting some preferential
kind of choice, either for the partridge or the weasel, and that such a
triangular courtship and triple alliance would infallibly terminate in
the apple of discord, but JESSIE did assure me that it was quite usual
and the correct cheese for a girl to have more than one beau upon her
string.

[Illustration: "IN GARBAGE OF UNPARAGONED SHABBINESS."]

I made the further observation that the Comedians and Comics must be
reduced to extreme pauperism, since they presented themselves before a
well-dressed, respectable audience in garbage of unparagoned shabbiness,
and with hair of unbrushed wildness, and needing immediate tonsure.

One songster did offer some excuse for the poverty of his appearance,
telling us his hard case, how that he was occupied in declaring his
passion to a beauteous damsel, when she was "all over him in a minute,"
and, while he was making love to the pretty stars above, she cleared out
all his pockets in a minute! At which many laughed; but, though Jove is
said to regard lovers' perjuries with cachinnation, I could not help
feeling the most pitiable sympathy for such a disappointing conclusion
to a love affair, seeing that it is impossible for the comeliest nymph
who returns her admirer's devotion by stealing his purse, and similar
trash, to remain posed any longer upon the towering pedestal of an
ideal. Upon making this remark to JESSIE, however, she uttered the
repartee that I was the silly noodle; though she is, I am sure,
notwithstanding her attachment to gewgaws, not capable of descending
personally to such light-fingered tactics.

I was additionally bewildered by a chorus chanted by one of the Society
Belles, which I took down _verbatim_, in the hope of a solution. It was
as follows: "For I like a good liar, indeed I do! Provided he comes out
with something new! But why did he tell me that story with whiskers on,
why, why, why?"

Now to me it is wholly incomprehensible that the female intelligence
should admire mendacity in the opposite sex on the sole conditions that
the said liar should present himself in some novel article of attire,
and, previously to relating his untruth, remove from his cheeks any
hirsute appendages. One of the boarders whom I consulted on the subject
attempted to persuade me that it was the _story_ that had the whiskers;
but it is nonsensical to suppose that a purely abstract affair like an
untruth could be furnished with capillary growth, which belongs to the
concrete department.

There was a lady described as an "incomparable Comedienne," who was the
victim of unexampled bad luck. For she had purchased a camera (which she
exhibited to the assembly), and with this she had gone about
photographing landscapes and other sceneries. But, lack-a-daisy! no
sooner were they printed than the pictures were discovered to be
irretrievably spoilt by objects in the foreground of such doubtful
propriety that they were not exactly fit to place among her brick-backs,
so she was compelled to keep them in a drawer among her knick-nacks!

I should have liked her to inform us where such a faulty mechanism was
procured, and why she did not exchange it for one of superior
competency.

She was succeeded on the stage by a little girl with a hoop, who bore a
striking resemblance to her predecessor, and was probably her infantile
daughter. This child was evidently of a greatly inquisitive disposition,
and asked many questions of her progenitors which they were unable to
answer, bidding her not to bother, and to go away and play.

Then she asked a juvenile boy (who remained invisible), called "JOHNNY
JONES," and informed us that "she knew now." But I was still in the
total darkness as to the answers, which even JESSIE declared that she
was "_Davus non Oedipus_," and not able to provide with the correct
solutions.

Upon the whole, I am of opinion that music-halls are more fertile in
mental puzzlement and social problems, and more difficult of
comprehension, than theatrical entertainments.

This is, no doubt, why the spectators are allowed to consume liquors and
sandwiches throughout the performance, since it is well known that the
brain cannot carry on its _modus operandi_ with efficiency if the
stomach is in the beggarly array of an empty box!



XIV

_Mr Jabberjee's fellow-student. What's in a Title? An invitation to a
    Wedding. Mr J. as a wedding guest, with what he thought of the
    ceremony, and how he distinguished himself on the occasion._


There is a certain English young fellow-student of mine--to wit and
_videlicet_, HOWARD ALLBUTT-INNETT, Esquire, with whom I have succeeded
in scratching an acquaintance at sundry Law Lectures, and in the Library
of my Inn of Court--a most amiable tip-top young chap, who is "the
moulded glass of fashionable form," and cap-in-hand with innumerable
aristocratic nobs.

Seeing that I had (at an earlier period) been a more diligent attendant
and note-taker of lectures than himself, he did pay me the transcendent
compliment of borrowing the loan of my note-book, which, to my grateful
astonishment, he condescended to bring back personally to Porticobello
House, saying that he had found my notes magnificent, and totally
incomprehensible to his more limited intellect!

In _additum_, he graciously accepted my invitation to ascend to the
drawing-room, where I introduced him freely to several select lady
boarders as my _alter ego_ and _Fidus Achates_.

On taking his leave, he expressed some marvelling that I should have
concealed my superior rank under the reticence of a napkin, having
observed that I was addressed as "Prince" by more than one of the
softer-sexed boarders.

I replied that I attached no valid importance to the _nominis umbra_ of
such a barren title, and that the contents of what there is nothing in
must necessarily be naught.

He answered me warmly that he entirely joined issue with me in such an
opinion, and that he was often affected to sickishness by the snobbery
of mundane society, adding that he hoped I would give him the look up at
his paternal mansion in Prince's Square, Bayswater, shortly, since his
people would be overjoyed at making my acquaintance, which both
enraptured and surprised me, for hitherto he had ridden the high and
rough-shoed horse, and employed me to suck my brains as a cat's foot.

And odzookers! before many days I was the recipient of a silver-lettered
missive, stating that Mr and Mrs LEOFRIC ALLBUTT-INNETT did request the
honour of Prince JABBERJEE'S company at the marriage of their daughter,
CLORINDA ISABEL, with Mr OVERTON WOODBEIGH-SMART, at a certain sacred
Bayswater edifice.

This I eagerly accepted, perceiving that my friend must have eulogised
to his parents my legal accomplishments and forensic acumen.

[Illustration: "THE SPECTATORS SALUTED ME WITH SHOUTS OF JOY AS THE
RETURNED SHAHZADAR."]

When I did, in all my best, obey, alighting at the church in my embossed
cap, shawl neckcloth, a pair of yellow glove-kids, and patented Japan
shoes, the spectators saluted me with shouts of joy as the returned
SHAHZADAR, which caused me to bow profusely, while the driver of the
hansom petitioned an additional sixpence.

The interior of the church was dim and crowded with feminines, and I
could only hear flutters and rustlings, together with a subdued mumble
at the remoter end--which I ascertained to be the ceremony. Then
followed the long stop and awkward pause, accompanied on the organ, and
at length all the company stood on seats and the tiptoe of expectation,
as the bridal procession moved slowly down the central passage amidst
the congratulations of their friends and nearest relations.

Not being desirous to hide under a bushel, I did press myself forward,
and addressing a lady whom I took to be the bride, I felicitated her
loudly, wishing that she might never become a widow, or use vermilion on
her grey head, and that she might wear the iron bangle, and get seven
male children.

Unhappily the serene ray of my goodwill was born to blush unseen in the
dark unfathomed cave of a desert ear, for the actual recipient of my
compliments was an unmarried spinster relative, who had already passed
the years of discretion.

Mrs ALLBUTT-INNETT welcomed me with cordial effusiveness, insisting that
I should honour them by visiting their residence, and critically
inspecting the nuptial gifts, to which I consented.

On my arrival, I held a lengthy colloquy with the happy bridegroom, from
whom I was anxious to obtain particulars of English marriage customs,
such as whether he would be required to spend the evening in having his
ears pulled, and other facetious banterings by his mother-in-law and
sisters-in-law, as in India.

But he seemed oppressed by so severe a bashfulness that I could extract
no information from him, and presently the father of the bride came up
and conducted me into an apartment wherein was a kind of bazaar, or
exhibition of clocks and lamps and stationery cases and knives and forks
and other trinkets and gewgaws, none of which appeared to me at all
different from similar objects in shop windows.

However, the greatest admiration and wonderment were expressed by all
who entered, and I found that the host was under grave apprehensiveness
that the presents might be looted by the more unscrupulous of the
guests, for he pointed out to me a sharp-eyed, shy gentleman in a
corner, who, he informed me, was a disguised police-officer. This, at
first, I was loth to believe, but was assured that it was a necessary
precaution.

Still, I will presume to point out that the simulation by a policeman of
the ordinary character of a friend of the family and fellow-rejoicer, is
a rather reprehensible trap to catch a sleeping weasel, since those
whose honesty is not invariably above par may be lulled into the false
security by his civilian get-up. And I did assure him, privately, that
it was totally unnecessary to keep an eye on myself, who was a native
University man with no necessity or natural taste for peculation, but
that I would infallibly inform him if I should succeed at detecting any
attempted dishonesty.

Later I was ushered into the refreshment-room, and partook of a pink
ice, with champagne-wine and strawberries, after which I entreated leave
of Mrs ALLBUTT-INNETT to deliver a nuptial oration. And she, overjoyed
at my happy thought, did loudly request silence for Prince JABBERJEE,
who was to utter a few very brief utterances.

So as they became all ears, I addressed them, describing how, in my
native country, at such a bridal feast and blow-out, it was customary
for the bridegroom's mother to eat a sevenfold repast, for fear of a
subsequently empty stomach; but the bride's mother, on the contrary,
will touch nothing, feeling that the more she fasts then, the more
provender will fall to her later on. And I facetiously added that, on
the present occasion, I had the certainty that both the mothers might
indulge their appetites _ad libitum_.

Next I recounted how, during a former boyish wedding of my own, my
wife's mother after, as was befitting, setting a conical tinselled cap
upon my head, and placing ten rings of twigs upon my ten fingers, and
binding my hands with a weaver's shuttle, did say, "I have bound thee,
and bought thee with cowries, and put a shuttle between thy fingers; now
bleat then like a lamb." Whereupon I, being of a jokish disposition,
did, unexpectedly and contrary to usage, cry "Baa" loudly, causing my
mother-in-law to fear that I was a dull--until that night in the Zenana
she had the great happiness to overhear me outwitting all the females
present by the sprightliness of my badinage.

And I was proceeding, amidst vociferous cachinnation, to enumerate some
of my most lively sallies, when the bride's father did take me by the
arm, and drawing me aside, inform me that the young couple were just
about to start for their wedding journey, and that I was urgently
required to see them depart.

I observed that here, as with us, it is _de règle_ to scatter rice upon
the head of the bridegroom--but neither treacle nor spices. Moreover,
this complimentary shower is extended to the bride and the
carriage-horses, and hurled with athletic vigorousness, while it is a
point of honour to knock off the coachman's hat with a female satin
slipper.

I was disappointed to see that both the happy pair had cast aside their
gorgeous wedding garments, and put on quite ordinary and everyday
attire, which, if not due to excessive parsimoniousness, must originate
in a shamefaced desire to conceal their state of connubiality though it
might be reasonably anticipated that they should rather be anxious to
manifest their triumphant good-luck _pro bono publico_.



XV

_Mr Jabberjee is asked out to dinner. Unreasonable behaviour of his
    betrothed. His doubts concerning the social advantages of a Boarding
    Establishment, with some scathing remarks upon ambitious pretenders.
    He goes out to dinner, and meets a person of some importance._


The pleasing impression produced by this humble self upon both Mister
and Mrs ALLBUTT-INNETT at the wedding of their eldest daughter became
speedily prolific of golden fruit in the request of the honour of my
company for dinner at 8.15 P.M. on a subsequent evening.

Incidentally recounting this prime compliment to my lovely JESSIMINA, I
was astounded that she did not share my jubilations, but was, on the
contrary, the sore subject at not being included in such invitation,
which, as I explained, was totally irrational, seeing that the inviters
remained unaware of her nude existence. She, however, maintained that I
ought to have mentioned that I was an affianced, and have refused to sit
at any banquet at which she was fobbed off with a cold shoulder. This
again was absurd, since the moiety of a loaf is preferable to total
deprivation of the staff of life, and moreover, in my country, it is
customary for the husband-elect to take his meals apart from his bride
that is to be; nor does she ever touch food until he has previously
assuaged his pangs of hunger. Notwithstanding, she would not be pacified
until I had bestowed upon her a gold and turquoise ring of best English
workmanship, as an olive-branch and calumet of peace.

But, outside Porticobello House, I have been close as wax on the subject
of my flowery chains, and it was especially inconceivable that I should
inform my friend HOWARD of same, since he has frequently bantered me in
wonderment that a respectable Oriental magnate should reside in such a
very ordinary and third-rate boarding establishment, where it was an
impossibility to gain any real familiarity with smart and refined
English society.

[Illustration: "SOME HAUGHTY MASCULINE MIGHT INSULT HER UNDER MY VERY
NOSE."]

And who knows that if I should introduce Miss JESSIE into company of a
superior caste, some haughty masculine might insult her under my very
nose; and lack-a-daisy! where would she find a protector?

I am certainly oppressed by an increasing dubiety whether Mrs MANKLETOW
is verily such an upper crustacean and _habituée_ of the _beau monde_ as
she did represent herself to be. It is well-nigh incomprehensible that
any individual should seek to appear of a higher social status than
Nature has provided; but my youthful acquaintance, ALLBUTT-INNETT, Jun.,
Esq., informs me that this is a common failing among the English
classes, who fondly imagine that nothing is needed to render a frog the
exact equivalent to an ox except an increased quantity of air,
forgetting that if a frog is abnormally inflated, it is apt to provide
the rather ludicrous catastrophe of exploding from excessive
swellishness!

However _revenons à nos moutons_--_id est_, the dinner party.

I intended to be the early bird at Prince's Square, but, owing to a
rarity among the hansom cabs, did not arrive until most of the guests
were already assembled, being welcomed with effusive hospitality by the
household god and goddess, Mr and Mrs ALLBUTT-INNETT, who begged leave
to present to me all the most distinguished of their friends.

Then--_pop_, and _à l'improviste_--the door was thrown open, and a
butler announced _ore rotundo_, Sir CHETWYND CUMMERBUND, whom, in the
wink of an eye, I recognised as an ex-Justice of the very court in
Calcutta in which my male progenitor practices as a mook-tear, or
attorney, and who, moreover, was familiar with myself almost _ab ovo_,
having been more than once humbly presented to his notice by my said
father, with a request for his patronising opinion of my abilities, and
the feasibility of my education at a London Inn of Court!

Oh, my gracious! I was as if to sink through the carpet, and sought to
draw in my horns of dilemma behind a column, when, to my uncontrollable
dismay, my hostess led him towards me, with the remark that he was
probably already acquainted in India with His Highness Prince JABBERJEE.

The Hon'ble Retired Judge at this did merely smile indulgently,
observing that India was a country of considerable extensiveness, and
inquiring of me in my own tongue where my _raj_ was situated, and the
strength of my army, though with a scintillation in his visual organs
that told me he knew me perfectly well.

And I, realising that honesty was my best policy of insurance from his
displeasure, did throw myself frankly on the mercy of the Court,
protesting volubly in native language that I was an industrious poor
Bengali boy, and had always regarded him as my beloved father; that I
was not to blame because certain foolish, ignorant persons imagined me
to be some species of Rajah; and earnestly representing to him that our
kind mutual hostess would be woefully distressed by any disclosures.
"Let your Hon'ble Ludship," I said, "only remain hermetically sealed,
and preserve this as a trade secret, and my sisters, sisters-in-law, and
aunts shall always chant hymns on the Ganges for your Honour's
felicities!"

His Honour, laughing good-naturedly, did tell me that if I liked to
assume the plumes of a daw, it was no affair of his, and kindly promised
to respect my confidences--at which I was greatly relieved. Indeed,
throughout the evening, nothing could exceed his affability, for, being
seated on the other side of the hostess, opposite myself, he showed me
the greatest honour and deference, frequently requesting my views on
such subjects as Increased Representation of the People of India, the
National Congress, and so forth; upon which, being now perfectly
reassured and at my ease, I discoursed with facundity, and did loudly
extol the intellectual capacity of the Bengalis, as evinced by
marvellous success in passing most difficult exams., and denouncing it
as a crying injustice and beastly shame that fullest political powers
should not be conceded to them, and that they should not be eligible for
all civil appointments _pari passu_, or even in priority to Englishmen.

Wherein his Honour did warmly agree, assuring me with fatherly
benignancy of the pleasure with which he would hear of my appointment to
be Head of a District somewhere on the Punjab frontier, and mentioning
how a certain native Bengali gentleman of his acquaintance,
Deputy-Commissioner GRISH CHUNDER DÉ, Esq., M.A., had distinguished
himself splendidly (according to the printed testimony of Hon'ble
KIPLING) in such a post of danger.

I replied, that I was not passionately in love with personal danger, and
that in my case _cedant arma togæ_, and my tongue was mightier than my
sword, but that there was no doubt that we Bengalis were intellectually
competent to govern the whole country, provided only that we were backed
up from behind by a large English military force to uphold our
authority, as otherwise we should soon be the pretty pickles, owing to
brutal violence from Sikhs, Rajputs, Marathas, and similar uncivilised
coarse races.

And Sir CHETWYND expressed his lively satisfaction that I appreciated
some of the advantages of the British occupation.

Thus, through my presence of mind in boldly grappling with the nettle, I
turned what might have been a disaster into a conspicuous triumph, for
all the company, seeing the favour I was in with such a big wig as
Hon'ble CUMMERBUND, listened to me with spell-bound enchantment,
especially my friend HOWARD'S sprightly young sister, a damsel of
distinguished personal attractiveness, who was seated on my other side.
Her birth-name is LOUISA-GWENDOLEN; but her family and intimates, so she
did inform me, call her "WEE-WEE."

Of the dinner itself I can speak highly, as being inexpressibly
superior, both in stylishness of service and for the quality of the
food, etc., to any meals hitherto furnished by Mrs MANKLETOW'S mahogany
board. Nevertheless, I wondered to find the ALLBUTT-INNETTS behind the
times in one respect, viz., the lighting, which was with old-fashioned
candles and semi-obscured lamps, instead of the more modern and
infinitely more brilliant illumination of gas! Here, at least, though in
other particulars of very mediocre elegance, I must pronounce
Porticobello House the more up to date.

In taking leave, I did thank Hon'ble Sir CHETWYND CUMMERBUND profusely
for so discreetly retaining its feline contents within the generous bag
of his mouth, whereat he clapped my back very cordially, advising me to
abstain for the future from a super-abundance of frills, since the
character of a diligent legal native student was a precious lily that
needed no princely gilding, and adding that he was indebted to me for a
most entertaining and mirthful evening. This I do not understand, as I
had not uttered any of the facetious puns and conceits wherewith it is
my _wont_--when I _will_[1]--to set the table in a simper.

But possibly I may have spoken rather humorously unawares, and it is
proverbial that these exalted legal luminaries are pleased with a
rattle and tickled by a straw.

On my return I did omit to mention Miss WEE-WEE to JESSIMINA; but, after
all, _cui bono_?

FOOTNOTE:

[1] This is a fairly sample specimen, though I have frequently surpassed
it in waggish drollery.--_H. B. J._



XVI

_Mr Jabberjee makes a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Shakespeare._


I have frequently spoken in the flattering terms of a eulogium
concerning my extreme partiality for the writings of Hon'ble WILLIAM
SHAKSPEARE. It has been remarked, with some correctness, that he did not
exist for an age, but all the time; and though it is the open question
whether he did not derive all his ideas from previous writers, and even
whether he wrote so much as a single line of the plays which are
attributed to his inspired nib, he is one of the institutions of the
country, and it is the correct thing for every orthodox British subject
to admire and understand him even when most incomprehensible.

Consequently I did cock-a-hoop for joy on receiving an invitation from
my friend ALLBUTT-INNETT, Jun., Esq., on behalf of his parents, that I
should accompany them on an excursion by rail to Stratford-upon-Avon,
where the said poet had his domicile of origin.

And so great was my enthusiasm that, during the journey, I declaimed,
_ore rotundo_, certain select passages from his works which I had
committed to memory during the salad days of my schoolboyishness, and
with such effect that Miss WEE-WEE ALLBUTT-INNETT (who is excessively
emotional) was compelled, at times, to veil her countenance in the
recesses of a pocket-handkerchief.

Having at length arrived at that hallowed and sacred spot, the very name
of which sends a sweet and responsive thrill through every educated
bosom, our first proceeding was to partake of a copious cold tiffin.

This repast we ordered at an old-fashioned hostelry, whose doorway was
decorated by a counterfeit presentment of the Bard, and I observed that
similar effigies were placed above several of the shops as I walked
along the streets. These images somewhat resemble those erected to
Buddha in certain parts of India, being similarly bald, but
terminating--not in crossed legs, but a cushion with tassels. However, I
was not able to discover that it is the custom for even the most
ignorant inhabitants to do anything in the nature of poojah before these
figures any longer, though probably usual enough before CROMWELL, with
the iron sides, ordered all such baubles to be removed. In a hole of the
upper wall of the Town Hall there is a life-size statuary of SHAKSPEARE,
with legs complete, showing that he was not actually deficient in such
extremities and a mere gifted Torso: and it is presumable that the
reason why only his upper portions are generally represented is, that
marble in these parts is too precious a commodity to be wasted on mere
superfluities.

We visited the church, and saw his tomb, and there again was the
superior half of him occupied with writing verses on a cushion in a
mural niche, supported by pillars. Upon a slab below is inscribed a
verse requesting that his dust should not be digged, and cursing him who
should interfere with his bones, but in so mediocre a style, and of such
indifferent orthography, that it is considered by some to be a sort of
spurious cryptogram composed by Hon'ble BACON.

On such a _vexata quæstio_ I am not to give a decided opinion, though
the verse, as a literary composition, is hardly up to the level of
_Hamlet_, and it would perhaps have been preferable if the poet, instead
of attempting an impromptu, had looked out some suitable quotation from
his earlier works. For, when an author is occupied in shuffling off his
mortal coil, it is unreasonable to expect him to produce poetry that is
up to the mark.

When I advanced this excuse aloud in the church, a party of Americans
within hearing exclaimed, indignantly, that such irreverent levity was a
scandal in a spot which was the Mecca of the entire civilised universe.

Whereupon I did protest earnestly that I meant no irreverence, being
_nulli secundus_ in respect for the _Genius Loci_, only, as a critic of
English Literature, I could not help regretting that a poet gifted with
every requisite for producing a satisfactory epitaph had produced a
doggerel which was undeniably below his usual par.

This rendered them of an increased ferocity, until Mr ALLBUTT-INNETT
good naturedly took them into a corner and whispered that I was a very
wealthy young Indian Prince, of great scholastic attainments, but
oppressed by an uncontrollable _naïveté_, after which they all came and
shook me by the hand, saying they were very proud to have met me.

[Illustration: "IT WAS HERE," I SAID, REVERENTLY, "THAT THE SWAN OF AVON
WAS HATCHED!"]

Afterwards we proceeded to the Birthplace, where a very gentlewomanly
female exhibited the apartment in which the Infant Bard first saw the
light. Alack! there was but little light to behold, being a shockingly
low and dingy room, meagrely furnished with two chairs and a table, on
which was another of the busts. As I came in, I uttered a remark which I
had prepared for the occasion. "It was here," I said, reverently, "here
that the Swan of Avon was hatched!" At which Miss WEE-WEE was again
overcome by emotion.

The room was greatly in the necessity of whitewash, being black with
smoke and signatures in lead pencil. Even the window-panes were
scratched all over by diamonds, on seeing which, and being also the
possessor of a diamond and gold ring, I was about to inscribe my own
name, but was prevented by the lady custodian.

I indignantly and eloquently protested that if Hon'ble Sirs, WALTER
SCOTT, Lord BYRON, ISAAC WALTON, WASHINGTON IRVING and Co. were
permitted to deface the glass thus, surely I, who was a graduate of
Calcutta University, and a valuable contributor to London _Punch_, was
equally entitled, since what was sauce for a goose was sauce for a
gander, and Mrs ALLBUTT-INNETT urged that I was a distinguished
Shakspearian student and Indian prince, but the custodian responded that
she couldn't help that, for it was _ultra vires_, nevertheless.

However, while she was engaged in pointing out the spot where somebody's
signature had been before it was peeled away, I, snatching the
opportunity behind her back, did triumphantly inscribe my autograph on
the bust's nose.

In the back-room they showed us where SHAKSPEARE'S father stapled his
wool, which caused Mrs ALLBUTT-INNETT to remark that she had always
understood that the poet was of quite humble origin, and that, for her
part, she thought it was all the more creditable to him to have done
what he did do.

We also inspected the Museum, and were shown SHAKSPEARE'S jug, a rather
ordinary concern; the identical dial which one of the clowns in his
plays drew out of a poke, and a ring with W. S. engraved on it, found
in the churchyard some years ago, and, no doubt, dropped there by the
poet himself, while absorbed in the composition of his famous and
world-renowned elegy.

There were several portraits of him also, all utterly unlike one
another, or only agreeing in one respect, namely, their total
dissimilarity from the bust.

We likewise saw the very desk SHAKSPEARE used, after creeping
unwillingly to school with a shining face like a snail's. I was pained
to see evidence of the mischievousness of the juvenile genius, for it
was slashed and hacked to such a doleful degree as to be totally
incapacitated for scholastic use!

I myself was sprightly in my youth, but never, I am proud to say, to the
extent of wilfully damaging my master's furniture! Before leaving, we
walked to visit the residence of SHAKSPEARE'S wife, which turned out to
be a very humble thatched-roof affair, such as is commonly occupied by
peasants.

But, as Mrs ALLBUTT-INNETT said, it is a sad fact that distinguished
literary characters often make most imprudent marriages. Which put me in
a wonderment whether she had heard anything about myself and Miss
MANKLETOW.

At one of the bazaars I purchased a beautiful Shakspearian souvenir, in
the form of a coloured porcelain model of SHAKSPEARE'S birthplace,
which can be rendered transparent and luminous by the insertion of a
night-light.

This I had intended humbly to offer for the gracious acceptance of Miss
WEE-WEE, but having thrust it into a coat-tail pocket, I unfortunately
sat upon it in the train as we were returning.

So I presented it as a token of remembrance to JESSIMINA, who was
transported with delight at the gift, which she said could be easily
rendered the _statu quo_ by dint of a little diamond cement.



XVII

_Containing some intimate confidences from Mr Jabberjee, with the
    explanation of such apparent indiscretion._


Since writing my latest contribution I have folded up my tent like an
Arab, and silently stolen away from Porticobello House, this independent
hook being taken under the ostensible and colourable pretext of a
medical opinion that the climate of Bayswater was operating injuriously
upon my internal arrangements, but the real _causa causans_ and _dessous
des cartes_ being a growing disinclination for the society of select
male and female boarders.

Miss JESSIMINA was naturally bathed in tears at the announcement of my
approaching departure, although I fondly sought to console her by
assurances that my residence in Highbury, Islington, though beyond the
radius and of inaccessible remoteness from Ladbroke Grove, should not
obliterate her brilliant image from the cracked looking-glass of my
heart, and that I would write to her with weekly regularity, and revisit
the glimpses of her moony presence at the first convenient opportunity.

I do correspond with effusiveness and punctuality through the obliging
medium of a young intimate Indian acquaintance of mine, who does
actually reside at Highbury, and has kindly undertaken to forward my
_billets doux_.

This stratagem is necessitated by the circumstance that (as a matter of
fact) I am dwelling under a rose at Hereford Road, Westbourne Grove,
which is in convenient proximity to Prince's Square and the stately home
of the ALLBUTT-INNETT family, with whom I am now promoted to become the
tame cat.

[Illustration: _"UNACCUSTOMED TO DARK-COMPLEXIONED GENTLEMEN."_
(frontispiece)]

In Hereford Road I occupy garishly genteel first-floor front and back
apartments at rupees fifteen per week and the Lady of the Land has
entreated me to kindly excuse the waiting-maid for jumping with
diffidence whenever I pop upon her unpremeditatedly on the stairs, being
a nervous girl and unaccustomed to dark-complexioned gentlemen--though
her own countenance, from superabundance of blacking and smuts, being of
a far superior nigritude, it is I myself who should be more justified in
jumping.

However, she is already becoming the _habituée_, and seldom drops the
crockery-ware now--except when I simper with too beaming a
condescension.

Certain of my readers will perhaps hold up the hands of amazement at my
imprudence in disclosing my whereabouts, and other private concerns, in
the publicity of a popular periodical--but there is method in such
madness; they do not take in _Punch_ at Porticobello House, considering
that one penny (or even the moiety of that sum) is more correct value
for funny and comical illustrated journalism, while the ALLBUTT-INNETTS,
although they see _Punch_ weekly do not peruse the literary contents,
especially in the season, when, as Mrs A.-I. frequently remarks, they
are in such a constant whirl of social dissipation that they have
absolutely no time for serious reading.

At first I was severely mortified that--so far as my acquaintances were
concerned--these tittlings and jottings should be thus written with
water, but I have since made the discovery that my cloud of
disappointment is internally lined with precious silver.



XVIII

_Mr Jabberjee is a little over-ingenious in his excuses._


Since shaking the dust off my feet at Porticobello House, I have not
succeeded to pluck the courage for a personal interview with Miss
JESSIMINA, and my correspondence, duly forwarded per Mr BHOOBONE LALL
JALPANYBHOY, of Highbury, has consisted mainly of abject excuses for
non-attendance on plea of over-study for Bar Exam, and total incapacity
to journey due to excessive disorderliness in stomach department.

This, unhappily, at length inspired her with the harrowing dread that I
was on the point of being launched into the throes of eternity, if not
already as dead as Death's door-nail, and so, with feminine want of
reflection, she performed a hurried pilgrimage to Highbury.

Now, whether on account of the beetleheadedness of a domestic, or Baboo
JALPANYBHOY'S incompetency in the art of equivocation, I am not to
say--but the sequel of her inquiries was the unshakable conviction that
I had not struck root in the habitation from which my letters were
ostensibly addressed.

And in a subsequently forwarded letter she did reproach me pathetically
with my duplicity, and accused me of being a fickle--by which I was so
unspeakably cut up that I abstained from the condescension of a
rejoinder.

Next I became the involuntary recipient of another letter in more
intemperate style, menacing me that with a hook or a crook, she would
dislodge me from the loophole in which I was snugly established, and
that several able-bodied boarders were the hue of a full cry in pursuit.

Since Hereford Road is in dangerous proximity to Ladbroke Grove, I was
sitting tight in my apartments on receipt of this grave intelligence,
with funk in my heart, and the Unknown hovering above me, when my young
friend HOWARD ALLBUTT-INNETT, Esq., arrived with his bicycle, like a god
on a machine, and perceiving the viridity of my countenance, inquired
sympathetically what was up.

At first, being mindful of the excessive liveliness with which he had
bantered my residence in a boarding-house of such mediocre pretensions,
I was naturally disinclined to reveal that I was in the plight of troth
with the proprietress's daughter; but eventually I overcame my coyness,
and uncovered the pretty kettle of fish of my _infandum dolorem_, and my
ardent longing to hit upon some plan to extricate myself from the
suffocating coils of such a Laocoon.

"My dear old chap," he said kindly, after I had unfolded the last link
of my tale of woe, "I will put you up in a dodge that will perform the
trick. Don't see the young woman, or she will get round you with half a
jiffy. Write to her that you are not worthy of a rap, and no more a
Prince than I am!"

Hearing his last words, I started, and did, like the ghost of _Hamlet_,
Senior, "jump at this dead hour," being convinced that young HOWARD had
found out (perhaps from Hon'ble CUMMERBUND) that my title was a bogus,
and anticipating that, if he divulged the skeleton of my bare cupboard
to his highly genteel parents, I should infallibly experience the
crushing mortification of a chuck out.

However, I hid the fox that was nibbling my vitals by inquiring, in a
rather natural accent, what he meant by such a suggestion.

"Are you such an innocent, simple old Johnny, Prince," he said, with
reassuring _bonhomie_, "as not to catch the idea? Do you not know that
European feminines in all ranks of society--alack, even in our own!--are
immoderately attracted by anyone possessed of riches and a title--or of
either of the two? As an _au faït_ in the female temperament, I shall
wager that it is nine out of ten that if you spoof this mercenary young
minx into believing that you are merely a native impecunious nonentity,
and not to be shot at with powder, she will instantaneously drop
pursuing such a hot potato."

To this speech (reported _verbatim_ to best of my ability) I did shake
my head sorrowfully, and reply that I greatly feared that JESSIMINA'S
devotion to this unlucky self was too severe to be diverted, or even
checked, like a cow that is infuriated or _non compos mentis_, by the
mere relinquishment of such tinsel and gewgaw wraps as a title or
worldly belongings, having frequently (and that, too, _prior_ to our
engagement) protested her preference for very dark-complexioned
individuals, and her vehement curiosity to behold India.

[Illustration: "ASCENDED HIS BICYCLE WITH A WAGGISH WINKLE IN HIS EYE."]

But he, as he ascended his bicycle with a waggish winkle in his eye,
repeated that I might try it on at all events.

Still, I could not induce myself to adopt his spoofish strategy, for I
reflected that, though it might convince her that I was unmarriageable,
it would only increase her fury and the vengeance of her champion
boarders. So at length I composed a moving epistle, as follows:--

      INCOMPARABLE--THOUGH LACK-A-DAISY!
           INACCESSIBLE--JESSIMINA!

Poet SHAKSPEARE has shrewdly observed that "a true lover never did run a
straight course," and the sincerity of present writer's affection is
incontestably proved by his apparent crookedness of running, and keeping
dark outside the illuminating rays of thy moon-like countenance. The
cause is the unforeseen cataclysm of a decree from my family astrologer
or _dowyboghee_, whom I have anxiously consulted upon our joint
matrimonial prospects. [MEM. TO THE READERS.--_This was what young
~HOWARD~ would term "~the bit of spoof~." I am no ninny-hammer to
consult an exploded astrologer!_] _Miserabile dictu!_ the venerable and
senile pundit reports that such an alliance would infallibly plunge us
into the peck of troubles, since the sign of your natal month is the
meek and innocent Lamb--while mine is the more ferocious Lion!

A very slight familiarity with Natural History, &c., will show you the
utter incompatibility of temper between such an uncongenial couple of
animals, and the correctness of said astrologer's prediction that it
must infallibly be the Lamb who would be whiphanded in the unequal
conflict.

In consequence, though I am beating the floor with my head as I write,
and moistening the carpet with the copiousness of my lachrymations, I
must bid you the final and irrevocable adieu and _au revoir_, since I am
unwilling to act as a selfish. Think of me as "a prince out of thy
star," to quote the reference of SHAKSPEARE'S character, _Polonius_, to
_Hamlet_, under precisely similar circumstances. You will please forget
me _instanter_, and accept this as my last solemn so-long, which I utter
on the threshold of preparation for the stern and dreaded ordeal of Bar
Exam. In frantic haste,

Your ever faithful and broken-hearted Baboo,

      HURRY.

P.S.--_No answer required._

But after an interval of a very few posts, in spite of my strict
injunctions to contrary, I got the answer that she was deeply moved by
my self-sacrifice, and had never loved me more. Having been brought up
in a Christian disbelief of all astronomy, she was not in fear of my
"doweybogey" or any other native bogies, and nothing should part us, if
she could help it. She added, that I had been seen about Westbourne
Grove recently.

On receipt of this touching and beautiful communication I was again in
the stampede of panic, and realised that I must have immediate resort to
some stronger description of "Spoof."

It is calamitous that I cannot find a card up my sleeve with the single
exception of my young friend HOWARD'S dodge, which I fear will prove too
filamentous.

However, a faint heart never got rid of a fair lady!



XIX

_Mr Jabberjee tries a fresh tack. His visit to the India Office and
    sympathetic reception._


In my last I had the honour to report the total non-success of my
endeavour to nill my betrothal on plea of astrological objections, and
how I was consequentially up the tree of embarrassment.

I have since resolved that honesty is my best politics, and have
confessed to Miss MANKLETOW in a well-expressed curt letter that I am
only the possessor of a courtesy title, and, so far from rolling on the
rosy bed of unlimited rhino, am out of elbows, and dependent upon
parental remittances for pin-money.

For corroboration of said statements I begged to refer her politely to
my benevolent friend and patron, Hon'ble Sir CUMMERBUND, Nevern Square,
South Kensington; to whom I simultaneously wrote a private and
confidential note, instructing him that if any young female person was
to inquire particulars of my birth, origin, &c., he was to tell the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, especially making it
clear that I was neither a tip-top Rajah, nor a Leviathan of filthy
lucre.

The rest (up to present date) is silence; but I have confident hopes
that the manly, straightforward stratagem suggested by my friend, young
HOWARD, will accomplish the job, and procure me the happy release.

I am now to pass to a different subject--to wit, a visit I paid some
time since to the India Office. The why of the wherefore was that, in
conversation with the ALLBUTT-INNETTS, I had boasted freely of the
credit I was in with certain high grade India Official nobs, who could
refuse me nothing.

Which was hitherto the positive fact, since I had never requested any
favour at their hands.

But Mrs ALLBUTT-INNETT stated that she had heard that the
reception-soirées at said India Office were extremely enjoyable and
classy, and inquired whether I possessed sufficient influence to obtain
for her tickets of admission to one of these select entertainments.

Naturally I had to reply that I could indubitably do the trick, and
would at once proceed to the India Office and interview one of the
senior clerks who regarded me as his brother.

So, after procuring a _Whitaker Almanack_, and hunting up the name of
one of the most senior, I cabbed to Whitehall. Inside the entrance I
found an attendant sitting at a table absorbed in reading, who rose and
inquired my business, and upon my statement that I desired to see Mr
BREAKWATER, Esq., on urgent business, courteously directed me up a
marble staircase, at the top of which was a second attendant, also
engaged in brown study--for the attendants appear to be laudably
addicted to the cultivation of their minds.

He informed me that I should find Mr BREAKWATER'S room down a certain
corridor, and proceeding thither, I stopped a clerk who was hurrying
along with his hands full of documents, and represented that I had come
for an immediate interview with Mr BREAKWATER on highly important
matters.

He demanded incredulously whether Mr BREAKWATER expected me.

This elevated my monkey, and I retorted, haughtily, that I was the bosom
friend of said Mr B., who would be overjoyed to receive me, and,
following him into a room, I peremptorily demanded that he should inform
his master without fail that Baboo JABBERJEE was there.

Whereupon, with the nonchalance of a Jack in an office, he rang a bell
and desired an attendant to usher me to the waiting-room.

There, in a large gloomy apartment, surrounded by portraits of English
and Native big pots, I did sit patiently sucking the golden nob of my
umbrella for a quarter of an hour, until the attendant returned, saying,
that Mr BREAKWATER could see me now, and presently showed me into the
aforesaid private room, where, behind a large table covered with wicker
baskets containing dockets and memoranda, _et hoc genus omne_, sat the
very gentleman whom I had recently taken for his own underling!

Formerly I should have proffered abject excuses, but I am now
sufficiently up in British observances to know that the only necessary
is a frank and breezy apology.

So, disguising my bashful confusion, I said, "I am awfully sorry that I
took you, my dear old chap, for a common ordinary fellow; but remember
the proverb, that 'appearances are deceitful,' and do not reveal a thin
skin about a rather natural mistake."

Mr BREAKWATER courteously entreated me not to mention the affair, but to
state my business briefly. Accordingly I related how I was a native
Bengalee student, at present moving Heaven and Earth to pass Bar Exam,
and my intimate connection with the distinguished Bayswater family of
the ALLBUTT-INNETTS, who were consumed with longing for free tickets to
an official _soirée_. I then described the transcendent charms of Miss
WEE-WEE, and my own ardent desire to obtain her grateful recognition by
procuring the open sesame for self and friends. Furthermore, I pointed
out that, as an official in the India Office, he was _in loco parentis_
to myself, and bound to indulge all my reasonable requests, and I
assured him that if he exhibited generosity on this occasion, the entire
ALLBUTT-INNETT family, self included, would ever pray on the crooked
hinges of knees for his temporal and spiritual welfare.

He heard me benignantly, but said he regretted that it was not in his
power to oblige me.

"You are not to suppose," I said, "that I am a native TOM-DICK or HARRY.
I am a B.A. of Calcutta University, and candidate for call to Bar. _In
additum_, I am the literary celebrity, being especially retained to jot
and tittle for the periodical of _Punch_."

Mr BREAKWATER assured me earnestly that he fully appreciated my many
distinguished claims, but that he was under an impossibility of granting
my petition for an invite to the annual summer _soirée_, owing to the
fact that aforesaid festivity was already the _fait accompli_.

"How is that?" I exclaimed. "Have I not read in the daily press of a
grand _durbar_ to be given shortly in honour of Hon'ble HUNG CHANG?"

"But that is at the Foreign Office," he objected; "we have no connection
with such a concern."

[Illustration: "PITCH IT STRONG, MY RESPECTABLE SIR!"]

"The Foreign Office would be better than nullity," I said. "I will tell
you what to do. Write me a letter to show to the head of the Foreign
Office. You can state that you have known me intimately for a long
time, and that I am deserving of patronage. Hint, for instance, that it
is impolitic to show favouritism to one Oriental (such as a Chinese)
rather than another, and that you will regard any kindness done to me as
the personal favour to yourself. Pitch it strong, my respectable Sir!"

He, however, protested that any recommendation from him would be a
_brutum fulmen_.

"You are too modest, honoured Sir!" I told him, seeing that flattery was
requisite; "but I am not the ignoramus of how highly your character and
virtues are esteemed, and I can assure you that you are not so
contemptible a nonentity as you imagine. Listen to me; I am now to go to
the Foreign Office, and shall there assume the liberty of mentioning
your distinguished name as a referee."

With benevolent blandness he accorded me full permission to go where I
liked, and say anything I chose, recommending me warmly to depart
immediately.

Seeing him so well-disposed, I ventured, on taking my leave, to pat his
shoulder in friendly facetiousness, and to say, "It is all right, old
boy. Remember, I have complete _bonâ fides_ in your ability to work the
oracle for me successfully." Which rendered him _sotto voce_ with
gratification.

But alack! at the Foreign Office, after stating my business and sitting
like Patience on a Monument for two immortal hours, I was officially
informed that the Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was
not in, and that all the Private and Under Secretaries were equally
invisible.

This, I must respectfully submit, is not exactly the correct style to
conduct a first-class Empire!



XX

_Mr Jabberjee distinguishes himself in the Bar Examination, but is less
    successful in other respects. He writes another extremely ingenious
    epistle, from which he anticipates the happiest results._


I am happy to announce that I have passed the _pons asinorum_ of Bar
Exam with facility of a needle penetrating the camel's eye. _Tant
mieux!_ Huzza! Tol-de-rol-loll!!!

[Illustration: "HUZZA! TOL-DE-ROL-LOLL!"]

My dilatoriness in publishing this joyful intelligence is due to fact
that I have only recently received official information of my triumph,
which my family are now engaged in celebrating at Calcutta with pæans of
transport, illuminations, fireworks, an English brass band, and
delicacies supplied (on contract system) from Great Eastern Hotel.

And yet so great was my humility that, when I entered Lincoln's Inn Hall
one Monday shortly before 10 A.M., and received pens, some foolscaps,
and a printed exam paper on the Law of Real and Personal Property and
Conveyancing, I was at first as melancholy as a gib cat, and like to eat
my head with despair!

So much so that I began my answers by pathetically imploring my
indulgent father examiner to show me his bowels of compassion, on ground
that I was an unfortunate Bengalee chap, afflicted by narrow
circumstances and a raging tooth, and that my entire earthly felicity
depended upon my being favoured with qualifying marks.

However, on perusal of the paper, I found that, owing to diligent cram
and native aptitude for nice sharp quillets of the law, I could floor it
upon my _caput_, being at home with every description of mortgage, and
having such things as reversions and contingent remainders at the
extremities of my finger-ends.

In the afternoon I was again examined in Law and Equity, answering
nearly every question with great copiousness and best style of
composition, quoting freely from Hon'ble SNELL and UNDERHILL to back my
opinion. Unhappily, I lost some of my precious time because, finding
that I was required by the paper to "discuss" a certain statement, I
left my seat in search of some pundit with whom I might carry on such a
logomachy. And even now I fail to see how one individual can discuss a
question in pen and ink, any more than a single hand is capable of
making a clap. Which I gave as my reason for not attempting the
impossible.

The ordeal endured for four days. In the Roman Law department, I was
on the spot with _Stillicidium_ and similar servitudes, and in Criminal
Law I did vastly distinguish myself by polishing off an intricate legal
problem about Misters A., B. and C., and certain bicycles, though, as I
stated in a _postscriptum_, not being the practical cyclist, I could not
be at all responsible for the accuracy of my solution, and hinted that
it was somewhat _infra dig._ for such solemn dry-as-dusts as the Council
of Legal Education to take any notice at all of these fashionable but
flimsy mechanisms.

When called up for _vivâ voce_ purposes, I dumb-foundered my examiner by
the readiness and volubility of my responses, to such an extent that,
after asking one question only, he intimated his complete satisfaction,
and I divined by his smiles that he was secretly determined to work the
oracle in my favour.

And so I arrived at the pretty Pass by dint of flourishing my trumpet.
But, heigho! some fly or other is the indispensable adjunct of every pot
of ointment, and while I was still jumping for joy at having passed the
steep barrier of such a Rubicon, there came a letter from Miss JESSIMINA
which constrained me to cachinnate upon the wrong side of nose!

It appeared that, pursuant of my request, she had been to call upon
Hon'ble Sir CHETWYND, who had duly informed her that I was not the
genuine Rajah or any kind of real Prince, nor yet a Croesus with
unlimited cash.

Here, if Hon'ble CUMMERBUND had stopped, or represented me as a
worthless riddance of bad rubbish, all would have been well; but most
unhappily he did exceed his instructions, and added that I was of
respectable, well-to-do parentage, and very industrious young chap with
first-class abilities, and likely to obtain lucrative practice at native
Bar.

JESSIMINA wrote that she hoped she was not so mercenary as to be
attracted by mere rank, and that it was enough for her that I was in the
position to maintain her as a lady, so she would continue to hold me to
my promise of marriage, and if I still declined to perform, she would be
reluctantly compelled to place the matter in hands of lawyer.

On seeing that my second attempt to spoof was similarly the utter
failure, I became like pig in poke with perplexity, until I was suddenly
inspired by the ebullient flash of a happy idea, and taking up my
_penna_, inscribed the following epistle:

      MAGNANIMOUS AND EVER ADORABLE JESSIMINA!

I am immensely tickled with flattered complacency at your indomitable
desire to become the bride of such a man of straw as this undeserving
self, and will no longer offer any factious opposition to your wishes.

But in the intoxicating ardour of my billing and cooing I may have
omitted to mention that, when I have led you to the Hymeneal altar, you
will not be alone in your glory. As a Koolin Brahmin, I am, by laws of
my country, entitled to about thirty or forty spouses, though, owing to
natural timidity and economical reasons, I have not hitherto availed
myself of said privilege.

However, when that I was a little tiny boy, I was compelled by family
pressure to contract matrimony with an equally juvenile female of eight,
and, though circumstances have prevented the second ceremony being
celebrated on arriving at the more mature age of discretion, such infant
marriage is notwithstanding the binding affair.

What of it? Your overwhelming affection will render you totally
indifferent to the unpleasant side of your position as a _sateen_ or
rival wife, though it is the antipode of the bed of roses, especially
under internecine feuds and perpetual snipsnaps with sundry aunts and
sisters-in-law of mine of rather nagging idiosyncracies. But ignorance
of language will probably blind your sensitive ears to the sneering and
ill-natured tone of their remarks.

I can only say that I am quite ready (if you insist upon it) to fulfil
my contract to best ability, and undertake the heavy burden which
Providence has, very injudiciously, saddled upon my feeble back. Mr
CHUCKERBUTTY RAM, of 15 Jubilee Terrace, Clapham, was present at my
first wedding, and will doubtless certify to same on application.

Ever yours faithfully and devotedly,

      H. B. J.

In writing the above, I was well aware that there is a strong prejudice
in the mind of European feminines in favour of monogamy, and my letter
(as will be seen by the intelligent reader) was rather cleverly composed
so as to shift the burden of breach of contract from my shoulders to
hers.

So that I rubbed my hands with gleeful jubilation on receiving her reply
that she was astounded with wonderment at the sublimity of my cheek in
supposing that she would play the subordinate fiddle to any native wife,
and that she had communicated with CHUCKERBUTTY RAM, Esq., and if my
statement _re_ infant marriage (which at present she suspected to be a
mere spoof) proved correct, she would certainly decline my insulting
offer.

Now as it is the undeniable fact that I was wedded when a mere juvenile,
I shall save my brush from this near shave--provided that Mr
CHUCKERBUTTY RAM has received my tip in time and does not, like Hon'ble
CUMMERBUND, go beyond his instructions.

But this is not reasonably probable, Baboo CHUCKERBUTTY RAM being a
tolerably discreet, subtle chap.



XXI

_Mr Jabberjee halloos before he is quite out of the Wood._


Being (to my best of belief) satisfactorily off with the old love, I
naturally became as playful as a kitten or gay as a grig. For the most
superficial observer, and with the half of a naked optic, could easily
discern the immeasurable superiority of Miss WEE-WEE to JESSIMINA in all
the refinements and delicacies of a real English lady, and although, up
to present date, the timidity of girlishness has restrained Miss
ALLBUTT-INNETT from reciprocating my increasing spooniness, her parents
and brother are of an overwhelming cordiality, and repeatedly mention
their ardent hope that I may become their guest up in the hills some
time this autumn.

So that Hope is already recommencing to hop jauntily about the secret
chamber of my heart.

For, seeing the magnanimous contempt for the snobbishness of chasing a
tuft that actuates their bosoms, I am no longer apprehensive that their
affection for this present writer will be at all impaired by the
revelation that he is merely a member of nature's nobility. Rather the
contrary.

As Poet BURNS remarks with great truthfulness, "_Rank is but a penny
stamp and a Man is a Man and all that._" Nevertheless, for the present,
I am resolved to remain mum as a mouse.

Since I am now in their pockets for a perpetuity, I was privileged on a
recent evening to escort the ALLBUTT-INNETT ladies to the Empire of
India Exhibition, upon which I shall now pronounce the opinion of an
expert, though space forbids me to describe its multitudinous marvels,
save with the brevity of a soul of wit.

In the Cinghalese Palace we beheld a highly pious _Yogi_ from Ceylon,
who had trained himself to perform his devotions with one of his legs
embracing his neck, or walking upon the caps of his knees with his toes
inserted into his waistband. But I am not convinced that such a style of
prayer-making is at all superior in reverence to more ordinary
attitudes, especially when exhibited publicly for an _honorarium_.

I feel proud to narrate that, at Miss WEE-WEE'S urgent entreaties, I
subdued my native funkiness so far as to make the revolution of the
Gigantic Wheel, in spite of grave apprehensions that it would prove but
a house of cards, or suddenly become totally immobile--though to pass
interminable hours at a lofty attitude with such a lively companion
might, on secondary thoughts, have possessed pleasing saccharine
compensations. Nevertheless, I was relieved when we descended without
having hitched anywhere, and I did most firmly decline to fly in the
face of Providence for five shillings in the basket of a captive
balloon.

The Indian street is constructed with cleverness, but gives a very, very
inadequate idea of the principal Calcutta thoroughfares; moreover, to
cultivated Indian intellects, the fuss made by English ladies over
native artisans and mechanics of rather so-so abilities and appearance
seems a little ludicrous!

After dining, we witnessed the Historical Spectacle of India in the
Empress Theatre, and Miss WEE-WEE made the criticism that the fall of
Somnath was accomplished with a too great facility, since its so-called
defenders did lie down with perfect tameness and counterfeit death
immediately the army of Sultan MAHMUD galloped their horses through the
gateway.

But this appeared to me rather a typical and prudent exercise of their
discretion.

It seems--though (in spite of extensive historical researches) I was in
previous ignorance of the fact--that Sultan MAHMUD, the Great Mogul
AKBAR, and SIVAJI, the Mahratta Chief, were each taken in tow and
personally conducted by a trio of Divine Guides, respectively named
Love, Mercy and Wisdom, who came forward whenever nothing of consequence
was transpiring, and sang with the melodiousness of Paradisiacal fowls.

As for the representation of the Hindu Paradise, I shall confess to
some disappointment, seeing that it was exclusively reserved to military
masculines--the more highly educated civilian class of Baboos being left
out of the cold altogether! Nor am I in love with a future state in
which there is so much dancing up and down lofty flights of stairs with
terpsichorean energy, and manoeuvring in companies and circles with
members of the softer sex. As a philosophical conception of disembodied
existence, it is undeniably deficient in repose, though perhaps good
enough for ordinary fighting chaps!

I spent a rapturous and ripping evening, however, greatly owing to the
condescension of Miss WEE-WEE, who exhibited such entertainment at my
comments that I left under the confident persuasion that I was
infallibly to be the favoured swain.

On returning to Hereford Road, I found a last letter from JESSIMINA,
beseeching me, for the sake of "Old Langsyne," to meet her on the
following evening at Westbourne Park Station, and mentioning that
certain events had occurred to change her views, and she was now only
desirous for an amicable arrangement.

Accordingly, perceiving that I had no longer any reason to dread such an
encounter, and not wishing her to peak and pine through my unkindness, I
wrote at once accepting the _rendezvous_.

When I duly turned up, lo and behold! I found she was escorted, not
only by her eagle-eyed mother (JESSIMINA herself inherits, in _Hamlet's_
immortal phraseology, "an eye like Ma's, to threaten or command"), but
also by a juvenile individual with a black neck-tie and Hebrew profile,
whom she formerly introduced to me as Mr SOLOMONS.

Though a little hurt by this proof of the rapidity of feminine
fickleness, I began to congratulate her effusively on having obtained
such an excellent substitute for my worthless self, and to wish the
happy couple all earthly felicities, when she explained that he was not
a _fiancé_, but merely a sort of friend, and Mrs MANKLETOW severely
added that they had come to know whether I still declined to fulfil my
legal contract.

Naturally I made the answer that I had recently offered to fulfil same
to best ability, but that, my offer having been declined with
contumeliousness, the affair was now on its end.

Here JESSIMINA said that she had of course refused to marry a man who
declared that he was already the owner of a dusky spouse, but that, on
inquiries from Mr CHUCKERBUTTY RAM, she had made the discovery that my
said infant wife had popped off with some juvenile complaint or other
three or four years ago.

At this I was rendered completely flabaghast--for, although the
allegation was undeniably correct, I had confidently hoped that my
friend RAM was unaware of the fact, or would at least have the
ordinary mother-wit to refrain from blurting it out! "_Et tu, Brute!_"
But I must make the dismal confession that my friends are mostly a very
fat-witted sort of fellows.

_Que faire?_--except to explain that my melancholy bereavement must have
entirely slipped off my memory, and that in any case it had no logical
connection with the matter in hand.

Then Mrs MANKLETOW inquired, would I, or would I not, marry her illused
child? and stated that all she wished for was a plain answer.

I replied that it was a very natural and moderate desire, and I was
prepared to gratify it at once by the plain answer of--_Not on any
account._

Whereupon Mr SOLOMONS stepped forward and politely handed me a folded
paper, and, observing that he thought there was no need to protract the
interview, he lifted his hat and went off with the ladies, leaving
myself upon a bench endeavouring to get the sense of the official
document into my baffled and bewildered nob.

[Illustration: "A ROYAL COMMAND FROM THE QUEEN-EMPRESS."]

Eventually, I gathered that it was a Royal command from the
Queen-Empress, backed by the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, that
I was to enter my appearance in an action at the suit of JEMIMA
MANKLETOW for a claim of damages for having breached my promise to
marry!

       *     *     *     *     *

No matter! Pugh! Fiddle-de-dee! Never mind! Who cares?

Having successfully passed Exam, and been called to the Bar, I am now an
_amicus curiæ_, and the friend in Court.

I shall enter my appearance in the forensic costume of wig and gown.

What will be the price of the plaintiff's pleadings _then_, Madams?



XXII

_Mr Jabberjee places himself in the hands of a solicitor--with certain
    reservations._


I concluded my foregoing instalment, narrating my service of a writ for
breaching a promise of marriage, with a spirited outburst of
_insouciance_ and devilmaycarefulness.

But such courage of a Dutch evaporated deplorably on closer perusal of
the said writ, which contained the peremptory mandate that I was to
enter my appearance within the incredibly short notice of eight days, or
the judgment would be given in my absence!

Now it was totally out of the question that I was to prepare a long
complicated defence, and have the requisite witnesses, and also perfect
myself in the customs and etiquettes of Common Law Procedure, all in
such a ridiculously brief period; and yet, if I remained _perdu_ with a
hidden head, I could not hope for even the minimum of justice, since,
heigh-ho! _les absents ont toujours tort_. So that I shed blistering and
scalding tears like a spanked child, to find myself confronting such a
devil of a deep sea, and my day was dismal and my night a nonentity,
until, by a great piece of potluck, on going up the next morning to the
library of my Inn, I espied my young friend HOWARD in the compound,
busily employed in a lawn tennis game.

Having partially poured the cat from my bag already into his sympathetic
and receptive bosom, I decided to confide to him my hard case in its
entirety, and so made him a secret sign that I desired some private
confabulations at his earliest conveniency, which he observing, after
the termination of the match, came towards the remote bench whereon I
was forlornly moping, and sat down kindly by my side.

This young ALLBUTT-INNETT, I am to mention here, had only just missed
succeeding in the passing of Bar Exam owing to the inveterate malignancy
of his stars and lack of a more industrial temperament; but from the
coolness of his cheek, and complete man-of-the-worldliness, is a most
judicious and tip-top adviser to friends in tight places.

_Experto crede_, for, when he had heard the latest particulars of my
shocking _imbroglio_, he promptly gave me the excellent advice that I
was to consult a solicitor; strongly recommending a Mr SIDNEY SMARTLE,
who was a former schoolmate of his own, and a good thundering chap, and
who (he thought) was not so overburdened as yet by legal business that
he could not find time for working the oracle on my behalf.

"And look here, JAB," he added (he has sometimes the extreme
condescension to address me as an abbreviation), "I'll trot you up to
him at once--and I say, A 1 idea! tell him you mean to be your own
counsel, and do all the speechifying yourself. Native prince, in
brand-new wig and gown, defending himself single-handed from wiles of
artful adventuress--why, you'll knock the jury as if with old boots!"

"Alack," said I, sorrowfully; "though I am quite competent to become the
stump orator at shortest notice, I do not see how I can enter my first
appearance until I have carefully instructed Misters RAM and JALPANYBHOY
in the evidence they are to give and leave untold, &c., and a week is
too scanty and fugitive a period for such preparations!"

"Nonsense and stuff!" he replies, "you will have a lot more than that,
since the week only applies to entering an appearance--which is a mere
farcical formality that old SID can perform in your place on his head."
At which I was greatly relieved.

But on arrival at Mr SMARTLE'S office in Chancery Lane, we were
disappointed to be informed, by a small, juvenile clerk, that he was
absent at Wimbledon on urgent professional affairs, and his return was
the unknown quantity. However, after waiting till close upon the hour of
tiffin, he unexpectedly turned up in a suit of knickerbockers, carrying
a long, narrow bag full of metal-headed rods, and although rather
adolescent than senile in physical appearance I was vastly impressed by
the offhanded cocksurety of his manner.

My friend HOWARD introduced me, and exhibited my doleful predicament in
the shell of a nut, whereupon Mr SMARTLE jauntily pronounced it to be
the common garden breach of promise, but that we had better all repair
to the First Avenue Hotel and lunch, and talk the affair over
afterwards.

Which we did in the smoking-room after lunch, with coffee, liqueurs, and
cigars, &c., for which I had to pay, as a Tommy Dod, and the odd man out
of pocket.

Mr SMARTLE, after listening attentively to my narrative, said that I
certainly seemed to him to have let myself into the deuced cavity of a
hole by so publicly proclaiming my engagement, but that my status as an
oriental foreigner, and the fact I had asserted--viz., that my promise
was extorted from me by compulsion and sheer physical funkiness--might
pull me through, unless the plaintiff were of superlative loveliness
(which, fortunately, is by no means the case).

He added, that we had better engage WITHERINGTON, Q.C., as he was
notoriously the crossest examiner at the Common Bar.

But to this I opposed the _sine quâ non_ that I am to have the sole
control of my case in court, and reap the undivided _kudos_, assuring
him that I should be able to cross-examine all witnesses until they
could not stand on one leg. From some private motives of his own, he
sought to overcome my determination, hinting that, as my calling and
election to the Bar were not yet an ancient history, I might not possess
sufficient experience; and moreover that, by appearing in barristerial
garbage, I should infallibly forfeit the indulgence shown by a judge to
ordinary litigants; to which I responded by pointing out that I was a
typical Indian in the matter of legal subtlety and ready-made wit, and
that, if not capable of conducting my _own_ case, how, then, could I be
fit to undertake a logomachy for any third parties? finally, that it is
proverbially unnecessary to keep a dog when you are equally proficient
in the practice of barking yourself.

Whereupon, silenced by my _a fortiori_ and _reductio ad absurdum_, he
gave way, saying that it was my own affair, and, anyhow, there would be
plenty of time to consider such a matter, since the plaintiff might not
choose to do anything further till after the Long Vacation, and we could
easily postpone the hearing of the action until the Midsummer of next
year.

I, however, earnestly protested that I did not wish so procrastinated a
delay, as I desired to make my forensic _début_ at the earliest possible
moment, and urged him to leave no stone unturned to get the job finished
by November at least, suggesting that if we could ascertain the name
and address of the judge who was to try the case, I might call upon him,
and, in a private and confidential interview, ascertain the extent of
his disposition in my favour, and the length of his foot.

To which Mr SMARTLE replied that he could not recommend any such
tactics, as I should certainly ascertain the dimensions of the judicial
foot in a literal and painful manner.

Now I must conclude with a livelier piece of intelligence: I am now in
receipt of the wished-for invitation to visit the ALLBUTT-INNETT family
at the elegant mansion (or--to speak Scottishly--"manse") they have
hired for a few weeks in the savage and romantic mountains of Ayrshire,
N.B.

Mrs A.-I. wrote that there is no shooting attached to the manse, but
several aristocratic friends of theirs own moors in the vicinity, and
will inevitably invite them and their visitors to sport with them, so
that, as she believed I was the keen sportsman, I had better bring my
gun.

Alack! I am not the happy possessor of any lethal weapon, but, having
since this invitation practised diligently upon tin moving beasts,
bottles, and eggs rendered incredibly lively by a jet of steam, I am at
last an _au fait_ with a crackshot, and no end of a Nimrod.

I do not think I shall purchase a gun, for there is a young English
acquaintance of mine who is the Devil's Own Volunteer, and who will
no doubt have the good nature to lend me his rifle for a week or two.

As to costume, my tailor assures me that it is totally unnecessary to
assume the national raiment of a Scotch, unless I am prepared to stalk
after a stag. But why should I be deterred by any cowardly fear from
pursuing so constitutionally timid a quadruped? I have therefore
commissioned him to manufacture me a petticoat kilt, with a chequered
tartan, and other accessories, for when we are going to Rome, it is the
mark of politeness to dress in the Romish style.

[Illustration: "WOULD BE GREATLY IMPROVED BY THE SIMPLE ADDITION OF SOME
KNEE-CAPS."]

The Caledonian costume is indubitably becoming; but would, I venture
humbly to think, be greatly improved by the simple addition of some
knee-caps.



XXIII

_Mr Jabberjee delivers his Statement of Defence, and makes his
    preparations for the North. He allows his patriotic sentiments to
    get the better of him in a momentary outburst of disloyalty--to
    which no serious importance need be attached._


My fair plaintiff has not suffered the grass of inaction to grow upon
her feet, having already issued her Statement of Claim, by which she
alleges that I proposed marriage on a certain date, and did
subsequently, on divers occasions, treat her, in the presence of sundry
witnesses, as an affianced, after which I mizzled into obscurity, and on
various pretexts did decline, and do still decline, to fulfil my nuptial
contract, by which conduct the plaintiff, being grievously afflicted in
mind, body, and estate, claims damages to the doleful tune of £1000.

(N.B.--I have thought it advisable here and there to translate the legal
phraseology into more comprehensible verbiage.)

Now such a claim is to milk a ram, or _prendre la lune avec les dents_,
seeing that I am not a proprietor of even one thousand rupees.
Nevertheless (as I have informed Mr SMARTLE), my progenitor, the
Mooktear, will bleed to any reasonable extent of costs out of pocket.

I have held frequent and lengthy interviews with the said SMARTLE, Esq.,
who is of incredible despatch and celerity--though I sometimes regret
that I did not procure a solicitor of a more senile and sympathetic
disposition.

Assuredly had I done so, such an one would not, after perusing my
Statement of Defence--a most magnificently voluminous document of over
fifty folios, crammed and stuffed with satirical hits and sideblows, and
pathetic appeals for the Bench's indulgence, and replete with familiar
quotations from best classical and continental authors--such an one, I
say, would not have split his sides with disrespectful chucklings,
thrown my composition into a wasted paper receptacle, and proceeded to
knock off a meagre substitute of his own, containing a very few dry bald
paragraphs, in the inadequately brief space of under the hour.

Such, however, was Mr SMARTLE'S course; and the sole consolation is
that, owing to his unprofessional precipitation, the action was set down
for trial previously to the commencement of the Long Vacation, and my
case may come on some time next Term, and I be put out of my misery at
the close of the year.

My aforesaid legal adviser, finding that I adhered with the tenacity of
bird-slime to my determination to conduct my case in person, did hint
in no ambiguous language, that it might perhaps be even better for me to
do the guy next November to my native land, and snip my fingers then
from a safe distance at the plaintiff.

But it is not my practice to exhibit a white feather (except when
prostrated by severe bodily panics), and I am consumed by an ardent
impatience to air my fluencies and legal learnedness before the
publicity of a London Law Court.

Now, begone dull care! for I am to dismiss all litigious thoughts till
October or November next, and become a _Dolce far niente_, chasing the
deer with my heart in the Highlands.

My volunteering acquaintance, by the way, has declined to lend me his
rifle, on the transparent pretence that it was contrary to regulations,
and that it was not the _bon ton_ to pursue grouse-birds and the like
with so war-like a weapon.

So, on young HOWARD'S advice, I made the purchase from a pawnbroker of a
lethal instrument, provided with a duplicate bore, so that, should a
bird happen by any chance to escape my first barrel, the second will
infallibly make him bite the dust.

I have also purchased some cartridges of a very pleasing colour, a
hunting knife, and a shot belt and pouch, and if I can only procure some
inexpensive kind of sporting hound from the Dogs' Home, I shall be
forewarned and forearmed _cap à pie_ for the perils and pleasures of the
chase.

Miss WEE-WEE did earnestly advise me, inasmuch as I was about to go
amongst the savage hill tribes of canny Scotians, to previously make
myself acquainted with their idioms, &c., for which purpose she lent me
some romances written entirely in Caledonian dialects, also the
compositions of Hon. Poet BURNS.

But hoity-toity! after much diligent perusal, I arrived at the
conclusion that such works were sealed books to the most intelligent
foreigner, unless he is furnished with a good Scotch grammar and
dictionary.

And _mirabile dictu!_ though I have made diligent inquiries of various
London booksellers, I have found it utterly impossible to obtain such
works in England--a haughty and arrogantly dispositioned country, more
inclined to teach than to learn!

How many of your boasted British Cabinet, supposed to rule our countless
millions of so-called Indian subjects, would be capable to sit down and
read and translate--_correctly_--a single sentence from the Mahábhárat
in the original?

Not more, I shrewdly suspect, than half a dozen at most!

So it is not to be expected that any more interest would be displayed in
the language and literature of a country like Scotland, which is
notoriously wild and barren and less densely populated and productive
than the most ordinary districts of Bengal.

Oh, you pusillanimous Highland chiefs and other misters! how long will
you tamely submit to such offhanded treatment? Will the day never come
when, with whirling sporrans and flashing pibrochs you will rise against
the alien oppressor, and demand Home Rule, together with the total
abolition of present disdainful British _insouciance_?

When that day dawns--if ever--please note this piece of private
intelligence from an authorised source: _Young Bengal will be with you
in your struggle for Autonomy._ If not in body, assuredly in spirit.
Possibly in _both_.

I say no more, in case I should be accused of trying to stir up
seditious feelings; but, as a patriotic Baboo gentleman, my blood will
boil occasionally at instances of stuck-up English self-sufficiency, and
the worm in the bud, if nipped too severely, may blossom into a rather
formidable serpent!

[Illustration: "I AM ADDRESSED BY AN UNDERBRED STREET-URCHIN AS A
'BLOOMING BLACKY!'"]

As, for instance, when, in the course of an inoffensive promenade, I am
addressed by an underbred street-urchin as a "blooming blacky," and
cannot induce a policeman to compel my aggressor to furnish me with his
name and address or that of his parents, or even to offer the most
ordinary apology.

Enough of these rather bitter reflections, however. I omitted to mention
that I am also the proprietor (at the same pawnbroker's where I
bought my breeches-loader gun) of a very fine second-hand salmon-rod, a
great bargain and immense value, with which I hope to be able to catch a
great quantity of fishes.

For there is, according to young HOWARD, good fishing in a burn
adjoining the Manse, so I shall follow King Solomon's injunctions, and
not spare the rod and spoil the salmons, though if I should happen to
"spoil" my rod, the salmons would inevitably in consequence be "spared."

This is a sample of the kind of verbal pleasantries in which, when in
exhilarated high spirits, I sometimes facetiously indulge.



XXIV

_Mr Jabberjee relates his experiences upon the Moors._


I am now an acclimatised denizen of Caledonia stern and wild; which,
however, turns out to be milder and tamer than depicted by the jaundiced
hand of national jealousy.

For, since my arrival at this hamlet of Kilpaitrick, N.B., I have not
once beheld any species of savage hill-man; moreover, the adult
inhabitants are clothed with irreproachable decency, and, if the
juveniles run about with denuded feet and heads, where is the shocking
scandal?

Mr ALLBUTT-INNETT, sen., did me the honour to appear in person upon the
Kilpaitrick platform, and welcome me with outspread arms to his
temporary hearth and home, but I shall have the candour of confessing my
disappointment with the size and appearance of the same. It appears that
a "Manse" is not at all a palatial edifice, furnished with a plethora of
marble halls and vassals and serfs, &c., but simply the very so-so and
two-storied abode of some local priest!

My gracious hostess was to tender profuse apologies for its homeliness,
on the plea that it is refreshing at times to lay aside ceremonial
magnificence and unbend in rural simplicity, though it is not humanly
possible to unbend oneself upon the thorny bosoms of chairs and couches
severely upholstered with the prickling hairs of an extinct horse.

Still, as I assured Miss WEE-WEE, she is the happy owner of a magical
knack to transform, by her sheer apparition, the humblest hovel into the
first-class family residence with every modern improvement.

With the said Miss I continue on terms of hand and gloveship, with
mutual harmless jokes, which would perhaps be as caviare on toast to a
general, though I shall venture to recount some examples.

[Illustration: "OF INCREDIBLE BASHFULNESS AND BUCOLICAL APPEARANCE."]

A certain local young laird, of incredible bashfulness and bucolical
appearance, is a frequent visitor at the manse, and the fervent admirer
of Miss WEE-WEE, who cannot endure the tedium of his society, and is
constantly endeavouring to escape therefrom.

Now his name is Mr CRUM, and I have frequently entertained her in
private by play upon the word, alluding to him as "Mister CRUST,"
"Mister OATCAKE," or "the Scotch Bun," and the like; but he informed me
that he preferred to be addressed as "Balbannock," and upon my inquiring
his reasons for selecting such an alias, he answered that it was because
he inhabited a house of that name.

Whereupon I facetiously requested that he would address myself in future
as "Mister Seventy-nine, Hereford Road, Bayswater," which stroke of wit
occasioned inextinguishable merriment from Miss WEE-WEE, though it did
not excite from the aforesaid laird so much as the smallest simper!

From an ingrained love of teasing, and also the natural desire to
stimulate her appreciation of my superior fertility in small talk and
_l'art de plaire_, I do often slyly contrive to inflict his sole society
upon her--to the huge entertainment of her father and mother, who carry
on the joke by assisting my manoeuvrings; but, although it affords me
a flattering gratification to be plaintively upbraided by Miss WEE-WEE
for my cruel desertion, I am resolved not to persist in such heartless
pranks beyond her natural endurance.

Shortly after my arrival I heard from my host that he was the recipient
of an invitation from a Mister BAGSHOT, Q.C., that he and his son HOWARD
would accompany him to a shooting expedition upon some adjacent moors,
and that, being now immoderately plump, and past his prime as a potshot,
he had requested leave to nominate myself as his _budli_ or substitute,
explaining that I was a young Indian prince of great prowess at every
kind of big games.

Accordingly, to my great delight, it was arranged that I should take his
place.

My young friend HOWARD, beholding me appear at the breakfast-table
arrayed in my short kilt and superincumbent belly-purse with tassels,
did entreat me to change myself into ordinary knickerbockers, lest I
should catch death with a cold.

But I declined, disdaining such dangers, and assuring him that I did not
at all dislike the excessive ventilation of my knees.

We drove to Mr BAGSHOT'S residence, Rowans Castle, in a hired machine,
and found the gentlemen-shooters gathered outside the portico. Amongst
the party I was pleased to observe Hon'ble Justice CUMMERBUND, who, when
we were all ascended into the waggonette-break, did rally me very
good-humouredly upon some mixed bag of elephants and tigers he had heard
(or so he said) I had accomplished in some up-country jungle.

At first, knowing that this was the utter impossibility, I perspired
with terror that he was making me the fool, but apparently he was
himself under a misunderstanding, for when we had left the vehicle and
were preparing to advance, he paid me the distinguished compliment of
entreating that I might be awarded the command of one extremity of the
line, while he himself was to preside over the opposite end!

And thus we commenced to climb a steep hill, thickly covered with a very
pricklesome heather, and black slimy bogs, wherein the varnish of my
patent-leather shoes did soon become totally dimmed. So, being gravely
incommoded by the shortness of my wind, I entrusted my musket to an
under-keeper, begging him to inform me of the early approach of any stag
or deer.

However, we saw nothing to shoot at except various sorts of wild
poultry, and when some of these flew up immediately in front of me, I
was too late, owing to the carriage of my gun by an underling, to do
more than fire off a couple of barrels as a declaration of hostility.

But profiting by this lesson in being _semper paratus_, I refused to
part again with my deadly instrument, and stumbled manfully onwards with
finger upon the triggers, letting them fly instantaneously at the first
appearance of any animals _feræ naturæ_.

It is not customary, I was assured, to slay the wild sheep in these
districts, though horned, and of an excessively ferocious appearance,
and even when firing my bullets at birds, I was subjected to continual
reproofs from some officious keeper or other.

For example, I was not to shoot into a flock of partridges, for the
superstitious reason, forsooth! that it was still the month of August,
which is supposed to be unlucky!

Again, I was rebuked for burning powder at a grey hen, because it is the
wife of a black-cock, which may be shot with impunity. Although a highly
chivalrous chap in questions of the fairer sex, I am yet to see why it
is allowable to render the female bird a bereaved widow, but totally
forbidden to make the male a widower! Or why it is permissible to slay a
minute bird such as a snipe, while a titlark is on no account to be
touched.

Being eventually exasperated by these unreasonable faultfindings, seeing
that I had merely emptied my gun-barrels without actually destroying any
of these sacred volatiles, I addressed the keeper in the withering tones
of a sarcasm: "Mister Keeper," I said, "as I am not the ornithologist or
soothsayer to distinguish infallibly every species of bird by instinct
when flying with incredible velocity, would it not be better that I
should discharge no shots in future?"

To which, abashed by my severity, he replied that he could not just say
that it would make any considerable difference whether I fired at all or
none.

My fellow-shooters, however, could not refrain from shouting with
irrepressible admiration at the intrepidity with which, forestalling the
fleetest dogs, I did rush forward to pick up the fallen grouse-birds,
and repeatedly exhorted me to take greater care for my own safety.

I cannot say that they exhibited equivalent courageousness, seeing that,
so often as I raised my gun to fire, they flung themselves upon their
stomachs in the heather until I had finished, upon which I rallied them
mercilessly upon their timidity, assuring them repeatedly that they had
nothing to fear.

Yet English and Scotch alike accuse us Bengalees of being subject to
excessive funkiness. What about the Pot and the Kettle, Misters?

I am to reserve the conclusion of my shooting experiences until a future
occasion.



XXV

_Mr Jabberjee concludes the thrilling account of his experiences on a
    Scotch moor, greatly to his own glorification._


Now to resume the rather arbitrarily truncated account of my gunnery on
Scottish moors.

Before luncheon I ventured to remonstrate earnestly with my entertainer,
Mr BAGSHOT, Q.C., concerning the extreme severity with which he
chastised a juvenile sporting hound of his for such trivial offences as
running after some rabbit, or picking up slaughtered volatiles without
receiving the _mot d'ordre_!

"Listen, honourable Sir," I entreated him, "to the voice of Reason! It
is the second nature of all such canines to pursue vermins, nor are they
at all capable of comprehending the Why and Wherefore of a shocking
flagellation. If it is your wish that this hound should play the part of
a Tantalus, forbidden even to touch the _bonne-bouches_ with his
watering mouth, surely it is possible to restrain him by a more humane
method than Brute Force!"

At this mild reproof Mister BAGSHOT became utterly rubescent, murmuring
excuses which I did not catch; and I, perceiving that this object
lesson of kindness to animals from an Oriental had strongly affected all
the shooters, patted the hound on the forehead, consoling him with some
chocolate I carried in my cartridge sack.

We picnicked our lunch under a stone wall, and I, becoming an hilarious,
rallied my companions unmercifully upon the solemnity with which they
had marched in cautious silence, and with stern countenances as to
attack some formidable foe--and all to slaughter sundry braces of
inoffensive grouse-birds--truly an heroical sort of undertaking!

To which Hon'ble CUMMERBUND replied, with his utterance impeded by cold
pie, that I might congratulate myself on having kept my own hands
unstained by any grouse's gore.

"True, Mister Ex-Judge," I retorted, "but as you have already testified"
(here I hoisted his own petard at him rather ingeniously), "I am more an
_au fait_ in the extermination of elephants _et hoc genus omne_, and
have hitherto reserved my powder and shot for a stag or some similar
monarch of the glen. However, after lunch let us see whether I am not
competent to kill, or at least maim, one of these same grouse-fowls,
_faute de mieux_!"

A repartee which excited uproarious laughter (at Hon'ble C.'s expense)
from all the present company.

Subsequently, we were posted in a row of small fortresses constructed of
turfs, to await what is termed a "Drive," _i.e._, until some flock of
grouse-birds, exasperated to fury by the cries and blows of certain
individuals called "beaters," should attack our positions.

Hearing that the grouses on this moor were of an excessive wildness, I
was at first apprehensive that one might fly at my nose or eyes while I
was busied in defending myself against its fellows, but the keeper who
was with me assured me that such was seldom their custom.

And, indeed, such as came in my direction flew with wings so accelerated
by panic that they were invisible before I could even select one as my
target, so I was reduced to fire with considerable random. Presently the
beaters approached, carrying flags of truce, and we sallied out of our
forts to pick up the slain and wounded. After diligent search, I had the
happiness to discover a grouse-bird, stone dead, in the heather, and,
capering with triumph, called to the keeper to come and see the spoil.

On his arrival, however, he said that he could not just think it would
be my bird, as he had not noticed any fall in that direction. But after
I had presented him with a piece of silver, he did agree that if I chose
to claim the bird as mine, it was not his place to contradict me, and so
in great glee I exhibited my prize to the others, appealing to the
keeper (who basely remained _sotto voce_) for confirmation.

"A devilish clean shot, Prince!" Sir CUMMERBUND graciously remarked;
"why, the bird is stiff and cold already!"

Whereupon I was cordially congratulated, and awarded the tail feathers
to decorate my "tommy-shanty," and during the next driving, having now
acquired the knack, I rendered several more denizens of the air the
_hors de combats_, though--either on account of their great ingenuity in
running out of the radius, or creeping into holes, etc., or else the
stupidity of the retrieving dogs--their corpses remained irrecoverable.

On taking my leave, I expressed unbounded satisfaction with such sport
as I had had, and my fixed intention to assist on some similar
shooting-expedition, and Mr BAGSHOT kindly promised to let me know if he
should again have vacancy for an additional gun.

I regret to say that young HOWARD, who, having only laid low a couple of
black cocks and a blue hare, was immoderately jealous of my superior
skilfulness, did seek to depreciate it by insinuating that my grouse was
one which, having been seriously wounded by other hands some days
previously, had come up to the hills to shuffle off its mortal coil in
seclusion, arguing thus from its total absence of heat and
suppleness.

This is the merest quibble, and to travel out of the record, since, of
course, if a bird is at all of a venerable age, it becomes stiff and
deficient in vital warmth long before it is popped off! Moreover, if the
grouse were not legitimately my property, why, forsooth, should I be
permitted to carry it home?

[Illustration: "I PRESENTED MY TROPHY AND TREASURE-TROVE TO THE
FAIRYLIKE MISS WEE-WEE."]

I presented my trophy and treasure-trove to the fairylike Miss WEE-WEE,
who was so overwhelmed by the compliment that she entreated for it to be
cooked and eaten _instanter_.

As soon as I have recovered a missing link of my fishing-rod (which it
seems has been overlooked by Mister Pawnbroker), and when I have
procured some suitable bait, &c., it is my intention to catch a fine
salmon out of the burn for my enchanting divinity, and, as I place the
fish in her lily-like hands, to strike iron while it is hot and make her
the formal proposal of matrimony.

Mister CRUM, hearing of my piscatorial ambitions, has, with almost
incredible simplicity, offered to lend me his salmon rod, with a volume
of flies, little suspecting that he will be assisting me to catch two
fish upon one hook! I am immensely tickled by such a tip-top joke, and
can scarcely refrain from imparting it to Miss WEE-WEE herself, though I
shall wait until I have first secured the salmon.

I had some valuable remarks upon Scottish idioms and linguistic
peculiarities, &c., but these, of course, are to be suppressed _sine
die_--unless I am to be permitted to overflow into a special
supplement.



XXVI

_Mr Jabberjee expresses some audaciously sceptical opinions. How he
    secured his first Salmon, with the manner in which he presented it
    to his divinity._


Owing mainly to lack of opportunity, invitations, _et cætera_, I have
not resumed the offensive against members of the grouse department, but
have rather occupied myself in laborious study of Caledonian dialects,
as exemplified in sundry local works of poetical and prose fiction,
until I should be competent to converse with the _aborigines_ in their
own tongue.

[Illustration: "WHETHER HE HAD WHA-HAED WI' HON'BLE WALLACE?"]

Then (having now the diction of Poet BURNS in my fingers' ends) I did
genially accost the first native I met in the street of Kilpaitrick,
complimenting him upon his honest, sonsie face, and enquiring whether he
had wha-haed wi' Hon'ble WALLACE, and was to bruise the Peckomaut, or
ca' the knowes to the yowes. But, from the intemperance of his reply, I
divined that he was totally without comprehension of my meaning!

Next I addressed him by turns in the phraseologies of Misters BLACK,
BARRIE, and CROCKETT, Esquires, interlarding my speech with
"whatefers," and "hechs," and "ou-ays," and "dod-mons," and "loshes,"
and "tods," _ad libitum_, to which after listening with the most earnest
attention, he returned the answer that he was not acquainted with any
Oriental language.

Nor could I by any argument convince this beetle-head that I was simply
speaking the barbarous accents of his native land!

Since which, after some similar experiments upon various peasants, &c.,
I have made a rather peculiar discovery.

There is no longer any such article as a separate Scottish language,
and, indeed, I am in some dubitation whether it ever existed at all, and
is not rather the waggish invention of certain audacious Scottishers,
who have taken advantage of the insular ignorance and credulity of the
British public to palm off upon it several highly fictitious kinds of
unintelligible gibberish!

Nay, I will even go farther and express a grave suspicion whether the
Scotland of these bookish romances is not the daring imposture of a _ben
trovato_. For, after a prolonged residence of over a fortnight, I have
never seen anything approaching a mountain pass, nor a dizzy crag,
surmounted by an eagle, nor any stag drinking itself full at eve among
the shady trunks of a deer-forest! I have never met a single mountaineer
in feminine bonnet and plumes and short petticoats, and pipes inserted
in a bag. Nor do the inhabitants dance in the street upon crossed
sword-blades--this is purely a London practice. Nor have I seen any
Caledonian snuffing his nostrils with tobacco from the discarded horn of
some ram.

Finding that my short kilt is no longer the mould of national form, I
have now altogether abandoned it, while retaining the fox-tailed
belly-purse on account of its convenience and handsome appearance.

Now let me proceed to narrate how I became the captor of a large-sized
salmon.

Having accepted the loan of Mister CRUM'S fishing-wand, and attached to
my line certain large flies, composed of black hairs, red worsted, and
gilded thread, which it seems the salmons prefer even to worms, I
sallied forth along the riparian bank of a river, and proceeded to whip
the stream with the severity of Emperor XERXES when engaged in
flagellating the ocean.

But waesucks! (to employ the perhaps spurious verbiage of aforesaid Poet
BURNS) my line, owing to superabundant longitude, did promptly become a
labyrinth of Gordian knots, and the flies (which are named _Zulus_)
attached their barbs to my cap and adjacent bushes with well-nigh
inextricable tenacity, until at length I had the bright idea to
abbreviate the line, so that I could dangle my bait a foot or two above
the surface of the water--where a salmon could easily obtain it by
simply turning a somersault.

However, after sitting patiently for an hour, as if on a monument, I
could not succeed in catching the eye of any passing fish, and so,
severely disheartened by my ill-luck, I was strolling on, shouldering my
rod, when--odzooks! whom should I encounter but Mister BAGSHOT and a
party of friends, who were watching his keepers capture salmons from a
boat by means of a large net, a far more practical and effectual method
than the cumbersome and unreliable device of a meretricious fly with a
very visible hook!

And, just as I approached, the net was drawn towards the bank, and
proved to contain three very large lively fishes lashing their tails
with ungovernable fury at such detention!

Whereupon I made the humble petition to Mister BAGSHOT that, since he
was now the favourite of Fortune, he was to remember him to whom she had
denied her simpers, and bestow upon me the most mediocre of the salmons,
since I was desirous to make a polite offering to the amiable daughter
of my host and hostess.

And with munificent generosity he presented me with the largest of the
trio, which, with great jubilation, I endeavoured to carry off under my
arm, though severely baffled by the extreme slipperiness with which
(even after its decease) it repeatedly wallowed in dust, until someone,
perceiving my fix, good-naturedly instructed me how to carry it by
perforating its head with a piece of string.

I found Miss WEE-WEE in a secluded garden seat at the back of the Manse,
incommoded, as usual, by the society of Mister CRUM. "Sir," I said,
addressing him politely (for I was extremely anxious for his departure,
since I could not well present my salmon to Miss WEE-WEE and request the
_quid-pro-quo_ of her affection in his presence), "accept my gratitude
for the usufruct of your rod, which has produced magnificent fruit. You
will find the instrument leaning against the palings of the front
garden." And with this I made secret signals to Miss WEE-WEE that she
was to dismiss him; but she remained bashful, and he seemed totally
unaware that he was the drug of the market!

At last, weary of concealing my captured salmon any longer behind the
small of my back, I was about to inform Mister CRUM that he had Miss
LOUISA'S permission to absent himself, when she broke the silence by
informing me that, as the old familiar friend of both parties, I was to
be the first to hear a piece of news--to wit, that DONALD (Mister C.'s
baptismal appellation) and she were just become the engaged couple!

I was so overcome by grief and indignation at her perfidious duplicity
(since she had frequently encouraged me in my mockeries of her admirer's
uncouthness and rusticity), that I stuck in the throat, and then flung
the salmon violently across a boundary hedge into a yard of poultry.

"Madam," I said, "that fish was to have been laid at your feet as the
visible pledge of my devotion. You have not only lost the gift of a
splendid salmon, but have thrown away the heart of a well-educated
native B.A. and Member of the Bar! And you have gained--hoity toity!
What? Why, a Scotch Bun!"

But almost immediately I was taken by violent remorse for my
presumption, and shed the tears of contrition, entreating
forgiveness--nay, more, I scrambled through a hole in a very thorny
hedge, and, recovering the salmon (which had not had time to become very
severely henpecked), I begged them to accept it between them as a token
of my esteem and good wishes, which they joyfully consented to do. I had
expected that my worthy host and hostess would have shared my astounded
disappointment on hearing of their daughter's engagement; but, on the
contrary, they received the news with smiling complacency.

It appears that Mister CRUM, though endowed with a somewhat sheepish and
bucolical exterior, is of tip-top Scottish caste and lineage, and the
landed proprietor.

I am not to deny the attractiveness of such qualities, though I had
hitherto been under the Fool's Paradise of an impression that they would
have infinitely preferred this humble self as a son-in-law.

However, I am now emerging from my doleful dumps, with the reflection
that, after all, it is contrary to common-sense to drain the cup of
misery to the dregs for so totally inadequate a cause as the ficklety of
any feminine!



XXVII

_Mr Jabberjee is unavoidably compelled to return to town, thereby
    affording his Solicitor the inestimable benefit of his personal
    assistance. An apparent attempt to pack the Jury._


The Public will be astounded at the news (which came with the perfect
novelty of a surprise upon this insignificant self) that I have ceased
to be the cherished guest beneath the hired Scottish roof of Mister
LEOFRIC ALLBUTT-INNETT and his bucksome lady.

It fell out after this fashion.

One fine September morning, when I was accoutring myself in order to go
out and hunt the robert (N.B. a genuine local Scotticism for individuals
belonging to the rabbit genius), there came to me my young friend
HOWARD, who was to teach my young idea how to shoot, in great gloom,
asking me if it would take me a prolonged period to pack up my
_impedimenta_.

I replied that I could do the trick instantaneously, inquiring the
reason for his question.

"Because," said he, "if I were you, I should have a wire requiring me to
come up to London at once."

"From my solicitor?" I inquired. "Is he then desirous of consulting with
me?"

My friend answered me that it was the one object of his present
existence.

"In that case," said I, rather spiritedly, "let him come up here, since
I am not a mountain that I should obey the becking call of any Mahomet.
Moreover, I am impatient to achieve the destruction of some Scottish
roberts."

"If you will take my advice," he said, "you will grant them a reprieve,
and make a scarcity of yourself. There is a train for Glasgow which you
can just catch. I wouldn't distress the Mater and Governor by any
farewells, you know."

"But," I objected, "I am not even in receipt of any telegram. Nor can I
possibly omit the etiquette of a ceremonious leave-taking with your
honourable parents."

"Just as you please," replied he. "Just now the Governor and Mater are
in the front sitting-room, engaged in perusing the back numbers of your
precious 'Jossers and Tidlers' or whatever you call 'em, which have been
thoughtfully forwarded by a relative. I don't think I'd disturb them."

"Are they so hugely interested in the performances of my unassuming
_penna_?" I cried, with the gratified simpering of a flattered.

"It looked like it when I left the room," said he; "the Mater was very
near rolling on the oilcloth, and the Governor dancing and foaming from
his mouth. What an awfully old ass you have been, JAB, to go and blurt
out everything in print--about your breach of promise case, and getting
to know us, and--worst of all--being merely a bogey prince. Naturally,
we don't care about being made to look fools. The dear old Mater, you
know, is one of those simple, trusting natures that, if they once
discover they have been taken in by a sham title, why, they kick up the
row of a deuce! And, as for the Governor, he's the sort of old retiring
chap that has a downright loathing of publicity, when it makes him
ridiculous. If he came across you just now, there's really no saying
what he mightn't do. He's such a devilishly hot-tempered old boy!"

I did not comprehend the reasons for such exuberant anger, but, of
course, young HOWARD insisted so urgently on physical dangers to myself
if I delayed, that I hastened stealthily to my room by a backstair, and
flinging my _paraphernalia_ with incredible despatch into a portmanteau,
was so fortunate as to convey it out of the house without attracting the
invidious attention of my host and hostess, who were probably still
occupied in foaming and rolling upon the carpet like angry waves of the
sea.

Young HOWARD accompanied me to the station, though blaming me as the
cause of his embroilment with his progenitors, who, it seems, had
insisted--quite unjustly--that he must have known from the first that my
nobility was merely a brevet rank; and Miss WEE-WEE bade me farewell
with a soft and perfectly ladylike cordiality, being too grieved by my
departure to make any allusion to the head and front of my offending.

Now I am once more in London, paying daily visits of several hours to
the office of my solicitor, in order to assist him in the preparation of
my brief.

[Illustration: BABOO CHUCKERBUTTY RAM.]

The other day, Baboo JALPANYBHOY and Baboo CHUCKERBUTTY RAM attended for
the purpose of arranging their evidence, when I regret to say the former
made a rather paltry exhibition of himself, being declared by Mr SMARTLE
himself to be totally incompetent to prove anything whatever material to
the case, and I am therefore resolved to refuse him admission to the
witness-box.

I am more hopeful of Mr CHUCKERBUTTY RAM, who, I think, after diligent
coaching from myself, may be induced to restrain his natural garrulity,
and speak no more than is set down for him, which is simply that I have
already, in his presence, contracted matrimony with a juvenile native,
and that the laws of my country entitle me to marry several more.

This is in support of one of my most subtle pleadings of defence, to
wit, that I have already offered to marry the plaintiff according to my
country's laws, but that she did definitely decline such a marriage as
polygamous (which it is indubitably liable to become at any moment),
consequently, that my said contract is nilled by mutual consent.

Mr SMARTLE was of the opinion that the plaintiff's solicitors would move
to strike out such a pleading as bad in law, since it is no defence to
an action for breach of promise that the defendant is already the
Benedick. Fortunately they have omitted to do this, and I anticipate
exciting excessive admiration in Court by the ingenuity of my arguments
from Analogy, Common Sense, Roman Law, &c.

My said solicitor has also communicated with Hon'ble Sir CHETWYND
CUMMERBUND, to inquire if he would consent to appear as a witness to my
dependent filial condition, and entire lack of the sinews of war; which,
with fatherly kindness, he has agreed to do, and, as he rather
humorously puts it, convince the jury that I am the good riddance of bad
rubbish.

Now the decks are cleaned for action, and all is ready for the forensic
logomachy as soon as it may please Providence and some associate in the
Queen's Bench Division to place the suit of _Mankletow ~v.~ Jabberjee_ in
the list of causes for the day.

My solicitor's advice, which I shall very probably adopt, is to keep as
close as possible to the issues, and more especially to the point that,
if I gave any promise to marry at all, it was extorted from me by
threats of bodily violence which reduced me to a blue funkiness.

Also he recommends that I am not to attempt any golden-mouthed
eloquence, thereby making the lamentable exhibit of a most stupendous
ignorance of human nature!

For what can melt the stony hearts of men, causing them to bellow like
an ox and become tender as chickens, or what can rouse them to
Indignation, Approval, Contempt, Wonderment, and every other known
sentiment as required, so effectively as the trumpeting tongue of
oratorical eloquence!

All I can aver is that, if I am not to be permitted to draw the
glittering sword of my tongue from the scabbard of my mouth, I shall
infallibly, in sheer sickishness at such short-sighted folly, throw up
my brief!

I must not omit to say that if any of my fellow-colleagues on this
periodical (of course including Hon'ble Editor) should be anxious to
become eye-witnesses of my forensic _début_, I shall be overjoyed to
procure their admission and will instruct the Usher that they are to be
awarded the seats of honour. Perhaps it might even be feasible for two
or three of them to obtain appointments as jurymen.

If so, let them not turn the deaf ear to the gentle wheezings of their
_esprit de corps_, but remember that it is not the custom for one eagle
to peck another in his optics.



XXVIII

_Mankletow ~v.~ Jabberjee. Notes taken by Mr Jabberjee in Court during the
    proceedings._


    _Queen's Bench Court, No. ----,_ 10.20 A.M.

The eventful morn of my trial for Breach of Promise has at length
arrived, and I am resolved to jot down on the exterior of my brief such
tittles as take place. I have taken my seat in Court on one of the
benches reserved for long-robed juniors; in my immediate rear being my
solicitor, SIDNEY SMARTLE, Esq., who will officiate as my Remembrancer
and Friend in Need.

[Illustration: "FRESH AS A DAISY, AND FINE AS A CARROT FRESH SCRAPED."]

In the Great Hall below I had the pleasure to encounter Miss JESSIMINA
and that worthy Madam her Mamma, being prepared to greet them with
effusive kindness, and assure them I was only a hostile in my
professional capacity. Whether they were struck with awe by the
unaccustomed majesty of my appearance in brand-new wig, bands, &c., in
which I am fresh as a daisy, and fine as a carrot fresh scraped, or
whether they simply did not recognise me in the disguisement of such
toggeries, I am not to decide--but they passed by without responding
visibly to my salutations.

10.25.--A stout, large Q.C., with luxuriant cheek-whiskers has just
entered the row in front. Mister SMARTLE whispers to me that this is
WITHERINGTON, whom I refused to engage, and who is now in opposition.

I have taken the undue liberty to pluck him by the sleeve and introduce
myself in straightforward English style to his honourable notice,
acquainting him that his unfortunate client had a very flimsy case, and
was not deserving of success, while myself was a meritorious Native
Neophyte, whose entire fortune was impaled on a stake, and urging him
not to show too windy a temper to such a shorn lamb as his petitioner.

However, he has declined rather peremptorily to lend me his ears, nor
can I induce his learned junior, who is my next neighbour, to show me
any fraternal kindness. My said solicitor is highly indignant at my
treatment, and warns me in an undertone that I am not to make any
further overtures to such stuck-up individuals.

10.30.--Hon'ble Mister Justice HONEYGALL enters in highly dignified
fashion. He is of a bland, benignant, and intensely clean aspect, which
uplifts my downfallen heart, for it is obvious, from his benevolent and
smiling bow to myself that he already feels a paternal interest in my
achieving the conquest of my spurs.

The jury are taking the oath. Whether any of my co-contributors to
_Punch_ are among them I cannot discover, since they do not vouchsafe
to encourage me by the freemasonry of even a surreptitious simper. But
this is perhaps occasioned by over prudence.

The learned junior on my right has risen, and in shockingly bald and
barren verbiage has stated the issues which are to be tried, and, being
evidently no Heaven-born orator, sits abruptly down, completely
gravelled for lack of a more copious vocabulary. A poor tongue-tied
devil of a chap whom I regard with pity!

WITHERINGTON, Q.C., is addressing the jury. He is not a tongue-tied, but
he speaks in a colloquial, commonplace sort of fashion which does not
shed a very brilliant lustre upon boasted British advocacy.

Though of an unromantic obesity, it appears from the excessive eulogies
he lavishes upon JESSIMINA that he is already the tangled fly in the web
of her feminine enchantments. What a pity that such a prominent
barrister should be so unskilled in seeing through such a millstone as
the female heart!

He is persisting in making most incorrect and uncomplimentary allusions
to my undeserving self, which it is impossible that I am to suffer
without rising to repudiate with voluble indignation! However, though he
makes bitter complaints of my interruptions, he does me the honour to
refer to me as his friend, for which I thank him with a gratified
fervour, assuring him that I reciprocate his esteem.

Hon'ble Judge has just tendered me the kindly and golden advice that,
unless I sit down and remain hermetically sealed, the case will
infallibly continue for ever and anon, and that I am not to advance my
interests by disregarding the customary etiquettes of the Bar.

11.5.--JESSIMINA is giving her testimony. Indubitably she has greatly
improved in her physical appearance since I was a resident of
Porticobello House, and her habiliments are as fashionably ladylike (if
not more so) than Miss WEE-WEE'S own! Alack! that she should relate her
story with so many departures from ordinary veracity. Her pulchritude
and well-assumed timidity have captivated even the senile Judge, for,
after I have risen and vehemently contradicted her in various
unimportant details, he has actually barked at me that, unless I wait
until it is my turn to cross-examine he will take some very severe
measure with me at the rising of the Court! A pretty specimen of
judicial impartiality!

1.30 P.M.--The Court has risen for lunch at the conclusion of a rather
severe cross-examination by myself of the fair plaintiff, and, not being
oppressed by pangs of hunger, I have leisure to record the
result--which, owing to the partisanship of Hon'ble Bench, the
disgracefully complicated state of the laws of Evidence, and Miss
JESSIMINA'S ingenuity in returning entirely wrong answers to my
searching interrogatories, did not attain to the sanguine level of my
expectations.

For instance, when I asked her whether it was not the fact that I was
notoriously deficient in physical courageousness, she made the
unexpected reply that she had not observed it, and that I had frequently
described to her my daring achievements in sticking wild pigs and
shooting man-eating tigers.

Also she entirely refused to admit that the turquoise and gold ring I
had given her was not in token of our betrothal, but merely to
compensate her for not being invited as well as myself to a certain
fashionable dinner-party; and the Judge (interrupting in the most
unwarrantable manner) said that, as he did not understand that I
seriously denied the existence of an engagement to marry, he was unable
to perceive the bearings of my query.

Again, I reminded her of her mention of the gift of a china model of
Poet SHAKSPEARE'S birthplace, and required her--on her oath--to answer
whether it had not been originally intended for another lady, and
whether, having accidentally seated myself upon it, I had not decided to
bestow the _disjecta membra_ upon herself instead.

To which she replied, with artfully simulated emotion, that all she knew
was that I had assured her at the time that the said piece of china had
been expressly purchased for herself as a souvenir of my ardent
affection, and she had accepted it as such, and carefully restored it
with some patent cement.

Before this the Judge had asked me how I could expect the plaintiff to
know what was passing in the tortuous recesses of my own mind, and
informed her that she need not answer such a ridiculous question unless
she pleased. But she did please, and her answer was received with
applause, which, however, the Bench perceiving, though tardily, that I
was entitled to some protection, did declare in angry tones that it was
on no account to be permitted.

Next I inquired whether it was not true that she was of a flirtatious
disposition, and addicted to laugh and talk vivaciously with the
gentlemen-boarders, and whether I had not earnestly remonstrated with
her upon such conduct. Here WITHERINGTON, Q.C., bounded on to his feet,
and protested that I was not entitled to put this question now, since I
had not dared to allege in my letters or pleadings that I had breached
my promise owing to any misconduct of plaintiff. But, instead of
submitting to such objection, JESSIMINA answered in mellifluous accents
that she had never manifested more than ordinary civility towards any
gentleman-boarder, but that I had displayed passionate jealousy of them
all prior to my engagement--though never since, because she had never
afforded the slightest excuse for remonstrances.

Whereupon she was again flooded with tears, which stirred my heart with
tender commiseration; for her maidenly distress did only increase her
charms to infinity. And the Judge, feeling fatherly sympathy for myself,
observed very kindly that I had got my answer, which he hoped might do
me much good. For which good wish I thanked him gratefully; and the
Court was again dissolved in senseless cachinnations!

Next I cross-questioned her as to her refusal of my offer to marry on
the ground that I was already the husband of one infant wife, and
whether it was not the fact. She responded that I had referred her to Mr
CHUCKERBUTTY RAM for corroboration of my story, and that he had informed
her that my said wife was a _post mortem_.

Here I cleverly took the legal objection that what Mr RAM said was not
evidence, and warned her to be careful, while the Hon'ble Judge partly
upheld my contention, remarking that it was evidence that a conversation
was held, but not of the truth of the facts stated in such conversation,
thereby showing clearly that he did not credit her story.

Upon the whole, I am confident that I have at least silenced the guns of
WITHERINGTON, Q.C., for upon the conclusion of my cross-examination, he
admitted that he had no further questions to ask the plaintiff.

My solicitor says I shall have to buck myself up if I am to reduce the
damages to any reasonable amount, and that he had been desirous from the
first to brief WITHERINGTON. But this is to croak like a raven, for the
cross-examining is, after all, of very minor importance compared to the
Gift of the Gab--in which I am notoriously _nulli secundus_.

2.15 P.M.--The Court has returned. WITHERINGTON'S Junior has called
JESSIMINA'S mother, whom I shall presently have the bounden but rather
painful duty to cross-examine sharply.

Already I experience serious sinkings in stomach department. _Sursum
corda!_ I must buck it up.



XXIX

_Further proceedings in the Case of Mankletow ~v.~ Jabberjee. Mr
    Jabberjee's Opening for the Defence._


    _Queen's Bench Court, No. ----,_ 2.40 P.M.

I have just resumed my seat after a rather searching examination of
Madam MANKLETOW, as will appear from the notes of her evidence kindly
taken by my solicitor:--

      MY SOLICITOR'S SAID NOTES.

Mrs MARTHA MANKLETOW (_formidable old party--all bugles and bombazine_).
Would certainly describe her establishment as 'select'; all of her male
boarders perfect gentlemen--except defendant. Was never anxious to
secure him for her daughter--on the contrary, would have much preferred
her son-in-law white. Gave her consent because of the passionate
attachment he professed for plaintiff. Nothing to her whether he was of
princely rank or not. He appeared to be very well able to support her
daughter, which was the chief thing. Had never threatened defendant with
personal chastisement from other boarders if he denied any engagement.
Did say that if he meant nothing serious after all the marked
attentions he had paid the plaintiff, he deserved to be cut dead by all
the gentlemen in the house. Insisted on the engagement being made public
at once; thought it her bounden duty to do so. Did not know whether
defendant was married already, or how many wives he was entitled to in
his own country--he had taken good care not to say anything about all
that when he proposed. Did not consider him a desirable match, and never
had done, but thought he ought to be made to pay heavily for his
heartless behaviour to her poor unprotected child, who would never get
over the slight of being jilted by a black man....

Here I sat down, amidst suppressed murmurs from the Court of indignation
and sympathy at such gross unmannerly insults to a highly educated
Indian University man and qualified native barrister.

3.15.--More witnesses for plaintiff, viz., Miss SPINK and sundry select
boarders, who have testified to my courtship and the notoriety of my
engagement. Seeing that they were predetermined not to answer favourably
to myself, I tore a leaf out of Mister WITHERINGTON'S book, and said
that I had no questions to ask.... The plaintiff's junior has just sat
down, with the announcement that that is his case. I am now to turn the
tables by dint of rhetorical loquacity.

The annexed report, though sadly meagre and doing very scanty justice to
the occasion, is furnished by my friend young HOWARD, who was present in
Court at the time....

_Jab._ (_in a kind of sing-song_). May it please your venerable lordship
and respectable gentlemen of the jury, I am in the very similar
predicament of another celebrated native gentleman and well-known
character in the dramatic works of your immortal _littérateur_ Poet
SHAKSPEARE. I allude to OTHELLO on the occasion of his pleading before
the Duke and other potent, grave, and reverent signiors of Venice, in a
speech which I shall commence by quoting in full----

[Illustration: MR JUSTICE HONEYGALL.]

_Mr Justice Honeygall._ One moment, Mr JABBERJEE, I am always reluctant
to interfere with Counsel, but it may save my time and that of the jury
if I remind you that the illustration you propose to give us is hardly
as happy as it might be. The head and front of OTHELLO'S offending,
unless I am mistaken, was that he had married the lady of his
affections, whereas in _your_ case----

_Jab._ (_plaintively_). Your lordship, it is not humanly possible that I
can exhibit even ordinary eloquence if I am to be interrupted by
far-fetched and frivolous objections. The story of OTHELLO----

_Mr Justice H._ What the jury want to hear is not OTHELLO'S story, but
yours, Sir, and your proper course is to go into the witness-box at
once, and give your version of the facts as simply and straightforwardly
as you can. When you have given your own evidence and called any
witnesses you may wish to call, you will have an opportunity of
addressing the jury, and exhibiting the eloquence on which you
apparently place so much reliance.

      [_Here poor old ~JAB~ bundles off to the witness-box, and
      takes some outlandish oath or other with immense gusto,
      after which he starts telling the Jury a long rambling
      rigmarole, and is awfully riled when the old Judge pulls him
      up, which he does about every other minute. This is the sort
      of thing that goes on:--_

_Jab._ At this, Misters of the Jury, I, being but a pusillanimous and no
Leviathan of valour----

_The Judge._ Not so fast, Sir, not so fast. Follow my pen. I've not got
down half what you said before that. (_Reads laboriously from his
notes._) "In panicstricken apprehension of being severely assaulted _à
posteriori_." Who do you say threatened to assault you in that
manner--the plaintiff's mother?

_Jab._ I have already had the honour to inform your lordship that I was
utterly intimidated by the savage threats of the plaintiff's mother
that, unless I consented to become the betrothed, she would summon
certain able-bodied athletic boarders to batter and kick my unprotected
person, and consequently, not being a Leviathan----

_The Judge._ No one has ever suggested that you are an animal of that
description, Sir. Have the goodness to keep to the point. (_Reads as he
writes._) "I was so intimidated by threats of plaintiff's mother that
she would have me severely kicked by third parties if I refused, that I
consented to become engaged to plaintiff." Is _that_ what you say?

_Jab._ (_beaming_). Your lordship's acute intellect has comprehended my
_pons asinorum_ with great intelligence.

_The Judge_ (_looking at him under his spectacles_). Umph! Well, go on.
What next?

      [_So old ~JAB~ goes on gassing away, at such a deuce of a rate
      that the Judge gives up all idea of taking notes, and sits
      staring at ~JAB~ in resigned disgust._ (_It was spell-bound
      attentiveness._--H. B. J.) _~JAB~ WILL spout and WON'T keep to
      the point; but, all the same, I fancy, somehow, he's getting
      round the Jury. He's such a jolly innocent kind of old ass,
      and they like him because he's no end of sport. The
      plaintiff's a devilish fine girl, and gave her evidence
      uncommonly well; but, unless ~WITHERINGTON~ turns up again, I
      believe old ~JAB~ will romp in a winner, after all! I haven't
      taken down anything else, except his wind-up, when of course
      he managed to get in a speech._

_Jab._ Believe me, gentlemen of the jury, this is simply the barefaced
attempt to bleed and mulct a poor impecunious Indian. For it is
incredible that any English female, of genteel upbringings and the
lovely and beauteous appearance which you have all beheld in this box,
it is incredible, I say, that she should seriously desire to become a
mere unconsidered unit in a bevy of Indian brides! How is she possibly
to endure a domestic existence exposed to the slings and arrows of a
perpetual gorilla warfare from various native aunts and sisters-in-law,
or how is she to reconcile her dainty and fastidious stomach, after the
luscious and appetising fare of a Bayswater boarding-house, to simple,
unostentatious, and frequently repulsive Indian eatables? No, Misters of
the jury, as warm-hearted noble-minded English gentlemen, you will never
condemn an unfortunate and industrious native graduate and barrister to
make a cripple of his career, and burden his friends and his families
with such a bone of contention as a European better half, who will
infallibly plunge him into the pretty pickle of innumerable family jars!
I shall now vacate the witness-box in favour of my intimate friend and
fatherly benefactor, Hon'ble Sir CHETWYND CUMMERBUND, who will tell
you----

_The Judge_ (_rising_). Before we have the pleasure of seeing Sir
CHETWYND here, Mr JABBERJEE, there is a little formality you appear to
have overlooked. The plaintiff's counsel will probably wish before you
leave the box to put a few questions to you in cross-examination, and
that must stand over till to-morrow. (_At this, old Jab's jaw falls
several holes._)

NOTE BY MR JABBERJEE.--_Hereford Road, Bayswater._--I am excessively
gratified by the result of my first day's trial, being already
the established favourite and chartered libertine of the whole
Court, who split their sides at my slightest utterances. So I am
no longer immeasurably alarmed by the prospect of being crossly
examined--especially since WITHERINGTON, Q.C., has abandoned his brief
in despair to a tongue-tied junior, who is incompetent to exclaim Bo! to
a goose. Indeed, I have some thoughts of declining haughtily to be
interrogated by a mere underling.

The only fly in the ointment of my success is the utter indifference of
JESSIMINA to my aforesaid triumphs. At the termination of the hearing
to-day, I beheld her so deeply engrossed in smiling and cordial converse
with the smartly-attired curly-headed young solicitor who is acting on
her behalf that she was totally unconscious of my vicinity!

Alackaday! _varium et mutabile semper foemina!_



XXX

_Mankletow ~v.~ Jabberjee (part heard.) Mr Jabberjee finds
    cross-examination much less formidable than he had anticipated._


It is now the second day of my celebrated case, which is such a
transcendental success that already the Court is tight as a drum, while
a vast disappointed crowd is barricading imploringly at the doors!

I was about to harangue these unfortunates, assuring them I was not
responsible for their exclusion, and promising to exert my utmost
influence with the Hon'ble Judge that they were all to be admitted.

But my solicitor, seizing me by the forearm, hurried me through the
entrance with the friendly recommendation that I was not to be the
bally-fool.

In the trough I perceive JESSIMINA seated, in a hat even more
resplendently becoming than her yesterday head-dress, and I am not a
little puffed with pride to be proceeded against by a plaintiff of such
a stylish and elegant appearance.

[Illustration: WITHERINGTON, Q.C.]

10.25 A.M.--After all, WITHERINGTON, Q.C., has paid me the marked
compliment of turning up to personally conduct my cross-examination. At
which SMARTLE, Esq., becomes lugubrious, averring that he is capable of
turning my inside out in no time unless I am preciously careful. But,
knowing that such inhuman barbarities are not feasible in civilised
regions, I enter the box with a serene and smiling countenance....

_Later._--I am unspeakably delighted with the urbanity (on the whole)
with which I have been cross-examined. For, to my wonderment,
WITHERINGTON, Q.C., commenced with displaying a respectful and
sympathetic interest in my career, &c., which rendered me completely at
my ease, and though on occasions he did suddenly manifest inquisitorial
severity, I soon discovered that his anger was mere wind from a tea-pot,
and that he was in secret highly gratified by the nature of my replies.
And for the most part he had the great condescension to treat me with a
kind and facetious familiarity.

I had privately commissioned a shorthanded acquaintance of mine with
instructions to take down nothing but my answers, but with inconceivable
doltishness he has done the exact converse, and transcribed merely the
utterances of Mister WITHERINGTON! However, as I do not accurately
recall my responses, I am to insert the report here _pro tanto_,
trusting to the ingenuity of the public to read between the lines.

      HERE FOLLOWS THE REPORT.

_Mr Witherington, Q.C._ Well, Mr JABBERJEE, so it seems that it is all a
mistake about your being a Prince, eh?... And, however such an idea may
have originated, _you_ never represented yourself as a Rajah, or
anything of the kind?... I was sure you would say so. You have such a
high regard for truth, and such a deep sense of the obligation of an
oath, that you are incapable of a deliberate falsehood at any time--may
I take that for granted?... Very glad to hear it. And of course, Mr
JABBERJEE, it was no fault of yours if people chose to assume, from a
certain magnificence in your appearance and way of living and so on,
that you must be of high rank in your own country?... But, though you
don't set up to be a Prince, you are, I believe, a recent acquisition to
the honourable profession of which we are both members?... And also a
journalist of some distinction, are you not?... Indeed? I congratulate
you--a highly respectable periodical. And no doubt the proprietors have
shown a proper appreciation of the value of your services, in a
pecuniary sense?... Really? You are indeed to be envied, Mr JABBERJEE!
Not many young barristers can rely upon making such an income by their
pen while they are waiting for the briefs to come in. May I ask if you
intend to practice in this country?... The Calcutta Bar, eh? Then I
suppose you can count upon influence out there?... Your father a
_Mooktear_, is he? I'm afraid I don't know what that is exactly.... A
solicitor? _Now_ I understand. So he will give you cases--in which I am
sure you will distinguish yourself. But you'll have to work hard, won't
you?... I thought so. No more pig-sticking or tiger-shooting, eh?...
That's a drawback, isn't it? You're passionately devoted to
tiger-shooting, aren't you? Unless I'm mistaken, you first won the
plaintiff's admiration by the vivid manner in which you described your
"moving accidents by flood and field"--another parallel between you and
OTHELLO, eh? Well, tell me, I'm no sportsman myself--but it's rather a
thrilling moment, isn't it, when a tiger is trying to climb up your
elephant, and get inside the--what do you call it--howlah?--oh,
_howdah_, to be sure; thank you, very much.... So I should have
imagined. Still, I suppose, when you're used to it, even that wouldn't
shake your nerve to any appreciable extent. You would bowl over your
tiger at close quarters without turning a hair, would you not?... Just
so. A great gift, presence of mind. And pig-sticking, now--isn't a boar
rather an awkward customer to tackle?... "You never found him so"? But
suppose you miss him with your spear, and he charges your horse?... Ah,
you're a mighty hunter, Mr JABBERJEE, I perceive! Ever shoot any
elephants?... _No_ elephants? That's a pleasure to come, then. Now,
about your relations with the plaintiff prior to your engagement--you
were a good deal in her company, weren't you?... Well, you constantly
escorted her to various places of amusement, come?... Yes, yes; I am
quite aware a _chaperon_ was always present. We are both agreed that my
client has acted throughout with the most scrupulous propriety--but you
liked being in her society, didn't you?... Exactly so, and, at that time
at all events, you admired her extremely?... "Merely as a friend," eh?
no idea of proposing? Well, just tell us once more how it was you came
to engage yourself.... You were afraid your landlady would summon a
boarder and ask him to give you a kicking?... And the prospect of being
kicked terrified you to such an extent that you were willing to promise
anything--is _that_ your story?... But you are a man of iron nerve, you
know, you've just been giving us a description of your performances in
the jungle. How did you come to be so alarmed by a boarder, when the
attack of the fiercest tiger or wild boar never made you turn a hair?...
But that is what you gave us to understand just now, wasn't it?... Then
do you tell his lordship and the jury now that, as a matter of fact, you
never shot a solitary tiger or speared a single boar in your life? Why
didn't you say so at once, Sir.... Do you consider a misrepresentation
of that kind a mere trifle?... In spite of the fact that you have
solemnly sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but
the truth?... Very well, Sir, I will take your answer. Now, just
look at this letter of yours. (Your lordship has a copy of the
correspondence.... Yes, it is all admitted, my lord.) I'll read it to
you. (_Reads it._) Now, Sir, is it the fact that you ever actually
consulted the gentleman who enjoys the distinction of being astrologer
to your family upon your marriage with the plaintiff? Be careful what
you say.... And did he ever forbid you to contract such an alliance?...
Then was there a word of truth in all that?... I thought as much. Let me
read you another letter. (_He reads._) Here, you see, you make quite
another excuse. You are already married, and can only offer the
plaintiff the position of a rival wife, or "_sateen_," as you call it.
Have you ever contracted an infant marriage in India?... Oh, that _is_
true, is it? But why, when you were paying these attentions to the
plaintiff, did it never occur to you to mention the fact that you were a
married man?... "You don't know?" May it not have been because you were
a widower? Was your infant wife alive or dead when you wrote this
letter?... Then why did you write of her as if she were alive?... I
quite believe _that_--but why were you so anxious to break it off just
then?... Well, when you were cross-examining the plaintiff you asked her
about a certain china ornament you had given her, which seems to have
been originally intended for another young lady. We needn't mention her
name here--but you made her acquaintance some time after your
engagement, didn't you?... And since you left Porticobello House, you
have seen a good deal of her, eh?... You were a great admirer of hers,
weren't you?... I'm not asking you whether she is engaged to a Scotch
gentleman at the present moment--I'm putting it to you that, at the time
you were writing these letters to the plaintiff, you had already formed
the conclusion that this other young lady was more deserving of the
honour of being the second Mrs JABBERJEE.... I am not suggesting that
you could help it--but wasn't it so?... Very well--that is all I have to
ask you Mr JABBERJEE. You can go....

I must not omit to record that my replies and the reading of my letters
did excite frequent and vociferous merriment, and in other respects I
have testified so exhaustively that my solicitor informs me it is not
worth a candle to call any further witnesses--especially as Hon'ble
CUMMERBUND has intimated that he prefers to blow unseen, and as for
Baboo CHUCKERBUTTY RAM, he, it seems, has of course been seized by such
violent indisposition that he was compelled to leave the Court.

So I am now to deliver one more brief oration, which will infallibly
secure me the plerophory of the jury and exalt my head to the skies as
Cock of the Roost.

Only I regret that JESSIMINA'S visage is now completely invisible to me,
being obscured by the dimensions of her hat, also that she should carry
on such protracted confabulations with her curly-headed professional
adviser--which is surely lacking in most ordinary respect for myself and
Hon'ble Justice HONEYGALL!



XXXI

_Mankletow ~v.~ Jabberjee (continued). The Defendant brings his Speech to
    a somewhat unexpected conclusion, and Mr Witherington, Q.C.,
    addresses the Jury in reply._


My aforesaid shorthanded acquaintance has very fortunately preserved the
literal transcript of my concluding oration, which will afford a feeble
idea of the grandiloquence of my loquacity.--H. B. J.

      VERBATIM REPORT (_unofficial_).

_Baboo Jab._ May it please your mighty honour and great notorious
gentlemen on the jury, it must present a strange and funny appearance to
behold a young Indian B.A., provided with a big education and the _locus
standi_ of barrister-at-law, crawling humbly towards your footstools as
a suppliant, and already I perceive from your benevolent and smirking
visages that your hearts are favourably inclined towards your
unfortunate son, and that you are too deeply imbued with serpentine
wisdom to be at all bamfoozled by the _ad captandum_ charms of feminine
cajoleries. Indeed, I am a poor penniless chap, if not almost completely
dead for want of funds, and if I had only been able to call my revered
and fatherly benefactor, Hon'ble Sir CUMMERBUND, he would infallibly
have testified--

_The Judge._ As you did not think proper--no doubt for excellent
reasons--to put Sir CHETWYND in the box when you could have done so, Mr
JABBERJEE, I shall most certainly not allow you to make any comments now
upon the evidence he might or might not have given.

_Baboo J._ I beg to knuckle very submissively to your lordship's
argument. The fact is, that the said Sir CUMMERBUND, on hearing my
answers when I was acting in the capacity of a harrowed toad under my
friend WITHERINGTON'S cross-examination, very handsomely stated that I
had left nothing for him to say, and begged modestly that he might be
excused. But indeed, Misters, I occupy but a very beggarly apartment in
this Fools' Hotel of a world, and it is the moral impossibility for me
to pay any damages whatever! Moreover, it is a well-authenticated fact
that I am a shocking coward, and was induced to become affianced by
haunting apprehensions of receiving a succession of severe kicks. For
how, being suddenly put to my choice between being barbarously kicked
and punched or acquiring a spruce and blooming bride, could I hesitate
for a moment to accept the lesser of two evils? Nevertheless, I did
remain uninterruptedly devoted to the plaintiff for many weeks--until I
encountered a still younger and more bewitching lady, who became the
Polar Star to my compass-like heart. But, lack-a-daisy, Sirs! though I
left no stones unturned to be off with my Old Love, I did not get on
very fortunately with the New, seeing that she preferred an affluent
young Scotch, whereby I am reduced to shedding tears in silence and
solicitude between two stools! (_Roars of laughter._) Misters, like the
frog that was being lapidated by thoughtless juveniles, I reply:--"for
you it may be facetious; but to myself it is a devilishly serious
affair!" For, after beholding the plaintiff here and discovering that
she had advanced rather than retrograded in physical attractiveness, I
made cordial approaches to her, but she passed me by with a
superciliously exalted nose! Gentlemen, it is a terrific piece of humbug
for her to allege that her heart has been infernally lacerated by my
unfaithfulness, when, at this very moment, instead of lending her ears
to my brief and rambling oration, she is entirely engrossed in
flirtatious converse with her curlypated juvenile solicitor!
(_Sensation._)

_Witherington, Q.C._ (_rising_). My lord, I really must protest. There
is absolutely _no_ justification for the defendant's outrageous
insinuation. I am informed by Miss MANKLETOW that she simply asked the
gentleman sitting next to her whether he had seen her smelling-salts!

_The Judge._ I fail to see, Mr JABBERJEE, what advantage you can hope
to gain by these highly irregular digressions. The plaintiff is under my
immediate observation, and I have seen nothing in her conduct during the
trial of which you have the smallest right to complain.

_Bab. J._ I am highly satisfied by your lordship's _obiter dictum_. Not
being in such a coign of vantage as your honour's excellency, I was
misled by the propinquity of heads viewed from the rear. Now, before
again becoming a sedentary, I am to propose a decisive test of
plaintiff's _bona fides_ in desiring my insignificant self as a spouse.
Herewith I beg humbly to have the honour of renewing my formal proposal
of marriage, and moreover will pledge myself in most solemn and
business-like style never on any account, whether so permitted by laws
of country or _vice versâ_, to take to myself a single additional native
wife in her lifetime. This handsome offer is genuine and without
prejudice, and I will take leave to remind plaintiff, in the terms of a
rather musty adage, that she is not too closely to inspect the mouth of
such a gifted horse as myself. (_Great laughter, and some sensation in
Court as ~JABBERJEE~ sits down._)

_Witherington, Q.C._ Your lordship will see that this--ah--rather
unforeseen development renders it necessary that I should ascertain the
plaintiff's views before proceeding to reply. (_The Judge nods:
breathless excitement in Court while the plaintiff's solicitor carries
on an animated conversation with ~Mr W.~ in undertones._)

_Witherington_ (_rising once more_). Gentlemen, I have, as it was my
duty to do, consulted the plaintiff respecting the unusual course which
the defendant has thought proper to take. Her answer to his proposal is
the answer which I am sure you will feel is the only possible one in the
circumstances. (_~JAB.~ beams._) The plaintiff, gentlemen, has undergone
the severest ordeal a young woman of delicacy and refinement can be
called upon to endure (_"Hear, hear!" from ~JAB.~_), and out of that
ordeal I think you will all agree she has come absolutely unscathed.

I need hardly say that she is incapable now of harbouring any unworthy
sentiments of rancour or revenge. (_~JAB.~ beams more effulgently
still._)

_But_, gentlemen, there are some injuries which, as you know, a woman
may find herself able to excuse, to palliate, even to condone; but which
she feels nevertheless must operate as an insuperable and impassable
barrier between herself and the individual who could be capable of them!
(_~JAB.'S~ smile becomes a trifle less assured._)

[Illustration: "JABBERJEE'S FACE GRADUALLY LENGTHENS."]

After the disgraceful and unmanly attempts the defendant has made to
evade his obligations; his disingenuous defences; his insulting
innuendoes; after the deplorable exhibition he has made of himself in
that box; and especially after the sombre picture he himself has
painted of the domestic future he has to offer; after all this, I ask
you, gentlemen, is it likely, is it possible, is it even conceivable
that the plaintiff can retain any respect or affection for him, or have
sufficient courage and confidence to entrust her happiness to such
hands? (_~JAB.'S~ face gradually lengthens._)

Once, it is true, under the glamour of her own girlish illusions, she
was ready to expatriate herself, to endure an alien existence, and
strange manners and customs for his beloved sake; but now, now that her
ideal is shattered, her dream dispelled,--now, it is too late!
Gentlemen, my client's answer is--and it is one which will only command
your increased respect:--"No. He has broken my heart, undermined my
belief in human nature, cast a blight upon my existence. (_~Miss M.~ sobs
audibly, here, and ~JAB.~ is visibly affected._) Much as I should like to
recover my old belief in him, much as it would be to my worldly
advantage to marry a wealthy Bengali barrister with talents and
influence which are certain to lead to rapid promotion in his native
land (_~JAB.~ bows, and then shakes his head in protest_), he has made me
suffer too much, I cannot accept him now!"

(_The learned Counsel then dealt exhaustively with various portions of
the case, and concluded thus._) Well, gentlemen, I shall not have to
trouble you with many further remarks, but I will just say this before I
sit down:--The defendant amongst innumerable other ingenious excuses,
has pleaded for your indulgence on the score of poverty. He has the
brazen effrontery to plead poverty, forsooth! after complacently
admitting, in that box, that he is earning at this very moment an income
by his pen alone that might be envied by many a hardworking English
journalist! I do not say this by way of making any reflection upon the
defendant; on the contrary, gentlemen, I consider it does credit to his
ability and enterprise. (_~JAB.~ bows again._) But at the same time it
disposes effectually of his allegation that he is without means, and
indeed, leaving his literary gains entirely out of the question, it must
have been obvious from what you have heard and seen of his manner of
living in this country that he is amply provided with pecuniary
resources. Bearing this in mind, gentlemen, I ask you to mark your sense
of his heartless treatment of the plaintiff, and the mental and social
injury she has suffered on his account, by awarding her substantial
damages; not, I need scarcely say, in any spirit of vindictiveness, but
as some compensation (however inadequate) for all she has gone through,
and also as a warning to other ingratiating but unprincipled Orientals
that they cannot expect to trifle with the artless affection of our
generous, warmhearted English maidens without paying--aye, and paying
dearly, too! for the amusement. (_He sits down amidst applause._)

NOTE BY MR JABBERJEE.--Hon'ble Judge is to sum up after lunch. I am
highly pained and disappointed that my friend WITHERINGTON should have
shown himself a perfidious, and have taken the liberty as he quitted the
Court to murmur the plaintive remonstrance of "_Et tu, Brute!_" into the
cavity of his left ear.

My solicitor, SIDNEY SMARTLE, is of the opinion that my case is looking
"a bit rocky," but that much will depend upon how the Judge sums up.
What a pity that, owing to judicial red-tapery, I am prohibited from
popping in upon him at lunch and importuning him to pronounce a decree
in my favour!



XXXII

_Containing the conclusion of the whole matter, and (which many
    Readers will receive in a spirit of chastened resignation) Mr
    Jabberjee's final farewell._


    _Queen's Bench Court, No. ----,_ 2 P.M.

Hon'ble Justice HONEYGALL is now summing-up, in such very nice, chatty,
confidential style that it is impossible to hear one half of his
observations, while the remainder is totally inaudible.... Nevertheless,
I already gather that he regards the affair with the restricted
narrowminded view that it is simply the question of damages.... He
appears to be now discussing whether my testimony that I am of such
excessive natural funkiness as to be intimidated by a few threats into
my matrimonial engagement is humanly credible.... I cannot at all
comprehend why, at his frequent references to my alleged
tiger-slaughters--which, with shrewd commonsense sapience, he seems to
consider mere ideally fabricated fibs and fanciful yarns--the whole
Court should be so convulsed with unmeaning merriment, nor why so stern
a Judge does not make any attempt to check such disorderly
interruptions....

So far as my imperfect hearing can ascertain, he has been instructing
the jury that they may utterly dismiss from their minds my highly
ingenious plea of inability to offer any other kind of matrimony than a
polygamous union--surely, a very, very slipshod off-hand method of
disposing of such a nice sharp quillet of the Law!... He is talking to
them about my means, and has thrown out a rather apt suggestion that I
may have been led by sheer vaingloriousness and Oriental love of
hyperbole into exaggerating my resources.... However, he "sees no reason
to doubt my competence to pay a reasonable amount of damages"--an
opinion with which I am not so pleased. "If the jury think me a gay sort
of Hindoo deceiver, who has heartlessly trifled with the affections of a
simple, unsuspecting English girl, that will lead them to award
substantial damages. If, on the other hand, they consider myself an
inexperienced Oriental ninnyhammer of a fellow, who has been entrapped
into an engagement by an ambitious, artful young woman--why, that may
incline them to inflict a merely nominal penalty." (But why, I should
like to know, does a Judge, who is infinitely more capable than a dozen
doltish juryman to express a decided opinion, thus put on the
double-faced mask of ambiguity, and run with the hare and halloo with
the hounds, like some Lukeworm from Laodicea?) ... Now he is mentioning
"certain circumstances, which he is bound to tell the jury have made a
strong impression on his own mind." ... Alack, that, owing to the
incorrigible mumbling of his diction, I cannot succeed in ascertaining
what these said circumstances are!... He has begun (I think) to
discourse concerning my latest offer of marriage in open Court. What a
pity that hon'ble judges should not study to acquire at least ordinary
proficiency in such a simple affair as Elocution!

"It may strike you, gentlemen, that if the plaintiff had any genuine
affection for the defendant, or any actual intention of linking her lot
with his, she would----" (the rest is a severe mumble!) "Or again, you
may take into consideration----" (but precisely _what_ they are to take
is, to myself, a dumb show!). "Still, after making every possible
allowance for the idealising effects of the tender passion upon the
female judgment, I confess I find it a little difficult to persuade
myself that----" (Again I am not in at the finish--but, from the
bristling and tossing of JESSIMINA'S hat-plumes, I am in great hopes
that it contained something complimentary to myself.) ... He has just
concluded with the observation that, "after what they have seen and
heard of the defendant during the proceedings, the jury should find
little difficulty in arriving at a fairly accurate estimate of the loss
which a young lady of British birth and bringing-up would sustain by
her failure to secure such a husband."

From the last it is clear that his hon'ble lordship meant that, in
secret, he has the highest opinion of my merits, though he entirely
overlooked the obvious fact that he would have better carried out his
benevolent and patronising intentions towards me by affecting (just now)
to consider me only a worthless poor chap. But even the most
subtly-trained European intellects are curiously backward in such
elementary chicaneries!

3 P.M.--The jury are assembling their heads. They seem generally
agreed--except a couple of stout ones who are lolling back and listening
with mulish simpers. If I were certain that they were fellow-colleagues
from _Punch_, I would encourage them by secret signs to persevere--but
who knows that they may not be partisans of the plaintiff? If so, they
deserve to be condignly punished for such obstinate dull-headedness....
The foreman has asked that they may retire, whereupon Justice
HONEYGALL answers them, "certainly," and retires his own person
contemporaneously....

3.15 P.M.--The jury are still absentees. In reply to my questions, my
solicitor says that, as far as he can see, the damages can't be under
£250, and may amount to a cold "Thou" (or thousand)! Adding that, if I
had only let him brief WITHERINGTON, Q.C., I might have got off with
£50, or even what is nominally called a farthing. But I say to him, in
such a case how could I possibly have acquired any forensic distinction?
To which he has no reply ready.

3.30.--The jury are still delayed by the two stouts. I have just
attempted to chat over the affair with JESSIMINA and Madame MANKLETOW,
and ascertain whether the former will not accept myself at the eleventh
hour as payment in full of all damages, costs, &c. Mrs M. replies that
the jurymen are notoriously in favour of her daughter, and that she
would as soon see her in gates of grave as the bride of a black man. On
closer approach to JESSIMINA, I have made the rather disenchanting
discovery that she has rendered her nose lilac from too much superfluity
of face-powder. Perhaps, after all, the damages may not be so very....
The jury are coming back. Hon'ble Judge is fetched hurriedly.... Mister
Associate asks: "Have you agreed upon your verdict?" Answered that they
have. "Do they find for plaintiff or defendant?" "For plaintiff." And
the damages? "_Twenty-five Thou!!!_" My stars! O Gemini! Who'd have
thought it? My Progenitor will never pay the piper for such an
atrociously cacophonous tune.... I am a done-for!

3.35.--All right. I was deceived by aural incorrectness. It is not
twenty-five _thou._--but twenty-five _pounds_!

3.45.--Hiphussar! Cockadoodledoo! A mere bite from a flea!... The
plaintiff has fallen into hystericals from disappointed
avariciousness.... There is some idle talk about costs following the
event, and certifying for a special jury--a luxury for which it seems I
am not to fork out. The case is over.

       *     *     *     *     *

Outside in the corridor and hall I was the cynosure of neighbouring
eyes, and vociferously applauded as a "good old nigger," and told that
"now they _shouldn't_ be long," though for what else they were waiting I
could not learn. Madame MANKLETOW did overtake me near the doors and
invite me to tea and talk in a coffee and bun emporium, hinting that she
had recently misunderstood the state of her daughter's heart, and that
she had in reality been ardently desirous from the first to accept my
offer. To which I replied that the gates of grave were now hermetically
closed, and that the plaintiff, like the fabulous canine, had thrown
away the meaty bone of a first-class opportunity in exchange for the
rather flimsy and shadowy form of a twenty-five pound note. But, as a
chivalrous, I refrained from saying that I had been thus totally put off
by an over-powdered nose.

Then I proceeded, amidst cheering populaces, up Chancery Lane to a
certain Bar, wherein young HOWARD regaled myself and solicitor very
handsomely upon anchovy sandwiches and champagne-wine, after which I
returned to Hereford Road full of ovation and cheerfulness.

It is practically certain that my sire, the Mooktear, will cockahoop
with paternal pride on hearing by telegram of my moral victory, and
celebrate same with fireworks and festivities, besides sending ample
remittances for all costs out of pocket, &c.

So I am now to return shortly to Calcutta, when my time will be too
exclusively taken up with forensic triumphs for any further jotting or
tittling for _Punch_, or similar periodicals.

After all, for a fellow who is able to enchant multitudes, and persuade
their intellects and reasoning faculties by dint of golden verbolatory
of diction, mere sedentary journalism is a very mediocre and poorly-paid
pursuit!

Notwithstanding my cessation as a contributor, I shall, on arriving in
India, infallibly recommend _Punch_ to all my innumerable aunts,
families, and friends, as a highly respectable periodical--provided that
the munificent and free-hearted generosity of those Hon'ble Misters, the
Editor and Proprietors, shall account me worthy to draw a monthly
retiring pension for my distinguished services.

And, with prostrated respects to my honoured readers and their
respective relatives, I have the honour to remain, ever and anon,

Their Excellencies most grateful,
      humble, and obedient servant,
            H. B. J.


THE END


THE TEMPLE PRESS, PRINTERS, LETCHWORTH

[Transcriber's Notes:

Table of Contents corrections (page iv):
  XXIX: opening changed to Opening to match text:
  _Further proceedings in the Case of Mankletow ~v.~
    Jabberjee. Mr Jabberjee's Opening for the Defence._           235

  XXXII: readers changed to Readers to match text:
  _Containing the conclusion of the whole matter, and (which
    many Readers will receive in a spirit of chastened
    resignation) Mr Jabberjee's final farewell._                  265

Illustration captions changed in List of Illustrations (pages v-vi):
  "Let out! let out!!" changed to "Let out! Let out!!"
    to reflect text.
  "Huzza! tol-de-rol-loll!" changed to "Huzza! Tol-de-rol-loll!"
    to reflect text.
  "I presented my trophy and treasure-trove to the fairy-like Miss
    Wee-wee." changed to "I presented my trophy and treasure-trove
    to the fairylike Miss Wee-Wee." to reflect text.

Chapter I, punctuation (page 1):
  Changed : to ; to match TOC: "Mr Jabberjee apologises for
    the unambitious scope of his work;"

Chapter IV, capitalization (page 30):
  CO. changed to Co. for consistency: "Hon'ble REYNOLDS and TURNER
    and GREUZY and Co. predominated as Old Masters."

Chapter V, spelling (page 33):
  Jessiminia to Jessimina: "In consequence of the increasing demands
    of the incomparable Miss JESSIMINA"

Chapter VI, spelling (page 46):
  Mankeltow to Mankletow: "and that Misses MANKLETOW and SPINK were
    similarly imperceptible."

Chapter X, spelling (pages 75, 78):
  Jaberjee to Jabberjee: "Mr Jabberjee is taken to see a Glove-Fight."
  fame to flame: "some, secreting their cigars in the
    hollow of their hands, took whiffs by stealth, and blushed to find
    it flame;"

Chapter XIII, spelling (page 96):
  bethrothal to betrothal: "My preceding article announced the
    important intelligence of my betrothal"

Chapter XV, spelling (page 117):
  turqoise to turquoise: "Notwithstanding, she would not be pacified
    until I had bestowed upon her a gold and turquoise ring of best
    English workmanship,"

Chapter XVI, spelling (page 125):
  Allbutt-Innet changed to Allbutt-Innett: "Consequently I did
    cock-a-hoop for joy on receiving an invitation from my friend
    ALLBUTT-INNETT,"

Chapter XIX, illustration caption (page 151):
  period changed to exclamation point to reflect text: "Pitch it
    strong, my respectable Sir!"

Chapter XXVIII, subheading punctuation (page 225):
  "No. ----." changed to "No. ----," for consistency in text.

End of Transcriber's Notes.]





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