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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 101, December 12, 1891
Author: Various
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 "Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 101, December 12, 1891" ***

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PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 101.



December 12, 1891.



LETTERS TO ABSTRACTIONS.

NO. VIII.--TO LAZINESS.

BEST (AND BEST-ABUSED) OF ABSTRACTIONS,

My heart positively warms to you as I write. At this precise moment I
can think of a hundred different things that I ought to be doing. For
instance, I have not written to TOM, who is in the wilds of Canada,
for months. His last letter ended with a pathetic appeal for an
answer.

"Never mind, old chap," he said, "about not having any news. Little
details that you may think too insignificant to relate are bound to
interest me in this deserted spot. I am sure you occasionally meet I
some of our friends of the old days. Tell them I often think of them
and all the fun we used to have together. It all seems like a dream to
me now. Let me know what any of them are doing. I heard six months ago
from a fellow who was touring out here that JACK BUMPUS was married.
If it is really our old JACK, congratulate him, and give him my love.
I don't know his present address. But, whatever you do, write. A
letter from you is like water in the desert."

[Illustration]

When I read that letter I became full of the noblest resolutions. Not
another day should pass, I vowed, before I answered it. So I prepared
a great many sheets of thin note-paper, carefully selected a clean nib
and sat down at my writing-table to begin. As I did so my eyes fell
upon _Martin Chuzzlewit_, which was lying within easy reach. The book
seemed positively to command me to read it for the tenth time. I took
it up, and in another moment _Mrs. Gamp_ had taken possession of
me. My writing-chair was uncomfortable. I transferred myself into an
arm-chair. Is it necessary to add that I did not write to TOM? His
letter is getting frayed and soiled from being constantly in my
pocket. Day after day it accompanies me on my daily round, unanswered
and seemingly unanswerable. For I feel it to be a duty to write, and
my mind abhors a duty. The letter weighs upon my conscience like lead.
A few strokes of the pen would remove the burden, but I simply cannot
screw myself up to the task. That is one of the things I ought to do.

Again, ought I not to call on the WHITTLESEAS? Mr. and Mrs. WHITTLESEA
have simply overflowed with kindness towards me. I never enjoyed
anything more than the week I spent at their house in Kent a short
time ago. They are now in town, and, what is more, they know that I am
in town too. Of course I ought to call. It's my plain duty, and that
is, as far as I can tell, the only reason which absolutely prevents
me from calling upon that hospitable family. Why need I go through
the long list of my pressing duties? I ought to write my article on
"Modern Theosophy: A Psychological Parallel," for the next number of
_The Brain_. I ought to visit my dentist; I ought to have my hair
cut. But I shall do none of these things. On the other hand, it is
absolutely unnecessary that I should write to you. No evil would
befall me if I waited another year, or even omitted altogether to
write to you. And that is the precise reason why I am now addressing
you. As a matter of fact, I like you. As I have already said, the
performance of strict duties is irksome to me. It is you, my dear
LAZINESS, who forbid me to perform them, and thus save me from many an
uncongenial task. That is why I like you.

And, after all, the common abuse of you is absurd. I have heard grave
and industrious persons declare emphatically that any one who allows
himself to fall under your sway debars himself utterly from every
chance of success. Fiddlesticks! I snap my fingers at such folly.
What do these gentlemen say to the case of FIGTREE, the great Q.C.?
Everybody knows that FIGTREE is, without exception, the most indolent
man in the world. Let any doubter walk down Middle Temple Lane and
ask the first young barrister he meets what he thinks of FIGTREE. I
am ready to wager my annual income that the reply will be, "What, Old
FIGTREE! Why, he's the laziest man at the Bar. I thought everybody
knew that." I may be told, of course, that FIGTREE appears in all the
big cases--that his management of them is extraordinarily successful;
that the Judges defer to him; that his speech in the Camberwell
poisoning case lasted a day and a half, and is acknowledged to be a
masterpiece of forensic eloquence, fit to rank with the best efforts
of ERSKINE; that his fees always exceed ten thousand pounds a year and
that his book on _Fines and Recoveries_ is a monument of industry. All
this I shall hear from some member of the outside public, who does not
know his FIGTREE. But the fact remains. FIGTREE is the most indolent
being alive. I doubt if he can be induced to read a brief before he
goes into Court. Many are the tales told by those who have been his
juniors of the marvellous skill and address with which FIGTREE has
time after time extricated himself from awkward situations into which
he had been led by his ignorance of the details of the case in which
he happened to be engaged. In the sensational libel case of _Bagwell_
v. _Muter_, FIGTREE, as you must remember, appeared for the defendant.
When the plaintiff's Junior Counsel had opened the pleadings, FIGTREE
actually got up, and, had not his own Junior pulled him down, he would
then and there have opened the case for the plaintiff. Yet FIGTREE's
cross-examination of that same plaintiff, travelling as it did over
a long period of time, and dealing with a most complicated story, in
which dates were of the first importance, is still cited by those who
heard it as the most remarkable display of its kind which the English
Courts have afforded for years past. Whether the unfortunate BAGWELL,
whom it showed conclusively to be a swindler and an impostor, has an
equal admiration for it, I know not, nor is he, I fancy, likely to
tell us, even when he returns from the prison which is now the scene
of his labours. How FIGTREE, who at the outset did not even know on
which side he appeared, managed in the time at his command to master
this intricate case, must ever remain a mystery. HARRY ADDLESTONE,
his Junior, is accustomed to talk darkly of a marvellous chronological
analysis of the case which he had prepared for his leader, and
evidently wishes me to believe that he, rather than FIGTREE, is to be
credited with the success achieved. But the Solicitors have not yet
withdrawn their confidence from FIGTREE to transfer it to ADDLESTONE.

Here, then, is an instance of a perfectly indolent man rising higher
and higher every year on the ladder of professional advancement. I
can only attribute it, my dear LAZINESS, to your beneficent influence,
which preserves the great barrister from the weary labours to which
his rivals daily submit. They say of him that he knows nothing of
law. If I grant that, it merely proves that a knowledge of law is not
required for success in the profession of the law. The deduction is
dangerous, but obvious, and I recommend it warmly to all who are about
to be called to the Bar.

I don't think I have anything more to say to you to-day; indeed, I
know that you would be the last to desire that the writing of this
letter should he in any way irksome to me. Besides, it is five o'clock
P.M. My arm-chair invites me. I feel tired, and, that being so, I
am convinced it would he an act of pedantic folly to deny myself the
sweet refreshment of half-an-hour's sleep. Farewell, kindly one. I
shall always rejoice to honour you, and celebrate your praise.

Yours, with all goodwill, DIOGENES ROBINSON.

P.S.--I reopen this letter to say that I have just read in an evening
paper a terrible account of the total destruction by a tornado of
the town in Canada which was poor TOM's place of exile. "The loss
of life," it is added, "has been great, and several Englishmen are
amongst the victims." No names are given. Good gracious! If TOM has
indeed perished, how am I ever to forgive myself for neglecting him?
What must he have thought of me? I curse myself in vain for my--bah!
What is the use of telling you this? The same paper informs me, in the
elegant language appropriate to these occasions, that "Mr. FIGTREE,
Q.C., has been offered, and has accepted, the vacant Lord-Justiceship
of Appeal."

       *       *       *       *       *


AN OPPORTUNITY.--A Lyme Regis Correspondent sends us the following
advertisement, found, he says, in the _Bridport News_; we omit dates
and names:--

    ---- will SELL by AUCTION, Three Fine DAIRY COWS to calve
    _respectfully_ in Dec., April, and May next. An excellent
    double-feeding chaff-cutter, &c.

A respectful cow will no doubt fulfil her engagements honorably. "A
double-feeding chaff-cutter" ought to be an acquisition to a fast set
on a coach at the Derby, though of course his "double-feeding" powers
would have to be amply provided for at luncheon time.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The nearest thing to 'setting the Thames on fire,'" said a quiet
traveller by the Underground, "is the announcement which you will now
see at the St. James's Park Station:--'A LIGHT HERE FOR NIAGARA.'"
"Why," exclaimed an irate passenger to the timid suggestion of
the above, "of course it doesn't mean _that_." Then he added,
contemptuously, "Get out!" Which he did.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: RUSTICUS EXPECTANS. (NEW POLITICAL VERSION OF AN OLD
FABLE.)]

       *       *       *       *       *

RUSTICUS EXPECTANS;

_OR, THE NEW DUMBLEDUMDEARY._

  "Rusticus expectat, dum defluat amnis; at ille
  Labitur, et labetur in omne volubilis ævum."

HORACE.

AIR--"_DUMBLEDUMDEARY_."

  In the fall of the year, when M.P.'s were about,
  And speeches burst forth like a waterspout,
  HODGE took up his bundle, and caught up his staff,
  And went for a walk--if you please, don't laugh!--
      Singing dumbledumdeary, dumbledumdeary,
      Dumble, dumble, dumbledumdee!

  Oh, HODGE had put on his bettermost smock,
  And wore his billycock gaily a-cock;
  For HODGE nowadays is a person of note,
  And great Governments bow to the "hind,"--with a vote.
      Singing dumbledumdeary, &c.

  So he strolled on wi'out dread or fear
  Of Squoire or Parson, or County Peer,
  For the spouting M.P. and the Liberal Van
  Had made of the shock-headed joskin a Man!
      Singing dumbledumdeary, &c.

  With promises stuffed, and with hope inspired,
  HODGE walked, and walked till he felt quite tired;
  So he sat himself down on the bank of a stream,
  And, falling asleep, dreamed a wonderful dream.
      Singing dumbledumdeary, &c.

  The old, old stream was no longer the brook
  Where he'd angled for minnows with worm and hook;
  It swelled and swirled, and its rippling voice
  Was changed to loud echoes of platform noise.
      Singing dumbledumdeary, &c.

  And it seemed to address him, "How long, friend HODGE,
  In a smock you will slave, in a pig-stye lodge?
  The Town revolts, but the landlord crew
  Still rule the rustics. What can you do?"
      Singing dumbledumdeary, &c.

  "Oh, I can reap, and I can sow;
  And I can plough, and I can mow;
  And, as Lord RIPON doth treuly say,
  _I can yarn my eighteen-pence a day_!"
      Singing dumbledumdeary, &c.

  "Oh, that," cried the Voices, "will never do!
  HODGE now must have freedom, and comfort too,
  And Village Councils, Allotments, and Larks!
  Though the Landlords take fright for their Manors and Parks,"
      Singing dumbledumdeary, &c.

  "No more must he live like a pig in a stye,
  Or _we_ (Tory _Codlir_, Rad _Short_) will know why.
  And if you'll consent just to vote for _us_ now,
  We'll put a new tune to your old 'Speed the Plough!'"
      Singing dumbledumdeary, &c.

  Then HODGE, slightly puzzled, beheld (in his dream)
  A legion of faces that flowed with the stream.
  "There's two WILLIAMS, and JOEY, and JESSE!" he cried,
  "SOLLY, BALFY, and JOKIM talk, too, from the tide,--"
      Singing dumbledumdeary, &c.

  "They're making a vast sight o' noise, and I fear,
  Whilst they all shout together, their _meaning's_ scarce clear.
  They all drift one way, though, out yonder I'll sit!
  And wait till the shindying slackens a bit."
      Singing dumbledumdeary, &c.

  So HODGE, like old HORACE's Rustic, still waits
  Till the waters flow by, or their turmoil abates;
  And then hopes to reach "Happy Home" o'er that stream.
  Let _us_ hope that he mayn't find it _only_ a dream!
      Singing dumbledumdeary, dumbledumdeary,
      Dumble, dumble, dumbledumdee!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE TRIALS OF AN ANXIOUS "JUNIOR."

PROMPTING A DEAF AND TESTY "CHIEF" IN OPEN COURT IS NOT HIS IDEA OF
PERFECT BLISS.]

       *       *       *       *       *

"DICK" POWER.

When the House of Commons meets in February, it will find many vacant
places. Save, perhaps, on that sacred to the memory of OLD MORALITY,
none will draw towards it such sorrowful glances as the bench below
the Gangway, where, last Session, DICK POWER's smiling face was
found. Everyone in the House knew "DICK," and all liked him--a
modest-mannered, merry-hearted man, whom a strange destiny had not
only dragged into political life, but, as Whip of the Parnellite
Party, had made him the official representative of a body for the most
part socially unknown, and disliked with a fervour happily not often
imported into Parliamentary warfare. DICK POWER, whilst never swerving
by a hair's breadth from loyalty to his colleagues and his leader,
so bore himself that he was welcome in any Parliamentary circle, from
"GOSSET's Room" to the floor of the House, which he sometimes "took"
to deliver a witty speech in support of a Motion for adjourning
over the Derby. He was only in his fortieth year, married scarce a
fortnight, when comes the blind Fury with the abhorrëd shears and
slits the thin-spun thread. "LYCIDAS is dead!"; but he will long be
remembered as shedding through seventeen years a genial light on
Irish politics, too often obscured by aggressive vulgarity, and the
sacrifice of patriotic interests to the ends of personal vanity.

       *       *       *       *       *

ONLY FANCY!

We are in a position to state that overtures were recently made to a
well-known and popular member of the aristocracy in connection with a
certain high office lately vacated. It is felt that a gentleman with
the varied experience and capacity indicated by the circumstance (to
which we may allude as not involving breach of confidence), that
his name was successively mentioned in connection with the offices,
recently vacant, of Postmaster-General, Undersecretary of State for
Foreign Affairs, and Leader of the House of Commons, is peculiarly
well qualified for the post.

       *       *       *       *       *

The PRIME MINISTER has, we learn, been much gratified by the receipt
of a letter volunteered by one of his colleagues, expressing generous
satisfaction at his selection of Mr. ARTHUR BALFOUR to the Leadership
of the House of Commons. It was the more pleasing as the name of
Lord SALISBURY's correspondent had, in Conservative circles, been
prominently mentioned in connection with the office. "It is true,"
the Abounding Baron wrote, "that the public with unerring instinct has
looked in another direction. I should therefore like to be the first
to say that your Lordship has done well in recognising the services
to the Unionist cause performed by Mr. BALFOUR. Of course there may be
other openings, and in case your Lordship has occasion to communicate
with me, it may be convenient to mention that, having come to town
this morning and transacted business at my office in Bouverie Street,
I am about to return to my country residence at Stow-in-the-Wold."

       *       *       *       *       *

It is announced that Lord SALISBURY's new house at Beaulieu is to
be let furnished for the winter months, the PREMIER not intending
to return till the Spring. We understand that one of Mr. GLADSTONE's
friends and admirers is in treaty for the residence, intending
to place it for a few weeks at the disposal of the Leader of the
Opposition. We have not yet heard how far this happily-conceived
scheme has progressed.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.

NO. XVIII.

    SCENE--_The roof of Milan Cathedral; the innumerable statues
    and fretted pinnacles show in dazzling relief against the
    intense blue sky. Through the open-work of the parapet is seen
    the vast Piazza, with its yellow toy tram-cars, and the small
    crawling figures which cast inordinately long shadows. All
    around is a maze of pale brown roofs, and beyond, the green
    plain blending on the horizon with dove-coloured clouds in
    a quivering violet haze. CULCHARD is sitting by a small
    doorway at the foot of a flight of steps leading to the
    Spire._

[Illustration: "She passes on with her chin in the air!"]

_Culchard_ (_meditating_). I think MAUD must have seen from the tone
in which I said I preferred to remain below, that I object to that
cousin of hers perpetually coming about with us as he does. She's far
too indulgent to him--a posing, affected prig, always talking about
the wonderful things he's _going_ to write! He had the impudence to
tell me I didn't know the most elementary laws of the sonnet this
morning! Withering repartee seems to have no effect whatever on him,
I wish I had some of PODBURY's faculty for flippant chaff! I wonder
if he and the PRENDERGASTS really are at Milan. I certainly thought I
recognised ----. If they are, it's very bad taste of them, after the
pointed way in which they left Bellagio. I only hope we shan't--

    [_Here the figure of Miss PRENDERGAST suddenly emerges from
    the door; CULCHARD rises and stands aside to let her pass;
    she returns his salutation distantly, and passes on with her
    chin in the air; her brother follows, with a side-jerk of
    recognition. PODBURY comes last, and halts undecidedly._

_Podb._ (_with a rather awkward laugh_). Here we are again, eh?
(_Looks after_ Miss P., _hesitates, and finally sits down by_
CULCHARD.) Where's the fascinating Miss TROTTER? How do you come to be
off duty like this?

_Culch._ (_stiffly_). The fascinating Miss TROTTER is up above with
VAN BOODELER, so my services are not required.

_Podb._ Up above? And HYPATIA just gone up with BOB! Whew, there'll be
ructions presently! Well out of it, you and I! So it's BOODELER's turn
now? That's rough on _you_--after HYPATIA had whistled poor old BOB
off. As much out in the cold as ever, eh?

_Culch._ I am nothing of the kind. I find him distasteful to me,
and avoid him as much as I can, that's all. I wish, PODBURY, er--I
_almost_ wish you could have stayed with me, instead of allowing the
PRENDERGASTS to carry you off as you did. You would have kept VAN
BOODELER in order.

_Podb._ Much obliged, old chap; but I'm otherwise engaged. Being kept
in order myself. Oh, I _like_ it, you know. She's developing my mind
like winking. Spent the whole morning at the Brera, mugging up these
old Italian Johnnies. They really are clinkers, you know. RAPHAEL,
eh?--and GIOTTO, and MANTEGNA, and all that lot. As HYPATIA says, for
intensity of--er religious feeling, and--and subtlety of symbolism,
and--and so on, they simply take the cake--romp in, and the rest
nowhere! I'm getting quite the connoisseur, I can tell you!

_Culch._ Evidently. I suppose there's no chance of a--a
_reconciliation_ up there? [_With some alarm._

_Podb._ Don't you be afraid. When HYPATIA once gets her quills up,
they don't subside so easily! Hallo! isn't this old TROTTER?

    [_That gentleman appears in the doorway._

_Mr. T._ Why, Mr. PODBURY, so you've come along here? That's _right_!
And how do you like Milan? I like the place first-rate--it's a
live city, Sir. And I like this old cathedral, too; it's well
constructed--they've laid out money on it. I call it real ornamental,
all these little figgers they've stuck around--and not two of 'em a
pair either. Now, they might have had 'em all alike, and no one any
the wiser up so high as this; but it certainly gives it more variety,
too, having them different. Well, I'm going up as high as ever I _can_
go. You two better come along up with me.

_ON THE TOP._

_Miss P._ (_as she perceives Miss T. and her companion_). Now, BOB,
pray remember all I've told you! [_BOB turns away, petulantly._

_Miss T._ (_aside, to VAN B._). I guess the air's got cooler up
here, CHARLEY. But if that girl imagines she's going to freeze _me_!
(_Advancing to Miss P._) Why, my dear, it's almost too sweet for
anything, meeting you again!

_Miss P._ You're extremely kind, MAUD; I wish I could return the
compliment; but really, after what took place at Bellagio, I--

_Miss T._ (_taking her arm_). Well, I'll own up to being pretty
horrid--and so were you; but there don't seem any sense in our meeting
up here like a couple of strange cats on tiles. I won't fly out
anymore, there! I'm just dying for a reconciliation; and so is Mr.
VAN BOODELER. The trouble I've had to console that man! He never met
anybody before haff so interested in the great Amurrcan Novel. And
he's wearying for another talk. So you'd better give that hatchet a
handsome funeral, and come along and take pity on him.

    [_HYP., after a struggle, yields, half-reluctantly, and allows
    herself to be taken across to Mr. VAN B., who greets her
    effusively. Miss T. leaves them together._

_Bob P._ (_who has been prudently keeping in the background till now,
decides that his chance has come_). How do you do. Miss TROTTER? It's
awfully jolly to meet you again like this!

_Miss. T._ Well, I guess that remark would have been more convincing
if you'd made it a few minutes earlier.

_Bob_. I--I--you see, I didn't know.... I was afraid--I rather
thought--

_Miss T._ You don't get much further with _rather_ thinking, as a
general rule, than if you didn't think at all. But if you're at all
anxious to run away the way you did at Bellagio, you needn't be afraid
_I'll_ hinder you.

_Bob_. (_earnestly_). Run away! _Do_ you think I'd have gone if--I've
felt dull enough ever since, without _that_.'

_Miss T._ Oh, I expect you've had a beautiful time. _We_ have.

_Miss P._ (_coming up_). ROBERT, I thought you wanted to see the Alps?
You should come over to the other side, and--

_Miss T._ I'll undertake that he sees the Alps, darling,
presently--when we're through our talk.

_Miss P._ As you please, dear. But (_pointedly_) did I not see Mr.
CULCHARD below?

_Miss T._ You don't mean to say you're wearied of Mr. VAN BOODELER
_already_! Well, Mr. CULCHARD will be along soon, and I'll loan him
to you. I'll tell him you're vurry anxious to converse with him some
more. He's just coming along now, with Mr. PODBURY and Poppa.

_Miss P._ (_under her breath_). MAUD! if you _dare_--!

_Miss T._ Don't you _dare_ me, then--or you'll see. But I don't want
to be mean unless I'm obliged to.

    [_Mr. TROTTER, followed by CULCHARD and PODBURY, arrives
    at the upper platform. CULCHARD and PODBURY efface
    themselves as much as possible. Mr. TROTTER greets Miss
    PRENDERGAST heartily._

_Mr. T._ Well now, I call this sociable, meeting all together again
like this. I don't see why in the land we didn't _keep_ together. I've
been saying so to my darter here, ever since Bellagio--ain't that so,
MAUD? And _she_ didn't know just how it came about either.

_Miss P._ (_hurriedly_). We--we had to be getting on. And I am afraid
we must say good-bye now, Mr. TROTTER. I want BOB and Mr. PODBURY
to see the Da Vinci fresco, you know, before the light goes. (Bob
_mutters a highly disrespectful wish concerning that work of Art._) We
_may_ see you again, before we leave for Verona.

_Mr. T._ Verona? Well, I don't care if I see Verona myself. Seems a
pity to separate now we _have_ met, _don't_ it? See here, now, we'll
_all_ go along to Verona together--how's that, MAUD? Start whenever
_you_ feel like it, Miss PRENDERGAST. How does that proposal strike
you? I'll be real hurt if you cann't take to my idea.

_Miss T._ The fact is, Poppa, HYPATIA isn't just sure that Mr.
PRENDERGAST wouldn't object.

_Bob P._ I--object? Not _much_! Just what I should _like_, seeing
Verona with--all _together_, you know!

_Miss T._ Then I guess _that's_ fixed. (_Aside, to Miss P., who is
speechless_). Come, you haven't the heart to go and disappoint my poor
Cousin CHARLEY by saying you won't go! He'll be perfectly enchanted
to be under vow--unless you've filled up _all_ the vacancies already!
(_Aloud, to VAN B., as he approaches_.) We've persuaded Miss
PRENDERGAST to join our party. I hope you feel equal to entertaining
her?

_Van B._ I shall be proud to be permitted to try. (_To Miss P._) Then
I may take it that you agree with me that the function of the future
American fictionist will be-- [_They move away, conversing._

_Podb._ (_To CULCH._) I say, old fellow, we're to be travelling
companions again, after all. And a jolly good thing, too, _I_
think!... eh?

_Culch._ Oh, h'm--quite so. That is--but no doubt it will be an
advantage--(_with a glance at Van B., who is absorbed in Miss P.'s
conversation_)--in--er--_some_ respects. (_To himself._) Hardly from
poor dear PODBURY's point of view, I'm afraid, though! However, if
_he_ sees nothing--! [_He shrugs his shoulders, pityingly._

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

Pocket-books for next year are coming in. Which for choice? "_Solvitur
ambulando_" should be the resolution of the difficulty, given by
one firm at least, that firm being "WALKER." They are handy, and
conveniently pocketable, but to "The chiels amang ye taking notes,"
plain leaves, and no fruit, and no dates, we should say, would be
preferable. They're reasonable prices, and you can't expect to get 'em
for nothing; if you do--"WALKER!"

[Illustration]

The Baron highly approves of Messrs. DE LA RUE's pocket-books. It is
pleasant to have something in one's pocket, even if only a book. As
to account-books and diaries--well enter nothing therein but what has
been pleasant and profitable, and most diarians who adopt this rule
will not find their memoranda overcrowded at the end of the year.
"Letts be happy, while we can, and good luck to you, Ladies all, in
1892. Leap year!" quoth the Baron. "Over you go like the villagers in
the German story, after the sheep, into the sea of matrimony, where
may you all get on swimmingly." _À propos_, Mesdames BLYTHE and GAY
say that the Christmas Number of _Woman_, produced by a number of
women, is as full of attractive power as the Magnetic Lady herself.

"ARROWSMITH's Shilling Sensational, by 'a New Author,'" quoth the
Baron, "would, methought, serve _pour me distraire_." The "New Author"
uses the remarkably new device of a mole on the lost child's breast.
Isn't that original? _Miss Box_ and _Miss Cox_ are lost, and found.
"Have you a mole on your left breast?" "Yes!" "Then it is both of
you!" Charming! So useful is the explanation that "Hanwell is a little
village, a few miles from London." Perhaps it is the locality, there
or thereabouts, where this thrillingly interesting tale--which could
have been told in fifty pages, and needn't have been told at all--was
written. Well, well, "All's Hanwell that ends Hanwell," and "I've
galloped through a worse story before now," quoth the Baron, yawning,
and so to bed.

[Illustration: Turning over the pages.]

In _John Leech, His Life and Work_ (BENTLEY) Mr. FRITH quotes from an
anonymous but obviously not an original authority, the dictum, "It is
the happiness of such a life (as LEECH's) that there is so little to
be told of it." Mr. BENTLEY has produced two handsome volumes worthy
the reputation of his ancient and honourable house. They enshrine
admirable reproductions of some of LEECH's best work, selected by
the trained hand and sympathetic eye of Mr. FRITH. These are and will
remain the chief attractions of a work to which the Baron, in common
with the civilised world, has been looking forward to with interest,
and of whose realisation he regrets to hear so disappointing an
account from his trusty "Co." It is difficult to find dates in this
higgledy-piggledy chance-medley of facts and opinions. But we all know
that LEECH died in October, 1864. It was in _Mr. Punch's_ pages that
he found the true field for his heaven-born genius For twenty years at
least he was one of the most prominent, best known, and best liked men
in England. Surely within that period there must lie to the hand of
the dilligent seeker material for a memoir worthy to be linked with
the name of JOHN LEECH. Mr. FRITH has not given us such a book,
and criticism is only partly disarmed by the comical reiteration of
confession that he has failed in his appointed task. For what he has
to say in the way of making known to the world the man JOHN LEECH, a
very thin volume would have sufficed, even had he included the more
useful of his remarks on LEECH's work and his method. But there being
two volumes to fill, Mr. FRITH genially summarises _The Physiology of
Evening Parties_, by Mr. ALBERT SMITH; _Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour_,
and other not very high-class literature, whose only claim to being
remembered is that LEECH illustrated them. Of _The Marchioness of
Brinvilliers_, ALBERT SMITH's attempt to rival the attractions of the
_Newgate Calendar_, Mr. FRITH positively gives two whole chapters! He
allots one to the _Bon Gaultier Ballads_, and nineteen mortal pages
to telling the _Story of Miss Kilmansegg_, with copious extracts from
that easily accessible work.

This is not Memoir-writing, it is book-making. The reader can skip
these chapters, and, diligently searching, will find here and there a
ray of light thrown on this beautiful placid life, weighed down as it
was from earliest manhood by family circumstances at which Mr. FRITH
delicately hints. "Give, give!" was, truly, the cry of the daughters
of the horseleach. There are, however, several other anecdotes
contributed by personal friends of LEECH's, who have come to Mr.
FRITH's assistance, and succeed in the main in making the book an
interesting one, as giving the outside world some glimpses of a sweet
and manly character. The volumes are crowded with illustrations.
These are LEECH's own work, and make the volumes worth more than their
published price.

THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS & CO.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO EVANGELINE.

  Oh, come and be my Queen,
    And share my lot
  In some artistic cot
    At Turnham Green,
          EVANGELINE!

  The painted tambourine
    Shall grace its wall,
  And many a table small
    And folding screen
  Shall on its floor be seen,
          EVANGELINE!

  Your beauty's dazzling sheen
    Upsets me quite--
  Of late my appetite
    Has wretched been,
          EVANGELINE!

  I shun the soup tureen
    And pine for you;
  At pudding, joint, and stew
    My face turns green--
  What do the symptoms mean,
          EVANGELINE?

  If Fate should come between
    My Love and me,
  This countenance will be
    No more serene,
          EVANGELINE!

  With nitro-glycerine
    I'll speed my flight,
  Or else I will ignite
    Some Magazine--
  Some _Powder_ Magazine,
          EVANGELINE!

       *       *       *       *       *

AN AUNT AT WILL.

    [A lawsuit has been occasioned in India through white ants
    devouring a will.]

It is usually supposed that Australia is topsey-turvey mad, but in
India it seems that matters also go by contraries, when compared with
their mode of procedure at home. A lawsuit has been occasioned in
Calcutta through white ants devouring a will. In England our Aunts
(who are generally whites) make wills (bless them!) and _we_ devour
them, or at least live on the proceeds.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: DEAR CHILD!

_Papa_ (_to Friend from Town_). "THERE, MY BOY, THAT'S WHAT YOU OUGHT
TO DO! GET A GEE, AND COME OUT WITH THE HOUNDS!"

_Little Daughter_. "OH, PAPA, TAKE CARE YOU DON'T FALL OFF, AS YOU DID
THE OTHER DAY!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

KATHLEEN AND PETRUCHIO;

OR, SHAKSPEARE BALFOURISED.

  _Kathleen_. HIBERNIA. _Petruchio_. Mr. BALFOUR.
      _Grumio_.... Mr. JACKSON.
      _Haberdasher_.. Mr. GLADSTONE.

  _Petruchio_. Thus have I politicly begun my reign,
  And 'tis my hope to end successfully;
  My falcon now is sharp, and passing empty;
  And, till she stoop, she must not be full-gorg'd,
  For then she never looks upon her lure.
  Another way I have to man my haggard,
  To make her come, and know her keeper's call;
  That is, to watch her, as we watch these kites
  That bate, and beat, and will not be obedient.
  She plays no tricks to-day, nor none shall play;
  Last Session she ruled not, nor shall next Session;
  Resolute government is the only way
  To smooth these stormy spirits.

      All the same,
  _After_ the hurly-burly, I intend
  All shall be done in reverend care of her;
  And, in conclusion, she shall have her rights,
  If she will cease to rise, and rail, and brawl,
  And with her clangour keep the world awake.
  This is the way to kill her wrath with kindness,
  And thus I'll curb her mad and headstrong humour.--
  He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
  Let him speak out! 'Tis time the kingdom knew!

         *       *       *       *       *

  _Kathleen_. The more my wrong the more his smile appears!
  How doth he madden me--and master me!--
  I--I, who never knew how to submit,
  Nor never fancied that I should submit,--
  Am starved for strife, stupid for lack of struggle,
  With Law kept bridled, and with Order saddled:
  And that, which spites me more than all these stints,
  He does it under name of perfect love;
  As who should say, if I should have my will,
  'Twere deadly sickness or else present death.

         *       *       *       *       *

  _Petruchio_. KATHLEEN, thou mend'st apace!
      And now, my love,
  Will we return unto thy father's house,
  And ruffle it as bravely as the best,
  With silken coats, and caps, and golden rings,
  With ruffs, and cuffs, and farthingales, and things;
  With orange tissue trimmed with true-blue bravery,
  Eschewing wearing of the green,--that's knavery.
  See GRUMIO there! He waits thy loving leisure
  To deck thy body with his boxed-up treasure.
  A cap of mine own choice, come fresh from town;
  It will become thee better than a crown.
  'Tis my ideal. (_Enter_ Haberdasher.) Well--what would _you_, sirrah?

  _Haberdasher_. Here is the hat the lady did bespeak!

  _Petruchio_. Why, this was moulded on a foreign block,
  A Phrygian cap. Fie, fie! 'tis crude and flaunting.
  Why, 'tis a coal-vase or a bushel-basket,
  A fraud, a toy, a trick, a verdant fool'scap:
  Away with it! Come, let me have a smaller!

  _Kathleen_. I'll have no smaller: this doth fit the time,
  And gentlewomen wear such hats as these.

  _Petruchio_. When you are gentle, you shall have one too,
  But of another pattern.

  _Grumio_ (_aside_). Mine, to wit.

  _Kathleen_. Why, Sir, I trust I may have leave to speak:
  And speak I will. I am no child, no babe:
  Your betters have endured me say my mind,
  And, if you cannot, best you stop your ears.
  My tongue will tell the craving of my heart,
  Or else my heart, concealing it, will break;
  And rather than it shall, I will be free
  E'en to the uttermost,--at least in words!

  _Petruchio_. Why, so thou art. But 'tis a paltry hat
  This Haberdasher would fob off on thee.
  I love thee well, but _he_, he loves thee not.

  _Kathleen_. Love me or love me not, I like the hat,
  And it I will have, or I will have none.

  _Grumio_ (_aside_). Then is she like to go bareheaded long!

    [_Left arguing. Sequel--some day._

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR OLD FRIEND ONCE MORE.--Mrs. RAM has lately taken to theatre-going.
She says, however, that she doesn't much care about going on first
nights of new pieces, as the Stalls are full of Crickets.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: KATHLEEN AND PETRUCHIO.

KATHLEEN. "I'LL HAVE NO SMALLER; THIS DOTH FIT THE TIME. AND
GENTLEWOMEN WEAR SUCH HATS AS THESE."

PETRUCHIO. "WHEN YOU ARE GENTLE, YOU SHALL HAVE ONE TOO, BUT--OF
ANOTHER FASHION."--_Shakspeare Balfourised_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: The G.O.M. Illuminated by a Ray of Sunlight (Soap).]

       *       *       *       *       *

PAUL PRY IN THE PURPLE.

(_EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS FOUND IN A GERMAN POST-BAG._)

_TO A BISHOP._

It has occurred to me that your sermons are not quite as good as
they should be. You do not seem to grasp your subject with sufficient
strength. I have not time to come to listen to you, as I have other
pressing engagements, and consequently write from hearsay. Still, I
believe I have good reason for my strictures. However, that you may
have an excellent example upon which to model your discourses in the
future, I will myself visit your cathedral at a near date, and occupy
your pulpit. I will wire ten minutes before I arrive with my sermon.

_TO A GENERAL._

I congratulate you upon the success of the recent manoeuvres. Nothing
could have been finer than the manner in which the entire Army saluted
me on my approach. Perhaps the bands might have played the National
Anthem half-an-hour longer or so, but for all that, the effect was
excellent. And now I have got a really splendid idea. And you must
help me. I want to order all the troops to another part of the country
without telling their officers, and then, when they least expect it,
you and I will order a general assembly. It will be such a joke to see
the commanders when they appear on parade without any soldiers! They
will be so surprised! And sha'n't we laugh! But mind, not a word to
anyone until we have had our fun. As an old soldier who has deserved
well of his Fatherland, I rely on your discretion.

_TO A THEATRICAL MANAGER._

[Illustration]

I was at the performances in your play-house the other evening,
and, as I told you at the time, was not at all satisfied with the
representation. I informed you that when I had time I would jot down
my complaints, and I am now keeping my promise. I don't like the
costume of the Tragedy Queen--her heels are too high and why does she
wear gloves? The Low Comedian does not make the most of his part.
He has to walk about with a band-box. Now why does he not seize the
opportunity to place it on a chair and sit upon it? This would have a
very comical effect. I have seen it done, and it made me laugh.
Please let him sit upon the band-box for the future. If he sits down
accidentally the effect will be heightened. It will be very funny.
By the way, let all the box-keepers give programmes free of charge to
officers and ladies under forty. I shall soon be at the theatre again
to attend a rehearsal. I will wire ten minutes before I come, so that
you may have proper time to call your company together. Till then, you
incompetent sausage, you can enjoy your Lager and pipe in peace!

_TO A DOCTOR._

I have been reading some of the Medical Journals, and I am not quite
sure whether I think your manner of cutting off a leg is the proper
way. It may be, but, on the other hand, it may not. Before you cut off
another leg communicate with me, and I will fix a date (as early as
I can--probably within six months), when I can see your patient, and
give you my opinion. By the way, do not go your rounds until you hear
from me, as I may want to see you at any time.

_TO A COACH-BUILDER._

You don't know how to make a carriage. The other day I thought of
a capital idea, but, for the moment, cannot remember it. However, I
fancy it had something to do with square wheels. At any rate you had
better not make any more carriages until I call. I will come as soon
as I can--probably before Spring twelvemonths.

_TO A RELATIVE._

Had not time to answer your letter before. I do not in the least agree
with you. I hate people who do not mind their own business. Why not
attend to your own, and leave mine alone? If you do not take care, _I
will arrange to visit you in State!_ So you had better mind what you
are about!

       *       *       *       *       *

PROGRAMME OF THE CYCLOPÆDIC CIRCUS.

(_UNDER THE IMMEDIATE PATRONAGE OF LORD SALISBURY._)

The Members of the School Board of Little Peddlington have the honour
to announce that, in deference to the expressed opinion of the

PREMIER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM,

that it would be wise to substitute Circuses for school-rooms in the
provinces, have arranged for the holding of

A GRAND SCHOLASTIC GALA,

on a scale of unprecedented magnificence. The Members have engaged, at
considerable expense, that admirable Artist,

THE COURIER OF BOTH THE GLOBES,

who will, during a rapid ride on a retired cab-horse, exhibit and
explain a series of gigantic maps of

EUROPE, ASIA, AFRICA, AND AMERICA.

This Star Artist will be followed by that talented _troupe_ of
relatives who for many years have drawn enormous crowds to their
performances under the assumed but appropriate name of

THE BOUNDING BROTHERS OF THE SPELLING-BEES.

They will go through their marvellous feats in tossing barrels
(bearing on their sides painted letters), and thus combining amusement
with instruction. Their last act will be to keep in simultaneous
motion a sufficient number of labelled milk-cans to spell the
sentence, "Farewell to all kind friends in front." This marvellous
double quartette will be followed by

THE ARITHMETICAL BICYCLIST,

[Illustration]

who will ride his favourite two-wheeled vehicle while he sings a
song introducing in a pleasing manner the Multiplication Table. This
sweet-toned vocalist will be succeeded by

_THE STAR-LOVING PIG ATTENDED BY COMICAL HERSCHEL._

In which the former will spell out (with the assistance of card-board
letters) a number of interesting astronomical facts at the instigation
of his mirth-provoking master and proprietor. This talented performer
will be followed by

THE UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE QUADRILLE.

In which the entire _troupe_ will appear on horseback, and go through
the programme of studies (proficiency in which is required by the
Tenth Standard) without a single mistake.

The performances will then be brought to an appropriate and jubilant
conclusion by

_A SILVER COLLECTION IN AID OF THE RATES!_


       *       *       *       *       *

QUEER QUERIES.--OUR DEFENCES.--I am informed that Mr. STANHOPE is
expected shortly to go abroad, "in order to recruit." Can even the
blindest military optimist any longer deny that the British Army is
a nefarious imposture, when the Minister for War is forced into an
ignominious attempt to raise a body of foreign mercenaries by his own
personal efforts?

HALF-PAY PATRIOT.

SCIENTIFIC.--Could you kindly tell me what "the Great Ice Age" means?
My Pater took me to hear some fellow lecture about it the other day,
but I couldn't understand much of what he said. I thought he was going
to talk about strawberry ices and lemon ices, which I like awfully,
but he didn't even mention them! Don't you think _twelve_ is the great
Ice Age--I mean the age when boys ought to be allowed to eat as many
as they like? N.B.--I am just twelve.

TOMMY.

       *       *       *       *       *

WORTH SEEING.--"We understand that to the Exhibition of "Instruments
of Torture," and now on view in London, have been lately added
the Medici Collar, a Piano Organ, and a "Shakspeare for the use of
Schools."

       *       *       *       *       *

MEM. BY "THE OFFICIAL RECEIVER."--"Firm as a Rock" will not be
henceforth a proverb of universal application.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ELECTION FEVER. A VICTIM'S VICISSITUDES.]

       *       *       *       *       *

TRAN-SLATED.

(_BEING A NEWLY-DISCOVERED FRAGMENT OF AN OLD GREEK PLAY, SUPPOSED TO
BE A VERY EARLY_ "_AGAMEMNON_.")

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Cly._ The coals I bought as Wallsend are not so.

  _Ag._ Thus groundless hopes vanish--like coals in smoke.

  _Cly._ You speak in words Mysterious, lacking sense.

  _Ag._ The sense is patent to the reasoning mind.

  _Cly._ And yet I paid for them upon the nail.

  _Ag._ What matter, if the price was far too low?

  _Cly._ Then call you eighteen shillings low for coal?

  _Ag._ Yes, for "Prime Wallsend"--what could you expect?

  _Cly._ Listen! In passing 'long the public way
    I saw a notice telling of these coals.
    It called them "ever-burning": said no skill
    Could put them out when once they were alight,
    Because they were "the best the world produced."
    I purchased some. Ai! ai! They turned out slates.
    My household maidens by Prometheus swear
    _They_ never saw such stuff for lighting fires.
    What of it is not slag, that part is slate,
    And slated should they be that sold it me.
    Moreover, when with anger I remarked
    To those who bore the sacks upon their backs,
    Within our cellars to deposit them,
    That they had better bear their loads away
    Seeing I ordered coals, not lumps of slate,
    They answered that, if they refused to burn,
    They might be useful for a Rockery!
    So now _they_ have the shillings, _I_ the coals.

  _Ag._ And having them, we have no household fires.

  _Cly._ What then to do? _You_ sit with idle hands.

  _Ag._ I cannot turn to Wallsend bits of slag.

  _Cly._ But you can seek the Archon, and denounce
    The man whose cunning robs our hearth of flame.

  _Ag._ (_going out_). In what you say not nothing I perceive.
    Women, in hunting cheapness, capture costs.

      CHORUS. STROPHE.

      The puny race of men
      Soars, in imagination, to the skies;
      While tackling Science and Theosophy
      Their hands the coal-scoop grasp!

      CHORUS. ANTISTROPHE.

      From high Olympus Zeus
      Smiles at the perjuries of coal-heavers.
      Not always is the cheapest article
      The one that turns out best.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THINGS ONE WOULD WISH TO HAVE EXPRESSED DIFFERENTLY.

"WELL, GOOD-BYE, MISS SMITH. TELL THE OTHERS I WAS VERY SORRY NOT TO
FIND ANYONE AT HOME--A--A--A--EXCEPT YOU--A!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

A BOARD-SCHOOL CHRISTMAS.

(_AN ANTICIPATION OF THE NOT VERY DISTANT FUTURE._)

[Illustration]

It was a very unseasonable Yule-tide. Instead of the old-fashioned
mild weather that had been the constant companion of Christmas for
many years, the ground was covered with snow and the river blocked
with ice. However, thanks to modern improvements, the artisans had not
been impeded in executing their four hours of labour as provided by a
recent statute. They had been sitting at their Club (supported by the
State), reading the newspapers purchased out of the rates, and were
only annoyed that no food and drink was supplied them free gratis and
for nothing.

"It would never do," said an old workman, who remembered the
eight-hour day that used to prevail at the end of the Nineteenth
Century. "You see were we to have beer at will, the brewers' draymen
might complain. It was once attempted, but the Licensed Victuallers
made such a disturbance that the idea was abandoned."

"There is something in what you say," observed a second workman;
"but, for the life of me, I don't see why the Nation shouldn't provide
bread."

"No, there you are out!" cried a third. "I am a baker, and anything
that interferes with my industry won't do."

And so they talked, discussing this and that, until all the subjects
of the leaders in the daily papers had been exhausted. It was then
that one of the workmen suggested a walk and a pipe on the Embankment.

So they lounged down the main thoroughfare of London, with its
pleasant _cafés_ and well-appointed _restaurants_, and came to
the conclusion (for the fiftieth time) that it was far better than
anything of the same kind in Paris, or any other of the capitals of
Europe. They had all been abroad during their State-assisted vacation,
and consequently had the chief towns of the world, so to speak, at
their finger-tips. As they sauntered along, they came to a group
of half-starved, perambulating performers, who were giving an
entertainment to a crowd of bystanders. It was not a good programme.
First a young woman in rags, played on an old piano, with decent
precision, some extremely difficult variations of CHOPIN's _Funeral
March_. She was followed by a man who painted a portrait of a leading
statesman indifferently well. Then another man jumped into the river,
and made his way in the cold water with the ease of a fifth-rate
professional swimmer. Then a second young woman recited something
or other in German, with an atrocious English accent. And the whole
concluded with a lecture upon chemistry (given by a seedy-looking
old man), which was illustrated with some ambitious, but feeble
experiments.

On the balance the performance was a bore, and the public were rather
pleased than otherwise, when a police constable ordered the _troupe_
"to move on." The poor people gathered together their _impedimenta_
and prepared to obey the officer's behest. It was then that the
performers came face to face with the artisans. There was a cry of
recognition.

"Why, would you believe it!" exclaimed one of the workmen, "if it
isn't SALLY JONES, and TOMMY BROWN, and NORAH JENKINS, and HARRY
SMITH!"

The well-fed and the starving cordially greeted one another. Then
there were mutual explanations, and the old man who had lectured upon
chemistry had his say:--

"You want to know why we are all starving, and why we are so much
worse off than you, although we were educated at the same Board
School? I will tell you. It was because you very wisely made up your
minds to follow the occupations of your fathers. You became builders,
bakers, coal-heavers and paviors.

"Ah, we did that," sighed out the elderly workman, "because we were
too backward to attempt anything better. We were not clever people
like you! We couldn't play the piano, and paint and swim, and go
in for chemistry. We were not clever enough, and had to put up with
passing a very low standard."

"Thank your lucky stars it was so," exclaimed the chemist, with
tears in his eyes, "for your fate is happier than ours. We are all
fifth-rate, and can do nothing else. We have no chance against those
who have been born to this kind of thing, and we have forgotten how to
do your work. So we are starving, and--"

But here the old man was interrupted by a policeman, who ordered
all of them to move on. And on they moved. Half one way and half the
other.

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR OWN FINANCIAL COLUMN.

"CROESUS" has vanished! We can scarcely find it in our heart to
add anything to this distressing statement; but for the sake of our
readers whom he may have induced to patronise his financial schemes,
we give a few slight details of the disaster.

[Illustration: Portrait of "Croesus."]

Four days ago enormous piles of letters began to arrive at our office.
They were addressed to "CROESUS," and had been sent on to us from
his last address marked "gone away; try office of _Punch_." We opened
them. They were all threatening letters.

"Why," wrote one angry gentleman, "have I heard nothing from you since
I sent you my cheque for £10,000? Unless I receive a reply within a
week, legal proceedings will be taken." The rest were similar in
tone. Thereupon we resolved to call at the last address given to us by
"CROESUS." It was somewhere in the Mile End Road. We arrived, entered,
ascended the stairs, and found in a dingy back bed-room, three used
half-penny stamps, a false nose, a pair of whiskers, and a large sheet
of paper on which were written only these words: "Sold Again"--which
obviously referred to some financial scheme or other. On inquiring of
the landlady, we heard that her lodger had departed two days before,
taking with him two large and heavy wooden chests. He had promised
to return. We then consulted the police. They are very reticent, but
consider they have got a clue.

And here we owe it to our readers to make a confession. We have never
set eyes on "CROESUS." We engaged him entirely on the strength of
the most glowing recommendations from a whole bevy of Bank-Managers,
including the Managers of the Bank of Lavajelli, of the Pei-ho
Provinces, of Samarcand, of Ashanti and of Dodge County, U.S.A. All
these gentlemen wrote in the most complimentary terms of "CROESUS."
"He is a man," wrote the Manager of the Dodge County Bank, "whom I
have had the honour to know intimately for a considerable number of
years. Indeed, we were educated together, and not a day has passed
since then without our meeting. I beg to state that I consider him
thoroughly fitted for the responsible position of financial director
of a high-class Metropolitan paper. His personal appearance is
aristocratic and prepossessing, his manners have about them a
distinction which impresses all who meet him, and his dress, though
modest, is always pleasing. His complete command of twenty-four
languages must be of the highest advantage to him in unravelling the
tangled skein of international finance." Acting upon such testimonials
we engaged "CROESUS." We have now reason to believe that we have
been made the victims of a gross and cruel deception. An expert in
handwriting, whom we have consulted, gives it as his opinion, that
every single one of these recommendations is in the handwriting of
"CROESUS" himself, and the police, after protracted inquiries, have
assured us that the Banks, whose supposed managers addressed us in
favour of "CROESUS," never had any actual existence at all.

All we can do now is to assist justice by publishing herewith
the photograph of "CROESUS." We apologise to all whom he may have
deceived, but we do not hold ourselves responsible for any damage he
has caused. We shall publish no more financial contributions in the
meantime.

ED.

       *       *       *       *       *

ENGLISH AS SHE IS SUNG.

[Illustration]

MR. PUNCH, SIR,--If I start a butcher's business, and give my shop the
special title of The _Welsh_ Meat Shop, is the great British Public
so narrow-minded as to expect me to sell them only Welsh meat, the
produce of Welsh farms only? If so, the Public, with all due respect,
is a hass. For if I who have to live,--though perhaps others may not
see the necessity for my existence,--by my trade, find that the Welsh
meat, which the Public had expected to be ready and waiting, is not
forthcoming, only one of two things can I do; the one is to shut
up shop (which I won't), and the other is to provide my intending
customers with French, Indian, English, Irish, Scotch, American,
Australian, New Zealandian, Cape Colonial, in fact with any meat I can
get from anywhere, and as long as it is toothsome, and I can afford
to sell it at an average price, why should it not be sold at my Royal
Welsh Meat Shop?

When I call my shop The Royal Welsh Meat Shop, do I thereby bar myself
from dealing in English or foreign meats? Do I bar myself from dealing
in Indian pickles or China oranges? No, certainly not; nor do I bar
myself from selling neckties, gloves, ginger-beer, and Brazil nuts.
So, when a House of Musical Entertainment is styled The English Opera
House, it must be understood, "all to the contrary nevertheless
and notwithstanding," to mean an English House where Opera may be
performed, and not a Theatre where only English Opera is Housed. "My
soul can not be fettered," as the poet says,--what poet, I don't know
and don't care, but he said it, whoever he was, and _he was right_. If
there is no English Opera for my House, then I get a French Opera, or
a Dutch one, just as at an oyster-shop--but perhaps this is not quite
the illustration I should like, as, at an oyster-shop, they _do_ ask
you which you will have, "Natives," or "Seconds," or "Anglo-Dutch";
and, when you can't afford Natives, you put up with an inferior
quality at a lesser price. But if that oyster-seller called his shop
"The Native-Oyster Shop," should I have any ground of action against
him for selling any other oysters except Natives? No. But then he
would ask me "If I wanted Natives or not?" And if I said "Yes," he
would give me Natives. Now I admit I do not ask the Public at the
doors Which will you have? because I may not be able to have an
English Opera always on tap, so to speak. Metaphors a bit confused,
but you know what I mean. If I had a few English Operas on tap I might
turn 'em on, say, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: English Opera by
English Composers on those days, and on the other days, any Operas
by any Composers. But if the Public _won't_ come on the English Opera
nights, and _will_ come on the other nights? What then? Why obviously
I must keep my Natives (if I have any) in a barrel, and deal only
with the foreign supply. "Blame not the Bard"--I mean blame not the
patriotic man of business, but let our cry be "Art for Art's sake,"
and the English Opera for ever! that is, as long as Art and English
Opera pay.

Yours,

A MANAGER FIRST AND ANYTHING YOU LIKE AFTERWARDS.

       *       *       *       *       *

LATEST FROM SHOTSHIRE.--The only appropriate beverage for a Sportsman
out shooting,--why "Pop" to be sure.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTICE.--Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS.,
Printed Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no
case be returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed
Envelope, Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.





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