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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 101, November 28, 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, November 28, 1891" ***

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PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 101.



November 28, 1891.



LETTERS TO ABSTRACTIONS.

NO. VII.--TO VANITY.

DEAR VANITY,

Imagine my feelings when I read the following letter. It lay quite
innocently on my breakfast-table in a heap of others. It was stamped
in the ordinary way, post-marked in the ordinary way, and addressed
correctly, though how the charming writer discovered my address
I cannot undertake to say; in fact, there was nothing in its
outward appearance to distinguish it from the rest of my everyday
correspondence. I opened it carelessly, and this is what I read:--

[Illustration]

RIDICULOUS BEING,--In the course of a fairly short life I have read
many absurd things, but never in all my existence have I read anything
so absurd as your last letter. I don't say that your amiable story
about HERMIONE MAYBLOOM is not absolutely true; in fact, I knew
HERMIONE _very slightly_ myself when everybody was raving about her,
and I never _could_ understand what all you men (for, of course,
you are a man; no woman could be so foolish) saw in her to make you
lose your preposterous heads. To me she always seemed _silly_ and
_affected_, and _not in the least_ pretty, with her snub nose, and her
fuzzy hair. So I am rather glad, not from any personal motive, but
for the sake of _truth_ and _justice_, that you have shown her up.
No; what I do complain of is, your evident intention to make the world
believe that only women are vain. You pretend to lecture us about
our shortcomings, and you don't seem to know that there is no vainer
creature in existence than a man. No peacock that ever strutted with
an expanded tail is one-half so ridiculous or silly as a man. I
make no distinctions--_all men are the same_; at least, that's my
experience, and that of every woman I ever met.

How do you suppose a woman like HERMIONE succeeds as she does? Why she
finds out (it doesn't take long, I assure you) the weak points of the
men she meets; their wretched jealousies, affectations and conceits,
and then artfully proceeds to flatter them and make each of them think
his particular self the lord of creation, until she has all the weak
and foolish creatures wound round her little finger, and slavishly
ready to fetch and carry for her. And all the time you go about and
boast of your conquest to one another, and imagine that _you_ have
subjugated her. But she sits at home and laughs at you, and _despises_
you all from the flinty bottom of her heart. Bah! you're a pack of
fools, and I've no patience with you. As for you personally, if you
_must_ write any more, tell your fellow men something about their own
follies. It won't be news to _us_, but it may open _their_ eyes. If
you can't do that, you had better retire into your tub, and cease your
painful barking altogether. I've got my eye on you, so be careful. I
remain (thank goodness)

A WOMAN.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now that was not altogether an agreeable breakfast dish. And the worst
of it was that it was so supremely unjustifiable. Had my indignant
correspondent honoured me with her address, I should have answered
her at once. "Madam," I should have said, "your anger outstrips your
reason. I always intended to say something about men. I had already
begun a second letter to my friend VANITY on the subject. I can
therefore afford to forgive your hard words, and to admit that there
is a certain amount of truth in your strictures on us. But please
don't write to me again so furiously. Such excessive annoyance is
quite out of keeping with your pretty handwriting, and besides, it
takes away my appetite to think I have even involuntarily given you
pain. Be kind enough to look out for my next letter, but don't, for
goodness' sake, tell me what you think about it, unless it should
happen to please you. In that case I shall, of course, be proud and
glad to hear from you again."

I now proceed, therefore, to carry out my intention, and, as usual,
I address myself to the fountain head. My dear VANITY, I never shall
understand why you take so much trouble to get hold of men. They are
not a pleasing sight when you have got them, and after a time it
must cease to amuse even you to see yourself reproduced over and over
again, and in innumerable ridiculous ways. For instance, there is
Dr. PEAGAM, the celebrated author of _Indo-Hebraic Fairy Tales: a new
Theory of their Rise and Development, with an Excursus on an Early
Aryan Version of_ "_Three Blind Mice_." Dr. PEAGAM is learned; he has
the industry of a beaver; he is a correspondent of goodness knows how
many foreign philosophical, philological, and mythological societies;
his record of University distinctions has never been equalled; his
advice has been sought by German Professors. Yet he carries all this
weight of celebrity and learning as lightly as if it were a wideawake,
and seems to think nothing of it. But he has his weak point, and, like
Achilles, he has it in his feet.

This veteran investigator, this hoary and venerable Doctor, would
cheerfully give years off his life if only the various philosophers
who from time to time sit at his feet would recognise that those feet
are small, and compliment him on the fact. They _are_ small, there is
no doubt of it, but not small enough to be encased without agony in
the tiny, natty, pointed boots that he habitually wears. Let anybody
who wants to get anything out of Dr. PEAGAM lead the conversation
craftily on to the subject of feet and their proper size. Let him then
make the discovery (aloud) that the Doctor's feet are extraordinarily
small and beautiful, and I warrant that there is nothing the
Doctor can bestow which shall not be freely offered to this cunning
flatterer. That is why Dr. PEAGAM, a modest man in most respects,
always insists on sitting in the front row on any platform, and
ostentatiously dusts his boots with a red silk pocket-handkerchief.

Then, again, who is there that has not heard of Major-General
WHACKLEY, V.C., the hero who captured the ferocious Ameer of Mudwallah
single-handed, and carried him on his back to the English camp--the
man to whose dauntless courage, above all others, the marvellous
victory of Pilferabad was due? Speak to him on military matters,
and you will find the old warrior as shy as a school-girl; but only
mention the word poetry, and you'll have him reciting his ballads and
odes to you by the dozen, and declaiming for hours together about the
obtuseness of the publishing fraternity.

I don't speak now of literary men who value themselves above LAMB,
DICKENS, and THACKERAY, rolled into one; nor of artists who sneer at
TITIAN; nor of actors who hold GARRICK to be absurdly overrated. Space
would fail me, and patience you. But let me just for a brief moment
call to your mind ROLAND PRETTYMAN. Upon my soul, I think ROLAND the
most empty-headed fribble, the most affected coxcomb, and the most
conceited noodle in the whole world. He was decently good-looking
once, and he had a pretty knack of sketching in water-colours.

But oh, the huge, distorted, overweening conceit of the man! I have
seen him lying full length on a couch, waving a scented handkerchief
amongst a crowd of submissive women, who were grovelling round him,
while he enlarged in his own pet jargon on the surpassing merits
of his latest unpublished essay, or pointed out the beauties of the
trifling pictures which were the products of his ineffective brush.
He will never accomplish anything, and yet to the end of his life,
I fancy, he will have his circle of toadies and flatterers who will
pretend to accept him as the evangelist of a glorious literary and
artistic gospel. For unfortunately he is as rich as he is impudent
and incompetent. And when he drives out in a Hansom he never ceases to
simper at his reflected image in the little corner looking-glasses, by
means of which modern cab-proprietors pander to the weakness of men.
Such is your handiwork, my excellent VANITY. Are you proud of it?

Yours, &c.,

DIOGENES ROBINSON.

       *       *       *       *       *

ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.

"ONE WHO DOESN'T KNOW EVERYTHING."--You ask, What are the duties
of "the Ranger"? Household duties only. He has to inspect the
kitchen-ranges in the kitchens of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle,
Balmoral, and Osborne. Hence the style and title. He also edits Cook's
Guides.

"ANOTHER IDIOT" wishes to know if there is such an appointment in the
gift of the Crown as the office of "Court Sweep." Why, certainly; and,
on State occasions, he wears the Court Soot, and his broom is always
waiting for him at the entrance! At Balmoral and Osborne there is a
beautiful sweep leading the visitor right up to the front door.

"ONE MORE UNFORTUNATE" writes us,--"Sir, in what poem of MILTON's does
the following couplet occur?--

  I'll light the _gas_ soon,
  To play the _bas_-soon.

How are the lines to be scanned?" _Ans._--On internal evidence, we
question whether the lines are MILTON's. In the absence of our Poet,
who is out for a holiday, we can only reply, that if shortsighted,
you can scan them by the aid of a powerful glass--of your favourite
compound.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "THE SWEET LITTLE CHERUB THAT SITS UP ALOFT."

(_Modern Version, as it must be_.)]

    ["The Associated Chamber of Commerce ask that the Coastguard
    stations, shore-lighthouses, rock lighthouses, and light-ships
    of the United Kingdom, should, as far as possible, be
    connected by telegraph or telephone with the general telegraph
    system of the country, 'as a means for the protection of life
    and property, as well as for national defence.'... France and
    America, Holland and Denmark, provide their seamen with this
    great safeguard in the hour of their utmost need. IS England
    content to let her sailors die by hundreds for want of a
    little money, or for want of a little care?"--_Times_.]

  _Prospero_. Why, that's my spirit!
        But was not this nigh shore?

  _Ariel_.      Close by, my master.

  _Prospero_. But are they, Ariel, safe?

  _Ariel_.      Not a hair perish'd.

          _Tempest_, Act I., Scene 2.

  _CONTENT_? There's many an English heart will hear with fierce amaze
  That England lags so far behind in these electric days--
  England, whose seamen are her shield, who vaunts in speech and song,
  The love she bears her mariners! Wake, CAMPBELL, swift and strong
  Of swell and sweep as the salt waves you sang as none could sing!
  Rouse DIBDIN, of the homelier flight, but steady waft of wing!
  Poetic shades, _this_ question, sure, should pierce the ear of death,
  And make ye vocal once again with quick, indignant breath.
  _Content_? Whilst round our rocky coasts the souls who guard them sink,
  Death clutching from the clamorous brine, hope beaconing from the brink,
  With lifted hands toward the lights that beam but to betray,
  Because dull Britons fail to think, or hesitate to pay?
  No! With that question a fierce thrill through countless listeners went,
  And, hoarse with indignation, rings the answer, "_Not_ Content!"

  When the Armada neared our coast in days now dubbed as "dark,"
  Pre-scientific Englishmen, whom no Electric Spark
  Had witched with its white radiance, yet sped from height to height
  Of Albion's long wild sea-coast line the ruddy warning Light.
  "Cape beyond Cape, in endless range, those twinkling points of fire"[1]
  _Reveillé_ shot from sea to sea, from wave-washed shire to shire,
  Inland, from hill to hill, it flashed wherever English hand
  Helpful at need in English cause could grip an English brand.
  To-day? Well, round our jutting cliffs, across our hollowing bays
  Thicker the light-ship beacons flash, the lighthouse lanterns blaze.
  From sweep to sweep, from steep to steep, our shores are starred with light,
  Burning across the briny floods through the black mirk of night,
  Forth-gleaming like the eyes of Hope, or like the fires of Home,
  Upon the eager eyes of men far-straining o'er the foam.
  Good! But how greatly less than good to fear, to think, to know
  That inland England's less alert against a whelming foe
  Than when bonfire and beacon flared mere flame of wood and pitch,
  From Surrey hills to Skiddaw!
            Science-dowered, serenely rich,
  Safe in its snugly sheltered homes, our England lies at ease,
  Whilst round her cliffs gale-scourged to wrath the tiger-throated seas
  Thunder in ruthless ravening rage, with rending crash and shock,
  Through the dull night and blinding drift on leagues of reef and rock.
  More furious than the Spaniards they, more fierce, persistent foes,
  These deep-gorged, pallid, foaming waves. Yes, bright the beacon glows,
  Warmly the lighthouse wafts its blaze of welcome o'er the brine;
  The shore's hard by, but where the hands to whirl the rescuing line?
  To launch the boat?--to hurl the buoy? The lighthouse men look out
  Upon their wreck-borne brethren there, their hearts are soft as stout,
  But signals will not pierce this dark, shouts rise o'er this fierce roar,
  Rescue may wait at hand, but--_there's no cable to the shore!_

  Content with _this_? Nay, callous he whom this stirs not to rage,
  _Punch_ pictures, with prophetic pen, a brighter cheerier page,
  Which _must be turned_, and speedily:
            Good Mr. PROSPERO BULL,
  Your _Ariel_ is the Electric Sprite, DIBDIN, of pity full
  For tempest-tost Poor JACK, descried a Cherub up aloft
  Watch-keeping o'er his venturous life. That symbol, quoted oft,
  Must find new form to fit the time. The _Ariel_ of the Spark
  Must watch around our storm-lashed coast in tempest and in dark,
  Guardian of homeward-bound Poor JACK, to spread the news of fear,
  And tell him, battling with the storm, that rescuing hands, though near,
  Are not made helpless in his hour of agonising need,
  By ignorance that heeds not, and neglect that fails to heed.

[Footnote 1: MACAULAY's _Armada._]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: NATURAL HISTORY.

"OH, _LOOK_, MUMMIE! NOW IT'S LEFT OFF RAINING, HE'S COME OUT OF HIS
KENNEL!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

ALL BERRY WELL.

SIR,--As there is so much talk just now about the best way in which
to make Coffee, I will mention the plan I adopt, in the hope that
some of your readers may imitate it in their own homes. It is very
simple. You take some of the excellent "Coffee Mixture," sold by the
"Arabo-Egyptian Pure Parisian Berry Company, Limited," at sixpence
the pound. You need not give more than one tea-spoon to every four
persons, as the coffee is very good and thick. Add condensed milk,
and fill with water, after which, let the pot stand on the hob an hour
before use. You would be surprised at the quality of the fluid which
results. It gives general satisfaction in my own circle. My nephew,
who lives with me, declares that it is the only genuine coffee he has
drunk since he returned from the East. He usually, however, has his
breakfast out. My General Servant says that "she prefers it to beer"
(though she takes both), and has asked me for some to send to an
Aunt of hers with whom she has quarrelled. I think this very nice and
forgiving of her, and have allowed her a quarter of a pound for that
purpose. My son-in-law, who unfortunately is rather addicted to drink,
says it is "the finest tap he ever tasted," and adds that if he could
be sure of always having such Coffee, he would join the Blue Ribbon
Army at once. Hitherto he has not joined.

  Yours humbly,
  MARTHA HUSWIFE.

SIR,--At my "Home for Elderly Orphans of Defective Brain Power," I
give an _excellent_ Coffee, made of five parts chicory, and one of
Mocha, supplied at a cheap rate by a House in the City, which owes
me money, and is paying it off in this way, with skim-milk added, in
moderation, and no sugar. None of the orphans has ever complained of
my Coffee. I should like to catch them doing so. It is nonsense to say
the art of coffee-making is unknown in England.

  Yours, indignantly,
  CLEOPATRA JONES.

SIR,--Here is the recipe for Coffee which we use at this Buffet:--

"Place one pound of the 'Nonpareil Turkish Pasha's Special Brand
Extract of finest Mocha' in the urn in the morning. Pour on boiling
water to half-way up. Let it stew all day. Draw off as wanted, and
dilute with 'Anglo-African Condensed Cows' Milk.'"

Strange to say, we do not find great demand either for Coffee or Tea
(made on similar principles); but it is as well that the Public should
know that we have both in constant readiness, and of first-class
quality. The traveller who has drunk a cup of this Coffee in
conjunction with one of our celebrated Home-made Pork Pies, does not
require anything else till the end of the very longest journey, and,
probably, not even then.

  KEEPER OF THE REFRESHMENT ROOM, STARVEM JUNCTION.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE GEORGIAN ERA AT THE ALHAMBRA.--Mrs. ABBOTT is an electric wonder.
Not strong muscularly, but with sufficient electric power to support
four or five of the inferior sex heaped anyhow on a chair. Such a
woman is a crown to a husband--nay, any amount of crowns at £200
per week--and capable of supporting a family, however large, all by
her own exertions, or indeed, with scarcely any exertion at all. At
present, though married, she is a _femme seule_: but how long will she
remain the only electric wonder in London? Many years ago there was
a one-legged dancer named DONATO. Within sixteen weeks there were as
many one-legged dancers. We don't speak by the card, of course, but
one-legged dancers became a drug in the market. Already we hear of "A
Dynamic Phenomenon" at the Pavilion. Little Mrs. ABBOTT is an active,
spry little person, yet her "_vis inertiæ_" is, at present, without a
parallel.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.

NO. XVI.

    SCENE--_Terrace and Grounds of the Grand Hôtel Villa d'Este,
    on Lake Como. PODBURY and CULCHARD are walking up and down
    together._

_Podbury._ Well, old chap, your resigning like that has made all the
difference to _me_, I can tell you!

_Culchard._ If I have succeeded in advancing your cause with Miss
PRENDERGAST, I am all the better pleased, of course.

_Podb._ You have, and no mistake. She's regularly taken me in hand,
don't you know--she says I've no intelligent appreciation of Italian
Art; and gad, I believe she's right there! But I'm pulling up--bound
to teach you a lot, seeing all the old altar-pieces I do! And she
gives me the right tips, don't you see; she's no end of a clever girl,
so well-read and all that! But I say--about Miss TROTTER? Don't want
to be inquisitive, you know, but you don't seem to be much _about_
with her.

[Illustration: "Bound to teach you a lot, seeing all the old
altar-pieces I do!"]

_Culch._ I--er--the feelings I entertain towards Miss TROTTER have
suffered no change--quite the reverse, only--and I wish to impress
this upon you, PODBURY--it is undesirable, for--er--many reasons,
to make my attentions--er--too conspicuous. I--I trust you have not
alluded to the matter to--well, to Miss PRENDERGAST, for example?

_Podb._ Not I, old fellow--got other things to talk about. But I don't
quite see why--

_Culch._ You are not _required_ to see. I don't _wish_ it, that is
all. I--er--think that should be sufficient.

_Podb._ Oh, all right, _I'll_ keep dark. But she's bound to know
sooner or later, now she and Miss TROTTER have struck up such
a friendship. And HYPATIA will be awfully pleased about it--why
_shouldn't_ she, you know?... I'm going to see if there's anyone on
the tennis-court, and get a game if I can. Ta-ta!

_Culch._ (_alone_). PODBURY knows very little about women. If
HYP--Miss PRENDERGAST--once found out _why_ I renounced my suitorship,
I should have very little peace, I know that--I've taken particular
care not to betray my attachment to MAUD. I'm afraid she's beginning
to notice it, but I must be careful. I don't like this sudden intimacy
between them--it makes things so very awkward. They've been sitting
under that tree over there for the last half-hour, and goodness only
knows what confidences they may have exchanged! I really must go up
and put a stop to it, presently.

_UNDER THE TREE._

_Hypatia._ I only tell you all this, sweetest one, because I _do_
think you have rather too low an opinion of men as a class, and I
wanted to show you that I have met at least _one_ man who was capable
of a real and disinterested devotion.

_Maud._ Well, I allowed that was about your idea.

_Hyp._ And don't you recognise that it was very fine of him to give up
everything for his friend's sake?

_Maud_. I guess it depends how much "everything" amounted to.

_Hyp._ (_annoyed_). I thought, darling, I had made it perfectly plain
what a sacrifice it meant to him. _I_ know how much he--I needn't tell
you there are certain symptoms one can_not_ be deceived in.

_Maud._ No, I guess you needn't tell me _that_, love. And it was
perfectly lovely of him to give you up, when he was under vow for you
and all, sooner than stand in his friend's light--only I don't just
see how that was going to help his friend any.

_Hyp._ Don't you, dearest? Not when the friend was under vow for me,
too?

_Maud._ Well, HYPATIA PRENDERGAST! And how many admirers do you have
around under vow, as a regular thing?

_Hyp._ There were only those two. RUSKIN permits as many as seven at
one time.

_Maud._ That's a vurry liberal allowance, too. I don't see how there'd
be sufficient suitors to go round. But maybe each gentleman can be
under vow for seven distinct girls, to make things sort of square now?

_Hyp._ Certainly not. The whole beauty of the idea lies in the
unselfish and exclusive devotion of every knight to the same sovereign
lady. In this case I happen to know that the--a--individual had never
met his ideal until--

_Maud._ Until he met you? At Nuremberg, wasn't it? My! And what was
his name? Do tell!

_Hyp._ You must not press me, sweetest, for I cannot tell that--even
to you.

_Maud._ I don't believe but what I could guess. But say, you didn't
care any for _him_, or you'd never have let him go like that? _I_
wouldn't. I should have suspected there was something behind!

_Hyp._ My feelings towards him were purely potential. I did him the
simple justice to believe that his self-abnegation was sincere. But,
with your practical, cynical little mind, darling, you are hardly
capable of--excuse me for saying so--of appreciating the real value
and meaning of such magnanimity!

_Maud._ Oh, I guess I _am_, though. Why, here's Mr. CULCHARD coming
along. Well, Mr. CULCHARD?

_Culch._ I--ah--appear to have interrupted a highly interesting
conversation?

_Maud._ Well, we were having a little discussion, and I guess you're
in time to give the casting vote--HYPATIA, you want to keep just
where you are, do you hear? I mean you should listen to Mr. CULCHARD's
opinion.

_Culch._ (_flattered_). Which I shall be delighted to give, if you
will put me in possession of the--er--facts.

_Maud._ Well, these are the--er--facts. There were two gentlemen under
vow--maybe you'll understand the working of that arrangement better
than I do?--under vow for the same young lady. [HYPATIA PRENDERGAST,
sit still, or I declare I'll pinch you!] One of them comes up and
tells her that he's arrived at the conclusion the other admirer is
the better man, and, being a friend of his, he ought to retire in
his favour, and he does it, too, right away. Now _I_ say that isn't
natural--he'd some other motive. Miss PRENDERGAST here will have it
he was one of those noble unselfish natures that deserve they should
be stuffed for a museum. What's _your_ opinion now?

_Culch._ (_perspiring freely_). Why--er--really, on so delicate a
matter, I--I-- [_He maunders._

_Hyp._ MAUD, why _will_ you be so headstrong! (_In a rapid whisper._)
Can't you see ... can't you _guess_?...

_Maud._ I guess I want to make sure Mr. CULCHARD isn't that kind of
magnanimous man himself. I shouldn't want him to renounce _me_!

_Hyp._ MAUD! You might at _least_ wait until Mr. CULCHARD has--

_Maud._ Oh, but he _did_--weeks ago, at Bingen. And at Lugano, too,
the other day, he spoke out tolerable plain. I guess he didn't wish
any secret made about it--_did_ you, Mr. CULCHARD?

_Culch._ I--ah--this conversation is rather ... If you'll excuse me--
[_Escapes with as much dignity as he can command._

_Maud._ Well, my dear,--that's the sort of self-denying hairpin _he_
is! What do you think of him _now_?

_Hyp._ I do not think so highly of him, I confess. His renunciation
was evidently less prompted by consideration for his friend than by a
recollection--tardy enough, I am afraid--of the duty which bound him
to _you_, dearest. But if you had seen and heard him, as I did, you
would not have doubted the _reality_ of the sacrifice, whatever the
true reason may have been. For myself, I am conscious of neither anger
nor sorrow--my heart, as I told you, was never really affected. But
what must it be to _you_, darling!

_Maud._ Well, I believe I'm more amused than anything.

_Hyp._ Amused! But surely you don't mean to have anything more to do
with him?

_Maud._ My dear girl, I intend to have considerable more to do with
him before I'm through. He's under vow for _me_ now, anyway, and I
don't mean he should forget it, either. He's my monkey, and he's got
to jump around pretty lively, at the end of a tolerable short chain,
too. And I guess, if it comes to renouncing, all the magnanimity's
going to be on _my_ side this time!

_IN AN AVENUE._

_Culch._ (_to himself, as he walks hurriedly on_). I only saved myself
in time. I don't _think_ MAUD noticed anything--she couldn't nave been
so innocent and indifferent if she had.... And HYPATIA won't enlighten
her any further now--after what she knows. It's rather a relief that
she _does_ know.... She took it very well, poor girl--_very_ well.
I expect she is really beginning to put up with PODBURY--I'm sure I
_hope_ so, sincerely!

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

[Illustration]

"I dearly love reading a ghost-story," quoth the Baron, "when, as the
song says, 'The lights are low, And the flickering shadows, Softly
come and go.' And I did hope that _Cecilia de Noël_ was going to be
just the very sort of book for a winter's fireside. Disappointed.
There is a ghost in it, and there's _Cecilia de Noël_ (good
Christmassy name, isn't it?) who instructs the ghost in his neglected
Catechism; for the ghost is as much an Atheist as the unbelieving
Sadducee in this same story, who, after all, is not converted. 'Alas!
Poor Ghost!' Very poor ghost! Bring me another ghost!" cries the
Baron. No other ghost is forthcoming to the invocation, but a book is
placed in his hands entitled _Fourteen to One_. The Baron was about
to dismiss it as a betting book--judging by its title--when his eye
caught the name of ELIZABETH STUART PHELPS as authoress. So he read
many of the short stories therein. She has in many places the touch of
DICKENS. All are good; but for pathos, keen observation, and dramatic
surprise, "give me," says the Baron, emphatically, "the short story of
_The Madonna of the Tubs_." Admirable! Those who take and act upon the
Baron's tip, will do well to ask for _Fourteen to One_, and see that
they get it.

What are the Baron's sentiments as to Christmas things? He refused
to have anything to say to games and cards. Cards--well, we all know
whose books some puritanical party said _they_ were. But these comic
and artistic Christmas Cards of RAPHAEL TUCK do not come into that
category; and same is to be said of Messrs. HILDESHEIMER's, so there's
an end on't. Henceforth, says the Baron, "No Cards."

"Come to me, O ye children," as some one sings--ARTHUR CECIL for
choice--and it might be adapted for the occasion by the Publishers
of _Chatterbox_, in which box there's a prize. Messrs. ROUTLEDGE go
in for the old, old tales. They've kindly given _Mother Hubbard_ a
new dress; and as for their Panorama of the "Beasteses," it is like
a picture-walk in the Zoo. _Some Historic Women_, well selected by
DAVENPORT ADAMS, who should have styled it _Christmas Eves by Adams_.
With Mrs. MOLESWORTH's _Bewitched Lamp_ the Baron's Assistant is much
pleased. Pictures ought to have been in oil, and there should have
been a Wickéd Fairy in it,--but there isn't.

My "Co." reports that Mrs. GRIMWOOD's long-expected book, _My Three
Years in Manipur_ (BENTLEY), is worthy of the theme, and adds a fresh
laurel to the chaplet worn by the lady on whose breast the QUEEN
pinned the Red Cross. The moving story is told with a simplicity that
looks like the development of the highest art. But the heroine of
Manipur is unmistakably artless. She is content to jot down, as if
she were writing a letter home, her impressions of what she sees,
and her account of what passes before her eyes. She has the gift of
reproducing with a few strokes of the pen, portraiture of anything
that has struck her. The only thing missed is detailed report of her
own brave bearing through the fearful night when the Residency was
attacked, and during the dreadful days that followed on the flight
towards Cachar. No one reading Mrs. GRIMWOOD's narrative would guess
what splendid part she played in that tragedy. Fortunately that has
been told elsewhere, and the omission is an added charm to a book that
has many others--including a portrait of the author.

THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS AND CO.

       *       *       *       *       *

CIVIL SERVICE EXHIBITION.

DEAR MR. PUNCH,--The Military Exhibition was such a success, and
the Naval Exhibition was such a successor, that we Government Clerks
invoke your powerful aid to help us to establish next year a Civil
Service Exhibition. The Public have really no idea what wondrous
curiosities there are in the Civil Service, and would, I feel sure,
be amused and instructed at a well-organised and representative
Exhibition. At 10.15 A.M. they would see real live Clerks sign real
Attendance-Books, and insert (real or unreal) times of arrival. In the
course of the morning there might be an Exhibition of Civil Servants
over sixty-five years of age, who didn't want to retire, with a
similar number of Civil Servants, of fifty-five years of age, who
didn't want them to stay. In the afternoon, in the Arena, would daily
be attempted the difficult feat of proceeding from the Second Division
to the Higher Division. The obstacles would be represented by real
Treasury Clerks and Civil Service Commissioners, holding Orders in
Council and Treasury Minutes; and the Clerk successful in performing
the feat might be created a Duke.

In one of the kiosks a lecture on _"Sick Leave and how to spend it,"
by the Earl and the Doctor_, might be delivered hourly. In another
kiosk, official C.B.'s would be on show; Jubilee C.B.'s being classed
together on one side, and special prominence being given to those
C.B.'s who hadn't applied for the honour, and to those who had
obtained it for real services otherwise unrecognised. After dark the
"Treasury Ring" might join hands and dance round the flashing light of
their own unassisted intellect.

The different refreshment rooms (furnished by the Office of Works)
would be classified according to the varying rates of Subsistence
Allowance in force in the Service. Here the dinner for the £1-a-day
man--there the tea for the 10s.-a-day man. Special luncheon rates
for those not absent from home at night, but absent for more than ten
hours.

Visitors might be searched on arrival and departure by real Custom
House Officers. This would be sure to make it popular. Please, dear
_Mr. Punch_, do help us. Yours, &c.,

A GOVERNMENT CLERK.

       *       *       *       *       *

ENGLISH OPERA AS SHE ISN'T SUNG.

[Illustration: "Very sorry, my dear Sir Ivanhoe, but you're rather
too heavy for this Carte. We shall get along better with a lighter
weight."]

It seems impossible to support a Royal English Opera House with its
special commodity of English Opera, that is, Opera composed by an
Englishman to an Englishman's _libretto_, and played by English
operatic singers. _Ivanhoe_, a genuine English Opera, by a genuine
English Composer (with an Irish name), produced with great _éclat_,
has, after a fair run and lots of favour, been _Doyl-écarté_, in
order to make room for the _Basoche_, an essentially French Opera,
by French Composer and Librettists, done, of course, into English,
so as to be "understanded of the people." The _Basoche_ has "caught
on," and our friends in front, including Composer, Librettist, and
Middlemen--DRURIOLANUS, who bought it, and DOYLY CARTY, who bought it
of Sir DRURI--are all equally pleased and satisfied. Considered as
a matter of business, what signifies the nationality as long as the
spec pays?--_tout est là._ Only why retain the differentiating title
of "English" for the establishment? Why not call it "The Cosmopolitan
Opera House"? Of course this applies, nowadays, to Covent Garden
Theatre, which is no longer the Italian Opera House, but simply the
Covent Garden Opera during the Operatic Season, when French, English,
Italian, and German Operas are played by a Babel of singers. By the
way, while on the subject of nomenclature, why not "The Royal Babel
Opera House"?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A LUCID INTERVAL.

(_THINGS ONE WOULD RATHER HAVE EXPRESSED DIFFERENTLY._)

_Doctor._ "HOW IS THE PATIENT THIS MORNING?"

_Nurse._ "WELL--HE HAS BEEN WANDERING A GOOD DEAL IN HIS MIND. EARLY
THIS MORNING I HEARD HIM SAY, 'WHAT AN OLD WOMAN THAT DOCTOR IS!'--AND
I THINK THAT WAS ABOUT THE LAST REALLY _RATIONAL_ REMARK HE MADE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE LITTLE GERMANIA MAGNATE;

OR, TRYING TO SWAY THE SCEPTRE.

    ["_Suprema lex regis voluntas._" Words reported to have been
    written by the German Emperor in the Visitors' Book of the
    City Council at Munich.]

  No more let men chatter of such a small matter
    As Ladies Magnetic, with mystical forces,
  Whose billiard-cue business strikes with sheer dizziness
    Muscular Miloes who're game to lift horses.
  As MITCHELL the bulky was made to look sulky
    By slight Mrs. ABBOTT, the Georgian Mystery,
  She is struck silly by Behemoth BILLY,
    That young Teuton Titan, the toughest in history.

  O Oracle Mighty (though vocally flighty),
    Great Creature, omniscient (if a bit youthful),
  Panjandrum-plus-CÆSAR, Herculean Teaser
    Of tendencies vicious, or tame, or untruthful!
  You mastered the Moral while sucking your coral--
    You set the world right--in idea--in your cradle.
  Omnipotent Bumble, our pride let us humble,
    And take our opinions--like soup--from _your_ ladle!

  You _are_ such a fellow! The sages turn yellow,
    The wits all go pallid, and so do the heroes;
  Big Brontes grow jealous when _you_ blow the bellows,
    A fig for your CÆSARS, ISKANDERS, and NEROS!
  You lick them all hollow, great Vulcan-Apollo,
    Sole lord of our consciences, lives, arts, and armies!
  But (like Mrs. A., Sir) 'twould floor you to say, Sir,
    Where, what, in the mischief the source of your charm is!

  Say, how _do_ you do it? That Georgian's cue, it,
    Compared with your sceptre, is just a mere withy.
  You quietly front in with that calm "_Voluntas_,"
    (Expressed for our guidance in epigrams pithy)
  You hint you can rule us, and guide us, and school us,
    "All off your own bat," without Clergy or Minister,
  Giving swift gruel to stage-prank, or duel,
    Or any thing else _you_ think stupid or sinister.

  O Autocrat fateful, we ought to be grateful
    For such an infallible, all-potent party,
  At _this_ time of day too, to show us the way to--
    Wherever you'd lead us, with confidence hearty.
  And as for those duffers, your confidence suffers
    To tug at the sceptre, with vain thoughts of swaying it,
  What can it matter? "The Magnet" can shatter
    Their strength; at its pleasure controlling or staying it.

  In vain "Blood and Iron," with foes that environ
    Your sceptre, smart Press-man, or Socialist spouter,
  May struggle together; you hold them in tether,
    Or so you proclaim, you, whom foes call "the Shouter."
  The pose is imposing, if ere the scene's closing,
    The "Little Germania Magnate" gets beaten;
  Well, put at the worst, Sir, you are not the first, Sir,
    Who playing the Thraso has humble-pie eaten!

       *       *       *       *       *

"DINNER FORGET."--Lord RANDOLPH is coming home by a Union Company's
Steamer. The distinguished Unionist is to have a special cook to
attend to him. Does this mean that he returns as a Special COOK's
Tourist?

       *       *       *       *       *

AN ELECTION ECHO.

  GLADSTONIAN LAMBERT,
    Of course, as he should,
  This last bye-election
    Considered was good.
  But Unionist BULLER
    Has said, on reflection,
  That to him it seemed rather
    A Good-Bye election!

       *       *       *       *       *

NEW WORK.--_A Merry England in a Cat's Cradle_, by the Author of
_Across England in a Dog-Cart_.

       *       *       *       *       *

A VERY REVOLTING PLACE.--Brazil.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE LITTLE GERMANIA MAGNATE;

OR, TRYING TO SWAY THE SCEPTRE.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: JONES, SHOOTING IN NEW BOOTS, IS KNOCKED OUT SIX MILES
FROM HOME, AND ACCORDINGLY IS TOLD OFF TO "MARK" FOR THE PARTY. WIND
N.N.E., VERY FRESH. THERMOMETER 28°.]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR FINANCIAL COLUMN.

I have been forced by the enormous increase of my business to take
larger offices, and to engage two hundred additional clerks to carry
on my immense correspondence. I merely mention this as it may be
satisfactory to my countless well-wishers. But of course the old
address--"CROESUS: London" will still find me. I publish below a
selection from the letters received during the week.

(1.) SIR,--You informed me in a private communication, that the Patent
Spills Manufacturing Co. stock was a splendid investment. Acting on
this, I bought. From that moment, Spills have fallen steadily. Kindly
explain.

Yours,

INDIGNANT.

[To this I can only answer, that the complaint is ludicrous, and
preposterous. If you had bought on the day I advised, and sold out ten
minutes afterwards, you would have realised a handsome profit of one
farthing a share. Moreover, how can anything fall steadily? I never
did, which shows what a fool "INDIGNANT" must be.

CROESUS.]

(2.) SIR,--I send £22,000 19s. 8¾d., which I wish tied up as tightly
as possible in the Unlimited Packthread Stock Company, which you say
is as safe as a house. Let me know which particular house you mean.
The money belongs (or belonged) to my Maiden Aunt.

Yours sincerely,

BALIK RASH.

[Consider it done, my dear Sir; consider it done. I return the three
farthings, for which I have no possible use. The rest is invested.
Transfers await your signature at my new office.

CROESUS.]

(3.) SIR,--I have saved £4 5s. 2d. during the last twenty years, and
now send it to you in the Automatic Toast and Muffin Distributor Co.,
which I see guarantees a return of 500 per cent., with an anticipated
increase of 200 per cent. from the sale of concessions in suburban
districts. "The Muffins," you say, "will always be kept at toasting
point, and, by a novel and ingenious arrangement, a perpetual supply
of the best butter will spread itself over every Muffin as it is
distributed to the Public." I like this very much. Pray, therefore,
place me on toast to the enclosed amount.

Yours,

ONE IN THE SLOT.

[Have done what you wish. You have already cleared profit of over
£500. We shall add buns and crumpets to our business to-morrow, and
tea-cakes on the following day, so as to place it in everybody's power
to take the cake, if he wants to.

CROESUS.]

I have little more to add this week, but I think it only right to hint
that I am engaged in perfecting the details of a scheme which will
revolutionise finance. I am not allowed, _at present_, to enter into
full particulars, but I may say that I have been in close conference
with the very highest person in the world of finance, and that he is
to submit my plan to the next Cabinet Council. Briefly, when my scheme
is floated, Consols will immediately go to par, and will be converted
into a security bearing ten per cent. interest--and this without
a single penny being added to the tax-payers' burdens. I have been
authorised by the officials of the Treasury to receive any investments
that my readers may offer. Now, therefore, is your time. Next week I
may have to take a short holiday, owing to the strain on my nerves,
caused by my numerous anxieties. But the good work will go on as
before.

"CROESUS LONDON."

       *       *       *       *       *

GLORY AT THE LOWEST PRICE.

    [There is nothing whatever to hinder a civilian from
    organising and managing an efficient army, and there are at
    any given moment a score of men in the City of London, who
    could carry out the work with perfect ease.--_Daily Paper,
    November 19, 1891_.]

    SCENE--_The Army Universal Provision Company Limited (Managing
    Director, Mr. BLACKLEY). Enter Recruit in Department No.
    1. He looks round him surprised at the business-like activity
    that greets him on every side._

_Foreman_ (_politely_). Anything I can do for you, Sir, to-day?
We have an assortment of Queen's Shillings fresh from the Mint.
Curiosities, Sir, quite out of date, but interesting. Can I tempt you?

_Recruit_ (_with some hesitation_). Well, I thought of joining the
Army, and--

_Foreman_ (_interrupting_). Certainly, Sir. Doctor in that room.
Magistrate in that. Be medically passed and sworn to allegiance while
you wait. (_Ushers Recruit into various Departments--whence he emerges
duly enrolled_.) And now, Sir, which branch of the Service would you
like to see?

_Recruit_. Well, I did think of the Tenth Hussars.

_Foreman_ (_promptly_). Quite right, Sir. First-class Regiment,
commanded by His Royal Highness Field Marshal the Prince of
WALES. (_To Assistant._) Show this gentleman the way to the
outfitting-room--Tenth Hussars.

    [_Recruit in less than no time is fitted out. On his return
    to the Central Hall he is once more greeted by a principal
    official._

_Foreman_. Now, Sir, you would like to learn your drill?

_Recruit_. Well, yes--

_Foreman_. Quite so. We teach it in six easy lessons, at twelve
shillings a lesson. You can pay for it either out of your reserved
pay, or now. If the latter, we allow five per cent. discount.

_Recruit_ (_without hesitation_). I think I will pay it later.

_Foreman_ (_putting up his receipt-book_). Certainly, Sir, No
difference to us. And now, Sir, perhaps you will take your lessons.

    [_Recruit goes through a course which soon puts him to-rights.
    At the end he shakes Foreman warmly by the hand._

_Recruit_. You are sure that I really know my drill?

_Foreman_. Quite. Why, Sir, you are letter perfect. And now, is there
anything more we can do for you?

_Recruit_. Well, I did join the Army with the intention of going to
the wars.

_Foreman_ (_apologetically_). Very sorry, Sir, but we haven't the
article on hand just at present. Sure to have some by-and-by. Is there
anything else we can do for you, Sir?

_Recruit_. Well, failing a war, I should like a passage to India.

_Foreman_ (_in a deprecatory tone_). Well, Sir, frankly, we cannot
recommend it. But if you have made up your mind, we must ask you
to step over to the Waste Department. They settle such-like matters
there. See over yonder, Sir, where that venerable General on crutches
is. He has just got a Colonelcy, but he can't hold it very long, as
he is over eighty! And now I must say adieu, as I have other pupils
claiming my assistance. Good day!

    [_Starts off, and prepares food for powder in other quarters.
    Curtain._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "BREEZY BRIGHTON."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE REVOLT OF THE RATEPAYERS AGAINST KING KOUNTY
KOUNCIL THE FIRST.

(TEMPLE, WEMYSS, AND SAVORY LEAD THE ATTACK.)]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE BOARD ON BOTH SIDES.

    SCENE--_A Railway Carriage. Present two Passengers
    discussing the Topics of the Day._

_First Passenger_. And then there's the School Board! I am on my way
to record my vote.

_Second Pass._ And so am I. I hope, Sir, we are of both of the way of
thinking?

_First Pass._ I hope so, too. My idea is to give the children of the
poor every possible advantage. Let them learn all they can. Yes, Sir,
let them learn all they can.

[Illustration: "Why, it's as plain as the Nose on your face!"]

_Second Pass._ (_excitedly_). But, my dear Sir, what can be the good
of that? It will be of no use to them in their future, and will only
make them dissatisfied with their position.

_First Pass._ (_calmly_). Ah, my dear Sir, you evidently take a narrow
view of the subject. Why should not the poor enjoy equality with the
rich? It is only the accident of birth that divides the peasant from
the Peer.

_Second Pass._ (_obstinately_). I do not care about the cause, I
only look to the result--the rich _are_ divided from the poor. It is
ridiculous that an orange-girl should play the piano, and a ploughman
paint a picture.

_First Pass._ (_smiling_). I do not see why. Surely the poor should
have their little amusements? And do we not have it on decent
classical authority, "that Art polishes the manners, and renders them
less ferocious!"

_Second Pass._ (_contemptuously_). Ah! You take a sentimental view
of it! Believe me, the people would be all the better were they to
receive a practical--a technical education--say were they to be taught
how to sweep chimneys, or to blacken boots!

_First Pass._ (_complacently_). They will engage in both those useful
industries with the greater _gusto_ if they know that when they are at
leisure they can understand MACAULAY or enjoy BEETHOVEN.

_Second Pass._ (_with conviction_). But you must admit that there is
a good deal of waste. Consider Mr. FORSTER calculated that the rate
would be threepence in the pound, and now it's a shilling, and will
go higher still! Remember that Londoners pay far more dearly than
citizens of many provincial towns, for an article not one whit better.

_First Pass._ (_with, a genial smile_). Ah, I see you are quoting from
the Press.

_Second Pass._ (_earnestly_). And why not? Is it true, or is it
not, that money is squandered upon rotten buildings, upon excessive
salaries to teachers, and upon the provision of refinements in
education?

_First Pass._ (_smiling_). Still quoting! But if I admit that there
is something in what you say, is it not always the case? Have we ever
unmixed good, or unmixed evil? And I contend that the same advantages
derivable from a School-Board education entirely compensate for a
little loss.

_Second Pass._ (_rather out of temper_). Well, you take it calmly
enough.

_First Pass._ (_amiably_). Why not? It is my theory that every child
should have the best possible education. The infant should have enough
mental food to last him for life. It is our duty that he should got
it.

_Second Pass._ (_with irritation_). Well, at least you take an
unselfish view of the case.

_First Pass._ (_smiling sweetly_). I don't see that! As a matter of
fact, I am sufficiently successful not to care for competition. I
believe that I am first-rate in my own walk; and, however the School
Board may educate, they will not reach my standard.

_Second Pass._ (_drily_). I was not thinking of that, although it is a
consideration. But how about the rates, my dear Sir--the rates?

_First Pass._ (_with a good-humoured laugh_). Oh, bother the rates! I
don't see where they come in.

_Second Pass._ (_with ghastly jocularity_). But I do--by the front
door.

_First Pass._ (_condescendingly_). Tut, tut! But what have the rates
to do with the matter?

_Second Pass._ (_astonished_). Why, at a shilling in the pound and
more to follow, you must admit they make a hole in a modest income?

_First Pass._ (_enthusiastically_). And what if they do, Sir--what if
they do? Have we no duty to our fellow man? Ought we not to sacrifice
something on his behalf--for his sake? And, my dear Sir, I speak all
the more dispassionately, because my rates are paid--_by my Landlord!_
[_Curtain._

       *       *       *       *       *

ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.--"HISTORICAL GARDENER."--Yes, certainly--it
was "The Gallows-tree," from which "The Hanging Gardens of Babylon"
took their name. Any school-boy knows this.--"INQUIRING BUOY."--No;
the Nore Light is not a candelabraham.

       *       *       *       *       *

HOW IT'S DONE!

[Illustration]

DEAREST MADGE,

  You have asked me to tell you some scandal!
    You seem to forget how I hate such a theme--
  How I loathe and detest every girl who's a Vandal,
    Destroying that fine work of Art, Nature's Scheme.
  Why, I _never_ talk scandal, you goose, and you know it;
    It's no fascination whatever to _me_.
  I _could_ tell some, of course, for we county folk grow it
    Like so many apples and pears on a tree.

  I repeat, I detest such a thing beyond measure.
    I'm not like dear MAUD, who my husband declares
  Was invented and made to exist on the pleasure
    Of dragging to light other people's affairs.
  _She_ would forward you scandalous tales by the dozen--
    There's no one like _her_ if you want any news.
  I declare she's as bad as her wretch of a cousin,
    Who's bolted with Major FITZ-DASH, of the Blues.

  Now, for instance, she told me (in confidence, mind you)
    That Captain BLANK CARTRIDGE, when playing at Nap,
  Has an odious habit of getting behind you,
    And calling according to what's on your lap.
  (By the way, we have only just heard that the Major,
    Who gave Lady B. such a beautiful horse,
  Is a perfect _Don Juan_, and quite an old stager
    At playing a prominent part in divorce.)

  More than that, she assures me (although I don't doubt it)
    That D., though apparently sober and staid,
  Is a flirt, and that people are talking about it
    Indignantly here. And it's true, I'm afraid;
  For I heard Mrs. PARSONS, the wife of the Vicar,
    Inform Countess C. (who's forgiven, you know)
  That each day she appears to get thicker and thicker
    With N., though engaged to be married to O.

  MAUD has written to mother, and said in her letter
    (Marked "private ") that T., who has taken to drink,
  And been sent to a sort of a home, is no better,
    And quenches his thirst, when he can, with the ink.
  And the Dowager Duchess of M. (the old sinner!)
    Has dropped all the money she had backing gees;
  While the Colonel, who's said to have spotted the winner,
    Owns most of the horses that _lost_, if you please!

  But dear MAUD is the one for the news that's exciting.
    You've wasted your paper in sending to _me_.
  I would just as soon think, love, of flying as writing
    _One word_ of the scandal of afternoon tea.
  Give my love to your mother, and kisses to DORA--
    (She's doing the season with you, I presume?)
  And believe me your ever affectionate, FLORA.

    P.S. Mrs. K. has eloped with her groom!

_Scandal Hall, Torking_.

       *       *       *       *       *

ONLY FANCY!

We find the following paragraph in a contemporary:--

    A meeting on the Somersetshire floods has been summoned by the
    Earl of CORK, Lord-Lieutenant of the County, for to-morrow, at
    Bridgewater.

We are bound to observe that this arrangement displays a lamentable
lack of consideration for others on the part of the noble convener.
It is all very well for the Earl of CORK to select the Somersetshire
floods for a place of meeting. But whilst CORK is bobbing up and down,
buoyantly enjoying himself, what is to become of ordinary persons
foregathered in such circumstances? We presume that boats, or at
least life-belts, will be provided for the movers and seconders of the
various resolutions. Or does Bridgewater cover everything?

       *       *       *       *       *

Walking down St. James' Street the other day, whom should we meet but
the Earl of PORTSMOUTH, long known in the House of Commons as Lord
LYMINGTON. Opportunity was taken to inquire whether a recent event in
South Molton had led to any estrangement between his Lordship and his
former constituents.

"No, TOBY," said the belted Earl; "I think I may say, that, between
me and my old constituents, the wing of friendship has not Molton a
feather."

       *       *       *       *       *

In the foregoing paragraph, the phrase "belted Earl," is used
advisedly. At the period of which Sir WALTER SCOTT wrote (_vide_
any of his novels) it will be found that members of this rank of the
Peerage are all spoken of as belted. For some time the fashion fell
out of use. The belt was appropriately revived by the late Earl of
BEACONSFIELD, and is now quite a common thing with the aristocracy.
The Earl of SELBORNE is very particular about the fit and cut of his.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. BOYCE, in his interesting and picturesque work, _Snowdon and
Rained Upon_, insists on the desirability of taking only a light
luncheon when engaged upon a pedestrian tour. He adds, "I walked up
Snowdon on two hard-boiled eggs." The remark seems scarcely relevant,
but it records a notable achievement. Considering the height of
Snowdon, and the occasional stoniness of the path, to walk up it on
two eggs, howsoever hard-boiled, is a feat that puts in the shade the
Music-hall trick of riding up an inclined plane of rope on a bicycle.
Mr. BOYCE does not say what he came down upon. Probably his back.

       *       *       *       *       *

We hear from Munich that underneath the motto, _Suprema lex regis
voluntas_, written in the Visitors' Book by the Emperor of GERMANY,
there now appears the following line--_Rex est major singulis, minor
universis_. Herr HITHERCLIFT, the well-known German authority, having
made a careful examination of the page, states his opinion that the
handwriting is that of Prince BISMARCK, or is an excellent imitation.

       *       *       *       *       *

A WARLIKE TALE FROM THE PACIFIC.

(_FRAGMENT FROM THE POSSIBLE DIARY OF A REALISTIC NOVELIST._)

Well, now I think I have got matters pretty straight. The question is,
whether the Baron will accept my last message as chaff, or resent it.
Let me see, how does it read--"It is suggested, for the President's
consideration, that rumours uncorrected or unexplained acquire almost
the force of admitted truth." Quite so--so they do. Let me see--"That
any want of confidence between the governed and the Government must be
hurtful"--well, to us both. Yes! That's all right. So it will! Lastly,
"That the rumours, in their present form, tend to damage the white
races in the native mind, and to influence for the worse the manners
of the Samoans." Now, that _ought_ to fetch him! A wink is as good as
a nod to a blind pig! However, he is quite ass enough to do nothing!
Everybody saying that he is going to blow us all up, himself included!
Why it's enough to make the natives rise and kill every white man in
the place. Still, good idea for a story.

_Later_. The idiot! Instead of promptly denying the facts, he says he
won't have anything to do with us, because "we care so little for the
correctness of the facts we deal with." We only asked for information.
Are we going to be blown into smithereens, or are we not? That's the
point, and he won't tell us! Wants to know what business it is of
ours? The situation is decidedly dramatic--but unpleasant!

_Later Still_.--Have replied that "the matter very much concerns us."
Tell him, we wrote, not for protection, but for information. "Are we
going to be blown up, or are we not?" An answer will oblige.

_A Little Later_.--No, he is not to be drawn. Won't swerve an inch.
So now we are trying another dodge. Will he resign his dual office?
He says he will resign one. But he knows that won't do. If he remains
chief adviser to the King, we shall be nowhere. His last idea is to
resign the Presidentship of the Municipal Council. Why, we are the
Council, and we should have kicked him out if he hadn't! Very funny,
but it's hard to laugh when one's within an ace of a massacre or an
explosion.

_Latest_.--Still in doubt. However, have a subject for something
in the dramatic line. What the entertainment will be, depends upon
the future development of the plot. At present it may turn out a
Tragedy--or an _Opéra-bouffe_.

       *       *       *       *       *

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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