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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 101, September 19, 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, September 19, 1891" ***

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PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 101.



September 19, 1891.



[Illustration: OFF DUTY.

_The "Daily Graphic" Weather-Young-Woman gets her "Sundays out."_]

       *       *       *       *       *

SILENCE AND SLEEP.

(_LINES WRITTEN AT COCK-CROW._)

  Night-time and silence! O'er the brooding hill
    The last faint whisper of the zephyr dies;
  Meadows and trees and lanes are hushed and still,
    A shroud of mist on the slow river lies;
  And the tall sentry poplars silent keep
  Their lonely vigil in a world of sleep.

  Yea, all men sleep who toiled throughout the day
    At sport or work, and had their fill of sound,
  The jest and laughter that we mate with play,
    The beat of hoofs, the mill-wheel grinding round,
  The anvil's note on summer breezes borne,
  The sickle's sweep in fields of yellow corn.

  And I too, as the hours go softly by,
    Lie and forget, and yield to sleep's behest,
  Leave for a space the world without a sigh,
    And pass through silence into dreamless rest;
  Like a tired swimmer floating tranquilly
  Full in the tide upon a peaceful sea.

  But hark, that sound! Again and yet again!
    Darkness is cleft, the stricken silence breaks,
  And sleep's soft veil is rudely rent in twain,
    And weary nature all too soon, awakes;
  Though through the gloom has pierced no ray of light,
  To hail the dawn and bid farewell to night.

  Still is it night, the world should yet sleep on,
    And gather strength to meet the distant morn.
  But one there is who, though no ray has shone,
    Waits not, nor sleeps, but laughs all rest to scorn,
  The demon-bird that crows his hideous jeer,
  Restless, remorseless, hateful Chanticleer.

  One did I say? Nay, hear them as they cry;
    Six more accept the challenge of the foe:
  From six stretched necks six more must make reply,
    Echo, re-echo and prolong the crow.
  First shrieking singly, then their notes they mix
  In one combined cacophony of six.

  Miscalled of poets "herald of the day,"
    Spirit of evil, vain and wanton bird,
  Was there then none to beg a moment's stay
    Ere for thy being Fate decreed the word?
  Could not ASCLEPIAS, when he ceased to be,
  Take to the realms of death thy tribe and thee?

  What boots it thus to question? for thou ART,
    And still shalt be; but never canst be still,
  Destined at midnight thus to play thy part,
    And when all else is silent to be shrill.
  Yea, as I lie all sleepless in the dark,
  I love not those who housed thee in the Ark.

       *       *       *       *       *

"AS GOOD AS A BETTER."

Dr. Andrew Wilson (in "Science Jottings," in the _Illustrated
London News_) dares disparage Golf "as an ideal game for young men,"
venturing to advocate the preferential claims of fogeyish Cricket, and
even of futile Lawn Tennis--

  "O Scots, wha hae wi' BALFOUR teed."

What _wull_ ye say to this disloyal, slanderous, sacrilegious ANDY?
He hints that Golf is a mere modish fashion--even a _fin de siècle_
fad!!! How many perfervid and patriotic Scots will

  "Condemn his soul to eternal perdition
  For his theory of the--National Game?"

He says "you hit a ball and walk after it, and manoeuvre it into
a hole." Eugh! Such icy analysis would make Billiards a bore, and
resolve "Knuckle-down" into nonsense! "It is not (_Golf_ is not!)
a proceeding (_proceeding, quotha!_) of which youths and young men
should grow enamoured." As though, forsooth, Golf were a sort of
elderly Siren luring limp and languorous youths into illegitimate
courses; a _passée_ Delilah, whose enervating fascinations sapped the
virile vigour that might be dedicated to "that noblest of sports,"
Cricket, or even that "much better game," Lawn Tennis!!!

Surely the devotees of the Golf-cultus, the lovers of the Links, will
be down like a "driver" upon Dr. WILSON. Oh, ANDY, ANDY, between you
and your "brither Scots" there is henceforth "a great Golf fixed"!

       *       *       *       *       *

A CRICKET PARADOX.

  Though true without questioning, yet all the same,
    It's a trifle perplexing to know what it means
  That the counties that hate most to lose in a game
    Would be pleased very much at your giving them Beans

       *       *       *       *       *

WIGS ON THE (SEA) GREEN!--Some Frenchman (we are told by _The
Gentlewoman_) has done Ladies a good turn by inventing a Bathing
Wig, which keeps the hair dry without making the fair bather look "a
fright." Hooray! SABRINA herself might shout for such an invention,
which even the Nereids need not despise. DIZZY once sarcastically
referred to certain "Bathing W(h)igs," but they were of another sort.
Not even the most adventurous Tory could "steal the clothes" of our
latter day "Bathing Wigs."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "FINE SALMON YOU'VE GOT THERE,
POULTER!"--"SIXTY-FIVE POUNDS, MY LORD! SHALL I SEND IT HOME TO YOUR
LORDSHIP?"--"WELL--ER--LOOK HERE! JUST CUT ME HALF A POUND OUT OF THE
MIDDLE THERE, AND GIVE IT ME IN A PIECE OF PAPER!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.

NO. VII.

    SCENE--_A Second-Class Compartment on the line between
    Wurzburg and Nuremberg. PODBURY has been dull and depressed
    all day, not having recovered from the parting with Miss
    TROTTER. CULCHARD, on the contrary, is almost ostentatiously
    cheerful. PODBURY is intensely anxious to find out how far
    his spirits are genuine, but--partly from shyness, and partly
    because some of their fellow travellers have been English--he
    has hesitated to introduce the subject. At last, however, they
    are alone, and he is determined to have it out on the very
    first opportunity._

[Illustration: "Puts me in mind o' the best part o' Box 'Ill."]

_Culchard_. Abominably slow train, this _Schnell-zug_. I hope we shall
get to Nuremberg before it's too dark to see the general effect.

_Podbury_. We're not likely to be in time for _table d'hôte_--not that
_I'm_ peckish. (_He sighs._) Wonder whereabouts the--the TROTTERS have
got to by now, eh?

    [_He feels he is getting red, and hums the Garden Scene from
    "Faust."_]

_Culch._ (_indifferently_). Oh, let me see--just arriving at St.
Moritz, I expect. Wonderful effect of colour, that is. [_He indicates
the West, where a bar of crimson is flaming between a belt of firs._

_Podb._ (_absently_). Oh, wonderful!--where? (_Hums a snatch of a
waltz._) Dum-dum-diddle-um-tum-dum-dum-dum-ty-doodle; dum-dum--I say,
_you_ don't seem particularly cut up?

_Culch._ Cut up? Why should I be cut up, my dear fellow?--about what?

    [_Before PODBURY can explain, two Talkative British
    Tourists tumble up into the compartment, and he has to
    control his curiosity once more._

_First T.T._ Well, I 'ope we're all right _now_, SAM, I'm sure--these
German jokers have chivied us about enough for one journey! (_To
CULCHARD._) Not in your way, this 'at-box, Sir? Don't give yer much
space in these foreign trains. (_They settle down and the train
starts._) Pretty bit o' country along 'ere!--puts me in mind o' the
best part o' Box 'Ill--and I can't say more for it than _that_!

_Second T.T._ (_a little man with a sandy fringe and boiled-looking
eyes_). What I notice about the country abroad is they don't seem to
'ave no _landmarks_.

_First T.T._ (_with a dash of friendly contempt_). What d'yer mean--no
landmarks--_signposts_?

_Second T.T._ (_with dignity_). I mean to say, they don't 'ave nothing
to indicate which is JACK's property, and which is JOE's.

_First T.T._ Go on--they've as much as what _we_ 'ave.

_Second T.T._ _'Ave_ they? We 'ave fences and 'edges. I don't see none
_'ere_. P'raps you'll point me _out_ one?

_First T.T._ There's precious few 'edges or fences in the Isle o'
Thanet, as you'd know if you've ever been to Margit.

_Second T.T._ (_loftily_). I'm not talkin' about Margit now. I'm
talkin' of 'ere, and I'll trouble you to show me a landmark.

_First T.T._ Depend on it they've their own ways of knowing which is
'oo's.

_Second T.T._ That's not what I'm _sayin'_. I'm sayin' there ain't
nothing to _indicate_ it. [_They argue the point at length._]

_Podb._ (_to CULCHARD_). Then you really aren't cut up--about Miss T.
you know?

_Culch._ (_with the reserve of a man who only wants to be pressed_).
There is no reason that I am aware of, why I should be--but (_lowering
his voice_) don't you think we had better wait till we are alone to
discuss that subject?

_Podb._ Oh, all right. I'm not partic--at least. Well, I'm glad you
_aren't_, you know, that's all.

    [_He becomes silent again--but his face brightens visibly._

_First T.T._ (_to Second Do._). See that field there? That's tobacco,
_that_ is.

_Second T.T._ What they make their penny smokes of. (_The train
enters a station._) What funny engines they do 'ave 'ere! I expect the
guard'll be wanting to see our _billyetts_ again next. It's as bad as
it used to be with the passports. I've 'eard--mind yer, I don't know
'ow much likeli'ood there is in the assertion--that they're going
to bring 'em in again. Most intricate they were about them. (_To
CULCHARD._) Why, if you'll believe me, a friend o' mine as 'ad
one--well, they got 'is description down to a ioter! He'd a cast in
'is eye,--they put it down, and a pimple you'd 'ardly notice--but down
_that_ went!

_First T.T._ It's no use 'aving such things if they don't do it
thoroughly.

_Second T.T._ (_irrelevantly_). I wish I 'adn't 'ad that glass o'
peach wine where we changed last. (_A_ Guard _appears at the window,
and makes some guttural comments on the couple's tickets._) Wechseln?
Why, that means _wash_, don't it? I'm as clean as _him_, anyway.
"Anshteigen,"--ah, I ought to know what _that_ means by this time!
SAM, my boy, we're bundled out again. I _told_ yer 'ow it would be!

    [_They tumble out, and the carriage is presently filled by an
    assortment of Germans, including a lively and sociable little
    Cripple with a new drinking-mug which he has just had filled
    with lager, and a Lady with pale hair and sentimental blue
    eyes._

_Podb._ We can talk all right _now_, eh? _They_ won't understand. Look
here, old fellow, I don't mind owning _I'm_ rather down in the mouth
about--you know what. I shouldn't care so much if there was any chance
of our coming across them again.

_Culch._ (_cordially_). I am very glad to hear you say so. I was
rather afraid you had taken a dislike--er--in that quarter.

_Podb._ I?--is it _likely_! I--I admire her awfully, you know, only
she rather seemed to snub me lately.

_Culch._ (_with patronising reassurance_). Quite a mistake on your
part, I assure you, my dear fellow. I am sure she will learn to
appreciate you--er--fully when you meet again, which, I may tell you,
will be at no very distant date. I happen to know that she will be
at the Italian Lakes early next month, and so shall we, if you let me
manage this tour my own way.

_Podb._ (_with surprise and gratitude_). I say, old boy, I'd no
notion you were such a nailing good chap! Nein, danky. (_To the little
Cripple, who is cheerily inviting him, in pantomime, to drink from
his mug._) Cheeky little beggar. But do you really think anything
will--er--come of it, if we do meet her again--_do_ you now?

_Culch._ I--ah--have the best reasons for feeling tolerably certain of
it. [_He looks out of window and smiles._

_Podb._ But that cousin of hers--CHARLEY, you know--how about _him_?

_Culch._ I put that to her, and there is nothing in it. In fact, she
practically admitted--(_He glances round and lowers his voice._) I
will tell you another time. That lady over there is looking at us, and
I'm almost certain--

_Podb._ What if she is, she don't understand a word we're saying. I
want to hear all about Her, you know.

_Culch._ My dear PODBURY, we shall have ample time to talk about her
while we are at Nuremberg together--it will be the greatest pleasure
to me to do so as long as ever you please.

_Podb._ Thanks, old chap! I'd no idea you were doing all this, you
know. But just tell me this, what did she _say_ about me?

_Culch._ (_mystified_). About you? I really don't recollect that she
mentioned _you_ particularly.

_Podb._ (_puzzled_). But I thought you said you'd been speaking up for
me! What _did_ you talk about then?

_Culch._ Well, about myself--naturally. [_He settles his collar with a
vague satisfaction._

_Podb._ (_blankly_). Oh! Then you haven't been arranging to meet her
again on _my_ account?

_Culch._ Good Heavens, no--what a very grotesque idea of yours, my
dear fellow! [_He laughs gently._

_Podb._ Is it? You always gave out that she wasn't your style at all,
and you only regarded her as a "study," and rot like that. How could
_I_ tell you would go and cut me out?

_Culch._ I don't deny that she occasionally--er--jarred. She is a
little deficient in surface refinement--but that will come, that will
come. And as to "cutting you out," why, you must allow you never had
the remotest--

_Podb._ I don't allow anything of the sort. She liked me well enough
till--till you came in and set her against me, and you may think it
friendly if you like, but I call it shabby--confoundedly shabby.

_Culch._ Don't talk so loud, I'm sure I saw that woman smile!

_Podb._ She may smile her head off for all I care. (_The train stops;
the Cripple and all but the Pale-haired Lady get out_.) Here we are
at Nuremberg. What hotel did you say you are going to?

_Culch._ The Bayrischer-Hof. Why?

    [_He gets his coat and sticks, &c., out of the rack._

_Podb._ Because I shall go to some other, that's all.

_Culch._ (_in dismay_). My dear PODBURY. this is really too childish!
There's no sense in travelling together, if we're going to stay at
different hotels!

_Podb._ I'm not sure I shall go any further. Anyway, while I _am_
here, I prefer to keep to myself.

_Culch._ (_with a displeased laugh_). Just as you please. It's a
matter of perfect indifference to _me_. I'm afraid you'll be terribly
bored by yourself, though.

_Podb._ That's _my_ look out. It can't be worse than going about with
you and listening while you crow and drivel about her, that's one
comfort! [_The Pale-haired Lady coughs in a suspicious manner_.

_Culch._ You don't even know if there _is_ another hotel.

_Podb._ I don't care. I can find a pot-house somewhere, I daresay.

_The Pale-haired Lady_ (_in excellent English, to PODBURY as he
passes out_). Pardon me, you will find close to the Bahnhof a very
goot hotel--the Wurtemburger.

    [_PODBURY thanks her and alights in some confusion; the
    Lady sinks back, smiling_.

_Culch._ (_annoyed_). She must have understood every word we said! Are
you in earnest over this? (_PODBURY nods grimly_.) Well, you'll soon
get tired of your own society, I warn you.

_Podb._ Thanks, we shall see.

    [_He saunters off with his bag: CULCHARD shrugs his
    shoulders, and goes in search of the Bayrischer-Hof Porter,
    to whom he entrusts his luggage tickets, and takes his seat in
    the omnibus alone._

       *       *       *       *       *

"ANGELS AND MINISTERS OF GRACE!"

    ["The London Correspondent of the _Manchester Guardian_ hears
    that certain ungallant Members of Parliament are threatening
    at the beginning of next Session to make a formal protest
    against the wholesale admission of ladies to the precincts of
    the House."]

  Ungallant! Vastly fine! But when they crowd
    The terrace seats, elbow us in the lobbies,
  Chatter and laugh, and care no more about
    (Elderly) senators than boys or bobbies;
  Why then, Sir, all M.P.'s of nerve and _nous_
    Will say that, though we love the babbling beauties,
  The swarming of these "Angels in the House,"
    Will simply play the devil with its duties!


[Illustration: "NOS ET MUTAMUR IN ILLIS!"

(_INTERNATIONAL FELINE AMENITIES._)

_Fair French Republican_. "SO YOU 'AVE RETURN FROM PARIS? HOW DID YOU
LIKE IT?"

_Lady Godiva_. "OH, _PAS DE TOUT_--IT IS SO ALTERED FOR THE WORSE! FOR
I CAN REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS IN THE DEAR OLD DAYS OF THE EMPIRE!"

_Fair French Republican_. "AH, MILADI, IS IT NOT POSSIBLE ZAT PARIS
MAY FIND YOU A LITTLE BIT ALTERED TOO!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

STORICULES.

IV.--A REVIEWER'S CONFESSION.

I am extremely fond of sitting and looking on; but I do not care about
taking part in anything. There are some people who cannot even witness
a cab accident without wanting to be the horse or the man who is
sitting on the horse's head. They walk round the prostrate animal
and give advice; and if they are allowed to help in any way, they are
quite happy. If such people watch a game of any sort, they always wish
they were taking part in it. I once went to a cricket-ground to eat
luncheon, and I went with an enthusiast of this kind. We noticed that
his attention seemed distracted, that he only replied in monosyllables
when we spoke to him, and that there was something on his mind. "I
would give," he exclaimed, at last--and it was the only remark that he
had volunteered for half-an-hour--"I would give a year of my life for
twenty minutes with that bowling." He was evidently deeply affected.
"_Why_ don't they take him off?" he moaned. There were tears in his
eyes. I do not quite understand that feeling. I can watch absolutely
anything, but I never want to do more. I was not made to undertake
principal parts--I can witness amateur theatricals without wishing to
be the prompter. I review novels, but I do not write them.

The other day I watched a game of tennis. I had placed the
lounge-chair in a safe and shady position. I had got a paper-knife and
the third volume with me. The cat had followed me out of the library,
and sat down in a convenient position so that I could scratch it
gently behind the ear if I wanted to. I was smoking a pipe that had
just reached the right stage of maturity, and, in some indefinable
way, made life seem richer and better. Everything was well arranged
for the watching of tennis.

There were two players--BILL, a young son of the house, whom I knew
intimately, and TOMMY, a boy of the same age, who had just come up
from the Rectory. I had not seen TOMMY before. He was a nice-looking
little boy, and wore a black necktie in the collar of his silk
tennis-shirt. BILL is not good-looking; he is red and freckled, and
grins vastly. He was wearing rather unclean flannels, and did not look
quite so refined and delicate as TOMMY. I compared the two boys, and
thought that I preferred BILL. In the first game of the set, BILL, who
plays wonderfully well, won easily; after that, my attention got fixed
on that third volume. I turned down a corner of the page whenever I
came across anything that was at all conventional. I was reading the
book for review, and my notice of it was to appear in _The Scalpel_
on the following Saturday. It was, on the whole, a capital novel, but
it was by an author who had been, I thought, more successful than was
good for him. He had been elected freely to the best Clubs. During
the season he had gone everywhere. Many editions of his book had been
sold. He had acquired a little cult who said extravagant things about
him in the literary papers. It is sickening to see a man reverenced
during his lifetime. I could imagine him posing before his cult and
being pleased; even before I had read a page of his novel, I had made
up my mind to administer to him a wholesome corrective in the pages of
_The Scalpel_. I was rather sorry to find that it was really a capital
novel; but it had enough faults for my purpose.

I had read for some time before I turned my attention to the game
again. When I did so, I was startled, for it was perfectly obvious
that BILL was giving the game away. His usual service is a little
like invisible lightning with a bend in it; he was now serving in a
modified manner, which he generally uses only when he is playing with
girls who are not his sisters. It was also obvious that TOMMY, who
looked very elated, fully believed that he was winning on his own
merits, and had no idea that BILL was merely allowing him to win.

[Illustration]

"My game--and set!" cried TOMMY, joyously.

"You've improved awfully," said BILL.

I could not imagine why BILL had intentionally lost that set, for
I knew that he hated losing. When TOMMY had gone home again to the
Rectory, BILL came up to me to ask how old I thought a man ought to
be before he began smoking. I said that I thought thirty-six was about
the right age, and asked BILL why he had let TOMMY win.

"Oh, nothing particular," said BILL, in his matter-of-fact way; "only
I'd never seen him wear that kind of tie before, and I asked him what
he was doing it for, and he said it was for his aunt; she died a few
weeks back; so I thought I might as well give him the set to make up
for it."

I was rather amused. "TOMMY looked very pleased with himself," I said.

"Yes, he'll brag about that game all over the place," replied BILL,
rather despondently. For a moment or two he was silent, imagining the
triumph and pride of TOMMY. "I'd punch his head as soon as look at
him," he added.

"What on earth for? He thought he'd won by play."

"He can't play any more than a cow, but that's not it. I hate to see
anyone get so glorious about anything. Well, I don't know--it's kind
of natural. He'd have had a right to brag, if he had really won, and
he thought he did."

"Anyhow," I said, severely, "it's a mean trick to want to damage
anyone, just because he's pleased with himself when he's got a right
to be."

"Well, yes--I'll give you thirty."

"Can't play. I'm going to finish this novel, BILL."

"Is that one of the books you write about in the papers?"

"Yes."

"Are you going to praise it, or cut it up?"

"I'm going to give it such a--well, no, on second thoughts, I believe
I'm going to praise it." And I did.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTERS TO ABSTRACTIONS.

NO. III.--TO POMPOSITY.

MY DEAR POMPOSITY,

It was only yesterday that I dined with BULMER, the wealthy brewer,
in his magnificent mansion in the neighbourhood (I dare not be more
precise) of Belgrave Square. You know as well as I do that BULMER's
origin, though it may not have been humble, was certainly obscure.
Nobody quite knows how he first managed to become a partner in the
great concern which he now entirely controls. Fifteen years ago few
people ever heard of or drank the "Pellucid Ale" without which no
tap-room and few middle-class luncheon tables can now be considered
complete. Suddenly, however, column upon column of the daily press
overflowed, as it were, with those two magic words; analytical
chemists investigated the properties of the beverage, and one and
all pronounced it in highly technical language to contain more
bone-forming and sinew-developing elements than any other known
beer. The poetry-and-beer-loving public was fascinated by a series
of memorable stanzas:--

[Illustration]

  "The hardy Briton loves good cheer,
    His mighty sinews never fail:
  'Pour me,' he cries 'a draught of Beer,
    And let it be Pellucid Ale.'"

So the verse began, and it was illustrated by a flaring symbolical
picture in two compartments. In the first a throng of gaunt and
miserable creatures was represented crawling with difficulty towards
an immense barrel, astride which sat a lusty, hop-crowned deity.
In the second, every member of the same throng had become stout and
hearty. The hollow cheeks were round and shining with health, the
bent backs were straight, the dreary faces were wreathed in smiles,
and every hand held a foam-topped glass of "Pellucid Ale." Underneath
were painted the words, "After one glass." Even without the title,
the inference was obvious; the confiding public drew it, and immense
quantities of BULMER's ale, almost simultaneously, and the result
was that, in a very short time, BULMER might have rolled in money if
he had felt disposed--as, to do him justice, he never did--to render
himself ridiculous. Now what is there in the fact that BULMER has
made a fortune in beer that should inflate him to so insufferable
an extent? Can it be that there is some mysterious property in the
liquid itself, some property which, having escaped even the careful
investigation of the analytical chemists, has pervaded the being
of BULMER, and has induced him to patronise the inhabited world? I
thought so once. Indeed I have lost myself in conjectures on this
point. But I now know that BULMER has fallen under your sway, and that
you, my dear POMPOSITY, direct his every movement, and inspire his
every thought. Now, the other night, when, as I say, I was dining at
his table, BULMER was in one of his most glorious and vain-glorious
moods. Patronage radiated from him upon my humble self and the rest
of the tribe of undoubted inferiors whom he permitted to bask in his
shining presence.

"My dear boy," said BULMER to me, while he inserted his thumbs in the
arm-openings of his waistcoats, and drummed an approving tattoo upon
his shining shirt-front, "my dear boy, I have always been your friend,
and nobody knows it better than you. Many a time have I proved it
to you, and I can honestly assure you that nothing gives me greater
pleasure than to welcome you in person to my humble home."

I thanked the great man deferentially, and assured him I was deeply
sensible of his many kindnesses. But after he had turned away, some
malicious spirit prompted me, in spite of myself, to reflect upon
the favours that BULMER has conferred upon me. Were they, after all,
so numerous and so great? Was I, on the whole, so poor a worm as he
imagined me to be? Had he in fact made me what I am? These ungrateful
thoughts chased one another through my perplexed brain, and I was
forced to acknowledge to myself that at the various crises of my
career the fairy form of BULMER had been absent. Yet BULMER is firmly
convinced that I owe any modest success I may have attained and all my
annual income to his beneficent efforts on my behalf. And the worst
of it is, that he has a kind of top-heavy and overwhelming good-nature
about him. He honestly means to be kind and genial where he only
succeeds in irritating his perverse acquaintances. Was BULMER
always thus? When he began on his small salary, did he patronise
the office-boy? When he had learnt to spell, did he devote his first
epistolary efforts to the pompous patronage of his parents? I fancy
I can hear him declaring to his tottering father that a man so
blessed in his son might well console himself for many a grievous
disappointment, and the old man I am sure meekly accepted his son's
assurance, and joined with his wife in thanking providence for
granting them so great a happiness. But BULMER has different fashions
of showing his superiority. I will do him the credit of saying that I
do not believe him to be a Snob. He does not prostrate himself before
the great, since he believes himself to be greater than they can ever
be. But he knows that ordinary human nature is apt to be impressed
by the appearance of intimate familiarity with persons of title. And
BULMER therefore uses the Peers of his circle as instruments wherewith
he may belabour the minds of his humbler friends.

"The Marquis of CHEDDAR," he will say, in a tone of grandeur, "did me
the honour to consult me about his furniture to-day, and I told him
what I thought. The fact is her Ladyship has no taste, and the Marquis
has less, but I arranged it all for them."

And I am certain that BULMER spoke the truth, but I am equally certain
that it was unnecessary for him to mention the subject at all. Yet
little KINKES, I know, went away persuaded that the aristocracy
trembled at BULMER's nod, and that to know him was a privilege.
Unfortunately BULMER, with all his good-nature, wearies me, I know
I am not worthy to tie his shoe-string, but I am disposed to imitate
MONTROND, who, when he was told that he cheated at cards, replied,
"_C'est possible, Monsieur, mais je n'aime pas qu'on me le dise_," and
flung his wine-glass in his accuser's face. Cease, my dear POMPOSITY,
to torment me by means of BULMER. I may address you again, but, in the
meantime,

    I remain, your humble Servant,
        DIOGENES ROBINSON.

       *       *       *       *       *

A ROYAL (OLYMPIC) DIVORCE.

(_A PAGE FROM FRENCH HISTORY BY MRS. MARKHAM, AFTER W.G. WILLS._)

[Illustration: Wills and Ways; or, a Hand at Nap.]

And so, when NAPOLEON had won Austerlitz, he thought he would marry
MARIE LOUISE, Archduchess of Austria, although, as you know, he was
already wedded to JOSEPHINE, his first wife. To effect this purpose,
he sent his Minister of State, TALLEYRAND, and two comic Marshals,
called MURAT and NEY, to see the EMPRESS and explain to her his
wishes; and this they did with so much effect that Her Majesty
consented, and fainted on the spot. Whether the swoon was real, or
in another sense a feint, is not known, because she was a mistress
of deception. For instance, although she was nearly a negress in
complexion, she managed, at the Palace of Fontainebleau, to appear in
a flaxen wig, and with all the appearance of a blonde beauty. Shortly
after the EMPEROR's marriage with his new wife, that lady called upon
her predecessor, and behaved in such a fashion that JOSEPHINE was
justified in calling her "vulgar." A little later, with the assistance
of a British Dramatist, called W.G. WILLS (who had already made some
alterations in the History of England for the benefit of CHARLES THE
FIRST and Mr. HENRY IRVING), she managed to protect the baby King of
Rome from a _ballet_ mob in the Gardens of the Tuileries, and also to
afford considerable assistance to her Austrian successor while that
"vulgar" person was crawling up some stone steps. Later still, she
contrived to have an affecting interview on the eve of the Battle of
Waterloo with NAPOLEON himself, although it has been reported in some
quarters that she had become defunct a year before the occurrence
of that important victory. It was on this occasion that the Hero of
Austerlitz gave a most valuable testimonial to the British Army, to
whom he referred as "bull-dogs who never knew when they were beaten,"
and soldiers with iron-like tenacity. JOSEPHINE subsequently died
of visions at Malmaison to the soothing sound of soft music kindly
supplied by a semi-concealed orchestra.

CONVERSATION ON A ROYAL (OLYMPIC) DIVORCE.

_Mrs. Markham_. And now, dear little FRANK, can you tell me why the
Battle of Waterloo was lost?

_Frank_. Because, dear Mamma, it was removed from its resting-place in
the Panorama close to Victoria Street.

_Mrs. Markham_. That is a most intelligent reply, but I do not think
you are quite right. I fancy the Battle must have been lost because,
out of the couple of dozen or so of French soldiers who took part in
the Victory in Wych Street, a considerable number had to be told off
to see that NAPOLEON's charger behaved himself.

[Illustration: Waterloo in Play; or, the Charge of a Charger.]

_George_. And yet, dear mother, after the performances, I myself saw
the noble steed trotting most good-naturedly in rear of a hansom cab.

_Mrs. Markham_. When you are all older, I will take you myself to
examine the Model of the celebrated Battle in the Royal United
Service Institution; in the meanwhile, you may rest satisfied with the
explanation I have afforded you.

_Mary_. But mother, dear, do you not think that NAPOLEON and his Army
may possibly have trembled at the red fire and the picture of carnage
on the painted canvas, that, on the occasion under discussion,
confronted them?

_Mrs. Markham_. It is not improbable; and now, CHARLES, can you tell
me anything about NAPOLEON?

_Charles_. Yes, dearest Mamma. He was strikingly like Mr. BOLTON the
excellent Member of Parliament, who represents so ably a portion of
St. Pancras, and had a curious and clever way of hugging his elbows
when his arms were crossed behind his back.

_Mrs. Markham_. That was indeed the case, and I am glad to see that
you have paid so much attention to historical accuracy. And you,
MARY, what do you know about the Ladies-in-waiting upon the Empress
JOSEPHINE?

_Mary_. That even in the direst straits they were fond of practical
joking. One of them, for instance, on the eve of the Battle of
Waterloo, finding a general's uniform, that for some unaccountable
reason was hanging up in an inn at Jenappes, assumed the costume, and,
thus disguised, had a great deal of fun with her husband, the Marshal
AUGEREAU, who was then on his way to the front, with the avowed
purpose of engaging the allied armies of England and Prussia in mortal
combat.

_Mrs. Markham_. And you, FRANK--what do you know of TALLEYRAND?

_Frank_. That there seemed to be some doubt about his proper title.
Some called him "Monseigneur," some "Monsieur," and some even "My
shoe" and "My sheer."

_Mrs. Markham_. Well, my dear children, you all seem to have been very
observant, and let me hope that if _A Royal Divorce_ does not exactly
add to the reputation of NAPOLEON, JOSEPHINE, Mr. WILLS, or MARIE
LOUISE, it may yet fill the coffers of Miss GRACE HAWTHORNE.

       *       *       *       *       *

NAVAL NOTE.--The Shibboleth of international courtesy in these days of
big Iron-clad Fleets should surely be, "May it please your Warships!"

       *       *       *       *       *

SONG OF THE SHAMPOOED ONE (AFTER TENNYSON),--"Sweet after showers
ambrosial (h)air!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CAUSE AND EFFECT.

"MY LITTLE BOY, SIR, DIED WHEN HE WAS ONLY TWO MONTHS OLD, JUST AFTER
HE HAD BEEN VACCINATED."

"HOW VERY SAD! HAD HE BEEN BAPTISED?"

"YES, SIR; BUT IT WAS THE _VACCINATION_ AS CARRIED HIM OFF, SIR!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MODERN "BED OF PROCRUSTES."

    [PROCRUSTES, or "the Stretcher," was the surname of one
    POLYPEMON, a Greek "gentleman of the road," whose amiable
    habit was to stretch or shorten the bodies of travellers who
    fell into his hands, so as to make them of the same length as
    a certain bed of his upon which it was his wont to tie them.]

  To shorten the long, and to lengthen the short,
  May have made the Greek robber-chief excellent sport;
  But the Stretcher's strange pallet-rack seems out of date
  In the land of the free, 'neath a well-ordered State.
  MENIPPUS told NIREUS,[1] that pet of the ladies,
  Equality perfect prevaileth in--Hades
  "Where all are alike." Said THERSITES, "for me
  That's enough," but _beau_ NIREUS could hardly agree
  With such levelling down to the churl who for shape
  In his strange second life chose the form of an ape.
  For THERSITES & Co., for the weakly and small,
  Who in free competition must go to the wall,
  The plan of PROCRUSTES has obvious charms:
  "Cut 'em down to _our_ standard, chop legs, shorten arms!
  Bring us all to one level in power and pay,
  By the rule of a legalised Eight Hours Day!"
  So shouts Labour's Lilliput--that is _its_ voice,
  And the modern PROCRUSTES thereat must rejoice.
  "No giants, no dwarfs!" So say BROWNING and BURT,
  But to "raise the whole race" can't be done in a spurt,
  And while Nature provides us with genius _and_ clown,
  There is nought to be gained by mere levelling down.
  So the plan of PROCRUSTES, my boys, will not work,
  Or will benefit none save the sluggard or shirk.
  Oh yes, the bold bully stands swaggering there
  With the axe in his hand, and his head in the air,
  Type of heedless Compulsion, the shallow of pate,
  Who man's freedom would sell to a fetish of State.
  Self-help and joint effort, as BURT wisely said,
  Are better by far than--that comfortless bed.
  That new Little-Ease that free Labour would pack,
  On a sort of plank-pillow combined with a rack.
  "Come on, longs and shorts!" shouts PROCRUSTES the New,
  "Law shall lend us its axe, and its rope, and its screw
  I must make you all fit to my Bed standard-sized!"
  Ah! Labour may well look a little surprised.
  "Fit us all to _that_ cramped prison-pallet! Oh lor!
  It may suit a few stumpies, but England holds more.
  Might as well fit us out with fixed 'duds' from our birth.
  Regardless of difference in growth, or in girth.
  No! Snap-votes may be caught 'midst a Congress's roar,
  But tool us all down to one gauge, mate? Oh lor!!!"

  New Unionist Titan and Stentor in one,
  To pose as PROCRUSTES may seem rather fun;
  When it comes to the pinch of experiment, then
  You may find that some millions of labouring men
  Of all sorts and sizes, all callings and crafts,
  The toilers by furnaces, factories, shafts,
  The thrall of the mine, and the swart stithy slave,
  The boys of the bench, and the sons of the wave,
  Are not quite so easy to "size up" all round
  To that comfortless bed where you'd have them all bound,
  As the travellers luckless who fell in the way
  Of the old Attic highwayman THESEUS did slay.
  Though your voice may sound loud and your thews look immense,
  _You_ may fall to the THESEUS--of Free Common Sense!
  As BURT says--and his eloquence moves but beguiles not--
  On short cuts to Millennium Providence smiles not!

[Footnote 1: LUCIAN's _Dialogues of the Dead_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

APPROPRIATE LOCATION.--"Yes," said a friend of the person they were
discussing, "he is a great traveller, and tells you some of the most
marvellous stories." "Where does he live?" was the question. And the
very natural answer was, "Oh, in some out-and-out-lying district."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE MODERN "BED OF PROCRUSTES."

PROCRUSTES. "NOW THEN, YOU FELLOWS; I MEAN TO FIT YOU ALL TO MY LITTLE
BED!"

CHORUS. "OH LOR-R!!"

["It is impossible to establish universal uniformity of hours without
inflicting very serious injury to workers."--_Motion at the recent
Trades' Congress._]]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE BITTER CRY OF THE OUTCAST CHOIR-BOY.

[Illustration]

  Break, break, break,
    O voice, on my old top C!
  And I would that my tongue could utter
    The thoughts that arise in me!

  O, well for the fishmonger's boy
    That he shrieks his two notes above A.!
  O, well for the tailor's son
    That he soars in the old, old way!

  And the twelve-year chaps go on
    Up the gamut steady and shrill;
  But, O, for the creak of a larynx cracked,
    And a glottis that won't keep still!

  Break, break, break,
    O voice, on my dear top C.
  But the swell solo parts of a boyhood fled
    They'll never give more to me!

       *       *       *       *       *

ANNALS OF A QUIET WATERING-PLACE

THAT HAS "SEEN ITS DAY."

This is the nineteenth day that I have had my face glued to the
window-pane watching for the promised "break" in the weather that is
to enable me to get a little of the benefit of the sea-air of this
place that my doctor assures me is "to do such wonders for me in
a week that I shall not know myself." What it might do for me if
I could only get hold of it, I can only guess, but the result of
the persistent rain has been slowly but surely to empty the Grand
Esplanade, the drawing and dining-room floors of which announce on
colossal cards that the whole twenty-four establishments are "to let,"
with the result that all the recreation that Torsington-on-Sea affords
has formed a sort of conspiracy to drive me mad with amusement.

The trombone of the town band steals a march on the rest, commencing
as early as eight o'clock in the morning with a very powerful
rendering of "_Il Balen_," who is succeeded in turn by the discarded
Christy Minstrel with the damaged concertina. Then comes a Professor
in black velvet spangled tights, who insists, spite my shaking my
head at him dolefully through the drizzling mist, in going through
a drawing-room entertainment for the amusement and edification of a
Telegraph-office Boy, who has apparently only one message to deliver,
and it is to be presumed finds time hang in consequence a little
heavily upon his hands. Spite my menacing and almost fierce refusal to
appear at my window, however, he has the hardihood to knock, and ask
for a "trifle." This, if I could only ensure that he would devote it
to the purchase of a place on the coach to Barminster, I would gladly
give him; but knowing that it will only enable him to make an early
breakfast of cold gin and bitters at the "Boar's Head and Anchor,"
I shake my fist at him, as much as to say, "I am feeble I admit,
and do not, I dare say, look as if there were much fight in me!
But, by Jove! there is such a thing as the law, even, I suppose, at
Torsington-on-Sea! You had best not tempt me too far, my fine fellow."

His reply to this is characteristic; at least, I think so. For within
twenty minutes the discarded Christy Minstrel, the Silvery-voiced
Tenor, some performing dogs, the whole of the Town Band, the Man with
the Bath-chair and general crowd of "loafers," assemble opposite my
dining-room windows, braving south-west wind (half a gale of it),
and a general downpour, leaden sky, and indications of "being in" for
"another day of it."

I feel quite convinced that the Professor in velvet tights has rapidly
whipped up the whole place with some such sentence as "No. 27 on the
Grand Esplanade. Give the Old Bloke there a taste. He wants waking up
a bit!"

I write to my Medical Adviser. One day is much like another here,
I cannot say I go forward very fast. I admit the weather has been
against me here; still, things might, I think, have been better.

Take this, for instance, as a typical day for an invalid. It is hardly
the sort of place to "pick up" in; at least, so it strikes me.

9 A.M.--Am disturbed after a windy night, which has threatened, to
blow the front of the house (one of the twenty-four commanding a fine
sea-view "both ways") off, and in my first and only turn of refreshing
sweet sleep, by the Silvery-voiced Tenor, who persists, spite
entreaties, requests, and finally threats, to move a little further
away, or curtail a singularly florid version of "_Fra Poco_" under
eighteen-pence. On, at length, threatening to send for the police
if he declines to desist, he meets the announcement with shouts of
derisive laughter, a fact which, Mrs. COBBLES, my landlady, is kind
enough to explain, indicates that "The Policeman," not retiring till
half-past one that morning, he will not be available, even for a
murder, before two o'clock in the afternoon. I compromise the matter,
therefore, by sending out sixpence to the Silvery-voiced Tenor,
begging Mrs. COBBLES to give as heartrending a description as possible
of my exhausted condition, which has the effect of wringing from the
MARIO of Torsington an expression of sympathy, and an intimation that
he will finish "_Fra Poco_" round the corner.

[Illustration]

But ill news travels apace, and within ten minutes the discarded
Christy Minstrel with the concertina that is somewhat out of order,
and the Town Band (reduced to three), as if by common consent,
together with the man in black velvet spangled tights, a short
walking-stick, wash-hand basin, and small square of carpet, draw up,
as if by magic, before Mrs. COBBLES' lodgings, and with the un-earning
increment of Torsington-on-Sea as audience, commence a simultaneous
_matinée_ for my special benefit at twenty-five minutes and a half to
ten.

Mrs. COBBLES' assurance that the poor gentleman has "not closed his
eyes all night" seems only to stimulate them to further effort. As
I feel that even twenty minutes of this recreation will certainly
drive me mad, I beg Mrs. COBBLES to send the boy who comes to clean
the boots and knives to disturb the One Policeman in his first sweet
slumber. If nothing else will stir him, he is to be. informed that No.
34 on the Esplanade is on fire, or if that fails, he may throw in 33
and 35 as well. In fact, he need not be particular as to facts, but
_return with the Policeman he must!_ There is a good-sized crowd
assembled on the Esplanade, but as I am attired in a scarlet flannel
dressing-gown, white nightcap, and am arguing the Act of Parliament
with the deserted Christy Minstrel with some warmth, it may account
for it.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE KING OF THE BEASTS.

_A ZOOLOGICAL ELEGY._

    [CHARLES JAMRACH, the celebrated naturalist and
    menagerie-keeper, of St. George's-in-the-East, died on
    September 6, at the age of 76.]

  The news on the town like a thunderbolt burst,
    _The_ loss of the Season 'tis reckoned;
  We mourned long ago for King JAMRACH THE FIRST,
    Now we weep for King JAMRACH THE SECOND.
  There's grief at the Zoo, all the Lions bohoo,
    And the Elephants dolefully trumpet;
  The Tiger's in tears, and the lonely Koodoo
    With sorrow's as cold as a crumpet.
  He was seventy-six; but to cross o'er the Styx
    At that age--for a JAMRACH--was premature;
  There are lots of young cubs who feel quite in a fix
    At the thought that he will not see _them_ mature.
  They howl with wide gorges to think that St. George's
    Will see him no more--ah! no, never!
  He will not preside at their shin-of-beef orgies,
    Or nurse them through phthisis or fever.
  The travelling menagerie must wait an age 'ere he--
    JAMRACH--will find any fellow.
  BARNUM, 'tis well you are gone we can tell you!
    Bison, old boy, do not bellow
  There quite so tremendously! Sad? Oh, stupendously!
    So is the Ornithorhynchus.
  But don't howl the roof off, your anguish in proof of,
    Or Regent's Park swells mad may think us.
  Yes, Marsupial Mole, we _are_ "left in the hole,"
    But still we must think of our dignity.
  Animal sorrow from bardlings must borrow
    The true elegiac benignity.
  That Japanese pug I could willingly hug,
    He yaps out his grief so discreetly,
  And dear Armadillo knows how to sing "Willow,"
    Like poor _Desdemona_, most sweetly.
  My dear _Felis Leo_, I do feel that we owe
    A debt to the urban proprieties.
  Don't shame yourself, Ursa, but quite _vice versa_,
    You know how impressive caste's quiet is!
  But, JAMRACH! O JAMRACH! Woe's stretched on no sham rack
    Of metre that mourns you sincerely;
  E'en that hard nut o' natur, the great Alligator,
    Has eyes that look red, and blink queerly.
  Mere "crocodile's tears," some may snigger; but jeers
    Must disgust at a moment so doleful.
  For JAMRACH the brave, who has gone to his grave,
    All our sorrow's sincere as 'tis soulful!

       *       *       *       *       *

TELLING THE WASPS.

(_WITH ACKNOWLEDGMENTS TO THE GREEK ANTHOLOGY AND MR. ANDREW LANG._)

  Cynics, and ye critics cold,
    When the wasps return with Spring,
  Tell them that THERSITES old
    Perished in his fault-hunting,
  Perished on an Autumn night.
  Now no more he 'll ban and blight
    In the "weeklies," as of yore;
  But the valley and the height
    Miss a biter and a bore!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MR. PUNCH HAS A LITTLE TOUR IN IRELAND.]

       *       *       *       *       *

SOME CIRCULAR NOTES.

CHAPTER V.

_POPPERIE--NOISE--QUIET--DESCENT--CERBERUS--PICTURE--CATACOMBS
SENSATIONAL--STALACTITE--SURMISES--DREADS--POPPY--WEIRD--DESERTION--LOST--TERRORS--CANDLE--OUT!_

Arrived! These are the works that POPPERIE & Co. built. On a height,
commanding fine panoramic view. Approach to the house and stores is
through a fresh-looking garden, everything neat and trim. Quite a
surprise to find oneself suddenly among hundreds of casks and cases.
Distant sound of carts and horses, of pulleys and cranks, of bringing
in and sending out; but this sound is only a gentle hum--a murmuring
accompaniment as it were; for, considering the amount of work that
involves a lot of noise throughout the day, except, perhaps, during
the feeding hours, the note of this place is its air of quiet
activity. There is, I remark, a curious flavour in the atmosphere,
that causes me to smack my lips, quite involuntarily, as if tasting
wine. Remember somebody telling me, that the mere wine-laden
atmosphere of the London Docks is quite enough to make anyone feel
the worse for liquor, even though you do not touch a single drop in
the vaults. We have not yet reached the vaults, but somehow there's
something peculiarly exhilarating in the knowledge that we are in the
outer court of one of King Champagne's many palaces. _Mem._ Grand idea
for a scene in a Drury Lane Pantomime. Visit to Palace of POPPIN THE
FIRST, king of the Champagne country. Register copyright and suggest
it to Sir DRURY O'LANUS.

[Illustration]

DAUBINET has his hat in his hand and his overcoat over his arm.
With his handkerchief he is mopping his fevered brow. "_Piff!_" he
exclaims, "_qu'il fait chaud!_ No? You don't find it? I do. _Caramba!
O Champagnski! da Karascho! O Maman!_ Come on! Here is our leader, _le
bon_ VESQUIER! _Allons! Marchons!_ Long to reign over us!"--then as we
move forward, DAUBINET again bursts into song, as usual more or less
out of tune. This time he favours us with snatches of "_God save the
Queen!_" and finally, as we enter a huge tunnel, and, as I judge from
the steep incline, are commencing our descent into the cave, I hear
his voice behind me singing "We're leaving thee in sorrow, ANNIE!"

Darker and darker as we descend through this tunnel. Orpheus going to
find Eurydice. No Cerberus about, thank goodness. Wonder if any rats
or blackbeetles? By the way, Cerberus would have been a nasty one for
rats. Cerberus, with three to one on him ("Heads I win--tails you rats
lose"), doing a match against time in killing rats, is a fine subject
for a weird classical picture yet to be painted. What R.A. could
grapple with so tremendous a composition? On returning to "carp the
upper air," must mention the subject to Sir FREDERICK the Great.
Cerberus would be a nasty one for rats to tackle. My ideas of anything
alive underground are generally associated with suchlike warmint.
At last--out of the tunnel! and now, I presume, in the caves. Here
someone, gradually assuming a palpable form, emerges from somewhere
out of a dark corner, and hands to each of us a long piece of wood
about the length of a harlequin's bat (_note_, pantomime again), only
that this is an inch or so thick and quite two inches wide at one end,
where presently a candle is fixed by an attendant sprite,--the slave
of the tallow candle,--and the wand, so to speak, tapers off towards
the handle. _À propos_ of "tapers off"--the question occurs to me,
later on, as we pass through labyrinths of dark passages, where should
I be in the case of "taper off"? Beautiful title for sensational
story--"Lost in the Catacombs."

Our trusty guide, M. VESQUIER, is well ahead, and DAUBINET follows
closely at my heels. Thus we proceed, and if this order is preserved
throughout, I feel that the sensational romance above mentioned will
not be written, at least not on this occasion. We are in stalactite
caverns; I expect a subterranean lake,--of still champagne of
course,--and a boat; strange silver foil and gold foil fish ought to
be swimming about, and the name of the subterranean lake should be
Loch Foil, Loch Gold or Silver Foil, according to the material. No,
nothing of the sort. It is all quite dry; uncommonly dry; atmosphere
dry; ground dry; and, gradually, throats dry. Probably, champagne also
dry. But remembering what I have heard of someone else's experience of
Dock-visiting, which I presume is similar to cave-visiting, I do not
mention my sudden drought. I feel that, while down here, if I took
one glass of champagne, my head first, and then my legs, might become
unsteady, whereupon nothing would be more likely than for me to take
the wrong turning and lose my companions; if I did, what are the
chances against my ever finding them again? Or if my legs failed me
and I disappeared between the casks, who would think of looking for
me there? Then, years afterwards, in some specially and unaccountably
good vintage year, when there would be a run upon these particular
casks, my mouldering skeleton would be found, among the sawdust,
between the barrels, and some purveyor of ballads would write a
song whereof the burden would not be unlike that of the once popular
"_Mistletoe Bough_." As I follow my leader through the vaults all this
occurs to me, as does also the appropriately melancholy refrain of
another old song or "catch," "Down among the dead men let him lie!"

We are under the central dome of this Stalactite Champagne Cathedral
dedicated to the worship of Bacchus. [_Happy Thought_.--The Champagne
country is the true "Poppy Land." I present this with my compliments
to Mr. CLEMENT SCOTT, whose pleasant articles in the _Daily Telegraph_
on "Poppy Land" are, and will be, for some time to come, so deservedly
poppylar on the North coast of Norfolk. When driving round and
about Cromer, our flyman pointed out "Poppy Land" to me. _Happy
Thought_.--In future let this be known as "Caledonia Up to Date, or
the New Scott-land."] A strange light descends from somewhere above,
producing a blueish atmospheric effect. Weird, very. We are now in
the Wine Demon's Cave. More pantomimic effects: big demons and little
demons at work everywhere: champagne demons with strange faces,--I
should say "fizzes,"--moving about noiselessly: the only sound is
that of the occasional irrepressible effervescence of youth, or a
pop from a recalcitrant cork in a distant cell, and, in a mysterious
all-pervading way, an accompaniment of hammering. The lights and awful
shadows of the scene recall to my mind CRUIKSHANK's grim illustrations
to AINSWORTH's _Tower of London_. If these wild figures under this
Central Stalactited Dome, these fearsome Troglodytes, were suddenly to
join hands and dance round us, keeping a "Witches' Sabbath," I should
not feel surprised. I might be considerably alarmed; but surprised,
no. It would be in keeping with the scene. Only where's the music?
Surely a Special Champagne Dance ought to be supplied by the orchestra
of "The Monday Pops."

Here DAUBINET, being tired, sits. He has seen it all before. "He knows
his way," explains M. VESQUIER, "and we shall meet him again above."
This sounds funereal, but, as an expression of Christian sentiment,
hopeful.

DAUBINET, mopping his forehead, mutters something, in Russian I
believe, which sounds like "_Preama! Pascarry! da padadidi_," which
he is perhaps rendering into English when he says, "Go straight on! Be
quick! All r-r-r-right!"

Suddenly finding myself the only follower of our guide, I begin to
realise to its full extent the loss of one who, up to now, has been my
companion. I realise this one fact among others, but quite sufficient
of itself, namely, that if I once lose sight of M. VESQUIER in this
maze of caverns down in the depths below, I shall have the utmost
difficulty in ever coming up to the surface again. Now we are walking
on a line of rails. All at once I lose sight of M. VESQUIER. He must
have turned off to the right or left--_which?_--and I shall see his
light in the distance when I reach the opening into the right, or
left, passage.... What's that? A shriek? a howl? a flash!--"_Hé là
bas_!" and at a rapid pace out of the blackest darkness emerge two
wine-demons on a trolly. I have just time to reduce myself to the
smallest possible compass against the barrels, when the wine-demons
brandishing a small torch-light have whizzed past,--"Ho! Ho!"--goblin
laughter in the distance, as heard in _Rip Van Winkle_, and described
in _Gabriel Grub_--"Ho! Ho!"--and before I have recovered myself, they
have vanished into outer and blacker darkness, and all around me the
gloom is gloomier than ever.

[Illustration]

"_Hé!_ Monsieur VESQUIER!" I shout. I have taken a wrong turning;
that is, I have taken some turning or other to the right, and there
is no sign of my guide. My fears have come true. My forebodings
are realised. I stumble on--over the tram-way lines--against the
casks--"_Hé, là bas! Hé!_ M. VESQUIER!!"--O dear!--"_Home Sweet
Home!_" What was that negro melody that now recurs to me as a sort of
singing in my ears--"Home once more! Home once more! Shall I _ever_
see my home once more!!"--A shout in the distance--or is it an
echo--no! Is it VESQUIER! I shout in return--then in the far distance
I descry a light ... it grows bigger ... a shriek ... a wild waving
of a blazing garish torch, and again I have to compress myself against
the barrels as another trolly whizzes past at full speed, carrying two
cheerful-looking, and except for that one shout, silent demons. "Hey
trolly lolly!" I cannot stay there--they have gone like a flash--and
the obscurity is becoming oppressive.... Shall I retrace my steps?
It isn't a question of "shall I,"--it is "_can I"?_ Through how many
turnings have we come? No--I should never find my way back again.
Better push on. I shout again: desperately but nervously. There is
not even an echo. And now my candle, which has been guttering and
sputtering for the last few moments, is threatening dissolution. It
is the beginning of the end--of the candle-end. If the candle goes out
before I do--Heavens! but I must move very cautiously. What a subject
for a Jules-Verne novel! _Ah, how I should enjoy reading about it in
a story!!_ But as a personal experience ... Where am I? Is it straight
on? or to the left?--I think there is a left passage--or to the right?
I peer down in the hopes of seeing some evidence of life, at all
events the glimmer of a light, which may probably mean my guide.
No; not a sign. Are there rats here? If so.... the candle-end is
sputtering worse than ever ... it is flickering ... What's to be
done?... I shout "Hullo!" at the top of my voice. Yes, at the top of
my voice, but at the bottom of the caves. Then the question occurs to
me, of what use is it to shout in English? No one will understand me.
The candle-end is making a final struggle for life. So must I. "_He',
là bas!_" I shout "with all my might and main," like the celebrity
of the old nursery tale, who jumped into a quickset hedge as an
infallible remedy for blindness. No result. I think of the man in
the dungeon who was eaten by rats. Well-known case, but quite forget
the gentleman's name. Political prisoner probably whose offence had
been "ratting"--and so his punishment was made "to fit the crime,"
as Mr. GILBERT's _Mikado_ used to observe. Why do such grimly comic
reminiscences occur to me now, when I am in so really awful a
situation? So, once more I shout with desperation in my lungs, "_Hé!
là--! bas!_"

And--oh, the joy--oh, the rapture!--there comes back to me--"_Hé, là
bas!_ Blass the Prince of WAILES!"

It is DAUBINET. He advances from somewhere, from an opening, the
existence of which I had never suspected.

"Here! This way! _Par ici, mon ami; par ici!_"

And in another minute I am with him--I am out--_and so is the
candle-end_. Ah! I breathe again!

"The first time, I believe, that you have ever seen these caves,"
observes M. VESQUIER, quietly, "which, one way and another, represent
several miles of walking." Then looking at his watch, he adds, "It is
time for breakfast. You must be hungry."

I am. Hungry, but oh! so grateful! If it weren't so expensive, I
should give a Champagne-window to the Reims Cathedral, _in piam
memoriam_ of my fortunate escape. A _real pane_ (not coloured paper
pretence) in a window would be an appropriate memorial. Or, at all
events, I might give one small "light," which, as recalling that
little guttering, sputtering, candle, would be still more appropriate.

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

The Baron's Assistant Reader reports again:--I have just read _The
Book-bills of Narcissus, An Account rendered by_ RICHARD LE GALLIENNE.
(FRANZ MURRAY; Derby. Leicester and Nottingham.) It doesn't make
any difference to me whether this dainty little book was actually
published at Derby or at Leicester or even at Nottingham, noted of
old for lambs. It makes right pleasant reading, and that is the
chief point. The Narcissus, about whose life (except in the matter of
book-bills, by the way) we here learn a good deal, must have been an
agreeable companion--for those who allowed the lad to have his own
way, and always kept a spare £10 note handy for the humouring of
his little caprices. His wayward moods, his innocent love affairs,
his wanderings, his reading, his culminating grand passion, Mr. LE
GALLIENNE renders his account of them all, and does it in a fresh and
breezy style which suits his pleasant subject admirably. There is a
special charm too about the graceful lyrics which sparkle here and
there in the pretty little volume. In fact Mr. LE GALLIENNE is an
artist. I don't say a _genuine_ artist, because he justly dislikes the
qualification.

[Illustration]

OSCAR WILDE has desisted for a space from mere paradox, and gives
us (am I late in thus noticing it?) _Lord Arthur Savile's Crime.
and other Stories_. (London, J.R. OSGOOD, MCILWAINE & Co.) _Macte
virtute_, say I; the tag is old, but 'twill serve. If you want to
laugh heartily, read _Lord Arthur Savile's Crime_, the story of a
deeply conscientious man to whom murder very properly presents itself
as a duty. Then, if you wish to laugh even more violently, read _The
Canterville Ghost_, in which OSCAR goes two or three better than Mr.
W.S. GILBERT. I am specially thankful to OSCAR. When he is on humour
bent, he doesn't dig me in the ribs and ask me to notice what a
wonderfully funny dog he is going to be. He lets his fun take care
of itself, a permission which it uses with great discretion. Please,
OSCAR, give us some more of the same sort, and pray introduce me once
more later on to the _Duchess of Cheshire_. If she continues to be as
delightful as she was in her sweet girlhood, I envy his Grace.

The Baron is taking it easy. He has still by his side as his constant
travelling companion, GEORGE MEREDITH's _One of Our Conquerors_, which
has travelled to Switzerland with him, and was only left behind at
the inn when the Baron had to go by a new route up a lofty mountain.
To make this path known the Baron's assent was necessary, and he gave
it. He had time, however, to read one shilling thrilling story. The
Shilling Thrilling is by two authors, WALTER POLLOCK and ALEXANDER
GALT, and is called _Between the Lines_. A happy title, as it enables
the Baron to recommend everyone to _read between the lines_. A clever
sensation story for which the Baron, now far away in his sea-girt
home, thanks the two clever boys who wrote it. No more at present from

THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS & Co.

_Peak Castle, Eagle's Nest, N.E.W._

       *       *       *       *       *

VOX ET PRÆTEREA NIHIL!

    "Philosophy is essentially the Voice of the Silence."--_A
    Disciple of the Mahatmas._

  Voice of the Silence? Brotherhood prodigious,
    A babble-ridden age might well rejoice
  Could you but give instead of talk litigious,
    The Silence of the Voice.

       *       *       *       *       *

"REAL MEAN."--The English Churchman, who, on returning from
abroad, puts all his surplusage of Swiss silver--ten and twenty
centime-pieces--into the offertory bag or plate.

       *       *       *       *       *

SHAKSPEARE (ADAPTED) AT THE TRADES UNION CONGRESS.--"We must Vote by
the Card, or Equality will be our undoing."

       *       *       *       *       *

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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