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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 103, December 24, 1892
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 103, December 24, 1892" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


  VOL. 103.

  DECEMBER 24, 1892.




       *       *       *       *       *



And they made merry in the good old fashion. The pictures on the walls
were covered with holly and mistletoe. They had come from British woods.
Then the tables groaned with Christmas cheer. The baron of beef was
flanked with plum-pudding and mince-pies. There never was a more jovial
crew. The compliments of the season were passed round, and the Christmas
Waits, singing their Christmas carols, were entertained right royally.
For was it not a time of peace and good will? Then there was a mighty
laugh. A huge joke had been perpetrated. Grandfather had been asleep,
and he was telling the youngsters, who had been playing a round game,
the character of his dream.

"I give you my word it is true," said the old man. "Yes, I actually
forgot it was Christmas!"

"But it was only in your dreams, Grandpapa," urged one of his

"Yes, but that was bad enough," cried the old man in a tone of
self-reproach, "fancy forgetting Christmas--even in one's dreams!
Everything seems changing nowadays!"

But the Grandfather was wrong--the Christmas bills were unchangeable.
And ever will be!


And certainly it was dull enough in all conscience. Nowadays everything
is dull. Although it was towards the end of December, the room was
decorated with summer flowers. They had come from Algeria. Then the
side-table was spread with a _recherché_ repast, for they were all going
to dine _à la Russe_. But the guests were sad and thoroughly bored. They
had sent a policeman after the itinerant street-musicians, with the
desired result. Inside and outside silence reigned triumphant. Was it
not a time for "moving on" and threatening "six weeks without the option
of a fine"?

Then there was a deep groan. A young man--somebody's Grandson--suggested
a round game. At first the suggestion was received with derision.

"You can't get up a Missing Word Competition," said one. "No, my
Grandson, you can't."

"Can't I?" said the youngster, who had been called 'Grandson.' "Can't I?
Look here, I will write out a Word, and I will bet you none of you will
guess it."

And "Grandson" wrote out a Word on a piece of paper, and sealed it in a
packet. Then he called out the sentence, "The present season of the year
is known as----"

Then they all tried to guess it. Some one said "unfavourable," another
"pleasant," a third "dreary," and a fourth "troublesome."

But they all were wrong.

At last the sealed-up packet was produced, and opened. For the first
time there was a smile when the Word was known.

"Who would have thought of it?" was the cry.

The word chosen was "Christmas."

"Fancy anyone remembering Christmas! Even for a Missing Word
Competition! Everything seems changing nowadays!"

But the Grandson was wrong--his Christmas bills were unchangeable. And
ever will be!

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Since these competitions were started, the public had been educated
    in artistic matters, and their judgment was almost equal to that of
    the members of the Royal Academy."--_Mr. Poland's Speech in the
    "Missing Word" case._

  Mr. Poland said, at Bow Street,
    Choosing pictures thus imparts
  Judgment good as that of those treat-
    Ed as foremost in the arts.

  Hitherto each paid his shilling
    At the House of Burling_ton_,
  Gazed at pictures, feeble, thrilling,
    Bad or good, and wandered on--

  Stared with awe-struck admiration
    At "the Picture of the Year,"
  Gained artistic education
    In a stuffy atmosphere.

  Then all changed; he paid his shilling
    And he sent his coupon in
  To a weekly paper, willing
    To discriminate the tin;

  And be wisely praised or blamed, yet
    He knew nothing of design,
  The BRIDGE of Bow Street claimed yet
    One more shilling as a fine.

  Oh, rejoice, Academicians!
    Learned BRIDGE knew what to do;
  Artisans or mechanicians
    Might have grown as wise as you.

  Which would sadden any just man,
    And might make an angel weep--
  DICKSEE distanced by a dustman,
    STOREY staggered by a sweep!

  BOUGHTON beaten by a baker,
    Housemaids humbling helpless HOOK;
  STONE surpassed by sausage-maker,
    COOPER conquered by a cook!

  CROWE or CROFTS crushed by a cow-boy,
    MILLAIS made by milkmen mad,
  PETTIE plucked by any ploughboy,
    LEIGHTON licked by butcher's lad!

  It effected all you care for,
    But Sir JOHN has pulled you through;
  Bold Bow-Street's Beak is, therefore,
    No Bridge of Sighs for you

       *       *       *       *       *

"A NOTE ON THE APPRECIATION OF GOLD."--Send a five-pound note (verified
by the Bank of England) to our office, and we will undertake to get it
changed _immediately_, and thereupon to hand over to the Bearer, in
exchange for the note, _two golden sovereigns, and one golden
half-sovereign, ready cash_. This will show what is _our_ appreciation
of gold.

       *       *       *       *       *


"I confess it does seem to me that certain decisions made by a competent
tribunal hare rendered it extremely doubtful whether there is a single
one of the 670 gentlemen who now compose the House of Commons, who might
not find himself, by some accident, unseated, if a full investigation
were made into everything that had taken place in his constituency, say,
during the ten years preceding his candidature."--_Mr. Balfour at

_M.P. (of any Party you please), loquitur:--_

  PHEW! It's all very fine, when you gather to dine,
    And to blow off the steam, while you blow off your 'bacca,
  (As the farmers of Aylesbury did, when their wine
    Was sweetened with "news from the Straits of Malacca");
  But things are much changed since the voters of Bucks
    Flushed red with loud fun at the phrases of DIZZY,
  And M.P.'s are dreadfully down on their lucks,
    Since BALFOUR'S confounded "tribunals" got busy.

  What precious stiff posers to loyal Primrosers
    Are offered by Rochester, Walsall, and Hexham!
  Platform perorators, post-prandial glosers,
    Must find many points to perplex 'em and vex 'em.
  It bothers a spouter who freely would flourish
    Coat-tails and mixed tropes at political dinners,
  When doubts of his safety he's driven to nourish,
    Through publicans rash and (electoral) sinners.

  Good lack, and good gracious! One may be veracious,
    And look with disgust upon bribes and forced bias,
  Yet owing to "Agents" more hot than sagacious,
    _Appear_ as _Autolycus-cum_-ANANIAS.
  One might just as soon be a Man-in-the-Moon,
    Or hark back at once to the style of Old Sarum.
  That Act (Corrupt Practices) may be a boon.
    But the way they apply it seems most harum-scarum.

  Should a would-be M.P. ask old ladies to tea,
    Or invite male supporters to crumpets or cricket;
  Should a snug Party Club prove a trifle too free,
    Or give an equivocal "treat," or hat-ticket;
  A seven years' nursing of Slopville-on-Slime,
    A well-fought Election and Glorious Victory
  (Crowed o'er by proud Party prints at the time)
    May--lose you your Seat. It does seem contradictory.

  Of course, my good friends, one would not say a word,
    Against England's glory--Electoral Purity!
  Suspect _me_ of slighting that boon? Too absurd!
    But what good's a Seat without _some_ small security.
  To fight tooth and nail, land a win, and then fail
    Along of dishon--I mean o'er-zealous "Agents"--
  Well, well, I don't wish at our Judges to rail,
    But--putting it plainly--I fear it won't pay, gents.

  'Tis hard to attend a political feast,
    And strut like a peacock, and crow like a bantam,
  Yet feel at one's back, like a blast from the east,
    A be-robed and be-wigged and blood-curdling law phantom.
  Stentorian cheers, and uproarious hear-hears,
    Though welcome, won't banish the sense of "wet-blanket"
  (That's INGOLDSBY'S rhyme), when Petition-bred fears
    Conjure up a grim Skeleton (Judge) at the Banquet!

       *       *       *       *       *


_Uncle John_ (_losing his money and his temper_). "NOW, JANE, DO ME A

_Aunt Jane_ (_whose best Cards her Partner has invariably
_THEY_'RE NO BEAUTIES!" [_After this, there's a prospect of a very
pleasant evening._]

       *       *       *       *       *


  SHORT verse
    We need,
  Most terse
  That it--
    This lay--
  May fit
    This day.
  Short sight
    Of sun.
  Long night,
  At four,
  Once more
    At nine.
  A. M.
    Meets eyes
  Of them
    Who rise
  If no
    Fog hide--
  Then woe
  The day
    That ought
  To stay
    So short
  A space
    Can't show
  Its face
  But when
    It goes,
  Why then
    One knows
  New Year
    Will soon
  Be here--
    Then June,
  So bright!
    So sweet!
  So light!
    We'll greet
  The day
    That's long
  With gay,
    Glad song--

  Excessively long-footed verse will undoubtedly characterise what
           we say,
  For LONGFELLOW'S longest lines skip along when we've long longed
           for the Longest Day.

             (_Signed_) TOUCHSTONE.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


  To various opinions the quidnuncs give voice,
  But the best "choice of books" means--the books of your choice.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_A Domestic Drama of the Day before Yesterday._)

SCENE.--_The Breakfast Room at Linoleum Lodge, the suburban residence
of_ SAMUEL STODGEFORD, Esq. Mr. _and_ Mrs. STODGEFORD, _their son_
PARMENAS, _and daughters_ POMPILIA _and_ PRISCILLA, _discovered at

_Mr. Stodgeford._ We shall probably get it by the second post, and
though the delay is--ah--to some extent, annoying, we must not allow
ourselves to be unduly impatient. Personally, I regard these--ah--weekly
competitions as chiefly valuable in providing an innocent form of
domestic recreation, and an interesting example of the--ah--value of

_Parmenas S._ The value of _one_ word, I should say, Father. Last week,
as there were very few who guessed right, it amounted to a considerable

_Mr. S._ That is a stimulant to ingenuity, no doubt, with some minds,
but let us put that aside. We feel some natural curiosity to know
whether we have selected the missing adjective, and I see no reason
myself to doubt that our united efforts will this time be crowned with

_Pompilia._ It is almost impossible that it won't be _one_ of the two
hundred and fifty we sent in.

_Parmenas._ I drew up a list of synonyms which, I flatter myself, was
practically exhaustive.

_Priscilla._ I dreamt I heard a voice saying quite clearly in my ear,
"Nonsensical! nonsensical!"--like that--so I sent it in the first thing
next morning.

_Mr. S._ These--ah--supernatural monitions are not vouchsafed to us
without a purpose. It _may_ be "nonsensical."

_Mrs. S._ The only two words _I_ could think of were, "absurd" and
"idiotic," and I'm afraid they haven't much chance.

_Mr. S._ I wouldn't say that, SOPHRONIA. It is not always the most
appropriate epithet that--let me run over the paragraph again--where is
last week's paper? Ah, I have it. (_He procures it and reads with
unction._) "The lark, as has been frequently observed by the poets, is
in the habit of ascending to high altitudes in the exercise of his vocal
functions. Scientific meteorologists, it is true, do not consider that
there is any immediate danger of a descent of the sky, but many
bird-catchers of experience are of opinion that, should such a
contingency happen, the number of these feathered songsters included in
the catastrophe would, in all probability, be simply----" It might be
"idiotic," of course, but I fancy "incalculable," or "appalling" would
be nearer the mark.

_Parmenas._ Too obvious, _I_ should say. If you had adopted a few more
of the words I got from _Roget's Thesaurus_, we should have been safer.
Sending in a word like "disgusting" was sheer waste of one-and-twopence!
And as for POMPILIA, with her synonyms to "sensational," and PRISCILLA,
with her rubbishy superstition, depend upon it, _they_'re no good!

_Pompilia._ You think you know so much, because you've been to London
University--but _we've_ been to a High School; so we're not absolute
_idiots_. PARMENAS!

_Priscilla._ And I'm sure people have dreamt which horse was going to
win a race over and over again!

_Mr. S._ Come, come, let us have none of these unseemly disputes! And,
when you compare a literary competition with--ah--a mere gambling
transaction, PRISCILLA, you do a grave injustice to us all. You forget
that we have, all of us, worked hard for success; we have given our
whole thoughts and time to the subject. I have stayed at home from the
office day after day. Your mother has had no leisure for the cares of
the household; your brother has suspended his studies for his
approaching examination, and your elder sister her labours at the East
End--on purpose to devote our combined intelligence to the subject. And
are we to be told that we are no better than the brainless multitude who
speculate on horse-racing! I am not _angry_, my child, I am
only--(_Enter_ ROBERT, _the_ Page, _with a paper in a postal wrapper.)
Tiddler's Miscellany_--ha, at last! Why didn't you bring it up before,
Sir? You must have known it was important!

_Robert._ Please, Sir, it's on'y just come, Sir.

_Mr. S. (snatching the paper from him, and tearing it open; the other
members of the family crowd round excitedly)._ Now we shall see! Where's
the place? Confound the thing! Why can't they print the result in
a----(_His face falls._) What are you waiting for, Sir? Leave the room!

[_To_ ROBERT, _who has lingered about the sideboard._

_Robert._ Beg pardon, Sir, but would you mind reading out the
Word--'cause I'm----

_The Family._ Read the Word, Papa, do!

_Mr. S. (keeping the Journal)._ All in good time. (_Addressing_ ROBERT.)
Am I to understand, Sir, that you have actually had the presumption to
engage in this competition?--an uneducated young rascal like you!

_Robert._ I didn't mean no harm, Sir, I sent in nothink--it was on'y a
lark, Sir!

_The Family (dancing with suspense)._ Oh, never mind ROBERT now,
Father--do read out the Word!

_Mr. S. (ignoring their anxiety)._ If you sent in nothing, Sir, so much
the better. But, in case you should be tempted to such a piece of
infatuation in future, let me tell you this by way of--ah--warning. I
and my family, have, with every advantage that superior education and
abilities can bestow, sent in, after prolonged and careful deliberation,
no less than two hundred and fifty separate solutions, and not a single
one of these solutions, Sir, proves to be the correct one!

_The Family (collapsing on the nearest chairs)._ Oh, it can't be
true--one of them _must_ be right!

_Mr. S._ Unfortunately, they are not. I will read you the sentence as
completed. _(Reads.)_ "Should such a contingency happen, the number of
these feathered songsters included in the catastrophe would, in all
probability, be simply--ah--_nought_!" Now I venture to assert that
nothing short of--ah--absolute genius could possibly----(_To_ ROBERT.)
What do you mean by interrupting me, Sir?

_Robert._ Please, Sir, _I_ said nothink, Sir!

_Pompilia._ Oh, what _does_ it matter? Give me the paper, Papa. _(She
snatches it.)_ Oh, listen to this:--"The number of solutions sent in was
five hundred thousand, which means that twenty-five thousand pounds
remain for division. The only competitor who gave the correct solution
was Mr. ROBERT CONKLING, of Linoleum Lodge, Camberwell...." _Oh!_ Why,
that's _you_, ROBERT!

_Robert._ Yes, Miss, I told you I said "Nothink," Miss. I'm sure if I'd

_Mr. S. (gasping)._ Twenty-five thousand pounds! Ah, ROBERT, I trust you
will not forget that this piece of--ah--unmerited good fortune was
acquired by you under this humble roof. Shake hands, my boy!

_Pompilia._ Wait, Papa--don't shake hands till I've
done--_(continuing)--_"Mr. CONKLING, however, having elected to
disregard our conditions, requiring the solution to be written out in
full, and to express the word "Nought" by a cipher, we cannot consider
him legally entitled to the prize----"

_Mr. S._ How dare you use my private address for your illiterate
attempts, Sir?

_Prisc. (seizing the paper)._ Why don't you read it all?----"We are
prepared, nevertheless, to waive this informality, and a cheque for the
full amount of twenty-five thousand pounds, payable to his order, will
be forwarded to Mr. CONKLING accordingly----"

_Mr. S._ Well, ROBERT, you deserve it, I must say--shake
hands!--I--ah--_mean_ it.

_Robert._ Thankee, Sir, I'm sure--it was Cook and JANE 'elped me, Sir,
but--(_dolefully_)--I sold my chanst to the butcher-boy, for tuppence
and a mouth-orgin, Sir.

[Illustration: "I sold my Chanst to the Butcher-boy!"]

_Mr. S._ You unspeakable young idiot! But there, you will know better
another time; and now go out at once, and order five hundred copies of
_Tiddler_--a periodical which offers such intellectual
and--ah--substantial advantages, deserves some encouragement. (_Exit_
ROBERT.) Now Mother, PARMENAS, girls--all of you, let us set to work,
and see--just for the--ah--fun of the thing--if we can't be more
fortunate with the _next_ competition. We'll have Cook and JANE,
and--ah--ROBERT in to help; the housework can look after itself for once
... what is it _now_, PRISCILLA?

_Prisc. (faintly)._ I've just seen this. (_Reads._) "In consequence of
the recent decision at Bow Street, those who send solutions for this,
and any future competitions, will not be required to forward any
remittance with their coupons----"

_Mr. S._ (_approvingly_). An admirable arrangement--puts a stop at once
to any pernicious tendency to--ah--speculation!

_Prisc._ (_continuing_)--"and successful competitors must, we fear, be
content with no other reward than that of honourable mention."

_Mr. S._ Here, send after ROBERT, somebody! It's scandalous that the
precious time of a whole family should be frittered away in these
unedifying and--ah--idiotic competitions. I will not allow another
_Tiddler_ to enter my house!

_Robert_ (_entering with his arms full of "Tiddlers"_). Please, Sir, I
brought a 'undred, Sir, and they'll send up the rest as soon as ever
they----Oh Lor, Sir, I on'y done as I was told, Sir!

[_He is pounced upon, severely cuffed by a righteously indignant family,
and sent flying in a whirlwind of tattered "Tiddlers," as the Scene

       *       *       *       *       *




  Ah! welcome, through autumnal mist,
  For each returning ruralist,
  Waif metropolitan, to list
              Thy tinkle unto.

  No sound of seas or bees or trees
  Can Londoners so truly please--
  The cheapest epicure with ease
              Thy dainties run to.

  They need not, like the fruits on sticks,
  The fruits Venetian boyhood licks,
  A voice with operatic tricks
              Their praise to trumpet.

  The simple bell shall, fraught with sense
  Of teapot, urn, and hearth intense.
  Best herald thee and thy commensurable

  Lives there a cit with soul so dead
  Who never to himself hath said,
  "This is my crisp, my native-bred,
              My British muffin!"?

  Let picturesque Autolyci
  Their cloying foreign dainties cry;
  _I_ don't see much to buy, not I,
              Such messy stuff in!

  Mysterious vagrant, dost prepare
  Thyself that inexpensive fare;
  Thyself, partake of it--and _where?_--
              The boon thou sellest?

  'Tis Home, where'er it be; thy load
  Can cheer the pauper's dark abode,
  And lack of it, with gloom corrode
              The very swellest.

  There are who deem it vulgar fun
  For dressy bachelors to run
  Themselves to stop thee; I'm not one
              So nicely silly:

  _I_'m not ashamed to track thy way,
  And test the triumphs of thy tray,
  And bring them back in paper, say,
              To Piccadilly.

  Yes, heedless of a gibing town,
  To hand them PHYLLIS, sit me down,
  And wait, till they come up in brown
              And glossy sections.

  Then, brew my cup--the best Ceylon--
  And, bidding care and chill begone,
  Concentre heart and mouth upon
              Thy warm perfections.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [It remains true that for those who want a brief and exhilarating
    change, and are glad to reap for the nonce the harvest of a quiet
    eye, there are spots within the borders of England which, both in
    climate and in scenery, can vie with the proudest and most vaunted
    watering-places of the Sunny South."--_Daily Paper._]

_Damon on the Riviera, to Pythias at Torquay._--"Here I am, by the blue
Mediterranean! At least, the attendant of the sleeping-car says the
Mediterranean is somewhere about, only, as a violent rain-storm is going
on, we can't see it. Very tired by journey. Feel that, after all, you
were probably right in deciding to try the coast of Devonshire this
winter, instead of Riviera."

_Pythias at Torquay, to Damon at Nice._--"Coast of Devonshire
delightful, so far. Pleasant run down from London by G. W. R.--only five
hours. Thought of and pitied your crossing to Calais, and long
night-and-day journey after. You should just see our geraniums and
fuchsias, growing out-of-doors in winter! Mind and tell me in your next
how the olives and orange-trees look."

_Damon to Pythias._--"Olives all diseased--have not seen an orange-tree
yet--there is my reply to the query in your last. Hitherto I have not
had much opportunity of seeing anything, as the mistral has been
blowing, and it has been rather colder than England in March. Wretched
cold in my head. No decent fires--only pine-cones and logs to burn,
instead of coal! Wish I were at Torquay with you!"

_Pythias to Damon._--"Sorry to hear that Riviera is such a failure. More
pleased than ever with Devonshire. Glorious warm sunshine to-day.
Natives say they hardly ever have frost. Children digging on sand on
Christmas Eve--too hot for great-coat. Rain comes down occasionally, but
then it dries up in no time. Quite a little Earthly Paradise. Glad I
found it out."

_Later from Damon._--"Riviera better. Mistral gone. Sun warm, and have
seen my first orange-tree. Have also found that there's a place called
Monte Carlo near Nice. Have you ever heard of it? There's a Casino
there, where they have free concerts. Off there now!"

_Later from Pythias._--"After all, Devonshire _is_ sometimes a little
damp. Yes, I _have_ heard of Monte Carlo Casino, and I wish there was
anything of the sort at Torquay. Walks and drives pretty, but
monotonous. Hills annoying. Still, evidently far superior to any part of

_Still later from Damon._--"Glorious place, Monte Carlo. Superb grounds!
Scenery lovely, and Casinery still lovelier! And, between ourselves, I
have already more than paid for expenses of my trip by my winnings at
the Tables. No time for more just now. Must back the red!"

_Reply to above from Pythias._--"Very sorry to hear you have been
playing at the Tables. Sure to end in ruin. By the bye, what system do
you use? The subject interests me merely as a mathematical problem, of
course. Wish _I_ could pay expenses of my Devonshire hotel so easily.
But then one ought to have _some_ reward for visiting such a dreary
place as the Riviera, with its Mistrals, and diseased olive-trees, and
all that."

_Latest from Damon._--"Since writing my last letter, my views of the
Riviera have altered. The climate, I find, does not suit me. Sun doesn't
shine as much as I expected--not at night, for instance. Then the
existence of an olive disease anywhere near is naturally very
_dégoûtant_ (as they say here). And the Casino at Monte Carlo is simply
an organised swindle. It ought to be put down! After staking ten times
in succession on "Zero," and doubling my stake each time, I was
absolutely cleared out! Only just enough money to take me home. Shall
follow your example, and try Torquay for the rest of the winter."

_Latest from Pythias._--"Just a hasty line to say--_don't_ come to
Torquay! I am leaving it. Since I last wrote, my views of Devonshire
have also altered. Can't conceal from myself that the climate is a
mistake. Damp, dull, and depressing. Your account of Monte Carlo--_not_
the Casino, of course--so enchanting, that I've determined to try it.
Just off to London to catch '_train de luxe!_'"

       *       *       *       *       *


(_By a much-badgered Barmaid._)

  Each boobyish bar-lounger calls me "dear,"
    And "Misses" me in manner most absurd.
  I should not miss _him_! But the boss, I fear,
  Would miss his custom; so I still must hear
    His odious "Miss-ing" word!
  But oh! I'd sooner bear a monkey's kisses,
  Than some of these cheap mashers' mincing
  And there is one young ape!--I'd stand "two d"
  Could I hit him each time he "Misses" me!

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: Notes]

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL.--I should be glad to know whether it would be
advisable for me to write a book of "Reminiscences," as I see is now the
fashion. My life has been chiefly passed in a moorland-village in
Yorkshire, so that it has not been very eventful, and I have never
written anything before; still the public might like to hear my opinions
on things in general, and I think I could make the anecdote of how our
kitchen chimney once caught fire--which would be the most important
incident chronicled--rather thrilling. Among interesting and eminent
persons I have met, and of whom I could give some account in my
forthcoming work, are Mr. GLADSTONE (who passed through our station in a
train going at fifty miles an hour while I was on the platform), Lord
SALISBURY whom I met (under similar circumstances, and the back of whose
head I feel confident that I actually saw) and the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE of
England, who ordered an Usher to remove me from his Court at the Assizes
as I was (incorrectly) alleged to be snoring. I should be glad to hear
of any leading Publisher who would be likely to offer a good price for

       *       *       *       *       *



_Lady Grace._ "OH NO! IT'S FOR A _CHARITY_, YOU KNOW!"]

       *       *       *       *       *


  "Christmas _is_ coming!" Pleasant truth
    To all--save the dyspeptic!
  To most in whom some smack of youth
    Hath influence antiseptic.
  Pessimists prate, and prigs be-rate
    The time of mirth and holly;
  But why should time-soured sages "slate"
    The juvenile and jolly?
  "Though some churls at our mirth repine"
    (As old GEORGE WITHER put it),
  We'll whiff our weed, and sip our wine,
    And watch the youngsters foot it.
  They did so in quaint WITHER'S time,
    When wassail-bowls were humming,
  And still girls laugh, and church-bells chime,
    Because--"Christmas is coming!"

  "Christmas is coming!" Let him bring
    Mirth to the toiling million.
  What is't he bears--a gracious thing--
    Behind him on the pillion?
  Her snowy garb, and smile benign,
    Make sunshine in dark places;
  The gentlest, rarest, most divine
    Of all the Christian graces.
  Her eyes are full of loving light,
    Her hands with gifts are laden;
  True Yule-tide Almoner, of right,
    This _Una_-pure sweet maiden!
  She smiles on all, full-feeding mirth,
    Young love, mad motley mumming;
  There is loss dearth of joy on earth,
    Because--"Christmas is coming!"

  A Merry Christmas? Round each room
    That's writ in leaf and berry;
  But there be those, alas! to whom
    There's mockery in the "Merry."
  Merry?--when sorrow loads the heart,
    And nothing loads the larder?
  In the world's play the poor man's part
    At Yule-tide seems yet harder.
  Good cheer to him who hungry goes,
    And mirth to her who sorrows,
  Lend bitter chill to Christmas snows.
    Small joy care's bondsman borrows.
  From jollity he may not share,
    Despair is darkly drumming
  At his dull breast, whose hearth won't flare,
    Because--"Christmas is coming!"

  Good Greybeard Sire, you would not tire
    Gay youth with tales of trouble;
  World-gladness is your heart's desire,
    And so you're--riding double!
  Pleasant to see dear Charity
    Close pillion-poised behind you,
  Eager to bid her gifts fly free,
    We're happy so to find you.
  Ride on, and scatter largesse wide!
    Sore need is still no rarity,
  For all our Progress, Power, and Pride,
    We can't dispense with Charity.
  Ride on, kind pair, and may the air
    With happiness be humming,
  And poverty shake off despair,
    Because--"Christmas is coming!"

       *       *       *       *       *

    RATHER TOO PREMATURE.--We see "_Christmas Leaves_" advertised
    everywhere in glaring colours. This announcement is too early.
    "_Christmas Comes_," it should be, and then, any time after the
    25th, will be appropriate for the announcement of his departure.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [A meeting at Manchester has raised a protest against the nuisance
    caused by the needlessly loud "slamming" of railway carriage doors.]

  The porter has a patent "slam,"
    Which smites one like a blow,
  And everywhere that porter comes,
    That "slam" is sure to go.
  It strikes upon the tym-pa-num
    Like shock of dynamite;
  By day it nearly makes you dumb--
    It deafens you at night.
  When startled by that patent "slam,"
    The pious pas-sen-jare,
  Says something else that ends in "am,"
    (Or he has patience rare.)
  Not only does it cause a shock,
    But--Manchester remarks--
  "Depreciates the rolling stock,"
    Well, that is rather larks!
  _That_'s not the point. The porter's slam
    Conduces to insanity,
  And, though as mild as MARY's lamb,
    Drives men to loud profanity.
  If Manchester the "slam" can stay
    By raising of a stir,
  All railway-travellers will say,
    "Bully for Man-ches-ter!"

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Kelly's Directory for_ 1893.--Invaluable, and considered as
    "portable property" (to quote _Pip's_ friend), admirably suited for
    the pocket of any individual who should happen to be about
    twenty-five feet high. _How to use it?_ Why--see inside--it is full
    of "Directions."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "CHRISTMAS IS COMING!"]

       *       *       *       *       *


SCENE--_As before, a Railway-carriage in a suburban morning train to
London. Persons also as before--namely, two_ Well-informed Men, _an_
Inquirer, _and an_ Average Man.

_First Well-informed Man_ (_laying down his paper_). So the Government's
going to stick to Uganda, after all. I had a notion, from the beginning,
they wouldn't be allowed to scuttle.

_Average Man._ Ah--I don't know that I'm particularly enthusiastic about

_Inquirer._ Why not?

_A. M._ What are we going to get out of it?--that's the question. We go
interfering all over the world, grabbing here, and grabbing there,
merely in order to keep other people out; and then some nigger King,
with a cold in his head, sneezes as he passes the Union Jack. That's an
insult to the flag, of course; so off goes an expedition, and, before
you know where you are, we've spent about ten millions, and added a few
thousand acres of swamp to the Empire. Why can't we leave things alone?
Haven't we got enough?

_First W. I. M._ That's all very well, I daresay; but you forget that
the Berlin Conference made Uganda one of our spheres of influence.

_Inquirer._ When was that?

_First W. I. M._ Why, just after the Franco-Prussian War. They all met
in Berlin to settle up everything--and we got Uganda.

_Inquirer._ I thought it was later than that, somehow.

_First W. I. M._ Well, anyhow, it was somewhere about that time. I don't
pledge myself to a year or two. But what I say about Uganda is this.
We're there--or rather the Company is--and we should simply disgrace
ourselves before the whole world if we chucked up the sponge now. And,
if we did, we should have France or Germany nipping in directly.

_Second W. I. M._ They can't.

_First W. I. M._ Why not?

_Second W. I. M._ Why not! Because it's our sphere of influence whatever

_Inquirer_ (_timidly_). I'm afraid you'll think me very ignorant, but I
don't quite know what a "sphere of influence" is. I've read a lot about
it lately, but I can't quite make it out.

_Second W. I. M._ (_condescendingly_). Yes, I know it's deuced difficult
to keep up with these new notions, unless you're in the way of hearing
all about them. Spheres of influence mean--well, don't you know, they
mean some country that's not quite yours, but it's more yours than
anybody else's, and if anybody else comes into it, you're allowed to
make a protocol of it. Besides, it gives you a right to the Hinterland,
you know.

_Inquirer_ (_dubiously_). Ah, I see. What's the Hinterland?

_Second W. I. M._ (_stumped_). I fancy it's about the most fertile part
of Africa. (_To First W. I. M._) Isn't it?

_First W. I. M._ Yes, that's it. It's the German for Highlands.

_Inquirer._ Of course, so it is. I might have thought of that.

_Average Man_ (_to First W. I. M._). Seems to me you've none of you got
hold of the right point. What I want to know is, does Uganda pay? LUGARD
says it don't; the Company hasn't made anything of it, and they've got
to go whether they like it or not; though I daresay they're deuced glad
to be out of the hole. But, if it don't pay, what on earth are we going
to do with it?

_Second W I. M._ (_triumphantly reinforcing him_). Yes, what on earth
are we to do with it?

_First W. I. M._ (_calmly, but contemptuously_). Ah! I see you're both
little-England men. From your point of view, I daresay you're right
enough. But I'm one of those who believe that we must stick on wherever
we've planted the flag. I agree with MOLTKE, that the nation that gives
up is in a state of decay.

_Second W. I. M._ It wasn't MOLTKE who said that; it was VICTOR HUGO, or
(_after a pause_) Lord PALMERSTON.

_First W. I. M._ Well, it doesn't matter who said it. The point is, it's
true. Besides, what are you going to do about the slaves and the

_Average Man._ Oh, bother the Missionaries!

_First W. I. M._ It's all very well to say "bother the Missionaries!"
but that won't get you any further. They're our fellow-creatures after
all, and what's more, they're our fellow-countrymen, so we've got to
look after them.

_Average Man._ I should let the whole lot of Missionaries fight it out
together. They only keep quarrelling amongst themselves, and trying to
bag one another's converts; and then France and England get involved.

_Inquirer._ By the way, where is Uganda, exactly?

_First W. I. M._ Just behind Zanzibar--or somewhere about there. You can
get to it best from Mashonaland. Didn't you see that RHODES said he was
going to make a telegraph-line through there? It used to belong to the
SULTAN OF ZANZIBAR. Don't you remember?

_Inquirer._ Of course; so it did.

[_Train draws up at Terminus._

       *       *       *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *

much-discussed article written by Dr. ST. GEORGE MIVART in _The
Nineteenth Century_, on "Happiness in Hell."--begging pardon for
uttering a word "unmentionable to ears polite,"--our old friend 'ARRY
writes thusly:--"Sir,--We 'ave all of us been familiar for years with
the well-known 'Mivart's 'Otel.' If the clever Professor is correct,
this name ought to be changed, as there ain't no such a place; and, in
future, when alluded to, it ought to be called _Mivart's Cool 'el._ Am I

    "Yours truly, THE 'ARRY OPAGITE."

       *       *       *       *       *

    In "Lucky Shoes," baskets, and in other dainty trifles, does RIMMEL
    arrange his beautiful bottles of scent. RIMMEL is not a Head Centre,
    but our Chief Scenter, "and," exclaims Mr. WAGSTAFF, the Unabashed,
    "what a great day will be his Scentenary!"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "THE SILENT BATTLE."--See this charming piece at the Criterion. Of
    course it is brought out by Mr. CHARLES WYNDHAM in illustration of
    the old proverb, "_Acts, not words._"

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


(_A Sketch in the Lowther Arcade._)

_Between the sloping banks of toys, and under a dense foliage of
coloured rosettes, calico banners, and Japanese-lanterns, the congested
Stream of Custom oozes slowly along, with an occasional overflow into
the backwaters of the shops behind, while the Stall-keepers keep up a
batrachian and almost automatic croak of invitation._

_Fond Grandmother._ So you've chosen a box of soldiers, have you,
FRANKY?--very well. Now what shall we get for little ELSIE and Baby?

_Franky (promptly)._ Another box of soldiers would do nicely for ELSIE,
Grandmamma, and--_I_ know, a fort for Baby!

_Grandm. (doubtfully)._ But they're such _little_ tots--they won't know
how to play with them.

_Franky._ Oh, but I can _teach_ them, you know, Grandmamma.

_Grandm._ That's right--I like to see a boy kind to his little sisters.

[_She adopts_ Master FRANKY'S _disinterested suggestion._

_A Mother._ Now, PERCY, it's all nonsense--you _can't_ want any more
toys--those you've got are as good as new. (_To her Friend._) He's such
a boy for taking care of his things--he'll hardly trust his toys out of
their boxes, and won't allow anyone else to _touch_ them!

_The Friend._ Dear little fellow--then I'm sure he _deserves_ to be
given a new toy for being so careful!

_The Mother._ Well, he'll give me no peace till I _do_ give him
something. I know--but mind this, PERCY, it's only to keep you quiet,
and I'm not going to buy EDDIE anything. _(To Friend.)_ He gives all
_his_ things away as it is! [Master PERCY _takes both these valuable
moral lessons to heart_.

_Mrs. Stilton (to her less prosperous Sister-in-law_, Mrs. BLOOMOLD).
Nonsense, VINNIE, I won't _hear_ of it! REGGIE has more toys already
than he knows what to do with!

_Mrs. Bloom. (apologetically)._ Of course, my dear SOPHIA, I know your
children are born to every----but still, I have no one but myself
_now_, you know--and if I _might_--it would be such a _pleasure_!

_Mrs. Stilton._ I have already told you there is not the slightest
occasion for your spending your money in any such foolish manner. I hope
that is enough.

_Mrs. Bloom._ I'm sure he would like one of these little
water-carts--now _wouldn't_ you, REGGIE? [REGGIE _assents shyly_.

_Mrs. Stilton._ Buy him one, by all means--he will probably take the
colour out of my new carpets with it--but, of course, _that_'s of no
consequence to _you_!

_Mrs. Bloom._ Oh dear, I _quite_ forgot your beautiful carpets. No, to
be sure, that might----but one of those little butcher's shops,
now!--they're really _quite_ cheap!

_Mrs. S._ _I_ always thought cheapness was a question of what a person
could _afford_.

_Mrs. Bloom._ But I _can_ afford it, dear SOPHIA--thanks to dear JOHN'S
bounty, and--and _yours_.

_Mrs. S._ You mustn't thank _me_. _I_ had nothing to do with it. I
warned JOHN at the time that it would only----and it seems I was right.
And REGGIE has a butcher's shop--a really good one--already. In fact, I
couldn't tell you what he _hasn't_ got!

_Reggie._ _I_ can, though, Aunt VINNIE. I haven't got a train, for _one_
thing! (_To his Mother, as she drags him on._) I _should_ like a little
tin train, to go by clockwork on rails so. Do let Auntie----what's she
staying behind for?

_Mrs. Bloom. (catching them up, and thrusting a box into_ REGGIE'S
_hands)._ There, dear boy, there's your train--with Aunt VINNIE'S love!
(REGGIE _opens the box, and discovers a wooden train_.) What's the
matter, darling? Isn't it----?

_Mrs. S._ He had rather set his heart on a clockwork one with
rails--which I was thinking of getting for him--but I am sure he's very
much obliged to his Aunt all the same--_aren't_ you, REGINALD?

_Reggie (with a fortunate inspiration)._ Thank you _ever_ so much,
Auntie! And I like this train better than a tin one--because all the
doors open really--it's _exactly_ what I wanted!

_Mrs. S._ That's so like REGGIE--he never says anything to hurt people's
feelings if he can possibly help it.

_Mrs. B. (with meek ambiguity)._ Ah, dear SOPHIA, you set him such an
_example_, you see! (REGGIE _wonders why she squeezes his hand so_.)

[Illustration: "Er--I want a Toy of some sort--for a _Child_, don't you

_A Vague Man (to Saleswoman)._ Er--I want a toy of some sort--for a
_child_, don't you know. (_As if he might require it for an elderly
person._) At least, it's not _exactly_ a child--it can _talk_, and all

_Salesw._ Will you step inside, Sir? We've a large assortment within to
select from. Is it for a boy or a girl?

_The Vague Man._ It's a boy--that is, its name's EVELYN--of course,
that's a girl's name too; but it had better be some thing that
doesn't--I mean something it can't----[_He runs down._

_Salesw._ I _quite_ understand, Sir. One of these little 'orses and
carts are a very nice present for a child--(_with languid
commendation_)--the little 'orse takes out and all.

_The V. M._ Um--yes--but I want something more--a different _kind_ of
thing altogether.

_Salesw._ We sell a great many of these rag-dolls; all the clothes take
off and on.

_The V. M._ Isn't that rather----and then, for a boy, eh?

_Salesw._ P'raps a box of wooden soldiers _would_ be a more suitable toy
for a boy, certainly.

_The V. M._ Soldiers, eh?--yes--but you see, it might turn out to be a
girl after all--and then----

_Salesw._ I see, you want something that would do equally well for
either. _Here_'s a toy now. (_She brings out a team of little tin swans
on wheels._) You fix a stick in the end--so--and wheel it in front of
you, and all the little swans go up and down.

[_She wheels it up and down without enthusiasm._

_The V. M. (inspecting it feebly)._ Oh--the swans go up and down, eh? It
isn't quite--but very likely it won't--May as well have that as
something else--Yes, you can send it to--let me see--is it Hampstead or
Notting Hill they're living at now? (_To the_ Saleswoman, _who naturally
cannot assist him._) No, of course, _you_ wouldn't know. Never mind,
I'll take it with me--don't trouble to wrap it up!

[_He carries it off--to forget it promptly in a hansom._

_A Genial Uncle (entering with Nephews and Nieces)._ Plenty to choose
from here, eh? Look about and see what you'd like best.

_Jane (the eldest, sixteen, and "quite a little woman")._ I'm sure they
would much rather _you_ chose for them, Uncle!

_Uncle._ Bless me, _I_ don't know what boys and girls like
nowadays--they must choose for themselves!

_Salesw. (wearily)._ Perhaps one of the young gentlemen would like a
dredging-machine? The handle turns, you see, and all the little buckets
go round the chain and take up sand or mud--or there's a fire-engine,
_that's_ a nice toy, throws a stream of real water.

[TOMMY, _aged eleven, is charmed with the dredging-machine, while the
fire-engine finds favour in the eyes of_ BOBBY, _aged nine._

_Jane (thoughtfully)._ I'm afraid the dredging-machine is rather a
_messy_ toy, Uncle, and the fire-engine wouldn't do at all, either--it
would be sure to encourage them to play with fire. BOBBY, if you say
"blow!" once more, I shall tell Mother. Uncle is the best judge of
what's suitable for you!

_Uncle._ Well, there's something in what you say, JENNY. We must see if
we can't find something better, that's all.

_Salesw._ I've a little Toy-stige, 'ere--with scenes and characters in
"_Richard Cured o' Lyin'_" complete and ready for acting--how would that

[TOMMY _and_ BOBBY _cheer up visibly at this suggestion._

_Jane._ I _don't_ think Mother would like them to have _that_, Uncle--it
might give them a _taste_ for theatres, you know!

_Uncle._ Ha--so it might--very thoughtful of you, JANE--Mustn't get in
your Mother's bad books; never do! What's in these boxes? soldiers? How
about these, eh, boys? [_The boys are again consoled._

_Jane (gently)._ They're getting _rather_ too big for such babyish
things as soldiers, Uncle! I tell you what _I_ think--if you got a nice
puzzle-map for TOMMY--he's so backward in his Geography--and a drawing
slate for BOBBY, who's getting on so nicely with his drawing, and a
little work-box--not an _expensive_ one, of course--for WINNIE, that
would be _quite_----

[_These sisterly counsels are rewarded by ungrateful and rebellious

_Uncle._ TOMMY, did I hear you address your sister as a "beast"?
Come--come! And what are you all turning on the waterworks for, eh?
Strikes me, JANE, you haven't _quite_ hit off their tastes!

_Jane (virtuously)._ I have only told you what I know Mother would
_wish_ them to have, Uncle; and, even if I _am_ to have my ankles kicked
for it, I'm sure I'm right!

_Uncle._ Always a consolation, my dear JENNY. I'm sure no nephew of
_mine_ would kick his sister, except by the merest accident--so let's
say no more of that. But it's no use getting 'em what they don't like;
so suppose we stick to the fire-engine, and the other concern--theatre
is it, JOHNNY?--Very well--and don't you get _me_ into trouble over 'em,
that's all. And WINNIE would like a doll, eh?--that's all right. Now
everybody's provided for--except JANE!

_Jane (frostily)._ Thank you, Uncle--but you seem to forget I'm not
_exactly_ a child! [_She walks out of the shop with dignity._

_Uncle._ Hullo! Put my foot in it again! But we can't leave JENNY out of
it--_can_ we? Must get her a present of some sort over the way.... Here,
TOMMY, my boy, you can tell me something she'd like.

_Bobby (later--to_ TOMMY). What did you tell Uncle to get for JANE?

_Tommy (with an unholy chuckle)._ Why, a box with one of those
puff-things in it. Don't you know how we caught her powdering her nose
with Mother's? And Uncle _got_ her one too! _Won't_ she be shirty just!

[_They walk out in an ecstasy of anticipation, as Scene closes._

       *       *       *       *       *

MR. PUNCH'S Paragraphist says, "he was never good at dates," not even
when served in dishes, for they're dry at the best; but, of the very
newest and best kind of Date Cards, MARCUS WARD & Co. have a capital
selection. Among them the _Grandfather's Clock_ makes a pretty screen,
and, being a clock, is, of course, always up to the time of day.

       *       *       *       *       *


    The Baron's Diarist and Date Examiner makes the following exhaustive
    notes:--first that Mr. C. LETTS describes some of his _Pocket
    Diaries_ as "The Improved." There is nothing so good but what it
    could be better. Lett's admit this, and be satisfied with the latest
    edition of Letts' Annuals, which are prizes, though, until Jan. 1,

    _The Paradise of the North_, by DAVID LAWSON JOHNSTONE. When a
    gentleman chooses the North Pole as a Paradise, he must be allowed
    any amount of Latitude and Longitude. This explorer leaves his
    CHAMBERS (the Publishers of that ilk) in order to get out of the
    world by the coldest route.

    A note on INNES & Co. "Innes" has several Outs this season. Cheery
    name for a Christmas Publisher, "Innes." We take our ease at our
    Innes, and we read with pleasure their dainty books called,
    _Bartlemy's Child_, by FRANCES COMPTON, a very pretty story. L. B.
    WALFORD (the authoress of _Mr. Smith_) condescends to write _For
    Grown-Up Children_, a number of delightful tales.

    Messrs. OSGOOD as good as ever. Why not follow up their _Bret Harte
    Birthday Book_ (most Harte-tistically got up) with a _Sweet-Heart
    Birthday Book?_ Madame VAN DE VELDE has compiled this. Our
    sparklingest Baronite exclaims, "Velde done!"

    Thanks to MARCUS WARD & Co. for _The Cottar's Saturday Night_, by
    ROBBIE BURNS. "Oh, wad some friend the giftie gi'e us!"--as anyone
    who would like this for a Christmas present may say, adapting the
    poet to his purpose.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: The Baron and his Christmas Books.]

"A most sweet story! A most charming story!!" gurgled the Baron, as,
with sobs in his inner voice, talking to himself, he finished the
penultimate chapter of _Dolly_. "Now, Mrs. BURNETT, if you dare to kill
your heroine, I swear I'll never forgive you, and never read another of
your fatally-fascinating books." The Baron trembled as he commenced the
last chapter of the simplest, most natural, most touching, and most
exquisitely-told story he has read for many a day. How would it end? A
few lines sufficed. "Bless you, Mrs. BURNETT!" snivelled the Baron, not
ashamed of dabbing his eyes with his kerchief. "Bless you, Ma'am! You
have let 'em live! May your new book go to countless editions! May it be
another _Little Lord Fauntleroy_, and may you reap a golden reward for
this, your masterpiece of simple work, your latest story--_Dolly!_" The
Baron is bound ("bound in morocco" as the slaves were, poor wretches!)
to add that he wishes it had not been illustrated, for, as good wine
needs no bush, so a perfect story, such as is this, needs no
illustration; nay, is rather injured by it than not. There is only one
small item of common-place in it, and that is making the would-be
seducer a married man. Of course, to prove him so was the easiest and
shortest way of saving his vain and feather-headed little victim.
Perhaps an alternative would have involved complication, and might have
marred the natural simplicity of the story. So critically the Baron
states his one very small objection, and reverts with the utmost
pleasure to the hours he spent over the tale, absorbed in every page, in
every line of it; and herewith doth he, not only most strongly, but most
earnestly recommend everyone to procure this book (published by E. WARNE
& Co.), for it is one that can be and must be given a place of honour by
the side of DICKENS and THACKERAY, to be read again and again, here a
bit and there a bit, when other works of fiction now enjoying a greater
literary reputation (though 'twould be difficult to name them), shall be
relegated to the lowest shelves of books that have had their day.
"_Dixi! Scripsi!_" quoth THE LEARNED BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

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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