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Title: Familiar Faces
Author: Graham, Harry, 1874-1936
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 "Familiar Faces" ***

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FAMILIAR FACES


_By the Same Author_

    MISREPRESENTATIVE MEN

    MORE MISREPRESENTATIVE MEN

    MISREPRESENTATIVE WOMEN

[Illustration: The Man Who Knows It All]



FAMILIAR FACES

BY

HARRY GRAHAM

_Author of "Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes," "Misrepresentative
Men," "Misrepresentative Women," etc., etc._

ILLUSTRATED BY TOM HALL

[Illustration]

NEW YORK
DUFFIELD & COMPANY
1907


COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY
DUFFIELD & COMPANY

_Published August, 1907_

THE PREMIER PRESS, NEW YORK.



CONTENTS


                                     PAGE

THE CRY OF THE PUBLISHER                7

THE CRY OF THE AUTHOR                   9

THE FUMBLER                            11

THE BARITONE                           15

THE ACTOR MANAGER                      20

THE GILDED YOUTH                       25

THE GOURMAND                           29

THE DENTIST                            36

THE MAN WHO KNOWS                      38

THE FADDIST                            44

THE COLONEL                            47

THE WAITER                             50

THE POLICEMAN                          54

THE MUSIC HALL COMEDIAN                58

THE CONVERSATIONAL REFORMER            63

KING LEOPOLD                           67

"BART'S" CLUB                          71

THE REVIEWER                           74

L'ENVOI                                77



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


THE MAN WHO KNOWS IT ALL     _Frontispiece_

THE BARITONE           _Facing Page_     16

THE ACTOR MANAGER          "     "       22

THE GILDED YOUTH           "     "       28

THE FADDIST                "     "       44

THE COMEDIAN               "     "       58

KING LEOPOLD               "     "       68

THE REVIEWER               "     "       74



THE CRY OF THE PUBLISHER


    O my Author, do you hear the Autumn calling?
      Does its message fail to reach you in your den,
    Where the ink that once so sluggishly was crawling
      Courses swiftly through your stylographic pen?
    'Tis the season when the editor grows active,
      When the office-boy looks longingly to you.
    Won't you give him something novel and attractive
                                    To review?

    Never mind if you are frivolous or solemn,
      If you only can be striking and unique,
    The reviewers will concede you half a column
      In their literary journals, any week.
    And 'twill always be your publisher's ambition
      To provide for the demand that you create,
    And dispose of a gigantic first edition,
                                    While you wait.

    O my Author, can't you pull yourself together,
      Try to expiate the failures of the past,
    And just ask yourself dispassionately whether
      You can't give us something better than your last?
    If you really--if you truly--are a poet,
      As you fancy--pray forgive my being terse--
    Don't you think you might occasionally show it
                                    In your verse?



THE CRY OF THE AUTHOR


    O my Publisher, how dreadfully you bore me!
      Of your censure I am frankly growing tired.
    With your diatribes eternally before me,
      How on earth can I expect to feel inspired?
    You are orderly, no doubt, and systematic,
      In that office where recumbent you recline;
    You would modify your methods in an attic
                                    Such as mine.

    If you lived a sort of hand-to-mouth existence
      (Where the mouth found less employment than the hand);
    If your rhymes would lend your humour no assistance,
      And your wit assumed a form that never scann'd;
    If you sat and waited vainly at your table
      While Calliope declined to give her cues,
    You would realise how very far from _stable_
                                    Was the _Mews_!

    You would find it quite impossible to labour
      With the patient perseverance of a drone,
    While some tactless but enthusiastic neighbour
      Played a cake walk on a wheezy gramophone,
    While your peace was so disturbed by constant clatter,
      That at length you grew accustomed--nay, resigned,
    To the never-ending victory of Matter
                                    Over Mind.

    While _you_ batten upon plovers' eggs and claret,
      In the shelter of some fashionable club,
    _I_ am starving, very likely, in a garret,
      Off the street so incorrectly labelled Grub,
    Where the vintage smacks distinctly of the ink-butt,
      And the atmosphere is redolent of toil,
    And there's nothing for the journalist to drink but
                                    Midnight oil!

    It is useless to solicit inspiration
      When one isn't in the true poetic mood,
    When one contemplates the prospect of starvation,
      And one's little ones are clamouring for food.
    When one's tongue remains ingloriously tacit,
      One is forced with some reluctance to admit
    That, alas! (as Virgil said) _Poeta nascit_-
                                    -_Ur, non fit_!

    Then, my Publisher, be gentle with your poet;
      Do not treat him with the harshness he deserves,
    For, in fact, altho' you little seem to know it,
      You are gradually getting on his nerves.
    Kindly dam the foaming torrent of your curses,
      While I ask you,--yes, and pause for a reply,--
    Are _you_ writing this immortal book of verses,
                                    Or am _I_?



I

THE FUMBLER


    Gentle Reader, charge your tumbler
      With anæmic lemonade!
    Let us toast our fellow-fumbler,
      Who was surely born, not made.
    None of all our friends is "dearer"
      (Costs us more--to be jocose--);
    No relation could be nearer,
                    More intensely "close"!

    Hear him indistinctly mumbling
      "Oh, I say, do let me pay!"
    Watch him in his pocket fumbling,
      In a dilatory way;
    Plumbing the unmeasured deeps there,
      With some muttered vague excuse,
    For the coinage that he keeps there,
                    But will not produce.

    If he joins you in a hansom,
      You alone provide the fare;
    Not for all a monarch's ransom
      Would he pay his modest share.
    He may fumble with his collar,
      He may turn his pockets out,
    He can never find that dollar
                    Which he spoke about!

    Cigarettes he sometimes offers,
      With a sort of old-world grace,
    But, when you accept them, proffers
      With surprise, an empty case.
    Your cigars, instead, he'll snatch, and,
      With the cunning of the fox,
    Ask you firmly for a match, and
                    Pocket half your box!

    If with him a meal you share, too,
      You'll discover, when you've dined,
    That your friend has taken care to
      Leave his frugal purse behind.
    "We must sup together later,"
      He remarks, with right good-will,
    "Pass the Heidsieck, please; and, waiter,
                    Bring my friend the bill!"

    At some crowded railway station
      He comes running up to you,
    And exclaims with agitation,
      "Take my ticket, will you, too?"
    Though his pow'rs of conversation
      In the train require no spur,
    To this trifling obligation
                    He will _not_ refer!

    When at Bridge you win his money,
      Do not think it odd or strange
    If he says, "It's very funny,
      But I find I've got no change!
    Do remind me what I owe you,
      When you see me in the street."
    Mr. Fumbler, if I know you,
                    We shall never meet!

    Fumbler, so serenely fumbling
      In a pocket with thy thumb,
    Never by good fortune stumbling
      On the necessary sum,
    Cease to make polite pretences,
      Suited to thy niggard ends,
    Of dividing the expenses
                    With confiding friends!

    Here, we crown thee, fumbling brother,
      With the fumbler's well-earned wreath,
    Who would'st rob thine aged mother
      Of her artificial teeth!
    We at length are slowly learning
      That some friendships cost too dear.
    "Longest worms must have a turning,"
                    And our turn is near!

    Henceforth, when a cab thou takest,
      Thou a lonely way must wend;
    Henceforth, when for food thou achest,
      Thou must dine without a friend.
    Thine excuses thou shalt mumble
      Down some public telephone,
    And if thou perforce _must_ fumble,
                    Fumble all alone!



II

THE BARITONE


    In many a boudoir nowadays
      The baritone's _decolleté_ throat
    Produces weird unearthly lays,
      Like some dyspeptic goat
    Deprived but lately of her young
    (But not, alas! of either lung).

    His low-necked collar fails to show
      The contours of his manly chest,
    Since that has fallen far below
      His "fancy evening vest."
    Here, too, in picturesque relief,
    Nestles his crimson handkerchief.

    Will no one tell me why he sings
      Such doleful melancholy lays,
    Of withered summers, ruined springs,
      Of happier bygone days,
    And kindred topics, more or less
    Designed to harass or depress?

    That ballad in his bloated hand
      Is of the old familiar blend:--
    A faded flow'r, a maiden, and
        A "brave kiss" at the end!
    (The kind of kiss that, for a bet,
    A man might give a Suffragette.)


(THE BARITONE'S BOUDOIR BALLAD)

    _Eyes that looked down into mine,
      With a longing that seemed to say
    Is it too late, dear heart, to wait
      For the dawn of a brighter day?
    Is it too late to laugh at fate?
      See how the teardrops start!
    Can we not weather the tempest together,
          Dear Heart, Dear Heart?_

    _Lips that I pressed to my own,
      As I gazed at her yielding form,--
    Turned with a groan, and then hastened alone
      Into the teeth of the Storm!
    Long, long ago! Still the winds blow!
      Far have we drifted apart!
    You live with Mother, and I love--another!
          Dear Heart, Dear Heart!_

[Illustration: The Baritone]

    At times some drinking-song inspires
      Our hero to a vocal burst,
    Until his audience, too, acquires
      The most prodigious thirst.
    And nobody would ever think
    That milk was _his_ peculiar drink!

    What spacious days his song recalls,
      When each monastic brotherhood
    Could brew, within its private walls,
      A vintage just as good
    As that which restaurants purvey
    As "rare old Tawny Port" to-day!


(THE BARITONE'S DRINKING SONG)

    _The Abbot he sits, as his rank befits,
      With a bottle at either knee,
    And he smacks his lips as he slowly sips
      At his beaker of Malvoisie.
          Sing Ho! Ho! Ho!
          Let the red wine flow!
      Let the sack flow fast and free!
    His heart it grows merry on negus and sherry,
      And never a care has he!
              Ho! Ho!_
            (Ora pro nobis!)
    _Sing Ho! for the Malvoisie!_

    _In cellar cool, on a highbacked stool,
      The Friar he sits him down,
    With the door tight shut, and an unbroached butt
      Where the ale flows clear and brown.
          Sing Ha! Sing Hi!
          Till the cask runs dry,
      His spirits shall never fail!
    For no one is dryer than Francis the Friar,
      When getting "outside the pail!"
              Ho! Ho!_
          (Benedicimus!)
      _Sing Ho! for the nutbrown ale!_

    _The Monk sits there, in his cell so bare,
      And he lowers his tonsured head,
    As he lifts the lid of the tankard hid
      'Neath the straw of his trestle bed.
          Sing Ho! Sink Hey!
          From the break of day
      Till the vesper-bell rings clear,
    Of grave he makes merry and hastens to bury
      His cares in the butt'ry_ BIER!
              _Ho! Ho!_
          (Pax Omnibuscum!)
      _Sing Ho! for the buttery beer!_

    Oh, find me some secure retreat,
      Some Paradise for stricken souls,
    Where amateurs no longer bleat
      Their feeble baracoles,
    From lungs that are so oddly placed
    Where other people keep their waist;

    Where public taste has quite outgrown
      The faculty for being bored
    By each anæmic baritone
      Who murders "The Lost Chord,"
    And singers, as a body, are
    Cursed with a permanent catarrh!



III

THE ACTOR MANAGER


    Long ago, our English actors
      Ranked with rogues and vagabonds;
    They were jailed as malefactors,
      They were ducked in village ponds.
    In the stocks the beadle shut them,
      While the friends they chanced to meet
    Would invariably cut them
                      In the street.

    With suspicion people eyed them,
      Ev'ry country-squire would feel
    That his fallow-deer supplied them
      With the makings of a meal.
    They annexed the parson's rabbits,
      Poached the pheasants of the peer,
    And had other little habits
                      Just as queer!

    Even Will, the Bard of Avon,
      As a poacher stands confest,
    And altho', of course, cleanshaven,
      Was as barefaced as the rest.
    He, a player by vocation,
      Practised, like his buckskin'd pals,
    Indiscriminate flirtation
                      With the gals!

    Now, the am'rous actor's cravings
      For romance are orthodox;
    Nowadays he puts his savings,
      Not his ankles, into "stocks."
    Nobody to-day is doubting
      That a halo round him clings;
    One can see his shoulders sprouting
                      Into wings.

    Watch the mummer managerial,
      Centre of a rev'rent group;
    Note with what an air imperial
      He controls his timid troupe.
    Deadheads scrape and bow before him,
      To his doors the public flocks;
    Even duchesses implore him
                      For a box.

    Enemies, no doubt, will tell us
      (What we should not ever guess)
    That he is absurdly jealous
      Of subordinates' success.
    Minor mimes who score a hit or
      Threaten to advance too fast,
    Are advised to curb their wit or
                      Leave the cast!

    Foes declare that, at rehearsal,
      Managers are free of speech,
    And unduly prone to curse all
      Those who come within their reach.
    With some tiny dams (or damlets)
      They exhort each "walking gent--"
    Language that potential Hamlets
                      Much resent.

    Do not autocrats, dictators,
      All who lead successful lives,
    Swear repeatedly at waiters,
      Curse consistently at wives?
    Shall the heads of _the_ Profession,
      Histrionic argonauts,
    Be denied the frank expression
                      Of their thoughts?

[Illustration: _The Actor Manager_]

    Will not we who so applaud them
      Execrate with righteous rage
    Player knaves who would defraud them
      Of their centre of the stage?
    Do we grudge these godlike creatures
      Picture-cards that advertise--
    Calcium lights that flood their features
                        From the flies?

    No, for ev'ry leading actor
      Who produces problem plays,
    Is a most important factor
      In the world of modern days.
    Kings occasionally knight him,
      Titled ladies take him up;
    Even millionaires invite him
                        Out to sup.

    Proudly he advances, trailing
      Clouds of limelight from afar,
    (Diffidence is _not_ the failing
      Of the true dramatic "star").
    What cares he for rank or fashion,
      Politics or place or pelf?
    He whose one prevailing passion
                        Is himself?

    All the world's a stage, we know it;
      Managers, whose heads are twirled,
    Think (to paraphrase the poet)
      That the stage is all the world.
    Other men discuss the summer,
      Or the poor potato crop,
    Nothing can prevent the mummer
                        Talking "shop."

    With his Art as the objective
      Of his intellectual pow'rs,
    He (as usual, introspective)
      Talks about himself for hours.
    While his friends, who never dream of
      Interrupting, stand agog,
    He decants a ceaseless stream of
                        Monologue.

    He is great. He has become it
      By a long and arduous climb
    To the crest, the crown, the summit
      Of the Thespian tree--a _lime_!
    There he chatters like a starling,
      There, like Jove, he sometimes nods;
    But he still remains the "darling
                        Of _the gods_!"



IV

THE GILDED YOUTH


    A monocle he always wears,
      Safe screwed within his dexter eye;
    His mouth stands open wide, and snares
              The too intrusive fly.
    Were he to close his jaws, no doubt,
    The eyeglass would at once fall out.

    His choice of clothes is truly weird;
      His jacket, short, and _negligée_,
    Is slit behind, as tho' he feared
              A tail might sprout some day.
    One's eye must be inured to shocks
    To stand the tartan of his socks.

    The chessboard pattern of his check
      Betrays its owner's florid taste;
    A three-inch collar grips his neck,
              A cummerbund his waist;
    The trousers that his legs enshroud
    Speak for themselves, they are so loud.

    His shirt, his sleeve-links and his stud,
      Are all of a cerulean hue,
    And advertise that Norman blood,--
              The bluest of the blue,--
    Which, as a brief inspection shows,
    Seems to have centred in his nose.

    His saffron tresses, oiled with care,
      Back from a vacant brow he scrapes;
    From so compact a head of hair
              No filament escapes.
    (This surface-polish, friends complain,
    Does _not_ descend into the brain.)

    What does he do? You well may ask.
      Nothing at all, to be exact!
    Yet he performs this tedious task
              With quite consummate tact.
    (No cause for wonder this, in truth,
    Since he has practised it from youth.)

    To some wide window-seat he goes,
      And gazes out with torpid eyes;
    Then yawns politely through his nose,
              Looks at his watch, and sighs;
    Regards his boots with dumb regret,
    And lights another cigarette.

    Then glances through his morning's mail,
      And now, his daily labours done,
    Feels far too comatose and frail
              To give the dog a run;
    Besides, as he reflects with shame,
    He can't recall the creature's name!

    Safe in a front-row stall he sits,
      Where lyric comedy is played;
    And, after, to some local Ritz,
              Escorts a chorus-maid.
    The _jeunesse dorée_ of to-day
    Is called the _jeunesse stage-doorée_!

    How slow the weary days must seem
      (That to his fellows fly so fast),
    To one who in a waking-dream
              Awaits the next repast!
    How tiresome and how long they feel,
    Those hours dividing meal from meal!

    For, like Othello, he must find
      His "occupation gone," poor soul,
    Who can but wander in his mind
              When he requires a stroll;
    A mental sphere, one may surmise,
    Too cramped for healthy exercise.

    But since a poet has declared
      That "nothing walks with aimless feet,"
    To ask why such a type is spared
              To grace the public street,
    Would be most curiously misplaced,
    And in the very worst of taste.

[Illustration: _The Gilded Youth_]



V

THE GOURMAND

(_A Ballad of Reading Grill_)


    He did not wear his swallow-tail,
      But a simple dinner-coat;
    For once his spirits seemed to fail,
      And his fund of anecdote.
    His brow was drawn and damp and pale,
      And a lump stood in his throat.

    I never saw a person stare,
      With looks so dour and blue,
    Upon the square of bill-of-fare
      We waiters call the "M'noo,"
    And at ev'ry dainty mentioned there,
      From _entrée_ to _ragout_.

    With head bent low, and cheeks aglow,
      He viewed the groaning board,
    For he wondered if the _chef_ would show
      The treasures of his hoard,
    When a voice behind him whispered low,
      "Sherry or 'ock, my lord?"

    Gods! What a tumult rent the air,
      As, with a frightful oath,
    He seized the waiter by the hair
      And cursed him for his sloth;
    Then, grumbling like some stricken bear,
      Angrily answered "Both!"

    For each man drinks the thing he loves,
      As tonic, dram or drug;
    Some do it standing, in their gloves,
      Some seated, from a jug;
    The upper class from slim-stemmed glass,
      The masses from a mug.

    ....*....*....*....*

    The wine was slow to bring him woe,
      But when the meal was through,
    His wild remorse at ev'ry course
      Each moment wilder grew.
    For he who thinks to mix his drinks
      Must mix his symptoms too.

    Did he regret that tough _noisette_,
      And the tougher _tournedos_,
    The oysters dry, and the game so high,
      And the soufflé flat and low,
    Which the chef had planned with a heavy hand,
      And the waiters served so slow?

    Yet each approves the things he loves,
      From caviare to pork;
    Some guzzle cheese or new-grown peas,
      Like a cormorant or stork;
    The poor man's wife employs a knife,
      The rich man's mate a fork.

    Some gorge, forsooth, in early youth,
      Some wait till they are old;
    Some take their fare from earthenware,
      And some from polished gold.
    The gourmand gnaws in haste because
      The plates so soon grow cold.

    Some eat too swiftly, some too long,
      In restaurant or grill;
    Some, when their weak insides go wrong,
      Try a postprandial pill.
    For each man eats his fav'rite meats,
      Yet each man is not ill.

    He does not sicken in his bed,
      Through a night of wild unrest,
    With a snow-white bandage round his head,
      And a poultice on his breast,
    'Neath the nightmare weight of the things he ate
      And omitted to digest.

    ....*....*....*....*

    We know not whether meals be short,
      Or whether meals be long;
    All that we know of this resort
      Proves that there's something wrong,
    That the soup is weak and tastes of port,
      And the fish is far too strong.

    The bread they bake is quite opaque,
      The butter full of hair;
    Defunct sardines and flaccid "greens"
      Are all they give us there.
    Such cooking has been known to make
      A common person swear.

    And when misguided people feed,
      At eve or afternoon,
    Their harassed ears are never freed
      From the fiddle and bassoon,
    Which sow dyspepsia's subtlest seed,
      With a most evil spoon.

    To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes,
      Is a pastime rare and grand;
    But to eat of fish or fowl or fruits
      To a Blue Hungarian Band
    Is a thing that suits nor men nor brutes,
      As the world should understand.

    Such music baffles human talk,
      And gags each genial guest;
    A grillroom orchestra can baulk
      All efforts to digest,
    Till the chops will not lie still, but walk
      All night upon one's chest.

    ....*....*....*....*

    Six times a table here he booked,
      Six times he sat and scann'd
    The list of dishes, badly cooked
      By the _chef's_ unskilful hand;
    And I never saw a man who looked
      So wistfully at the band.

    He did not swear or tear his hair,
      But ordered wine galore,
    As though it were some vintage rare
      From an old Falernian store;
    With open mouth he slaked his drouth,
      And loudly called for more.

    He was the type that waiters know,
      Who simply lives to feed,
    Who little cares what food they show
      If it be food indeed,
    Who, when his appetite is low,
      Falls back upon his greed.

    For each man eats his fav'rite meats,
      (Provided by his wife);
    Or cheese or chalk, or peas or pork,
      (For such, alas! is life!)
    The rich man eats them with a fork,
      The poor man with a knife.



VI.

THE DENTIST


    What a dangerous trade is the dentist's!
      With what perils he has to contend,
                As he plunges his paws
                In the gibbering jaws
      Of some trusting but terrified friend,
    With the risk that before he is ten minutes older
    His arms may be bitten off short at the shoulder!

    He is born in the West, is the dentist,
      And he speaks with a delicate twang,
                When polite as a prince,
                He requests you to "rinse,"
      After gently removing a fang.
    ('Tis to save wear-and-tear to the mouth, one supposes,
    That dentists consistently talk through their noses.)

    He is painfully shy, is the dentist;
      For he lives such a hand-to-mouth life.
                When the sex known as "fair"
                Comes and sits in his chair,
      He will call for his sister or wife,
    For a lady-companion or female relation,--
    So strong is the instinct of self-preservation!

    He's a talkative man, is the dentist;
      Though his patients are loth to reply.
                With his fist in your mouth
                He may say North is South,
      And you cannot well give him the lie;
    For it's hard to converse on such themes as the weather,
    With jawbone and tongue fastened firmly together!

    To a sensitive soul like the dentist
      You should always avoid talking "shop."
                If he drops in to tea,
                You must certainly see
      That your wife doesn't ask him to "stop!"
    He is _facile princeps_, perhaps, of his calling;
    But jokes about _princip'ly forceps_ ARE galling!

    There are people who say of the dentist
      That he isn't a gentleman quite.
                Half the gents that we see
                Are no gentler than he,
      And but few are so sweetly polite;
    For of all the strange trades to which men are apprentic'd;
    The gentlest, I'm certain, is that of the dentist!



VII

THE MAN WHO KNOWS


    How few of us contrive to shine
      In ordinary conversation
    As brightly as this human mine
      Of universal information,
    Or give mankind the benefit
    Of such encyclopædic wit.

    How few of us can lightly touch
      On any topic one may mention
    With so much _savoir-faire_, or such
      Exasperating condescension;
    Or take so lively a delight
    In setting other people right.

    Whatever you may do or dream,
      The Man Who Knows has dreamt or done it;
    If you propound some novel scheme,
      The Man Who Knows has long begun it;
    Should you evolve a repartee,
    "I made that yesterday," says he.

    With what a supercilious air
      He listens to your newest story,
    As tho' your latest legend were
      Some chestnut long of beard and hoary.
    "When I recount that yarn," he'll say,
    "I end it in a diff'rent way."

    With a superior smile he caps
      Your ev'ry statement with another,
    If you have lost your voice, perhaps,
      He knows a man who's lost his mother;
    If you've a cold, 'tis not so bad
    As one that once his uncle had.

    Should you describe some strange event
      That happened to a near relation,--
    Some fatal motor accident,
      Some droll or ticklish situation,--
    "In eighteen-eighty-eight," says he,
    "The very same occurred to me."

    Each man who dies to him supplies
      A peg on which to air his knowledge;
    "Poor So-and-So," he sadly sighs,
      "He shared a room with me at college.
    I knew his sister at Ostend.
    He was my father's dearest friend."

    If you relate some incident,
      A trifle scandalous or shady,
    An anecdote you've heard anent
      Some wealthy or distinguished lady,
    He stops you with a sudden sign:--
    "She is a relative of mine!"

    When on some simple point of fact
      You fancy him impaled securely,
    He either smiles with silent tact,
      Or else he shakes his head obscurely,
    Suggesting that he might disclose
    Portentous secrets, if he chose.

    But if you dare to doubt his word,
      At once that puts him on his metal;
    "Your facts," says he, "are quite absurd!
      As for Mount Popocatepetl,--
    Of course it's not in Mexico;
    I've been there, and I ought to know!"

    Or "George, how you exaggerate!
      It isn't half-past seven, nearly!
    I make it seven-twenty-eight;
      Your watch is out of order, clearly.
    Mine cannot possibly be slow;
    I set it half an hour ago."

    He knows a foreign health-resort
      Where tourists are quite inoffensive;
    He knows a brand of ancient port,
      Comparatively inexpensive;
    And he will tell you where to get
    The choicest Turkish cigarette.

    He knows hotels at which to dine
      And take the most fastidious guest to;
    He knows a mine in Argentine
      In which you safely can invest, too;
    He knows the shop where you can buy
    The most _recherché_ hat or tie.

    If you require a motor-car,
      He has a cousin who can tell you
    Of something second-hand but far
      Less costly than the trade would sell you;
    And if you want a chauffeur, too,
    He knows the very man for you.

    There's nothing that he doesn't know,
      Except--a rather grave omission--
    How weary his relations grow
      Of such unceasing erudition,--
    How fervently his fellows long
    That just for once he should be wrong.

    O Man Who Knows, we humbly ask
      That thou shouldst cease such grateful labours--
    Suspend thy self-inflicted task
      Of lecturing thine erring neighbours;
    For in thy knowledge we detect
    No faintest sign of Intellect.



VIII

THE FADDIST


    Gentle Reader, is your bosom filled with loathing
      At the mention of the "Simple Life" brigade?
    Do you shudder at their Jaeger underclothing,
      Which is "fearfully and wonderfully made"?
    Though in manner they resemble "poor relations,"
      Or umbrellas which their owners have forgot,
    They contribute to the gaiety of nations,
                                      Do they not?

    They are harmless little people, tame and quiet,
      Who will feed out of a fellow-creature's hand,
    If he happens to provide them with a diet
      Of a temperance and vegetable brand.
    They can easily subsist--a thing to brag of--
      In the draughtiest of sanitary huts,
    On a "mute inglorious Stilson" and a bag of
                                      Monkey-nuts.

    Ev'ry faddist is, of course, an early riser;
      When he leaves his couch (at 6 a. m. perhaps)
    He will struggle with some patent "Exerciser,"
      Until threatened with a physical collapse.
    He wears collars made of cellular materials,
      And sandals in the place of leather boots,
    And his victuals are composed of either cereals
                                      Or roots.

[Illustration: _The Faddist_]

    He believes in drinking quantities of water,
      Undiluted by the essence of the grape;
    And he deprecates the universal slaughter
      Of dumb animals in any form or shape.
    So his breakfast-food (a patent, too, of course), is
      Made of oats which he monotonously chews,
    Mixed with chaff which any self-respecting horses
                                      Would refuse.

    He discovers fatal microbes that are hiding
      In the liquids that his fellow creatures drink;
    Fell bacilli that are stealthily residing
      In our carpets, in our kisses, in our ink!
    In his eagerness such parasites to smother,
      He will keep himself so sterilised and aired,
    That one fancies he would disinfect his mother,
                                      If he dared.

    In a vegetarian restaurant you'll find him,
      Where he feeds, like any other anthropoid,
    Upon dishes which must certainly remind him
      Of the cocoanuts his ancestors enjoyed.
    As he masticates his monkeyfood, you wonder
      If his humour is as meagre as his fare,
    And you look to see his tail depending under-
                                      -Neath his chair.

    To his friends he never wearies of explaining
      The exact amount of times they ought to chew,
    The advantages of "totally abstaining,"
      And the joys of walking barefoot in the dew;
    How that slumber must be summoned circumspectly,
      In an attitude conducive to repose,
    And that breathing should be carried on correctly
                                      Through the nose.

    A pathetic little figure is my hero,
      With a sparse and wizened beard, and straggly hair,
    Upon which is perched a sort of a sombrero
      Such as operatic brigands love to wear.
    He may eat the nuts his prehistoric sires ate,
      He may flourish upon sawdust mixed with bran,
    But he looks more like a Nonconformist pirate
                                      Than a man!



IX

THE COLONEL


    Observe him, in the best armchair,
      At ev'ry "Service" Club reclining!
    How brightly through its close-cropped hair!
            His polished skull is shining!
    His form, inert and comatose,
    Suggests a stertorous repose.

    What strains are these that echo clear?
      What music on our ears is falling?
    Through his Æolian nose we hear
            The distant East a-calling.
    (A good example here is found
    Of slumber that is truly "sound.")

    He dreams of India's coral strand,
      Where, camping by the Jimjam River,
    He sacrificed his figure and
            The best part of his liver,
    And, in some fever-stricken hole,
    Mislaid his pow'rs of self-control.

    Blow lightly on his head, and note
      Its surface change from chrome to hectic;
    Examine that pneumatic throat,
            That visage apoplectic.
    His colour-scheme is of the type
    That plums affect when over-ripe.

    With rising gorge he stands erect,
      Awakened by your indiscretion,
    Becoming slowly Dunlop-necked--
            (To coin a new expression);
    Where stud and collar form a juncture,
    You contemplate immediate puncture.

    His head, like some inverted cup,
      Ascends, a Phoenix, from its ashes;
    His eyebrows rise and beckon up
            His "porterhouse" moustaches;[A]
    And you acknowledge, as you flinch,
    That he's a Colonel--ev'ry inch!

    The voice that once in strident tones
      Across the barrack-square could carry,
    Reverberates and megaphones
            A rich vocabulary.
    (His "rude forefathers," you'll agree,
    Were never half so rude as he.)

    As blatantly he catalogues
      The grievances from which he suffers:--
    "The Service gone, sir, to the dogs!"
            "The men, sir, all damduffers!"
    In so invet'rate a complainer
    You recognise the "old champaigner."

    His raven locks (just two or three)
      Recall their retrospective splendour;
    One of the brave Old Guard is he,
            That dyes but won't surrender;
    With fits of petulance afflicted,
    When questioned, crossed, or contradicted.

    But as, alas! from poor-man's gout,
      Combined with chronic indigestion,
    The breed is quickly dying out--
            (The fact admits no question)--
    I'll give you, if advice you're taking,
    A _recipe_ for Colonel-making.

    _Select some subaltern whose tone
      Is bluff and anything but "soul-y;"
    Transplant him to a torrid zone;
            There leave him stewing slowly;
    Remove his liver and his hair,
    Then serve up hot in an armchair._

[Footnote A: Cf. "mutton-chop" whiskers.]



X

THE WAITER


    "He also serves who only stands and waits!"
      My hero does all three, and even more.
    Bearing a dozen food-congested plates,
      With silent tread (altho' his feet are sore),
      He swiftly skates across the parquet floor.
    None can afford completely to ignore him,
    Because, of course, he "carries all before him!"

    Endowed with some of Cinquevalli's charm,
      He poises plate on plate, and never swerves;
    Two in each hand, three more up either arm,--
      A feat of balancing which tries the nerves
      Of the least timid customer he serves.
    So firm his carriage, and his gait so stable,
    He is the Blondin of the dinner-table.

    Rising abruptly at the break of day
      (A custom more might copy, I confess),
    The waiter hastens, with the least delay,
      To don that unbecoming evening-dress
      Which etiquette compels him to possess.
    ('Tis too the conjurer's accustomed habit,
    Whence he evolves a goldfish or a rabbit.)

    Each calling its especial trademark bears.
      The anarchist parades a red cravat;
    The eminent physician always wears
      A stethoscope concealed within his hat;
      A diamond stud proclaims the plutocrat;
    The rural dean displays a sable gaiter,
    And evening dress distinguishes the waiter.

    Time was when he was elderly and staid,
      With long sidewhiskers and an old-world air.
    How gently, with what rev'rent hands, he laid
      A bottle of some vintage rich and rare
      Within a pail of ice beneath your chair,
    Like some proud steward in a hall baronial
    Performing an important ceremonial.

    How cultured his well-modulated voice,
      His manner how _distingué_ and discreet,
    As he directed your capricious choice
      To what 'twere best and pleasantest to eat,
      Or warmly recommended the Lafitte.
    A perfect pattern of the _genus homo_,
    More like a bishop than a major-domo.

    He kept as grave as the proverbial tomb
      When in some haven "hush'd and safe apart,"
    You sought the shelter of a private room,
      To entertain the lady of your heart
      At a delightful dinner _à la carte_.
    (The consequences would, he knew, be shocking
    Were he perchance to enter without knocking.)

    Now he is haggard, pale and highly-strung,
      The alien product of some Southern sun.
    Who speaks an unintelligible tongue
      And serves impatient patrons at a run,
      Snatching away their plates before they've done.
    Brisk as a bee, and restless as the Ocean,
    He solves the problem of perpetual motion.

    You would not look to him for good advice;
      To him your choice you never would resign.
    He gauges from the point of view of price
      The rival worth of each respective wine;
      His tastes, indeed, are frankly Philistine,
    And, with a mien indifferent or placid,
    He serves your claret cold and corked and acid.

    His is a tragic fate, a dreary lot.
      Think sometimes of his troubles, I entreat,
    Who in a crowded restaurant and hot
      Walks to and fro on tired and tender feet,
      Watching his hungry fellow-creatures eat!
    What form of earthly hardship could be greater
    Than that which daily overwhelms the waiter?



XI

THE POLICEMAN


    My hero may be daily seen
      In ev'ry crowded London street;
    Longsuff'ring, stoical, serene,
          With huge pontoonlike feet,
    His boots so stout, so squat, so square,
    A motor-car might shelter there.

    The traffic's cataract he dams,
      With hands that half obscure the sun,
    Like monstrous, vast Virginian hams.
          A trifle underdone;
    The while the matron and the maid
    Pass safely by beneath their shade.

    His courtesy is quite unique,
      His tact and patience have no end;
    He helps the helpless and the weak,
          He is the children's friend;
    And nobody can feel alarm
    Who clings to his paternal arm.

    When foreign tourists go astray
      In any tangled thoroughfare,
    Or spinster ladies lose their way,--
          The constable is there.
    With smile avuncular and bland,
    He leads them gently by the hand.

    He stalks on duty through the night,
      A bull's-eye lantern at his belt;
    His muffled steps are noiseless quite,
          His soles unheard--tho' _felt_!
    And burglars, when a crib they crack,
    Are forced to do so from the back.

    In far New York the "man in blue"
      Is Irish by direct descent.
    His bludgeon is intended to
          Inflict a nasty dent;
    And if you ask him for advice,
    He knocks you senseless in a trice.

    In Paris he is fierce and small,
      But tho' he twirls his waxed moustache,
    The natives heed him not at all.
          No more does the _apache_.
    And cabmen, when he lifts his palm,
    Drive over him without a qualm.

    The German minion of the law
      Is stern, inflexible, austere.
    His presence fills his friends with awe,
          The foreigner with fear.
    Your doom is sealed if he should pass
    And find you walking on the grass!

    But no policeman can compare
      With London's own partic'lar pet;
    A martyr he who stands foursquare
          To ev'ry Suffragette,
    And when that lady kicks his shins
    Or bites his ankles, merely grins.

    He may not be as bright, forsooth,
      As Dr. Watson's famous foil,--
    Sherlock, that keen unerring sleuth
          Immortalised by Doyle,
    And Patti who, where'er she roams,
    Asserts "There's no Police like Holmes!"

    But though his movements, staid and slow,
      Provide the vulgar with a jest,
    How true the heart that beats below
          That whistle at his breast!
    How perfect an example he
    Of what a constable should be!



XII

THE MUSIC-HALL COMEDIAN


    When the day of toil is ended,
    When our labours are suspended,
      And we hunger for agreeable society,
    The relentless voice of Pleasure
    Bids us spend an hour of leisure
      In a Music-Hall or Palace of Variety,
    Where to furnish relaxation
      Ev'ry effort is directed,
    Tho' the claims of ventilation
      Have been carefully neglected.

    There's an atmosphere oppressive
    (For the smoking is excessive)
      In this Temple of conventional hilarity,
    But the place is scarcely warmer
    Than the average performer
      With his stock-in-trade of commonplace vulgarity.
    There is nothing wise or witty
      In the energy he squanders
    On some quite unworthy ditty
      Full of dubious "_dooblontonders_."

[Illustration: The Music-Hall Comedian]

    For the singer labelled "comic"
    Is by nature economic-
      -Al of humour, and avoids originality;
    Like a drowning man he seizes
    Upon prehistoric wheezes,
      Which he honours with a loyal partiality,
    In accordance with the ruling
      Of a senseless superstition
    Which demands a form of fooling
      That is hallowed by tradition.

    Dressed in feminine apparel,
    With a figure like a barrel,
      And a smile of transcendental imbecility,
    All the humours he discloses
    Of such things as purple noses
      Or of matrimonial incompatibility;
    While the band (who would remind him
      That it never would forsake him)
    Keeps a bar or two behind him,
      But can never overtake him.

    Then he gives an imitation
    Of that mild intoxication
      Which is chronic in some sections of society,
    And we learn from his explaining
    How extremely entertaining
      And amusing is persistent insobriety;
    And we realise how funny
      Are the wives who nag and bicker,
    While the husbands spend their money
      Upon alcoholic liquor.

    He discusses, slyly winking,
    The delights of overdrinking,
      And describes his nightly orgies, which are numerous;
    How he comes home "full of damp," too,
    How he overturns the lamp, too,
      And does other things if possible more humorous.
    And we listen _con amore_,
      While our merriment redoubles,
    To the truly tragic story
      Of his dull domestic troubles.

    Next he tells us how "the lodger,"
    A cantankerous old codger,
      Asks another person's spouse to come and call for him;
    How he tumbles from a casement
    In an attic to the basement,
      Where the lady very kindly breaks his fall for him;
    And our peals of happy laughter,
      As he lands on her umbrella,
    Grow ungovernable after
      She has fractured her patella.

    'Tis a more polite performance
    Than "The Macs" and "The O'Gormans,"
      Who are artistes of the "knockabout" variety,
    Or those ladies in chemises
    Who undress upon trapezes
      With an almost imperceptible propriety;
    'Tis as worthy of encoring
      As the "Farmyard Imitator,"
    And a little bit less boring
      Than the "Lightning Calculator."

    It does not evoke our strictures,
    Like those dreadful "Living Pictures"
      Which the prurient wrote columns to the press about;
    'Tis no clever exhibition
    Like that tedious "Thought Transmission"
      Which we all of us disputed more or less about.
    But the balderdash and babble
      Of our too facetious hero,
    Tho' attractive to the rabble,
      Send our spirits down to zero.

    For we weary of his patter,
    Growing every moment flatter,
      On such subjects as connubial infelicity,
    And we find ourselves protesting
    Against everlasting jesting
      On the tragedies of conjugal duplicity.
    And we feel desirous very
      Of imposing _some_ restrictions
    On the humour that makes merry
      Over personal afflictions.

    Our disgust we cannot bridle
    When we see some public idol,
      Who is earning a colossal weekly salary,
    Having long ignobly pandered
    To the questionable standard
      Of intelligence that blooms in pit and gallery.
    We are easily contented,
      And our feelings we could stifle,
    If the comic man consented
      Just to raise his tone a trifle.

    If he shunned such risky questions
    As red noses, weak digestions,
      Drunkards, lodgers, twins and physical deformities;
    Ceased from casting imputations
    On his wretched "wife's relations,"
      Or from mentioning his "ma-in-law's" enormities;
    If he didn't sing so badly,
      And if _only_ he were funny,
    We would tolerate him gladly,
      And get value for our money!



XIII

THE CONVERSATIONAL REFORMER


    When Theo: Roos: unfurled his bann:
      As Pres: of an immense Repub:
    And sought to manufact: a plan
      For saving people troub:.
    His mode of spelling (termed phonet:)
    Affec: my brain like an emet:.

    And I evolved a scheme (_pro tem_)
      To simplify my mother-tongue,
    That so in fame I might resem:
      Upt: Sinc:, who wrote "The Jung:,"
    And rouse an interest enorm:
    In conversational reform.

    I grudge the time my fellows waste
      Completing words that are so comm:
    Wherever peop: of cult: and taste
      Habitually predom:.
    'T would surely tend to simpli: life
    Could they but be curtailed a trif:.

    For is not "Brev: the Soul of Wit"?
      (Inscribe this mott: upon your badge).
    The sense will never suff: a bit,
      If left to the imag:,
    Since any pers: can see what's meant
    By words so simp: as "husb:" or "gent:."

    When at some meal (at dinn: for inst:)
      You hand your unc: an empty plate,
    Or ask your aunt (that charming spinst:)
      To pass you the potat:,
    They have too much sagac:, I trust,
    To give you sug: or pep: or must:.

    If you require a slice of mutt:,
      You'll find the salfsame princ: hold good,
    Nor get, instead of bread and butt:,
      Some tapioca pudd:,
    Nor vainly bid some boon-compan:
    Replen: with Burg: his vacant can.

    At golf, if your oppon: should ask
      Why in a haz: your nib: is sunk.
    And you explain your fav'rite Hask:
      Lies buried in a bunk:,
    He cannot very well misund:
    That you (poor fooz:) have made a blund:.

    If this is prob:--nay, even cert:--
      My scheme at once becomes attrac:
    And I (pray pard: a litt: impert:)
      A public benefac:
    Who saves his fellow-man and neighb:
    A large amount of needless lab:.

    Gent: Reader, if to me you'll list:
      And not be irritab: or peev:,
    You'll find it of tremend: assist:
      This habit of abbrev:,
    Which grows like some infec. disease,
    Like chron: paral: or German meas:.

    And ev'ry living human bipe:
      Will feel his heart grow grate: and warm
    As he becomes the loy: discip:
      Of my partic: reform,
    (Which don't confuse with that, I beg,
    Of Brander Math: or And: Carneg:).

    "'Tis not in mort: to comm: success,"
      As Add. remarked; but if my meth:
    Does something to dimin: or less:
      The waste of public breath,
    My country, overcome with grat:
    Should in my hon: erect a stat:.

    My bust by Rod: (what matt: the cost?)
      Shall be exhib:, devoid of charge,
    With (in the Public Lib: at Bost:)
      My full-length port: by Sarge:,
    That thous: from Pitts: or Wash: may swarm
    To worsh: the Found: of this Reform.

    ....*....*....*....*

    Meanwhile I seek with some avid:
    The fav: of your polite consid:.



XIV

KING LEOPOLD

("_In dealing with a race that has been composed of cannibals for
thousands of years, it is necessary to use methods that best can shake
their idleness and make them realise the sanctity of labour._"--King
Leopold of Belgium on the Congo scandal.)


    People call him "knave" and "ogre" and a lot of kindred names,
      Or they label him as "tyrant" and "oppressor";
    The majority must wilfully misunderstand his aims
      To regard him in the light of a transgressor.
    For, to tell the honest truth, he's a benevolent old man
      Who attempts to do his "duty to his neighbour"
    By endeavouring to formulate a philanthropic plan
      Which shall demonstrate the "sanctity of labour."

    There were natives on the Congo not a score of years ago,
      Whose existence was a constant round of pleasure;
    Whose imperfect education had not ever let them know
      The pernicious immorality of leisure.
    They were merry little people, in their simple savage way,
      Not a thought to moral obligations giving;
    Quite unconscious of their duties, wholly ignorant were they
      Of the blessedness of working for a living.

    But a fond paternal Government (in Belgium, need I add?)
      Heard their story, and, with admirable kindness,
    Deemed it utterly improper, not to say a trifle sad,
      That the heathen should continue in his blindness.
    "Let us civilise the children of this most productive soil,"
      Said their agents, who proceeded to invade them;
    "Let us show these foolish savages the dignity of toil--
      If we have to use a hatchet to persuade them!"

    So they taught these happy niggers how unwise it was to shirk;
      They implored them not to idle or malinger;
    And they showed them there was nothing that encouraged honest work
      Like the loss of sev'ral toes or half a finger.
    When they fancied that their womenfolk were lonely or depress'd,
      They would chain them nice and close to one another,
    And they thoughtfully abducted ev'ry baby at the breast,
      To facilitate the labours of its mother.

[Illustration: King Leopold]

    So they made a point of parting ev'ry husband from his wife
      And dividing ev'ry maiden from her lover;
    If a workman drooped or sickened they would jab him with a knife,
      And then leave him by the roadside to recover.
    If he grumbled or grew restive they would amputate a hand,
      Just to show him how unsafe it was to blubber,
    Till with infinite solicitude they made him understand
      The necessity of cultivating "rubber."

    Thus the merry work progresses, as it must progress forsooth,
      While these pioneers are sharp and firm and wary,--
    And the Congo is reluctantly compelled to own the truth
      Of that motto "Laborare est orare."
    Though the Belgians sometimes wonder, on their tenderhearted days,
      (When the little children scream as they abduct them),
    If the natives CAN supply sufficient rubber to erase
      The effect of such endeavours to instruct them

    Tho' within the royal bosom a suspicion there may lurk
      That these practices offend the sister-nations,
    That one cannot safely advocate "the sanctity of work,"
      By a policy of theft and mutilations,--
    Yet wherever on the Congo Belgium's banner is unfurled,
      Where the atmosphere is redolent and sunny,
    I am sure the Monarch's methods must be giving to the world
      _Some_ ideas upon the "sanctity of money!"

    And, if so, I am not boasting when I mention once again
    That the Ruler of the Congo has not surely ruled in vain!



XV

"BART'S" CLUB

("_In my view, the most absolutely perfect club of all would be a club
where absolutely every man could get in, it mattered not what he had
done in the past._"--Bart Kennedy.)


    It fills, indeed, a long felt need,
      This institution, just arisen;
    We notice here that atmosphere
      Of restaurant and prison,
    Of green-room, gambling-hell, saloon,
    Which makes it an especial boon.

    That member there with close-cropped hair,
      Who noisily inhales his luncheon,
    His flattened nose has felt the blows
      Of many a p'liceman's truncheon;
    The premier cracksman of the City,
    Is Chairman of our House Committee!

    That bull-necked youth, with fractured tooth,
      Discussing Plato with his neighbour,
    Returned to-day from Holloway,
      And eighteen months' "hard labour";
    He's _such_ a gentleman, I think,
    --Or would be, if he didn't drink.

    We've thieves and crooks upon our books,
      And all the nimble-fingered gentry;
    The buccaneer is harboured here,
      The "shark" has instant entry.
    Blackmail is practised, too, by all,
    Who never heard of a black-ball!

    We gladly take the titled rake,
      The bankrupt and the unfrocked parson,
    All those whose vice is loading dice,
      Or bigamy, or arson.
    Most of our pilgrims have pursued
    The path of penal servitude.

    We've anarchists upon our lists,
      While regicides infest the smoke-room;
    (The _faux-bonhomme_ who brings a bomb
      Must leave it in the cloak-room).
    Ink for the forger we provide,
    And strychnine for the suicide.

    Each member's name is known to fame,
      As "green-goods man" or quack-physician;
    We welcome here the pseudo-peer,
      Or bogus politician.
    Within the shelter of our fold
    King Peter greets King Leopold.

    Our doors are barred to Scotland Yard;
      And no precautions are neglected.
    Come, then, with me, and you shall be
      Immediately elected,
    To what with confidence I dub
    An "absolutely perfect" club!



XVI

THE REVIEWER


    Pray observe the stern Reviewer!
      See with what a piercing look
    He impales, as with a skewer,
      This unlucky little book!
    Note his gestures of impatience,
      As he contemplates, perplex'd,
    The amazing illustrations
                Which adorn the text!

    Hear him mutter, as his swivel-
      Eye converges on the verse,
    "Any man who writes such drivel
      Must be capable of worse.
    Let it be my painful mission,
      As a literary man,
    To suppress the whole edition,
                If a critic can.

[Illustration: The Reviewer]

    "More than tedious ev'ry pome is;
      Ev'ry drawing less than true;
    Such a trite and trivial tome is
      Quite unworthy of review.
    On this balderdash no vocal
      Praises can my tongue bestow;
    To the dust-bin of some local
                Pulp-mill let it go!

    "There its paper, disinfected
      By some cunning artifice,
    Shall be presently directed
      To diviner ends than this.
    There its pages, expurgated
      By some alchemy abstruse,
    Shall at length be dedicated
                To a nobler use!"

    Grim, implacable Reviewer,
      Do not spurn it with a groan,
    Tho' your labours may be fewer
      If you leave my books alone!
    'Tis the chief of all your duties--
      Duties which you strive to shirk--
    To discover hidden beauties
                In an author's work.

    Jewels, though perchance elusive,
      Crowd this casket of a book;
    'Tis your privilege exclusive
      For these hidden gems to look.
    When you have adroitly caught them,
      Their delights you can explain
    To a public which has sought them
                For so long in vain.

    Tho' you whelm me with your strictures,
      Snubs which one might justly call
    (Like the artist's cruel pictures)
      The "unkindest _cuts_ of Hall"!
    Tho' your sneers be fierce and many,
      Honest censure I respect,
    And will meekly swallow any-
                Thing except neglect.

    Tho' your mouth be far from mealy,
      Tho' your pen be dipped in gall,
    Criticise me frankly, freely,--
      Better thus than not at all!
    Up the ladder I have crept un-
      Til I reached a middle rung,
    Do not let me die "unwept, un-
                Honoured and unhung."



L'ENVOI


    Go, little book, and coyly creep
      Beneath the pillows of the blest,
    Whence those who seek in vain for sleep
        Shall drag thee from thy nest;
    That so thy sedative aroma
    May lull them to a state of coma.

    The infant child who lies awake,
      Within its tiny trundle-bed,
    No soothing potion needs to take,
        If thou art duly read;
    And hosts of harassed monthly nurses
    Shall bless thy soporific verses.

    The invalid who cannot rest
      Has but at thy contents to glance
    To hug thee to his fevered breast
        And fall into a trance;
    And sleepless patients without number
    Shall hail thee harbinger of slumber.

    Go then, fond offspring of the Muse,
      Perform thy deadly work by night,
    Thou rich man's boon, thou widow's cruse,
        Thou orphan-child's delight!
    Appease the heirs from all the ages
    With balm from thine hypnotic pages!

    So in the palace of the king,
      The mansion of the millionaire,
    Thy readers shall combine to sing
        Thy praises ev'rywhere,
    Till folks in less exalted places
    Scream loudly for _Familiar Faces_!

    (When, if their cries are shrill and healthy,
    _I_ shall become extremely wealthy!)





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Familiar Faces" ***

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