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Title: Bevis - The Story of a Boy
Author: Jefferies, Richard, 1848-1887
Language: English
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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.

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VOL. 93.

October 22nd, 1887.



As has been observed earlier in this series, the Amateur Reciter is
influenced by a natural ambition to harrow his audience to the best of
his ability.

And, be it said, the average audience is not at all averse to being
harrowed--provided this is done with any science and refinement. When
persons are met together for social enjoyment, nothing apparently
affords them keener pleasure than a performance which produces certain
peculiar sensations, such as the feeling of partial want of control
over the facial nerves, smarting behind the eyes, increasing
obstruction in the throat, and a general conviction that, unless
something occurs to make them laugh at once, they will be irresistibly
compelled to sob like so many seals. It is, perhaps, a little odd--but
the taste exists, and must be taken into account. The sole drawbacks
are that, too often, the means adopted to secure the desired result
depend more than should be upon sentiment which might almost be
described as false; that the incidents occasionally have too little
relation to real life; and that, what might have proved eminently
touching, is marred by some involuntary association with the ludicrous
and grotesque. In his anxiety to preserve his pupils from such
pitfalls as these, _Mr. Punch_ offers an example in which the
blemishes he has hinted at have been sedulously avoided. It is at once
homely, wholesome, and tear-compelling--like the common onion. You
will find you produce a favourable impression at once by announcing it


(_You must come on with a general suggestion in your manner that
you are supposed to be the proprietor of an itinerant Cat and Canary
Troupe. Begin with a slow and somewhat depressed shake of the head, as
if in answer to imaginary inquirer._)

  No, we ain't performin' to-day, Sir, and the boys are all on the
  At seem' the mice in mournin', and the cats in chokers o' crape;
  But I'm giving the Show a rest, d'ye see? for I didn't feel up to
          the job,
  (_Pause--then subdued_) For my leadin' comejian's left me, Sir--
  (_Explanatory, perceiving you are not understood_)--the brindle
          kinairy--(_more impatiently_) Bob!
  What, ye don't remember? (_Surprise._) Not him as wore the toonic
          o' Turkey red?
  What rode in a gilded kerridge with a 'at an' plumes on his 'ed?
  And, as soon as we'd taken a tanner, 'ud fire a saloot from the
          gun?      [_Excitedly._
  There was Talent inside o' that bird, there was, or I never see it
          in one!
  (_Philosophic bitterness._) Well, he's soon forgot--but I've often
          thought as a
  _fish_ keeps longer than Fame!
  (_Sudden comprehension and restored cordiality._) Oh, ye didn't
          know him as _Bob_?... I see--no, that were his _private_
  I used to announce him in public on a more long-winded-er scale--
  I christened him "Gineral Moultky," (_apologetically_) which he
          _'ad_ rather gone at the tail;
  And a bird more popilar never performed on a peripathetic stage,
  He was allers sure of a round of applause as soon as he quitted
          the cage!
  For he thoroughly hentered into the part he was down for to play,
  And he never got "fluffy" nor "queered the pitch,"--leastwise,
          till the hother day.
  I thought he'd bin hoverexertin' hisself, and 'ud better be out of
          the bill,
  But it wasn't till yesterday hevenin I'd any ideer he was _ill_!
  Then I see he was rough on the top of his 'ed, and his tongue
          looked dry at the tip,
  And it dawned on me like a thunderbolt--"Great Evings!" I
          groaned,--"THE PIP!" (_Pause here, to emphasise the
          tremendous gravity of this discovery._)
  Well, I _'ad_ bin trainin' a siskin to hunderstudy the part,
          (_more ordinary tone for this_)
  And I sent him on--(_tolerantly_)--which he done his best, but he
          'adn't no notion o' _Hart_!
  So I left the pitch as soon as I could, and (meanin' to make more
  I cut across one o' them buildin' sites as was left a runnin' to
  There was yawning pits by the flinty road, as rendered the
          prospeck dull,
  And 'ere and there a winderless 'ouse, with the look of a grinning
  (_Try to paint this scene visibly for the audience; background is
          essential for what is to come._)
  A storm had bin 'anging about all day (and it _broke_, you'll
          remember, at last!)
  So I 'urried on, it was gettin' late--and the Gineral sinking fast!
  (_You are now approaching the harrowing part, but keep yourself in
          reserve for the present._)
  But all on a sudding I 'eard him give a kind of a feeble flap,
  And I stops, and sez in a 'opeful way, "Why, you're up in yer
          sterrups, old chap."

  (_A bold metapher applied to a bird, but characteristic in the

  (_Sink your voice._) Then I see by the look of his sorrowful eye
          he was thinkin': "Afore I go,
  I'd like to see one performance--for the last--of the dear old

  (_Note, and make your audience feel, the touch of Nature here._)

  And I sez, with a ketch in my voice, "You _shall_!" and I whipped
          the sheet off the board,
  I stuck up the pair o' trestles, and fastened the tightrope cord;
  Then I propped the Gineral up in a place from which he could see
          the 'ole,
  And I set the tabbies a-sparring, and the mice a-climbing the pole.

  (_Build up the whole scene gradually; the dreary neighbourhood,
  the total absence of bystanders, the lurid threatening sky, and
  the humble entertainment proceeding in the foreground._)

  I put my company through their tricks--and they made my hold eyes
  For they never performed for no orjence like they did last night
          for _him_!
  Them tabbies sparred with a science you'd 'ardly expect from sich,
  And the mouse (what usually boggles) fetched flags with never no
  Aye, we worked the Show in that lonely place to the sound o' the
          mutterin' storm,
  Right through till we come to the finish--the part _he_ used to
  He was out of the cage in a minnit--egged on by puffessional pride,
  He pecked that incompitent siskin till he made him stand o' one
  Well, I felt like 'aving a good cry _then_--but the time
  'adn't come for that,
  So I slipped his uniform over his 'ed, and tied on his little
          cock-hat.      [_With great tenderness._
  And he set in his tiny kerridge, and was drored along by the mice,
  A-looking that 'appy and pleased with hisself, I got 'em to do it
          twice!      [_Tone of affectionate retrospection._
  The very tabbies they gazed on him then with their heyes dilatin'
          in haw,
  As he 'obbled along to the cannon, with the match in his wasted
  I never 'eard that cannon afore give sech a tremenjious pop--
  (_Solemnly._) And a peal o' thunder responded, as seemed all over
          the shop!
  For a second Bob stood in the lightning, so noble, and bold, and
  Then ... a stagger ... a flutter ... a broken chirp--(_you can add
  immensely to the effect here by a little appropriate action.
  Pause,and give time for a solemn hush to fall upon the audience,
  then, with a forced calm, as if you were doing violence to your
  own feelings_)--he was orf, Sir,--(_a slight gulp_)--he'd 'opped
  the twig!

  (_Second Pause: then more briskly, but still with strong
  emotion to the close_)

  So now you've the hexplanation of the crape round the tabbies'
  And kin understand why we close to-day "in token of our respecks."

       *       *       *       *       *

The time has now come for _Mr. Punch_ to bid his pupils farewell,
which he does with a pleasure that he has some reason to hope will be
not unreciprocated. During the few months over which this course has
extended, he has made it his aim to furnish the young carpet-knight
for the fray as completely as possible, and, if the Amateur Reciter
be not (as some hold) already invulnerable, the panoply of pieces with
which he has been armed here should go far to render him so.

All _Mr. Punch_ would ask in return is that, when any one of his young
friends is retiring, flushed with triumph, amidst an intoxicating
murmur of faint applause and renewed conversation, after delivering
some composition of his Preceptor's, he will not suffer himself to be
completely dazzled by success, but will remember the means which have
contributed thereto with such gratitude as he may be able to command.

       *       *       *       *       *

"DISCOVERIES AT POMPEII."--Under this heading we read in the _Times_
that four silver urns of fair size were found, also four smaller
vessels, eight open vases, four cups ornamented with leaves, &c.
"Urns" for hot water: "smaller vessels," tea-pots; "eight open vases,"
sugar-basins; "four cups," tea-cups, "ornamented with leaves,"--very
fanciful design, probably tea-leaves,--and there we have before us
"Five o'clock Tea, as known to the Ladies of Pompeii."

       *       *       *       *       *



_The Modern Autolycus sings_:--

  When parvenus begin to peer,
    With heigh! the ribbon on the coat!
  Why, then the love of rank shines clear,
    In base-blood, spite of the People's vote.

  The medal gleaming on the breast!
    With heigh! the red coins how they ring!
  The Citizens clamour with eager zest,
    Despite their hate of crown and king!

  The _bourgeois_ soul star-honours wants,
    With heigh! the peacock-aping jay!
  The hunger for honours finds singular haunts,
    Their sale is a traffic that's bound to pay.

I have served Princes, and, in my time, worn Imperial livery, but now
I am in the Republic's service.

  But shall I mourn for that, or fear?
    Gold glitters, silver's bright,
  And decorations not _too_ dear
    Citizen-souls delight.

  If pedlars may have leave to live,
    Though "honours" cram their budget,
  A good account I yet may give;
    If caught,--I can but trudge it!

  Ribbons of all colours, lo!
  Crosses--mark their gleam and glow!
  Blue as violets, red as roses,
  Buy them swift whilst power dozes!
  Decorated thus you'll clamber
  To court-height or lady's chamber.
  Golden talismans are these.
  _Parvenus_ may pass with ease
  With these gauds to heights the leal
  Buy with brain or stainless steel.
  Come buy of me, come buy, come buy!
  Cheap "honours" now is all the cry!
        Buy ribbons--like tape,
        Blue blood you may ape,
  They're dainty, and not too dear-a!
        With peers you may tread,
        Yet hold up your head,
  They're the newest and finest of wear-a!
      Come to the pedlar,
      Money's a meddler,
  That gets _all_ men by the ear-a!

  [_Has HIS ear suddenly pulled by Madame La République._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: RETALIATION.


_Old Lady (quite able to take care of herself)._ "I BEG YOUR PARDON,


       *       *       *       *       *


I've bin informed, on such orthority as I carnt for a moment dout,
wiz., Professor BASSINGHAM of the White Cross Brigade, that a cumpany
has bin formed in Amerrikey to perswade hewerybody as writes English
to spell it as I does. I never knowd afore but what I spelt my
spelling like other littery gennelmen, but I'm told now that I don't,
but that I spells it more nateral like, and so it appears that after
about 2 years thinkin of it over, the gratest Orthers in Amerrykey has
all resolved to follow my nobel xample and do as I does, as neer as
they can git to it. So they has formed theirselves into the "Spelling
Reform Association," and has got a Presedent, and Wise Presidents,
and a Counsel, and a Seketerry, and all the blooming luxurys of a rich
Cumpany, and has jest published their fust Number and charges fore
shillins for it, as I nose to my corst, cos I've jest bin and bort

Well, having jest a lezzure hour or 2, I've bin a trying to read my
noo book, witch is suttenly to me a dear book, but I greeves to say
as I don't find werry much in it, as I understands. They suttenly uses
sum werry powerful words, and sez sum werry powerful things, and
tries their werry best to spell like me, but I don't think as I can
troothfully say as they always suckeeds. They spels _hed_ like me, and
_helth_, and _dropt_, and _enuf_; but who ever seed me use sitch words
as _thru_, or _cof_, or _thuro_, or _tuf_, or _ughly_?

Professor CHADBAND, L.L.D., says that "our senseless spelling makes
him ashamed of his language, and yet thru habit he continues it."
DAVID D. FIELD, L.L.D., of New York, talks of our Nobel English Tung
"being disfigured," and says I ought to be haild as a deliverer!

Professor HADLEY says, "our language is shockingly speld." Lord LYTTON
says, "it is a lying round-about puzl-heded delusion!" and our own
heloqwent Sir C. E. TREVELYAN, K.C.B., says, "it is a labyrinth, a
chaos, an absurdity, and a disgrace!" and the Hedditer of the book
winds it all up by saying that "it is the wurst there is!" Poor old
English Langwidge! I ony wonders how SHAKESPEAR and MILTON, and
BURNS managed to get on with it, tho suttenly BURNS was a dredful
bad speller. Why he used to spell "who" _wha_, and "have" _hae_, and
"whom" _wham_! But then he was only a poor plowman, and not an Hed
Waiter. I of coarse little thort wen I fust commenced my umbel efforts
to instruckt and enliten the world with skimmings from my daily
dairy, that I shood ever be held up to the admirashun and gratitood of
English mankind as a deliverer of our nobel English Tung from its
many defecks, but I of course acceps the pursishun, and, I ope, with
becoming umility, and if the Spelling Reform Association chooses, as
seems ony nateral, to elect me as one of their Wice Presidents, with a
nice cumferal little salary paid quarterly, in adwance, I shall not at
all object to become also one of their regular contribbuters, or ewen
to hedit sum of their harticles as is really not quite hup to the mark
in the spelling line.

Professor F. J. CHILD, P.D., L.H.D., cums it rayther strong when he
says, "Sum hav a religious aw, and sum hay an erth-born passion for
our establisht spelling. I don't much care how anybody spells, so
he spels different from that." But praps one of the werry greatest
staggerers in my four-shilling staggering book, is what the Heditter
says, wiz., "A filologist who should uphold our present mode of
spelling, would be like an astronomer who should teach that the Erth
is based on a Turtl."

I think that's about the most wunderfullest sentense as ewen a
Hedhitter ever wrote, and they does sumtimes cum out with a startler
or 2. Fust with regard to the spelling. As I don't in the least know
what a Filologist means I carnt of course say much as to that, but if
there is one mortal thing in this butiful world of ours as I does know
sumthink about, I should think as all the ciwilized world woud agree
as it was Turtle, and I refuses at once, without no manner of dowt,
to pardon the man who coud carmly and cooly sit down and write that
almost sacred name without his final Hee! Turtl, indeed! why it amost
makes me shudder as I rites it down; and jest before Lord Mare's Day
too, why it's hadding hinsult to hinjury. But ewen that isn't all the
marwels of this most egstrordinary sentense. What in the world can he
mean by saying as the world is based on a Turtl?

Of course no one can posserbly know better nor me, that without that
glorious addition to a gorgeous _Manu_, the werry hiest classes of
society, such as Princes, and Lord Mares, and Bishops, and Aldermen,
woud find it remarkabel difficult to git through their harduous
dooties, but ewen I should never have once thort of saying that the
hole world is _based_ upon it, which I spose means, carnt posserbly
git on without it. No, if there's one thing as I strongly objecs to,
it's xaggerashun, and in this werry partickler case I boldly charges
it against the Hedhitter of "Spelling," price four shillings, even
though he and his frends does do me the hi honour of holding me hup as
a bennyfacter to all English spelling races.


Pose Cript.--I sees as how a gent of the xstrordinary name of "EIZAK
PITMAN" has been and gorn and rote to the _Times_ on this werry same
subjeck as me; but I'm two busy jest now with prepperrations for the
himportantest of all days--need I say the Ninth of Nowember--to be
abel to give all my hole mind to it, as it seems to require. But I at
once, without not no hezzytation and dowt, gives my caudial assent
to his Golden Rule, wiz: "When in dout, selekt the werry simpletonest


       *       *       *       *       *

"IRISH PROSECUTIONS."--In the _Times_ of Friday last, under the
foregoing heading, that most contentious and sledge-hammering
correspondent, Lord BRAMWELL, came down heavily, very heavily, on the
unfortunate "American Lawyer," Mr. MUNDY, who had presumed to express
an opinion opposed to that of my Lord BRAMWELL. Of course, after this,
there's an end of the American Lawyer, and, at all events, up to
the date abovementioned, Lord BRAMWELL may say, triumphantly, "_Sic
transit gloria Mundy!_"

       *       *       *       *       *



                                           _Eaton Hall, Saturday._


DEAR TOBY,--I write to you from here where I stay a day or two on my
way to Dublin. I expect by the time it reaches you I will be installed
in the Chief Secretary's Lodge, and the National League may prepare to
sit up. I have been spending a week or two very agreeably in Scotland,
a little out of the way of letters or newspapers. I am told there has
been quite a demand for me, a sort of popular outcry that I should
forthwith proceed to Ireland. This is, of course, not unflattering.
It indicates a general belief which I, for one, am not disposed to
contest, that if Ireland is to be saved, I'm the man to do it. That's
all very well; but it is, doncha know, something of a boah to be thus
bothered at a time when one had two or three pleasant engagements on
hand. It used to be just the same in the House last Session. If I did
not really live there, entering with the Mace and the SPEAKER, and
leaving only at the cry of "Who goes home?" there were impetuous
protests. I put in KING-HARMAN at Question time, but they wouldn't
have him. Often, as I lay on the sofa in the Chief Secretary's room,
looking over _Punch_, or reading the proofs of the forthcoming new
edition of my _Defence of Philosophic Doubt_, I have heard the distant
growls of the Irish Members when KING-HARMAN rose to answer a question
addressed to me. Quite touching this personal attachment. At the same
time a little embarrassing.

Now I am really going to Dublin, and shall spend a cheerful November
there. GRANDOLPH, in his genial way, has tried to make things pleasant
by reminding me that from the drawing-room window of the Chief
Secretary's Lodge I can see the place where poor FREDDY CAVENDISH
fell. "They're sure to take a pot shot at you," he says; "but you're
all right. Unless a man can make sure of hitting a lamp-post at
fifty paces, it will be no use his trying to bring you down." A nice
companionable man GRANDOLPH. Always tries to say something pleasant.
But really I don't pay much attention to his kindly apprehensions. I
shall be boahed, I daresay; but not by the passage of a bullet, or the
thrust of a knife.

People evidently expect great things to follow on my arrival in
Dublin. To the accident of my holiday absence in Scotland they
attribute all the failures of the Executive. "If BALFOUR had been
there," they say, "W. O'BRIEN would now be comfortably in gaol and T.
D. S., Lord Mayor, would be laid by the heels." I weally don't
know. Fact is, I have not closely followed up affairs either in the
newspapers or despatches. There have been some rows, I understand.
But that is not unusual in Ireland. Where people are right in
kindly looking to me to restore peace and order in Ireland is in the
supposition that I have a plan. That is true, though I cannot claim
personal and private property in it. Fact is the plan is CROMWELL'S.
It worked admirably when originally put in practice, and I do not see
any reason why it should fail now. There are, of course, difficulties
in the way; prejudice to be overcome, legal forms to be dealt with,
and that sort of thing. There is also, next Session of Parliament to
be met, and awkward questions by TIM HEALY and the rest. But they
need not think to intimidate me by such reflections. I shall put
up KING-HARMAN to answer all inconvenient questions. Besides, it is
exceedingly probable that in the full development of my plan the Irish
Members who last Session distinguished themselves by "wanting to know"
will be unavoidably absent from their places. It is an awful nuisance
breaking in upon a man's holiday; but it is a difficulty that has to
be faced, and as there seems a popular inclination to look to me to
settle it, I suppose there is nothing to be done but to grapple with

One additional drawback from a quite unexpected source makes itself
known by correspondence with my colleagues. They are all in a dreadful
state of fussy alarm. My uncle the Markiss begs me to be careful.
"Firmness without Rashness" is an excellent copy-head, which W. H.
SMITH sends me in fine round-hand from the distant Mediterranean. I
wish they'd all mind their own affairs. In the intervals of my other
occupations I can answer for Ireland, and if any awkwardness arises, I
can put up KING-HARMAN to answer for me. So, dear TOBY, don't you
have any anxiety on my account. Some half-hour after dinner, with the
contemplative toothpick at hand, and my heels on the table, I will, if
the subject occurs to me, settle the Irish Question.

                     Yours faithfully,

                                        ARTH-R B-LF-R.

       *       *       *       *       *


That a child prodigy should have been able twice last week to fill St.
James's Hall to overflowing, may not perhaps speak at the first glance
very highly for the artistic instincts of the British Public, who, as
a thoughtful musical critic remarks in the pages of a contemporary,
are sometimes "more impressed by a little boy in an Eton jacket
than by the finest music that might be played in less exciting
circumstances;" still it cannot be denied that the couple of recitals
referred to, given by Master JOSEF HOFMANN, were altogether two
exceptionally brilliant performances. Commenting, however, on the
little fellow's efforts to give a good rendering of a slow movement,
the critic already alluded to asks how, in a long-drawn melody which
is a matter of passion and of feeling, "a child of eleven can have
much feeling or any passion?" Surely this is hypercriticism. Ask any
boy of eleven who has had a whipping, or has come off second best in a
fight with his little sister, whether he hasn't much feeling;--and as
for passion! Well: but, perhaps this is not exactly what the critic
means. Nevertheless, he proceeds rather pertinently to ask whether
this singularly gifted young artist will be suffered, "when he has
served the immediate purposes of those who have control over him,
to continue his studies in a rational manner and far from the
fierce light and the hot-house temperature pertaining to the concert
platform?" As Master JOSEF HOFMANN is already booked for an American
tour, there does not seem any prospect of this highly desirable
consummation, at least in the near future. Judging, therefore, from
little Master JOSEF'S present arrangements, one would be disposed to
apostrophise him sympathetically in the language of Dr. WATTS, and

  "Night after night, you'll prove a sight
    To draw the cute Yankee,
  Because your little hands were made
    To stretch from C to C!"

Still, as he is an unquestionable genius who has a future before
him, it is to be hoped that he won't be "worked out" early at high
pressure, and stimulated by a success that will only blunt his powers
by depriving him of that desire for true progress in his art by which
alone they can be legitimately developed. "Not too much gaslight, some
practice, and plenty of battledore and shuttlecock," is the proper
_recipe_ for little Master JOSEF. With this he can't go wrong, and
will, without doubt, if he stick to it, command the musical world of
the future as surely as he has astonished that of to-day.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE CHANNEL! Try Mons. M. L. MAYER'S Remedy, to be provided on October
24 up to the middle of November, and probably longer, if all goes
well, at the Remedy Theatre--no--at the Royalty Theatre, where he
intends giving a season of French plays, and brings M. COQUELIN, Mmes.
CHAUMONT and JANE MAY,--not all at once but one at a time,--over to
afford amusement to those Londoners who can't afford amusement
in Paris, or who object to the sea-passage, or who cannot spare
sufficient time for the trip. M. COQUELIN has with him a fair-sized
bag of tricks which includes, among other things, _Don Cæsar de
Bazan_, and he means to devote three-fourths of one evening's
entertainment to monologues, among which, Mr. BEERBOHM TREE will be
delighted to hear, is announced _Gringoire_. M. MAYER, will of course,
see that his stars are well supported, and the public, delighted to
save the sea-voyage, will support M. MAYER.

       *       *       *       *       *


_By Victor Who-goes-Everywhere._


THE suggestion made a month ago by a "Salubrity Abroad," (now happily
a "Salubrity at home") that the above title would make a good heading
for an all-round-about theatrical and entertainment article in _Mr.
Punch's_ pages, is at length carried out. In the character of a hero
conquering difficulties, I have been here, there, and everywhere. My
first triumph was at the Gaiety Theatre, where (after surmounting all
obstruction) I secured a place from whence _Miss Esmeralda_ could be
watched in comfort. This piece is called a "melodramatic burlesque,"
in two Acts, but I confess I failed to distinguish either the
melodrama or the burlesque. It was, however, well mounted with
good scenery and pretty dresses. It had further the advantage of an
excellent stage-manager in Mr. CHARLES HARRIS, and a no less excellent
dance inventor in Mr. JOHN D'AUBAN, but of the book the less that is
said the better. Frankly, it is not amusing. This being the case I
was not surprised to find the names of its authors printed in the
programme in a type just half the size accorded to the style and title
of "the producer." The acting calls for no particular comment. Mr.
LONNEN sings an Irish song excellently well, but is less diverting
when he trusts to attitudinising as a provocative to merriment. Miss
MARION HOOD'S charming face is sweeter than her voice, and Miss FANNIE
LESLIE'S singing is as welcome now as ever it was--it recalls many
a vocal triumph of the past. Mr. GEORGE STONE as _Gringoire_ is more
broadly comic than Mr. BEERBOHM TREE in a somewhat similar _rôle_ in
the _Ballad Monger_. Both the Misses BLANCHE are all that could be
desired in two subordinate characters. In the last Act there is a
"Pyramid Ballet,"--which is slightly perplexing. Until my attention
was pointedly called to the fact that I was watching a terpischorean
demonstration of a game of billiards, I was under the impression that
some of the intricacies of the plot of VICTOR HUGO'S _Notre Dame_
were being very cleverly explained to me in easily followed dumb show.
Perhaps the best thing (barring the Irish song) in the whole piece
is an ingenious dance of Warders and Prisoners in Scene I., Act 2. In
alluding to the list of the company I should not have forgotten to
say that the names of that admirable comedian Mr. H. LESLIE and that
evergreen queen of burlesque, Miss E. FARREN, are conspicuous by
their absence. In spite of this very serious drawback, no doubt Miss
_Esmeralda_ will be as successful as it deserves to be. The scenery,
dresses, and music, are alone worth a visit. And when I say this I
leave out the acting, the singing and the dancing.

I also went to the Royal Aquarium the other afternoon, and witnessed
the performances of a troupe of genuine Russian Wolves. If I _had_ to
appear in public myself with a company of performing animals, I think
I should prefer poodles, or white mice, though, as a spectacle, wolves
are undoubtedly more thrilling. I don't know that these particular
wolves did much; but the really striking fact, of course, was their
condescension in doing anything, and it was certainly "pretty to see"
them jumping a gate, and arranging themselves picturesquely on chairs,
with just sufficient display of grinning jaws to make the audience
congratulate themselves that the stage was fenced round by temporary
iron railings. The creatures are evidently deeply attached to the
Professor, who has so ably prepared them for public life. I was
convinced of this by the effusion with which one after another
advanced and kissed his forehead, on receiving a slight hint to that
effect from a whip. But to be kissed--however tenderly--by a wolf,
must be a creepy sensation. On the occasion when I was present we were
afforded an additional, and I may say an unrehearsed, sensation after
the act-drop fell. There was a scurry behind, a shout, and then--a
great jagged rent in the curtain. People in the front row of stalls
looked uncomfortable--it did seem very much as if one of the wolves
had determined to "take a call" on his own account, but it was merely
a little mishap with one of the railings. However, there was no real
cause for alarm in any case, for an audience would have had ample
time to escape while the wolf was amusing himself with the orchestra,
which, fortunately, is a remarkably good one.

After the Wolves, by way of contrast, I paid a visit to La Belle
FATMA. On delivery of a shilling, I, with other members of the Public,
was passed in to a screened-off portion of the Imperial Theatre. A
stout French gentleman seated himself at a piano below the stage, and
the curtain rose presently, disclosing the fair FATMA and her troupe
seated in a row, like a new variety of Christy Minstrels. With regard
to the principal lady, I am bound to say that her charms did not seem
to me to have been at all overestimated, and her portraits upon the
posters actually do her less than justice. But this is a matter of
opinion; and I must confess that, after all, it was not upon the
peerless FATMA that my eyes were most riveted. There was a stout
old lady in a turban, two places from her--_such_ an old lady! with
immense black eyebrows, meeting over flashing dark eyes, and a massive
Oriental nose, a wide sternly compressed mouth, and three chins. Upon
her knees she held a gourd-shaped drum, which she smacked severely
at intervals; she might have sat for CORNELIA polishing one of her
"jewels"; and when she sang, the illusion was complete!

As to the performance, it was Oriental; and no description can
convey much more. We had an Overture on the familiar "Rum-tum-tum,
tum-a-tum-tum-tum, tum-a-tum" theme, which revealed considerable
"staying power" on both sides of the footlights. Then one member of
the _troupe_ after another advanced, and, if a lady, _chassé_'d and
revolved with slowly waving arms, and an expression that seemed to
imply that she would take more pains if it were only worth while; if
a man, he capered and grinned and shouted in a manner which, at all
events, infinitely amused the performer himself. While this was going
on, the old lady continued to "spank"--there really is no better term
for it--her drum in a sort of grim _rêverie_, and a young person
by her side emitted piercing shrieks by way of enlivening the
proceedings. There was a mysterious One on the stage, who reminded me
of an immense dice-box muffled in muslin; this, it turned out, was the
COLOSSUS of SOUSSE, to whom was entrusted the function of "presenting"
Mademoiselle FATMA at the close of the performance. This seemed
superfluous, particularly as the excellent Colossus had no notion of
doing more than taking her by the hand and stalking two paces forward.
It was all over in a quarter of an hour or so; and, for my own part, I
considered the old lady in the turban alone worth the paltry shilling
charged for admission.

I have also been to TERRY'S Theatre, where great precautions are taken
to prevent fire. Everything, more or less, is labelled "Exit," and,
instead of doors, in several parts of the house there are curtains.
On the whole it must be a good theatre to escape from. This is worth
noting, if the performances are wearisome.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_To Angelica, who bids him publish._)

  In Memory's mystical hazes
    I see a vast Gander and grey,
  I see the small boy that he chases
    At the head of a hissing array:
    How I wept when they brought me to bay,
  How I pleaded in vain for a truce!
    Too frightened to shoo them away,
  I could never say Boh to a Goose!

  I have lived through a number of phases,
    I have rhymed of the grave and the gay,
  But the clatter of critical phrases,
    But the moralist armed for the fray,
    I have fled in unseemly dismay,
  Since the Gander--'tis all my excuse--
    For, in brief, since that terrible day--
  I could never say Boh to a Goose!

  It was fabled of old that in places
    Grow goose-bearing trees by the way,
  Where bough within bough interlaces
    Green geese flutter down from the spray;
    In reviews, at first nights of the play,
  These shrubs are in general use,
    And I would not encounter them, nay,
  I could _never_ say Boh to a Goose!


  ANGELICA! bid me essay
    The deeds of a WALLACE or BRUCE,
  But talk not of _publishing_, pray--
    I could never say Boh to a Goose!

       *       *       *       *       *

IRISH APPOINTMENT EXTRAORDINARY (_subject to the kind permission
of Sir Bernard Burke, C.B., LL.D._).--The Right Hon. JOSEPH
O'CHAMBERLAIN, M.P., to be Ulster-King-of-Arms.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE EMPIRE THEATRE.--"_L'Empire c'est la_ pay 46 per cent.--like the

       *       *       *       *       *


_Professor Chatterleigh._ "BY GEORGE! I'M SO HUNGRY I CAN'T _TALK!_"

_Fair Hostess (on hospitable thoughts intent)._ "OH, I'M _SO_ GLAD!"]

       *       *       *       *       *


(_With apologies to the Shade of the Author of "Al Aarof."_)

    [I have read ... that I have come to Ulster to revive
    religious bigotry, to rekindle the embers of party strife,
    and to revive ancient feuds which are now in a fair way to
    be forgotten. I can assure you that these are not the objects
    which I propose to myself. (_Laughter._)--_Report of Mr.
    Chamberlain's Speech in Belfast._]

_Erin's Guardian Angel sings_:--

  I came (by the steamer)
    A cross the wild spray.
  No bigot, no dreamer,
    To moon time away.
  BRIGHT lingers to ponder,
    And make tart replies;
  But I come, from yonder,
    Drawn down from the skies.
  With love I am laden,
    Peace sits on my brow.
  No, sweet Ulster maiden,
    My game is _not_ row!
  Arise! from your dreaming,
    In bright Orange bowers,
  To duties beseeming,
    Your fame and past powers.
  My presence expresses
    My fondness for you;
  (My game no one guesses,
    They read it askew)
  Oh, how without you, love,
    Can Ireland be blest?
  _You_'re loyal, _you_'re true, love,
    Mad traitors the rest.
  I shake from my wing
  Each hindering thing.
  The black Parnellite
  Would weigh down my flight.
  The G. O. M.'s messes,
    I leave them apart,
  His lures and his jesses,
    His tricks and his art.

  W. G.! W. G.! Ah!
    My old artful one,
  You had an idea
    With you I should run.
  No! it is my will
    On the breezes to toss
  At caprice, or be still
    Like a lone albatross.
  Daring duckling? That's past!
    Stormy petrel? That's flown!
  I'm a halcyon at last,
    A new _rôle_,--and my own!

  W. G. Ah! Whoever
    Thine "items" may be,
  For ever I sever
    My fortunes from thee.
  Thou hast bound many eyes
    In sophistical sleep,
  But the angel that flies
    Will _thy_ vigilance keep?
  O Walker! (Again
    A rhetorical flower
  From thy full-teeming brain!)
    I have passed a brief hour
  In those same cipherings
    Which you fudge--let that pass!
  But my own view of things
    Is not modell'd, alas!
  On _yours_--none of the clearest--
    But then, that's your way--
  'Tis one of the queerest;
    _Do_ you find it pay?
  Ah! love moved the smiles
    That beamed forth on my rest
  On the greenest of Isles.
    Its _Scotch_ natives are best,
  For they have in their keeping
    Its wealth and its trade,
  And Sedition, unsleeping,
    Has spoilt, I'm afraid,
  The true Pat of the Island.
    _He_ burns to be free,
  His bosom holds guile, and
    His bonnet a bee.
  Go to! Let them slumber,
    The Home-Ruling lot
  Are not the huge number
    They tell us--that's rot!
  I came to awaken,
    An Angel of Peace!
  I'm bound to be taken
    For such ere I cease.
  PARNELL'S spell makes PAT slumber,
    Its witchery is test,
  And your Orange-host's number
    Must manage the rest!

       *       *       *       *       *


DEAR MR. PUNCH,--Will you please ask the _Times_ not to allow such
unpleasant subjects to be introduced into its columns as there was
last Wednesday,--that is, judging by the heading on page 8, "The Birch
and the Primitive Seat," which of course none of us fellows read (one
line of it was enough for me), and if there is another of the sort, we
shall vote that the _Times_ isn't taken in here in future, and I don't
think the _Times_ would like that. A word from you will be sufficient,
I am sure.

                     Your Constant Reader,

                        UPPER LOWER MIDDLETON.

            _Eton College, Bucks, near Windsor, England._

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. RAM says she couldn't stop in an out-of-the-way country-place,
give up society, and live like a Helmet in the desert.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: BRITISH FRENCH.



       *       *       *       *       *


_Off to Ireland!_--At last. COLLINGS with me, of course:--rather
grumpy, because SALISBURY'S got the credit of passing the Allotments
Bill, instead of himself. Still, JESSE better than nobody. Would
create bad impression to visit Belfast without an _entourage_.

_In Steamer._--Look up my Irish History--or rather, JESSE'S Irish
History, which he's borrowed from Birmingham Free Library. An Alderman
_can_ do that sort of thing. Also examine revolver. Not accustomed to
carrying one. What is the best place for it? JESSE says, "left-hand
coat-tail pocket, decidedly, because then you can whip it out in
a twinkling." JESSE'S confidence contagious--he talks as if he
had always been in the habit of "whipping-out" revolvers, like a
cow-boy,--or a "three-acres-and-a-cow-boy." Do as he advises.
Very uncomfortable feeling. Sit down on revolver in a moment of
forgetfulness, and nearly blow Captain's head off. Captain irritated.
Asks me for "ransom." Ridiculous!

_Belfast._--No end of a reception. Drive through the principal
streets. Enthusiastic populace insist on taking horses out of carriage
and pulling it themselves. Gratifying, but should feel safer with the
horses. Why _will_ COLLINGS bow? I'm the person to bow, obviously.
Bad taste, but don't like to stop him. Believe the mob _take_ him for
me--or why do they cheer him so?

_At Hotel._--Just found out reason of enthusiasm evoked by appearance
of JESSE. _He's got on an Orange tie!_ Ask him, reproachfully, why
he did this? Pretends it was a mere accident--forgot that orange was
favourite Ulster colour. Don't want a religious riot, so make him take
it off. JESSE getting grumpier. Can't help it.

_Evening._--Before going to meeting, had better find out what
Belfast chiefly famous for. Ask COLLINGS. Replies "linen-shirts and
handkerchiefs." Try to put him in good humour by remarking that "_he_
seems shirty." Is there no other historical fact connected with place?
"Yes," he replies, "visit of Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL." Wish he hadn't
mentioned latter event. Dispiriting. Reminds one of proposed National
Party, with self and RANDOLPH as sole leaders--and sole followers,
too, it seems.

_At Hotel--after Speech._--Great success. Felt horribly inclined to
start another Home Rule plan--my fifth--but fortunately refrained.
Instead of dismemberment of Empire, I offered more Members to Ulster.
Ulster people saw the justice of this arrangement at once. Told 'em
there were "two Irelands." Isn't one Ireland enough, however?

_Coleraine._--A triumphal arch, with "Welcome to English Peasant
Emancipators" on it. Stupid to bracket COLLINGS with me in this way.
Receive threatening letter. Reminds me of my revolver. JESSE examines
it with the air of a professional gunsmith, critically. Appears quite
hurt at its condition; says, "I've sat on it so often he doubts if it
would go off now," and recommends my carrying a "bowie-knife" instead.
Am surprised at JESSE'S acquaintance with deadly weapons. Ask him what
historical event took place at Coleraine. Says he doesn't know and
doesn't care. But what's he here for except to keep me posted up in
local details? Hint to him that "I hope I may be able to offer him
post of President of Local Government Board in my future Ministry."
Replies (rudely, I think) that "he'll wait till I'm asked to form
one." _Query_--doesn't air of Ulster exercise demoralising effect on
English politicians? Is this the "Ulster Custom" one's heard so much
about? RANDOLPH a case in point.

_Back again._--Coleraine speech excellent, though I say it, as
shouldn't. Cheered to the echo. So was JESSE, hang him! Shan't take
_him_ to Canada with me. Now for a study of the habits of deep-sea
fish in the pages of a Natural Science Primer.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_By a Belated Oarsman._)

  Come, little Maid, to the cracked piano,
    The semi-grand in the coffee-room;
  We'll take your harmonies all _cum grano_,
    For the strings vibrate like the crack of doom.
    Over the lawn the flat clouds loom,
  And when they lighten the rain falls faster;
  Like gossips who relish a friend's disaster
    The ducks quack loud in the rain-ruled gloom.

  I've studied the cracks in the ceiling-plaster,
    And the statuettes with their stolid leer,
  And the landscape visions of some Young Master,
    Who viewed the world through a haze of beer.
    We've done as much with the hostel's cheer
  As sane men may _in corpore sano_;
    So come, little Maid, to the cracked piano.
  Play us "_The Battle of Prague_," my dear.

  The silence clouds, like a potion shaken,
    As the limp strings jar to an ancient pain;
  Their light and sweetness no touch can waken,
    And only the dregs of a tone remain.
    The silk-sewn music with fray and stain
  Swoons on the keys at the urgent stages,
    And the little Maid, as she props the pages,
  Just murmurs, "Bother!" and starts again.

  And the streaming window again engages
    The thoughts that stray from the field of Prague;
  And the moping birds in their gauze-girt cages,
    And the wax-work fruits of a genus vague;
    And the flies that buzz like a lazy plague
  Round the lone lorn jam, as it stands forsaken;
    And the varnished pike in the mill-pool taken
  About the year that they fought at Prague.

  But twilight falls, and its folds encumber
    The misty mounds of the patient trees,
  And sunset cheers with a touch of umber
    The puddles of steel-gray Gruyère cheese.
    And, interposing a little ease,
  Our frail thoughts dally with false surmises
    Of a morning as brilliant as mid July's is
  With bravest sunshine and sweetest breeze.

  A soothing silence the soul surprises,
    For the little Maid, like a hero true,
  Has fought her fight through its poignant crises,
    And shown what practice can dare and do.
    And, tearing the moonlight in handfuls through,
  A giant arm in the cloudland sombre
    Scatters the light on a world of slumber,
  Through snowy craters, from gulfs of blue.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_A Legend of the Grosvenor Gallery._)


The Spirit of Art glided through the streets of Modern London, seeking
a resting-place. She entered the Diploma Gallery of the Royal Academy,
but hurried away, affrighted at some of the terrible examples of the
illustrious Forty.

"And these are the greatest English painters!" she murmured--"the
DICKENS! How is it that Painting cannot keep pace with Literature?"

It sounded like a Conundrum, and the Spirit of Art was not good
at Conundrums. So she gave it up. Then she passed into other
Exhibitions--there were quite a dozen in the neighbourhood at the
very least. But she was unsatisfied, and came away. She paused, and
considered. The Spirit of Art had one great English friend (of Irish
extraction), who was a Musician.

"ARTHUR is a clever fellow," said the Spirit of Art to herself--there
was no one else to speak to--"and if he _does_ compose more comic
Operas than Oratorios, it is, I suppose, because there is a greater
demand for the former than the latter."

From this it will be seen the Spirit of Art had, on the whole, a
good head for business. "Now," continued the Representative of the
Beautiful, "I distinctly recollect that the words to one of the songs
of my friend ARTHUR contained a pointed reference to the Greenery
Yallery Gallery. I fancy, from all I have heard, that the sort of
thing I want will be found in the Greenery Yallery Gallery."

She was quite pleased at the notion. To tell the truth the Spirit of
Art was rather weary of perambulating the streets of London--not even
the advertisements of BUFFALO BILL on the hoardings gave her lasting

"Let me consider," she said, as she hovered on the threshold of the
Grosvenor Gallery, "now I shall find myself amongst the grandest works
of Mister JONES. I am never tired of that pale face with the pointed
chin--no more is Mister JONES. This frequently-reproduced portrait of
a lady is most interesting. No doubt it is a study of a chronic case
of dyspepsia that must have lasted for twenty years. Then I shall see
the choicest works of MORE and MILLAIS, and WATTS, and oh, joy! of Sir
COUTTS-LINDSAY! This is indeed the very spot for a resting-place."

So the Spirit of Art glided up the staircase and into the Grosvenor
Gallery. For a moment she was puzzled. There was no dyspeptic
lady--"no greenery" and very little "yallery." Then she shivered,
for on all sides she found immense pictures of battles and executions
ghastly beyond description.

"Why, what are these?" she gasped. "What are these?"

"Catalogue, Miss?" replied a civil attendant. "Thank you,

And then the Spirit of Art read that such and such a picture
represented a dreadful defeat, that a pestilent hospital, yonder one a
scene of torture. She found representations of war treated in the most
prosaic and unbeautiful form.

She was horrified and fainted!

Then the vision, before her became more and more terrible and the
entire contents of the Catalogue was unfolded before her. Dying
soldiers defying vultures, mutilated Russians lying in an open grave,
old men being blown from the guns! Wounds, and fire, and blood!


When she came to herself she hurried away. She thought it out.

"I must gradually accustom myself to less horrible things," she
whispered. "I will begin at once. If I were not to do this by degrees,
I should go mad!" She called a hansom.

"Where to, Miss?"

"To the Marylebone Road," cried the Spirit of Art--in these days the
Spirit is a very self-assertive young person, and not at all like an
unprotected female--"Baker Street Station, Marylebone Road."

Then she threw away her Catalogue.

"I must see something less repulsive than this--I must gradually
resume my normal condition. Something less repulsive! I have it! I
will begin with the figures of Madame TUSSAUD'S--in the Chamber of

       *       *       *       *       *


Congregation at Oxford, having (in an empty House), for the sake
of economy, turned the old Professorship of Anglo-Saxon into one of
English Literature, and having, with a view to utilising its salary,
entirely suppressed the chair of Poetry, it is rumoured that the
Hebdomadal Council have already in contemplation a sweeping list of
curtailments in the same direction.

The Professorships of Arabic, Archæology, Astronomy, Botany, Celtic,
Chemistry, and Chinese, will, it is said, also be rolled into one.

It is hoped that, by some spirited reforms in the direction indicated
above, the University that, from the fashion in which it has dealt
with the Chair of Poetry, appears indeed to be out at elbows, may
survive the financial crisis in which it is evidently involved.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Arranged for the use of the returning British Passenger at
Breakfast-time. By a very Dyspeptic Contributor._

It is a glorious thing to think that one is leaving France and all
foreign kickshaws behind one, and is once more approaching dear honest
old England on the deck of a British steamer.

But let us come into the cabin and have a bit of breakfast before we
get in.

Surely that table covered with a dirty sheet instead of a tablecloth
is not prepared for our repast?

Why, this stale loaf must have been on board quite a week.

It has evidently made several passages backwards and forwards in
company with this extremely remarkable sample of butter.

Why does this coffee the Steward has just brought us look like ink and
sawdust, and taste like something perplexing?

The Frenchman, who has been expecting _déjeuner à la fourchette_, is
surveying with astonishment the dish of mutton-chops they have set
down before him.

It is a great pity that they are all two inches thick, and are
underdone when cut.

I wonder whether he is thinking, as I am, of the clean, fresh, and
trim _restaurant_ table, the excellent _café au laít, petits-pains_,
Normandy butter, and other "foreign kickshaws," that he has just left
behind him in France.

Though he has had to pay three shillings for his hot breakfast, he has
informed me that he will wait till he arrives, and take "_le lunch_"
on shore.

I wonder whether he is aware that, if he makes this meal at the
typical Refreshment-Room, he will have to content himself with stale
sponge-cakes, the day-before-yesterday's buns, and small tins of

But let us get out of the Cabin. I certainly prefer the deck of an
excellent steamer to the arrangements made for providing one with
breakfast down below.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "The rapid increase both of buildings and population which has
    taken place in the Metropolitan Police district of late years
    has outrun the increase which it has been possible to make
    to the Police Force."--_Sir Charles Warren, in his Official
    Reports, 1885, 1886._

    "The average applications for admission to the Metropolitan
    Police Force now amount to one hundred per diem." _Statistics,
    October, 1887._

[Illustration: _Sergeant Punch (inspecting would-be ex-Unemployed)._

       *       *       *       *       *

NE PLUS ULSTER.--Mr. CHAMBERLAIN seems to find the heart of the Irish
Question in Ulster. Does he expect to find its solution there? He
appears to set little store by the wishes of those not inconsiderable
portions of Ireland which, as he says, "do not form a portion of the
Ulster plantation." All other parts, even of the favoured province,
"though geographically part of Ulster, are not parts of what we know
as political Ulster." This certainly narrows the Irish Question. But
does it simplify it? We have all heard of those who are "more Irish
than the Irishmen themselves." Mr. CHAMBERLAIN seems to be more
Ulsterish than the men of Ulster, though they, to be sure, on his own
showing, are virtually English and Scotch. In declining to look beyond
Ulster, it may be asked whether he looks into the Irish Question at
all. Altogether Irish--very!

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Danvers Jewels_, published by RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON, and
written by an anonymous author who dedicates the work to his sister
"DI," (from whom he received some assistance in the story, otherwise
he would "never have said 'DI,'") is a short and well-told sensational
novelette in a shilling volume. There is a genuine vein of humour
running through it, which is so artistically managed as at first to
escape the reader's attention, who becoming more and more irritated
with the stupidity of the supposed narrator, gradually discovers that
the story which is being recounted by a middle-aged Indian Colonel,
who prides himself on being remarkably astute, and on possessing a
perfectly marvellous insight into character, is being recounted by a
conceited, shallow-pated old ass. I think it a fault that at the
very last, by some such accident as being in an assize town and being
invited to sit on the bench, he does not see the villain thoroughly
unmasked, placed in the dock, and condemned to death, or at least
penal servitude for life. The story, excellent as it is, seems to
me to want this finish. By the way, why, for no conceivable purpose,
quote on the title-page a line from the Old Testament which, as every
one remembering its context and after reading the book must see, has
no apparent bearing on the subject? Mistake this.

[Illustration: A work by "Q."]

_Deadman's Rock._ By "Q." Have Messrs. LOUIS STEVENSON and RIDER
HAGGARD combined under the signature of "Q." to write at all events
the first part of the weird and exciting Romance entitled _Deadman's
Rock_? If not let those two authors look to their laurels. There
is much in this book to remind the reader of _Treasure Island_,
especially the fiendish Sailor's uncouth chaunt, "Sing hey for the
deadman's eyes, my lads," which, however, is not a patch upon Mr.
STEVENSON'S "Ho! Ho! Ho! and a bottle of rum," in _Treasure Island_.
Then there is one line in "Q.'s" story, "And here a strange thing
happened," which must call to mind Mr. RIDER HAGGARD'S patent of "and
now a strange thing happened." "Q."--rious coincidence, isn't it? But
a "coincidence" is not likely to annoy Mr. HAGGARD.

In the first part the most impatient reader will find that he cannot
afford to skip a couple of lines without detriment to the narrative,
but in the second part he may skip handfuls, as the lovemaking is
common-place, and time is wasted over the tragedy which is written by
one of the heroes, and over the description of their life in London.
But on the other hand the scene in the gambling-house is exciting
and artistically worked up,--and coming immediately after this, the
lovemaking is uncommonly tame,--and the scene at the Theatre is also
very good, but after this there is a lull in the excitement until
the end approaches, when there is one very strong situation. But the
actual finish is weak. So the summing up is that the first part is
first-rate, and the second part is, on the whole, second-rate. But who
is "Q."?

That is the Q. and what is the A.? _Deadman's Rock_ is not a good book
for very nervous persons or children: for the latter _Almond Rock_
would be far preferable.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_By an Envious and Irritable Bard, after reading "Ballades and
Rondeaus," just published, and wishing he could do anything like any
of them._)

  Bored by the Ballade, vexed by Villanelle,
  Of Rondeau tired, and Triolet as well!


(_In Bad Weather._)

  Oh! I'm in a terrible plight--
    For how can I rhyme in the rain?
  'Tis pouring from morn until night:
    So bad is the weather again,
    My language is almost profane!
  Though shod with the useful galosh,
    I'm racked with rheumatical pain--
  I think that a Ballade is bosh!

  I know I am looking a fright;
    That knowledge, I know, is in vain;
  My "brolly" is not water-tight,
    But hopelessly rended in twain
    And spoilt by the rude hurri_cane_!
  Though clad in a stout mackintosh,
    My temper I scarce can restrain--
  I think that a Ballade is bosh!

  Oh, I'm an unfortunate wight!
    The damp is affecting my brain;
  My woes I would gladly recite,
    In phrases emphatic and plain,
    Your sympathy could I obtain.
  I don't think my verses will wash,
    They're somewhat effete and inane--
  I think that a Ballade is bosh!


  I fancy I'm getting insane,
    I'm over my ankles in slosh;
  But let me repeat the refrain--
    I think that a Ballade is bosh!


(_With Vexation._)

  I do not like the Villanelle,
    I think it somewhat of a bore--
  This tinkle of a Muffin-bell!

  The reason why I cannot tell;
    Each day I fancy, more and more,
  I do not like the Villanelle!

  It makes me stamp and storm and yell,
    It makes me wildly rage and roar:
  This tinkle of a Muffin-bell!

  I look upon it as a sell,
    Its use I constantly deplore;
  I do not like the Villanelle!

  Poetic thoughts it must dispel,
    It very often tries me sore:
  This tinkle of a Muffin-bell!

  For this I know, and know full well--
    Let me repeat it o'er and o'er!--
  I do not like the Villanelle,
  This tinkle of a Muffin-bell!


(_In a Temper._)

  A triolet's scarcely the thing--
    Unless you would carol in fetters!
  If lark-like you freely would sing,
  A Triolet's scarcely the thing:
  I miss the poetical ring,
    I'm told that it has, by my betters!
  A Triolet's scarcely the thing--
    Unless you would carol in fetters!


(_In a Rage._)

  Pray tell me why we can't agree
  To bid the merry Muse run free?
    Pray tell me why we should incline
    To see her in a Rondeau pine,
  Or sigh in shackled minstrelsy?
  Why can't she sing with lark-like glee,
  And revel in bright _jeux d'esprit_?
    Where form can't fetter or confine--
        Pray tell me why?

  Pray tell me why that frisky gee,
  Called Pegasus, should harnessed be?
    Why bit and bridle should combine
    To all his liveliness consign,--
  To deck the Rondeau's narrow line--
        Pray tell me why?

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: A Simple Clearance under Protest.]

We learn from a report of the proceedings of the City Commissioners of
Sewers last week, that those vigilant protectors of the health of our
ancient City had before them a case that fairly puzzled them, and in
its strangeness and difficulty would probably have puzzled even a more
judicial body than they probably pretend to be. It would seem that
they had received a note of warning from the eminent firm of FRANCIS
PEEK & CO., that a large parcel of tea was about to be submitted
to public auction which was "simple filth," and utterly unfit for

A Commissioner stated that he was present at the Sale that morning,
and that the whole quantity, consisting of 1000 Chests, had been
sold, duty paid (it must have been cleared at the Custom House with or
without protest), at one halfpenny per pound! The natural expectation
was that the "simple filth" as it had been termed by experts, would
be at once seized by the officials and destroyed, but this strange
difficulty arose. The Medical Officer of Health stated that he had
analyzed a sample of the tea in question, and could not swear before a
Magistrate that it was unfit for use! He stated too, as a specimen
of the wisdom of our legislators, that, by Act of Parliament, Tea
was specially exempted from the operations of Public Analysts! So the
willing Commissioners found themselves powerless to act, but referred
the whole matter to their Sanitary Committee, who, we understand, will
at their next meeting take tea, instead of luncheon, made from the
remains of the sample, and report the result.

In the meantime _Mr. Punch_, ever ready to assist in a good cause,
dispatched one of his City young men to make further inquiries, who
reported that he had visited the Auction Mart on three successive days
at lunch-time, and had asked one or two of the sharpest-looking of the
crowd, as possible purchasers of the wondrous tea, to lunch with him,
which they had willingly done; but, although he says he lunched them
copiously, they one and all denied any knowledge of the tea sale in

       *       *       *       *       *

"SHEPHERD _V._ KEEVIL."--_Mem_; Christian maxim for a Pastor or
Shepherd, "Do not think eevil of your neighbour."

       *       *       *       *       *

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.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

On page 181, "influenced" was missing the letter "d", and on page 183,
"enliten" was missing its first "e". These have been corrected.

On page 185, "Gringore" was changed to "Gringoire" for consistency.

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