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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 93, December 24, 1887
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 93, December 24, 1887" ***

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 PUNCH,
 OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

 VOL. 93.

 DECEMBER 24, 1887


 THE LETTER-BAG OF TOBY, M.P.

 FROM OLD MORALITY.

 "_Here comes a young fellow of excellent pith,
 Fate tried to conceal him by naming him_ SMITH."

 _Henley, Saturday._

 DEAR TOBY, AHOY!

Where are _you_ bound? Haul on the bowline; brace up amidships; sling
your hammock; belay all hands and stand by ready to pounce.

Excuse this little outburst. The fact is, I am about to cut for awhile
landlubber associations, and am going cruising in my _Pandora's_ box, or
rather berth. My sea lingo is getting a little rusty, so I practise it
wherever I have an opportunity, and thought you wouldn't mind my making
one with you. I am going off to spend Christmas and New Year's time at
Pau. You've heard of Pau, of course? I was first attracted to the place
by coming across the beautiful line from GOLDSMITH--or was it BACON?

 "Or by the lazy Scheldt or wandering Pau."

I'm not at all drawn towards the Scheldt. I never was lazy myself, and
have no sympathy with laziness in others. But it is different with Pau,
don't you know. I have been tied to the desk too long. I had a heavy
time of it during the Parliamentary Session. They used to chaff me about
being "on the pounce." It is all very well, but the attitude is one
which, preserved through successive nights, becomes exhausting. I have
had enough of it, and feel a strong desire to wander. The Pau is
wandering. Why should we not wander together, arm in arm as it were?
Anyhow, I mean to try. So bear a hand with your lee-scuppers; haul
round the mainmast, up with your hatches, and keep the helm hard down on
the South-West-by-East-Half-East. I have pounced enough on the
Parnellites. Now I shall pounce on Pau.

I feel the necessity for taking a good rest, for I know we are going to
have it pretty stiff next Session. B-LF-R, who is getting more cocky
than ever, goes about comforting us with assurances that he will make
matters smooth. "Is there anyone particular you can't abear?" he said to
me only yesterday, with an annoying air of patronage. "Is there anyone
of the Irish Members you would like put out of the way for the earliest
and freshest months of the Session? If so, name your man, and I'll
oblige you. I have got six of 'em lagged now, and there's a clear six
weeks before Parliament meets. It's amazing how we can smooth the way by
then."

I don't altogether like this solicitude on the part of B-LF-R for making
smooth water in the House next Session. There is a persistent rumour
about that he thinks he can lead the House better than anyone else, and
that the Markiss is inclined to humour him. He has never said this in
private conversation with me, though he has not made any attempt to
disguise his conviction that he could take charge of the Army, the Navy,
the Home Office, the Board of Trade, or even the Exchequer. Now I come
to think of it, he may, in talking to G-SCH-N, leave out reference to
the Exchequer, and substitute the Leadership of the House of Commons,
and so with the others. I should certainly like to see him in my place
for a week, with GR-ND-LPH on the corner of the bench behind. It is true
that of late GR-ND-LPH has considerably flattened down. Having found
that impudence and caprice don't pay, he is going in for dulness and
respectability. But I fancy the sight of ARTH-R B-LF-R leading the
House, and trying to lead him, would be too much. The swept and
garnished place would be reoccupied, and his last state would be worse
than his first. B-LF-R can't very well send him to a plank bed, and will
have to make the best of him.

I rather fancy GR-ND-LPH must know, or think he knows, something about
this little plot for promoting the nephew, which accounts for his latest
impertinence. "And what title do you mean to take when you go to the
House of Lords, H. W.?" he asked me the other day. (He always calls me
"H. W." which he thinks is an improvement upon DIZZY'S hesitation as to
the sequence of the initials.) "How would Baron BOOKSTALL suit?" he
added, trying to look harmless. That only shows the inherent vulgarity
which underlies the thin veneer of his sometime courtly manner. I never
forget what the Markiss once said about him. "Scratch R-ND-LPH
CH-RCH-LL," said he, "and you'll find TIM H-LY," which I thought at the
time was a little hard on T-M.

You will not, I trust, dear TOBY, take it for granted that I am
contemplating a near removal to the House of Lords, if I confess that I
_have_ sometimes thought over the title I should assume if my duty to my
country led me to change my state. I belong, as you know, to one of the
oldest families among mankind. It's all very well for BR-SS-Y to talk
about coming over with the Conqueror. We came in with the Flood, or
shortly after. TUBAL CAIN, the founder of our family, was a century or
two before BOIS DE GUILBERT, FRONT-DE-BOEF, or even the SIEUR DE
BRESCI. What do you think of Lord TUBAL-CAIN? Would you recognise in
that stately and ermined peer, TUBAL-CAIN, of Henley, your old friend of
217, Strand? I wis not. But that, as GL-DST-NE says, belongs to the dim
and distant future. I beg to move that the question be now put. Oars!
Steady, there! Pull away!

  Yours, sheer off,
  W. H. SM-TH.

       *       *       *       *       *

ROSES IN DECEMBER.

SIR,--Strange as it may appear to you, Sir, as a London playgoer, I had
never seen _The Two Roses_ till last night. How this "celebrated comedy"
ever acquired its celebrity is, I confess, beyond me, for the plot is
poor, and in the dialogue there is nothing quotable, though the phrase,
"a little cheque," forces itself on one's memory by frequent iteration.
You, Sir, saw it with its original cast, and I take it that a play of
this sort requires certain surroundings to insure its immediate success,
just as a rich joke, when deprived of its original accidental
accessories, is found to be a very poor joke, or no joke at all. This
play by Mr. ALBERY I should have thought would have been, as Dr. SAMUEL
JOHNSON might have said, Al-bery'd and forgotten long ago. Yet it
lives,--at all events, it has been revived.

A Manager does not revive a piece which was not originally produced at
his theatre without some pretty good reason for so doing. He must, at
least, be fairly confident of its attractive powers as, at all events, a
remunerative stop-gap; and I am informed that this piece has been
revived, once before, by Mr. HENRY IRVING at the Lyceum. This is ancient
history to you, Sir. After the revival, and the unwonted exercise of a
long run (did it have a long run?), I should have supposed that there
could not have been much life left in it. Yet apparently there is. The
acting is, on the whole, good, and some of it very good. WILLIAM FARREN,
one of the best of English players, makes all that is to be made (as it
seems to me, who did not see Mr. IRVING) out of _Digby Grand_, Mr.
GIDDENS is an excellent blind _Caleb_ (a very clever actor must be Mr.
GIDDENS), and Mr. DAVID JAMES simply is "Our Mr. JENKINS." MAUDE MILLETT
is pretty and graceful, and the whole entertainment entertaining. But
still, how it ever became a celebrated comedy--

 "Well, that I cannot tell," said he,
 "But _t'was_ a famous Comedy."

And by crammed houses it is, I hear, being fully appreciated. Indeed, I
should only say, judging by this Criterion on the night I was present,
it is in for another long run. Yours, LITTLE PETERKIN.

       *       *       *       *       *

SHAKSPEARE UP AGAIN.--A Baconian writes to ask if there isn't sufficient
proof of SHAKSPEARE'S affinity to BACON in Ham let alone?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: WORTH CULTIVATING.]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Ex-Premier sings_:--

 My name's WILLIAM GLADSTONE, I live at fair Harwarden,
   I'm Welshman at heart; this gold-find in North Wales
 At the Gwynfynydd Mine I do trust will bring fortune
   To all who are born 'midst these mountains and vales.
 Yes, indeed, and all places, though foreign and beautiful,
   This brave little country I prize far above;
 For indeed in my heart I do love the Principality,
   And you, JENNY JONES, too, in truth I do love.

 For fifty long years I've ploughed Politics' ocean,
   And served my full time in the gallant State-ship;
 And indeed, goodness knows, I've braved many engagements,
   And many dark storms 'twixt the cup and the lip,
 I've tried all the parties now, Tory, Whig, Radical,
   Smiled on each in its turn, as to win me each strove;
 But I said in my heart, little Wales I love chiefly,
   And sweet JENNY JONES, too, in truth I do love!

 I agree with PARNELL, and the Lord Mayor of Dublin,
   In loving fair Erin, of Islands the Queen;
 And having worn Blue, Buff, and Red in succession,
   I can't see much harm in now wearing the Green.
 But not e'en Hibernia, the sweet and the sorrowful,
   Like you, my dear charmer, my passion can move;
 For, indeed, in my heart I love "gallant little Wales," I do;
   And sweet JENNY JONES, too, in truth I do love!

 I parted long since from the home of my fathers,
   And then JENNY JONES was a dowerless lass;
 But now I'm a grey and storm-beaten old mariner,
   To wealth, she, through brave PRITCHARD-MORGAN, shall pass.
 May Gold--and Home Rule--bring you wealth and contentment,
   And ne'er from my Party, my dear, may you rove:
 For indeed in our hearts we all love Wales tremendously,
   And you, JENNY JONES, dear, till death will I love!

 [_Left philandering._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "WHERE ARE THE POLICE?!"

MRS. HOWTHDOWN AND HER DAUGHTERS, WHO ARE IN TOWN FOR THE CATTLE-SHOW,
ARE DISGUSTED BY THE AGGRESSIVE VULGARITY OF THE LONDON STREET-BOY, AND
THINK IT OUGHT TO BE "PUT A STOP TO"!

_Juvenile Baked Potato Vendor (to Crossing-Sweeper)._ "'SAY, BILL, 'ERE
Y'ARE! THEM'LL BE FUST AND SECOND PRIZE, AND 'IGHLY COMMENDED!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

A VISIT TO "THE LICENSED VISTLERS."

In the Winter Exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists, who,
under their distinguished President, JAMES MCNEILE WHISTLER, may now be
known as the "Licensed Vistlers," there is some good work, and
especially two sketches, 77, 83, and 335, by JAMES HAYLLAR, R.B.A.; 319,
by H. G. GLINDON, R.B.A.; SIMMONS'S "_Sunrise_," 330; SOLOMON'S; 454,
Professor GARTZ (pretty subject); 458, by HENLEY, R.B.A.; 466, by
WALTERS, R.B.A.

There is a remarkable picture of, apparently, A Serious Masher, which
turns out to be a portrait of Mr. WILLARD, the actor who so cleverly
impersonates modern stage villains as to be known as "Willinous
WILLARD," by SIDNEY STARR, R.B.A. Artistic STARR painting Theatrical
Star; quite right. No. 293 is a sorry sight--the picture of a nice
portly young man trying to look like Lord ROSEBERY, but with the dye
coming off his hair in evident patches. Very clever effect this, by
THEODORE ROUSSEL, R.B.A.

Go and see No. 341, by WILLIAM STOTT, of Oldham, R.B.A.,--a name that
sounds quite Shakspearian, like "Goodman Puff of Barson,"--and give
yourself three guesses at what W. S. of Oldham means by it. It
represents a very carotty-haired young woman, looking pale as a
turnip--"white flesh," as the gardeners say--taking a bathe in the sea
when no one is looking, and where police regulations are not in force.
She is so tallowy in face and flesh colour, and her hair so flaming red,
that the title might be, "_A 'Dip' in the Sea_." Well, this is WILLIAM
STOTT of Oldham's "_Venus_;" and if you'll turn to No. 183, you will see
the same young person, looking none the better for her bath, clothed,
with carrots dressed, and neatly bound up, sitting pensively
_chez-elle_, probably regretting her recent escapade, and hoping that no
one has seen her. Little does she know that WILLIAM STOTT of Oldham has
stotted her down in his note-book. 326, "_Hard Hit_," by R. J. GORDON,
R.B.A., is clever; but the meaning of its title, as illustrated by a
weeping woman flinging herself across the knees of a drunken-looking
man, is not quite clear. Has he hit her hard, and is that why she is so
distressed? or has his head received a nasty thwack, as indicated by the
white hat, lying on the table, twisted out of all shape?

At the end of the Catalogue is printed a list of the prices, from which
it will be seen what value the artists themselves set on their own
pictures. The President of the Licensed Vistlers exhibits only twenty
pictures, sixteen of which have no price affixed to them in the list,
and are therefore evidently gems, and priceless.

       *       *       *       *       *

Founded on Fact.

A large lot of ornithologists assembled the other day at Mr. J. C.
STEVENS'S Auction Rooms to attend the sale of an egg of the Great Auk--a
seafowl, 'ARRY, not a falcon. Great Auks' eggs are precious. This one
was knocked down to an enthusiastic gentleman for 160 guineas. Some
years ago two eggs of a Great Auk, sold, of course, by auktion, fetched,
respectively, 100 and 200 guineas, although both broken, and that before
they were knocked down. Surely the Great Auk must have been the original
bird signified in tradition under the name of the legendary goose that
laid the golden eggs.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Premier of the French Cabinet may be well described as "_Nulli
Secundus_." He is second to nobody, for the President is Nobody--to
speak of.

       *       *       *       *       *

FURNISHING FICTIONISTS.

In the _Atalanta Magazine_, for this month, (which by its title, should
be ahead of all competitors until the _homme à la pomme_ appears) Mr.
WALTER BESANT has an article "On the writing of Novels," in which he
offers his advice to young girls afflicted with irrepressible
scribblemania,--_i.e._ "girls who try to write stories, and burn to
write novels,"--as to the best and easiest means of attaining their
object. _Advice gratis_ is, as we all know, of the gratis't value, and
Mr. BESANT offers his two penn'orth-of-"all-sorts and conditions," to
embryonic authoresses, but had _Mr. Punch_ been dealing with these dear
little literary aspirants, he would have simply repeated his world-famed
epigrammatic advice to "persons about to marry," and said, most
unequivocally, to girls about to write novels--"Don't." Not so Mr.
BESANT, who proceeds to lay down rules for those "who wish to acquire
the art of fiction." He commences with, "_Practise writing, something
original everyday_,"--"_Cultivate the habit of observation_," and so on,
in good old-fashioned copy-book style.

We will assist him with some rules for those to whom Mr. W. BESANT gives
this advice: "Be bold: never mind ridicule," ... "State fairly, what
ordinary people never understand, that Fiction, like Painting, is an
Art, and that you are setting yourself to the acquisition of that Art,
if it be in your power, whatever may come of it in the end."

Very good. Now here is, as the Cookery books have it, "Another and a
shorter way."

_To acquire the Art of Fiction._--Clearly understand that Fiction is the
opposite of Fact. If you invariably state facts, you become a
matter-of-fact sort of person. No Genius is a matter-of-fact sort of
person. So to "acquire the Art of Fiction," _you must never tell the
truth. Practice telling some original lie every day._ If it be a
description of scenery--well, this offers a large field--several large
fields. Give an account to your relatives, or to your friends at a
distance of the walk you have taken in the morning. First of all, of
course, to be quite perfect, _you must not have been out of the house_.
You will then proceed to describe the roaring Waterfalls over which you
leaped, your hairbreadth escapes, &c., &c., and always remember that, as
Mr. BESANT says, "description is not slavish enumeration."

RULE I.--_Tell a lie._ RULE II.--_Don't stick to it, but tell another,
and a bigger one._ Pile 'em up, and thus at last you may become an
unrivalled Fictionist.

RULE III.--"_Work regularly, at certain hours._" Ascertain the time the
Lark rises, and be up with it. Always be up to time, and to any amount
of Larks. Let everybody in the house know you're at work. Sing as the
Lark does, and be joyous. Insist on your room being fitted up for
work,--at your parents' expense, of course,--with writing-desk, silver
inkstand, paper, pens, a library of books, &c., and you must let it be
distinctly understood by everyone that you are "not to be disturbed on
any account," as you are going in for being a Fictionist.

RULE IV.--"Read no Rubbish," says Mr. BESANT. But this is what every
author would say, making certain exceptions. But we should say, "_Read
Everything_." _Then begin to write._ Here is an example: say you read
_Pickwick_. Well, you _write_ a book called _Nikpik_, a Russian story,
plot in St. Petersburg, characters, _Nikpik_, _Kinkel_, _Grazsnod_, and
_Putmann_. You represent a sporting scene where _Putmann_, with his eyes
shut, kills a bird, and afterwards _Kinkel_ wounds _Putmann_. "Hullo,"
says the reader, "uncommonly like _Pickwick_, and writes impetuously and
indignantly to papers. Whereupon, you write in reply, saying "it may be
so: _les grands esprits se rencontrent_: but that you have never heard
of _Pickwick_, much less read it." By this time everyone will allow that
you are entitled to be regarded as the greatest Fictionist of the age.

Other rules Mr. BESANT gives, for which anyone sufficiently interested
in detecting the errors of his advice _gratis_, may search the _Atalanta
Magazine_ with considerable profit to himself (or herself) especially if
he reads _A Christmas Carol_, by CHRISTINA G. ROSSETTI, and one tail of
_Three Lions_, by that undefeated Fictionist, Mr. RIDER HAGGARD.

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

_Palindromes_, by G. R. CLARKE, is a series of cruelly ingenious verbal
cranks--"cranks" seems to be the word, since they are neither quips,
quirks, puns, nor jests, consisting of sentences so arranged that, read
backwards or forwards, they are precisely the same. An example of this
is, "_Was it a rat I saw?_" The illustrations are comically amateurish,
and amateurishly comic, but one of the best, "_Selim smiles_," is rather
in the early Thackerayan style of pictorial art. The palindromical
amusement will probably develop itself, as the acrostic family has done,
and we shall soon be reading in "Answers to Correspondents" that their
puzzle is referred to in "The Palindromical Editor." The little book is
published, as any experienced joker in Scotland might have guessed, by
Messrs. BRYCE AND SONS, Glasgow, and if you buy it, "Bang goes a
shilling."

Approbation from _Mr. Punch_ is praise indeed, and where he has given
his favourable opinion of any book, it immediately attracts the public
attention, and goes to any number of editions. So has it chanced with
_Frith's Recollections_, which has now reached its third edition; and
once _Mr. Punch_ spoke well of the Jubilee Edition of _Pickwick_, which
has now been re-issued with some of the original sketches by "BUSS,"--to
many it will be a surprise that _Mr. Pickwick_ ever took a buss, except
under the mistletoe at Dingley Dell,--which are fairly clever, though
one of them, the cricketing scene, might have been omitted without
damaging the artistic character of the republication. There is a sketch
by JOHN LEECH, illustrating the moment in the _Bagman's Story_ when the
old arm-chair wakes up _Tom Smart_, and assumes the form and features of
a gouty, but wickedly sly, old gentleman, which alone is "worth all the
money." It is a real Christmas picture; and indeed a small volume of
_Tales from Pickwick_, illustrated by fanciful and humorous artists,
would make a capital Christmas Book of the good old Dickensian sort.
_Mr. Punch_ has given the hint: _fiat!_

By the way, I see an advertisement of a book quoting opinions of the
Press as to its being "the funniest book of the present reign." Heavens!
It is only necessary to mention _Pickwick_, which is replete with such
real fun, as makes the reader roar with laughter irrepressible, besides
being full of genuine humour. BARON DE BOOK WORMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I believe," said Mrs. R.'S nephew, meditatively, "that Paris will have
a 'Directory' again." "Why not?" retorted Mrs. RAM. "Why shouldn't Paris
have a Directory? London has--_Kelly's Directory_--and most useful it
is!"

       *       *       *       *       *

THE LAY OF LAWRENCE MOOR!

A TRUE STORY.

 Four brave men set sail from Whalsey,
   In their open fishing-smack,
 Four strong fellows left the Shetlands,
   Only one at last came back.
 Hearken how the wind is howling,
   Close the curtains; shut the door,
 Whilst I tell the splendid story
   Of a sailor--LAWRENCE MOOR!

 Never yet has such a tempest,
   Screamed around the Shetland homes,
 Dealing death and devastation
   Where the northern sailor roams.
 Snow and hail in blinding fury,
   Swept o'er forest, field and lea,
 Deaf seemed Heaven to the praying
   For the brave men out at sea!

 Far at sea! four plucky fellows
   Bending back and straining oar,
 Hidden each from each in tempest,
   That had blotted out the shore!
 All at once the skipper steering,
   Cheering, shouting--look ahead!
 Heard a moan, his best companion
   Fell in arms of duty--dead!

 "For the love of home and Heaven,
   Brave it out as I will do."
 Shouts above the storm, the skipper,
   Rallying his fainting crew,
 "Let us pray, lads, all together,
   Heaven may save us! Who can tell!"
 But the prayer was scarcely uttered,
   When another sailor fell!

 Two brave men--were left in silence--
   Whispering with shortened breath,
 "Don't desert your pal," says LAWRENCE,
   "Let us have it out with Death!
 God has strength to still the waters,
   We have pluck to keep afloat."
 But the last man with a murmur,
   Fell exhausted in the boat.

 "ANDREW! Laddie!"--Death don't answer.
   "TOM, old pal!" the faintest sigh,
 "Left me all alone then, have ye?
   Well _I_ don't intend to die!"
 Then he thought of home and children,
   Back came mirrored waves of sin!
 One lone man midst dead and dying,
   Felt the water rushing in!

 One hand on the oar to steer her,
   One hand free to hoist the sail,
 When he called--no mate to answer,
   Sinking now--no boy to bail;
 Toiling hour on hour exhausted,
   Captain of a ghastly bier!
 Till at last the tempest lifted,
   And he sighted Lerwick Pier.

 Home at last! the plucky sailor,
   Home to children and to wife,
 Home half dead to claim the honour,
   That he'd saved _one_ brother's life,
 Death defied! they found him kneeling,
   Humbly on his cottage floor,
 But they'll pass to time the story,
   Of that Sailor--LAWRENCE MOOR!

       *       *       *       *       *

IN THE NICK OF TIME.--His Excellency, the Chinese Minister, LEW CHUI
FUN, has left London for Paris, to present his credentials to President
CARNOT. At this festive season of Merry Christmas, Frenchmen of all
parties in politics will welcome such an Opportunist as FUN.

       *       *       *       *       *

Shortly to be published, _The Life of Sims Reeves_, compiled from his
own notes.

       *       *       *       *       *

PICCADILLY PLAYERS.

[Illustration]

A few evenings since, I assisted at a Members' Concert in Piccadilly,
where a very fair exhibition of Amateur Musical talent was displayed by
the "Strolling Players." The vocal part of the entertainment was
especially good, thanks to the really charming singing of the Misses
AGNES JANSON and HAMLIN. The geniuses in the Orchestra who are for all
time, and any tune, managed occasionally to get a little out of hand in
spite of Mr. NORFOLK MEGONE'S earnest conductorship. Taken all round,
"The First Members' Concert" was so good that I should not have the
smallest objection to attending the Second.

_The Ancient Mariner_ with Mr. J. F. BARNETT'S brilliant music at St.
James's Hall last Thursday night, held entranced a large audience which
listened "like a three ears child" ("Had I three ears I'd hear thee,"
says _Macbeth_. Did COLERIDGE write SHAKSPEARE?--however, this has
nothing much to do with the _cantata_, and so on we goes again)--so "the
Mariner hath his Will" (which is almost conclusive evidence that
COLERIDGE'S _Mariner_ was written by WILL SHAKSPEARE) and we were all
delighted. I hadn't a book. Who was ALBERT ROSS that the _Mariner_ shot?
Madame PATEY sang "_O Sleep, it is a Genteel Thing!_" (I think these
were the words) with great feeling and expression. Beautiful idea,
"sleep a genteel thing!" Somebody told me I was wrong, and that the poet
wrote, "_O Sleep, it is a Gentle Thing!_" which anybody could have said,
without being a poet. So I prefer my own version. The recitative
(SANTLEY) and chorus (Everybody), about "the coming wind did roar," and
something (I didn't catch what) was "like a sledge," and "the Moon was
on its side and then upon its edge," which sounds just what a harvest
moon would do after a good day's harvesting, were excellent.

Then followed Mr. C. V. STANFORD'S Symphony in F Minor, "_The Irish_" as
my neighbour informed me, to which I replied, "Oh, indeed!" and
appeared, as I hope, much interested; though what he meant I haven't the
smallest idea. Who was my neighbour?--a very learned person who kept on
drawing my attention to the excellent instrumentation, and the admirable
use which the Composer had made of his "strings"--I didn't see that he
had any "strings," but I said, "Ah, yes,"--his "Wood-wind and Horns."
"Just observe his horns!" said my neighbour enthusiastically. He spoke
of Mr. C. V. STANFORD as if he were drawing the portrait of Ancient
Nicholas, as portrayed by CRUIKSHANK when illustrating _The Lay of S.
Médard_, in the _Ingoldsby Legends_. A Composer with Strings, Wood-wind
("comest thou with blasts from----" &c., as BACONSPEARE hath it) and
"horns" is the man to write a _cantata_ entitled "Herne the Hunter," and
I am not at all sure that there isn't a _Herne_ already in existence,
and that that Herne isn't His'n. After a pause (during which the
orchestra continued playing) my neighbour begged me to notice that now
the theme was, "Remember the glories of O'BRIEN the Brave," but at this
point not wishing to enter into a political discussion which might have
landed me in the police-station, I courteously, but firmly, wished him
good night, and having signified to everybody generally the extreme
pleasure I had derived from the entertainment provided by the Messrs.
NOVELLO AND EWER, I gracefully withdrew, and am, No Fellow, but Ewers
truly, THE CRICKET ON THE HARP.

P.S.--_À propos_ of music, I cannot refrain from mentioning the
gathering of the _élite_ who recently collected together to do honour to
the talents of Mrs. DUTTON COOK. Madame ALBANI was in great force, and
the fair _bénéficiaire_ played with her customary grace and artistic
feeling, eliciting the invariable result of unbounded applause. It is to
be greatly regretted that the Public have not the opportunity of hearing
Mrs. DUTTON COOK more frequently. She is certainly in the first rank of
pianists and a sound musician.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I hear," said Mrs. RAM, "that the Princess CHRISTIAN has written about
the _Margarine of Baireuth_. I like to hear of Royalty interesting
themselves in such matters. However," she added, "of course, they know
which side their Bread's buttered, and like the butter, whether at home
or abroad--that is, here or at Baireuth--to be of the very best. So do
I."

       *       *       *       *       *

"THE CRAMOPHONE."--New invention for repeating any number of crams over
and over again. Useful to advertisers, quacks, &c., &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

TOO CLEVER BY HALF.

    "Out of every thousand men in the Army there are now 815 of superior
    education.... H.R.H. the Field-Marshal Commander-in-Chief has
    directed Officers to use every means at their disposal to induce men
    to improve their education in order to obtain the certificate
    necessary for promotion."--_Daily Paper._

SCENE--_The Barrack Square of the Royal Irish Bengal Essex Highlanders
(Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein's Own). Members of the Regiment
assembling for Morning Parade. A Company falling in._

_Captain Dash (commanding A Company)._ Ready for inspection, Sergeant?

_Sergeant Babington Macaulay (saluting)._ Directly, Sir. I have called
away the men from a discussion on the question of entail.

_Captain_. Dear me! You should not have done that. I shall be only too
ready to assist them by any means in my power.

_Sergeant._ Well, Sir, they are now in close order. If you wish, I will
open them out. (_Captain nods assent. To men._) Open order! [_Flank
files rear rank step back two paces._

_Corporal (dressing flank files)._ Steady!

_Sergeant._ March! (_Remainder of rear rank step back._) Order arms!
Stand at ease! [_He salutes_ Captain, _and comes to attention_.

_Captain._ 'Tention! (_Company springs up to desired position._) Now, my
men, I hear that some of you require to know something about the Law of
Entail. Now those of you who have taken any certificate from a
University can take a pace to the front. March! (_The entire Company
complies._) Dear me! You seem to be very well educated. Eh, Sergeant?

_Sergeant._ Well, pretty well, Sir. We are not equal to E Company,
although we can hold our own fairly against B, C, D, F, and G. As for H
Company, it is out of the competition altogether. H Company is the best
read Company in the Battalion, if not in the Regiment.

_Captain._ Well, what is the difficulty? Call out the man who started
the subject. Perhaps I may be able to help him.

_Sergeant (salutes and turns to Company)._ Private THOMAS ATKINS take
three paces to your front. March! Now then, salute, Sir! (_Aside._) This
extra education makes them rusty with their drill.

_Captain._ Well, Private ATKINS, can I help you at all?

_Private Atkins (touching his rifle with his right hand)._ A thousand
thanks, Sir, for your extreme kindness and courtesy. Still I cannot
fairly monopolise all your attention, as I was only one of many desirous
of learning a little law.

_Captain._ I suppose you know all about the Feudal System?

_Private (smiling)._ I can safely undertake to say that there is not a
man in the Company who does not appreciate its provisions.

_Captain._ Quite so. Well, the practice of entail is founded more or
less on the Feudal System. You understand the advantages and
disadvantages of Primogeniture?

_Private._ Certainly, Sir. I suppose Borough English was rather before
the time of the Norman Conquest?

_Captain._ I imagine so: but perhaps the best way will be for you all to
come to my quarters, where I can explain the matter more fully to you
than I can here. I have no doubt the Colonel will excuse the Company, if
I inform him for what purpose we propose absenting ourselves. At any
rate I will ask him.

_Private._ A million thanks, Sir. I am sure every man in the Company
will be grateful to you.

_Sergeant._ Right about turn! Quick march! Halt! Front! Shoulder arms!

_Captain._ Stand them easy while I go away. (Sergeant _obeys order, and_
Captain _approaches and salutes_ Colonel.) Beg pardon, Sir, but may I
march my Company to my quarters to give them a lecture on law?

_Colonel (rather querulously)._ Well, DASH, of course I'm not going to
say No; but it really is rather rough upon me. Here B Company has got
permission to study botany, C Company the elements of engineering, D, F,
and G chemistry. I shall be left with H Company, because they have
nothing more to learn. What on earth shall I give them to do if you are
off too?

_Captain._ Wouldn't presume to suggest, Sir; but mightn't H have a
little practice in the rudiments of drill?

_Colonel._ By Jove, you are right! They are rusty enough! Very well, you
may go.

[_Scene closes in upon A Company marching towards_ Captain DASH'S
_quarters, while the Adjutant gets H Company (with some difficulty) into
something like a proper formation for receiving elementary instruction
in the mysteries of "fours_."

       *       *       *       *       *

A CIRCULAR NOTE.--The literary character of our leading statesmen of all
shades of political opinion is well sustained at the present day. They
are learned in all the 'ologies, including ap-ologies, of which art Mr.
GLADSTONE and Mr. BALFOUR are by this time past-masters. Long may they
live--and learn.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE IRREVOCABLE PAST!

                                 "This is truth the Poet sings,
 That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things!"

"ALAS! IN LOOKING BACK OVER ONE'S LIFE, HOW MANY THINGS THERE ARE TO
CAUSE ONE TO REGRET!"

"OH, YES, INDEED! I OFTEN REGRET I DIDN'T EAT MORE OYSTERS WHEN THEY
WERE EIGHTPENCE A DOZEN!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE CHIMES.

(_Dickens once again adapted to the Season and the Situation._)

High up in the steeple of an old old Tower, of ancient foundation,
somewhat incongruous and complicated in design, but of sound
Constitution--as _everybody_, even the angriest campanological
opponents, admitted--far above the light and the noise of the town, if
far below the flying clouds that shadow it, dwelt the Chimes I tell of.

They were old Chimes, trust me. Centuries ago those Bells had been hung
by our ancestors, so many centuries ago, that the register of their
first suspension, the record of their first peal, was lost in
antiquarian mist as impenetrable as the darkness of the belfry corners
on a starless November night. They had had their donors and sponsors,
these Bells; but time had mowed down their donors, and mislaid the names
of their sponsors, and they now hung nameless and dateless, but sound
and sonorous still, in that high old Tower, time-worn but steadfast and
four-square to all winds, Party or otherwise, that have blown or that
shall blow.

Not speechless though. Far from it. They had clear, loud, lusty,
sounding voices, had these Bells; and far and wide they might be heard
upon the wind. Much too sturdy Chimes, moreover, were they, to be
dependent upon the mere pleasure of the wind, of any of the winds--Party
or otherwise--aforementioned. They had been pulled at by many
generations of ringers, pulled at sometimes skilfully, often awkwardly
and ill; sometimes in tune, and with the well-ordered harmony which was
natural to them; sometimes again, wildly and wilfully, by incompetent or
angry ringers, ringers ill-matched and ill-accordant, who did their
worst to mar their melody, and spoil their tunefulness, and upset their
time, and make them sound, in the great Singer's words:--

 "Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune, and harsh."

But the fault was ever less in the Bells than in the Bell-ringers.
Cracked were they not, nor were they cacophonous; let their clappers
swing free, and keep their throats unrusted and unclogged, and in
skilled, and loyal, and well-conducted hands, they would ever sound out
strongly and sweetly, and send forth on and against the wildest and
angriest of the winds aforesaid, most excellent and inspiring music.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Toby_ knew them well, those Bells, as did his great and genial Master.
_Toby_ was not a canine casuist. Being but a simple and loyal dog, he
invested them with a strange and solemn character. They were so
mysterious and mighty; often heard, and never seen; so high up, so far
off, and so full of such a deep, strong melody, that he regarded them
with a species of awe; and sometimes when he looked up at the dark
arched windows in the tower, he half expected to be beckoned to by
something which was not a Bell, and yet was what he had heard so often
sounding in the Tower, the Spirit, namely, of Loyalty and Love, of
Honour and of Home. For all this, _Toby_ scouted with doggish
disdain--being, like his Master, as sensible as loyal--a certain
occasionally flying rumour that the Chimes were haunted, as implying the
possibility of their being connected with any Evil thing. And _Toby_--no
unlicked cub, but a considerate, composed old dog,--never puppyishly
barked at the Bells. He would as soon have thought of baying the moon.

But he often had occasion to yap, warningly or reprovingly, at the
Bell-ringers!

       *       *       *       *       *

Bow-wow-wow! It was the voice of _Toby_. It meant not, this time, either
warning or reproof; rather amicable acknowledgment, and just a little
surprise. Not fear, oh, no! not fear.

A Voice--was it a vision-voice, or the accents of the biggest of
the Bells, or was it, perchance, the veritable Voice of Time
himself, naturally and fitly vocal and audible at this particular
Season?--sounded strangely through the shadowy belfry. Thus it seemed to
speak, in words curiously pertinent to the moment, though _Toby_ seemed
to have heard them before in other connection and in other
circumstances.

[Illustration: THE CHIMES.

MR. PUNCH. "NOW THEN, MY LADS! ALL TOGETHER FOR ONCE!--CHRISTMAS TIME,
YOU KNOW!!"]

"The Voice of Time cries to Man, Advance! Time is for his advancement
and improvement; for his greater worth, his greater happiness, his
better life; his progress onward to that goal within its knowledge and
its view, and set there in the period when Time and he began. Ages of
darkness, wickedness, and violence have come and gone--millions
uncountable have suffered, loved, and died--to point the way before him.
Who seeks to turn him back, or stay him in his course, arrests a mighty
engine which will strike the meddler dead, and be the fiercer and the
wilder, ever, for its momentary check!"

"A rub for the reactionaries!" mused _Toby_.

"Who puts into the mouth of Time, or of its servants, a cry of
lamentation for days which have had their trial and their failure, and
have left deep traces of it which the blind may see--a cry that only
serves the present time, by showing men how much it needs their help
when any ears can listen to regrets for such a past--who does this does
us wrong."

"A flout for our Fair-Traders!" thought _Toby_.

"Who hears in us, the Chimes, one note bespeaking disregard, or stern
regard, of any hope, or joy, or sorrow, of the many-sorrowed throng; who
hears us make response to any creed that gauges human passions and
affections, as it gauges the amount of miserable food on which humanity
may pine and wither, does us wrong."

"What would the contemners of the people's claims, the deriders of the
people's miseries, make of _that_, I wonder?" meditated _Toby_.

"Who hears us echo the dull vermin of the earth, the Putters Down of
crushed and broken natures, formed to be raised up higher than such
maggots of the time can crawl or can conceive, does us wrong."

"Pity the shriekers for unlimited Suppression can't hear _this_!"
cogitated _Toby_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Bow-wow-wow!_ Again it was the voice of _Toby_. This time it did mean
warning, if not reproof. Not anger exactly; anger alone is scarce suited
to the Christmas season.

The Bell-ringers were going it. With plenty of energy, unquestionably,
but with scarcely as much discretion as might be desired. A rather mixed
lot. Each one individually an excellent hand at the rope, no doubt.
Evergreen WILL, of the leonine front, and flying silvery whisps of hair!
Black-a-vised BOB, of the broad shoulders and resolute tug. Stolid, but
sturdy HARTY, of the firmly-planted feet and granite grip! Fiery though
mild-featured JOACHIM; sombre, smug-faced, but enthusiastic JOHN! Last,
though perhaps hardly least (in his own estimation, at all events),
rattling RANDOLPH, light-weight, none too firm of footing, but full of
dash, and game to attempt a triple bob-major all by himself.

"_Pull_ away, BOB," cried impetuous WILL, eagerly.

"Steady, WILL!" exclaimed Black-a-vised BOB, sardonically.

"Keep time, for goodness sake, JOHN," said accurate JOACHIM.

"Want your bell to be heard above all the rest!" murmured sombre JOHN.

"Are you trying to hang yourself, or pull the belfry down, RANDOLPH,"
muttered stolid HARTY, beneath his moustache.

"Oh, confound it; I could lick the lot of you!" shouted little RANDOLPH,
tugging tremendously at his rope, and fairly carried off his feet by the
recoil.

"_Bow-wow-wow!_" barked _Toby_.

"Right, my dog!" said his Master. "Good Bell-ringing, my boys, requires
combination and subordination, unity of purpose as well as union of
powers. A bull-like power of pull is not enough, or, by Jove! you'd all
be crack campanologists. Come, Gentlemen, a Christmas Carillon at least
should not be all cacaphonous crash and clatter. All together, my lads,
_for once_; or, rather, keep time, and touch, and tune, with due regard
to the perfection of the peal and the credit of the glorious old
Chimes!"

       *       *       *       *       *

IN THEIR CRACKERS.

_The Czar._--A brand-new map of the Balkan States with Prince BISMARCK'S
best compliments.

_The Emperor of Austria._--A satisfactory explanation of recent Russian
Military movements, with the CZAR'S kindest regards.

_Prince Bismarck._--German Security by arrangement, with the seasonable
wishes of the Five Great Powers.

_President Carnot._--A Ministry that will last him a fortnight with the
good will of the two Chambers.

_Lord Salisbury._--"A Hundred New Ways of Governing Ireland by
Coercion." Christmas Edition.

_Mr. O'Brien._--An Emerald-coloured Tweed suit, in which to sing by
himself on Christmas Eve, "_The Wearing of the Green_."

_Mr. Chamberlain._--A very pretty kettle of fish, daintily and
appropriately decorated with Canadian mottoes.

_Mr. Gladstone._--The Donnybrook Fair Suit, "with Shillelagh complete,"
as advertised, done up in a neat parcel and addressed to him with the
compliments of "the Party."

       *       *       *       *       *

A LEARNED PROTEST.

 RESPECTISSIME PUNCHI!

Tu habes admissum, olim, Latinas litteras in tuis columnis. Memini unum
TOMMIUM scribentem de Etone (istâ super-ratâ scholâ) et nunc forsitan
accipies hanc contributionem antiqui Westminsterensis? Semper ego
auditor tantum (JUVENALIS) quum nobilis ars Latinorum versorum est
attacta? Non pro JOSEPHO! Volo nunc intrare meam protestationem contra
aliqua verba Baronis BRAMWELL, alterâ die.

[Illustration: _Facilis ascensus Parnassi sed revocare gradum._

"It's very easy to be a Poet, but you must have recourse to your
gradus."]

Baro dixit (Anglicè, quia, imagino, non noscit Latinum) ut "he never got
any good from the Latin verses he was obliged to write when a boy, and
if a boy is to be made a poet, he had better begin in his own language."
Dixit quoque, "it may be knowledge to know the names of those who killed
BECKET (_sic_), and the precise date, but it is not wisdom or useful."
(Quare, viâ, "BECKET," et non "Sanctus TOMMIUS À BECKET, proprium nomen?
Quid cheekum! Vel forte dicerem, quæ bucca! Vocabimusne Baronem BRAMWELL
in futuro "BRAMWELL" simpliciter; vel, ut omittit "à," potius "BRAM'L"?)

Quoto has Philistinas deliverationes de "Tempora," et Editor "Temporum"
propriissime scribit, "We should for our part (pro nostrâ portione)
venture to doubt whether some of Lord BRAMWELL'S (peto veniam, BRAM'L'S)
remarkable keenness of mind is not to be accounted for by the drilling
which his Latin verses gave him--by the habit of twisting and turning
(habitus contorquendi et vertendi) and adjusting thoughts and phrases
which that old-fashioned exercise implies." Bene!

Sum ipse nunc Undergraduatus, et abandonavi Classicas linguas pro
Scientiâ. Sed retineo meum Latinum--ut tu vides--et invenio id facile
esse excellens in chemicis odoribus et in CICERONE simul.

Cogito ut Britannicus Publicus debet noscere _quam multum bonum_ Latini
versus sunt ad pueros.

1. Imprimis, illi ducunt ad usum _Gradûs ad Parnassum_; et, interrogo,
quis liber potest comparare cum eo vel in elegantiâ styli, vel in
copiositate verborum, vel in vero genio auctoris? Sum inclinatus
cogitare ut auctor erat, in realitate, BACONIUS ipse; et si ita, id est
alium exemplum quomodo Latini versus auxiliant homines scandere ad
nobilissimas positiones in Statu.

2. Secundo loco, docent fraternum amorem inter pueros; quia quum unus
socius est stumpatus pro verbo, alius donat illi correctum tippum, sub
rosâ.

3. Tertium quid (non _quid_ tobacconis!--Vide effectum, "habitûs
contorquendi et vertendi"!)--Versus elevant mentem, et associant nos cum
grandibus auctoribus præteriti, ut OVIDIO, TIBULLO, et CAREYO. Quomodo
possum noscere, nisi per "Gradum," ut _Amor_ est "dulcis, blandus,
jucundus, suavis," et eodem tempore "flagrans, acer, fervidus,
indomitus, vigilans," etc.?

4. Quarto, discimus synonymos, sic utiles ad publicos homines (non
homines _publicanos_, intelligis! "Habitus contorquendi" iterum). Si
Magister GLADSTONE non fecisset Latinos versus ut juvenis, non posset
nunc donare viginti differentia nomina pro unâ re.

Finaliter, si Latini versus sunt missi ad Jerichonem, _ubi erit Ludus
Westminsterensis_ in futuro? Nullum alium argumentum est necessarium.

 Maneo tuus,      ANTI-BRAMWELLIUS ACADEMICUS.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Correspondent draws _Mr. Punch's_ attention to an advertisement in a
Cheltenham paper, from which this is an extract:--

  "QUINCE JAM.--Prepared from Quinces, supposed by many to be the
  'Forbidden Fruit.' This hitherto almost unknown luxury is much
  appreciated by those who have tried it."

Hasn't the enterprising and, of course, very old-established firm which
advertises this luxury any recommendation in writing from "The fairest
of her daughters," EVE? If so, let them produce the papyrus.

       *       *       *       *       *

The last Christmas Cards to arrive, are TAYLOR FOOT'S "Merry Thoughts,"
&c., from Poland Street,--they're behind time; so very slow a-foot in
coming. As practical jokes, the mince-pie cards are uncommonly good, and
indeed the sham may be substituted for the real, by a mince pi-ous fraud
allowable at Christmas time.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: STRIVING AFTER THE IDEAL.

_Grandpapa._ "AH, JOHNNY! THERE ARE FEW BETTER THINGS THAN IRISH STEW!"

_Johnny._ "WHAT ARE THE FEW BETTER THINGS, GRANDPA?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

UNEMPLOYED.

_A Christmas Carol for the Comfortable Classes._

  Old Father Christmas came once more,
  His eye was bright if his hair was hoar,
  And the old old gifts on his back he bore.

  With the old loved legend now as then
  The pleasantest ever inscribed by pen--
  "Peace upon earth, goodwill to men."

  What was it the good old greybeard saw?--
  War's iron teeth, greed's gaping jaw,
  And shaken order and broken law.

  Each land ringed round with a fence of steel,
  Each party snarling at other's heel;
  None seeming loving, few looking leal.

  Poverty spreading athwart the land,
  With mutterings few dared understand,
  Though they palsied Charity's helpful hand.

  And the good old greybeard stood and gazed
  At the thousand hearths where no Yule-fire blazed,
  At the hate-led nations, the classes crazed.

  "And oh!" he cried, "is it come, the time
  When the land low grovels in greed and grime,
  And heeds no longer my cheering chime?

  "Is it past, all prospect of love's increase?
  Is it time my rallying cry should cease--
  'Peace and Good-will! Good-will and Peace!'?

  "Is it fled, the hope that my heart has buoyed?
  Is it finished, the labour in which I joyed?
  Am _I_ the chief of the Unemployed?"

       *       *       *       *       *

THE DEAR DEPARTED.--He has departed, and he was dear--at the price, was
the poor little Gorilla! He died at the Zoo just ten days ago. Was it
owing to his being so generously dieted, and never getting "Monkey's
allowance?" Jenny the Baboon refused to attend the funeral, which was
strictly private. Her conduct has created some astonishment among the
officials. A jarring note was struck by the Hyæna, which could not
repress its laughter. He died intestate. The Gorilla's decease makes no
change in the government of Monkey Island.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE CONSCIENTIOUS APPARITION; OR, THE PHANTOM BILL OF COSTS.

(_A Legal Ghost Story for Christmas._)

I am a highly respectable family ghost. I appear usually at two in the
morning, wearing, what I believe is called in theatrical circles, a
disguise cloak, and carrying a long blood-stained sword. I have one
serious drawback. I have a shocking memory, and have entirely forgotten
my identity. For the death of me I cannot remember why I became a ghost,
and what on earth I ought to haunt. I fancy it should be some sort of
castle, as I have an indistinct recollection of once frightening a man
carrying some huge keys, from what I take must have been a portcullis,
into fits. But this is merely conjecture, and I can't in the least
account for my blood-stained sword. As I am really conscientious, this
state of things has caused me serious regret. I have no wish to alarm
the wrong people, nor to haunt the wrong place. The first is improper,
and the second is _infra dig_. But what can I do? I find that I must
appear at least once in every four-and-twenty hours, and my difficulty
has been to so suit my time and place, that the least inconvenience
should be given to the smallest number. Consequently, for many years I
have been a nightly _habitué_ of the South Kensington Museum. No doubt
this arrangement would have continued for an indefinite period had I
not been recently arrested by a Policeman for loitering in the
picture-galleries, who only permitted me to vanish in blue fire (I
prefer blue to red) on the condition that I did not re-enter the
Institution.

Ousted from the South Kensington Museum, I determined not to visit any
other public establishment. Partly because I was tired beyond measure of
curiosities, and partly, because my dignity had been wounded by the
incident that had severed my connection with the School of Art.
Supplementary to this, I felt that I might be neglecting a duty by not
discovering the proper place for my periodical apparitions. It occurred
to me it would be a great comfort if I could but find the exact spot,
where undisturbed, I could appear and disappear without fear of
interruption, at any rate, from the profession, for I knew that I should
not be allowed to poach on the haunting-grounds of my fellow phantoms.
As a matter of fact, I once had a terrible row in the Tower of London,
(caused by Sir WALTER RALEIGH, Lord BALMARINO, and Lady JANE GREY
objecting to my joining the little gathering there, on the score "that I
did not belong to their set") which ended in my being ejected in the
most undignified manner possible from the premises. However, I am pretty
determined when I make up my mind, and I formed the resolution of
leaving no stone unturned until I had discovered my proper destination.

My first experiments were most unsuccessful. I visited in succession
about a hundred country-houses, but found them all tenanted with their
rightful apparitions. My arrival was greeted, in each case, with abuse,
more or less vigorous. Perhaps I received the greatest insults from a
person (I cannot call him a gentleman) of the last century, who I
discovered haunting a venerable mansion belonging to his grandson, with
a view to giving their brand-new family an air of respectability.

At length I found a rather agreeable lady in white brocade, who carried
her head in a bundle under her arm, and who was more inclined to be
sociable than any ghost I had hitherto met.

"You cannot possibly remain here," she said, as she glided up a
staircase and rattled some chains outside a bedroom door, "it would not
be proper, besides it would be sure to be resented by ALFREDO, who rises
every fifteenth of March from the moat to cut my head off in a fit of
jealousy--he is so absurd! If I were you I should consult a Solicitor. I
can recommend you one who hanged himself some years ago in the town over
yonder. His great great great grandfather drew my marriage settlement;
and ALFREDO, who has consulted him on several little matters, has every
confidence in him. Why not see him? You will find him seated in his
office (it belongs to his nephew in the daytime) from midnight to four
in the morning. And now you must really go, as I have to frighten the
occupants of this bed-chamber."

Thus urged, of course I could only bow and withdraw. I floated into the
town and entered the Lawyer's office. I found its phantom occupant
extremely obliging.

"The great difficulty," he said, when he had listened to my story, "is
to ascertain your identity, which can only be done in the daytime. Have
you ever appeared at noon?"

I admitted that I had, although I was obliged to confess that I had
found my apparition then both feeble and unsatisfactory.

After consultation, we decided that perhaps we might find some trace of
my antecedents in the Imbecile Inquiry Office, a Government Department
devoted to the registration of human curiosities. It was not impossible
that I might have been so extremely eccentric in my lifetime, that some
trace of my doings might have been preserved in the archives of the
_bureau_. The next morning, accompanied by my Lawyer, I visited the
office, and was requested by a messenger to put in writing on a
memorandum paper the object of my application. Fortunately the man was
short-sighted, and did not appear to notice our appearance. I wrote what
I wanted, and sent it up. In a few minutes the messenger returned.

"The Board is engaged at this moment, but if you like to stop, the
Secretary will see you by-and-by." He then left us.

After waiting nearly an hour, my Lawyer and I came to the conclusion
that we must have been forgotten, and determined to go upon a voyage of
discovery on our own account. Leaving the waiting-room, we glided up a
broad stone staircase and entered through a green-baize door a large
apartment apparently filled with books. Seated at a desk was an
amiable-looking, middle-aged gentleman surrounded with plans, papers,
packets, and the usual paraphernalia of a Government Office. Between
this room and another was a second green-baize door dividing the two
apartments the one from the other. In the second room we saw several
other amiable-looking middle-aged gentlemen, grouped round a long table,
and apparently engaged in discussing sandwiches and sherry.

"I am sorry to disturb you," said my Lawyer, courteously. The
amiable-looking middle-aged gentleman at the desk, raised his eyes,
looked at us, started violently, and turned as white as a sheet. My
Solicitor continued, "We want to know----"

He could get no further. The gentleman jumped up from his desk in an
agony of terror, and, before we could prevent his departure, disappeared
with an unearthly yell, through the baize door into the second
apartment. The door was then hurriedly locked, and all we could do would
not induce any of the occupants of the room to open it. We tried in vain
all sorts of inducements, from the rattling of heavy chains up to
thunder-thumps. Some little time elapsed, and then the short-sighted
messenger made his appearance.

"I never told you to come up," said he, in an aggrieved tone, "and
you've got me into trouble. You must be off. The Board say that your
application, whatever it is, can't be entertained."

To retire was all we could do--and we did it. On regaining the street, I
sorrowfully bade my Solicitor good-bye.

"Oh dear no, Sir," he said, with the ghost of a smile. "You have quite
forgotten one little formality--my Bill of Costs."

Upon this he produced an enormous roll of paper! The rest of my story
can be briefly told. Unable to pay my Lawyer's bill, I was compelled to
seek refuge in a country where I could not be reached by the Extradition
law. I took a passage in _The Flying Dutchman_, and went to Spain. I am
now settled in Grenada, where I am believed by the peasantry to be an
English ghost that has escaped from a branch of the Moorish Alhambra
that has been recently established in Leicester Square. I find some
consolation in the thought that those whom I now haunt seem to be
growing rather fond of me. I trust that this is not a specimen of the
national politeness, and that the affection they apparently entertain
towards me is not merely assumed to save me unnecessary embarrassment.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: INTERIORS AND EXTERIORS. No. 55.

IN LOWTHER ARCADIA AT CHRISTMAS TIME.]

       *       *       *       *       *

WAITING HIS ORDERS.

The HOME SECRETARY, after the revelations made by a distinguished member
of the Representative body of Theatrical Managers and Music Hall
Proprietors that called upon him last week to protest against the
further extension of Inspecting Powers to the Metropolitan Board, having
expressed a wish to hear something still further of the correspondence,
said to be of a blackmailing character, which was referred to in the
course of the proceedings, the Deputation again called on him yesterday
afternoon for the purpose of supplying him with fresh information on the
subject.

[Illustration: Augustus Druriolanus opposing the Invasion of Plancus
Operator Autocraticus.]

In re-introducing them, Mr. JACKSON PARTLAND, M.P., said that since
their last interview they had heard that, with a view to the better
control of the correspondence of subordinate officials of the Board, an
enterprising firm of publishers had undertaken to provide for their use
A COMPLETE LETTER-WRITER, a few of the proof-sheets of which had chanced
to come into their possession. As they seemed to have some bearing on
the present case, they thought that perhaps the HOME SECRETARY might
like to look at them. In presenting them to his notice, they felt it was
hardly necessary to point out that a public Department from which such
documents might be expected to issue was scarcely calculated to inspire
that general confidence so essential to the smooth and efficient working
that might reasonably be expected of it. The subjoined proof-sheets,
which he appeared to peruse with much attention, were then handed to the
HOME SECRETARY:--

_From an Official of the Board to a Popular Manager, asking for Places
during the Height of the Pantomime Season._

  _Metropolitan Board of Shirks Compromising Architect's
  Department, Spring Heel Gardens, February 17._

MY DEAR GUS,--(Excuse the familiarity, but it is a way we have on the
"Board")--I know you are turning money away nightly, but you must really
manage to let me have the Queen's Box, and the two others on each side
of it (all three knocked into one) for three days--say, Monday,
Thursday, and Friday next week. I wish to bring my grandfather, two aged
aunts, my sister-in-law, all her children, and my own, and lots of
cousins and connections who know my interest with you, and have asked me
to get 'em good places. Don't say you can't do it, my dear boy, for you
know _I can be nasty when I like_, and should be sorry to put you to the
expense of clapping on another staircase or two to the upper circles.
Ha! ha! that would be a joke, wouldn't it? However, let's hope it won't
come to that. Yours ever, JOHN BEGG.

P.S.--If there's a difficulty about the boxes, I wouldn't mind a whole
row of stalls right across the theatre in the best part. But mind, one
or the other, _I must have_.

_From Same to Same, on the former receiving, in reply, an Order for two
to the Upper Boxes, not admitted after half-past Seven._

  _Metropolitan Board of Shirks Compromising Architect's
  Department, Spring Heel Gardens, February 19._

SIR.--I am utterly astounded at the insolence of your response to my
request, and thus fling back your tickets (re-enclosed) in your face. Do
you know, Sir, who I am? _Are you aware that I can make your theatre too
hot to hold you?_ Do you reflect that I can force you to open up a
dozen,--ay, and if need be, twenty-four--new and roomy exits on every
blessed floor in your house. And yet, with this knowledge, you dare to
haggle in your mind over the price of three paltry boxes on the Grand
Tier. Why, you must be mad!--stark! However, to be plain with you, I'll
tell you what it is. Unless you send me by return the places I have
named, and which, as an Official of the Board, have the goodness to
understand, _I claim as a right_, I'll let loose a Committee of
Inspection on you in two twos, without notice, and if, after they've
paid you a visit, they leave you a single leg to stand upon, I promise
you it won't be the fault of Yours, meaning business, officially,

  JOHN BEGG.

_From Same to Same, after receipt of various Complimentary Admissions,
making still further demands._

  _Metropolitan Board of Shirks, Compromising Architect's
  Department, Spring Heel Gardens, March 1._

MY VERY DEAR SIR,--Thank you for the last six Private Boxes, which,
although not all of them in quite first-rate positions, enabled me to
knock on a few obligations that I was under to certain importunate
friends and connections. But I am now going to tax your kindness still
further. _I wish to give all my tradesmen a treat_, and should like them
to have the Queen's Box in turn. I am, therefore, sending you the
addresses of my butcher, my baker, my bootmaker, milkman, greengrocer,
and my tailor, and request that you will communicate directly with them,
with a view to finding out on what nights they could most conveniently
visit the theatre, and arranging accordingly. Please be careful to
direct the envelopes carefully and legibly, as I should be sorry that
any carelessness on your part should lead to disagreeables over the
matter. Indeed, as long as you keep me well supplied with the places I
require on the Grand Tier, I _have no wish to be nasty_. But you know,
from experience, it won't do to put my back up, and that rather than put
an official spoke into your wheel, I would always prefer to receive your
orders, and be able to sign myself, as I do now, Yours cordially,

 JOHN BEGG.

_From Same to Same, on receiving Apologetic and Explanatory Letter
enclosing sixteen undated Stalls._

  _Metropolitan Board of Shirks, Compromising Architect's
  Department, Spring Heel Gardens, March 4._

Mr. BEGG wishes to know whether Mr. HARRIS takes him for a fool. Mr. B.
particularly told Mr. H., that he wanted him to let him have the Queen's
Box for six consecutive nights, _as he wished to give his_, Mr. B's.,
_Tradesmen a treat_. How does Mr. H. think Mr. B. is going to manage
that in suitable style, in sixteen undated Stalls! But perhaps Mr. H. is
desirous of _provoking an Official Inspection_, and would like to be
called on to provide a new set of dressing-rooms, a couple of
iron-curtains, and be ordered to rebuild his Entrance Hall. Mr. B.
merely throws this out as a hint, but would advise Mr. H. _if he wishes
to keep out of trouble_, to despatch the demanded boxes, to the
addresses already furnished him forthwith.

The HOME SECRETARY said, that after giving the above specimens of
correspondence his careful consideration, he could not say that he
thought them particularly out of the way, but as there somehow seemed to
be a general impression that they were, he supposed something ought to
be done. He would think the matter over, and perhaps in the course of
next summer he might possibly hit on some solution.

The Deputation having thanked him, then withdrew.

       *       *       *       *       *

"ALL THE TALENTS."

The _Graphic's_ big picture, representing "All the Talents" of Her
Gracious MAJESTY'S reign grouped together in one tremendous crowd,
directed apparently on their way down (ominous this!) by Sir JEM of the
Academy, contains some of the best portraits that have appeared in any
collective illustration. Each one of them separately would be entitled
to a place in the splendid _Victoria Album_ recently issued by SMITH AND
DOWNES, and to say this is saying a great deal. _The Graphic_
Stage-Manager has grouped his characters most appropriately. On the
extreme right of the spectator is Sir FREDERICK LEIGHTON, P.R.A.,
staring across at Sir JEM as if wondering why on earth the latter was
taking so much authority into his own hands. The Baroness BURDETT COUTTS
is well in front, evidently determined to get out first before the crush
comes,--an idea that, apparently, has also simultaneously occurred to
Messrs. CHAMBERLAIN, BROWNING, ELLEN TERRY, and Lords CHARLES BERESFORD,
TENNYSON, SALISBURY, GLADSTONE, "our Mr. TENNIEL," Mrs. BANCROFT
(without Mr. B., which accounts for the vacant space next to her, so
perhaps he was late, or has politely gone to fetch Mrs. KENDAL, with
whom he will appear in the millionth re-issue of this picture), H.E.
Cardinal MANNING, apologising for accidentally treading on Madame
PATTI'S dress (but it really couldn't be helped), who are all getting
away as quickly as possible, either because Mr. SALA, up at the back, or
Sir ARTHUR SULLIVAN (who is looking about for Mr. GILBERT) has shouted
out, "Get on in front there!" Perhaps--ah!--they are all hurrying off to
the Refreshment Room! Or going to stir the Christmas Pudding.

       *       *       *       *       *

BOHN'S Standard Library is to be republished at a shilling a volume.
This is indeed putting life in the dry Bohns.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: hand] 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 Note:

Alternative spellings retained.

Punctuation normalized without comment.

Italics denoted by underscores (_).]





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