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Title: Mr. Punch at the Play - Humours of Music and the Drama
Author: Various
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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PUNCH LIBRARY OF HUMOUR

Edited by J. A. HAMMERTON

Designed to provide in a series
of volumes, each complete in itself,
the cream of our national humour,
contributed by the masters of
comic draughtsmanship and the
leading wits of the age to "Punch,"
from its beginning in 1841 to the
present day.

       *       *       *       *       *

MR. PUNCH AT THE PLAY

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Actor (on the stage)._ "Me mind is made up!"

_Voice from the Gallery._ "What abeaout yer fice?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

MR. PUNCH AT THE PLAY

HUMOURS OF MUSIC AND THE DRAMA

_WITH 140 ILLUSTRATIONS_

[Illustration]

BY CHARLES KEENE, PHIL MAY, GEORGE DU MAURIER, BERNARD PARTRIDGE, L.
RAVEN-HILL, E. T. REED, F. H. TOWNSEND, C. E. BROCK, A. S. BOYD, TOM
BROWNE, EVERARD HOPKINS AND OTHERS

PUBLISHED BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT WITH THE PROPRIETORS OF "PUNCH"

       *       *       *       *       *

THE EDUCATIONAL BOOK CO. LTD.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PUNCH LIBRARY OF HUMOUR

_Twenty-five volumes, crown 8vo, 192 pages fully illustrated_

  LIFE IN LONDON
  COUNTRY LIFE
  IN THE HIGHLANDS
  SCOTTISH HUMOUR
  IRISH HUMOUR
  COCKNEY HUMOUR
  IN SOCIETY
  AFTER DINNER STORIES
  IN BOHEMIA
  AT THE PLAY
  MR. PUNCH AT HOME
  ON THE CONTINONG
  RAILWAY BOOK
  AT THE SEASIDE
  MR. PUNCH AFLOAT
  IN THE HUNTING FIELD
  MR. PUNCH ON TOUR
  WITH ROD AND GUN
  MR. PUNCH AWHEEL
  BOOK OF SPORTS
  GOLF STORIES
  IN WIG AND GOWN
  ON THE WARPATH
  BOOK OF LOVE
  WITH THE CHILDREN

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

BEFORE THE CURTAIN

Most of the PUNCH artists of note have used their pencils on the
theatre; with theatricals public and private none has done more than Du
Maurier. All have made merry over the extravagances of melodrama and
"problem" plays; the vanity and the mistakes of actors, actresses and
dramatists; and the blunderings of the average playgoer.

MR. PUNCH genially satirises the aristocratic amateurs who, some few
years ago, made frantic rushes into the profession, and for a while
enjoyed more kudos as actors than they had obtained as titled members
of the upper circle, and the exaggerated social status that for the time
accrued to the professional actor as a consequence of this invasion.

The things he has written about the stage, quite apart from all
reviewing of plays, would more than fill a book of itself; and he has
slyly and laughingly satirised players, playwrights and public with an
equal impartiality.

He has got a deal of fun out of the French dramas and the affected
pleasure taken in them by audiences that did not understand the
language. He has got even more fun out of the dramatists whose "original
plays" were largely translated from the French, and to whom Paris was,
and to some extent is still, literally and figuratively "a playground."

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

MR. PUNCH AT THE PLAY

SOMETHING FOR THE MONEY

(_From the Playgoers' Conversation Book. Coming Edition._)

[Illustration]

I have only paid three guineas and a half for this stall, but it is
certainly stuffed with the very best hair.

The people in the ten-and-sixpenny gallery seem fairly pleased with
their dado.

I did not know the call-boy was at Eton.

The expenses of this house must be enormous, if they always play _Box
and Cox_ with a rasher of real Canadian bacon.

How nice to know that the musicians, though out of sight under the
stage, are in evening dress on velvet cushions!

Whoever is the author of this comedy, he has not written up with spirit
to that delightful Louis the Fifteenth linen cupboard.

I cannot catch a word "Macbeth" is saying, but I can see at a glance
that his kilt would be extremely cheap at seventy pounds.

I am not surprised to hear that the "Tartar's lips" for the cauldron
alone add nightly something like fifty-five-and-sixpence to the
expenses.

Do not bother me about the situation when I am looking at the quality of
the velvet pile.

Since the introduction of the _live_ hedgehog into domestic drama
obliged the management to raise the second-tier private boxes to forty
guineas, the Duchess has gone into the slips with an order.

They had, perhaps, better take away the champagne-bottle and the
diamond-studded whistle from the prompter.

Ha! here comes the chorus of villagers, provided with real silk
pocket-handkerchiefs.

It is all this sort of thing that elevates the drama, and makes me so
contented to part with a ten-pound note for an evening's amusement.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pantomime Child (to admiring friend)._ "Yus, and there's
another hadvantage in bein' a hactress. You get yer fortygraphs took for
noffink!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE HEIGHT OF LITERARY NECESSITY.--"Spouting" Shakspeare.

       *       *       *       *       *

WHEN are parsons bound in honour not to abuse theatres?

When they take orders.

       *       *       *       *       *

WHAT VOTE THE MANAGER OF A THEATRE ALWAYS HAS.--The "casting" vote.

       *       *       *       *       *

"STAND NOT ON THE ORDER OF YOUR GOING."--An amiable manager says the
orders which he issues for the pit and gallery are what in his opinion
constitute "the lower orders."

       *       *       *       *       *

GREAT THEATRICAL EFFECT.--During a performance of _Macbeth_ at the
Haymarket, the thunder was so natural that it turned sour a pint of beer
in the prompter's-box.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE DRAMA.--"'Ere, I say, 'Liza, we've seen this 'ere
play before!" "No, we ain't." [_Wordy argument follows._] "Why, don't
you remember, same time as Bill took us to the 'Pig an' Whistle,' an' we
'ad stewed eels for supper?" "Oh lor! Yes, that takes me back to it!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TRUE APPRECIATION

(_Overheard at the Theatre_)

_Mrs. Parvenu._ "I don't know that I'm exackly _gone_ on Shakspeare
Plays."

    [_Mr. P. agrees._

]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Conversationalist._ "Do you play ping-pong?"

_Actor._ "No. I play _Hamlet_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

TO ACTORS WHO ARE NOT WORTH A THOUGHT.--We notice that there is a book
called "Acting and Thinking." This is to distinguish it, we imagine,
from the generality of acting, in which there is mostly no thinking?

       *       *       *       *       *

A CRUSHER.--_Country Manager (to Mr. Agrippa Snap, the great London
critic, who has come down to see the production of a piece on trial)._
And what do you think, sir, of our theatre and our players?

_Agrippa Snap (loftily)._ Well, frankly, Mr. Flatson, your green-room's
better than your company.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: The higher walk of the drama]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Auntie, can _you_ do that?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

Theatrical managers are so often accused of being unable to break with
tradition, that it seems only fair to point out that several of them
have recently produced plays, in which the character of "Hamlet" does
not appear at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

ON A DRAMATIC AUTHOR

  "Yes, he's a plagiarist," from Tom this fell,
    "As to his social faults, sir, one excuses 'em;
  'Cos he's good natured, takes a joke so well."
    "True," cries an author, "he takes mine and uses 'em."

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MANAGER'S COMPLAINT

  She danced among the unfinished ways
    That merge into the Strand,
  A maid whom none could fail to praise,
    And very few withstand.

  A sylph, accepted for the run,
    Not at a weekly wage;
  Fair as a star when only one
    Is shining on the stage.

  She met a lord, and all men know
    How soon she'd done with me;
  Now she is in _Debrett_, oh, and,
    That's where they all would be!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A FIRST NIGHT.--_Indignant Playwright (to leading actor,
behind the scenes)._ "Confound it, man, you've absolutely murdered the
piece!" _Leading Actor._ "Pardon me, but I think the foul play is
yours!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Smart._ How do, Smooth? (_to theatrical manager, who frowns upon him_).
What's the matter, eh?

_Smooth._ Matter? Hang it, Smart, you wrote me down in "The Stinger."

_Smart (repressing something Shakspearian about "writing down" which
occurs to him, continues pleasantly)._ Wrote you down? No, I said the
piece was a bad one, because I thought it was; a very bad one.

_Smooth._ Bad! (_Sarcastically._) You were the only man who said so.

_Smart (very pleasantly)._ My dear fellow, _I was the only man who saw
it._ Good-bye.

    [_Exeunt severally._

       *       *       *       *       *

MOTTO FOR A BOX-OFFICE KEEPER.--"So much for booking 'em."

       *       *       *       *       *

"A considerable demonstration of approval greeted the fall of the
curtain." How are we to take this?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "THE DESIRE OF THE MOTH FOR THE STAR."--_Mistress._ "And
you dare to tell me, Belinda, that you have actually answered a
_theatrical advertisement_? How _could_ you be such a _wicked_ girl?"
_Belinda (whimpering)._ "Well, mum,--_other_ young lidies--gow on
the--stige--why shouldn't _I_ gow?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE COUNTER-CHECK QUARRELSOME.--_Mr. Æsopus Delasparre._
"I will ask you to favour me, madam, by refraining from laughing at me
on the stage during my third act." _Miss Jones (sweetly)._ "Oh, but I
assure you you're mistaken, Mr. Delasparre; I never laugh at you on the
stage--I wait till I get home!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SWEEPING ASSERTION.--"The other night, at the Novelty
Theatre, Mrs. Vere-Jones was gowned simply in a _clinging_ black velvet,
with a cloak of same handsomely trimmed with ermine."--_Extract from
Society Journal._]

       *       *       *       *       *

DRAMATIC NOTES OF THE FUTURE

     [A little cheild is the hero of _Everybody's Secret_; the curtain
     rises upon four little cheildren in _Her Own Way_; there are
     cheildren of various ages in _Alice-Sit-by-the-fire_.]

Mr. Barrie's new play, _The Admirable Crèche_, will be presented
to-morrow. We understand that there is a pretty scene in the third act
in which several grown-ups are discovered smoking cigars. It may
confidently be predicted that all the world will rush to the "Duke of
York's" to see this novelty. _The Admirable Crèche_ will be preceded at
8.30 by _Bassinette--A Plea for a Numerous Family_, a one-act play by
Theodore Roosevelt and Louis N. Parker.

Little Baby Wilkins is making quite a name with her wonderful rendering
of "Perdita" in the Haymarket version of _A Winter's Tale_. As soon as
actor-manager Wilkins realised the necessity of cutting the last two
acts (in which "Perdita" is grown up) the play was bound to succeed. By
the way, Mr. E. H. Cooper's new book, "Perditas I have Known," is
announced.

Frankly, we are disappointed in Mr. Pinero's new play, _Little Arthur_,
produced at Wyndham's last week. It treated of the old old theme--the
love of the hero for his nurse. To be quite plain, this stale triangle,
mother--son--nurse, is beginning to bore us. Are there no other themes
in every-day life which Mr. Pinero might take? Could he not, for
instance, give us an analysis of the mind of a young genius torn between
the necessity for teething and the desire to edit a great daily? Duty
calls him both ways: his duty to himself and his duty to the public.
Imagine a Wilkins in such a scene!

The popular editor of the "Nursery," whose unrivalled knowledge of
children causes him to be referred to everywhere as our greatest
playwright, is a little at sea in his latest play, _Rattles_. In the
first act he rashly introduces (though by this time he should know his
own limitations) two grown-ups at lunch--Mr. Jones the father, and Dr.
Brown, who discuss Johnny's cough. Now we would point out to Mr. Crouper
that men of their age would be unlikely to have milk for lunch; and
that they would not say "Yeth, pleath"--unless of Hebraic origin, and
Mr. Crouper does not say so anywhere. Mr. Crouper must try and see
something of grown-ups before he writes a play of this kind again.

We regret to announce that Cecil Tomkins, _doyen_ of actor-managers, is
down again with mumps.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MODERN IMPRESSIONIST ART. A MUSICAL COMEDY]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AT THE PREMIÈRE

_Lady in Front Row (to her neighbour, towards the end of the second
act)._ "Who is this man next me, who's just come in,--do you know? He
doesn't seem to be paying the smallest attention to the play!"

_Her Neighbour._ "Oh, I expect he's a critic. He's probably made up his
mind long ago what he's going to say of the piece; but he's just dropped
in to _confirm his suspicions_."]

       *       *       *       *       *

NO FIRST-NIGHTER.--_First Man in the Street._ See the eclipse last
night?

_Second Man in the Street._ No. Thought it might be crowded. Put off
going till next week.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE BILL OF THE PLAY]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AMENITIES OF THE PROFESSION.--_Rising Young Dramatist._
"Saw your wife in front last night. What did she think of my new
comedy?"

_Brother Playwright_. "Oh, I think she liked it. She told me she had a
good laugh."

_R. Y. D._ "Ah--er--when was that?"

_B. P._ "During the _entr'acte_. One of the attendants dropped an ice
down her neighbour's neck."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE HIGHER EDUCATION OF WOMEN

_Dora_ (_consulting a playbill_). "Only fancy! '_As You Like It_' is by
Shakspeare!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PRIVATE THEATRICALS. A REHEARSAL.--_The Captain._ "At
this stage of the proceedings I've got to kiss you, Lady Grace. Will
your husband mind, do you think?"

_Lady Grace._ "Oh no! It's for a _charity_, you know!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN INFANT ROSCIUS.--_Stage Manager_ (_interviewing
children with the idea of engaging them for a new play_). "Has this
child been on the stage?"

_Proud Mother._ "No; but he's been on an inquest, and he speaks up
fine!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A SOLILOQUY.--_Tragedian._ "Cheap. Ha, ha! Why in my time
they _threw_ them at us!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Well, papa, how did you enjoy the play to-night?"

"Oh, I think I enjoyed it fairly well, my dear. I've got a general sort
of idea that I didn't go to sleep over it!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Enthusiastic Lady Amateur._ "Oh, what a pity! We've just
missed the first act!"

_Languid Friend._ "Have we? Ah--rather glad. I always think the chief
pleasure of going to a theatre is trying to make out what the first act
was about!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THEATRICAL.--When it is announced that an actor will be supported by the
_entire_ company, it is not thereby meant that the said professional is
sustained in his arduous part solely by draughts of Barclay, Perkins and
Co.

       *       *       *       *       *

The wretch who refuses to take his wife to the theatre deserves to be
made to sit out a play.

       *       *       *       *       *

GOOD "PIECE" OF FURNITURE FOR THEATRICAL MANAGERS.--A chest of
"drawers."

       *       *       *       *       *

REGENERATION OF THE BRITISH DRAMA.--There are at this moment three
English managers in Paris "in search of novelty!" More: three
distinguished members of the Dramatic Authors' Society started for
France last night.

       *       *       *       *       *

"AS GOOD AS A PLAY."--Performing a funeral.

       *       *       *       *       *

A PLANT IN SEASON.--Now is the time of year when managers of theatres
show a botanical taste, for there is not one of them who does not do his
best to have a great rush at his doors.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE DRAMATIC AUTHOR'S PLAYGROUND.--Paris.

       *       *       *       *       *

THEATRICAL NOTE.--_Net_ profits are generally the result of a good
"_cast_."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Shakspeare and the first Quart O"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Shakspeare and the last Quart O"]

       *       *       *       *       *

A DUBIOUS COMPLIMENT.--_Rector's Wife_ (_after harvest festival_).
Well, Mrs. Piggleswade, how did you like the Bishop's sermon?

_Mrs. Piggleswade._ Oh! ma'am, I ain't been so much upset since my old
man took me to the wariety theayter in London last August twelve-month,
and 'eard a gen'leman sing about his grandmother's cat.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a poor actor on the Norwich circuit who squinted most
dreadfully: he was put up on one occasion for "Lear." "We must succeed,"
said the manager, "for there never was a _Lear_ with so strong a
_cast_."

       *       *       *       *       *

A RICHMOND DINNER.--A shouting actor who performs the part.

       *       *       *       *       *

BY DEPUTY

  As Shakspeare could not write his plays
    (If Mrs. Gallup's not mistaken),
  I think how wise in many ways
    He was to have them done by Bacon;
  They might have mouldered on the shelf,
    Mere minor dramas (and he knew it!)
  If he had written them himself
    Instead of letting Bacon do it.

  And if it's true, as Brown and Smith
    In many learned tomes have stated,
  That Homer was an idle myth,
    He ought to be congratulated;
  Since, thus evading birth, he rose
    For men to worship from a distance:
  He might have penned inferior prose
    Had he achieved a real existence.

  To him and Shakspeare some agree
    In making very nice allusions,
  But no one thinks of praising me,
    For I composed my own effusions:
  As others wrote their works divine,
    And they immortal thus to day are,
  If someone else had written mine
    I might have been as great as they are!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Famous Lion Comique_ (_to his agent, who is not much of
a cigar smoker_). "What did you think of that cigar as I give you the
other day?"

_Agent._ "Well, the first night I liked it well enough. But the second
night I didn't like it so well. And the third I didn't like it at all!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

Numerous applications were received by the manager of Covent Garden from
"professionals" wishing to take part in _The Forty Thieves_. It was not
found possible to offer engagements to the following (amongst others):--

_The Thief_--who stole a march.

_The Thief_--in the candle.

_The Thief_--who was set to catch a thief.

_The Thief_--who stole the "purse" and found it "trash."

_The Thief_--who stole up-stairs.

_The Thief_--of time, _alias_ procrastination, and--

_The Thief_--who stole a kiss (overwhelming number of applicants).

       *       *       *       *       *

THE REAL AND THE IDEAL; OR, THE CATASTROPHE OF A VICTORIA MELO-DRAMA

_Berthelda._--Sanguino, you have killed your _mother_!!!

_Fruitwoman._--Any apples, oranges, biscuits, ginger-beer!

    (_Curtain falls._)

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: The Music-hall.]

[Illustration: A Melodrama at the "Surrey".]

[Illustration: Screaming Farcical Comedy.]

[Illustration: A pathetic "Comedy-Drama."]

[Illustration: Another.]

[Illustration: A patriotic Drama at the "National Theatre".]

[Illustration: The Opera.]

[Illustration: And.]

[Illustration: Three acts.]

[Illustration: of Henrik Ibsen.]

[Illustration: The deplorable issue.]

       *       *       *       *       *

"Bishops," said the Rev. Mr. Phillips to the Playgoers' Club, "are not
really so stiff and starchy as they are made out to be. There is a good
heart beneath the gaiters." Calf-love, we presume.

       *       *       *       *       *

DIFFERENT VIEWS.--Bishops complain of a dearth of candidates for orders.
Managers of theatres think differently.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEG-ITIMATE SUCCESSES.--Modern extravaganzas.

       *       *       *       *       *

THEATRICAL.--The only people who never suffer in the long run--managers
of theatres.

       *       *       *       *       *

"STANDING ORDERS."--Free admissions who can't get seats.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "MOST MUSICAL, MOST MELANCHOLY"

_Husband_ (_after the Adagio, to musical wife_). "My dear, are we going
to stay to the 'bitter end'?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MUSIC OF THE FUTURE. SENSATION OPERA.

_Manager_ (_to his Primo Tenore, triumphantly_). "My dear fellow, I've
brought you the score of the new opera. We've arranged _such_ a scena
for you in the third act! o' board of the Pirate Screw, after the
keelhauling scene, you know! Heavy rolling sea, eh?--Yes, and we can
have some real spray pumped on to you from the fire-engine! Volumes of
smoke from the funnel, close behind your head--in fact, you'll be
enveloped as you rush on to the bridge! And then you'll sing that lovely
barcarolle through the speaking-trumpet! And mind you hold tight, as the
ship blows up just as you come upon your high D in the last bar!!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

AT A PROBLEM PLAY.--_Mr. Dinkershein_ (_eminent critic_). How did you
enjoy the piece, Miss MacGuider?

_Miss MacGuider._ Well, to tell the truth, I didn't know what it was all
about.

_Mr. Dinkershein._ Excellent. The author gives us so much to think of.

       *       *       *       *       *

QUESTION AND ANSWER.--"Why don't I write plays?" Why should I?

       *       *       *       *       *

NOT EXACTLY A THEATRICAL MANAGER'S GUIDING MOTTO.--"Piece at any price."

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR SHAKSPEARIAN SOCIETY.--In the course of a discussion, Mrs. ----
observed, that she was positive that Shakspeare was a butcher by trade,
because an old uncle of hers had bought _lambs' tails from Shakspeare_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"SOUND DUES."--Fees to opera box-keepers.

       *       *       *       *       *

COPYRIGHT AND COPYWRONG.--The dramatist who dramatises his neighbour's
novel against his will, is less a playwright than a plagiary.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "CROSS OLD THING!"--_Wife._ "I'm going into town now,
dear. Shall I book places for _Caste_ or _Much ado about Nothing_?"
_Husband._ "Oh, please yourself, my dear; but I should say we've enough
'Ado about Nothing' at home!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OUR THEATRICALS.--_Brown (rehearsing his part as the
"Vicomte de Cherisac")._ "Yas, Marie! I've fondly loved ye. (_Sobs
dramatically._) 'Tis well--but no mat-tar-r!" _Housemaid (to cook,
outside the door)._ "Lauks, 'Liz'beth, ain't master a givin' it to
missis!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TECHNICAL.--_First Player_ ("_Juvenile Lead_"). Play
Scene--Hamlet. (_Deferentially_). "What do you think of it?" _Second
Player_ ("_First Heavy_"). "How precious well them 'supers' are painted,
ain't they?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A DOUBLE DISAPPOINTMENT.--_Stern Hostess (who is giving
private theatricals)._ "You are very late, Mr. Fitz Smythe. They've
begun long ago!" _Languid Person of Importance (who abominates that
particular form of entertainment)._ "What! You don't mean to say they're
at it still!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MODEST APPEAL.--_Lady (to big drum)._ "Pray, my good man,
don't make that horrid noise! I can't hear myself speak!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

A MODERN REHEARSAL

_Leading Lady (to Stage Manager)._ Who's that man in the ulster coat
talking to the call-boy?

_Stage Manager._ Don't know, I'm sure. Perhaps a gas-fitter. Now, as I
was saying, Miss Frisette, I think that all your alterations in the
dialogue are quite up to date, but we must give Splitter a chance for
his cackle. Ah! here he is.

_Splitter._ Well, old boy, I've worked in that scene to rights, but the
boss thinks that some allusions to Turkey served up with German sausage
would fetch 'em. So you might chuck it in for me.

_Stage Man._ Of course I will. Capital idea. (_Marks prompt-book._) I
wonder who that chap is in the wing?

_Splitter._ Haven't the faintest idea. Looks like an undertaker. Hallo,
Wobbler, brought your new song?

_Wobbler._ Yes, it ought to go. And I've a gross or so of capital
wheezes.

_Splitter._ No poaching, old chap.

_Wobbler._ Of course not. I'll not let them off when you're on. Morning,
Miss Skid. Perfect, I suppose?

_Miss Skid (brightly)._ I'm always "perfect." But--(_seriously_)--I had
to cut all the idiotic stuff in my part, and get Peter Quip of "The
Kangaroo" to put in something up to date. Here's the boss!

    [_Enter Mr. Footlyte, the manager, amid a chorus of salutations._

_Stage Man._ Places, ladies and gentlemen.

_Mr. Footlyte._ Before we begin the rehearsal, I would point out that I
have completely rewritten the second act, and----

_The Stranger in the Ulster._ But, sir, I beg of you to remember----

_Mr. F._ Who is that man?

_Everybody._ We don't know!

_Mr. F. (advancing)._ Who are you, sir, who dare to trespass on my
premises?

_The S. in the U._ Don't you remember me, Mr. Footlyte?

_Mr. F._ No, sir, I do not. What's your business?

_The S. in the U. (nervously)._ I am the author of the piece.

_Everybody._ Ha! ha! ha!

_Mr. F._ Then you're not wanted here. (_To stage manager._) Jenkins,
clear the stage.

    [_The author is shown out. Rehearsal proceeds. Curtain._

       *       *       *       *       *

MEANT AS A COMPLIMENT.--_Shakspeare Smith (to Miss Lagushe, after
production of his new comedy)._ And what did you think of my little
piece the other night?

_Miss Lagushe._ I didn't pay the least attention to the play. All I
thought was, what a cruel ordeal the performance must be for _you_!

       *       *       *       *       *

NEO-DRAMATIC NURSERY RHYME

    Mrs. Grundy, good woman, scarce knew what to think
    About the relation 'twixt drama and drink.
    Well, give hall--and theatre--good wholesome diet,
    And all who attend will be sober and quiet!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Younger Son of Ducal House._ "Mother, allow me to
introduce to you--my wife."

_His Wife (late of the Frivolity Theatre)._ "How do, Duchess? I'm the
latest thing in mésalliances!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

HINTS TO AMATEUR PLAYWRIGHTS.

_Of the Essence of Drama._--It is not strictly necessary that you should
know much about this, but as a rough indication it may be stated that
whenever two or more persons stand (or sit) upon a platform and talk,
and other persons, whether from motives of ennui, or charity, or malice,
or for copyright purposes only, go and listen to them, the law says it
is a stage-play. It does not follow that anybody else will.

_Of the Divers Sorts of Dramatic Writing._--Owing to the competition
nowadays of the variety entertainment you will do well to treat these as
practically amalgamated. For example, start Act I. with an entirely
farcical and impossible marriage, consequent upon a mistake similar to
that of "Mr. Pickwick" about the exact locality of his room; drop into
poetry and pathos in Act II. (waltz-music "off" throughout will show
that it _is_ poetry and pathos); introduce for the first time in Act
III. a melodramatic villain, who endeavours to elope with the heroine
(already married, as above, and preternaturally conscious of it), and
wind-up Act IV. with a skirt dance and a general display of high
spirits, with which the audience, seeing that the conclusion is at hand,
will probably sympathise. Another mixture, very popular with serious
people, may be manufactured by raising the curtain to a hymn tune upon a
number of obviously early Christians, and, after thus edifying your
audience, cheering them up again with glimpses of attractive young
ladies dressed (to a moderate extent) as pagans, and continually in fits
of laughter. The performance of this kind of composition is usually
accompanied by earthquakes, thunder and lightning; but the stage
carpenter will attend to these.

_Of Humour._--Much may be accomplished in this line by giving your
characters names that are easily punned upon. Do not forget, however,
that even higher flights of wit than you can attain by this means will
be surpassed by the simple expedient of withdrawing a chair from behind
a gentleman about to sit down upon it. And this only requires a
stage-direction.

_Of Dialogue._--Speeches of more than half a page, though useful for
clearing up obscurities, are generally deficient in the qualities of
repartee. After exclaiming, "Oh, I am slain!" or words to that effect,
no character should be given a soliloquy taking more than five minutes
in recitation.

_Of the Censorship._--This need not be feared unless you are unduly
serious. Lady Godiva, for instance, will be all right for a ball where
the dress is left to the fancy, but you must not envelop her in
problems.

       *       *       *       *       *

MOTTO FOR THE STAGE-WORSHIPPERS.--"Mummer's the word!"

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: QUITE OF HER OPINION

_Gushing Young Woman (to famous actor)._ "Oh, do you know, Mr.
Starleigh, I'm simply _mad_ to go on the stage!" _Famous Actor._ "Yes, I
should think you _would_ be, my dear young lady!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE DECLINE OF THE DRAMA

  Mundungus deems the drama is declining,
    Yet fain would swell the crowded playwright ranks.
  The secret of his pessimist opining,
    Is--all _his_ dramas _are_ declined--with thanks!

       *       *       *       *       *

CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS NURSERY RHYMES

(_For Use of Infant Students in New School of Dramatic Art_)

  'Tis the voice of the prompter,
    I hear him quite plain;
  He has prompted me twice,
    Let him prompt me again.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A suggestion to the refreshment departments of our
theatres, much simpler than the old method of struggling by, and would
prevent the men going out between the acts.]

[Illustration: First night of musical comedy. The authors called before
the curtain.]

[Illustration: _Jones (arriving in the middle of the overture to
"Tristan und Isolde"--quite audibly)._ "Well, thank goodness we're in
_plenty of time!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: IN THE STALLS

Time past--Crinoline era]

       *       *       *       *       *

APPROPRIATE SHAKESPEARIAN MOTTO FOR A FIRM OF ADVERTISING AGENTS.--"Posters
of the sea and land."

       *       *       *       *       *

QUID PRO QUO.--_Actor-Manager (to Dramatic Author)._ What I want is a
one-part piece.

_Dramatic Author._ That's very easily arranged. You be number one, and
"part" to me.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: IN THE STALLS

Time present--Fan development]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Araminta._ Why, dearest, do you call those witticisms, which the
comedians deliver with such ready humour, "gags"?

_Corydon (the playwright)._ Because they always stifle the author.

    [_Smiles no more during the evening._

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MUMMER'S BÊTE-NOIRE.--"_Benefits_ forgot."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES

_Sangazur, Senior._ "Look here, what's all this nonsense I hear about
your wanting to marry an actress?"

_Sangazur, Junior._ "It's quite true, sir. But--er--you can have no
conception how _very poorly_ she acts!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A STUDIED INSULT.--_Box-Office Keeper at the Imperial
Music-Hall (to Farmer Murphy, who is in town for the Islington Horse
Show)._ "Box or two stalls, sir?" _Murphy._ "What the dev'l d'ye mane?
D'ye take me an' the missus for a pair o' proize 'osses? Oi'll have two
sates in the dhress circle, and let 'em be as dhressy as possible,
moind!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "THE SLEEPING BEAUTY."--"Nervous? oh dear no! I only
acted _once_ in private theatricals, Mr. Jones, and, although it was an
important part, I had nothing to say!" "Really? What _was_ the part?"
"_Can't you guess?_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: COLLABORATEURS.--Jennings and Bellamy, the famous
dramatists, planning one of those thrilling plays of plot and passion,
in which (as everybody knows) Jennings provides the inimitable broad
humour, and Bellamy the love-scenes and the tragic deaths. (Bellamy is
the shorter of the two.)]

       *       *       *       *       *

WHY I DON'T WRITE PLAYS

(_From the Common-place Book of a Novelist_)

Because it is so much pleasanter to read one's work than to hear it on
the stage.

Because publishers are far more amiable to deal with than
actor-managers.

Because "behind the scenes" is such a disappointing place--except in
novels.

Because why waste three weeks on writing a play, when it takes only
three years to compose a novel?

Because critics who send articles to magazines inviting one to
contribute to the stage, have no right to dictate to us.

Because a fairly successful novel means five hundred pounds, and a
fairly successful play yields as many thousands--why be influenced by
mercenary motives?

Because all novelists hire their pens in advance for years, and have no
time left for outside labour.

And last, and (perhaps) not least, Why don't I send in a play? Because I
_have_ tried to write _one_, and find I can't quite manage it!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HER FIRST PLAY.--_Mamma (who has taken Miss Effie, as a
great treat, to a morning performance)._ "Hush, dear! You mustn't talk!"

_Miss Effie (with clear sense of injustice, and pointing to the stage)._
"But, mummy,--_they're_ talking!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Q._ When are the affairs of a theatre likely to assume a somewhat fishy
aspect? _A._ When there's a sole lessee.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Evangeline._ Why is this called the dress circle mamma?

_Mamma._ Because the stalls are the undressed circle, dear.

       *       *       *       *       *

A FORM OF EQUESTRIAN DRAMA.--Horseplay.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Mellow drammer]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FIRST NIGHT OF AN UNAPPRECIATED MELODRAMA.--_He._ "Are we
alone?" _Voice from the Gallery._ "No, guv'nor; but you will be
to-morrow night."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE COMMISSARIAT

_Our Bandmaster (to purveyor of refreshments)._ "We must hev beef
sangwitches, marm! Them ham ones make the men's lips that greasy, they
can't blow!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A NOTE AND QUERY

_Wife (given to literature and the drama)._ "George, what is the meaning
of the expression, 'Go to!' you meet with so often in Shakspeare and the
old dramatists?"

_Husband (not a reading man)._ "'Don't know, I'm sure, dear, unless----
Well,--p'raps he was going to say----but thought it wouldn't sound
proper!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MR. PUNCH'S OPERA BOX]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SIC VOS NON VOBIS DRAMATISATIS, WRITERS!

_Wife of his Bosom (just home from the play)._ "And then that _darling_
Walter Lisson, looking like a Greek god, drew his stiletto, and
delivered, oh! _such_ an exquisite soliloquy over her tomb--all in blank
verse--like heavenly music on the organ!"

_He._ "Why, he's got a voice like a raven, and can no more deliver blank
verse than he can fly."

_She._ "Ah, well--it was very beautiful, all the same--all about love
and death, you know!"

_He._ "Who wrote the piece, then?"

_She._ "Who wrote the piece? Oh--er--well--his name's sure to be on the
bill somewhere--at least I _suppose_ it is!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

FROM OUR GENERAL THEATRICAL FUND.--Why would a good-natured dramatic
critic be a valuable specimen in an anatomical museum? Because he takes
to pieces easily.

       *       *       *       *       *

MEM. BY A MANAGER

  To say "boo" to a goose requires some doing.
  In theatres 'tis the goose who does the "booing,"
  And though a man may do the best he can, sir,
  _Anser_ will hiss, though hissing may not answer!

       *       *       *       *       *

REVISED VERSION OF SHAKSPEARE

                              "A POOR player,
  Who struts and frets his hour on the stage,
  And then--goes in society."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A solo on the horn]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AFTER THE PERFORMANCE.--_Rupert the Reckless (Tompkins, a
distinguished amateur from town)._ "Now, I call it a beastly shame,
Jenkins; you haven't ordered that brute of yours off my togs, and you
know I can't go back to the inn like _this_."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SCENES FROM MR. PUNCH'S PANTOMIME. Scene I.--The Tragic
Mews]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SCENES FROM MR. PUNCH'S PANTOMIME. Scene II.--The Comic
Mews]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AMBIGUOUS.--_First Actress._ "Oh, my dear, I'm feeling so
chippy! I think I shall send down a doctor's certificate to-night, to
say I can't act." _Second Ditto._ "Surely a certificate isn't necessary,
dear?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Tenor (at amateur concert)._ "It's my turn next, and I'm
so nervous I should like to run away. Would you mind accompanying me,
Miss Brown?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mrs. Smith._ "This is a very unpleasant piece, don't you
think? There's certainly a great deal to be done yet in the way of
elevating the stage." _Mr. Jones (who hasn't been able to get a glimpse
of the stage all the afternoon)._ "Well--er--it would come to much the
same thing if you ladies were to lower your hats!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OUR THEATRICALS.--_The Countess._ "Will this cruel war
_never_ end? Day after day I watch and wait, straining every nerve to
catch the sound of the trumpet that will tell me of my warrior's return.
But, hark! what is that I hear?"

    [_Stage direction.--"Trumpet faintly heard in distance." But we hadn't
    rehearsed that, and didn't explain the situation quite clearly to the
    local cornet-player who helped us on the night._

]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Master Jackey having seen a "professor" of posturing, has
a private performance of his own in the nursery.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mazeppa._ "Again he urges on his wild career!!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: DISTINGUISHED AMATEURS. THE ACTOR.--_Billy Wapshot._ "I
say, look here, you know! They've cast me for the part of _Sir Guy
Earliswoodde_, an awful ass that everyone keeps laughing at! How the
dickens am I to act such a beastly part as that?--and how am I to dress
for it, I should like to know?" _Brown (stage manager)._ "My dear
fellow, dress _just as you are!_--and as for acting, _be as natural as
you possibly can!_ It will be an immense success!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: DISTINGUISHED AMATEURS. THE JEUNE PREMIER.--"_What_,
Eleanor? You know _Sir Lionel Wildrake_, the handsomest, wittiest, most
dangerous man in town! He of whom it is said that no woman has ever been
known to resist him yet!" "The same, Lilian! But hush! He comes----"

    [_Enter Colonel Sir Lionel Wildrake_.

]

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a blessing on peacemakers--is there one on playwrights?

       *       *       *       *       *

THE HOME OF THE BRITISH DRAMA.--A French crib.

       *       *       *       *       *

A COURT THEATRE TICKET.--The order of the garter available only at
Windsor as an order for the stalls.

       *       *       *       *       *

NEW NAME FOR A THEATRE WHERE THE ACTORS ARE MORE OR LESS
UNINTELLIGIBLE.--"The Mumbles."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Music by handle.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE SWING OF THE PENDULUM

"And pray, Duke, what possible objection can you have to my being a
suitor for the hand of your daughter Gwendolen? I--a--_think_ I may
flatter myself that, as a leading gentleman at the Parthenon Theatre, my
social position is at least on a par with your Grace's!"

"I admit that to be the case just _at present_--but the social position
of an actor may suffer a reaction, and a day _may_ come when even the
leading gentleman at the Parthenon may sink to the level of a _Bishop_,
let us say, and be no longer quite a suitable match for a daughter of
the--a--House of Beaumanoir!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TURNING A PHRASE.--_Dramatic Author._ "What the deuce do
you mean by pitching into my piece in this brutal manner? It's
shameful!" _Dramatic Critic._ "Pitching into it? No, no, no, dear old
man--you'll see how pleased I was, _if you'll only read between the
lines!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SCENE--_A Booth in the Wild West_

_The curtain has just fallen on the first act of the "Pirates of the
Pacific."_

_Author._ "What is the audience shouting for?"

_Manager._ "They're calling for the author."

_Author._ "Then hadn't I better appear?"

_Manager._ "I guess not. They've got their revolvers in their hands!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Men Were Deceivers Ever"

_First Counter Tenor._ "Scritchy, I think your wife's waiting for you at
our entrance."

_Second Counter Tenor._ "Oh, then, let's go out at the _bass_ door!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE COMMENTATORS.--_First Quidnunc (in an ecstasy)._
"I've just been writing to the 'New Shakspeare Society.' 'Believe I've
made a discovery--that _Horatio_ was _Hamlet's_ father!" _Second
Quidnunc (enchanted)._ "You don't say so!" _First Quidnunc._ "My dear
sir, doesn't _Hamlet_, when he handles _Yorick's_ skull, address
_Horatio_, 'And smelt so, pa'? I think that's conclusive!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A Disenchantment

_Very Unsophisticated Old Lady (from the extremely remote country)._
"_Dear_ me! He's a _very_ different-looking person from what I had
always imagined!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "JUST HINT A FAULT"

_Little Tommy Bodkin takes his cousins to the gallery of the Opera_

_Pretty Jemima (who is always so considerate)._ "Tom, dear, don't you
think you had better take off your hat, on account of the poor people
behind, you know?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MOAN OF A THEATRE-MANAGER

  Who gets, by hook or crook, from me
  Admittance free, though well knows he
  That myriads turned away will be?
                      The Deadhead.

  Who, while he for his programme pays
  The smallest silver coin, inveighs
  Against such fraud with eyes ablaze?
                      The Deadhead.

  Who to his neighbour spins harangues,
  On how he views with grievous pangs
  The dust that on our hangings hangs?
                      The Deadhead.

  Who, in a voice which rings afar,
  Declares, while standing at the bar,
  Our drinks most deleterious are?
                      The Deadhead.

  Who, aye withholds the claps and cheers
  That others give? Who jeers and sneers
  At all he sees and all he hears?
                      The Deadhead.

  Who loudly, as the drama's plot
  Unfolds, declares the tale a lot
  Of balderdash and tommy-rot?
                      The Deadhead.

  Who dubs the actors boorish hinds?
  Who fault with all the scenery finds?
  Who with disgust his molars grinds?
                      The Deadhead.

  Who spreads dissatisfaction wide
  'Mongst those who else with all they spied
  Had been extremely satisfied?
                      The Deadhead.

  Who runs us down for many a day,
  And keeps no end of folks away
  That else would for admittance pay?
                      The Deadhead.

  Who keeps his reputation still,
  For recompensing good with ill
  With more than pandemonium's skill?
                      The Deadhead.

  Who makes the bankrupt's doleful doom
  In all its blackness o'er me loom?
  Who'll bring my grey head to the tomb?
                      The Deadhead.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: IBSEN IN BRIXTON.--_Mrs. Harris._ "Yes, William, I've
thought a deal about it, and I find I'm nothing but your doll and
dickey-bird, and so I'm going!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A five bar rest]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Seedy Provincial Actor._ "Young man, I hear that you
propose to essay the _rôle_ of the melancholy Dane. What induced you to
do it?" _Prosperous London ditto._ "Oh, I don't know. They egged me on
to it." _Seedy Provincial Actor._ "H'm. They egged _me OFF_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

LESSONS LEARNED AT A PANTOMIME

(_By an Intelligent Schoolboy_)

That demons are much given to making bad puns, and have on their
visiting lists the most beautiful of the fairies.

That the attendants upon the demons (presumably their victims) spend
much of their time in break-downs.

That the chief amusement in Fairyland is to stand upon one toe for a
distressingly long time.

That the fairies, when they speak, don't seem to have more H.'s to their
tongues, than clothes to their backs.

That the fairies have particularly fair complexions, considering they
dance so much in the sunlight.

That the tight and scanty costume of the fairies is most insufficient
protection from the showers that must be required to produce the
gigantic and highly-coloured fairy _flora_.

That the chief fairy (to judge from her allusions to current events)
must take in the daily papers.

That harlequin is always shaking his bat, but nothing seems to come of
it, and that it is hard to say why he comes on or goes off, or, in
short, what he's at altogether.

That if clown and pantaloon want to catch columbine, it is hard to see
why they don't catch her.

That pantaloon must have been greatly neglected by his children to be
exposed without some filial protection to such ill-usage from clown.

That clown leads a reckless and abandoned life, between thefts,
butter-slides, hot pokers, nurse-maids, and murdered babies, and on the
whole is lucky to escape hanging.

That policemen are made to be chaffed, cuffed, chased, and knocked
head-over-heels.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE NEW PLAY

_Low Comedian._ "Have you seen the notice?"

_Tragedian._ "No; is it a good one?"

_Low Comedian._ "It's a fortnight's."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A quick movement with an obligato accompaniment.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TERRIFIC SITUATION!

Heroine of domestic drama pursued by the unprincipled villain is about
to cast herself headlong from a tremendous precipice!]

       *       *       *       *       *

APPRECIATIVE!

_The eldest Miss Bluestocken (to Mrs. Mugby, of the village laundry)._
I'm delighted that you were able to come to our schoolroom performance
of _Scenes from Shakspeare_.

_Mrs. Mugby._ Oh, so was I, mum. That there "'Amblet"--and the grand
lady, mum----

_Eldest Miss B. (condescendingly)._ You mean "Hamlet" and his
mother--the vicar and myself. You enjoyed it?

_Mrs. Mugby._ Oh, we did, mum! We ain't 'ad such a rale good laugh for
many a long day.

    [_Exit_ Miss B., _thinking that Shakspeare is perhaps somewhat thrown
    away on this yokality_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE BOOK OF THE PLAY (_as managers like it_).--"All places taken for the
next fortnight."

       *       *       *       *       *

When actors complain that all they require is "parts," they generally
tell the exact truth.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SCENE FROM SHAKSPEARIAN PANTOMIME

"Where got'st thou that goose?--look!"
                (_Macbeth_, Act V., Sc. 3.)]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A DISENCHANTMENT.--_Grandpapa._ "_What_? Bob in love with
Miss Fontalba, the comic actress at the Parthenon?" _Bob (firing up)._
"Yes, grandpa! And if you've got a word to say against that lady, it had
better not be said in my presence, that's all!" _Grandpapa._ "_I_ say a
word _against_ her! Why, bless your heart, my dear boy! I was head over
ears in love with her _myself_--_when I was your age!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE PROBLEM PLAY.--_New Woman (with the hat)._ "No! _My_
principle is simply _this_--if there's a _demand_ for these plays, it
must be _supplied_!" _Woman not New (with the bonnet)._ "Precisely! Just
as with the bull-fights in Spain!"

    [_Scores_

]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CHURCH THEATRES FOR COUNTRY VILLAGES--THE BLAMELESS
BALLET

["_Mr. Chamberlain has expressed himself in sympathy with the scheme of
the Rev. Forbes Phillips for running theatres in connection with the
churches in country villages._"]

There would, our artist imagines, be no difficulty in obtaining willing
coryphées among the pew-openers and philanthropic spinsters of the
various parishes.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mr. M'Chrustie (in the washing-room of the Minerva
Club)._ "Look here, waiter, what's the meaning of this? These brushes
are as beastly grimy as if they'd been blacking boots----!" _Waiter._
"Yes, sir: it's them members from the 'Junior Theshpian,' sir--as are
'ere now, sir. They do dye theirselves to that degree----!"

    [_Mr. M'C. rushes off and writes furiously to the Committee!_

]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Q._ What were the "palmy" days of the drama?

_A._ When they were first-rate hands at acting.

       *       *       *       *       *

MOTTO FOR ALL DRAMATIC PERFORMERS.--"Act well your part."

       *       *       *       *       *

A BAND-BOX.--An orchestra.

       *       *       *       *       *

"What an awful voice that man's got!" said the manager, who was
listening to the throaty tenor.

"Call that a voice," said his friend; "it's a disease!"

       *       *       *       *       *

A PRIVATE BOX.--A sentry box.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "You can't sit there, mum. These here seats are
reserved."

"You don't seem to be aware that I'm one of the directors' wives!"

"And if you was his _only_ wife, mum, I couldn't let you sit here."]

       *       *       *       *       *

During the dull season a certain manager has issued such a number of his
autographs in order to ensure the proper filling of his house that he
has in playfulness conferred on it the nickname of the ordertorium.

       *       *       *       *       *

WHAT MANAGERS, ACTRESSES, AND SPECTATORS ALL WANT.--A good dressing.

       *       *       *       *       *

CHRISTMAS MUSIC FOR THEATRES.--The "waits" between the acts.

       *       *       *       *       *

What we want for the British drama generally is not so much native
talent as imagi-native talent.

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE MUSIC HALLS.--The birds that fly by night--the acro-bats.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CONFRÈRES.--_Master Jacky (who took part in some school
theatricals last term,--suddenly, to eminent tragedian who has come to
call)._ "I say, you know--I act!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A PROP OF THE DRAMA

"What, back already, Archie! Was it a dull piece, then?"

"Don't know. Didn't stop to see. Just looked round stalls and boxes, and
didn't see a soul I knew!--so I came away."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SHOWING THAT SOMETIMES IT IS GOOD FOR A COBBLER _NOT_ TO
STICK TO HIS LAST.

_Fair Matron._ "I remember your acting '_Sir Anthony_,' _years_ ago,
when I was a girl, Sir Charles! You did it splendidly!"

_The Great Mathematician._ "Ah, would you believe it, that bit of acting
brought me more compliments than anything I ever did?"

_Fair Matron._ "I should _think_ so, indeed!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE COMPANY THAT FREQUENTLY FILLS A THEATRE BETTER THAN A DRAMATIC
ONE.--The Stationers' Company.

       *       *       *       *       *

The managers of Drury Lane, Gaiety, Alhambra and Empire Theatres ought
_ex-officio_ to be members of the Worshipful Guild of Spectacle-makers.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "_Walking Lady_" (_late for rehearsal_). "Oh, I'm so
sorry to be late! I _do_ hope you haven't all been waiting for me?"

_Stage Manager_ (_icily_). "My dear Miss Chalmers, incompetence is the
gift of heaven; but attention to business may be cultivated!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN UNKIND CUT.--_Amateur._ "It was very kind of you to
come to our performance the other night; but what did you think of my
_Hamlet_? Pretty good?" _Professional_ (_feigning ecstasy_). "Oh, my
dear fellow, 'pon my word you know,--really I assure you, good's not the
word!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Critic._ "Well, have you seen the great tragedian
in _Romeo and Juliet_?"

_Second ditto._ "I have; and I confess he didn't come up to my
ixpictations. To tell ye the truth, I niver thought he would!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A CROWDED HOUSE

_Angry Voice_ (_from a back seat_). "Ears off in front there, please!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE PROVINCIAL DRAMA

_The Marquis_ (_in the play_). "Aven't I give' yer the edgication of a
gen'leman?"

_Lord Adolphus_ (_spendthrift heir_). "You 'ave!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A CONDUCTOR OF HEAT]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "STARTLING EFFECTS!"

_Peep-Showman._ "On the right you observe the 'xpress train a-comin'
along, an' the signal lights, the green and the red. The green lights
means 'caution,' and the red lights si'nifies 'danger'"----

_Small Boy_ (_with his eye to the aperture_). "But what's the yaller
light, sir?"

_Peep-Showman_ (_slow and impressive_). "There ain't no yaller
light--but the green and the red. The green lights means 'caution,' and
the red lights si'nif----"

_Small Boy_ (_persistently_). "But wha's the other light, sir?"

_Peep-Showman_ (_losing patience_). "Tell yer there ain't no"----(_takes
a look--in consternation_)--"Blowed if the darned old show ain't
a-fire!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

EX NIHILO NIHIL FIT

     ["Fashions in drama change as frequently as fashions in hats. It
     has been reserved for our own day to evolve the comedy of
     nothing-in-particular. Nowadays nothing happens in a play."--_The
     Outlook._]

  SCENE--_Nowhere in particular._

  CHARACTERS.

  HE, _a nonentity_.

  SHE, _another_.

_He._ Dear----!

_She_ (_wearily_). Oh please don't. [_Does nothing._

_He._ Why, what's the matter?

_She._ Nothing.

    [_He does nothing._

_She._ Well, you may as well go on. It will be something, anyhow.
(_Yawns._) Nothing ever seems to happen in this play. I don't know
why. It isn't my fault. Oh, go on.

_He._ All right. Don't suppose it amuses me, though. Darling, I
love you--will you marry me?

_She_ (_very wearily_). Oh, I suppose so.

_He._ Thanks very much. (_Kisses her._) There!
    [_Returns proudly to his seat, and does nothing._

_She_ (_with sudden excitement_). Supposing I had said "No," would
you have shot yourself?--would you have gone to the front?--would
your life have been a blank hereafter? Would anything interesting
have happened?

_He_ (_with a great determination in his eyes_). Had you spurned my
love----

_She_ (_excitedly_). Yes, yes?

_He_ (_with emotion_).--I should have--I should have--done nothing.
    [_Does it._

_She._ Oh!

_He._ Yes. As for shooting or drowning myself if any little thing
of that sort had happened it would have been _off_ the stage. I
hope I know my place.

    [_She does nothing._

_He_ (_politely_). I don't know if you're keen about stopping here?
If not, we might----

_She._ We must wait till somebody else comes on.

_He._ True. (_Reflects deeply._) Er--do you mote much?

    [_She sleeps. The audience follows suit. Curtain eventually._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HOW HE OUGHT _NOT_ TO LOOK

_Excited Prompter_ (_to the Ghost of Hamlet's father, who is
working himself up to the most funereal aspect he can assume_).
"Now then, Walker, _LOOK ALIVE_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PREHISTORIC SHAKSPEARE.--"MACBETH"

       "Infirm of purpose!
Give me the daggers."--_Act II. Sc. 2._]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MUSIC-HALL INANITIES.--I.

_Miss Birdie Vandeleur ("Society's Pet"--vide her advertisements
passim) bawls the refrain of her latest song_:--

  "Ow, I am sow orferly _shy_, boys!
  I am, and I kennot tell wy, boys!
   Some dy, wen I'm owlder,
   Per'aps I'll git bowlder,
  But naow I am orfer-ly shy!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MUSIC-HALL INANITIES.--II. The Illustrative Method.

  'E's not a _tall_ man--Nor a _short_ man--But he's just the man for me.'

  "Not in the army--Nor the nivy--But the royal artill-er-ee!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

ATTENTION AT THE PLAY.

    (_As performed at many London Theatres_)

    SCENE--_Interior of a Private Box._

    TIME--_Towards the end of the First Act of an established success._

    PRESENT--_A party of Four._

_No. 1_ (_gazing through opera glasses_). A good house. Do you know
anyone?

_No. 2._ Not a soul. Stay--aren't those the Fitzsnooks?

_No. 3_ (_also using a magnifier_). You mean the woman in the red
feather at the end of the third row of the stalls?

_No. 4._ You have spotted them. They have got Bobby Tenterfore with
them. You know, the Johnnie in the F. O.

_No. 1._ I thought Mr. Tenterfore was at Vienna.

_No. 4._ No; he _was_ going, but they sent another chap. Brought
him back from somewhere in the tropics.

_No. 3._ Then what is Mr. Tenterfore doing in town?

_No. 4._ Oh! come home on leave. Lots of that sort of thing at the
F. O.

_No. 1_ (_having grown weary of looking at the audience_). By the
way, _à propos de bottes_, I have some money to invest. Can you
suggest anything?

_No. 3._ They say that Diddlers Deferred will turn up trumps.

_No. 1._ What do you mean by that? I only want to pop in and out
between the accounts.

_No. 3._ Then the Diddlers ought to suit you. They rose six last
week, and ought to touch ten before settling day.

_No. 1._ Then I am on. Thanks very much for the information. Ah!
the curtain has fallen. So much for the first act! (_Enter
visitor._) Ah! how are you? Where are you?

_Visitor._ Well, I have got a stall, but I have only just come into
the house. What are they playing?

_No. 2._ I am sure I don't know; but if you are curious about it,
here's the programme.

_Visitor._ And what's it all about?

_No. 1_ (_on behalf of self and companions_). We haven't the
faintest notion.

     [_Conversation becomes general, and remains so until the end of the
     evening, regardless of the dialogue on the stage side of the
     curtain._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MELODRAMA IN THE SUBURBS.--_Elder Sister._ "Do give up,
Nellie! They're only acting." _Nellie_ (_tearfully_). "You leave me
alone. I'm enjoying it!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE RULING PASSION.--_Doctor._ "No, my dear sir, we must
keep ourselves quiet for the present. No stimulants--nothing more
exciting than gruel. Gruel for breakfast, gruel for luncheon, gruel for
dinner, gruel for----" _Peter Pundoleful_ (_a noted burlesque
writer--though you wouldn't have thought it to look at him--rousing
himself suddenly_). "Ah! my dear doctor, why is there not a society for
the prevention of gruelty to animals?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

HIS FIRST AND LAST PLAY

     RALPH ESSENDEAN, _aged about fifty, is discovered at a
     writing-desk. He studies a newspaper, from which he reads aloud,
     thoughtfully:--"So that a successful play may bring its author
     anything from five to twenty thousand pounds." He lays down the
     paper, mutters, "H'm!" and taking up a pencil bites it
     meditatively. Enter Mrs. Essendean._

_Mrs. Essendean_ (_crossing to Ralph, and placing her hand on his
shoulder, asks affectionately_). Well, dear, and how is the play getting
on?

_Ralph_ (_irritably_). You talk of the play, Matilda, as though it were
possible to write a four-act drama in ten minutes. The play is not
getting on at all well, for the simple reason that I am only just
thinking out the idea.

_Mrs. Essendean_ (_seating herself by the table_). How nice, dear! And
what _is_ the idea?

_Ralph_ (_grimly_). That is just what I am wondering about. Now if you
will kindly retire to the kitchen and make an omelette, or discharge the
cook, I shall be obliged.

    [_Leans over his desk._

_Mrs. E._ But, dear, I am sure the cook is a most excellent servant,
and----

_Ralph_ (_turning round and speaking with repressed exasperation_). That
was simply my attempt at a humorous explanation of my wish to be alone,
Matilda.

_Mrs. E._ (_smiling indulgently and rising_). Well, dear, of course if
it's going to be a _funny_ play, I know you would like to be alone.
(_Pausing at the open door._) And will you read it to us after dinner?
You know the Willoughby-Smythes will be here, and Mr. and Mrs. Vallance
from the Bank are coming in afterwards. I am sure they would like to
hear it.

_Ralph_ (_irritably_). The play isn't written yet. (_Plaintively._) _Do_
go!

_Mrs. E._ (_sweetly_). I'm sure you'd like to be alone. Don't keep
dinner waiting.

     [_Beams on him affectionately and exits. Ralph gives a sigh of
     relief, rumples his hair, and then writes for a few minutes. Then
     pauses, leans back, biting his pencil, when the door is flung open,
     and a very good imitation of a whirlwind bursts into the room. The
     whirlwind is a robust person of forty, he has a large round red
     face fringed with sandy whiskers, and is one mass of health and
     happiness. He wears Norfolk jacket, knickerbockers, gaiters and
     thick boots, and carries a golfing bag. He slaps Ralph heartily on
     the back, and laughs boisterously. Ralph collapses._

_Tom_ (_heartily_). How are you? Going strong--what? Asked the wife for
you, and she told me you were in here writing a play. Rippin' idea--what?

_Ralph_ (_worried, but striving to be pleasant and polite_). What do you
want, old chap?

_Tom_ (_cheerfully_). Nothin' particular, only just to see how you were
gettin' on--what? Do you good to have half an hour out, just a few
holes--golf--what?

_Ralph_ (_with great self-restraint_). Thanks, old man. Not now. You
don't mind my asking you to leave me to myself a bit?

_Tom_ (_amiably rising and picking up his bag_). All right, old chap,
you know best--what? Thought I'd just look in--hey?--what? Well, I'm
off. (_Goes to door, thinks for a moment, and then turns round._) I say,
I know Thingummy's acting manager. If I can put in a word about your
play--hey?--what?

_Ralph_ (_rises hurriedly. Shakes hands with Tom, and skilfully
manoeuvres him into the passage, then calls after him_). Good-bye, old
man, and many thanks. (_Closes the door and returns to his desk,
grinding his teeth._) Confound him! (_Takes up paper and writes a few
lines, then reads aloud._) "Puffington puts the letter in his pocket and
passes his hand through his hair. He groans 'O, why did I ever write
those letters? I know Flossie, and this means fifty pounds at least, and
if ever my mother-in-law gets to hear of it! O lor, here she is'" (_Puts
down the paper and looks up at the ceiling._) Now, speaking to myself as
one man to another, I can't help thinking that this sort of thing has
been done before. I seem to have heard it somewhere. I'll--I'll--try a
fresh start. (_Writes hurriedly for a few minutes and then reads._)
"Scene.--Fashionable watering place, the beach is crowded; on the pier
the band is playing a dreamy waltz. Edwin and Maud are discovered in an
open boat. _Edwin._ You must be tired of rowing, sweetest; come and
steer. _Maud._ Just as you like, darling. (_As they change seats the
boat capsizes. After clinging for twenty minutes to the upturned keel,
they are rescued by a passing steamer._)" That's all right for a
"situation," but there seems a lack of dialogue. They can't very well
talk while they are clinging to the boat; and what the deuce could they
be talking about before? If I let them drown I shall have to introduce
fresh characters. Bother! (_Meditates with frowning brow._) Playwriting
appears to present more difficulties than I thought. (_Takes up a
newspaper._) "May bring in anything from five to twenty thousand
pounds!" Sounds tempting, but I wonder how it's done?

     [_Takes a cigar from the mantelpiece, lights it, and, seating
     himself near the fire, smokes thoughtfully. Gradually his head
     sinks back on to the top of the chair, the cigar drops from his
     relaxed fingers, and as he sleeps, the shadow of a smile breaks
     across his face. An hour elapses; he is still sleeping. Enter Mrs.
     Essendean, who brushes against the writing-table and sweeps the
     sheets of manuscript to the ground._

_Mrs. Essendean_ (_crossing to Ralph and lightly shaking him_). My dear,
my dear, not dressed yet! Do you know the time--just the half-hour.


(_Ralph starts up._) Eh? (_Looks at the clock._) Nearly half past, by
Jove! I shan't be two seconds.

    [_Rushes hastily from the room._

_Mrs. Essendean (picks up the extinguished cigar, and drops it daintily
into the fire. Looks round the room and sees the littering
manuscript._) What an untidy old thing it is! (_Picks up the sheets,
crumples them into a ball and throws them into the waste-paper basket._)
There, that looks better.

    [_Gazes into the mirror, pats her hair, and exit._

    (_End of the play._)

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PARADOXICAL.--_Ethel._ "It was a most wonderful
performance, Aunt Tabitha! First, she was shot out of a cannon's mouth
on to a trapeze fifteen yards above the orchestra, and then she swung
herself up till she stood on a rope on one leg at least a hundred and
twenty feet above our heads!" _Aunt Tabitha._ "Ah! I always think a
woman _lowers_ herself when she does that!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FORM

_First Masher._ "Let's stop and look at Punch and Judy, old chappie!
I've heard it's as good as a play."

_Second Masher._ "I dessay it is, my brave boy. But we ain't dressed,
you know!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PROPERTY HAS ITS RIGHTS

SCENE: _Mr. Foote Lyter's back Drawing-room. Private Theatricals. Dress
Rehearsal._

_Mr. Foote Lyter._ "I say, Drawle, while the Duke is having his scene
with Dora, where am _I_ to stand!" _Captain Drawle_ (_amateur stage
manager_). "Well--er--my dear fellow--er--er--it's your own house, you
know--_you can stand where you like_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE POINT OF VIEW.--_Exasperated Old Gentleman_ (_to lady
in front of him_). "Excuse me, madam, but my seat has cost me ten
shillings, and I want to see. Your hat----" _The Lady._ "My hat has cost
me ten _guineas_, sir, and I want it to _be seen_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Tomkins, who has recently made his appearance _en
amateur_ as the Melancholy Dane, goes to have his photograph taken "in
character." Unfortunately, on reaching the corner of the street, he
finds _the road is up_, and he has to walk to the door! Tableau!!]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Clever Juvenile_ (_loq._). "Shakspeare? Pooh! For my
part I consider Shakspeare a very much over-rated man."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE FORTHCOMING PANTOMIME

_Astonished Friend._ "Why!--Why! What on earth are these?"

_Manager._ "These? Oh! These are _fairies_!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MR. PUNCH'S PATENT MATINEE HAT.

Fitted with binocular glasses for the benefit of those sitting behind
its wearer.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HEARD AT A PROVINCIAL CIRCUS.--_Wag_ (_to unfortunate
small gent, who has vainly endeavoured to persuade lady to remove her
hat_). "Don't you see she's got a bird in her hat, sitting? You wouldn't
have the lady addle-headed, would you?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE AMATEURS.--_Suburban Roscius._ "Ah, I saw you were at
our 'theatricals' the other night. How did you like my assumption of
_Hamlet_?" _Candid Friend._ "My dear f'llar--great'st piece of
assumption I ever saw i' m' life!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CAUSE AND EFFECT

_Eminent Provincial Tragedian._ "Come hithorr, sweet one! Your mothorr
tells me that you shed teorrs during my soliloquy in exile, last night!"

_Sweet One._ "Yes, sir. Mother kept on pinching me, 'cause I was so
sleepy!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "EXCLUSIVE"

_Our Philanthropist_ (_who often takes the shilling gallery_--_to his
neighbour_). "Only a middling house."

_Unwashed Artisan._ "Ay--that sixpence extry, 'rather heavy for the
likes o' huz, y'know. But there's one thing--it keeps out the
riff-raff!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE DRAMA.--_Æsthetic Critic_ (_at the club, after the
theatre_). "Can you imagine anything more utterly solemn than the
_dénoûment_ in _Romeo and Juliet_? Two lovers, both dying in the same
vault! What fate more weirdly tragic could----"

_Cynical Old Bachelor_ (_who has evidently never read the play_).
"Um--'s no knowing. The author might 'a' married 'em!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Distinguished Amateur_ (_about to make his first
appearance in public at a concert for the people_). "Oh, I _do_ feel so
nervous!" _Sympathetic Friend._ "Oh, there's no occasion to be nervous,
my dear fellow. They applaud _anything_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE MAIDEN'S POINT OF VIEW.--_Mamma_ (_to Maud, who has
been with her brother to the play, and is full of it_). "But was there
no _love_ in the piece, then?" _Maud._ "_Love?_ Oh dear no, mamma. The
principal characters were _husband and wife_, you know!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: LA COMEDIE FRANÇAISE

_Jones_ (_who understands French so well, although he does not speak
it_), _reading over list of pieces to be played at the Gaiety_:--"'Le
Gendre de M. Poirier.' Why, what gender _should_ the man be, I should
like to know!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "THOSE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES," ETC.--_The Bishop._ "I
hope your grandchildren liked the circus, Lady Godiva. That was a
wonderful performance of Mlle. Petitpas on the bare-backed steed, wasn't
it?"

_Lady Godiva._ "Yes--a--but I dislike those bare-backed performances.
They're so risky, you know!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A very cold audience. (Suggestion for the stalls in
mid-winter)]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A CASE OF "NO COMPRENNY"

"Ha! Mistare Robinson! 'Ow do you do? 'Av you seen ze last new piece at
ze 'Olleborne? Supairrb! Splendeed!! Good!!!"

"A--no--I don't patronise the English drama. I like finish, delicacy,
refinement; and I'm happy to say I've secured tickets for all the French
plays!"

"Tiens! Mais vous savez le Français, alors?"

"A--I beg your pardon?"

"Je vous demande si vous savez le Français, parbleu! Cruche, Melon,
Baudet, Dinde, Jobard, Crétin, Momie, Colin-Maillard que vous êtes?"

"A--quite so! No doubt! A--by the bye, have you seen Jones lately?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

BETWEEN THE ACTS; OR, THE DRAMA IN LIQUOR

     SCENE--_Refreshment Saloon at a London Theatre. A three-play bill
     forms the evening's entertainment. First Act over. Enter Brown,
     Jones, and Robinson._

_Brown._ Well, really a very pleasant little piece. Quite amusing. Yes;
I think I will have a cup of coffee or a glass of lemonade. Too soon
after dinner for anything stronger.

_Jones._ Yes, and really, after laughing so much, one gets a thirst for
what they call light refreshments. I will have some ginger-beer.

_Robinson._ Well, I think I will stick to iced-water. You know the
Americans are very fond of that. They always take it at meal-times, and
really after that capital _équivoque_ one feels quite satisfied. (_They
are served by the bar attendant._) That was really very funny, where he
hides behind the door when she is not looking.

    [_Laughs at the recollection._

_Brown._ And when the uncle sits down upon the band-box and crushes the
canary-cage!

    [_Chuckles._

_Jones._ Most clever. But there goes the bell, and the curtain will be
up directly. Rather clever, I am told. The _Rose of Rouen_--it is
founded on the life of _Joan of Arc_. I am rather fond of these
historical studies.

_Brown._ So am I. They are very interesting.

_Robinson._ Do you think so? Well, so far as I am concerned, I prefer
melodrama. Judging from the title, _The Gory Hand_ should be uncommonly
good.

    [_Exeunt into Theatre. After a pause they return to the Refreshment
    Room._

_Brown._ Well, it is very clever; but I confess it beats me. (_To bar
attendant._) We will all take soda-water. No, thanks, quite neat, and
for these gentlemen too.

_Jones._ Well, I call it a most excellent psychological study. However,
wants a clear head to understand it. (_Sips his soda-water._) I don't
see how she can take the flag from the Bishop, and yet want to marry the
Englishman.

_Robinson._ Ah, but that was before the vision. If you think it over
carefully, you will see it was natural enough. Of course, you must allow
for the spirit of the period, and other surrounding circumstances.

_Brown._ Are you going to stay for _The Gory Hand_?

_Jones._ Not I. I am tired of play-acting, and think we have had enough
of it.

_Robinson._ Well, I think I shall look in. I am rather fond of strong
scenes, and it should be good, to judge from the programme.

_Jones._ Well, we will "sit out." It's rather gruesome. Quite different
from the other plays.

_Robinson._ Well, I don't mind horrors--in fact, like them. There goes
the bell. So I am off. Wait until I come back.

_Brown._ That depends how long you are away. Ta, ta!

    [_Exit Robinson._

_Jones._ Now, how a fellow can enjoy a piece like that, I cannot
understand. It is full of murders, from the rise to the fall of the
curtain.

_Brown._ Yes--but Robinson likes that sort of thing. You will see
by-and-by how the plot will affect him. It is rather jumpy, especially
at the end, when the severed head tells the story of the murder to the
assistant executioner. I would not see it again on any account.

_Jones._ No--it sent my maiden aunt in hysterics. However, it has the
merit of being short. (_Applause._) Ah, there it's over! Let's see how
Robinson likes it. That _tableau_ at the end, of the
starving-coastguardsman expiring under the rack, is perfectly awful!
(_Enter Robinson, staggering in._) Why, my boy, what's the matter?

_Brown._ You do look scared! Have something to drink? That will set it
all to-rights!

_Robinson_ (_with his eyes protruding from his head, from horror_).
Help, help! help! (_After a long shudder._) Brandy! Brandy!! Brandy!!!

    [_At all the places at the bar there is a general demand for alcohol._

_Brown._ Yes. Irving was right; soda-water does very well for
Shakspeare's histories, but when you come to a piece like _The Bells_,
you require supporting.

    [_Curtain and moral._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Manager of "Freak" Show._ "Have I got a vacancy for a
giant? Why, you don't look five feet!"

_Candidate._ "Yes, that's just it. I'm the smallest giant on record!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN IRRESISTIBLE APPEAL.--_Mrs. Blokey_ (_who has called
with a letter of introduction on Mr. Roscius Lamborn, the famous actor
and manager_). "And I've brought you my son, who's breakin' his mother's
'art, Mr. Lamborn! He insists on givin' up the city and goin' on the
stage--and his father an alderman and 'im in his father's business, and
all the family thought of so 'ighly in Clapham! It's a _great grief_ to
us, _I assure_ you, Mr. Lamborn! Oh! if you could only dissuade 'im! But
it's too late for that, I'm afraid, so p'raps you wouldn't mind givin'
him a leadin' part in your next piece!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: WHAT OUR DRAMATIST HAS TO PUT UP WITH.--_His Wife_
(_reading a Sunday paper_). "_A propos of Hamlet_, they say here that
you and Shakspeare represent the very opposite poles of the dramatic
art!"

_He._ "Ah! that's a nasty one for Shakspeare!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OVERHEARD OUTSIDE A THEATRE

"Yah! Waitin' ter see der _kids_ play!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Actor_ (_excitedly_). "For _two_ long _years_ have
I----"

_A Voice from above._ "So you 'ave, guv'nor!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: STUDY

Of an ancient buck at a modern burlesque]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: COLOURED CLERGY

(_A Memory of St. James's Hall_)

_Uncle_ (_can't see so well as he did, and a little hard of hearing_).
"Who do you say they are, my dear!--Christian ministers? 'Ncom'ly kind
of 'em to give a concert, to be sure! For a charitable purpose, I've no
doubt, my dear!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SUPEREROGATION

_Country Maid_ (_having first seen "missus" and the children into a
cab_). "O, coachman, do you know the principal entrance to Drury Lane
Theat----?"

_Crabbed Old Cabby_ (_with expression of ineffable contempt_). "Do I
know! Kim aup----!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Jones_ (_alluding to the song_). "Not bad; but I think
the girl might have put a little more _spirit_ into it with advantage."

_Lushington._ "Jush 't I was thinkin'. Lesh avanother!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AFTER THE THEATRICALS.--"What on earth made you tell that
appalling little cad that he ought to have trod the boards of ancient
Greece! You surely didn't really admire his acting?" "Oh no! But, you
know, the Greek actors used to wear masks!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Jemmy! What's a stall at the hopera?"

"Well, I can't say, not for certain; but I suppose it's where they sells
the happles, horanges, ginger-beer, and biskits."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Please, sir! give us your ticket if you aint agoin' in
again."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A DOMESTIC DRAMA

"Admit two to the boxes."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PROGRESS

_Young Rustic._ "Gran'fa'r, who was Shylock?"

_Senior_ (_after a pause_). "Lauk a' mussy, bo', yeou goo to Sunday
skewl, and don't know that!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

"HAMLET" A LA SAUCE DUMB-CRAMBO

[Illustration: "Oh, that this too, too solid flesh would melt!"--Act I.,
Sc. 2.]

[Illustration: "I could a tail unfold!"--_Ibid._]

[Illustration: "What a falling off was there!"--_Ibid._]

[Illustration: "Methinks I scent the morning hair!"--_Ibid._]

[Illustration: "Brief let me be!"--_Ibid._]

[Illustration: "Lend thy serious ear-ring to what I shall unfold!"--Act
I., Sc. 5.]

[Illustration: "Toby, or not Toby? that is the question."--Act II., Sc.
2.]

[Illustration: "The King, sir."--"Ay, sir, what of him?"--"Is in his
retirement marvellous distempered."--"With drink, sir!"--"No, my lord,
rather with collar!"--Act III., Sc. 2.]

[Illustration: "Oh, my offence is rank!"--Act III., Sc. 3.]

[Illustration: "Put your bonnet to his right use--'tis for the
head."--Act V., Sc. 2.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "COMING EVENTS CAST THEIR SHADOWS BEFORE THEM."

_Domesticated Wife._ "Oh, George, I wish you'd just----"

_Talented Husband_ (_author of various successful comic songs for music
halls, writer of pantomimes and variety-show libretti_). "Oh, for
goodness sake, Lucy, don't bother me _now_! You might _see_ I'm trying
to work out some _quite_ new lines for the fairy in the transformation
scene of the pantomime!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A SENSITIVE EAR.

_Intelligent Briton._ "But we have no theatre, no actors worthy of the
name, mademoiselle! Why, the English delivery of blank verse is simply
torture to an ear accustomed to hear it given its full beauty and
significance by a Bernhardt or a Coquelin!"

_Mademoiselle._ "Indeed? I have never heard Bernhardt or Coquelin recite
English blank verse!"

_Intelligent Briton._ "Of course not. I mean _French_ blank verse--the
blank verse of Corneille, Racine, Molière!"

_Mademoiselle._ "Oh, monsieur, there is no such thing!"

    [_Briton still tries to look intelligent._

]

       *       *       *       *       *

DUMB-CRAMBO'S GUIDE TO THE LONDON THEATRES

[Illustration: Drew wry lane]

[Illustration: Cove in garden]

[Illustration: Cry-teary 'un]

[Illustration: Prints of whales]

[Illustration: "A--mark it!"]

[Illustration: Gay at tea]

[Illustration: Princesses and royal tea]

[Illustration: Globe]

[Illustration: "Scent, James?"]

[Illustration: Strand and "save, hoi!"]

[Illustration: Only in play!]

[Illustration: The actor who has his head turned with applause]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CURTAIN-RAISERS _ Extract from Ethel's
correspondence_:--"At the last moment something went wrong with the
curtain, and we had to do without one! It was awful! But the Rector
explained matters to the front row, and they came to the rescue
_nobly_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Well, how did the new play go off last night?"

"Oh, there was a sleep-walking scene in the third act that was rather
effective." "_À la Lady Macbeth_, eh?"

"Well--not exactly. It was the audience that got up in its sleep and
walked out!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MUSIC HALL TYPES

I.--The "Lion Comique"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MUSIC HALL TYPES

II.--The "Serio"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MUSIC HALL TYPES

III.--The "Refined Comedian"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ON TOUR.--_Heavy Tragedian._ "Do you let apartments
to--ah--the profession?" _Unsophisticated Landlady._ "Oh, yes, sir. Why,
last week we had the performing dogs here!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ART AND NATURE. (_Overheard during the Private
Theatricals._)--

_She._ "How well your wife plays _Lady Geraldine_, Mr. Jones. I think
the way she puts on that awful affected tone is just splendid. How
_does_ she manage it?"

_Mr. Jones_ (_with embarrassment_). "Er--she doesn't. That's her natural
voice."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CONVINCING]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FINIS]

       *       *       *       *       *

BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO. LD., PRINTERS, LONDON AND TONBRIDGE.





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