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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 109, October 26, 1895
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, Vol. 109, October 26, 1895" ***

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

Volume 109, October 26, 1895.

_edited by Sir Francis Burnand_



WINTER COVENT GARDEN OPERATIC NOTES.

[Illustration]

SIR AUGUSTUS ANGLO-OPERATICUS has done well at Covent Garden, and will
probably go one better. To Miss ALICE ESTY, as _Elsa_, in _Lohengrin_,
we say "_Esty perpetua_." All are good: and the houses have been
apparently as good as the company. A season of German-French-Italian
Opera in English is a risky venture for a winter season; still, if
successful, and at popular prices, there is in it good promise for the
future. The conductors are Messrs. FELD, HENSCHEL, GLOVER, and Mr. C.
HEDMONDT, which sounds like an English rendering of _Tête Monté_. A
_Tête Monté_ can carry many a project through triumphantly where a
_Tête moins Monté_ would fail.

_Tuesday._--Excellent _Faust_. Mr. PHILIP BROZEL, first time in
English, decidedly good. Sir DRURIOLANUS thought the old opera "wanted
a fillip," and so gave us PHILIP BROZEL. KATE LEE a capital nurse, and
FANNY MOODY a delightful _Marguerite_. OLITZKA a pleasing _Siebel_,
and conductor GLOVER, as his name implies, keeping all hands
well employed, and ready to give fits to any hand that might be
"difficult." The remainder of the week "going strong."

In the interests of English opera, or rather of opera in English, we
wish DRURIOLANUS COVENT GARDENSIS OPERATICUS, with _Messieurs Tête
Monté et Cie._, every possible success.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE AMNESIA BACILLUS.

IT was an alarming state of affairs. The first indications of the new
epidemic were noticed in the autumn of 1895. A lady who mislaid her
identity at Brighton, and failed to recover it for a whole week, had
the doubtful distinction of being the initial case. Her example was
very shortly after followed by a servant-girl who "lost her memory" at
Three Bridges Railway Station. Not being properly labelled, there was
naturally some delay before she was returned to her supperless and
sorrowing mistress. Then the plague spread.

Among the first to suffer were the numerous class of persons who
had been so unfortunate as to borrow money. The simple operation of
transferring a half-crown or a fiver seemed to carry contagion with
it. From the instant that the fatal coin was in the palm of the
innocent and unsuspecting borrower, all recollection of his previous
personality vanished. The unhappy victim had no resource but to start
life afresh as he best could, with new struggles to face, new
lenders thus to victimise him--and new capital (a paltry equivalent!)
wherewith to mourn his hopeless loss of memory. It was observed that
these sufferers were subject to recurrent attacks of the _amnesia
bacillus_. Some scientific alienists went so far as to maintain that
the complaint was no new one, but had been prevalent, in a more or
less virulent form, ever since the first leather coinage was invented.

The Woman with a Past was the next to succumb. She was not quite so
much _en évidence_ as in the two or three previous years; still, a
considerable number of her carried on a contented, if obscure and
occasionally chequered, existence. She only rarely imitated the
_Second Mrs. Tanqueray_ in putting a violent end to her career. Then
all at once she, too, caught the disease. All the romance fled out
of her life, all the deep insight into masculine character, all
the love-souvenirs, so interesting to herself--and to her female
acquaintances. (_They_ did not forget any of these entertaining
details, however.) But as far as she was concerned, her Past
completely vanished, and, poor thing, like the half-crown borrower,
she had to begin all over again. It was weary work, converting her
future into a Past, or series of Pasts, and if she frequently
failed in her task, we must put it down to the deadly and
character-destroying bacillus.

Then the New Women took it severely, and quite forgot themselves.
However, they have been so completely advertised and satirised of
late, that there is no necessity to describe the symptoms of this
class of patient any further. We might add, though, that in some
cases the _sequelæ_ of the complaint aged the subject by ten or twenty
years.

It was distressing to note that even the respected occupants of the
Bench did not invariably escape; but they received the infection in
a mild form. They fairly well managed to retain their dignity and
personality, but they could _not_ remember the names of such common
objects as an "oof-bird," or the meaning of so familiar a term as
"going tommy-dodd." This was inconvenient, as it necessitated the
employment of cockney interpreters.

It was a case of "dunno 'oo they are" with a good many other
individuals and sections of the community.

One reverend gentleman had it badly, and turned litigant on the spot.
Quite oblivious of his sacerdotal functions and character, he
imagined that he would be a public benefactor if he went about
suing unoffending 'busses for obstructing a minute portion of their
window-lights with advertisements and notice-boards. This amused the
public at first, but after a while he was voted a nuisance and a bore.
Then the Salvationists caught the bacillus _en bloc_. One and all they
thought they were musicians, and, as such, entitled to make Sunday a
Day of Riot.

Amongst other unfortunate specimens of humanity were the shop-lifters,
who fancied they were shop-walkers; the burglars, who habitually
mistook their home address; the quarterly tenants, who, on the other
hand, forgot to remain at home at periodical intervals; and our old
friend 'ARRY, who forgot his manners and his h's.

The list of victims might be indefinitely extended. Once it was
thought that they were responsible for their actions; but now, thanks
to the progress of medical science, the _amnesia bacillus_ has
been identified. It only remains for a new PASTEUR to invent some
counteracting microbe.

       *       *       *       *       *

CRAZY TALES.

[Illustration]

The Duchess of POMPOSET was writhing, poor thing, on the horns of a
dilemma. Painful position, very. She was the greatest of great ladies,
full of fire and fashion, and with a purple blush (she was born that
colour) flung bangly arms round the neck of her lord and master.
The unfortunate man was a shocking sufferer, having a bad unearned
increment, and enduring constant pain on account of his back being
broader than his views.

"POMPOSET," she cried, resolutely. "Duky darling!"

(When first married she had ventured to apostrophise him as "ducky,"
but His Grace thought it _infra dig._, and they compromised by
omitting the vulgar "c.")

"Duky," she said, raising pale distinguished eyes to a Chippendale
mirror, "I have made up my mind."

"Don't," expostulated the trembling peer. "You are so rash!"

"What is more, I have made up yours."

"To make up the mind of an English duke," he remarked, with dignity,
"requires no ordinary intellect; yet I believe with your feminine
hydraulics you are capable of anything, JANE."

(That this aristocratic rib of His rib should have been named plain
JANE was a chronic sorrow.)

"Don't keep me in suspense," he continued; "in fact, to descend to a
colloquialism, I insist on Your Grace letting the cat out of the bag
with the least possible delay."

"As you will," she replied. "Your blood be on your own coronet.
Prepare for a shock--a revelation. I have fallen! Not once--but many
times."

"Wretched woman!--I beg pardon!--wretched Grande Dame! call upon
DEBRETT to cover you!"

"I am madly in love with----"

"By my taffeta and ermine, I swear----"

"Peace, peace!" said JANE. "Compose yourself, ducky--that is
PLANTAGENET. Forgive the slip. I am agitated. My mind runs on slips."

The Duke groaned.

"Horrid, awful slips!"

With a countenance of alabaster he tore at his sandy top-knot.

"I have deceived you. I admit it. Stooped to folly."

A supercilious cry rent the air as the Duke staggered on his patrician
limbs.

With womanly impulse--flinging caste to the winds--JANE caught the
majestic form to her palpitating alpaca, and, watering his beloved
features with Duchessy drops, cried in passionate accents, "My
King! My Sensitive Plant! Heavens! It's his unlucky back! Be calm,
PLANTAGENET. I have--been--learning--to--_bike!_ There! On the sly!"

The Duke flapped a reviving toe, and squeezed the august fingers.

"I am madly enamoured of--my machine."

The peer smoothed a ruffled top-knot with ineffable grace.

"Likewise am determined _you_ shall take lessons. Now it is no use,
duky. I mean to be tender but firm with you."

The Potentate gave a stertorous chortle, and, stretching out his arms,
fell in a strawberry-leaf swoon on the parquet floor, his ducal head
on the lap of his adored JANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

"HAPPY THOUGHT."--_Mem. (from note-book of careless man)._ When
nothing else to do, wind up my watch. It saves time.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TRAFALGAR'S TEACHING.

_Nelson_ (_receiving the wreath, October 21, nineteenth anniversary
of Battle of Trafalgar_). "THANKS! BUT YOUR DUTY TO-DAY IS TO SEE YOU
HAVE PLENTY OF SHIPS AND LOTS OF _MEN_ TO FIGHT THEM!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

SCRAPS FROM CHAPS.

MOUNT THE BUTTER-TUB!--Irish butter is on its trial, it seems. It
has managed to get a bad name, because some of the makers or dealers
become so attached to it they won't part with it for a month or so
after it is churned--and when they _do_ part with it they pretend it's
new. So the trustees of the Cork butter market suggest a "date-brand"
as a means of restoring the damaged reputation of the Hibernian
cow. It is quite obvious that if butter is to keep, it mustn't be
kept--which sounds like a bull, but it's true. Now is the time for
Irish patriots to come to the rescue of their firkins--to form a
"Brand League" if necessary--and prevent the produce of Irish dairies
being evicted from the markets of England.

       *       *       *       *       *

WHY SHOULD GLASGOW WAIT?--The average time taken by a telegram to get
from Glasgow to London, or _vice versâ_, is twenty-nine minutes, and
the cry of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, in consequence, is "More
wires!" The Chamber does not mind if they are overhead wires; all it
objects to is, overdue wires. There has been a railway race to the
north; but a telegraph race seems still more wanted just now. And
the worst of it is that the lordly Stock-Exchange folk are specially
provided with a wire that sends _their_ telegrams in five minutes.
_Punch's_ advice to the Chamber of Commerce is--"wire in!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: JUMPING POWDER.

(_Mr. Twentystun having a Nip on his way to Covert._)

_Small Boy._ "OH MY, BILLY, 'ERE'S A HEIGHTY-TON GUN A CHARGIN' OF
'ISSELF AFORE GOIN' INTO HACTION!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

BUMBLEDOM AND BRISTLES.--A strike of barbers has occurred at the Cork
workhouse; no inmate cares to undertake the duty at the pay of one
shilling a week; and the guardians are thinking of getting in outdoor
relief for the chins of their paupers. Why not an "Irish Melody," to
this effect?--

  The barbers have struck, farewell to the shave,
  And the rate-supplied soap on the cheek of the brave.

       *       *       *       *       *

A MAGNIFICENT OPPORTUNITY.--The enormous hotel, the neighbour and,
it may be, the friendly rival of the Savoy Hotel _à la Carte_,--for
friendship in opposition is possible though improbable,--is almost
completed, but apparently it is still "a deed without a name." What
is it to be called? The board, not of directors, but of advertisement
outside, says, "_This Magnificent Hotel_," &c., &c. Well, gentlemen
proprietors, why not take this description as the title? It does not
look bad in French, "_L'Hôtel Magnifique_." And in plain English "_The
Magnificent_" is a striking title, which can become popular as "_The
Mag._" _Mr. Punch_, as General Hotel Inspector and Universal Board
Adviser, offers the above suggestion.

       *       *       *       *       *

"FINIS."

(_By an Old-fashioned Novel-reader._)

  Oh! when we finished a tale of old,
  The thing was through, and the story told.
  But when we shut up a tale that's "New,"
  There's little told, and there's nothing "through."
  With neither beginning, middle, nor end,
  We do not part with the book as a friend.
  _Finis!_ The word seems ironical sport,
  It is not finished, but snapt off short,
  Like the poor maid's nose by the blackbird's beak
  In the "_Song of Sixpence_." _That_ tale was weak,
  Ending in nought, like an alley blind.
  But our story-spinners appear to find
  Their moral there. Their tales don't close,
  But break off short--like the poor maid's nose!
  Ah me! for a few of the fine old chaps
  Who gave us meals, not mere dishes of scraps!

       *       *       *       *       *

"POST OBIT."--The _Sheffield Daily Telegraph_ announces that the
first piece of patronage in the district which has fallen to the new
Postmaster-General is now being competed for. It is that of medical
officer to the local post-office. Our contemporary announces that the
applications, which are said to be very numerous, have all gone in.
It is generally understood that the gentleman ultimately selected to
undertake the duties of the post will not necessarily be connected
with the Dead Letter Department.

       *       *       *       *       *

A CLERICAL MISTAKE.

(_Fragment of a Romance found shortly after the holding of the recent
Clerical Meetings._)

"You are most kind," said the guest, getting down from the dogcart and
assisting the retainer to carry his portmanteau into the house.

"Not at all," was the reply. "If you are so good as to wait a moment,
I will take the vehicle round to the stables and then show you your
room."

The guest bowed his head gratefully, and yet with some embarrassment.
Who was this retainer? He seemed to be a man of education, and yet----
He had no time for further thought, as the subject of his meditations
returned to him.

"I was as speedy as possible," said he; "as I knew you would like
to dress. The rector dines rather early, and is sure to be punctual
to-night. This way."

And then the two young men marched up the staircase, and entered
together the spare room.

"There!" exclaimed the retainer, as he finished laying out the
contents of the guest's portmanteau. "Now all you have to do is to
look sharp and get down into the drawing-room, before the arrival of
the bishop. I shall try and snatch a few moments' doze, as I have been
busy from the early morning."

"I really cannot sufficiently thank you," said the guest, hunting in
his waistcoat pocket for a shilling. "But if you will allow me----"

"Oh, no thank you," interrupted the retainer, with a slight blush. "I
really do not require a tip."

"But surely, from your multitudinous duties, you must be the butler?"

Then came the solution to the mystery.

"Oh dear no! I am not the butler! I am only the curate!"

       *       *       *       *       *

A NEW SWAN SONG.

    [Miss ANNIE SWAN says--"What appears to be required is, that
    the wife should have something of her own, given to her freely
    by her husband for her own use and benefit, absolutely apart
    from other moneys, that she should spend it as she chooses."]

  Oh! give me something of my own,
    In which Man has _no_ part;
  Which I may hoard, or spend, or loan,
    And it shall ease my heart.
  And if you ask me whence 'twill come,
    And what will be my plan,
  I answer that that private sum
    Should come--of course--from Man!
  I'll grab it quick, I'll hold it tight,
    That welcome L. S. D.,
  Concerning which Man's only right
    Is--_just to give it Me!_

       *       *       *       *       *

PROBABLE.--New edition of "_Cornelius Nepos_," with notes by Lord
HALSBURY, assisted by Mr. HARDINGE FRANK GIFFARD, _Sec. Comm. Lun._

       *       *       *       *       *

PROVERBIAL CONSERVATIVE PHILOSOPHY.--
Sow Local Government in Ireland and it will come up Home Rule.

       *       *       *       *       *


"COLLAR WORK"; OR, THE UNAPPRECIATED ENTERTAINER.

    SCENE--_The after-deck of an excursion-steamer, which is
    on its return to Scarborough from Bridlington, where the
    excursionists have employed a shining hour in laying in
    copious luncheons at various restaurants and eating-houses.
    Owing to the tide, they have had to land and re-embark
    in small boats through a rather choppy bit of sea, the
    consequence being that the majority of the party--though not
    indisposed--are inclined to prefer meditation to moving about,
    probably on the principle of "letting sleeping dogs lie."
    After Flamborough Head has been rounded, a young man in a
    frock coat and a cloth cap, who has hitherto been regarded
    as perfectly inoffensive, suddenly brings out a pair of
    plush-covered tables from behind the funnel, and reveals
    himself in the unwelcome character of a professional
    conjuror._

_The Young Man_ (_clearing his throat and pointedly addressing a group
of torpid tourists on the centre seats_). Ladies _and_ gentlemen,
with your very kind permission, I will now endeavour to amuse you by
exhibiting a few simple feats of ledger de mang to which I invite your
closest attention (_the persons addressed instantly assume an air of
uneasy abstraction_), as I find that the more carefully my audience
watches my proceedings the less able they are to detect the manner in
which the trick is performed.... I 'ave 'ere, ladies and gentlemen, a
gingerbeer bottle, just a plain stone gingerbeer bottle of a pattern
no doubt familiar to you all. (_He produces it, and it appears to be
generally unpopular, as if it called up reminiscences of revelry which
some would willingly forget._) I will now pass it around in order that
you may satisfy yourselves that it is what it appears to be. (_To a_
Somnolent Excursionist _in a corner._) Will you oblige me, Sir, by
kindly taking it in your 'and?

_The Somnolent Excursionist_ (_who seems to be under the impression
that he is being offered refreshment_). Eh? gingerbeer? No, thanky,
never take it. [_He closes his eyes again._

_The Y. M._ (_to a_ Grumpy Excursionist _on a campstool_). Perhaps,
Sir, you will oblige me by examining this bottle.

_The Grumpy Excursionist_ (_wrathfully_). Hang it all, Sir, do you
suppose _I_'m any judge of gingerbeer bottles; take the beastly thing
away!

_The Y. M._ (_cast down, but undeterred_). Well, you are all satisfied
that it _is_ an ordinary earthenware bottle. Now I take this tin
case--made, as you perceive, in two parts to fit closely round the
bottle. I will just give you an opportunity of 'andling the case so
that you may convince yourselves of its being perfectly empty. (_He
proffers it for inspection, but everybody seems willing to take it
on trust._) I enclose the bottle in the case--so--I make one or two
passes--hey, presto--and, on opening the case, the bottle will be
found to have vanished. (_It has--but nobody appears to regret its
disappearance._) I close the case, which you all saw to be empty, once
more, and what do I find it contain! (_He pulls out yard after yard of
coloured ribbon, which falls absolutely flat, but if the tin case
had emitted a column of smoke and a genuine Arabian djinn, it would
probably fail just now to produce any deep impression._) I shall next
produce a pack of ordinary playing cards, from which I will ask you,
Sir, to be good enough to select a card, without letting me see it or
mentioning which it is (_to the_ Grumpy Excursionist, _who brushes him
away irritably as he would a bluebottle_). Madam, will you kindly----?
(_to the_ Stout Lady, _who turns a shawled shoulder and feebly
requests him "Not to come bothering_ her"). Perhaps _you_, Sir----?
(_to a_ Cadaverous Tourist, _who intimates that he "never encourages
cardplaying under any form"_). Thank you _very_ much (_to a_ Rubicund
Tourist, _who accepts a card out of sheer good-nature_). Now I shuffle
the cards again, cut them, and (_exhibiting a court-card with mild
triumph_) unless I am mistaken, Sir, _this_ was the card you chose!

_The Rubicund Tourist._ Was it? I dessay, I dessay. I didn't notice
particularly myself.

    [_Upon this the_ Young Man _recognises that his conjuring
    fails to charm, and retires to the funnel in apparent
    discomfiture._

_Excursionists_ (_to one another_). Card-tricks are all very well
in their proper place; but, when you come out for a blow like this,
why.... If it had been a little _music_, now, or a song, or soomat o'
that soart, it would ha' been nahce enoof.... (_With dismay._) Why,
danged if he isn't going to give us anoother turn of it!

    [_The_ Young Man _reappears, carrying two dismal old dummies
    with battered papier-maché heads, and preternaturally mobile
    jaws._

_The Y. M._ (_after planting these effigies in such a position as to
depress as many as possible_). I now 'ave the pleasure of introducing
to your notice two very old friends of mine, Mr. and Mrs. JEREMIAH
JORDLES. (_The audience, not having energy enough to escape, submit
in sombre resignation to these fresh tormentors, which goggle at them
with cheerful imbecility._) Well, Mrs. JORDLES, Ma'am, and how do
_you_ find yourself this afternoon? I 'ope you're enjoying this most
delightful trip.

    [_He bends his head deferentially for the answer, with a
    sympathetic movement of his own lips._

_The Female Figure_ (_with a waggling jaw, and in an impossible
falsetto_). No, I _ain't_ enj'yin' this most delightful trip, so
there. I believe I'm going to be ill in a minute. I feel that queer, I
do.

_The Male Figure_ (_in a voice scarcely distinguishable from his
introducer's own_). Queer? And no wonder, after taking all them
pickled wornuts with yer sooet pudden!

    [_The_ Stout Lady's _ample cheeks are contorted by a
    transitory spasm, and the_ Cadaverous Tourist _passes his
    hand across his mouth, which the Ventriloquist construes as
    reluctant tributes to his facetious powers._

_Female F._ Well, _you_ needn't talk, after all them jam puffs and the
prawns you swollered, 'eds and all!

_Male F._ Ah, I _'ad_ a appetite. And I 'ate waste, I do. But lor,
when I see her a swallerin' down that sorcer o' cockles just after
clearing out the 'okypoky barrer, I knew she'd live to be sorry for
it!

_The Stout Lady_ (_to the_ Cadaverous Man). They didn't ought to be
allowed to go on like this. Downright vulgarity _I_ call it!

_The Cadaverous Man._ You are right, Mum It's quite enough to upset
anybody. If he's going to make either of them images purtend to be
unwell, I shall call the Captin and put a stop to it.

_The Y. M._ (_with a tardy perception that he might have chosen a
more generally agreeable topic, and meanly throwing the blame upon the
innocent dummies_). There, Mr. JORDLES, Sir, that'll do. We don't care
to hear what you and your good lady took by way of a relish; tell us
about something else.

_Male F._ All right. There was a quart o' winkles, as wasn't over----

_The Y. M._ (_shaking_ Mr. JORDLES _up, and stopping his mouth_).
'Ush, Sir, 'ush! Beyave, now, and see if you can set quiet while Mrs.
JORDLES sings us a little song.

_Male F._ What? 'Er sing! 'Ere, chuck me overboard, will yer? I've
_'eard_ her.

_The Grumpy Exc._ (_in a savage undertone_). For heaven's sake chuck
'em _both_ overboard, and follow them!

_Female F._ Oh, dear, me sing? I'm all of a flutter like. Well, what
shall I sing? Oh, I know. (_Quavering._) "_Where are the friends of
Child'ood now?_"

_Male F._ Why, in gaol, doing time!

    [Mr. Jordles _is reproved and corrected as before, but his
    senile flippancy only excites general disgust, and when
    he proceeds to boast that a beautiful young lady he met
    in Bridlington has fallen violently in love with him, the
    audience clearly resent the statement as an outrage to their
    intelligence. The Ventriloquist perseveres a little longer,
    though even his own belief in the dummies seems to be shaken,
    and at length he gives them up as hopeless, and carries them
    off ignominiously, one under each arm. Whereupon the party
    breathe freely once more, only to gasp in impotent horror the
    next moment, as the irrepressible_ Young Man _returns with a
    smaller figure, modelled and dressed to represent an almost
    inconceivably repulsive infant. He perches himself on the
    bulwark, and placing this doll on his knee, affects to
    converse with it, until its precocity and repeated demands
    for a cheesecake render it an object of universal loathing and
    detestation. However, its pertness suddenly begins to flag,
    as beads gather upon the Ventriloquist's pallid brow, and
    allowing the figure to collapse in a limp heap, he rises
    unsteadily to his feet._

_The Y. M._ (_in faltering tones_). Ladies and gentlemen, such a
thing has reelly never 'appened to me before in the 'ole course of my
professional career; but I feel compelled to ask you kindly to excuse
me if I break off for a few minutes, 'oping to resume--and with your
kind indulg----

    [_Here he staggers feebly away and is seen no more, while a
    faint smile may be observed for the first time to irradiate
    the faces of the company, as they realise that their
    sufferings are more than avenged._

[Illustration: "I feel compelled to ask you kindly to excuse me."]

       *       *       *       *       *

CABBY; OR, REMINISCENCES OF THE RANK AND THE ROAD.

(_By "Hansom Jack."_)

No. IX.--PECKERS-UP!--ANTI-PRIG PHILOSOPHY--"TOMMY THE THUMPER"'S
TALES--THE HAUNTED CAB.

[Illustration: "Sort o' parson one time, if all stories is true."]

  A CABBY may be this or that; 'e's a chap as the world is much
          given to slang or to chaff;
  But there's one blessed boon as is usually 'is, 'e can do--what
          your prigs seldom can--a fair laugh.
  I 'ave known a good few of all sorts in my time; some scarce fit
          for to tool a old SAWBONES's gig,
  Some as smart as they're made; but I never yet met a true Cabby as
          answered percisely to "prig."

  You look at a rank at a time fares is off, and the nosebags is on,
          and you find the chaps all
  A 'anging around with their 'ands in their pockets, 'ard by their
          pet pub, or close under a wall.
  They're looking about 'em, and passing the patter, and doubling
          sharp up at a wheeze or a joke;
  They may look on the lollop, but not on the sulk, nor they don't
          'ang their 'eads like a ill-tempered moke.

  But life's not _all_ laugh with 'em give you my word; summer's not
          all a beano, while winter is worse,
  And many a chap must drive 'ard through a sleet-storm when fur
          better fitted for blankets and nurse.
  Your fare snugged inside _may_ be grumpy and growly, a crack in
          the winder will give '_im_ the 'ump;
  But _you_ mustn't cuss, though you're soaked to your socks, and
          the rheumatiz racks your poor back at each bump.

  Stillsomever to take the lot smilin' 's _our_ motter, though
          sometimes the smile sets a mossel askew.
  Old "TOMMY THE THUMPER"'s just left me. Queer egg! Sort o' parson
          one time, if all stories is true.
  But rum 'ot and religion don't mix none too well, as tomater-nosed
          TOMMY 'as reason to know.
  Still 'e '_as_ got the gift o' the gab, and no error, 'is yarns
          when 'e's on, make yer creepy and low.

  TOMMY is one o' that mildewy sort as are gen'rally gloomy and down
          on their luck.
  'E will tip you 'is graveyardy tales of old times, till you stand
          'im a nobbler, or give 'im the chuck.
  Remembers the old body-snatchers, TOM does, and the BURKE and HARE
          yarns make you cold as a dab;
  But what 'e reeled out o'er 'is rum-'ot to-night was a gospel-true
          tale of a old Haunted Cab.

  "Gospel-true, on _my_ davy," is TOMMY's pet clincher. "Ah, JACK,"
          'e grumped out, as 'e stoppered 'is bowl
  With a forefinger brown as a rusty old spike; "you young chirpers
          ain't go neither fancy nor soul.
  Hagnostical lot, you smart 'Ansoms, as think you are HUXLEYS on
          wheels, I 'ave not the least doubt,
  But why ain't a cab just as like as a castle to 'ave its own
          ghost? Tell me that, 'GINGER GROUT'!"

  "GINGER" shook 'is red 'ead and said nothink. Says TOMMY, "Old
          'BARNEY THE BUNCH' was the sulkiest sort,
  'E 'adn't no heart for a pal in distress, and 'e never liked
          'parting' for friendship _or_ sport.
  But what 'e most shirked was all haccident cases. Well, Cabbies
          don't cotton to _them_, as a rule,
  But 'BARNEY THE BUNCH' was a bit _extry_-brutal; a reg'lar old
          flint-hearted, foxy-eyed fool.

  "Bunched up on 'is box all alone one cold evening, when not a
          four-wheeler, 'cept 'is, was in sight,
  Old BARNEY was 'ailed by a poor shrieking creetur as 'eld a small
          girl in 'er arms, taller-white,
  With a small crimson cut on 'er poor little temple, arf hid by 'er
          goldian ringlets shook loose:
  'The orspital--quick--for 'ev'n's sake!' pants the mother; 'Oh!
          don't lose a hinstant.' Lor, 'twasn't no use!

  "BARNEY whips up 'is 'orse, and trots off, most deliberate,
          grunting as 'ow that 'is cab worn't a 'earse.
  Most superstitious old griffin the 'BUNCH' wos. Well there, the
          child died. But if ever a curse
  'Ung over a cabby _and_ cab it wos 'isn. Oh yes, you may grin o'er
          your corfee and toast
  In this 'ere cosy shelter. But strange fares, at night-time, do
          not like to ride number two--with a ghost!

  "All fancy? Then wy did _all_ talk of a kiddy with goldian curls,
          and of wild-woman cries?
  And wy did fares pull BARNEY up on the suddent, and scuttle with
          shuddersome looks and skeart eyes?
  And wy did old 'BARNEY THE BUNCH' take to boozing, and wy wos 'e
          found stony-stark _in_ 'is cab
  With eyes fixed on--nothink? Yus, _nothink_, of course! 'TOMMY
          THUMPER''s a fool to you young 'uns to blab."

  Shut up like a rat-trap, and trotted off twist-ways, the "THUMPER"
          did, huffed in 'is boozy old style.
  A ghost-seer's dignitude does stand on end if 'e twigs that 'is
          cackle is met with a smile.
  But _I_ didn't grin--not contemphuously, leastways; I've seen fur
          too much to be big on the boast,
  And this I _do_ know, that your 'ard-'earted hunks will one day
          git 'is gruel--if not from a ghost.

  Conscience, I tell you, can build spooks like Guy Foxes, or as the
          jim-jams makes green rats or snakes.
  _Real?_ Wot's "real"? Who's goin' to be cocksure wot's actual
          facks and wot's fancy's queer fakes?
  Only your ignerant, stuck-uppish shaller-pate. I never shirk no
          true orspital case;
  And if any ghost _should_ make free with my Forder--I 'ope I could
          look the spook fair in the face.

  I '_ave_ saved lives by a hopportune hurry-up; so I imagine 'ave
          most of my mates.
  'Ansoms are everywhere, like London sparrers, and five minutes'
          start sometimes dodges the fates.
  Gratitude don't grow on every gooseberry bush, and to 'ave just
          saved a life _or_ a leg
  _Mayn't_ mean a fiver, or even a fare, but wot flaviour it gives
          your next corfee and hegg!

  I 'ave one "regular," crippled but rich, as I saved--so _'e_
          says--from a fur worser fate.
  Only a fluke, as I tell 'im each Christmas, but somehow 'e won't
          wipe that job off the slate.
  Many a nice little extry it lands me; and as for 'is daughter, a
          brown-eyed young dove,
  Well, she is a fare as I'd not lose for somethink, _though_
          bob-less; I'd much sooner drive 'er for love!

[Illustration: "She is a fare as I'd not loose for somethink."]

       *       *       *       *       *

At the Aquarium the highly trained and well-educated horse, _Alpha_,
finishes a wonderful performance by being dressed up as a nurse,
and wheeling a pony, _Little Beta_, about in a perambulator. Clever
_Alpha_ shouldn't be allowed to end by making such a donkey of
himself. One of these days he'll be beaten by little _Beta_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. R.'s nephew writes from Harrow that his aunt on returning from
Homburg, observed cheerfully, "My dear, I feel as jolly as a sandbag."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SMALL SOCIAL AGONIES.

_Hostess._ "IT'S BUT A POOR LUNCH I CAN GIVE YOU! BUT MY COOK HAS GOT
INFLUENZA!"

_Enfant terrible._ "OH, MUMMY, YOU _ALWAYS_ SAY THAT!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

NOW AND THEN.

_A Morality (after Morris) in Hyde Park._

  "O, give me the sweet shady side of Pall Mall!"
  Sang Captain CHARLES MORRIS. But he was a swell,
  Filled with cockney, no doubt anti-democrat, spleen,
  At "an ass on a common, a goose on a green."

  But what had he said had he lived in our days
  Of the scenes that Hyde Park in the season displays?
  Where the "goose on the green" is a Socialist scamp,
  And the "pig on the dunghill" a somnolent tramp.

  O sweet _rus in urbe_, our London delight!
  A Ghetto by day, a Gehenna by night!
  Who cares for the meaningless trill of a lark,
  When the shriek of the spouter is heard in Hyde Park?

  "In London the spirits are cheerful and light,"
  O MORRIS, your lyre is not up-to-date--quite.
  You knew not how coarse _Boanerges_ can bawl,
  Saw not on the turf filthy vagrants asprawl.

  In Liberty's name what strange license is shown
  To the scoundrels who swear, and the zealots who groan;
  On turf that is tender, 'midst leaves that are green,
  The sights are repulsive, the sounds are obscene.

  Yes, MORRIS, that's what we now make of our Park;
  And as to the deeds that go on after dark,
  They would be far too gross for _your_ liberal Muse,
  And to sing them e'en satirists now must refuse.

  You fancied each object in town a fresh treat;
  Had you seen a tramp huddled upon a park seat,
  You might not have felt so "revived by _that_ whim,"
  And you certainly had not sat down after _him!_

  Full many a trait of the times of gross GEORGE
  Makes humanity shrink, raises Liberty's gorge;
  But certain things now that to Park and Pall Mall come,
  In Freedom's name, truly are more free than welcome.

  In a Park that is spacious, umbrageous, and green,
  Seats, sprawlers, and speeches, at least, should be _clean_.
  And oh what avail that 'tis fragrant and floral,
  If loungers are frowsy and manners immoral?

  "In London, thank heaven! our peace is secure"
  You sang; and your London you knew, to be sure.
  But whether by daylight, or whether by dark,
  _Our_ peace is by no means secure--in Hyde Park!

  Ah, MORRIS, we're freer, more human, more kind,
  Since you found your London so much to your mind.
  But, though to your days we've no wish to return,
  In the art of park-keeping we've something to learn.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE POET-LAUREATE STAKES (_by "Our Special Commissioner"_).--There is
not much to choose between the competitors for the above unimportant
fixture. Ever since the publication of the weights _Sir Edwin Arnold_
has held the position of first favourite. He appears to have derived
no harm from his recent journey to "India"; indeed, on visiting him
at his new quarters in "the Tenth Mews" we found him in the pink of
condition. Although _Mr. Austin_ has, owing to a strained cæsura, and
consequent restriction to walking exercise, gone back in the betting,
he is, nevertheless, looked upon in some quarters as a likely
candidate; while _Sir Lewis Morris_ is very much fancied--by himself.
A somewhat sensational wager of £3000 to £10 was booked against _Sir
Lewis_ and _Mr. Henley_ "coupled."

       *       *       *       *       *

CAUTION IN RIGHT DIRECTION.--Dear _Mr. Punch_,--The direction, written
by a correspondent, on an envelope I found on returning from a short
trip, suggested to me exactly the description of a sly puss (which I
am not) of a young lady (which I am) who would be a perfect model of
propriety ("that's me") in her own domestic circle, but

    "Forward if away from home!"

There's a nice description! So misleading! I mention this as
_something to be avoided_ by any one writing to a nice girl of his,
or her, acquaintance, and placing _special posting directions on the
envelope_.

  Yours ever,

  LALAGE.

       *       *       *       *       *

COWARDLY ACTION ON THE PART OF A SOLDIER.--To "strike a tent."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: RESCUE!

BLUEBEARD ... TURKEY. FATIMA ... ARMENIA. THE THREE BROTHERS ...
ENGLAND, RUSSIA, FRANCE.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PROBLEM PLAYWRIGHT'S VADE MECUM.

_Question._ Has the Problem Play a solution?

_Answer._ Certainly; it answers the purposes of the author and the
manager.

_Q._ From this I take it that it is invariably successful?

_A._ Well, it is never a failure; or, rather, hardly ever.

_Q._ Can you make your meaning a little plainer?

_A._ If it is not invariably a triumph of coin, it is a success of
esteem. The house is crowded for a couple of months.

_Q._ And after?

_A._ The Problem Play is not expected to have an after.

_Q._ What is the essence of such a creation?

_A._ The unconventional treatment of the conventional.

_Q._ Give an example?

_A._ Two men tossing up for a lady. In _Box and Cox_ the transaction
was conducted with the assistance of a sixpence in the politest
fashion imaginable; in a later version the affair could not be
arranged without a pack of cards and much forcible language.

_Q._ Was the scene the same in both, like the situation?

_A._ No, in _Box and Cox_ the spot was a second-floor back; in the
other, the interior of an observatory on the summit of a mountain.

_Q._ Can you mention any other characteristic of the Problem Play?

_A._ The dramatist should be daring. People should say of his
work that it would have surprised their parents and startled their
grandmothers into fits.

_Q._ How can this desirable end be attained?

_A._ By the playwright causing his heroine to throw a pocket-bible
into the fire, or perform some other act of parallel eccentricity.

_Q._ Should the heroine have any peculiarity?

_A._ As a rule she should be a woman with a past.

_Q._ But has not this type been worked to death?

_A._ It has certainly seen much service, to that the newest kind of
heroine is to be preferred.

_Q._ What is the newest kind of heroine?

_A._ The woman who, without having a past, has, under the influence of
drink, seriously damaged the possibility of enjoying a future.

_Q._ When does the leading situation arrive?

_A._ At the end of the second act. What goes before and comes after
that climax is, to a large extent, immaterial.

_Q._ What is the customary fate of the heroine after the leading
situation?

_A._ On rare occasions, suicide "off." But the usual exit is a retreat
in rear of the clergy.

_Q._ What is the customary effect of the Problem Play?

_A._ That for a considerably longer time than nine days it is a
wonder. Every one talks about it, and many see it during that period.
When the wonder is exhausted according to precedent the cause of the
amazement is forgotten.

_Q._ And, when this last season arrives, what does the author do?

_A._ A dramatist, having written one Problem Play, usually writes
another.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "DON JOSÉ."

J-E CH-MB-RL-N, IN SPAIN, AS "THE TORY-ADOR."]

       *       *       *       *       *

PROFESSIONAL AND JOURNALISTIC.--The Editor of an illustrated paper
says that his only difficulty with his artists is "the Initial
Difficulty." He now has on hand an illustrated alphabet ready for all
emergencies.

       *       *       *       *       *

THAT TUNE!

(_Sad Story of a Victim of "D----d Iteration."_)

  _Tum-tum-tum-tiddle-um-tum-tum!_
    'Tis ground out twelve times over!!
  My nerves all twitch, my brain seems numb,
    Faith! I'm a music-lover;
  But that infernal organ-grind,
    With hideous iteration,
  Is driving me out of my mind,
    Into sheer desperation.
  _Tum-tum-tum-tiddle-um-tum-tum!_
    _Tum-tum_--O this is maddening!
  It may be in some gloomy slum,
    The organ-grinder's gladdening.
  But to a poor suburban scribe,
    Intent on scribbling copy,
  'Tis torture! Shall I try a bribe?
    Or seek oblivion's poppy?
  _Tum-tum-tum-tiddle-um-tum-tum!_
    _Tum-tum-tum-tiddle_----Gracious!
  Those "tums" will split my tympanium,
    Eternally sequacious.
  Free country? Bah! When an organ-strain
    May blast, and blight and bore you,
  Till you get "tum-tum" on the brain?
    Ah! There's a picture for you!
  _Tum-tum-tum-tiddle-um-tum-tum!_--
    (The writer, once thought clever,
  Is now at Hanwell, doomed to hum
    That hideous tune for ever!)

       *       *       *       *       *

A STORY ANENT THE NORTH.--According to the _Dundee Advertiser_,
Colonel NORTH has paid cash to the King of the BELGIANS, not for
concessions of land near Ostend, but for similar advantages on the
Congo. It has been rumoured that the purchase-money was ostensibly
(or should it be Ostendsibly?) handed over for the possession of the
former, and not the latter. But the rumour must be taken with reserve.
Perhaps the report may have arisen from the fact that the Belgian
watering-place is situated on the North Sea--a locality naturally
associated with the name of the King of the Nitrates. Be this as
it may, the gallant Colonel is certain to command the confidence of
volunteers in the future as in the past. So far as he is concerned,
shares (plough and other varieties) will be as popular as bayonets.

       *       *       *       *       *

Stones in Sermons.

  "Sermons in stones," the poet says; and when
    Smelfungus scolds, and rails, and girds, and groans at us,
  We feel that worst of sermonising men
    Is--throwing stones at us.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. R. observes of a respectable young man among her acquaintances,
that she was sorry to hear he was incremated in a recent swindling
case.

       *       *       *       *       *

BIKE _v._ BICYCLE.

_Some Tennysonian Bouts-rimés._

    [Mr. ERNEST SHIPTON, Secretary of the Cyclists' Touring Club,
    protests against the term "bike" as being unmitigated slang.]

  Bike, bike, bike,
    By your leave, oh C. T. C.
  Quite too long for my tongue to utter
    Is "bicycle"--_bike_ for me!

  O well for the slang-loving boy,
    That he "bikes" with his sister at play!
  O well for the lass or lad
    Who don't Mr. SHIPTON obey!

  For, in spite of him, "bikes" go on,
    Thus called, over dale and hill;
  And "bicycles" soon will be vanished, and
    The voice of the pedant still.

  Bike, bike, bike,
    _Mr. Punch_ says, oh C. T. C.
  And the tender grace of a term that is dead
    Will never come back to me!

       *       *       *       *       *

TO SQUIRE PUNCH.--SIR,--I don't quite know how to spell the
gentleman's names, whether its "TYCHO" or "TYKEO BRAHE," but, anyhow,
he was a sharp chap, and all I want to learn for certain is, was he
one of the good old genuine "Tykes," and a Yorkshireman?

  Yours,

  JOHN BROWDIE'S GRANDNEPHEW.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE LATEST LITERARY SUCCESS.

"THE WOMAN WHO WANTED TO."]

       *       *       *       *       *

A ROMANCE OF THE FUTURE.

CHAPTER I.

The great reform had been effected. Thanks to the Matrimonial Tripos
Act, passed a few years previously, it was no longer left to
blind chance to decide what women should receive the privileges of
matrimony. All those who aspired to them had to enter for the Tripos
held once a year under the supervision of the State, and to pass
a rigorous examination in Household Arithmetic, Domestic Economy,
Etiquette, and other subjects. Only those who obtained a first class
were allowed to marry noblemen or millionaires, those who got a second
might mate with a peer's younger son or a baronet, while those
hapless ones who failed to get a third were absolutely prohibited from
matrimony, although occasionally one or two who narrowly missed taking
honours were allowed a detrimental by the examiners. And no maiden was
permitted to enter for the examination more than three times in all.

It was the knowledge of this last fact which cast a shade of troubled
anxiety upon the faces of STREPHON SMITH and AMARYLLIS JONES as they
paced up and down the garden on the eve of the annual examination.
Their engagement had been a long one, for twice had AMARYLLIS entered
for the Tripos, and twice had been hopelessly ploughed. Should she
fail once more on the morrow----

"Nay, my AMARYLLIS," cried the faithful STREPHON, "look not so
downcast. Failure? it is impossible! Have not I coached you carefully
in all the subjects? Come, repeat once more, to give you confidence,
the formulæ of poultry-rearing."

AMARYLLIS smiled sadly. "It is unnecessary," she replied; "I remember
them well. And yet my mind misgives me. Should that hateful MELIBOEUS
BROWN foil us once again----"

"Speak not his name!" exclaimed STREPHON, grinding his teeth. "True
that he has vowed that we shall never marry; true that at your first
attempt, under the mask of friendship, he inscribed all the wrong
dates upon your dainty cuff, while on the next occasion he bribed the
candidates sitting next to you to jog your elbow and to upset the ink
over your papers; but on this occasion he will be powerless. With the
knowledge which, thanks to my assiduous coaching, you now possess,
you are certain to pass. A month hence, my AMARYLLIS, and we shall be
wedded."

AMARYLLIS flung herself into his arms. "If only I am not ploughed!
But, darling STREPHON, I have a request to make of you. I implore you
to sit in the gallery to-morrow throughout the examination, and so,
looking up to your face, I shall gain fresh courage."

"Sweet, I will do so," cried STREPHON. "And--you know the
deaf-and-dumb alphabet, I think? If so, and an answer has slipped your
memory, perhaps----"

"Nay," said AMARYLLIS, firmly. "'Tis unnecessary. And we must run no
risks."

  * * *

CHAPTER II.

The great examination had begun. Ranged at the long rows of tables
sat the fairest of England's maidenhood; some conning the paper with
painful perplexity, while others scribbled down the answers with
feverish haste, or gazed imploringly up to the gallery whence their
anxious lovers regarded them. Amongst these was plainly visible the
heroic form of STREPHON SMITH.

Seated on a daïs at the end of the room was Professor PLUMBOSS,
the chief examiner, the same who had ploughed no fewer than 5428
candidates at the last examination. Perhaps it was the effect of
the constant terror of assassination in which he lived, but on this
particular morning the Professor seemed ill-at-ease. Ever and anon he
pressed his hand firmly on his head, as if he wished to retain a wig
in its place; now and then he fumbled mysteriously with his beard.
Could it be a false one?

But AMARYLLIS had no leisure to observe such trifles. With unfaltering
pen she dashed off the answers to all the questions without a moment's
hesitation, and she had finished a good half-hour before the appointed
time. With all her wondrous grace of movement she tripped lightly up
the room, and handed over her papers to the Professor. Surely there
was an ill-disguised twinkle of elation in his eyes as he took them.
And then, when AMARYLLIS had left, with her papers in his hand, he
edged nearer and nearer to the fire-place. As if by accident, he
prepared to drop them into the flames.

Little had he recked that the eagle eye of STREPHON SMITH was upon
him. With a single bound that intrepid hero leaped from the gallery to
the floor, rushed upon the Professor, with one resolute sweep of his
hand knocked off his wig, spectacles and false beard, and disclosed
the pale and trembling features of his hated rival, MELIBOEUS BROWN!

  * * *

CHAPTER III.

And so the plot was discovered just in time. The nefarious BROWN had
kidnapped the Professor on his way to the hall, had stolen his robes,
and disguised himself so as to play the part of the examiner himself.
Another minute, and his wicked plan would have succeeded, AMARYLLIS'S
papers would have been burnt, and she and STREPHON would have been
separated for ever. Thanks to the latter's courageous action, the
impostor had been detected, and was subsequently sentenced to several
years' imprisonment.

When the real Professor had been liberated and came to look over
AMARYLLIS'S work, a slight difficulty arose. The law insisted that
one who had answered with such perfect correctness must marry a peer,
while STREPHON was but a humble commoner. However, a grateful nation
rescued him from this dilemma by awarding him a dukedom.

       *       *       *       *       *

A TRIO.

[AIR--"_Three Blind Mice._"]

            Three new peers!
            Good ev'ry one!
  A. BORTHWICK, PLUNKET, H. DE WUMS,
  Are all conserva_tive_ly chums,
  We hail with cheers in our col-_lums_
            The Three New Peers!

       *       *       *       *       *

QUERY FROM A CORRESPONDENT.--Please, Sir, can you tell me where I
can obtain a work entitled "_Balmy on the Crumpet_"? I have heard it
frequently mentioned, but up to now have searched the lists at the
British Museum and (with the exception of the works of one "_Balmez,
a Theologian_,") all in vain. I presume the work in question is a
treatise on some department of the baking industry. Is there also
another work entitled _Balmy on the Muffin?_ In fact, I should
very much like to collect all the treatises of this author on
bakery.--Yours, OLD ROWLEY.

       *       *       *       *       *

"OVER!"--At last "GRACE before wicket" has received his five thousand
pounds' worth of shilling testimonials, and has returned thanks to
the indefatigable Sir EDWARD LAWSON, who initiated and carried out the
idea in the _Daily Telegraph_. Your health, Dr. GRACE, and song,
which of course would be "_Sing O the Green Willow!_" And his motto,
"_There's nothing like leather!_" Will the celebrated batsman give a
ball to celebrate the occasion?

       *       *       *       *       *

ROUNDABOUT READINGS.

A strange report reaches me, a rumour which (if such a course may be
predicated of a mere report) opens up illimitable vistas. The dramatic
critics, it would appear, have been for some time past in a state of
dissatisfaction. A newspaper proprietor has been turned into a peer;
editors in profusion have journeyed down to Windsor as very plain
misters, and, having been tapped upon the shoulder with cold steel,
have returned to the bosoms of their families as knights; a novelist,
a mere teller of stories, has undergone the same process, not, it
is well understood, for his own glory, but for the greater honour
of Literature (capital L please); and, worst of all, an actor has
survived the blood-curdling ceremony of the _accolade_, and has
received the congratulations and gifts of other members of his
profession.

  * * *

_Quæ cum ita sint_, the dramatic critics have been very naturally
asking one another why they alone should toil and moil (the "midnight
oil" irresistibly suggests itself as a pleasing and perfectly
appropriate rhyme) without any recognition beyond the vulgar one of a
money-payment, sufficient, no doubt, to keep them in bread and
beer, ties, clothes, collars, and cuffs, but utterly inadequate when
considered as a reward for the services they perform on behalf of Art
and the Drama. One thing led to another (it generally does); there
were conversations, interchanges of ideas, meetings, and so forth; and
eventually matters came to a head in the formation of a society, the
members of which pledged themselves to promote by all legitimate
means the claims of dramatic critics to knighthoods, baronetcies,
privy-councillorships, peerages, and other rewards.

  * * *

The final meeting, at which the rules were discussed and passed, and
the officials appointed, began harmoniously enough. Mr. CLEMENT
SCOTT, proposed by Mr. ARCHER, and seconded by Mr. A. B. WALKLEY, was
unanimously voted to the Chair. His opening speech was marked by great
fervour. For years, he said, dramatic critics had been engaged in
the thankless task of educating the public taste, and of instructing
dramatic authors in the true principles of the construction of
stage-plays. At last, thank heaven, they were beginning to be
appreciated at their proper value. Their names were becoming household
words. The average reader, when he opened his _World_, turned first
to the article signed "W. A." The same, or a similar person, rushed
breathlessly through _The Speaker_ until he was arrested by the magic
initials "A. B. W." At this point Mr. ARCHER intervened with the
remark that for himself, he might say there was only one article, the
dramatic, in the _Daily Telegraph_ that absolutely fascinated him;
and Mr. WALKLEY, rising immediately afterwards, observed that, having
studied the essays of M. LEMAÎTRE, he had no hesitation in saying that
the pungent critiques of the _Telegraph_ were equalled, he would not
say surpassed, by the masterly _aperçus_ of stage-craft to be found
in _Truth_ and the _Illustrated London News_. Mr. CLEMENT SCOTT was
visibly affected, and having with difficulty mastered his emotion,
proceeded to shake both his colleagues by the hand, and in a voice
broken with sobs thanked them for their tributes. He himself, he
added, had endeavoured to make the stalls and the dress circle fit
places for the flower of English maidenhood, for those beautiful,
blushing British girls who were at once the joy of their families and
the pride of our race. He then called upon all the members present
to state what titles they preferred, intimating that, by the express
desire of the committee, he himself was willing to become a Duke.

  * * *

Mr. ARCHER and Mr. WALKLEY having declared their preference for
Marquisates, Mr. MOY THOMAS said that an Earldom would satisfy his
modest needs. Mr. BENDALL thought Viscount sounded attractive, and
chose that title; while Mr. A. E. T. WATSON intimated that all he
wanted was to be a Baron--Baron BADMINTON OF BEAUFORT. Mr. BERNARD
SHAW stood by his life-long principles, and declined everything except
a Privy-Councillorship. Various other gentlemen having spoken, and a
complete list of titles having been arranged, the meeting was about
to adjourn, when Mr. CLEMENT SCOTT rose again to make a few parting
observations.

  * * *

"My Lords," he began amidst deafening applause, "it only remains for
me to state briefly the principles by which we shall be guided. We
shall not truckle to the nauseating rubbish purveyed by any Norwegian
charlatan." What else he would have said must for ever remain a matter
of guess-work, for at this point he was immediately set upon by Lord
ARCHER, and torn forcibly from his chair. Baron BADMINTON, however,
gallantly came to His Grace's assistance, and a scene of indescribable
confusion ensued. Strawberry leaves were torn to tatters, and several
handsome property coronets were ruthlessly trampled under foot. Order
was, however, at last restored by the arrival of Sir HENRY IRVING with
a strong force of dramatic authors armed with problem-plays. In the
conflict that followed many heads were broken, but eventually the hall
was cleared. It is understood that, notwithstanding this deplorable
incident, the agitation is to be vigorously pursued. I shall publish
any further information that may reach me.

       *       *       *       *       *

SIR E. CLARKE AND THE BAR--AN EXPLANATION.

SIR,--The paper you edit with so much advantage to the public is the
recognised organ of the legal profession. This being so, I appeal to
you on behalf of the Bar. Sir, it will not have escaped your attention
that on a recent occasion Sir EDWARD CLARKE, in returning thanks for
his colleagues of the Law List, referred to the custom observed
by some counsel of accepting briefs indiscriminately. The
ex-Solicitor-General (shortly, I trust, to become "Mr. Attorney",)
related an anecdote concerning the last of the Barons--Mr. Baron
HUDDLESTONE--to the following effect. You will remember that Sir
EDWARD, when only a stuff-gownsman, was "with" the eminent Bencher of
Gray's Inn in a case. "I trust, Mr. CLARKE," said the coming Baron's
assistant to the then promising Junior, "that you will be able to
attend to it if Mr. HUDDLESTONE fails to put in an appearance." "I
suppose," replied the future Sir EDWARD, "that Mr. HUDDLESTONE is not
coming." "Well, he _may_ be away," was the reply, "because to-day
he has briefs in thirteen other actions." Then Sir EDWARD wittily
explained that the fault lay with the public. Suitors could select
their own advocates, and there were plenty of men practising at the
Bar who would gladly accept a brief, for a very moderate fee, should
the services of a better-known colleague be retained in some other
matter. Mr. ex-Solicitor is perfectly right. There are such men. For
instance, I myself, should Sir EDWARD wish it, would willingly assist
him. If he has an overflow of pink-tape tied parcels, let him send
them to me, and I will give them my best attention. I shall be
delighted to pick up, so to speak, the documentary crumbs that fall
from his brief-encumbered table. But that is a matter which chiefly
concerns Sir EDWARD and myself. It is not entirely with a view to
making the above suggestion that I address you. No, Sir, I have other
than personal interests at heart.

[Illustration]

I am convinced that, although every counsel has the right to
be "retained" in every case, but a comparative few exercise the
privilege. I have known the late Serjeant PARRY (with whom I have had
the honour to act--while taking a note in the temporary absence of a
learned friend--on more than one occasion) return his brief, with its
accompanying honorarium, when unable to attend to the former, and thus
earn the latter. Speaking for myself, I made it a rule, shortly after
I was called, never to "devil" in two places at once. But to come
to the point. As a matter of fact--and a grain of true testimony is
better than a ton of theory--I can deliberately declare that, during a
long forensic experience, extending over several decades, I have never
had two cases on the same day. And what has been my experience no
doubt has been the experience of many others. I would not for worlds
have it thought that I neglect my duty because I have a plethora of
professional work. And here I must stop, as I have to give my most
careful attention to a consent brief, which appears to me to bristle
with technical difficulties. However, as I am desired to acquiesce, I
shall no doubt carry out my client's instructions with the customary
formalities.

  _Pump-handle Court, Oct. 21._

  (_Signed_) A. BRIEFLESS, JUN.

       *       *       *       *       *

HOW KIPPER SLEW THE NEW FOREST HORNET.

CHAPTER I.--_The Recluse._

Once upon a time there was a little goblin called KIPPER, who lived
the life of a hermit in a hollow oak-tree in the New Forest. He never
made merry with the elves, and had a positive dislike to fairies; and,
if any of them presumed to address him, he would curl himself into a
ball like a hedgehog, and refuse to straighten himself until he was
left alone again. Various rumours were current in Fairyland as to the
reason of KIPPER'S moroseness. Some said that he had been robbed by
an unscrupulous brother of a valuable iron mine, situated under
Hengistbury Head; others, that he had been crossed in love; while
there was a third party in Fairydom which stoutly maintained that he
had been expelled from Goblinland on account of his desire to upset
the king and queen, and establish a republic. Be that as it may,
KIPPER was no favourite in the country of his exile. Not that he
need have been unsociable, for, when he first arrived, the greatest
attention was paid to him by his neighbours. The most important
personages in Fairydom called upon him, he received invitations to the
Court balls, and he was bidden to several jolly bachelor parties given
by the elves on the sward which surrounds Rufus's Stone.

[Illustration: "He thought nothing of taking a clump of dock leaves."]

But KIPPER made no response to these advances. He showed that he meant
to be unsociable, and, little by little, the notabilities and landed
gentry ceased to take any notice of him. Occasionally some of the
sportsmen of The Court, when out hunting the slow-worms and the
bumble-bees, would come across KIPPER, mounted on a huge and vicious
looking stagbeetle, which he managed with considerable address, but he
never deigned to respond to their salutations, but passed on his way
with a malevolent grin. Even the forest pigs and ponies took a dread
of him at last, and would scamper away through the bracken directly
they saw him approach. As to the deer, the pheasants, the rabbits, and
the hares, they would just as soon have faced a poacher. It will be
seen, therefore, that KIPPER was not the sort of person to whom an elf
or a fairy would appeal in case of distress. If he had a heart at all,
it was like that of an artichoke, all choke--and very little arti.
As far as human beings went, KIPPER had a lofty disdain for them and
their ways. He smiled contemptuously when the stagbeetle told him how
the elves had stolen this cottager's milk, or robbed that verderer's
garden of its gooseberries. And his sarcasm was equally pronounced
when he heard how a fairy orchestra had serenaded the parson's
pretty daughter on Midsummer Eve, or that some good-natured fays had
collected the swarming bees of a hard-working farmer, and driven them
home against the wishes of their queen. KIPPER looked upon men, women,
and children as wretched beings, who worried themselves without any
necessity--poor creatures, whose only object in life appeared to be to
endeavour to make one another miserable, and discontented with their
very existence. Therefore he regarded them no more than he would newts
and lizards. Indeed, he often told the stagbeetle that he had far
more respect for a newt, because he could develop an orange waistcoat,
whereas a man could not keep his chest warm without robbing another
animal of its skin or wool. As to the lizards, they only came out when
they could bask in the sun; whereas a man had to pick up and kindle
sticks to keep his ugly body warm, and cook his poisonous food.

Now if KIPPER could be said to enjoy anything, it was the leaping of
big obstacles when mounted on the stagbeetle. He thought nothing of
taking a clump of dock leaves, or of flying or sailing over a thick
bush of prickly gorze. It cannot be said that the stagbeetle enjoyed
the jumping as much as his master did; but inasmuch as the gnome had
broken him in at an early age, and never rode without a pair of stout
hawthorn pricks on his heels and a bramble switch in his hand, the
coal-black steed had to make the best of a bad job. One fine day,
however, when KIPPER had partaken somewhat too freely of some fine
wild honey, which he had found in an old oak, an accident occurred
to the reckless, rash rider. On his way home he had to pass by Stoney
Cross, and it so happened that the road was being mended, and a huge
heap of granite lay by the wayside. Nothing would satisfy KIPPER but
that he must leap this mound, and so he told the stagbeetle to put
forth all his strength. The poor creature besought his master not to
risk both their lives, but KIPPER was as hard as a pond after a six
weeks frost. Gathering his rush-reins in his hands, and ramming the
hawthorn pricks into the sides of the stagbeetle, he cried, "Hi!
over," and went for the granite. The stagbeetle did his best, but just
before he made his effort he faltered in his stride. The next moment
he was kicking out with his hind legs, and his horns were sticking
between two great stones on the top of the hard hillock; while a yard
on the other side, among the moss and wild thyme, there was lying
quite still the body of the luckless KIPPER.

(_To be continued._)

       *       *       *       *       *

THE ONE THING WANTING.

  A year ago my hand I tried,
    I wrote for you a verse or so,
  To sing your praises far and wide
            A year ago.

  And, though your nature scarce could grow
    More sweet, in you I then espied
  An incompleteness. I was slow
    To comprehend the thing denied
  To make you perfect. Now I know--
    A bicycle you did not ride
            A year ago!

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.--"_Boconnoc._" What a name! It is a "Romance of
Wild Oatcake." It might almost be of Mild Oatcake. It is the story
of an unprincipled boy, a flighty young married woman, and a sottish
husband. The first third of the book is somewhat interesting, and
pleasantly written. The second third is dull; and the last revives the
reader's interest just a bit. But, on the whole, to quote _Sir
Charles Coldstream_, in _Used Up_, "There's nothing in it." It
is disappointing to those who expect much more than this from the
author.--B. DE B.-W.

       *       *       *       *       *

The school-boy of to-day--what, after all, is Hecuba to him, or he
to Hecuba?--is no longer to _waste_ his time in poring over the musty
classics! "He is to take an intelligent interest in other subjects
than the dead languages," says _Truth_, which proceeds to give "as
well worthy of being held up as a model for imitation elsewhere," the
contents of an _up-to-date_ examination paper, upon current events,
recently set at Rugby school. This modern move is, doubtless, an
excellent thing, but one which may be carried too far; and it would,
we venture to think, be a pity if schools were to be, in the words of
_Mercutio_, "too much afflicted with these new tuners of accents, who
stand so much on the _new form_ that they cannot sit at ease _on the
old bench_." What if PINERO and ZANGWILL were substituted for PLATO
and XENOPHON?

       *       *       *       *       *

TRIFLES LIGHT AS "EYRE."--The trustees of a St. John's Wood property
may certainly be said to be "after the brass." If, however, their
learned counsel is successful in obtaining the colossal amount
claimed, he might then say, with HORACE, "_Exegi monumentum_ Eyr[)e]
_perennius_."

       *       *       *       *       *

"UNPLEASANT LITTLE INCIDENT."--So the _P. M. G._ styled it. As the
German EMPEROR and EMPRESS were passing through Metz, somebody, from
a café window, shouted, "_Vive la France!_" Several arrests were of
course made, but apparently nothing more was heard of the _Vox et
præterea nil_. This recalls a similar incident that occurred during
the trial of _Bardell_ v. _Pickwick_, "Put it down a 'we,' my Lord!"
a voice in the gallery exclaimed, aloud. Search was made. Nobody. "If
you could have pointed him out," said little _Mr. Justice Stareleigh_
to _Sam Weller_, "I would have committed him instantly." Whereat
"_Sam_ bowed his acknowledgments," and the incident ended.

       *       *       *       *       *

"FALLS OF FOYERS."--A correspondent writes:--"I have seen a good many
letters in the _Times_, headed "_The Falls of the Foyers_." Here and
abroad I have seen many Foyers, and only fell down once. This was at
the Théâtre Français, where the Foyer is kept highly polished, or
used to be so. If the Foyers are carpeted or matted, there need be no
"Falls."

  Yours, COMMON SENSE.

       *       *       *       *       *

"_Winter Comes_" as a companion picture to "_Autumn Leaves_."

       *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's Note

Page 193: 'distinguised' corected to 'distinguished'.

"... raising pale distinguished eyes to a Chippendale mirror,..."





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