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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 107, December 15th, 1894
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. 107, December 15th, 1894" ***

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

Volume 107, 15th December, 1894.

_edited by Sir Francis Burnand_



[Illustration: DE GUSTIBUS.

"SEE _'ER_, AS JUST PARST US? THAT'S MISS SELINA DEVEREUX, AS SINGS AT
THE NORTH LONDON TIVOLI. SHE'S THE POOTIEST GAL IN CAMDEN TOWN, THAT
LITTLE TART IS!"

"GIT ALONG WITH YER! SHE'S GOT A CHEST LIKE A SHILLIN' RABBIT!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

A TREE WITH VARIEGATED LEAVES.

The following communications have found their way into the Editor's
box at 85, Fleet Street, and are published that their writers may
claim them. As most of the signatures were more or less illegible,
it has been considered advisable to suppress them, to prevent the
possibility of mistakes. The only exception that has been made to this
rule is in the case of the last letter, wherein seemingly is summed up
the moral of the controversy.

  _Communication No. 1, dated Tuesday._

Is it not time, considering that there is nothing of particular
interest attracting public attention, that a protest should be raised
against the "Society" plays which occupy the stages of some of
our best theatres? You see I pave the way to my gentle reproof by
buttering up vested interests. To do this the better, I will say
something nice about "our most capable actors," and write "I remember
BUCKSTONE, and SOTHERN, the BANCROFTS, and, aye, Mr. TREE himself."
This will prove that there is no malice in my suggestions.

Let me describe the piece to which, in the dead season of the year,
I object. The plot is centred in the love for each other of a
partially-reclaimed lady and an opium-drinking gentleman; I might use
stronger expressions, but I know your paper is intended for the family
rather than the dress-circle, and my language is therefore modulated
to meet the modest requirements of the case. Take it from me, Sir,
that the story of these two individuals is nauseous and degrading.
I say that its unravelling should not be foisted on the public in a
modern play. But that you may not consider my impressions libellous,
I add that the piece is finely staged, and in parts well written. For
all that, I cannot imagine why the manager, with his lofty ideas of
the function of a theatre as a medium of education, has permitted
himself to produce it. And if that observation does not draw the
manager in question, my name is not X. Y. Z.

  _Communication No. 2, dated Wednesday._

Your anonymous contributor "of London" (mark the sarcasm!) was right
in imagining that I would be drawn. I consider it my duty to Mr.
HENRY ARTHUR JONES to say something about his "accustomed combative
geniality," and to Mr. HADDON CHAMBERS to refer to his "cheery
stoicism." I will also allude to Mr. PINERO, but as he is not writing
for my theatre just now, merely record my conviction that he will be
able to survive the sneers against _The Second Mrs. Tanqueray_--"a
play which has made a deep and lasting impression on the thinking
public." And when I write "lasting," I am the more obliging, as I
assume the _rôle_ of a prophet. It will be "lasting," I am sure. The
"thinking public," of course, are those admirable and intellectual
persons who fill the stalls and boxes of my theatre, and the stalls
and boxes of kindred establishments.

And, while I am talking of "thinking," let me insist that the
criticism of the piece by the anonymous one "of London" (mark the
irony!) is not a personal matter, but a question that affects the
freedom of the thinking community. This is a generation that has
outgrown "the skirts of the young lady of fifteen"; and it behoves all
to understand the meaning of that apt sentence, and to regard with a
jealous eye any attempt to crib, cabin, and confine the development
of contemporary thought. "Crib, cabin, and confine" is also good,
and entirely worthy of your serious consideration. At a time when the
stalls are 10_s._ 6_d._, and the family-circle available to those who
will not run to gold, is a literary dandy (in whose stained forefinger
I seem to detect the sign of an old journalistic hand) to pass a
vote of censure on SHAKSPEARE because, forsooth, _Hamlet_ was
not forgotten? I trust not. And shall the public (mark you the
intellectual, the praiseworthy--in a word, the "thinking public") be
debarred from taking their piece in their favourite theatre because,
forsooth, there is an interesting correspondence in newspapers in the
dullest season of the decrepit old year? Again--I trust not.

  _Communication No. 3--once more dated Wednesday._

I beg to ask your permission, as an old playgoer, to see myself in
print. I do not pretend to be able to write myself, but an eminent
_littérateur_, in a recent number of a popular monthly magazine,
has done good service by enforcing the untruthful character of the
"problem" pieces recently presented to the public audiences. I have
not the ability to comment on this unpleasant phase of the histrionic
profession, so merely observe (with a recollection of an old-world
story) "them's my sentiments."

  _Communication No. 4, dated Thursday._

No doubt this letter will reach you with many others, with signatures
anonymous and otherwise. Being a bit spiteful I will confine myself
to five lines in the hope of gaining insertion. Are not pieces with
"girls with a past" played out? Then why slay the slain? I am sure
healthier work will now be submitted to the public. And when that
happy time arrives there will be found on my bookshelves certain
brown-paper-covered tomes that are waiting the inspection of every
actor-manager in London. Need I say more? You yourself, Sir, will
practically answer the question.

  _Communication No. 5, dated Friday._

Permit me to keep the ball a rolling. Why is the "young lady of
fifteen" to be alone protected? Are not the boys and girls of an older
growth to be also preserved from contamination? What is to be done for
that large class of playgoers who have entered their second childhood?

  _Communication No. 6, dated Saturday._

Now that a piece at present being played at a West-End theatre has
been well advertised for a whole week in the more largely-read columns
of a most influential daily paper, it is to be sincerely hoped that
_Box_ and _Cox_ are satisfied.

  (SIGNED)

  BOUNCER.

       *       *       *       *       *

WITH KIND REGARDS.

  "With kind regards"--'tis good to see your writing
    Even on meagre correspondence-cards,
  But would more matter you had been inditing
                  With kind regards!

  Below you add that you are "mine sincerely,"
    I wonder if in those two words you wrote
  A sweet confession that you care--or merely
    The usual ending to a friendly note?

  I wonder if that week you still remember,
    The shooting lunches and round games of cards,
  Our walks and talks that wonderful September--
    I wonder what you meant by "kind regards"!

  With kind regards, and eyes that, reading, soften
    I read your note, most blessed among cards,
  And think of you--I dare not say _how_ often--
                  With kind regards.

       *       *       *       *       *

APPROPRIATE.--_The Command of the Sea_, by WILKINSON SHAW. The author
will be hereafter known as "SEA-SHAW."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: LOVE'S LABOUR =NOT= LOST.

_Mr Punch._ "WELL, SIR, AND WHAT FOUND YOU IN MUSCOVY?"

_Prince of Wales_ (_quoting Shakspeare_). "'NOTHING BUT PEACE, AND
GENTLE VISITATION'!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration

_Desperate Position of Messrs. Duffer and Phunk, who are rival
aspirants for the hand of Miss Di._

_Miss Di_ (_unable to get her Horse to face the water as a jump_).
"OH, DO PLEASE, ONE OF YOU, JUST TRY IF THAT PLACE IS FORDABLE!"

    [_N.B.--Said "Place" is reported to be a good twelve feet deep
    BEFORE you come to the mud._
]

       *       *       *       *       *

LOVE'S LABOUR _NOT_ LOST!

(_A Dramatic Scene, with Suggestions from Shakspeare._)

SCENE.--_A British Quay._ _Enter_ The Visible Prince (_like the_ King
_and his companions in "Love's Labour's Lost"_) _"in Russian habits"
but bearing a true British face_, not _masked_. _To him enters the
most loyal and loving of his subjects and sage counsellors_, Mr.
Punch.

  _Mr. Punch_ (_joyously_). "All hail the pleasantest Prince upon the earth!"
  _Prince_ (_gaily._) "Behaviour, what wert thou, till this man show'd thee?"
  _Mr. Punch._ Well capped, my Prince!
  _Prince._                            Be you the same, good friend!
      "Your bonnet to its right use; 'tis for the head,"
      (As _Hamlet_ said), and "'tis indifferent cold."
  _Mr. Punch._ "It is a nipping and an eager air"--
      As not unusual in our Isle's December!
  _Prince._ "The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold."
      I feel it, _Punch_, through all my Russian sables,
      Though I'm from Muscovy.
  _Mr. Punch._                    What met you there, Sir?
  _Prince_ (_promptly_). "NOTHING BUT PEACE, AND GENTLE VISITATION!"
  _Mr. Punch_ (_applauding_). Most aptly quoted, Sir! The happiest "lift,"
      From him the ever applicable bard,
      I've met this many a moon.
  _Prince._                        Glad to be back
      To English shores--and you--for all the love
      I leave behind, and all the cold I come to.
  _Mr. Punch._ Not in our hearts, my Prince, not in our hearts!
  _Prince._ Nay, that I'll swear. Witness your presence here,
      This chilling day. "How many weary steps
      Of many weary miles you have o'ergone!"
  _Mr. Punch._ "We number nothing that we spend for you:
      Our duty is so rich, so infinite,
      That we may do it still without account."
      When you "vouchsafe the sunshine of your face."
  _Prince_ (_laughing_). _Punch_, know you _all_ the Swan?
  _Mr. Punch._                                       E'en as the Swan
      Knows all his _Punch_, which is his favourite reading
    In the Elysian Fields; and one good turn
      Deserves another! But, my ALBERT EDWARD,
      "What did the Russian whisper in your ear?"
  _Prince._ _Punchius_, "He swore that he did hold me dear
      As precious eyesight, and did value me
      Above this world; adding thereto, moreover,
      That he would ever live our England's lover."
  _Mr. Punch._ "God give thee joy of him! The noble TSAR
      Most honourably will uphold his word"
      As I doubt not. I'm happy o' your visit.
      "But what, Sir, purpose they to visit us?"
  _Prince._ "They do, they do, and all apparel'd thus
      Like Muscovites, or Russians, as I dress.
      Their purpose is to parle, to court, to dance.
      And every one his love-feat will advance."
  _Mr. Punch._ As _you_ have done, my Prince, at sorrow's flood
      Taking the tide of frank affection, like
      A skilled and trusty pilot. Such a Prince,
      Good faith, is worth a dozen diplomats
      And many full-armed legions.
  _Prince._                          May it prove so!
  _Mr. Punch._ Well, let them come! "Disguis'd like Muscovites"
  (As _Rosaline_ said) we'll know them still as friends;
  And they'll find here, as you there found, my Prince,
  "NOTHING BUT PEACE, AND GENTLE VISITATION!!!"[*]

  [_Exeunt together._

    [Footnote *: _Love's Labour's Lost_, Act V., Scene 2.]

       *       *       *       *       *

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.

  A TEMPEST in a teapot stands, one knows,
  For noisy nothing in the realms of prose.
  But what _is_ that to the prodigious pother
  When Minor Poets pulverise each other?
  "Birds in their little nests agree,"--all right!
  _Bards_ in their little books fall out and fight.
  The birds of which the pious rhymster sings
  Sure were not "singing birds"--those angry things!
  Who prune themselves and peck each other frightfully.
  Alas that warblers should contend so spitefully.
  All--save the cynic--mourn the Muse's loss,
  When GOSSE snubs GALE, or GALE be-blizzards GOSSE!

       *       *       *       *       *

LYRE AND LANCET.

(_A Story in Scenes._)

PAST XXIV.--THE HAPPY DISPATCH.

    "Perhaps it was right to dissemble your love, but----"

SCENE XXXV.--_The Morning Room._ TIME--_About_ 1 P.M.

_Undershell_ (_to himself, alone_). I'm rather sorry that that Miss
SPELWANE couldn't stay. She's a trifle angular--but clever. It was
distinctly sharp of her to see through that fellow SPURRELL from the
first, and lay such an ingenious little trap for him. And she has a
great feeling for Literature--knows my verses by heart, I discovered,
quite accidentally. All the same, I wish she hadn't intercepted those
snowdrops. Now I shall have to go out and pick some more. (_Sounds
outside in the entrance hall._) Too late--they've got back from
church!

_Mrs. Brooke-Chatteris_ (_entering with_ Lady RHODA, Sir RUPERT,
_and_ BEARPARK). Such a nice, plain, simple service--I'm positively
_ravenous!_

_Lady Rhoda._ Struck me some of those chubby choir-boys wanted
smackin'. What a business it seems to get the servants properly into
their pew; as bad as boxin' a string of hunters! As for _you_, ARCHIE,
the way you fidgeted durin' the sermon was down right disgraceful!...
So _there_ you are, Mr. BLAIR; not been to Church; but I
forgot--p'raps you're a Dissenter, or somethin'?

_Und._ (_annoyed_). Only, Lady RHODA, in the sense that I have
hitherto failed to discover any form of creed that commands my
intellectual assent.

_Lady Rhoda_ (_unimpressed_). I expect you haven't tried. Are you
a--what d'ye call it?--a Lacedemoniac?

_Und._ (_with lofty tolerance_). I _presume_ you mean a "Laodicean."
No, I should rather describe myself as a Deist.

_Archie_ (_in a surly undertone_). What's a _Deast_ when he's at
home? If he'd said a _Beast_ now! (_Aloud, as_ PILLINER _enters with_
Captain THICKNESSE.) Hullo, why here's THICKNESSE! So you _haven't_
gone after all, then?

_Captain Thicknesse._ What an observant young beggar you are,
BEARPARK! Nothin' escapes you. No, I haven't. (_To_ Sir RUPERT,
_rather sheepishly_.) Fact is, Sir, I--I somehow just missed the
train, and--and--thought I might as well come back, instead of waitin'
about, don't you know.

_Sir Rupert_ (_heartily_). Why, of course, my dear boy, of course!
Never have forgiven you if you _hadn't_. Great nuisance for _you_,
though. Hope you blew the fool of a man up; he _ought_ to have been
round in plenty of time.

[Illustration: "Perhaps--when you come to think over it all
quietly--you _will_."]

_Capt. Thick._ Not the groom's fault, Sir. I kept him waitin' a bit,
and--and we had to stop to shift the seat and that, and so----

_Und._ (_to himself_). Great blundering booby! Can't he see nobody
wants him _here!_ As if he hadn't bored poor Lady MAISIE enough at
breakfast! Ah, well, I must come to her rescue once more, I suppose!

_Sir Rup._ Half an hour to lunch! Anybody like to come round to the
stables? I'm going to see how my wife's horse _Deerfoot_ is getting
on. Fond of horses, eh, Mr.--a--UNDERSHELL? Care to come with us?

_Und._ (_to himself_). I've seen quite enough of _that_ beast already!
(_Aloud, with some asperity._) You must really excuse me, Sir RUPERT.
I am at one with Mr. RUSKIN--I _detest_ horses.

_Sir Rup._ Ah? Pity. We're rather fond of 'em here. But we can't
expect a poet to be a sportsman, eh?

_Und._ For my own poor part, I confess I look forward to a day, not
far distant, when the spread of civilisation will have abolished every
form of so-called Sport.

_Sir Rup._ _Do_ you, though? (_After conquering a choke with
difficulty._) Allow me to hope that you will continue to enjoy the
pleasures of anticipation as long as possible. (_To the rest._) Well,
are you coming?

    [_All except_ UNDERSHELL _follow their host out_.

_Und._ (_alone, to himself_). If they think I'm going to be
_patronised_, or suppress my honest convictions----! Now I'll go and
pick those---- (Lady MAISIE _enters from the Conservatory_.) Ah, Lady
MAISIE, I have been trying to find you. I had plucked a few
snowdrops, which I promised myself the pleasure of presenting to you.
Unfortunately they--er--failed to reach their destination.

_Lady Maisie_ (_distantly_). Thanks, Mr. BLAIR; I am only sorry you
should have given yourself such unnecessary trouble.

_Und._ (_detaining her, as she seemed about to pass on_). I
have another piece of intelligence which you may hear
less--er--philosophically, Lady MAISIE. Your _bête noire_ has
returned.

_Lady Maisie_ (_with lifted eyebrows_). My _bête noire_, Mr. BLAIR?

_Und._ Why affect not to understand? I have an infallible instinct
in all matters concerning _you_, and, sweetly tolerant as you are, I
instantly divined what an insufferable nuisance you found our military
friend, Captain THICKNESSE.

_Lady Maisie._ There are limits even to _my_ tolerance, Mr. BLAIR. I
admit I find some people insufferable--but Captain THICKNESSE is not
one of them.

_Und._ Then appearances are deceptive indeed. Come, Lady MAISIE,
surely you can trust Me!

    [Lady CANTIRE _enters_.

_Lady Cantire_ (_in her most awful tones_). MAISIE, my dear, I appear
to have interrupted an interview of a somewhat confidential character.
If so, pray let me know it, and I will go elsewhere.

_Lady Maisie_ (_calmly_). Not in the very least, Mamma. Mr. BLAIR was
merely trying to prepare me for the fact that Captain THICKNESSE has
come back; which was quite needless, as I happen to have heard it
already from his own lips.

_Lady Cant._ Captain THICKNESSE come back! (_To_ UNDERSHELL.) I wish
to speak to my daughter. May I ask you to leave us?

_Und._ With pleasure, Lady CANTIRE. (_To himself, as he retires._)
What a consummate actress that girl is! And what a coquette!

_Lady Cant._ (_after a silence_). MAISIE, what does all this mean? No
_nonsense_ now! What brought GERALD THICKNESSE back?

_Lady Maisie._ I _suppose_ the dog-cart, Mamma. He missed his train,
you know. I don't think he minds--much.

_Lady Cant._ Let me tell you _this_, my dear. It is a great deal more
than you _deserve_ after---- How long has he come back for?

_Lady Maisie._ Only a few hours; but--but from things he said, I fancy
he would stay on longer--if Aunt ALBINIA asked him.

_Lady Cant._ Then we may consider that settled; he stays. (Lady
CULVERIN _appears_.) Here _is_ your Aunt. You had better leave us, my
dear.

    SOMEWHAT LATER; THE PARTY HAVE ASSEMBLED FOR LUNCH.

_Sir Rup._ (_to his wife_). Well, my dear, I've seen that young
SPURRELL (smart fellow he is too, thoroughly up in his business), and
you'll be glad to hear he can't find anything seriously wrong with
_Deerfoot_.

_Und._ (_in the background, to himself_). No more could I, for that
matter!

_Sir Rup._ He's clear it isn't navicular, which ADAMS was afraid of,
and he thinks, with care and rest, you know, the horse will be as fit
as a fiddle in a very few days.

_Und._ (_to himself_). Just exactly what I _told_ them; but the fools
wouldn't believe _me!_

_Lady Culverin._ Oh, RUPERT, I _am_ so glad. How clever of that nice
Mr. SPURRELL! I was afraid my poor _Deerfoot_ would have to be shot.

_Und._ (_to himself_). She may thank me that he _wasn't_. And this
other fellow gets all the credit for it. How like Life!

_Lady Maisie._ And, Uncle RUPERT, how about--about PHILLIPSON, you
know? Is it all right?

_Sir Rup._ PHILLIPSON? Oh, why, 'pon my word, my dear, didn't think of
asking.

_Lady Rhoda._ But _I_ did, MAISIE. And they met this mornin', and it's
all settled, and they're as happy as they can be. Except that he's on
the look out for a mysterious stranger, who disappeared last night,
after tryin' to make desperate love to her. He is determined, if he
can find him, to give him a piece of his mind.

    [UNDERSHELL _disguises his extreme uneasiness._

_Pilliner._ And the whole of a horsewhip. He invited my opinion of it
as an implement of castigation. Kind of thing, you know, that would
impart "proficiency in the _trois temps_, as danced in the most select
circles," in a single lesson to a lame bear.

_Und._ (_to himself_). I don't stir a step out of this house while I'm
here, that's all!

_Sir Rup._ Ha-ha! Athletic young chap that. Glad to see him in the
field next Tuesday. By the way, ALBINIA, you've heard how THICKNESSE
here contrived to miss his train this morning? Our gain, of course;
but still we must manage to get you back to Aldershot to-night, my
boy, or you'll get called over the coals by your Colonel when you _do_
put in an appearance, hey? Now, let's see; what train ought you to
catch?

    [_He takes up "Bradshaw" from a writing-table._

_Lady Cant._ (_possessing herself of the volume_). Allow me, RUPERT,
my eyes are better than yours. _I_ will look out his trains for
him. (_After consulting various pages._) Just as I _thought!_ Quite
impossible for him to reach North Camp to-night now. There isn't a
train till six, and _that_ gets to town just too late for him to drive
across to Waterloo and catch the last Aldershot train. So there's no
more to be said.

    [_She puts "Bradshaw" away._

_Capt. Thick._ (_with undisguised relief_). Oh, well, dessay they
won't kick up much of a row if I don't get back till to-morrow,--or
the day _after_, if it comes to that.

_Und._ (_to himself_). It _shan't_ come to that--if _I_ can prevent
it! Lady MAISIE is quite in despair, I can see. (_Aloud._) Indeed?
I was--a--not aware that discipline was quite so lax as that in the
British Army. And surely officers should set an example of----

    [_He finds that his intervention has produced a distinct
    sensation, and, taking up the discarded "Bradshaw," becomes
    engrossed in its study._

_Capt. Thick._ (_ignoring him completely_). It's like this, Lady
CULVERIN. Somehow I--I muddled up the dates, don't you know. Mean
to say, got it into my head to-day was the 20th, instead of only the
18th. (_Lamely._) That's how it _was_.

_Lady Culv._ Delightful, my dear GERALD. Then we shall keep you here
till Tuesday, of _course!_

_Und._ (_looking up from "Bradshaw," impulsively_). Lady CULVERIN, I
see there's a very good train which leaves Shuntingbridge at 3.15 this
afternoon, and gets----

    [_The rest regard him with unaffected surprise and
    disapproval._

_Lady Cant._ (_raising her glasses_). Upon my word, Mr. BLAIR! If you
will kindly leave Captain THICKNESSE to make his own arrangements----!

_Lady Maisie_ (_interposing hastily_). But, Mamma, you must have
misunderstood Mr. BLAIR! As if he would _dream_ of----. He was merely
mentioning the train he wishes to go by himself. _Weren't_ you, Mr.
BLAIR?

_Und._ (_blinking and gasping_). I--eh? Just so, that--that _was_ my
intention, certainly. (_To himself._) Does she at all realise what
this will cost her?

_Lady Culv._ My dear Mr. BLAIR, I--I'd no notion we were to lose you
so soon; but if you're really quite _sure_ you must go----

_Lady Cant._ (_sharply_). Really, ALBINIA, we must give him credit for
knowing his own mind. He tells you he is _obliged to go!_

_Lady Culv._ Then of course we must let you do _exactly_ as you
please. (_All, except_ Miss SPELWANE, _breathe more freely_; TREDWELL
_appears_.) Oh, lunch, is it, TREDWELL? Very well. By-the-bye, see
that some one packs Mr. UNDERSHELL'S things for him, and tell them
to send the dogcart round after lunch in time to catch the 3.15 from
Shuntingbridge.

_Pill._ (_sotto voce, to_ ARCHIE). And let us pray that the cart is
properly balanced _before_ starting, _this_ time!

_Miss Spelwane_ (_to herself, piqued_). Going already! I wish I had
never touched his ridiculous snowdrops!

_Lady Culv._ Well, shall we go in to lunch, everybody?

    [_They move in irregular order towards the Dining Hall._

_Und._ (_in an undertone to_ Lady MAISIE, _as they follow last_). Lady
MAISIE, I--er--this is just a _little_ unexpected. I confess I don't
quite understand your precise motive in suggesting so--so hasty a
departure.

_Lady Maisie_ (_without looking at him_). Don't you, Mr. BLAIR?
Perhaps--when you come to think over it all quietly--you _will_.

    [_She passes on, leaving him perplexed._

_Und._ (_to himself_). Shall I? I certainly can't say I do
just----Why, yes, I _do!_ That bully SPURRELL with his beastly
horsewhip! She dreads an encounter between us--and I should much
prefer to avoid it myself. Yes, that's it, of course; she is willing
to sacrifice anything rather than endanger _my_ personal safety! What
unselfish angels some women are! Even that sneering fellow DRYSDALE
will be impressed when I tell him this.... Yes, it's best that I
should go--I see that now. I don't so much mind leaving. Without any
false humility, I can hardly avoid seeing that, even in the short time
I have been among these people, I have produced a decided impression.
And there is at least one--perhaps _two_--who will miss me when I am
gone.

    [_He goes into the Dining Hall, with restored equanimity._

  THE END.

       *       *       *       *       *

ROBERT ON HUNIFIKASHUN!

I have bin a having quite a long tork with a most respecful looking
Gent who tells me he is a reel County Counsellor, and that they has a
Gildhall of their own at Charing Cross, where they meets ewery week,
the same as the Common Counsellors does at their reel Gildhall in the
Citty, and that they has quite made up their minds to make the two
Gildhalls into one and have them both for theirselves, and that that
will be what they calls Hunifikashun, which means everything for them
and not nothink for nobody else.

[Illustration]

Not content with what they have got allreddy they means to have all
the Citty Perlice, and the Manshun House, and all the Citty's Money,
and the rite to all the Tems Water, and to the LORD MARE and Sherryfs
Carridges, and to the Old Bayley, and to more other things than I can
manage to remember! And he really speaks of all these warious matters
jest as if he was quite in ernest, and acshally expected as it woud
all be done by the next Parlement when they met next year! And when he
found as I reelly didn't beleeve a word of his wunderful stories, he
acshally arsked me to go with him to their Gildhall at Charing Cross,
and there he put me in a nice seat, and then I heard em all torking
away, jest as if they were quite in ernest, all about the many
wunderful things as they was about to do soon! Oh, I wunders how long
it will be before any on em reelly happens? Not in my life time I'll
be bound, nor most likely in nobody elses! Did any reesonable man,
woman or child ever hear such a pack of nonsense? To acshally defraud
the grand old Citty of Lundon, that is only jest about seven hunderd
year old, of all their priwileges and all their rites and all their
money! and then I shoud like to know what is to become of me, and the
duzzens like me? Nice lots of Lord Mares and Alldermen these County
Counsellors woud make! Why I acshally douts whether they coud even
manage to make up a decent lot of Common Counselmen under at least a
year.

There was one thing as I heard them squabling about while I was there,
and that was the nessessity of having some more lunatic asylums,
which did not much surprise me, as I shoud think they will soon want a
pretty good number for theirselves, if they continnes to go on as they
are going.

BROWN told me a rayther funny story about the dredful solemnity of
these wunderful County Counsellors. He says they have by sum means
or other got the right of insistin that there shall be no fun in the
theaters, and no warking about between the hacts; and that the publick
got so disgusted with the silly regerlations, that in many cases they
left off going to them for ewer so long; but they are better now, and
will most likely soon go back to their old armless jokes.

  ROBERT.

       *       *       *       *       *

AN EXTRACT.

(_From some hitherto Unpublished Correspondence._)

    ["Photographs of ladies' feet are now taken in New York as
    _souvenirs_ for their admirers."--_Globe, Dec. 6._]

... It is real kind of you, dearest, to mail your own laddie those
half-dozen lovely photographs, or should I call them footographs? I
can't say right here which I like best--they're all just fetching,
anyway. You bet, I'll treasure them _some!_ I'll wear the midget
profile as a chest-protector right along, and put the full-foot
vignette under my pillow nights. And the three-quarter platino shall
go on my chimney rack--there's a considerable saucy look about the
big toe which I'm mashed on horrid. I guess you won't see such
a number-one instep as yours any time on these effete old London
side-walks. To look at the Britishers' foot-cases in Piccadilly makes
me tired, when I think of you any. I'll send views of mine soon in
exchange, but I reckon the naked truth might give you fits, so I'll
just sit with my rubbers on, and get the camera-man to map you off a
walking likeness of my right daisy-crusher. (My left is a trifle out
of focus.) Kind regards to you, Poppa....

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A BLOODTHIRSTY BARITONE.

_Miss Maud._ "WON'T _YOU_ SING SOMETHING, MR. GREEN?"

_The Curate._ "I HAVEN'T BROUGHT MY MUSIC. BUT, IF YOU KNOW THE
ACCOMPANIMENT, AND WOULD PLAY IT, I THINK I COULD SING _'THE BRIGAND'S
REVENGE'!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

"AN OLD OFFENDER."

    ["It is impossible, we fear, to escape from the conclusion
    that there is a substantial basis of fact for the rumours ...
    of atrocities perpetrated by Turkish troops on the Christian
    inhabitants of Armenia.... By one of the Articles of the
    Treaty of Berlin the Porte undertook 'to carry out without
    delay the improvements and reforms demanded by local
    requirements in the provinces inhabited by the Armenians, and
    to guarantee their security against the Circassians and the
    Kurds.'"--_"Times" Leader, December 4._]

  Again! Is there nothing can humanise ever
    The heart of Islam, that red-ravening wolf?
  Will bonds of convention and treaty bridge never
    Between Turk and Christian the broadening gulf?
  Will no lesson teach, and will no promise tether,
    The Ottoman hordes when let loose on the foe?
  Must slaughter, and rapine, and outrage together,
    The old vile triumvirate, fetterless go?

  Time's fool seems the Turk, stern, unteachable, savage,
    The fiercest fool-fighter on history's roll.
  All indolent rest or undisciplined ravage.
    The varnish of manner soaks not to his soul.
  Red Man of the Orient, ruthless, untamable,
    Neighbour, by fortune, in nothing near kin.
  Humanity's brotherhood surely is blameable,
    Leaving him free from Law's bondage to win!

  In sheer self-defence we must muzzle and shackle
    This wolf of the world; snatch its poor prostrate prey
  From its crimsoning fangs. The old cynical cackle
    Of "coffee-house babble" is silent to-day;
  And a weapon's at hand, too long left there unlifted,
    That Law and that Justice alike now commend
  To the grip of Europa. Be murder short-shrifted
    And bestial outrage meet summary end!

  Not again must hot Islamite hate be permitted
    In chase of creed-vengeance the East to embroil;
  Not again must its prey fall unaided, unpitied,
    The Gallio's mock, and the miscreant's spoil.
  _There_ hangs the good Berlin-blade, consecrated
    By common agreement to Justice's work!
  Be its blow not this time, as aforetime, belated!
    Let Europe not bleed for the sin of the Turk!

       *       *       *       *       *

THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH.

NEW PARISH-COUNCIL VERSION.

(_By a Landlord and Lover of the Good Old Times._)

    [At Merton, Surrey, where Mr. WILLIAM MORRIS has his factory,
    a blacksmith was highest of the fifteen successful candidates
    for the Parish Council, the vicar being eighth.]

  Over the vicar, top o' the tree,
    The Village Blacksmith stands;
  The smith a mighty man is he,
    With power in his strong hands;
  And his victory well may stir alarms
    In Squire-Parsonic bands.

  The Squire looks black, his face is long,--
    "Vicar not in the van?
  Oh! things are going to the doose
    As fast as e'er they can!
  The blacksmith with his grimy face
    Has proved to be best man.

  "Week in, week out, he'll spout and fight!
    We shall hear him bluff and blow.
  He'll vote the good old times all wrong,
    The good old fashions slow;
  And won't he run the rates right up,
    And keep tithe-charges low?

  "He'll have his finger in the School,
    He'll open wide its door;
  He'll keep the Voluntaries starved,
    And let the School-Board score.
  And he'll want baths and washhouses
    And villas for the poor!

  "Then he may 'go for' the Old Church,
    And rouse the village boys
  To listen, not to Parson's drone,
    But Agitation's voice,
  And 'stead o' singing in the choir
    He'll swell Rad ranters' noise.

  "'Twill sound to _him_ like Wisdom's voice,
    Preaching of Paradise,
  As though the thing were at his door;
    Plumbed with Progressive lies,
  He'll think _his_ hard, rough hand will wipe
    The Squire's and Parson's eyes.

  "Broiling--orating--borrowing,
    Swelling the rates, he goes.
  Reform's raw task he will begin,
    But who shall see it close?
  Church will be robbed, and Land be sold.
    Farewell old-time repose!

  "'Tis thanks to you, my loud Rad friends,
    These lessons _you_ have taught!
  By folly from the flaming forge
    _Our_ fortunes must be wrought.
  And _won't_ there be a blessed mess
    Before the fight is fought!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "AN OLD OFFENDER."

EUROPA. "AGAIN! BUT THIS TIME I HAVE A WEAPON AT HAND!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

MARY JONES.

(_By her Husband._)

  As I'm daily jolted down
  On the early bus to town,
  Through the yellow fog and brown,
          O'er the stones,
  I inhale the tawny air,
  And I deem it ether rare,
  For my soul is full of fair
          MARY JONES.

  Fellow-passengers are fain
  To abuse the wind and rain,
  And the weather, they complain,
          Chills their bones:
  But I laugh at snow and sleet
  As I bump upon my seat,
  For I'm thinking of my sweet
          MARY JONES.

  With a lightsome heart and gay
  To the Bank I wend my way.
  Where I calculate all day
          Debts and loans;
  Though anon my fancies flee
  From the rows of £ _s. d._,
  And they wander off to thee,
          MARY JONES.

  And I cannot blame their taste,
  Though a little time they waste
  For my MARY would have graced
          Monarchs' thrones.
  What are pounds and pence to her?--
  No. I cannot but concur
  With their choice when they prefer
          MARY JONES.

  Then I hurry home to tea,
  And I pass an A. B. C.,
  Where I purchase two or three
          Cakes and scones:
  For I love the smiles that rise
  In your laughing hazel eyes
  When I offer you my prize,
          MARY JONES.

  And when tea is cleared away,
  And you kindle me my clay,
  As I listen to your gay
          Dulcet tones,
  Then I sometimes wonder who
  In the world's the best to do?--
  'Gad, it's either I or you,
          MARY JONES!

[Illustration: A VERY VULGAR BOY.

"ASKIN' YER PARDON, MISS, BUT MIGHT THAT 'ERE LITTLE DOG'S TAIL HA'
BEEN CUT OFF OR DRUV' IN?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MODERN SOCIETY PLAY.

  It surely should not be allowed,
    The Modern Society Play,
  That dreadfully shocking _Kate Cloud_,
    That bad _Mrs. P. Tanqueray._
        That's what said
        X. Y. Z.

  It elevates everyone,
    The Modern Society Play,
  You stupid old son of a gun.
    Replied, bursting into the fray,
        Fearless, free,
        H. B. TREE.

  Why make such a clamour? Oh, blow
    The Modern Society Play!
  As nothing compels you to go,
    X. Y. Z., you can just stop away;
        Don't you see?
        So say we.

       *       *       *       *       *

LOST IN LONDON.

1. Hymn-book stolen. Original price, in superior binding, 11-¾_d._

2. Hymn-book pawned for 2-½_d._ by thief.

3. Pawnbroker, finding my name inside, tells Police.

4. Police inform me I can have the book restored to me "on
application."

5. Go to Scotland Yard. Told hymn-book is at Bow Street. Cost of my
journey so far, 4-½_d._

6. At Bow Street have to take out summons against Chief Commissioner!
This is "the invariable rule," I am informed. Cost of summons and
"service"--not the Church Service--3_s._ Could have got _three new
hymn-books_ with the sum.

7. Have to attend week later at hearing of summons. Journey again
4-½_d._ Bow Street _not_ a nice court. Hymn-book restored to me.

8. Chief Commissioner appeals! Believes there is another person of my
name to whom book may belong. "If I give it up quietly, shall hear no
more about it." Give up my own hymn-book! Never!

9. Appeal dismissed. Attendance and costs amount to £45. And I am the
winning party!

10. Chief Commissioner "carries me" to House of Lords, but does not
pay carriage. Preliminary costs, £80.

11. Long Vacation.

12. House of Lords sits. "Has no doubt hymn-book belongs to other
person of my name." I to pay all costs in all Courts!

13. Ruined!

       *       *       *       *       *

"I shall be all right again soon, I'll be bound!" as a dilapidated
First Edition observed.

       *       *       *       *       *

INTER-UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL.

    [Yale _v._ Princeton University. "Before the game commenced an
    Inspector of police, who was on the ground, addressed the two
    teams, and cautioned them against violent play. This warning
    is without precedent in the history of the University
    contests."--_Reuter._]

[Illustration]

SCENE--_Queen's Club. Oxford and Cambridge Football Match.
Teams undergoing modern torture of ordeal by photograph. Enter_
Police-Inspector, _rampant, supported by two Peelers proper. He
"addresses the two teams":_--

  I'm an Inspector bold, yet wary,
    So, gents, you must all take care,
  For I'm here to boss this battle,
    And see that you all fight fair.
  Now fisting, and scragging, and hacking,
    Are all fair enough, we say,
  But if gents exceed the limits
    Of legitimate violent play,

  We'll run them in, we'll run them in,
    As sure as we're standing here,
  We'll run them in, we'll run them in,
    For the Peeler knows no fear!

  Of course you may fight each other,
    But you mustn't attack the crowd,
  For we can't have unlimited bloodshed,
    And weapons are not allowed.
  So, gents, I must kindly ask you
    To enter the field without
  Your bludgeons and knives and pistols,
    Or else, beyond all doubt,

          We'll run you in, &c., &c.

[_Teams join in chorus. Exit_ Inspector _to look after ambulance
arrangements._

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SUNDAY LECTURE CASE.

  The Lord's Day Observance Society
  Would make us all pinks of propriety--
  All models of mental sobriety,
    That is _Stiggins_ and _Chadband_ combined.
  They gain, doubtless, some notoriety
  By such overwhelming anxiety
  To force on us their sort of piety
    Of a most puritanical kind.
  This _Sunday at Home_ mental diet, I
  Dislike, I would rather not try it; I
  Suggest that, by way of variety.
    Their own business now they should mind.

       *       *       *       *       *

Prize Conundrum before Christmas.

_How to Make Life Happy._--An Infallible Recipe:--Add fifty-nine to
the latter half of it. *** _Solution will be given next week._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE PLUNGER.

_First Boy_ (_much interested in the game of Buttons_). "'AS 'E LOST?"

_Second Ditto._ "YES; 'E LOST ALL THEM BUTTONS WHAT 'E WON OFF TOMMY
CROWTHER YESTERDAY, AN' THEN 'E CUT ALL THE BUTTONS OFF 'IS CLOTHES,
AND 'ES LOST THEM TOO!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.

_Kelt and Salted._--It may be true, as you have heard, that Mr.
STANDISH O'GRADY intends to supplement his series of Ossianic stories,
_Finn and his Companions_, by a work entitled _Fin an' Haddock_. But,
we confess, the story seems a little fishy.

_A Brummagem Spoon._--You are quite wrong. The creation of the
character of _Rip Van Winkle_ was, in point of time, far anterior to
the invention of the Self-working Noiseless Screw. Mr. CHAMBERLAIN'S
playful application of the term to Lord HARTINGTON did not imply any
proprietorship in the article. The right hon. gentleman was under the
impression that he had come across the character in the course of his
reading of DICKENS' Christmas stories, and, wanting to say something
nice of his noble friend, he just mentioned it. It led to some
misunderstanding at the time, but has now been forgotten. See our
answer to "Three Cows and an Acre" in the Christmas Number.

_Residuary Legatee._--Certainly you may recover, especially if you can
get A. to refund the money. Don't hesitate to sue. We make a practice
of never accepting fees. The 6_s._ 8_d._ you enclosed (in stamps,
postal order preferable) we shall, at the first opportunity, place in
the Poor Box.

_Perplexed._--What do you mean by asking us to tell you "If a herring
and a-half costs three hapence, how much will a dozen run you in for?"
This is just one of those simple problems you can solve for yourself
on reference to an ordinary book of arithmetic. Do you suppose we
sit here to save the time of idle persons? Our mission is to supply
information drawn from authorities not accessible to the average
subscriber.

_Algernon and Sibyl._--Consult Sir GEORGE LEWIS, Ely Place, Holborn,
E.C. We never advise on delicate subjects such as yours. It is
impossible for us to reply to correspondents through the post. Our
motto is _Audi altem parterem_. As the lady may not be familiar
with the dead languages, we may perhaps do well to translate. Freely
rendered, it means, "We desire that all parties (_altem parterem_) may
hear and profit by our advice."


_One-who-has-had-no-rest-to-speak-of-for-fifteen-years-owing-to-neuralgic-
pains-and-a-next-door-neighbour-who-plays-the-piano-night-and-day._--No.

_Beyond the Dreams of Avarice._--Your record of an incident in the
early life of Mr. W. ASTOR is very interesting. "Musing by the waters
of the mighty Hudson he," you say, "conceived the ambition of becoming
one of the richest men in the world." It is pleasing to know that his
recent entrance upon journalistic enterprise is likely to realise his
boyhood's dream.

_Advertisement Agent._--There is, we fear, no opening for you in this
direction. "Silonio" is not the name of a new shaving soap, as you
surmise. It is the title of honour given by the delegates of a remote
but respectable African race to a great and good British statesman.
Its literal translation into the English tongue is, we are informed,
"Open-mouthed."

_A Subscriber for Seventy Years._--Your poem, commencing,

  DIGGLE DIGGLE den,
  How is Brother BENN?
  Really, Mr. RILEY,
  Ain't you rather wily?

is perhaps a little monotonous in its interrogative form. But it is
not without merit, especially from one of your advanced age. A
fatal objection is that it should be out of date. The School-Board
Elections, we are glad to say, were completed a fortnight ago. Try
again--for some other paper.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE NEW NECTAR.

    [Professor HUXLEY, at the anniversary meeting of the Royal
    Society, suggested that in the future imaginative speaking at
    their dinners might be stimulated by the drinking of liquid
    oxygen, _bien frappé_.]

AIR--"_Take hence the Bowl!_"

  Take hence the bowl; though beaming
    Brightly as bowl e'er shone,
  With Fizz sublimely creaming,
    Or Port or Zoedone.
  There is a new potation
    To warm the hearts of men,
  And wake imagination--
    In Liquid Oxygen!

  Each cup I drain, _bien frappé_,
    My tongue pat talk can teach;
  It helps to make me happy
    In after-dinner speech.
  At banquet, or at gala,
    I match such mighty men
  As GLADSTONE, CARR, or SALA,
    On Liquid Oxygen!

  A fig for Mumm or Massio,
    Falernian and such fudge;
  (Thin stuff those tipples classic
    If I am any judge.)
  But burning thoughts come o'er me
    And fire my tongue, or pen,
  When I've a bowl before me
    Of Liquid Oxygen!

  When fun needs stimulation,
    Or fancy fails in fire;
  When lags the long oration,
    Or tongues postprandial tire;
  Then take the tip Huxleyan,
    And one long swig,--and then
  You'll promptly raise a pæan
    To Liquid Oxygen!

       *       *       *       *       *

FIRST IMPRESSIONS.

"There is nothing in Italy more beautiful to me than the coast-road
between Genoa and Spezia." Remember these words of DICKENS, in his
_Pictures from Italy_, as I start from Pisa to see that lovely coast,
and the Mediterranean, for the first time.

Pisa is sleepy, but the railway officials are wide awake. The man who
sells me my ticket "forgets" one lira. This answers capitally with
innocent old ladies from England or Germany. The old lady counts her
change, and if she has carefully ascertained the fare by reading
the price marked on her ticket, she finds at once that there is a
halfpenny wanting. She never learns that this is the Government tax.
"If you please," she begins; or, "_Bitte_," and then she goes off
into--not hysterics, but French, and murmurs, "_Seevooplay, je pongse
vous devays avoir donnay moi un sou_--er--er--more, _vous comprenny?_"
or, "_Il y a encore_--er--er--_fünfzig, vous savay, à moi à payer._"
Then the official answers, also in French, "_Ah nong, Madame, ceci est
la taxe doo gouvernemang sul biglietto, capisce?_"

Whereupon the old lady is so agitated by the thought that she has
wrongfully accused him of stealing a soldo, that she never notices
that he has withheld a lira. If she counts her money later in the day,
she will blame those nasty lira notes, which stick together so, that
she must have given two somewhere instead of one. But the railway
clerk is also prepared for any more exacting stranger, and holds the
extra note ready for him. The clerk at Pisa does so, handing it to me,
without a word of objection or explanation, as soon as I ask for it.
The system is as perfect as it is simple. Having obtained my change, I
start for the Mediterranean.

  A FIRST IMPRESSIONIST.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE TRUISMS OF LIFE.

(_By the Right Hon. the Author of "The Platitudes of Life," M.P.,
F.R.S., D.C.L., LL.D._)

CHAPTER I.--_De Omnibus Rebus._

"_Ars longa, vita brevis;_"[1] and indeed "man wants but little here
below, nor wants that little long."[2] An oriental writer has told us
that "all flesh is grass," to which a Scots poet[3] has replied,
that "A man's a man for a' that." There is a Greek aphorism, not
sufficiently well known, which says [Greek: gnôthi seauton]. This
has been ably rendered by POPE in the words "Know thyself."[4]
Proverbially "piety begins at home," but it is wrong to deduce from
this that education ends when we leave school; "it goes on through
life."[5]

Books are an educational force. They "have often been compared to
friends,"[6] whom we "never cut."[7] They "are better than all the
tarts and toys in the world."[8] It is not generally known that
"English literature is the inheritance of the English race,"[9] on
whose Empire, by the way, "the sun never sets." We even have "books
in the running brooks," as the Bard of Avon[10] tells us; so that not
only "he that runs," but he that swims, "may read."

"Knowledge for the million,"[11] is the "_fin de siècle_"[12] cry of
the hour. But "life is real, life is earnest,"[13] and we have no time
to study original thinkers such as CONFUCIUS and TUPPER. "_Altiora
Peto_"[14] is a saying for the leisured class only. The mass must get
its wisdom second-hand and concentrated. If "reading maketh a full
man,"[15] this kind of reading maketh a man to burst. Hence the "sad
in sweet"[16] of the book of quoted platitudes. Yet, of course, "there
are great ways of borrowing. Genius borrows nobly."[17] And it is well
to have "the courage of" other people's "opinions."

But reading is not all. You must "use your head."[18] And you must,
and can, keep it too. For a good man's head is not like a seed-cake
that passes in the using. And, again, remember the proverb that
"manners makyth man"; though this is not the true cause of the
over-population of our islands. In social life much will depend on the
way in which you behave to others. "Never lose your temper, and if you
do, at any rate hold your tongue, and try not to show it"[19]--except,
one may add, to a doctor.

Many people cannot say "No!" Others early learn to say "No!" when
asked to do disagreeable things. "_Mens sana in corpore_ sano." If the
last word is pronounced _Say No_, this constitutes a word-play. There
are some bad word-plays in SHAKSPEARE. I disapprove of humour, new or
old.

"No man who knows what his income is, and what he is spending, will
run into extravagance."[20] PLUTARCH tells us of a man whose income
was £500, and he spent £5000 a year knowingly. This must have been an
exceptional case. There is an obscure dictum that "money is the root
of all evil." "Gold! gold!"[21] said an ill-known poet, and, on the
other hand, "Hail, independence!"[22] said another. "If thou art rich,
thou'rt poor"[23] is on the face of it an untruth.

    [Footnote 1: "Principia Latina."]

    [Footnote 2: Goldsmith.]

    [Footnote 3: Burns.]

    [Footnote 4: "Essay on Man."]

    [Footnote 5: Lubbock.]

    [Footnote 6: Lubbock.]

    [Footnote 7: "Punch."]

    [Footnote 8: Macaulay.]

    [Footnote 9: Lubbock.]

    [Footnote 10: Shakspeare.]

    [Footnote 11: Calverley.]

    [Footnote 12: Oscar Wilde.]

    [Footnote 13: Longfellow.]

    [Footnote 14: Lawrence Oliphant.]

    [Footnote 15: Bacon.]

    [Footnote 16: Browning.]

    [Footnote 17: Emerson.]

    [Footnote 18: Lubbock.]

    [Footnote 19: Lubbock.]

    [Footnote 20: Lubbock.]

    [Footnote 21: Park Benjamin.]

    [Footnote 22: Churchill.]

    [Footnote 23: Shakspeare.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A PRECISIAN.

_Professor Erasmus Scoles_ (_of Epipsychidion Villa, St. John's
Wood_). "CAN YOU TELL ME, CONSTABLE, WHETHER THERE ARE ANY
MORE--ER--_ATLANTES_ TO COME UP TO-NIGHT?"

_D. 134._ "ANY MORE '_OW MUCH?_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

OF VAIN COLOURS.

  When the century, growing a little bit mellow,
    Produces carnations outrageously green;
  When you notice a delicate, dairy-like yellow
    Adorn the pale face of the best margarine;
  When canaries, all warranted excellent singers,
    Are sold in the street for a shilling apiece,
  But at home all the yellow comes off on your fingers,
    Substrata of brown making daily increase;
  When a lady you happen to meet on a Monday
    With hair that is grey, and with cheeks that are old,
  Appears shortly after, the following Sunday,
    With rosy complexion, and tresses of gold;
  When a nursemaid has one of the worst scarlet-fevers,
    Or merely, it may be, a fit of the blues;
  When you're offered "Old Masters" as black as coal-heavers,
    Or shirts of quite "fast" unwashoutable hues;
  When a blue ribbon's equally known as denoting
    Teetotal fanatics, a Rad, or a Tory--
  In these and like cases too num'rous for quoting
    Remember old VIRGIL, "_Ne crede colori._"

       *       *       *       *       *

THE CHRONICLES OF A RURAL PARISH.

VI.--PREPARING FOR THE POLL.

When I do a thing, I like to do it properly, for even my worst
enemies, who call me a fool, admit that I'm a _thorough_ fool. I have
accordingly lost no time in getting to work at my electoral campaign.
I commenced at a great disadvantage. The other seven candidates were
electioneering for a week before the Parish Meeting, and the result
was that they all polled three times as many votes as I did. That has
happened once. I don't intend that it shall happen more than once.

[Illustration: "Vote for Winkins--a good All-round Man."]

The first move I made was to cover my house with placards. I noticed
that in a recent election Mr. ATHELSTON RILEY had pursued these
tactics with great success, so I plastered the whole of the walls with
"WINKINS FOR MUDFORD"--"VOTE FOR WINKINS,"--but thereby hangs a tale.
I gave my instructions to the local printer, and told him where they
were to be posted, directing him to do it in the twilight, so that the
whole effect might dawn once and for ever upon an astonished village
in the morning. He did it, but unfortunately he didn't keep a
proof-reader. I noticed next day, before I went out, that all the
school-children looked up at the house and giggled. I thought it was
merely the inappreciativeness of the youthful mind. There I was wrong.
It was the fact that the children knew how to spell that caused the
mischief. My house was covered with appeals to "WOTE FOR VINKINS!" It
did not take long to get new bills printed, but I am not disposed to
deny I was a trifle disconcerted by this false start.

I am now hard at work canvassing. My wife flatly declines to help, and
I'm afraid to suggest the girls should take the field in support
of their father. I tried to secure the services of the vicar's two
daughters, but he only wrote rather a stiff note to say that he
thought they would have quite enough to do in advocating his claims. I
am not always at one with the clergy, but for once I agree with him. I
_have_ succeeded, however, in getting Miss PHILL BURTT to help me.
Her full name is, of course, PHYLLIS; but it's always called and spelt
"PHILL"--I could never understand why. She's a most delightful girl,
and is worth, at least, a hundred votes to me. As I explained once
before, she has an extraordinary habit of calling all the villagers
"idiots"--of course, I mean to her friends (such as myself), not to
the villagers themselves. I asked her one day why, if she thought
them idiots, she was kind enough to take the trouble to canvass them.
"Well, you see," she said with a charming smile that was all her own;
"I'm asking them to vote for _you_." At the time I thought this was a
pretty saying, prettily said. I even told it with some amount of
pride to my wife just to show her that there were people who did not
sympathise with her haughty indifference. Curiously enough my wife
only laughed consumedly. When she had recovered, I asked her why she
laughed. "Do you _really_ mean to say, TIMOTHY," was her reply, "that
you don't see what she meant?"

"Well, though it may seem idiotic...." I said, and was going to add,
"I don't," but before I said that, I _did_ see what she (PHYLLIS, of
course, I mean) _might_ have meant. Yet I hope she didn't. Miss
BURTT has only one drawback as a canvasser. She is so ridiculously
scrupulous, I came across an old woman the other day who was quite
deaf to my appeals. Whilst I reasoned with her, I found out how kind
PHYLLIS was to her. "Miss PHILL, she's really good to us poor people.
I'd vote for _her_ if she was standing." I left, having produced no
impression. A day or two after I met Miss PHILL BURTT, and asked her
to go and canvass the old woman; I felt sure she could secure her
vote. Will it be believed that she wouldn't? She said it would be
really undue influence if she did. How strange that even the nicest of
women are so strangely unpractical at times! Another woman she refused
to see because she never called upon her at ordinary times. Still,
with all her faults, Miss BURTT is a tower of strength, and as I see
her daily going about, canvass book in hand, my hopes rise higher and
higher.

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

Sir PHILIP SIDNEY was, as all the world knows, "a veray parfit gentil
knight." Possibility of this presupposition of knowledge is fortunate,
since Miss ANNA M. STODDART'S account of this heroic figure is not, my
Baronite sorrowfully says, likely to convey any adequate idea of its
personality. Mr. FOX BOURNE and Mr. ADDINGTON SYMONDS have written
biographies of the Elizabethan soldier, in which he boldly stands
forth. Miss STODDART modestly says her object is "in no way to compete
with" these standard works. But why write at all? The marvel is,
as Dr. JOHNSON did not exactly say in illustration of an argument
respecting another feminine achievement, not that the work should
not have been well done, but that it possibly could be done with such
wooden effect. If Miss STODDART had taken a sheet of paper and with
her pair of scissors cut out the figure of a man, writing across it
"This is PHILIP SIDNEY," she would have conveyed quite as clear and
moving a picture of the man as is found in the 111 pages of her book.
But then, Mr. BLACKWOOD would not have published the scrap of paper,
and we should not have had the charming portrait of SIDNEY, or the
sketches of Penshurst by MARGARET L. HUGGINS which adorn the daintily
got-up volume.

[Illustration]

My Baronitess writes:--S. BARING GOULD turns into delightful English
prose some of the ancient Icelandic Sagas, or songs, and shows us how
_Grettir the Outlaw_ was a Grettir man than was generally supposed by
anyone who had never heard very much about him. When he departed, was
he very much Re-grettir'd by all who knew him?

Messrs. MACMILLAN offer _My New Home_, provided by Mrs. MOLESWORTH,
which many of the little "new" women would like to see. Illustrated by
L. LESLIE BROOKE: "BROOKE" suggests "water colours,"--a new idea for
_next_ Christmas.

_Sou'-wester and Sword_, by HUGH ST. LEGER. A nautical and military
combination. The Sou'wester of a tar is not at all at sea when, after
a pleasant little shipwreck, he joins the forces at Suakim. The winner
of _this_ ST. LEGER was a rank outsider, with the odds against him,
but he wins the day by "throstling" (a new word) a few Soudanese; who
must have seemed quite forty to one!

A cousin, especially a Colonial, is such a very pleasant indistinct
sort of relative, that he is bound to be a hero of romance, though
perhaps a cousin at hand is worth two in the bush; at least, so thinks
the heroine in _My Cousin from Australia_, by EVELYN EVERETT GREEN
(HUTCHINSON & CO.); whilst the one whom she should have wed was
of course a wicked Baronet (does one often meet a good Baronet in
fiction?), who tries to upset his successful rival by giving him a tip
over an agreeably high cliff. It is a Christmas story, and so the "tip"
is just at the right time. How it ends----You'll see.

_Black and White_ has gone in for a shilling's worth of the truly
wonderful in _The Dream Club_, by BARRIE PAIN and EDEN PHILPOTTS. It
is quite an after-turkey, plum-pudding, mince-pie dinner story. How
authors and artists must have suffered, judging, at least, by the
delightful nightmare illustrations. And the picture-lady of the
cover--ahem!--she has evidently forgotten that she is supposed to be
"out" at Christmas.

Between the boards of LOTHAR MEGGENDORFER'S moveable toy-books (H.
GREVEL & CO.) lies genuine fun. _The Scenes of the Life of a Masher_
are simply irresistible. Little ones will be delighted with _The
Transformation Scenes_, besides, there is _Charming Variety_ with a
_Party of Six_. These books are a good tip for a Christmas gift for
the representatives of Tommy and Harry.

Had G. W. APPLETON'S _The Co-Respondent_--an attractive title--been
in the form of a short magazine story, it would probably have been
amusing from first to last. Now it is only amusing at first. Good idea
all the same. The old quotation about "Sir HUBERT STANLEY" is brought
in, and, of course, incorrectly. It is not "_Praise_ from Sir HUBERT
STANLEY," but "approbation." However, as it is said by a light-hearted
girl of a very modern type, it may be assumed that the misquotation is
intentional.

  THE B. DE B.-W.

       *       *       *       *       *



  Transcriber's Note


  - - indicated italic text; = = indicates bold text.

  Missing or damaged punctuation has been repaired.


  Page 279: 'beariny' corrected to 'bearing'.

  "_Enter_ The Visible Prince (_like the_ King
  _and his companions in "Love's Labour's Lost"_) _"in Russian
  habits" but bearing a true British face_, not _masked_."

  Page 286: 'neigbbour' corrected to 'neighbour'.

  "and-a-next-door-neighbour-who-plays-the-piano-night-and-day."

       *       *       *       *       *





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