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Title: Punch, Or the London Charivari, Volume 107, December 8th, 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, Volume 107, December 8th, 1894" ***

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Punch, Or the London Charivari

Volume. 107, December 8th, 1894

_edited by Sir Francis Burnand_



A TRIUMPH OF THE SCHOOL BOARD.

The collector of statistics was fairly posed by the attitude assumed by
his visitor. The elderly lad (or, rather, very young man) had claimed
admittance on the score that he was an "old boy" of the School Board.
He wished to give his evidence anent the fate of the State-educated
juvenile population.

"And you say you are not one of the 547 clerks?" queried the collector.

"No Sir, I am not. I would rather beg my bread from door to door than
occupy a lofty stool from dawn to sundown."

"And you are not one of the 413 milkboys?"

"Again, no. It has been a tradition in our family for centuries to
avoid water, so how could I dabble in the milk trade?"

"And you are neither an actor, a jockey, nor a hairdresser?"

"I am not," was again the reply, couched in a tone of hauteur.

"And you are not a soldier--one of the ten that left the School Board
for the more or less tented field?"

"I am not--nor a sailor."

Then the collector of statistics paused for a moment, and spoke with a
measure of hesitation.

"You have not gone to the bad?"

"Like my 333 schoolfellows?"

"Yes."

Then the red blood of the visitor mounted to the roots of his hair and
suffused his cheeks with crimson. He indignantly denied the imputation.
He might be poor, but at any rate he was honest. "No, he had never been
in prison."

"Then what are you?" asked the collector, in a tone not entirely free
from traces of annoyance. "Surely you must be something!"

"I am more than something!" returned the visitor, proudly. "I am
_unique_--I am a curiosity."

"What may you be?"

"I am a boy, educated by the School Board, who is satisfied to follow
in the footsteps of his father. My father was a bricklayer, and I am
satisfied to lay bricks myself."

"My dear Sir," said the collector, grasping him cordially by the hand,
"I congratulate you. This is the first time I have met a boy who has
been satisfied to adopt the trade followed by his parent. And now you
can do me a small favour." And then the collector engaged his guest to
renovate the walls of his house, which (on account of the scarcity of
trained labour) had for many years been sadly out of repair.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: GOING TO EXTREMES.

_He of the Ruffled Temper._ "AS SURE'S MA NAME'S TAMMAS PATERSON,
I'LL HAE THE LAW O' YE, THOUGH IT SHOULD COST ME HAUF-A-CROON!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

MORE MEMORIES BY DEAN HOLE.--We are gradually getting at the
Hole Truth. Not a deep Hole, but a good all-round Hole, and, as a
whole, eminently readable when you have a half Holeyday to spare.

       *       *       *       *       *

SUGGESTION.--The Egyptian Hall is advertised as "The Home of
Mystery." Mightn't the Lyceum be entitled, for advertisement purposes,
as "The Home of Miss TERRY?"

       *       *       *       *       *

THE CHRONICLES OF A RURAL PARISH.

V.--THE PARISH MEETING.

_Mudford, December 4_, 11.30 P.M.

The Parish Meeting--long looked for, eagerly expected, anxiously
anticipated--has come and gone. It has been indeed an interesting and
eventful night.

The meeting was called for half-past seven, and, when I reached the
schoolroom, at two minutes before that time, the room was packed with
parochial electors. A subdued cheer broke out as I entered, and, bowing
my acknowledgments, I found my way to a seat in the front row, which
a thoughtful overseer had reserved for me, his fellow overseer being
stationed at the door to see that only those were admitted who had
got on the wedding garment; or, to put it in a different way, whose
names were on the Register. I soon saw that, practically, everyone was
present. There were the MARCHITES, the LETHAM HAVITTITES, and BLACK BOB
and his following, whilst the Vicar and the Squire were there, to lend
an air of real intelligence and respectability to the whole affair. It
never struck me before, though, how dull a man the Vicar is when you
see him without his daughters--who, of course, were not present.

Punctually at 7.30 the overseer asked the meeting to proceed to elect
a chairman. There was a hush of expectant silence, and then BLACK BOB
jumped up and proposed me. I had taken a great interest in the subject,
and the tremendous amount I knew about it made me the most suitable
person to take the chair that evening. A warm glow of satisfaction came
over me, which deepened into a sense of burning joy when Mrs. MARCH
seconded the motion, which was agreed to unanimously.

I took the chair, and after a hurried glance at my instructions,
invited nominations to be sent in to me. Seven were sent in in the
first two minutes--nominations of the seven who had previously issued
election addresses. Then came an awful and an awkward pause. I waited,
for I had to wait for a quarter of an hour--the instructions told me
to. It was _un mauvais quart d'heure_. Of course I was waiting for my
own nomination. It is a humiliating fact to have to record, but it
did not come. Then the whole thing became clear to me; my election to
the chair was a sop to console me for being shunted from the Parish
Council. But I was not to be fobbed off in this way. I put my hand in
my pocket, and a minute before the time was up produced a nomination
paper which I had got my gardener and coachman to sign. It is always
well to be prepared for accidents.

However, even bad quarters of an hour come to an end, and at the end of
the remaining minute I announced that as I had been nominated myself,
I could not stay in the chair. This was evidently an unexpected turn,
but Mrs. LETHAM HAVITT was equal to the occasion. She proposed the
assistant-overseer. He was elected, declared all the eight nomination
papers were in order, and then threw the meeting open to questions.

The heckling began at once. I was the first victim over that confounded
Free Trout-fishing. Was I in favour of it? I said that as all there was
belonged to me, it was obvious I could hardly be expected to answer
the question. Mrs. ARBLE MARCH and Mrs. LETHAM HAVITT said they were
prepared to use all the powers the Act conferred as to free fishing.
I noticed that a curious smile lurked round the mouths of both, and
I should have said, if I had not thought it to be too incredible to
be true, that Mrs. MARCH almost winked her eye. Anyhow, the meeting
cheered, and seemed satisfied. BLACK BOB made a long and impassioned
speech, in which he called the Act the Charter of the Peasants'
Liberty. This, too, evoked great enthusiasm. Finally the questioning
flickered out, no one withdrew their candidature, and the voting
commenced. I had previously noticed that there were 173 electors
present. My name--WINKINS--came last. Marvellous to relate, 173 hands
were held up for each of the first seven candidates--for I thought it
only a courteous thing to vote for my opponents. When my name was put,
only 59 hands went up. It will be noticed that the total number of
votes was more than seven times the number of votes, and no one ought
to have voted more than seven times! The show of hands was a fraud and
a farce, so it was only in common justice to the parish and myself that
I should demand a poll. A poll I did demand, and we are to have an
election on Monday week.

When I got home I found a letter from the Local Government Board,
referring me on the trout-fishing point to the words of the Act, to
which accordingly I at once turned. Then I saw that the clause was
"to utilize any ... stream within their parish ... but _so as not to
interfere with the rights of any corporation or person_...." I had
stopped short before at these last words. I understand at last why Mrs.
ARBLE MARCH winked--for wink I now know she did.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AND IF HE _DOES_----?

_Sportsman_ (_who has given a mount to a Nervous Friend_). "LET
HER HEAD GO! LET HER GO, MAN! SHE'LL BE A REGULAR WILD CAT IF YOU
_DON'T!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

"THE JUDGMENT OF 'PARISH.'"

(_A very long way after the late Laureate's Version._)

    [On December 4, every rural parish will, for the first time,
    "assemble for the purpose of managing, in some organised and
    systematic way, its own affairs."--_Daily News._

    "He invited them to choose men, and women too, who they
    believed would manage their parish affairs best.... If the
    leading landowner desired to have a large influence in parish
    affairs, and if he were a fit man, by all means give him the
    power; but if he was not a fit man, put in the agricultural
    labourer." (Laughter and cheers.)--_Lord Ripon at Newbury._]

    _Spirit of the Good Old Times lamenteth:_--

    Picturesque Parish, thankless-hearted Parish,
    Holding a pippin big as a pine-apple,
    Came up upon the fourth to judge and vote.
    Fronting the dawn he moved; his Sunday smock
    Draping his shoulders, and his sun-burnt hair
    Clustered about his forehead, freshly oiled;
    And his cheek brighten'd as a cheek will brighten
    After brisk towel friction; and my heart
    Misgave me as to what might be his game.

    He smiled, and opening out his horny palm,
    Showed me the fruit of long, fierce party fight,
    The Power-Pippin, and what time I look'd,
    And listen'd, his full-flowing river of speech
    Came heavy on my heart.
                          "Wha' cheer old 'Ooman!
    Old frump o' the Old Times as fules ca'd good,
    Just twig this fruit! It's gotten to be given
    'To the most fit.' At present thof, 'tis _mine_,
    And I'll consider ere I pairt wi' un!"
    And added "This wur cast upon the board
    By FOWLER when the full-faced M.P. lot
    Ranged in the Halls of Stephen; wheerupon
    Rose row, with question unto whom 'twere due;
    But artful 'ENERY quickly settled _that_,
    Delivering this to me by t' common voice
    Selected oompire. Passon cooms to-day,
    Varmer, an' Grocer-chap, demanding each
    This fruit as 'fittest.' Ho! ho! ho!--to Me!!!
    Ne'er thought to see sic spoort till Latter Lammas!
    Squoire will look on as red as any fox,
    An' as fur Passon's missus,--grutherem-grouts!
    Wunt _she_ fume foinely?
                          Ye'd best stand asoide;
    Hide your old-farrant face behind yon ellum,
    Hear all, and see your Parish judge the nobs!"

    'Twas as he said. To woo his voice they came,
    Humble they came to that smooth rustic sward,
    And at their feet the daisies seemed to droop
    At the un-English, strange, new-fangledness
    Of such a notion as for Church, and Land,
    And Trade to "tuck their tuppennies in" to--what?
    This rustic Parish, once their humble slave
    Now their authoritative arbiter,
    And chuckling critic.
                          Fools to Parish make
    Proffer of plenteous power, ample rule
    Unquestion'd, overflowing revenue
    Wherewith to embellish village state and make
    The rustic home a rural paradise.
    _What_ tommy-rot it is!
                          So "Passon" says
    (In sleeker language, be it understood),
    But offers him fair creeds and catechisms.
    And nice long sermons, and benevolent doles;
    Tendance in sickness, help at marriage-time,
    A "gentlemanly presence," crowning boon!--
    At church a happy place--in the free seats,
    Behind the pillar, with undying bliss
    In knowledge of True-Blue Supremacy.

    He ceased, and Parish held the costly fruit
    More closely cuddled.
                          "Varmer" next spake out.
    "You know _me_, HODGE: I woo you not with gifts.
    Long generations have not altered me,
    And Parish Meetings shall not. Trust your boss,
    They're bosh, lad! Judge thou me by what I am,
    And you will find me fittest. But allow
    Those dashed Rad agitators to upset
    Our old relations, fill your mind with fudge
    Concerning healthier homes and higher wage.
    And it's all up with England, Me--and _You!_
    Tip me the Pippin!"
                          Parish cocked a snook,
    And held the apple tighter.
                              As for him,
    The sleek mild grocer, Parish shut him up
    Almost 'ere he had spoken. "I promise thee
    A good cheap article and lots of tick----"
    But Parish said, "Talk not to me of tick!
    I shall not need 'un wi my whacking wage,
    And 'overflowing revenue'; new cottage,
    Allotment patch, three acres and a coo,
    And a' the rest o' 't. As for this here Pippin,
    I've grupped at last, 'tis mine, an' I dunno
    _As I won't have first bite at 'un mysel'!_"

    He spoke and laughed. I shut my eyes in fear,
    But when I look'd, Parish had raised his hand.
    And I beheld the Parson's angry eyes,
    The Farmer's furious glance, and, weazel-like,
    The glittering of the Grocer-man's amaze.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "THE JUDGMENT OF 'PARISH.'"

_Hodge_ (_meditatively_). "GROCER-CHAP, PASSON, AND VARMER, EACH
ON 'EM WANTIN' TH' APPLE. WELL,--I DUNNO AS I WON'T HAVE A BITE AT IT
MYSELF!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

LYRE AND LANCET.

(_A Story in Scenes._)

PART XXIII.--SHRINKAGE.

SCENE XXXIII.--_The Yew Walk._

_Lady Maisie_ (_to herself, as she watches UNDERSHELL
approaching_). How badly he walks, and what _does_ he mean by smiling
at me like that? (_Aloud, coldly._) I am sorry, Mr. BLAIR, but
I must leave you to finish your stroll alone; my maid has just told
me----

_Undershell_ (_vehemently_). Lady MAISIE, I ask you, in common
fairness, not to judge me until you have heard _my_ version. You will
not allow the fact that I travelled down here in the same compartment
with your maid, PHILLIPSON----

_Lady Maisie_ (_wide-eyed_). The _same!_ But _we_ came by that train. I
thought you missed it?

_Und._ I--I was not so fortunate. It is rather a long and complicated
story, but----

_Lady Maisie._ I'm afraid I really can't listen to you _now_, Mr.
BLAIR, after what I have heard from PHILLIPSON----

_Und._ I implore you not to go without hearing both sides. Sit down
again--if only for a minute. I feel confident that I can explain
everything satisfactorily.

_Lady Maisie_ (_sitting down_). I can't imagine what there is to
explain--and really I ought, if PHILLIPSON----

_Und._ You know what maids _are_, Lady MAISIE. They embroider.
Unintentionally, I daresay, but still, they _do_ embroider.

_Lady Maisie_ (_puzzled_). She is very clever at mending lace, I know,
though what _that_ has to do with it----

_Und._ Listen to me, Lady MAISIE. I came to this house at your
bidding. Yes, but for your written appeal, I should have treated the
invitation I received from your Aunt with silent contempt. Had I obeyed
my first impulse and ignored it, I should have been spared humiliations
and indignities which ought rather to excite your pity than--than any
other sensation. Think--try to realise what my feelings must have been
when I found myself expected by the butler here to sit down to supper
with him and the upper servants in the Housekeeper's Room!

_Lady Maisie_ (_shocked_). Oh, Mr. BLAIR! Indeed, I had
no----You weren't _really!_ How _could_ they? What _did_ you say?

_Und._ (_haughtily_). I believe I let him know my opinion of the
snobbery of his employers in treating a guest of theirs so cavalierly.

[Illustration: "How very sweet of you, Mr. Blair. Are they really for
me?"]

_Lady Maisie_ (_distressed_). But surely--_surely_ you couldn't suppose
that my Uncle and Aunt were capable of----?

_Und._ What else _could_ I suppose under the circumstances? It is true
I have since learnt that I was mistaken in this particular instance;
but I am not ignorant of the ingrained contempt you Aristocrats have
for all who live by exercising their intellect--the bitter scorn of
Birth for Brains!

_Lady Maisie._ I am afraid the--the contempt is all on the other side;
but if _that_ is how you feel about it, I don't wonder that you were
indignant.

_Und._ Indignant! I was _furious_. In fact, nothing would have induced
me to sit down to supper at all, if it hadn't been for----

_Lady Maisie_ (_in a small voice_). Then, you _did_ sit down? With the
servants! Oh, Mr. BLAIR!

_Und._ I thought you were already aware of it. Yes, Lady
MAISIE, I endured even that. But (_with magnanimity_) you must
not distress yourself about it now. If _I_ can forget it, surely you
can do so!

_Lady Maisie._ Can I? That _you_ should have consented, for any
consideration whatever; how could you--how _could_ you?

_Und._ (_to himself_). She admires me all the more for it. But I _knew_
she would take the right view! (_Aloud, with pathos._) I was only
compelled by absolute starvation. I had had an unusually light lunch,
and I was so hungry!

_Lady Maisie_ (_after a pause_). That explains it, of course.... I hope
they gave you a good supper!

_Und._ Excellent, thank you. Indeed, I was astonished at the variety
and even luxury of the table. There was a pyramid of quails----

_Lady Maisie._ I am pleased to hear it. But I thought there was
something you were going to explain.

_Und._ I have been _endeavouring_ to explain to the best of my ability
that if I have undesignedly been the cause of--er--a temporary
diversion in the state of Miss PHILLIPSON'S affections, no one
could regret more deeply than I that the--er--ordinary amenities of the
supper-table should have been mistaken for----

_Lady Maisie_ (_horrified_). Oh, stop Mr. BLAIR, please stop!
I don't want to hear any more. I see now. It was _you_ who----

_Und._ Of course it was I. Surely the girl herself has been telling you
so just now!

_Lady Maisie._ You really thought _that_ possible, too? She simply came
with a message from my mother.

_Und._ (_slightly disconcerted_). Oh! If I had known it was merely
_that_. However, I am sure I need not ask you to treat my--my
communication in the strictest confidence, Lady MAISIE.

_Lady Maisie._ Indeed, that is _perfectly_ unnecessary, Mr.
BLAIR.

_Und._ Yes, I felt from the first that I could trust you--even with my
life. And I cannot regret having told you, if it has enabled you to
understand me more thoroughly. It is such a relief that you know all,
and that there are no more secrets between us. You _do_ feel that I
only acted as was natural and inevitable under the circumstances?

_Lady Maisie._ Oh, yes, yes. I--I daresay you could not help it. I mean
you did quite, _quite_ right!

_Und._ Ah, how you comfort me with your fresh girlish----You are not
_going_, Lady MAISIE?

_Lady Maisie_ (_rising_). I must. I ought to have gone before. My
mother wants me. No, you are not to come too; you can go on and gather
those snowdrops, you know.

    [_She walks slowly back to the house._

_Und._ (_looking after her_). She took it wonderfully well. I've made
it all right, or she wouldn't have said that about the snowdrops. Yes,
she shall not be disappointed; she shall have her posy!

SCENE XXXIV.--_The Morning Room. Half an hour later._

_Lady Maisie_ (_alone--to herself_). Thank Goodness, _that_'s over! It
was _awful_. I don't think I _ever_ saw Mamma a deeper shade of plum
colour! _How_ I have been mistaken in Mr. BLAIR! That he could
write those lines:--

    "Aspiring unto that far-off Ideal,
    How should I stoop to any meaner love?"

and yet philander with my poor foolish PHILLIPSON the moment he met
her! And then to tell Mamma about my letter like that! Why, even Mr.
SPURRELL had more discretion--to be sure, _he_ knew nothing about
it--but _that_ makes no difference! RHODA was right; I ought to have
allowed a margin; only I should never have allowed _enough!_ The worst
of it is that, if Mamma was unjust in some things she said, she was
right about _one_. I _have_ disgusted GERALD. He mayn't be brilliant,
but at least he's straightforward and loyal and a gentleman, and--and
he did like me once. He doesn't any more, or he wouldn't have gone
away. And it may be ages before I ever get a chance to let him see how
_dreadfully_ sorry---- (_She turns, and sees_ Captain THICKNESSE.) Oh,
haven't you gone _yet?_

_Captain Thicknesse._ Yes, I went, but I've come back again. I--I
couldn't help it; 'pon my word I couldn't.

_Lady Maisie_ (_with a sudden flush_). You--you weren't _sent_
for--by--by anyone?

_Capt. Thick._ So _likely_ anyone would send for me, isn't it?

_Lady Maisie._ I don't know why I said that; it was silly, of course.
But how----?

_Capt. Thick._ Ran it a bit too fine; got to Shuntin'bridge just in
time to see the tail end of the train disappearin'; wasn't another for
hours--not much to do _there_, don't you know.

_Lady Maisie._ You might have taken a walk--or gone to Church.

_Capt. Thick._ So I might, didn't occur to me; and besides, I--I
remembered I never said good-bye to _you_.

_Lady Maisie._ Didn't you? And whose fault was that?

_Capt. Thick._ Not mine, anyhow. You were somewhere about the grounds
with Mr. BLAIR.

_Lady Maisie._ Now you mention it, I believe I was. We had--rather an
interesting conversation. Still, you might have come to look for me!

_Capt. Thick._ Perhaps you wouldn't have been over and above glad to
see me.

_Lady Maisie._ Oh, yes, I should!--When it was to say _good-bye_, you
know!

_Capt. Thick._ Ah! Well, I suppose I shall only be in the way if I stop
here any longer now.

_Lady Maisie._ Do you? What makes you say that?

_Capt. Thick._ Nothin'! Saw your friend, the Bard, hurryin' along the
terrace with a bunch of snowdrops; he'll be here in another----

_Lady Maisie_ (_in unmistakable horror_). GERALD, _why_ didn't
you tell me before? There's only just time!

    [_She flies to a door and opens it._

_Capt. Thick._ But I _say_, you know! MAISIE, may I come too?

_Lady Maisie._ Don't be a _goose_, GERALD. Of course you can,
if you like.

    [_She disappears in the Conservatory._

_Capt. Thick._ (_to himself_). Can't quite make this out, but I'm no
end glad I came back!

    [_He follows quickly._

_Undershell_ (_entering_). I hoped I should find her here. (_He
looks round._) Her mother's gone--that's _something!_ I daresay Lady
MAISIE will come in presently. (_He sits down, and re-arranges
his snowdrops._) It will be sweet to see her face light up when I offer
her these as a symbol of the new and closer sympathy between us! (_He
hears the sound of drapery behind him._) Ah, already! (_Rising, and
presenting his flowers with downcast eyes._) I--I have ventured to
gather these--for you. (_He raises his eyes._) Miss SPELWANE!

_Miss Spelwane_ (_taking them graciously_). How very sweet of you, Mr.
BLAIR. Are they really for me?

_Und._ (_concealing his disappointment_). Oh--er--yes. If you will give
me the pleasure of accepting them.

_Miss Spelw._ I feel immensely proud. I was so afraid you must have
thought I was rather cross to you last night. I didn't mean to be. I
was feeling a little overdone, that was all. But you have chosen a
charming way of letting me see that I am forgiven. (_To herself._) It's
really _too_ touching. He certainly is a great improvement on the other
wretch!

_Und._ (_dolefully_). I--I had no such intention, I assure you. (_To
himself._) I hope to goodness Lady MAISIE won't come in before
I can get rid of this girl. I seem fated to be misunderstood here!

(_To be concluded._)

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

_A Strange Career_ is the title of a book recently issued by BLACKWOOD,
and it sets forth the life and adventures of JOHN GLADWYN JEBB. Mr.
RIDER HAGGARD supplies an introduction, in which he testifies touching
Mr. JEBB that of "all friends he was the gentlest and truest, of all
men the most trustful." At first reading this testimony is almost
necessary, for so wild were Mr. JEBB's adventures in Mexico, so
imminent his frequent peril, and so miraculous his inevitable escape,
that one seems to be reading a work by Mr. LOUIS STEVENSON, or the
author of _She_. In merit of graphic power and style the work need not
shrink from comparison even with these masters of the art. It purports
to be written by Mr. JEBB'S widow, but as the lady did not become his
wife till his strange career had several times been nearly brought to
an abrupt close, Mr. JEBB must have been as effective with his pen as
he was with his gun. The picture of the eclipse of the sun seen from
one of the highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains; the discovery of the
pipe-stem when digging round the snow-submerged site of a hut in the
mountains, a discovery which, carefully followed up, brought to light
"the whiteish-grey fingers of the dead man closely clutching the bowl
of the pipe"; the account of the revolt in the streets of the city of
Mexico; and the story of the coach party robbed by bandits four times
in a single day on a journey from Puebla to Vera Cruz--these are among
the frequent flashes in one of the most stirring narratives that has
for a long time come in my Baronite's way.

[Illustration]

Evidently "Mars," in return for our late curiosity, has been keeping
his eye on this gay little planet of ours. His experiences, published
by the Parisian firm of _Plon, Nourrit et Cie_, are pictorially related
in _La Vie de Londres_. Needless to remark it was our _Côtés riants_
which struck him.

The Baron cannot finish his notes of admiration without giving one
of them, and that a big one, to _Phil May's Annual_. That May should
appear to brighten up December fogs is nice in itself; and it is
phill'd with the best of May produce. "Another thing," quoth the Baron,
"about this annual by PHIL MAY is, that all _mes filles_ can
read it and see it with pleasure."

At this time of year the Baron examines the "Hardy Annuals" that are
heaped upon his table. At the first examination he gives the apple
to the "Pip," _i.e._, to the _The Penny Illustrated Paper_, that is,
as represented by it's Christmas number called _Christmas Cards_.
Charming picture, too, of "_The Queen of Hearts_," photographed from
the life--"may she live long and prosper!"--and the story re-latey'd by
the indefatigable JOHN LATEY "will delight the most insatiable
story-devourer," quoth

  THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

IMPROVED AND IMPROVING DIALOGUES.

(_Arranged on the strictest Lines of Truth._)

_At_ Mrs. SOMEBODY'S _on "At Home" Day_.

_Mrs. Somebody._ Well, I am pleased you have come at last, as I wanted
you to notice that, although you have a slightly better address, my
drawing-room is far larger than your own.

_Mrs. Caller._ You are most kind to say so; and I may add that we
should not have dreamed to come to this out-of-the-way part of
the world had we not wished to purchase some cheap carpets in the
neighbourhood.

_Miss Caller._ I suppose your extremely plain daughter ARAMINTA is away
from home; she seldom contrives to hit it off with her mother.

_Mrs. Somebody._ You have guessed rightly; but I may say that she is
staying at Lady DASHAWAY'S place in the country. I mention the fact
casually, although I am glad to get in a title somehow in the course of
my conversation.

_Mrs. Caller._ If you are obliging enough to give me the opportunity,
I will get in a dozen persons with handles to their names. You will
pardon the vulgarity?

_Mrs. Somebody._ Most certainly, as knowing that your father was a
bootmaker in a large way, and your mother the daughter of a milliner,
nothing else could be reasonably expected.

_Mrs. Caller._ Aware that you may know something of my immediate
ancestry, I will leave no stone unturned to find an opening for some
reference to my uncle the curate.

_Miss Caller._ Being glad to add on every conceivable occasion to
the list of my partners at any promiscuous charity ball that I may
patronise with my presence, I will ask after your eldest unmarried son?

_Mrs. Somebody._ I thank you, my dear child, but as I intend him to
look rather higher than yourself for a matrimonial alliance, I will
meet your politic inquiry with a pailful of polite cold water.

_Mrs. Caller._ Having now consumed the regulation cup of cold weak
tea and section of luke-warm muffin, I will say good-bye, and take
my departure. But before leaving I will make special reference to my
brougham.

_Miss Caller._ And I will add my _adieux_, after giving a good long
look at your hair, which seems to require attention at the roots.

_Mrs. Somebody._ I will warmly speed your parting, reflecting the
while, as a sop to my wounded feelings, that you are both looking
dreadfully old, and that your conveyance is merely a hired brougham. No
doubt your stay would have been longer if the charge per hour had been
what your vulgarian of a husband and father (who, thank goodness, has
_not_ called) would term "easier."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ASSOCIATION V. RUGBY.

_She plaintively--to famous Rugby half-back_). "_WOULD_ IT GET YOU
VERY MUCH OUT OF PRACTICE IF WE WERE TO DANCE 'SOCKER' A LITTLE?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

"SHAKY!"

_The McRosebery loquitur:_--

    "The Sprites that owre the Brigs of Ayr preside"
    (Which ROBBIE BURNS in days lang syne descry'd)
    Attend me noo!
                          Lo the Auld Brig uprears
    Its shaky timbers on its sheep-shank piers!
    Wull I win owre in safety? Losh! I feel
    Like _Tam o' Shanter_ after that witch-reel.
    Fays, spunkies, kelpies seem to throng the air;
    Swift as the gos drives on the wheeling hare
    They drive on me, like vera deils. Lang rains
    Wi' deepening deluges o'erflow the plains;
    The "flowing tide" beneath me brawls like Coil,
    But the wrang gait its billows brim an' boil.
    Arous'd by blust'ring winds an' spotting thowes,
    In mony a torrent down the snaw-broo rowes.
    If down ye'll hurl, deil nor ye never rise,
    But dash the gumlie jaups up to the skies.
    A lesson sadly teaching to your cost
    That the Brig(g)-builders' Liberal arts seem lost.

    Wad I were owre! Sin' Forfarshire went wrang,
    And our old cause gat sic an unco bang,
    My speerits sink and groan in deep vexation,
    To see sic melancholy alteration.
    Conceited gowks, puff'd up wi' windy pride,
    Still swell and swagger of the flowing tide.
    Flowing--but whither? All their fads and havers,
    Their whigmaleeries and their clishmaclavers
    Won't change those stubborn "chiels that winna ding."
    Scotland the good auld songs was wont to sing
    In a' but universal unison;
    But noo the janglin' seems to hae begun
    Even ayont the Tweed. What fa' from grace
    Hath late begat a base degenerate race?
    Nae longer phalanxed Rads, their party's glory!
    Your tartan'd Scot comes forth a true-blue Tory.
    Nae longer thrifty citizens, an' douce.
    Vote WULLIE'S lads to the great Council-House,
    Owre Liberty an' Law to stan' stout sentry,
    But staumrel, corky-headed, graceless gentry,
    The herryment and ruin o' the country,
    Win owre their votes, and Scotia aid affords
    To that sad gilded cell, the House o' Lords!

    Weel, weel! wi' Time we'll have to warstle lang,
    Be toughly doure, e'en although a' gae wrang;
    Stands Scotland where she did? That maun be tried.
    This mony a year thou'st stood the flood and tide,
    Auld Brig(g); and though wi' Forfar sair forfairn,
    My hap I here must tent and soon shall lairn.
    I ken the noo, no much aboot the matter,
    But twa-three footsteps will inform me better.
    _Shaky!_ My fears frae friend an' foe I'll cover,
    But, like puir TAM, I wad I were weel owre!

       *       *       *       *       *

WAIF AND STRAY.--A very touching incident was recently
recorded in the _Times_. It appears that news was received from the
astronomical station at Kiel to the effect that "a very faint comet
had been discovered by Mr. EDWARD SMITH. It was moving slowly
towards the east." Wounded it may be by a shooting star, and "moving,"
perhaps crawling, to finish its existence in the east. Was ever heard a
more moving tale than this of the crawling comet! Alas! Ere now it may
be ... but the subject is too pathetic for words.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE HOUSE-AGENT'S DREAM.

      The dreary fog envelopes all the street,
      The dingy chambers seem more dingy still.--
      To advertise them as a "charming _suite_"
      Would tax e'en _my_ imaginative skill!--
      But when I feel dejected, sad, or ill,
      In swift imagination I can fly
      To that sweet residence which some day will
      A home to PHYLLIS and myself supply,
    When fortune, long-delayed, shall join us by-and-by.

      "Delightful scenery" the spot surrounds
      Where that "palatial edifice" will stand,
      Secluded pleasantly in "park-like grounds,"
      (Which means an acre of neglected land,)
      Shooting and hunting will be "near at hand,"
      (Provided you interpret rightly "near.")
      The bracing climate, too, is simply grand--
      Its title to the epithet is clear,
    Compared, at least, with this appalling atmosphere!

      "Reception halls" there certainly will be,
      "Elegant boudoirs," too, where we shall sit
      And entertain acquaintances with tea,
      A "library"--I doubt my using it,
      But every mansion has one, you'll admit--
      Stabling that's "excellent," but not too big,
      (A cupboard for my bicycle, to wit,)
      "Shelter for stock "--a solitary pig--
    "And spacious flower-beds"--which I shall have to dig!

      So, PHYLLIS, from all murmuring refrain,
      Nor let the thought of poverty annoy,
      Although you view a "villa" with disdain,
      And sigh for riches as your chiefest joy,
      While monetary pleasures quickly cloy,
      "Sweet are the uses of advertisement,"
      The magic of my calling I employ,
      And lo! a home that might a prince content,
    Though fifty pounds a year may pay its modest rent!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "SHAKY!"

THE MCROSEBERY. "EH--BUT I'D LIKE FINE TO BE WELL OVER THIS
'BRIGG'!"

[Brigg polling day, Friday, December 7.]]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Young Lady_ (_on the road to School--to Friend, who,
fearing to be left behind, has been calling her by Name to wait for
her_). "HO! COME 'LONG, BELINDA, _DO_--AN' DON' KEEP HON CALLIN'
HOUT MY NAIME; HI DON' WANT _HALL_ LONDON TER KNOW HIT!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE FOOL'S VADE MECUM.

(_Excerpts from a Handbook for the Majority._)

If you have reason to suspect a gun of being unloaded, make sure by
firing at your friend's head.

If you find Him and Her _tête-à-tête_, join the little party. This will
show a sympathetic nature, and take all the awkwardness out of the
situation.

If you are a woman, always flop down in a smoking-carriage, without
noticing the obvious label and the looks of the occupants. When made
aware of the situation, say, "Oh, I don't mind smoking," and consider
the question solved.

If a man, select carefully a compartment in which Two Young People are
ostentatiously trying to look as if they don't find their own company
quite sufficient for a journey of any duration.

If you are hurrying for a train, and want an easy, always slacken just
as you catch another person up, and walk close behind him, panting and
puffing till you are ready for another spurt.

Always read, or recite, your compositions to your friends. Believe them
when they protest they would really like you to do so.

Engage in serious argument with a woman with whom you wish to be on
really good terms--a rich relation for choice.

Always curse the waiters if the cook has failed in his treatment of
your chop or steak.

Always act contrary to the directions in crowded places of public
interest. This shows an imperial spirit, and will make you, for the
time, an object of general interest.

Always stay to the very end on any occasion when you have been invited
at the last moment.

Always talk loud, and, as far as possible, always talk about yourself.

       *       *       *       *       *

FROM A CORRESPONDENT.--"Sir,--Seeing the advertisement of a
book entitled _Poets on Poets_, I should much like to know what has
become of a once much-quoted work entitled _Pelion on Ossa?_ Who was
'Pelion'? and what did 'Ossa' write?--Yours, T. NOODELLE."

       *       *       *       *       *

FIRST IMPRESSIONS.

Pisa, placid Pisa, only awakened at half-past eleven by the rushing
tourist who traverses your sleepy streets. By the half-past two train
he starts afresh, and leaves you to doze as peacefully as before. My
train arrives with amazing punctuality, and I reach the hotel earlier
than was ever known; 11.35 A.M., and apparently nobody up yet. The
_vetturino_ loudly cracks his whip, but, to no purpose. Suddenly I
notice some electric bell-pushes. Ring one. Ring another. Finally, ring
them all. Then at last rushes out an elegant gentleman, probably the
manager, who excitedly endeavours to speak, and to apologise, in four
languages at once. Reduce him to calmness, and to two languages, with a
few words from a third thrown in occasionally, and demand _déjeuner_.
Another delay. The elegant gentleman does not explain; but evidently
the cook is still asleep, and the waiters only just up. But at last I
am served, and excellently too, and go off to see the sights.

Unfortunately am seized with an insane wish to ascend the Leaning
Tower, when I might have remained comfortably on the beautiful turf at
the foot of it. Rouse the official at the door. He says I cannot go
up alone. Remember that sort of trick, so tell him he may accompany
me. He says he must stay below. Remember also that sort of trick, and
offer him a lira. He is still unconvinced! Do not remember any trick of
that sort. An extraordinary _custode!_ What will convince him? Am just
asking where I can find a companion, when a small, quiet man strolls
up. For fifty centesimi he will accompany me. That's cheap enough, so
follow him at once. The steps lean first one way and then the other as
one goes round the tower. It is like climbing the companion way, as
I think one should call it--say the staircase, in plain English--of
a steamer in a storm. Begin to dislike the sensation, when my guide
suddenly stops. He suggests that the tower is very high and fifty
centesimi very low. Tell him I don't mind sixty or seventy, and on we
go, round and round. Begin to feel almost giddy--imagine a _circular_
staircase in a steamer in a storm!--when he stops again. Notice in
the dim light that he is broad-shouldered and muscular, though short.
Pleasant sort of place for a fight with a reckless ruffian! Perhaps he
has weapons! He says I ought to pay him a lira. Agree to this at once.

Up again, round and round. Think of all the mysterious murders one
reads of, and wish I had never come. Look up at him. He is certainly
bigger than I am. And what is that long straight thing which makes his
pocket stick out? Oh, horror! It must be a knife, or a dagger in a
sheath! Just then he stops, and says he would like a cup of coffee when
we get down again. How I wish we were down again! Agree at once. Up a
few more steps, and then he stops again and says it is very hot, and
he would like a bottle of wine as well. Agree to this also at once. Up
again, round and round and round, and at last reach an outside gallery.
Peep out through the doorway. Refuse to trust myself beyond. There is
only a single iron rail, and that not all round. Guide says I might as
well give him five lire, to include the wine and coffee. Agree to this
also, and feebly suggest that I have seen enough. But he is inexorable,
and on we go again.

[Illustration: "Si, signore," says It is a flute.]

At last at the top. Look over at happy, sleepy Pisa, and wish I was
down there. So I should be, pretty soon, if he threw me over! Just
then he says he would like a few cigars. Tell him I will make it six
lire, and that I should now like to go down. No! I must see Livorno.
Hang Livorno! But obey him meekly. Then he says he has some antiquities
for sale, among them some swords and daggers. Ah! Just what I thought.
Glance nervously at the straight thing in his pocket, and say I will
look at them. Then he wants me to look over the iron railing at the
sloping base below. Hang over in the air? Never! But he will hold my
legs. What? Balance myself on a slender bar, while a brigand, as he
probably is, tilts me over by the boots? Would sooner buy all the
antiquities in Pisa. Good idea. Tell him I will buy his swords if I can
go at once to see them. Whereupon he hurries down so fast that I cannot
keep pace with him. But I feel happier as I get nearer the outer world,
and at last step out safely on to the level earth. Look joyously at the
beautiful grass and the road to the railway station. Then perceive the
_custode_ and a little man with him. Can that be my guide? Why, I could
knock him down easily! What a fool I was to be afraid of him! Still,
that dagger--I must pay him the six lire as I have promised them. He
reminds me that I also promised to buy his swords. Feel inclined to
dispute this, but cannot. So settle it by giving him six lire more.
Then, before hurrying to the station, ask him to show me the thing in
his pocket. "_Si, signore_," says he, in a meek, deferential tone, and
pulls it out. It is a flute.

  A FIRST IMPRESSIONIST.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Temperance Enthusiast._ "LOOK AT THE BEAUTIFUL
LIVES OUR FIRST PARENTS LED. DO YOU SUPPOSE _THEY_ EVER GAVE WAY TO
STRONG DRINK?"

_The Reprobate._ "I 'XPECT EVE MUST 'A' DONE. SHE SAW SNAKES!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SEASONS.

    When Winter flies, and sunny skies
      Invite the lark to sing, my dear,
    My heart in exultation cries,
      "Ah! give me balmy Spring, my dear!"

    When scented Summer fills the air
      With zephyrs from the West, my dear,
    I stretch me on the grass and swear
      I love the Summer best, my dear.

    When gorgeous Autumn paints the wood
      In red and gold, and green, my dear,
    I cry delighted, "By the Rood,
      But Autumn is the Queen, my dear!"

    And yet, when through the leafless trees
      Skirls loud the icy blast, my dear,
    We, basking by the fire at ease,
      Do hear it sweeping past, my dear;

    And when you mix, as well you know,
      My tumbler reeking hot, my dear,
    Why then, what matter ice and snow?--
      Bleak Winter beats the lot, my dear!

       *       *       *       *       *

DIARY OF A DUCK.

    ["It is even hinted that the London County Council may fill
    the lakes and ponds of the Metropolitan Parks with sea
    water."--_Daily Paper._]

_Monday._--Curious what a lot of human beings have come to the water's
edge to-day. What's going to happen? St. James's Park crammed with
them. We don't mind, of course. The more loafers, the more bits of loaf
and biscuit for _us_. Immense amount of quacking going on, too, up at
Spring Gardens. What _can_ it all mean?

_Tuesday._--Headache. My liver must have gone wrong, I fancy, as a
result of yesterday's unusual supply of eatables. What stale biscuits
some people do chuck into the water! Those hard crusts, too, _don't_
agree with me. Same crowd as yesterday. They seem to be waiting for
something. Ask a goose what's going on. Goose says, "Dinner," and
gobbles up a biscuit. Stupid creature!

_Wednesday._--Appetite all right again--but must be careful.
Fortunately can pick and choose _now_. Won't look at a crust. Inclined
to insist on fancy bread. Friendly wild-fowl says just the same crowd
waiting round Serpentine, _which has been emptied_. Will they empty
_us?_

_Thursday._--They will! No doubt about it. Level steadily sinking.
Crowd as usual. None of us will touch anything under a bath bun. What a
slimy place we _do_ seem to live in, now it's being uncovered! Where's
the inspector of nuisances, I wonder?

_Friday._--Water off! What'll be the next move? Offered a Huntley and
Palmer with no sugar on it! Scandalous!

_Saturday._--More quacking at Spring Gardens. Then a sort of procession
down to the banks by members of the L. C. C. Ask goose what a member
of the L. C. C. means. Goose says "Quack!" Idiotic bird. Water really
coming in now. Hurrah! Sure to be fresh, anyhow. Have my first dive.
How my eyes smart! What funny water it is! Taste some. Why,--_it's
salt!_ Just wondering what this means, when a man comes along, claps
me into a hamper with all my relations, and takes me off to Leadenhall
Market--so he calls it. Told that the L. C. C. has filled all the park
ponds with sea-water! No more use for _us_--going to have a lot of
sea-gulls instead. What treachery! (_Later._) Sold.

       *       *       *       *       *

SOUNDING THE ANTITOXIN!

    (_See Dr. Robson Roose's excellent article on "The Spread of
    Diphtheria" in the Fortnightly Review for December, 1894._)

    The _Antitoxin_ sounds! "And what the doose
      Is Antitoxin?" cries the reader, lightly.
    But he'll not chaff if he reads ROBSON ROOSE
      Upon Diphtheria in the new _Fortnightly_.
    There he'll learn how the "Antitoxic serum"
    Attacks _bacilli_ with a view to queer 'em.

    The _Antitoxin_ sounds to a new war
      On diphtheritic microbes, which are rum 'uns;
    And Doctor ROOSE, perched on Hygeia's car,
      Rides forth in battle-rig to spread the summons.
    Ah! the old conquerors were mere death-dealers,
    But greatest of Earth's heroes are the healers!

    Their war is on man's foes, not on mankind.
      Hygeia is Humanity's "Little Sister."
    Funds for her service, though, 'tis hard to find;
      Hence this appeal of good Sir JOSEPH LISTER[1]
    For money-aid, successfully to urge
    The war of the new cure on the new scourge.

    It spreads, it strikes, it slays our little ones
      In legions; deaths in twenty years it doubles;
    Now LÖFFLER, KLEBS, ROUX, YERSIN, all great guns,
      Attack the toxic source of dread throat-troubles,
    As ROBSON ROOSE explains. Read--and remember--
    All in the new _Fortnightly_ for December!

[1] Chairman of the Council of the British Institute of Preventive
Medicine, who has as yet received only £500 out of the £2000 required
to prepare the Antitoxin on an adequate scale.

       *       *       *       *       *

CHRISTMAS DIARIES.--_Mr. Punch_ suggests that the publisher of
these should prefix as an advertisement to these little diaries, dainty
diaries, pocket companions, and so forth, all delightful little gifts,
_Ophelia's_ words, "Here's (DE LA) RUE for you."

       *       *       *       *       *

WORDS TO THE WISE WOMEN.

    Woman, in unmeet subjects crudely taught,
    Stung by the splendour of a well-worn thought,
    First shrieks, as she had sat upon a pin,
    Then, like a hen amid her cackling kin,
    Fills a bewildered world with loud, officious din.
      In time inconstant even to abuse
    Our rebel sisters hoist a flag of truce,
    Through deafen'd ears steals Nature's saner voice,
    Bending the will to Mrs. HOBSON'S choice,
    And, half-ashamed, with truer glance they scan
    The fancy-monster they have made of Man.
     Left to herself, with ample length of rope,
    The Pioneer, relenting, bids him hope,
    And Man, though of his manhood nowise cured.
    Learns that by women he may be endured.
    But still, ungrateful or accustom'd grown,
    He leaves the thorny sisterhood alone,
    And, bold because his conscience knows no fear,
    Whispers soft counsel to the Pioneer.
      First, your _soi-disant_ woman-slaves to raise,
    You copy silly men's most silly ways,
    As the rich upstart who to _ton_ aspires
    Reveals the sordid source of his desires
    By shunning culture, dignity, and grace,
    To follow Folly's lead, and go the pace.
    So boys, first freed from tutelage and rules,
    Set forth to paint the city total gules,
    With this excuse for draining Folly's cup,
    "Boys will be boys,"--but _you_ are _quite_ grown up.
    Too conscious still, and still the slaves of fuss,
    You take example by the dregs of us,
    The lantern-jaw'd Effeminates, who tell
    How Truth lies wallowing in the foulest well;
    The critic Zanies, who admire a poet,
    Only, it seems, for other fools to know it,
    And found Societies of glorious name
    That a prig President may filch some fame.
      Man, still more human as he learns the more,
    Seeks, like a sportsman true, new tasks to floor.
    Large wisdom gathers as he cracks a bottle
    With Sages who've ne'er heard of ARISTOTLE,
    Rates at their proper low stage in creation
    The prim apostles of Examination,
    And whether learning brings him fame, or no,
    Is happier, humbler, gentler, wiser so.
      Ah, learn whate'er you will, yet spare our hearts
    A home-grown, feminine Baboo of Arts.
    Believe it, envious maids, the men you spurn,
    Think little of the honours that they earn.
    Too well they're taught in common sense's rules
    To dwell upon their triumphs in the Schools,
    And chiefly prize the Baccalaureate fur
    Because, in love's young days, it pleases Her.
    But you, in purpose tyrannously strong,
    Get, in each effort, your perspective wrong.
    Learn all you wish to learn, exult in learning,
    For Hymen's torch keep midnight oil a-burning,
    Bulge your fair foreheads with those threatening bumps,
    Ungraceful as an intellectual mumps,
    Be blatant, rude, self-conscious as you can,
    Be all you feign--and imitate--in Man.
    Spurn all the fine traditions of the past,
    Be New or nothing--what's the gain at last?

    You know as much, with hard-eyed, harsh-voiced joy,
    As the shock-headed, shambling fifth-form boy;
    Adding, what his sound mind would never please,
    An Asiatic hunger for degrees.
    True learning's that alone whereon are based
    Clear insight, reason, sympathy, and taste.
    Not relic-worshipping of bones long dry,
    Not giving puppet-life to _x_ and _y_,
    And walking haughtily a fair world through
    Because some girls can't do the sums you do.
    Still less, the little, little world of cliques,
    Where Mutual Admiration dons the breeks,
    And then proceeds kind tolerant man to flout--
    A petulant, unresented Barring-out.
      Meanwhile our faith looks on, devoid of fear,
    Facing the hatchet of the Pioneer.
    Still will the storm, in Nature's potent plan,
    Be temper'd to the shorn, or bearded, man.
    Your sex will still be perfect in its place,
    With voice of melody and soul of grace.
    Pose, lecture, worry, copy as you will,
    Man will be man, and woman woman still!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: GIVING ONESELF AWAY.

_The Admiral_ (_standing beside his portrait_). "YOU'VE NO IDEA HOW
A BEARD CHANGES THE CHARACTER OF A MAN'S PROFILE, MISS SANDERSON. JUST
LOOK HERE!"

_Miss Sanderson._ "A--A--I SEE WHAT YOU MEAN."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE GAME OF CHRISTMAS CARDS.--That Father Christmas is coming to
town with his usual entertainment is evident from the cards and
advertisements sent everywhere in advance. What is the impossible
future of the Christmas card? This is a question suggested by the
modern way of looking at things, and especially at the marvellous
ingenuity with which RAPHAEL TUCK AND SON have saved their cards from
dwindling into the obscurity of dull _averageness_. They are in their
pristine freshness scintillating with that adhesive frost on simple
summer flowers so entirely metaphorical of the season. Their dainty,
artistic, and useful calendars inspire one with a cheerful fascination
to begin the New Year.

       *       *       *       *       *

MORE SHE-NOTES.

(_By_ IÕPNA, _Author of "A Yellow Plaster."_)

CHAPTER III.

Colour-blind from his tenth year, CHAMOIS HYDE (late of
Christ's, Oxford, not to be confused with Christchurch, Cambridge),
had hitherto ignored details of scenery; but now the vermiliony petal
of the pimpernel, the rubicund radix of the carrot, the blue of the
insensate bottle-fly--these reminded him respectively of the cheeks of
MARGERINE, her hair, the spots in her grey eyes where, as we
said, the soul looked through. The harvest-sheaves again were, broadly
speaking, her figure.

[Illustration]

Till now he had been impervious to the new femalehood, rising like
Proteus from the azure foam; dumbly he had waited for a woman with
possible potentialities, or, failing this, with potential possibilities.

MARGERINE, whom we left a fortnight ago inarticulately gurgling by
the trout-stream, caught the note of a step in the briar-patch. With
her budding instinct she could tell her lover's footfall half a mile
away, waking the age-echo in her chest. This one was lighter and less
gregarious. In her sphinxy way she divined that it belonged to a woman
with Puritan impossibilities and a yellow plaster next her heart.

Under a mask of habitual and hereditary reticence, the step came on,
revealing a finished creature, gowned beyond all mending. MARGERINE,
whose face was her ewe-lamb, became sub-acutely aware of her own
half-made frock, and yearned a little in the other's direction.

"Oh!" she said; "how _did_ you get it built that way? I mean the
gown." The woman's voice came through the envelope of MARGERINE'S
sub-consciousness, steely clear as a cheese-cutter. "My name is Mrs.
CHAMOIS HYDE. In other words, I am the wife of Mr. CHAMOIS HYDE!"

"The wife of CHAMOIS HYDE?" said the innocent girl; "I do not follow
you."

"Let me explain," said the other, unsparingly. "CHAMOIS HYDE, who is
now due at your trout-stream" (MARGARINE smiled stoopingly), "is my
husband. I say, he married me. Once I had a maiden name. That is all
past. I changed it when I married. All _honourable_ women do. _I_ am
honourable. _I_ changed mine. Now I am Mrs. CHAMOIS HYDE. See?"

"Can't help that," said MARGERINE cheerfully; "he loves _me_." This was
the folded-lamb's point of view.

"Girl, have you no shame?" This was the other woman's.

"Rather I blush for _you_," said the unfinished creature. "You couldn't
make him love you, _you_ couldn't; you're the hankering feminine
counterpart of the man in the other book, the _Yellow Plaster_ book.
Now it is too late. We love each other. The matter is taken out of our
hands. We are merely impassive, irresponsible, agents. Do try and look
at the case as I do, from an unbiassed, impersonal, point of view; and
see that the fault is utterly your own."

The girl's regard for her lover had suffered no transitional
throwing-back at the news of his deception. She was overwhelming with
her palpabilities. Ah! it is these that men love--palpabilities. "And
have I none?" moaned the unhappy wife. "If I could blush, could only
blush! He would have loved me then. But stay, he is colour-blind; I
forgot."

[Illustration: Worth re-tailing.]

"I said just now I would blush _for_ you," replied the other, who
had been under the eaves overhearing her thoughts. "And to think of
the chances you have missed, and with a gown like that! Why, if you
are his wife, you must often have met him about, and not had to make
arrangements at a trout-stream like me. Conceivably he has even kissed
you. I read once of a married man who kissed his wife." She suddenly
stopped; not that one of her intoxicating gutturals had come loose; but
an odd flood of pathos was playing on the other's brow as she caught
sight of CHAMOIS whistling aloofly behind a sycamore, and went
in thought all over that first kiss, complicated, perhaps, perhaps
rather billiardy, but still a thing to remember.

Like a cloud the stigma lifted, and MARGERINE guessed her horrid
secret. "_You_ love him too? I never thought of that. How forgetful
of me! But if _you_ love him and _I_ love him, why, we _both_ love
him! This is too much!" For a moment both of them, pulsated even as
one tuning-fork. Though sundered by the estranging ocean of the past
that had closed its lid between them, leaving them like shuttlecocks,
sick with strong doses of womanhood and experience, now that CHAMOIS,
steadied by his breeding, was rapidly joining the party, the two women
leaned against one another (how seldom women do this!), and waited,
containedly restless. But the man, as I said before, comes into the
next chapter, if we ever get as far.

       *       *       *       *       *

TRUE GLORY.

    ["For assisting in destroying a legend, the Rev. Dr.
    NICHOLSON, who pulverised IGNATIUS DONNELLY'S
    celebrated cryptogram, is to be presented with an illuminated
    address."--_Daily Telegraph_, Nov. 28.]

[Illustration]

    I've always been courageous, in a modest sort of way,
    And sought an opportunity my valour to display,
    There's nothing I'd like better than to lead a conquering host,
    If STEVENSON or CONAN DOYLE would offer me a post.

    But, in real life, such chances are extremely hard to find.
    They disregard the model, too, you've carefully designed,
    For if a foe--a burglar, say--you venture to attack,
    The disagreeable scoundrel's rather apt to hit you back.

    But here's a way--it's safer far, as you will soon confess,--
    To have your courage recognised and praised in an Address;
    It's a sort of learned skittles, and the method of it's plain--
    You gravely set a dummy up, and knock it down again.

    Just get a friend to postulate that TENNYSON'S a sham,
    That MARTIN TUPPER wrote the whole of _In Memoriam_,
    Or else, that ROBERT BROWNING'S greatest work was _Nancy Lee_,
    And then--_you prove your friend is wrong_--and there you are, you see.

    They'll give you testimonials, many speakers will allude
    In tones of deep emotion to "a nation's gratitude";
    So if you sigh for glory, I can recommend the game,
    For literary ninepins is a speedy path to fame!

       *       *       *       *       *

NEW HONOURS.

Last week Solicitor-General FRANK LOCKWOOD, Q.C., M.P., was knighted.
So was the High Sheriff of Surrey, Mr. FRED WIGAN. Quite appropriate
that Queen's Counsel LOCKWOOD should appear with Wig-an'--the gown
too, of course. After this J. WEEKS SZLUMPER was made a knight, and
has now another "s" added to his name. All hail, Sir SZLUMPER, or "Zir
ZLUMPER!" As the ex-mayor of Richmond quitted (backwards) the Royal
Presence, did a concealed choir sing a verse of the ancient ballad
commencing "Slumber my darling," and for this occasion altered to

    "SZLUMPER my darling!"

       *       *       *       *       *

LATEST WAR INTELLIGENCE.

In the House of Commons, and elsewhere, the SECRETARY OF STATE FOR
WAR is accustomed to have appeals made to him to assist in providing
facilities for the engagement and remunerative occupation of soldiers
and non-commissioned officers no longer on active service. We are glad
to notice, from the subjoined advertisement, which appeared in the
_Daily News_ of Thursday, that the public are themselves taking the
matter in hand:--

    TWO GENERALS WANTED, as Cook and Housemaid, for one lady.
    Light, comfortable situation. Good wages.--Apply, &c.

[Illustration]

The advertiser, it will be observed, flies at higher rank than that
usually considered in this connection. But the situation is "light" and
"comfortable," with "good wages" pertaining, and she has some right to
look for applicants of superior station. We presume that on festive
occasions the gallant officers would be expected to don their uniforms.
Few things would be more striking than to see a general, probably
wearing his war medals, sweeping the front doorstep, whilst through the
kitchen window a glimpse was caught of a brother officer, in full tog,
larding a pheasant.

[Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]





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