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Title: Absurd Ditties
Author: Farrow, G. E. (George Edward)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             ABSURD DITTIES

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                 THESE
                                   TO
                               MY FRIEND
                        T. FRANCIS VERE FOSTER.

                                                                G. E. F.



                             ABSURD DITTIES

                                   BY

                              G. E. FARROW

                 _Author of "The Wallypug of Why" etc._

[Illustration]

                       WITH PICTORIAL ABSURDITIES
                                   BY
                              JOHN HASSALL

[Illustration]

                                 LONDON
                    GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS, LTD.
                     NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON AND CO.
                                  1903



                               CONTENTS.


                                                                PAGE.

           I. THAT OF MR. JUSTICE DEAR                              1

          II. THAT OF THE LATE MR. BROWN                            5

         III. THAT OF OUR OLD FRIEND, BISHOP P.                     9

          IV. THAT OF CAPTAIN ARCHIBALD MCKAN                      15

           V. THAT OF MATILDA                                      20

          VI. THAT OF "DOCTHOR" PATRICK O'DOOLEY                   25

         VII. THAT OF MY AUNT BETSY                                31

        VIII. THAT OF THE TUCK-SHOP WOMAN                          37

          IX. THAT OF S. P. IDERS WEBBE, SOLICITOR                 43

           X. THAT OF MONSIEUR ALPHONSE VERT                       50

          XI. THAT OF LORD WILLIAM OF PURLEIGH                     55

         XII. THAT OF PASHA ABDULLA BEY                            60

        XIII. THAT OF ALGERNON CROKER                              65

         XIV. THAT OF——?                                           69

          XV. THAT OF THE RIVAL HAIRDRESSERS                       75

         XVI. THAT OF THE AUCTIONEER'S DREAM                       80

        XVII. THAT OF THE PLAIN COOK                               86

       XVIII. THAT OF TWO MEDDLESOME PARTIES AND THEIR
              RESPECTIVE FATES                                     91

         XIX. THAT OF THE HOOLIGAN AND THE PHILANTHROPIST          98

          XX. THAT OF THE SOCIALIST AND THE EARL                  104

         XXI. THAT OF THE RETIRED PORK-BUTCHER AND THE SPOOK      109

        XXII. THAT OF THE POET AND THE BUCCANEERS                 115

       XXIII. THAT OF THE UNDERGROUND "SULPHUR CURE"              121

        XXIV. THAT OF THE FAIRY GRANDMOTHER AND THE COMPANY
              PROMOTER                                            127

         XXV. THAT OF THE GEISHA AND THE JAPANESE WARRIOR         132

        XXVI. THAT OF THE INDISCREET HEN AND THE RESOURCEFUL
              ROOSTER                                             137

       XXVII. THAT OF A DUEL IN FRANCE                            141

      XXVIII. THAT OF THE ASTUTE NOVELIST                         146

        XXIX. THAT OF THE ABSENT-MINDED LADY                      151

         XXX. THAT OF THE GERMAN BAKER AND THE COOK               155

        XXXI. THAT OF THE CONVERTED CANNIBALS                     160

       XXXII. THAT OF A FRUITLESS ENDEAVOUR                       164

      XXXIII. THAT OF THE UNFORTUNATE LOVER                       168

       XXXIV. THAT OF THE FEMALE GORILLY                          174

        XXXV. THAT OF THE ARTIST AND THE MOTOR-CAR. (A
              TRAGEDY)                                            179

       XXXVI. THAT OF THE INCONSIDERATE NABOB AND THE LADY WHO
              DESIRED TO BE A BEGUM                               184

      XXXVII. THAT OF DR. FARLEY, M.D., SPECIALIST IN LITTLE
              TOES                                                188

     XXXVIII. THAT OF JEREMIAH SCOLES, MISER                      192

       XXXIX. THAT OF THE HIGH-SOULED YOUTH                       196

          LX. THAT OF MR. JUSTICE DEAR'S LITTLE JOKE AND THE
              UNFORTUNATE MAN WHO COULD NOT SEE IT                201

         LXI. THAT OF THE LADIES OF ASCENSION ISLAND              205

        LXII. THAT OF THE ARTICULATING SKELETON                   208

       LXIII. THAT OF YE LOVE PHILTRE: (AN OLD-ENGLISH LEGEND)    211

        LXIV. THAT OF THE BARGAIN SALE                            216

         LXV. THAT OF A DECEASED FLY (A BALLADE)                  221

              EPILOGUE                                            224



                            ABSURD DITTIES.



                                   I.
                       THAT OF MR. JUSTICE DEAR.


                 "'Tis really very, _very_ queer!"
                 Ejaculated Justice Dear,
                 "That, day by day, I'm sitting here
                       Without a single 'case.'
                 This is the twenty-second pair
                 Of white kid gloves, I do declare,
                 I've had this month. I can _not_ wear
                       White kids at such a pace."

[Illustration]

              His Lordship thought the matter o'er.
              "Crimes ne'er have been so few before;
              Not long ago, I heard a score
                  Of charges every day;
              And now—dear me! how _can_ it be?—
              And, pondering thus, went home to tea.
                  (He lives Bayswater way.)

              A frugal mind has Justice Dear
              (Indeed, I've heard folks call him "near"),
              And, caring naught for jibe or jeer,
                  He rides home on a bus.
              It singularly came to pass,
              _This_ day, he chanced to ride, alas!
              Beside two of the burglar class;
                  And one addressed him thus:

              "We knows yer, Mr. Justice Dear,
              You've often giv' us 'time'—d'ye hear?—
              And now your pitch we're going to queer,
                  We criminals has _struck_!
              We're on the 'honest livin' tack,
              An' not another crib we'll crack,
              So Justices will get the sack!
                  How's _that_, my legal buck?"

              This gave his Lordship quite a fright,
              He had not viewed it in that light.
              "Dear me!" he thought, "these men are right,
                    I'd better smooth them down.
              "Let's not fall out, my friends," said he,
              "Continue with your burglarie;
              Your point of view I clearly see.
                    Ahem! Here's half-a-crown."

[Illustration]

                The morning sun shone bright and clear
                On angry Mr. Justice Dear;
                His language was not good to hear;
                      With rage he'd like to burst.
                His watch and chain, and several rings,
                His silver-plate, and other things,
                Had disappeared on magic wings—
                      _They'd burgled his house first_!



                                  II.
                      THAT OF THE LATE MR. BROWN.


               Life has its little ups, and downs,
                 As has been very truly said,
                   And Mr. Brown,
                   Of Camden Town
                 (Alas! the gentleman is dead),
               Found out how quickly Fortune's smile
                 May turn to Fortune's frown;
               And how a sudden rise in life
                 May bring a person down.

               He lived—as I remarked before—
                 Within a highly genteel square
                   At Camden Town,
                   Did Mr. Brown
                 (He had been born and brought up there);
               But—waxing richer year by year—
                 Grew prosperous and fat,
               And left the square at Camden Town
                 To take a West End flat.

                It was a very stylish flat,
                  With such appointments on each floor
                    As Mr. Brown
                    At Camden Town
                  Had never, never seen before:
                Electric lights; hydraulic lifts,
                  To take one up and down;
                And telephones _to everywhere_.
                  (These quite bewildered Brown.)

                The elevator pleased him most;
                  To ride in it was perfect bliss.
                    "I say!" cried Brown,
                    "At Camden Town
                  We'd nothing half as good as this."
                From early morn till dewy eve
                  He spent his time—did Brown—
                In being elevated up,
                  And elevated down.

                One night—I cannot tell you why—
                  When all the household soundly slept,
                    Poor Mr. Brown
                    (Late Camden Town)
                  Into the elevator stept;
                It stuck midway 'twixt floor and floor,
                  And when they got it down,
                They found that it was all U.—P.
                  With suffocated Brown.

[Illustration]

                Yes, life _is_ full of ups and downs,
                  As someone said in days of yore.
                    They buried Brown
                    At Camden Town
                  (The place where he had lived before);
                And now, alas! a-lack-a-day!
                  In black and solemn gowns,
                Disconsolate walk Mrs. Brown
                  And all the little Browns.

[Illustration]



                                  III.
                    THAT OF OUR OLD FRIEND BISHOP P.

     (With many thanks to Mr. W. S. Gilbert for his kind assurances
       that the inclusion of these verses causes him no offence.)


                 Twice Mr. Gilbert sang to you
                 Of Bishop P., of Rum-ti-foo;
                 Now, by your leave, I'll do that too,
                     Altho' I'm bound to fail
                 (So you will tell me to my face)
                 In catching e'en the slightest trace
                 Of true Gilbertian charm, or grace,
                     To decorate my tale.

                 Still, I will tell, as best I can,
                 How Bishop Peter—worthy man—
                     Is getting on by now.
                 Now where shall I begin? Let's see?
                 You know, I think, that Bishop P.
                 (Wishful to please his flock was he)
                     Once took the bridegroom's vow.

                You doubtless recollect, His Grace
                Wed Piccadil'lee of that place,
                And Peterkins were born apace,
                    When she became his bride.
                In fact I'm told that there were three,
                When dusky Piccadillillee,
                In odour of sanctittittee,
                    Incontinently died.

[Illustration]

                Some years have passed since her demise
                But Bishop Peter—bless his eyes—
                That saintly prelate, kind, and wise,
                    Is excellently well.
                And, not so very long ago,
                He sought to wed—this gallant beau
                (His faithful flock desired it so)—
                    Another Island belle.

                There was one difficulty, this:
                Our Peter wooed a dusky Miss
                Who (tho' inclined to married bliss)
                    Declared him rather old;
                Who giggled at his bald, bald head,
                And even went so far, 'tis said,
                As to decline His Grace to wed,
                    Did Lollipoppee bold.

                But, one day, on that far-off reef,
                A merchant vessel came to grief,
                And all the cargo—to be brief—
                    Was washed upon the shore.
                Most of the crew, I grieve to state,
                Except the Bos'un and the Mate,
                Were lost. Theirs was a woesome fate,
                    And one we all deplore.

               Amongst the wreckage on the strand,
               A box of "Tatcho" came to land,
               Which, there half buried in the sand,
                   The Bishop—singing hymns
               Amongst his flock down by the shore—
               Discovered, and they open tore
               The case. Behold! The contents bore
                   The magic name of Sims.

               "What! G. R. Sims?" quoth Bishop P.
               (Visions of "Billy's Rose" had he),
               "Good gracious now! It Sims to me
                   I've heard that name before."
               (Oh, well bred flock! there was not one
               Who did not laugh at this poor pun;
               They revelled in their Bishop's fun.
                   They even cried "Encore!")

               Then spake the Mate (whose name was Ted):
               "Now this 'ere stuff, so I've 'eard said,
               Will make the 'air grow on yer 'ead
                   As thick as any mat."
               "Indeed?" quoth worthy Bishop P.;
               "Then 'tis the very thing for me,
               For I am bald, as you may see."
                   His Grace removed his hat.

               The Bo'sun quickly broke the neck
               Of one large bottle from the wreck,
               Proceeding then His Grace to deck
                   With towels (careful man,
               This was to save his coat of black,
               For "Tatcho" running down one's back
               Is clearly off its proper tack).
                   And then the fun began.

[Illustration]

                 For Ted he rubbed the liquid through,
                 As hard as ever he could do.
                 And worthy Jack rubbed some in too
                     (The Bo'sun's name was Jack).
                 And day by day they did the same.
                 Now "Tatcho" ne'er belies its fame,
                 And soon a little hair there came
                     (His Lordship's hair is black).

                 Miss Lollipoppee views with glee
                 The change in worthy Bishop P.
                 _Now_ quite agreed to wed is she
                     (The banns were called to-day).
                 No "just cause or impediment"
                 Can interfere with their content;
                 The natives' loyal sentiment
                     Is summed up in "Hooray!"



                                  IV.
                    THAT OF CAPTAIN ARCHIBALD McKAN.


                There never lived a worthier man
                Than Captain Archibald McKan.
                I knew him well some time ago
                (I speak of twenty years or so);
                _Sans peur et sans reproche_ was he;
                He was the soul of chivalry,
                    Was Captain Archibald McKan.

                True greatness showed in all his mien,
                No haughty pride in him was seen,
                Though, captain of a steamer, he,
                From Greenwich unto far Chelsea,
                That, spite of weather, wind, and tide,
                From early Spring to Autumn plied,
                    Brave, modest Captain A. McKan.

                However sternly might his roar
                Reverberate from shore to shore
                Of "Ease her! Back her! Hard astern!"
                His duty done, with smile he'd turn
                And be most affable and mild
                To every woman, man, or child
                    Aboard, would Captain A. McKan.

[Illustration]

              He reassured the anxious fears
              Of nervous ladies—pretty dears!—
              He in his pocket carried toys
              And sweets for little girls and boys;
              He talked in quite familiar way
              With men who voyaged day by day,
                  Did Captain Archibald McKan.

              In fact, as I've already said,
              No man alive—or even dead—
              Was freer from reproach than he;
              And yet of Fortune's irony
              (Though such a very decent sort)
              This worthy man was e'en the sport.
                  Alas! was Captain A. McKan!

              "_Cherchez la femme._" The phrase is trite,
              Yet here, as usual, 'twas right.
              Our Captain noted every day
              A certain girl rode all the way
              From Greenwich Pier to Wapping Stair.
              "It _cannot_ be to take the air,"
                  Thought Captain Archibald McKan.

              She calmly sat, with downcast eye;
              And looking both demure and shy;
              Yet, once, he caught a roving glance,
              Which made his pulses wildly dance;
              And,—though as modest as could be—
              "I do believe she's gone on me,"
                  Considered Captain A. McKan.

                "Why else should she persistently
                Select _my_ boat alone?" thought he;
                "I _wonder_ why she comes? I'll ask,
                Though 'tis a very ticklish task."
                So, walking forward with a smile,
                Beside the lass he stood awhile,
                    Then coughed, did Captain A. McKan.

[Illustration]

               "You're frequently aboard my boat,"
               Began he; "she's the best afloat;
               But, pray, may I enquire, _do_ you
               So _very_ much admire the view?"
               "Er—moderately, sir," said she.
               "Exactly so! It _must_ be _me_!"
                   Decided Captain A. McKan.

               "Come, tell me, Miss, now no one's by,"
               He whispered; "Won't you tell me why
               You come so oft? There's naught to dread."
               The lady looked surprised, and said:
               "My husband works at Wapping Stair,
               I daily take his dinner there."
                   _Poor_ Captain Archibald McKan!



                                   V.
                            THAT OF MATILDA.


                Yes, I love you, dear Matilda,
                  But you may not be my bride,
                And the obstacles are many
                  Which have caused me to decide.
                Firstly, what is _most_ annoying,
                  And I'm not above confessing,
                Is, that I think you indolent,
                  And over-fond of dressing.
                I've known you spend an hour or two
                  In a-sitting on a chair,
                And a-fussing and attending
                  To your toilet or your hair.

                There's another little matter—
                  You may say a simple thing—
                Yet, Matilda, I must own it,
                  I object to hear you sing.
                For the sounds you make in singing
                  Are so _very_ much like squalling,
                That the only term appropriate
                  To them is caterwauling.
                Indeed, I've never _heard_ such horrid
                  Noises in my life,
                And I'd _certainly_ not tolerate
                  Such singing in a wife.

                And, Matilda dear, your language!
                  It is really _very_ bad;
                The expressions which you use at times,
                  They make me feel quite sad.
                It is very, very shocking,
                  But I do not mind declaring
                That I've heard some sounds proceeding
                  From your lips so much like swearing,
                That I've had to raise a finger,
                  And to close at least _one_ ear,
                For I couldn't feel quite certain
                  _What_ bad words I mightn't hear.

[Illustration]

                 But worse than this, Matilda:
                   I hear, with pious grief,
                 Many rumours that Matilda
                   Is no better than a thief
                 And I'm shocked to find my darling
                   So entirely lost to feeling,
                 As to go and give her mind up
                   Unto picking and a-stealing.
                 Oh, Matilda! pray take warning,
                   For a prison cell doth yearn
                 For a person that appropriates
                   And takes what isn't her'n.

                 And the culminating blow is this:
                   _You stay out late at night_.
                 Now, Matilda dear, you must confess
                   To do this is _not_ right.
                 Where you go to, dear, or what you do,
                   There really is _no_ telling,
                 And with rage and indignation
                   My fond foolish heart is swelling.
                 Yet the faults which I've enumera-
                   Ted can't be wondered at,
                 When one realises clearly
                   That "Matilda"—is a _cat_.

[Illustration]



                                  VI.
                  THAT OF "DOCTHOR" PATRICK O'DOOLEY.


               In the South Pacific Ocean
                 In an oiland called Koodoo,
               An' the monarch ov thot oiland
                 Iz King Hulla-bulla-loo.
               Oi wuz docthor to thot monarch
                 Wonct. Me name iz Pat O'Dooley.
               Yis, you're roight. Oi come from Oirland,
                 From the County Ballyhooly.

               An' Oi'll tell yez how Oi came to be
                 A docthor in Koodoo;
               May the Divil burn the ind ov me,
                 If ivery word's not thrue.
               Oi wuz sailin' to Ameriky,
                 Aboard the "Hilly Haully,"
               Which wuz drounded in the ocean,
                 For the toime ov year wuz squally.

                  An' Oi floated on a raft, sor,
                    For some twinty days or more,
                  Till Oi cum to Koodoo Island,
                    Phwich Oi'd niver seen before.
                  But the natives ov thot counthry,
                    Sure, would take a lot ov batin',
                  For a foine young sthrappin' feller
                    They think moighty pleasint atin'.

[Illustration]

               An' they wint an' told the King, sor,
                 Him called Hulla-bulla-loo.
               "Ye come from Oirland, sor?" sez he.
                 "Bedad!" sez Oi, "thot's true."
               Thin he whispered to the cook, sor;
                 An' the cook he giv me warnin':
               "It's Oirish _stew_ you'll be," sez he,
                 "To-morrow, come the marnin'."

               But to-morrow, be the Powers, sor,
                 The King wuz moighty bad,
               Wid most odjus pains insoide him,
                 An' they nearly drove him mad;
               So he sint a little note, sor,
                 By the cook, apologoizin'
               For not cooking me that day, sor,
                 Wid politeness most surprisin'!

               An' Oi wrote him back a letther,
                 Jist expressin' my regret,
               Thot Oi shouldn't hiv the honor,
                 Sor, ov bein' cooked an' et;
               An' Oi indid up the letther
                 Wid a midical expresshin,
               As would lead him to imagine
                 Oi belonged to the professhin.

               Och! he sint for me _at wonct_, sor.
                 "If ye'll _only_ save me loife,"
               Sez he, "Oi'll give yez money,
                 An' a most attractive woife,
               An' ye won't be in the _menu_
                 Ov me little dinner party
               If ye'll only pull me round," sez he,
               "An' make me sthrong an' hearty."

               So Oi made a diagnosis
                 Wid my penknife an' some sthring
               (Though Oi hadn't got a notion
                 How they made the blessid thing;
               But Oi knew thot docthors did it
                 Phwen they undertook a case, sor),
               An' Oi saw his pulse, an' filt his tongue,
                 An' pulled a sarious face, sor.

               Thin Oi troied a bit ov blarney.
                 "Plaze, yer gracious Madjisty,
               It's yer brains iz much too big, sor,
                 For yer cranium, ye see."
               But the King he looked suspicious,
                 An' he giv a moighty frown, sor.
               "The pain's not there at all," sez he,
                 "_The pain is further down_, sor."

             "Oi'm commin', sor, to thot," sez Oi.
               "Lie quiet, sor, an' still,
             While Oi go an' make yer Madjisty
               Me cilebratid pill."
             In the pocket ov me jacket
               Oi had found an old ship's biscuit
             ("An' Oi think," sez Oi, "'twill do," sez Oi,
               "At any rate Oi'll risk it").

[Illustration]

                The biscuit it wuz soft an' black
                  By raisin ov the wet,
                An' it made the foinist pill, sor,
                  Thot Oi've iver seen as yet;
                It wuz flavoured rayther sthrongly
                  Wid salt wather an' tobaccy,
                But, be jabers, sor, it did the thrick,
                  An' _cured_ the blissid blackie!

                The King wuz as deloighted,
                  An' as grateful as could be,
                An' he got devorced from all his woives,
                  An' giv _the lot_ to me;
                But a steamer, passin' handy,
                  Wuz more plazin' to "yours trooly,"
                An' among the passingers aboard
                Wuz the "Docthor",—Pat O'Dooley.



                                  VII.
                         THAT OF MY AUNT BETSY.


[Illustration]

               You may have met, when walking out
                or thereabout,
               A lady (angular and plain)
               Escorted by an ancient swain,
                 Or, possibly, by two,
               Each leading by a piece of string
               A lazy, fat, and pampered thing
               Supposed to be a dog. You may,
               Perhaps, have noticed them, I say,
                 And, if so, thought, "They do
               Present unto the public gaze
                 A singular appearance—very."
               That lady, doubtless, was my aunt,
                 Miss Betsy Jane Priscilla Perry.

               The gentleman—or gentle_men_—
               Attending her were Captain Venne
               And Major Alec Stubbs. These two
               For many years had sought to woo
                 My maiden aunt, Miss P.,
               Who never _could_ make up her mind
               Which one to marry, so was kind
               To one or other—each in turn—
               Thus causing jealous pangs to burn.
                 I incidentally
               Should mention here the quadrupeds—
                 Respectively called "Popsey Petsey,"—
               A mongrel pug;—and "Baby Heart,"—
                 A poodle—both belonged to Betsy.

               You'd notice Captain Venne was tall,
               And Major Stubbs compact and small;
               These two on nought could e'er agree,
               Except in this—they hated me,
                 Sole nephew to Aunt Bess.
               My aunt was very wealthy, and
               I think you'll quickly understand
               The situation, when I say
               That Captain Venne was on half-pay,
                 And Major Stubbs on _less_.
               To me it was so very plain
                 And evident, I thought it funny
               My aunt should never, never see
                 They wanted, not her, but her money.

               And Stubbs and Venne they did arrange
               A plan, intended to estrange
               My aunt and me. They told her lies;
               And one day, to my great surprise,
                 A letter came for me.
               Requesting me to "call at six,"
               For aunt had "heard of all the tricks
               I had been up to," and "was sad
               At hearing an account so bad."
                I went—in time for tea.
               My aunt was looking so severe
                 I felt confused, a perfect noodle
               While Major Stubbs caressed the pug,
                 And Captain Venne he nursed the poodle.

[Illustration]

              "Dear Major Stubbs," my aunt began,
              "Has told me all—quite all he _can_—
              Of your sad goings on. Oh, fie!
              Where will you go to when you die,
                You naughty wicked boy?"
              And Captain Venne has told me too
              What _very_ dreadful things you do.
              Of course I cannot but believe
              My two dear friends. _They'd_ not deceive,
                Nor characters destroy,
              Without a cause. Go, leave me now,
                You'll see my purpose shall not falter
              I'll send at once for Lawyer Slymm,
                My latest will to bring and alter."

              I fear I lost my temper—quite;
              _I know_ I said what wasn't right;
              You see, I felt it hard to bear
              (And really, I contend, unfair),
                To be misjudged like this.
              I tried to argue, but 'twas vain,
              "My mind is fixed—my way is plain,"
              My aunt declared. "Then hear me now!"
              I hotly cried, "There's naught, I vow,
                To cause you to dismiss
              Your nephew thus, but, as you please.
                And if, perchance, you wish to do it,
              Your money leave to your two friends;
                They want it, and—they're welcome to it."

              I hurried out. I slammed the door.
              I vowed I'd never call there more.
              And neither did I, in my pride,
              Till six weeks since, when poor aunt died,
                And then, from Lawyer Slymm
              I got a little note, which said:
              "The will on Tuesday will be read."
              I went, and found that "Baby Heart"
              From Captain Venne must ne'er depart—
                She had been left to him;
              While "Popsey Petsey" Major Stubbs
                Received as his sole legacy
              And that was all. The money—oh!
                The money—that was left to _me_.



                                 VIII.
                      THAT OF THE TUCK-SHOP WOMAN.


               Of all the schools throughout the land
               St. Vedast's is the oldest, and
                   All men are proud
                   (And justly proud)
               Who claim St. Vedast's as their _Al-
               Ma mater_. There I went a cal-
               Low youth. Don't think I'm going to paint
               The glories of this school—I ain't.

               The Rev. Cecil Rowe, M.A.,
               Was classics Master in my day,
                   A learned man
                   (A worthy man)
               In fact you'd very rarely see
               A much more clever man than he.
               But if you think you'll hear a lot
               About this person,—you will not.

               The porter was a man named Clarke;
               We boys considered it a lark
                   To play him tricks
                   (The usual tricks
               Boys play at public schools like this),
               And Clarke would sometimes take amiss
               These tricks. But don't think I would go
               And only sing of him. Oh, no!

               This ditty, I would beg to state,
               Professes likewise to relate
                   The latter words
                   (The solemn words)
               Of her who kept the tuck-shop at
               St. Vedast's. I'd inform you that
               The porter was her only son
               (The reason was—she had but one).

               For many years the worthy soul
               Had kept the shop—the well-loved goal
                   Of little boys
                   (And larger boys)
               Who bought the tarts, and ginger pop
               And other things sold at her shop—
               But, feebler growing year by year,
               She felt her end was drawing near.

[Illustration]

                 She therefore bade her son attend,
                 That she might whisper, ere her end,
                     A startling tale
                     (A secret tale)
                 That on her happiness had preyed,
                 And heavy on her conscience weighed
                 For many a year. "Alas! my son,"
                 She sighed, "injustice has been done.

                 "Let not your bitter anger rise,
                 Nor gaze with sad reproachful eyes
                     On one who's been
                     (You _know_ I've been)
                 For many years your mother, dear;
                 And though you think my story queer,
                 Believe—or I shall feel distressed—
                 I _thought_ I acted for the best.

                 "When you were but a tiny boy
                 (Your mother's and your father's joy),
                     Good Mr. Rowe
                     (The Revd. Rowe)
                 Was but a little baby too,
                 Who very much resembled you,
                 And, being poorly off in purse,
                 I took this baby out to nurse.

[Illustration]


               "Alike in features and in size—
               So like, indeed, the keenest eyes
                   Would find it hard
                   (Extremely hard)
               To tell the t'other from the one——"
               "Hold! though your tale is but begun,"
               The porter cried, "a man may guess
               The secret of your keen distress.

               "You changed the babes at nurse, and I
               (No wonder that you weep and sigh),
                   Tho' callèd Clarke
                   (School Porter Clarke),
               Am _really_ Mr. Rowe. I see.
               And he, of course, poor man, is _me_,
               While all the fortune he has known
               Through these long years should be my own.

               "Oh falsely, falsely, have you done
               To call me all this time your son;
                   I've always felt
                   (Distinctly felt)
               That I was born to better things
               Than portering, and such-like, brings,
               I'll hurry now, and tell poor Rowe
               What, doubtless, he will feel a blow."

               "Stay! stay!" the woman cried, "'tis true,
               My poor ill-treated boy, that you
                   Have every right
                   (Undoubted right)
               To feel aggrieved. I _had_ the chance
               Your future welfare to advance
               By changing babes. I knew I'd rue it,
               My poor boy—but—_I didn't do it_."



                                  IX.
                 THAT OF S. P. IDERS WEBBE, SOLICITOR.


               Young Mr. S. P. Iders Webbe,
                 Solicitor, of Clifford's Inn,
               Sat working in his chambers, which
                 Were far removed from traffic's din.
               To those in legal trouble he
               Lent ready ear of sympathy—
               And six-and-eightpence was his fee.

               To widows and to orphans, too,
                 Young Mr. Webbe was very nice,
               And turned none from his door away
                 Who came to seek for his advice:
               To these, I humbly beg to state—
               The sad and the disconsolate—
               His fee was merely six-and-eight.

               He'd heave a sympathetic sigh,
                 And squeeze each bankrupt client's hand
               While listening to a tale of woe
                 Salt tears within his eyes would stand.
               Naught, naught his sympathies could stem,
               And he would only charge—ahem!—
               A paltry six-and-eight to _them_.

               This gentleman, as I observed,
                 Was calmly seated at his work,
               When, from the waiting-room, a card
                 Was brought in by the junior clerk.
               "Nathaniel Blobbs? Pray ask him to
               Step in," said Webbe. "How do you do?
               A very pleasant day to you."

[Illustration]


         "A pleasant day be hanged!" said Blobbs,
           A wealthy man and very stout
         (That he was boiling o'er with rage
           There could not be the slightest doubt).
         "I'm given, sir, to understand
         You're suitor for my daughter's hand.
         An explanation I demand!

         "I _know_ your lawyer's tricks, my man;
           In courting of my daughter Jane—
         Who's rather plain and not too young—
           _My_ money's what _you_ seek to gain.
         Confound you, sir!" the man did roar.
         "My daughter Jane is no match for
         A beggarly solicitor!"

         At words like these _most_ gentlemen
           Would really have been somewhat riled;
         But do not think that Mr. Webbe
           Was angry. No; he merely _smiled_.
         But, oh! my friends, the legal smile
         Is not to trust. 'Tis full of guile.
         (_So_ smiles the hungry crocodile.)

         "I see," Webbe most politely said,
           "My worthy sir, _your_ point of view.
         You're wealthy; I am poor. Of course,
           What I proposed would never do.
         If only, now, I'd property,
         And _you_ were—well, as poor as _me_——"
         "Pooh! that," cried Blobbs, "can _never_ be."

         "Think not?" said Webbe. "Well, p'r'aps you're right.
           And so—there's nothing more to say.
         You _must_ be going? What! so soon?
           I'm _sorry_, sir, you cannot stay!"
         Blobbs went—and slammed the outer door.
         Webbe calmly made the bill out for
         The interview—a lengthy score.

         He charged—at highest legal rate—
           For every word he'd uttered; and
         He even put down six-and-eight
           "To asking for Miss Blobbs's hand";
         Next, in the Court of Common Pleas
         A "Breach of Promise" case, with ease,
         He instituted—if you please.

         He gained the day, because the maid
           Was over age, the Judge averred,
         And Blobbs was forced to "grin and pay,"
           Although he vowed 'twas _most_ absurd.
         The "damages," of course, were slight;
         But "legal costs" by no means light.
         (Webbe shared in these as was his right.)

         Outside the Court indignant Blobbs
           Gave vent to some expressions which
         Were libellous, and quickly Webbe
           Was "down on him" for "using sich."
         Once more the day was Webbe's, and he,
         By posing as a damagee,
         Obtained a thousand pounds, you see.

         With this round sum he then contrived
           To buy a vacant small estate
         Adjoining Blobbs, who went and did
           _Something_ illegal with a gate.
         Webbe "had him up" for _that_, of course;
         Then something else (about a horse),
         And later on a water-course.

         He sued for this, he sued for that,
           Till action upon action lay,
         And in the Royal Courts of Law
           "Webbe _versus_ Blobbs" came on each day.
         "Law costs" and big "retaining fees,"
         "Mulcted in fines"—such things as these
         Made Blobbs feel very ill at ease.

         As Webbe grew rich, so he grew poor,
           Till finally he said: "Hang pride!
         I'll let this fellow, if he must,
           Have Jane, my daughter, for his bride."
         He went once more to Clifford's Inn.
         Webbe welcomed him with genial grin:
         "My _very_ dear sir, pray step in."

         "Look here!" cried Blobbs. "I'll fight no more!
           You lawyer fellows, on my life,
         _Will_ have your way. I must give in.
           My daughter Jane _shall_ be your wife!"
         "Dear me! this _is_ unfortunate,"
         Said Webbe. "I much regret to state
         Your condescension comes too late.

         "For, sir, I marry this day week
           (Being a man of property)
         The young and lovely daughter of
           Sir Simon Upperten, M.P."
         Then, in a light and airy way:
         "I think there's nothing more to say.
         _Pray_, mind the bottom step. _Good_ day!"

[Illustration]



                                   X.
                    THAT OF MONSIEUR ALPHONSE VERT.


             Your Mistair Rudyar' Kipling say
               Ze cricquette man is "flannel fool."
             _Ah! oui! Très bon!_ I say so too,
               Since Mastair Jack, _enfant_ at school,
             He show me how to play ze same.
             I like it not—ze cricquette game.

             My name is Monsieur Alphonse Vert
               (You call him in ze English "Green");
             I go to learn ze English tongue,
               And lodge myself at Ealing Dean
             In family of Mistair Brown,
             Who has _affaire_ each day "in town."

             Miss Angelina Brown she is
               _Très charmante_—what you call "so pretty";
             I walk and talk wiz her sometimes
               When Mr. Brown go to ze City;
             I fall in love (pardon zese tears)
             All over head, all over ears.

             I buy her books, and flowers (_bouquet_),
               And tickets for _la matinée_,
             And to ze cricquette match we go,
               _Hélas!_ upon one Saturday.
             To me she speak zere not at all.
             But watch ze men, and watch ze ball.

             Ze cricquette men zey run, zey bat,
               Zey throw ze ball, zey catch, zey shout;
             And Angelina clap her hands.
               Vot for, I know not, all about,
             And in myself I say "_Ah! oui!_
             I _too_ a cricquette man shall be."

             To Angelina's brother Jack
               (His name is also Mastair Brown)
             I say, "Come, teach me cricquette match,
               And I will give you half-a-crown."
             Jack say, "My eye!" (in French _mes yeux_)[1]
             "Oh! what a treat!" (in French _c'est beau_).

             After, to Ealing Common we
               Go out, with "wicquette" and with "ball,"
             And what Jack calls a "cricquette-bat."
               (Zese tings I do not know at all;
             But Angelina I would catch,
             So "_Allons! Vive la cricquette match!_")

[Illustration]

                I hold ze "bat," Jack hold ze "ball."
                  "Now zen! Look out!" I hear him cry.
                I drop ze "bat," I look about;
                  Ze ball—he hit me in ze eye."
                I cry, "_Parbleu!_" Ze stars I see.
                I think it is "all up" wiz me.

                I try again. Ze "ball" is hard.
                  I catch him two times—on ze nose.
                I run, I fall, I hurt my arm,
                  I spoil my new white flannel clothes,
                In every part I'm bruised and sore,
                So cricquette match I play no more.

[Illustration]

                 I change my clothes, I patch my eye,
                   I tie my nose up in a sling,
                 And to Miss Angelina Brown
                   Myself and all my woes I bring.
                 "Ah, see," I cry, "how love can make
                 Alphonse a hero for thy sake."

                 But Angelina laugh and laugh,
                   And say, "I know it isn't right
                 To laugh; but you must please forgive
                   Me. You look _such_ a fright!"
                 And next day Jack say, "I say, Bones,
                 My sister's going to marry Jones."

Footnote 1:

  Frenchmen could never make these two words rhyme—but Englishmen can.

  I've heard 'em. G. E. F.



                                  XI.
                   THAT OF LORD WILLIAM OF PURLEIGH.


        Lord William of Purleigh retired for the night
          With a mind full of worry and trouble,
        Which was caused by an income uncommonly slight,
          And expenses uncommonly double.
        Now the same sort of thing often happens, to me—
        And perhaps to yourself—for most singularlee
          One's accounts—if one keeps 'em—will never come right,
          If, of "moneys received," one spends double.

        His lordship had gone rather early to bed,
          And for several hours had been sleeping,
        When he suddenly woke—and the hair on his head
          Slowly rose—he could hear someone creeping
        About in his room, in the dead of the night,
        With a lantern, which showed but a glimmer of light,
          And his impulse, at first, was to cover his head
          When he heard that there burglar a-creeping.

        But presently thinking "Poor fellow, there's naught
          In the house worth a burglar a-taking,
        And, being a kind-hearted lord, p'r'aps I ought,
          To explain the mistake he's a-making."
        Lord William, then still in his woolly night-cap
        (For appearances noblemen don't care a rap),
          His second-best dressing-gown hastily sought,
          And got up without any noise making.

[Illustration]

       "I'm exceedingly sorry," his lordship began,
         "But your visit, I fear, will be fruitless.
       I possess neither money, nor jewels, my man,
         So your burglaring here will be bootless.
       The burglar was startled, but kept a cool head,
       And bowed, as his lordship, continuing, said:
         "Excuse me a moment. I'll find if I can
         My warm slippers, for I _too_ am bootless."

       This pleasantry put them both quite at their ease;
         They discoursed of De Wet, and of Tupper.
       Then the household his lordship aroused, if you please,
         And invited the burglar to supper.
       The burglar told tales of his hardly-won wealth,
       And each drank to the other one's jolly good health.
         There's a charm about informal parties like these,
         And it was a most excellent supper.

       Then the lord told the burglar how poor he'd become,
         And of all which occasioned his lordship distress;
       And the burglar—who wasn't hard-hearted like some—
         His sympathy ventured thereat to express:
       "I've some thoughts in my mind, if I might be so bold
       As to mention them, but—no—they mustn't be told.
         They are hopes which, perhaps, I might talk of to some,
         But which to a lord—no, I dare not express."

       "Pooh! Nonsense!" his lordship cried, "Out with it, man!
         What is it, my friend, that you wish to suggest?
       Rely upon me. I will do what I can.
         Come! Let us see what's to be done for the best."
       "I've a daughter," the burglar remarked with a sigh.
       "The apple is she, so to speak, of my eye,
         And she wishes to marry a lord, if she can—
         And of all that I know—why, your lordship's the best.

[Illustration]

           "I am wealthy," the burglar continued, "you see,
             And her fortune will really be ample:
           I have given her every advantage, and she
             Is a person quite up to your sample."
           Lord William, at first, was inclined to look glum,
           But, on thinking it over, remarked: "I will come
             In the morning, to-morrow, the lady to see
             If indeed she _is_ up to the sample."

           On the morrow he called, and the lady he saw,
             And he found her both charming and witty;
           So he married her, though for a father-in-law
             He'd a burglar, which p'r'aps was a pity.
           However, she made him an excellent wife,
           And the burglar he settled a fortune for life
             On the pair. What an excellent father-in-law!
             On the whole, p'r'aps, it _wasn't_ a pity.



                                  XII.
                       THAT OF PASHA ABDULLA BEY.


                  Abdulla Bey—a Pasha—had
                    A turn for joy and merriment:
                  You never caught _him_ looking sad,
                    Nor glowering in discontent.

                  His normal attitude was one
                    Of calm, serene placidity;
                  His nature gay, and full of fun,
                    And free from all acidity.

                  A trifling instance I'll relate
                    Of Pasha Bey's urbanity,
                  The which will clearly indicate
                    His marvellous humanity.

                  He had a dozen wives or so
                    (In him no immorality;
                  For Eastern custom, as you know,
                    Permits, of wives, plurality).

                  Yes; quite a dozen wives—or more—
                    Abdulla had, and for a while
                  No sound was heard of strife or war
                    Within Abdulla's domicile.

                  But, oh! how rare it is to find
                    A dozen ladies who'll consent
                  To think as with a single mind,
                    And live together in content.

                  Abdulla's wives—altho', no doubt,
                    If taken individually,
                  Would never think of falling out,—
                    Collectively, could _not_ agree.

                  At first, in quite a playful way,
                    They quarrelled—rather prettily;
                  Then cutting things contrived to say
                    About each other wittily;

                  Then petty jealousies and sneers
                    Began,—just feeble flickerings—
                  Which grew, alas! to bitter tears,
                    And fierce domestic bickerings.

                  _You_ never had a dozen wives—
                    Of course not—so you cannot know
                  The grave discomfort in their lives
                    These Pashas sometimes undergo.

                  Abdulla Bey, however, _he_
                    Was not the one to be dismayed,
                  And doubtless you'll astounded be
                    To hear what wisdom he displayed.

                  He did not—as some would have done—
                    Seek angry ladies to coerce;
                  He did not use to any one
                    Expressions impolite—or worse.

[Illustration]

                No, what he did was simply this:
                  He stood those ladies in a row,
                And said, "My dears, don't take amiss
                  What I'm about to say, you know.

                "I find you cannot, like the birds,
                  Within your little nest agree,
                So I'll unfold, in briefest words,
                  A plan which has occurred to me.

                "These quarrellings, these manners lax,
                  In comfort means a loss for us,
                So I must tie you up in sacks
                  And throw you in the Bosphorus."

[Illustration]

                 He tied them up; he threw them in;
                   Then Pasha Bey, I beg to state,
                 Did _not_ seek sympathy to win
                   By posing as disconsolate.

                 He mourned a week; and then, they say
                   (A Pasha is, of course, a catch),
                 Our friend, the good Abdulla Bey,
                   Got married to another batch.



                                 XIII.
                        THAT OF ALGERNON CROKER.


          Permit me, and I will quite briefly relate
            The sad story of Algernon Croker.
          Take warning, good friends, and beware of the fate
            Of this asinine practical joker,
          Who early in life caused the keenest distress
            To his uncle, Sir Barnaby Tatton,
          By affixing a pin in the form of an S
            To the chair which Sir Barnaby sat on.

          His uncle had often been heard to declare
            That to make him his heir he was willing;
          But the point of _this_ joke made Sir Barnaby swear
            That he'd cut the boy off with a shilling.
          Their anger his parents took means to express,
            Tho' I may not, of course, be exact on
          The particular spot—though you'll probably guess—
            That young Croker was properly whacked on.

          His pranks, when they presently sent him to school,
            Resulted in endless disasters,
          And final expulsion for playing the fool
            (He made "apple-pie" beds for the masters).
          Nor was he more fortunate later in life,
            When courting a lady at Woking;
          For he failed to secure this sweet girl for his wife
            On account of his practical joking.

[Illustration]

           To her father—a person of eighteen-stone-two,
             In a round-about coat and a topper—
           He offered a seat; then the chair he withdrew,
             And, of course, the old chap came a cropper.
           Such conduct, the father exceedingly hurt,
             And he wouldn't consent to the marriage;
           So the daughter she married a person named Birt,
             And she rides to this day in her carriage.

           But these are mere trifles compared with the fate
             Which o'ertook him, and which I'm recalling,
           When he ventured to joke with an old Potentate,
             With results which were simply appalling.
           'Twas in some foreign country, far over the sea,
             Where he held a small post ministerial
           (An Ambassador, Consul, or _something_ was he.
             _What_ exactly is quite immaterial).

           He told the old Potentate, much to his joy,
             That King Edward had sent him a present,
           And handed a parcel up to the old boy,
             With a smile which was childlike and pleasant.
           The Potentate he, at the deuce of a pace,
             At the string set to fumbling and maulin';
           Then Croker laughed madly to see his blank face—
             For the package had nothing at all in.

           The Potentate smiled—'twas a sad, sickly smile;
             And he laughed—but the laughter was hollow.
           "Ha! a capital joke. It doth greatly beguile;
             But," said he, "there is something to follow.
           I, too, wish to play a small joke of my own,
             At the which I'm remarkably clever."
           Then,—a man standing by, at a nod from the throne,
             Croker's head from his body did sever.

[Illustration]



                                  XIV.
                               THAT OF——?


                 Phwat's thot yer afther sayin'—
                   Oi "don't look meself at all?"
                 Och, murder! sure ye've guessed it.
                   _Whist!_ Oi'm _not_ meself at all,
                 But another man entoirly,
                   An' Oi'd bether tell ye trooly
                 How ut iz Oi'm but _purtendin'_
                   That Oi'm Mr. Pat O'Dooley.

                 Tim Finnegan an' me, sor,
                   Waz a-fightin ov the blacks
                 In hathen foreign parts, sor,
                   An' yer pardon Oi would ax
                 If Oi mention thot the customs
                   In them parts iz free an' aisy,
                 An' the costooms—bein' mostly beads—
                   Iz airy-loike an' braizy.

                 But them blacks iz good at fightin'
                   An' they captured me an' Tim;
                 An' they marched us back in triumph
                   To their village—me an' him;
                 An' they didn't trate us badly,
                   As Oi'm not above confessin',
                 Tho' their manners—as Oi said before—
                   An' customs, waz disthressin'.

[Illustration]

               So Oi set meself to teachin'
                 The King's daughter to behave
               As a perfect lady should do;
                 An' Oi taught the King to shave;
               An' Oi added to the lady's
                 Scanty costoom by the prisent
               Ov a waistcoat, which she thanked me for,
                 A-smilin' moighty plisent.

               Now she wazn't bad to look at,
                 An' she fell in love with me,
               Which was awkward for all parties,
                 As you prisently will see;
               For on wan noight, when the village
                 Waz all quiet-loike an' slapin',
               The King's daughter to the hut, phwere
                 Tim an' me lay, came a-crapin'.

               An' she whispered in my ear, sor:
                 "Get up quick, an' come this way,
               Oi'll assist ye in escapin',
                 If ye'll do just phwat Oi say."
               An' she led me by the hand, sor;
                 It waz dark, the rain was pourin'
               An' we safely passed the huts, sor,
                 Phwere the sintrys waz a snorin'

               Then we ran, an' ran, an' ran, sor,
                 Through all the blessid noight,
               An' waz many miles away, sor,
                 Before the day was loight.
               Then the lady saw my features,
                 An' she stopped an' started cryin',
               For she found that _I_ waz _Tim_ instead
                 Ov me, which waz _most_ tryin'.

               In the hurry an' the scurry
                 Ov the darkness, don't yez see,
               She had made a big mistake,
                 _An' rescued_ him _instead ov_ me—
               An' to me it waz confusin'
                 An' most hard ov realizin';
               For to find yerself _another_ person,
                 Sor, iz most surprisin'.

               An' pwhen the lady left me,
                 An' Oi'd got down to the shore
               An' found a ship to take me home,
                 Oi puzzled more an' more,
               For, ov course, the woife an' family
                 Ov Finnegan's was moine, sor,
               Tho' Oi didn't know the wan ov 'em
                 By hook, nor crook, nor soign, sor.

               But Oi came to the decision
                 They belonged to me no doubt,
               So directly Oi had landed
                 Oi began to look about.
               Tim Finnegan had told me
                 That he lived up in Killarn'y,
               An' Oi found meself that far, somehow,
                 By carnying an' blarney.

[Illustration]

               _An'_ Oi found me woife an' family—
                 But, ach! upon my loife
               Oi waz greatly disappointed
                 In my family an' woife,
               For my woife was _not_ a beauty,
                 An' her temper wazn't cheerin'
               While the family—onkindly—
                 At their father took to jeerin'.

               "Oi waz better off as Pat," thought Oi,
                 "Than Oi'll _iver_ be as Tim.
               Bedad! Oi'd better be _meself_
                 An' lave off bein' him.
               Oi won't stay here in Killarn'y,
                 Phwere they trate poor Tim so coolly,
               But purtend to be meself agin
                 In dear old Ballyhooley.'

               So Oi came to Ballyhooley,
                 An' Oi've niver told before
               To anyone the story
                 Oi've been tellin' to ye, sor,
               An' it, all ov it, occurred, sor,
                 Just exactly as Oi state it,
               Though, ov course, ye'll understand, sor,
                 Oi don't wish ye to repate it.



                                  XV.
                    THAT OF THE RIVAL HAIRDRESSERS.


                  In the fashionable quarter
                    Of a fashionable town
                  Lived a fashionable barber,
                    And his name was Mister Brown.
                  Of hair, the most luxuriant,
                    This person had a crop,
                  And—a—so had his assistants,
                    And—the boy who swept the shop.

                  He had pleasant manners—very—
                    And his smile was very bland,
                  While his flow of conversation
                    Was exceptionally grand.
                  The difficulty was that he
                    Did _not_ know when to stop;
                  Neither did his good assistants,
                    Nor—the boy who swept the shop.

                  He'd begin about the weather,
                    And remark the day was fine,
                  Or, perhaps, "it would be brighter
                    If the sun would only shine."
                  Or, he'd "noticed the barometer
                    Had fallen with a flop;
                  And—a—so had his assistants,
                    And—the boy who swept the shop."

                  Then the news from all the papers
                    (Most of which you'd heard before)
                  He would enter into fully,
                    And the latest cricket score;
                  Or, political opinions,
                    He'd be pleased with you to swop;
                  And—a—so would his assistants,
                    Or—the boy who swept the shop.

                  At the Stock Exchange quotations
                    Mister Brown was quite _au fait_,
                  And on betting, or "the fav'rit',"
                    He would talk in knowing way;
                  Then into matters personal
                    He'd occasionally drop,
                  And—a—so would his assistants,
                    Or—the boy who swept the shop.

[Illustration]

                He'd recommend Macassar oil,
                  Or someone's brilliantine,
                As "a remedy for baldness."
                  'Twas "the finest he had seen."
                And he'd "noticed that your hair of late
                  Was thinning on the top."
                And—a—"so had his assistants,
                  And—the boy who swept the shop."

                Now one day, nearly opposite,
                  Another barber came,
                And opened an establishment
                  With quite another name.
                And Brown looked out and wondered
                  If this man had come to stop.
                And—a—so did his assistants,
                  And—the boy who swept the shop.

                But they didn't fear their neighbour,
                  For the man seemed very meek.
                _He'd_ no flow of conversation,
                  And looked half afraid to speak.
                So Brown tittered at his rival
                  (Whose name happened to be Knopp);
                And—a—so did his assistants,
                  And—the boy who swept the shop.

                But somehow unaccountably
                  Brown's custom seemed to flow
                In some mysterious sort of way
                  To Knopp's. It _was_ a blow.
                And Brown looked very serious
                  To see his profits drop.
                And—a—so did his assistants
                  And—the boy who swept the shop.

                And I wondered, and I wondered
                  Why this falling off should be,
                And I thought one day I'd step across
                  To Mister Knopp's to see.
                I found him _very_ busy
                  With—in fact—no time to stop,
                And—a—so were _his_ assistants.
                  And—the boy who swept _his_ shop.

[Illustration]

                 Mister Knopp was very silent,
                   His assistants still as mice;
                 _All_ the customers were smiling,
                   And one whispered, "Ain't it nice?"
                 "Hey? You want to know the reason?
                   Why, _deaf and dumb is Knopp_,
                 And—a—_so are his assistants,
                   And—the boy who sweeps the shop_."



                                  XVI.
                    THAT OF THE AUCTIONEER'S DREAM.


                I'll proceed to the narration
                  Of a trifling episode
                In the life of Mr. Platt,
                              An auctioneer,
                Who was filled with jubilation
                  And remarked: "Well, I'll be blowed!"—
                An expression rather im-
                              Polite, I fear.

                But he dreamt he'd heard it stated
                  That, in future, auctioneers
                _Might include their near relations
                              In their sales_;
                And he felt so much elated
                  That he broke out into cheers,
                As one's apt to do when other
                              Language fails.

                And he thought: "Dear me, I'd better
                  Seize this opportunity
                Of getting rid of ma-in-law,
                              And Jane—
                (_'Twas his wife_)—I'll not regret her;
                  And, indeed, it seems to me
                Such a chance may really not
                              Occur again.

                "And, indeed, while I'm about it,
                  I'll dispense with all the lot—
                (O'er my family I've lately
                              Lost command)—
                'Tis the best plan, never doubt it.
                  I'll dispose of those I've got,
                And, perhaps, I'll get some others
                              Second-hand."

                So his ma-in-law he offered
                  As the first lot in the sale,
                And he knocked _her_ down for two-
                              And-six, or less.
                Then Mrs. Platt he proffered—
                  She was looking rather pale;
                But she fetched a good round sum,
                              I must confess.

                Sister Ann was slightly damaged,
                  But she went off pretty well
                Considering her wooden leg,
                              And that;
                But I can't think _how_ he managed
                  His wife's grandmother to sell—
                But he did it. It was very smart
                              Of Platt.

[Illustration]

            Several children, and the twins
              (Lots from 9 to 22),
            Fetched the auctioneer a tidy sum
                          Between 'em.
            (One small boy had barked his shins,
              And a twin had lost one shoe,
            But they looked as well, Platt thought, as e'er
                          He'd seen 'em.)

            Then some nephews, and some nieces,
              Sundry uncles, and an aunt,
            Went off at figures which were
                          Most surprising.
            And some odds and ends of pieces
              (I _would_ tell you, but I can't
            Their relationship) fetched prices
                          Past surmising.

            It is quite enough to mention
              That before the day was out
            _All_ his relatives had gone
                          Without reserve.
            This fell in with Platt's intention,
              And he said: "Without a doubt,
            I shall now as happy be
                          As I deserve."

            But he _wasn't_ very happy,
              For he soon began to miss
            Mrs. Platt, his wife, and all
                          The little "P's."
            And the servants made him snappy;
              Home was anything but bliss;
            And Mr. Platt was very
                          Ill at ease.

            So he calmly thought it over.
              "On the whole, perhaps," said he,
            I had better buy my fam-
                          Ily again,
            For I find I'm not in clover,
              Quite, without my Mrs. P.—
            She was really not a bad sort,
                          Wasn't Jane."

            But the persons who had bought 'em
              Wouldn't part with 'em again.
            Though Platt offered for their purchase
                          Untold gold.
            For quite priceless now he thought 'em,
              And, of course, could see quite plain
            That in selling them he had himself
                          Been sold.

[Illustration]

                  And he thought, with agitation
                    Of them lost for ever now,
                  And he said, "This thing has gone
                                Beyond a joke,"
                  While the beads of perspiration
                    Gathered thickly on his brow;
                  And then Mr. Platt, the auctioneer—
                                Awoke.



                                 XVII.
                        THAT OF THE PLAIN COOK.


[Illustration]

       Miss Miriam Briggs was a plain, plain cook,
         And her cooking was none too good
       (Not at all like the recipes out of the book,
       And, in fact, one might tell at the very first look
         That things hadn't been made as they should).

       Her master, a person named Lymmington-Blake,
         At her cooking did constantly grieve,
       And at last he declared that "a change he must make,"
       For he "wanted a cook who could boil or could bake,"
         And—this very plain cook—"she must leave."

       So she left, and her master, the very same day,
         For the Registry Office set out,
       For he naturally thought it the very best way
       Of procuring a cook with the smallest delay.
         (You, too, would have done so, no doubt.)

       But, "A cook? Goodness gracious!" the lady declared
         (At the Registry Office, I mean),
       "I've no cook on my books, sir, save one, and she's shared
       By two families; and, sir, I've nearly despaired,
         For so rare, sir, of late, cooks have been."

       Where next he enquired 'twas precisely the same:
         There wasn't a cook to be had.
       Though quite high were the wages he'd willingly name,
       And he advertised,—uselessly,—none ever came,—
         Not a cook, good, indiff'rent, or bad.

       What _was_ to be done? Mr. Lymmington-Blake
         Began to grow thinner and thinner.
       (Now and then it is pleasant, but _quite_ a mistake,
       To dine every day on a chop or a steak,
         And have nothing besides for your dinner.)

       So he said: "If I can't get a cook, then a mate
         I'll endeavour to find in a wife"
       (His late wife deceased, I p'r'aps ought to relate,
       Four or five years before), "for this terrible state
         Of things worries me out of my life."

       So he looked in the papers, and read with delight
         Of a "Lady of good education,
       A charming complexion, eyes blue (rather light),"
       Who "would to a gentleman willingly write."
         She "preferred one without a relation."

       Now Lymmington-Blake was an orphan from birth,
         And had neither a sister nor brother,
       While of uncles and aunts he'd a similar dearth,
       And he thought, "Here's a lady of singular worth;
         I should think we should suit one another."

       So he wrote to the lady, and she wrote to him,
         And the lady requested a photo,
       But he thought, "I'm not young, and the picture might dim
       Her affection; I'll plead, to the lady, a whim,
         And refuse her my photo _in toto_."

       "I'll be happy, however," he wrote, "to arrange
         A meeting for Wednesday night.
       Hampstead Heath, on the pathway, beside the old Grange,
       At a quarter to eight. If you won't think it strange,
         Wear a rose—I shall know you at sight."

       Came Wednesday night, Mr. Lymmington-Blake
         To the _rendezvous_ all in a flutter
       Himself—in a new suit of clothes—did betake;
       And over and over, to save a mistake,
         The speech he had thought of did mutter.

       _He_ wore a red rose, for he thought it would show
         He had taken the matter to heart.
       A lady was there. Was it she? Yes, or no?
       Blake didn't know whether to stay or to go.
         He was nervous. But what made him start?

       'Twas the figure—at first he could not see her face—
         Which somehow familiar did look.
       Then she turned—and he ran. Do you think it was base?
       I fancy that you'd have done so in his place.
         _It was Miriam Briggs, the plain cook._

[Illustration]



                                 XVIII.
                         THAT OF "8" AND "22."


             'Twas on the "Royal Sovereign,"
               Which sails from Old Swan Pier,
             That Henry Phipps met Emily Green,
               And—_this_ is somewhat queer—
             _Aboard the ship was Obadiah,
             Likewise a lady called Maria_

             The surnames of these people I
               Cannot just now recall,
             But 'tis quite immaterial,
               It matters not at all.
             The point is _this_—Phipps met Miss Green;
             The sequel quickly will be seen.

             He noticed her the first time when
               To luncheon they went down
             (The luncheon on the "Sovereign"
               Is only half a-crown),
             Where Obadiah gravely at
             The table, with Maria, sat.

             And Obadiah coughed because
               Phipps looked at Emily—she at him.
             Maria likewise noticed it,
               And thereupon grew stern and grim,
             Though neither one of all the four
             Had met the other one before.

             Now Emily Green was pretty, but
               Maria—she was the reverse;
             While Obadiah's looks were tra-
               Gic—something like Macbeth's, but worse.—
             And these two somehow seemed to be
             Quite down on Phipps, and Miss E. G.

             For when _she_ smiled, and kindly passed
               The salt—which Phipps had asked her for—
             Maria tossed her head and sniffed,
               And Obadiah muttered "Pshaw!"
             While later on Miss E. G. thinks
             She heard Maria call her "minx."

             Twice on the upper deck when Phipps
               Just ventured, in a casual way,
             To pass appropriate remarks,
               Or comment on the "perfect" day,
             He caught Maria listening, and,
             Close by, saw Obadiah stand.

             At last, at Margate by the Sea,
               The "Royal Sovereign" came to port.
             Phipps hurried off and soon secured
               A lodging very near The Fort
             (He'd understood Miss Green to say
             That she should lodge somewhere that way).

             He really _was_ annoyed to find
               That Obadiah came there too,
             While Miss Maria, opposite,
               The parlour blinds was peering through.
             Still he felt very happy, for
             He saw Miss Green arrive next door.

             That night he met her on the pier,
               And Phipps, of course, he raised his hat.
             Miss Emily Green blushed, smiled, and stopped—
               It was not to be wondered at.
             But Obadiah, passing by,
             Transfixed them with his eagle eye.

[Illustration]

             And, later in the evening, when
               The two were list'ning to the band,
             Phipps—tho' perhaps he oughtn't to—
               Was gently squeezing Emily's hand.
             He dropped it suddenly, for there
             Maria stood, with stony stare.

             'Twas so on each succeeding day.
               Whate'er they did, where'er they went,
             There Obadiah followed them;
               Maria, too. No _accident_
             Could possibly account for this
             Sad interference with their bliss.

             At last Phipps, goaded to despair,
               Cried: "Pray, sir—_what_, sir, do you wish?"
             But Obadiah turned away,
               Merely ejaculating "Pish!"
             Then Phipps addressed Maria too,
             And all he got from _her_ was "Pooh!"

             So Mr. Phipps and Emily Green
               Determined _something must be done_.
             And all one day they talked it o'er,
               From early morn till setting sun.
             Then, privately, the morrow fixed
             For joining in the bathing,—mixed.

             They knew that Obadiah would
               Be present, and Maria too.
             They were; and his machine was "8,"
               Maria's Number "22."
             They each stood glaring from their door,
             Some little distance from the shore.

             The tide came in, the bathers all—
               Including Phipps and Emily Green—
             Each sought his own—his very own—
               Particu_lar_ bath_ing_-machine;
             But Nos. "22" and "8"
             Were left, unheeded, to their fate.

             When, one by one, the horses drew
               The other machines to the shore,
             _Phipps bribed the men to leave those two
               Exactly where they were before_.
             (In "8," you know, was Obadiah,
             And "22" contained Maria.)

[Illustration]

                  The tide rose higher, carrying
                    The two machines quite out to sea.
                  The love affairs of Emily Green
                    And Phipps proceeded happily.

                             *     *     *

                  I'm not quite certain of the fate
                  Of either "22" or "8."



                                  XIX.
              THAT OF THE HOOLIGAN AND THE PHILANTROPIST.


                Bill Basher was a Hooligan,
                  The terror of the town,
                A reputation he possessed
                  For knocking people down;
                On unprotected persons
                  Of a sudden he would spring,
                And hit them with his buckle-belt,
                  Which hurt like anything.

                One day ten stalwart constables
                  Bill Basher took in charge.
                "We cannot such a man," said they,
                  "Permit to roam at large;
                He causes all the populace
                  To go about in fear;
                We'd better take him to the Court
                  Of Mr. Justice Dear."

                To Mr. Justice Dear they went—
                  A tender Judge was he:
                He was a great Philanthropist
                  (Spelt with a big, big "P").
                His bump—phrenologists declared—
                  Of kindness was immense;
                Altho' he somewhat lacked the bump
                  Of common, common sense.

                "Dear, dear!" exclaimed the kindly Judge
                  A-looking very wise,
                "Your conduct in arresting _him_
                  Quite fills me with surprise.
                Poor fellow! Don't you see the lit-
                  Tle things which he has done
                Were doubtless but dictated
                  By a sense of harmless fun?

                "We really _mustn't_ be too hard
                  Upon a man for _that_,
                And _I_ will not do more than just
                  Inflict a fine. That's flat!
                See how he stands within the dock,
                  As mild as any lamb.
                No! Sixpence fine. You are discharged.
                  _Good_ morning, Willi_am_."

[Illustration]

                Now strange to say, within a week,
                  Bill Basher had begun
                To knock about a lot of other
                  People "just in fun."
                He hit a young policeman
                  With a hammer on the head,
                Until the poor young fellow
                  Was approximately dead.

                "Good gracious!" murmured Justice Dear,
                  "_This_ really is _too_ bad,
                To hit policemen on the head
                  Is not polite, my lad,
                I must remand you for a week
                  To think what can be done,
                And, in the meantime, please remain
                  In cell one twenty one."

                Then, Justice Dear, he pondered thus:
                  "Bill Basher ought to wed
                Some good and noble woman;
                  _Then_ he'd very soon be led
                To see the error of his ways,
                  And give those errors o'er."
                This scheme he thought upon again,
                  And liked it more and more.

                A daughter had good Justice Dear,
                  Whose name was Angeline
                (The lady's name is not pronounced
                  To rhyme with "line," but "leen"),
                Not beautiful, but dutiful
                  As ever she could be;
                _Whatever_ her papa desired
                  She _did_ obediently.

                With her he talked the matter o'er,
                  And told her that he thought,
                In the interests of humanity,
                  To marry Bill she ought.
                And, though she loved a barrister
                  Named Smith, her grief she hid
                And, with a stifled sigh, prepared
                  To do as she was bid.

[Illustration]

                 They got a special licence, and
                   Together quickly went
                 To visit Basher in his cell
                   And show their kind intent.

                         *     *     *

                 His answer it was to the point,
                   Though couched in language queer,
                 _These_ were the very words he used:
                   "_Wot?_ Marry _'er_? No fear!"

                 Good Justice Dear was greatly shocked;
                   Indeed, it _was_ a blow
                 To find that _such_ ingratitude
                   The Hooligan should show.
                 So he gave to Smith, the barrister,
                   His daughter for a wife,
                 While on Bill he passed this sentence—
                   "Penal servitude for life."



                                  XX.
                  THAT OF THE SOCIALIST AND THE EARL.


                   It was, I think, near Marble Arch,
                     Or _somewhere_ in the Park,
                           A Socialist
                           Once shook his fist
                     And made this sage remark:

[Illustration]

               "It is a shime that working men,
                 The likes of you and me—
                       Poor, underfed,
                       Without a bed—
                 In such a state should be.

               "When bloated aristocracy
                 Grows daily wuss an' wuss.
                       Why don't the rich
                       Behave as sich
                 An' give a bit to us?

               "They've carriages and flunkeys,
                 Estates, an' lots of land.
                       _Why_ this should be,
                       My friends," said he,
                 "I fail to understand.

               "Why should _they_ 'ave the bloomin' lot,
                 When, as I've said before,
                       It's understood
                       _This_ man's as good
                 As _that_ one is—or MORE?

               "So what I sez, my friends, sez I,
                 Is: Down with all the lot,
                       Unless they share—
                       It's only fair—
                 With us what they have got!"

                         *     *     *

               An Earl, who stood amongst the crowd,
                 Was _very_ much impressed.
                       "Dear me," he said,
                       And smote his head,
                 "I really _am_ distressed.

               "To think that all these many years
                 I've lived so much at ease,
                       With leisure, rank,
                       Cash at the bank,
                 And luxuries like these,

               "While, as this honest person says,
                 _Our_ class is all to blame
                       That these have naught:
                       We really ought
                 To bow our heads in shame.

               "My wealth unto this man I'll give,
                 My title I will drop,
                       And then I'll go
                       And live at Bow
                 And keep a chandler's shop."

                         *     *     *

               The Socialist he took the wealth
                 The Earl put in his hands,
                       And bought erewhile
                       A house in style
                 And most extensive lands.

               Was knighted (for some charity
                 Judiciously bestowed);
                       Within a year
                       Was made a Peer;
                 To fame was on the road.

               But do not think that Fortune's smiles
                 From friends drew him apart,
                       Or hint that rude
                       Ingratitude
                 Could dwell within his heart.

               You fear, perhaps, that he forgot
                 The worthy Earl. Ah, no!
                       Household supplies
                       He _often_ buys
               From _his_ shop down at Bow.

[Illustration]



                                  XXI.
                    THAT OF THE RETIRED PORK-BUTCHER
                             AND THE SPOOK.


                       I may as well
                       Proceed to tell
                     About a Mister Higgs,
                       Who grew quite rich
                       In trade—the which
                     Was selling pork and pigs.

                       From trade retired,
                       He much desired
                     To rank with gentlefolk,
                       So bought a place
                       He called "The Chase,"
                     And furnished it—old oak.

                       Ancestors got
                       (Twelve pounds the lot,
                     In Tottenham Court Road);
                       A pedigree—
                       For nine pounds three,—
                     The Heralds' Court bestowed.

                       Within the hall,
                       And on the wall,
                     Hung armour bright and strong.
                       "To Ethelbred"—
                       The label read—
                     De Higgs, this did belong."

                       'Twas _quite_ complete,
                       This country seat,
                     Yet neighbours stayed away.
                       Nobody called,—
                       Higgs was blackballed,—
                     Which caused him great dismay.

                       "Why _can_ it be?"
                       One night said he
                     When thinking of it o'er.
                       There came a knock
                       ('Twas twelve o'clock)
                     Upon his chamber door.

[Illustration]

                     Higgs cried, "Come in!"
                     A vapour thin
                   The keyhole wandered through.
                     Higgs rubbed his eyes
                     In mild surprise:
                   A ghost appeared in view.

                     "I beg," said he,
                     "You'll pardon me,
                   In calling rather late.
                     A family ghost,
                     I seek a post,
                   With wage commensurate.

                     "I'll serve you well;
                     My 'fiendish yell'
                   Is certain sure to please.
                     'Sepulchral tones,'
                     And 'rattling bones,'
                   I'm _very_ good at these.

                     "Five bob I charge
                     To roam at large,
                   With 'clanking chains' _ad lib._;
                     I do such things
                     As 'gibberings'
                   At one-and-three per gib.

                     "Or, by the week,
                     I merely seek
                   Two pounds—which is not dear;
                     Because I need,
                     Of course, _no_ feed,
                   _No_ washing, and _no_ beer."

                     Higgs thought it o'er
                     A bit, before
                   He hired the family ghost,
                     But, finally,
                     He did agree
                     To give to him the post.

                     It got about—
                     You know, no doubt,
                   How quickly such news flies—
                     Throughout the place,
                     From "Higgses Chase"
                   Proceeded ghostly cries.

                     The rumour spread,
                     Folks shook their head,
                   But dropped in one by one.
                     A bishop came
                     (Forget his name),
                   And then the thing was done.

                     For afterwards
                     _All_ left their cards,
                   "Because," said they, "you see,
                     One who can boast
                     A family ghost
                   Respectable _must_ be."

                           *     *     *

[Illustration]

                     When it was due,
                       The "ghostes's" screw
                     Higgs raised—as was but right—
                       They often play,
                       In friendly way,
                     A game of cards at night.



                                 XXII.
                  THAT OF THE POET AND THE BUCCANEERS.


                It does not fall to every man
                  To be a minor poet,
                But Inksby-Slingem he was one,
                  And wished the world to know it.
                In almost every magazine
                His dainty verses might be seen.

                He'd take a piece of paper—blank,
                  With nothing writ upon it—
                And soon a triolet 'twould be
                  A ballade, or a sonnet.
                Pantoums,—in fact, whate'er you please,
                This poet wrote, with greatest ease.

                By dozens he'd turn poems out,
                  To Editors he'd bring 'em,
                Till, quite a household word became
                  The name of Inksby-Slingem.
                A mild exterior had he,
                With dove-like personality.

[Illustration]

               His hair was dark and lank and long,
                 His necktie large and floppy
               (_Vide_ his portrait in the sketch
                 "A-smelling of a Poppy"),
               And unto this young man befell
               The strange adventure I'll now tell.

               He took a summer holiday
                 Aboard the good ship "Goschen,"
               Which foundered, causing all but he
                 To perish, in the ocean,
               And many days within a boat
               Did Inksby-Slingem sadly float—

               Yes, many days, until with joy
                 He saw a ship appearing;
               A skull and crossbones flag it bore,
                 And towards him it was steering.
               "This rakish-looking craft," thought he,
               "I fear a pirate ship must be."

               It was. Manned by a buccaneer.
                 And, from the very first, he
               Could see the crew were wicked men,
                 All scowling and bloodthirsty;
               Indeed, he trembled for his neck
               When hoisted to their upper deck.

               Indelicate the way, at least,
                 That he was treated—very.
               They turned his pockets inside-out;
                 They stole his Waterbury;
               His scarf-pin, and his golden rings,
               His coat and—er—his _other things_.

               Then, they ransacked his carpet-bag,
                 To add to his distresses,
               And tumbled all his papers out,
                 His poems, and MSS.'s.
               He threw himself upon his knees,
               And cried: "I pray you, spare me these!"

               "These? What are these?" the Pirate cried.
                 "I've not the slightest notion."
               He read a verse or two—and then
                 Seemed filled with strange emotion.
               He read some more; he heaved a sigh;
               A briny tear fell from his eye.

               "Dear, dear!" he sniffed, "how touching is
                 This poem 'To a Brother!'
               It makes me think of childhood's days,
                 My old home, and my mother."
               He read another poem through,
               And passed it to his wondering crew.

[Illustration]

                 _They_ read it, and all—all but two—
                   Their eyes were soon a-piping;
                 It was a most affecting sight
                   To see those pirates wiping
                 Their eyes and noses in their griefs
                 On many-coloured handkerchiefs,

                         *     *     *

                 To make a lengthy story short,
                   The gentle poet's verses
                 Quite won those men from wicked ways,
                   From piratings, and curses;
                 And all of them, so I've heard tell,
                 Became quite, _quite_ respectable.

                 All—all but two, and one of _them_
                   Than e'er before much worse is
                 For _he_ is now a publisher,
                   And "pirates" Slingem's verses;
                 The other drives a "pirate" 'bus,
                 Continuing—alas!—to "cuss."



                                 XXIII.
                THAT OF THE UNDERGROUND "SULPHUR CURE."


               Sulphuric smoke doth nearly choke
                 That person—more's the pity—
               Who does the round, by Underground,
               On pleasure, or on business bound,
                 From West End to the City.

               At Gower Street I chanced to meet,
                 One day, a strange old party,
               Who tore his hair in wild despair,
               Until I thought—"I would not swear,
                 That you're not mad, my hearty."

               "Yes, mad, _quite_ mad. Dear me! How sad!"
                 I cried; for, to the porter,
               He did complain—"Look here! Again
               _No smoke_ from any single train
                 That's passed within the quarter.

[Illustration]

              "_This air's too pure!_ I cannot cure
                My patients, if you don't, sir,
              Sulphuric gas allow to pass,
              Until it thickly coats the glass.
                Put up with _this_ I won't, sir!"

              I noticed then some gentlemen
                And ladies join the chatter—
              And dear, dear, dear, they _did_ look queer!
              Thought I—"They're very ill, I fear;
                I wonder what's the matter."

              Surmise was vain. In came my train.
                I got in. "First"—a "Smoking."
              That motley crew—_they got in too_.
              I wondered what on earth to do,
                For each began a-choking.

[Illustration]

          "Pray, won't you smoke?" the old man spoke.
            Thought I—"He's growing madder."
          "I wish you would. 'Twould do them good.
          My card I'd hand you if I could,
            But have none. My name's Chadder.

          "My patients these. _Now_, if you please!"
            He cried, in tones commanding,
          And gave three raps, "I think, perhaps,
          We'd best begin. Undo your wraps!"
            _This_ passed my understanding.

          "Put out your tongues! Inflate your lungs!"
            His patients all got ready;
          Their wraps thrown off, they each did doff
          Their respirator—spite their cough—
            And took breaths long and steady.

          "Inhale! Inhale! And do not fail
            The air you take to swallow!"
          They gasped, and wheezed, and coughed, and sneezed.
          Their "doctor," he looked mighty pleased.
            Expecting me to follow.

          "Pray, tell me why, good sir!" gasped I,
            "Before I lose my senses,
          Why ever you such strange things do?
          To know this, I confess my cu-
            Riosity immense is."

          In accents mild he spoke, and smiled.
            "Delighted! I assure you.
          _We take the air_—nay! do not stare;
          Should aught your normal health impair,
            This 'sulphur cure' will cure you.

          "I undertake, quite well to make
            Patients,—_whate'er_ they're ailing.
          Each day we meet, proceed _en suite_
          From Edgware Road to Gower Street,
            And back again—_inhaling_.

          "That sulphur's good, 'tis understood,
            But, I would briefly mention,
          The simple way—as one may say,—
          In which _we_ take it, day by day,
            Is _quite my own invention_.

          "Profits? Ah, yes, I must confess
            I make a tidy bit, sir?
          Tho' Mr. Perkes', and Mr. Yerkes
          'S system—if it only works—
            Will put a stop to it, sir."

          A stifled sigh, a tear-dimmed eye
            Betrayed his agitation.
          "Down here there'll be no smoke," said he,
          "When run by electricity.
            Excuse me! Here's our station!"

          He fussed about, and got them out,
            (Those invalids I mean, sir,)
          Then raised his hat; I bowed at that,
          And then, remaining where I sat,
            Went on to Turnham Green, sir.



                                 XXIV.
                 THAT OF THE FAIRY GRANDMOTHER AND THE
                           COMPANY PROMOTER.


        A Company Promoter was Septimus Sharpe,
          And the subject is he of this ditty;
        He'd his name—nothing more—
        Painted on the glass door
        Of an office high up on the toppermost floor
          Of a house in Throgmorton Street, City.

        The Companies which he had promoted, so far,
          Had not—so to speak,—been successes.
        As a matter of fact,
        He had often to act
        In a manner requiring considerable tact
          To—financially—keep out of messes.

        One day there appeared—Sharpe could never tell how,—
          In a costume unusually airy,
        A young lady. "Dear me!
        How surprising!" said he.
        "Now, who upon earth can this young person be?
          Is it possible? Why! _it's a Fairy_!"

        "You are right, Septimus," said the Fairy—"quite right,
          For, in fact, I'm your Fairy Grandmother!"
        Sharpe had to confess,
        "I already possess
        Two grandmothers. But," said he, "nevertheless,
          In _your_ case, I will welcome another.

[Illustration]

      "Especially if, Fairy Grandmother dear,
        Your intentions are—pardon me,—golden.
      I'll be pleased, if my till—
      Or my coffers—you'll fill,
      As,—like a good fairy,—I've no doubt you will;
        _Then_ to you I'll be greatly beholden."

      The Fairy she smiled, as, quite sweetly, she said:
        "You're mistaken, my dear young relation.
      There's no fairy displays
      In these up-to-date days,
      Her powers in _such_ crude and old-fashioned ways—
        No! I bring you AN IMAGINATION.

      "But exercise IT, and you quickly will find
        From your pathway all troubles are banished!"
      She waved a small wand,
      With a look sad yet fond,
      Then, into the far and the distant "beyond"
        Sharpe's good Grandmother suddenly vanished.

      The spell she had cast very quickly began
        In his brain to engender a vision.
      He _imagined_ a MINE
      Filled with gold, pure and fine,
      And a lovely PROSPECTUS began to design
        Every item worked out with precision.

      He _imagined_ BIG DIVIDENDS; profits galore;
        And some DUKES he _imagined_ DIRECTORS.
      And "the PUBLIC should share,"
      He went on to declare,
      "In such wealth as should cause the whole nation to stare."
        There were THOUSANDS—_in Shares_—for Projectors.

      Then he went on _imagining_ mine after mine,
        With Prospectuses most high-faluting.
      And the _Public_ they _fought_
      For the Shares he had brought
      To the Market (they "safer than houses" were thought);
        And each day some new Company was mooting.

                  *     *     *

[Illustration]

                            (EXTRA SPECIAL.)

            That he grew passing rich is a matter of course.
              All his wealth to his wife he made over.

                        *     *     *

            There has been a great smash;
            Company's gone with a crash.
            Gone also, I hear, has the shareholders' cash.
              But, SEPTIMUS SHARPE—_he's_ in clover.



                                  XXV.
                  THAT OF THE GEISHA AND THE JAPANESE
                                WARRIOR.


[Illustration]

    An almond-eyed maiden was pretty Jes-So,
      Her effort in life was to please;
    A Geisha was she, and she handed the tea
    In a costume bewitching as ever could be,
      And a style which was best Japanese;
    And she often served bowls of exceptional size
    To a Japanese warrior called Li-Kwize.

    And daily Li-Kwize and the pretty Jes-So,
      In their artless and Japanese way,
    'Neath the Gom-bobble trees rubbed their hands o'er their knees,
    Saying flattering things, such as over the seas,
      It's the proper and right thing to say:
    Little wonder, in sooth, that Li-Kwize fell in love,
    While the Japanese turtle-birds twittered above.

    But 'tis said that the course of true love ne'er ran smooth,
      And a rival appeared on the scene,
    He'd a glass in his eye, and his collar was high,
    His gloves were immaculate, so was his tie,
      And his legs were excessively lean;
    A descendant was he of a long line of "Dooks,"
    And his name was Lord Algernon Perkyns de Snooks.

    In Japan,—on a tour,—he'd arrived with his ma,
      On the tea gardens stumbled by chance,
    And directly he saw all the girls he said "Haw!
    I—aw—wish, don't you know, that I'd come here befaw"—
      And he gave them a languishing glance;
    To his feeble moustache he gave several twirls,
    Declaring that Geishas were "Doocid fine girls!"

    And he called for a dish of best Japanese tea,
      And he ogled the pretty Jes-So,
    While the warlike Li-Kwize stared in angry surprise
    At the flirtation going on under his eyes,
      And he wished that Lord Algy would go;
    But, oh! dear me, no, he continued to stop
    All the long afternoon in the pretty tea-shop.

    On the morrow he came there again, and again
      He appeared on the following day,
    And it made Jes-So sad to hear language so bad
    As Li-Kwize employed, as he "went on" like mad
      In a grotesque, and Japanese way;
    For he raved and he stormed as they do in Japan.
    (You have seen how, no doubt, on a Japanese fan.)

    He thrust, and he slashed at the air with his sword,
      And he shouted aloud at each blow;
    There is, really, no doubt he was greatly put out,
    But he didn't do what you are thinking about:
      He _didn't_ slay Lord Algy—no:
    For Li-Kwize he was subtle, as subtle could be,
    He'd a far better plan up his sleeve, don't you see.

    He went to the house where Lord Algy's mamma,
      A stern, and a haughty old dame,
    Was staying, and, tho' it was all in dumb show,
    He managed—somehow,—that the lady should know
      Exactly her son's little game,
    The equivalent Japanese noise for a kiss
    He expressed,—its significance no one could miss.

    In pantomime glibly he told the whole tale,
      While the lady grew pale, and irate:
    "Ha! _what's_ that you say? Takes tea there each day?
    Geisha? Tea-shop indeed! Come, show me the way!
      We must stop _this_ before it's too late."
    And she pounced on her son, with a terrible frown,
    At the pretty tea-shop at the end of the town.

[Illustration]

        Not a word did she say, but she took by the ear
          Lord Algernon Perkyns de S.;
        She turned him about, and she marched him straight out—
        An undignified exit, altho', without doubt,
          An effectual way to suppress
        A thing which no mother _could_ view with delight,
        And, for one, _I_ contend the old lady was right.

                             *     *     *

        The pretty Jes-So, and the warlike Li-Kwize
          "Made it up," I am happy to say,
        And the almond-eyed miss, with a Japanese kiss,
        Filled the warrior's heart with a Japanese bliss,
          In quite the conventional way;
        While the turtle-birds sang in the Gom-bobble trees
        All their prettiest songs in their best Japanese.



                                 XXVI.
                   THAT OF THE INDISCREET HEN AND THE
                          RESOURCEFUL ROOSTER.

                            (_An Allegory._)


               I dote upon the softer sex.
               The theme I write upon doth vex,
               For female inconsistency
               A sorry subject is for me
                               To tackle;
               Yet of a wayward female hen
               I write this time, with halting pen.
               Compound of pride, and vanity,
               All feathers she appear'd to be,
                               And cackle.

               A flighty hen was she, no doubt—
               A foolish fowl, a gad-about.
               "Lay eggs!" quoth she. "Why should I?—why?
               And set! I won't, upon that I
                               'M decided."
               Then,—on the _Times_ instalment plan,—
               A bicycle she bought, and 'gan
               Domestic duties to neglect;
               Her skirts were—what could one expect?—
                               Divided.

[Illustration]

                This conduct greatly scandalised
                The farmyard; all looked on surprised,
                All but the rooster staid and grim;
                _He_ did not fret. 'Twas not for him
                                To rate her;
                He let her go her wilful way,
                And purchased for himself one day
                A strange contraption—glass and tin—
                An article that's called an in-
                                Cubator.

                The nearest grocer's then he sought,
                Some ten-a-shilling eggs he bought;
                The incubator set to work
                (There was no fear that _it_ would shirk
                                Its duty),
                Then sat and waited patiently.
                Not many days to wait, had he:
                Within a week, to make him glad,
                A family of chicks he had—
                                A beauty.

[Illustration]

                 Surprised, his wife returned; but "No;
                 In future you your way may go,
                 And I'll go mine, misguided hen!"
                 Said he. She fell to pleading then,
                                 But vainly.
                 "I'm better off without," he said,
                 "A wife with such an empty head.

                              *     *     *

                 He flourishes. His wife, grown stout,
                 Neglected, squa-a-ks and stalks about—
                                 Ungainly.


                                 MORAL.

              It's a wise chicken in these days that knows
              its own mother.



                                 XXVII.
                       THAT OF A DUEL IN FRANCE.


             Oh, _Fa-la-la!_ likewise _Hélas!_
             A shocking thing has come to pass,
             For Monsieur Henri Delapaire
             Has fallen out,—a sad affair,—
                 With Monsieur Jacques Mallette.
             "_La femme?_" Of course! They _both_ declare
                 They love _la belle_ Nannette.

             _Ma foi!_ They'll surely come to blows,
             For one has tweaked the other's nose,
             Who quickly snaps, with fierce grimace,
             His fingers in the other's face.
                 A duel _must_ result.
             A Frenchman's honour 'twould disgrace
                 To bear with such insult.

             "Pistols for two!"—in French,—they cry.
             Nannette to come between doth fly:
             "_Messieurs! Messieurs!_ pray, _pray_ be calm!
             You fill your Nannette with alarm."
                 "_Parole d'honneur!_ No.
             Revenge!" they cry. The big gendarme,
                 Nannette to call, doth go.

             Quickly a crowd has gathered round,
             Pistols are brought, and seconds found;
             A grassy space beneath the trees,
             Where gentlemen may fight at ease;
                 Then, each takes off his coat—
             Glaring meanwhile as though he'd seize
                 The other by the throat.

             The seconds shrug, gesticulate,
             And pace the ground with step sedate;
             Then anxious consultation hold
             O'er pistols, for the rivals bold
                 Who now stand white and stern;
             Their arms across their chests they fold,
                 And sideways each doth turn.

             The seconds place them _vis-à-vis_,
             And give them word to fire at "three";
             Brave Monsieur Mallette shuts his eyes,
             And points his pistol to the skies;
                 Brave Monsieur Delapaire
             His hand to steady vainly tries,
                 It trembles in the air.

[Illustration]

               A deadly silence: "_Un—deux—trois!_"
               Two shots are ringing through the _Bois_.
               Two shots,—and then two awful calms;
               As, senseless, in their seconds' arms
                   The duellists both lay.
               (Their faces pale the crowd alarms,
                   And fills them with dismay.)

[Illustration]

              "Killed?" Goodness gracious—oh, dear _no_!
              This couldn't be,—in France,—you know,
              For pistols _there_ they never load.
              But _caps_ were they which did explode:
                  _They've only swooned with fright._
              See! one some signs of life has showed;
                  The crowd claps with delight.
              They both revive. They both embrace.
              Twice kiss each other on the face.

                        *     *     *


              "Stay! Hold!" you cry. "You said, I thought,
              _La belle_ Nannette the gendarme sought?"
                  She did,—_la belle_ Nannette,—
              She sought, and found him—charming quite.
                  _She stays there with him yet._

              She "never cared for Delapaire,"
              She says with most _dégagé_ air;
              And "as for Monsieur Mallette,—well,
              He _may_ discover—who can tell?—
                  _Someone_ to marry yet."
              Meanwhile _le gendarme pour la belle_,
                  The fickle, fair Nannette.



                                XXVIII.
                      THAT OF THE ASTUTE NOVELIST.


                 Quite an ordinary person
                   Wrote an ordinary book;
                 'Twas the first he'd ever written,
                   So a lot of pains he took.
                 From a two-a-penny paper
                   He some little _factlets_[2] culled,
                 With some "stories of celebrities"
                   By which the Public's gulled.

                 Then of course he had a hero,
                   And likewise a hero_ine_,
                 And a villain, and a villainess,
                   Whose nefarious design
                 Was most properly defeated
                   In the chapter last but one,—
                 Which described the happy ending—
                   There you were! The thing was done.

              But, somehow, it didn't answer.
                "Nothing strange," you'll say, "in that";
              And, indeed, perhaps there wasn't
                _Very_ much to wonder at,
              For the book was really never
                Calculated fame to win,
              And the author's coat grew shabby
                And his body very thin.

[Illustration]

               And he pondered, and he pondered
                 O'er his misery and ills,
               Till, one day, he met a party
                 Who was posting up some bills.
               "What's the matter?" asked this person,
                 "You are looking mighty glum.
               Books not selling? Advertise 'em.
                 _That's_ the dodge to make things hum."

               "Look at 'Whatsit's Soap,' and so on!
                 Look at 'Thingumbobby's Pills!'
               It's the advertising does it,
                 And the owner's pocket fills.
               Puff 'em up; the Public likes it;
                 And—(this from behind his hand)—
               It doesn't matter if it's
                 Not _quite_ true, _you_ understand."

               So the author wrote another
                 Book, and brought in Tsars, and Kings,
               And Popes, and noble ladies—
                 Queens, and Duchesses, and things
               And "the problem" of the moment;
                 And some politics, and cram,
               With tit-bits of foreign language
                 Mixed with literary jam.

               And in type he had it stated
                 That "the world was all agog"
               For this "epoch-making" novel,
                 And—their memory to jog—
               The public had it daily
                 In all kinds of sorts of ways
               Thrust upon them, till it set
                 Their curiosity ablaze.

               And from Brixton unto Ponder's End
                 'Twas daily talked about
               This wonderful new novel
                 Long, long, long before 'twas out;
               I forget how many hundred
                 Thousand copies have been sold;
               But it's brought the lucky author
                 Notoriety, and gold.

[Illustration]

                   This judicious advertising
                     Has indeed brought him success;
                   He's the "lion" of the moment
                     In Society (big S).
                   It is even said that Royalty——
                     But there! I mustn't say,
                   For _he'll tell you all about it_
                     In another book some day.

Footnote 2:

  A _factlet_ is _nearly_ a fact.



                                 XXIX.
                    THAT OF THE ABSENT-MINDED LADY.


                The lady hailed a passing 'bus,
                  And sat down with a jerk;
                Upon her heated face she wore
                  A most complacent smirk;
                Three parcels held she in her lap,
                Safe-guarded from the least mishap.

                The 'bus it rattled, bumped, and shook—
                  She didn't seem to mind—
                And every now and then she _smiled_,
                  As something crossed her mind:
                She evidently longed to tell
                The joke, that we might smile as well.

                "These men!" she said, at last to one
                  Who sat beside her. "It's absurd.
                To hear them rave. They seem to think
                  That nobody—upon my word—
                But men can do things in what they
                Are pleased to call the proper way.

[Illustration]

                 "My husband now, he's like the rest,
                   And said, when I came out
                 To do some shopping, I'd forget
                   _Something_, he had no doubt,
                 Or else buy more than I desired,
                 Or something which was not required.

                 "Now, _three_ things I set out to buy
                   At Mr. Whiteley's store;
                 Three parcels here, I'm taking home,
                   _Three_ parcels, and no more.
                 My husband he must own ere long
                 Himself entirely in the wrong."

                 She smiled,—a most triumphant smile.
                   "Exactly like the men!"
                 She said, and I—she looked at me—
                   Felt much embarrassed then.
                 Her scorn for men was undisguised;
                 The other ladies sympathised.

                 But, presently, I noticed that
                   Upon the lady's face
                 No smile was seen—a puzzled frown
                   Had come there in its place;
                 She squirmed, and fidgeted about,
                 And turned her pockets inside out.

                 She counted over—several times—
                   Her parcels—"One—two—three;"
                 Clutched at her purse, her parasol;
                   Then muttered, "H'm! Dear me!
                 There's nothing that I haven't got.
                 What _can_ I have forgotten? What?"

                 She tapped her foot impatiently;
                   Stared out into the street;
                 She got up several times and searched
                   Quite vaguely o'er the seat;
                 Then gave a sigh and settled down,
                 Still wearing that bewildered frown.

                 Then, evidently lost in thought,
                   She sat as in a dream,
                 Till—o'er her face a pallor spread,—
                   She sprang up, with a scream:
                 "Oh, stop! Pray stop, conductor! Stop!
                 _I've left the baby in the shop!_"

[Illustration]



                                  XXX.
                 THAT OF THE GERMAN BAKER AND THE COOK.


             Dese vimens! Ach! dese vimens!
               To me id is quide sad
             Dat dey can be so bootiful,
               Und yet can be so bad.
             Dey vonce a fool haf made me
               As never vas before;
             Bud now I _know_ dose vimens,
               Und dey don't do dat no more.

             Look! I am here a baker,
               Und bread und biscuits bake,
             Der dough-nuts, und der cooken,
               Und all such tings I make;
             Von voman to my shop come,
               So bootiful und big,
             Her eyes vas plue und shining,
               Her hair joost like a vig.

             She buy of me some dough-nuts,
               She come again next day,
             Und in my dough-nuts buying
               She stole mine heart avay;
             For, ach! she vas so lofely
               As never yet I found—
             I tink dot even _both_ my arms
               Her vaist could not go round.

             Von day to me she say: "I vish
               I could dose dough-nuts make;
             My family is goned avay;
               Come now, und ve shall make
             Some dough-nuts in my kitchen,
               If you vill show me how."
             I go. Because I tink, perhaps,
               I get her for mine vrow.

             Der kitchen id vas big und clean,
               Der supper vas set out.
             Mit places at der table
               For two, mit pie, und stout.
             I show her how dough-nuts to make,
               Und den ve sit to sup;
             Ven comes a vistle at der gate;
               Der voman she jumps up.
             "Quick! quick!" she say, "here somevon comes,
               Und you must herein hide."

[Illustration]

                  She pushes me der pantry in,
                    Mit nothing else beside.
                  I peep der keyhole through und see
                    A big policeman stand;
                  Der voman seems him pleased to see,
                    Und shakes him by der hand.

                  Den dey two at der supper sit
                    (Dot supper made for me),
                  Und I am in der pantry shut,
                    mad as mad can be;
                  I sit der flour barrel upon,
                    Der barrel it go through,
                  Und in der flour I tumble. Ach!
                    It make me schneize "Tish-oo!"

[Illustration]

                 Der policeman say "Hark! vat is dat?"
                   Und open burst der door;
                 Dey see me den,—all vite mit flour
                   Und tumbled on der floor.
                 Der voman scream "A burglar man!"
                   Und tremble, und look pale;
                 Der policeman den he take me up,
                   And march me off to gaol.

                 Der magistrate some money for
                   A fine shall make me pay;
                 Der policeman und der voman
                   Dey get married yesterday:
                 So never now I trust no more
                   _All_ vimens vat I see;
                 Dey make again some other man
                   A fool, but _never_ me.



                                 XXXI.
                    THAT OF THE CONVERTED CANNIBALS.


                Upon an island, all alone,
                  They lived, in the Pacific;
                Somewhere within the Torrid Zone,
                  Where heat is quite terrific.
                'Twould shock you were I to declare
                The many things they did not wear,
                      Altho' no doubt
                      One's best without
                  Such things in heat terrific.

                Though cannibals by birth were they,
                  Yet, since they'd first existed,
                Their simple menu day by day
                  Of such-like things consisted:
                Omelets of turtle's eggs, and yams,
                And stews from freshly-gathered clams,
                      Such things as these
                      Were,—if you please,—
                  Of what their fare consisted.

                But after dinner they'd converse,
                  Nor did their topic vary;
                Wild tales of gore they would rehearse,
                  And talk of _missionary_.
                They'd gaze upon each other's joints,
                And indicate the tender points.
                      Said one: "For us
                      'Tis dangerous
                  To _think_ of _missionary_."

[Illustration]

                Well, on a day, upon the shore,
                  As flotsam, or as jetsum,
                Some wooden cases,—ten, or more,—
                  Were cast up. "Let us get some,
                And see, my friend, what they contain;
                The chance may not occur again,"
                      Said good Who-zoo.
                      Said Tum-tum, "Do;
                  We'll both wade out and get some."

                The cases held,—what do you think?—
                  "PRIME MISSIONARY—TINNED."
                Nay! gentle reader, do not shrink
                  The man who made it sinned:
                He thus had labelled bloater-paste
                To captivate the native taste.
                      He hoped, of course,
                      This fraud to force
                  On them. In this he sinned.

                Our simple friends knew naught of sin,
                  They thought that this confection
                _Was_ missionary in a tin
                  According to direction.
                For very joy they shed salt tears.
                "'Tis what we've waited for, for years,"
                      Said they. "Hooray!
                      We'll feast to-day
                  According to direction."

                "'Tis very tough," said one, for he
                  The tin and all had eaten.
                "Too salt," the other said, "for me;
                  The flavour might be beaten."
                It was enough. Soon each one swore
                He'd missionary eat no more:
                      Their tastes were cured,
                      They felt assured
                  This flavour might be beaten.

[Illustration]

                  And, should a missionary call
                    To-day, he'd find them gentle,
                  With no perverted tastes at all,
                    And manners ornamental;
                  He'd be received, I'm bound to say,
                  In courteous and proper way;
                        Nor need he fear
                        To taste their cheer
                    However ornamental.



                                 XXXII.
                     THAT OF A FRUITLESS ENDEAVOUR.


                Come let us quit the gruesome tales
                  Of cannibals, and Kings, and things;
                On such-like themes my fancy fails,
                  My muse a simpler story sings:
                I'd have you, one and all, consider
                To-day a bachelor and "widder."

                The bachelor,—named Robinson,
                  (A clerk, or something, in the City,
                Just what, we will not dwell upon),
                  A pleasant man, and somewhat witty,
                But thin,—I've seldom known a thinner,—
                Dwelt in the suburbs, out at Pinner.

                The widow lived at Pinner too,
                  _Her_ name Ann Partington, _née_ Gair,
                And rich,—if what was said is true,—
                  Her age was forty; she was fair
                And fat—indeed, as for that matter,
                I've seldom known a person fatter.

                Now Robinson considered: "Why
                  Should I, an eligible man,
                In lonely 'diggings' live and die,
                  When I might marry widow Ann?
                I'll call, and tentatively mention
                My matrimonial intention."

[Illustration]

               The widow seemed at first inclined
                 To close the matter out of hand.
               She said: "Yes, thank you, I don't mind,"
                 (No shyness _there_, you understand),
               But later on said: "No, for us
               To marry would be ludicrous.

               We'd be the laughing-stock, I fear,
                 Of neighbours round about,
               For you are awfully thin, poor dear,
                 And I am awfully stout;
               I must withhold consideration
               Till there's some drastic alteration."

               So Robinson determined that
                 He'd put on flesh somehow;
               He'd try all means of getting fat,
                 And made this solemn vow:
               "The widow,—well, he'd do without her
               Till he had grown a trifle stouter."

               "Laugh and grow fat," somebody said;
                 So, daily, Robinson
               The comic papers duly read,
                 And gloated thereupon:
               He spent no end of pocket money
               In things which he considered funny.

               And eat!—I tell you he _did_ eat!—
                 While (this was scarcely wise)
               He seldom moved from off his seat,
                 And took _no_ exercise.
               'Twas not surprising, then—now, was it?—
               He gained in "adipose deposit."

[Illustration]

                  He did; and when he turned the scale
                    At twenty stone or more,
                  He for the widow's house set sail,
                    And waddled to the door.
                  She met him—thin as any rat,
                  _For_ SHE'D _been taking Anti-Fat_!



                                XXXIII.
                     THAT OF THE UNFORTUNATE LOVER.


                I often heave a sigh to think
                  Of poor young A. McDougal,
                And his disastrous bold attempt
                  To learn to play the bugle
                (Which, judging from the sad result,
                Must be, I fancy, difficult).

                It happened thus: McDougal took
                  His charming young _fiancée_[3]
                One evening to a "Monday Pop."
                  (Her Christian name was Nancy.)
                And there they heard—he and this maid,—
                A solo on the bugle played.

                Fair Nancy was enraptured, and
                  Said: "Dearest A. McDougal,
                I'd love you more than ever if
                  You'd learn to play the bugle."
                McDougal, as a lover should,
                Remarked, he'd learn it—"if he could."


            That very night, as they walked home,
              McDougal was deluded
            A bugle into purchasing
              (With leather case included),
            At more than twice its proper price,
            Because it looked "so very nice."

            He little thought, poor wretched man,
              As he this bargain fixed on,
            How it would wreck his future life.
              He took it home to Brixton,
            And, from that hour, with much concern,
            To play upon it tried to learn.

            His efforts—so I understand—
              At first were not successful.
            His landladies objected—which,
              Of course, was most distressful;
            Then neighbours much annoyed him, for
            _They_ sued him in a court of law.

            Said he: "'Tis strange, where'er I go
              Opprobrium and hooting
            My efforts greet. I'd better try
              The common, out at Tooting,"
            Where,—on his bugle-tootling bent,—
            He most appropriately went.

            Each evening after business hours
              He'd practice—'twas his fancy—
            Till _he_ thought he played well enough
              To serenade Miss Nancy,
            Though (this must be well understood)
            His playing really was _not_ good.

            He had no ear for music, and
              Made discords which were racking;
            While as for time, his sense of _that_
              Was quite, entirely, lacking.
            Still, excellent was his intent
            As unto Nancy's house he went.

            "That tune," he thought, "which we first heard,
              'Twould doubtless, much engage her,
            If I performed the self-same piece"
              ('Twas something in D major),
            Which, knowing nought of C's and D's,
            He played in quite a bunch of keys.

                      *     *     *

            "Who is it making all this noise?"
              A voice inquired quite crossly
            Above his head. "'Tis I, my love,"
              Said A. McDougal, hoarsely.
            "Then go away; I've never heard,"
            Said Nancy, "noises so absurd."

[Illustration]

                  "My playing—don't you like it?" "No;
                    And, till you're more proficient,
                  I will not marry you at all:
                    I've said it,—that's sufficient."
                  She closed the window with a bang.
                  A wild note from the bugle rang—

[Illustration]

                  A wildly, weirdly, wailing note
                    To set one's blood a-freezing;
                  A compound 'twixt nocturnal cats,
                    And wheels which want a-greasing—
                  For A. McDougal—ah! how sad—
                  Her heartlessness had driven mad.

                  And Tooting Common, now, at night
                    None cross but the undaunted,
                  For people, living thereabout,
                    Declare the place is haunted
                  By one who serenades the moon
                  With jangled bugle, out of tune.

Footnote 3:

  Cockney pronunciation please.



                                 XXXIV.
                      THAT OF THE FEMALE GORILLY.


                Och! Oi can't remember roightly
                  Phwat exactly waz the name
                Of the gintleman phwat did it,
                  But Oi read it all the same—
                How he lived insoide a cage, sor
                  ('Twas a moighty strong consarn),
                In the middle of the forest,
                  Monkey language for to larn.

                If he larned to spake it roightly
                  Oi can't say, sor, yis or no;
                But he left the cage behoind him,
                  That for sartin sure Oi know;
                For Oi saw it there mesilf, sor—
                  If ye loike Oi'll tell yez how.
                'Tis a moighty cur'ous story
                  That Oi'm tellin' of yez now.

                'Tis some many years agone, sor,
                  Oi forget phwy Oi waz sint
                With the great explorin' party,
                  But they axed me,—an' Oi wint.
                An' the forests that we passed through,
                  An' the rivers that we crossed,
                Phwat with one thing an' another
                  Ivery man but me waz lost.

                But Oi still kept on explorin',
                  Walkin' by mesilf for moiles,
                An' a-swimmin' over rivers,
                  Filled with hungry crocodoiles,
                Till wan day a big gorilly
                  Oi saw standin' in the road,
                And, phwen Oi saw the cratur,
                  "Och, bedad!" Oi cried, "Oi'm blow'd."

                For Oi took him for a Christian.
                  Dressed in plant'in leaves and things,
                With a bonnet on his head, sor,
                  An' around his neck some rings
                Ov berries from the trees, sor,
                  An', sez Oi, "It seems to me,
                By the manner of his dressin',
                  It's most loikely _he's_ a _she_."

                She waz that, an' by the same, sor,
                  When Oi bowed and raised me hat,
                She jist flung her arms around me,
                  And then down beside me sat.
                Oi could see she'd fell in love, sor,
                  An' Oi came all over hot,
                For a big female gorilly
                  'S worse than any Hottentot.

[Illustration]

               An' Oi rasoned with her thus, sor:
                 "Oi _can't_ marry yez, becaze
               Oi've wan woife in Ballyhooly,
                 An' another wan that waz
               Me woife up in Killarney;
                 If Oi marry _yez_, ye see,
               They'll call it bigamy, perhaps,
                 Or trigonometry."

               But she didn't understand, sor,
                 An' she stayed with me all day,
               An' she growled an' showed her teeth, sor,
                 When Oi tried to get away;
               Then she led me to her home, sor—
                 It waz made insoide the cage,
               (That the gintleman Oi told yez ov
                 Had left there, Oi'll engage.)

               "An' ye mane to shut me up in that,
                 Ye ugly great gorilly?"
               Thinks Oi. "Bedad! ye won't, thin.
                 D'ye take me for a silly?"
               So when she opens wide the door,
                 Oi steps asoide politely;
               _She_ walks insoide, _Oi_ shuts the door,
                 An' fastens it up toightly.

               An' a moighty lucky thing it waz
                 Oi fastened her up so, sor;
               What would have happened otherwise
                 Oi really do not know, sor.
               But Oi left her far behind me,
                 Still a-yellin' in her rage,
               An' if the gintleman goes back,
                 He'll find her—_in the cage_.

[Illustration]



                                 XXXV.
                 THAT OF THE ARTIST AND THE MOTOR-CAR.

                              (_Tragedy._)


                 There lived an artist,
                   Not unknown to fame—
                 Wild horses wouldn't
                   Drag from me his name.
         Besides, it doesn't matter,—not a bit,—
         It is sufficient, painting was his lit-
                           Tle game.

                 He copied Turner-
                   Esque effects with ease,
                 And painted cattle,—
                   Miniatures,—or seas;
         Yet found some difficulty, I've heard said,
         In making both ends meat, (or even bread,
                           And cheese).

                 He sat one day with-
                   In his stu-di-o,
                 Grieving that times were
                   Bad, and prices low,
         When, suddenly, this thought occurred to him,
         (Of course, 'twas but a fancy, or a whim,
                           You know):

                 "How strange 'twould be if
                   What I painted here
                 Upon the canvas
                   Really should appear!
         I wish it would, and then remain for good.
         Upon my word, ha-ha! I say! That would
                           Be queer!"

                 No sooner had the
                   Thought occurred to him
                 Than round and round the
                   Studio seemed to swim.
         A fairy voice declared: "_On your behalf
         The wish is granted!_" then "_Ha! ha!_" ('Twas laugh-
                           Ter grim.)

                 "Absurd," the artist
                   Cried. "Of course, there are
                 No fairies now; we're
                   Too advanced by far
         To think it; still, with just a line or so
         Upon the canvas here, I'll draw a mo-
                           Tor-car."

[Illustration]

                    He drew, and scarce had
                      Finished it before
                    His servant knocked. (Up-
                      On her face she wore
            A puzzled look.) "Sir, here's your coat and hat,
            And, if you please, _your motor-car is at
                              The door_!"

                    The artist hardly
                      Could believe his eyes,
                    For what he saw quite
                      Filled him with surprise:
            There stood the _very_ motor-car he'd meant,
            In make, and pattern, most convenient,
                              And size.

                    "Well! as it's here, I'll
                      Use the thing," he cried.
                    (Indeed, what was there
                      To be done beside?)
            So, watched by quite a crowd about the door,
            He turned the crank, and off he started for
                              A ride.

                    On went the motor-
                      Car, on—"pop-pop-pop!"—
                    On through the streets, and
                      On past house and shop,
            Through country lanes, and over hill and dell,
            Delightfully,—until he thought it well
                              To stop.

                    But stop he couldn't,
                      Try whate'er he would—
                    _He hadn't drawn quite
                      Everything he should_;
            Some little crank, or something, he'd not done,
            Because the mechanism he'd not un-
                              Derstood.

                    Result? Poor fellow!
                      To this day, he flies
                    Along the roads, with
                      Starting eyes, and cries
            For help—which nobody can give him, for
            He's doomed to ride until the thing busts, or—
                              He dies.

[Illustration]



                                 XXXVI.
                THAT OF THE INCONSIDERATE NABOB AND THE
                    LADY WHO DESIRED TO BE A BEGUM.


                 Begums! Exactly what they are
                   I really ought to know—but don't;
                 In my Encyclopædia
                   I'll look them up. Stay! No, I won't.
               Instead, let us converse together
               About Miss Mary Merryweather.

                 A guileless child of nature, she
                   Who lived out Upper Norwood way,
                 A Begum she desired to be,
                   And dreamt about this night and day,
               But,—though she made a solemn vow to
               Be a Begum,—knew not how to.

                 "What _is_ a Begum?" friends would ask,
                   And Mary M—— would shake her head.
                 "Though doubtless it will be a task
                   I'll find out for myself," she said.
               They raised their hands in consternation
               At this announced determination.

[Illustration]

                 Later Miss Merryweather said:
                   "To be a Begum one must go
                 To India. I'd better wed
                   A captain on a P. and O.
               I'll therefore marry Captain Jolly."
               (A kind old man who called her "Polly.")

                 "Though what on earth a girl could see,"
                   He said, while on their honeymoon,
                 "Attractive in a man like me——"
                   Then Mrs. Jolly very soon
               (Though doubtless with some trepidation)
               Explained to him the situation.

                 Good Captain Jolly sighed, and said:
                   "A Begum you can never be,
                 My dearest Poll, till I am dead;
                   Perhaps I'd better die," said he.
               "If you don't mind, I think you'd better,"
               Said she; "'twill suit me to the letter."

                 So Captain Jolly, worthy soul,
                   Deceased, as she desired him to.
                 In India—the lady's goal;
                   A wealthy Nabob came in view,
               Whom Widow Jolly captivated.
               And,—later,—married, as is stated.

                 "A Begum now at last am I,"
                   She said, when she had married him,
                 "A Begum!" said the Nabob. "Why?"
                   His wife explained. "A harmless whim,"
               Said he; "but I regret to state, Ma'am,
               You're _not_ what you anticipate, Ma'am.

                 "A Begum is a _Rajah's_ wife,
                   And _not_ a Nabob's, don't you see;
                 And so throughout _my_ natural life
                   A Begum you can never be."
               She wept—and hinted Captain Jolly
               Had died to please his little Polly.

[Illustration]

                 "Perhaps you——" "No, I won't," he cried;
                   "I draw the line," said he, "at that.
                 Although poor Jolly may have died
                  To please you—I refuse. That's flat!"

                         *     *     *

               And so, alas! for her endeavour,
               She never _was_ a Begum,—never!



                                XXXVII.
          THAT OF DR. FARLEY, M.D., SPECIALIST IN LITTLE TOES.


[Illustration]

                  Ever heard of Dr. Farley,
                    Doctor Farley, sir, M.D.,
                  Living in the street of Harley,
                    Street of Harley, Number Three?

                  Years ago the simple fact is,
                    Simple fact is, don't you know,
                  He had but a tiny practice,
                    Tiny practice, down at Bow.

                  Consultations for a shilling,
                    For a shilling, sir, with pills;
                  For this sum he e'en was willing,
                    Willing, sir, to cure all ills.

                  Pains in "tum-tums" he would cure a,
                    Cure a man of, in a night,
                  With Ip. Cac. and Aqua pura
                    (Aqua pura his delight).

                  He was, too, a skilful surgeon,
                    Skilful surgeon, yet his fee—
                  Seldom was it known to verge on,
                    Even verge on, two and three.

                  Work at this rate wasn't paying,
                    Wasn't paying—what surprise?
                  So he sold his practice, saying,
                    Saying, "I must specialize."

                  "That's the way to pick up money,
                    Pick up money, so I'm told."
                  So he did it. Now—it's funny,
                    Funny, but—he rolls in gold.

                  His success himself surprises,
                    Much surprises, for he knows
                  That he only specialises,
                    Specialises, little toes.

[Illustration]

                 When swells in their little tootsies,
                   Little tootsies, suffer pain,
                 Unto him they bring their footsies,
                   Footsies, to put right again;

                 For they say, sir, "None but he, sir,
                   He, sir, understands the toe."
                 Earls and Dukes wait every day, sir,
                   Every day, sir, in a row.

                 This the history of Farley,
                   Doctor Farley, sir, M.D.,
                 _Others—in the street of Harley—
                   Others like him there may be._

                 There's a moral to this story,
                   To this story, if you're wise:
                 If you'd win both wealth and glory,
                   Wealth and glory—SPECIALIZE.



                                XXXVIII.
                    THAT OF JEREMIAH SCOLES, MISER.


                 I sing of joys, and junketings,
                 Of holly, and of such-like things;
                 I sing of merry mistletoe,
                 And,—pardon me,—I sing also
                       Of Jeremiah Scoles.
                 I sing of Mister Scoles because
                 So singular a man he was,
                 And had so very strange a way
                 Of celebrating Christmas Day—
                       Unlike all other souls.

                 Myself, I am a cheerful man,
                 Enjoying life as best I can.
                 At Christmas-time I love to see
                 The flow of mirth and jollity
                       About the festive board;
                 I love to dance, I _try_ to sing;
                 On enemies, like anything,
                 At Christmas-time I heap hot coals,
                 But not so Jeremiah Scoles—
                       _He_ loves a miser's hoard.

                 I chanced one year, on Christmas Day,
                 To call upon him, just to say
                 That we'd be very pleased to see
                 Him, if he'd care to come to tea.
                       I found him quite alone.
                 He sat before a fireless grate;
                 The room looked bare and desolate,
                 And he, unkempt, in dressing-gown,
                 Received me with an angry frown,
                       And spoke in surly tone.

[Illustration]

              "Ha! what d'ye _want_?" said he to me
              And eyed me most suspiciously.
              I laughed and gave a hearty smack
              Upon the grumpy fellow's back,
                    And cried: "Come home with me.
              We'll treat you well. There's lots of fun—"
              But ere I scarcely had begun
              He cut me short. "Pooh! folly! stuff!
              See _here_; I've fun—quite fun enough!"
                    He laughed, but mirthlessly.

              Before him on the table lay
              Gold, silver, coppers, in array;
              Some empty bottles; stacks of bills;
              Some boxes for containing pills—
                    And that was all. Said he:
              "This gold is what I _haven't_ spent
              In presents; and the silver's meant
              To show what _could_ be wasted in—
              Pah!—Christmas boxes. 'Tis a sin
                    I don't encourage—no, not me?

              "The coppers—little boys, no doubt,
              Would like 'em—_they may go without_;
              While these long bills I _should_ have had
              From tradesmen, had I been so mad
                    As to have bought the things
              They represent for Christmas cheer;
              These bottles and pill-boxes here
              Show what I will _not_ have to take,
              Because I'll have _no_ stomach-ache
                    That over-eating brings.

[Illustration]

                 "And thus I spend my Christmas Day,
                 Thinking what silly fools are they
                 Who spend so much in solid cash
                 On so much sentimental trash.
                       And now, good-day to you!"
                 He showed me out, he banged the door,
                 And I was—where I was before.

                           *     *     *

                 I really think, upon my word,
                 His line of reasoning's most absurd.
                       No doubt you think so, too?



                                 XXXIX.
                     THAT OF THE HIGH-SOULED YOUTH.


                A year or so ago, you know,
                I had a friend, at Pimlico,
                For want of better name called Joe
                  (This name is not his right 'un).
                He was a sweet, poetic youth,
                Romantic, gallant, and in sooth
                Might well be called, in very truth
                  An "Admirable Crichton."

                And oh! it grieved him sore to see
                The lack,—these times,—of chivalry.
                He'd now and then confide to me
                  His views upon the matter.
                "Good, never _now_ is done by stealth!"
                He'd say, "Men ruin mind, and health
                In sordid scramble after wealth;
                  And talk,—is idle chatter."

[Illustration]

                 "That simple virtue, Modesty,
                 Alas! it now appears to be
                 A valueless commodity,
                   Though _once_ men prized it highly."
                 He went on thus,—like anything,
                 Until I heard, one day last Spring,
                 That he intended marrying
                   The daughter of old Riley.

                 I knew the Riley girls, and thought
                 "Now this has turned out as it ought.
                 Joe is a reg'lar right good sort
                   To marry 'Cinderella.'"
                 The younger one, (thus called by me)
                 A sweet good girl as e'er might be
                 Was poor; the elder—rich was _she_—
                   Her name was Arabella.

                 An Aunt had left her lots of gold,
                 While 'Cinderella'—so I'm told,—
                 She left entirely in the cold
                   Without a single shilling.
                 The elder one,—though plain to see,—
                 Of suitors had some two, or three;
                 Poor Cinderella, nobody
                   To marry _her_ seemed willing.

                 Until the noble high-souled Joe—
                 That Errant-knight of Pimlico—
                 Came forth, the world at large to show
                   That _he_ at least knew better.
                 In spirit I before him bowed,
                 "To know a man like _that_ I'm proud
                 And happy!" I remarked aloud,
                   And sent to him this letter.

[Illustration: "ARABELLA."]

                 "_Dear Joe;—Wealth as you say's a trap
                 Gold is but dross,—not worth a rap—
                 How very like you—dear old chap!—
                   To marry 'Cinderella.'_"
                           *     *     *
                 He wrote:—"_I must expostulate,
                 I'm not a_ FOOL _at any rate_!
                 OF COURSE _I've chosen as a mate
                   The_ RICH _one, Arabella_!"



                                  XL.
             THAT OF MR. JUSTICE DEAR'S LITTLE JOKE AND THE
                 UNFORTUNATE MAN WHO COULD NOT SEE IT.


[Illustration]

              Again of Mr. Justice Dear
                My harmless numbers flowing,
              Shall tell a story somewhat queer
                About His Worship, showing,
              How sensitive the legal wit.
              It _is_. There is no doubt of it.

              Before good Justice Dear one day
                A man—for some small matter,
              Was hailed, and, in his own sly way
                (The former, not the latter)
              Made,—and I thought the Court would choke,—
              An unpremeditated joke.

              The prosecuting Counsel roared,
                The Jury giggled madly,
              Only the Prisoner looked bored,
                _He_ took it rather sadly.
              "Why don't you laugh?" the Usher said,
              The Prisoner, he shook his head.

              "I cannot see," said he, "that's flat—
                A fact that's most annoying,—
              What everyone is laughing at,
                And seemingly enjoying."
              This strange remark, it reached his ear
              And irritated Justice Dear.

              "When I am pleased to make a joke
                That's _not_ the way to treat it."
              Thus, warningly, his Worship spoke,
                "Now listen! I'll repeat it."
              He did. He said it o'er and o'er.
              At least a dozen times or more.

[Illustration]

                 "Excuse me, sir," the Prisoner said,
                   "At _what_ may you be driving?"
                 Good Justice Dear turned very red,
                   "This joke of my contriving,
                 If you don't see it, Sir, you ought;
                 If not—well—'tis contempt of Court."

                 The Counsel then explained it, but
                   Quite failed the point to show him;
                 The Usher muttered "Tut-tut-tut!"
                   The Jury whispered "Blow him!"
                 Then several people wrote it down.
                 The Prisoner still wore a frown.

                 "Am I supposed to laugh at _that_?
                   Why? I can't see the reason."
                 It was too much. His Lordship sat
                   Aghast. "'Tis almost treason!
                 That unpremeditated joke before
                 Has _never_ failed to raise a roar.

                 "Defective in morality,
                   Must be that man misguided,
                 Who fails its brilliancy to see."
                   His Lordship then decided
                 To send the man,—despite his tears,—
                 To servitude, for twenty years.



                                  XLI.
                THAT OF THE LADIES OF ASCENSION ISLAND.


                 On the Island of Ascension
                   There are only ladies ten,
                 The remaining population
                   Being officers or men.
                 "Dear me!" I hear you saying,
                   "How united they must be!"
                 But in this you'd be mistaken,
                   As you'll very quickly see.

                 For each lady on the Island
                   Thinks _she_ ought to take the lead
                 In social matters, and on this
                   They're not at all agreed.
                 And Mrs. Smith's told Mrs. Brown
                   She thinks her most absurd,
                 While others cut each other dead
                   And don't exchange a word.

[Illustration]

                This state of thing's been going on
                  They tell me year by year,
                And the husbands have grown tired of it
                  As we should do I fear;
                For connubial felicity
                  Is doomed, if all our lives
                Are spent in listening to the faults
                  Of other people's wives.

                Quite recently a steamer called
                  For cinnamon and spice,
                And her Captain and the officers
                  Were asked for their advice.
                They gave it promptly. It was this—
                  "'Twere better you agreed,
                In social matters, just to let
                  The _eldest_ lady lead."

[Illustration]

                   They tried it. But—good gracious!
                     They are worse off than before,
                   For every lady in the place
                     Is firm upon that score.
                   Impossible it is that age
                     Shall be the final test,
                   _For every one insists that she
                     Is younger than the rest_!



                                 XLII.
                   THAT OF THE ARTICULATING SKELETON.


                  There was a worthy Doctor once
                    Who unlike Mother Hubbard
                  Had _many_ bones (a skeleton)
                    Shut up within a cupboard.

                  One night the worthy Doctor dreamt,
                    (He'd been up rather late)
                  His articulated skeleton
                    Did thus articulate:—

[Illustration]

       "Come! Doctor, come! confess that you're a fraud
             A very specious humbug and a sham.
             Though meek as any lamb.
       Don't glare at me! I'll tell it not abroad
       But merely in _your_ ears alone applaud
             The wily artifice of pill and dram.

       "_You_ know as well as I do, you don't mean,
             One half the things you tell 'our patient.' No!
             Why, I can clearly show,
       That Mrs. Gobbles' ailments are but spleen,
       ('Tis quite the simplest cause that e'er was seen)
             And yet what crack-jaw names you now bestow.

       "Because, forsooth, the longer you can prey
             Upon her pocket, _that_ doth please you best,
             So, Doctor, you protest
       'The case is serious,' from day to day,
       'And it must run its course,' you gravely say
             With wisest head-shake and a look distressed.

       "And then those pills! Absurd you know to try
             To gammon _me_ with bolluses of bread;
             While Aqua P. I've said,
       Often, is good (if nothing else be nigh)
       To drink when thirsty and our throats are dry,
             But _not_ for medicine—though coloured red.

       "So, Doctor, when we're by ourselves alone,
             Don't try to put on 'side' with me, good lack,
             For I can surely track
       Full many a 'fatal case' you'd fain disown.
       And _I_ can tell aright why you should groan
             _When harmless ducks in passing cry 'Quack! Quack!'_

                 *     *     *

       The Doctor woke. "Dear me!" said he,
         "This skeleton's too wise
       For me." He therefore packed it up,
         And sent it off to Guy's.

[Illustration]



                                 XLIII.
            THAT OF YE LOVE-PHILTRE: AN OLD-ENGLISH LEGEND.


                    Sir Peter de Wynkin
                      He loved a fair mayde,
                    And he wooed ye fair mayde
                      For hys bride.
                    But ye ladye cried "no,"
                      With a toss of her head,
                    And Sir Wynkin
                      Disconsolate sighed.

                    "Now out! and alas!
                      And alack-a-day me!"
                    He sang him
                      In sorrowful tones,
                    "She loveth me not
                      Yet, beshrew me!" said he,
                    "There's a wizard I wot of
                      Called—Jones."

                    Caldweller Ap Jones,
                      Was a wizard of note,
                    And he dwelt in a cave
                      Hard at hand.
                    Love-philtres and potions
                      He sold for a groat,
                    To ye rich and ye poor
                      Of ye land.

                    Sir Wynkin, he sought
                      This same wizard straightway,
                    And he told him hys
                      Dolorous plight.
                    The wizard cried, "Ha!
                      If you'll do as I say,
                    Thys small matter
                      Can soon be set right."

                    "Thys potion—a love-philtre
                      Made extra strong—
                    To ye ladye, by you,
                      Must be given."
                    "Oddzooks!" quoth Sir Wynkin.
                      "Ye ladye ere long
                    Shall receive it,
                      Or e'er I be shriven."

                    Ye bower was high
                      Where ye fair ladye slept,
                    But Sir Wynkin climbed up
                      From ye basement.
                    By means of ye ivy
                      He painfully crept,
                    And ye potion placed
                      Outside the casement.

[Illustration]

                    "She'll find it," quoth he,
                      "Ere the morrow is past.
                    Curiosity'll prompt her
                      To drink it.
                    Ye magic will act,
                      And she'll love me at last.
                    Ah me! 'Tis sweet joy
                      E'en to think it."

                    But alack! and alas!
                      Ye endyng was sad,
                    Ye love-philtre caused
                      Quite a commotion.
                    For—a toothless old grand-dame
                      Ye fair ladye had,
                    And _she_ found, and _she_ drank
                      Ye love potion!!

[Illustration]

                    Fell madly in love
                      With Sir Wynkin 'tis said,
                    And declared that ye Knight
                      Had betrayed her.
                    So, distraught, from ye country
                      Sir Wynkin he fled,
                    And he died at ye wars—
                      A Crusader.



                                 XLIV.
                       THAT OF THE BARGAIN SALE.


              I sing of Mrs. Tomkins-Smythe,
                And Mrs. Gibson-Brown;
              Two ladies resident within
                A square, near Camden Town.

              Good neighbours they had been, and friends,
                For twenty years, or more;
              The Tomkins-Smythes they lived at "6,"
                The Gibson-Browns at "4."

              'Twas in that season of the year
                When drapers' bargain sales
              Do fascinate the female mind,
                And vex the married males.

              An illustrated catalogue
                Arrived at "Number 4,"
              Which Mrs. Gibson-Brown took in
                To show her friend next door.

              "My dear!" she cried in eager tones,
                "_Such_ bargains! Gracious me!
              Here's _this_ reduced from two-and-six
                To one eleven-three!

[Illustration]

               "And _those_ which you remember, dear,
                 We thought so very nice,
               They're selling off at really an
                 Alarming sacrifice!"

               "Those _remnants_—" Mrs. Tomkins-Smythe
                 Remained to hear no more;
               She jabbed her bonnet on with pins,
                 And hurried to the door.

               A tram, a 'bus, the tupp'ny tube,
                 And they were quickly there;
               And joining in the buzzing crowd
                 Of other ladies fair.

               They pulled at this, they tugged at that,
                 They turned and tumbled those;
               And pushed, and crowded with the best,
                 And trod on people's toes.

               They glared at other buyers, and
                 Forestalled them—when they could;
               And behaved, indeed, exactly,
                 As _at sales_ all ladies should.

               Till with heavy parcels laden,
                 Breathless, but with keen delight,
               They beheld the remnant counter
                 ("Second turning to the right.")

               And (alas! how small a matter
                 May entirely change life's view)
               Both in the self-same instant
                 Saw a remnant—Navy blue.

               They each reached out to take it.
                 "'Tis mine!" they both did cry.
               "I saw it first, my dearest love."
                 "No, darling, it was I."

[Illustration]

                 "_My_ remnant, and I'll buy it!"
                   "Indeed? I think you _won't_!"
                 "Pooh! madame, I will have it!"
                   "I'll see, ma'am, that you don't!"

                 And thus, and thus—oh, woesome sight—
                   They quarrelled, nor would stop
                 Until the shopwalker he came
                   And turned them from the shop.

                           *     *     *

                 They never made the quarrel up,
                   And now, with icy stare,
                 They pass each other in the street
                   With noses in the air.



                                  XLV.
                        THAT OF A DECEASED FLY.

                              (A Ballade.)


[Illustration]

               A little busy buzzy fly
                 Before my window oft would go,
               I daily saw him sailing by
                 And thought that I would like to know
               More of that little fly, and oh!
                 I raised my hat, and bowed, and said,
               "How do!" The fly replied, "So, so!"
                 (Alas! that little fly is dead.)

               We grew quite friendly, he and I,
                 He'd come when called—I called him Joe.—
               He was a most amusing fly.
                 At evening, when the sun was low,
                 Or, by the firelight's ruddy glow
               He'd hopscotch on my buttered bread
                 Or o'er my jam, with nimble toe.
               (Alas! that little fly is dead.)

               I saved him once, when none was by;
                 From out the milk jug's fatal flow
               I fished him out, and let him dry.
                 His gratitude he tried to show
                 In many ways I know, I know;
               _But_—when upon my bald, bald head
               He gamboled, could I stand it? _No!
                 Alas! that little fly is dead!_

[Illustration]


                                 ENVOY.

                 Prince. Pity, not your blame, bestow.
                 Remember all the tears I've shed.
                 What _could_ I do? _It tickled so._
                   Alas! That little fly is dead.



                               EPILOGUE.


               There,—having sung in dulcet tones
               Of Brown, and Robinson, and Jones,
               Of poets, cannibals, and kings,
               Of burglars, dukes, and such like things—
               May kindly Fate our fortunes mend.
               We wish you joy. This is

[Illustration: THE END]



                           Transcriber's Note

The original spelling and punctuation have been retained.

Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

Italicized words and phrases in the text version are presented by
surrounding the text with underscores.





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