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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOLUME 104, APRIL 29TH 1893

edited by Sir Francis Burnand




[Illustration: WHAT OUR ARTIST (THE VERY SHY ONE) HAS TO PUT UP WITH.

_Affable Stranger._ "ULLO, MISTER, THERE YOU ARE! I SAY, THAT _WAS_ A
RACY BIT YOU GAVE US LAST WEEK, ABOUT THE 'CAT AND THE FIDDLE'! QUITE
IN YOUR OLD FORM, EH!"

[_Digs him in the ribs with his Umbrella._

_Our Artist._ "YOU'RE VERY KIND, BUT - A - I - A - I FEAR I HAVEN'T THE
PLEASURE OF YOUR ACQUAINTANCE - A - - "

_Affable Stranger._ "HOITY-TOITY ME! HOW PROUD WE ARE THIS MORNING!"
[_Gives him another dig, and exit._]

* * * * *

STRAY THOUGHTS ON PLAY-WRITING.

_From the Common-place Book of The O'Wilde._ - The play? Oh, the play
be zephyr'd! The play is not the thing. In other words, the play is
nothing. Point is to prepare immense assortment of entirely irrelevant
epigrams. "Epigram, my dear Duke, is the refuge of the dullard, who
imagines that he obtains truth by inverting a truism." That sounds
well; must lay it by for use. Take "Virtue," for instance. "Virtue"
offers a fine field for paradox, brought strictly up to date. Must jot
down stray thoughts. (Good idea in the expression "Stray Thoughts."
Will think over it, and work it up either for impromptu or future
play.) Here are a few examples: -

(1) Be virtuous, and you will be a County Councillor.

(2) Nothing is so dull as a life of virtue - except a career of vice.

(3) "Virtue, my dear Lady CHILLINGHAM, is the weakness of the masses,
acting under the force of their circumstances."

(4) Virtue, no doubt, is a necessity; but, to be necessary, is the
first step to abolition.

(5) If you wish to become virtuous, you have only to be found out.

(6) There is nothing a man resents so much as the imputation of
virtue.

(7) Virtue, my dear HORACE, is a quality we inculcate upon our wives
mainly by a lack of example.

(8) I want to be rich merely in order to have the chance of overcoming
the difficulties in the way of being virtuous. Virtue on a pound a
week is so easy as to repel all but the indolent and worthless.

So much for Virtue. Repentance may be treated according to the same
formula.

(1) My dear boy, never repent. Repentance leads inevitably to
repetition.

(2) Repentance is like a secret. If you keep it to yourself it loses
all interest. Nobody can repent on a desert island.

(3) To repent is to have been unsuccessful.

(4) Not to be repentant is never to have enjoyed.

(5) Repentance in a man means nothing more than an intention to
change his methods; in a woman it is a last tribute to an expiring
reputation.

Having finished these examples, I will put down a few notions for
general use.

(1) Necessity knows no law, and therefore has to learn.

(2) Everything comes to the man who is waited upon.

(3) The later the bird the better for the worm.

(4) It is never too late to - dine.

There you have the whole secret. Be fearfully cynical, dreadfully
bold, delightfully wicked, and carefully unconventional; let paradox
and epigram flow in copious streams from your pen. Throw in a few
aristocrats with a plentiful flavouring of vices novelistically
associated with wicked Baronets. Add an occasional smoking-room -
(_Mem._ "Everything ends in smoke, my dear boy, except the cigars of
our host." Use this when host is a _parvenu_ unacquainted with the
mysteries of brands) - shred into the mixture a wronged woman, a dull
wife, and, if possible, one well tried and tested "situation," then
set the whole to simmer for three hours at the Haymarket. The result
will be - - But to predict a result is to prophesy, and to prophesy
is to know. (N.B. - Work up this rough material. It will come right,
and sound well when polished up.)

* * * * *

BY GEORGE!

A Correspondent of the _Daily Telegraph_ suggests that, as the Scotch
keep up St. Andrew's Day, and the Irish St. Patrick's, the English
should also have a national _fête_ on St. George's Day, the 23rd of
April. Why not have the 23rd as St. George's Day, and the 24th as the
Dragon's Day? We ought to "Remember the Dragon" - say, by depositing
wreaths before the Temple Bar specimen. A Dragon's Day would be a
most useful National Institution. The object would not be to exalt
the beast, but to celebrate our own (and GEORGE'S) triumph over it.
Everybody has his own private Dragon, and some people have public ones
as well. For example, Sir WILFRED LAWSON, in laying down his wreath,
would be commemorating the introduction of the Veto Bill; Mr.
GLADSTONE would be slaying (in spirit) the Leader of the Opposition
in the House of Lords, who is evidently the "Dragon of the Prime
(Minister)" referred to by TENNYSON; Lord CRANBORNE would be Mr.
DAVITT'S Dragon, and so on. The fun would be that nobody would
be expected to say _what_ Dragon he meant. If a law were passed
establishing such a festivity, perhaps it would be denounced as "too
Dragonic"!

* * * * *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

[Illustration: Going to the Booking-Office.]

Poet WILLIAM WATSON'S _Excursions in Criticism_ are cheap Excursions.
He himself describes them as "Prose Recreations of a Rhymer." "Prosy"
would have been the truer epithet. The meeting of an Interviewer
with Dr. JOHNSON is the best, and it is also the last. Poet WATSON'S
criticism of _Tess of the D'Urbevilles_, his Essay on IBSEN'S Plays,
and another on GEORGE MEREDITH, may have been recreations to the
writer, but, like most of the other papers in this volume, they will
never be so considered by the lightheaded and unbiassed reader. What
is recreation to WILLIAM WATSON is boredom to the Baron, and, as the
latter is inclined to think, to the majority of such of the public as
may attempt the perusal of W. W.'s recreations. Let W. W. make no
more cheap excursions in criticism, - excepting, of course, for his own
private amusement, with which no one has a right to interfere, - but
let him "thank the gods he is poetical," and so let him remain. His
second best Essay, is on _The Punishment of Genius_, in which he
advocates the post-mortem destruction of every scrap of composition,
which its author had never intended for the public eye.

* * * * *

"We've had no rain to speak of for some weeks," observed Mrs. R.;
"and, if this goes on, I heard some scientific gentlemen say, the
other day, we ought to have the land irritated by hydras."

* * * * *

MELANCHOLIA.

(_Modern French Version: After the celebrated Picture "Melencolia" by
Albert Dürer._)

[Illustration]

An enigmatic picture! Yet, indeed,
In current Gallic light not hard to read.
Woman, with angel-wings, and mournful face,
What are the plans those listless fingers trace?
What are the visions those fixed eyes survey?
The War-dog fierce lies couchant in your way.
The instruments of Art are scattered round.
Mistress of charm in form, in tint, in sound,
Of engineering might, mechanic skill,
That checks your genius, and what thwarts your will?
Winged Wit is at your side, your cherished guest,
Who quits you never on an alien quest.
But what that mystic prism shadows forth
Hath menace which auxiliar from the North
May scarce avert. The scales of Justice tilt
Something askew. The curse of high-placed guilt
Is on you, if the warning tocsin's knell,
Clanging forth fiercely, hath not force to tell
The hearer that Fate's hourglass fast runs out.
That spectral Comet flames, beset about
With miasmatic mist, and lurid fume,
Conquering Corruption threatens hideous doom.
Yet, yet the Bow of Promise gleams above,
Herald of Hope to her whom all men mark and love!

* * * * *

[Illustration: THE SOLE INHABITANT.

_Fishing Club Keeper (to New Member)._ "'XCUSE ME, SIR, BUT, BEIN' A
STRANGER, SO TO SPEAK; MAYHAP YER MAYN'T HA' NOTICED AS HOW THIS HERE
LITTLE BIT BE PRIVATE WATER."

_Mr. O'Bulligan (who has had bad sport)._ "SHURE PRIVATE IS IT YE SAY,
RODGERS? FAITH AN' I'M THINKIN' THE WHOLE STRAME'S PRETTY PRIVATE, FOR
DEVIL A FISH IS THERE IN IT AT ALL AT ALL, 'CEPT WAN, AN' HE'S IN MY
BASKET!"]

* * * * *

CREDIT WITHOUT CASH.

The Hon. CROESUS CASH was greatly annoyed that so many people should
have been admitted to his library. He bitterly reproached his valet
for this dereliction of duty.

"Beg your pardon, Sir," said his servant, "but they _would_ come in.
They said they must see you - that their lives depended on it."

"What have I to do with their lives?" growled the Hon. CROESUS. And
then he added, as he entered his sanctum, "Now, Ladies and Gentlemen,
what do you want? My time's precious, and I can't waste it upon
strangers."

"My dear Sir, my very dear Sir," cried in trembling accents an old
parson in a thread-bare coat, "I have a wife and family, and we are
really starving."

"Ditto, Sir, ditto!" observed an elderly soldier who had evidently
been an officer.

"And I am a widow, and must bring my poor children home from school,
as I can no longer afford the expense of their education," so said an
elderly dame in shabby mourning.

"But how can I help you?" asked the Hon. CROESUS. "What has brought
you to this pass?"

"Why, you, Sir," returned the ex-officer. "You, Sir!"

"Come," said the Hon. CROESUS, waxing angry, "I advise you to be
careful of the provisions of the Libel and Slander Act. You accuse me
of bringing you to poverty! Why, I have never seen any of you in my
life - never even heard of you!"

"But we have heard of you," they cried. "Yes, we have."

"We are all shareholders in the Bubble Babble Syndicate, Limited,"
explained the parson, tearfully, "and we have consequently lost every
thing we had in the world."

"But what have I to do with it?" again asked the Hon. CROESUS. "Very
sorry to hear of your misfortunes, but I don't see how _I_ come in."

"Why you, Sir," exclaimed the ex-officer; "you, Sir, were one of the
officials!"

"Pardon me, Sir, I was nothing of the sort. I have nothing whatever to
do with the Syndicate. I was merely a Director."

And when the defrauded shareholders found out that he was only _that_,
they went away complaining, but convinced they would be afforded by
him no relief. And they were right, for the Hon. CROESUS (who was
old-fashioned in his ways) acted strictly according to precedent.

* * * * *

THE PRIVATE VIEW.

(_By a Visitor, Small but not Early._)

Irony about this View
Is, I fear, more true than new,
Still the crowd's a great 'un;
Heads and bodies hide from me
Pictures that I wish to see;
Smooth, fair maids by LEIGHTON;

If I seek a work by WELLS,
Can I see through _beaux_ and _belles?_
I can but survey 'em.
Hid the masterpiece of BROCK
By some girl's wide-shouldered frock,
So the bulls of GRAHAM.

If my eyes seek breezy HOOKS,
Hooks and eyes obstruct my looks;
Pity me, dear reader!
Cobalt Cornish seas by BRETT
Hid by _chignons_ in a net,
Likewise views by LEADER!

See, instead of groups by CROWE,
Coats, black like him, in a row;
Also, quite as thick, see
Backs, not sculptured ones by BATES,
Hide the pretty pinkish pates
Done to death by DICKSEE!

If I strive to see a SANT,
My large neighbours make me pant,
For they push so coarsely;
Or the evergreens of STONE,
Then they nip my funnybone;
And I lose what HORSLEY

Drapes so decently - the MARKS
Are on me; these tall young sparks
Squeeze enough to kill a
Little man, who sees no WATTS
Past their lofty chimney-pots,
Nor a single MILLAIS.

* * * * *

GOOD START FOR THE ACADEMICAL YEAR. - Mr. STANHOPE FORBES, A.R.A., is
a clever Painter, as everyone knows, but he is cleverer than was
thought, as he has sold his Academy Picture to the Manchester
Corporation for 1,200 guineas. STANHOPE FORBES will change his name to
STAN'UP-FOR-YOUR-PRICE FORBES, A.R.A.

* * * * *

FROM ONE OF THE WISE MEN IN THE EAST. - A traveller, doing a walking
tour in Egypt, from Cairo and back again, describes himself as a
"Cairopedist," and adds that it's just the place for Members of that
profession to prosper, as "Corn in Egypt" is proverbial.

* * * * *

THE PREMIER AT THE HAYMARKET LAST WEDNESDAY. - This does not mean that
Mr. GLADSTONE visited this theatre, but simply that Mr. TREE produced
a new piece, written by the O'WILDE. "Whatever be its merit or want of
merit," says JOSEPH MILLER, Q.C., "WILDE can't be tame."

* * * * *

A LIEN ON THE LEA.

AIR - "_The Bells of Shandon._"

["Mr. PEMBER, Q.C., before the Committee of the County Council
General Powers Bill, put in a claim, on behalf of the New
River and other Companies, that the water of the River Lea is
the absolute property of the Companies!"

_Daily Chronicle._]

_Is_ it, by thunder?
With solemn wonder
I'll often think of
That sounding claim;
And oft remember
How Mister PEMBER
(_He_'s a "hot member"!)
Put in the same.

On this I ponder:
Where'er I wander,
"From here to yonder,"
I'm sure to see,
Whate'er I stand on,
Wealth lays its hand on,
As on the water
Of the River Lea.

I've had _one_ mouthful.
But, though of drouth full,
I trust I'll never
Another swallow.
I've tried the tide
Of Thames, Medway, Clyde,
But unstrained Lea-water,
It licks 'em hollow.

I know that river
Set me a-shiver,
Upset my liver,
And made me ill,
When, on it punting,
Some cads, sport-hunting,
Driving into me,
Gave me a spill.

My memory, dwelling
On that ill-smelling
And muddy throatful
Revolts. Ah me!
That awful vision!
That dread collision
With the rowdy boatful
On the River Lea!

But, goodness gracious!
If river spacious
By Co.'s owdacious,
Can thus be claimed,
I have a notion
The wide blue ocean
As "absolute property"
May soon be named.

Who need be caring
For the Sea of Behring?
We shall have them sharing
The broad Atlantic.
Whilst the Bay of Biscay
(Like a keg of whiskey)
Will be shared and lotted
By financiers frantic!

O sublime monopolist,
You're truly top o' list!
Where _will_ you stop? Oh, list,
One word from me!
_Too_ big claims abandon.
You may lay your hand on
The unpleasant waters
Of the muddy Lea,

But in every quarter
Of Earth, Air, Water,
If _too_ strong you "come it"
(As you seem inclined),
There will be a shindy;
And you'll find it - windy
Upon "Proputty's" summit,
If you do not mind.

On that peak you'd plant 'em,
Your claws, bold Bantam,
But I spy a phantom
Which you may not see,
Which may scare you slightly,
Should you grip _too_ tightly
The unpleasant waters
Of the River Lea!

* * * * *

[Illustration: _James._ "YOU'LL EXCUSE ME, SIR, BUT I WISHED TO HASK
YOU IF YOU COULD SPARE ME FOR A HOUR OR TWO TO-MORRER MORNIN'?"

_Employer._ "WHAT'S IT FOR, JAMES?"

_James._ "WELL, SIR, I WISH TO CONSULT A DENTIS', I 'AVE A 'OLLOW
TOOTH 'ERE, WHICH GIVES ME HAWFUL PAIN; AN' IT'S ONLY WITH GREAT
HEFFORT THAT I CAN MANAGE TO _DOMESTICATE_ MY FOOD!"]

* * * * *

TOO BAD TO BE TRUE.

At a meeting of the London Diocesan Conference, a Reverend gentleman
is reported to have declared his belief that, "for one man drawn from
the Public-house by the opening of the Museums on Sunday, there
were ten persons drawn from their attendance at Church!" _Mr. Punch_
fancies these are rather supposititious statistics. Does the Reverend
gentleman quite see what his hasty statement involves? How slight
must be the attractions of Church - _his_ Church at least - to a large
proportion even of those who _do_ now attend? Rivalry between Museum
and Gin-palace one can contemplate hopefully. But if the real rivalry
is to be between Museum and Church, with such results as this rather
pessimistic parson predicts, the look-out seems rather dismal - for the
Church! Surely this is the highest compliment to secular attractions
ever paid by a cleric! _Mr. Punch_ hopes - and believes - it is as
ill-deserved as high.

* * * * *

SPORTING ANSWERS.

POULTRY.

QUACK. - The game of Ducks and Drakes was played originally by
NOAH, after the subsidence of the Flood. We hear of it again in the
Chronicles of CORNELIUS LONGIBOVUS MENDAX, who relates that it solaced
the last hours of ARTAXERXES when he lay on his death-bed in the
desert of Sahara, and called in vain for his third wife, PSAMMETICA,
who was at that moment gathering mushrooms in the garden of the Royal
Palace at Persepolis.

CHAFF-CUTTER. - To make Dodo's eggs, take a solution of _ext. turp.
rutifolia_, and boil for two hours. Then simmer on a slow fire, add
two pinches of salt, and the hard part of a bullock's hide. Pass
through a common sieve, and hatch out under a tame Pterodactyl.

GARDEN. - VENDITUS ITERUM. - The bark of the dog-rose is naturally worse
than the Bight of Benin. The one you sent us had no dew-claws. Quite
right; it has had its day. So has Martin.

* * * * *

"ECCLESIASTICAL INTELLIGENCE."

[Illustration]

Under this heading the _Times_, some days ago, informed us that
a certain set of Oxford Dons had met together in order to make
arrangements for the establishment in the University of a couple of
first-class Evangelical Clergymen, possessing "special gifts," to
whom such Undergraduates as might be piously inclined could go for
instruction and good counsel. It was stated, in their sketch of a
prospectus of this scheme, that these two grave and reverend Gentlemen
are to be "accessible at all times." This is excellent. Also, "they
will be given to hospitality," which is still more excellent, and let
us hope that, in return, hospitality will be given to _them_. But it
is difficult to combine "accessibility at all times" with perpetual
festivities. For how would it suit either of these well-intentioned
Clergymen, after the hospitalities of an ordinary day, commencing
with University Breakfast, going on to University Lunch, thence
to University Tea, then dinner, wine, and, finally, supper, to be
accessible to anyone who chose to ring them up during the small
hours to ask for "counsel and advice so judicious and so sound"?
Very "special" indeed would have to be the "gifts" of the two
always-hospitable and ever-accessible Clergymen, who would undertake
the mission; and, among their most essential special qualifications,
would have to be, first, the capacity for taking any amount of
everything without being in the least the worse for it, and, secondly,
the capacity of perpetual wakefulness and clear-headedness, without
the extraneous and artificial application of wet towels round the
head. Men with such special gifts are, indeed, rare; nay, they are
demi-gods. But, if such men are to be found, no matter at what cost,
we sincerely wish they (the originators of this scheme) may get them.

* * * * *

MIXED NOTIONS.

No. IX. - PARISH COUNCILS.

(_Scene and Persons as usual._)

_Inquirer_ (_to himself, as he reads his paper_). Well, I'm dashed!
What the blue blazes does all this stuff mean?

_First Well-informed Man_ (_to_ Second W. I. M., _in a tone of pitying
good-humour, mixed with conscious superiority_). He's got started on
his usual morning puzzle.

_Inquirer_ (_with asperity_). Oh, it's all very well for you two chaps
to sneer. You're both older than I am, and, as you've been about more,
you ought to know more. Anyhow, I like to find out about things, and,
when I don't know, I ask those who do.

_First W. I. M._ (_not unkindly_). Well, well, never mind all that.
You know I don't mind telling you anything. I really didn't mean to
sneer. What's your difficulty?

_Inquirer._ It's all about this Parish Councils Bill.

_First W. I. M._ What about it?

_Inquirer_ (_hopelessly_). What does it mean? What _is_ a Parish
Councils Bill?

_First W. I. M._ Oh, well, you know, a Parish Councils Bill
is - - well, it's a Bill for giving Parish Councils.

_Inquirer._ Yes - but whom are they going to give them to?

_First W. I. M._ Why, to the Parishes, of course.

_Inquirer._ Ah! (_Continues reading. A puzzled frown settles on his
face._) But why can't the Parishes make their own Councils, without
all this fuss in Parliament? Couldn't every Parish simply say, "I'm
going to have a Council," and just start it straight away?

_First W. I. M._ My dear fellow, you know nothing can be done without
an Act of Parliament.

_Inquirer._ But they call this a Bill, not an Act.

_First W. I. M._ It's only another way of saying the same thing. A
Bill or an Act - it's all one.

_Second W. I. M._ No, it isn't.

_First W. I. M._ I'll lay you a couter it is.

_Second W. I. M._ Done!

_First W. I. M._ Well, what do _you_ (_withering emphasis_) say is the
difference?

_Second W. I. M._ When the House of Commons brings anything in, it's a
Bill, and when the House of Lords does it, it's an Act. Pay up!

_First W. I. M._ Not I. That's precisely what I meant, only you
wouldn't give me time to say it. Why, that's the A B C of politics.

_Second W. I. M._ Seems to take a lot of learning, anyway.

[_A pause._

_Inquirer_ (_returning to his point_). But look here. What have they
brought the Parish Councils Bill in for? I thought we'd all got County
Councils all over the place.

_First W. I. M._ (_slapping him warmly on the back_). My dear chap,
you've just hit the nail plumb on the right head. That's what I've
said all along. The whole country's being simply ruined with all these
blessed Councils. Every man will have to be his own Council before
long, if they go on making Councils at this rate.

_Second W. I. M._ Well, anyhow, your beautiful Conservative
Government, that you were so dashed proud of, started the business.

_First W. I. M._ (_indignantly_). I deny it.

_Second W. I. M._ Deny away. Perhaps you'll tell me that Lord
BEACONSFIELD didn't set the County Councils going?

_First W. I. M._ Ah, but those were quite different County Councils.
Why, they weren't even called Councils; they were called Boards.

_Second W. I. M._ They may _have_ been called Boards, but they're
called Councils now, and that's enough for me. Anyhow, don't you see
(_furtively consults newspaper and quotes_) that "Parish Councils
are the logical and necessary development of the scheme of County
Government left imperfect by the Conservatives"?

_First W. I. M._ No. I don't see it at all.

_Second W. I. M._ Well, then, how do you propose to root the
agricultural population in the soil? You must admit - -

_First W. I. M._ I don't admit anything - at least, I won't until you
tell me how a Parish Council is going to root anybody, let alone an
agricultural labourer, in anything. There's too much mollycoddling of
these agricultural labourers, that's what I say.

_Second W. I. M._ (_doggedly_). You're always talking about
agricultural depression and hard times for those that live on the
land, and you won't lift a finger to help them when you get the
chance. If we give these chaps Parish Councils, they can all get
allotments, and then of course (_quotes again_) "we shall multiply the
productive power of the land tenfold."

_First W. I. M._ What have allotments got to do with Parish Councils?

_Second W. I. M._ Everything.

_First W. I. M._ (_triumphant_). Then how do you account for my
Uncle's coachman having an allotment at this very moment? He's had it
for years, long before anybody even heard of Parish Councils.

_Second W. I. M._ That exactly proves my point. It's just because he
_isn't_ an agricultural labourer that he's been able to get it. What
we want to do is to level up.

_Inquirer._ But there aren't any agricultural labourers in my parish;
at least, I never heard of any. How are they going to manage about
that?

_Second W. I. M._ They'll send you some from somewhere else. That's
what they call migration.

_Inquirer._ I thought birds did that.

[_Terminus._

* * * * *

BEFORE THE PRIVATE VIEW.


1

Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 104, April 29, 1893 → online text (page 1 of 2)