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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOL. 104

MARCH 11, 1893.







MIXED NOTIONS.

No. VI. - REGISTRATION REFORM.

(_Scene and Persons as Usual._)

_First Well-Informed Man_ (_bristling with indignation, as he lays down his
newspaper_). Well, I'm dashed!

_Inquirer_ (_nervously_). What's up?

_First W. I. M._ _What's up!_ Everything's up. Up the spout, that's where
this blessed country will be if this kind of thing's going on.

_Inquirer._ What kind of thing?

_First W. I. M._ Why, all this gerrymandering kind of business.

_Inquirer._ Oh, by the way, that reminds me. I came on that word the other
day. Can any of you chaps tell me what it means?

_First W. I. M._ It's as plain as a pikestaff. It means playing ducks and
drakes with things all round, and letting the whole business go thoroughly
rotten.

_Inquirer._ Has it got anything to do with jerry-builders?

_First W. I. M._ It's the same thing precisely.

_Inquirer_ (_insisting_). But what's the point of calling 'em jerry? Where
does that come in?

_First W. I. M._ It's a French word.

_Second W. I. M._ It isn't. It's German.

_First W. I. M._ Bosh, it's French.

_Second W. I. M._ I bet you a dollar it's German.

_First W. I. M._ And I bet you a dollar it's French. (_To Average Man._)
Here, you decide. Which is it?

_Average Man._ Well, I'm sure it isn't French - -

_Second W. I. M._ (_interrupting_). Of course it isn't. Pay up, my boy!

_Average Man_ (_continuing_). But, on the other hand, it isn't German.

_First W. I. M._ Oh, rot! It must be one or the other, you know.
(_Scornfully._) You'll be telling us it's Greek next.

_Average Man._ Well, of course, it _might_ be; but, as a matter of fact, I
fancy it's English.

_First W. I. M._, _Second W. I. M._ (_together_). Oh, you tell that to the
Marines! It won't wash here.

_Inquirer_ (_doubtfully_). Perhaps it's American.

_Average Man_ (_resignedly_). Well I daresay it is. Any way, you can have
it so if you like, It may be Sanskrit for all I care.

[_Retires to his paper. A pause._

_Inquirer_ (_to First W. I. M._). But, look here, what made you lose your
hair, just now? You looked as angry as blazes about something.

_First W. I. M._ (_with dignity_). Did I? Well, isn't it enough to make
anybody, who loves his country, angry when he sees what's going on. Why,
the Government's going to turn everything inside out, with some blessed new
law about elections. Registration Bill, they call it, or something of that
sort. Just as if we hadn't had enough tinkering and pottering lately. It's
all through this confounded County Council interfering with everything.

_Second W. I. M._ (_aggressive_). What the dickens has the County Council
got to do with it? You're always dropping on the County Council.

_First W. I. M._ Oh, they've got their finger in every pie. I'm pretty
certain this is their job.

_Second W. I. M._ Well, you're wrong this time, that's all. You're thinking
of the Employers' Liability Bill.

_First W. I. M._ No, I'm not. I never even heard of it. So that's where
_you're_ wrong. What has the Employers' Liabill got - - I mean the
Employers' (_steadily, and with determination_) Li-a-bil-ity Bill got to do
with the County Council?

_Second W. I. M._ Everything. Didn't you read JOHN BURNS'S speech about it?

_First W. I. M._ No - and I don't mean to. Ask me another.

_Second W. I. M._ All right - I will. Do you mean to deny that our present
Registration System is a ridiculous one?

_First W. I. M._ (_hotly_). Yes, I do.

_Second W. I. M._ (_with triumph_). Ah, I've got you now. You said, only
yesterday, that any system by which a Government like this got into power
must be ridiculous. (_To_ Inquirer.) Didn't he?

_Inquirer_ (_hesitating_). Well, I'm not quite sure. I rather fancy he did
say something of that kind. But - (_deprecatingly_) - perhaps he meant
something else.

_First W. I. M._ No, I didn't. I meant what I said - and I stick to it. But
that isn't the same thing as the Registration System.

_Second W. I. M._ Perhaps you'll tell us, then, what the Registration
System is?

_Inquirer_ (_eagerly_). Yes, do. I should like to get to the bottom of it,
because I'm constantly meeting a sort of third cousin of mine, who's a
Registrar of something or other, and I never quite know what he does. All I
know is, that he isn't a Registrar in Bankruptcy.

_First W. I. M._ Let me see - how can I put it shortly? It's just this - you
chaps have got votes.

_Inquirer_ (_decisively_). No, I haven't.

_First W. I. M._ (_put out_). Ah, but you ought to have.

_Second W. I. M._ (_cutting in_). There you are again. That's just what
I've been saying all along. He ought to have - but he hasn't; so where's
your beautiful system now?

_First W. I. M._ (_retreating strategically_). I never said it was
_perfect_, did I? But I'll come to that afterwards. (_To_ Inquirer.) Now
why haven't you got a vote?

_Inquirer_ (_with a painful sense of inferiority_). I'm sure I don't know.
I suppose the old Johnny, whoever he is, didn't chalk me down when he went
round last time.

_First W. I. M._ Probably you haven't lived in your house long enough. You
haven't got a qualifying period.

_Inquirer._ Haven't I? How long ought I to have lived there?

_First W. I. M._ (_vaguely_). Oh, it's something between three and four
years. I can't tell you the exact number; they alter it every year.

_Second W. I. M._ Who alter it?

_First W. I. M._ The Revising Barristers, or somebody.

_Second W. I. M._ Well, my brother-in-law's a Revising Barrister, and I
never heard of him doing that.

_First W. I. M._ (_sarcastic_). But you don't suppose he'd tell _you_
everything he does, do you?

_Inquirer._ But I've lived in my house six years.

_First W. I. M._ Ah! but aren't you a lodger?

_Second W. I. M._ What's the odds if he is? My brother's a lodger, and I
know he's got a vote.

_First W. I. M._ But that's a different franchise altogether.

_Second W. I. M._ How do you mean? They're both lodgers.

_First W. I. M._ But they don't live in the same district. Perhaps they
don't give him a latch-key.

_Inquirer_ (_producing it_). Yes they do. Here it is. (_Chuckles._) I think
I jolly well see myself without a latch-key. But, I say, about this vote. I
don't half like not having got one. What shall I do about it?

_First W. I. M._ You'd better see somebody about it.

_Inquirer._ Somebody was talking about Leasehold Franchise the other day.
Perhaps I could get in on that.

_First W. I. M._ Ah! I daresay that _might_ help you. [_Terminus._

* * * * *

[Illustration: "NOUS AVONS CHANGÉ TOUT CELA!"

"WERE YOU EVER IN CHICAGO, DUCHESS?"

"WHY YES, LADY MARY. IT'S MY NATIVE PLACE, YOU KNOW - AT LEAST, IT USED TO
BE!"]

* * * * *

NEW NOVEL BY Mr. G. - _The Art of Midlothian._

* * * * *

[Illustration: DRESS REHEARSAL OF EMINENT COMEDIANS, GRANDOLPH AND SARUM,
_Previous to Starring Tour in Scotland and Ireland respectively_.]

* * * * *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

_Time and the Woman._ By RICHARD PRYCE. Not by any means a pearl of Pryce,
and certainly not likely to make so great noise in the novel-reading world
as did _The Quiet Mrs. Fleming_, by the same author. METHUEN & CO. publish
it.

The Baron heartily recommends FRANK BARRETT'S novel, in three vols.,
entitled, _Kitty's Father_. A thoroughly absorbing plot, well worked out,
and interesting right up to the last page. _Kitty's_ father is a mysterious
person, and she, not being a wise child, for she doesn't know him, does
several foolish things, and says several wise ones. _Kitty's_ uncle is a
necessary nuisance, but a cleverly and consistently drawn character, while
_Kitty_ herself is delightfully made out of good home-spun material. But
the villanous Curate is just a bit too grotesque, too Uriah-Heepish for the
awfully tragic situation in which he is placed. When the imaginative author
shifts the scene to Dublin, why did he not represent an Irish
Cardinal-Archbishop as waiting at the stage-door to escort home the
light-and-leading lady? But "for a' that and a' that," most decidedly "read
it," quoth the Baron, and on he goes again.

MARION CRAUFORD'S _Children of the King_, published by MACMILLAN, is a
tragic story, told in most simple and most fascinating style. It is all
colour and character: the colours and the characters being those of
Southern Italy.

Out of regard to the importunities of numerous correspondents, the Baron
has read IBSEN'S _Master Builder_, translated by two of the Ibsenitish
cult. "Only fancy!" Of all the weak-knee'd, wandering, effeminate,
unwholesome, immoral, dashed "rot," to quote _Lord Arthur_ in the
_Pantomime Rehearsal_, this is the weak-knee'dest, effeminatest, and all
the epithets as above superlatived. Read it by all means, and see it, too,
if you will, but if the honest English play-goer's verdict is worth a "big,
big, D" (I thank thee, W. S. G., for teaching me that abbreviated form of
dashed expressiveness!) he will give IBSEN'S _Master Builder_ the benefit
of the "D," and "D" it once and for ever. And that, at your service, my
masters, is the rough-and-ready opinion expressed by,

Yours truly, THE BARON DE B.-W.

* * * * *

A RACY READING OF AN OLD QUOTATION FROM SCOTT.

(_Suggested by Burns._)

"My foot is on Newmarket Heath!
My name, JEM LOWTHER!"

* * * * *

The benefits that Sir JOHN LAWES has been able and will yet be able to
confer on agriculturists everywhere, including those in his immediate
neighbourhood, cause him to be regarded as a living exception to the rule
about a prophet in his own country. So, in that part of England, "Profit
and LAWES" are synonymous terms, meaning the same person.

* * * * *

"HAPPINESS IN - - FOLKESTONE."

["He said, 'Go and be - - ' I accordingly went and stayed at Folkestone."

_See last Thursday's "Daily News;" Evidence in the De Walden Case._]

Thrice happy Town Council! when pestered to pave,
Remember this fact that her Ladyship mentions.
Intend, but do nothing; your rates you can save
By paving your streets with the best of intentions.

* * * * *

HITHERTO UNREPORTED. - Mr. GLADSTONE and Mr. ASQUITH received deputations on
the Eight Hours' Question last Friday. The chief speakers were Mr. PARROT
and Mr. ONIONS. Mr. G. observed that in all his vast experience, frequently
as he had tasted a savoury dish of rabbit and onions, yet the combination
of Parrot with Onions was something really novel. Perhaps Mr. PARROT would
be useful at any bye-election, and would give them the state of the poll.
As to Mr. ONIONS, well, he (Mr. G.) hadn't words of welcome sufficiently
strong for him. Why hadn't he brought "BRER RABBIT" with him? In
approaching the Eight Hours' Question, no time must be lost, so he would at
once proceed to business.

* * * * *

[Illustration: FROM OUR VILLAGE.

_Mrs. Sharply_ (_to the Doctor, who has looked in, having heard that her
"good man" is ailing_). "NO, I THANK YE, SIR. YOU SEE I'VE HEERD OF YOU,
SIR, AS YOU'VE BEEN 'PRAC_TI_SING' HERE FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS, AND SO
I'D RATHER YOU WENT 'PRAC_TI_SING' ELSEWHERE, AS I DON'T WANT NO
_'SPERIMENTS_ ON MY OLD MAN!"]

* * * * *

At a recent Monday Pop Concert, Mr. BORWICK put any amount of
powder - everyone has seen or heard of Borwick's Powder - into his
performance of "_Suite Anglaise_." As a pretty lady observed, "He might
just as well, or better, have put the name in English, and called it, '_The
Sweet English Girl_.'" Messrs. JOACHIM, RIES, STRAUSS, and PIATTI, played a
string-quartette in C Sharp Minor, and out of respect to the Ecclesiastical
Season of the year, they gave marked prominence to the "_Lento_" in G.
Flat.

* * * * *

A GENUINE BUILDING SOCIETY. - The Birds, just now. And its members are not
even waiting for a Re-leaf Fund, which will, however, soon come, with "the
flowers that bloom in the Spring, tra-la!"

* * * * *

THE G. O. M. FROM A MUSICAL POINT OF VIEW. - When preternaturally alert, he
is "Mr. G. Sharp." When depressed, he is "Mr. G. Flat." When himself again,
he is "Mr. G. Natural." As being second son, he is "G. Minor." He is also
_hors ligne_. But he refuses to be musically translated to the House of
Lords, and become "The Upper G."

* * * * *

_Q._ What is the difference between a lover asking the object of his
affections to marry him, and a guest who ventures to hint to his host that
the Pommery '80 is rather corked?

_A._ The one pops the question, the other questions the pop.

* * * * *

Mrs. R. saw the heading of a paragraph in the _Times_, of Monday. Feb. 27,
"Jade in Upper Burmah." She laid the paper down, and exclaimed, "Dear me! I
wonder who she is!"

* * * * *

If we ever do adopt Bimetallism, it is evident, from Mr. GLADSTONE'S
masterly speech, that holders of Consols will obtain very little
consol-ation.

* * * * *

PILL-DOCTOR HERDAL.

(_Translated from the Original Norwegian by Mr. Punch_)

[PREFATORY NOTE. The original title, _Mester-Pijl-drögster Herdal_,
would sound a trifle too uncouth to the Philistine ear, and is
therefore modified as above, although the term "drögster," strictly
speaking, denotes a practitioner who has not received a regular
diploma.]

ACT FIRST.

_An elegantly furnished Drawing-room at_ Dr. HERDAL'S. _In front, on
the left, a Console-table, on which is a large round bottle full of
coloured water. On the right a stove, with a banner-screen made out of
a richly-embroidered chest-protector. On the stove, a stethoscope and
a small galvanic battery. In one corner, a hat and umbrella stand; in
another, a desk, at which stands_ SENNA BLAKDRAF, _making out the
quarterly accounts. Through a glass-door at the back is seen the
Dispensary, where_ RÜBUB KALOMEL _is seated, occupied in rolling a
pill. Both go on working in perfect silence for four minutes and a
half._

_Dr. Haustus Herdal_ (_enters through hall-door; he is elderly, with a
plain sensible countenance, but slightly weak hair and expression_). Come
here, Miss BLAKDRAF. (_Hangs up hat, and throws his mackintosh on a
divan._) Have you made out all those bills yet? [_Looks sternly at her._

_Senna_ (_in a low hesitating voice_). Almost. I have charged each patient
with three attendances daily. Even when you only dropped in for a cup of
tea and a chat. (_Passionately._) I felt I _must_ - I _must_!

_Dr. Herd._ (_alters his tone, clasps her head in his hands, and
whispers_). I wish you could make out the bills for me, _always_.

_Senna_ (_in nervous exaltation_). How lovely that would be! Oh, you are so
unspeakably good to me! It is too enthralling to be here!

[_Sinks down and embraces his knees._

_Dr. Herd._ So I've understood. (_With suppressed irritation._) For
goodness' sake, let go my legs! I do _wish_ you wouldn't be so confoundedly
neurotic!

[Illustration: "For goodness' sake, let go my legs!"]

_Rübub_ (_has risen, and comes in through glass-door, breathing with
difficulty; he is a prematurely bald young man of fifty-five, with a
harelip and squints slightly_). I beg pardon, Dr. HERDAL, I see I interrupt
you. (_As SENNA rises._) I have just completed this pill. Have you looked
at it?

[_He offers it for inspection diffidently._

_Dr. Herd._ (_evasively_). It appears to be a pill of the usual dimensions.

_Rübub_ (_cast down_). All these years you have never given me one
encouraging word! _Can't_ you praise my pill?

_Dr. Herd._ (_struggles with himself_). I - I cannot. You should not attempt
to compound pills on your own account.

_Rübub_ (_breathing laboriously_). And yet there was a time when _you_,
too - -

_Dr. Herd._ (_complacently_). Yes, it was certainly a pill that came as a
lucky stepping-stone - but not a pill like that!

_Rübub_ (_vehemently_). Listen! Is that your last word? _Is_ my aged mother
to pass out of this world without ever knowing whether I am competent to
construct an effective pill or not?

_Dr. Herd._ (_as if in desperation_). You had better try it upon your
mother - it will enable her to form an opinion. Only mind - I will not be
responsible for the result.

_Rübub._ I understand. Exactly as you tried _your_ pill, all those years
ago, upon Dr. RYVAL. [_He bows, and goes out._

_Dr. Herd._ (_uneasily_). He said that so strangely, SENNA. But tell me
now - when are you going to marry him?

_Senna_ (_starts - half glancing up at him_). I - I don't know. This
year - next-year - now - _never_! I cannot marry him ... I cannot - I
_cannot_ - it is so utterly impossible to leave you!

_Dr. Herd._ Yes, I can understand _that_. But, my poor SENNA, hadn't you
better take a little walk?

_Senna_ (_clasps her hands gratefully_). How sweet and thoughtful you are
to me! I _will_ take a walk.

_Dr. Herd._ (_with a suppressed smile_). Do! And - h'm! - you needn't trouble
to come back. I have advertised for a male book-keeper - they are less
emotional. Good-night, my little SENNA!

_Senna_ (_softly, and quiveringly_). Good-night, Dr. HERDAL!

[_Staggers out of the hall-door, blowing kisses._

_Mrs. Herdal_ (_enters through the window, plaintively_). Quite an
acquisition for you, HAUSTUS, this Miss BLAKDRAF!

_Dr. Herd._ She's - h'm! - extremely civil and obliging. But I am parting
with her, ALINE - mainly on _your_ account.

_Mrs. Herd._ (_evades him_). Was it on my account, indeed, HAUSTUS? You
have parted with so many young persons on my account - so you tell me!

_Dr. Herd._ (_depressed_). Oh, but this is hopeless! When I have tried so
hard to bring a ray of sunlight into your desolate life! I must give RÜBUB
KALOMEL notice too - his pill is really too preposterous!

_Mrs. Herd._ (_feels gropingly for a chair, and sits down on the floor_).
Him, _too_! Ah, HAUSTUS, you will never make my home a real home for me. My
poor first husband, HALVARD SOLNESS, tried - and _he_ couldn't! When one has
had such misfortunes as I have - all the family portraits burnt, and the
silk dresses, too, and a pair of twins, and nine lovely dolls.

[_Chokes with tears._

_Dr. Herd._ (_as if to lead her away from the subject_). Yes, yes, yes,
that must have been a heavy blow for you, my poor ALINE. I can understand
that your spirits can never be really high again. And then for poor Master
Builder SOLNESS to be so taken up with that Miss WANGEL as he was - that,
too, was so wretched for you. To see him topple off the tower, as he did
that day ten years ago - -

_Mrs. Herd._ Yes, that too, HAUSTUS. But I did not mind it so much - it all
seemed so perfectly natural in both of them.

_Dr. Herd._ Natural! For a girl of twenty-three to taunt a middle-aged
architect, whom she knew to be constitutionally liable to giddiness, never
to let him have any peace till he had climbed a spire as dizzy as
himself - and all for the fun of seeing him fall off - how in the world - - !

_Mrs. Herd._ (_laying the table for supper with dried fish and punch_). The
younger generation have a keener sense of humour than we elder ones,
HAUSTUS, and perhaps, after all, she was only a perplexing sort of
allegory.

_Dr. Herd._ Yes, that would explain her to some extent, no doubt. But how
_he_ could be such an old fool!

_Mrs. Herd._ That Miss WANGEL was a strangely fascinating type of girl.
Why, even I myself - -

_Dr. Herd._ (_sits down and takes some fish_). Fascinating? Well, goodness
knows, I couldn't see _that_ at all. (_Seriously._) Has it never struck
you, ALINE, that elderly Norwegians are so deucedly impressionable - mere
bundles of overstrained nerves, hypersensitive ganglia. Except, of course,
the Medical Profession.

_Mrs. Herd._ Yes, of course; those in that profession are not so inclined
to gangle. And when one has succeeded by such a stroke of luck as you
have - -

_Dr. Herd._ (_drinks a glass of punch_). You're right enough there. If I
had not been called in to prescribe for Dr. RYVAL, who used to have the
leading practice here, I should never have stepped so wonderfully into his
shoes as I did. (_Changes to a tone of quiet chuckling merriment._) Let me
tell you a funny story, ALINE; it sounds a ludicrous thing - but all my good
fortune here was based upon a simple little pill. For if Dr. RYVAL had
never taken it - -

_Mrs. Herd._ (_anxiously_). Then you _do_ think it was the pill that caused
him to - - ?

_Dr. Herd._ On the contrary; I am perfectly sure the pill had nothing
whatever to do with it - the inquest made it quite clear that it was really
the liniment. But don't you see, ALINE, what tortures me night and day is
the thought that it _might_ unconsciously have been the pill which - - Never
to be free from _that_! To have such a thought gnawing and burning
always - always, like a moral mustard poultice! (_He takes more punch._)

_Mrs. Herd._ Yes; I suppose there is a poultice of that sort burning on
every breast - and we must never take it off either - it is our simple duty
to keep it on. I too, HAUSTUS, am haunted by a fancy that if this Miss
WANGEL were to ring at our bell now - -

_Dr. Herd._ After she has been lost sight of for ten years? She is safe
enough in some Sanatorium, depend upon it. And what if she _did_ come? Do
you think, my dear good woman, that I - a sensible clear-headed general
practitioner, who have found out all I know for myself - would let her play
the deuce with me as she did with poor HALVARD? No, general practitioners
don't _do_ such things - even in Norway!

_Mrs. Herd._ Don't they indeed, HAUSTUS? (_The Surgery-bell rings loudly._)
Did you hear _that_? There she is! I will go and put on my best cap. It is
my duty to show her _that_ small attention.

_Dr. Herd._ (_laughing nervously_). Why, what on earth! - - It's the
night-bell. It is most probably the new book-keeper! (Mrs. HERDAL _goes
out_; Dr. HERDAL _rises with difficulty, and opens the door_.) Goodness
gracious! - it _is_ that girl, after all!

_Hilda Wangel_ (_enters through the Dispensary door. She wears a divided
skirt, thick boots, and a Tam o'Shanter, with an eagle's wing in it.
Somewhat freckled. Carries a green tin cylinder slung round her, and a rug
in a strap. Goes straight up to_ HERDAL, _her eyes sparkling with
happiness_). How are you? I've run you down, you see! The ten years are up.
Isn't it scrumptiously thrilling, to see me like this?

_Dr. Herd._ (_politely retreating_). It is - very much so - but still I don't
in the least understand - -

_Hilda_ (_measures him with a glance_). Oh, you _will_. I have come to be
of use to you. I've no luggage, and no money. Not that _that_ makes any
difference. I never _have_. And I've been allured and attracted here. You
surely know how these things come about? [_Throws her arms round him._

_Dr. Herd._ What the deuce! Miss WANGEL, you _mustn't_. I'm a married man!
There's my wife! [Mrs. HERD. _enters_.

_Hilda._ As if _that_ mattered - it's only dear, sweet Mrs. SOLNESS. _She_
doesn't mind - _do_ you, dear Mrs. SOLNESS?

_Mrs. Herd._ It does not seem to be of much _use_ minding, Miss WANGEL. I
presume you have come to stay?

_Hilda_ (_in amused surprise_). Why, of course - what else should I come
for? I _always_ come to stay, until - h'm!

[_Nods slowly, and sits down at table._

_Dr. Herd._ (_involuntarily_). She's drinking my punch! If she thinks I'm
going to stand this sort of thing, she's mistaken. I'll soon show her a
Pill-Doctor is a very different kind of person from a mere Master Builder!

[HILDA _finishes the punch with an indefinable expression in her eyes,
and_ Dr. HERDAL _looks on gloomily as the Curtain falls. End of First
Act._

* * * * *


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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 104, March 11, 1893 → online text (page 1 of 3)