Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 105, August 5th 1893 online

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VOLUME 105, August 5th 1893

_edited by Sir Francis Burnand_


_Question._ What is your duty as a Director?

_Answer._ To give my name to a prospectus.

_Q._ Is there any necessary formality before making this donation?

_A._ Yes; I am to accept a certain number of qualifying shares in the
company obtaining the advantage of my directorial services.

_Q._ Need you pay for these shares?

_A._ With proper manipulation, certainly not.

_Q._ What other advantages would you secure by becoming a Director?

_A._ A guinea an attendance.

_Q._ Anything else?

_A._ A glass of sherry and a sandwich.

_Q._ What are your duties at a Board Meeting?

_A._ To shake hands with the Secretary, and to sign an attendance

_Q._ What are your nominal duties?

_A._ Have not the faintest idea.

_Q._ Would it be right to include in your nominal duties the
protection of the interests of the shareholders?

_A._ As likely as not.

_Q._ Would it be overstating the case to say that thousands and
thousands of needy persons are absolutely ruined by the selfish
inattention of a company's direction?

_A._ Not at all - possibly understating it.

_Q._ I suppose you never read a prospectus to which you put your name?

_A._ Never.

_Q._ Nor willingly wish to ruin any one?

_A._ No; why should I?

_Q._ You are guilty of gross ignorance and brutal indifference?

_A._ Quite so.

_Q._ And consequently know that, according to the view of the Judges,
you are above the law?

_A._ That is so.

_Q._ And may therefore do what you like, without any danger to your
own interests?

_A._ To be sure.

_Q._ And consequently will do what you best please, in spite of
anything, and anybody?

_A._ Why, certainly.

* * * * *



_Youth (who is having his fling)._ "BEG YOUR PARDON, DAD, I DID

* * * * *

At a meeting of the International Maritime Congress "M. GATTO read
a paper on Harbour Lights." Does this mean that one of the Adelphoi
GATTI read the paper (extract from the play, or perhaps a play-bill)
on _Harbour Lights_, which was an Adelphi success? Of course one of
"the GATTI'S" would be in the singular "M. GATTO." The paper was much
applauded, and GATTO _prends le gâteau_.

* * * * *

FROM SPIRIT LAND. - The Spirits or Spooks from the vasty deep that can
be called and will come when Stead-ily and persistently summoned will
not be the first to speak. The "Spooks" well-bred rule of politeness
is, "Don't spook till you're spooken to." Also, "A good Spook must be
seen and not heard."

* * * * *



_A Morality (adapted from the "Merchant of Venice") for Men in
Municipal Authority._

["The music on the Embankment during the pressman's
dinner-hour is a much more important matter than it seems to
be. It would be a most beneficial institution for all indoor
labourers; for it is not the long hours of labour - though
they are bad enough - so much as its monotony that makes it so
wearisome." - _Mr. James Payn in "Our Note Book."_]

_Lorenzo_ A Journeyman Printer.
_Jessica_ His "Young Woman."

SCENE - _The Thames Embankment Garden._

_Lorenzo._ Sweetheart, let's in; they may expect our coming.
And yet no matter: - why should we go in?
The Toffs at last, have had compassion on us,
Within the house, or office, mewed too long,
And bring our music forth into the air.

[_They take a seat._

How bright the sunshine gleams on this Embankment!
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft green and Summer sunlight
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, JESSICA: look, how this green town-garden
Is thickly crowded with the young and old:
There's not the smallest child which thou behold'st
But by his movements shows his young heart sings,
As though poor kids were young eye'd cherubim:
Such love of music lives in simple souls;
But whilst grim pedants and fanatics sour
Have power to stop, they will not let us hear it!

[_Musicians tune up._

Hullo! The _Intermezzo_. Like a hymn
With sweeter touches charming to the ear,
The soul's drawn home by music.


_Jessica._ I'm always soothed like when I hear nice music.

_Lorenzo._ The reason is your spirits are responsive.
For do but note a wild and wanton mob
Of rough young rascals, like unbroken colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and blaring loud,
Which shows the hot condition of their blood;
If they, perchance, but hear a brass-band sound,
Or harp and fiddle duet touch their ears,
Or even _Punch's_ pan-pipe, or shrill "squeaker,"
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their wandering eyes turned to an earnest gaze,
By the sweet power of music: therefore poets
Tell us old Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods,
Since naught so blockish, hard, insensible,
But music for the time doth change his nature.
The man who would keep music to himself,
Grudging the mob all concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for Bedlam, not the County Council!
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections cold as Arctic bergs.
Let no such man be trusted! - Mark the music!

(_Left marking it attentively._)

* * * * *

A Northern Light.

(Dr. JOHN RAE, _the venerable and valiant Arctic Explorer, is dead_.)

The Arctic Circle and far Hudson's Bay
Bear witness to the glories of JOHN RAE.
The darkened world, with deep regret, will own
Another RAE of Light and Leading gone!

* * * * *

Mrs. R. thinks she will not go abroad for a holiday tour. "You see, my
dear," she says, "I don't mind owning that I am not well up in French
and German, and I should not like to have always to be travelling
about with an Interrupter."

* * * * *

[Illustration: "THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE."


["Would his right hon. friend excuse his suggesting an
analogy of the character which he bore with that which was
systematically assumed, he believed, under ancient rules, in
the Court of Rome ... when it was proposed, in consequence
of the peculiar excellence of some happy human being who
had departed this life, to raise him ... to the order of the
saints ... there was always brought into the Court a gentleman
who went ... under the name of devil's advocate. His peculiar
function was to go through the career of the proposed saint,
to seize upon and magnify every human failing or error, to
misconstrue everything that was capable of misconstruction....
That was the case of his right hon. friend." - _Mr. Gladstone
on Mr. Chamberlain._]

* * * * *

[Illustration: A TRIAL OF FAITH.

_Bertie (at intervals)._ "I USED TO - - WHAT THE - - DO A LOT

* * * * *


_Old Parliamentary Pictor soliloquiseth_: -

"_As when a painter, poring on a face,
Divinely thro' all hindrance finds the man
Behind it, and so paints him that his face,
The shape and colour of a mind and life,
Lives for his children, ever at its best
And fullest._"

Aye, my ALFRED, there you hit
The portrait-painter's function to a hair;
And here I hit the essential inner JOE.
And so he'll live. But "ever at his best,
And fullest?" Humph! His Brummagem retinue
Will scarce acknowledge _that_. Some call him "JUDAS,"
But that is rude, and leads to shameful rows.
Chaff is one thing and insolence another;
E'en caricature may pass, so that its impulse
Be humorous not malevolent; but coarse spleen,
Taking crude shape in truthless graphic slander,
Is boyish work, - bad manners and bad art!
And so TAY PAY transgressed the bounds of taste,
And led to shameful shindy. HEROD? Humph!
_That_ flout "lacked finish," as great DIZZY said,
_He_ pricked, not stabbed, was fencer, not brute-bruiser,
But he of Brummagem hath much to learn
In gentlemanly sword-play.
"Devil's Advocate!"
That hits him off, I think! _Not_ Devil, - no!
(Though angry blunderheads will twist it that way)
But ruthless slater of the pseudo-saint!
The pseudo-saint, I own, looks limp and floppy,
Half-fledged and awkward at the cherub _rôle_.
Poor saint! He's had much mauling, must have more,
Ere he assumes the nimbus, and I would
That he looked less lop-sided. Yes, my JOE!
You'll spot some "human failings" I've no doubt.
To exercise your "double million magnifyin'
Gas microscopes of hextra power" upon.
Your "wision" is not "limited" by "deal doors"
Or "flights o' stairs," or friends, or facts, or fairness,
You hardly need suggestions diabolic
From that hook-nosed attorney at your elbow
To urge you to the attack; erect, alert,
Orchid-adorned, and eye-glass-armed, you stand
The sharpest, shrewdest, most acidulous,
Dapper and dauntless "Devil's Advocate"
That ever blackened a poor "saint" all over
Othello-wise, or robbed a postulant
For canonisation of a hopeful chance
Of full apotheosis, and the right
Of putting on the nimbus.
There, 'tis finished:
And - on the whole - 'twere well I had not limned it!
'Twas tempting, yes, and pleasant in the painting,
But - well, I've paid for it, and much misdoubt
If it was worth the price. Followers applaud,
I - suffer. Oh, that mob of scuffling men,
Clawing and cursing, while the gallery hissed!
_Hissed_ - not a pothouse outpour in full fight,
Not clamorous larrikins, or rowdy roughs
By prize-ring or on race-course fired with drink,
But England's Commons settling - with their fists
A Constitutional Contest! Shame, O shame!
And much I fear my Art must _somewhat_ share the blame!

[_Left lamenting._

* * * * *


"Mrs. Tanqueray has left town."

They talk of ALEXANDER
And Mrs. _Tanque-ray_,
Now who would raise my dander
Will just abuse that play.
For few there are
That can compare -
Well, - if so, give their names, -
With _Mrs. Tanque-ray_
Who has just gone away
From the Theatre of St. James.

* * * * *

Mrs. R. says that of all SHAKSPEARE'S plays produced at the Lyceum,
she liked _Henry the Eighth_ the best, because of the character of
_Cardinal Bullseye_, which Mr. IRVING played so sweetly.

* * * * *

THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. - Gag and Maygag.

* * * * *

THEATRICAL PEDESTRIAN MATCH. - Match between two "Walking Gentlemen."
Date not yet fixed. Stake-holder "Walker, London."

* * * * *



I called on Mr. STEAD last week, at least I seemed to call,
For in this "visionary" world one can't be sure at all;
And when I reached the great man's house he shook me by the hand,
And talked, as only STEAD can talk, of Spooks and _Borderland_,
I own that I was tired of men who live upon the earth,
They hadn't recognised, I felt, my full and proper worth;
"They'll judge me much more fairly," I reflected, "when they're
dead, -
So I'll go and seek an interview with WILLIAM THOMAS STEAD."

The reason why I went to STEAD is this: the great and good
Has lately found that English ghosts are much misunderstood;
Substantial man may swagger free, but, spite of all his boasts,
STEAD holds there is a future, and a splendid one, for ghosts.
And so he has an office, a sort of ghostly COOK'S,
Where tours may be contracted for to Borderland and Spooks;
And those who yearn to mix with ghosts have only got to go
And talk, as I conversed, with STEAD for half an hour or so.

The ghosts have got a paper too, the _Borderland_ I spoke of,
Where raps and taps are registered that scoffers make a joke of:
A medium's magazine it is, a ghostly gazetteer
Produced by WILLIAM THOMAS STEAD, the Julianic seer.
And everything that dead men do to help the men who live,
The chains they clank, the sighs they heave, the warnings that
they give,
The coffin-lids they lift at night when folk are tucked in bed,
Are all set down in black and white by WILLIAM THOMAS STEAD.

While wide-awake he sees such shapes as others merely dream on;
For instance there is JULIA, a sort of female dæmon;
Like some tame hawk she stoops to him, she perches on his wrist -
In life she was a promising, a lady journalist;
And now that death has cut her off she leaves the ghostly strand
And turns her weekly copy out by guiding WILLIAM'S hand.
Yet, oh, it makes me writhe like one who sits him down on tin tacks
To note that happy ghost's contempt for grammar and for syntax.

Well, well, I called on STEAD, you know; a doctor's talk of diet is,
And STEAD'S was of his psychic food as cure for my anxieties.
I thought I'd take a chair to sit (it looked to me quite common) on,
"You can't sit there," observed the Sage; "that's merely a
Two ladies, as I entered, seemed expressing of their gratitudes
For help received to Mr. STEAD in sentimental attitudes;
They saw me, pirouetted twice, then vanished with a high kick.
"It's nothing," said the Editor; "they are not real, but psychic."

These things, I own, surprised me much; I fidgetted uneasily;
"Why, bless the man, he's had a shock!" said Mr. STEAD, quite
"_We_ do these things the whole year round, it's merely knack to
do them;
A man who does them every day gets quite accustomed to them.
This room of mine is full of ghosts," - it sounded most funereal -
"I've only got to say the word to make them all material.
I'll say it promptly, if you wish; they cannot well refuse me."
But my eagerness had vanished, and I begged him to excuse me.

"Now JULIA," he continued, "is in many ways a rum one,
But, whatever else they say of her, they can't say she's a dumb one.
She speaks - she's speaking now," he said. "I wonder what she'll
tell us.
What's that? She says she likes your looks; she wants to make me
That gave me pause, and made me think 'twas fully time I went; it is
A fearful thing to fascinate these bodiless non-entities.
Of course when people go to Rome they act like folk at Rome, you
But flirting didn't suit my book - I've got a wife at home, you know.

Well, next I felt a gust of wind, "That's Colonel BONES," my host
"He's dropped his helmet" (think of that, a helmet on a ghost's
"I don't much care," he whispered this, "in fact, I can't endure
Dragoons do use such awful words; I've tried in vain to cure him."
I ventured to suggest to STEAD that rather than be bluffed I
Would make this cursing soldier-ghost turn out in psychic mufti;
He couldn't drop his helmet then, nor threaten with his sabre.
"I've tried to," said the Editor, "it's only wasted labour.

"I've sought advice," continued STEAD, "from CANTUAR and EBOR,
They hinted that they couldn't stand a she-ghost and a he-bore.
I tried to get a word or two from men of arts and letters,
They said they drew the line at Spooks who made a noise with
And when I talked of bringing men and ghostly shapes together
The Bishops tapped their foreheads and conversed about the weather.
In fact" - he grew quite petulant - "in all this world's immensity
I'd back the Bench of Bishops to beat the rest in density."

And so he talked, till suddenly - (perhaps he's talking still;
In talking of his own affairs, he has a wondrous skill) -
There came a noise, as if Old BONES had let off all his blanks at
As if a thousand theorists were turning all their cranks at once;
It seemed to lift me off my legs, and seize me by the hair,
And sweep me mute but terrified through all the spook-filled air.
And, when I got my senses back, I vowed no more to tread
The paths that lead to Borderland, nor ask advice of STEAD.

* * * * *


_Pietro Ghisleri_ is another success for that charming writer MARION
CRAWFORD. The style is everything. The story is not of so thrilling a
nature as to be absorbing, but it is sufficiently interesting - for the
Baron, at least, with whom M.C. - "Master of his Craft" - is a great
favourite. "Odd, though," murmurs the Baron to himself, and he seldom
murmurs about anything; "odd that a writer like our MARION should,
in Vol. II., p. 35, pen such a sentence as this: "There are plenty
of others whom you may care for more than I." Of course the author
intends _Maddalena del' Armi_, who utters these words, to convey to
her listener and to the reader that "There are plenty of others for
whom you may care more than (you care) for me." How does "than I" get
into this sentence, unless it is to mean "There are plenty of others
for whom you may care more than I care for them" - _quod est absurdum_."
It is unfortunate that the pivot on which the plot turns is so highly
improbable as to be almost impossible, for is it not most unlikely
that any Catholic, educated or uneducated, should ever _write_ her
confession to her confessor, and send it by post, instead of going to
him, and making it by word of mouth? She must have known that, in
so doing, she was making no confession at all, _i.e._, in the
restrictedly religious sense of the word. While she was about it, she
might as well have inclosed a stamped and addressed envelope for the
absolution to be sent by return. This is the hinge of the story; and
it is a very weak one. Mr. CRAWFORD recognises this when his
other characters casually discuss the probability of _Adèle's_
having done such a thing. However, grant this, which is almost as
easily done as granting superhuman strength to a Ouidaesque hero,
and the book - in three of MACMILLAN'S blue volumes - is fascinating.
Such is the candid opinion of THE BARON DE BOOK-WORMS.

* * * * *

[Illustration: THE SPIRIT LEVEL.

_Relentless Youth._ "'ULLO 'ERE, GUV'NOR, WHAT 'YER UP TO NAOW? TYKIN'

* * * * *


["Paris est le centre du bon goût." - _Les Précieuses Ridiculis,
Scène X._]

By Jove, what festive tints you wear, _chère_ Madame!
These _fin-de-siècle_ furbelows of la dame
Would scare the very simply dressed _Père_ ADAM.
On you they're charming;
But when the fashion spreads to distant quarters,
And far across the Channel's choppy waters
They glow on England's humble, tasteless daughters,
They'll be alarming.
Bright blue, gay green, loud lilac, yelling yellow -
Yelling for _criard_, pray forgive a fellow
For using words that time has not turned mellow -
Must not be worse made
Than in your costumes, gracefully assorted.
Think what these tints will be, transposed, distorted,
By English laundress, flower-girl, and sported
By cook or nursemaid!
Our eyes! Oh, save them then with shades or goggles!
For reason totters on its throne, which joggles.
In choosing tints the Englishwoman boggles;
"_Chacun à son goût._"
You're always _comme il faut_ from boots to bonnet.
For Paris, praised in song, and ode, and sonnet,
Is still, as when _les Précieuses_ doated on it,
"_Le centre du bon goût._"

* * * * *

"MERRY MARGIT!" - "I was at Margate last July," sang THOMAS BARHAM,
when telling of the _Little Vulgar Boy_, and so were we, this
July, for the purpose of passing a few happy hours at the renovated
Cliftonville Hotel under the government of Mr. HOLLAND, vice-regent
for Messrs. GORDON & CO. No need now to quit the shores of England
for Antwerp, Rotterdam, or any other of the Rotterdamerung Cycle, as
visitors to Margate will, on our own shore, find HOLLAND. In the
menu Sauce Hollandaise is avoided, and Politesse Hollandaise is
substituted, to the satisfaction of everybody.

"Voilà ce que l'on dit de moi
Dans la Gazette de Hollande!"

Which couplet the Manageress might sing, as they are words from _The
Grand Dutchess_.

* * * * *


(_Fragment from a Seasonable Romance._)

It was towards the close of the London season of 1893 that a man in a
strange garb was seen at an early hour in the East End of London. He
attracted considerable attention. It was a rough part of the City,
still, those who lived there were conventional in their costume. They
wore black coats, and there was a certain respectability about their
hats. But the man to whom we refer was eccentric in the extreme. His
straw hat was worn at the back of his head, his cut-away coat was
thrown open, showing a huge, collarless coloured cotton shirt. He had
flannel trousers tucked into digger's boots. No one knew whence he
came, whither he was going.

"Have you noticed him?" asked the Inspector.

"Yes, Sir," replied the Police Constable, "he's got white hands, so if
he belongs to the dangerous classes, he is a smasher, or a forger, or
something genteel in that line."

"Well, keep your eye upon him."

"I will, Sir."

And the strange-looking person continued his way. As he walked through
the City, the merchants regarded him with surprise, but there
were those amongst the stockbrokers who seemed to receive him with

"I fancy I have seen the Johnnie somewhere before," observed one
Member of the House to another. "I am almost sure I know the cut of
his suit."

And the man walked on until he reached Knightsbridge. There he was
stopped by an elderly, well-dressed, well-to-do individual, who had
evidently just come up from the country. The two pedestrians started
back when they met face to face.

"What are you doing in that hideous disguise?" asked the senior of the

"It is no disguise, father," was the reply; "it is only the customary
get up of a young man of fashion between the hours of nine and eleven
when he proposes to walk in the park."

And, with these words, the strange apparition crossed over the road,
and entered Rotten Row. And here he was soon lost in a crowd quite as
eccentrically garbed as himself.

* * * * *


SCENE - _Board-room of a Public Company._ TIME - _A few minutes after
the close of a General Meeting._ PRESENT - _Chairman of Directors and

_Chairman._ Well, I think I got in all that was wanted?

_Secretary._ Could not have been better, Sir. You had the figures at
your fingers' ends.

_Chair. (laughing)._ You mean on a sheet of paper in front of me.

_Sec._ And everyone was satisfied, Sir.

_Chair._ As they should have been, considering my flaming account of
the prosperity of the undertaking. By the way, _is_ it flourishing?

_Sec._ Well, Sir, that is scarcely in my department. You must ask the

_Chair._ Oh, never mind; it is a matter of no importance.

_Sec._ I daresay if you wanted any information, Sir, I could get it
for you.

_Chair._ No, thanks, I don't want to increase my work. I am sure I do
quite enough for my wretched two or three hundred a year - don't you
think so?

_Sec._ Certainly, Sir. You do a great deal more than some Chairmen.

_Chair._ Yes, I suppose I do. Come here once a year, and preside over
an Annual Meeting, and draw my fees. What more _can_ I do?

_Sec._ I'm sure I don't know, Sir. A knowledge of the duties of a
Chairman of Directors comes scarcely within the scope of my required

_Chair._ Quite so; and now I will say Good-bye!

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 105, August 5th 1893 → online text (page 1 of 3)