Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 109, November 2nd, 1895 online

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CHAPTER II. - _The Rescue._

For what length of time KIPPER and the stagbeetle remained in the
unwonted positions described in the preceding chapter it would be
impossible to say without a stop-watch, which makes a good repeater.
However, it is certain that a couple of snails out for a stroll, who
saw the fall from the bottom of the heap, tried to come to their help;
but, owing to gout, they were unable to get more than half-way up. A
neighbouring mole heard the stagbeetle's smothered cries, but, being
blind, scuttled off in the wrong direction; while an old-fashioned
toad, who lived in a mud-bank just opposite, was aroused from an
afternoon nap, and, after peering out of his hole, declared that it
was no business of his. But then he was always hard-hearted, and had
made it a point never to interfere in the affairs of others ever since
he was out-voted in the Zoological County Council on the question
as to whether tadpoles should be recognised as young frogs. He was
opposed to the measure, stating, in a powerful speech, that inasmuch
as a frog had no tail, therefore a tadpole could not be a frog. Being
defeated, he retired into private life, and was, so report said,
building a home for destitute dormice, for he was a person of
considerable wealth. But he was very mean, and a shrew was heard
to observe that the reason he wished to take the dormice under his
protection was because they ate nothing in the winter.

But while we are discussing politics KIPPER and the stagbeetle are
still in danger. Although the stagbeetle kicked with all his might
he found that it only injured his horns, and so, like many other
creatures not of a gambling nature, lay still and trusted to chance.
As to KIPPER, he was as motionless as a schoolboy's watch. But about
a quarter-of-an-hour after the accident a pretty young maiden, named
EGLANTINE, came tripping along the road. She was not one of those
girls who know that they are nice, because no one had ever told her
so, and she was too poor to afford a looking-glass. But this did not
prevent her from being good to all the inhabitants of the forest,
whether they had four legs, or two, or none at all, as was the case
with the snakes and blind worms. Yet the best of us must have enemies,
and she had incurred the anger of NIPPARD, the great and poisonous
hornet, whose only pleasure, like that of some people who have guns,
was to go out and kill something. EGLANTINE had saved two lambs once
from his murderous attacks by driving them into an out-house,
and NIPPARD had never forgotten or forgiven the insult, and vowed
vengeance. This he had carried out in several ways. He had stung
EGLANTINE'S goat to death, killed her pet dog, and so tortured a brood
of chickens belonging to her widowed mother, that they had imagined
themselves to be ducklings and were drowned in a pond.

These troubles caused great grief to EGLANTINE and her parent, and
ruin stared them in the face; and, when ruin stares, there is not
often a back way out of the difficulty. Very sad, therefore, was
the poor girl as she approached the place of KIPPER'S disaster. But
directly she saw what had happened she forgot all her own troubles,
and, with many words of pity, extricated the stagbeetle from the
stones. The insect was so pleased, that he wished to embrace her:
but stagbeetles kiss, like Laplanders, by rubbing noses; so EGLANTINE
declined the offer, and hurried to pick up the luckless KIPPER,
with whom she had a bowing acquaintance. In her case, therefore,
familiarity had never bred contempt for his sulky ways. She was really
sorry to see the poor fellow in such dreadful plight, and took him up,
as tenderly as she would have a butterfly with a broken leg. Then she
laid him on the soft grass, and sent the stagbeetle to get some wild
mint while she loosened his waistcoat, and gently fanned his face with
a dock-leaf. When the mint arrived, she crushed the fragrant leaves
between her fingers, and made him inhale the scent, still keeping up
the fanning.

[Illustration: "Here we are again!"]

In two or three minutes KIPPER gave two or three sobs, shook himself
like a dog who has been in the water, and, sitting up, opened his
eyes, and exclaimed, "Here we are again!" He had come to himself, for
he could have gone to nobody else. Then he looked at EGLANTINE with a
curious sort of smile, which made her blush, and cried, "So you have
saved my life. What reward do you expect?"

EGLANTINE blushed again, and the stagbeetle gave his master a gentle
pinch and whispered that there had been no time to advertise their
misfortune in the _Gossamer Gazette_, which is the official organ
of Fairydom. KIPPER took the hint and in a milder tone said, "Well,
EGLANTINE, you have done me a good turn. Why did you do so?" "O!
Mr. KIPPER," replied the maiden; "was it not my duty?" "It is a bad
habit," replied the goblin, "to try and answer one question with
another, but it is an excellent but rare custom to try and repay one
favour with another. Can I be of any use to you? Think before
you answer." "Why should I," said EGLANTINE; "are you not a
fellow-creature?" "A fellow-creature!" screamed KIPPER. "Don't you
know that I am a goblin, a mischievous goblin, a good-for-nothing
goblin?" "O! no," answered EGLANTINE, simply; "I only know that you
have the right to be made happy, as has every creature on earth."
KIPPER leapt to his feet. His queer little face seemed suddenly freed
from wrinkles, there was something like a dew drop in each corner of
his eyes. "Why, EGLANTINE," he shouted; "you are a perfect - - " It
has never been known whether he would have added "donkey" or "angel,"
because at this minute a fierce trumpeting rent the air, EGLANTINE
shrieked, the stagbeetle quivered, even KIPPER turned pale, for just
above them hovered a great tawny and black creature, with fierce hate
in its glowing eyes: in short, NIPPARD the Terror of the Forest!

(_To be continued._)

* * * * *


(_Fragment from a Romance not entirely imaginary._)

SCENE - _A corridor in the Royal Courts._ Eminent Counsel _in
conversation with_ Estimable Solicitor _and_ Respected Client.

_Client._ I am rather sorry, Sir, that you could not conduct my case
in person.

_Coun._ So am I. I took a deal of trouble in preparing the argument
I proposed to advance, and it was a great disappointment to me that I
was unable to deliver it in person.

_Solic._ But your junior, Sir, represented you to perfection.

_Coun._ I am rejoiced to hear it. I give every credit to my young
and learned friend, and am pleased to think that when we met in
consultation I was able to choose the right line of policy.

_Solic._ Besides, if you were not with us, your retainer prevented you
from being against us. And that was a distinct advantage.

_Coun._ You are most flattering, and too kind.

_Solic._ Not at all; and I am sure my client agrees with me?

_Client._ Well, of course I would rather have had the assistance of
silk, although your junior no doubt did his best.

_Coun._ I am sure he did. And now, gentlemen, is there anything
further I can do for you?

_Solic._ Thank you very much - I think not. You got up your case,
consulted with your junior, and if you were prevented from putting in
an appearance in the Court itself, were there in spirit. Besides, I
repeat it was a good thing for us that you did not join the Bar of the
other side. Thank you very much indeed, Sir. Good day.

_Coun._ Good day. (_He prepares to walk off, when, noticing a movement
of the solicitor, he stops._) You are sure I can do nothing more for

_Solic._ Oh, it's scarcely worth mentioning. But perhaps you would not
mind returning your fee.

_Coun._ With the greatest pleasure! (_Hands over a bag of gold and

_Client._ Well, really, that seems to me very generous! Isn't it
rather unusual?

_Solic._ Unusual! Oh dear no! Why, it's the practice of the whole


* * * * *

CHILLY KIND OF HOLIDAY. - The _Standard_ of Friday last, in a leading
article on legal reforms, expressed its opinion that, "the Judges
cannot be expected to take their vacation 'in shifts.'" Mr. Justice
PUNCH quite concurs, and quotes from the same article to the effect
that such a proceeding would be "_neither a practicable nor a proper

* * * * *

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 109, November 2nd, 1895 → online text (page 3 of 3)