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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 98

January 11, 1890.




UNTILED; OR, THE MODERN ASMODEUS.

"Très volontiers," repartit le démon. "Vous aimez les tableaux
changeans; je veux vous contenter."

_Le Diable Boiteux._


XVI.

"Midnight's meridian is supposed to mark
The bound twixt toil and slumber. Light and dark
Mete out the lives of mortals
In happy alternation," said my guide.
"Six hours must fleet ere Phoebus shall set wide
His glowing orient portals.

"The last loud halloo at the tavern-door
long since has driven the reckless and the poor
From misery's only haven
Forth on the chilling night. 'All out! All out!'
Less sad would fall on bibulous souls, no doubt,
The refrain of the Raven.

"London lies shuttered close. Law's measured beat
Falls echoing down the shadow-chequered street;
A distant cab-wheel clatters;
The wastrel's drunken cry, the waif's low moan,
Reach not the ear of tired Philistia, prone,
Dreaming of other matters."

"The Shadow's slow subacid speech, I knew,
Foreboded more than mirth. Downward we drew,
Silent, and all un-noted,
O'er sleeping Shopdom. Sleeping? Closer quest
Might prove it one vast Valley of Unrest
O'er which we mutely floated.

"Post-midnight peace," I said, "must fall like balm,
After the long day's turmoil, on this calm,
Close-clustering, lamp-lit city,"
"Peace?" sighed the Shadow. "She of the white dove
Is not less partial in her gifts than Love,
Or Wealth, or Worldly Pity.

"See yon close-shuttered shop! Peace broodeth there,
You deem perchance; but look within. A lair
Of midnight smugglers, stirring
At the sea's signal, scarce seems more agog.
And yet each toiler's heart lies like a log,
Sleep each tired eye is blurring.

"Feet scuttle, fingers fleet, pens work apace;
A whipt-up zeal marks every pallid face;
One voice austere, sonorous,
Chides, threatens, sometimes curses. How they flush,
Its victims silent, tame! That voice would hush
A seraph-choir in chorus.

"Strident, sardonic, stern; the harrying sound
Lashes them like a flail the long hours round,
Till to strained nerves 'twere sweeter
To silence it with one fierce passionate grip,
Than into some bland Lotos Land to slip,
And moon out life to metre.

"From early morn till midnight these poor slaves
Have 'served the public;' now, when nature craves
Rest from the strain and scurry
Of Shopdom's servitude, they still must wake
Some weary hours, though hands with fever shake
And nerves are racked with worry.

"Though the great streets are still, the shutters up,
Gas flares within, and ere they sleep or sup
These serfs of Competition
Must clean, and sort and sum. There's much to do
Behind those scenes set fair to public view
By hucksters of position.

"The shop-assistant's Sabbath has begun!
His sixteen hours long Saturday has run
Its wearing course and weary.
The last light's out, and many an aching head
At last, at last, seeks in a lonely bed
A dreamland dim and dreary.

"In roseate visions shall racked souls rejoice
Haunted by echoes of that harrying voice?
Nay, friend, uncounted numbers
Of victims to commercial strain and stress,
Seek nought more sweet than dull forgetfulness
In the short night's scant slumbers."

"Too sombre Spirit, hath the opening year
No scenes of gayer hope and gentler cheer?
Is all beneath night's curtain
In this vast city void of promise glad?
Are all the guests of midnight spectres sad,
And suffering and uncertain?"

So I addressed the Shadow. "Friend," he smiled.
"'Twas 'lurid London' that you wished 'untiled.'
Most secret things are sinister.
Innocent mirth needs no Ithuriel spear
To make its inner entity appear.
Still, to your mood I'll minister.

"Not long-drawn Labour only breaks the rest
Of London's night. Society in quest
Of Gold's sole rival, Pleasure,
Makes little of the bounds of dark and day.
Night's hours lead on a dance as glad and gay
As the old Horaes' measure.

"Look!" Such a burst of laughter shook the room
As might dispel a desert anchorite's gloom.
Flushed faces keen and clever
Contorted wildly; such mirth-moving shape
Was taken by that genial histrion's jape
As mobs are mute at never.

A long soft-lighted room, the muffled beat
On carpets soft of watchful waiters' feet
In deft attendance gliding;
A table spread with toothsome morsels, fit
For the night-feast of genius, wealth and wit,
Of a skilled _chef's_ providing.

Goodfellowship, _bonnes bouches_, right pleasant tales
Of _bonnes fortunes!_ Here a quaint cynic rails,
There an enthusiast gushes.
Gay talk flows on, not in a rolling stream,
But with the brooklet's intermittent gleam
And brisk irradiant rushes.

Side-lights from all Society shift here
Reflected in keen _mot_ and jocund jeer,
Wild jest, and waggish whimsey.
Stagedom disrobed and Statecraft in undress,
Stars of the Art-world, pillars of the Press,
Sage solid, _flâneur_ flimsy,

All cross and counter here; they lounge and sup:
The fragrant smoke-cloud and the foaming cup
Tickle their eager senses.
What care these for the clock, whilst banter flows
And dainty "snacks" and toothsome herring-roes
The distant cook dispenses?

"How different these," my calm companion said,
"From the crowd yonder! These yearn not for bed
As rest from leaden labour."
The night may be far spent, the Sabbath dawns,
But here no dull brain-palsied drowser yawns
At his half-nodding neighbour.

"With wit, and wealth, and wine, the hours of night
In sombre Babylon may dispense delight.
These revellers, slumber-scorning,
Radiant and well-arrayed, will stop, and stop,
Till waiters drowse. But then, yon slaves of Shop
Must meet a different morning."

(_To be continued._)

* * * * *

ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.

An unsatisfactory christmas present. - We can well understand and
sympathise with you in your disappointment on discovering that you had
been deceived as to the amount of intelligence possessed by the Learned
Pig that you had been induced to purchase as a Christmas present for
your invalid Grandfather. It must have been very annoying, after having
imagined that you had provided your aged relative with a nice long
winter's evening amusement resulting from the creature's advertised
powers of telling fortunes and spelling sentences with a pack of
ordinary playing cards, to receive a letter from the housekeeper
bitterly complaining of its performance, which seems merely to have
consisted of eating all the tea-cake, biting a housemaid, getting
between your Grandfather's legs and upsetting him in his armchair, and,
finally, when pursued, trying to obtain refuge in the grand piano. You
cannot be surprised after this experience, that it has been intimated to
you that if you do not take the creature yourself away at once, it will
be forthwith handed over to the first policeman that passes. Yes, spite
the pig's reputed intellectual gifts, we would advise you to close with
the pork-butcher's offer you mention. When the creature has been cut up,
send your Grandfather some of the sausages. This may possibly appease
the old gentleman, and serve to allay the irritation that your
unfortunate Christmas gift appears to have occasioned.

* * * * *

THE NORTH WALLS. - The Sporting Correspondent of the _Sunday Times_ tells
us that Colonel NORTH is "having a new ball-room" - (he wouldn't have an
old one built, would he? But no matter) - "the walls of which are
composed of onyx." Of course, a Billionaire pays all the workmen
punctually and regularly; therefore, "Owe-nix" walls are an appropriate
memorial. _Si monumentum quæris, circumspice._

* * * * *

DARES AND ENTELLUS.

(_New Non-Virgilian Version told by Punchius to the Shade of Sayerius in
the Elysian Fields. With Intercalary Observations by the Illustrious
ex-Pugilist._)

Illustration: _Mr. Punch._ "WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT, TOM?"

_Shade of Sayers._ "THINK!" (_Disgusted._) "WHY, I THINK THE SOONER THE
P. R.'S PUT DOWN, THE BETTER!"

Then bulky DARES in the ring appears,
Chucking his "castor" in 'midst husky cheers.
DARES, the so-called "Champion" of his land,
Who met the great KILRAINUS hand to hand,
And at the Pelicanus strove - in vain -
The Ethiopian's onset to sustain.
Such DARES was, and such he strode along,
And drew hoarse homage from the howling throng.
His brawny breast and bulky arms he shows, }
His lifted fists around his head he throws, }
Huge caveats to the inadvertent nose. }
But DARES, who, although a sinewy brute,
Had not of late increased his old repute,
Looked scarce like one prepared for gain or loss,
And scornful of the surreptitious "cross;"
Rather the kind of cove who tackled fair
Would think more of the "corner" than "the square."
(_"Ah! bust him, yes!"_ SAYERIUS _here put in,
"He meant to tie or wrangle, not to win.
I'd like to - well, all right, I will not say:
But 'twasn't so at Farnborough in my day."_)
Next stout ENTELLUS for the strife prepares,
Strips off his ulster, and his body bares,
Composed of mighty bone and brawn he stands.
A six-foot straight, "fine fellow of his hands."
ENTELLUS, Champion of the Austral realm,
Whose sight fat DARES seemed to overwhelm.
(_"Yah!" cried_ SAYERIUS, _"brave_ HEENANUS _stood
Well over me; yes, and his grit was good.
But did I funk the Big 'Un from the fust?
No, nor when nine times I had bit the dust!"_)
They both attentive stand with eyes intent,
Their arms well up, their bodies backward bent.
One on his clamorous "Corner" most relies;
The other on his sinews and his size.
Unequal in success, they ward, they strike,
Their styles are different, but their aims alike.
Big blows are dealt; stout DARES hops around,
His pulpy sides the rattling thumps resound.
(_"He always was a fleshy 'un, yer know,"
Said brave_ SAYERIUS. _"But on yer go!"_)
Steady and straight ENTELLUS stands his ground,
Although already rowdy rows abound.
His hand and watchful eyes keep even pace,
While DARES traverses and shifts his place,
And, like a cornered rat in a big pit.
Keeps off, and doesn't like the job a bit.
(_"No, that I'll bet!" the brave_ SAYERIUS _said.
"Wish I'd been there to punch his bloomin' 'ed!"_)
More on his feet than fists the cur relies,
And on that crowded "Corner" keeps his eyes.
With straightening shots ENTELLUS threats the foe, }
But DARES dodges the descending blow, }
And back into his Corner's prompt to go. }
Where bludgeon, knuckleduster, knotted sticks,
Foul sickening blows and cruel coward kicks
Are in his interest on ENTELLUS rained
At every point that plucky boxer gained.
(_"Oh!" groaned_ SAYERIUS. _"And this sort of thing
Wos let go on, with gents around the Ring!"_)
In vain ENTELLUS gave sly DARES snuff;
DARES already felt he'd had enough;
But twenty ruffians, thralls of bets and "booze,"
Had sworn could he not win he should not lose.
DARES, you see, was "Champion" of his land,
And these were "Trojans all" you'll understand.
(_"Champion be blowed!_" SAYERIUS _said_. _"Wus luck,
They wasn't Trojans. This is British pluck!"_)
Then from the Corner fiendish howls arise,
And oaths and execrations rend the skies.
ENTELLUS stoutly to the fight returned.
Kicked, punched and mauled, his eyes with fury burned,
Disdain and conscious courage fired his breast,
And with redoubled force his foe he pressed,
Laid on with either hand like anything,
And headlong drove his rival round the Ring;
Nor stops nor stays, nor rest, nor breath allows.
Thereon the Corner raised redoubled rows,
Yelled false alarms of "Rescue!" heaved half-bricks,
And murderous missiles and unmanly kicks
Poured on ENTELLUS, whilst fat DARES slunk
Between his bullies, like a shabby skunk.
(_"Bah!" growled_ SAYERIUS. _"Fancy_ CRIBBS _or_ GULLIES
_Backing down under guard of blackguard bullies!"_)
But now the Ref., who saw the row increase,
Declared a "draw," and bade the combat cease.
(_"A draw?"_ SAYERIUS _shouted_. _"Was he drunk?
Or had he, like the rest, a fit of funk?"_)
"This," PUNCHIUS said, "ended the precious game.
In which all, save ENTELLUS, suffered shame.
SAYERIUS mine, I trust you take delight
In this description of a Champion Fight!"

"A _Fight_," SAYERIUS shouted. "Oh, get out!
It was a 'barney.' If this ruffian rout
Of cheats and 'bashers' now surround the Ring,
You'd better stop it as a shameful thing.
In JACKSON'S time, and even in my day,
It did want courage, and did mean fair play -
Most times, at least. But don't mix up _this_ muck
With tales of rough-and-tumble British pluck.
I'd like to shake ENTELLUS by the hand,
And give that DARES - wot he'd understand
Better, you bet, than being fair or "game,"
Or trying to keep up the Old Country's name!
But anyhow, if Boxing's sunk so low
As _this_, why, hang it, PUNCHIUS, _let it go!"_
Said _Punch_, as from the Elysian Fields he strode,
"If you're not right, SAYERIUS mine, I'm blowed!"

* * * * *

Illustration: STUDIES IN REPARTEE.

_Algy (patronizingly)._ "ULLO, JIM! - WHAT - YOU PLAY THE BANJO? YOU LUCKY
DOG, YOU POSSESS ALL THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS I LACK!"

_Jim, (modestly)._ "OH, NONSENSE! WHY, YOU'RE MAKING ME OUT A REGULAR
_CRICHTON!_"

* * * * *

WORK FOR THE HOLIDAYS.

DEAR MR. PUNCH, _New Year's Day_ (_or thereabouts_), 1890.

Every fellow says you are such a good chap, and what every fellow says
must be true. Now we want you to do us a good turn. We wish you would
write down "holiday tasks." It is such a beastly shame that fellows home
for "the Yule-Tide Vacation" (as our Head Master calls it), should have
to be stewing away at all sorts of beastly things. No - if we are to do
anything in the working line, let us have a paper like the subjoined,
which, at any rate, will test our knowledge of what we have been doing
during the holidays. You will see I have added the answers in
the manner I think they should be given to secure full marks.
Believe me, dear _Mr. Punch_,

Yours sincerely, SMITH MINIMUS.

1. Give a short account of your Christmas dinner, distinguishing
between the sustenance for the body, and the food for the mind.

_Answer._ Whole affair stunning. Turkey and mince-pies first-rate.
Champagne might have been drier - but, tol lol! Uncle BOB rather prosy,
but his girls capital fun. Tips satisfactory.

2. What do you know of (1) the Pantomime at the Crystal Palace, (2) the
World's Fair at the Agricultural Hall, and (3) the Panorama of Waterloo
at Ashley Place?

_Answer._ (1.) _Aladdin_ is the subject of the Palace Pantomime, which
is not half bad. Mr. DAUBAN, as usual, capital, and the dresses quite
Drury Lane form. Scenery, too, (especially Willow-pattern Plate) up to
the mark, if not more so. (2.) World's Fair, at Agricultural Hall,
rather mixed. Excellent menagerie - good old BLONDIN - but side-shows
second-rate. Shakspearian Pantaloon in one of the latter seemed to be
enjoying Christmas in the old-fashioned manner. (3.) Panorama of
Waterloo, not only patriotic, but artistic. Regular good set-to between
the Highlanders and French Cuirassiers. Skull in the Relics
Department - pretty ornament for the Annual Banquet at the Surgeons'
Hall.

3. Given a traveller from Charing Cross to St. Clement's Danes,
describe the places of interest he would pass during the journey.

_Answer._ I think the best way of flooring this question is to say what
I should do if I made the voyage. Take a cup of chocolate at Aërated
Bread Company, with two pennyworth of butter and cake; then to the
Lowther Arcade, to get some toys for the young 'uns. Next to GATTI'S
Restaurant for Lunch. Being a good day for _Matinées_, look in at
TERRY'S for First Act of _Sweet Lavender_, then to the Opéra Comique for
Second Act of _Real Little Lord Fauntleroy_; lastly, wind up with a bit
of _Our Flat_ at the Strand. Dine quietly at the Gaiety before
seeing the _Dead Heart_ at the Lyceum, which will produce an appetite,
to be appeased only at RULE'S, where you can take a light supper - then
to bed.

4. Do you think that the Head Master of your school would derive any
benefit from a closer association with the Metropolis? If you do, give
your reason for such an opinion.

_Answer._ I decidedly think old SWISHTALE would be better for a week
(under supervision) in London. Might take him to the Empire, the Pav.,
and to see _Ruy Blas, or the Blasé Roué_. If it did him no other good,
it would afford him a topic for conversation at lesson time.

* * * * *

JUSTICE AT HIGH-PRESSURE.

(_Or what it has nearly come to in Judges' Chambers._)

SCENE - _Room in Royal Courts divided by railing into two parts. First
part occupied by_ Chief Clerk _seated in front of table covered with
papers. Second part filled with_ Solicitors' Clerks _hustling one
another in the endeavour to attract attention. List for the day's causes
about six yards long._

_Chief Clerk_ (_after three hours' hard work_). Now, Gentlemen, one at a
time. SMITH _versus_ BROWN!

_Six Solicitors' Representatives_ (_speaking together_). Won't take a
minute in - only an order to - -

_Chief Clerk._ One at a time, Gentlemen! Who has the conduct of this
matter?

_First Solicitor's Representative._ I have, Sir. It's an order to sell
some freehold land. We have half a dozen valuations, and we want you to
decide the conditions of sale.

_Chief Clerk._ Hand in the documents, and let the matter be submitted to
the conveyancing counsel for a draft. Adjourned for a week. Next,
please! JONES _versus_ ROBINSON!

_Second Solicitor's Representative_ (_forcing his way to the front_). This
suit has been going on for six years, and we have got to second further
consideration. By the recent statute, Sir, you now have to tax the
costs.

_Chief Clerk._ Very well; hand them in, and when I have looked through
them I will give you an appointment to proceed. Next, please! SNOOKS
_versus_ TOMPKINS!

_Third Solicitor's Representative._ Settlement of certificate. There are
eighteen parties to this suit, and we have seventeen present - the
eighteenth would be here, but I fancy the gentleman in charge of the
matter has the influenza, and - -

_Chief Clerk_ (_relieved_). Oh, very well, then; as we can't proceed
behind his back, we must adjourn it. SHRIMP _versus_ LAMBKIN!

_Fourth Solicitor's Representative_ (_promptly_). Rather a hard case, Sir.
One of the beneficiaries, who presumably is entitled to the interest on
£20,000 for six years, is in urgent need of five pounds, and - -

_Chief Clerk_ (_looking at summons_). Are you opposed?

_Fifth Solicitor's Representative._ Certainly, Sir; although my client
instructs me to say that he too considers it a hard case, and - -

_Chief Clerk_ (_interrupting_). I have no power, then, to make an order;
but, of course, if you like, I will put it in the Judges' list.
Application refused. BUNKUM _versus_ TINSEL!

_Sixth Solicitor's Representative._ Remuneration of Receiver, Sir. You
have the papers.

_Chief Clerk_ (_glancing at documents_). I think the Receiver had some
special trouble in the matter.

_Sixth Solicitor's Representative._ Yes, Sir. I appear for him, and he
tells me he has employed six clerks.

_Chief Clerk._ Quite so - commission at seven per cent. PEACE _versus_
GOODWILL!

_Seventh Solicitor's Representative._ Proceed with accounts. We object
to item 29 - grave-stone to testator. Will said that the funeral was to
be of the simplest character, and - -

_Chief Clerk._ I see. Disallowed. What other items are objected to?

_Seventh Solicitor's Representative._ Nos. 33, 44, 87, 136, 150 to 506
inclusive: but, Sir, as some of these may take some time, and we are not
quite prepared - -

_Chief Clerk._ Very well. Adjourned for three months. WYLD _versus_
SHEPHERD and Others!

_Eighth Solicitor's Representative._ We wish to suspend the Manager of
the Restaurant in this matter. It is alleged that he - -

_Chief Clerk_ (_who has glanced at the papers_). I shall not deal myself
with this matter, but put it in the Judges' list. And now, Gentlemen, as
I have to attend his Lordship in his own Chambers, I am afraid the other
matters must be adjourned to another occasion.

[_Exit into inner Apartment hurriedly._

_Ninth Solicitor's Representative._ And he has only got to number
seventeen on the 11:30 list! Too bad!

_Chorus of Solicitors' Representatives._ Another morning wasted! But
it's not _his_ fault; _he_ works hard enough! But, why don't they get
enough men to do the business?

[_Exeunt to appease their clients, who are impatiently waiting to hear
the result of their various applications. Forcible language, and
Curtain._

* * * * *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

REMINGTON'S _Annual_ is a Remington which should go off well. This is
the report of it - from the Baron - who says, get it, and read it. _A
Fleety Show_, by W. H. POLLOCK. Those who remember _The Green Lady and
other Stories_, will be delighted with this. A very quaint idea, which
would have borne further elaboration.

I came across a story, new to me, but not new, I dare say, to many of my
readers - I mean _Cashel Byron's Profession_, by G. BERNARD SHAW. To
those who have yet the pleasure to come of reading this one-volume
novel, I say, emphatically, get it. The notion is original. The
stage-mechanism of the plot is antiquated; but, for all that, it serves
its purpose. It is thoroughly interesting. Only one shilling, in the
Novocastrian Series. BARON DE BOOK-WORMS & CO.

* * * * *

ROBERT ON GOOD OLD KRISMUS.

Of course I don't kno how jolly Old Krismus affecks other peepel, but I
do kno how it affecks me, and that is, that I allus feels pertickler
kind to pore ragged littel children, such as we sees in sum of our
back-streets and sitch places, and eweryboddy can therefore understand
without werry much trubble how werry pleased I was at what append the
other day, and how jolly prowd I was at being alloud to have my little
share in it.

I offishyated the other day at a werry werry nice party of about twenty,
at one of our best Tavverns, and they was about as nice and brite and
jowial a set of Gents as I have had the honner of waiting on for sum
time parst. They larfed and they chatted away as I likes to see 'em, cos
I nos from my long experience that them's the sort of Gents as is allus
werry libberal to the pore Waiters. Well, one of the werry britest and
wittyest of 'em all, jest about the time as the sperrits is the highest,
wiz., about a hower after dinner, when the wine is a having its werry
best effect, pulls a paper out of his pocket that was ruled all over,
and had a lot of names on it, and he says, says he, with his werry
britest smile, "We've all had a jolly nice dinner, and plenty of good
honnest fun, and I now want you all to join me in a reel good lark;" and
they all looks at him quite hegerly. Then he says, "If you will every
one of you give me a shilling, I will let you have a chance in my
lottery, where they is all prizes and no blanks, and the prizes will
give as much plezzur and appyness," says he, "as the jolly good dinner
we has all just had."

So they all larfed at the funny idear, and they past the paper round,
and ewery one on 'em sined his name and cashed up a shilling.

"I now garrantees," I think he sed, "that for ewery shilling you have
given me no less than twenty-four pore little children shall have a good
dinner; and so, as there is jest twenty of us, we shall have purwided a
good dinner for no less than fore hunderd and hayty pore little hungry
children!"

I was that estonished at this wunderfull rewelashun that I was struck


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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98 January 11, 1890 → online text (page 1 of 3)