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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 100.



April 25th, 1891.




MR. PUNCH'S POCKET IBSEN.

(_Condensed and Revised Version by Mr P.'s Own Harmless Ibsenite._)

No. III. - HEDDA GABLER.

ACT I.

SCENE - _A Sitting-room cheerfully decorated in dark colours. Broad
doorway, hung with black crape, in the wall at back, leading to a back
Drawing-room, in which, above a sofa in black horsehair, hangs a
posthumous portrait of the late_ General GABLER. _On the piano is a
handsome pall. Through the glass panes of the back Drawing-room window
are seen a dead wall and a cemetery. Settees, sofas, chairs, &c.,
handsomely upholstered in black bombazine, and studded with small round
nails. Bouquets of immortelles and dead grasses are lying everywhere
about._

_Enter_ Aunt JULIE (_a good-natured looking lady in a smart hat_).

_Aunt J._ Well, I declare, if I believe GEORGE or HEDDA are up yet!
(_Enter_ GEORGE TESMAN, _humming, stout, careless, spectacled._) Ah, my
dear boy, I have called before breakfast to inquire how you and HEDDA are
after returning late last night from your long honeymoon. Oh, dear me, yes;
am I not your old Aunt, and are not these attentions usual in Norway?

_George._ Good Lord, yes! My six months' honeymoon has been quite a little
travelling scholarship, eh? I have been examining archives. Think of
_that_! Look here, I'm going to write a book all about the domestic
interests of the Cave-dwellers during the Deluge. I'm a clever young
Norwegian man of letters, eh?

_Aunt J._ Fancy your knowing about that too! Now, dear me, thank Heaven!

_George._ Let me, as a dutiful Norwegian nephew, untie that smart, showy
hat of yours. (_Unties it, and pats her under the chin._) Well, to be sure,
you have got yourself really up, - fancy that! [_He puts hat on chair
close to table._

_Aunt J._ (_giggling_). It was for HEDDA'S sake - to go out walking with her
in. (HEDDA _approaches from the back-room; she is pallid, with cold, open,
steel-grey eyes; her hair is not very thick, but what there is of it is an
agreeable medium brown._) Ah, dear HEDDA! [_She attempts to cuddle
her._

_Hedda_ (_shrinking back_). Ugh, let me go, do! (_Looking at_ Aunt JULIE'S
_hat._) TESMAN, you must really tell the housemaid not to leave her old hat
about on the drawing-room chairs. Oh, is it _your_ hat? Sorry I spoke, I'm
sure!

_Aunt J._ (_annoyed_). Good gracious, little Mrs. HEDDA; my nice new hat
that I bought to go out walking with _you_ in!

_George_ (_patting her on the back_). Yes, HEDDA, she did, and the parasol
too! Fancy, Aunt JULIE always positively thinks of everything, eh?

_Hedda_ (_coldly_). You hold _your_ tongue. Catch me going out walking with
your aunt! One doesn't _do_ such things.

_George_ (_beaming_). Isn't she a charming woman? Such fascinating manners!
My goodness, eh? Fancy that!

_Aunt J._ Ah, dear GEORGE, you ought indeed to be happy - but (_brings out a
flat package wrapped in newspaper_) look _here_, my dear boy!

_George_ (_opens it_). What? my dear old morning shoes! my slippers!
(_Breaks down._) This is positively too touching, HEDDA, eh? Do you
remember how badly I wanted them all the honeymoon? Come and just have a
look at them - you _may_!

_Hedda._ Bother your old slippers and your old aunt too! (Aunt JULIE _goes
out annoyed, followed by_ GEORGE, _still thanking her warmly for the
slippers_; HEDDA _yawns_; GEORGE _comes back and places his old slippers
reverently on the table._) Why, here comes Mrs. ELVSTED - _another_ early
caller! She had irritating hair, and went about making a sensation with
it - an old flame of yours, I've heard.

_Enter Mrs._ ELVSTED; _she is pretty and gentle, with copious wavy
white-gold hair and round prominent eyes, and the manner of a frightened
rabbit._

_Mrs. E._ (_nervous_). Oh, please, I'm so perfectly in despair. EJLERT
LÖVBORG, you know, who was our Tutor; he's written such a large new book. I
inspired him. Oh, I know I don't look like it - but I did - he told me so.
And, good gracious, now he's in this dangerous wicked town all alone, and
he's a reformed character, and I'm _so_ frightened about him; so, as the
wife of a Sheriff twenty years older than me, I came up to look after Mr.
LÖVBORG. Do ask him here - then I can meet him. You will? How perfectly
lovely of you! My husband's _so_ fond of him!

_Hedda._ GEORGE, go and write an invitation at once; do you hear? (GEORGE
_looks around for his slippers, takes them up and goes out._) Now we can
talk, my little THEA. Do you remember how I used to pull your hair when we
met on the stairs, and say I would scorch it off? Seeing people with
copious hair always _does_ irritate me.

_Mrs. E._ Goodness, yes, you were always so playful and friendly, and I was
so afraid of you. I am still. And please, I've run away from my husband.
Everything around him was distasteful to me. And Mr. LÖVBORG and I were
comrades - he was dissipated, and I got a sort of power over him, and he
made a real person out of me - which I wasn't before, you know; but, oh, I
do hope I'm real now. He talked to me and taught me to think - chiefly of
him. So, when Mr. LÖVBORG came here, naturally I came too. There was
nothing else to do! And fancy, there is another woman whose shadow still
stands between him and me! She wanted to shoot him once, and so, of course,
he can never forget her. I wish I knew her name - perhaps it was that
red-haired opera-singer?

_Hedda_ (_with cold self-command_). Very likely - but nobody does that sort
of thing here. Hush! Run away now. Here comes TESMAN with Judge BRACK.
(Mrs. E. _goes out_; GEORGE _comes in with_ Judge BRACK, _who is a short
and elastic gentleman, with a round face, carefully brushed hair, and
distinguished profile._) How awfully funny you do look by daylight, Judge!

[Illustration: "I am a gay Norwegian dog."]

_Brack_ (_holding his hat and dropping his eye-glass_). Sincerest thanks.
Still the same graceful manners, dear little Mrs. HED - TESMAN! I came to
invite dear TESMAN to a little bachelor-party to celebrate his return from
his long honeymoon. It is customary in Scandinavian society. It will be a
lively affair, for I am a gay Norwegian dog.

_George._ Asked out - without my wife! Think of that! Eh? Oh, dear me, yes,
_I_'ll come!

_Brack._ By the way, LÖVBORG is here; he has written a wonderful book,
which has made a quite extraordinary sensation. Bless me, yes!

_George._ LÖVBORG - fancy! Well, I _am_ - glad. Such marvellous gifts! And I
was so painfully certain he had gone to the bad. Fancy that, eh? But what
will become of him _now_, poor fellow, eh? I _am_ so anxious to know!

_Brack._ Well, he may possibly put up for the Professorship against you,
and, though you _are_ an uncommonly clever man of letters - for a
Norwegian - it's not wholly improbable that he may cut you out!

_George._ But, look here, good Lord, Judge BRACK! - (_gesticulating_) - that
would show an incredible want of consideration for me! I married on my
chance of _getting_ that Professorship. A man like LÖVBORG, too, who hasn't
even been respectable, eh? One doesn't do such things as that!

_Brack._ Really? You forget we are all realistic and unconventional persons
here, and do all kinds of odd things. But don't worry yourself! [_He
goes out._

_George_ (_to Hedda_). Oh, I say, HEDDA, what's to become of our Fairyland
now, eh? We can't have a liveried servant, or give dinner-parties, or have
a horse for riding. Fancy that!

_Hedda_ (_slowly, and wearily_). No, we shall really have to set up as
Fairies in reduced circumstances, now.

_George_ (_cheering up_). Still, we shall see Aunt JULIE every day, and
_that_ will be something, and I've got back my old slippers. We shan't be
altogether without some amusements, eh?

_Hedda_ (_crosses the floor_). Not while I have _one_ thing to amuse myself
with, at all events.

_George_ (_beaming with joy_). Oh, Heaven be praised and thanked for that!
My goodness, so you have! And what may _that_ be, HEDDA, eh?

_Hedda_ (_at the doorway, with suppressed scorn_). Yes, GEORGE, you have
the old slippers of the attentive Aunt, and I have the horse-pistols of the
deceased General!

_George_ (_in an agony_). The pistols! Oh, my goodness! _what_ pistols?

_Hedda_ (_with cold eyes_). General GABLER'S pistols - same which I
shot - (_recollecting herself_) - no, that's THACKERAY, not IBSEN - a _very_
different person. [_She goes through the back Drawing-room._

_George_ (_at doorway, shouting after her_). Dearest HEDDA, _not_ those
dangerous things, eh? Why, they have never once been known to shoot
straight yet! Don't! Have a catapult. For _my_ sake, have a catapult!
[_Curtain._

* * * * *

Bow-Wow!

The RAIKES' teeth were bared - a most terrible sight! -
At the Messenger Companies. Now all seems joy
For the Public, the P.O., the Co., and the Boy!
The Dog in the Manger JOHN BULL did affright,
But - his bark is perhaps rather worse than his bite!

* * * * *

[Illustration: SONS OF BRITANNIA; OR, THE UNITED SERVICE.

[The Senior Admiral of the Fleet, SIR PROVO WILLIAM PARRY WALLIS, G.C.B.,
who was in the action between the British Frigate _Shannon_ and the
American Frigate _Chesapeake_ on June 1st, 1813 (taking command of the
_Shannon_ after the disabling of Captain BROKE), celebrated the hundredth
anniversary of his birthday on April 12th, 1891.

Lieutenant GRANT "displayed great bravery and judgment" (_Times_) in the
defence of Thobal against the Manipuris, April, 1891.]]

* * * * *

SONS OF BRITANNIA.

1813 - 1891.

_Britannia loquitur_: -

From Boston Bay to Thobal fort
Is a far cry, but bravery bridges
The centuries, and of space makes sport.
The shot that swept the salt sea-ridges
When VERE BROKE of the _Shannon_ smote
The foe, and, struck, left WALLIS smiting, -
Sends echoes down the years that float
To Thobal o'er the sounds of fighting.
Memories of greatness make men great!
Brave centenarian, you with pleasure
May greet the youth who guard our State.
You, whose long memories can measure
So wide a sweep of England's war,
Must joy to see her served as boldly
As in those sad mad days afar,
When, gazing on her children coldly,
She alienated kindred hearts,
Which might till now have beaten loyal.
At least you both played well _your_ parts,
Though blunderers blind, official, royal,
May then or now have marred the work
Of arduous years, and gallant spirits,
My sons at least no peril shirk,
Valour from age to age inherits.
The old tradition, duteous stands
For the old Flag, wherever flying!
Brave WALLIS, gallant GRANT, clasp hands!
My sons! Unfaltering, undying,
Beneath grey hairs, or youth's brown locks,
The spirit proud of patriot valour!
Not desperate odds in war's wild shocks
Shall strike its flush to craven pallor.
Mud-fort, or "mealey" bastion, deck
Of shot-torn ship, or red "death-valley,"
What odds? Of danger nought I reck,
Whilst thus my sons to me can rally.
Come what, come will! Whilst centuried age
And youth in Spring strike hands before me,
Let foemen band, let battle rage,
You'll keep my Flag still flying o'er me!

* * * * *

[Illustration: "GENERAL IDEA"

HITTING ON A NOVEL PLAN FOR OUR COAST DEFENCES.]

* * * * *

The Yankee Oracle on the Three-Volume Novel.

Our people will not stand it - no!
Of Fiction, limp or strong,
Yanks want but little here below,
Nor want that little _long_!
(But oh! our (Saxon) stars one thanks,
Romance is _not_ (yet) ruled by Yanks!)

* * * * *

SONGS OF THE UN-SENTIMENTALIST.

THE TAX-COLLECTOR'S HEART.

I know his step, his ring, his knock,
I hear him, too, explain,
With emphasis my nerves that shock,
That he "won't call again!"
I know that bodes a coming storm -
A summons looms a-head!
I follow his retreating form,
And note his stealthy tread!
Some grace to beg, implore, beseech,
'Twere vain! Let him depart!
I know no human cry can reach
That Tax-Collector's heart!

He kept his word. To claim that rate
He never called again.
An outraged Vestry, loth to wait,
Soon made their purpose plain.
I know not how, I missed the day, -
But that fell summons came.
Two shillings costs it took to play
That Tax-Collector's game.
I own the outlay was not much!
But, _that_ is not the smart:
'Tis that no anguished shriek can touch
That Tax-Collector's heart!

* * * * *

"MORS ET VITA." - A fine performance, April 15, at Albert Hall, with ALBANI,
HILDA WILSON, Messrs. LLOYD, and WATKIN MILLS, and Dr. MACKENZIE, as
conductor or con-doctor. I should have given, writes our correspondent, a
full and enthusiastic account of it, but that I was bothered all the time
by two persons near me, who would talk and wouldn't listen. Thank goodness,
they didn't stay throughout the performance. In a theatre they'd have been
hushed down, but this is such a big place that a talking duet is heard only
in the immediate neighbourhood of the talkers; and then no one wants to
have a row during the performance of sacred music. It's like brawling in
church.

* * * * *

QUEER QUERIES.

THE TITHES QUESTION. - I am the Vicar of a country Church in Wales; but
owing to the total failure of my last attempt to distrain on the stock of a
neighbouring farmer, on which occasion I was tossed over a hedge by an
infuriated cow, my family and myself are starving. I wish to know if I can
legally pawn the lectern, the ancient carved pulpit, and several rare old
sedilia in the Church? Or they would be exchanged for an immediate supply
of their value in groceries. - URGENT.

ANNOYANCE FROM NEIGHBOUR. - I live in a quiet street, and my next-door
neighbour has suddenly converted his house into a Fried Fish Shop. Some of
his boxes protrude into my front garden. Have I the right of seizing them,
and eating contents, supposing them to be fit for human consumption? My
house is perpetually filled with the aroma of questionable herrings, and
very pronounced haddocks. I have asked, politely, for compensation, and
received only bad language. What should be my next step? - PERPLEXED.

DEED OF GIFT. - Upon my eldest son's marriage I wish to make him a really
handsome money present. My idea is to hand over to him £100, on condition
that he repays me ten per cent, as long as I live, my age now being
forty-five. Then as to security. Had I better get a Bill of Sale on the
furniture, which he has just had given him by his wife's father for their
new house, or how can I most effectually bind him? - GENEROUS PARENT.

HOLIDAY TRIP. - Would one of your readers inform me of a locality where I
can take my next summer's holiday of a month, for £3 10_s._, fare included?
It must be near the sea and high mountains, with a genial though bracing
climate. Good boating and bathing. Strictly honest lodging-house keepers
and romantic surroundings indispensable. - EASY TO PLEASE.

* * * * *

COMING DRESS.

(_Sweet Seventeen to the would-be Sumptuary Reformers at the Kensington
Town Hall._)

Vainly on Fashion you make war,
With querulous Book, and quaint Bazaar,
Good Ladies of the Higher Light!
A Turkish Tea-gown, loose or tight,
Won't win us to the Rational Cult;
Japanese skirts do but insult
Our elder instincts, to which _Reason_
Is nothing more nor less than treason.
Your "muddy weather costume" moves us
No more than satire, which reproves us
_Ad nauseam_, and for whose rebuff
We never care one pinch of snuff.
No, Ladies HARBERTON and COFFIN.
Your pleading, like the critics' "scoffin"
Touches us not; have we not smiled,
Mocking, at Mrs. OSCAR WILDE?
And shall we welcome with delight
Queer robes that make a girl "a fright?"
Pooh-pooh! We're simply imperturbable,
The Reign of Fashion's undisturbable.
The "Coming Dress?" - that's all sheer humming,
We only care for Dress _be_-Coming!

* * * * *

MODERN TYPES.

(_By Mr. Punch's Own Type Writer._)

No. XXV. - THE ADULATED CLERGYMAN.

The Adulated Clergyman possesses many of the genuine qualities of the
domestic cat, in addition to a large stock of the characteristics which
tradition has erroneously assigned to that humble hut misunderstood animal.
Like a cat, he is generally sleek and has become an adept in the art of
ingratiating himself with those who wear skirts and dispense comforts. Like
a cat, too, he has an insinuating manner; he can purr quite admirably in
luxurious surroundings, and, on the whole, he prefers to attain his objects
by a circuitous method rather than by the bluff and uncompromising
directness which is employed by dogs and ordinary honest folk of the canine
sort. Moreover, he likes a home, but - here comes the difference - the homes
of others seem to attract and retain him more strongly than his own. And if
it were useful to set out the points of difference in greater detail, it
might be said that the genuine as opposed to the traditional cat often
shows true affection and quite a dignified resentment of snubs, is never
unduly familiar, and makes no pretence of being better than other cats
whose coats happen to be of a different colour. But it is better, perhaps,
at once to consider the Adulated Clergyman in his own person, and not in
his points of resemblance to or difference from other animals.

[Illustration]

He who afterwards becomes an Adulated Clergyman has probably been a mean
and grubby schoolboy, with a wretched but irresistible inclination to
sneak, and to defend himself for so doing on principle. It is of course
wrong to break rules at school, authority must be respected, masters must
be obeyed, but it is an honourable tradition amongst schoolboys that boys
who offend - since offences must come - should owe their consequent
punishment to the unassisted efforts of those who hold rule, rather than to
the calculating interference of another boy, who, though he may have shared
the offence, is unwilling to take his proportion of the result. A sneak,
therefore, has in all ages been invested with a badge of infamy, which no
amount of strictly scholastic success has ever availed to remove from him;
and his fellows, recognising that he has saved his own skin at the expense
of theirs, do their best to make up the difference to him in contempt and
abuse. Schoolboys are not distinguished for a fastidious reticence. If they
dislike, they never hesitate to say so, and they have a painfully downright
way of giving reasons for their behaviour, which is apt to jar on a
temperament so sensitive that its owner always and only treads the path of
high principle when self-interest points him in the same direction.

The school career of the future pastor was not, therefore, a very happy
one, for at school there are no feeble women to be captivated by
heartrending revelations of a noble nature at war with universal
wickedness, and all but shattered by the assaults of an unfeeling world.
Nor, strange to say, do schoolmasters, as a rule, value the boy who ranges
himself on their side in the eternal war between boys and masters. However,
he proceeded in due time to a University. There he let it be known that his
ultimate destination was the Church, but he had his own method of
qualifying for his profession. He was not afflicted with the possession of
great muscular strength, or of a very robust health. Neither the river nor
the football-field attracted him. Cricket was a bore, athletic sports were
a burden; the rough manners of the ordinary Undergraduates made him
shudder. However, since at College there are sets of all sorts and sizes,
he soon managed to fashion for himself a little world of effete and mincing
idlers, who adored themselves even more than they worshipped one another.
They drank deep from the well of modern French literature, and chattered
interminably of RICHEPIN, GUY DE MAUPASSANT, PAUL BOURGET, and the rest.
They themselves were their own favourite native writers; but their morbid
sonnets, their love-lorn elegies, their versified mixtures of passion and a
quasi-religious mysticism, were too sacred for print, though they were
sometimes adapted to thin and fluttering airs, and sung to sympathisers in
private. Most of these gentlemen were "ploughed" in their examination, but
the hero of this sketch secured his degree without honours, and departed to
read for the Church.

Soon afterwards he was ordained, was plunged ruthlessly into an East-End
parish, and disappeared for a time from view. He emerged, after an interval
of several years. The occasion was the inaugural meeting of a Guild for the
Conversion of Music-hall _Artistes_, which is to this day spoken of amongst
the irreverent as the Song and Sermon Society. The sensation of the meeting
was caused by the fervent speech of a clergyman, who announced that he
himself had been for some months a professional Variety Singer, attached to
more than one Music-hall, and that, having studied the life _de près_, he
knew all its temptations, and was therefore qualified to speak from
experience as to the best means of elevating those who pursued it. The
details of his story, as they fell from the mouth of the reverend speaker,
were highly spiced. His hearers were amused, interested, and stirred; and,
when a daily newspaper gave a headlined account of the speech, with a
portrait of the speaker, the professional fortune of the Adulated Clergyman
(for it was he) was assured.

Shortly afterwards his biography appeared in a series published in a weekly
periodical under the title of _Unconventional Clerics_, and he himself
wrote a touching letter on "The Plague Spots of Nova Zembla," in which an
eloquent appeal was made for subscriptions on behalf of the inhabitants of
that chill and neglected region. Ladies now began to say to one another:
"Have you heard Mr. So-and-So preach? Really, not? Oh, you should. He's so
wonderful, so convincing, so unlike all others. You must come with me next
Sunday," and thus gradually he gathered round him in his remote church a
band of faithful women, drawn from the West End by the fame of his
unconventional eloquence. A not too fastidious critic might, perhaps, have
been startled by a note of vulgarity in his references to sacred events, as
well as by the tone of easy and intimate familiarity with which he spoke of
those whose names are generally mentioned with bated breath, and printed
with capital letters; but the most refined women seemed to find in all this
an additional fascination. His sermons dealt in language which was at the
same time plain and highly-coloured. He denounced his congregation roundly
as the meanest of sinners. To the women he was particularly merciless. He
tore to rags their little vesture of self-respect, shattered their nerves
with emotional appeals, harrowed all their feelings, and belaboured them so
violently with prophecies of wrath, that they left church, after shedding
gallons of tears and emptying their expiatory purses into the
subscription-plate, in a state of pale but pious pulp. In the
drawing-rooms, however, to which he afterwards resorted, his manner
changed. His voice became soft; he poured oil into the wounds he had
inflicted. "How are you to-day?" he would say, in his caressing way. "Is
the neuralgia any better? And the dulness of spirits? has meditation
prevailed over it? Ah me! it is the lot of the good to suffer, and silence,
perhaps, were best." Whereupon he is treated as a Father Confessor of
domestic troubles, and persuades young married women that their husbands
misunderstand them.

It is unnecessary to add that his subscription-lists flourished, his
bazaars prospered, his missions and retreats overflowed with feminine
money, and his Church was overloaded with floral tributes. The brutal tribe
of men, however, sneered at him, and perversely suspected his motives; nor
were they reconciled to him when they saw him relieving the gloom of a
generally (so it was understood) ascetic existence by dining at a smart
restaurant with a galaxy of devoted women, whom he proposed to conduct in
person to a theatre. Such, then, is, or was, the Adulated Clergyman. It is


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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 100, April 25, 1891 → online text (page 1 of 3)