Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 100, January 10, 1891 online

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VOL. 100.

January 10, 1891.




[The eminent Author writes to us as follows: - "How's this for
a Saga? Do you know what a Saga is? Nor do I, but this is one
in spite of what anybody may say. History be blowed! Who cares
about history? Mix up your dates and your incidents, and fill
up with any amount of simple human passions. Then you'll get
a Saga? After that you can write a Proem and an Epilogue. They
must have absolutely nothing to do with the story, but you can
put in some Northern legends, and a tale about MAHOMET (by the
way, I've written a play about him) which are bound to tell,
though, of course, you were not bound to tell them. Ha, ha!
who talked about thunderstorms, and passions, and powers and
emotions, and sulphur-mines, and heartless Governors, and
wicked brothers? Read on, my bonny boy. _Vous m'en direz des
nouvelles_, but don't call this a novel. It's a right-down
regular Saga." - C.A.]



[Illustration: The Characters Personally-Conducted by the Author to

STIFFUN ORRORS was a gigantic fair-haired man, whose muscles were like
the great gnarled round heads of a beech-tree. When a man possesses
that particular shape of muscle he is sure to be a hard nut to crack.
And so poor PATRICKSEN found him, merely getting his own wretched back
broken for his trouble. GORGON GORGONSEN Was Governor of Iceland, and
lived at Reykjavik, the capital, which was not only little and hungry,
but was also a creeping settlement with a face turned to America. It
was a poor lame place, with its wooden feet in the sea. Altogether a
strange capital. In the month of Althing GORGON took his daughter to
Thingummy-vellir, where there were wrestling matches. It came to the
turn of PATRICKSEN and STIFFUN. STIFFUN took him with one arm; then,
curling one leg round his head and winding the other round his waist,
he planted his head in his chest, and crushing his ribs with one hand
he gave a mighty heave, and clasping the ground, as with the hoofs of
an ox, he flung him some two hundred yards away, and went and married
RACHEL the Governor's daughter. That night he broke PATRICKSEN's back,
as if he had been a stick of sugar-candy. After this he took his wife
home, and often beat her, or set his mother on her. But one day she
happened to mention PATRICKSEN, so he fled, cowed, humiliated, cap
in hand, to Manxland, but left to her her child, her liberator, her
FASON, so that she might span her little world of shame and pain on
the bridge of Hope's own rainbow. She did this every day, and no one
in all Iceland, rugged, hungry, cold Iceland, knew how she did it. It
was a pretty trick.


This is the Isle of Man, the island of MATT MYLCHREEST, and NARY
CROWE, but plenty of vultures, the island of Deemsters, and Keys,
and Kirk Maughold, and Port y Vullin. Here at the Lague lived ADAM
FATSISTER, the Deputy Governor, who had been selected for that post
because he owned five hundred hungry acres, six hungrier sons, a face
like an angel's in homespun, a flaccid figure, and a shrewd-faced
wife, named RUTH. Hither came STIFFUN, to beg shelter. The footman
opened the door to him, but would have closed it had not ADAM, with a
lusty old oath, bidden him to let the man in. Hereupon STIFFUN's face
softened, and the footman's dropped; but ORRORS, with an Icelander's
inborn courtesy, picked it up, dusted it, and returned it to its
owner. Shortly afterwards, STIFFUN became a bigamist and a wrecker,
and had another son, whom, in honour of the Manxland Parliament, he
christened MICHAEL MOONKEYS, and left him to be cared for by old
ADAM, whose daughter's name was GREEBA. STIFFUN, as I have said, was
a wrecker, a wrecker on strictly Homeric principles, but a wrecker,
nevertheless. When storm-winds blew, he was a pitcher and tosser
on the ocean, but, like other pitchers, he went to the bad once too
often, and got broken on the rocks. Then came KANE WADE, and CHALSE,
and MYLCHREEST, and they sang hymns to him.

"Ye've not lived a right life," said one. "Now, by me sowl, ye've
got to die," sang another. "All flesh is as grass," roared a third.
Suddenly FASON stood beside his bedside. "This," he thought, "is my
father. I must kill him." But he restrained himself by a superhuman
effort - and that was the end of ORRORS.



MICHAEL and FASON were both the sons of ORRORS. They were both
Homeric, and both fell in love with GREEBA, who flirted outrageously
with both. These coincidences are absolutely essential in a tale of
simple human passions. But, to be short, GREEBA married MICHAEL, who
had become First President of the second Icelandic Republic. Thus
GREEBA and MICHAEL were at Reykjavik. FASON followed, spurred by
a blind feeling of revenge. About this time Mrs. FATSISTER took a
dislike to her husband.

"Crinkum, crankum!" she said, "you'd have me toil and moil while you
pat your nose at the fire."

"RUTH," said ADAM.

"Hoity toity!" cried she. "The house is mine. Away with you!" So poor
old ADAM also set out for Reykjavik, and the boatmen cried after him,
"_Dy banne jee oo_!" and he immediately jeeooed, as you shall hear.
Last, GREEBA's six brothers packed up, and left for Reykjavik; and now
that we have got all our characters safely there, or on the way, we
can get on with the story. It may be mentioned, however, that Mrs.
ADAM found a fever in a neglected cattle-trough. Being a grasping
woman, she caught it, and took it home - and it killed her.


RED FASON meant to kill MICHAEL. That was plain. So he was tried by a
Bishop and nine of his neighbours an hour or so after the attempt. And
although the time was so short, all the witnesses had been collected,
and all formalities completed. And FASON was dumb, but great of heart,
and the Bishop condemned him to the sulphur-mines, for which he soon
afterwards started with his long stride, and his shorn head, and his
pallid face. Upon this the six brothers of GREEBA arrived, spread
calumnies, and were believed. Their names were ASHER, JACOB, JOHN,
THURSTAN, STEAN, and ROSS, but they preferred addressing one another
BLATHERSKITE. It saved time, and made things pleasant all round.
MICHAEL quarrelled with his wife, and there is no knowing what
might have happened, if GORGON GORGONSEN, at the head of some Danish
soldiers, had not upset the Republic, and banished MICHAEL to the
sulphur-mines to join his brother.



Poor ADAM arrived too late, yet he has his use in the tale, for his
words to GORGON GORGONSEN were bitter words, such as the cruel old
Governor liked not. And he harried him, and worried him, but without
avail, for in Reykjavik money was justice, and ADAM had spent his.
What availed it that a grey silt should come up out of the deposits of
his memory? That was a totally unmarketable commodity in Reykjavik, as
ADAM found to his cost. And in the end intending to shoot MICHAEL they
shot FASON. And yet it is perfectly certain that the next chapter of
this Saga, had there been a next, would have found all the characters
once more in the Isle of Man. For nothing is more surely established
than this: that a good (or a bad) Icelander, when he dies (or lives),
goes always to the Isle of Man, and every self-respecting Manxman
returns the compliment by going to Iceland. And thus are Sagas
constructed. And this is the End.

* * * * *




_Enter LAUNCE with his dog_.

_Launce_. When a poor man's cur shall cost him some thirteen shillings
and sixpence within the year, look you, it goes hard; one that I
brought up as a puppy; one of a mongrel litter that I saved from
drowning, when three or four of his blind, breedless brothers and
sisters went to it. Verily I will write to the _Standard_ thereanent.
Item - muzzle, two shillings; item - collar, under new order, two
shillings and sixpence; item - engraving collar, under new order, one
shilling and sixpence; item - licence, seven shillings and sixpence;
total, thirteen shillings and sixpence, as aforesaid. Truly a poor man
feeleth an amount like this, and hath to deny himself some necessary
to preserve his affectionate companion, to wit, his dog. I have taught
him, even as one would say, precisely, "thus would I teach a dog." O
'tis a foul thing when a dog cannot keep himself in all companies, but
must grub for garbage in the gutter, and yap at constables' kibes! I
would have, as one should say, one that takes upon himself to be a
dog indeed, to be, as it were, a dog at all things. And art thou so,
_Crab_? But verily 'tis I who have taught thee, that have also to
pay for thee; and, whether the art wholly worth the cost, concerns
not thee, but thy master. Thou hast of late many enemies in seats of
office, and elsewhere; ministers, and scribes, and feeble folk in
fidgety fear of hypothetical hydrophoby. "Out with the dog!" says
one. "That cur looks mad!" says another; "Muzzle him!" says the third.
"Knock me him on the head with a constable's staff!" cries the fourth;
"Give him _euthanasia_ at the Dog's Home!" suggests a fifth, with
more sensibility; "Tax him, collar him, badge him, make his owner
pay roundly for him!" saith the Minister of Agriculture. And they,
between them, make me no more ado than whip me thirteen and six out
of my pinched pocket to pay thee out of danger. How many masters
would do this for their servant? Nay, I'll be sworn I have paid
the fines inflicted by austere Magistrates, when thou, _Crab_,
hast surreptitiously slipped thy muzzle, otherwise thou hadst been
executed; I have "tipped" angry constables when thou hast stolen
out not "under control," otherwise thou hadst suffered for't: thou
thinkest not of this now! Nay, I remember the trick thou servedst me
anigh the end of the year, when I had so far successfully dodged the
Dog Tax for that season: did I not bid thee still mark me, and keep
out of sight when the rate-collector called? When didst thou see me
rush headlong upstairs and make madly for the collector's calves?
Didst thou ever see me do such a fool's trick?

* * * * *


* * * * *


"If you please," said the Auditor of the Tottenham School Board
accounts, "would you explain to me what that curious thing is that you
have got in your hand?"

"With pleasure," replied the White Knight, who had recently been
elected as a Member of the Board. "It's a Tellurium."

"I see that it cost the ratepayers four pounds to buy. What is the use
of it?"

"Use?" said the White Knight, in mild surprise. "Oh, it's a most
useful thing. A child who can't think of the right answer to a
question about the stars, only has to put this thing on its head - at
Examination time, you know - and it at once remembers all about it.
It's got Electricity or something inside it. And the shape is my own

"That's why it's called a Tellurium, then," remarked the Auditor, who
could hardly help laughing, it all seemed so strange; "because, when
they put it on, the children _tell you_ the answer you want?"

"Yes; and WILLIAM TELL put an apple on his head, or on somebody else's
head, and I thought the name would remind the children of that fact."

"Then the School must win an increased Government Grant, with this
thing to help them," said the Auditor.

"Well," said the Knight, more despondently, "they have hardly had
time to try it yet. In fact," he added, still more gloomily, "their
teachers won't let them try it. But it's really an admirable idea, if
it _could_ be tried." And the White Knight fastened the curious object
on his own head, whence it immediately fell with a crash upon the

"It's too ridiculous!" exclaimed the Auditor, bursting into a little
laugh. "I declare a Hektograph would be as useful for the children as
this thing!"

"Would it?" asked the White Knight. "Does a Hektograph work well? Then
we'll get one or two - several."

"And I notice," the Auditor went on, "that there is a thing called
a Cyclostyle put down in the accounts. Please will you tell me what
a Cyclostyle is, and what use it is for purposes of elementary

"With pleasure," replied the White Knight, who seemed quite cheerful
again; "it's an apparatus for catching cycles, if any should take to
going round and round the room when the children are at their lessons.
It does it _in style_, you see."

"But," said the Auditor, "it's not very likely that any cyclists would
care to wheel their machines into a Board School, is it?"

"Not very _likely_, I daresay," the Knight answered, eagerly; "but, if
any _do_ come, I don't intend that we shall be without a machine for
catching them quickly. And the plan is my own invention!"

"I should suppose it was," the Auditor observed. "I am sorry to
be obliged to disallow the costs of all these inventions, but the
ratepayers must not he forced to pay for fads; and, as you take
such an interest in them, I am sure you won't mind, paying for them
yourself. Good-day!"

* * * * *


(BORN, JANUARY, 1822. DIED, DECEMBER 26, 1890)

Helen, who fired the topmost towers of Troy,
Should spare a smile for the North-German boy,
Who, from a sketch of Ilium aflame,
Was fired with zeal which led so straight to fame.
'Twas a far cry from that small grocer's shop
To Priam's city; but will distance stop
Genius, which scorns to fear or play the laggard?
"The World's Desire" (as HELEN's called by HAGGARD)
Might well have crowned on Ilium's windy cope,
This patient follower-up of "The Heart's Hope!"

* * * * *

last Saturday. It was such a peasoupy day that the Artiest of our Fine
Arts' Critics couldn't get there. Old Masters, indeed! it was a good
Old Foggy that prevented him from being in his place (and he knows his
place too) on that occasion.

* * * * *



Pantomime! Pantomime!! The only DRURIOLANUS, and the only Pantomime in
the Tame West. Therefore, it is almost a duty, let alone a pleasure,
on the part of Parents and Guardians to take the young gentlemen
from school, schools public and private, and the young ladies freed
awhile from their Governesses, to see _Beauty and the Beast_ at Drury
Lane. "Is it a good Pantomime this year?" "_That_," as _Hamlet_ once
observed, though at that particular moment he was not thinking of
Pantomimes, nor even of his own capital little drawing-room drama
for distinguished amateurs, entitled _The Mousetrap_, "_that_ is
the question." And _Mr. Punch's_ First Commissioner of Theatres can
conscientiously answer, "Yes, a decidedly good Pantomime." If pressed
farther by those who "want to know" as to whether it's _the best_
Pantomime he ever saw, the First Commissioner answers, "No, it is not
_Beauty and the Best_," and he is of opinion that he must travel, in
a train of thought on the line of Memory, back to the PAYNES and the
VOKESES in the primest of their prime, if he would recall two or three
of the very best, mind you, _the very best_, Pantomimes ever seen in
the Tame West. For real good rollicking fun, the Pantomimes at the
Surrey and the Grecian used to be worth the trouble of a pilgrimage;
but it was a trouble, for the show used to commence early and end
late, and indigestion was the consequence of a disturbed dinner and
the unaccustomed heartiness of a most enjoyable supper.

[Illustration: "Sure such a pair," &c.]

Drury Lane Pantomime commences at 7.30, and is not over till 11.30,
and yet in these four hours there rarely comes over you any sense of
weariness, except perhaps when the ballets are too long. From first to
last the audience is expecting something, and is ready to accept every
transition from one scene to another as a change for the better. Mr.
HARRY NICHOLLS and Mr. HERBERT CAMPBELL are, of course, funny to look
at as the conventional proud sisters; only, as they admit in one of
their duets, "it's been done before," in _Cinderella_, for example;
and, by the way, in choosing this subject of _Beauty and the Beast_,
all resemblance between the two stories should have been got rid of,
as, up to the Ball Scene, except for the absence of the Pumpkin and
the Mice, it is difficult to distinguish between the two fairy tales.
But, when last I saw _Cinderella_, wasn't ROSINA VOKES the sprightly
heroine, and her brother with the wonderful legs the _Baron_? I think
so: but I will not be too much of a _laudator temporis acti_, and will
be thankful that one of the youthful Commissioners thoroughly enjoyed
this Pantomime, though he was not absolutely certain as to what might
be the effect of ghosts and skeletons on his very little brother,
aged five or six, if he were brought to see this show. For my part,
had I at an early age seen these skeletons which pervade the piece,
and of whom two become elongated ghosts, I should have lain awake o'
nights, seen horrible reproductions on the wall by the glimmer of the
fire-light (spectral rush-lights were used when I was a small boy),
screamed for help, and perhaps given my own private and practical
version of the Ghost Scene in _Richard the Third_ by _not_ leaping out
of bed and shouting, "Give me another horse!" (there was only one in
the nursery, and that was a towel-horse), but by putting my head under
the bed-clothes and shivering with fear till my nurse returned from
her supper. Such on me, your present brave First Commissioner of
Theatres, was the effect of merely seeing the interior of the _Blue
Chamber_ in _Skelt's Scenes and Characters_, with which I used to
furnish my small theatre on the nursery table.

[Illustration: Troubled Trots.]

Well, this is all private and personal, and not much about the Drury
Lane Pantomime, it is true; but, as everyone will see "The Only
Pantomime" (we have reached the era of the "Onlys"), and be only too
delighted, what need I say more than that the _libretto_ is written by
and I daresay it was very witty and rhythmical and poetical, though I
didn't catch much of it, and the songs were neither particularly well
sung, nor remarkably humorous, - one, introduced by Miss VESTA TILLY
(and, therefore, for this our joint authors are not responsible,
except for permitting it to be done), being a distinct mistake, and
utterly out of character with the part of the _Prince_, as written,
which she was representing. And, _à propos_ of songs, the music of
this Pantomime lacks "go." WAGNER borrowed from pantomime his notion
of dramatic music to carry on the action and tell the story of serious
opera; but we don't want our Pantomimes to become Wagnerian; or, at
all events, as the lamented GEORGE HODDER would have said, "Let's have
plenty of the 'Wag,' and none of the 'nerian.'" What he would have
exactly meant by this nobody would have known, but everyone would
have laughed, as he was one of those self-patented jesters at whose
witticisms the company laughed first and wondered afterwards.

DRURIOLANUS MAGNUS, not content with his own special pantomime-pie
and a Drama at Covent Garden, has had a finger, - only a little one,
perhaps, and not the thumb, with which JOHANNES HORNERIUS extracted
the plum, - in the Christmas pie at the Prince of Wales's Theatre, of
which the Manager is HORATIUS SEDGERIUS.

[Illustration: Seeing the 'Mime, December 30; or, A Draught at Night.]

Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, _patres et matres, et tutores_, if you
want to know what to take your little children, your bigger children,
your boys and girls to see, and what you yourselves, familiar
with your THACKERAY as I take you to be, would enjoy seeing, I say
emphatically and distinctly, without any evasion, reservation, or
mental equivocation, "Go and see, and take them all to see, _The Rose
and the Ring_, written by SAVILE CLARKE, with music composed for it
by WALTER SLAUGHTER, put on the stage by _Les deux Ajax_ CAROLUS and
AUGUSTUS HARRIS, - Christmas CAROLUS being _facile princeps_ at this
difficult business."

There is an excellent orchestra here, playing the musical game of
"follow my leader" to perfection, and kept together, as sheep, by
a CROOK. Mr. HARRY MONKHOUSE is very droll in the little he has to
do. Mr. SHALE's speech as the Court Painter is capitally given, but
there isn't enough of it. A touch more, a few more good lines, and
the speech, as a showman's speech, would have been encored. Mr. S.
SOLOMON as _Jenkins_, the Hall Porter, is made up so as to be the very
_fac-simile_ of THACKERAY's own illustration, and to reproduce that
Master's sketches with more or less exactitude has evidently been the
aim of all the actors; but _Jenkins_ has been peculiarly successful,
as has also _Prince Bulbo_, of whom more anon. As _Polly_ in Act the
First, and _General Punchikoff_ in the Second, Miss EMPSIE BOWMAN was
delightful, and her elder sister, Miss ISA BOWMAN, made every sharp
point tell, and into the gold, of which success the name of BOWMAN is
of good omen: and this is almost a rhyme. The part of _Prince Giglis_,
in the absence of Miss VIOLET CAMERON, was satisfactorily rendered by
Miss FLORENCE DARLEY. Miss MAUD HOLLAND looked and acted prettily as
the _Princess Angelica_, and Madame AMADI was quite Thackerayan in her
make-up as _Countess Gruffanuff_. Miss ATTALIE CLAIRE entered fully
into the spirit of the merry piece; her rendering of a song with the
refrain "Ah! well-a-day!" being deservedly encored.

[Illustration: After a Design by Michael Angelo Titmarsh.]

I must not forget, indeed, I cannot forget, Mr. LE HAY as _Bulbo_,
who, not only on account of his make-up being an exact reproduction
of THACKERAY's sketch, gave us as good a grotesque performance as I've
seen for some considerable time. To see him on the ground after the
fight, tearing his hair out in handfulls, is something that will shake
the sides of the most sedate or _blasé_, and among the audience that
will crowd to see this juvenile show, there will be very few sedate
(I hope) and still fewer (I am sure) _blasé_. It is an excellent
performance throughout. But, my dear Mr. CAROLUS HARRIS, one
word, - when you had that capitally-arranged and highly effective
scene of _Bulbo_ going to be beheaded, why did you not carry it a
bit further, and make _Bulbo_ on the point of kneeling down, and the
burlesque axe poised in the air, and _then_, but not till _then_, the
moment which, like the present winter, is "critical," - _then_, I say,
enter the _Princess_ with the reprieve? As it is, the effect of this
dramatically grouped scene is lessened by the absence of action, and
_Bulbo_ is off the scaffold ere the majority of the audience realise
the peril in which his life has been placed.

I must not forget the army of children appearing from time to time
as courtiers, cooks, fairies, soldiers, who will be the source of
the greatest pleasure to children of all ages, from "little Trots"
upwards. Nothing in this genuinely Christmas Piece is there which can
do aught but delight and amuse the young people for whom primarily it
was written. Let "all concerned in this" excellent piece of Christmas
merriment accept the congratulations and best wishes for crowded
houses - which they are sure to be for all the _Matinées_ - from theirs

* * * * *

feeling of disappointment among all classes of society by not having
added, "and Merton," to his title. "Lord SANDFORD OF SANDFORD" is
weak; but "Lord SANDFORD-AND-MERTON" would have been truly noble.

* * * * *

SIR JULIAN PAUNCEFOTE's reply to President BLAINE: "The point o'
this here observation lies in the Behring of it." (_Captain Cuttle

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 100, January 10, 1891 → online text (page 1 of 3)