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PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 100.



January 31, 1891.




VOCES POPULI.

A ROW IN THE PIT; OR, THE OBSTRUCTIVE HAT.

SCENE - _The Pit during Pantomime Time._

_The Overture is beginning._

[Illustration]

_An Over-heated Matron_ (_to her Husband_). Well, they don't give
you much _room_ in 'ere, I _must_ say. Still, we done better than
I expected, after all that crushing. I thought my ribs was gone
once - but it was on'y the umbrella's. You pretty comfortable where you
are, eh. Father?

_Father_. Oh, I'm right enough, I am.

_Jimmy_ (_their Son; a small boy, with a piping voice_). If _Father_
is, it's more nor what _I_ am. I can't see, Mother, I can't!

_His Mother_. Lor' bless the boy! there ain't nothen to _see_ yet;
you'll see well enough when the Curting goes up. (_Curtain rises on
opening scene_). Look, JIMMY, ain't _that_ nice, now? All them himps
dancin' round, and real fire comin' out of the pot - which I 'ope it's
quite safe - and there's a beautiful fairy just come on, dressed so
grand, too!

_Jimmy_. I can't see no fairy - nor yet no himps - no nothen! [_He
whimpers_.

_His Mother_ (_annoyed_). Was there ever such a aggravating boy to
take anywheres! Set quiet, do, and don't fidget, and look at the
hactin'!

_Jimmy_. I tell yer I can't _see_ no hactin', Mother. It ain't my
fault - it's this lady in front o' me, with the 'at.

_Mother_ (_perceiving the justice of his complaints_). Father, the
pore boy says he can't see where he is, 'cause of a lady's hat in
front.

_Father._ Well, _I_ can't 'elp the 'at, can I? He must put up with it,
that's all!

_Mother._ No - but I thought, if you wouldn't mind changing places with
him - you're taller than him, and it wouldn't be in your way 'arf so
much.

_Father._ It's always the way with you - never satisfied, _you_ ain't!
Well, pass the boy across - I'm for a quiet life, I am. (_Changing
seats._) Will _this_ do for you?

[_He settles down immediately behind a very large, and furry,
and feathery hat, which he dodges for some time, with the
result of obtaining an occasional glimpse of a pair of legs on
the stage._

_Father_ (_suddenly_). D - - the 'at!

_Mother._ You can't wonder at the _boy_ not seeing! P'raps the lady
wouldn't might taking it off, if you asked her?

_Father._ Ah! (_He touches_ The Owner of the Hat _on the shoulder._)
Excuse me, Mum, but might I take the liberty of asking you to kindly
remove your 'at? [The Owner of the Hat _deigns no reply._

_Father_ (_more insistently_). _Would_ you 'ave any objection to
oblige me by taking off your 'at, Mum? (_Same result._) I don't know
if you _'eard_ me, Mum, but I've asked you twice, civil enough, to
take that 'at of yours off. I'm a playin' 'Ide and Seek be'ind it 'ere!

[_No answer._

_The Mother._ People didn't ought to be allowed in the Pit with sech
'ats! Callin' 'erself a lady - and settin' there in a great 'at and
feathers like a 'Ighlander's, and never answering no more nor a
stuffed himage!

_Father_ (_to the Husband of The Owner of the Hat_). Will you tell
your good lady to take her 'at off, Sir, please?

_The Owner of the Hat_ (_to her Husband_). Don't you do nothing of the
sort, SAM, or you'll _'ear_ of it!

_The Mother._ Some people are perlite, I must say. Parties might
_beyave_ as ladies when they come in the Pit! It's a pity her 'usband
can't teach her better manners!

_The Father._ _'Im_ teach her! 'E knows better. 'E's got a Tartar
there, _'e_ 'as!

_The Owner of the Hat._ SAM, are you going to set by and hear me
insulted like this?

_Her Husband_ (_turning round tremulously_). I - I'll trouble you
to drop making these personal allusions to my wife's 'at, Sir. It's
puffickly impossible to listen to what's going on on the stage, with
all these remarks be'ind!

_The Father._ Not more nor it is to _see_ what's going on on the stage
with that 'at in front! I paid 'arf-a-crown to see the Pantermime, I
did; not to 'ave a view of your wife's 'at!... 'Ere, MARIA, blowed if
I can stand this 'ere game any longer. JIMMY must change places again,
and if he can't see, he must stand up on the seat, that's all!

[_JIMMY is transferred to his original place, and mounts upon
the seat._

_A Pittite behind Jimmy_ (_touching up JIMMY's Father with an
umbrella_). Will you tell your little boy to set down, please, and not
block the view like this?

_Jimmy's Father_. If you can indooce that lady in front to take off
her 'at, I will - but not before. Stay where you are, JIMMY, my boy.

_The Pittite behind._ Well, I must stand myself then, that's all. I
mean to see, _somehow_! [_He rises._

_People behind him_ (_sternly_). Set down there, will yer?

[_He resumes his seat expostulating._

_Jimmy_. Father, the gentleman behind is a pinching of my legs!

_Jimmy's Father._ Will you stop pinching my little boy's legs! He
ain't doing you no 'arm - is he?

_The Pinching Pittite_. Let him sit down, then!

_Jimmy's Father._ Let the lady take her 'at off!

_Murmurs behind._ Order, there! Set down! Put that boy down! Take orf
that 'at! Silence in front, there! Turn 'em out! Shame!... &c., &c.

_The Husband of the O. of the H._ (_in a whisper to his Wife_). Take
off the blessed 'at, and have done with it, do!

_The O. of the H._ What - _now_? I'd sooner _die_ in the 'at!

[_An Attendant is called._

_The Attendant._ Order, there, Gentlemen, please - unless you want to
get turned out! No standing allowed on the seats - you're disturbing
the performance 'ere, you know!

[_JIMMY is made to sit down, and weeps silently; the hubbub
gradually subsides - and The Owner of the Hat triumphs - for
the moment._

_Jimmy's Mother._ Never mind, my boy, you shall have Mother's seat in
a minute. I dessay, if all was known, the lady 'as reasons for keeping
her 'at on, pore thing!

_The Father._ Ah, I never thought o' that. So she may. Very likely her
'at won't _come_ off - not without her _'air!_

_The Mother._ Ah, well, we musn't be 'ard on her, if that's so.

_The O. of the H._ (_removing the obstruction_). I 'ope you're
satisfied _now_, I'm sure?

_The Father_ (_handsomely_). Better late nor never, Mum, and we take
it kind of you. Though, why you shouldn't ha' done it at fust, I
dunno; for you look a deal 'ansomer without the 'at than, what you did
in it - _don't_ she, MARIA?

_The O. of the H._ (_mollified_). SAM, ask the gentleman behind if his
boy would like a ginger-nut.

[_This olive-branch is accepted; compliments pass; cordiality
is restored, and the Pantomime proceeds without further
disturbance._

* * * * *

SOMETHING LIKE A SUBSCRIPTION!

(_A PAGE FROM THE BOOK OF PHILANTHROPY._)

The Committee waited impatiently the arrival of the Great and Good
Man. It was their duty to obtain a donation - an ample one - from the
Millionnaire whose charity was renowned far and wide, from one end of
the world to the other. At length he appeared before them.

[Illustration]

"What can I do for you?" he asked, with a smile that absolutely shone
with benevolence.

"You know, Sir, that the claims of the poor in the Winter are
numerous, and difficult to meet?"

"Certainly I do," returned the Man of Wealth, "and hope that you are
about to ask me for a subscription."

"Indeed we were," cried the spokesman of the Committee, his eyes
filling with grateful tears. "May I put you down for five pounds?"

"Five pounds!" echoed the Millionnaire, impatiently, "What is five
pounds? - _five thousand_ is much more like the figure! Now, I will
give you five thousand pounds on one condition."

"Name it!" cried the Deputation in a breath.

"The simplest thing in the world," continued the Millionnaire. "I
will give you five thousand pounds on the condition that you get
ninety-nine other fellows to do the same. Nay, you shall thank me when
all is collected. I can wait till then."

* * * * *

The above words were spoken more than thirty years ago. Since then
the Deputation have been waiting for the other fellows - and so has the
Millionnaire!

* * * * *

PROFESSOR V. PROFESSOR.

PROFESSOR VIRCHOW seems by no means Koch-sure about the _tuberculosis_
remedy. Indeed Professor KOCH finds that there is not only "much
virtue in an 'if,'" but much "if" in a VIRCHOW! He is inclined to sing
with SWINBURNE: -

"Come down, and redeem us from VIRCHOW."

* * * * *

THE FRIEND OF IRELAND AND THE WORDY KNIFE-GRINDER.

(_IMITATION SAPPHICS SOME WAY AFTER CANNING AND FRERE._)

[Illustration: _Wordy Knife-Grinder_. "STORY! GOD BLESS YOU! I HAVE
NONE TO TELL, SIR!"]

_Friend of Ireland_: -

"Wordy Knife-Grinder! Whither are you going?
Dark is your way - your wheel looks out of order -
Mitchelstown palls, and there seems no more spell in
O'BRIEN's breeches!

"Wordy Knife-Grinder, little think the proud ones,
Who in their speeches prate about their Union-
Ism, what hard work 'tis to keep a Party
Tightly together!

"Tell me, Knife-Grinder, what _your_ little game is.
Do you mean playing straight with me and others?
Or would you jocky Erin like a confounded
Saxon attorney?

"Give us a glimpse of that same Memorandum!
Pledge yourself clear to what needs no explaining!
Prove that your plan is not quite a sham, sly-whittled
Down into nullity!

"Ere I depart (if go I must, TIM HEALY)
Give me a pledge that I'm not sold for nothing.
Tell us in plain round words, without evasion, the
_True_ Hawarden story."

_Knife-Grinder_.

"Story! God bless yer! I have none to tell, Sir!
_Never_ tell stories, I; 'tis my sole business
This Wheel to turn with treadle and cry, 'Knives and
Scissors to grind O!'

"Constabulary? Question of Land Purchase?
Number of Irish Members due in justice?
Never said aught about 'em; don't intend to -
Not for the present.

"I shall be glad to do what honour urgeth;
Grind on alone, if you will give me _carte-blanche_,
Make room for JUSTIN, and forbear to meddle
With politics, Sir!"

_Friend of Ireland_.

"_I_ give thee _carte-blanche?_ I will see thee blowed first -
Fraud! whom no frank appeal can move to frankness -
Sophist, evasive, garrulous, word-web-spinning
Subtle Old Spider!!!"

[_Kicks the Knife-Grinder, overturns his Wheel, and exit in a fury of
patriotic enthusiasm and forcible language._

* * * * *

CAPITAL AND LABOUR FORECAST;

_OR, SIX OF ONE AND HALF-A-DOZEN OF THE OTHER._

Though in some quarters a better feeling was reported to have
prevailed, still, according to latest accounts, the outlook can
scarcely be regarded as satisfactory. A meeting of the Amalgamated
Engineering Tram-Drivers' Mutual Stand-Shoulder-to-Shoulder
Strangulation Society was held on Glasgow Green yesterday afternoon,
at which, amid a good deal of boisterous interruption, several
delegates addressed the assembled audience and recounted their recent
experiences up to date. There were still 1700 of the Company's old
hands out of work, and though, thanks to the profound enthusiasm,
"their just cause" had excited amidst the Trade Societies in the
South, by which, owing to subscriptions from no less important
bodies than the Bootmakers' Benevolent Grandmothers' Association, and
Superannuated Undertakers' Orphan Society, they had been able to stay
out and defy the Company, receiving all the while, every man of them,
a stipend of 3s. 9d. a-week, still they had almost come to the end
of their resources, and all that they had in hand towards next week's
fund for distribution, was £1 13s. 7-1/2d., received in coppers from
the Deputy-Chairman of the Metropolitan Boys' Boot-blacking Brigade,
accompanied with an intimation that that help must be regarded as
the last that can be counted on from that quarter. Under these
circumstances it became a question whether it was not almost time to
consider some terms of compromise.

In the above sense one of the speakers addressed the meeting, but
he was speedily followed by another, who insisted that, "come
what might," they would stick to their latest terms, which were, a
three-hours' day - (_loud cheers_) - and time-and-three-quarters for
any work expected after three o'clock in the afternoon. (_Prolonged
cheering_.)

A Delegate here rose, and said it was all very well their cheering,
but could they get it? (_A Voice, "We'll try!"_) For his part, the
speaker continued, he had had enough of trying. With wife and children
starving at home, he had only one course open to him, and that was,
to knock under to the Company and their ten-hours' day, if they would
have him. (_Groans, amid which the Speaker had his hat knocked over
his eyes, and was kicked out of the assembly_.)

The discussion was then continued, much in the same vein, and
eventually culminated in a free fight, in which the Chairman got his
head broken, on declaring that a Motion further limiting the working
day to two hours and a half, was lost by a narrow majority.

Yesterday afternoon the Directors' Mutual Anti-Labour Protection
Company met at their Central Offices for the despatch of their usual
business. The ordinary Report was read, which announced that though
the affairs of three great Railway Companies had "gone" literally "to
the dogs," still, the Directors of each had to be congratulated on
showing a firm front, in refusing to acknowledge even the existence
of their _employés_. The usual congratulatory Motions were put,
_pro formâ_, and passed, and, amid a general manifestation of gloomy
satisfaction, the meeting was further adjourned.

* * * * *

"A SALVAGE MAN."

Rudyard Kipling has hit on a picturesque plan;
He describes in strong language "the savage in Man."
Whilst amongst the conventions he raids and he ravages.
We'd like just a leetle more "Man" in his savages.

* * * * *

[Illustration: IN SELF-DEFENCE.

_Jones_ (_who has just told his best Story, and been rewarded with
a gentle smile_). "UPON MY WORD, WOMEN HAVEN'T GOT THE REAL SENSE OF
HUMOUR! WHY, WHEN I HEARD THAT STORY FOR THE FIRST TIME, ONLY LAST
WEEK, I SIMPLY ROARED!"

_Miss Smith_. "SO DID I - ONLY IT WAS LAST YEAR!"]

* * * * *

FROM OUR MUSICAL BOX.

We sent our Musical Box (Cox being unable to accompany him on the
piano or any other instrument, by reason of the severe weather) to
hear STAVENHAGEN at St. James's Hall, Thursday last, the 22nd. Our
Musical B. was nearly turned out of the hall, he was in such ecstasies
of delight over a Beethovenly _concerto_, which "bangs Banagher," he
said, subsequently translating the expression by explaining, "that
is, beats BEETHOVEN." Our M.B. wept over a _cadenza_ composed by the
performer, and was only restored by the appearance - her first - of
Madame STAVENHAGEN, who gave somebody's grand _scena_ far better,
probably, than that somebody could have given it himself, set as
it was to fine descriptive music by the clever STAVENHAGEN, which
delighted all hearers, especially those who were Liszt-eners.
"Altogether," writes our Musical Box, "a very big success. Music is
thirsty work. I am now about to do a symphony in B. and S."

* * * * *

VICE VERSÂ.

A poet in the _Forum_ asks the question,
"Is Verse in Danger?" 'Tis a wild suggestion!
Is Verse in Danger? Nay, _that_'s not the curse;
Danger (of utter boredom) is in Verse!

* * * * *

"ODD MAN OUT." - On Saturday last, the last among the theatrical
advertisements in the _Daily Telegraph_ was the mysterious one,
"MR. CHARLES SUGDEN AT LIBERTY," and then followed his address. "At
Liberty!" What does it mean? Has he been - it is a little difficult to
choose the right word, but let us say immured - has he been immured in
some cell? - for it does sound like a "sell" of another sort - and
has he at last effected a sensational escape? No doubt CHARLES, our
friend, will be able to offer the public a satisfactory explanation
when he re-appears on the Stage which suffers from his absence.

* * * * *

PLAYING OLD GOOSEBERRY AT THE HAYMARKET;

_OR, THE DOOK, THE DANCING GIRL, AND THE LITTLE LAME DUCK._

What is to be admired in ENERY HAUTHOR JONES is not so much his work
but his pluck, - for has he not, in the first place, overcome the
prudery of the Lord Chamberlain's Licensing Department, and, in the
second place, has he not introduced on the boards of the Haymarket a
good old-fashioned Melodrama, brought "up to date," and disguised in
a Comedy wrapper? Walk in, Ladies and Gentlemen, and see _The Dancing
Girl_, a Comedy-Drama shall we call it, or, generically, a Play?
wherein the prominent figures are a wicked Duke, - _vice_ the "wicked
Baronet," now shelved, as nothing under the ducal rank will suit us
nowadays, bless you! - a Provincial Puritan family, an honest bumpkin
lover, a devil of a dancing woman who lives a double-shuffling sort of
life, an angel of a lame girl, - who, of course, can't cut capers but
goes in for coronets, - a sly, unprincipled, and calculating kind
of angel she is too, but an audience that loves Melodrama is above
indulging in uncharitable analysis of motive, - a town swell in the
country, a more or less unscrupulous land-agent, and a genuine,
honest "heavy father," of the ancient type, with a good old-fashioned
melodramatic father's curse ready at the right moment, the last relic
of a bygone period of the transpontine Melodrama, which will bring
tears to the eyes of many an elderly playgoer on hearing the old
familiar formula, in the old familiar situation, reproduced on
the stage of the modern Haymarket as if through the medium of a
phonophone.

[Illustration: FINAL TABLEAU, ACT I.

"O does not a Meeting (House) like this make amends?"

_Ham Christison_ (_Clown_). "Ullo! Oh my! I'm a looking at yer!"]

At all events, _Drusilla Ives, alias_ "the Dancing Girl " - though as
to where she dances, how she dances, and when she dances, we are left
pretty well in the dark, as she only gives so slight a taste of her
quality that it seemed like a very amateurish imitation of Miss KATE
VAUGHAN in her best day, - _Drusilla Ives_ is the mistress, neither
pure nor simple, of the _Duke of Guisebury_, - a title which is
evidently artfully intended by the, at present, "Only JONES" to be a
compound of the French "Guise" and the English "Bury," - who from his
way of going on and playing old gooseberry with his property, might
have been thus styled with advantage: and so henceforth let us think
and speak of him as His Grace or His Disgrace the Duke of Gooseberry.

This Duke of Gooseberry visits, "quite unbeknown," - being, for this
occasion only, the Duke of Disguisebury, - his own property, the Island
of St. Endellion, just to see, we suppose, what sort of people the
Quaker family may be from which his mistress, the Dancing Quakeress
(and how funny she used to be at the Music Halls and at the Gaiety!),
has sprung. For some reason or other, the Dancing Quakeress has gone
to stay a few weeks with her family in the country, and while this
hypocritical Daughter of HERODIAS is with her Quaker belongings at
prayers in the Meeting House, the spirit moveth her to come out,
and to come out uncommonly strong, as, within a yard or so of the
building, she laughs and talks loudly with Gooseberry, and then in a
light-hearted way she treats the Dook to some amateur imitations of
ELLEN TERRY, finishing up with a reminiscence of KATE VAUGHAN; all
of which _al fresco_ entertainment is given for the benefit of the
aforesaid Gooseberry within sound of the sermon and within sight of
the Meeting House windows. Suddenly her rustic Quaker lover, a kind
of _Ham Peggotty_, lounges out of the Conventicle, which, as these
persons seem to leave and enter just when it suits them, ought rather
to be called a Chapel-of-Ease, - and, like the clown that he is, says
in effect, "I'm a-looking at yer! I've caught yer at it!" Dismay
of Dook and Dancer!! then Curtain on a most emphatically effective
situation.

[Illustration: Two "Regular Dawgs" having a _tête-à-tête._]

The Second Act is far away the best of the lot, damaged, however, by
vain repetitions of words and actions. To the house where Miss Dancing
Girl is openly living under the protection of Gooseberry, the Duke's
worthy Steward actually brings his virtuous and ingenuous young
daughter! If ever there were a pair of artful, contriving, scheming
humbugs, it is this worthy couple. Because the Duke saved her from
being run over by his own horses, therefore she considers herself
at liberty to limp after him, and round him, and about him, on every
possible occasion, to say sharp, priggish things to him, to make love
to him, and in the Third Act so craftily to manage as to spot him just
as he is about to drink off a phial of poison, which operation, being
preceded by a soliloquy of strong theatrical flavour and considerable
length, gives the lame girl a fair chance of hobbling down the stairs
and arresting the thus "spotted Nobleman's" arm at the critical
moment. Curtain, and a really fine dramatic situation. "Which nobody
can deny."

[Illustration: ACT III. Pantaloon David Peggotty Gladstone Ives.]

It is in this same Third Act that the fine old crusted melodramatic
curse is uncorked, and a good imperial quart of wrath is poured out on
his dancing daughter's head by the heavy father, who, in his country
suit, forces his way into the gilded halls of the Duke's mansion, past
the flunkeys, the head butler, and all the rest of the usual pampered
menials. An audience that can accept this old-fashioned cheap-novel
kind of clap-trap, and witness, without surprise, the marvellous
departure of all the guests, supperless, for no assigned cause, or
explicable reason, not even an alarm of fire having been given, will
swallow a considerable amount.

The Fourth Act is an anticlimax, and shows up the faulty construction
of the drama. Of course the news comes that the Dancing Girl is dead,
and this information is brought by a Sainte Nitouche of a "Sister" of
some Theatrical Order (not admitted after half-past seven), whose very
appearance is a _suggestio falsi_. Equally, of course, a letter is
found, which, as exculpating Gooseberry, induces the old cuss of a
Puritan father to shake hands with the converted "Spotted Nobleman";
but, be it remembered, the Dook is still his landlord, and the value
of the property is going up considerably. Then it appears that the old
humbug of an agent has sagaciously speculated in the improvement of
the island, and poor Gooseberry feels under such an obligation to that
sly puss of an agent's daughter, that, in a melancholy sort of way,
he offers her his hand, which she, the artful little hussy of a _Becky
Sharp_, with considerable affectation of coyness, accepts, and down
goes the Curtain upon as unsatisfactory and commonplace a termination
to a good Melodrama as any Philistine of the Philistines could
possibly wish. It would have been a human tragedy indeed had poor
Gooseberry poisoned himself, and the girl whose life he had saved had
arrived just too late, only to die of a broken heart. But that "is
quite another story."

The piece is well played all round, especially by the men. Mr. TREE
is excellent, except in the ultra-melodramatic parts, where he is too
noisy. The very best thing he does is the perfect finish of the Second
Act, when, without a word, he sits in the chair before the fire lost
in dismal thought. This is admirable: as perfect in its dramatic force
as it is true to nature. It is without exception the best thing in the
whole piece. Mr. F. KERR as _Reginald Slingsby_, achieves a success
unequalled since Mr. BANCROFT played the _parvenu_ swell _Hawtree_. It
should be borne in mind that Mr. KERR only recently played admirably
the poor stuttering shabby lover in _The Struggle for Life. Il ira
loin, ce bon_ M. KERR. Miss JULIA NEILSON looks the part to the life:
when she has ceased to give occasional imitations of Miss ELLEN TERRY,
and can really play the part as well as she looks it, then nothing
more could be possibly desired. All the others as good as need be, or
can be.

[Illustration: FINAL TABLEAU.

Triumph of the Artful Agent and his lame Duck of a Daughter, Sybil


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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 100, January 31, 1891 → online text (page 1 of 3)