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PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 101.



July 25, 1891.




OPERATIC NOTES.

[Illustration: _Amonasro_ (_the Black King_). "I am your father. I've
kept myself dark so long that I've become quite black!"

_Aïda_ (_the White Maiden_). "Oh! go away, black man; don't come anigh
me!! You ought to be _Otello_ to-morrow night."

_Little Ravelli-Radames_ (_aside_). "No matter what colour, I love
her!!"]

[Illustration: Covent Garden Stars seen through the Harriscope.]

_Tuesday, July 14_. - Madame NORDICA is not at her best as _Aïda_. It
lacks colour - that is on the face and hands, where at least should
be shown some more "colourable pretence" for being the daughter of so
blackened a character as is her father _Amonasro_, played as a villain
of the deepest dye by M. DEVOYOD. When the celebrated march was
heard, the players didn't seem particularly strong in trumps, and the
trumpets giving a somewhat "uncertain sound," - a trifle husky, as if
they'd caught cold, - somewhat marred the usually thrilling effect.
Gorgeous scene; and RAVELLI the Reliable as _Radames_ quite the
success of the evening. Mlle. GUERCIA as _Amneris_ seemed to have
made up after an old steel plate in a bygone Book of Beauty. Where
are those Books of Beauty now! And _The Keepsake_? Where the
pseudo-Byronic poetry and the short stories by Mrs. NAMBY and Mr.
PAMBY? But this is only a marginal note, not in the Operatic score.
Signor ABRAMOFF was a powerful _Ramphis_, his make-up suggesting
that his title would be more appropriately _Rumfiz_, - which would
be an excellent Egyptian name. Very good House, but still suffering
from reaction after Imperial visit, and not to recover itself till
to-morrow, _Wednesday_, when the House is crowded with a brilliant
audience to hear a brilliant performance of _Otello. The Grand Otello
Co. Covent Garden, Limited_. Thoroughly artistic performance of _Iago_
by M. MAUREL. His wicked "Credo" more diabolically malicious than
ever it was at the Lyceum; an uncanny but distinctly striking effect.
Then DRURIOLANUS ASTRONOMICUS gave us a scenic startler in the way
of imitation meteoric effect. 'Twas on this wise: of course, neither
DRURIOLANUS nor any other Manager can carry on an operatic season
without stars, and so they are here, a galaxy of 'em, up above, on
the "back cloth," as it is technically termed, shining brilliantly but
spasmodically, strange portents in the operatic sky. Pity Astronomer
Royal not here to see and note the fact. Next time _Otello_ is given,
if this atmospheric effect is to be repeated, the attendants in the
lobbies might be permitted to supply powerful telescopes at a small
fixed charge. But the greatest star of all is Madame ALBANI as
_Desdemona_; a triumph dramatically and operatically. Her song in the
last Act, the celebrated "_Willow Song_" - which of course no cricketer
ought to miss hearing - was most beautifully and touchingly rendered.
Those persons suffering from the heat of a crowded house, and dreading
the difficulty of finding their "keb or kerridge" in good time, and
who therefore quitted their seats before ALBANI sang the "_Willow
Song_," must, perforce, sing the old refrain, "_O Willow, we have
missed you!_" and go back for it whenever this Opera is played again.
M. JEAN DE RESZKÉ was not, perhaps, quite up to his usual form, or his
usual former self; but, for all that, he justified his responsibility
as one of the largest shareholders in the Grand Otello Company,
Limited. All things considered, and the last best thing being
invariably quite the best, _Otello, or Symphonies in Black and White_,
is about the biggest success of the season.


* * * * *

TO AMANDA.

[Illustration]

(_ACCOMPANYING A SET OF VERSES WHICH SHE BADE ME WRITE._)

Only a trifle, though, i' faith, 'tis smart,
A _jeu d'esprit_, not art concealing art,
Fruition of a moment's fantasy,
Mere mental bubbles, verbal filagree.

But, though thy lightest wish I would not thwart,
I prithee bid me play some other part
Another time, and I will give thee _carte
Blanche_ to dictate; in truth aught else will be
Only a trifle,
Compared with versifying. I will dart,
At thy behest, e'en to the public mart
To buy a bonnet, or will gleefully
Carry a babe through Bond Street. My sole plea
Is - no more verses. Surely 'tis, sweetheart,
Only a trifle.

* * * * *

SUPPLEMENTARY AND CORRECTIVE. - In his Jubilee Number Mr. PUNCH
remarked, "Merely to mention _all_ the bright pens and pencils which
have occasionally contributed to my pages would occupy much space."
And space then was limited. But among the "Great Unnamed" _should_
assuredly have been mentioned W.H. WILLS, one of the originators of
Mr. PUNCH's publication, CLEMENT SCOTT the flowing lyrist, and author
of "The Cry of the Children," &c., ASHBY STERRY of "Lazy Minstrel"
fame, and "ROBERT," the genial garrulous "City Waiter," whilst the
names of J.P. ("Dumb-Crambo") ATKINSON, and E.J. WHEELER, were omitted
by the purest accident. The late H.J. BYRON contributed a series
of papers. Mr. PUNCH hastens to put them - as he would gladly some
others - "on the list," since, of no one of them, could it be truly
said "he never would be missed." "HALBOT" was a misprint for "HABLÔT,"
"MAGUIN HANNAY" should read "MAGINN, HANNAY, &c.," and for "_GEORGE_
SILVER" read "HENRY."

* * * * *

THE METROPOLITAN MINOTAUR;

OR, THE LONDON LABYRINTH AND THE COUNTY COUNCIL THESEUS.

["Certainly, if some members of the London County Council have
their way, it will soon have plenty to occupy it without
being called upon to form a scheme of water-supply for the
Metropolis." - _The Times_.]

[Illustration]

_L.C.C. loquitur_: -

Bless me! Things combine so a hero to humble!
I fancied that Bull-headed Minotaur - BUMBLE,
Would fall to my hand like Pasiphae's monster
To Theseus. But oh! every step that I on stir
Bemuddles me more. I _did_ think myself clever,
But fear from the Centre I'm farther than ever,
Oh, this _is_ a Labyrinth! Worse than the Cretan!
Yet shall the new Theseus admit himself beaten?
Forbid it, great Progress! Your votary I, Ma'am,
But in this Big Maze it seems small use to try, Ma'am.
Mere roundaboutation's not Progress. Get forward?
Why eastward, and westward and southward, and nor'ward,
Big barriers stop me! Eh? Centralisation?
Demolish that monster, Maladministration,
Whose menaces fright the fair tower-crowned Maiden.
Most willingly, Madam; but look how I'm laden,
And hampered! Oh! I should be grateful to you, Ma'am,
If, like Ariadne, you'd give me a clue, Ma'am.
_I_'ll never - like treacherous Theseus - desert you;
My constancy's staunch, like my valour and virtue.
Through Fire, Water, Wilderness trackless I'll follow,
But astray in a Maze high ambition seems hollow!

* * * * *

WATERLOO TO WEYBRIDGE.

BY THE 6.5 P.M.

A young man - it's no matter who -
Hailed a cab and remarked "Waterloo!"
The driver, with bowed
Head, sobbed out aloud,
"Which station?" They frequently do.

A poet once said that to Esher
The only good rhyme was "magnesher;"
This was not the fact,
And he had to retract,
Which he did - he retracted with plesher.

A fancier cried: "There's one fault on
The part of the sparrows at Walton;
And that's why I fail
To put salt on their tail -
The birds have no tails to put salt on."

The dulness of riding to Weybridge
Pleasant chat (mind the accent) may _a_bridge,
But not when it deals
With detaching of wheels,
Collisions, explosions, and Tay Bridge.

* * * * *

THE STOLEN PICTURES. - The _Débats_ informed us, last week, that the
thief who stole TENIERS' pictures from the Museum at Rennes has been
discovered. His punishment should "fit the crime," as Mr. GILBERT's
_Mikado_ used to say, and therefore he ought to be sentenced to penal
servitude for _Ten years_.

* * * * *

[Illustration: THE PERSONAL EQUATION.

_Dick_ (_who hasn't sold a single Picture this year_). "AND AS FOR
THE BEASTLY BRITISH PUBLIC, NOTHING REALLY GOOD _EVER_ GOES DOWN WITH
IT - NOTHING BUT VULGAR ROT!"

_Tom_ (_who has sold every Picture he has painted_). "OH, BOSH AND
GAMMON, MY DEAR FELLOW. GOOD HONEST WORK IS _ALWAYS_ SURE OF ITS
MARKET - AND ITS _PRICE_!"

[_Next year their luck will be reversed, and also their opinions of
the B.P._]

* * * * *

LEAVES FROM A CANDIDATE'S DIARY.

_Wednesday, June 11th_. - Left Billsbury last Saturday, having in DICKY
DIKES's words "broken the back of the blooming canvas." During my
last night's round we went into a small house in one of the slums. The
husband was out, but the wife and family were all gathered together
in the back room. There were five children, ranging in age from ten
down to two, and the mother looked the very picture of slatternly
discomfort. We asked the usual questions, and I was just turning to
go, when I heard a violent fit of convulsive coughing from a dark
corner. The mother got up and went to the corner. I couldn't help
following, and saw the most miserable spectacle I ever set eyes on. In
a sort of cradle was lying the smallest, frailest and most absolutely
pinched and colourless baby choking with every cough, and gasping
horribly for breath. I don't know what I said, but the mother turned
to DIKES and said, "He haven't much longer to cough. I shall want the
undertakers for him soon." I asked her if nothing could be done, but
she merely replied, "It'll be better so. We've too many mouths to feed
without him." I couldn't stay longer after that, but fairly bolted out
of the house.

Our people are jubilant about our prospects. The canvas shows, they
say, a steady increase in our favour, the registrations have been
uniformly good, and, best of all, Sir THOMAS CHUBSON again voted and
spoke on the wrong side, when the Billsbury Main Drainage Bill came on
for Second Reading in the House the other day. Our point is of course
that, if this scheme were carried out, there would be a great deal of
work for Billsbury labourers, and, somehow or other, a large amount
of money would be spent in the town. We have rubbed this well in at
every meeting we have held lately, and found it a most effective
point during the canvas. CHUBSON and the Radicals talk about a great
increase of the rates which would follow on it; but we pooh-pooh this,
and point out that the ultimate saving would be enormous, and that the
health of the town must be benefited. They don't like the business at
all, and feel they've made a mistake.

Have been made on successive nights a Druid, a Forester, and a Loyal
and Ancient Shepherd. All these three are Benefit Societies, and the
mysteries of initiation into each are very similar. Colonel CHORKLE
(who ought to have gone through the business long ago) was made a
Druid with me. I never saw anybody so nervous. All the courage of
all the CHORKLES seemed to have deserted him, and he trembled like a
Volunteer aspen. I told Major WORBOYS on the following day that his
Colonel, who I was sure might be trusted to face a hostile battery
without flinching, had been very nervous when he was made a Druid.
WORBOYS sneered, and said that he'd be willing to take his chance of
CHORKLE's facing the battery or not, if CHORKLE would only learn to
ride decently. "Give you my word of honour," said WORBOYS, "when the
General inspected us last year, CHORKLE's horse ran away with him
three times, and at last we had to march past without him. One of the
tamest horses in the world, too. My boy JACK rides it constantly." But
WORBOYS despises CHORKLE, and thinks he ought to command the regiment
himself. He spread it all over Billsbury that CHORKLE was found hiding
under a table when he was summoned to be initiated, and was dragged
out screaming piteously for mercy.

On my last morning I was interviewed by a deputation from the
Billsbury Branch of The Women's Suffrage League. The deputation
consisted of Mrs. BOSER, the President of the Branch, Miss AMY
GINGELL, the Secretary, and two others. It was a trying business. Mrs.
BOSER is the most formidable person I ever met. I felt like a babe
in her hands after she had glowered at me for five minutes. Finally
I found myself, rather to my own astonishment, promising to vote for
a Women's Suffrage Bill, and adding that Mrs. BOSER's arguments had
convinced me that justice had in this matter been too long denied to
women, and that for my part, if elected, I should lose no opportunity
of recording my vote on the side of women. They seemed pleased,
but the _Meteor_ of the next day had a frightful leader about the
"shameful want of moral fibre in a Conservative Candidate who was thus
content to put the whole Constitution into the melting-pot, if by so
doing he could only secure a few stray votes, and get the help of the
women in his coal-and-blanket expeditions."

* * * * *

THE TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.

NO. I.

SCENE - _An Excursion Agents' Offices. Behind the counters
polite and patient Clerks are besieged by a crowd of Intending
Tourists, all asking questions at once._

_First Int. T._ Here - have you made out that estimate for me yet?

_Clerk_. In one moment, Sir. (_He refers to a list, turns over
innumerable books, jots down columns of francs, marks, and florins;
reduces them to English money, and adds them up._) First class fares
on the Rhine, Danube and Black Sea steamers, I think you said, second
class rail, and postwagen?

_First Int. T._ I did say so, I believe; but it had better be second
class all through, and I can always pay the difference if I want to.

[_The Clerk alters the sums accordingly, and adds up again._

_Clerk_. Fifty-five pounds fourteen and a penny, Sir. Shall I make you
put the tickets now?

_First Int. T._ Um, no. On second thoughts, I'd like to see one of
your short Circular Tours for the English Lakes, or Wales, before I
decide.

[_The Clerk hands him a quantity of leaflets, with which he
retires._

_Enter Mr. CLARENDON CULCHARD, age about twenty-eight; in
Somerset House; tall; clean-shaven, wears glasses, stoops
slightly, dresses carefully, though his tall hat is of the
last fashion but two. He looks about him expectantly, and then
sits down to wait._

_Culchard_ (_to himself_). No sign of him yet! I _do_ like a man to
keep an appointment. If this is the way he _begins_ - I have my doubts
whether he is _quite_ the sort of fellow to - but I took the precaution
to ask HUGH ROSE about him, and ROSE said he was the best company in
the world, and I couldn't help getting on with him. I don't think
ROSE would deceive me. And from all I've seen of PODBURY, he seems
a pleasant fellow enough. What a Babel! All these people bent on
pleasure, going to seek it in as many directions - with what success no
one can predict. There's an idea for a sonnet there.

[_He brings out a pocket-book, and begins to write - "As when
a - "_

_An Amurrcan Citizen_ (_to_ Clerk). See here, I've been around with
your tickets in Yurrup, and when I was at Vernis, I bought some goods
at a store there, and paid cash down for 'em, and they promised to
send 'em on for me right here, and that was last fall, and I've never
heard any more of 'em, and what I want _you_ should do now is to
instruct your representative at Vernis to go round and hev a talk with
that man, and ask him what in thunder he means by it, and kinder hint
that he'll hev the Amurrcan Consul in his hair pretty smart, if he
don't look slippier!

[_The Clerk mildly suggests that it would be better to
communicate directly with the American Consulate, or with
the tradesman himself._

_The A.C._ But hold on - how'm I goin' to write to that sharp,
when I've lost his address, and disremember his name? Can't you
mail a few particulars to your agent, so he'll identify him? No.
(_Disappointed._) Well, I thought you'd ha' fixed up a little thing
like that, anyhow; in my country they'd ha' done it right away. Yes,
_Sir_! [_He goes away in grieved surprise._

_Enter Mr. JAMES PODBURY, age twenty-six; in a City Office;
short, fresh-coloured, jaunty; close-cut fair hair, and small auburn
moustache. Not having been to the City to-day, he is wearing light
tweeds, and brown boots._

_Podbury_ (_to himself_). Just nicked it! - (_looks at clock_) - more or
less. And he doesn't seem to have turned up yet. Wonder how we shall
hit it off together. HUGHIE ROSE said he was a capital good chap - when
you once got over his manner. Anyhow, it's a great tip to go abroad
with a fellow who knows the ropes. (_Suddenly sees CULCHARD absorbed
in his note-book._) So _here_ you are, eh?

_Culchard_ (_slightly scandalised by the tweeds and the brown boots_).
Yes, I've been here some little time. I wish you could have managed to
come before, because they close early here to-day, and I wanted to go
thoroughly over the tour I sketched out before getting the tickets.
[_He produces an elaborate outline._

_Podbury_ (_easily_). Oh, _that's_ all right! I don't care where _I_
go! All I want is, to see as much as we can in the time - leave all the
rest to you. I'll sit here while you get the tickets.

_An Old Lady_ (_to Clerk, as CULCHARD_) _is waiting at the counter_).
Oh, I _beg_ your pardon, but _could_ you inform me if the 1'55 train
from Calais to Basle stops long enough for refreshments anywhere, and
when they examine the luggage, and if I can leave my handbag in the
carriage, and whether there is an English service at Yodeldorf, and
is it held in the hotel, and Evangelical, or High Church, and are the
sittings free, and what Hymn-book they use?

[_The Clerk sets her mind free on as many of these points as
he can, and then attends to CULCHARD._

_Culchard_ (_returning to PODBURY with two cases bulging with books
of coloured coupons_). Here are yours. I should like you to run your
eye over them, and see that they are correct, if you don't mind.

_Podbury_ (_stuffing them in his pocket_). Can't be bothered now. Take
your word for it.

[Illustration: Yes, Sir!]

_Culchard_. No - but considering that we start the first thing
to-morrow morning, wouldn't it be as well to have some idea of where
you're going? And, by the way, excuse me, but is it altogether prudent
to keep your tickets in an outside pocket like that? I always keep
mine, with my money, in a special case in an inner pocket, with a
buttoned nap - then I know I _can't_ lose them.

_Podbury_. Anything for a quiet life! (_He examines his coupons._)
Dover to Ostend? Never been there - like to see what Ostend's like. But
why didn't you go by Calais? - _shorter_ you know.

_Culchard_. Because I thought we'd see Bruges and Ghent on our way to
Brussels.

_Podbury_. Bruges, eh? Capital! Anything particular going on there?
No? It don't matter. And Ghent - let's see, wasn't that where they
brought the good news to? Yes, we'll stop at Ghent - if we've time.
Then - Brussels? Good deal of work to be done there, I suppose,
sightseeing, and that? I like a place where you can moon about without
being bothered myself; now, at _Brussels_ - never mind, I was only
thinking.

_Culch._ It's the best place to get to Cologne and up the Rhine from.
Then, you see, we go rather out of our way to Nuremberg -

_Podbury_. Where they make toys? _I_ know - pretty festive there, eh?

_Culch._ I don't know about festive - but it is - er - a quaint,
and highly interesting old place. Then I thought we'd dip down to
Constance, and strike across the Alps to the Italian Lakes.

_Podbury_. Italian Lakes? First - rate! Yes, _they_'re worth seeing, I
suppose. Think they're better than the _Swiss_ ones, though?

_Culch._ (_tolerantly_). I can get the coupons changed for
Switzerland, if you prefer it. The Swiss Lakes may be the more
picturesque.

_Podbury_. Yes, we'll do Switzerland - and run back by Paris, eh? Not
much to do in Switzerland, though, after all!

_Culch._ (_with a faintly superior smile_). There are one or two
mountains, I believe. But, personally, I should prefer Italy.

_Podbury_. So should I. No fun in mountains - unless you go up 'em.
What do you think of choosing some quiet place, where nobody ever
goes - say in France or Germany - and, sticking to _that_. More of a
rest, wouldn't it be? such a bore having to know a lot; of people!

_Culch._ I don't see how we can change _all_ the tickets, really. If
you like, we could stop a week at St. Goarshausen.

_Podbury_. What's St. Goarshausen like - cheery?

_Culch._ I understood the idea was to keep away from our fellow
countrymen, and as far as I can remember St. Goarshausen, it is not
overrun with tourists - we should be quiet enough _there_.

_Podbury_. That's the place for _me_, then. Or could we push on to
Vienna? Never seen Vienna.

_Culch._ If you like to give up Italy altogether.

_Podbury_. What do you say to _beginning_ with Italy and working back?
Too hot, eh? Well, then, we'll let things be as they are - I daresay it
will do well enough. So _that's_ settled!

_Culchard_ (_to himself on parting, after final arrangements
concluded_). I wish ROSE had warned me that PODBURY's habit of mind
was so painfully desultory. (_He sighs._) However -

_Podbury_ (_to himself_). Wonder now long I shall take to get over
CULCHARD's manner. (_He sighs._) I wish old HUGHIE was coming - he'd
give me a leg over!

[_He walks on thoughtfully._

* * * * *

OFF TO MASHERLAND.

(_BY OUR OWN GRANDOLPH._)

[Illustration: "Put out the light, and then - " Being the true story of
The Wonderful Lamp.]

I pause in my communications. Friends, real friends, have wired
over accounts of me on the trip, which have not been written by
"friendlies." Somebody wrote to _Black and White_ what purported to
be Notes about me aboard the gallant _Grantully Castle_, than which
a better-found vessel - "found" is the word - never put to sea. This
somebody ("bless him!" - DR-MM-ND W-LFF will know what I mean) observes
that "he didn't notice" any particular gratitude on my part towards
Captain HAY and his talented assistants. Hay! what? why, confound
them, I was all gratitude! Is it because I did not run at him, embrace
him, and shake his arms off, that therefore I did not _feel_ grateful!
I was awfully grateful. I felt inclined to alter the name of the
vessel to the _Gratefully_ _Castle_. But "she" (you always call a
vessel "she" - isn't that nautical?) "is" as the song says "another's,
and never can be mine!" so I can't change her name. I was overpowered
by my feelings - and what does that mean but the swallowing, with a
gurgle in the throat, of the silent tear, and the avoidance of the
topic uppermost in one's mind at the moment.

"The soldier leant upon his sword, and wiped away a tear" - but the
sailor didn't, _Verb. sap._ What did I do? Why, in my note of notes,
my Private Diary, I made this mem., "_Make Hay while the sun shines._"
Now what, I ask any unprejudiced person, what does this mean? If
Captain HAY were suddenly to be promoted in the hay-day of his
valuable career to be an Admiral, would he suspect that he owed this
elevation to the man who, strictly obeying the ship's orders, _never
even spoke to the man at the wheel_? Now to come to the next point.
This correspondent girds at my having had a special cabin and a
special steward. _Why!_ the envious grumbler! if he had been as
specially unwell as I was - but there, I own I lose patience with
him - didn't I go out as a "Special," and if a Special doesn't have
everything special about him, _he is simply obtaining money under
false pretences_. I've a great mind - I hear the jeerer snigger in his
sleeve - but I repeat emphatically I have a great mind to come back.
"He will return, I know him well," my traducers may sing; and I
shall return when I consider my special work specially done in my own
special manner, and be blowed to em all, the detractors!

[Illustration: Grandolph confiding to the _Chef_ his secret receipt
for cooking a flying-fish.]

He grumbles because I had _a special portable light_ all to myself,
"when I wanted to play cards." Aha! do we see the cloven hoof now?
Was I to play cards _in the dark_? Those who know me best know that I


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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 101, July 25, 1891 → online text (page 1 of 3)