Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 99, December 20, 1890 online

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VOL. 99.

December 20, 1890.



SCENE - _A Riding-school, on a raw chilly afternoon. The gas is
lighted, but does not lend much cheerfulness to the interior,
which is bare and bleak, and pervaded by a bluish haze.
Members of the Class discovered standing about on the tan,
waiting for their horses to be brought in. At the further end
is an alcove, with a small balcony, in which Mrs. BILBOW-KAY,
the Mother of one of the Equestrians, is seated with a young
female Friend._

_Mrs. Bilbow-Kay._ Oh, ROBERT used to ride very nicely indeed when
he was a boy; but he has been out of practice lately, and so, as the
Doctor ordered him horse-exercise, I thought it would be wiser for
him to take a few lessons. Such an excellent change for any one with
sedentary pursuits!


_The Friend._ But isn't riding a sedentary pursuit, too?

_Mrs. B.-K._ ROBERT says _he_ doesn't find it so.

[_Enter the Riding Master._

_Riding Master_ (_saluting with cane_). Evenin', Gentlemen - your
'orses will be in directly; 'ope we shall see some _ridin'_ this time.
(_Clatter without; enter Stablemen with horses._) Let me see - Mr.
BILBOW-KAY, Sir, you'd better ride the _Shar_; he ain't been out all
day, so he'll want some 'andling. (_Mr. B.-K., with a sickly smile,
accepts a tall and lively horse._) No, Mr. TONGS, that ain't _your_
'orse to-day - you've got beyond _'im_, Sir. We'll put you up on _Lady
Loo_; she's a bit rough till you get on terms with her, but you'll
be all right on her after a bit. Yes, Mr. JOGGLES, Sir, you take
_Kangaroo_, please. Mr. BUMPAS, I've 'ad the _Artful Dodger_ out for
you; and mind he don't get rid of you so easy as he did Mr. GRIPPER
last time. Got a nice 'orse for _you_, Mr. 'ARRY SNIGGERS, Sir - _Frar
Diavolo_. You mustn't take no notice of his bucking a bit at
starting - he'll soon leave it off.

_Mr. Sniggers_ (_who conceals his qualms under a forced
facetiousness_). Soon leave _me_ off, you mean!

_R.M._ (_after distributing the remaining horses_). Now then - bring
your 'orses up into line, and stand by, ready to mount at the word of
command, reins taken up in the left 'and with the second and little
fingers, and a lock of the 'orse's mane twisted round the first.
Mount! That 'orse ain't a _bicycle_, Mr. SNIGGERS. [_Mr. S._ (_in an
undertone._) No - worse luck!] Number off! Walk! I shall give the word
to trot directly, so now's the time to improve your seats - that back
a bit straighter, Mr. 'OOPER. No. 4, just fall out, and we'll let them
stirrup-leathers down another 'ole or two for yer. (_No. 4, who has
just been congratulating himself that his stirrups were conveniently
high, has to see them let down to a distance where he can just touch
them by stretching._) Now you're all comfortable. ["Oh, _are_ we?"
_from Mr. S._] Trot! Mr. TONGS, Sir, 'old that 'orse in - he's gettin'
away with you already. Very bad, Mr. JOGGLES, Sir - keep those 'eels
down! Lost your stirrup, Mr. JELLY? Never mind that - _feel_ for it,
Sir. I want you to be independent of the irons. I'm going to make
you ride without 'em presently. (_Mr. JELLY shivers in his saddle._)
Captin' CROPPER, Sir; if that Volunteer ridgment as you're goin' to be
the Major of sees you like you are now, on a field-day - they'll 'ave
to fall out to _larf_, Sir! (_Mr. CROPPER devoutly wishes he had been
less ingenuous as to his motive for practising his riding._) Now, Mr.
SNIGGERS, make that 'orse learn 'oo's the master! [Mr. S. "He _knows_,
the brute!"]

_Mrs. B.-K._ He's very rude to all the Class, except dear ROBERT - but
then ROBERT has such a nice easy seat.

_The R.M._ Mr. BILBOW-KAY, Sir, try and set a bit closer. Why, you
ain't no more 'old on that saddle than a stamp with the gum licked
off! Can-ter! _You_'re all right, Mr. JOGGLES - it's on'y his play; set
down on your saddle, Sir!... I didn't say on the ground!

_Mrs. B.-K._ (_anxiously to her Son, as he passes_). BOB, are you
quite sure you're safe? (_To Friend._) His horse is snorting so

_R.M._ 'Alt! Every Gentleman take his feet out of the stirrups,
and cross them on the saddle in front of him. Not your _feet_, Mr.
SNIGGERS, we ain't Turks 'ere!

_Mr. S._ (_sotto voce_). "There's _one_ bloomin' Turk 'ere, anyway!"

_R.M._ Now then, - Walk!... Trot! Set back, Gentlemen, set back
all - 'old on by your knees, not the pommels. _I_ see you, Mr. JELLY,
kitchin' 'old o' the mane - I shall 'ave to give you a 'ogged 'orse
next time you come. Quicken up a bit - this is a ride, not a funeral.
Why, I could _roll_ faster than you're trotting! Lor, you're like a
row o' Guy Foxes on 'orseback, you are! Ah, I thought I'd see one
o' you orf! Goa-ron, all o' you, you don't come 'ere to _play_ at
ridin' - I'll make you ride afore I've done with you! 'Ullo, Mr.
JOGGLES, nearly gone that time, Sir! There, that'll do - or we'll 'ave
all your saddles to let unfurnished. Wa-alk! Mr. BILBOW-KAY, when your
'orse changes his pace sudden, it don't look well for you to be found
settin' 'arf way up his neck, and it gives him a bad opinion of yer,
Sir. Uncross sterrups! Trot on! It ain't no mortal use your clucking
to that mare, Mr. TONGS, Sir, because she don't understand the
langwidge - touch her with your 'eel in the ribs. Mr. SNIGGERS, that
'orse is doin' jest what he likes with you. 'It 'im, Sir; he's no
friends and few relations!

_Mr. S._ (_with spirit_). _I_ ain't going to 'it 'im. If you want him
'it, get up and do it yourself!

_R.M._ When I say "Circle Right" - odd numbers'll wheel round and fall
in be'ind even ones. Circle _Right_!... Well, if ever I - I didn't
tell yer to fall _off_ be'ind. Ketch your 'orses and stick to 'em next
time. Right In-_cline_! O' course, Mr. JOGGLES, if you prefer takin'
that animal for a little ride all by himself, we'll let you out in
the streets - otherwise p'raps you'll kindly follow yer leader. Captin
CROPPER, Sir, if you let that curb out a bit more, _Reindeer_ wouldn't
be 'arf so narsty with yer ... Ah, now you _'ave_ done it. You want
_your_ reins painted different colours and labelled, Sir, you do.
'Alt, the rest of you.... Now, seein' you're shook down in your
saddles a bit - ["_Shook_ up's _more like it!" from Mr. S._] - we'll
'ave the 'urdles in and show you a bit o' Donnybrook! (_The Class
endeavours to assume an air of delighted anticipation at this pleasing
prospect._) (_To Assistant R.M., who has entered and said something
in an undertone._) Eh, Captin 'EDSTALL here, and wants to try the grey
cob over 'urdles? Ask him if he'll come in now - we're just going to do
some jumping.

_Assist. R.M._ This lot don't look much like going over 'urdles - 'cept
in front o' the 'orse, but I'll tell the Captin.

[_The hurdles are brought in and propped up. Enter a
well-turned-out Stranger, on a grey cob._

_Mr. Sniggers_ (_to him._) You ain't lost nothing by coming late, I
can tell yer. We've bin having a gay old time in 'ere - made us ride
without sterrups, he did!

_Capt. Headstall._ Haw, really? Didn't pet grassed, did you?

_Mr. S._ Well, me and my 'orse separated by mutual consent. I ain't
what you call a fancy 'orseman. We've got to go at that 'urdle in a
minute. How do _you_ like the ideer, eh? It's no good funking it - it's
got to be _done_!

_R.M._ Now, Captin - not _you_, Captin CROPPER - Captin 'EDSTALL, _I_
mean, will you show them the way over, please?

[_Captain H. rides at it; the cob jumps too short, and knocks
the hurdle down - to his rider's intense disgust._

_Mr. S._ I say, Guv'nor, that was a near thing. I wonder you weren't

_Capt. H._ I - ah - don't often come off.

_Mr. S._ You won't say that when you've been 'ere a few times. You
see, they've put you on a quiet animal this journey. _I_ shall try to
get him myself next time. He be'aves like a gentleman, _he_ does!

_Capt. H._ You won't mount him, if you take my advice - he has rather a
delicate mouth.

_Mr. S._ Oh, I don't mind that - I should ride him on the curb, o'
course. [_The Class ride at the hurdle, one by one._

_R.M._ Now, Mr. SNIGGERS, give 'im more of 'is 'ed than that, Sir - or
he'll take it.... Oh, Lor, well, it's soft falling luckily! Mr.
JOGGLES, Sir, keep him back till you're in a line with it.... Better,
Sir; you come down true on your saddle afterwards, anyway!... Mr.
PARABOLE!... Ah, _would_ you? _Told_ you he was tricky, Sir! Try him
at it again.... Now - over!... Yes, and it _is_ over, and no mistake!

_Mrs. B.-K._ Now it's ROBERT's turn. I'm afraid he's been overtiring
himself, he looks so pale. BOB, you won't let him jump too high,
_will_ you? - Oh, I daren't look. Tell me, my love, - is he _safe_?

_Her Friend._ Perfectly - they're just brushing him down.


_Mrs. B.-K._ (_to her Son_). Oh, BOB, you must never think of jumping
again - it _is_ such a dangerous amusement!

_Robert_ (_who has been cursing the hour in which he informed his
parent of the exact whereabouts of the school._) It's all right with a
horse that knows _how_ to jump. Mine didn't.

_The Friend._ I _thought_ you seemed to jump a good deal higher than
the horse did. They ought to be trained to keep close under you,
oughtn't they? [ROBERT _wonders if she is as guileless as she looks._

_Capt. Cropper_ (_to the R.M._). Oh, takes about eight months, with
a lesson every day, to make a man efficient in the Cavalry, does it?
But, look here - I suppose four more lessons will put _me_ all right,
eh? I've had _eight_, y'know.

_R.M._ Well, Sir, if you _arsk_ me, I dunno as another arf dozen'll do
you any 'arm - but, o'course, that's just as _you_ feel about it.

[_Captain CROPPER endeavours to extract encouragement from
this Delphic response._

* * * * *


(_After a well-known Picture._)]

* * * * *



["Last year I fed the tomtits with a cocoanut, suspended on a
stick outside my window, and they came greedily. This year I
forgot all about it, but, hearing a clamour in a fuchsia-bush
outside my study window ... I found myself besieged by an
army of tomtits ... Was it memory, or association of ideas, or
both?" - _Rev. F.G. Montague Powell, in the "Spectator."_]

On a bush in a garden a little Tomtit
Sang "Willow, Tit-willow, Tit-willow!"
And I said to him, "Dicky-bird, why do you sit
Singing 'Willow, Tit-willow, Tit-willow'?"
"I've had nothing to eat for three days," he replied,
"Though in searching for berries I've gone far and wide,
And I feel a pain here in my little inside,
O Willow, Tit-willow, Tit-willow!"

Now his poor little cheeks had grown haggard and thin,
O Willow, Tit-willow, Tit-willow!
And his self was a shadow of what it had been,
O Willow, Tit-willow, Tit-willow!
"By the kind Mr. Powell last year was I fed
With a cocoanut stuck on a stick," so he said,
"And without this again I shall shortly be dead,
O Willow, Tit-willow, Tit-willow!"

So he gathered an army who twittered all day
"O Willow, Tit-willow, Tit-willow!"
But a cocoanut soon made them all cease to say
"O Willow, Tit-willow, Tit-willow!"
And the truth of my story you must not assail,
For the dear old _Spectator_ has published the tale.
Though those who will read it can scarcely well fail
To say "Willow, Tit-willow, Tit-willow!"

* * * * *

"The Passing of Arthur." - After _Ivanhoe_, Sir Arthur Sullivan's new
Opera, has appeared at Mr. D'OYLY CARTE's new theatre, the Knightly
and Daily Composer will rest his musical brain for a year, and will
place his Savoy throne at the disposal of Prince Edward Solomon,
direct descendant of the wisest monarch ever known save for one
amiable weakness. The successor to King Arthur has plenty of "Savoy
Faire," and a good choice has been made. The Carte will now be drawn
along merrily enough, and, no doubt, it will be a brilliant time when
Sol, in all his glory, comes out and shines at the Savoy.

* * * * *

NEW IRISH POLITICAL PARTY NAME. - For the followers of Mr. PARNELL, the
best name in future would be "The _Faux-Par_-nellites."

* * * * *


_Emily_ (_who has called to take Lizzie to the great Murder Trial_).
"What deep Black, dearest!"

_Lizzie_. "Yes. I thought it would be only decent, as the poor Wretch
is sure to be found Guilty."

_Emily_. "Ah! Where I was Dining last night, it was even betting which
way the Verdict would go, so I only put on _Half_ Mourning!"]

* * * * *


["I repeat that a great military Power, having at her
disposal an army of two millions of well-disciplined and
drilled soldiers, whom no European country dares to attack
single-handed, can face calmly, and even good-humouredly,
both the wild attacks of unscrupulous publicists, and
mistaken protests of philanthropic meetings, though these
be as imposing and brilliant as the Lord Mayor's Show
itself." - _Madame Novikoff's Letter to the "Times," on
"The Jews in Russia."_]

The quality of mercy is o'erstrained,
It droppeth twaddle-like from Lord Mayor's lips
Upon a Russian ear: strength is twice scornful,
Scornful of him it smites, and him who prates
Of mercy for the smitten: force becomes
The thronéd monarch better than chopped logic;
His argument's - two millions of armed men,
Which strike with awe and with timidity
Prating philanthropy that pecks at kings.
But Mercy is beneath the Sceptre's care,
It is a bugbear to the hearts of Czars.
Force is _the_ attribute of the "God of Battles";
And earthly power does then show likest heaven's
When Justice mocks at Mercy. Therefore, Jew,
Though mercy be thy prayer, consider this,
That in the course of mercy few of us,
Muscovite Czars, or she-diplomatists.
Should hold our places as imperious Slavs
Against humanitarian Englishmen,
And Jews gregarious. _These_ do pray for Mercy,
Whose ancient Books instruct us all to render
Eye for eye justice! Most impertinent!
Romanist Marquis, Presbyterian Duke,
And Anglican Archbishop, mustered up
With Tabernacular Tubthumper, gowned Taffy,
And broad-burred Boanerges from the North,
Mingled with Pantheist bards, Agnostic Peers,
And lawyers latitudinarian, -
Lord Mayor's Show of _Paul Pry_ pageantry,
All to play Mentor to the Muscovite!
Master of many millions! Oh, most monstrous!
Are we Turk dogs that they should do this thing?
In name of Mercy!!!

I have writ so much,
As ADLER says, with "dainty keen-edged dagger,"
To mitigate humanity's indignation.
With airy epigram, and show old friends,
That OLGA NOVIKOFF is still O.K.
A Portia - _à la Russe_! Have I not proved it?

* * * * *


[The ladies, who are learning Whist in New York, do not, says
the _Daily News_, worry much about the rules, but rather use
the old-fashioned game as an opportunity for exhibiting their
diamond rings, &c.]

I played the other day at Whist,
My partner was a comely maiden,
Her eyes so blue, her pretty wrist
With bracelets and with bangles laden,
She wore about ten thousand pounds,
Each finger had its priceless jewel,
She was, in fact, ablaze - but zounds!
Her play, indeed, was "something cruel."

I called for trumps, and called in vain,
At intervals I dared to mention
How much her conduct caused me pain,
Yet paid she not the least attention.
I very nearly tore my hair,
I begged of her to play discreetly,
But no - the tricks I planned with care
Without exception failed completely.

Jewels, I have no doubt, are grand,
But even they are sometimes cloying.
I found at length her splendid hand
(Of shapely fingers) most annoying.
When next I'm playing, I confess
I'd like a girl (and may I get her!)
Who shows her hands a little less,
And plays her cards a little better.

* * * * *



Oh, London is a pleasant place to live the whole year through,
I love it 'neath November's pall, or Summer's rarest blue,
When leafy planes to city courts still tell the tale of June,
Or when the homely fog brings out the lamplighter at noon.

I thought to go away this year, and yet in town I am.
I have not been to Hampstead Heath, much less to Amsterdam;
And now December's here again I do not feel the loss,
Though all the summer I've not been four miles from Charing Cross.

'Twas pleasant in the office when we'd gather in a bunch,
A social, dreamy sort of day, with lots of time for lunch.
How commerce flagged September through, at 90, Pinching Lane,
Till bronzed and bluff the chief returned, and trade revived again.

Why talk of Andalusia's bulls, of Rocky-Mountain bears,
Of Tyrolean alpenstocks - though not of Alpen shares;
Of seaside haunts where fashion drives with coronetted panels,
Or briny nooks, when all you need is pipes, and books, and flannels.

Of orange-groves, and cloister'd courts, of fountains, and of pines,
Black shadows at whose edge the sun intolerably shines,
Of tumbled mountain heights, like waves on some Titanic sea,
Caught by an age of ice at once, and fix'd eternally.

Of quiet river-villages, which woods and waters frame,
Lull'd in the lap of loveliness to the music of their name;
Of fallow-fields, of sheltered farms, of moorland and of mere:
Let others roam - I stay at home, and find their beauties here.

Not when the sun on London town incongruously smiles,
On the news-boys, and the traffic, and the advertisers' wiles;
But when the solar orb has ceased to mark the flight of time,
And three yards off is nothingness - indefinite, sublime, -

Then in the City's teeming streets each soul can get its share,
Its concentrated essence of the high romance of air,
Whose cloudy symbols KEATS beheld, and yearn'd to jot them down,
But anybody nowadays can swallow them in town.

There are, who, fain to dry the tear, and soothe the choking throat,
Would burn those tokens of the hearth that fondly o'er us float;
They cannot trace amid the gloom each dainty spire and whorl,
But smoke, to the true poet's eye, is never out of curl.

The sardine in his oily den, his little house of tin,
Headless and heedless there he lies, no move of tail or fin,
Yet full as beauteous, I ween, that press'd and prison'd fish,
As when in sunny seas he swam unbroken to the dish.

A unit in the vasty world of waters far away,
We could nor taste his toothsome form, nor watch his merry play,
But, prison'd thus, to fancy's eye, he brings his native seas,
The olive-groves of Southern France - perchance the Pyrenees.

The brown sails of the fishing-boats, the lithe sea-season'd crew,
The spray that shakes the sunlight off beneath the breezy blue,
The netted horde that shames the light with their refulgent sheen -
Such charm the gods who dwell on high have given the chill sardine.

So when we find long leagues of smoke compacted in the air,
'Tis not the philosophic part to murmur or to swear,
But patiently unravelling, the threads will soon appear,
In cottage hearths, and burning weeds, and misty woodland sere.

The day is fading, all the West with sunset's glow is bright,
And island clouds of crimson float in depths of emerald light,
Like circles on a rippled lake the tints spread up the sky,
Till, mingling with the purple shade, they touch night's shore, and die.

Down where the beech-trees, nearly bare, spread o'er the red-leaf'd hill,
Where yet late-lingerers patter down, altho' the wind is still,
The cottage smoke climbs thinly up, and shades the black-boled trees,
And hangs upon the misty air as blue as summer seas.

'Tis this, in other guise, that wraps the town in sombre pall,
While like two endless funerals the lines of traffic crawl,
And from the abysmal vagueness where flows the turbid stream
Like madden'd nightmares neighing, the steamers hoarsely scream.

The Arab yearns for deserts free, the mariner for grog,
The hielan' laddie treads the heath, the croppy trots the bog;
The Switzer boasts his avalanche, the Eskimo his dog,
But only London in the world, can show a London fog.

* * * * *


My Dear Mr. Punch, - Fresh from the country (which has been my
perpetual residence for the last twenty years), I came to London,
a few days ago, to visit an establishment which seemed to me to
represent that delight of my childhood, the Polytechnic Institution,
in the time of Professor PEPPER's Ghost, and glass-blowing by
machinery. I need scarcely say that the Royal Aquarium was the
attraction, where a shilling entrance fee I imagined would procure for
me almost endless enjoyment.

I had seen the appetising programme - how the doors were opened at 10
A.M., to close a good thirteen hours later - after a round of novelties
full of interest to a provincial sight-seer, to say nothing of a
Londoner. I entered and found the Variety Entertainment was "on." I
was about to walk into an enclosure, and seat myself in a first-rate
position for witnessing the gambols of some talented wolves, when I
was informed that I could not do this without extra payment. Unwilling
to "bang" an extra sixpence (two had already been expended) I tried
to find a gratuitous coign of vantage, but (I am sorry to add)
unsuccessfully. But I was not to be disheartened. Could I not see
"KENNEDY, King Laughter-Maker of the World," or "a Grand Billiard
Match," or (more interesting still) "the Performing Fleas"? Yes,
indeed I could, but only by expending a shilling on the Mesmerist, a
like sum for the Billiard Match. and sixpence on the carefully-trained
hoppers. Seeing that "the Wonderful and Beautiful Mystic MURIEL" was
in the building, I attempted to interview her, but was stopped at the
door by a demand for the fifth of half-a-crown. A like sum stood as a
barrier between me and an entertainment that I was told was "described
by Mr. RIDER HAGGARD in his well-known romance, called _She_."
Passing by a small bower-like canvas erection, I was attracted by the
declaration of its custodian that it was "the most wonderful sight
in the world," a statement he made, he said, "without fear of
contradiction." But "Eve's Garden" (as the small bower-like canvas
erection was called) was inaccessible to those who did not expend the
grudgingly-produced but necessary sixpence. Foiled in this direction,
I fain would have visited the celebrated Beckwith Family performances,
but was prevented by finding that a shilling was the only passport to
admission, unless I happened to be a child, when the modified charge
of sixpence would be deemed sufficient. There was, however, one
entertainment almost free (only a penny was charged), an automatic
sight-tester, which pleased me greatly. By putting a copper in the
slot, pressing a pedal, and turning a handle, I learned that anyone
could discover, literally at a glance, the condition of his eyes.
Had I not made up my mind to disburse nothing further than the bare
shilling I had already expended, I should certainly have ascertained
if the time had arrived for my regretful assumption of a pinch-nose or
a pair of spectacles.

I was now losing heart, when, to my great joy, I came upon "the White
Kangaroo, the Laughing Jackasses, &c.," all of which were to be seen
"free gratis and for nothing." It is right, however, that I should add
that I found some difficulty in distinguishing "the White Kangaroo"
from "the Laughing Jackasses," and both from "&c." I now made for
Mlle. PAULA's Crocodiles, but here, again, alas! I was doomed to
disappointment. As I approached the Reptile-House, in which the fair
dame was disporting herself (no doubt) amongst "Indian Pythons and Boa
Constrictors," I was warned off by the legend, "Admission, Sixpence."
It was then I remembered that, after all, I was in an Aquarium,
and, consequently, had no right to expect anything but fish. So I

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