Harry Furniss.

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clothes pervades the air, and the ominous
cracks from our boots portend that in another
minute the soles will part company with the
uppers. We realize the awful fact that in five

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minutes we will be cremated alive ; so before
becoming sacrifices to the god of fire, we tear
ourselves away from the fearful but fascinating
flames. The egg-dance is undoubtedly a won-
derful acrobatic feat, but it is mere child's-play
to the agility we have to display in threading
our way through the pieces of metal in various
stages of heat that are strewn in our path.

From one busy hive of industry to another
we rapidly pass, and at last, after being frozen,
baked, galvanized, hammered, planed, tarred,
and varnished, we emerge into the outer air,
and find looming up in front of us the bare
skeleton of a huge vessel, a future ocean mon-
ster, in its embryo state ; before the flesh, so
to speak, is put on outside it, or the mechan-
ism placed within. '

Next to this infant is a leviathan of the
same class, fully developed, ready to be
launched, the Alpha and Omega of perhaps
the most wonderful industry in Ireland. Our
tour of inspection is complete ; we have super-
intended the vessel from the rough framework
to the last coat of varnish ; we receive another
hearty handshake and the best of wishes, as
we take leave of the genial manager, our
whilom guide, and still accompanied by the

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faithful MacM., find ourselves at last amazed,
dazed, and deafened in the street.

Once more on our wild career, we are rushed
through the streets, the city of business and
industry passing before us like a panorama,
the while our guide rattles away like the
inevitable lecturer attached to the panorama,
describing everything as we go. Like a little
boy on a back seat who always interrupts the
lecturer, I venture to ask :

"Where is the scene of the notorious
Belfast riots ? "

A word to the jarvey; we rattle round a
corner, up one street, down another ; a sudden

** There you are. That's the Police office
outside of which the slaughter took place a
few years ago ; now we are passing though the
stronghold of the Catholic party — from this
bridge you see the Orange quarters as well ;
if you turn round you can make a sketch of

This done, we are off again ; in half-an-
hour more we are shown everything of interest
remaining, and are deposited at our hotel door
five minutes before our allotted time.

" Well, good - by, Mr. Furniss ; glad to

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have been of service to you," and the good-
natured Mac departs.

Turning over the pages of my notebook, I
find a mass of hieroglyphics which I myself
cannot quite unravel, for we have gone through
the city at an express rate which would have
baffled the most electric of artists and the most
fluent of writers ; but one peculiar word arrests
my eye — ** Flesher/' This uneuphonious and
highly disagreeable word is used by Belfast
butchers to denote their calling. If this inno-
vation spreads in Belfast, we will no longer
hear of undertakers, dentists, bakers, or milk-
men — they will be corpsers, toothers, breaders,
and milkers !

In strong contrast to the lightning guide
(** lightning-conductor " I might almost call
him) who showed me the Belfast of business,
was my literary friend in whose company I saw
the Belfast of leisure. Not far from the mad-
ding crowd runs a river which for its sylvan
quietude and picturesque beauty can well com-
pare with the lovely upper reaches of the
Thames ; and on its placid bosom I spent an
afternoon with a well-known literary celebrity,
his charming wife, and an artistic friend, with
whom I discussed literature, science, and art,

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interspersed with a fair amount of London
society scandal, as an antidote to the conver-
sation of the business men, or **cashers" I
suppose they ought to be called, of Belfast.

The words Thackeray spoke of the Belfast
people in his day had a solid foundation, for
they are exemplified in the public of the pres-
ent time. They are astoundingly ignorant ; I
am assured they read nothing, and people
whose names are household words in the outer
world are totally unknown in Belfast, except
perhaps a person who is a star in the commer-

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cial firmament, and with whom an acquaintance
may tend to increase the balance at their
bankers. Charles Dickens was a failure here.
** Who the Dickens is he ? *' was the joke at
the time. The joke cost nothing, so they

The pests of Belfast are the street Arabs,
scantily attired, bare-footed, and unacquainted
with soap, who surround you and worry you to
buy those advertising mediums, penny alma-
nacs. You throw them a copper, and a free
fight in the gutter results for the possession of
it. It is the spirit of the place. These ragamuf-
fins will fight their money-grubbing way upward,
till at some future day, as heads of firms, they
will be continuing this sordid, miserly struggle
in palatial offices : Terence, Sandy, and Bill,
the erstwhile struggling combatants for my
copper in the gutter, are now Messrs. Flanagan,
MacPherson, and Higgins; and when under
the office windows I draw pictures in colored
chalks on the pavement for a living, they will
pull down their office blinds and leave my
proffered hat copperless on the window-sill.
That is Belfast.

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My dear M.^

I am glad you enjoy " Some Circular Notes "
that I am illustrating in " Punch^^ They are written

in X 's best style, and no one appreciates them

more than the good guide, philosopher and friend
" Daubinet " himself. By the way, I did some of the
drawings for them in Belfast, and Mr. " MacMoney-
gle^' came in just as I was at work on them, and so
kindly offered to take me round the town ; so it was
this coincidence that made me describe my pleasant ex-
perience of MacMonagle in the manner I did, calling
him Mr. " MacMoneygle '^ in the same good spirit in

which X- christened his companion ^^ Daubinet^

Mr. " MacMoneygle " is probably not known to any
great extent outside Belfast, while ^^ Daubinet*^ is

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known all over the world ; and both fie himself and
his friends are delighted by X V humorous refer-
ences to him i?i " Punch^'* Of course I thought I was
paying MacMonagle a compliment ; but the Press is
up in arms against me^ and he himself is in tears,
Ohy dear ! ohy dear ! is it only a Presbyterian minis-
ter that can be understood in the North ? I said that
neither a Frenchman nor an Irishman could stand
chaffy but in this parallel between " Daubinet " and
Mr. ^^MacMoneygle** Monsieur D. scores one. Of
course I wrote and explained my little joke to my good
natured acquaintance ^ MacMonagle. The Press proved
just as thin-skinned^ and tried to swallow me up with
columns of attack and abuse, but I simply left them to
t/temselves, knowing as an old journalistic hand that
being perfectly right in everything I said they were
bound in time to contradict themselves. This they
have done, as you will see by the papers I send you. Their
own correspondents, whom they cannot very well con-
tradict, have written long letters bearing me out in my
statements, and I have received a number of private
letters fully indorsing my views. . . . The Pro-
fessor is in his element on the scene of the notorious
Belfast riots ; for religious, enlightened, artistic and
literary Belfast must find some relaxation from its
highly-refined and cultured pursuits in faction- fighting

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and bloodshed. The details and statistics anent these
disturbances that the Professor has collected would
make your hair stand on end. . . .

VourSf etc.y

P.S. — This morning I came across the folloiving in
an English paper ^ which I offer to Belfast people as a
text for their sermon on the ^^ fiery FurnisSy' who had
the astounding audacity to say that tliey were not a
literary people.

" TItat gratitude is indeed but * a lively sense of
favors to come ' would seem to be the moral of a re-
cent incident in Belfast. It is said that upon opening
two contribution boxes placed in the Free Library for
a memorial portrait to the late Canon Grainger ^ who
had presented a collection of antiquities to the Library
worth ;fi'i2,ooo, they were found to contain a number
of pieces of blotting-paper, some free tickets for the
Library, some other odds and ends, and five and two-
pence in coppers and small silver ! '^

Munificent Messrs. Money, Grubber & Co. I Where
are your " cashers " now ? As the Press would say,
" Comment is needless ! "

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Counterfeit Celebrities — The Decay of Summer — "All that
was left of them" — Miss Taflfy^s Teeth — Llandudno —
Masculine Young Ladies.

, after a fort-
sojourn in
e Emerald
le, I left it
by the North
Wall route
for Holy-
head, at half-
past nine in
the morning,
though the
►ats of the
London and North Western Railway Com-
pany are excellent, the cheap tripper is
master of the situation, and it was not particu-
larly edifying to have to witness the eccentric
perambulations of gentlemen on the foredeck,
who had evidently determined not to leave the

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land of John Jamieson without sampling the
famous national beverage.

It is curious to note, when you are travel-
ling, the number of
counterfeit present- ^^mt, ^ ^
ments of notable || ^| W^^^
people you meet. It Balm a "^
was at York Station, ^-^^'^i^^^i^^^^ ,^*^

I think, that a double ^'"^ f^^j -**^r I
of Lord Beaconsfield
waited upon me in the
refreshment room ;
in London I have

frequently been driven by a spurious Mr.
Gladstone, while Sir William Harcourt once
cleaned my boots at a Northern hotel : so
crossing from Ireland, it was gratifying to
find that the captain of the good ship Sham-
rock was a genial Colonel North, and that
Sir Richard Temple was manfully doing his
duty at the wheel ; and when I observed
this I anxiously inquired if there were any
reefs or sand-banks in our course on which he
could wreck the ship in revenge for my many
caricatures of him.

Wales, although charming, is somewhat
slow, and the local trains fully uphold the

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reputation of the country, as three hours were
absorbed in getting to Llandudno from the
time we arrived at Holyhead, a journey which


ought to be accomplished in considerably less
than half that time. One is recompensed to a
certain extent, as between the beautiful scenery
through which one passes, and the extraor-
dinary names of the quaint little stations along
the line, there is no lack of entertainment on
the journey for the traveller, whether his strong
sense be either of the sublime or the ridiculous.
Skirting the picturesque coast one gets glimpses

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of very pretty little seaside places, with very
ugly and big names. Families are waiting at
the stations, and the inevitable pile of trunks,
bandboxes, perambulators and birdcages
mutely testify that the end of the season is
near at hand, and the time is not far off when
the hotel-keepers and landladies must garner
up the rich harvest they have reaped during
the summer to keep the pot boiling till the new
crop of visitors arrives in the spring. The
erratic rows of broken-down bathing-machines

along the coast — all that were left of the noble
600, more or less — bore mournful testimony
to the decay of summer. The journey from
London to Llandudno is fearfully tedious, as

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in the tourist season, the only time of the
year when anyone wants to get there, the
fast trains rush through without stopping, so
it is not surprising that most of the visitors
speak with a north-country accent. Although
the natives are supposed to be the mildest and
most inoffensive people imaginable, they are
continually showing their teeth. It is curious
to note the number of people with unfortunate

dental malformations ; I

have seen many a pretty

Welsh face spoilt by this

d e f o r m i t y. Llandudno

was our destination, and I

found it like all other

British watering-places,

dear and dull, ruled over

in the daytime by a

cork-blacked band of

cockney minstrels,

Punch and Judy, and

that very common object, the ubiquitous

seaside missionary, the psalm-singer of the

shingles ; and at night at the invitation of

Riviere they come to do homage at the shrine

of music, admission 6d., including a pot-boiling

picture show, marionettes and minstrels, and

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an exhibition of performing fleas. These latter,
I may remark, confine themselves to perform-
ing on the pier at Llandudno. The hotels are
excellent, the scenery grand, and the weather
when I was there was simply perfect. What
more could be required for the young and
overworked ? Ireland and Wales are becom-
ing very modernized. The traveller who, after
having looked fruitlessly under the table for the
traditional pig, has come to Wales, is disap-
pointed to find that the handmaiden who
brings him his matutinal hot water does not
wear the national high stove-pipe hat, and
that Davy Jones, the boots, does not warble
sweet Welsh melodies while he polishes your
shoes. That is only heard at the national
Eisteddfodd. The only music I heard came
from the drawing-room underneath my room
— the twang was that of a Cockney and the
song one of Coburn's.

It has always struck me that young girls
at the sea-side seem more in harmony with the
place and far more at home than young men,
who seem in eccentricity of costume to try to
rival the ** get-up " of the niggers.* At Llan-
dudno there was more than the average number
of pretty, fresh-looking young girls, but some

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of their elders must have been shocked at the
affectation and masculine swagger which they
evidently thought it was "the thing'* to assume,
in strong contrast to the effeminacy of a certain
type of young men, the languid swell of the
drawing-room, who even at the seaside makes
a parade of his affected ennui. Discarding
the once favorite parasol, the Llandudno
young lady of
to-day arms her-
self with a good
stout walking-
stick, which she
carelessly swings
as she whistles
a popular tune,
to the personal
detriment of the
maiden lady
who, with hor-
ror-stricken face
is walking be-
hind her, and

thinking of the prim decorum with which the
crinolined young lady of her day was taught
to behave. I even noticed that some of these
fair visitors, to complete the masculinity of

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their appearance, were accompanied on their
strolls by a couple of fox-terriers ! As each
specimen of this species approached, I looked
anxiously but in vain for a straw in her mouth,
and a sporting paper in her hand ; these, no
doubt, are in reserve for next year s fashion.

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My dear J/.,

The tJiermometer is a hundred and soine^
thing in the shade here^ and I feel as warm as I did
when inspecting the furnaces at Harland and Wolff's.
However y I mustn*t grumble ; I daresay you have it
hotter still down south. After the wretched weather
we have been havings no one appreciates the quick
change more than myself and a few moments after
arriving here I was out on the front, basking in the
glorious sunshine. Barometer high, my spirits ditto.
I had only been out a few minutes when I spotted,
sprawling on the shingle with his arms under his

head, the erstwhile energetic Sir X , M,P. (you

remember we met him up the river that day the lunch-
boat was lost up a backwater). He greeted me with :
^^ Hallo / what brings you here f At that moment
a donkey came along, drawing an erection covered over
with bills afinouncing my entertainment, and as the

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man in charge was behind the conveyance mopping his
manly brow^ he (the donkey ^ not the man) marched
right into the small of my back^ regardless of conse^
quences. When I had recovered from the shock I gath-
ered myself together ^ and pointing to the
/ " ' '


li I



^ It

was the last place in the world he wanted to be re-
minded of during his well earned repose.

The next thing to attract my attention was a small
boy on the beach, who was unconcernedly making paper
boats out of my handbills, and letting them drift out
to sea I Mac turned up just then, and his usually
lively spirits seemed to be at zero, I pointed out to
him my handbills floating away, but instead of burst-
ing into indignation, he said : " It will be Just as
much use to the fishes as to the people here, for what
sane being wants to hear a heated Parliamentary de-
bate on a tropical afternoon like this ? Our agent

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tells me that they have tried a matinee here once or
twice before^ but although they opened the doors to
their widest extent ^ not a soul came in I That re-
minds me that it's time you went and dressed, I did so ^
and for the first time it occurred to me how ridiculous a
man looks on a glorious sunny day at the seaside ^ Tigged
out in a black frock-coat and a tall hat ^ the orthodox
matinee dress ; and as I emerged from the hotel in
this attire^ the sight of the rest of the visitors loung-
ing about in their free-and-easy flannels was as gall
and wormwood to me. . . .

Strolling along ^ the front on my way to the hall, I
unconsciously attached myself to the tail of a small but
interested crowd, who were being entertained by the
antics of Punch and Judy, I pitied the poor man sti-

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fling inside his show^ quite oblivious of the fact that I
would have to manipulate my Parliamentary puppets
in a few minutes ; and I was laughing quite as loudly
as any of tlie spectators^ when I heard : ** Come along^
do ! " at my elbow ; and Mac, who /tad been hunting
for me up and down, and was hot and breathless, took
me in charge, and bore me off to t/ie Iiall, where I was
flattered to find t/iat a small but select audience awaited
me, I suppose most of them had served t/teir time in
India or some other hot climate, for the place was like
a Dutch oven.

Of course ive had our evenings disengaged, and see-
ing by an advertisement t/iat tJierewas to be a Beauty

/J/ .

Show at a circus, we made our way there after din-
ner, anxious to see if the Welsh beauties looked as well

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by gaslight as they did in the sun ; besides^ I have rather
a predilection for circuses^ as you know. The ringmas^
ter placed five chairs in the middle of the tan^ and
called upon the beauty of Llandudno to come out and
show itself^ offering by way —

of inducement a silver watch^
which was to become the prop-
erty of the winner^ and which
had been advertised all over
the town for the last week.
This was evidently not suf~
ficient temptation to the
beauty of Llandudno^ for
none was forthcoming. As
a stranger, I might have
thought that the place was
singularly destitute of fe-
male loveliness, had I not
gone on the pier the next
evening, when, had a compe-
tition been organized, the

judges would have had a difficult task to " spot the
winner'' . . .

Next time I come here I will give my etttertainment
from the door of a bathing-machine on the beach, if
the weather is as tropical as it is now ; and so that
the natives can understand me, I will give it in their
own tongue. Fancy the " Member for Boredom " ad-^

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dressing the House in Welsh I Here^s a part of his
speech in English :

" YeSy sir, I repeat, I have traversed this gigantic
subject from the earliest use of this adhesive substajicc,
when sticking-plaster tvas not a subject to jeopardize a
Ministry, nor a surgical appliance the lever used with
which to overt hroiv a Government ; and I venture to
prophesy that when the prospective New Zealander
whom the historian has imagined will be treading tJte
ruins of this House, that the rancorous wound — / re-
peat, rancorous wound— now caused by party strife
through this momentous question, will be healed, —
healed by the use of black sticking-plaster, and not by
white sticking-plaster ; and that thus the awful warn-
ings I have foreshadowed during the last two hours
will prove the means of having saved from destruction
this great and glorious country / "

Could you imagine my delivering the same passage
in Welsh, inteet to gootness / Here it is :

"y<^, syr, ailddwedaf yr wyf wedi chwilio a chwalu
y pwnc auferth hwn o adeg forenaf defuyddiad y syl-
wedd ymlynol hwn, pan nad oedd sticing-plaster, yu
bwnc i beryglu Gweinyddiaeth, nac yu offeyrn meddy-
gol, gyda trosval y hwn y dymchwel ir llywodraeth,
ac yr wyfyu beiddio prophwydo pan y bydd ir rhag-
welgar New Zealander yr hwn y mae yr hanesydd
wedi ddychmygu wna drvedio ar adfeilion y ty hwn,
bydd y briw llidiog — ailddywedaf — briw llidiogf yu

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awr achoswyd gau genfigen plaid drwy y cwestiwn
pwysfawr hwn wedi ei wella^ ei wella drwy ddefuyd-
dio sticing'plaster du^ ac nid sticing-plaster giuyni
ac felly bydd y rhybuddion ofnadwy wyfwedi rag-
gysgody yu ystod y ddwy awr ddiweddaf wedi profi yu
gyfrwng i achub rhag dinystyr y wlad fawreddog a
cheodfawr hon / "

/ was meditating on the euphoniousness of the Welsh
language as I walked up the hill overlooking the bay^
when I was struck by the beautiful effect of the sunlight
on the deep blu£ of the water ^ and wondering at the like-
ness of the wliole scene to the Bay of Naples^ when
my artistic musings were disturbed by the voice of the
Professor greeting me as he descended the narrow
path. He wore an injured air, and explained to me
more in sorrow than in anger that he had paid two-
pence to view the Camera Obscura at the top of the
hilly but there wasn^t a single cemetery to be seen in
the whole district. Then, with a sigh: " They must
be a healthy lot about here / But there was a corpse
washed up not far from here three weeks ago ; the
coastguard's Just been telling me all about it ! " This
was evidently some consolation to him. . . .

Off to Southport to-morrow — no more matinees at
the seaside y thank goodness / . . .

YourSy etc.y

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The Sahara of Lancashire — An Artificial Seaside— The Fair
on the Sands— The Wreck of the ** William Fisher "—A
Gigantic Centipede— Dry Land Sailing— A Family Photo
—The New Theatre.

luch has been written from
: to time about Southport,
is unnecessary for me to
dwell, as I otherwise should
do, on the beauties of the
place, its splendid buildings
and spacious streets ; in-
stead I will mingle with
the crowd, and endeavor
to give you some sketches
of character and incident.

I am sure that the good-natured, joke-loving
Lancastrians are not so sensitive and thin-
skinned as to resent friendly, well-meant chaff,
and to rise up in arms against a humorous
and good-natured criticism. All of us, no
doubt, with the weakness of human nature, are
fond of criticising ourselves from our own point

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of view ; but we must sometimes see ourselves
as others see us.

To all appearance Southport, although be-
loved of visitors — judging from the vast number
of holiday-makers and seekers of health who
come to revel in its life-
giving atmosphere — does
not quite hit it off with the
author of its being — the
sea; for the Irish Channel
has for years been receding
from the imposing "front,"
and is now separated from
it by a vast expanse of sand,
which might well be called
the Sahara of Lancashire.
But the inhabitants, seeing
their chances of boating and
bathing becoming small by
degrees and beautifully less,
and unwilling to lose their
ocean, have constructed a lake by the
esplanade, into which they have brought the
erring sea through the medium of pipes,
determined at all costs to have a seaside,

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Online LibraryHarry FurnissFlying visits → online text (page 3 of 11)