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Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 107, October 20, 1894 online

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this afternoon - -

_Lady Maisie._ But I don't. And I - I _did_ offer to explain, but you
said you weren't curious!

_Capt. Thick._ Didn't want you to tell me anything that perhaps you'd
rather not, don't you know. Still, I _should_ like to know how this poet
chap came to write a poem all about you, and call it "Lady Grisoline."
if he never - -

_Lady Maisie._ But it's too ridiculous! How _could_ he? When he never
saw me, that I know of, in all his life before!

_Capt. Thick._ He told Mrs. CHATTERIS you were the original of his "Lady
Grisoline" anyway, and really - -

_Lady Maisie._ He dared to tell her that? How disgracefully impertinent
of him. (_To herself._) So long as he hasn't talked about my letter, he
may say what he pleases!

_Capt. Thick._ But what _was_ it you were goin' to explain to me? You
said there was somethin' - -

_Lady Maisie_ (_to herself_). It's no use; I'd sooner die than tell him
about that letter now! (_Aloud._) I - I only wished you to understand
that, whatever I think about poetry - I detest poets!

_Lady Cant._ Yes, as you say, Bishop, a truly Augustan mode of
recreation. Still, Mr. SPURRELL doesn't seem to have come in yet, so I
shall have time to hear anything you have to say in defence of your
opposition to Parish Councils.

[_The_ Bishop _resigns himself to the inevitable._

_Archie_ (_in_ PILLINER'S _ear_). Ink and flour - couldn't possibly miss
him; the bard's got a matted head _this_ time, and no mistake.

[Illustration: "Ink and flour - couldn't possibly miss him."]

_Pill._ Beastly bad form, _I_ call it - with a fellow you don't know.
You'll get yourself into trouble some day. And you couldn't even manage
your ridiculous booby-trap, for here the beggar comes, as if nothing had
happened.

_Archie_ (_disconcerted_). Confound him! The best booby-trap I _ever_
made!

_The Bishop._ My dear Lady CANTIRE, here is our youthful poet, at the
eleventh hour. (_To himself._) "_Sic me servavit_ Apollo!"

[Miss SPELWANE _advances to meet_ SPURRELL, _who stands
surveying the array of chairs in blank bewilderment._

* * * * *

BRITISH LIONS.

["Poor Mrs. LEO HUNTER has fallen on evil days.... It is the
lions themselves that are lacking.... We have fallen upon an age
of prancing mediocrity." - _The World, October 10._]

O dire is our extremity, whose laudable persistence
In tracking down celebrities is undiminished still,
We're quick enough to mark our prey, we scent him at a distance,
But seldom is our watchfulness rewarded by a "kill."

There are bears indeed in plenty, there are owls with strident voices,
And jackanapes in modern days are seldom hard to find,
But the genuine British Lion, in whom our heart rejoices,
Seems almost to have vanished from the dwellings of mankind!

And even if we find him, after herculean labour,
Apart from festive drawing-rooms he resolutely roams,
Disgracefully forgetful of his duty to his neighbour
He quite declines to dignify our dinners and At Homes.

Too often those we ask are unaccountably prevented
From hastening, as we wanted them, "to come and join the dance,"
And so, in these degraded times, we have to be contented
With quite inferior persons, mediocrities who "prance."

Yes, "prancing mediocrity" - sweet phrase! - no doubt expresses
The decadent young poet, with the limp and languid air,
The very last pianist with the too-abundant tresses,
Whose playing is - well, only less eccentric than his hair.

So, _Mr. Punch_, we hostesses regard you with affection,
And now that our calamity and trouble you have heard,
If any happy circumstance should bring in your direction
A _really_ nice young lion - would you kindly send us word?

* * * * *

NEW NOVEL BY THE AUTHOR OF "THE MANXMAN." - _The Minx-woman._

[_Not yet ready._

* * * * *

THE BLUE GARDENIA.

(_A Colourable Imitation._)

It was a splendid scarlet afternoon, and the little garden looked its
gayest in the midsummer sunshine which streamed down its tiny paths.
Yellow asters grew golden in the pale lemon light, whilst the green
carnations which abounded everywhere seemed so natural that it was
difficult to believe they had been wired on to the plants that morning
by a London firm of florists. That was a plan on which CECIL PARAGRAPH
always insisted. As he was so fond of saying, Nature was a dear old
thing, but she lacked inventiveness. It was only an outworn convention
which objected to gilding the lily, or colouring the carnation. So the
London florists always came each morning to convert the garden into a
pink rhapsody.

[Illustration]

Lord ARCHIE (he was not a Lord really, but CECIL always insisted that a
title was a matter of temperament) and CECIL were sitting out on the
lawn. Clever conversation always takes place on the lawn. CECIL and Lord
ARCHIE smoked high-priced cigarettes. The witty characters always do.

"My dear ARCHIE," said CECIL, "I have something important to tell you."

"If you were not CECIL PARAGRAPH, that would mean that the milkman had
called to have his account paid, or that MARY - or is it MARTHA? - had
given notice. It's like letters headed 'Important,' - a prospectus of a
gold mine, or a letter from a distant relative to say he's coming to
stay the week-end. Saying 'week-end' always reminds me of the BARON DE
BOOK-WORMS. I fancy myself haggling for a cheap ticket at a
booking-office."

"ARCHIE, you've prattled enough. Remember it is I who am expected to
fill the bill. ARCHIE, I am writing a book."

"A book? You will let me collaborate with you?"

"Collaboration is the modern method of evading responsibility. A genius
moves in a cycle of masterpieces, but it is never a cycle made for two.
It reminds me of the book by Mr. RIDER HAGGARD and Mr. LANG. Too late
Mr. HAGGARD found that he had killed the goose which laid the golden
eggs. He had lost the notices which his collaborator could no longer
write."

"But it is so much trouble to write a book. Would not a purple newspaper
article effect your purpose?"

"One would think I was Mr. ATHELSTAN RILEY, or the Independent Labour
Party, to hear you talk of effecting my purpose. But in any case the
book's the thing."

"Tell me, CECIL, tell me about your book," said Lord ARCHIE, with the
ardour of a disciple of CECIL'S.

"It will be called _The Blue Gardenia_. The title is one of the
unemployed; it has nothing to do with the story."

[Illustration]

"I fancy I remember that Mr. BARRY PAIN said that once before."

"No doubt. The clumsiness of acknowledgment is what makes the artist
into an artisan. I am like Mr. BALFOUR, I do not hesitate to shoot - into
my treasury the pearls of speech I have gathered from others, and then,
ARCHIE, I shall not lack the art of personal allusion. If my characters
go out into the village and see the village clergymen, I shall make him
the Archbishop of CANTERBURY. People like it. They say it's rude, but
they read the book and repeat the rudeness. I shall be frankly rude.
Minor poets and authors and actors will all be fair game. You suggest
the publisher may object. To tell you the truth, ANY MAN will publish
for me. The book will succeed - it is only mediocrities who indulge in
failure - and the public will tumble over one another in their mad rush
to be dosed with epigrams of genius."

"And I will write a flaming favourable notice in the _Dodo_."

"You will do me no such unkindness, I am sure, my dear ARCHIE. To be
appreciated is to be found out."

And so plucking as they went the green carnations of a blameless life,
they went in to dinner.

* * * * *

THE TALE OF J. B.; OR, "THE PRISONER OF SALTA." - "J. B. is sly,
Sir - devilish sly;" but the present J. B., not the _Major Bagstock_ of
_Dombey and Son_, but the minor JABEZ BALFOUR, has not yet, as reported,
managed to escape from the prison of Salta, the authorities having
contrived to put a little Salt-a'pon his tail. _Il y est, il y reste._

* * * * *

[Illustration: FELICITOUS QUOTATIONS.

_Hostess (of Upper Tooting, showing new house to Friend)._ "WE'RE VERY
PROUD OF THIS ROOM, MRS. HOMINY. OUR OWN LITTLE UPHOLSTERER DID IT UP
JUST AS YOU SEE IT, AND ALL OUR FRIENDS THINK IT WAS _LIBERTY_!"

_Visitor (sotto voce)._ "'OH, LIBERTY, LIBERTY, HOW MANY CRIMES ARE
COMMITTED IN THY NAME!'"]

* * * * *

[Illustration: "VESTED INTERESTS."

HOUSE OF LORDS CHARWOMAN. "WELL! THEM ROGEBERRIES, AND 'ERBERT
GLADSTINGS, AND HASKWIDGES, AND THE REST ON 'EM MAY TORK - AND THEY MAY
TORK - BUT THEY H'AINT TURNED _HUS_ OUT YET!!"]

* * * * *

"VESTED INTERESTS."

_Lady in Possession loquitur_: -

Ah, well! They keeps a rouging up, these papers, or a trying to,
But _I_ don't think they'll oust us yet, as hobvious they're a-dying
to.
Their ROGEBERRIES, and their HASKWIDGES and 'ERBERT GLADSTINGS 'urry
up,
As per wire-pulling horders; and they tries to keep the flurry up,
But somehow it's a fizzle, like a fire as keeps on smouldery,
And the public, when they'd poke it up, looks chilly and
cold-shouldery.

Drat 'em, what _do_ they want to do? Their "demmycratic polity"
Means nothink more nor less than sheer upsetting of the Quality!
They'd treat the Hupper Ten like srimps, pull off their 'eds and
swoller 'em;
And when they raves agin our perks, they only longs to collar 'em.
Down with all priwilege indeed? Wy, priwilege is the honly thing
As keeps hus from the wildernedge. I'm but a poor, old, lonely thing,
But if they mends or ends the Lords - wich 'evvin forbid they ever
do! -
They'll take _my_ livelyhood away! No, drat it, that will never do!
A world without no priwilege, no pickings, and no perks in it,
Wy - 'twould be like Big Ben up there if it 'ad got no works in it.

These demmycratic levellers is the butchers of Society,
They'd take its tops and innards off and hout. _I_ loves wariety.
Them Commons is a common lot, as like all round as winkleses,
But Marquiges - lord bless 'em! - they is like bright stars as
twinkleses
And makes the sky _respectable_; and its a old, old story
As stars - and likeways garters - _must_ 'ave differences in glory.
Wy, even street lamps wary, and I says the harrystocracy
Is like to 'eavenly 'lectric lights outshining the democracy
As the Clock-tower's 'fulgence do the flare at some fried-fish
shop, Mum.
Oh, there's a somethink soothing in a Dook, or Earl, or Bishop, Mum,
As makes yer mere M.P.'s sing small, as may be taller-chandlerses.
Its henvy, Mum, that's wot it is, they've got the yaller janderses
Along o' bilious jealousy; though wy young ROGEBERRY ever did
Allow hisself to herd with them - well, drat it, there, I _never_
did! -
As long as I can twirl a mop or sluice a floor or ceiling for
The blessed Peers, I'll 'old with 'em, as I've a feller feeling for.
Birds of a feather flock - well, well! I 'ope I knows my place, I do;
Likeways that I shall _keep_ it. Wich I think it a 'ard case, I do,
This downing on Old Women!

'Owsomever, Mister MORLEY is
A long ways from his hobject yet. The House o' Lords, Mum, surely is
Most different from Jericho, it will not fall with shouting, Mum,
Nor yet no platform trumpets will not down it, there's no doubting,
Mum.
Their tongues and loud Rad ram's-horns do their level best to win it,
Mum.
But - they ain't got rid of Hus - not yet, - nor _won't_ direckly-minute,
Mum!

* * * * *

FROM THE BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL. - An eminent musician sends us this
note: - Nothing Brummagem about the Birmingham Festival. Dr. PARRY'S
oratorio, _King Saul_, a big success. Of course this subject has been
Handel'd before; but the composer of _King Saul_, _Junior_, (so to be
termed for sake of distinction, and distinction it has certainly
attained,) need fear no com-parry-songs. Perhaps another title might be,
"_Le Roi Saul à la mode de Parry_." (_Private, to Ed._ - Shall be much
pleased if you'll admit this as a Parry-graph.)

* * * * *

HOPE DISPELLED. - The music-hall proprietors must have been in high
spirits at the commencement of the sittings of the Licensing Committee
when they heard that "Mr. ROBERTS" was to be the chairman. Of course, to
them there is but one "ROBERTS," which his _prénom_ is "ARTHUR" - and
unfortunately there appeared as chairman "not _this_ ARTHUR, but
another."

* * * * *

In the course of conversation, the other evening, Mrs. R. remembered
that "The Margarine" is a German title. "Isn't there," she asked, "a
Margarine of Hesse?"

* * * * *

ANTI-FATNESS. - Excellent receipt for getting thin. Back horses, and you
will lose many pounds in no time. (_Advice gratis by one who has tried
it._)

* * * * *

A PIER OF THE EMPIRE.

(_By a Commoner of the Nation._)

As licensing day was approaching, I thought it my duty to visit the
Empire Theatre of Varieties in Leicester Square, so that if needs be I
could appear as a witness either for the prosecution or the defence. I
am happy to say that my expedition has put me in a position to join the
garrison. From first to last - from item No. 1 to item No. 10 - the
entertainments at the Empire are excellent. And in the general praise I
am able to include "Living Pictures," which are all that even an
archbishop could wish that they should be. But the chief attraction of
the evening is a new _ballet divertissement_ in one tableau, called _On
Brighton Pier_, which has evidently been put up to teach the members of
the L. C. C. how much better things are done in the Sussex watering
place than in the great metropolis. According to "the Argument," when
the scene opens, people are promenading in the sun, and "some gentlemen
bribe the bath chairmen to give up their places in the evening so that
they may flirt with the girls accompanying the invalids." But possibly
as an afterthought this was thought a little too strong for the Censor
of Spring Gardens. I found the "gentlemen" (most of them in high white
hats), and then I discovered the bath chairmen, but there was nothing to
lead me to believe that the connecting links between the two were
bribery and corruption. In addition to this _plat à la Don Giovanni_
there were an _entrée_ in the shape of a gathering of schoolboys and
schoolgirls, a _soufflé_ in some military plus naval drill, and a _pièce
de résistance_ in a change of scene from the deck of the Pier to the
depths of the sea beneath it. And here let me say that I use
_résistance_ in a purely culinary sense, as nothing could have worked
more smoothly than the transformation.

[Illustration]

Madame KATTI LANNER, by whom the ballet has been invented, is a past
mistress in the art of concocting terpsichorean trifles, and never
admits any difficulty in combining the poetry of fancy with the
actuality of fact. In her latest production she finds that after a while
a change of scene is necessary. The public, after admiring the
refreshment stalls and the distant view of the Grand Hotel, want
something more. Certainly, why not? The daughter of an American
millionaire, who has met a rather effeminate gentleman for the first
time, overcome by the heat, falls asleep. Then, to quote from "the
Argument," in her dream she sees sirens and sea-nymphs, led by the
_Queen Coralie_ (Signorina BICE PORRO), unsuccessfully attempt to lure
away her lover, but - awaking from her sleep - the vision disappears, and
she finds him at her feet. All this was very pretty, and the scruples of
the L. C. C. were considered by the lack of success of _Queen Coralie_
to shake the swain's fidelity to his betrothed. Although evidently
interested in the dances of the sirens and sea-nymphs - in spite of their
treating him with little or no attention - he was _ultra_ discreet in
making the acquaintance of her submarine majesty. When the Queen stood
on one toe he merely accepted her invitation to hold her hand, and thus
enable her to revolve on the tip of her right toe - but went no further.
And really and truly, as a gentleman, it was impossible for him to do
less. At any rate his conduct was so unexceptional in _Grace Dollar's_
dream, that his _fiancée_, who, according to "the Argument," had had "a
slight quarrel with him," immediately sought reconciliation. Besides the
submarine interlude, _On Brighton Pier_ has a serious underplot. _Senora
Dolares_ (Signorina CAVALLAZZI), who has been searching all over the
world for her daughter, who had been stolen from her ten years ago, is
personally conducted to the pleasant promenade off the beach. Husband
and wife seemingly spend the entire day on the Pier. They are here in
the morning, in the sunshine, and here when the variegated lamps are
lighted at night. The Senora is pleased at nothing. She regards the
vagaries of a negro comedian with indifference, and does not even smile
at the gambols of a clown dog. Suddenly a girl called _Dora_ appears.
And now once more to quote the Argument. "_Dora_ plays upon her
mandoline some melody the _Senora Dolares_ recognises. She quickly asks
the girl where she first heard it; and _Dora_ says that a lady used to
sing it to her in her early days and that the same lady gave her a
cross, which she produces. The Senora, by means of the cross, recognises
in _Dora_ her long-lost child. Amid great excitement she leads her
tenderly away [in the direction of the Hotel Metropole], and, after some
further dances, the curtain falls." Nothing can be prettier, and more
truly moral, than _On Brighton Pier_. I can conscientiously recommend it
to every member of the L. C. C.; some will smile at the eccentric dance
of _Major Spooner_ (Mr. WILL BISHOP); others will grin at the more
boisterous humour of _Christopher Dollar_ (Mr. JOHN RIDLEY); and all
must weep at the depressed velvet coat of _Don Diego_ (Mr. GEORGE
ASHTON), the husband of _Senora Dolares_, in search of a (comparatively)
long-lost daughter. Judging from the reception the ballet received the
other evening, I fancy that _On Brighton Pier_ will remain on London
boards for any length of time.

[Illustration: "I can conscientiously
recommend it."]

* * * * *

GOSSIP WITHOUT WORDS.

["AUTOLYCUS," in the _Pall Mall Gazette_ of October 11, inveighs
against the necessity of conversation between friends: - "If I
find a girl nice to look at, and she has taken great pains to
make herself nice to look at, why cannot we pass the evening, I
looking at her, and she being looked at? But no, we must talk."]

Undoubtedly, if conversation were abolished, "short stories" in the
future would be still further abbreviated. Here is a beautiful specimen
of blank - or Anthony Hope-less - dialogue: -

THE NELLY NOVELETTES.

"!" exclaimed Miss NELLY EATON, suddenly, with her quivering nostril.

"?" I asked with my right eyebrow, rousing myself from a fit of
abstraction.

She pointed at a young man who had just strolled past our seats in the
Row without noticing her. He was dressed in the height of fashion, and
was accompanied by a lady in very smart attire.

"..." explained NELLY, with her mouth tightly shut.

[Illustration: "Taught him to smoke."]

I looked at her, and gathered by a swift process of intuition that she
had _made_ that boy, and taught him to drink and smoke - of course, in
moderation; had got his hair cut, and had rescued him from an
adventuress. From her he had learnt not to go to Monday Pops, nor to
carry things about in brown paper - in fact, he owed everything to
her.... And now - - !

"§" I visibly commented, not knowing for the moment how else to express
myself. In fact I was getting just a trifle out of my depth. However, I
gazed again at her.... Yes, she had deeply eloquent blue eyes, fringed
with dark eyelashes, that voiced forth every emotion! Stay, I am afraid
that in my admiration my speechless remarks had wandered from the topic
of our mute discussion.

"[+]" interjected her pitying but impatient glance, telling me that my
devotion was useless.

I looked very miserable. It is generally understood that I am the most
miserable of men since Miss EATON'S engagement to an American
millionaire.

[Here I am sorry to say that our dialogue becomes somewhat elliptical,
owing to the difficulty of finding enough unappropriated printers'
symbols to represent our different shades of silence. However, with
luck, I may be able to scrape together a few more, and come to some sort
of conclusion.]

Let me see - where were we?... Oh, on the subject of the boy and his
companion, who, it seems, were engaged.

"* * *" resumed NELLY, in a look which spoke three volumes. I divined at
once that she had thrown him over, that there had been an awful scene,
and his mother had written a horrid letter, that he had come back and
abjectly apologised, that he said she had destroyed his faith in women
(the usual thing), that he went on sending letters for a whole year: in
fact, that it made her quite uncomfortable.... Really, NELLY can give
points to LORD BURLEIGH'S nod!

"?" inquired my right eye, meaning, had she not been in love with him a
little bit?

Miss NELLY prodded the path with her parasol.

"¿" I asked again, referring to a different person, and, I am afraid,
squinting.

Miss NELLY looked for the fraction of an instant in my direction.

"¿¿" I repeated.

[Illustration]

Miss NELLY looked straight in front of her. There was her _fiancé_, the
American millionaire!

" - - ! - - !" That is, I smilingly withdrew.

* * * * *

SATISFACTORY REPORTS AS TO THE AMEER. - It was not an illness,
it was "A mere indisposition."

* * * * *

[Illustration: PREHISTORIC PEEPS.

THE ANNUAL FOOTBALL MATCH BETWEEN THE OLD RED SANDSTONE ROVERS AND THE
PLIOCENE WANDERERS WAS IMMENSELY AND DESERVEDLY POPULAR!!]

* * * * *

"HYMEN HYMENÆE!" (_À propos of a Public Favourite_). - _Mr. Punch_ wishes
health and happiness to the bride of Sir WILLIAM GREGORY, known to us
all, during a long and honourable theatrical career in the very first
line of Dramatic Art, as Mrs. STIRLING the incomparable, always of
sterling worth in any piece wherein she took a part. She was always at
her best. Latterly she has been chiefly associated with the _Nurse_ in
_Romeo and Juliet_, and no better representative of the character could
ever have been seen on any stage. Her recent marriage has in it somewhat
of a Shaksperian association, for were not the _Nurse_ and _Gregory_
both together in the same establishment, yclept the noble House of
Capulet? And what more natural that these two should come together, and
"the _Nurse_ to _Juliet_" should become the "wife to _Gregory_"?

* * * * *

"STOPPING" THE WAY IN THE COLONIES. - Where British Colonists are first
in the field, be the field where it may, it is unwise to allow any
non-Britishers to get as far as a semi-colony, but at once they should
be made to come to a full-stop. As it is, Great Britain looks on in a
state of _com(m)a_, only to wake up with a note of exclamation, but not
of admiration, when it is too late to put a note of interrogation.

* * * * *

[Illustration: COMPREHENSIVE.

"WHAT'S _VOLAPUK_, DOCTOR SCHMITZ?"

"IT IS ZE UNIFERSAL LANGVAGE!"

"AND WHO SPEAKS IT?"

"NOPOTTY!"]

* * * * *

"CITY IMPROVEMENTS." - The City isn't likely to lose any chance of a dig
at the L. C. C. Last week, at a meeting of City Commissioners of Sewers
at Guildhall, Alderman GREEN, - not so verdant by any means as the name
would seem to imply, - protested against the great delay on the part of
the L. C. C. in regard to the improvements in Upper Thames Street. So
the London County Council is sitting considering "_dum defluit


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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 107, October 20, 1894 → online text (page 2 of 3)