Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 100, April 18, 1891 online

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VOL. 100.

April 18, 1891.



_March 13_. - Left Billsbury this morning by nine o'clock train, and
came back to London. Brought with me the _Billsbury Standard_, and
the _Billsbury Meteor_ (the Radical paper.) Both have accounts of last
night's meeting. Rather different, though.


The era of indecision is past. In another column we give a
full account of the important meeting of the Council of the
Conservative Association, which was held last night for the
purpose of selecting a Conservative Candidate for Billsbury.
The proceedings were enthusiastic and unanimous ... Mr.
RICHARD B. PATTLE, the selected Conservative Candidate, is
a young man of the highest promise. He had a distinguished
career at Oxford, where he obtained honours in History, and
represented his College in the Torpid races for eight-oared
crews. Since then he has been called to the Bar, where he
has already secured a lucrative practice.... His speech last
night had the right ring about it. It was eloquent, practical,
convincing, modest and decided, thoroughly in harmony with the
best traditions of the Conservative party, and remarkable for
the proof it afforded of the devotion of Conservatives at all
times to the highest interests of the working classes. We have
no hesitation in declaring, as Colonel CHORKLE did last night,
that with such a Candidate to oppose him, the fate of Sir
THOMAS CHUBSON may be considered as already decided. If only
all Conservatives will put their shoulders to the wheel and
work hard, the stigma under which Billsbury now labours will
be swept away. A Mass Meeting of Conservative electors will be
held on an early date to ratify the decision of the Council,
and inaugurate the period of hard work throughout the


Last night the Conservatives gave their annual performance of
the good old farce entitled, _Choosing a Candidate; or, Who's
got the Money-bags?_ We are glad to be able to congratulate
this distinguished body of amateurs on the modest success
which attended their efforts. Most of the performers are
well-known to the Billsbury public. Alderman TOLLAND, as the
heavy father, provoked screams of laughter by the studied
pomposity of his manner. His unctuous rendering of the
catch-phrase, "Constitutional Progress," has lost none of its
old force. Mr. CHORKLE was, perhaps, not so successful as
we have sometimes seen him in his representation of a real
Colonel, but the scene in which he attacked and routed
LINDLEY MURRAY, went extremely well. Mr. JERRAM as a singing
journalist, was admirable. We cannot help wondering why so
remarkable an actor should confine himself to the provincial
stage. We had almost forgotten to mention that the part of
_The Candidate_ was, on this occasion, assigned to a Mr.
RICHARD PATTLE, a complete novice, whose evident nervousness
seriously imperilled the success of the piece. He had omitted
to learn his part adequately, and the famous soliloquy, "The
country has need of me," was painfully bungled. Mr. PATTLE has
few qualifications for the ambitious _rôle_ he essayed, and
his friends would be doing an act of true kindness if they
insisted on his withdrawal from a profession for which he is
in no way fitted. The performance will be repeated as usual
next year.

I suppose the _Meteor_ people think that witty. When I got home, an
awful thing happened. Mother, of course, wanted to see the papers,
so I gave her the _Standard_, with which she was much pleased. She
said it was evident I had made a wonderful impression, and that the
Billsbury Conservatives were particularly sensible people! But, by
some mistake, I left the _Meteor_ lying on the drawing-room table. It
seems that, in the afternoon, that sharp-tongued old hag, Mrs. SPIGOT,
called. She saw the _Meteor_, took it up, and said, "Dear me, is this
something about your son?" Mother, thinking it was the _Standard_,
said, "Oh yes - do read it, Mrs. SPIGOT; it's a wonderfully accurate
account, RICHARD says;" and that old cat read it all through. She then
smiled, and said, "Yes, very flattering indeed." After she had gone,
mother took it up, and, to her horror, found what it was. She was
furious. When I got home in the afternoon, I found her in a state of
what Dr. BAKER calls "extreme nervous excitement," with the _Meteor_
lying in little scraps all over the drawing-room, just as if a
paper-chase had been through there. She said, "Don't let me ever see
that infamous paper again, DICK. The man who wrote it owes you some
grudge, of course. Such a scoundrel ought to be denounced." I said I
quite agreed with her. Later on, met VULLIAMY at the Club. We spoke
about Billsbury. He asked me, with a sort of chuckle, if I'd seen the
_Star_, and advised me to have a look at it, as there was something
about me in it. This is what I found in the column headed "Mainly
About People": -

"Mr. RICHARD PATTLE, who is to be the Conservative Candidate for
Billsbury at the next election, is a young man of twenty-six. At
Oxford he was generally called 'PODGE PATTLE' by his friends He took a
fourth class in History. His oratorical efforts at the Union were not
very striking, but he rowed in his College Torpid, which was bumped
four times.

"Mr. PATTLE, as maybe inferred from his nickname, is neither tall nor
thin. He is a member of the Middle Temple, but his eloquence has not
yet astonished the Courts of Law. His father died five years ago,
leaving him a considerable fortune, part of which he proposes to waste
in the hopeless attempt to turn out Sir THOMAS CHUBSON."

Confound the people, I wish they'd mind their own business and leave
me alone!

_March_ 17. - Haven't been down to Billsbury again yet, but go the day
after to-morrow to speak at a Mass Meeting of Conservative electors.
However, I've had shoals of letters from the place - nearly all of
them asking for subscriptions. The Five Bars Cricket Club, the Lilies
Cricket Club, the Buffaloes Cricket Club, and the Blue Horse Cricket
Club have all elected me a vice-president, and solicit the honour of
my support. The Billsbury Free Dispensary is much in want of funds,
and the Secretary points out that Sir THOMAS CHUBSON has subscribed £5
regularly every year. The United Ironmongers' Friendly Society wishes
me to be an Honorary Member. CHUBSON subscribes £2 2s. to them. The
Billsbury Brass Band, and three Quoit Clubs (the game is much played
there) have elected me a member. The Secretary of the former sent me a
printed form, which I was to fill up, stating what instrument I meant
to play, and binding myself to attend at least one Band practice every
week. Three "cases of heartrending distress" have appealed to me,
"knowing the goodness of my heart." I shall have to consult TOLLAND,
or some one, about all this. I get the _Meteor_ and the _Standard_
every day. The former goes on chaffing. Don't think JERRAM, in the
_Standard_, writes as smartly as the other chaps. Must try to get
him stirred up a bit. Just received letter from TOLLAND, saying he
wants to talk to me before meeting about "matters connected with
the Registration." More money, I suppose. Romeike, and all kinds of
Press-Cutting Associations, keep on sending me that extract from the
_Star_, till I'm fairly sick of it. They all want me to subscribe for
Press-Cuttings. See them blowed first.

* * * * *


SCENE - _The Central Criminal Court. The usual Company
assembled, and the place wearing its customary aspect.
"Standing room only" everywhere, except in the Jury Box, which
is empty. Prisoner at the Bar_.


_Judge_. This is most annoying! Owing to the refusal of the Jury
to serve, the time of the Bar, the Bench, and, I may even add, the
prisoner, is wasted! I really don't know what to do! Mr. TWENTYBOB, I
think you appear for the accused?

_Counsel for the Defence_. Yes, my Lord.

_Judge_ (_with some hesitation_). Well, I do not for a moment presume
to dictate to you, but it certainly would get us out of a serious
difficulty if your client pleaded guilty. I suppose you have carefully
considered his case, and think it advisable that he should not
withdraw his plea?

_Counsel for the Defence_. No, my Lord, I certainly cannot advise him
to throw up his defence. It is a serious - a deeply serious - matter for
him. I do not anticipate any difficulty in establishing his innocence
before an intelligent jury.

_Judge_. But we can't get a jury - intelligent or otherwise.

_Counsel for the Defence_. If no evidence is offered, my client should
be discharged.

_Counsel for the Prosecution_. I beg pardon, but I must set my friend
right. Evidence _is_ offered in support of the charge, my Lord.

_Judge_. Yes; but there is no properly constituted body to receive
and decide upon its credibility. I am glad that the Grand Jury (to
whom I had the privilege of addressing a few observations upon our
unfortunate position) have ignored a larger number of bills than
usual; still the present case is before the Court, and I must dispose
of it. Can you assist us in any way, Mr. PERPLEBAGGE?

_Counsel for the Prosecution_ (_smiling_). I am afraid not, my Lord.

_Judge_. Well, I suppose I have no alternative but to order the
Prisoner to be taken back to -

_Prisoner_. To the place I was in last night? No, thankee! - not me!
Look here, gemmen all, we knows one another, don't we? Well, just to
oblige you - as Darmoor ain't 'alf bad in the summer, and as in course
I _did_ do it - I plead guilty!

_Judge_ (_with a sigh of relief_). Prisoner at the Bar, we are
infinitely beholden to you! [_Passes regulation sentence with grateful

* * * * *




Heigh me! brazen of front, thou glutton for Ground Game, how can one,
Servant here to thy mandates heed thee among the Tories?
Surely thy mission is fudge, oh, DAWNAY, Conservative Colonel!
I, Sir, hither I fared on account of the cant-armed Sportsmen,
Pledged to the combat; they unto me have in no wise a harm done,
Never have they, of a truth, come putting my Hares and my Rabbits,
Never in deep-soiled Hampshire, the nurser of heroes and H-RC-RTS,
Ravaged; but if I found them among my trampled Carnations,
Hares or Rabbits, or gun-bearing Tories, by Jingo, I'd pot 'em!
O hugely shameless! Thee shall we follow to do an injustice
Unto the farmers, seeing the Hares a-munching their crops up?
I do not sit at the feet of the blatant Bordesley Gamaliel,
Or of the unregenerate Agricultural Minister.
Close time? Fudge! The Hares were _intended_ at last to perish
Either by sounding gun or the gaping jaws of the greyhound.
Food for the people? Cant! The promotion of Sport is the purpose
Plain of this pestilent Bill, which neutralises the victory
Won, with much labour, by Me, my gift to the sons of the furrow.
DAWNAY talks as though the Hare were a "domiciled animal."
Shows what a deal _he_ knows of Hares - save the pleasure of killing 'em.
Shall I give the nourishing farmers up to this pillage?
Nay, sure mine were the hands did most in the storm of the combat,
Ay, and when peradventure we share the booty amongst us,
After the General Election, the Tories may find - but no matter-r-r!
Surely a time will come, - not a "close time" that for the Tories, -
I being outraged, _then_ will give them particular pepper!

* * * * *


1900 (_Somewhere about_). - Introduction into London of new Patent
Smokeless Fuel, as experimentally exhibited in 1891 before the Prince
of WALES and Empress FREDERICK in York Road, King's Cross. A few
public-spirited householders insist on their cooks using it in the
kitchen. Cooks of public-spirited householders unanimously give
warning. No quotation of Fuel Company's shares on Stock Exchange.

1900 (_Later_). - Very reforming Parliament just returned. Use of new
Fuel made compulsory. Fuel shares go up from a nominal 2s. 6d. a share
to £437 6s. 8d. at a bound.

1901. - London already much cleaner. Only two fogs (white) in whole
of last winter. Consequent intense surprise of old residents, cabmen,
link-boys, porters, and pickpockets.

1902. - Retirement of several individuals, who declare they "liked the
good old London fogs," to Black Country. Statue in Parian marble of
inventor of new Fuel blocks erected on Thames Embankment.

1904. - Government buys up patent rights of Company, at ruinous
sacrifice. A Minister of Chimneyculture appointed, with Cabinet rank.
Blocks reduced in price, and sold at all Post Offices across the
counter. Postal messengers, on receipt of telephonic orders, bring
truckfuls to any address within ten minutes.

1905. - Green veils come into general use this summer, to keep off
glare from white stone houses and other buildings in West-End of
London. Several cases of partial loss of sight from extreme whiteness
of dome of St. Paul's. Dean ordered (by County Council) to have dome
lamp-blacked. Dean declines. Vote of thanks to him from resident staff
of Ophthalmic Hospital.

1906. - Owing to surprising and overpowering health of inhabitants
(caused by total absence of smoke and fogs), County Council
establishes Gymnasia, Rowing Matches, and free public Pugilistic
Contests, in order to work off surplus muscular energies of

1907. - Emigration of 2000 Doctors (who have no work to do) to one of
General BOOTH's Colonies at South Pole. Show (in Temple Gardens) of
delicate ferns and roses grown in atmosphere of Strand.

1908. - Strike of Whitewashers, Laundresses, and House Painters,
against lack of employment. Go about singing, "Oh, call the Fog-Fiend
back to us!" with refrain, "Oh, when the Fogs were here with us, Would
we had used them more!"

1909. - Last surviving Chimney-sweeper, provided with a well-ventilated
chamber at Madame Tussaud's. Special charge of sixpence for adults,
threepence for children, made for privilege of seeing him.

1910. - Rest of inhabitants of England, as well as foreign invalids,
flock to London because of noted purity and salubrity of its climate.
Riviera deserted. London a little over-crowded, but very clean.

* * * * *


The following pleasing announcement appears in the advertisement
columns of the _East of Fife Record_. -

WANTED, COTTAGERS and others to HATCH EGGS. Liberal Terms.
Apply, &c.

We are glad to see the men of Fife thus taking the lead in creating
new openings for the agricultural labourer. Of course the weather will
have much influence upon the success of the new avocation. To sit out
hatching eggs in one of such blizzards as we have had since Christmas
would be exceedingly inconvenient, upon whatever "Liberal terms."
But, given a fair summer day or a quiet autumn evening, there seems
something quite idyllic in the picture of the agricultural labourer
sitting out in his own Three Acres hatching eggs, - probably laid by
the Cow.

* * * * *

[Illustration: OLD FRIENDS.





* * * * *


How doth the provident M.P.
Improve each shining hour,
And in the "Labour Question" see
Hopes of return to power!

How skilfully he shapes his "sell,"
How neatly spreads his "fakes"!
On Labour's ear they sound right well,
The promises he makes.

Skilled Labour, Labour without skill,
He would have busy, too;
Nay, he would find some Labour still
For idle "hands" to do.

Yet, Labour, whatsoe'er he say,
To trust him be not fast;
Or you'll discover, some fine day,
He'll diddle you at last!

* * * * *

QUEER QUERIES. - COMBUSTIBLES. - I have five hundred barrels of Kerosene
Oil, and three hundred of Paraffin, stored in a large room in the
basement of my premises. Upstairs, on the top floor, there are about
two hundred assistants at work. I now want to use part of the same
room for the manufacture of fireworks. The place I don't think is too
dark, as I have it constantly lighted by naked gas-jets. Would there
be any need to take out a licence? The surrounding property, although
very crowded, is only of a poor description. - INSURED.

* * * * *





_The same Room - except that the sofa has been slightly moved, and one
of the Japanese cotton-wool frogs has fallen into the fireplace.
Mrs. LINDEN sits and reads a book - but without understanding a single

_Mrs. Linden_ (_laying down book, as a light tread is heard outside_).
Here he is at last! (_KROGSTAD comes in, and stands in the doorway._)
Mr. KROGSTAD, I have given you a secret _rendezvous_ in this room,
because it belongs to my employer, Mr. HELMER, who has lately
discharged you. The etiquette of Norway permits these slight freedoms
on the part of a female Cashier.

_Krogs._ It does. Are we alone? (_NORA is heard overhead dancing the
Tarantella._) Yes, I hear Mrs. HELMER's fairy footfall above. She
dances the Tarantella now - by-and-by she will dance to another tune!
(_Changing his tone._) I don't exactly know why you should wish to
have this interview - after jilting me as you did, long ago, though?

_Mrs. L._ Don't you? _I_ do. I am a widow - a Norwegian widow. And
it has occurred to me that there may be a nobler side to your nature
somewhere - though you have not precisely the best of reputations.

[Illustration: "Oh, you prillil squillikins!"]

_Krogs._ Right. I am a forger, and a money-lender; I am on the staff
of the Norwegian _Punch_ - a most scurrilous paper. More, I have been
blackmailing Mrs. HELMER by trading on her fears like a low cowardly
cur. But, in spite of all that - (_clasping his hands_) - there are the
makings of a fine man about me _yet_, CHRISTINA!

_Mrs. L._ I believe you - at least, I'll chance it. I want some one to
care for, and I'll marry you.

_Krogs._ (_suspiciously_). On condition, I suppose, that I suppress
the letter denouncing Mrs. HELMER?

_Mrs. L._ How can you think so? I am her dearest friend: but I can
still see her faults, and it is my firm opinion that a sharp lesson
will do her all the good in the world. She is _much_ too comfortable.
So leave the letter in the box, and come home with me.

_Krogs._ I am wildly happy! Engaged to the female Cashier of the
Manager who has discharged me, our future is bright and secure!

[_He goes out; and Mrs. LINDEN sets the furniture straight;
presently a noise is heard outside, and HELMER enters,
dragging_ NORA in. She is in fancy dress, and he in an open
black domino._

_Nora_. I shan't! It's too early to come away from such a nice party.
I _won't_ go to bed! [_She whimpers._

_Helmer_ (_tenderly_). There'sh a naughty lil' larkie for you, Mrs.
LINEN! Poshtively had to drag her 'way! She'sh a capricious lil'
girl - from Capri. 'Scuse me! - 'fraid I've been and made a pun. Shan'
'cur again! Shplendid champagne the Consul gave us - 'counts for it!
(_Sits down, smiling._) Do you _knit_, Mrs. COTTON?... You shouldn't.
Never knit. 'Broider. (_Nodding to her, solemnly._) 'Member that.
Alwaysh _'broider_. More - (_hiccoughing_) - Oriental! Gobblesh
you! - goo'ni!

_Mrs. Linden_. I only came in to - to see NORA's costume. Now I've seen
it, I'll go. [_Goes out._

_Helmer_. Awful bore that woman - hate boresh! (_Looks at NORA, then
comes nearer._) Oh, you prillil squillikins, I _do_ love you so!
Shomehow, I feel sho lively thishevenin'!

_Nora_ (_goes to other side of table_). I won't _have_ all that,

_Helmer_. Why? ain't you my lil' lark - ain't thish our lil' cage?
Ver-_well_, then. (_A ring._) RANK! confound it all! (_Enter
Dr. RANK._) RANK, dear old boy, you've been (_hiccoughs_) going it
upstairs. Cap'tal champagne, eh? _'Shamed_ of you, RANK! [_He sits
down on sofa, and closes his eyes gently._

_Rank_. Did you notice it? (_with pride_). It was almost incredible
the amount I contrived to put away. But I shall suffer for it
to-morrow (_gloomily_). Heredity again! I wish I was dead! I do.

_Nora_. Don't apologise. TORVALD was just as bad; but he is always so
good-tempered after champagne.

_Rank_. Ah, well, I just looked in to say that I haven't long to live.
Don't weep for me, Mrs. HELMER, it's chronic - and hereditary too. Here
are my P.P.C. cards. I'm a fading flower. Can you oblige me with a

_Nora_ (_with a suppressed smile_). Certainly. Let me give you a

[_RANK lights his cigar, after several ineffectual attempts,
and goes out._

_Helmer_ (_compassionately_). Poo' old RANK - he'sh very bad
to-ni'! (_Pulls himself together._) But I forgot - Bishness - I mean,
bu-si-ness - mush be 'tended to. I'll go and see if there are any
letters. (_Goes to box._) Hallo! someone's been at the lock with a
hairpin - it's one of _your_ hairpins! [_Holding it out to her._

_Nora_ (_quickly_). Not mine - one of BOB's, or IVAR's - they both wear

_Helmer_ (_turning over letters absently_). You must break them
of it - bad habit! What a lot o' lettersh! _double_ usual quantity.
(_Opens KROGSTAD's._) By Jove! (_Reads it and falls back completely
sobered._) What have you got to say to _this_?

_Nora_ (_crying aloud._) You shan't save me - let me go! I _won't_ be

_Helmer_. Save _you_, indeed! Who's going to save _Me_? You miserable
little criminal. (_Annoyed._) Ugh - ugh!

_Nora_ (_with hardening expression_). Indeed, TORVALD, your
singing-bird acted for the best!

_Helmer_. Singing-bird! Your father was a rook - and you take _after_
him. Heredity again! You have utterly destroyed my happiness. (_Walks
round several times._) Just as I was beginning to get on, too!

_Nora_. I have - but I will go away and jump into the water.

_Helmer_. What good will _that_ do me? People will say _I_ had a hand
in this business (_bitterly_). If you _must_ forge, you might at least
put your dates in correctly! But you never _had_ any principle! (_A
ring._) The front-door bell! (_A fat letter is seen to fall into the
box; HELMER takes it, opens it, sees enclosure, and embraces NORA._)
KROGSTAD won't split. See, he returns the forged I.O.U.! Oh, my poor
little lark, _what_ you must have gone through! Come under my wing,
my little scared song-bird.... Eh? you _won't!_ Why, what's the matter

_Nora_ (_with cold calm_). I have wings of my own, thank you, TORVALD,
and I mean to use them!

_Helmer_. What - leave your pretty cage, and (_pathetically_) the old
cock bird, and the poor little innocent eggs!

_Nora_. Exactly. Sit down, and we will talk it over first. (_Slowly._)
Has it ever struck you that this is the first time you and I have ever
talked seriously together about serious things?

_Helmer_. Come, I do like that! How on earth could we talk about
serious things when your mouth was always full of macaroons?

_Nora_ (_shakes her head_). Ah, TORVALD, the mouth of a mother of a
family should have more solemn things in it than macaroons! I see
that now, too late. No, you have wronged me. So did Papa. Both of
you called me a doll, and a squirrel, and a lark! You might have made
something of me - and instead of that, you went and made too much of
me - oh, you _did_!

_Helmer_. Well, you didn't seem to object to it, and really I don't
exactly see what it is you _do_ want!

_Nora_. No more do I - that is what I have got to find out. If I had
been properly educated, I should have known better than to date

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 100, April 18, 1891 → online text (page 1 of 3)