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

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poor Papa's signature three days after he died. Now I must educate
_myself_. I have to gain experience, and get clear about religion, and
law, and things, and whether Society is right or I am - and I must go
away and never come back any more till I _am_ educated!

_Helmer_. Then you may be away some little time? And what's to become
of me and the eggs meanwhile?

_Nora_. That, TORVALD, is entirely your own affair. I have a higher
duty than that towards you and the eggs. (_Looking solemnly upward._)
I mean my duty towards Myself!

_Helmer_. And all this because - in a momentary annoyance at finding
myself in the power of a discharged Cashier who calls me "I say
TORVALD," I expressed myself with ultra-Gilbertian frankness! You talk
like a silly child!

_Nora_. Because my eyes are opened, and I see my position with the
eyes of IBSEN. I must go away at once, and begin to educate myself.

_Helmer_. May I ask how you are going to set about it?

_Nora_. Certainly. I shall begin - yes, I shall _begin_ with a course
of the Norwegian theatres. If _that_ doesn't take the frivolity out of
me, I don't really know what _will_! [_She gets her bonnet and ties it

_Helmer_. Then you are really going? And you'll never think about me
and the eggs any more! Oh, NORA!

_Nora_. Indeed, I shall, occasionally - as strangers. (_She puts on a
shawl sadly, and fetches her dressing-bag._) If I ever do come back,
the greatest miracle of all will have to happen. Good-bye! [_She goes
out through the hall; the front-door is heard to bang loudly._

_Helmer_ (_sinking on a chair_). The room empty? Then she _must_ be
gone! Yes, my little lark has flown! (_The dull sound of an unskilled
latchkey is heard trying the lock; presently the door opens, and Nora,
with a somewhat foolish expression, reappears._) What? back already!
Then you _are_ educated?

_Nora_ (_puts down dressing-bag_). No, TORVALD, not yet. Only, you
see, I found I had only threepence-halfpenny in my purse, and the
Norwegian theatres are all closed at this hour - and so I thought I
wouldn't leave the cage till to-morrow - after breakfast.

_Helmer_ (_as if to himself_). The greatest miracle of all _has_
happened. My little bird is not in the bush _just_ yet!

[_NORA takes down a showily bound dictionary from the shelf
and begins her education_; HELMER _fetches a bag of macaroons,
sits near her, and tenders one humbly. A pause. NORA
repulses it, proudly. He offers it again. She snatches at
it suddenly, still without looking at him, and nibbles it
thoughtfully as Curtain falls._

THE END (_with Mr. Punch's apologies to the Master_).

* * * * *





It may be that "Party," in the sense of a hospitable entertainment, is
an obsolete word, and that those who speak of "giving a party" prove
themselves, by the mere expression, to be fogeys whom the rushing
stream of London amusements has long since thrown up on the sandy bank
of middle age, there to grow dull and forget that their legs were
ever apt for the waltz, or their digestions able to cope with lobster
mayonnaise at 2 A.M. Yet, though he who thus speaks may not be as
smart as a swell, or as much up to date as a church-parade-goer, the
expression will serve, for it indicates comprehensively enough every
variety of entertainment known to the London Season - the dance, the
dinner, the reception, the music at home, the tea-party, and the
theatre-party, for all these in her benevolence does the Giver of
Parties offer to us, and all these does she find the world of London
eager to accept. Now it would seem, one would imagine, to be the
easiest thing in the world, if only the money be not wanting, to give
a party. A hostess, so someone may say, has but to invite her friends,
to light her rooms, to spread her tables, to set the champagne
flowing, to order an awning, and to hire music and a linkman, and the
thing is done. The result of all this will no doubt be a party - of a
sort, but of a sort far different, however gorgeous it may be, from
the splendid and widely-advertised gatherings which the genuine Giver
of Parties organises. For in the one variety it is just possible that
enjoyment may be one of the main objects sought and attained; in the
latter it is certain that enjoyment, though it is not always absent,
must yield the precedence to social success and promotion in the scale
of Society. These are the objects that the Giver of Parties, as it is
proposed to describe her, has at heart, and to their attainment she
devotes herself with a persistent and all-embracing energy which no
disappointment is capable of daunting. The envy of her friends, the
smiles and the presence of Royalty, may be hers, but there is always
some loftier height to which she must climb before she can say to
herself, "_J'y suis, j'y reste_," and be thankful.

Her life has known many changes. Her parents were county people of
good descent and position, but of a reduced income, for which they
apparently sought compensation in an increasing family, mostly
daughters. It was necessary that she should marry young, and she
submitted to necessity by accepting the proposal of a man some ten
years her senior, who had already come to be favourably spoken off for
the success of his commercial ventures. It is needless to add that all
her relations took good care to impress upon her mind the fact that
the alliance was an honour to her husband, whose wealth, even though
it might in time rival that of the ROTHSCHILDS, could never make him
fit to be mentioned in the same breath with one who numbered among her
remoter ancestors a Baron, who had fought and bled on many fields for
King CHARLES THE FIRST. However, the marriage took place in spite of
the inequality of rank, and the much-honoured husband bore his wife
with him to London, where for a time the modest comfort of a house in
distant Bayswater satisfied them. Business prospered, and money came
pouring in. The wife, who, it must be said, had undeniable beauty,
excellent manners, and the trick of intuitively adapting herself to
any society, was taken up by a great lady who happened to see her
holding a stall at a large bazaar in which the fashionable world
took some interest. Acting upon the great lady's suggestion, she was
photographed in the becoming Tyrolese peasant's costume which she
wore as a stall-holder, and the photograph was in some mysterious way
engraved in all the illustrated papers of the following week. Her name
was enshrined in paragraphs, she was observed in the Royal Enclosure
at Ascot, she was introduced to a Royal personage who was pleased to
confer upon her the distinction of his smiles, and to mention her to
the select circle of his intimates as "a very pretty, pleasant little
woman." And thus she was started upon the thorny path of ambitious

It is well known that the sacred fire of fashion burns - or is supposed
to burn - in Belgravia alone. Its warmth drew her irresistibly.
Bayswater became too cold to hold her, and early in the following
year it was announced that a large house in the purlieus of Grosvenor
Square had been purchased by her husband. However, she was content to
climb by degrees, and, in her first season of social brilliancy, she
restricted herself to a small and early dance, and a musical evening.
At the dance, universal admiration was excited by the lavish profusion
of the flowers with which her staircase was adorned, by the excellent
quality of the champagne, and the inexhaustible supply of oysters.
At the musical evening the music was as admirably rendered as it
was completely neglected. And at both parties only those people were
present as to whose social status and absolute "rightness" there could
be no question. Indeed the dancer, whose foot had been trodden upon
at the former, might console herself with the thought that none but
a noble boot had caused her pain; while at the latter the sounds of
heavy breathing, which mingled inharmoniously with Mlle. FALSETTI's
_bravura_, were forgiven, in consideration of the exalted rank of
their producer. Her success seemed now to be assured, and even the
muttered discontent of a neglected husband, who was foolish enough to
prefer comfort to smartness, began to subside. In the following year
her entertainments became even more splendid, and less comfortable.
She took a house at Ascot, and, triumph of triumphs! a scion of
Royalty deigned to accept her hospitality.

After this, one would have supposed that she might have reposed for
a space. But the penalty of social life is its never-ending necessity
for movement. Jealous rivals abound to dispute a hardly-won supremacy,
and the least sign of faltering may involve extinction. Yet it must
be said that she is kind to her own, even when she is most brilliant.
She brings out a daughter to be the delight of young Guardsmen, and
marries her to a widowed Peer; she furbishes up forgotten relations,
and allows them to shine in the rays of her glory; she is charitable
after the manner of fancy fairs, and the hospitality of her house
becomes proverbial. But, in the midst of all the bustle, the
confusion, and the rattling turmoil of her career, she sometimes sighs
for the undistinguished ease of her life in the pre-Royal days, sighs,
and returns with fresh vigour to the struggle.

And so the pleasureless days of the pleasure-seeker follow one
another, each with its particular legacy of little strivings, until,
at the last, consolation may come from the thought that there is
at least one place where there are many mansions, but no social

* * * * *

NEW PRAYER-BOOK REVISION. - Several alterations will now have to be
made in the marriage service. If it be permissible for the bride to
omit her promise "to obey," as is reported to have been the case at a
wedding last week, why should any undertaking "to love," "to honour,"
"to cherish," and so forth remain in the text? With all this left
out, a marriage, which, of course, will no longer be an ecclesiastical
rite, will hardly be a very civil ceremony. In course of time all the
promises will be made either explicitly or implicitly conditional, the
only question being what is the least possible obligation that can be
incurred by both contracting parties at the smallest possible expense.

* * * * *



_She_ (_who WILL pick up such strange expressions from the Boys_).


* * * * *


The Boy and the Bird! And the Bird looks so old; -
Scarce the species of fowl to be easily "sold," -
And the Boy is so young! It seems almost absurd
To suppose that that pinch is to capture that Bird!

An old form of chase, if the legends run right;
Like that, much akin, of the wild goose in flight.
But salt, just like chaff and the plainly spread net,
Was never regarded as promising yet.

But now? Well, the Birds of the age, like its Boys,
Its Wives, and its Weather, its Tastes and its Toys,
Have suffered a change, not a sea-change, but one
Which floors half the maxims, and spoils half the fun.

Simple SIMON? Well, that's not as clear as it looks.
The typical noodles of nursery books
Were podgy and chubby, or lanky and pale,
And - they tried to drop salt on poor dicky-bird's tail!

A fat boy in tight breeks with a palpable bait
May look a great fool; but I guess we must wait, -
Before we bemock him as crass and absurd, -
To see - what effect it will have on the Bird!

The trial's well timed, and the bait looks "not bad;"
The Boy _may_ "know his book," though he's only a lad.
Birds sometimes fall victims to Boys on the prowl,
And the Voter Bird is _not_ the wariest fowl.

The Voter Bird shortly must show what he's worth
He may be the stupidest dicky on earth,
Predestinate victim to salt-pinch or net;
But then he may _not_, - and he is "not caught _yet_!"

* * * * *

AN AUTOCRAT'S ASPIRATION. - Pan-Slavism for Holy Russia, and
Pan-Slav(e)ism for the rest of Europe.

* * * * *



_Question_. Can you tell me how long an Author has a right to the
profits arising out of his literary labours?
_Answer_. Forty-two years, or the term of his natural life plus
seven years further, whichever may be the longer.
_Q._ And should Lord MONKSWELL's Copyright Bill, which has
been read a First Time in the House of Peers, become law, will not
this right be extended to thirty years after the death of the Author?
_A._ It will, to his great advantage. The same measure contains
other valuable provisions to secure to the Author the just profit of
his brain-work.
_Q._ But will not these advantages be purchased at the price of a
loss to the general good?
_A._ Very likely - the community will suffer for the benefit of the
_Q._ In like manner a Patentee, who invents a most useful article,
enjoys (for a consideration) a monopoly of its sale, does he not?
_A._ For fourteen years. This enables him to recoup himself for
the thought and labour he has employed in the most useful article's
_Q._ If Author and Inventor were allowed an absolute monopoly of
the profits arising out of their brain-work, it would be immoral?
_A._ No doubt, as the individuals would benefit at the cost of the
_Q._ Why should a butterman, then, have an absolute right in the
sale of his butter?
_A._ Because butter is butter, and brains are merely brains.
_Q._ And would it not be for the benefit of the community if the
landowner of a freehold were deprived of his rights after a term of
years, and his holding be given to the public?
_A._ Oh dear, no! Land, as RUDYARD KIPLING would say, "is
quite another story!"

* * * * *

COUNSEL'S MOTTO (_objected to in the Committee Rooms_). - "Absence
makes the fees grow stronger."

* * * * *

[Illustration: NOT CAUGHT YET!


* * * * *


[Illustration: "Oh, I mustn't Catch the Speaker's Eye!"]

The first night of the Mixed Italian Opera Season, 1891. We open
with GLÜCK's _Orféo_, and, in a strong opera-glass, we drink to
DRURIOLANUS OPERATICUS, and say, "Here's G-luck t'you!" Nothing can
begin the season better than the appearance of GIULIA and SOFIA
RAVOGLI - specially GIULIA - "There's something 'bout GIULIA So werry
peculia'" - (_Old Song_) - in this short Opera, that is to say, an Opera
which should be short were it not for the "waits" between the Scenes
and Acts, which, as it is in the nature of weights to do, must always
make even the lightest Opera seem heavy. Mlle. GIULIA sang and acted
perfectly. Her rendering of the last song was most pathetic. This
delicious melody the audience would have had over and over again, not
in merry mood, for we are never merry in the hearing of such sweet
music, but in appreciative sympathy with the woes of _Orpheus_ so
sweetly expressed. The lines in _Bombastes_ rise in my memory: -

"So ORPHEUS sang of old, or poets lie,
And - "

On consideration, however, I will _not_ quote the remainder, but will
say simply that we were all charmed. Welcome, at the commencement of
another season, to Mlle. BAUERMEISTER, appearing as _Cupid_. To-morrow
she will be _Dame Marta_! Wonderful! "Time cannot stale her infinite
variety." How is it, O _première danseuse_, my pretty pretty Polly
Hop-kino PALLADINO, Principal Shade among all these Happy but Shady
characters, that thou didst not choose a classic dance in keeping with
the character of the music and of the ideal - I distinctly emphasise
"_ideal_" - surroundings? What oughtest thou to represent in the
Elysian Fields? A Salvationised "Dancing Girl," without bonnet and
tambourine? Nay, not so; but rather the very spirit of classic grace
and elegance, moving rhythmically to melodious measure. In such a
Scene as this ought to be, we want as much idealism as your graceful
art can lend, otherwise we are only among our old friends, "the
ladies and gentlemen of the Chorus" - bless em! - representing most
substantially the "Shades of the Blessed," who appear to be Shades
of every colour. GIULIA RAVOGLI, however, kept us entranced in the
ancient classic land where once we used to wander. "_Vive Lemprière!_"

[Illustration: Talking about Marguerite behind her Back; or, "'Tails'
out of School."]

_Second Night_. - _Faust_, with a new _Marguerite_, Gay dog, _Faust_.
How many _Marguerites_ have there been even in my time! Same old
story. _Faust_ not a whit improved by experience - going on just the
same as ever. His new _Marguerite_ does credit to his choice, for
Mlle. EAMES - (isn't she Miss EAMES, and neither Mademoiselle nor
Signora? And doesn't she hail from Columbia? - but no matter) - is a
sweet-looking _Marguerite_, with a voice as true as is her heart to
_Faust_. A genuine _Gretchen_, simple not brilliant. Brilliancy she
leaves to property diamonds, but awakes enthusiasm, by her judicious
acting over the inert body of _Valentine_, when she attempts no sudden
Colwell-Hatchney shriek, always so perilous. Signor PEROTTI looked as
_Faust_ might have done, had he been elected an Alderman of the City
of London and acted up to the character. If DRURIOLANUS had lent him
his Sheriff's chain to wear, Signor PEROTTI would have been perfect,
that is from this point of view. M. MAUREL excellent as _Mephisto_
in a new suit of clothes. He appears now as "The Gentleman in
Grey" - rather suggestive of his having become a Volunteer, and a
member, of course, of "the Devil's Own." Imagine _Mephistopheles_
re-dressed at last! On both nights Signor MANCINELLI, the Conductor,
seemed pleased, and that's something.

[Illustration: The New Faust, a mixture of Henry the Eighth and
Colonel N - - th.]

Great feature in Covent Garden this year is the decoration of the
Pit-tier Lobby. DRURIOLANUS, feeling happy at the Opera prospects, and
rejoicing in a full subscription, said to the Committee, "Gentlemen,
let's have 'glasses round'!" Some officious person, hearing this,
mistook the meaning of the great Chief, and straightway ran off and
ordered _looking-glasses all round for the Lobby!_ Grand effect!
brilliant! dazzling! - too much so, in fact; several glasses too
much. So, after a couple of nights' reflection, when the _habitués_
came on Thursday, behold, two or three of the aristocratic mirrors
or Peer-glasses had disappeared, the hat-pegs of former times had
been restored, the wounded susceptibilities of the Stall-keepers
whose occupation was partly gone, were healed, and where gloom was
spreading, wreathed smiles once more prevailed. Even now these
Opera-glasses are rather too powerful. Still, "let us see ourselves
as others see us," is a good practical motto for the loiterer in the
lobby, as he catches sight of himself, _en passant_, and wonders who
that chap is, whose face he has seen somewhere before, but whose name
he can't for the life of him recollect.

_Thursday_. - _Carmen_. Disappointed with JULIA RAVOGLI in this, though
there are some fine bits of acting in it. Didn't care much about
Sister SOFIA as _Mickie the Maiden_, M. LUBERT's _Don José_ good but
not great; and M. CELLI, who, in default of M. DEVOYOD's not being
able to appear, took the part of _Escamillo_, was great, but not very
good. He was, however, well supported by Signor RANDEGGER and the
Orchestra, and considering the difficulties he had to struggle with,
including an apology in the bills, he came out of it safely.

_Saturday_. - Re-appearance of the great DE RESZKE Brothers, JOHN and
NED (what's JOHN without an 'ed?) in _Lohengrin_. Admirable. JULIA
RAVOGLI excellent as _Ortruda_, and M. MAUREL equally so as _Freddy_.
But why did he "feather his skull," like the Jolly Young Waterman, in
so remarkable a style? However, his _Freddy_ is a feather in his cap
with which he ought to be satisfied. Miss EAMES as _Elsa_ even better
than as _Marguerite_. Crammed house. "Friends in front" more than
satisfied. Good start.

* * * * *



Oh, the early green pea! the early green pea!
Is the dish of all dishes to set before me!
You may tell me of salmon caught fresh from the Tay,
The beauties of plump white spring chicken display,
The strawberry ripened three months before date -
All these and much else you may set on my plate!
But of them, no not one, stirs such rapture in me
As the sweet, mellow taste of the Early Green Pea!

Oh, the early green pea, the pea of my taste,
Must be gently assisted, not forced in hot haste,
Lest the flavour it yield prove delusive and flat,
In no way suggesting the young Marrowfat!
But if it do this, oh what more could I wish,
Than to see a young duckling form part of the dish!
So with such a banquet spread out before me,
Can you ask why I worship the Early Green Pea!

* * * * *

IN MEMORIAM. - As a tribute expressive of the high estimation in which
the late Mr. P.T. BARNUM was held in England, why not endow a "Barnum
Exhibition" at one of the Colleges of either University? We have
"Smith's Prizeman," why not "Barnum Exhibitioner"?

* * * * *

"THE PRODIGY SON." - The three-act pantomime play at the Prince of
Wales's has "caught on," as we predicted it would. Manager SEDGER
thinks of temporarily adopting as his motto for this theatre, "Speech
is silvern, silence is golden."

* * * * *

[Illustration: THE RAIKES' PROGRESS.]

* * * * *



"Now," said the Surgeon-Field-Marshal-Commanding-in-Chief, as he
stood before his men; "I have the greatest confidence in your skill.
There is not one of you present who cannot perform an operation as
successfully as myself;" here there was a murmur of polite denial
in the ranks. "Nay, it is no flattery - I mean it. These are my last
instructions. We are few, the enemy are many. We are not only soldiers
but medical men. And as medical men it is our business to cure the
wounds that we inflict in our more strictly military capacity."

Again there was a murmur - this time of cordial approval.

"Well, Gentlemen, as we have been taught in our drill, what the first
rank breaks, the rear rank must bandage up. This would be all very
well if our numbers were told by thousands, or even hundreds, instead
of tens. But to-day we must use the bayonet rather than the lancet,
the bullet in preference to the pill." Stealthy applause followed this
observation. "But be careful. Common humanity calls upon us to do as
little damage as possible. You know your anatomy sufficiently well to
avoid inflicting a wound upon a vital part, and can so arrange that
your blows shall incapacitate rather than functionally derange. And
now, my friends, put your instrument-boxes and pharmacopoeias in your
haversacks, and draw your swords. All ready? Yes! Then, 'Up, Guards,
and at them!'"

With a wild cheer the Royal Regiment of Physicians and Surgeons (which
had recently been admitted into the Service on the footing of the
Royal Engineers) rushed forward. It was a beautiful sight to see
them performing the most delicate operations in the kindest manner
imaginable. The enemy trembled, wavered, and fled. In a moment the
Royal Regiment had put up their swords and taken out their medical
appliances. Their military duties done, and they were doctors once
again, ready to help those who demanded their semi-civilian services.
They had scarcely been engaged in this manner ten minutes when the
Surgeon-Field-Marshal-Commanding-in-Chief cantered up to them. "Men,"
he cried, "drop your surgical instruments, and draw your swords. The
enemy are again upon us! We must take their fort!"

In a moment the Royal Regiment was on the march. On their way, some of
their comrades, wounded by the foe (in a bungling fashion), appealed


Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 100, April 18, 1891 → online text (page 2 of 3)