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VOL. 102

MAY 14, 1892



I am in favour of Mr. BRYCE's Access to Mountains Bill, and of
Crofters who may be ambitious to cultivate the fertile slopes of all
the Bens in Scotland. In fact, I am in favour of anything that will,
or may, interfere with the tedious toil of Deer-stalking. Mr. BRYCE's
Bill, I am afraid, will do no good. People want Access to Mountains
when they cannot get it; when once they can, they will stay where the
beer is, and not go padding the wet and weary hoof through peat-hogs,
over rocks, and along stupid and fatiguing acclivities, rugged with
heather. Oh, preserve me from Deer-stalking; it is a sport of which I
cherish only the most sombre memories.

They may laugh, and say it was my own fault, all my misfortune on
the stalk, but a feeling reader will admit that I have merely been
unlucky. My first adventure, or misadventure if you like, was at
Cauldkail Castle, Lord GABERLUNZIE's place, which had been rented by
a man who made a fortune in patent corkscrews. The house was pretty
nearly empty, as everyone had gone south for the Leger, so it fell to
my lot to go out under the orders of the head stalker. He was a man
of six foot three, he walked like that giant of iron, TALUS his name
was, I think, who used to perambulate the shores of Crete, an early
mythical coast-guard. HUGH's step on the mountain was like that of the
red deer, and he had an eye like the eagle's of his native wastes.

[Illustration: "I had been bitten by an Adder."]

It was not pleasant, marching beside HUGH, and I was often anxious
to sit down and admire the scenery, if he would have let me. I
had no rifle of my own, but one was lent me, with all the latest
improvements, confound them! Well, we staggered through marshes, under
a blinding sun, and clambered up cliffs, and sneaked in the beds of
burns, and crawled through bogs on our stomachs. My only intervals
of repose were when HUGH lay down on his back, and explored the
surrounding regions with his field-glass. Even then I was not allowed
to smoke, and while I was baked to a blister with the sun, I was wet
through with black peat water. Never a deer could we see, or could
HUGH see, rather, for I am short-sighted, and cannot tell a stag from
a bracken bush.

At last HUGH, who was crawling some yards ahead, in an uninteresting
plain, broken by a few low round hillocks, beckoned to me to come on.
I writhed up to him, where he lay on the side of one of those mounds,
when he put the rifle in my hand, whispering "Shoot!"

"Shoot what?" said I, for my head was not yet above the crest of the
hillock. He only made a gesture, and getting my eye-glass above the
level, I saw quite a lot of deer, stags, and hinds, within fifty yards
of us. They were interested, apparently, in a party of shepherds,
walking on a road which crossed the moor at a distance, and had no
thoughts to spare for us. "Which am I to shoot?" I whispered.

"The big one, him between the two hinds to the left." I took deadly
aim, my heart beating audibly, like a rusty pump in a dry season.
My hands were shaking like aspen leaves, but I got the sight on him,
under his shoulder, and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened, I pulled
the trigger of the second barrel. Nothing occurred. "Ye have the
safety-bolts in," whispered HUGH, and he accommodated that portion of
the machinery, which I do not understand. Was all this calculated to
set a man at his ease? I took aim afresh, pulled the trigger again.
Nothing! "Ye're on half-cock," whispered HUGH, adding some remark in
Gaelic, which, of course, I did not understand. Was it my fault? It
was not my own rifle, I repeat, and the hammers, at half-cock, looked
as high as those of my gun, full-cocked.

All this conversation had aroused the attention of the deer. Off they
scuttled at full speed, and I sent a couple of bullets vaguely after
them, in the direction of a small forest of horns which went tossing
down a glade. I don't think I hit anything, and HUGH, without making
any remark, took the rifle and strode off in a new direction. I was
nearly dead with fatigue, I was wishing Mr. BRYCE and the British
Tourist my share of Access to Mountains, when we reached the crown of
a bank above a burn, which commanded a view of an opposite slope. HUGH
wriggled up till his eyes were on a level with the crest, and got his
long glass out. After some interval of time, he wakened me, to say
that if I snored like that, I would not get a shot. Then he showed
me, or tried to show me, through the glass, a stag and three hinds,
far off to our right. I did not see them, I very seldom see anything
that people point out to me, but I thought it wise to humour him, and
professed my satisfaction. Was I to shoot at them? No, they were about
half a mile off, but, if I waited, they would feed up to us, so we
waited, HUGH nudging me at intervals to keep me awake. Meanwhile I was
practising aiming at a distant rock, about the place where I expected
to get my shot, as HUGH instructed me. I thought the wretched
rifle was at half-cock, and I aimed away, very conscientiously, for
practice. Presently the rifle went off with a bang, and I saw the
dust fly on the stone I had been practising at. It had not been
at half-cock, after all; warned by my earlier misfortunes, HUGH
had handed the rifle to me cocked. The stag and the hinds were in
wild retreat at a considerable distance. I had some difficulty in
explaining to HUGH, how this accident had occurred, nor did he seem
to share my satisfaction in having hit the stone, at all events.

We began a difficult march homewards, we were about thirteen miles
now from Cauldkail Castle. HUGH still, from habit, would sit down and
take a view through that glass of his. At last he shut it up, like
WELLINGTON at Waterloo, and said, "Maybe ye'll be having a chance yet,
Sir." He then began crawling up a slope of heather, I following, like
the Prophet's donkey. He reached the top, whence he signalled that
there was a shot, and passed the rifle to me, cocked this time. I took
it, put my hand down in the heather - felt something cold and slimy,
then something astonishingly sharp and painful, and jumped to my feet
with a yell! I had been bitten by an adder, that was all! Now, was
_that_ my fault? HUGH picked up the rifle, bowled over the stag, and
then, with some consideration, applied ammonia to my finger, and made
me swallow all the whiskey we had.

It was a long business, and Dr. MACTAVISH, who was brought from a
hamlet about thirty miles away, nearly gave me up. My arm was about
three feet in circumference, and I was very ill indeed. I have not
tried Deer-stalking again; and, as I said, I wish the British Tourist
joy of his Access to Mountains.

* * * * *



Once more the North-east wind
Chills all anew,
And tips the redden'd nose
With colder blue;
Makes blackbirds hoarse as crows,
And poets too.

The town with nipping blasts
How wildly blown;
Around my hapless head
Loose tiles are thrown,
Slates, chimney-pots, and lead
Of weight unknown.

_My_ tile and chimney-pot
Flies through the air.
My eyes are full of dust,
My head is bare,
A state of things that must
Soon make me swear!

When thus in early Spring
My joys are few,
I'll warm myself at home
With "Mountain Dew,"
Or fly to Nice, or Rome,
Or Timbuctoo.

* * * * *

[Illustration: A STUDIED INSULT.

_Box-Office Keeper at the Imperial Music-Hall_ (_to Farmer Murphy, who
is in Town for the Islington Horse Show_). "BOX OR TWO STALLS, SIR?"


* * * * *


The Laureate, seeking Love's last law,
Finds "Nature red in tooth and claw
With ravin"; fierce and ruthless.
But Woman? Bard who so should sing
Of her, the sweet soft-bosomed thing,
Would he tabooed as truthless.

Yet what is this she-creature, plumed
And poised in air? Iris-illumed,
She gleams, in borrowed glory,
A portent of modernity,
Out-marvelling strangest phantasy
That chequered classic story.

Fair-locked and winged. So HESIOD drew
The legendary Harpy crew,
The "Spoilers" of old fable;
Maidens, yet monsters, woman-faced,
With iron hearts that had disgraced
The slaughterer of ABEL.

Chimæra dire! The Sirens three,
Ulysses shunned were such as she,
Though robed in simpler raiment.
Is there no modern Nemesis
To deal out to such ghouls as this
Just destiny's repayment?

O modish Moloch of the air!
The eagle swooping from his lair
On bird-world's lesser creatures,
Is spoiler less intent to slay
Than this unsparing Bird of Prey,
With Woman's form and features.

Woman? We know her slavish thrall
To the strange sway despotical
Of that strong figment, Fashion;
But is there nought in _this_ to move
The being born for grace and love
To shamed rebellious passion?

'Tis a she-shape by Mode arrayed!
The dove that coos in verdant shade,
The lark that shrills in ether,
The humming-bird with jewelled wings, -
Ten thousand tiny songful things
Have lent her plume and feather.

They die in hordes that she may fly,
A glittering horror, through the sky.
Their voices, hushed in anguish,
Find no soft echoes in her ears,
Or the vile trade in pangs and fears
Her whims support would languish.

What cares she that those wings were torn
From shuddering things, of plumage shorn
To make _her_ plumes imposing?
That when - for _her_ - bird-mothers die,
Their broods in long-drawn agony
Their eyes - for _her_ - are closing?

What cares she that the woods, bereft
Of feathered denizens, are left
To swarming insect scourges?
On Woman's heart, when once made hard
By Fashion, Pity's gentlest bard
Love's plea all vainly urges.

A Harpy, she, a Bird of Prey,
Who on her slaughtering skyey way,
Beak-striketh and claw-clutcheth.
But Ladies who own not her sway,
_Will_ you not lift white hands to stay
The shameless slaughter which to-day
Your sex's honour toucheth?

* * * * *



Woman's world's a stage,
And modern women will be ill-cast players;
They'll have new exits and strange entrances,
And one She will play many mannish parts,
And these her Seven Ages. First the infant
"Grinding" and "sapping" in its mother's arms,
And then the pinched High-School girl, with packed satchel,
And worn anæmic face, creeping like cripple
Short-sightedly to school. Then the "free-lover,"
Mouthing out IBSEN, or some cynic ballad
Made against matrimony. Then a spouter,
Full of long words and windy; a wire-puller,
Jealous of office, fond of platform-posing,
Seeking that bubble She-enfranchisement
E'en with abusive mouth. Then County-Councillor,
Her meagre bosom shrunk and harshly lined,
Full of "land-laws" and "unearned increment";
Or playing M.P. part. The sixth age shifts
Into the withered sour She-pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and "Gamp" at side,
Her azure hose, well-darned, a world too wide
For her shrunk shanks; her once sweet woman's voice,
Verjuiced to Virgin-vinegarishness,
Grates harshly in its sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange new-fangled history,
Is sheer unwomanliness, mere sex-negation -
Sans love, sans charm, sans grace, sans everything.

* * * * *

[Illustration: A BIRD OF PREY.]

[Despite the laudable endeavours of "The Society for the Protection
of Birds," the harpy Fashion appears still, and even increasingly,
to make endless holocausts of small fowl for the furnishing forth of
"feather trimmings" for the fair sex. We are told that to obtain the
delicate and beautiful spiral plume called the "Osprey," the old birds
"are killed off in scores, while employed in feeding their young, who
are left to starve to death in their nests by hundreds." Their dying
cries are described as "heartrending." But they evidently do not rend
the hearts of our fashionable ladies, or induce them to rend their
much-beplumed garments. Thirty thousand black partridges have been
killed in certain Indian provinces in a few days' time to supply the
European demand for their skins. One dealer in London is said to have
received, as a single consignment, 32,000 dead humming-birds, 80,000
aquatic birds, and 800,000 pairs of wings. We are told too that often
"after the birds are shot down, the wings are wrenched off during
life, and the mangled bird is left to die slowly of wounds, thirst,
and starvation."]

* * * * *



_The Gallery is crowded, and there is the peculiar buzz in the
air that denotes popular interest and curiosity. The majority
of the visitors are of the feminine sex, and appear to have
come up from semi-detached villas in the less fashionable
suburbs; but there is also a sprinkling of smart and Superior
Persons, prosperous City Merchants, who regard pictures with
respect, as a paying investment, young Commercial Men, whose
feeling for Art is not precisely passionate, but who have
turned in to pass the time, and because the Exhibition is
gratuitous, earnest Youths with long hair, soft hats, and
caped ulsters, &c., &c._


[Illustration: "Earnest youths with long hair."]

_First Villa Resident_ (_appreciatively_). Such a _death-like_
expression, isn't it?

_Second Ditto, Ditto_. Yes, _indeed_! And _how_ beautifully her halo's

_Third Ditto, Ditto_. Will those two men on the bank be the
executioners, should you think?

_Fourth Ditto, Ditto_ (_doubtfully_). It says in the Catalogue that
they're two Christians.

_An Intelligent Child_. Then why don't they jump in and pull her out,
Mother? [_The Child is reproved._

_A Languid Young Lady_. Is that intended for _Opheliah_?

[_The rest regard her with shocked disapproval, mingled with
pity, before passing on._


_First Matter-of-Fact Person_. They're just come back from the
funeral, I _expect_.

_Second Ditto, Ditto_. I shouldn't wonder. (_Feels bound to show that
she too can be observant._) Yes, they're all in mourning - even the
servant. Do you see the black ribbon in her cap? I _do_ like that.

_An Irrelevant Person_. It's just a _little_ melancholy, though, don't
you think? - which reminds me - _how_ much did you say that jet trimming
was a yard - nine pence three-farthings?

_Her Friend_. Nine pence halfpenny at the shop in St. Paul's
Churchyard. The child has her frock open at the top behind, you
see - evidently a _poor_ family!

_The I.P._ Yes, and the workbasket with the reels of cotton and all.
(_Looking suddenly down_.) Don't you call this a handsome carpet?

_A Frivolous Frenchman_ (_fresh from 'The Casual Ward' and 'The
Martyr' to his companion_). Tenez, mon cher, encore des choses gaies!

[_He passes on with a shrug._]

_A Good Young Man with a train of three Maiden Aunts in tow_ (_halting
them before a picture of_ SIR J. NOEL PATON's). Now you ought to look
at this one.

[_They inspect it with docility. It represents a Knight in
armour riding through a forest and surrounded by seductive

_First Maiden Aunt_. Is that a guitar one of those girls is playing,
or what?

_Second Ditto, Ditto_. A mandolin more likely; it looks like
mother-o'-pearl - is it supposed to be King ARTHUR, and are they
fairies or angels, ROBERT?

_The G.Y.M._ (_a little at sea himself_). "_Oskold and the
Ellé-maids_," the _title_ is.

_Third Aunt_. Scolding the Elements! _Who's_ scolding them, ROBERT?

_Robert_ (_in her ear_). "_Oskold and the Ellé_-maids!" it's a
_Scandinavian_ legend, Aunt TABITHA,

_Aunt Tabitha_ (_severely_). Then it's a pity they can't find better
subjects to paint, in _my_ opinion! (_They move on to_ Mr. PETTIE's
"_Musician_.") Dear me, that young man looks dreadfully poorly, to be

_Robert_ (_loudly_). He's not _poorly_, Aunt; he's a _Musician_ - he's
supposed to be (_quoting from Catalogue_) "thinking out a composition,
imagining an orchestral effect, with the occasional help of an organ."

_First Aunt_. I see the organ plain enough - but where's the orchestral

_Robert_. Well, you _wouldn't_ see that, you know, he only _imagines_

_Second Aunt_. Oh, yes, I _see_. Subject to _delusions_, poor man! I
_thought_ he looked as if he wanted someone to look after him.

_First Loyal Old Lady_ (_reading from Catalogue_). "No. 35. 'Lent by
Her Majesty the QUEEN.'"

_Second Ditto, Ditto_. Lent by HER MAJESTY, my dear! Oh, I don't want
to miss _that_ - which is it - where?

[_She prepares herself to regard it with a special and
reverent interest._


_Matter-of-Fact Person_ (_to her Irrelevant Friend_). Here's a
Millais, you see. _Ophelia_ drowning herself.

_The Irrelevant Friend_ (_who doesn't approve of suicide_). Yes,
dear, very peculiar - but I don't quite _like_ it, I must say. Do you
remember whether I told SARAH to put out the fiddle-pattern forks and
the best cruetstand before I came away? Dear Mr. HOMERTON is coming in
to supper to-night, and I want everything to be _nice_ for him.

_The Good Young Man_. There's _Ophelia again_, you see. (_Searches
for an appropriate remark._) She - ah - evidently understood the art of

_First Aunt_. She looks almost too _comfortable_ in the water, _I_
think. Her mouth's open, as if she was singing.

_Second Aunt_ (_extenuatingly_). Yes - but those wild roses are very
naturally done - and so are her teeth.

_A Discriminating Person_. I like it all but the _figure_.

_A Well-informed Person_. There's the "_Dream of Dante_," d'ye see?
No mistaking the figure of DANTE. Here he is, down below, _having_ his
dream - that's the dream in that cloud - and up above you get the dream
done life-size - queer sort of idea, isn't it?

_A Ponderous Person_ (_finding himself in front of "The Vale of
Rest"_). Ha! - what are those two Nuns up to?

_His Companion_. Digging their own graves, I think.

_The Pond. P._ (_with a supreme mental effort_). Oh, _Cremation_, eh?

[_Goes out, conceiving that he has sacrificed at the shrine of
Art sufficiently for one afternoon._

_Young Discount_ (_to Young TURNOVER - before "Claudio and
Isabella"_). Something out of SHAKSPEARE here, you see.

_Young Turnover_. Yairss. (_Giving Claudio a perfunctory attention_.)
Wants his hair raking, don't he? Not much in _my_ line, this sort of

_Young Disc._ Nor yet mine - takes too much time making it _out_,
y'know. _This_ ain't bad - "_Venetian Washerwomen_" - is that the way
they get up linen over there?

_Young Turn._ (_who has "done" Italy_) Pretty much. (_By way of excuse
for them_.) They're very _al fresco_ out in those parts, y' know.
Here's a Market-place in Italy, next to it. Yes, that's just like they
are. They bring out all those old umbrellas and stalls and baskets
twice a-week, and clear 'em all off again next day, so that you'd
hardly know they'd _been_ there!

_Young Disc._ (_intelligently_). I see. After Yarmouth style.

_Young Turn._ Well, _something_ that way - only rather different
_style_, y' know.


_An Appreciative Lady_. Ah! yes, it is wonderfully painted! _Isn't_ it
lovely the way that figured silk is done? You can hardly tell it isn't
real, and the plush coat he's wearing; such an exquisite shade of
violet, and the ivy-leaves, and the nasturtiums and the old red brick;
yes, it's _very_ beautiful - and _yet_, do you know, (_meditatively_) I
almost think it's prettier in the _engravings_!


_A Fiancé_. This is the "_Wheel of Fortune_," EMILY, you see.
(_Reads._) "Sad, but inexorable, the fateful figure turns the wheel.
The sceptred King, once uppermost, is now beneath his Slave ... while
beneath the King is seen the laurelled head of the Poet."

_His Fiancée_ (_who would be charming if she would not try - against
Nature - to be funny_.) It's a kind of giddy-go-round then, I
suppose; or is it BURNE-JONES's idea of a revolution - don't you
see - _revolving_?

_Fiancé_ (_who makes a practice - even already - of discouraging these
sallies_.) It's only an allegorical way of representing that the
Slave's turn has come to triumph.

_Fiancée_. Well, I don't see that he has much to _triumph_ about - he's
tied on like the rest of them, and it must be just as uncomfortable on
the top of that wheel as the bottom.

[_Her Fiancé recognises that allegory is thrown away upon
her, and proposes to take her into the Hall and show her Gog
and Magog._

_A Niece_ (_to an Impenetrable Relative - whom she plants, like a heavy
piece of ordnance, in front of a particular canvas_). There, Aunt,
what do you think of _that_ now?

_The Aunt_ (_after solemnly staring at it with a conscientious effort
to take it in._) Well, my dear, I must say it - it's very 'ighly
varnished. [_She is taken home as hopeless._

* * * * *


A splendid hand is just now held by Mr. ARTHUR CHUDLEIGH, Sole Lessee
and Manager of the Court Theatre. Full of trumps, honours and odd
tricks. A perfect entertainment in three pieces. You pay your money
and you take your choice. You can come in at 8:15 and see _The
New Sub_, by SEYMOUR HICKS (Brayvo, 'ICKS! and may your success be
Hickstraordinary!) or at 9:15 for W.S. GILBERT's _Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern_, or at 10 for _A Pantomime Rehearsal_, which, as I
remarked long ago on seeing it for the first time, might last for ever
if only judiciously refreshed, say once in every three months, and on
this plan it might continue until it should be played in 1992 by the
great-great-grandchildren of the members of the present company.

There is one charming line in the bill - a bill which, on account of
its colour, must be "taken as red" - not to be missed by visitors. It
comes immediately after the cast of _The New Sub_; it is this, - "_The
Uniforms by Messrs. Nathan, Coventry Street_." It has a line all
to itself, which is, most appropriately, "a thin red line." Now the
officers in the programme are given as belonging to the "_ - - shire
Regiment_" i.e., Blankshire Regiment, but as they are all wearing the
Nathan uniform, why not describe them as officers of the Nathanshire
Regiment? Perhaps such a title might be more suggestive of Sheriff's
Officers than of those belonging to Her Majesty's Army; yet, as these
gallant _Dramatis Personæ_ are avowedly wearing NATHAN's uniform
(which may they never, never disgrace!) why should they not bear the
proud title of "The First Royal Coventry Street Costumiers"? Let those
most concerned see to it: our advice is gratis, and, at that price,

[Illustration: TWO TRUMPS.

Brandon Thomas plays the King. Gertrude Queen-and-Kingston.]

9:15. _Rosencrantz and Guildenstern_. Excellent piece of genuine fun.
If Mr. W.S. GILBERT could be induced to add to it, I am sure it would
stand an extension of ten minutes to allow _Hamlet_ to return and have
a grand combat with the King, and then for all the characters to be
poisoned by mistake, and so to end happily.

To everyone who does not look upon SHAKSPEARE's work as "Holy Writ,"
the question must have occurred, why did the Divine WILLIAMS put his
excellent rules and regulations for play-actors into the mouth of a
noble amateur addressing distinguished members of "_the_ Profession"?
Imagine some royal or noble personage telling HENRY IRVING how to play

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 102, May 14, 1892 → online text (page 1 of 3)