Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 99, August 16, 1890 online

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Three days afterwards there came a scrubby little roll of paper, with
a halfpenny stamp on it. I saw the magic letters U.A.C.P. upon it, and
tore it open. It contained a newspaper cutting, which nothing but my
desire to be truthful would force me to publish. But here it is: - "The
stuff that is palmed off upon a hapless public by aspiring idiots, who
are vain enough to imagine that they are novelists, is astounding.
The latest of these is a certain WILLIAM WHORBOYS, whose book, _The
Foundling's Farewell_, is remarkable only for its ungrammatical
dulness, &c, &c." The next post brought me the same cutting, sent
gratuitously, out of spite, I suppose, by the two Extract Companies to
whom I had preferred the U.A.C.P., and from four others who desired
my custom. During the following week not a day passed without the
receipt of that accursed cutting from some new extract company. Since
then I have waited some months, but nothing more has appeared. My
subscription, I find, has only a year to run. The question is, what
can I do? My life has been blighted by the U.A.C.P., poisoned by "The
Universal Notice-Mongers," and the cup of happiness has been dashed
from my lips by "The British Cutting Company (Limited)."

I know I am not alone in this. My friend HARTVIG, who is an actor, has
been similarly treated. He gets all the insulting notices of his great
performances with extraordinary regularity, but never a favourable
one. BUNCOMBE, who is standing for Parliament, receives bushels of
extracts from the local Radical paper, he being a Tory Democrat.
We intend to combine and do something desperate. Is there not some
method of winding up Companies, or putting them into liquidation, or
appointing receivers? Pray let me know, and oblige yours in misery,


_Author of "The Foundling's Farewell."_

* * * * *

[Illustration: "HAD ENOUGH OF IT."


* * * * *


_Monday_. - We hear, from a source which cannot possibly be mistaken,
that a _thorough reconstruction of the Cabinet_ is imminent. Mr.
SM-TH goes at once to the Upper House. Mr. B-LF-R becomes First Lord,
and Leader of the Commons. A position will be found for Mr. G-SCH-N
somewhere on the Gold Coast, and thus room will be made for Lord
R-ND-LPH CH-RCH-LL, whose popularity in official Conservative circles
is undiminished. Lord H-RT-NGT-N will probably not become Prime
Minister just yet.

_Tuesday_. - Since yesterday, some slight modifications in Ministerial
arrangements have been made. Mr. SM-TH, for example, does not go to
the House of Lords, nor Mr. G-SCH-N to the Gold Coast. Moreover, no
attempt has been made to induce Lord R-ND-LPH to enter the Cabinet,
and Mr. B-LF-R is not to be Leader of the House. Otherwise, the
rumoured reconstruction was quite correct. Lord H-RT-NGT-N'S
acceptance of the post of Prime Minister is considered to be merely
a matter of time.

_Wednesday_. - No fresh reconstruction is announced to-day, as
Ministers are mostly out of Town. Lord H-RT-NGT-N declines to be
interviewed on the subject of the Premiership.

_Thursday_. - An entirely fresh readjustment of Ministerial forces
is on the _tapis_. Great excitement prevails at Westminster. Nobody
exactly knows why, but it is expected that substitutes will be found
for Mr. G-SCH-N, Mr. SM-TH, Mr. B-LF-R, Mr. M-TTH-WS, Mr. R-TCH-E, and
Lord H-LSB-RY. Lord H-RT-NGT-N is said to have referred all persons
who questioned him about his acceptance of the Premiership, to Lord

_Friday_. - Mr. M-TTH-WS has been offered the Governorship of Madras,
and has declined. He has been sounded as to whether he would accept
the High Commissionership of the unexplored parts of Central Africa,
and has replied evasively. Two prominent Members of the Cabinet are
said not to be on speaking terms, and are practising the dumb alphabet
in consequence. It is positively asserted, that the Lord Advocate will
be the next Leader of the House of Commons. Lord H-RT-NGT-N'S chances
of the Premiership have not improved.

_Saturday_. - A total and absolutely fresh reconstruction of the
Cabinet, giving everybody a new place, and every place a new holder,
is expected immediately. Details will follow shortly. For the
present Lord H-RT-NGT-N remains outside the Cabinet, and has gone
to Newmarket.

* * * * *


We have often been asked how we contrive to put together every week
the delightful paragraphs which appear in this column. The system is
really wonderfully easy, and, with proper instruction, a child could
do it. The first point is to select an item of intelligence about
which few people care to hear. This must be spun out very thin and
long, and adorned with easy extracts from TUPPER, the copy-books, or
Mr. W.H. SMITH'S speeches. Then wrap it up in a blanket of humour,
sprinkle with fatuousness, and serve cold.

* * * * *

For instance, you hear that grey frock-coats are very much worn. On
the system indicated above you proceed as follows: - It is curious to
observe how from year to year the customs and fashions of men with
regard to their wearing apparel change. Last year black frock coats
were _de rigueur_. This year, we are informed by a Correspondent who
has special opportunities of knowing what he is writing about, various
shades of grey have driven out the black. No doubt it is every man's
duty to himself and his neighbours to array himself becomingly,
according to the fashion of the hour, but we are inclined to doubt
the wisdom of this latest move. It is often said, that the grey mare
is the better horse, but when the horse itself has a grey coat, the
proverb seems inapplicable.

* * * * *

The rest of the space allotted can be filled with political gossip
and personal items, with here and there some inspired twaddle about
foreign personages, of whom no one has ever heard before or desires to
hear again.

* * * * *

We beg to state that we offer this information gratis to all intending
journalists. If they follow our system they _must_ succeed.

* * * * *

"SAY!" - Speaking of the relations between England and France in
Africa, and of the proposed Bill for a Sahara railway, connecting
Algeria with Lake Tchad, the _Times_' Paris Correspondent
says: - "England, it is explained, agrees not to go beyond Say, on the
Niger." This sounds ominous. It was Lord GRANVILLE'S indisposition
to go beyond "Say" (and to shrink when it came to "Do") which got
us into hot water in Africa before. _Mr. Punch_ hopes, despite this
disquieting sentence, that Lord SALISBURY, after his excellent speech
at the Mansion House, is unlikely to fall into the same fatal error.

* * * * *



_House of Commons, Monday, August_ 4. - GEORGE CAMPBELL been with us
many Sessions; heard and seen a good deal of him, but really seems
only now to be coming out. Has taken up the Police Bill, "and I
wish," says HENRY MATTHEWS, _sotto voce_, "the Police would in return
take _him_ up." GEORGE literally overwhelms the place, breaks out
everywhere; began at earliest moment with question of precedence.
Cardinal MANNING been granted precedence on certain Royal Commissions.
"Why should the Cardinal be thus honoured?" GEORGE wants to know.
"There is the Moderator of the Scotch Free Church. Why shouldn't he,
too, have princely rank?"

The Campbell is speaking, oh dear, oh dear!
The Campbell is speaking, oh dear, oh dear!
And nobody ever cries, "Hear, hear, hear!"
When the Campbell is speaking! Oh dear, oh dear!]

LORD ADVOCATE snubs CAMPBELL, and he momentarily resumes his seat.
Ten minutes later shrill cry of pibroch heard again. Everyone knows
that CAMPBELL is coming, and here he is, tall, gaunt, keen-faced,
shrill-voiced, wanting to know at the top of it which of HER MAJESTY'S
Ministers advises HER MAJESTY on questions of precedence?

"There is," said GORST, reflectively gazing on his manly form, "one
precedence we would all concede to CAMPBELL. We would gladly write on
the bench where he usually sits -

'Not lost, but gone before.'"


On reading the Parliamentary report in Wednesday's _Times_.

"_Mr. W.H. Smith_. I asked my colleagues near me whether they had seen
or read the publication - (Mr. A.C. Swinburne's poem about Russia) and
none of them had."

"And this," exclaimed Algernon Charles Swinburne, the poet, "_this_ is

But which _is_ his seat? Usually the lank form and the shrill voice
simultaneously uprise from the middle of the second Bench behind Mr.
G.; but GEORGE has a little way of pleasantly surprising the House.
Members looking across see this Bench empty. "Ah! ah!" they say to
themselves, "the CAMPBELLS are gone. Now we'll have a few minutes'
peace and get on with business." Suddenly, _à propos_ of anything that
may be going on, or of nothing at all, the unmistakeable voice breaks
on the ear from under the shadow of the Gallery, from the corner of
the Bench, sometimes from below the Gangway, and a deep low groan
makes answer. Again a little while and this seat is vacated; the
Minister in charge of Bill, looking hastily round, flatters himself
that CAMPBELL really has gone, when lo! from some other remote and
unfrequented spot the terrible cry is uplifted, and, without looking
up, men know CAMPBELL is making his fifteenth speech.

"On the whole," says PLUNKET, "I'm not sure that the habits of POE'S
raven were not less irritating. It is true that on its first arrival
it hopped about the floor, wherein it resembles our honourable friend;
but afterwards, having once perched upon the pallid bust of Pallas, it
was good enough to remain there. Bad enough, I admit; but surely that
situation preferable to ours, not knowing from moment to moment from
what particular quarter CAMPBELL may next present himself."

_Business done._ - Police Bill obstructed.

_Tuesday_. - HANBURY came down to-day full of virtuous resolution and
stern resolve. Privileges of House of Commons have been struck at,
and through him; DARTMOUTH, Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire, has
been writing things in the papers; rebukes HANBURY, "as a Magistrate
for Staffordshire," for having made certain speech in. Commons
about Grenadier Guards. HANBURY hitherto said nothing in public on
the matter; has been in communication with DARTMOUTH by post and
telegram; has boldly vindicated privileges of Commons; has brought the
insolent Lord Lieutenant to his knees; but till this moment has made
no public reference to the part he played. Has borne, unsoothed by
companionship, the sorrow of the House of Commons.

Now hour has struck; he may come to the front, and, with habitual
modesty of men, indicate rather than describe the imperishable service
he has done the Commons. House, all unconscious of what is in store
for it, wantons at play. Innumerable questions on paper. SUMMERS
coming up fresh with batch of new conundrums. PATRICK O'BRIEN "having
had his attention called" to some verses by SWINBURNE, proposes
to read them. House wickedly delighted at prospect of SWINBURNE
being haltingly declaimed with North Tipperary accent localised by
companionship with the Town Commissioners of Nenagh; SPEAKER thinks
it might be funny, but wouldn't be business; so PATRICK: having begun,
"Night brings but one red star - Tyrannicide," is sternly pulled up.
OLD MORALITY says he's never seen "the publication;" has asked friends
near him, and everyone says he has neither seen, heard, nor read of
it. "The House," says the SPEAKER, by way of crushing ignominy, "has
no control over the poet SWINBURNE."



So House deprived of its anticipated lark; all the while HANBURY,
with hands in pockets, sits staring gloomily forth, rather pitying
than resentful. House of course does not know what is in store
for it; still this trifling at the very moment when, though all
inconspicuously, the Commons have been saved from contumelious
outrage, racks the soul that carries with it the momentous secret.

At last HANBURY'S opportunity comes! Rises slowly, solemnly, to
full height; in deep base tones, asks permission to make personal
statement. House instantly alert, and attentive; baulked of its fun
with PATRICK, here is promise of fresh larks. HANBURY, his profound
base notes sometimes trembling with emotion, proceeds to unfold his
story; reads long letter from Dartmouth; Members, discovering that
the portentous business relates to some trumpery correspondence in the
newspapers, begin to cough, shuffle their feet, and even cry "Agreed!"
HANBURY stops aghast. Can it be possible? When he has been vindicating
privileges of Commons, can Members thus lightly treat incident? But
he will read them another letter, one he wrote to Lord DARTMOUTH.
Anguished roar burst forth from House; louder cries of "Agreed!
Agreed!" HANBURY, gasping for breath, looks round from side to side.
They cannot understand; will read them another letter; begins; storm
increases; HANBURY persists. Surely House will be delighted to hear
his final rejoinder to DARTMOUTH? On the contrary, House will have no
more; and HANBURY, pained and panting, resumes his seat, and business
goes forward as if he had not interposed.

_Business done._ - A sudden rush. All contentious Bills through final

_Saturday_. - Session suddenly collapsed. "Like over-ripe tree,"
says Prince ARTHUR, dropping into poetry, "the fruit has fallen in a
night." Benches nearly empty; Votes passing in basketsful; prorogue
next week; to-day, practically, last working time. OLD MORALITY just
come in, in serge suit; left his straw hat in his room; off shortly
on cruise in _Pandora_; already shipped store of nautical phrases.
Putting his open hand to the side of his mouth, he (when GEORGE
CAMPBELL was making one of his last speeches), shouted out, "Belay
there!" SPEAKER pointed out that this was not Parliamentary phrase.
If Right Hon. Gentleman wanted to move the Closure, he should do so in
the form provided. OLD MORALITY, standing up, hitching his trousers
at the belt, scraping his right foot behind him, and pulling his
forelock, retorted -

"I ask your honour's pardon; but these lubbers are so long-winded."
"Order! Order!" said SPEAKER.

Said good-bye, wishing him luck on the voyage; at parting pressed on
my acceptance a little book; found it a copy of the Golden Treasury
Edition of Sir THOMAS BROWN'S _Religio Medici_; page 167 turned down;
passage marked; read these words: -

"Though vicious times invert the opinions of things and set up a new
ethics against virtue, _yet hold thou fast to_ OLD MORALITY."

"I will," I said; and pressing his hand sheered off.

_Business done._ - All.

* * * * *


INVALID TOURING OPPORTUNITY. - Your idea of personally conducting
a party of paralytics, cripples, and other helpless invalids on a
"flying Continental trip," in which you propose including visits to
all the recognised "Cures," either by baths or drinking waters in
Europe, strikes us as quite admirable, and the further advantages you
offer in the shape of your being accompanied by six Bath-chairs, a
donkey, a massage doctor, a galvanising machine, fire-escape, and
a hearse, seem to meet the demands of the most nervous and exacting
patients more than half way. Your provision, too, for the recreation
of your party - such an important consideration where the nerves have
been shattered and the health feeble - by the engagement of a Learned
Musical and Calculating Pig, and a couple of Ethiopian Pashas, who
can munch and swallow half-a-dozen wine-glasses, and, if requested,
remove their eye-balls, seems to offer a prospect of many an evening's
startling and even boisterous amusement; and if the Pig should have
been palmed off on you by fraud, you not having found it able to
"calculate" at all, or even select with its snout a number _not
previously fastened to a piece of onion_, though assisted in its
selection, according to the directions, "with a smart prod with a
carving-fork," there still, as you truly say, remains the alternative
of disposing of it advantageously to some German sausage-maker. As to
the Ethiopian Pashas, if their feats, as is just possible, shock and
horrify, rather than divert and amuse your invalid audience, you can,
as you suggest, easily leave them behind on your way, in settlement
of one of your largest hotel bills. Let us know when you start. Your
"half-dozen paralytics" being let down in a horse-box by a crane on to
the boat, ought to create quite a sensation, and we shall certainly be
on the look-out for it.

* * * * *

NOTICE. - Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS.,
Printed Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no
case be returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed
Envelope, Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.

* * * * *

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 99, August 16, 1890 → online text (page 3 of 3)