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PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 99.



November 8, 1890.




MR. PUNCH'S PRIZE NOVELS.

NO. V. - MIGNON'S MESS-ROOM.

(_BY_ TOM RUM SUMMER, _AUTHOR OF "MIGNON'S MA," "MIGNON'S HUB,"
"FOOTLE'S FATHER," "TOOTLE'S TOOTSIE," "UGLY TOM," "YOUR RICH
RICHARD," "A BABY IN BARRACKS," "STUCK," "HOOP-LORE," "WENT FOR THAT
PLEECEMAN," &C., &C., &C., &C., &C., &C., &C., &C._)

["This," writes the eminent Author, "is a _real, true_ story
of the life of soldiers and children. Soldiers are _grand,
noble_ fellows. They are so _manly_, and all smoke a great
deal of tobacco. My drawl is the only genuine one. I could do
a lot more of the same sort, but I charge extra for pathos.
I'm a man. - T.R.S."]

CHAPTER I.

"Three blind mice -
See how they run."
- _Old Song_,

The Officers of the Purple Dragoons were gathered together in their
ante-room. It was a way they had. They were all there. Grand fellows,
too, most of them - tall, broad-shouldered, and silky-haired, and as
good as gold. That gets tiresome after a time, but everything can be
set right with one downright rascally villain - a villain, mind you,
that poor, weak women, know nothing about. GAVOR was that kind of man.
Of course that was why he was to break his neck, and get smashed up
generally. But I am anticipating, and a man should never anticipate.
EMILY, for instance, never did. EMILY - Captain EMILY, of the Purple
Dragoons - was the biggest fool in the Service. Everybody told him so;
and EMILY, who had a trustful, loving nature, always believed what he
was told.

[Illustration]

"I nev-ah twry," he used to say - it was a difficult word to pronounce,
but EMILY always stuck to it as only a soldier can. and got it out
somehow - "I nev-ah twry to wremember things the wwrong way wround."

A roar of laughter greeted this sally. They all knew he meant
"anticipate," but they all loved their EMILY far too well to set him
right.

"'Pon my soul," he continued, "it's quite twrue. You fellows may
wroawr wiv laughtewr if you like, but it's twrue, and you know it's
twrne."

There was another explosion of what EMILY would have called
"mewrwriment," at this, for it was well-known to be one of the
gallant dragoon's most humorous efforts. A somewhat protracted silence
followed. FOOTLES, however, took it in both hands, and broke it with
no greater emotion than he would have shown if he had been called
upon to charge a whole squadron of Leicestershire Bullfinches, or
to command a Lord Mayor's escort on the 9th of November. Dear old
FOOTLES! He wasn't clever, no Purple Dragoon could be, but he wasn't
the biggest fool in the Service, like EMILY, and all the rest of them.
Still he loved another's.

In fact, whenever a Purple Dragoon fell in love, the object of his
affections immediately pretended to love someone else. Hard lines, but
soldiers were born to suffer. It is so easy, so true, so usual to say,
"there's another day to-morrow," but that never helped even a Purple
Dragoon to worry through to-day any the quicker. Poor, brave, noble,
drawling, manly, pipe-smoking fellows! On this particular occasion
FOOTLES uttered only one word. It was short, and began with the
fourth letter of the alphabet. But he may be pardoned, for some of the
glowing embers from his magnificent briar-wood pipe had dropped on to
his regulation overalls. The result was painful - to FOOTLES. All the
others laughed as well as they could, with clays, meerschaums, briars,
and asbestos pipes in their mouths. And through the thick cloud of
scented smoke the mess-waiter came into the room, bearing in his hand
a large registered letter, and coughing violently.

CHAPTER II.

"The mouse ran up the clock."
- _Nursery Rhyme_.

The waiter advanced slowly to FOOTLES, and handed him the letter.
FOOTLES took it meditatively, and turned it over in both hands. The
post-marks were illegible, and the envelope much crumpled. "Never
mind," thought FOOTLES, to himself, "it will dry straight - it will
dry straight." He always thought this twice, because it was one of his
favourite phrases. At last he decided to open it. As he broke the seal
a little cry was heard, and suddenly, before even EMILY had had time
to say "I nev-ah!" a charming and beautifully dressed girl, of about
fifteen summers, sprang lightly from the packet on to the mess-room
floor, and kissed her pretty little hand to the astonished Dragoons.

"You're FOOTLES," she said, skipping up to the thunder-stricken owner
of the name. "I know you very well. I'm going to be your daughter,
and you're going to marry my mother. Oh, it's all right," she
continued, as she observed FOOTLES press his right hand convulsively
to the precise spot on his gorgeous mess-waistcoat under which he
imagined his heart to be situated, "it's all right. Pa's going to
be comfortably killed, and put out of the way, and then you'll
marry darling Mamma. She'll be a thousand times more beautiful at
thirty-three than she was at twenty-two, and _ever_ so much more
lovely at fifty-five than at thirty-three. So it's a good bargain,
isn't it, EM?" This to EMILY, who appeared confused. She trotted up
to him, and laid her soft blooming cheek against his blooming hard
one. "Never mind, EM," she lisped, "everything is bound to come out
right. I've settled it all" - this with a triumphant look on her
baby-face - "with the author; such a splendid writer, none of your
twaddling women-scribblers, but a real man, and a great friend of
mine. I'm to marry you, EM. You don't know it, because you once loved
NAOMI, who 'mawrwried the Wrevewrend SOLOMON'" - at this point most
of the Purple Dragoons were rude enough to yawn openly. She paid no
attention to them - "and now you love OLIVE, but she loves PARKACK,
and he doesn't love her, so she has got to marry PARKOSS, whom she
doesn't love. Their initials are the same, and everybody knows their
caligraphy is exactly alike," she went on wearily, "so that's how the
mistake arose. It's a bit far-fetched, but," and her arch smile as she
said this would have melted a harder heart than Captain EMILY's, "we
mustn't be too particular in a soldier's tale, you know."

As she concluded her remarks the door opened, and Colonel PURSER
entered the room.

CHAPTER III.

"Pat a cake, pat a cake, baker's man."
- _Old Ballad_.

Colonel PURSER was a stout, plethoric man. He was five feet seven
inches high, forty-five inches round the chest, fifty inches round
the waist, and every inch of him was a soldier. He was, therefore, a
host in himself. He gasped, and turned red, but, like a real soldier,
at once grasped the situation. The Colonel was powerful, and the
situation, in spite of all my pains, was not a strong one. The
struggle was short.

"Pardon me," said the Colonel, when he had recovered his wind, "is
your name MIGNON?"

"Yes," she replied, as the tears brimmed over in her lovely eyes,
"it is. I am a simple soldier's child, but, oh, I can run so
beautifully - through ever so many volumes, and lots of editions. In
fact," she added, confidentially, "I don't see why I should stop at
all, do you? EMILY _must_ marry me. He can't marry OLIVE, because
Dame Nature put in _her_ eyes with a dirty finger. Ugh! I've got
blue eyes."

"But," retorted the Colonel, quickly, "shall you never quarrel?"

"Oh yes," answered MIGNON, "there will come a rift in the hitherto
perfect lute of our friendship (the rift's name will be DARKEY), but
we shall manage to bridge it over - at least TOM RUM SUMMER says so."
Here EMILY broke in. He could stand it no longer. "Dash it, you know,
this is wewry extwraowrdinawry, wewry extwraowrdinawry indeed," he
observed; "You'wre a most wremawrkable young woman, you know."

A shout of laughter followed this remark, and in the fog of
tobacco-smoke Colonel PURSER could be dimly seen draining a magnum
of champagne.

CHAPTER IV.

"Hey diddle, diddle."
- _Songs and Romances_.

Everything fell out exactly as MIGNON prophesied. But if you think
that you've come to the end of MIGNON, I can only say you're very much
astray, or as EMILY, with his smooth silky voice, and his smoother
silkier manners, would have said, "You'wre wewry much astwray." See my
next dozen stories.

THE END. (_Pro tem._)

* * * * *

[Illustration: THE GRAND OLD STUMPER.

"WHAT IS FASHION? 'AFTER A FASHION HAS BEEN DISCARDED - IF YOU HAVE
ONLY PATIENCE TO WAIT LONG ENOUGH - YOU WILL FIND YOU WILL GET BACK TO
IT.' LOOK AT MY COLLARS! - AND UMBRELLA!!" [_See Mr. Gladstone's Speech
during the recent Midlothian Campaign._)]

AIR - "_WAIT A LITTLE LONGER._"

There's a good time coming, friends,
That flood is flowing stronger;
The reigning mode in failure ends,
Wait a little longer!
Fashion _is_ ever on the wing,
Arch-enemy of Beauty.
Now, when we get a first-rate thing,
To stick to it's our duty.
But no, the whirling wheel must whirl,
The zig-zag go zig-zagging;
The wig to-day must crisply curl,
That yesterday was bagging.
But good things _do_ come "bock agen."
For banishment but stronger
(With bonnets or with Grand Old Men),
Wait a little longer!

From Eighty unto Eighty-Five
These collars were the rage, friends;
Didn't we keep the game alive,
In spite of creeping age, friends?
But oh, that horrid Eighty-Six!
They deemed me fairly settled,
As though just ferried o'er the Styx,
But I was tougher mettled.
I knew the fashion would return
For just this size of collar.
(And that's a lesson they'll soon learn,
You bet your bottom dollar.)
Bless you, I'm "popping up again,"
For four years' fighting stronger.
Once more I'm here to fire the train -
Wait a little longer!

I've told you all about BALFOUR,
And his black Irish scandals;
(With side-lights upon days of yore,
My bachelor life, and candles.)
I've touched on Disestablishment
(I trust you'll not say _thinly_),
On Eight Hours Bills a speech I've spent,
And scarified M'KINLEY.
And now, to wind up, I'll explain
My favourite views on Fashion:
_Big Collars will come back again!!!_
'Twill raise the Tories' passion.
But, with these Collars, this Umbrella,
I'd face them, though thrice stronger!
Friends - trust once more your Grand Old Fella,
And - wait a _leetle_ longer!

* * * * *

A BOOTHIFUL IDEA!

Just finished my article on "Antediluvian Archæology in its relation
to Genesis and the Iliad," and now all that remains to do is to
carry the rest of my books down to the new library, make catalogue,
consider subjects for five more speeches, write thirty-six letters and
postcards, and polish off the ten last clauses of the Home-Rule Bill.
This idleness is oppressive. Not used to it. What shall I do?

Piles of correspondence by morning post! What _can_ this be about?
Ah! I remember now! _Nineteenth Century_ just out, of course. Glad
I thought of starting "Society of Universal Beneficence." Will keep
me going after excitement of Midlothian. Wonder how many people
will "bind themselves to give away a fixed proportion of their
income," - also what the proportion will be, if they do. Don't know if
I _should_ have thought of it, if it hadn't been for General BOOTH's
book. Remarkable person, the General. Perhaps he'd order his Army to
vote solid for Home Rule, if I offered him a place in my next Cabinet?
Must sound him on the subject. Salvationists quite a power now. Can't
cut Field-Marshal VON BOOTH _up_ in a Magazine, so must cut him _out_
instead!

Ha! Letter from LABOUCHERE, of all people. H - m! Says he's "glad to
see I've started Universal Beneficence Society. Thought of doing so
himself once." Congratulates me on turning my attention to "Social
Reform." Says he thinks it's an "Ecclesent idea," - he must mean
"Excellent," surely!

"Inquirer" - (post-mark, Hatfield. Curious circumstance,
rather) - writes to ask for details of the Society. "Prefers at present
to remain anonymous," but an answer sent to "S., Hatfield House," will
always find him! Meanwhile, encloses postal order for one pound ten
shillings a "fixed proportion of his income," as he sees that I've
"offered to make myself the careful recipient of any assents," by
which he supposes that I mean cash. A little embarrassing!

Take stroll in Park to collect my thoughts. Find two leading Belfast
linen-merchants busily gathering up sawdust, &c, round tree I
felled yesterday. They explain that they've been "much interested
in my novel idea of converting chips of wood into best cambric
pocket-handkerchiefs," and think that it beats General BOOTH's notion
of making children's toys out of old sardine-tins hollow. I should
rather think it did! Still, have to confess that I'm _not_ ready
at present to "quote them my wholesale price for best oak-shavings
delivered free on rail."

Telegram from - CHAMBERLAIN! Says he sees the new Society's one
of "universal" beneficence, and supposes it includes him! Quite a
mistake! Sends cheque for three pounds, and hopes I'll "keep a strict
account of all sums received, and issue a report and balance-sheet
shortly." Really, very injudicious of me to use word "universal"!
Ought to have expressly excluded Liberal-Unionists (so-called), from
my plan. That's where General BOOTH has advantage of me. _He_ probably
doesn't exclude anybody that wants to send him money. Perhaps, after
all, he knows how to do this sort of thing better than I do.

Wire to him, and hand him over the money I've already received, also
ask him to start a "universally beneficent" branch of Salvation Army.
Receive reply, accepting my offer, in no time! General adds that he
has a staff appointment in his Army waiting for me, and that he would
like my good lady to become a Salvation Lass. Requires consideration
and - hem - consultation!

* * * * *

[Illustration: EASY FOR THE JUDGES.

_Geoffrey_ (_to rejected Candidate for honours at the Dog Show_).
"NEVER MIND, SMUT! WE'LL HAVE A DOG SHOW THAT SHALL BE ALL CATS EXCEPT
YOU, AND THEN YOU'LL HAVE IT ALL YOUR OWN WAY!"]

* * * * *

VOCES POPULI.

AT THE PASTEL EXHIBITION.

IN THE ANTE-ROOM.

_A Niece_. Just one moment, Auntie, dear; _do_ look and see what No.
295 is!

_Her Aunt_ (_with a Catalogue - and a conscience_). Two hundred and
ninety-five! Before we have even seen No. 1? No, my dear, no. Let us
take things in their proper order - or not at all. (_Perambulates the
galleries for some minutes, refraining religiously from looking at
anything but the numbers._) Ah, _here_ it is - Number One! _Now_,
ETHEL, I'm ready to tell you anything you please!

_First Matter-of-Fact Person_. Ah, here's another of the funny ones!
[_Is suddenly seized with depression._

_Second M.-of-F.P._ Y-yes. (_Examines it gloomily._) What's it all
about?

_First M.-of-F.P._ (_blankly_). Oh, well, it's a Pastel - I don't
suppose it's meant to be about anything in particular, you know.

_The Conscientious Aunt_ (_before No. 129_). "_The Sprigged Frock_"?
Yes, that must be the one. I suppose those _are_ meant for sprigs - but
I can't make out the pattern. She _might_ have made her hair a little
tidier - such a bush! and I never _do_ think blue and green go well
together, myself.

[_They come to a portrait of a charming lady in grey, by_ Mr.
SOLOMON.

_The Niece_ (_with a sense of being on firm ground at last_). Why,
it's ELLEN TERRY! See if it isn't, Auntie.

_The C.A._ (_referring to Catalogue_).

"The leaves of Memory seemed to
Make a mournful rustling."

- that's all it _says_ about it.

_The Niece_ (_finding a certain vagueness in this as a description_).
Oh! But there are _no_ leaves - unless it means the leaves in the book
she's reading. Still I think it _must_ be ELLEN TERRY; don't you?

_The C.A._ (_cautiously_.) Well, my dear, I always think it's as
well not to be too positive about a portrait till you know who it
was painted from.

[_The_ Matter-of-Fact Persons _have arrived at a Pastel
representing several green and yellow ladies seated undraped
around a fountain, with fiddles suspended to the branches
above._

_Second M.-of-F.P._ "_Marigolds_," that's called. I don't _see_ any
though. [_With a sense of being imposed upon._

_First M.-of-F.P._ I think _I_ do - yes, those orange spots in the
green. They're meant for Marigolds, but there aren't very many of
them, are there? And why should they all be sitting on the grass
like that? Enough to give them their deaths of cold!

_Second M.-of-F.P._ I expect they've been bathing.

_First M.-of-F.P._ They couldn't _all_ bathe in that fountain, and
then what do you make of their bringing out their violins?

[_The other_ M.-of-F. Person _making nothing of it, they pass
on._

_An Irritable Philistine_. Nonsense, Sir, you _can't_ admire them,
don't tell _me_! Do you mean to say _you_ ever saw all those blues,
and greens, and yellows, in Nature, Sir?

_His Companion_. I mean to say that that is how Nature appears to
an eye trained to see things in a true and not a merely conventional
light.

_The I.P._. Then all _I_ can say is, that if things ever appeared to
_me_ as unconventionally as all that, I should go straight home and
take a couple of liver pills, Sir. I should!

_First Frivolous Old Lady_. Here's another of them, my dear. It's no
use, we've _got_ to admire it, this is the kind of thing you and I
must be educated up to in our old age!

_Second F.O.L._ It makes me feel as if I was on board a yacht, that's
all I know - just look at the perspective in that room, all slanted up!

_First F.O.L._ That's your ignorance, my dear, it's quite the right
perspective for a Pastel, it's our rooms that are all wrong - not these
clever young gentlemen.

[_They go about chuckling and poking old ladylike fun at all
the more eccentric Pastels, and continue to enjoy themselves
immensely._

_First M.-of-F.P. (they have come to a Pastel depicting a young woman
seated on the Crescent Moon, nursing an infant_). H'm - very peculiar.
_I_ never saw Diana represented with a _baby_ before - did _you_?

_Second M.-of-F.P._ No - (_hopefully_) - but perhaps it's intended for
somebody else. But it's _not_ the place _I_ should choose to nurse an
infant in. It doesn't look safe, and it can't be very comfortable.

[_They go on into a smaller room, and come upon a sketch of a
small child, with an immense red mouth, and no visible nose,
eyes, or legs._

_First M.-of-F.P._ "_Little Girl in Black_" - what a very plain child,
to be sure!

_Second M.-of-F.P._ What there _is_ of it; but it looks to me as if
the artist had spent so much time over the black that he forgot to put
in the little girl - he's got her _mouth_, though.

_First M.-of-F.P._. Well, if it was _my_ child, I should insist upon
having the poor little thing more finished than that - even if I had to
pay extra for it.

[_A_ Superior Person _has entered the West Gallery,
accompanied by a_ Responsive Lady, _who has already grasped
the fact that a taste for Pastels is the sure sign of a
superior nature._

_The R.L._. Isn't that portrait quite wonderful! Wouldn't you take it
for an oil-painting?

_The S.P._. One might - without some experience - which is just where
it is so entirely wrong. A Pastel has no business to imitate the
_technique_ of any other medium.

_The R.L._ Oh, I think you are _so_ right. Because, after all, it _is_
only a Pastel, isn't it? and it oughtn't to pretend to be anything
else. (_She looks reproachfully at the too ambitious Pastel_.) And it
isn't as if it was _successful_, either - it won't bear being looked
into at all closely.

_The S.P._ You should never look at a Pastel closely; they are meant
to be seen from a distance.

_The R.L._ (_brightly_). Or else you miss the effect? I _quite_
see. Now, I like _this_ - (_indicating a vague and streaky little
picture_) - don't you? That's what I call a _real_ Pastel.

_The S.P._ (_screwing up his eyes_). H'm! Yes. Perhaps. Clever-ish.
Suggestive.

_The R.L._ (_shocked_). Oh, _do_ you think so? I don't see anything of
_that_ kind in it - at least, I don't think it can be _intentional_.

_The S.P._ The beauty of Art _is_ to suggest, to give work for the
imagination.

_The R.L._ (_recovering herself_). I know so _exactly_ what you
mean - just as one makes all sorts of things out of the patches of damp
on an old ceiling?

_The S.P._ Hardly. I should define Damp as the product of Nature - not
_Art_.

_The R.L._ Oh, yes; if you put it in that way, of _course_! I only
meant it as an illustration - the two things are really as different
as possible. (_Changes the subject._) They don't seem to mind _what_
coloured paper they use for Pastels, do they?

_The S.P._ (_oracularly_). It is - er - always advisable in Pastels
to use a tone of paper to harmonise as nearly as possible with the
particular tone you - er - want. Because, you see, as the colour doesn't
always cover the _whole_ of the paper, if the paper which shows
through is different in tone, it - er -

_The R.L._ Won't match? I _see_. How clever! (_She arrives at a highly
eccentric composition, and ventures upon an independent opinion._) Now
I can't say I care for _that_ - there's so very little done to it, and
what there is is so glaring and _crude_, don't you think? I call it
_stupid_.

_The S.P._ I was just about to say that it is the cleverest thing in
the Exhibition - from an artistic point of view. No special interest in
it, but the scheme of colour very harmonious - and very decorative.

_The R.L._ Oh, _isn't_ it? That's _just_ the right word for it - it is
_so_ decorative! and I do like the scheme of colour. Yes, it's very
clever. I quite feel _that_ about it. (_With a gush_.) It is _so_ nice
looking at pictures with somebody who has exactly the same tastes as
oneself. And I always _was_ fond of pastilles!

_A Pavement Pastellist_ (_to a friend_). Well, JIM, I dunno what _you_
think, but I call it a shellin' clean chucked away, I do. I come in
yere, - hearin' as all the subjicks was done in chorks, same as I do my
own - I come in on the chance o' pickin' up a notion or two as might be
useful to me in my perfession. But, Lor, they ain't got a ideer among
'em, that they ain't! They ain't took the measure of the popilar taste
not by a nundred miles, they 'aven't. Why, I ain't seen a single
thing as I'd reckincile it to my conscience to perduce before _my_
public - there ain't 'ardly a droring in the 'ole bloomin' show as I'd
be seen settin' down beyind! Put down some of these 'ere Pastellers
to do a mouse a nibbling at a candle, or a battle in the Soudang, or a
rat snifin' at a smashed hegg, and you'd soon see _they_ was no good!
Precious few coppers 'ud fall into _their_ 'ats, I'll go bail! [_Exit
indignantly, as Scene closes._

* * * * *

EXCELLENT EXAMPLE.

In a recent trial for Breach of Promise, a letter was read from
Defendant saying that "he must now get a monkey;" whereupon the
"learned Under-Sheriff," as reported in the _Daily Telegraph_,
exclaimed, "A Monkey! What the goodness does he mean?" Now, isn't that
better than saying, "What the deuce?" Of course, no doubt the learned
Under-Sheriff is suficiently learned to remember the old rhyme -

"There was an old man of Domingo
Who'd a habit of swearing, 'By Jingo!'
But a friend having come
Who suggested 'By Gum!'
He preferred it at once to 'By Jingo!'"

The goodness of the learned Under-Sheriff is worthy of all praise, and
of general imitation.

* * * * *

SWEETS TO THE SWEET. - It is stated that one of the features of the
Lord Mayor's Show this year is to be a Detachment of the Survivors of
the Balaclava Charge. This is an excellent idea, that may be developed
to almost any extent. Could we not have the Hero who had read every
Novel that has been published during the last six months; the Brave
Man who has been to every Dramatic _Matinée_ since January; and the
Scorner of Death, who has existed during an entire season in the
odours (sweet, or otherwise) of Kensington and Tyburnia? The latter on
the present occasion might immediately precede the Lord MAYOR Elect,
for, by association of ideas, he would certainly serve as an excellent
foil to Mr. Alderman SAVORY!

* * * * *


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