The Project Gutenberg eBook of Mr. Punch in Society: Being the Humours of Social Life

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: Mr. Punch in Society: Being the Humours of Social Life

Editor: J. A. Hammerton

Illustrator: George Du Maurier

Release date: January 27, 2015 [eBook #48096]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Curnow and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)


[Pg 1]


Edited by J. A. Hammerton

Designed to provide in a series of volumes, each complete in itself, the cream of our national humour, contributed by the masters of comic draughtsmanship and the leading wits of the age to “Punch,” from its beginning in 1841 to the present day.



[Pg 2]

Gentleman and lady talking

He. “By the bye, talking of old times, do you remember that occasion when I made such an awful ass of myself?”

She.Which?[Pg 3]



Mr. Punch

WITH 133





[Pg 4]

The Punch Library of Humour

Twenty-five Volumes, crown 8vo, 192 pages
fully illustrated



























[Pg 5]


Gentleman in evening wear

It would be difficult to think of Mr. Punch’s prototype of the immortal drama as “in Society”; but, however much our national jester may resemble in facial detail the somewhat rude and impulsive character from whom he took his name, he is in all his instincts a gentleman. In other words, it is just here that Punch has differed from most comic journals, being, if not absolutely from the first number, certainly from its early days, distinguished for refinement of taste and good manners, not less than for its wit and humour. “Mr. Punch in Society” is indeed Mr. Punch in his most congenial surroundings, as he has been above all else the untiring, irrepressible satirist of the social world.

If an analysis were made of all the drawings which have appeared in Punch from 1841 to the present day, we venture to think that those devoted to Society’s ways, its foibles, its follies, would greatly outnumber the illustrations of any other phase of life. And was not the entire career of one of Mr. Punch’s most celebrated artists devoted exclusively to social satire? The name of George du Maurier is pre-eminent in the history of modern humorous art. To an unerring instinct for character, shrewd but never unkindly satire, he united a profound sense of beauty which made his work unique and individual. It was thus that to a vast public, of which only a very small proportion could be expected to possess any art culture, Du Maurier’s work appealed with irresistible force, his charming lightness of touch, his gaiety, which came no doubt from his Gallic origins, rendering[Pg 6] everything from his pencil a source of delight to the general public, no less than to the students of draughtsmanship.

Du Maurier’s connection with Punch began in 1860 and his earliest work displayed very little of that wonderful grace to which it attained before many years had passed, but Mr. Henry James, discussing his art so long ago as 1883, said that “since 1868, Punch has been, artistically speaking, George du Maurier,” an opinion which would certainly be accepted in America, where for a generation the cultured classes looked to Du Maurier, as Mr. Spielman reminds us, “almost exclusively, not only for English fashions in male and female attire, the dernière mode in social etiquette, but for the truest reflection of English life and character.”

When we consider that almost exclusively in the pages of Mr. Punch is the artistic life-work of Du Maurier contained, we shall see how inexhaustible a treasury is there to be drawn upon for such a collection as the present. We have thought it wise, however, not to limit “Mr. Punch in Society” to the work of any one humorist, but have sought to present a collection of Du Maurier’s best social satires in company with those of many other artists who, in their individual ways, have also depicted the humours of social life.

Dandy gentleman

[Pg 7]



Well-dressed lady

Huntingthorpe Hall.

My Dear Jack,—I want you to come down on Monday and stay a couple of days with me. My wife will be delighted, as you can help her with a children’s party, and also play Pantaloon in a little thing being got up by the young people. I will mount you on the Tuesday with our Stag hounds, as I know you are fond of a day’s hunting. No, don’t thank me, my dear chap—I shall be only too glad if you will go, as the horse I am intending[Pg 8] to put you on is a rank brute, and when he doesn’t refuse his fences—which is a rare occurrence—he invariably falls into them. However, you won’t mind that, will you?

You will have to put up with real bachelor accommodation, I am afraid, as the house is crammed. The best I can do for you is a half share of one of the attics. Our cook has left us, all unexpectedly, so this places her room at our disposal for two of you. The kitchen-maid is doing her best to keep us from starving; but, though she means well, I can hardly class her as a cordon bleu.

Louise Dearlove, that pretty little girl you were so sweet upon last season, is unable to come; but her brother—the red-headed youth who was always trying to pick a quarrel with you—will be here.

I am so short of horses that I fear I must ask you to cab the four miles up from the station; but I am sure you won’t mind taking the rough with the smooth.

Yours ever,

John Jostler.

As the recipient of the above invitation, I ask which is “the smooth”?

[Pg 9]

Two gentlemen talking


“Not dancing any more to-night, Fred?”

“No; and, what’s more, I’ll never put my foot in this house again! Why, I’ve been introduced three times![Pg 10]
[Pg 11]

Two ladies talking


Stout Lady (at a charity ball). “Excuse me, Lady Godolphin, but I should so like to make some notes of your charming costume—may I?”

Lady Godolphin. “Pardon me, but really I’m afraid I haven’t the pleasure of——”

Stout Lady. “Oh, I’m sure you won’t mind: I’m ‘Girlie,’ you know—I do the fashion article for Classy Bits![Pg 12]

Stout gentleman putting on an overcoat, with difficulty

Club Attendant (to stout party, who is struggling into overcoat). “Allow me, sir.”

Stout Party. “No, don’t trouble! This is the only exercise I ever take![Pg 13]

Two young gentlemen talking, at their club


Future Duke. “What are you goin’ to do this mornin’ eh?”

Future Earl. “Oh, I dunno. Rot about, I s’pose, as usual.”

Future Duke. “Oh, but I say, that’s so rotten.”

Future Earl. “Well, what else is there to do, you rotter?[Pg 14]


Scene—The Drawing-rooms of No. 1 and No. 2, Upperten Mansions, S.W.

First Lady (entering). Here I am! I am sure you won’t guess who I am. See, the American Banner and the Union Jack. I represent “Under Two Flags.”

First Hostess. Oh, how clever! But we shall have Mr. Smith here presently, and he is sure to come in something quite new.

Second Lady (entering). Here I am. Now you will never know what book I represent. Stars and stripes on one shoulder, the white ensign on the other! “Under Two Flags.” Eh?

First Hostess. Wonderful! We shall have Mr. Smith here by and by. He is sure to amuse us.

Third Lady (entering). I promised to come and here I am. The Star Spangled Banner and our own Royal Standard. “Under Two Flags.” There, isn’t it good?

First Hostess. Quite too good! So pleased you have come. We are waiting for Mr. Smith. He’s sure to make us all laugh, as he’s so original!

Fourth Lady. Up to my time! And I have come as a well-known book. See, a dear little American banner on one side of my head, and a weeny, weeny Union Jack on the other. “Under Two Flags.” I thought I would surprise you!

First Hostess. I knew you would. Mr. Smith is coming! He’s sure to be funny.

Mr. Smith (entering). Now you must guess. I won’t take off my cloak until I have shown you these two dolls. Here they are, soldiers of the time of Louis XIV. And now you shall see me. (Throws off his cloak and appears in gorgeous costume.) I represent, with the help of my companions, “The Three Musketeers.”

Second Hostess (rigidly). I think there is some mistake. This is a meeting of the Distressed Charwomen’s Food Fund Association. I think you must have wanted to attend my neighbour next door’s Book Tea.

Mr. Smith (hastily resuming his cloak). Oh, I beg your pardon.

[Exit in confusion.

[Pg 15]

Lady greeting a gentleman at a party


She. “Oh, how do you do, dear Mr. Lyon. Have you forgiven me for cutting you at Mrs. Leo Hunter’s last night? I was actually stupid enough to take you for that horrid bore, Mr. Tetterby Thompson, whom you’re said to be so like. It’s a horrid libel—you’re not like him a bit.”

He. “A—a—I wasn’t at Mrs. Leo Hunter’s last night—a—a—a—and my name is Tetterby Thompson![Pg 16]

Gentleman greeting a lady at a party


Digby. “I had hoped for the pleasure of taking you down to supper, Mrs. Masham!”

Rigby. “Too late, my dear fellow! It’s the early bird that catches the worm![Pg 17]

Garden party scene


Mr. Marsh. “I’ve just had quite a long chat with your three charming little girls, Mrs. Roope.”

Mrs. Roope. “Not mine, Mr. Marsh. I have no children.”

Mr. Marsh (very surprised). “No chil—— Are you sure?[Pg 18]

Gentleman greeting a lady at a party



[See page 19

[Pg 19]



Enter Mr. Chesterfield Grandison Potts. “How d’ye do, my dear Mrs. Pettifer? I’ve come to congratulate you on your performance of the Lady of Lyons, at Mrs. Tomkyns’s. It was simply perfect!

Distinguished Lady Amateur. “Oh, far from perfect, I fear! To be perfect, alas! the part of Pauline requires that one should be young and lovely, you know!”

Mr. C. G. Potts (who piques himself on his old-fashioned courtesy). “My dear lady, you are a living proof to the contrary!


“Oh, how d’ye do, Sir Bruin? And so you’re leaving England for good, and we shall never see you again!”

“Nothing of the kind! Who says so?”

“Oh, I saw it in one of the papers. But the papers don’t always tell the truth, I’m sorry to say!”


Enthusiastic Lady Visitor (at winter health resort).[Pg 20] “What a delightful place this is, Professor. And the baths, how perfect! I could bathe all day—couldn’t you?”

The Professor. “Well, you see, I’m a resident, and that makes a difference!”

Lady Visitor. “Ah! to be sure. I suppose you never even think of taking a bath!”


Love-lorn Middy (about to join his ship). “I’ve come to say good-bye, Amy!”

Cousin Amy. “Good-bye, Johnny. When we see you next, I hope you’ll be an Admiral!”


“I was so sorry not to be at home when you called, Mr. Binks!”

“Oh, pray don’t mention it! It didn’t matter in the least, I can assure you!”


Hostess. “What, must you go already, Professor?”

The Professor. “My dear madam, there is a limit even to my capacity of inflicting myself on my friends!”

Hostess.[Pg 21] “Oh no—not at all—I assure you!”

Gentleman and lady talking


Miss Bugge. “Oh, but mine is such a horrid name!”

Young Brown. “Ah—a—um—I’m afraid it’s too late to alter it now![Pg 22]

Party scene


Deaf Old Gentleman. “The conversation seems very amusing, my dear. What is it all about?

Hostess (fortissimo). “When they say anything worth repeating, grandpapa, I’ll tell you![Pg 23]

Gentleman and lady talking


She. “No! I can’t give you another dance. But I’ll introduce you to the prettiest girl in the room!”

He. “But I don’t want to dance with the prettiest girl in the room. I want to dance with you![Pg 24]

Gentleman and lady talking


He. “Everybody will be leaving Town now that Parliament is dissolved.”

She. “Yes. Indeed I think all the nice people have left already![Pg 25]

Gentleman and lady talking


Jones (under the impression that he is making himself agreeable). “I don’t care a bit for a pretty woman, myself! They have no conversation. I like a plain woman, who has plenty to say for herself![Pg 26]

Children bidding professor goodnight


(Dinner has just been announced)

Hester and Billy (sadly). “Good night, sir. We’ve got to go to bed.

Distinguished Professor (who is taking down the Hostess). “Ah, my dears, that’s where we’re all wishing we were![Pg 27]

Party scene


Nervous Person (speaking at last to his Neighbour). “Do you know who that remarkably ugly person is just opposite—talking to the black-haired lady, you know—um—eh?”

Neighbour. “That, sir, is my brother!”

Nervous Person. “Yes? I—I—I beg your pardon—I—I—Stupid of me not to have seen the family likeness—a—a—a——”

[Collapses and disappears.

[Pg 28]

Gentleman and lady talking


The Professor. “How singularly you and your brother resemble each other, Miss Angelina!”

Miss Angelina. “Is that a compliment to my brother, or a compliment to me?”

The Professor. “Oh, a compliment to neither, I assure you![Pg 29]

Gentleman and lady talking


He. “What a pretty fan!”

She. “Yes; I had it given to me when I first came out!”

He. “Really! It has worn well![Pg 30]

Lady Glitter leaving a party


Servant. “Lady Glitter’s carriage!”

Son of the House (tenderly, as he hands her Ladyship out). “Ah! I’ve been waiting for this moment all the evening![Pg 31]

Two ladies talking


Caller. “Only fancy, Mrs. Dowderley, I was very nearly calling on your neighbour, Lady Masham, whose day at home it is too! when I suddenly remembered I wasn’t dressed for paying calls![Pg 32]


Hostess. “What, leaving already, Mr. Mivers! I’ve scarcely seen anything of you the whole evening!”

Mr. Mivers (who goes in for the Courteous Manners of the Olden Time). “That, madam, is entirely my fault!”

[Exit gracefully, but remembers as he goes downstairs that he meant to say “misfortune,” not “fault.”



Visitor (who has accepted an invitation to a local concert). “Is it evening dress?”

Hostess. “Oh, no; just as you are dressed now—or worse, if you have it.”


Lady Guest (to Host, who hates getting up early). “I’m so awfully sorry to have dragged you up at this unearthly hour, but I had to catch the 8.30 train.”

Host.[Pg 33] “Not at all. I’m only too glad to be able to see you off!”

Two gentleman talking


Host. “Take a little whiskey before you go, Jones?”

Jones (after helping himself). “Thanks! May I pour you out some?”

Host. “Please—not too much—just about half what you’ve given yourself![Pg 34]

Gentleman and lady talking


Gushing Lady. “Oh but, Mr. Jones, I should love to be beautiful—even if for only half-an-hour!”

Jones. “Yes; but you wouldn’t like the coming back again![Pg 35]

Gentleman and lady talking


He. “I suppose, now that the London Season is coming to an end, that you’ve been very gay?”

She. “Oh, yes—I haven’t had a dull moment since I saw you last![Pg 36]

Party scene


Fair Hostess. “Good-night, Major Jones; we’re supposed to breakfast at nine; but we’re not very punctual people. Indeed, the later you appear to-morrow morning, the better pleased we shall all be![Pg 37]

Party scene


The Professor (to Hostess). “Thank you so much for a most delightful evening! I shall indeed go to bed with pleasant recollections,—and you will be the very last person I shall think of![Pg 38]

Two ladies talking


Elderly Party (who fancies herself young). “Ah, Mildred, you and I must one day lose our youth and beauty!”

Mildred. “Oh, you mustn’t be down-hearted. You have worn so wonderfully well![Pg 39]

Gentleman and lady in fancy dress talking


Captain Sawney (at a Mi-Carême fancy dress ball, perfectly satisfied that he is saying a happy thing and paying a very great compliment). “Well, you do look delightful! Fascinating! Too charming for words! What an awful pity it is you are not always like that![Pg 40]

Jones interrupts a gentleman and lady talking


Jones (nervously conscious that he is interrupting a pleasant tête-à-tête). “A—I’m sorry to say I’ve been told to take you in to supper, Miss Belsize![Pg 41]

Lady greeting a gentleman at a party


Hostess. “This is good of you, Major Grey! When I wrote I never expected for a moment that you would come.[Pg 42]

Aunt and nephew


Old Aunt (despondently). “Well, I shall not be a nuisance to you much longer.”

Nephew (reassuringly). “Don’t talk like that, aunt. You know you will![Pg 43]

Lady greeting a gentleman at a party


“Well, good-bye, Mr. Green. It was so nice of you to come. It does father such a lot of good to have someone to talk to.”

“I was delighted to come, Miss Brown, but I’m afraid I’m not much of a conversationalist.”

“My dear Mr. Green, don’t let that trouble you. Father’s ideal listener is an absolute idiot, with no conversation whatever, and I know he has enjoyed himself tremendously to-night![Pg 44]


[A contemporary complains that most people in Society consider it necessary to address one another in shrill, high-pitched voices.]

You’re pretty, Miss Kitty, and dainty and slim,
And graceful indeed is your mien;
Your eyes are as bright and your ankle as trim
As any the writer has seen.
Your curly brown locks, which invite a caress,
Would make any artist rejoice;
But you’ve one little fault, even I must confess,
And that’s your Society voice.
When I asked you to wed me a fortnight ago
At Mrs. De Jenkynson’s ball,
I never expected you, Kit, to say “No”
In tones that would ring through the hall.
You dreamt not—how should you, of course?—that the sound
Of your voice would be heard far and wide,
But I did feel a fool when a titter went round
As we walked to your chaperon’s side.
A beautiful maiden was never yet won,
’Tis said, by a faint-hearted swain;
And so, Mistress Kit, ere the season is done
I am sure to approach you again.
And oh! if your feelings should leave you no choice
But to utter the verdict I dread,
Pronounce not my doom at the top of your voice,
But speak in a whisper instead.

[Pg 45]

Gentleman greeting a stout lady at a party


Fair Authoress. “So sorry to be so late. I’m afraid I’m last!”

Genial Host. “‘Last—but not least![Pg 46]’”


Our Money Lender.—From Borrowdale.

Our Standing Counsel.—From the Giant’s Causeway.

Our Butcher.—From the Chops of the Channel.

Our Dentist.—From the Mouth of the Thames.

Our Doctor.—From Lancing.

Our Confectioner.—From Bakewell.

Our Beekeeper.—From Honeybourne.

Our Flirting Friend.—From Florence, Constance Nancy, Nora, and Sophia.

Our Pewopener.—From Hassock’s Gate.

Our Undergraduate.—From Reading.

Our Tailor.—From the New Cut.

Our Own Correspondent.—From Penmaenmawr.

And our Darlings.—From Archangel and the Coast of Bonny.

Front and Side.She. “What an enormous expanse of shirt-front Major Armstrong has!”

He.[Pg 47] “H’m—it isn’t his front I object to. It’s his side!”

The end of a dance at a ball


Jones (after a delightful waltz). “And now, Miss Brown, let us go and seek some ‘Refreshment for Man and Beast![Pg 48]’”

Party scene


[See p. 49

[Pg 49]

Social Agonies.—(Scene—Mrs. Montgomery Morris’s Drawing-room just before Dinner.)—Mrs. Sidney Mountjoy (to Hostess). “Oh yes, Biarritz was all very well, but we got into a quarrel with some people there—a dreadful couple, who behaved most shamefully! I’m told the husband, a certain Mr. Hamilton Allsop, means to pull Sidney’s nose whenever and wherever he meets him, and his horrid wife actually declares she’ll——”

Footman. “Mr. and Mrs. ’Amilton Hallsop!”

A Frugal Mind.She. “And don’t forget to order six dozen of the very driest champagne you can get, for our dance on Tuesday next.”

He. “But the ladies, as a rule, don’t like very dry champagne.”

She. “No, love, they don’t. Neither do the waiters!”

Le Monde où l’on s’amuse.She. “I want you to come and dine with me, but I suppose you are so much engaged just now. How many deep?”

He.[Pg 50] “I really don’t know. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.”

Debutante with two admirers


The Twin Muddletons (both claiming the dance, after much argument, simultaneously). “Well, we leave it to you, Miss Brown. You must know whom you gave this dance to!”

[Miss Brown, never having seen them before this, her first ball, and quite unable to tell t’other from which, has no views on the question.

[Pg 51]

Two ladies talking

Miss Griffin. “I’m sure it must be Mrs. Jones’s fault that she can’t manage Mabel. The child is most affectionate.”

Polite Visitor (eager to agree). “Yes, the way she gets on with you shows that![Pg 52]


(For the Children of “Smart People”)

Ding-a-dong, ding-a-dong, what do I care!
I’ll sing you a nice little song of May Fair—
Five hundred people invited to meet
In a wee little house, in a wee little street—
Five hundred people all huddled together,
Discussing the faults of their friends and the weather—
One little pianist strumming an air,
No one to listen and no one to care—
One little lady attempting to sing,
Tears in the eyes of that poor little thing:
Up gets a man, sings, “Two lovely black eyes!”—
You might hear a pin drop—“Oh! what a surprise!
For that is the music they like in May Fair.
Ding-a-dong, ding-a-dong, what do I care!

Social Economy.Mrs. Scrooge. “I’m writing to ask the Browns to meet the Joneses here at dinner, and to the Joneses to meet the Browns. We owe them both, you know.”

Mr. Scrooge. “But I’ve heard they’ve just quarrelled, and don’t speak!”

Mrs. Scrooge.[Pg 53] “I know. They’ll refuse, and we needn’t give a dinner party at all!”

Two geniuses (distinguished by their hair) talking

First Genius to Second Genius. “Why on earth do you do your hair in that absurd fashion, Smith?[Pg 54]

Waiter offering refreshment to a lady


Second Groom (waiting at tea for the nonce, and handing thin bread-and-butter—sotto voce). “Clap two or three bits together, miss, then you’ll get a bite!”

[Pg 55]

Widow and gentleman admiring portrait


“There, Major, it’s the best likeness I ever had taken of me—and poor Fred never saw it![Pg 57]

Street scene outside church

On coming out of church, General Sir Talbot de la Poer Sangrazul is so struck by the beauty of the afternoon sky, that he forgets to put on his hat, and Lady Jones (who is rather near-sighted) drops a penny into it!

[Pg 56]


(A Dialogue of the Present Day)

SceneMrs. Featherston’s Drawing-room. Mrs. Thistledown discovered calling.

Mrs. Thistledown (taking up a novel on a side-table). “The Romance of a Plumber,” by Paul Poshley. My dear Flossie, you don’t mean to tell me you read that man?

Mrs. Featherston. I haven’t had time to do more than dip into it as yet. But why, Ida? Oughtn’t I to read him?

Ida. Well, from something Mr. Pinceney told me the other day—but really it’s too bad to repeat such things. One never knows, there may be nothing in it.

Flossie. Still, you might just as well tell me, Ida! Of course I should never dream——

Ida. After all, I don’t suppose there’s any secret about it. It seems, from what Mr. Pinceney says, that this Mr. Poshley—you must promise not to say I told you——

[Pg 58]

Flossie. Of course—of course. But do go on, Ida. What does Mr. Poshley do?

Ida. Well, it appears he splits his infinitives.

Flossie (horrified). Oh, not really! But how cruel of him! Why, I met him at the Dragnetts’ only last week, and he didn’t look at all that kind of person!

Ida. I’m afraid there’s no doubt about it. It’s perfectly notorious. And of course any one who once takes to that——

Flossie. Yes, indeed. Quite hopeless. At least, I suppose so. Isn’t it?

Ida. Mr. Pinceney seemed to think so.

Flossie. How sad! But can’t anything be done, Ida? Isn’t there any law to punish him? By the bye, how do you split—what is it?—infinitudes?

Ida. My dear, I thought you knew. I really didn’t like to ask any questions.

Flossie. Well, whatever it is, I shall tell Mudies not to send me anything more of his. I don’t think one ought to encourage such persons.

Two Very Different Personages.—“A society man” and[Pg 59] “a secret society man.”

Small boy footman arriving to take well-built lady home


“If you please, Miss Lilian, your mamma has sent the footman to see you home![Pg 60]

Picnic scene, very windy day


Wife (to FitzJones, who, in trying to lay the cloth for the picnic on a windy day, has got among the crockery). “Just look what you’re doing, Archibald![Pg 61]

At the races, two ladies talking


Mrs. Blobbs. “I quite thought you had forgotten us, Miss Gusher.”

Miss Gusher. “Well, I have a bad memory for faces as a rule, but I should not be likely to forget yours![Pg 62]


Time was, not very long ago,
When Mabel’s walking-skirt
Trailed half-a-yard behind to show
How well she swept the dirt.
But “short and sweet” are in again;
No more the grievance rankles,
For Mabel’s now curtailed her train
And shows her dainty ankles.
But Mabel has a thrifty mind.
To supplement her charms,
The frills that once she wore behind
She fastens on her arms.
Her sleeves are made in open bags
Like trousers in the Navy;
No more she sweeps the streets, but drags
Her sleeve across the gravy.

Lenten non lent-’em.Fräulein von Under Standt. “How very plainly zat dear Lady Churchleigh is dressed!”

Friend. “Yes, indeed. But, you must remember, it is Lent.”

Fräulein.[Pg 63] “Ach no! You do not mean to tell me really and truly zat she borrows her dresses?”

Two gentleman talking as they walk down the street in the rain

“Hang it, you’ve got an umbrella of your own. Why the deuce don’t you stick it up?”

“Not if I know it, old man! This umbrella was done up last May by Monty Brabazon, and has never been opened since!”

“Monty Brabazon? Who’s he?”

“Not know Lord Montague Brabazon? Why, he’s about the only man in London who really knows how to do up an umbrella![Pg 64]

Lady greeting a gentleman at a party

Hostess. “You’re not going already, Professor, surely!”

The Professor. “I’m sorry to, my dear lady, but I have been working so late all the week I feel I must have my beauty sleep to-night.”

Hostess. “Then I mustn’t keep you. I’m sure you need it, poor thing![Pg 65]

Garden party scene

She. “I love this excessively hot weather! Don’t you, Mr. Boreham?”

He. “No! I can’t stand it. I shall go away if it continues!”

She. “I do hope it will![Pg 66]
[Pg 67]

Gentleman greeting a lady at a party


“Thanks for a very pleasant evening, and good-night, Herr Professor. I’m sorry to have to leave you so early!”

“Ach! Fräulein, when you come to see us, your stays are always so short![Pg 68]

Garden party scene


Lady Vere de Vere (to distinguished foreigner). “You must excuse me. I know it’s awfully silly of me. I know your name so well, but I can’t remember your face![Pg 69]

Party scene

She. “I haven’t seen any of your people here to-night, Mr. Carter. I hope they are well?”

Mr. Carter. “No. They’ve all got colds. I was the only one of the family able to come.”

She. “Oh! I am sorry.[Pg 70]


(According to Mr. Sheldon)

[“The Rev. Charles M. Sheldon has just aroused the wrath of the ladies of Topeka by his views on the servant-girl problem. He advocated from the pulpit ‘the hired girl’ should be treated as one of the family and cherished, not chided.”—Pall Mall Gazette.]

Lord Doubleshire entertained a small party of friends at his town house last evening. After dinner the servants mingled freely with the guests, and the Marchioness of Stoke Newington was presented to the second stair-maid, Miss Elizabeth Wilkins, whose acquaintance she made.

Among the smart “bridge” parties last week must be numbered Mrs. Algey Bounceby’s. Her butler, Thomas Scraggs, who paired for the first rubber with the Duke of Dunkirk, is fast proving his claim to be one of the finest exponents of this fashionable card game.

We understand that the Countess of Crumbleton has issued cards to a distinguished but select few to meet her coachman, Mr. John Jenkins.

At the theatre the other evening, conspicuous among a remarkably well-dressed set of people, we noticed Lord Loughboro, the Hon. Misses Loughboro, and the head gardener, Ezekiel Jilks. The latter gentleman wore the famous silver Albert watch-chain, a Christmas present, it is understood, from Miss Gwendolen Loughboro, the bestowal of which gift has aroused so much comment in aristocratic and horticultural circles.

Half-a-dozen dissatisfied members of Brooks’s club are talking of resigning if Lord Livewell’s groom is not black-balled. He was of course put up by Lord Livewell himself and seconded by his uncle, Earl Gothepace. One or two rumours have certainly reached us reflecting on the temperance of Bob Whippet, the handsome groom. But for the old-fashioned prejudices which evidently animate the action of the discontented six, we have nothing but the severest reproof.

Owing to the severe illness of Miss Madeline Marrowby, the stall at the forthcoming Bazaar will be taken by her maid Ellen Cripps. As previously arranged, the stall-holders will be presented individually to the Royal Visitors.

In the forthcoming golf competition, at Hoylake, Miss Susan Bates, the scullery-maid to Hon. Miss Fitzwinter, is looked on as a likely prize winner. Her handicap playing has shown a wonderful improvement lately, so much so that her considerate mistress has given her permission to forego her ordinary duties of washing up the dishes and filling the coal scuttles, in order that she may get in a good morning’s practice on the links.

Among the presentations for the next Drawing-room we are glad to notice the name of Kate Briggs, the pretty second parlour-maid of Lord and Lady Wigmore. It will be remembered that their head butler attended the last levée. A full description of Miss Briggs’s presentation costume appears elsewhere.

[Pg 71]

Gentleman and lady talking

Miss Gushington. “Well, you know, dear Mr. Robinson, for my part, I must say I enjoy excellent health as a rule, only I do suffer so at times from fits of giddiness![Pg 72]

Two ladies talking; small dog begging at their feet

Lady Visitor. “I see you still have poor old Bingo.”

Fair Widow.[Pg 73] “Yes. I wouldn’t part with him on any account. I never look at him without thinking of poor dear Marmaduke!”

Gentleman and lady talking

He. “And so, as I didn’t know what the leopard would be up to next, I shot him on the spot.”

She. “How very exciting! And which spot did you shoot him on?[Pg 74]

Man relaxing in the company of his female relatives


[See p. 75

[Pg 75]

The Lion at Home.The Hope and Pride of the Family (just home from the grand tour). “Oh, really, you know, the men one meets in some of those places out west! I said to myself every night, ‘Well, thank Heaven I haven’t shot anybody!’”

Fond and Nervous Mother.[Pg 77] “You mean, thank Heaven nobody shot you, don’t you, dear?”

Party scene


Young Lady. “I suppose you know everybody here, Miss Oddie?”

Miss Oddie. “Oh, I know most of them. But there are several strange faces over there![Pg 76]


In youth I never cared for sport;
Fresh air was not a passion to me;
Athletic feats of any sort
Sent unresponsive shudders through me;
I had, in fact, a sedentary mind,
And hated exercise of any kind.
And so, when others smote the sphere
With bat or mallet, boots or putter,
I charmed (with song) the female ear,
And made the female bosom flutter.
I also played the zither and recited
Poems of young loves, prematurely blighted.
I sang, as I have said: I had
That kind of voice that folks call “fluty”;
I trilled of “Memories strangely sad,”
Of “Pansies” and the “Eyes of Beauty.”
Not more divinely does the early bird
Sing when the worm has recently occurred.
At that delightful hour of gloom,
Slightly anterior to tea-time,
I paralysed the drawing-room
With trifles of my own in three-time,
Till all the air was heavy with Desire,
And prostrate matrons begged me to retire.
Just then a vogue for High Romance[Pg 78]
Prevailed, and I’d a pent-up yearning;
The hollow cheek, the hungry glance,
Betrayed the fever inly burning;
At inconvenient times the thing would out,
Especially when ladies were about.
Somehow the care of female hearts
At that time always fell to my lot;
Within the maze of Cupid’s arts
I was their guiding star, their pilot;
Not to have loved me with a blinding passion
Was, broadly speaking, to be out of fashion.
But latterly, I don’t know why,
That star has waned, until at last I’m
Left in the lurch while maidens fly
Towards the ruder forms of pastime;
And now their talk is all of tennis courts,
Of golf, gymkhanas and athletic sports.
I don’t complain. I know there’ll be
One of these days a mild renaissance
In the exclusive cult of ME:
I view the fact with some complaisance;
One day there’ll come an era of the Brain,
And Theodore will be himself again.

Manners.—In the dining-room of respectable society it is not considered correct to put your fingers into the plate before you. But at church, into the plate that is set before you, all are expected to put their alms.

[Pg 79]

Two ladies talking as governess drags obstreporous children away


Visitor. “Your governess seems very good-natured.”

Lady of the House. “Yes, poor thing, her father lost a lot of money, so I took her as governess for the children.”

Visitor. “Poor, poor thing! Isn’t it terrible how unfortunate some people are![Pg 80]

Two ladies talking


“How kind of you to call—I’m so sorry to have kept you waiting!”

“Oh, don’t mention it—I’ve not been at all bored! I’ve been trying to imagine what I should do to make this room look comfortable if it were mine![Pg 81]

Hostess greeting a lady at a party

Fair Hostess (to Mrs. Masham, who is looking her very best). “Howdydo, dear? I hope you’re not so tired as you look![Pg 82]

A wake


“I say, Brown, let’s try and get into the same mourning-coach as Major Bardolph. He always comes out so jolly on these occasions![Pg 83]

Nephew introducing his friend to uncle


Dutiful Nephew. “Oh, uncle, I thought you wouldn’t mind my bringing my friend Grigg, from our office. He ain’t much to look at, and he can’t dance, and he don’t talk, and he won’t play cards—but he’s such a mimic!! To-morrow he’ll imitate you and Aunt Betsy in a way that’ll make all the fellows roar!!![Pg 84]

Jones engages Mrs. Marrable in conversation while watching the rest of the room


[See p. 85

[Pg 85]

A Drama of the Drawing-room.—By means of his face and attitude, Jones flatters himself he can express the deepest interest in the conversation of a bore, while in reality his attention is fixed on what is going on in some other part of the room.

Just at present, old Mrs. Marrable is relating to Jones the harrowing details of her late lamented’s last illness—while Captain Spinks is popping the question to Clara Willoughby behind one of Chopin’s Mazurkas—and Jones has no doubt but that his face and attitude are all Mrs. M. could wish.

London Idylls.Algernon (the heir). “Awfully kind of Mrs. Masham to give us a lift. But it was rather a squeeze, eh?”

Jack the Detrimental (his younger brother). “Yes. By the way, talking of squeezes, it struck me very forcibly, driving along, that you’d got hold of one of Miss Laura Masham’s hands!”

Algernon. “Well, you meddling young idiot! what if I had?”

Jack.[Pg 87] “Oh, nothing. Only I’d got hold of the other, you know!”

Party scene; host and hostess (somewhat older than all the other guests) sitting to one side


Host. “What a smart set of people we’ve got to-night, deary!”

Hostess. “Yes. How I wish one of our dear girls would come and sit by us, and tell us who everybody is![Pg 86]


SceneA Ball Room. Edwin leads out Angelina as arranged earlier in the evening, to dance a promised “square.” They walk through the first figure. A pause.

Edwin. Been to the Academy, of course?

Angelina. O yes. Been several times. So fond of Miss Thompson’s picture, you know. I like the group of the dying soldier and the boy laughing at having killed a Frenchman, awfully. So awfully clever, you know.

Edwin. O awfully! The wounds are so awfully true to nature, you know. Do we begin?

They walk through the second figure. A pause.

Edwin. Been to see Salvini?

Angelina. Of course. Isn’t he awfully nice? I think he is perfectly charming in Othello. His face quite reminds me, in the Jealousy Scene, of dear Mr. Irving in the last Act of The Bells. His suicide at the end of the piece, you know, is really quite too awfully clever. Isn’t it?

Edwin. You mean the throat-cutting affair, eh?[Pg 88] When he falls on his back and dies quivering, eh? O yes, awfully clever. It’s our turn, I think.

They walk through the third figure. A pause.

Edwin. Read any novels lately?

Angelina. Just read an awfully nice book, “The Law and the Lady.” One of the heroes is a monstrosity without legs, Miserrimus Dexter, don’t you know. Awfully clever.

Edwin. O yes. Read the book myself. Clever notion, the idiotic man-woman, eh, wasn’t it?

Angelina. O yes, awfully good. I think they are waiting for us.

They walk through the fourth figure. Promenade.

Edwin. Did you go to Stafford House to see the coffins?

Angelina. O yes, we all went—Mamma, Papa, and the children, don’t you know. Met everybody there. Such an awful crush.

Edwin. Like the coffins?

Angelina. O so much. They looked awfully nice. So deliciously cool, don’t you know.

Edwin. Cool! You like that kind of thing cool, eh?

Angelina. Yes, I think so.

[Pg 89]

Edwin. Ah, then you must be against cremation?

Angelina (hesitating). Well—yes—perhaps. (After consideration.) Yes, I think so. Yes, I think I like the baskets best.

[Fans herself.

Edwin. À propos—may I get you an ice?

Angelina. O, thanks so much. Yes, Grandpapa was awfully delighted with the wicker coffins, and has ordered a couple lined with charcoal, for himself and Grandmamma. I am going to the shop to-morrow to choose them for him. Thanks—strawberry, please.

[They retire into the Refreshment-room, with a view to getting cool.

Noblesse Oblige.”—Old Friend. “Hullo, Dick? How are you? I wish you’d come and dine with me to-night. But now you’re a lord, I suppose I mustn’t call you Dick any longer, or even ask you to dinner?”

Noble Earl (who has just come into his title).[Pg 91] “Lord be blowed! Lend me a fiver, and you may call me what you like—and I’ll dine with you into the bargain!”

Small gentleman and lady talking

Little Dobbs (who is a good dancer, but has let his partner down with a crash). “That was my very first accident. Will you give me a dance?”

She (majestically). “Certainly, with pleasure. I never let a man down in my life![Pg 90]

Gentleman and lady talking

He (who has failed to catch his companion’s name, and wishes to find it out indirectly). “By the way, how do you spell your name?”

She. “J-O-N-E-S.[Pg 92]

Party scene, Poffington unaware he has a glove on top of his head, everyone looking at him


Mr. Poffington flatters himself he is creating a sensation.

(Perhaps he is.)

Our Whist Party.Major MacFlush (at close of rubber, to partner). “Didn’t ye see me call for trumps?”

Partner (a new hand).[Pg 93] “You may have called, major, but I never heard you!”

Gentleman and lady talking


She. “I believe you know my neighbours, the Chesterfield Browns?”

He. “Haw—well—a—I go to the house, don’tcherknow, and dine with ’em occasionally, and all that—but I’m not on speaking terms with ’em![Pg 95]

Gentleman and lady talking


He. “I live in Hill Street. Where do you live?”

She. “I live in Hill Street, too.”

He (greatly delighted to find they have something in common). “Really!” (After a moment’s hesitation.) “Any particular number?[Pg 94]
[Pg 96]


(Latest Bulletins)

[“A person writing to the Daily Dispatch says the Marquess of Anglesey’s wonderful polyglot parrot is not ill, but on the contrary was laughing and chatting very heartily on Monday.”]

We are glad to be able to state that Lord Mount Sorrel’s favourite monkey, which has been suffering lately from phlebitis, is well on the way to recovery. No further bulletins will be issued.

The report that Lady Agatha Fitzhunter’s pet pony was confined to the stable with bronchitis is grossly exaggerated. The pony merely complained of being a little horse. The joke, of course, like its maker, was a chestnut.

Mrs. Martin Bradley’s French poodle is rapidly re-covering. It is admitted on all hands, however, that it was a remarkably close shave.

The alarming rumour that Lord Barndore’s famous owl (which had been suffering from insomnia lately) had committed suicide on Tuesday night, is happily contradicted this morning. It appears that the owl had merely left the house for a few hours for a special purpose-to wit, to woo!

Lord Raspberry’s prize turkey, which a short time ago had a painful operation performed on its neck, was able to appear at dinner last night and received a cordial welcome from those present.

The absurd tale that Lady Hopton Wood’s pretty little Manx cat was suffering from diseased liver has no foundation in fact. The liver was perfectly good, and similar to that usually supplied.

Gentleman and lady dancing at a ball


[See p. 97

[Pg 97]A Distinction and a Difference.Gorgius Midas Junior (a crack dancer in his own set) gets a card for a dance at Stilton House, and waltzes with Mrs. Ponsonby de Tomkyns, the only lady he knows there, and who has often been his partner under the paternal roof. Proudly conscious of creating a sensation, he is dancing his very best, when

Mrs. Ponsonby de Tomkyns (suddenly). “We’d better stop, Mr. Midas! This form does very well at Midas Towers, but it doesn’t do here!”

[G. M’s “form,” which is not restricted to himself, consists in holding his partner like a banjo, and hopping slowly around her beneath a chandelier.

[Pg 98]
[Pg 99]

Gentleman still talking to his clearly exhausted hosts

The Last Feather” (Time—4 a.m.)—Little Twister (to his Host, lighting his tenth cigar, and having exhaustedThe Spanish Crisis,” “Dissolution of Parliament,” “Voyage of Challenger,” &c.) “By th’by, Bloker, it strikes me there are several points in this Tichborne case that——”!!

[All we know further is, that about this hour a short gentleman was seen to leave a house in Gravelotte Crescent hastily, without his hat, which was thrown after him!

[Pg 100]

Lady greeting a gentleman at a party


Hostess. “I’m afraid we are going to be a very small party to-night. The fog seems to have kept away all our best people![Pg 101]

Two gentlemen talking


Host. “Nice party, ain’t it, Major Le Spunger? ’Igh and low, rich and poor,—most people are welcome to this ’ouse! This is ‘Liberty ’All,’ this is! No false pride or ’umbug about me! I’m a self-made man, I am!”

The Major. “Very nice party, indeed, Mr. Shoddy! How proud your father and mother must feel! Are they here?”

Host. “Well, no! ’Ang it all, you know, one must draw the line somewhere![Pg 102]


“A smartish affair this,” I said to the little man with the pale-blue eyes, who leant disconsolately against the wall.

He laughed nervously. I felt drawn to him, somehow. He appeared to know no one, and I knew very few intimately, and hadn’t succeeded yet in discovering the host and hostess.

“But I should say,” I went on, drawing inspiration from my new acquaintance’s sympathetic attention, “I should say it cost our host Sir Tumnal Tintz a pretty penny. The champagne is exactly up to par, and no stint.”

“Really, I’m glad to hear you say so.”

“Reassuring, isn’t it?”

From our point of vantage we could command a full view of the ball-room. The melody of the waltz, the perfume, and the frou-frou of Parisian and Viennese confections had lulled the little man into a delicious reverie.

“There,” I said, “you see that old chap who looks as if he had stolen the Eastern Hemisphere and put it under his waistcoat—that explains the fizz!”

My friend looked exceedingly puzzled.

“That’s Gootzegog—the chap who supplied the wine. Oh, everybody knows Sir Tumnal runs things a bit above his income. Lady Tintz has social ambitions. What’s the consequence? Bills are paid by invitations to meet all the exclusive and celebrated, instead of by coin of the realm. Gootzegog accepted with pleasure—on the back of a receipted bill for six dozen ‘bottles of the boy.’”

“Really, this is exceedingly unpl——”

“Social sins,” I said. “You’ll know them all by heart by and by. It’s only a question of time. Now, you see that woman hop-waltzing. There, just passed us, high-pitched voice, pearls——”

“Yes, yes, but——”

“That is Mrs. Grinburger, known in Chatham Street as Juliette & Cie., swagger dressmakers, where Lady Tintz can make up her betting-book, and hedge—by patronising the Grinburger.”

“Upon my word!” in astonishment.

“Scandalous having to meet these people. And that thin woman bare-ly clothed—ha! ha! excuse my little quip.”

“I know——”

“Mdlle. Sembrach—bonnets; supplies the Tintz girls with headgear, and is allowed to pass as a friend of the family because she forgets to send in the bill. Convenient, isn’t it? She looks like making a match—or a breach of promise——”

“It is incredible,” almost vociferated my little friend, whose eyes I was evidently opening as to the ways and means of a certain, or rather uncertain, class of society. “It is incredible,” he said, “that you should tell me all these scandalous tales in the house where you are privileged——”

“Quite so, quite so,” I said, fearing I may have wounded his sensibilities. “One only does this sort of thing when the function is a fizzle. But you appeared to know no one.”

“You appear to know everyone——”

“A good many. Come, let us have a stroll round and try and find the host.”

The little man blinked nervously.

“Have you any idea what the Johnny’s like?” I enquired.

“Exactly like me,” said the little man.[Pg 103] “I am Sir Tumnal Tintz!”

Two gentlemen shaking hands


Sir Pompey Bedell. “Oh—er—Mr. Grigsby, I think! How d’ye do?”

Grigsby. “I hope I see you well, Sir Pompey. And next time you give me two fingers, I’m blest if I don’t pull ’em off![Pg 104]

Gentleman offering a lady a cushion to purchase


Footinitt (energetically helping at bazaar). “Won’t you put in for a raffle for this cushion?”

Visitor. “Oh, no, thanks.”

Footinitt. “Of course it’s rather useless and gaudy, and so forth; and personally I think the design’s rotten. But do put in for it.”

Visitor. “No, thanks. I made it![Pg 105]

Three ladies talking


Mrs. Snobbington. “We had meant to call long before this, really, but with the best intentions, somehow, we always kept putting off the evil day.[Pg 106]
[Pg 107]

Two gentlemen talking, both dressed somewhat like waiters


First Stranger. “Here—hi! I want a knife and fork, please!”

Second Stranger. “Con-found you—so do I![Pg 108]

Two ladies talking

Visitor. “I’ve just been to make my first call on Mrs. Johnson.”

Lady of the House. “So glad, dear. Poor thing, she’s glad to know anyone![Pg 109]

Gentleman and lady talking

“Oh yes, Sir Gus, my husband’s as well as ever, thank you, and hard at work. I’ve had to copy out his pamphlet on Bi-metallism three times, he alters it so! Ah, it’s no sinecure to be married to a man of genius. I often envy your dear wife![Pg 110]


[“Among upper-class women the use of bad language is awful; not only do elderly dowagers say ‘D—n!’ but girls of seventeen make use of that deplorable expression.”—A correspondent to the Daily Express.]

The age is unmistakably profane;
Morality, like trade, is on the wane:
Of late with most profound regret I’ve heard
How that a certain naughty little word,
Quite impolite, and quite unparliament’ry too,
Once vulgar, now’s affected by the gentry too.
From common oaths my tender spirit shrinks,
I foozle when I hear them on the links;
The cabby’s curse my moral system shocks,
I shudder when I hear it from the box;
But that which on the raw more sorely touches is
The swear that’s used by dowagers and duchesses.
When in the case of nobly-bred adults
Age and experience yield these sad results,
What wonder if their daughters (pretty lambs!)
Indulge at times in copying their dams?
(A “play ’po’ words” which serves to render printable
That which, writ otherwise, would be but hintable.)
Is this profanity a passing phase
Like Pigs-in-clover, or the Ping-pong craze?
Will it revert to “Goodness me!” or “Blow!”?
I cannot tell you, for I do not know;
This I do know: a nation grave disaster risks
That lets its women talk in ——s and * * *

[Pg 111]

Gentleman addressing two ladies and their Skye terrier, which latter he very closely resembles

Party (who, of course, doesn’t think himself good-looking). “Really, Clara, I can’t think how you can make a pet of such an ugly brute as an Isle of Skye terrier![Pg 112]

Gentleman and lady talking


[See p. 113

[Pg 113]

Ready! Aye Ready!”—Mrs. Ponsonby de Tomkyns. “That lady was evidently intended by nature for a Chinese, Sir Charles! I wonder who she can be?”

Sir Charles. “She happens to be my sister, Lady Plantagenet de la Zouche. May I ask why you think nature intended her for a Chinese?”

Mrs. P. de T. (equal, as usual, to the emergency). “She struck me as having such exquisitely small feet!”

Dreadful State of Affairs at Market Harborough.Lord Charles Highflyer (despondently).[Pg 115] “There’s too much frost to hunt, and not enough ice to skate; all the horses are coughing; the gov’nor writes to say that he’s going to endow a new church; Bingo wires that all seats are booked for a fortnight at any theatre worth going to; Fanny Canterly is engaged to that ass Blinkers; I’ve a bill overdue on Tuesday; Hummingbirdie Belleville threatens an action for breach of promise; Aunt Genista hasn’t weighed in as usual; and some idiot has sent me a card with a robin on it, wishing me ‘All the Compliments of the Season!’”

At a ball; short gentleman and tall gentleman talking


Bobby Short. “I say—I can’t find my partner, Miss Wilson! Have you seen her?”

Tommy Long. “Don’t know her by sight, even! But, if you like, I’ll lift you up, and you can hunt for yourself![Pg 117]

Lady leaving gentleman's house in her carriage

Mrs. Gusher. “Oh, good-bye, Sir John. So sorry not to have found your most charming wife at home.”

Sir John. “Thanks—thanks! By the way, let me assure you I’ve only got one,—and——”

[Thinks that the remainder of the sentence is “better understood than expressed.”

Two ladies talking

Lady of the House (to Bore, who generally calls just as she is about to go shopping). “Won’t you let me ring for a little refreshment for you?”

Bore. “I think I’ll take a little something just before I go.”

Lady of the House. “Oh, then, do have it now![Pg 120]

Two gentlemen talking


Sturdy Briton. “It’s all very well to turn up your nose at your own beggarly Counts and Barons, Mossoo. But you can’t find fault with our nobility! Take a man like our Dook o’ Bayswater, now! Why, he could buy up your foreign Dukes and Princes by the dozen! and as for you and me, he’d look upon us as so much dirt beneath his feet! Now, that’s something like a nobleman, that is! That’s a kind o’ nobleman that I, as an Englishman, feel as I’ve got some right to be proud of![Pg 121]

Gentleman and lady; parents, presumably, of the young man of whom they're talking


“Didn’t I send ’im to Heton an’ Hoxford? Didn’t I send ’im into the Harmy, along o’ some o’ the biggest nobs in all Hengland, with an allowance fit for a young Hearl? And what’s the hupshot of it all? Why, he gives dinners to Dooks and Royal ’Ighnesses, an’ don’t even harsk ’is pore old father to meet ’em. ’Ighnesses, indeed! I could buy up the ’ole blessed lot! And, what’s more, I wouldn’t mind tellin’ ’em so to their faces, for two pins!—Ah! just as soon as look at em—and ’e knows it![Pg 114]
[Pg 122]


I have been so bothered for coppys of my Romanse, as I read at the Cook’s Swarry some time back, that I have detummined to publish it, and here it is. In coarse, all rites is reserved.



(By One Behind the Seens)

Chapter I.Despare!

It was Midnite! The bewtifool Countess of Belgravier sat at the hopen winder of her Boodwar gazing on the full moon witch was jest a rising up above the hopposite chimbleys. Why was that evenly face, that princes had loved and Poets sillybrated, bathed in tears? How offen had she, wile setting at that hopen winder, washed it with Oder Colone, to remove the stanes of them tell tail tears? But all in wane, they wood keep running down that bewtifool face as if enamelled with its buty; and quite heedless of how they was a spiling of her new ivory cullered sattin dress that Maddam Elise’s yung ladies had been a workin on up to five a clock that werry arternoon.

She had bin to the great ball of the Season, to[Pg 116] be washupped as usual by the world of Fashun, but wot had driven her home at the hunerthly hour of harf-parst Eleven? Ah, that cruel blo, that deadly pang, that despairin shok, must be kep for the nex chapter.

CHAPTER II.The Helopemeant!

Seated in the Housekeeper’s own Room at the Dook of Surrey’s lovely Manshun, playfoolly patting his fatted calves, and surrounded by his admiring cirkle, sat Charles, the ero of my Tale. Charles was the idle of that large establishment. They simply adored him. It was not only his manly bewty, tho that mite have made many an Apoller envy him. It was not only his nolledge of the world, tho in that he was sooperior to menny a Mimber of Parlyment from the Sister Oil, but it was his style, his grace, his orty demeaner. The Housekeeper paid him marked attenshuns. The Ladies Maid supplyed him with Sent for his ankerchers. The other Footmen looked up to him as their moddel, and ewen the sollem Butler treated him with respec, and sumtimes with sumthink else as he liked even better.[Pg 118] The leading Gentlemen from other Doocal establishments charfed him upon his success with the Fare, ewen among the werry hiest of the Nobillerty, and Charles bore it all with a good-natured larf that showed off his ivory teeth to perfecshun. Of course it was all in fun, as they said, and probberly thort, till on this fatal ewening, the noose spread like thunder, through the estonished world of Fashun, that Charles had heloped with the welthy, the middle-aged, but still bewtifool, Marchioness of St. Bendigo.

Chapter III.The Dewell.

The pursoot was rapid and sucksessful, and the Markiss’s challenge reyther disterbed the gilty pair at their ellegant breakfast. But Charles was as brave as he was fare, and, having hired his fust Second for twenty-five francs, and made a few other erangements, he met his hantigginest on the dedly field on the follering day at the hunerthly hour of six hay hem. Charles, with dedly haim, fired in the hair! but the Markiss being bald, he missed him. The Markiss’s haim was even more dedly, for he, aperiently, shot his rival in his hart,[Pg 119] for he fell down quite flat on the new-mown hay, and dishcullered it with his blud!

The Markiss rushed up, and gave him one look of orror, and, throwing down a £1,000 pound note, sed, “that for any one who brings him two,” and, hurrying away to his Carridge, took the next train for Lundon. Charles recovered hisself emediately, and, pocketing the note, winked his eye at the second second, and, giving him a hundred-franc note for hisself, wiped away the stains of the rouge and water, and returned to breakfast with his gilty parrer-mour.

Chapter IV.The End.

The poor Markiss was so horryfied at his brillyant sucksess, that Charles’s sanguinery corpse aunted his bed-side, and he died within a month, a leetle munth, as Amlet says, of the dredful ewent, and Charles married his Widder. But, orful to relate, within a werry short time Charles was a sorrowin’ Widderer, with a nincum of sum £10,000 a year; and having purchased a Itallien titel for a hundred and fifty pound, it is said as he intends shortly to return to hold Hingland; and[Pg 123]
[Pg 128]
as the lovely Countess of Belgravier is fortnetly becum a Widder, and a yung one, it is thought quite posserbel, by them as is behind the seens, like myself, for instance, that before many more munce is past and gone, there will be one lovely Widder and one andsum Widderer less than there is now; and we is all on us ankshushly looking forred to the day wen the gallant Count der Wennis shall lead his lovely Bride to the halter of St. George’s, Hannower Squeer, thus proving the truth of the Poet’s fabel,—

“The rank is but the guinny’s stamp,
The Footman’s the man for a’ that.”

Awkward.Miss Fillip (to Young Gentleman, who has taken her in to dinner at Olympia Manor). “You say that you don’t shoot, hunt, fish, drive, or ride, and that you hate cycling. Now, what on earth are you staying here for?”

Young Gentleman (languidly). “Because I can’t afford to live anywhere else in the winter.”

[Then it flashes across Miss F. that she is talking to a younger son of the house.

[Pg 129]

Two gentlemen talking; one very sharply dressed


“Good Heavens! What a swell! What is it? Tea fight? Wedding breakfast?”

“Oh no; only going to my tailor’s. Must be decently dressed when I go to see him. He’s so beastly critical![Pg 124]

Gentleman and lady talking


He. “That’s that ass, Bounderson, isn’t it? He should have been drowned as a puppy!”

She. “There’s time enough yet, isn’t there?[Pg 125]

Professor Featherstone dancing with a young lady as his wife looks on

Fair Girl (on sofa, to her neighbour during New Year’s Eve Festivity). “How delightful it must be for you, Mrs. Featherstone, to hear all the dear Professor’s lectures!”

Mrs. Featherstone. “Oh, I never hear his lectures. But he’ll have to hear one of mine to-night![Pg 126]

Gentleman and lady talking


“Well, Mr. Softley, did you revenge yourself on Algy since that quarrel you had with him?”

“Yes, indeed. I ordered my man to be wude to his man when he meets him.[Pg 127]

Young fop in tam o'shanter, checkered suit, waistcoat, plus-fours

Little Timkins (to gorgeous chappie). “Excuse me, old boy, but who are you in mourning for?”

Shopman delivering parcels to a grand house


Shopman. “Here! Hi! Are you his Grace the Duke of Bayswater?”

Magnificent Flunkey. “I ham![Pg 131]

Two ladies talking


Visitor (naïvely). “Well, I certainly never dreamt I should find you at home on such a lovely afternoon as this![Pg 130]


SceneThe Park. TimeThe Fashionable Morning Hour. Lui and Elle discovered enjoying a causerie.

Elle. Oh, it will be quite gay! Admission five guineas and ten pounds a seat at the tea-tables. The Organising Committee have rented the Anthropological Gardens.

Lui. Any kind of entertainment?

Elle. Oh, yes. We have got Mr. Barnstormer for a recitation and Di Flop for one of her great songs with a chorus for nothing, and Scrapini, the violinist, is to bring his violin.

Lui. Also for nothing?

Elle. Of course. Such an excellent advertisement for them. And then there are to be lamps on the artificial lake and fireworks—small ones that won’t frighten the horses outside—on the terrace. Two guineas a seat for places in front of the fireworks, and five shillings entrance-fee to the avenue of Japanese lanterns.

Lui. Well, you ought to rake in the shekels.[Pg 132] And what is it for? What’s the name of the Charity?

Elle. I quite forget. But you will find it on the tickets.

[The talk drifts to other topics.


“What a lot of people there were at the Wortleburys’ last week—and yet how dull it was!”

“Yes, dear. But it was much brighter after you left.”

She. “Oh, Mr. Sorney, I am so grateful to you for your thoughtfulness in writing so promptly to tell me of poor Harry’s accident!”

He. “Pray don’t mention it—I was very glad indeed to have the opportunity of doing it!”

Host. “You’ll have a nice drive home!”

Guest.[Pg 133] “Yes; that’s the best of it!”

Biffin, centre of attention, looking concerned as he racks his memory

Horrible position of little Biffin, who proposes a new round game. But when he has to explain, he finds he cannot recollect anything at all about it!

[Pg 134]

Gentleman and lady talking


Jones. “I am never at a loss in conversation.”

His Fair Hostess. “But surely, Mr. Jones, there must be some subjects you don’t understand. What do you do then?”

Jones. “Oh, then—I say nothing, and look intelligent.[Pg 135]

Gentleman and lady talking


Nervous Youth (to charming girl, who has been trying to set him at his ease). “He, he! I always—ha—feel rather shy with pretty girls, y’know, but I’m quite at home with you![Pg 137]

Two ladies talking

“Oh, Miss Brown, I was so sorry I didn’t see you when you called the other day. I had such a dreadful headache that I had to tell my maid I was not at home to any of my friends. But of course I should have seen you![Pg 139]

Footman making himself the centre of attention at party

The New Footman (stentoriously). “Mrs. Montgomery Jenkins’s carriage!”

Mrs. Montgomery Jenkins. “A—tell the coachman to wait.”

New Footman. “Please, ma’am, he says he can’t. He says he’s got another job at twenty minnits past eleven!”

Gentleman and lady talking

“I’ve just left Mr. Brayne, and it’s quite a relief to meet you. He is so intellectual, you know!”

Gentleman talking to two older ladies in their carriage


The Frumps (who rather fancy themselves in this style). “It’s called the Early Victorian bonnet.”

Guileless Youth (under the impression that he is paying a graceful compliment). “Oh yes. I suppose you wore them when you were quite girls.[Pg 136]


Lady Angleby (mother of pretty débutante). Really! It’s positively painful. It ought to be stopped.

Elderly Countess (with no daughters). Eh, what? Tooth hurtin’? Have it out, my dear. Or try mind healin’. It’s very expensive, but Susan Southwater tells me——

Lady A. Oh, Susan! She’s always got some bee in her bonnet. Though how any self-respecting bee could! But I wasn’t talking about teeth. It’s this wretched paper. Listen to this. “One of the prettiest débutantes I saw was Miss Nora Angleby, whose mother, Lady Angleby, was wearing nothing but a string of pearls——”

E. C. Have ’em up for libel, my dear. I wouldn’t stand it.

Lady A. “—nothing but a string of pearls with her white frock, and looking so delightfully young. Everyone was saying that they might be sisters.” Isn’t it too silly?

[Pg 138]

E. C. H’m! I dunno. You do look youngish sometimes. As for the frock—don’t you think it was a leetle too—for the part, you know?

Lady A. Oh, did you think so? It’s the way they are cutting them this year for girls. But don’t you think they ought to be pulled up?

E. C. The frocks, my dear, or the dressmakers, or the girls?

Lady A. No, no, the editors. I’m in this wretched rag week after week.

Mrs. Thrope (also mother of pretty débutante). So am I. It’s a perfect scandal.

Lady A. Are you? I don’t see your name anywhere.

Mrs. T. If you look—isn’t there an account of the Hersham House Ball?

Lady A. Oh, yes, here you are. “Mrs. Thrope, who goes everywhere, was in great good looks and her well-known magenta frock.” You’ll have to get a new one, darling, after that. “She was chaperoning her daughter, Miss Anne Thrope, another débutante, who was quite the beauty of the——” Well, really! What can it matter to[Pg 140] anyone whether Anne’s a beauty or not, poor darling!

Mrs. T. She did look rather sweet, didn’t she?

Lady A. What? Oh, ah, yes. Quite pretty, I thought. But to have it put in print like that for any Dick, Tom, or Harry to read! It does away with all the privacy of life.

E. C. Who does read it—besides you two?

Mrs. T. Who? The suburbs, of course. Susan tells me the circulation in Bayswater is perfectly enormous. Of course I only get it to read her things.

Lady A. So do I. Not that they are worth reading. They always seem to me to be so banale.

Mrs. T. Yes, aren’t they? And so absolutely without point.

E. C. What makes ’em print ’em, then?

Lady A. Oh, money, of course. Her money. It’s the root of all her idylls. She’d pay anything they asked to get them published.

E. C. H’m! Did she tell you so?

Lady A. My dear, of course not. But I happen to—oh, do listen to this. I do think they might[Pg 141]
[Pg 142]
draw the line somewhere. It wouldn’t be so bad if they would keep it select. But really! That woman!

E. C. Well, who is it?

Lady A. Mrs. Judesheim! A whole paragraph about her and her diamonds. Her diamonds!

Mrs. T. Not the Bridge woman?

Lady A. Positively, my dear, though one would have thought after that last little exposé——

Mrs. T. Well, really! I wonder who they’ll put in next!

E. C. Anyone, my dear Edith—anyone who’ll pay. That’s the way it’s done. Susan wants to dispose of her articles, and, accordin’ to you, she pays, and in they go. Mrs. Whatshername has got daughters and she wants to dispose of them. So, she pays, and in they go. Quite simple, ain’t it?

Lady A. Oh, but I’m sure you are wrong.

Mrs. T. I don’t think you can be right. We haven’t come to that yet.

E. C. You haven’t, my dear, of course. You buy the paper because you—have to read Susan’s articles. Never do myself. Hate readin’ articles,[Pg 143]
[Pg 144]
specially by people I know. But that’s just the difference between you two and this Judesheim woman. She likes to see her name in print. And then, her husband’s a business man, and she knows the value of a good advertisement.

Lady A. I can’t believe it.

E. C. Well, we’ll ask Susan when she comes. She knows all about it. She ought to be—ah, here she is. How do, my dear?

Lady Susan Southwater (enters hurriedly). You dear people. I am so ashamed. I simply had to finish my article for next week, and it wouldn’t come.

Lady A. We were just talking about your articles. I particularly liked that last one in to-day’s paper.

Mrs. T. So did I. But I think—no, I don’t like it quite as well as the one last week. That was too delightful. So witty.

Lady S. Glad you liked it. Well, are we going to cut for partners?

E. C. In a minute. But we want to ask you about this old rag of yours. Do people pay to have their names in it?

[Pg 146]

Lady S. Tradespeople? They do, of course.

E. C. No, no. Ordinary people like us.

Lady S. Oh, well—but what makes you ask?

Lady A. Well, the fact is, Edith and I don’t like the way they will put our names in, and we were just saying that; and then to read a paragraph about that Mrs. Judesheim actually, and the whole thing seemed so vulgar, and we were wondering whether anyone really did pay.

Lady S. Oh, but my dear, of course they do, though only the Editor knows who. But if you like I’ll talk to him about you two, and say that you would prefer not to have your names——

Lady A. Oh, please no, it really isn’t worth it. No, as far as I am concerned personally——

Mrs. T. It seems to me it would be a pity to make a fuss about it. After all, it doesn’t do one any harm. So please don’t trouble, darling.

Lady S. My dear, it’s no trouble. I shall be seeing him this evening, anyhow. So I’ll just tell him——

Lady A. I beg that you will do nothing of the kind. I particularly dislike asking favours from people of that class. Don’t you think we might begin our rubber?

Lady S. Perhaps that would be the best solution. Unless you like to pay him not to put your names in. You might do that, you know—for a change.

Lady A. You don’t mean to imply——

Lady S. My dear, not for worlds! Some do, and some don’t. But of course you and Edith——

E. C. Don’t! Let’s cut.

[They cut for partners in silence.

[Pg 145]

Party scene


Mamma. “It’s very late, Emily. Has anybody taken you down to supper?”

Fair Débutante (who has a fine healthy appetite). “Oh yes, mamma—several people![Pg 147]

Gentleman and lady talking

Hostess. “I’ve got such a cold to-day. I feel quite stupid!”

Prize Idiot (calling). “I’ve got a bad cold too; but I don’t feel particularly stupid!”

Hostess. “Ah, I see you’re not quite yourself![Pg 148]

A party of ladies


Mrs. Noovoriche. “Yes, my dears, I gave a hundred guineas for this gown! Pretty figure, isn’t it?”—Chorus (after due inspection). “Simply awful![Pg 149]

Fancy dress party scene

Fitz-Noodle (who rather fancies himself as the “Black Prince”). “By Jove, Miss Renneslaer, how awfully charming!”

Fair American. “My! What are you? Canned Lobster?[Pg 150]

Sir Gorgius Midas arriving home (late), four footmen at the door


[See p. 151

[Pg 151]

The Height of MagnificenceSir Gorgius Midas. “Hullo! where’s all the rest of yer gone to?”

Head Footman. “If you please, Sir Gorgius, as it was past two o’clock, and we didn’t know for certain whether you was coming back here, or going to sleep in the City, the hother footmen thought they might go to bed——”

Sir Gorgius.[Pg 152] “‘Thought they might go to bed,’ did they? A pretty state of things, indeed! So that if I’d a’ ’appened to brought ’ome a friend, there’d a’ only been you four to let us hin, hay!”

Gentleman and lady talking


Guest (who rather fancies himself as a fascinator). “But although you are all known as men-haters, aren’t there now and again occasions when you find it very hard to live up to your reputation?[Pg 153]

Gentleman and rail-thin lady talking


Young Noodle. “Oh, do have another sandwich, Miss Swan. You have such a long way to eat—I mean such a long way to go![Pg 155]

Gentleman and ladies talking

Little Titmuss (just told off to take the younger Miss Long in to supper, quite forgets which of the two is the younger). “Er—er—may I have the pleasure—er—of—er—taking the longer Miss Young—I mean-the lunger Miss Yong—that is——”

[Becomes incoherent.

[Pg 154]


(A Young Blood, in trouble about his legs, soliloquises before his pier-glass)

Well now, this is a doosid nuisance, what?… S’pose I’ve got to face the question, now that all the rest of our set have made up their minds.… Hate havin’ to make up my mind! It’s rotten, simply rotten—I don’t mean my mind, but havin’ to worry over things like this—I never was so dreadfully worried, except perhaps over the shape of that tie last season, what?… Why can’t they put it off a little while longer? But no, they’re all goin’ to wear them next Friday at that supper at the Carlton, and Stella Pardedew’s comin’ too—wish I hadn’t asked her, she can be so cuttin’, when she likes … I’m sure, if I’ve measured myself once, I’ve measured myself fifty times, and I can’t make ’em more than ten and three-eighths round the calf.… I know she’ll ask whether it’s three calves or one, when she sees me comin’ along … rotten joke, too!… Here, [Pg 156]let me try once more—where’s that tape?… No, I don’t seem to spring to ten and a-half inches, anyhow, and I walked the whole length of Bond Street this afternoon, what?… They don’t look so bad in gaiters and ridin’-breeches, or under a motor-coat, and when I’m golfin’, too, I can double the thick top ends of my stockin’s down and make quite a decent show, but these silk things, what!… They’ll be sayin’ somethin’ about advertisements for Anti-fat—that rotter Bertie will, I know, just because his are fifteen inches round.…

De Gustibus non Disputandum.Adonis (after his guests have departed). “By Jove, Maria, what a handsome woman Mrs. Jones is! She looks better than ever!”

His Wife. “Ahem! Well, it may be my bad taste, but I own I have hitherto failed to detect the beauty of Mrs. Jones. Now, Mr. Jones is good-looking, if you like!”

Adonis.Jones good-looking! Come—hang it, Maria, Jones is a very good fellow, and all that; but I must say I’ve never perceived his good looks!” &c., &c.

[Pg 157]

Party of gentlemen heading up the stairs

Hostess. “I thought you were going to play ‘Bridge’!”

Host. “So we are, but they are playing ‘ping-pong’ in the dining-room, and ‘fires’ in the billiard-room, Jack’s trying to imitate Dan Leno in the drawing-room, and Dick’s got that infernal gramophone of his going in the hall, and they are laying supper in the smoking-room, so we’re going to the nursery![Pg 159]

Two ladies talking


Edith. “Here come those dreadful bores, the Brondesbury-Browns! How tactless of them, to come and see us on the only day in the week we’re at home![Pg 158]


SceneA salon anywhere. TimeAfternoon tea. Hostess addressing her guests.

Hostess. Yes, I think this is so much more amusing than “Books,” and “Songs.” One gets so tired of a lady with toy banners in her hair calling herself “Under Two Flags,” and a man insisting that he is perfectly made up for “The Absent-Minded Beggar” when he wears a label of—“Quite blind. Give me a penny,” and keeps his eyes open.

First Lady Friend. Certainly. Well, do you think my “Curiosity” was good? An old boot belonging to my great grandfather.

Hostess. Perfectly delightful. So nice to have a great grandfather, and one who wore boots.

Second Lady Friend. Well, my “Curiosity” is not quite so personal. This is an old work-box that has been in our family for the last hundred years.

Chorus. How interesting!

[Pg 160]

Second Lady Friend. And it was bought, so I have been told, at the Exhibition of 1851.

Professor Grumbles (interposing). Dear lady, I fancy you have made a mistake in your dates. Now, if the box was in your family a century, and it came from the Exhibition of 1851, it must——

Hostess (interposing). Oh, my dear Professor, pray don’t worry us with statistics. Now, what have you got?

Professor Grumbles (producing a bag). Well dear lady, my little contribution to the general hilarity of the occasion will be caused by my friend in the bag. It is a specimen—a very rare specimen—of the South African puff-adder. Most doctors will tell you that the sting of this reptile is dangerous. (He produces from the bag a black, vicious-looking snake.) In fact, most people will say that the sting, or rather a bite, is certain death. But be reassured, my good friends. In spite of this universal belief, I may say that, without expressing an absolutely definite opinion, I don’t think so!

[“Curiosity” tea disperses rapidly and in some confusion.

[Pg 161]

Gentleman holding up a shabby top hat


Jones. “Con-found it all! Somebody’s taken my hat, and left this filthy, beastly, shabby old thing instead!”

Brown. “A—I beg your pardon, but that happens to be MY hat![Pg 162]


About Town.

Several ladies have chosen this week for taking walks. As I was popping down Bond Street a few days ago I nearly ran into sweet Lady B., who was dressed in the softest brown, with a dear little robin redbreast perched lovingly in her toque, which was a veritable dernier cri. There is a beautiful story in connection with the little dickey, as Lady B. believes that it is the same little feathered darling she used to feed with crumbs on her window-sill last winter! It is such a joy to her tender heart to feel that her little pensioner will now never be parted from his benefactress—while the toque lasts.

A few minutes later, while I was returning the Countess of A.’s bow, I caught my foot in the marabout of one of our most unconventional and witty American visitors, who is, by the way, the heroine of the following delightful little story. While staying at a country house, not a hundred[Pg 166] miles from a certain little white village with red roofs, the house party was taken to a local flower show. At dinner that evening, charming Miss X., who was a member of the party, was asked by her partner if she took an interest in gardening. “I guess I’m only interested in strawberry leaves!” was the witty answer.

[Pg 163]

Two boys talking


Small Swell (who has just finished a quadrille). “H’m, thank goodness, that’s over! Don’t give me your bread and butter misses to dance with. I like your grown women of the world!”—(N.B. The bread and butter miss has asked him how old he was, and when he went back to school.)

[Pg 164]

Two ladies talking


“You must remember her. I introduced you at my ‘At Home.’”

“You introduced me to so many people, how can I remember?”

“But she was wearing——” (Describes the costume minutely.)

“Oh, was that she? Of course I remember her perfectly![Pg 165]

Gentleman and lady talking


Hostess. “Good night, General! So kind of me to have asked you.”

Guest. “Not at all. So kind of me to have come!”

Books to Match all Dresses.

All lovers of literature will be delighted to hear that Miss Cumberland Smith’s latest work, “Chained by Circumstance,” is to be issued in tooled green leather to match the dainty little belts which are being shown this week by Mr. Peter Jay. This book would look particularly well with a white satin Liberty robe, a stole of Indian work, and the hair coiffured in the mode retroussé, which is now, we are glad to see, once more with us.

Another little gem for book lovers is certainly Lady M.’s wonderfully realistic “Revelations of Revolt,” bound in crimson and black. No brunette should be without it. To go with this beautiful volume we should strongly recommend a simple[Pg 168] Empire costume of crimson panne, with deep frills of accordion-pleated white chiffon, edged with black ruching, with sprays of crimson chrysanthemums falling to the feet.

[Pg 167]

Two gentlemen talking

Algy (suddenly taking the change out of his pocket and examining it). “I say, old man, what do you think? I gave our cabby a sovereign and a sixpence for bringing us here from the club!”

Freddie. “My dear f’lla, you’re always overdoin’ it. A sovereign would have been ample!”

Making Conversation.He. “I suppose you have been everywhere during the season?”

She. “No season. Nothing to read. Nothing to see.”

He. “Then there is nothing to talk about?”

She. “No, nothing. Can’t you suggest a novelty?”

He (brightening up). “Yes—the weather.”

[Left talking.

A Forlorn Hope.The Dowager. “Now, you’ve got all the girls off your hands so successfully, except poor Maria, you ought to give her a chance.”

My Lord. “Yes—a—give a ball—a—or a garden party—a——”

My Lady.[Pg 169] “Oh, poor Maria’s not worth a ball—nor even a garden party. We might give an afternoon tea!”

Gentleman and lady talking

“I say, Nell, the Dad says that he remembers that old boy when he hadn’t a shirt to his back, and now he has thousands.”

“Good gracious, how extravagant! And how hot!![Pg 170]

Party of ladies; one man, playing the banjo


[See p. 171

[Pg 171]

Country-House Pets (The morning-room at Glen-Dimity Castle, after lunch. Mr. Belamy Tabby is singing “Hi tiddley hi ti, hi, ti, hi!”).—The Duchess. “How clever and amusin’ your friend, Mr. Whatshisname is!—Tabby, isn’t it! So good-lookin’ and gentlemanlike too! Quite a godsend on a rainy day like this, when all the men are out shootin’ or fishin’, or something! Is he married?”

Noble Hostess. “Oh yes; but what’s so nice about him, he doesn’t mind bein’ asked without his wife. Those sort of persons so often expect their wives to be asked too, and that’s such a bore, you know!”

Her Grace. “Yes; how sensible of him! I must get him to come to us at Brasenose Towers!”

An Unselfish Man.Colonel Slyboots, M.P. “So sorry to leave you all alone at Mudboro’, my love; but duty will compel me to be at my post at Westminster for the Autumn Session, you know. So dull in town without you, too.”

Mrs. S. “Poor dear! Then I’ll accompany you, my angel!”

Colonel S.[Pg 172] “Oh, on no account. Wouldn’t hear of it!”

Society Small Talk.—“On the young lady’s exclaiming ‘How well these rooms are lighted!’ the young man might reply, ‘Yes, by the light of Beauty’s eyes, and you are lending your share, which is not a small one, to the general illumination, the brilliancy of which is almost too dazzling to a poor mortal like myself, to whom it is well that moments such as these are brief, else the reaction would be destructive to my peace of mind, if not altogether fatal to it.’”

Young Peter Piper has got his lesson well by heart, and is only waiting, to begin, for the lovely Miss Rippington to exclaim, “How well these rooms are lighted!” which, unfortunately for him, they are NOT.

Honours Divided.Mr. Goodchild. “Yes, I do feel in good spirits this evening. My boy has passed his examination!”

The Earl. “Well, I don’t see anything in that. So has mine.”

Mr. Goodchild. “Er—Indian Civil?”

The Earl.[Pg 173] “No—Bankruptcy!”

Lunch at a grand table

The Rev. Lazarus Jones (who has been honoured by an invitation to lunch with that great man, Sir Gorgius Midas, just returned from America). “I suppose you are glad to get back to your comfortable house again, Sir Gorgius?”

Sir Gorgius Midas (who perhaps does not like his palatial residence to be called a “comfortable house”). “Yes, Jones! Be it ever so ’umble, Jones, there’s no place like ’ome![Pg 174]

Gentleman greeting a lady at a party


[See p. 175

[Pg 175]

Mrs. Boreham at Home (Amateur Theatricals).—Sir Pompey Bedell. “Allow me to congratulate you, Mrs. Boreham, on a most successful entertainment! I have never set foot inside a theatre myself, I am proud to say, nor attended even private theatricals before—such things are not in my line! But I can honestly assure you that I have rarely seen histrionic ability more consummate, or a dramatic performance more exceptionally complete in every respect, than that which it has been our truly enviable privilege to witness this evening!”

An Amendment.Vera. “What must I do about the Billsomes’ dance? I dislike the Billsomes, and I don’t want to go.”

Phillis. “Well, say you regret you are unable.”

Vera. “Wouldn’t it be more truthful to say I am unable to regret?”

It’s an East Wind that blows Nobody Good.—“Here comes the carriage, Maud! Fancy having to go and pay calls in such weather! It’s enough to give one one’s death of cold!”

[Pg 176]

“Worse than that, mother! Everybody’s sure to be in!”

One Way of Fasting.Miss Kate (to Mr. Joskin). “You don’t know how glad I am that Lent has begun.”

Mr. Joskin. “Why?”

Miss Kate. “Because there are no more stupid dinner-parties and balls. We only go to theatres and restaurants now.”

Not THE Word.Young Lady (in the drawing room). “Just listen! I can hear the gentlemen laughing. I believe they tell all their good stories directly we’re out of the dining-room.”

Experienced and rather severe Matron.Good stories, dear! No—‘good’ is not the word.”

An Eye for Essentials.Mamma (house-hunting for the Season). “It’s a good house for a dance, Emily!”

Emily. “The rooms are rather small, aren’t they?”

Mamma (who knows how matches are made).[Pg 177] “Yes; but what a capital staircase!”

Gentleman and lady talking

Snookson. “Yes; Hastings is a charming place, and has quite a peculiar—a—and half-melancholy interest for me. We came over with the Conqueror, you know!”

Fair Bostonian (late from Paris). “Ah, that must have been very trying! We came over with the Calais-Douvres.”

[S. tries not to look foolish.

[Pg 178]

Party of ladies arriving at the Boultby Smiths' to find them asleep in the drawing room


Mrs. Boultby Smith and her daughters have been “at home” to their London friends every Wednesday afternoon for the last seven years. Last Wednesday some visitors actually came!

[Pg 179]

Party scene, no conversation, guests all engaged in separate puzzles


Mrs. De Vere Tomlinson at home. Puzzles. Small and early.

[Pg 180]

Gentleman and ladies talking


[See p. 181

[Pg 181]

Prig-sticking.Little Prigson. “Oh! as for Grigson, he’s distinctly the most objectionable little prig in all England; but his sistah’s quite the nicest girl I ever met.”

Aunt Eliza. “Dear me! What sweeping assertions! You might have had the decency just to make the traditional exception in favour of present company!”

Cousin Maud. “Yes; in both cases, you know!”

Some Distinctions and a Difference.—Hostess has just been showing Guest the picture gallery and other glories of the ancient Baronial Halls, at the same time discoursing of the family greatness. Guest (pointing to row of busts). “And are these celebrities or just relations?”

Limited.She. “Yes; that stupid man who came with the Smiths trod on the duchess’s train, and it tore right across, and the dear old thing never said a word. Wasn’t it sweet of her?”

He.[Pg 182] “Well, there was only one word she could have said!”


CONVERSATIONAL TEAS twice a week OFFERED by a Lady of high social position at her home to strangers, Americans, Colonials and foreigners, for whom pleasant introductions are desirable; private interviews given to ladies who desire coaching on matters of high English etiquette and fashion.—Advertisement in morning paper.

This seems to be a new variation. We all know the blameless A.B.C. tea patronised by country cousins after a hard day’s work shopping or matinéeing in town.

There is the institution known as a “high tea” (why high?) for those whose indigestion is robust enough to negotiate six o’clock beef and tannin from the pot.

A year or two ago we were deluged with “book teas” and “play teas,” or “song teas,” and other nursery devices for educating the middle-aged and teaching the old idea how to make wild shots at far-fetched rebuses.

For dipsomaniacs there is, we regret to say, the[Pg 184] D. T.; and the strict Q. T. for persons of a secretive turn of mind.

And now a lady of high social position is in the market with bi-weekly “Conversational Teas.” Is the accent on the conversation or the tea, we would ask? Are there any gratuities expected? Is anything given away with a pot of tea? Do you bring your own mug? Does the lady-autocrat at the tea-table give marks for good behaviour? Does she “turn” you if you have failed to learn your small-talk correctly? Do you get a diploma (or a degree) at the end of the course if you pass the cake with honours? And is the “colonial” who comes out at the bottom of the tea-class rewarded with a wooden spoon? All these, and many other questions, present themselves to would-be students of “high English etiquette.”

Guesses at truth.Mr. Laidislaw. “Handsome woman our hostess—don’t you think? By the bye, what do you suppose her age is?”

Miss St. Cyr.[Pg 183]
[Pg 185]
“Well, I should fancy, what the illustrated biographies call ‘Present Day!’”

Two gentlemen talking


Mrs. Ponsonby de Tomkyns at Home—Small and Early.

Brown (who is fighting his way in—to Friendly Party, who holds out his hand). “Ah, how d’y’do, Mr.—er—I seem to know your face. Often met you here before, I fancy, hav’n’t I?”

Friendly Party. “Very likely. My name’s Ponsonby de Tomkyns!”

Gentleman and lady talking


Little Spinks. “Ah! once I was as innocent as a little child! What I am now, your sex has made me![Pg 186]

L’invitation à la Valse.”—She. “But you don’t know my name! What have you put down on your cuff?”

He. “Oh, I’ve put down ‘Pearl Necklace.’”

She. “But there are lots of pearl necklaces here!”

He. “Yes; but I’ve also put down ‘Small and rather tight’—I mean the necklace, you know!”

The Old Order Changeth.Todeson (who has grown his moustache, dropped his G’s, and got into Society again). “Fact is Society’s gettin’ much too mixed, Duchess. It’s not amusin’, after spendin’ a pleasant evenin’, to find you’ve been hobnobbin’ with a shopkeeper, or sittin’ next his wife at dinner, you know!”

Her Grace. “Oh, dear me! Why, my husband’s a shopkeeper, Mr. Todeson. He keeps that great bric-à-brac warehouse in Conduit Street!—and the toy-shop at the corner, that’s mine!—and the confectioner over the way, that’s my mother, the Duchess of Hautcastel!”

[Todeson feels he has been puttin’ his foot in it.

[Pg 187]

Party scene

De Smythe. “She was the ugliest woman I ever met—er—er—present company excepted, of course![Pg 188]

Of the World Worldly.—“There go the Spicer Wilcoxes, mamma! I’m told they’re dying to know us. Hadn’t we better call?”

“Certainly not, dear. If they’re dying to know us, they’re not worth knowing. The only people worth our knowing are the people who don’t want to know us!”

Breaking the Ice.He. “I’ve got to take you in to dinner, Miss Travers—and I’m rather afraid of you, you know! Mrs. Jollibois tells me you’re very clever!”

She (highly amused). “How absurd! I’m not a bit clever!”

He (with sigh of relief). “Well, do you know, I thought you weren’t!”

A Subtle Distinction.Jones (who is of an inquiring mind). “Ain’t you getting tired of hearing people say, ‘That is the beautiful Miss Bellsize!’?”

Miss Bellsize (a professional beauty). “Oh, no. I’m getting tired of hearing people say, ‘Is that the beautiful Miss Bellsize?[Pg 189]’”

Tea party scene

Hostess (to guests, who have come to spend a few days). “We’re so glad you’ve been able to come, Mrs. Gushington; but I do hope we are going to have rather better weather, or I am afraid you won’t enjoy yourselves much.”—Mrs. Gushington. “Oh, but, my dear Lady Boreham, we didn’t come here to enjoy ourselves. We came to see you![Pg 190]

Gentleman and lady talking

Fubsby. “A—everybody’s getting too clever nowadays. I assure you, my chief object in society is to conceal my ignorance, and prevent people from finding out what an abject fool I really am!”

Miss Towers. “And do you succeed?[Pg 191]

Gentleman and lady talking

Hostess. “Why, Mr. Smith, I’ve hardly seen you all the evening! Now I particularly want you to come and hear a whistling solo by my husband.”

Smith (whose hearing is a trifle indistinct). “A whisky and soda with your husband? Well, thanks, I don’t mind if I do have just one![Pg 192]

An Equivocal Compliment.—“I’m so glad to meet you here, Captain Spinks—and so glad you’re going to take me in to dinner.” (Captain S. is delighted.) “You’re about the only man in the room my husband isn’t likely to be jealous of!”

[Captain Spinks’s delight is no longer unmixed.

Bust of Mr. Punch, obscuring the word FINIS