The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch or the London Charivari, Vol. 109,
September 7, 1895, by Various

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Title: Punch or the London Charivari, Vol. 109, September 7, 1895

Author: Various

Editor: Sir Francis Burnand

Release Date: February 22, 2014 [EBook #44976]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Punch, or the London Charivari, Malcolm Farmer
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at



Vol. 109.

September 7, 1895.

[Pg 109]


["Is the 'Penny Dreadful' and its influence so very dreadful, I wonder?"—James Payn.]

Alas! for the poor "Penny Dreadful"!
They say if a boy gets his head-full
Of terrors and crimes,
He turns pirate—sometimes;
Or of horrors, at least, goes to bed full.
Now is this according to Cocker?
Of Beaks one would not be a mocker,
But do many lads
Turn thieves or foot-pads,
Through reading the cheap weekly Shocker?
Such literature is not healthy;
But does it make urchins turn stealthy
Depleters of tills,
Destroyers of wills,
Or robbers of relatives wealthy?
I have gloated o'er many a duel,
I've heard of Don Pedro the Cruel:
Heart pulsing at high rate,
I've read how my Pirate
Gave innocent parties their gruel.
Yet I have ne'er felt a yearning
For stabbing, or robbing, or burning.
No highwayman clever
And handsome, has ever
Induced me to take the wrong turning!
A lad who's a natural "villing,"
When reading of robbing and killing
May feel wish to do so;
But Sheppard—like Crusoe
To your average boy's only "thrilling."
Ah! thousands on Shockers have fed full,
And yet not of crimes got a head-full.
Let us put down the vile,
Yet endeavour the while,
To be just to the poor "Penny Dreadful"!


George. "Eh—he's a big 'un; ain't he, Jack?"

Minister (overhearing). "Yes, my Lad; but it's not with Eating and Drinking!"

Jack. "I'll lay it's not all wi' Fastin' an' Prayin'!"


The Rural District Council at Chester resolved recently to station men on the main roads leading into the city to count the number of cyclists, with a view to estimating what revenue would accrue from a cycle tax. Extremely high and public-spirited of the Chester authorities to take the matter up. These dwellers by the Dee ought to adopt as their motto, "The wheel has come full cycle."

"Who is Sylvia?"—An opera, from the pen of Dr. Joseph Parry, the famous Welsh composer, entitled Sylvia, has been successfully produced at the Cardiff Theatre Royal. The libretto is by Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Mendelssohn Parry, the maestro's son, so that the entire production is quite parry-mutuel.



A new British sport has arisen, or rather has, after a seven years' interval, been revived within the last week or so, and the British sporting reporter, so well-known for his ready supply of vivid and picturesque metaphor, has, as usual, risen to the occasion. That large and growing class of sedentary "sportsmen," whose athletic proclivities are confined to the perusal of betting news, have now a fresh item of interest to discuss in the performances of favourite and rival locomotives. More power has been added to the elbows of the charming and vociferous youths, who push their way through the London streets with the too familiar cry of "Win-nerr!" (which, by the way, has quite superseded that of "Evening Piper!"). And the laborious persons who assiduously compile "records" have enough work to do to keep pace with their daily growing collection. Even the mere "Man in the Street" knows the amount of rise in the Shap Fell and Potter's Bar gradients, though possibly, if you cross-question him, he could not tell you where they are. However, the great daily and evening papers are fully alive to the occasion, and the various sporting "Majors" and "Prophets" are well to the fore with such "pars" as the following:—

Flying Buster, that smart and rakish yearling from the Crewe stud, was out at exercise last evening with a light load of eighty tons, and did some very satisfactory trials.

Invicta, the remarkably speedy East Coast seven-year-old, made a very good show in her run from Grantham to York yesterday. She covered the 80½ miles in 78 minutes with Driver Tomkins up, and a weight of some 120 tons, without turning a hair. She looked extremely well-trained, and I compliment her owners on her appearance.

Really something ought to be done with certain of the Southern starters. I will name no names, but I noticed one the other day whose pace was more like thirty hours a mile than thirty miles an hour. I have heard of donkey-engines, and this one would certainly win a donkey race.

These long-distance races are, no doubt, excellent tests for the strength and stamina of our leading cross-country "flyers," but I must enter a protest against the abnormally early hours at which the chief events are now being pulled off. A sporting reporter undergoes many hardships for the good of the public, but not the least is the disagreable duty of being in at the finish at Aberdeen, say at 4.55 A.M. The famous midnight steeple-chase was nothing to it.

There was some very heavy booking last night at Euston, and Puffing Billy the Second was greatly fancied. He has much finer action and bigger barrel than his famous sire, not to mention being several hands higher. It is to be hoped that he will not turn out a roarer, like the latter.

There are dark rumours abroad that the King's Cross favourite has been got at. She was in the pink of condition two days ago; but when I saw her pass at Peterborough to-day, she was decidedly touched in the wind. The way she laboured along was positively distressing. Besides, she was sweating and steaming all over.

I will wire my prophecies for to-day as soon as I know the results.

The Shunter.

[Pg 110]


Hackney (to Shire Horse). "Look here, Friend Dobbin, I'll be shod if they won't do away with us altogether some of these days!"

[Pg 111]


After the Procession. A Solo by Grand-père.


(After Wordsworth's "Character of the Happy Warrior.")

[Sir John Bridge, at Bow Street, bidding farewell to Detective-Sergeant Partridge, retiring after thirty years' service, described the virtues of the perfect policeman. He must be "absolutely without fear," "gentle and mild in manner," and utterly free from "swagger," &c., &c.]

Who is the happy "Copper"? Who is he
Whom every Man in Blue should wish to be?
—It is the placid spirit, who, when brought
Near drunken men, and females who have fought,
Surveys them with a glance of sober thought;
Whose calm endeavours check the nascent fight,
And "clears the road" from watchers fierce and tight.
Who, doomed to tramp the slums in cold or rain,
Or put tremendous traffic in right train,
Does it, with plucky heart and a cool brain;
In face of danger shows a placid power,
Which is our human nature's highest dower;
Controls crowds, roughs subdues, outwitteth thieves,
Comforts lost kids, yet ne'er a tip receives
For objects which he would not care to state.
Cool-headed, cheery, and compassionate;
Though skilful with his fists, of patience sure,
And menaced much, still able to endure.
—'Tis he who is Law's vassal; who depends
Upon that Law as freedom's best of friends;
Whence, in the streets where men are tempted still
By fine superfluous pubs to swig and swill
Drink that in quality is not the best,
The Perfect Bobby brings cool reason's test
To shocks and shindies, and street-blocking shows;
Men argue, women wrangle,—Bobby knows!
—Who, conscious of his power of command
Stays with a nod, and checks with lifted hand,
And bids this van advance, that cab retire,
According to his judgment and desire;
Who comprehends his trust, and to the same
Keeps true with stolid singleness of aim;
And therefore does not stoop nor lie in wait
For beery guerdon, or for bribery's bait;
Thieves he must follow; should a cab-horse fall,
A lost child bellow, a mad woman squall,
His powers shed peace upon the sudden strife,
And crossed concerns of common civic life,
A constant influence, a peculiar grace;
But who, if he be called upon to face
Some awful moment of more dangerous kind,
Shot that may slay, explosion that may blind,
Is cool as a cucumber; and attired
In the plain blue earth's cook-maids have admired,
Calm, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law,
Fearless, unswaggering, and devoid of "jaw."
Or if some unexpected call succeed
To fire, flood, fight, he's equal to the need;
—He who, though thus endowed with strength and sense,
To still the storm and quiet turbulence,
Is yet a soul whose master bias leans
To home-like pleasures and to jovial scenes;
And though in rows his valour prompt to prove,
Cooks and cold mutton share his manly love:—
'Tis, finally, the man, who, lifted high
On a big horse at some festivity,
Conspicuous object in the people's eye,
Or tramping sole some slum's obscurity,
Who, with a beat that's quiet, or "awful hot,"
Prosperous or want-pinched, to his taste or not,
Plays, in the many games of life, that one
In which the Beak's approval may be won;
And which may earn him, when he quits command,
Good, genial, Sir John Bridge's friendly shake o' the hand.
Whom neither knife nor pistol can dismay,
Nor thought of bribe or blackmail can betray:
Who, not content that former worth stand fast,
Looks forward, persevering, to the last,
To be with Partridge, ex-detective, class'd:
Who, whether praised by bigwigs of the earth,
Or object of the Stage's vulgar mirth,
Plods on his bluchered beat, cool, gentle, game,
And leaves somewhere a creditable name;
Finds honour in his cloth and in his cause,
And, when he dips into retirement, draws
His country's gratitude, the Bow Street Beak's applause:
This is the happy "Copper"; this is he
Whom every Man in Blue should wish to be.

[Pg 112]


(By Our Own Intrepid Explorer.)

"I tell you what you want," said my friend Saxonhurst. "You find your morning dumb-bells too much for you, and complain of weakness—you ought to get a blow over to France."


The gentleman who made the suggestion is a kind guardian of my health. He is not a doctor, although I believe he did "walk the hospitals" in his early youth, but knows exactly what to advise. As a rule, when I meet him he proposes some far-a-field journey. "What!" he exclaims, in a tone of commiseration; "got a bad cold! Why not trot over to Cairo? The trip would do you worlds of good." I return: "No doubt it would, but I havn't the time." At the mere suggestion of "everyone's enemy," Saxonhurst roars with laughter. He is no slave to be bound by time. He has mapped out any number of pleasant little excursions that can be carried out satisfactorily during that period known to railway companies (chiefly August and September) as "the week's end." He has discovered that within four-and-twenty hours you can thoroughly "do" France, and within twice that time make yourself absolutely conversant with the greater part of Spain. So when he tells me that I want "a blow over" to the other side of the Channel, I know that he is proposing no lengthy proceedings.

"About twenty minutes or so on the continent will soon set you to rights," continues Saxonhurst, in a tone of conviction. "Just you trust to the London, Chatham and Dover Railway and they will pull you through. Keep your eye on the 9 A.M. Express from Victoria and you will never regret it."

Farther conversation proved to me that it was well within the resources of modern civilization to breakfast comfortably in Belgravia, lunch sumptuously at Calais, and be back in time for a cup of (literally) five o'clock tea at South Kensington. Within eight hours one could travel to the coast, cross the silver streak twice, call upon the Gallic douane, test the cuisine of the buffet attached to the Hôtel Terminus, and attend officially Mrs. Anybody's "last Any-day." It seemed to be a wonderful feat, and yet when I came to perform it, it was as easy as possible.

There is no deception at 9 A.M. every morning at the Victoria Station. A sign-post points out the Dover Boat Express, and tells you at the same time whether you are to have the French-flagged services of the Invicta and the Victoria, or sail under the red ensign of the Calais-Douvres. Personally, I prefer the latter, as I fancy it is the fastest of the speedy trio. Near to the board of information is a document heavy with fate. In it you can learn whether the sea is to be "smooth," "light," "moderate," or "rather rough." If you find that your destiny is one of the two last mentioned, make up your mind for breezy weather, with its probable consequences. Of course, if you can face the steward with cheerful unconcern in a hurricane, you will have nothing to fear. But if you find it necessary to take chloral before embarking (say) on the Serpentine in a dead calm, then beware of the trail of the tempest, and the course of the coming storm. If a man who is obliged to go on insists that "it will be all right," take care, and beware. "Trust him not," as the late Longfellow poetically suggested, as it is quite within the bounds of possibility that he may be "fooling thee." But if the meteorological report points to "set fair," then away with all idle apprehensions, and hie for the first-class smoking compartment, that stops not until it gets to Dover pier, for the pause at Herne Hill scarcely counts for anything.

As you travel gaily along through the suburbs of Surrey and the hops of Kent, you have just time to glance from your comfortable cushioned seat at "beautiful Battersea," "salubrious Shortlands," "cheerful Chatham," "smiling Sittingbourne," "favoured (junction for Dover and Ramsgate) Faversham," and last, but not least, "cathedral-cherishing Canterbury." You hurry through the quaint old streets of "the Key to Brompton" (I believe that is the poetical plus strategical designation of the most warlike of our cinque ports), and in two twos you are on board the Calais-Douvres, bound for the buffet of buffets, the pride of the caterer's craft, or rather (to avoid possible misapprehension) his honourable calling. The Channel is charming. This marvellous twenty miles of water is as wayward as a woman. At one time it will compel the crews of the steamers to appear in complete suits of oil-skin; at another it is as smooth as a billiard-table, and twice as smiling. The report at Victoria has not been misleading. We are to have a pleasant, and consequently prosperous passage.

On board I find a goodly company of lunchers. Mr. Recorder Bunny, Q.C., sedate and silent—once the terror of thieves of all classes, and ruffians of every degree, now partly in retreat. Then there is the MacStorm, C.B., warrior and novelist. Foreign affairs are represented by MM. Bonhommie and De Czarville, excellent fellows both, and capable correspondents in London. Then there are a host of celebrities. Dicky Hogarth, the caricaturist; Samuel Steele Sheridan, the dramatist; and Shakspeare Johnson Cockaigne, the man of literary all-work.

"It is very fine this to me when therefore I come out why," observes an Italian explorer, who has the reputation of speaking five-and-twenty languages fluently, and is particularly proud of his English.

"Certainly," I answer promptly, because my friend is a little irritable, and still believes in the possibilities of the duello.

"Therefore maybe you find myself when I am not placed which was consequently forwards." And with this the amiable explorer from the sunny south, no doubt believing that he has been imparting information of the most valuable character, relapses into a smiling silence.

In the course of the voyage I find that, if I pleased, I could wait until a quarter to four, and then return to my native shores. This would give me more than three hours in Calais. But what should I do with them?

"You might go to the Old Church," says Mr. Recorder Bunny, Q.C., "which was an English place of worship in the time of Queen Mary. Some of the chapels are still dedicated to English Saints, and there are various other memorials of the British occupation."

"Or you can go to the plage," puts in the MacStorm. "Great fun in fine weather. Whole families pic-nic on the sands. They feed under tents or in chalets. In the water all day long, except at meal-times. At night they retire, I think, to a little collection of timber-built villas, planted in a neatly-kept square. The whole thing rather suggestive of Alexander Selkirk plus an unlimited supply of a quarter-inch deal flooring, canvas, and cardboard."


In spite, however, of the unrivalled attractions of Calais, I determine to go no further than the buffet. Acting under the instructions of Mr. Recorder Bunny, Q.C., who seems to know the ropes thoroughly well, I allow the "goers on" (passengers bound for Paris and the Continent generally) to satisfy their cravings for food, and then give my orders. A waiter, who has all the activity of his class, representing, let us say, the best traditions of the Champs Elysée, takes me in hand. We make out a menu on the spot—Melon, tête de veau à la vinaigrette, caneton aux petits pois, and a cheese omelette. Then half a bottle of red wine, a demi-syphon, and a café and chasse. All good. Then the garçon skips away, placing knives and forks at this table, a dish of fruit at that, and a basket of bread at the one yonder. These athletic exercises (that are sufficiently encouraging to promise the performer—if he wishes it—a prosperous career on the lofty trapèze), are undertaken in the interests of the expected voyagers Albion bound. Before the arrival of the Paris train I have eaten my lunch, settled my bill (moderate), and taken my deck chair on the good steamer that is to carry me back to my native land.

Ah! never shall I forget the dear old shores of England as I watch them after déjeuner à la fourchette through the perfumed haze of an unusually good cigar. "Low capped and turf crowned, they are not a patch upon the wild magnificence of the fierce Australian coast line, but in my eyes they are beautiful beyond compare." I remember that at one time or another I have heard "the finest music in the world, but at that moment there comes stealing into my ears a melody worth all that music put together, the chime of English village bells." I recollect that I have heard these beautiful expressions used in the Garrick Theatre on the occasion of the revival of a certain little one-act piece. Mr. Arthur Bouchier was then eloquent (on behalf of the author) in praise of Dover, and I now agree with him. What can be more beautiful than the white cliffs of Albion and the sound of English village bells—after a capital lunch at Calais, and during the enjoyment of an unusually good cigar?

The trusty ship gets to England at 2.30, the equally trusty train arrives at Victoria a couple of hours later. I am in capital time for Mrs. Anybody's "last Any-day."

"How well you are looking," observes my kind hostess, pouring out a cup of tea.

"And I am feeling well," I return; "and all this good health I owe to twenty minutes on the continent."

And these last words sound so like the tag to a piece that they shall serve (by the kind permission of the British public) as the title and the end to an article.

[Pg 113]


Dear Mr. Punch,—My pater reads the Bristol newspapers, but I don't, because there's never any pirates or red Indians in them, but happening to look in one the other day I noticed an awfully good thing. It said that at a place called Stapleton all the parents were very indignant at the way in which the schoolmistress had been treated by the manigers, and to show their symperthy they decided to keep their children from school. The school was nearly empty in consequents. Now I don't think my schoolmaster has half enough sympathy shown him. He does know how to cane, certainly, but he isn't really such a beast as fellows make out—at least not just the day or so before the holidays begin—and would you mind telling parents that they ought to keep their boys at home for a week or a fortnight after next term begins, to show how much they symperthise with him? Poor chap, he has lots of trouble—I know he has, because I give him some.

Yours respekfully,

Bloggs Junior.

Bawbees Thankfully Received.—A National Scottish Memorial to Burns is in the Ayr. "Surely," writes a perfervid one, "Burns did as much for our country and the world as Scott, yet how very different the monuments of the two in Edinburgh and Glasgow! I am sure no Scotchman would grudge his mite, however poor, for such a purpose." Quite so. But it would take a good many "Cotter's Saturday mites" to build anything like the Scott Memorial in Princes Street. And what is this that the Rev. Dr. Burrell, of New York, said in presenting a new panel for the Ayr statue of Burns from American lovers of the poet? "The stream of pilgrims," he observed, "from America to the banks of the Doon was twice as large as that which found its way to the banks of the Avon." Then why should not the stream of dollars follow, and erect a colossal "Burns Enlightening the Nations" somewhere down the Clyde—say, at the Heads of Ayr? Hamlet beaten by Tam O'Shanter, and Avon taking a back seat to Doon! Flodden is, indeed, avenged.

The Wearing o' the Green.—There was a discussion at the Cork Corporation's meeting on a recommendation of the Works Committee, that "a new uniform, of Irish manufacture, be ordered for the hall-porter." What should be the colour, was the difficulty? "Some members," we regret to read, "were in favour of blue"; and then the debate went on thus—

Mr. Bible he thought they should stick to the green
Mr. Farington said that green uniforms rot;
Mr. Lucy denounced such a statement as mean,
And—"never change colour!"—advised Sir John Scott.

So the hall-porter will have a uniform of "green and gold"—the green to be durable," and the gold to make it endurable!


(By "Hansom Jack.")


[The first Cabman's Shelter or "Rest" in the Metropolis was set up at the Stand in Acacia Road, St. John's Wood, on February 6, 1875.]

There! After a two 'ours slow crawl through a fog, with a cough, and a fare as is sour and tight-fisted,
Why, even a larky one drops a bit low, and the tail of 'is temper gits terrible twisted.
And that's where the Shelter comes 'andily in. With a cup of 'ot corfee, a slice and a "sojer,"
And 'bacca to follow, life don't look so bad! What do you think? I says to my pal Billy Boger.
Brown-crusted one, Billy; 'ard baked from 'is birth. Drives a "Growler" yer see, and behaves quite according.
Rum picter 'e makes with 'is 'at on 'is nose, and 'is back rounded up like, against a damp hoarding.
Kinder kicks it at comfort, contrairy-wise, Bill do; won't take it on nohow, the orkurd old Tartar.
The sort as won't 'ave parrydise as a gift if so be it pervents 'em from playing the martyr!
"That's 'Jackdaw' the Snapshotter all up and down!" says Bill with a grunt. That's a nickname 'e's guv me
Along of my liking for looking at life. Well, the world is a floorer all round; but Lord love me
Mere grumble's no good; doesn't mend things a mite; world rolls on and larfs at us; don't seem a doubt of it;
Cuss it and cross it, and over you go! Better far to stand by and look on, till you're out of it.
"Heye like a bloomin' old robin, you 'ave," says Bill (meaning me), "allus cocked at creation
As though you was recknin' it up for a bid like. And what is the end of your fine 'observation'?
You squint, and you heft, and you size people up, sorter 'grading 'em out' as Yank Jonathan puts it.
And when you are through, what's the hodds? All my heye! You boss till you're blind, and then death hups and shuts it!"
Carn't 'it it, we carn't. But we're pals all the same, becos Bill is more 'onest than some who're more 'arty.
We kid, and we kibosh each other like fun, but when H. J. wants backing old Billy's the party,
And when Billy busts Jack is all there, you bet, although I tool a Forder and 'e a old Growler.
But pickles ain't in it for sourness with Billy, nor yet fresh-laid widders for doin' the 'owler.
"Hansom up!"—"Ah!" says old Billy. "Percisely! It's jest 'Hansom up, Growler down!' I ain't in it
With sech a smart, dashing young Jehu as you, as can put on your quarter o' mile to the minute!
Hivory fitments, and bevel-edged mirrors! A lady's boodwore in blue cloth! Ain't it 'trotty'?
Wanity Fair upon wheels, Jack, I call it. Wot price now I wonder for me and Old Spotty?
"Women, too, getting that bloomin' hadvanced they all paternise you—and a cigaratte. Drat 'em!
Few years agone they'd a fynted at thought on it. Women fair knock-outs. Could never get at 'em!
Foller their leaders like sheep to a slorter-'ouse. Drive theirselves next, I persoom, on a Forder.
Party you took up outside 'ere larst night, 'er in feathers and paint, was a pooty tall horder."
"Known 'er six year, Bill," I says with a sigh like. "A sweeter young snowdrop than when I first druv 'er
You couldn't 'a' button-holed. Ah! and she's pooty as paint—bar the paint—at this moment, Lord luv 'er!
Frolicsome, freehanded,—fast? Well, I s'pose so. She used to drive up with a toffy young masher.
Turtle-doves? Well,'twas a pleasure to see 'em, Bill; 'er such a dainty 'un, 'im such a dasher."
"Innercent, hay? Yes, as rain-sprinkled laylock boughs. 'E broke 'is neck in a steeplechase, Billy,
She took to sewing, and dropped smiles and 'ansoms. Wilted away like a gas-shrivelled lily.
Then I lost sight on 'er, couple o' year or so. Next she turned up as—well, Billy you've seen 'er,
Pro. at the "Pompydour," generous, gassy, and—well, p'r'aps as good as a lot that look greener."
"Bah!" snaps Bill Boger, dissecting 'is bloater as though 'twos 'umanity, and 'im a surgeon;
"Life as it's seen from the cab-driver's 'pulpit' would give some new texts to a Parker or Spurgeon.
Culler-der-rose, indeed! Yaller-der-janders! It's most on it dubersome, dirty or dingy.
The free 'anded fares is best part on 'em quisby, and them as is righteous runs sour-like and stingy."
I says, "Bill, you're bilious!" 'E snorts supercilious, and bolts the 'ard-roe. "Hah, young Daffydowndilly,"
'E growls as 'e munches, "of all the green bunches o' Spring inguns you are the greenest. It's silly,
Your slop-over sentiment is, for a Cabby!!!"—Fare? "Finsbury Park, and look slippy!" "All right, Sir!"—
"We'll argue it out, Billy Boger, some other time." Right away coachman! Kim up mare! Good night, Sir!

The words of that arch-humourist, the late Artemus Ward, on the subject of the New Woman, whom he designated "a he-lookin' female," are worth repeating:—"'O, woman, woman,' I cried, my feelins worked up to a hi poetick pitch, 'you air a angle when you behave yourself; but when you take off your proper appairel and (mettyforically speaken) get into pantyloons—when you desert your firesides, and with your heds full of wimin's rites noshuns go round like roarin lyons, seekin whom you may devour someboddy—in short, when you undertake to play the man, you play the devil and air an emfatic noosence. My female friends,' I continnered, as they were indignantly departin, 'wa well what A. Ward has sed!'"

[Pg 114]


"Wouldn't you like some Music, Professor?"

"No, thanks. I'm quite happy as I am. To tell you the truth, I prefer the worst possible Conversation to the best Music there is!"


A Ballad of Bird Slaughter.

(With Apologies to the Shade of Keats.)

"The new style of women's head-gear—called mixed plumes—threatens to add the extermination of Birds of Paradise to that of several species of herons.... It is for this 'use' that whole heronries in Florida and elsewhere have been utterly destroyed; it is for this that Birds of Paradise are being persecuted even to extinction."—Mrs. E. Phillips, Vice-President of the Society for the Preservation of Birds.

Oh, what can ail thee, poet-man,
Alone and palely loitering?
"The wings are banished from the woods,
And no birds sing."
Oh, what can ail thee, bird-lover,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
"The heronry no more is full,
And the cranes are flown."
I see there's sorrow on thy brow,
At dawn's rose-flush, at eve's cool dew.
"Bird-song is gone from the garden rose,
And the field flowers too.
"I met a lady on the way,
Fell, beautiful, cold Fashion's child;
Her hair was golden, her plume was high,
And her eyes were wild.
"She made a mixed plume for her head,
Of heron crest and aureole.
She looked at me as void of love,
And cold of soul.
"She slaughtered Birds of Paradise,
And little cared for all day long
Save silencing the whirr of wings,
And the trill of song.
"She found the task of relish sweet;
The warbling wildwood choir she slew.
Till the larks were mute, and the linnets dead,
And the robins few.
"She took me to her milliner's
And showed with glee a sight full sore,
Her new mixed plume, with aureoles six,
And egrets four.
"'Twas there she lulled all love asleep,
And her heart grew hard—ah, woe betide!—
As the granite-boulder that gleameth white
On the cold hill-side.
"I saw dead songsters heaped to view.
From field, wood, mere, came one sad call:
They cried, 'La Belle Dame sans Merci
Will slay us all!'
"Beauty no more will flash a-wing,
Music no more full-throated flush.
Fashion will curse the fields of Spring
With the Winter's hush.
"I saw poor bird-beaks in that room
With fruitless warning gaping wide;
And the lady wore their stolen plumes
With a cruel pride.
"'The Feathered Woman' was she hight;
But all reproof, compassion-born,
The modish Belle Dame sans Merci
Doth laugh to scorn.
"What plea for beauty or for song,
Or simple prudence, may she reck,
While Fashion rules she with mixed plumes
Her head must deck?
"The birds in myriads may die,
Till earth is all a songless hush;
But she upon her crest must sport
A feathered-brush!
"'Tis not sore need bids songsters bleed,
Not lack of vesture or of food;
'Tis only Fashion's foolish freak
Strips wold and wood.
"And that is why I wander here,
Alone and sadly loitering,
Whilst the sedge shakes not with glancing plume,
And no birds sing!"

Bournemouth's chief magistrate, by decision and order of the corporation of that town, has been deprived of a strip of land, alleged to be public property, which he had enclosed within his own private grounds. The sight of sixty workmen ruthlessly "removing his summer-house and shrubs, and throwing tons of mould over the cliffs," could not have been a very exhilarating one for the erstwhile owner, who must have felt like Mayor-ius 'mid the ruins of Cart-hage.

[Pg 115]


["Mr. Chaplin, speaking in the House of Commons on the 19th August, said that it was not possible to prepare and produce measures for the relief of Agriculture this Session."—Daily Paper.

[Pg 116]

[Pg 117]


"Roundabout Ridings" would be the more correct title, for he who writes these lines has yielded to the joint influences of the prevalent craze and the glorious weather, and has been touring in North Devon on (and off) a bicycle. I say "off" advisedly, for the hills in that delightful country are so numerous, so long, and so steep, that out of every hundred miles you accomplish you will find that you have walked at least fifty while you painfully shoved your wheel before you. And when you reach the laborious summit and pause panting, you are as likely as not to gather your breath and strength under a notice informing you that the descent beyond, down which you had hoped to spin with extended legs, is dangerous to cyclists.


And thereupon, if the sun is shining in full strength, and you are spent and parched, you may possibly decide that in order to make a bicycle tour in North Devon a complete and splendid success, it is essential that you should do it without a bicycle. But later on, when you have reached the end of your journey, have had your bath, your rub down and your brush up, and are waiting placidly for your dinner with an appetite well set and a thirst calculated to drain a vat of cider, then you will realise that even in the precipitous Devonshire country bicycling is a real delight.

Putting aside for the moment the question whether or not you ought to take a bicycle, I hold that the following ingredients go to make a successful bicycle tour. (1) A tall youngster from Oxford possessing incalculable yards of totally irresponsible arms and legs, a happy knack of conversational prattle, a shock of fair hair, and imperturbable good humour. These details, though important, are not essential. It is, however, absolutely essential that he should make all plans for the day's ride, settle on the stopping places and hotels, and carry maps and guide-books. You can then enjoy the satisfaction of abusing him heartily whenever things go wrong. You will also find that whenever you want the map he will either have left it in the pocket of a coat which has been sent on by train, or stowed it away in the darkest recess of the bottom of his kit-case.


The second ingredient is a private clown of quaint humour and original ideas. This is the sort of man who finds interest and amusement in everything, and provokes you to laughter by the most unexpected sallies. Before you have had time to turn round he will be on terms of easy familiarity with drivers of coaches, porters at hotels, ladies who serve behind bars, and rustics whom he may meet on the road. In five minutes he knows the details of all their personal history, their length of service, the manner of their work, the size of their families, their adventures, and their chief desires in life. They all treat him with the highest consideration and go out of their way to make things easy for him. At Lynton our own particular clown sent the hotel band into convulsions by dancing a step dance while they were solemnly playing a German march. The incongruity of the situation so tickled the trombone that for at least two minutes he was utterly unable to carry on the pumping operations entailed by his instrument. His ruin was completed when he was asked to join our party with the special object of inflating the back-tyres of our bicycles. Even the conductor relaxed into a smile.

The third ingredient is a paymaster. If you can find a handsome, well-built, agreeable and intellectual man for the position (as we did) so much the better. You will thus add an air of character and distinction to your tour. In that respect, I admit, we were fortunate beyond the average. I need only add, as a slight reminder to my companions, that they have not yet repaid to me the money I disbursed for them.

The fourth ingredient is one rainy day. It helps you to enjoy the fine weather all the more, and it gives you an opportunity of investing yourself in the pretty little gray waterproof cape which bicycle outfitters provide for wet weather. From a ticket attached to the collar of mine, I discovered that it was called an "electric poncho." I can only say that it fully deserved the title. Wet weather, moreover, adds a pleasing element of uncertainty to bicycling by making your back wheel skid, so that you never know, from one moment to the other, what you may be doing. If three of you are riding in a line, it is more than probable that, in the twinkling of an eye, you will be piled three deep on the side of the road.


You ought also to insure at least one hotel dance in the course of your journey. All hotel dances are the same, and therefore one is quite sufficient as a sample. Hotel dances are attended by eight ladies and six men. One of the men is a boy. He has two sisters, who are also present at the dance. He dances three times with one sister, and three times with the other. His seventh dance he devotes to a lady no longer in her first youth, who has captured his young affections, and after the mad excitement of this episode he goes to bed. Another of the men is always elderly, bald and stout. He displays the courtly gallantry which is understood to be an attribute of the old school. He is a rigorous stickler for the etiquette of the ballroom. He dances the Lancers with a solemn precision and the waltz with a precise solemnity, and that is the only distinction he makes between them. He is a great hand at well-turned compliments of a ponderous nature, and it is a liberal education to see him conducting his partner back to her seat. A third man is an amusing rattle. He makes his partners giggle by his total ignorance of the Lancers, and incurs the frowns of the bald man by his dashing exploits in the waltz. The ladies all wear high dresses, they have interchangeable chaperons, and make a noble pretence of enjoying themselves. In the fifth dance the bald man falls down, and long before twelve o'clock everything is over and peace reigns again in the hotel.

Clovelly is the proud possessor, not merely of the steepest High Street in the world, but also of a "poet-artist" (so he describes himself), who is also (I again quote his own description) a "professional qualified photographer." Here is an extract from his enthusiastic poem entitled "A Peep from the Hobby Drive, Clovelly."

How charming is the old High Street,
Pitched with pebbles, rough—how steep;
There donkeys stand with coal and sand,
And women with their brush in hand.
Out boldly stands the grand old pier,
To check the waves that may come near;
And fishermen upon it stand,
Yarning with their pipes in hand.
Among such grandeur, artist, rest—
To imitate it at thy best;
For should some beauty fall to ground,
Thy picture has it, safe and sound.

From the Fishing Gazette I take the following story:—


Last spring, while a party of tourists were fishing up North, a well-known lawyer lost his gold watch from the boat in which he was sitting. Last week he made another visit to the lakes, and during the first day's sport caught an 8lb. trout. His astonishment can be imagined when he found the watch lodged in the throat of the trout. The watch was running, and the time correct. It being a "stem winder," the supposition is that, in masticating its food, the fish wound up the watch daily.

I happen to know that this story is incomplete, and I venture to add some missing details. The fish—a particularly thoughtful animal—finding that there was no chain to the watch, resolved to supply this defect, and, by a well-known process in metallurgy, converted some of its scales into a complete Albert, which it connected with the watch. The watch used to lose two minutes a week. With admirable patience the fish regulated it, and restored it to its owner in perfectly accurate trim. When it was originally lost the watch was a simple one. It has now become a repeater, with a special dial indicating the days of the week, the month, and the year A.D. By a trick, learnt from a fried whiting in early life this trout contrived every day to insert its tail into its mouth, and, by using it as a brush, to keep the watch clean, and free from rust. When the fish had been boiled and eaten, the watch stopped, out of sympathy, and has not gone since.

[Pg 118]


Generous Dealer (examining ring). "He asks Twenty. He thinks he'll get Eighteen. It's worth Sixteen. I'll give Fourteen. He paid Twelve. I'll offer Ten!"


Better fifty years of Europe
Than a cycle of Porkopolis!
Freedom's shackled with a new rope
In Mock-Modesty's metropolis.
Ladies—aye and men—in tights
To Chicago prudes proves shockers;
So they limit wheelman rights
By forbidding—knickerbockers!
Nay, the manly human calf
To these Aldermen's so shocking,
They prohibit—do not laugh!—
All display of—the male—stocking!!
We must don a costume baggy
From the throat unto the ankles;
Something stuffy, chokey, draggy!
Yah! In freemen's hearts it rankles
This restriction. Don't let's heed 'em!
If they bother thus our biking.
Ho! for Battersea and freedom!
Cyclists of Chicago, striking,
Like their sires for Independence,
'Gainst the prigs our wheel-rights blocking,
Claim, in all their old resplendence,
Knicker free and liberal stocking!


(The Latest Developments of the Educational Department.)

"Where are we going next?" asked the Taught of the Teacher. They had just left the portals of the School Board.

"To a place that should be inscribed with the words 'All hope abandon who enter here,' and which is known as the Slums," was the sad reply.

The Teacher and the Taught travelled on until they were lost in a maze of workmen's buildings.

"Not so very bad," commented the Taught.

"Surely a man and his family might live peaceably enough in these seemingly comfortable flats."

"You do not know all," said the Teacher. "Much has been done for the artisan, but the School Board have driven him to despair. Listen!"

Then the two investigators heard sounds of shrieking and wailing. There was a hubbub of dreadful groans and sighs.

"These are not human," cried the Taught.

"They are not," was the answer. "Have you ever heard the like?"

"Never. And yet I should say that the tones came from violins—played, no doubt, by imps."

"No, it is not that." And then came the full explanation.

"The dreadful discord to which we are listening is caused by the practice of the scholars of the School Board. The energetic youngsters are being taught at the expense of the ratepayers how to play the 'fiddle.'"


(By a Dipper in Brittany.)

[See the correspondence in the Daily Graphic]

Mrs. Grundy rules the waves,
With Britons for her slaves—
They're fearful to disport themselves,
Unless the sexes sort themselves
And take their bathing sadly, for French gaiety depraves!
'Tis time no more were seen
The out-of-date "machine";
Away with that monstrosity
Of prudish ponderosity—
Why can't we have the bathing tent or else the trim cabine?
I think we should advance
If we took a hint from France,
And mingled (quite decorously)
On beaches that before us lie
All round our coasts—we do abroad whene'er we get the chance!
O'er here in St. Maló
The thing's quite comme il faut;
Why not in higher latitude?
I can't make out the attitude
Of those who make the British dip so "shocking," dull and slow!

Lancashire riflemen who "pay their shot" at the average rate of £5 per annum for "marking," are certainly entitled to every modern improvement on their range at Altcar, and it is no wonder that there has been some grumbling at the non-introduction of canvas-targets since their invention years ago. However, this defect, we read in the Liverpool Daily Post's "Volunteer Notes," will shortly be removed, and the desired innovation substituted, so that Bisley marksmen who, hitherto, indulged in sneers at the deficiencies of Altcar, must now cease making a butt of the northern range.

[Pg 119]



House of Commons, Monday, August 26.—Doorkeepers and police puzzled by notable gathering of strangers. Came in one by one. No one seemed to know another; yet there was about them, according to Mr. Horsley's testimony, certain signs of brotherhood. None wore top hats; every man's hair was longer than it is ordinarily worn; several carried cloaks, mostly brown about the seams, cut, as far as Mr. Horsley can remember, something after pattern of cloak worn by Lord Tennyson when he came to be sworn in as a peer of the realm, and was, on first presenting himself, turned away by the policeman in the outer hall under the impression that he was collecting empty bottles.

Most of the strangers had orders for special gallery. Some had seats under the gallery. Others (these, it turned out when the secret was fully disclosed, were the sonneteers) found seats on the higher, but, in the House of Commons, less distinguished, slopes of Parnassus, allotted to undistinguished strangers who ballot for places.

They were the candidates for the Poet Laureateship, or rather some of them. Walking out after questions were over, Sark found a double row of poets sitting on the stone benches right and left of the corridor, waiting for a possible turn at the ballot—waiting with same dogged patience, same unquenchable hope, with which they tarry for public recognition.

All due to Johnston of Ballykilbeg. Turning aside for moment from the vexed Bermothes of theology, and the suspicious conduct of Irish Members of the Catholic faith, Ballykilbeg permitted his gaze to fall on the vacant chair of the Poet Laureate. Gave notice of intention to ask Prince Arthur at to-day's sitting what he meant to do about it. Hence this commotion in the drear woods and the hungry thickets that clothe the foot of Parnassus.

"Sorry for 'em," said Ballykilbeg, looking up towards crowded galleries. "They're a poor-looking lot. Don't believe there's a Master of an Orange Lodge among 'em. Anyhow they're all out of it. My man is Wilfrid Lawson. Don't mean to say he put me up to ask the question with any ulterior personal views. But he knew what I was at, and he knows my opinion of him. We don't agree in politics, and he's not sound on the Pope of Rome. But for verse that fetches you, the poetry you can understand without first tying wet cloth round your head, give me Wilfrid Lawson. Prince Arthur refers me to The Markiss. I'll call and see him, taking with me a choice selection of Wilfrid's verse, which I'll read to him."


A. J. B. "What on earth is the use of getting a brand new rod, when you're caught up on these bothering things every five minutes?"

Business done.—Votes in Supply.

Tuesday.—Scotch votes on; the Weirisome Weir stands where he did, at corner seat of front bench below Gangway. This convenient situation for fixing Corporal Hanbury with gleaming eye. Also the metal grating which serves as flooring of House is useful as adding reverberating sound to Weirisome's voice when occasion makes it desirable it should issue from his boots. If it were not for the matting laid over the grating, effect would be much more tremendous. Weirisome makes the best of it. Blood curdling to hear him just now denouncing some Procurator Fiscal whose office is in Edinburgh, and his house in Ross-shire. Or is it the other way about? The worst of Weirisome making our flesh creep by his ventriloquial talents is, that we get a little mixed about his points. However it was, the Procurator Fiscal had committed a heinous crime. Only by exercise of supernatural forbearance that Weirisome refrained from moving to reduce salary of Secretary for Scotland by £2000.

Effect of supernatural rumblings of his voice increased by ghastly pauses in flow of conversation. Hanbury, as yet new to post of Financial Secretary, will by-and-by get accustomed to its trials. Meanwhile it is painful for Cap'en Tommy Bowles, moored immediately behind his old colleague, to observe his hair gradually standing up whilst House is hushed in awesome silence what time Weirisome is solemnly reaffixing his pince-nez with intent to continue his remarks.

Chairman more than once attempted to fill up pauses by reminding Weirisome what was the precise bearing of vote before Committee. Once sternly threatened to inforce rule which permits Chairman to order a rambling speaker to shut up, and sit down. Weirisome apparently paid no attention. A few minutes later, fancying he saw sign of movement in the Chair, he stopped; with wide sweep of arm put on his pince-nez; held manuscript up with apparent intention of consulting it; covertly regarded James W. over the top. Concluding he meant business, Weirisome, without another word, solemnly, slowly—to the agonised looker on the process seemed to occupy sixty seconds—dropped into his seat.

Business done.—A good deal in Committee of Supply.

Friday, 2 A.M.—It is the unexpected that ever happens in House of Commons. Wednesday is ordinarily humdrum day; Speaker takes Chair at noon; all over before six. Accordingly, having met at noon on Wednesday, House sat till two o'clock next morning, proceedings culminating with scene in which Dick Webster, of all men, was convicted of disorderly conduct.

"Really," said J. G. Talbot, nervously rubbing his hands, "I don't know what we shall see next. Probably the Chaplain, in full canonicals, conducted to Clock Tower by Serjeant-at-Arms for having spoken disrespectfully of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The sooner this Session is over, the better it will be for Church and State."

By way of balancing eccentricity of uproarious Wednesday, the sitting just drawing to close has been unrelievedly dull. Yet it was the sitting solemnly set aside for Irish votes. Battle-royal expected, with nothing left at its close but few fragments that had once been Gerald Balfour, and here and there the limb of an Irish Member. Nothing happened, not even a division. Only long succession of dreary diatribes, with Gerald Balfour occasionally interposing with new promise of benignant sway.

"Very odd," said Truculent Tim, annoyed to find himself mollified. "The voice of the new Chief Secretary is uncommonly like the voice of Arthur Balfour. But the hands promise to rule after the fashion of the hands of John Morley."

Business done.—All the Irish votes passed.

Friday.—House sat to-day, pegging away again at Supply, so as to prorogue next week. Navy Votes on; Cap'en Tommy Bowles attempts to boss the show, making light of Lord High Admiral Jokim, openly alluding to Corporal Hanbury as a horse-marine, this too much for an ancient friendship strained by altered circumstances.

"Tommy," said the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, turning round upon his former ally, after he had been up for twentieth time dictating marine tactics to the Sea Lords and policy to the First Lord; "did you ever hear a story Lubbock tells about the Maori convert? As he had not been seen for some weeks inquiry was made as to his welfare. 'Oh,' explained the chief of his tribe, 'he gave us so much good advice that at last we put him to death.' Think it over Tommy. It's a nice story, and there's a moral in it."

Business done.—Nearly all.

[Pg 120]


Mrs. Jones. "Come on, old Slowcoach! Let's race up this next Hill, or we'll be late for Tea!"

[Jones is beginning to doubt the wisdom of having sold his Pony and Trap, and taken to Bicycles. He lives seven miles from a Town where Mrs. J. takes him shopping four times a week with the greatest regularity.


Messrs. Clement Scott and Brandon Thomas are to be congratulated on the success of their adaptation of the Maître d'Armes, produced at the Adelphi Theatre on Saturday last. The play, which appeared, like the longest remembered dramas of the late Dion Boucicault, in August—traditionally "the dead season of the stage"—seems destined to be as popular as the best-liked of its predecessors. For once—but, it is to be hoped, not "and away"—Mr. William Terriss has a chance of showing his quality in a character worthier of his powers than the customary hero of "walking gentleman" romance. Like Mr. Henry Neville when he appeared as Henry Dunbar, after a long course of Ticket of Leave Man, Mr. Terriss makes the most of his opportunity. Miss Millward is excellent as the child of the fencer—a criticism which applies equally "to every one concerned." Well written, well mounted, and well played, there is no reason why The Swordsman's Daughter should not prove the truth of heredity and "run through"—the season.

"Full of wise saws" is "Amateur Angler," in the Fishing Gazette, concerning the river Wye. He complains that "he tried for trout, but caught chub," which, however, we are told "is a comely fish"—quite chub-stantial, doubtless—and "gives as much sport, at times, as a gentlemanly trout." "Lordly salmon" are also to be found. Evidently the Wye is peopled by the upper crust of the piscatorial world, and this, perhaps, explains the reason for "the river being netted and poached in every conceivable way," or wye, as Cockneys say.

With sorrow we read, in the South Wales Daily News, the announcement of the demise of "Billy," the celebrated goat, that for ten years had been an honoured and favourite member of the First Battalion, Welsh Regiment. This excellent animal, who died from the ravages of rheumatism contracted on the march, seems to have belonged to the "giddy" species of goat, for we learn that "he could hold his own with the best in drinking stout, beer, wine, or spirits." With these Anti-Local Veto propensities, it would not have been astonishing had the bibulous "Billy," like a certain historical personage, met with his end by drowning in a butt.


["The art of setting forth a scene, an incident, in the shape of conversation natural, fluent, easy, and witty, is not so common an accomplishment as the large supply produced on Mr. Craufurd's demand may seem to suggest."—The "Daily News" on "Dialogues of the Day" edited by Mr. Oswald Craufurd.]

SceneThe Elysian Fields, at nightfall.

PresentThe shades of Lord and Lady Sparkish, Lord and Lady Smart, Colonel Alwit, Mr. Neverout, Miss Notable, and some other characters in Dean Swift's "Polite Conversation."

Lady Smart (laying down her book with a yawn). Egad! Our posterity cannot talk, they can only prattle.

Lord Sparkish. Or rather patter.

Miss Notable. Pray, my lord, what is "patter"?

Lord Sparkish. All sauciness and slang, like the soliloquy of a Cheap Jack.

Mr. Neverout. Modish conversation, to-day, seems to borrow its diction from the music-hall, and its repartee from the 'bus conductor.

Miss Notable. Oh fie! Now our "Polite and Ingenious Conversation," as the dear Dean of St. Patrick reported it, was vastly different. Did not Mr. Swift declare that he defied all the clubs and coffee-houses in the town to equal it in wit, humour, smartness or politeness?

Lady Sparkish. Yes; yes, indeed! And he had scruples about prostituting "this noble art to mean and vulgar people."

Mr. Neverout. Egad, the penny daily paper and the sixpenny illustrated weekly have altered all that. "Mean and vulgar people" now write books and journals, as well as read 'em.

Miss Notable. For my part I don't like dialogues, except upon the stage. They are so mortally dull.

Lady Sparkish. Nay, but my dear girl, the Dean says, you must remember, "Dialogue is held the best method of inculcating any part of knowledge; and I am confident that public schools will soon be founded for teaching wit and politeness, after my scheme, to young people of quality and fortune."

Mr. Neverout. Perhaps the present rage for dialogues is the first step in that direction.

Lady Answerall. Pah! there are no "young persons of quality" now!

Lord Sparkish. Though plenty of young persons of fortune!

Mr. Neverout. Quite a different thing, my Lord! In our days School Boards, Labour Members, and American Millionaires had not been invented. Creech had indeed translated Horace into the vernacular, but Jowett had not Englished the Platonic Dialogues for the benefit of Extension Lectures and hack journalists.

Colonel Alwit. Faith, I could never stomach that inquisitive bore Socrates and his dreary dialoguists. That gay, wicked, but debonair dog, Lucian, was more to my mind.

Mr. Neverout. Ah! who of our latter-day dialogue-mongers could equal the smart and really quite fin-de-siècle cynic of Samosata?

Miss Notable. Well, as Tibbalds, said:—

"I am no schollard, but I am polite,
Therefore be sure I'm no Jacobite."

So I've not read your Lucians and Platos and things. But I like Gyp, and Anthony Hope. I vow he hath a true touch of "the quality," and he vastly delights me.

Mr. Neverout. Does he not go nigh to make you blush, now and anon?

Miss Notable. Blush? Ay, blush like a blue dog.

Lady Smart. Still I maintain the Town to-day cannot talk.

Mr. Neverout. Any more than it can write letters.

Lady Sparkish. There is nought genteel in their gabble, nor truly smart in their repartee.

Lord Sparkish. And they cannot badiner a bit.

Lady Smart. Like that dear Bellamour!

Miss Notable. Or that delightful Lovelace!

Lady Smart. Modern dialogues are dull!

Mr. Neverout. If our dear Dean, now, could furnish them with a fresh supply of those entertaining and improving "polite questions, answers, repartees, replies, and rejoinders," such as he took thirty years in collecting, there might be a chance for them.

Lord Sparkish. Or if we could send them some really modish dialogues from the shades!

Lady Sparkish. Faith, suppose we send 'em this!

Miss Notable. Ah, do let's!!!

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch or the London Charivari, Vol.
109, September 7, 1895, by Various


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