English wit and humor — Periodicals
Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 105, October 14th 1893
OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
October 14, 1893.
The Curate. “Yes, it’s a lovely Morning, Trencherman; just the sort to give one an Appetite for Breakfast.”
Farmer Trencherman. “Ah! A Happitite for yer Breakfast, Sir. Now there’s the difference, yer see. I be come out fur to get a Breakfast for my Happitite!”
A Trip round “the Island,” and back to P’m’th.
Happy Thought (on board crowded steamboat).—”Obstinacy is the best policy.” The obstinate man won’t move, and won’t speak, except in monosyllables; he won’t budge one inch for anybody; he puts everybody in a worse temper than everybody was before, and, in the end, he wins. To the credit of the obstinate man be it said that “he knows how to keep his place,” and does keep it too.
A kind of second-rate sporting bookmaker, with sandy whiskers and dirty hands, who has secured a corner seat near me, smokes like a chimney, and the chimney, his pipe, ought to have been swept and cleaned out long ago. Also he seems quite unable to take five whiffs without prolific expectoration. From experience I believe he will be visited by the steward, and told not to smoke. I am awaiting this with malicious anticipation of pleasure. I am disappointed. A junior steward, of whom I make the inquiry in heating of the objectionable fumigator, replies that “Smoking is allowed here, but not abaft.” Thanks, very much. The sandy-whiskered man won’t go “abaft,” wherever that is. Perhaps he will presently. After a time, when it becomes a bit rougher, he disappears. No doubt he has gone “abaft.” Let him stay there.
“The Needles.”—Why needles? There’s no more point in the name than there is to the rocks.
Opposite Freshwater it very naturally commences to be a bit freshish; some people in the forepart are getting very wet; there is a stampede; it is still fresher and rougher; but I have every confidence in the Captain, who, as I observe, is negligently standing on the bridge, deliberately cracking specimens of that great delicacy the early filbert, or it may be the still earlier walnut.
Happy Thought.—There can be no danger when the Captain is engaged in cracking nuts as if they were so many jokes.
Splashing and ducking have commenced freely. The waves do the splashing, and the people on board do the ducking.
There are those who look ill and keep well; and others who look well at first, but who turn all sorts of colours within a quarter of an hour, struggle gallantly, and succumb; children lively, but gradually collapsing, lying about doubled up helplessly; comfortable, comely matrons who came on board neat and tidy, now horridly uncomfortable, and quite reckless of appearance. Here, too, is the uncertain sailor, who considers it safer to remain seated, and who, at the end of the voyage, is surprised to find himself in perfect health.
Sighting Ventnor.—The man “who knows everything” informs us that this is Bonchurch, which information a man with a book has of course felt himself bound to correct. The latter tells us that it is a place called Undercliff (which nobody for one moment believes), and both informants are put right by a mariner with a map, who points out all the places correctly, and confides to us in a husky voice that “that ere place among the trees is Ventnor.”
More shower-bathing; the fore-part of the vessel quite cleared by the attacking waves.
However, “it soon dries off,” says a jolly middle-aged gentleman in a summer suit, drenched from tip of collar to toe of boot.
Being well out at sea (how many are never “well out at sea”!), we catch sight of Bonchurch and the landslip. Of course we gay nautical dogs pity the poor lubbers ashore who “live at home at ease,” and who are probably suffering from intense—— (Here my remarks, made to a jovial companion on a camp-stool, are interrupted by a blob in the eye from a wave. On recovery I forget what I was going to say, but fancy “the missing word” is “heat.”)
Passing Sandown. Of course the well-informed person says, “This is where the races are,” and equally of course he is immediately contradicted by a reduced chorus of bystanders, who pity his deplorable ignorance. Total discomfiture of well-informed person. He disappears. “Gone below,” like a Demon in a pantomime at the appearance of the Good Fairy.
Nice place Sandown apparently, where, it being 1.30, the happy Wight-islanders are probably sitting down in comfort to a nice hot lunch, while we, the jovial mariners—well, no matter. I shall wait till I can lunch ashore.
Our arrangements are to land at Southsea, where (so we were given to understand) we ought to be at 2 P.M. But already it is 2 P.M., and I dive into my provision-pocket for a broken biscuit. … An interior voice whispers that the broken biscuit was a mistake. I tremble. False alarm. Southsea!! Saved!! But we are forty minutes late, and our time for refreshment is considerably curtailed.
We crowd off through a sort of black-hole passage. Debarking and re-embarking might be very easily managed on a much more comfortable plan. We pay one penny for the pier-toll, and we make for the hotel at the entrance to the pier. Any port in a storm. Cold luncheon is ready for those who can take it, that is, one in six.
Back again.—Past Cowes and Ryde. Weather lovely; sea calm.
There are some persons of whom I would make short work were I a Captain on board, with power to order into irons anyone whose presence was objectionable. And these persons are, Firstly, stout greasy women, with damp, dirty little children. Secondly, fat old men and women (more or less dirty) eating green, juicy pears with pocket knives. Thirdly, smokers of strong pipes. Fourthly, smokers of cigars. Fifthly (imprisonment with torture), for smokers of bad cigars. Sixthly, people who will persist in attempting to walk about and who, in order to preserve their perpendicular, are perpetually making grabs at everything and everybody. Seventhly, aimless wanderers, who seem unable to remain in one place for five minutes at a time.
5.45. Old England once more. We land on P’m’th Pier.
“‘Lux’ against Him.”—At the Church Congress last week the gentleman known as “Father Ignatius,” who evidently considers an Ecclesiastical Congress at Birmingham a mere “Brummagam affair,” became uncommonly excited. It cannot be said that his violence took the form of demanding the blood of any antagonist, as he distinctly objected to the presence of Gore. But Mr. Gore, author of Lux Mundi, won the toss, stood his ground, and spoke; his speech being very favourably received. “Yet,” as the President remarked (probably to himself, as it was not reported), “we must draw the line somewhere, and it is only a pity the Lyne has been ‘drawn’ here.” Subsequently the Lyne shook hands with the police, peace was restored, and the Lyne lay down with the lamb. “See how these Christians love one another!”
Why is an utterly selfish man always a most presentable person in the very best society?—Ans. Because never for one minute does he forget himself.
MR. PUNCH’S APPEAL—TO COAL-OWNERS, MINERS, AND ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.
War! Is it still to be war, wild war in the heart of the land?
Are we children of England, busied in tearing our mother’s breast?
And is there no ruling counsel, and is there no warning hand
To bring this folly to reason, and still this fury to rest?
War! And the boons of Nature are wasted in stubborn strife,
And women, children, non-combatants, suffer and starve and stand by;
And idle hands are lifted in vain for the means of life;
Ye will not list to each other, then listen to me and to these,
Whose mute appeal I must voice, and whose pitiful cause I must plead!
You of the hardened hearts playing autocrat much at your ease,
And you of the hardened hands who the end of the way little heed;
Listen and look and consider! The blows that you blindly strike
Like shafts that are shot at a venture, fall not alone upon foes.
The arrow shot o’er the house [A] may a brother hurt, belike—
[A] Hamlet, Act V., Sc. 2.
Who cares? Not you, it would seem. For you stand with stubborn front,
And backs in hatred averted, and ears to all counsels closed;
While ten thousand innocent lives of your quarrel are bearing the brunt,
And a myriad hands hang idle because you are fiercely opposed.
Look at them! Gathered hungry about an empty grate.
Whilst the coal they crave lies idle within the unpeopled mine,
And Wealth and Work, at odds, when invited to arbitrate—
Capital sets its face, and cocks a contemptuous nose,
And Labour, lounging sullenly, snaps its jaws like a spring;
And the land must stand at gaze whilst they fight it out as foes!
How long must we wait the issue, how long must we “keep the ring”?
Are there no rights save yours, no claims save your warring wills?
Sense has a word to say, Justice a thing to do.
Are we to wait and wait while the land with suffering thrills,
Sympathy? Ay, good friends! But sympathy’s not like wrath,
One-eyed, one-sided, partial. Sympathy’s due to all
Who fall, fate-tripped and bruised, in your quarrel’s Juggernaut path.
We think of the wives and children—Charity heeds their call;
Does she not proffer her dole “without prejudice”?—Yes, but they
Are not sole sufferers now from the Coal War’s venomous strife.
Thousands of unknown hearts are pleading for Peace to-day—
Strong men “out of work,” weak women as “out of heart,”
Factory gates unopened, and Workhouse gates fast shut.
Traffic hampered, arrested, piled trains unable to start.
Famine in homes and hearths, trade dead-lock and market-glut!
The coal lies there in the mine, untouched of hammer and pick,
While yon pale widow-woman must haggle in vain for enough
To charge her tiny grate! Faith! the heart that turns not sick
Tough, my lords of Capital! Hard as the coal-seam black
Your Cyclops-drudges dig at—when you will allow them to dig.
Say, on your conscience now, is your purse so slender and slack
That you cannot bend a little to those who have made you big?
The wealth the sunlight stored men hew for you in the dark,
From the black and poisonous caverns which once were forests free,
‘Tis yours—till certain questions are asked and answered! Hark
Men will not always stand, while Monopoly wages war,
Mute, unquestioning, suffering. Greed, and starvation wage,
The crowd of want-urged captives shackled to Mammon’s car,
Show not the welcomest things to this curious, questioning age.
To-day the appeal’s to Pity. To-morrow—well, never mind!—
Look on the sorrowful picture that Punch commends to your view!
Man many a time has found there is wisdom in being kind.
And you poor thralls of the pit, remember that you and yours
Are not sole sufferers now from this fratricidal strife.
Yes, a starving garrison—fights; sharp ills demand sharp cures;
But when in your stubborn wrath you swear it is “war to the knife,”
Remember that knife’s at the throat of others than those who’d gain
By a victory for you in this fiercest of labour fights.
And these, too, who must lose, yet have—shall they not maintain?—
“AND SHE OUGHT TO KNOW!”
“That’s supposed to be a Portograph of Lady Solsbury. But, bless yer, it ain’t like her a bit in Private!”
(A Song of the Modern Masher.)
Oh! other centuries have had their blades, their bucks, their dandies,
Who had redeeming qualities, but what no man can stand is
The up-to-date variety, that miserable nonny,
The self-conceited jackanapes who calls himself a “Johnny.”
He hasn’t got the brawn or brains to go in for excesses,
His faults are feeble—like himself,—he dawdles, dines, and dresses,
His words, his hair, his silly speech to sheer negation clippin’,
And when he wants to praise a thing, his only word is “Rippin’.”
Oh! he’s rippin’, rippin’! A tailor’s block set skippin’,
He’s all bad debts and cigarettes and bets and kümmel-nippin’,
His head’s without a grain of sense, his hand he’s got no grip in,
He drags his walk and tags his talk with “Rippin’, rippin’, rippin'”!
His faultless dress is the result of unremitting study,
He’s quite the perfect “Johnny,” never messed and never muddy,
His coat is always baggy and his hat is always shiny,
His boots are always varnished to their pointed toes so tiny.
His shirts, his ties, his walking-sticks are marvels to remember,
And with the seasons change from January to December.
He always wears a “buttonhole,” and in a huge carnation
Of hideous hue ‘twixt green and blue finds special delectation.
He has a language of his own which he elects to talk in;
He cuts his final g’s and speaks of shootin’, huntin’, walkin’;
With slipshod phrase and hybrid slang his speeches fairly bristle,
And vulgarisms “smart” he loves as donkeys love a thistle.
He’ll lay “a hunderd pound,” or say “he ain’t,” quite uncompunctive;
He systematically spurns the use of the subjunctive.
He knows “how the best people talk,” and quite ignores the clamour
Of any “dash’d low nonsense,” such as euphony and grammar.
He’s great upon the music-halls, can tell you what befalls there;
He drops in at the Gaiety, and ornaments the stalls there;
He knows each vapid joke by heart, and wishes that he knew more;
They quite conform in quality to his idea of humour.
He skims the sportin’ papers, and devours the shillin’ thriller;
He counts the bard of comic songs a cut above a Schiller—
In fact, they scoff at poets in his very wide-awake sphere,
And in his secret soul he has a fine contempt for Shakspeare.
He dawdles dully through his day in quite the latest fashion—
A round of folly minus wit, and vice without its passion.
At five he walks “the Burlington,” in which esteemed Arcade he
Meets various of his chosen chums—the silly and the shady;
Then to the Berkeley or Savoy at eight o’clock or later,
Much over-dressed, to over-dine, and over-tip the waiter.
The theatre next, and last his club (the which he takes delight in),
To prove his pluck by “lookin’ on at other Johnnies fightin’.”
His conversation’s all made up of stable and of scandal,
And tales of “chaps he knows”—whose names have mostly got a “handle.”
He “don’t go in” for ladies much, their style of charm is not his,
Which follows on the model of the “Lotties” and the “Totties.”
He doesn’t sing, he doesn’t dance, he has no recreation
That doesn’t sap his scanty brains or sear his reputation,
In short,—for him, his antics and his never-ceasin’ “rippin’,”
There’s just one cure would answer, and that’s whippin’, whippin’, whippin’.
Oh! Whippin’, whippin’, I’d like to set him skippin’,
To end his bets and cigarettes and stop his kümmel-nippin’,
With cure in kind his flabby mind to put a little grip in,
To brisk his walk and sense his talk with whippin’, whippin’, whippin’!
UNDER THE ROSE.
(A Story in Scenes.)
SCENE VIII.—A prettily-furnished Drawing-room at the Merridews’ House in Hans Place. Time—About 5.30 on Saturday afternoon. Mrs. Merridew has a small tea-table in front of her. Althea is sitting on a couch close by. Both ladies are wearing their hats, having just returned from a drive. Mrs. Merridew is young and attractive, and her frock is in the latest fashion; Althea is more simply dressed, though her hair and toilette have evidently been supervised by an experienced maid.
Mrs. Merridew. I don’t think I’ve ever known the Park so full before Easter as it was to-day. Try one of those hot cakes, Thea, or a jam sandwich—we don’t dine till late, you know. It’s been so nice having you, I do wish you hadn’t to go on Monday—must you?
Althea. I’m afraid I must, Cissie; it has been the most delightful week; only—Clapham will seem dreadfully flat after all this. She sighs.
Mrs. M. Notwithstanding the excitement of Mr. Curphew’s conversation?
Alth. Mr. Curphew, Cissie?
Mrs. M. Now don’t pretend ignorance, dear. You have quoted Mr. Curphew and his opinions often enough to show that you see and think a good deal of him. And, really, if you colour like that at the mere mention——
Alth. Am I colouring? That last cup was so strong. And I don’t see Mr. Curphew at all often. He is more Mamma’s friend than mine—she has a very high opinion of him.
Mrs. M. I daresay he deserves it. He’s a fearfully learned and superior person, isn’t he?
Alth. I—I don’t know. He writes for the paper.
Mrs. M. That’s vague, dear. What sort of paper? Political, Scientific, Sporting, Society—or what?
Alth. I never asked; but I should think—well, he’s rather serious, you know, Cissie.
Mrs. M. Then it’s a comic paper, my dear, depend upon it!
Alth. Oh, Cissie, I’m sure it isn’t. And he’s very hardworking. He’s not like most men of his age, he doesn’t care in the least for amusements.
Mrs. M. He must be a very lively person. But tell me—you used to tell me everything, THEA—does this immaculate paragon show any signs of——?
Alth. (in a low voice). I’m not sure——Perhaps—but I may be mistaken.
Mrs. M. And if—don’t think me horribly impertinent—but if you’re not mistaken, have you made up your mind what answer to give him?
Alth. (imploringly). Don’t tease me, Cissie. I thought once—but now I really don’t know. I wish he wasn’t so strict and severe. I wish he understood that one can’t always be solemn—that one must have a little enjoyment in one’s life, when one is young!
Mrs. M. And yet I seem to remember a girl who had serious searchings of heart, not so very long ago, as to whether it wasn’t sinful to go and see Shakspeare at the Lyceum!
Alth. I know; it was silly of me—but I didn’t know what a theatre was like. I’d never been to see a play—not even at the Crystal Palace. But now I’ve been, I’d like to go to one every week; they’re lovely, and I don’t believe anything that makes you cry and laugh like that can be wicked!
Mrs. M. Ah, you were no more meant to be a little Puritan than I was myself, dear. Heavens! When I think what an abominable prig I must have been at Miss Pruins’.
Alth. You weren’t in the least a prig, Cissie. But you were different. You used to say you intended to devote yourself entirely to Humanity.
Mrs. M. Yes; but I didn’t realise then what a lot there were of them. And when I met Frank I thought it would be less ambitious to begin with him. Now I find there’s humanity enough in Frank to occupy the devotion of a lifetime. But are you sure, Thea, that this journalist admirer of yours is quite the man to—— He sounds dull, dear; admirable and all that—but, oh, s