English wit and humor — Periodicals
Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 108, June 29, 1895
PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
VOL. 108. June 29, 1895.
edited by Sir Francis Burnand
Monday.—Tannhäuserites disappointed. Signor Vignas indisposed. Tannhäuser’s understudy Faust put up. House good. Performance better. Plançon,—once Jupiter now Mephistopheles, the extremes meeting in one singer,—excellent. Melba quite the German Fräulein. Bevignani, C. B., i.e., “Conducting Beautifully,” in the chair.
Tuesday.—Many other attractions, yet heart is true to Opera. M. Victor Maurel, as Iago, adds another leaf to his victor’s wreath of Laurel. Maggie Macintyre makes distinct advance, and sings, “O Willow, we have missed you” most melodiously. Tam Agno as Misther O’Tello, the Irish darky singer, uncommonly powerful. Richard Green, Montano, greener than ever: quite fresh. Percy Mordy a good Roderigo Randomo. The highly Pole-ish’d Olitzka a fair representative of Emilia. And this cast, with Merry Mancinelli manipulating musicians, makes the Opera a delight to the fine fleur of the Covent Gardenian Hot House.
Wednesday.—House crammed to see and hear Adelina Patti as Rosina in the ever delightful Barbiere di Siviglia. Rossini for ever! “Whar’s your Wullie Wagner noo?” Patti’s acting worth a third of the money; her singing makes up t’other two-thirds. “Bonus” to audience in “Home, Sweet Home.” Wrapt attention! Here we are all of us out for the night, so to speak, in silks and satins and jewels rare, and with feathers and diamonds and all our war paint on, off afterwards to routs, balls and supper-parties, and yet all hushed, conscience-stricken as it were, in the midst of our gaiety, by sweet voice warbling so distinctly “Home! Home! Home! Sweet Home! Wherever (including the Opera Covent Garden) we wander (and we can’t wander when our attention is riveted on la Diva) there is no-oh-o-o place like Ho-ome!” And then, second verse finished, a storm of rapturous applause bursts over the singer! Yes! those are our sentiments. “Home! Home!” by all means. Only—excuse us—we “won’t go Home Sweet Home till morning, till daylight doth appear.” But why, Adelina mia, didst thou sing at the end of the Opera that remarkably anti-climaxious waltz of Ti-to-tum Mattei’s? Ti-to-tum all very well in his way, but not a Rossini. And then you sang it from a paper in your hand as though doing penance in a music sheet? A mistake, Adelina, don’t do it again, spin your Ti-to-tum at a concert, but not in Rossini’s Barbiere. Bertha Bauermeister obtained a rapturous encore, but shook her finger at the audience as who would say “too late! too late!” So Bevignani bowed, and on we went again merrily. Pini-Corsi good as pantaloon Bartolo. Ancona a capital Figaro, looking like one of Cruikshank’s comic characters. ‘Abry Mundy, fine Basilio done in Italian oils; M. Bonnard, light and airy French count, more of larker than lover. All Home-Sweet-Home-ing (or elsewhere) about midnight, many being detained by the singers at the Opera from getting to the Speaker’s “at Home,” Sweet Home.
Thursday.—Pagliacci, with Miss Pauline Joran appearing as Nedda, and playing it in first-rate style. “Gee up! Nedda!” Query. Pini-Corsi good as Tonio? Answer. ‘Corsi was. T’others not much, but Opera still charming. Yet this evening’s programme too trying for emotional persons. Pagliacci, tragedy; Cavalleria Rusticana tragedy also; tragedy from beginning to end; even the celebrated mezzo very like a wail! Not kind of Druriolanus to afflict us thus. Madame Bellincioni, “the original Santuzza,” admirable. Honours easy between Madame Calvé and Bellincioni. The latter played it first abroad; but the former had the start of her here. In some of the action peculiarly characteristic of the type, Bellincioni wins, not by a neck, but by two hands. Calvé more striking (hands down) in her jealous agony. Signor Valentine Figaro Ancona excellent as Alfio; the situation when Vignas, going strong as Turiddu, catches Alfio’s ear, in order, as he says in Sicilian, “Tu-rid-u of his presence” by subsequently killing him, more dramatic than ever. Giulia Ravogli admirable as quite the gay Lola of the Sicilian Seven Dials. After intermezzo Bowing Bevignani declines encore.
Friday.—Child Harold allowed to sit up late for another night. Composer Cowen ought to sing, “I love my Albani with an A, because she’s Admirable.” Harold improveth on representation. William Malet played by Richard Green. Nice of the librettist, Sir Edward Malet, to keep the memory of his ancestor Green. It must make singers rather nervous to have the composer vis-à-vis conducting his own work; as Wagstaff observes, “in this instance it must have the effect of Cowin’ them.” ‘Nother week gone.
How sleepy I feel! It is this beastly influenza cold and headache. The best thing to do for a headache is to have a little doze and sleep it off. Not a very easy thing to do in a big Paris hotel in the afternoon. However, it is quiet enough in my room, looking on to the courtyard, away from the noises of the Boulevard.
Just dropping off. Crash! Only someone shutting a door. That is not an unusual sound. In these big hotels no one closes a door, no one glides along a passage, no one speaks in a soft voice, but everyone bangs, and stamps, and shouts. If it is a woman, she screams. Another crash! The man in the next room just come in. That’s the Frenchman with the awful cough. No one but a Frenchman could have a cough like that. Lie and listen to his cough for some time. Various other doors banged. But at last sink into unconsciousness. Good Heavens! What’s happened now? Oh, it’s the American trunks being dragged out of the room on the other side. Well, at any rate I shall not hear the American voices now through that miserable door of communication, which, locked and bolted ever so carefully, does not keep out sounds. But there is someone talking there now. Of course the new comers. It must be two people. No, twenty people. By Jove, they are Germans! And there’s the Frenchman’s cough again. I shall never get to sleep. Yet somehow the sounds get confused, I fancy the Germans are coughing and the Frenchman is saying “Ja, ja, ja,” and then——
There, now I am awake again. Why, there’s someone knocking at the door. “Pardon, monsieur, avez-vous reçu votre linge?” “Mais, oui, je l’ai reçu hier.” “Pardon, monsieur, il y a des faux-cols.” “Non, je les ai reçus tous.” “Mais, monsieur——” “Mais qu’est-ce que vous me chantez là? Laissez-moi tranquille.” “Mais, monsieur, le monsieur en face m’a dit que monsieur a reçu des faux-cols que monsieur——” Confound the collars! Get up, let in the garçon, examine my collars and the collars of the monsieur en face, who is just packing up, rectify the mistake of the washerwoman, and am again alone. Now is it worth going to sleep or not? Will try once more.
What’s that? “Marie!” It’s someone shouting outside my door. How fond they are of shouting outside my door! “Marie! De l’eau chaude.” I hope she won’t think it’s for me, or she’ll wake me up if at last I get a chance of dropping off. Then silence. Positively, absolute silence. The coughing Frenchman must have been suffocated; the Germans—no, nothing could stop the Germans from talking, only they have gone out of hearing. And the femme de chambre has hurried off to fetch that hot water for somebody, and the garçon is not banging his broom about in this couloir, and there is no baggage coming or going, and no door crashing; and, in the midst of profound peace, I think drowsily of quiet country afternoons, when one hears only the humming of the bees, and the whispering of the aspens, and then, and then——Hullo! What’s up now? There’s someone else knocking. My last chance gone. My head is aching more than ever. “Eh bien?” “C’est l’eau chaude que vous avez commandée, Monsieur.”
THE ADVERTISEMENT FIEND.
(Written in the Train by an Irate Traveller.)
[“The English landscape is being transformed into a dumping-ground for catchpenny eyesores.”—See the “Nineteenth Century” for June.]
For Soap and Pill each English slope and hill
Is now a background, and the cry is, “Still
They come;” these public nuisances, that mar
The fair earth’s face, like some unsightly scar.
Who possibly can care, I ask, to learn
That Juno Soap Saves Washing, or to turn
A gaze disgusted on some blatant board,
By which the devious tourist is implored
To try the Lightning Pill that never fails
To spot the Spot, or cure whatever ails?
John Bull, his missus and the kids, I hope,
Do not entirely live on pills and soap.
And yet you’d surely think so, when you’ve scanned
The nostrum-signs that so adorn our land!
Oh! heavily I’d tax ’em, if I might!
And keep the landscape clear. Am I not right?
[Terminus. Exit, fuming.
SOCIETY’S NEXT CRAZE.
(As foreseen by Mr. Punch’s Second-sighted Clairvoyant.)
It is the summer of 1896—or possibly ’97. The scene is a road skirting Victoria Park, Bethnal Green, which Society’s leaders have recently discovered and appointed as the rendez-vous for the Season, and where it is now the correct thing for all really smart people to indulge, between certain prescribed hours, in sports and pastimes that have hitherto been more characteristic of the masses than the classes. The only permissible mount now is the donkey, which must be ridden close to the tail, and referred to as a “moke.” A crowd of well-turned-out spectators arrives from the West End every morning about eleven to watch the brilliant parade of “Mokestrians” (as the Society journalist will already have decided to call them). Some drive slowly up and down on coster-barrows, attended by cockaded and disgusted grooms. About twelve, they break up into light luncheon parties; after which they play democratic games for half an hour or so, and drive home on drags.
Mr. Woodby-Innett (to the Donkey Proprietor). Kept a moke for me? I told you I should be wantin’ one every mornin’ now.
The Donkey Proprietor (after consulting engagement-book). I’ve not got it down on my list, Sir. Very sorry, but the Countess of Cumberback has just booked the last for the ‘ole of this week. Might let you ‘ave one by-and-by, if Sir Hascot Goodwood brings his in punctual, but I can’t promise it.
Mr. Woodby-Inn. That’s no good; no point in ridin’ after the right time. (To himself, as he turns away.) Nuisance! Not that I’m so keen about a moke. Not a patch on a bike!—though it don’t do to say so. Only if I’d known this, I’d have turned up in a tall hat and frock coat; and then I could have taken a turn on the steam-circus. Wonder if it would be any sort of form shyin’ at cocoa-nuts in tweeds and a straw hat. Must ask some chap who knows. More puzzlin’ what to put on this year than ever!
Lady Ranela Hurlingham (breathlessly to Donkey Proprietor). That’s mine, isn’t it? Will you please put me up, and promise me you’ll keep close behind and make him run. (Suppliantly.) You will, won’t you?
The Donkey Proprietor (with a due sense of his own value). Well, I dessay I can come along presently, Lady ‘Urlingham, and fetch ‘im a whack or two; jest now I can’t, having engaged to come and ‘old the Marshiness of ‘Ammercloth’s on ‘er moke; but there, you orter be able to git along well enough by yourself now—you ought!
Captain Sonbyrne (just home on leave from India—to Mrs. Chesham-Lowndes). Rather an odd sort of idea this—I mean, coming all the way out here to ride a lot of donkeys, eh?
Mrs. Chesham-Lowndes. It used to be rather amusing a month ago, before they all got used to riding so near the tail; but now they’re all so good at it, don’t you know.
Capt. Sonb. I went down to Battersea Park yesterday to see the bicyclists. Not a soul there, give you my word!
Mrs. C.-L. No; there wouldn’t be this season. You see, all sorts and conditions of people began to take it up, and it got too fearfully common. And now moke-riding has quite cut it out.
Capt. Sonb. But why ride donkeys when you can get gees?
Mrs. C.-L. Oh, well, they’re democratic, and cheap, and all that, don’t you know. And one really can’t be seen on a horse this year—in town, at least. In the country it don’t matter so much.
First Mokestrian (to second ditto). Hullo, old chap, so you‘ve taken to a moke at last, eh? How are you gettin’ on?
Second Mokestrian. Pretty well. I can sit on his tail all right now, but I can’t get into the way of keepin’ my heels off the ground yet, it’s so beastly difficult.
Fragments from Spectators. That’s rather a smart barrow, Lady Barinrayne’s drivin’ to-day…. Who’s the fellow with her, with the paper feather in his pot-hat? Bad style, I call it…. That’s Lord Freddy Fugleman—best dressed man in London. You’ll see everybody turnin’ up in a paper feather in a day or two…. Lot of men seem to be using a short clay as a cigarette-holder now, don’t they?… Yes, Roddie Rippingill introduced the idea last week, and it seems to have caught on. [&c., &c.]
After Luncheon; at the Steam-Circus, and other Sports.
Scraps of Small-talk. No end sorry, Lady Gwendolin; been tryin’ to get you a scent-squirt everywhere; but they’re all gone; such a run on ’em for Ascot, don’t you know…. Thanks; it doesn’t matter; only dear Lady Buckram has just thrown some red ochre down the back of my neck, and Algy Vere came and shot out a coloured paper thing right in my face, and I shouldn’t like to seem uncivil…. Suppose I shall see you at Lady Brabazon’s “Kiss in the Ring” at Bethnal Green to-morrow afternoon?… I believe she did send us cards, but we promised to look in at a friendly lead the Duchess of Dillwater is giving at such a dear little public she’s discovered in Whitechapel, so we may be rather late…. You’ll keep a handkerchief-throw for me if you do come on, won’t you?… It will have to be an extra, then, I’m afraid…. Are you goin’ to Lord Balmisyde’s eight o’clock breakfast to-morrow? So glad; I hear he’s engaged five coffee-stalls, and we’re all to stand up and eat saveloys and trotters and thick bread and butter…. Oh, I wanted to ask you, my girls have got an invitation to a hoky-poky party the Vavasours are giving after the moke-ridin’ next Thursday, and I’m told it’s quite wrong to eat hoky-poky with a spoon—do you know how that is?… The only correct way, Caroline, is to lick it out of the glass, which requires practice before it can be attempted in public. But I hear there’s quite a pleasant boy-professor somewhere in the Mile End Road who teaches it in a single lesson; he’s very moderate; his terms are only half a guinea, which includes the hoky-poky. I’ll send you his address if I can find it…. Thanks so much; the dear girls will be so grateful to you…. I do think it’s quite too bad of Lady Geraldine Grabber, she goes and sticks her card on the only decent wooden horse in the steam-circus and says she’s engaged it for the whole time, though she hardly ever takes a round! And so many girls standing out who can ride without getting in the least giddy!… Rathah a boundah, that fellow, if you ask me; I’ve seen him pullin’ a swing boat in brown boots and ridin’-breeches!… How wonderfully well your daughter throws the rings, dear Lady Cornelia, I hear she’s won three walking-sticks and five clasp knives…. You’re very kind. She is quite clever at it; but then she’s had some private coaching from a gipsy, don’t you know…. What are you going to do with yourself this afternoon?… Oh, I’m going to the People’s Palace to see the finals played off for the Skittles Championship; bound to be a closish thing; rather excitin’, don’t you know…. Ah, Duchess, you’ve been in form to-day, I see, five cocoa-nuts! Can I relieve you of some of them?… Thanks, they are rather tiresome to carry; if you could find my carriage and tell the footman to keep his eye on them. [&c. &c.].
Lady Rosehugh (to Mr. Luke Walmer, on the way home). You know I do think it’s such a cheering sign of the times, Society getting simpler in its tastes, and sharing the pleasures of the Dear People, and all that; it must tend to bring all classes more together, don’t you know!
Mr. Luke Walmer. Perhaps. Only I was thinking, I don’t remember seeing any of the Dear People about.
Lady Rosehugh. No; somebody was telling me they had taken to playing Polo on bicycles in Hyde Park. So extraordinary of them—a place nobody ever goes near now, you know!
THE LAST TOURNAMENT
(Of Tennis—in the North).
By a Manchester Enthusiast of Tennis-onian Tastes and Hibernian Sympathies.
[“For once in a way the Northern Tournament, which has long boasted of being second only to Wimbledon, has not proved an unqualified success…. The withdrawal of Messrs. Pim and Stoker must for some time be severely felt by tournaments of first-class importance.”—Bradford Observer.]
Air—”The Battle of the Baltic.”
Of Tennis in the North,
Sing the—more or less—renown!
But—some champions of worth
From the netted lists are flown;
The Great Brethren from the verdant courts are gone!
Once they mustered a brave band,
Lawford long, and Lewis grand,
Whilst the Renshaws, hand o’er hand,
Now the other—Baddeley—twins
Have it nearly their own way;
And they score repeated wins,
Though the Allens, too, can play,
And can send a swift one down the centre line.
When those twins are on the job