« PreviousContinue »
JOHN BRIGHT. "COME ABOARD,
CAPTAIN GLADSTONE. "GLAD TO SEE YOU, JOHN. GLAD YOU'RE A.B. AGAIN. IF IT COMES ON TO BLOW, WE MAY WANT YOUR ASSISTANCE."
CHRISTMAS BOXES FOR BEAUTY.
A NOVEL kind of Christmas Box is suggested by a legend which Mr. Punch lately beheld in the window of a hair-dresser's shop "Presents for Christmas." higwas posted in the midst of a variety of Chignons. A box containing a quantity of false hair is the Christmas-Box thereby presented to the imagination of the passer-by. But who would offer it to a young lady? Such a present is equivalent to the gift of a wig. It is a ChristmasBox or a New Year's Gift of a class in which may be included several other articles of a similar description, but more useful, and much more ornamental. For instance, you might give a friend in need, personal and pecuniary, a Christmas-Box in the shape of a set of artificial teeth, or the "Guinea Jaw" of our friend the Dentist, or a glass eye, or a guttapercha nose, or a wooden leg.
Some of the "Presents for Christmas" above
referred to were Chignons which looked like horses' tails. Others of the Chignons for Christmas-Boxes exhibited a remarkable resemblance to the tail of a comet, from which eccentric luminary the idea of those prodigious top-knots may possibly have been borrowed. Astronomy, along with Geography and the Use of the Globes, has long formed a branch of female education. An intelligent girl, fresh from boarding-school, if requested to describe the Coma Berenices might, or might not inform her questioner that it was a celestial Chignon.
AMONG the names of possible candidates for the Speakership was that of MR. SAMUEL WHITBREAD, Member for Bedford. He would be an excellent Speaker, but, as matter of humanity, Punch must have opposed this selection. Imagine a triumph of the Anti-Liquor League, imagine the success of a Bill for putting down Porter, and imagine a grandson of WHITBREAD having to say That this Bill do pass!"
COME we return from otter-hunting. Tired, but expecting "Nicht wi' RUDDOCK." He is to be at dinner, and a few very intimates are coming in the evening. The few" very intimates" have no distance to drivemerely a matter of eight miles or so.
From my window I hear carriages drawing up exactly at two minutes to o'clock. Punctuality in Cornwall is the soul of pleasure.
Odd: at the last moment I can't find either a collar or a white tie! 66 Come, Desperation, lend thy furious hold!" Rummage in the drawers, in the portmanteau. Staggered. Where can it be?-the collar, I mean. Rummage again. Getting hot and excited. Ought always to come down to dinner calm, cool, and collected. Í shall be the only one late, and I hadn't to come twelve miles to
dinner. No excuse except the real one,-"Couldn't find my collars, or a tie." Only one thing for it.. Ring the bell, and ask servant.
Sir, they're in there." They are. Rapture! Sir! We were changing the drawers from this room to Master's. I dessay, yes, in Difficulties. Flash.-Stirring subject for operatic and descriptive music-A Gentleman's Toilet
Next Difficulty.-Drop a stud suddenly. Hear it fall close by my foot. In fact, I feel, from some peculiar sensation in my foot, that it is here, on the floor, close to me. No. Hunt for it. Can't see it anywhere. [Mem.-Never travel without duplicate studs. Won't, another time.] Still stooping: feeling about the carpet. Hands getting dirty again, hair coming unbrushed, face growing warm and red.
Flash.-The stud being, as it were, an excrescence on the carpet, can be perceived by lying on the floor, (like an Indian listening to hear if anybody's coming,) and directing exactly where I thought it had been at first. Stud found at last your eye in a right line. After this, clothes-brush required.
Another Difficulty.-Time getting on. 7:10. PENDELL by this time anxious below. Every one arrived. I picture to myself RUDDOCK in the drawing-room, filling up the mauvais quart d'heure by satirical reflections on the dandy (me) who hadn't time enough to beautify himself for dinner.
I should be down now, if it wasn't for the button on my collar-band. I feel that it's all over with it, if not touched gently. Once off, and worry will be my portion for the remainder of the evening. And I know what is the result of attempting to pin it. Note.-"Curses not loud, but deep." Quotation adapted to circumstances.
Last Difficulty, I hope.-After treating the button with suppressed emotion, dash at the white tie. I find myself asking myself, "Why the washerwoman will fold it all wrong, and starch it so that the slightest crinkle shows ?" I have no answer. Of course at any other moment I could tie it at once, and have done with it; but now first one end's too long, then the other end 's too short; then, on the third trial, the middle part somehow gets hopelessly tucked into itself, and I am pulling at it, by mistake, for one of the ends. At last I get it something like all right, but not everything that could be desired. Waistcoat. Coat. Handkerchief! Where's handkerchief? Where is-.. ha! Down-stairs.
Everybody waiting, evidently. Apology. "Ah!" says PENDELL, um-ah-now you've come, we 'll-um- -" and rings the bell.
I recognise some of our companions out otter-hunting to-day. Galaxy, too, of Cornish beauty, which means the darkest, brightest eyes and the clearest, freshest complexions. Not being introduced, I look about for Old RUDDOCK. There is an elderly gentleman sitting at a table looking over a photograph book. This is the nearest approach to Old RUDDOCK that I can see. Dinner announced. I take in MISS BODD, of Popthlanack, and follow the TRELISSACS, the TREGONIES of Tregivel, and MAJOR PENOLVER, with MRS. SOMEBODY of Somewhere. Whom RUDDOCK takes, I don't know. A Discovery.-I am seated next to Old RUDDOCK of Ruddock, at dinner. PENDELL introduces us. A hale, hearty, elderly gentleman, with, if any expression at all, rather a sleepy one, as if a very little over-feeding would send him into a doze. Now then for a "Nicht wi' RUDDOCK!"
POETRY OF FACT.
AT the festive season of the year particularly, people commonly complain that the newspapers are dull. Unless in exceptional years, nothing happens of which the narration is in anywise interesting, and the dearth of news is generally so extreme that journalists are actually driven to fill their columns with theological controversies.
The dryness of grammatical details has been surmounted by the device of putting them into metre, as in the As in Præsenti and the Propria quæ Maribus of the Eton Latin Grammar. Might not the contents of the Journals, in like sort, be rendered somewhat less prosy than they sometimes are by being versified ? The telegrams would, perhaps, be peculiarly susceptible of this treatment, whereunto they seem to lend themselves in virtue of their characteristic conciseness, which it would enhance. The electric wire on New Year's Day transmitted a certain message from Rome. Here it is in the form of blank verse:
The King to-day received the Ministers.
The Court Circular could be rendered in heroic rhymes. As thus:
The QUEEN walked in the Castle Grounds this morn;
The DUKE OF EDINBURGH, LOUISE, of Lorne
Right Honourable GLADSTONE here has been To-day, and had an audience of the QUEEN, The Premier, after that, remained to lunch, The dinner-party included Mr. Punch.
The English funds, this blessed day, Have no fresh movement known, Save of one-eighth a rise had they, Which could not hold its own.
Consols so little looked alive,
At ninety-two one half, to five-
Other intelligence, miscellaneous or special, could be couched in lyrical measures. Take a specimen of a money article:
Excitement did the day throughout
A hundred thousand pounds in gold
Came, at the Bank, to hand,
And much for discount there, behold! Increased was the demand.
Police reports also could be embodied in song, as, for example:
At Worship Street came PETER FAKE, a young thief,
The prisoner, on hearing his sentence, no doubt
And so on. The suggestion above exemplified will perhaps be
The office of Speaker is as old as the Saxon Wittenagemot, but the mace now borne by the Serjeant-atArms is not the one which CROMWELL impetuously called a "bauble." That interesting relie of a bye-gone age is said to be in a private collection in the United States.
The SPEAKER, although not one of the commoner sort, is the first Commoner in the land.
The SPEAKER is entitled to many privileges. He can show friends (not exceeding four at a time) over both Houses of Parliament without an order from the Lord about to be presented to Her Royal Highness the PRINCESS LOUISE of Hesse, by way of a "At a meeting of the Bury Town Council this week, it was stated that an address was Chamberlain; he can take books out of the Library on public appreciation of her exertions on behalf of His Royal Highness the PRINCE OF leaving a small deposit; he can call a wherry and go on WALES. It was also stated that it was proposed to present a cabinet, containing the photothe river whenever he pleases; every tenth cygnet born graphic likenesses of those signing the address-Sheriffs and other officers in their between Lambeth and London Bridge is his by prescrip- respective uniforms, and Mayors of boroughs in their robes." tive right; and he is at liberty to charge the Consolidated Fund with the cost of any refreshment he may require during official hours, and with all cab fares to and from the House.
A MORE interesting gallery of portraits it would be difficult to imagine, especially, if, as the encouraging words, "and other officers" incline us to hope may be the case, the macebearers, beadles, and town-criers, with possibly a selection from the police, are included in the cabinet. Perhaps it would not be advisable to admit Sheriffs' officers. A fac-simile autograph
The most terrible exercise of the Speaker's authority is when he "names" a Member. The miserable man is committed to the Tower for life, and allowed no underneath each photograph, with the addition of the writer's usual formula book to read but Hansard; his estates are forfeited to of subscription "Yours truly," "Ever faithfully yours," &c. - would the Crown, and once a year, on the day when he com- materially enhance the value of the present. Everyone, who can appremitted the offence for which he was named," he is ciate good taste, in combination with retiring modesty, must be struck with taken by the Constable of the Tower in a tumbril to this, the latest outburst of corporate zeal; and the impression such a delicate Westminster, to beg pardon of the SPEAKER and the attention as the offering of a cabinet containing the likenesses of some House on his knees. of the most remarkable characters of their time, will produce upon foreign nations, already full of admiration of our loyalty and envying us our Mayors, cannot fail to be most gratifying to the nation's vanity.
*Lucus a non lucendo.-Sil. Ital. de Arbor., xv., 1019.