« PreviousContinue »
The Duke of Devonshire
best possible place in the world. No end of good for training a fellow to command other fellows.
Second Em. Pol. Well, they were down upon you pretty smartly, BORN, APRIL 27TH, 1808. DIED, DECEMBER 21st, 1891.
First Em. Pol. (airily). May be. But it's because they didn't
know what they were writing about. How can a fellow become a LEARNÉD, large-hearted, liberal Lord of Land,
good naval officer unless he has been robbed of his pocket-money, As clear of head as generous of hand,
and taught how to lie for his seniors. Thing's too ridiculous! He lived his honourable length of days,
Hallo, JIMMY, they tell me things are in a dreadful mess at A "Duke" whom doughtiest Democrat might praise. St. Martin's-le-Grand ! “Leader” in truth, though not with gifts of tongue,
Third Em. Pol. (promptly). Then they tell you wrong. Never Full many a “ Friend of Man” the muse has sung
saw anything like it-most perfect organisation in the world! AbsoUnworthier than patrician CAVENDISH.
lutely marvellous, Sir-absolutely marvellous ! And the clerks so Seeing him pass who may forbear the wish,
civil and obliging. Everybody pleased with them. Would more were like him !—Then the proud command, Second Em. Pol. Come, that won't do. Your statement is as hard “Noblesse oblige” e'en Mobs might understand ! to digest as too-previous turkey and premature plum-pudding. The
papers are full of complaints all through the Autumn, and have only
stopped recently to make room for those descriptive and special law AFTER DINNER-AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR. reports. You will have them again, now Term is over.
Third Em. Pol. Who cares for the papers? I tell you we are SCENE-A Private Room in a well-known Dining Hotel. Eminent absolutely inundated with letters of thanks from Dukes and
Politicians discussing "shop" over their walnuts before dis- Duchesses upwards. No; if you had said that the Colonies were in persing for the Christmas holidays.
a mess, why thenFirst Eminent Politician. I say that recent speech of yours at Fourth Em. Pol. (angrily). What are you talking about ? Skegness was a little strong. Preferring the Navy to the Army! Why, we are absolutely romping in! Never knew the Colonies so Although the Army is of course the "Best possible Army,” and all prosperous as they are now! And we have had to put on half-athat! Eh? I say it was a little too thick!
dozen extra clerks to open and answer the letters of congratulation Second Em. Pol. (quickly). Not a bit of it! You don't know how we receive hour by hour from every part of the Empire. Why,
well we are getting on at Pall Mall. everything 's splendid-absolutely splendid !
Fourth Em. Pol. (interrupting). Yes, I know, by the Militia and
any of you doubt my word, hang me, I will have satisfaction! Second Em. Pol. (carelessly). Yes, I daresay. But what have (Looking round for opponents.) Come now, who will tread on the fireworks got to do with the Navy?
tail of my coat ! First Em. Pol. Why they increased our recruiting, awfully, Chief and Most Eminent Politician. Gentlemen! Gentlemen! Fellows went to the Royal Naval Exhibition and saw all sorts of Come it's getting late, and if we are to see the dress-rehearsal of good things, automatic weighing machine, a fishing-smack, and the Pantomime, we must be off at once ! Nelson wax-works-and-and that kind of thing you know, and joined [The Party breaks up to meet later on in the neighbourhood of the Navy! Precious good thing for the Service, I can tell you.
Drury Lane. Second Em. Pol. Well, to go back to an old story—you can't defend the bullying on board The Britannia.
First Em. Pol. Oh, that's all bosh. Those newspaper fellows FROM OUR SPORTING CITY Man.-“ Pounded before the Start." got hold of it for the Silly Season and ran it to death, but it's the -Mr. GOSCHEN'S One-pound Note scheme.
(FRAGMENTS OF A DICKENSIAN DREAM UP TO DATE.)
It was some time before the great-little old fellow could compose himself to mend the fire, and draw his chair to the warm hearth. But, when he had done so, and had trimmed his lamp, he took his "Extra Special” from his pocket, and began to read-carelessly at first, and skimming up and down the columns, but with an earnest and sad attention very soon.
For this same dreadful paper re-directed Punch's thoughts into the channel they had taken all that day; thoughts of the sufferings of the poor, the follies of the rich, the sins of the wicked, the miseries of the outcast. Seasonable thoughts, if not exactly festive. For all is not festive, even at the Festive Season. Scandals in high life, starvation in low life; foul floods of nastiness in Law Courts; muddy tricklings of misery in lawless alleys; crimes so terrible and revolting; pains so pitiless and cureless ; follies so selfish and wanton, that he let the journal drop, and fell back in his chair, appalled.
“Unnatural and cruel, Toby!” he cried. “Unnatural and cruel! None but people who were born bad at heart-born bad–who had no business on the earth, could do such deeds. We're Bad !" The Chimes took up the words so suddenly-burst out
'ARRY OUT 'UNTIN'.
so loud, clear, and sonorous—that the Bells seemed to strike him in him in the air; clambering from him by the ropes below; looking his chair.
down upon him from the massive iron-girdered beams; peeping in And what was it that they said ?
upon him through the chinks and loopholes in the walls ; spreading " Punch and Toby! Toby and Punch! Waiting for you, Toby and away and away from him in enlarging circles. He saw them Punch! Come and see us ! Come and see us ! Come and see us ! of all aspects and all shapes. He saw them ugly, handsome, Drag them to us! Haunt and hunt them! Haunt and hunt them: crippled, exquisitely formed. He saw them young, he saw them Break their slumbers! Break their slumbers! Punch, Toby: Toby, old; he saw them kind, he saw them cruel; he saw them merry, he Punch ; Toby, Punch ; 'Punch, Toby!!". Then fiercely back to their saw them grim; he saw them dance, he heard them sing ; he saw impetuous strain again, and ringing in the very bricks and plaster them tear their hair, he heard them howl. He saw the air thick on the Sanctum's walls!
with them. Toby barked ! Punch listened ! Fancy, fancy! No, no! Nothing Wh-0-0-0-sh! With what a wild whirr of startled wings the owls of the kind. Again, again, and yet a dozen times again. “Haunt and bats scurried away, dim spectral hiding things that love the and hunt them! Haunt and hunt them!”
darkness and the silence of night, and shrink from light and “If the tower is really open,” said Punch, “what's to hinder us, cheerful sounds! “Well rid of you!" murmured Punch, as Toby Toby, from going up to the steeple, and seeing for ourselves ?" barked at the flying phantoms. “Nothing," "yapped Toby, or sounds to that effect.
But among the other swarming sprites, and circling elfs, and frolic
phantoms of the Bells, Punch beheld brighter things. That pleasant Up, up, up! and round and round; and up, up, up! higher, pair, hand in hand, princely-looking both, and loving withal, higher, higher up!
bring a music as of marriage-bells "all in the wild March morning. There was the belfry where the ringers came. Punch caught And those other goodly and gracious presences, hint they not of hold of one of the frayed ropes which hung down through the Health and Home Happiness, and Benígnant Art, and Humanityapertures in the oaken roof. But he started; other hands seemed on serving Science, of Electric Sympathy, and Ready Rescue, of Mamit; he shrank from the thought of waking the deep Bell. The mon-thwarting Reform, and Misery-staying Benevolence; of all the Bells themselves were higher. Higher,
Punch and Toby, in their spiritual charities and fairy graces that can bless and brighten fascination, or working out the spell upon them, groped their way; country and hearth, Sire and citizen, master and servant, emuntil, ascending through the floor, and pausing, with his head ployer and employed, struggling man, suffering woman and helpraised just above its beams Punch came among the Bells. It was less child ? Punch read in their whirling forms and expressive barely possible to make out their great shapes in the gloom; but faces the signs and promise of all the best and brightest influences there they were. Shadowy, and dark, and dumb.
of the time, happy and opportune attendants upon the auspicious He listened, and then raised a wild'" Halloa !” “Halloa !” was hour of this the opening day of the New Year! mournfully protracted by the echoes. Giddy, confused, and out of
Bim, Bom, Boom !!! Clang, Cling, Clang.!!! What are those Swoon.
hands tugging at the ropes, swinging the Bells big and little, evoking
the stormy clashes and soothing cadences of the Chimes ? He saw the tower, whither his charmed footsteps had brought him, Surely those of the youthful New Year himself! An echo from swarming with dwarf phantoms, sprites, elfin creatures of the Bells the long - silent lips of the great Christmas-glorifier and lover of He saw them leaping, flying, dropping, pouring from the Bells poor humanity seemed to ring in Punch's ears : — without a pause. He saw them, round him on the ground; above “Who hears in us, the Chimes, one note bespeaking disregard, or
stern regard, of any hope, or joy or pain, or sorrow, of the manysorrowed throng; who hears us make response to any creed that
SIMPLE STORIES. gauges human passions 'and affections, as it gauges the amount of
“Be always kind to animals wherever you may be!” miserable food on which humanity may pine and wither, does us wrong.
FRANK AND THE FOX, “Right you are!” cried Punch, cordially, Toby yapping assent. FRANK was a very studious and clever little boy.
He might have said more, but the Bells, the dear familiar Bells, He took the keenest delight in music, and when he had mastered his own dear constant, steady friends, the Chimes, began to ring the his lessons, he was very fond of playing on the concertina, and joy-peals for a New Year so lustily, so merrily, so happily, so gaily, singing to his own accompaniment. He could already play The that he (like poor old Trotty Veck) leapt to his feet, and broke the Bells go a-ringing for Sarah!" with considerable finish and expresspell that bound him.
sion, and since his Uncle DODDLEWIG had presented him with
half-a-crown for his per“Yes, that is still the true Spirit of the Chimes," mused
formance, he had given the Mr. Punch, as he took pen in hand to open up his new Volume.
air with variations, and “And that's the spirit I hope to keep up right through the twelve
the song with every demonths of just-born Eighteen Hundred and Ninety-two, which I
scription of embellishment, trust may be—with my willing assistance,
all over the paternal manA HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!!!"
sion, and in most corners of the ancestral estate.
To tell the truth, his
family were getting someOUR BOOKING-OFFICE.
what tired of his continued One of the Baron's Critical Faculty sends him his opinion of our
asseverations concerning Mr. Du MAUPIER's latest novel, which is also his first. And here
the tintinabulatory tribute let it be published urbi et orbi that there is no truth whatever in a
everlastingly rendered to report which appeared in an evening paper to the effect that Mr. Du
the excellent young woman. MAURIER, however retiring he may be, was about to retire or had
And had he not been so retired from Mr. Punch's Staff. The St. James's Gazette has already
markedly encouraged by
rich old Uncle DODDLEauthoritatively," denied the assertion; and this denial the Baron
WIG, there is every reason for Mr. Punch, decisively confirms. Now, to the notice of the book above-mentioned. Here it is :
to suppose that FRANK and
his concertina would have “There has been a certain deliberateness in Mr. Du MAURIER'S
been speedily supincursion into literature that speaks eloquently for his modesty. He
pressed. is, to our certain know
FRANK heard ledge, at least 40 years
his Papa lamentold, and Peter Ibbetson,
ing that foxes were which Messrs. OSGOOD &
very scarce, Co. present in two daintily
that recently they dressed volumes, is his
had had no sport first essay in romantic
whatever. "There writing. Reading the
must be plenty of book, it is hard to conceive
foxes in the this to be the fact. The
country,” said the work is entirely free from
Squire, but they those traces of amateurish
won't show." ness, almost inseparable
Now FRANK had from a first effort. The
been reading literary style is consider
about Orpheus, ably above the average and how he charmed all the wild beasts with his melody. It was modern novelist; the plot true the boy had not a lyre, but he had no doubt that his concertina is marked by audacious would do as well, and he was quite certain he had seen a fox while invention, worked out with taking his rambles in Tippity Thicket. great skill; the hero is a One day when he had a holiday, and his Papa had gone a hunting madman, not in itself an with his friends, he strolled off with his concertina to endeavour to attractive arrangement, lure a fox out into the open. He approached the hole where he had but there is such admi- previously seen the fox, and sat down, and began to play vigorously rable method in his mad- on his concertina, and to sing at the top of his voice, The Bells go ness, such fine poetic a-ringing for Say-rah! Say-rah! Say-rah!” Presently he feeling in the conception saw a huge Fox poke his nose out of the hole. He was delighted ! of character, and the He sang and played with renewed energy, and began to walk away,
ghosts who flit through still singing and playing. the pages of the story are so excedingly human, that one feels The Fox followed, snarling, and snapping, and appearing very quite at home with Peter, and is really sorry when, all too soon, angry. The more he played, the more the Fox snarled and his madness passes away, and he awakes to a new life, to find snapped. At last the animal became furious, all the hair on its himself an old man. Apart from its strong dramatic interest, Peter back stood on end, and it began to make short runs with its mouth Ibbetson has rare value, from the pictures of Old Paris in the last open at the young musician. days of Louis-PHILIPPE, which crowd in charming succession through It sprang upon him! He was terrified! He dropped his song the first volume. Mr. GEORGE DU MAURIER, the well-known and his concertina at the same moment, and scrambled up the artist in black and white, has generously assisted Mr. GEORGE DU nearest tree. MAURIER, the rising novelist, by profusely illustrating the work. 'Tis The Fox's fury then knew no bounds; he trampled on the cona pretty rivalry; hard to say which has the better of it. Wherein a certina, he bit it, he tore open the bellows, and having reduced it discerning Publie, long familiar with DU MAURIER's sketches, will to a shapeless mass, bore it away to his hole. recognise a note of highest praise for the new departure.”
When the coast was quite clear, FRANK descended, and slunk
home. The Baron recommends Mrs. OLIPHANT'S The Railway Man and his Children, which is a good story, with just such a dash of the apparently died of suffocation, as sixteen ivory concertina-stops
The next morning one of the keepers found a dead fox. It had against the plot constructed by any novelist after this great Jewei were found in its throat. Case so recently tried ? Mrs. OLIPHANT's types are well drawn; and has been even heard to hint that he considers Dr. LEMPRIÈRE A
FRANK now has entirely ceased to believe in Ancient Mythology, but the story is drawn out by just one volume too much... For a one- bit of a humbug. volume novel commend me,' quoth the Baron, "to Miss RHODABROUGHTON-CUM-ELIZABETH-BISLAND'S A Widower Indeed. But
wait till after the festivities are over to read it, as the tale is sad. En attendant, A Happy New Year to everyone, says
“Lost to SIGAT, to MEMORY DEAR.”-An animal very difficult to secure again when once off ... and that is ...
a pony," when THE BENIGN BARON DE BOOK-WORMS. you've lost it on Newmarket Heath.
said, beautiful._Innocence seemed to be throned on her fresh and LETTERS TO ABSTRACTIONS.
glowing face. Her smile fascinated, her voice was a poem, and she No. IX.-TO CROOKEDNESS.
was musical in the best sense of the word at a time when good music,
although it might lack popular support, could always command a I DISPENSE with all formal opening, and I begin at once. I want small band of enthusiastic votaries in London. to tell you a story. Don't ask me why; for, even if I answered the There was at this time living in London an Italian artist, man of truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, you would hardly letters and musical virtuoso, who was the spoiled darling of Society believe me. Let me merely say that I want to tell you a story, and all the women raved about him, the men liked him, for he had tell it without much further preface.
fought bravely on the field of battle, was a sportsman and had about Two days ago I chanced, for no special reason, to open the drawers him that frank and abundant gaieté de cæur, which powerfully of an old writing-table, which for years past had stood, unused, in attracts the less exuberant Englishman. For his part ČASANUOVA a corner of an upper room. In one I found a rusty screw, in another (that was his name) bore all his successes with good-nature and a couple of dusty envelopes, in a third a piece of sealing-wax, half- without swagger. Of course there were whispers about him. Where a-dozen nibs, and a broken pencil. The fourth, and last drawer, so many women worshipped, it was certain that two or three would was very stiff. For a long time it defied my efforts, and it was only lose their heads. Amongst this limited number was little Mrs. MILLETT, by a great exertion of strength that I was at last able to wrench it one of Lady CALLENDER's most intimate friends. She made no open. To my surprise I saw two packets of letters, tied together secret of her grande passion. She poured her tale into the ears of with faded ribbon. I took them up, and then remembered, with a Lady CALLENDER, and asked for sympathy and help. Lady start, what they were. They were all in their envelopes, and all CALLENDER promised both, and at the self-same moment, made up were addressed, 'in the same hand-writing, to Sir CHARLES CALLEN- her mind that she would withdraw from Mrs. MILLETT such affection DER, Bart., Curzon Street, Mayfair. They were his wife's letters, i as CASANOVA had honoured her with, and bring him, not because she and, after the death of Sir CHARLES, whose
cared for him, but merely for the sport of the sole executor I was, they came into my pos
thing, to her own feet. She succeeded adsession, -Sir CHARLES, for some inscrutable
mirably. Under the pretence of bringing reason, never having destroyed them, although,
CASANUOVA and Mrs. MILLETT together (such after his wife's death, the reading of them
things, you know, have been done in good Socannot have given him much pleasure. No
ciety) she invited him constantly to her house; doubt I ought to have destroyed them. I had
she gave musical parties in his honour, she never read them; but there, in that forgotten
used all her fascinations, and finally, having drawer, they had lain, the silent dust; ac
fooled Ariadne to the top of her bent, she cumulating upon them as the years rolled
captured Theseus, and bore him off. They reminded me of the story I am
Mrs. MILLETT was a foolish and frivolous about to relate-a story of which, I think,
little woman. Rage and despair made her a no one except myself has guessed the truth,
demon. She resolved on revenge, and proand which, in most of its details, I only knew
ceeded to it with a cool and astonishing perfrom a paper, carefully closed, heavily sealed,
sistency. Now I do not myself believe that and addressed to me, which I found amongst
Lady CALLENDER cared two straws about my friend's documents. It was in his hand
CASANUOVA. What she aimed at and enjoyed writing throughout, but I shall tell it in my
was the discomfiture of a friend. In order own words, and in my own way.
to obtain it, however, she committed a fatal Nobody who was about in London Society
imprudence. She wrote some letters which some thirty years ago, could fail to know or
would have convinced even a French jury of know about the beautiful Lady CALLENDER.
her guilt. By a master - stroke of cunning She was of a good county family.
wickedness, Mrs. MILLETT gained possession clever and accomplished. She had married
of them, and sent them to Sir CHARLES. It a man rich, generous, amiable, and culti
happened that about this time Sir CHARLES vated, who adored her. Unfortunately they
was in a very low state of health, and his had no children, but, in every other respect,
friends were anxious about him. One afterLady CALLENDER seemed to be very jūstly
noon, when Sir CHARLES was confined to his an object of envy and admiration to most of
bed, Lady CALLENDER was playing the piano the men and women of her circle. Personally
to her Italian slave. A message was brought I had no great liking for her. I don't take
to her that her husband desired to see her any credit for that-far from it. The reason
for a few minutes, and she tripped gaily may have been that her Ladyship (although
away, saying to CASANUOVA, “Wait here; I I was one of her husband's best friends, had
shall return directly." In a quarter of an been his school chum, and had “kept” with
hour, however, her maid came to tell him him in the same set of rooms at Cambridge,
that her Ladyship was suffering, and begged where his triumphs, physical and intellectual,
him to excuse her, and he departed. When are still remembered) never much cared for
the maid returned to Lady CALLENDER, she me. She could dissemble her real feelings
found her lying dead on the floor of her room, better than any woman I ever knew, she
with a small phial, which had contained always greeted me with a smile, she even
prussic acid, clasped tightly in her hand. made a parade of taking my advice on little
This is what had happened : Sir CHARLES family difficulties, but there was an indefinable something in her had received the letters; they left no doubt in his mind that the wife manner which convinced me that beneath all her smiles she he adored was betraying him, and he, too, resolved on revenge. He bore me no good-will. The fact is that, without any design sent for his wife. When she came in, he at once confronted her with on my part, I had detected her in one or two bits of trickery, her letters, and taxed her with her guilt. A terrible scene of tears, and, in what I suppose I must call her heart of hearts, she never entreaties, and bitter reproaches ensued, but Sir CHARLES was as adaforgave me. The truth is, though her guileless husband only knew mant, and his wife retired to her bedroom in a state of nervous prosit too late, she was perhaps the trickiest and the most heartless tration, which immediately brought on a toothache. At this point woman in England. If there were two roads to the attainment of she sent for her maid, and gave her the message to CASANUOVA. any object, the one straight, broad, smooth and short, the other The Coroner was sympathetic, and did what he could, but the round-about, obscure, narrow and encompassed with pitfalls and evidence in favour of the suicide theory seemed overwhelming, and beset by difficulties, she would deliberately choose the latter for no the jury returned a verdict to this effect, with a rider strongly comother reason that I could ever see except that by treading it she menting on the danger of selling such deadly poisons. But it was might be able to deceive her friends as to her true direction. She never explained how Lady CALLENDER obtained the prussic acid, nor carried to a fine art the small intrigues, the petty jealousies, the why she had selected that particular moment for its use. I ought mean manœuvres in the science of outwitting; the shifts, the to add, that CASANUOVA left England before the inquest, and has stratagems, the evasions by which power in Society is often never returned. On the mystery of the final catastrophe the manusupposed to be confirmed, reputations are frequently ruined, script throws no light. It ends abruptly. But the whole tone of it and lives are almost invariably made wretched. But Sir CHARLES leads me to believe, that in some unexplained manner Sir CHARLES knew none of these things. He was apparently only too proud to be himself had been instrumental in causing his wife's death. But dragged at his wife's chariot-wheels in her triumphant progress. you, doubt, know, and could tell us if you wished. For the strange part of the business is that there was absolutely no So there, my friend, you have the story. Sorry I couldn't make need for any of her deeply-laid schemes. Success, popularity and it more cheerful. Do you remember the part you played in it ? esteem would have come to her readily without them. She was, as I