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A CANARD ABOUT A LITTLE DUCK
Pale, British penny-a-liners, pale! What are your coarse inventions, your huge cucumbers, gigantio gooseberries, and hurricanes of frogs compared to the exquisite feeling, taste, fashion, and finish of the following canard which we can 'ard-lj—(shame! shame!)—believe we read in a French newspaper, though our own eyes informed us of the fact. Please forgive the badness of our translation in consideration of our not being an English dramatic author.
"The famous Anonyma, whoso strange beauty, facile manners, and the bewildering splendour of whose life have rendered her so celebrated in London, has recently fallen victim to an accident which might have been fatal.
"Anonyma had brought from Senegambia, where she almost reigned as queen, a small serpent of the family of the Crotalus-Kiger, of America. This serpent, though venomous, or perhaps because venomous is considered by the people in the south of Africa as sacred. It is a very rare species, and its possession is considered a precious talisman, and was thought so by Anonyma, no doubt, for she would never separate from it. For three years the dangerous reptile lived in a cage or casket, under the care of a nogro attached to its person. Its mistress carried the key of this cage attached to the chain of her watch. She paid frequent visits to her rampant prisoner, and at the Bound of her voice, so tender and thrilling, the snake would uncoil itself caressingly, and twine its folds round her beautiful hand, amid her rosy fingers, and divert itself among her rings and bracelets.
"It is known that music exercises an extraordinary influence over the Crotalus-Niger, and it is not impossible that Anonyma had the gift of charming her dangerous companion. She took a pleasure in frightening her visitors by the exhibition of the reptile. Lobs S. and two or three of his friends wcro very much alarmed when one night after supper the serpent was served up asleep on a silver dish.
"Doubtless to some similar imprudence may be attributed the accident which we hero relate. Perhaps the snake's mistress believed it to be asleop. Perhaps tho humid climate of Ireland, in which country Anonyma was residing, exercised some strange influence upon the animal (sic). He bit his mistress in the arm, and in a fit of ungovernable fury fled from the room by the windows. Anonyma immediately felt all the symptoms of venomous poison. Happily the negro, who had been informed of the occurrence, rushod on the scene, and taking two or three dried leaves from a small bag suspended round his nock, used them to rub the wound of the unfortunato victim. It was life. Anonyma opened her eyes; the livid hues of her complexion melted away. She did not die—she was saved! As for the serpent, it was found dead upon the lawn; his fall from the window had broken his vertebral column."
Whew! there is a sensation! What an admirable story from beginning to end; and how capitally dressed for the Parisian appetite. "The famous Anonyma" is a splendid opening; it arrests attention and excites curiosity. "Brought with her from Senogambia." What
gorgeous Eastern local colouring!" A serpent of the family of rotalus-Niger." Natural history all complete. "For three years," circumstantial, "it lived in a cage, under the care of a negro." "Poor Lord S. and his three friends, who were frightened." How very judicious, by the way, the introduction of a lord; and how fine the delicacy to the noble lord and his family not to give his name in full.
What a capital libretto for an opera might be converted from the story! What a capital last out! The serpent stings its mistress— Scena Anonyma. Entrance of the negro, who turns out to be a lover, who resolved, for love of its mistress, to watch over the snake. Duo. Anonyma and negro. Negro remembers the dried leaves to eight bars of symphony; rubs the wounded arm to expressive music. Entrance of Lord S. and three friends. "Base slave, retire!" Grand concerted piece—Lord S, Three Friends, Negro, Anonyma. through which is heard the hiss of the Crotalus-Niger. Chorus of Irish peasantry. Despair of patriotic tenantry at the revocation of the blessing conferred by St. Patrick. Introduction of old air with new words:—
"Now fails the power of Patrick's fist,
Recovery of Anonyma, who opens her eyes to tho flute aria. Anonyma. Avowal of negro, who declares himself to be an Indian prince. Chorus belioveB him. Resumption of old air:—
"Now bless the power of India's prince,
Despair of Lord S. and his three friends. Violoncello obligate.
And the snake, who died P Had he not bitten his mistress—the ungrateful creature—and was he not a serpent of sentiment? What could he do but die immediately before the end of the paragraph?
Confess, now, Messieurs Its Anglais, that "these things,'canards,' are managed better in France!"
Ma. Editor, Sra,—What do benighted foreigners know about the beauties of our British poets? Nothing; absolutely nothing. Very good. Shall this be so any longer? You probably reply, "Yes." But I say " No." It shall be mine to introduce to the lively natives of an adjacent country (which for political reasons must remain for ever a secrot) the beauties of our British minstrels. It is true that there have boon translators before me, but what translators f Bah! Now here you got fidelity in rendering, you get rhyme, you get the original metre, and you get all this in an accurate and flowing French idiom! My specimen is Moore's beautiful bacchanalian ballad " Fly not yet." I coll it
NE TEN VA PAS.
Ne t'en va pas, ce'st justement l'heure
Et filles qui aiment la lune!
Do la casscr si tut!
Ne t'en va pas: los eaux que Ton
Quand approchait la nuit!
Quo ceux qui brillent ici! (')
There you are, sir. This is a fair specimen of the rest of tho work, with small instalments of which I may, perhaps, favour you with from time to time. Each song is explained by notes, and all notes are as learned as those quoted below. I think I shall prove to the natives of the adjacent country (the name of which must, for political reasons, remain for ever a socret) that there are other poets than Beraxqer and Alfred De Musset!
Votre vraiment, A. Dapter.
f1) Jo ne eonnals pas cctte fleur. Nous avons une flour ditc " Passion Flower,' qui est ouverte pendant le Jour, ct qui se ferme quand la nuit approcbe, mats e'eet probablcment pas cette fleur la. Memo si j'en eonnaissais 10 nom, jo no l'imprimerats pas, car Sir Richard Matnk (big-wig Anglais), serait " down upon it" (idiom Anglati), comme un oisean, si elic et&it ouverte entre une heure et quatre heures du matin.
(*) "font les tosses et marees coulanls." Dana le prose on ne dit pas ordinaire* ment "font coulonta." Mais duns la poesie on dit ce qu'on Tent.
(■) "Amman." J'ai un "Lempriere" quelque part mais je ne sais paa ou le diablc il est. Dana la prochaine redaction jo vous dirai ce que otftait 1'Amnion. Four le moment je ne sais pas.
('i This is the laat line of the poem. How do you like it on the whole?
Nice Young Men for Tea Parties. •
Ocr readers have no doubt met with advertisements of a publica" tion called the Anti- Teapot Review, though destiny, with its usual un" kindness, may havo denied them tho bliss of a direct acquaintance with the paper. Having been particularly favoured ourselves, we consider it a public duty to explain tho mystery of tho title. Tho Anti-Teapot Jtevieit; then, is in tho hands of gentlemen who desire to advocate tho claims of the kettle and cream-jug, and, from what we havo seen of it, we predict every success; in fact, thero is hardly a line which fails to remind one of milk and wator.
We rather fancy that tho "wisdom of nations " would gain a good deal by being put forward in the alluring garb of music and immortal verso. A proverbial philosopher at the pianoforte might be mado a thing of beauty if not a joy for ever; and, in order to provide enterprising young men with the means of becoming popular at small tea parties, we have gono considerably out of our way to write rhyme. To save ourselves the trouble of going still further out of our way we havo taken airs that arc pretty well known, instead of stopping to hammer out new once. Here is the result of our experiment:—
So. I. —EARLY RISING.
Gaily the early bird picks up the worms
Good hours the early bird always has kopt;
No. H. —AGAINST SPECULATION.
I Wekt for a walk in sunshiny weather,
And I held a little bird by a lily-white feather,
In my hand, in my hand1!
In my hand, in my hand!
I love that little dickey;
I do, I do!
I'll hang a cage for dickey.
In a gooseberry bush sang a lark and a starling,
But the two were not a patch upon the pretty little darling;
In my hand, in my hand!
In my hand, in my hand!
I love that little dickey, &c
MY PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM.
No. II.—The Max Who "doesn't Get Ox Somehow."
We never met the man who questioned the ability—not to say genius —of Theodore Threadbare; nor did we ever meet the man who could refuse to lend Theodore half-a-crown.
Of most peoplo who prowl about tho streets of London in that "shabby-genteel" kind of costume which Theodore has done so much to adorn, it is usual to say—and can bo said with tolerable safety—that they have seen better days. Nobody can mount very high without a ladder, and nobody can come down very low without steps. An uncle from India, perhaps, behaves far from properly in the codicil way; or a tradesman conducts himself with characteristic brutality about money. The ocean of shabby-gentility is not an ocean into which people take headers; they eater step by step (as if from a bathingmachine), very gingerly and with a vague notion of picking their way.
But Theodore Threadbare has never known, in tho whole courso of his wasted career, one day that was a bit better than any other day. His life has glided on at a dead-level of disappointment and failure. To him this ocean of shabby-gentility represents home; he sports about in it liko a merman, "native and to the manner born." He knows every wave in it quite intimately, and it matters very little to him whether he spends his time in floating, swimming, or diving, as long as ha spends it uselessly.
Theodore Threadbare has been most things in his day; at present he is chiofly occupied with music, literature, and tho drama. There is a mild halo of genius about everything that he attempts, but not the faintest glimmering of practicability. Managers know better than to read his farces, and tho editors of magazines have outgrown the weakness of Ungering over the clerkly handwriting of Theodore Threadbare. Ho is given up on all sides as eccentric, paradoxical, and half-a-dozen other wicked things.
Yet nothing in the way of rejection seems to rufllo the serenity of
Theodore's temper for a moment. He pursues his course as happily as though the path were ankle-deep in roses. His life could scarcely be more gay if it were a successful one; in fact, it is the opinion of those who lend him half-crowns that one stroke of good luck would ruin the disposition of this amiable being for ever.
Luckily for himself, Theodore has no rich relatives to leave him fortunes, and he grows lazier and lazier every day; so thero is every prospect of his remaining good-tempered and out at elbowB for the rest of his existence. Meanwhile, half-a-crown is not much to pay for a peep at the artistic mind in its own element.
By The Ghost Of Rochefoucauld.
The great ones of this world are never abandoned by their kind. In their prosperity we visit them from motives of interest—they may do us a service; in adversity, wo look in on them from, curiosity, to see how they boar it.
A man may be an honest man and a good fellow without being a gentleman; but the reverse does not hold. To be a gentleman, he must be both good and honest.
It is unlucky to be near the woman of one's heart when she is admiring a cashmere shawl.
Some authors have too much talent. They make even their idiots, talk wit, and utter repartees. The generality of authors, not having too much talent, go to the opposite extreme.
Some people are so fond of equality that they treat their equals as inferiors.
It is tho delight of some men to prove that two and two make five. If you refuse to believe them, they hate you, and would enforce your belief by imprisonment or flogging.
Br Thi Sauntrrer In Society.
Parliament is apparently so tenacious of life that it will not dissolve until July, when I hopo the hot weather will accelerate the process. But if I wero an M.P. I should he rather shy of revisiting a rabid constituency in the dog days. The unearthly noises which aro heard when Me. Whalliy, or some other like orator whose length is very disproportionate to his depth, rises to address tho House, will bo something overpoworing, unless all the members bitten by crazy constituents consent to actual cautery. I havo no doubt many would burn for tho distinction.
When this Parliament is no more what are wo to inscribo on its tomb? I think " Honor est a Nihilo" would be the thing; being in Latin it might bo taken for something laudatory. We really owe tho House very little as yet; there's tho Budget " Tea and Tuppence," and little advance in the matter of Union Chargeability which may save the agricultural labourer of the next generation from a fivo-mile walk every morning to the place of his work. Tho only real lasting monument the Ministry will leave behind it will be probably that vory nice miniature Rotten-row in Birdcage-walk, which must be quite after Mr. Cowper's own mind—it is so small!
The inquiry into tho case of Richard Gibson, who died of neglect and dirt in St. Giles's Hospital, has terminated. Tho public may be inclinod to think that tho guilty parties have been treated too leniently, and I'm not suro that the public will not bo right. At any rate it must bo clearly understood that tho slightest approach to a repetition of tho case will be mot with sevoro measures. When we get a now Parliament lot us hope it will turn its attention to the improvement of that portion of the Bt:itute-book which is aptly and emphatically styled the Poor Law—poor enough law in all conscience, if one may couple the idea of a conscience with workhouso authorities!
Andrew Johnson is attempting to do what Wilkes Booth failed in doing. He is trying to injure the cause of the North. The man who shot Abraham Lincoln did no permanent mischief to the Federal cause. Tho man who would become executioner of Robert Lee will earn a general sentence of condemnation for the people who could permit such a murder. Unfortunately, the only hope wo might entertain, that the now President is not serious, becomes very slight when we remember that ho has taken the pledge, and can scarcely havo returned to his failings sinco he dropped the Vice. The fact that tho assassination of Lincoln has placed him in the Presidential chair is quite enough to provo to any rational mind that the murder was not planned by tho Southern leaders.
Let me givo a passing word of praise to Me. M'gee, the Canadian commissioner to tho Dublin Exhibition. His recent speech at Wexford should be distributed as a traot (I'm sorry there's no better word) among the Irish with their i-M'GEE-nary grievances.
"Fact"—to borrow a phrase which I think I have met with somewhere—"is stranger than fiction." The critics, some little while since, gavo Sir Bulwer Lytton So much trouble to prove that he didn't mean to say in a novel of his—I think A Strange Story—that a man was ever sentenced in his absence in an English Court of Justice! If the Honourable Baronet had only waited a little while ho might have adduced a precedent in support of his case. Mr. Partridge, of the Thames Police Court, has received a letter from one of the Essex constabulary touching tho history of ono, Priscilla Ccbxon, who lately applied at that court for assistance. In that letter it is distinctly stated that tho Saffron Walden magistrates sentenced her husband and throe others to six weeks' hard labour " without the option of paying a fine "—although the four delinquent navvies had thought proper to make themselves as scarce as spade guineas. Please to observe tho fine touch of Shallow justice in the "without the option of paying a fine." It is hard to believe that this story is true, and it may bo a blunder of the policeman's, for if there be anything more stupid than a rural magistrate it is a rural policeman.
Who does not welcome the Fortnightly Review with its honest and impartial criticism, and good writing? There are capital names and capital articles in the first number, and I wish it all success. We want some really critical periodical—though, by the way, the Reader is doing its best to supply us with a good literary paper. "A Popular Reviewer" and "Catchpenny Literature" are two articles which everybody Bhould read—smart, to tho point, and truthful. Wo want such a frank and conscientious journal—one that will not praise any man's trashy novels toto eorde, simply because he is ono of tho staff'. If anything, the Reader is a little too outspoken, but that is a fault which in this ago is almost a virtue. Apropos of literary matters, I may just record that as a comic writer I was naturally greatly exhilarated and inspired by a little volume most thoughtfully and considerately forwarded to me by its publisher, Mr. Hotten; its title will explain tho reason of my delight—Mental" on Dyspepsia in Literary Men.
Exclusive Engagement Of Nicholas. With feelings of considerable pride wo inform our readers that we have beon enabled (at somo expenso) to secure the oxclusive services of the celebrated Nicholas. Nicholas was originally (we are sure ho won't object to our saying so) emphatically a son of tho peoplo, with no father in particular to look after him; but, like the memorable Murray and tho gifted Lonoman, he made his fortuno by his books; and, like Georoe Stephenson, his wealth is identified with the progress of metallics. Raised by his general abilities and his particular obstinacy about Blair Athol to a pitch of prosperity which is faintly represented by tho term Belgravia, Nicholas, that friend of man, has benevolently consented to impart (for a certain weekly stipend) the experience of—well, let us say, middle ago to tho generous ardour of youth; And This Is How He Does It:
Sir,—To your own Nicholas lucre have long been comparatively indifforent, and if I now accept your offer it is less with a view to personal emolument than to tho gonerally creditablo nature of the concern. My snug but capacious abodo have long been environed by the emissaries of the great—from the Marquis Op H., as is nuts upon "Tho Duko," down to that worthy son of toil, H. C., as for private reasons is anxious to havo his revenge upon the Marquis, and to defeat him upon a field where the doves of Venus (a city on the Adriatic) and the arrows of Cupid is loss offectual than tho whip of Custance and tho spur of Fordham. Rich I am; richer I might havo been, if polluted and venal; but, sir, ho will honestly do his best to land your noblo sportsmen on the right shore of tho River Stakes like a Sharon, which, if classical allusions seem inaccurate, drop ono and carry two. His (N.'s) pen is somewhat out of practice, or would now dash off a few lines of poetical prophecy; but I have been myself informed as impromptwos is seldom done under two days' notice.
At tho general election I start for Parliament.
But still, bless you, I haven't a bit of pride about mo, and tho tip at present is—
Breadalbano ., .. ,, ,, 1
Gladiatcur .. .. ., .. 2
Oppressor .. .. .. .. .. 3
Mind, this tip may be altered; personally my bets will be different.
(per Projected Interplanetary And Nonexistent Telbobaph.) President Johnson has given the nation a quarter's notice. The general desire is to be governed by the rule of Thumb. The illustrious little great man is at present in London, but will be sent to the post in a few days.
The following is an early example of the formula at present employed at Paris for tho signature of Imperial decrees:—
"It is decreed,—That a revolution which has gained considerable head in the matter of the bonnet bo promptly suppressed. All crowns are to he restored, and tho rightful hairs (at present in a most uncomfortable position) are to bo no longer exposed for want of them.
"That our well-beloved Eugene Rimmel be immediately scent back to Paris, when he has accomplished his mission by turning the Thames into lavender-water, and rendering the Trafalgar Fountains, which must always offend the eye, quite an-odour thing to the nose.
"Done at a Council of Ministers at the Palace of the Tuileries, this 20th day of May, 1865,
"For the Emperor,
"On the part of the Empress-reoent,
Here's a pretty pass! An F.S.A. has just dropped in to ask if we know the meaning of " Opoponox." What don't wo know? But surely an antiquary ought to be aware that tho, to him, mysterious sentence is only the remark made by Charles The First to the executioner, "Oh, pop on axe!" *
* Note Bt Our Owx Phistks'b Drm_—Not a bit of It. Tho (fOTomor'a all wrong. It's the new vermin-destroyer. Ton can see that by the x-termination.
The West London Industrial Exhibition.
It is just possible that there are some who haven't yet seen the interior <if this very curious and very excellent exhibition, although the admirable advertisement, kindly given by the Bank of England authorities to the curiosities therein exhibited, crams the building with visitors, who nre all anxious to sec the very curious specimens of imitativo penmanship which the obstinate stupidity of the Bank directors has caused to be mutilated. An ingenious man—a clerk, we believe—has copied with astounding accuracy the externals of various magazines and periodicals, together with bank cheques and a Bank of England note. This is done, not upon cheque paper, or on bank paper, but on stiff r ardboard, and yet Mr. Freshfield, the Bank Solicitor, has insisted on the destruction of the bank note, and consequently of the ruination of the whole work, lost any one be deceived by tho clerkly imitation. Everybody knows that there is no difficulty whatever in engraving a i'ac-simile of the letter-press of a bank-note; the real difficulty lies in the difficulty of imitating the peculiar paper on which it is printed. When tho imitation is printed or drawn on stiff cardboard, the Bank ought to consider itself tolerably safe against imposition. If it isn't, it must be shaky indeed!
Shortly Will Be Published:— By tho author of "Wild Wales," Salisbury riain and Twopence Coloured.
Swilling Ramsgate, by the author of "The Gobbling Margate," and other poems.
How Cold it Has Been; or, The Foundation School.
The Knot-orioes Brothers.—The Brothers Davenport mania has been found to be a form of tye-fuss.
TO A TIMID LEECH.
Bt Our Invalid Contributor.
Nay, start not from the banquet where tho red wine foams for t
I tell thee, if these azure veins could boast the regal wine
Perchance, reluctant being, I have placed theo wrong side up,
While I watched thy patient struggles, and imagined than wert coy,
In about a week's time we may look for the Cochuia CJtampancnri*. or Derby Day-By, which will be met with on the turf in large quantities. A good deal of it may bo cut next Wednesday afternoon.
A CON BY AN ANGLO-CALLICAN. Why arc Tom Thumb and family liko a Tcrpsichorean evolution? —Because they aro a Pouco-set.
, Printed bj- JUDD & GLASS. 80, Fltet Street, and Fbantx Works, St. Andrew's Hill, Doctors' Common", and Published (for the Proprietors) by THOMAB BAKKK,
at SO Fleet Street.—Mar 27, 1865.