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A NIGHT IN A WORKHOUSE.
Reported by Our Own Casual Poor.
Which I got your orders, and I done them; and if ever I trust myself agin among a gang of raving maniacs >hf»iwiviir destitution, sendimaylive!
"When I left the brougham—and the driver, a l©*4ived hound, said he'd never seen the colour of your moneyI.--- I went, as a casual mostly do, quietly up to the work's door, and I gave, according to instructions, the name of Bmiv.
"All right," says an interested pamper, by the name of Daddy, "all right—there's lot of yer inside; quite a festive harmony! And it's a hintellectual treat, it is, to listen through the chinks, it is! . . . Going to strip P"
Your orders having embraced a state of nature, I did so.
"Not going through the bath business, are you?" said he. "Mr. Homnium, have been in!"
Being unawares as to Mr. Homnium, whoever he may be when at home, in I went, and hope it will be considered in the wages. Owing to personal length, your Casual had to wait some time for a shirt and a rug, Daddy stating that Mr. Homnium had used four stitched lengthways together. At which I nearly let the official cat out of the editorial bag with a « BJow Mk. H.!" says I. "I'm here on a special mission and a social dooty!" *
"Yes," says Daddy, "so har they hall! That's the spree on it!"
Your Casual was then conducted quite obsequious into a rather comfortable shed, with a hole cut in the top for the purpose of enabling him to Bee distinct the constellations of Orion and C&ssiorffiiA's Chair. Which he did.
Gladly would your Casual pass over the subsequential horrors of that 'ere maddening night. Never had he dreamt that so many raving, ranting, roaring maniacs—but to our tale.
Taking up a bed, with a view to getting over the job easy, your Casual placed himself next a very decent sort of seemingly elderly man, of the Scottish persuasion, looking like a philosophical historian or a master-printer, and was about to pass the time o' night when, sendimaylive, the old cove opened upon him in terms ghastly to relate!
"Thou fool 1" says the old one. "Thou, with thy gibbering Vhilanthrophies, Progresses of Species, bred of Owners and the Nether Gloom, rotten, putrescent as Will o' Wiap of the Dead Sea, beautiful alone to Apes of that coast—loathsome to me, rather, intent upon my own poor small stroke of honest literary work in a Universe mainly mad ! Vagrant f Thou art vagrant, thou t And seekest help? I would give thee, oh, my wretched defaced too-sadly-mistaught human brother, stripes, and again stripes; and failing to make thee work even to, a merciful volley of Bmall-shot! Aeh Ilimmcl!"
Well, you may guess I didn't stay very long near him, but as I stumbled away I trod upon a portion of a huge mass of vital energy, which I have since been told was tho Homnium referred to—a grey, an elderly, and a peaceful cove to gaze at, but when aroused—sendimaylive! He give me one look; raised himself as nearly to a sitting posture as the height of tho roof would allow; and then—ah, never shall I forget the horrors of that awful night!
The next was a thin sort of gent, as your Casual could almost have sworn to have seen in a hair-dresser's window.
"Welcome!" he cries. "To-night let us make merry with our Phlegethontic Bevels. The Beautiful and the Criminal are One! Speak, Algernon! Smite the Alliterative Lyre!"
"Who are you calling an alliterative liar?" says a romantic-looking young man, and then he strikes up a sort of a patter song:—
"For the reign of the ragged is rampant,
The Goddess of Ghouls is a-gape,
Are hung with crepuscular crape;
Is strangled with titular tape,
In modern man-milliner's shape!"
And at that instant there was a loud cry, "Here's K! Here he comes! Here's old E !"
Well, "K" looked respectable somehow, and age if he'd seen better days; and there was a funny twinkle in his eye that gave one an idea of his having worn a white-choker previous.
"Tell us a rummy story, K," cries out Homnium, who was quite a ringleader.
"Well," says K, clearing his throat, "three fishers went sailing away to the West."
"Connu.'" says a fresh arrival; and old Homnium he shrieks aloud:—
"Here's Charley Fechter and the rest of them fresh from the theatres!"
OUR FUTURE CRITICISMS.
The result of a recent dramatic trial has warned us that we cannot be too careful in the expressions we use in criticizing the performances of popular actors. We have, therefore, taken the trouble to ascertain from the principal metropolitan celebrities what they would like us to say about them in any future criticisms. We propose to have the results of our correspondence stereotyped, so that it will be impossible for us to make any serious mistake in noticing the performances of popular favourites. We give the letters of our correspondents in full :—
From Mn. J. L. T—le. Sir,—I should like you to criticize my performance in the following form:—
"Mr. J. L. T—Le had nothing to do but to look pretty, and we need hardly say that ho succeeded, to the satisfaction of a crowded audience." Yours,
From Mr. Paul '. May it please y«m, my boy,—Brioksy wicksy, wieksy bricksy, be good enough to write about this dear young babby in the following elevated strain:—
"Every playgoer knows that fiery declamation is Ma. Paul
B—Dp—D's forte, and in the part of he made the most of his
peculiar tftlent in that r-r-r-respoot."
Believe me, my boy,
From Mr. Jambs And N.
Sir-er,—Be-er good-er enough-er to-er write-er of-er me-er a3-er follows :—
"Mr. And N is as uactious as ever. In gay, rollicking, patter
parts this cheerful actor stands alone." Ypurs-er,
James And N-er.
"mr. B—cast —he, in his representation of (say, Box), is as majestically dignified as ever." Yours,
J. B. B—GK8T—NB.
From Miss Elsw Thy.
Miss Elsw—Thy presents her compliments to the Editor of Fun, and will be glad if he will write of her, for the future, as follows:— "That piquante little actress, Miss Elsw—Thy, played the part of
with a sparkling vivacity that is peculiarly her own."
From Mb. Harry B—Lb—o. Sir,—In this style, if you please:—
"Mr. Harry B—Ue—o's peculiarly courtly and dignified demeanour fits him for it much higher range of parts than those for which he is usually cast." Yours,
From—(but no!) Sir,—Describe me thus, or tremble:—
"Mr. (no, we don't!) was, as usual, lovely, graceful, elegant,
pretty, delightful, gracious, exquisite, delicious, grand, unapproachable, and as perfect in his words as ever."
(We would rather not publish this gentleman's name.)
The Saturday Review has always been great at impossibilities. It is "impossible" for it to return rejected SISS., and "to this rule it makes no exception," which is hinting that it could do an impossibility if it liked. The other day, in speaking of Prussian affairs, it said:—
"The vivacious and impertinent Count knows how to calculate his own strength and resources, which are not small: and how to calculate the limits of Prussian patience, which is infinite."
Really Bismarck must be a sort of German Saturday Review if he can do this, for mathematicians have always held that to calculate tho limits of infinity was beyond tho limits of possibility.
The Eternal Fitness of Things.
Tub EMrBRon op Bussia has issued a decree that Poland shall adopt the decimal system of coinage. This is, indeed, thoughtful in the Czar, since, merely for tho sake of the laws of compensation, after decimating the Poles he should apply the same process to their money.
AT THE PIANOFORTE.
By A Musical Cad.
O.vce more a weird motive comes:
A wild and witching strain.
Again, and yet again.
The melody recalls
And other Music-halls.
Before mine eyes grim visions dance:
My cerebellum's void
And of an Arthur Lloyd.
And stouter still of lung
Delighted me—when young).
"We always are so jolly, oh!"
"I would I were a bird I" 'Tis none of these, and yet I know
"Tis something I have heard. The "Mabel Valse!"—The "Perfect Cure!"
"God Bless the Prince of Wales I" And yet—Precisely; to be sure.
I have it:—it's The Scales!
Wb are authorised to state that the new Macs with which the Speaker will open the next session of the Australian Parliament is not Mb. Jakes Mace, who is however prepared for an opening,—but it must be in the P.R.
: ©to Memories.
By Rambler Redivivus.
No. I.—THE FIRST FENIAN INVASION.
I Have been asked, to the best of my recollection, which is not much to boast of, to—to—bless me ! what P Well, at any rate I was about to say—but I positively don't remember what that was, so I will at once launch out on my subject, having been requested by the editor to relate a few anecdotes that I may chance to remember, or, perhaps I should say, that I have not forgotten. But whichever it was, it is perfectly immaterial, for as I have observed above, or at all events as I should have observed and if I did not, it was an oversight, I am afraid I am not making myself altogether intelligible, but the fact is my memory is so treacherous that I keep on recollecting more than I ought to do which so confuses one story with another—but no, that is impossible, because if I could remember two stories at once mine would be a remarkable memory, whereas the real state of the case is—the real state of the case is—But no matter, the reader will have gathered the state of the case from my previous remarks, and as I have broken off in the middle of my narrative to give this explanation—if it was an explanation, but I'm really not clear on the point, and perhaps it was a question. Howevor, these are matters of little import, and I need1 not break off the thread of my story in order to define—or is it decide t —or perhaps deliberate, or, better still, demonstrate them. I know it is something beginning with D, but what it is I am not quite sure. There are so many words beginning with D—for instance, decay, diminution, division, multiplication, subtraction, addition, and I mar add numeration. But as I have now reached the limit of my space I must postpone the conclusion of my story (or is it a notice) P until our next, or our last, though which it is, time will not allow me to describe at length.
Volunteer Chorus :—Rifle lol de day!
MBS. BfiOWN ON THE STATE OF THE STREETS.
Talk about weather, I never did in all my bom days know nothin' like what it was the week afore last; you're froze up one moment and all of a glow the next.
As to this house as we're a-living in, they calls it simmy-detached, as it's my opinion they was obliged to build it up agin next door, or it never would have stood by itself, as is not much stronger than a egg-shell, as the sayin' is. The draught under that kitchen-door it was as give it me, the cold as I've got, for I felt it all the while as I was a-makin' that weal and ham pie, as is a thing as Brown's partial to, and I makes it myself with a flaky crust, though some will have it as a short one is right, which in my opinion goes best with fruit. As to puttin' a bit of bad butter in pie-crust it's my idea of a sin as is downright filthy to the taste and unwholesome to a delicate stomach like Brown's, though you wouldn't think it to look at him, but no one knows where the shoe pinches but them as is bilious, aa tho sayin' is.
I certainly did feel a chill, and pr'aps it might have been through them dratted boys as I give twopence each to for to clear away the snow. As a follow comes round with a paper, as he said waa the westry's orders as I should clean up the front of my house.
I says, "Then I'll thank the westry for to turn out and clean the road for me, as I can't get across not if it was to save my life, through bein' anklo deep, and poor Mrs; Atkins that bad as I wanted for to go to, through me havin' promised and only the corner of the street." So he says, "You may bo carried across easy on a barrow," aa I sco meant jeers.
80 I Bays, "When I wants to be carried Til get a steady donkey, and pr'aps you might be handy." "Well," says he," I should recommend a dromedary."
I wasn't a-goin' to wast* my time a-talkin' to such as him, all the more as I felt a creepin' all down my back, as is a sure sign of chills with me, as has throwed me on a sick bed afore now, and was the death of poor old Mrs. Thornlby, as kept the "Blue Lion" in Horselydown, and never recovered a-fallin' asleep one Saturday night whilst a-soakin' her feet, and never woke till they was froze hard in the foot-pan through the cold bein' that violent below zero as froze the Thames up with a ox roasted whole, as I've heard my dear mother say was shameful waste, through the roughs a-tearin' of it to bits in their open hands though blue and quivery, as is not wholesome in my opinion, though it should be done with the gravy in, as gives proper nutriment.
It was that same winter as them Russians brought on for to freeze up Bonypakty, as is their ways, the same as they did in the Crimeyear, where poor Mrs. Elkins lost two sons with their frozem limbs, and the eldest fell at Balyclava, and would never have got up through bein' that benumbed if it hadn't been as he was found accidental, but neither of them ever strong men again, as you wouldn't think the loss of a foot could reduce anybody so much as that.
Well, as.I was sayin', I give them boys twopence a-piece, and lent them the fire-shovel for to scrape off them frozen lumps, as is that dangerous, as well I've known through a-treadin' on one, as twisted my ankle and down I went, and shouldn't have minded so much if it hadn't been for poor old Mb. Gibblns next door but two, as had stepped out for the beer his-self and two new-laid eggs, though I Bhould aay no more new-laid than I am, as meant egg-hot.
Well, he had the beer in ono hand and the eggs in the other, with a white worsted comforter and long ends, as he did ought to have tucked in somewhere, but left a-hangin'. Ho was a-walkin' along by my side, a-remarkin' about the weather and such like, when I treads on the hit of frozen snow, and nat'rally clutches at anythin' for to save myself, and as bad luck would have it, seized hold of his ends of his comforter, and give him that drag as his 'eels slipped from under him, though list round his bluchers, as didn't prove no protection. Up goes his hand with tho beer all in my face and blinds me, but I heard a crash, and there he was a-welterin in his new-laid eggs, and a-sayin' as his back was broke.
So I says, "Kick, 'cos if you can kick your back's all right," and kick ho did, and he had no occasipn for to ketch me on the shin so violent, me a-stoopm' for to help him up, a-feelin' grateful to him for breakin' my fall, as tho sayin' is, but he kep' his bed for weeks.
So I gives the boys the fire-shovel, and the gal sho lent 'cm a broom, as we never seo neether on 'cm no more through her a-payin' of them without seein' to my property, and then sauced me by a-sayin' as it was a ricketty old thing.
Altogether it was a miserable day, and I didn't care for my dinner, as was a bit of hash mutton and a yeast dumplin', as is a light thing if made proper, but cut with a knifo is lead all over.
So when I was tidied up I says, " Mary Ann, I'm only a-goin' as far as Mrs. Atkins, and shall be in to tea most likely, but certain by eight; and," I says, "mind as you puts the pie to cool the minit as the baker brings it, as is a thing as I don't holdT with hot."
I started off well wrapped up, for I know'd I should have to walk
over so far up the road for to cross, as is like all them new-made places, all clay and broken crockery with ashes mixed for to bind, and the snow and slush that frightful as made you tremble for to think of fallin' into it.
I got to the corner alii right and safe, where is tho " Risin' Sun," as keeps Cobb's Margate ale, as I'm partial to, with a bit of bread and cheese for lunch, though too heady for a full meal.
I got across half-way, when 1 hears a hollow dead lump on tho ground bohind me, and felt as I was splashed dreadful, then cacao a lump in front, and a lump it was of snow as come right straight from the top of the " Risin' Sun." Talk of driven snow, why it yrm as black as Newgate.
I was just a-stoppin', thinkin' as I'd put up my umbrella, when if a wholo shovelful didn't cosae right « '< 11 of me, and if it hadn't bean- as the pot-boy was close to me I bhuiuu i.avobcen felled like an ox, as the sayin' is.
I was of that tremble from head to foot as took all that young man's strength for to hold ma up, and when I got to Mrs. Atkins I'm sure my legs was a-fjivin' way under me, and from the crown of my bonnet to the bottom of my dress I waa> ono stream of sutty snow,, as had come half melted from the " Riain' Sun."
It's lucky as I hadn't put on my welwet mantlo, as I can't walk under through heat, or it would have been ruined.
I no sooner see that in&nt of Mas. Atkins than I says to the nunc, "'Ave it christenedy for," I sajis, "hours is the word." "Oh," sjie says, "that's done, thank yen, munv" quite short, a-addin' as she know'd her duties, and didn't want no one to tell her the difllarenco atween a new-born hobo and blind kittens, as the pail and mop-would settle easy.
So I says, "Mrs. Topsett, mum," as wore her name, through bein' mother of that owdacious gal of mino as had the party through my back bein' turned, with everythin' pretty nigh ruined in the settin'room, I says, "mrs. Topsett, it is not my 'abits to interfere nowheres; but," I says, "mrs. Atkins, you'll excuse me for sayin' that while there's life there's hopes, as the sayin' is, and if that was a child of mine it's brandy as I should give."
Mrs. TorsETT flounced about, a-talkin' about old-fashioned ways, whereas she'll never see fifty-five no more herself. So I didn't say no more, but spoke serious to Mrs. Pursy, as is mother to Mrs. Atkins, and both agreed as brandy was the word, and the doctor acomin' in highly approved.
Bless you, the temper as that Mrs. Topsett showed far gone in liquor as there couldn't be no doubt, for we'd hardly got tea over when she bounces up and says she won't stop in a house where old faggits comes a-interferin' for to poison a innocent babo with their own liquors, illudin' in course to me and the brandy.
Poor Mrs. Atkins, that weak as she were, plucked up a sperrit to say as Bhe might leave, "For," says she, "mother, you'll stop, and that good soul, Mrs. Brown, will look in occasional."
"I wish you joy of the lot," says Mrs. Topsbtt; "a old thing as couldn't get across the road without the pot-boy through rollin' in the kennel, as is a disgrace." j
I wouldn't have no words afore Mrs. Atkins, but I says, "Mrs. Topsbtt, I'll say a word with you down-Btairs." Out she walks, me a-follerin'. I gets her into the passage, as is a wizened old scarecrow, and there I found the street-door open. So I just takes her by the scuff of the neck afore sho know'd where sho were, and walked my lady out as nice as ninepence, as the sayin' is.
If she did fall down the steps it wasn't my fault, as the policeman said as picked her up, through bein' that far gone in drink, as she couldn't say where she lived, and was took to the station-house till sober, and it's my opinion as the infant will thrive after all; but the cold as I caught was a caution, as you don't ketch me out in the snow agin if I knows it.
Oh! why will you talk of your bachelor joys,
And the days we spent togethor P
In life's sunshiny weather.
And hunted many a tabby;
And treated many a cabby.
You remember our wandering out that night,
Got up <J la race-course nigger,
Tho' tougher than us, and bigger.
And the "coin" we had to borrow;—
For I'm to be spliced to-morrow.