Savoy Operas

This etext is based on the 1869 Hotten (London) edition. For details, see Notes and Corrections and the overall That Infernal Nonsense page.

Earlier versions of this page included “The Bumboat Woman’s Story”, from American editions of The Bab Ballads. Now that I’ve added the second volume, More Bab Ballads, the bumboat woman has moved to her proper place.

frontispiece: a wild array of figures, as seen in the rest of the book

THE “BAB” BALLADS.

Much Sound and Little Sense.

drawing: child at piano

BY

W. S. GILBERT.

 

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR.

 

LONDON:
JOHN CAMDEN HOTTEN, PICCADILLY.
1869.

JUDD AND GLASS, PRINTERS, LONDON.

v

PREFACE.

It appears now-a-days to be an absolute necessity that the subject-matter of even the most insignificant books should be heralded by a Preface; and I believe that there are on record instances of authors who have experienced no difficulty whatever in spinning very slender materials into a three-volume novel, and yet have found themselves terribly perplexed when called upon by their publishers to fill two or three pages with a vindication of their motives in writing it: just as busy people find it very easy to be guilty of an impertinence, but very difficult indeed to apologise satisfactorily for it.

I have some reason to believe that the Ballads, which now appear for the first time in a collected form, have achieved a certain whimsical popularity among a special class of readers. I hope to gather, from their publication in a separate volume, whether that popularity (such as it is) is a thing to be gratified with. With respect to the Ballads themselves, I do not vi know that I have anything very definite to say about them, except that they are not, as a rule, founded upon fact.

I have ventured to publish the illustrations with them because, while they are certainly quite as bad as the Ballads, I suppose they are not much worse. If, therefore, the Ballads are worthy of publication in a collected form, the little pictures would have a right to complain if they were omitted. I do not know that they would avail themselves of that right, but I should, nevertheless, have it on my conscience that I had been guilty of partiality. If, on the other hand, the Ballads should unfortunately be condemned as wholly unworthy of the dignity with which Mr. Hotten has invested them, they will have the satisfaction of feeling that they have companions in misfortune in the rather clumsy sketches that accompany them.

W. S. G.

London,

26th October, 1868.

vii

Notes CONTENTS.

PAGE
Captain Reece 13
The Rival Curates 18
Only a Dancing Girl 24
General John 27
To a Little Maid 31
John and Freddy 32
Sir Guy the Crusader 36
Haunted 40
The Bishop and the Busman 43
The Troubadour 48
Ferdinando and Elvira 54
Lorenzo de Lardy 59
Disillusioned 64
Babette’s Love 67
viii To My Bride 72
The Folly of Brown 74
Sir Macklin 80
The Yarn of the “Nancy Bell” 85
The Bishop of Rum-ti-Foo 90
The Precocious Baby 96
To Phœbe 102
Baines Carew, Gentleman 103
Thomas Winterbottom Hance 109
The Reverend Micah Sowls 115
A Discontented Sugar Broker 120
The Pantomime “Super” to his Mask 127
The Force of Argument 129
The Ghost, the Gallant, the Gael, and the Goblin 135
The Phantom Curate 141
The Sensation Captain 144
Tempora Mutantur 150
At a Pantomime 153
King Borria Bungalee Boo 158
The Periwinkle Girl 163
ix Thomson Green and Harriet Hale 169
Bob Polter 174
The Story of Prince Agib 181
Ellen McJones Aberdeen 186
Peter the Wag 192
Ben Allah Achmet 198
The Three Kings of Chickeraboo 204
Joe Golightly 209
To the Terrestrial Globe 216
Gentle Alice Brown 217
x

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13

THE “BAB” BALLADS.

drawing: sailor and captain

Notes CAPTAIN REECE.

Of all the ships upon the blue,

No ship contained a better crew

Than that of worthy Captain Reece,

Commanding of The Mantelpiece.

14

He was adored by all his men,

For worthy Captain Reece, R.N.,

Did all that lay within him to

Promote the comfort of his crew.

If ever they were dull or sad,

Their captain danced to them like mad,

Or told, to make the time pass by,

Droll legends of his infancy.

A feather bed had every man,

Warm slippers and hot-water can,

Brown Windsor from the captain’s store,

A valet, too, to every four.

Did they with thirst in summer burn?

Lo, seltzogenes at every turn,

And on all very sultry days

Cream ices handed round on trays.

Then currant wine and ginger pops

Stood handily on all the “tops;”

And, also, with amusement rife,

A “Zoetrope, or Wheel of Life.”

New volumes came across the sea

From Mister Mudie’s libraree;

The Times and Saturday Review

Beguiled the leisure of the crew.

Kind-hearted Captain Reece, R.N.,

Was quite devoted to his men;

In point of fact, good Captain Reece,

Beatified The Mantelpiece.

15

One summer eve, at half-past ten,

He said (addressing all his men):

“Come, tell me, please, what I can do

To please and gratify my crew.

“By any reasonable plan

I’ll make you happy if I can;

My own convenience count as nil;

It is my duty, and I will.”

Then up and answered William Lee,

(The kindly captain’s coxswain he,

A nervous, shy, low-spoken man)

He cleared his throat and thus began:

“You have a daughter, Captain Reece,

Ten female cousins and a niece,

A ma, if what I’m told is true,

Six sisters, and an aunt or two.

“Now, somehow, sir, it seems to me,

More friendly-like we all should be,

If you united of ’em to

Unmarried members of the crew.

“If you’d ameliorate our life,

Let each select from them a wife;

And as for nervous me, old pal,

Give me your own enchanting gal!”

Good Captain Reece, that worthy man,

Debated on his coxswain’s plan:

“I quite agree,” he said, “O Bill;

It is my duty, and I will.

16

drawing: young woman in profile

“My daughter, that enchanting gurl,

Has just been promised to an earl,

And all my other familee,

To peers of various degree.

“But what are dukes and viscounts to

The happiness of all my crew?

The word I gave you I’ll fulfil;

It is my duty, and I will.

“As you desire it shall befall,

I’ll settle thousands on you all,

And I shall be, despite my hoard,

The only bachelor on board.”

The boatswain of The Mantelpiece,

He blushed and spoke to Captain Reece:

“I beg your honor’s leave,” he said,

“If you would wish to go and wed,

17

“I have a widowed mother who

Would be the very thing for you—

She long has loved you from afar,

She washes for you, Captain R.

The captain saw the dame that day—

Addressed her in his playful way—

“And did it want a wedding ring?

It was a tempting ickle sing!

drawing: captain chucks woman under the chin while sailor looks on

“Well, well, the chaplain I will seek,

We’ll all be married this day week—

At yonder church upon the hill;

It is my duty, and I will!”

The sisters, cousins, aunts, and niece,

And widowed ma of Captain Reece,

Attended there as they were bid;

It was their duty, and they did.

18

THE RIVAL CURATES.

List while the poet trolls

Of Mr. Clayton Hooper,

Who had a cure of souls

At Spiffton-extra-Sooper.

He lived on curds and whey,

And daily sang their praises,

And then he’d go and play

With buttercups and daisies.

Wild croquêt Hooper banned,

And all the sports of Mammon,

He warred with cribbage, and

He exorcised backgammon.

His helmet was a glance

That spoke of holy gladness;

A saintly smile his lance,

His shield a tear of sadness.

His Vicar smiled to see

This armour on him buckled:

With pardonable glee

He blessed himself and chuckled.

“In mildness to abound

My curate’s sole design is,

In all the country round

There’s none so mild as mine is!”

19

drawing: thoughtful curate with long pigtail

And Hooper, disinclined

His trumpet to be blowing,

Yet didn’t think you’d find

A milder curate going.

A friend arrived one day

At Spiffton-extra-Sooper,

And in this shameful way

He spoke to Mr. Hooper:

“You think your famous name

For mildness can’t be shaken,

That none can blot your fame—

But, Hooper, you’re mistaken!

“Your mind is not as blank

As that of Hopley Porter,

Who holds a curate’s rank

At Assesmilk-cum-Worter.

20

He plays the airy flute,

And looks depressed and blighted,

Doves round about him ‘toot,’

And lambkins dance delighted.

drawing: sheep talking to man playing flageolet (not flute)

He labours more than you

At worsted work, and frames it;

In old maids’ albums, too,

Sticks seaweed—yes, and names it!”

The tempter said his say,

Which pierced him like a needle—

He summoned straight away

His sexton and his beadle.

(These men were men who could

Hold liberal opinions:

On Sundays they were good—

On week-days they were minions.)

21

drawing: two armed men bear down on curate

“To Hopley Porter go,

Your fare I will afford you—

Deal him a deadly blow

And blessings shall reward you.

“But stay—I do not like

Undue assassination,

And so before you strike,

Make this communication:

“I’ll give him this one chance—

If he’ll more gaily bear him,

Play croquêt, smoke, and dance,

I willingly will spare him.”

They went, those minions true,

To Assesmilk-cum-Worter,

And told their errand to

The Reverend Hopley Porter.

22

“What?” said that reverend gent,

“Dance through my hours of leisure?

Smoke?—bathe myself with scent?—

Play croquêt? Oh, with pleasure!

“Wear all my hair in curl?

Stand at my door and wink—so:—

At every passing girl?

My brothers, I should think so!

drawing: curate in elegant clothes, smoking a cigar

“For years I’ve longed for some

Excuse for this revulsion:

Now that excuse has come—

I do it on compulsion!!!”

23

He smoked and winked away—

This Reverend Hopley Porter

The deuce there was to pay

At Assesmilk-cum-Worter.

And Hooper holds his ground,

In mildness daily growing—

They think him, all around,

The mildest curate going.

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24

drawing: girl in ballet dress kissing a baby

ONLY A DANCING GIRL.

Only a dancing girl,

With an unromantic style,

With borrowed colour and curl,

With fixed mechanical smile,

With many a hackneyed wile,

With ungrammatical lips,

And corns that mar her trips!

25

Hung from the “flies” in air,

She acts a palpable lie,

She’s as little a fairy there

As unpoetical I!

I hear you asking, Why—

Why in the world I sing

This tawdry, tinselled thing?

No airy fairy she,

As she hangs in arsenic green,

From a highly impossible tree,

In a highly impossible scene

(Herself not over clean).

For fays don’t suffer, I’m told,

From bunions, coughs, or cold.

And stately dames that bring

Their daughters there to see,

Pronounce the “dancing thing”

No better than she should be.

With her skirt at her shameful knee,

And her painted, tainted phiz:

Ah, matron, which of us is?

(And, in sooth, it oft occurs

That while these matrons sigh,

Their dresses are lower than hers,

And sometimes half as high;

26

And their hair is hair they buy,

And they use their glasses, too,

In a way she’d blush to do.)

But change her gold and green

For a coarse merino gown,

And see her upon the scene

Of her home, when coaxing down

Her drunken father’s frown,

In his squalid cheerless den:

She’s a fairy truly, then!

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27

drawing: uniformed private and General facing each other

GENERAL JOHN.

The bravest names for fire and flames,

And all that mortal durst,

Were General John and Private James,

Of the Sixty-seventy-first.

28

General John was a soldier tried,

A chief of warlike dons;

A haughty stride and a withering pride

Were Major-General John’s.

A sneer would play on his martial phiz,

Superior birth to show;

“Pish!” was a favourite word of his,

And he often said “Ho! ho!”

Full-Private James described might be,

As a man of a mournful mind;

No characteristic trait had he

Of any distinctive kind.

From the ranks, one day, cried Private James,

“Oh! Major-General John,

I’ve doubts of our respective names,

My mournful mind upon.

“A glimmering thought occurs to me,

(Its source I can’t unearth)

But I’ve a kind of notion we

Were cruelly changed at birth.

“I’ve a strange idea, each other’s names

That we have each got on.

Such things have been,” said Private James.

“They have!” sneered General John.

“My General John, I swear upon

My oath I think ’tis so——”

“Pish!” proudly sneered his General John,

And he also said, “Ho! ho!”

29

drawing: private recoils from General

“My General John! my General John!

My General John!” quoth he,

“This aristocratical sneer upon

Your face I blush to see!

“No truly great or generous cove

Deserving of them names,

Would sneer at a fixed idea that’s drove

In the mind of a Private James!”

Said General John, “Upon your claims

No need your breath to waste;

If this is a joke, Full-Private James,

It’s a joke of doubtful taste.

30

“But, being a man of doubtless worth,

If you feel certain quite

That we were probably changed at birth,

I’ll venture to say you’re right.”

So General John as Private James

Fell in, parade upon;

And Private James, by change of names,

Was Major General John.

drawing: General and private in each other’s clothes

31

TO A LITTLE MAID.
By a Policeman.

Come with me, little maid,

Nay, shrink not, thus afraid—

I’ll harm thee not!

Fly not, my love, from me—

I have a home for thee—

A fairy grot,

Where mortal eye

Can rarely pry,

There shall thy dwelling be!

List to me, while I tell

The pleasures of that cell,

Oh, little maid!

What though its couch be rude,

Homely the only food

Within its shade?

No thought of care

Can enter there,

No vulgar swain intrude!

Come with me, little maid,

Come to the rocky shade

I love to sing;

Live with us, maiden rare—

Come, for we “want” thee there,

Thou elfin thing,

To work thy spell,

In some cool cell

In stately Pentonville!

32

JOHN AND FREDDY.

John courted lovely Mary Ann,

So likewise did his brother Freddy.

Fred was a very soft young man,

While John, though quick, was most unsteady.

Young Fred had grace all men above,

But John was very much the strongest.

“Oh, dance,” said she, “to win my love—

I’ll marry him who dances longest.”

John tries the maiden’s taste to strike

With gay, grotesque, outrageous dresses,

And dances comically, like

Clodoche and Co., at the Princess’s.

drawing: two men striking poses

33

But Freddy tries another style,

He knows some graceful steps and does ’em—

A breathing Poem—Woman’s smile—

A man all poesy and buzzem.

Now Freddy’s operatic pas

Now Johnny’s hornpipe seems entrapping:

Now Freddy’s graceful entrechats

Now Johnny’s skilful “cellar-flapping.”

For many hours—for many days—

For many weeks performed each brother.

For each was active in his ways,

And neither would give in to t’other.

After a month of this, they say

(The maid was getting bored and moody)

A wandering curate passed that way

And talked a lot of goody-goody.

drawing: elderly curate speaks to modest young woman

34

“Oh, my,” said he, with solemn frown,

“I tremble for each dancing frater,

Like unregenerated clown

And harlequin at some thee-ayter.”

He showed that men, in dancing, do

Both impiously and absurdly,

And proved his proposition true,

With Firstly, Secondly, and Thirdly.

For months both John and Freddy danced,

The curate’s protests little heeding;

For months the curate’s words enhanced

The sinfulness of their proceeding.

At length they bowed to Nature’s rule—

Their steps grew feeble and unsteady,

Till Freddy fainted on a stool,

And Johnny on the top of Freddy.

drawing: one man seated on another, as described above

35

“Decide!” quoth they, “let him be named,

Who henceforth as his wife may rank you.”

“I’ve changed my views,” the maiden said,

“I only marry curates, thank you!”

Says Freddy, “Here is goings on!

To bust myself with rage I’m ready.”

“I’ll be a curate,” whispers John

“And I,” exclaimed poetic Freddy.

drawing: two men dressed as curates

But while they read for it, these chaps,

The curate booked the maiden bonny—

And when she’s buried him, perhaps,

She’ll marry Frederick or Johnny.

36

drawing: man in chain mail bent over young woman dressed as dancer

SIR GUY THE CRUSADER.

Sir Guy was a doughty crusader,

A muscular knight,

Ever ready to fight,

A very determined invader,

And Dickey de Lion’s delight.

37

Lenore was a Saracen maiden,

Brunette, statuesque,

The reverse of grotesque,

Her pa was a bagman at Aden,

Her mother she played in burlesque.

A coryphée pretty and loyal,

In amber and red,

The ballet she led;

Her mother performed at the Royal,

Lenore at the Saracen’s Head.

drawing: seated man in chain mail

Of face and of figure majestic,

She dazzled the cits—

Ecstaticized pits;—

Her troubles were only domestic,

But drove her half out of her wits.

38

Her father incessantly lashed her,

On water and bread

She was grudgingly fed;

Whenever her father he thrashed her

Her mother sat down on her head.

Guy saw her, and loved her, with reason,

For beauty so bright,

Sent him mad with delight,

He purchased a stall for the season

And sat in it every night.

His views were exceedingly proper,

He wanted to wed,

So he called at her shed

And saw her progenitor whop her—

Her mother sit down on her head.

“So pretty,” said he, “and so trusting!

You brute of a dad,

You unprincipled cad,

Your conduct is really disgusting.

Come, come, now, admit it’s too bad!

“You’re a turbaned old Turk, and malignant—

Your daughter Lenore

I intensely adore

And I cannot help feeling indignant,

A fact that I hinted before.

“To see a fond father employing

A deuce of a knout

For to bang her about,

To a sensitive lover’s annoying.”

Said the bagman, “Crusader, get out.”

39

drawing: man with knout, and another turning his back

Says Guy, “Shall a warrior laden

With a big spiky knob,

Stand idly and sob,

While a beautiful Saracen maiden

Is whipped by a Saracen snob?

“To London I’ll go from my charmer.”

Which he did, with his loot

(Seven hats and a flute),

And was nabbed for his Sydenham armour

At Mr. Ben-Samuel’s suit.

Sir Guy he was lodged in the Compter,

Her pa, in a rage,

Died (don’t know his age),

His daughter, she married the prompter,

Grew bulky and quitted the stage.

40

HAUNTED.

Haunted? Aye, in a social way,

By a body of ghosts in dread array:

But no conventional spectres they—

Appalling, grim, and tricky:

I quail at mine as I’d never quail

At a fine traditional spectre pale,

With a turnip head and a ghostly wail,

And a splash of blood on the dicky!

Mine are horrible, social ghosts,

Speeches and women and guests and hosts,

Weddings and morning calls and toasts,

In every bad variety:

Ghosts who hover about the grave

Of all that’s manly, free, and brave:

You’ll find their names on the architrave

Of that charnel-house, Society.

Black Monday—black as its school-room ink—

With its dismal boys that snivel and think

Of its nauseous messes to eat and drink,

And its frozen tank to wash in.

That was the first that brought me grief

And made me weep, till I sought relief

In an emblematical handkerchief,

To choke such baby bosh in.

41

First and worst in the grim array—

Ghosts of ghosts that have gone their way,

Which I wouldn’t revive for a single day

For all the wealth of Plutus

Are the horrible ghosts that school-days scared:

If the classical ghost that Brutus dared

Was the ghost of his “Cæsar” unprepared,

I’m sure I pity Brutus.

I pass to critical seventeen;

The ghost of that terrible wedding scene,

When an elderly colonel stole my queen,

And woke my dream of heaven.

No school-girl decked in her nurse-room curls

Was my gushing innocent queen of pearls;

If she wasn’t a girl of a thousand girls,

She was one of forty-seven!

I see the ghost of my first cigar—

Of the thence-arising family jar—

Of my maiden brief (I was at the bar),

(I called the judge, “Your wushup!”)

Of reckless days and reckless nights,

With wrenched-off knockers, extinguished lights,

Unholy songs, and tipsy fights,

Which I strove in vain to hush up.

Ghosts of fraudulent joint-stock banks,

Ghosts of “copy, declined with thanks,”

Of novels returned in endless ranks,

And thousands more, I suffer.

42

The only line to fitly grace

My humble tomb, when I’ve run my race,

Is, “Reader, this is the resting place

Of an unsuccessful duffer.”

I’ve fought them all, these ghosts of mine,

But the weapons I’ve used are sighs and brine,

And now that I’m nearly forty-nine,

Old age is my chiefest bogy;

For my hair is thinning away at the crown,

And the silver fights with the worn-out brown;

And a general verdict sets me down

As an irreclaimable fogy.

decoration

43

THE BISHOP AND THE BUSMAN.

It was a Bishop bold,

And London was his see,

He was short and stout and round about,

And zealous as could be.

It also was a Jew,

Who drove a Putney bus—

For flesh of swine however fine

He did not care a cuss.

His name was Hash Baz Ben

And Jedediah too,

And Solomon and Zabulon

This bus-directing Jew.

drawing: mitred bishop, and man with long beard and large nose

44

The Bishop said, said he,

“I’ll see what I can do

To Christianize and make you wise,

You poor benighted Jew.”

So every blessed day

That bus he rode outside,

From Fulham town, both up and down,

And loudly thus he cried:—

“His name is Hash Baz Ben

And Jedediah too,

And Solomon and Zabulon

This bus-directing Jew.”

drawing: two laughing men

45

At first the busman smiled,

And rather liked the fun—

He merely smiled, that Hebrew child,

And said, “Eccentric one!”

And gay young dogs would wait

To see the bus go by

(These gay young dogs in striking togs)

To hear the Bishop cry:—

“Observe his grisly beard

His race it clearly shows,

He sticks no fork in ham or pork—

Observe, my friends, his nose.”

“His name is Hash Baz Ben

And Jedediah too,

And Solomon and Zabulon

This bus-directing Jew.”

But though at first amused,

Yet after seven years,

This Hebrew child got awful riled,

And busted into tears.

He really almost feared

To leave his poor abode,

His nose, and name, and beard became

A byword on that road.

46

At length he swore an oath,

The reason he would know—

“I’ll call and see why ever he

Does persecute me so.”

The good old bishop sat

On his ancestral chair,

The busman came, sent up his name,

And laid his grievance bare.

drawing: large-nosed man with hat in hand seated before Bishop

“Benighted Jew,” he said,

(And chuckled loud with joy)

“Be Christian, you, instead of Jew—

Become a Christian boy.

“I’ll ne’er annoy you more.”

“Indeed?” replied the Jew.

“Shall I be freed?” “You will, indeed!”

Then “Done!” said he, “with you!”

47

The organ which, in man,

Between the eyebrows grows,

Fell from his face, and in its place

He found a Christian nose.

His tangled Hebrew beard,

Which to his waist came down,

Was now a pair of whiskers fair—

His name, Adolphus Brown.

drawing: small-nosed, beardless man with beautiful woman

He wedded in a year,

That prelate’s daughter Jane;

He’s grown quite fair—has auburn hair—

His wife is far from plain.

48

drawing: man balanced on one leg, playing a harp

THE TROUBADOUR.

A troubadour he played

Without a castle wall,

Within, a hapless maid

Responded to his call.

“Oh, willow, woe is me!

Alack and well-a-day!

If I were only free

I’d hie me far away!”

49

Unknown her face and name,

But this he knew right well,

The maiden’s wailing came

From out a dungeon cell.

A hapless woman lay

Within that dungeon grim—

That fact, I’ve heard him say,

Was quite enough for him.

“I will not sit or lie,

Or eat or drink, I vow,

Till thou art free as I,

Or I as pent as thou.”

Her tears then ceased to flow,

Her wails no longer rang,

And tuneful in her woe

The prisoned maiden sang:

“Oh, stranger, as you play

I recognise your touch;

And all that I can say

Is, thank you very much.”

He seized his clarion straight,

And blew thereat, until

A warden oped the gate,

“Oh, what might be your will?’

50

“I’ve come, sir knave, to see

The master of these halls:

A maid unwillingly

Lies prisoned in their walls.”

With barely stifled sigh

That porter drooped his head,

With teardrops in his eye,

“A many, sir,” he said.

He stayed to hear no more,

But pushed that porter by,

And shortly stood before

Sir Hugh de Peckham Rye.

Sir Hugh he darkly frowned,

“What would you, sir, with me?”

The troubadour he downed

Upon his bended knee.

drawing: troubadour approaches man in fez

51

“I’ve come, De Peckham Rye,

To do a Christian task;

You ask me what would I?

It is not much I ask.

“Release these maidens, sir,

Whom you dominion o’er—

Particularly her

Upon the second floor.

drawing: long-legged troubadour stands proudly

“And if you don’t, my lord”—

He here stood bolt upright,

And tapped a tailor’s sword—

“Come out, you cad, and fight!”

52

Sir Hugh he called—and ran

The warden from the gate:

“Go, show this gentleman

The maid in forty-eight.”

By many a cell they past,

And stopped at length before

A portal, bolted fast:

The man unlocked the door.

drawing: prison guard and unhappy-looking woman

He called inside the gate

With coarse and brutal shout,

“Come, step it, forty-eight!”

And forty-eight stepped out.

53

“They gets it pretty hot,

The maidens wot we cotch—

Two years this lady’s got

For collaring a wotch.”

“Oh, ah!—indeed—I see,”

The troubadour exclaimed—

“If I may make so free,

How is this castle named?”

The warden’s eyelids fill,

And sighing, he replied,

“Of gloomy Pentonville

This is the female side!”

The minstrel did not wait

The warden stout to thank,

But recollected straight

He’d business at the Bank.

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54

FERDINANDO AND ELVIRA;
Or, the Gentle Pieman.

PART I.

At a pleasant evening party I had taken down to supper

One whom I will call Elvira, and we talked of love and Tupper.

Mr. Tupper and the poets, very lightly with them dealing,

For I’ve always been distinguished for a strong poetic feeling.

Then we let off paper crackers, each of which contained a motto,

And she listened while I read them, till her mother told her not to.

Then she whispered, “To the ball-room we had better, dear, be walking;

If we stop down here much longer, really people will be talking.”

There were noblemen in coronets, and military cousins,

There were captains by the hundred, there were baronets by dozens.

55

Yet she heeded not their offers, but dismissed them with a blessing;

Then she let down all her back hair which had taken long in dressing.

Then she had convulsive sobbings in her agitated throttle,

Then she wiped her pretty eyes and smelt her pretty smelling bottle.

So I whispered, “Dear Elvira, say,—what can the matter be with you?

Does anything you’ve eaten, darling Popsy, disagree with you?”

But spite of all I said, her sobs grew more and more distressing

And she tore her pretty back-hair, which had taken long in dressing.

Then she gazed upon the carpet, at the ceiling then above me,

And she whispered, “Ferdinando, do you really, really love me?”

“Love you?” said I, then I sighed, and then I gazed upon her sweetly—

For I think I do this sort of thing particularly neatly—

“Send me to the Arctic regions, or illimitable azure,

On a scientific goose-chase, with my Coxwell or my Glaisher!

56

“Tell me whither I may hie me, tell me, dear one that I may know—

Is it up the highest Andes? down a horrible volcano?”

But she said, “It isn’t polar bears, or hot volcanic grottoes,

Only find out who it is that writes those lovely cracker mottoes!”


PART II.

“Tell me, Henry Wadsworth, Alfred, Poet Close, or Mister Tupper,

Do you write the bonbon mottoes my Elvira pulls at supper?”

But Henry Wadsworth smiled, and said he had not had that honour;

And Alfred, too, disclaimed the words that told so much upon her.

Mister Martin Tupper, Poet Close, I beg of you inform us;”

But my question seemed to throw them both into a rage enormous.

Mister Close expressed a wish that he could only get anigh to me.

And Mister Martin Tupper sent the following reply to me:—

57

“A fool is bent upon a twig, but wise men dread a bandit,”

Which I know was very clever; but I didn’t understand it.

Seven weary years I wandered—Patagonia, China, Norway,

Till at last I sank exhausted at a pastrycook his doorway.

There were fuchsias and geraniums, and daffodils and myrtle,

So I entered, and I ordered half a basin of mock turtle.

He was plump and he was chubby, he was smooth and he was rosy,

And his little wife was pretty, and particularly cozy.

And he chirped and sang, and skipped about, and laughed with laughter hearty—

He was wonderfully active for so very stout a party.

And I said, “O, gentle pieman, why so very, very merry?

Is it purity of conscience, or your one-and-seven sherry?”

But he answered, “I’m so happy—no profession could be dearer—

If I am not humming ‘Tra! la! la!’ I’m singing ‘Tirer, lirer!’

“First I go and make the patties, and the puddings and the jellies,

Then I make a sugar birdcage, which upon a table swell is;

58

“Then I polish all the silver, which a supper-table lacquers;

Then I write the pretty mottoes which you find inside the crackers”—

“Found at last!” I madly shouted. “Gentle pieman, you astound me!”

Then I waved the turtle soup enthusiastically round me.

And I shouted and I danced until he’d quite a crowd around him—

And I rushed away exclaiming, “I have found him! I have found him!”

And I heard the gentle pieman in the road behind me trilling,

“‘Tira! lira!’ stop him, stop him! ‘Tra! la! la!’ the soup’s a shilling!”

But until I reached Elvira’s home, I never, never waited,

And Elvira to her Ferdinand’s irrevocably mated!

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59

drawing: young man and woman talking across counter

LORENZO DE LARDY.

Dalilah de Dardy adored

An officer, late of the Guards,

Lorenzo de Lardy, a lord—

A personal friend of the Bard’s.

60

Dalilah de Dardy was fat,

Dalilah de Dardy was old,

(No doubt in the world about that)

But Dalilah de Dardy had gold.

Lorenzo de Lardy was tall,

The flower of maidenly pets,

Young ladies would love at his call,

But Lorenzo de Lardy had debts.

His money-position was queer,

And one of his favourite freaks

Was to hide himself three times a year

In Paris, for several weeks.

Many days didn’t pass him before

He fanned himself into a flame,

For a beautiful “Dam du Comptwore,”

And this was her singular name:

Alice Eulalie Coraline

Euphrosine Colombina Thérèse

Juliette Stephanie Celestine

Charlotte Russe de la Sauce Mayonnaise.

She booked all the orders and tin,

Accoutred in showy fal-lal,

At a two-fifty Restaurant, in

The glittering Palais Royal.

61

He’d gaze in her orbit of blue,

Her hand he would tenderly squeeze,

But the words of her tongue that he knew

Were limited strictly to these:

“Coraline Celestine Eulalie,

Houp là! Je vous aime, oui, mossoo,

Combien donnez moi aujourd’ hui

Bonjour, Mademoiselle, parlez voo.”

Mademoiselle de la Sauce Mayonnaise

Was a witty and beautiful miss,

Extremely correct in her ways,

But her English consisted of this:—

“Oh my! pretty man, if you please,

Blom boodin, biftek, currie lamb,

Bouldogue, two franc half, quite ze cheese,

Rosbif, me spik Angleesh godam.”

He’d gaze in her eyes all the day,

Admiring their sparkle and dance,

And list while she rattled away

In the musical accents of France.

A waiter, for seasons before,

Had basked in her beautiful gaze,

And burnt to dismember Milor,

He loved De la Sauce Mayonnaise.

62

He said to her, “Méchante Thérèse,

Avec désespoir tu m’accables,

Pense tu, De la Sauce Mayonnaise,

Ses intentions sont honorables.

“Flirtez toujours, ma belle, si tu oses—

Je me vengerai ainsi, ma chère,

Je le dirai de quoi on compose

Vol au vent à la Financière!

Lord Lardy knew nothing of this—

The waiter’s devotion ignored,

But he gazed on the beautiful miss,

And never seemed weary or bored.

drawing: seated diner looking up at waiter striking a pose

63

The waiter would screw up his nerve,

His fingers he’d snap and he’d dance—

And Lord Lardy would smile and observe,

“How strange are the customs of France!”

Well, after delaying a space,

His tradesmen no longer would wait:

Returning to England apace,

He yielded himself to his fate.

Lord Lardy espoused, with a groan,

Miss Dardy’s developing charms,

And agreed to tag on to his own,

Her name and her newly-found arms.

The waiter he knelt at the toes

Of an ugly and thin coryphée,

Who danced in the hindermost rows

At the Théatre des Variétés.

Mademoiselle de la Sauce Mayonnaise

Didn’t yield to a gnawing despair,

But married a soldier, and plays

As a pretty and pert Vivandière.

drawing: three couples in miniature

64

drawing: woman in dancer’s dress looking in mirror

DISILLUSIONED.
By an Ex-Enthusiast.

Oh, that my soul its gods could see

As years ago they seemed to me

When first I painted them;

Invested with the circumstance

Of old conventional romance:

Exploded theorem!

65

The bard who could, all men above,

Inflame my soul with songs of love,

And, with his verse, inspire

The craven soul who feared to die,

With all the glow of chivalry

And old heroic fire;

I found him in a beerhouse tap

Awaking from a gin-born nap,

With pipe and sloven dress;

Amusing chums, who fooled his bent,

With muddy, maudlin sentiment,

And tipsy foolishness!

The novelist, whose painting pen

To legions of fictitious men

A real existence lends,

Brain-people whom we rarely fail,

Whenever we hear their names, to hail

As old and welcome friends;

I found in clumsy, snuffy suit,

In seedy glove, and blucher boot,

Uncomfortably big.

Particularly commonplace,

With vulgar, coarse, stock-broking face,

And spectacles and wig.

66

My favourite actor who, at will,

With mimic woe my eyes could fill

With unaccustomed brine:

A being who appeared to me

(Before I knew him well) to be

A song incarnadine;

I found a coarse unpleasant man

With speckled chin—unhealthy, wan—

Of self-importance full:

Existing in an atmosphere

That reeked of gin and pipes and beer—

Conceited, fractious, dull.

The warrior whose ennobled name

Is woven with his country’s fame,

Triumphant over all,

I found weak, palsied, bloated, blear;

His province seemed to be, to leer

At bonnets in Pall Mall.

Would that ye always shone, who write,

Bathed in your own innate lime-light,

And ye who battles wage,

Or that in darkness I had died

Before my soul had ever sighed

To see you off the stage!

67

BABETTE’S LOVE.

Babette she was a fisher gal,

With jupon striped and cap in crimps.

She passed her days inside the Halle,

Or collaring of little shrimps.

Yet she was sweet as flowers in May,

With no professional bouquet.

Jacot was, of the Customs bold,

An officer, at gay Boulogne,

He loved Babette—his love he told

And sighed, “Oh, soyez vous my own!”

But “Non!” said she, “Jacot, my pet,

Vous êtes trop scraggy pour Babette.

drawing: French soldier looks at young woman in rustic dress

68

“Of one alone I nightly dream,

An able mariner is he,

And gaily serves the Gen’ral Steam-

Boat Navigation Companee.

I’ll marry him, if he but will—

His name, I rather think, is Bill.

“I see him when he’s not aware,

Upon our hospitable coast,

Reclining with an easy air,

Upon the port against a post,

A-thinking of, I’ll dare to say,

His native Chelsea far away!

drawing: man collapsing

“Oh, mon!” exclaimed the Customs bold,

“Mes yeux!” he said, which means “my eye.”

“Oh, chère!” he also cried, I’m told,

“Par Jove,” he added, with a sigh.

“Oh, mon! oh, chère! mes yeux! par Jove!

Je n’aime pas cet enticing cove!”

69

The Panther’s Captain stood hard by,

He was a man of morals strict,

If e’er a sailor winked his eye,

Straightway he had that sailor licked,

Mast-headed all (such was his code)

Who dashed or jiggered, blessed or blowed.

He wept to think a tar of his

Should lean so gracefully on posts,

He sighed and sobbed to think of this,

On foreign, French, and friendly coasts.

“It’s human natur’, p’raps—if so,

Oh, isn’t human natur’ low!”

He called his Bill, who pulled his curl,

He said, “My Bill, I understand

You’ve captivated some young gurl

On this here French and foreign land.

Her tender heart your beauties jog—

They do, you know they do, you dog.

“You have a graceful way, I learn,

Of leaning airily on posts,

By which you’ve been and caused to burn

A tender flame on these here coasts.

A fisher gurl, I much regret,—

Her age, sixteen—her name Babette.

70

“You’ll marry her, you gentle tar—

Your union I myself will bless;

And when you matrimonied are,

I will appoint her stewardess.”

But William hitched himself and sighed,

And cleared his throat, and thus replied:—

drawing: two men sail off in ship “Panther”

“Not so: unless you’re fond of strife,

You’d better mind your own affairs;

I have an able-bodied wife

Awaiting me at Wapping Stairs;

If all this here to her I tell,

She’ll larrup me and you as well.

71

“Skin-deep, and valued at a pin,

Is beauty such as Venus owns—

Her beauty is beneath her skin,

And lies in layers on her bones.

The other sailors of the crew,

They always calls her “Wapping Sue!”

“Oho!” the Captain said, “I see!

And is she then so very strong?”

“She’d take your honour’s scruff,” said he,

“And pitch you over to Bolong!”

“I pardon you,” the Captain said,

The fair Babette you needn’t wed.”

Perhaps the Customs had his will,

And coaxed the scornful girl to wed

Perhaps the Captain and his Bill,

And William’s little wife are dead;

Or p’raps they’re all alive and well:

I cannot, cannot, cannot tell.

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72

Notes TO MY BRIDE.
(WHOEVER SHE MAY BE.)

Oh! little maid!—(I do not know your name

Or who you are, so, as a safe precaution

I’ll add)—Oh, buxom widow! married dame!

(As one of these must be your present portion)

Listen, while I unveil prophetic lore for you,

And sing the fate that Fortune has in store for you.

You’ll marry soon—within a year or twain

A bachelor of circa two and thirty,

Tall, gentlemanly, but extremely plain,

And, when you’re intimate, you’ll call him “Bertie.”

Neat—dresses well; his temper has been classified

As hasty; but he’s very quickly pacified.

You’ll find him working mildly at the Bar,

After a touch at two or three professions,

From easy affluence extremely far

A brief or two on Circuit—“soup” at Sessions;

A pound or two from whist, and backing horses,

And, say three hundred from his own resources.

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Quiet in harness; free from serious vice,

His faults are not particularly shady,

You’ll never find him “shy”—for, once or twice

Already, he’s been driven by a lady,

Who parts with him—perhaps a poor excuse for him—

Because she hasn’t any further use for him.

Oh! bride of mine—tall, dumpy, dark or fair!

Oh! widow—wife, maybe, or blushing maiden,

I’ve told your fortune; solved the gravest care

With which your mind has hitherto been laden,

I’ve prophesied correctly, never doubt it;

Now tell me mine—and please be quick about it!

You—only you—can tell me, an’ you will,

To whom I’m destined shortly to be mated.

Will she run up a heavy modiste’s bill?

If so, I want to hear her income stated.

(This is a point which interests me greatly),

To quote the bard, “Oh! have I seen her lately?”

Say, must I wait till husband number one

Is comfortably stowed away at Woking?

How is her hair most usually done?

And tell me, please, will she object to smoking?

The colour of her eyes, too, you may mention:

Come, Sybil, prophesy—I’m all attention.

74

drawing: seated man looking foolish

THE FOLLY OF BROWN.
By a General Agent.

I knew a boor—a clownish card,

(His only friends were pigs and cows and

The poultry of a small farmyard)

Who came into two hundred thousand.

Good fortune worked no change in Brown,

Though she’s a mighty social chymist;

He was a clown—and by a clown

I do not mean a pantomimist.

75

It left him quiet, calm, and cool,

Though hardly knowing what a crown was—

You can’t imagine what a fool

Poor rich, uneducated Brown was!

He scouted all who wished to come

And give him monetary schooling;

And I propose to give you some

Idea of his insensate fooling.

I formed a company or two—

(Of course I don’t know what the rest meant,

I formed them solely with a view

To help him to a sound investment).

Their objects were—their only cares—

To justify their Boards in showing

A handsome dividend on shares,

And keep their good promoter going.

But no—the lout prefers his brass,

Though shares at par I freely proffer:

Yes—will it be believed?—the ass

Declines, with thanks, my well-meant offer!

He added, with a bumpkin’s grin,

(A weakly intellect denoting)

He’d rather not invest it in

A company of my promoting!

76

“You have two hundred ‘thou’ or more,”

Said I. “You’ll waste it, lose it, lend it:

Come, take my furnished second floor,

I’ll gladly show you how to spend it.”

drawing: man turning his back on another holding a Prospectus and moneybag

But will it be believed that he,

With grin upon his face of poppy,

Declined my aid, while thanking me

For what he called my “philanthroppy”?

Some blind, suspicious fools rejoice

In doubting friends who wouldn’t harm them

They will not hear the charmer’s voice,

However wisely he may charm them.

77

I showed him that his coat, all dust,

Top boots and cords provoked compassion,

And proved that men of station must

Conform to the decrees of fashion.

drawing: man with cane, twirling his mustache

I showed him where to buy his hat,

To coat him, trouser him, and boot him;

But no—he wouldn’t hear of that—

“He didn’t think the style would suit him!”

I offered him a county seat,

And made no end of an oration;

I made it certainty complete,

And introduced the deputation.

78

But no—the clown my prospects blights—

(The worth of birth it surely teaches!)

“Why should I want to spend my nights

In Parliament, a-making speeches?

“I haven’t never been to school—

I ain’t had not no eddication—

And I should surely be a fool

To publish that to all the nation!”

drawing: three men bowing in unison

I offered him a trotting horse—

No hack had ever trotted faster—

I also offered him, of course,

A rare, and curious “old Master.”

I offered to procure him weeds—

Wines fit for one in his position—

But, though an ass in all his deeds,

He’d learnt the meaning of “commission.”

79

He called me “thief” the other day,

And daily from his door he thrusts me;

Much more of this, and soon I may

Begin to think that Brown mistrusts me.

So deaf to all sound Reason’s rule

This poor uneducated clown is,

You cannot fancy what a fool

Poor rich uneducated Brown is.

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80

drawing: three young men marching in unison

SIR MACKLIN.

Of all the youths I ever saw

None were so wicked, vain, or silly,

So lost to shame and Sunday law

As worldly Tom, and Bob, and Billy.

For every Sabbath day they walked

(Such was their gay and thoughtless natur)

In parks or gardens, where they talked

From three to six, or even later.

Sir Macklin was a priest severe

In conduct and in conversation,

It did a sinner good to hear

Him deal in ratiocination.

81

He could in every action show

Some sin, and nobody could doubt him.

He argued high, he argued low,

He also argued round about him.

He wept to think each thoughtless youth

Contained of wickedness a skinful,

And burnt to teach the awful truth,

That walking out on Sunday’s sinful.

“Oh, youths,” said he, “I grieve to find

The course of life you’ve been and hit on—

Sit down,” said he, “and never mind

The pennies for the chairs you sit on.

drawing: curate looming over three seated men

“My opening head is ‘Kensington,’

How walking there the sinner hardens,

Which when I have enlarged upon,

I go to ‘Secondly’—its ‘Gardens.’

82

“My ‘Thirdly’ comprehendeth ‘Hyde,’

Of Secresy the guilts and shameses;

My ‘Fourthly’—‘Park’—its verdure wide—

My ‘Fifthly’ comprehends ‘St. James’s.’

“That matter settled I shall reach

The ‘Sixthly’ in my solemn tether,

And show that what is true of each,

Is also true of all, together.

drawing: curate bending over three yawning men

“Then I shall demonstrate to you,

According to the rules of Whately,

That what is true of all, is true

Of each, considered separately.”

83

In lavish stream his accents flow,

Tom, Bob, and Billy dare not flout him;

He argued high, he argued low,

He also argued round about him.

“Ha, ha!” he said, “you loathe your ways,

You writhe at these, my words of warning,

In agony your hands you raise.”

(And so they did, for they were yawning.)

To “Twenty-firstly” on they go.

The lads do not attempt to scout him;

He argued high, he argued low,

He also argued round about him.

“Ho, ho!” he cries, “you bow your crests—

My eloquence has set you weeping;

In shame you bend upon your breasts!”

(And so they did, for they were sleeping.)

drawing: curate bending over three sleeping men

84

He proved them this—he proved them that—

This good but wearisome ascetic;

He jumped and thumped upon his hat,

He was so very energetic.

His Bishop at this moment chanced

To pass, and found the road encumbered;

He noticed how the Churchman danced,

And how his congregation slumbered.

The hundred and eleventh head

The priest completed of his stricture;

“Oh, bosh!” the worthy Bishop said,

And walked him off, as in the picture.

drawing: one man carrying off declaiming curate

85

Notes THE YARN OF THE “NANCY BELL.” *

’Twas on the shores that round our coast

From Deal to Ramsgate span,

That I found alone, on a piece of stone,

An elderly naval man.

His hair was weedy, his beard was long,

And weedy and long was he,

And I heard this wight on the shore recite,

In a singular minor key:

“Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,

And the mate of the Nancy brig,

And a bo’sun tight, and a midshipmite,

And the crew of the captain’s gig.”

And he shook his fists and he tore his hair,

Till I really felt afraid,

For I couldn’t help thinking the man had been drinking,

And so I simply said:

86

“Oh, elderly man, it’s little I know,

Of the duties of men of the sea,

And I’ll eat my hand if I understand

How you can possibly be

“At once a cook, and a captain bold,

And the mate of the Nancy brig,

And a bo’sun tight and a midshipmite,

And the crew of the captain’s gig.”

Then he gave a hitch to his trousers, which

Is a trick all seamen larn,

And having got rid of a thumping quid,

He spun this painful yarn:

“’Twas in the good ship Nancy Bell

That we sailed to the Indian sea,

And there on a reef we come to grief,

Which has often occurred to me.

“And pretty nigh all o’ the crew was drowned

(There was seventy-seven o’ soul)

And only ten of the Nancy’s men

Said ‘Here!’ to the muster roll.

“There was me and the cook and the captain bold,

And the mate of the Nancy brig,

And the bo’sun tight and a midshipmite,

And the crew of the captain’s gig.

87

“For a month we’d neither wittles nor drink,

Till a-hungry we did feel,

So, we drawed a lot, and, accordin’ shot,

The captain for our meal.

“The next lot fell to the Nancy’s mate,

And a delicate dish he made;

Then our appetite with the midshipmite

We seven survivors stayed.

“And then we murdered the bo’sun tight,

And he much resembled pig;

Then we wittled free, did the cook and me,

On the crew of the captain’s gig.

“Then only the cook and me was left,

And the delicate question, ‘Which

Of us two goes to the kettle?’ arose,

And we argued it out as sich.

“For I loved that cook as a brother, I did,

And the cook he worshipped me;

But we’d both be blowed if we’d either be stowed

In the other chap’s hold, you see.

“‘I’ll be eat if you dines off me,’ says Tom,

‘Yes, that,’ says I, ‘you’ll be,’—

‘I’m boiled if I die, my friend,’ quoth I,

And ‘Exactly so,’ quoth he.

88

“Says he, ‘Dear James, to murder me

Were a foolish thing to do,

For don’t you see that you can’t cook me,

While I can—and will—cook you!

“So, he boils the water, and takes the salt

And the pepper in portions true

(Which he never forgot) and some chopped shalot,

And some sage and parsley too.

“‘Come here,’ says he, with a proper pride,

Which his smiling features tell,

‘’Twill soothing be if I let you see,

How extremely nice you’ll smell.’

“And he stirred it round and round and round,

And he sniffed at the foaming froth;

When I ups with his heels, and smothers his squeals

In the scum of the boiling broth.

And I eat that cook in a week or less,

And—as I eating be

The last of his chops, why I almost drops,

For a wessel in sight I see.

* * * * *

89

“And I never larf, and I never smile,

And I never lark nor play,

But I sit and croak, and a single joke

I have—which is to say:

“Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,

And the mate of the Nancy brig,

And a bo’sun tight, and a midshipmite,

And the crew of the captain’s gig!”

* A version of this ballad is published as a Song, by Mr. Jeffreys, Soho Square.

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90

drawing: man in glasses looking down at dancing man

THE BISHOP OF RUM-TI-FOO.

From east and south the holy clan

Of bishops gathered, to a man;

To Synod, called Pan-Anglican;

In flocking crowds they came.

Among them was a Bishop, who

Had lately been appointed to

The balmy isle of Rum-ti-Foo,

And Peter was his name.

His people—twenty-three in sum—

They played the eloquent tum-tum

And lived on scalps served up in rum—

The only sauce they knew.

91

When first good Bishop Peter came

(For Peter was that Bishop’s name),

To humour them, he did the same

As they of Rum-ti-Foo.

His flock, I’ve often heard him tell,

(His name was Peter) loved him well,

And summoned by the sound of bell,

In crowds together came.

“Oh, massa, why you go away?

Oh, Massa Peter, please to stay.”

(They called him Peter, people say,

Because it was his name.)

He told them all good boys to be,

And sailed away across the sea,

At London Bridge that Bishop he

Arrived one Tuesday night—

And as that night he homeward strode

To his Pan-Anglican abode,

He passed along the Borough Road

And saw a gruesome sight.

He saw a crowd assembled round

A person dancing on the ground,

Who straight began to leap and bound

With all his might and main.

92

To see that dancing man he stopped,

Who twirled and wriggled, skipped and hopped

Then down incontinently dropped,

And then sprang up again.

The Bishop chuckled at the sight,

“This style of dancing would delight

A simple Rum-ti-Foozle-ite.

I’ll learn it, if I can,

To please the tribe when I get back.”

He begged the man to teach his knack.

“Right Reverend Sir, in half a crack,”

Replied that dancing man.

drawing: man in glasses copying movements of smaller man

The dancing man he worked away

And taught the Bishop every day—

The dancer skipped like any fay—

Good Peter did the same.

93

The Bishop buckled to his task

With battements, cuts, and pas de basque

(I’ll tell you, if you care to ask,

That Peter was his name.)

“Come, walk like this,” the dancer said,

“Stick out your toes—stick in your head,

Stalk on with quick, galvanic tread—

Your fingers thus extend;

The attitude’s considered quaint.”

The weary Bishop, feeling faint,

Replied, “I do not say it ain’t,

But ‘Time!’ my Christian friend!”

drawing: man in glasses and smaller man both jump aloft

“We now proceed to something new—

Dance as the Paynes and Lauris do,

Like this—one, two—one, two—one, two.”

The Bishop, never proud,

94

But in an overwhelming heat

(His name was Peter, I repeat)

Performed the Payne and Lauri feat,

And puffed his thanks aloud.

Another game the dancer planned—

“Just take your ankle in your hand,

And try, my lord, if you can stand—

Your body stiff and stark.

If, when revisiting your see,

You learnt to hop on shore—like me—

The novelty would striking be,

And must attract remark.”

drawing: man in glasses turns his back on man standing on one leg

95

“No,” said the worthy Bishop, “No;

That is a length to which, I trow,

Colonial Bishops cannot go.

You may express surprise

At finding Bishops deal in pride—

But, if that trick I ever tried,

I should appear undignified

In Rum-ti-Foozle’s eyes.

“The islanders of Rum-ti-Foo

Are well-conducted persons, who

Approve a joke as much as you,

And laugh at it as such;

But if they saw their Bishop land,

His leg supported in his hand,

The joke they wouldn’t understand—

’Twould pain them very much!”

decoration

96

drawing: nurse holding knowing-looking baby

THE PRECOCIOUS BABY.
A VERY TRUE TALE.

(To be sung to the Air of the “Whistling Oyster.”)

An elderly person—a prophet, by trade—

With his quips and tips

On withered old lips,

He married a young and a beautiful maid;

The cunning old blade

Though rather decayed,

He married a beautiful, beautiful maid.

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She was only eighteen, and as fair as could be,

With her tempting smiles

And maidenly wiles,

And he was a trifle of seventy-three:

Now what she could see

Is a puzzle to me,

In a buffer of seventy—seventy-three!

Of all their acquaintances bidden (or bad)

With their loud high jinks

And underbred winks

None thought they’d a family have—but they had;

A dear little lad

Who drove ’em half mad,

For he turned out a horribly fast little cad.

For when he was born he astonished all by,

With their “Law, dear me!”

“Did ever you see?”

He’d a weed in his mouth and a glass in his eye,

A hat all awry—

An octagon tie,

And a miniature—miniature glass in his eye.

He grumbled at wearing a frock and a cap,

With his “Oh, dear, oh!”

And his “Hang it! you know!”

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And he turned up his nose at his excellent pap—

“My friends, it’s a tap

That is not worth a rap.”

(Now this was remarkably excellent pap.)

He’d chuck his nurse under the chin, and he’d say,

With his “Fal, lal, lal”—

“You doosed fine gal!”

This shocking precocity drove ’em away:

“A month from to-day

Is as long as I’ll stay—

Then I’d wish, if you please, for to hook it away.”

His father, a simple old gentleman, he

With nursery rhyme

And “Once on a time,”

Would tell him the story of “Little Bo P,”

“So pretty was she,

So pretty and wee,

As pretty, as pretty, as pretty could be.”

But the babe, with a dig that would startle an ox,

With his “C’ck! Oh, my!—

Go along wiz ’oo, fie!”

99

Would exclaim, “I’m affaid ’oo a socking ole fox.”

Now a father it shocks,

And it whitens his locks

When his little babe calls him a shocking old fox.

The name of his father he’d couple and pair

(With his ill-bred laugh,

And insolent chaff)

With those of the nursery heroines rare

Virginia the fair,

Or Good Goldenhair,

Till the nuisance was more than a prophet could bear.

drawing: aged man standing hext to high chair with cigar-smoking baby

100

“There’s Jill and White Cat” (said the bold little brat,

With his loud, “Ha, ha!”)

“’Oo sly ickle pa!

Wiz ’oo Beauty, Bo Peep, and ’oo Mrs. Jack Sprat!

I’ve noticed ’oo pat

My pretty White Cat—

I sink dear mamma ought to know about dat!”

drawing: small child with cane and wrinkled face

He early determined to marry and wive,

For better or worse

With his elderly nurse—

Which the poor little boy didn’t live to contrive;

His health didn’t thrive—

No longer alive,

He died an enfeebled old dotard at five!

101

MORAL.

Now elderly men of the bachelor crew,

With wrinkled hose

And spectacled nose,

Don’t marry at all—you may take it as true

If ever you do

The step you will rue,

For your babes will be elderly—elderly too.

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102

Notes TO PHŒBE.

“Gentle, modest, little flower,

Sweet epitome of May,

Love me but for half-an-hour,

Love me, love me, little fay.”

Sentences so fiercely flaming

In your tiny shell-like ear,

I should always be exclaiming

If I loved you, Phœbe dear!

“Smiles that thrill from any distance

Shed upon me while I sing!

Please ecstaticize existence,

Love me, oh, thou fairy thing!”

Words like these, outpouring sadly,

You’d perpetually hear,

If I loved you, fondly, madly;—

But I do not, Phœbe, dear!

103

drawing: bust of man in side whiskers

BAINES CAREW, GENTLEMAN.

Of all the good attorneys who

Have placed their names upon the roll,

But few could equal Baines Carew

For tenderheartedness and soul.

Whene’er he heard a tale of woe

From client A or client B,

His grief would overcome him so

He’d scarce have strength to take his fee.

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It laid him up for many days,

When duty led him to distrain,

And serving writs, although it pays,

Gave him excruciating pain.

He made out costs, distrained for rent,

Foreclosed and sued, with moistened eye—

No bill of costs could represent

The value of such sympathy.

No charges can approximate

The worth of sympathy with woe;—

Although I think I ought to state

He did his best to make them so.

Of all the many clients who

Had mustered round his legal flag,

No single client of the crew

Was half so dear as Captain Bagg.

Now Captain Bagg had bowed him to

A heavy matrimonial yoke—

His wifey had of faults a few—

She never could resist a joke.

Her chaff at first he meekly bore

Till unendurable it grew.

“To stop this persecution sore

I will consult my friend Carew.

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“And when Carew’s advice I’ve got

Divorce a mensâ I shall try”

(A legal separation—not

A vinculo conjugii).

“Oh, Baines Carew, my woe I’ve kept

A secret, hitherto, you know;”—

(And Baines Carew, Esquire, he wept

To hear that Bagg had any woe.)

drawing: small soldier speaks to seated man

“My case, indeed, is passing sad,

My wife—whom I considered true—

With brutal conduct drives me mad.”

“I am appalled,” said Baines Carew.

106

“What! sound the matrimonial knell

Of worthy people such as these!

Why was I an attorney? Well—

Go on to the sævitia, please.”

“Domestic bliss has proved my bane,

A harder case you never heard,

My wife (in other matters sane)

Pretends that I’m a Dicky bird!

“She makes me sing, ‘Too whit, too wee!’

And stand upon a rounded stick,

And always introduces me

To every one as ‘Pretty Dick’!”

“Oh, dear,” said weeping Baines Carew,

“This is the direst case I know”—

“I’m grieved,” said Bagg, “at paining you—

To Cobb and Polterthwaite I’ll go—

“To Cobb’s cold calculating ear

My gruesome sorrows I’ll impart”—

“No; stop,” said Baines, “I’ll dry my tear,

And steel my sympathetic heart!”

“She makes me perch upon a tree,

Rewarding me with, ‘Sweety—nice!’

And threatens to exhibit me

With four or five performing mice.”

107

“Restrain my tears I wish I could.”

(Said Baines,) “I don’t know what to do”—

Said Captain Bagg, “You’re very good.”

“Oh, not at all,” said Baines Carew.

drawing: soldier and weeping man shake hands

“She makes me fire a gun,” said Bagg;

“And at a preconcerted word,

Climb up a ladder with a flag,

Like any street-performing bird.

“She places sugar in my way—

In public places calls me ‘Sweet!’

She gives me groundsel every day

And hard canary seed to eat.”

108

“Oh, woe! oh, sad! oh, dire to tell!”

(Said Baines) “Be good enough to stop.”

And senseless on the floor he fell

With unpremeditated flop.

drawing: small soldier stands over man lying down weeping

Said Captain Bagg, “Well, really I

Am grieved to think it pains you so.

I thank you for your sympathy;

But, hang it—come—I say, you know!”

But Baines lay flat upon the floor,

Convulsed with sympathetic sob—

The Captain toddled off next door,

And gave the case to Mr. Cobb.

109

drawing: soldier slashing his sword at a hanging ham

THOMAS WINTERBOTTOM HANCE.

In all the towns and cities fair

On Merry England’s broad expanse,

No swordsman ever could compare

With Thomas Winterbottom Hance.

The dauntless lad could fairly hew

A silken handkerchief in twain,

Divide a leg of mutton too—

And this without unwholesome strain.

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On whole half-sheep, with cunning trick,

His sabre sometimes he’d employ—

No bar of lead, however thick,

Had terrors for the stalwart boy.

At Dover daily he’d prepare

To hew and slash, behind, before—

Which aggravated Monsieur Pierre,

Who watched him from the Calais shore.

drawing: soldier standing on white cliffs

It caused good Pierre to swear and dance,

The sight annoyed and vexed him so;

He was the bravest man in France—

He said so, and he ought to know.

111

“Regardez, donc, ce cochon gros—

Ce polisson! Oh, sacré bleu!

Son sabre, son plomb, et ses gigots!

Comme cela m’ennuye, enfin, mon Dieu!

“II sait que les foulards de soie

Give no retaliating whack—

Les gigots morts n’ont pas de quoi—

Le plomb don’t ever hit you back.”

But, every day the headstrong lad

Cut lead and mutton more and more;

And every day, poor Pierre, half mad,

Shrieked loud defiance from his shore.

Hance had a mother, poor and old,

A simple, harmless, village dame,

Who crowed and clapped as people told

Of Winterbottom’s rising fame.

She said, “I’ll be upon the spot

To see my Tommy’s sabre-play;’

And so she left her leafy cot,

And walked to Dover in a day.

Pierre had a doting mother, who

Had heard of his defiant rage:

His ma was nearly ninety-two,

And rather dressy for her age.

112

At Hance’s doings every morn,

With sheer delight his mother cried;

And Monsieur Pierre’s contemptuous scorn

Filled his mamma with proper pride.

But Hance’s powers began to fail—

His constitution was not strong—

And Pierre, who once was stout and hale,

Grew thin from shouting all day long.

Their mothers saw them pale and wan,

Maternal anguish tore each breast,

And so they met to find a plan

To set their offsprings’ minds at rest.

drawing: two old women in conversation

Said Mrs. Hance, “Of course I shrinks

From bloodshed, ma’am, as you’re aware,

But still they’d better meet, I thinks.”

“Assurement!” said Madame Pierre.

113

A sunny spot in sunny France

Was hit upon for this affair;

The ground was picked by Mrs. Hance,

The stakes were pitched by Madame Pierre.

Said Mrs. H., “Your work you see—

Go in, my noble boy, and win.”

“En garde, mon fils!” said Madame P.

“Allons!” “Go on!” “En garde!” “Begin!”

drawing: two men in boxing ring, with two miniature women looking on

(The mothers were of decent size,

Though not particularly tall;

But in the sketch that meets your eyes

I’ve been obliged to draw them small.)

114

Loud sneered the doughty man of France,

“Ho! ho!  Ho! ho!  Ha! ha!  Ha! ha!”

“The French for ‘Pish!’” said Thomas Hance.

Said Pierre, “L’ Anglais, Monsieur, pour ‘Bah.’”

Said Mrs. H., “Come, one! two! three!—

We’re sittin’ here to see all fair;

“C’est Magnifique!” said Madame P.,

“Mais, parbleu! ce n’est pas la guerre!”

“Je scorn un foe si lache que vous!”

Said Pierre, the doughty son of France.

“I fight not coward foe, like you!”

Said our undaunted Tommy Hance.

“The French for ‘Pooh!’” our Tommy cried.

“L’ Anglais pour ‘Va’” the Frenchman crowed,

And so with undiminished pride

Each went on his respective road.

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115

drawing: preacher in pulpit

THE REVEREND MICAH SOWLS.

The Reverend Micah Sowls,

He shouts and yells and howls,

He screams, he mouths, he bumps,

He foams, he rants, he thumps.

His armour he has buckled on to wage

The regulation war against the Stage;

And warns his congregation all to shun

“The Presence Chamber of the Evil One.”

116

The subject’s sad enough

To make him rant and puff,

And fortunately, too,

His Bishop’s in a pew.

So Reverend Micah claps on extra steam,

His eyes are flashing with superior gleam,

He is as energetic as can be,

For there are fatter livings in that see.

The Bishop, when it’s o’er,

Goes through the vestry door

Where Micah, very red,

Is mopping of his head.

drawing: preacher and bishop

“Pardon, my Lord, your Sowls’ excessive zeal,

It is a theme on which I strongly feel.”

(The sermon somebody had sent him down

From London, at a charge of half-a-crown.)

117

The Bishop bowed his head

And, acquiescing, said,

“I’ve heard your well-meant rage

Against the Modern Stage.

“A modern Theatre, as I heard you say,

Sows seeds of evil broad-cast: well, it may—

But let me ask you, my respected son,

Pray, have you ever ventured into one?”

“My Lord,” said Micah, “No!

I never, never go!

What! Go and see a play?

My goodness gracious, nay!”

The worthy Bishop said, “My friend, no doubt

The stage may be the place you make it out;

But if, my Reverend Sowls, you never go,

I don’t quite understand how you’re to know.”

“Well, really,” Micah said,

“I’ve often heard and read,

But never go—do you?”

The Bishop said, “I do.”

“That proves me wrong,” said Micah, in a trice;

“I thought it all frivolity and vice.”

The Bishop handed him a counter plain;

“Just take this stall and go to Drury Lane.”

118

The Bishop took his leave,

Rejoicing in his sleeve.

The next ensuing day

Sowls went and heard a play.

drawing: actor in enormous plumed hat

He saw a dreary person on the stage,

Who mouthed and mugged in simulated rage—

Who growled and spluttered in a mode absurd,

And spoke an English Sowls had never heard.

For “gaunt” was spoken “garnt,”

And “haunt” transformed to “harnt,”

And “wrath” pronounced as “rath,”

And “death” was changed to “dath.”

119

For hours and hours that dismal actor walked

And talked, and talked, and talked, and talked,

Till lethargy upon the parson crept,

And sleepy Micah Sowls serenely slept.

drawing: man dozing in chair

He slept away until

The farce that closed the bill

Had warned him not to stay,

And then he went away.

“I thought,” said he, “I was a dreary thing,

I thought my voice quite destitute of ring,

I thought my ranting could distract the brain,

But oh! I hadn’t been to Drury Lane.

“Forgive me, Drury Lane,

Thou penitential fane,

Where sinners should be cast

To mourn their wicked past!”

120

drawing: rotund man tiptoeing along

A DISCONTENTED SUGAR BROKER.

A gentleman of City fame

Now claims your kind attention;

East India broking was his game,

His name I shall not mention:

No one of finely pointed sense

Would violate a confidence,

And shall I go

And do it? No!

His name I shall not mention.

121

He had a trusty wife and true,

And very cosy quarters,

A manager, a boy or two,

Six clerks, and seven porters.

A broker must be doing well

(As any lunatic can tell)

Who can employ

An active boy,

Six clerks, and seven porters.

His knocker advertised no dun,

No losses made him sulky,

He had one sorrow—only one—

He was extremely bulky.

A man must be, I beg to state,

Exceptionally fortunate

Who owns his chief

And only grief

Is—being very bulky.

“This load,” he’d say, “I cannot bear,

I’m nineteen stone or twenty!

Henceforward I’ll go in for air

And exercise in plenty.”

Most people think that, should it come,

They can reduce a bulging tum

To measures fair

By taking air

And exercise in plenty.

122

In every weather, every day,

Dry, muddy, wet, or gritty,

He took to dancing all the way

From Brompton to the City.

You do not often get the chance,

Of seeing sugar-brokers dance,

From their abode

In Fulham Road,

Through Brompton to the City.

He braved the gay and guileless laugh

Of children with their nusses,

The loud uneducated chaff

Of clerks on omnibuses.

Against all minor things that rack

A nicely balanced mind, I’ll back

The noisy laugh

And ill-bred laugh

Of clerks on omnibuses.

His friends, who heard his money chink,

And saw the house he rented,

And knew his wife, could never think

What made him discontented.

It never entered their pure minds

That fads are of eccentric kinds,

Nor would they own

That fat alone

Could make one discontented.

123

drawing: three younger men looking at bouncing rotund man

“Your riches know no kind of pause

Your trade is fast advancing,

You dance—but not for joy, because

You weep as you are dancing.

To dance implies that man is glad,

To weep implies that man is sad.

But here are you

Who do the two—

You weep as you are dancing!”

124

His mania soon got noised about

And into all the papers—

His size increased beyond a doubt

For all his reckless capers:

It may seem singular to you,

But all his friends admit it true—

The more he found

His figure round,

The more he cut his capers.

His bulk increased—no matter that—

He tried the more to toss it—

He never spoke of it as “fat”

But “adipose deposit.”

Upon my word, it seems to me

Unpardonable vanity

(And worse than that)

To call your fat

An “adipose deposit.”

drawing: rotund man lying on his back with feet in the air

125

At length his brawny knees gave way,

And on the carpet sinking,

Upon his shapeless back he lay

And kicked away like winking.

Instead of seeing in his state

The finger of unswerving Fate,

He laboured still

To work his will,

And kicked away like winking.

His friends, disgusted with him now,

Away in silence wended—

I hardly like to tell you how

This dreadful story ended.

The shocking sequel to impart,

I must employ the limner’s art—

If you would know,

This sketch will show

How his exertions ended.

drawing: globular man rolling along

126

MORAL.

I hate to preach—I hate to prate—

I’m no fanatic croaker,

But learn contentment from the fate

Of this East India broker.

He’d everything a man of taste

Could ever want, except a waist:

And discontent

His size anent,

And bootless perseverance blind,

Completely wrecked the peace of mind

Of this East India broker.

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127

THE PANTOMIME “SUPER” TO HIS MASK.

Vast empty shell!

Impertinent, preposterous abortion:

With vacant stare,

And ragged hair,

And every feature out of all proportion!

Embodiment of echoing inanity!

Excellent type of simpering insanity!

Unwieldy, clumsy nightmare of humanity!

I ring thy knell!

To-night thou diest,

Beast that destroy’st my heaven-born identity!

Nine weeks of nights,

Before the lights,

Swamped in thine own preposterous nonentity,

I’ve been ill-treated, cursed, and thrashed diurnally,

Credited for the smile you wear externally—

I feel disposed to smash thy face, infernally,

As there thou liest!

I’ve been thy brain:

I’ve been the brain that lit thy dull concavity!

The human race

Invest my face

With thine expression of unchecked depravity,

128

Invested with a ghastly reciprocity,

I’ve been responsible for thy monstrosity,

I, for thy wanton, blundering ferocity—

But not again!

’Tis time to toll

Thy knell, and that of follies pantomimical:

A nine weeks’ run,

And thou hast done

All thou cans’t do to make thyself inimical.

Adieu, embodiment of all inanity!

Excellent type of simpering insanity!

Unwieldy, clumsy nightmare of humanity!

Freed is thy soul!

(The Mask respondeth.)

Oh! master mine,

Look thou within thee, ere again ill-using me.

Art thou aware

Of nothing there

Which might abuse thee, as thou art abusing me?

A brain that mourns thine unredeemed rascality?

A soul that weeps at thy thread-bare morality?

Both grieving that their individuality

Is merged in thine?

129

drawing: older man talking to young woman

THE FORCE OF ARGUMENT.

Lord B. was a nobleman bold

Who came of illustrious stocks,

He was thirty or forty years old,

And several feet in his socks.

To Turniptopville-by-the-Sea

This elegant nobleman went,

For that was a borough that he

Was anxious to rep-per-re-sent.

130

At local assemblies he danced

Until he felt thoroughly ill—

He waltzed, and he galloped, and lanced,

And threaded the mazy quadrille.

The maidens of Turniptopville

Were simple—ingenuous—pure—

And they all worked away with a will

The nobleman’s heart to secure.

Two maidens all others beyond

Imagined their chances looked well—

The one was the lively Ann Pond,

The other sad Mary Morell.

Ann Pond had determined to try

And carry the Earl with a rush,

Her principal feature was eye,

Her greatest accomplishment—gush.

And Mary chose this for her play

Whenever he looked in her eye

She’d blush and turn quickly away,

And flitter and flutter and sigh.

It was noticed he constantly sighed

As she worked out the scheme she had planned—

A fact he endeavoured to hide,

With his aristocratical hand.

131

drawing: older man covering his mouth as young woman passes by

Old Pond was a farmer, they say,

And so was old Tommy Morell.

In a humble and pottering way

They were doing exceedingly well.

They both of them carried by vote,

The Earl was a dangerous man,

So nervously clearing his throat,

One morning old Tommy began:

132

“My darter’s no pratty young doll—

I’m a plainspoken Zommerzet man—

Now what do ’ee mean by my Poll

And what do ’ee mean by his Ann?”

drawing: bearded man addressing two smaller men

Said B., “I will give you my bond

I mean them uncommonly well,

Believe me, my excellent Pond,

And credit me, worthy Morell.

“It’s quite indisputable, for

I’ll prove it with singular ease,

You shall have it in ‘Barbara’ or

‘Celarent’—whichever you please.

133

“You see, when an anchorite bows

To the yoke of intentional sin—

If the state of the country allows,

Homogeny always steps in—

“It’s a highly æsthetical bond,

As any mere ploughboy can tell——”

“Of course,” replied puzzled old Pond.

“I see,” said old Tommy Morell.

“Very good then,” continued the lord,

“When it’s fooled to the top of its bent,

With a sweep of a Damocles sword

The web of intention is rent.

“That’s patent to all of us here,

As any mere schoolboy can tell.”

Pond answered, “Of course it’s quite clear;”

And so did that humbug Morell.

“Its tone’s esoteric in force—

I trust that I make myself clear?”—

Morell only answered “Of course,”

While Pond slowly muttered, “Hear, hear.”

“Volition—celestial prize,

Pellucid as porphyry cell—

Is based on a principle wise.”

“Quite so,” exclaimed Pond and Morell.

134

“From what I have said, you will see

That I couldn’t wed either—in fine

By Nature’s unchanging decree

Your daughters could never be mine.

“Go home to your pigs and your ricks,

My hands of the matter I’ve rinsed.”

So they take up their hats and their sticks,

And exeunt ambo, convinced.

drawing: two small men from behind

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135

drawing: ghost and goblin walking arm in arm

THE GHOST, THE GALLANT, THE GAEL, AND THE GOBLIN.

O’er unreclaimed suburban clays

Some years ago were hobblin’

An elderly ghost of easy ways,

And an influential goblin.

The ghost was a sombre spectral shape,

A fine old five-act fogy,

The goblin imp, a lithe young ape,

A fine low-comedy bogy.

136

And as they exercised their joints,

Promoting quick digestion,

They talked on several curious points,

And raised this delicate question:

“Which of us two is Number One—

The ghostie, or the goblin?”

And o’er the point they raised in fun

They fairly fell a-squabblin’.

They’d barely speak, and each, in fine,

Grew more and more reflective,

Each thought his own particular line

By chalks the more effective.

At length they settled someone should

By each of them be haunted,

And so arrange that either could

Exert his prowess vaunted.

“The Quaint against the Statuesque”—

By competition lawful—

The goblin backed the Quaint Grotesque,

The ghost the Grandly Awful.

“Now,” said the goblin, “here’s my plan—

In attitude commanding,

I see a stalwart Englishman

By yonder tailor’s standing.

137

“The very fittest man on earth

My influence to try on—

Of gentle, p’r’aps of noble birth,

And dauntless as a lion!

Now wrap yourself within your shroud—

Remain in easy hearing—

Observe—you’ll hear him scream aloud

When I begin appearing!

drawing: goblin tries to frighten a mannequin

The imp with yell unearthly—wild—

Threw off his dark enclosure:

His dauntless victim looked and smiled

With singular composure.

138

For hours he tried to daunt the youth,

For days, indeed, but vainly—

The stripling smiled!—to tell the truth,

The stripling smiled inanely.

For weeks the goblin weird and wild,

That noble stripling haunted;

For weeks the stripling stood and smiled

Unmoved and all undaunted.

The sombre ghost exclaimed, “Your plan

Has failed you, goblin plainly:

Now watch yon hardy Hieland man,

So stalwart and ungainly.”

“These are the men who chase the roe,

Whose footsteps never falter,

Who bring with them where’er they go,

A smack of old Sir Walter.

Of such as he, the men sublime

Who lead their troops victorious,

Whose deeds go down to after-time,

Enshrined in annals glorious!

“Of such as he the bard has said

‘Hech thrawfu’ raltie rorkie!

Wi’ thecht ta’ croonie clapperhead

And fash’ wi’ unco pawkie!’

139

He’ll faint away when I appear,

Upon his native heather;

Or p’r’aps he’ll only scream with fear,

Or p’r’aps the two together.”

drawing: ghost tries to frighten a mannequin

The spectre showed himself, alone,

To do his ghostly battling,

With curdling groan and dismal moan

And lots of chains a-rattling!

But no—the chiel’s stout Gaelic stuff

Withstood all ghostly harrying,

His fingers closed upon the snuff

Which upwards he was carrying.

140

For days that ghost declined to stir,

A foggy shapeless giant—

For weeks that splendid officer

Stared back again defiant!

Just as the Englishman returned

The goblin’s vulgar staring,

Just so the Scotchman boldly spurned

The ghost’s unmannered scaring.

For several years the ghostly twain

These Britons bold have haunted,

But all their efforts are in vain

Their victims stand undaunted,

This very day the imp, and ghost,

Whose powers the imp derided,

Stand each at his allotted post—

The bet is undecided.

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141

THE PHANTOM CURATE.
A FABLE.

A bishop once—I will not name his see—

Annoyed his clergy in the mode conventional;

From pulpit-shackles never set them free,

And found a sin where sin was unintentional.

All pleasures ended in abuse auricular—

The Bishop was so terribly particular.

Though, on the whole, a wise and upright man,

He sought to make of human pleasures clearances;

And form his priests on that much-lauded plan

Which pays undue attention to appearances.

He couldn’t do good deeds without a psalm in ’em,

Although, in truth, he bore away the palm in ’em.

Enraged to find a deacon at a dance,

Or catch a curate at some mild frivolity,

He sought by open censure to enhance

Their dread of joining harmless social jollity.

Yet he enjoyed (a fact of notoriety)

The ordinary pleasures of society.

142

One evening, sitting at a pantomime,

(Forbidden treat to those who stood in fear of him),

Roaring at jokes, sans metre, sense, or rhyme,

He turned, and saw immediately in rear of him,

His peace of mind upsetting, and annoying it,

A curate, also heartily enjoying it.

Again, ’twas Christmas Eve, and to enhance

His children’s pleasure in their harmless rollicking,

He, like a good old fellow, stood to dance;

When something checked the current of his frollicking;

That curate, with a maid he treated lover-ly,

Stood up and figured with him in the “Coverley!”

Once, yielding to an universal choice

(The company’s demand was an emphatic one,

For the old Bishop had a glorious voice),

In a quartet he joined—an operatic one.

Harmless enough, though ne’er a word of grace in it,

When, lo! that curate came and took the bass in it!

One day, when passing through a quiet street,

He stopped awhile and joined a Punch’s gathering;

And chuckled more than solemn folk think meet,

To see that gentleman his Judy lathering;

And heard, as Punch was being treated penally,

That phantom-curate laughing all hyænally.

143

Now at a pic-nic, ’mid fair golden curls,

Bright eyes, straw hats, bottines that fit amazingly;

A croquêt-bout is planned by all the girls;

And he, consenting, speaks of croquêt praisingly.

But suddenly declines to play at all in it—

The curate-fiend has come to take a ball in it!

Next, when at quiet sea-side village, freed

From cares episcopal and ties monarchical,

He grows his beard, and smokes his fragrant weed,

In manner anything but hierarchical—

He sees—and fixes an unearthly stare on it—

That curate’s face, with half a yard of hair on it!

At length he gave a charge, and spake this word,

“Vicars, your curates to enjoyment urge ye may;

To check their harmless pleasuring’s absurd;

What laymen do without reproach, my clergy may.”

He spake, and lo! at this concluding word of him,

The curate vanished—no one since has heard of him.

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144

drawing: man kneeling before woman with wide skirts

THE SENSATION CAPTAIN.

No nobler captain ever trod

Than Captain Parklebury Todd,

So good—so wise—so brave, he!

But still, as all his friends would own,

He had one folly—one alone—

This Captain in the Navy.

I do not think I ever knew

A man so wholly given to

Creating a sensation:

Or p’r’aps I should in justice say—

To what in an Adelphi play

Is known as “Situation.”

145

He passed his time designing traps

To flurry unsuspicious chaps—

The taste was his innately—

He couldn’t walk into a room

Without ejaculating “Boom!”

Which startled ladies greatly.

He’d wear a mask and muffling cloak,

Not, you will understand, in joke,

As some assume disguises.

He did it, actuated by

A simple love of mystery

And fondness for surprises.

I need not say he loved a maid—

His eloquence threw into shade

All others who adored her:

The maid, though pleased at first, I know,

Found, after several years or so,

Her startling lover bored her.

So, when his orders came to sail,

She did not faint or scream or wail,

Or with her tears anoint him.

She shook his hand, and said “good bye,”

With laughter dancing in her eye—

Which seemed to disappoint him.

146

drawing: seaman takes off his hat to young woman

But ere he went aboard his boat

He placed around her little throat

A ribbon, blue and yellow,

On which he hung a double tooth—

A simple token this, in sooth—

’Twas all he had, poor fellow!

“I often wonder,” he would say,

When very very far away,

“If Angelina wears it!

A plan has entered in my head,

I will pretend that I am dead

And see how Angy bears it!”

147

The news he made a messmate tell:

His Angelina bore it well,

No sign gave she of crazing;

But, steady as the Inchcape rock

His Angelina stood the shock

With fortitude amazing.

She said, “Someone I must elect

Poor Angelina to protect

From all who wish to harm her.

Since worthy Captain Todd is dead

I rather feel inclined to wed

A comfortable farmer.

A comfortable farmer came

(Bassanio Tyler was his name)

Who had no end of treasure:

He said, “My noble gal, be mine!”

The noble gal did not decline,

But simply said, “With pleasure.”

When this was told to Captain Todd

At first he thought it rather odd,

And felt some perturbation,

But very long he did not grieve,

He thought he could a way perceive

To such a situation!

148

“I’ll not reveal myself,” said he,

“Till they are both in the Eccle-

siastical Arena;

Then suddenly I will appear,

And paralyzing them with fear,

Demand my Angelina!”

At length arrived the wedding day—

Accoutred in the usual way

Appeared the bridal body—

The worthy clergyman began,

When in the gallant captain ran

And cried, “Behold your Toddy!”

drawing: seaman steps between man and bride

149

The bridegroom, p’r’aps, was terrified,

And also possibly the bride—

The bridesmaids were affrighted:

But Angelina, noble soul,

Contrived her feelings to control,

And really seemed delighted.

“My bride!” said gallant Captain Todd,

“She’s mine, uninteresting clod,

My own, my darling charmer!”

“Oh, dear,” said she, “you’re just too late,

I’m married to, I beg to state,

This comfortable farmer!”

“Indeed,” the farmer said, “she’s mine,

You’ve been and cut it far too fine!”

“I see,” said Todd, “I’m beaten.”

And so he went to sea once more,

“Sensation” he for aye forswore,

And married on her native shore

A lady whom he’d met before—

A lovely Otaheitan.

150

TEMPORA MUTANTUR.

Letters, letters, letters, letters,

Some that please and some that bore,

Some that threaten prison fetters

(Metaphorically, fetters,

Such as bind insolvent debtors)—

Invitations by the score.

One from Cogson, Wiles, and Railer,

My attorneys, off the Strand,

One from Copperblock, my tailor—

My unreasonable tailor—

One in Flagg’s disgusting hand.

One from Ephraim and Moses,

Wanting coin without a doubt,

I should like to pull their noses—

Their uncompromising noses;

One from Alice with the roses,

Ah, I know what that’s about!

151

Time was when I waited, waited,

For the missives that she wrote.

Humble postmen execrated—

Loudly, deeply execrated—

When I heard I wasn’t fated

To be gladdened with a note.

Time was when I’d not have bartered

Of her little pen a dip

For a peerage duly gartered—

For a peerage starred and gartered—

With a palace-office chartered—

Or a Secretaryship!

But the time for that is over,

And I wish we’d never met.

I’m afraid I’ve proved a rover—

I’m afraid a heartless rover—

Quarters in a place like Dover

Tend to make a man forget.

Now I can accord precedence

To my tailor, for I do

Want to know if he gives credence—

An unwarrantable credence—

To my proffered I O U!

152

Bills for carriages and horses,

Bills for wine and light cigar,

Matters that concern the Forces—

News that may affect the Forces—

News affecting my resources,

Now unquestioned take the pas.

And the tiny little paper,

With the words that seem to run

From her little fingers taper

(They are very small and taper),

By the tailor and the draper

Are in interest outdone!

And unopened it’s remaining!

I can read her gentle hope—

Her entreaties, uncomplaining

(She was always uncomplaining)—

Her devotion never waning—

Through the little envelope!

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153

drawing: skeleton looking in a mirror

AT A PANTOMIME.
BY A BILIOUS ONE.

An Actor sits in doubtful gloom,

His stock-in-trade unfurled,

In a damp funereal dressing-room

In the Theatre Royal, World.

He comes to town at Christmas time,

And braves its icy breath,

To play in that favourite pantomime,

Harlequin Life and Death.

154

A hoary flowing wig his weird

Unearthly cranium caps,

He hangs a long benevolent beard

On a pair of empty chaps.

To smooth his ghastly features down

The actor’s art he cribs,

A long and a flowing padded gown

Bedecks his rattling ribs.

He cries, “Go on—begin, begin,

Turn on the light of lime—

I’m dressed for jolly Old Christmas, in

A favourite pantomime!”

The curtain’s up—the stage all black—

Time and the year nigh sped—

Time as an advertising quack—

The Old Year nearly dead.

The wand of Time is waved and lo,

Revealed Old Christmas stands,

And little children chuckle and crow,

And laugh and clap their hands.

155

drawing: skeleton dressed as Father Christmas ringing a bell behind footlights

The cruel old scoundrel brightens up

At the death of the Olden Year,

And he waves a gorgeous golden cup

And bids the world good cheer.

The little ones hail the festive King,

No thought can make them sad,

Their laughter comes with a sounding ring,

They clap and crow like mad!

156

They only see in the humbug old

A holiday every year,

And handsome gifts and joys untold

And unaccustomed cheer.

The old ones palsied, blear, and hoar,

Their breasts in anguish beat—

They’ve seen him seventy times before,

How well they know the cheat!

They’ve seen that ghastly Pantomime,

They’ve felt its blighting breath,

They know that rollicking Christmas time,

Meant Cold and Want and Death.

Starvation—Poor Law Union fare—

And deadly cramps and chills,

And illness—illness everywhere,

And crime and Christmas bills.

They know old Christmas well, I ween,

Those men of ripened age,

They’ve often, often, often seen

That Actor off the stage.

157

They see in his gay rotundity,

A clumsy stuffed-out dress—

They see in the cup he waves on high

A tinselled emptiness.

Those aged men so lean and wan,

They’ve seen it all before,

They know they’ll see the charlatan

But twice or three times more.

And so they bear with dance and song,

And crimson foil and green,

They wearily sit, and grimly long,

For the Transformation Scene.

drawing: group of people sitting on bench, adults weeping, child cheering

158

drawing: line of African men aiming arrows at smiling African women

Notes KING BORRIA BUNGALEE BOO.

King Borria Bungalee Boo

Was a man-eating African swell;

His sigh was a hullaballoo,

His whisper a horrible yell—

A horrible, horrible yell!

159

Four subjects, and all of them male,

To Borria doubled the knee,

They were once on a far larger scale,

But he’d eaten the balance, you see

(“Scale” and “balance” is punning, you see,)

There was haughty Pish-Tush-Pooh-Bah,

There was lumbering Doodle-Dum-Deh,

Despairing Alack-a-Dey-Ah,

And good little Tootle-Tum-Teh

Exemplary Tootle-Tum-Teh.

One day there was grief in the crew,

For they hadn’t a morsel of meat,

And Borria Bungalee Boo

Was dying for something to eat—

“Come, provide me with something to eat!”

Alack-a-Dey, famished I feel;

Oh, good little Tootle-Tum-Teh,

Where on earth shall I look for a meal?

For I haven’t no dinner to day!—

Not a morsel of dinner to-day!

“Dear Tootle-Tum, what shall we do?

Come, get us a meal, or in truth,

If you don’t we shall have to eat you,

Oh, adorable friend of our youth!

Thou beloved little friend of our youth!”

160

And he answered, “Oh, Bungalee Boo,

For a moment I hope you will wait,—

Tippy-Wippity Tol-the-Rol-Loo

Is the queen of a neighbouring state—

A remarkably neighbouring state.

Tippy-Wippity Tol-the-Rol-Loo,

She would pickle deliciously cold—

And her four pretty Amazons, too,

Are enticing, and not very old—

Twenty-seven is not very old.

“There is neat little Titty-Fol-Leh,

There is rollicking Tral-the-Ral-Lah,

There is jocular Waggety-Weh,

There is musical Doh-Reh-Mi-Fah

There’s the nightingale Doh-Reh-Mi-Fah!”

So the forces of Bungalee Boo

Marched forth in a terrible row,

And the ladies who fought for Queen Loo

Prepared to encounter the foe—

This dreadful insatiate foe!

But they sharpened no weapons at all,

And they poisoned no arrows—not they!

They made ready to conquer or fall

In a totally different way—

An entirely different way.

161

With a crimson and pearly-white dye

They endeavoured to make themselves fair,

With black they encircled each eye,

And with yellow they painted their hair

(It was wool, but they thought it was hair).

And the forces they met in the field:—

And the men of King Borria said,

“Amazonians, immediately yield!”

And their arrows they drew to the head,

Yes, drew them right up to the head.

But jocular Waggety-Weh,

Ogled Doodle-Dum-Dey (which was wrong),

And neat little Titty-Fol-Leh,

Said, “Tootle-Tum, you go along!

Yon naughty old dear, go along!”

And rollicking Tral-the-Ral-Lah

Tapped Alack-a-Dey-Ah with her fan;

And musical Doh-Reh-Mi-Fah,

Said “Pish, go away, you bad man!

Go away, you delightful young man!”

And the Amazons simpered and sighed,

And they ogled, and giggled, and flushed,

And they opened their pretty eyes wide,

And they chuckled, and flirted, and blushed

(At least, if they could, they’d have blushed).

162

But haughty Pish-Tush-Pooh-Bah

Said, “Alack-a-Dey, what does this mean?’

And despairing Alack-a-Dey-Ah

Said, “They think us uncommonly green!

Ha! ha! most uncommonly green!”

Even blundering Doodle-Dum-Dey

Was insensible quite to their leers,

And said good little Tootle-Tum-Tey,

“It’s your blood we desire, pretty dears—

We have come for our dinners, my dears!”

And the Queen of the Amazons fell

To Borria Bungalee Boo,

In a mouthful he gulped, with a yell,

Tippy-Wippity Tol-the-Rol-Loo

The pretty Queen Tol-the-Rol-Loo.

And neat little Titty-Fol-Leh

Was eaten by Pish-Pooh-Bah,

And light-hearted Waggety-Weh,

By dismal Alack-a-Deh-Ah

Despairing Alack-a-Deh-Ah.

And rollicking Tral-the-Ral-Lah

Was eaten by Doodle-Dum-Dey,

And musical Doh-Reh-Mi-Fah

By good little Tootle-Tum-Tey

Exemplary Tootle-Tum-Tey!

163

drawing: young woman with tray feeding young man

THE PERIWINKLE GIRL.

I’ve often thought that headstrong youths,

Of decent education,

Determine all-important truths

With strange precipitation.

The over-ready victims they,

Of logical illusions,

And in a self-assertive way

They jump at strange conclusions.

164

Now take my case: Ere sorrow could

My ample forehead wrinkle,

I had determined that I would

Not like to be a winkle.

“A winkle,” I would oft advance

With readiness provoking,

“Can seldom flirt, and never dance,

Or sooth his mind by smoking.”

In short, I spurned the shelly joy,

And spoke with strange decision—

Men pointed to me as a boy

Who held them in derision.

But I was young—too young, by far—

Or I had been more wary,

I knew not then that winkles are

The stock-in-trade of Mary.

I had not seen her sunlight blithe

As o’er their shells it dances,

I’ve seen those winkles almost writhe

Beneath her beaming glances.

165

Of slighting all the winkly brood

I surely had been chary,

If I had known they formed the food

And stock-in-trade of Mary.

Both high and low and great and small

Fell prostrate at her tootsies,

They all were noblemen, and all

Had balances at Coutts’s.

Dukes with the lovely maiden dealt,

Duke Bailey and Duke Humphy,

Who eat her winkles till they felt,

Exceedingly uncomfy.

drawing: two men bowing to young woman with tray

166

Duke Bailey greatest wealth computes,

And sticks, they say, at no-thing.

He wears a pair of golden boots

And silver underclothing.

Duke Humphy, as I understand,

Though mentally acuter,

His boots are only silver, and

His underclothing pewter.

A third adorer had the girl,

A man of lowly station—

A miserable grov’ling earl

Besought her approbation.

This humble cad she did refuse

With much contempt and loathing,

He wore a pair of leather shoes

And cambric underclothing!

“Ha! ha!” she cried, “Upon my word!

“Well, really—come, I never!

Oh, go along, it’s too absurd!

My goodness! Did you ever?

167

“Two dukes would make their Bowles a bride,

And from her foes defend her”—

“Well, not exactly that,” they cried,

“We offer guilty splendour.

“We do not offer marriage rite,

So please dismiss the notion!”

“Oh, dear,” said she, “that alters quite

The state of my emotion.”

The earl he up, and says, says he,

“Dismiss them to their orgies,

For I am game to marry thee

Quite reg’lar at St. George’s.”

He’d had, it happily befell,

A decent education,

His views would have befitted well

A far superior station.

His sterling worth had worked a cure,

She never heard him grumble;

She saw his soul was good and pure

Although his rank was humble.

168

Her views of earldoms and their lot,

All underwent expansion,

Come, Virtue in an earldom’s cot!

Go, Vice in ducal mansion!

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169

drawing: man and woman seated far apart on a bench

THOMSON GREEN AND HARRIET HALE.
To be Sung to the Air of “An ’Orrible Tale.”

Oh list to this incredible tale

Of Thomson Green and Harriet Hale;

Its truth in one remark you’ll sum—

“Twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twum!”

Oh, Thomson Green was an auctioneer,

And made three hundred pounds a year;

And Harriet Hale, most strange to say,

Gave pianoforte lessons at a sovereign a day.

170

Oh, Thomson Green, I may remark,

Met Harriet Hale in Regent’s Park,

Where he, in a casual kind of way,

Spoke of the extraordinary beauty of the day.

They met again, and strange, though true,

He courted her for a month or two,

Then to her pa he said, says he,

“Old man, I love your daughter and your daughter worships me!”

Their names were regularly banned

The wedding day was settled, and,

I’ve ascertained by dint of search

They were married on the quiet at St. Mary Abbott’s Church.

Oh, list to this incredible tale

Of Thomson Green, and Harriet Hale,

Its truth in one remark you’ll sum,

“Twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twum!

That very self-same afternoon

They started on their honeymoon,

And (oh, astonishment!) took flight

To a pretty little cottage close to Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

171

But now—you’ll doubt my word, I know—

In a month they both returned, and lo!

Astounding fact! this happy pair

Took a gentlemanly residence in Canonbury Square!

They led a weird and reckless life,

They dined each day, this man and wife,

(Pray disbelieve it, if you please)

On a joint of meat, a pudding, and a little bit of cheese.

In time came those maternal joys

Which take the form of girls or boys,

And strange to say of each they’d one—

A tiddy iddy daughter, and a tiddy iddy son!

Oh, list to this incredible tale

Of Thomson Green and Harriet Hale,

Its truth in one remark you’ll sum—

“Twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twum.”

My name for truth is gone, I fear,

But, monstrous as it may appear,

They let their drawing-room one day

To an eligible person in the cotton-broking way.

172

drawing: woman ministering to bedridden man

Whenever Thomson Green fell sick

His wife consulted Doctor Crick,

From whom some words like these would come—

Fiat mist. sumendum haustus, in a cochleyareum.

For thirty years this curious pair

Hung out in Canonbury Square,

And somehow, wonderful to say,

They loved each other dearly in a quiet sort of way.

Well, Thomson Green fell ill and died;

For just a year his widow cried,

And then her heart she gave away

To the eligible lodger in the cotton-broking way.

173

Oh, list to this incredible tale

Of Thomson Green and Harriet Hale,

Its truth in one remark you’ll sum—

“Twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twum!”

drawing: two hearts on a spit between man and woman

174

drawing: oversized monster looming over man at table

BOB POLTER.

Bob Polter was a navvy, and

His hands were coarse, and dirty too,

His homely face was rough and tanned,

His time of life was thirty-two.

175

He lived among a working clan

(A wife he hadn’t got at all),

A decent, steady, sober man—

No saint, however—not at all.

He smoked, but in a modest way,

Because he thought he needed it;

He drank a pot of beer a day,

And sometimes he exceeded it.

At times he’d pass with other men

A loud convivial night or two,

With, very likely, now and then,

On Saturdays, a fight or two.

But still he was a sober soul,

A labour-never-shirking man,

Who paid his way—upon the whole

A decent English working-man.

One day, when at the Nelson’s Head,

(For which he may be blamed of you)

A holy man appeared and said,

“Oh, Robert, I’m ashamed of you.”

176

drawing: two differently dressed men at the corner of a table

He laid his hand on Robert’s beer

Before he could drink up any,

And on the floor, with sigh and tear,

He poured the pot of “thruppenny.”

“Oh, Robert, at this very bar,

A truth you’ll be discovering,

A good and evil genius are

Around your noddle hovering.

“They both are here to bid you shun

The other one’s society,

For Total Abstinence is one,

The other, Inebriety.”

177

He waved his hand—a vapour came—

A wizard, Polter reckoned him:

A bogy rose and called his name,

And with his finger beckoned him.

The monster’s salient points to sum,

His heavy breath was portery;

His glowing nose suggested rum;

His eyes were gin-and-wortery.

His dress was torn—for dregs of ale

And slops of gin had rusted it;

His pimpled face was wan and pale,

Where filth had not encrusted it.

“Come, Polter,” said the fiend, “begin,

And keep the bowl a-flowing on—

A working-man needs pints of gin

To keep his clockwork going on.”

Bob shuddered: “Ah, you’ve made a miss,

If you take me for one of you—

You filthy beast, get out of this—

Bob Polter don’t want none of you.”

178

The demon gave a drunken shriek

And crept away in stealthiness,

And lo, instead, a person sleek

Who seemed to burst with healthiness.

drawing: handsome well-dressed man talking to a man looking up

“In me, as your adviser hints,

Of Abstinence you’ve got a type—

Of Mr. Tweedie’s pretty prints

I am the happy prototype.

179

“If you abjure the social toast,

And pipes, and such frivolities,

You possibly some day may boast

My prepossessing qualities!”

Bob rubbed his eyes, and made ’em blink,

“You almost make me tremble, you!

If I abjure fermented drink,

Shall I, indeed, resemble you?

“And will my whiskers curl so tight?

My cheeks grow smug and muttony?

My face become so red and white?

My coat so blue and buttony?

“Will trousers, such as yours, array

Extremities inferior?

Will chubbiness assert its sway

All over my exterior?

“In this, my unenlightened state,

To work in heavy boots I comes,

Will pumps henceforward decorate

My tiddle toddle tootsicums?

180

“And shall I get so plump and fresh,

And look no longer seedily?

My skin will henceforth fit my flesh

So tightly and so Tweedie-ly?”

The phantom said, “You’ll have all this,

You’ll know no kind of huffiness,

Your life will be one chubby bliss,

One long unruffled puffiness!”

“Be off,” said irritated Bob.

“Why come you here to bother one?

You Pharisaical old snob,

You’re wuss almost than t’other one!

“I takes my pipe—I takes my pot,

And drunk I’m never seen to be;

I’m no teetotaller or sot,

And as I am I mean to be!”

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181

drawing: man peering into oversized keyhole

Notes THE STORY OF PRINCE AGIB.

Strike the concertina’s melancholy string!

Blow the spirit-stirring harp like anything!

Let the piano’s martial blast

Rouse the Echoes of the Past,

For of Agib, Prince of Tartary I sing!

Of Agib, who amid Tartaric scenes,

Wrote a lot of ballet-music in his teens:

His gentle spirit rolls

In the melody of souls—

Which is pretty, but I don’t know what it means.

182

Of Agib, who could readily, at sight,

Strum a march upon the loud Theodolite.

He would diligently play

On the Zoetrope all day,

And blow the gay Pantechnicon all night.

One winter—I am shaky in my dates—

Came two starving Tartar minstrels to his gates,

Oh, Allah be obeyed,

How infernally they played!

I remember that they called themselves the “Oüaits.”

Oh! that day of sorrow, misery, and rage,

I shall carry to the Catacombs of Age,

Photographically lined

On the tablet of my mind,

When a yesterday has faded from its page!

Alas! Prince Agib went and asked them in;

Gave them beer, and eggs, and sweets, and scent, and tin.

And when (as snobs would say)

They “put it all away,”

He requested them to tune up and begin.

Though its icy horror chill you to the core,

I will tell you what I never told before,

The consequences true

Of that awful interview,

For I listened at the keyhole in the door!

183

drawing: men playing concertina and trumpet to man with sword

They played him a sonata—let me see!

Medulla oblongata”—key of G.

Then they began to sing

That extremely lovely thing,

Scherzando! ma non troppo, ppp.”

He gave them money, more than they could count,

Scent, from a most ingenious little fount,

More beer, in little kegs,

Many dozen hard-boiled eggs,

And goodies to a fabulous amount.

184

Now follows the dim horror of my tale,

And I feel I’m growing gradually pale,

For, even at this day,

Though its sting has passed away,

When I venture to remember it, I quail!

The elder of the brothers gave a squeal,

All-overish it made me for to feel;

“Oh, Prince,” he says, says he,

If a Prince indeed you be,

I’ve a mystery I’m going to reveal!

“Oh, listen, if you’d shun a horrid death,

To what the gent who’s speaking to you, saith:

No ‘Oüaits’ in truth are we,

As you fancy that we be,

For (ter-remble!) I am Aleck—this is Beth!’

drawing: men throw concertina and trumpet in the air as third man retreats

185

Said Agib, “Oh! accursed of your kind,

I have heard that ye are men of evil mind!”

Beth gave a dreadful shriek—

But before he’d time to speak

I was mercilessly collared from behind.

In number ten or twelve, or even more,

They fastened me, full length, upon the floor.

On my face extended flat

I was walloped with a cat

For listening at the keyhole of a door.

Oh! the horror of that agonising thrill!

(I can feel the place in frosty weather still).

For a week from ten to four

I was fastened to the floor,

While a mercenary wopped me with a will!

They branded me, and broke me on a wheel,

And they left me in an hospital to heal;

And, upon my solemn word,

I have never never heard

What those Tartars had determined to reveal.

But that day of sorrow, misery, and rage,

I shall carry to the Catacombs of Age.

Photographically lined

On the tablet of my mind,

When a yesterday has faded from its page!

186

drawing: bagpiper sitting on a peak while woman looks on

Notes ELLEN McJONES ABERDEEN.

Macphairson Clonglocketty Angus McClan

Was the son of an elderly labouring man,

You’ve guessed him a Scotchman, shrewd reader, at sight,

And p’r’aps altogether, shrewd reader, you’re right.

From the bonnie blue Forth to the beastly Deeside,

Round by Dingwall and Wrath to the mouth of the Clyde,

There wasn’t a child or a woman or man

Who could pipe with Clonglocketty Angus McClan.

187

No other could wake such detestable groans,

With reed and with chaunter—with bag and with drones:

All day and all night he delighted the chiels

With sniggering pibrochs and jiggety reels.

He’d clamber a mountain and squat on the ground,

And the neighbouring maidens would gather around

To list to his pipes and to gaze in his een,

Especially Ellen McJones Aberdeen.

All loved their McClan, save a Sassenach brute,

Who came to the Highlands to fish and to shoot;

He dressed himself up in a Highlander way;

Tho’ his name it was Pattison Corby Torbay.

Torbay had incurred a good deal of expense

To make him a Scotchman in every sense;

But this is a matter, you’ll readily own,

That isn’t a question of tailors alone.

A Sassenach chief may be bonily built,

He may purchase a sporran, a bonnet, and kilt;

Stick a skeän in his hose—wear an acre of stripes—

But he cannot assume an affection for pipes.

188

drawing: man in Highland attire waving sword

Clonglocketty’s pipings all night and all day

Quite frenzied poor Pattison Corby Torbay;

The girls were amused at his singular spleen,

Especially Ellen McJones Aberdeen.

Macphairson Clonglocketty Angus, my lad,

With pibrochs and reels you are driving me mad.

If you really must play on that cursed affair,

My goodness, play something resembling an air.”

189

Boiled over, the blood of Macphairson McClan

The Clan of Clonglocketty rose as one man;

For all were enraged at the insult, I ween—

Especially Ellen McJones Aberdeen.

“Let’s show,” said McClan, “to this Sassenach loon

That the bagpipes can play him a regular tune.

Let’s see,” said McClan, as he thoughtfully sat,

“‘In my Cottage’ is easy—I’ll practise at that.”

He blew at his “Cottage,” and blew with a will,

For a year, seven months, and a fortnight, until

(You’ll hardly believe it) McClan, I declare,

Elicited something resembling an air.

It was wild—it was fitful—as wild as the breeze—

It wandered about into several keys.

It was jerky, spasmodic and harsh, I’m aware;

But still it distinctly suggested an air.

The Sassenach screamed, and the Sassenach danced;

He shrieked in his agony—bellowed and pranced.

And the maidens who gathered rejoiced at the scene,

Especially Ellen McJones Aberdeen.

190

“Hech gather, hech gather, hech gather around;

And fill a’ ye lugs wi’ the exquisite sound.

An air fra’ the bagpipes—beat that if ye can!

Hurrah for Clonglocketty Angus McClan!”

The fame of his piping spread over the land:

Respectable widows proposed for his hand,

And maidens came flocking to sit on the green—

Especially Ellen McJones Aberdeen.

One morning the fidgety Sassenach swore

He’d stand it no longer—he drew his claymore,

And (this was, I think, in extremely bad taste),

Divided Clonglocketty close to the waist.

Oh! loud were the wailings for Angus McClan,

Oh! deep was the grief for that excellent man—

The maids stood aghast at the horrible scene,

Especially Ellen McJones Aberdeen.

It sorrowed poor Pattison Corby Torbay

To find them “take on” in this serious way,

He pitied the poor little fluttering birds,

And solaced their souls with the following words:—

191

“Oh, maidens,” said Pattison, touching his hat,

“Don’t blubber, my dears, for a fellow like that;

Observe, I’m a very superior man,

A much better fellow than Angus McClan.”

drawing: young woman going off with man in Highland attire, while half a man is seen in the background

They smiled when he winked and addressed them as “dears,”

And they all of them vowed, as they dried up their tears,

A pleasanter gentleman never was seen—

Especially Ellen McJones Aberdeen.

192

drawing: policeman speaking to another man

PETER THE WAG.

Policeman Peter Forth I drag

From his obscure retreat:

He was a merry, genial wag,

Who loved a mad conceit.

If he were asked the time of day

By country bumpkins green,

He not unfrequently would say

“A Quarter past thirteen.”

193

If ever you, by word of mouth,

Enquired of Mister Forth

The way to somewhere in the South

He always sent you North.

With little boys his beat along

He loved to stop and play;

He loved to send old ladies wrong,

And teach their feet to stray.

He would in frolic moments, when

Such mischief bent upon,

Take Bishops up as betting men—

Bid Ministers move on.

Then all the worthy boys he knew

He regularly licked,

And always collared people who

Had had their pockets picked.

He was not naturally bad,

Or viciously inclined,

But from his early youth he had

A waggish, turn of mind.

The Men of London grimly scowled

With indignation wild;

The Men of London gruffly growled,

But Peter calmly smiled.

194

Against this minion of this Crown

The swelling murmurs grew—

From Camberwell to Kentish Town—

From Rotherhithe to Kew.

Still humoured he his wagsome turn,

And fed in various ways

The coward rage that dared to burn

But did not dare to blaze.

Still, Retribution has her day

Although her flight is slow,

One day that Crusher lost his way

Near Poland Street, Soho.

The haughty boy, too proud to ask,

To find his way resolved,

And in the tangle of his task

Got more and more involved.

The Men of London, overjoyed,

Came there to jeer their foe—

And flocking crowds completely cloyed

The mazes of Soho.

The news, on telegraphic wires,

Sped swiftly o’er the lea,

Excursion trains from distant shires

Brought myriads to see.

195

drawing: boy thumbing his nose at policeman

For weeks he trod his self-made beats

Through Newport- Gerrard- Bear-

Greek- Rupert- Frith- Dean- Poland-streets

And into Golden-square.

But all, alas, in vain, for when

He tried to learn the way

Of little boys or grown-up men

They none of them would say.

Their eyes would flash—their teeth would grind—

Their lips would tightly curl—

They’d say, “Thy way thyself must find,

Thou misdirecting churl!”

And, similarly, also, when

He tried a foreign friend;

Italians answered, “Il balen”—

The French, “No comprehend.”

196

drawing: two men in foreign clothes shrugging to a third

The Russ would say with gleaming eye

“Sevastopol!” and groan.

The Greek said, “Τυπτω, τυπτομαι,

Τυπτω, τυπτειν, τυπτων.”

To wander thus for many a year

That Crusher never ceased—

The Men of London dropped a tear,

Their anger was appeased.

At length exploring gangs were sent

To find poor Forth’s remains—

A handsome grant by Parliament

Was voted for their pains.

197

To seek the poor policeman out

Bold spirits volunteered,

And when they swore they’d solve the doubt

The Men of London cheered.

drawing: two men against a black background

And in a yard, dark, dank, and drear,

They found him, on the floor—

It leads, from Richmond Buildings—near

The Royalty stage-door.

With brandy cold and brandy hot

They plied him starved and wet,

And made him sergeant on the spot—

The Men of London’s pet!

198

drawing: man in turban holding scimitar

BEN ALLAH ACHMET;
Or, The Fatal Tum.

I  once did know a Turkish man

Whom I upon a two-pair-back met,

His name it was Effendi Khan

Backsheesh Pasha Ben Allah Achmet.

A Doctor Brown I also knew—

I’ve often eaten of his bounty—

The Turk and he they lived at Hooe,

In Sussex, that delightful county!

199

I knew a nice young lady there,

Her name was Isabella Sherson,

And though she wore another’s hair,

She was an interesting person.

The Turk adored the maid of Hooe

(Although his harem would have shocked her);

But Brown adored that maiden, too:

He was a most seductive doctor.

They’d follow her where’er she’d go—

A course of action most improper;

She neither knew by sight, and so

For neither of them cared a copper.

Brown did not know that Turkish male,

He might have been his sainted mother:

The people in this simple tale

Are total strangers to each other.

One day that Turk he sickened sore

Which threw him straight into a sharp pet;

He threw himself upon the floor

And rolled about upon his—carpet.

200

drawing: man rolling on the floor with stomachache

It made him moan—it made him groan

And almost wore him to a mummy:

Why should I hesitate to own

That pain was in his little tummy?

At length a Doctor came and rung

(As Allah Achmet had desired)

Who felt his pulse, looked up his tongue,

And hummed and hawed, and then inquired:

“Where is the pain that long has preyed

Upon you in so sad a way, sir?”

The Turk he giggled, blushed, and said,

“I don’t exactly like to say, sir.”

201

“Come, nonsense!” said good Doctor Brown,

“So this is Turkish coyness, is it?

You must contrive to fight it down—

Come, come, sir, please to be explicit.”

drawing: doctor taking man’s pulse

The Turk he shyly bit his thumb,

And coyly blushed like one half-witted,

The pain is in my little tum

He, whispering, at length admitted.

“Then take you this, and take you that—

Your blood flows sluggish in its channel—

You must get rid of all this fat,

And wear my medicated flannel.

202

“You’ll send for me, when you’re in need—

My name is Brown—your life I’ve saved it!”

“My rival!” shrieked the invalid,

And drew a mighty sword and waved it:

“This to thy weazand, Christian pest!”

Aloud the Turk in frenzy yelled it,

And drove right through the Doctor’s chest

The sabre and the hand that held it.

drawing: man attacking doctor with scimitar

The blow was a decisive one

And Doctor Brown grew deadly pasty—

“Now see the mischief that you’ve done,—

You Turks are so extremely hasty.

203

“There are two Doctor Browns in Hooe,

He’s short and stout—I’m tall and wizen;

You’ve been and run the wrong one through.

That’s how the error has arisen.”

The accident was thus explained,

Apologies were only heard now:

“At my mistake I’m really pained,

I am, indeed, upon my word now.”

“With me, sir, you shall be interred,

A Mausoleum grand awaits me”—

“Oh, pray don’t say another word,

I’m sure that more than compensates me.

But p’r’aps, kind Turk, you’re full inside?”

“There’s room” said he, “for any number.”

And so they laid them down and died.

In proud Stamboul they sleep their slumber.

decoration

204

drawing: African caricature standing on a barrel

THE THREE KINGS OF CHICKERABOO.

There were three niggers of Chickeraboo—

Pacifico, Bang-bang, Popchop—who

Exclaimed, one terribly sultry day,

“Oh, let’s be kings in a humble way.”

The first was a highly-accomplished “bones,”

The next elicited banjo tones,

The third was a quiet, retiring chap,

Who danced an excellent break-down “flap.”

205

“We niggers,” said they, “have formed a plan

By which, whenever we like, we can

Extemporize islands near the beach,

And then we’ll collar an island each.

“Three casks, from somebody else’s stores,

Shall rep-per-esent our island shores,

Their sides the ocean wide shall lave,

Their heads just topping the briny wave.

“Great Britain’s navy scours the sea,

And everywhere her ships they be;

She’ll recognise our rank, perhaps,

When she discovers we’re Royal Chaps.

“If to her skirts you want to cling,

It’s quite sufficient that you’re a king;

She does not push inquiry far

To learn what sort of king you are.”

A ship of several thousand tons,

And mounting seventy-something guns,

Ploughed, every year, the ocean blue,

Discovering kings and countries new.

206

The brave Rear-Admiral Bailey Pip,

Commanding that superior ship,

Perceived one day, his glasses through,

The kings that came from Chickeraboo.

“Dear eyes!” said Admiral Pip, “I see

Three flourishing islands on our lee.

And, bless me! most extror’nary thing!

On every island stands a king!

“Come, lower the Admiral’s gig,” he cried,

“And over the dancing waves I’ll glide;

That low obeisance I may do

To those three Kings of Chickeraboo!”

drawing: seacaptain showing Royal Letter to three Africans on floating barrels

207

The admiral pulled to the islands three;

The kings saluted him graciouslee.

The admiral, pleased at his welcome warm,

Pulled out a printed Alliance form.

“Your Majesty, sign me this, I pray—

I come in a friendly kind of way—

I come, if you please, with the best intents,

And Queen Victoria’s compliments.”

The kings were pleased as they well could be;

The most retiring of all the three,

In a “cellar-flap” to his joy gave vent

With a banjo-bones accompaniment.

The great Rear-Admiral Bailey Pip

Embarked on board his jolly big ship,

Blue Peter flew from his lofty fore,

And off he sailed to his native shore.

Admiral Pip directly went

To the Lord at the head of the Government,

Who made him, by a stroke of a quill,

Baron de Pippe, of Pippetonneville.

208

The College of Heralds permission yield

That he should quarter upon his shield

Three islands, vert, on a field of blue,

With the pregnant motto “Chickeraboo.”

drawing: group of walking men with attaché cases

Ambassadors, yes, and attachés, too,

Are going to sail for Chickeraboo.

And, see, on the good ship’s crowded deck,

A bishop, who’s going out there on spec.

And let us all hope that blissful things

May come of alliance with darky kings.

Oh, may we never, whatever we do,

Declare a war with Chickeraboo!

209

drawing: man singing to banjo

Notes JOE GOLIGHTLY;
Or, the First Lord’s Daughter.

A  tar, but poorly prized,

Long, shambling, and unsightly,

Thrashed, bullied, and despised,

Was wretched Joe Golightly.

210

He bore a workhouse brand,

No pa or ma had claimed him,

The Beadle found him, and

The Board of Guardians named him.

P’r’aps some princess’s son—

A beggar p’r’aps his mother!

He rather thought the one,

I rather think the other.

He liked his ship at sea,

He loved the salt sea-water;

He worshipped junk, and he

Adored the First Lord’s daughter.

The First Lord’s daughter proud,

Snubbed earls and viscounts nightly—

She sneered at barts aloud,

And spurned poor Joe Golightly.

Whene’er he sailed afar

Upon a Channel cruise, he

Unpacked his light guitar

And sang this ballad (Boosey).

211

blackletter ballad, see Notes

His Skipper (Captain Joyce)

He gave him many a rating,

And almost lost his voice

From thus expostulating:

“Lay out, you lubber, do!

What’s come to that young man, Joe?

Belay!—’vast heaving! you!

Do kindly stop that banjo!”

212

drawing: man with pigtail

“I wish, I do—oh, lor!

You’d shipped aboard a trader:

Are you a sailor, or

A negro serenader?”

But still the stricken cad,

Aloft or on his pillow,

Howled forth in accents sad

His aggravating “Willow!”

Stern love of duty had

Been Joyce’s chiefest beauty—

Says he, “I love that lad,

But duty, damme! duty!”

213

“Twelve years blackhole, I say,

Where daylight never flashes;

And always twice a day

Five hundred thousand lashes!”

But Joseph had a mate,

A sailor stout and lusty,

A man of low estate,

But singularly trusty.

drawing: sailor exhorting his weeping companion

Says he, “Cheer hup, young Joe!

I’ll tell you what I’m arter,

To that Fust Lord I’ll go,

And ax him for his darter.

214

“To that Fust Lord I’ll go

And say you love her dearly.”

And Joe said (weeping low),

“I wish you would, sincerely!”

That sailor to that Lord

Went, soon as he had landed,

And of his own accord

An interview demanded.

Says he, with seaman’s roll,

“My Captain (wot’s a Tartar),

Guv Joe twelve years’ black hole,

For lovering your darter.

“He loves Miss Lady Jane

(I own she is his betters),

But if you’ll jine them twain,

They’ll free him from his fetters.

“And if so be as how

You’ll let her come a-board ship,

I’ll take her with me now,”—

“Get out!” remarked his Lordship.

215

drawing: older man dismissing sailor

That honest tar repaired

To Joe, upon the billow,

And told him how he’d fared:

Joe only whispered, “Willow!”

And for that dreadful crime

(Young sailors learn to shun it)

He’s working out his time:

In ten years he’ll have done it.

216

TO THE TERRESTRIAL GLOBE.
BY A MISERABLE WRETCH.

Roll on, thou ball, roll on!

Through pathless realms of Space

Roll on!

What, though I’m in a sorry case?

What, though I cannot meet my bills?

What, though I suffer toothache’s ins?

What, though I swallow countless pills?

Never you mind!

Roll on!

Roll on, thou ball, roll on!

Through seas of inky air

Roll on!

It’s true I’ve got no shirts to wear;

It’s true my butcher’s bill is due

It’s true my prospects all look blue—

But don’t let that unsettle you!

Never you mind!

Roll on!

It rolls on.

217

drawing: man looking at young woman seated in the window

GENTLE ALICE BROWN.

It was a robber’s daughter, and her name was Alice Brown,

Her father was the terror of a small Italian town;

Her mother was a foolish, weak, but amiable old thing;

But it isn’t of her parents that I’m going for to sing.

218

As Alice was a-sitting at her window-sill one day,

A beautiful young gentleman he chanced to pass that way;

She cast her eyes upon him, and he looked so good and true,

That she thought, “I could be happy with a gentleman like you!”

And every morning passed her house that cream of gentlemen,

She knew she might expect him at a quarter unto ten,

A sorter in the Custom-house, it was his daily road

(The Custom-house was fifteen minutes’ walk from her abode).

But Alice was a pious girl, who knew it wasn’t wise

To look at strange young sorters with expressive purple eyes;

So she sought the village priest to whom her family confessed,

The priest by whom their little sins were carefully assessed.

“Oh, holy father,” Alice said, “’twould grieve you, would it not?

To discover that I was a most disreputable lot!

Of all unhappy sinners I’m the most unhappy one!”

The padre said, “Whatever have you been and gone and done?”

219

“I have helped mamma to steal a little kiddy from its dad,

I’ve assisted dear papa in cutting up a little lad.

I’ve planned a little burglary and forged a little cheque,

And slain a little baby for the coral on its neck!”

The worthy pastor heaved a sigh, and dropped a silent tear—

And said, “You musn’t judge yourself too heavily, my dear—

It’s wrong to murder babies, little corals for to fleece;

But sins like these one expiates at half-a-crown a piece.

“Girls will be girls—you’re very young, and flighty in your mind;

Old heads upon young shoulders we must not expect to find:

We musn’t be too hard upon these little girlish tricks—

Let’s see—five crimes at half-a-crown—exactly twelve-and-six.”

“Oh, father,” little Alice cried, “your kindness makes me weep,

You do these little things for me so singularly cheap—

Your thoughtful liberality I never can forget;

But, O, there is another crime I haven’t mentioned yet!

220

“A pleasant-looking gentleman, with pretty purple eyes,

I’ve noticed at my window, as I’ve sat a-catching flies;

He passes by it every day as certain as can be—

I blush to say I’ve winked at him and he has winked at me!”

drawing: woman kneels weeping before priest

“For shame,” said Father Paul, “my erring daughter! On my word

This is the most distressing news that I have ever heard.

Why, naughty girl, your excellent papa has pledged your hand

To a promising young robber, the lieutenant of his band!

“This dreadful piece of news will pain your worthy parents so!

They are the most remunerative customers I know;

For many many years they’ve kept starvation from my doors,

I never knew so criminal a family as yours!

221

“The common country folk in this insipid neighbourhood

Have nothing to confess, they’re so ridiculously good;

And if you marry anyone respectable at all,

Why, you’ll reform, and what will then become of Father Paul?”

The worthy priest, he up and drew his cowl upon his crown,

And started off in haste to tell the news to Robber Brown;

To tell him how his daughter, who now was for marriage fit,

Had winked upon a sorter, who reciprocated it.

Good Robber Brown he muffled up his anger pretty well,

He said “I have a notion, and that notion I will tell;

I will nab this gay young sorter, terrify him into fits,

And get my gentle wife to chop him into little bits.

“I’ve studied human nature, and I know a thing or two,

Though a girl may fondly love a living gent, as many do—

A feeling of disgust upon her senses there will fall

When she looks upon his body chopped particularly small.”

He traced that gallant sorter to a still suburban square;

He watched his opportunity and seized him unaware;

He took a life-preserver and he hit him on the head,

And Mrs. Brown dissected him before she went to bed.

222

And pretty little Alice grew more settled in her mind,

She never more was guilty of a weakness of the kind,

Until at length good Robber Brown bestowed her pretty hand

On the promising young robber, the lieutenant of his band.

drawing: older man opens his arms to daughter and a young man

JUDD AND GLASS, PHŒNIX PRINTING WORKS, DOCTORS’ COMMONS, E.C.

Notes and Corrections: The Bab Ballads

The “Bab Ballads” were originally written for the periodical Fun, a viable competitor to Punch for several decades starting in 1861. W. S. Gilbert—“Bab”—was on board from the beginning, though the first Bab Ballads collection only covers the years 1865–1868. The follow-up, More Bab Ballads, spanned the next few years. Unlike the various later editions, both books included Gilbert’s original drawings with his “Bab” signature.

Both here and in the follow-up collection, the real fun comes in picking out later refer­ences: “Oh, that’s the plot of Pinafore— and there’s the original conception of Patience— and hey, I recognize that joke from Pirates”.

If two volumes aren’t enough, look for James Ellis’s 1970 edition (revised in 1980 so he could append a few digs at a rival scholar) of the complete Bab Ballads. The book has all identifiable Babs, including the ones that were never repub­lished after their initial magazine appearance, in chronological order. Along with the Ballads you get the original illustrations when available, or the later prettified ones when not. But bring a magnifying glass; the book has the smallest type I have ever seen outside of an encyclopedia.

Formalities: My source is the 1869 Hotten (London) edition. This was not the first printing of the collected Ballads (in late 1868, to take advantage of Christmas shoppers), but I think it still counts as the first edition. For a solid terminus ante quem, there’s even a dated signature on the flyleaf:

signature “John Boulton 1st Sept. 1869”

All drawings are in their original places. The decorations at the end of some poems are probably just publisher’s slugs, but I’ve included them anyway. Pagination jumps from x (that is, the back of ix) to 13; go figure.

Two poems—“The Rival Curates” and “The Phantom Curate”—use the word “croquêt”. Though there’s no particular etymological justification for it, this really is the historical spelling. No, I don’t know why curates spent so much time playing croquet. There are also at least three places where a name is printed in ordinary type instead of the expected small capitals; I’ve noted each one as it occurs.

Introduction

I have ventured to publish the illustrations
[Later in life, W. S. Gilbert (“twice as old, fifty times wealthier, and a hundred times more respectable”—Ellis) came to disapprove of his original “Bab” drawings. The Fifty Bab Ballads collection was printed without illustrations; in still later editions, Gilbert provided new and more genteel artwork. His revised position is now generally held to have been, in his own words, “not founded upon fact”.]

Contents

Of the 44 titles in this volume, 27 were included in Fifty Bab Ballads. “At a Pantomime” and ”Haunted” were the final two selections in the volume; the other 25 were printed in their original Bab Ballads sequence. Omitted titles:

Captain Reece

Between this and “The Bumboat Woman’s Story” (in More Bab Ballads)—and “General John”, and “Joe Golightly”, and perhaps one or two others I’ve overlooked—we’ve pretty well got H.M.S. Pinafore nailed down. All the descriptive parts that wouldn’t fit in the stage version will reappear in the prose Pinafore Picture Book.

Or told, to make the time pass by, / Droll legends of his infancy.
[So that’s why Gilbert always spells his line-final “y” words in “ee”. The same rhyme will show up several more times in the course of the Ballads, most impressively as “rotundity : on high” in “At a Pantomime”.]

William Lee
text has Willam

The kindly captain’s coxswain he
Text has coxwain

The Rival Curates

At Spiffton-extra-Sooper
Final . missing or invisible

General John

Were cruelly changed at birth
Final . missing or invisible

The Bishop and the Busman

a Jew / Who drove a Putney bus
[Now that’s interesting. When I read in Black Beauty about seven-day and six-day cab licenses, it occurred to me to wonder about the workweek of Jewish cab drivers, if in fact there were any. A horse-drawn bus is not so different from a cab.]

Babette's Love

“The fair Babette you needn’t wed.”
[Anomalous line indentation in the original.]

To My Bride

And, say three hundred from his own resources.
[According to Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, published in book form in the same year that Fun came into being, a household with income of £300 a year should employ a “maid-of-all-work” and a nursemaid. But then, Mrs. Beeton—who, incidentally, was born in the same year as W. S. Gilbert—seems to have attached enormous importance to the nursemaid. If your income ran to more than one servant, a designated nursemaid was the first addition. As it happened, W. S. Gilbert’s real-life marriage was childless, so it seems safe to assume he never found a need for this particular employee. Instead he could have proceeded directly to a cook and house­maid, Mrs. Beeton’s next tier.]

The Yarn of the “Nancy Bell”

Gilbert’s introduction to “Fifty Bab Ballads” says:

It may interest some to know that the first of the series, “The Yarn of the Nancy Bell,” was originally offered to Punch,—to which I was, at that time, an occa­sional contributor. It was, however, declined by the then Editor, on the ground that it was “too cannibalistic for his readers’ tastes.”

I don’t know what he means by “the first”. Nothing in the Bab Ballads collection was published earlier than 1865—several years after the Fun publications began—and “Nancy Bell” was not the first selection in Fifty Bab Ballads.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, whose meter “Nancy Bell” loosely follows, dates from 1798. That’s plenty of time for it to have seeped into every reader’s consciousness.

And then there was the 1885 nautical adventure novel The Wreck of the Nancy Bell, or, Cast Away on Kerguelen Land by John C. Hutcheson. History does not record whether the author swiped his ship’s name from Gilbert, or whether he thought it up independently. Or maybe it does and I just couldn’t find the reference; Hutcheson was not exactly a first-rank writer.

The Yarn of the “Nancy Bell” was also issued as a “parlor ballad” with music by Alfred Plumpton, published by Charles Jeffreys in 1869, but so far I haven’t found a copy. Sheet music is a lot easier to throw away—or use for kindling—than a whole book. If the composer is the same Alfred Plumpton (1848–1902) who went on to spend many years in Australia, “Nancy Bell” must have been one of his earliest works. (His Australian years were 1878–1892. The multiple-of-seven time period is a coincidence, not a sentence; transportation to Australia had ended many years earlier.) One contemporary source refers to Plumpton as “that curious little coxcomb”, which makes me avid to learn more.

The Bishop of Rum-Ti-Foo

And Peter was his name.
Printed as shown; expected Peter in small capitals

To Phœbe

Ellis’s edition reports that the original title (in Fun) was sneakier:

A GOOD JOKE
(To be sent to any Lady whom you don’t absolutely adore.)
TO (SAY) PHŒBE

Baines Carew

A vinculo conjugii
[It seems as if the word “A” ought to be italicized too; the contrast is between a mensâ and a vinculo conjugii. But that’s how it was printed.]

“This is the direst case I know”
Open quote missing or invisible. [The poem was printed with backset quotes—as well as an ambiguous flyspeck—so it’s impossible to tell.]

The Reverend Micah Sowls

For “gaunt” was spoken “garnt,”
text has wast

And talked, and talked, and talked, and talked,
[The metre would seem to demand one more “and talked”. Ellis prints the expected five, so the missing foot must have been present in Fun.]

A Discontented Sugar Broker

The noisy laugh / And ill-bred laugh
[It seems as if one of the two should be “chaff”; if it’s a mistake, it was inherited from the original Fun publication. In Fifty Bab Ballads, the first line was changed to “chaff”.]

The Pantomime “Super” to His Mask

All thou cans’t do
Text unchanged

The Force Of Argument

When it’s fooled to the top of its bent
Text has “its” without apostrophe. [The missing apostrophe will show up in “At a Pantomime”.]

The Ghost, The Gallant, The Gael, And The Goblin

This selection was included in Fifty Bab Ballads—the one with no illustrations—even though it’s fairly pointless without the pictures to explain the joke.

Has failed you, goblin plainly
Printed as shown, without expected comma after “goblin”

The Sensation Captain

Demand my Angelina!”
Printed as shown; expected Angelina in small capitals

At A Pantomime

They’ve felt its blighting breath.
Text has “it’s” with apostrophe. [That explains where the missing apostrophe from “The Force of Argument” went.]

King Borria Bungalee Boo

(“Scale” and “balance” is punning, you see,)
[At many other points in the book, I had to peer at line-end dots to figure out whether they were really supposed to be commas. But in this group of lines, where you legiti­mately could have full stops, there are nothing but unambiguous commas as far as the eye can see.]

There was haughty Pish-Tush-Pooh-Bah,
[Some writers assert that you can’t really appreciate Gilbert and Sullivan if you don’t also know all the Bab Ballads backward and forward.]

And good little Tootle-Tum-Teh
[The rest of the poem goes easier once you grasp that Doodle-Dum-Deh and Tootle-Tum-Teh are different names, while -Teh : -Tey and -Deh : -Dey are variant forms of the same name.]

The Story of Prince Agib

Strike the concertina’s melancholy string
[I’ll be darned. So that’s where A Room with a View—movie, not book—got it.]

I remember that they called themselves the “Oüaits.”
[It would make more sense without the dieresis, but it can’t be helped.]

I have heard that ye are men of evil mind!”
Close quote missing

Ellen McJones Aberdeen

a Sassenach brute
[Memo to self: See if I can lodge this word in the same mental compartment that currently holds qallunaaq and haole.]

Stick a skeän in his hose
[Gilbert does like his historical spellings, doesn’t he? The word “skeän” in two syllables doesn’t fit the metre, but it’s etymologically valid.]

Peter The Wag

The Greek said, “Τυπτω, τυπτομαι, / Τυπτω, τυπτειν, τυπτων.”
[Printed without accents. You don’t see me complaining. The educated male reader would instantly recognize this “pattern” verb: present active indicative, present middle/passive indicative, and so on.]

Ben Allah Achmet

“So this is Turkish coyness, is it?
Open quote missing or invisible. [The poem was printed with backset quotes, so it’s impossible to tell. The otherwise identical Philadelphia edition does have an open quote here, so that points to “invisible”.]

Joe Golightly

Text of blackletter ballad (page 211):

The moon is on the sea,

Willow!

The wind blows toward the lee,

Willow!

But though I sigh and sob and cry,

No Lady Jane for me,

Willow!

She says, “’Twere folly quite,

Willow!

For me to wed a wight

Willow!

Whose lot is cast before the mast;”

And possibly she’s right,

Willow!

Gentle Alice Brown

“Oh, holy father,” Alice said, “’twould grieve you, would it not?
Printed as shown; expected Alice in small capitals

You musn’t judge yourself
Spelling unchanged, here and below. [The word “mus(t)n’t” doesn’t occur anywhere else in the volume.]

He took a life-preserver and he hit him on the head.
[An especially odd euphemism, in the circumstances. The same kind of “life preserver” is handed out in Pirates with the comment “You may want to hit”.]

The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.