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"Nonsense," said McGuilp; "here, Barring, just show my friend how you model; that's a good fellow."
"Well, you see, I takes this clay and I makes it into a face.
strips of brown paper, very thick indeed, till the brown paper is thicker than the plaster itself. Then I bakes the mould, and out comes the paper cast as you see it on the stage. I paints the cast, puts on the 'air over the eyebrows, or on to the chin, and there you are as big as life."
"Or bigger ?" observed McGuilp.
And now I come to the conclusion of my narrative. It was BoxingNight, and got up in evening dress I hurried about the stage, falling over gas pipes and getting sworn at by impatient and excited carpenters. I looked through the hole in the curtain. Yes, there were my twenty friends in the dress circle, waiting to call out "author" the moment the transformation scene had arrived at its fuli development; there were the critics in the third row of the stalls; there were the respectable-looking people in the pit, the noisy coatless "gods" of the gallery. Little children peopled the boxes, and rosy cheeked housemaids and cooks the slips and upper circle. Never shall I forget the moment that arrived with the first bar of the overture. All the popular songs of the day introduced into the clever medley were vocally accompanied by the gallery en masse. Cheers, the bell rings, and the curtain rises on my first scene. Renewed cheers, big heads, dismal sounds (supposed by me to be my dialogue) from big heads, lights, fairies, music, dancing, effective tableau, rapid change of scene, more big heads, comic song, more dancing, more lights, more dancing, gloomy scene,
lights, more lights, gold, silver, fairies, angels, cheers, hurrahs, bravoes, "artist;" blue fire, "manager;" red fire, faint cry of "author" from back of dress circle; first appearance on any stage, and bow.
BLANCHE was my choice. That choice, I own,
For Ethel's presence was superb,
Her loveliness transcending;
She rose before one like a queen,
So gracefully, so grandly,
And smiled like-like the Tragic Muse,
Her form was truly statuesque,
Pygmalion's skill exerting
How could one hope to melt to love,
Now, Blanche, she'd not a "marble brow,"
As for a classic tournure, you
She show'd no
With "taper fingers" folding,
You couldn't say her lips would "cure,'
And a glance serenely tender:
Her taste in music was not high,
We met-not where exotics made
"Twas at a hovel where I'd run
For shelter in a shower;
I found her by a dying child,
That, while its arms entwin'd her,
A foolish fancy, yet who knows?
That baffles all our learning;
Perhaps 'twas half idolatrous
I know it set me kneeling.
But then the shower had long since pass'd,
When happy sunshine filled the day
And filled our hearts together.
I knelt and sued; she spoke one word (The while her blushes screening),
It was a syllable in sound,
A folio in meaning.
A Word about Waits and Christmas Carols.
BY THOMAS ARCHER.
SINCE Charles Lamb wrote his wonderful lament for the decay of beggars in the Metropolis, we have witnessed the decline of a score of equally time-honoured institutions. The Mendicity Society, and the accumulating prerogatives of "active and intelligent" police officers, nnite to clear our streets not only of beggars, but of small dealers, of catchpenny hucksters, and of those amusing vagabonds who make the life of towns picturesque, and redeem our thoroughfares from the dead monotony of endless lines of brick and mortar, in the modern Union Workhouse style of architecture.
The committal to prison of the enterprising fraternity who sell for a penny six useful articles, including "the chased Belcher ring, the gold pin, the something funny and something amusing, and the little bit of magic by Doctor Bokanky, all wrapped in a sheet of new and original songs;" the utter dispersion of itinerant fruit-merchants; the relentless persecution of the glib-tongued agents who are intrusted to decide the wager between two noble lords, as to the sagacity of the public, by offering a sovereign for a penny; and, finally, the committal of the well-known lecturer who, beginning with a quotation from Doctor Johnson, offered to the appreciation of a select audience a complete system of stenography on a card, has lately occupied our public functionaries, to the exclusion of the less legitimate duties of discovering and preventing street outrages, and attempts on iron safes and jewellers' windows.
The itinerant musicians have long since been driven to the suburbs, except in a few nooks and corners in the City, where, strangely enough, men of business pay retaining fees to brass bands, or violin and harp duettists; the acrobats dare no longer make a pitch in quiet streets where there was once a chance of their spreading their square of ragged carpet. The galanty-show is a thing of the past, and Punch has found a more unconquerable antagonist than Shallaballah, the beadle, the hangman, or even the enemy of mankind himself.
Perhaps our advance in civilization and social science makes the suppression of all these necessary. Our city may have outgrown such puerile expressions of gaiety, in times when the great grindstone of labour turns incessantly, and every nose is pressed upon it from dawn
to dark. It may be that in these times of progress and invention, of cynical disbelief and assiduous indifference, we should be ashamed to fling away a penny on a passing idle fancy, or to encourage the amusing classes, out of Music Halls and licensed buildings, where everything may be drunk on the premises. But it is hard upon the children-upon the real juveniles as well as upon those who don't desire always to have the consciousness that they have grown up thrust upon them. Would that there were some district provided by a paternal government where the quiet, silly, easy-going old fogies and the little children might all retire together, and where the itinerant merchants, and the exhibitors of entertainments supported by voluntary contributions, should have leave to make their game all the year round; where clown should be permitted to bonnet a real policeman in the open highway, and make a butter slide on the steps of the vestry hall; and the world-renowned equilibrists should have a real maypole erected for their convenience when the spring came round!
Alas! the merriment of our youth, even the harmless and simple part of it, is passing away, and will soon have vanished, just as the maypoles themselves have been cut down and sold for firewood. They have been utilized and sold for a penny a bundle ages ago; and everybody is expected to talk of the nineteenth century, and to feel at least eighteen hundred and seventy years old.
Some of us can't, for the life of us. We yearn for a little folly, a brief holiday-time, a season of misrule, and a burst of twopenny extravagance. However we may try to conceal the fact, and summon to our faces a smug sneer in the presence of hard-headed progressionists, we feel our fingers clench as we hold our hands in our pockets. Most of all do we feel an almost unconquerable desire to punch those hard heads, as they come butting at Christmas and trying to knock over our cakes and ale." Let them have their way, and there will soon be no more plum-pudding, no decking of our rooms and halls, or even our churches, with bright green boughs and red berries, no waits, no Christmas carols, no kissing under the mistletoe; they would bring all life down to the union workhouse pattern if they could-that is to say, to their own pattern (for it does sometimes happen that there is a faint gleam and reflected glory of Christmastide even in workhouse wards here and there), and would inaugurate the national holiday by a bowl of water gruel and a lecture on the application of the steam crane to the extraction of the cube root.