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Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 104, May 20, 1893   By:

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOLUME 104, MAY 20TH 1893

edited by Sir Francis Burnand

OPENING OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE.

Another Show! A splendid Imperial Show! Magnificent weather! Real QUEEN'S weather, and consequently a big success. The grandeur, the solidarity of the British Empire [&c., &c. . Editor regrets that for lack of space he is compelled to omit the remainder of this remarkably fine panegyric. He suggests to Author that it would come out well in pamphlet form, price one shilling, or it might be given away with a pound of Indian tea. ED.] Obedient to the call of duty I was myself present as one of the 'umblest of the distinguished guests assembled to welcome Her Imperial MAJESTY on this auspicious occasion. It was my good fortune to be immediately in front of a charming Young Lady and her delightful Grandmother. The latter was a trifle deaf, and her Granddaughter being a wonderfully well informed young lady, I had quite an enjoyable time of it; as had also my neighbours, though I regret to say that some of them after the first three quarters of an hour seemed rather to resent the gratuitous information given with astonishing volubility by the amiable Young Lady to her confiding relative. For example, up came his Grace the Archbishop of CANTERBURY. "That's the LORD CHANCELLOR," our well informed Young Lady told her Grandmother. Much cheering greets Lord SALISBURY. "That's General ROBERTS," said the Young Lady, adding, as if rather doubting her own accuracy, "though why he wears a naval uniform I am unable to say." It didn't matter; her Grandmother was equally pleased. "Which is Mr. GLADSTONE?" asked the Old Lady. The Young Lady used her opera glass. "I don't see him," she returned slowly. "Of course he can't be in a turban. I know he has no whiskers or moustache ah! there he is! there, talking to Sir EDWARD LEIGHTON!" She hadn't got even the Christian names correct. I looked in the direction she had indicated and saw Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT in close proximity to Sir RICHARD TEMPLE. But why should I turn and dispel the harmless illusion? Was it for me to bring discord into a family, and cause the Granddaughter to be cut out of the Grandmother's will? Never! So, "from information received," the Old Lady went on implicitly believing in her informant, and treasuring up the particulars for the benefit of her other Grandchildren. "Lord ROBERTS is somewhere here," observed the Young Lady, sweeping the horizon (so to speak, with apologies to "the horizon") with her lorgnette . "Oh, I should like to see him !" exclaimed the Old Lady, enthusiastically. "Where is he?" "Oh, I think " replied the Granddaughter, hesitatingly, "I rather think I've only seen him once but oh yes," she added, with wonderful confidence on finding she was commanding an interested audience of simple neighbours "Oh yes there in a General's uniform, he has just come in and he is looking for his place," and, following guidance, I, too, craned forward, and was rewarded by catching a glimpse of Mr. FREDERICK GORDON, Chairman of the Grand Hotels Co., Limited, who was good enough to salute me with that air of conscious power which becomes part and parcel of a man who has the command of countless battalions in waiting. Encouraged by this incident (for I had not rounded on her and said, "that is not Lord ROBERTS") the Young Lady urged on her mistaken career more wildly than ever. She pointed out the wrong Princess MAY, the Duke of FIFE became H.R.H. the Duke of YORK, the TECKS were the MECKLENBURG STRELITZES, the Gentlemen at Arms were dismounted Chelsea Pensioners in Court dress; the Chinese ladies were Japanese (for they couldn't get even these correct, and of course these Orientals are most correct), and finally, looking up to the gallery where the Orchestra was, she crowned the edifice by loudly announcing that Sir ARTHUR SULLIVAN was Sir ARTHUR BALFOUR, and added that he was only performing his official duty as Leader of the House of Commons... Continue reading book >>


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