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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 98, January 18, 1890   By:

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 98.

January 18th, 1890.

AMONG THE AMATEURS.

No. III. REALISATION.

SCENE Theatre Royal, Blankbury, on the first night of the performance of the well known Comedy of "Heads or Tails?" by the "Thespian Perambulators." Time , 7:50 P.M. A "brilliant and fashionable assemblage" is gradually filling the house. In the Stalls are many distinguished Amateurs of both Sexes, including Lady SURBITON, who has brought her husband and Mrs. GAGMORE (Lady SURBITON'S particular friend ). The rest of the Stalls are occupied by the immediate friends and relations of the Actors. A few professional Critics are to be seen. They are addressed with much politeness by the Amateurs in front of the House, and "played to" with feverish anxiety by the Amateurs on the Stage. The Orchestra is composed of excellent Amateur Musicians. The Curtain has not yet risen.

Lady Surbiton ( to Mrs. GAGMORE). My dear, it's a wonder we ever got here. CHARLES of course forgot the date, and told me only yesterday he'd invited some men to stay for a shoot. He had to listen to reason, though, and so we spent all yesterday sending telegrams to put them off. I've been at every performance of The Thespians for years, and it wouldn't do to begin missing them now, would it?

[Illustration]

Mrs. Gagmore. Certainly not, dear, it would have been quite a calamity. There's the Duchess of MIDDLESEX nodding to you.

Lady S. So it is. ( Smiles sweetly at the Duchess, who is sitting three rows off. ) I call it scandalous of her to come out like this when both her twins have got the measles. Did I tell you I lent Mr. SPINKS my pet parrot, Penelope, for this performance?

Mrs. G. No, dear. I didn't know they ever played it with a parrot.

Lady S. Well, they don't usually, but Mr. SPINKS told me that, after studying the piece very very carefully, he had come to the conclusion that there ought to be a parrot in Lady Shorthorn's drawing room, and he begged me to lend him mine. Fortunately it scarcely ever talks. Oh, there's Mr. PENFOLD! How old he's getting to look. He never seems to have a good word to say for anyone in his critiques. They're very late in beginning. I hope nothing has happened to Penelope. Ah! at last.

The Orchestra strikes up. After a few minutes the Curtain rises on "the Drawing room at Bullivant Court." Sc. 1, Act 1. HARRY HALL, in livery as JOHN the Footman, is reclining on a sofa, reading a magazine. Penelope, in her cage, is a conspicuous object on the O.P. side .

John ( yawning ). "Nothink in the Fortnightly , as per usual. Heigh ho! This is slow work. Who's that?"

Enter BELINDA, the Nursery maid. The usual amatory scene follows. They both disappear, as TIFFINGTON SPINKS enters made up as "Colonel DEBENHAM," with a saffron complexion, a grey moustache, a red tie and an iron grey wig. He shivers. A great deal of preliminary applause. He bows with dignity, conscious of his fame, and proceeds.

Col. Debenham. "Ugh! how horribly cold this is. I shall have to speak seriously to SHORTHORN about the state of his fires."

Penelope the Parrot ( suddenly and with terrible distinctness ). "Old fool!" [ A titter from the irreverent. SPINKS pays no heed to the interruption.

Lady Surbiton. How awful! I declare I haven't heard Penelope speak for six months. I hope to heaven she won't do it again.

Mrs. Gagmore. I thought it sounded so natural.

Lord S. So it did, that's why it was so out of place. He's getting on all right now, though.

Col. Debenham ( concluding a peppery soliloquy ). "And as for Lady SHORTHORN and that spiteful cat of a sister of hers, all I can say of TOM DEBENHAM is "

Penelope ( loudly ). "Old fool!"

[ Whistles up and down the scale. Much laughter. SPINKS feels that violent measures are necessary if the piece is not to be utterly ruined... Continue reading book >>


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