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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 105, July 15th 1893   By:

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VOLUME 105, JULY 15TH 1893

edited by Sir Francis Burnand


... "The room is full of celebrities. Do you see that tall woman in black, talking to the little old lady? That is Mrs. ARBUTHNOT a woman of some importance and the other is CHARLEY'S Aunt. The sporting looking young man is Captain CODDINGTON, who is 'in town' for the season."

"And who are the two men, exactly alike, tall and dark, who are smoking gold tipped cigarettes, and talking epigrams?" I asked. I like to know who people are, and the person in the silver domino seemed well informed.

"Those are Lord ILLINGWORTH, and Lord HENRY WOTTON. They always say exactly the same things. They are awfully clever, and cynical. Those two ladies talking together are known as NORA and DORA. There's rather a curious story about each of them."

"There seems to be one about everyone here," I said.

"Well, it seems that NORA and her husband did not get on very well. He thought skirt dancing morbid. Also, he forgave her for forging his name in type writing to a letter refusing to subscribe to a wedding present for Princess MAY. She said a man who would forgive a thing like that would forgive anything. So she left the Dolls' House."

"Quite right. Is that not the Comtesse ZICKA? I seem to recognise the scent."

"It is and the beautiful Italian lady is Madame SANTUZZA. One meets all sorts of people here, you know; by the way, there's Mrs. TANQUERAY."

"Princess SALOMÉ!" announced the servant. A little murmur of surprise seemed to go round the room as the lovely Princess entered.

"What has she got on?" asked PORTIA.

"Oh, it's nothing," replied Mr. WALKER, London.

"I thought she was not received in English society," said Lady WINDERMERE, puritanically.

"I can assure you, my dears, that she would not be tolerated in Brazil, where the nuts come from," exclaimed CHARLEY'S Aunt.

"There's no harm in her. She's only a little peculiar. She is particularly fond of boar's head. It's nothing," said Mr. WALKER.

"The uninvitable in pursuit of the indigestible," murmured Lord ILLINGWORTH, as he lighted a cigarette.

"Is that mayonnaise?'" asked the Princess SALOMÉ of Captain CODDINGTON, who had taken her to the buffet. "I think it is mayonnaise. I am sure it is mayonnaise. It is mayonnaise of salmon, pink as a branch of coral which fishermen find in the twilight of the sea, and which they keep for the King. It is pinker than the pink roses that bloom in the Queen's garden. The pink roses that bloom in the garden of the Queen of Arabia are not so pink."

"Who's the jaded looking Anglo Indian, drinking brandy and soda?" I asked.

"That is a Plain young man. From the Hills. Which is curious. I am much attached to him. By the way, I know who I am. And why I wear a silver domino. You don't."

"That's another story," I said. "Let's go to the smoking room. We shall find the Eminent Person, the Ordinary Man, the Poet, the Journalist, and the Mere Boy, and they will all say delightful things on painful subjects."

"Barry Paynful," suggested the Mere Boy, with his usual impossibility. They were trying to "draw" Lord ILLINGWORTH.

"What is a good woman?" asked the Journalist.

"A woman who admires bad men," answered Lord ILLINGWORTH.

"What is a bad man?"

"A man who smokes gold tipped cigarettes."

"Which would you rather, or go fishing?" inquired the Mere Boy, irreverently.

"Because it's a jar, of course. There are two kinds of women, the plain and the coloured. But all art is quite useless."

"I say!" exclaimed Lord HENRY, taking from his friend's pocket a gold match box, curiously carved, and wrought with his initials in chrysoprases and peridots. "I say, you know, ILLINGWORTH come that's mine. I said it to DORIAN only the other evening. You're always saying my things."

"Well, what then? It is only the obvious and the tedious who object to quotations. When a man says life has exhausted him "

"We know that he has exhausted life."

"Women are secrets, not sphinxes... Continue reading book >>

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