I heard an old Gorgon ask one of Mrs. Lollipop’s clientele the other day whether he would like to be Mrs. Lollipop’s husband. “No,” he said, “not her husband; I am not worthy to be her husband—
“But I would
be the necklace
And all day long to fall and rise
Upon her balmy bosom
With her laughter or her sighs;
And I would lie so light, so light,
I scarce should be unclasped at night.”
That old Gorgon is now going through a course of hysterics under medical and clerical advice. Her ears are in as bad a case as Lady Macbeth’s hands. Hymns will not purge them.—ALI BABA, K.C.B.
THE TRAVELLING M.P.
[December 13, 1879.]
There is not a more fearful wild fowl than your travelling M.P. This unhappy creature, whose mind is a perfect blank regarding Faujdari[Y] and Bandobast,[Z] and who cannot distinguish the molluscous Baboo from the osseous Pathan, will actually presume to discuss Indian subjects with you, unless strict precautions be taken.
When I meet one of these loose M.P.’s ramping about I always cut his claws at once. I say, “Now, Mr. T.G., you must understand that, according to my standard, you are a homunculus of the lowest type. There is nothing I value a man for that you can do; there is nothing I consider worth directing the human mind upon that you know. If you ask for any information which I may deem it expedient to give to a person in your unfortunate position, well and good; but if you venture to argue with me, to express any opinion, to criticise anything I may be good enough to say regarding India, or to quote any passage relating to Asia from the works of Burke, Cowper, Bright, or Fawcett, I will hand you over to Major Henderson for strangulation, I will cause your body to be burnt by an Imperial Commission of sweepers, and I will mention your name in the Pioneer.”
In dangerous cases, where a note-book is carried, your loose M.P. must be made to reside within the pale of guarded conversation. If you are wise you will speak to him in the interrogative mood exclusively; and you will treat his answers with contumelious laughter or disdainful silence.
About a week after your M.P. has landed in India he will begin his great work on the history, literature, philosophy and social institutions of the Hindoos. You will see him in a railway carriage when stirred by the [Greek: oistros] studying Forbes’s Hindustani Manual. He is undoubtedly writing the chapter on the philology of the Aryan Family. Do you observe the fine frenzy that kindles behind his spectacles as he leans back and tries to eject a root? These pangs are worth about half-a-crown an hour in the present state of the book market. One cannot contemplate them without profound emotion.