Sugar-barley is a comparative failure; but that description of oats, called wild oats, promises well in the neighbourhood of Oxford. Turn-ups have had a favourable season at the ecarte tables of several dowagers in the West-end district. Beans are looking poorly—particularly the have-beens—whom we meet with seedy frocks and napless hats, gliding about late in the evenings. Clover, we are informed by some luxurious old codgers, who are living in the midst of it, was never in better condition. The best description of hops, it is thought, will fetch high prices in the Haymarket. The vegetation of wheat has been considerably retarded by the cold weather. Sportsmen, however, began to shoot vigorously on the 12th of this month.
All things considered, though we cannot anticipate a rich harvest, we think that the speculators have exaggerated the
[Illustration: ALARMING STATE OF THE CROPS.]
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PUNCH’S RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS.
(IN HUMBLE IMITATION OF THE AUTHOR OF “THE GREAT METROPOLIS.”)
No. I.—THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON.
Before entering on this series of papers, I have only one request to make of the reader, which is this: that, however absurd or incredible my statements may appear, he will take them all for Grant-ed.
It will hardly be necessary to apologise for making the hero of Waterloo the subject of this article; for, having had always free access to the parlour of the Duke of Wellington, I flatter myself that I am peculiarly fitted for the task I have undertaken.
My acquaintance with the duke commenced in a very singular manner. During the discussions on the Reform Bill, his grace was often the object of popular pelting; and I was, on one occasion, among a crowd of free-born Englishmen who, disliking his political opinions, were exercising the constitutional privilege of hooting him. Fired by the true spirit of British patriotism, and roused to a pitch of enthusiasm by observing that the crowd were all of one opinion, decidedly against the duke, worked up, too, with momentary boldness by perceiving that there was not a policeman in sight, I seized a cabbage-leaf, with which I caught his nose, when, turning round suddenly to look whence the blow proceeded, I caught his eye. It was a single glance; but there was something in it which said more than, perhaps, if I had attempted to lead him into conversation, he would at that moment have been inclined to say to me. The recognition was brief, lasting scarcely an instant; for a policeman coming round the corner, the great constitutional party with whom I had been acting retired in haste, rather than bring on a collision with a force which was at that time particularly obnoxious to all the true friends of excessive liberty.