Punch — 72.1877

Page: 301
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July 7, 1877.]

PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHAKIVAKL

301

MR. PUNCH'S SELECT COMMITTEES.

No. IV.—On Charitable Entertainments.
Mes. Fussleton Furbelow examined.

I am not mis-
taken, you have
spent a great deal
of time in organ-
ising charitable
entertainments ?

A. A very large
amount of time,
indeed. In fact,
so much atten-
tion have I given
to the work, that
I have been ac-
cused (behind my
back, of course)
of having sacri-
ficed the comfort
of'my husband's
home to the welfare of the public.

Q. Then in'your case charity
does not begin at home ?

A. Such seems to be the
opinion of my friends and ac-
quaintances.

Q. What are the Charities
you seek to support ?

A. As a rule, Hospitals; al-
though if I can find a fashion-
able Fund, I am nearly as well
pleased.

M Q. What are the'..Entertainments you organise on behalf of
these'Funds and Hospitals ?

A. Balls,'fancy fairs, and amateur theatricals.

Q. How do you get up a ball ?

A. I secure the patronage of as many Ladies of title as possible.
I obtain this patronage by writing, in the first place, an obsequious
letter, in the name of the Charity, to a Duchess, asking her Grace
to have the benevolence to permit her name to appear upon the list
of patronesses. I point out the excellence of the Charity whose
cause I am espousing, and hint that upon her Grace's decision
depend the health and happiness of thousands. If my application
is successful, I use her Grace's consent as a lever to work upon
Ladies of aristocratic longings, and lower degree. If the Duchess
refuses, I pursue the same course with a Marchioness, and so on,
until I can head my list with half-a-dozen high-sounding titles.

Q. "What is your next step P

A. To fill up my list of patronesses with Ladies who will be able
to dispose of a large number of tickets.

Q. Do you find any difficulty in managing this ?

A. No. My list is published in the daily papers, and, knowing
this, Mas. Beownjonesde Robinson is but too pleased to belong to a
Committee headed by the Duchess oe Dehautville and the Mar-
chionesses of Plantagenet and Brannewton.

Q. What is a Fancy Fair ?

A. A hall or pleasure-ground filled with booths, in which all
sorts of worthless articles are sold at fancy prices.
Q. Who are the saleswomen ?

A. Frisky matrons and maidens who have seen many seasons,
with as many attractive fast or fashionable girls as they can induce
to act as decoy-ducks at their stalls.

Q. What is the object of a Fancy Fair P

A. Under the guise of charity to obtain the maximum of flirtation
with the minimum of surveillance.

Q. What style is found most attractive on the part of the stall-
keepers on these occasions ?

A. The deportment of the barmaid at a refreshment buffet much
affected by City clerks.

Q. I believe you said that charitable entertainments sometimes
took the form of amateur theatricals ?

A. Yes, that is a very popular channel of charity, indeed.

Q. How do you organise an amateur performance ?

A, I first secure the services of a troupe of young men whose self-
confidence is greater than their discretion. Such troupes are chiefly
recruited from the idler branches of the Civil Service, the more
briefless sections of the Bar, and the more fashionable corps of the
Army.

Q. What are the qualifications of an Amateur Actor ?
A. I only know of one that can be called indispensable and un-
failing—unbounded conceit

difficulty, for the ambition of amateurs, as a rule, varies inversely
with their ability, and each invariably wants to play a piece in
which each individually may appear in the principal part. Great
firmness is necessary; and a piece should be selected in which all
the parts are of about equal length and importance.

Q. Then the merits of a play would have nothing to do with your
selection ?

A. Nothing. My object would be to soothe the jealousy of the
amateurs, to make Jones believe that he had a better part than
Robinson, and Tompkins think that he had a greater share of the
business of the scene than Brown.

Q. Having arranged your programme, what would you do next P

A. I would then leave my troupe to rehearse as little as they
liked, and to quarrel as much as they found unavoidable, until the
day fixed for the exhibition of the result.

Q. Leaving pecuniary fruits out of the question, what do you
believe to be the chief results of amateur theatrical performances ?

A. In London to develop conceit and impair the taste for good
acting ; in the country, to damage the provincial Managers.

Q. You have answered my questions with such frankness that
I venture upon one more. Will you kindly give a definition of
charity ?

A. Certainly. Charity is a virtue which (in all matters of taste,
and especially entertainments) covers a multitude of sins.

[The Witness then ivithdrew.

MODEL HOUSES AND THE MAIN CHANCE.

Scene—Batter sea Park. Benevolence, in a rapture.

Benevolence. What a salubrious open space this ! What a pleasing
combination of verdure, foliage, and flowers! How gratifying to
witness its enjoyment by nursemaids and children! But who comes
here P As I live, 'tis Business, straying hither from his office, in a
brown study, with his hands in his pockets and pen still behind his
ear. {Enter Business.) What, Busy! As usual absorbed with
anxiety ? A penny for your thoughts.

Business. I am thinking, Ben, how I had better invest my capital.
Hand over the coin.

Benevolence. Dear me, I am penniless. My last copper was
bestowed upon the poor blind. I '11 owe it you. Meanwhile me-
thinks I can relieve your embarrassment. What should you say to
five per cent. ?

Business. Thank you very much, if you can guarantee it. Specu-
lations are at a discount, bubbles burst, railways unremunerative,
Consols contemptible—and high interest, I need hardly observe,
means bad security.

Benevolence. Behold yon block of houses, reared by the Victoria
Dwellings Association to provide healthy and commodious homes for
Artisans and Labourers, and just now publicly declared open by
the Earl of Beaconsfield. There is the undertaking—pardon the
expression, for abodes of health preclude coffin-clubs—there is the
enterprise for your money.

Business. Some Building Societies pay from six to seven per cent.,
I should tell you.

Benevolence. Are they equally trustworthy with the Association
sanctioned by the Queen Y Consider the little extra per-centage
as sacrificed to Prudence no less than to Charity.

Business. Business is business—that is, I am I—if I can gain by
doing good, however, all the better.

Benevolence. Saving is gain. The reduced death-rate is money
saved. Diminished Poor-rates and Prison-rates are so much more.
These gains will result from a great sanitary improvement—decent
dwellings substituted for dirty slums. Then—another hygienic and
therefore pecuniary advantage—our Society will endeavour to house
a constantly increasing population without encroaching on commons
and open spaces.

Business. By what expedient P

Benevolence. Perpendicular ascent instead of peripheral extension.
We soar—that is, we build—ever, ever, heavenwards. Our archi-
tectural as well as our ethical motto is Excelsior.
Business. Certainly an exalted idea.

Benevolence. By which, you perceive, we consult the preservation
of scenery without limitation to bricks-and-mortar. There you are
again.

Business. Business and Beauty. Ha, ha ! Good ! But mind,
Ben, I'm not going to buy a pig in a poke, you know.

Benevolence. Oh, talk not so of shares in the Victoria Dwellings
Association! But see ! The newly-erected edifices are not far
distant. Come, let us go and inspect them.

Business. Have with you. Believe me, I shall only be too happy
to combine, if possible, the satisfaction of making a wise invest-
Q. Having collected your troupe, what is your next step ? ment with the self-approval that comes of performing a virtuous

A, To arrange my programme. This is a matter of no small j action. [Exeunt arm-in-arm.

vol. l2lxtj, d d

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Wallace, Robert Bruce
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um 1877
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1872 - 1882
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London

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Punch, 72.1877, July 7, 1877, S. 301
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