Tuesday 5th of December 2023

when it was requisite to administer a corrective dose to the nation.....

(The necessity of a work on Snobs, demonstrated from History, and proved by felicitous illustrations:—I am the individual destined to write that work—My vocation is announced in terms of great eloquence—I show that the world has been gradually preparing itself for the WORK and the MAN—Snobs are to be studied like other objects of Natural Science, and are a part of the Beautiful (with a large B). They pervade all classes—Affecting instance of Colonel Snobley.)





We have all read a statement, (the authenticity of which I take leave to doubt entirely, for upon what calculations I should like to know is it founded?)—we have all, I say, been favoured by perusing a remark, that when the times and necessities of the world call for a Man, that individual is found. Thus at the French Revolution (which the reader will be pleased to have introduced so early), when it was requisite to administer a corrective dose to the nation, Robespierre was found; a most foul and nauseous dose indeed, and swallowed eagerly by the patient, greatly to the latter's ultimate advantage: thus, when it became necessary to kick John Bull out of America, Mr. Washington stepped forward, and performed that job to satisfaction: thus, when the Earl of Aldborough was unwell, Professor Holloway appeared with his pills, and cured his lordship, as per advertisement, &c. &c.. Numberless instances might be adduced to show that when a nation is in great want, the relief is at hand; just as in the Pantomime (that microcosm) where when CLOWN wants anything—a warming-pan, a pump-handle, a goose, or a lady's tippet—a fellow comes sauntering out from behind the side-scenes with the very article in question.

Again, when men commence an undertaking, they always are prepared to show that the absolute necessities of the world demanded its completion.—Say it is a railroad: the directors begin by stating that 'A more intimate communication between Bathershins and Derrynane Beg is necessary for the advancement of civilization, and demanded by the multitudinous acclamations of the great Irish people.' Or suppose it is a newspaper: the prospectus states that 'At a time when the Church is in danger, threatened from without by savage fanaticism and miscreant unbelief, and undermined from within by dangerous Jesuitism, and suicidal Schism, a Want has been universally felt—a suffering people has looked abroad—for an Ecclesiastical Champion and Guardian. A body of Prelates and Gentlemen have therefore stepped forward in this our hour of danger, and determined on establishing the BEADLE newspaper,' &c. &c. One or other of these points at least is incontrovertible: the public wants a thing, therefore it is supplied with it; or the public is supplied with a thing, therefore it wants it.

I have long gone about with a conviction on my mind that I had a work to do—a Work, if you like, with a great W; a Purpose to fulfil; a chasm to leap into, like Curtius, horse and foot; a Great Social Evil to Discover and to Remedy. That Conviction Has Pursued me for Years. It has Dogged me in the Busy Street; Seated Itself By Me in The Lonely Study; Jogged My Elbow as it Lifted the Wine-cup at The Festive Board; Pursued me through the Maze of Rotten Row; Followed me in Far Lands. On Brighton's Shingly Beach, or Margate's Sand, the Voice Outpiped the Roaring of the Sea; it Nestles in my Nightcap, and It Whispers, 'Wake, Slumberer, thy Work Is Not Yet Done.' Last Year, By Moonlight, in the Colosseum, the Little Sedulous Voice Came To Me and Said, 'Smith, or Jones' (The Writer's Name is Neither Here nor There), 'Smith or Jones, my fine fellow, this is all very well, but you ought to be at home writing your great work on SNOBS.

When a man has this sort of vocation it is all nonsense attempting to elude it. He must speak out to the nations; he must unbusm himself, as Jeames would say, or choke and die. 'Mark to yourself,' I have often mentally exclaimed to your humble servant, 'the gradual way in which you have been prepared for, and are now led by an irresistible necessity to enter upon your great labour. First, the World was made: then, as a matter of course, Snobs; they existed for years and years, and were no more known than America. But presently,—INGENS PATEBAT TELLUS,—the people became darkly aware that there was such a race. Not above five-and-twenty years since, a name, an expressive monosyllable, arose to designate that race. That name has spread over England like railroads subsequently; Snobs are known and recognized throughout an Empire on which I am given to understand the Sun never sets. PUNCH appears at the ripe season, to chronicle their history: and the individual comes forth to write that history in PUNCH.'

I have (and for this gift I congratulate myself with Deep and Abiding Thankfulness) an eye for a Snob. If the Truthful is the Beautiful, it is Beautiful to study even the Snobbish; to track Snobs through history, as certain little dogs in Hampshire hunt out truffles; to sink shafts in society and come upon rich veins of Snobore. Snobbishness is like Death in a quotation from Horace, which I hope you never have heard, 'beating with equal foot at poor men's doors, and kicking at the gates of Emperors.' It is a great mistake to judge of Snobs lightly, and think they exist among the lower classes merely. An immense percentage of Snobs, I believe, is to be found in every rank of this mortal life. You must not judge hastily or vulgarly of Snobs: to do so shows that you are yourself a Snob. I myself have been taken for one.











party party party!



Our selection of Snobs has lately been too exclusively of a political character. 'Give us private Snobs,' cry the dear ladies. (I have before me the letter of one fair correspondent of the fishing village of Brighthelmstone in Sussex, and could her commands ever be disobeyed?) 'Tell us more, dear Mr. Snob, about your experience of Snobs in society.' Heaven bless the dear souls!—they are accustomed to the word now—the odious, vulgar, horrid, unpronounceable word slips out of their lips with the prettiest glibness possible. I should not wonder if it were used at Court amongst the Maids of Honour. In the very best society I know it is. And why not? Snobbishness is vulgar—the mere words are not: that which we call a Snob, by any other name would still be Snobbish.

Well, then. As the season is drawing to a close: as many hundreds of kind souls, snobbish or otherwise, have quitted London; as many hospitable carpets are taken up; and window-blinds are pitilessly papered with the MORNING HERALD; and mansions once inhabited by cheerful owners are now consigned to the care of the housekeeper's dreary LOCUM TENENS—some mouldy old woman, who, in reply to the hopeless clanging of the bell, peers at you for a moment from the area, and then slowly unbolting the great hall-door, informs you my lady has left town, or that 'the family's in the country,' or 'gone up the Rind,'—or what not; as the season and parties are over; why not consider Party-giving Snobs for a while, and review the conduct of some of those individuals who have quitted the town for six months?

Some of those worthy Snobs are making-believe to go yachting, and, dressed in telescopes and pea-jackets, are passing their time between Cherbourg and Cowes; some living higgledy-piggledy in dismal little huts in Scotland, provisioned with canisters of portable soup, and fricandeaux hermetically sealed in tin, are passing their days slaughtering grouse upon the moors; some are dozing and bathing away the effects of the season at Kissingen, or watching the ingenious game of TRENTE ET QUARANTE at Homburg and Ems. We can afford to be very bitter upon them now they are all gone. Now there are no more parties, let us have at the Party-giving Snobs. The dinner-giving, the ball-giving, the DEJEUNER-giving, the CONVERSAZIONE-GIVING Snobs—Lord! Lord! what havoc might have been made amongst them had we attacked them during the plethora of the season! I should have been obliged to have a guard to defend me from fiddlers and pastrycooks, indignant at the abuse of their patrons. Already I'm told that, from some flippant and unguarded expressions considered derogatory to Baker Street and Harley Street, rents have fallen in these respectable quarters; and orders have been issued that at least Mr. Snob shall be asked to parties there no more. Well, then—now they are ALL away, let us frisk at our ease, and have at everything like the bull in the china-shop. They mayn't hear of what is going on in their absence, and, if they do they can't bear malice for six months. We will begin to make it up with them about next February, and let next year take care of itself. We shall have no dinners from the dinner-giving Snobs: no more from the ball-givers: no more CONVERSAZIONES (thank Mussy! as Jeames says,) from the Conversaziones Snob: and what is to prevent us from telling the truth?

The snobbishness of Conversazione Snobs is very soon disposed of: as soon as that cup of washy bohea is handed to you in the tea-room; or the muddy remnant of ice that you grasp in the suffocating scuffle of the assembly upstairs.

Good heavens! What do people mean by going there? What is done there, that everybody throngs into those three little rooms? Was the Black Hole considered to be an agreeable REUNION, that Britons in the dog-days here seek to imitate it? After being rammed to a jelly in a door-way (where you feel your feet going through Lady Barbara Macbeth's lace flounces, and get a look from that haggard and painted old harpy, compared to which the gaze of Ugolino is quite cheerful); after withdrawing your elbow out of poor gasping Bob Guttleton's white waistcoat, from which cushion it was impossible to remove it, though you knew you were squeezing poor Bob into an apoplexy—you find yourself at last in the reception-room, and try to catch the eye of Mrs. Botibol, the CONVERSAZIONE-giver. When you catch her eye, you are expected to grin, and she smiles too, for the four hundredth time that night; and, if she's very glad to see you, waggles her little hand before her face as if to blow you a kiss, as the phrase is.

Why the deuce should Mrs. Botibol blow me a kiss? I wouldn't kiss her for the world. Why do I grin when I see her, as if I was delighted? Am I? I don't care a straw for Mrs. Botibol. I know what she thinks about me. I know what she said about my last volume of poems (I had it from a dear mutual friend). Why, I say in a word, are we going on ogling and telegraphing each other in this insane way?—Because we are both performing the ceremonies demanded by the Great Snob Society; whose dictates we all of us obey.

Well; the recognition is over—my jaws have returned to their usual English expression of subdued agony and intense gloom, and the Botibol is grinning and kissing her fingers to somebody else, who is squeezing through the aperture by which we have just entered. It is Lady Ann Clutterbuck, who has her Friday evenings, as Botibol (Botty, we call her,) has Wednesdays. That is Miss Clementina Clutterbuck the cadaverous young woman in green, with florid auburn hair, who has published her volume of poems ('The Death-Shriek;' 'Damiens;' 'The Faggot of Joan of Arc;' and 'Translations from the German' of course). The conversazione-women salute each other calling each other 'My dear Lady Ann' and 'My dear good Eliza,' and hating each other, as women hate who give parties on Wednesdays and Fridays. With inexpressible pain dear good Eliza sees Ann go up and coax and wheedle Abou Gosh, who has just arrived from Syria, and beg him to patronize her Fridays.

All this while, amidst the crowd and the scuffle, and a perpetual buzz and chatter, and the flare of the wax-candles, and an intolerable smell of musk—what the poor Snobs who write fashionable romances call 'the gleam of gems, the odour of perfumes, the blaze of countless lamps'—a scrubby-looking, yellow-faced foreigner, with cleaned gloves, is warbling inaudibly in a corner, to the accompaniment of another. 'The Great Cacafogo,' Mrs. Botibol whispers, as she passes you by. 'A great creature, Thumpenstrumpff, is at the instrument—the Hetman Platoff's pianist, you know.'

To hear this Cacafogo and Thumpenstrumpff, a hundred people are gathered together—a bevy of dowagers, stout or scraggy; a faint sprinkling of misses; six moody-looking lords, perfectly meek and solemn; wonderful foreign Counts, with bushy whiskers and yellow faces, and a great deal of dubious jewellery; young dandies with slim waists and open necks, and self-satisfied simpers, and flowers in their buttons; the old, stiff, stout, bald-headed CONVERSAZIONE ROUES, whom You meet everywhere—who never miss a night of this delicious enjoyment; the three last-caught lions of the season—Higgs, the traveller, Biggs, the novelist, and Toffey, who has come out so on the sugar question; Captain Flash, who is invited on account of his pretty wife and Lord Ogleby, who goes wherever she goes.

QUE SCAIS-JE? Who are the owners of all those showy scarfs and white neckcloths?—Ask little Tom Prig, who is there in all his glory, knows everybody, has a story about every one; and, as he trips home to his lodgings in Jermyn Street, with his gibus-hat and his little glazed pumps, thinks he is the fashionablest young fellow in town, and that he really has passed a night of exquisite enjoyment.

You go up (with our usual easy elegance of manner) and talk to Miss Smith in a corner. 'Oh, Mr. Snob, I'm afraid you're sadly satirical.'

That's all she says. If you say it's fine weather, she bursts out laughing; or hint that it's very hot, she vows you are the drollest wretch! Meanwhile Mrs. Botibol is simpering on fresh arrivals; the individual at the door is roaring out their names; poor Cacafogo is quavering away in the music-room, under the impression that he will be LANCE in the world by singing inaudibly here. And what a blessing it is to squeeze out of the door, and into the street, where a half-hundred of carriages are in waiting; and where the link-boy, with that unnecessary lantern of his, pounces upon all who issue out, and will insist upon getting your noble honour's lordship's cab.

And to think that there are people who, after having been to Botibol on Wednesday, will go to Clutterbuck on Friday!











military snobs.....


Walking in the Park yesterday with my young friend Tagg, and discoursing with him upon the next number of the Snob, at the very nick of time who should pass us but two very good specimens of Military Snobs,—the Sporting Military Snob, Capt. Rag, and the 'lurking' or raffish Military Snob, Ensign Famish. Indeed you are fully sure to meet them lounging on horseback, about five o'clock, under the trees by the Serpentine, examining critically the inmates of the flashy broughams which parade up and down 'the Lady's Mile.'

Tagg and Rag are very well acquainted, and so the former, with that candour inseparable from intimate friendship, told me his dear friend's history. Captain Rag is a small dapper north-country man. He went when quite a boy into a crack light cavalry regiment, and by the time he got his troop, had cheated all his brother officers so completely, selling them lame horses for sound ones, and winning their money by all manner of strange and ingenious contrivances, that his Colonel advised him to retire; which he did without much reluctance, accommodating a youngster, who had just entered the regiment, with a glandered charger at an uncommonly stiff figure.

He has since devoted his time to billiards, steeple-chasing, and the turf. His head-quarters are 'Rummer's,' in Conduit Street, where he keeps his kit; but he is ever on the move in the exercise of his vocation as a gentleman-jockey and gentleman-leg.

According to BELL'S LIFE, he is an invariable attendant at all races, and an actor in most of them. He rode the winner at Leamington; he was left for dead in a ditch a fortnight ago at Harrow; and yet there he was, last week, at the Croix de Berny, pale and determined as ever, astonishing the BADAUDS of Paris by the elegance of his seat and the neatness of his rig, as he took a preliminary gallop on that vicious brute 'The Disowned,' before starting for 'the French Grand National.'

He is a regular attendant at the Corner, where he compiles a limited but comfortable libretto. During season he rides often in the Park, mounted on a clever well-bred pony. He is to be seen escorting celebrated horsewoman, Fanny Highflyer, or in confidential converse with Lord Thimblerig, the eminent handicapper.

He carefully avoids decent society, and would rather dine off a steak at the 'One Tun' with Sam Snaffle the jockey, Captain O'Rourke, and two or three other notorious turf robbers, than with the choicest company in London. He likes to announce at 'Rummer's' that he is going to run down and spend his Saturday and Sunday in a friendly way with Hocus, the leg, at his little box near Epsom; where, if report speak true, many 'rummish plants' are concocted.

He does not play billiards often, and never in public: but when he does play, he always contrives to get hold of a good flat, and never leaves him till he has done him uncommonly brown. He has lately been playing a good deal with Famish.

When he makes his appearance in the drawing-room, which occasionally happens at a hunt- meeting or a race-ball, he enjoys himself extremely.

His young friend is Ensign Famish, who is not a little pleased to be seen with such a smart fellow as Rag, who bows to the best turf company in the Park. Rag lets Famish accompany him to Tattersall's, and sells him bargains in horse-flesh, and uses Famish's cab. That young gentleman's regiment is in India, and he is at home on sick leave. He recruits his health by being intoxicated every night, and fortifies his lungs, which are weak, by smoking cigars all day. The policemen about the Haymarket know the little creature, and the early cabmen salute him. The closed doors of fish and lobster shops open after service, and vomit out little Famish, who is either tipsy and quarrelsome—when he wants to fight the cabmen; or drunk and helpless—when some kind friend (in yellow satin) takes care of him. All the neighbourhood, the cabmen, the police, the early potato-men, and the friends in yellow satin, know the young fellow, and he is called Little Bobby by some of the very worst reprobates in Europe.

His mother, Lady Fanny Famish, believes devoutly that Robert is in London solely for the benefit of consulting the physician; is going to have him exchanged into a dragoon regiment, which doesn't go to that odious India; and has an idea that his chest is delicate, and that he takes gruel every evening, when he puts his feet in hot water. Her Ladyship resides at Cheltenham, and is of a serious turn.

Bobby frequents the 'Union Jack Club' of course; where he breakfasts on pale ale and devilled kidneys at three o'clock; where beardless young heroes of his own sort congregate, and make merry, and give each other dinners; where you may see half-a-dozen of young rakes of the fourth or fifth order lounging and smoking on the steps; where you behold Slapper's long-tailed leggy mare in the custody of a red-jacket until the Captain is primed for the Park with a glass of curacoa; and where you see Hobby, of the Highland Buffs, driving up with Dobby, of the Madras Fusiliers, in the great banging, swinging cab, which the latter hires from Rumble of Bond Street.

In fact, Military Snobs are of such number and variety, that a hundred weeks of PUNCH would not suffice to give an audience to them. There is, besides the disreputable old Military Snob, who has seen service, the respectable old Military Snob, who has seen none, and gives himself the most prodigious Martinet airs. There is the Medical-Military Snob, who is generally more outrageously military in his conversation than the greatest SABREUR in the army. There is the Heavy-Dragoon Snob, whom young ladies, admire with his great stupid pink face and yellow moustaches—a vacuous, solemn, foolish, but brave and honourable Snob. There is the Amateur- Military Snob who writes Captain on his card because he is a Lieutenant in the Bungay Militia. There is the Lady-killing Military Snob; and more, who need not be named.

But let no man, we repeat, charge MR. PUNCH with disrespect for the Army in general—that gallant and judicious Army, every man of which, from F.M. the Duke of Wellington, &c., downwards—(with the exception of H.R.H. Field-Marshal Prince Albert, who, however, can hardly count as a military man,)—reads PUNCH in every quarter of the globe.

Let those civilians who sneer at the acquirements of the army read Sir Harry Smith's account of the Battle of Aliwal. A noble deed was never told in nobler language. And you who doubt if chivalry exists, or the age of heroism has passed by, think of Sir Henry Hardinge, with his son, 'dear little Arthur,' riding in front of the lines at Ferozeshah. I hope no English painter will endeavour to illustrate that scene; for who is there to do justice to it? The history of the world contains no more brilliant and heroic picture. No, no; the men who perform these deeds with such brilliant valour, and describe them with such modest manliness—SUCH are not Snobs. Their country admires them, their Sovereign rewards them, and PUNCH, the universal railer, takes off his hat and, says, Heaven save them!