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I love the open air, the road-side, the path
through the woods and meadows, or by the
river. I love to hear the birds singing,
and to see the herbs and plants a growing;
and to feel at the same time that they are
all a growing for me, and that I knows how
to use 'em, and make a decent and a
honourable living out of 'em. And then
you see, I'm different from a farmer. He
has to sow afore he can reap. I never sow,
and I always reaps. The wind and the
birds sows the seeds for me, and they grow
without my care, and for my benefit; the rain
soaks 'em and the sun ripens 'em, and all
for me, because I knows what they are,
what they can do, and where I can look
for 'em when I wants 'em."

"You told me," I said, "that you made
a good living by this business of gathering
and selling simples. Would you think it
rude in me if I asked you how much you
earn on the average in a week, or whether
from year's end to year's end you are as
well paid as a gardener or a farm labourer?"

"There's ne'er a gardener or farm
labourer in all England as I would change
places with," answered Jack, somewhat
contemptuously. "Farm labourers get ten
or twelve shillings a week, and gardeners
eighteen or twenty and their beer. If I
did not earn five times as much as any
farm labourer, or, at least, three times
as much as any gardener as ever mowed
a lawn, or dug a potato, I should think
my business was a going to the dogs.
Farm labourers, poor things, knows very
little, and gardeners doesn't know much;
and it stands to reason, as I knows more
than they, that I should make a better
living than they do. Howsomever, that's
neither here nor there. I like my business,
and my business likes me; and I wouldn't
change itno, not to be Archbishop of

Good bye, Happy Jack! Long may
you flourish! You deserve your name!


THE career of JOHN PARRY, a thorough artist
who has amused the English public without
intermission for thirty-five years past, and more
during a larger part of the time amused it
single-handedis not to be closed without a
few words of retrospect and cordial
recognition. We could wish, perhaps, that it might
have closed without the attendant commonplace
of a "Testimonial," for it has always
been above such ordinary things.

The son of an estimable Welsh harpist, who
did much to make the delicious and
symmetrical melodies of the Principality popular in
England, John Parry seemed destined at his
entrance into life, to follow the footsteps of
his father. But he followed them with a
difference, presenting himself not merely as a
player on the most graceful, but most limited
of keyed and stringed instruments, but likewise
as a singer; possessing a light but agreeable
bass voice, perfectly well trained, and
great musical readiness. It was not till he
had been before the English public for a
considerable period as a sentimental Welsh
melodist, an accessory singer in oratorios, and a
reciter of such a lugubrious platitude as
Napoleon's Midnight Review, that he could
indicate the number of strings to his bow, and
that the exhibition of these established for him
an individuality, unique in the annals of
English music.

Comedy in music has until now, as a subject,
been carelessly touched. Apart from words
conveyed by voice and aided by personation and
gesture, it is a matter of no common difficulty
to express anything like intrinsic humour by
the aid of a language so vague as the
musician's. Much of his descriptive effect must be
owing to association. "Nothing," says a
German writer, "lies so far from music as
irony." And yet a man with a fine sense, and a
fine touch, and a fine command of the gamut
of his art, may, within limits, suggest no less
than illustrate, without a servile use of
conventions "made and provided for," or direct

Proof of this will be found in the
irresistible whimsicalities with which John Parry
made a public for himself, after working for
years in a groove which his eccentric genius
obviously unfitted him to fill with any hope of
progress. There is something in his talent
akin to Thomas Hood's, a grotesque and
quaint drollery, to the utterance of which in
music he brought the accomplishments of a
first-class pianist, delicacy of touch, variety
of tone, volubility of execution. The "calmest
and most classical" of musicians (to quote Mrs.
Jarley) delighted to hear his drolleries on
the piano, for their own sake, as heartily as
the less deeply learned portion of his
audience, who were convulsed by the mother "of
the accomplished young lady," or his
personification of that never-to-be-forgotten hostess,
Mrs. Roseleaf.

This possession of technical science and
accomplishment as a singer and a pianist, both
subservient to a thorough sense of enjoyment
of characteristic whimsicality, separate John
Parry from all other comic entertainers who
have preceded him. The skill with which, by
rapid and certain changes of singing voice, he
could suggest concerted music; with which by
speaking, the free use of three languages being
granted, and by gesture, he could conjure up
the idea of a crowd, could not be exceeded;
if (as may be doubted) it has ever been
equalled. There was the complete artist, in
all his mirth; more than one published collection
of "Ridiculous Things," a book of
sketches, attests that he commanded the pencil