The Ingoldsby Legends, by Thomas Ingoldsby

A Row in an Omnibus (Box): A Legend of the Haymarket.

Omnibus hoc vitium cantoribus.


DOL-DRUM the Manager sits in his chair,

With a gloomy brow and dissatisfied air,

And he says, as he slaps his hand on his knee,

‘I’ll have nothing to do with Fiddle-de-dee!’

— ‘But Fiddle-de-dee sings clear and loud,

And his trills and his quavers astonish the crowd;

Such a singer as he

You’ll nowhere see;

They’ll all be screaming for Fiddle-de-dee!’

— ‘Though Fiddle-de-dee sings loud and clear,

And his tones are sweet, yet his terms are dear!

The “glove won’t fit!”

The deuce a bit.

I shall give an engagement to Fal-de-ral-tit!’

The Prompter bow’d, and he went to his stall,

And the green baize rose at the Prompter’s call,

And Fal-de-ral-tit sang fol-de-rol-lol;

But, scarce had he done

When a ‘row’ begun,

Such a noise was never heard under the sun.

‘Fiddle-de-dee! —

Where is he?

He’s the Artiste whom we all want to see! —

Dol-drum! — Dol-drum! —

Bid the Manager come

It’s a scandalous thing to exact such a sum

For boxes and gallery, stalls and pit,

And then fob us off with a Fal-de-ral-tit!

Deuce a bit!

We’ll never submit!

Vive Fiddle-de-dee! à bas Fal-de-ral-tit!’

Dol-drum the Manager rose from his chair,

With a gloomy brow and dissatisfied air!

But he smooth’d his brow

As he well knew how,

And he walked on, and made a most elegant bow,

And he paused, and he smiled, and advanced to the lights

In his opera hat, and his opera-tights;

‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ then said he,

‘Pray what may you please to want with me?’

‘Fiddle-de-dee! —


Folks of all sorts and of every degree,

Snob, and Snip, and haughty Grandee,

Duchesses, Countesses, fresh from their tea,

And Shopmen, who’d only come there for a spree,

Halloo’d, and hooted, and roar’d with glee

‘Fiddle-de-dee! —

None but He! —

Subscribe to his terms, whatever they be! —

Agree, agree, or you’ll very soon see

In a brace of shakes we’ll get up an O.P.!’

Dol-drum the Manager, full of care,

With a gloomy brow and dissatisfied air,

Looks distrest,

And he bows his best,

And he puts his right hand on the side of his breast,

And he says, — says he,

‘We can’t agree;

His terms are a vast deal too high for me, —

There’s the rent, and the rates, and the sesses, and taxes —

I can’t afford Fiddle-de-dee what he axes.

If you’ll only permit

Fal-de-ral-tit — ’

The ‘Generous Public’ cried ‘Dence a bit!

Dol-drum! — Dol-drum! —

We’ll none of us come.

It’s “No Go!” — it’s “Gammon!” — it’s “all a Hum:" —

You’re a miserly Jew! — “Cock-a-doodle-do!”

He don’t ask too much, as you know — so you do —

It’s a shame — it’s a sin — it’s really too bad —

You ought to be ‘shamed of yourself — so you had!’

Dol-drum the Manager never before

In his lifetime had heard such a wild uproar.

Dol-drum the Manager turn’d to flee;

But he says — says he, ‘Mort de ma vie!

I shall nevare engage vid dat Fiddle-de-dee!’

Then all the gentlefolks flew in a rage,

And they jump’d from the Omnibus on to the Stage,

Lords, Squires, and Knights, they came down to the lights,

In their opera-hats, and their opera-tights.

Ma’am’selle Cherrytoes

Shook to her very toes,

She couldn’t hop on, so hopp’d off on her merry toes.

And the ‘evening concluded’ with ‘Three times three!’

‘Hip — hip! — hurrah! for Fiddle-de-dee!’

Dol-drum the Manager, full of care,

With a troubled brow and dissatisfied air,

Saddest of men,

Sat down, and then

Took from his table a Perryan-pen,

And he wrote to the ‘News,’

How MacFuze and Tregooze,

Lord Tomnoddy, Sir Carnaby Jenks of the Blues,

And the whole of their tail, and the separate crews

Of the Tags and the Rags, and the No-one-knows-whos,

Had combined Monsieur Fal-de-ral-tit to abuse,

And make Dol-drum agree

With Fiddle-de-dee,

Who was not a bit better singer than he.

— Dol-drum declared ‘he never could see,

For the life of him, yet, why Fiddle-de-dee,

Who in B flat, or C,

Or whatever the key,

Could never at any time get below G,

Should expect a fee the same in degree

As the great Burlybumbo who sings double D.’ —

Then slily he added a little N.B.,

‘If they’d have him in Paris he’d not come to me!’

The Manager rings,

And the Prompter springs

To his side in a jiffy, and with him he brings

A set of those odd-looking envelope things,

Where Britannia (who seems to be crucified) flings

To her right and her left, funny people with wings

Amongst Elephants, Quakers, and Catabaw Kings;

And a taper and wax

And small Queen’s heads in packs,

Which, when notes are too big, you’re to stick on their backs.

Dol-drum the Manager seal’d with care

The letter and copies he’d written so fair,

And sat himself down with a satisfied air;

Without delay

He sent them away,

In time to appear in ‘our columns’ next day!

Dol-drum the Manager, full of care,

Walk’d on to the stage with an anxious air,

And peep’d through the curtain to see who were there.

There was MacFuze,

And Lieutenant Tregooze,

And there was Sir Carnaby Jenks of the Blues,

And the Tags, and the Rags, and the No-one-knows-whos;

And the green-baize rose at the Prompter’s call,

And they all began to hoot, bellow, and bawl,

And cry ‘Cock-a-doodle,’ and scream and squall

‘Dol-drum! — Dol-drum! —

Bid the Manager come!’

You’d have thought from the tones

Of their hisses and groans,

They were bent upon breaking his (Opera) bones.

And Dol-drum comes, and he says — says he,

‘Pray what may you please to want with me?’ —

‘Fiddle-de-dee! —

Fiddle-de-dee! —

We’ll have nobody give us sol fa but He!

For he’s the Artiste whom we all want to see.’

— Manager Dol-drum says — says he —

(And he looks like an owl in ‘a hollow beech-tree’)

‘Well, since I see

The thing must be,

I’ll sign an agreemeut with Fiddle-de-dee!’

Then Mac Fuze, and Tregooze,

And Jenks of the Blues

And the Tags, and the Rags, and the No-one-knows-whos,

Extremely delighted to hear such good news,

Desist from their shrill ‘Cock-a-doodle-doos.’

‘Vive Fiddle-de-dee!

Dol-drum and He!

They are jolly good fellows as ever need be!

And so’s Burlybumbo, who sings double D!

And whenever they sing, why, we’ll all come and see!

So, after all

This terrible squall,


‘s at the top of the tree,

And Dol-drum and Fal-de-ral-tit sing small!

Now Fiddle-de-dee sings loud and clear

At I can’t tell you how many thousands a year,

And Fal-de-ral-tit is considered ‘Small Beer;’

And Ma’am’selle Cherrytoes

Sports her merry toes

Dancing away to the fiddles and flutes,

In what the folks call a ‘Lithuanian’ in boots.

So here’s an end to my one, two, and three;

And bless the Queen — and long live She!

And grant that there never again may be

Such a halliballoo as we’ve happen’d to see

About nothing on earth but ‘Fiddle-de-dee!’

We come now to the rummaging of Father John’s stores. The extracts which I shall submit from them are of the same character as those formerly derived from the same source, and may be considered as theologico-historical, or Tracts for his times.

With respect to the first legend on this list, I have to remark that, though the good Father is silent on the subject, there is every reason to believe that the ‘little curly-wigged’ gentleman, who plays, though passively, so prominent a part in it, had Ingoldsby blood in his veins. This conjecture is supported by the fact of the arms of Scroope, impaling Ingoldsby, being found, as in the Bray case, in one of the windows, and by a very old marriage-settlement nearly, or quite, illegible, a fac-simile of the seal affixed to which is appended to this true history.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:56