This article has been transcribed from a copy of the Cardiff Times in the online collection of scanned Welsh newspapers 1804-1919 in the National Library of Wales, with grateful recognition of the free access accorded to all readers. Paragraph breaks have been introduced for easier reading.

The earliest law in England for the control of dangerous dogs, which dates from the reign of Alfred the Great in 849 CE, ruled that, 'if a dog tear or bite a man, for the first misdeed let six shillings be paid', a very significant sum of money. The Dogs Act of 1871 gave the police the power to seize dangerous dogs, and empowered the Board of Agriculture to issue muzzling orders, and this it did in respect of London in 1890. Dogs unmuzzled in public spaces could be destroyed. Boards of Guardians were the ad hoc authorities that administered Poor Law in the United Kingdom from 1835 to 1930, and governed Workhouses. Postal items in 'blue envelopes' could indeed bring 'ill-tidings'. In 'Samuel's Sentiments' no. 9 Samuel explains that a tradesman's demand for payment 'most often takes the form of notes on blue paper, and enclosed in envelopes equally blue'.

Samuel's wife was not alone in objecting to electric lighting and electric light. It is undoubtedly true that a woman’s make-up designed for candlelight looked ill under gaslight, and that make-up designed for gaslight looked ill under electric light. Gaslight was kinder to the complexion, but even gaslight became harsher when the new gas-mantle was introduced in 1891. There is of course a pun on 'gas', meaning 'nonsense'. The cosmetics used by well-off women made from 'bismuth and the carmine.' To hide freckles, blotches, or redness, women would dust on pearl powder, a mixture of chloride of bismuth and French chalk, and to accentuate lip colour they applied crushed flowers and carmine, made from the female cochineal insect.

In this column Samuel sides emphatically with the anti-Wagnerians of the time, responding to an invitation to a Wagnerian performance as the equivalent of a ghostly summons to purgatory (Hamlet I.iv.44. 'Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned'.) Lady Hallé, a virtuosa on the violin, was wife of the German-English pianist and conductor, Charles Hallé, who was knighted that year. —— David Skilton

HAT a lot of silliness the so called 'silly season' has brought about, has it not, sir. Look at the dog muzzling order – I wish we could change it for a man-muzzling order instead. Would it not be sweet, like having treacle poured down one's back, to be able to muzzle a few strike-orators, popular sensational preachers, and chairmen of boards of guardians. I have a small poodle, sir; I plead guilty to what I call a poodle, depraved though it may be to indulge in such riotous extravagance. I am uncertain as to the breed of the animal — a good many other people are. One man told me it must be a Skye that came down when it was raining cats and dogs. Another one said that it was of a remarkable sausage breed, and would go well with lots of seasoning. It is very affectionate towards me; it has only bitten me about once a week since I got it; it seems to have taken a bit of a fancy for me like -- but I must admit that it has some slight infirmity of temper as regards divers other persons. It can't bear postmen, for instance. There is something in their uniform that seems to exasperate it, or possibly it is that it knows they are generally the bearers of blue envelopes and ill-tidings so far as its master is concerned. I have reason to believe that a vengeful postman planted the police on it, after the muzzling order came out. I forgot all about the muzzling order myself; indeed, I didn't think that a dog of so few hands high (is that the technical way of putting it?) required a muzzle at all. Punch (I call it that, it is such a low-spirited, melancholy dog) went out to see a friend that lives near the other day, and a policeman spotted it (dogs often are spotted, are they not?), and beguiled it into approaching him. Perhaps it had a guilty conscience; anyhow it calmly surveyed the policeman's buttons, and then it cut and ran — home, as ill-luck would have it. Why couldn't the foolish animal have run into someone else's house, or given a false name and address, or something? That policeman asked me if it was my dog – and he laid an unpleasant emphasis on the word 'dog.' I admitted the soft impeachment, and to my astonishment that intelligent officer, who seemed to be suffering from influenza, informed me that he should 'subbods' me. He did 'subbods' me, and I've had to pay costs. Since then Mrs Samuel has been haunted by gruesome dreams of demon cur-coppers, and other persons going to the dogs. When I meet that policeman I shall ask him to accept a little present, a medal that he can wear on his manly bosom, in fact — a nice dog-biscuit with a bit of ribbon attached thereto. The dog-snatching order will give our policemen something to do. If they can't catch burglars, gar[r]otters, and those kind of gentry they can at least catch dogs— and colds – about all they can catch.

Now don't you go and vote for that horrid electric light! It made me look like a green toad coming out of a cream jug last public ball

A good many people are talking just now about the adoption of the electric light in various places. Do you know what it is in my humble judgment that causes the electric light to take so tardy a hold on the people – it is the ladies, sir; it is no favourite with the ladies. Their complexions won't stand it, and it shows up 'fake' in the most shameful and inconsiderate manner. A lady with a removable, or any other sort of complexion, gets to look uncommonly weird by the electric light — she rather resembles a ghost declining business on the score of ill-health. If a good deal of her complexion happens to have taken lodgings in her nose, that organ seems to be even accentuated by that searching light. She can wrestle with gas-light,[i] and get the gas behind her, with no agonising doubts in her mind about the bismuth and the carmine being too perceptible. A complexion that you can take off on a towel has its conveniences, but it has no friend in the electric light. Of course the ladies take the side of the complexion, and so the illumination halts in the race. I can't say that I am averse to it myself, sir; but it has a disgusting habit of showing up the seams in one's hired dress-suit that are getting a bit bald and shiny, like the head of a middle-aged man. It has a nasty habit of jumping, too, very often, and sometimes it goes out altogether. That arrangement may be all very well in a ballroom, so far as the younger people of both sexes are concerned, but it is not a little awkward at a big public meeting — when pickpockets are about. On the whole, I think I prefer gas – gas has always been a good deal in my way.

'Wha-a-at: go to Wagner concert? Art thou a spirit of health or goblin damned. Fetch me a stomach pump at once; or let me die in peace.

Lady Hallé, the eminent music merchant, says that she doesn't think that the big pots of society appreciate classical music as they ought. She implies that they say 'How too awfully lovely' – and then get out with the utmost promptitude and despatch. I don't wonder at it. Fancy any man in his sane mind sitting through one of these maddening things called oratorios. Dare I confess to a vulgar preference for a good rollicking song or a homely and simple ballad. I am not educated up to oratorios; I have not sufficient 'culchah' for them. I never was a man of robust constitution. I have heard several of them through. I have passed through many hardships. I have been ship-wrecked at Morecombe on a sandbank. We had to wait for the turn of the tide ere we could rescue ourselves. I have been through other hardships—I have been to a dentist's, sat through a magic-lantern entertainment, and drunk eighteenpenny sherry — but none of these bitter trials has exercised me so much as has classical music. Under the circumstances I prefer to do without music. I venture to think that I can struggle on in this world of tribulation without classical music; when I think of committing suicide I may begin to consider the subject.

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Last modified 25 March 2022