OUR American contemporaries are just now very busy with Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan, and one of them gives a droll account of the reception awarded to the "Pinaforists" by a fleet of hired steamers off Sandy Hook. The day was bitterly cold, but, despite a thermometer "below the Antarctic Continent," large numbers of people went off to meet the illustrious visitors, every vessel in the motley squadron being dressed with American and English flags, and having on board a "Pinafore" band and chorus. The Standard "Pinafore" sent two tugs, and the Church Choir "Pinafore" one; another hailing from the Aquarium, another from Lexington Avenue, and another from some place where a German version of the operetta is played. All these might have made a gallant show under an admiral, but as each steamer went its own way they somehow got mixed up with the regular shipping, and so the effect was lost. The bands and choirs were more successful with their selections from the great work of the honoured guests – or rather they would have been but for a "pestilent little tug," sent out by the San Francisco Minstrels, and carrying a flag inscribed with the terrible legend, "No Pinafore." The mission of this tug, like that of the rift within the lute, was to spoil the music, and it did its work with all the perseverance and success of afirst-class steam whistle. Whenever a band played or a chorus sang, the steam whistle of the Minstrels shrieked its loudest, and so were Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan escorted into New York Bay.
transcribed by Helga J. Perry, 19 November 2000
updated 18 March 2007