FRANCE AND ITALY. Punch, or The London Charivari 1887 February 12 92: 76 [unsigned news item]

    MESSRS. GILBERT AND SULLIVAN actually wrote to the French Figaro explaining, in very excellent French (the composition of the letter must have given them considerable trouble, but whatever they undertake they do thoroughly wit hthe best grammars and conversation books on the table, Mr. GILBERT pacing up and down dictating, D'OYLY CARTE looking out the words in a dictionary, and SIR ARTHUR writing out the rough copy in his neatest hand), that the song of their "Marin pour rire" (some relation to a "rear-admiral") was not intended as an insult to the French flag, and that, therefore, "La Marine d'une nation aussi brave que chevaleresque" (Bravo, SIR ARTHUR! If this wasn't a touch of your special polish, and if D'OYLY CARTE didn't chuckle over it mightily, then we are mistaken in our men) needn't take umbrage at what was merely a kind of joke, about on a par, i.e., "ayant précisement autant de sens que 'Rosbif' et 'Goddam' employés pour ridiculer les Anglais dane une comédie-burlesque française."
    And so, in spite of the irate "T. JOHNSON," the distinguished correspondent of the Figaro more distinguished than ever now by his apparent inabillity tp understand Mr. GILBERT'S peculiar humour the funds will recover, the war scare will not be intensified, and the peace of Europe will be undisturbed. Evidently the two Savoyards consider the "Comédie-burlesque" anglaise at the Savoy as the Piece of Europe. This has not been undisturbed, as we hear that most of the first-night jokes have been taken out of the Second Act, which now ought to go capitally. But what a lesson is here! that after the most careful rehearsal, after days and nights of work and elaboration, and after a dress rehearsal in the presence of critics, it is only after the public performance, and this in the presence of a most friendly and enthusiastic audience, that the mistakes are found out which ought to have been discovered and rectified at rehearsal.


transcribed by Helga J. Perry, 30 May 2001