Title: Punchinello, Volume 1, No. 14, July 2, 1870
Release date: February 1, 2006 [eBook #9819]
Most recently updated: December 26, 2020
Credits: Produced by Cornell University, Joshua Hutchinson, Sandra
Brown and PG Distributed Proofreaders
MORE CONFIDENCES THAN ONE.
"You and your sister have been insured, of course," said the Gospeler to MONTGOMERY PENDRAGON, as they returned from escorting Mr. SCHENCK.
"Of course," echoed MONTGOMERY, with a suppressed moan. "He is our guardian, and has trampled us into a couple of policies. We had to yield, or excess of Boreal conversation would have made us maniacs."
"You speak bitterly for one so young," observed the Reverend OCTAVIUS SIMPSON. "Is it derangement of the stomach, or have you known sorrow?"
"Heaps of sorrow," answered the young man. "You may be aware, sir, that my sister and I belong to a fine old heavily mortgaged Southern family—the PENRUTHERSES and MUNCHAUSENS of Chipmunk Court House, Virginia, are our relatives—and that SHERMAN marched through us during the late southward projection of certain of your Northern military scorpions. After our father's felo-desease, ensuing remotely from an overstrain in attempting to lift a large mortgage, our mother gave us a step-father of Northern birth, who tried to amend our constitutions and reconstruct us."
"Dreadful!" murmured the Gospeler.
"We hated him! MAGNOLIA threw her scissors at him several times. My sister, sir, does not know what fear is. She would fight a lion; inheriting the spirit from our father, who, I have heard said, frequently fought a tiger. She can fire a gun and pick off a State Senator as well as any man in all the South. Our mother died. A few mornings thereafter our step-father was found dead in his bed, and the doctors said he died of a pair of scissors which he must have swallowed accidentally in his youth, and which were found, after his death, to have worked themselves several inches out of his side, near the heart."
"Swallowed a pair of scissors!" exclaimed the Reverend OCTAVIUS.
"He might have had a stitch in his side at the time, you know, and wanted to cut it," explained MONTGOMERY. "At any rate, after that we became wards of Mr. SCHENCK, up North here. And now let me ask you, sir, is this Mr. EDWIN DROOD a student with you?"
"No. He is visiting his uncle, Mr. BUMSTEAD," answered the Gospeler, who could not free his mind from the horrible thought that his young companion's fearless sister might have been in some way acscissory to the sudden cutting off of her step-father's career.
"Is Miss FLORA POTTS his sister?"
Mr. SIMPSON told the story of the betrothal of the young couple by their respective departed parents.
"Oh, that's the game, eh?" said MONTGOMERY. "I understand now his whispering to me that he wished he was dead." In a moment afterwards they re-entered the house in Gospeler's Gulch.
The air was slightly laden with the odor of cloves as they went into the parlor, and Mr. BUMSTEAD was at the piano, accompanying the Flowerpot while she sang. Executing without notes, and with his stony gaze fixed intently between the nose and chin of the singer, Mr. BUMSTEAD had a certain mesmeric appearance of controlling the words coming out of the rosy mouth. Standing beside Miss POTTS was MAGNOLIA PENDRAGON, seemingly fascinated, as it were, by the BUMSTEAD method of playing, in which the performer's fingers performed almost as frequently upon the woodwork of the instrument as upon the keys. Mr. PENDRAGON surveyed the group with an arm resting on the mantel; Mr. SIMPSON took a chair by his maternal nut-cracker, and Mr. DROOD stealthily practiced with his ball on a chair behind the sofa.
The Flowerpot was singing a neat thing by LONGFELLOW about the Evening Star, and seemed to experience the most remarkable psychological effects from Mr. BUMSTEAD'S wooden variations and extraordinary stare at the lower part of her countenance. Thus, she twitched her plump shoulders strangely, and sang—
"Just a-bove yon sandy bar, As the day grows faint—(te-hee-he-he!) Lonely and lovely a single—(now do-o-n't!) Lights the air with"—(sto-o-op! It tickles—)
Convulsively giggling and exclaiming, alternately, Miss POTTS abruptly ended her beautiful bronchial noise with violent distortion of countenance, as though there were a spider in her mouth, and sank upon a chair in a condition almost hysterical.
"Your playing has made SISSY nervous, JACK," said EDWIN DROOD, hastily concealing his ball and coming forward. "I noticed, myself, that you played more than half the notes in the air, or on the music-rack, without touching the keys at all."
"That is because I am not accustomed to playing upon two pianos at once," answered BUMSTEAD, who, at that very moment, was industriously playing the rest of the air some inches from the nearest key.
"He couldn't make me nervous!" exclaimed Miss PENDRAGON, decidedly.
They bore the excited Flowerpot, (who still tittered a little, and was nervously feeling her throat,) to the window, for air; and when they came back Mr. BUMSTEAD was gone. "There, Sissy," said EDWIN DROOD, "you've driven him away; and I'm half afraid he feels unpleasantly confused about it; for he's got out of the rear door of the house by mistake, and I can hear him trying to find his way home in the back-yard."
The two young men escorted Miss CAROWTHERS and the two young ladies to the door of the Alms-House, and there bade them good-night; but, at a yet later hour, FLORA POTTS and the new pupil still conversed in the chamber which they were to occupy conjointly.
After discussing the fashions with great excitement; asking each other just exactly what each gave for every article she wore; and successively practicing male-discouraging, male-encouraging, and chronically-in-different expressions of face in the mirror (as all good young ladies always do preparatory to their evening prayers,) the lovely twain made solemn nightcap-oath of eternal friendship to each other, and then, of course, began picking the men to pieces.
"Who is this Mr. BUMSTEAD?" asked MAGNOLIA, who was now looking much like a ghost.
"He's that absurd EDDY'S ridiculous uncle, and my music-teacher," answered the Flowerpot, also presenting an emaciated appearance.
"You do not love him?" queried MAGNOLIA.
"Now go 'wa-a-ay! How perfectly disgusting!" protested FLORA.
"You know that he loves you!"
"Do-o-n't!" pleaded Miss POTTS, nervously. "You'll make me fidgetty again, just thinking of to-night. It was too perfectly absurd."
"Why, he was,—Mr. BUMSTEAD. It gave me the funniest feeling! It was as though some one was trying to see through you, you know."
"My child!" exclaimed Miss PENDRAGON, dropping her cheek-distenders upon the bureau, "you speak strangely. Has that man gained any power over you?"
"No, dear," returned FLORA, wiping off a part of her left eyebrow with cold cream. "But didn't you see? He was looking right down my throat all the time I was singing, until it actually tickled me!"
"Does he always do so?"
"Oh, I don't know what he always does!" whimpered the nervous Flowerpot. "Oh, he's such an utterly ridiculous creature! Sometimes when we're in company together, and I smell cloves, and look at him, I think that I see the lid of his right eye drop over the ball and tremble at me in the strangest manner. And sometimes his eyes seem fixed motionless in his head, as they did to-night, and he'll appear to wander off into a kind of dream, and feel about in the air with his right arm as though he wanted to hug somebody. Oh! my throat begins to tickle again! Oh, stay with me, and be my absurdly ridiculous friend!"
The dark-featured Southern linen spectre leaned soothingly above the other linen spectre, with a bottle of camphor in her hand, near the bureau upon which the back-hair of both was piled; and in the flash of her black eyes, and the defiant flirt of the kid-gloves dipped in glycerine which she was drawing on her hands, lurked death by lightning and other harsh usage for whomsoever of the male sex should ever be caught looking down in the mouth again.
A DAGGERY TYPE OF FORTALKRAPHY.
The two young gentlemen, having seen their blooming charges safely within the door of the Alms-House, and vainly endeavored to look through the keyhole at them going up-stairs, scuffle away together with that sensation of blended imbecility and irascibility which is equally characteristic of callow youth and inexperienced Thomas Cats when retiring together from the society of female friends who seem to be still on the fence as regards their ultimate preferences.
"Do you bore your friends here long, Mr. DROOD?" inquired MONTGOMERY; as who should say: Maouiw-ow-ooo-sp't! sp't!
"Not this time, Secesh," is the answer; as though it were observed, ooo-ooo-sp't! "I leave for New York again to-morrow; but shall be off and on again in Bumsteadville until midsummer, when I go to Egypt, Illinois, to be an engineer on a railroad. The stamps left me by my father are all in the stock of that road, and the Mr. BUMSTEAD whom you saw to-night is my uncle and guardian."
"Mr. SIMPSON informs me that you are destined to assume the expenses of Miss POTTS, when you're old enough," remarks MONTGOMERY, his eyes shining quite greenly in the moonlight.
"Well, perhaps you'd like to make something out of it," says EDWIN, whose orbs have assumed a yellowish glitter. "Perhaps you Southern Confederacies didn't get quite enough of it at Gettysburgh and Five Forks."
"We had the exquisite pleasure of killing a few thousand Yankee free-lovers," intimates MONTGOMERY, with a hollow laugh.
"Ah, yes, I remember—at Andersonville," suggests EDWIN DROOD, beginning to roll back his sleeves.
"This is your magnanimity to the conquered, is it!" exclaims MONTGOMERY, scornfully. "I don't pretend to have your advantages, Mr. DROOD, and I've scarcely had any more education than an American Humorist; but where I come from, if a carpet-bagger should talk as you do, the cost of his funeral would be but a trifle."
"I can prepare you, at shortest notice, for something very neat and tasteful in the silver-trimmed rosewood line, with plated handles, dark-complexioned Ku-klux," returns Mr. DROOD, preparing to pull off his coat.
"Who would have believed," soliloquizes MONTGOMERY PENDRAGON, "that even a scalawag Northern spoon-thief, like our scurrilous contemporary, would get so mad at being reminded that he must be married some day!"
"Whoever says that I'm mad," is the answer, "lies deliberately wilfully, wickedly, with naked intent to defame and malign."
But here a heavy hand suddenly smites EDWIN in the back, almost snapping his head off, and there stands spectrally between them Mr. BUMSTEAD, who has but recently found his way out of the back-yard in Gospeler's Gulch, by removing at least two yards of picket fence from the wrong place, and wears upon his head a gingham sun-bonnet, which, in his hurried departure through the hall of the Gospeler's house, he has mistaken for his own hat. Sustaining himself against the fierce evening breeze by holding firmly to both shoulders of his nephew, this striking apparition regards the two young men with as much austerity as is consistent with the flapping of the cape of his sun-bonnet.
"Gentlelemons," he says, with painful syllabic distinctness, "can I believe my ears? Are you already making journalists of yourselves?"
They hang their heads in shame under the merciless but just accusation. "Here you are," continues BUMSTEAD, "a quartette of young fellows who should all be friends. NEDS, NEDS! I am ashamed of you! MONTGOMERIES, you should not let your angry passions rise; for your little hands were never made to bark and bite." After this, Mr. BUMSTEAD seems lost for a moment, and reclines upon his nephew, with his eyes closed in meditation. "But let's all five of us go up to my room," he finally adds, "and restore friendship with lemon tea. It is time for the North and South to be reconciled over something hot. Come."
Leaning upon both of them now, and pushing them into a walk, he exquisitely turns the refrain of the rejected National Hymn—
"'Twas by a mistake that we lost Bull Bun,
Thus he artfully employs music to soothe their sectional animosities, and only skips into the air once as they walk, with a "Whoop! That was something like a snake!"
Arriving in his room, the door of which he has had some trouble in opening, on account of the knob having wandered in his absence to the wrong side, Mr. BUMSTEAD indicates a bottle of lemon tea, with some glasses, on the table, accidentally places the lamp so that it shines directly upon EDWIN'S triangular sketch of FLORA over the mantel, and, taking his umbrella under his arm, smiles horribly at his young guests from out his sun-bonnet.
"Do you recognize that picture, PENDRAGONS?" he asks, after the two have drunk fierily at each other. "Do you notice its stereoscopic effect of being double?"
"Ah," says MONTGOMERY, critically, "a good deal in the style of HENNESSY, or WINSLOW HOMER, I should say. Something in the school-slate method."
"It's by EDWINS, there!" explains Mr. BUMSTEAD, triumphantly. "Just look at him as he sits there both together, with all his happiness cut out for him, and his dislike of Southerners his only fault."
"If I could only draw Miss PENDRAGON, now," says EDWIN DROOD, rather flattered, "I might do better. A good sharp nose and Southern complexion help wonderfully in the expression of a picture."
"Perhaps my sister would prefer to choose her own artist," remarks MONTGOMERY, to whom Mr. BUMSTEAD has just poured out some more lemon tea.
"Say a Southern one, for instance, who might use some of the flying colors that were always warranted to run when our boys got after yours in the late war," responds EDWIN, to whom his attentive uncle has also poured out some more lemon tea for his cold.
"For instance—at Fredericksburgh," observes MONTGOMERY.
"I was thinking of Fort Donelson," returns EDWIN.
The conservative BUMSTEAD strives anxiously to allay the irritation of his young guests by prodding first one and then the other with his umbrella; and, in an attempt to hold both of them and the picture behind him in one commanding glance under his sun-bonnet, presents a phase of strabismus seldom attained by human eyes.
"If I only had you down where I come from, Mr. DROOD," cries MONTGOMERY, tickled into ungovernable wrath by the ferule of the umbrella, I'd tar and feather you like a Yankee teacher, and then burn you like a freedman's church."
"Oh!—if you only had me there, you'd do so," cries EDWIN DROOD, springing to his feet as the umbrella tortures his ribs. "If, eh? Pooh, pooh, my young fellow, I perceive that you are a mere Cincinnati Editor."
The degrading epithet goads PENDRAGON to fury, and, after throwing his remaining lemon tea about equally upon EDWIN and the sun-bonnet, he extracts the sugar from the bottom of the glass with his fingers, and uses the goblet to ward off a last approach of the umbrella.
"EDWINS! MONTGOMERIES!" exclaims Mr. BUMSTEAD, opening the umbrella between them so suddenly that each is grazed on the nose by a whalebone rib, "I command you to end this Congressional debate at once. I never saw four such young men before! MONTGOMERIES, put up your penknife thizinstant!"
Pushing aside the barrier of alpaca and whalebone from under his chin, MONTGOMERY dashes wildly from the house, tears madly back to Gospeler's Gulch, and astounds the Gospeler by his appearance.
"Oh, Mr. SIMPSON," he cries, as he is conducted to the door of his own room, "I believe that I, too, inherit some tigerish qualities from that tiger my father is said to have fought so often. I've had a political discussion with Mr. DROOD in Mr. BUMSTEAD'S apartments, and, if I'd stayed there a moment longer, I reckon I should have murdered somebody in a moment of Emotional Insanity."
The Reverend OCTAVIUS SIMPSON makes him unclose his clenched fist, in which there appears to be one or two cloves, and then says: "I am shocked to hear this, Mr. PENDRAGON. As you have no political influence, and have never shot a Tribune man, neither New York law nor society would allow you to commit murder with impunity. I regret, too, to see that you have been drinking, and would advise you to try a chapter from one of Professor DE MILLE'S novels, as a mild emetic, before retiring. After that, two or three sentences from one of Mr. RICHARD GRANT WHITE'S essays—will ensure sleep to you for the remainder of the night."
Returning the unspeakably thankful pressure of the grateful young man's hand, the Gospeler goes thoughtfully down stairs, where he is just in time to answer the excited ring of Mr. BUMSTEAD.
"Dear me, Mr. BUMSTEAD!" is his first exclamation, "what's that you've got on your head?"
"Perspiration, sir," cries BUMSTEAD, who, in his agitation, is still ringing the bell. "We've nearly had a murder to-night, and I've come around to offer you my umbrella for your own protection."
"Umbrella!" echoes Mr. SIMPSON, "why, really, I don't see how—"
"Open it on him suddenly when he makes a pass at you," interrupts Mr. BUMSTEAD, thrusting the alpaca weapon upon him. "I'll send for it in the morning."
The Gospeler stands confounded in his own doorway, with the defence thus strangely secured in his hand; and, looking up the moon-lighted road, sees Mr. BUMSTEAD, in the sun-bonnet, leaping high, at short intervals, over the numerous adders and cobras on his homeward way, like a thoroughbred hurdle-racer.
(To be Continued.)
Many plays of various sorts have been explained and commented upon in this column. Now for the first time a show claims attention. The BEETHOVEN Centennial Festival has just ceased its multitudinous noise, and the several shows connected with it—such as GROVER'S blue coat, GILMORE'S light gymnastics on the conductor's stand, the electric artillery and the plenteous PAREPA, have vanished away. Time and space and patience would fail to tell the story of the ten successive showers of noise that inundated the Rink during last week. Let us then content ourselves with a reminiscence of the opening night.
As the sun was understood to be descending the Western horizon (in some rural locality that possesses a horizon,) last Monday afternoon, three horsemen—who had doubtless left their horses at a convenient stable,—might have been seen descending from a Third Avenue car. Before them stood the Rink, glittering with rows of lamps—the last rows—not of summer—but of the American Institute Fair. Passing these lines of Rinkéd brightness long drawn out, (SHAKESPEARE) the three dismounted horsemen entered the building and seated themselves. A mighty murmur of applause rose from the chorus, as BERGMANN stepped to the front and ordered his orchestral army to advance upon BEETHOVEN'S Sympony in C. This what they heard and saw:
FIRST HORSEMAN. "What a noise they make tuning their fiddles When's this thing going to begin?"
SECOND HORSEMAN. "Begin! Why, it has begun. This is BEETHOVEN'S Symphony in C."
THIRD HOUSEMAN. "Don't you know the Symphony at Sea? It represents a storm, you know."
YOUNG LADY FROM BOSTON. "How divinely beautiful! It ought to be played, however, by GILMORE'S Band. They do not understand classical music in New York."
ACCOMPANYING FRIEND. "Hush. PAREPA is going to sing."
There is a tremulous motion felt throughout the vast building. It is the approach of PAREPA, who skips lightly—like the little hills mentioned by the Psalmist—across the stage. She curtseys, and her skirts expand in vast ripples like the waves of a placid sea when some huge line-of-battle ship sinks suddenly from sight. She smiles a sweet and ample smile. She flirts her elegant fan, and gallant little CARL ROSA—who can lead an orchestra better than the weightiest German of them all—is swept swiftly away, whirling like a rose-leaf before the breath of the gentle zephyr. Then she sings.
What is the grand orchestra compared with the exhaustless volume of her matchless voice! What the chorus of three thousand singers or the multitudinous pipes of the great organ! Far above chorus or orchestra or organ soar her clear notes, full, rich, ringing. Her voice, like her majestic presence, was made expressly for Boston Jubilees and BEETHOVEN Centennials. The former can fill the largest building the continent has ever seen; the latter—well, the latter is perceptible at quite a distance.
The "Inflammatus" is sung, and sung again, and then the programmes rustle, as the audience looks to see who has the rashness to follow PAREPA the peerless.
RURAL PERSON. "Now we're goin' to hear somethin' like. The New Jersey Harmonic Society is agoin' to sing 'When first I saw her face in 1616.' I don't like none of your operas. That 'inflammation' may be a big thing,' but give me some old-fashioned toon."
Accordingly the New Jersey Society sings, and sings extremely well. The simple melody sung by these gentle rustics pleases the people. They demand its repetition, and it is generally conceded that the native Jerseyman has more music in what he regards as his soul, than the wilder aborigines who follow SPOTTED TAIL and SWIFT BEAR.
YOUNG LADY FROM BOSTON.—"How sweet these old madrigals are. That piece, however, ought to have been played by GILMORE'S Band. These New Jersey people know nothing about any music that is above OFFENBACH'S melodies."
And then everybody is seized with an impulse to whisper to everybody else, "Now we are to have the Star Spangled Banner."
It is evident that the American nation hungers and thirsts after something over which it may wax patriotic and loyal. It has no monarch, and the absurdity of becoming enthusiastic over GRANT'S cigar is only too manifest. It is therefore obliged to content itself with simulating a frantic admiration of the Flag.
Now the flag is rather a pretty one, and to people north of MASON and DIXON'S line, possesses many interesting associations. But the doggerel which the late Mr. KEY attempted to celebrate it, is not altogether above reproach. Beginning with the Bowery interrogative "Sa-ay," and ending with a reference to the "land of the free and the home of the brave," which the late ELIJAH POGRAM, or the present NATHANIEL BANKS might have written, it is simply the weakest of rhymed buncombe wedded to the cheapest of pinchbeck music. And yet we fancy ourselves inspired when we hear it.
Fortunately, as sung at the BEETHOVEN festival, the words are drowned by the music, and the music by the artillery. It thus becomes an inarticulate patriotic "yawp," of tremendous ear-splitting power. But the public likes it.
They greet it with tremendous roars of applause. The artillery, discharged with uniform promptness several seconds in advance of time, renders them wild with delight. PAREPA'S voice, rising at intervals above even the combined din of instruments, voices, and cannon, is hardly heeded by them. Noise is what they want, and they have a surfeit of it. It is only after the performance is ended that the vision of GILMORE'S ecstatic coat-tails, as they danced to the wild whirling of his maniacal baton, comes back to their memory. Then they smile and say, "Curious fellow that GILMORE. Knows how to make himself a pleasing and prominent feature."
But the Boston young lady says in a serious tone, "GILMORE'S band should have played that piece without any assistance. These New York people do not understand the potentialities of brass."
Perhaps we don't. And then again perhaps we do.—Boston may have a monopoly of virtue, but it has hardly a monopoly of brass.
After the patriotic noise comes the Oberon overture, led by CARL ROSA so daintily that it is the best performance of the evening. By and by everybody attempts to leave in advance of everybody else, with a view to a seat in the cars; and the first night of the Centennial is over.
And nine-tenths of the people remark that it is "bully."
And several of the remainder speak patronizingly of it.
And the critics go up to the "Press Room" for another glass of—in short, for a sandwich:
And the Boston young lady expresses her firm conviction, that GILMORE should have managed the whole affair, without the interference of those uncultivated New-Yorkers.
And the fat lady from the Fifth Avenue remarks that "nothing has occurred to mar the misanthropy of the occasion."
And a wretch who does not consider Miss KELLOGG the "Nightingale of America," smiles a fiendish smile as he thinks that her pretty little voice is to be heard by the conductor and the nearest chorus singers on the following day.
And the undersigned goes home to calm his mind by an hour's perusal of Dr. WATTS, and then to dream of star-spangled GILMORES and electric PAREPA batteries until morning.
WASHINGTON CITY, June 4, 1870.
DEAR PUNCHINELLO: I have noticed with pleasure your bold and generous championship of Philadelphia. I have witnessed, with genuine delight, your expose of the designs of the Iron Legislature upon that most unhappy of rectangular cities; and I have been emboldened thereby to hazard a petition to you to fly still higher in your philanthropic endeavors to do and dare still more for the oppressed of your race—to—to—in short, to attempt the defence of Washington and the Washingtonians!!
There! it is out! But that I know you of old; but that, knowing you, I regretted with a great regret your former withdrawal from affairs of State; but that I welcomed your return to the arena of which, in former years, you were the acknowledged victor; but that I knew your unlimited compassion, I would not, though a bold man, have dared to ask so much.
Yet, I have reason for my request. For, if Philadelphia be rectangular, Washington has greater claims, seeing that she is scalene, crooked, trapezoidal, and, in general terms, catacornered. If Philadelphia be legislature-ridden, Washington is Congress-burdened. It Philadelphia suffers under an infliction of horse-railroads and white wooden shutters, Washington groans under the pangs and pains of unmitigated CHRONICLE!
This last is our greatest grievance. Fortunately for you, dear P., you know not what it is to be Congress-burdened, but we do. Alas! too well. It means mud and dust; it means unpaved streets pervaded by perambulating pigs and contemplative cows, and rendered still more rural in its aspect by the gambolings of frolicsome kids around grave goats. It means an empty treasury, high rents, extraordinary taxes, and poor grub. In short, it means WRETCHEDNESS. But to be "Chronicled"—
"——That way Madness lies"
In this connection, dear PUNCHINELLO, let me hasten to disclaim any intention of abusing or "pitching into" the renowned "Editor of Two Newspapers, Both Daily." Everybody has been doing that for the past five or six years, and I do not wish to be vulgar. Besides, to do the gentleman justice, we do not think he is to blame for much of our misery; as he confines his editorial connection with our incubus to writing a weekly letter to the Press, and publishing it in both dailies. At the same time we do wish that he would, out of compassion for our suffering souls, exercise a little supervision over the small boys whom he employs to write the Chronicle, and thus spare us something of what we are now obliged to stand.
Let me give you one or two instances of the course pursued by this tyrannous newspaper.
It frightens timid citizens by its narratives of horrible outrages in the South, especially in Georgia and Tennessee; and my wife, who has relatives in the former place, was in chronic hysterics until it was discovered that the "outrages" were, to use a vulgar expression, "all in my eye." To this day she trembles at the word "loil," (I believe I spell it correctly,) knowing, as she does, that the dreaded and mysterious syllables, Ku-Klux, will most assuredly follow it.
Why, did we not have a great scare here a week or two ago, when it was announced that the mysterious chalk-marks on the pavements were significant of the presence of the awful K.K. in our midst—at our very doors? Did we not sleep with revolvers under our pillows, and dream of cross-bones and coffins? Did not Mayor BOWEN receive a dread missive warning him to evacuate Washington, lest he be made a corpse of in less than no time? Had not several colored gentlemen and white men received similar missives? And does it repay us for our fright and alarm, when it is discovered that the mysterious marks are cunning devices of a gentleman engaged in the oyster trade? By no means. We have suffered our terrors, and no amount of oysters can alleviate them. To such straits has the Chronicle reduced the citizens of Washington.
But we have other causes of complaint against this extraordinary newspaper. Here is one:
It may not be unknown to you that the Chronicle has a habit of identifying itself with the people and subjects which it discusses. Does it put forth an article on naval matters—straightway it becomes salter than Turk's Island, and talks of bobstays and main-top-bowlines and poop-down-hauls in a manner that, to put it mildly, is confusing, and would, if you read it, make you jump as if all your strings were pulled at once! Are financial matters under discussion—behold even JAMES FISK, Jr., is not so keen and shrewd, nor Commodore VANDERBILT so full of "corners." And only the other day, it discussed the Medical Convention which lately met here, and lo! we are amazed by the amount of knowledge displayed by the omniscient journal! In a long article, after mildly remonstrating with the doctors for refusing to admit their colored brethren of the District of Columbia to a share in their deliberations, it closes with this obscurely terrible remark:
"Better die of nostalgia in exile abroad, than remain at home to suffer from ossification of the pericardium—"
or words to that effect, as the lawyers say.
On reading this, with what strength I had left I secured a dictionary, and found that "nostalgia" means homesickness;—a disease not known to Washingtonian exiles—but what "ossification of the pericardium" means I cannot discover. Not only have I searched every dictionary in the Congressional Library, but I have pervaded all the bookstores, and made myself a nuisance to every medical man of my acquaintance—in vain! Nobody ever heard of such a disease, if disease it be. It may be something more dreadful! And not only I, but those whom I have persecuted with my inquiries, are on the verge of insanity; and for all this the Chronicle is responsible.
Now, this can't be endured; and I have come to you for help. Either tell us what is the meaning of this terrible phrase, or else open your batteries on the malicious genius who pens those Chronicle papers, and—squelch him!
"I am not mad—but soon shall be!"
if you don't answer.
Yours, in tribulation,
P. S.—Be sure and see that the printer spells my name rightly, and don't transmogrify it into "TREEBOX," as a beast of a Treasury Clerk did the other day. "There are chords—" you know.
Egypt and Turkey—the Nile and the Bosphorus—seem coming to blows. But if hostilities are happily averted, with what propriety can it be said that Nihil fit?
I wish the Editor would put a little note in large letters right here, requesting readers not to run off and read Mr. MORRIS'S poem, after gazing on the above title. My very respectable reader, you're smart, very smart indeed, but let me assure you that you haven't discovered from the float which I have placed on the surface, which way my string is drifting, so, if you get on a string don't complain.
As, at this season of the year, everybody who is anybody either goes into the country or else shuts up his front windows and lives in the back area, in order to create the impression that he is to be found in the rural districts, PUNCHINELLO must of course follow the universal example. His front windows, however, must never be shut, so he must fall to packing his trunks at once. But where shall he go? List! oh, list! I will give a list of spots present.
They say the seas-on has commenced at Long Branch. This place is peopled by the foolish men of whom we have heard, who built their houses on the sand. The chief amusement of visitors is thus: you put on some old clothes, which have evidently just retired from the coal-heaving business, stand in the water up to your ankles, and grasp manfully, with both hands, a rope; then a watery creature, named Surf, climbs upon you and gets down on the other side; you rush to a neighboring shanty, put on your store clothes, and feel twice as warm as you would have felt if you hadn't wrestled with Surf. The reports from Boston are that the Pilgrim Fathers have ceased to enjoy their coffins and shrouds, since Jubilee JIM has commenced to carry pleasure-seekers to the seaside on Plymouth Rock.
Saratoga is still the place for SARA to patronize. The chief objection to that place is that the water is so muddy that they call it Congress Water. However, you soon become infatuated with it. I once saw a very stout lady imbibe sixteen glasses of the water, and as I left the scene of dissipation she was screaming for more. I concluded that she was a sister-in-law to BOREAS. A young and tender Sixteenth Amendment, who was a three-quarter orphan, (she had only a step-father,) has been known to drink, unaided, thirty glasses of Saratoga water in twenty-four hours. Can Mr. WESTON beat that? I forgot to say that she survived. The difference between Long Branch and Saratoga is, that at the former you take salt water externally, while at the latter you take salt and water internally.
Newport is still appropriately situated on Rowed Island. None but the select deserve Newport. However, they say Old Gin is the next best thing. You can rent a cottage by the sea and see what you can. (I may add that you can also rent a cottage by the year, though I believe the view is not any finer on that account.) Beware of the tow! This is not a warning against blondes, but against rolls.
The proper thing to do at Newport is thus: A scented youth, with a perfumed damsel resting on his arm, wanders at eventide down to the sea to hear the majestic waves roll upon the beach. Having selected a suitable spot, the pair sit down and then make night hideous with "What are the wild waves saying?"
Niagara is perched upon its Erie. To a man of a reflective mind this is an unpleasant place. As he gazes on the rushing flood he thinks of the waste of raw material. Water being thrown away and no tax being collected. As a rule in this place cheat your carriage-driver, for if you don't, he'll cheat you for your negligence.
Of course, as it is now June, no one will visit Cape May. The White Mountains, having received a new coat of paint, are ready for summer visitors. A few stock quotations, such as, "cloud-capped towers," "peak of Teneriffe," &c., are very useful here. Also a large supply of breath. Lake Mahopac may be packed, of course, but any one of a romantic turn of mind, who loves to float with fair women idly upon a summer sea, (in a boat, of course,) 'mid crocuses and lilies, while the air is filled with the melodious sounds from a bass-drum and that sort of thing, and is redolent with the perfume of a thousand flowers, will find solace here. (I flatter myself that period is well turned.)
All over the land you may find choice little spots, farm-houses, over which the woodbine and the honeysuckle clamber, while the surrounding wheat fields—(I have lost my volume of WHITMAN, and forget what the wheat fields do, poetically.) Perhaps it is my duty to here introduce some remarks about farming, but, as the Self-made Man is struggling with that subject, and as a certain innocent, who has been abroad, proposes to handle it, I refrain.
I very nearly forgot Coney Island. This is the favorite resort of clams and little jokers. Here you may daily fill your bread-basket with bivalves, and then observe the mysteries of that mystic game, now you see it, now you don't.
Of course I don't propose to state which of these places is the Earthly Paradise. You pays your money and you takes your choice. What hurts my feelings is, that any one should have supposed that I intended to write a criticism of Mr. MORRIS'S poem. Do people imagine that my time is entirely valueless, and that I can afford to waste it in criticising poetry?
A few years since the City of Portland, upon a certain Fourth of July, was nearly consumed by fire, the origin of which was the well-known Cracker. But Portland is undaunted, and proposes this year to have a finer Independence Day than ever. If Mr. PUNCHINELLO might advise, he would recommend to the Portlanders, festivities of a decidedly aquatic character—swimming-matches, going down in diving bells, the playing of fountains, battles between little boys with squirt-guns, regattas, and floating batteries. Mr. P. himself intends to celebrate the coming Fourth upon water—with something in it, of course, to kill the insects. The Maine Liquor Law being in full force in Portland, there will be no difficulty in obtaining ardent spirits on the Fourth; and Mr. PUNCHINELLO therefore the more confidently recommends a full aqueous infusion of the Down East toddies.
In Tipton, Indiana, has originated the secret order, with rituals, signs and grips, called the "Earthquake." Were its object not altogether earthly, we might regard it as merely a new set of underground Quakers. The remarkable quiet of Friends' Burying-grounds is a guarantee against all possible disturbance from Earth-Quakers, now that the Underground Railroad has ceased to run.
All honor to the gentlewoman in Aroostook, Maine, who put out a fire the other day, first by pouring water on it, then all her milk and cream, and finally all the pickle in her meat-barrels. 'Twas only applying wholesale an old woman's cure for burns; but the point of the matter was that she pickled a fire, and preserved her life.
Extract from Speech of Counsel for Defence.
"Ladies of the Jury, I appeal to you; should such whiskers be hung? True, he killed his wife; but, as you know, she was a horrid jealous thing, and led her poor husband such a life. In my opinion, killing was too good for her. Ladies, be merciful; the prisoner hangs upon your lips. Consider his eyes; consider his nose. Were I married to a woman who called me an unprincipled wretch, wouldn't I kill her? Wouldn't I? Ladies, be generous." And so forth. (Jury retire, but return immediately with a verdict of Not Guilty; Judge, Jury, Counsel, and all shed tears and kiss indiscriminately. They take up a collection for the prisoner, who, next day, marries the Forewoman of the Jury, out of gratitude.)
STANDISH FOUR CORNERS, June —, 18—
EDITOR OF PUNCHINELLO:
SIR: I wish to call your attention to certain defects in the journal conducted by you, and to make a few suggestions, which, if followed, will greatly improve it. I have talked with several eminent gentlemen on the subject, among whom are the Rev. EZEKIEL DODGE, pastor of the Sandemanian Church in our town, and also the Hon. PELEG SMITH, our Representative in Congress. Both fully agree with me in the ideas which I am about to lay before you.
In the first place, I object to the name PUNCHINELLO. It is too frivolous, and suggests no food to the thoughtful mind. You should have called your paper the Banner of Progress. This would have at once enlisted the sympathy of all earnest men in your enterprise. Rev. Mr. DODGE says that he wrote to you some weeks ago, proposing that you change the name to that of the Friend of Truth, while Mr. SMITH thinks that the Pig Iron Review would be the best possible name. He is, however, a high tariff man, and his judgment may be influenced by that fact. Either of these latter names would unquestionably be preferable to PUNCHINELLO, but the name which I have suggested is the one which you ought to adopt.
Then the shape of your paper is all wrong. Any one can see that if it were only shorter and broader, it would closely resemble the shape of Punch. Now, sir, we Americans don't want anything that looks like anything British or European. Our country is bigger, and consequently better than any other. We have bigger rivers, bigger cataracts, bigger steamboats, and bigger jimfisks than any other people, and, therefore, our newspapers ought to be original in shape. You should make your paper octagonal in form, otherwise everybody will justly accuse you of imitating some effete and monarchical British journal.
And I must strongly object to the spirit of levity which I find in your paper. This is an Earnest Age, sir, and we cannot afford to joke. The Rev. Mr. DODGE has been greatly grieved at the light way in which you have treated such serious subjects as the Divorce Question. He will forward to you a sermon of his own on the topic of "The Jewish Marriage Law compared with that of the Amalekites and the Jebusites, together with Remarks on the construction of the Ark, including an Inquiry into the origin of the Edomites, and a Dissertation upon the Levitical law of Tithes." This sermon would occupy from four to six pages of your paper every week, if published in weekly instalments, for a period of about ten weeks, and would give a tone to PUNCHINELLO which it now lacks. Besides publishing this sermon, you would do well to print, every week, a speech of the Hon. Mr. DODGE, who is one of the most eloquent members of the House, and whose views on finance are greatly respected by such men as Mr. KELLEY and Mr. CHANDLER.
You ought also to have a definite purpose in view. At present you have no Mission. The earnest men and women who look to you for aid and counsel, find nothing in your paper bearing upon the great questions of the day. You should make your paper the organ of some influential party. There are the friends of Pig Iron, for example. Devote the greater part of your space to the advocacy of their lofty cause, and there is not an iron manufacturer in the United States who would not borrow PUNCHINELLO from some one of his acquaintance, and read everything in it relating to the contest now going on between the fearless champions of freedom, and American pig iron, against the bloated upholders of British interests. As it is, you appear to advocate no single practical measure which concerns the welfare of this country and the perpetuity of our glorious Union. PUNCHINELLO is the favorite paper of careless young men, depraved middle-aged men, who care nothing for Progress and Humanity, and young girls who prefer dress and admiration to addressing their Earnest sisters from the platform of Reform meetings. The Rev. Mr. DODGE tells me that all the young people of his congregation read it, and he fears that they prefer it to his sermons. A paper read by this class of readers must be radically wrong. You must change its character at once.
One thing more. You must cease to publish pictures of the character of those which now appear in your paper. In their place you might substitute drawings of practical value, such as the Scientific Yankee publishes. If you do this, in addition to making the other changes which I have suggested, you will find that PUNCHINELLO will make a very different impression from that which I fear it has already made. In that case I will become a subscriber, and will send you a few sound, earnest articles of my own. I am, Yours, in behalf of Progress,
AN EARNEST MAN.
THAT INDIAN TALK.
How, how, Great Father, how.
Me Ogallala; me Brulé Sioux.
Poor Injun tired; peace Injun try.
No whiskey give, no have pow-wow.
A paragraph states that a "piece of Spar, seven feet long, and weighing two hundred pounds, has been taken from the great Spar Cave near Dubuque." We were not previously aware that O'BALDWIN, the "Irish Giant," was serving out his term of imprisonment, in the Spar Cave, but the thing has a fitness about it.
WHEN do topers like to make a raid upon the rural districts?
When the herbage is "lush."
Moose, as well as other members of the cervine family, live mostly on the shoots of trees, but they die mostly by the shoots of hunters.
PUNCHINELLO hears with sincere regret that the notorious Miss CRAIG, of Chicago, once more threatens the unhappy SPRAGUE with another suit for breach of promise of marriage. We had thought that the forty thousand dollars awarded by the jury in the first trial were a plummet heavy enough to reach the lowest depths of "AMANDY'S" affections, and so in fact they were; but "ELISHA'S" lawyers, utterly disregarding the claims of true love, have interposed the absurd claims of what they call "justice to ELISHA," and so the thing will have to be all done over again.
It seems a cruel exercise of power to compel this delicate and shrinking female to stand once more in the pillory of the law; or, to put "ELISHA'S" orthography to a second test by a crucial and censorious public. Whatever may be the result of all this indifference to the sanctity of private character and correct spelling, PUNCHINELLO wishes to put upon record his total disapproval and abhorrence of it.
It is strange, yet nevertheless true, that a woman's glances are not always her own property. The old proverb, that "a Cat may look at a King," goes a-begging when applied to a woman; and this enables us to present to the Sorosis a subject for examination, at least as metaphysical as the philosophy of the MCFARLAND verdict.
Only last week a New York Judge committed an unsuspecting female because she did not look at him, while giving her evidence. The consideration that the unhappy creature was cross-eyed does not seem to have affected in the least the judicial aspect of the matter, and although counsel particularly directed the Judge's attention to the fact that even if the witness looked as straight as she could, her lines of vision would meet at an angle far short of the tip of his Honor's nose, still this pocket-edition of Lord Chief-Justice JEFFRIES "blinked" the point sought to be made, and absolutely insisted that she should suffer the penalty of her alleged disrespect.
PUNCHINELLO has a heart which warms naturally toward the sex, but he has also a cat-o'-nine-tails, which longs to warm the back of such a Judge, and if he will come down from his woolsack he can both see and feel what that cat-o'-nine-tails is like. Whether she be blue-eyed, or black-eyed, or cross-eyed, makes no difference to PUNCHINELLO, for he is, under all circumstances, the champion of the sex.
These much printed initials, which (as our intelligent readers are aware,) belong to certain modern Associations that combine Religion and Business in a highly prosperous manner, have sometimes a kind of secondary meaning, which may vary according to circumstances.
When, for example, the Young Men's C. A. of Iowa City, after having regularly engaged Miss OLIVE LOGAN in their lecture course, concluded to back out, the cabalistic letters seemed to read—
"Y-ou M-ust C-ancel A-rrangements."
But when the spirited OLIVE—perceiving rather more of Business than of Religion and Honor in this despatch—replied promptly that they might expect her without fail, according to programme, prudence suggested a quite different version of their initials, which now signified—
"Y-ou M-ay C-ome A-long!"
We forbear to comment on the dramatic and touching picture here afforded.—We suggest still another reading of their abbreviation,—one that may serve as a permanent interpretation for that latitude at least.—
"Y-outh M-ade C-onscientiously A-cute."
Chicago boasts having sent a colored Fenian to Canada. But is he a true-blue O'SAMBO or MCCUFFEE? Or is he recognized as colored only in respect to his peculiar wearin' of the grin?
It need not be supposed that Mr. PUNCHINELLO intends to work himself to death this summer.
By no manner of means!
He guarantees that the paper shall come out regularly, and get riper and lovelier every week, but he will have his good little times, notwithstanding.
Every week during the season he expects to slip off somewhere, for a day or two, and hopes to have something worth telling when he comes back. Last week he ran down to Long Branch. It's early yet, but folks like Mr. P.; CHILDS, of the Philadelphia Ledger; THOMPSON, of the Pennsylvania Central; and other rich fellows always do go early. The big bugs always fly the soonest. Mr. P. went directly to the West End Hotel—the old Stetson House, you know. He went there because he always did like a hotel that had three men to keep it. What you can't get out of one of them is pretty certain to be screwed out of one of the others. "When Mr. P. drove up, Messrs. PRESBURY, SYKES, and GARDNER, were all sitting out on the front piazza, smoking seventy-five-cent cigars. They arose in chorus, and assured Mr. P. that the house was not yet quite ready for occupancy,
"But, sir—" said Mr. PRESBURY, "the Girard House, my hotel in Philadelphia, is always open. If you would like to go there—" And here SYKES struck in.
"But, sir," said he, "my hotel, WILLARD'S, in Washington, is always ready for guests, and if you could go there for a while—"
But forward sprang GARDNER, and says he:
"But, sir—if you would like to run down to Cape May, you will find my hotel—the Stockton House—" And here Mr. P. interrupted.
"Gentlemen," said he, "I would not have you quarrel, and you shan't split on my rocks. Good evening to you all," and he drove directly to General GRANT'S thirty-two thousand dollar cottage in the Park. GRANT was not there yet, but Mr. P. did not expect that he was. There being a butler and some cooks on hand, Mr. P. considered them sufficient, and had his baggage taken right up to the second story back room.
The butler looked a little astonished at first, but when Mr. P. explained about the hotel, and how he didn't want to go about any more—for from riding in the salt evening air he had already got a little hoarse—the man brightened up immediately.
"Oh, a little horse!" said he. "If that's what you come about you'll be welcome here. The General isn't here yet, but till he comes the rooms is yours."
And they were!
If any one feels inclined to follow Mr. P.'s example, he begs to recommend the President's "Old Yarns,"—the hind box on the top shelf of the library closet.
The next morning, Mr. P. wandered on the sands. Fond memories flocked around him, as he stood gazing on the corruscating waves.
But they were mostly memories of sheepsheads and flanneled bathers and 'tis not for these that the poet gazes into the emerald depths whence the pearly scum, like tears of mermaids—Ah! Mermaids! Mr. P. had never seen a mermaid. These were not among his memories He deeply woulded that he could—and lo! he did! The creature came gliding to his very feet, and he had barely time to bound back before she reached the shore. Shaking the water from her spectacles, she came up, and stood before him.
Twas SUSAN B. ANTHONY.
"How do, PUNCHY?" said she; "I've left the Revolution. Yes, left it now, and we've got a new editor, and she's beautiful and don't charge a cent."
"Why, that's like me!" said Mr. P.
"Oh, PUNCHY!" said the gentle SUSAN, wringing the water out of her flannel skirts, "none of your joking here. Come, take my arm."
Here Mr. P. drew back in apprehension.
"Why, what's the matter?" said SUSAN. "Are you afraid of a little water, and you a man, too? See me! I'm as wet as sop. Don't keep me waiting here, now, or I'll feel like saying "Damn" again, and that sort of thing won't do too often. I want you to come along with me up to LESTER WALLACE'S place—the 'Hut,' you know. I'm stopping with him. It's two or three hours yet before lunch-time, and we can have a good talk."
Just at this minute Mr. PUNCHINELLO saw a sea-gull skimming past, and he said he would like to catch it and give it to LESTER for his menagerie. So he hurried after it.
The next day, Mr. P. went out fishing. He hired a boat, and a man to sail it, and while the man was getting ready to put off, Mr. P. took his seat in the bow and began to fix his lines. He always likes to sit in the bow. The tiller don't knock him so often in the back, and the boom don't bother his head so much. What he particularly wanted was to catch a devil-fish! He thought to himself what a splendid thing it would be to catch one of the big, VICTOR HUGO kind, and to take it home with him to Nassau street! Wouldn't all his editors jump, when they saw him come into the office with that! And he would get STEPHENS to draw it for the paper.
STEPHENS has drawn nearly everything on earth, but Mr. P. did not believe that he ever drew a devil-fish. Not from life, anyway.
As they sailed out to sea, Mr. P.'s heart beat faster, and his brain throbbed with delight as he thought of his great possible triumph.
He fished for two hours and never got a bite. There was too much talking at the stern. Mr. P. looked around, and there were three men there, beside the sailor-man! "Confound it!" thought Mr. P.; "they must have got on while I was fixing my lines, before we started." After this wise reflection, he objurgated the sailor-man, but the latter wanted to know if he wasn't to make any profit out of his stern and his mid-ships, as well as his bow, and he objurgated back with such force that Mr. P. gave him no further attention, but, turning to the interlopers, he said:
"I'm not so much surprised to see you, Mr. DELANO, for if any man in the country pushes himself and his hirelings where neither he nor they are wanted, it's you; but why you, HORACE GREELEY, and you, JIMMY HAGGARTY, should be here, I'm sure I don't know."
"Oh, we're all in the same boat, PUNCHY, said DELANO, knocking off his ashes to the windward of the Philosopher.
"That's a lie," remarked HORACE, rubbing the ashes deeper into his eyes with his handkerchief.
J. HAGGARTY grunted at this emphatic denial of such a self-evident proposition, and DELANO went on to say, "Yes, we're all alike"—all 'going through' our fellow-men. I with my assessors and collectors; HORACE with his protection schemes, and JIMMY, there, with his nimble fingers."
"That's so," said the good JAMES, and he shifted his quid.
The sailor-man, who had been objurgating straight ahead all this time, now weighed anchor and put the boat in towards shore. Silence fell upon the company. They seemed very shy of each other, and did not amalgamate at all. Mr. P. went out to the extreme end of the bowsprit and gazed down into the deep blue sea, wondering whether its color was really due to excess of salt, or the presence of cuprate of ammonia. HORACE climbed to the top of the mast, where he sat sadly, observing the swindling waves, which came all the way from Europe, and didn't pay a cent of tax when they landed. Mr. HAGGARTY went to the stern, where he employed his time in cleaning out the sailor-man's pockets, while DELANO dived into the hold, to see if he couldn't find an old worm-box, or a rope's-end, which had no revenue stamp upon them.
That evening Mr. P. strolled up to the Pavilion, and Governor MORRIS told him all the news. When he heard that the Prince ERIE, of the Heavy Ninth, was coming down with his six-in-hand, (being only half his usual number of Temptations,) Mr. P. found that if he wished to shine at Long Branch, he had better keep away until he could come down with some of his pet seven-thirties in hand. So he picked up his $8.00 valise; put on his $9.00 hat; buttoned up his $35.00 coat; took his $12.00 umbrella under his arm; stuck his $00.00 free pass in his hatband, and went home to Nassau street.
There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip. When the Berton excursionists were taken by the Californians to the Cliff House, Mr. RICE brought out a bottle. Of course the Californians were wide awake for the drawing of the cork. "Whiskey, perhaps!" they murmured, "Brandy, possibly!" they sweetly sighed. "Rum, maybe!" they conjectured. "Schnapps, possibly," they surmised. But when Mr. RICE had drawn the cork, it was discovered that there was nothing in the bottle except a pint of salt water, taken from the Atlantic Ocean, which the bottle holder (as a rare joke) proceeded to empty into the Pacific Ocean, thus making (as he observed) "a literal blending of the waters." Very pretty, indeed; but not the sort of witticism which a dry man would be likely to appreciate—and Californians are sometimes extremely dry!
Employing female clerks in the Treasury Department because they will work for small wages.
May not a pretty actress, when playing a page part, appropriately be called a "belle boy"?
A MIDSUMMER ODE.
Oh for a lodge in a garden of cucumbers!
Oh for a little one-story thermometer,
Oh that this cold world were twenty times colder!
Oh for a grotto to typify heaven,
Oh for a soda-fount spouting up boldly
Then oh for a draught from a cup of "cold pizen!"
One may discern a new argument for the removal of the National Capital to St. Louis, in the Capital style of doing things in that accomplished city. Supposing you have a business, we naturally admire you as a business man, in proportion to your ingenuity in developing that business, and your energy in prosecuting it. Now this genius for business seems to characterize all grades of society in St. Louis,—even so far down as to the "City Dog-Killer." This talented functionary so developed his art, that he is able to kill the same dog a great many times—at an average profit of twenty-five cents each execution. He has a way of stunning the beast so that for all purposes of a canine nature it is apparently quite dead. By the next day, however, the late defunct has revived sufficiently to be susceptible of another killing, which is accordingly administered, and so on, we suppose, all through the season.
The inferiority of the East, in matters of this kind, may be justly and satisfactorily inferred from the fact that in Philadelphia, lately, they attempted to execute their dogs with carbonic acid gas. When the box or tub was opened, the irrepressible spirits of the animals confined therein were perceived to be at the topmost heights of jollity, and the police were obliged to go back to first principles and shoot the exhilarated curs.
It is generally known to the world that Chicago needs draining. In order that it may be drained, Mr. Sanitary Superintendent RAUCH has made a report which is extremely figurative and which quite bristles with the nine digits. Mr. PUNCHINELLO has read it until perfectly bewildered by the intricacy of the computations; but what he does understand is that if Chicago be not drained immediately, the amiable cholera may be expected to put in an early appearance. Mr. Superintendent RAUCH prints an aggravating table to show, by multiplication, addition, subtraction, division, and the rule of three, that if you don't drain you will have cholera, while if you do drain you will escape it. Under the circumstances, we should advise Chicago to drain.
A resolution has been introduced into one of the Southern Legislatures, that any member sleeping during service hours shall forfeit his per diem. The trouble with our fellows at Washington is that they keep too wide awake.
Catching an idea, Mr. NYE objected to the bill which some wretch had introduced, to abridge the privileges of Senators under the Franking laws. He knew that it would be a fearful tax upon Senators to send the harmless necessary editions of two or three hundred thousand copies of the Congressional Globe to their constituents at their own expense, and of course the constituents could not be expected to pay. What would be the result? The Globes would accumulate in vast and useless numbers over all the land, to such an extent as to impede traffic, and they could, in that condition, kindle neither patriotic enthusiasm nor private fires. Somebody had suggested that these copies need not be sent. They all saw the folly of such a suggestion. True, constituents never read their speeches, but it was natural for the constituents to be gratified at having a representative thoughtful enough to tell his secretary to make out a list of eminent idiots in his district, and send them a Globe apiece. This secured the idiotic element, which, he was proud to say, was the chief support of his political life.
Mr. SUMNER said that a bookseller in Boston was getting out an edition of his speeches in thirty-seven volumes. He was, accordingly, quite indifferent upon the Franking privilege, since it was certain that no constituent who read one of the speeches in the book would ever yearn to read another in a newspaper, and since no constituent would ever survive the reading of the entire series thus published.
Mr. CHANDLER said he would be Frank. He always had been Frank. It was his Franking Privilege. He was in favor of declaring a war with every nation which would not allow matter franked by Senators of this glorious Republic to pass their post-offices. He had sent copies of all his speeches to the effete and loathsome monarchs of Europe, with his frank neatly lithographed in one corner. But he had since heard that the minions of tyranny in foreign post-offices had stopped those documents, upon the paltry pretence that the postage was not paid. Thus he had been prevented from freezing the monarchical marrow and curdling the royal blood, since nobody could be expected to derive instruction or admonition from a speech which was used to feed the fire, or stuff the window, of one of his petty tools. He called upon the Senate to do him justice.
Mr. CARPENTER observed that justice would never be done to Mr. CHANDLER until the occurrence of a public execution. But still he considered that the franking privilege ought to be retained. The party that he belonged to was the party of intelligence. Strange as this might seem, it was true, and it was also true that, in spite of their intelligence, they would read his speeches. Let the Senate have pity upon these misguided, but not wilfully wicked men.
Mr. BANKS said he would offer a few observations upon Cuba.
The Speaker (who is coming out very strong as a comic presiding officer,) said he would rather see BANKS square a circle than a Cuba root. (He meant a cigar.) This sally was greeted with sickly smiles by the members who wanted the floor.
Mr. BANKS went on to say that our course towards Cuba was not what was due to her.
The Speaker begged to correct Mr. BANKS. His nautical friends assured him that our course towards Cuba was due South to her.
Mr. BUTLER. This is bosh. Let us annex San Domingo. Nobody does anything for another country without bonds—BANKS had Cuban bonds—he had the bonds of San Domingo. Annex San Domingo, or else give him San Domingo.
The Comic Speaker said BUTLER ought to be put under bonds to keep the peace. But perhaps it was superfluous, inasmuch as he always kept a large piece anyhow.
The House, at this, put crape on its left arm and adjourned.
This magnificent American fowl, like the more domestic weathercock, may often be seen wheeling through the air on the approach of a storm, and exhibits unmistakable signs of exultation when it is going to thunder. It is not a bird of song, but is unsurpassed as a screamer. To the common Kite, a plebeian member of the genus, has been ascribed an attribute which in fact belongs exclusively to this Banner species. The Kite, according to Dr. FRANKLIN, draws the lightning from the clouds, but this, in reality, is the proud prerogative of the Great American Eagle, the noblest of the falcon tribe, which may often be seen with a sheaf of flashes in its talons, rushing through the skies as a lightning express. It feeds on all the inferior birds, but its principal food is the American Bunting, which it bears fluttering aloft in its powerful mandibles. Strange to say, its feats with the electric fluid, and its fondness for the Bunting, have not been noticed by any of the great naturalists; but as innumerable artists have depicted the bird in the very act of scattering the one and carrying off the other, the omission is not, practically, of the slightest consequence.
The habitat of the Birdofreedom was originally limited to about twelve degrees of latitude, but being like the Imperial Eagle of Italy (now extinct,) given to Roam, it has within the last fifty years greatly enlarged the area of its feeding grounds. It is now found as far North as the Border of the Arctic Sea, where it cultivates amicable relations with the hyperborean humming-bird, and Professor GRANT is at present attempting to naturalize it in Saint Domingo. The time is probably not far distant when it will prune its morning wing on the upper pole, and go to roost on the equator. It is, upon the whole, a grasping bird, and inspires the weaker tribes with terror; yet, notwithstanding its fierceness, it perches familiarly on the Arms of the American people.
Although the Birdofreedom makes a magnificent appearance at all seasons, it is in its fullest feather about the Fourth of July. Its truculent disposition is then manifested by a threatening attitude toward the Anglo-Saxon Lion, (Leo Britannicus,) which it has twice worsted in single combat, and to whose well-knit frame it is prepared at any moment to administer a third sockdologer.
There are many varieties of the Eagle—as the Russian and Prussian, (which, singularly enough, have two heads,) the bald Eagle, the Osprey or Sea Eagle, the Golden Eagle, &c. The Golden species was formerly quite common in the United States, but has now almost entirely disappeared. Of the smaller species of the genus Falco, it is only necessary to say that, like the Eagle, they are inedible. In other words, though excellent for hawking, they are too tough for spitting.
At one time the animals living on either side of a river which ran through the middle of a vast tract of land, supplied in profusion with everything necessary to make their lives comfortable and happy, got into a terrible conflict with each other, which was waged with great bitterness for a long time, and caused the loss of a great many lives. At last an enormous Centaur appeared, and, putting himself at the head of the animals on the colder side of the river, led them in an attack on their opponents, which was so destructive that the latter were fain to surrender and promise to live in peace under the dominion of their stronger neighbors. Then the animals that had conquered were so pleased that they met together and agreed to make the Centaur ruler over the whole land, and when he was made ruler he made a speech, and all the animals thought they were going to have peace, and everybody was happy.
But after the Centaur became ruler, and when it was too late to do any good, his subjects repented of their choice, because he grew so fat that he could hardly move himself, and became indifferent to everything but his own amusement. He made the animals bring him presents of the choicest products of the country, and those that brought presents he made rulers under him, until there were so many idle rulers that the unhappy subjects could barely get enough to eat, and became so thin and weak that other animals, of whom they had before been the envy, now pitied and despised them.
Moral by PUNCHINELLO.