The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punchinello, Vol. II., No. 35, November 26, 1870, by Various This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Punchinello, Vol. II., No. 35, November 26, 1870 Author: Various Release Date: November 20, 2003 [EBook #10144] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PUNCHINELLO 35 *** Produced by Joshua Hutchinson, Steve Schulze and PG Distributed Proofreaders
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croquet party has assembled in Mrs. TIMOTHY LADLE'S front yard, located in one of the most romantic spots in that sylvan retreat, the State of Indiana.
"Who's going to play," did you say?
Come with me, and I'll introduce you.
This austere female, with such inflexible rigidity of form, such harrowing cork-screw curls, and chronic expression as of smelling something disagreeable, is Mrs. LADLE, the hostess. A widow. Her husband, the late TIMOTHY, was a New York detective. Amassing a competency, he emigrated to Indiana, became a Bank Director and Sunday-School Superintendent, and died beloved by all.
Produce your very best bow for Mrs. LADLE, and trot out your company talk, for she's in the mother-in-law business, and thoroughly up to snuff.
This old male party, with the remains of a luxuriant growth of very red hair, clinging fondly, like underbrush round a rock, to the sides of his head, with a seedy-looking patch far under the chin to match, whose limp dickey droops pensively as if seeking to crawl bodily into the embrace of the plaid gingham which encircles his neck, and in whose nose is embodied that rare vermilion tint which artists so love to dwell upon;—this is the Hon. MICHAEL LADLE, brother of the late TIMOTHY, a Western Member of Congress, and a grass widower.
This girl of the period, whose saucy black eyes bear down on you like a twenty-four gun frigate; looking as it were through you, and counting the hairs on the back of your neck, is Miss BELINDA LADLE, daughter of the deceased TIMOTHY, and step-daughter to the hostess who was TIM'S second matrimonial venture, you understand.
This young woman mounts a lager-beer cask, and stops the buzz of conversation by bringing her mallet down with a smart rap upon the head of the nearest bald-headed gentleman.
"Attention, company," said she—"Stand up straight, and look as well as you can.—Take—mallets."
While the guests are boisterously laughing, with that rare appreciation of refined humor peculiar to the West, Mrs. LADLE, the proper, attempts an indignant remonstrance, but is interrupted by the Hon. MICHAEL.
"Oh, let the little gal have her tantrums, sister-in-law," said he. "Mebbe you was young once, though nobody now living could swear to it."
"Come," interrupted BELINDA, "we've had gassin' enough. Choose your partners. Mildewed age, before infantile beauty. Mother-in-law, go in."
The extremely respectable and highly dignified female last alluded to shook her fist at BELINDA on the sly, and said:
"I'll take ANN BRUMMET."
The lady who stepped forward at this summons was greeted with a wide stare, and every eye-glass was focussed.
She was a remarkable-looking female. She wasn't exactly handsome, but there was a sort of a something about her, you understand, that—ah—riveted the gaze of folks generally, you see, and a fellow—ah—caught himself looking the second time, as you may say—and ah—it wasn't style either, for one shoulder was higher than the other, and her hair was done up in a bob, and she took awful long steps, and swung her arms as far as they would go each way; and her collar looked as though she'd slept in it, and she wore rubbers like a school-ma'am.
And you couldn't say 'twas regularity of features exactly, either, for her eyes were too limited in circumference, and her nose too numerous in diameter; and her mouth monopolized too much latitude, and she had a hair-mole on one cheek, and faint dawnings of a moustache on her upper lip. But in spite of these trivial eccentricities, you felt when you looked at her, as I said before—ah—a sort of—as it were—a—
By Jove, I can't describe it.
The general impression was that she was an heiress, and the comments were numerous.
"How graceful!" "Look at that swan-like neck!" "What a perfect form!" "What a dove-like expression!" "Do introduce me!" "Who is she?"
"She's a poor relation of Mrs. LADLE'S."
"There, I thought so!" "What an object!" "Forcing herself into genteel society, too!" "The audacity of these creatures is perfectly horrid."
It was BELINDA'S turn to choose next, and she pointed straight at the man she wanted, and said:
It was natural she should choose him, for he was greatly respected by all present, and the ladies especially regarded him as simply a hero; for he was one of the Great Masters in the noble Art of Muscle.
Let me explain.
At the time of which I write, there had been a contest in the Universities of America between Brains and Muscle, and the latter had conquered. Brains were accounted a very good thing in their way, but what we want, sir, is Muscle. If a man can master his Greek, and his Latin, and his Theology, and his Law, and such frothy trifles between times, well and good, but he musn't neglect his Muscle.
And so base-ball clubs were organized, and the Long Heels challenged the Short Heels, and the leading journals published cards of defiance from the Knockers to the Hitters, together with labored editorials on the same. And boat-races and sculling matches were set on foot, and once a year the students repaired with their friends to a city afflicted with a lake, where, pending the contest, they organized a Reign of Terror, during which the harmless inhabitants locked themselves in their houses and clasped their offspring to their bosoms, or gazed terror-stricken from an attic-window upon the classical marauders below, as they indulged in a post-mortem examination of a private dwelling, or the rare pleasantry of roasting a policeman. But dared complain, for public excitement waxed high on the subject of Muscle.
And when the day arrived which was to decide the momentous question, the banks of the lake were decked with the beauty and culture of the land, and fair hands "staked their odds," and fair lips became familiar with "home-stretches," "spurts," and "fouls."
A body of students crossed the ocean to win a boat-race, and the public Press told us in very large capitals what they ate and drank, and the exact condition of a boil belonging to one of the party. But the heart of the nation beat high with hope, until the appalling intelligence was flashed across the wires that they were defeated. It was a cruel blow. Strong men looked at one another in mute agony, or spoke as if there was a corpse in the next room. The Press sent up a wail that resounded through the land. An eminent divine pronounced it a "National misfortune," and the pictorials containing wood-cuts of the lamented heroes were put away, as we put away the playthings of a child that has died.
No wonder that Mr. JEFFRY MAULBOY was looked up to and courted, for he had a medal bestowed upon him as a Champion Paddler, and had lost a bet of fifty dollars on the "Great International Contest."
But his towering ambition remained unsated. He realized that he lived in a progressive age, and his superior talents enabled him to take a stand far ahead of his fellows. By diligent application to his noble profession, he was now a member of that exalted Institution, "The Prize Ring of America," and the letters P.R.U.S.A. were elegantly imprinted with blue ink upon his right arm.
There were two persons present, however, who didn't regard JEFFRY MAULBOY as a little god. One was the Hon. MICHAEL LADLE; the other was ANN BRUMMET.
She was putting her tongue out, and making faces at him from behind an apple-tree. A lady who saw her said it improved her appearance.
When BELINDA chose JEFFRY, he very deliberately took a chew of tobacco, and said he wouldn't play.
"This is the sickest croquet party I ever saw," said BELINDA.
"All backing out. Spos'en I take you then, you dear old buffer," she
added, addressing the Hon. MICHAEL. "I
may be an old buffer," said the Hon. Member from the West, but I am
"Oh, days of my childhood's hours,
I'm a gazin' on ye yit."
He was interrupted by JEFFRY MAULBOY.
"You say you are young enough for anything here," said he; "suppose you and I try a little mill out back of the house."
"Young man," replied the Hon. MICHAEL, "if there's one mistake in life that your parents grieve over, it is probably the mistake of your birth. If you don't have any serious drawbacks, and are careful of your health, you will make a first-class DEAD BEAT. When a man insults me, sir, I lay him out, without depending in the smallest degree upon an undertaker, but as for standing up in front of a man who mashes noses by contract, and chaws off ears as a matter of genteel business, why it ain't my cut."
JEFFRY MAULBOY took another chew of tobacco.
"You can go on," he said. "I won't hurt you. You're too small potatoes for me."
While this gentle raillery was in progress, BELINDA felt somebody tugging at her dress. She looked down, and saw Mr. ARCHIBALD BLINKSOP, a sailor-looking chap who smelt of tar, and well he might, for he had ploughed the tempestuous deep for upwards of six months, as a common sailor on the Erie Canal.
"Shiver my starboard binnacle amidships," said he, "why don't you choose me?"
She squeezed his hand and winked at him.
"I will choose you, dear," said she. "Don't blush so."
The game has commenced.
JEFFRY MAULBOY, standing aloof, is just taking a fresh chew, when a hand is laid on his shoulder.
The hand is that of ANN BRUMMET, the poor relation, and the voice that breaks on his ear is also the property of that extraordinary woman.
"JEFF," said she cautiously, "meet me in just half an hour, out back of the house. You know the place. Where the woodbine has twined so much. I've got something very particular to tell you." And she pinched his arm slyly.
The game progresses.
The Hon. MICHAEL LADLE and ARCHIBALD BLINKSOP are conversing together.
"That MAULBOY is a jackass," said the former. "Is he a friend of your'n?"
"Well, not exactly," returned ARCHIBALD. "You see, it's just like this," he continued, hitching up his pants behind, and rolling, the same as sailors do on the stage. "About two months ago JEFF made a voyage with me. One night we were bowling along the canal under a very stiff breeze. The compass stood north-east and a half, the thermometer was chafing fearfully, and the jib-boom, only two-thirds reefed was lashing furiously against the poop-deck. Suddenly, that terrible cry, 'A man overboard!' I lost no time. I bore down on the taffrail threw the cook overboard, and soon had the satisfaction of seeing our noble craft lay over abaft the wind. Then, quick as thought, I belayed the windlass and lowered a gaff. It struck something soft. I heard JEFF cry: 'Don't hit my head again.' I was careful. The gaff slid along his back, and finally settled firmly into the seat of his trousers. He was hoisted aboard. The first thing he did was to see if his tobacco was safe. Then he offered me a chew and said: 'Bless you, bless you; you have saved my life, and owe me a debt of gratitude forever.' And I 'spose I do," added ARCHIBALD. "It's the way of the world."
"Well," said the Hon. MICHAEL, "I don't envy you. I shouldn't want to owe him a debt of any kind."
"Why?" queried BLINKSOP.
"Because, sooner or later, you'll have to pay it, double over," was the reply.
(To be continued.)
From Gay to Grave.
Here is a suggestive item from abroad:—
"On the Crown Prince's birthday he and his staff dined with the King of Prussia at the Prefecture at Versailles, where covers were laid for eighty."
Will PRUSSIA have the goodness to inform PUNCHINELLO (post-paid) how many victims of the battle-field covers have been laid for since the beginning of the war?
Business at the Interior Department will now be done up in a rapid manner, for there can be no delay by DELA-NO.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
Veritas. A paragraph has been going the rounds of the
papers, giving some description of an animal called the "Tygomelia"—a
sort of camelopard—said to have lately been captured in the Hudson Bay
Territory. Is any such animal known to naturalists?
Blondula. My hair has gradually assumed a lovely golden
hue, but my complexion is very dark. Will eating arsenic make me fair?
Ornithologist. I have a stuffed specimen of a beautiful
bird called the "Wax-wing." Was this kind of bird known to the
ancients, and, if so, where can I find a description of it?
G.F. TRAIN. Down with the Uhlans! Up with the black flag!
Killed four Uhlans before breakfast this morning. Uhlans wear baggy
sky-blue breeches. Give 'em sky-blue fits! BOURBAKI dined with me
yesterday. American fare. Gopher soup; rattlesnake hash; squirrel sauté;
fricasseed opossum; pumpkin pie. That's your sort! Blue coat and brass
buttons. White Marseilles waistcoat. France saved by Marseilles
waistcoat. Organize earthquake to swallow London. JOHN BULL trembles.
Tours trembles. Italy trembles. Leaning tower of Pisa changes base and
slopes other way. Tired of France. Change base and slope other way.
PUNCHINELLO for the throne of Spain! Down with AOSTA! Down with effete
monarchies! Down with rents! Up with G.F. TRAIN!
PUNCHINELLO TO "THE SUN."
DEAR SUNNY:—In our issue dated November 19th, we took occasion to congratulate you upon the sparkle added to your "Sunbeams" by the judicious reproduction of our crisp and crystalline little poem "SALLY SALTER." We have no doubt that your languid circulation was partly restored by the timely aid thus unconsciously afforded you by PUNCHINELLO. If any SALTER could save your bacon for you, surely "SALLY" was the one to do it; only you shouldn't have tried to pass her off as one of your own SALLIES. The jackdaw decked out in peacock's feathers was a bird truly absurd, though not a whit more so than a Solar Dodo like yourself with a PUNCHINELLO plume for a tail.
Now, in your number for November 9th, we find a remarkably pretty "Autumn Song." It was pointed out to us, triumphantly, by a man who carries The Sun in his pocket, and who wanted to know why PUNCHINELLO never gave his readers anything like that? In reply, we courteously referred him to PUNCHINELLO of October 22d, in which that identical "Autumn Song" made its "first appearance upon any stage." And so there you go, dear DODO SUNNY, with another PUNCHINELLO feather in your pensive tail. Keep decking yourself with the feathers, dear SUNNY. They become you well; and when you've got a bushel or so of 'em, we'll dispose of you to BARNUM as the original Anti-Promethean Dodo that stole fire from PUNCHINELLO to light up The Sun.
THAT BLONDE BUSINESS.
Little Nell. "O MA, WHAT PRETTY BOOTS THOSE LADIES HAVE!"
Mamma. "AND SUCH NICE DRESSES, TOO."
Little Nell. "DRESSES, MA? I DON'T SEE ANY DRESSES—I ONLY SEE THEIR BOOTS!"
A Bilious Review of the French Situation.—Hot Fat for Idiots.—Trochu Encounters a Conundrum.
PARIS, SEVENTH WEEK OF THE REPUBLIC, 1870.
DEAR PUNCHINELLO:—If America has any "bowels of compassion" it is fit that they should yearn now. This frothy and frenzied Republic is at that ebb where national "extreme unction" must be administered speedily, else the sufferer will pass away from the theatre of sublunary things without the benefit of clergy. I feel as if I would like to get the whole nation on a toasting-fork before a slow fire, and roast it into a realizing sense of what the devil is doing for it. To see BISMARCK feeding on shrimps with anchovy sauce, and drinking champagne, while TROCHU and JULES FAVRE fight domestic treason within the walls, and the Prussians without, upon stomachs that feebly digest Parisian "hard tack" and gritty vin ordinaire, is enough to make the spirit of liberty lay over the mourner's bench and perpetrate a perfect Niagara of tears. When FLOURENS bagged the whole government at the Hotel de Ville the other day, my feelings got the better of me, and I went for him.
"Idiotic Frenchmen!" I exclaimed, in a voice that must have sounded like an echo working its way through a thick upper crust of doughy apple-dumplings; "Idiotic Frenchmen, do you know what you are doing? Have you the feelings of a man, or of a mad dog? Which is it that it is, that you should be worrying the life out of this croupy infant of liberty, as is hardly able to waggle its head, barring all hope that it will ever get upon its pins and take its 'constitutional' like other mortals in distress? Where is the ghost of MIRABEAU, that it does not come upon you all of a sudden, to confiscate the very marrow in your bones and set up a candle factory in spite of the tax on tallow? Where is LAFAYETTE? Where is REGINALD DE LYLE? Where is ROBESPIERRE and GEORGE FRANCIS TRAIN? Where is the DUKE DE MONTEBELLO, or the Count of MONTE CHRISTO, that they don't hang round you like aggravated wasps, and sting you into that appreciation of the fitness of things whereby some razor may be slipped across your wizzen, and Paris follow your corse to the Pére la Chaise with joy and gladness? Why, in the name of all the torments—"
I stopped for want of breath, in time to see that the crowd paid no attention, and that, to say the least of it, I had been making an ass of myself. Not that there was no wisdom in my words, but these Frenchmen are the most "dog gorned" insensible people to right up and down, plain, everyday gospel truth that Providence ever permitted to play checkers with Destiny. I had no hankering for a closer interview with FLOURENS. He and I could never had got at a basis peace. There is no harmony in the method of our mental "jointings." I would have given "stamps" to have got his head under a quiet village pump, but I wouldn't have undertaken to reason with him for all the gold of the Credit Mobilier. There is another creamy idiot, trying his "level best" to smash things here. Look at him! JULES VALLES! a patriot by name and a Pat-rioter by nature, with enough hair on his head to stuff a gabion, and not sense enough beneath it to accommodate a well-informed parrot. These fellows call FAVRE a "milk-sop," and the trouble of it is that FAYRE occasionally gives them reason for doing so. Strolling through the Passage des Princes this morning, I saw TROCHU and accosted him. "General," I said, probably with some trifling vindictiveness in my heart, "isn't there a grease vat in Paris sufficiently large to boil down Monsieur FLOURENS and his friends?" He might have thought that I was a little overheated, or that some of the Grand Cafe "tangle-foot" had got into my head; but his looks undeniably indicated that he did not regard this as an unusually cool proposal. He simply said, "Oh my!" in tolerably good English, and then I continued:
"You mistake me, General. I was not born in New Zealand. There is nothing of the cannibal about me, and I trust the supply of provisions in Paris won't compel us to eat each other just yet; but if there is no satisfaction for the stomach in putting a tun or two of boiling fat around GUSTAVE FLOURENS, can you think of anything better calculated to produce serenity in the public mind?"
He didn't answer me then. It couldn't be expected, perhaps; but I am still of the impression that this conundrum is gradually working towards a solution in the brain of the Commander-in-Chief. I hope it don't lay heavily there; I wouldn't do anything to distress him. If GOLDWIN SMITH were expounding political economy to him in one ear, and HORACE GREELEY talking agriculture in the other, the poor man couldn't be more bothered than he is. No, no; far be it from me to add one harrowing burden to his already heavy load; but when a man sees the porter-house steak of Liberty a burning up on the grid-iron of war, why shouldn't he put forth his "flipper" and save it if he can? And there's another conundrum: but it's for PUNCHINELLO and his hemisphere of adorers.
A GOOD BAR-GAIN SUGGESTED.
The suggestion for purifying the New York Bar by classifying its tenders is a good one and should be acted upon. As it is now, the justice there dispensed is so mixed and doctored that it satisfies only the vitiated taste of the roughs. The proceedings in the McFARLAND and JACKSON case show that swagger, not study—bullying, not brains, are in a fair way to become the important qualifications of a counsel. The lawyers should organize in their own defence and classify themselves. Mr. PUNCHINELLO suggests the following method as the simplest and probably the most effective in its application to matters of legal digestion. Let there be two classes made, the one to embrace the well-bred, and the other the GRAHAM bred practitioners.
THE SPORT AT WASHINGTON.—Fighting COX.
THE PLAYS AND SHOWS
"What a wretched smell of orange-peel and sawdust!" says MARGARET to me, as we enter the gateway of the CIRCUS. Wretched! Why of all perfumes, next to that of the clover and the new-mown hay, it is the most delicious. For it brings back to us the days of our innocent childhood, when we stole unlawful pennies to pay for admission to the charmed circle of equestrian delights, and in youthful purity of soul, and general dirtiness of face and hands, listened to the ingenious witticisms of the clown, while we cracked the peaceful peanut, and shared the social gingerbread.
Childlike innocence is a phrase that must originally have been applied exclusively to girls. Obviously it is sheer nonsense as applied to boys. Who ever saw an innocent boy, especially in a place of amusement? Are they not, one and all, given to untimely hunger, and addicted to undesirable methods of assuaging its pangs? Are they not prone to perpetual colds in the head, accompanied by loud and labored breathing, and rarely mitigated by the judicious use of pocket-handkerchiefs? Do they not indulge in a vicious and wholly unpardonable wealth of muddy boots, wherewith to trample upon their unoffending neighbors? Are they not as prone to bad language as the Tribune, and as noisy and noisome as the Sun itself? In short, are they not always and altogether the most oppressive nuisance that can annoy the peaceful pleasure-seeker? Echo answers that there isn't the smallest possible doubt of it. Why, then, do we foolishly speak of innocent boyhood?
Girls, on the other hand, may be innocent,—that is to say, when they are extremely young. Of course they outgrow it when they arrive at years of flirtation; but up to—say—their tenth or eleventh year, they rarely go in for muddy boots and inappropriate peanuts,—at least not to the same extent as boys. The average little girl is, moreover, seldom found at the CIRCUS. She prefers WALLACK'S, or BOOTH'S theatre,—whereas your usual boy despises the legitimate drama, and prefers to have his dissipations served up with a great deal of horse and plentifully spiced with the presence of the cheerful clown. For my part, I frankly confess that I do not like boys, and heartily approve of the noble sentiment expressed the other day by my landlady, who, on reading that the Parisians had destroyed the Bois de Boulogne, remarked that, "Even if the French couldn't spell 'boys' properly, she was glad to see that they knew how to treat them." Pardon the errors of her pronunciation. She learned French at a young ladies' seminary.
But I digress. It is a reprehensible habit. It is much better, as a rule, to die game than it is to digress, though on the present occasion there is no reason why I should do either. By the way, if a man has to choose between having either his leg or his arm amputated, which ought he to choose? Obviously he should choose ether,—that being much safer than chloroform.
As I was saying, the CIRCUS always has a strong flavor of orange peel. Will some one explain why orange-peel has such a close affinity for horses and sawdust? I have attempted to account for it by an elaborate stretching of the theory of chemical affinities. People crack peanuts at the CIRCUS, because the cracking of peanuts in its prosaic dreariness is in harmony with the cracking of jokes by the dreary clown. The clown himself is always hoarse, obviously because of his intimate association with the feats of horsemanship. Here are two cases in which the theory of affinities clearly applies. Now, can we not go further, and find some connection between the ring of the Circus and the peel of the orange? Or again, may not the presence of unwholesome animals in the arena have something to do with the presence of orange-rind in the seats? The latter is clearly a rind-pest of the very worst variety.
At this rate we shall never get inside the Circus building. So say MARGARET; and I therefore cease my philosophical remarks, which have so strongly impressed the doorkeeper that he has finally beckoned to a policeman to come and listen to them. Up the steep stairs we hasten, and are put into a reserved pen, where we watch the glory of motley and the glitter of spangles in the ring below.
A terrific feat of horsemanship is in progress. A daring rider, mounted on a broad platform, which is borne on the back of a placid horse, is carried on a slow canter around the ring. He evidently impersonates a member of the horse marines, for he executes elaborate imitations of pulling ropes, reefing and furling sails. Probably the horse marines reef topsails on horseback. In the absence of opposing testimony we accept his theory, and are greatly pleased to find that the equestrian sailor finally escapes being wrecked on the lower row of benches, and so meeting a watery grave among the sawdust, while his horse slowly founders beneath him.
I remark to MARGARET, while this daring act of marine horsemanship in progress, that "I hope the horse won't founder"—meaning to pun on the latter word.
But I am overheard by a horsey person in the neighborhood, who replies, "That horse hain't got a symptom of foundering. LENT keeps his horses in too good condition for that."
And I to him, in a light and jocose manner—"LENT keeps them so well fed that they never keep Lent themselves, I suppose."
But the horsey person does not see my joke,—thus proving that he shares a dulness of perception that I have too often noticed, even among my friends. So I mercifully give him one more chance and say: "I suppose Mr. LENT keeps all the fast horses, so that they never have to keep fast themselves." But he gruffly answers, "You think yourself smart, don't you? You ain't, though, and you'd better keep yourself mighty quiet." I agree with him in the latter opinion, and relapse into a dignified silence.
Presently the "Antipodal Brothers" begin their fraternal gymnastics. I again feel the spirit of speculation strong within me, and say to MARGARET, "Why are gymnasts always born in couples? Why couldn't the Antipodal Cousins, or the Antipodal Relations by Marriage, break their necks together with as much effect as though they were brothers? Does the fraternal supply of brotherly gymnastics exist in consequence of a presumed demand for the article by the public? If so, why does the public make such demand?"
And she answers, "It is a mystery. Seek not to penetrate it. That way madness lies."
Here a conundrum obtrudes itself upon me, and I ask, "Suppose Gen. TERRY had a daughter, why would she necessarily be a delightful puzzle? Obviously because she would be a Miss TERRY."
But the horsey person turns round and says, "If you want a head put on you, just keep on talking; so that folks can't hear the brothers turn a somersault. You'll be accommodated; do you understand?"
I accept his general hint, and watch the somersaulting pair. What an editor the elder brother would make! He could turn as sudden and perfect a somersault as did Mr. DANA, when he transformed the Sun in a single night from a decent daily to what it now is. Or what a politician the younger brother might become, were he to exhibit in the arena of public life the agility in turning flip-flaps, and reversing himself by unexpectedly standing on his head, which he displays in the CIRCUS ring. Then the famous equestrienne—or rideress, as WEBSTER would probably call her—careers around the circle on her thoroughbred Alaskian steed: she is evidently a great favorite, and the small boy behind me exclaims, with an ecstatic kick at the back of my neck: "Isn't this bully?"
I venture to correct him by remarking: "My son, you should say 'horsey.' You would thereby avoid confounding the noble animals before you with the no less useful, but undeniably less attractive—in an aesthetic point of view—animals which belong to the bovine race."
He is evidently overcome by my flow of language, and he asks, with a feeble show of independence: "You ain't hungry, are you?"
I say to myself: "Kind-hearted little fellow. He is grateful for my reproof, and proposes to reward me with peanuts." So I kindly reply: "No, my child, I am not hungry; why do you ask?"
"Because," answers the young villain, "I thought you couldn't be, after having histed in a whole big dictionary."
I turn abruptly to MARGARET and say: "Come, my dear"—(she is my maiden aunt, and I use the language of affection and respect to her)—"let us go. This thing is only fit for children. We'll go over to WALLACK'S and see an old comedy."
She rises reluctantly; but as we emerge into Fourteenth street, she says: "The CIRCUS is one of the nicest places in town, and I like it a million times better than I do your stupid old comedies."
The curious circumstance in connection with this remark is, that MARGARET is nearly always right.
SARSFIELD YOUNG'S PANORAMA.
DEAR PUNCHINELLO:—Some months ago, a friend of mine requested me to write him up descriptions for a set of panoramic views, which he had purchased at a low figure at auction, and which he proposed to exhibit through the country. The "Professor" who was engaged to travel with him, it seems, was highly gifted so far as good clothes, a fine head of hair, and a sweet expression, were concerned. He could also play rudimentary music upon the flute. But he couldn't handle his mother tongue glibly enough to accompany the scenes in first class showman style.
Having the subjects given me, but without seeing a foot of the canvas, I knocked off a few remarks, which I aimed to render as appropriate as circumstances, and no regard whatever for the truth, would permit. The "Professor" was to commit them to memory, with the usual gestures, as he flourished his pointing-stick; he was to twirl his moustache, manoeuvre his pocket handkerchief, and occasionally resort to a glass of water,—and I am told he recites with great abandon.
Some of PUNCHINELLO'S readers may not enjoy the privilege of seeing the "Panoramic Cosmos." For their special benefit I am allowed to append a portion of the narration. They will observe that the back towns are indeed fortunate to obtain at a moderate price so rare an intellectual treat.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:—We are proud to have the honor of appearing before you with our series of unrivalled paintings. Inferior exhibitions boast of the extent of their canvas: ours is literally endless. Like Mr. BROOKS' TENNYSON (I beg pardon,—Mr. TENNYSON'S BROOK), it "runs on forever." It embraces every variety of landscape, waterscape, and, in the crowded halls of our large cities, a new patent fire-escape.
Everywhere we have met with unparalleled success. We have appeared before the crowned heads of Europe, and the woolly heads of Charleston and Savannah,—the verdict of praise is unanimous. Purchasing our oil and varnish at wholesale prices, we defy competition. While we have given orders to our artists to furnish the most brilliant colors and gorgeous imagination that the market affords, there is nothing here (except, perhaps, myself) to offend the most fastidious.
Our aim is high, but combined with a price that is unquestionably low; we strive to elevate and instruct the people, at twenty-five cents a head (or packages of five tickets for one dollar), and inspire a love for the pure and beautiful in art, with a liberal discount to Sunday and day schools.
As the audience sit spell-bound (no extra charge for reserved seats) before one grand conception of the artist's pencil,—lost in admiration—another glides noiselessly into view; the eye is gratified, the brain is refreshed, the digestion stimulated, and we all breathe easier.
This alone is worth double the price of admission.
But not to detain you longer on the threshold, I will ring up the curtain, and travel with you in this varied journey.
THE GIANTS' CAUSEWAY.
This stupendous structure is agreeably located on the coast of Ireland, where the waves are ever beating, and the stormy winds do blow. These pillars, grottoes, and colonnades strike the beholder with awe. They have resulted from some grand convulsion of Nature; rocked in the cradle of the deep, as things seem to be here.
It is not yet decided whether they belong to the pre-Raphaelite or the pre-Adamite period.
As the spectator gazes spell-bound on this scene of grandeur, he almost fancies that he hears the surges beating heavily at the base of these grim rocks. (This is effected by costly machinery, concealed behind the canvas.)
These columns have probably been standing here for centuries. At least that is my opinion.
I propose it to this scientific audience with great humility.
By this I mean that the great HUGH MILLER thinks as I do.
He must be a bold man to contradict such authority.
This, however, is a boulder!
An island in the Pacific. It is called an island, as it is entirely surrounded by water. It is famous as the residence of ROBINSON CRUSOE, who, to avoid taxation in his native land, lived here in great retirement. He had a faithful servant, FRIDAY, whom he enjoyed as much as one of these boys here does Saturday afternoon.
There is quite a local look to this view, which renders it valuable to the enthusiastic student of geography.
Ships sometimes stop here. Our artist's ship stopped fifteen minutes, thus giving him ample time for this spirited and life-like representation.
"DE TEA FABULA NARRATUR."
The women have embarked in the tea business. Tea at net prices is to be one of the chief tenets of the woman's rights party. The middle men now engaged in the business are all to be abolished. All the women lecturers are to become tea-totallers, and go before their audiences laden with packages for sale, in lots to suit, for cash. Intimations of all this we gather from the recent news from Japan, where the agent of the Woman's Tea Company, who has undertaken this reformation, has arrived, and been interviewed, on her way to secure the stock. But really, if the women do manage to give us our tea at a reasonable rate, we will buy it gladly, even though, perhaps, we should be forced to attend the lectures in order to obtain it. It is an ill wind which blows nobody good, even though the tempest originates in a tea-pot.
The Spanish Question Settled.
AUNT BATHSHEBA'S mind is very chaotic as regards the throne of Spain. She heard them talking about D'AOSTA for the situation, and says:—
"A Oyster sit upon the Spanish throne, my dear!—ay, ay—it just serves the Spanish right. They was always in a Stew, and is the most Shellfishest of people as crawls the earth!"
A despatch announces that the Pope is about leaving Rome. As nothing is said with regard to his Holiness's particular destination, however, it seems as though he were about going to Roam.
From Our Special Cockney.
If, as the Tribune says, this is an "off year" with the Republicans, shouldn't they be satisfied with an 'OFFMAN for Governor?
Interesting to the Public.
There is a new envelope machine now in use in the Post-Office Department at Washington, which will dispense with the use of TOOL(E)S.
A PRACTICAL (?) SUGGESTION.
Big Man to Little One. "NOW THEN, HOSKINS, DON'T GO INTO COURT ABOUT THIS MATTER, AND HAVE ALL YOUR WASH BILLS READ OUT BY THE LAWYERS. JUST CATCH THE RASCAL AND GIVE HIM A GOOD SQUARE LICKING."
John Bull. "GOT ALL THE ARMS YOU WANT?—ALL THE AMMUNITION?—ALL THE COAL?"
France. "YES, ALL."
J.B. "AND YOU DON'T WANT ANYTHING MORE FROM ME?"
J.B. "THEN I THINK IT IS TIME FOR ME TO INTERFERE."
MR. SPIFFKINS was a reporter upon a daily newspaper. The reader is particularly requested to bear in mind that SPIFFKINS'S paper was a daily, not a nightly one. MR. SPIFFKINS had never written a line which, dying, he would wish to blot. In fact his "copy" was always clean, and he used to say, since it was so easy to write a line over again, where was the use in blotting it! The specific department that Mr. SPIFFKINS attended to was "interviewing." Mr. SPIFFKINS chose this department on account of having been born a gentleman, and of having always moved in the very best society. Interviewing brought him into contact with all sorts of distinguished people, with whom he immediately made himself at home. On one occasion he made himself so completely at home that the gentleman whom he was visiting considerately pointed out the mistake, and then SPIFFKINS suddenly remembered the distinction. Mr. SPIFFKINS was a man of great delicacy of feeling and keen sense of honor. One day a man cut his throat from ear to ear because his boarding-house-keeper would put ham into the hash. The brother of the man called upon SPIFFKINS and requested him as a favor to keep the thing out of his newspaper, as all the other journals had promised to do so. SPIFFKINS gave the required promise, and the next day SPIFFKINS'S paper was the only one that had mention of the suicide. But then SPIFFKINS had no intention of hurting the suicide's family's feelings. Not by any means. His only aim was to beat the other newspapers and to serve his employers. SPIFFKINS wrote pure English, his style—like that of other reporters—being noticeable for its elegance and perspicuity. Thus, whenever SPIFFKINS had occasion to use the word "memories," he invariably said "memories of the past," and by this means made it plain that he meant no reference whatever to the memories of the future. The force, originality, and beauty of his epithets were remarkable. In his local reports suicides were always "determined" suicides, and their acts were always "rash" acts. Among purists in the use of words the employment of these adjectives has always been considered a delightful and legitimate mode of discriminating between people who kill themselves precipitately and those who use a considerable amount of caution, and (so to speak) apply strychnine with one hand and the stomach-pump with the other. SPIFFKINS used to report fires, murders, and police doings generally in a quiet and genteel manner, and by the Superintendent of Police he was as much beloved for the goodness of his heart as he was by the city editor for the goodness of his grammar. Once upon a time SPIFFKINS had the opportunity of trying his hand at dramatic criticism, and adopted a startlingly new system, which consisted simply in telling the truth. The consequence was that his newspaper obtained a great reputation for high moral tone, and lost all its theatrical advertisements. Even when SPIFFKINS wrote an original American comedy of "contemporaneous human interest" (and which had had a previous run in Paris of five thousand nights), and that comedy was brilliantly rejected by a manager, SPIFFKINS never went back on his system of telling the truth. Weaker critics would have let up on that manager lest it should be thought that they abused him because he refused their plays. But not so with SPIFFKINS. His moral courage was too heroic to resort to so mean a subterfuge as that, and to this day that manager believes that the reason SPIFFKINS abused him is because he refused his play! Sometimes SPIFFKINS threw a little light on subjects that were generally misunderstood. For instance, he said that NILSSON was a "charming mezzo-soprano," and declared that "RIP VAN WINKLE" was a more delightful translation from the French than had been seen for many a day. Occasionally SPIFFKINS eked out his salary by writing letters to the provincial press. In this respect he was invaluable, because his letters contained, about things in New York, information which never appeared in the New York papers; so that when a Philadelphia family takes the newspaper which SPIFFKINS corresponds with, that family is fully posted upon everything which might just as well have happened here as not. SPIFFKINS is too real a gentleman at heart to be much of one in appearance. If his boots and manners are equally unpolished, I know that his heart is in the right place—just where his pocket-book is; and if his linen is dirty and his face unshorn, I feel certain that his soul is clad in immaculate spiritual lawn, and that his better nature is shaved close.
THE MODERN "OLD KING COLE."He called for his pipe and he called for his bowl,
And he called for his Fiddlers three,
Von BISMARK, Von MOLKIE and Von ROON,
For a merry old monarch was he.
HIRAM GREEN TO H. WARD BEECHER.
The "Lait Gustice's" Advice to the Brooklyn Divine.
SKEENSBORO, Nye onto Varmont.
MY KLERGICAL FRIEND—Feelin it my duty to encourage a man when he strikes the rite gait, I seize the goose-quil to set down and scratch off a letter to you. I've heard you preach, and, to do the square thing, I am constrained to say you've got talents into you, on which to bild a first-class Dominy. My advice is, to let your talents sintilate; don't undertake to hide 'em under a bushel of peanuts. Let 'em blaze, friend B.—let 'em blaze.
I dident notiss any bill-boards hangin about your mouth, savin as how "Rooms was to let in your sky-lofts;" but contrary wise, it's my opinion there haint a tenement house in New York which is packed fuller of people than your figger-head is of slap-up idees. You haint afeard to stand out baldly and face the sea of upturned red maskaline noses, or hily-frizzled, gorgeously-got-up femilines, and skatter Fiseology rite and left, not carin a pickaune who's hit or who haint.
A man who scores up as you do, is bound to win in the long run, if he only keeps his eyes about him, and don't undertake to go it blind.
Yoove got a futer ahead of you bigger'n a meetin-house. Keep ploddin along in the evening tender of your way, and I predict you'l ocupy a front rank among the clergy.
I, the lait Gustise, which has served his country for 4 yeer as Gustise of the Peece, tells you so; and havin asshiated with a good many big guns in my day, my profetic vision is as clear as Rine wine.
You haint much like a preacher I once useter sleep under.
We called him OLD CLOROFORM. His sermons were dredful soothin to take.
Old Mother WINSLOW couldent play 2nd fiddle to his preachin, and her sirop is better'n a club to put children to sleep. Why, friend BEECHER, that ere minnister was warranted to talk a squallin young one to sleep in 30 seconds.
When our Doctors had a leg to saw off, they always sent for Dominy CLOROFORM to put the patient to sleep.
He dident preach "Rest for the weary" without practisin what he preached, by makin his weary congregation rest like kittens.
But the old man has been scooped in, and our drug store has gone up on cloroform.
His last words were:—
"Sweet sleepers, I go. I'le drug no more." And beneath the mirtle, the Canada thistle, and the gooseberry-bush he rests, with the follerin epitaff on his tombstun:—
Hee's gone to rest, don't wake him up,
His labors heer are ore;
He useter preach fokes fast to sleep,
Who entered his church-door.
Minnisters, in gettin hold of the public heart, resort to different ways.
Some of 'em make love to the pretty little lambs of their flox of the femail persuasion.
Others indulge freely in gin and milk, and get boozy, while agin some others histe in mug after mug of lager beer, and then lay in with some Bohemian to rite 'em up.
This gives 'em a popularity which $500 worth of paid-for advertisements wouldent bring 'em. And their church stock goes up to 200 per cent. above par. Big crowds rush to hear the guzzlin divine extort. And, sir! before you know it, that preacher is richer'n mud, and just as likely as not, owns stock in a race-course or a lager-bier brewery. Thus, as SHAKSPEER says:—
"Their is a course somewhere which shapes
Our latter ends, ruff hue 'em
As we will. The only truble is to
Find that course—and freeze to it."
But, Master B., don't imitate any of them ere stiles.
You soot me as you are.
You hain't one of them chaps, who believes that if a man wants to be good, he must draw down his face, and look as if he had been fetched up on chow-chow and cider vinegar.
Long faces don't make good fokes, which reminds me that fine feathers don't allers make fine birds, especcially if it's a broiled chicken full of fine pin feathers.
I notiss that in your sermons you handle polerticians and bizziness men without gloves.
Between you and I, some of them store keepers and eatin house chaps on Broadway, N.Y., go on the principle—give as little as they can, for as much as they can squeeze out of their customers.
Up to DELMONICO'S you can buy an apple dumplin for $3.00, and 25 cents extra for a tooth-pick, while at some other places it costs a man 1/2 a dollar to poke his head into a store door.
I went into an ice cream saloon on B'way last time I was in N.Y.
They asked me 50 cents for a plate of ice cream.
When I was leavin, the proprieter accused me of stealin his dish.
I indignantly scorned his vile insineration.
Next mornin, I was pickin out a holler tooth, when sumthing hard struck my tooth-pick.
I pulled out my jack-nife, and dug it out. To my cerprise, the missin dish came forth, which had been wedged into the cavity beneath a 75 cent piece of pie.
I notiss you draw big houses.
Outsiders grumble some, because they can't go into your church and take the best seats, and crowd out regular pew-holders.
Let em grumble. I allers found out that when a man is gettin up in the world, that, like carrion crows hoverin over a sick animal, grumblers fly about him, lickin their chops and watchin a good opportunity to scratch him ragged.
When you git off joaks and set your congregation to laffin, don't it make you feel scrumpshus?
As a Klergical humorist, there is stamps in you.
But Ive writ more'n I expected when I sot down.
It would delite me and Mrs. GREEN to have you and your good woman pay us a visit.
If you'l come, drop us a line, and we'l open the front parler and invite in a few first families to give you a lively time.
I'l have a coat of white-wash put onto the bed-room walls. White-wash makes a sleepin-room smell sweet. Besides it makes bugs dust in a hurry. My old woman is a sweet white-washer. I'de bet odds, that MARIAR can get over more territory, with a white-wash brush, than the smartest committee of congresses ever appinted to cover up some dark transaction.
Hopin these few lines will find you in apple-pie order, and able to indulge in numerous frugal meals of hash etc., Ile now say Adux,
HIRAM GREEN, ESQ.,
Lait Gustise of the Peece.
The Extreme or Fashion.
It is announced by journals devoted to fashion, that trains are to be worn even longer during the coming winter than they have yet been. Coincidental with this, is the announcement made by sundry papers that "a piece of calico a mile long has been manufactured in New England." The Miss who gets this for a train will be as good as a Mile, and such is the length, dear boys and girls, to which fashion may be carried.
"AT THE LAST Bal Masqué ON THE AVENUE. A DISTINGUISHED SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN CREATED MUCH AMUSEMENT COSTUMED AS 'RECONSTRUCTION.'"
MR. BROWN HAS BEEN RECOMMENDED BY A FRIEND TO HAVE A LITTLE GLYCERINE DROPPED INTO HIS EAR FOR DEAFNESS. BY MISTAKE HE PURCHASES NITRO-GLYCERINE. RESULT.
POEMS OF THE CRADLE.
Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross,
To see an old woman ride on a white horse.
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes.
The above verse commemorates an epoch in the Poet's lifetime. He went to the Circus. A noteworthy event, when it is considered how few Circuses there were in those days, and how seldom those few came near enough to disturb the calm of an out-of-the-way country village. Such a thing had never occurred before in his lifetime, nor within the memory of the oldest inhabitant. All were therefore properly impressed with the importance of the occurrence, and none more so than the excitable, impressible, enthusiastic Poet. For days before the one appointed to make the journey to the Market Town, he was in a great state of excitement and hilarious pleasure, and with difficulty controlled his inclinations to laugh, dance, and sing, and otherwise gayly disport himself. The exuberance of his spirits caused no little alarm to his family, who feared he was going mad with delight, and endeavored in every possible way to quiet down the dangerous symptoms.
"In vain did his mother command him to stop:
He only laughed louder and higher did hop;"
till at last, fearing the torrent could never be stemmed, she thought to direct it in a less dangerous channel.
So, putting on her most insinuating expression she asked, "Why don't you write a piece about the Circus? It might be real nice. Tell all about the beautiful young lady on horseback, and the music, and the ride over to Banbury, and everything you can think about. Come now, that's a good boy; go and do that for your mother."
The deceived youth stared in amazement at the request. Such a thing had never been heard before under that humble roof-tree. His own mother actually telling him to write some poetry. Incredible! Instead of laughing, and snubbing him as she usually did, positively telling him to do the very thing she had so often forbidden,—the very thing he had always been obliged to do under so many discouragements. The thought took away his breath. That his talent was at length recognized by his family was a matter of rejoicing, and springing up with a cheerful cry, "I'll do it," he bounded up the back-kitchen stairs, and was soon lost to sight amid the cobwebs of time.
The provident old lady, with a knowing look and sagacious shake of the head, said, "He's safe for awhile, thank Heaven; now let us have peace."
Let us follow the poet up-stairs and peep into that attic chamber. The sanctum sanctorum of the writer. The visiting-place of the Muses. The stable of Pegasus. There, in one corner, is a little cot bed, with a single pillow, showing at once a privileged member of the family; near its head an ancient wash-stand and a tin wash-basin, and by its side a pail of water, with a tin dipper reposing quietly on its surface. Nothing unnecessary, everything useful. By the window stands a square pine table, spotted and streaked with ink, to match the floor, which resembles in a homely way MARK TWAIN'S map of Paris on an enlarged scale. Before that table, his head resting on his hands, his eyes glaring on the paper, sits the immortal Bard whose lightest words were to be remembered long after his name was forgotten.
The first in order of events in the journey to the Market Town. The arrangements have all been made. He and TOM are to ride the horse, while his mother and DICK ride the mare. There is no use telling the world all the particulars, so he simply writes:—
"Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross."
He doesn't care to mention that two intend to ride the cock horse. If the world chooses to think only one rides him, let them think so. He will write ambiguously if he wants to; there is no law to prevent him from doing so.
"Now what is to be seen after getting there? His mother said a beautiful lady on horseback, and splendid music. But that cannot be. What! a beautiful young lady ride in public on horseback? She wouldn't do such a thing. He knows too much for that. It must be some old woman; and he writes accordingly:—
"To see an old woman ride on a white horse."
She is to be gayly dressed, he has heard, and loaded with diamond rings; but how about the music? Probably she has bells on her toes; at least he will put it so, and then adds;—
"Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes."
He thinks awhile longer. He sees in imagination the venerable old dame riding around on the white horse, gayly dressed and bespangled, the rings glistening, the bells ringing, and his sensitive soul fancies it hears the wonderful music, and he knows that ever and ever, so long as she rides,
"She will have music wherever she goes."
He has become enraptured with the glowing vision, and now, as he lays down his pen his eyes flash and his cheeks burn with poetic fire. How happy his mother will be to hear the result of his afternoon's labor! Rejoicing he descends, taking with him the precious verse, and proudly begins to read it to his appreciative audience. Falteringly he commences, but, warming with the subject, his spirits rise, till at the last line he triumphantly waves the paper over his head, looks around for applause, and sees----his mother lying on the floor in a dead faint.
Pen and Sword.
"War to the knife!" is the cry of the Paris Siècle. This is merely a cry from a Pen-knife, of course; but then it is sure to be heard by the Butcher-knife.
We understand that there will shortly be a "Birth" at WALLACK'S.
A BAD LOOK OUT.
Paterfamilias (reading). "IT APPEARS FROM THIS PAPER THAT TURKEY IS LIKELY TO BE ENTIRELY GOBBLED UP BY RUSSIA."
Alitmentive Youth. "THEN WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THANKSGIVING DAY?"
ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A MAN.
A THRILLING TALE.
WITH EXPLANATORY NOTES.
Once.—In serious literature you cannot be too exact. You will notice that I say once, not twice or thrice, and you will find that that is a very important point at once. Thus, you might put your hand under a trip-hammer once, but not twice. You might take a trip on a Mississippi steamer, or an Erie train, once. You might go to the Legislature or Congress and be honest once. You might get a seat in a horse-car once. You might be civilly treated by a public official once. You might lend an umbrella, or indulge in the luxury of a lawsuit, or persuade your better half that you are only tired when you are really beery, once; but, I assure you, that your chance of doing any of those things twice is decidedly slim. If you do any of them once and don't find yourself in Greenwood, the alms-house, or matrimonial hot water, retire on your laurels and let out the job.
Upon a time.—This is not a fairy tale, though it opens in a very suspicious manner. It is a sad recital of facts. Upon a time does not mean that any one sat down on a watch, or made himself familiar with the town clock. It is not very specific, I admit. It may refer to any time, but, I think, the design was to call attention to Benedict's time. You know how it is yourself. You remember how often you have stood on a dock, and seen the steamboat ten feet out in the stream, or have struck a depot just as the train was rolling around a curve in the distance, simply because you were not upon a time. Then, as you walked on the dock or platform, you would strew your pathway with—curses. But I do not mean anything of that sort. No, I refer to something grander, nobler, more magnificent.
There was.—Here's explicitness! Here's directness! Here's explanatoryness! In my pap days I learned that without a verb there could not be a sentence, not even a judge's sentence. I know "was" ain't much of a word all alone by itself, but then chuck it in among a lot of other fellows, and how it does make them stand around. And then it's so deliciously incomprehensible—there was. Mind you, it don't say that the same thing isn't now. And, mind you, it don't say whether it refers to the day before yesterday, or the commencement of the Franco-Prussian opera bouffe, or our late unpleasantness, or the beginning of the world, or before that. No, it can't go back of the beginning, for before that there wasn't. Anyhow, it leaves you in such a pleasant state of uncertainty that you very willingly pass on to.
A man.—Here we arrive at something specific. "A two-legged animal, who laughs." That definition excludes women, because they giggle, or chuckle, or cachinnate. This expression is a very general one; it includes a vast number of individuals. It even takes in tailors, for, by a wise provision of Providence, the number of tailors in this world at any one time is always a multiple of nine; so that you can point to any nine of them and boldly say, a man. I am not sure that this term does not include gorillas, for, by a wise provision of Congress, they can at any time be made men and brethren. One advantage about the subject of this chapter is this: it is never necessary to put a head on it, as it is generally furnished with that appendage by nature.
So endeth this thrilling tale. A sequel to it will be published in the early part of the next century, entitled,
"THERE WAS ONCE A TIME UPON A MAN."
The Horse-Car is an omnivorous animal, though its chief diet is garbage, as our sense of smell has often proved to us.
The "people's coach" it has been called, but in misery's name, I ask, must the whole public crowd into one coach? Yesterday, after I had waited for a car the best part of the forenoon, it came crawling along at snail-like pace, the horses fast asleep, and the driver gazing vacantly into space, thoroughly exhausted in endeavors to wake them up.
I entered, and was thrust into one of two congealed rows of mortality, which faced each other from opposite benches.
Then the people filled the passage; they crowded it to suffocation; they piled on to the platforms in battalions; six wretches depended from the hind brake; others were suspended from the top of the car, with hands and feet thrust through the leathers, and two actually balanced themselves around the driver's neck.
Fearful moans arose from the enormous mass of condensed humanity; people panted for breath; they gasped, and rolled their eyes in horrible frenzy, and still the conductor yelled fiercely, and with demoniac leer:—
And thus his Voice rang through the stifling air,
"Plenty of room in front, move forward, there!"
It was raining; parasols leaked into my shoes, soaking water-proofs embraced me, and monstrous brogans crushed my feet to chaos; then, umbrellas punched my eyes, out, jabbed holes in my hat, and wrote hieroglyphics all over my shirt bosom, while baskets of meat were deposited in my lap, and the intruding tail of a codfish roughly slapped my face a dozen times.
In short, I emerged from that car ruined, wilted, and utterly demoralized.
When I got home my wife didn't know me, and I could only prove my identity by carefully scraping my feet, hanging up my hat, and otherwise exhibiting the results of her superior disciplinary powers. My hardest work, however, was to establish the fact that I hadn't been rolled in the gutter, my rheumatic hobble, dilapidated aspect, and blood-shot eyes telling fearfully against me.
The next time I ride in a horse-car, I shall take a private hack.
A Con of the Period.
When this cruel war is over, and crowds of tourists rush to see the place where LOUIS NAPOLEON surrendered, why will that place be like BRYANT'S Minstrels?
Because such a lot of people will go to See DAN.
Con from Our Correspondent in benighted Africa.
Why would CÆSAR have made a fine novelist?
Because he was a great Roman—Sir.
HAD HIM THERE.
Brown. "BET YOU FIFTY DOLLARS THE WAR IS OVER IN FRANCE IN FIVE DAYS."
Smith. "BET YOU A HUNDRED IT ISN'T."
Brown. "SHELL OUT YOUR HUNDRED—THE WAR IS OVER THERE NOW, ISN'T IT?—HA! HA! HA!"
LETTER FROM A SCHOOLMASTER.
MR. PUNCHINELLO: Respected Sir:—I am a schoolmaster, and in investigating, for the benefit of my pupils (number limited; English and classical courses; French and guitar extra; scholars bring their own slippers and tooth-brushes; privileges of a home, etc., etc.), the vast arena of Science, applied and unapplied, I have found that there are many things that the world does not yet know. This may surprise you, but it is nevertheless true. Through the medium of your valuable journal I propose to give to the world, to which we all owe so much, a few hints in regard to the deficiencies of Science, and thus place these, my carefully nurtured ideas, at the service of my race.
It is to be presumed that there are but few persons who have not observed the great benefits of pruning in the vegetable kingdom. He who sits under the shade of his own vine and fig-tree (or even those which are leased or rented) will find the shade and the fruit of his vine and his tree greatly increased by judicious and seasonable pruning. The theories of Science and the practice of horticulturists have made this fact so potent that it is needless to enlarge upon it now. But Science stops here. What she has given the world, in respect to this important subject, is of far less value than that of which she has deprived it, by her failure to carry her investigations into the animal kingdom. With the exception of the docking of horses' tails and the clipping of the ears of dogs, she has done little or nothing in this respect, and it is much to be feared that the great benefits of pruning, as applied to the human race, are denied to the present generation; for we all know how difficult it is, in the face of the dogged opposition of the masses, to inaugurate a truly valuable reform. But it is my belief, and I have carefully studied the subject in all its bearings, that the crowning gift of Science to Man will be the system of PRUNING FOR CONSUMPTION.
When we consider how the strength of a weak and spindling tree is augmented by the excision of some of its useless branches, we can well understand that weak and spindling man may be strengthened and invigorated by the amputation of one or more of his limbs. The sap, or blood, which was before applied to the support and nourishment of this excised limb, will now assist in the nourishment of the whole body, and the man, like the tree, will become vigorous, stout, and healthy. In proof of this, it is only necessary to consider the condition of those soldiers, sailors, or civilians who have suffered the amputation of a leg or arm. How plump and rosy they all appear! Is it not certain, then, that instead of wasting their time and substance in Cod-liver oil and trips to Minnesota and Florida, it would be far better for those persons who may fancy themselves consumptive to repair to their physician's abode, and request him to trim off an arm, a foot, or a leg, according to the urgency of their symptoms? And if this first pruning were found to be insufficient, the individual might be further trimmed until his form was of a size and extent no greater than his natural forces were capable of nourishing. When this result was attained, the patient might expect to grow as vigorous and wholesome as a properly pruned grape-vine or a dwarf pear-tree. Hoping, respected Sir, that I have made myself intelligible to yourself and readers, and that Science may take the valuable hints I have given her, I am
A CABLE despatch from Paris to PUNCHINELLO (cost $8.62) announces that the editor of La Verité has been sent to a cold and gloomy dungeon for publishing false news,—a warning to the Sunny CHARLES, our well-beloved neighbor! But the most mysterious part of the matter is, that this editorial Frenchman actually published this false news upon the doubly dubious authority of the Chevalier WICKOFF! Why, this gallant adventurer is so well known in New York that if he should come into our sanctum and tell us that we had fallen heirs to a neat fortune of $500,000, we shouldn't believe him for a moment.
A POSITIVE ANALOGY.
The Positivists of New York, at a recent meeting, passed unanimously a set of resolutions, in one of which they spoke of King WILLIAM of Prussia as the modern ATTILA. As an admirer of that fine old barbarian, Mr. PUNCHINELLO protests against such a slanderous attack upon his historic reputation. ATTILA and the hordes he led were honest thieves, who made no hypocritical pretences to virtue in order to hide their real motives. They were plunderers by profession, and were not ashamed to openly proclaim it. ATTILA himself, like any high-minded savage of his crew, would have quickly avenged, as an insult, any attempt to ascribe to him another motive for his action than the pure and simple desire for plunder: nor did he and his men pretend to lead the Europe of their day in any of the branches of thought which go towards making the culture of any country. The Positivists have great faith in the historic method of analogy, and they are right in so doing. But in using analogies it is just as well, if not better, to have them analogies.
The Peace In Preparation.
The new piece which, for the last few weeks, has been announced as in preparation and shortly to appear in the Puppet Show of the European Political Theatre has not yet been produced, and the expecting spectators are asking why! The reason, however, is plain. The wire pullers have been hard at work, but have been constantly thwarted by finding that the wires which were effective with the imperial dolls will have no effect upon the republican figures.
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