The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punchinello, Vol. 2., No. 32, November 5, 1870, by Various
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Title: Punchinello, Vol. 2., No. 32, November 5, 1870
Release Date: November 17, 2003 [EBook #10104]
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* * * * *
Miss CARROWTHERS having gone out with Mrs. SKAMMERHORN to skirmish with the world of dry-goods clerks for one of those alarming sacrifices in feminine apparel which woman unselfishly, yet never needlessly, is always making, FLORA sat alone in her new home, working the latest beaded pin-cushion of her useful life. Frequently experiencing the truth of the adage, that as you sew so shall you rip, the fair young thing was passing half her valuable time in ripping out the mistaken stitches she had made in the other half; and the severe moral discipline thus endured, made her mad, as equivalent vexation would have made a man the reverse of that word. Flippant social satirists cannot dwell with sufficient sarcasm upon the difference between the invincible amiability affected by artless girls in society and their occasional bitterness of aspect in the privacy of home; never stopping to reflect that there are sore private trials for these industrious young crochet creatures in which the thread of the most equable female existence is necessarily worsted. Miss POTTS, then, although looking up from her trying worsted occupation at the servant who entered with a rather snappish expression of countenance, was guilty of no particularly hypocritical assumption in at once suffering her features to relax into a sweetly pensive smile upon learning that there was a gentleman to see her in the parlor.
"'MONTGOMERY PENDRAGON,'" she softly read from the card presented. "Is he alone, BRIDGET, dear?"
"Sorra any wan with him but his cane, Miss; and that he axed me wud I sthand it behind the dure for him."
There was a look of desperate purpose about this. When a sentimental young man seeks a private interview with a marriageable young woman, and recklessly refuses at the outset to retain at least his cane for the solution of the intricate conversational problem of what to do with his hands, it is an infallible sign that some madly rash intention has temporarily overpowered his usual sheepish imbecility, and that he may be expected to speak and act with almost human intelligence.
With hand instinctively pressed upon her heart, to moderate its too sanguine pulsations and show the delicate lace around her cuffs, FLORA shyly entered the parlor, and surprised Mr. PENDRAGON striding up and down the apartment like one of the more comic of the tragic actors of the day.
"Miss POTTS!" ejaculated the wild young Southern pedestrian, pausing suddenly at her approach, with considerable excitement of manner, "scorn me, spurn me, if you will; but do not let sectional embitterment blind you to the fact that I am here by the request of Mr. DIBBLE."
"I wasn't scorning and spurning anybody," explained the startled orphan, coyly accepting the chair he pushed forward. "I'm sure I don't feel any sectional hatred, nor any other ridiculous thing."
"Forgive me!" pleaded MONTGOMERY. "I reckon I'm a heap too sensitive about my Southern birth; but only think, Miss POTTS, what I've had to go through since I've been amongst you Yankees! Fancy what it is to be suspected of a murder, and have no political influence."
"It must be so absurd!" murmured FLORA.
"I've felt wretched enough about it to become a contributor to the first-class American comic paper on the next floor below me," he continued, gloomily. "And here, to-day, without any explanation, your guardian desires me to come here and wait for him."
"I'm sorry that's such a trial for you, Mr. PENDRAGON," simpered the Flowerpot. "Perhaps you'd prefer to wait on the front stoop and appear as though you'd just come, you know?"
"And can you think," cried the young man with increased agitation "that it would be any trial for me to be in your society, if--? But tell me, Miss POTTS, has your guardian the right to dispose of your hand in marriage?"
"I suppose so," answered FLORA, with innocent surprise and a pretty blush; "he has charge of all my money matters, you know."
"Then it is as I feared," groaned her questioner, smiting his forehead. "He is coming here to-day to tell you what man of opulence he wants you to have, and I am to be witness to my own hopelessness!"
"What makes you think anything so ridiculous, you absurd thing?" asked the orphan, not unkindly.
"He as good as said so," sighed the unhappy Southerner. "He told me, with his own mouth, that he wanted to get you off his hands as soon as possible, and thought he saw his way clear to do it."
The girl knew what bitter, intolerable emotions were tearing the heart of the ill-fated secessionist before her, and, in her own gentle heart, pitied him.
"He needn't be so sure about it," she said, with indignant spirit. "I'll never marry any stranger, unless he's awful rich--oh, as rich as anything!"
"Oh, Miss POTTS!" roared MONTGOMERY, suddenly, folding-down upon one knee before her, and scratching his nose with a ring upon the hand he sought to kiss, "why will you not bestow upon me the heart so generously disdainful of everything except the most extreme wealth? Why waste your best years in waiting for proposals from a class of Northern men who occasionally expect that their brides, also, shall have property, when here I offer you the name and hand of a loving Southern gentleman, who only needs the paying off of a few mortgages on his estate in the South to be beyond all immediate danger of starvation?"
Turning her pretty head aside, but unconsciously allowing him to retain her hand, she faintly asked how they were to live?
"Live!" repeated the impetuous lover. "On love, hash, mutual trust, bread pudding: anything that's cheap. I'll do the washing and ironing myself."
"How perfectly ridiculous!" said the orphan, bashfully turning her head still further aside, and bringing one ear-ring to bear strongly upon him. "You'd never be able to do fluting and pinking in the world."
"I could do anything, with you by my side!" he retorted, eagerly. Oh, Miss POTTS!--FLORA!--think how lonely I am. My sister, as on may have heard, has accepted Gospeler SIMPSON'S proposal, by mail, for her hand, and is already so busy quarrelling with his mother that she is no longer any company for me. My fate is in your hands; it is in woman's power to either make or marry the roan who loves her--"
"Provided, always, that her legal guardian consents," interrupted the benignant voice of Mr. DIBBLE, who, unperceived by them, had entered the room in time to finish the sentence.
Springing alertly to an upright position, and coughing excessively, Mr. PENDRAGON was a shamefaced reproach to his whole sex, while the young lady used the edge of her right foot against a seam of the carpet with that extreme solicitude as to the result which is always so entirely deceiving to those who have hoped to see her show signs of painful embarrassment.
After surveying them in thoughtful silence for a moment, the old lawyer bent over his ward, and hugged and kissed her with an unctuousness justified by his great age and extreme goodness. It was his fine old way of bestowing an inestimable blessing upon all the plump younger women of his acquaintance, and the benediction was conferred on the slightest pretexts, and impartially, up to a certain age.
"Am I to construe what I have seen and heard, my dear, as equivalent to the conclusion of my guardianship?" he asked, smilingly.
"Oh, please don't be so ridiculous--oh, I never was so exquisitely nervous," pleaded the helpless, fluttered young creature.
"I reckon I've betrayed your confidence, sir," said MONTGOMERY, desperately; "but you must have known, from hearsay at least, how I have felt toward this young lady ever since our first meeting, and should not have exposed me to a temptation stronger than I could bear. I have, indeed, done myself the honor to offer her the hand and heart if one who, although but a poor gentleman, will be richer than kings if she deigns to make him so."
"Why, how absurd!" ejaculated the orphan, quickly. "It's perfectly ridiculous to call me well off: and how could I make you richer than kings and things, you know?"
The old and the young men exchanged looks of unspeakable admiration at such touching artlessness.
"Sweet innocence!" exclaimed her guardian, playfully pinching her cheek and privately surprised at its floury feeling. "What would you say if I told you that, since our shrewd EDDY retired from the contest, I have been wishing to see you and our Southern friend here brought to just such terms as you appear to have reached? What would you say if I added that, such consummation seeming to be the best you or your friends could do for yourself, I have determined to deal with you as a daughter, in the matter of seeing to it that you begin your married life with a daughter's portion from my own estate?"
Both the young people had his hands in theirs, on either side of him, in an instant.
"There! there!" continued the excellent old gentleman, "don't try to express yourselves. FLORA, place one of your hands in the breast of my coat, and draw out the parcel you find there. * * * That's it. The article it contains once belonged to your mother, my dear, and has been returned to me by the hands to which I once committed it in the hope that they would present it to you. I loved your mother well, my child, but had not enough property at the time to contend with your father. Open the parcel in private, and be warned by its moral: Better is wilful waist than woeful want of it."
It was the stay-lace by which Mrs. POTTS, from too great persistence in drawing herself up proudly, had perished in her prime.
"Now come into the open air with me, and let us walk to Central Park," continued Mr. DIBBLE, shaking off his momentary fit of gloom, "I have strange things to tell you both. I have to teach you, in justice to a much-injured man, that we have, in our hearts, cruelly wronged that excellent and devout Mr. BUMSTEAD, by suspecting him of a crime whereof he is now proved innocent at least I suspected him. To-morrow night we must all be in Bumsteadville. I will tell you why as we walk."
In the darkness of a night made opaque by approaching showers, a man stands under the low-drooping branches of the edge of a wood skirting the cross-road leading down to Gospeler's Gulch.
"Not enough saved from the wreck even to buy the merciful rope that should end all my humor and impecuniosity!" he mutters, over his folded arms and heaving chest. "I have come to this out-of-the-way suburb to end my miserable days, and not so much as one clothes-line have I seen yet. There is the pond, however; I can jump into that, I suppose: but how much more decent were it to make one's quietus under the merry greenwood tree with a cord--"
He stops suddenly, holding his breath; and, almost simultaneously with a sharp, rushing noise in the leaves overhead, something drops upon his shoulder. He grasps it, cautiously feels of it, and, to his unspeakable amazement, discovers that it is a rope apparently fastened to the branches above!
"Wonderful!" he ejaculates, in an awe-stricken whisper. "Providence helps a wretch to die, if not to live. At any other time I should think this very strange, but just now I've got but one thing to do. Here's my rope, here's my neck, and here goes!"
Heedless of everything but his dread intention, he rapidly ties the rope about his throat, and is in the act of throwing forward his whole weight upon it, when there is a sharp jerk of the rope, he is drawn up about three feet in the air, and, before he can collect his thoughts, is as abruptly let down upon his feet again. Simultaneously, a sound almost like suppressed swearing comes very clearly to his ear, and he is conscious of something dimly white in the profound darkness, not far away.
"Sold again: signed, J. BUMSTEAD," exclaims a deep voice. "I thought the rope was caught in a crotch; but 'twasn't. Try't once more."
The astounded hearer feels the rope tugging at his own neck again, and, with a half comprehension of the situation, calls "Stop!" in a suffocating voice.
"Who's there?" comes from the darkness.
"JEREMY BENTHAM, late proprietor of first-class American Comic Paper.--Died of Comic Serial.--Want to hang myself," is the jerky reply from the other side.
"Got your own rope, sir?"
"No. One fell down on my shoulders just as I was wishing for it; but it seems to be too elastic."
"That's the other end 'f my rope, air," rejoins the second voice, as in wrath. "I threw't over the branches and thought it had caught, instead of that it let me down, sir."
"And drew me up," says Mr. BENTHAM.
Before another word can be spoken by either, the light of a dark-lantern is flashed upon them. There is Mr. BUMSTEAD, not three yards from Mr. BENTHAM; each with an end of the same rope about his neck, and the head of the former turbaned with a damp towel.
"Are ye men?" exclaims the deep voice of Mr. MELANCTHON SCHENCK from behind the lantern, "and would ye madly incur death before having taken out life-policies in the Boreal?"
"And would my uncle celebrate my return in this style?" cried still another voice from the darkness.
"Who's that spoke just then?" cries the Ritualistic organist.
The answer comes like the note of a trumpet:--
At the same instant a great glare of light breaks upon the scene from a bonfire of tar-barrels, ignited at the higher end of the cross-road by young SMALLEY; and, to the mingled bewilderment and exasperation of Mr. BUMSTEAD, the radiance reveals, as in noonday, Mr. SCHENCK and his long-lost nephew standing before him; and, coming towards them in festive procession from Gospeler's Gulch. MONTGOMERY PENDRAGON with FLORA on his arm, the Reverend OCTAVIUS SIMPSON escorting MAGNOLIA, Mr. DIBBLE guarding Mrs. SIMPSON, Mr. CLEW'S arm in arm with JOHN McLAUGHLIN. Father DEAN and Judge SWEENEY, Miss CAROWTHERS, and the SMYTHES.
"Trying to hang yourselves!" exclaims Mr. DIBBLE, as the throng gathers curiously around the two gentlemen of the rope.
"And my old friend BENTHAM, too!" cries the Gospeler.
"How perfectly ridiculous!" warbles FLORA.
Staring majestically from one face to the other, and from thence towards the illuminating bonfire, Mr. BUMSTEAD, quite unconscious of the picturesque effect of the towel on his head, deliberately draws an antique black bottle from his pocket, moistens his lips therewith, passes it to the Comic Paper man, and eats a clove.
"What is the meaning of this general intoxication?" he then asks quite severely. "Why does this mass-meeting, greatly under the influence of inferior liquor as it plainly is, intrude thus upon the last hours of a Ritualistic gentleman and a humorous publisher?"
"Because, Uncle JACK," returns EDWIN DROOD, holding his hands curiously behind him as he speaks, "this is a night of general rejoicing Bumsteadville, in honor of my reappearance; and, directed by your landlord, Mr. SMYTHE, we have come out to make you join in our cheer. We are all heartily sorry for the great anguish you have endured in consequence of my unexplained absence. Let me tell you ow it was, as I have already told all our friends here. You know where you placed me while you were in your clove-trance, and I was o unbecomingly asleep, on Christmas night. Well, I was discovered there, in less than three hours thereafter, by JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, who carried me to his own house, and there managed to awaken me. Recovering my senses, I was disgusted with myself, ashamed of what had happened, and anxious to leave Bumsteadville. I swore 'Old Mortarity' to secrecy--"
"--Which I have observed," explains MCLAUGHLIN, nodding.
"--And started immediately for Egypt, in Illinois," continues Mr. DROOD. "There I went into railroading; am engaged to a nice little girl there; and came back two days ago to explain myself all around, returning here, I saw JOHN MCLAUGHLIN first, who told me that a certain Mr. CLEWS was here to unravel the Mystery about me, and persuaded me to let Mr. CLEWS work you into another visit to the cellar the Pauper Burial Ground, and there appear to you as my own ghost, before finally revealing myself as I now do."
The glassy eyes of the Ritualistic organist are fixed upon him in a most uncomfortable manner, but no comment comes.
"And I, Mr. BUMSTEAD," says the old lawyer, "must apologize to you for having indulged a wrong suspicion. Possibly you were rather rash in charging everybody else with assassination and larceny, and offering to marry my ward upon the strength of her dislike to you; but we'll say no more of those things now. Miss POTTS has consented to become Mrs. PENDRAGON; Miss PENDRAGON is the betrothed of Rev. Mr. SIMPSON,--"
"--Miss CAROWTHERS honors me with a matrimonial preference," interpolates Judge SWEENEY, gallantly bowing to that spinster.--
"--Breachy Mr. BLODGETT!" sighs the lady, to herself.--
"--And three weddings will help us to forget everything but that which is bright and pleasant," concludes the lawyer.
Next steps to the front Mr. TRACEY CLEWS, with his surprising head of hair, and archly remarks:
"I believe you take me for a literary man, Mr. BUMSTEAD."
"What is that to me, sir? I've no money to lend," returns the organist, with marked uneasiness.
"To tell you the truth," proceeds the author of "The Amateur Detective," --"to tell you the whole truth, I have been playing the detective with you by order of Mr. DIBBLE, and hope you will excuse my practice upon you."
"He is my clerk," explains Mr. DIBBLE.
Whereupon Mr. TRACEY CLEWS dexterously whips off his brush of red hair, and stands revealed as Mr. BLADAMS.
Merely waiting to granulate one more clove, Mr. BUMSTEAD settles the rope about his neck anew, squints around under the wet towel in a curiously ghastly manner, and thus addresses the meeting:--
"Ladies and gen'l'men--I've listened to y'r impudence with patience, and on any other 'casion would be happy to see y'all safe home. At present, however, Mr. BENTHAM and I desire to be left alone, if 'ts all th' same t' you. You can come for the bodies in th' morning."
"BENTHAM! BENTHAM!" calls the Gospeler, "I can't see you acting in that way, old friend. Come home with me to-night, and we'll talk of starting a Religious Weekly together. That's your only successful American Comic Paper."
"By Jove! so it is!" bawls JEREMY BENTHAM, like one possessed. "I never thought of that before! I'm with you, my boy." And, hastily slipping the rope from his neck, he hurries to his friend's side.
"And you, Uncle JACK--look at this!" exclaims Mr. E. DROOD, bringing from behind his back and presenting to the melancholy organist a thing that looks, at first glance, like an incredibly slim little black girl, headless, with no waist at all, and balanced on one leg.
Mr. BUMSTEAD reaches for it mechanically; a look of intelligence comes into his glassy eyes; then they fairly flame.
"ALLIE!" he cries, dancing ecstatically.
It is the Umbrella--old familiar bone-handle, brass ferrule--in a bran-new dress of alpaca!
All gaze at him with unspeakable emotion, as, with the rope cast from him, he pats his dear old friend, opens her half way, shuts her again, and the while smiles with ineffable tenderness.
Suddenly a shriek--the voice of FLORA--breaks the silence:--
"It rains!--oh, my complexion!"
"Rains?" thunders the regenerated BUMSTEAD, in a tone of inconceivable triumph. "So it does. Now then, ALLIE, do your duty;" and, with a softly wooing, hospitable air, he opens the umbrella and holds it high over his head.
By a common instinct they all swarm in upon him, craning their heads far over each other's shoulders to secure a share of the Providential shelter. The glare of the great bonfire falls upon the scene; the rain pours down in torrents: they crowd in upon him on all sides, until what was once a stately Ritualistic man resembles some tremendous monster with seventeen wriggling bodies, thirty-four legs, and an alpaca canopy above all.
* * * * *
Punchinello's Sporting Special went down to Sandy Hook last week to supervise the race between the Dauntless and the Cambria. The affair was consequently a great success.
Attired in white corduroy breeches, a blue velvet waistcoat, and a light boating-jacket of yellow flannel, your reporter left the Battery at 6 hrs. 22 m, and 5 secs, on Friday morning, and steamed slowly down the bay in the editorial row-boat Punchinelletto, which was manned by an individual of remarkable oar-acular powers. So highly was he gifted indeed in this respect, that your special was enabled to predict the result of the aquatic gambols with perfect accuracy, as it afterward appeared. Having got the yachts in position, he gave Messrs. BENNETT and ASHBURY an audience, in which it was settled by your representative that, owing to a split in the Cambria's club-topsail, both parties should carry their block-headed jibs; and the contest was begun.
In his anxiety to see fair play, however, your reporter at first innocently took the lead, shooting off, at the given signal, far in advance of the two yachts. His surprise was therefore great when the latter suddenly hove to on their beam-ends, and declared an armistice, to permit of Mr. ASHBURY'S publishing the following:
Much as I appreciate the kindness and attention extended to me on all previous occasions in these waters, I must still politely insist that the Punchinelletto relinquish her natural and perhaps unavoidable tendency to take the wind out of everybody's sails, and submit to remain in the wake of these yachts during the continuance of the race. And I hereby challenge all fast-sailing yachts of over 100 tons burthen, and under 50, to a 15-mile race dead to windward and back again alive.
Upon this your reporter manned the yard-arms, fired a salute of 100 guns, and directed the Oar-acular to back water; thereby giving the Dauntless the lead, which she retained up to the end of the race. By the clever management of her Tacks she succeeded in completely Nailing the Cambria. On the home-stretch, however, the latter began "eating up" on her to such an alarming degree, that it was feared the provisions of the Dauntless would not hold out. By putting the crew on half-rations of champagne and sponge-cake this awful calamity was averted.
Excited by the presence of danger, your reporter forgot his habitual caution, and giving his Oar-ist a hearing, made all sail for the mark-boat. The tow-line was passed from the bows aft, and there attached to the boat-hook, held by your representative. Upon this impromptu clothes-line was crowded all the canvas, velvet, linen, and other dry-goods appertaining to the gallant captain and his self-sacrificing crew. The latter gentleman might have been seen under this gay cloud of drapery working fitfully but energetically to and fro. But 't was all in vain! The Dauntless passed the mark-boat, and the race was won. Won? But by whom?
The daily papers, with their usual inaccuracy, have made it appear that the Dauntless was the winner, but among thinking men there is but one opinion in regard to the matter, an opinion fully explained and corroborated in the following, published by Mr. ASHBURY, immediately on the Punchinelletto passing the mark-boat:
I take this opportunity of saying that whatever misunderstanding may have arisen in the early part of this race as to the position of the Punchinelletto, it is now but just to admit that she has shown herself worthy, both in point of speed and management, to take rank among the first-class yachts of the fleet, and I hereby challenge, &c., &c.
This was further supplemented by a
Card from Mr. BENNETT.
In token of my concurrence in the brilliant success of the Punchinelletto, and my personal esteem for her commander, I hereby beg to place at his disposal my yacht Dauntless, together with all her stores, ordnance, by-laws, and small arms.
In reply to both of which your reporter circulated the following:
It is my express desire that no public mention shall be made of the part by which the Dauntless was permitted apparently to win the race. It is the duty of him who might have been victor to display a magnanimous spirit to those who in that case would have been the vanquished. I must, however, regret that circumstances of a peculiar nature prevent my availing myself of Mr. BENNETT's kind offer. Though this will not stand in the way of my accepting with pleasure--nay, even with alacrity--the $250 silver cup appointed for the winner of to-day's race, as the just meed of one who, though of a naturally retiring disposition, is forced on the present occasion to acknowledge himself facile princeps.
(Signed) Sporting Spec, vice PUNCHINELLO.
After waiting for Mr. BENNETT'S gig, or water-buggy, to row up and award the prize, your special nodded majestically to the Oar-acular, who thereupon steamed slowly up the bay again, arriving at the Battery in the rosy dawn.
* * * * *
German metaphysicians have settled so completely to the satisfaction of their countrymen that "being" and "not being" are identical, that this may serve to explain how, while holding possession of her share in the partition of Poland, Prussia professes to be virtuously indignant at France for retaining Alsace and Lorraine.
* * * * *
What with BISMARCK'S pangerrmanism, the CZAR'S panslavism, NAPOLEON'S panlatinism, the spread of pantheism, the threatened metamorphosis of pantalettes into pantaloons, ANDREWS' pantarchy, and Fox's pantomime, the old regime seems going precipitately to pot.
* * * * *
Such was the one who wished to contract for the sweepings of Steinway Hall when he heard that NILSSON showered throughout the room her precious tones.
* * * * *
The newsboys in the streets no longer cry The Sun, with stentorian voices, but in gentle whispers, fearing to disturb the repose of that waning luminary.
* * * * *
Is there any connection between the quite common offence in New York of "tapping the till," and the nomination of a Mr. TAPPAN for Comptroller by the JOHN REAL Democracy?
* * * * *
Pretty Fraeulein Margarat asks me to go to church with her. She is not a New Yorker--or, as Webster would probably say,--a New Yorkeress. She is rural in her ways and thoughts, a daisy of the fields. Never having seen the interior of a city church, she asks me to go with her to any Protestant church that I may select. So we go to the shrine of St. APOLLOS, which, I am told, is regarded as one of the most fashionable houses in the city.
It is a matinee service that we elect to attend. A long procession of carriages is drawn up beside the building as we enter, and I recognize in the coachmen the familiar faces that wait outside the ACADEMY on opera nights. The organ overture is already begun, and the audience is rapidly assembling. We enter the parquette--I should say, the body of the church--and, standing in picturesque attitudes against the wall, wait for the coming of the usher. We continue to wait. Evidently the usher, in common with his kind, despises those who are not holders of reserved seats. He welcomes with a smile the owners of private boxes--pews, I mean--and shows them politely up the aisle; but for us, who have not even an order from the mana--, sexton, I should say--he has neither smile nor glance.
By and by I pluck up courage and pluck him by the sleeve. So, with a severe air of suppressed indignation, he shows us to a couple of ineligible seats, where the draft disarranges MARGARET'S hair, and the charity children drop books of the op--, that is to say, prayer-books, and molasses candy in unpleasant proximity to our helpless feet.
Neither MARGARET nor I possess a libret--, a prayer-book I mean. However, that is a matter of no consequence, as we are both familiar with the dialog--, or rather the service. The organist having ended his overture, the service begins. Not even the wretched method of the tenor--I refer of course to the clerk--and his miserably affected execution of the recitative passages, can mar the beauty of the words. The audience evidently feels their solemn import. The young lady and the young male person who sit immediately in front of me clasp surreptitious hands as they bow their heads to repeat the confession that they are miserable sinners, and she whispers by no means softly to him of the "frightful bonnets the SMITH girls have on." Presently the recitative of the clerk is succeeded by a contest in chanting--probably for the championship--by two rival choruses of shrill-voiced boys, who hurl alternate verses of the Psalms at one another with the fiercest intensity. MARGARET is betrayed into an inadvertent competition with them, by reading a verse aloud, as had been her custom elsewhere, but the charity children smile aloud at her, and the usher frowns, so she sits down again with reddened cheeks.
I say to her, "that this choir contest is an excellent feature, one that is sure to draw." But she answers nothing, and busily reads the libret--, the psalm, to herself.
Then comes the litany. And here again MARGARET betrays her rural habits, by repeating audibly the first response, thus encroaching on the province of the choir-boys, who have now united, and form a fine and powerful chorus, less picturesque perhaps than the Druidical chorus in the first act of Norma, but quite as religious in its effect. After which comes a hymn, executed by a soprano, who is really a deserving little girl, and whom I little expected to find doing the leading business in a first-class church, when I first saw her in the chorus at the Stadt Theatre, seven years ago. MARGARET, warned by experience, does not venture to interfere with the singing, to the evident disappointment of the usher, who is watching her with the intention, plainly expressed on his face, of peremptorily putting her out, if she sings a single note. Then comes a recitation of the commandments by the leading male perfor--, that is to say, by the rector, supported by the double chorus, and the orches--, the organ, I should say; and then we have the sermon.
I like the sermon. It is delivered with admirable effect, and is, on the whole, more soothing than the average syrup of the apocryphal Mrs. WINSLOW. The rector compliments us all on our many virtues, and contrasts us with the supposititious sinners who are presumed to abound somewhere in the vicinity of rival houses. The middle-aged men evidently feel that he will make no mistake worth noticing, and so go to sleep as calmly as though they were at BOOTH'S THEATRE. The middle-aged ladies contemplate the dresses of their neighbors, and the young people flirt with cautious glances. When the curtain--when it is over, I mean--we go cheerfully away, like an audience that has slept through a Shakesperean play, and feels that it has done its duty. And when we are once more in the street, I say to MARGARET: "This has been a delightful performance. There has been nothing said to make one feel disagreeably discontented with one's self, nor has there been any impolite suggestions as to the undesirable future of anybody, except the low wretches who, of course, don't go to any church. How much better this is than the solemn service, and, the unpleasantly personal sermons that we used to hear at your little rural church."
MARGARET.--"I do not like it. Why should boys be hired to pray, and women to sing for me? Why should I be told by the preacher that I am perfectly good, when I have just confessed that I am a 'miserable sinner?' Why do you call this service religious, and Rip Van Winkle theatrical? Believe me, St. APOLLOS deserves a place among your 'Plays and Shows' quite as much as does BOOTH'S or WALLACK'S."'
And I to her--"St. APOLLOS shall take its proper place in PUNCHINELLO'S show. But permit me to say that you are very unreasonable. What do you go to church for? To be made uncomfortable and dissatisfied with yourself?"
MARGARET,--"To be made better."
* * * * *
The Reverend Mr. CREAMCHEESE congratulated the hearers of his last sermon upon the encouraging religious aspects of the time, remarking how pleasant it was in this fall season to find all the political parties in the country so interested in making their election sure. We maybe mistaken, but we think the Rev. gentleman's zeal outruns his discretion. The preying of politicians is of a kind which we trust the clergy will never seek to imitate; but now that Congress has undertaken to supervise this matter of election, there no knowing what it may become in the future.
* * * * *
A Correspondent suggests that in No. 30 our artist has given Mr. C. A. DANA, in representing him as refusing a bribe with virtuous indignation, a two-cent-imental an expression. In reply, Mr. PUNCHINELLO--although his own opinion is that the mistake has been in making it rather dollar-ous than cent-imental--would refer his correspondent to the artist.
* * * * *
Is it a fact that, because Sol is the Latin for Sun, being on the Sun is therefore equivalent to being a SOLON?
* * * * *
Whether the Boston dip is a penny one or not, it is nevertheless scandalous.
* * * * *
Three men in a tub,
The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-Maker, They all jumped into a rotten potato.
Behold the gentle Poet, now in the midst of the tumult of war. How calmly he surveys from his elevated position the situation of the hosts and the signs of the times. He hears the drums beat and the bugle call to arms, and his soul is filled with martial ardor. Unable to wield the sword, he seizes his poetical pen, resolved to become the Chronicler and Historian of the war, and thus add his little mite for the improvement of future generations. He decided that it must be characteristic, and in keeping in style with his other productions: short, pithy, and comprehensive; simple and amusing enough for a child; deep and sarcastic enough for the most astute mind.
He begins by describing in graphic style the sounds that first struck on his ear and fired his manly soul--the beat of the rolling drum. Then comes a description of the terrible conflict that occurred in his native village, between the three most prominent men of the day. This, not to be too verbose, he simply likens to being "in a tub."
BILLY the butcher, stout, red-faced, and pugilistic, with his particular friend MARC the baker, having become jealous of the beautiful shop and immense patronage of JOHNNY the candlestick-maker, resolve to put an end to it in some way, even if they have to fight him.
That showy candlestick shop, with its gay trimmings and beautiful ornaments, open every day before their face and eyes, and attracting crowds of idlers who stand gazing in at the windows, or lounging around the doors, is a little too much for the Butcher, who in vain displays before his door the fresh-cut meat and the tempting sausage. True, he has plenty of customers; but they come because they need what he has to sell; they come of necessity, not for pleasure. The Baker experiences the same vexation, as he sees his loaves passed by and mockingly made light of.
They bear awhile in silent envy the annoying sight of the rollicking crowd and the joyful JOHNNY with his troop of apprentices, who have all they can possibly do to attend to their numerous customers, and who receive their broad pieces of money with a careless ease that makes the fingers of the lookers-on tingle.
At last human nature can stand it no longer. The two malicious storekeepers put their heads together, and resolve to draw their prosperous enemy into a fight that will ruin him and enable them to smash his windows. Accordingly, they throw stones and dirt at him, but he, intently interested in his store, notices them not. His noisy apprentices and loungers around see and point out the insult, and urge him to avenge himself. But no; he has no time to pay attention to petty annoyances; he is too busy getting up a huge candlestick for the Fair, and so, to smooth matters over, he sends his two enemies an invitation to view the magnificent candlestick that is to throw so much light on the world.
"He is either too stupid or too sharp for us," sighs the Baker; "we can't do anything in that way. Suppose we set up an opposition store, with one of your sons for Proprietor, and see what effect that will have."--"Good, it shall be done," says the Butcher.
Soon an empty store adjoining is hired, and being put in order, when the hitherto blind Proprietor wakes up to the fact that there is a coalition against him, and that he had better be stirring or he will lose his trade. Accordingly he writes a remonstrance to his friend the Butcher, telling him "he wishes no rival in the trade. He has always had a monopoly, and he intends to keep it." His apprentices back him up in his assertions, and declare they are ready to die for him and their candlesticks. The advent of the messenger is noticed with inward rejoicing by the twain, but, when he presents his remonstrance, he is immediately kicked out of doors.
That is the last feather, the one straw too much, and the excitable little Candlestick-maker at once challenges his opponents to deadly combat.
The Poet, with a sublime contempt for the mysterious and wonderful intricacies of war, significantly calls this rush to arms a "jumping into a rotten potato."
Alas! it proves a rotten potato to the poor Candlestick-maker. Out sallies the Butcher with his cleaver, and his boys with their knives, and by his side the Baker with his rolling-pin, followed by his crowd of friends armed with toasting-forks and cutting-irons, presenting a formidable front to the astonished JOHNNY and his handful of apprentices.
But there is no back-door to creep out through now; so at it they go, Valor against Might, but Might is the stronger, and Valor gets knocked on the head and has to fall back. This exasperates the heroic defenders of the shop, who exclaim, "If you can't fight any better than that, you had better leave," and immediately begin an attack in his rear.
The poor man, astonished at this unlooked-for defection from his ranks, turns his eyes imploringly around for aid, but sees none that can avail him. He hears on all sides the shout, "Clear out, clear out. If you can't win the battle for yourself, we will win it for ourselves, and keep the spoils." Sadly he views the situation; he feels the kicks of the Candlestick-makers in the rear, and he knows there is no hope for him. But his beloved store! he will save that if he can; he will offer himself as a sacrifice.
With compressed lips he walks to the Butcher, and says, "You have got the best of me; I'll give in. Stop the fighting." BILLY, overjoyed at the victory, embraces him, and is about to give the order for retreat, when the wily Baker whispers, "The shop is there yet, and it is that that troubles us as much as the man. Let us keep at it till we demolish it, and thus put a stop to all future controversy. After killing the old fox, don't leave a nest of young ones to grow up and bite us. What is their loss is our gain, you know. Do you understand?" "Yah, Yah!"
* * * * *
Latest from Below.
An unsophisticated young imp, who had not long been in Hades, was cowering over a small fire in a distant corner, endeavoring to keep from freezing, when his Impious Majesty himself heard the youth soliloquizing: "When will LIE BIG, the editor of the Sun, keep me company?" "You blockhead!" exclaimed his Majesty, "LIE BIG, the editor of the Sun, is not coming back for some time; he is of more service to me on earth, making converts for my jurisdiction, than the public are probably aware."
* * * * *
[Illustration: ENGAGEMENT IN HIGH LIFE.
Perhaps it is not generally known that Miss SUSAN B. ANTHONY desires to leave one field only that she may enter another; in other words, that the lady contemplates marriage. Our authority is uncertain whether the prospective groom is one of our border aborigines or an ex-Fenian leader of noted gallantry. We have, however, ventured upon the following sketch illustrative, in advance, of the reception, and which, in the absence of more explicit information, we may as well call--
* * * * *
[Illustration: A CARPET GENERAL.
Brigadier-General Woodford. "DEAR ME, WHAT A DISAGREEABLE SMELL! WONDER WHAT IT CAN BE?"
Lady. "OH! THAT'S GUNPOWDER, GENERAL."
Brigadier-General Woodford. "GUNPOWDER?--AW! IS IT? NEVER SMELT ANYTHING OF THE KIND BEFAW."]
* * * * *
EDITOR OF PUNCHINELLO: Sir:--I am the young lady, travelling in New Jersey (perhaps they will next make a crime of that!), and mentioned in a recent paragraph as having been asked by a person (called a man) "if this was ELIZABETH?"
I insist, Sir, that I was right in resenting, as I did, the impudent familiarity of this person (called a man), who, after sitting for an hour or two in perfect silence (having first intruded himself into the seat beside me without making any kind of apology), abruptly turns to me and says, "Is this ELIZABETH?"
I insist, Sir, that I was right in asking the ruffian what he meant. Consider the abruptness, Sir, of this question--this selfish question, as it turned out, after a grim and gruff silence of an hour and a quarter. Could not this unamiable person (called a man), have prepared me for it by a few moments' affable conversation? Why should he dare intrude his "Is this ELIZABETH?" with such brutal abruptness? Not a sudden proposal from one of my numerous suitors could have startled me more.
Look at the question, Sir, as pointing at my supposed Christian name (I have one, but it is not ELIZABETH, nor yet ELIZA); can you imagine anything more odiously familiar? "Well known for his mild and gentle disposition" this "gentleman" of Brooklyn may be; but there was no mildness, no gentleness this time, I assure you! The language alone proves that!
The rudeness was all the more shocking and discomposing, from the fact that I was at that moment contemplating the elegant features of a gentleman at the other end of the car, who seemed not altogether indifferent to my appearance (which he would have been, perhaps, had I seemed of "uncertain age," as the low fellow observes who wrote this paragraph), and there was every appearance of a growing interest in two susceptible hearts, when this cold-blooded (but "mild and gentle") person launched his brutal interrogatory, so selfish and unfeeling, with such violent abruptness.
Look, if you will, Sir, at the question as referring purely to the city which we were approaching. How did I know that my new found, but already dear friend was not about to alight (as, indeed, he seemed to be), and leave me to the disgusting society of this "mild and gentle" barbarian sitting beside me in such a state of stolid indifference, and thinking only of a vulgar town, and his still more vulgar affairs in that town!
Consider again, Sir, the audacity of this person (called a man), in repeating his odious question after the rebuke I had administered! Yes, he actually repeated it! as though I were a long-lost acquaintance, of whose identity he felt more than doubtful; I simply said to him (though the slanderous report says I screamed it), "You may think you are a gentleman, Sir" (and here I claim is evinced a disposition to be fair even to an enemy)--"you may think you are a gentleman, Sir, to address a lady so; but I do not wish to continue any further talk with you."
You may fancy the state of my feelings, Mr. PUNCHINELLO, at being obliged to make this little speech, and my friend at the other end of the car looking on, with wonder in every one of his expressive features, and the conductor at that instant coming in and shouting, "ELIZABETH!" as though I were called for and must go that very instant. Indeed, I felt very much like doing so--but not, I assure you, on perceiving that the "mild and gentle" ogre I have been speaking of was already going out. No; I was thankful I was going further, though the behavior of the remaining passengers was not calculated to inspire me with a very quieting sense of ease.
You will, I am sure, excuse the feelings of a lady who has been insulted by a ruffianly person (called a man), and affronted by a car-full of insolent and vulgar mob, called the American Public. I hope the gentleman at the other end of the car will take for granted that he was not one of this brutal mob.
Yours, with much feeling,
* * * * *
LED--WITH a hook.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE POLITICAL CAT'S-PAW. JOCKO WOODFORD MAKES TOMCAT LEDWITH USEFUL FOR PULLING THE ROASTED CHESTNUTS OFF THE FIRE.]
* * * * *
Some unpublished Facts--H.G. of the Tribune reveals to H.G. of Punchinello what he Knows of Farming.
"H. G. OF THE Tribune, I believe," said I, reaching out and taking his lilly-white hand, one Saturday mornin at Chattaqua.
"Jess so," said he, politely, "and this is H.G. of PUNCHINELLO. We're a helthy team at writin' comic essays--eh! Squire?" And the hills, dales, and barn-yards resounded with our innercent prattle.
"My bizziness, Mister GREELEY, is to see if you know as much about agricoltural economy as you do about politikle economy. As I useter say to culprits, who was bein tried before me when I was Gustise of the Peece, you needent say nothin which will criminate yourself."
"Well, my lerned friend," said he, hily pleased at my happy way of puttin' things, "foller me, and I'le show you what farmin on scientific prenciples can do for a man."
Arm in arm we sailed forth, as gay and festiv as a pair of turkle doves--HORRIS with his panterloons stuffed in his bute legs, and the undersined with his specturcals adjusted on his nose.
"Do you see that piece of land over yender?" said he, pintin to a strip of 10 akers. "That was a worthless swamp two yeer ago. For $15,000.00 I made it what it is, and to-day, I'me proud to say it, my farm is worth $1,750.00 more, with that 10 akers under cultivation, than it was before I drained it."
"HORRIS," said I, wishin to humor him, "as an economist, this shows your brains is in the rite spot."
He then took me in his garden, and showed me what his success in the sass bizziness had been. "Do you see that 10 aker bed?" said he. "Well! last fall I saw a lot of pie plant growing in a wild state. I said nothin to nobody, but when it got ripe I saved the seed. This spring I planted that patch of ground with it, anticipatin the biggest crop of pie timber in the State. And, sir, jest as sartin as this white hat was once new," said he, pintin to his old plade out shappo, "when that stuff grode to maturity, I sent a cart lode down to the market, and it was all sent back with a note, statin that burdocks wasn't worth a cuss for pies. But," said he, takin me by the button-hole, "no man can fool me agin on pie timber."
"As a farmer, HORRIS," said I, so as to keep the rite side of him, "your ekal hasent been hatched."
He then shode me the remains of a young orchird; said he: "The borers got into the roots of them trees, which trees cost me, within the last two yeer, about $5,000.00. I tried all sorts of ways to get rid of them. I even set my hired man to readin artikles on 'What I know of farmin' to 'em. This put the grubs to sleep 'long at first, but they finally stopt their ears up with clay, and wouldent listen. So that dodge was plade out. I then bought a lot of ile of vitril and poured it about the roots of them trees, and I tell you, friend GREEN," said he, as tickled as a boy with his first pair of new boots, "it would have made you laff to see them borers moosey."
"But," said I, "it killed them trees deader'n a smelt."
"Which don't amount to shucks, so long as the cause of sientific farmin is benifitted, by showin bugs that the superior critter man is too many meesles for the animile kingdom," was his reply.
"Them trees over there," said this distingished farmer, "was a present to me. They come marked pine trees. It is over three yeers since they was sot out, and not a solitary pine apple have they yielded yet. I reckon it takes time for them to bear fruit," said he in his simplisity.
"Not only time," said I, somewhat surprised, "but if you live through all etarnity, you won't see a darned apple on them trees."
"But, Squire GREEN," said he, with a downcast air, "H. WARD BEECHER says pine apples grows on pine trees, and as long as brother B. spends all his salary in edicatin hisself for a farmer, he orter know."
"Brother fiddlesticks," said I, a little riled at hearin him cote H.W.B. as a farmist. "HANK is a 4 hoss team at raisin food for the sowl; but when you come to depend on sich chaps to raise grub and other vegetables for the stomack, excoose me for sayin it, it haint H. WARD'S fort, no more'n it is mine to outsing NILLSON for the beer."
We entered his poultry yard.
"You're old peaches on raisin fouls, I've been told," said I.
"Ker-r-rect," said he, "chickens is my best holt. Last spring I had a favorite speckled hen--she was the specklest biped which ever wore feathers. One day, I sot her on 300 eggs. That fowl done her level best and spread evry feather, but she hadent enuff elasticity to cover so much territory at one settin."
"Well, sir," said he, straitenin his form, up to its full hite, "Sients come to my ade. I got a feather bed, and with a glue pot bilt out that hen's spread."
"What," I says, "the hen dident hatch all them eggs?"
"Not exsactly," was his reply; "she would have hatched every egg, but--but--but--," and he broke down and bust into teers.
"But--why?" I asked, soothin his perturbed spirrit.
"She had a great deal of pride that hen did. She was terribly stuck up. Just as she got settled down for a good square old-fashioned set, she was so proud of her position, that somehow or other, it struck in and killed her."
We visited his barn, which was chock full of farmin tools. Said he:
"It is allers a mistery to peeple how I make farmin pay, but, Squire, between you and I, heer's where I reckon I've got 'em. Where I loses in other branches I make up heer. Any and everybody which invents a farmin masheen sends me one, and I gives them a puff. Every 30 days I gets up a bee, to which I invites the nabors. With hammers we knock them masheens to pieces, and, sir!" said he, blowin his bugle horn of liberty with his cote sleeve, "as the Roman mother once said, 'these is my tressoors,' for, sure's your born, the sales of old iron more'n pays runnin my farm, losses and all."
The shades of nite was a fallin, so thankin H.G. for posten me up on his farmin nolidge, I left him, with my mind fully made up, that, with the Filosifer, the pen was a heep site mitier in his hand than a farm is, in which opinion any well-bred, onprejodiced farmer will fall into. Ewers farminly,
Lait Gustise of the Peece.
* * * * *
[Illustration: FASHIONABLE INTELLIGENCE.
debut AS Rolla, AND CREATED A MARKED SENSATION."]
* * * * *
About seventy of the artists connected with the illustrated press of this city and Boston have contributed drawings for the benefit of the family of the late WILLIAM NEWMAN, formerly one of the designers of the London Punch, and who for the last ten years held a prominent position among the graphic artists of this city. To this move on the part of kindred spirits, PUNCHINELLO cries "Bravo!" The kindly worker who has passed away from our midst would have been foremost himself in moving thus when death or sickness had fallen upon a brother of his guild. To aid his family, then, in the manner proposed, is the best tribute than can be paid to his memory. Due notice will be given of the arrangements for exhibiting and disposing of the contributed pictures, to possess some of which, PUNCHINELLO hopes, will be a matter of emulation with his New York readers.
* * * * *
[Illustration: OUR BAD CHILDREN ON THE BORDER.
Missionary. "AND IT CAME TO PASS THAT CAIN WAS WROTH WITH ABEL, HIS BROTHER, AND ROSE UP AGAINST HIM AND SLEW HIM."
Comanche Warrior. "HOW! HOW!--GOOD!--CAIN RED MAN, EH?--ABEL WHITE MAN?--HOW! HOW! CAIN GET ABEL'S SCALP--GOOD!"]
* * * * *
An Eclogue of the Period.
(Respectfully dedicated to the ladies of the Free-love Pantarchy.)
Adonis, sweet, hide not thy blushing face: What terrors masculine thy soul abash? And why with boyish pout dost mar the grace Of maiden lip and innocent moustache?
- you dry up! I tell you. I'll be cussed If I'm a-going to stand such pesky bother
From you strong-minded gals. And, what's the wust, I darn't touch ye.--G'long, 'r I'll tell your mother!
And feel'st thou then no solemn intuition-- No subtle psychological vibration-- Or instant, full, spontaneous recognition Of my pantarchic self-annunciation?
For love is free, and mutual reaction Of kindred organisms airily
Subsists and ceases, as 't gives satisfaction: We change with changes of affinity.
Now just look here, you don't sponge no love free At this here shop: it's stealing,--that's the sin it is! What's more, too, if you want to hang 'round me You'd better just play light on them affinities!
* * * * *
October 1870 times.
The fact is, no man was ever treated so badly or so seldom as I have been. Others have "waked up" and found themselves famous. I've practised waking for years, and never found myself in fame, or anything else, excepting energetic "tailors' bills," and an occasional square meal.
Thirsting for renown, I have coined my wealth of brains into one transcending effort, and amid much travail of genius, and travel of paw to pate, have produced the following
---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- * * * * * *
which I dedicate to the late Political Convention, as embodying the principles there adopted, with this difference, that, while their Resolutions have no point, my resolution enables me to make two points in every line.
While I'm not in the proverb business, I have a couple on hand that are getting mouldy, so I send 'em along.
"Once go to grass, and your enemies will soon make a hey-day over you."
"Get all you can, and can all you get."
But that reminds me of a Beautiful Tale:--
Deacon K---- lacked the confidence of the inhabitants of M----. He was
most sincerely detested for his hypocrisy and double-dealing, and so
very unpopular, that a few wags conceived the idea of drawing up a paper
requesting him to leave town.
Once endorsed by two or three respectable names, the joke took; the paper circulated like wildfire and soon contained every business name in the place.
A most horrible position to occupy in respect to one's neighbors.
But the Deacon was a genius in his way. Getting possession of the document, he adroitly changed the heading, and behold! the intended
rebuke was transformed into a humble petition to the President that
Deakon K---- be appointed Postmaster of M----. In due time the
appointment came, much to the consternation and chagrin of the
The position was held one season in spite of all opposition; but the Deacon did not prosper in the end, for after wandering about the streets of New York a miserable outcast, he naturally drifted on to the editorial staff of the Sun. The End.
Trusting, my dear 'NELLO, you will give me a good setting-up, and cast my lines in pleasant places, I remain,
Yours in fun,
* * * * *
They now put little watches on the outside of portemonnaies and cigar-cases. There has been doubt expressed as to the value of these time-pieces; but if they go as certainly as the money and the cigars, they will do very well.
* * * * *
There is now a strike among the blacksmiths, and as the men have already come down very heavily, it is supposed it will be successful.
* * * * *
[Illustration: ADVICE TO YOUNG LADIES.
SO THAT THERE MAY BE A FULL CONGREGATION TO PLAY OFF YOUR AIRS AND GRACES UPON.]
* * * * *
Now and then Mr. PUNCHINELLO has noticed (with infinite scorn and contempt) all the stuff and nonsense published in the newspapers about registry and inspection, about citizenship and twenty-one years of age, and other games and devices of that soft sort. The qualifications of a voter may be stated with severe and scientific accuracy, as follows:--
Ubiquity.--By this is to be understood the power, not of being, but of belonging in from six to twelve Wards at the same time. Analogous to this is the capacity of being at once a subject of VICTORIA REGINA and a loyal citizen of the United States--a talent most exquisitely developed in the Hibernian nature.
Receptivity.--This may be divided into two classes, as follows:--
Pugnacity.--This is a quality by no means to be lightly spoken of, especially in a District represented by that eminent warrior, the Hon. Mr. MORRISSEY. Our fathers fought, bled, and died for liberty, and the least an independent citizen can do is to be willing to fight and bleed (and even he "kilt") in the same behalf. There is a difference, however, between dying and being "kilt," which we need not point out to those noble champions of liberty who are also of the Celtic persuasion.
Mendacity.--This is a talent mainly developed in the manipulation of election returns. But it may be exhibited in various other ways. Here, for instance, is an obnoxious candidate who is a quiet, respectable, honest, church-going family man. The height of mendacious talent is shown in representing this paragon of virtue to be a brawler, a blackguard, a swindler, an infidel, and a bad husband and father. If he mildly denies that he is any such person, the proper course is to call him all the unpleasant names over again, adding, by way of clincher, that he is popularly supposed to have murdered his grandmother. This will floor him.
Verbosity.--This is the power of writing two columns in answer to a three-line paragraph--of twisting, turning, transmogrifying, dissecting, kicking, cuffing, illustrating, turning inside out, and outside in again the aforesaid paragraph. The real master of this art will show his skill by the great number of times in which he will manage to say "We" in the course of his lucubration.
Density.--This indicates the utter incapacity of a candidate to understand any public question. It is a very safe quality, for the more he knows, the less likely is he to commit himself. It is an equally pleasant quality, since it enables its possessor to take the fence and to maintain it, while, by a sort of optical delusion, each party supposes him to be upon its own side. It saves regular out and out lying, if Mr. GREELEY will allow us to use so strong a word. For instance, if asked, "Are you in favor of a Protective Tariff?" the candidate may answer, "I am" (for he doesn't know whether he is) or "I am not" (for he does not know but he may be a most cantankerous Free Trader). In this way he may, with Roman honesty, satisfy everybody, and promote peace and good-will and that sort of thing in the handsomest manner.
Capillary Attraction.--This is analogous to receptivity in the voter. If the citizen drinks hugely, the candidate must be able to keep up with him; and to have a sponge stomach equal to the absorption of quarts, and even of gallons, is a piece of excellent good fortune for the man who is fool enough to want to go to Congress, instead of enjoying the delights of obscurity. Verily, he has his reward. He who suffers in the gin-mills of New York may recover himself in the Champagne-sparkling saloons of Washington.
Pecuniosity.--"To him that hath shall be given." The candidate must beg, borrow, or steal something to begin with. He must possess a power of bleeding equal to that of twenty-four country doctors.
MR. PUNCHINELLO has here given a skeleton sketch of his great work upon politics. The reader had better make the most of it; for the Great Book will not be published until after the author's death, which he doesn't think (if he knows himself) is likely to happen tomorrow. And so he closes with a brief exhortation: Go on, worthy gentlemen! Continue to spend, drink, war, falsify, for the good of your country! Are you a Voter? Show yourself to be such indeed, by voting all day, all the time, and at all the polling-places! Are you a Candidate? Show yourself to be a good one by keeping your mouth shut (except for drinking) and your pocket open! Are you an Editor? Ah! Mr. P. has nothing to say to you. Mr. P. is an Editor too! We understand each other, worthy brother! We know where the world keeps its cakes and ale!
* * * * *
MR. PUNCHINELLO having been invited to attend and address the Capital Removal Convention (so called) held in Cincinnati, wrote a letter declining to be present, upon the ground that he was exceedingly comfortable where he was. However, he added his views at great length, but the ingrates did not even read his letter. In this he advocated the removal of the Capitol to some point so distant that twenty-three months of an Honorable Member's term of twenty-four months would be spent in going and returning. At the same time Mr. P. suggested the abolition of the salaries of the Members; and the passage of an act making it a forgery for any member to print in The Globe a never-uttered speech. But, alas for the wisdom of age! he doesn't see that the Convention acted on any of these suggestions.
|SMALL POTATOES.||-The "Murphy" Radicals.|
[Illustration: VERY APPROPRIATE.
Young Man. "HELLO! MRS. CRUMBLETY, WHAT ARE YER DOIN' ALONG ER THAT NEWFOUDLING DORG?"
Mrs. C. "WELL, HE STRAYED INTO OUR HOUSE LAST NIGHT AND AS HE DIDN'T SEEM TO HAVE NO MASTER, I THOUGHT I'D JEST TAKE HIM ROUND TO THIS HERE NEW FOUNDLING HOSPITAL."]
* * * * *
It is surprising that since Mr. DICKEN'S decease no one should have conceived the idea of writing a sketch of that illustrious author. It is perhaps too much to require that some competent person prepare his biography, but the public have a right to expect at least a few reminiscences. I am persuaded to sketch the following imperfect outlines only from a conviction that the great novelist has in this respect been neglected. I trust I shall not be deemed to have broken the seal of private confidence in this disclosing how well I knew him, and (what is still more remarkable) how well he knew me:--
[While Mr. DICKENS was on his first visit to this country, the writer had not the pleasure of his acquaintance. He put up in Philadelphia, at a well-known and fashionable boarding-house then kept by an aunt of mine, at the corner of Second and Thirteenth streets. He never said anything while there, until he came to pay his board bill, when bidding my aunt farewell, he observed: _"Mrs. SAGOE, for terseness and brevity, your steaks surpass any I have ever met with."_ Aunt Sarah had these words neatly framed, and they have hung in her back parlor to this day.
Before he came again, the country had made wonderful progress. A new generation had been born, including myself.]
When the steamer was signalled, I went down on the wharf. DICKENS was standing near the rail, and wore a coat, vest, pants, and a hat. I couldn't make out through the glass how much they cost, and I forgot to ask him afterward. Shortly after she had hauled into the dock, I went on board. We shook hands. Mr. DICKENS had a peculiar way of reserving his right hand for this process, though on great occasions he would use both. We employed all four, with the understanding that a more formal demonstration should be made at PARKER'S. I offered to carry his valise. Graciously declining my services, he betokened his appreciation of my delicate attention by presenting me on the spot with a complete set of his works--Author's Edition.
"My dear fellow," he whispered, "there's a Boston man down below, blacking my other pair of boots, who'd feel hurt if I should let anybody else take that bag."
I called upon him as soon as he was fairly settled, and found him in his shirt-sleeves, writing vigorously. Mr. DICKENS'S intimate friends are aware that he indulged in the habit, while writing, of occasionally dipping his pen in the inkstand. I don't remember much about the room except that there were several chairs (good chairs) and a table in it. The distinguished occupant was sitting about nine and a half feet from the door facing the Southwest, his hair well brushed, head a little inclined to the right, except his eyes, which, were inclined to twinkle as though he had just hit upon something particularly bright and happy. The carpet was green with a red figure. You could see in a moment that he was a man of genius. The room was lighted with gas. Was it possible that the immortal author of "DICKENS'S Works" was before me? [Upon the table was a cigar, half consumed, an inkstand, three pen-holders, a bundle of envelopes, a brass key, several bouquets, a paper-cutter, a stick of sealing-wax, a quantity of writing-paper, a table-cloth (spread), a newspaper (the date has escaped me), and such other things as are usually on such tables.]
DICKENS, as soon as he saw me, stopped writing, wiped his pen, ran his fingers through his hair, took out his watch and wound it up, brushed his coat and put it on (not forgetting to place a rose in the button-hole), and then, waving his hands very gracefully (he wore high-priced studs and a pair of elaborately built sleeve-buttons), addressed me as follows:--
Mr. DICKENS (with tender embrace) SARSFIELD!!!!
Mr. YOUNG (representing American Literature) CHARLES!!!!
The remainder of our conversation was devoted to minor topics.
Early one morning we started from the Parker House, and walking rapidly over West Boston bridge, passed through Cambridge, by the Colleges, and kept on travelling, without speaking a word, the best part of a couple of days, I should judge, though I didn't have my watch with me. Suddenly he asked the name of the town we were rapidly approaching.
"Great Harrington," said I.
"Is it possible?" said he. And we turned and walked home again.
His first reading in America was a private one to me. We had come in from a thirty-mile walk, and I was somewhat tired. Taking up the second volume of his History of England, he began in an easy, careless way. So did I. I went to sleep. Just as he was finishing the book I woke up; and when he asked me how I liked it, I told him frankly that, in my opinion, it never would do in the world--the plot was too eccentric.
He was a kind man. Frequently he would ride for days together up and down a railroad, for no other purpose than to help take cinders out of people's eyes.
He was fond of oysters, of children, dogs, and an international copyright. I remember his meeting me once on Broadway and he didn't recognize me. He never mentioned the incident afterward. It has been said that he was also fond of dress. I regret that I never asked him about this, though I recall the circumstance of my inquiring where he had his vests made. Said he; "My waistcoats were made abroad."
He never liked to sit for his photograph; consequently, he generally stood up.
It pleased him to receive letters requesting his autograph and a lock of his hair. The articles were invariably sent by return mail. He was also gratified at the privilege of shaking hands with people whom he was never to see again. I once humored him by introducing in a body two fire companies and a Sunday school.
As we parted he gave me excellent advice: "Write with vigor," said he, "with sincerity, and blue ink; but don't write novels. It might injure the sale of my books." I promised him I would not, and we saw each other no more.
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