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Vol. II. No. 38
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1870.
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MAN AND WIVES.
By MOSE SKINNER.
QUEER DOINGS AT THE HALF-WAY HOUSE.
"Tell the minister," said ANN to TEDDY, "to come in. If I don't get a husband out of this somehow, I ain't smart. I'll just marry the man I've got here."
ARCHIBALD sank down on the sofa, bathed in a cold perspiration.
"Oh, don't" he groaned; "you mustn't. 'Twasn't my fault; JEFF sent me."
Her eyes flashed on him angrily.
"Yes, you helped JEFF set a trap for me," said she, "and you've fell into it yourself. Come, here's the minister."
But ARCHIBALD didn't come, he only turned white, and made a gurgling noise.
"There should be somebody here competent to give away the bridegroom," said the minister, with an air of annoyance.
"Sure, and it's meself as'll do that same," said TEDDY, obeying a nod from ANN.
"Away now with sich modeshty, youngster. Bear up and be a man. It'll soon be over. And if ye make a fuss," he added in a whisper, "I'll knock the head off ye. Do ye mind that?" Then, as if relating his experience to a large and sympathetic audience: "'Twas just that way I felt meself like, when the knot was tied. Wake in the knees sim'larly, and a faylin' like I was a cold dish-cloth wrung out. But Lord, he'll hold up his head agin, I'll warrant ye."
"Oh, why can't you let me go?" begged ARCHIBALD, "I ain't done nothin'."
TEDDY smiled. 'Twas such a smile as a dentist gives, just before he swoops upon his prey.
"Did you iver now?" said he, appealing to the minister. "What a man it is. As bashful as a young gyrl, without a mammy to smooth it over. Steady now. There you are, as nice as a cotton hat," he continued, as he put ARCHIBALD'S arm within ANN'S. "Lean aginst me as hard as iver ye like, man. I well knows as I'll nivir git me reward in this world, for all the young cooples as I've startid in life, but, thank Hevins, there's another."
The ceremony commenced.
What can one coy youth do, single-handed, against a woman who is determined to marry him? Like the beautiful young lady in the endless love-stories, who faints at the altar with her hard-hearted father, the Duke, on one side, and the relentless bridegroom, the Count, on the other, ARCHIBALD BLINKSOP was hemmed in by destiny. There was alas! no steel-clad knight with his visor down, to rush in, and shout in trumpet tones: "Hold! I forbid the bans— To be continued in our next. Back numbers sent to any address." No. Steel-clad knights are, unfortunately, somewhat scarce in Indiana, and so the ceremony continued.
TEDDY was first bridesman. He not only supported ARCHIBALD, but he held his head and jerked it forward occasionally, thus assisting in the responses.
The ceremony concluded.
At its close ARCHIBALD BLINKSOP, according to the Law of Indiana, was a Man and One Wife.
At its close ANN BRUMMET, according to the same Law, was a Woman and One Husband.
The world is large. To a woman of her immense strategical resources this was but a fair beginning. Blest with a good constitution and rare matrimonial attainments, why should she falter in the good work thus begun?
They picked the new-made husband up, limp as a rag, and laid him tenderly on the sofa. TEDDY and the minister withdrew, and the Honeymoon commenced.
ARCHIBALD began to recover. "Where am I?" he moaned faintly.
"You're married," said ANN.
He groaned, and wiped the perspiration from his pallid brow.
"Can I go home?" he inquired feebly.
"Yes," replied ANN. "Go, and when I want you I'll come for you. Tell your dear BELINDA that ANN BRUMMET, the poor relation, has got ahead of her on this heat. She didn't think, did she, when she was courting you, that she was only just getting you ready for me?"
But before she was through, ARCHIBALD, moaning in broken accents that he wished he was dead, had rushed frantically from the house.
ANN was congratulating herself on her success, when there came another rap from TEDDY.
"Sure and it's your lawyer this time. Will I sind him away?"
"No," said ANN, "I want to see him. And bring in some oysters and sherry. I'm getting hungry."
"Well," said the lawyer, entering and taking a chair familiarly, where's your man?"
"Gone," said ANN.
"What! without the divorce? Whew! that's too bad. How did it happen?"
"JEFF didn't come," replied ANN. "He sent a substitute. But I wasn't going to be fooled that way, so I just drafted him instead."
"What! married him?" queried the lawyer, incredulously.
"Yes, why not? DIGBY was here, you see, and I could not find it in my heart to cheat the poor man out of a job, with a large family on his hands, too." And she laughed.
"Well, that is a joke," was the lawyer's reply. And he rubbed his hands appreciatively. "Who is the fellow? What's his name?"
"BLINKSOP," said ANN, "ARCHIBALD. Oh, won't there be a row," she chuckled. "He's engaged to my cousin BELINDA, you see."
At this juncture TEDDY entered with the oysters and sherry.
"Come," said ANN to the lawyer, "sit up here and have something to eat, and I'll tell you all about it. TEDDY," she continued facetiously, "will you ask a blessing?"
TEDDY closed his eyes reverentially.
"For what I'm going to resayve out of this," said he, "may I be truly thankful, and, oh Lord! I wish 'twas more." And he went out with a solemn air.
"Did I understand you to say," inquired the lawyer, after he had animated his diaphragm with two glasses of sherry, "that this BLINKSOP is engaged to your cousin?"
"Yes," replied ANN, struggling with a very large oyster. "I call her cousin, but there's no blood-relation."
"When did the engagement take place?" he inquired, hoisting another glass of sherry.
"Only yesterday; but it's pretty well known that she's been soft on him for a good while."
"Has the engagement been formally announced?" said he, holding the now empty bottle upside down, and squeezing it vigorously. "Let me fill your glass," he continued, holding the bottle to the light and examining it critically, with one eye closed.
"No, I thank you, I've got enough. Yes," she went on, "the engagement was known far and wide in less than two hours. There was a croquet party at the house yesterday, and BELINDA told 'em all. Why?"
"Because," replied the lawyer, setting his glass upside down, and rolling the empty bottle along the floor, with a dejected air, "because it may affect this marriage of yours."
"What, my marriage with BLINKSOP?"
"In what way?"
"It may test its legality," was the answer. "Mind, I don't say your marriage is not valid; but, in this State, if a couple solemnly engage themselves, they are, to all intents and purposes, legally married. In New England it is even more rigid. There, I understand, if a young man goes home with a young lady on a Sunday evening, it is considered as good as an engagement; and if, on the next Sunday evening, he goes home with another young lady, he is looked upon as a fickle-minded miscreant, capable of ruining a whole town. Little children avoid him, and even dogs go round the corner at his approach. Now, if this BLINKSOP chooses to contest this, marriage, I think—mind you, I only think—that with this previous engagement to back his unwillingness to marry you, this marriage will go for nothing."
Having delivered this legal opinion with an air of profound wisdom, and the most acute penetration, he leaned back in his chair, crossed his legs, and regarded his empty glass as with the air of a man whose fondest hopes in that direction had been ruthlessly crushed. And ANN was walking the floor thoroughly excited.
"It's just my confounded luck," said she, angrily, "just as I was counting on galling BELINDA, too. I don't believe," she added after a pause, "that BLINKSOP'S got spunk enough to contest it."
"Perhaps not; but if he should——"
"Well, what shall I do?" she interrupted, impatiently.
The lawyer reached deliberately over the table, and drank the few drops of wine that remained in ANN'S glass.
"Do," said he, slowly, "just what you were going to do, in the first place."
"What! Marry JEFFRY MAULBOY?"
The lawyer nodded.
"But it's too late now. He wouldn't come."
"Try it," was the lawyer's answer. "Urge him," he added, significantly.
The woman who hesitates is lost. ANN hesitated, but she wasn't lost. No; she rather thought she was found.
"I'll do it, old boy," she finally said, "if I can find him, high or low. See here, if you don't hear from me, come here day after to-morrow—will you—and bring DIGBY with you?"
The lawyer promised, and took his departure.
ANN immediately wrote a letter, sealed and directed it to JEFFRY MAULBOY, and rung for TEDDY.
"Do you know of a man named JEFFRY MAULBOY?" said she.
TEDDY opened his eyes very wide.
"What, the Prize-Fighter?" said he. "It's a jokin' ye are; fur how could ye ask that same, afther I see him giv' TIM MCGONIGLE sich an illegant knock-down with me own eyes, at the torchlight procession in the fall of the winter? And JIM, with a shlit in his ear as was bewtifool to look at, jumps up, and says he——"
He paused, for tears stood in ANN'S eyes. The reminiscence was too much for her overcharged soul.
"Yes," she murmured. "He was always just such a lovely brick, was JEFF." Then she added, with an effort: "I want you to take this letter to him the first thing in the morning. Go to Mrs. LADLE'S first, and if he ain't there—Do you know where his folks live?"
"I do that. It's a lawyer his father is, and lives at Western Bend. I'll find him, mum, sure."
"Do it," said ANN, "and I'll find you for a month."
TEDDY took the letter and retired to his room.
"To JIFFRY MAULBOY the Prize-Fighter," said he, patting it lovingly. "Well-a-day! Who'd a thought it now? Here's somethin to be proud of. Here's somethin to boast of like, a settin' at the fireside, mebbe, with me little ansisters upon me knees. 'And it's meself, me little ducks,' I'd say, 'as carried a letther, with me own hands, to the great JIFFRY MAULBOY, as wiped out PATSY MCFADDEN in a fair shtand-up fight, and giv' TIM MCGONIGLE a private mark as he carried to his grave.' I wonder what's in it?" he continued, holding it up to the light. "Divil a word now can I see. That's illaygil, and shows there's mischief brewin'. Now what would an unconvarted haythen do as hadn't the moril welfare of the community a layin' close to his heart like? Carry the letther, and ax no questions. But what would an airnest Christian do, who's a bloomin' all over with religion, and looks upon the piety of the public as the apple of his eye? He'd take his pinknife, jist so, and shlip the blade under the saylin'-wax, jist so, and pacify his conscience like by raydin' the letther."
Having convinced himself that the operation, viewed in a purely religious light, was strictly mercantile, TEDDY snuffed the candle with his thumb and forefinger, and spread the letter on the table.
It ran thus:—
"HALF-WAY HOUSE, June 30th—Evening.
"JEFFRY MAULBOY:—You have gone back on your word, and made a desperate woman of me. I'll do all I threatened, and more. I have just written to Mrs. CUPID, and kept back nothing. If you ain't here by day after to-morrow, ready to marry me, as you agreed to, I'll send the letter, and go to her besides. Do as you please. I don't care for my future, if you don't for yours. Trust the bearer.
TEDDY read it twice. Then he held up his hands, lost in admiration.
"Married to one man, and a goin' for another afore the ceremony is cold! What talints! What nupchility! Oh, what an illegant Mormyn is bein' wastid in this very house! If ye could grow a daughter like that, TEDDY me boy, she'd sit ye up for life." He shook his head, sighed heavily, and gazed wistfully at the letter.
"I couldn't look poshterity in the face," he continued, with a self-accusing air, "without a copy of that letther."
He went and got writing materials with evident reluctance, and after three or four trials, succeeded in producing a very good duplicate of ANN'S letter, bearing himself, throughout, like a man who sees his duty plainly before him, and does it without flinching.
He put the duplicate in the envelope, sealed it carefully, put the original in his pocket, and in ten minutes was abed and asleep.
(To be continued.)
* * * * *
PUNCHINELLO'S PLAN FOR THE PREVENTION AND DETECTION OF CRIME.
In view of the amount of crime which the detective police is apparently unable to trace to its authors, and the number of criminals who constantly elude arrest, Mr. PUNCHINELLO begs to submit an entirely new and original plan for the prevention and detection of crime, which he hopes will receive the favorable consideration of the powers that be.
In the first place, he would recommend that all Jail Birds be immediately transported to the Canary Islands.
Second. The entire population of the City of New York should be organized into a Vigilance Committee. This force should be employed night and day in watching the remaining inhabitants and outsiders. Any member found asleep on his (lamp) post should be drawn (by our special artist) and quartered (in a station-house for the night).
Third. All residents should be compelled, on pain of being instantly garroted, to surrender their valuables, and even their invaluables, to the Property Clerk, Comic Headquarters, PUNCHINELLO Office, who should be held strictly irresponsible and be well paid for it.
Fourth. Everybody should be instantly arrested and held to bail, as a precaution against the escape of wrong-doers. It should be made the duty of proprietors of liquor saloons to Bale out their customers when "too full."
Fifth. Any person found with a 'Dog' in his possession should be compelled to give a strict account of himself; the 'Dog' should be Collared, sent to the Pound, closely interrogated, and his evidence carefully Weighed. In cases of 'Barking up the Wrong Tree' the person unjustly arrested should be indemnified.
Sixth. The City Government should immediately offer an immense reward for the invention of a telescope of sufficient power to detect crime whenever and wherever committed within the city limits. This instrument should be placed on the summit of the dome of the New County Court House, and a competent scientific person appointed to be continually on the look-out, and his observations noted down by a Stenographer.
Seventh. There should be frequent balloon ascensions in various parts of the city, under the direction of distinguished aeronauts, for the purpose of watching the behavior of evil disposed persons. In order that these aerial movements may excite no suspicion in the minds of persons under surveillance, the balloons should ascend high enough to be out of sight. They will then be out of mind.
Eighth. A Sub-Committee should be chosen, the members of which shall hang about the various haunts of vice in back slums, and learn as much as possible of the nefarious projects of the desperate characters who frequent such dens. Each member should report daily, and if he is not familiar with the 'flash' dialect in which thieves converse (which is very improbable, if chosen as suggested), should take care to provide himself with a copy of GROSE'S Slang Dictionary or Vocabulary of Gross Language, which will the better enable him to understand it.
Ninth. A strict blockade of the port should be maintained, to prevent the ingress of bad characters from abroad, and especially from the now Radical State of New Jersey, with which ferry-boat communication should be immediately cut off.
Tenth. A Reformatory School in which the Dangerous Classes might (except during recitations) be kept under restraint would be a great public benefit. The study of metaphysics should be prohibited at such an institution. Burglars especially should not be allowed to Open Locke on the Human Understanding.
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The Worst Kind of "Paris Green."
It is stated by observant flaneurs that much absinthe is consumed by ladies who frequent fashionable up-town restaurants. One lovely blonde has grown so absinthe-minded from the habit, that she regularly leaves the restaurant without paying for her luncheon.
* * * * *
Quarrelsome in their Cups.
Should the European Powers get into a fight over the Sublime Porte, what a strong argument it would be in favor of temperance!
* * * * *
* * * * *
MR. BEZZLE'S DREAM.
MR. BEZZLE was the editor and proprietor of a large and influential newspaper that sold two for a cent, and had special correspondents in every corner of the office. By honest industry and a generous disregard of what went into the newspaper, so that it paid, he had raised himself to the highest rung of fortune's ladder, and we all know what tall ringing that is. He used to say that to accept one kind of advertisement and to reject another, was an injustice to the public and an outrage upon society, and that strict integrity required that he should accept, at as much as he could get a line, every advertisement sent for insertion. It would have done you good to have witnessed Mr. BEZZLE'S integrity in this respect, and the noble spirit of self-sacrifice with which he resolved that none of the public should be slighted. He used to laugh to scorn the transcendental notion about the editorial columns not being purchased, "If my opinions are worth anything," he used to exclaim, "they are worth being paid for; and if I unsay to-morrow what I said yesterday, the contradiction is only apparent, and is in accordance with the great spirit of progress and the breaking up of old institutions." The sequel to this magnanimous career may be imagined. The enterprise paid so well that old BEZZLE found it to his interest to employ a man at fifteen dollars a week to do nothing else but write notes from "Old Subscribers," informing BEZZLE that they had taken his "valuable paper" for over twenty years, that no family should be without it, and that they would rather, any morning, go without their breakfast than go without reading the Hifalutin' Harbinger. One day, when BEZZLE had been an editor for forty years, he fell asleep and had a dreadful dream. He thought that he rose early one morning, dressed himself in his best suit of broadcloth, which he had taken for a bad debt, walked up to the ticket office of a theatre where he was well known, and asked for a couple of seats. The gentlemanly treasurer (was there ever a treasurer that wasn't gentlemanly in a newspaper notice?) handed him two of the best seats in the house—end seats, middle aisle, six rows from the stage. Mr. BEZZLE slapped down a five-dollar bill with that air of virtue which had become a second nature to him. (Second nature, by the by, is no more like nature at first hand than second childhood is like real childhood.)
"Why, Mr. BEZZLE!" exclaimed the treasurer, "have you taken leave of your senses, sir? Put that back in your pocket;" and he pointed to the recumbent bank-note. "Who ever heard of an editor paying for two seats at the theatre since the world began? What have we ever done to offend you, Mr. BEZZLE, that you should behave thus?"
"Sir," said Mr. BEZZLE, "I once was young, but now am old. I see the error of my editorial ways, and have resolved to mend 'em. My columns are not to be bought, sir. My dramatic critic is not to be suborned. I am determined to tear down the flaunting lie with which THESPIS has so long concealed her blushless face, and to show the deluded public the cothurnus bespattered, and the sock and buskin draggled in the mire. Perish my theatrical advertising columns when I cease to tell the truth! There is the sum twice told: I pays my money and I takes my choice. Never mind the change." And with these words Mr. BEZZLE stalked off, his face crimson with a rush of aesthetics to the head.
From the theatre Mr. BEZZLE went to the house of a celebrated publisher, who received him with open arms, and conducted him to a counter where all the newest and most expensive books were displayed. "We are just settled in our new quarters," explained the publisher, "and any little thing you might say about us in your valuable paper would be—I don't ask it, you know—but it would be—upon my word it would. See here, Mr. BEZZLE, I want you to pick out from this counter just what you want, and—"
"Sir!" exclaimed Mr. BEZZLE, leaping at the publisher with eyes that fairly blazed with the radiance of rectitude, "who do you take me for?" If Mr. BEZZLE had been less violent he would probably have said, "Whom do you take me for," and so have spared himself the ignominy of sinking to the ungrammatical level of the Common Herd. But the fact is, his proud spirit was chafed and fretted at the spectacle of sordid self-seeking that everywhere met his gaze, and excess of sentiment made him forgetful of syntax. "Mark me, my friend, I am not to be bought," he continued in unconscious blank verse. "I shall take my pick, sir, and you will take this check." And he handed the amazed publisher a check for five hundred dollars. "I sicken, sir," he continued, "of this qualmish air of half-truth that I have breathed so long. I am going to read these books, and say what I think of 'em, and five hundred dollars is dirt cheap for the privilege. I had sooner that every 'New Publications' ad. should die out of my newspaper than that my literary columns should be contaminated with a Lie! Never mind the change, sir. If anything is left over, send it to the proprietor of the new penny paper that is struggling to keep its head above water. Don't say that it came from me. Say that it came from a converted roper-in." And Mr. BEZZLE stalked out of the office in such a tempest of morality that the publisher felt as though a tidal wave of virtue had swept over him.
After this, Mr. BEZZLE'S dream became a trifle confused; but he thought that this noble course of conduct was greatly approved by the public, that its eminent practicability commended it to all classes of people, and that theatres, publishers, and others quadrupled their advertisements. "Ah!" sighed Mr. BEZZLE, rubbing his hands, but still asleep, "what a sweet thing virtue is! Honesty is the best policy after all!"
At this moment his elbow was nudged, and opening his eyes he beheld one of the office boys, whom he had sent up to the theatre half an hour ago, to ask for six reserved seats near the stage.
"Mr. PUPPET says he's very sorry, sir," said the boy, "but the seats is all taken for to-night, and so he can't send any."
"Can't send any, can't he?" exclaimed BEZZLE, wide awake. "All right. Just go to Mr. SNAPPETY, the dramatic editor, for me, and tell him not to say one word about that theatre in his criticism to-morrow, I'll teach Mr. PUPPET," etc., etc., etc.
* * * * *
We hear a great deal from scientific men about the influence of climate, atmosphere, and even the proximity of certain mineral substances, upon the life and welfare of man; but there is yet another vein to be worked in this region of human knowledge. Taking a chance train of ideas—an excursion-train, we may say—which came in our way on last Thanksgiving, we were brought to some interesting conclusions in regard to the influence exercised by the turkey upon human affairs. The annual happiness of how many thousands at the return of Thanksgiving Day—the unfed woes of how many thousands more—does this estimable fowl revolve within his urbane crop! Every kernel of grain which he picks from the barn-floor may represent an instant of masticatory joy held in store for some as yet unconscious maxillary; we may weigh the bird by the amount of happiness he will afford. When we go to market, to barter for our Thanksgiving turkey, we inquire substantially of the spruce vender, glistening in his white apron: "How much gustatory delight does yonder cock contain?" And he, gross slave of matter, doth respond, giving the estimate in dollars and parts of dollars!
But how inadequate is any material representative of his value to us. Indeed, it is next to impossible to conceive of the niceties involved in this question of how much we owe the turkey. For him the country air has been sweetened; the rain has fallen that he might thrive; the wheat and barley sprouted that he might be fed. A shade more of leanness in the legs, one jot less of rotundity in the breast—what misery might not these seemingly trivial incidents have created? A failure in the supply of turkeys?—it would have been a national calamity! What were life, indeed, without the turkey?
As for Thanksgiving, the turkey he is it. Paris, c'est la France! Remove the turkey, and you undermine Thanksgiving. How could a conscientious man go to church on Thanksgiving morning, knowing within himself that he shall return to beef, or mutton, or veal for his dinner, as on work-days? I tell you, religion would disappear with the turkey.
Toward the close of Thanksgiving, how manifest becomes the influence of this feathered sovereign. Observe yonder jaundiced youth pacing the street moodily, his lips set in a cynic sneer. His turkey was lean. I know it. He cannot hide that turkey. The gaunt fowl obtrudes himself from every part. On the other hand, none but the primest of prime turkeys could have set in motion this brisk old gentleman with the ruddy check and hale, clear eye, whom we next pass. A most stanch and royal turkey lurks behind that portly front—a sound and fresh animal, with plenty of cranberries to boot.—What are these soldiers? Carpet-knights who have united their thanks over a grand regimental banquet. What frisky gobblers they have shared in, to be sure! They prance and amble over the pavements as if they had absorbed the very soul of Chanticleer, and fancied themselves once more princes of the barnyard. The most singular and freakish of the turkey's manifestations this, by far!
Indeed, on a review of these suggestive facts, we cannot but feel a marvellous reverence for the potent cock, established as patron of this feast. This sentiment is wide-spread among our people, and perhaps it is not too fanciful to predict that it will some day expand itself to a cultus like that of the Egyptian APIS, or, more properly, the Stork of Japan. The advanced civilization of the Chinese, indeed, has already made the Chicken an object of religious veneration. In the slow march of ages we shall perhaps develop our as yet crude and imperfect religions into an exalted worship of the Turkey. Then shall the symbolic bird, trussed as for Thanksgiving, be enshrined in all our temples, and the multitudes making pilgrimage from afar to such sanctuaries shall be greeted by an inscription over the temple-gate of BRILLAT SAVARIN'S axiom:—
"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are."
* * * * *
MR. PUNCHINELLO:—Breaking in a young span of boots is ecstasy, or would be, if fitting bootmakers could be found; but there's the pinch, though they do give you fits sometimes.
Getting tailored to suit me, the next thing was to get booted, I succeeded. It cost me nineteen dollars.
I'd willingly return the compliment for nothing.
At last my boots were finished, and I went into them right and left; at least, I tried so to do.
With every nerve flashing lightning, I pulled and tugged most thrillingly, but in vain.
"There's no putting my foot in it," says I.
"Give one more try," says he.
Although almost tried out, I generously gave one more. I placed the bootmaker's awl in one strap, and his last-hook in the other, and with "two roses" mantling my cheeks, postured for the contest.
I tried the heeling process, and earnestly endeavored to toe the mark; but to successfully start the thing on foot was a bootless effort.
Then I slumberously gravitated, and dreamed thus:—
Old "LEATHERBRAINS" in SATAN'S livery, producing a hammer from a carpet-bag (he was a carpet-bagger), proceeded to shape my feet, and fill them with shoe-pegs.
My nap was ruffled, and not to be continued under those circumstances, so I wisely concluded it.
"They're on!" says the bootmaker.
And a tight on it was, excruciatingly so.
I suspected at the time that I had been put to sleep by chloroform, but I afterward remembered that a feeble youth was reading aloud from the Special Cable Dispatches of the Tribune.
My feelings centred in those boots, tears filled my eyes, and I was dumb with emotion, but quickly reviving, I slaked the cordwainer with a flood of rabid eloquence.
The cowering wretch suggested that they would stretch. He lied, the villain, he lied, they shrank.
However, "in verdure clad," I was persuaded into wearing them, and stiffly sidled off, a badgered biped, my head swinging round the circle, and my voice hanging on the verge of profanity all the way.
As fit boots they were a most successful failure. I gave them to the office boy; but the crutches I afterward bought him cost me twenty-seven dollars.
Henceforth I shall take my cue from JOHN CHINAMAN, and encase my understanding in wood. Yours calmly,
* * * * *
Recognized at Last.
A recent telegram from London says:—
"The Prussian hussars rode down and out to pieces a regiment of marine infantry."
Hooray! Cheer, boys, cheer! The mythical Horse-Marines are thus at last recognized as an accomplished fact.
* * * * *
"As I was going to St. Ives."
At St. Ives, Huntingdonshire, England, Lord ROBERT MONTAGU, M.P., was lately burned in effigy by some intelligent boors, because he had joined the Roman Catholic faith. That tells badly for the burners, who should not have cared an f i g about the matter.
* * * * *
MCETTRICK, the pedestrian, was arrested at Boston, a few days since, for giving an exhibition without a license. He gave bail. Probably leg-bail.
* * * * *
On the Bench
When is a judge like the structures that are to support the Brooklyn Suspension-Bridge? When he's called a caisson.
* * * * *
AN OFFICER WHO MUST ALWAYS BE OUT OF GUN-SHOT RANGE.
* * * * *
THE PLAYS AND SHOWS.
By this time everybody has seen Rip Van Winkle, and everybody has expressed the same unbounded admiration of Mr. JEFFERSON'S matchless genius. But the world never has been, and doubtless never will be, without the pestiferous presence of Reformers, Men of Progress, Earnest Men, who insist upon improving everything after their own fashion, and who are unhappy because they did not have the opportunity of making the solar year consist of an even number of days, and because they were not present at the building of the Ark, in order to urge upon NOAH the propriety of attaching a screw propeller to that primitive Great Eastern. These horribly energetic nuisances never find anything that precisely suits them, and are always insisting that everything stands in need of the improvements which they gratuitously suggest. Latterly they have ventured to attack Rip Van Winkle,—not the actor, but the play,—and to insist that the closing scene should be so modified as to make the play a temperance lecture of the most unmistakable character.
If you recollect—as of course you do—the last scene in that exquisite drama, you can still hear "RIP'S" tremulous voice as he says, "I will take my pipe and my glass, and will tell my strange story to all my friends. And I will drink your good health, and your family's, and may you live long and prosper." And now come the Progressive Nuisances, and ask Mr. JEFFERSON to change this ending so that it will read as follows:—
GRETCHEN.—"Here is your glass, RIP."
RIP.—"But I swore off."
GRETCHEN.—"Bless you, my husband. Promise me never more to touch the intoxicating beer-mug."
RIP.—"I promise. Hereafter I will take my TUPPER'S Proverbial Philosophy and my glass of water, and I will daily address all my friends on the subject of total abstinence from everything that cheers, whether it inebriates or not. And I will now close this evening's lecture by an appeal to the audience now present, to take warning by me, and never drink a drop of lager-beer. Think, my friends, what would be the feelings of your respective wives, should you return home, after a drunken sleep of twenty or thirty years, and find them all married to richer husbands! Think how they would revile the weakness of the beer which could not keep you asleep forever. Think how you would complicate the real estate business, when you came to turn out the mistaken people who had occupied, improved, and sold your property during your brief absence. Think of the difficulties that would arise from the increase in the size of your families, which would probably have taken place while you were sleeping out in the open air, and for which you would have to provide, although you had not been consulted in the matter. Think, too, of the extent to which you would be interviewed by the reporters of the Sun, and the atrocious libels concerning yourselves and your families which that unclean sheet would publish. Think of all these things, my friends, and then step into the box-office on your way out and sign the total abstinence pledge. The ushers will now make a collection for the support of the temperance cause. Mr. MOLLENHAUER will please lead the audience in singing that beautiful temperance anthem—"
"'Cold water is the only thing Worth loving here below; The man who won't its praises sing, Will straight to Hades go.'"
Now, for one, I don't like this improved version of "RIP." Of course, the Temperance Reformers will construe this expression of opinion into an admission that every man, woman, or advocate of female suffrage, who has ever written a line for PUNCHINELLO is a confirmed drunkard. In spite of this probability, I still have the courage to maintain that so long as Mr. JEFFERSON is an artist, and not a temperance lecturer, he need not mix up the drama with the Temperance Reform, or any other hobby. If he is to be compelled to deliver a temperance address every time he plays Rip Van Winkle, let us compel Mr. GREELEY to play "RIP" every time he gives a temperance lecture. If the latter catastrophe were to happen, the punishment of the Reforming Nuisances would be complete.
There are, however, plays which could be changed so as to terminate much more naturally and effectively than they now do. For example, there is Enoch Arden. At present ENOCH, when he looks through the window and sees his wife enjoying herself with PHILIP in the dining-room, immediately lies down on the grass-plat in the back-yard, and groans in a most harrowing style,—after which he picks himself up, and, going back to his hotel, dies without so much as recognizing his old friends and congratulating them upon their prosperity. Now the way in which the play should have ended, had the dramatist wished to convince us that "ENOCH" was a reasonable being, would have been somewhat as follows:—
ENOCH (looking through the window).—"Well, here's a go. My wife has actually married PHILIP. They look pretty comfortable, too. PHILIP is evidently rich. Here's luck for me at last. I've got him where I can strike him pretty heavily." [He enters the house,]
PHILIP AND HIS WIFE.—"ENOCH! Can it be possible? Why, we thought you were entirely dead, and so we married. Well! well! This is a healthy state of things."
ENOCH (sternly).—"Mr. PHILIP RAY. You have had the impertinence to marry my wife. Sir! I consider that you have taken an unjustifiable liberty. Have you anything to say for yourself before I proceed to shoot you? I might mention that I once had a third cousin whose aunt by marriage was slightly insane, so you see that I can kill you with a calm certainty that the jury will acquit me, on the ground of my hereditary insanity."
PHILIP.—"Take a drink, old boy. We'll be reasonable about this matter. Don't attempt murder,—it's no longer respectable since MCFARLAND went into the business. Why can't we compromise this affair?"
ENOCH.—"It will cost you something. There are my lacerated feelings, which can't be repaired without a good deal of expense. Still I will do the fair thing by you. Give me fifty thousand dollars and I'll leave the country and say nothing more about it. You can keep my wife, if you want her. I'm sure I don't."
PHILIP.—"But I've been to a good deal of expense about her. Her clothes have cost me no end of money, and there are all our new children besides. Children, let me tell you, are a great deal more expensive now than they were in your day. Now, I'll give you twenty thousand dollars, and your wife, and we'll call it square."
ENOCH.—"No, sir. I don't want the wife, and I insist on more than twenty thousand dollars. I've got you entirely in my power, and you know it. I'll come down to forty thousand dollars, but not a cent less. Draw a check on the bank, or I'll draw a revolver on you. Be quick about it, too, for my hereditary insanity may develop itself at any moment."
PHILIP.—"Well, if I must, I must. Here is your money. How did you leave things at—well, at the place you came from? Everybody well, I hope?"
ENOCH.—"There were no people, and consequently nothing to drink there. Don't speak of the wretched place. Thanks for the check. Hope you'll find your wife satisfactory. Let this be a warning to you, not to marry a widow another time, unless you have a sure thing. Don't believe her when she says her husband is dead, unless you have him dug up, and personally inspect his bones. Thank you! I will take another drink since you insist upon it. Here's luck! You'll agree with me that this is the best day's work I have ever done. Good-by. I'm off to Chicago."
Now, would not that be the way in which "ENOCH" would have acted had he been a practical business man? You see the play thus altered is eminently probable, not to say realistic. I have several more improved catastrophes, which, if substituted for the present ending of some of our more recent popular plays, would render them quite perfect. Hamlet especially needs changing in this respect. Some of these days I will show the readers of PUNCHINELLO how SHAKSPEARE should have ended that drama. I rather think they will agree with me, that SHAKSPEARE, clever as he doubtless was in certain respects, knew very little about writing plays that should be at once effective and probable.
* * * * *
ON THE ROAD TO ROUEN.
* * * * *
* * * * *
Absinthe's a cunning word Dram-drinkers to entice, It comes from a Greek root which means The opposite of nice.
The wormwood shrub its gall Essentially doth give To "ab" by which so many die. For which so many live.
Its color is sea-green. And should you enter where The blissful stimulant is sold. You'll see green people there.
King DEATH no longer drenches With "coal-black wine" his throttle. But slakes the drouth of his awful mouth With pulls at the absinthe bottle.
And why should we repine At the poison that's in his cup, Since the fools we can spare are everywhere And "ab" will use them up?
Then heigh! for the wormwood shrub. And ho! for the sea-green liquor That softens the brain to sillybub And turns the blood to ichor!
* * * * *
* * * * *
Bishop Potter having forbidden the celebration of the Holy Communion privately at St. Sacrament Mission, when a priest is the only communicant, it seems that Father BEADLEY "has asked for the formation of thirty persons, one of whom shall commune with him each day."
When Father B.'s thirty communing persons are fully "formed," we should like to take a look at them. We should expect to find that a new race is started at last. This would be disagreeable news to Professor DARWIN, but there are plenty of other and rival Professors who would be delighted at the phenomenon. Twenty-nine at least of the newly-formed "persons" will always be "on view," as but one of the thirty can be engaged at a time. Doubtless they will be able to converse in the American language, and it will be so interesting to hear them talk! To tell how they feel, and what they think of things!
We should look for original and piquant views of everything and everybody. If they should appeal to Nature's Standard, and pronounce Mr. PUNCHINELLO the handsomest man in New York, who could wonder? They would simply confirm the opinions of connoisseurs.
We hope they will give us a call as soon as "formed." Give us but the opportunity, and we promise to make something of these unsophisticated "persons." If we can but succeed in impressing on their plastic young minds the principles which have hitherto guided us in our own glorious path, we shall have no idle fears of their future. They will be all right from the start. Just as the twig is bent, or rather straightened, the high old tree has got to shoot up.
We look with interest for news of this unique formation.
* * * * *
Rebottling his Wrath.
BOTTLED BUTLER talks fierce against poor JOHN BULL, All the British he'd kill at one slap, With their bones Bully BEN a canal would fill full— The one that he dug at Dutch Gap.
* * * * *
Con by a Switch-tender.
Why is a railway accident like a dandy? Because it's death on the Ties.
* * * * *
* * * * *
HIRAM GREEN'S FASHION REPORT.
The only Strictly Reliable Report on the Market.
A full-dressed girl of the Period, as she sails out for an afternoon airin, looks like somethin as I imagine the north pole would, with a 1/2 dozen rainbows rapt about it. She is a sorter of a flag-staff, from whose perpendicularity the ensines of all nations blows and flaps, and any man base enuff to haul down one solitary flag will be shot on the spot. A far dixy. Tellin the thing jest as it is, there's more flummy-diddles and mushroon attachments to a woman's toggery nowadays than there is honest men in Wall street.
Durin the past season, overskirts and p-an-ears have been looped up, makin the fair secks look as if she was gettin her garments in trim to leep over some frog-pond.
The only change in overskirts now, is that they have been let down a few pegs, giving the fair wearer an appearance of havin landed safe on tother side of the Pollywog Asilum, which she has been all summer waitin to jump over.
LONG TRAILLIN DRESSES are agin comin into fashin, to the great detriment of the legitimate okerpashon of street-sweepin.
I understand that MARK TWAIN endorses long traillin skirts, and compels his new infant to wear 'em. How schockin!
JET TRIMMINS are agin to have a run. The United States Sennit will probably Read in a few black orniments this winter.
SHAWL SOOTS are a pooty gay harniss, nowadays, to sling on. To make one, get an old shawl, ram your head through the middle of it, then draw it snug about the waist, with a cast-off nitecap string.
Yaller and red are becoming cullers for a broonet, says Harper's bazar. The 15th amendment ladies will please take notiss and cultivate yaller hair and red noses in the futer.
RED GLOVES are much worn, makin the fashinable bell's hands look like a washer-woman's thumb on a frosty mornin.
Some pooty desines have appeared in EAR RINGS, but the desines of a sertin strong-minded click of femails to ring the ears of their lords and masters hain't endorsed in this ere report.
The more frizzled and stirred up a ladey's hair appears nowadays, the hire she stands in the eyes of the Bon tung. A waterfall which will go into a store door without the wearer stoopin over, hain't considered of suffishent altitood for a fashinable got-up femme de sham to tug around.
Thrashin masheens are now used to get just the rite angle on the hair.
The head is inserted in the masheen, which proceeds to give the copiliary attraction a wuss shampoonin than can be got in a Rale Rode smash up.
Where thrashin masheens hain't to be had, young gals sprinkle the hair with corn-meel, and then let the chickens scratch it out. This gets up a snarl which a Filadephy lawyer can't ontangle.
Chauced bolony sassiges are fashinable danglin from a ladey's back hair.
These are often worn dubble barrelled, remindin us of a yoke of oxen—takin a waggin view of it.
Trowsers are very narrer contracted about the walkin pins.
The only way a feller can get his calves into his bifurkates, is to fill his butes with milk and coax 'em through.
N.B.—The readers of this report musen't misunderstand me, and undertake to crawl head first through their garments, for I assure him or her, that I refer to the calves of their perambulaters.
Cotes are worn short waisted, short in the skirts, and short in the sleeves. I have known them short in the pocket, when the taler sent in his bill.
Neckties are worn large, what would usually be alowed for a silk dress is required now for a fashenable scarf.
With the 2 long ends, which hangs danglin down over a feller's buzzum, it doesent make a bit of difference if he wears a ragged shirt, dirty shirt, or no shirt at all.
Charity covers a multitood of sins, I'm told, and so does the new stile of scarfs cover a heep of dirt and old rags.
The new stile of silk hats, worn by a femail heart destroyer, is big enuff to hitch up dubble, with the shoo, in which the old lady and her children "hung out."
Altho the wimmen fokes have got off the steel trimmims, I notiss the Internal Revenoo Offisers are continerly gettin in stealin trim.
This strictly reliable report will be isshood as often as the undersined gets any new cloze.
Any person wishin to know how to dress, can obtain the required informashen by sendin a ten cent shinny to PUNCHINELLO Pub. Co.
A well-drest man is the noblest work of his taler, likewise is a full-rigged woman the noblest work of her taleress.
Which is the opinion of the compiler of this work.
HIRAM GREEN, ESQ.,
Lait Gustise of the Peece.
* * * * *
THE DREAM OF A DINER-OUT.
But yesterday night I dreamed a dream— I forget what I'd dined on, really,— 'Twas something heavy, and then I'd read "What I Know of Farming," by GREELEY.
Many and strange were the sights I saw As I turned on my restless pillow, BISMARCK and BLUCHER pitching cents For beer, 'neath a weeping willow.
JULIUS CAESAR was turning up trumps In a nice little game at euchre, With a Chinese coolie, GEORGE FRANCIS TRAIN, SATAN, and old JOE HOOKER.
EARL RUSSELL the small, to make himself tall, Close by on his dignity stood, While LITTLE JOHN sang the "Song of the Shirt" 'Till I thought he was ROBBIN' HOOD!
BRUTUS was taking a "whiskey straight," Which I didn't think orthodox; While GRANT, with his usual zeal for sport, Seemed busy with fighting Cox!
But I woke at last with a boisterous laugh From a dream that was simply ridiculous, For I knew (so did you) it couldn't be true That France had succumbed to St. NICHOLAS.
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
POEMS OF THE CRADLE.
By by, baby bunting, Daddy's gone a-hunting, To get a little rabbit skin To wrap the baby bunting in.
At last there came a day when the husband was of no consequence in his own house. When numerous female visitors frowned upon and snubbed him. When his mother-in-law glared at him and entreated him despitefully if he ventured into her august and fearful presence; and even that wonderful and mysterious person, the hired nurse, unfeelingly ordered him out of the house, and bade him "begone about his business." The miserable and conscience-stricken wretch wandered disconsolately from room to room, only to meet with fresh humiliation and contumely, and at last, in sheer despair, betook himself off to a lonely and gloomsome spot in the dark wood, and there, in penitent humility, bewailed his misfortune in being that miserably and insignificant nonentity—a man.
Sorrowfully resting his head upon his hands, his eyes fixed upon the ground, his whole soul absorbed in self-reproach, he passes the long hours in gloomy abstraction, wishing, he hardly knew what, only that he was not, what he unfortunately happened to be at that moment, a man despised of women and hated by his mother-in-law. His sorrowful musings were broken in upon by his one faithful friend, the gentle companion of many a quiet hour, his affectionate and devoted pet, his beloved cat. Gently rubbing her head against his penitent knee, she awakens the absorbed poet to a realization of her presence, and to a feeling of pleasure that he is not deserted by all, but has one heart left that beats for him alone.
Fondly taking his feline friend in his arms, he softly strokes her back, and gazes lovingly into the soft green eyes that look responsively into his, and rebukes her not when, in impulsive love, she rubs her cold nose against his burning cheek, and wipes her eyes upon his frail moustache.
Night draws on apace. The dew begins to fall; the pangs of hunger to manifest themselves; and hesitatingly and timidly he and his cat turn their footsteps homeward. Loiter as he will, each moment brings him nearer to that abode where once he thought himself master; but to his astonishment he now finds himself an outcast and a reproach.
Slowly and quietly he creeps around to the back kitchen door, his cat held tightly in his arms, stealthily enters, and meekly drops into a chair, the image of a self-convicted burglar.
Presently he hears a sound of smothered laughter, a quick, light step, and mother-in-law and nurse enter, full of importance, and unnaturally friendly with each other. The unhappy man silently tries to shrink into nothingness, and thus escape being again driven out of doors; but the Argus eyes peer into the dark corner, and his intentions are frustrated.
Tremblingly he steps forth, into the light, prepared to meekly obey the harsh command, when, to his great surprise, his fearful mother-in-law smiles benignly upon him, and with a knowing look and gracious beckoning with the forefinger, bids him follow.
He follows, dizzy with the unlooked-for reception, and, in a bewildered state, is ushered into that sanctum of privacy from which he has been ignominiously debarred all day—his wife's room.
The revulsion of feeling was too much for the poor man. His head began to whirl, and his eyes were blinded. He had a faint perception of his wife speaking to him, and of his being shown something, he didn't know what; of being told to do something, he didn't know what; and standing dazed and helpless until forcibly led from the room, and bidden to "go get his supper and not act like a fool."
The familiar expression and natural manner completely restored his wavering consciousness, and he knowingly made his way to the kitchen and vigorously attacked a largo pork-pie, which he gloriously conquered and felt all the pride of a hero.
The next day, having regained in a measure his usual self-control, he was allowed once more, in consideration of the position he held in the family, to enter that sanctum sanctorum, and gaze upon its inmates. His acute mother-in-law, having extracted a promise of absence for the day, on condition of being allowed to look at his own child a moment, carefully deposits in his trembling hands a small woollen bundle with a tiny speck of a face peering therefrom.
Indescribable emotions rushed through his frame at the first touch of that soft warm roll of flannel, and a torrent of tumultuous joy bubbled up in his heart when he had so far mastered his emotions as to be able to touch with one nervous finger the little soft red cheek, lying so peacefully in his arms. The tiny hands doubled up, so brave looking yet so helpless now, giving promise of the future, brought tears of joy and pride to his eyes, and stooping over the wondrous future man, he pressed a kiss upon its unconscious face.
That kiss awoke the sleeping muse within him. Blissful visions of the future, and ambitious feelings for the present, started into being. His first thought was to do something to please the potent little fellow; but happening to glance at his "everlasting terror," he remembered his promise. A brilliant idea striking him at that moment, he apostrophized the infant in the touching words:—
By by, baby bunting, Daddy's gone a-hunting, To get a little rabbit skin To wrap the baby bunting in.
One more kiss, and with a little sigh he lays the precious burden down, and departs to spend the day in the woods, according to promise, so as not to be bothering around under foot, and getting in everybody's way when he ain't wanted.
As he cannot entirely control circumstances, he is determined to make the best of them, and he mentally blesses the happy thought, or rather inspiration, that suggested the soft rabbit skin as a bed for the baby, and resolves that it alone shall be the object of his day's search.
* * * * *
POLISHING THE POLICE.
Doubtless there is much room for improvement in the deportment and speech of our very efficient Municipal Police. Citizens have frequently to apply to them for information, and it sometimes happens that the answer is couched in language that may be Polish, so far as the querist knows, though, in fact, there is no polish about it. It is more likely to be COPTIC, as the policeman of the period likes to call himself a "COP." If there is a street sensation in progress, and you ask a contemplative policeman the cause of it, matters are not made perfectly clear to you when he replies that it is "only a put-up job to screen a fence" or words to that affect. If you ask him to explain things more fully he will probably say, "Shoo! fly," or "you know how it is yourself," or recommend you to "scratch gravel." Such expressions as these are very embarrassing to strangers, and even to citizens whose pathways have not led them through the brambly tracts of police philology.
In view of these facts, the public have reason to be thankful to Justice DOWLING for the reproof administered by him, a few days since, to a policeman who made use of slang in addressing the bench. The reprehended officer of the law spoke about a prisoner being "turned over," when he should have said "discharged." This gave Mr. DOWLING occasion to pass some severe remarks with regard to the use of slang terms generally, by policemen, and to caution them against addressing persons in any such jargon. The lesson was a timely one, and we hope that it may prove effective, since we frequently hear perplexed inquirers complaining that their education has been neglected so far as slang is concerned, and lamenting that, when young, they had not devoted themselves rather to the study of the Thieves' Dictionary than to that of the polite but comparatively useless treatises on their native tongue.
* * * * *
I was persuaded to send my son to Dr. STUFFEM'S boarding-school, in "the salubrious village of Whelpville" (I quote from the Doctor's circular), "where the moral training of the pupils is under the parental supervision of the Principal." Since the arrival of Master THEOPHILUS, I have just received weekly reports of his progress on printed forms, and I presume it is satisfactory, although I do not precisely understand these weekly missives, which are only a complex arrangement of figures. To-day, however, I am favored with three letters which came in a bulky envelope, and I append them, in the order of their perusal by myself. The first seems to be written by a schoolmate of my son's, and was probably placed in the envelope inadvertently by THEOPHILUS. I do not venture to make any alteration in the orthography of the first and second epistles, as I do not know what dictionary may be authoritative in Whelpville.
"Deer Thee its rainin like blaises and I cant get out since I came heer Ive had bully times and I hope Ill keep sik a good wile our doctur lets me eat donuts but sez I musnt play out in the rain wen its rainin farther told me Id beter rite to sum of my scholmaids and giv me this hole sheet of paper maibe Id get a leter rote before dinner but I cant tell you mutch wile its rainin Thee git sik and you can come heer to git wel our doctur is bully I havent took no stuf but sitrate of magneeshia and I don't mind that litel Billy Sims wot lives down by the postofis has got meesils and you can ketch them from him if he arnt ded and then old Stuffy can rite to your farther to let you come here and tel him weve got a bully doctor Thee if Billy Sims is ded or got wel you mite ketch somthin ells and its prime heer farthers got a gun and I no where the pouder is bring some pecushin caps with you Thee or well hav to tuch her off with a cole if old Beeswax wont let you come you mite send me some caps in a leter don't mash em Thee doctur sais I wil be wel in about a munth if I don't ketch cold but I can easy fall in the pond before the munth is out Thee its hoopincof time and you can easy ketch that you only hav to hold yur breth til you most bust our doctur is bully for hoopincof.
"Thee weve got a barn and theres lots of ha on 2 high plaises were we can clime up there arnt no steps nor lader and we hav to clime up poles its bully Thee theres four cats heer and one lets me nuss her the others is all wild and run under the barn we can hunt them wild ones Ive got 2 long poles to poke under the barn but I wont hunt the cats till you come. I get lots of aigs up on the ha when it arnt rainin I got four yesterda and sukt 2 and took 2 to mother the 2 I sukt was elegant but one of mothers had a litel chiking in it.
"Thee you hav to come heer on the ralerode farther brot me but yore farther needent bring you there arnt no plais for him to sleep but you can sleep with me theres a boy sels candy in the cars and theres penuts on a stand in the deepoe 5 sents gits a pocketful the candy is nasty but its in purty boxes its ten sents theres a old wommen keeps the penut stand but shes got a litel gurl and the gurl gives you most for 5 sents don't let the old wommen wate on you but just ask the prise and then sa sis give us 5 sents worth shes awful spry wen you git the penuts just come out of the big dore of the deepoe and keep strait down the rode til you come to our house you can tel it by the 4 cats if they arnt under the barn but you can ask somebody ware farther lives his name is Mister Gillander but these fools that lives about hear cal him Mr. Glander.
"Thee do come dinners reddy
"Yores afectionate DICK GILLANDER"
My son's letter, or rather the first draft of it, is not much more artistic in appearance than the foregoing. He is evidently in the same class in orthography with his friend, Master Gillander, and I do not doubt that, under careful culture, he may emulate the various virtues of his friend, and become, in time, an accomplished "aig" sucker. Here is his letter in the original:—
"DEER FARTHER:—As this is the da fur composition doctur STUFFEM sed I mite rite you a leter for my composition and I rite these fu lines to let you no that I am wel, but one of the boys is my roomait and is gone home sick but he is beter and has got a good doctur and be wants me to come down to his howse pleas sir send me a dolar it is on a ralerode and the fair is fourty 5 sents. I can go Satterda and come back Mundy and there is a meetin house clost by dicks howse and they go to meetin in a carrige and dick drives
The third epistle was written on a clean sheet, the date being in the middle of the first page, and the entire production bearing the marks of herculean effort. I infer that this final letter was a "corrected, proof," and had to pass a severe examination. Probably, this was the only one intended for my eye, and I cannot account for the arrival of the three documents, except upon the hypothesis that my boy heedlessly and hurriedly thrust them in one enclosure, and forgot to remove the phonetic specimens before mail time. It ran thus:—
"MY DEAR FATHER: In lieu of the usual essay required of pupils on this day, my preceptor allows me to write a letter to you, which he hopes may serve to evince my progress in the art of composition, the improvement in my penmanship (to which he devotes special attention), and to inform you of my continued health. Indeed, in this delightful locality, nothing else could be expected, as Whelpville, being 796 feet above tide-water, is entirely free from those miasmatic influences which unfortunately affect the sanitary condition of those institutions of learning that are less favorably situated. The only case of sickness that has occurred since my arrival, and for a long time previously, was that of my room-mate and friend, Richard Gillander, whose father has recently purchased an estate in our neighborhood, principally on account of the salubrity of our climate. But Richard had doubtless contracted the disease, which was of an intermittent character, at his former school, which was the Riverbank Classical Academy, at Swamptown. Our kind preceptor allowed Richard to return to his father's house until his health should be entirely restored. He is now decidedly convalescent, and has written me an urgent invitation to visit him on Saturday next. As this invitation is corroborated by a letter from Mr. Gillander to our preceptor, I should be much pleased to accept it, with your approval. If you have no objection to this arrangement, therefore, I will thank you to enclose me one dollar by mail, as the railway fare to Richard's home amounts to nearly this sum.
"Hoping for a favorable reply, and promising myself the pleasure of writing you a full account of this visit one week hence,
My dear parent,
Your dutiful Son,
This letter breathed such an air of lofty morality that I was quite overcome. I enclosed the required dollar, of course, and wrote a line to Doctor STUFFEM complimenting him upon the manifest improvement in his pupil. I am looking with some anxiety for the promised letter recounting the incidents of the projected visit, and have some misgivings induced by Master DICK'S hints concerning the gun, powderhorn, and percussion-caps. I infer, however, from the last letter, that such a change has been wrought upon THEOPHILUS, that he will probably spend his holiday in reciting moral apothegms to his friend and "room-mait."
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SARSFIELD YOUNG'S PANORAMA.
A fascinating, achromatic sketch of the Geysers of Iceland, those wonderful hydraulic volcanoes, which would readily he considered objects of the greatest natural grandeur, if the hotels in the neighborhood were only a little better kept and more judiciously advertised. Before these stupendous hot-water works the spectator stands aghast, and boils his egg in fourteen seconds, by a stop-watch.
It would seem as though the poet's invocation,
"Come, gentle spring! ethereal mildness, come,"
were somewhat rudely answered, for the spring comes with a noise like thunder, bringing with it "ethereal mildness" at the rate of ten thousand gallons a minute. It has been calculated that there is thrown out annually water enough to supply all the hot whiskey punches that are required during that time in the State of Maine alone. Old sailors say it reminds them of a whale fastened alongside their ship—it is a Seething Tide.
These vast wreaths, which the painter's art has so beautifully revealed to us at the top of the canvas, are steam. It runs no machinery, bursts no boilers, does nothing, in fact, that is useful, but only hangs round. Yet these volcanoes are full of instruction to those who live by them, impressing upon each and every one the mournful, yet scientific truth, that his life is but a vapor.
A VIEW OF MELROSE, MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASS.
It has been well said, "If you would view fair Melrose, do it by moonlight." Our artist found that the suburban trains had not been arranged with an eye to this effect, and he was reluctantly obliged to give us his impressions of this charming spot by daylight.
This, however, has its advantages.
The elegant private residences, neatly trimmed lawns, graceful shade trees, beautifully dressed women and children, driving or promenading, are all more distinctly brought out.
The male population, for the most part, are brought out a few hours later, by steam and horse cars.
Everything here betokens ease and refinement. Here they refine sugar, in this large brick building.
The school-houses, churches, and town-hall are easily distinguished from each other, being of brick, with a brown belfry. On the extreme left is the town-farm for paupers. We haven't time, so we won't dwell upon this.
THE PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT.
These highly interesting old buildings are presented with extraordinary fidelity. They were taken on the spot. They are three in number, you will observe. I presume you cannot tell me what this is? We paid for it as the Sphinx, and it is pronounced by competent judges an exceedingly flattering portrait. The Pyramids are centuries old. It is understood that Miss Sphinx, out of respect to her sex, is about thirty summers—permanently.
I will not deceive you. These structures are immense tombs full of mummies; all the rooms are taken. From careful observation, it is concluded that, like the Federal Union, they "must be preserved." Here they stay in rapt solitude. A glance at the superintendent's register, as you go in, shows that the "PHARAOH family" furnish the largest number of inmates.
Look at this caravan about to cross the Desert. The camels are going instead of coming. They are the ships of the desert—hardships. The leading camel has a bell appended to his neck, which at this moment is ringing for Sahara. We wish them good luck on their journey.
This gentleman on the rear camel (which you notice carries a red flag to prevent collision), who is jauntily attired in nankeen trousers and a blue cotton umbrella, is a physician from New Jersey, whose sands of life have nearly run out. He will get plenty more by to-morrow.
A STORM OFF HATTERAS.
A terrific sight!
You can't sec anything, it is so thick. The sea runs mountain high. The gallant ship, with creaking masts, drives before the gale and plunges over the crests of the foaming billows. That is what she was built for.
The thunder peals crash after crash, and occasionally crash before crash. The lightning's lurid glare illumines, ever and anon, the scene.
The stoutest hold their breath, and if they can't do that, they hold to a belaying-pin, while the awe-stricken crew in vain attempt to pump out the hold. All is darkness, except in the binnacle.
We leave the noble vessel to her fate, with the cheering conviction that she is fully insured.
THE COLISEUM AT ROME.
Who has not yet heard of the Coliseum at Rome, that great masterpiece of Architecture, wherein Rome held her gladiatorial combats, her peace jubilees, and other solemnities! What classic associations cluster around it; what tender recollections of Latin Grammar and of ROMULUS and REMUS, CATILINE, and other friends of our youth, crowd upon us!
Here is where the poet saw the lying gladiator die; and where Mr. FORREST beheld the arena swim around him. You perceive from the outline of this immense building that there was ample room for this purpose.
A look at this recalls past ages; the palmy days of Rome. I need not remind my young friends that Rome is not so palmy as she was. And yet there is no reason in the world why she couldn't be made a great railroad centre. Look at Troy!
Strangers repair to this venerable pile from every part of the earth, though it is somewhat out of repair just at present.
This view, I need hardly explain, is intended to be by moonlight. The student, the philosopher, the lover of the classics, will gaze upon this ruin with emotions of mingled joy and sadness.
Other lovers will gaze at this object, which, without my assistance, they will recognize as the silver-orbed moon. Mark its pensive rays. The silver moon will now roll on—to the next subject.
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