THE COMPLETE WORKS OF ARTEMUS WARD PART 5, THE LONDON PUNCH LETTERS
(CHARLES FARRAR BROWNE)
With a biographical sketch by Melville D. Landon, "Eli Perkins"
The London Punch Letters.
5.1. Arrival in London.
5.2. Personal Recollections.
5.3. The Green Lion and Oliver Cromwell.
5.4. At the Tomb of Shakespeare.
5.5. Introduction to the Club.
5.6. The Tower of London.
5.7. Science and Natural History.
5.8. A Visit to the British Museum.
PART V. THE LONDON PUNCH LETTERS.
P.S.—June 16th.—Artemus Ward really arrived in London yesterday. He has come to England at last, though, like "La Belle Helene at the Adelphi Theatre, he "has been some time in preparation."
JOHN CAMDEN HOTTEN, Piccadilly, W. Jan. 30, 1865.
5.1. ARRIVAL IN LONDON.
MR. PUNCH: My dear Sir,—You prob'ly didn't meet my uncle Wilyim when he was on these shores. I jedge so from the fack that his pursoots wasn't litrary. Commerce, which it has been trooly observed by a statesman, or somebody, is the foundation stone onto which a nation's greatness rests, glorious Commerce was Uncle Wilyim's fort. He sold soap. It smelt pretty, and redily commanded two pents a cake. I'm the only litrary man in our fam'ly. It is troo, I once had a dear cuzzun who wrote 22 verses onto "A Child who nearly Died of the Measles, O!" but as he injoodiciously introjudiced a chorious at the end of each stansy, the parrents didn't like it at all. The father in particler wept afresh, assaulted my cuzzun, and said he never felt so ridicklus in his intire life. The onhappy result was that my cuzzun abandined poetry forever, and went back to shoemakin, a shattered man.
My Uncle Wilyim disposed of his soap, and returned to his nativ land with a very exolted opinyon of the British public. "It is a edycated community," said he; "they're a intellectooal peple. In one small village alone I sold 50 cakes of soap, incloodin barronial halls, where they offered me a ducal coronet, but I said no—give it to the poor." This was the way Uncle Wilyim went on. He told us, however, some stories that was rather too much to be easily swallerd. In fack, my Uncle Wilyim was not a emblem of trooth. He retired some years ago on a hansum comptency derived from the insurance-money he received on a rather shaky skooner he owned, and which turned up while lyin at a wharf one night, the cargo havin fortnitly been removed the day afore the disastriss calamty occurd. Uncle Wilyim said it was one of the most sing'ler things he ever heard of; and, after collectin the insurance money, he bust into a flood of tears, and retired to his farm in Pennsylvany. He was my uncle by marriage only. I do not say that he wasn't a honest man. I simply say that if you have a uncle, and bitter experunce tells you it is more profitable in a pecoonery pint of view to put pewter spoons instid of silver ones onto the table when that uncle dines with you in a frenly way—I simply say, there is sumthun wrong in our social sistim, which calls loudly for reform.
I 'rived on these shores at Liverpool, and proceeded at once to London. I stopt at the Washington Hotel in Liverpool, because it was named after a countryman of mine who didn't get his living by makin' mistakes, and whose mem'ry is dear to civilized peple all over the world, because he was gentle and good as well as trooly great. We read in Histry of any number of great individooals, but how few of 'em, alars! should we want to take home to supper with us! Among others, I would call your attention to Alexander the Great, who conkerd the world, and wept because he couldn't do it sum more, and then took to gin-and-seltzer, gettin' tight every day afore dinner with the most disgustin' reg'larity, causin' his parunts to regret they hadn't 'prenticed him in his early youth to a biskit-baker, or some other occupation of a peaceful and quiet character. I say, therefore, to the great men now livin; (you could put 'em all into Hyde Park, by the way, and still leave room for a large and respectable concourse of rioters)—be good. I say to that gifted but bald-heded Prooshun, Bismarck, be good and gentle in your hour of triump. I always am. I admit that our lines is different, Bismarck's and mine; but the same glo'rus principle is involved, I am a exhibiter of startlin' curiositys, wax works, snaix, etsetry ("either of whom," as a American statesman whose name I ain't at liberty to mention for perlitical resins, as he expecks to be a candidate for a prom'nent offiss, and hence doesn't wish to excite the rage and jelisy of other showmen—"either of whom is wuth dubble the price of admission"); I say I am an exhibiter of startlin curiositys, and I also have my hours of triump, but I try to be good in 'em. If you say, "Ah, yes, but also your hours of grief and misfortin;" I answer, it is troo, and you prob'ly refer to the circumstans of my hirin' a young man of dissypated habits to fix hisself up as A real Cannibal from New Zeelan, and when I was simply tellin the audience that he was the most feroshos Cannibal of his tribe, and that, alone and unassisted, he had et sev'ril of our fellow countrymen, and that he had at one time even contemplated eatin his Uncle Thomas on his mother's side, as well as other near and dear relatives,—when I was makin' these simple statements the mis'ble young man said I was a lyer, and knockt me off the platform. Not quite satisfied with this, he cum and trod hevly on me, and as he was a very muscular person and wore remarkable thick boots, I knew at once that a canary bird wasn't walkin' over me.
I admit that my ambition overlept herself in this instuns, and I've been very careful ever since to deal square with the public. If I was the public I should insist on squareness, tho' I shouldn't do as a portion of my audience did on the occasion jest mentioned, which they was employed in sum naberin' coal mines.
"As you hain't got no more Cannybals to show us, old man," said one of 'em, who seemed to be a kind of leader among 'em—a tall dis'greeble skoundril—"as you seem to be out of Cannybals, we'll sorter look round here and fix things. Them wax figgers of yours want washin'. There's Napoleon Bonyparte and Julius Caesar—they must have a bath," with which coarse and brutal remark he imitated the shrill war-hoop of the western savige, and, assisted by his infamus coal-heavin companyins, he threw all my wax-work into the river, and let my wild bears loose to pray on a peaceful and inoffensive agricultooral community.
Leavin Liverpool (I'm goin' back there, tho—I want to see the Docks, which I heard spoken of at least once while I was there) I cum to London in a 1st class car, passin' the time very agreeable in discussin, with a countryman of mine, the celebrated Schleswig-Holstein question. We took that int'resting question up and carefully traced it from the time it commenced being so, down to the present day, when my countryman, at the close of a four hours' annymated debate, said he didn't know anything about it himself, and he wanted to know if I did. I told him that I did not. He's at Ramsgate now, and I am to write him when I feel like givin him two days in which to discuss the question of negro slavery in America. But now I do not feel like it.
London at last, and I'm stoppin at the Greenlion tavern. I like the lan'lord very much indeed. He had fallen into a few triflin errers in regard to America—he was under the impression, for instance, that we et hay over there, and had horns growin out of the back part of our heads—but his chops and beer is ekal to any I ever pertook. You must cum and see me and bring the boys. I'm told that Garrick used to cum here, but I'm growin skeptycal about Garrick's favorit taverns. I've had over 500 public-houses pinted out to me where Garrick went. I was indooced one night, by a seleck comp'ny of Britons, to visit sum 25 public-houses, and they confidentially told me that Garrick used to go to each one of 'em. Also, Dr. Johnson. This won't do, you know.
May be I've rambled a bit in this communycation. I'll try and be more collected in my next, and meanwhile, b'lieve me,
Trooly Yours, Artemus Ward.
5.2. PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS.
You'll be glad to learn that I've made a good impression onto the mind of the lan'lord of the Green Lion tavern. He made a speech about me last night. Risin' in the bar he spoke as follers, there bein over 20 individooals present:
"This North American has been a inmate of my 'ouse over two weeks, yit he hasn't made no attempt to scalp any member of my fam'ly. He hasn't broke no cups or sassers, or furnitur of any kind. ("Hear, hear.") I find I can trust him with lited candles. He eats his wittles with a knife and a fork. People of this kind should be encurridged. I purpose 'is 'elth!" ("Loud 'plaws.")
What could I do but modestly get up and express a fervint hope that the Atlantic Cable would bind the two countries still more closely together? The lan'lord said my speech was full of orig'nality, but his idee was the old stage coach was more safer, and he tho't peple would indors that opinyin in doo time.
I'm gettin' on exceedin' well in London. I see now, however, that I made a mistake in orderin' my close afore I left home. The trooth is the taler in our little villige owed me for a pig and I didn't see any other way of gettin' my pay. Ten years ago these close would no doubt have been fash'n'ble, and perhaps they would be ekally sim'lar ten years hens. But now they're diff'rently. The taler said he know'd they was all right, because he had a brother in Wales who kept him informed about London fashins reg'lar. This was a infamus falsehood. But as the ballud says (which I heard a gen'l'man in a new soot of black close and white kid gloves sing t'other night), Never don't let us Despise a Man because he wears a Raggid Coat! I don't know as we do, by the way, tho' we gen'rally get out of his way pretty rapid; prob'ly on account of the pity which tears our boosums for his onhappy condition.
This last remark is a sirkastic and witherin' thrust at them blotid peple who live in gilded saloons. I tho't I'd explain my meanin' to you. I frekently have to explain the meanin' of my remarks. I know one man—and he's a man of varid 'complishments —who often reads my articles over 20 times afore he can make anything of 'em at all. Our skoolmaster to home says this is a pecoolerarity of geneyus. My wife says it is a pecoolerarity of infernal nonsens. She's a exceedin' practycal woman. I luv her muchly, however, and humer her little ways. It's a recklis falshood that she henpecks me, and the young man in our neighborhood who said to me one evenin', as I was mistenin' my diafram with a gentle cocktail at the villige tavun—who said to me in these very langwidge, "Go home, old man, onless you desires to have another teapot throwd at you by B.J.," probly regrets havin said so.
I said, "Betsy Jane is my wife's front name, gentle yooth, and I permits no person to alood to her as B.J. outside of the family circle, of which I am it principally myself. Your other observations I scorn and disgust, and I must pollish you off."
He was a able-bodied young man, and, remoovin his coat, he enquired if I wanted to be ground to powder? I said, Yes: if there was a Powder-grindist handy, nothin would 'ford me greater pleasure, when he struck me a painful blow into my right eye, causin' me to make a rapid retreat into the fireplace. I hadn't no idee that the enemy was so well organized. But I rallied and went for him, in a rayther vigris style for my time of life. His parunts lived near by, and I will simply state 15 minits had only elapst after the first act when he was carried home on a shutter. His mama met the sollum procession at the door, and after keerfully looking her orfspring over, she said:
"My son, I see how it is distinctually. You've been foolin' round a Trashin Masheen. You went in at the place where they put the grain in, cum out with the straw, and you got up into the thingamyjig, and let the horses tred on you, didn't you, my son?"
The pen of no liven Orthur could describe that disfortnit young man's sittywation more clearer. But I was sorry for him, and I went and nussed him till he got well. His reg'lar original father being absent to the war, I told him I'd be a father to him myself. He smilt a sickly smile, and said I'd already been wus than two fathers to him.
I will here obsarve that fitin orter be allus avided, excep in extreem cases. My principle is, if a man smites me on the right cheek I'll turn my left to him, prob'ly; but if he insinooates that my gran'mother wasn't all right, I'll punch his hed. But fitin is mis'ble bisniss, gen'rally speakin, and whenever any enterprisin countryman of mine cums over here to scoop up a Briton in the prize ring I'm allus excessively tickled when he gets scooped hisself, which it is a sad fack has thus far been the case—my only sorrer bein' that t'other feller wasn't scooped likewise. It's diff'rently with scullin boats, which is a manly sport, and I can only explain Mr. Hamil's resunt defeat in this country on the grounds that he wasn't used to British water. I hope this explanation will be entirely satisfact'ry to all.
As I remarked afore, I'm gettin' on well. I'm aware that I'm in the great metrop'lis of the world, and it doesn't make me onhappy to admit the fack. A man is a ass who dispoots it. That's all that ails HIM. I know there is sum peple who cum over here and snap and snarl 'bout this and that: I know one man who says it is a shame and a disgrace that St. Paul's Church isn't a older edifiss; he says it should be years and even ages older than it is; but I decline to hold myself responsible for the conduck of this idyit simply because he's my countryman. I spose every civ'lised land is endowed with its full share of gibberin' idyits, and it can't be helpt—leastways I can't think of any effectooal plan of helpin' it.
I'm a little sorry you've got politics over here, but I shall not diskuss 'em with nobody. Tear me to pieces with wild omnibus hosses, and I won't diskuss 'em. I've had quite enuff of 'em at home, thank you. I was at Birmingham t'other night, and went to the great meetin' for a few minits. I hadn't been in the hall long when a stern-lookin' artisan said to me:
"You ar from Wales!"
No, I told him I didn't think I was. A hidgyis tho't flasht over me. It was of that onprincipled taler, and I said, "Has my clothin' a Welchy appearance?"
"Not by no means," he answered, and then he said, "And what is your opinyin of the present crisis?"
I said, "I don't zackly know. Have you got it very bad?"
He replied, "Sir, it is sweepin' England like the Cymoon of the Desert!"
"Wall," I said, "let it sweep!"
He ceased me by the arm and said, "Let us glance at hist'ry. It is now some two thousand years—"
"Is it, indeed?" I replied.
"Listin!" he fiercely cried; "it is only a little over two thousand years since—"
"Oh, bother!" I remarkt, "let us go out and git some beer."
"No, Sir. I want no gross and sensual beer. I'll not move from this spot till I can vote. Who ar you?"
I handed him my card, which in addition to my name, contains a elabrit description of my show. "Now, Sir," I proudly said, "you know me?"
"I sollumly swear," he sternly replied, "that I never heard of you, or your show, in my life!"
"And this man," I cried bitterly, "calls hisself a intelligent man, and thinks he orter be allowed to vote! What a holler mockery!"
I've no objection to ev'ry intelligent man votin' if he wants to. It's a pleasant amoosement, no doubt; but there is those whose igrance is so dense and loathsum that they shouldn't be trustid with a ballit any more'n one of my trained serpunts should be trusted with a child to play with.
I went to the station with a view of returnin' to town on the cars.
"This way, Sir," said the guard; "here you ar," and he pinted to a first-class carriage, the sole ockepant of which was a rayther prepossessin' female of about 30 summers.
"No, I thank you," I earnestly replied, "I prefer to walk."
I am, dear Sir, Very respectivly yours, Artemus WArd.
5.3. THE GREEN LION AND OLIVER CROMWELL.
MR. PUNCH: My Dear Sir,—It is now two weeks since a rayther strange lookin man engaged 'partments at the Green Lion. He stated he was from the celebrated United States, but beyond this he said nothin. He seem'd to prefer sollytood. He remained mostly in his room, and whenever he did show hisself he walkt in a moody and morose manner in the garding, with his hed bowed down and his arms foldid across his brest. He reminded me sumwhat of the celebrated but onhappy "Mr. Haller," in the cheerful play of "The Stranger." This man puzzled me. I'd been puzzled afore several times, but never so severally as now. Mine Ost of the Greenlion said I must interregate this strange bein, who claimed to be my countryman.
"He hasn't called for a drop of beer since he's been in this ere Ouse," said the landlord. "I look to you," he added, "to clear up this dark, this orful mistry!"
I wringed the lan'lord's honest hand, and told him to consider the mistry cleared up.
I gained axes to the misterus bein's room, and by talkin sweet to him for a few minits, I found out who he was. Then returnin to the lan'lord, who was nervisly pacin up and down the bar, I said,
"Sweet ROLANDO, don't tremble no more! I've torn the marsk from the hawty stranger's face, and dived into the recesses of his inmost sole! He's a Trans-Mejim."
I'd been to the Beefanham theatre the previs evenin, and probly the drammer I saw affected me, because I'm not in the habit of goin on as per above. I like the Beefanham theatre very much indeed, because there a enthoosiastic lover of the theatre like myself can unite the legitermit drammer with fish. Thus, while your enrapterd soul drinks in the lorfty and noble sentences of the gifted artists, you can eat a biled mack'ril jest as comfor'bly as in your own house. I felt constrained, however, to tell a fond mother who sot immegitly behind me, and who was accompanied by a gin bottle, and a young infant—I felt constrained to tell that mother, when her infant playfully mingled a rayther oily mack'ril with the little hair which is left on my vener'ble hed, that I had a bottle of scented hair oil at home, which on the whole I tho't I preferred to that which her orfspring was greasin me with. This riled the excellent feamale, and she said:
"Git out! You never was a infank yourself, I spose! Oh no! You was too good to be a infank, you was! You slid into the world all ready grow'd, didn't you? Git out!"
"No, Madam," I replied, "I too was once a infant! I was a luvly child. People used to come in large and enthoosiastic crowds from all parts of the country to see me, I was such a sweet and intel'gent infant. The excitement was so intens, in fack, that a extra hotel was startid in the town to accomodate the peple who thronged to my cradle." Havin finished these troothful statemints, I smilt sweetly on the worthy female. She said:
"Drat you, what do you come a-chaffin me for?" and the estymible woman was really gettin furis, when I mollyfied her by praisin her child, and by axin pardin for all I'd said.
"This little gal," I observed, "this surprisingly lively gal when—" the mother said,
"It's t'other sect is he, Sir: it's a boy."
"Wall," I said, "then this little boy, whose eye is like a eagle a-soaring proudly in the azure sky, will some day be a man, if he don't choke hisself to death in childhood's sunny hours with a smelt or a bloater, or some other drefful calamity. How surblime the tho't, my dear Madam, that this infant as you fondle on your knee on this night, may grow up into a free and independent citizen, whose vote will be worth from ten to fifteen pounds, accordin as suffrage may range at that joyous perid!"
Let us now return, jentle reader, to the lan'lord of the Green Lion, who we left in the bar in a state of anxiety and perspire. Rubbin his hot face with a red handkercher, he said, "Is the strange bein a American?"
"Not a Majer."
"He is not."
"Not even that."
"Then," said the lan'lord of the Green Lion, "you ar deceeved! He is no countryman of yours."
"Why not?" I said.
"I will tell you, Sir," said the lan'lord. "My son-in-law is employed in a bankin house where ev'ry American as comes to these shores goes to git his drafts casht, and he says that not one has arrived on these shores during the last 18 months as wasn't a Gen'ral, a Colonial, a Majer, a Capting, or a leftenant! This man, as I said afore, has deceeved you! He's a imposture!"
I reeled into a chair. For a minit I was speechlis. At length I murmured, "Alars! I fear it is too troo! Even I was a Capting of the Home Gards."
"To be sure," said the lan'lord; "you all do it over there."
"Wall," I said, "whatever nation this person belongs to, we may as well go and hear him lectur this evenin. He is one of these spirit fellers—he is a Trans-Mejim, and when he slings himself into a trans-state he says the sperits of departed great men talk through him. He says that to-night sev'ril em'nent persons will speak through him—among others, Cromwell."
"And this Mr. Cromwell—is he dead?" said the lan'lord.
I told him that Oliver was no more.
"It's a umbug," said the lan'lord; to which I replied that we'd best go and see, and we went. We was late, on account of the lan'lord's extensiv acquaintans with the public house keepers along the road, and the hall was some two miles distant, but we got there at last. The hall was about half full, and the Mejim was just then assumin' to be Benjamin Franklin, who was speakin about the Atlantic Cable.
He said the Cable was really a merrytorious affair, and that messiges could be sent to America, and there was no doubt about their gettin there in the course of a week or two, which he said was a beautiful idear, and much quicker than by steamer or canal-boat. It struck me that if this was Franklin a spiritooal life hadn't improved the old gentleman's intellecks particly.
The audiens was mostly composed of rayther pale peple, whose eyes I tho't rolled round in a somewhat wild manner. But they was well-behaved, and the females kept saying, "How beautiful! What a surblime thing it is," et cetry, et cetry. Among the females was one who was a fair and rosy young woman. She sot on the same seat we did, and the lan'lord of the Green Lion, whose frekent intervoos with other lan'lords that evenin had been too much for him, fastened his left eye on the fair and rosy young person, and smilin lovinly upon her, said:
"You may give me, my dear, four-penny-worth of gin—cold gin. I take it cold, because—"
There was cries of "Silence! Shame! Put him out! The Skoffer!"
"Ain't we at the Spotted Boar?" the lan'lord hoarsely whispered.
"No," I answered. "It's another kind of bore. Lis'en. Cromwell is goin' to speak through our inspired fren', now."
"Is he?" said the lan'lord—"is he? Wall, I've suthin to say, also. Was this Cromwell a licensed vittler?"
"Not that I ever heard," I anserd.
"I'm sorry for that," said the lan'lord with a sigh, "but you think he was a man who would wish to see licensed vittlers respected in their rights?"
"Wall," said the lan'lord, "jest you keep a eye on me." Then risin to his feet he said, in somewhat husky yet tol'bly distink voice, "Mr. Crumbwell!"
"Cromwell!" I cried.
"Yes, Mr. Cromwell: that's the man I mean, Mr. Cromble! won't you please advise that gen'l'man who you're talkin through; won't you advise'im during your elekant speech to settle his bill at my 'ouse tonight, Mr. Crumbles," said the lan'lord, glarin' savigely round on the peple, "because if he don't there'll be a punched 'ed to be seen at the Green Lion, where I don't want no more of this everlastin nonsens. I'LL talk through 'im! Here's a sperrit," said the lan'lord, a smile once more beamin on his face, "which will talk through him like a Dutch father! I'm the sperrit for you, young feller!"
"You're a helthy old sperret," I remarkt; and then I saw the necessity of gettin him out of the hall. The wimin was yellin and screaming, and the men was hollerin' perlice. A perliceman really came and collerd my fat fren.
"It's only a fit, Sir Richard," I said. I always call the perlice Sir Richard. It pleases them to think I'm the victim of a deloosion; and they always treat me perlitely. This one did, certainly, for he let us go. We saw no more of the Trans-Mejim.
It's diffikilt, of course, to say how long these noosances will be allowed to prowl round. I should say, however, if pressed for a answer that they will prob'ly continner on jest about as long as they can find peple to lis'en to 'em. Am I right?
Yours, faithfull, Artemus Ward.
5.4. AT THE TOMB OF SHAKSPEARE.
Mr. Punch, My dear Sir,—I've been lingerin by the Tomb of the lamentid Shakspeare.
It is a success.
I do not hes'tate to pronounce it as such.
You may make any use of this opinion that you see fit. If you think its publication will subswerve the cause of litteraoor, you may publicate it.
I told my wife Betsy when I left home that I should go to the birthplace of the orthur of "Otheller" and other Plays. She said that as long as I kept out of Newgate she didn't care where I went.
"But," I said, "don't you know he was the greatest Poit that ever lived? Not one of these common poits, like that young idyit who writes verses to our daughter, about the Roses as growses, and the Breezes as blowses—but a Boss Poit—also a philosopher, also a man who knew a great deal about everything."
She was packing my things at the time, and the only answer she made was to ask me if I was goin to carry both of my red flannel night-caps.
Yes. I've been to Stratford onto the Avon, the Birthplace of Shakspeare. Mr. S. is now no more. He's been dead over three hundred (300) years. The peple of his native town are justly proud of him. They cherish his mem'ry, and them as sell pictures of his birthplace, &c., make it prof'tible cherishin it. Almost everybody buys a pictur to put into their Albiom.
As I stood gazing on the spot where Shakspeare is s'posed to have fell down on the ice and hurt hisself when a boy, (this spot cannot be bought—the town authorities say it shall never be taken from Stratford), I wondered if three hundred years hence picturs of MY birthplace will be in demand? Will the peple of my native town be proud of me in three hundred years? I guess they won't short of that time because they say the fat man weighing 1000 pounds which I exhibited there was stuffed out with pillers and cushions, which he said one very hot day in July, "Oh bother, I can't stand this," and commenced pullin the pillers out from under his weskit, and heavin 'em at the audience. I never saw a man lose flesh so fast in my life. The audience said I was a pretty man to come chiselin my own townsmen in that way. I said, "Do not be angry, feller-citizens. I exhibited him simply as a work of art. I simply wished to show you that a man could grow fat without the aid of cod-liver oil." But they wouldn't listen to me. They are a low and grovelin set of peple, who excite a feelin of loathin in every brest where lorfty emotions and original idees have a bidin place.
I stopped at Leamington a few minits on my way to Stratford onto the Avon, and a very beautiful town it is. I went into a shoe shop to make a purchis, and as I entered I saw over the door those dear familiar words, "By Appintment: H.R.H.;" and I said to the man, "Squire, excuse me, but this is too much. I have seen in London four hundred boot and shoe shops by Appintment: H.R.H.; and now YOU'RE at it. It is simply onpossible that the Prince can wear 400 pairs of boots. Don't tell me," I said, in a voice choked with emotion—"Oh, do not tell me that you also make boots for him. Say slippers—say that you mend a boot now and then for him; but do not tell me that you make 'em reg'lar for him."
The man smilt, and said I didn't understand these things. He said I perhaps had not noticed in London that dealers in all sorts of articles was By Appintment. I said, "Oh, HADN'T I?" Then a sudden thought flasht over me. "I have it!" I said. "When the Prince walks through a street, he no doubt looks at the shop windows."
The man said, "No doubt."
"And the enterprisin tradesman," I continnerd, "the moment the Prince gets out of sight, rushes frantically and has a tin sign painted, By Appintment, H.R.H.! It is a beautiful, a great idee!"
I then bought a pair of shoe strings, and wringin the shopman's honest hand, I started for the Tomb of Shakspeare in a hired fly. It look't however more like a spider.
"And this," I said, as I stood in the old church-yard at Stratford, beside a Tombstone, "this marks the spot where lies William W. Shakspeare. Alars! and this is the spot where—"
"You've got the wrong grave," said a man—a worthy villager: "Shakspeare is buried inside the church."
"Oh," I said, "a boy told me this was it." The boy larfed and put the shillin I'd given him onto his left eye in a inglorious manner, and commenced moving backwards towards the street.
I pursood and captered him, and after talking to him a spell in a skarcastic stile, I let him went.
The old church was damp and chill. It was rainin. The only persons there when I entered was a fine bluff old gentleman who was talking in a excited manner to a fashnibly dressed young man.
"No, Earnest Montresser," the old gentleman said, "it is idle to pursoo this subjeck no further. You can never marry my daughter. You were seen last Monday in Piccadilly without a umbreller! I said then, as I say now, any young man as venturs out in a uncertain climit like this without a umbreller, lacks foresight, caution, strength of mind and stability; and he is not a proper person to intrust a daughter's happiness to."
I slapt the old gentleman on the shoulder, and I said: "You're right! You're one of those kind of men, you are—"
He wheeled suddenly round, and in a indignant voice, said, "Go way—go way! This is a privit intervoo."
I didn't stop to enrich the old gentleman's mind with my conversation. I sort of inferred that he wasn't inclined to listen to me, and so I went on. But he was right about the umbreller. I'm really delighted with this grand old country, "Mr. Punch," but you must admit that it does rain rayther numerously here. Whether this is owing to a monerkal form of gov'ment or not I leave all candid and onprejudiced persons to say.
William Shakspeare was born in Stratford in 1564. All the commentaters, Shaksperian scholars, etsetry, are agreed on this, which is about the only thing they are agreed on in regard to him, except that his mantle hasn't fallen onto any poet or dramatist hard enough to hurt said poet or dramatist MUCH. And there is no doubt if these commentaters and persons continner investigating Shakspeare's career, we shall not, in doo time, know anything about it at all.
When a mere lad little William attended the Grammar School, because, as he said, the Grammar School wouldn't attend him. This remarkable remark, comin from one so young and inexperunced, set peple to thinkin there might be somethin in this lad. He subsequently wrote "Hamlet" and "George Barnwell." When his kind teacher went to London to accept a position in the offices of the Metropolitan Railway, little William was chosen by his fellow pupils to deliver a farewell address.
"Go on, Sir," he said, "in a glorus career. Be like a eagle, and soar and the soarer you get the more we shall all be gratified! That's so."
My young readers, who wish to know about Shakspeare, better get these vallyable remarks framed.
I returned to the hotel. Meetin a young married couple, they asked me if I could direct them to the hotel which Washington Irving used to keep?
"I've understood that he was onsuccessful as a lan'lord," said the lady.
"We've understood," said the young man, "that he busted up."
I told 'em I was a stranger, and hurried away. They were from my country, and ondoubtedly represented a thrifty Ile well somewhere in Pennsylvany. It's a common thing, by the way, for a old farmer in Pennsylvany to wake up some mornin' and find ile squirtin all around his back yard. He sells out for 'normous price, and his children put on gorgeous harness and start on a tower to astonish people. They succeed in doin it. Meantime the Ile squirts and squirts, and Time rolls on. Let it roll.
A very nice old town is Stratford, and a capital inn is the Red Horse. Every admirer of the great S. must go there once certinly; and to say one isn't a admirer of him, is equv'lent to sayin one has jest about brains enough to become a efficient tinker.
Some kind person has sent me Chawcer's "poems." Mr. C. had talent, but he couldn't spel. No man has a right to be a lit'rary man onless he knows how to spel. It is a pity that Chawcer, who had geneyus, was so unedicated. He's the wuss speller I know of.
I guess I'm through, and so I lay down the pen, which is more mightier than the sword, but which I'm fraid would stand a rayther slim chance beside the needle gun.
Adoo! Adoo! Artemus Ward.
5.5. IS INTRODUCED AT THE CLUB.
MR. PUNCH, My dear Sir,—It is seldim that the Commercial relations between Great Britain and the United States is mar'd by Games.
It is Commerce after all, which will keep the two countries friendly to'ards each other rather than statesmen.
I look at your last Parliament, and I can't see that a single speech was encored during the entire session.
Look at Congress—but no, I'd rather not look at Congress.
Entertainin this great regard for Commerce, "whose sales whiten every sea," as everybody happily observes every chance he gets, I learn with disgust and surprise that a British subjeck bo't a Barril of Apple Sass in America recently, and when he arrove home he found under a few deloosiv layers of sass nothin but sawdust. I should have instintly gone into the City and called a meetin of the leadin commercial men to condemn and repudiate, as a American, this gross frawd, if I hadn't learned at the same time that the draft given by the British subjeck in payment for this frawdylent sass was drawed onto a Bankin House in London which doesn't have a existance, but far otherwise, and never did.
There is those who larf at these things, but to me they merit rebooks and frowns.
With the exception of my Uncle Wilyim—who, as I've before stated, is a uncle by marrige only, who is a low cuss and filled his coat pockets with pies and biled eggs at his weddin breakfast, given to him by my father, and made the clergyman as united him a present of my father's new overcoat, and when my father on discoverin' it got in a rage and denounced him, Uncle Wilyim said the old man (meanin my parent) hadn't any idee of first class Humer!—with the exception of this wretched Uncle the escutchin of my fam'ly has never been stained by Games. The little harmless deceptions I resort to in my perfeshion I do not call Games. They are sacrifisses to Art.
I come of a very clever fam'ly.
The Wards is a very clever fam'ly indeed.
I believe we are descendid from the Puritins, who nobly fled from a land of despitism to a land of freedim, where they could not only enjoy their own religion, but prevent everybody else from enjoyin HIS.
As I said before, we are a very clever fam'ly.
I was strolling up Regent Street the other day, thinkin what a clever fam'ly I come of, and looking at the gay shop-winders. I've got some new close since you last saw me. I saw them others wouldn't do. They carrid the observer too far back into the dim vister of the past, and I gave 'em to a Orfun Asylum. The close I wear now I bo't of Mr. Moses, in the Commercial Road. They was expressly made, Mr. Moses inforemd me, for a nobleman, but as they fitted him too muchly, partic'ly the trows'rs (which is blue, with large red and white checks) he had said:
"My dear feller, make me some more, only mind—be sure you sell these to some genteel old feller."
I like to saunter thro' Regent Street. The shops are pretty, and it does the old man's hart good to see the troops of fine healthy girls which one may always see there at certain hours in the afternoon, who don't spile their beauty by devourin cakes and sugar things, as too many of the American and French lasses do. It's a mistake about everybody being out of town, I guess. Regent Street is full. I'm here; and as I said before, I come of a very clever fam'ly.
As I was walkin along, amoosin myself by stickin my penknife into the calves of the footmen who stood waitin by the swell-coaches (not one of whom howled with angwish), I was accosted by a man of about thirty-five summers, who said, "I have seen that face somewheres afore!"
He was a little shabby in his wearin apparil. His coat was one of those black, shiny garments, which you can always tell have been burnished by adversity; but he was very gentlemanly.
"Was it in the Crimea, comrade? Yes, it was. It was at the stormin of Sebastopol, where I had a narrow escape from death, that we met."
I said, "No, I wasn't at Sebastopol; I escaped a fatal wound by not bein there. It was a healthy old fortress," I added.
"It was. But it fell. It came down with a crash."
"And plucky boys they was who brought her down," I added; "and hurrah for 'em!"
The man graspt me warmly by the hand, and said he had been in America, Upper Canada, Africa, Asia Minor, and other towns, and he'd never met a man he liked as much as he did me.
"Let us," he added, "let us to the shrine of Bachus!"
And he dragged me into a public house. I was determined to pay, so I said, "Mr. Bachus, giv this gen'l'man what he calls for."
We conversed there in a very pleasant manner till my dinner-time arrove, when the agreeable gentleman insisted that I should dine with him. "We'll have a banquet, Sir, fit for the gods!"
I told him good plain vittles would soot me. If the gods wanted to have the dispepsy, they was welcome to it.
We had soop and fish, and a hot jint, and growsis, and wines of rare and costly vintige. We had ices, and we had froots from Greenland's icy mountins and Injy's coral strands; and when the sumptoous reparst was over, the agree'ble man said he'd unfortnitly left his pocket-book at home on the marble centre- table.
"But, by Jove!" he said, "it was a feast fit for the gods!"
I said, "Oh, never mind," and drew out my puss; tho' I in'ardly wished the gods, as the dinner was fit for 'em, was there to pay for it.
I come of a very clever fam'ly.
The agree'ble gentleman then said, "Now, I will show you our Club. It dates back to the time of William the Conquerer."
"Did Bill belong to it?" I inquired.
"Wall," I said, "if Billy was one of 'em, I need no other endorsement as to its respectfulness, and I'll go with you, my gay trooper boy!" And we went off arm-in-arm.
On the way the agree'ble man told me that the Club was called the Sloshers. He said I would notice that none of 'em appeared in evenin dress. He said it was agin the rools of the club. In fack, if any member appeared there in evenin dress he'd be instantly expeld. "And yit," he added, "there's geneyus there, and lorfty emotions, and intelleck. You'll be surprised at the quantities of intelleck you'll see there."
We reached the Sloshers in due time, and I must say they was a shaky-looking lot, and the public house where they convened was certingly none of the best.
The Sloshers crowded round me, and said I was welcome.
"What a beautiful brest-pin you've got," said one of 'em. "Permit me," and he took it out of my neckercher. "Isn't it luvly," he said, parsin it to another, who parsed it to another.
It was given me by my Aunt, on my promisin her I'd never swear profanely; and I never have, except on very special occasions. I see that beautiful boosum pin a parsin from one Slosher to another, and I'm reminded of them sad words of the poit, "parsin away! parsin away!" I never saw it no more.
Then in comes a athletic female, who no sooner sees me than she utters a wild yell, and cries:
"At larst! at larst! My Wilyim, from the seas!"
I said, "not at all, Marm. Not on no account. I have heard the boatswain pipe to quarters—but a voice in my heart didn't whisper Seu-zan! I've belayed the marlin-spikes on the upper jibpoop, but Seu-zan's eye wasn't on me, much. Young woman, I am not you're Saler boy. Far different."
"Oh yes, you are!" she howled, seizin me round the neck. "Oh, how I've lookt forwards to this meetin!"
"And you'll presently," I said, "have a opportunity of lookin backwards to it, because I'm on the point of leavin this institution."
I will here observe that I come of a very clever family. A very clever fam'ly, indeed.
"Where," I cried, as I struggled in vain to release myself from the eccentric female's claws, "where is the Capting—the man who was into the Crimea, amidst the cannon's thunder? I want him."
He came forward, and cried, "What do I see? Me Sister! me sweet Adulaide! and in teers! Willin!" he screamed, "and you're the serpent I took to my boosum, and borrowed money of, and went round with, and was cheerful with, are you?—You ought to be ashamed of yourself."
Somehow my coat was jerked off, the brest-pocket of which contained my pocket-book, and it parsed away like the brest pin. Then they sorter quietly hustled me into the street.
It was about 12 at night when I reached the Green Lion.
"Ha! ha! you sly old rascal, you've been up to larks!" said the lan'lord, larfin loudly, and digging his fist into my ribs.
I said, "Bigsby, if you do that agin, I shall hit you! Much as I respect you and your excellent faml'y, I shall disfiger your beneverlent countenance for life!"
"What has ruffled your spirits, friend?" said the lan'lord.
"My spirits has been ruffled," I ansered in a bittur voice, "by a viper who was into the Crimea. What good was it," I cried, "for Sebastopol to fall down without enwelopin in its ruins that viper?"
I then went to bed. I come of a very clever fam'ly.
5.6. THE TOWER OF LONDON.
MR. PUNCH, My dear Sir,—I skurcely need inform you that your excellent Tower is very pop'lar with peple from the agricultooral districks, and it was chiefly them class which I found waitin at the gates the other mornin.
I saw at once that the Tower was established on a firm basis. In the entire history of firm basisis I don't find a basis more firmer than this one.
"You have no Tower in America?" said a man in the crowd, who had somehow detected my denomination.
"Alars! no," I ansered; "we boste of our enterprise and improvements, and yit we are devoid of a Tower. America, oh my onhappy country! thou hast not got no Tower! It's a sweet Boon."
The gates was opened after awhile, and we all purchist tickets and went into a waitin-room.
"My frens," said a pale-faced little man, in black close, "this is a sad day."
"Inasmuch as to how?" I said.
"I mean it is sad to think that so many peple have been killed within these gloomy walls. My frens, let us drop a tear!"
"No," I said, "you must excuse me. Others may drop one if they feel like it; but as for me, I decline. The early managers of this institootion were a bad lot, and their crimes were trooly orful; but I can't sob for those who died four or five hundred years ago. If they was my own relations I couldn't. It's absurd to shed sobs over things which occurd during the rain of Henry the Three. Let us be cheerful," I continnerd "Look at the festiv Warders, in their red flannil jackets. They are cheerful, and why should it not be thusly with us?"
A Warder now took us in charge, and showed us the Trater's Gate, the armers, and things. The Trater's Gate is wide enuff to admit about twenty trater's abrest, I should jedge; but beyond this, I couldn't see that it was superior to gates in gen'ral.
Traters, I will here remark, are a onfortnit class of peple. If they wasn't, they wouldn't be traters. They conspire to bust up a country—they fail, and they're traters. They bust her, and they become statesmen and heroes.
Take the case of Gloster, afterwards Old Dick the Three, who may be seen at the Tower, on horseback, in a heavy tin overcoat—take Mr. Gloster's case. Mr. G. was a conspirater of the basist dye, and if he'd failed, he would have been hung on a sour apple tree. But Mr. G. succeeded, and became great. He was slewd by Col. Richmond, but he lives in histry, and his equestrian figger may be seen daily for a sixpence, in conjunction with other em'nent persons, and no extra charge for the Warder's able and bootiful lectur.
There's one king in the room who is mounted onto a foamin steed, his right hand graspin a barber's pole. I didn't learn his name.
The room where the daggers and pistils and other weppins is kept is interestin. Among this collection of choice cutlery I notist the bow and arrer which those hot-heded old chaps used to conduct battles with. It is quite like the bow and arrer used at this day by certin tribes of American Injuns, and they shoot 'em off with such a excellent precision that I almost sigh'd to be a Injun, when I was in the Rocky Mountain regin. They are a pleasant lot them Injuns. Mr. Cooper and Dr. Catlin have told us of the red man's wonerful eloquence, and I found it so. Our party was stopt on the plains of Utah by a band of Shoshones, whose chief said:
"Brothers! the pale-face is welcome. Brothers! the sun is sinkin in the West, and Wa-na-bucky-she will soon cease speakin. Brothers! the poor red man belongs to a race which is fast becomin extink."
He then whooped in a shrill manner, stole all our blankets and whisky, and fled to the primeval forest to conceal his emotions.
I will remark here, while on the subjeck of Injuns, that they are in the main a very shaky set, with even less sense than the Fenians, and when I hear philanthropists bewailin the fack that every year "carries the noble red man nearer the settin sun," I simply have to say I'm glad of it, tho' it is rough on the settin sun. They call you by the sweet name of Brother one minit, and the next they scalp you with their Thomashawks. But I wander. Let us return to the Tower.
At one end of the room where the weppins is kept, is a wax figger of Queen Elizabeth, mounted on a fiery stuffed hoss, whose glass eye flashes with pride, and whose red morocker nostril dilates hawtily, as if conscious of the royal burden he bears. I have associated Elizabeth with the Spanish Armady. She's mixed up with it at the Surry Theatre, where "Troo to the Core" is bein acted, and in which a full bally core is introjooced on board the Spanish Admiral's ship, givin the audiens the idee that he intends openin a moosic-hall in Plymouth the moment he conkers that town. But a very interesting drammer is "Troo to the Core," notwithstandin the eccentric conduck of the Spanish Admiral; and very nice it is in Queen Elizabeth to make Martin Truegold a baronet.
The Warder shows us some instrooments of tortur, such as thumbscrews, throat-collars, etc., statin that these was conkerd from the Spanish Armady, and addin what a crooil peple the Spaniards was in them days—which elissited from a bright eyed little girl of about twelve summers the remark that she tho't it WAS rich to talk about the crooilty of the Spaniards usin thumbscrews, when we was in a Tower where so many poor pepl's heads had been cut off. This made the Warder stammer and turn red.
I was so blessed with the little girl's brightness that I could have kissed the dear child, and I would if she'd been six years older.
I think my companions intended makin a day of it, for they all had sandwiches, sassiges, etc. The sad-lookin man, who had wanted us to drop a tear afore we started to go round, fling'd such quantities of sassige into his mouth, that I expected to see him choke hisself to death. He said to me, in the Beauchamp Tower, where the poor prisoners writ their onhappy names on the cold walls, "This is a sad sight."
"It is, indeed," I anserd. "You're black in the face. You shouldn't eat sassige in public without some rehearsals beforehand. You manage it orkwardly."
"No," he said, "I mean this sad room."
Indeed, he was quite right. Tho' so long ago all these drefful things happened, I was very glad to git away from this gloomy room, and go where the rich and sparklin Crown Jewils is kept. I was so pleased with the Queen's Crown, that it occurd to me what a agree'ble surprise it would be to send a sim'lar one home to my wife; and I asked the Warder what was the vally of a good, well-constructed Crown like that. He told me, but on cypherin up with a pencil the amount of funs I have in the Jint Stock Bank, I conclooded I'd send her a genteel silver watch instid.
And so I left the Tower. It is a solid and commandin edifis, but I deny that it is cheerful. I bid it adoo without a pang.
I was droven to my hotel by the most melancholly driver of a four-wheeler that I ever saw. He heaved a deep sigh as I gave him two shillings.
"I'll give you six d.'s more," I said, "if it hurts you so."
"It isn't that," he said, with a hart-rendin groan, "it's only a way I have. My mind's upset to-day. I at one time tho't I'd drive you into the Thames. I've been readin in all the daily papers to try and understand about Governor Ayre, and my mind is totterin. It's really wonderful I didn't drive you into the Thames."
I asked the onhappy man what his number was, so I could redily find him in case I should want him agin, and bad him good-bye. And then I tho't what a frollicksome day I'd made of it.
Respectably, &c. Artemus Ward.
5.7. SCIENCE AND NATURAL HISTORY.
MR. PUNCH, My dear Sir,—I was a little disapinted in not receivin a invitation to jine in the meetins of the Social Science Congress.
I don't exackly see how they go on without me.
I hope it wasn't the intentions of the Sciencers to exclood me from their deliberations.
Let it pars. I do not repine. Let us remember Homer. Twenty cities claim Homer dead, thro' which the livin Mr. Homer couldn't have got trusted for a sandwich and a glass of bitter beer, or words to that effect.
But perhaps it was a oversight. Certinly I have been hospitably rec'd in this country. Hospitality has been pored all over me. At Liverpool I was asked to walk all over the docks, which are nine miles along; and I don't remember a instance since my 'rival in London of my gettin into a cab without a Briton comin and perlitly shuttin the door for me, and then extendin his open hand to'ards me, in the most frenly manner possible. Does he not, by this simple yit tuchin gesture, welcum me to England? Doesn't he? Oh yes—I guess he doesn't he. And it's quite right among two great countries which speak the same langwidge, except as regards H's. And I've been allowed to walk round all the streets. Even at Buckinham Pallis, I told a guard I wanted to walk round there, and he said I could walk round there. I ascertained subsequent that he referd to the sidewalk instid of the Pallis—but I couldn't doubt his hospital feelins.
I prepared a Essy on Animals to read before the Social Science meetins. It is a subjeck I may troothfully say I have successfully wrastled with. I tackled it when only nineteen years old. At that tender age I writ a Essy for a lit'ry Institoot entitled, "Is Cats to be Trusted?" Of the merits of that Essy it doesn't becum me to speak, but I may be excoos'd for mentionin that the Institoot parsed a resolution that "whether we look upon the length of this Essy, or the manner in which it is written, we feel that we will not express any opinion of it, and we hope it will be read in other towns."
Of course the Essy I writ for the Social Science Society is a more finisheder production than the one on Cats, which was wroten when my mind was crood, and afore I had masterd a graceful and ellygant stile of composition. I could not even punctooate my sentences proper at that time, and I observe with pane, on lookin over this effort of my yooth, that its beauty is in one or two instances mar'd by ingrammaticisms. This was unexcusable, and I'm surprised I did it. A writer who can't write in a grammerly manner better shut up shop.
You shall hear this Essy on Animals. Some day when you have four hours to spare, I'll read it to you. I think you'll enjoy it. Or, what will be much better, if I may suggest—omit all picturs in next week's "Punch," and do not let your contributors write enything whatever (let them have a holiday; they can go to the British Mooseum;) and publish my Essy intire. It will fill all your collumes full, and create comment. Does this proposition strike you? Is it a go?"
In case I had read the Essy to the Social Sciencers, I had intended it should be the closin attraction. I had intended it should finish the proceedins. I think it would have finished them. I understand animals better than any other class of human creatures. I have a very animal mind, and I've been identified with 'em doorin my entire professional career as a showman, more especial bears, wolves, leopards and serpunts.
The leopard is as lively a animal as I ever came into contack with. It is troo he cannot change his spots, but you can change 'em for him with a paint-brush, as I once did in the case of a leopard who wasn't nat'rally spotted in a attractive manner. In exhibitin him I used to stir him up in his cage with a protracted pole, and for the purpuss of making him yell and kick up in a leopardy manner, I used to casionally whack him over the head. This would make the children inside the booth scream with fright, which would make fathers of families outside the booth very anxious to come in—because there is a large class of parents who have a uncontrollable passion for takin their children to places where they will stand a chance of being frightened to death.
One day I whacked this leopard more than ushil, which elissited a remonstrance from a tall gentleman in spectacles, who said, "My good man, do not beat the poor caged animal. Rather fondle him."
"I'll fondle him with a club," I anserd, hitting him another whack.
"I prythy desist," said the gentleman; "stand aside, and see the effeck of kindness. I understand the idiosyncracies of these creeturs better than you do."
With that he went up to the cage, and thrustin his face in between the iron bars, he said, soothinly, "Come hither, pretty creetur."
The pretty creetur come-hithered rayther speedy, and seized the gentleman by the whiskers, which he tore off about enuff to stuff a small cushion with.
He said, "You vagabone, I'll have you indicted for exhibitin dangerous and immoral animals."
I replied, "Gentle Sir, there isn't a animal here that hasn't a beautiful moral, but you mustn't fondle 'em. You mustn't meddle with their idiotsyncracies."
The gentleman was a dramatic cricket, and he wrote a article for a paper, in which he said my entertainment was a decided failure.
As regards Bears, you can teach 'em to do interesting things, but they're onreliable. I had a very large grizzly bear once, who would dance, and larf, and lay down, and bow his head in grief, and give a mournful wale, etsetry. But he often annoyed me. It will be remembered that on the occasion of the first battle of Bull Run, it suddenly occurd to the Fed'ral soldiers that they had business in Washington which ought not to be neglected, and they all started for that beautiful and romantic city, maintaining a rate of speed durin the entire distance that would have done credit to the celebrated French steed "Gladiateur." Very nat'rally our Gov'ment was deeply grieved at this defeat; and I said to my Bear, shortly after, as I was givin a exhibition in Ohio—I said, "Brewin, are you not sorry the National arms has sustained a defeat?" His business was to wale dismal, and bow his head down, the band (a barrel organ and a wiolin) playin slow and melancholly moosic. What did the grizzly old cuss do, however, but commence darncin and larfin in the most joyous manner? I had a narrer escape from being imprisoned for disloyalty.
I will relate another incident in the career of this retchid Bear. I used to present what I called in the bills a Beautiful living Pictur—showing the Bear's fondness for his Master: in which I'd lay down on a piece of carpeting, and the Bear would come and lay down beside me, restin his right paw on my breast, the Band playing "Home, Sweet Home," very soft and slow. Altho' I say it, it was a tuchin thing to see. I've seen Tax-Collectors weep over that performance.
Well, one day I said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we will show you the Bear's fondness for his master," and I went and laid down. I tho't I observed a pecooliar expression into his eyes, as he rolled clumsily to'ards me, but I didn't dream of the scene which follered. He laid down, and put his paw on my breast. "Affection of the Bear for his Master," I repeated. "You see the Monarch of the Western Wilds in a subjugated state. Fierce as these animals naturally are, we now see that they have hearts and can love. This Bear, the largest in the world, and measurin seventeen feet round the body, loves me as a mer-ther loves her che-ild!" But what was my horror when the grizzly and infamus Bear threw his other paw UNDER me, and riz with me to his feet. Then claspin me in a close embrace he waltzed up and down the platform in a frightful manner, I yellin with fear and anguish. To make matters wuss, a low scurrilus young man in the audiens hollered out:
"Playfulness of the Bear! Quick moosic!"
I jest 'scaped with my life. The Bear met with a wiolent death the next day, by bein in the way when a hevily loaded gun was fired off by one of my men.
But you should hear my Essy which I wrote for the Social Science Meetins. It would have had a movin effeck on them.
I feel that I must now conclood.
I have read Earl Bright's speech at Leeds, and I hope we shall now hear from John Derby. I trust that not only they, but Wm. E. Stanley and Lord Gladstone will cling inflexibly to those great fundamental principles, which they understand far better than I do, and I will add that I do not understand anything about any of them whatever in the least—and let us all be happy, and live within our means, even if we have to borrer money to do it with.
Very respectfully yours, Artemus Ward.
5.8. A VISIT TO THE BRITISH MUSEUM.
MR. PUNCH, My dear Sir,—You didn't get a instructiv article from my pen last week on account of my nervus sistim havin underwent a dreffle shock. I got caught in a brief shine of sun, and it utterly upsot me. I was walkin in Regent Street one day last week, enjoyin your rich black fog and bracing rains, when all at once the Sun bust out and actooally shone for nearly half an hour steady. I acted promptly. I called a cab and told the driver to run his hoss at a friteful rate of speed to my lodgins, but it wasn't of no avale. I had orful cramps, and my appytite left me, and my pults went down to 10 degrees below zero. But by careful nussin I shall no doubt recover speedy, if the present sparklin and exileratin weather continners.
[All of the foregoin is sarcasum.]
It's a sing'lar fack, but I never sot eyes on your excellent British Mooseum till the other day. I've sent a great many peple there, as also to your genial Tower of London, however. It happened thusly: When one of my excellent countrymen jest arrived in London would come and see me, and display a inclination to cling to me too lengthy, thus showing a respect for me which I feel I do not deserve, I would sugjest a visit to the Mooseum and Tower. The Mooseum would ockepy him a day at leest, and the Tower another. Thus I've derived considerable peace and comfort from them noble edifisses, and I hope they will long continner to grace your metroplis. There's my fren Col. Larkins, from Wisconsin, who I regret to say understands the Jamaica question, and wants to talk with me about it; I sent him to the Tower four days ago, and he hasn't got throogh with it yit. He likes it very much, and he writes me that he can't never thank me sufficient for directin him to so interestin a bildin. I writ him not to mention it. The Col. says it is fortnit we live in a intellectooal age which wouldn't countenance such infamus things as occurd in this Tower. I'm aware that it is fashin'ble to compliment this age, but I ain't so clear that the Col. is altogether right. This is a very respectable age, but it's pretty easily riled; and considerin upon how slight a provycation we who live in it go to cuttin each other's throats, it may perhaps be doubted whether our intellecks is so much massiver than our ancestors' intellecks was, after all.
I allus ride outside with the cabman. I am of humble parentage, but I have (if you will permit me to say so) the spirit of the eagle, which chafes when shut up in a four-wheeler, and I feel much eagler when I'm in the open air. So on the mornin on which I went to the Mooseum I lit a pipe, and callin a cab, I told the driver to take me there as quick as his Arabian charger could go. The driver was under the inflooence of beer and narrerly escaped runnin over a aged female in the match trade, whereupon I remonstratid with him. I said, "That poor old woman may be the only mother of a young man like you." Then throwing considerable pathos into my voice, I said:
"That poor old woman may be the only mother of a young man like you. Then throwing considerable pathos into my voice I said, "You have a mother?"
He said, "You lie!" I got down and called another cab, but said nothin to this driver about his parents.
The British Mooseum is a magnificent free show for the people. It is kept open for the benefit of all.
The humble costymonger, who traverses the busy streets with a cart containin all kinds of vegetables, such as carrots, turnips, etc, and drawn by a spirited jackass—he can go to the Mooseum and reap benefits therefrom as well as the lord of high degree.
"And this," I said, "is the British Mooseum! "These noble walls," I continnerd, punching them with my umbreller to see if the masonry was all right—but I wasn't allowd to finish my enthoosiastic remarks, for a man with a gold band on his hat said, in a hash voice, that I must stop pokin the walls. I told him I would do so by all means. "You see," I said, taking hold of the tassel which waved from the man's belt, and drawin him close to me in a confidential way, "You see, I'm lookin round this Mooseum, and if I like it I shall buy it."
Instid of larfin hartily at these remarks, which was made in a goakin spirit, the man frowned darkly and walked away.
I first visited the stuffed animals, of which the gorillers interested me most. These simple-minded monsters live in Afriky, and are believed to be human beins to a slight extent, altho' they are not allowed to vote. In this department is one or two superior giraffes. I never woulded I were a bird, but I've sometimes wished I was a giraffe, on account of the long distance from his mouth to his stummuck. Hence, if he loved beer, one mugful would give him as much enjoyment while goin down, as forty mugfuls would ordinary persons. And he wouldn't get intoxicated, which is a beastly way of amusin oneself, I must say. I like a little beer now and then, and when the teetotallers inform us, as they frekently do, that it is vile stuff, and that even the swine shrink from it, I say it only shows that the swine is a ass who don't know what's good; but to pour gin and brandy down one's throat as freely as though it were fresh milk, is the most idiotic way of goin' to the devil that I know of.
I enjoyed myself very much lookin at the Egyptian mummays, the Greek vasis, etc, but it occurd to me there was rayther too many "Roman antiquitys of a uncertin date." Now, I like the British Mooseum, as I said afore, but when I see a lot of erthen jugs and pots stuck up on shelves, and all "of a uncertin date," I'm at a loss to 'zackly determin whether they are a thousand years old or was bought recent. I can cry like a child over a jug one thousand years of age, especially if it is a Roman jug; but a jug of a uncertin date doesn't overwhelm me with emotions. Jugs and pots of a uncertin age is doubtles vallyable property, but, like the debentures of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway, a man doesn't want too many of them.
I was debarred out of the great readin-room. A man told me I must apply by letter for admission, and that I must get somebody to testify that I was respectable. I'm a little 'fraid I shan't get in there. Seein a elderly gentleman, with a beneverlent-lookin face near by, I venturd to ask him if he would certifythat I was respectable. He said he certainly would not, but he would put me in charge of a policeman, if that would do me any good. A thought struck me. "I refer you to 'Mr. Punch'," I said.
"Well," said a man, who had listened to my application, "you HAVE done it now! You stood some chance before."
I will get this infamus wretch's name before you go to press, so you can denounce him in the present number of your excellent journal.
The statute of Apollo is a pretty slick statute. A young yeoman seemed deeply imprest with it. He viewd it with silent admiration. At home, in the beautiful rural districks where the daisy sweetly blooms, he would be swearin in a horrible manner at his bullocks, and whacking 'em over the head with a hayfork; but here, in the presence of Art, he is a changed bein.
I told the attendant that if the British nation would stand the expens of a marble bust of myself, I would willingly sit to some talented sculpist.
"I feel," I said, "that this is a dooty I owe to posterity."
He said it was hily prob'l, but he was inclined to think that the British nation wouldn't care to enrich the Mooseum with a bust of me, altho' he venturd to think that if I paid for one myself it would be accepted cheerfully by Madam Tussaud, who would give it a prom'nent position in her Chamber of Horrers. The young man was very polite, and I thankt him kindly.
After visitin the Refreshment room and partakin of half a chicken "of a uncertin age," like the Roman antiquitys I have previsly spoken of, I prepared to leave. As I passed through the animal room I observed with pane that a benevolint person was urgin the stufft elephant to accept a cold muffin, but I did not feel called on to remostrate with him, any more than I did with two young persons of diff'rent sexes who had retired behind the Rynosserhoss to squeeze each other's hands. In fack, I rayther approved of the latter proceedin, for it carrid me back to the sunny spring-time of MY life. I'm in the shear and yeller leaf now, but I don't forgit the time when to squeeze my Betsy's hand sent a thrill through me like fellin off the roof of a two-story house; and I never squozed that gentle hand without wantin to do so some more, and feelin that it did me good.
Trooly yours, Artemus Ward.