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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 1.



FOR THE WEEK ENDING AUGUST 7, 1841.

* * * * *


THE WIFE-CATCHERS.

A LEGEND OF MY UNCLE'S BOOTS.

_In Four Chapters._

"His name 'tis proper you should hear,
'Twas Timothy Thady Mulligin:
And whenever he finish'd his tumbler of punch,
He always wished it full agin."


CHAPTER II.


[Illustration: Y]"You can have no idea, Jack, how deeply the loss of those
venerated family retainers affected me."

My uncle paused. I perceived that his eyes were full, and his tumbler
empty; I therefore thought it advisable to divert his sorrow, by reminding
him of our national proverb, "_Iss farr doch na skeal_[1]."

[1] A drink is better than a story.

The old man's eyes glistened with pleasure, as he grasped my hand, saying,
"I see, Jack, you are worthy of your name. I was afraid that
school-learning and college would have spoiled your taste for honest
drinking; but the right drop is in you still, my boy. I mentioned,"
continued he, resuming the thread of his story, "that my grandfather died,
leaving to his heirs the topped boots, spurs, buckskin-breeches, and red
waistcoat; but it is about the first-mentioned articles I mean especially
to speak, as it was mainly through their respectable appearance that so
many excellent matches and successful negotiations have been concluded by
our family. If one of our cousins was about to wait on his landlord or his
sweetheart, if he meditated taking a farm or a wife, 'the tops' were
instantly brushed up, and put into requisition. Indeed, so fortunate had
they been in all the matrimonial embassies to which they had been attached,
that they acquired the name of 'the wife-catchers,' amongst the young
fellows of our family. Something of the favour they enjoyed in the eyes of
the fair sex should, perhaps, be attributed to the fact, that all the
Duffys were fine strapping fellows, with legs that seemed made for setting
off topped boots to the best advantage.

"Well, years rolled by; the sons of mothers whose hearts had been won by
the irresistible buckism of Shawn Duffy's boots, grew to maturity, and, in
their turn, furbished up 'the wife-catchers,' when intent upon invading the
affections of other rustic fair ones. At length these invaluable relics
descended to me, as the representative of our family. It was ten years on
last Lady-day since they came into my possession, and I am proud to say,
that during that time the Duffys and 'the wife-catchers' lost nothing of
the reputation they had previously gained, for no less than nineteen
marriages and ninety-six christenings have occurred in our family during
the time. I had every hope, too, that another chalk would have been added
to the matrimonial tally, and that I should have the pleasure of completing
the score before Lent; for, one evening, about four months ago, I received
a note from your cousin Peter, informing me that he intended riding over,
on the following Sunday, to Miss Peggy Haggarty's, for the purpose of
popping the question, and requesting of me the loan of the lucky
'wife-catchers' for the occasion.

"I need not tell you I was delighted to oblige poor Peter, who is the best
fellow and surest shot in the county, and accordingly took down the boots
from their peg in the hall. Through the negligence of the servant they have
been hung up in a damp state, and had become covered with blue mould. In
order to render them decent and comfortable for Peter, I placed them to dry
inside the fender, opposite the fire; then lighting my pipe, I threw myself
back in my chair, and as the fragrant fumes of the Indian weed curled and
wreathed around my head, with half-closed eyes turned upon the renowned
'wife-catchers,' I indulged in delightful visions of future weddings and
christenings, and recalled, with a sigh, the many pleasant ones I had
witnessed in their company."

Here my uncle applied the tumbler to his face to conceal his emotion. "I
brought to mind," he continued (ordering; in a parenthesis, another jug of
boiling water), "I brought to mind the first time I had myself sported the
envied 'wife-catchers' at the _pattron_ of Moycullen. I was then as wild a
blade as any in Connaught, and the 'tops' were in the prime of their
beauty. In fact, I am not guilty of flattery or egotism in saying, that the
girl who could then turn up her nose at the boots, or their master, must
have been devilish hard to please. But though the hey-day of our youth had
passed, I consoled myself with the reflection that with the help of the
saints, and a pair of new soles, we might yet hold out to marry and bury
three generations to come.

"As these anticipations passed through my mind, I was startled by a sudden
rustling near me. I raised my eyes to discover the cause, and fancy my
surprise when I beheld 'the wife-catchers,' by some marvellous power,
suddenly become animated, gradually elongating and altering themselves,
until they assumed the appearance of a couple of tall gentlemen clad in
black, with extremely sallow countenances; and what was still more
extraordinary, though they possessed separate bodies, their actions seemed
to be governed by a single mind. I stared, and doubtless so would you,
Jack, had you been in my place; but my astonishment was at its height, when
the partners, keeping side by side as closely as the Siamese twins, stepped
gracefully over the fender, and taking a seat directly opposite me,
addressed me in a voice broken by an irrepressible chuckle -

"'Here we are, old boy. Ugh, ugh, ugh, hoo!'

"So I perceive, gentlemen," I replied, rather drily.

"'You look a little alarmed - ugh, ugh, hoo, hoo, hoo!' cried the pair.
'Excuse our laughter - hoo! hoo! hoo! We mean no offence - none whatever.
Ugh, hoo, hoo, hoo! We know we are somewhat changed in appearance.'

"I assured the transformed 'tops' I was delighted in being honoured with
their company, under any shape; hoped they would make themselves quite at
home, and take a glass with me in the friendly way. The friends shook their
heads simultaneously, declining the offer; and he whom I had hitherto known
as the _right_ foot, said in a grave voice: -

"'We feel obliged, sir, but we never take anything but water; moreover, our
business now is to relate to you some of the singular adventures of our
life, convinced, that in your hand they will be given to the world in three
handsome volumes.'

"My curiosity was instantly awakened, and I drew my chair closer to my
communicative friends, who, stretching out their legs, prepared to commence
their recital."

"'Hem!' cried the right foot, who appeared to be the spokesman, clearing
his throat and turning to his companion - 'hem! which of our adventures
shall I relate first, brother?'

"'Why,' replied the left foot, after a few moments' reflection, 'I don't
think you can do better than tell our friend the story of Terence Duffy and
the heiress.'

"'Egad! you're right, brother; that was a droll affair:' and then,
addressing himself to me, he continued, 'You remember your Uncle Terence? A
funny dog he was, and in his young days the very devil for lovemaking and
fighting. Look here,' said the speaker, pointing to a small circular
perforation in his side, which had been neatly patched. 'This mark, which I
shall carry with me to my grave, I received in an affair between your uncle
and Captain Donovan of the North Cork Militia. The captain one day asserted
in the public library at Ballybreesthawn, that a certain Miss Biddy
O'Brannigan had hair red as a carrot. This calumny was not long in reaching
the ears of your Uncle Terence, who prided himself on being the champion of
the _sex_ in general, and of Miss Biddy O'Brannigan in particular.
Accordingly he took the earliest opportunity of demanding from the captain
an apology, and a confession that the lady's locks were a beautiful auburn.
The militia hero, who was too courageous to desert his _colours_,
maintained they were red. The result was a meeting on the daisies at four
o'clock in the morning, when the captain's ball grazed your uncle's leg,
and in return he received a compliment from Terence, in the hip, that
spoiled his dancing for life.

"'I will not insult your penetration by telling you what I perceive you are
already aware of, that Terence Duffy was the professed admirer of Miss
Biddy. The affair with Captain Donovan raised him materially in her
estimation, and it was whispered that the hand and fortune of the heiress
were destined for her successful champion. There's an old saying, though,
that the best dog don't always catch the hare, as Terence found to his
cost. He had a rival candidate for the affections of Miss Biddy; but such a
rival - however I will not anticipate.'"

* * * * *


SONGS FOR THE SENTIMENTAL, NO. 3.


I am thine in _my_ gladness,
I'm thine in _thy_ tears;
My love it can change not
With absence or years.
Were a dungeon thy dwelling,
My home it should be,
For its gloom would be sunshine
If I were with thee.
But the light has no beauty
Of thee, love bereft:
I am thine, and thine only!
_Thine!_ - over the left!
Over the left!

As the wild Arab hails,
On his desolate way,
The palm-tree which tells
Where the cool fountains play,
So thy presence is ever
The herald of bliss,
For there's love in thy smile,
And there's joy in thy kiss.
Thou hast won me - then wear me!
Of thee, love, bereft,
I should fade like a flower,
_Yes!_ - over the left!
Over the left!

* * * * *


A gentleman in Mobile has a watch that goes so fast, he is obliged to
calculate a week back to know the time of day.

A new bass singer has lately appeared at New Orleans, who sings so
remarkably _deep_, it takes nine Kentucky lawyers to understand a single
bar!

* * * * *


A NATURAL DEDUCTION

Why S - e is long-lived at once appears -
The ass was always famed for _length of ears_.

* * * * *


WIT WITHOUT MONEY;

OR, HOW TO LIVE UPON NOTHING.

BY VAMPYRE HORSELEECH, ESQ.

"Creation's heir - the world, the world is mine." - GOLDSMITH.


Philosophers, moralists, poets, in all ages, have never better pleased
themselves or satisfied their readers than when they have descanted upon,
deplored, and denounced the pernicious influence of money upon the heart
and the understanding. "Filthy lucre" - "so much trash as may be grasped
thus" - "yellow mischief," I know not, or choose not, to recount how many
justly injurious names have been applied to coin by those who knew, because
they had felt, its consequences. Wherefore, I say at once, it is better to
have none on't - to live without it. And yet, now I think better upon that
point, it is well not altogether to discourage its approach. On the
contrary, lay hold upon it, seize it, rescue it from hands which in all
probability would work ruin with it, and resolutely refuse, when it is once
got, to let it go out of your grasp. Let no absurd talk about quittance,
discharge, remuneration, payment, induce the holder to relax from his
inflexible purpose of palm. Pay, like party, is the madness of many for the
gain of a few.

Unhappily, vile gold, or its representation or equivalent, has been, during
many centuries, the sole medium through which the majority of mankind have
supplied their wants, or ministered to their luxuries. It is high time that
a sage should arise to expound how the discerning few - those who have the
wit and the will (both must concur to the great end) may live - LIVE - not
like him who buys and balances himself by the book of the groveller who
wrote "How to _Live_ upon Fifty Pounds a Year" - (O shame to manhood!) - but
live, I say - "be free and merry" - "laugh and grow fat" - exchange the
courtesies of life - be a pattern of the "minor morals" - and yet: all this
without a doit in bank, bureau, or breeches' pocket.

I am that sage. Let none deride. Haply, I shall only remind some, but I may
teach many. Those that come to scoff, may perchance go home to prey.

Let no gentleman of the old school (for whom, indeed, my brief treatise is
not designed) be startled when I advance this proposition: That more
discreditable methods are daily practised by those who live to get money,
than are resorted to by those who without money are nevertheless under the
necessity of living. If this proposition be assented to - as, in truth, I
know not how it can be gainsaid, - nothing need be urged in vindication of
my art of _free_ living. Proceed I then at once.

Here is a youth of promise - born, like Jaffier, with "elegant desires" - one
who does not agnize a prompt alacrity in carrying burdens - one, rather, who
recognizes a moral and physical unfitness for such, and indeed all other
dorsal and manual operations - one who has been born a Briton, and would
not, therefore, sell his birthright for a mess of pottage; but, on the
contrary, holds that his birthright entitles him to as many messes of
pottage as there may be days to his mortal span, though time's fingers
stretched beyond the distance allotted to extreme Parr or extremest
Jenkins. "Elegant desires" are gratified to the extent I purpose treating
of them, by handsome clothes - comfortable lodgings - good dinners.

1st. _Of Handsome Clothes._ - Here, I confess, I find myself in some
difficulty. The man who knows not how to have his name entered in the
day-book of a tailor, is not one who could derive any benefit from
instruction of mine. He must be a born natural. Why, it comes by instinct.

2nd. _Of Comfortable Lodgings._ - Easily obtained and secured. The easiest
thing in life. But the wit without money must possess very little more of
the former than of the latter, if he do not, even when snugly ensconced in
one splendid suite of apartments, have his eye upon many others; for
landladies are sometimes vexatiously impertinent, and novelty is desirable.
Besides, his departure may be (nay, often is) extremely sudden. When in
quest of apartments, I have found tarnished cards in the windows
preferable. They imply a length of vacancy of the floor, and a consequent
relaxation of those narrow, worldly (some call them prudent) scruples,
which landladies are apt to nourish. Hints of a regular income, payable
four times a year, have their weight; nay, often convert weekly into
quarterly lodgings. Be sure there are no children in your house. They are
vociferous when you would enjoy domestic retirement, and inquisitive when
you take the air. Once (_horresco referens!_) on returning from my
peripatetics, I was accosted with brutally open-mouthed clamour, by my
landlady, who, dragging me in a state of bewilderment into her room,
pointed to numerous specimens of granite, which her "young people" had, in
their unhallowed thirst for knowledge, discovered and drawn from my trunk,
which, by some strange mischance, had been left unlocked! In vain I mumbled
something touching my love of mineralogy, and that a lapidary had offered I
knew not what for my collection. I was compelled to "bundle," as the
idiomatic, but ignorant woman expressed herself. To resume.

Let not the nervous or sensitive wit imagine that, in a vast metropolis
like London, his chance of securing an appropriate lodging and a confiding
landlady is at all doubtful. He might lodge safe from the past, certain of
the future, till the crash of doom. I shall be met by Ferguson's case.
Ferguson I knew well, and I respected him. But he had a most unfortunate
countenance. It was a very solemn, but by no means a solvent face; and yet
he had a manner with him too, and his language was choice, if not
persuasive. That the matter of his speech was plausible, none ever presumed
to deny. "It is all very well, Mr. Ferguson," - _that_ was always conceded.
I do not wish to speak ill of the dead; but Ferguson never entered a
lodging without being compelled to pay a fortnight in advance, and always

[Illustration: EXPECTED TO BE OUT SHORTLY.]

3rd. _Of Good Dinners._ - Wits, like other men, are distinguished by a
variety of tastes and inclinations. Some prefer dining at taverns and
eating-houses; others, more discreet or less daring, love the quiet
security of the private house, with its hospitable inmates, courteous
guests, and no possibility of "bill transactions." I confess when I was
young and inexperienced, wanting that wisdom which I am now happy to
impart, I was a constant frequenter of taverns, eating-houses,
oyster-rooms, and similar places of entertainment. I am old now, and have
been persecuted by a brutal world, and am grown timid. But I was ever a
peaceable man - hated quarrels - never came to words if I could help it. _I
do not recommend the tavern, eating-house, oyster-room system._ These are
the words of wisdom. The waiters at these places are invariably sturdy,
fleet, abusive rascals, who cannot speak and will not listen to reason. To
eat one's dinner, drink a pint of sherry, and then, calling for the bill,
take out one's pocket-book, and post it in its rotation in a neat hand,
informing the waiter the while, that it is a simple debt, and so forth;
this really requires nerve. Great spirits only are equal to it. It is an
innovation upon old, established forms, however absurd - and innovators
bring down upon themselves much obloquy. To run from the score you have run
up - not to pay your shot, but to shoot from payment - this is not always
safe, and invariably spoils digestion. No; it is not more honourable - far
from it - but it is better; for you should strive to become, what is
commonly called - "A Diner Out" - that is to say, one who continues to sit
at the private tables of other men every day of his life, and by his so
potent art, succeeds in making them believe that they are very much
obliged to him.

How to be this thing - this "Diner Out" - I shall teach you, by a few short
rules next week. Till then - farewell!

* * * * *


Lord William Paget has applied to the Lord Chancellor, to inquire whether
the word "jackass" is not opprobrious and actionable. His lordship says,
"No, decidedly, in this case only synonymous."

* * * * *


THE POLITICAL QUACK.

Sir Robert Peel has convinced us of one thing by his Tamworth speech, that
whatever danger the constitution may be in, he will not proscribe for the
patient until he is _regularly called in_. A beautiful specimen of the old
Tory leaven. Sir Robert objects to give _Advice gratis_.

* * * * *


TO FANCY BUILDERS AND CAPITALISTS.

A large assortment of peculiarly fine oyster-shells, warranted fire-proof
and of first-rate quality; exquisitely adapted for the construction of
grottoes. May be seen by cards only, to be procured of Mr. George Robins,
or the clerks of Billingsgate or Hungerfofd markets.

N.B. - Some splendid ground at the corners of popular and well-frequented
streets, to be let on short leases for edifices of the above description.
Apply as before.

* * * * *


LITERARY RECIPES.


The following invaluable literary recipes have been most kindly forwarded
by the celebrated Ude. They are the produce of many years' intense study,
and, we must say, the very best things of the sort we have ever met with.
There is much delicacy in M. Ude leaving it to us, as to whether the
communication should be anonymous. We think not, as the peculiarity of the
style would at once establish the talented authorship, and, therefore,
attempted concealment would be considered as the result of a too morbidly
modest feeling.


HOW TO COOK UP A FASHIONABLE NOVEL.

Take a consummate puppy - M.P.s preferable (as they are generally the
softest, and don't require much pressing) - baste with self-conceit - stuff
with slang - season with maudlin sentiment - hash up with a popular
publisher - simmer down with preparatory advertisements. Add six reams of
gilt-edged paper - grate in a thousand quills - garnish with marble covers,
and morocco backs and corners. Stir up with magazine puffs - skim off
sufficient for preface. Shred scraps of French and small-talk, very fine.
Add "superfine coats" - "satin stocks" - "bouquets" - "opera-boxes" - "a
duel" - an elopement - St. George's Church - silver bride favours - eight
footmen - four postilions - the like number of horses - a "dredger" of
smiles - some filtered tears - half-mourning for a dead uncle (the better if
he has a twitch in his nose), and serve with anything that will bear
"_frittering_."


A SENTIMENTAL DITTO.

(_By the same Author._)

Take a young lady - dress her in blue ribbons - sprinkle with innocence,
spring flowers, and primroses. Procure a Baronet (a Lord if in season); if
not, a depraved "younger son" - trim him with écarté, rouge et noir, Epsom,
Derby, and a slice of Crockford's. Work up with rustic cottage, an aged
father, blind mother, and little brothers and sisters in brown holland
pinafores. Introduce mock abduction - strong dose of virtue and repentance.
Serve up with village church - happy parent - delighted daughter - reformed
rake - blissful brothers - syren sisters - and perfect _dénouement_.

N.B. Season with perspective christening and postponed epitaph.


A STARTLING ROMANCE.

Take a small boy, charity, factory, carpenter's apprentice, or otherwise,
as occasion may serve - stew him well down in vice - garnish largely with
oaths and flash songs - boil him in a cauldron of crime and improbabilities.
Season equally with good and bad qualities - infuse petty larceny,
affection, benevolence, and burglary, honour and housebreaking, amiability
and arson - boil all gently. Stew down a mad mother - a gang of
robbers - several pistols - a bloody knife. Serve up with a couple of
murders - and season with a hanging-match.

N.B. Alter the ingredients to a beadle and a workhouse - the scenes may be
the same, but the whole flavour of vice will be lost, and the boy will turn
out a perfect pattern. - Strongly recommended for weak stomachs.


AN HISTORICAL DITTO.

Take a young man six feet high - mix up with a horse - draw a squire from his
father's estate (the broad-shouldered and loquacious are the best
sort) - prepare both for potting (that is, exporting). When abroad,
introduce a well-pounded Saracen - a foreign princess - stew down a couple of
dwarfs and a conquered giant - fill two sauce-tureens with a prodigious
ransom. Garnish with garlands and dead Turks. Serve up with a royal
marriage and cloth of gold.


A NARRATIVE.

Take a distant village - follow with high-road - introduce and boil down
pedlar, gut his pack, and cut his throat - hang him up by the heels - when
enough, let his brother cut him down - get both into a stew - pepper the real
murderer - grill the innocent for a short time - then take them off, and put
delinquents in their place (these can scarcely be broiled too much, and a
strong fire is particularly recommended). When real perpetrators are
_done_, all is complete.

If the parties have been poor, serve up with mint sauce, and the name of
the enriched sufferer.


BIOGRAPHY OF KINGS.

Lay in a large stock of "gammon" and pennyroyal - carefully strip and pare
all the tainted parts away, when this can be done without destroying the
whole - wrap it up in printed paper, containing all possible virtues - baste
with flattery, stuff with adulation, garnish with fictitious attributes,
and a strong infusion of sycophancy.

Serve up to prepared courtiers, who have been previously well seasoned with
long-received pensions or sinecures.


DRAMATIC RECIPES.

FOR THE ADELPHI. - VERY FINE!

Take a beautiful and highly-accomplished young female, imbued with every
virtue, but slightly addicted to bigamy! Let her stew through the first act
as the bride of a condemned convict - then season with a benevolent but very
ignorant lover - add a marriage. Stir up with a gentleman in dusty boots and
large whiskers. _Dredge_ in a meeting, and baste with the knowledge of the
dusty boot proprietor being her husband. Let this steam for some time;
during which, prepare, as a covering, a pair of pistols - carefully insert
the bullet in the head of him of the dusty boots. Dessert - general offering
of LADIES' FINGERS! Serve up with red fire and tableaux.


FOR MESSRS. MACREADY AND CHARLES KEAN.

Take an enormous hero - work him up with improbabilities - dress him in
spangles and a long train - disguise his head as much as possible, as the


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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, August 7, 1841 → online text (page 1 of 4)