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[Illustration: Vol. I. No. 15.]


Punchinello


SATURDAY, JULY 9, 1870.

PUBLISHED BY THE

PUNCHINELLO PUBLISHING COMPANY.

83 NASSAU STREET, NEW YORK.

* * * * *

THE MYSTERY OF MR. E. DROOD,

By ORPHEUS C. KERR,

Continued in this Number.


[Sidenote: See 15th Page for Extra Premiums.]

* * * * *

NOW READY.

The July Number of

LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE.

An Illustrated Monthly of

Literature, Science, and Education.

Containing Seventeen Valuable and Entertaining Articles.

NOTICE

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* * * * *

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* * * * *

ERIE RAILWAY.

TRAINS LEAVE DEPOTS

Foot of Chambers Street

and

Foot of Twenty-Third Street,

AS FOLLOWS:

Through Express Trains leave Chambers Street at 8 A.M., 10 A.M., 5:30 P.M.,
and 7:00 P.M., (daily); leave 23d Street at 7:45 A.M., 9:45 A.M., and 5:15
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Tickets for passage and for apartments in Drawing-Room and Sleeping
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338 Fulton Street, Brooklyn.
Depots, foot of Chambers Street and foot
of Twenty-third Street, New York.
3 Exchange Place.
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* * * * *


MERCANTILE LIBRARY

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This is now the largest Circulating Library in America, the number of
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* * * * *

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OFFICE OF

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83 Nassau Street.

P.O. Box 2783]








THE MYSTERY OF MR. E. DROOD

AN ADAPTATION.

BY ORPHEUS C. KERR.




CHAPTER IX.


BALKS IN A BRUSH.


FLORA, having no relations in the world that she knew of, had, ever
since her seventh new bonnet, known no other home than Macassar Female
College, in the Alms-House, and regarded Miss CAROWTHERS as her
mother-in-lore. Her memory of her own mother was of a lady-like person
who had swiftly waisted away in the effort to be always taken for her
own daughter, and was, one day, brought down-stairs, by her husband, in
two pieces, from tight lacing. The sad separation (taking place just
before a party of pleasure), had driven FLORA'S father into a frenzy of
grief for his better halves; which was augmented to brain fever by Mr.
SCHENCK, who, having given a Boreal policy to deceased, felt it his duty
to talk gloomily about wives who sometimes died apart after receiving
unmerited cuts from their husbands, and to suggest a compromise of ten
per cent, upon the amount of the policy, as a much more cheerful
settlement than a coroner's inquest. FLORA'S betrothal had grown out of
the soothing of Mr. POTTS'S last year of mental disorder by Mr. DROOD,
an old partner in the grocery business, who, too, was a widower from his
wife's use of arsenic and lead for her complexion. The two bereaved
friends, after comparing tears and looking mournfully at each other's
tongues, had talked themselves to death over the fluctuations in sugar;
willing their respective children to marry in future for the sake of
keeping up the controversy.

From the FLOWERPOT'S first arrival at the Alms-House, her new things,
engagement to be married, and stock of chocolate caramels, had won the
deepest affections of her teachers and schoolmates; and, on the morning
after the sectional dispute between EDWIN and MONTGOMERY, when one of
the young ladies had heard of it as a profound secret, no pains were
spared by the whole tender-hearted school to make her believe that
neither of the young men was entirely given up yet by the consulting
physicians. It was whispered, indeed, that a knife or two might have
passed, and two or three guns been exchanged; but she was not to be at
all worried, for persons had been known to get well with the tops of
their heads off.

At an early hour, however, Miss PENDRAGON had paid a visit to her
brother, in Gospeler's Gulch; and, coming back with the intelligence,
that, while he had been stabbed to the heart, it was chiefly by cruel
insinuations and an umbrella, was enabled to assure Miss CAROWTHERS, in
confidence, that nothing eligible for publication in the New York Sun
had really occurred. Thus, when the legal conqueror of Breachy Mr.
BLODGETT entered that principal recitation-room of the Macassar,
formally known as the Cackleorium, she had no difficulty in explaining
away the panic.

She said that "Unfounded Rumor, Ladies, is, we all know, a descriptive
phrase applied by the Associated Press to all important foreign news
procured a week or two in advance of its own similar European advices,
by the Press Association[A]. We perceive then, Ladies, (Miss JENKINS
will be good enough to stop scratching her nose while I am talking,)
that Unfounded Rumor sometimes means - hem! -

'The Associated Press
In bitter distress.'

In Bumsteadville, however, it has a signification more like what we
should give it in relation to a statement that Senator SUMNER had
delivered a Latin quotation without a speech selected for it. In this
sense, Ladies, (Miss PARKINSON can scarcely be aware of how much cotton
stocking can be seen when she lolls so,) the Unfounded Rumor concerning
two gentlemen of different political views in this county was not
correct. (Miss BABCOCK will learn four chapters in Chronicles by heart
to-night, for making her handkerchief into a baby,) as proper inquiries
have assured us that no more blood was shed than if the parties to the
strife had been a Canadian and a Fenian. We will, therefore, drop the
subject, and enter at once upon the flowery path of the first lesson in
algebra."

This explanation destroyed all the interest of a majority of the young
ladies, who had anticipated a horridly delightful duel, at least; but
FLORA was slightly hysterical about it, even late in the afternoon, when
it was announced that her guardian had come to see her.

Mr. DIBBLE, of Gowanus, had been selected for his trust on account of
his pre-eminent goodness, which, as seems to be invariably the case, was
associated with an absence of personal beauty trenching upon the
scarecrow. Possibly an excess of strong and disproportionate carving in
nose, mouth and chin, accompanied by weak eyes and unexpectedness of
forehead, may tend to make the Evil One but languid in his desire for
the capture of its human exemplar. This may help account for the
otherwise rather curious coincidence of frightful physiognomy and
preternatural goodness in this world of sinful beauties[B]. Under such a
theory, Mr. DIBBLE'S easy means of frightening the Arch-Tempter into
immediate flight, and keeping himself free from all possible incitement
to be anything but good, were a face, head and neck shaped not unlike an
old-fashioned water-pitcher, and a form suggestive of an obese lobster
balancing on an upright horse-shoe. His nose was too high up; his mouth
and chin bulged too tremendously; his neck inside a whole mainsail of
shirt-collar was too much fluted, and his eyes were as much too small
and oyster-like as his ears were too large and horny.

Mr. DIBBLE found his ward in Miss CAROWTHER'S own private room, from
which even the government mails were generally excluded; and, after
saluting both ladies, and politely desiring the elder to remain present,
in order to be sure that his conversation was strictly moral, the
monstrous old gentleman pulled a memorandum book from his pocket and
addressed himself to FLORA.

"I am a square man myself, dear kissling," he said, with much double
chin in his manner, "and like to do everything on the square. I am now
'interviewing' you, and shall make notes of your answers, though not
necessarily for publication. First: is your health satisfactory?"

Miss POTTS admitted that, excepting occasional attacks of insatiable
longing for True Sympathy, chiefly produced by over-eating of pickles
and slate-pencils to avert excessive plumpness, she could generally take
pie twice without experiencing a subsequent reactionary tendency to
piety and gloomy presentiments.

"Second: is your allowance of pin-money sufficient to keep you in cold
cream, Berlin wool, and other necessaries of life?"

The FLOWERPOT confessed that she had now and then wished herself able to
buy a church and a velvet dressing-gown, (lined with cherry,) for a
young clergyman with the consumption and side-whiskers; but, under
common circumstances, her allowance was enough to procure all absolutely
requisite Edging without running her into debt, and still leave
sufficient to buy materials for any reasonable altar-cloth.

"And now, my dear," said Mr. DIBBLE, evidently glad that all the more
important and serious part of the interview was over, "we come to the
subject of your marriage. Mr. EDWIN has seen you here, occasionally, I
suppose, and you may possibly like him well enough to accept him as a
husband, if not as a friend!"

"He's such a perfectly absurd creature that I can't help liking him,"
returned FLORA, gravely; "but I am not certain that my utterly
ridiculous deeper woman's love is entirely satisfied with the shape of
his nose."

"That'll be mostly hidden by his whiskers, when they grow," observed her
guardian.

"I hope they'll be bushy, with a frizzle at the ends and a bald place
for his chin," said the young girl, reflectively; then suddenly asked:
"If we _shouldn't_ be married, would either of us have to pay anything?"

"I should say not," answered Mr. DIBBLE, "unless you sued him for
breach." (Here Miss CAROWTHERS was heard to murmur "BLODGETT," and
hastily took an anti-nervous pill.) "I should say that your respective
parents wished you to marry only in case you should see no other persons
whose noses you liked better. As on this coming Christmas you will be
within a few months of your marriage, I have brought your father's will
with me, with the intention of depositing it in the hands of Mr. EDWIN'S
trustee, Mr. BUMSTEAD - "

"Oh, leave it with EDDY, if you'll please to be so ridiculously kind,"
interrupted FLORA. "Mr. BUMSTEAD would certainly insist upon it that
there were _two_ wills, instead of one: and that would be so absurd."

"Well, well," assented Mr. DIBBLE, rising to go, "I'm a perfectly square
man, even when I'm looking round, and will do as you wish. As a slight
memento of my really charming visit here, might I humbly petition yonder
lady to remit any little penalty that may happen to be in force just now
against any lovely student of the College for eating preserves in bed,
or writing notes to the Italian music teacher, who is already married,
or anything of that kind?"

"FLORA," said Miss CAROWTHERS, graciously, "you may tell Miss BABCOCK,
that, in consequence of your guardian's request, she will be excused
from studying her Bible as a punishment."

After due acknowledgment of this favor, the good Mr. DIBBLE made his
farewell bow, and went forth to the turnpike. Following that high road,
he presently found himself near the side-door of the Ritualistic Church
of Saint Cow's, and, while curiously watching the minor canons who were
carrying in some fireworks to be used in the next day's service, was
confronted by Mr. BUMSTEAD just coming out.

"Let me see you home," said Mr. BUMSTEAD, hastily holding out an arm.
"I'll tell the family it's only vertigo."

"Why, nothing is the matter with me," pleaded Mr. DIBBLE. "I've only
been having a talk with my ward."

"I'll bet cloves for two that she didn't say she preferred me to NED,"
insinuated Mr. BUMSTEAD, breathing audibly through his nose.

"Then you'll not lose," was the answer; "for she did not tell me whom
she preferred to the one she wishes to marry. They never do; and
sometimes it is only discovered in Indiana. You and I surrender our
respective guardianships on Christmas, Mr. BUMSTEAD; until when
good-bye; and be early marriage their lot!"

"Be early Divorce their lot!" said BUMSTEAD, thrusting his book of
organ-music so far under his coat-flap that it stuck out at the back
like a curvature of the spine.

"I said marriage," cried Mr. DIBBLE, looking back.

"I said Divorce," retorted Mr. BUMSTEAD, thoughtfully eating a clove,
"Don't one generally involve the other?"


[Footnote A: Oh, see here now, this is really too bad! The manner in
which the great American Adapter is all the time making totally
unexpected and vicious passes at the finest old cherished institutions
of the age is simply frightful. PUNCHINELLO should prevent it? - Well,
PUNCHINELLO _did_ remonstrate at an early stage of the Adaptation; and
the result was, that all the finest feelings of his nature were outraged
by an ensuing Chapter, in which was introduced a pauper burial-ground
swarming with deceased proprietors of American _Punches!_ - EDS.
PUNCHINELLO.]

[Footnote B: The whole idea is nothing less than atrocious; and, in our
judgment, the Adapter's actual purpose in putting it forth is to make
his own superlative goodness seem proved by a logical conclusion. - EDS.
PUNCHINELLO.]




CHAPTER X.


OILING THE WHEELS.


No husband who has ever properly studied his mother-in-law can fail to
be aware that woman's perception of heartless villainy and evidences of
intoxication in man is often of that curiously fine order of vision
which rather exceeds the best efforts of ordinary microscopes, and
subjects the average human mind to considerable astonishment. The
perfect ease with which she can detect murderous proclivities, Mormon
instincts, and addiction to maddening liquors, in a daughter's
husband - who, to the most searching inspection of everybody else,
appears the watery, hen-pecked, and generally intimidated young man of
his age - is one of those common illustrations of the infallible
acuteness of feminine judgment which are doing more and more, every day,
to establish the positive necessity of woman's superior insight, and
natural dispassionate fairness of mind, for the future wisest exercise
of the elective franchise and most just administration of the highest
judicial office. It may be said that the mother-in-law is the highest
development of the supernaturally perceptive and positive woman, since
she usually has superior opportunities to study man in all the stages
from marriage to madness; but with her whole sex, particularly after
certain sour turns in life, inheres an alertness of observation as to
the incredible viciousness of masculine character, which nothing less
than a bit of flattery or a happily equivocal reflection upon some rival
sister can either divert or mislead for a moment.

"Now don't you really think, OLDY," said Gospeler SIMPSON to his mother,
as he sat watching her fabrication of an immense stocking for the poor,
"that Hopeless Inebriate and Midnight Assassin are a rather too severe
characterization of my pupil, Mr. MONTGOMERY PENDRAGON?"

"No, I do not, OCTAVE," replied the excellent old nut-cracker of a lady,
who was making the charity stocking as nearly in the shape of a hatchet
as possible. "When a young man of rebel sentiments spends all his nights
in drinking lemon teas, and trying to spoil other young men's clothes in
throwing such teas at them, and is only to be put down by umbrellas, and
comes to his homes with cloves in his clenched fists, and has headaches
on the following days, he's on his way either to political office or the
gallows."

"But he hasn't done so at all with s's to it," exclaimed the Reverend
OCTAVIUS, exasperated by so many plurals. "He did it but once, and then
he was strongly provoked. EDWIN mentioned the sharpness of his sister's
nose to him, and reflected casually upon the late well-known Southern
Confederacy."

"Don't tell me!" reasoned the fine old lady, holding up the stocking by
its handle to see how much longer it must be to reach the wearer's
waist. "I'm afraid you're a copperhead, OCTAVE."

"How you do cackle, OLDY!" said her son, who was very proud of her when
she kept still. "You can't see anything good in MONTGOMERY, because,
after the first seven or eight breakfasts with us, he said he was afraid
that so many fishballs would make his head swim."

"My child," returned the old lady, thrusting an arm so far into the
charity stocking that she seemed to have the wrong kind of blue worsted
limb growing from one of her shoulders, "I have judged this dissipated
young man exactly as though he were my own son-in-law, and know that he
possesses an incendiary disposition. After the fireworks at Saint Cow's
Church, on Saint VITUS'S Day, that devoted Ritualistic Christian, Mr.
BUMSTEAD, came up to me in the porch, with his eyes nearly closed, on
account of the solemnity of the occasion, and began feeling around my
neck with both his hands. When I asked him to explain, he said that he
wanted to see whether my throat was cut yet, as he had heard that we
kept a Southern murderer at home. He was still very pale at what had
taken place in his room over night, when he finally said 'Good-day,
ladies,' to me.

"MONTGOMERY is certainly attached to me, at any rate," murmured the
Gospeler, reflectively, "and has made no attempt upon my life."

"That's because his sister restrains him," asserted the mother, with a
fond look. "I overheard her telling him, when she was at dinner here one
day, that you might be taken for a Southerner, if you only wore
dress-coat all the time and were heavily mortgaged. Withdraw her
influence, and the desperate young man would tar and feather us all in


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