Mirth: A Miscellany of Wit and Humor, Issues 1-12 (Google Books)

arge permanent expenses, your friend would like to get known and become successful.” “Just so. He’d want a lot o’ folks to come and see ‘im afore he talked o’ settin’ up is carriage.” “Well, the young lady I have mentioned to you as–as,” and here the charming girl looked timorously aside—“as having taken the curious resolution of marrying no one but an Englishman has a very large circle of acquaintances. Her family by the mother’s side is in a certain way connected with some of the best people in France.” “Oh, well, if they came to the ‘ouse,” said John Robinson, “my friend would very soon set up is carriage and keep ‘is ‘unters, and ‘ave is hopera-box, and everythink to follow. Only ‘is wife’s friends would have to make it pay wery well indeed sust.” “I am afraid that so much gaiety would really be almost too exhausting,” observed the young lady. “Oh, the lady wouldn’t ‘ave much to do. There ‘d be a servant to do the cleanin’, yer know.” “Why, of course there would ! you are ‘ ” “The lady ‘d ‘ave nothing to do but cut a sandvidge now and then.” “Very good, very good, indeed,” cried Célestine, with a laugh. “And draw a glass of beer when the others was busy.” “You are too funny” ” “And make a few pipe-lights.” “You are determined to make me die with laughing.” “And talk to the gents over the counter.” “That is really an exquisitely comical way of putting it !” exclaimed the young lady, wiping the tears from her eyes. “You mean talk to her guests over the table.” “No, there ‘d be a bar. It would be a sort

How droll

of a cross between a English Bar and a French Café.” “What would 2* inquired Célestine, beginning to look a little surprised. “Why the little establishment we’ve been talkin’ about, in course.” The young lady’s face grew suddenly rigid, and she seemed to be preparing to faint. “You have been talking to me all this time,” she began in hard, dry accents, “about—” “About the quiet little public ‘ouse where I should be master an’ you’d be missus. There, get along wi’ yer, you knows all about it !” And John Robinson, able to contain himself no longer, darted his finger into the young lady’s side and gave such a terrifying, spluttering, cracking squeak that a cat, which was on the point of creeping in by the open door, bounded away under the impression that the air was filled with boots and hat-brushes. “O mama l’ cried Célestine, with a piercing scream, flinging up her arms and trying the back of her chair to the utmost. Her mother and the young man with the linen bounded to her side. Célestine selected the gentleman to recline upon. o “O Adolphe l’ she whispered, arranging the hair at the back of her head previous to reposing it on the young man’s shirt front. “Why did you leave me?” “Forgive me, my life, my love . ” breathed the youth in the convulsive accents of overmastering passion. “I am going to die,” softly sighed the maiden. “Not yet, my own, my very own “gasped the youth very low down in his throat. “Wait till we are married.” “I will try,” murmured the lady, and her fair arms wreathed like serpents round as much of his beauteous head as could be got at over his abundant collar. “Bill,” observed John Robinson to William Jones, both of thern appearing somewhat scandalised, “they ought to ‘ave told us as the young lady was subject to fits; and, then, when I’m married I don’t want no Adolphes hangin’ about the premises.” “Jack,” replied William Jones, “we’d better tell ’em we’ll call again another day.” And having taken a respectful adieu of their hostess, who seemed a little perplexed with what had occurred, they retired as precipitately as the cat. Once in the street, William Jones, laying his hand on his friend’s shoulder, said : “Jack, you’ve ‘ad a narrow escape.” “Yes, Bill,” replied John Robinson ; “it couldn’t ‘ave bin a werry quiet little pub with ‘er, would it?”

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And our master believes all attorneys are thieves, For he’s just at a case had a shy– Which he lost;-no, I don’t think I quite like the law.” “Well, my boy, p’raps a doctor you’d be ; It would look very well just above your night bell To behold A. Fitzbooby, M.D.”

“No, Papa, I don’t think I a doctor should make— I always shirk swallowing pills, And some one has told me the patients all take Such a time in discharging their bills; For the doctor’s paid last—butcher, baker, come first.” “Well, my boy, p’raps you’re right; and I See You’ve a turn for theology—good—and you thirst A respectable parson to be.”

“No, I don’t think, Papa, that the pulpit’s my sphere, And the church is in such a condition With squabbling and haggling—on how much a year Can a curate keep up his position ? Excuse me, I can’t quite—” “My boy, quantum suff— You’ve replied, and with sense, too, my dear; It’s an age of mechanic improvements, and —well— Shall we make you a great engineer : *

“No, Papa, I don’t think I should flourish at that; I’m no Stephenson, Boulton, or Watt.” “You’ll excuse me, my boy, but for less than all this Out of temper I often have ot.

[graphic]
I am doing my best, but you’re awkward to
please—
Come—the army—expensive, of course;
But I’ll e’en stretch a point and allow you a
Sunn
To keep you, and servant, and horse.”

“No, I think, dear Papa, I’m not quite of the stuff Of which great soldier heroes are made ; If my nose bleeds I faint, and King James hadn’t more Of a horror than I of a blade. In a fight I should run—” “Well, my boy, p’raps you would. As to fly would most cowardly be, What say to the navy—you couldn’t run there— Come, Augustus, what say to the sea 2″

“No, Papa, I regret that I never get wet
In the least without catching a cold;
And the thoughts of the ocean my stomach
upset,
And the sea’s rather deep, I’ve been told.”
“Augustus, my temper is one, I’ll be bound,
That’s much better than one out of three ;
But, Hang it ! Confound it ! You obstinate
hound !
What the deuce ARE you going to be * *

“Well, I’ve made up my mind, and a
CLOWN’S—that I find
Is the only profession I’ll choose ;
And I don’t care a pin to be bright harlequin,
And the pantaloon’s part I’d refuse.
But a CLOWN–what’s the matter, papa
Oh, do speak |
No, he can’t speak the least little bit !
j’ane / MARIA 70//y: THOMAS, MISS
WALKER, MA.M.MA /
Fetch the doctor, here’s Pa in a fit !”

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the Fads had for many ages been governed by a respectable and old-established dynasty, each monarch of whom in succession had cultivated the Home Virtues, or at least had allowed them to vegetate in a decent and becoming manner. Whim-Wham, the eleventieth of that name, had, to show his great respect for Sir George Cornewall Lewis and Mr. Thom, died at the age of ninety-nine years, three hundred and sixty-four days, twenty-three hours and threequarters, declaring with his latest breath that he should be ashamed, in the teeth of science, to live to be a hundred. Whim-Wham, the Eleventieth, had passed all the thirty-six thousand, four hundred and ninety-nine days of his irreproachable and exemplary life a bachelor ; and his Royal mantle fell on the shapely shoulders of his great grand-nephew, who ascended the throne of that vast and mighty kingdom by the title of Whim-Wham the Eleventy-first. The young king had numbered nineteen autumns. (I flatter myself this is perfectly original. You may have heard a given number of springs, summers, or winters, mentioned as indicating a person’s age; but autumns, I rather think, will come upon you with the brilliant burst of a bouquet-like novelty.) All the distinguished dentists of the Realm had been called to assist the sovereign in cutting his Royal wisdom-teeth; and all the courtiers, who had cut theirs, stood round in deep mourning for the defunct monarch, and tried whose lungs could crow the loudest in giving loyal tongue to the national aspiration, “Long live the King !” Sapience having satisfactorily ensued on the complete dentition of His Majesty, he, like a virtuous as well as wise ruler, bethought him how he might best promote the safety, honour, and welfare of his dominions. It occurred to him that nothing could serve these noble ends more surely than Sport. He mentioned the idea to his favourite courtiers; and every one of them by turns was enraptured with the royal genius and devotion. He brought the subject before his council, and there also the king’s inspired sense of regal responsibilities was hailed with one enthusiastic voice. Sport, manly Sport, must be encouraged as a national glory and safeguard. Everybody must go a-hunting; everybody, that was to say, who owned a horse, or could beg, buy, borrow, or steal one. Equitation was comparatively unknown in the country of the Lunes and the Fads; but so likewise was trigonometry; and hence all the more reason was there why such neglected arts and sciences should be revived. His Majesty’s subjects in the mass, had neither the time nor the means for indulgence in the elevating pastimes of hunting and shooting. No matter . Their considerate sovereign would hunt and shoot for them. So bugles, and beagles, and breech-loaders, and pheasants, and foxes, and fighting-cocks, and badgers, and bull-dogs, and rats, and stags of ten, and other animals and mechanical appliances conducive to manliness, were bought up for the use of King Whim-Wham. He set the example of being a true sportsman. If you say the example was not easy for the generality to follow, I retort that very few good examples are. One day, when Whim-Wham was out hunt

[graphic]
ing, with the Prime Minister, the Court Fool, the Keeper of the Cribbage-board (whose salary had, in the new reign, been fearfully cut down, and who was looking for the lucrative and honourable appointment of Lord High Bootvarnisher), a bishop or two, and other gay companions, a melodious whistle disturbed the stillness of the forest. It was only a clodhopper whistling to his poor lame mongrel, that came limping up to him in the most painfully sycophantic manner, wagging his servile tail, and hopping (for the miserable beast could not jump) at the glad sound of his master’s call. One of the bishops was dreadfully scandalised at this impropriety; and as for the aspirant to the honours of boot-varnishing, he was for having the clod-hopper’s head chopped off then and there, and his vile cur hung on a branch of the nearest tree. But the magnanimous Whim-Wham called out that they should spare the fellow’s life, and his dog’s also. I am decidedly Radical in my sentiments, as a rule, but I must frankly admit, that if I had to choose between kings and their flunkies, clerical and lay, for any expectation of generosity, in the matter of some such little favour as my life, or my dog’s life, I should not hesitate on which side to lay my humble suit. As Whim-Wham rode along the silent maze of the forest-floor, thick-strewn with dank red leaves, he heard the whistle in his fancy, and turned it into sweet music. He was not so talkative as usual, that day; and when, after the chase, he was sitting with his Prime Minister over a crusty flagon of what-youmay-call (a particularly choice growth), he said, “Prime Minister, I say, look here. Don’t you think, for the national weal, and all the rest of it, I ought to think about getting married ?” The Prime Minister began to hum and to

ha; and then he proceeded, with increased gravity, to ha and to hum ; but as soon as he saw that the King was rather impatient for an answer, he burst into a panegyric of his Majesty’s constant thought for the welfare of his people, and said that, no doubt, his Majesty ought to get married, and to look sharp about it. “I will never,” said King Whim-Wham, “marry a girl who can’t whistle.” The Prime Minister got a little farther off, and looked nervously at the fire-irons. “Whistling,” said the King, “is—is—stunning.” The Prime Minister murmured that he had often thought so. “Very well, then,” his Majesty rejoined, “let us look out for a Princess who is young, and beautiful—blue eyes, you know, and fair hair—and who can dance, and sing, and whistle.” “Certainly,” said the Prime Minister; “and whistle. No Princess, who is a Princess, deserves to be called a Princess, if she can’t whistle.” “What an idiot you are, Prime Minister | ” said the youthful King, with the amiable and condescending familiarity that was a trait of his Royal disposition. “Do you suppose that, if whistling were a common accomplishment with Princesses, I should want my Royal consort to whistle? No, you antediluvian pump of a Prime Minister, I command you to see about finding a Princess who can whistle, because Princesses, as a rule, don’t whistle. Be rational, Prime Minister, if you can.” The Prime Minister, with tears in his eyes, promised that he would be rational, if he could. Next time the Royal party rode out to the chase—the Prime Minister trying with all his might to be rational—they went beyond their usual circuit and came into a strange country. Endeavouring to find their way back, they

strayed farther still from home, and soon began to feel the inconvenience of hunger. At last they saw a house, a large house, a very large house, with a large, iron gate, and a large brass plate on the gate, with an inscription which told them that the large house was a boarding-school for Princesses. The King desired the Prime Minister to ring the bell; and the Prime Minister, not feeling at all sure that it would be rational to do this, did it. A dragon in a mob-cap and white apron came to the gate, and looked so fierce at the Prime Minister as to force upon him the conviction that his act of ringing the bell was not rational. However, he put a bold face on the business, and asked the dragon, in civil and propitiatory accents, whether anybody was at home. “I’m at home,” said the dragon. “Oh, yes, to be sure,” said the Prime Minister. “You’re at home. Yes. Exactly. Any one else P” “No,” said the dragon. walk.” “Gone out for a walk, your Majesty,” echoed the Prime Minister, as good as a chorus. “The Princesses and their Lady Principal have all gone out for a walk.” “Then we’ll take a turn in the neighbourhood, and see what we can see of them,” said the King. “And, as we came along this road without meeting or overtaking a human creature, we’ll try the opposite direction.” So they turned their horses’ heads away from the large house, and the large iron gate, and the large brass plate, and the dragon, and rode into a country that was more and more strange to them at every step. At last they saw, on the other side of a daisy-sprinkled meadow, and in the shade of a beechen grove, a bevy of beautiful girls, gipsying. “Stay here,” said the King, dismounting, and addressing his companions in a tone of

“Gone out for a

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