Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

sexes.

me.

was.

some mysterious manner, and that the Herod for his motives in commanding papers were agog with it. I affected the massacre of the innocents; but, ignorance of the name of Peppergrass, concluding that they had all gone to and subsequently managed to inform heaven, noted it as a remarkable inPunch that I had passed the previous stance of good being brought out of evening in my room. The next even- evil. He enlarged upon the advantages ing he and I called on Miss Schottische of Chinese women over the male Celesthe authoress of the “ Narrow, Narrow tials, in the fact that infanticide among House." She seemed to be sweetly them is chiefly practiced on girls, who melancholy, and I asked her the cause thereby are brought into the kingdom of her depression.

in abundance, while the boys are left to “Oh,” said she, “I have just been grow up in a damnable idolatry of their attending such a delightful funeral ! grandfathers. He recommended that Reverend Doctor Armageddon officiated missionaries to the Hyson Skin counin the most charming manner. He is tries should be instructed to apply certainly a vastly edifying preacher; themselves chiefly to men, in order to and so cheerful, too, in his piety. You equalize the opportunities of the two two gentlemen must go with me and hear him next Sunday. Will you

? In short, his discourse was an admirAh! I have your promise. Remember able one; and I was proportionably annow. You are sad truants, I am afraid, noyed at not being able to hear the of a Sunday.”

whole of it. Unfortunately, eight of “Who was the new tenant installed the little Peppergrasses, with their in the narrow, narrow' house ?" asked father and mother and three nurseryPunch.

maids (I had nearly said dairy-maids), She smiled graciously at this allusion occupied the two slips just in front of to her admirable romance, and replied :

Ten or twelve infantile optics “ An interesting child of a Mr. Mr. were perpetually staring Miss SchotPeppergrass, I believe, the name tische, Mr. Punner and myself out of

I do not know the person. I countenance. After a while, Mr. Punwent solely to hear the doctor."

ner made a series of grimaces at the I would not recognize the name of youngest one, which set him a crying, Peppergrass, of course; and in fact, I which set three-quarters of the others a left the authoress in her narrow house crying. Then Mr. Peppergrass and (twelve feet front,) as soon as possible. the three dairy-maids carried them into On Sunday I went to the doctor's the vestibule, where they bawled with church, as agreed upon. My object great spirit for fifteen or twenty minutes was not so much to keep the appoint- before they could be brought back ment with Miss Schottische, as to pre- again. On being reinstated, the biggest vent any unpleasant suspicions which one got up on his seat and stuck out might arise, if I solicitously kept away his lips vindictively at Mr. Punner. from those Peppergrasses. The learn- At last, one of the dairy-maids hauled od pastor gave us a sermon that was him down, and in so doing let him drop well worth the lengthened trouble of lis- on the floor, upon which he screamed so tening to it. To my surprise, he did outrageously, that Mrs. Peppergrass not at all maintain the eternal perdition pacified him with a cookey and allowed of infants ; quite the contrary, he him to crumble half of it into our slip. thought them much surer of future I must not forget to mention that two happiness than the adult part of the of them were christened, and bellowed population; and he naturally inferred like lunatics under the operation. that the sooner they got out of the Punch whispered in my ear that the world, the better for themselves, and in minister went at them as savagely as a fact, for everybody. He spoke lenient- washerwoman at a dirty blanket. I ly of Pharaoh, who has been so inuch really pitied Doctor Armageddon, and censured for his attempt to abate the regretted that he could not take his Exnumber of the Israelitish bantlings terminator into the pulpit with him, or, and only condemned him for having at least, have it used by a sexton from made a distinction in favor of the sons, the gallery. which, he said, proved the low estima- I left the church resolved to have as tion in which the fair-sex was held by little as possible to do with those Pepthe Egyptians. He was severe upon pergrasses, unless it were in aiding my

66

66

reverend friend to weed them out of to Elishah. He welcomed us with the existence. My mortification may be utmost simplicity and cordiality. conceived, therefore, when, on my next Walk in, sir. How are you, my old visit to our club, I was introduced to friend?" he said to me. Mr. Punner, Mr. P. himself, as a new member who I believe," he continued. "No need needed my polite attentions. I found of an introduction. I have long known him a very sociable, gentlemanly per- you by reputation, Mr. Punner, and son, but the most besotted of fathers; recognized you at once last Sunday by and I could hardly keep from laughing the admirable portrait of your new outright, to hear him boast of his chil- boots in the Illustrated Gothamite. I dren and tell how much everybody liked am delighted to become acquainted them. . We were in conversation over with you personally. I welcoine you the late inexplicable demise of his to Boston, sir." seventh boy, when I was alarmed by We sat down and commenced a seeing the patriarch of our institution, cheerful conversation on the vices of Doctor Armageddon himself, enter the fashionable society, which I found that saloon, and ach us. Now, thought Punch regretted exceedingly, I, there will be a scene; the feelings tor," I said at the first break in the diaof the doctor will be embittered beyond logue, “I have mentioned your Exterendurance by the sight of our new mem- minator in confidence to Mr. Punner; ber; he will be distant, sarcastic, crush- and he is charmed with the idea. ing, or, perhaps, openly uncivil; he Would you allow him, as a great favor, can hardly help making the interview to glance at the exquisite mechanism of unpleasant to Peppergrass.

the instrument ?" Never in my life was I more mis- “Why, certainly with the greatest taken. Our reverend instructor ad- pleasure," he replied, rising and provanced to the guest and greeted him ducing the machine from its closet. with the most benignant cordiality. He Punch examined it and reëxamined it inquired about his health, about the with bursts of admiring astonishment. health of Mrs. Peppergrass, about the Really, Doctor," said he, “you ought healths of the whole brood of sub-Pep- to take out a patent for this. It would pergrasses. He made a few appropri- be immensely profitable. Every unate remarks on “ the late affliction," married man would want one." enlarging pathetically on the mysteri- " I shall take out no patent,” reous yet merciful nature of dispensations sponded our friend gravely. “I do not in general. I was enchanted with his wish to lay any possible restrictions upforgiving, uncomplaining deportment, on the extensive use of the invention. and reflected with emotion on the power It is my desire to do, in the brief time of mere simple orthodoxy to make that remains to me, all the good that I every action lovely and noble. Peppergrass went away equally pleased with Punch and I both praised his generour revered friend's conversation, ob- ous public spirit, and said that we serving to me, as we walked home to

should take advantage of his kindness gether, how much happiness he expect- to order Exterminators for ourselves. ed to draw from the neighborhood of a “Well, and how do you get on with 80 truly paternal divine. The doctor, your labors ?” I inquired." Any nibby the way, kindly warned me against bles lately?the influence of Peppergrass, who, he “I have surpassed my warmest exsaid, was somewhat lax if not unitarian pectations,” he replied smiling,

"I in his doctrinal beliefs.

have thinned out the little PepperI was now so perfectly satisfied with grasses amazingly. Be kind enough to our good Armageddon that I resolved step this way, gentlemen, and I will to introduce my friend Punner to him. show you my last triumph.” Under a promise of secrecy,

I
gave an

Punch followed him eagerly to a chair account of the Exterminator to Punch, in one corner, on which lay something who, as I expected, expressed, even to folded up in a blanket. As I suspected enthusiasm, a bachelor's natural delight what he had to exhibit, and am troubled over the invention. We called at the with weak nerves, I did not attempt to doctor's house, and found him in his share the spectacle.

66 Is it done for ?" study just finishing a sermon on the I heard Punch ask with deep interest. two she-bears which avenged the insult "Gone !" replied the doctor solemnly.

can."

66

Presently they returned with mild, doctor. " What a mischief that maserious faces to the centre-table, chine has been doing! I am afraid the where Punch fell anew to examining poor man is over Jordan." and admiring the Exterminator; trying We hauled our struggling friend out numerous experiments with it, lassoing by his hampered legs, unclasped the all the chairs in succession, and looking noose with the

eatest difficulty, and, into the neighboring court to see if he leaving the pincers on his ancles for could discover a stray Peppergrass, the present, proceeded to dash his face junior. The doctor treated us to some with ice-water. I cannot describe the of his Mt. Ararat port, and we passed anxiety with which I watched bis puran hour in the most delightful conversa- ple phiz, nor the delight with which I tion that I ever enjoyed, although it heard him give a whimper of returning was frequently interrupted by Punch, consciousness. His first words were to who could not keep his hands off that ask us to put a little more port into the fascinating, but somewhat noisy, Exter- water; and when we gave him a glass minator.

of the pure grape, he drank it off with “Come, gentlemen,” said our kind a visible satisfaction, which convinced host at last; give yourselves the me that he still had his senses. As trouble to walk down stairs with me, soon as the doctor had completely unand look at a demijohn full of the water harnessed him from the Exterminator, of the Jordan. It has just been sent he rose, and thanked heaven, with tears me by one of our missionaries in Jeri- in his bulging eyes, that he was a grown cho.”

man, and not a baby. His next move " Thank you, doctor, I prefer the was to take bis hat and make a bee-line port,” said Punch.

" I have seen the for the doorway. Jordan itself, and didn't like the looks My dear sir, don't go !” exclaimed of the antiquated fluid. I'll stay here the doctor, earnestly. * I beg you to and amuse myself with your machine." stay-at least as long as you can find it

I followed the doctor down stairs to agreeable. You are not trespassing his bedroom, and regarded the favored upon my time, I assure you." demijohn with suitable veneration. He • Don't find it agreeable," returned offered me a drink of it; and I was Punch. "I'm afraid of trespassing on agreeably surprised to find that the my own time. I don't want to cut my water of the Jordan has precisely the days any shorter than I can help. I flavor of fine old Irish whisky. My won't stay in the room another minute friend smiled as he saw my evident with that confounded machine. Why, pleasure at this discovery ; and we then I didn't try it on; I only hit it with pledged each other repeatedly, not for- my foot, somehow, and it flew up and getting to toast the Exterminator. As choked me like a boa-constrictor. I was I set down the glass for the third time almost done for before I could think we were startled by hearing an extraor- what was the matter with me. I tried dinary rumpus overhead in the study, to scream for assistance, but I couldn't where something seemed to be floun- fetch the first yelp." dering violently on the floor, kicking He marched off without further cereoutrageously as if with boot-heels, mony, and I felt constrained to accomknocking the chairs over and pushing pany him, not knowing yet but that he the table about. " I fancy," observed might have a stroke of apoplexy. He the doctor, " that your friend bas did down stairs a little unsteadily, hauled in another of those Pepper- but I rather think it was only the port grasses."

and water. As soon as we reached the After he had corked up the demijohn pavement, he said vehemently: "I of Jordan water, and put it away care

don't like that infernal Exterminator." fully, we took each other by the arm “ Better luck another time," I reand walked up stairs. On opening the sponded; "a miss is as good as a study door I was paralyzed with affright mile.” to see Mr. Punner in a heap under the • May be so," said he ; " but it isn't table, bound hand and foot, black in the as comfortable. How is shirtface, his eyes and tongue protruding, collar ?” in short, completely throttled, to all ap- • All tumbled up,” said I. pearance, in the iron grasp of the Ex- "I thought so," he replied; " blast terminator. • Bless me!" cried the the Exterminator! I tell you what, I

my

shan't order one; it's a dangerous of itself. Try to get along with it a thing to have in one's lodgings; it little while, I beg of you. Just consider might finish a fellow up some time when Mrs. Glace." there was nobody by. Catch me at that " True,” said he. “It is to be rereverend gentleman's house again, gretted that she has such an attachment either! All I wish is, that the next to the wretched little object; it is an inquiry-meeting he has there may be awful snare to her; I feel impelled to composed of detective policemen.” remove him on her account. Besides,

• My dear man,” I interposed, “ you he is the only brat in the neighborhood, ought not to quarrel with Doctor Arma- and is, of course, an immense temptation geddon on account of this mere acci- to me." dent, which might happen to any one.” “But we must overcome our tempta

“I don't mean to quarrel with him," tions," I urged, warmly. said Punch, loosening his cravat, and “I will,” said he; “I will overcome wiping the perspiration from his face. little Glace." " I should be afraid to quarrel with him ; After some sharp controversy, which he might exterminate me. But it's pre- only served to convince me that I was cisely because such an accident might a child in argument compared to him, I happen to any one, at any time, that I walked back to my lodgings in the Tredon't care to be intimate with him. You mont. Then it occurred to me that step in to see him-stumble over a stray perhaps I ought to warn the professor Exterminator-it collars you like a thou- of the danger which menaced his limsand policemen, and there you are-a ited offspring, and leave him to judge gone goose. Then there's another idea: whether it should be averted or no. I suppose he should have a hallucination, set off on this errand immediately, and and take a fellow for a baby; or sup- had reached the corner of the block on pose he should acquire a fondness for wbich he lived, when I observed the inthe thing, and pitch into us adults, after cautious youth in question stealing unhe has done with all the juveniles. No, der the doctor's eaves, apparently with no! I've had one narrow squeak of it the design of recovering his football. It —that is, if I could have squeaked at was so dim evening by this time that I all—and I am satisfied, if you ain't-as only faintly distinguished an object the shark said to the sailor, after he had which seemed to drop upon him from a eaten him."

second-story window. I hastened on, I found it impossible to overcome and gained the steps of the house, just Punner's sudden disgust at the Exter- in time to see little Glace meander up minator; and, in point of fact, he left the wall like a wizard or a gigantic lizBoston for New York, by early train of ard, and disappear through the open the following morning.

casement. Calling on the doctor a week after, I went in on the spur of the moment, he met me with a radiant countenance. and had an animated altercation with “ Have you

heard the news?" said he ; the doctor. I threatened to denounce “Peppergrass is gone! sold his house him-for I was in reality greatly inand moved into the country. Lost six censed—but he defied me with such a of his children by apoplexy, and con- virtuous tranquillity, that I withdrew my cluded that the air of Boston was bad menace in admiration. We did not for them. Mysterious dispensation, part friends, however; our misunderyou'll allow,” he added, with a pleasant standing was serious, and lasted a fortsmile; " but all for the best, as it ap- night. It was aggravated by the cool

composure with which he afterwards Well, doctor, I hope you have addressed some consolatory remarks to done,” said I; for I was actually star- Mrs. Glace in my presence- -a compo. tled by that immense mortality which he sure which I then looked on as jesuitical mentioned with such calm satisfaction. effrontery, but which I have frequently

Very nearly,” he replied. “I am heard mentioned by others with loud after little Glace, now. I mean to commendation, clear the premises, while I am about This, on my word of honor, is the it."

whole of my quarrel with Dr. Arma“ Doctor, don't!" I remonstrated; geddon. Every other account of it, ** Professor Glace has only one child, whether as regards its cause, nature, or and that a very puny one, likely to die duration, is downright falsehood, if not

pears at last."

slander, and should be at once frowned of common sense, came you to imagine upon by an intelligent and virtuous that it was an allegory ?" public. I will state, in conclusion, what “I took it for granted,” said he, I have hinted at before, that both Mr. " that the babies of the story merely Punner and I have been led to re- symbolized the feelings and interests of gret our estrangement from this esti- our fellow-creatures. I inferred that mable divine, and have been fortunate your friend, Doctor Armageddon, had enough to regain his learned, cheerful, shown himself selfishly indifferent to and amiable intimacy. He is, at pres- those feelings and interests whenever ent, I am pleased to say, the happiest they came in conflict with his own comof men, as he has no children within a fort or purposes. Thus understood, the block of him, and no person under six- narrative is endurable ; otherwise it is a teen years of age in his congregation. tissue of atrocities, only fit to amuse a

New Zealander." I had just finished my manuscript, • Mr. Howard," I remonstrated, “let when I was surprised by a call from me warn you against this insidious systhat kindly young minister, Mr. Henry tem of turning plain facts into tinkling Howard. I immediately read the whole symbols. · It is dangerous to a young thing to him, and frankly requested his minister, and dangerous to those who opinion thereupon.

repose confidence in him. Why, sir, “I suppose, of course, that it is an you could decompose the solid doctrine allegory," said be.

of election with your subtle acid of alle“My dear sir---an allegory! Oh! you gories. I beg you to believe-as I are too severe upon me,” I replied. would beg all mankind to believe-that Certainly not-it is the most serious what I have stated in this narration is fact, I assure you. How, in the namo the very gravest and exactest reality."

A FEW WORDS ON FAIRY TALES.

[ocr errors]

WAY with that huge tome of Jeremy your singing mice), slippers of glass;

and, by your leave, fair Cinderella, hood's library.

Wave the wand and coaches sliced from pumpkins! And summon up the dramatis persone of our shall we not have Aladdin's lamp? childhood's tales! Come one, come all Hang it on the fairy bean-stalk you see -good fonies with wands of gold and shooting to the skies, beside the roc's gifts of wishes--most dire ogres stamp- egg of Sinbad the Sailor. Yet disturb ing along in seven-league boots-giants, not the small birds perched upon the vast fellows, but some of them harm- fibres of the magic plant, for are they less, " for (quoth the chronicler) they not the robins that covered with leaves were Welsh giants,” others-alas, for the babes in the wood ? See-they have the Land's End !--cruel, " for they built their nest in Fortunio's wishingwere Cornish giants"--dwarfs who ap- cap! Gathering-still gathering! Compeared on the battlements of enchanted mander of the Faithful, Haroun Alrascastles, winding enchanted horns-beau- chid, we greet thee-make that inverted tiful princesses who pined within their jar thy throne—'tis one of those in which mystic walls-beasts who were princes Morgiana boiled the forty thieves. Fear in disguise-and, alas, princes who were not that room will be scant-the pavibeasts in reality! Bring them all be- lion in which we assemble is the Fairy

Genii bottled up in submarine Banou's tent. Prince Camaralyaman, vases, from the East-grotesque, funny be seated near the one-eyed Calender little Wieland-like men, who lived in beside him again is King Pepin. Do under-ground palaces beneath the roots not-lords and gentles all-quarrel with of the pines, and the oaks of the Brocken the near presence of Puss in Boots ; --misshapen elves, working cunningly for since - My Lord Marquis of Carrain metals, and quaffing mead, the ima- bas" has come to his fortunc, “ Puss ginings of the Scalds of Scandinavia— became a great lord, and never killed speaking birds, singing water (out on rats or mice but for his own amuse

fore us.

« PoprzedniaDalej »