Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,359 pages of information about Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete.
regard for the commonweal, what more persuasive language could he adopt than the general distribution of unlimited beer?  Of the sensitive, or fifth and last species of language, innumerable instances might be quoted.  All understand the difference in meaning between cuffs and caresses—­between being shaken heartily by the hand and kicked rapidly down stairs.  Who, however ignorant, could look upon the latter as a compliment? or what fair maiden, however simple, would require a master to teach her how to construe a gentle compression of her fingers at parting, or a tender pressure of her toe under the dinner table?

Such is an imperfect sketch of the five languages appertaining to man.  There is, however, one other—­that which forms the subject of the present article—­Pantomime, and which may be considered as the natural form of the visible language—­literature being taken as the artificial.  This is the most primitive as well as most comprehensive, of all.  It is the earliest, as it is the most intuitive—­the smiles and frowns of the mother being the first signs understood by the infant.  Indeed, if we consider for a moment that all existence is but a Pantomime, of which Time is the harlequin, changing to-day into yesterday, summer into winter, youth into old age, and life into death, and we but the clowns who bear the kicks and buffets of the scene, we cannot fail to desire the general cultivation of an art which constitutes the very essence of existence itself.  “Speech,” says Talleyrand, that profound political pantomimist, “was given to conceal our thoughts;” and truly this is the chief use to which it is applied.  We are continually clamouring for acts in lieu of words.  Let but the art of Pantomime become universal, and this grand desideratum must be obtained.  Then we shall find that candidates, instead of being able, as now, to become legislators by simply professing to be patriots, will be placed in the awkward predicament of having first to act as such; and that the clergy, in lieu of taking a tenth part of the produce for the mere preaching of Christianity, will be obliged to sacrifice at least a portion to charitable purposes, and practise it.

Indeed, we are thoroughly convinced, that when the manifold advantages of this beautiful art shall be generally known, it cannot fail of becoming the principle of universal communication.  Nor do we despair of ultimately finding the elegant Lord A. avowing his love for the beautiful Miss B., by gently closing one of his eyes, and the fair lady tenderly expressing that doubt and incredulity which are the invariable concomitants of “Love’s young dream,” by a gentle indication with the dexter hand over the sinister shoulder.


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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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