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.

      C.—­When the scene-shifter ingeniously introduceth a forest into
          a bed-chamber, or committeth the like incongruity, marvellous
          pleasant and mirthful to behold, but in no way conducive to

      D.—­When pistols or other fire-arms do miss fire; when red fire
          igniteth not, or igniteth the scenes; when a trap-door
          refuseth to open, a rope to draw, and the like.

      E.—­When the author intrusteth his principal part to a new actor,
          and it falleth out that the same doth grievously offend the
          audience, who straight insist that he do quit the stage,
          whereby the ruin of the piece is consummated.

      F.—­Likewise there be misfortunes that arise from the audience;
          as, when at a momentous point of the plot there entereth one
          heated with liquor, and causeth a disturbance, or a woman
          with a huge bonnet becometh the subject of a discussion as to
          her right to wear the same, and impede the view of them that
          be behind; also when there cometh in a ruffian, or more, in a
          pea-coat, who having been charged by an enemy to work the
          ruin of the piece, endeavoureth to do the same, by dint of
          hisses or other unseemly noises, all of which be highly

Secondly, of those unfortunate authors who have been successful, there be—­

    1.—­He whose piece, albeit successful, is withdrawn to make room
        for the Christmas pantomine, Easter piece, or other
        entertainment equally cherished by the manager, who thereupon
        groundeth a plea of non-payment.

    2.—­He who being a creditor of the manager, and the same being
        unable to meet his obligations, by an ingenious contrivance of
        the law becometh cleansed thereof, an operation which hath been
        conceitedly termed “whitewashing.”

    3.—­He that writeth a piece with a friend, and the same claimeth
        the entire authorship thereof and emolument therefrom.

And there be divers other calamities which we have neither space nor time to enumerate, but which be all incentives to abstain from dramatic writing.


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Modern legislation is chiefly remarkable for its oppressive interference with the elegant amusements of the mob.  Bartholomew-fair is abolished; bull-baiting, cock-pits, and duck-hunts are put down by act of Parliament; prize-fighting, by the New Police—­even those morally healthful exhibitions, formerly afforded opposite the Debtors’ Door of Newgate, for the sake of example—­that were attended by idlers in hundreds, and thieves in thousands—­are fast growing into disuse.  The “masses” see no pleasure now:  even the hanging-matches are cut off.

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