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.
of his life; he allows himself twenty minutes for shaving and dressing; fifteen for breakfasting, in which time he eats two slices of toast, drinks two cups of coffee, and swallows two eggs boiled for two and a half minutes by an infallible chronometer.  After breakfast he reads the newspaper, but lays it down in the very heart and pith of a clever article on his own side of the question, the moment his time is up.  He has even been known to leave the theatre at the very moment of the denouement of a deeply-interesting play rather than exceed his limited hour by five minutes.  He will be out of temper all day, if he does not find his hat on its proper nail and his cane in its allotted corner.  He chooses a particular walk, where he may take his prescribed number of turns without interruption, for he would prefer suffering a serious inconvenience rather than be obliged to quicken or slacken his pace to suit the speed of a friend who might join him.  My uncle Simon was a character of this cast.  I could take it on my conscience to assert that, every night for the forty years preceding his death, he had one foot in the bed on the first stroke of 11 o’clock, and just as the last chime had tolled, that he was enveloped in the blankets to his chin.  I have known him discharge a servant because his slippers were placed by his bed-side for contrary feet; and I have won a wager by betting that he would turn the corner of a certain street at precisely three minutes before ten in the morning.  My uncle used to frequent a club in the City, of which he had become the oracle.  Precisely at eight o’clock he entered the room—­took his seat in a leather-backed easy chair in a particular corner—­read a certain favourite journal—­drank two glasses of rum toddy—­smoked four pipes—­and was always in the act of putting his right arm into the sleeve of his great-coat, to return home, as the clock struck ten.  The cause of my uncle’s death was as singular as his life was whimsical.  He went one night to the club, and was surprised to find his seat occupied by a tall dark-browed man, who smoked a meerschaum of prodigious size in solemn silence.  Numerous hints were thrown out to the stranger that the seat had by prescriptive right and ancient custom become the property of my uncle; he either did not or would not understand them, and continued to keep his possession of the leather-backed chair with the most imperturbable sang-froid.  My uncle in despair took another seat, and endeavoured to appear as if nothing had occurred to disturb him,—­but he could not dissimulate.  He was pierced to the heart,—­and

[Illustration:  “I SAW THE IRON ENTER HIS SOLE.”]

My uncle left the club half-an-hour before his time; he returned home—­went to bed without winding his watch—­and the next morning he was found lifeless in his bed.

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