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.
we would as soon doubt the testimony of Balaam’s quadruped as Sir PETER—­we can only say, that the law has most shamefully neglected to provide a sufficing punishment for the enormity.  Sir PETER speaks with the humility of true wisdom, or he would never have valued his own throat for instance—­that throat enriched by rivulets of turtle soup, by streams of city wine and city gravies—­at no more than the throat of a hungry tailor.  There never in our opinion was a greater discrepancy of windpipe.  Sir PETER’S throat is the organ of wisdom—­whilst the tailor’s throat, by the very fact of his utter want of food, is to him an annoying superfluity.  And yet, says Sir PETER by inference, “It is as bad, William Simmons, to cut your own throat, as to cut mine!” If true Modesty have left other public bodies, certainly she is to be found in the court of aldermen.

Sir PETER proceeds to discourse of the mysteries of life and death in a manner that shows that the executions of his shrievalty were not lost upon his comprehensive spirit.  Suicides, however, have engaged his special consideration; for he says—­

“Suicides and attempts, or apparent attempts, to commit suicide, very much increase, I regret to say. I know that a morbid humanity exists, and does much mischief as regards the practice. I shall not encourage attempts of the kind, but shall punish them; and I sentence you to the treadmill for a month, as a rogue and vagabond.  I shall look very narrowly at the cases of persons brought before me on such charges.”

Sir PETER has, very justly, no compassion for the famishing wretch stung and goaded “to jump the life to come.”  Why should he?  Sir PETER is of that happy class of men who have found this life too good a thing to leave.  “They call this world a bad world,” says ROTHSCHILD on a certain occasion; “for my part, I do not know of a better.”  And ROTHSCHILD was even a greater authority than Sir PETER LAURIE on the paradise of L s. d.

The vice of the day—­“a morbid humanity” towards the would-be suicide—­is, happily, doomed.  Sir PETER LAURIE refuses to patronise any effort at self-slaughter; and, moreover, threatens to “look very narrowly at the cases” of those despairing fools who may be caught in the attempt.  It would here be well for Sir PETER to inform the suicidal part of the public what amount of desperation is likely to satisfy him as to the genuineness of the misery suffered. William Simmons cuts a gash in his throat; the Alderman is not satisfied with this, but having looked very narrowly into the wound, declares it to be a proper case for the treadmill.  We can well believe that an impostor trading on the morbid humanity of the times—­and there is a greater stroke of business done in the article than even the sagacity of a LAURIE can imagine—­may, in this cold weather, venture an immersion in the Thames or Serpentine, making the plunge with a declaratory

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