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.

This ended the case for the plaintiff.

Mr. ADOLPHUS addressed the court for the defendant.  He had not the golden tongue—­no, he was not blessed with the oratory of his learned friend.  He would therefore confine himself to the common sense view of the question.  He was not talking to Arcadian shepherds (he was very happy to see his own butcher in the jury-box), but to men of business.  If there had been any arts practised, it was on the side of the plaintiff’s wife.  His client had visited the plaintiff out of pure compassion.  The plaintiff’s show was a failing concern; his client, with a benevolence which had marked his long career, wished to give him the benefit of his own attractions, joined to those of the woman.  Well, the plaintiff knew the value of money, and therefore left his wife and the defendant to arrange the affair between them.  “Gentlemen of the jury,” continued the learned counsel, “it must appear to you, that on the part of the plaintiff this is not an affair of the heart, but a matter of the breeches’ pocket.  He leaves his wife—­a fascinating, versatile creature—­with my client, I confess it, an acknowledged man of gallantry.  Well, the result is—­what was to be expected.  My learned friend has dwelt, with his accustomed eloquence, on his client’s broken heart.  I will not speak of his heart; but I must say that the man who, bereaved of the partner of his bosom, can still eat six plates of alamode beef, must have a most excellent stomach.  Gentlemen, beware of giving heavy damages in this case, or otherwise you will unconsciously be the promoters of great immorality.  This is no paradox, gentlemen; for I am credibly informed that if the man succeed in getting large damages, he will immediately take his wife home to his bosom and his van, and instead of exhibiting her, as he has hitherto done, for one penny, he will, on the strength of the notoriety of this trial, and as a man knowing the curiosity of society, immediately advance that penny to threepence.  You will, therefore, consider your verdict, gentlemen, and give such moderate damages as will entirely mend the plaintiff’s broken heart.”

The jury, without retiring from the box, returned a verdict of “Damages One Farthing!”

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We are credibly informed—­though the evidence was not adduced in court—­that Monsieur Bonbon first suspected his dishonour from his wife’s hair papers.  She had most negligently curled her tresses in the soft paper epistles of her innamorato.

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[Illustration:  CUPID OUT OF PLACE.

From a Sketch made in “THE PALMERSTON GALLERY."]

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“Charity begins at home,” says, or rather said, an admirable old proverb; but alack! the adage, or the times, or both, are out of joint—­the wholesome maxim has lost its force—­and homes for Charity must now be far as the Poles asunder, ere the benign influence of the weeping goddess can fall upon its wretched supplicants.

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