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.

The boiling and distemper houses are now in course of erection, BUT DETACHED FROM THE OTHER PORTION OP THE BUILDING!—­From the Sporting Magazine, extracted in the Times of Dec. 3, 1841.

“I KNOW the lying-in ward; there is but ONE, which is small:  another room is used when required.  There are two beds in the first.  The walls, I should say, were clean; but at that time they could not he cleansed, as it was full of women.  The room was very smoky and uncomfortable; the walls were as clean as they could be under the circumstances.  I have always felt dissatisfied with the ward, and many times said it was the most uncomfortable place in the house; it always looked dirty....

“There have been six women there at one time:  two were confined in one bed....

“It was impossible entirely to shut out the infection.  I have known FIFTEEN CHILDREN SLEEP in two beds!”—­From the sworn evidence of Mrs. Elizabeth Gain, late matron, and Mr. Adams, late medical attendant, at the Sevenoaks Union—­extracted from the Times of Dec. 2, 1841.

* * * * *

ON SNUFF, AND THE DIFFERENT WAYS OF TAKING IT.

Snuff is a sort of freemasonry amongst those who partake of it.

Those who do not partake of it cannot possibly understand those who do.  It is just the same as music to the deaf—­dancing to the lame—­or painting to the blind.

Snuff-takers will assure you that there are as many different types of snuff-takers as there are different types of women in a church or in a theatre, or different species of roses in the flower-bed of an horticulturist.

But the section of snuff-takers has, in common with all social categories, its apostates, its false brethren.

For as sure as you carry about with you a snuff-box, of copper, of tortoise-shell, or of horn (the material matters absolutely nothing), you cannot fail to have met upon your path the man who carries no snuff-box, and yet is continually taking snuff.

The man who carries no snuff-box is an intimate nuisance—­a hand-in-hand annoyance—­a sort of authorised Jeremy Diddler to all snuff-takers.

He meets you everywhere.  The first question he puts is not how “you do?” he assails you instantly with “Have you such a thing as a pinch of snuff about you?”

It is absolutely as if he said, “I have no snuff myself, but I know you have—­and you cannot refuse me levying a small contribution upon it.”

If it were only one pinch; but it is two—­it is four—­it is eight; it is all the week—­all the month—­it is all year round.  The man who carries no snuff box is a regular Captain Macheath—­a licensed Paul Clifford—­to everyone that does.  He meets you on the highway, and summonses you to stop by demanding “Your snuff-box or your life?”

A man can easily refuse to his most intimate friend his purse, or his razor, or his wife, or his horse; but with what decency can he refuse him—­or to his coolest acquaintance even—­a pinch of snuff?  It is in this that the evil pinches.

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