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.
wherever they go.  These firmans are entrusted to the charge of a peculiar race of beings, commonly called officers to the sheriff.  There is something exceedingly interesting in the ceremonious attendant upon the execution of one of these potent fiats:  the manner is as follows.  Having received the orders of “John Doe and Richard Roe,” they proceed to the residence of their intended captive, and with consummate skill, like the Eastern tellers of tales, commence their business by the repetition of some ingenious story (called in the language of the captured, lie), wherein the Bumme Bayllyffe (such is their title) artfully represents himself “as a cousin from the country,” an “uncle from town,” or some near and dear long expected and anxiously-looked-for returned-from-abroad friend.  Should their endeavours fail in procuring the desired interview, they frequently have resort to the following practice.  With the right-hand finger and thumb they open a small aperture in the side of a species of garment, generally manufactured from drab broadcloth, in which they encase their lower extremities, and having thrust their hand to the very bottom of the said opening, they produce a peculiarly musical sound by jingling various round pieces of white money, which so entrances the feelings of the domestic with whom they are discoursing, that his eyes become fixed upon the hand of the operater the moment the sound ceases and it is withdrawn.  The Bumme Bayllyffe then winketh his right eye, and with great rapidity depositeth a curious-looking coin, of the value of five shillings, in the hand of the domestic, who thereupon pointeth with his dexter thumb over his left shoulder to a small china closet, in which the enemy of John Doe and Richard Roe is found, his Wellington boots sticking out of the hamper, under the straw in which the rest of his person is deposited.

The Bumme Bayllyffe having called him loudly by his name, showeth his writ, steppeth up, and tappeth him once gently upon the shoulder, whereupon the ceremony is completed, and the future inmate of the Fleet departeth with the Bumme Bayllyffe.

The first thing that attracts the attention of the captured of John Doe and Richard Roe is the great care with which the entrance to his new country is guarded.  Four officials of the warden or minister of the said John and Richard alternately remain in actual possession of that interesting pass, to each of whom the new-comer submits his face and figure for actual and earnest inspection, for the reason that should the said new arrival by any means pass their boundary, they themselves would suffer much disgrace and obliquy; having undergone this inspection, he then proceeds to the interior of these strange domains.

Walls! walls!! walls!!! meet him on every side; and by some strange manner of judging the new-comer is immediately known as such.

The costume of the natives differs widely from the usually sported habiliments of more extended nations; caps worn by small boys in other climes here decorated the heads of the most venerable elders, and peculiarly-cut dressing-gowns do duty for the discarded broadcloth of a Stultz, a Nugee, or a Willis.

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