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.

“An Essay on False Wigs,” written by Lord John Russell, and dedicated to Mr. Wakley, M.P., may shortly be expected.

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The man who wishes to study an epitome of human character—­who wants to behold choice samples of “all sorts and conditions of men”—­to read out of a small, a duodecimo edition of the great book of life—­must take a season’s lodgings at a Cheltenham, a Harrowgate, or a Brighton boarding-house.  There he will find representatives of all kinds of eccentricities,—­members of every possible lodge of “odd fellows” that Folly has admitted of her crew—­mixed up with everyday sort of people, sharpers, schemers, adventurers, fortune-hunters, male and female—­widows, wags, and Irishmen.  Hence, as the “proper study of mankind is man,” a boarding-house is the place to take lessons;—­even on the score of economy, as it is possible to live decently at one of these refuges for the destitute for three guineas a-week, exclusive, however, of wine, servants, flirtation, and other extras.

A result of this branch of study, and an example of such a mode of studying it, is the farce with the above title, which has been brought out at Covent Garden. Mrs. Walker (Mrs. Orger) keeps a boarding-house, which also keeps her; for it is well frequented:  so well that we find her making a choice of inmates by choosing to turn out Mr. Woodpecker (Mr. Walter Lacy)—­a mere “sleeping-apartment” boarder—­to make room for Mrs. Coo (Mrs. Glover), a widow, whose demands entitle her to the dignity of a “private sitting and bedroom” lodger. Mr. Woodpecker is very comfortable, and does not want to go; but the hostess is obstinate:  he appeals to her feelings as an orphan, without home or domesticity; but the lady, having been in business for a dozen years, has lost all sympathy for orphans of six-and-twenty.  In short, Mrs. Walker determines he shall walk, and so shall his luggage (a plethoric trunk and an obese carpet-bag are on the stage); for she has dreamt even that has legs—­such dreams being, we suppose, very frequent to persons of her name.

You are not quite satisfied that the mere preference for a better inmate furnishes the only reasons why the lady wants Mr. Woodpecker’s room rather than his company.  Perhaps he is in arrear; but no, he pays his bill:  so it is not on that score that he is so ruthlessly sent away.  You are, however, not kept long on the tiptoe of conjecture, but soon learn that Mrs. W. has a niece, and you already know that the banished is young, good-looking, and gay.  Indeed, Mrs. Walker having perambulated, Miss Fanny Merrivale (Miss Lee) appears, and listens very composedly to the plan of an elopement from Woodpecker, but speedily makes her exit to avoid suspicion, and the enemy who has dislodged her lover; before whom the latter also retreats, together with his bag and baggage.

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