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Punch - Volume 25 (Jul-Dec 1853)   By:

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[Illustration]

PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOLUME XXV

LONDON

PUBLISHED AT THE OFFICE, 85, FLEET STREET.

[Illustration]

On Christmas Eve, MR. PUNCH, on the strength or, rather, length of a Message from PRESIDENT PIERCE, visited her Majesty QUEEN MAB. He was received by a most courteous Dream in Waiting, who introduced him through the Gate of Horn, whence, as COLONEL SIBTHORP beautifully remarks,

"Veris facilis datur exitus Umbris."

Dream World was merrily keeping its Yule tide, with shadowy Sports and dissolving Pastimes. As MR. PUNCH entered, the Game was

FORFEITS.

The LADY BRITANNIA was enthroned, Mistress of the Revel, and her golden apron was heaped with Pledges. The owners, a miscellaneous group, awaited the sentence of penalties.

Down, at a smile signal from the Lady in the Chair, down went the broad brow of MR. PUNCH, to repose on her knee, while Kings, and Ministers, and Hierarchs, and Demagogues came rustling round to listen.

The magic formula was silverly uttered. "HERE IS A THING, AND A VERY PRETTY THING, AND WHAT SHALL BE DONE BY THE OWNER OF THIS VERY PRETTY THING?"

"Answer, dear MR. PUNCH," said the Lady in the Chair. "You always say exactly what I wish said."

"The Owner," said MR. PUNCH, "will retire." And the EARL OF ABERDEEN, who had forfeited Public Confidence, withdrew, and BRITANNIA murmured her intense satisfaction with the proceeding.

The next forfeit was called. "The Owner," said the oracle, "will go down upon his knees, will, in all abjectness of humiliation, beg pardon of all the world, and will humbly deposit his purse at the foot of the Ottoman nearest to him." A heavy tread, and the EMPEROR OF ALL THE RUSSIAS sullenly stalked away, sooner than thus redeem his Honour.

The third forfeit. "The Owner will find a Lady, whose well omened Christian name is VICTORIA, and to her he will recite some verses, of his own making, in praise of Chobham and Spithead." "I am not much of a poet," said MR. COBDEN, "but if my Friend, BRIGHT, will help me, I will gladly so redeem my Blunder."

The fourth. "A poor Foreigner," whispered the over kindly Lady, but MR. PUNCH sternly buttoned his pockets. "The Owner will behave with common honesty until further notice." A gentleman in a Spanish costume looked surprised at such a desire, and said that he did not care whether he did or did not redeem his Bonds.

The fifth was called, and a light step approached, and somebody was heard humming a melody of TOM MOORE'S. "The Owner," said MR. PUNCH, "will carry three times through the chamber something to help you, Madam, to hear your own voice better." LORD JOHN RUSSELL smiled, and said that he hoped his Reform Bill would so redeem his Promise.

And the Dream it is dream fashion grew confused, but MR. PUNCH thinks there was a scramble for the rest of the things, and that everybody snatched what he could. MR. GLADSTONE, seizing, with tax gatherer's gripe, what he thought was a work on Theology, got "The Whole Duty off Paper." EMPEROR LOUIS NAPOLEON departed very happy with a Cradle. LORD PALMERSTON went out, angry with a Scotch Compass, which though only just out of the Trinity House, had an abominable bias to N.E. POPE PIUS ran about most uncomfortably, apprehending the loss of a French Watch and Guard, to go without which would, His Holiness said, be his ruin. MR. DISRAELI made several vain grabs at a portfolio, which BRITANNIA, laughing good natured scorn, refused to let him have; and when the EARL OF DERBY tried for the same thing, she presented him with a Racing Game, as more suitable to his capabilities. Several Aldermen, who had presented specimens of Mendacity, received packets of tickets, inscribed Mendicity, to everybody's delight, and there was a cheer for a bold Bishop, who had put down a Carriage and was content to take up a little Gig. Another Bishop he had a Fulham cut found his mitre, but some one, in unseemly satire, had surmounted it with a golden and most vivacious Weathercock... Continue reading book >>


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