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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, August 21, 1841   By:

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 1.

FOR THE WEEK ENDING AUGUST 21, 1841.

THE WIFE CATCHERS.

A LEGEND OF MY UNCLE'S BOOTS.

In Four Chapters.

CHAPTER IV.

[Illustration: T]The conversation now subsided into "private and confidential" whispers, from which I could learn that Miss O'Brannigan had consented to quit her father's halls with Terence that very night, and, before the priest, to become his true and lawful wife.

It had been previously understood that those of the guests who lived at a distance from the lodge should sleep there that night. Nothing could have been more favourable for the designs of the lovers; and it was arranged between them, that Miss Biddy was to steal from her chamber into the yard, at daybreak, and apprise her lover of her presence by flinging a handful of gravel against his window. Terence's horse was warranted to carry double, and the lady had taken the precaution to secure the key of the stable where he was placed.

It was long after midnight before the company began to separate; cloaks, shawls, and tippets were called for; a jug of punch of extra strength was compounded, and a doch an dhurris [1] of the steaming beverage administered to every individual before they were permitted to depart. At length the house was cleared of its guests, with the exception of those who were to remain and take beds there. Amongst the number were the haberdasher and your uncle. The latter was shown into a chamber in which a pleasant turf fire was burning on the hearth.

[1] A drink at the door; a farewell cup.

Although Terence's mind was full of sweet anticipations and visions of future grandeur, he could not avoid feeling a disagreeable sensation arising from the soaked state of his boots; and calculating that it still wanted three or four hours of daybreak, he resolved to have us dry and comfortable for his morning's adventure. With this intention he drew us off, and placed us on the hearth before the fire, and threw himself on the bed not to sleep he would sooner have committed suicide but to meditate upon the charms of Miss Biddy and her thousand pounds.

But our strongest resolutions are overthrown by circumstances the ducking, the dancing, and the potteen , had so exhausted Terence, that he unconsciously shut, first, one eye, then the other, and, finally, he fell fast asleep, and dreamed of running away with the heiress on his back, through a shaking bog, in which he sank up to the middle at every step. His vision was, however, suddenly dispelled by a smart rattle against his window. A moment was sufficient to recall him to his senses he knew it was Miss Biddy's signal, and, jumping from the bed, drew back the cotton window curtains and peered earnestly out: but though the day had begun to break, it was still too dark to enable him to distinguish any person on the lawn. In a violent hurry he seized on your humble servant, and endeavoured to draw me on; but, alas! the heat of the fire had so shrank me from my natural dimensions, that he might as well have attempted to introduce his leg and foot into an eel skin. Flinging me in a rage to the further corner of the room, he essayed to thrust his foot into my companion, which had been reduced to the same shrunken state as myself. In vain he tugged, swore, and strained; first with one, and then with another, until the stitches in our sides grinned with perfect torture; the perspiration rolled down his forehead his eyes were staring, his teeth set, and every nerve in his body was quivering with his exertions but still he could not force us on.

"What's to be done!" he ejaculated in despairing accents. A bright thought struck him suddenly, that he might find a pair of boots belonging to some of the other visitors, with which he might make free on so pressing an emergency. It was but sending them back, with an apology for the mistake, on the following day. With this idea he sallied from his room, and groped his way down stairs to find the scullery, where he knew the boots were deposited by the servant at night... Continue reading book >>


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