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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, September 5, 1841   By:

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 1.

FOR THE WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 5, 1841.

THE GENTLEMAN'S OWN BOOK.

[Illustration: O]Our consideration must now be given to those essentials in the construction of a true gentleman the cut, ornaments, and pathology of his dress.

THE CUT

is to the garment what the royal head and arms are to the coin the insignia that give it currency. No matter what the material, gold or copper, Saxony or sackcloth, the die imparts a value to the one, and the shears to the other.

Ancient Greece still lives in its marble demi gods; the vivifying chisel of Phidias was thought worthy to typify the sublimity of Jupiter; the master hand of Canova wrought the Parian block into the semblance of the sea born goddess, giving to insensate stone the warmth and etheriality of the Paphian paragon; and Stultz, with his grace bestowing shears, has fashioned West of England broad cloths, and fancy goods, into all the nobility and gentility of the "Blue Book," the "Court Guide," the "Army, Navy, and Law Lists, for 1841."

Wondrous and kindred arts! The sculptor wrests the rugged block from the rocky ribs of his mother earth; the tailor clips the implicated " long hogs "[1] from the prolific backs of the living mutton; the toothless saw, plied by an unweayring hand, prepares the stubborn mass for the chisel's tracery; the loom, animated by steam (that gigantic child of Wallsend and water), twists and twines the unctuous and pliant fleece into the silky Saxony.

[1] The first growth of wool.

The sculptor, seated in his studio , throws loose the reins of his imagination, and, conjuring up some perfect ideality, seeks to impress the beautiful illusion on the rude and undigested mass before him. The tailor spreads out, upon his ample board, the happy broadcloth; his eyes scan the "measured proportions of his client," and, with mystic power, guides the obedient pipe clay into the graceful diagram of a perfect gentleman. The sculptor, with all the patient perseverance of genius, conscious of the greatness of its object, chips, and chips, and chips, from day to day; and as the stone quickens at each touch, he glows with all the pride of the creative Prometheus, mingled with the gentler ecstacies of paternal love. The tailor, with fresh ground shears, and perfect faith in the gentility and solvency of his "client," snips, and snips, and snips, until the "superfine" grows, with each abscission, into the first style of elegance and fashion, and the excited schneider feels himself "every inch a king," his shop a herald's college, and every brown paper pattern garnishing its walls, an escutcheon of gentility.

But to dismount from our Pegasus, or, in other words, to cut the poetry, and come to the practice of our subject, it is necessary that a perfect gentleman should be cut up very high, or cut down very low i.e. , up to the marquis or down to the jarvey. Any intermediate style is perfectly inadmissible; for who above the grade of an attorney would wear a coat with pockets inserted in the tails, like salt boxes; or any but an incipient Esculapius indulge in trousers that evinced a morbid ambition to become knee breeches, and were only restrained in their aspirations by a pair of most strenuous straps. We will now proceed to details.

The dressing gown should be cut only for the arm holes; but be careful that the quantity of material be very ample say four times as much as is positively necessary, for nothing is so characteristic of a perfect gentleman as his improvidence. This garment must be constructed without buttons or button holes, and confined at the waist with cable like bell ropes and tassels. This elegant déshabille had its origin (like the Corinthian capital from the Acanthus) in accident. A set of massive window curtains having been carelessly thrown over a lay figure, or tailor's torso , in Nugee's studio , in St. James's street, suggested to the luxuriant mind of the Adonisian D'Orsay, this beautiful combination of costume and upholstery... Continue reading book >>


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