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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 100, March 14, 1891   By:

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PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 100.

March 14, 1891.

SPECIMENS FROM MR. PUNCH'S SCAMP ALBUM.

NO. III. THE BIOGRAPHER.

We will ask you, reader, this week, to compel your fancy to take a further flight, and kindly imagine yourself a worthy merchant, who has exchanged the turmoil of City life for the elegant leisure of a suburban villa let us say at Norwood. You are in your dining room, examining the sky, and thinking that, if the weather holds up, you will take your big dog out presently for a run before lunch, when you are told that a gentleman is in the study who wishes to see you "on particular business." The very word excites you, not unpleasantly, nor do you care whether it is Churchwarden's business, or the District Board, or the County Council it is enough that your experience and practical knowledge of affairs are in request and, better still, it will give you something to do. So, after a delay due to your own importance, you march into your study, and find a brisk stranger, with red whiskers and a flexible mouth, absorbed in documents which he has brought with him in a black bag.

[Illustration: "Your Visitor has his Note book out."]

"I have the pleasure of addressing Mr. MARK LANE, I think?" he says. "Just so. Well, Mr. MARK LANE, I consider myself extremely fortunate in finding you at home, I assure you, and a very charming place you have here abundant evidence of a refined and cultivated mind, excellent selection of our best known writers, everything, if I may say so, elegant in the extreme as was to be expected! Even from the cursory glimpse I have had, I can see that your interior would lend itself admirably to picturesque description which brings me to the object of my visit. I have called upon you, Mr. LANE, in the hope of eliciting your sympathy and patronage for a work I am now compiling a work which will, I am confident, commend itself to a gentleman of your wide culture and interest in literary matters." ( Here you will look as judicial as you can, and harden your heart in advance against a new Encyclopædia, or an illustrated edition of SHAKSPEARE's works .) "The work I allude to, Mr. LANE, is entitled, Notable Nonentities of Norwood and its Neighbourhood." (Here you will nod gravely, rather taken by the title. ) "It will be published very shortly, by subscription, Mr. LANE, in two handsome quarto volumes, got up in the most sumptuous style. It is a work which has been long wanted, and which, I venture to predict, will be very widely read. It is my ambition to make it a complete biographical compendium of every living celebrity of note residing at Norwood at the present date. It will be embellished with copious illustrations, printed by an entirely new process upon India and Japanese paper; everything type, ink, paper, binding, will be of the best procurable; the publishers being determined to spare no expense in making it a book of reference superior to anything of the kind previously attempted!" ( As he pauses fur breath, you will take occasion to observe, that no doubt such a work, as he contemplates, will be an excellent thing but that, for your own part, you can dispense with any information respecting the Notabilities of Norwood, and, in short, that if he will excuse you )

"Pardon me, Mr. LANE," he interrupts, "you mistake my object. I should not dream of expecting you to subscribe to such a work. But, in my capacity of compiler, I naturally desire to leave nothing undone that care and research can effect to render the work complete and it would be incomplete indeed, were it to include no reference to so distinguished a resident as yourself!" (" Oh, pooh nonsense!" You will say at this but you will sit down again ) "Norwood is a singularly favoured locality. Sir; its charms have induced many of our foremost men to select it for their rus in urbe . Why, in this very road May I ask, by the way, if you are acquainted with Alderman MINCING? Alderman MINCING has been good enough to furnish me with many interesting details of his personal career, a photo gravured portrait of him will be included, with views of the interior and exterior of 'The Drudgeries,' and a bit from the back garden... Continue reading book >>


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