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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 99, December 13, 1890   By:

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PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 99.

December 13, 1890.

MR. PUNCH'S PRIZE NOVELS.

NO. IX. THE CURSE OF COGNAC.

( By WATER DECANT, Author of "Chaplin off his Feet," "All Sorts of Editions for Men," "The Nuns in Dilemma," "The Cream he Tried," "Blue the Money Naughty boy," "The Silver Gutter Snipe," "All for a Farden Fare," "The Roley Hose," "Caramel of Stickinesse," &c., &c., &c. )

[Of this story the Author writes to us as follows: "I can honestly recommend it, as calculated to lower the exaggerated cheerfulness which is apt to prevail at Christmas time. I consider it, therefore, to be eminently suited for a Christmas Annual. Families are advised to read it in detachments of four or five at a time. Married men who owe their wives' mothers a grudge should lock them into a bare room, with a guttering candle and this story. Death will be certain and not painless. I've got one or two rods in pickle for the publishers. You wait and see. W.D."]

CHAPTER I.

[Illustration]

GEORGE GINSLING was alone in his College rooms at Cambridge. His friends had just left him. They were quite the tip top set in Christ's College, and the ashes of the cigarettes they had been smoking lay about the rich Axminster carpet. They had been talking about many things, as is the wont of young men, and one of them had particularly bothered GEORGE by asking him why he had refused a seat in the University Trial Eights after rowing No. 5 in his College boat. GEORGE had no answer ready, and had replied angrily. Now, he thought of many answers. This made him nervous. He paced quickly up and down the deserted room, sipping his seventh tumbler of brandy, as he walked. It was his invariable custom to drink seven tumblers of neat brandy every night to steady himself, and his College career had, in consequence, been quite unexceptionable up to the present moment. He used playfully to remind his Dean of PORSON's drunken epigram, and the good man always accepted this as an excuse for any false quantities in GEORGE's Greek Iambics. But to night, as I have said, GEORGE was nervous with a strange nervousness, and he, therefore, went to bed, having previously blown out his candle and placed his Waterbury watch under his pillow, on the top of which sat a Devil wearing a thick jersey worked with large green spots on a yellow ground.

CHAPTER II.

Now this Devil was a Water Devil of the most pronounced type. His head quarters were on the Thames at Barking, where there is a sewage outfall, and he had lately established a branch office on the Cam, where he did a considerable business.

Occasionally, he would run down to Cambridge himself, to consult with his manager, and on these occasions he would indulge his playful humour by going out at night and sitting on the pillows of Undergraduates.

This was one of his nights out, and he had chosen GEORGE GINSLING's pillow as his seat.

GEORGE woke up with a start. What was this feeling in his throat? Had he swallowed his blanket, or his cocoa nut matting? No, they were still in their respective places. He tore out his tongue and his tonsils, and examined them. They were on fire. This puzzled him. He replaced them. As he did so, a shower of red hot coppers fell from his mouth on to his feet. The agony was awful. He howled, and danced about the room. Then he dashed at the whiskey, but the bottle ducked as he approached, and he failed to tackle it. Poor GEORGE, you see, was a rowing man, not a football player. Then he knew what he wanted. In his keeping room were six carafes , full of Cambridge water, and a dozen bottles of Hunyádi Janos. He rushed in, and hurled himself upon the bottles with all his weight. The crash was dreadful. The foreign bottles, being poor, frail things, broke at once. He lapped up the liquid like a thirsty dog. The carafes survived. He crammed them with their awful contents, one after another, down his throat... Continue reading book >>


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