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The Complete Works of Artemus Ward — Part 5: The London Punch Letters   By: (1834-1867)

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Complete Works of Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne) Part 5



With a biographical sketch by Melville D. Landon, "Eli Perkins"


The London Punch Letters.

5.1. Arrival in London.

5.2. Personal Recollections.

5.3. The Green Lion and Oliver Cromwell.

5.4. At the Tomb of Shakespeare.

5.5. Introduction to the Club.

5.6. The Tower of London.

5.7. Science and Natural History.

5.8. A Visit to the British Museum.


P.S. June 16th. Artemus Ward really arrived in London yesterday. He has come to England at last, though, like "La Belle Helene at the Adelphi Theatre, he "has been some time in preparation."

JOHN CAMDEN HOTTEN, Piccadilly, W. Jan. 30, 1865.


MR. PUNCH: My dear Sir, You prob'ly didn't meet my uncle Wilyim when he was on these shores. I jedge so from the fack that his pursoots wasn't litrary. Commerce, which it has been trooly observed by a statesman, or somebody, is the foundation stone onto which a nation's greatness rests, glorious Commerce was Uncle Wilyim's fort. He sold soap. It smelt pretty, and redily commanded two pents a cake. I'm the only litrary man in our fam'ly. It is troo, I once had a dear cuzzun who wrote 22 verses onto "A Child who nearly Died of the Measles, O!" but as he injoodiciously introjudiced a chorious at the end of each stansy, the parrents didn't like it at all. The father in particler wept afresh, assaulted my cuzzun, and said he never felt so ridicklus in his intire life. The onhappy result was that my cuzzun abandined poetry forever, and went back to shoemakin, a shattered man.

My Uncle Wilyim disposed of his soap, and returned to his nativ land with a very exolted opinyon of the British public. "It is a edycated community," said he; "they're a intellectooal peple. In one small village alone I sold 50 cakes of soap, incloodin barronial halls, where they offered me a ducal coronet, but I said no give it to the poor." This was the way Uncle Wilyim went on. He told us, however, some stories that was rather too much to be easily swallerd. In fack, my Uncle Wilyim was not a emblem of trooth. He retired some years ago on a hansum comptency derived from the insurance money he received on a rather shaky skooner he owned, and which turned up while lyin at a wharf one night, the cargo havin fortnitly been removed the day afore the disastriss calamty occurd. Uncle Wilyim said it was one of the most sing'ler things he ever heard of; and, after collectin the insurance money, he bust into a flood of tears, and retired to his farm in Pennsylvany. He was my uncle by marriage only. I do not say that he wasn't a honest man. I simply say that if you have a uncle, and bitter experunce tells you it is more profitable in a pecoonery pint of view to put pewter spoons instid of silver ones onto the table when that uncle dines with you in a frenly way I simply say, there is sumthun wrong in our social sistim, which calls loudly for reform.

I 'rived on these shores at Liverpool, and proceeded at once to London. I stopt at the Washington Hotel in Liverpool, because it was named after a countryman of mine who didn't get his living by makin' mistakes, and whose mem'ry is dear to civilized peple all over the world, because he was gentle and good as well as trooly great. We read in Histry of any number of great individooals, but how few of 'em, alars! should we want to take home to supper with us! Among others, I would call your attention to Alexander the Great, who conkerd the world, and wept because he couldn't do it sum more, and then took to gin and seltzer, gettin' tight every day afore dinner with the most disgustin' reg'larity, causin' his parunts to regret they hadn't 'prenticed him in his early youth to a biskit baker, or some other occupation of a peaceful and quiet character... Continue reading book >>

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