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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, October 23, 1841   By:

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VOL. 1.



Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk was a tall young man, a thin young man, a pale young man, and, as some of his friends asserted, a decidedly knock kneed young man. Moreover he was a young man belonging to and connected with the highly respectable firm of Messrs. Tims and Swindle, attorneys and bill discounters, of Thavies' inn, Holborn; from the which highly respectable firm Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk received a salary of one pound one shilling per week, in requital for his manifold services. The vocation in which Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk laboured partook peculiarly of the peripatetic; for at all sorts of hours, and through all sorts of streets was Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk daily accustomed to transport his anatomy presenting overdue bills, inquiring after absent acceptors, invisible indorsers, and departed drawers, for his masters, and wearing out, as he Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk eloquently expressed it, "no end of boots for himself." Such was the occupation by which Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk lived; but such was not the peculiar path to fame for which his soul longed. No! "he had seen plays, and longed to blaze upon the stage a star of light."

That portion of time which was facetiously called by Messrs. Tims and Swindle "the leisure" of Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, being some eight hours out of the twenty four, was spent in poring over the glorious pages of the immortal bard; and in the desperate enthusiasm of his heated genius would he, Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, suddenly burst forth in some of the most exciting passages, and with Stentorian lungs "render night hideous" to the startled inhabitant of the one pair back, adjoining the receptacle of his own truckle bed and mortal frame.

Luck, whether good or evil, begat Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk an introduction to some other talented young gentlemen, who had so far progressed in histrionic acquirements, that from spouting themselves, they had taken to spouting their watches, and other stray articles of small value, to enable them to pay the charges of a private theatre, where, as often as they could raise the needful, they astonished and delighted their wondering friends. Among this worshipful society was Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk adopted and enrolled as a trusty and well beloved member; and in the above named private theatre, in suit of solemn black, slightly relieved by an enormous white handkerchief, and a well chalked countenance, did Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk, at or about the hour of half past eight being precisely sixty minutes behind the period announced, in consequence of the non arrival of the one fiddle and ditto flute comprising, or rather that ought to have comprised, the orchestra made his début, and a particularly nervous bow to the good folks there assembled, "as and for" the character "of Hamlet, the Danish Prince."

To describe the "exclamations of delight," the "tornadoes of applause," the earthquakes of rapture, or the "breathless breathing" of the entranced audience, would beat Mr. Bunn into fits, and the German company into fiddle cases; so, like a newspaper legacy, which is the only one that never pays duty, we " leave it to our reader's imagination."

The die was cast. Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk's former avocations became intensely irksome if he served a writ it was no longer a "writ of right." Copies for "Jenkins" were consigned to "Tompkins;" "Brown" declined pleading to "Smith" and Smith declared off Brown's declaration. In inquiries after "solvent acceptors," Mr. Horatio Fitzharding Fitzfunk was still more abroad. In the mystification of his brains, all answers seemed to be delivered "per contra." Forlorn hopes on three and sixpenny stamps were converted into the circulating medium; "good actors" were considered "good men" in the very reverse of Shylock's acceptation of the term; and astonished indorsers succeeded in "raising the wind" upon "kites" they would have bet any odds no "wind in the world could induce to fly... Continue reading book >>

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