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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, September 25, 1841   By:

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VOL. 1.





[Illustration: T]The heir of Applebite continued to squall and thrive, to the infinite delight of his youthful mamma, who was determined that the joyful occasion of his cutting his first tooth should be duly celebrated by an evening party of great splendour; and accordingly cards were issued to the following effect:

MR. AND MRS. APPLEBITE REQUEST THE HONOUR OF 's COMPANY TO AN EVENING PARTY, On Thursday, the 12th inst. Quadrilles . An Answer will oblige .

It was the first home made party that Collumpsion had ever given; for though during his bachelorhood he had been no niggard of his hospitality, yet the confectioner had supplied the edibles, and the upholsterer arranged the decorations; but now Mrs. Applebite, with a laudable spirit of economy, converted No. 24, Pleasant terrace, into a perfect cuisine for a week preceding the eventful evening; and old John was kept in a constant state of excitement by Mrs. Waddledot, who superintended the ornamental department of these elaborate preparations.

Agamemnon felt that he was a cipher in the house, for no one condescended to notice him for three whole days, and it was with extreme difficulty that he could procure the means of "recruiting exhausted nature" at those particular hours which had hitherto been devoted to the necessary operation.

On the morning of the 12th, Agamemnon was anxiously engaged in endeavouring to acquire a knowledge of the last alterations in the figure of La Pastorale , when he fancied he heard an unusual commotion in the lower apartments of his establishment. In a few moments his name was vociferously pronounced by Mrs. Applebite, and the affrighted Collumpsion rushed down stairs, expecting to find himself another Thyestes, whose children, it is recorded, were made into a pie for his own consumption.

On entering the kitchen he perceived the cause of the uproar, although he could see nothing else, for the dense suffocating vapour with which the room was filled.

"Oh dear!" said Mrs. Applebite, "the chimney's on fire; one pound of fresh butter "

"And two pound o'lard's done it!" exclaimed Susan.

"What's to be done?" inquired Collumpsion.

"Send for my brother, sir," said Betty.

"Where does he live?" cried old John.

"On No. 746," replied Betty.

"Where's that?" cried the whole assembled party.

"I don't know, but it's a hackney coach as he drives," said Betty.

A general chorus of "Pshaw!" greeted this very unsatisfactory rejoinder. Another rush of smoke into the kitchen rendered some more active measures necessary, and, after a short discussion, it was decided that John and Betty should proceed to the roof of the house with two pailsful of water, whilst Agamemnon remained below to watch the effects of the measure. When John and Betty arrived at the chimney pots, the pother was so confusing, that they were undecided which was the rebellious flue! but, in order to render assurance doubly sure, they each selected the one they conceived to be the delinquent, and discharged the contents of their buckets accordingly, without any apparent diminution of the intestine war which was raging in the chimney. A fresh supply from a cistern on the roof, similarly applied, produced no better effects, and Agamemnon, in an agony of doubt, rushed up stairs to ascertain the cause of non abatement. Accidentally popping his head into the drawing room, what was his horror at beholding the beautiful Brussels carpet, so lately "redolent of brilliant hues," one sheet of inky liquid, into which Mrs. Waddledot (who had followed him) instantly swooned. Agamemnon, in his alarm, never thought of his wife's mother, but had rushed half way up the next flight of stairs, when a violent knocking arrested his ascent, and, with the fear of the whole fire brigade before his eyes, he re rushed to open the door, the knocker of which kept up an incessant clamour both in and out of the house... Continue reading book >>

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