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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 100, January 10, 1891   By:

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VOL. 100.

January 10, 1891.




[The eminent Author writes to us as follows: "How's this for a Saga? Do you know what a Saga is? Nor do I, but this is one in spite of what anybody may say. History be blowed! Who cares about history? Mix up your dates and your incidents, and fill up with any amount of simple human passions. Then you'll get a Saga? After that you can write a Proem and an Epilogue. They must have absolutely nothing to do with the story, but you can put in some Northern legends, and a tale about MAHOMET (by the way, I've written a play about him) which are bound to tell, though, of course, you were not bound to tell them. Ha, ha! who talked about thunderstorms, and passions, and powers and emotions, and sulphur mines, and heartless Governors, and wicked brothers? Read on, my bonny boy. Vous m'en direz des nouvelles , but don't call this a novel. It's a right down regular Saga." C.A.]



[Illustration: The Characters Personally Conducted by the Author to Reykjavik.]

STIFFUN ORRORS was a gigantic fair haired man, whose muscles were like the great gnarled round heads of a beech tree. When a man possesses that particular shape of muscle he is sure to be a hard nut to crack. And so poor PATRICKSEN found him, merely getting his own wretched back broken for his trouble. GORGON GORGONSEN Was Governor of Iceland, and lived at Reykjavik, the capital, which was not only little and hungry, but was also a creeping settlement with a face turned to America. It was a poor lame place, with its wooden feet in the sea. Altogether a strange capital. In the month of Althing GORGON took his daughter to Thingummy vellir, where there were wrestling matches. It came to the turn of PATRICKSEN and STIFFUN. STIFFUN took him with one arm; then, curling one leg round his head and winding the other round his waist, he planted his head in his chest, and crushing his ribs with one hand he gave a mighty heave, and clasping the ground, as with the hoofs of an ox, he flung him some two hundred yards away, and went and married RACHEL the Governor's daughter. That night he broke PATRICKSEN's back, as if he had been a stick of sugar candy. After this he took his wife home, and often beat her, or set his mother on her. But one day she happened to mention PATRICKSEN, so he fled, cowed, humiliated, cap in hand, to Manxland, but left to her her child, her liberator, her FASON, so that she might span her little world of shame and pain on the bridge of Hope's own rainbow. She did this every day, and no one in all Iceland, rugged, hungry, cold Iceland, knew how she did it. It was a pretty trick.


This is the Isle of Man, the island of MATT MYLCHREEST, and NARY CROWE, but plenty of vultures, the island of Deemsters, and Keys, and Kirk Maughold, and Port y Vullin. Here at the Lague lived ADAM FATSISTER, the Deputy Governor, who had been selected for that post because he owned five hundred hungry acres, six hungrier sons, a face like an angel's in homespun, a flaccid figure, and a shrewd faced wife, named RUTH. Hither came STIFFUN, to beg shelter. The footman opened the door to him, but would have closed it had not ADAM, with a lusty old oath, bidden him to let the man in. Hereupon STIFFUN's face softened, and the footman's dropped; but ORRORS, with an Icelander's inborn courtesy, picked it up, dusted it, and returned it to its owner. Shortly afterwards, STIFFUN became a bigamist and a wrecker, and had another son, whom, in honour of the Manxland Parliament, he christened MICHAEL MOONKEYS, and left him to be cared for by old ADAM, whose daughter's name was GREEBA. STIFFUN, as I have said, was a wrecker, a wrecker on strictly Homeric principles, but a wrecker, nevertheless. When storm winds blew, he was a pitcher and tosser on the ocean, but, like other pitchers, he went to the bad once too often, and got broken on the rocks... Continue reading book >>

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