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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, December 25, 1841
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, December 25, 1841" ***

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VOL. 1.


       *       *       *       *       *


Mr. CHOKEPEAR is, to the finger-nails, a respectable man. The tax-gatherer
was never known to call at his door a second time for the same rate; he
takes the sacrament two or three times a year, and has in his cellar the
oldest port in the parish. He has more than once subscribed to the fund
for the conversion of the Jews; and, as a proof of his devotion to the
interests of the established church, it was he who started the
subscription to present the excellent Doctor MANNAMOUTH with a superb
silver tea-pot, cream-jug, and spoons. He did this, as he has often
proudly declared, to show to the infidel world that there were some men in
the parish who were true Christians. He has acquired a profound respect
for Sir PETER LAURIE, since the alderman's judgments upon "the starving
villains who would fly in the face of their Maker;" and, having a very
comfortable balance at his banker's, considers all despair very weak, very
foolish, and very sinful. He, however, blesses himself that for such
miscreants there is Newgate; and more--there is Sir PETER LAURIE.

Mr. CHOKEPEAR loves Christmas! Yes, he is an Englishman, and he will tell
you that he loves to keep Christmas-day in the true old English fashion.
How does he keep it?

It is eight o'clock, and Mr. CHOKEPEAR rises from his goose-down. He
dresses himself, says his short morning thanksgiving, and being an
economist of time, unconsciously polishes his gold watch-chain the while.
He descends to the breakfast parlour, and receives from lips of ice, the
wishes of a happy Christmas, pronounced by sons and daughters, to whom, as
he himself declares, he is "the best of fathers"--the most indulgent of

The church-bell tolls, and the CHOKEPEARS, prepare for worship. What
meekness, what self-abasement sits on the Christian face of TOBIAS
CHOKEPEAR as he walks up the aisle to his cosey pew; where the woman, with
turned key and hopes of Christmas half-crown lighting her withered face,
sinks a curtsey as she lets "the miserable sinner" in; having carefully
pre-arranged the soft cushions and hassocks for the said sinner, his wife,
his sons, and daughters. The female CHOKEPEARS with half the produce of a
Canadian winter's hunting in their tippets, muffs, and dresses, and with
their noses, like pens stained with red ink,--prepare themselves to
receive the religious blessings of the day. They then venture to look
around the church, and recognising CHOKEPEARS of kindred nature, though
not of name, in pews--(none of course among the _most_ "miserable sinners"
on the bare benches)--they smile a bland salutation, and--but hush! the
service is about to begin.

And now will TOBIAS CHOKEPEAR perform the religious duties of a Christian!
Look at him, how he feeds upon every syllable of the minister. He turns
the Prayer-book familiarly, as if it were his bank account, and, in a
moment, lights upon the prayers set apart for the day. With what a
composed, assured face he listens to the decalogue--how firm his voice in
the responses--and though the effrontery of scandal avows that he shifts
somewhat from Mrs. CHOKEPEAR'S eye at the mention of "the
maid-servant"--we do not believe it.

It is thus CHOKEPEAR begins his Christmas-day. He comes to celebrate the
event of the Incarnation of all goodness; to return "his most humble and
hearty thanks" for the glory that Providence has vouchsafed to him in
making him a Christian. He--Tobias CHOKEPEAR--might have been born a
Gentoo! Gracious powers! he might have been doomed to trim the lamps in
the Temple of Juggernaut--he might have come into this world to sweep the
marble of the Mosque at Mecca--he might have been a faquir, with iron and
wooden pins "stuck in his mortified bare flesh"--he might, we shudder to
think upon the probability, have brandished his club as a New Zealander;
and his stomach, in a state of heathen darkness to the humanising beauties
of goose and apple-sauce, might, with unblessed appetite, have fed upon
the flesh of his enemies. He might, as a Laplander, have driven a sledge,
and fed upon walrus-blubber; and now is he an Englishman--a Christian--a
carriage holder, and an eater of venison!

It is plain that all these thoughts--called up by the eloquence of Doctor
MANNAMOUTH, who preaches on the occasion--are busy in the bosom of
CHOKEPEAR; and he sits on his soft cushion, with his eyelids declined,
swelling and melting with gratitude for his blissful condition. Yes; he
feels the glorious prerogative of his birth--the exquisite beauty of his
religion. He ought to feel himself a happy man; and, glancing round his
handsomely-appointed pew--he _does_.

"A sweet discourse--a very sweet discourse," says CHOKEPEAR to several
respectable acquaintance, as the organ plays the congregation out; and
CHOKEPEAR looks round about him airily, contentedly; as though his
conscience was as unseared as the green holly that decorates the pews; as
though his heart was fresh, and red, and spotless as its berries.

Well, the religious ceremonies of the day being duly observed, CHOKEPEAR
resolves to enjoy Christmas in the true old English fashion. Oh! ye gods,
that bless the larders of the respectable,--what a dinner! The board is
enough to give Plenty a plethora, and the whole house is odoriferous as
the airs of Araby. And then, what delightful evidences of old observing
friendship on the table! There is a turkey--"only a little lower" than an
ostrich--despatched all the way from an acquaintance in Norfolk, to smoke
a Christmas salutation to good Mr. CHOKEPEAR. Another county sends a
goose--another pheasants--another brawn; and CHOKEPEAR, with his eye half
slumbering in delight upon the gifts, inwardly avows that the friendship
of friends really well to do is a fine, a noble thing.

The dinner passes off most admirably. Not one single culinary accident has
marred a single dish. The pudding is delicious; the custards are something
better than manna--the mince pies a conglomeration of ambrosial sweets.
And then the Port! Mr. CHOKEPEAR smacks his lips like a whip, and gazes on
the bee's wing, as HERSCHELL would gaze upon a new-found star, "swimming
in the blue profound." Mr. CHOKEPEAR wishes all a merry Christmas, and
tosses off the wine, its flavour by no means injured by the declared
conviction of the drinker, that "there isn't such another glass in the

The evening comes on. Cards, snap-dragons, quadrilles, country-dances,
with a hundred devices to make people eat and drink, send night into
morning; and it may be at six or seven on the twenty-sixth of December,
our friend CHOKEPEAR, a little mellow, but not at all too mellow for the
season, returns to his sheets, and when he rises declares that he has
passed a very merry Christmas. If the human animal were all stomach--all
one large paunch--we should agree with CHOKEPEAR that he _had_ passed a
merry Christmas: but was it the Christmas of a good man or a Christian?
Let us see.

We have said all CHOKEPEAR'S daughters dined with him. We forgot: one was
absent. Some seven years ago she married a poorer husband, and poverty was
his only, but certainly his sufficient fault; and her father vowed that
she should never again cross his threshold. The Christian keeps his word.
He has been to church to celebrate the event which preached to all men
mutual love and mutual forgiveness, and he comes home, and with rancour in
his heart--keeps a merry Christmas!

We have briefly touched upon the banquet spread before CHOKEPEAR. There is
a poor debtor of his in Horsemonger-lane prison--a debtor to the amount of
at least a hundred shillings. Does _he_ dine on Christmas-day? Oh! yes;
Mr. CHOKEPEAR will read in _The Times_ of Monday how the under-marshal
served to each prisoner a pound of beef, a slice of pudding, and a pint of
porter! The man might have spent the day in freedom with his wife and
children; but Mr. CHOKEPEAR in his pew thought not of his debtor, and the
creditor at least--kept a merry Christmas!

How many shivering wretches pass CHOKEPEAR'S door! How many, with the
wintry air biting their naked limbs, and freezing within them the very
springs of human hope! In CHOKEPEAR'S house there are, it may be, a dozen
coats, nay, a hundred articles of cast-off dress, flung aside for the
moth--piles of stuff and flannel, that would at this season wrap the limbs
of the wretched in comparative Elysium. Does Mr. CHOKEPEAR, the
respectable, the Christian CHOKEPEAR, order these (to him unnecessary)
things to be given to the naked? He thinks not of them; for he wears
fleecy hosiery next his skin, and being in all things dressed in defiance
of the season--keeps a merry Christmas.

Gentle reader, we wish you a merry Christmas; but to be truly, wisely
merry, it must not be the Christmas of the CHOKEPEARS. That is the
Christmas of the belly: keep you the Christmas of the heart. Give--give.


       *       *       *       *       *


There is in the city a noted place for deposits, much resorted to by
certain parties, who are in the habit of giving drafts upon it very
freely, when applied to for payment. We regret to state that if the
severity of the weather continues, a stoppage is expected in the quarter
hinted at, and as the issues are at all times exceedingly copious, the
worst results may be anticipated. Our readers will at once perceive that,
in attributing such an effect as total stoppage to such a cause as
continued frost, we can only point to one quarter which is in the habit of
answering drafts; and, as further delicacy would be useless, we avow at
once that _Aldgate Pump_ is here alluded to. We understand that, as the
customers are chiefly people of straw, it is intended to see what effect
straw will have in averting the calamity. We were sorry to see the other
day a very large _bill_ upon a quarter hitherto so respectable. We are
aware that its exposed condition gives every one a handle against it, and
we are, therefore, the more circumspect in giving currency to every idle
rumour. We should be no less sorry to see _Aldgate Pump_ stop from
external causes, than to know that it had been swamped by its own
excessive issues. Though as yet quite above water, it is feared that it
will soon be in _an-ice_ predicament.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Arrivals._--Jack Frost, from the North.

_Departures._--Several members of the Swellmobocracy have, within the last
few days, quitted Deptford for South Australia. The periods of their
intended sojourn are various.

_Changes._--Ned Morris has changed his collar, but continues his shirt for
the present. Among the other changes we have to record one effected by Sam
Smasher, of a counterfeit sovereign.

It is a remarkable fact that the weathercocks have recently changed their
quarters, and have left the West in favour of the East: a predilection of
astounding vulgarity.

Timothy Tomkins has had another splendid turn-out from his lodgings, the
landlord having complained of want of punctuality in payments.

       *       *       *       *       *



_Clodpole, Dec. 23, 1841_.


Here I am, you see, keeping Christmas, and having no end of fun amongst
the jolly innocent grubs that vegetate in these rural districts. All I
regret is that you are not here. I would give a ten-pound note to see you,
if I had it;--I would, indeed--so help me several strong men and a

We had a great night in London before I started, only I got rascally
screwed: not exactly sewed up, you know but hit under the wing, so that I
could not very well fly. I managed to break the window on the third-floor
landing of my lodgings, and let my water-jug fall slap through the
wash-hand basin upon a looking-glass that was lying face upwards
underneath; but as I was off early in the morning it did not signify.

The people down here are a queer lot; but I have hunted up two or three
jolly cocks, and we contrive to keep the place alive between us. Of
course, all the knockers came off the first night I arrived, and to-morrow
we are going to climb out upon the roof of my abode, and make a tour along
the tops of the neighbouring houses, putting turfs on the tops of all the
practicable chimneys. Jack Randall--such a jolly chick! you must be
introduced to him--has promised to tie a cord across the pavement at the
corner, from the lamp-post to a door-scraper; and we have made a careful
estimate that, out of every half-dozen people who pass, six will fall
down, four cut their faces more or less arterially, and two contuse their
foreheads. I, you may imagine, shall wait at home all the evening for the
crippled ones, and Jack is to go halves in what I get for plastering them
up. We may be so lucky as to procure a case of concussion--who knows? Jack
is a real friend: he cannot be of much use to me in the way of
recommendation, because the people here think he is a little wild; but as
far as seriously injuring the parishioners goes, he declares he will lose
no chance. He says he knows some gipsies on the common who have got
scarlet-fever in their tent; and he is going to give them half-a-crown if
they can bring it into the village, to be paid upon the breaking out of
the first undoubted case. This will fag the Union doctor to death, who is
my chief opponent, and I shall come in for some of the private patients.

My surgery is not very well stocked at present, but I shall write to
Ansell and Hawke after Christmas. I have got a pickle-bottle full of
liquorice-powder, which has brought me in a good deal already, and
assisted to perform several wonderful cures. I administer it in powders,
two drachms in six, to be taken morning, noon, and night; and it appears
to be a valuable medicine for young practitioners, as you may give a large
dose, without producing any very serious effects. Somebody was insane
enough to send to me the other night for a pill and draught; and if Jack
Randall had not been there, I should have been regularly stumped, having
nothing but Epsom salts. He cut a glorious calomel pill out of pipeclay,
and then we concocted a black-draught of salts and bottled stout, with a
little patent boot-polish. Next day, the patient finding himself worse,
sent for me, and I am trying the exhibition of linseed-meal and rose-pink
in small doses, under which treatment he is gradually recovering. It has
since struck me that a minute portion of sulphuric acid enters into the
composition of the polish, possibly causing the indisposition which he
describes "as if he was tied all up in a double-knot, and pulled tight."

I have had one case of fracture in the leg of Mrs. Finkey's Italian
greyhound, which Jack threw a flower-pot at in the dark the other night. I
tied it up in two splints cut out of a clothes-peg in a manner which I
stated to be the most popular at the Hôtel Dieu at Paris; and the old girl
was so pleased that she has asked me to keep Christmas-day at her house,
where she burns the Yule log, makes a bowl of wassail, and all manner of
games. We are going to bore a hole in the Yule log with an old trephine,
and ram it chuck-full of gunpowder; and Jack's little brother is to catch
six or seven frogs, under pain of a severe licking, which are to be put
into one of the vegetable dishes. The old girl has her two nieces home for
the holidays--devilish handsome, larky girls--so we have determined to
take some mistletoe, and give a practical demonstration of the action of
the _orbicularis oris_ and _ievatores labiæ superioris et inferioris_. If
either of them have got any tin, I shall try and get all right with them;
but if the brads don't flourish I shall leave it alone, for a wife is just
the worst piece of furniture a fellow can bring into his house, especially
if he inclines to conviviality; although to be sure a medical man ought to
consider her as part of his stock in trade, to be taken at a fair
valuation amidst his stopple-bottles, mortars, measures, and pill-rollers.

If business does not tumble in well, in the course of a few weeks, we have
another plan in view; but I only wish to resort to it on emergency, in
case we should be found out. The railway passes at the bottom of my
garden, and Jack thinks, with a few pieces of board, he can contrive to
run the engine and tender off the line, which is upon a tolerably high
embankment. I need not tell you all this is in strict confidence; and if
the plan does not jib, which is not very probable, will bring lots of
grist to the mill. I have put the engineer and stoker at a sure guinea a
head for the inquest; and the concussions in the second class will be of
unknown value. If practicable, I mean to have an elderly gentleman "who
must not be moved under any consideration;" so I shall get him into my
house for the term of his indisposition, which may possibly be a very long
one. I can give him up my own bedroom, and sleep myself in an old
harpsichord, which I bought cheap at a sale, and disembowelled into a
species of deceptive bed. I think the hint might put "people about to
marry" up to a dodge in the way of spare beds. Everybody now sees through
the old chiffonier and wardrobe turn-up impositions, but the grand piano
would beat them; only it should be kept locked, for fear any one given to
harmony might commence playing a fantasia on the bolster.

Our parishioners have very little idea of the Cider-cellars and Coal-hole,
both of which places they take in their literal sense. I think that, with
Jack's assistance, we can establish something of the kind at the Swan,
which is the principal inn. Should it not succeed, I shall turn my
attention to getting up a literary and scientific institution, and give a
lecture. I have not yet settled on what subject, but Jack votes for
Astronomy, for two reasons: firstly, because the room is dark nearly all
the time; and secondly, because you can smug in some pots of half-and-half
behind the transparent orrery. He says the dissolving views in London put
him up to the value of a dark exhibition. We also think we can manage a
concert, which will he sure of a good attendance if we say it is for some
parish charity. Jack has volunteered a solo on the cornet-à-piston: he has
never tried the instrument, but he says he is sure he can play it, as it
looks remarkably easy hanging up in the windows of the music-shops. He
thinks one might drill the children and get up the Macbeth music.

It is turning very cold to-night, and I think will turn to a frost. Jack
has thrown some water on the pavement before my door; and should it
freeze, I have given strict orders to my old housekeeper not to strew any
ashes, or sand, or sawdust, or any similar rubbish about. People's bones
are very brittle in frosty weather, and this may bring a job. I hope it

If, in your London rambles, as you seem to be everywhere at once, you
pitch upon Manhug, Rapp, or Jones, give my love to them, and tell them to
keep their powder dry, and not to think of practising in the country,
which is after all a species of social suicide. And with the best
compliments of the season to yourself, and "through the medium of the
columns of your valuable journal" to your readers, believe me to remain,

My dear old bean,

Yours very considerably,


       *       *       *       *       *


  Oh! let me from the festive board
    To thee, my mother, flee;
  And be my secret sorrow shared
    By thee--by only thee!

  In vain they spread the glitt'ring store,
    The rich repast, in vain;
  Let others seek enjoyment there,
    To me 'tis only pain.

  There _was_ a word of kind advice--
    A whisper, soft and low;
  But oh! that _one_ resistless smile!
    Alas! why was it so?

  No blame, no blame, my mother dear,
    Do I impute to _you_.
  But since I ate that currant tart
    I don't know what to do!

       *       *       *       *       *



MR. AUGUSTUS SWIVEL, (_Professor of the Drum and Mouth-organ, and
Stage-Manager to_ PUNCH'S _Theatre_,)



We has dropped the curtain and rowled up the baize on the first
half-annivel performance of "PUNCH." The pleasing task now dewolves upon
me, on behoof of the Lessee and the whole strength off the Puppets, to
come forrard and acknowledge the liberal showers of applause and 'apence
what a generous and enlightened British public has powered upon the
performances and pitched into our goss. Steamilated by this St. Swiffin's
of success, the Lessee fearlessly launches his bark upon the high road of
public favor, and enters his Theaytre for the grand steeple-chase of
general approbation.

Ourn hasn't been a bed of roses. We've had our rivals and our troubles. We
came out as a great hint, and everybody took us.

First and foremost, the great Juggeler in Printing-house Square, walks in
like the Sheriff and takes our comic effects.

Then the Black Doctor, as blowed the bellows to the late ministerial
organ, starts a fantoccini and collars our dialect.

Then, the unhappy wight what acts as dry-nuss to his _Grandmother_,
finding his writing on the pavement with red and white chalk and
sentiment, won't friz,--gives over appealing to the sympathies, kidnaps
our comic offspring, and (as our brother dramatist Muster Sheridan says)
disfigures 'em to make 'em look like his own.

Then, the whole biling of our other hoppositioners who puts their
shoulders together, to "hoist up a donkey," tries to ornament their werry
wulgar exhibitions with our vitticisms.

Now this was cruel, deceitful condick on the part of the juggeler,--a side
wind blow from the organ,--didn't show much of the milk of human kindness
with the chalk; and as for the ass,--but no,--brotherly love is our
weakness, and we throws a veil over the donkey.

During the recess the exterior of the Theaytre will be re-decorated by
Muster Phiz; and the first artists in pen, ink, black-lead, and box-wood,
has been secured to see if any improvements _can_ be made in the interior.

I have the honor to inform you that we shall commence our next campaign on
January 1, 1842, with renewed henergy, all the old-established wooden
heads, and several new hands.

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of "PUNCH," the Puppets, the
Properrieters, and the Orchestra (which is myself), I most respectfully
touches my hat, and wishes you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
_Au rewoir_.


       *       *       *       *       *

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