Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > American
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. I–V: American
 
The Tower of London
By Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne) (1834–1867)
 
From Punch, 1866

MR. PUNCH,My Dear Sir:—I skurcely need inform you that your excellent Tower is very pop’lar with peple from the agricultooral districks, and it was chiefly them class which I found waitin at the gates the other mornin.
  1
  I saw at once that the Tower was established on a firm basis. In the entire history of firm basisis I don’t find a basis more firmer than this one.  2
  “You have no Tower in America?” said a man in the crowd, who had somehow detected my denomination.  3
  “Alars! no,” I anserd; “we boste of our enterprise and improovements, and yit we are devoid of a Tower. America oh my onhappy country! thou hast not got no Tower! It’s a sweet Boon.”  4
  The gates was opened after awhile, and we all purchist tickets, and went into a waitin room.  5
  “My frens,” said a pale-faced little man, in black close, “this is a sad day.”  6
  “Inasmuch as to how?” I said.  7
  “I mean it is sad to think that so many peple have been killed within these gloomy walls. My frens, let us drop a tear!”  8
  “No,” I said, “you must excuse me. Others may drop one if they feel like it; but as for me, I decline. The early managers of this institootion were a bad lot, and their crimes were trooly orful; but I can’t sob for those who died four or five hundred years ago. If they was my own relations I couldn’t. It’s absurd to shed sobs over things which occurd during the rain of Henry the Three. Let us be cheerful.” I continnered. “Look at the festiv Warders, in their red flannil jackets. They are cheerful, and why should it not be thusly with us?”  9
  A Warder now took us in charge, and showed us the Trater’s Gate, the armers, and things. The Trater’s Gate is wide enuff to admit about twenty trater’s abrest, I should jedge; but beyond this, I couldn’t see that it was superior to gates in gen’ral.  10
  Traters, I will here remark, are a onfornit class of peple. If they wasn’t, they wouldn’t be traters. They conspire to bust up a country—they fail, and they’re traters. They bust her, and they become statesmen and heroes.  11
  Take the case of Gloster, afterward Old Dick the Three, who may be seen at the Tower on horseback, in a heavy tin overcoat—take Mr. Gloster’s case. Mr. G. was a conspirator of the basist dye, and if he’d failed he would have been hung on a sour apple tree. But Mr. G. succeeded, and became great. He was slewed by Col. Richmond, but he lives in history, and his equestrian figger may be seen daily for a sixpence, in conjunction with other em’nent persons, and no extra charge for the Warder’s able and bootiful lectur.  12
  There’s one king in this room who is mounted onto a foaming steed, his right hand graspin a barber’s pole. I didn’t learn his name.  13
  The room where the daggers and pistils and other weppins is kept is interestin. Among this collection of choice cuttlery I notist the bow and arrer which those hot-heded old chaps used to conduct battles with. It is quite like the bow and arrer used at this day by certain tribes of American Injuns, and they shoot ’em off with such a excellent precision that I almost sigh’d to be an Injun when I was in the Rocky Mountain regin. They are a pleasant lot them Injuns. Mr. Cooper and Dr. Catlin have told us of the red man’s wonerful eloquence, and I found it so. Our party was stopt on the plains of Utah by a band of Shoshones, whose chief said:  14
  “Brothers! the paleface is welcome. Brothers! the sun is sinking in the west, and Wa-na-bucky-she will soon cease speakin. Brothers! the poor red man belongs to a race which is fast becamin extink.”  15
  He then whooped in a shrill manner, stole all our blankets and whisky, and fled to the primeval forest to conceal his emotions.  16
  I will remark here, while on the subjeck of Injuns, that they are in the main a very shaky set, with even less sense than the Fenians, and when I hear philanthropists bewailin’ the fack that every year “carries the noble red man nearer the settin sun,” I simply have to say I’m glad of it, tho’ it is rough on the settin sun. They call you by the sweet name of Brother one minit, and the next they scalp you with their Thomashawks. But I wander. Let us return to the Tower.  17
  At one end of the room where the weppins is kept is a wax figger of Queen Elizabeth, mounted on a fiery stuffed hoss, whose glass eye flashes with pride, and whose red morocker nostril dilates hawtily, as if conscious of the royal burden he bears. I have associated Elizabeth with the Spanish Armandy. She’s mixed up with it at the Surrey Theater, where Troo to the Core is bein’ acted, and in which a full bally core is introjooced on board the Spanish Admiral’s ship, giving the audiens the idee that he intends openin a moosic hall in Plymouth the moment he conkers that town. But a very interesting drammer is Troo to the Core, notwithstandin the eccentric conduct of the Spanish Admiral; and very nice it is in Queen Elizabeth to make Martin Truegold a baronet.  18
  The Warder shows us some instruments of tortur, such as thumbscrews, throat-collars, etc., statin’ that these was conkered from the Spanish Armandy, and addin what a crooil peple the Spaniards was in them days—which elissited from a bright-eyed little girl of about twelve summers the remark that she tho’t it was rich to talk about the crooilty of the Spaniards usin thumbscrews, when he was in a Tower where so many poor peple’s heads had been cut off. This made the Warder stammer and turn red.  19
  I was so pleased with the little girl’s brightness that I could have kissed the dear child, and I would if she’d been six years older.  20
  I think my companions intended makin a day of it, for they all had sandwiches, sassiges, etc. The sad-lookin man, who had wanted us to drop a tear afore we started to go round, fling’d such quantities of sassige into his mouth that I expected to see him choke hisself to death; he said to me, in the Beauchamp Tower, where the poor prisoners writ their onhappy names on the cold walls, “This is a sad sight.”  21
  “It is indeed,” I anserd. “You’re black in the face. You shouldn’t eat sassige in public without some rehearsals beforehand. You manage it orkwardly.”  22
  “No,” he said, “I mean this sad room.”  23
  Indeed, he was quite right. Tho so long ago all these drefful things happened, I was very glad to git away from this gloomy room and go where the rich and sparklin’ Crown Jewils is kept. I was so pleased with the Queen’s Crown that it occurd to me what a agree’ble surprise it would be to send a sim’lar one home to my wife; and I asked the Warder what was the vally of a good, well-constructed Crown like that. He told me, but on cypherin up with a pencil the amount of funs I have in the Jint Stock Bank, I conclooded I’d send her a genteel silver watch instid.  24
  And so I left the Tower. It is a solid and commandin edifis, but I deny that it is cheerful. I bid it adoo without a pang.  25
  I was droven to my hotel by the most melancholly driver of a four-wheeler that I ever saw. He heaved a deep sigh as I gave him two shillings.  26
  “I’ll give you six d’s more,” I said, “if it hurts you so.”  27
  “It isn’t that,” he said, with a hartrendin groan; “it’s only a way I have. My mind’s upset to-day. I at one time tho’t I’d drive into the Thames. I’ve been readin all the daily papers to try and understand about Governor Eyre, and my mind is totterin. It’s really wonderful I didn’t drive you into the Thames.”  28
  I asked the onhappy man what his number was, so I could redily find him in case I should want him agin, and bad him good-by. And then I tho’t what a frollicsome day I’d made of it.
Respectably, etc.,
ARTEMUS WARD.    
  29
 
 
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