The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vols. IV: American
Artemus Ward in London
By Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne) (18341867)
From Complete Works of Artemus Ward
YOULL be glad to learn that Ive made a good impression onto the mind of the lanlord of the Greenlion tavern. He made a speech about me last night. Risin in the bar he spoke as follers, there bein over 20 individooals present: This North American has been a inmate of my ouse over two weeks, yit he hasnt made no attempt to scalp any member of my famly. He hasnt broke no cups or sassers, or furnitur of any kind. (Hear, hear.) I find I can trust him with lited candles. He eats his wittles with a knife and a fork. Peple of this kind should be encurridged. I purpose is elth! (Loud plaws.)
What could I do but modestly get up and express a fervint hope that the Atlantic Cable would bind the two countries still more closely together? The lanlord said my speech was full of orignality, but his idee was the old stage coach was more safer, and he thot peple would indors that opinyin in doo time.
Im gettin on exceedin well in London. I see now, however, that I made a mistake in orderin my close afore I left home. The trooth is the taler in our little villige owed me for a pig and I didnt see any other way of gettin my pay. Ten years ago these close would no doubt have been fashnble, and perhaps they would be ekally simlar ten years hens. But now theyre diffrently. The taler said he knowd they was all right, because he had a brother in Wales who kept him informed about London fashins reglar. This was a infamus falsehood. But as the ballud says (which I heard a genlman in a new soot of black close and white kid gloves sing tother night), Never dont let us Despise a Man because he wears a Raggid Coat! I dont know as we do, by the way, tho we genrally get out of his way pretty rapid; probly on account of the pity which tears our boosums for his onhappy condition.
This last remark is a sirkastic and witherin thrust at them blotid peple who live in gilded saloons. I thot Id explain my meanin to you. I frekently have to explain the meanin of my remarks. I know one manand hes a man of varid complishmentswho often reads my articles over 20 times afore he can make anything of em at all. Our skoolmaster to home says this is a pecoolerarity of geneyus. My wife says it is a pecoolerarity of infernal nonsens. Shes a exceedin practycal woman. I luv her muchly, however, and humer her little ways. Its a recklis falshood that she henpecks me, and the young man in our neighborhood who said to me one evenin, as I was mistenin my diafram with a gentle cocktail at the villige tavunwho said to me in these very langwidge, Go home, old man, onless you desires to have another teapot throwd at you by B. J., probly regrets havin said so. I said, Betsy Jane is my wifes front name, gentle yooth, and I permits no person to alood to her as B. J. outside of the family circle, of which I am it principally myself. Your other observations I scorn and disgust, and I must pollish you off. He was a able-bodied young man, and, remoovin his coat, he inquired if I wanted to be ground to powder? I said, Yes: if there was a Powder-grindist handy, nothin would ford me greater pleasure, when he struck me a painful blow into my right eye, causin me to make a rapid retreat into the fireplace. I hadnt no idee that the enemy was so well organised. But I rallied and went for him, in a rayther vigris style for my time of life. His parunts lived near by, and I will simply state 15 minits had only elapst after the first act when he was carried home on a shutter. His mama met the sollum procession at the door, and after keerfully looking her orfspring over, she said, My son, I see how it is distinctually. Youve been foolin round a Trashin Masheen. You went in at the place where they put the grain in, cum out with the straw, and you got up into the thingamyjig, and let the horses tred on you, didnt you, my son? The pen of no liven Orthur could describe that disfortnit young mans sittywation more clearer. But I was sorry for him, and I went and nussed him till he got well. His reglar original father being absent to the war, I told him Id be a father to him myself. He smilt a sickly smile, and said Id already been wus than two fathers to him.
I will here obsarve that fitin orter be allus avided, excep in extreem cases. My principle is, if a man smites me on the right cheek Ill turn my left to him, probly; but if he insinooates that my granmother wasnt all right, Ill punch his hed. But fitin is misble bisniss, genrally speakin, and whenever any enterprisin countryman of mine cums over here to scoop up a Briton in the prize ring Im allus excessively tickled when he gets scooped hisself, which it is a sad fack has thus far been the casemy only sorrer bein that tother feller wasnt scooped likewise. Its diffrently with scullin boats, which is a manly sport, and I can only explain Mr. Hamils resunt defeat in this country on the grounds that he wasnt used to British water. I hope this explanation will be entirely satisfactry to all.
As I remarked afore, Im gettin on well. Im aware that Im in the great metroplis of the world, and it doesnt make me onhappy to admit the fack. A man is a ass who dispoots it. Thats all that ails him. I know there is sum peple who cum over here and snap and snarl bout this and that: I know one man who says it is a shame and a disgraice that St. Pauls Church isnt a older edifiss; he says it should be years and even ages older than it is; but I decline to hold myself responsible for the conduck of this idyit simply because hes my countryman. I spose every civlised land is endowed with its full share of gibberin idyits, and it cant be helptleastways I cant think of any effectooal plan of helpin it.
Im a little sorry youve got politics over here, but I shall not diskuss em with nobody. Tear me to peaces with wild omnibus hosses, and I wont diskuss em. Ive had quite enuff of em at home, thank you. I was at Birmingham tother night, and went to the great meetin for a few minits. I hadnt been in the hall long when a stern-lookin artisan said to me:
Ive no objection to evry intelligent man votin if he wants to. Its a pleasant amoosement, no doubt; but there is those whose igrance is so dense and loathsum that they shouldnt be trustid with a ballit any moren one of my trained serpunts should be trusted with a child to play with.
I went to the station with a view of returnin to town on the cars. This way, Sir, said the guard; here, you ar, and he pinted to a first-class carrige, the sole ockepant of which was a rayther prepossessin female of about 30 summers.