Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > American
The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. I–V: American
The Amateur Orlando
By George Thomas Lanigan (1845–1886)
The Result of the Hunky Kid’s Playing Charles the Wrestler

IT was an Amateur Dram. Ass.
  (Kind reader, although your
Knowledge of French is not first-class,
  Don’t call that Amature),
It was an Amateur Dram. Ass.,        5
  The which did warfare wage
On the dramatic works of this
  And every other age.
It had a walking gentleman,
  A leading juvenile,        10
First lady in book-muslin dressed,
  With a galvanic smile;
Thereto a singing chambermaid,
  Benignant heavy pa,
And, oh, heavier still was the heavy vill-        15
  Ain, with his fierce “Hal ha!”
There wasn’t an author from Shakespeare down
  —Or up—to Boucicault,
These amateurs weren’t competent
  (S. Wegg) to collar and throw.        20
And when the winter time came round—
  “Season’s” a stagier phrase—
The Am. Dram. Ass. assaulted one
  Of the Bard of Avon’s plays.
’Twas “As You Like It” that they chose,        25
  For the leading lady’s heart
Was set on playing Rosalind,
  Or some other page’s part.
And the president of Am. Dram. Ass.,
  A stalwart dry-goods clerk,        30
Was cast for Orlando, in which rôle
  He felt he’d make his mark.
“I mind me,” said the president
  (All thoughtful was his face),
“When Orlando was taken by Thingummy,        35
  That Charles was played by Mace.
Charles hath not many lines to speak;
  Nay, not a single length;
Oh, if find we can a Mussulman
  (That is, a man of strength),        40
And bring him on the stage as Charles—
  But, alas! it can’t be did——”
“It can,” replied the treasurer;
  “Let’s get The Hunky Kid.”
This Hunky Kid, of whom they spoke,        45
  Belonged to the P. R.;
He always had his hair cut short,
  And always had catarrh.
His voice was gruff, his language rough,
  His forehead villainous low,        50
And ’neath his broken nose a vast
  Expanse of jaw did show.
He was forty-eight about the chest,
  And his forearm at the mid-
Dle measured twenty-one and a half—        55
  Such was The Hunky Kid!
The Am. Dram. Ass. they have engaged
  This pet of the P. R.;
As Charles the Wrestler, he’s to be
  A bright particular star.        60
And when they put the program out,
  Announce him thus they did:
Orlando …. MR. ROMEO JONES
Charles …. MR. T. H. KIDD
… The night has come; the house is packed        65
  From pit to gallery,
As those who through the curtain peep
  Quake inwardly to see.
A squeak’s heard in the orchestra,
  The leader draws across        70
Th’ intestines of the agile cat
  The tail of the noble hoss.
All is at sea behind the scenes;
  Why do they fear and funk?
Alas! alas! The Hunky Kid        75
  Is lamentably drunk!
He’s in that most unlovely stage
  Of half-intoxication,
When men resent the hint they’re tight
  As a personal imputation.        80
“Ring up! Ring up!” Orlando cried,
  “Or we must cut the scene;
For Charles the Wrestler is imbued
  With poisonous benzine,
And every moment gets more drunk        85
  Than he before has been.”
… The wrestling scene has come, and Charles
  Is much disguised in drink;
The stage to him’s an inclined plane,
  The footlights make him blink.        90
Still strives he to act well his part
  Where all the honor lies,
Though Shakespeare would not in his lines
  His language recognize.
Instead of “Come, where is this young——?”        95
  This man of bone and brawn,
He squares himself, and bellows, “Time!
  Fetch your Orlandos on!”
“Now Hercules be thy speed, young man,”
  Fair Rosalind, said she,        100
As the two wrestlers in the ring
  They grappled furiously;
But Charles the Wrestler had no sense
  Of dramatic propriety.
He seized on Mr. Romeo Jones        105
  In Græco-Roman style;
He got what they call a grape-vine lock
  On that leading juvenile.
He flung him into the orchestra,
  And the man with the ophicleide,        110
On whom he fell, he just said—well,
  No matter what, and died!
When once the tiger has tasted blood,
  And found that it is sweet,
He has a habit of killing more        115
  Than he can possibly eat.
And thus it was that The Hunky Kid,
  In his homicidal blindness,
He lifted his hand against Rosalind
  Not in the way of kindness.        120
He chased poor Celia off at L.,
  At R. U. E., Le Beau,
And he put such a head upon Duke Fred,
  In fifteen seconds or so,
That never one of the courtly train        125
  Might his haughty master know.
*        *        *        *        *
And that’s precisely what came to pass
  Because the luckless carls
Belonging to the Am. Dram. Ass.
  Cast The Hunky Kid for Charles!        130

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.