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some mysterious manner, and that the papers were agog with it. I affected ignorance of the name of Peppergrass, and subsequently managed to inform Punch that I had passed the previous evening in my room. The next evening he and I called on Miss Schottische, the authoress of the "Narrow, Narrow House." She seemed to be sweetly melancholy, and I asked her the cause of her depression.
"Oh," said she, "I have just been attending such a delightful funeral! Reverend Doctor Armageddon officiated in the most charming manner. He is certainly a vastly edifying preacher; and so cheerful, too, in his piety. You two gentlemen must go with me and hear him next Sunday. Will you? Ah! I have your promise. Remember now. You are sad truants, I am afraid, of a Sunday."
"Who was the new tenant installed in the narrow, narrow' house?" asked Punch.
She smiled graciously at this allusion to her admirable romance, and replied: "An interesting child of a Mr. . Mr. Peppergrass, I believe, the name I do not know the person. I went solely to hear the doctor."
I would not recognize the name of Peppergrass, of course; and in fact, I left the authoress in her narrow house (twelve feet front,) as soon as possible. On Sunday I went to the doctor's church, as agreed upon. My object was not so much to keep the appointment with Miss Schottische, as to prevent any unpleasant suspicions which might arise, if I solicitously kept away from those Peppergrasses. The learncd pastor gave us a sermon that was well worth the lengthened trouble of listening to it. To my surprise, he did not at all maintain the eternal perdition of infants; quite the contrary, he thought them much surer of future happiness than the adult part of the population; and he naturally inferred that the sooner they got out of the world, the better for themselves, and in fact, for everybody. He spoke leniently of Pharaoh, who has been so much censured for his attempt to abate the number of the Israelitish bantlings; and only condemned him for having made a distinction in favor of the sons, which, he said, proved the low estimation in which the fair-sex was held by the Egyptians. He was severe upon
Herod for his motives in commanding the massacre of the innocents; but, concluding that they had all gone to heaven, noted it as a remarkable instance of good being brought out of evil. He enlarged upon the advantages of Chinese women over the male Celestials, in the fact that infanticide among them is chiefly practiced on girls, who thereby are brought into the kingdom in abundance, while the boys are left to grow up in a damnable idolatry of their grandfathers. He recommended that missionaries to the Hyson Skin countries should be instructed to apply themselves chiefly to men, in order to equalize the opportunities of the two
In short, his discourse was an admirable one; and I was proportionably annoyed at not being able to hear the whole of it. Unfortunately, eight of the little Peppergrasses, with their father and mother and three nurserymaids (I had nearly said dairy-maids), occupied the two slips just in front of Ten or twelve infantile optics were perpetually staring Miss Schottische, Mr. Punner and myself out of countenance. After a while, Mr. Punner made a series of grimaces at the youngest one, which set him a crying, which set three-quarters of the others a crying. Then Mr. Peppergrass and the three dairy-maids carried them into the vestibule, where they bawled with great spirit for fifteen or twenty minutes before they could be brought back again. On being reinstated, the biggest one got up on his seat and stuck out his lips vindictively at Mr. Punner. At last, one of the dairy-maids hauled him down, and in so doing let him drop on the floor, upon which he screamed so outrageously, that Mrs. Peppergrass pacified him with a cookey and allowed him to crumble half of it into our slip. I must not forget to mention that two of them were christened, and bellowed like lunatics under the operation. Punch whispered in my ear that the minister went at them as savagely as a washerwoman at a dirty blanket. I really pitied Doctor Armageddon, and regretted that he could not take his Exterminator into the pulpit with him, or, at least, have it used by a sexton from the gallery.
I left the church resolved to have as little as possible to do with those Peppergrasses, unless it were in aiding my
reverend friend to weed them out of existence. My mortification may be conceived, therefore, when, on my next visit to our club, I was introduced to Mr. P. himself, as a new member who needed my polite attentions. I found him a very sociable, gentlemanly person, but the most besotted of fathers; and I could hardly keep from laughing outright, to hear him boast of his children and tell how much everybody liked them. We were in conversation over the late inexplicable demise of his seventh boy, when I was alarmed by seeing the patriarch of our institution, Doctor Armageddon himself, enter the saloon, and approach us. Now, thought I, there will be a scene; the feelings of the doctor will be embittered beyond endurance by the sight of our new member; he will be distant, sarcastic, crushing, or, perhaps, openly uncivil; he can hardly help making the interview unpleasant to Peppergrass.
Never in my life was I more mistaken. Our reverend instructor advanced to the guest and greeted him with the most benignant cordiality. He inquired about his health, about the health of Mrs. Peppergrass, about the healths of the whole brood of sub-Peppergrasses. He made a few appropriate remarks on "the late affliction," enlarging pathetically on the mysterious yet merciful nature of dispensations in general. I was enchanted with his forgiving, uncomplaining deportment, and reflected with emotion on the power of mere simple orthodoxy to make every action lovely and noble. Peppergrass went away equally pleased with our revered friend's conversation, observing to me, as we walked home together, how much happiness he expect ed to draw from the neighborhood of a so truly paternal divine. The doctor, by the way, kindly warned me against the influence of Peppergrass, who, he said, was somewhat lax if not unitarian in his doctrinal beliefs.
I was now so perfectly satisfied with our good Armageddon that I resolved to introduce my friend Punner to him. Under a promise of secrecy, I gave an account of the Exterminator to Punch, who, as I expected, expressed, even to enthusiasm, a bachelor's natural delight over the invention. We called at the doctor's house, and found him in his study just finishing a sermon on the two she-bears which avenged the insult
to Elishah. He welcomed us with the utmost simplicity and cordiality. "Walk in, sir. How are you, my old friend?" he said to me. Mr. Punner, I believe," he continued. "No need of an introduction. I have long known you by reputation, Mr. Punner, and recognized you at once last Sunday by the admirable portrait of your new boots in the Illustrated Gothamite. I am delighted to become acquainted with you personally. I welcome you to Boston, sir."
Presently they returned with mild, serious faces to the centre-table, where Punch fell anew to examining and admiring the Exterminator; trying numerous experiments with it, lassoing all the chairs in succession, and looking into the neighboring court to see if he could discover a stray Peppergrass, stray Peppergrass, junior. The doctor treated us to some of his Mt. Ararat port, and we passed an hour in the most delightful conversation that I ever enjoyed, although it was frequently interrupted by Punch, who could not keep his hands off that fascinating, but somewhat noisy, Exterminator.
Come, gentlemen," said our kind host at last; "give yourselves the trouble to walk down stairs with me, and look at a demijohn full of the water of the Jordan. It has just been sent me by one of our missionaries in Jericho.”
doctor. "What a mischief that machine has been doing! I am afraid the poor man is over Jordan."
We hauled our struggling friend out by his hampered legs, unclasped the noose with the greatest difficulty, and, leaving the pincers on his ancles for the present, proceeded to dash his face. with ice-water. I cannot describe the anxiety with which I watched his purple phiz, nor the delight with which I heard him give a whimper of returning consciousness. His first words were to ask us to put a little more port into the water; and when we gave him a glass of the pure grape, he drank it off with a visible satisfaction, which convinced me that he still had his senses. As soon as the doctor had completely unharnessed him from the Exterminator, he rose, and thanked heaven, with tears in his bulging eyes, that he was a grown man, and not a baby. His next move was to take his hat and make a bee-line for the doorway.
"Thank you, doctor, I prefer the port," ," said Punch. "I have seen the Jordan itself, and didn't like the looks of the antiquated fluid. I'll stay here and amuse myself with your machine."
I followed the doctor down stairs to his bedroom, and regarded the favored demijohn with suitable veneration. He offered me a drink of it; and I was agreeably surprised to find that the water of the Jordan has precisely the flavor of fine old Irish whisky. My friend smiled as he saw my evident pleasure at this discovery; and we then pledged each other repeatedly, not forgetting to toast the Exterminator. As I set down the glass for the third time we were startled by hearing an extraordinary rumpus overhead in the study, where something seemed to be floundering violently on the floor, kicking outrageously as if with boot-heels, knocking the chairs over and pushing the table about. "I fancy," observed the doctor, "that your friend has hauled in another of those Peppergrasses."
After he had corked up the demijohn of Jordan water, and put it away carefully, we took each other by the arm and walked up stairs. On opening the study door I was paralyzed with affright to see Mr. Punner in a heap under the table, bound hand and foot, black in the face, his eyes and tongue protruding in short, completely throttled, to all appearance, in the iron grasp of the Exterminator. • 6 Bless me!" cried the
My dear sir, don't go !" exclaimed the doctor, earnestly. I beg you to stay-at least as long as you can find it agreeable. You are not trespassing upon my time, I assure you."
"Don't find it agreeable," returned Punch. "I'm afraid of trespassing on my own time. I don't want to cut my days any shorter than I can help. I won't stay in the room another minute with that confounded machine. Why, I didn't try it on; I only hit it with my foot, somehow, and it flew up and choked me like a boa-constrictor. I was almost done for before I could think what was the matter with me. I tried to scream for assistance, but I couldn't fetch the first yelp."
He marched off without further ceremony, and I felt constrained to accompany him, not knowing yet but that he might have a stroke of apoplexy. He did go down stairs a little unsteadily, but I rather think it was only the port and water. As soon as we reached the pavement, he said vehemently: "I don't like that infernal Exterminator."
shan't order one; it's a dangerous thing to have in one's lodgings; it might finish a fellow up some time when there was nobody by. Catch me at that reverend gentleman's house again, either! All I wish is, that the next inquiry-meeting he has there may be composed of detective policemen."
My dear man," I interposed, "you ought not to quarrel with Doctor Armageddon on account of this mere accident, which might happen to any one." I don't mean to quarrel with him," said Punch, loosening his cravat, and wiping the perspiration from his face. "I should be afraid to quarrel with him ; he might exterminate me. But it's precisely because such an accident might happen to any one, at any time, that I don't care to be intimate with him. You step in to see him-stumble over a stray Exterminator-it collars you like a thousand policemen, and there you are-a gone goose. Then there's another idea: suppose he should have a hallucination, and take a fellow for a baby; or suppose he should acquire a fondness for the thing, and pitch into us adults, after he has done with all the juveniles. No, no! I've had one narrow squeak of it -that is, if I could have squeaked at all-and I am satisfied, if you ain't-as the shark said to the sailor, after he had eaten him."
I found it impossible to overcome Punner's sudden disgust at the Exterminator; and, in point of fact, he left Boston for New York, by early train of the following morning.
Calling on the doctor a week after, he met me with a radiant countenance. 66 'Have you heard the news?" said he; "Peppergrass is gone! sold his house and moved into the country. Lost six of his children by apoplexy, and conIcluded that the air of Boston was bad for them. Mysterious dispensation, you'll allow," he added, with a pleasant smile; but all for the best, as it appears at last."
Well, doctor, I hope you have done," said I; for I was actually startled by that immense mortality which he mentioned with such calm satisfaction. Very nearly," he replied. "I am after little Glace, now. I mean to clear the premises, while I am about it."
After some sharp controversy, which only served to convince me that I was a child in argument compared to him, I walked back to my lodgings in the Tremont. Then it occurred to me that perhaps I ought to warn the professor of the danger which menaced his limited offspring, and leave him to judge whether it should be averted or no. I set off on this errand immediately, and had reached the corner of the block on which he lived, when I observed the incautious youth in question stealing under the doctor's eaves, apparently with the design of recovering his football. It was so dim evening by this time that I only faintly distinguished an object which seemed to drop upon him from a second-story window. I hastened on, and gained the steps of the house, just in time to see little Glace meander up the wall like a wizard or a gigantic lizard, and disappear through the open
I went in on the spur of the moment, and had an animated altercation with the doctor. I threatened to denounce him-for I was in reality greatly incensed-but he defied me with such a virtuous tranquillity, that I withdrew my menace in admiration. We did not part friends, however; our misunderstanding was serious, and lasted a fortnight. It was aggravated by the cool composure with which he afterwards addressed some consolatory remarks to Mrs. Glace in my presence-a composure which I then looked on as jesuitical effrontery, but which I have frequently heard mentioned by others with loud commendation.
This, on my word of honor, is the whole of my quarrel with Dr. Armageddon. Every other account of it, whether as regards its cause, nature, or duration, is downright falsehood, if not
slander, and should be at once frowned upon by an intelligent and virtuous public. I will state, in conclusion, what I have hinted at before, that both Mr. Punner and I have been led to regret our estrangement from this estimable divine, and have been fortunate enough to regain his learned, cheerful, and amiable intimacy. He is, at present, I am pleased to say, the happiest of men, as he has no children within a block of him, and no person under sixteen years of age in his congregation.
I had just finished my manuscript, when I was surprised by a call from that kindly young minister, Mr. Henry Howard. Iimmediately read the whole thing to him, and frankly requested his opinion thereupon.
of common sense, came you to imagine that it was an allegory?"
"I took it for granted," said he, "that the babies of the story merely symbolized the feelings and interests of our fellow-creatures. I inferred that your friend, Doctor Armageddon, had shown himself selfishly indifferent to those feelings and interests whenever they came in conflict with his own comfort or purposes. Thus understood, the narrative is endurable; otherwise it is a tissue of atrocities, only fit to amuse a New Zealander."
"I suppose, of course, that it is an allegory," said be.
My dear sir--an allegory! Oh! you are too severe upon me," I replied. Certainly not-it is the most serious fact, I assure you. How, in the name
"Mr. Howard," I remonstrated, “let me warn you against this insidious system of turning plain facts into tinkling symbols. It is dangerous to a young minister, and dangerous to those who repose confidence in him. Why, sir, you could decompose the solid doctrine of election with your subtle acid of allegories. I beg you to believe-as I would beg all mankind to believe-that what I have stated in this narration is the very gravest and exactest reality."
A FEW WORDS ON FAIRY TALES.
AWAY with that huge tome of Jeremy your singing mice), slippers of glass;
Bentham, and us our hood's library. Wave the wand and summon up the dramatis personæ of our childhood's tales! Come one, come all -good fairies with wands of gold and gifts of wishes-most dire ogres stamping along in seven-league boots-giants, vast fellows, but some of them harmless, "for (quoth the chronicler) they were Welsh giants," others-alas, for the Land's End!-cruel, "for they were Cornish giants"--dwarfs who appeared on the battlements of enchanted castles, winding enchanted horns-beautiful princesses who pined within their mystic walls-beasts who were princes in disguise-and, alas, princes who were beasts in reality! Bring them all before us. Genii bottled up in submarine vases, from the East-grotesque, funny little Wieland-like men, who lived in under-ground palaces beneath the roots of the pines, and the oaks of the Brocken -misshapen elves, working cunningly in metals, and quaffing mead, the imaginings of the Scalds of Scandinaviaspeaking birds, singing water (out on
by your fair Cinderella, coaches sliced from pumpkins! And shall we not have Aladdin's lamp? Hang it on the fairy bean-stalk you see shooting to the skies, beside the roc's egg of Sinbad the Sailor. Yet disturb not the small birds perched upon the fibres of the magic plant, for are they not the robins that covered with leaves the babes in the wood? See-they have built their nest in Fortunio's wishingcap! Gathering-still gathering! Commander of the Faithful, Haroun Alraschid, we greet thee-make that inverted jar thy throne-'tis one of those in which Morgiana boiled the forty thieves. Fear not that room will be scant-the pavilion in which we assemble is the Fairy Banou's tent. Prince Camaraly aman, be seated near the one-eyed Calenderbeside him again is King Pepin. Do not-lords and gentles all-quarrel with the near presence of Puss in Boots; for since "My Lord Marquis of Carrabas" has come to his fortune, "Puss became a great lord, and never killed rats or mice but for his own amuse