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SHALL not write a Preface," said MR. PUNCH, without raising his noble head from the green turf on which he was lying, ventre à terre. "O! please do !" said the World.
“ World,” said MR. PUNCH, "you have many merits, and I have never, in all these years that I have been keeping you in order, taken a dark view of your character. I like you very much, when you behave yourself."
“ You have taught me to do that," said the World, humbly. “How few great complaints have you to make of me now, compared to the number you used to have."
" That may be," said MR. PUNCH, sternly, " and yet there are plenty of faults in you which I intend to correct. Don't add vanity to them, you globular peacock. Now, go away. With the thermometer at 80 in the shade (' which is a great age, as my friend THOMAS Hood wrote) I am not disposed to work."
" Yet you reprimand me for want of self-denial and for negligence of duty," urged the World.
say. slumbers, gently tread the Cave,' (as my friend MR. POPE wrote). Your requirements frequently become bothersome.”
“ But you have always done a Preface, MR. Punch."
• Who can hold a fire in his hand
By thinking of the frosty Caucasus ?' (as my friend MR. SHAKSPEARE wrote).”
pen of fire, no doubt; but —"
They must learn to bear Adversity. She is a daughter of Jove; relentless power; A tamer of the human breast ; Whose iron scourge and torturing hour The bad affright, afflict the best' (as my friend DR. AKENSIDE wrote). Have you vanished, World? Go and eclipse somebody."
“ You are eclipsing yourself," said the World, smartly.
Do not make me cross, or you may repent it.
“ The World never repents anything."
“ Who taught you that precious bit of Lavaterism ? It is perfectly false; but I am not in the mood to show you why. Depart. How happy is the blameless Punch's lot, The world forgetting, by '—- What are you making that unseemly noise for?”
“ That you may not finish the quotation. When the World forgets You, may it roll away, a blackened ball, into everlasting space, and, destitute of gravitation, buzz like a Chimera in vacuo, devouring second intentions."
“ You are a Muddler, as ever, but you make me smile. Eternal smiles your emptiness betray-excites, I mean, Is there anything left in that silver tankard ?”
Plenty. Ice islands bob in a sea of amber, and gently stir it to the emitting of an aroma that refreshes all the senses ere the lips are cooled by the beady draught.”
World, you ass, your intimacy with the clouds turns your brain. Clear it with the draught you speak of. Cup yourself till you go round,' again to cite Eternal W.”
" I drink to you, respectfully," said the World ; "and I should do so rejoicingly, if I could couple the Preface with my toast."
“ How dare you talk of toast this weather ? Volcanoes take you; hold your aggravating tongue. In fact, if you could learn generally a little more love of the Silences' (as my friend Thomas CARLYLE says), it would be better for some who have the misfortune to co-exist with you. It was not for nothing that the Scandinavian theologists saw a Reign of Silence as the end of you, when battering Odin and bawling Thor should have been extinguished by the excellent Wolf Fenris and the respectable Serpent his friend, to whom my best homages. Why such perpetual babble ? I will set a good example.”
“ Sophistical excuse for your laziness,” said the World, provoked out of patience. “ It is for a Teacher to speak, and to speak continually, while the Taught listen. You are a Great Teacher, and you are lying under that tree like a great log."
“ Deducting the comparison, which is inappropriate, for my friend MR. CHARLES KEENE has made me look like anything but a log," said MR. PUNCA (with as much dignity as his attitude would allow), “ you are right; and, therefore, in again suggesting to you to take something to drink, I authorise the publication of this interview as the instructive Preface to my