The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vols. IV: American
The Tower of London
By Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne) (18341867)
From Punch, 1866
MR. PUNCH,My Dear Sir:I skurcely need inform you that your excellent Tower is very poplar with peple from the agricultooral districks, and it was chiefly them class which I found waitin at the gates the other mornin.
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 cant sob for those who died four or five hundred years ago. If they was my own relations I couldnt. Its 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?
A Warder now took us in charge, and showed us the Traters Gate, the armers, and things. The Traters Gate is wide enuff to admit about twenty traters abrest, I should jedge; but beyond this, I couldnt see that it was superior to gates in genral.
Traters, I will here remark, are a onfornit class of peple. If they wasnt, they wouldnt be traters. They conspire to bust up a countrythey fail, and theyre traters. They bust her, and they become statesmen and heroes.
Take the case of Gloster, afterward Old Dick the Three, who may be seen at the Tower on horseback, in a heavy tin overcoattake Mr. Glosters case. Mr. G. was a conspirator of the basist dye, and if hed 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 emnent persons, and no extra charge for the Warders able and bootiful lectur.
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 sighd 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 mans wonerful eloquence, and I found it so. Our party was stopt on the plains of Utah by a band of Shoshones, whose chief said:
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 Im 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.
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. Shes 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 Admirals 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.
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 dayswhich elissited from a bright-eyed little girl of about twelve summers the remark that she thot it was rich to talk about the crooilty of the Spaniards usin thumbscrews, when he was in a Tower where so many poor peples heads had been cut off. This made the Warder stammer and turn red.
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, flingd 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.
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 Queens Crown that it occurd to me what a agreeble surprise it would be to send a simlar 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 Id send her a genteel silver watch instid.
It isnt that, he said, with a hartrendin groan; its only a way I have. My minds upset to-day. I at one time thot Id drive into the Thames. Ive been readin all the daily papers to try and understand about Governor Eyre, and my mind is totterin. Its really wonderful I didnt drive you into the Thames.