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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne) (1834–1867)

Artemus Ward and the Prince of Wales

From “Complete Works of Artemus Ward”

I WAS drawin near to the Prince, when a red-faced man in Millingtery close grabd holt of me and axed me whare I was goin all so bold?

“To see Albert Edard, the Prince of Wales,” sez I. “Who are you?”

He sed he was the Kurnal of the Seventy Fust Regiment, Her Magisty’s troops. I told him I hoped the Seventy Onesters was in good helth, and was passin by, when he ceased holt of me agin and sed in a tone of indigent cirprise:

“What? Impossible! It kannot be! Blarst my hize, sir, did I understan you to say that you was actooally goin into the presents of his Royal Iniss?”

“That’s what’s the matter with me,” I sez.

“But blarst my hize, sir, it’s onprecedented. It’s orful, sir. Nothin like it hain’t happened sins the Gun Power Plot of Guy Forks. Owdashus man, who air yu?”

“Sir,” sez I, drawin myself up & puttin on a defiant air, “I’m a Amerycan sitterzen. My name is Ward. I’m a husband, & the father of twins, which I’m happy to state thay look like me. By perfession I’m a exhibiter of wax works & sich.”

“Good God!” yelled the Kurnal; “the idee of a exhibiter of wax figgers goin’ into the presents of Royalty! The British Lion may well roar with raje at the thawt!”

Sez I, “Speakin of the British Lion, Kurnal, I’d like to make a bargin with you fur that beast fur a few weeks to add to my Show.” I didn’t meen nothin by this. I was only gettin orf a goak, but you orter heb seen the Old Kurnal jump up and howl. He actooally foamed at the mowth.

“This can’t be real,” he showtid. “No, no. It’s a horrid dream. Sir, you air not a human bein—you hav no existents—yu’re a Myth!”

“Wall,” sez I, “old hoss, yule find me a ruther oncomfortable Myth ef you punch my inards in that way agin.” I began to git a little riled, fur when he called me a Myth he puncht me putty hard. The Kurnal now commenst showtin fur the Seventy Onesters. I at fust thawt I’d stay & becum a Marter to British Outraje, as sich a course mite git my name up & be a good advertisement fur my Show, but it occurred to me that ef enny of the Seventy Onesters shood happen to insert a baronet into my stummick it mite be onplesunt; & I was on the pint of runnin orf when the Prince hisself kum up & axed me what the matter was. Sez I, “Albert Edard, is that you?” & he smilt & sed it was. Sez I, “Albert Edard, hears my keerd. I cum to pay my respecks to the futer King of Ingland. The Kurnal of the Seventy Onesters hear is ruther smawl pertaters, but of course you ain’t to blame fur that. He puts on as many airs as tho he was the Bully Boy with the glass eye.”

“Never mind,” sez Albert Edard, “I’m glad to see you, Mister Ward, at all events,” & he tuk my hand so plesunt like, & larfed so sweet, that I fell in love with him to onct. He handid me a segar, & we sot down on the Pizarro & commenst smokin rite cheerful.

“Wall,” sez I, “Albert Edard, how’s the old folks?”

“Her Majesty & the Prince are well,” he sed.

“Duz the old man take his Lager beer reglar?” I enquired.

The Prince larfed, & intermated that the old man didn’t let many kegs of that bevridge spile in the sellar in the coarse of a year. We sot & tawked there sum time abowt matters & things, & bimeby I axed him how he liked bein Prince, as fur as he’d got.

“To speak plain, Mister Ward,” he sed, “I don’t much like it. I’m sick of all this bowin & scrapin & crawlin & hurrain over a boy like me. I would rather go through the country quietly & enjoy myself in my own way, with the other boys, & not be made a Show of to be gaped at by everybody. When the peple cheer me I feel pleesed, fur I know they meen it; but if these one-horse offishuls cood know how I see threw all their moves & understan exactly what they air after, & knowd how I larft at ’em in private, they’d stop kissin my hands & fawnin over me as they now do. But you know, Mister Ward, I can’t help bein a Prince, & I must do all I kin to fit myself for the persishun I must sum time ockepy.”

“That’s troo,” sez I; “sickness & the doctors will carry the Queen orf one of these dase, sure’s yer born.”

The time hevin arove fur me to take my departer, I rose up & sed: “Albert Edard, I must go, but previs to doin so, I will obsarve that you soot me. Yure a good feller, Albert Edard, & tho I’m agin Princes as a gineral thing, I must say I like the cut of your Gib. When you git to be King, try & be as good a man as your muther has bin! Be just & be Jenerus, espeshully to showmen, who have allers bin aboosed sinse the dase of Noah, who was the fust man to go into the Monagery bizniss, & ef the daily papers of his time air to be beleeved, Noah’s colleckshun of livin wild beests beet ennything ever seen sins tho I make bold to dowt ef his snaiks was ahead of mine. Albert Edard, adoo!” I tuk his hand, which he shook warmly, & givin him a perpetooal free pars to my show, & also parses to take hum for the Queen & Old Albert, I put on my hat and walkt away.

“Mrs. Ward,” I solilarquized as I walkt along, “Mrs. Ward, ef you could see your husband now, just as he prowdly emerjis from the presunts of the futer King of Ingland, you’d be sorry you called him a Beest jest becaws he cum home tired 1 nite & wantid to go to bed without takin off his boots. You’d be sorry for tryin to deprive yure husband of the priceless Boon of liberty, Betsy Jane!”

Jest then I met a long perseshun of men with gownds onto ’em. The leader was on horseback, & ridin up to me, he sed:

“Air you Orange?”

Sez I, “Which?”

“Air you a Orangeman?” he repeated, sternly.

“I used to peddle lemins,” sed I, “but never delt in oranges. They are apt to spile on yure hands. What particler Loonatic Asylum hev you & yure friends escaped frum, if I may be so bold?” Just then a sudden thawt struck me, & I sed, “Oh, yure the fellers who air worryin the Prince so, & givin the Juke of Noocastle cold sweats at nite, by yure infernal catawalins, air you? Wall, take the advice of a Amerykin sitterzen, take orf them gownds & don’t try to get up a religious fite, which is 40 times wuss nor a prize fite, over Albert Edard, who wants to receive you all on a ekal footin, not keerin a tinker’s cuss what meetin-house you sleep in Sundays. Go home & mind yure bisness, & not make noosenses of yourselves.” With which observachuns I left ’em.

I shall leave British sile 4thwith.