Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Letter of Introduction

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Confessions of a Caricaturist, Vol. 1 (of 2), by Harry Furniss

Harry Furniss, The Confessions of a Caricaturist, vol. 1 (New York & London: Harper & Brothers, 1902), p. 34

A propos of letters of introduction, I am reminded of a brother artist, who, although a caricaturist, was entirely devoid of guile, and, in addition, was as absent-minded as the popularly-accepted type of ardent scientist or professor of ultra-abstruse subject. Well, this curious species of satirist was setting forth on travels in foreign climes, and in order to lighten in some measure the vicissitudes inseparable from peripatetic wandering, he was provided with a letter of introduction to a certain British consul. The writer of this letter enclosed it in one to my friend, in which he said that he would find the consul a most arrant snob, and a bumptious, arrogant humbug as well—in fact, a cad to the backbone; but that he (my friend) was not to mind this, for, as he could claim acquaintanceship with several dukes and duchesses, all he had to do was to trot out their names for the edification of the consul, who would then render him every attention, and thus compensate him to some extent for having to come into contact with such an insufferable vulgarian. On the return of the guileless satirist to England the writer of the letter of introduction inquired how he had fared with the consul, and great was his surprise to hear him drawl out, in his habitual lethargic manner:

"Well, my dear fellow, he did not receive me very warmly, and he did not ask me to dinner. In fact, he struck me as being rather cool."

"Well, you do surprise me!" rejoined his friend. "He's a horrible cad, as I told you in my letter, but he's awfully hospitable, and I really can't understand what you tell me. You gave him my letter of introduction?"

"Well, I thought so," said my friend; "but, do you know, on my journey home I discovered it in my pocket-book, so I must have handed him instead your note to me about him!"