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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Doesticks, What He Says

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Ah... DOESTICKS! What can I say? If you read excerpt below from the preface, the wit and humour of this book shines through. In the modern age, Doesticks would have got along very well with the Monty Python gang. You'll either love him or hate him, I suspect.

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Doesticks, What He Says

by Q. K. Philander Doesticks (1856)

Doesticks and his friends

Novel writing is out of the question. I have tried that, but met with serious difficulties. I couldn't keep my hero of the same nation--in the first chapter I made him a Spaniard; two pages afterward he was an English nobleman; in the fourth chapter an Oriental juggler, balancing a bamboo ladder on his nose, and making a fig-tree grow out of the calf of his leg--and so on, successively, an Italian image-seller, a Dutch burgomaster, a South American Indian, and a Mississippi steamboat pilot.

I had as much difficulty in permanently locating the country of my fictitious favorite, as the Know-Nothing party of New York in the late election had, in determining the nativity of their candidate for Governor, whose chances of election were fair while he was thought to be an American, but who was finally defeated on the ground that he was a Hindoo, and owned stock in the car of Juggernaut.
Poetry has been overdone; the gentle art has culminated in a recent "Spasmodic Tragedy," and in the sublime effusions of K. N. PEPPER, ESQ., whose matchless lays have won for him undying fame, and the admiration of several; and who so outruns competition that there is nothing left to be done in that direction.

In the play-writing vein, I have also failed; not from any lack of merit in my drama, as the manager solemnly assured me, but because he had not the menagerie requisite to its proper representation. Improving upon the hint offered by the managers of the "Thespian Wigwam," who have added an elephant and a circus company to their company of "gifted artists," I had introduced into my play a rhinoceros, a lioness, two hyenas, a team of "two-forty" reindeers, a couple of ostriches, and a muley-cow,--and even then there was but a slight obstacle--the manager might have procured the animals, but he was afraid the cow would quarrel with the rhinoceros, and so disturb the harmony of his establishment.

But this book, Philander, it will be impossible to class as strictly either classic, scientific, historical, humorous, or descriptive. Fantastic and extravagant it will be in many things; but we will do our best to make it agreeable to the palate of the public. I promise everything, like all book-makers, and I shall afterwards perform what is convenient, following the same reliable precedent.

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