My dear Readers,
I will have you know, in my many years as a gentleman of ‘business’, I have been expelled from some of the best auction houses in this fine country of ours. They can be a bewildering place and those who are wont to easy bewilderment may make an easy source of income for a gent who does not mind twisting the laws of those establishments a little to his own favour.
With this in mind (and not being able to darken their doorstep in person) I despatched my current patrons down to an auction house in the fair city of Cheltenham recently to bid on a collection of Victorian periodicals. Not just any Victorian periodicals, these. Oh no, these were only the very publication where your humble narrator first found his fame. This auction was for the first 51 volumes of ‘Judy, or The London Serio-Comic Journal’, from the very first issue in May 1867 and every weekly issue therefrom and until 1892.
My patrons did put up a bit of a fuss, complaining of a lack of funds and the scarcity of the volumes causing a high price but I did manage to convince them that such thoughts were mere trifles and not to be considered; so I packed them off to the auction house without too much trouble. And, to their surprise and delight, they managed to win the volumes at a very small fraction of their actual worth and came back in a motorised conveyance filled with several boxes of those red & gold beauties.
How did they manage to get them at such a low price, you may ask? Was it mere luck? A peculiar quirk of fate on the day? Or, was it that the other bidders were nobbled by some disreputable cove or other? Who is to say? My lips are certainly sealed on the subject, which is a rarity, as those who know me best will know; but I will say this, who is more deserving of these hallowed tomes? The collector who will lock them away in a dark room to gather dust in their decrepitude or the right and just man; the very generous benefactor, if you will, who will share his adventures for others to marvel at?
For that is what I intend to do, dear reader, to re-publish my adventures to you from that very first moment. And what’s more, as I am sure you are all fair and discerning folks, it will all be free and gratis (… although any gratuities you wish to send my way will be very gratefully received and will help to keep me in gin repay what it is I owe my current patrons in back rent and breakages).
And talking of that very first moment, here it is. On the 14th of August 1867 your humble narrator began his somewhat chequered career in the world of publishing alongside his disreputable acquaintance, Iky Moses.
(All photographic likenesses courtesy of Samantha Webster)
And I shall now return to reminiscing about my past deeds, both glorious and inglorious, with the aid of the ever young and lovely Judy.
Yours, etc. etc.