Sunday, February 15, 2009

Old Boys' Book Collectors Part Four

Vanity Fair an Amateur Magazine, edited by Joseph Parks, ran 31 numbers in 3 volumes from June 1917 to May & June 1927 then changed title to “The Collector’s Miscellany a bimonthly Journal for Collectors.” I don’t know when “The Collector’s Miscellany” ended its run but it was still being published in Sept 1951 by Joseph Parks. It was billed as “Ye Official Organ of Ye Amateur Press Club.”

“It has often been asserted that the creations of the author’s brain become living creatures to him. This is conspicuously the case with Ching-Ching, who has become to his author a companion from whom it is very hard to part -- a friend in every sense -- a boon companion in many a lonely hour.” - E. Harcourt Burrage, L’Envoi, on the last page of “Young Ching-Ching.”

E. Harcourt Burrage was reported in 1913 to have been working on his memoirs with a chapter dealing with the old bohemian journalists connected with old boys' literature. Unfortunately this was never published and is probably lost. Some of the manuscript may have ended up in Vanity Fair as in the following excerpt.

One curious point was that I found the same excerpt in an old clipping I found in a Ching-Ching penny dreadful. Unlike the one page digest sized layout seen below, this clipping ran in 3 columns side by side and looked to have been clipped from a tabloid sized newspaper. The masthead on the top read Vanity Fair.

A. Harcourt Burrage was probably a typo as explained in the Inkdrops column.

Old Boys' Books

Ching-Ching Memoirs

By E. Harcourt Burrage

(continued from page 136).

Many well known characters in books have actually walked this mortal earth. In a certain part of London, not far from Fleet Street, near the close of the 19th century, a Chinaman lingered at the Street corners, whose soul occupation was to occasionaly distribute bills for a tradesman in the near vicinity. Tea advertisements did he cast to the four winds , little thinking that he was himself to become very strong literary drink for boys.He was personated in a younger form in the "Best For Boys ", and owing to his entire ignorance of english , inocentely advertised his own brave deeds to the effect that they could weekly be read for the small sum of 1d. In short, he was the original "Ching-Ching".

As before mentioned, in the early part of 1888 this journal made its appearance, and very soon obtained for itself a very large sale. The Chinese advertiser became aware of it too ! Some of the readers who first heard of its existence first-hand from the Chinaman surmised that he was in days gone by "Ching-Ching", and honoured him, as they thought, in a very fitting way by "Spin a yarn Ching ", "How's Grunt"?, "I say, what a pig Eddard is".


Master Editor, ( Eddard ).
My fingers have been itching to pitch into you with the point of my pen, and now you are going to have it. I suppose you think yourself a mighty good sort of editor don't you, with all the latest improvements like a bicycle ? Well you are a nice sort, I must say. I should like you to tell what you mean by editing such a jolly paper as "Ching-Ching's Own". Just as I am writing this, there is a rap at the door and what do you think he hands in, my jolly prize photograph. I hope, Chingy, Sammy, Billy Grunt, are all right, but, dear Sir, I will let you into a great secret, my brother Lindsay is making Eddard a wooden leg for Christmas, and I am making a huge pin to insert in Eddard's leg- not his wooden one.

Who can wonder at Eddard being somewhat cantankerous after such epistles as these, but the old grumbler had a few sympathisers, and the following epistle was from a young lady. Truly such a letter must have made him blush, and when he died it must have been buried with him.

(To be Continued)

Thus does Ching-Ching's Memoirs end and I suppose we will never know what the young lady wrote to make Eddard blush. Eddard was described in Ching- Ching and his Chums as, “-a semi sea-faring looking man, with a wooden leg.” Other characters were Young Ching-Ching , Ching-Ching's son , Handsome Harry, Sampson, (or Sammy,) Bill Grunt, another old tar, and The Slapcrash Boys.

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