Peanuts à la Charles Dickens
As Charles Dickens might have written it:
Whether Linus, born Linus Stripedshirt but later, in the last decade or two of his life, affectionately known to his many admiring if nevertheless mischievous students as Old Blankethugger, put into the trembling hand of Mr. Snoopy, on the sort of day that offered anything a cartoon character could ask for in the way of two puffy clouds, a single tree, and a jagged line that surely represented grass, a creepy-crawly worm or a piece of candy, these pages must show.
This Snoopy, whom many regarded as a mere factotum of the well-known Charles Brown, a man whose immense round head put everyone who knew him in mind of a great pumpkin, was in fact the only dog who stood between Brown and utter misery. For it was Brown’s fate to be beleaguered and beset by Linus’s older sister Lucy. Indeed, one might say, and say correctly, that the sometimes devious Lucy was the chief impetus for Brown’s punctuating every utterance with the exclamation “Good grief!” and “Ugh!” Often to Brown’s aid came this loyal friend and occasional World War I flying ace, who nonetheless could not remember the name “Charles Brown” and so referred to him simply as “that round-headed kid.”
On such a day as I have described, Mr. Snoopy stood listening. It was this very Linus who had called to him from the first panel of the comic strip. With a well-deserved reputation for being innocent and sweet-natured, Linus made his request without at first raising suspicion.
“Look here, Mr. Snoopy. I say, halt for a moment, if you do not mind. Would you be so kind as to extend your hand — no, no, open it please, palm upward, my lad — and close your eyes?”
A pause succeeded, for this Mr. Snoopy was not wont to speak in the strip, except via bubbles of thought that only you, my readers, and I may read. “Good God! Your hands are shaking. Begging your pardon, sir, but I cannot place into your paws what I have here for you, not with this infernal shaking. You must desist at once. Now extend and open, or I cannot be responsible for what I may do!”
Then, with the delivery into what I would describe as the sweaty paw of Mr. Snoopy — if, that is, it were not known to me that dogs do not sweat — Linus exclaimed “Free!” and departed the scene.
At which point, as you have anticipated ere now, Mr. Snoopy revolved to quit himself of the worm or candy, whichever it be, and there came into view that round-headed kid. Good grief.