Puppets at Large: Scenes and Subjects from Mr Punch's Show
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'Arry (on tour from Town – to his admiring friend). I say, Charley, what d'yer bet I don't talk to some of these chaps in their own lingo?
Charley. What a fellow you are! Mind what you are about, that's all.
'Arry (going up to an elderly person in the only Scotch cap visible). Hech, Sair, but yon's a braw bonnie wee bit piggie fur a body to tak' a richt gude wullie waucht wi' gin ye meet him comin' thro' the rye!
The Person in the Scotch Cap (who happens to be a retired Colonel in a Highland Regiment, who is somewhat careless in his attire). I think you will find that sort of thing better appreciated after you've got home.
THE COUNTRY OF COCKAIGNE
A Monologue – With a Moral
An airless Court in a London back Street. Time – August
Jimmy (aged eight, to Florrie, aged seven). No, I ain't comin' to the Reckereation Groun', not jess yit, I carn't… I'm goin' ter wyte about 'ere till the lidy comes… Why, 'er as is comin' to see my Muvver 'bout sendin' me fur a fortnight in the kerntry… Yus, where I was larst year… It's settled as I'm ter go agine – leastways as good as settled. My Farver 'e've sent in a happlication to the K'mitty, and Teacher 'e sez 'e kin reckermend me, an' Mr. and Mrs. Delves – them as 'ad the cottidge where I went afore – they've arst fur to 'ave me agin – so you see, Florrie, it's all right. On'y I carn't settle to nuffink afore I know when I'm goin', an' about the trine an' that. Yer 'ave to roide in a trine to git to the kerntry, yer know… Wot, ain't yer never bin there?.. Yer'd wanter fawst enough if yer knoo what it was loike… There's grorss there, an' trees an' that… Na-ow, a lot better 'n the Reckereation Groun' – that's all mide outer old grivestones as the deaders 'as done wiv. There's 'ills an' bushes an' 'edges where yer can pick flowers… There ain't no perlice to git yer locked up… An' everyfink smells so lovelly, kinder 'elthy like – it mikes yer feel 'ungry… Not like sassages an' inions azackly – 'tain't that sorter smell… On'y 'ere and there, an' yer'd 'ardly tell they was shops, they kerry 'em on that quoiet… Yer wouldn' call it poky if yer was there. Mr. Delves 'e was a kind man, 'e was; mide me a whistle out a sickermore brornch, 'e did; and Mrs. Delves, she lemme help her feed the chickings… They 'ad a garding beyind, an' there'd bin rasberries an' gooseberries a growin' on bushes – strite, there 'ad – I ain't tellin' yer no lies – on'y they was all gone by then. An' they 'ad a dog – Rover 'is nime was – 'e was a koind dog, lemme lay insoide of 'is kennel orfen, 'e would… I'd like ter 'ave a run over thet Common agen, too. I dessay as I shell – p'reps the d'y arter to-morrer… There's a pond on it, an' geese, an' they comes at yer a stritching out their necks an' a-'issin' thet sevidge… Na-ow, yer've on'y got ter walk up to 'em, an' they goes orf, purtendin' they took yer fur somebody else, an' wasn't meanin' no offence.I ain't afride o' no geese, I ain't – nor yet Lily wasn't neither. We sor a pig 'aving a ring put froo 'is nose one day. 'E 'ollered out like 'e was bein' killed – but 'e wasn't. An' there was a blecksmiff's, where they put the 'orse's shoes on red 'ot, 'an the 'orse 'e never took no notice. Me and Lily used ter go fur long walks, all under trees. Once she showed me a squill – "squerl" she kep' a-calling of it, till I tole 'er 'ow – an' it run up a tree zigzag, and jumped on to another ever so fur. That was when we was pickin' nuts. We went a blackberryin', too, one day… Na-ow, there warn't nobody dead. An' Lily … Lily Delves 'er nime was, b'longed to them I was stoppin' wiv… I didn't notice partickler… Older nor you, an' bigger, and lots redder 'bout the cheeks… She wasn't a bad sort – fur a gal… I dunno; I liked all on 'em… Well, there was Farmer Furrows, 'e was very familiar, said as 'ow I might go inter 'is horchard and pick the happles up as was layin' there jest fur the askin'. An' Bob Rumble, 'im as druv Mr. Kennister the grocer's cart, 'e used ter gimme a roide along of 'im when 'e was tikin' round porcels an' that. We'd go along lanes that 'igh yer couldn't see nuffink fur leaves; and once 'e druv along a Pork with tremenjus big trees in it, an' stagses walkin' about underneath with grite big 'orns… Suthink like 'im as is drawed outside the public round the corner – on'y they warn't none o' them gold. I 'speck them gold ones is furrin'… An' the grub – we 'ad beekstike pudd'n o' Sundays, an' as much bread an' treacle every day as ever I could eat, and I was 'ungry when I was in the kerntry… An' when I come away Mrs. Delves, she gethered me a big noseguy fur to tike 'ome to Muvver – kissantimums, merrigoles, an' dyliers, all sorts there was – an' Murver she put 'em in a jug, and soon as ever I shet my eyes an' sniffed, I could see that garding and Rover and Lily as pline– but they went bad, an' 'ad to be froed aw'y at larst. I shall see 'em all agine very soon now, though, won't thet be proime, eh?.. Whatsy? 'Ere, Florrie, you ain't croying, are yer?.. Why don't yer arsk yer Farver if 'e won't let you go… Oh, I thought as yer wanted to go. Then what are yer – ?.. No, I ain't gled to git aw'y from you… A-course I shell be gled to see 'er; but that ain't why, it's jest – You ain't never bin in the kerntry, or you'd know 'ow I'm feelin'… There's the lidy comin' now. I must cut across an' 'ear what she sez to Muvver. Don' tike on – 'tain't o'ny fur a fortnight, anyway… Look 'ere, I got suthink' for yer, Florrie, bought it orf a man what 'ad a tray on 'em – it's a wornut, d'ye see? Now open it – ain't them two little choiner dolls noice, eh?.. I'd rorther you 'ad it nor 'er, strite, I would!.. I'll be back in a minnit.
After an Interval of Twenty-four Hours.
No, I ain't bin nowhere particular… Settled? yus, it's all settled 'bout me goin' ter the kerntry… To-morrer? no, I ain't goin' to-morrer… Nex' week? not as I knows on… You wanter know sech a lot, you do!.. If I do tell yer, you'll on'y go an' larf… Well, I ain't goin' at all —now I 'ope you're pleased… What's the good o' bein' sorry?.. Oh, I don't keer much, I don't… Set down on this step alonger me, then, and don't you go saying nuffink, or I'll stop tellin' of yer… You remember me goin' in yes'day arternoon to 'ear what the lidy said? Well, when I got in, I 'eard 'er s'y, "Yus, it'll be a great disappintment for 'im, pore boy," she sez, "arter lookin' forward to it an' all; but it can't be 'elped." And Muvver, she sez, "'Is Farver'll be sorry, too; it done Jimmy ser much good larst time. 'E can't pay not more nor 'arf-a-crownd a week towards it, but he can manage that, bein' in work jess now." But the lidy sez, "It's this w'y," she sez, "it costis us neelly arf a suffering over what the parint pays fur each child, and we ain't got the fun's fur to send more 'n a few, cos the Public don' suscroibe ser much as they might," she sez. "An' so this year we're on'y sending children as is delikit, an' reelly wants a chinge." So yer see, I ain't a goin'. I dunno as I'm delikit; but I do want the kerntry orful bad, I do. I wish I never 'adn't bin there at all 'cos then preps I shouldn' mind. An' yit I'm gled I bin, too. I dreamt about it larst night, Florrie, I did. I was a-settin' on this 'ere step, sime as I am now, an' it was 'ot an' stoiflin', like it is; an' all of a suddink I see Mr. Kennister's' cart wiv the grey 'orse turn into our court an' pull up hoppersite, an' Bob Rumble 'e was a-driving on it. An' 'e sez, "Jump up!" 'e sez, "an' I'll tike yer back to Mr. Delves's cottidge." And I sez, "May Florrie come too?" An' 'e sez, "Yus, both on yer." So up we gits, and we was droivin' along the lanes, and I was showin' yer the squills an' the stagses, an' jes as we come to the turn where yer kin see the cottidge – Well, I don' remember no more on it. But it was a noice dream so far as I got wiv it, an' if I 'adn't never bin there, I couldn' ha' dreamt it, could I, eh? An', like as not, I'll dream the rest on it anuvver night… An' you must try an' dream your share, too, Florrie. It'll be a'most like bein' in the kerntry in a sort o' w'y fur both on us, won't it?
(The Offices of the Children's Country Holidays Fund are at 10, Buckingham Street, Strand, and contributions should be made payable to the Hon. Treasurer.)
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