Puppets at Large: Scenes and Subjects from Mr Punch's Show
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Fifth B. (pathetically). Don't leave your little Freddy out! (They don't leave their little Freddy out.) Cheer up, William, there's 'appier days in store; there'll be Jersey comin' soon. We'll be orf to the sunny south! (To a stranger who comes up to him.) Why, Uncle, you don't say it's you! How well you're looking! Shake 'ands and 'ave a bit on, jest for ole sake's sake! (The stranger proceeds to introduce himself as the Secretary, and to demand a fee.) What! pay you five shillins for standin' 'ere wastin' my time and voice like this? Not me! Why, I ain't took two blessed sorcepans since I bin 'ere! (The Secretary remains firm.) I won't do it, my boy. Not on prinserple, I won't. I wouldn't give you five shillins not if your tongue was 'anging down on to your boots – so there! (The Secretary does not attempt so violent an appeal to his better nature, but calls a police-inspector.) 'Ere, I'd sooner git down and chuck the show altogether; jest to mark my contempt for such goings on! (He descends from his box; takes down his sign, unscrews his pole, folds up his professional triptych, and departs in a state of virtuous indignation only to be expressed by extreme profanity, while the Secretary proceeds unmoved to collect payments from the others; who eventually compromise the claims for half-a-crown.)
Mr. Sam Satchell ("from Southampton"). Now then, you gentlemen and aristocratic tradesmen, where are you all? Don't any o' you know anything? Come on 'ere. (He stops an elderly rustic.) You've got a fancy, I can see! (The rustic denies the impeachment, grinning.) Git along with yer, yer artful ole puss, then, and don't keep gentlemen away as wants to bet! (To a Yeomanry trooper.) Come along, my ole soldier-boy, give it a name! (His old soldier-boy declines to give it any name, and passes on.) Call yerself a warrior bold, and afraid o' riskin' 'alf-a-crown! Why, yer Queen and country orter be ashamed o' yer! (As a young farmer in riding-gaiters comes up, with the evident intention of business.) Ah, you don't forget the old firm, I see… What, four to one not good enough for you? You won't get no better odds, go where you like! I suppose you expeck me to make you a present o' the money? (The farmer moves on.) I dunno what's come to 'em all. I never see nothing like it in all my life!
In the Grand Stand.
A Glib Person, in a tall hat (as he picks his way up and down the benches, the occupants of which treat him with intolerant indifference). I'm not a bookmaker, ladies and gentlemen; don't have that impression of me for a moment! I'm simply an amateur, and an independent gentleman o' means, like any of yourselves. You all know more than I do. I don't come 'ere with any intention o' winning your money – far from it. I'm wishful to settle and live among you.I may eventually put up as your member; and, if so, when I take my place in Parliament I shall be in a position to testify that the Baymouth people are extremely cautious as to the manner in which they invest their money on 'orse-racing'! Yes, I'm 'ere on beyarf of the Sporting League, just to prove how free a meeting like this is from the evils o' gambling. I don't come 'ere to rob yer. I want yer all to win. I like to see yer bright and shining faces around me; I like the friverolity and reckereation and the conviverality of the thing, that's all. I'll tell yer how it is. I've a rich ole aunt, and she puts fifty pound into my 'ands, and sez, "Jacky," she sez, "I love those dear Baymouth people, and I want you to take this 'ere money and lay it out among 'em in moieties, and make 'em rich and 'appy." You can see for yourselves. I've no tickets and no parryfernalia, excep' this little pocket-book, where I enter any bets you honour me with. Come, Miss win a pair o' those three-and-sixpenny gloves at Chickerell's, the ex-Mayor's, to oblige me! Did I tread on your corn, Sir? I assure you it was the last thing I intended… "You knew I'd do it afore I'd done?"… Well, Sir, if you've sech a gift o' seeing into futoority as that, why not make something out of it now? Three to one bar one. Kitty I'm barring. Thank you, Sir; 'alf-a-crown to seven and six on Sportsman. I tell you candidly – you've got the winner. The favourite won't win. Now, then, all you others, where's your Baymouth pluck? I orfered you thirty to one Beeswing last race; and you wouldn't take it. And Beeswing won, and you lost the chance o' making yer fortunes. Don't blame me if the same thing 'appens again. I'm on'y bettin', as I told you, for my own amusement, and to get rid o' the money! (&c., &c.)
Mr. Sam Satchell (whom the apathy of the public has apparently reduced to a state of defiant buffoonery). Even money Daredevil, you rascals! And why the blazes don't ye take it? Come on. I'll take two little bits o' twos that Kitty don't win! Four to one against ole bread-and-butter Tommy, over there in the corner! Eleven and a 'alf to three quarters to two against Kitty. "What har the Wild Waves say-hay-ing?" Two Kitties to three Daredevils against a bloomin' goat-chaise? On the Baymouth Durby I'm bettin'!
At the Close of the Last Race – Three horses have started; the favourite has led to the turn and then bolted up the shingle, but, as the tide has come in and almost covered the course, and the other two horses by declining to face the water have let him in again, he wins after an exciting finish, up to the girths in sea-water; and such bookmakers as have succeeded in obtaining patronage are paying up with as much cheerfulness as they can command.
First Bookmaker (to eager backer). "Wait a bit, my boy, wait a bit, the number hasn't gone up yet, my son. Where's your ticket – forty-two? (His Clerk refers to book.) That's Squibbs. I pay over winners– not losers. (To the public.) Come along and fetch your money, the bullion's 'ere! (To another backer.) What was yours – threes? ("Fours I've got," from his Clerk.) Why don't yer arst for what you're entitled to, instead o' makin' me arst my clurk what your bet was? There's your money – take it and go."
Second B. I'm payin' over that 'ard-run race, gentlemen, men and 'orses exhorsted! I'm payin' over Susan– dear ole Susey-hanner! who wants their money? The Bank o' England's 'ere, gentlemen, Mr. Frankie Fairprice and his ole friend, who's always by his side and never looses 'im!
Third B. (who has had to borrow largely from his brethren to meet his engagements). Are you all done now? (To the crowd.) Then I'll wish yer good afternoon, thank ye all for yer comp'ny, but you've bin bloomin' bad fun to-day, and you don't ketch me playin' Patience on a monument at any more o' yer blanky sand 'oppin' 'andicaps, that's all!
(A Sketch Outside an Omnibus.)
The Omnibus is on its progress from Piccadilly to the Bank; the weather is raw and unpleasant, and the occupants of the garden-seats on the roof of the vehicle are – for once in a way – mostly men.
First Passenger (to Second, an acquaintance). I see young Bashaway the other day. (Significantly.) Jest been to see his father, so he told me.
Second Passenger (with interest). 'Ad he though? And 'ow did he find him?
First P. Fustrate, young Jim said; didn't know when he'd seen him lookin' better – (with sentiment) – quite like his old self!
Second P. (heartily). That is good 'earin', that is! (Reflectively.) Seems rum, though, come to think of it.
First P. 'Ow d'yer mean– rum? It's no more than what yer'd expect, bein' where he is. Look at the air o' the place – there ain't a 'elthier situation all round London, to my mind!
Second P. No, that's right enough; and, from all I 'ear, the food's well cooked and served reg'lar, if it is plain.
First P. Ah, and Bill enjoys his meals now, he does – the work gives him a appetite, and it's years, to my certain knowledge, since he done a stroke, and o' course he ain't allowed no drink —
Second P. And that's enough, of itself, to be the savin' of 'im, the way he was!
First P. Then, yer see, there's the reg'lar hours, and the freedom from worry, and the like, and nothink on his mind, and the place with every sanitary improvement and that – why, he owns his own self it's bin the makin' of 'im. And from what young Jim was a tellin' me, it appears that if Bill goes on gittin' good-conduck marks at the rate he's doin', there'll be a nice little sum doo to 'im when he's done his time at Wormwood Scrubs.
Second P. (sympathetically). Well, and that makes suthin' to look forward to, don't it, when he does git let out. Talkin' o' that, you've known 'im longer 'n what I 'ave. Do you 'appen to know what it was as he got inter trouble for?
First P. (with the consciousness of superior delicacy). Lor' bless yer, I never thought o' arskin' 'im the question.
Second P. (with feeble self-assertion under this implied rebuke). Well, it all depends on 'ow yer put a question o' that sort.
A Chatty Passenger (to a Contradictious Passenger, as the 'bus passes Trafalgar Square). Pretty these 'ere fountains look, with the water playin', don't they?
The Contradicious Passenger. The fountings are well enough, if it wasn't fur the water – norsty messy stuff, I call it.
The Chatty P. (abandoning the fountains). It's wonderful what an amount o' traffic there is in the Strand, ain't it?
Contrad. P. Nothink to what it was forty years ago!
The Driver (to a Passenger with a Badge, immediately behind him). 'Ow is it you're orf yer keb to-day, Bob? Taking a day orf, or what?
The Passenger with a Badge. Not much. Goin' up to Bow Street to gimmy evidence in a collision case – that's all.
Driver (dubiously). Bow Street! Ain't that rorther shovin' yer 'ed in the lion's mouth, eh?
The P. with a B. (with virtuous serenity). Not it! What ha' they got agen me all the time I bin licensed? Only three drunks and a loiter!
The Chatty P. (returning to the charge). Orful state the roads are in with all this mud! I s'pose that's the London County Council, eh?
The Contrad. P. London Kayounty Kayouncil! No, it ain't – nothink o' the sort! I'll tell yer 'oo it is, if yer want to know; it's Gladstone!
The Chatty P. (mildly surprised, but glad to have discovered common ground). I see you're a Conservative – like myself.
The Contrad. P. That's jest where you're wrong! I ain't no Conservative, nor yet I don't want none o' Gladstone neither. I'm a Radikil, I am. John Burns and Ben Tillett – that's my lot!
The Chatty P. (reluctantly relinquishing politics). Ah, well, every man's got a right to form his own opinions, ain't he?
The Contrad. P. No, he ain't– not if he goes and forms wrong 'uns! (A pause.) 'Ave yer got the time about yer?
The Chatty P. (accepting this as a sign of softening). I'm sorry to say I come out without my watch this morning, or else – But there's plenty o' clocks about as'll tell yer.
The Contrad. P. (with intense disdain). Clocks! You don't ketch me trusting no clocks – with no two of 'em alike!
The Chatty P. (as they pass a well-known watchmaker's). Well, 'ow about that clock with the figgers? Won't that do yer? They set it to Grinnidge time every hour, so it's bound to be right!
The Contrad. P. (as descends). There yer are! Think I'd put my faith in a clock as 'as to be set right every hour? 'Tain't likely! Good-day to yer!
The Chatty P. So long! (To himself.) A pleasant feller enough, I dessay, if you leave the subjec' to 'im!
Driver (to smart Hansom Cabman). Now then, outer the way with that 'ere 'Ackney keb o' yours!
Hansom Cabman (with hauteur). As it 'appens, it ain't a 'Ackney cab – it's a private kerridge, this is!
Driver. Ah, I might ha' known you was a hammytoor by yer silly hasslike method o' conducting yer business! [Drives on triumphant.
A Political Passenger (with a panacea – to a "Knowledgable" Passenger). No, I don't want no 'Ome Rule, nor yet no Parish Counsels, nor nothink o' that. What I wanter see interdooced 'ere is Tereenial Porliments.
The Knowledgable Passenger (with respect). Tereenial Parliments? I don't know as I've 'eard o' them.
The Pol. P. Ain't yer? Well, they're what we want. Why, they've 'ad 'em in America, they've ad 'em in Ostralia, they've 'ad 'em in Orstria; and everywhere, mind yer, everywhere they've been in operation they've turned out a success!
The Kn. P. Then it's 'igh time we 'ad 'em. What is it they're called, again?
The Pol. P. Tee-reen-ial Porliments. It stands to reason they work well. There they are, a settin' eight months in the year fur seven year on end – somethink's bound to come of it! I'd like to see any o' our lot settin' like that! It's a pity we don't take more pattern by America in our law-makin'.
The Kn. P. Except in our criminal law. Why, I've 'eard there's States out there where a man may go and commit a crime, d'ye see, and once he gits across the boundary from one State into another – like as it might be a line across this 'ere street like, d'ye see – once he's over that, they can't do nothink to 'im!
The Pol. P. (thoughtfully). Ah, that wouldn't never do 'ere, that wouldn't!
Conductor (to a Sleepy Passenger in a corner). Now then, fare, please?
The Sleepy Passenger (with manly regret). I ain't gorrit, ole pal. If yer'd asht me jes' two minutes afore I gorrup, I could ha' done it for yer, but I took jes' anorrer glash an' blued th' lot. No man can say I don' part s'long's I gorrer money; no freehandeder man anywheresh'n wharri am; but yer come on me too late. (Shaking his head reproachfully.) Thash where 'tis, yer come on me too late!
Cond. 'Ere, I ain't goin' to stand no nonsense! If yer 'aven't got the money, git down orf o' my bus, and quick, too!
The Sl. P. Ged down? An' quick! You wouldn' tor' li' that if you'd sheen wharrer bloomin' 'ard job I 'ad to get up! [He resumes his slumber.
Cond. (passing on, softened). I can't go and break the beggar's neck for tuppence, and he's got it somewhere about him, as likely as not. (To a Litigious Passenger.) Tuppence is the fare, Sir, if you please.
The Litigious Passenger. One penny is the legal fare, and all I intend to pay. I know the law!
Cond. And so do I. It's wrote up tuppence inside the bus. If yer ain't going to pay more, yer'd better git down; ye've 'ad over your penn'orth a'ready!
The Litig. P. (with spirit). I decline to get down. I insist on being taken to the Bank for my penny.
Cond. Oh, do yer? We'll see about that.
Constable (pacifically, from below, to the Litig. P.). Come, Sir, don't block the traffic, like this 'ere! Either pay the man his fare or get down – one of the two.
The Litig. P. (from the roof). I have a legal right to remain here if I like!
Const. That may be, Sir; but if you do, this man can summons you that's all.
The Litig. P. (warming with the joy of battle). That's just what I want him to do! Can't I make him summon me?
Cond. (disgusted). 'Ere, 'ang it all! do yer think I'm goin' to cart you 'arf over London fur a penny, and throw yer in the luxury of a lawsoot? 'Ere's yer penny back, and I give yer the ride free, there!
The Litig. P. (accepting the penny, and descending with dignity). Very well; and let me tell you this, it was just as well you gave way when you did, for I was quite prepared to carry the case to the House of Lords!
Cond. Ah! and I s'pose yer think yer'd git there for a penny?
AT A HIGHLAND CATTLE AUCTION
A Yard. In the open space between the rows of pens the Auctioneer is trying to dispose of some horses which are trotted out one by one in the usual fashion
The Auctioneer (spectacled, red-bearded, canny, slightly Arcadian touch imparted by straw hat, and a sprig of heather in his button-hole). What'll I say for this, noo? (A horse of a meditative mien is just brought in.) Here's a beast, and a very good beast, from Lochaber! (The bystanders remain unmoved.) He was bred by Meester MacFarlane, o' Drumtappit, and ye'll all ha' haird on him as the biggest breeder in these pairts. (Heads are shaken, so much as to intimate that this particular animal does not do Mr. MacFarlane justice.) Trot him up an' doon a bit, boy, and show his action – stan' away back there! (With affected concern.) Don't curb him so tight – be careful now, or ye'll do meeschief to yourself an' others! (As the horse trots past them, several critics slap it disrespectfully on the hind-quarters – a liberty which it bears with meekness.) There's a pace for ye – he's a guid woorker, a gran' beast – hoo much shall we say for him? (Nobody seems able to express his appreciation of the grand beast in figures.) Just to stairt ye then – twenty poon! (Even the animal himself appears slightly staggered by this sum; bystanders are quietly derisive; Auctioneer climbs rapidly down without interruption till he reaches six pounds, when he receives his first bid.) Sex poon' is bed for 'm – is there ony advance on sex poon? (Someone in the background: – "Fefteen shellin'!") Sex-fefteen – noo, Meester McRobbie, wull ye no luik this way? (Mr. McR. responds by a decided negative.) Ye won't? Ah, I never got ony guid from ye – 'cept when I didn't meet ye. (This piece of Scotch "wut" raises a laugh at Mr.McR.'s expense, but does not affect the bidding, which still languishes.) Then, he's going at sex-fefteen – for the last time. Whaur's my bedder at sex-fefteen? (Repentance or modesty prevents the bidder from coming forward, and the Auctioneer continues, more in grief than anger.) Eh, this is too bad noo – I'll thank no man for making me a bed, 'cept those that are meant in airnest. No one bed onything for a beast like this! Then I hae to tell ye ye've not bed near up to the resairve price on it. (Suddenly becomes weary of the animal.) Tak' it awa'. (The next horse is led in.) Now, here's a beast that's well-known, I'm thenkin'. (The general expression signifies that its reputation is not altogether to its credit.) There's a well-bred mare – open up, and let her show hersel'. (The mare is shown, but fails to excite competition.) Ah, ye'll ony buy screws to-day, an' not the nice things at a' – tak' her away. (The mare is taken out ignominiously; Auctioneer, followed by crowd, leads the way to where a pony and trap are standing harnessed.) Noo, I'm gaun to pit up the pony an' van – just show them hoo she goes in hairness, boy. (To intrusive collie.) Out of the way, dug, in case ye get your feet smashed. (Trap starts off, and is driven out of sight.) Whaur's the laddie gaun ta? Thenks he'll show himsel' at Nairn, maybe! Ah, here she comes. (Trap returns at a modest pace.) Stan' back, noo, all of ye; give her room. I'll sell the mare first, and a beauty she is – what shell we say? Ten poons – and she's a nice one! Well, stairt her at five, she may get up. (Bidding gets up to ten pounds, where it stops.) Then she goes at ten, and I'm very glad she's gaun to a gude auld friend o' mine – Meester McKenzie, o' Glenbannock. Wull ye say five mair, and take the hairness, Meester McKenzie? It's richt hairness! (Mr. McK. declines to be tempted.) Well, I'm sorry ye wull na, I'd ha liked (sentimentally, as if it had been the dream of his life) for the mare an' the hairness to go togither and no to pairt them – but as 'tis, it canna be helped. We'll pass on to the pegs, if you please. (Passes to a row of pens containing pigs, and mounts some planks placed along the top.) Now, these are some proper pegs. (A rush is made for the rails enclosing the pigs, which instantly become self-conscious and redouble their grunts.) Noo, laddies, laddies, it's no fair o' ye taking up a' the room i' that way. I'm quite sure there's a lot o' ye in front that's no buying pegs – ye hanna the luik o' pairsons that buy pegs. Stan' by for shame, and don't keep them that comes to buy, where they canna see sae much as a tail. Hoo much apiece for these palefaced pegs? Ye've an awfu' guid view o' them there, Mr. Ferguson, – luik this way once again for forrty and threepence. (Persuasively.) It'll soun' better wi' the threepence. Gaun' for forty an' three. (The owner of the pigs calls out "No!") I thocht I made a law here that people having pegs should gie me the resairve at the time – see what ye do now, Peter MacPhairson, make a fule of the buyers and a fule o' mysel'! – but (with tolerant contempt) Peter is not a strong man, we must no be haird on Peter. (Roar from crowd; disappearance of Mr. MacPh.) I'll cancel no more sales that way, however, as I eentimate to ye once for a'.
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