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Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 104, March 11, 1893   By:

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOL. 104

MARCH 11, 1893.

MIXED NOTIONS.

No. VI. REGISTRATION REFORM.

( Scene and Persons as Usual. )

First Well Informed Man ( bristling with indignation, as he lays down his newspaper ). Well, I'm dashed!

Inquirer ( nervously ). What's up?

First W. I. M. What's up! Everything's up. Up the spout, that's where this blessed country will be if this kind of thing's going on.

Inquirer. What kind of thing?

First W. I. M. Why, all this gerrymandering kind of business.

Inquirer. Oh, by the way, that reminds me. I came on that word the other day. Can any of you chaps tell me what it means?

First W. I. M. It's as plain as a pikestaff. It means playing ducks and drakes with things all round, and letting the whole business go thoroughly rotten.

Inquirer. Has it got anything to do with jerry builders?

First W. I. M. It's the same thing precisely.

Inquirer ( insisting ). But what's the point of calling 'em jerry? Where does that come in?

First W. I. M. It's a French word.

Second W. I. M. It isn't. It's German.

First W. I. M. Bosh, it's French.

Second W. I. M. I bet you a dollar it's German.

First W. I. M. And I bet you a dollar it's French. ( To Average Man. ) Here, you decide. Which is it?

Average Man. Well, I'm sure it isn't French

Second W. I. M. ( interrupting ). Of course it isn't. Pay up, my boy!

Average Man ( continuing ). But, on the other hand, it isn't German.

First W. I. M. Oh, rot! It must be one or the other, you know. ( Scornfully. ) You'll be telling us it's Greek next.

Average Man. Well, of course, it might be; but, as a matter of fact, I fancy it's English.

First W. I. M. , Second W. I. M. ( together ). Oh, you tell that to the Marines! It won't wash here.

Inquirer ( doubtfully ). Perhaps it's American.

Average Man ( resignedly ). Well I daresay it is. Any way, you can have it so if you like, It may be Sanskrit for all I care.

[ Retires to his paper. A pause.

Inquirer ( to First W. I. M. ). But, look here, what made you lose your hair, just now? You looked as angry as blazes about something.

First W. I. M. ( with dignity ). Did I? Well, isn't it enough to make anybody, who loves his country, angry when he sees what's going on. Why, the Government's going to turn everything inside out, with some blessed new law about elections. Registration Bill, they call it, or something of that sort. Just as if we hadn't had enough tinkering and pottering lately. It's all through this confounded County Council interfering with everything.

Second W. I. M. ( aggressive ). What the dickens has the County Council got to do with it? You're always dropping on the County Council.

First W. I. M. Oh, they've got their finger in every pie. I'm pretty certain this is their job.

Second W. I. M. Well, you're wrong this time, that's all. You're thinking of the Employers' Liability Bill.

First W. I. M. No, I'm not. I never even heard of it. So that's where you're wrong. What has the Employers' Liabill got I mean the Employers' ( steadily, and with determination ) Li a bil ity Bill got to do with the County Council?

Second W. I. M. Everything. Didn't you read JOHN BURNS'S speech about it?

First W. I. M. No and I don't mean to. Ask me another.

Second W. I. M. All right I will. Do you mean to deny that our present Registration System is a ridiculous one?

First W. I. M. ( hotly ). Yes, I do.

Second W. I. M. ( with triumph ). Ah, I've got you now. You said, only yesterday, that any system by which a Government like this got into power must be ridiculous. ( To Inquirer.) Didn't he?

Inquirer ( hesitating ). Well, I'm not quite sure. I rather fancy he did say something of that kind. But ( deprecatingly ) perhaps he meant something else.

First W. I. M. No, I didn't. I meant what I said and I stick to it. But that isn't the same thing as the Registration System.

Second W. I. M. Perhaps you'll tell us, then, what the Registration System is?

Inquirer ( eagerly )... Continue reading book >>


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