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Punch or the London Charivari, Vol. 98 June 7, 1890   By:

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VOLUME 98, JUNE 7TH 1890

edited by Sir Francis Burnand





Visitors ascending staircase, full of enthusiasm and energetic determination not to miss a single Picture, encounter people descending in various stages of mental and physical exhaustion. At the turnstiles two Friends meet unexpectedly; both being shy men, who, with timely notice, would have preferred to avoid one another, their greetings are marked by an unnatural effusion, and followed by embarrassed silence.

First Shy Man (to break the spell). Odd, our running up against one another like this, eh?

Second Shy Man. Oh, very odd. ( Looks about him irresolutely, and wonders if it would be decent to pass on. Decides it will hardly do. ) Great place for meeting, the Academy, though.

First S. M. Yes; sure to come across somebody , sooner or later.

[ Laughs nervously, and wishes the other would go.

Second S. M. (seeing that his friend lingers). This your first visit here?

First S. M. Yes. Couldn't very well get away before , you know.

[ Feels apologetic, without exactly knowing why.

Second S. M. It's my first visit, too. ( Sees no escape, and resigns himself. ) Er we may as well go round together, eh?

First S. M. (who was afraid this was coming heartily). Good! By the way, I always think, on a first visit, it's best to take a single room, and do that thoroughly. [ This has only just occurred to him.

Second S. M. (who had been intending to follow that plan himself). Oh, do you? Now, for my part, I don't attempt to see anything thoroughly the first time. Just scamper through, glance at the things one oughtn't to miss, get a general impression, and come away. Then , if I don't happen to come again, I've always done it, you see. But ( considerately ), look here. Don't let me drag you about, if you'd rather not!

First S. M. Oh, but I shouldn't like to feel I was any tie on you. Don't you mind about me. I shall potter about in here for hours, I daresay.

Second S. M. Ah, well ( with vague consolation ), I shall always know where to find you, I suppose.

First S. M. ( brightening visibly ). Oh dear, yes; I shan't be far away.

[ They part with mutual relief, only tempered by the necessity of following the course they have respectively prescribed for themselves. Nemesis overtakes the Second S. M. in the next Gallery, when he is captured by a Desultory Enthusiast, who insists upon dragging him all over the place to see obscure "bits" and "gems," which are only to be appreciated by ricking the neck or stooping painfully .

A Suburban Lady (to Female Friend). Oh dear, how stupid of me! I quite forgot to bring a pencil! Oh, thank you, dear, that will do beautifully . It's just a little blunt; but so long as I can mark with it, you know. You don't think we should avoid the crush if we began at the end room? Well, perhaps it is less confusing to begin at the beginning, and work steadily through.


A small group has collected before Mr. WYLLIE'S "Davy Jones's Locker," which they inspect solemnly for some time before venturing to commit themselves to any opinion .

First Visitor (after devoting his whole mind to the subject). Why, it's the Bottom of the Sea at least ( more cautiously ), that's what it seems to be intended for.

Second V. Ah, and very well done, too. I wonder, now, how he managed to stay down long enough to paint all that?

Third V. Practice, I suppose. I've seen writing done under water myself. But that was a tank!

Fourth V. (presumably in profound allusion to the fishes and sea anemones). Well, they seem to be 'aving it all their own way down there, don't they? [ The Group, feeling that this remark sums up the situation, disperses.

The Suburban Lady (her pencil in full play)... Continue reading book >>

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