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Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, May 3, 1890.   By:

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MAY 3, 1890.




Once more we draw upon our favourite source of inspiration the poems of the Misses TAYLOR. The dramatist is serenely confident that the new London County Council Censor of Plays, whenever that much desired official is appointed, will highly approve of this little piece on account of the multiplicity of its morals. It is intended to teach, amongst other useful lessons, that as the poem on which it is founded puts it "Fruit in lanes is seldom good"; also, that it is not always prudent to take a hint; again, that constructive murder is distinctly reprehensible, and should never be indulged in by persons who cannot control their countenances afterwards. Lastly, that suicide may often be averted by the exercise of a little savoir vivre.


Tommy and his Sister Jane (Taylorian Twins, and awful examples).

Their Wicked Uncle (plagiarised from a forgotten Nursery Story, and slightly altered).

Old Farmer Copeer (skilled in the use of horse and cattle medicines).

SCENE A shady lane; on the right, a gate, leading to the farm; left, some bushes, covered with practicable scarlet berries.

Enter the Wicked Uncle, stealthily .

The W. U. No peace of mind I e'er shall know again Till I have cooked the geese of TOM and JANE! But though a naughty I'm a nervous nunky, For downright felonies I feel too funky! I'd hire assassins but of late the villains Have raised their usual fee to fifteen shillin's! Nor, to reduce their rates, will they engage ( Sympathetically ) For two poor orphans who are under age! So (as I'd give no more than half a guinea) I must myself get rid of TOM and JENNY. Yet, like an old soft hearted fool, I falter, And can't make up my mind to risk a halter. ( Looking off ). Ha, in the distance, JANE and little TOM I see! These berries ( meditatingly ) why, it only needs diplomacy. Ho ho, a most ingenious experiment!

[ Indulges in silent and sinister mirth, as JANE and TOM trip in, and regard him with innocent wonder .

Jane. Uncle, what is the joke? why all this merriment?

The W. U. (in guilty confusion). Not merriment, my loves a trifling spasm Don't be alarmed your Uncle often has 'em! I'm feeling better than I did at first You're looking flushed, though not, I hope, with thirst? [ Insidiously.


The sun is scorching overhead: the roads are dry and dusty; And here are berries, ripe and red, refreshing when you're thusty ! They're hanging just within your reach, inviting you to clutch them! But as your Uncle I beseech you won't attempt to touch them?

Tommy and Jane (dutifully). We'll do whatever you beseech, and not attempt to touch them! [ Annoyance of W. U.

The W. U. Temptation (so I've understood) a child, in order kept, shuns; And fruit in lanes is seldom good (with several exceptions). However freely you partake, it can't as you are young kill, But should it cause a stomach ache well, don't you blame your Uncle!

Tommy and Jane. No, should it cause a stomach ache, we will not blame our Uncle!

The W. U. (aside). They'll need no further personal assistance, But take the bait when I am at a distance. I could not, were I paid a thousand ducats, ( With sentiment ) Stand by, and see them kick their little buckets, Or look on while their sticks this pretty pair cut! [ Stealing off.

Tommy. What, Uncle, going?

The W. U. (with assumed jauntiness). Just to get my hair cut! [ Goes.

Tommy (looking wistfully at the berries). I say, they do look nice, JANE, such a lot too!

Jane (demurely). Well, TOMMY, Uncle never told us not to.

[ Slow music; they gradually approach the berries, which they pick and eat with increasing relish, culminating in a dance of delight... Continue reading book >>

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