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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 105, July 8th 1893   By:

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[Illustration: PUNCH VOL CV]





[Illustration: PREFACE]

" Vox, et præterea nihil! " murmured Somebody in the background.

"Who made that stale and inappropriate quotation?" exclaimed Mr. Oracle PUNCH, looking severely around the illustrious group gathered in his sanctum about the brazen tripod which bore his brand new Phonograph.

Nobody answered.

"Glad to see you are ashamed of yourself, whoever you are," snapped the Seer.

"Rather think the a Spook spoke," muttered a self important looking personage, obliquely eyeing a shadowy visitor from Borderland.

"Humph! JULIA may use your hand, but you will not trump mine ," retorted the Oracle. "If revenants knew what nonsense is put into their spectral mouths by noodles and charlatans, they would never return to be made spectral pilgarlics of."

"A ghost is a good thing in a Christmas story!" laughed the jolly old gentleman in a holly crown. "Elsewhere it is generally a fraud and a nuisance."

"Right, Father Christmas!" cried Mr. PUNCH. "But the Voces from my Oracular Funograph are not ghostly nothings, neither are they ambiguous, like the oracles of the Sibyl of Cumæ, to which, my eloquent Premier, some have had the audacity to compare certain of your vocal deliverances."

The Old Oracular Hand smiled sweetly. " Nescit vox missa reverti ," he murmured. "Would that EDISON could invent a Party Leader's Phonograph whose utterances should satisfy at the time without danger of being quoted against one fifty years later by CLEON the Tanner, or AGORACRITUS the Sausage Seller, to whom even the Sibylline Books would scarce have been sacred. But you and your Funograph as you neatly call it have never been Paphlagonian, have never had to give up to Party what was meant for Mankind."

" And Womankind, surely, Mr. GLADSTONE?" subjoined the Strong minded Woman, glaring reproachfully through her spectacles at the Anti Woman's Rights Premier. "I wish I could say as much of you , Sir!"

"Labour and the Ladies seem to have small share in his thoughts," began the Striker, hotly, when Lord ROSEBERY touched him gently on his fustian clad shoulder, and he subsided.

"Am I not a lady?" queried HIBERNIA, with an affectionate glance at her aged champion.

"Golly, and me too?" added a damsel of dusky Libyan charms, clinging close to the stalwart arm of Napoleonic CECIL RHODES.

"Yes with a difference!" said the Oracle, drily. "' Place aux dames ' is a motto of partial and rather capricious application, is it not, my evergreen Premier?"

"A principle of politeness rather than of politics or Parliament at present," murmured the G. O. M.

"Pooh!" sniffed the Strong minded Woman. "It will spread . Read Mr. H. FOWLER'S Bill, and Dr. ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE'S Woman and Natural Selection ; put this and that together, and perpend!"

"The Penny Phonograph," pursued Mr. Oracle PUNCH, "is now prodigiously patronised. For the popular penny you can hear an American band, a Chevalier coster ballad, the 'Charge of the Light Brigade,' a comic song by 'Little TICH,' or a speech by the Old Man eloquent. No; for the latter I believe they charge twopence. That is fame, my Pantagruelian Premier. But in my Funograph charge the unchangeable Threepence you can hear the very voice of Wisdom and Wit, of Humanity and Humour, of Eloquence and Essential Truth, of Music and of Mirth!"

"Hear! hear! hear!" chorussed everybody.

"You shall hear!" said the Oracle. "Stand round, all of you, and adjust your ear tubes! DIONYSIUS'S EAR was not an aural 'circumstance' (as your countryman would say, CLEVELAND) compared with this. Vox, et præterea nihil , indeed!"

" Nihil or Nihilism," growled the Trafalgar Square Anarchist, "is the burden of the vox populi of to day "

" Vox diaboli , you mean," interrupted the great Funographer, sternly. "And there is no opening for that vox here... Continue reading book >>

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