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Title: Mr. Punch's Country Life
Author: Hammerton, John Alexander, Sir, 1871-1949 [Editor]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mr. Punch's Country Life" ***

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  COUNTRY LIFE

  PUNCH LIBRARY OF HUMOUR

  Edited by J. A. HAMMERTON

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

Designed to provide in a series of volumes, each complete in itself, the
cream of our national humour, contributed by the masters of comic
draughtsmanship and the leading wits of the age to "Punch," from its
beginning in 1841 to the present day

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

MR. PUNCH'S COUNTRY LIFE

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: BROWN'S COUNTRY HOUSE.--_Brown (who takes a friend home
to see his new purchase, and strikes a light to show it)._ "Confound it,
the beastly thing's stopped!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

    MR. PUNCH'S COUNTRY LIFE

    HUMOURS OF OUR RUSTICS

    AS PICTURED BY

    PHIL MAY, L. RAVEN-HILL,
    CHARLES KEENE, GEORGE
    DU MAURIER, BERNARD
    PARTRIDGE, GUNNING
    KING, LINLEY SAMBOURNE,
    G. D. ARMOUR,
    C. E. BROCK, TOM BROWNE,
    LEWIS BAUMER, WILL
    OWEN, F. H. TOWNSEND,
    G. H. JALLAND, G. E.
    STAMPA, AND OTHERS


    _WITH 180 ILLUSTRATIONS_

    PUBLISHED BY ARRANGEMENT WITH

    THE PROPRIETORS OF "PUNCH"

       *       *       *       *       *

    THE EDUCATIONAL BOOK CO. LTD.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PUNCH LIBRARY OF HUMOUR

_Twenty-five volumes, crown 8vo, 192 pages fully illustrated_

    LIFE IN LONDON
    COUNTRY LIFE
    IN THE HIGHLANDS
    SCOTTISH HUMOUR
    IRISH HUMOUR
    COCKNEY HUMOUR
    IN SOCIETY
    AFTER DINNER STORIES
    IN BOHEMIA
    AT THE PLAY
    MR. PUNCH AT HOME
    ON THE CONTINONG
    RAILWAY BOOK
    AT THE SEASIDE
    MR. PUNCH AFLOAT
    IN THE HUNTING FIELD
    MR. PUNCH ON TOUR
    WITH ROD AND GUN
    MR. PUNCH AWHEEL
    BOOK OF SPORTS
    GOLF STORIES
    IN WIG AND GOWN
    ON THE WARPATH
    BOOK OF LOVE
    WITH THE CHILDREN

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

ON RUSTIC HUMOUR

Than the compilation of such a series of books as that which includes
the present volume there could surely be no more engaging occupation for
one who delights to look on the humorous side of life. The editor feels
that if his readers derive as much enjoyment from the result of his
labours as these labours have afforded him he may reasonably
congratulate them! He has found himself many times over, as a book has
taken shape from his gatherings in the treasure house of Mr. Punch,
saying "This is the best of the lot"--and usually he has been right.
There is none but is "the best!" There _may_ be one that is not quite so
good as the other twenty-four; but wild horses would not drag the name
of that one from the editor. He feels, however, that in illustrating the
humours of country life Mr. Punch has risen to the very summit of his
genius. There is, of course, good reason for this, as it is notorious
that the richest humour is to be found in the lowly walks of life, and
flourishes chiefly in rustic places where folks are simple and character
has been allowed to grow with something of that individuality we find in
the untouched products of Nature. Your true humorist has always been in
quick sympathy with the humblest of his fellow men. In the village
worthy, in poor blundering Hodge, in the rough but kindly country
doctor, the picturesque tramp, the droning country parson, the inept
curate, the village glee singers, and such like familiar figures of
rural England, the humorist has never failed to find that "source of
innocent merriment" he might seek for vainly in more exalted ranks of
our complex society. But he seeks among the country folk because his
heart is there. The very best of Mr. Punch's humorists of the pencil,
Charles Keene and Phil May in the past, and Mr. Raven-Hill and Mr. C. E.
Brock to-day, have given more consideration to the country ways of life
than to any other, and hence the exceeding richness of the present
volume. It is thus in no sense a comic picture of Mr. Punch's notions of
how the so-called country life is attempted by the townsman--one of the
most notable features of our present social conditions--but is, in
effect, a refreshing breath of genuine rustic humour, kindly,
whole-hearted, and "racy of the soil."

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

MR. PUNCH'S COUNTRY LIFE

       *       *       *       *       *

THE BEST SHARE IN A FARM.--The plough-share.

       *       *       *       *       *

A PROVERB FRESH FROM THE COUNTRY.--No gooseberry without a thorn.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE CONNOISSEURS.--_Groom._ "Whew's Beer do you like best--this 'ere
hom'brewed o' Fisk's, or that there ale they gives yer at the White
Ho's'?"
_Keeper_ (_critically_). "Well, o' the tew I prefers this 'ere. That
there o' Wum'oods's don't fare to me to taste o' nawthun at all. Now
this 'ere dew taste o' the cask!!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE AGRICULTURAL OUTLOOK

(_From Dumb-Crambo Junior's Point of View._)]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE LANGUAGE OF FRUITS

    Apple           Discord.
    Pear            Marriage.
    Plum            Wealth.
    Pine            Languishment.
    Gooseberry      Simplicity.
    Medlar          Interference.
    Service         Assistance.
    Elder-berry     Seniority.
    Fig             Defiance.
    Sloe            Tardiness.
    Crab            Sour Temper.
    Date            Chronology.
    Hip             Applause.
    Haw             Swells.
    Plaintain       Growth.
    Pomegranate     Seediness.
    Prune           Retrenchment.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE REAL LAND QUESTION.--How to make land _answer_.

       *       *       *       *       *

PERFECT QUIET.--The still room.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: LAND AND WATER.--_Prospective Purchaser_ (_arrived from
town to see the locality as advertised some three weeks ago. He has not
heard of the recent floods in this part of the country_). "Look here.
Are you selling this property by the yard or by the pint?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

A COUNTRY SELL.--_Native Joker_ (_dissembling_). It's been very fine
here for the last week.

_Tourist_ (_who has been kept in by the showers, indignantly_). _What's_
been very fine here?

_Native._ The rain. Very fine rain.

[_Exit Native Joker, hurriedly._

       *       *       *       *       *

"THE BEST OF IT."--_First Gentleman Farmer._ "Why, there goes that
artful rogue, Billy Giles! Is he at his old tricks still?"

_Second Ditto._ "He has cheated everybody down about here, sir, except
me! He tried it on this winter, but I was too clever for him! Sold me a
cow, and--(_triumphantly_)--I made him take it back at _half-price!!_"

       *       *       *       *       *

THE REAL "LAND AGITATION."--An earthquake.

       *       *       *       *       *

A CRY FROM KENT.

  Prosperity's fled from our gardens and grounds;
    How spindly our bines and how scanty our crops!
  Wealth _may_ be "advancing by leaps and by bounds,"
          It certainly isn't by _hops_!

       *       *       *       *       *

ADVICE TO FARMERS.--Feed your poultry well, and you will insure full
crops.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Tramp_ (_to second ditto_). "That's a stylish sort
of dawg you're a-wearin'!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ENCOURAGING

_Curate_ (_who wishes to encourage local industry_). "Well, Adams, how
are you getting on with my watch?"

_Adams._ "Why, it be nigh finished now, zur, an' 'e do zeem to go mortal
well, but dang me, if there bain't a wheel as I can't find a place vor
summow!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

"I'm sorry to hear you've been ailing again, John. I must send you down
something from the Rectory. How would you like some soup?"

"Thanky kindly, mum--but I bain't so terr'ble wrapped up in soup!"

       *       *       *       *       *

WHAT RURAL DEANS SMOKE.--"Church-wardens."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Convivial Party._ "I shay, ole f'ller, how long doesh it
take to gerout of thish wood?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Doctor._ "Well, you got those leeches I sent for your
husband, Mrs. Giles?"

_Mrs. Giles._ "Yes, zur; but what on earth be the good o' sending they
little things vor a girt big chap like he? I jes' took an' clapped a
ferret on 'un!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE BY A CHIROPODIST (_in the country for the first time_).--"Must be
very painful--corn in the ear."

       *       *       *       *       *

A PASTORAL.--How should a shepherd arrange his dress? In folds.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE DUNMOW FLITCH.--All gammon.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Hotel-keeper_ (_who has let his "Assembly Room" for a
concert_). "Well, sir, I 'ope you found the arrangements in the 'all
satisfactory last night?"

_Mr. Bawlington._ "Oh, yes; everything was all right. There was only one
thing to object to. I found the acoustics of the building not quite----"

_Hotel-keeper._ "No, sir; excuse me. _What you smelt was the stables
next door!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Giles._ "I be got up here, mister, but I don't zee 'ow
ever I be goin' to get down."

_Farmer._ "Thee zhut thee eyes an' walk about a bit, an' thee'll zoon
get down!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

AN OLD OFFENDER.--_Country Gentleman_ (_eyeing his Gardener
suspiciously_). "Dear, dear me, Jeffries, this is too bad! After what I
said to you yesterday, I didn't think to find you----"

_Gardener._ "You can't shay--(_hic_)--I wash drunk yesht'day, sh----!"

_Country Gentleman_ (_sternly_). "Are you sober this morning, sir?"

_Gardener._ "I'm--shlightly shober, shir!!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: QUALIFIED ADMIRATION.--_Country Vicar._ "Well, John, what
do you think of London?" _Yokel._ "Lor' bless yer, sir, it'll be a fine
place _when it's finished!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Squire's Daughter._ "Do you think it is quite healthy to
keep your pigs so close to the cottage?"

_Hodge._ "I dunno, miss. Noan of they pigs ain't ever been ill!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: VERJUICE!

_Farmer's Wife_ (_whose beer is of the smallest_). "Why, you hevn't
drunk half of it, Mas'r Gearge!"

_Peasant_ (_politely_). "Thanky', mu'm--all the same, mu'm. But I bean't
so thusty as I thought I wor, mu'm!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OUR VILLAGE.

_Nephew_ (_on a visit to the "Old Country"_). "Ah, uncle, in Canada we
don't do our hay-makin' in this 'ere old-fashioned way."

_Uncle._ "Why, you bean't never goin' to tell I as you've bin an' turned
teetotal?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

RECIPROCITY.--_Parson._ "I have missed you from your pew of late, Mr.
Stubbings----"

_Farmer_ (_apologetically_). "Well, sir, I hev' been to meet'n' lately,
but--y' see, sir, the Reverend Mr. Scowles o' the chapel, he bought some
pigs o' me, and I thought I ought to gi' 'm a tarn!"

       *       *       *       *       *

THE FARMER FOR THE FAIR.--A husbandman.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Doctor._ "Well, Mrs. Muggeridge, how are you getting on?
Taken the medicine, eh?" _Mrs. M._ "Yes, doctor. I've taken all the
tabloids you sent, and now I want a new persecution."]

       *       *       *       *       *

ON A FOOTING.--Almost every considerable town has a market for corn;
therefore, it is but fit that Bedford Market-place should have its
Bunyan.

       *       *       *       *       *

PLACE OF RESIDENCE FOR LODGERS.--Border-land.

       *       *       *       *       *

SOUNDINGS!--(_The living down at our village falling vacant,_ Lord
Pavondale _left it to the parish to choose the new rector._)

_Influential Parishioner._ "Then am I to understand, Mr. Maniple, that
you object to bury a Dissenter?"

_The Rev. Mr. Maniple_ (_one of the competitors_). "Oh, dear me, no, Mr.
Jinks; quite the contrary!"

       *       *       *       *       *

A HIGH CHURCH PARTY.--A steeple-jack.

       *       *       *       *       *

A CLERICAL ERROR.--A long sermon.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Visitor._ "My good man, you keep your pigs much too near the house."

_Cottager._ "That's just what the doctor said, mum. But I don't see how
it's agoin' to hurt 'em!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A QUIET VILLAGE]

       *       *       *       *       *

A WET DIARY

_January._--Buy a house in the Midland Counties. Put a housekeeper in it
to look after it.

_February._--Housekeeper writes to say that, owing to the floods, the
neighbourhood is very damp and unhealthy.

_March._--Housekeeper writes to say that the garden is under water.

_April._--Housekeeper writes to say that there is two foot of water in
the drawing-room, and that the furniture is floating about.

_May._--Housekeeper writes to say that eighty feet of the garden wall
has been washed away.

_June._--Housekeeper writes to say that the two horses, one cow, and
four pigs are drowned.

_July._--Go and stop in the house myself.

_August._--Escape from the bedroom windows in a boat.

_September._--In bed with rheumatic fever.

_October._--Housekeeper writes to say that the floods are out worse than
ever.

_November._--Somebody writes to say that the housekeeper has been
drowned.

_December._--Will try and sell house in the Midland Counties.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Our Curate (who is going to describe to us his little
holiday in lovely Lucerne)._ "My dear friends--I will not call you
'ladies and gentlemen,' since I know you too well----"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Tramp._ "Says in this 'ere paper as 'ow some of
them millionaires works eight and ten hours a day, Bill."

_The Philosopher._ "Ah, it's a 'ard world for some poor blokes!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

A REAL CONVERT.--_Local Preacher (giving an account to the vicar of the
parish of a dispute he has had with the leading lights of his sect)._
"Yes, sir, after treatment the likes o' that, I says to 'em, 'For the
future,' says I, 'I chucks up all religion, and I goes to Church!'"

       *       *       *       *       *

HABITS OF HEALTHY EXERCISE.--If a young lady is unable to sport a riding
habit, she should adopt a walking habit.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE HUMOURS OF HOUSE HUNTING.--_Lady._ "Very healthy
place, is it? Have you any idea what the death-rate is here?"
_Caretaker._ "Well, mum, I can't 'xactly zay; but it's about one apiece
all round."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OVERHEARD AT A COUNTRY FAIR

"'Ere y' are! All the jolly fun! Lidies' tormentors two a penny!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: NOT QUITE HER MEANING

_The Vicar's Daughter._ "I'm glad to find you've turned over a new leaf,
Muggles, and don't waste your money at the public-house."

_Muggles._ "Yes, miss, I have it in by the barrel now, and that _do_
come cheaper!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

TOWN THOUGHTS FROM THE COUNTRY

_(With the usual apologies.)_

  Oh, to be in London now that April's there,
  And whoever walks in London sees, some morning in the square,
  That the upper thousands have come to town,
  To the plane-trees droll in their new bark gown,
  While the sparrows chirp, and the cats miaow
  In London--now!
  And after April, when May follows
  And the black-coats come and go like swallows!
  Mark, where yon fairy blossom in the Row
  Leans to the rails, and canters on in clover,
  Blushing and drooping, with her head bent low!
  That's the wise child: she makes him ask twice over,
  Lest he should think she views with too much rapture
  Her first fine wealthy capture!
  But,--though her path looks smooth, and though, alack!
  All will be gay, till Time has painted black
  The _Marigold_, her mother's chosen flower,--
  Far brighter is my _Heartsease_, Love's own dower.

       *       *       *       *       *

MRS. RAMSBOTHAM is staying with her niece in the country. She is much
delighted with the rich colour of the spring bulbs, and says she at last
understands the meaning of "as rich as Crocus."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HIS BITTER HALF.--_John._ "Drink 'earty, Maria. Drink
werry nigh 'arf."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HORTICULTURAL CUTTINGS

_(Culled by Dumb-Crambo Junior)_

Marshal Niel--Rose.

Row-doe-den'd-run.

Minion-ate.

Pick-o'-tea.

Car-nation.

Dahli-a.

Any-money.

Double Pink.

Few-shiers.

Glad I-o-la!]

       *       *       *       *       *

A CONUNDRUM TO FILL UP A GAP IN THE CONVERSATION.--Why is a person older
than yourself like food for cattle?

Because he's past your age (_pasturage_).

       *       *       *       *       *

EVERYTHING COMES TO THE MAN WHO WAITS.--_Country Rector's Wife (engaging
man-servant)._ And can you wait at dinner?

_Man._ Aw, yes, mum; I'm never that hoongry but I can wait till you've
done.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A QUESTION OF VESTED INTEREST

_Vicar._ "Well, gentlemen, what can I do for you?"

_Spokesman._ "Please, sir, we be a deputation from farmers down
Froglands parish, to ask you to pray for fine weather for t'arvest."

_Vicar._ "Why don't you ask your own Vicar?"

_Spokesman._ "Well, sir, we reckon 'e be'unt much good for this 'ere. 'E
do be that fond of fishin'."]

       *       *       *       *       *

A RUSTIC MORALIST.--_Rector_ (_going his rounds_). "An uncommonly fine
pig, Mr. Dibbles, I declare!"

_Contemplative Villager._ "Ah, yes, sir: if we was only, all of us, as
fit to die as him, sir!!"

       *       *       *       *       *

QUERY.--Has the want of rain this summer, and consequent failure of the
hay crops, affected the market for Grass Widows?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TRIALS OF A NOVICE

_The Boy (to Brown, who has just taken a "little place" in the
Country)._ "Plaze, zur, wot be I to start on?"

_Brown._ "Oh--er--er--let's see----Oh, confound it!--er--er--_make a
bonfire!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A VILLAGE FIASCO.--_Gifted Amateur (concluding pet card
trick)._ "Now, ladies and gentlemen, you have seen the pack of cards
burnt before your eyes, and the ashes placed inside the box, which
mysteriously transformed itself into a rabbit, which, in turn,
disappeared into space. I will now ask this gentleman to name the card
he selected, when it will at once appear in my hand. Now, sir, what card
did you select from the pack?" _Giles (who has been following the trick
most intently)._ "Blessed if I recollect!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AFTER THE FIRE

_Rustic_ (_to burnt-out Farmer_). "We r--r--rescued the b--b--beer
zur!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

LOCAL PECULIARITIES

At Bilston they always hit the right nail on the head.

At Bolton it is impossible for those who run up ticks to bolt off.

At Broadstairs the accommodation for stout visitors is unrivalled.

At Colchester they are all "natives."

At Coventry, strange to say, they can furnish no statistics of the
number of persons who have been sent there.

At Kidderminster there is certain to be something fresh on the _tapis_.

At Liverpool they are extremely orthodocks.

If you write to Newcastle (Staffordshire) take care to under-Lyne the
address.

At Newmarket they take particular interest in the question of races.

At Portsmouth everything is ship-shape.

At Rye you will meet none but Rye faces.

At Sheffield you will always find a knife and fork laid for you.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "A GOOD WIT WILL MAKE USE OF ANYTHING"

_Shakespeare, Henry the Fourth._

SCENE--_A Pit Village._ TIME--_Saturday Night._

_Barber_ (_to bibulous customer_). "Now, sir, if you don't hold your
head back, I can't shave you!"

_Pitman._ "A'well, hinney, just cut me hair!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

WHAT OUR ARCHITECT HAS TO PUT UP WITH.--_Our Architect_ (_Spotting
Sixteenth Century gables_). "That's an old bit of work, my friend!"

"Oi, sir, yeu be roight, theer, that you be!"

_O. A._ (_keen for local tradition_). "You don't know exactly _how_ old,
I suppose?"

"Well, noa, sir; but old it be! Whoi, I's knowed it myself these _noine_
years!"

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR VILLAGE INDUSTRIAL COMPETITION.--_Husband_ (_just home from the
City_). "My angel!--crying!--Whatever's the matter?"

_Wife._ "They've--awarded me--prize medal"--(_sobbing_)--"f' my sponge
cake!"

_Husband_ (_soothingly_). "And I'm quite sure it deserv----"

_Wife_ (_hysterically_). "Oh--but--'t said--'twas--for the best
specimen--o' concrete!"

       *       *       *       *       *

_Our Choir-master_ (_after lamentable failure on part of Pupil_).
"Confound it! I thought you said you could 'Read at sight'?"

_Pupil._ "So I can. But not _first_ sight."

       *       *       *       *       *

A TRULY RURAL DEAN.--The Dean of Ferns.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OUR FÊTE

_Village Worthy._ "It ain't so bad for Slowcombe, mum; but, lor' bless
'ee! 'tain't nothing to what they 'ud do in London!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Village Doctor._ "And what do you intend to make of this little man,
Mrs. Brisket?"

_Proud Mother._ "Butcher, sir. 'E's bound to be a butcher. Why, 'e 's
that fond o' animals, we can 'ardly keep 'im out o' the
slaughter-'ouse!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HEAVEN HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES.--

_Doctor._ "Well, John, how are you to-day?"

_John._ "Verra bad, verra bad. I wish Providence 'ud 'ave mussy on me
an' take me!"

_Wife._ "'Ow can you expect it to if you won't take the doctor's
physic?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CONCLUSIVE

_Lodger._ "I detect rather a disagreeable smell in the house, Mrs.
Jones. Are you sure the drains----"

_Welsh Landlady._ "Oh, it can't be the drains, sir, whatever. There are
none, sir!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Yorkshire Farmer_ (_who has laid a wager--to gentleman on weighing
machine_). "Will ye tell us how mooch ye weigh, mister?"

_Gentleman._ "Well, I'm seventeen stone seven."

_Farmer._ "What did a' tell ye, lads? A' couldn't be wrang, for a's t'
best joodge o' swine in t' coontry!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SWEETS OF COUNTRY LIFE

(_Depicted by a Man of Feeling_)

  'Tis sweet at Summer eve to rove,
    When brightly shines each twinkling star,
  And, strolling through the silent grove,
    Calmly to smoke a good cigar.

  'Tis sweet upon the flowery mead
    To see the tender lambkins play,
  With pensive eye to watch them feed,
    And note how plump to roast are they.

  'Tis sweet the fallow deer to view,
    Couched 'mid the fern in tranquil group;
  'Tis sweet to hear the turtle's coo,
    And meditate on turtle soup.

  'Tis sweet, from cares domestic free,
    While wandering by the streamlet's side,
  The speckled trout or perch to see,
    And think how nice they would be, fried.

  'Tis sweet to mark the plover's flight,
    Lone on the moor, its nest despoiled;
  And with prospective mental sight
    To contemplate its eggs, hard boiled.

  'Tis sweet, beside the murmuring rill,
    The scented violet to smell;
  Yet may a perfume sweeter still
    Attend the welcome dinner-bell!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE COUNTRY IN THE FUTURE.--_Retired Citizen_ (_to
Metropolitan Friend_). "What I enjoy so much in the country is the
quiet! Now here, in my garden, my boy, you don't hear a sound, 'cepting
the trains!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

FRIENDS IN COUNCIL.--_Tom Lothbury_ (_to Jack Billiter, who has "come
in" to a nice little estate in Surrey, whereunto he intends retiring and
rusticating_). "You'll keep cows, I s'pose, and all that sort of thing?"

_Jack._ "Oh, no, can't bear milk."

_Tom_ (_who has a taste for the rural_). "Cocks and hens, then?"

_Jack._ "No, hate eggs and puddings and all that!"

_Tom._ "Nor yet sheep?"

_Jack._ "Eh, ah! Oh, yes; I'll have a sheep, I'm vewy fond of kidneys
for bweakfast!"

       *       *       *       *       *

QUERY.--If you give two persons a seat in a cornfield, can this
proceeding be called "setting them by the ears"?

       *       *       *       *       *

SIMPLE, BUT AGRICULTURAL.--_Q._ What is the best time for sowing tares?

_A._ When the landlord goes round and collects his _rents_.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOX'S MARTYRS.--Ducks, fowls, turkeys, and geese.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Doctor._ "Well, Matthew, did you take those pills I sent
you yesterday?"

_Patient._ "Yes, doctor; but couldn't 'e do 'em up in something
different? They little boxes be terrible hard to swallow!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

ON THE WAY TO THE MANSE.--_Deacon MacTavish_ (_to_ Deacon MacBrose,
_after visiting several hospitable houses on their way_). Hoot, mon
Donald, yonder's the Meenister! Noo, I'll joost tek a few paces afore
ye, in that ye may say gin my puir tired legs don't tremble.

_Deacon MacBrose._ Gae forrard, Sandy, gae forrard!

_Deacon MacTavish_ (_after stumbling ahead for several yards_). Weel,
Donald, hoo gae they?

_Deacon MacBrose._ Richt bonnily, Sandy, richt bonnily. But wha's the
mon that's walking beside ye?

       *       *       *       *       *

FROM THE MINING DISTRICTS.--(_Young Curate finds a Miner sitting on a
gate smoking._)--_Curate_ (_desirous to ingratiate himself with one of
his flock_). A fine morning, my friend.

_One of his flock gives the slightest nod, and a grunt, and spits._

_Curate_ (_supposing that he had not been heard_). A fine morning, my
good friend.

_One of his flock._ Did I say it warn't. Do you want to hargue, you
beggar?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Lady._ "And you say you have been brought to this by your wife?"

_Tramp._ "Yuss, lidy. I got 'er three good jobs, and 'er bloomin'
independence lorst 'er the lot of 'em!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SCENE--_The Hall of a Country House. Guests arriving for
dinner._

_Perkins_ (_the extra man who is had in to help at most dinners given in
the neighbourhood--confidentially but audibly_). "Good evening, Miss
Waters. There's some of that nice pudding here to-night, what last time
you took twice of!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_The Bishop of Lichbury._ "Really, it's very shocking to read in the
papers so many painful cases of wife-beating and assault among the
labouring classes!"

_The Rev. Mr. Simmiel._ "It is indeed, my lord. Indeed--ahem--with your
lordship's permission, one might almost call them _be_labouring
classes."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Parson._ "Good morning, Mrs. Stubbins. Is your husband at home?"

_Mrs. Stubbins._ "'E's 'ome, sir; but 'e 's a-bed."

_Parson._ "How is it he didn't come to church on Sunday? You know we
must have our hearts in the right place."

_Mrs. Stubbins._ "Lor, sir, 'is 'eart's all right. It's 'is trowziz!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

A POACHER'S PARADISE.--_About an hour from town._--Charming bijou
residence ... _grounds adjoin a large pheasant preserve; owner going
abroad._--_Advt. in "Standard."_

       *       *       *       *       *

"A CROP EXPERT."--A professional hair-dresser.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: IMPARTIAL

_New Curate_ (_who wishes to know all about his parishioners_). "Then do
I understand you that your aunt is on your father's side, or your
mother's?"

_Country Lad._ "Zometimes one an' zometimes the other, 'ceptin' when
feyther whacks 'em both, sir!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TRUE MODESTY

_Mr. Spinks._ "I had such a beautiful dream last night, Miss Briggs! I
thought I was in the Garden of Eden----"

_Miss Briggs_ (_with simplicity_). "And did Eve appear as she is
generally represented, Mr. Spinks?"

_Mr. Spinks._ "I--I--I--I--didn't look!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PROFESSIONAL PARTNERSHIP.--_Village Organ-blower_ (_to
Lady Organist, who has been trying a new voluntary_). "How did it go,
marm?" "Oh, all right. Why do you ask?" "Well, marm, to tell you the
truth, I was a bit nervous about it. You see, marm, I've never blowed
for that piece afore!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

FARM NOTES

_How to Winnow Corn._ _1st Method._--Get some corn. Get somebody who
knows how to winnow it. Let him do it.

_2nd Method._--If _you_ know all about it, do it yourself.

_3rd Method, for Beginners, given in Agricultural Terms._ Place a
steward near the blower, and let him drive the blower while the hopper
is filled with a large wecht. (This is called the system of
_Hopper_-ation.) Then let a woman with a small wecht slide down on a
wheel crushing the blower with her shoes. This should be done in a neat,
cleanly way until the scum has been swept with a besom through a wire
screen, while another lot go on riddling, when it is the duty of the
fanner to answer each riddle as it comes out. The fanner's chief work
is, however, to prevent any labourer becoming too hot. When a labourer
is very warm, he sits down before the fanner, who soon restores him to
coolness.

_Treatment of Fowls in Winter._--Roast them.

_For the Volunteer-farmer in Winter._--Attend turnip drills.

_How to Pickle Pork._--Get the hog into a proper temperature. To bring
this about make him swallow a small thermometer. This'll warm him. Rub
him with paper dipped in oil, give him a uniform coating of barley, tar,
syrup of squills, pitch, and gold tin-foil. Paint his head green with
orange stripes, and by that time he'll be in a pretty pickle.

_Breakfast._--Always visit your poultry yard before breakfast. If unable
to find a fresh egg, go to the cattle sheds. Remember that, where eggs
cannot be obtained, a _yoke_ of fine oxen beaten up with a cup of tea is
most invigorating.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: POLITICAL GARDEN PARTY IN THE PROVINCES.--

_Great Lady_ (_speeding the parting guest_). "So glad you were able to
come!"

_Mayoress._ "Oh, we always try to oblige!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

AGRICULTURAL.--A South of England farmer writes to us to say, that he
has an early harvest in view, as he has already got three ricks in his
neck, and is doing very well.

       *       *       *       *       *

FURTHER ILLUSTRATION OF THE MINING DISTRICTS.--_First Polite Native._
  "Who's 'im, Bill?"

_Second ditto._ "A stranger!"

_First ditto._ "'Eave 'arf a brick at 'im."

       *       *       *       *       *

HOW TO TREAT ROUGH DIAMONDS.--Cut them!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_District Visitor._ "Well, Mrs. Hodges, going to have a cup of tea?"

_Mrs. Hodges._ "Oh no, miss; we're just goin' to 'ave a wash!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: WHO'D HAVE THOUGHT IT!

"Well, Johnson, been to the doctor, as I told you?"

"Yes, m'lord."

"And what did he say was the matter with you?"

"'E says it's just _general ability_, m'lord, that's all!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

SAGACITY.--_Countryman._ "Fi' pounds too much for him? He's a won'erful
good sportin' daug, sir! Why, he come to a dead pint in the street, sir,
close ag'in a ol' gen'leman, the other day--'fust o' September it was,
sir!--an' the gen'leman told me arterwards as his name were
'Partridge'!"

_Customer._ "You don't say so!"     [_Bargain struck._]

       *       *       *       *       *

HORTICULTURE UP TO DATE

Stimulated by the recent achievements of a horticulturist, who is about
to place on the market the "pomato," a blend of the apple and tomato,
and the "plumcot," a mixture of plum and apricot, _Mr. Punch_ hopes soon
to be able to announce the successful rearing of the following
novelties:--

_The Cumberry._--This may be regarded either as a very long gooseberry
or a very short cucumber, according to fancy. When fully ripe the skin
is thin and the contents pulpy. Unripe it is like a cobble, and may be
used as such. _Mr. Punch_ is disposed to think that the over-ripe
cumberry will be very popular at elections, especially when eggs are
scarce. The hairy variety looks like a fat caterpillar, and makes very
good grub.

_The Mistletato_, a happy combination of the romantic and the domestic.
This fruit, which has a very piquant flavour, has been grown in a small
patch of soil, concealed, like King CHARLES, among the branches of an
oak. Hence it is not surprising that the Mistletato should combine the
nourishing qualities of the homely tuber with the sentimental
associations of that plant which was revered by our Druid ancestors and
is beloved by modern maidens. It should be a popular dish at wedding
breakfasts.

_The Pumpkonion_ promises well and seems likely to combine the amplitude
of the pumpkin with the pungency of the onion. _Mr. Punch_ is of opinion
that a machine will have to be invented for dealing with this vegetable,
as to handle it would be too severe a tax upon the cook's lachrymal
glands.

_The Turniparrot_ and the _Parsniparagus_ are not yet sufficiently
developed to be described with any confidence. Many others are only in
an incipient state at present, but _Mr. Punch_ hopes to be able before
long to announce that he has brought several to maturity, including the
Collage and the Cabbyflower.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.--

_Stepmother_ (_entering village school with whip_). "My boy tells me you
broke your cane across his back yesterday?"

_Schoolmaster_ (_turning pale_). "Well, I--I may have struck harder than
I intended, but----."

_Stepmother._ "I thought I'd make you a present of this whip. You'll
find it'll last longer and do him more good!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

A RIDDLE FROM COLNEY HATCH.--_Q._ Why have we reason to suppose that a
bee is a rook?

_A._ Because.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE ORIGIN OF RURAL DECADENCE.--Through communications corrupt good
manners.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "SECOND THOUGHTS"

_Priest._ "Wilt thou have this woman to thy wedded wife?"

_Bridegroom Elect._ "Well, aw's warned aw'll hev to hev her. But aw wad
rayther hev her sister!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Vicar's Daughter._ "Awfully cold, isn't it, Mrs.
Muggles?"

_Mrs. Muggles._ "Yes, my dear. But, bless ye, I'm _lovely_ and warm!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Miss Townley._ "I think the country is just sweet. I
love to see the peasant returning to his humble cot, his sturdy figure
outlined against the setting sun, his faithful collie by his side, and
his plough upon his shoulder!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_The Bishop of Lichborough_ (_who has been on a visit to a sporting
squire_). "Now, I wonder if your man has remembered to put in my
pastoral staff?"

_William_ (_overhearing_). "Yes, my lord. I've put your lordship's
gun-case into the carriage!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Curate, after weeks of serious reading and conversation with Gaffer
Stokes without much apparent result, is at last rewarded by a look of
rapt exaltation on the Gaffer's face._

_Gaffer Stokes._ "A-men! That's the first wopps I see this year!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

A GOOD REASON.

_Sympathetic Cousin._ "Poor boy! I'm so sorry you didn't pass your exam.
What was the reason, I wonder?"

_Poor Boy_ (_also wondering_). "I can't think."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HAPPY THOUGHT

_Obliging Country Butcher._ "Let me cut it into cutlets for you,
ma'am,--leaving just enough bone for you to hold 'em by, while you're
eating 'em!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

WAGES AND WIVES.--_Philanthropic Farmer._ "Well, Tompkins, after this
week, instead of paying you partly in cider, I shall give you two
shillings extra wages."

_Tompkins._ "No, thanky', master; that won't do for me!"

_Farmer._ "Why, man, you'll be the gainer; for the cider you had wasn't
worth two shillings!"

_Tompkins._ "Ah, but you see I drinks the cider myself; but the ow'd
'ooman 'll 'ev the two shillun'!!"

       *       *       *       *       *

A PUZZLE IN HORTICULTURE.--_Little Chris._ Daddy, what makes onions?

_Daddy._ Seeds, of course.

_Little Chris._ Then what makes seeds?

_Daddy._ Onions.

_Little Chris_ (_triumphantly_). Then why don't us feed the canary on
onions?

[_Discomfiture and retreat of Daddy._

       *       *       *       *       *

AGRICULTURAL QUESTION.--Is a landlord who allows his farms to be
over-stocked with rabbits entitled to be called a great bunnyfactor?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "AT ONE FELL SWOOP"

_Wife._ "Well, did ye find th' puddin' I left for you in the saucepan?"

_Collier_ (_whose favourite dish is boiled puddings_). "Oh, ay; I found
it right enough. It were a stunner!"

_Wife._ "Did you take the cloth off?"

_Collier_ (_after a pause_). "Were there a cloth _on_?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Rector_ (_short-sighted_). "Well, Richard, hard at work, eh? Let me
see, you _are_ Richard, aren't you?"

_Labourer._ "No, sir, oi be John, sir. You _'ad the pleasure o' buryin'_
Richard last week, you remember, sir!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_First Tramp._ "Why don't you go in? 'E's all right. Don't you see 'im
a-waggin' his tail?"

_Second Tramp._ "Yus; an' don't you see 'im a-growlin'? I dunno which
end to believe!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PROBABLY

_He._ "I hope there are no bulls in here. I can't run as fast as I used
to."

_She._ "I'm told that's the worst thing to do. I think if you stand and
look at them, it's enough to send them away!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "SOMETHING LIKE A MEDICINE"

_Doctor._ "Now remember, my man, three or four drops of this mixture
three times a day--and _inhale_."

_Patient._ "Be I to take it in four or six hale, guv'nor?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AGRICULTOORAL-LOORALS

(_By Dumb-Crambo Junior_)

Silo (Sigh low).

Judging Stock.

Best Turn Out of Horse and Cart.

Hurry For'ds (Herefords).

Threshing Machine.

The Cat 'll Show.

Live Stock.

Jerseys.

A Tuber.

Pa's-Nips.

Cab-age.]

       *       *       *       *       *

IN A SOMERSETSHIRE INN.--_Mr. Fitz-Archibald Smith_ (_of London, to the
Landlord_).--Is there a hair-dresser in the village? I want to be
shampooed and shaved.

_Landlord._ Well, zur, I doant know much about the shampoodling, but our
ostler's used to clipping horses. Would 'e like to try him?

       *       *       *       *       *

FROM THE POULTRY.--When does a hen like beer? When she has a little
_brood_.

       *       *       *       *       *

SHOCKING BAD HUSBANDRY.--Baby-farming.

       *       *       *       *       *

LATEST FROM OUR FARMYARD.--_In the Fowl House._--"Left sitting."

       *       *       *       *       *

"A LITTLE LEARNING."--_Lady Tactful_ (_visiting small farmer_). I hope,
John, the rain has not damaged the wheat.

_John._ Ah, my lady, some of it will never grow; the wet has _busted_
it.

_Mrs. John_ (_who is "educated"_). He should have said "_bursted_" my
lady. That's what he means.

_Lady Tactful._ Never mind. I think I prefer the old-fashioned
pronunciation.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Amateur Gardener_ (_to goat-fancying neighbour_). "Hi, madam. One of
your confounded pets has got into my garden, and is eating my
bedding-plants!"

_Neighbour._ "Good gracious! _I trust they are not poisonous!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

MORE AMALGAMATION.--_Parish Councillor._ "Wull, I do voate that the two
par'shes be marmaladed."

_Chairman._ "Our worthy brother councillor means, I understand, that the
two parishes should be _jammed together_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Village Gossip._ "Did ye 'ere as owd Sally Sergeant's dead? 'Er what's
bin pew-opener up to Wickleham Church nigh on fifty year."

_The Village Atheist_ (_solemnly_). "Ah! see what comes o'
pew-openin'!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECORD OF CHARACTER.--_New Rector of Swaddlington_
(_to Sexton_). I see that the forge is close by the church, Grassmore. I
hope that the smith is one of our friends?

_Sexton._ Why, bless 'ee, yes, sir, 'e 's the only man in all the parish
as settled over the Cesarewitch.

       *       *       *       *       *

HINT TO THE MANAGERS OF POULTRY SHOWS.--Exhibit some henpecked husbands.

       *       *       *       *       *

A BLACK COUNTRY SYNONYM.--Ruling with a rod of iron.--Beating your wife
with a poker.

       *       *       *       *       *

A PERFECT CURE.--_Town Man._ "How jolly it must be, living down here in
the country!"

_Country Gentleman._ "Oh, I don't know. It's rather a torpid sort of
life; time passes very slowly."

_Town Man._ "Time passes slowly? You should get somebody to draw on you
at three months!!"

       *       *       *       *       *

THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.--When the roses sweetly breathe a dew.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FORBEARANCE.--_Young Lady._ "John, how long shall you be,
as I want to practise?"

_Gallant Young Gardener._ "Oh, goo yeouw on, Miss Amy--goo yeouw on! I
sha'n't mind yar noise!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE FARMING OF THE FUTURE;

_Or, What British Agriculture is coming to._

SCENE.--_A Car on an Electric Light-railway._

TIME--_The Twentieth Century._

_First Farmer_ (_recognising Second Farmer_). Why, 'tis Muster Fretwail,
surelie! didn't see it was you afore. And how be things gettin' along
with _you_, sir, eh?

_Farmer Fretwail_ (_lugubriously_). 'Mong the middlin's, Muster
Lackaday; 'mong the middlin's! Nothen doin' just now--nothen 't all!

_Third Farmer_ (_enviously_). Well, _you_ hevn't no call fur to cry out,
neighbour! I see you've got a likely lot o' noo 'oardins comin' up all
along your part o' the line. I wish mine wur arf as furrard, I know
thet!

_F. Fretwail._ Ah, them "Keep yer 'air on" 's, _you_ mean, Ryemouth. I
don't deny as they was lookin' tidy enough a week back. But just as I
was makin' ready fur to paint up "Try it on a Billiard Ball," blamed if
this yere frost didn't set in, and now theer's everything at a standstill
wi' the brushes froze 'ard in the pots!

_F. Ryemouth._ 'Tis the same down with me. Theer 's a acre o' "Bunyan's
Easy Boots" as must hev a noo coat, and I cann't get nothen done to 'en
till th' weather's a bit more hopen like. Don' keer _'ow_ soon we hev a
change, myself, I don't!

_F. Lackaday._ Nor yet me, so long as we don't 'ave no gales with it.
Theer was my height-acre pasture as I planted only las' Candlemas wi'
"Roopy's Lung Tonics"--wunnerful fine and tall they was too--and ivery
one on 'en blowed down the next week!

_F. Fretwail._ Well, I 'ope theer wun't be no rain, neither, come to
that. I know I 'ad all the P's of my "Piffler's Persuasive Pillules"
fresh gold-leaved at Michaelmas, and it come on wet directly arter I
done it, and reg'lar washed the gilt out o' sight an' knowledge, it did.
Theer ain't no standin' up agen rain!

_F. Ryemouth._ I dunno as I wouldn't as lief hev rain as sun. My
"Hanti-Freckle Salves" all blistered up and peeled afoor the summer was
'ardly begun a'most.

_F. Lackaday._ 'Tis a turr'ble 'ard climate to make 'ead against, is
ourn. I've 'eard tell as some farmers are takin' to they enamelled hiron
affairs, same as they used to hev when I wur a lad. I mind theer wur a
crop o' "Read Comic Cagmag" as lingered on years arter the paper itself.
Not as I hold with enamelling, myself--'tain't what I call 'igh
farmin'--takes too much outer the land in _my_ 'pinion.

_F. Fretwail._ Aye, aye. "Rotation o' boards." Say, "Spooner's Sulphur
Syrup" fur a spring crop, follered with some kind o' soap or candles,
and p'raps cough lozengers, or hembrocation, or bakin' powder, if the
soil will bear it, arterwards--that's the system _I_ wur reared on, and
theer ain't no better, 'pend upon it!

_F. Ryemouth._ I tell 'ee what 'tis; it's time we 'ad some protection
agen these yere furrin advertisements. I was travellin' along the Great
Northern tother day, and I see theer was two or three o' them French
boards nigh in ivery field, a downright shame an' disgrace I call it,
disfigurin' the look o' the country and makin' it that ontidy--let alone
drivin' honest British boards off the land. Government ought to put a
stop to it; that's what _I_ say!

_F. Lackaday._ They Parliment chaps don't keer _what_ becomes of us poor
farmers, they don't. Look at last General Election time. They might ha'
given our boards a turn; but not they. Most o' they candidates did all
their 'tisin' with rubbishy flags and balloons--made in Japan, sir,
every blamed one o' them! And they wonder British agriculture don't
prosper more!

_F. Ryemouth._ Speakin' o' queer ways o' hadvertisin', hev any on ye set
eyes on that farm o' young FULLACRANK'S? Danged if iver _I_ see sech
tom-fool notions as he's took up with in all _my_ born days!

_F. Fretwail._ Why, what hev he bin up to _now_, eh?

_F. Ryemouth._ Well, I thought I shud ha' bust myself larfin' when I see
it fust. Theer ain't not a board nor a sky sign; no, nor yet a 'oarding,
on the 'ole of his land!

_F. Lackaday._ Then how do he expect to get a profit out of it?--that's
what _I_ want to year.

_F. Ryemouth._ You' ll 'ardly credit it, neighbours but he's been
buryin' some o' they furrin grains, hoats and barley, an' I dunno what
not, in little 'oles about his fields, so as to make the words, "Use
Faddler's Non-farinaceous Food"--and the best on it is the darned young
fool expecks as 'ow it'll all sprout come next Aperl--he do indeed,
friends!

_F. Fretwail._ Flyin' in the face of Providence, I calls it. He must ha'
gone clean out of his senses!

_F. Lackaday._ Stark starin' mad. I never heerd tell o' such
extravagance. Why, as likely as not, 'twill all die off o' the land
afore the year's out--and wheer wull he be _then_?

_F. Ryemouth._ Azackly what I said to 'en myself. "You tek my word for
it," I sez, "'twun't niver come to no good. The nateral crop for these
yere British Hisles," I told 'en, "is good honest Henglish hoak an'
canvas," I sez, "and 'tain't the action of no sensible man, nor yet no
Christian," sez I, "to go a drillin' 'oles and a-droppin' in houtlandish
seeds from Canada an' Roosha, which the sile wasn't never intended to
bear!"

_Farmers Fretwail and Lackaday._ Rightly spoke, neighbour Ryemouth,
'twas a true word! But theer'll be a jegement on sech new-fangled
doin's, and, what's moor, you and I will live fur to see it afore we're
very much older!

[_They all shake their heads solemnly as scene closes in._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The New Curate._ "Superb day, isn't it?" _Giles._ "Ay?"
_Curate._ "Superb day." _Giles._ "Ay?" _Curate._ "Er--a--_superb--day!_"
_Giles._ "Whoa, Dobbin!" (_Pulls up_). "Ay?" _Curate._ "I only
remarked--er--it was a _superb day_." _Giles._ "D----! Gw'on, Dobbin!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Serious Old Party._ "Eh, but this is a wicked world!"

_Flippant Individual._ "You are right, Mrs. Mumble. For my part, I shall
be quite satisfied if I get out of it alive!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OBLIGING.--_Lady_ (_to village jobber, who for days has
been "working" in the house_). "Can you tell me when you are likely to
have _finished_ this job?" _Village Jobber._ "If _you_ can tell me, mum,
wheer I'm likely to get another."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: USEFUL INFORMATION.--_Jones_ (_who has forsworn town life
for a more healthful existence, to hired compendium of agricultural
knowledge at 14s. 6d. a week, with cottage and 'tater patch_). "Do you
know anything about bees, Isaac?" _Isaac._ "Yes, they stings!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

RURAL FELICITY

     [This is the second Nature article that has recently arrived at
     _Mr. Punch's_ offices through inadvertence. It was obviously
     intended for _The Country-Side_, the new Harmsworth-Robinson
     organ, which is designed to bring home to townsmen the wonders
     of country life.]

Evening in the country! A Spring evening! Ah, you dweller in the close
perfervid city, how I wish I could have transported you to my side
yesterday, while I stood and watched the sinking fire of day (a bright
impulsive fellow this sun) waving me from his Orient window.

A GLAD GOOD-NIGHT!

How I wish you could have lain near me on that pile of fresh-cut hay,
redolent of clover and the scarlet vetch, lulled to sleep, it may be, by
the low moaning of rats in the stack, or the melancholy hoot of the
night-jar! Sleep follows swiftly, sleep such as you denizens of the
crowded street can never know--sleep beneath the stars.

       * * * * *

Up with the lark! Shelley's skylark! There he is, the blithe unconscious
creature, hovering above the plough-share, ready to pounce upon the
first unwary field-vole upturned from his

NEST IN THE LUXURIANT LOAM.

My heart is full to bursting as I pass onward into the harvest-field and
watch the gleaners at their busy toil. For one thing I have my "Topical
Quotations" to prepare, and am "dividing my swift mind" between the
_Georgics_ of Virgil and Wordsworth's "Intimations of Immortality" for a
suitable selection. Then there are the straw bonnets and rough smocks of
the rustics to be sketched for the fashion-plate, and my column upon the
Insanitary Condition of Birds' Nests to be compiled.

Yet how difficult to fix one's mind upon mere journalism, when on this
side and on that the lithe rabbit is popping up from his "forme," and
beneath their white blossoms the red strawberries lurk under every
springing hedge-tuft. A glass of creamy butter-milk supplied by the
smiling lass at the cottage wicket, together with a light and delicious
scone

EATEN IN THE STUBBLE

under the sighing alders, has served me for my simple yet hygienic meal.
And now as I watch the shepherd lead his flock of lowing kine into the
pastures, the stately old bell-wether bringing up the rear, I feel that
here is life indeed, and here (had the exigencies of a week-end return
permitted) I could willingly have spent the remainder of my days, "the
world forgetting, by the world forgot," but inexorable Fate with her
iron shears forbids. I must

BACK TO THE SMOKY STREETS

once more and my half-finished essay on "Cotton-spinning in our Great
Public Schools." Brief dream, farewell!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HORTICULTURAL

_Vicar's Daughter._ "Well, John, I see you are looking as young as
ever."

_John._ "Yes, miss, thankyee. An' they tell me I'll soon be an
octogeranium."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

"Oi be eighty-foive, zur."

"Dear me! You don't look it. And how old is your wife?"

"Oh, she be eighty-foive too. But she've looked it fer the last fowrty
year!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "BENEFITS FORGOT!"--_Old Gentleman_ (_he had been chased
across the field by the infuriated animal, and only just scrambled over
the gate in time--gasping for breath_). "You in--fernal un--gra'ful
beast!--an' me--been veg'tarian allm'life!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TEMPORA MU-TATUR!!

_First Farmer._ "Aye, 'taters gets complaints now they never got in my
young days."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Be it true as your nevvy b'ain 't?] a-goin' to marry
that Miss Giles arter all?"

"Well, you see I 'vised 'un to gie up matrimony, an' take to a trade."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PLEASURING!--_Vicar_ (_to old lady, who is returning from
a funeral_). "Well, Martha, I'm afraid you've had a sad afternoon. It
has been a long walk, too, for you----" _Martha._ "Sure-ly, 'tis sir;
Ah, sir, 'tain't much pleasure now for me to go to funerals; I be too
old and full o' rheumatiz. It was very different when we was young--that
'twer!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Sexton_ (_to a divine, who was spending his holidays in
the country and who, on the sudden illness of the village parson,
volunteered to take the duties_). "A worse preacher would have done for
us, sir, _but we couldn't get one_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PREDESTINED!--_Northern Matron_ (_before the School
Board_). "I'm not against eddication, ladies and gen'l'men. I al'ays
make him take his book o' nights. But reelly I calls it a flyin' in the
face o' providence to be keepin' a boy out o' the stables with such a
pair o' legs as his'n!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Carrier._ "Try zideways, Mrs. Jones, try zideways!"

_Mrs. Jones._ "Lar' bless 'ee, John, I ain't got no zideways."]

       *       *       *       *       *

MR. PUNCH'S AGRICULTURAL NOVEL

BO AND THE BLACKSHEEP.

_A Story of the Sex._

     (_By_ THOMAS OF WESSEX, _Author of "Guess how a Murder feels,"
     "The Cornet Minor," "The Horse that Cast a Shoe," "One in a
     Turret," "The Foot of Ethel hurt her," "The Flight of the
     Bivalve," "Hard on the Gadding Crowd," "A Lay o' Deceivers,"
     &c._)

     ["I am going to give you", writes the Author of this book, "one
     of my powerful and fascinating stories of life in modern
     Wessex. It is well known, of course, that although I often
     write agricultural novels, I invariably call a spade a spade,
     and not an agricultural implement. Thus I am led to speak in
     plain language of women, their misdoings, and their undoings.
     Unstrained dialect is a speciality. If you want to know the
     extent of Wessex, consult histories of the Heptarchy with
     maps."]

CHAPTER I.

In our beautiful Blackmoor or Blakemore Vale not far from the point
where the Melchester Road turns sharply towards Icenhurst on its way to
Wintoncester, having on one side the hamlet of Batton, on the other the
larger town of Casterbridge, stands the farmhouse wherewith in this
narrative we have to deal. There for generations have dwelt the rustic
family of the Peeps, handing down from father to son a well-stocked
cow-shed and a tradition of rural virtues which yet excluded not an
overgreat affection on the male side for the home-brewed ale and the
home-made language in which, as is known, the Wessex peasantry delights.
On this winter morning the smoke rose thinly into the still atmosphere,
and faded there as though ashamed of bringing a touch of Thermidorean
warmth into a degree of temperature not far removed from the zero-mark
of the local Fahrenheit. Within, a fire of good Wessex logs crackled
cheerily upon the hearth. Old Abraham Peep sat on one side of the
fireplace, his figure yet telling a tale of former vigour. On the other
sat Polly, his wife, an aimless, neutral, slatternly peasant woman, such
as in these parts a man may find with the profusion of Wessex
blackberries. An empty chair between them spoke with all an empty
chair's eloquence of an absent inmate. A butter-churn stood in a
corner next to an ancient clock that had ticked away the mortality of
many a past and gone Peep.

CHAPTER II.

"Where be Bonduca?" said Abraham, shifting his body upon his chair so as
to bring his wife's faded tints better into view. "Like enough she's met
in with that slack-twisted 'hor's bird of a feller, Tom Tatters. And
she'll let the sheep draggle round the hills. My soul, but I'd like to
baste 'en for a poor slammick of a chap."

Mrs. Peep smiled feebly. She had had her troubles. Like other realities,
they took on themselves a metaphysical mantle of infallibility, sinking
to minor cerebral phenomena for quiet contemplation. She had no notion
how they did this. And, it must be added, that they might, had they felt
so disposed, have stood as pressing concretions which chafe body and
soul--a most disagreeable state of things, peculiar to the miserably
passive existence of a Wessex peasant woman.

"Bonduca went early," she said, adding, with a weak irrelevance, "she
mid 'a' had her pick to-day. A mampus o' men have bin after
her--fourteen o' 'em, all the best lads round about, some of 'em wi'
bags and bags of gold to their names, and all wanting Bonduca to be
their lawful wedded wife."

Abraham shifted again. A cunning smile played about the hard lines of
his face. "Polly," he said, bringing his closed fist down upon his knee
with a sudden violence, "you pick the richest, and let him carry Bonduca
to the pa'son. Good looks wear badly, and good characters be of no
account; but the gold's the thing for us. Why," he continued,
meditatively, "the old house could be new thatched, and you and me live
like Lords and Ladies, away from the mulch o' the barton, all in silks
and satins, wi' golden crowns to our heads, and silver buckles to our
feet."

Polly nodded eagerly. She was a Wessex woman born, and thoroughly
understood the pure and unsophisticated nature of the Wessex peasant.

CHAPTER III.

Meanwhile Bonduca Peep--little Bo Peep was the name by which the
country-folk all knew her--sat dreaming upon the hill-side, looking out
with a premature woman's eyes upon the rich valley that stretched away
to the horizon. The rest of the landscape was made up of agricultural
scenes and incidents which the slightest knowledge of Wessex novels can
fill in amply. There were rows of swedes, legions of dairymen, maidens
to milk the lowing cows that grazed soberly upon the rich pasture,
farmers speaking rough words of an uncouth dialect, and gentlefolk
careless of a milkmaid's honour. But nowhere, as far as the eye could
reach, was there a sign of the sheep that Bo had that morning set forth
to tend for her parents. Bo had a flexuous and finely-drawn figure not
unreminiscent of many a vanished knight and dame, her remote
progenitors, whose dust now mouldered in many churchyards. There was
about her an amplitude of curve which, joined to a certain luxuriance of
moulding, betrayed her sex even to a careless observer. And when she
spoke, it was often with a fetishistic utterance in a monotheistic
falsetto which almost had the effect of startling her relations into
temporary propriety.

CHAPTER IV.

Thus she sat for some time in the suspended attitude of an amiable
tiger-cat at pause on the edge of a spring. A rustle behind her caused
her to turn her head, and she saw a strange procession advancing over
the parched fields where--[Two pages of field-scenery omitted.--ED.] One
by one they toiled along, a far-stretching line of women sharply defined
against the sky. All were young, and most of them haughty and full of
feminine waywardness. Here and there a coronet sparkled on some noble
brow where predestined suffering had set its stamp. But what most
distinguished these remarkable processionists in the clear noon of this
winter day was that each one carried in her arms an infant. And each
one, as she reached the place where the enthralled Bonduca sat
obliviscent of her sheep, stopped for a moment and laid the baby down.
First came the Duchess of Hamptonshire followed at an interval by Lady
Mottisfont and the Marchioness of Stonehenge. To them succeeded Barbara
of the House of Grebe, Lady Icenway and Squire Petrick's lady. Next
followed the Countess of Wessex, the Honourable Laura and the Lady
Penelope. Anna, Lady Baxby, brought up the rear.

Bonduca shuddered at the terrible re-encounter. Was her young life to be
surrounded with infants? She was not a baby-farm after all, and the
audition of these squalling nurslings vexed her. What could the matter
mean? No answer was given to these questionings. A man's figure, vast
and terrible, appeared on the hill's brow, with a cruel look of triumph
on his wicked face. It was Thomas Tatters. Bonduca cowered; the noble
dames fled shrieking down the valley.

"Bo," said he, "my own sweet Bo, behold the blood-red ray in the
spectrum of your young life."

"Say those words quickly," she retorted.

"Certainly," said Tatters. "Blood-red ray, Broo-red ray, Broo-re-ray,
Brooray! Tush!" he broke off, vexed with Bonduca and his own imperfect
tongue-power, "you are fooling me. Beware!"

"I know you, I know you!" was all she could gasp, as she bowed herself
submissive before him. "I detest you, and shall therefore marry you.
Trample upon me!" And he trampled upon her.

CHAPTER V.

Thus Bo Peep lost her sheep, leaving these fleecy tail-bearers to come
home solitary to the accustomed fold. She did but humble herself before
the manifestation of a Wessex necessity.

And Fate, sitting aloft in the careless expanse of ether, rolled her
destined chariots thundering along the pre-ordained highways of heaven,
crushing a soul here and a life there with the tragic completeness of a
steam-roller, granite-smashing, steam-fed, irresistible. And butter was
churned with a twang in it, and rustics danced, and sheep that had fed
in clover were "blasted," like poor Bonduca's budding prospects. And,
from the calm nonchalance of a Wessex hamlet, another novel was launched
into a world of reviews, where the multitude of readers is not as to
their external displacements, but as to their subjective experiences.

    [THE END.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "HINC ILLÆ LACRYIMÆ"

_Master Tommy_ (_returning from the funeral_). "Why did Uncle Jonas cry
so for, Aunt? He cried more than anybody!"

_Aunt_ (_grimly_). "Of course! Most of the property is left to him, my
dear!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "What's that there blank space left for, Jim?"

"Why, that's for the folks as can't read!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A YORKSHIRE GOSSIP

_First Gossip._ "So you was nivver axed tu t'funeral?"

_Second Gossip._ "Nivver as much as inside t'house. But nobbut; wait
till _we_ hev' a funeral of us own, an' _we_'ll show 'em!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Parson._ "Why, John, what are you doing there?"

_John._ "I be too wet to work, zur."

_Parson._. "Well, if it's too wet to work, why don't you go home?"

_John._ "Wull, my old 'ooman, she do jaw so!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Young Lady._ "Can you tell me the nearest way to get to Pulham from
here?"

_Sweep._ "Well, miss, I'm going there meself. So, if yer jump in, I'll
drive yer!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_First Village Dame._ "Did I bring you back that basket you lent me last
week?"

_Second Dame_ (_emphatically_). "No, indeed, you did not."

_First Dame._ "That's a pity, for I just came round to borrow it
again!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

  "Here in cool grot and mossy cell
  We rural fays and fairies dwell!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HARD ON THE DOCTOR--_Old Lady._ "My 'usband 'e never did
'old with doctors, and 'e wouldn't let me send for yer till 'e was real
bad. What's wrong with him, doctor?" _Doctor._ "Mainly senility, Mrs.
Wilkins." _Old Lady._ "Lor' now! An' I dessay 'e wouldn't 'ave 'ad it if
'e'd 'ad yer soon enough!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of
in your philosophy."--_Hamlet._

(_Heard outside a Country Circus._)

_Old Jarge._ "Wen ye sees wot comes from furrin parts, bless yer 'eart,
ye just feels like a bit o' dirt!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

"THE LAST STRAW."--For further particulars apply to the gleaners.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE WEATHER AND THE CROPS.--_Note._ Always have your hair cut very short
in the hottest weather.

       *       *       *       *       *

GARDENING AMUSEMENT FOR COLWELL-HATCHNEY.--Spinning turnip tops.

       *       *       *       *       *

ADVICE TO THE FARMER.--Keep your weather eye open.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

"Did ye see the Lord Mayor when you was up to Lunnon?"

"Aye, lad, I did."

"De' 'e gang aboot wi' a chain?"

"No; 'e gangs loose!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Miss Hobbs_ (_who dislikes tobacco_). "I see you are at your idol
again!"

_Smoker._ "Yes; I'm burning it!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A DRY CALLING

"Th' ole squire stop an' spoke to me this marnin'; an' Oi ast 'im 'ow
Master Philip was gettin' on in Lunnon. 'Oh,' says 'e, ''e 's bin called
to the Bar.' Oi dunno wot 'e meant, so Oi didn' say nothin'; but Oi says
to meself, 'Ah,' Oi says, 'from what _Oi_ remember of 'im, 'e didn' want
no _callin'_!'"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

ACCOMMODATING.--_Old Lady._ "Now then, what do you want?" _The Tramp._
"I ain't pertickler, lady. What 'av' yer got?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_The Vicar's Daughter._ "Papa was very shocked, Giles, to see you
standing outside the 'Green Man' this morning, after church."

_The Village Reprobate._ "Oi can 'sure ye, miss, it wus na fault o'
moine that I wus standin' ootside!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "I'm surprised to find that you keep a dog, Tomkins! Why,
you can barely keep your wife! What on earth do you feed him on?"

"Well, I gives 'im cat's-meat. And when I can't afford that, why, 'e 'as
to 'ave wot _we_ 'ave."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mrs. A._ "I've just been to see a poor soul who was
almost dying of destitution." _Miss B._ "Did you take her anything?"
_Mrs. A._ "Yes--a pound of mutton." _Miss B._ "That wasn't much, was
it?" _Mrs. A._ (_indignantly_). "Quite enough to make her some _beef
tea_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Tell your fortune, pretty gentleman?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Fond of music! Why, when I'm in town, I go to a
music-hall every night!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A SURE SIGN OF IMPROVEMENT.--_Village Doctor._ "Well
Scroggins, I hope your wife is much better to-day, eh? How is her pulse,
eh? And how's her temperature?"

_Scroggins_ (_considering_). "Well, doctor, I don't know much about her
pulses, but as for her temper"--(_feelingly_)--"she's got a plenty of
_that_ to-day!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "THE PITY O' IT!"

"Well, Simpson, how do you like the hot weather?"

"Can't stand it, sir! It's hawful! Ain't got no stomach for my victuals,
sir!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

AT A CATTLE MARKET

AN AUTUMN REMINISCENCE

SCENE--_A large open space near a cathedral town. Fat old farmers in
white hats, and smart young farmers in Newmarket coats and neat riding
boots; elderly shepherds in blue, grey, and white smocks. From time to
time there is a stampede of bewildered bullocks, whose hind legs are
continually getting hitched over each other's horns. Connoisseurs lean
over pen-rails and examine pigs reverently, as if they were Old Masters.
Others prod them perfunctorily. The pigs bear these inconveniences
meekly, as part of the penalty of greatness. Sheep look over one
another's shoulders and chew nervously on one side of their mouths._

BY THE PIG-PENS

_First Enthusiast._ Did y' iver see sech a sow as that theer? _I_ niver
did, and (_aggressively_) naw moor _yo'_ didn't neither, 'Enery, _did_
ye now?

_'Enery_ (_unimpressed_). I doan't see naw 'dvantage in heving pigs so
big as that theer.

_First Enth._ Big! She's like a elephant. _Theer's_ a lop ear
now--weighs thutty-four stoan if she weighs a hounce, she do!

    [_The sow grunts complacently._

_'Enery._ Ah. I 'ad one loike 'er, I 'ad. Eat three bucketsful a day,
she did, and (_with a sense of unforgettable injury_) mis'able little
pegs she 'ad with it all!

_Second Enth._ I go in fur Berkshire myself, but Sussex are very good;
they scale so much better 'n they look; _full_ o' flesh they are--weigh
a good stun moor nor ye'd take 'em fur, and then they cut _up_ so well!
(_With a dreamy tenderness._) Yes, I'm fond o' they Sussexes, I
am--_very_ fond of 'em!

       * * * * *

_A Dealer_ (_trying to dispose of a litter of small black pigs_). Seven
good ole stiddy little pigs! I don't care '_oo_ buys 'em (_as if he
usually required the strictest testimonials to character_). I _must_
sell 'em. Pig-buyin' to-day, sir? You'd _better_ 'ave that little lot,
sir.

    [_Persuasively, to a passer-by, who however appears to think he had
    much better not._

BY THE SHEEP-PENS

_Intending Purchaser_ (_to Seller_). What d'ye carl them yoes now?
Southdowns?

    [_He fixes his eyes on the cathedral spire, and awaits the next move._

_Seller_ (_after watching a rook out of sight, stirs up the sheep
meditatively, and decides on candour_). Well--bout aaff an' aaff.

_Int. Purch._ Old yoes--well, ye know, 'taint like _young_ yoes, _be_ it
now?

_Seller_ (_when he has finished shredding tobacco in the palm of his
hand_). That's true enough.

_Int. Purch._ I dunno as I can do wi' any moor shep just now, if 'twas
iver so.

_Seller_ (_listlessly_). Cann't ye, now? Theer's bin a genl'man from
Leicestershire 'ere, wawntin' me to run 'im off a dozen or so--fur his
perrk, d'ye see?

_Int. Purch._ (_with unaffected incredulity_). Ah.

    [_A protracted silence, employed by each in careful inspection of his
    boots._

_Seller_ (_addressing space_). They're a tidy lot o' yoes.

_Int. Purch._ (_as if this was a new view of them, which would require
consideration_). Come off o' your own farm?

_Seller._ Druv 'em in myself this very marnin'.

_Int. Purch._ Ah. (_A pause apparently spent in mental calculation._)
What might ye be askin' for 'un now?

_Seller._ For them yoes?

_Int. Purch._ Ah.

_Seller_ (_falls into a brown study, from which he at length emerges to
tap the nearest ewe on the forehead and expectorate_). I wawnt
five-an'-twenty shellin' a yead for them yoes.

_Int. Purch._ Five-an'-twenty?

_Seller._ Ah, that's what _I_ wawnt.

    [_A longer silence than ever._

_Int. Purch._ I s'pose ye aint seen ole Jim 'Arrows 'bout 'ere this
marnin', hev ye?

    [_After some further preliminaries of this kind the moment at length
    arrives at which a bargain can be struck without any suggestion of
    unbecoming haste on either side._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ANYTHING TO OBLIGE.--_Old Lady._ "I wish you would make
him go faster. I shall be late for the market." _Carrier._ "Well, you
see, mum, he always falls on his head if he trots down-hill. He _can't_
trot up-hill, for he's broken-winded, and if you hurry him on the level
he mostly has a fit of blind staggers. But we'll try if you like, mum.
Come up, hoss!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: BYE-ELECTION HUMOURS

_Free and Independent Voter._ "Wull, if they can't zend zummat better
than thic ther cart to fetch I to the poll, I ain't a-goin' to vote. Zo
there's an end of it; and you can go back an' tell 'um zo!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE NEW SQUIRE

_Farmer._ "Well, Giles, what do you think of him?"

_Giles._ "I reckon he's allers in at meal-times, sir!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Curate._ "Oh--er--by the way, Mr. Bloggs, I was
wondering whether you would give me a small subscription for a most
excellent object: I mean the repairing of the cemetery wall."

_Wealthy Parvenu._ "Not me, sir. The cemetery wall don't _need_ any
repairing. Them as is inside can't get out, an' them as is outside don't
want to get in. Good mornin'!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

_First Rustic_ (_just out of the County Hospital_). An' they putt me
under that theer chlorryfum--an' I simmed to go right oop into
'Evin--yes, I wur oop in 'Evin fur a toime, sure 'nough.

_Second Rustic_ (_with interest_). An' did ye 'ear a pianner?

       *       *       *       *       *

_Elderly Farmer_ (_who is being applied to for the character of
his late shepherd_). No, I never 'ad no fault to find wi' the
fellow--(_conscientiously_) not as I knows on. He unnerstan's shep--I
will say _that_ fur 'en--he's a rare 'un at doctorin' of 'em, too. An' a
stiddy chap an' that, keps a civil tongue in 'is yead, and don't go away
on the booze. No, _I_ aint got nawthen' to say 'gainst th' man.

_The Inquirer._ Would ye hev any objection to sayin' why ye're partin'
wi' en?

_Eld. F._ Well, I dunno as theer was any partickler _reason_ for 't.
(_He endeavours to think of one in a puzzle-headed way._) I s'pose I
must ha' thowt I'd make a bit of a shift like--and theer ye hev it.

      *       *       *       *       *

_First Stock-breeder_ (_to Second_). Well, an' how's Muster Spuddock
to-day?

_Muster Spuddock._ Oh, 'mong th' middlins--'mong th' middlins. Pretty
well fur an old 'un.

_First Stockbr._ An' how's trade with _you_, eh?

_Muster Sp._ (_beaming_). Oh, nawthen' doin'--nawthen' doin' 't all!

_First Stockbr._ (_with equal cheerfulness_). Same _'ere_, sir--same
'ere. On'y thing that's got money has been th' dead meat.

_Muster Sp._ (_without appearing to envy the dead meat on this
account_). Ah, that's it. Ye cann't reckon on moor nor thrippence,--an'
your own expenses, i' coorse.

_First Stockbr._ An' _thet_'s borderin' nigh on fowerpence; an' when it
comes to two pound a bullock----!

[_They shake their heads with an unsuccessful attempt to look lugubrious
at these cryptic considerations._

_Muster Sp._ Well, well; sheep food's goin' to be plentiful, too, right
up to Christmas.

_First Stockbr._ That's the way to look on it.

[_They go off to dine at the ordinary, with a sense that matters might
be worse._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Jones, who can't sleep well in London during the hot
weather, goes to have a quiet night in a village!

[_Portrait of_ one _of the village Cochins, &c._]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: EDUCATION.--_Squire._ "Hobson, they tell me you've taken
your boy away from the National School. What's that for?" _Villager._
"'Cause the master ain't fit to teach un!" _Squire._ "O, I've heard he's
a very good master." _Villager._ "Well, all I knows is, he wanted to
teach my boy to spell 'taters' with a 'p'!!!]"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: COMPLIMENTS OF THE SEASON.--_Farmer's Wife_ (_to little
rustic, her protégè_). "Well, Sam, your master and I are going up to
London for the cattle show."

_Cow Boy._ "Oh, I'm sure I hope yeou'll take the fust prize, 'm--that I
dew!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "IN THE LONG RUN."--_Town Gent._ "Now do you find keeping
poultry answers?" _Country Gent_ (_lately retired_). "O, 'es, s'posed to
answer. Y' see there's the original cost of the fowls--'f course the
food goes down to me, y' know. Well, then, I purchase the eggs from the
children, and they eat them!!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "ONLY TWO FEET AT THE WINDOW"

(_Old song adapted_)

_Milkman_ (_aghast, anxiously_). "Hullo! Wot's that?"

_Old Woman._ "Hish! Our lodger, just come. Open-air cure!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

AGRICULTURAL.--The poorest farmer in the land, if unable to feed his
calves, can always graze his shins.

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE CATTLE SHOW.--_Young Farmer._ "Are you fond of beasts, Miss
Gusherton?"

_Miss Gusherton._ "Oh, really, Mr. Pawker, if you mean that as a
declaration, you must speak to mamma!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Rector._ "Why, doctor, where are you off to? I thought
the meet was down at the cross roads."

_Doctor._ "Well, the fact is, I've got a patient up here that I must
see, and the hounds are certain to come this way."

_Rector._ "I see. Killing two birds with one stone, eh?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Short-sighted Old Gentleman._ "Excuse me, but I think
you've dropped one of your parcels!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "OPPOSITION."--_First Town Councillor (who had recently
been to Venice)._ "Now that we've a people's park, and a lake in it, I
should suggest that half a dozen gondolas might be purchased, as they'd
give quite a----" _Second Ditto (untravelled)._ "Oh, I don't see the
good of havin' any more o' them foreign birds! We've plenty of ducks an'
geese already! 't any rate a pair would be enough to breed from. As to
'alf a dozen, I consider it'd be a waste o' public money, an' I'll
oppose it tooth and----" [_They don't part friends._]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Squire._ "I don't seem to know your face, my man. Do
you live about here?"

_Old Rustic._ "Yes, sir. But, yer see, I ain't often at the
public-'ouse!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Doubtful Character._ "This yer's all 'umbug about
a thief not bein' able to look a honest man in the heye."

_Second Doubtful Character._ "Well, if 'e can't, 'e can _punch_ 'im in
the heye!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: LITTLE AND GOOD

_Gentleman._ "Who do these pigs belong to, boy?"

_'Chaw.'_ "Why, this 'ere owd zow."

_Gentleman._ "Yes, yes; but I mean who's their master?"

_'Chaw.'_ "Why, that there little 'un; he's a varmun to foight!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TRUE POLITENESS

(_Another incident at a Tenants' Ball_)

_Daughter of the house (dishevelled and torn after one turn round the
room with clumsy partner)._ "Do you mind very much, Mr. Quickstep, if we
sit out the rest of it?"

_Mr. Quickstep._ "Jest as you like, miss. I'm only a-dancin' for your
pleasure!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Miss Marjorie._ "And how is your son James getting on,
Mr. Giles?"

_Giles_ (_whose son has gone to London "in service"_). "Well, to tell ye
the truth, Miss Marji, Oi'm very troubled about 'im. Oi 'ad a letter
last week, an' 'e says that 'e's livin' in a buildin' with 'undreds of
people in it, an' it's three or fowr 'ouses one on top o' t'other. 'E
says there's a railway carriage without an ingin' that goes up the
middle o' th' buildin', an' the lights is all in bottles, an' you turns
'em on with a tap without usin' a loocifer, an'----"

_Miss Marjorie._ "But why are you troubled about James?"

_Giles._ "Aye, Oi fear 'e must 'a took to drink, miss!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

SYMPATHY.--_Giles_ (_ruefully_). "Villiam, I've been an' gone an'
'listed!"

_William._ "Lor'! 'ave yer, though? Got the shillin'?"

_Giles._ "Yes."

_William._ "Well, then, let's go an' 'ave a glass at the 'Barley-Mow.'
Don't let's be down'earted!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: QUITE A DIFFERENT THING.--_Vicar's Wife._ "Well, Mrs.
Bloggs, I'm glad to hear your husband has given up drinking. I hope he's
all the better for it?" _Mrs. Bloggs._ "Oh, yes, 'm, that he be. Why,
ever since 'e took the pledge, he's been more like a friend than a
husband!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SCENE.--_A Country Drawing-Room._

_Visitor_ (_to old lady and daughters, one of whose hobbies is the
keeping of a small herd of Jerseys_). "By the way, I didn't see you at
our local agricultural show."

_Daughter._ "Oh, no! We never go unless we exhibit ourselves."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A SLIGHT MISTAKE.--_Farmer._ "Where 'ave ye been all this
time? And where's the old mare--didn't ye have her shod as I told ye?"
_Jarge._ "Shod! Law, no, marster. I bin a buryin' she! Didn't I think
thee said '_shot_'!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "THE SIMPLE LIFE"

_Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpudgit's Experiences of a Week-end Country Cottage._

_Mr. Fitzpudgit._ "What's the matter with the eggs, Matilda? I've tried
them with a fork two or three times, and they're not soft yet!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "THE SIMPLE LIFE."

_Mr. Fitzpudgit._ "Now don't faint again, my dear. I'll soon have this
old rabbit in bits, now!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "THE SIMPLE LIFE"

_Charwoman._ "If yer please, sir, th' landlord says as 'ow 'e can't do
nothin', 'cos the thatcher's busy with the ricks."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "THE SIMPLE LIFE"

_Mrs. Fitzpudgit._ "What is it, dear?" _Mr. F._ "Nothing, my love. Only
another puncture."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "APPRECIATIONS," LOCAL

_Vicar's Wife._ "I see, Mrs. Fieldsend, that Mary is home again."

_Mrs. Fieldsend._ "Yes, m'm. You see, she has been a year at Crowe
Rectory, and eighteen months at Exholme Vicarage, and now we want her to
go into a gentleman's family!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

FAMILY JARS.--_Joan._ "The _idear_ of Susan's askin' John to William's
funeral, after the way 'e'd beyaved! I shouldn't certainly ever _dream_
of askin' 'im to _yours_!"

_Darby._ "_What!_ Then all _I_ can say is, I should be very much
offended if you _didn't_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: EXCHANGE NO ROBBERY]

       *       *       *       *       *

LIVE STOCK.--_Little Miss Townley._ "Was that honey we had at breakfast
'home-made,' Mr. Stubbs?"

_Farmer Stubbs._ "Why, surely, missy."

_Little Miss T._ "Oh! Then I suppose you _keep a bee_?"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Country Barber_ (_affably, to total stranger_). "Very
tryin' weather this, sir. Makes you feel as if you'd like your body in a
pond, an' your 'ead in a public-'ouse!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Rector's Daughter._ "My father feels it very much,
Mrs. Barker, that you should leave the church every Sunday just before
the sermon. Don't you think you might try and stay, in future?"

_Mrs. Barker._ "I dursn't do it, miss. _I do snore that dreadful when
I'm asleep!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Lady_ (_calling on new Vicar's young wife_). "Have you
seen the library at the Hall? Sir George is quite a bibliophile, you
know."

_Vicar's Wife_ (_warmly_). "Oh, I'm _so_ glad to hear that! So many of
these wealthy men have _no_ religion!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Lady Visitor_ (_to old parishioner_). "Well, Mr.
Huggins, and has the nurse been to see you yet?" _Old Parishioner._
"Yes, mum, thank 'ee. She's called once, an done my foot more good than
all the imprecations I've ever used!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE SLOCUM POGIS TOILET-CLUB

"These 'ere barbers makes a rare lot o' fuss about it, but 'tain't nowt
to sheep shearin'."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: DIET.--_Village Doctor._ "Well, are you better? Have you
taken your medicine regularly, and eaten plenty of animal food?"
_Patient._ "Yes, sir, I tried it, and so long as it were be-ans and
o-ats, I could manage pooty well, sir; but when you come to that there
chopped hay, that right-down choked me, sir!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: NEEDLESS ALARM

_He._ "The fellah actually thweatened to blow my bwains out!"

_She._ "Oh, how _could_ he? Of _course_ he wasn't serious."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE FORCE OF HABIT.--_Our County Member_ (_attending
church during the Recess_). "I beg to move, sir, that the question be
now put!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OUR CHRISTMAS CONCERT.--_The Rector_ (_who conducts the
Rehearsal_). "Suppose we try that movement again? I think, Mr. Footles,
you were half a bar behind in taking up your point. Oh dear!--you're not
going, Mr. Foo----" _Mr. Footles_ (_our Flauto Secondo, huffed_).
"Yessir. 'F you're so pertic'lar's 'alf a bar, I sha'n't jine the
s'ciety!!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ARTFUL--VERY.--_Mary._ "Don't keep a screougin' o' me,
John!" _John._ "Wh'oi bean't a screougin' on yer!" _Mary_
(_ingenuously_). "Well, y' can i' y' like, John!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Stranger._ "I suppose there's not much society about
here?"

_Barber._ "Society! Why there ain't two soup an' fish families within a
radius o' fifteen mile!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

HOW MINERS OUGHT TO SWEAR.--"I'll take my Davy."

       *       *       *       *       *

THE HARVEST OF CRIME.--The convict reaps the reward of his iniquity in
the county crop.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Stranger._ "You must find it very lonely on these
hills."

_Shepherd._ "Lonely? No, I don't. Why, there was a man an a 'oss passed
yesterday, an' there's you to-day."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Agricultural Parishioner_ (_wishing to ingratiate
himself with the new curate, who had given a lecture on the previous
evening_). "Thank ye, sir, for your reading to us last night." _New
Curate._ "Glad you liked it, John. I was a little afraid lest the
lecture might have been just a _little_ too scientific." _Agricultural
Parishioner._ "No, bless you, sir, not a bit of it. Why, we in these
parts be just like young ducks. _We do gobble up anything!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "NONE BUT THE BRAVE DESERVE THE _FARE_."--_The Rector's
Wife_ (_at school feast, to one of the boys, who had been doing very
"good business"_). "What's the matter, Noggins? Don't you feel well?"
_Noggins._ "No, m'm,--but--I'll hev--to be wuss, m'm--afore I give in!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE SUBSTITUTE.--_The Rector's Wife._ "Oh, Mrs. Noggins,
I should really try to break your parrot of his habit of swearing in
that awful way!" _The Widow Noggins._ "Well 'm, I finds it such a
comfort to 'ear 'im. Makes it seem more like as if there was a man about
the 'ouse again."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Village Dame_ (_to eminent landscape-painter_). "Law,
sir, I do often wonder how you can 'ave the patience to bide here day
arter day, drarin' an' drarin'! But, there, one thing, you 'aves plenty
o' company!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HORTICULTURAL CUTTINGS

(_Culled and Fetched from a Considerable Distance by Dumb Crambo
Junior_)

Coaly-us.

Sinner-area.

Pet-you-near.

Ah,-but-ill-us!

Peeler-go!-nyum!

Haughty culture.

Gee-rainy-(um!).

Ran-uncle-us.

Prim-you-la!

A-rum lily.]

       *       *       *       *       *

BOON COMPANIONS!--_Bargee_ (_to Rustic_). "What! Ge-arge!" (_Rustic
grins in response._)

_Bargee._ "I'm allus main glad to see thee, Ge-arge."

_Rustic._ "Whoy?"

_Bargee._ "'Cause I know there must be a public-'ouse close by!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "LAUDATOR TEMPORIS ACT I"

_Mrs. Ghoul._ "Ah, funerals isn't what they used to be in my time! I
recollect when we 'ad 'am sangwishes and sherry wine; but now it's as
much as you can git a bit o' cake and a cup o' tea. Ah!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

CONTENTMENT.--_Giles._ "A happy New Year to you, marm, and I hope you'll
be as lucky this year as I was last."

_Lady._ "Oh, thank you very much, Giles; but you surely forget that you
lost your wife in the spring and broke your leg in the summer."

_Giles._ "Yes, but t'other leg's all right, and as for paw Soosan, it
might have been I to be took instead."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Vicar_ (_who has introduced "Gregorian" tones into his
service_). "Well, Mr. Rogers, how did you like our music? Tradition
says, you know, that those psalm tunes are the original ones composed by
King David." _Flippant Parishioner._ "Really? Then I no longer wonder
why Saul threw his javelin at him!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Vicar._ "I'm surprised at _you_, Miggs. Why, look at
_me_. I can go into the town without coming back intoxicated." _Miggs._
"Yesh, zur, but _Oi_ be so popular!" (_Hic._)]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Vicar's Daughter._ "Oh, Mr. Gufling, I've called this
morning to tell you that for the parish charities we open our most
interesting show of local antiquities and curiosities, and may I hope
that _you_ will kindly give it your countenance?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

POETRY OF NATURE.--When mist falls upon the earth, and freezes, it forms
rime.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Customer._ "You told me that 'oss 'ad won a dozen matches agin some o'
th' best 'osses in the county. Why 'e can't trot a mile in ten minutes
to save 'is life."

_Dealer._ "I didn't say 'e could. You never asked me what sort o'
matches. It was in ploughin' matches 'e took the prizes!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO. LD., PRINTERS LONDON AND TONBRIDGE.





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