The Project Gutenberg EBook of Mr. Punch's Railway Book, edited by J. A. Hammerton This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Mr. Punch's Railway Book Editor: J. A. Hammerton Illustrator: PHIL MAY, GEORGE DU MAURIER, CHARLES KEENE, JOHN LEECH, SIR JOHN TENNIEL, E. T. REED, L. RAVENHILL, J. BERNARD PARTRIDGE, REGINALD CLEAVER, AND MANY OTHER HUMOROUS ARTISTS Release Date: January 21, 2011 [EBook #35027] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MR. PUNCH'S RAILWAY BOOK *** Produced by Neville Allen, Chris Curnow and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)
Only a few years before Mr. Punch began his long and brilliant career had passenger trains and a regular system of railway travelling come into existence. In his early days it was still very much of a novelty to undertake a journey of any length by train; a delightful uncertainty prevailed not only as to the arrival at a given destination, but equally as to getting away from a starting-place. Naturally, the pens and pencils of his clever contributors were then frequently in use to illustrate the humours of railway travel, and even down to the present time Mr. Punch has not failed to find in the railway and its associations "a source of innocent merriment."
It must be admitted that some thirty years ago the pages of Punch literally teemed with biting satires on the management of our railways, and the fact that his whole-hearted denunciations of the inefficient service, the carelessness which resulted in frequent accidents, the excessive charges, the inadequate accommodation, could have been allowed to pass without numerous actions for libel, is proof of the enormous advantages which the present generation[Pg 6] enjoys in this great matter of comfortable, rapid and inexpensive transit. Where Mr. Punch in his wrath, as voicing the opinion of the public, was wont to ridicule and condemn the railways and all associated therewith, we to-day are as ready, and with equal reason, to raise our voice in praise. But ridicule is ever a stronger impulse to wit than is appreciation, and in these later days when we are all alive to the abounding merits of our railway system Mr. Punch has had less to say about it. If we were to cull from his pages written in the days of his wrath we might be held guilty of presenting a gross travesty of the conditions now obtaining. Thus it is that in one or two cases only have we retained passages from his earlier chronicles, such as "Rules for the Rail" and "The Third-Class Traveller's Petition," which have some historical value as reminders that the railway comfort of the present day presents a remarkable contrast to the not very distant past.
To-day every member of the community may be regarded as a railway traveller, so large a part does the railway play in modern life; and it will be admitted that, with all our improvements, the element of humour has not been eliminated from our comings and goings by train. We trust it never may. Here, then, is a compilation of the "best things," literary and pictorial, that have appeared in Mr. Punch's pages on the subject, and with his cheery presence as our guard, let us set forth upon our excursion into the Realm of Fun!
Turning Business into Pleasure.—Take a traveller pressed for time, and induce him to enter a train supposed to be in correspondence with another train belonging to another line, and by which other train the traveller proposes to proceed to his destination. As the first train arrives at the junction, start off the second train en route for Town. The dismay of the traveller when he finds his journey interrupted will be, to say the least, most mirth-moving.
The Panic-stricken Passengers.—Allow an express train to arrive at the station of a rival company two hours behind its time. The travellers will, of course, be anxious to learn the cause of the delay, and will (again of course) receive no sort of information on the subject from the servants of the rival company. Should there be any nervous ladies in the train, the fun will become fast and furious.
A Lark in the Dark.—Start a train ten minutes late, and gradually lose time until it arrives in the middle of a long tunnel, and then stop the engine. Stay where you are for half an hour, whistling and letting off steam every now and then, to increase the excitement. Should it be known in the train that an express is due on the line of rails already occupied by the carriages, the humour of the situation will be greatly improved. Before playing this joke, it will be as well to lock the carriage-doors, and to carefully sever the cord of communication existing (on some lines) between the passengers and the guard.
A Comical Meal.—On a long journey promise that the train shall stop at a stated station ten minutes for refreshments. Lose time in the customary manner, and allow the train to arrive at the stated station half an hour late. Permit the passengers to descend and to enter the refreshment-rooms. The moment they are served, drive them back hurriedly into the carriages with the threat that if they are not immediately seated in their places they will be left behind. When the passengers are once more in their compartments, the carriage-doors should be securely locked, and the train can then remain waiting beside the platform for three-quarters of an hour.
The Strange Companions.—Invite ladies and gentlemen to travel in a first-class carriage. When the compartment is a third full, over-fill it with "merry" excursionists holding third-class tickets. The contrast between the "merriment" of the excursionists and the disgust of the ladies and gentlemen will be found a source of never-ending amusement.
A Wholesome Joke (added by Mr. Punch and suggested to the Passengers).—Whenever you find yourselves subjected to the "fun" of the railway officials, write to the newspapers and obtain a summons against the directors of the company which you believe to be in fault. Verb. sap.
"Half third return to Brixton, please."
"Half! What's your age?"
"I'm thirteen at home; but I'm only nine and a half on railways."
Friend (to minor rail official at provincial station) "'Ullo Cocky, where 'ave you been all this time?"
Minor R.O. (with dignity). "Oh I had to go up on duty for the Naval Review at Spit'ead, I 'ad."
Friend (impressed). "Ah! Fine sight I expect it wur?"
Minor R.O. "Well, I can't say as I saw much of it. I war taking the tickets at Vaux'all!"
Poor Jones is convinced that his worst fears are at last realised, and he is left alone with a dangerous lunatic!! (It was only little Wobbles running anxiously over the points of his coming speech to the electors of Plumpwell-on-Tyme!!)
Scene—A third-class carriage. Time—Three hours before the next station. Dramatis Personæ—Jones and Robinson.
"It's the last!—and it's a Tändstickor. It'll only strike on the box!"
"Strike it on the box, then;—but for Heaven's sake, be careful!"
"Yes; but, like a fool, I've just pitched the box out of window!"
Passenger (in second class). "I think I've got into the wrong carriage."
Ticket Inspector (sternly). "The difference must be paid!"
Passenger (triumphantly). "Oh, just so! Then I'll trouble you for three shillings—I've a first-class ticket!"
Old Lady. "Now, porter, you're quite sure you've put all my luggage in?—the big portmantle and——"
Porter. "All right, mum."
Old Lady. "And you're certain I've not left anything behind——"
Porter. "No, mum, not even a copper!"
John Bull (of the World in general). "There is nothing to be alarmed at. Surely your American trains go much faster than this?"
Jonathan (from the West in particular). "Why, yaas. But 'tain't that. I'm afeard it'll run off your darned little island!"
Impatient Traveller. "Er—how long will the next train be, portah?"
Porter. "Heaw long? Weel, sir ah dunno heaw ah con saay to hauf an inch. Happen there'll be fower or five co-aches an' a engine or soa."
"Are there no more trains this evening on the up line, porter?"
"And no more trains on the down line?"
"Is there no special train?"
"Nor an excursion train?"
"No, mum. The gates are to for the rest of the evening."
"You're quite sure?"
"Then come, Amelia. We can cross the line!"
You may boast your great improvements,
Your inventions and your "movements,"
For those who stay at home, and those who travel;
But arrangements for the latter
Are so complex, that the matter
Makes them dotty as a hatter
There was once an ancient lady
Whom we knew as Miss O'Grady,
Who was asked to spend the autumn down at Trew.
So in fear and trepidation
She sought out her destination,
And betook her to the station—
She took her little ticket
And she did not fail to stick it
With half-a-dozen coppers in her glove.
Another moment found her
With a plenty to astound her—
For she'd notice-boards all round her,
So she studied every number
On those sign-posts that encumber
All the station; and she learned them one by one;
But she found the indication
Of the platforms of the station
Not much use as information
When she'd done.
In her shocking state of fluster
Little courage could she muster,
Yet of porters she accosted one or two;
But, too shy to claim attention,
And too full of apprehension,
She could get no one to mention
"Which for Trew."
So she trudged through every station—
"North," "South," "Main,"—in quick rotation,
And then she gave a trial to the "Loop";
Like some hapless new Pandora
She sat down a-gasping for a
Little hope to live on—or a
Plate o' soup.
* * * * *
'Mid the bustle and the hissing
An old maiden lady's "Missing"—
In some corner of the complicated maze;
And round about she's gliding
In unwilling, hideous hiding,
On the platform, loop, or siding,
In a craze.
And still they cannot find her,
For she leaves no trace behind her
At Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Waterloo;
But she passes like a comet
With the myst'ry of Mahomet—
Her course unknown—and from it
Not a clue!
Porter. "Now, then, Bill! are you off?"
Cab Ruffian. "No; what sort of fare is it?"
Porter. "Single gent, with small bag."
Ruffian. "Oh, he won't do! Can't yer find us a old lady and two little gals with lots o' boxes? I'm good for a pint!"
"Them's the only dogs as come by this train, sir. The guard says as 'ow there was three sportin' dogs, as 'ad ate their label off, wot's gone on by the Scotch Express."
Rather 'Cute.—Small but Sharp Passenger. "Look here! You didn't give me the right change just now!"
Clerk. "Too late, sir! You should have spoken when you took your ticket!"
Passenger. "Should I? Well, it's of no consequence to me; but you gave me half-a-sovereign too much! Ta-ta!" [Exit.
Stoker. "Wery sorry to disturb yer at supper, ladies, but could yer oblige me with a scuttle o' coals for our engine, as we've run short of 'em this journey?"
"No smoking allowed." Of course, but I am going to enjoy my cigar in silence.
"Want the window closed." Very sorry, but I can't find a cathedral.
"Find my journal a nuisance." Dear me! was under the impression it was a newspaper.
"Allow you to pass." Afraid only the Secretary can manage that for you; he alone has power to issue free tickets.[Pg 26]
"Do I mind the draught?" Not when I am attending to the chessman.
"Do I know the station?" Of the people on the platform? Probably lower middle class.
"Is this right for Windsor?" Yes, if it's not left for somewhere else.
"Are we allowed five minutes for lunch?" Think not; but you can have sandwiches at the counter.
"Isn't this first-class?" Quite excellent—first-rate—couldn't be better!
"I want to go second." Then you had better follow me.
"I am third." Indeed! And who were first and second.
"I think this must be London." Very likely, if it is, it mustn't be anywhere else.
Passenger. "What's the matter, guard?"
Guard (with presence of mind). "Oh, nothing particular, sir. We've only run into an excursion train!"
Passenger. "But, good gracious! there's a train just behind us, isn't there?"
Guard. "Yes, sir! But a boy has gone down the line with a signal; and it's very likely they'll see it!"
|The party that never says, "Thank you!"||The party that always says, "Thank you!"|
Pity the sorrows of a third-class man,
Whose trembling limbs with snow are whitened o'er,
Who for his fare has paid you all he can:
Cover him in, and let him freeze no more!
This dripping hat my roofless pen bespeaks,
So does the puddle reaching to my knees;
Behold my pinch'd red nose—my shrivell'd cheeks:
You should not have such carriages as these.
In vain I stamp to warm my aching feet,
I only paddle in a pool of slush;
My stiffen'd hands in vain I blow and beat;
Tears from my eyes congealing as they gush.
Keen blows the wind; the sleet comes pelting down,
And here I'm standing in the open air!
Long is my dreary journey up to Town,
That is, alive, if ever I get there.
Oh! from the weather, when it snows and rains,
You might as well, at least, defend the poor;
It would not cost you much, with all your gains:
Cover us in, and luck attend your store.
No wonder Miss Lavinia Stitchwort thought the people very rude at the station when she went for her "water-proof" (which she had lost on the railway some time before). She found out when she got home she had not removed the "unclaimed property" label!
Nervous Party. "The train seems to be travelling at a fearful pace, ma'am."
Elderly Female. "Yus, ain't it? My Bill's a-drivin' of the ingin, an' 'e can make 'er go when 'e's got a drop o drink in 'im!"
The Origin of Railways.—The first idea of railways is of very ancient date, for we hear of the Great Norman line immediately after the Conquest.
Railway News.—There is an old lady who says, that she always likes to travel by a trunk line, because then she feels confidence about the safety of her luggage.
A reminiscence of Whitsun Holidays in Ancient Egypt. From an old-time tabl(e)ature
Railway Reform.—Compartments to be reserved for ladies over and under a certain age.
As there will invariably be compartments for those who smoke, so also for those who snuff. The former will be labelled as usual "for Smokers," the latter "for Snuffers." The last-mentioned will be tried as far as Hampton Wick.
The "Sleeping Cars" will be divided into "Snorers" and "Non-Snorers." Tickets will be issued subject to these regulations.
It is important to the Shareholders to know that on and after the abolition of the Second Class, the motto of the Company will be "No Returns."
A Plutocrat.—Swell. "'Dyou oblige me—ah—by shutting your window?—ah——"
Second Passenger (politely). "Really, sir, if you will not press it, as yours is shut, the air is so warm I would rather keep this open. You seem to take great care of yourself, sir——"
Swell. "Care of myself! Should wather think so. So would you, my dear fel-lah, if you'd six thousand a ye-ar!!"
On Southern lines the trains which crawl
Deliberately to and fro
Make life a burden; of them all
This is the slowest of the slow.
Impatiently condemned to bear
What is indeed an awful bore,
I've seemed to be imprisoned there
Three days, or more.[Pg 34]
The angry passengers complain;
Of new electric cabs they talk.
They sit and swear at such a train,
And ask, "Shall we get out and walk?"
It's true the time seems extra long
When spent in such a wretched way,
My calculation may be wrong—
Three hours, say.
The other day I had to come
By this slow train, but facing me
Was no old buffer, dull and dumb;
I chatted with my vis-à-vis.
A pretty smile, a pretty dress,
Gay spirits no fatigue could crush;
With her it was a quick express,
Three minutes' rush.
For once I sadly left the train,
For once the time too quickly passed.
I still could angrily complain,
Why travel so absurdly fast?
At lightning speed that special went
(I'd paid the ordinary fare),
Now looking back it seems we spent
Three seconds there.
Facetious Individual (from carriage window). "Change 'ere, 'ave we? Then kindly oblige me with a sardine-opener!"
Wednesbury Station.—First Collier. "Trains leave for Birmingham, 10.23 a.m., 6.23 p.m."
Second Collier. "What's p.m.?"
First Do. "A penny a mile, to be sure."
Second Do. "Then, what's a.m.?"
First Do. "Why, that must be a a'penny a mile."
Excursionist. "I say—'ere! This water's full o'crumbs!"
Aquarius. "That ain't crumbs! That's only the sawdust off the hice!"
'Traction Engines.—Too many Girls of the Period.
Truck-Trains.—Most marriage processions at St. George's, Hanover Square.
Continuous Brakes.—The results of lodging house attendance.
Changing Lines.—What we often see after the honeymoon.
Shunted on to a Siding.—Paterfamilias when Baby appears.
The Gushington girls have just arrived by rail, and are inhaling the odours of an average London terminus.
Miss Milly Gushington. "Wait a bit, uncle." (Sniff.) "Oh, isn't it lovely, Hilly? Doesn't it just smell of the season?"
Miss Hilly Gushington. "Don't speak about it—only sniff!"
A is the affable guard whom you square:
B is the Bradshaw which leads you to swear:
C is the corner you fight to obtain:
D is the draught of which others complain:
E are the enemies made for the day:
F is the frown that you wear all the way:
G is the guilt that you feel going third:
H is the humbug by which you're deterred:
I is the insult you'll get down the line:
J is the junction where you'll try to dine:
K is the kettle of tea three weeks old:
L are the lemon drops better unsold:
M is the maiden who says there's no meat:
N is the nothing you thus get to eat:
O is the oath that you use—and do right:
P is the paper to which you don't write:
Q are the qualms to directors unknown:
R is the row which you'll find all your own:
S is the smash that is "nobody's fault:"
T is the truth, that will come to a halt:
U is the pointsman—who's up the whole night:
V is the verdict that says it's "all right."
W stands for wheels flying off curves:
X for express that half shatters your nerves:
Y for the yoke from your neck that you fling,
and Z for your zest as you cut the whole thing!
Constable (to nervous passenger, arrived by the Ramsgate train). "I've got yer"—("Ger-acious Heavens!" thinks little Skeery with a thrill of horror. "Takes me for somebody that's 'wanted'!")—"a cab, sir."]
Country Cousin, bound for Bayswater, to ticket clerk, with scrupulous politeness. If you please, I want a first-class ticket to Bayswater.
Ticket Clerk (abruptly). No first-class here. Go to the next booking-place.
[Country Cousin retires rebuffed, and finds his way to next booking-place.
Country Cousin. If you please, I want a first-class ticket to Bayswater.
Ticket Clerk (explosively). Single or return? Look sharp! You're not the only person in London!
Country Cousin (humbly). Single, please.
[The ticket and change are slapped down unceremoniously, and Country Cousin is shoved on from behind by an impatient City man. Rushes precipitately down brass-bound steps, and presents his ticket to be snipped.[Pg 42]
Snipper (inspecting ticket). Queen's Road, Bayswater? Wrong side! Go up the stairs, and turn to the right. Look sharp! There's a train just coming in!
[Country Cousin, with a deepened sense of humiliation and bewilderment, hurries upstairs, turns to the right, and reaches entrance to platform just in time to have gate slammed in his face. The train being gone, gate is re-opened, and the necessary snipping performed on his ticket.
Country Cousin (to Snipper, politely). If you please—will the next train take me to Queen's Road, Bayswater?
Saturnine Official. Can't tell you till the train comes.
[Country Cousin paces the platform in moody silence, and wishes he had taken a cab. Enter train, rushing madly along.
Stentorian voice (without stops). Earl's Court North End and Hammersmith train first and second-class forward third behind![Pg 44]
[Country Cousin makes his way towards a carriage, but finds it full. Tries another with the same result, and is frantically endeavouring to open the door of a third-class compartment in which there is one vacant seat next a fat woman with a baby, when train moves on.
Indignant Official. Stand away there! Stand away, will you! (Drags back Country Cousin.) That ain't your train! What do you want a-tryin to get in there for?
[Country Cousin, in deeper humiliation, re-arranges dress, disturbed by recent struggle and resumes his agitated march.
Enter another train more madly than the first.
Stentorian voice. High Street Kensington Notting Hill Gate and Bayswater train main line train!
Country Cousin (to Haughty Official, in an agony of entreaty). Is this train for Queen's Road, Bayswater?
Haughty Official. Yes, Queen's Road. Look sharp! She'll be off in a minute.
[Country Cousin scrambles through the crowd to a carriage; drops his umbrella; stoops to pick it up and on rising finds train three parts through the tunnel. Exit Country Cousin in a rage, to get a cab, having lost twenty minutes, the price of his unused ticket, his self-respect, and that of everybody he has come in contact with in the Metropolitan District Railway Station.
Gent. "Are the sandwiches fresh, my boy?"
Country Youth. "Don't know, I'm sure, sir. I've only been here a fortnight!"
Station-Master. "Now then! Look alive with they dougs! Where are you——"
Overdriven Porter. "Hoots! they've a' eaten their tuck'ts, an' dinna ken fa the're gaen tae!"
Shrewd Clerk (with an eye to his percentage). "Take an accident insurance ticket, sir?"
Passenger (nervously). "Wha' for?!"
Clerk. "Well, sir, nothing has gone wrong 'twixt this and London for the last fourteen months; and, by the haverages, the next smash on the hup line is hoverdue exactly six weeks and three days!!"
[Old Gent forks out with alacrity.
Puff me away from the noise and the worry;
Puff me away from the desolate town;
Puff me—but don't be in too great a hurry;
Puff me, but don't in a tunnel break down.
Puff me away to my loved Isle of Thanet
Swiftly—or e'en at the pace called the snail's,
Puff me the sea-breeze, and pleasantly fan it
Into my nostrils—but don't leave the rails.
Puff me away, far from Parliament's houses;
For brown moors of Scotland my soul is athirst—
For a smell of the heather, a pop at the grouses;
Puff me, but mind that your boiler don't burst.
Puff me en route for care-killing Killarney,
Tenderly take me, as bridegroom his bride;
Bear me towards Erin, blest birthplace of Blarney,
Puff, puff, like blazes—but, please, don't "collide!"
Customer (Time—Saturday afternoon). "I don't want all coppers in change for that shilling. Haven't you got any silver?"
Newsboy. "All right, sir. Want a little Sunday money, I s'pose, sir?"
At first I loved thee—thou wast warm,—
The porter called thee "'ot," nay, "bilin'."
I tipped him as thy welcome form
He carried, with a grateful smile, in.
Alas! thou art a faithless friend,
Thy warmth was but dissimulation;
Thy tepid glow is at an end,
And I am nowhere near my station!
I shiver, cold in feet and hands,
It is a legal form of slaughter,
They don't warm (!) trains in other lands
With half a pint of tepid water.
I spurn thy coldness with a kick,
And pile on rugs as my protectors,
I'd send—to warm them—to Old Nick,
Thy parsimonious directors!
Different Ways of Travelling.—Man travels to expand his ideas; but woman—judging from the number of boxes she invariably takes with her—travels only with the object of expanding her dresses.
Rude Boy (to stout party on weighing-machine, which is out of order, and won't work). "Shove in another penny, guv'nor. It's double fare to chaps o' your size!"
Railway Porter (to old lady travelling with a menagerie of pets). "'Station-master say, mum, as cats is 'dogs,' and rabbits is 'dogs,' and so's parrots; but this ere 'tortis' is a insect, so there ain't no charge for it!"
Stout Party. "What! no room! Ain't that man just got out? If people can get out, people can get in!"
Scene—Interior of Third-Class Smoking Compartment. First Passenger, apparently a small Suburban Tradesman, of a full and comfortable habit, seated by window. To him enters a seedy but burly Stranger, in a state of muzzy affability, with an under-suggestion of quarrelsomeness.
The Stranger (leaning forward mysteriously). Yer saw that gentleman I was a torkin' to as I got in? Did yer know 'oo he was?
First Passenger (without hauteur, but with the air of a person who sets a certain value on his conversation). Well, he didn't look much like the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The S. He's a better man than 'im! That was Brasher, the middling weight! he giv me the orfice straight about Killivan and Smifton, he did!
First P. (interested, as a lover of the Noble Art of Self Defence). Ah! did he, though?
The S. He did; I went up to him, and I sez,[Pg 54] "Excuse me," I sez, like that, I sez, "but are you an American, or a German?"
First P. (with superiority). He wouldn't like that—being taken for a German.
The S. (solemnly). Those were my very words! And he sez, "No, I'm a Yank," and then I knoo 'oo 'e was, d'ye see? and so (hazily) one word brought up another, and we got a torkin'. If I was to tell you I'd seen Killivan, I should be tellin' yer a lie!
First P. Well, I won't ask you to do that.
The S. (firmly). Nor I wouldn't. But you've on'y to look at Smifton to see 'e's never 'ad a smack on the 'ed. Now, there's Sulton—'e's a good man, 'e is—'e is a good man! Look 'ow that feller knocks 'isself about! But if I was to pass my opinion, it 'ud be this—Killivan's in it for science, he ain't in it to take anything; you may take that from me!
First P. (objecting to be treated as an ingénu). It's not the first time I've heard of it, by a long way.
The S. Ah! and it's the truth, the Bible truth (putting his hand on First P.'s knee). Now, you b'leeve what I'm a'goin' to tell yer?[Pg 56]
First P. (his dignity a little ruffled). I will—if it's anything in reason.
The S. It's this: My opinion of Killivan and Sulton's this—Sulton brought Killivan out. I'm on'y tellin' yer from 'earsay, like; but I know this myself—one lived in 'Oxton, and the other down Bermondsey way. 'E's got a nice little butcher's business there at this present moment; and 'e's a mug if 'e turns it up!
First P. (axiomatically). Every man's a mug who turns a good business up.
The S. Yer right! And (moralising) it ain't all 'oney with that sort o' people, neither, I can tell yer! I dessay, now, when all's put to the test, you're not a moneyed man—no more than I am myself?
First P. (not altogether flattered). Well—that's as may be.
The S. But I b'leeve yer to be a man o' the world, although I don't know yer.
First P. (modestly). I used to be in it at one time.
The S. (confidentially). I'm in it now. I don't get my livin' by it, though, mind yer. I'm a mechanic, I am—to a certain extent.[Pg 58] I've been in America. There's a country now—they don't over-tax like they do 'ere!
First P. (sympathetically). There you 'ave touched a point—we're taxed past all common sense. Why, this very tobacco I'm smoking now is charged——
The S. Talkin' of terbaccer, I don't mind 'aving a pipe along with yer myself.
First P. (handing his pouch with a happy mixture of cordiality and condescension). There you are, then.
The S. (afflicted by sudden compunction as he fills his pipe). I 'ope I'm not takin' a libbaty in askin yer?
First P. Liberty? rubbish! I'm not one to make distinctions where I go. I'd as soon talk to one man as I would another—you're setting your coat alight.
The S. I set fire to myself once, and I never live in 'opes of doing so agen! It's a funny thing with me, I can smoke a cigar just as well as I could a short pipe. I'm no lover of a cigar, if you understand me; but I can go into company where they are, d'ye see?
First P. (shortly). I see.
The S. (with fresh misgivings). You'll excuse me if I've taken a libbaty with yer!
First P. (with a stately air). We settled all that just now.
The S. (after a scrutiny). I tell yer what my idear of you is—that you're a Toff!
First P. (disclaiming this distinction a little uneasily). No, no—there's nothing of the toff about me!
The S. (defiantly). Well, you're a gentleman, anyway?
First P. (aphoristic, but uncomfortable). We can all of us be that, so long as we behave ourselves.[Pg 62]
The S. (much pleased by this sentiment). Right agen! give us yer 'and—if it's not takin a libbaty. I'm one of them as can't bear to take a libbaty with no matter 'oo. Yer know it's a real pleasure to me to be settin' 'ere torkin' comfortably to you, without no thought of either of us fallin' out. There's some people as wouldn't feel 'appy, not without they was 'aving a row. Now you and me ain't like that!
First P. (shifting about). Quite so—quite so, of course!
The S. Not but what if it was to come to a row between us, I could take my part!
First P. (wishing there was somebody else in the compartment). I—I hope we'll keep off that.
The S. (devoutly). So do I! I 'ope we'll keep off o' that. But yer never know what may bring it on—and there it is, d'ye see! You and me might fall out without intending it. I've bin a bit of a boxer in my day. Do you doubt my word?—if so, say it to my face![Pg 64]
First P. I've no wish to offend you, I'm sure.
The S. I never take a lie straight from any man, and there you 'ave me in a word! If you're bent on a row, you'll find me a glutton, that's all I can tell you!
First P. (giving himself up for lost). But I'm not bent on a row—qu—quite otherwise!
The S. You should ha' said so afore, because, when my back's once put up, I'm—'ello! we're stopping, I get out 'ere, don't I?
First P. (eagerly). Yes—make haste, they don't stay long anywhere on this line!
The S. (completely mollified). Then I'll say good-bye to yer. (Tenderly.) P'raps we may meet agen, some day.
First P. We—we'll hope so—good day to you, wish you luck!
The S. (solemnly). Lord love yer! (Pausing at door.) I 'ope you don't think me the man to fall out with nobody. I never fall out——
[Falls out into the arms of a porter, whom he pummels as the train moves on, and First Passenger settles into a corner with a sigh of relief.
Somerset Rustic (on seeing the signal drop). "Ar don't know if it'd make any difference, maister, but thic ther' bit o' board of yourn 'ave a fallen down!"
Foreign Husband (whose wife is going to remain longer). "Gif me two dickets. Von for me to come back, and von for my vife not to come back!"
Lady (who has just entered carriage, to friend). "Fancy finding you in the train! Why couldn't I have met you yesterday, now? I had such a wretched journey! But one never does meet people when one wants to!"
Shouting heard—engine whistles frantically—breaks applied violently—train stops—accident, no doubt—alarm of first-class passengers—stout gent flies at communicator—child shrieks—terrified lady calls out, "Help! guard! What is it? Let us out!"
Guard. "Oh, no fear, miss. On'y driver he just see a lot o' fine mushyroons, miss, and we——he like 'em for breakfast. All right! Away y' go!!"
Traveller. "Now then, boy, where's the clerk who gives the ticket?"
Boy (after finishing an air he was whistling). "I'm the clerk."
Traveller. "Well, sir! And what time does the train leave for London?"
Boy. "Oh, I don't know. No time in pertickler. Sometimes one time—and sometimes another."
He determines to try the automatic photographing machine, the station being empty. To his dismay a crowd has gathered, and watches the operation.
Workman (politely, to old lady, who has accidentally got into a smoking compartment). "You don't object to my pipe, I 'ope, mum?"
Old Lady. "Yes, I do object, very strongly!"
Workman. "Oh! Then out you get!!"
Scene—Reserved Carriage on the London and Utopian Railway. Female Traveller in possession. Enter, suddenly, a Male Traveller.
Male Traveller. A thousand apologies! I really nearly missed my train, so was obliged to take refuge in this carriage. Trust I don't intrude.
Fem. T. (after a pause). As you have no one to present you, I must ask "if you are any lady's husband?"
Male T. (with a sigh). Alas, no! I am a wretched bachelor!
Fem. T. (drily). That is nothing out of the common. I have been given to understand that all bachelors are miserable.
Male T. No doubt your husband agrees with the opinion?[Pg 68]
Fem. T. (calmly). I have no experience. I am a spinster.
Male T. (smiling). Indeed! And you selected a ladies' carriage?
Fem. T. (quickly). Because there was no room anywhere else.
Male T. Well, well! At the next station I can get into a smoking compartment.
Fem. T. Surely there is no need to take so much trouble.
Male T. Why! don't you object to a cigar?
Fem. T. Not in the least. The fact is, I smoke myself!
[Red fire and tobacco.
Male T. (after a pause). I have it on my conscience to make a correction. I said just now that I was not somebody's husband.
Fem. T. (annoyed). Then you are married!
Male T. (with intention). Well, not yet. But if you like you can receive me as somebody's betrothed.
Fem. T. (regardless of grammar). Who's somebody?
Male T. (smiling). Think of your own name.
Fem. T. What next?
Male T. Why, give it to me; and if you like you shall have mine in exchange. (Train arrives at a station.)
Guard (without). All change!
[And later on they do.
Affable Old Gentleman (who has half a minute to spare). "I suppose now, my boy, you take a good sum of money during the day?"
Shoeblack. "Yessur, 'cause lots o' gintleman, when they wants to ketch a train, gives me sixpence!"
[Old gent finds the sixpence, but in thinking over it afterwards, couldn't see the connection.
"Hi, guv'nor, there ain't no station named on this ticket!"
"No; all our tickets are alike."
"Then, 'ow do I know where I'm going?"
Stout Party (rather hot). "Hope you don't find the breeze too much, sir?"
Fellow Passenger. "Oh! not at all, sir! I rather like it!"
Traveller (to Irish porter labelling luggage). "Don't you keep a brush for that work, porter?"
Porter. "No, yer honour. Our tongues is the only insthrumints we're allowed. But—they're aisy kep' wet, yer honour!"
"Look out for squalls"—on land or sea—
Where duty or where pleasure calls,
A golden rule it seems to be,
Look out for squalls.
Yet in a train that slowly crawls
Somehow it most appeals to me.
For then sometimes, it so befalls,
An infant on its mother's knee
In my compartment Fate installs—
Which makes a nervous man, you see,
Look out for squalls!
Delays are dangerous.
A train in time saves nine.
Live and let live.
After a railway excursion, the doctor.
Do not halloo till you are out of the train.
Between two trains we fall to the ground.
Fire and water make good servants but bad masters.
A director is known by the company he keeps.
A railway train is the thief of time.
There is no place like home—but the difficulty is to get there.
The farther you go, the worse is your fare.
It's the railway pace that kills.
The great charm about a railway accident is that, no matter how many lives are lost, "no blame is ever attached to any one."
A railway is long, but life is short—and generally the longer a railway, the shorter your life.
A Distinction with a Difference.—Disappointed Porter (to Mate). I thought you said he was a gentleman.
Mate. No, that's where you mistook me. I said he was a gent.
Sylvanus. "Foxes are scarce in my country; but we manage it with a drag now and then!"
Urbanus. "Oh—er—yes. But how do you get it over the fences?"
Jack Ashore. "Bill, just keep a heye on my jewel-case 'ere while I go and get the tickets. There's a lot o' sharks always cruisin' about these railway stations, I've heard!"
Guard. "Where are you for?"
Old Gent. "I'm oright—Edgware Road."
Guard. "Well, mind you get out this time. You've been round three times!"
We have often been struck with the difference of manner assumed by railway officials towards different people. Shut your eyes, and you can tell from the tone of their voices whom they are addressing. The following examples will best illustrate our meaning. The railway potentate is calling upon the passengers to get their tickets ready. He calls:
To the Third Class.—Fortissimè.—"Tickets, tickets; come get your tickets ready."
To the Second Class.—Fortè.—"Tickets, gents; get your tickets ready, gents."
To the First Class.—Piano.—"Get your tickets ready, gentlemen, if you please; tickets ready, if you please, gentlemen."
Lady. "Can I book through from here to Oban?"
Well-educated Clerk (correcting her). "Holborn, you mean. No; but you can book to Broad Street, and then take a 'bus!"
Or five she bore,
The signals wor in vain;
Grown old and rusted,
Her biler busted,
And smash'd the Excursion Train.
Overworked Pointsman (puzzled). "Let's see!—there's the 'scursion' were due at 4.45, and it ain't in; then, afore that, were the 'mineral,'—no! that must ha' been the 'goods,'—or the 'cattle.' No! that were after,—cattle's shunting now. Let's see!—fast train came through at——Con-found!—and here comes 'the express' afore its time, and blest if I know which line she's on!!"
Ten minutes here! The sun is sinking,
And longingly we've long been thinking
Of Tea, Tea, fragrant Tea!
The marble slabs we gather round.
They're long in bringing what is wanted,
The china cup with draught em-brown'd,
Our thirsty souls are wholly haunted
By Tea, Tea, fragrant Tea!
Now then, you waiter, stir, awaken!
Time's up. I'll hardly save my bacon.
Tea, Tea, bring that Tea!
At last! The infusion's rayther dark.
But hurry up! Can't stay for ever!
One swig! Br-r-r-r! Hang the cunning shark!
Will't never cool? Nay, never, never!
Tea, Tea, scalding Tea!
More milk; don't be an hour in bringing!
Heavens! That horrid bell is ringing!
"Take your seats, please!" Can't touch the Tea!
Cup to the carriage must not take;
Crockery may be lost, or broken;
Refreshment sharks are wide awake.
But—many a naughty word is spoken
O'er Tea, Tea, scalding Tea!
Head Barmaid. "These tarts are quite stale, Miss Hunt—been on the counter for a fortnight! Would you mind taking them into the second-class refreshment-room?"
Chatty Passenger. "Porter! That's one of those curious tailless Manx cats, is it not?"
Crusty Porter (shortly). "No, 'taint. Morn'g 'xpress!"
Passenger (puzzled). "E—h—I don't understand——"
Porter. "Don't yer? Well, you come and put your toe on these 'ere down metals about 9.14 a.m. to-morrow, and——"
Passenger (enlightened). "Ah!—I see—jus' so——"
[Retires under cover of newspaper.
I have come to the conclusion that the railway train exercises a sinister influence upon the human race. Persons who are tolerable—or even welcome—in ordinary daily life, become peculiarly obnoxious so soon as they enter the compartment of a train. No fairy prince ever stepped into a railway train—assuming he favoured that means of locomotion—without being transformed straightway into a Beast, and even Beauty herself could not be distinguished from her disagreeable sisters—in a train.
Speaking for myself, railway travelling invariably brings to the surface all my worst qualities.
My neighbour opposite hazards some remark. I feel immediately a fit of taciturnity coming over me, and an overpowering inclination to retreat behind a fortification of journals and magazines. On the other hand, say that I have exhausted my stock of railway literature—or, no remote possibility, that the literature has exhausted me—then I make a casual remark about the weather. The weather is not usually considered a controversial topic: in railway trains, however, it becomes so.
"Rain! not a bit," says a passenger in the far corner, evidently meditating a walking tour, and he views me suspiciously as if I were a rain-producer.
"And a good thing too," remarks the man opposite. "It's wanted badly, I tell you, sir—very badly. It's all very well for you holiday folk," &c., &c.
And all this bad feeling because of my harmless well-intentioned remark.
The window is up. "Phew!... stuffy," says the man opposite. "You don't mind, I hope, the window—eh?" "Not in the least," I say, and conceive a deadly hatred for him. I know from experience that directly that window is down all the winds of heaven will conspire to rush through, bearing upon them a smoky pall. I resign myself, therefore, to possible bronchitis and inflammation of the eye. Schoolboys, I may remark by the way, are the worst window offenders, owing to their diabolical practice of looking out of window in a tunnel—and, of course, nothing ever happens to them. What's the use of expostulating after the compartment is full of yellow, choking vapour. These boys should be leashed together like dogs and conveyed in the luggage-van.
The window is down. "W-h-oop," coughs an elderly man. "Do you mind, sir, that window being closed?" Polite mendacity and inward bitterness on my part towards the individual who has converted the compartment into an oven.
But there are worse companions even than these, of whom I must speak another time.
I have known people thoughtlessly speak well of the luncheon-basket. In my opinion, the luncheon-basket arouses the worst passions of human nature, and is a direct incentive to deeds of violence. To say this is to cast an aspersion upon the refreshment contractor, who is evidently a man of touchingly simple faith and high imagination. Simple faith assuredly, for does he not provide on the principle that our insides are hardy and vigorous and unspoilt by the art of cooking? High imagination most certainly, otherwise he would never call that red fluid by the name of claret.
No, it is to the social rather than to the gastronomic influence of the luncheon-basket that I wish to advert.
Once I procured a luncheon-basket and with it came the demon of discontent and suspicion, converting three neutral people into deadly enemies.
One was a pale young man who had been scowling over Browning and making frantic notes on the margin of the book. Personally, I don't think it quite decent for pale young men to improve their minds in a public conveyance—but at any rate he had seemed harmless. Now he raised his eyes and viewed me with undisguised contempt. "Wretched glutton," he said in effect, and when accidentally I burned my mouth with mustard (which a sudden swerve had sent meandering in a yellow stream across the chicken and ham), he gave a sneering, callous smile, which reminded me that a man may smile and smile and be a—railway companion.
I verily believe that youth to be capable of any crime, even Extension lecturing.
Then there was a young lady reading a sixpenny Braddon, who viewed me as if I were some monster; when I shut my eyes and gulped off some—er—claret, she brought biscuits and lemonade from a small bag and refreshed herself with ostentatious simplicity, as if to say, "Look upon this picture and on the wine-bibbing epicurean in the corner." An old lady with her was more amply provided for (old ladies usually take more care of their insides than anyone else in creation), but although she munched sandwiches and washed them down with sherry (probably sweet, ugh!) luxuriously, she looked with pious horror at my plates and dishes spread out. I might have said, "Madam, I eat frankly and openly; my resources may be viewed by all. Your secret and delusive bags have limitless resources that you are ashamed to show."
I didn't say so; but the restraint placed on myself quite spoilt the lunch. No more baskets.
Ticket Collector. "Now, then, make haste! Where's your ticket?"
Bandsman (refreshed). "Au've lost it!"
Ticket Collector. "Nonsense! Feel in your pockets. Ye cannot hev lost it!"
Bandsman. "Aw cannot? Why, man, au've lost the big drum!"
First Young Lady. "How did you like Convict Life, dear?"
Second Young Lady. "Pretty well. We've just begun Ten Years' Penal Servitude. Some of us like it, but——"
Old Lady (mentally). "Good gracious! What dreadful creatures! So young, too!"
[Looks for the communicating cord!
First Passenger. "Had pretty good sport?"
Second Passenger. "No—very poor. Birds wild—rain in torrents—dogs no use. 'Only got fifty brace!"
First Passenger. "'Make birds dear, won't it?"
Second Passenger ("off his guard"). "You're right. I assure you I paid three-and-sixpence a brace all round at Norwich this morning!"
Young Lady (who has never travelled by this line before). "Do you go to Kew Gardens?"
Booking-Clerk. "Sometimes on a Sunday, miss, on a summer's afternoon!"
Lady. "I want one ticket—first!" Clerk. "Single?" Lady. "Single! What does it matter to you, sir, whether I'm single or not? Impertinence!"
[Clerk explains that he meant single or return, not t'other thing.
Brown. "Shockin' thing! You heard of poor Mullins getting his neck broken in that collision!"
Jones. "Ah!—it's as-tonishing how lucky some fellows are! He told me 'last time I saw him he'd just insured his life for three thous'd poun's!!"
"Hulloa! You've no call to be in here! You haven't got a fust-class ticket, I know."
"No! I hain't!"
"Well, come out! This ain't a third-class carriage!"
"Hain't it? Lor! Well I thought it wos, by the look of the passingers!"
Guard. "Some one been smoking, I think?"
Passenger. "What! Smoking! That's very reprehensible. Perhaps it was the clerical gentleman who has just got out of the next compartment."
Chatty Passenger (on G. W. Railway). "How plainly you can see the lights of Hanwell from the railway!"
Silent Man (in the corner). "Not half so plain as the lights of the train look from Hanwell!"
[All change at the next station.
Sporting Gentleman. "Well, sir, I'm very pleased to have made your acquaintance, and had the opportunity of hearing a Churchman's views on the question of tithes. Of course, as a country landowner, I'm interested in Church matters, and——"
The Parson. "Quite so—delighted, I'm sure. Er—by the bye, could you tell me what's won to-day?"
Bookstall Keeper. "Book, ma'am? Yes, ma'am. Here's a popular work by an eminent surgeon, just published, 'Broken Legs: and How to Mend Them': or, would you like the last number of The Railway Operator?"
Bumptious Old Gent (in a directorial tone). "Ah, guard—what are we—ah—waiting for?"
Guard (with unconcern). "Waiting for the train to go on, sir!"
[Old Gent retires.
First Passenger. "They say they've put on detectives 'ere, to catch coves as travels without tickets."
Second Passenger. "'Ave they? Well, all I can say is, I can travel as often as I like from Cannon Street to Victoria, and not pay a 'apenny!"
Detective. "See here, mate; I'll give you half-a-crown if you tell me how you do it."
Second Passenger (after pocketing the half-crown). "Well,—when I wants to git from Cannon Street to Victoria without payin'—I walks!"
Cousin Madge. "Well, good-bye, Charlie. So many thanks for taking care of us!"
Charlie. "Not at all!"
A Lady of Family. Oh, yes, I do travel third-class sometimes, my dear. I consider it a duty to try to know something of the lower orders.
[Looks out for an empty third-class compartment.
The seats are now all occupied: the Lady of Family is in one corner, next to a Chatty Woman with a basket, and opposite to an Eccentric-looking Man with a flighty manner.
The Eccentric Man (to the Lady of Family). Sorry to disturb you, mum, but you're a-setting on one o' my 'am sandwiches.
The L. of F.???!!!
The E. M. (considerately). Don't trouble yourself, mum, it's of no intrinsic value. I on'y put it there to keep my seat.
The Chatty W. (to the L. of F.). I think I've seen you about Shinglebeach, 'ave I not?[Pg 102]
The L. of F. It is very possible. I have been staying with some friends in the neighbourhood.
The C. W. It's a nice cheerful place is Shinglebeach; but (confidentially) don't you think it's a very sing'ler thing that in a place like that—a fash'nable place, too—there shouldn't be a single 'am an' beef shop?
The L. of F. (making a desperate effort to throw herself into the question). What a very extraordinary thing, to be sure! Dear, dear me! No ham and beef shop!
The C. W. It's so indeed, mum; and what's more, as I dare say you've noticed for yourself, if you 'appen to want a snack o' fried fish ever so, there isn't a place you could go to—leastways, at a moment's notice. Now, 'ow do you explain such a thing as that?
The L. of F. (faintly). I'm afraid I can't suggest any explanation.
A Sententious Man. Fried fish is very sustaining.
[Relapses into silence for the remainder of journey.
The Eccentric Man. Talking of sustaining, I remember, when we was kids, my father ud bring us home two pennorth o' ches'nuts, and we 'ad 'em boiled, and they'd last us days. (Sentimentally.) He was a kind man, my father (to the L. of F., who bows constrainedly), though you wouldn't ha' thought it, to look at him. I don't say, mind yer, that he wasn't fond of his bit o' booze—(the L. of F. looks out of window)—like the best of us. I'm goin' up to prove his will now, I am—if you don't believe me, 'ere's the probate. (Hands that document round for inspection.) That's all reg'lar enough, I 'ope. (To the L. of F.) Don't give it back before you've done with it—I'm in no 'urry, and there's good reading in it. (Points out certain favourite passages with a very dirty forefinger.) Begin there—that's my name.
[The L. of F. peruses the will with as great a show of interest as she can bring herself to assume.
The Eccentric Man. D'ye see that big 'andsome building over there? That's the County Lunatic Asylum—where my poor wife is shut up. I went to see her last week, I did. (Relates his visit in detail to the L. of F., who listens unwillingly.) It's wonderful how many of our family have been in that asylum from first to last. I 'ad a aunt who died cracky; and my old mother, she's very peculiar at times. There's days when I feel as if I was a little orf my own 'ed, so if I say anything at all out of the way, you'll know what it is.
[L. of F. changes carriages at the next station. In the second carriage are two Men of seafaring appearance, and a young Man who is parting from his Fiancée as the L. of F. takes her seat.
The Fiancé. Excuse me one moment, ma'am.
(Leans across the L. of F. and out of the window.) Well, goodbye, my girl; take care of yourself.
The Fiancée (with a hysterical giggle). Oh, I'll take care o' my self.
[Looks at the roof of the carriage.
He (with meaning). No more pickled onions, eh?
She. What a one you are to remember things! (After a pause.) Give my love to Joe.
He. All right. Well, Jenny, just one, for the last (they embrace loudly, after which the F. resumes his seat with an expression of mingled sentiment and complacency). Oh, (to L. of F.) if you don't mind my stepping across you again, mum. Jenny, if you see Dick between this and Friday, just tell him as——
[Prolonged whispers; sounds of renewed kisses; final parting as train starts with a jerk which throws the Fiancé upon the L. of F.'s lap. After the train is started a gleam of peculiar significance is observable in the eyes of one of the Seafaring Men, who is reclining in an easy attitude on the seat. His companion responds with a grin of intelligence, and produces a large black bottle from the rack. They drink, and hand the bottle to the Fiancé.
The F. Thankee I don't mind if I do. Here's wishing you——
[Remainder of sentiment drowned in sound of glug-glug-glug; is about to hand back bottle when the first Seafarer intimates that he is to pass it on. The L. of F. recoils in horror.
Both Seafarers (reassuringly). It's wine, mum!
[Tableau. The Lady of Family realises that the study of third-class humanity has its drawbacks.
Our Artist (who has strolled into a London terminus). "What's the matter with all these people? Is there a panic?"
Porter. "Panic! No, this ain't no panic. These is excursionists. Their train leaves in two hours, so they want to get a seat!"
Miss Tremmles (who is nervous about railways generally, and especially since the late outrages). "Oh, porter, put me into a carriage where there are ladies, or respectable people, or——"
Porter. "Oh, you're all safe this mornin', miss; you're th' only passenger in the whol' tr'ine, except another old woman."
Swell (handing "Sporting Life" to Clerical Party). "Aw—would you—aw—do me the favour to wead the list of the waces to me while we're wunning down?—I've—aw—forgotten my eyeglass. Don't mind waising your voice—I'm pwecious deaf!"
Boy. "Second-class, sir?"
Captain. "I nevah travel second-class!"
Boy. "This way third, sir!"
Chatty Passenger. "To show yer what cheats they are, sir, friend o' mine,—lots o' money, and fust-rate taste,—give the horder to one of 'em to decorate his new 'ouse in reg'lar slap-up style!—'spare no expense!—with all the finest 'chromios' that could be 'ad! You know what lovely things they are, sir! Well, sir, would you believe it!—after they was sent, they turned out not to be 'chromios' at all!—but done by 'and!"—(with withering contempt)—"done by 'and, sir!!"
First Shunter (with coupling-link, awaiting engine backing). "I saw poor Jack's wife and kids last night, after the funeral. Poor things, what will be done for 'em?" Second Shunter (at points). "Oh, the usual thing, I s'ppose—company's blessin', and a charity mangle!—--Look out, mate! She's backin'!"
Ticket Collector. "This your boy, mum? He's too big for a 'alf ticket!" Mother (down upon him). "Oh, is he? Well, p'rhaps he is now, mister; but he wasn't when we started. This 'xcursion's ever so many hours be'ind time, an' he's a growin' lad! So now!"
[Exit in triumph.
Our Railway Porter (the first time he acted as deputy in the absence of the beadle). "T'kets r'dy! All tick-ets ready!"
If your train is not heated by pipes, get plenty of foot-warmers, as Algy and Betty did. Sit on one, put your feet on another, a couple at your back, and one on your lap, and you'll get to your destination as they did—warm as muffins!
Thompson (interrogatively, to beauteous but haughty damsel, whom he has just helped to alight). "I beg your pardon?"
Haughty Damsel. "I did not speak!"
Thompson. "Oh—I thought you said 'Thanks'!"
Scene.—A Richmond Railway Carriage.
Time.—About 12 noon.
Choleric Old Gentleman (panting, puffing, perspiring). Hot, sir, tremendously hot.
Cool Young Party. It is warm.
C.O.G. Warm, sir! I call it blazing hot. Why the glass is 98° in the shade!
C. Y. P. Really! is that much?
C. O. G. Much, sir! Immense!
C. Y. P. Well, then, the glass is perfectly right.
C. O. G. Right, sir! I don't understand you, sir. What do you mean by saying it is right, sir?
C. Y. P. I mean that the glass is quite right to be as much in the shade as it can in this warm weather.
[Choleric Old Gentleman collapses.
"I'm afraid we shan't have this compartment to ourselves any longer, Janet."
"Oh, it's all right, aunty darling. If you put your head out of window, I dare say nobody will come in!"
Groom. "Beg pardon, sir,—but wos your name Tomkins?" Tomkins. "Yes!" Groom. "If you please, sir, master says he wos werry sorry as he couldn't send the feeaton—but, as his young 'oss wanted exercise, he thought you wouldn't mind ridin' of 'im!"
[Tomkins bursts into a cold perspiration.
Genial Host (putting his head out of doors). Heavens! what a night! Not fit to turn a dog out! (To the parting guest.) Well, good-night, old chap. I hope you find your way to the station.
Philanthropist (to railway porter). "Then what time do you get to bed?"
Porter. "Well, I seldom what yer may call gets to bed myself, 'cause o' the night trains. But my brother, as used to work the p'ints further down the line, went to bed last Christmas after the accident, and never——"
[Train rushes in, and the parties rush off.
Hard Lines on Individuals.—The compulsory purchase of land by a railway company is insult added to injury. The buyers take a site in the seller's face.
Irate Passenger (as train is moving off). "Why the —— didn't you put
in as I told you—you old ——"
Porter. "E—h, man! yer baggage es na sic a fule as yersel. Ye're i' the wrang train!"
Railway Porter. "Dogs not allowed inside the carriages, sir!"
Countryman. "What not a little tooy tarrier? Wall, thee'd better tak' un oot then, young man!"
The porter has a patent "slam,"
Which smites one like a blow,
And everywhere that porter comes
That "slam" is sure to go.
It strikes upon the tym-pa-num
Like shock of dynamite;
By day it nearly makes you dumb—
It deafens you at night.
When startled by the patent "slam"
The pious "pas-sen-jare,"
Says something else that ends in "am"
(Or he has patience rare).
Not only does it cause a shock,
"Depreciates the rolling stock,"
Well, that is rather larks!
That's not the point. The porter's slam
Conduces to insanity,
And, though as mild as Mary's lamb,
Drives men to loud profanity.
If Manchester the "slam" can stay
By raising of a stir,
All railway-travellers will say,
"Bully for Man-ches-ter!"
Tuesday, July 31, 1849.—Prevailed upon by my wife to carry her to Bath, as she said, to go see her aunt Dorothy, but I know she looked more to the pleasure of her trip than any thing else; nevertheless I do think it necessary policy to keep in with her aunt, who is an old maid and hath a pretty fortune; and to see what court and attention I pay her though I do not care 2d. about[Pg 120] her! But am mightily troubled to know whether she hath sunk her money in an annuity, which makes me somewhat uneasy at the charge of our journey, for what with fare, cab-hire, and vails to Dorothy's servants for their good word, it did cost me altogether £6 2s. 6d. To the Great Western station in a cab, by reason of our luggage; for my wife must needs take so many trunks and bandboxes, as is always the way with women: or else we might have gone there for 2s. 6d. less in an omnibus. Did take our places in the first class notwithstanding the expense, preferring both the seats and the company; and also because if any necks or limbs are broken I note it is generally in the second and third classes. So we settled, and the carriage-doors slammed to, and the bell rung, the train with a whistle off like a shot, and in the carriage with me and my wife a mighty pretty lady, a Frenchwoman, and I did begin to talk French with her, which my wife do not well understand, and by and by did find the air too much for her where she was sitting, and would come and take her seat between us, I know, on purpose. So fell a reading the Times, till one got in at Hanwell, who seemed to be a physician, and mighty pretty discourse with him touching the manner of treating madmen and lunatics, which is now by gentle management, and is a great improvement on the old plan of chains and the whip. Also of the foulness of London for want of fit drainage, and how it do breed cholera and typhus, as sure as rotten cheese do mites, and of the horrid folly of making a great gutter of the river. So to Swindon station, where the train do stop ten minutes for refreshment, and[Pg 124] there my wife hungry, and I too with a good appetite, notwithstanding the discourse about London filth. So we out, and to the refreshment-room with a crowd of passengers, all pushing, and jostling, and trampling on each others' toes, striving which should get served first. With much ado got a basin of soup for my wife, and for myself a veal and ham pie, and to see me looking at my watch and taking a mouthful by turns; and how I did gulp a glass of Guinness his stout! Before we had half finished, the guard rang the bell, and my wife with a start, did spill her soup over her dress, and was obliged to leave half of it; and to think how ridiculous I looked, scampering back to the train with my meat-pie in my mouth! To run hurry-skurry at the sound of a bell, do seem only fit for a gang of workmen; and the bustle of railways do destroy all the dignity of travelling; but the world altogether is less grand, and do go faster than formerly. Off again, and to the end of our journey, troubled at the soup on my wife's dress, but thankful I had got my change, and not left it behind me at the Swindon station.
Little Podgers (who considers himself rather a lady-killer). "Oh, I'm not going into that empty carriage; put me into one with some pretty gals."
Porter. "You jump in, sir, and put yer 'ead out of the winder, you'll soon have a carriage-full."
[Podgers sees it immediately, and enters.
Lionel (to his rich uncle's coachman, who has driven him over to the station). "And look here, Sawyer, give the governor this accidental insurance ticket with my love. I haven't forgotten him, and if anything happens to me, there's a thousand pounds for him!"
Guest. "It's very kind of you to——"
Hosts. "Oh, we should not have felt comfortable unless we'd come with you, and—seen the last of you——"!!
Newsboy (to irritable old gent who has just lost his train). "Buy a comic paper, sir?"
[Luckily, the old gentleman was out of breath from his hurry.
The tympanum! The tympanum!
Oh! who will save the aural drum
By softening to some gentler squeak
The whistle's shrill staccato shriek?
Oh! Engine-driver, did you know
How your blast smites one like a blow,
An inward shock, a racking strain,
A knife-like thrust of poignant pain,
Whilst groping through the tunnel murk
You would not with that fiendish jerk
Let out that sudden blast of steam
Whose screaming almost makes us scream
Thy whistle weird perchance may be
A sad and sore necessity,
But cannot Law and sense combine
To—well, in short to draw the line?—
Across the open let it shrill
From moor to moor, from hill to hill,
But in the tunnel's crypt-like gloom,
The station's cramped reverberant room,
A gentler, graduated blast!
Do let it loose, whilst dashing past,
So shall it spare us many a pang;
That dread explosive bursting "bang"
Which nearly splits the aural drum,
The poor long-suffering tympanum!
Affable Old Lady (to ticket clerk—morning express just due). "No, I'm not going up this morning, but one of your penny time-tables, if you please; and can you tell me"—(Shouts from the crowd, "Now then, mum!")—"if the 10.45 stops at Dribblethorp Junction, and if Shandry's 'bus meets the trains, which it always does on market days, I know, 'cause my married sister's cousin, as is a farmer, generally goes by it. But if it don't come o' Toosday as well as Wednesday, I shall have to get out at Shuntbury and take a fly, which runs into money, you know, when you're by yourself like. If you'll be good enough to look out the trains—and change for half a sovereign, if you please. Oh no, I'm in no hurry, as I ain't a goin' till next week. Fine morn——"
[Bell rings. Position stormed.
Wonder whether accidents will be as numerous as usual during this excursion season.
Wonder if a train, conveying third-class passengers, was ever known to start without somebody or other exclaiming, "Now we're off!"
Wonder why it is that foreigners in general, and fat Germans in particular, always will persist in smoking with the windows shut.
Wonder whether anybody was ever known to bellow out the name of any station in such a manner that a stranger could succeed in understanding him.
Wonder whether it is cheaper to pay for broken bones, or for such increase of service as, in very many cases, might prevent their being broken.
Wonder how a signalman can by any means contrive to keep a cool head on his shoulders, while working as one sees him in a signal-box of glass, and the temperature of the tropics.
Wonder if upon an average there are three men in a thousand who have never been puzzled by the hieroglyphics in Bradshaw.
Wonder whether any railway guard or porter has ever been detected in the very act of virtuously declining to accept a proffered tip, on the ground that money, by the bye-laws, is forbidden to be taken by servants of the company.
Wonder how many odd coppers the boys who sell the newspapers pocket in a week by the benevolence of passengers.
Wonder what diminution there would be in the frequency of accidents, supposing directors were made purse-onally liable.
Wonder whether people take to living at Redhill because it is so redhilly accessible by railway.
Wonder if my watch is right, or slow, or fast.
Wonder if that church clock is right.
Wonder if the cabman will take eighteenpence from my house to the station.
Wonder if the porter understood what I said to him about the luggage.
Wonder if I shall see him again.
Wonder if I shall know him when I do see him again.
Wonder if I gave my writing-case to the porter or left it in the cab.
Wonder where I take my ticket.
Wonder in which pocket I put my gold.
Wonder where I got that bad half-crown which the clerk won't take.
Wonder if that's another that I've just put down.
Wonder where the porter is who took my luggage.
Wonder where my luggage is.
Wonder again whether I gave my writing-case to the porter, or left it in the cab.
Wonder which is my train.
Wonder if the guard knows anything about that porter with the writing-case.
Wonder if it will be "all right" as the guard says it will be.
Wonder if my luggage, being now labelled, will be put into the proper van.
Wonder if I've got time to get a sandwich and a glass of sherry.
Wonder if they've got the Times of the day before yesterday, which I haven't seen.
Wonder if Punch of this week is out yet.
Wonder why they don't keep nice sandwiches and sherry.
Wonder if there's time for a cup of coffee instead.
Wonder if that's our bell for starting.
Wonder which is the carriage where I left my rug and umbrella, so as to know it again.
Wonder where the guard is to whom I gave a shilling to keep a carriage for me.
Wonder why he didn't keep it; by "it," I mean the carriage.
Wonder where they've put my luggage.
Wonder if my change is all right.
Wonder for the second time in which pocket I put my gold.
Wonder if I gave the cabman a sovereign for a shilling.
Wonder if that was the reason why he grumbled less than usual and drove off rapidly.
Wonder if any one objects to smoking.
Wonder that nobody does.
Wonder where I put my lights.
Wonder whether I put them in my writing-case.
Wonder for the third time whether I gave my writing-case to the porter or left it in the cab.
Wonder if anybody in the carriage has got any lights.
Wonder that nobody has.
Wonder when we can get some.
Wonder if there's anything in the paper.
Wonder why they don't cut it.
Wonder if I put my knife in my writing-case.
Wonder for the fourth time whether I gave, &c.
Wonder if I can cut the paper with my ticket.
Wonder where I put my ticket.
Wonder where I could have put my ticket.
Wonder where the deuce I put my ticket.
Wonder how I came to put my ticket in my right-hand waistcoat pocket.
Wonder if I can read by this lamp-light in the tunnel.
Wonder (to myself) why they don't light the carriages in a better way.
Wonder (to my fellow-passengers) that the company don't provide better lights for their carriages. Fellow-passengers say they wonder at that, too. We all wonder.
Wonder what makes the carriages wiggle-waggle about so.
Wonder if we're going off the line.
Wonder what station we stop at first.
Wonder if there will be a refreshment-room there.
Wonder (for the fifth time) whether I gave my writing-case to the porter, or left it in the cab.
Wonder if I left the key of my writing-case in the lock.
Wonder what the deuce I shall do if I've lost it.
Wonder if this is Tringham or Upper Tringham.
Wonder if it's Tringham Junction.
Wonder if we change here for Stonnhurst.
Wonder if any one understands what the guard says.
Wonder if any one understands what the porter says.
Wonder where the refreshment-room is.
Wonder if I run across eight lines of rail, and over two platforms, to where I see the refreshment-room is, whether I shall ever be able to get back to my own carriage.
Wonder (while I am crossing) whether any of[Pg 144] the eight trains, on any of the eight lines, will come in suddenly.
Wonder what's the best thing to take.
Wonder whether soup's a good thing.
Wonder whether the waiter heard me ask for soup, because I've changed my mind, and will have some tea.
Wonder if the young lady at the counter knows that I've asked for tea, twice.
Wonder if those buns are stale.
Wonder if tea goes well with buns.
Wonder what does go with buns.
Wonder, having begun on buns, whether it wouldn't have been better to ask for sherry.
Wonder if this tea will ever be cool.
Wonder if that's our bell for starting.
Wonder if the young lady at the counter is deceiving me when she says I've got exactly a minute and a half.
Wonder if anybody's looking at me while I put my tea in the saucer.
Wonder if that is our bell.
Wonder if I shall have time to get back to my carriage.
Wonder how much tea and buns come to.
Wonder where I put my small change.
Wonder, having nothing under half-a-crown, if I could get off without paying.
Wonder they don't keep change ready.
Wonder as I'm recrossing the lines whether any train will come in suddenly.
Wonder which is my carriage.
Wonder (to guard familiarly) why they don't provide better lights for the carriages. Guard says, he wonders at that, too. Every one seems to wonder at that.
Wonder (to guard again) if I can get a hot-water bottle for my feet anywhere. Guard wonders they don't keep 'em.
Wonder (to guard once more) if I've time to go across the line, get my change out of the half-crown for buns and tea, and return to my carriage.
Wonder if the guard is right in saying that we shall start directly.
Wonder I forgot to ask the guard all about my luggage.
Wonder, being safely in my seat, that there are not more accidents from people crossing the rails in a large station.
Wonder why there's not a refreshment-room on either side.
Wonder why they always come for your tickets after you've made yourself comfortable.
Wonder where the dickens I put my ticket.
Wonder, supposing I can't find it, whether the man will believe I ever had one.
Wonder, on this matter being settled satisfactorily, which is the best pocket for keeping tickets in.
Wonder why they can't shut the carriage-doors without banging them.
Wonder if anybody thought of getting any lights.
Wonder if I should have had time to cross over to the refreshment-room and get the change out of my half-crown.
Wonder (to my opposite neighbour) what county we're passing through. He wonders, too. We both look out of our own side windows, and go on wondering.
Wonder if that protracted shrill steam-whistle means danger. Opposite neighbour wonders if it does.
Wonder why we're stopping; 'tisn't a station.
Wonder what's the matter.
Wonder what it is.
Wonder what it can be.
Wonder if it's dangerous to put one's head out of window.
Wonder if the engine has broken down.
Wonder if there's anything on the line.
Wonder if the express is behind us.
Wonder if that man on the line is making a danger signal.
Wonder (as we are moving again) what it was.
Wonder passengers can't have some direct means of communicating with a guard.
Wonder how long we shall be before we get to Stonnhurst.
Wonder if that's my portmanteau that that elderly gentleman is taking away with him.
Wonder if they'll send to meet me at the station.
Wonder (if they don't send) whether there's a fly or an omnibus.
Wonder where their house is.
Wonder if the station-master knows where their house is.
Wonder what a fly will charge.
Wonder what I shall do if they don't send, and there isn't a fly or an omnibus.
Wonder what time they dine.
Wonder if I shall have time to write a letter before dinner.
Wonder, for the sixth time, whether I gave my writing-case to the guard, or left it in the cab.
Wonder if I did leave it in the cab.
Wonder if this is where I get out.
Wonder if the guard is right in saying that, as I'm going to Redditon, it doesn't matter whether I get out at the next station, Stonnhurst, or Morley Vale, the next but one.
Wonder for which place my luggage was labelled.
Wonder whether after getting out at Stonnhurst I shall have to go back for my luggage to Morley Vale.
Wonder if I do right in deciding upon getting out at Stonnhurst.
Wonder if my luggage has gone on to Morley Vale.
Wonder if I left my umbrella in the carriage, or forgot to bring it.
Wonder how far it is from Stonnhurst to Morley Vale.
Wonder if they've sent a trap to meet me at Morley Vale.
Wonder why, when people invite one to come down to some out-of-the-way place, they don't tell one all these difficulties in their letter.
Wonder if they'll have sense enough to drive to Stonnhurst from Morley Vale.
Wonder if I shall meet them on the road if I walk there.
Wonder which is the road.
Wonder, in answer to demand at the station-door, where I put my ticket.
Wonder if I dropped it in the carriage.
Wonder what I can have done with it.
Wonder if I put it into the side pocket of my overcoat when I took out my lights.
Wonder where the deuce my overcoat is.
Scene—Chancery Lane "Tube" Station.
First Lift Man. "A good time comin' for me, mate. What O, for a bit of a chinge!"
Second Lift Man. "What's up, then?"
First Lift Man (in impressive tones). "Got shifted to the Bank—beginnin' Monday!"
First Tourist (going north). "Hullo, Tompk——"
Second Ditto (ditto, ditto). "Hsh——sh! Confound it, you'll spoil all. They think in the train I'm a Highland chief!!"
"If you travel in one, you run greater risks than in travelling in the ordinary carriages. I have known railway officials allow men to jump into them at the last moment before the train starts, with a mutual wink at each other and a very objectionable grin."
Northern Crœsus. "Oh! I'm so glad to meet you here, Mr. Vandyke Brown. The fact is, I've a commission for you!"
Our Youthful Landscape Painter (dissembling his rapture). "All right—most happy—what is it to be?"
Northern Crœsus. "Well—my aged grandmother is going to London by this train—and I want to put her under your protection."
[Our Youthful Landscape Painter dissembles again.
Traveller. "Yes, it's decidedly warm, but there's a feeling of security about it I rather like." (Yawns.) "Any chance of a smash to-day!?"
[Drops off to sleep!
Undersized Youth. "Now then, first return, Surbiton, and look sharp! How much?"
Clerk. "Three shillings. Half-price under twelve!"
Traveller (waiting for train already twenty minutes late). "Porter, when do you expect that train to come in?"
Porter. "Can't say, sir. But the longer you waits for it, the more sure 'tis to come in the next minute."
|The saloon is fitted with refreshment bar, replete with all baby delicacies.||
Patent swing sleeping cradles
can be secured
by wire or letter.
Rattles can be obtained at most
of the large stations.
|Efficient nurse guards, to look after the babies, travel by all trains.||The saloon is fitted with amusing toys, to beguile the tedium of long journeys.|
Irascible Old Gentleman (who is just a second too late). "Confound and D——!"
Fair Stranger (who feels the same, but dare not express it). "Oh, thank you, so much!"
Old Lady. "Well, I'm sure no woman with the least sense of decency would think of going down that way to it."
Passenger (in a hurry). "Is this train punctual?"
Porter. "Yessir, generally a quarter of an hour late to a minute!"
Perspiring Countryman (who has just, with the utmost difficulty, succeeded in catching train). "Phew! Just saved it by t'skin o' my teeth!"
Impudent Boy (generally). "Try yer weight—only a penny!" (To lady of commanding proportions in particular.) "'Tell yer 'xact weight to a hounce, mum!"
First Artist. "Children don't seem to me to sell now as they used."
Second Artist (in a hoarse whisper). "Well, I was at Stodge's yesterday. He'd just knocked off three little girls' heads—horrid raw things—a dealer came in, sir—bought 'em directly—took 'em away, wet as they were, on the stretchers, and wanted Stodge to let him have some more next week."
"Yes, my lady. James went this morning with the hunters, and I've sent on the heavy luggage with Charles. But I've got your pencil-case, the bicycle, your ladyship's golf clubs and hunting crop and billiard cue, the lawn tennis racket, the bezique cards and markers, your ladyship's betting book and racing glasses and skates and walking-stick—and if I've forgotten anything I can easily wire back for it from the first station we stop at."
Clerk. "What station?"
Diner. "Wha-stashun ve-you-got?"
Mr. Foozler (who, while waiting for the last train, has wandered to the end of the platform, opened the door of the signal-box, and watched the signalman's manipulations of the levers for some moments with hazy perplexity, suddenly). "Arf o' Burt'n 'n birrer f' me, guv'nor!"
"Third-class single to Ruswarp, please, and a dog ticket. How much?"
"Fourpence-halfpenny—threepence for the dog, and three-halfpence for yourself."
"Ah! you reckon by legs on this line."
Mrs. M-l-pr-p. "The fact is, my love, that these terrible collusions would never occur if the trains was only more punctilious!"
A Needless Panic.—Mrs. Malaprop is puzzled to know what people mean when they talk of the present alarming Junction of affairs. She hopes it has nothing to do with the railways, in which she has some Deference shares.
1. Jones was a tuft-hunter. One day, in a train, he encountered an elderly gentleman who aroused great interest in his bosom. "Porter," said that elderly gentleman, "'ave you seen my old hall?" "Got an old hall!" murmured Jones to himself. "Rich man—probably duke! Should like to cultivate him!"
2. The stranger was affable. "Did you ever 'ave an old hall?" he said. "Why—er—n-no," said Jones. "Very convenient thing to 'ave," said the stranger. "I've got all manner o' things in my old hall." "Ah—armour, and ancestors, and tapestry, and secret doors, no doubt," thought Jones to himself.
3. "You must see my old hall," said the stranger. "I'll show you all the ins and outs of it. I can put you up——" "Really very good of you!" exclaimed Jones. "Shall be delighted to accept——" "Put you up to no hend of wrinkles about old halls," continued the stranger.
4. They alighted at the terminus. "There—there's my old hall! Hain't it a beauty?" said the stranger. Jones sank slowly to the earth, without a groan. That ungrammatical stranger's vaunted possession was a hold-all.
The President of the Board of Trade having sent a circular to the railway companies with reference to making provisions for the prevention of accidents and the enforcement of punctuality, especially in connection with the running of excursion trains at this period of the year, the following regulations will probably come under consideration.
1. In future one line will be kept (when feasible) for up trains, whilst the other is reserved for the use of down-trains. This rule will not apply to luggage and mineral trains, and trains inaccurately shunted on to lines on which they (the trains) have no right to travel.
2. Station-masters should never permit a train to start more than forty minutes late, except when very busy with the company's accounts.
3. As complaints have been made that signalmen are overworked, these officers in future will occupy their boxes during the morning only. During the rest of the day the boxes will be closed. That the public may suffer no inconvenience by this arrangement, the trains will continue running by day and by night as heretofore.
4. A pointsman will be expected to notice all signals and to obey them. He will be required, before leaving his post (when on duty), to order one of his children to look after the points during his absence. The child he selects for this office should be at least three years old.
5. The driver and stoker in charge of an engine[Pg 164] should never sleep at the same time unless they have taken proper precautions beforehand to prevent an excessive consumption of the company's fuel.
6. When a luggage train is loading or unloading beside the platform of a station, it will be desirable to recollect the time at which an express is due, as unnecessary collisions cause much damage to the rolling stock, and not unfrequently grave inconvenience to first-class passengers.
7. The débris of a train should be removed from the rails before an express is permitted to enter the tunnel in which an accident has taken place. As non-compliance with this rule is likely to cause much delay to the traffic, it should be obeyed when feasible.
8. As guards of excursion trains have been proved to be useless, their places will in future be filled by surgeons. Passengers are particularly requested to give no fees to the surgeons accompanying these trains, as the salaries of these officials will be provided for in the prices charged to the public for excursion tickets.
9. In future, contracts from surgeons and chemists will be accepted on the same terms as those already received from refreshment caterers.
10. The public having frequently experienced inconvenience in having to leave the station when requiring medical attention, in future the waiting-rooms of the third-class passengers will be converted into surgeries for first-class passengers. As these saloons will be fitted with all the latest inventions in surgical instruments, a small extra charge will be made to passengers using them.
11. The directors (in conclusion) fully recognising the responsibility conferred upon them by the shareholders, if not by the public, will expel from their body in future (as a person evidently of unsound mind) any director convicted of travelling by any railway.
"Are there any second-class carriages on this line, Rogers?"
"No, my lord."
"Ah! then take two first-class tickets, and two third."
"Beg pardon, my lord! But is me and Mrs. Parker expected to go third class?"
"Gracious heavens! No, Rogers! not for the world! The third-class tickets are for my lady and me!"
The old lady is supposed (after a great effort) to have made up her mind to travel, just for once, by one "of those new fangled railways," and the first thing she beholds on arriving at the station, is the above most alarming placard.
Dodger. "Hullo, how are you! Can't stop, though, or I shan't miss my train!"
Codger. "Catch it, you mean."
Dodger. "No, I don't. I always used to miss my right train, so now I always miss the one before it, and get home in time for dinner! Ta, ta!"
Mamma. "Oh, I am so glad to meet you, professor. You know everything. Do tell me what time the train that stops nowhere starts."
[For once the professor is not ready.
They were out for a day in the country—were late at the station—he left it to her to take the tickets—a horrid crowd—frightfully hot—and she was hustled and flustered considerably when she reached the carriage.
He (cool and comfortable). "How charming the yellow gorse——"
She (in a withering tone). "You didn't 'xpect to see it blue, I s'ppose!"
Sweep (to a carriage full of light blue ribbons). "Won't yer make room for a little 'un, ladies and gents? I'm for the Cambridge lot!"
Railway Gatesman. "It's agin the rules, my lady, openin' o' the gate like this; but it ain't for the likes o' me to keep yer ladyship a waitin'."
Noble Countess. "Why is it against the rules, my good man?"
Railway Gatesman. "Well, my lady, the 5.17 down express has been doo these ten minutes!"
Season-Ticket Holder (airily). "'Morning, station-master. Anything fresh?"
Station-Master ("bit of a wag"). "N-no, sir, not that I've—— ah!—yes—now I think of it, sir—that's fresh paint you're leaning agai——!"
[Violent pas seul, with language to match.
Porter at Junction. "Phew! All this luggage registered in advance and not a bloomin' tip do I get for handling it."
The man who got in at Blackfriars
Was smoking the foulest of briars,
But it went out all right—
Could I give him a light?—
Hadn't got one—well, all men are liars.
I've frequently noticed the Temple
Is a place there are not enough rhymes to;
And that's why I've made
This verse somewhat blank,
And rather disregarded the metre.
How do you pronounce Charing Cross?
It's a point where I'm quite at a loss.
Some people, of course,
Would rhyme it with "horse,"
But I always rhyme it with "hoss."
A woman at Westminster Bridge
Had got just a speck on the ridge
Of her Romanesque nose.
"It's a black, I suppose,"
She observed. Then it flew—'twas a midge.
One man from the Park of St. James,
Had really the loftiest aims;
In the hat-rack he sat,
Used my hair as a mat,
And when I demurred called me names.
I bought from the stall at Victoria
A horrible sixpenny story, a
Book of a kind
It pained me to find
For sale at our English emporia.
I found when I got to Sloane Square
That my ticket was gone; my despair
Was awful to see,
Till at last to my glee
I looked in my hat—it was there!
As Shylock Said.—Railway shareholder, with shares at a discount. "Give me my principal, and let me go."
Small Boy. "'Arf ticket ter Baker Street."
[Pays, and awaits delivery of ticket
Clerk. "It's a shameful thing, a kid like you smoking!"
Small Boy (indignantly). "Who are yer callin' a kid? I'm fourteen!"
Clerk. "Oh, are you? Then you pay full fare to Baker Street!"
By breathing on the glass—and holding a speaking doll by way of baby to the window—you may generally keep your compartment select.
If you see half-a-dozen new patent leather covered basket-trunks with a name written upon all of them, in staring white characters, accompanied by a gigantic portmanteau and three hat-boxes, you may know that the Honourable Lionel and Rowena Silverspoon have started on their wedding-tour.
If you see a weather-beaten portmanteau,[Pg 174] accompanied by a neat little trunk and a pretty little birdcage, you may know that Edwin and Angelina Dovecot are going to Ventnor for the honeymoon.
If you see a big carpet-bag, accompanied by a large white umbrella and a tin colour-box, you may know that Daub, A.R.A., is going to Brittany in search of subjects.
If you see an overcrowded portmanteau, accompanied by a double-locked despatch-box, you may know that urgent private affairs have induced Captain Bubble (Promoter of Public Companies) to leave the City hurriedly for Spain.
If you see a small bundle, accompanied by a pair of handcuffs, you may know that urgent public affairs have induced Sergeant Smart (of the Detective Police) to follow the same route taken by Captain Bubble en voyage for Spain.
If you see twenty-four patent reversible extra waterproof holdalls, with all the latest improvements, painted blue, green, yellow, and red, and covered with hotel labels, accompanied by thirty-seven deal packing cases, you may know that Colonel Jerusalem R. X. E. Squash, U.S.A., and family are engaged in "doing" Europe.
If you see fifteen trunks, all more or less damaged, accompanied by an old portmanteau and a double perambulator, you may know that Mr. and Mrs. Paterfamilias and children are going to Herne Bay for a month.
If you see, in conclusion, a neat knapsack and a spiked walking-stick, you may know that Mr. Punch is off to Switzerland to enjoy himself.
Our Station-Master (to old Jinks, whom he had kindly provided with a foot-warmer on a journey down the line to see his sick daughter). "Well, did you find the benefit of it, Master Jinks?"
Old Jinks. "Oh, aye, thankee, Mr. Green! Tha' there box o' hot water tha' wor uncommon' comfor'able, sure-ly! I sat on 'm the whol' o' the way, an' tha' did warm me up to-rights, I can tell 'ee!!"
Passenger. "Well, you say you've put all my luggage safe, what are you waiting for?—I thought you were forbidden to take money!"
Porter. "So we is, sir. We never 'takes' it—it's 'given to us!'"
"Beg pardon, sir, but don't you see the notice?"
"Yes, my good fellow, but I never said I was a gentleman!"
Ever against my breast,
Safe in my pocket pressed,
Ready at my behest,
Gilt-printed piece of leather,
Though fair or foul the weather,
Daily we go together
Up to the City.
Yet, as I ride at ease,
Papers strewn on my knees,
And I hear "Seasons, please!"
Shouted in warning:
Pockets I search in vain
All through and through again;
"Pray do not stop the train—
Lost it this morning.
No, I have not a card,
Nor can I pay you, guard—
Truly my lot is hard,
This is the reason,
Now I recall to mind
Changing my clothes, I find
I left them all behind,—
Money, cards, 'season.'"
["An 'Imperial Railway Administration' is now a part of Chinese bureaucracy."—Daily Paper.]
If China is to have railways, of course the dragon must enter into the design of the locomotives, &c., as above.
["Sir Charles Metcalfe, the engineer, is now busy at Umtali arranging for the station at that place."—Daily Telegraph.]
Umtali station in the near future. The Boo-Boola express just due.
Never the time and the train
And the station all together!
My watch—set "fast" in vain!
Slow cab—and foggy weather!
I have missed the express again.
It was all the porter's fault, not mine,
But his mind is narrow, his brain is bleak,
His slowness and red tape combine
To make him take about a week
To label my bag—and he dared to speak,
When I bade him hurry, bad words, in fine!
O epithet all incarnadine,
Leave, leave the lips of the working-man!
It is simply past
My indignation scarce hold I can.
My watch may have helped to thus mislead,
My cab by the fog have been stayed indeed;
But still, however these things may be,
Out there on the platform wrangle we—
Oh, hot and strong slang I and he,
—I and he!
Passenger (in a whisper, behind his paper, to Wilkins, who had been "catching it" from the elder lady). "Mother-'n-law?"
Wilkins (in still fainter whisper). "Ye'"
Passenger. "'Got just such 'nother!"
[They console together at the next buffet.]
The ready rough may always regard a third-class carriage, or indeed, any carriage he can make his way into with or without a ticket, on the Underground Railway as a sort of travelling Alsatia, where brutal blackguardism finds "sanctuary."
The one duty of a guard—as of a watch—is to "keep time." He is not expected to keep anything else, except tips. For instance he is not bound to keep his temper, or to keep on the look out for roughs.
No one has a legal right to get into a carriage which is full, but then a third-class carriage never is full so long as one more brawny brute can violently force his way into it.
When bent upon enjoying the exceptional privileges and immunities reserved for blackguardism by the Underground Gallios, it is only necessary for a few hulking ruffians, big of course, and half drunk by preference, to thrust themselves violently in some compartment containing no less than twice its legal complement. In doing this they will, of course, rudely trample the toes of weak women, and insolently dislodge the hats of inoffensive men; thus paving the way pleasantly for future operations.
Having squeezed themselves in somehow, they can then further indulge in the lesser amenities of travel by puffing rank tobacco smoke in the faces of their fellow-passengers, expectorating at large with not too nice a reference to direction, and indulging in howling, chaff, and horse-play of the most offensive character.
The addition of blasphemy, especially if there should be women and children present, may probably provoke a mild remonstrance from some one, and then the rough's opportunity has arrived at last.
To particularise the rough's rules for dealing with such an objector and his sympathisers—if any—would be as tedious as superfluous; but the combined arts of the low pugilist, the intoxicated wife-beater, and the Lancashire "purler," may be called into play, with much enjoyment and perfect safety, until the object of his wrath is beaten into unconsciousness or kicked into convulsions. On reaching a station, the frightened passengers may perhaps dare to appeal to the guard! That autocratic official will of course, with much angry hustling and holloaing, declare that he can't stop to interfere, his business being, not to stay actual violence or prevent possible homicide, but to "keep time," and the ruffianly scoundrels go off shouting and singing "Rule Britannia" and telling their pals "what a bloomin' lark they've had in the Hunderground."
Ticket Clerk. "Where for, ma'am?"
Old Lady. "There! Lawk a mercy if I haven't forgot. Oh! mister, please run over a few of the willages on this railway, will yer?"
[Bell rings—Old Lady is swept away.]
Timorous Old Lady (in a twitter). "Are those cannon balls, station-master?"
Station-Master (compassionately). "Oh no, mu'm, they're only Dutch cheeses, 'm', come by the Rotterdam boat last night—that's all, mu'm!"
To Paris by the tidal train.
Here, register this luggage, quick!
Why, all the world seems going, Jane,
To Paris by the tidal train.
It's blowing quite a hurricane;
I hope, my love, you won't be sick.
To Paris by the tidal train.
Here, register this luggage, quick!
By Jove, I've run it precious near,
Was ever "hansom"-horse so slow!
Look sharp, now, porter, for it's clear,
By Jove, I've run it precious near.
Holloa!—that gun-case—hand it here,
The hat-box in the van can go.
By Jove, I've run it precious near!
Was ever "hansom"-horse so slow!
Six wholes, three halves, all second class.
The baby, mind, you might have killed her.
Oh, policeman, please to let us pass!
Six wholes, three halves, all second class,
To Yarmouth. What a madd'ning mass
Of people. Do come on, Matilda.
Six wholes, three halves, all second class.
The baby, mind, you might have killed her.
Two first, return, to Brighton, please.
Oh, yes—we'll go in Pullman's car.
I like to travel at my ease;
Two first, return, to Brighton, please.
We're running down to breathe the breeze,
I can't from business go too far.
Two first, return, to Brighton, please.
Oh, yes—we'll go in Pullman's car.
Guard, mark "Engaged" this carriage, pray;
Now, why on earth's the fellow grinning?
How could he know we're wed to-day?
Guard, mark "Engaged" this carriage, pray.
My darling, hide that white bouquet;
My head with champagne fumes is spinning.
Guard, mark "Engaged" this carriage, pray.
Now, why on earth's the fellow grinning?
Good-bye my boy; just one kiss more;
You'll write to mother now and then?
A sign from sea is sweet on shore,
Good-bye, my boy; just one kiss more.
Nay, don't you cry, dear, I implore,
Red eyes are never meant for men.
Good-bye, my boy; just one kiss more;
You'll write to mother now and then?
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