With it being the two hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the first world war, I thought that I would mark the occasion by going real time through the events that happened through the war, as chronicled by Punch.
It would of course be prudent for me to start at the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne whose death precipitated a series of events that lead to war the world over.
Yet, in Punch, the event scarcely makes a mention. In fact, by scarcely, I mean not at all.
With the benefit if hindsight, this seems like a glaring omission from the pages of Punch. In fact, regardless of the political backdrop, surely the assassination of any member of a European royal family should make major news?
This may well normally have been the case. There is, however, another enveloping crisis at the moment that is occupying much more interest in Punch. It is, of course, Irish home rule.
The situation here has rapidly been deteriorating of late. Later on, as we will see, civil war in the united kingdom seems to be the logical conclusion of the unfolding events.
As we know now, something rather large happened that distracted the country at large from the Ulster problem.
At the moment, however, the idea of a war in Europe is not being entertained. Certainly, diplomacy between the European nations is not at its best, but war in Europe – indeed, a world war – is utterly unthinkable.
So, unfortunately I don’t have an extract or cartoon for you pertaining to the second world war from Punch at all. Instead, I will provide you with this one, from around the time that the Archduke was murdered.
There hath been long wanting a full and perfect Synopsis of Voting, it being a science which hath become exceedingly complicated. It is necessary, therefore, to the full development of the art, that it be brought into such an exposition, as that it may be seen in a glance what are the modes of bribing and influencing in Elections. The briber, by this means, will be able to arrange his polling-books according to the different categories, and the bribed to see in what class he shall most advantageously place himself.
It is true that there be able and eloquent writers greatly experienced in this noble science, but none have yet been able so to express it as to bring it (as we hope to have done) within the range of the certain sciences. Henceforward, we trust it will form a part of the public education, and not be subject tot he barbarous modes pursued by illogical though earnest and zealous disciples; and that the great and glorious Constitution that has done so much to bring it to perfection, will, in its turn, be sustained and matured by the exercise of what is really in itself so ancient and beautiful a practice.
HINTS ON CHRISTMAS SHOPPING.
(By a good Old-fashioned Clown.)
Knock at a shop-door, and then lie down flat in front of it, so that the shopman, coming out, may tumble headlong over you. Then bolt into the shop, and cram into your pockets all the big things you can find, so that in trying to get out, you cannot squeeze them through the doorway. For instance, if it be a watchmaker’s, clap an eight-day kitchen clock and a barometer or two, let us say, in your right pocket, and a brass warming-pan, or some such little article of jewellery (as you will take care to call it) in your left one; taking pains, of course, to let the handle stick well out of it. If it be a butcher’s, pouch a leg of beef and half a sheep or so, and be sure not to forget to bring a yard or two of sausages trailing on the ground behind you. Then, if you can’t squeeze through the doorway, the simplest plan will be to jump clean through the shop-front, and in doing this take care to smash as many panes of glass as you are able, crying out, of course, that you took “great pains” to do so. En passant, you will kick into the street whatever goods are in the window, and then run off as quickly as your heels can carry you.
If the shopman should pursue you, as most probably he will, make him a low bow, and say that it was really quite an accident, and that of course you mean to pay him—indeed, yes, “on your honour!” If he won’t believe you, punch him in the waistcoat, and batter him about with his barometer and warming-pan, or sausages and mutton.
Should a policeman interfere, and want to know what you are up to, catch up your red-hot poker (which you will always have about you), and hold it hidden behind your back, while you beg him to shake hands with you, because you mean to “square the job” with him. Then, when he puts his hand out, slap the poker into it, and run away as fast as your stolen goods will let you.
But after a few steps, of course you must take care to let the handle of your warming-pan get stuck between your legs, and trip you up occasionally; and you will manage that your sausages become entangled so about you that, at every second step, you are obliged to tumble down and roll along the ground, and double up into a heap, till the policeman, who keeps up the chace, comes close enough to catch you. Then you will spring up again, and, jumping on his back, you will be carried off to Bow Street, with the small boys shouting after you; or, else, if you prefer it, you may “bonnet” the policeman, and run away and hide yourself ere he can lift his hat up, to see where you are gone to.