Christmas shopping tips

by Instant Noodle


(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.

(January 1872)