MANAGER.—But on what principles did you get into Parliament, Mr. Punch?
PUNCH.—I’d have you know, sir, I’m above having any principles but those that put money in my pocket.
MANAGER.—I mean on what interest did you start?
PUNCH.—On self-interest, sir. The only great, patriotic, and noble feeling that a public man can entertain.
MANAGER.—Pardon me, Mr. Punch; I wish to know whether you have come in as a Whig or a Tory?
PUNCH.—As a Tory, decidedly, sir. I despise the base, rascally, paltry, beggarly, contemptible Whigs. I detest their policy, and—
THE DOG TOBY.—Bow, wow, wough, wough!
MANAGER.—Hollo! Mr. Punch, what are you saying? I understood you were always a staunch Whig, and a supporter of the present Government.
PUNCH.—So I was, sir. I supported the Whigs as long as they supported themselves; but now that the old house is coming down about their ears, I turn my back on them in virtuous indignation, and take my seat in the opposition ’bus.
MANAGER.—–But where is your patriotism, Mr. Punch?
PUNCH.—Where every politician’s is, sir—in my breeches’ pocket.
MANAGER.—And your consistency, Mr. Punch?
PUNCH.—What a green chap you are, after all. A public man’s consistency! It’s only a popular delusion, sir. I’ll tell you what’s consistency, sir. When one gentleman’s in and won’t come out, and when another gentleman’s out and can’t get in, and when both gentlemen persevere in their determination—that’s consistency.
MANAGER.—I understand; but still I think it is the duty of every public man to——
“Wheel about and turn about,
And do jes so;
Ebery time he turn about,
He jumps Jim Crow.”
MANAGER.—Then it is your opinion that the prospects of the Whigs are not very flattering?
PUNCH.—’Tis all up with them, as the young lady remarked when Mr. Green and his friends left Wauxhall in the balloon; they haven’t a chance. The election returns are against them everywhere. England deserts them—Ireland fails them—Scotland alone sticks with national attachment to their backs, like a—
THE DOG TOBY.—Bow, wow, wow, wough!
MANAGER.—Of course, then, the Tories will take office—?
PUNCH.—I rayther suspect they will. Have they not been licking their chops for ten years outside the Treasury door, while the sneaking Whigs were helping themselves to all the fat tit-bits within? Have they not growled and snarled all the while, and proved by their barking that they were the fittest guardians of the country? Have they not wept over the decay of our ancient and venerable constitution—? And have they not promised and vowed, the moment they got into office, that they would—Send round the hat.
MANAGER.—Very good, Mr. Punch; but I should like to know what the Tories mean to do about the corn-laws? Will they give the people cheap food?