PUNCH.—No, but they’ll give them cheap drink. They’ll throw open the Thames for the use of the temperance societies.
MANAGER.—But if we don’t have cheap corn, our trade must be destroyed, our factories will be closed, and our mills left idle.
PUNCH.—There you’re wrong. Our tread-mills will be in constant work; and, though our factories should be empty, our prisons will be quite full.
MANAGER.—That’s all very well, Mr. Punch; but the people will grumble a leetle if you starve them.
PUNCH.—Ay, hang them, so they will; the populace have no idea of being grateful for benefits. Talk of starvation! Pooh!—I’ve studied political economy in a workhouse, and I know what it means. They’ve got a fine plan in those workhouses for feeding the poor devils. They do it on the homoeopathic system, by administering to them oatmeal porridge in infinitessimal doses; but some of the paupers have such proud stomachs that they object to the diet, and actually die through spite and villany. Oh! ’tis a dreadful world for ingratitude! But never mind—Send round the hat.
MANAGER.—What is the meaning of the sliding scale, Mr. Punch?
PUNCH.—It means—when a man has got nothing for breakfast, he may slide his breakfast into his lunch; then, if he has got nothing for lunch, he may slide that into his dinner; and if he labours under the same difficulties with respect to the dinner, he may slide all three meals into his supper.
MANAGER.—But if the man has got no supper?
PUNCH.—Then let him wish he may get it.
MANAGER.—Oh! that’s your sliding scale?
PUNCH.—Yes; and a very ingenious invention it is for the suppression of victuals. R-r-r-roo-to-tooit-tooit! Send round the hat.
MANAGER.—At this rate, Mr. Punch, I suppose you would not be favourable to free trade?
PUNCH.—Certainly not, sir. Free trade is one of your new-fangled notions that mean nothing but free plunder. I’ll illustrate my position. I’m a boy in a school, with a bag of apples, which, being the only apples on my form, I naturally sell at a penny a-piece, and so look forward to pulling in a considerable quantity of browns, when a boy from another form, with a bigger bag of apples, comes and sells his at three for a penny, which, of course, knocks up my trade.
MANAGER.—But it benefits the community, Mr. Punch.
PUNCH.—D—n the community! I know of no community but PUNCH and Co. I’m for centralization—and individualization—every man for himself, and PUNCH for us all! Only let me catch any rascal bringing his apples to my form, and see how I’ll cobb him. So now—send round the hat—and three cheers for
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SONGS FOR THE SENTIMENTAL.