Punch, November 18, 1903


[Mr. C. J. Cornish suggests in the County Gentleman that our London parks would be rendered more attractive if animals were introduced into them. As instances, he gives Highland cattle and Cashmir goats. But why stop here? There is room for all.]

From an advance copy of the “Animals’ Friend.”

The introduction of leopards into Whitechapel has proved a great success. The intelligent creatures crouch on the leads of the houses and spring on to the shoulders of pedestrians. As the dwellers in the neighbourhood are now afraid to leave their houses, Hooliganism has entirely ceased, and it has been found possible to withdraw the entire body of police from the district, with the exception of P.C. 843 of the X division, whose condition is precarious. He met a leopard in Commercial Street. The fear entertained by certain of our readers lest the carnivors should move further West may be dismissed. A leopard rarely changes its favourite spots.

We cannot believe that the gentleman who writes to this morning’s Times to complain of the crocodiles in the Round Pond is really serious. That his son, Aubrey James, should have been devoured by one of the saurians in question is of course to be deplored, but a mere accident must not blind us to the true value of the experiment. Before the advent of the crocodiles a visit to the Round Pond was, for adults at least, dull. Now it is Society’s favourite pastime.

What used to be a source of some unpleasantness between employer and employed in the City, namely, the habit of the latter of taking more than the regulation hour for lunch, is now at an end. Since bears, formerly confined to the Stock Exchange, have been let loose in all the principal thoroughfares, clerks have made a practice of bringing their lunch with them in the shape of sandwiches. They feel it would be unwise to go out to lunch while the present uncertainty prevails as to whether they would be the active or the passive agents in the transaction. Most of the City restaurants have closed their doors. It keeps the bears out.

Will the gentleman who rang us up on the telephone to say that he saw a distended tiger, wearing a smile on its face, leave the office of this newspaper at 1 p.m. yesterday, write stating which way it was going? The editor is missing.

A curious incident took place during the performance of ‘Hamlet’ last night. While giving his famous soliloquy Mr. Tree was suddenly interrupted by uproarious laughter from the stalls. Cries of ‘Silence’ issued from every quarter of the house, but the noise continued. Just as it seemed impossible that the piece could be proceeded with, the author of the disturbance was discovered. It was one of the hyænas recently laid down in the Haymarket by the L.C.C., which had stolen in unperceived. The offender was speedily ejected, still chuckling, and the play was resumed.

Now that the London Fire Brigade has substituted giraffes for the old-fashioned fire escapes, a fatal fire should be the rarest of occurrences. At a recent conflagration in Northumberland Avenue good work was also done by the new elephants, who squirted water on the flames with great accuracy and force. It is rumoured that the trunk is to supersede the hose.




Unsigned article as printed; credited to P. G. Wodehouse in the Index to Vol. 125 of Punch.