Captain Edward GOLDSMITH, master mariner
Horticultural Show Hobart Van Diemen’s Land 1849
Oscar TONDEUR, merchant at the New Norfolk Regatta 1846
Charles DICKENS, “Shallabalah”, Punch and Judy character in The Old Curiosity Shop 1841
The old Devil, Jim Crow, the Turk [Shallabalah] and the Beadle
PUNCH & JUDY SET ANTIQUE 1800S HAND PUPPETS GERMAN THEATRE TOYS
Source: ZAPWOW HQ,
Friends of Captain Goldsmith at his Testimonial, 1849
Apart from journalist Francis Knowles who was in attendance to record the occasion, the illustrious company of “gentlemen” who gathered on board the Rattler to present Captain Edward Goldsmith with a silver goblet on Wednesday, 17th January 1849 were for the most part members of the Gardeners and Amateurs’ Horticultural Society, and exhibitors at the annual Horticultural Flower, Fruit and Vegetable Show, viz: –
William CARTER, Justice of the Peace:
Edward MACDOWELL, barrister, commissioner of Insolvency Court:
Francis KNOWLES, reporter on the Courier:
Henry BEST, Regatta organiser, horticultural exhibitor:
Samuel MOSES, merchant, shipowner of the Prince Regent, and horticultural exhibitor:
Isaac WRIGHT, wool-stapler, merchant, New Wharf, shipowner of the William Miskin (1852)
W. NEWMAN, judge at the Horticultural Flower Show, superintendent Botanic Gardens
A. DOUGLASS, horticultural exhibitor
These craftsmen’s contribution was the gold-lined silver goblet:
Charles JONES, silversmith: read more about the goblet here
William BROCK, engraver:
Source: Colonial Times 19 January 1849 p. 2.
A TESTIMONIAL – On Wednesday last, several gentlemen waited upon Capt Goldsmith, on board his ship, the Rattler, for the purpose of presenting him with a silver cup, to which office W. Carter Esq. was deputed. That gentleman said that the lot had fallen to him pleasurable in one sense, but unfortunate in another, owing to the unavoidable absence of Edward Macdowell, Esq. who was detained through his professional duties, and who, had he been there, would have expressed himself in a better flow of language; but although the absence of that gentleman and others might be regretted, Captain Goldsmith might rest assured that the feelings of the few present coincided in this one particular point – he had done a great deal of good to the colony, and that all the colony ought to be grateful to him for it – he had introduced many valuable plants and other things to Van Diemen’s Land, which he (Mr. Carter) and other gentleman would always feel in grateful remembrance. Capt. Goldsmith, upon receiving the cup, returned thanks for the high encomium which had been passed upon him, and humorously remarked that in the course of another trip he should consider this colony his home, as it was his intention to bring out Mrs. Goldsmith with him: he regretted he had not the eloquence of his friend, Mr. Carter, but he would keep the cup as long as he lived, in remembrance of the very great kindness he had always received from the people of Hobart Town – in fact, he had met with that hospitality he had never witnessed anywhere else: he then concluded by saying that in any way where he could be of service to the colony, or to private individuals, he would at all times be most ready and willing to do so. The following gentlemen sat down to a most excellent luncheon: – Capt Goldsmith; W. Carter, J. P., S. Moses, I. Wright, H. Best, – Newman, A. Douglas, and F. Knowles, Esquires. The cup was made by Mr. C. Jones, of the purest silver, and the general opinion is that it is the best piece of colonial workmanship yet seen. The Arms of the Colony are richly emblazoned, and the inscription (beautifully engraved by Mr. Brock) is as follows: – “Presented to Captain Goldsmith, of the ship Rattler, as a slight testimonial for having introduced many rare and valuable plants into Van Diemen’s Land” January, 1849.”
Source: Colonial Times 19 January 1849 p. 2.
For his services to the horticultural advancement of the colony, Captain Goldsmith was elected to The Royal Society of Van Diemen’s Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science’ in 1851. While he imported palms such as these (photos below), he also exported Tasmanian tree seeds to the Falkland Islands (1840).
Above and below: Palms, Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart Tasmania
Photos copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014
RBG placard information for visitors:
The Palm Collection at Hobart’s Royal Botanical Gardens is listed on the National Trust of Tasmania Register of Significant Trees. It comprises 31 individuals from 7 genera originating from countries as diverse as Mexico, China and Africa, Its interest derives from the rarity of such a collection in Tasmania. Palms incidentally are not true trees, but are really a giant form of monocotyledon, the group of plants to which grasses belong.
Another article which reported on the same occasion at Captain Goldsmith’s Testimonial (Courier, LOCAL. 1849, January 20 p. 2.) referred to barrister Edward Macdowell as the “private friend” who was designated to present the goblet to Captain Goldsmith but who was absent acting as counsel on a rape case at the Supreme Court. Read more about Edward Macdowell and the Buchanan case in this earlier post here.
The Shallabalah Case, 1846: Knowles v. Tondeur
Francis Knowles, the reporter on the Hobart Courier who did attend Captain Goldsmith’s testimonial that Wednesday in January 1849, was well-known to barrister Edward Macdowell. Back in February 1846 Edward Macdowell had defended a Frenchman, Oscar Tondeur, who was accused of assaulting Francis Knowles – of whipping him about the shoulders, according to one account – because of a published article about the New Norfolk Regatta which Tondeur was led to believe was intended to ridicule his mannerisms and command of the English language. Knowles had likened him to the Punch and Judy “foreign gentleman” character that gained his name from the only utterance he could muster – “Shallabalah“. The case raised laughter when heard at the Police Office, Hobart Town Hall, where Edwin Midwood, police information clerk, eagerly corroborated barrister Macdowell’s argument in lieu of the “certain ladies” who told Tondeur the slur was indeed Knowle’s intention. Always up for mischief, this was the same Edwin Midwood who most likely contributed to photographer Thomas J. Nevin’s dismissal from the position of Keeper at the Hobart Town Hall in December 1880 when Nevin was thought to be the “ghost” frightening the girls of Hobart Town at night dressed in a white sheet. Since Edwin Midwood never confessed to the prank, he is remembered principally nowadays as the father of another humourist, cartoonist Tom Midwood.
Oscar TONDEUR (ca. 1816 – ?)
French importer and merchant, Oscar Tondeur was 32 years old when he married Maria Anna, 27 years old, the only daughter of T. Y. Lowes, distiller, merchant and auctioneer on 21st October 1848 at Hobart. In the following decades, they moved to Victoria and then to France where Maria Anna Tondeur died in 1878 at 10 Rue St. Cecile, Paris. Their son Francis Oscar Tondeur, residing at his mother’s address at the time of her death sold off his parents’ estate in Tasmania which may have included Oscar Tondeur’s grant in March 1852 of 217 acres in the Parish of Strangford, county of Monmouth (Tas).
BIRTHS, DEATHS AND MARRIAGES.
MARRIED—On Saturday, the 21st October, at Glenorchy, by the Rev. W. Barrett, Francis Oscar Tondeur, to Maria Anna, only daughter of T. Y. Lowes, Esq.
Marriage: Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas) Wednesday 1 November 1848, page 132
Land grant: https://stors.tas.gov.au/RD1-1-25$init=RD1-1-25P188JPG
Wills: Mary Ann Tondeur 1878: https://stors.tas.gov.au/NI/1723734
The NEW NORFOLK Regatta 1846
On the 19th February 1846, Oscar Tondeur attended the New Norfolk Regatta. Reporter for the Hobart Courier, Francis Knowles, apparently did not, yet he published a report as “Punch” about the Regatta and asserted that his invocation of the character of Shallabalah, a figure in the story of Punch and Judy, was intended to ridicule the elegant Frenchman. “Certain ladies” ensured that Tondeur was made aware of the “squib” and that Knowles had fully intended the slur.
The day’s festivities were marred by a tragedy involving the drowning of a crewman of the paddle steamer Thames on its return to Hobart.
Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), Friday 20 February 1846, page 3
NEW NORFOLK REGATTA. The Fête at New Norfolk was one of the most splendid affairs ever known in Van Diemen’s Land. A larger assemblage of persons attended it, than ever congregated on any former occasion, – every public carriage in Hobart Town was engaged, and a number of applicants for conveyance were yet unsupplied. The steamer was so crowded – also admission only obtained by tickets – that a large number of persons could not be received on board. The day was the very finest of the season. SIR EARDLEY WILMOT actually ” laid himself out” to please, and His Excellency was eminently successful, for every individual expressed satisfaction at the ” re-union.” The fortunate winner of the Governor’s elegant Cup was Mr. A. Orr ; Mr. G. Lewis won the Subscription Cup ; and Mr. Watson won the Whaleboat Prize. The little town of New Norfolk was literally crammed with visitors, and we believe we may safely say that one general sentiment of satisfaction prevailed. We regret to state that, on the return of the steamer to town, a man unhappily lost his life by becoming entangled in the paddle-wheel, by which he was crushed to death before the vessel could be stopped. We have heard of no other draw-back upon the pleasure of the day.
Source: NEW NORFOLK REGATTA. (1846, February 20). Colonial Times p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8758165
APPALLING ACCIDENT – On the returning of the steamer Thames, from the New Norfolk Regatta, a dreadful accident occurred, through which a seaman of the name of Richard Downey was. killed. It appeared that the unfortunate man had mounted on the top of the paddle box for the purpose of closing the aperture, when he suddenly disappeared through the opening, falling on the paddles which were revolving rapidly at the time. The body was not found at the time of our leaving; but the general supposition was, that it must have been mangled in a most awful manner. Downey had been a seaman on board the steamer for a great length of time, and was well-known on the Old Wharf by the name of Scotty. We are happy to state that no blame can be attached to the Captain or any one else on board the vessel the time the accident occurred.
Source: Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859), Saturday 21 February 1846, page 2
State Library of Tasmania Collections
[Hallgreen, New Norfolk, as seen from the north bank of the Derwent] K. Bull.
Author: Bull, Knud Geelmuyden, 1811-1889
Publication Information: 1854.
Newspaper reports: Knowles v. Tondeur
Correspondent for the Hobart Courier, the Launceston Examiner, and the Colonial Times at various stages in his journalist career, Francis Knowles regularly contributed satirical pieces in “plain speaking” as he put it, on the political issues of the day under the name “Punch”. He showed little restraint in his mockery of Sir John Franklin and his wife Jane Franklin, likening them to Punch and Judy. He penned fake letters as Sir John Franklin writing somewhere from the Northern Hemisphere, and fake advertisements for Punch and Judy waltzes, which earned him contempt over time from the editor and readers of the Colonial Times.
An actual original copy is not to be found of Knowles’ “letter” which offended Tondeur so deeply. It was published in the Courier on one of the days immediately following the 19th February 1846, the day of the New Norfolk Regatta, up to the morning of the 27th February 1846 when Tondeur assaulted Knowles at the Courier offices. More than likely, the offensive letter was published in the Courier issue of the 25th February 1846, which the National Library of Australia’s newspaper digitisation service, TROVE has reported as missing! This notice on their website is more than a little unusual:
“Issue is Missing”
25th February 1846 issue of the Hobart Courier
National Library of Australia
The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840-1859)
Issue Missing: 1846-02-25
Issue is missing
Perhaps every copy of the issue was destroyed by either or all parties involved in the “case” in the years immediately following its publication in 1846 with a view to protecting their reputations for future generations. The descendants of any of those named in the “case” – eg. of Messrs Knowles, Tondeur, Macdowell, Midwood, and Best – may have taken steps to prevent the 25th February 1846 issue from deposit into state and national archives decades or even a century later.
While Knowles entertained readers of the press, puppeteers entertained visitors to the Hobart and Launceston Regattas with Punch and Judy shows using glove puppets and a tiny booth stage. They would deliver interpretations of the Punch and Judy story with contemporary allusions and innuendoes. Additional performances by Mr. Masters with his Fantoccini, puppets operated on strings doing Highland dances and skeleton pratfalls, became a regular attraction at the Regattas from 1840. In all versions of the Punch and Judy story, there is little doubt that the depiction of domestic violence, of uxoricide and infanticide, of imprisonment, of death and ghosts, all leavened with gratuitous racism and xenophobia, might have found a ready audience in children, though sentiment today judges this amusement highly inappropriate. In 1840, for example, this critic defended the Punch and Judy entertainment on offer at the Hobart Regatta with a clear dismissal of any suggestion it should be censored:
It was last year made matter of absurd and hyperbolical comment, that the magnificence of a Regatta should be tarnished with any exhibition calculated in the least to give it the appearance of a fair. Now the community regard such exhibitions as Punch and Judy with extreme delight ; nor is it all inconsistent with a mind of the most exalted order, to unbend from the sublime even to the very verge of the ridiculous. The broad caricature of the show makes men laugh ; it never makes men worse ; the puppet extravagance is a complete satire on the pranks of mankind: it has none of the Jack Sheppard-vein of converting roguery into heroism, or highwaymen into martyrs. For this reason a person may appreciate the highest style of tragic acting ever yet in existence and have his feelings carried away by a Kean or a Kemble, and yet can descend from the lofty buskin to the contemplation of puppets. In fact, it is only overstrained refinement of sentiment to object to such things ; for why should we not equally object to Fairy tales? The cases are precisely analogous – they amuse the young and the old, the grave and the gay, for we find that even Pitt set apart an occasional Christmas evening every year to the perusal of the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments.
Under such circumstances, we hail the re-appearance of Punch and Judy with considerable satisfaction, and all such exhibitions as are harmless in themselves. We should mention that it was the Review which last year objected so strongly to Punch and Judy, and no wonder! Upon no terms, however, shall we have the thimble rig on the ground, even though the same journal, so well known as an accomplished adept with the pea, should pray for it.
Source: THE COURIER. (1840, December 1). The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859), p. 2.
The name of a character in some of the earliest English performances of Punch and Judy, “Shallabalah” was also a term used by youth to offend Spanish refugees in 1840s London. In Chapter 16 of Charles Dickens’ novel The Old Curiosity Shop, published in serial form in 1840 and as a book in 1841, Nell and her grandfather come across two “itinerant showmen—exhibitors of the freaks of Punch” who are mending their puppets. One of those puppets represents the character of “the foreign gentleman who not being familiar with the language is unable in the representation to express his ideas otherwise than by the utterance of the word “Shallabalah” three distinct times...” .
This characterisation of Shallabalah or the Grand Turk was not only familiar to Charles Dickens’ readers in the penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land at the other end of the Empire by 1846, it was openly used as a stereotype to mock “foreign gentlemen”, particularly the French with status and ambition such as Oscar Tondeur for the amusement of both men and women through their local press. An adaptation and elaboration of the scene in Chapter 16 of Dickens’ novel, in which the puppeteer Mr. Codlin himself becomes a character in the performances of the Punch and Judy story, was travelling the Regatta circuit by 1873. This report by the now world-weary wrinkled journalist (was it still Knowles?) signing off as “Punch” in the Courier drew together all the old characters, including the Shallabalah, remembered fondly by said journalist in his youth for the lost art of racist repartee, with the newer element of the puppeteer himself, Mr. Codlin appearing in full make-up :
The rising generation here are much indebted to the gentleman who so kindly and cleverly introduced them to the friend of our English childhood, the illustrious reprobate, Mr. Punch. The performance of the celebrated “tragedy” on Saturday afternoon attracted a large audience, including His Excellency the Governor and family. Youngest Tasmania was well represented in all its laughing loveliness; nor was laughter limited to baby lips, but lit up many a face whose last sight of Punch dated many weary years ago, and whose young bloom has been long since replaced by gravity and wrinkles. The science and mechanical applications were excellent, but the dialogue was certainly deficient in the point and repartee we remember in the street originals of yore; and we question if the sudden appearance and banishing of the “Shallaballa” Nemesis was a sufficiently impressive moral, after the triumphant career of Mr. Punch’s enormities; of which each successive atrocity elicited a louder demonstration of delight and applause; the last, perhaps the most noteworthy feature of the whole, was “Mr. Codlin“, the immortal Punch and Judy showman of Dickens‘ “Old Curiosity Shop“, who most fittingly appeared in the appropriate costume. His make-up was a work of high art, dress, gait, lugubrious expression, all evidenced a keen appreciation and study of the great author’s quaint creation. We should like a photograph of him in his habit as he stood on Saturday, drum, Pandean pipes and all.
The proceeds of the performance are, we hear, to be given to an important local charity, who funds need assistance.
Source: PUNCH. (1873, March 31). The Tasmanian Tribune (Hobart Town)p. 2.
Charles Dickens was a a household name to readers in all parts and everywhere by 1846 with the publication of Oliver Twist (1837), Nicholas Nickleby (1838), The Old Curiosity Shop (1841) and A Christmas Carol (1843), but his acquaintance with Captain Edward Goldsmith was to become far more personal in 1857 when he discovered they were neighbours in the village of Higham, Kent (UK). Dickens complained that Captain Goldsmith, who had retired to his estate up Telegraph Lane, Gad’s Hill in 1856, was monopolising not only the water supply to Dickens’ newest acquisition, the house down the hill at No. 6 Gad’s Hill Place, but also the village mail box which was set into Captain Goldsmith’s wall. Dickens wrote arguably some of his finest later work at Gadshill as a neighbour of Captain Goldsmith, including Little Dorrit (1857), A Tale of Two Cities (1859) and Great Expectations (1861). Dickens died there in 1870, a year after “the skipper in that crow’s-nest of a house“, as he called Captain Goldsmith who died at Gadshill in 1869, the much-loved uncle of Elizabeth Rachel Nevin, wife of photographer Thomas J. Nevin.
Meanwhile, back to the Tondeur case:
March 3rd, 1846: the case is scheduled
To-morrow, the much talked of case of Knowles v. Tondeur comes on for hearing : the case is one of assault, arising out of a squib, in the Courier: we shall duly attend to it.
Source: Colonial Times Tue 3 Mar 1846 Page 3 Hobart Town Police Report.
March 4th, 1846: Tondeur complains to to the Courier
The Assault Case.-We have received a letter from Mr. Tondeur, complaining of misrepresentation of the facts of this case on the part of our reporter. We willingly give Mr. Tondeur’s version of the matter, which is to the following effect:- Mr. Tondeur asserts that he is perfectly satisfied the ideal character of Shallaballah in the letter of Punch, describing his visit to the New Norfolk Regatta, was not intended for him. But Mr. Tondeur asserts, that Mr. Knowles, after the publication of the letter, ” had, amongst his friends, attempted to turn him, Mr. Tondeur, into ridicule, by asserting that the character was meant for him.” This seems to be the head and front offence of our reporter, which has been followed by such striking conduct on the part of Mr. Tondeur that the circumstance is now about to become the subject of Police Investigation, and may probably furnish a brief to the gentlemen of the legal profession.
Source: Courier Wednesday 4 March 1846, page 2
March 6th, 1846: the police report is published
Oscar Tondeur did indeed brief a member of the legal profession, the exuberant Edward Macdowell who revelled in his own witty confabulations during proceedings, suggesting war with France was likely to ensue if the case should go further. As Charles Butler wrote of Macdowell in 1902:
Edward Macdowell was Attorney-General, a Barrister of great eloquence, a very handsome Irishman but not a good lawyer and not a worker. He would at times go into Court without looking at his brief or scarcely so pick up the merits of the case during its progress and make a splendid reply at the conclusion. He was I believe a University man highly educated but without application.
Charles Butler to Bishop Montgomery re reminiscences of early colonists
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania Ref: NS2122/1/7
Barrister Edward Macdowell (1798–1860)
Source: Archives Office Tasmania RT52475
Source: Colonial Times Fri 6 Mar 1846 Page 3 Hobart Town police Report.
Hobart Town Police Report.
Without regard to chronological order and regularity, we shall commence our report with the lion-case of the week, that, namely, of Knowles v. Tondeur, which was adjudicated on Wednesday.
― The complainant conducted his own case, and Mr. Macdowell defended Mr. Tondeur.
― The complainant, previous to the charge being gone into, wished to state, that, even then, at the eleventh hour, he would withdraw the information, if Mr. Tondeur would make an apology. Mr. Tondeur had reported that he expected a good thrashing, which he (Mr. Knowles) refrained from giving him.
― Mr. Macdowell, on the part of his client, at once objected to this proposal: the learned counsel observed, that the application of the title “Shallabalah” was sufficiently obvious even to foreigners and Englishmen, but especially to Irishmen; he should produce a witness connected with the Police department, who would distinctly prove that the complainant had positively asserted that the character was intended for the defendant.
― Mr. Knowles: Then the case must go on.
― The information was then read. It set forth, that, on the 27th of February, the defendant (Oscar Tondeur) did unlawfully beat and assault the complainant (Francis Knowles), who, believing the defendant to be a person of a vindictive disposition, now prayed that he might be bound over to keep the peace.
― To this charge the defendant pleaded Not Guilty, and so the case proceeded as follows:
― On Friday last, in the morning, Mr. H. Best informed witness (Mr. Knowles) that Mr. Tondeur wished to see him; witness was then engaged, en dishabille, writing for the paper, but he came down stairs and confronted his visitor. Upon this, Mr. Tondeur asked witness for an apology for the article he had published in the Courier, holding him up to ridicule, under the designation of Shallabalah, dancing about the office at the time like a doll puppet and moving about his arms and legs, after the manner of the most approved Fantoccini. From the excited state of the defendant, witness could not exactly understand whether Mr. Tondeur wanted witness to acknowledge the authorship of the article, (Punch’s letter about the New Norfolk Regatta,) or whether he wished witness to say that he had told several persons that the character of Shallabalah was intended for Mr. Tondeur. Witness then said to him, “If you will walk with me, I will explain the matter; if not, you must walk out ” Mr. Tondeur refused to do either, and Mr. Knowles then turned away to go up to his sanctum, when the defendant struck him two or three times with a whip. Witness did not take advantage of the superior muscular power which be possessed, to return the compliment, but permitted Mr. Tondeur to walk away in his usual graceful manner.
― By Mr. Price; I refused to make an apology, and denied that the character was intended for Mr. Tondeur. I said to him, come, let us walk along, and we will talk the matter over. I should be extremely sorry to hurt the feelings of anyone; and the party with whom Mr. Tondeur went to New Norfolk, I most highly respect : they might as well apply to themselves the characters of Punch and Judy, and take the dog Toby into the bargain. If foreigners are to assault British subjects with impunity, then are the laws of Great Britain virtually abolished, this is all I have to say.
― Cross-examined by Mr. Macdowell: I am Reporter to the Courier. I understood Mr. Tondeur to allude to a certain article in the Courier, but I could not distinctly understand Mr. Tondeur, who was in a very excited state. I might have mentioned to some persons that Shallabalah was intended for Mr. Tondeur. I heard many persons say, “Poor Tondeur has been left outside of the Government-garden, and, from that circumstance, he must be Shallabalah.”
― Mr. Macdowell here observed, that he was instructed by Mr. Tondeur not to mention the names of certain ladies; but he wished to ask Mr. Knowles whether he did not state to them that Shallabalah was intended for Mr. Tondeur?
― Mr. Knowles replied, that he did not recollect doing so, but he might have done so. Mr. Edwin Midwood was of the party, and he and the ladies were all laughing and joking about the matter, and he (Mr. Knowles) might have joined in the fun. Mr. Knowles further stated, that, if Mr. Tondeur had addressed him in a proper manner, he should have most readily afforded him every explanation in his power.
― By Mr. Price: To my knowledge, I never actually said that the character of Shallabalah was meant for Mr. Tondeur; but when the matter came on the tapis, and Mr. Midwood and “the ladies” were enjoying the joke, I might have said that the application was intended.
― By Mr. Macdowell: I was at New Norfolk: you may say, I was not invited.
― Mr. Macdowell: Oh! dear no; it is not at all necessary to state that, Mr. Knowles.
― Mr. Henry Best was called, and corroborated the facts and circumstances relating to the assault. After Mr. Tondeur left, Mr. Best said to the complainant, “Well, I wonder you did not give him a horsewhipping in return: I should have done so.” Mr. Knowles’s reply did not transpire.
― Mr. Phillipson was called, but he said he knew nothing of the matter.
― This being the case for the complainant, Mr. Macdowell addressed the Bench as follows:
― The learned counsel said, that, whatever the result of this very important case might he, one thing he was quite satisfied the Bench could not deny ― nay, he (Mr. Macdowell) defied their Worships to do so and that was, to alter the opinion which Mr. Knowles entertained of himself ― (a laugh.) He (Mr. Knowles) was the only person in this large assembly who contemplated his own character and abilities in the light which he had cast upon it. “Look,” said the learned counsel, “upon his demeanour throughout the whole case; and see how he has played the part of a distinguished “Hero!” He (Mr. Macdowell) hoped that this awful irruption would not lead to a French war; yet, seeing what had occurred in the South Sea Islands, he was almost afraid, if this dreadful case reached the ears of the French Minister-of-War, that some serious con-sequences might accrue. Mr. Knowles, in his peculiar manner, had sneered at the French Nation, and had accused Mr. Tondeur of a want of spirit. He (Mr. Macdowell) regretted that the law had been infringed, and that Mr. Tondeur did not keep his spirit under proper subjection; but, he was free to confess that his client took an ample moral atonement for the gross injury inflicted upon him. Mr. Knowles had described the movements of Mr. Tondeur in an amusing manner certainly, but was that consistent with his (Knowles’s) conduct, as regarded the serious nature of his information? thus adding insult to the injury inflicted. But what were the facts of the case? Mr. Knowles, the Reporter of a newspaper, did not deny the application to Mr. Tondeur, who was an amiable man in every respect, and most highly esteemed by all who knew him. As a foreigner, he did not, at first, consider the offensive application, of the article; but, when he was told by certain ladies that it was intended for him, and that Mr. Knowles had positively asserted that the character was intended for him, surely his conduct was most excusable. Mr. Macdowell then stated, that, according to his instructions, he was directed not to call upon certain ladies, who had heard Mr. Knowles acknowledge the application of the article to Mr. Tondeur; but he called upon Mr. Edwin Midwood, who fully proved this fact.
― The defendant was fined one shilling, without costs.
― Rather a singular occurrence took place with respect to this case.
As Mr. Tondeur advanced to the defendant’s side of the bar, he picked up a new shilling, and, showing it to the Reporters, said, jokingly, “this will do to pay my fine:” and, so sure as he said, it sufficed for the purpose.
Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) Fri 6 Mar 1846 Page 3 Hobart Town police Report.
Extract 2: the insult
Source: Colonial Times Fri 6 Mar 1846 Page 3 Hobart Town police Report.
EXTRACT from above:
… Mr. Tondeur asked witness for an apology for the article he had published in the Courier, holding him up to ridicule, under the designation of Shallabalah, dancing about the office at the time like a doll puppet and moving about his arms and legs, after the manner of the most approved Fantoccini. From the excited state of the defendant, witness could not exactly understand whether Mr. Tondeur wanted witness to acknowledge the authorship of the article, (Punch’s letter about the New Norfolk Regatta,) or whether he wished witness to say that he had told several persons that the character of Shallabalah was intended for Mr. Tondeur.
March 7th, 1846: Tondeur fined a shilling
The next day Knowles was reported to fairly gloat that he did indeed refer to Oscar Tondeur as the Punch-and-Judy puppet show character Shallalabah when Tonduer confronted him at the Courier offices on 27th February. Tondeur, for all the trouble, was fined one shilling:
THE ” SHALLABALLAH” CASE.- On Wednesday morning last, the Police Office was crowded to hear the case of Knowles v. Tondeur. There was much laughter on the occasion, and Mr. Knowles admitting that subsequently he might have stated that the character of Shallaballah in Punch’s report of the New Norfolk Regatta was intended for the defendant, Mr. Tondeur was fined in the lowest penalty.
March 7th, 1846: more detail from the Cornwall Chronicle
HOBART TOWN POLICE REPORT.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4.
THE SHALLABALAH CASE. — This case which has occasioned no small stir in our city, came on this day. The parties thus introduced to the notice of the public are Mr. F. Knowles, reporter of the Courier who figured as complainant, and Monsieur Tondeur, merchant who appeared as defendant. The charge arose from the application of a horse whip by Monsieur Tondeur to the shoulders of Mr. Knowles for an Article which appeared in the Courier newspaper, which tended to bring ridicule on the defendant. Mr. Macdowell, on behalf of the defendant, addressed the Bench as follows:— The learned counsel said, that whatever the result of this very important case might be, one thing he was quite satisfied the Bench could not deny – nay, he, (Mr. Macdowell) defied their worships to do so – and that was, to alter the opinion which Mr. Knowles entertained of himself (a laugh.) He (Mr. Knowles) was the only person in this large assembly who contemplated his own character and abilities in the light which he had cast upon it. “Look” said the learned counsel, ” upon his demeanour throughout the whole case ; and see how he has played the part of a distinguished “Hero’! He (Mr. Macdowell) hoped that this awful irruption would not lead in a French war; yet, seeing what had occurred in the South Sea Island, he was almost afraid, if this dreadful case reached the ears of the French Minister of War, that some serious consequences might accrue. Mr. Knowles, in his peculiar manner, had sneered at the French nation, and had accused Mr. Tonduer of a want of spirit. He (Mr. Macdowell) regretted that the law had been infringed and that Mr. Tondeur did not keep his spirit under proper subjection , but, he was free to confess that his client took an ample atonement for the gross injury inflicted upon him. Mr. Knowles had, described the movements of Mr Tondeur in an amusing manner certainly, but was that consistent with his (Knowles) conduct, as regarded the serious nature of his information? thus adding insult to the injury inflicted. But what were the facts of the case! Mr. Knowles, the Reporter of a newspaper, did not deny the application to Mr. Tondeur who was an amiable man in every respect, and most highly esteemed by all who knew him. As a foreigner, he did not, at first consider the consider the offensive application of the article ; but, when he was told by certain ladies that it was intended for him, and that Mr. Knowles had positively asserted that ,the character was intended for him, surely his conduct was most excusable. Mr Macdowell then stated, that, according to his instructions he was not to call upon certain ladies who had heard Mr. Knowles acknowledge the application of the article to Mr. Tondeur; but he called upon Mr. Edwin Midwood, who fully proved this fact. – The defendant was fined one shilling, without costs. Rather a singular occurrence took place with respect to this case: As Mr. Tondeur advanced to the defendant’s side of the bar, he picked up a new shilling, and, showing it to the Reporter, said, jokingly, “this will do to pay my fine” : and so sure as he said, it sufficed for the purpose.
Source: Cornwall Chronicle (Saturday 7 March 1846, page 181
The Horticultural Show, 6th April 1849
Dahlias originated from Central and South America between Mexico and Colombia.
Local display on show at the Hobart Town Hall 2012
Photo copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2012
Among the flowers which won won prizes at the Horticultural Show, 6th April 1849 were harlequin and butterfly dahlias imported by Captain Goldsmith, exhibited by Mr. J. Abbott.
THE HORTICULTURAL SHOW.
This exhibition was well and fashionably attended, although there were not so many ladies as on the previous occasion, which might be accounted for the weather being unfavourable, and the non-attendance of the military band. The show of flowers, fruit, and vegetables was excellent. Mr. Allport’s variety of fruit and Mr. Osborne’s green peas, together with the choicest description of flowers, gave general satisfaction; the colonial wines, preserves, and pickles were of an order which might nearly defy importation. Too great praise cannot, be given to the Stewards for the manner in which the exhibiting department was conducted.
The following is a list of the PRIZES.
Judges for the Flowers – Messrs, Newman and Young;
Judges for the Fruit – Messrs. Joseph E Hayward, E. Lipscombe, and Bellamy.
Best collection of fuchsias- Mr. A. Douglass.
Second ditto ditto – Mr T. Smith
Collection of petunias – Mr. T. Smith.
Ditto pansies – Mr T. Smith.
Best wishes (acanthe) – Mr. A. Douglass.
Second ditto (white perfection) – Mr. S. Moses.
Best camelia – Mr. S Moses.
Tropaeolum canariensis- Mr. W. Cato.
Cut exotic – Mr. Douglass.
Budlea Hindleyana – Mr. Douglass.
Best dahlias (harlequin and butterfly, imported by Captain Goldsmith) – Mr. J. Abbott.
Second ditto (butterfly) Mr. G. Grant.
Erica – ‘I’. Smith.
Ditto – Mr. V Marshall.
Ditto – Mr J. Wilson .
Best schemes (grandiflora) – Mr. T. Smith.
Ditto ditto (longiflora) – Mr. T. Smith.
Treoirana coccinea – Mr. T. Smith
Verbena purpurea – Mr. P. O’Connor.
Rose (Duchess de Lavalaro – Mr. P. O’Connor
Bouquet – Mr. Bellamy.
Best collection of fruits, medal to Mr. Allport
Second ditto ditto, 1st prize to Mr. Bellamy.
Third, ditto ditto, 2nd prize to Mr. F. Lipscombe.
Fourth ditto ditto, 3rd prize to Mr. J. Marshall.
Best collection of preserved fruits, medal to Mr H. Lipscombe.
Second ditto ditto, 1st prize to Mr. C. T. Smith
Best collection of apples (22 various)-Mr. Bellamy.
Second ditto ditto (13 various) – Mr. H. Lipscombe.
Third ditto ditto (25 various) – Mr. W. Cato
Best dish of Ribston pippins – Mr. Osborne.
Second ditto ditto Mr. C. T. Smith.
Best French crabs – Mr. Allport.
Second ditto ditto Mr. W. Cato.
Best ditto ditto (1848-9. J. Marshall. Best scarlet pearmain Mr. W. Cato.
Best Newton pippin – Mr. Bellamy.
Second ditto ditto Mr. Allport.
Best stone pippin Mr. Allport.
Best golden pippin Mr. W. Cato.
Best seedling – Mr. Bellamy.
Second best seedling – Mr. V. Cato.
Best dish of apples (New York pippin) Mr. Allport.
Ditto ditto (St. Lawrence) Mr. Allport.
Ditto ditto (cider) Mr. Marshall.
Ditto ditto (crown codlins) Mr. Cato.
Ditto pears (summer boncliretea) Mr, Cato. I
Second ditto ditto Mr. Nutt
Best cauliflower – Mr. Parker
Second ditto – Mr. Osborne.
Best and second cucumber – Mr. Parker
Third ditto – Mr. Osborne.
Best turnip – Mr. Nutt.
Second ditto – Mr. Osborne.
Third ditto – Mr. Cato.
Best parsnip – Mr. Parker.
Second ditto – Mr. Luckman.
Best, second, and third potatoes – Mr. Parker.
Best cabbage – Mr. Parker.
Second ditto – Mr. Osborne.
Third ditto – Mr. Parker.
Red ditto – Mr. Osborne.
Radishes Mr. Parker.
French beans Mr. Parker.
Second ditto white – Mr. S. Moses.
Third ditto – Mr. Osborne.
Best onions – Mr. Parker.
Second ditto – Mr. Osborne.
Third ditto – Mr. Watkins.
Parsley – Mr. Parker.
Savoys – Mr. Parker.
Best carrots – Mr. Nutt.
Second ditto – Mr. Watkins.
Third ditto – Mr. Bellamy.
Best beet (reducer) . Allport.
Second ditto (golden) Mr. Marshall.
Celery – Mr. Osborne
Peas (Knight’s green marrow) Mr. Osborne
Source: Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), Friday 6 April 1849, page 2
Imports of plants on the Rattler 1847-48
Captain Edward Goldsmith’s second voyage from London to Hobart in command of his finest barque, the Rattler, 442/522 tons, arrived on November 11th 1847 with a cargo of merino sheep and exotic plants, some imported at his own expense:
IMPORTATIONS.-We learnt that Captain Goldsmith has brought out in the Rattler, and landed in prime condition, for W. A. Bethune, Esq., a number of pure Merino rams and ewes, as a change of blood in this colony, and for the improvement of the fleece in fine wools. He has also succeeded in bringing into port in a flourishing and healthy state several varieties of new strawberries for T. Horne, Esq.; new kinds of hops for Mr. Sharland; several cases of flowering shrubs and plants for Mr. Newman, of the Royal Botanical Gardens, another for E. P. Butler, Esq., and one, also, for Mr. F. Lipscombe. At his own expense Captain Goldsmith has imported upwards of one hundred varieties of plants and shrubs of the most approved sorts in the English nurseries; ….
Captain Goldsmith’s importations, The Courier 17 November 1847
Source; LOCAL. (1847, November 17). The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859), p. 2.
Again, on his third voyage to Hobart in command of the barque Rattler, Captain Goldsmith arrived on 4th December 1848 with a wide variety of horticultural imports, many listed by name in the press, some of which were subsequently placed on exhibit at the April 1849 Horticultural Show. Some, however, destined for Frederick Lipscombe’s nursery, had perished on route:
IMPORTED PLANTS.- … The flora of this country has also received a great addition by the importation of some plants for Mr. F. Lipscombe in the Rattler, Captain Goldsmith. The following are in good condition :-Lilium rubrum, schimenes picta, campanula novilis, gloxinia rubra, Rollisonii, speciosa alba, and Pressleyans ; anemone japónica, lilium puctata, torenia concolor, lobelia erinus compacta, myasola (a “forget-me not”), and another new specimen of the same; cuphan mineara, weigella roses, phlox speciosa, cuphea pletycentra, lantana Drummondii and Sellowii, phloz rubra, achimines Hendersonii ; with the following camellias – Queen Victoria,- elegans, tricolor, triumphans, speciosa, Palmer’s perfection, and Reevesii. These were all contained, with others, in one case ; they were well established in pots before packing, which has tended to their preservation. Another case contains lemon thyme, sage, and the Mammoth and Elisabeth strawberries. The same course in this instance had not been pursued; the plants were put into mould at the bottom of the case, and in almost every instance have perished. A quantity of carnations unfortunately experienced the same fate. Importers will therefore do well to impress upon their agents in England the necessity of establishing them in pots before packing. In the exportation of Van Diemen’s Land shrubs to the United Kingdom, India, and Mauritius, Mr. Lipscombe always adopts this method, and it is of rare occurrence for any specimen to be lost.
Source: The Hobart Courier, 14 December 1848
Frederick Lipscombe suffered losses to his imports of mammoth strawberries on this voyage of the Rattler. Louis Nathan, Samuel Moses’ business partner who was in London at the time, was also disappointed with a case of choice exotic plants – carnations, apparently – he had sent per Rattler which also arrived in poor condition:
L. Nathan, Esq., of London, sent per Rattler, for the Society’s Gardens, a case of choice exotic plant, of which few have survived the voyage.
Mr. Moses has placed on the reservoir in the Society’s Gardens a canoe, with outrigger and paddles, picked up by his ship Prince Regent, in latitude south 1 o 25′, and in longitude east 171o 45′, where it was computed to be 200 miles from land. There was on board the canoe when found three inhabitants of Henderville’s Island [Aranuka 15.5 sq kms, an atoll of Kiribati just north of the equator, in the Gilbert Islands] whence they had been drifted in a gale; a fact having an obvious bearing upon the mode by which the Oceanic Islands have been originally peopled.
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society of Van Diemen’s Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science,1849-1851
Camellia reticulata Lindl. Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, J.L.A., Herbier général de l’amateur. Deuxième Série, vol. 1: t. 2 (1839-50)
Source: http://plantgenera.org/illustration.php?id_illustration=191240, Natural History Museum London
Charles Dickens and the Punch-and-Judy puppets
John Payne Collier’s version of the Punch and Judy show is the earliest English extant version, published in 1828 under the title of “The tragical comedy, or comical tragedy, of Punch and Judy” with drawings by George Cruikshank. According to an article cut from the Guardian (no date) archived at the National Puppetry Archive (UK), Collier’s version included –
… the Negro servant who doesn’t talk like us – he keeps saying “dis” and “dat” and who in later versions became, for many years, the figure of fun who could only say “shallaballa”.
Source: National Puppetry Archive (UK)
Internet Archive 1870 edition: Punch and Judy by Collier, John Payne, 1789-1883; Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878
There is no Cruikshank cartoon of the Shallabalah in this edition. Yet other versions included the character of a foreigner called “Shallabalah, Grand Turk of Senoa”, later becoming the character of the Publican (according to Lyn Woolacott). See the puppet designated the Turk at top in ZAPWOW HQ’s collection.
In Chapter 16 of Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop, 13 year-old Nell Trent and her grandfather, who has a gambling addiction and is forced to flee the loan shark Quilp and their comfortable life in the curiosity shop, come across a group of Punch-and-Judy itinerant actors in a church yard who are mending their puppets, a number of which, including the puppet representing the “foreign gentleman”, are jumbled together in a long flat box:
Punch in the Churchyard by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz). Wood engraving, 3 1/8 x 4 1/4 inches (7.9 x 10.9 cm). — Part Ten, Chapter 16, The Old Curiosity Shop. Date of original serial publication: 11 July 1840. Master Humphrey’s Clock, no. 14, 177.
Passage Illustrated: The Tawdry Punch-and-Judy Men
The old man and the child quitted the gravel path, and strayed among the tombs; for there the ground was soft, and easy to their tired feet. As they passed behind the church, they heard voices near at hand, and presently came on those who had spoken.
They were two men who were seated in easy attitudes upon the grass, and so busily engaged as to be at first unconscious of intruders. It was not difficult to divine that they were of a class of itinerant showmen—exhibitors of the freaks of Punch — for, perched cross-legged upon a tombstone behind them, was a figure of that hero himself, his nose and chin as hooked and his face as beaming as usual. Perhaps his imperturbable character was never more strikingly developed, for he preserved his usual equable smile notwithstanding that his body was dangling in a most uncomfortable position, all loose and limp and shapeless, while his long peaked cap, unequally balanced against his exceedingly slight legs, threatened every instant to bring him toppling down. lay for the present nearly at his feet-might feel at last that he was clear of London.
In part scattered upon the ground at the feet of the two men, and in part jumbled together in a long flat box, were the other persons of the Drama. The hero’s wife and one child, the hobby-horse, the doctor, the foreign gentleman who not being familiar with the language is unable in the representation to express his ideas otherwise than by the utterance of the word “Shallabalah” three distinct times, the radical neighbour who will by no means admit that a tin bell is an organ, the executioner, and the devil, were all here. Their owners had evidently come to that spot to make some needful repairs in the stage arrangements, for one of them was engaged in binding together a small gallows with thread, while the other was intent upon fixing a new black wig, with the aid of a small hammer and some tacks, upon the head of the radical neighbour, who had been beaten bald. [Chapter XVI, 160-62]
The Old Curiosity Shop (25 April 1840-6 February 1841)
Source: Gutenberg – https://www.gutenberg.org/files/700/700-h/700-h.htm
Curious? Read Chapter 16 complete::
The sun was setting when they reached the wicket-gate at which the path began, and, as the rain falls upon the just and unjust alike, it shed its warm tint even upon the resting-places of the dead, and bade them be of good hope for its rising on the morrow. The church was old and grey, with ivy clinging to the walls, and round the porch. Shunning the tombs, it crept about the mounds, beneath which slept poor humble men: twining for them the first wreaths they had ever won, but wreaths less liable to wither and far more lasting in their kind, than some which were graven deep in stone and marble, and told in pompous terms of virtues meekly hidden for many a year, and only revealed at last to executors and mourning legatees.
The clergyman’s horse, stumbling with a dull blunt sound among the graves, was cropping the grass; at once deriving orthodox consolation from the dead parishioners, and enforcing last Sunday’s text that this was what all flesh came to; a lean ass who had sought to expound it also, without being qualified and ordained, was pricking his ears in an empty pound hard by, and looking with hungry eyes upon his priestly neighbour.
The old man and the child quitted the gravel path, and strayed among the tombs; for there the ground was soft, and easy to their tired feet. As they passed behind the church, they heard voices near at hand, and presently came on those who had spoken.
They were two men who were seated in easy attitudes upon the grass, and so busily engaged as to be at first unconscious of intruders. It was not difficult to divine that they were of a class of itinerant showmen—exhibitors of the freaks of Punch—for, perched cross-legged upon a tombstone behind them, was a figure of that hero himself, his nose and chin as hooked and his face as beaming as usual. Perhaps his imperturbable character was never more strikingly developed, for he preserved his usual equable smile notwithstanding that his body was dangling in a most uncomfortable position, all loose and limp and shapeless, while his long peaked cap, unequally balanced against his exceedingly slight legs, threatened every instant to bring him toppling down.
In part scattered upon the ground at the feet of the two men, and in part jumbled together in a long flat box, were the other persons of the Drama. The hero’s wife and one child, the hobby-horse, the doctor, the foreign gentleman who not being familiar with the language is unable in the representation to express his ideas otherwise than by the utterance of the word ‘Shallabalah’ three distinct times, the radical neighbour who will by no means admit that a tin bell is an organ, the executioner, and the devil, were all here. Their owners had evidently come to that spot to make some needful repairs in the stage arrangements, for one of them was engaged in binding together a small gallows with thread, while the other was intent upon fixing a new black wig, with the aid of a small hammer and some tacks, upon the head of the radical neighbour, who had been beaten bald.
They raised their eyes when the old man and his young companion were close upon them, and pausing in their work, returned their looks of curiosity. One of them, the actual exhibitor no doubt, was a little merry-faced man with a twinkling eye and a red nose, who seemed to have unconsciously imbibed something of his hero’s character. The other—that was he who took the money—had rather a careful and cautious look, which was perhaps inseparable from his occupation also.
The merry man was the first to greet the strangers with a nod; and following the old man’s eyes, he observed that perhaps that was the first time he had ever seen a Punch off the stage. (Punch, it may be remarked, seemed to be pointing with the tip of his cap to a most flourishing epitaph, and to be chuckling over it with all his heart.)
‘Why do you come here to do this?’ said the old man, sitting down beside them, and looking at the figures with extreme delight.
‘Why you see,’ rejoined the little man, ‘we’re putting up for to-night at the public-house yonder, and it wouldn’t do to let ‘em see the present company undergoing repair.’
‘No!’ cried the old man, making signs to Nell to listen, ‘why not, eh? why not?’
‘Because it would destroy all the delusion, and take away all the interest, wouldn’t it?’ replied the little man. ‘Would you care a ha’penny for the Lord Chancellor if you know’d him in private and without his wig?—certainly not.’
‘Good!’ said the old man, venturing to touch one of the puppets, and drawing away his hand with a shrill laugh. ‘Are you going to show ‘em to-night? are you?’
‘That is the intention, governor,’ replied the other, ‘and unless I’m much mistaken, Tommy Codlin is a calculating at this minute what we’ve lost through your coming upon us. Cheer up, Tommy, it can’t be much.’
The little man accompanied these latter words with a wink, expressive of the estimate he had formed of the travellers’ finances.
To this Mr Codlin, who had a surly, grumbling manner, replied, as he twitched Punch off the tombstone and flung him into the box, ‘I don’t care if we haven’t lost a farden, but you’re too free. If you stood in front of the curtain and see the public’s faces as I do, you’d know human natur’ better.’
‘Ah! it’s been the spoiling of you, Tommy, your taking to that branch,’ rejoined his companion. ‘When you played the ghost in the reg’lar drama in the fairs, you believed in everything—except ghosts. But now you’re a universal mistruster. I never see a man so changed.’
‘Never mind,’ said Mr Codlin, with the air of a discontented philosopher. ‘I know better now, and p’raps I’m sorry for it.’
Turning over the figures in the box like one who knew and despised them, Mr Codlin drew one forth and held it up for the inspection of his friend:
‘Look here; here’s all this Judy’s clothes falling to pieces again. You haven’t got a needle and thread I suppose?’
The little man shook his head, and scratched it ruefully as he contemplated this severe indisposition of a principal performer. Seeing that they were at a loss, the child said timidly:
‘I have a needle, Sir, in my basket, and thread too. Will you let me try to mend it for you? I think I could do it neater than you could.’
Even Mr Codlin had nothing to urge against a proposal so seasonable. Nelly, kneeling down beside the box, was soon busily engaged in her task, and accomplishing it to a miracle.
While she was thus engaged, the merry little man looked at her with an interest which did not appear to be diminished when he glanced at her helpless companion. When she had finished her work he thanked her, and inquired whither they were travelling.
‘N—no further to-night, I think,’ said the child, looking towards her grandfather.
‘If you’re wanting a place to stop at,’ the man remarked, ‘I should advise you to take up at the same house with us. That’s it. The long, low, white house there. It’s very cheap.’
The old man, notwithstanding his fatigue, would have remained in the churchyard all night if his new acquaintances had remained there too. As he yielded to this suggestion a ready and rapturous assent, they all rose and walked away together; he keeping close to the box of puppets in which he was quite absorbed, the merry little man carrying it slung over his arm by a strap attached to it for the purpose, Nelly having hold of her grandfather’s hand, and Mr Codlin sauntering slowly behind, casting up at the church tower and neighbouring trees such looks as he was accustomed in town-practice to direct to drawing-room and nursery windows, when seeking for a profitable spot on which to plant the show.
The public-house was kept by a fat old landlord and landlady who made no objection to receiving their new guests, but praised Nelly’s beauty and were at once prepossessed in her behalf. There was no other company in the kitchen but the two showmen, and the child felt very thankful that they had fallen upon such good quarters. The landlady was very much astonished to learn that they had come all the way from London, and appeared to have no little curiosity touching their farther destination. The child parried her inquiries as well as she could, and with no great trouble, for finding that they appeared to give her pain, the old lady desisted.
‘These two gentlemen have ordered supper in an hour’s time,’ she said, taking her into the bar; ‘and your best plan will be to sup with them. Meanwhile you shall have a little taste of something that’ll do you good, for I’m sure you must want it after all you’ve gone through to-day. Now, don’t look after the old gentleman, because when you’ve drank that, he shall have some too.’
As nothing could induce the child to leave him alone, however, or to touch anything in which he was not the first and greatest sharer, the old lady was obliged to help him first. When they had been thus refreshed, the whole house hurried away into an empty stable where the show stood, and where, by the light of a few flaring candles stuck round a hoop which hung by a line from the ceiling, it was to be forthwith exhibited.
And now Mr Thomas Codlin, the misanthrope, after blowing away at the Pan’s pipes until he was intensely wretched, took his station on one side of the checked drapery which concealed the mover of the figures, and putting his hands in his pockets prepared to reply to all questions and remarks of Punch, and to make a dismal feint of being his most intimate private friend, of believing in him to the fullest and most unlimited extent, of knowing that he enjoyed day and night a merry and glorious existence in that temple, and that he was at all times and under every circumstance the same intelligent and joyful person that the spectators then beheld him. All this Mr Codlin did with the air of a man who had made up his mind for the worst and was quite resigned; his eye slowly wandering about during the briskest repartee to observe the effect upon the audience, and particularly the impression made upon the landlord and landlady, which might be productive of very important results in connexion with the supper.
Upon this head, however, he had no cause for any anxiety, for the whole performance was applauded to the echo, and voluntary contributions were showered in with a liberality which testified yet more strongly to the general delight. Among the laughter none was more loud and frequent than the old man’s. Nell’s was unheard, for she, poor child, with her head drooping on his shoulder, had fallen asleep, and slept too soundly to be roused by any of his efforts to awaken her to a participation in his glee.
The supper was very good, but she was too tired to eat, and yet would not leave the old man until she had kissed him in his bed. He, happily insensible to every care and anxiety, sat listening with a vacant smile and admiring face to all that his new friend said; and it was not until they retired yawning to their room, that he followed the child up stairs.
It was but a loft partitioned into two compartments, where they were to rest, but they were well pleased with their lodging and had hoped for none so good. The old man was uneasy when he had lain down, and begged that Nell would come and sit at his bedside as she had done for so many nights. She hastened to him, and sat there till he slept.
There was a little window, hardly more than a chink in the wall, in her room, and when she left him, she opened it, quite wondering at the silence. The sight of the old church, and the graves about it in the moonlight, and the dark trees whispering among themselves, made her more thoughtful than before. She closed the window again, and sitting down upon the bed, thought of the life that was before them.
She had a little money, but it was very little, and when that was gone, they must begin to beg. There was one piece of gold among it, and an emergency might come when its worth to them would be increased a hundred fold. It would be best to hide this coin, and never produce it unless their case was absolutely desperate, and no other resource was left them.
Her resolution taken, she sewed the piece of gold into her dress, and going to bed with a lighter heart sunk into a deep slumber.
End of Chapter 16, The Old Curiosity Shop, Charles Dickens. 1840-1841
Source: Gutenberg – https://www.gutenberg.org/files/700/700-h/700-h.htm
In this three hour 1995 television series of The Old Curiosity Shop, the Punch and Judy puppeteers first appear on the scene at 49 minutes.36 seconds .
Link: YouTube: https://youtu.be/YXlWEeF7B5o
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