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Voces Populi

F. Anstey

Book Overview: 

Voces Populi, a collection of his Punch pieces, is considered to be among his best works. He treats an array of situations from the charlatan conjuror to a row over a lady's large, obstructive hat at the music hall.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Auct. (coldly). I should have thought it was easy to identify by the attitude. Now, Gentlemen, give me a bidding for these very finely-executed works by Bimbi. Make any offer. What will you give me for 'em? Both very sweet things, Gentlemen. Shall we say ten guineas?

A Grubby Man. Give yer five.

Auct. (with grieved resignation). Very well, start 'em at five. Any advance on five? (To Assist.) Turn 'em round, to show the back view. And a 'arf! Six! And a 'arf! Only six and a 'arf bid for this beautiful pair of figures, done direct from nature by Bimbi. Come, Gentlemen, come! Seven! Was that you, Mr. Grimes? (The Grubby Man admits the soft impeachment.) Seven and a 'arf. Eight! It's against you.

Mr. Grimes (with a supreme effort). Two-and-six!

[Mops his brow with a red cotton handkerchief.

Auct. (in a tone of gratitude for the smallest mercies). Eight-ten-six. All done at eight-ten-six? Going ... gone! Grimes, Eight. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A hit-and-miss series of vignettes from the late 19th Century, told from the perspective of someone overhearing the murmurings of the public. Some stories are excellent, some just sort of drag. I know my way around the Late Victorian fairly well, but I suspect that the less amusing tales were funnie