Vanguard November 1915

“A.B.C.” – A Dialogue.

Source: Unattributed, Vanguard, November 1915, p. 10;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

[This amusing piece is taken from the Scottish “Chartist Circular” of April 2, 1842, Vol. 11., No. 132.]

A. – Must not a poor working man wish himself at the devil, when he thinks how he is labouring hard all the day long, and gets so little, with scarcely a rag to cover his back, whilst so many thousand blue and red coats consume the fruits of labour in vice and idleness?

B. – Why do you complain of the blue and red coats? Is there not another vermin which consume our labour? I mean the black gowns!

A. – The black gowns, my friend, are the supporters of religion.

B. – The blue and red coats, my friend, are the supporters of the State.

A. – Pray, Sir, what is that which you call the State?

B. – Pray, Sir, tell me what do you call religion?

A. – By religion I mean the Archbishops, the Bishops, the Deans, and Prebendaries; their wives and mistresses; their legitimate and illegitimate children.

B. – The State is, the Queen’s most gracious Majesty, her ministers, her pensioners; their wives and mistresses; their legitimate and illegitimate children.

A. – A most excellent State!

B. – A most charming religion!

A. – What you call the State I should call a corrupted Government.

B. – What you call religion I should call a corrupted Church.

A. – Our religion, Sir, is founded upon the holy writings.

B. – Our State, Sir, is founded upon our most blessed constitution.

A. – Say, rather upon our blue and red coats.

B. – Or rather upon the black and purple gowns.

A. – But think for a moment of the eternal bliss which the Church promises to the tithe and church-ratepayers.

B. – But reflect for a moment on the happiness which the Government promises to its tax-paying, liege subjects.

A. – Fudge!

B. – Nonsense!

A. – Sir, you are an infidel.

B. – Sir, you are a Chartist.

A. – Wretched citizens!

B. – Miserable believers!

C. – Tut, tut; hold your tongues, ye fools! and listen to me: – In a village in Hungary there lived two farmers – the drollest fellows under the sun. The one would not have destroyed one field-mouse if you had given him a ton of gold; the other would not have allowed a slug to be destroyed if you had promised him the whole world; but the one who was fond of the mice saw perfectly the folly of his neighbour and laughed at him, and vice versa. Unhappily, the schoolmaster had not yet been abroad. Messrs. Martineau and Company’s moral checks were unknown among the mice and the slugs, and they multiplied so fast that within a short time the labours of the farmers were entirely consumed by them.

A. – Do you understand that?

B. – Do you comprehend him?

A. – Away with the slugs and the mice!

B. – Away with the mice and the slugs!

C. – Away with the vermin that consume in idleness the fruits of our industry!

A.B.C. – Amen!