The Tourist’s Alphabet

In going to Glasgow today we spent rather a disproportionate amount of our time on trains. Admittedly, we spent less by 3 hours than we would have done had we gone on a bus, but we still have tremendous sympathy with the writer of ‘The Tourist’s Alphabet.’ Train journeys through the years really haven’t changed all that much. Especially when the Scouts are all rammed into the carriage bound for Dalmany, There’s a chattering drunk on one side, a somnolent one on the other (doomed, it turned out, to miss the Kirkcaldy stop in spite of the cumulative efforts of ourselves and others to the contrary), no room to stand much less for a trolley (see above about the Scout contingent) and the train is bent on stopping at every God-forsaken place between Edinburgh and Dundee. And for good measure they’re showing off Edinburgh Gateway, the new station, too. Punch, of course is much wittier about the whole fraught episode, so without further ado, ‘The Tourist’s Alphabet.’

The Tourist’s Alphabet

(By Mr Punch’s Railway Book)

A is the affable guard whom you square:
B is the “Bradshaw” which leads you to swear:
C is the corner you fight to obtain:
D is the draught of which others complain:
E are the enemies made for the day:
F is the frown that you wear all the way:
G is the guilt that you feel going third:
H is the humbug by which you’re deterred:
I is the insult you’ll get down the line:
J is the junction where you’ll try to dine:
K is the kettle of tea three weeks old:
L are the lemon drops better unsold:
M is the maiden who says there’s no meat:
N is the nothing you thus get to eat:
O is the oath that you use – and do right:
P is the paper to which you don’t write:
Q are the qualms to directors unknown:
R is the row which you’ll find all your own:
S is the smash that is “nobody’s fault:”
T is the truth, that will come to a halt:
U is the pointsman – who’s up the whole night:
V is the verdict that says it’s “all right.”
W stands for wheels flying off curves:
X for express that half shatters your nerves:
Y for the yoke from your neck that you fling,
And Z for your zest as you cut the whole thing!

N.B. Punch obviously had no recourse to Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait tea as an antidote to the woes of travel. It tastes mildly of pink and we feel a bit like we’re drinking strawberry fool, but as a restorative it does come highly recommended by us.

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