On the subject of tips

‘Arms and the Man’. Fun (24 May 1876): 228. Signed with monogram lower right. Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Click on image to enlarge it.

Flora (who is going out for tea, and is told that her friend’s house is near “the Builders’ Arms”: — “My good man, can you tell me the way to the Builders’ Arms?”

Possessor of those articles (briskly): — “’Ere they be’s, quite at your sarvice, my pretty little dear!”

“Arms and the Man” refers to the opening lines of Homer’s Iliad, and this light-hearted encounter of a well-dressed women of the prosperous classes with a working man (a “builder”) plays on the popular name of a public house (or pub). When asked the “the way to the Builders’ Arms,” he opens his to “my pretty little dear,” using the kind of familiarity that so shocked the country-bred Margaret Hale when she encountered the workingmen of Milton, a fictional counterpart of Manchester, in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. This encounter — or collision — of classes, unlike so many others that take place in this periodical’s cartoons, seems all in good fun without the usual condescension to members of the working classes.

Note how carefully the artist has rendered the worker’s smoking pipe, satchel, hat, and clothing, particularly what seem to be garters or ties below each knee. —  George P. Landow

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Last modified 24 May 2016