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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Eugène Labiche (1815–1888) and Édouard Martin (1828–1866)

Catching a Train

From “Perrichon’s Journey”

Railway-Station in Paris.


Per.This way! Don’t let’s get separated from each other! We sha’n’t find each other again. Where is our luggage? Ah, very well! Who has the umbrellas?

Hen.I, papa.

Per.And the carpetbag? And the top-coats?

Mme. Per.Here they are.

Per.And my Panama hat? I must have left it in the cab! Oh, no, it’s here in my hand! Dear, how warm I am!

Mme. Per.It’s your own fault! You hurry us and hustle us about so! I don’t like traveling like that!

Per.It’s only the start that is troublesome. Wait till we are settled. You stay here while I get the tickets. Here, hold my Panama.(At the ticket-window.)Three first-class tickets to Lyons.

Tick.-Sel.Not open yet. In a quarter of an hour.

Per.Oh, beg pardon; I am traveling for the first time.(Coming back.)We’re ahead of time.

Mme. Per.There, I told you that we should have lots of time. You wouldn’t let us eat our breakfast.

Per.It’s better to be early. One can look at the station.(To HENRIETTE.)Well, my dear, are you happy? Here we are started! A few minutes more and, swift as the arrow of William Tell, we shall be rushing toward the Alps.(To his wife.)Have you brought your opera-glass?

Mme. Per.Of course.

Hen.I am not reproaching you, but it’s two years since you promised to take us traveling.

Per.My child, I had to sell my stock. A merchant cannot retire from his business as easily as a little girl from her boarding-school. Furthermore, I waited for your education to be over, so as to perfect it by letting the great spectacle of nature shine before you.

Mme. Per.Are you going on like that?

Per.Like what?

Mme. Per.Spouting fine phrases in a railway-station.

Per.I am not spouting phrases. I am elevating the thoughts of my child.(Drawing a note-book from his pocket.)Here, daughter, is a note-book that I have bought for you.

Hen.What for?

Per.To record our expenses on one side and our impressions on the other.

Hen.What impressions?

Per.Our impressions of the journey. I will dictate and you shall write.

Mme. Per.What, you’re going to commence author at this time of life?

Per.There’s no question of doing that, but it seems to me that a man of the world ought to have ideas, and that he ought to gather them in a note-book.

Mme. Per.That will be charming!

Per.(aside).She gets like that every time she has had to go without her coffee.

A Porter(rolling a wheelbarrow with luggage).Here is your luggage, sir. Will you have it registered?

Per.Certainly! But first I have to count it. It’s well to know where one is. One, two, three, four, five, six; my wife, seven; my daughter, eight; and myself, makes nine. There are nine of us.

The Porter.Off you go, then!

Per.Let’s hurry!

The Porter.Not that way; this side!

Per.Ah, very well. Just wait here! Don’t let’s lose each other!