This article has been transcribed from a copy of the Cardiff Times in the online collection of scanned Welsh newspapers 1804-1919 in the National Library of Wales, with grateful recognition of the free access accorded to all readers.
Whitsuntide: There is no explanation for this article appearing on the 1st of August, when Whitsun that year fell on the 10th of May.
'In the Spring a young man’s fancy turns to love', Alfred Lord Tennyson, 'Locksley Hall' (1835).
'the root of all of evil': 'For the love of money is the root of all evil', 1 Timothy 6:10.
'Variety's the very spice of life / That gives it all its flavour'. William Cowper (1731–1800) The Task (1785). Book II, 606-7.
'Jerusalem pony': a large type of donkey.
'Nap': a card game in which each player receives five cards and declares the number of tricks he or she expects to win (OED)
'Whitsuntide and other Bank Holidays': the prime mover in the Bank Holiday Act of 1871 was Sir John Lubbock M P (1834-1913), partner in the London bank Robarts, Lubbock & Co, politician and naturalist. —— David Skilton
hitsuntide is that season of the year when the artizan [sic] classes consider it incumbent upon them to buy new clothes, and fine weather at this period of the year maketh the heart of the ready-made clothier rejoice. He has more than one objection to wet weather. In the first place it prevents his customers from 'coming to the scratch,' and in the second there is the danger that his cheap suits may show a decided and objectionable tendency to shrink. Both of which are things of an unpleasant and unprofitable nature to all people concerned.
In the spring, we are told by the people's poet [Tennyson], a young man's fancy turns to tales of love.
Now I have no desire to contradict the poet, because having, a long time ago, been a young man, he ought to be in a position to state, with some degree of accuracy, the direction in which the thoughts of a young man leaned. But at Whitsuntide the poet is out of the running, for the fancy of young men, aye, and young women, too, turns to trips and Saturday to Tuesday excursions to some adjacent water-place.
Ready for Whitsuntide
There is no mock modesty about your Whitsuntide excursionist. He is out for the day, and he goes forth with the intention of getting as much out of the day as is possible. He does not stick at trifles, and his unmelodious voice may be heard in full swing from the moment that he arrives at his destination until the hour whereat he departs. His idea of pleasure is peculiar, and he seems to have a full sense of the value of the saying that variety is charming.
Nothing daunts him, and if by chance he comes in for a dose of mal-de-mer during a brief trip on the briny he sets things right by a dose of something spirituous, followed, in all probability, by a riotous ride on a 'Jerusalem pony.' He eats and drinks with a lofty disdain of consequences, and might not, so miscellaneous is his menu, be possessed of digestive organs at all. Beer and skittles are all the same to him, and he will tackle either of them with equal relish; while as for the invigorating amusements known as 'cocoa-nuts, three shies a penny' – why, he positively revels in it. It is really surprising bow much enjoyment a Whitsuntide tripper can get out of a limited supply of the root of all evil – money
Amuses his Friends
Given his railway fare and a few shillings to spend, and your tripper would not change places with the Prince of Wales – a personage for whom he has, as likely as not, a lofty contempt. No, there is no nasty pride about the Whitsuntide young man. He is out for the day, and is open to join hands with Tom, Dick, or Harry, provided the acquaintance is likely to lead to horse-play or hilariousness.
His idea of fun may not be refined — it generally is not — but it is far from being limited, and he can extract more amusement out of trifles than cleverer men out of fine opportunities.
Nothing daunts the Whitsuntide young man, and even a railway journey of lengthened duration has no terrors for him, for he whiles away the tedium [ … ] 'Nap,' comic songs and Salvation Army melodies, in which he is usually joined by such female companions as may accompany him. He is a law unto himself, and any attempt to imitate him on the part of more rational beings would only end in a lamentable failure. To ordinary and educated people Whitsuntide. and all like holidays, are things to be missed; periods when the haunts of the tripper are rigidly avoided, and such a respite as they afford is spent far from the madding crowd, where the excursionist does not wander and the sane man is at rest.
Fond of Quiet Whitsuntide
Yet much as the cultured may object to Whitsuntide and other Bank Holidays which result in seaside resorts being temporarily turned into a pandemonium; they are things looked forward to by thousands every year and to them they are a bright spot in the oasis of a toil-tied life, a taste of pleasure in the long round of labour and longing.
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Last modified 30 April 2022