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. Paragraph breaks have been introduced for easier reading.

This article takes the form of a catalogue of things other people think Samuel should do, and their disadvantages. There are lively exchanges with strangers, and the piece ends in an abrupt altercation with an intrusive voice. The colloquial tone of the dialogue contrasts with a few self-conscious archaisms, such as ‘good my lord’ and ‘the wind did blow’. The longest of the accounts is of a flight in a balloon, which is reminiscent of no.58 (13th October 1888) ‘Samuel on Balloon-atics and some other Modern Madmen.’ In 1828, the first balloon known to have flown from Cardiff, piloted by Charles Green, disappeared over the Bristol Channel, but it is unlikely Samuel or his readers knew this. —David Skilton

H, sir, what a ‘lovelly Whitsun" this has been. I Iike Whitsuntide myself, good my lord, and I have had some nice lovely Whitsuntides in my time, sir – rather. I once went up in a balloon on a Whit-Monday. Although my body rose, my heart sank, I can tell you. I remember starting very well. Everybody shook hands with me so affectionately, just as though [they] might be saying to themselves, ‘Well, after all, we might as well be cordial to him; we may most probably never see him again.’ Several undertakers sent me circulars, for my intention to ascend had been made public, and I also received many offers from enterprising hatters, cheap bespoke tailors, and drapers selling off at alarming sacrifices to throw out showers of handbills during the course of the balloon in the heavens. But I told them all that I neither intended to be a corpse nor a ‘liverer’ of bills, that my mission was solely to explore the regions of the air and not to post bills on the planets.

I can't say, in the conventional way, that the balloon ‘shot up’ when it was released. It rather seemed to me, sir, that the earth shot down, and that the balloon remained stationary. Ugh, it was awful; the wind did blow through my whiskers, and my hair fairly rustled with fear. ‘What's up?’ asked the aeronaut, with a grim smile that I could have whacked him for if I'd had him on good solid earth and not in a bit of a car that reminded me of a rickety clothes' basket hung on cobwebs. ‘Nothing's up,’ answered I – ‘except the balloon.’ ‘Then mind that you aren't seasick,’ said the aeronaut. Well, sir, I at last ventured to look down, and it is astonishing how mean and small my fellow creature[s] looked – I always thought them a mean lot, but never so much so as when I saw them from the balloon. ‘I don't think you'd make an aeronaut,’ said my companion with a full-sized sneer. ‘Glad of it,’ said I – ‘is that what you call yourself, old cloud merchant?’ ‘You appear to want to fall out,’ answered he. ‘Not at all,’ said I, emphatically, ‘that's just what I'm afraid of doing.’

Whitsuntide bicyclist resting for refreshments. Hope he can rider back home.

Oh, sir, it was fearful. Talk about the beauties of the clouds – I'd rather be amongst clouds of steam on a washing day. I vowed that my ambition should never more take such high flights if once I reached terra firma again. We began to descend at last. My fellow voyager climbed about amongst the ropes, rather suggesting as he did so a gigantic spider in a huge web, and the earth suddenly seemed to be possessed with an insane desire to bump up and knock our infernal machine. I never knew how I got out, but I have a sort of dim idea that the aeronaut seized me by the neck and heels and chucked me out. I only know, sir, that I found myself lying on my face in a ploughed field, with a bottle in one hand and my mouth full of mould. The aeronaut bumped along for about another field's length, and then cast out his anchor and heaved to. I don't know whether that description is too nautical, but at any rate that's what he did. The newspaper I was connected with paid the aeronaut two guineas for allowing me the privilege of nearly frightening myself to death. I'd any time pay the same amount to be spared the ordeal again. But I may say, sir, that in the course of an elaborate article I subsequently wrote, I spoke of the elasticity of my spirits in the regions of the air, and I advised everybody to have a balloon voyage for the good of their health. One man I know of, a master butcher, took my advice, and he now says that if ever he should meet me in a dark place there'll be a ‘slaughter-house do.’

The Whitsuntide photograph nuisance. ‘Ere, gents, come and be took; you’ll make a lovely picture.’

I used always to get new clothes at Whitsun tide. Nowadays, I'm not particular when I get them, or even where I get them. I used to put them on new on Whit Sunday. They were by no means new by Whit Tuesday night. A sort of fatality seemed to pursue them somehow. I sometimes used to fall and split the knees of the pants pertaining thereto, and then an irate father used to try and counterbalance matters by splitting the seat of the same with an ashplant. If this sort of accident didn't occur I was almost certain to get wet through, or to sit on a newly painted garden seat, or to lean my back against a freshly tarred boat, or to run against an obtrusive nail that nearly ripped all my garments off my back. When I had my new clothes on, sir, I used to take some fair damsel to a gala or by a trip – and to pay her expenses, an action which I used to regard in the light of a great privilege conferred upon me. I've rather altered my opinion nowadays; if I took a girl out now I wouldn't insult her, and put her under an obligation to myself, by paying all her expenses – I'd let her pay her own.

It is astonishing how the possession of several daughters of one's own – daughters with well-developed appetites, alters the aspect of things. At the time, though, I used to order sumptuous teas, even when the damsel I was with said that she ‘really had no appetite at all.’ I'd take her at her word now, and let her content herself with an acid drop, what do you think? I used for the sake of female society, too, to consent to participate in all the gruesome horrors of cheap trips, and to travel impossible distances to the most improbable places. On such occasions, I remember, I used to have to start off somewhere about the middle of the night, and I invariably left my pocket handkerchief at home, or I endured the horrors of being ‘dry’ all the journey, and without the opportunity of slacking my thirst, too, or I found that the young lady had brought her ugly female cousin with her, or I found myself the member of a party consisting of seven females, and but three males who were, of course, expected to pay all the exes., or I got into the same carriage with a gentleman suffering from drinking too much ‘plamba-juice,’ who challenged me to mortal combat and said that he couldn't ‘abear swells as was no swells at all.’ Oh, I've had some cheerful Whitsuntide experiences, I can tell you.

Left: Silly old man. Would get in the way of the Aunt Sally sticks at ‘Skipla Glen.’ Right: The fashionable hat the hat-tractions of which depend on the gee-url.

Of course there are many ways of spending Whitsuntide – you'd know that before I told you. If you have any money the best way to spend Whitsuntide is to stop at home and keep it; if you haven't any money, the best thing to do is to find a friend who has. It is astonishing how these festive occasions open men's hearts – and pockets. If you be a wise man let nothing tempt you to take a party of children out for an airing – let some female relation have that inestimable pleasure. If you do it yourself, woe betide you. One of them is sure to get lost, or another will probably be taken badly with some mysterious ailment, or one of them will get run over or fall into a pond and expect you to fish it out – and in any case the mother is absolutely certain to saddle you with all the blame.

The old gentleman who objects to smoking.

Probably if you go inside a house of refreshment just to console yourself by means of a ‘nip’ of something soothing, and leave the ‘dear’ children to wait outside, all the lot will disappear, and when you find them, after a fearfully bad time, some hours afterwards all yelling in concert, the crowd will what is vulgarly called cry ‘sha-a-a-me’ on you, and refer to you as a ‘gurt brewt.’ Don't be had, my brethren, don't be had. If the dear children must have Whitsuntide treats, why give each a bad half-penny – and go out alone. I like to see a working man enjoying himself in a burst of maddening gaiety by wheeling a perambulator at a crowded gala, it looks so nice and fatherly, doesn’t it? How he must enjoy himself. Probably his considerate and affectionate wife has gone off by a trip with a female friend. He, in his own festive way, has stopped at home, has blackleaded the grate, washed the children, and taken the youngest out for a carriage – baby carriage – ride. A nice programme, sir – yet have I seen it carried out.

Last modified 7 March 2022