A Grim Joke

A Grim Joke. Signed with monogram at lower left. Source: Fun (15 October 1864): 50. Source: Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Click on image to enlarge it

Conscientious Curate: — “Go to the Ant, thou sluggard!”
Cadger: — “Uncles is EASIEST to find among most o’ us, Guv’nor.”

The begging navvy sits next to his shovel, which announces “I are starving,” so the young minister instructs him to act like the ant in Aesop’s Fables and work. The Cadger (i.e, beggar) brushes him off with a pun, responding that most construction workers are uncles or men. Given Fun’s poems and cartoons about extreme poverty and starvation, I'm not sure exactly how to take this cartoon. Is it rebuking lazy members of the working class, or is it rebuking an insensitive cleric who tells the man to work when none is to be found? —  George P. Landow

[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the University of Florida library and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.

Last modified 19 February 2016