The quotation T. Michael Pope has invited a reply to is from the preacher Mr. Chadband in Bleak House, as pictured here by ‘Phiz’:
but in a fine competition tradition, I don’t seem to have the results of 11A, so you will have to wait a while. Apologies. However 11B, which asked for an imaginary reconstruction of Pope’s overheard in a conversation – “Well, why shouldn’t he? Ice cream ain’t food, is it?’, in which this was the last line, is with us … The winners, in this order, are the redoubtable (although it doesn’t go with his – or her – name), Pibwob; and Marion Peacock. It may help to know that, on March 4th 1930, speaking at the Hotel Cecil, Baldwin had proposed a national referendum on (of all things) tariffs on food imports (it’s worth bearing in mind that that this was the United Empire Party policy which had led to The Week-end Review being founded in the first place).
MR. RADDE. This ‘ere Baldwin! Calls ‘isself a politician!
MR.TORRE. Well, why shouldn’t ‘e? Been elected, ain’t e?
R. Politician! When ‘e don’t tell them newspaper blokes to go to —
T. Well, why should ‘e? That’s where your lot’s going to sit, ain’t it?
R. Funny, ain’t yer? ‘Im and ‘is Referendum! What’s ‘e want that for?
T. Well, why shouldn’t ‘e? ‘Tain’t Bolshie, is it?
R. No, it’s a Greek word, they tells me. Why can’t ‘e speak English?
T. Well, why should ‘e? Most of the Empire’s ‘eathen, ain’t it?
R. Fact is, Baldwin’s waiting to see which way the cat’ll jump.
T. Well, why should ‘e? We’re a democracy, ain’t we?
R. Democracy be blowed! Why can’t ‘e say straight out if ‘e’s going to tax the working man’s food?
T. Well, why should ‘e? That’s what a Referendum’s for, ain’t it?
R. I don’t think! It’s my belief ‘e’d tax everything. Why ‘e’d tax – ‘e’d tax ice-cream.
T. Well, why shouldn’t ‘e? Ice-cream ain’t food, is it?
[Apologies for those pesky inverted commas]
At the corner of Paradise Crescent
Mrs. Harris. ‘Eard the latest about the Greenses, Mrs. ‘Olloway?
Mrs. Holloway: What, them up at Orimore. No, what’s up now?
Mrs. Harris (breathing importantly). Bin and cut his wife’s throat ‘e ‘as, then turns in for the night hisself with his head in the gas-oven.
Mrs. Holloway. You never say so! I always thought him such a quiet one.
Mrs. Harris. Them quiet ones is often the worst. Always quarrelling they was though nobody knew it ‘cept Mrs. Parker, the lady wot did the scrubbin’ up there. Told me confidential she did that ‘e couldn’t stand ‘is wife’s cooking. And larst week-end, Mrs Parker says she ‘ear ‘im swear to go without food until the Monday.
Mrs. Holloway. Oh he did, did he?
Mrs. Harris. Then it appears she catch him on the Sunday afternoon red-‘anded if you please, eatin’ ice off a barrer round the corner. Gave it him she did, not ‘arf!
Mrs. Holloway: Well, why shouldn’t ‘e? Ice-cream ain’t food, is it?