ISSN: 1946-1712
Subscribe now! It's free--don't miss an issue!

Punch, January 7, 1893

April 2009

Novel, but Not New: A Story of Romance
in Town and Country.

 Artwork : This image is from the original 1893 magazine and is in the public domain. (The terrible pun is theirs, too.)
Man of letters.

Artwork : This image is from the original 1893 magazine and is in the public domain. (The terrible pun is theirs, too.)

I. — Publisher’s Sanctum. Amateur Author discovered in consultation with Enterprising Publisher.

Enterprising Publisher. Yes, my dear Sir, I think, if you pay all the expenses, we can see our way to giving An Oppressed Ophelia a chance.

Amateur Author. You would not take a small risk?

Ent. Publisher. Why no, my dear Sir. I do not see how An Oppressed Ophelia can be made a safe investment without your entire assistance. Possibly we may treat about your next novel, which I understand you to say is called An English Hamlet, on other terms. In the meanwhile, let us hope that An Oppressed Ophelia will be successful.

Exeunt Author and Publisher severally.

II. — The Same. Three months have passed. Publisher and Author are discovered discussing the situation.

Author (gloomily). And so you say that An Oppressed Ophelia is a dead failure?

Publisher (more cheerfully). Yes, my dear Sir, but do not be distressed. Thanks to my foresight, and your acquiescence in a business-like arrangement, my firm has lost nothing by the transaction.

Author (dryly). That I can readily understand! Well, I suppose you have plenty of copies you can give back to me?

Publisher. Well, scarcely. You see the Londoners did not take up your book very warmly; but we have made an arrangement to dispose of the rest of the issue in the country at a considerable reduction.

Author. And An English Hamlet?

Publisher. We shall be glad to produce on the same terms!

Exeunt Author and Publisher severally.

III. — Interior of the Circulating Library at Slocum-Pogis-on-the-Stodge. Author and Female Librarian discovered.

Author. Well, if you haven’t got the popular novels I have already mentioned, I will have a book by Rider Haggard, Stevenson, Meredith, or Rudyard Kipling.

Librarian. All out, Sir. Won’t you have something else?

Author. Well, an amusing volume of travels or recollections. Can you recommend one?

Librarian. We did have several books of that kind in the Season, Sir, but just now our stock is a little low.

Author (nettled). Why, I don’t believe you have a book in the shop. You seem to be out of everything!

Librarian. Oh, yes, we have, Sir. Here, for instance, is one of this year’s novels. It’s called An Oppressed Ophelia.

Author (pleased). Oh, you have got that, have you?

Librarian. Got it! Why, the whole place is full of them! To tell you the truth, Sir, it came down by mistake. We ordered books by Black, Meredith, Stevenson, and the rest of them, and they sent us back, by accident, I suppose, a dozen copies of An Oppressed Ophelia. If you would like it, Sir, I will look you out a copy with some of the leaves cut.

Author (shortly). No, thankee, I’ve read it!


Librarian. Dear me, what an odd gentleman! He’s the first as has read An Oppressed Ophelia, although I have had it in the shop these six months!

Scene closes in upon her astonishment.

Tip the Author

If you liked this, tip the author! We split donations, with 60% going to the author and 40% to us to keep the flashes coming. (For Classic Flashes, it all goes to support Flash Fiction Online.)

Payments are through PayPal, and you can use a credit card or your PayPal account.


About the Author

Punch, January 7, 1893

Punch, or “The London Charivari,” was a British humor (sorry, ‘humour’) magazine that ran from 1841 until 2002. It still has a Web site and cartoon library.

We were not able to find information about the authors of individual stories, so this author will have to remain anonymous. Project Gutenberg has the complete text of many Punch magazines, and you can find this issue here.

Your Comments

comments powered by Disqus

Save It or Spread the Word


This work is in the public domain.

Copyright (c) 2007-2012 Flash Fiction Online
and the authors of the individual stories and articles.
All Rights Reserved.
Email the Webmaster with questions or comments about this site.
For other contact information visit our contact page.