Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Bona-Fide Traveller (1905)

This humorous article was published in The Lepracaun in November 1905. I'm mainly posting it for the cartoon attached which I find hilarious, showing the journey from Finglas to Phibsboro at the time for a certain type of hardy wanderer. Thanks to the glacially paced reform of our licencing laws the bona-fide traveller no longer exists. Here's a description I found elsewhere that is succinct. "The BFT in need of refreshment had of course to be Bona Fide. He had to be on a journey to somewhere for a genuine reason and the journey had to be more than three miles long. He was not to be just looking for drink when he was not entitled to it. The premises were not to be opened in the ordinary way. The BFT had to seek admission and if the licensee was satisfied that he was in fact Bona Fide he could be admitted and served." This is from:

 Our Unnatural History - The Bona-Fide Traveller

The Bona-Fide Traveller is an animal which subsists chiefly on damp, which it travels long
distances to obtain. It is frequently found in the suburbs on Sundays before two and after
seven o'clock, when it goes in pursuit of its favourite moisture.
It is said that the first bona-fide traveller was manufactured by an Act of Parliament by way of
a legislative joke, which descriobed him as a person who had travelled at least three miles
from where he had slept the previous night, and whose visit to licenced premises, "must not be
for the prupose of obtaining drink." This exquisite sample of parliamentary humour has been
the wonder and delight of all who have come in contact with it- from the perplexed
"man on the door", who enquires from Macaulay's New Zealander if he slept there last night, to
his lordship of Appeal- that, forlorn hope to whom the nonplussed trader looks in vain, generally,
for an explaination of this lawyer's El Dorado.That genial combination of Socrates and Grimaldi,
the late Baron Dowse, defined the "traveller" as a person "who had a bona-fide thirst,
wanted a bona-fide drink, and had the the bona-fide money to pay for it."
The late Doctor Whyte, when City Coroner, described this animal as a "bona-fide nuisnace."
Mr. T.W. Ruseell, from his recent remakrs, evidently regards him as a combination of the seven
deadly sins with a dash of bubonic plague thrown in.
All if which birngs us no nearer to the solution of a question which will continue to fill
and to emplty pockets as long as desicated humanity can get beyond the "three mile limit" to
warble "here's fortune."
The language of this animal is largely composed of adjectives, sometimes of a highly suphureous
character, and at others of such an insanitary description as to bring tears to the eyes of
 the Public Health Committee.
Occasionally the "still small voice" of "Ten shillings or seven days," has the effect of restoring
the equilibrium, and it is whispered that the music of "Forty Shillings or a month" has invaribaly been the means of effecting a complete pacification.

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