Evening News (London), June 4, 1903

An Appetiser.

Murder picture-postcards are said to be the latest craze.


Since first the earth began to roll
 Ingenious persons have invented
Full many a boon to cheer the soul,
 And make their fellow-men contented.
Of all such things, that give delight,
 That make a man feel free from woe, blest,
The murder picture-postcard’s quite
 The brightest, finest, best, and noblest.

How sweet to leap from bed, and straight
 Towards the breakfast-board to trudge it,
And find heaped up beside your plate
 A gruesome, yet artistic, budget.
And, as with cheery spoon you crack
 The egg that forms your daily ration,
“E’en so,” you feel, “did murderer Jack
 Hit victim Bill (see illustration).”

Oh, when I take my toast all hot,
 And probe the matutinal kipper,
Propped up against the coffee-pot
 I scan the deeds of Jack the Ripper.
As with the knife I carve the bread,
 As through the crust I crisply run it,
I ponder on the mighty dead,
 And think how Barnwell would have done it.

Yet, as I view these scenes of gore
 (The fact, I own, seems past explaining),
The hunger that I felt before
 Has got a curious trick of waning.
For food I seem to care no jot,
 Though keen at first through early rising;
Perhaps a murder-picture’s not
 Particularly appetising.


Printed unsigned in newspaper; entered by Wodehouse in Money Received for Literary Work.
George Barnwell, a character in a seventeenth-century ballad who robs and murders his uncle, became even more famous as the subject of George Lillo’s 1731 play The London Merchant, the first prose tragedy drama in English.