Norman W. Tupper and the policeman’s lap

U 12.1165-74: -- And here she is, says Alf, that was giggling over the Police Gazette with Terry on the counter, in all her warpaint [...]

And what was it only one of the smutty yankee pictures Terry borrows off of Corny Kelleher [...] Norman W. Tupper, wealthy Chicago contractor, finds pretty but faithless wife in lap of officer Taylor. Belle in her bloomers misconducting herself, and her fancyman feeling for her tickles and Norman W. Tupper bouncing in with his peashooter just in time to be late after she doing the trick of the loop with officer Taylor.

A number of people have very aptly drawn attention recently to a story in the National Police Gazette of 16 September 1893, which tells how Norman W. Tupper returned unexpectedly early from work one day to find his wife in the arms of a local policeman. Joyce is certainly referring to this story, and must have had the issue with him in Zurich in the summer of 1919 when he added “<Molly: Police Gazette>” to his Cyclops notesheets (Herring, p. 102).

But Joyce was at times influenced by images, and we should pay particular attention to the sketch which accompanied the story, several pages further on (p. 5). The image shows a distraught and moustachioed Tupper bursting in on the couple, with Mrs Tupper draped suggestively over an equally moustachioed and seated Officer Taylor’s. In Joyce’s description Tupper is wielding a gun ('peashooter'), whereas in the sketch he is just flailing his arms (it was Taylor who had the revolver).

Joyce’s interest is in the picture, not the article. In fact, his text copies almost word for word the caption provided by the sub-editor of the National Police Gazette (see emboldened text above):

Norman W. Tupper, a wealthy Chicago contractor, finds his young and pretty wife seated on the lap of Officer Taylor.

John Simpson

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