Produced by Malcolm Farmer, Sandra Brown and the Online Distributed
PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
JANUARY 7, 1914.
[Illustration: "THE MONARCH OF THE GLEN:" A NEW _LAND-SEER_.]
* * * * *
Heavily dragged the night; the Year
Was passing, and the clock's slow tick
Boomed its sad message to my ear
And made me pretty sick.
"You have been slack," I told myself, "and weak;
You have done foolishly, from wilful choice;
Sloth and procrastination--" Here my voice
Broke in a squeak.
And deep repentance welled in me
As I mused darkly on my sin;
Yea, Conscience stung me, like a bee
That gets her barb well in.
"Next year," I swore, in this compunctious mood,
"I will be energetic, virtuous, kind;
Unflinching I will face the awful grind
Of being good."
I paused, half troubled by a thought--
Were my proposals too sublime?
Vowed I more deeply than I ought?
I glanced to see the time.
It was 12.10 A.M. At once a thrill,
A wave of manful resolution, sped
Through all my being. "Yes," I bravely said;
"_Next_ year I will!"
* * * * *
A PLAY OF FEATURES.
[Being Sir GEORGE ALEXANDER'S production of _The Attack_ at
the St. James's.]
SCENE--Alexandre Merital's _house_.
_Daniel Merital_. My father is a wonderful man. Leader of the Social
Party in the Chamber of Deputies, noted among his colleagues for his
absolute integrity, supported by the millionaire newspaper proprietor,
Frepeau, whose motives, between ourselves, are not altogether above--
Oh, are you there, Father? I didn't see you. I'm just off to play
_Enter_ Renee de Rould.
_Renee_. Mr. Merital, may I speak to you a moment?
_Georges Alexandre Merital (with, characteristic suavity_). Certainly.
_Renee_, I love you. Will you marry me?
_Merital (surprised_). Well, really--this is--I--you--we--er, he,
she, they--Frankly, you embarrass me. (_Apologetically_) This is my
_Renee_. But I thought you loved me. Don't you?
_Merital_. No. That is to say, yes. Or rather--
_Renee (tearfully_). I w-wish you could make it plainer whether you
d-do love me and are pretending you don't, or you d-don't love me and
are pretending you do. It's v-very unsettling for a young girl not to
_Sir GEORGES ALEXANDRE (surprised and a little hurt_). Can't you tell
from my face?
_Miss MARTHA HEDMAN_. This is my first appearance in England, Sir
_Sir GEORGES_. True. I was forgetting. Well, when you have been with
us a little longer, you will know that this is my face when I adore
anyone very much, but, owing to an unfortunate episode in my past
life, am forced to hide my love.
_Renee (alarmed_). Your past _wife_ isn't alive somewhere?
_Merital_. Oh no, not that sort of thing at all. (_Embracing her
carefully_.) I will marry you, Renee, but run along now because my
friend Frepeau is coming, and he probably wants to talk business.
_Frepeau (excitedly_). Merital, you are in danger. A scandalous libel
is being circulated about you.
_Merital (calmly_). Pooh! Faugh!
_Frepeau_. It is said that thirty years ago (Alexandre's _nose
twitches_), when you were in a solicitor's office (Alexandre's _jaw
drops_), you stole ninepence from the stamp drawer (Alexandre's
_eyeballs roll_). Of course it is a lie?
_Merital (with a great effort obtaining command of his features
again_). Of course.
_Daniel Merital_. Father's face has been very odd these last few
weeks. Sometimes I wonder whether he didn't steal the money after all.
But we shall know after the libel action this afternoon. It starts
at two. Oh, are you there, Father? I'm just going to see a man about
_Merital_. Ah, Frepeau, the man I wanted to see. (_Plaintively_)
Frepeau, when you called on me in the First Act, don't you think you
might have given some indication by the play of your features that it
was _you_ who originated this libel against me, and that you are my
deadly enemy? The merest twitch of the ears would have been enough.
_HOLMAN CLARK_. I wanted it to be a surprise for the audience.
_Sir GEORGES_. Yes, but is that art?
_HOLMAN CLARK_. Besides, in real life--
_Sir GEORGES (amazed_). Real life? Good Heavens, HOLMAN, is this
_your_ first appearance in England too?
_HOLMAN CLARK (annoyed_). Let's get on with the play.
_Sir GEORGES_. Certainly. Wait a moment till I've got my
"strong-man-with-his-back-to-the-wall" expression. (_Arranging his
face_.) How's that?
_HOLMAN CLARK_. Begin again.... That's better.
_Merital (sternly_). Now then, Frepeau! I must ask you to give
instructions that the libel is withdrawn in court this afternoon. If
_Merital (softly_). I know somebody else who stole something from the
stamp drawer thirty years ago. (Frepeau's _whiskers tremble_.) Aha, I
thought I'd move you this time.
_Frepeau_. It's a lie! How did you find out?
_Merital (blandly_). I said to myself, "I am the hero of this play and
I've got to get out of this mess somehow. If I could only find some
papers incriminating the villain--that's you all would be well." So
I--er--found them.... It's no good, Frepeau. Unless you let me off,
_Frepeau (getting up_). Well, I suppose I must. But personally I'd be
ashamed to escape through such a rotten coincidence as that. (_Making
for the door_.) I'll just go and arrange it. Er, I suppose this is the
_Sir GEORGES_. The end? Good Heavens, man, I've got my big scene to
come. I have to explain _why_ Merital stole the money thirty years
_HOLMAN CLARK (eagerly_). Let me guess. His wife was starv--
_SIR GEORGES_. No, no, don't spoil it. (_Sternly_) It's a very serious
thing, HOLMAN, to spoil an actor-manager's big scene.
_Daniel Merital_. Father has won his case. I _am_ glad. Oh, are you
there, Father? I'm just going downstairs to count the telegrams.
_Renee_. You have won the case? I knew it. I knew you were innocent.
_Merital (nobly_). Renee, I am not innocent. I did steal that
ninepence. I would have confessed it before, but I had to think of my
family. (_Cheers from the gallery_.) Of course it would also have been
unpleasant for _me_ if it had been known, but that did not influence
me. (_More cheers_.) I thought only of my children. Let me tell you
now _why_ I stole it.
_Renee (eagerly_). Let me guess. Your wife was starving--
_Merital (astounded_). Wonderful! How ever did you know?
_Renee_. --and you meant to repay the money.
_Merital_. More and more marvellous. Yes, Renee, that was how it was.
But it hardly does justice to the affair. It is too short. I want to
tell you the story of my _whole_ life and then you will understand.
Watch my face carefully and observe how it works; notice the constant
movement of my hands; listen to the inflections of my voice. This is
going to be the longest speech ever made by an actor-manager, and you
mustn't miss a moment of it. H'r'm! Now then. (_Nobly_) I was born
fifty-three years ago. My father....
_Renee (half-an-hour later_). I still love you.
_Merital (with some truth_). What a love yours is!
_Enter_ Daniel, Julien _and_ Georgette Merital.
_Daniel_. Father, we have a confession to make. For some time we
doubted your innocence. Your face--well, you'd have doubted it
yourself if you'd seen it.
_Merital (taking his hand affectionately_). Ah! Daniel, I see I must
tell you the story of my life. (_Excitement among the audience_.) And
you too, Julien. (_Panic_.) Yes, and--little Georgette!
A. A. M.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE EARTHLY PARADISE.
_Coster_. "SEE THAT, LIZ? THERE'S A COUNTRY FOR YOU!"]
* * * * *
[Illustration: PEACEFUL PERSUASION.
(JONES IS NOT NATURALLY A GENEROUS MAN.)]
* * * * *
THE ROMANCE OF A BATTLESHIP.
_(From the Navy League Annual of 1916.)_
I have just returned (writes a Naval correspondent) from an
interesting visit to the condemned battleship, _H.M.S. Indefensible_,
which is now anchored off Brightlingsea, in the charge of retired
petty-officer Herbert Tompkins and his wife.
The history of _H.M.S. Indefensible_, as gathered from the lips of her
present curator, is so romantic as to be worthy of permanent record.
In reply to my first question, "Whom did she belong to first of
all?" Mr. Tompkins said, "Well, she was ordered first of all by the
Argentine Republic, but, owing to a change of Government, they sold
her to the Italians. I remember the launch at Barrow quite well," he
said. "It was a mighty fine show, with the Italian Ambassador and his
wife--the _Magnifico Pomposo_, they called her, I think it was--and
there was speechifying and hurraying and enough champagne drunk to
float her. That was just three years ago: a super-Dreadnought, they
"Then how did the British Government get her?"
"Lor bless you, Sir, that didn't come for a long time yet. Ye see,
Italy shortly afterwards made an alliance with Denmark, and, wishing
to do the Danes a good turn, she arranged to sell them the _Magnifico
Pomposo_ at cost price--about three millions I think it was. But
immediately afterwards the Russo-Chinese war broke out, and the
Chinese offered the Danes four millions for the _Dannebrog_, as they
had called her, so by the time the engines were put into her she had
been rechristened the _Hoang-Ho_. But the war never came off: you
remember that Mr. ROOSEVELT settled it by fighting a single combat
with the Russian champion after he had been appointed President of
China; so the Chinese leased the _Hoang-Ho_ to the King of SIAM for
four years at a million a year."
"Did she get out to Siam, then?"
"Oh no, Sir, no fear. The crew ran her on the Goodwin Sands on her
trial trip, and there she stuck for a year. Before they got her
off the Siamese had been released from their bargain by the Hague
Tribunal, Mr. ROOSEVELT had resigned the Presidency of China for that
of Mexico, and the new President sold the _Chulalongkorn_ back to
Great Britain. Of course by that time she was quite obsolete, so they
called her the _Indefensible_, and put a nucleus crew on board for
a few months. Then when Mr. LLOYD GEORGE became Prime Minister, they
offered her to Canada as a gift; but the Canadians didn't like her
name. And when Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL came back last month he decided
that she was to be made a target; but last week I heard she was to be
sold for scrap-iron."
"Then whom does she belong to now?"
"Well, Sir, some says she belongs to Canada, and others say she's
British, and others say she belongs to Mr. CHURCHILL, but in a manner
of speaking I think she rightly belongs to Mrs. Tompkins and me."
* * * * *
"On making enquiries at the Hospital this afternoon, we learn
that the deceased is as well as can be expected."--_Jersey
It would, of course, be foolish to expect much.
* * * * *
A NEW BOOK OF BEAUTY.
A hundred years ago they had line, engravings by CHARLES HEATH, and
the long-necked, ringleted ladies looked wistfully or simperingly at
you. I have several examples: _Caskets, Albums, Keepsakes_.
This book is different. The steel engravers have long since all died
of starvation; and here are photographs only, but there are many
more of them, and (strange innovation!) there are more gentlemen than
ladies. For this preponderance there is a good commercial reason, as
any student of the work will quickly discover, for we are now entering
a sphere of life where the beauty of the sterner sex (if so severe a
word can be applied to such sublimation of everything that is soft and
voluptuous and endearing) is more considered than that of the other.
Beautiful ladies are here in some profusion, but the first place is
for beautiful and guinea-earning gentlemen.
In the old Books of Beauty one could make a choice. There was always
one lady supremely longer-necked, more wistful or more simpering than
the others. But in this new Book of Beauty one turns the pages only to
be more perplexed. The embarrassment of riches is too embarrassing. I
have been through the work a score of times and am still wondering on
whom my affections and admiration are most firmly fixed.
This new Book of Beauty has a very different title from the old ones.
It is called _The Pekingese_, and is the revised edition for 1914.
How to play the part of _Paris_ where all the competitors have some
irresistibility, as all have of either sex! Once I thought that Wee Mo
of Westwood was my heart's chiefest delight, "a flame-red little dog
with black mask and ear-fringes, profuse coat and featherings, flat
wide skull, short flat face, short bowed legs and well-shaped
body." But then I turned back to Broadoak Beetle and on to Broadoak
Cirawanzi, and Young Beetle, and Nanking Fo, and Ta Fo of Greystones,
and Petshe Ah Wei, and Hay Ch'ah of Toddington, and that superb
Sultanic creature, King Rudolph of Ruritania, and Champion Howbury
Ming, and Su Eh of Newnham, and King Beetle of Minden, and Champion Hu
Hi, and Mo Sho, and that rich red dog, Buddha of Burford. And having
chosen these I might just as well scratch out their names and write in
others, for every male face in this book is a poem.
The ladies, as I have said, are in the minority, for obvious reasons,
for these little disdainful distinguished gentlemen figure here as
potential fathers, with their fees somewhat indelicately named; for
there's a husbandry on earth as well as in heaven.
Such ladies as are here are here for their beauty alone and are beyond
or below price. Their favours are not to be bought. Among them I note
with especial joy Yiptse of Chinatown, Mandarin Marvel, who "inherits
the beautiful front of her sire, Broadoak Beetle"; Lavender of
Burton-on-Dee, "fawn with black mask"; Chi-Fa of Alderbourne, "a most
charming and devoted little companion"; Yeng Loo of Ipsley; Detlong
Mo-li of Alderburne, one of the "beautiful red daughters of Wong-ti of
Alderburne," Champion Chaou Ching-ur, of whom her owner says that
"in quaintness and individuality and in loving disposition she is
unequalled" and is also "quite a 'woman of the world,' very _blasee_
and also very punctilious in trifles;" Pearl of Cotehele, "bright red
with beautiful back"; E-Wo Tu T'su; Berylune Tzu Hsi Chu; Ko-ki of
Radbourne and Siddington Fi-fi.
Every now and then there is an article in the papers asking and
answering the question, What is the greatest benefit that has come to
mankind in the past half century? The answer is usually the Marconi
system, or the cinema, or the pianola, or the turbine, or the Roentgen
rays, or the telephone or the motor car. Always something utilitarian
or scientific. But why should we not say that it was the introduction
of Pekingese into England from China? According to an historical
sketch at the beginning of this book, the first Pekingese were brought
over in 1860, after the occupation of Pekin by the Allies. The first
black ones came here in 1896, and now in 1914 there are thousands of
these wholly alluring and adorable and masterful little big-hearted
creatures in England, turning staid men and women into ecstatic
worshippers and making children lyrical with cries of appreciation.
The book before me is the finest monument yet raised to this
* * * * *
[Illustration: NEW SEASON'S NOVELTIES.
1. THE CAT'S-MEAT HAT-PIN PROTECTOR.
2. THE MUD-SPLASH VEIL.
3. THE THROAT CORSET.]
* * * * *
_(A Story of the Stone Age.)_
Of all the young bachelors in his tribe not one was more highly
esteemed than Ug, the son of Zug. He was one of the nicest young
prehistoric men that ever sprang seven feet into the air to avoid the
impulsive bite of a sabre-tooth tiger, or cheered the hearts of grave
elders searching for inter-tribal talent by his lightning sprints in
front of excitable mammoths. Everybody liked Ug, and it was a matter
of surprise to his friends that he had never married.
One bright day, however, they were interested to observe that he
had begun to exhibit all the symptoms. He brooded apart. Twice in
succession he refused a second help of pterodactyl at the tribal
luncheon table. And there were those who claimed to have come upon him
laboriously writing poetry on the walls of distant caves.
It should be understood that in those days only the most powerful
motive, such as a whole-hearted love, could drive a man to writing
poetry; for it was not the ridiculously simple task which it is
to-day. The alphabet had not yet been invented, and the only method by
which a young man could express himself was by carving or writing on
stone a series of pictures, each of which conveyed the sense of some
word or phrase. Thus, where the modern bard takes but a few seconds to
write, "You made me love you. I didn't want to do it, I didn't want
to do it," Ug, the son of Zug, had to sit up night after night till
he had carved three trees, a plesiosaurus, four kinds of fish, a
star-shaped rock, eleven different varieties of flowering shrub, and
a more or less lifelike representation of a mammoth surprised while
bathing. It is little wonder that the youth of the period, ever
impetuous, looked askance at this method of revealing their passion,
and preferred to give proof of their sincerity and fervour by waiting
for the lady of their affections behind a rock and stunning her with a
But the refined and sensitive nature of Ug, the son of Zug, shrank
from this brusque form of wooing. He was shy with women. To him there
was something a little coarse, almost ungentlemanly, in the orthodox
form of proposal; and he had made up his mind that, if ever he should
happen to fall in love, he would propose by ideograph.
It was shortly after he had come to this decision that, at a
boy-and-girl dance given by a popular local hostess, he met the
divinest creature he had ever seen. Her name was Wug, the daughter of
Glug; and from the moment of their introduction he realised that she
was the one girl in the world for him. It only remained to compose the
Having steadied himself as far as possible by carving a few poems, as
described above, he addressed himself to the really important task of
It was extraordinarily difficult, for Ug had not had a very good
education. All he knew he had picked up in the give and take of tribal
life. For this reason he felt it would be better to keep the thing
short. But it was hard to condense all he felt into a brief note.
For a long time he thought in vain, then one night, as he tossed
sleeplessly on his bed of rocks, he came to a decision. He would
just ideograph, "Dear Wug, I love you. Yours faithfully, Ug. P.S.
R.S.V.P.," and leave it at that. So in the morning he got to work, and
by the end of the week the ideograph was completed. It consisted of
a rising sun, two cave-bears, a walrus, seventeen shin-bones of
the lesser rib-nosed baboon, a brontosaurus, three sand-eels, and
a pterodactyl devouring a mangold-wurzel. It was an uncommonly neat
piece of work, he considered, for one who had never attended an
art-school. He was pleased with it. It would, he flattered himself, be
a queer sort of girl who could stand out against that. For the first
time for weeks he slept soundly and peacefully.
Next day his valet brought him with his morning beverage a piece of
flat rock. On it was carved a simple human thigh-bone. He uttered
a loud cry. She had rejected him. The parcel-post, an hour later,
brought him his own ideograph, returned without a word.
Ug's greatest friend in the tribe was Jug, son of Mug, a youth of
extraordinary tact and intelligence. To him Ug took his trouble.
Jug heard his story, and asked to see exactly what he had ideographed.
"You must have expressed yourself badly," he said.
"On the contrary," replied Ug, with some pique, "my proposal was
brief, but it was a model of what that sort of proposal should be.
Here it is. Read it for yourself."
Jug read it. Then he looked at his friend, concerned.
"But, my dear old man, what on earth did you mean by saying she has
red hair and that you hate the sight of her?"
"What do you mean?"
"Why, this ichthyosaurus."
"That's not an ichthyosaurus. It's a brontosaurus."
"It's not a bit like a brontosaurns. And it _is_ rather like an
ichthyosaurus. Where you went wrong was in not taking a few simple
lessons in this sort of thing first."
"If you ask me," said Ug disgustedly, "this picture-writing is silly
rot. To-morrow I start an Alphabet."
* * * * *
But on the morrow he was otherwise employed. He was standing,
concealed behind a rock, at the mouth of the cave of Wug, daughter
of Glug. There was a dreamy look in his eyes, and his fingers
were clasped like steel bands round the handle of one of the most
business-like clubs the Stone Age had ever seen. Orthodoxy had found
* * * * *
[Illustration: SCENE--_An Army Boxing Competition_.
_Civilian_. "RATHER A FEARFUL MAN, THAT?"
_Soldier_. "WELL, 'E AIN'T REALLY VERY FEARFUL. YOU SEE THE BIG
FELLOW'S 'IS SERGEANT AN' THIS IS THE ONLY CHANCE 'E 'AS OF GETTING A
BIT OF 'IS OWN BACK."]
* * * * *
Sir ERNEST SHACKLETON is to undertake a new expedition to the South
Pole, and across the whole South Polar Continent. It is said that an
offer from Dr. COOK, who happens to be over here, to show Sir ERNEST
how he might save himself much wearisome travelling in achieving his
object, has been rejected.
Judge PARRY declares, in the current number of _The Cornhill_, that
lost golf balls belong to the KING; and the ballroom at Buckingham
Palace is, we understand, to be enlarged at once.
Mr. BERNARD SHAW is the latest addition to Madame TUSSAUD'S gallery
of wax-works. But Mr. CHESTERTON must not be jealous. He too, we
understand, will be placed there if room can be found for him.
From some correspondence in _The Express_ we learn that members of
more than one savage tribe have a habit of standing on one leg. We see
no objection to this at all, but we were bound to protest the other
day, in a crowded train, when we came across a stout gentleman
standing on one foot. The foot, we should mention, was ours.
Of the late Mr. JOHN WILLIAM WHITE, who was only twenty-one inches in
height, we are told that he was an ardent politician. Could he have
been a Little Englander?
Straws show which way the wind blows, and the fact that the first
prize in the Christmas Lottery at Madrid has been won in Madrid, and
the second in London, is held by wiseacres to prove that there is a
secret understanding between our country and Spain.
The fact that France's Colonial Empire, which is already extensive,
has been increased by the birth, during a volcanic eruption, of a
new island in the New Hebrides, has caused some little irritation in
The Lost Property department of Scotland Yard will, it is said, this
year easily beat all previous records in the number of articles lost.
But we English have always had the reputation of being good losers.
It is announced that Miss PHYLLIS DESMOND, of the Gaiety Theatre, and
Mr. C.R. FINCH NOYES, of the Royal Naval Flying Corps, were married
secretly last June. As proving how difficult it is to keep a secret we
believe that the fact has been known for some time past both to Miss
DESMOND and Mr. NOYES.
Special cinema productions depicting scenes of a sacred nature were
provided by enterprising managers for the clergy during the holiday
season. When one remembers that there is also _Who's the Lady?_
running under distinguished episcopal patronage, the modern curate
cannot complain that he is not well catered for.
We congratulate _The Daily Mail_ on finding a peculiarly appropriate
topic for discussion at Christmas time. It was "Too Much Cramming."
Thieves broke into the vestry during the service and stole the gold
watch and chain which the minister preaching the Christmas sermon at
Marylebone Presbyterian church had left there. The minister must be
sorry now that he did not trust his congregation.
Mr. GEORGE BAKER, of Brentwood, received a presentation the other day
on completing his fiftieth year as a carol singer. He mentioned that
once, at the beginning of his career, his carol party was broken up by
an angry London householder, who fired a pistol-shot from his bedroom
window. The modern Londoner, we fear, is decadent, and lacks the
Dr. MARY WILLIAMS, medical inspector of schools under the
Worcestershire County Council, has discovered, as a result of
investigations, that there is a higher proportion of nervous,
excitable children among the red-haired ones than among the others.
We have ourselves known more than one such lad lose all self-control
merely upon being addressed as "Carrots."
Is a motor-car, it is being asked, feminine--like a ship? A
correspondent in _The Times_ refers to her as a lady. Presumably
because she wears a bonnet.
A correspondent writes to _The Pall Mall Gazette_ asking whether there
is anything in the idea that a large number of used penny postage
stamps will enable a person to be received into a charitable
institution. We have always understood that the collector of one
million of these stamps is admitted into a lunatic asylum without
having to pass the entrance examination.
A lion from the bush, attracted by the roaring of its caged relatives
in a circus at Wankies, South Africa, suddenly made its way into the
menagerie. The beast was ultimately driven away by attendants armed
with red-hot pokers, but five persons were seriously injured in the
panic. The ticket-collector who let the animal in without payment has
Speaking of MEDWIN'S _Revised Life of Shelley_ a critic says, in a
contemporary: "He puts the well-known boats of Archimedes into blank
verse." These boats were, we presume, fitted with ARCHIMEDES' famous
The Hindujah barrage on the Euphrates has now been completed by an
English firm, and will provide water for the Garden of Eden. The
structure, we presume, is a blend of the ADAM style with NOAH'S
"TRAINING SHIP OFF THE EMBANKMENT" is a heading which attracts our
attention. This seems a much better idea than having the vessel _on_
the Embankment, where it would be in everyone's way.
* * * * *
THE LAST STRAW.
["The way in which individual taste is allowed to assert
itself lends a curious charm to the present modes."--_Fashion
This is the finish, Josephine.
Through every swift sartorial change
Constant and true my love has been,
Nor showed the least desire to range.
The hobble only brought to me
These thoughts with consolation laden:--
"Lo, this is Fashion's fell decree;
One must not blame the maiden.
"It is not hers this hideous choice;
She blindly follows Fashion's lead,
And deference to a ruling voice
Proclaims her just the wife I need.
Nought questioning, she answers to
That voice, as soldiers to a trumpet;"
And thus I choked the thought that you
Were barmy on the crumpet.
But now unhappy doubts intrude
To bid my satisfaction shrink;
For Fashion in a gracious mood
Allows her devotees to think.
Since for your present garb, it seems,
The mode is not to blame _in toto_,
This is the end of love's young dreams
(Dear, you may keep my photo).
* * * * *
"Of course, there is a dress parade, with some wonderful
dresses, but if it had been only a parade it would not have
been less interesting."--_Daily News._
It would have been more interesting--but we hardly expected _The Daily
News_ to say so.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE HOLIDAY ENTERTAINERS.
_Extract from Mr. Herbert Stodge's letter to his sister._ "WE WERE
GLAD TO HAVE OUR NEPHEW AND NIECE WITH US, BUT, FRANKLY, THEY ARE TOO
"WE TOOK THEM TO THE PANTOMIME;
THEY CAME OUT GOLFING WITH US;
AND WE ALLOWED THEM TO SIT UP LATE,
BUT THE ONLY TIME THEY SMILED WAS WHEN THEY SAID GOOD-BYE."]
* * * * *
[Illustration: AT OUR LOCAL FANCY CARNIVAL.
_Individual in Tights_. "I SAY, THIS PLACE IS BEASTLY WARM--I THINK
I'LL CUT OFF HOME."
_The One with the Scythe_. "I THINK I WILL ALSO. I WONDER WHAT THE
* * * * *
Charles, when our protest was lodged, merely replied that our favour
of the 10th inst. was to hand, and that he really could not see his
way to moving further in the matter. Let me explain the present extent
of Charles's movement.
Miss Donelan, who ought to have known better, had allowed herself to
be saddled with a thing called a Branch subscription list on behalf of
the St. Nicholas New Year Offering.
Having exploited the probables and possibles she finally handed the
document on to me with instructions to tout it round among my friends.
(This is the sort of thing you get nowadays for placing your life at a
young woman's disposal.)
Unfortunately I have no friends just now, except what I want to keep.
While I was thus at a loss, Charles came to stay for a few days three
doors off. He lives a long way away and would have time to forget
before I saw him again. So on the day before his departure I bearded
him like a man.
"Charles," I began, "you are fabulously rich. Your income comes in at
such a pace that you hardly ever know within five shillings how much
you have at the bank."
Charles blinked through the smoke of a violet-tipped cigarette.
"What about it?" he asked.
"This," I said; "I am, very reluctantly, offering you the chance of
doing good. All you have to do is to sign your name here for anything
up to a hundred pounds, and the good does itself. It is the Saint
Nicholas New Year Offering."
"What does it do?" asked Charles uncomfortably.
"Do?" I answered. "Why, I don't think it does exactly _do_. You see
it's a New Year Offering."
"I see," said Charles. "It doesn't do; it offers. Just like a Member
"I wish," I said, "instead of being funny at other people's expense
you would be serious at your own, and tell me exactly how much I can
put you down for?"
"There you go again," said Charles. "You want me to think of some
definite amount on the spot. You know I hate thinking, and I hate
definite amounts. And I loathe doing anything on the spot."
I looked at the subscription list. The last entry was:--
Major-General R. Hewland, L5 5s. 0d.
"You needn't do any thinking," I explained patiently. "You need only
stick down exactly the same as the last man. And if you'll promise to
do it I'll leave the list with you, and you can fill it in when you
feel sufficiently off the spot."
"Exactly the same?" asked Charles.
"Exactly," I said, with rising hopes.
"All right," said Charles. "I'll let you have it some time."
Four days later, at Miss Donelan's urgent request, I wrote to Charles
for it. It came in less than forty-eight hours.
Extract from conclusion of subscription list returned by Charles:--
Major-General R. Hewland, L5 5s. 0d.
" " " " " " "
* * * * *
"MR. LLOYD GEORGE
GOING TO A WARMER CLIMATE."
_Midland Evening News_.
* * * * *
ANOTHER ACCIDENT TO AN INFINITIVE.
"It is good news to at last hear that progress is being made
again towards healing the 'split.'"--_Nottingham Football
So far not much progress is visible.
* * * * *
"Lord and Lady Arthur Hill arrived at Maples yesterday from
And Mrs. and Miss Tomkins (in pursuit of bargains) continue to arrive
daily at Peter Snelbody's from Cricklewood.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE SPLENDID PAUPERS.
FIRST TURKISH OFFICIAL (_presented with a photograph of the new
Turkish Navy in lieu of six months' deferred pay_). "SO, WE'VE GOT A
_DREADNOUGHT_, HAVE WE?"
SECOND TURKISH OFFICIAL. "I DON'T KNOW WHO GETS THE DREAD, BUT I KNOW
WE'VE GOT THE NOUGHT."]
* * * * *
_whereby the Good People may be brought back to a house which
they have deserted_.
Near about us dwells--
You who roam the hills at night,
You who haunt the dells--
Where you harbour, hear us!
By the Lady Hecate's might,
Hearken and come near us!
Though we greatly fear, alack!
Angered you and made you pack
To our present grief,
Hearts you shall not harden:
Bathe your hurts and come you back
Here to house and garden!
By the oak and ash and thorn,
By the rowan tree,
This was done ere we were born:
Kith nor kin are we
Of the folk whose blindness
Shut you out with scathe and scorn,
Banished with unkindness.
See, we call you, hands entwined,
Standing at our door,
With the glowing hearth behind
And the wood before.
Thence, where you are lurking,
Back we bring you, bring and bind
With our magic's working.
Lo, our best we give for cess,
Having naught above
Handsel of our happiness,
Seizin of our love.
Take it then, O fairies!
Homely gods that guard and bless,
Little kindly _Lares_.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _(5.35 A.M. workman's train.)_
_Bill_. "'ULLO, 'ERB; GOT A JOB, THEN?"
_'Erb._ "I AIN'T GOIN' UP TO LON'ON FOR A TANGO LESSON, I GIVE YOU
* * * * *
WHAT OUR READERS THINK OF US.
_The Daily Express_ having invited its readers to intimate their
opinion of that journal, _Mr. Punch_ decided also to give the
grumblers a chance of saying what they think of his production, and
he now publishes a typical selection of the letters which have reached
Sir,--I gave up your journal many years ago on account of its
partisanship, and never read it now. Only last week I came
across a paragraph in my copy which made me throw the paper
into the waste-paper basket.
Sir,--Why is it you always favour the Tories?
Sir,--If you continue to publish cartoons with a pronounced
Radical bias I am afraid you will lose at least one.
Sir,--I object to the advertisements. I think it would be a
good move if you were to drop these, increase the number of
pages, and reduce the price to a halfpenny. In taking this
course you would have the support of several influential
members of my parish, in addition to myself.
A COUNTRY PARSON.
Sir,--What your paper needs is light relief. Could you not
give us a little humour now and then?
A POPULAR WRITER.
P.S.--The last MS. you returned to me was very much crumpled.
Please be more careful in the future.
Sir,--I think it a pity you publish jokes. In this age, when
all things--even our dear Bishops--are considered fit subjects
for jest, we could do with one serious-minded paper. Trusting
you will think this over,
Sir,---You should see our American comic papers.
WASHINGTON G. BUSTER.
Sir,--I find the blank pages at the back of the cartoons very
useful for making notes on. Could you not extend this feature?
Sir,--I think you would do well to cater more for women--who,
after all, are a rising sex. A page each week devoted to
modern fashions would not be at all out of place in your
Sir,--In my opinion your paper is the cleverest in the
country--nay in the world. Nowhere else is such exquisite
literary discrimination shown. I enclose a small contribution
for your consideration, and am,
* * * * *
[Illustration: "TWELFTH NIGHT" (JAN. 6).
_Mr. Lloyd George (as_ Malvolio). "Fool, there was never man so
notoriously abused."--_Act IV., Scene 2._]
* * * * *
I arrived at home at three o'clock on a frosty afternoon. "Now,"
thought I, "I shall have a quiet time before tea and shall be able to
write a few letters and start my article." It was a dream of usefully
employed leisure, but it didn't last long.
I found the whole family, with the addition of a little boyfriend,
gathered together in a very purposeful and alarming way in the library
There was about them an undefinable air of the chase, for they were
all well-booted and belted, and Peggy had a large clasp-knife dangling
at her waist. "It is for the hare," she said, "when we catch him."
"The hare?" I said. "What hare?"
"You," said the lady of the house cheerfully, "are to be the hare. You
are to run till you are cooked, and then you will be caught."
"What madness is this?" I said.
"It's not madness a bit," said Helen indignantly. "It's a
"And I," said Rosie, "have torn up all _The Timeses_."
"And I," said John, who is not always sure of his tenses, though he is
very voluble, "have tored up _The Daily Newses_."
"That's capital," I said with enthusiasm. "A paper-chase is the best
fun in the world. I'll see you start and give you a cheer."
"You can't do that," said Helen firmly, "because we've settled that
you're to carry the bag and be the hare."
"Come, come," I said, "this is an unworthy proposal. Would you chase
your more than middle-aged father over the open country? Never. How
could he look the village in the face if he were to be seen scattering
little bits of paper from a linen bag? He would fall in their
estimation and would drag you all with him in his fall. John," I said,
"you would not have your father fall, would you?"
"It would make me laugh," said John, and the rest seemed to think that
this callous remark settled the matter.
"Anyhow," I said, "I must have plenty of law."
"We won't have any law," said Helen, who is an intelligent child;
"it's all quarrellings."
"Law," I said, "is the embodiment of human wisdom. In this case it
means that I'm going to have ten minutes' start. Everyone of you
must pledge his or her honour not to move until I've been gone ten
They made no difficulty about this, and, the lady of the house having
appointed herself time-keeper and having promised to have a large
tea ready for us when we returned, I was sent on my way with a bag of
paper and many shrill shouts of encouragement.
Now I ask my colleagues in the parental business to consider my case.
I daresay they fancy themselves as runners on the strength of their
remembered boyish feats and of certain more recent runs when they have
lingered too long over breakfast and have had to catch a train. I warn
them not to build a paper-chase on so slender a foundation. A jog-trot
seems the easiest thing in the world, but after two hundred yards the
temptation to lapse into a walk becomes irresistible. I will dwell no
further on my own experiences, but transfer myself in imagination to
the hounds who were chasing me. Afterwards I heard so much of their
exploits that I almost came to feel I had shared in their daring and
been a party to their final success.
From the garden door the line led across the road and on to a track
skirting the railway. This piece was taken at a brisk pace, the scent
being breast-high. A sheet might have covered the whole pack. Then
came a hairpin turn over the level crossing, a swing to the right and
a steady trudge up the hill. Half-way up there were gates to the right
and the left, and here the blown but wary hare had laid his first
false trail. This unsuspected device roused the utmost indignation,
and doubts were freely expressed as to its being legitimate. John was
sent to the right to investigate; Peggy went off to the left, which
proved to be the true trail, and in a very short time the dauntless
five were once more in full cry. Rosie, who is a reader of books,
afterwards said that no sleuth-hounds could have done the thing
better. So by paths and ploughed fields and over gates and stiles the
dreadful chase continued until there came another check. "These," said
Helen, pointing to some pieces of paper, "are not newspaper. They
are bits of letters." It was too true. _The Timeses_ and _The Daily
Newses_ had given out, and the hare, omitting nothing that might lead
to his destruction, had torn up all his available correspondence. It
threw the pack out for a few minutes, but they rallied. In another
hundred-and-fifty yards they ran into their hare, who, paperless
and letterless, had taken refuge behind a tree and was ignominiously
So ended our great Christmas paper-chase, an event which must remain
justly celebrated both for the ardour with which it was undertaken and
for the endurance with which it was pursued. What a chatter there was
as we returned, what a narration of glorious incidents of pace, of
skill and of cunning defeated by greater cunning. Falls there had been
and shin-scrapes and the tearing of skirts and stockings, and legends
were made up and told again and again. And at home the lady of the
house had to hear it all once more, and the tea she gave us was voted
the best in the world.
* * * * *
Copy of letter to Clerk of the Peace in reply to Jury Summons:--
DEAR SIR, Your to hand re Sumons to Quarter Sessions on
I beg to be excused from this as I have ann absess forming
under a bad tooth and at the present time my face is very much
further that the 9th being a red letter day in my life being
the day on which my dear wife passed away
and I have understood that all those over 60 year of age was
exempt from these things. So I shall be extreemly obligid if
you could free me this time answer by bearer will oblig
* * * * *
[Illustration: AFTER A BAD DAY'S GOLF.
"HERE WE ARE AGAIN."]
* * * * *
An extraordinary domestic tragedy is reported from a remote
province of Poland. A beautiful young woman, named Vera Alexandrina
Polianowski, who had been married only about two years, was expecting
the return home of her husband, a sailor. During his absence of five
months a mournful calamity had befallen her in an affection of the
larynx, which threatened to deprive her temporarily of the power to
articulate. Realising her impending affliction, she had taught a grey
parrot, which her husband had left with her, to exclaim repeatedly
from just inside the door of her cottage, in joyous accents that bore
no inconsiderable resemblance to her own once melodious voice, these
touching words, "Enter, dearest Vladimir, and console me for my
It chanced, however, that before marrying Vladimir Polianowski, the
sailor, Vera Alexandrina had had a lover in poor circumstances named
Vladimir Crackovitch, whom, with the thoughtlessness of a beautiful
young girl, she had encouraged to get rich as quickly as he could
in America and then return to claim her as his bride. Vladimir
Crackovitch had taken her at her word. With the silent determination
of a great soul, he had amassed about a hundred thousand dollars in
America in less than four years, and only two or three minutes before
Vera Alexandrina's husband was due to arrive he himself stood at the
cottage door with folded arms, asking himself if he should or should
not enter and reproach Vera Alexandrina for her inconstancy.
His hesitation was suddenly overcome by the parrot. "Enter, dearest
Vladimir, and console me for my misfortune!" it cried eagerly from
within, and, not for an instant doubting that it was an invitation
from the woman whom he still loved fondly in spite of her perfidy, and
being unaware of her laryngeal affliction, he bounded into the
house and hurried from room to room until he found Vera Alexandrina
But Vladimir, the sailor, had already in the meantime, from the top of
an adjacent lane, beheld Vladimir Crackovitch at the door of his home,
and, being a man of the most blindly passionate and jealous impulses,
his next procedure may be imagined.
Several hours later a neighbour called at the cottage and discovered
the three corpses in one sad heap: Vera Alexandrina Polianowski, shot
through the breast; at her side, Vladimir Crackovitch, with a bullet
in each eye; and, still clutching his revolver, Vladimir, the sailor,
seated upon his grim cushion of the dead, his back supported against
the wall under the domestic lamplit icon, with a smile of hellish
satisfaction frozen upon his lips and the remaining three bullets
buried in his heart.
The above is not necessarily a true story. It is a specimen of the
small-print news with which the rather young Assistant Sub-Editor
of _The Dullandshire Chronicle_ (established 1763) is permitted,
occasionally, to divert those of _The Chronicle's_ subscribers who
take an intelligent interest in continental affairs.
* * * * *
"You know the 'Tziganes,' don't you?--those marvellous
gentlemen in red coats with sleek dark singlets, exotic
complexions, and bold, rolling black eyes."--_Sunday
Strictly speaking, singlets, of whatever colour, should be worn
_under_ the coat.
* * * * *
THE HUNTSMAN'S STORY.
I heard the huntsman calling as he drew Threeacre Spinney;
He found a fox and hunted him and handled him ere night,
And his voice upon the hill-side was as golden as a guinea,
And I ventured he'd done nicely--most respectful and polite--
Jig-jogging back to kennels, and the stars were shining bright.
Old Jezebel and Jealous they were trotting at his stirrup;
The road was clear, the moon was up, 'twas but a mile or so;
He got the pack behind him with a chirp and with a chirrup,
And said he, "I had the secret from my gran'dad long ago,
And all the old man left me, Sir, if you should want to know.
"And he was most a gipsy, Sir, and spoke the gipsy lingos,
But he knew of hounds and horses all as NIMROD might have know'd:
When we'd ask him how he did it, he would say, 'You little Gringos,
I learnt it from a lady that I met upon the road;
In the hills o' Connemara was this wondrous gift bestowed.'
"Connemara--County Galway--he was there in 1830;
He was taking hounds to kennel, all alone, he used to say,
And the hills of Connemara, when the night is falling dirty,
Is an ill place to be left in when the dusk is turning grey,
An ill place to be lost in most at any time o' day.
"Adown the dismal mountains that night it blew tremendous,
A-sobbing like a giant and a-snorting like a whale,
When he saw beside the sheep-track ('Holy Saints,' says he, 'defend us!')
A mighty dainty lady, dressed in green, and sweet and pale,
And she rode an all-cream pony with an Arab head and tail.
"Says she to him, 'Young gentleman, to you I'd be beholden
If you'd ride along to Fairyland this night beside o' me;
There's a fox that eats our chickens--them that lays the eggs that's golden--
And our little fairy mouse-dogs, ah, 'tis small account they'll be,
Sure it wants an advertising pack to gobble such as he!'
"So gran'dad says, 'Your servant, Miss,' and got his hounds together,
And the mountain-side flew open and they rode into the hill;
'Your country's one to cross,' says he, and rights a stirrup-leather,
And he found in half-a-jiffey, and he finished with a kill;
And the little fairy lady, she was with 'em with a will.
"Then 'O,' says she, 'young man,' says she, ''tis lonesome here in Faerie,
So won't you stay and hunt with us and never more to roam,
And take a bride'--she looks at him--'whose youth can never vary,
With hair as black as midnight and a breast as white as foam?'
And 'Thank you, Miss,' says gran'dad, 'but I've got a wife at home!'
"Then, 'O, young man,' says she, 'young man, then you shall take a bounty,
A bounty of my magic that may grant you wishes three;
Come make yourself the grandest man from out o' Galway County
To Dublin's famous city all of my good gramarye?'
And, 'Thank you, Miss,' says gran'dad, 'but such ain't no use to me.'
"But he said, since she was pressing of her fairy spells and forces,
He'd take the threefold bounty, lest a gift he'd seem to scorn:
He'd ask, beyond all other men, the tricks o' hounds and horses,
And a voice to charm a woodland of a soft December morn,
And sons to follow after him, all to the business born.
"And--but here we are at home, Sir. Yes, the old man was a terror
For his fairies and his nonsense, yet the story's someways right;
He'd the trick o' hounds and horses to a marvel--and no error;
And to hear him draw a woodland was a pride and a delight;
And--_was it luck entirely, Sir, I killed my fox to-night?_"
* * * * *
THE LITTLE WONDER.
The crowd had gone, the lights had been extinguished, and the doors
of the music-hall were shut. The Little Wonder was tired after the
performance; his attempt to do the double somersault had strained him,
and his failure had brought a whipping. Although the outhouse in which
he was to lie was cold and damp and smelt horribly, he was glad when
his master thrust him into it, and he was content to lie down in the
straw and forget his misery in sleep.
He dreamt a beautiful dream. He dreamt that he was a master, and
that he was presenting to a crowded audience what he had billed as
"A Marvel of the Twentieth Century"--a performing man. The man was a
creature with a pink face, oily hair, and a black moustache; and the
Little Wonder, in his capacity as master, made the Marvel bark like
a dog, whereat the audience yelped its approval. Then the collar of
a member of the audience was handed on to the stage, while the Marvel
was blindfolded, and, after sniffing the collar, he succeeded in
tracking down its owner--like a dog again. And in whatever trick
the Marvel did, the Little Wonder was close behind him, looking so
friendly and threatening him with low growls at the same time. If the
Marvel happened to remember for a moment his miserable condition and
to look unhappy, his master would look still more kindly and threaten
even more sternly. Then came the moment when the orchestra stopped
suddenly, and the kettledrum rolled, and the eyes of the audience
were fixed upon the Marvel. For this remarkable performing man was
scratching in a tub of earth to find a bone--just like a real dog; and
that was his greatest trick. When he had successfully performed it,
his master (the Little Wonder) presented him with a twopenny cigar
clothed in a flashy cummerbund, to show how generously he rewarded
achievements. Then, as the curtain fell, he retired with many
bows--and in the wings gave the Marvel a hot time for shirking the
I question whether the Little Wonder in real life would have so
ill-treated any creature; but things are different in dreams; and, as
he slept, a smile seemed to come into the shaggy face of this little
* * * * *
"In a fierce game at Ilfracombe yesterday morning several
houses were partially unroofed, and an arcade blown
Where was the referee?
* * * * *
_(A Sequel to "Narrow Escapes.")_
The report that M. PADEREWSKI has been hunted by Nihilists out of
Denver has suggested to the Editor of _The Musical Mirror_ the happy
thought of circularising a number of prominent musicians with a
view to ascertaining the most dangerous experiences they have ever
Sir FREDERICK BRIDGE writes to say that the worst quarter of a minute
he ever spent was while tarpon fishing off the coast of Florida, when
a gigantic tarpon, weighing some 400 lbs., leaped into the boat with
its mouth wide open. With great presence of mind the famous organist
thrust into the monster's gaping jaws a full score of STRAUSS'S
_Elektra_, which he was studying between the casts, and the tarpon at
once leaped out of the boat and was never seen or heard of again.
Madame MELBA'S most perilous experience was on a tour in the Far East,
when the liner in which she was travelling was caught by a tidal wave
and hurled with enormous velocity towards the rocky coast of Sumatra.
Noticing that a large whale was following the vessel, and remembering
the peculiar susceptibility of these giant mammals to musical sounds,
Madame MELBA sang the _scena_, "Ocean, thou mighty monster," with such
persuasive force that the whale allowed itself to be made fast with a
hawser and then towed the liner back safely into the open sea.
Mr. Bamborough (formerly M. Bamberger) recounted the episode, already
alluded to in these columns, when he was partially eaten by cannibals
in the Solomon Islands; but the details are too harrowing for
reproduction, even in a condensed form. It is interesting to learn,
however, that a punitive expedition was despatched by the British
Government to avenge the insult, as a result of which Mr. Bamborough
was awarded an indemnity of 1,000 bales of copra, 20 tons of
sandalwood, and L3,000 worth of tortoiseshell.
Sir FREDERICK COWEN, in reply to the circular, states that the closest
call he ever had was when adjudicating at a Welsh Eisteddfod. In
consequence of an unpopular award he was besieged in his hotel by
an infuriated crowd and only escaped by changing clothes with a
Professor Quantock de Banville relates how, while obtaining local
colour for his new Choral Symphony, he was attacked by a gorilla in
Central Africa, but tamed the mighty simian by the power of his eye.
In conclusion we may note that the only disappointing answer was
received from Signor Crinuto, the famous pianist, who replied, "I have
never had a close shave, and never intend to have one."
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE WEEK-END AND THE EXHAUSTED MIDDLE.
TIME--_Wednesday, 4 P.M._
_Client (to office-boy)._ "CAN I SEE MR. BROWN?"
_Office-Boy._ "AWAY FOR THE WEEK-END, SIR."
_Client_. "WHICH?" _Office-Boy._ "NEXT, SIR."]
* * * * *
"A Christmas Tree Entertainment will be held in Pelican
Lake schoolhouse on Tuesday, Dec. 23. Everybody welcome, no
admission."--_Vermilion Standard_ (Alberta. No relation to
_The Sporting Times_).
You are at perfect liberty to hang about outside.
* * * * *
"No one can deny that it is essential London should have a
thoroughly equipped shin hospital."--_Advt. in "Sphere."_
No footballer, anyhow.
* * * * *
FROM A GENERAL KNOWLEDGE (SIC) EXAMINATION.
The Cat and Mouse Act is an Act by which a cat may not kill a mouse
unless when necessary.
The Apocalypse is an ailment one has apolcalyptic fits.
Sea-legs are when you don't have legs but a tail.
The All Red Route is the human throat or swallow.
Ten instruments for an orchestra are banjo, pianola, concertina,
mandoline, psalteries, shawms, bagpipes, bells to clash with, violins,
To die in harness means to die married.
* * * * *
AT THE PLAY.
"THE POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL."
EMERSON says somewhere that there are great ways of borrowing; that,
if you can contrive to transmute base metal into fine, nobody will
worry as to where you got your base metal from. But, when it is the
other way about, I think you must not be surprised if people ask
you where you lifted your gold. And the answer, in the case of Miss
ELEANOR GATES, is that the nuggets were the property of LEWIS
CARROLL. She has taken the sprightly and fantastic humour of _Alice
in Wonderland,_ passed it through the alembic (if that is the word) of
her American imagination, and the result is something that hardly lets
you smile at all. It is not a typical product of native industry, but
even that does not make it much easier for us to grasp the secret of
its success over there. It would seem that nearly all Transatlantic
humour, indigenous or adoptive, is apt, like certain wines, to suffer
in the process of sea-transit.
Her "Poor Little Rich Girl" is poor because her parents are too
rich. Her father is too busy with finance and her mother with social
climbing to spare time for their daughter's company, so they leave
her to the care of governesses and menials. Her nurse, anxious for
an evening out at a picture-palace, gives the child an overdose of
sleeping-mixture, with the result that she nearly dies of it. In the
course of delirious dreams she finds herself in the "Tell-Tale Forest"
(which threatens to recall _The Palace of Truth_), and here all
the picturesque phrases which she has been in the childish habit of
misinterpreting in their literal sense--"a bee in the bonnet," to
"ride hobbies," "to play ducks and drakes," "to pay the piper," and so
forth--are realised in human or animal form. With these are mixed the
familiar figures of her waking life, all of them exposed in their true
characters so that you can distinguish the devotion of the doctor (who
now appears in pink because he likes riding hobbies) and the affection
of the teddy-bear (now expanded to human proportions) from the
serpentine nature of the governess and the double-faced dealings of
the nurse. Her father, who is a stranger to her, comes on dressed in
banknotes and chained to a safe; her mother, also a stranger, wears
a society bee which buzzes in the place where her bonnet would have
been; and five samples of the fashionable world, where, as you know,
everybody thinks the same thing at the same time, let off recitatives
from time to time in unison. And there was much talk about "Robin
Hood's Barn," a thing I was never told about at an age when I am sure
it would have given me sincere pleasure.
Here and there the symbolism was obvious to the point of crudity;
but you searched in vain for a consistent scheme. The father in his
banknotes lashed to a ponderous safe was an easy personification of
the slavery of wealth, and the pantomime ducks and drakes were simple
to understand as symbolizing the career of a spendthrift (though the
father was never that); but why, you asked, did the double-faced nurse
exhaust all her spare moments and our patience pirouetting about the
stage? Did she represent the levity of the dual life? Not at all;
her actions bore no moral significance: she was just giving a literal
illustration of a phrase--"to dance attendance."
I don't know how the children in the audience appreciated all
this, but I confess that some of it left me wondering whether
my intelligence was too raw or too ripe for the fancies of this
The First Act, which showed the child's life at home, had fallen
altogether flat; but the Third, in which she wakes in her pretty
bedroom, restored from the jaws of death to her repentant parents,
put us on better terms with ourselves, for we were not really hard to
please. The sweetness of it was perhaps a little cloying, but it was
all quite nice and sympathetic. Still, I am afraid I agreed more than
I was meant to with the speech of pretty little Miss STEPHANIE BELL,
when she told us before the curtain that they would cable to the
author in America to say how glad we were that it was all over.
Mr. ERNEST HENDRIE, who was translated from an organ-grinder to a
maker of faces, played very soundly, but seemed to me a little too
deliberate and conscious in his speech. I found a more moving appeal
in the slight pathetic sketch of an old faithful butler by Mr. GEORGE
MALLETT. Mr. FEWLASS LLEWELLYN might easily, with a little assistance
from the author, have extracted a lot more fun from his Plumber. Mr.
MALCOLM CHERRY had a simple and popular part as the good Doctor.
Miss HELEN HAYE'S cleverness was wasted on the character of a sinuous
governess. Miss EVELYN WEEDEN did all that was asked of the mother in
both worlds--the world of fancy and the world of fact. But, to speak
truth, there was little attraction in the performance apart from the
personality of Miss STEPHANIE BELL in the title _role_. If the play is
to succeed--and its hope lies in the good temper and high spirits of
holiday time--the author will owe most to the natural charm of this
delightful young lady, who played throughout with a most engaging
sincerity and ease.
* * * * *
[Illustration: WITH THE "TELL-TALE FOREST" HUNT.
_The Hobby Rider_ (Mr. CHERRY) takes the temperature of _The Poor
Little Rich Girl_ (Miss STEPHANIE BELL).
The hound is Mr. ERNEST HENDRIE _(The Man who makes Faces)_,
well-known as _The Dog_ in _The Blue Bird_.]
* * * * *
"After fifty years of good conduct in the Ancona Penitentiary,
the life sentence of Giacomo Casale has been remitted by King
Victor Emmanuel. Casale's astonishment at the altered world in
which he found himself on coming out of prison was unbounded.
He immediately"--_Daily Express._
Unfortunately our contemporary stops there, and leaves us all in an
agony of doubt. Our own view is that CASALE bought the Mimosa Edition
of a certain rival journal, and that the Editor of _The Express_ only
just censored the paragraph in time.
* * * * *
"The wireless station at Kamina, in Togo, German West Africa,
has received a number of wireless telegrams from the station
at Naten, a distance of 3,348 miles. The Kamina station will
not be able to reply until its new plant, which is being set
up with the utmost speed, has been completed."--_Reuter_.
Indeed, the opinion is held by some that it would be quicker to reply
* * * * *
"The prison buildings themselves are separated from this
wall by a yard measuring twenty-five years across."--_Daily
Of course a yard ought to measure thirty-six inches.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _English Horse Dealer (to Irish horse dealer from whom
he is buying a horse)._ "HOW'S HE BRED?"
_Irish Dealer_. "WELL, HOW WOULD YE LIKE HIM BRED? IF HE WAS FOR SIR
PATHRICK UP AT THE CASTLE HE'D BE BY RED EAGLE OUT AV AN ASECTIC MARE,
BUT YE CAN SUIT YERSILF."]
* * * * *
_(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)_
If for nothing else, Mr. JACK LONDON'S latest story would deserve a
welcome for its topicality. In these days of strikes and industrial
conflict every one might be glad to know what a writer of his
individuality has to say about unions and blacklegs and picketing.
True, this is hardly the kind of thing that one has learnt to
associate with his name; and for that reason perhaps I best liked _The
Valley of the Moon_ (MILLS AND BOON) after its hero and heroine had
shaken the unsavoury dust of the town from their feet and set them
towards the open country. But much had to happen first. The hero was
big _Billy Roberts_, a teamster with the heart of a child and the
strength of a prize-fighter--which was in fact his alternative
profession. He married _Saxon Brown_ ("a scream of a name" her friend
called it when introducing them to each other), and for a time their
life together was as nearly idyllic as newly-wedded housekeeping in a
mean street could permit it to be. Then came the lean years: strikes
and strike-breaking, sabotage and rioting, prison for _Billy_, and
all but starvation for _Saxon_. Perhaps you know already that peculiar
gift of Mr. JACK LONDON'S that makes you not only see physical
hardship but suffer it? I believe that after these chapters the reader
of them will never again be able to regard a newspaper report of
street-fighting with the same detachment as before, so vivid are
they, so haunting. In the end, however, as I say, we find a happier
atmosphere. The adventures of _Billy_ and _Saxon_, tramping it in
search of a home, soon make their urban terrors seem to them and the
reader a kind of nightmare. Here Mr. LONDON is at his delightful
best, and his word-pictures of country scenes are as fresh and fine
as anything he has yet done. _The Valley of the Moon_, in short,
is really two stories--one grim, one pleasant, and both brilliantly
* * * * *
It is perhaps a mistake to read a novel at a sitting, since the
reaction is too sudden and the reader is apt to find the real life and
the real people surrounding him highly unsatisfactory by contrast.
Mr. JAMES PROSPER has reduced me to this state by _The Mountain Apart_
(HEINEMANN), but it is my duty as critic to disregard my personal
feelings and judge impartially between the fictitious and the actual.
Duty, then, compels me to say that the _Mr. Henry Harding_ who at
the last solved all the difficulties of _Rose Hilton_ by the simple
expedient of a romantic proposal is a hollow fraud. The position
was this: _Rose_ was a woman of flesh and blood and all the human
limitations, blessed and cursed with all the intricacies allotted by
Providence to the sex. Her trouble was that she had to face life as it
is, and this she found very trying. She suffered from her marriage
to a man old enough to be her grandfather, and from her abortive
grapplings both with the abstract problems of her soul and the
concrete mischiefs of her female friends. The influence of IBSEN and a
militant Suffragette didn't help her meditations, and when her husband
died she had the mortification to find that the first man of her own
age who professed love to her was no man but a series of artistic
poses. Of her difficulties, real enough up to this point, the solution
was the fraudulent _Henry_, fraudulent because he was just a stage
hero whose actions and conversation resembled nothing on earth.
_Henry_, in fact, is the sort of person that doesn't exist, and, if he
did, would be intolerable to everybody except a novel reader worked up
to a climax. I doubt if even such a reader could stand the fellow on
a longer acquaintance. To this conclusion all must come in their saner
moments, and yet most will, I think, finish the book in one spell and
be under the delusion at the end of it that all their troubles
would be solved at once if only their friends would talk and conduct
themselves more like _Henry_.
* * * * *
In _Theodore Roosevelt: an Autobiography_ (MACMILLAN) the ex-President
shows us how it was done: how he started life as a weakly lad and by
perseverance made himself what he is to-day. But what is he? That is
the insoluble problem. No two people, least of all Americans, seem to
agree on the point. I have heard Mr. ROOSEVELT called everything
from a charlatan to the Saviour of his Country. For myself, if I may
intrude my own view, I have always admired the "Bull Moose." But,
since nobody on this earth, in America or out of it, can really
understand American politics, my respect has been for Mr. ROOSEVELT'S
private rather than his public performances. And in the view that
he is, take him all round, a pretty good sort of man, this book has
confirmed me. He has told his story well. Nor is the Power of the
Human "I" too much in evidence. It is just a simple, straightforward
tale of a particularly interesting life. Whatever your views on Mr.
ROOSEVELT may be, the fact remains that he has been a cowboy, a
police commissioner of New York, a soldier on active service, and
the President of God's Country, suh; and a man must have an unusually
negative personality if he cannot make entertainment for us out
of that. Now nobody has ever suspected Mr. ROOSEVELT of a negative
personality; and it is certain that he has told a very entertaining
story. There are in this volume battle, murder, sudden death, outlaws,
cowboys, bears, American politics, and the author's views on the
English blackbird, all handsomely illustrated, and the price is only
what you would (or would not) pay for a stall to see a musical comedy.
It's a bargain.
* * * * *
Between the rising of the partisans of the Duchesse DE BERRI and the
dawn of the Tractarian movement there would not seem, at first blush,
to be any very close association apart from the coincidence of their
dates; yet in _The Vision Splendid_ (MURRAY), by D.K. BROSTER and G.W.
TAYLOR, a link is furnished in the person of an English clergyman's
daughter, who marries a Frenchman of the "Legitimist" aristocracy, and
is loved, before and afterwards, by an enthusiastic disciple of the
Oriel Common Room. But the link is too slight to give a proper unity
to the tale; and we have to fall back upon contrasts. Even so, the
two modes of life which made up, between them, the experience of the
_Comtesse de la Roche-Guyon (nee Horatia Grenville_) are too cleanly
severed by the estranging Channel to be brought into sharp antithesis,
except in the heart of the one woman. And, since it is difficult to
understand why anyone so British in her independence and aloofness
should have surrendered her heart to the first good-looking Frenchman
who came her way, we never get to be on very intimate terms with that
organ. The construction of the story tends to break up the action and
make its interest desultory. While we are spending a hundred odd pages
at one time and fifty odd at another in Paris and Brittany we forget,
very contentedly, about Oriel; and while we are in residence at Oxford
we are practically cut off--no doubt, to our spiritual gain--from
the things of France. The authors seem to belong to the solid
old-fashioned school that had the patience to spread itself and leave
as little as might be to the imagination. I suspect one of them
of supplying the foreign information and the other of being the
correspondent on home and clerical affairs. I don't know how many of
them--if any--are women, but I seem to trace a female hand in some of
the domestic details. But the book contains strong matter, too--both
of narrative and characterization; as in the dying of _Armand de la
Roche-Guyon_, and the picture of his lover, _Madame de Vigerie_.
And there is something of the inspiration of the Holy Grail in
that "Vision Splendid" which heartens _Tristram Hungerford_ to make
sacrifice of his passion that he may give his soul unshared to the
service of the Church.
* * * * *
Until I had read Mr. A. RADCLYFFE DUGMORE'S book and revelled in his
most wonderful photographs I had never wished to be a caribou; but now
that I have fully digested _The Romance of the Newfoundland Caribou_
(HEINEMANN) there is only one animal whose lot in life I really envy.
This is due not to a natural sympathy with caribous (for, as the
author says, "In England it is quite the exception to find anyone
who knows what the caribou is, unless he happens to have been to
Newfoundland or certain parts of Canada," and I was never one of the
exceptions), but to the extraordinary manner in which Mr. DUGMORE
has imparted the affection that be himself entertains for his chosen
beast. Although he shoots with no more formidable a weapon than a
camera, the dangers and risks that he has run would appal many of
the sportsmen whose aim is to destroy and not to study the lives of
animals. He has, however, no contempt for hunters, provided that they
will play the game and give a fair chance to their quarry. Another
point in his favour, which appeals mightily to me, is that after nine
consecutive seasons in Newfoundland he confesses that his knowledge of
the caribou is still incomplete. This means that, when he does make
an absolute statement, you may be pretty certain that it is true. If
I ever have to argue about the habits of caribous, there is one shot
that will remain in my locker until the very end of the argument, and
it will be, "Well, DUGMORE says so."
* * * * *
[Illustration: IMPRESSION OF A FOOTBALL MATCH GATHERED FROM OUR
ILLUSTRATED DAILY PAPERS.]
* * * * *