PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
FEBRUARY 5, 1919.
The Germans refer to the Armistice negotiations as
_Waffenstillstandeverhandlungen_. We hope it will be worse even than
There is no truth in the rumour that among the many new performances
of _Hamlet_ which are promised there will be one in aid of the fund
for brightening the lives of the clergy, with the Gloomy Dean as the
"We Americans do not consider ourselves the salt of the earth," says
Senator HENRY. No, but their bacon certainly is.
In view of the fact that there is a large quantity of marmalade
in the country, it has been decided to release it. This is such a
satisfactory solution of the problem that people are wondering whether
the Food Ministry thought of that one themselves.
Our heart goes out to the soldier who, when offered, on
demobilisation, the option of fifty-two shillings and sixpence or a
standard suit, replied that he would rather pay the fine.
The only surprising thing about Mr. C.B. COCHRAN'S proposal for a
Peace Fair in Hyde Park, to be arranged largely by himself, is that
there is no mention of a Serpentine dance for DELYSIA.
The Australian Government proposes to send returned Australian
soldiers to prospect for minerals in the Northern Territories. Whether
they will be interested in them after their experience in England in
failing to locate quarts is another matter.
Sir EDWARD ELGAR has dedicated his new orchestral work, "Polonia," to
M. PADEREWSKI. The report that the distinguished pianist-politician is
thinking of retorting with a fugue, "Stiltonia," is not confirmed.
The Aircraft Salvage branch announces that not less than one thousand
five hundred yards of the aeroplane linen which is being disposed
of to the public will be sold to one purchaser. In the event of the
purchaser deciding to use it as a pocket-handkerchief he can have it
hemstitched for a trifling sum.
Improvement is reported in the condition of the taxi-cab driver who
had a seizure in Piccadilly Circus while attempting to say "Thank you"
to a fare.
We are pleased to be able to announce that the Kensington man who last
week managed to board a tube train has consented to write a book about
Writing to a contemporary a Leeds correspondent says that he does not
think much of an inactive corporation. As a matter of fact, since the
introduction of rationing we didn't think active ones were being worn.
As a result of munition work, says a health journal, quite a number of
men have given up smoking tobacco. We suppose the theory is that they
have now taken to smoking threepenny cigars.
Mrs. MAGGIE HATHWAY of Montana is to be congratulated upon running a
six-hundred-acre farm without the help of men's labour. After all we
men must admit that her sporting effort is a distinct score for the
second oldest sex in the world.
Anglesea Police Commission are offering one shilling and sixpence a
dozen for rats' tails to residents of the county. Some difficulty is
expected in distinguishing local from imported tails once they are
separated from the rat.
In connection with the offers for Drury Lane Theatre it appears that
one of the would-be purchasers declares that he was more syndicate
In connection with the epidemic of burglaries in London, _The Daily
Express_ has now published a leader note saying there have been too
many of late. It is hoped that this will have the desired effect.
We are glad to report that the gentleman who, at the BURNS festival,
upon being asked if he would take a little haggis replied that he
wouldn't mind trying a wing, managed to escape with his life.
A West Hampstead architect has designed a cottage in which there will
be no bricks in the walls, no timber in the roof, no slates or tiles
and no register grates. Too late. Jerry-builders accomplished that
trick years ago.
While walking in Highams Park, Chingford, says a contemporary, a
postman picked up a package containing one ounce of butter. To his
eternal credit let it be said that he at once took it to the nearest
The best brains of the country are still exercised by the alleged need
of brightening cricket. One of our own suggestions is that the bowler
should be compelled to do three Jazz-steps and two Fox-trots before
delivering the ball.
A typist recently fell from a moving train on the Isle of Wight
railway, but was able to get up and walk towards her destination.
We hear she had a good deal to say to the guard when she overtook
* * * * *
[Illustration: DEPARTURE FROM DOWNING STREET 10 A.M.
ARRIVAL AT THE QUAI D'ORSAY 10.5 A.M.
THE NEW AERO-GUN SERVICE BETWEEN LONDON AND PARIS.
SOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM OF HOW MR. LLOYD GEORGE CAN BE IN BOTH PLACES
MORE OR LESS AT ONCE.]
* * * * *
From a _feuilleton_:--
"He had a cleft in his chain which Rosemarie thought most
There is no accounting for tastes. _We_ should have thought it
suggested the Missing Link.
* * * * *
(_A COMMON SCANDAL, INVITING THE ATTENTION OF THE GOVERNMENT._)
I was amazed the other day to hear that my landlord had called to
see me. Hitherto our intercourse had been by letter and we had had
heated differences on the subject of repairs. His standpoint seemed
to be that landlords were responsible for repairs only to lightning
conductors and weathercocks. My house possesses neither of these
I moved an armchair so that no one sitting in it could fail to see the
dampest wall and ordered him to be shown in.
He was a most benevolent-looking old gentleman, and I felt I had done
him an injustice in regarding him as a property shark.
"Glad to see you," he said, shaking me warmly by the hand.
"Do sit down," I said. "That chair is the most comfortable. Don't be
afraid. At that distance from the wall the damp won't affect you."
"So glad to see how comfortable you are here," said the benevolent
"If we could occasionally have a hot bath we should be more
comfortable, but the kitchen range is impossible."
"What you need, my friend, is a house of your own so that you can
adapt it to your own ideas. How would you like this house?"
My breath was taken away. Had the kindly one come to present me with a
house? Was I to be the object of an amiable plutocrat's benevolence?
"I should like it very much," I said.
"You shall have it," he said, slapping me amiably on the knee.
I gasped for breath. In my time I had had boxes of cigars given me,
but never houses.
"For fifteen hundred pounds, as you are the tenant," continued the
I gasped for breath again.
"But you bought it for five hundred and fifty pounds just before the
War," I said when I had recovered.
"Ah, before the War," chuckled the philanthropist.
"I don't think I can afford fifteen hundred pounds."
The benevolent one looked disappointed in me. "Dear me," he said,
"and I wanted so much to sell it to you. Well, I shall have to give
you notice to quit in June. This house must be sold."
"But I can't get another house."
"You can have this house. But surely you have some friend who will
advance you fifteen hundred pounds?"
"You don't know my friends. It would be very awkward to be turned
into the street."
"You should have a house of your own and be independent. Every man
should own his home. Now can't you think of some friend who could
"Could you lend me fifteen hundred pounds for a rather speculative
investment?" I inquired.
"Since my kindly consideration for a tenant is treated with mockery I
give you written notice to leave. A 'For Sale' board will be placed
in your garden. A clause in the lease authorises me to do that. I wish
you good morning."
Well, I am to be evicted, and, as I'm not an Irishman, no one will
care. I shall not lie in wait with a shot-gun for my landlord. But
there is no clause in the lease forbidding me from putting up my sale
announcement beside the landlord's. It will run:--
THIS UNDESIRABLE PROPERTY
COST L550 IN 1913.
Never been repaired since.
Damp guaranteed to come through every wall.
Mice can run under the doors but there is
not sufficient space for cats to follow them.
The Kitchen Range is unusable.
All hope of baths abandon ye who enter here.
One half of the windows won't
open--the others won't shut.
All chimneys smoke in all winds.
A unique chance for the War-rich.
* * * * *
THE PUFF ERRATIC.
_The New Statesman_ contains a letter from Mr. ARNOLD BENNETT,
disclaiming all responsibility for the publisher's official
description of his new novel printed on the "jacket" or paper cover
thereof. It had not been submitted to him for approval and he knew
nothing of it. Mr. BENNETT is, of course, entitled to his protest,
but we greatly hope that publishers will not be induced thereby to
abstain from supplying these interesting summaries. If only the method
could be applied to standard works the results would be even more
illuminating. As for example:
This delicious comedy is the romance of the _Prince of Denmark_,
which, unlike other romances, begins after his marriage: with
_Polonia_, daughter of _Horatio_, who had been previously engaged to
both _Rosenstern_ and _Guildencranz_. _Hamlet_, by joining a troupe of
strolling players, offends his uncle, the reigning sovereign, and is
confined in a lunatic asylum.
Brilliant pictures of society in Copenhagen, Denmark Hill and
Heligoland alternate with sparkling studies of the inner life of a
touring company on the Continent.
"Can a woman love three men?" is the theme of this engrossing
"IDYLLS OF THE KING."
In a series of exciting episodes, written in fluent heroic couplets,
the author gives us a thrilling picture of the manners and customs of
the Court of _King Arthur_, an early British sovereign, whose stately
home was situated on the Cornish Riviera.
Owing to the compromising attentions which he pays to _Elaine_,
the Lady of Shalott, the _King_ alienates the affections of _Queen
Guinevere_ and is slain by one of his knights, _Lancelot_ by name.
Winsome women, gallant paladins and mysterious magicians throng
these fascinating pages, which incidentally throw much light on the
theological problems discussed by the Knights of the Round Table,
among whom _Merlin_, _Vivien_ and _Enid_ are especially, prominent.
_Major Dobbin_, a _beau sabreur_ of irresistible charm, is on the
point of eloping with _Amelia Osborne_, the wife of a brother-officer,
when the Battle of Waterloo breaks out and _Dobbin_ is slain. _Captain
Osborne_, in the mistaken impression that _Amelia_ has shared her
betrayer's fate, marries the beautiful _Becky Sharp_ and is tried
for bigamy, but is acquitted, as _Becky Sharp_ is proved to have been
already married to an Indian Nabob of the name of _Crawley_. On the
death of _Crawley_, _Becky_ marries the _Marquis of Steyne_, becomes
deeply religious and dies in the odour of sanctity.
"Is marriage a failure?" is the problem of this kaleidoscopic drama,
which is handled with all the author's well-known soulful _verve_.
* * * * *
"SMITH MINOR" AGAIN.
"_Apelles fuit carus Alexandro propter comitate._"
"Apples were dear in the days of Alexander on account
of the Committee." (? Food Controller.)
* * * * *
"A resolution was passed requesting the responsible local
authority to provide thirty new houses in accordance
with the Local Government Board's scheme. The houses
required were--first, those which were unfit for human
And, to judge by some of the fantastic designs for rural cottages
published in the newspapers, those are what they will probably get.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE ORDER OF RELEASE.
PIVOTAL PIG (_demobilised_). "SO LONG, LEAGUE OF RATIONS, SEE YOU
* * * * *
THE REAL DALRYMPLE.
You would feel quite uncomfortable if you heard Dalrymple talk. He
conveys the impression that everything is badly in the way and ought
to be removed at once. That's his view. Dalrymple has no patience with
the social system. This includes everything, from the washing bill to
the House of Commons.
Dalrymple said the General Election made him impatient. By the way,
Dalrymple is a fine upstanding personage, with just the coloured
hair the lady novelists dote on, and eyes in harmony; but despite his
handsome placid bearing Dalrymple is a fire-eater of the hungriest.
"What you want to do is to make a clean sweep of everything," he said.
"Money is an anachronism, and in a perfectly ordered State would not
Of course it is no more use arguing with Dalrymple than it would be
to attempt a controversy on naval affairs with Lord Nelson on his
And then there is this about Dalrymple--you remember what some Court
poet said concerning Louis THE FOURTEENTH; it was to the effect that
_quand le Roi parle_--well, apparently everything and everybody else
had to put up the shutters. I forget exactly how the thing ran. It
is just so with Dalrymple. He comes into my room in the City and
warms himself, though no fire is needed to fan his enthusiasm for
destruction. The Bolsheviks are peaceable Sunday folk compared with
him. A Nihilist on a war footing would be considered Quaker-like in
Dalrymple is neck or nothing. He is a whole-hogger even to the most
indigestible bit of crackling.
"What we want is a fresh start," he said. "Then you could begin anew
and everybody would have a chance. Burn things, blow them up, leave
nothing; then we should see something. Your whole scheme is faulty.
Your Underground--" Dalrymple has an irritating habit of fathering
things on me, which is unfair, for, as regards the Tubes, for
instance, I am sorry to say I have not even a share, and often not
as much as a strap.
"But the Underground is only a bit overcrowded," I ventured to say.
"It can't help that, you know."
"It is all wrong," said Dalrymple. "The entire gadget is defective.
Look at France, look at America, look at Germany and Russia and the
It was rather breathless work looking at all these nations and
peoples, but I did my best. Dalrymple is particularly strong when it
is a question of the Jugo-Slavs, and he always gave me the idea that
he spent his Saturday afternoons enunciating chatty pleasantries in
Trafalgar Square and on Tower Hill.
But--you might just see the finish--Dalrymple was not doing anything
of the sort the afternoon that I was out house-hunting. Yes, it is
true. You will scarcely credit the fact that I found any difficulty
in tracking down an eligible villa, but that is the case.
The quest took me to a pleasant semi-rural neighbourhood where
there was room for gardens with the borders edged with the nice soft
yellow-tinted box, and rose walks, and dainty little arbours, and
fandangled appurtenances which amateur gardeners love with perfect
And there was Dalrymple. I won't deceive you. I recognised him on
the other side of a low oak fence. He was wearing an old hat of the
texture of the bit of headgear which the man who impersonates Napoleon
at the music-hall doubles up and plays tricks with, only Dalrymple's
hat had obviously been white and was now going green and other colours
with wear and tear.
And wherever Dalrymple went a small cherub in a holland frock went
too. The cherub would be about five. Dalrymple was fashioning a
hen-coop out of two or three soap-boxes. Both he and the cherub ceased
activities when I hailed and approached; and I stopped to dinner.
Dalrymple told me he rather fancied he could wangle me a bungalow.
"I know the agent chap," he said, as we sampled a very pleasant glass
of port. "Of course they want to keep it fairly dark or we should be
swamped. I have taken a lot of trouble myself, you know, and am just
starting gardening lectures at our club."
So he went on--the house, his new roses, the hens, the jam his wife
made, the idea he had for a winter garden in the interests of his
wife's mother, who could then take the air in her Bath-chair.
"But," I said, "you want to sweep everything away. You aim at sending
villages like this to pot--your own word, you remember. And then there
are the Jugo-Slavs--"
Dalrymple winked and handed me the cigars.
I fancy he is a fraud.
* * * * *
"AEROPLANE FLIGHT TO INDIA.
"PREPARATIONS FOR DECEPTION IN DELHI."--_Englishman_
But the aviators, in order that there might be no doubt about their
_bona fides_, wisely landed at Karachi.
* * * * *
When WILSON has abolished War
And grim Bellona claims no more
The greatest of her sons,
What job has Peace to offer thee
That shall fulfil thy destiny,
O Sergeant-Major Buns?
Shall thy great voice, at whose behests
Trembled a hundred martial breasts,
Be heard without a smile
Urging astonished Cingalese
To tap the tapering rubber trees
Upon their distant isle?
Shall thy dread presence clothed in tweed
Be seen, O Buns, without the meed
Of some regretful sigh,
Fresh from the triumphs of the trench
Upon the Opposition Bench
Begging the SPEAKER'S eye?
Nay, rather let thy mighty mind
At length its true vocation find
In the domestic sphere;
The trivial round, the common task
Shall furnish all thou needst to ask--
There shalt thou earn thy beer.
Yes, thou shalt play a worthy role,
Thou great unconquerable soul,
Within my humble flat;
For when thy voice shall thunder, "Where
Is master's cream?" what maid shall dare
Invoke the mystic cat?
And what or volatile Miss Gripps?
The weekly notice on her lips
Shall wither at thy look.
And still one triumph waits for thee--
And, oh! may I be there to see--
When thou shalt face my cook!
* * * * *
"DATE FIXED FOR HANGING RETAILERS."--_Provincial Paper_.
And some of them richly deserve it.
* * * * *
"The League will reconsider traety obligations from time
"The League will reconsider traeyt obligations from time
to time."--_Evening Paper_.
And then the printer gave it up.
* * * * *
"A Handley Page, with two Rolls-Royce engines, was the
first and only machine to fly to India, and was the first
and only machine to fly to India, and is the second to fly
to India."--_Daily Paper_.
Not the third and only, as for the moment we were tempted to believe.
* * * * *
"Young Educated Girl Pupil Wanted, help animals; live
clergyman's family; pocket-money."--_Newcastle Journal_.
We are glad to hear of a really live clergyman. So many parsons
nowadays are accused of being dead-alive.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE SPREAD OF EDUCATION.
_Maid_. "NO, MUM, I'M NOT GOING TO STAY IN THIS HOUSE TO BE INSULTED
BY HAVING 'SLAVEY' WRITTEN ON THE MAT."]
* * * * *
DAILY AND MAILY.
Mr. Daily burst into the room, slamming the door behind him, to find
Mr. Maily seated before the fire.
"Maily, you're not getting things done," he shouted as he walked
swiftly up and down the Turkey carpet.
"Only buttoning my spat, Daily," said Mr. Maily. Then he too,
springing from his chair, walked rapidly to and fro. But whereas Mr.
Daily chose the route between the window and the motto, "Do something
else NOW!" Mr. Maily took the line between the fireplace and "Keep on
keeping on!" for they seldom felt compelled to stick to one direction.
"Maily, I'm worried," exclaimed Mr. Daily in passing. "Things seem to
be easing down. Even you are not so nimble as you were. This silence
of the public troubles me--haven't been saying things about us for a
"Some people even praise us," remarked Mr. Maily, disgust mingling
with the perspiration on his face.
"We'll be damned if we put up with praise," Mr. Daily declared.
"We shall. We'd give praise if they'd damn us," said Mr. Maily.
"Never be funny, Maily, if you can help it," warned Mr. Daily. Then
he remarked wistfully, "If they'd only burn us again!"
"Couldn't we go for the Archbishop of CANTERBURY?" asked Mr. Maily.
"To be burnt during morning service in a cathedral--"
"No, these church-people couldn't be roused, Maily. Too much
dillydally about them. They'd never fall to it."
Mr. Daily jabbed his thumb against a white bell-push, and a clerk
appeared. "Got enough work to do?" asked Mr. Daily.
"And then some," said the clerk.
"Well, get on with it," shouted Mr. Daily impatiently, and pressed a
"Plenty doing?" he asked the compositor who appeared.
"Twice that," said the compositor.
"Then go to it," barked Mr. Daily. Turning to behold Mr. Maily mopping
his brow, he cried, "For heaven's sake don't let anybody see you
standing still, Maily."
"I was only thinking," said Mr. Maily.
"Whatever for?" asked Mr. Daily.
"Do you suppose--"
"Suppose nothing. Know!"
"How would it be to--to denounce beer?" asked Mr. Maily.
"Gad, but you've still got pluck," said Mr. Daily with something like
admiration. "They'd burn us right enough. But there is such a thing as
too much pluck, Maily. Think again, if you must think."
"No," Mr. Daily went on, "I doubt if a satisfactory burning can be
worked--it only comes by accident. Meanwhile, if the public won't
talk about us, we must boom ourselves;" and he sprinted to a yellow
bell-push to summon the editor.
"This peace business," said Mr. Daily to him--"_Peace must be signed!_
How's that for a new stunt? Cut out 'The Soldiers' Paper' and call
ourselves 'The Paper that gets Peace.' Get the boys together, work out
a scheme and come and show us in half-an-hour."
"But, Daily, is there any likelihood of peace not being signed?" asked
Mr. Maily, when the editor had gone.
"For goodness' sake, Maily, pull yourself together. Don't you
understand that one of the principles of our job is to back certs?"
said Mr. Daily.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Manager of Kinema Theatre_ (_referring to the two
turbulent members of audience who have been ejected_). "HOW DID THE
_Doorkeeper_. "THEY WERE FIGHTING, SIR, ABOUT WHICH OF THEM THE GIRL
IN THE PICTURE WAS WINKING AT."]
* * * * *
LINES TO A LEGIONARY.
(_MEMBERS OF THE NEW CORPS OF DOMESTIC SERVANTS ARE CALLED
Sole hope of this my household, martial maid
Whom ordered ranks and discipline austere
Have shaped (I gather) for a braver trade,
So that respect, not all unmixed with fear,
Informs my breast as I await you here,
Your title, with its stern Caesarian touch,
Does, to be frank, alarm me very much.
Come not, I pray you, to my casual home
(Where moulting cats usurp the best arm-chair)
With the harsh practices of Ancient Rome,
The brow severe, the you-be-careful air
Which (on the film) all legionaries wear;
My dream is just a regulated ease;
Rules, if you like, but not too stringent, please.
Come not with rude awakenings, nor request
That I at stated hours must rise and feed;
I like my morning slumber much the best
And hate a life by drastic laws decreed
(I'm not a Persian born, nor yet a Mede);
No, but with step demure and tactful come,
And if soft music greet you, oh, be dumb!
In careless comfort let my days be spent!
And, maiden, mutual happiness shall reign;
The crash of crockery I'll not lament
Nor (when I fain would sing) will I complain
Though you should raise the far from dulcet strain;
But with a sweet content I'll bless the day
My legionary came, and came to stay.
* * * * *
"LOST, large retriever dog, flat-coated; when pleased or
expectant he grins, showing all his teeth; information leading
to his recovery will be rewarded."--_Glasgow Herald_.
It is supposed that he has been studying the portraits of "Variety"
ladies in the illustrated papers.
* * * * *
"He must, said Mr. Thomas, urge men to recognise that, in the
present state of the country, it was imperative that soppages
should be avoided."--_Liverpool Paper_.
Excellent advice; but in the present state of the country, unless one
wears waders, extremely difficult to follow.
* * * * *
"WANTED.--A suitable match for a well-connected and refined
Suri widower of 37; healthy and of good moral character;
monthly income about 500 rupees. Possesses property. Late
wife died last week."--_Indian Paper_.
It is a sign of the truly moral character to be definitely off with
the old love before you are on with the new.
* * * * *
"The five main points in the Prime Minister's programme are:
(1) Punch the ex-Kaiser."--_Sunday Times_ (_Johannesburg_).
The other four don't matter, but we wish to take the earliest
opportunity of denying this totally unfounded suggestion. Mr. Punch
is not the ex-Kaiser, and never was.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Late Superintendent of Munition Canteen_ (_in dairy
where she has dealt for over three years_). "AND YOU WON'T FORGET THE
CREAM AS USUAL."
_Dairy Girl_. "SORRY, MADAM. I REGRET YOU CANNOT HAVE ANY MORE CREAM,
AS YOU HAVE CEASED TO BE OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE."]
* * * * *
A LITTLE FAVOUR.
Maisie was terribly upset when she lost her gold curb bangle (with
padlock attached) between the hospital and the canteen. The first I
knew of it was seeing a handbill offering two pounds' reward on our
front gate, with the ink still damp, when I came home to lunch. There
was a similar bill blowing down the road. My wife had some more under
her arm and she pressed them on me. "Run round to the shops," she
said; "get them put right in the middle of the windows where they'll
catch everybody's eye."
The first shop I entered was a hosier's. Since drilling in the V.T.O.
I have acquired rather a distinguished bearing. Shopkeepers invariably
treat me with attention. The hosier hurried forward, obviously
anticipating a princely order for tweeds at war prices. I hadn't the
courage to buy nothing. I selected the nearest thing on the counter, a
futurist necktie at two-and-six-three, and, as I was leaving the shop,
turned back carelessly. "By the by, would you mind putting this bill
in your window?" I said.
His lip curled. "This is a high-class business. We make it a rule--no
bills," he said.
At the butcher's next door there were several customers. They all gave
way to me. I made purchases worthy of my appearance and carriage, half
an ox tail and some chitterlings. Then I proffered a handbill. The man
in blue accepted it and, before I had opened my lips, returned it to
me wrapped round the ox tail. I was too taken aback to explain. In
fact, when he held out his hand, I mechanically gave him another bill
for the chitterlings.
At the next shop, a fancy draper's, I acted with cunning. In the
centre of the window, on a raised background of silver paper, was
displayed a wreath of orange-blossom veiled with tulle. I bought
it. The young ladies were hysterical. "May I ask permission to put
this little handbill in its place?" I said. They appealed to the
shopwalker. "In the absence of the head of the firm I cannot see my
way to accede to your request," he said. "At present he is on the
Rhine. On his demobilisation I will place the matter before him if you
will leave the bill in my hands." I left it.
I skipped a gramophone emporium and a baby-linen shop and entered a
fishmonger's. Here I adopted tactics of absolute candour. "Look here,"
I said, "I haven't come to buy anything. I don't want any fish, flesh
or red-herring, but I should be no end grateful if you would stick
this bill up for me somewhere."
"Certainly, Sir, as many as you like," said the proprietor heartily.
Gleefully I gave him two. One he stuck on a hook on top of a couple of
ducks, and it flopped over face downwards on their breasts. The other
he laid in the middle of the marble counter, and the next moment his
assistant came along and slapped an outsize halibut on it.
I went into a jeweller's next and purchased a gold curb bangle (with
"You clever old thing," said Maisie; "you'd never tell one from the
other, would you? Mine's a tiny bit heavier, don't you think? I've
just found it in the soap-dish. I'll change this for a filigree
pendant. All my life I've longed for a filigree pendant"
* * * * *
"For 85 tons of blackberries, gathered last autumn,
Northamptonshire elementary school children were paid
L2,380, 3d. a lb."--_Daily Paper_.
The young profiteers!
* * * * *
"Splendid imitation almond paste for cakes can be made
as follows: Take four ounces of breadcrumbs, one small
teaspoonful of almond essence, four ounces of soft
white sugar, and one well-eaten egg to bind the
The difficulty is to get the egg.
* * * * *
_APRES LA GUERRE_.
"_On ne sait jamais le dessous des cartes_," as the perplexing dialect
of the aborigines of this country would put it. William and I, when
we used to discuss after-the-war prospects o' nights in the old
days, were more or less resigned to a buckshee year or two of filling
shell-holes up and pulling barbed wire down. Instead of which we all
go about the country taking in each others' education. No one, we
gather, will be allowed to go home until he has taken his B.A. with
honours. And after that--But it would be better to begin at the
It began within ten days of the signing of the armistice, assuming
the shape of an official inquiry from Division, a five-barred document
wherein somebody with a talent for confusing himself (and a great
contempt for the Paper Controller) managed to ask every officer the
same question in five different ways. They cancelled each other out
after a little examination and left behind merely a desire to discover
whether or not each officer had a job waiting for him on his return
to civil life. William and I took the thing at a gallop, stuck down
a succinct "Yes. Yes, No, No. Yes," subscribed our signatures and
returned the documents--or so William proposed to do--"for your
information and necessary inaction."
"They're getting deuced heavy about these jobs, aren't they?" observed
William a day or two later. "The Old Man wants to see us all at
orderly-room for a private interview--he's got to make a return
showing whether his officers have got jobs waiting for them, if not,
why not, and please indent at once to make good any deficiencies.
Hullo, what's this?"
It happened to be William's mail for the day--one large
official-looking envelope. It turned out to be a document from his old
unit (he had entered the Army from an O.T.C.), headed, "Resettlement
and Employment of ex-Officers: Preliminary Enquiry." It was a
formidable catechism, ranging from inquiries as to whether William had
a job ready for him to a request for a signed statement from his C.O.
certifying that he was a sober, diligent and obliging lad and had
generally given every satisfaction in his present situation. In case
he hadn't a job or wanted another one there were convenient spaces in
which to confess the whole of his past--whether he had a liking for
animals or the Colonies, mechanical aptitude (if any), down to full
list of birth-marks and next-of-kin. William thrust the thing hastily
into the stove. But I observed that there was a cloud over him for the
rest of the day.
However, we both of us satisfied the examiner at the orderly-room,
though the renewed evidence of a determined conspiracy to find work
for him left William a trifle more thoughtful than his wont. Shades
of the prison-house began to close about our growing joy, "These
'ere jobs," remarked William, "are going to take a bit of dodging,
dearie. Looks to me as though you might cop out for anything from
a tram-driver to Lord Chief. Wish people wouldn't be so infernally
obliging. And, anyway, what is this--an Army or a Labour Exchange?"
As the days wore on the strain became more and more intense. William's
old school had contrived an association which begged to be allowed to
do anything in the world for him except leave him for a single day in
idleness. And what time the Army was not making inquiries about his
own civil intentions and abilities it was insisting on his extracting
the same information from the platoons. William grew haggard and
morose. He began looking under his bed every night for prospective
employers and took to sleeping with a loaded Webley under his pillow
for fear of being kidnapped by a registry office. He slept in
uneasy snatches, and when he did doze off was tormented by hideous
In one of them he dreamt he was on leave and walking through the City.
At every doorway he had to run the gauntlet of lithe and implacable
managing directors, all ready to pounce on him, drag him within and
chain him permanently to a stool--with the complete approval of
the Army Council. In another he was appearing before a tribunal of
employers as a conscientious objector to all forms of work.
The last straw was when the Brigadier caused it to be made known that
if any officer was particularly unsettled about his future he might be
granted a personal interview and it would be seen what could be done
for him. William sat down with the air of one who has established a
thumping bridgehead over his Rubicon and wrote to the Brigadier direct
and as follows:--
"SIR,--I have the honour to hope that this finds you a good deal
better than it leaves me at present. In case you should be in any
uncertainty over your prospects on return to half-pay, I shall be
happy to grant you a personal interview at my billet (Sheet 45; G 22a
3.7.) and see whether anything can be arranged to suit you. I may
add that I have a number of excellent appointments on my books, from
knife-boy to traveller to a firm of mineral water manufacturers. For
my own part my immediate future is firmly settled, thank you. For
at least three months after my discharge from the Army I have no
intention of taking up any form of work.
"I have the honour to be, Sir,
"YOUR OTHERWISE OBEDIENT SERVANT, ETC."
* * * * *
The court-martial was held last Thursday and sentence will be
promulgated any day now. Medical evidence certified William as sane
enough to understand the nature of his offence, but as the War is
over it is unlikely that he will be shot at dawn. William himself is
confident that he will be cashiered, a sentence which carries with
it automatic and permanent exclusion from all appointments under the
Crown. "That makes a tidy gap in the wire," says William hopefully.
"They won't even be able to make a postman of me. With a bit of luck
I'll dodge the unofficial jobs--I get that holiday after all, old
* * * * *
"HUNTING. THE DANGER OF KICKING HORSES."--_Times._
Generally the shoe is on the other foot.
* * * * *
"The Falkirk iron fitters, by an overwhelming majority, have
opposed the forty-hour week and have agreed to a forty-four
hour week."--_Provincial Paper_.
* * * * *
"The announcement of the augmentation of the British beet
in the Mediterranean appeared exclusively in the 'Sunday
It doesn't seem anything to boast about.
* * * * *
"WANTED.--On a farm, two capable European young or
middle-aged girls."--_South African Paper_.
There are lots of girls answering this description, but the difficulty
is that most of them are too shy to admit it.
* * * * *
"M. Clemenceau ... speaks English with rare perfection,
having spent years in the United States."--_Daily Paper_.
"M. Clemenceau, speaking in excellent English, said
What he really said, of course, was "Yep."
* * * * *
QUESTION AND ANSWER.
"What _are_ you, Sir?" the Counsel roared.
The timid witness said, "My Lord,
A Season-ticket holder I
Where London's southern suburbs lie."
"Tut, tut," his Lordship made demur,
"He meant what is your business, Sir."
The witness sighed and shook his head,
"I get no time for that," he said.
* * * * *
[Illustration: SERVICE EVOLUTION. BUD. BLOSSOM. FRUIT.]
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Guest_ (_who has cut the cloth_). "BILLIARDS REQUIRE
* * * * *
(_BY A FUTILITY RABBIT KEEPER_.)
There is a rabbit in the pansy bed,
There is a burrow underneath the wall,
There is a rabbit everywhere you tread,
To-day I heard a rabbit in the hall,
The same that sits at evening in my shoes
And sings his usefulness, or simply chews;
There is no corner sacred to the Muse--
And how shall man demobilise them all?
Far back, when England was devoid of food,
Men bade me breed the coney and I bought
Timber and wire-entanglements and hewed
Fair roomy palaces of pine-wood wrought,
Wherein our first-bought sedulously gnawed
And every night escaped and ran abroad;
Yet she was lovely and we named her Maud,
And if she ate the primulas, 'twas nought.
The months rolled onward and she multiplied,
And all her progeny resembled her;
They ate the daffodils; they seldom died;
And no one thought of them as provender;
The children fed them weekly for a treat,
And my wife said, "The _little_ things--how sweet!
If you imagine I can ever eat
A rabbit called Persephone, you err."
Yet famine might have hardened that proud breast,
Only that victory removed the threat;
And now, if e'er I venture to suggest
That it is time that some of them were ate,
That Maud is pivotal and costing pounds,
And how the garden is a mass of mounds,
She answers me, on military grounds,
"Peace is not come. We cannot eat them yet."
So I shall steal to yon allotment space
With a large bag of rabbits, and unseen
Demobilise them, and in that fair place
They all shall browse on cauliflower and bean;
There Smith will come on Saturday, and think
That it is shell-shock or disease or drink;
But Maud shall dwell for ever there and sink
A world of burrows in Laburnum Green. A.P.H.
* * * * *
SECRETS OF THE PEACE CONFERENCE.
"The proceedings yesterday afternoon began punctually at three
o'clock. Lord Robert Cecil sat with the British delegates. M.
Leon Bourgeois sat among the French delegates."--_Manchester
And not, as might have been thought, _vice versa_.
* * * * *
"A thoroughly capable and energetic man wanted, who will look
after a family concern: Must understand management of 25 acre
farm with 10 cows, about four acres may have to be broken up.
Must be an experienced brewer, capable of mashing 10 times
a week, and taking entire charge of brewing operations with
assistance of unskilled labour. Must be conversant with
licensing laws and requirements, also present restrictions
as applying to brewing; thoroughly understand and superintend
wines and spirits department, direct repairs, capable buyer,
general manager, organiser and foreman. Must be thorough
accountant, capable of directing office and branch work,
conversant with income-tax and excess profits duty practice.
Able to drive, or willing to learn a 4-ton Commer lorry,
must be motor-cyclist to visit branches, and manage
public-houses. Absolutely essential to understand and
drive oil engines.--Further particulars apply ---- and
What we chiefly miss is any information as to how the man is to fill
up his spare time.
* * * * *
"There are to be streets in Athens named after President Wilson
and after Mr. Lloyd George. In the 'Patris,' an Athens paper,
we read that 'Wilson' is spelt 'Ouilson,' whilst 'George' is
Tzortz,' 'Bonar Law' is 'Mponar Lo.'"--_Birmingham Mail_.
We bow to our contemporary's erudition, but we confess it all looks
Greek to us.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE PROGRESSIVE WEIGHT-LIFTER.]
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Betty_. "MUMMY, DOES GOD SEND US OUR FOOD?"
_Mother_. "YES, DEAR; OF COURSE HE DOES."
_Betty_. "BUT WHAT A PRICE!"]
* * * * *
ALL THE TALENTS.
Now that hostilities are at an end it is thought by many intelligent
young subalterns that a little variety might well be introduced into
For instance, at a General's Inspection why should not Officers'
duties be allotted after this fashion?--
The Commanding Officer will bind up the Second-in-Command with a
length of red tape, showing that no escape is possible from this
form of entanglement.
The Adjutant will give an exhibition of paper manipulation, using
various Army Forms for this purpose.
The Assistant-Adjutant will demonstrate how a morning's work may be
made of the changing of a pen-nib, while still creating an impression
of devoted industry.
The Messing Officer will fry a fillet of sole by means of haybox
cookery, and during the process will publicly skin a ration rabbit
in such a way that not the slightest depreciation is caused in the
value of 21/2d. attached to a rabbit-skin.
The Officer i/e Demobilisation will demobilise you while you wait
(provided you can wait long enough).
The Quartermaster will make a model of Hampton Court Maze,
illustrative of the intricacies of his department, taking care that
his model appropriately differs from the original in having no means
The Medical Officer will demonstrate how the huge national
accumulation of No. 9 pills may be adapted to civilian purposes by
using the pill _(a)_ as a fertiliser for the Officers' tennis lawn,
and _(b)_ as a destroyer of the superfluous grass bordering thereon.
Company Commanders will collaborate in a display of standing on
their own feet without the assistance of their respective Company
Sergeant-Majors. (N.B.--Absolute silence is requested during this
very delicate performance.)
The Junior Subaltern will give an exhibition of stunt saluting.
* * * * *
TO MY DRESS SUIT.
Old friend, well met! I've longed for this reunion;
You've been the lodestar of this storm-tossed ship
In those long hours which poets call Communion
With one's own Soul, and common folk the Pip.
The foe might rage, the Brigadier might bluster.
Was I down-hearted? No! My spirit soared
And dreamt of you and me with blended lustre
Gracing some well-spread and convivial board.
And what if now you fit askew where erstwhile
Fair lines bewrayed a figure not too svelte?
What if your shoulder-seams are like to burst, while
A sad hiatus shows beneath the belt?
As April fills the buds to shapely beauty,
As cooks fill Robert with plum-cake and tea,
So, it may be, a diet rich and fruity
May fill the gap that sunders you from me.
And if it fail, as I'm a, living sinner
I'll save you from the gaze of scornful eyes.
They say that Bolsheviks don't dress for dinner;
I'll off to Petrograd and Bolshevize.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _The Mayor_. "THE CONTENTS OF THE PURSE WILL IN TIME
INEVITABLY DISAPPEAR; BUT (_laying his hand on the clock_) HERE IS
SOMETHING WHICH WILL NEVER GO."]
* * * * *
A PLEA FOR PROPORTION.
[Its contemporaries having told us all about Mr. Lloyd
George's hat and how President Wilson ate a banana, _The
Daily Express_ recently went one better with the headline,
"Mr. Balfour joins a Tennis Club," as the subheading of its
"Peace Conference Notes."]
Has it always been this way, I wonder,
Did editors always display
The same disposition to blunder
O'er the weight of the news of the day?
When simpler was war and directer,
Was Athens accustomed to see
In the sheets of its _Argus_ how Hector
Had bloaters for tea?
If so--or indeed if it's not so--
One cannot but gently deplore
That the custom of chronicling rot so
Has not been expunged by the War.
When the world with its horrors still stunned is
And waits for vast hopes to come true,
What boots it if delegates' undies
Are scarlet or blue?
All facts of those delegates' labours
I'm ready to read with a zest,
And they must, like myself and my neighbours,
I know, have their moments of rest;
I do not begrudge them their pleasures,
But frankly I don't care a rap
If the sport that engages their leisure's
"Up, Jenkins" or "Snap."
Since the founts of its wisdom present us
Each morning with gems of this kind,
Such matters must strike as momentous
The news-editorial mind;
'Tis time this delusion was done with,
High time that some voice made it clear
We don't want those fountains to run with
Such very small beer.
* * * * *
"A married man, aged 34 years, collided with the mail train
when riding a motorcycle into Hawera on Friday. His right
arm, collarbone, and blue hospital uniforms on Thursday
morning."--_New Zealand Herald_.
We rather like this telescopic style of reporting. It leaves something
to the reader's imagination.
* * * * *
"To Parents and Pawnbrokers.--Anyone assisting to remove the
Charity Boots, marked B., from the Children's Feet, which
are the property of Mr. J. B---- and his Supporters, WILL BE
A distressful country, indeed, where the children do not own their own
* * * * *
War legislation has pressed hard on many callings, and on none more
than that of the architect. But the embargo has been lifted; the
ancient art is coming to its own again, and it is of happy omen
that the new President of the Royal Academy has been chosen from the
architects. In this context we welcome the stimulating article in a
recent issue of _The Times_ _a propos_ of the Winchester War Memorial.
"Are we never," asks the writer, "to take risks in our architecture?"
and his answer, briefly summed up, is "Perish the thought. _De
l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace._" It is, of
course, a pity that the Winchester War Memorial scheme has not met
with the unanimous approval of Wykehamists. Possibly they have reason,
for while adding a new cloister, a new gateway and a new hall to
the existing school buildings, it involves the pulling down of the
Quingentenary Memorial Building, erected some twenty years ago, and
of some old houses in Kingsgate Street. Some consider such a drastic
destruction to be unfortunate, but, says _The Times_, it is "necessary
if any scheme worthy of the occasion is to be carried out." Moreover
it is proposed to re-erect the Quingentenary Memorial on a new site,
"where it will certainly look as well as ever."
The greatest event in our history, as the writer finely observes,
cannot be worthily commemorated by any timid compromise. Winchester
has set a splendid example, but it is perhaps too much to expect
that it will be followed by London, owing to the inevitable clash of
conflicting interests in our unwieldy metropolis. The erection of
a new Pantheon on the site of St. Paul's and the removal of WREN'S
massive but _demode_ structure to Hampstead Heath, where it would
certainly look as well as ever, is, we fear, however much _The Times_
may desire it, beyond the range of practical politics. But example is
infectious, and if only the Winchester authorities would expand their
scheme and carry it out with Dantonesque audacity to its full logical
conclusion, other towns and cities might ultimately fall into line.
Winchester Cathedral, as we need hardly remind our readers, has only
been rescued from subsidence and collapse at an immense cost by a
lavish use of the resources of modern engineering. The building itself
is not without merits, but its site is inconspicuous and the swampy
nature of the soil is a constant menace to its durability. The scheme
which we venture with all humility to suggest is that it should be
removed and re-erected, in the same spirit though in the architectural
language of our own day, on the summit of St. Catherine's Hill,
where it would look better than ever, and be connected by a scenic
neo-Gothic railway with Meads. This would not only add to the
amenities of the landscape, but enable the present cathedral site to
be utilized for a purpose more in consonance with the needs of the
age. We do not presume to dictate, but may point out that if the
deanery and the canons' houses were pulled down and re-erected on the
golf-links, where they would look better than ever, space would be
available for a majestic aerodrome, or, better still, an experimental
water-stadium for submarines, in memory of KING ALFRED, the founder of
Into the question of details, design and cost it is not for us to
enter. We confine ourselves to appealing with all the force at our
command to Winchester, fortunate, as _The Times_ reminds us, in the
choice of an architect of genius and ingenuity, to persevere, to
rise to the occasion, to cast compromise to the winds and above all
to remember that the greatest compliment which can be paid to the
architects of the past is to remove their buildings to sites where
they look better than ever and do not suffer from the immediate
neighbourhood of the masterpieces of their successors. Architecture
has been defined as "frozen music." But on great occasions such as
this it needs to be taken out of its cold-storage and judiciously
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE SOFT ANSWER.
_Navvy_ (_to person who has accidentally bumped him_). "GO TO
_Person_. "GENTLE STRANGER, YOUR LIGHTEST WISH, EXPRESSED IN SUCH
COURTEOUS LANGUAGE, IS TO ME A COMMAND."
* * * * *
"Lost, sulky inflate."--_Glasgow Citizen_.
* * * * *
CIVIL EDUCATION FOR SOLDIERS.
When the armistice was signed and the close season for Germans set in,
it occurred to the authorities that it would be a waste of labour to
continue to train some few million good men for a shooting season that
might never re-open, and the weekly programme became rather a sketchy
affair till some brain more brilliant than the rest conceived the
idea of giving a good sound education in the arts of peace to this
promising and waiting multitude. The idea was joyfully accepted, and
gradually filtered through its authorised channels, suffering some
office change or other at each stage till it finally reached one of
our ancient seats of learning. It arrived rather like the peremptory
order of a newly-gazetted and bewildered subaltern, who, having got
his platoon hopelessly tied up, falls back on the time-honoured and
usually infallible "Carry on, Sergeant."
There were some six-hundred white-hatted cadets stationed at this
spot, all thirsting (presumably) for information on gas, and Mills
bombs, and studs on the cocking-piece, and forming fours, and vertical
intervals and District Courts-martial; and when the order came to
"carry on" with education it caused something like a panic. A council
of war nearly caused Head-quarters to cancel a battalion parade, but
they pulled themselves together and held the drill, and the appointed
Jack as "Battalion Education Officer," and empowered him to draft a
scheme of work.
When produced it consisted of fourteen paragraphs, each of which
finished up with the sentence, "This is obviously a problem for the
Company Commander." Jack had nothing to learn as to the duties of a
battalion specialist and realised that his responsibility lay simply
in providing Company Commanders, and then finding problems for them
to solve. As the Company Commanders were already in being his work
However, the Company Commanders, being men of merit, cheerfully
accepted the situation and approached their victims. "We are going to
teach you," they said. "What would you like to be taught?"
"Well," said the victims, "what have you got?"
"Oh, anything you like," said the Company Commanders. "Just you choose
your subject and we'll do the rest."
Now that was very generous, but rather rash. For the victims took them
at their word, and so by the time the perspiring Platoon Commanders
had produced their returns (in triplicate) it was found that there
were forty-three subjects to be provided for, including seven
languages, six branches of science, four kinds of engineering,
six commercial subjects and various sundries, such as metaphysics,
wool-classing and coker-nut planting.
The way the Company Commanders dealt with this problem was quite
simple and ingenious. They sent for all junior officers and asked
what they were prepared to teach. The result seemed really rather
good. Tom said he would take French, having spent three months in
Northern France before they sent him to Salonika. Dick's father
has an allotment and Dick himself occasionally hunts, so he chose
Agriculture, Oswald chose Mathematics, on the strength of having been
a Quartermaster-Sergeant in the Public Schools Brigade in September,
1914. Wilfred once went to a gas course for ten days, so of course
his subject was Science. Arthur really does know something about
Architecture and can also enlarge a map quite nicely, so he put down
Drawing. John chose Theology. He said he once read the lessons in
church; really he thought he was safe to draw a blank.
Once more the Company Commanders were equal to the emergency. They
looked at it in this way. French is a foreign language; Spanish is
also a foreign language. Tom offers to teach a foreign language;
therefore Tom shall teach Spanish. Corn-growing in Western Canada,
sheep-raising in Australia and coker-nut planting are all obviously
agriculture. Dick says he can teach Agriculture; so he shall. The
science of manures caused some discussion as to whether it should
be agriculture or science, but it was finally settled in favour of
science, which also included physics, electricity and crystallography.
John got four theological students, but, when he investigated, he
found that one was a Jew and one a Presbyterian minister, while the
other two, like himself, thought that no one else would have thought
of it. And these touch only the fringe of the subject.
The indent sent in for materials was a rather formidable one, but the
article most in demand was a sheep, which was wanted at the same time
by Dick for his Agriculture and Arthur for his Drawing, and also by
Mac, who is O.C. the Butchery class. Mac wrote a polite little note
saying he must have at least one a week, and he'd like "a pig to be
going on with, if you please," promising to hand, the latter over
complete and in good order, when he'd done with it, to Jones for his
bacon-curing class, "upon receipt of signature for same."
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Politically inclined Nurse_ (_exhibiting new daughter
to M.P._). "LET US 'OPE, SIR, THAT SHE MAY LIVE TO BE CALLED THE
MOTHER OF THE 'OUSE OF COMMONS."]
* * * * *
"120 Pairs Unbleached Calico Sheets, 2 x 23/4 yards. Sale price,
12/11 per pair; present value, 1/- per pair."--_Yorkshire
* * * * *
"Including new enlistments there are about 1,000 men
concentrated in and around Berlin."--_Manchester Guardian_.
Let FOCH be warned.
* * * * *
"BAD BOYS AND THE BIRCH.
"We are glad to observe that the Recorder has decided to adopt
stern measures with juvenile offenders who are brought before
him in future."--_Irish Times_.
"Stern measures" is good.
* * * * *
"NON-STOP WAIST DRIVES, Every Wednesday Evening at 8.30. L10
Top, and Six other Special Prizes."--_Local Paper_.
Believed to be under the patronage of the FOOD-CONTROLLER.
* * * * *
THE FOOD PROBLEM IN PARIS.
The cost of living in the vicinity of the Peace Conference has been
enormously exaggerated. Likewise the difficulty of reorganizing Europe
on a truly ethnic basis. By combining the two questions I have found
them immensely simplified, and I have been in Paris only three days.
My meaning will be clearly illustrated by the record of a single day's
experience--with the representative of the Dodopeloponnesians for
_dejeuner_ and the delegate of the Pan-Deuteronomaniads for dinner.
I made the acquaintance of the first in the lift. On the way down
it came out that I was _journaliste_ assisting at the Conference of
the Peace, whereupon the other introduced himself as secretary of
the Dodopeloponnesian delegation and eager for the pleasure of
entertaining me at _dejeuner_.
Nothing international arose in connection with the _hors d'oeuvres_.
It was between the soup and the fish that my host inquired whether
I had yet found time to look into the just claim of the
Dodopeloponnesian people to the neighbouring island of Funicula.
"You mean," I said, "on the ground that the island of Funicula was
brought under the Dodopeloponnesian sceptre on September 11th, 1405,
by Blagoslav the Splay-fingered, from whom it was wrested on February
3rd, 1406, by the Seljuks?"
"Precisely," he said. "But also because the people of Funicula are
originally of Dodopeloponnesian stock."
"Yet they speak the language of Pan-Deuteronomania," I said.
"A debased dialect," he said, "foisted upon them by a remission of
ten per cent. in taxes for every hundred words of the lingo learned
by heart, with double votes for irregular verbs."
The _entree_, something with eggs and jelly, was excellent.
"Far be it from me to deny," I said, "the fact that Funicula is by
right a part of the inheritance of the Octo-syllabarians"--and I bowed
gracefully to my host, who raised his glass in return--"and I agree
in advance with every argument you put forward in favour of a restored
Sesquicentennial commonwealth by bringing together the scattered
members of the Duodecimal race from all over the world. In fact," I
added as the waiter poured out the champagne, "it seems to me that
in addition to the Island of Funicula there properly belongs, in the
realm of your Greater Anti-Vivisectoria, the adjacent promontory,
geyser and natural bridge of Pneumobronchia, from which the last
Seljuk ruler, Didyffius the Forty-fifth, leaped in front of a
machete wielded by his eldest son, who therefore became Didymus the
He was delighted to find so much sympathy and understanding in an
alien journalist from far across the seas. His bill, so far as a
hurried and discreet glance could reveal, was 89 francs 50 centimes,
not including the _taxe_.
On the other hand, the _sous-secretaire_ of the Pan-Deuteronomaniad
delegation, who took me out to dinner that same night, paid 127 francs
(including theatre tickets) before he proved to my satisfaction
that the basic civilization of Funicula Island is after all
At any rate my point is made. My expenditure on food these three
days in Paris has been negligible, and there is rumour that the
Supra-Zambesian delegation is thinking of opening a hotel with running
water, h. and c., in every room.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Gunner_. "DO YOU PLAY THE PIANO?"
_Jack_. "NO, SIR."
_Gunner_. "NOR THE 'CELLO?"
_Jack_. "NO, SIR."
_Gunner_. "WELL, THE NEXT TIME YOU HEAR RUMOURS OF A BARBER JUST
FOLLOW THE MATTER UP."]
* * * * *
The air is full of rain and sleet,
A dingy fog obscures the street;
I watch the pane and wonder will
The sun be shining on Boar's Hill,
Rekindling on his western course
The dying splendour of the gorse
And kissing hands in joyous mood
To primroses in Bagley Wood.
I wish that when old Phoebus drops
Behind yon hedgehog-haunted copse
And high and bright the Northern Crown
Is standing over White Horse Down
I could be sitting by the fire
In that my Land of Heart's Desire--
A fire of fir-cones and a log
And at my feet a fubsy dog
In Robinwood! In Robinwood!
I think the angels, if they could,
Would trade their harps for railway tickets
Or hang their crowns upon the thickets
And walk the highways of the world
Through eves of gold and dawns empearled,
Could they be sure the road led on
Twixt Oxford spires and Abingdon
To where above twin valleys stands
Boar's Hill, the best of promised lands;
That at the journey's end there stood
A heaven on earth like Robinwood.
Heigho! The sleet still whips the pane
And I must turn to work again
Where the brown stout of Erin hums
Through Dublin's aromatic slums
And Sinn Fein youths with shifty faces
Hold "Parliaments" in public places
And, heaping curse on mountainous curse
In unintelligible Erse,
Harass with threats of war and arson
Base Briton and still baser CARSON.
But some day when the powers that be
Demobilise the likes of me
(Some seven years hence, as I infer,
My actual exit will occur)
Swift o'er the Irish Sea I'll fly,
Yea, though each wave be mountains high,
Nor pause till I descend to grab
Oxford's surviving taxicab.
Then "Home!" (Ah, HOME! my heart be still!)
I'll say, and, when we reach Boar's Hill,
I'll fill my lungs with heaven's own air
And pay the cabman twice his fare,
Then, looking far and looking nigh,
Bare-headed and with hand on high,
"Hear ye," I'll cry, "the vow I make,
Familiar sprites of byre and brake,
_J'y suis, j'y reste_. Let Bolshevicks
Sweep from the Volga to the Styx;
Let internecine carnage vex
The gathering hosts of Poles and Czechs,
And Jugo-Slavs and Tyrolese
Impair the swart Italian's ease--
Me for Boar's Hill! These war-worn ears
Are deaf to cries for volunteers;
No Samuel Browne or British warm
Shall drape this svelte Apolline form
Till over Cumnor's outraged top
The actual shells begin to drop;
Till below Youlberry's stately pines
Echo the whiskered Bolshy's lines
And General TROTSKY'S baggage blocks
The snug bar-parlour of 'The Fox.'"
* * * * *
ROMANCE WHILE YOU WAIT.
My friend and I occupied facing seats in a railway-carriage on a
tedious journey. Having nothing to read and not much to say, I gazed
through the windows at the sodden English winter landscape, while
my friend's eyes were fixed on the opposite wall of the compartment,
above my head.
"What a country!" I exclaimed at last. "Good heavens, what a country,
to spend one's life in!"
"Yes," he said, withdrawing his eyes from the space above my head.
"And why do we stay in it when there are such glorious paradises to go
to? Hawaii now. If you really want divine laziness--sun and warmth and
the absence of all fretful ambition--you should go to the South Seas.
You can't get it anywhere else. I remember when I was in Hawaii--"
"Hawaii!" I interrupted. "You never told me you had been to Hawaii."
"I don't tell everything," he replied. "But the happiest hours of
my existence were spent in a little village two or three miles
from Honolulu, on the coast, where we used to go now and then for
a day's fun. It was called--let me get it right--it was called
Tormo Tonitui--and there were pleasure-gardens there and the most
fascinating girls." His eyes took on a far-away wistfulness.
"Yes, yes?" I said.
"Fascinating brown girls," he said, "who played that banjo-mandolin
thing they all play, and sang mournful luxurious songs, and danced
under the lanterns at night. And the bathing! There's no bathing here
at all. There you can stay in the sea air day if you like. It's like
bathing in champagne. Sun and surf and sands--there's nothing like
it." He sighed rapturously.
"Well, I can't help saying again," I interrupted, "that it's a most
extraordinary thing that, after knowing you all these years, you
have never told me a word about Honolulu or the South Seas or this
wonderful pleasure-garden place called--what was the name of it?"
He hesitated for a moment. "Morto Notitui," he then replied.
"I don't think that's how you had it before," I said; "surely it was
"Perhaps it was," he said. "I forget. Those Hawaiian names are very
much alike and all rather confusing. But you really ought to go out
there. Why don't you cut everything for a year and get some sunshine
into your system? You're fossilising here. We all are. Let's be
gamblers and chance it."
"I wish I could," I said. "Tell me some more about your life there."
"It was wonderful," he went on--wonderful. I'm not surprised that
STEVENSON found it a paradise."
"By the way," I asked, "did you hear anything of STEVENSON?"
"Oh, yes, lots. I met several men who had known him--Tusitala he
was called there, you know--and several natives. There was one
extraordinary old fellow who had helped him make the road up the
mountain. He and I had some great evenings together, yarning and
"Did he tell you anything particularly personal about STEVENSON?" I
"Nothing that I remember," he said; "but he was a fine old fellow and
as thirsty as they make 'em."
"What is copra like?" I asked.
"Great," he said. "Like--what shall I say?--well, like Audit ale and
Veuve Clicquot mixed. But it got to your head. You had to be careful.
I remember one night after a day's bathing at--at Tromo Titonui--"
"Where was that?" I asked.
"Oh, that little village I was telling you about," he said. "I
remember one night--"
"Look here," I said, "you began by calling it Tormo Tonitui, then you
called it Morto Notitui and now it's Tromo Titonui. I'm going to say
again, quite seriously, that I don't believe you ever were in Hawaii
"Of course I wasn't," he replied. "But what is one to do in a railway
carriage, with nothing to read, and a drenched world and those two
words staring one in the face?" and he pointed to a placard above my
head advertising a firm which provided the best and cheapest Motor
* * * * *
Daddy's got his civvies on:
In his room upstairs
You should have heard him stamping round,
Throwing down the chairs;
When I went to peep at him
Daddy banged his door....
Well, I think I'll hide from Daddy
Till the next Great War!
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Exhausted Shopman_. "WELL, SIR, YOU'VE HAD ON EVERY
HAT IN THE PLACE. I'M SURE I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SUGGEST."
_Fastidious Warrior_ (_hopelessly_). "NO, I SEE NOTHING FOR IT BUT
TO REMAIN IN THE ARMY."]
* * * * *
(_BY MR. PUNCH'S STAFF OF LEARNED CLERKS._)
MR. ARNOLD BENNETT'S new novel, _The Roll Call_ (HUTCHINSON), is
a continuation of the _Clayhanger_ series to the extent that its
hero, _George Cannon_, is the stepson of _Edwin_, who himself makes
a perfunctory appearance at the close of the tale. The scene is,
however, now London, where we watch _George_ winning fame and fortune,
quite in the masterful Five-Towns manner, as an architect. The change
is, I think, beneficial. That quality of unstalable astonishment,
native to Mr. BENNETT's folk, accords better with the complexities
of the wonderful city than to places where it had at times only
indifferent matter upon which to work. But it is noticeable that Mr.
BENNETT can communicate this surprise not only to his characters but
to his readers. There is an enthusiasm, real or apparent, in his art
which, like the beam celestial, "evermore makes all things new," so
that when he tells us, as here, that there are studios in Chelsea
or that the lamps in the Queen's Hall have red shades, these facts
acquire the thrill of sudden and almost startling discovery. I suppose
this to be one reason for the pleasure that I always have in his
books; another is certainly the intense, even passionate sympathy
that he lavishes upon the central character. In the present example
the affairs of _George Cannon_ are shown developing largely under the
stimulus of four women, of whom the least seen is certainly the most
interesting, while _Lois_, the masterful young female whom _George_
marries, promises as a personality more than she fulfils. We conduct
_George's_ fortunes as far as the crisis produced in them by the
War, and leave him contemplating a changed life as a subaltern in
the R.F.A. It is therefore permissible to hope that in a year or
two we may expect the story of his reconstruction. I shall read it
* * * * *
_Iron Times with the Guards_ (MURRAY), by an O.E., is emphatically
one of the books which one won't turn out from one's war-book shelf.
It fills in blanks which appear in more ambitious and more orderly
narratives. This particular old Etonian, entering the new Army by way
of the Territorials in the first days of the War, was transferred, in
the March of 1915, to the Coldstreams and was in the fighting line
in April of the same year. A way they had in the Army of those great
days. Details of the routine of training, reported barrack-square
jests and dug-out conversations, vignettes of trench and field,
disquisitions on many strictly relevant and less relevant topics,
reflections of that fine pride in the regiment which marks the best
of soldiers, an occasional more ambitious survey of a battle or a
campaign--all this from a ready but not pretentious pen, guided by a
sound intelligence and some power of observation, makes an admirable
commentary. Our author's narrative carries us to those days of the
great hopes of the Spring of 1917, hopes so tragically deferred.
Perhaps the best thing in an interesting sheaf is the description
of the attack of the Guards Division--as it had become--on the
Transloy-Lesboeufs-Ginchy road, with its glory and its carnage.
* * * * *
It is to be feared that _Battle Days_ (BLACKWOOD), a new work by Mr.
ARTHUR FETTERLESS, author of _Gog_, will lose a good many readers as
the result of the armistice. There are battle stories and battle books
that are not stories that will live far into the piping times of peace
because they are human documents or have the stamp of genius. These
attractions are not present in _Battle Days_, which in truth is rather
a prosy affair, though ambitious withal. It is not fiction in the
ordinary sense. Mr. FETTERLESS essays to conduct the reader through
every phase of a big "Push." Pushes were complicated affairs, and the
author does not spare us many of the complications. And unless the
reader happens to be an ardent militarist he is apt to push off into
slumberland. Cadets should be made to read this book as a matter of
instruction; for, though it lacks the subtle humour that endeared
_Duffer's Drift_ to us, it provides a striking analysis of modern
* * * * *
_The Curtain of Steel_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) is the fourth book which
the author of _In the Northern Mists_ has given us during the War, and
in essentials it is the most valuable of the quartette. For here we
have real history, served, it is true, with some trimmings, but none
the less a true record of the doings of our Grand Fleet since the day
when the "curtain" was lowered. "Nothing," our author says, "nauseates
a naval man so much as the attempt to represent him as a hero or to
theatricalise him and his profession." It behoves me then to choose
my words with the utmost circumspection, and I beg him to forgive my
audacity when I say that, if I were Book-Controller, a copy of _The
Curtain of Steel_ would be in (and out of) the library of every
school in the Empire. I find courage to make this statement because I
see that he does not deny that a part of our "disease of ignorance"
concerning the Senior Service is due to the modesty of Naval men.
If he will please go on correcting that ignorance, and in the same
inspiring style, I wish an even greater access of power to his elbow.
* * * * *
"I am allowed the reputation of a tolerable guide in writing and
style, and I can certainly help you to produce clear English." These
words, written in 1881, are to be found in a letter of GEORGE MEREDITH
to his eldest son. They show how wildly mistaken even the best of us
may be with regard to our own qualities and gifts; for if there is one
thing that MEREDITH could not produce, that thing is clear English.
Mr. S.M. ELLIS agrees with me in this particular point, and has
written _George Meredith: His Life and Friends in Relation to his
Work_ (GRANT RICHARDS) to prove that this is so. The book is a curious
compound. At one moment Mr. ELLIS sets out in detail the Meredithian
genealogy, and shows that MEREDITH was the son and grandson of tailors
and did not relish the relationship; at another moment he describes
MEREDITH'S delightful and exuberantly youthful characteristics as a
friend; and again he shows how badly MEREDITH behaved in regard to his
first wife (though she was much more in fault), and also in regard to
his first son, Arthur. Still the book is extremely interesting and,
though it does not profess to deal in elaborate criticism, it contains
some very shrewd comments on MEREDITH'S work and the reasons that made
his novels so many sealed books to the British public. Here and there
Mr. ELLIS allows himself almost to write a passage or two in the style
of the master. This is one of them: "As he [Maurice Fitzgerald] was
the gourmetic instrument that brought Mrs. Ockenden's art to perfect
expression, he appropriately attained immortalisation jointly with her
at the hands of the friend who had shared with him the joys of that
good woman's superlative cookery in Seaford days."
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE PAY-TABLE. (THE END OF A PERFECT WAR.) "JOHN SMITH,
A.B., THREE POUNDS TEN--IN DEBT."]
* * * * *
"Wanted, half-governess for boy aged nine, girl aged six;
wages L30 per year."--_Morning Post_.
A half-governess is, we suppose, the feminine equivalent of two
* * * * *
"Lady Nurse, nursery college trained, wanted, under 34;
very experienced babies."--_Provincial Paper_.
Perhaps they will know too much for her.
* * * * *
"Will gentleman, navy mackintosh, who spoke to lady, blue
hat, vicinity Park Station, Tuesday, 6 o'clock, speak again
same time?"--_Liverpool Echo_.
The gentleman will doubtless beg a ride on Mr. H.G. WELLS'S "Time
Machine" in order to get back in time for the appointment.
* * * * *
[Sir WILLIAM BEVERIDGE. K.O.B., has been appointed Permanent
Secretary to the Ministry of Food.]
To skimp its daily bread for beer
Was not this nation's mood;
But now with lightened hearts we hear
That BEVERIDGE turns to Food.