Produced by Malcolm Farmer, Sandra Brown and the Online Distributed
PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
May 14, 1919.
"Where Stands Germany To-day?" asks a headline. She doesn't. At least
Count BROCKDORFF-RANTZAU kept his seat while addressing the Peace
Conference. This discourtesy however need not be taken too seriously.
It is pointed out that by the time Germany has complied with the Peace
terms she may not be able to sit down.
The Soviet Government has adopted a new calendar, in which the year
will commence on October 25th. We ourselves have always, associated
the first day of January with some of the most repugnant features of
A resident of Balham who was last week bitten by a member of a Jazz
band is now wondering whether he ought to submit to the PASTEUR
treatment or just allow the thing to run its own course.
Several of our migratory birds have not yet returned to these shores.
It is supposed that the spirit of competition has been aroused in them
by the repeated rumours of a Trans-Atlantic flight and that they have
started to race on foot across Europe.
"Where is all the Cheese?" asks an _Evening News'_ headline. A
correspondent has suggested that it might be nesting-time.
Wallasey's Corporation has decided to exclude boys under sixteen from
the municipal golf course. No child, the Mayor explains, should be
allowed to witness its father's shame.
"Steps should be taken to make the clergy presentable and attractive,"
says the Vicar of St. Jude's, Hampstead. A little baby ribbon
insertion, it is suggested, would give a certain dash to the carpet
slippers without impairing their essential dignity.
The Ebbw Vale cat that is suspected of having rabies is still under
observation. The belief is gaining ground, however, that she was
merely trying to purr in Welsh.
North of England gas managers have passed a resolution urging the
appointment of a Director-General of Light, Heat and Power. But surely
the functions of such an office are already performed by Mr. SPEAKER.
Swallows, says a contemporary, have been seen flying over the
Serpentine. Most of the snap was taken out of the performance by the
fact that none of them delivered _The Daily Mail_.
A fine specimen of the rare white female dolphin, a very infrequent
visitor to our shores, has been killed off Yarmouth. We'll learn white
female dolphins to visit us!
The National Historical Society have cabled to Mr. WILSON that they
are supporting Italy's claim to Fiume. It is only fair to point out
that Mr. Smith of Norwood has not yet reached a decision on the point.
A Sinn Fein M.P. has been recaptured at Finglas, co. Dublin. It would
be interesting to know why.
The Board of Agriculture are of the opinion that rabies might be
spread by rats. In view of this there is some talk of calling upon
householders to muzzle their rats.
According to a Sunday paper a husband recently stated that a former
lodger ran away with his wife. She was a German, and nobody can
understand why they ran.
An anarchist arrested in Holland with a bomb in his possession
explained that it was for the ex-Kaiser. We have since been informed
that the retired monarch denies that he ever placed such an order with
A well-known golf club has recently engaged a totally deaf caddy. The
idea is to induce more clergymen to join the club.
As no joke about the Isle of Wight Railway has appeared in any comic
paper for at least a month, it is supposed that either a new engine
has been bought or that the old one has been thoroughly overhauled.
A picture post-card sent off in 1910 has just arrived at its
destination. It is presumed that one of the sorters who originally
handled it is breaking up his collection.
It will take ten years, says a Post Office official, to replace the
present telephone system with automatic exchanges. Persons who have
already registered calls are urged not to make too much of this slight
Every one, says the Secretary of the National Federation of Fish
Friers, wants the trade to be a respectable one. On the other hand it
is just that smack which it has of Oriental debauchery that makes it
appeal so strongly to the idle rich.
Salmon taken from some parts of the Tyne are alleged to smell of
petrol and taste like tar. Otherwise they are quite all right.
An American doctor states that British people sleep too much. No
blame, however, attaches to America. After all, she invented the
"The end of the dog," says a contemporary, "is in sight." Then it
can't be a dachshund.
* * * * *
[Illustration: PROTECT OUR PROTECTORS.
BARBED WIRE-MESH OVERALLS DESIGNED TO PREVENT THE POLICE FROM STRIKING
AS A PROTEST AGAINST HAVING TO INTERN UNMUZZLED DOGS.]
* * * * *
"Unionist Agent wanted ... Liberal salary offered."--_Times_.
Just the job for a Coalitionist.
* * * * *
"One must, however, remember that the Turk--and hurl upon
him what execrations you may--is still the [text upside down:
gentleman of the Near] East."--_Weekly Paper_.
He may be the "gentleman of the Near East," but that has not saved him
from being turned down.
* * * * *
THE COUNTER-ORDER OF THE BATH.
[A Standing Committee of the House of Commons has refused to
vote L3,800 for a lift and a second bathroom in the proposed
official residence of the LORD CHANCELLOR within the precincts
of the House of Lords. In a letter to Sir ALFRED MOND Lord
BIRKENHEAD wrote: "I am sure both yourself and the Committee
will understand that my object in writing is to make it plain
that I never asked anyone to provide me with a residence,
and that I am both able and willing, in a house of my own,
to provide my family and myself with such bathroom and other
accommodation as may be reasonably necessary."]
I did not ask for it; I never yearned
Within the Royal Court to board and bed;
Like all the other honours I have earned,
I had this greatness thrust upon my head;
But if the Precincts are to be my lair
Then for my comfort Ministers must cater;
I want a second bath inserted there,
Also an elevator.
Daily fatigued by those official cares
Which my exalted dignity assumes,
I could not ask my feet to climb the stairs
Which link that mansion's three-and-thirty rooms;
And, if the Law must have so clean a fame
That none can point to where a speck of dust is,
A single bathroom cannot meet the claim
Of equitable Justice.
My wants are modest, you will please remark;
I crave no vintage of the Champagne zone,
No stalled chargers neighing for the Park,
No 9.5 cigars (I have my own);
I do not ask, who am the flower of thrift,
For Orient-rugs or "Persian apparatus";
Nothing is lacking save a bath and lift
To fill my soul's hiatus.
And, should my plea for reasonable perks
(Barely four thousand pounds) be flatly quashed;
Should kind Sir ALF, Commissioner of Works,
Be forced to leave me liftless and half-washed;
Then for these homely needs of which I speak,
Content with my old pittance from the nation,
In Grosvenor Square (or Berkeley) I will seek
* * * * *
BACK TO THE CAM.
College head-porters as a class assuredly rank amongst the dignified
things of the earth. One may admire the martial splendour of a
Brigadier-General, and it is not to be denied that Rear-Admirals have
a certain something about them which excites both awe and delight, but
they are never quite the same thing as a college head-porter. There
may be weak spots in the profession, and indeed in one or two of the
less self-respecting colleges the head-porters scarcely rise above the
level of the Dons; but these are distinctly exceptional. As a class
they stand, as I said, amongst the dignified things of life.
Parsons is our head-porter, and perhaps he is the sublimest of them
all. Freshmen raise their squares to him, and Oriental students can
rarely bring themselves to enter the porter's lodge during their first
term without previously removing their shoes. Few except fourth-year
men have the temerity to address him as "Parsons" to his face; it
seems such an awful thing to do, like keeping a chapel in bedroom
slippers or walking arm-in-arm with a Blue. You feel awkward about it.
In order to give you a shadowy idea of Parsons' majesty I must hark
back for a moment to a certain day in November, 1914, when Biffin and
I, after a brief dalliance with the C.U.O.T.C., left Cambridge to join
our regiments. It was pouring with rain, but we were elated in spirit;
we had our commissions; things were going to happen; we felt almost
in case to jostle a constable. As we passed out through the porter's
lodge Parsons sat at his table, imperturbable and austere, his eagle
eyes flashing from beneath his bushy brows and his venerable
beard sweeping his breast. At that moment Biffin, overwrought with
excitement, forgot himself.
"Cheerio, Parsons, old cracker," he shouted wildly; "how's the weather
suit your whiskers?"
Then, realising the enormity of his act, he turned suddenly pale,
dashed out into the road and dived panic-stricken into the waiting
taxi. We made good our escape.
* * * * *
Those seven stars represent the War. I take a childlike pleasure
in dismissing Armageddon in this brusque fashion. If you have had
anything at all to do with it you will understand.
Having been demobilised at a relatively early date, out of respect for
our pivotal intellects, Biffin and I were bound for Cambridge, to take
up the threads of learning where WILHELM had snapped them some years
previously. Both of us have changed a little. Biffin has been burnt
brown by the suns of Egypt, while I wear a small souvenir of Flanders
on my upper lip.
"I wonder if Parsons will remember us," said Biffin as the train
thundered into the station.
"Of course he will," I replied. "Parsons never forgets anything."
"I doubt it," said Biffin.
As our taxi drew up before the portals of Alma Mater the first person
we saw, standing on the steps of the porter's lodge, was Parsons. He
was as Olympian as ever. As soon as you saw him you felt that, though
they might abolish compulsory Greek or introduce a Finance Tripos,
they would never be able to subdue the ancient spirit of the
University. A single glimpse of Parsons, standing erect in all his
traditional glory, showed up people like Mr. H.G. WELLS in their true
perspective in a moment. It did one good.
We approached him. "Good afternoon, Parsons," we said, with a brave
attempt at _sang-froid_.
Parsons regarded us. "Good afternoon, Mr. Jones," he said to me. Then
his eyes rested on Biffin. "Good afternoon, Sir," he said.
Biffin nudged me, "He's forgotten me," he whispered. Parsons continued
to subject him to an implacable scrutiny. At length he spoke again.
"As to your question, Mr. Biffin, which I have had no earlier
opportunity of answering, I may say that what you were pleased to
allude to as my whiskers--a colloquialism I do not myself employ--are
entirely impervious to and unaffected by any climatic variations
whatsoever. Your rooms, Sir, are on Staircase B."
* * * * *
"Lecture by Rev. W. ----. 'The Dragon, The Beast and The False
Prophet.' All welcome."--_Scotsman_.
* * * * *
"Scotch reels, corner dances, and waltzes were favourites at
the Masons' ball on Tuesday evening. Dancers fought shy of the
fog-trot which has proved so popular at other dances."--_Scots
Perhaps they were afraid of missing their steps in the dark.
* * * * *
"Detroit to-day completed its first year as the world's
largest 'dry' city. The city has prospered during the past
year both financially and industrially. Murders, suicides,
embezzlements, assaults, robberies and drunkenness were
reduced by half."--_Daily Mail_.
The record of drunkenness seems still rather high for a teetotal city.
* * * * *
[Illustration: A CAUTIOUS DICTATOR.
PRESIDENT WILSON (_dictating a message to the American Nation_). "AT
LAST WE MAY FAIRLY SAY THAT THE DOVE OF PEACE HAS SIGHTED DRY LAND."
(_Pauses_). "ONE MOMENT--I'M NOT QUITE SURE THEY'LL LIKE THAT WORD
[The New York _World_ asserts that President WILSON has promised to
set aside the Prohibition Law if he finds that popular opinion is
opposed to it.]]
* * * * *
[Illustration: MR. WILL JONES, M.C., D.C.M., AND MR. RONALD
MONTMORENCY (TOTAL EXEMPTION 1917--WORK OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE) AS
THEY APPEAR IN THE LEADING PARTS OF THE MELODRAMA "IN HIS COUNTRY'S
Reading from left to right: MR. MONTMORENCY, MR. JONES.]
* * * * *
The fact being now established to the satisfaction of the authorities
that the public is composed almost exclusively of drivelling idiots,
a campaign has been instituted for adding to the decorations of London
by placarding the walls with hints on how to avoid various violent
We are surrounded now by blood-curdling photographs of people being
run over by omnibuses or dribbled along the street by horses
attached to brewers' drays, these illustrations being accompanied by
explanatory notes as to the inevitable result of crossing roads with
your eyes shut or your fingers in your ears and endeavouring to alight
from moving omnibuses by means of the back somersault or the swallow
dive. We are also implored to make quite sure, before alighting from a
train, that it is really at a station.
As this admirable propaganda is only in its infancy, I submit the
following additions to its collection of horrors, which may perhaps
inspire others even cleverer than myself to evolve new methods of
protecting the public from themselves.
A picture of a widow wringing her hands with grief, and under it
this pungent hint: "This is the widow of a man who tried to light his
cigarette on the 'live rail.'"
A picture of a man who has been cut in half, with, say, a crisp little
"Here are two portions of Benjamin Yates
Who scorned the request to 'stand clear of the gates.'"
A photograph of the interior of a hospital ward full of patients,
with the following: "Interior of a ward in the Bakerdilly Hospital,
exclusively for patients who stepped off the moving staircase with the
A picture of a stately building standing in its own grounds with the
description: "The N.S.E. & W. Railway Orphanage for children whose
parents crossed the line by the track instead of the footbridge."
A picture of a decapitated body with the poignant comment:--
"Be warned by the ending
Of Ferdinand Goschen
Who leaned out of window
While the train was in motion."
And perhaps a few general hints such as:--
(1) In stepping off an omnibus always alight feet first.
(2) In crossing crowded thoroughfares, proceed through the traffic,
not under it.
(3) Before stepping from the pavement make quite sure that there is a
road there, etc., etc.
Imagination, colour--that's all that's wanted, and if this propaganda
is carried far enough the safety of the public will be assured, for
either they really will try not to be killed while travelling or
walking in the streets, or they will stay indoors altogether.
* * * * *
Miss ---- will have the satisfaction of knowing that she
has left her mark on those who have passed through her
* * * * *
"Closing scores in the professional golf match were Newman
14,835; Inman 13,343."--_Provincial Paper_.
This high scoring was due, we understand, to the large number of
losing hazards which had to be negotiated.
* * * * *
"Aerial fights to and from towns on the coast are to be a
feature of Hythe's holiday season."--_Belfast Weekly News_.
We are all in favour of popularising aviation, but we think this is
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Director of old-established firm_. "I HOPE YOU DON'T
_The new "Boy_." "NO--GIVEN IT UP. FIND IT 'PUFFS' ME FOR JAZZIN'."]
* * * * *
The hailstorm stopped; a watery sun came out,
And late that night I clearly saw the moon;
The lilac did not actually sprout,
But looked as if it ought to do in June.
I did not say, "My love, it is the Spring;"
I rubbed my chilblains in a cheerful way
And asked if there was some warm woollen thing
My wife had bought me for the first of May;
And, just to keep the ancient customs green,
We said we 'd give the poor old house a clean.
Good Mr. Ware came down with all his men,
And filled the house with lovely oily pails,
And went away to lunch at half-past ten,
And came again at tea-time with some nails,
And laid a ladder on the daffodil,
And opened all the windows they could see,
And glowered fiercely from the window-sill
On me and Mrs. Tompkinson at tea,
And set large quantities of booby-traps
And then went home--a little tired, perhaps.
They left their paint-pots strewn about the stair,
And switched the lights off--but I knew the game;
They took the geyser--none could tell me where;
It was impossible to wash my frame.
The painted windows would not shut again,
But gaped for ever at the Eastern skies;
The house was full of icicles and rain;
The bedrooms smelled of turpentine and size;
And if there be a more unpleasant smell
I have no doubt that that was there as well.
My wife went out and left me all alone,
While more men came and clamoured at the door
To strip the house of everything I own,
The curtains and the carpets from the floor,
The kitchen range, the cushions and the stove,
And ask me things that husbands never know,
"Is this 'ere paint the proper shade of mauve?"
Or "Where is it this lino has to go?"
I slunk into the cellar with the cat,
This being where the men had put my hat.
I cowered in the smoking-room, unmanned;
The days dragged by and still the men were here.
And then I said, "I too will take a hand,"
And borrowed lots of decorating gear.
I painted the conservatory blue;
I painted all the rabbit-hutches red;
I painted chairs in every kind of hue,
A summer-house, a table and a shed;
And all of it was very much more fair
Than any of the work of Mr. Ware.
But all his men were stung with sudden pique
And worked as never a worker worked before;
They decorated madly for a week
And then the last one tottered from the door,
And I was left, still working day and night,
For I have found a way of keeping warm,
And putting paint on everything in sight
Is surely Art's most satisfying form;
I know no joy so simple and so true
As painting the conservatory blue.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE PROFESSOR, IN HIS CAGE, INTENDED TO STUDY THE
LANGUAGE OF MONKEYS. BUT, WHEN THE KETTLE UPSET, THE MONKEYS HAD AN
OPPORTUNITY OF STUDYING THE LANGUAGE OF PROFESSORS.]
* * * * *
THE LAST OF HIS RACE.
IT is interesting, though ill-mannered, to watch other people at a
railway bookstall and guess their choice of literature from their
Had you pursued this diversion, however, in the case of Mr. Harringay
Jones as he stood before the bookstall at Paddington, you would, I
fear, have been far out in your conjecture. For Mr. Jones, who had the
indeterminate baldheadedness of the bank cashier and might have been
anything from thirty-five to sixty, did not purchase a volume
of essays or a political autobiography, but selected a flaming
one-and-sixpenny narrative of spy hunts and secret service intrigue.
Still, how could you have guessed that Mr. Jones's placid countenance
and rotund frame concealed an imagination that was almost boyish in
its unsatisfied craving for adventure? Humdrum year had succeeded
humdrum year, yet he had never despaired. Some day would come that
great moment when the limelight of the world's wonder would centre on
him, and he would hold the stage alone.
But till its arrival he consoled himself with literature and found
vicarious enjoyment in the deeds of others. As long as his imagination
could grow lean in its search for treasure amid Alaskan snows, he
recked not if reality added an inch or two to his circumference.
While he could solve, in fancy, problems that had baffled the acutest
investigators, what matter if his tie-pin got mislaid?
And then came war to deposit romance and adventure upon our doorsteps.
Mr. Jones was agog with excitement.
Espionage, treachery in high places, the hidden hand--Mr. Jones read
about them all and shuddered with unholy joy. Perhaps he, an obscure
cashier--who could tell? Stranger things had happened.
Meanwhile he devoured all the spy literature he could find, for, as he
once remarked to himself, in dealing with such gentry you have to mind
your P's and QUEUX. It was his only joke.
His literary choice dictated by such considerations, Mr. Jones
picked his way delicately across the platforms till he reached his
compartment, into the corner of which he stretched himself luxuriously
and prepared to enjoy his book.
Just before the train started a lady entered carrying a baby
and--greatly to Mr. Jones's annoyance--took the corner seat opposite
him. Being a confirmed bachelor, he had a horror of all babies,
but this child in particular struck him with disfavour; seldom, he
thought, had he seen such a peevish discontented expression on any
Close on the lady's heels followed a withered old man of the
traditional professorial type, who seated himself at the other end of
Mr. Jones buried himself in his book. For once, however, the narrative
failed to entertain him. Beautiful spies lavished their witchery in
vain; the sagacity of the hero left him cold.
Suddenly an atmosphere of unrest and agitation conveyed itself to
him. The train was slowing down in the darkness; the lady opposite
was leaning forward, her face pale, her whole attitude tense with
excitement. The train stopped; outside someone was walking along the
metals; there came the sound of a guttural remark.
The lady put her hand to her heart and, turning to the elderly
gentleman, gasped, "Doctor, that was his voice. They have tracked us."
The old man rose quietly and, opening the far door, stood waiting.
"But the child?" she cried with a sob.
"He must be left behind, Madame. There is less danger thus."
"But what am I to do?" She turned to Mr. Jones, looked at him steadily
and fixedly, and then, as if satisfied with what she read in him,
exclaimed, "You have a good heart. You must keep him. Do not let them
have him; too much depends upon it."
And before the astonished cashier had time to protest his
fellow-travellers had gone and he was alone with the child.
But not for long. Just as the train commenced to move again three men
entered the compartment; two appeared to be servants, but the third
was a young man of distinguished appearance, the most conspicuous
items of whose attire were a dark Homburg hat and a long cape of
Mr. Jones's heart missed a beat.
Throwing a searching glance around the compartment the stranger rapped
out, "There has been a lady in here?"
"No," replied Mr. Jones, on general principles.
For answer the stranger picked a cambric handkerchief off the floor.
"That's mine," said Mr. Jones hastily.
"Perhaps," was the sneering reply, "you will tell me also that the
child is yours."
"Certainly," said Mr. Jones, ruffled by his cross-examination; "it
always has been."
The stranger snorted contemptuously. "You are good at explanations.
Perhaps you can explain this."
Mr. Jones looked down at the baby's coat. To his amazement he beheld a
crown and monogram embroidered on it.
"That," he replied, taking refuge in fatuity, "is the laundry mark."
"Come, come, enough of this fooling. Give me the child."
Mr. Jones took no notice.
"Give me the child, I say."
Mr. Jones paled but did not move.
"Very good, then." The stranger turned to his attendants. "Rupert,
Rudolph," he said.
Two revolver barrels flashed out.
Mr. Jones stood up hastily, the child clutched tightly in his arms.
"What do you mean by threatening me like this? What right have you to
the child? I never heard of such a thing; I shall inform the police."
"Porkhound," yelled the stranger, "do you defy me? me, Count Achtung
von Eisenbahn? Give me the babe. I must have him. I will have him. He
is ours--our Prince Fritz, the last of the Hohenzollerns."
The great moment had come. Jones's face lit up. Death--a hero's
death--might claim him, but he would make democracy safe for the
"Last of the Hohenzollerns!" he shouted; "then, by Jove, this is going
to be the last of _him_." And with a yell of triumph he hurled the
infant out into the night.
From the child in its trajectory came a long ear-splitting shriek,
followed by a gentle wailing.
Mr. Jones sat up and blinked his eyes. The professorial gentleman was
still in the far corner; the lady was still opposite him; the child
was wailing softly.
The lady smiled. "I'm afraid baby has broken your nap. A passing
express frightened him."
"Not at all," murmured Mr. Jones incoherently, searching for his
novel, the one solace left amid the ruin of his dreams.
"Pardon me," said the lady, "but if you are looking for your book you
threw it out of the window just before you woke up."
Mr. Jones sank back resignedly. His glory had gone, his book had gone.
Once again he settled himself in his corner to sleep--perchance to
* * * * *
[Illustration: "JACKY, DEAR, YOUR HANDS ARE FRIGHTFULLY DIRTY."
"NOT 'FRIGHTFULLY,' MUMMY. A LOT OF THAT'S SHADING."]
* * * * *
STRANGE BEHAVIOUR OF THE GERMAN ENVOYS.
"Five minutes later the German plenipotentiaries reappeared,
dived into Allied representatives, emerged, jumped into their
car and drove off."--_Dublin Evening Mail_.
* * * * *
CHANT ROYAL OF CRICKET.
When earth awakes as from some dreadful night
And doffs her melancholy mourning state,
When May buds burst in blossom and requite
Our weary eyes for Winter's tedious wait,
Then the pale bard takes down his dusty lyre
And strikes the thing with more than usual fire.
Myself, compacted of an earthier clay,
I oil my bats and greasy homage pay
To Cricket, who, with emblems of his court,
Stumps, pads, bails, gloves, begins his Summer sway.
Cricket in sooth is Sovran King of Sport.
As yet no shadows blur the magic light,
The glamour that surrounds the opening date.
Illusions yet undashed my soul excite
And of success in luring whispers prate.
I see myself in form; my thoughts aspire
To reach the giddy summit of desire.
Lovers and such may sing a roundelay,
Whate'er that be, to greet returning May;
For me, not much--the season's all too short;
I hear the mower hum and scent the fray.
Cricket in sooth is Sovran King of Sport.
A picture stands before my dazzled sight,
Wherein the hero, ruthlessly elate,
Defies all bowlers' concentrated spite.
That hero is myself, I need not state.
'Tis sweet to see their captain's growing ire
And his relief when I at last retire;
'Tis sweet to run pavilionwards and say,
"Yes, somehow I _was_ seeing them to-day"--
Thus modesty demands that I retort
To murmured compliments upon my play.
Cricket in sooth is Sovran King of Sport.
The truth's resemblance is, I own, but slight
To these proud visions which my soul inflate.
This is the sort of thing: In abject fright
I totter down the steps and through the gate;
Somehow I reach the pitch and bleat, "Umpire,
Is that one leg?" What boots it to inquire?
The impatient bowler takes one grim survey,
Speeds to the crease and whirls--a lightning ray?
No, a fast yorker. Bang! the stumps cavort.
Chastened, but not surprised, I go my way.
Cricket in sooth is Sovran King of Sport.
Lord of the Game, for whom these lines I write,
Fulfil my present hope, watch o'er my fate;
Defend me from the swerver's puzzling flight;
Let me not be run out, at any rate.
As one who's been for years a constant trier,
Reward me with an average slightly higher;
Let it be double figures. This I pray,
Humblest of boons, before my hair grows grey
And Time's flight bids me in the last resort
Try golf, or otherwise your cause betray.
Cricket in sooth is Sovran King of Sport.
King, what though Age's summons I obey,
Resigned to dull rheumatics and decay,
Still on one text my hearers I'll exhort,
As long as hearers within range will stay:
"Cricket in sooth is Sovran King of Sport."
* * * * *
"Royal Horse Guards.--Captain (acting Marquis) W.B. Marquis of
Northampton resigns his commission."--_Provincial Paper_.
But retains, we trust, his acting rank.
* * * * *
SPRING MODES AT MURMANSK.
We, the enthusiasts of the Relief Force who sailed from England with
the fine phrases of the Evening Press ringing in our ears have arrived
at Murmansk, only to be disappointed and disillusioned. It is not that
the expedition looks less attractive than it did, or that our leaders
fail to inspire us with confidence. It is because the gilt has
disappeared from the sartorial gingerbread of our adventure.
Why did we leap forward to volunteer before we were wanted and
continue to leap till, for very boredom, they sent us embarcation
orders and a free warrant? Was it simply to escape an English Spring?
Was it not rather that we might win our furs--might wear the romantic
outfit which we were led to believe was _de rigueur_ in the most
exclusive circle, namely, the Arctic? What was the first remark of our
female relatives when we showed them the War Office telegram? Was it
not, "Of course you must be photographed in your furs and things?"
No wonder, after the monotony of khaki, if we looked forward to the
glory and distinction of fur-lined caps and coats, Shackleton boots,
huge snow-goggles and enormous gloves turning hands to savage paws.
And now what spectacle greets us at Murmansk, with everybody's camera
cleared for action? What is the example set by those to whom we
naturally look for light and leading? Behold the General and his Staff
coming on board in the snow-reflected sunshine flashing with the gold
and scarlet trimmings of Whitehall. And what of the old residents, our
comrades? They are playing football in shorts and sweaters.
The genial R.T.O. cheered us up a little and kept the more resolute
of our Arctic heroes in countenance by sporting a magnificent and
irresistible fur head-dress; but an R.T.O. can do what would be
regarded as nerve in you and me; and, moreover, here is the A.P.M.
in the familiar flat cap, encircled with the traditional colour of
Even the nice little Laplander and his lady, driving in to do
shopping, drawn on a sleigh by a nicely-matched trio of reindeer, was
sitting on more furs than he or Mrs. L. were wearing; while even the
naked team seemed to feel the heat oppressive.
I suppose we have come too late in the year for the romance of skins
and ski, and must condescend to the familiar gum-boot until the
mosquito season opens and a man may design some becoming effect in
Of course there is still plenty of snow to be photographed against in
the full splendour of a Hyperborean disguise; but is it worth while to
unpack one's valise for that? And anyhow would not the atmosphere of
the picture be marred, the pose of the explorer be rendered unnatural
by his consciousness of insincerity and his fear of imminent
So the Photographic Press of England must bear their loss as best they
* * * * *
"Dear Sir,--Mr. Gould has authorised this committee to hereby
and of this date relinquish the title of world's open champion
at tennis. He feels it is inexpedient for him to defend his
It is understood that he is afraid that the strain might make him
split another infinitive.
* * * * *
"Mr. Siddons Kemble, a young Bensonian actor, who plays the
part of 'A Poet' in 'Cyrano,' is the great-great-grandson of
the actress Sarah Siddons and her equally famous brothers,
John Phillip Kemble, Charles Kemble and Henry Stephen
There must have been a remarkable amount of close intermarriage in the
* * * * *
ROYAL ACADEMY--FIRST DEPRESSIONS.
[Illustration: _Ulysses (disillusioned)._ "FULL SPEED AHEAD!"]
[Illustration: _Sir William Bull (to Mr. Hacker)_. "I WARN YOU THAT IF
THIS ASH FALLS IT MAY THROW ME OFF MY BALANCE."]
[Illustration: "PULVIS ET UMBRA."
_Excited Spectator_. "TWO TO ONE ON UMBRA."]
[Illustration: _Disgusted Artist_. "WHAT'S THE GOOD OF MY TRYING TO
PAINT HER WHEN SHE KEEPS ON FALLING ASLEEP?" ]
[Illustration: "OH, DO HURRY UP AND FINISH! I'M GROWING OUT OF MY
[Illustration: _The Donkey_. "LET THEM FACE THE CAMERA IF THEY LIKE.
FOR MY PART, I'M AT MY BEST IN PROFILE."]
[Illustration: _The Right Hon. Mr. Justice Darling_. "NO, THIS IS
_NOT_ A JOKE!"]
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Cynical Taxi-driver._ "HERE!--HI!--ME LORD! YOU'VE
MADE A MISTAKE--YOU'VE GIVE ME TUPPENCE TOO MUCH!"]
* * * * *
(_With acknowledgments to TENNYSON and CALVERLEY_.)
Urged by the Government, with loyal step
I to the Labour Bureau made my way
To find a cook; and there beheld a queen,
Tall, fair, arrayed in feathers and in fur
And all things beautiful. Whom when I saw,
"Madam," said I, "they tell me, who should know,
That you have skill of Mrs. Beeton's art.
If that be so--" She nodded "Yes," and I
Assumed a courage, though I had it not,
And spoke again: "Then tell me, if you will,
Of your experience and past career.
Whence come you?" And the cook--why not?--replied:
"I come from haunts of bomb and shell,
I've toyed with lathes and gauges,
I've sparkled out a sudden swell
With quite unheard-of wages.
"By thirty shops I've paused to buy
Silk stockings, skirts and undies,
In fifty stores I've sat to try
Smart tango boots for Sundays.
"Down Bond Street gaily would I float,
Buy chairs, pianos, tables,
With here and there a sealskin coat,
And here and there some sables.
"I'd slip, I'd slide, I'd jazz, I'd glide,
I'd fox-trot, one- and two-step,
And show with pardonable pride
My skill at every new step.
"I'd dance until my soles wore raw,
When, tired of dissipation,
I'd lie in bed whole weeks and draw
My out-of-work donation.
"And when that palled I'd rise to see
What fortunes cooks are earning,
And how the ladies long for me
With dumb pathetic yearning.
"I flit about, I skip, I roam
Through houses past the telling,
Through many a stately ducal home,
And many a Mayfair dwelling.
"I chatter in the servants' hall,
I make a sudden sally,
And with the parlourmaid I brawl
Or bicker with the valet.
"I murmur under moon and stars
With blue and khaki lovers,
I linger in resplendent bars
With golden taxi shuvvers.
"But out again I come and know
That Fate will fail me never,
For wars may come and wars may go,
But cooks go on for ever."
* * * * *
"SUN ECLIPSE IN MAY.
WIRELESS OPERATORS' HELP ASKED."
We ought all to put our shoulders to the wheel and make this Victory
Eclipse a big thing.
* * * * *
"All the Lumpkins are clever and some of them are
brilliant.... The head of the family, Lord Durham, is an
exceptionally ready and witty man."--_The Globe._
Readers of GOLDSMITH may suggest that _Anthony Lumpkin, Esq_., was
not a brilliant Lumpkin; but it may well be that he was only distantly
connected with that branch of the family from which Lord DURHAM traces
his descent. In this connection a correspondent suggests the following
train of thought: Lambton--Lambkin--Lump(ofcoal)kin.
* * * * *
"We stand at the noon of the greatest day the world has seen,
with all the hideous darkness of the night behind and all the
glory of the dawn before."
_Mr. Arthur MEE in "Lloyd's News_."
It looks as if the dawn would be a day late.
* * * * *
[Illustration: GERMANY DRAWS THE PEN.
"IT'S NOT EXACTLY A SABRE, BUT I DARESAY I CAN CONTRIVE TO KEEP IT
RATTLING FOR A BIT."]
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
_Monday, May 5th_.--Sir AUCKLAND GEDDES is the maid-of-all-work of the
Ministry. Deputising for the PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE he had
an opportunity of displaying an encyclopaedic knowledge which fully
justified his position as President-elect of a Canadian University.
Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS probably thought he had floored him with a poser on
"gas-scrubbing," but Sir AUCKLAND knew all about it.
He is discreet as he is erudite. An inquiry about meat-imports
elicited plenty of information about "ewe-mutton" and "wether-mutton,"
but not a word about the Manchurian and other exotic beef recently
foisted upon London consumers.
Mr. REMER is one of the most attractive and enterprising of the new
Members. But I am afraid, despite his cheery appearance, that he is
a bit of a pessimist. With Peace believed to be so near, it was
distinctly depressing to find him calling attention to the danger of
a deficiency of pit-props "in any future war," and refusing to be put
off with the usual official answer, "in view of the urgency of the
There are few topics which excite more general interest in the House
than the shortage of whisky. When, in reply to a complaint by Colonel
THORNE that a firm of Scotch distillers had refused to furnish their
customers with adequate supplies, Mr. GEORGE ROBERTS remarked that
he would like to be supplied with "specific cases," he was, no doubt
unconsciously, expressing an almost universal desire.
Before the War, as we learned from Mr. ILLINGWORTH, Government offices
used to send on the average about forty thousand telegrams a month. At
the end of it the number had risen to close on a million. Much of the
increase is due, no doubt, to zeal for the rapid despatch of public
business, but some, one fears, to the natural tendency of dug-outs
(even in Whitehall) to protect themselves with wire-entanglements.
If one were to believe all that the Scottish Members said about
their own country in the debate upon the Housing (Scotland) Bill Dr.
JOHNSON'S gibes would be abundantly justified. Half the population,
according to Sir DONALD MACLEAN, are living in such over-crowded
conditions that the wonder is that any of the children survive to
man's estate, and still more that they retain sufficient energy to run
most of the British Empire. But in the circumstances a certain amount
of exaggeration may be forgiven. When it is a case of touching the
Imperial Exchequer for local advantage the Scot is no whit behind the
Irishman in "making the poor face."
_Tuesday, May 6th_.--The Scottish peers are no less impressed with the
miserable condition of their country, Lord FORTEVIOT declared that in
the Western Hebrides the housing accommodation was no better than the
caves of primitive man. Yet these cave-dwellers furnished some of
the stoutest recruits to the British army. Perhaps it was their early
experience that made them so much at home in the trenches.
Their lordships gave a Second Reading to the Solicitors' Bill,
designed to enable the Incorporated Law Society to punish as well
as try offending attorneys, instead of leaving their sentences to
be determined by a Divisional Court. The LORD CHANCELLOR and Lord
BUCKMASTER were of one mind in thinking that the measure would
be enthusiastically welcomed by the lower branch of their
profession--presumably on the principle of "Better the devil you know
than the devil you don't know."
[Illustration: _Mr. G.H. Roberts_. "I COME TO BURY FOOD CONTROL--ALSO
TO PRAISE IT."]
The issue of an official pamphlet on "The Classics in British
Education" aroused the wrath of Colonel YATE, who contemptuously asked
what "suchlike subjects" had to do with reconstruction. Before the
Minister could answer, Sir JOHN REES, fearing lest all Anglo-Indians
should be thought to hold the same cultural standard, jumped to his
feet to declare that he had read the pamphlet and found it admirable.
Of all the new Departments instituted during the War the Food Ministry
has best justified its existence. Mr. GEORGE ROBERTS'S account of its
activities was very well received, and many regrets were expressed
that he should have come to bury CAESAR as well as to praise him.
Mr. CLYNES, to whom and the late Lord RHONDDA much of the Ministry's
success was due, was particularly insistent on the need of some
permanent Government control, to counter the machinations of the
The chief criticisms of the Ministry related to its milk-policy, and
these were appropriately dealt with by Mr. MCCURDY.
_Wednesday, May 7th_.--In Downing Street apparently Mesopotamia is not
regarded as a "blessed word," for when Colonel WEDGWOOD asked whether
that country, after its future status had been decided, would be taken
out of the hands of the Foreign Office Mr. CECIL HARMSWORTH fervently
replied, "I hope so!"
I wonder whether Sir DAVID BEATTY, now enjoying a well-earned holiday
on the Riviera, is as grateful as he ought to be to Commander BELLAIRS
for trying to get him back into harness. He has been promised both by
Mr. BALFOUR and Mr. LONG the reversion of Sir ROSSLYN WEMYSS' post
as First Sea Lord as soon as it is vacant. But no immediate change is
contemplated. Meantime it is pleasant to learn from Mr. LONG that the
late C.-in-C. of the Grand Fleet "has been consulted on Naval policy
since the Armistice." So he is not yet quite forgotten.
A new form of wireless telegraphy has been invented by the Post Office
officials. When really urgent messages are handed in for transmission
to Paris they despatch them by passenger train; they find this method
much quicker than cabling.
An attempt by Sir DONALD MACLEAN to draw attention to the recent
exploits of the LORD LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND in the field of Journalism
was severely suppressed by the SPEAKER, who perhaps thinks that the
less said about them the better. It seems a pity that the Press Censor
should have been demobilised just when his famous blue pencil might
have been really useful.
Recognising that in the present temper of the House a frontal attack
upon Imperial Preference was a forlorn hope the Free Traders sought to
destroy it by an enfilading fire. But their ingenious attempt, in
the alleged interest of the consumer, to extend to China tea the same
reduction as to the product of India and Ceylon was easily defeated.
Mr. CHAMBERLAIN means to have no Chinks in his armour.
_Thursday, May 8th_.--When the Ministry of Health Bill was in the
Commons some objection was raised to the multiplicity of powers
conferred upon it. But if certain noble lords could have their way the
measure would become a veritable octopus, stretching its absorptive
tentacles over all the Departments of State. It would take over the
inspectorship of factories from the Home Office, the control of quack
medicines from the Privy Council and the relief of the poor from the
Local Government Board. Fortunately for Dr. ADDISON the Government
refused to throw these further burdens upon him. After all, DISRAELI'S
famous phrase, "_Sanitas sanitatum omnia sanitas_," must not be
translated too literally.
Members were all agog to hear what the Government might have to say
about the Peace-terms announced this morning. Mr. BOTTOMLEY challenged
the adequacy of the financial provisions, but the HOME SECRETARY
evidently felt unequal to a controversy with so great an expert in
money-matters, and requested him to wait for his "big brother," Mr.
A proposal by Mr. SYDNEY ARNOLD to raise the limit of exemption from
income-tax from L130 to L250 was strongly backed by the Labour Party.
In resisting it the CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER pointed out that the
Labour Party had opposed indirect taxation and now they were opposing
direct taxation. In what form did they consider that working-men
should contribute to the expenses of their country? No answer to this
blunt question was forthcoming.
* * * * *
THE CHILDREN'S BELLS.
[The Bells of St, Clement's, which have been too much out of
order to ring for many years, are now being restored. It is
hoped they will be ready to ring the Peace in.]
Where are your oranges?
Where are your lemons?
What, are you silent now,
Bells of St. Clement's?
You, of all bells that rang
Once in old London,
You, of all bells that sang,
You whom the children know
Ere they know letters,
Making Big Ben himself
Call you his betters?
Where are your lovely tones,
Fruitful and mellow,
Ring again, sing again,
Bells of St. Clement's!
Call as you swing again,
Are listening near you;
Sing for the children--
The fathers will hear you.
* * * * *
[Illustration: FROM FIELD-MARSHAL TO JOURNALIST.
LORD FRENCH'S PROMOTION.]
* * * * *
_(By our Special Reporter, who is also busy with the Coal
At the meeting of the Musical Reconstruction Commission last Saturday
the President, Mr. Justice Bland, announced the resignation of Mr.
Patrick Horan, an Irish choirmaster, owing to the results of his
adjudicating between the competing Sinn Fein brass bands at a "Feis,"
or festival, held at Athlone on Easter Monday. Mr. Justice Bland said
that he felt sure he was interpreting the feelings of all the
members of the Commission in uniting to express regret at Mr. Horan's
resignation and hope for his speedy recovery from his injuries.
Continuing, the President said he had received a letter from the
Minister of Music, informing him that Sir Hercules Plunkett, K.B.E.,
Chairman of the Amalgamated Society of Mandolin, Balalaika and
Banjo-makers, had been invited to fill the vacant place.
Mr. Tony Hole, Scriabin Fellow of Syndicalist Economics at Caius
College, Cambridge, then presented a memorandum on the Guild Control
of Composers on the bagis of a forty-hour week, with equal opportunity
for performance, the economic use of orchestral resources and the
preferential treatment of Russian folk-tunes as thematic material.
All members of the Guild should receive the same salary free of
income tax; all performances should be free, and applause or encores
prohibited as likely to lead to the rupture of artistic solidarity.
The profits from the sale of programmes should go into the National
Exchequer, but should be earmarked for a Pension Fund for the relief
of composers on their compulsory retirement at the age of sixty.
Examined by Sir Leonardo Spaghetti Coyne, Mr. Hole said that he was
not aware that the mortality among monkeys employed in the piano-organ
industry during the late War was excessive. But he agreed that
the fearlessness shown by the monkeys at the Zoo in the course of
air-raids deserved a special decoration.
Mr. William Susie, who next occupied the chair, was examined by
Mr. Moody MacTear on the question of the nationalisation of Royalty
Mr. MacTear, quoting an estimate by a Fellow of the
Thermaero-statistical Society, that the ballad composers of the
country could produce one hundred and ninety thousand million ballads
in five hundred and eighty years, asked the witness whether it would
be legitimate that a royalty charge should be made on every ballad
produced during that period for the benefit of certain individuals of
future generations. Mr. Susie replied that the State had recognised
the right of royalties and therefore he saw no good reason for
discontinuing the charge.
_Mr. Gladney Jebb_. Are you aware that there have been more cases of
influenza amongst people who have attended Royalty Ballad concerts
in 1918 than amongst all the troops who served on the Palestine Front
since 1916? Mr. Susie challenged Mr. Jebb to produce his statistics,
and it was arranged, at the suggestion of the President, that Mr. Jebb
should be given facilities to proceed to Jericho and collect them.
After the luncheon interval Mr. Cyril Blunt read a report, which he
had prepared at the request of the Commission, on the Nationalisation
of the Folk-song Industry. He said that it was a scandalous paradox
that this natural and obvious reform had hitherto been successfully
resisted by unscrupulous individualistic action. Folk-tunes were
the product of and belonged to the People, but they had been seized,
exploited and perverted by composers, who should be forced to refund
the profits they had derived from their robbery. The conservation of
our national musical resources should be jealously guarded, and the
collection, notation and harmonisation of these tunes carried on under
rigorous State supervision. At the same time the State might issue
licences for the symphonic use of folk-tunes, the profits from the
sale of these licences to be devoted to the maintenance of village
festivals, at which only genuine folk-music should be performed by the
Asked by Sir Mark Holloway what he meant by genuine folk-music, Mr.
Blunt said, "Tunes of which it is impossible to assign the authorship
to a known composer."
Mr. Kilcrankie Fox, who was the next witness, was subjected to a very
searching examination by Mr. Moody MacTear, Mr. Gladney Jebb and Sir
Leonardo Spaghetti Coyne.
_Mr. Moody MacTear_. Are you aware that brass instrument players are
habitually sweated in orchestras and bands?--It depends on what you
mean. I certainly admit that their activities often conduce to profuse
_Mr. Moody MacTear_. Have you ever played the trombone yourself?--No,
nor the lyre either.
_Mr. Gladney Jebb_. Are you prepared to deny that the strain on the
nerves of players in Jazz-bands, especially drums, is greater than
that endured by soldiers in the front-line trenches during an intense
bombardment?--As a rule I am prepared to deny at sight any statement
for which you are responsible, but I concede you the big drum.
_Sir Leonardo Spaghetti Coyne_. Are you aware that, owing to
profiteering in the cloth trade, organ-grinders have been unable to
provide their Simian assistants with proper habiliments during
the recent inclement weather?--"Apes are apes though clothed in
scarlet"--or broadcloth. I have not noticed any shabbiness of late in
the garb of those with whom I am acquainted.
The Commission broke up at a late hour. At the next meeting evidence
will be taken on the subject of the housing of musical seals and
the alleged profiteering of dealers in burnt cork at the expense of
players in Jazz-bands.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Waiter (a demobilised Sergeant--as Staff officer
Inhuman, we call it.
* * * * *
THE CONQUERING CELT.
[Mr. ROBERT O'LOUGHRAN, writing in _The Times_ of May 2nd,
observes, "The Celt is tattooed in his cradle with this
historic belief in his race--a free Ireland."]
The Sassenach, stodgy and prosy,
Lacks any distinguishing mark;
The Semite has merely been nosey
Right back to the days of the Ark;
The Teuton proclaims himself _edel_
And points to his family tree;
But the Celt is tattooed in his cradle
With "Erin the Free."
Some races inherit a stigma,
And some find a spur in their past,
But Ireland's ancestral enigma
Has now been unravelled at last;
For the Celt, the original Gaidel,
Apart from his proud pedigree,
Is always tattooed in his cradle
With "Erin the Free."
The actual process of branding
I dare not attempt to describe;
Some themes are too high and outstanding
For bards of the doggerel tribe;
But patriot minstrels will ladle
Out lauds on the parents who see
That the Celt is tattooed in his cradle
With "Erin the Free."
* * * * *
AT THE PLAY.
That Mr. ARNOLD BENNETT was actuated by the very highest motives
when he set out to edit the Apocryphal Scriptures for stage purposes,
nobody would dream of doubting. It is the more unfortunate that by
making the rest of the play very dull he should have thrown into
relief certain features in the story of _Judith_ which the original
author had preferred to treat with a commendable reticence.
It will be recalled that in the ancient version _Holofernes_ made a
feast for _Judith_ "and drank much more wine than he had drunk at any
time in one day since he was born;" that he then lay down on his
bed in a state of stupor, and that _Judith_, taking advantage of his
torpid condition, "approached" and cut off his head at her leisure
with his own "fauchion." The decency of this arrangement is easily
apparent; it obviated the necessity for wanton allurements on the
part of _Judith_ and amorous advances on the side of the
Commander-in-Chief. Incidentally it is more reasonable to assume that
so virile a warrior would yield to nothing short of intoxication than
that he would be persuaded, while still remaining sober, to take a
brief rest (on the ground of temporary indisposition) and so go like a
lamb to the slaughter, as he does in the play.
To do Miss LILLAH MCCARTHY justice, she went through a scene
embarrassing alike to actors and audience with as much dignity and
aloofness as the situation admitted. In a previous scene there had
been one rather gratuitous posture which we might perhaps have been
spared; but, for the rest, from the moment when she first entered, a
noble figure in her robes of widowhood, veiling all but the oval of
her face, pale and passionless, she played with a fine restraint,
giving us confidence in her reserve of strength and never once
allowing her high purpose to be forgotten.
It was not her fault if, in the night scene, amid a generous exposure
of physical facts, we missed the less palpable atmosphere of impending
doom. Certainly the _Holofernes_ of Mr. CLAUDE KING never for a moment
suggested it. I admit that I had not hitherto seen an Assyrian officer
making love on the edge of his grave and so had no exact precedent to
go by, but this officer, with his face far too well groomed for
the conclusion of a heavy banquet, and those rather anaemic and
perfunctory gestures of endearment, which had nothing to do with
the sombre forces of elemental passion, gave no hint of the sinister
workings of Fate.
This lack of atmosphere pervaded G.H.Q. Apart from Miss MCCARTHY, Mr.
THESIGER, whose performance as _Bagoas_ must have astonished those
who only knew him on the stage as a frivolous _flaneur_, was the sole
character who conveyed any sense of the general uncanniness of things.
Mr. ARNOLD BENNETT'S own novelties--the very rapid fraternization of
_Judith's_ little Cockney maid with the enemy; her own inexplicable
love-at-first-sight for an Ammonite pervert; the laborious
pretentiousness of _Ozias_, the Governor of Bethulia; the tedious
garrulity of the oldest inhabitant, and the topical reference, in the
manner of pantomime, to the War of 1914-1918 A.D.--these offered no
great improvement on the original narrative. On the other hand his
neglect to show us the head of _Holofernes_, which constitutes so
dramatic a property in the Book of Judith, was a noticeable omission.
But perhaps he was well-advised to leave it out, for I thought I
detected the significant presence of Mr. BILLING in the stalls.
[Illustration: MANUAL EXERCISE.
_Bagoas_ (MR. THESIGER). "CANST DO THIS WITH THY HANDS, WOMAN?"
_Judith_ (MISS LILLAH MCCARTHY). "NAY, MIGHTINESS, THY SLAVE CAN DO NO
BETTER THAN THIS POOR TRICK."]
I ought perhaps to add that there was a _Messenger_ whose refinement
of speech greatly struck me. He said that he came from Jerusalem, but
he sounded as if he came from Balliol.
* * * * *
"A party of police have been stationed in and around the
premises, and to-day their number were augmented by a party of
Scottish Horse Marines."--_Cork Paper_.
We are glad to see this historic unit bobbing up again.
* * * * *
C.K.S. AND U.S.A.
The news that our own and only C.K.S.--the "Great Clem of Literature,"
and the "Wee Cham of Literature," as he is alternatively and
affectionately known to the members of the Johnson Club--was on
his way to America aroused the liveliest excitement among our
fellow-war-winners, and preparations on a grand scale were made for
his reception. The statue of Liberty was transformed to resemble
Mnemosyne (pronounced more or less to rhyme with limousine), the
mother of the Muses, and a bodyguard of poets, novelists, writers,
journalists and brainy boys generally was drawn up on the quay.
As soon as the new Columbus was through the Customs these formed a
procession and escorted him to his hotel, where a private suite had
been engaged, with hot and cold ink laid on.
At a banquet given by the Highbrow Club in the evening the illustrious
visitor was the principal guest. As a pretty compliment the floral
decorations were all of shamrock, and everything in the menu was
Spherical, or nearly so, beginning with radishes and passing on to
rissoles, dumplings, potatoes and globe artichokes, plum pudding and
tapioca. Humorous allusions to the Eastern and Western Clemi-spheres
were of constant occurrence.
In response to the toast of "Literature, Ancient and Modern," coupled
with the name of its most vigilant champion, Mr. SHORTER said that he
was indeed happy to be on soil hallowed by association with so many
writers of merit. To name them would be invidious, but he might say
that he had enjoyed the pleasure of intimate correspondence with a
large number of them, all of whom had testified to the value which
they set upon his friendship. Although he looked upon himself as the
least of men (cries of "No, no"), yet he should always be proud to
remember that some of his criticisms had not fallen on stony ground.
(Loud cheers.) He had in his pocket friendly letters from men whose
eminence would electrify his hearers. (Sensation.) He would not read
them (moans of despair) because that would be to break the seal of
secrecy. (Loud cheers and singing "For he's a jolly Shortfellow.")
Mr. SHORTER'S main purpose is to meet the best American minds in
friendly intercourse and thus to promote Britannico-Columbian amity
and an even freer interchange of ideas than the theatre now ensures.
To this end he has visited or will visit every place of importance,
including the Bowery, China Town, Uncle Tom's Cabin, the Yosemite
Valley, Niagara, Tuxedo, Chicago, the Waldorf-Astoria, Bunker's Hill,
Milwaukee, Chautauqua, the Clover Club, Greenwich Village and Troy.
Mr. SHORTER'S visit to America is otherwise a purely private one. More
Irish than the Irish though he is known to be, he has for the moment
sheathed his shillelagh. None the less, the condition of Ireland being
so critical, he hopes to address a few meetings on the aspirations of
his adopted country.
Although the tour is of this private character, Mr. SHORTER is not
unprepared to record his opinions as they occur to him or to continue
to nourish his mind on the latest productions of the human intellect.
His travelling entourage comprises a brace of highly-trained typists,
a librarian, the Keeper of the Paper-knife and a faithful stenographer
known as "Boswell," who is pledged to miss none of the Master's
_dicta_. During the voyage Mr. SHORTER had the services of a special
Marconi operator, so that he might receive half-hourly bulletins as
to the state of the publishing world, contents of the literary papers,
deaths of editors and fellow-critics, new knighthoods and so forth.
The Atlantic, on the whole, did not displease him.
Details of the tour which have already reached home indicate that its
success is profound.
At Boston Mr. SHORTER, although his visit was brief, found time
to deliver his famous _causerie_, "Men of Letters Whom I have
Influenced," with special reference to GEORGE MEREDITH.
At Waterbury (which there is some possibility of renaming Shorterbury)
the great critic was made the recipient of an address of welcome and a
At Pittsburg the freedom of the Carnegie Libraries all over the world
was conferred upon him by the famous iron-master.
At Haworth (Minn.) Mr. SHORTER presented the postmaster with an
autographed copy of his _magnum opus_ on the BRONTES.
At Salt Lake City he enchanted the Mormon Elders by anecdotes of
THACKERAY'S relations with their namesake, the London publisher.
At Peoria (Ill.) he kept his audience in roars by recounting the good
sayings of his critical _confrere_, Sir WILLIAM ROBERTSON NICOLL.
At Philadelphia a very old man, who claimed to be a younger brother
of _Mr. Rochester_ (in _Jane Eyre_), publicly embraced the illustrious
visitor and borrowed two dollars.
The rumour that Mr. SHORTER is to be appointed as our Ambassador in
Washington must not be too lightly dismissed. America often sends us a
man of letters--LOWELL, for example, and HAY. Why should we not return
the compliment? It would be a better appointment than many that could
The fact cannot be concealed that at home the absence of Mr. SHORTER
in America is seriously felt. Fleet Street wears a bereaved air and
Dublin is conscious of a poignant loss. As for our authors, they are
in a state of dismay; some, it is true, like mice when the cat is
away, are taking liberties, but most are paralysed by the knowledge
that the watchful eye is not there, the hand, so instant to blame or
praise, is resting. Even publishers, normally an insensitive race are
shaken, and books that were to have been issued have been held back.
For what is the use of bringing out new books if C.K.S. is not here to
pass definitive comments upon them before their ink is dry?
England's loss is, however, America's gain. A new cocktail has been
named after him.
* * * * *
[Illustration: WITHIN THE LAW?]
* * * * *
THE PEACE TREATY.
What really impressed the Germans most of all with the power of the
Big Four was the third clause of Section 3, as given in the Press:--
"LEFT BANK OF THE RHINE.
... Germany must not maintain or construct any fortifications
less than fifty kilometres to the East of the Rhine."
Even WILHELM himself never succeeded in reversing the course of this
* * * * *
"The fifth issue of The Indian Year Book is issued a little
later than the earlier editions. For this the Editor would ask
immunity."--_Preface to "The Indian Year Book_."
Granted. Mr. Punch invariably adopts the same order of procedure in
regard to his own publications.
* * * * *
The late JAMES PAYN, who, as is well known, waged a merciless war
against sham admiration in literature, happened one day to hear
me quote that tremendous fellow, SIBRANDUS SCHAFNABURGENSIS. The
particular lines I mean are those in which he says:--
"Then I went indoors, brought out a loaf,
Half a cheese and a bottle of Chablis;
Lay on the grass and forgot the oaf
Over a jolly chapter of Rabelais."
Mr. PAYN remarked sharply:--
"It would cost him some trouble to find one. I've never found a jolly
chapter of RABELAIS in my life, and what's more I mean to say so some
day and watch the faces."
Well, Mr. PAYN believed in stating his own views truthfully. No doubt
the necessity of finding a rhyme for "Chablis" had something to do
with the appearance of RABELAIS' name at the end of that line. But
_that_ cannot have been the reason why POPE, being under no compulsion
of rhyme, brought RABELAIS into his lines:--
"O thou! whatever title please thine ear,
Dean, Drapier, Bickerstaff or Gulliver!
Whether thou choose Cervantes' serious air
Or laugh and shake in Rabelais' easy-chair."
I don't much care whether I have quoted correctly or not. I
suggested last week in these columns that one might be allowed, as
a compensation for advancing years, to use one's quotations without
fastidious regard for their accuracy. On consideration I don't see why
this liberty should not be even further extended. I can see ("in my
mind's eye, Horatio") whole masterpieces coming within its scope and
yielding with a sufficiently bad grace to a courageous candour like
JAMES PAYN'S. Why should _Don Quixote_, for instance, tyrannise over
us? He has had a good innings, in the course of which, it is only fair
to acknowledge, he has been enormously helped by his henchman, _Sancho
Panza_, a fellow of infinite wit, no doubt. There are however readers
who set up these two as idols and would compel us to kneel to them,
especially when _Sancho_ receives the appointment of Governor of
Barataria. I acknowledge I am a constant devotee of _Don Quixote_ and
his _Sancho_, but it is conceivable that there are people who have
no liking for them. Let such, if they are old enough, proclaim it, as
JAMES PAYN did his opinion about RABELAIS' fun.
I should like to bring certain long poems of universal renown within
the scope of my principle. What about _Paradise Lost_? Did any woman,
except perhaps GEORGE ELIOT, ever read it throughout unless under
scholastic compulsion? I doubt it; her sense of humour would not allow
her to. Take, for instance, the following lines, describing the simple
amusements of our first parents:--
"About them frisking played
All beasts of the earth since wild, and of all chase
In wood or wilderness, forest or den.
Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant,
To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed
His lithe proboscis."
Now, if anybody does not like MILTON'S fun, why, in the name of a
"lithe proboscis," should he not say so--in his mature middle-age?
* * * * *
"There is a shamelessness among many in both high and low life
that calls for vehement protest. The question with many seems
to be how near they can come to the verge of decency without
falling over."--_Ashore and Afloat_.
We have noticed a few who have had quite a narrow escape.
* * * * *
_(Thoughts on leaving the Crystal Palace.)_
A brigadier or two beside the portal
To cry to me with anguish half disguised,
"Hail and farewell, O brother! pomp is mortal"--
Something, I fancied, something of this sort'll
Happen to me when I'm demobilised.
That was an error. Not a drum was sounded;
No personage, no panoply, no pep;
Only a single private who expounded
My pathway out, and I went forth dumbfounded;
Merely remembering to mind the step.
Nothing spectacular and nothing solemn;
No company of men that I might drill,
And either tick 'em off or else extol 'em
And give 'em "Facing left, advance in column,"
And leave 'em marching, marching onwards till
They butted into something. Never a blooming
Ultimate kit-inspection as I passed,
Nor sound of Sergeant-majors' voices booming,
Nor weary stance while _aides-de-camp_ were fuming,
Not even a practice fire-drill at the last.
And that's the end. To-morrow I'll awaken
To meet a world of doubtfulness and gloom,
By orders and by Adjutants forsaken,
And none to tell what action should be taken,
If any, through what channels, and by whom.
But dreams remain amidst the new disaster:
There shall be visions when the firelight burns--
Squads of recruits for ever doubling faster,
Fresh clothing-issues from the Quartermaster
And audit boards and absentee returns.
I shall forget awhile civilian fashions
And watch the P.T. merchants on the square,
And polish tins and soothe the Colonel's passions,
And mount the guard and go and see the rations
And bid departed days be "as you were."
And souvenirs! I know there are a number
Who stuff their homes with memories of dread;
The ancient hat-stand in the hall encumber
With _Pickelhaubes_ and delight to slumber
With heaps of nasty nose-caps round their bed.
Not I, the bard. When delicately suited
I move again amid the _mufti_ swarms,
Since trophies from the Front may be disputed,
I'll flaunt the only spoils that I have looted,
My little library of Army forms.
* * * * *
"RANTZAU'S INSOLENT ACT."
Under this heading _The Daily Mail_ states that before entering the
Trianon Palace Hotel to meet the Allies, Count BROCKDORFF-RANTZAU
took "a last deliberate puff at his cigarette," and "dropped it on the
steps, in the middle of a group of Allied officials." We understand
that our contemporary feels that it would have been more in keeping
with Germany's political and economic position had the Count humbly
extinguished the cigarette and placed it in his waistcoat-pocket for
* * * * *
"Spitable offices will be placed at the disposal of the German
Peace delegates."--_Evening Paper_.
It is the truest hospitality to make provision for your guests'
* * * * *
[Illustration: _First Reveller_. "I SAY, WHAT STUNT IS THIS? A
BIRTHDAY OR SOMETHING?"
_Second ditto_. "DUNNO; FANCY IT'S SOMEBODY'S RAG."
_First ditto_. "SHOULDN'T ONE SAY 'CHEERIO' TO THE BLIGHTER?"]
* * * * *
_(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)_
_The Chartered Adventurer_ (SKEFFINGTON) is what AGNES and EGERTON
CASTLE rather pleasantly call their latest hero, _Terence O'Flaherty_,
impecunious gentleman of fortune, lover and general exponent of the
picturesque arts of romance. In a special sense indeed, since you have
him not only adventuring for fame and fortune, but, as a by-product,
turning his exploits into material for a worked-out early-Victorian
novelist, whose "ghost" he had, in a more than usually impecunious
moment, consented to become. I found this same unfortunate
author, gravelled for lack of sensational matter, at once the most
entertaining and original figure in the book, whose course is, to
tell the truth, marked otherwise by no very conspicuous freshness. The
particular adventure to which _O'Flaherty_ and his companion, _Lord
Marlowe_, are here devoted, is concerned with the intrigues of Madame
la duchesse DE BERRI on behalf of her son, as _de jure_ King of
France, under the title of Charles X. They provide an environment
singularly apt for such affairs; the "wild venture" and the abortive,
forgotten rising in which it culminated give colour to a multitude of
dashing exploits. In themselves, however, these follow what might be
called common form, showing the two young men exposed to a sufficiency
of danger and exhibiting that blend of folly and gallantry expected
of their situation. As to the former quality, when, I wonder, will
the heroes of romantic fiction learn that the "pretty youth," with
flashing eyes contradicted by a manner of singular modesty, is
really--well, what common folk could have known her for in the first
glance? To sum up, I should call _The Chartered Adventurer_ admirable
for almost anyone else's writing, but just a little below the best
* * * * *
_The Pagan_ (METHUEN) certainly deserves to be called one of the
uncommon stories. Whether it will be a popular success is of course a
different matter. At least it confirms my previous suspicion, that
Mr. CHARLES INGE is a novelist who takes his art seriously and is not
afraid of originality. The moral of his tale, which perhaps hardly
needs much enforcing to-day, is--don't be too much impressed with the
idea of the superman, and especially don't try to go one better. That
was the attempt that broke up the happy home where _John Witherson_
had lived with his wife, his infant son and his mother and
sister-in-law (too many; but that is beside the point). _John_ had
been a schoolmaster, old style, teaching in the ancient faiths,
muscular Christianity, play-the-game, sportsmanship and the rest. But
about half-way through the War the apparent invincibility of brutal
force began to rattle _John's_ nerves. It rattled them so much that
he eventually sold his school, moved his household, including the
in-laws, to Suburbia, and set up, in partnership with two others of
like mind, as instructor of youth, after the jungle law of ruthless
efficiency. Not content with this, he proposed also to turn the infant
_Witherson_ into a prospective superman by giving him toy-tigers and
brief lectures on the rewards of frightfulness. Whereat the mother,
finding her protests disregarded, dried her eyes and set herself to
fill the poor child's infrequent leisure with anti-toxin injections
of the higher morality as conveyed in the poetry of TENNYSON. You now
take my meaning when I speak of Mr. INGE as sufficiently single-minded
to brave some danger of unintentional humour. Really my sketch has
done less than justice to a story that will hold your interest, if
only for the sincerity with which it is handled; for myself I was
first impatient, then derisive, finally curious to know how it was
going to end. I rather think this sounds like a victory for Mr. INGE.
* * * * *
It will add a new terror to the Peace if everybody who has done _A
Year of Public Life_ (CONSTABLE) in or about Whitehall is to make a
book about it. Not that Mrs. C.S. PEEL does not deserve well of her
country. She is evidently a capable person and hustled about the
country for the Ministry of Food to some purpose before the days of
compulsory rationing. Her general idea seems to be that simple folk
are tremendously interested in the most trivial and indirect details
of important folk. So she will tell you how Sir HENRY REW and Mr.
ULICK WINTOUR were fond of tea (Sir HENRY liked a bun as well); how
Mr. KENNEDY JONES once lent her his car; how Lord DEVONPORT, asked if
biscuits were included in the voluntary cereal ration, said firmly,
"Yes, they are"; how the chauffeur suddenly put on the brake and she
bumped into "poor M. FAIDIDES"; how she "visited Bath twice and bought
a guide-book," information from which she retails; how secretaries
of Ministers came out to say that Ministers would see her in a few
moments; and how, beyond and above all, the QUEEN, when she inspected
Westminster Bridge kitchen, asked of a certain substance, "What's
that?" and Princess MARY at once replied, "Maize" (just like that).
This kind of anecdote, by the way, which our long-suffering Royal
Family has to endure in the Press might very well be made actionable
under a new _lese-majeste_ law. There are better things than this in
the book, but on balance I don't really think it establishes a fair
case for existence. The most interesting thing in it is a detailed
account of the canteen systems at the Renault and Citroen works near
* * * * *
There is a great falling off in quality as between _The Pointing
Man_ and the anonymous authoress's latest effort, _The Man Who Tried
Everything_ (HUTCHINSON), a fact which may be partly accounted for
by the brief time elapsing between its appearance and that of its
immediate forerunner, _The Man from Trinidad_. Her new book is a war
spy story--an exacting form of fiction in any event--and deals with
German revolutionary machinations in the Orient. It fails because
it moves too rapidly and covers far too much ground. The writer has
neither the gift nor the general information necessary for this class
of adventurous fiction. Her genius lies in her power of reproducing
the atmosphere of crime and intrigue; but her Orient and her Orientals
seem to have lost their hold on the reader's imagination. And I
venture to remind her that it is fatal in this kind of story to
replace known facts by unnecessary fiction; for example, to speak, as
she does, of a German warship in the Indian Ocean as the _Bluecher_,
when all the world knows that that particular vessel was elsewhere.
It will be easily understood that she gives us a hero who wins his
heart's desire, and numerous plotters of various nationalities who are
all safely foiled, the entire romance being conducted with a ladylike
absence of the bloodshed that usually accompanies this class of
fiction. That is its best recommendation.
* * * * *
The fact that _The Pearl_ (BLACKWELL) is described in its sub-title as
"A Story of School and Oxford Life," may perhaps somewhat mislead you.
Let me therefore hasten to explain that the school is for girls, and
the Oxford life is that enjoyed by wearers of whatever may be the
modern substitute for skirts. Not too immediately modern indeed, as
the events fall within the period of the South African war, a fact
that will, of course, much increase their appeal for those whose
Oxford memories belong to the same epoch. But it is naturally a book
difficult for the male reviewer to appraise with exactitude. All I
can say, being unconversant with the domestic politics of a ladies'
college, is that I should imagine Miss WINIFRED TAYLOR to have given a
remarkably true picture of existence therein; its mixture of academic
ambition, sentiment, religious fervour and party spirit seems (as was
to be expected) pretty much as we knew it in the masculine camp. The
chief point of difference appears to be that Miss TAYLOR'S heroine,
_Janet_, and her friends (all pleasantly individual) are naturally
thrown a good deal more upon themselves than is the case with their
more fortunate brothers. I have no doubt of the book's success.
Girl-graduates, past, present and to come, will of course buy it;
while in that other Oxford, now so happily re-awakening, I can fancy
it being read with all the curiosity that naturally attaches to
revelations of the unknown land.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Urchin (contemptuously)_ "HUH! YER MOTHER TAKES IN
_Neighbour_. "WELL, YER DIDN'T S'POSE SHE'D LEAVE IT HANGIN' AHT
OVERNIGHT UNLESS YOUR FARVER WAS IN PRISON, DID YER?"]
* * * * *
From a report of the Cippenham inquiry:--
"Witness: 'Oh, I have a hide like a rhinorocerus.'"--_Evening
This pachyderm is new to us.
* * * * *