Punch Vol 156 1919-01-08 by VariousOr, The London Charivari

PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI. VOL. 156. JANUARY 8, 1919. CHARIVARIA. The mystery of the Foreign Office official who has not gone to Paris for the Peace Conference has been cleared up. He is the caretaker. *** “The King and Queen of Roumania,” says a Paris paper, “will embark after Christmas, orthodox style, for Western
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VOL. 156.

JANUARY 8, 1919.


The mystery of the Foreign Office official who has not gone to Paris for the Peace Conference has been cleared up. He is the caretaker.


“The King and Queen of Roumania,” says a Paris paper, “will embark after Christmas, orthodox style, for Western Europe.” It is easy enough to start a voyage, orthodox style; the difficulty is at the other end.


The supreme command of the German Navy, says a telegram, has been transferred to Wilhelmshaven. This looks like carelessness on the part of the watch at Scapa Flow.


This year’s _Who’s Who_ has eighty-six more pages than that of last year. On the other hand, since the Election quite a number of people are not Who at all.


“The present rule in _Who’s Who_,” says _The Evening News_, “is that the more important a man is the less space he is content to occupy.” As some of the staff of our evening Press do not occupy any space at all in this excellent publication we leave readers to draw their own conclusions.


The _Frankfuerter Zeitung_ observes that the ex-Kaiser has grown very silent and morose. It is supposed that he has something or other on his mind.


A Copenhagen message states that the Spartacus people have three times attempted to murder Count REVENTLOW, who is said to regard these attempts as being in the worst possible taste.


Once again the newspapers have been beaten. It appears that Princess PATRICIA knew of her engagement some time before the Press announced it to Her Royal Highness.


“We still believe,” says the _Koelnische Zeitung_, “that in thought the German and the Britisher are racially akin.” All the same we should not encourage the Hun to come over here with the idea of making a spiritual home among his alleged relatives.


Charged with drunkenness at the Thames Police Court a man attributed his condition to the beer habit. It is remarkable how men will cling to any sort of excuse.


Woolwich Arsenal, we are informed, is turning out milk-cans. Can nothing be done, asks a pacifist, to save our children from the insidious grip of militarism?


Nottinghamshire War Committee states that rat-catchers are now demanding four pounds a week. Diplomacy, it appears, is the only branch of British sport that has succeeded in escaping the taint of professionalism.


“Fractious mules,” says a correspondent of _The Daily Mail_, “should not be sent to the country for sale.” The playful kind, on the other hand, that bite and kick from sheer _joie de vivre_, are bound to have a beneficial effect on the agricultural temperament.


A Guildford allotment-holder successfully grew new potatoes for Christmas-day dinner. All were eaten, it appears, except one, which was kept to show to the Christmas pudding.


There is no truth in the report that Mr. DANIELS, U.S. Secretary for the Navy, has received a telegram from Mr. WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST, saying, “You furnish the navy and I’ll furnish the war.”


“The Crystal Palace,” says. Dean INGE, “is the embodiment of spiritual emptiness.” A determined attempt is to be made to find out what the Crystal Palace thinks of Dean INGE.


Stories of an unsuccessful Candidate in the Midlands, who was heard to admit that the voters probably preferred his opponent’s personality, must be definitely regarded as apocryphal.


Traditions in Scotland die hard. We gather that it is stili considered unlucky for a red-headed burglar to cross a Scottish threshold on New Year’s Eve.


A man at Berne has recently confessed to a murder he committed twenty-one years ago. This is what comes of memory-training.


It is reported that TROTSKY has been ordered by his doctor to take a complete rest. He has therefore decided not to have any more revolutions for the present. Orders however will be executed in rotation.


Credit where credit is due. A woman fined at Wood Green Police Court said her name was JOLLY and she had been having a “jollification,” yet the magistrate refrained from comment.


“Where was the Poet Laureate during the visit of President Wilson?” asks a correspondent in a contemporary. We do not share this curiosity.


“Foxes are to be found within an omnibus ride of Charing Cross,” says Mr. RICHARD KEARTON. Young omnibuses with plenty of bone and stamina are the best for suburban meets.


Anemones, said a lecturer at the Royal Institution, will live as long as sixty years in captivity and are very intelligent. Nevertheless we refuse to swallow the story about their being taught to jump through a hoop. The man who told it must have been thinking of an Egyptian king of the same name.


The LORD-LIEUTENANT, it is stated on good authority, threatens that if Sinn Fein prisoners destroy any more jails they will be rigorously released.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _The Fare_. “I DEFY YOU!”

_The Driver_. “WHO ARE YOU?”


* * * * *

“Sir Eric Geddes speaks of L50,000,000,000–a sum so vast that it could not be paid off in a century of annual payments so small as L2,000,000,000 each.”–_Yorkshire Paper_.

Our contemporary overestimates the difficulty.

* * * * *


The nation’s memory, then, is not so short; It still recalls the fields we lately bled on; And when it had to choose the likeliest sort For clearing up the mess of Armageddon And making all things new,
It chose the man whose courage saw it through.

Hun-lovers, pledged to Peace (the German kind), And such as sported LENIN’S sanguine token, Appealed to Liberty to speak her mind,
And Liberty has very frankly spoken, Strewing around her polls
The remnants of their ungummed aureoles.

In Amerongen there is grief to-day;
I seem to hear the martyr of Potsdam say, “Alas for SNOWDEN, gone the downward way, And O my poor, my poor beloved RAMSAY; I much regret the rout
That washed this couple absolutely out!”

Dreadfully, too, the heart of TROTSKY bleeds, To match the stain upon his reeking sabre, Which is the blood of Russia, when he reads How BARNES, the champion knight of loyal Labour, Downed in the Lowland lists
MACLEAN, the Red Hope of the Bolshevists.

But here is jubilation in the air
And matter made to build the jocund rhyme on, Though in our joyance some may fail to share, Like Mr. RUNCIMAN or Major SIMON,
That hardened warrior, he
Who won the Military O.B.E.

Already dawns for us a golden age
(Lo! with the loud “All Clear!” our paean mingles), An era when the OUTHWAITES cease to rage And there is respite from the prancing PRINGLES, And absence puts a curb
On the reluctant lips of SAMUEL (HERB.).


* * * * *


“Do you really write?” said Sylvia, gazing at me large-eyed with wonder. I admitted as much.

“And do they print it just as you write it?”

“Well, their hired grammarians make a few trifling alterations to justify their existence.”

“And do they pay you quite a lot?”

“Sixpence a word.”

“Oo! How wonderful!”

“But not for every word,” I added hastily, “only the really funny ones.”

“And they send it to you by cheques?”

“Rather. I bought a couple of pairs of socks with the last story; even then I had something left over.”

“And how do you write the stories?”

“Oh, just get an idea and go right ahead.”

“How wonderful! Do you just sit down and write it straight off?”

I just–only just–pulled myself up in time as I remembered that Sylvia was an enthusiast of twelve whose own efforts had already caused considerable comment in the literary circles described round the High School. I felt this entitled her to some claim on my veracity.

“Sylvia,” I cried, “I shall have to make a confession. All those stories you have been good enough to read and occasionally smile over are the result of a cold-blooded mechanical process–and the help of a dictionary of synonyms.”

“Oo! How wonderful! Do show me how.”

“Very well. Since you are going to be a literary giantess it is well that you should be initiated into the mysteries of producing what I shall call the illusion of spontaneity. Now take this story here. Here on this old envelope is THE IDEA.”

“Oo! Let me see. I can’t read a word.”

“Of course you can’t; nobody could. Rough copies are divided into classes as follows:–

“No. 1. Those I can read, but nobody else can.

“No. 2. Those I can’t read myself after two days.

“No. 3. Those my typist can read.

“This story is about a certain Brigade Major who is an inveterate leg-puller. Some Americans are expected to be coming for instruction. Well, before they arrive the Brigade Major has to go up to the line, and on his way he meets a man with a very new tin hat who asks him in a certain nasal accent we have all come to love if he has seen anything of a party of Americans. Spotting him as a new chum, the Brigade Major offers to show him round the line, and proceeds to pull his leg and tells him the most preposterous nonsense. For instance, on a shot being fired miles away he pretends they are in frightful danger, and leads him bent double round and round trenches in the same circle.”

“What a shame!”

“Wasn’t it? Well, when he gets tired he asks the American if he thinks he has learnt anything. The American says, ‘Gee, I’ve been out here two years now, but I guess you’ve taught me a whole heap I didn’t know. I’m a Canadian tunneller, you know, and I’ve got to show some Americans our work, but I guess I’ve had a most interesting time with you.”

“Ha! ha!”

“Well now, to put the story into its form. Here’s Copy No. 1, on this old envelope. ‘Americans coming–Brigade Major sees American looking for party–pulls his leg–pretends to being in frightful danger–American is Canadian who has been out two years.’ See? Copy No. 2. Here we begin to till in. Describe Brigade headquarters and previous leg-pulls of Brigade Major. Make up details of what he tells the American–‘That’s a trench. That thing you fell over is a coil of wire. This is a sunken road–we sunk it, etc., etc.’ Copy No. 3, additions and details, little touches of local colour, revision of choice of words, heart-rending erasions. And here, my child,” I concluded, bringing out the beautiful, clean, smooth typed copy–“here is the finished work itself, light, pleasant, fluent, humorous and, most important of all, spontaneous.”

“Oo! But how awfully cold-blooded. I thought you smiled to yourself all the time you wrote it.”

“My dear girl, it takes hours. If I smiled continually all that length of time the top of my head would come off.”

“Isn’t it wonderful? Fancy building it all up from jottings on an old envelope! What’s that piece of paper you took out of the typed copy?”

“Oh, that’s nothing to do with the literary side of it,” I said, crumpling up the little memorandum, which said that the Editor presented compliments and regretted that he was unable to make use of the enclosed contribution.

* * * * *

“Mr. Henderson … was received with a cry of ‘He is not on the map now.'”–_Times_.

It is supposed that his supporter meant to say “not on the mat”–in reference to an incident at the close of Mr. HENDERSON’S Ministerial career. But many a true word is said in the Press by inadvertence.

* * * * *



* * * * *

[Illustration: _Dear Old Lady (to returning warrior)_. “WELCOME BACK TO BLIMEY!”]

* * * * *


Private Randle Janvers Binderbeck and Private John Hodge (of No. 12 Platoon) both enlisted in 1914. Previously Handle wrote articles, mostly denunciatory. He denounced the Government of the day, tight skirts, Christian Science, scorching on scooters, the foreign policy of Patagonia and many other things. John, on the other hand, had not an agile brain. He worked on a farm in some incredibly primitive capacity, and the only thing that he denounced was the quality of the beer at the “Waggon and Horses.” It certainly was bad.

In the Army Randle had no ambition except to get out of it and to remain a private while in it. His ambition for his civil career was tremendous. He tried to prod the placid John (his neighbour in their hut) into an equal ambition.

“My poor Hodge,” said Randle to John, “you must cultivate a soul above manure. Does it satisfy you, as a man made in the image of God, to be able to distinguish between a mangold and a swede? Think of the glory of literature, the power of the writer to send forth his burning words to millions and sway public opinion as the west wind sways the pliant willow.”

“I dunno as I’d prefer that to bird-scaring or suchlike,” murmured John.

Goaded by such beast-like placidity, Randle would forget all restraint in trying to lash John into a worthy ambition.

It was for talking after “Lights out” that Randle and John were given a punishment of three days’ confinement to barracks. Randle, pouring out a devastating torrent of words in the manner of a public orator, bitterly denounced the punishment; John, who had merely snored (the Captain said it took two to make a conversation), bore it with the stoicism of ignorance.

Randle used to dream of Peace Day. He heard Sir DOUGLAS HAIG order his Chief-of-Staff to summon Private Randle Janvers Binderbeck. “Release him at once,” said HAIG, in Randle’s dream, “to resume his colossal mission as leader and director of public opinion.”

If John dreamed, it was of messy farmyards and draughty fields; but it is improbable that he dreamed at all.

They both went to the War and faced the Hun. Randle thought of the Hun only as a possible wrecker of his career, therefore as a foe of mankind. John hardly thought of the Hun except in the course of coming into contact with him, and then he used his bayonet with careless zeal.

Randle steeled himself against the rough edges of soldiering. He allowed neither the curses of corporals nor the familiarities of second-lieutenants to affect his dreams of the future. Always, even _sotto voce_ in the last five minutes before going over the top, he kept before John his vision splendid.

It was thoir luck to remain together and unhurt. Then arrived the great day when the Hun confessed defeat. Randle vainly awaited a sign from the Commander-in-Chief.

There came, however, a moment when No. 12 Platoon was paraded at the Company Orderly-room. Particulars were to be taken before filling up demobilisation forms. Men were to be grouped, on paper, according to the nation’s demand for their return to civil life.

Randle Janvers Binderbeck knew this was _der Tag_. Magnanimously he overlooked the delay and felt that HAIG might, after all, have an excuse. John Hodge remained placid. He had long ago classed Randle’s goadings with heavies and machine-guns, as unavoidable incidents of warfare.

Randle and John were called into the orderly-room together. By an obvious error John was first summoned to the table.

“Well, Hodge,” said the Company Sergeant-Major, “what’s your job in civil life?”

“I dunno as I got any special job,” said John. “I just sort o’ helped on the farm.”

“You must have a group,” said the C.S.M. “What did you mostly do before the War?”

“S’ far as that do go,” said John, “I were mostly a bird-scarer.”

“‘Bird-scarer,'” said the C.S.M. “I know there’s a heading for that somewhere. Agricultural, ain’t it? ‘Bird-scarer.’ Ah, here we are. ‘Group 1.’ You’ll be one of the first for release.”

The Company Clerk noted the fact, and the C.S.M. called “Next man.”

Randle Janvers Binderbeck stepped forward.

“What’s your job, Binderbeck?” said the C.S.M.

(To ask Lord NORTHCLIFFE, “Do you sell newspapers?” To ask BOSWELL, “Have you heard of a man named JOHNSON?” TO ask HENRY VIII, “Were you ever married?”)

The futility of the question flabbergasted Randle.

“Come on, man,” said the C.S.M.

Randle made an effort. “Journalist,” he said.

“‘Journalist,'” said the C.S.M., “‘Journalist.’ Yes, I thought so. ‘Group 41.’ You’ve got a long way to go, my lad. You’d have done better if you was a bird-scarer, like Hodge. Them’s the boys the nation wants–Group 1 boys. You sticks in the Army for another six months’ fatigue. Next man.”

That was all.

John Hodge is now soberly awaiting demobilisation, and will not have to wait long.

Randle Janvers Binderbeck is secretly consoling himself by writing the most denunciatory articles. They will never be published, but they afford an alternative to cocaine.

He feels that he can never again consent to sway public opinion as the west wind, etc., in the interests of a nation which rates him forty groups lower than an animated scarecrow.

It is the nation’s own fault, Randle is blameless.

* * * * *


From a review of _The Remembered Kiss_, in _The Westminster Gazette_:–

“It would be doing Miss Ayres an injustice to suppose that there is only one kiss to remember in the whole of her novel, but the one which gives its title is bestowed by a young and handsome burglar, and received by a girl who mistook the noise he was making for a thunders torm.”

As TENNYSON says in _The Day-Dream_: “O love, thy kiss would wake the dead!”

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Father (bringing son home from party)_. “WELL, OLD CHAP, WERE THERE PLENTY OF LITTLE GIRLS FOR YOU TO DANCE WITH?”


* * * * *


Though Mrs. Midas shows a righteous zeal In preaching self-control at every meal, She never in her stately home forgets
To cater freely for her precious pets.

On cheese and soup she feeds her priceless “Pekie”– Stilton and Cheddar, Bortch and Cocky-leekie; And Max, her shrill-voiced “Pom,” politely begs For his diurnal dole of new-laid eggs.

Semiramis, her noble Persian cat,
Threatens to grow inelegantly fat
Upon asparagus and Shaker oats,
With milk provided by two special goats.

Meanwhile her governess subsists on greens, Canned conger-eel or cod and butter-beans, And often in a black ungrateful mood
Envies the dogs and cat their daintier food.

* * * * *

“On one side was the naval guard of honour–splendid men from the ships of the Dover Patrol–and on the other side a military guard from the Garrison with the band of the Buffs waiting to play President Wilson into England with ‘The tar-spangled Banner.'”–_Provincial Paper_.

A pretty compliment to the naval escort.

* * * * *


Our Mr. MacTavish is a man with a past. He is now a cavalry subaltern and he was once a sailor. As a soldier at sea is never anything but an object of derision to sailors, correspondingly the mere idea of a sailor on horseback causes the utmost merriment among soldiers.

“Sailors on horseback!”–the very words bring visions of apoplectic mariners careering madly across sands, three to a horse, every limb in convulsion. Why, it’s one of the world’s stock jokes.

The pathetic part of it is that, obeying the law of opposites, the saddle has an irresistible and fatal attraction for the poor chaps. They take to it on every possible and impossible occasion. You can see them playing alleged polo at Malta, riding each other off at right angles and employing their sticks as grappling irons. You can see them over from the Rock whooping after Spanish foxes, bestriding their steeds anywhere but in the appointed place.

As every proper farmer’s boy has long, long thoughts of magic oceans, spice isles and clipper ships, so I will warrant every normal Naval officer dreams of a little place in the grass counties, a stableful of long-tails and immortal runs with the Quorn and Pytchley.

It was thus with our Mr. MacTavish, anyhow. A stern parent and a strong-armed crammer projected him into the Navy, and in the Navy he remained for years bucketing about the salt seas in light and wobbly cruisers, enforcing intricate Bait Laws off Newfoundland in mid-winter, or playing hide-and-seek with elusive dhows on the Equator in midsummer, but always with a vision of that little place in his mind’s eye.

His opportunity arrived with the demise of the stern parent and the acquisition of a comfortable legacy. MacTavish sent in his papers and stepped ashore for good. He discovered the haven of his heart’s desire in the neighbourhood of Melton, purchased a pig and a cow (which turned out to be a bullock) to give the little place a homely air, engaged a terrier for ratting and intercourse, and with the assistance of some sympathetic dealers was assembling as comprehensive a collection of curbs, spavins, sprung tendons, pin-toes, herring-guts, ewe-necks, cow-hocks and capped elbows as could be found between the Tweed and Tamar, when–Mynheer W. HOHENZOLLERN (as he is to-day) went and done it.

The evening of August 4th, 1914, discovered MacTavish sitting on the wall of his pig-sty, his happy hunting prospects shot to smithereens, arguing the position out with the terrier. He must attend to this war, that was clear, but need he necessarily go back to the salt sea? Couldn’t he do his bit in some other service? What about the Cavalry? That would mean galloping about Europe on a jolly old gee, shouting “Hurrah!” and cutlassing the foot-passengers. A merry life, combining all the glories of fox-hunting with only twenty-five per cent. of its safety–according to _Jorrocks_.

What about the Cavalry, then? The terrier semaphored complete approbation with its tail stump and even the pig made enthusiastic noises.

A month later MacTavish turned up in a Reserve Regiment of Cavalry at the Curragh as a “young officer.” The Riding-Master treated his case as no more hopeless than anybody else’s and MacTavish was making average progress until one evening in the anteroom he favoured the company with a few well-spiced Naval reminiscences.

Next morning the Riding-Master was convulsed with merriment at the mere sight of him, addressed him variously as Jellicoe, Captain Kidd and Sinbad, and, after first warning MacTavish not to imagine he was ashore at Port Said riding the favourite in a donkey Derby, translated all his instructions into nautical language. For instance: “Right rein–haul the starboard yoke line; gallop–full steam ahead; halt–cast anchor; dismount–abandon ship,” and so forth, giving his delicate and fanciful sense of humour full play and evoking roars of laughter from the whole house. It did not take MacTavish long to realise that, no matter what he said, he would never again be taken seriously in that place; he was, in fact, the world’s stock joke, a sailor on horseback (Ha, ha, ha!).

He set his jaw and was determined that he would not be caught tripping again; there should be no more reminiscences. Once clear of Ireland he would bury his past.

All this happened years ago.

When I came back from leave the other day I asked for Albert Edward. “He and MacTavish are up at Corpse H.Q.,” said the skipper; “they’re helping the A.P.M. straighten the traffic out. By the way you’d better trickle up there and relieve them, as they’re both going on leave in a day or so.”

I trickled up to Corpse and eventually discovered Albert Edward alone, practising the three-card trick with a view to a career after the War. “You’ll enjoy this Mess,” said he, turning up “the Lady” where he least expected her; “it’s made up of Staff eccentrics–Demobilizing, Delousing, Educational, Laundry and Burial _wallahs_–all sorts, very interesting; you’ll learn how the other half lives and all that. Oh, that reminds me. You know poor old MacTavish’s secret, don’t you?”

“Of course,” said I; “everybody does. Why?”

Albert Edward grinned. “Because there’s another bloke here with a dark past, only this is t’other way about; he’s a bumpkin turned sailor, Blenkinsop by name, you know, the Shropshire hackney breeders. He’s Naval Division. Ever rub against those merchants?”

I had not.

“Well, I have,” Albert Edward went on. “They’re wonders; pretend they’re in mid-ocean all the time, stuck in the mud on the Beaucourt Ridge, gummed in the clay at Souchez–anywhere. They ‘come aboard’ a trench and call their records-office–a staid and solid bourgeois dwelling in Havre–_H.M.S. Victory_. If you were bleeding to death and asked for the First Aid Post they wouldn’t understand you; you’ve got to say ‘Sick bay’ or bleed on. If you want a meal you’ve got to call the cook-house ‘The galley,’ or starve.

“This _matelot_ Blenkinsop has got it very badly. He obtained all his sea experience at the Crystal Palace and has been mud-pounding up and down France for three years, and yet here we have him now pretending there’s no such thing as dry land.”

“Not an unnatural delusion,” I remarked.

“Well,” resumed Albert Edward, “across the table from him sits our old MacTavish, lisping, ‘What is the Atlantic? Is it a herb?’ I’ll bet my soul they’re in their billets at this moment, MacTavish mugging up some stable-patter out of NAT GOULD, and Blenkinsop imbibing a dose of ship-chatter from ‘BARTIMEUS.’ They’ll come in for food presently, MacTavish doing what he imagines to be a ‘cavalry-roll,’ tally-hoing at the top of his voice, and Blenkinsop weaving his walk like the tough old sea-dog he isn’t, ship a-hoying and avasting for dear life.”

“They’re both going on leave with you to-morrow, aren’t they?” I asked.

Albert Edward nodded.

“Then their game is up,” said I.

Albert Edward’s brow crinkled. “I don’t quite get you.”

“My dear old fool,” said I, “it’s blowing great guns now. With the leave-packet doing the unbusted broncho act for two hours on end it shouldn’t be very difficult to separate the sheep from the goat, the true-blue sailor from the pea-green lubber, should it? They may be able to bluff each other, but not the silvery Channel in mid-winter.”

Albert Edward slapped his knee and laughed aloud.

* * * * *

They all came back from England last night. I lost no time in cornering Albert Edward.

“Well, everything worked just as I prophesied, didn’t it?” said I. “With the first buck the old boat gave Blenkinsop tottered to the rail and–“

Albert Edward shook his head.

“No, he didn’t. He ate a pound of morphia and lay in the Saloon throughout sleeping like a little child.”

“But MacTavish?” I stammered.

“Oh, MacTavish,” said Albert Edward–“MacTavish took an emetic.”


* * * * *


_Pianist (accompanying celebrated prima donna at classical concert after three years of sing-songs in Army huts)_. “NOW THEN, BOYS! DROWN HER WELL IN THE CHORUS!”]

* * * * *


“The post-war —- will be the one car from which the owner with moderate ideas can obtain the minimum amount of genuine pleasure and satisfaction.”–_Advt. in Trade Paper_.

* * * * *

From an account of a film-drama:–

“Horrified at his pseudanimity she agrees to the deception,”–_Provincial Paper_.

It sounds rather pusillonymous.

* * * * *


We are semi-officially informed on the best authority that the undermentioned nominations–some of which have already been accepted–to the thrones and chairs now vacant in various parts of the world have been made and approved by the Allied Governments.

Foremost among these is the nomination “by acclamation” of RICHARD STRAUSS as King of the Cannibal Islands. It is understood that the illustrious composer has already arrived and that a grand congress of Anthropophagi with suitable festivities is in contemplation.

Two nominations which have been the cause of great satisfaction in diplomatic circle are those of Mr. MARK HAMBOURG to the Kingdom of Palestine, and that of M. MOISEIWITCH to the throne of the Solomon Islands. Jamborees of jubilation are already rife in the latter locality.

Sir HENRY WOOD has been simultaneously approached from two quarters. The leading citizens of Sonora have offered him the Presidentship of that interesting State. At the same time an urgent invitation has been sent to the eminent conductor offering him the throne of the Empire of Percussia. Sir HENRY’S decision is awaitod with feverish anxiety.

It is stated by the _Corriere della Sera_ that Madame MELBA, the Australian nightingale, has been chosen to preside over the Jug-jugo-Slav Republic, while Madame CLARA BUTT has been unanimously elected Empress of Patagonia.

Sir THOMAS BEECHAM’S selection from among the candidates for the throne of New Guinea, is regarded as a foregone conclusion. The famous violinist, Mr. ALBERT SAMMONS, has so far returned no final answer to the offer of the Crown of Sordinia, but it is believed that he cannot long remain mute to the touching appeal of the signatories. A favourable answer is also expected from Mlle. Jelly Aranyi, who has been nominated Queen of Guava.

On the other hand Sir EDWARD ELGAR, O.M., has steadfastly declined the Tsardom of Bulgaria, even though it was proposed to change the name of the country to Elgaria.

* * * * *


_Customer_. “YES, IT _IS_ RATHER NICE, BUT _(remembers her obligations as a mother)_ HOW MANY COUPONS?”]

* * * * *


Child of the gorgeous East, whose ardent suns Have kissed thy velvet skin to deeper lustre And given thine almond eyes
A look more calm and wise
Than any we pale Westerners can muster, Alas! my mean intelligence affords
No clue to grasp the meaning of the words Which vehemently from thy larynx leap. How is it that the liquid language runs? “_Nai_–_soring_–_trif_–_erwonbi_–_aster_–_ferish_–_ip_.”

E’en so, methinks, did CLEOPATRA WOO Her vanquished victor, couched on scented roses, And PHARAOH from his throne
With more imperious tone
Addressed in some such terms rebellious MOSES; And esoteric priests in Theban shrines, Their ritual conned from hieroglyphic signs, Thus muttered incantations dark and deep To Isis and Osiris, Thoth and Shu:

In all my youthful studies why was this Left out? What tutor shall I blame my folly on? From Sekhet-Hetepu
Return to mortal view,
O shade of BRUGSCH or MARIETTE or CHAMPOLLION; Expound the message latent in his speech Or send a clearer medium, I beseech;
For lo! I listen till I almost weep For anguish at the priceless gems I miss: “_Nai_–_soring_–_trif_–_erwonbi_–_aster_–_ferish_–_ip_.”

To sundry greenish orbs arranged on trays– Unripe, unluscious fruit–he draws attention. My mind, till now so dark,
Receives a sudden spark
That glows and flames to perfect comprehension; And I, whom no Rosetta Stone assists,
Become the peer of Egyptologists,
From whom exotic tongues no secrets keep; For this is what the alien blighter says: “Nice orang’; three for one piastre; very cheap.”

* * * * *

“Napoleon was crowned Emperor of the French on December 2nd, 1804, and abdicated in 1914. On December 2nd, 1918, the papers announced the formal abdication of Wilhelm II. of Germany.”–_Kent Messenger_.

WILHELM probably wishes that he had chosen the same date for his abdication as NAPOLEON.

* * * * *

When a dear little lady from Lancashire Came to London to act as a bank cashier, And asked, “Is it true
1 + 1 = 2?”
They thought they’d revert to a man cashier.

* * * * *

[Illustration: THE BABES IN THE WOOD.


* * * * *


Dear Mr. Punch,–I am told that Mr. ASQUITH considers that this has been a most unsatisfactory election. So do I. As you know, the principal function of the House of Commons nowadays is to provide amusing “copy” for the late editions of the evening papers and to give the “sketch”-writers a chance of exercising their pretty wits. As Mr. SPENCER LEIGH HUGHES once remarked in an after-dinner speech to Mr. BALFOUR, “You, Sir, are our raw material.”

Now, what I complain of is that on the present occasion the voters have entirely disregarded the needs of the journeymen of the Press, and have ruthlessly deprived them of the greater part of their raw material. Mr. HUGHES himself, I am glad to see, has been spared, but he fortunately had not to undergo the hazards of a contest. I tremble to think what his fate might have been if at the last moment some stodgy statesman had been nominated to oppose him.

Against humour, conscious or unconscious, the voters seem to have solidly set their faces. It was bad enough that Mr. JOE KING–who has probably helped to provide more deserving journalists with a living than any other legislator who ever lived–should have declined the contest. Question-time without Mr. KING and his unerring nose for mare’s-nests will be like _Alice_ without _The Mad Hatter_. It was bad, too, that Sir HEDWORTH MEUX should have decided to interrupt the flow of that eloquence which we were forbidden to call “breezy,” and that Major “Boadicea” HUNT, Mr. JOHN BURNS, Mr. TIM HEALY, and Mr. SWIFT MACNEILL should have withdrawn from a scene in which they had provided so much profitable entertainment for the gods in the Press Gallery.

These losses made it all the more incumbent upon the electors to see that the House should retain as much as possible of the remnant of its comic relief. But what do we find? Why, that practically every one of the gentlemen who made the journalist’s life worth living in the last Parliament has been cruelly turned down.

For much of this grief the Sinn Feiners are responsible. They have easily accomplished what a few years ago six stalwart British constables could scarcely do and have removed the gigantic Mr. FLAVIN from his emerald bench. With him have gone nearly all his comrades; and the once-powerful Nationalist party, which for nearly forty years has been such an unfailing source of sparkling paragraphs, is reduced to the number immortalised by WORDSWORTH’S little maid.

Almost more distressing than the loss of individuals is the breaking up of Parliamentary partnerships. What is the use of Mr. HOUSTON being returned if he has no longer Sir LEO CHIOZZA MONEY to heckle? Captain PRETYMAN-NEWMAN will doubtless continue to ask questions about the shocking condition of his native country, but without Mr. REDDY’S squeaking _obbligato_, “Why isn’t the honourable and gallant Member out at the Front?” they will lose half their savour. He will be as dull as Io without her gad-fly. Mr. “Boanerges” STANTON is happily still with us, but with no pacifists to bellow at I fear that his vocal chords will atrophy.

Then the famous Young Scots Trio, which has given us so many attractive “turns,” has been violently dissolved. Mr. PRINGLE, whose ample supply of vitriolic invective was always at the service of the PRIME MINISTER, has been left by an ungrateful constituency at the bottom of the poll, and Mr. WATT has shared his fate. It is true that Mr. HOGGE managed to save his bacon, but without the support of _Harlequin_ and _Pantaloon_ I fear his clowning will fail to draw.

With so many of the old puppets gone I feel very lonely, and can only try to comfort myself with the hope that the new Parliament may provide some adequate substitutes. After all, so vast a machine must contain a few cranks.

Meantime I remain, Sir, with the highest respect,


* * * * *


* * * * *


Since that far-away period before the War, my architectural nerve has become sadly debilitated; so when a card (bearing the name of Carruthers) was brought to me the other morning I felt quite unmanned.

“Some potential client,” I observed inwardly, “who has heard of the removal of the five-hundred pound limit and has bearded me before I have had time to get the hang of T-square and compasses again.”

I liked the appearance of Mr. Carruthers, and his greeting had a slight ring of flattery in it that was very soothing.

“You are Mr. Bellamy, the architect?” he said.

“I am,” I replied; “at least I was before the War.”

“And have a large practice?” he resumed.

“I certainly had a large practice formerly,” I said. “With my methods and experience one ought to acquire an extensive _clientele_. I have been an architect, my dear sir, man and boy for over forty years, and have always followed the architectural fashions. In the late seventies, when little columns of Aberdeen granite were the rage–you know the stuff, tastes like marble and looks like brawn–I went in for them hot and strong, and every building I touched turned to potted meat. Then SHAW came along–BERNARD, was it? no, NORMAN–with his red brick and gables, and I got so keen that I moved to Bedford Park to catch the full flavour of it.

“Next, the Ingle-nooker’s found in me a willing disciple. I designed rows of houses, all roofs and no chimneys, or all chimneys and no roofs, it didn’t matter which so long as there was an ingle-nook with a motto over it. Why, after a time I got so expert that I simply designed an ingle-nook and the rest seemed to grow by itself.

“Just as the War started I had broken out in another place and was getting into my Italian loggia-pergola-and-sunk-garden stride, and then came the five-hundred pound limit and busted the whole show. In fact, when you called I was wondering whether to chuck the business and go in for writing cinema plays.”

“When I want a really fashionable house built for me,” said Carruthers, “I shall certainly come to you.”

“Ah,” I said, “you have come to see me then on behalf of a friend?”

“On behalf,” he said, “of several friends.”

My chest swelled visibly. “This man,” I said to myself, while reaching for my Corona Coronas, “is planning a garden city, or at least a group of houses on the communal plan.”

“The fact is,” said Carruthers, clearing his throat, “I am a scout-master, and my troop are collecting wastepaper, and I expect you have any amount of old plans and things that you–“

I was just in time to save the cigar.

* * * * *



* * * * *


[“Unlimited lard may now be purchased without coupon.”–_Daily Paper_.]

Swiftly the shadow of William the Hun Fades from the fields that our valour has won; Totter the thrones of our many Controllers, Freedom is coming to man and his molars: Doomed is the coupon and doomed is the card, With all the embargos that hit us so hard; Now we may purchase unlimited lard.

Soon will the mud-spattered soldier be free; Soon will the sailor be home from the sea: Victory beams on the banners of Right,
This is the time to be merry and bright; Stilled is the riot of shot and of shard And (what a boon to the heart of the bard!) Now we may purchase unlimited lard.

Shout for the joy of it, waving your hats; Where there are puttees will shortly be spats; Never again will we form on the right,
Squad or platoon, for a sergeant’s delight; So let our faces, by discipline marred, Shine with an unction that savours of nard, Now we may purchase unlimited lard.

* * * * *


“Two Russian battleships and some cruisers set out from Cronstadt to meet the British warships in the Baltic, and were fired on from the Flemish coast.”–_Yorkshire Paper_.

* * * * *

“After four incessant years across Dora’s knee the peace New Year ought surely to hold something good in its kindly lap for well-strafed automobilists.”–_Sketch_.

But after four years across Dora’s knee the New Year is probably not thinking about its lap, but quite the reverse.

* * * * *

“The announcement of a ball in Brussels gave plenty of scope for imaginative scribes to quote, in some cases almost correctly, the lines about ‘there was a scene of revelry by night.'”–“_Mr. Gossip_” in “_The Daily Sketch_.”

“MR. GOSSIP,” too, quotes “almost correctly.”

* * * * *

It is hoped that if M. PADEREWSKI becomes President of the new Polish Republic he will experience the truth of the old proverb, _Chi va piano va sano._

* * * * *

[Illustration: _British Officer (Army of occupation)_. “LOOK OUT, OLD BEAN! WE’RE GETTING THE GLAD EYE.”]

* * * * *


As a mere soldier threatened with unemployment owing to the sudden outbreak of peace, I offer to any enterprising company-promoter an idea which should provide him with an immense fortune and myself with a congenial means of livelihood.

My suggestion is that, with the consent of Lord NORTHCLIFFE and the Allies, a slice of the old Front should be kept up _in statu quo_, and a representative assortment of troops retained to hold it on what was our side, and to carry on the War as it was in the good old days of ’15, when we thought our life’s work was bespoken and soldiers with boy babies raised the question of making acting rank hereditary. No enemy would be employed, experiment having proved that the existence of an enemy detracts from the enjoyment of modern war.

The little army, commanded by a General, himself an employe of the Army of Entertainment Co., Ltd., would conduct operations for demonstration purposes. Visitors would be charged admission to the Company’s zone, and pay extra for any particular stunt show arranged for their benefit.

It would be necessary to acquire a strip of country running right back to the coast, if realism should be the aim of the directors, otherwise it would be impossible, to show an A.M.L.O. in action, or some interesting types of Headquarters, or laundry Colonels winning the D.S.O.

I have in mind a highly entertaining General who might be willing to accept the position of G.O.C. for the Company–one of those desperate old gentlemen whose joy was to stalk about busy areas and strafe the domestic and sanitary arrangements of batteries and battalions. He is of picturesque appearance and would afford the best comic relief. This General would be attended by the usual assistants, traditionally housed, clothed and fed, but, the division being run as a commercial venture, it would be a matter for consideration by the directors whether these young gentlemen should receive a salary or pay a fee.

Some visitors might well be so delighted with soldiering, free from the annoyance of enemy action, that they would wish to make a long stay and experience all its variations, beginning perhaps with the P.B.I, (or Pretty Busy Infantry) in a mud-hole in the front line, and passing through all the stages of the normal military career till they arrived at the Divisional Chateau. Should anyone desire to survey life from the altitude of an R.T.O. (Railway Transport, not Really Tantalising Officer, as supposed by some) it might be arranged for him, in the interests of realism, to improvise information as to trains for the benefit of other visitors.

Appropriate rations would be included, in the entrance money, while there might be canteens for the sale of such extras as bootlaces and penholders. Visitors would not be allowed to bring money into the area, but would be given the usual books of cash withdrawal forms, entitling them to obtain small sums from the field cashier–if they could find him. As a field cashier of experience would be employed and possibly act in collusion with the R.T.O., these sums of money might be regarded as prizes, and would create a pleasant excitement without amounting to any great expense for the Company.

Those willing to pay high prices would have arranged for them such displays as “normal artillery activity,” pukka strafes, S.O.S. bombardments or barrages chaperoning infantry advances, while balloons might be set on fire, dumps blown up, or leave cancelled at special rates. There might also be an assortment of inexpensive and amusing side-shows, such as a Second-in-command trying to check a monthly return of dripping, or a conscientious gunner calculating the correct corrector corrections.

Should an application be received from any person anxious to experience war from the “Receipts” end he would be granted free entry to the area on the far side of the line, protected grand-stands being erected, from which, on suitable payment, spectators could study his deportment. A short stay in the “enemy’s area” during a strafe might be recommended for politicians and arranged by their constituents.

Space forbids further detail. It remains only for a Company to be formed–affiliated perhaps to the Bureau of Information–a detailed prospectus issued and applications invited for posts under the Army of Entertainment, Ltd.

I shall myself be willing to serve the Company in the capacity of a Town Major on condition that a suitable town is provided.

* * * * *

[Illustration: FOREWARNED.

_Poor Old Woman (to youth, who has given her a gratuity and relieved her of her load of wood)_. “I PRESUME, MY KIND YOUNG FRIEND, THAT YOU ARE THE YOUNGEST OF THE THREE BROTHERS WHO ARE GOING OUT TO SEEK THEIR FORTUNES?”


* * * * *


Dear Mr. Punch,–While lately turning over some old family papers I came across a number of maxims in rhyme which seem to me to be worthy of publication at a time devoted to good cheer. The form appears to be the same as that expressed in the familiar couplets on the woodcock and the partridge; but these variations on an old theme have at least the merit of freshness and originality.

I begin in order of magnitude with the ostrich:–

“If an ostrich had but a woodcock’s thigh It would only be some three feet high.
If a woodcock had but an ostrich’s jaw It would have to be carved with a circular saw.”

The foregoing lines clearly enforce the important lesson of contentment with the existing order. This moral is perhaps less implicit in the lines on the peacock:–

“If a peacock had but the nightingale’s trill It would make all prima donnas feel ill. If the nightingale had but the peacock’s tail It would merit a headline in the _Mail_.”

Contentment again is the keynote of the couplets on the owl:–

“If an owl would enter the nuthatch’s nest Its figure would have to be much compressed. If the nuthatch had but the face of an owl It would be a most unpopular fowl.”

A slightly different formula is to be noted in the lines on the snipe, but the spirit is substantially the same:–

“If a snipe were the size of a threepenny bit It would be a great deal harder to hit. But if it grew to the size of an emu
It wouldn’t be better to eat than seamew.”

Lastly I may quote the only couplet in which beasts as well as birds are subjected to this searching analysis. I think you will admit that it is the most sagacious and impressive of them all:–

“If a pig had wings and the legs of a stork It would damage the quality of its pork,”


_Poets’ Corner House, Dottyville._

* * * * *

“As a result of trying to find an escape of gas with a light, a flat in Westminster was seriously damaged.”–_Provincial Paper_.

Serve him right.

* * * * *


The other day I was looking through some school reports. Holidays always bring them forth. You know the kind of thing: History–Is most diligent but needs concentration; Music–Lacks purposefulness, does not practise sufficiently; Mathematics–Weak; General Conduct–Might be better; Conversational French–_Sera plus facile avec plus de confiance_; Theology–A sad falling off; and so on; and it occurred to me that it might not be a bad thing if the report system, instead of stopping with our school-days, pursued us through life. The periodical perusal of a report, drawn up with as much authority as a scholastic staff possesses, might have very beneficial results.

My own early ones no longer exist; but it would be a very searching test of our educational system to study these reports thirty-five years after and subject them to an honest commentary. How little that one learned then has persisted, has survived the probation of time and necessity. At the age of fifteen I knew the principal rivers of South America (“Geography–Has made great progress”); to-day at fifty I have no recollection of any, nor any desire to have it. Instead I can order dinner. Gastronomy for geography; new lamps for old! In any report drawn up now there would be a totally different series of subjects. Thus:–

Business Method . . . Might be better. Punctuality . . . . . Tries his best.
Patriotism . . . . . Good.
Veracity . . . . . . Moderate.
Financial Soundness . Very variable.

As a means of constructive criticism the report system might be useful in Parliament. The Speaker, as headmaster, should be entrusted with the task of preparing the documents. I can see some such results as the following:–


Logic . . . . . . . . Weak.
Opportunism . . . . . Strong.
Golf . . . . . . . . Shows little improvement. Belligerence . . . . Very good.
Tonsorial Artistry . Far from satisfactory. Should give it more attention.
Oratory . . . . . . . Fluent and powerful, but must guard against impulse. Too fond in perorations of drawing metaphors from Welsh physical geography.


Mediation . . . . . . Admirable, but must not be overworked. Oratory . . . . . . . Fair. Has tendency to unnecessary candour. Does not sufficiently employ periphrasis. Fidelity . . . . . . Beyond praise.


Oratory . . . . . . . Effective, if given enough time to prepare. Modesty . . . . . . . Room for improvement. Polarity . . . . . . Weak.
Ambition . . . . . . An honest worker.

Lastly, let us take the report sheet of one not wholly absent from the public eye, whom I will designate merely by the initials W.W.

Pride . . . . . . . . Far less than he had two or three years ago. Facial beauty . . . . More than adequate. Subrisivity . . . . . Phenomenal.
Oratory . . . . . . . Admirable, but too fond of telling the same story.
Popularity . . . . . Could not be greater.

* * * * *


I am going to get my hair cut. But I must first mention the matter to my wife.

Why do I do this? It is not because I am a coward, for there are few men who are in reality braver than I am. I carried my firstborn in my arms round the drawing-room when she was a week old, and I have done other things equally brave, the enumeration of which I spare you. But I could no more think of getting my hair cut without previously informing my wife than I could think of wearing a top hat in the Strand.

I know what will happen when I have told my wife. She will look up and say, “That’s right; you always do it.”

And I shall say, “What do I always do?”

And she will answer, “You always get yourself cropped like a convict just when your hair was beginning to look nice.”

And I shall say, “I can’t help that; it’s got to be done.” And then I shall go and get it done.

But I wonder if my wife is right after all. There used to be a nice wave in my front hair, a wave into which you could lay two fingers. Is that there still? No, it’s gone. In fact there is not sufficient front hair to make a wave with. It’s odd how gradually these things happen. I could have sworn that I had that wave, and there is a photograph of me in the drawing-room with a fully-developed tidal bore; and I went on brushing my front hair and combing it and thinking of it all the time as constituting a wave, and lo it had vanished, leaving me under the impression that it was still there and accountable for the pleasing effect I produced in general society.

But if it wasn’t the wave that produced this effect, what could it have been? My voice? Perhaps. My moustache? I doubt it. My teeth? Possibly. See advertisements of tooth powders _passim_. You know how it’s done, in the before and after style. Before you use Dentoline you apparently do not possess so much as a front tooth. After you have used it once you are in possession of thirty-two regular and brilliant white teeth, and it seems plain that no dentist will ever make his fortune out of your mouth. All this, however, has nothing to do with getting my hair cut. But it brings me to an analogous consideration. When I tell my wife I am going to get my teeth attended to, does she try to restrain me from the fatal deed? Not she. She urges me to it, and leaves me no loophole for escape. She indulges in reminiscences of herself and the children defying pain in the dentist’s chair, and heartens me with the statement that the instrument she likes best is the one that goes _berr-r-r-r_ and makes you jump.

Let me now resume my commentary on hair-cutting. I wonder if I am sufficiently chatty with my hair-cutter. Most men talk to their hair-cutter all the time. They discuss politics and revolutions and Britain’s unconquerable might, while I, having made a blundering start with the weather, am brought up with a round turn on the Bolsheviks and President WILSON’S manner of dealing with the situation. I cannot lay bare my inmost thoughts about the League of Nations while someone is running a miniature mowing-machine along the back of my neck …

At this moment my wife entered the room.

“My dear,” I said, “I am going to get my hair cut.”

She gave me one mind-piercing look and said, “It’s time you did. I’ve been noticing it for the last day or two.”

Nothing, you see, about convicts. Isn’t that like a woman, never to say the thing you expect her to say? It’s taken all the pleasure out of my visit to the barber. In fact I don’t think I shall go at all.

* * * * *




* * * * *



_Secrets of the Bosphorus_ (HUTCHINSON) is one of the happily large number of books to which time and tardy-footed justice have now added an unwritten chapter that makes amends for all. But for the glories of the last few months I think I could hardly have borne to read many of these “revelations” of Mr. HENRY MORGENTHAU, sometime American Ambassador to Turkey. They make strange and often tragic reading. One of them is already famous: the disclosure of the narrow margin by which the attack of the Allied fleets upon the Dardanelles came short of victory. For that, with all its ghastly sequence of misadventure, no happy end can quite compensate. But one may read more pleasantly now of the Prussian Baron WANGENHEIM, sitting the day long on a bench before his official residence to exult publicly in what looked like the triumphal march to Paris. Mr. MORGENTHAU has many other matters of interest in his note-book, a large part of which is occupied by the story, almost incredible even in an age of horrors, of the planned slaughter by the Turkish rulers, with Germany as accessory before and after the act, of “at least 600,000 and perhaps as many as 1,000,000” Armenians. He rightly calls this murder of a nation probably the blackest deed in all the foul record of the war, in which (at the precise moment of its execution) the same people who now protest against the severity of our terms were taking a horrible and ruthless joy. The reminder is apt.

* * * * *

Much of the pleasure that I have just enjoyed over Mr. ARTHUR SYMONS’ essays of travel in _Cities and Sea Coasts and Islands_ (COLLINS) belongs to the wistful joy of recollection: remembered loveliness in the beautiful places of which he writes so vividly, remembered peace of the quiet unpreoccupied days in which they were written. The book is made up of three groups, studies of Spain, of London and of certain coasts, chiefly Cornish. For several reasons I found the last interested me most. There is entertainment in watching Mr. SYMONS, so essentially a dweller in cities, discovering the open air like an explorer. You know already his mastery of delicate and sensitive words; many of these pages catch with exquisite skill the subtle charm of the country between land and wave, as it would present itself to a receptive summer visitor rather than the returned native. Mr. SYMONS’ similes are essentially urban; the sea (to take an example at random) has for him “something of the colour of absinthe.” In fine, though he can and does get into his pages much of the exhilaration of a tramp over heathery cliffs “smelling of honey and sea wind,” one retains throughout a not unpleasing consciousness of Paddington. I have left myself too little space to deal adequately with other papers, among which I was delighted to find again that called “Dieppe 1895,” long remembered from _The Savoy_ (though here, of course, lacking the interpretation of the BEARDSLEY drawings). Certainly a book to read at leisure and to keep “for further reference,” perhaps in a future when travel studies may again become of more than merely sentimental interest.

* * * * *

Sir ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, on the strength of _Danger! and Other Stories_ (MURRAY), may claim a place among the prophets who were not accepted by their own country. “Danger!”–written some eighteen months before the outbreak of war–foretells the horrors of the unrestricted use of the submarine. In those days Sir ARTHUR could get no one to listen to him, because “in some unfortunate way subjects of national welfare are in this country continually subordinated to party politics.” Possibly now that we have been taught by painful experience all we want to know about U-boat warfare, excitement in this tale is rather to seek, but it remains a most successful prophecy. In the last story of the book we have the author in his very worst form. “Three of Them” is a study of children, and the only excuse I can find for it is that it must be intended as a sop to the sentimentalists. Of the others my first vote goes to “The Surgeon of Gaster Fell,” and my second to “The Prisoner’s’ Defence;” but if you are susceptible to Sir ARTHUR’S sense of fun I can also recommend “The Fall of Lord Barrymore” and “One Crowded Hour.” Not a great collection, but just good enough.

* * * * *

Mr. ROMER WILSON has devoted the nearly three hundred pages of his _Martin Schuler_ (METHUEN) to describing what it feels like to be a genius, and, speaking from a very limited knowledge of this class, I should say that he had mapped the mind of a genius of a certain sort very well. His estimate of the creative artist’s anguish of emptiness rings true, and will, perhaps surprise the people who think that his lot, like a policeman’s, is a very happy one. His _Martin_, who struck me as a very unpleasant young man, was a composer who meant to achieve immortality, but turned down the broad way of musical comedy and acquired money instead. Just in time he repented and wrote a grand opera, and then Mr. WILSON cut short his career in a fashion that seemed to me regrettably hackneyed, which was the only reason why I shared the other characters’ sorrow. Why so many people, all rather nasty people too, came to devote themselves to _Martin_ I could not discover, although I had the publisher’s word for it that he was “attractive”; but perhaps his genius accounted for it. Probably it is my duty to declare here that _Martin_ and his friends were almost all made in Germany before the War, but as they are exceptionally disagreeable and quite unlikely to inspire anyone with an unjust tenderness for their nation I have no hesitation in recommending the book as a clever study of temperament and a just picture of a part of the German musical world as it was when one last knew anything about it.

* * * * *

It is all a matter of taste, of course, but personally I don’t envy Mr. J.G. LEGGE his self-imposed task of convicting the Hun out of his own mouth of–well, of being a Hun. Germans they were and Germans they remain, and the author goes to great lengths, even to the length of 572 pages, to show that their peculiar qualities date back at least as far as 1813. His _Rhyme and Revolution in Germany_ (CONSTABLE) is not so much a history of the scrambling undignified revolutionary movements culminating in the year 1848, as a collection of contemporary comment thereon, in prose and verse. The prose is generally bad; the verse is generally very bad; and one turns with relief to the author’s connecting links, wishing only at times that he would not worry about proving his point quite so thoroughly. The bombast and the bullying, the self-pity and the cruelty, and, most of all, the instinctive claim, typical of Germany to-day, to prescribe one law for themselves but something quite different for the rest of the world, run through all these quotations, even the earliest. But the particular value of this book at the moment is its reminder that twice already has the House of Hohenzollern humbly pledged its All-Highest word to give constitutional government, only to resume “divine right” at the earliest convenient moment. Ruling Germany, and as much else as possible, with a view to the glorification of one’s personal family and one’s personal God, must be an exhausting labour, and once again the head of the dynasty is afforded an opportunity for a respite. It is a temptation which one feels sure he will find himself strong enough to resist if occasion serves. History and Mr. LEGGE suggest that he will be willing–even enthusiastic–to grovel in the dust to assist that occasion.

* * * * *

Mr. SPENCER LEIGH HUGHES is a brilliant and distinguished member of the great brotherhood of the Press; he is also a Member of Parliament and has devoted himself heart and soul to the propagation of his principles on the platform. He has therefore, save in respect of great age (he is barely sixty), every right to compile and publish a book with the title, _Press, Platform and Parliament_ (NISBET). It is one of the most genuinely good-tempered books I have ever read; but that was to be expected from the author of the column signed “_Sub Rosa_,” who had in this course of desultory writing made innumerable friends and never lost one; and, more pleasing sport than that, had brought two people together through a matrimonial agency conducted by W.T. STEAD, and had met the pair many years after, to find that they were perfectly and unexpectedly happy.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Dealer (trying to sell horse to Government Buyer)_. “THAT ‘ORSE, SIR, ‘AS GONE A MILE IN A GOOD DEAL LESS THAN THREE MINUTES.”

_Government Buyer_. “ON WHAT RAILWAY?”]

* * * * *


“noticed in the Editorial pages of ‘—-&—-‘ (see Book Reviews), or listed in its advertising columns, may be obtained post free from the offices, at the marked prices, plus postage.”–_Trade Paper_.

We felt sure there was a catch somewhere.