Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, February 21, 1917

By Various

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February 21st, 1917, by Various

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Title: Punch, or The London Charivari,  Vol. 152, February 21st, 1917

Author: Various

Release Date: January 23, 2005 [EBook #14767]

Language: English


Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Punch, or the London Charivari, Keith
Edkins and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team.


VOL. 152.

February 21st, 1917.


Count BERNSTORFF, it appears, was very much annoyed with the way in which
certain Americans are supporting President WILSON, and he decided to read
them a lesson they would not soon forget. So he left America.


Things are certainly settling down a little in Hungary. Only two shots were
fired at Count TISZA in the Hungarian Diet last week.


The famous Liquorice Factory which has figured so often in the despatches
from Kut is again in the hands of our troops. Bronchial subjects who have
been confining themselves to black currant lozenges on patriotic grounds
will welcome the news.


The German Imperial Clothing Department has decreed that owners of garments
"bearing the marks of prodigal eating" will not be permitted to replace
them, and the demand among the elderly dandies of Berlin for soup-coloured
waistcoats is said to have already reached unprecedented figures.


"On the Western front," says _The Cologne Gazette_, "the British are
defeated." Some complaints are being made by the Germans on the spot
because they have not yet been officially notified of the fact.


A neutral diplomat in Vienna has written for a sack of rice to a colleague
in Rome, who, feeling that the Austrians may be on the look-out for the
rice, intends to defeat their hopes by substituting confetti.


By the way the FOOD CONTROLLER may shortly forbid the use of rice at
weddings. We have long held the opinion that as a deterrent the stuff is


"The British," says the _Berliner Tageblatt_, "what are they? They are
snufflers, snivelling, snorting, shirking, snuffling, vain-glorious
wallowers in misery...." It is thought likely that the _Berliner Tageblatt_
is vexed with us.


Count PLUNKETT, although elected to the House of Commons, will not attend.
It is cruel, but the COUNT is convinced that the punishment is no more
severe than the House deserves.


A North of England Tribunal has just given a plumber sufficient extension
to carry out a large repair job he had in hand. This has caused some
consternation among those who imagined that the War would end this year.


Lord DEVONPORT'S weekly bread allowance is regarded as extravagant by a
lady correspondent, who writes, "In my own household we hardly eat any
bread at all. We practically live on toast."


An informative contemporary explains that the Chinese eggs now arriving are
nearly all brown and resemble those laid in this country by the Cochin
China fowl. This, however, is not the only graceful concession to British
prejudice, for the eggs, we notice, are of that oval design which is so
popular in these islands.


[Illustration: PRO PATRIA.]


An _Evening News_ correspondent states that at one restaurant last week a
man consumed "a large portion of beef, baked potatoes, brussels-sprouts,
two big platefuls of bread, apple tart, a portion of cheese, a couple of
pats of butter and a bottle of wine." We understand that he would also have
ordered the last item on the menu but for the fact that the band was
playing it.


A Carmelite sleuth at a City restaurant reports that one "Food Hog" had for
luncheon "half-a-dozen oysters, three slices of roast beef with Yorkshire
pudding, two vegetables and a roll." The after-luncheon roll is of course
the busy City man's substitute for the leisured club-man's after-luncheon


There is plenty of coal in London, the dealers announce, for those who are
willing to fetch it themselves. Purchasers of quantities of one ton or over
should also bring their own paper and string.


One of the rarest of British birds, the great bittern, is reported to have
been seen in the Eastern counties during the recent cold spell. In answer
to a telephonic inquiry on the matter Mr. POCOCK, of the Zoological
Gardens, was heard to murmur, "Once bittern, twice shy."


A stoker, prosecuted at a London Police Court for carrying smoking
materials into a munitions factory, explained in defence that no locker had
been assigned to him. The Bench thereupon placed one at his disposal for a
period of one month.


On the Somme, says _The Times_, the New Zealand Pioneers, consisting of
Maoris, Pakehas and Raratongans, dug 13,163 yards of trenches, mostly under
German fire. The really thrilling fact about this is that we have enlisted
the sympathy of the Pakehas (or "white men"), who, with the single
exception of the Sahibs of India, are probably the fiercest tribe in our
vast Imperial possessions.


The announcement that the Scotland Yard examination will not be lowered for
women taxicab drivers has elicited a number of inquiries as to whether
"language" is a compulsory or an alternative subject.


"The feathers are most quickly got rid of by removing them with the skin,"
says the writer of a recently published letter on "Sparrows as Food." He
forgets the very considerable economy which can be achieved by having them
baked in their jackets.


We are glad to note an agitation for a bath-room in every artisan dwelling.
Only last week we were pained by a photograph in a weekly paper showing
somebody reduced to taking his tub in the icy Serpentine.


Motto for Housekeepers:--


       *       *       *       *       *


  War has taught the truth that shines
  Through the poet's noble lines:--
  "Common are to either sex
  _Artifex_ and _opifex_."

       *       *       *       *       *


  Doubtless you feel that such a fight
    Would be a huge _réclame_ for Hundom;
  That Earth would stagger at the sight
    Of _Gulielmus contra Mundum;_
      That WILLIAM, facing awful odds,
  Should prove a spectacle for men and gods.

  ('Tis true you have Allies who share
    The toll you levy for the shambles,
  Yet, judging by the frills you wear
    In this your most forlorn of gambles,
      One might suppose you stood alone
  In solitary splendour all your own.)

  And if the game against you goes,
    As seems, I take it, fairly certain,
  The Hero, felled by countless foes,
    Should make a rather useful curtain;
      You could with honour cry for grace,
  Having preserved the thing you call your face.

  I shouldn't count too much on that.
    The globe is patient, slow and pensive,
  But has a way of crushing flat
    The objects which it finds offensive;
      And when it's done with you, my brave,
  I doubt if you will have a face to save.


       *       *       *       *       *


    "Mr. Law began his speech with intermittent cries for Mr. Lloyd
    George."--_The Saturday Westminster Gazette._

We can well understand Mr. LAW'S sense of loneliness, and our contemporary
has performed a genuine service in recording this pathetic incident, which
seems to have escaped all the other reporters of the opening of Parliament.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "His mother died when he was seven years old, while his father lived to
    be nearly a centurion."--_Wallasey and Wirral Chronicle._

Hard lines that he just missed his promotion.

       *       *       *       *       *


    FLIGHT COMDRS.--Lt. (temp. Capt.) F.P. Don, and to retain his temp.
    tank whilst so empld."--_The Times._

We commend this engaging theme to the notice of Mr. LANCELOT SPEED, in case
the popularity of his film, "Tank Pranks," now being exhibited, should call
for a second edition.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Four lb. of bread (or 3 lb. of flour), 2-1/2 lb. of meat, and 3/4 lb. of
    sugar--these are the voluntary rations for each person for a week, and
    in a household of five persons this works out at 23-1/3 lb. of bread
    and flour, 9 lb. of meat, and 4 lb. of sugar."--_Weekly Scotsman._

We always like to have our arithmetic done for us by one who has the trick
of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "WANTED, False Teeth, any condition; highest price given, buying for
    Government."--_Local Paper._

This may account for the statement in another journal that "the new
Administration is going through teething troubles."

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Punch begs to call the attention of his readers to an exhibition of
original War-Cartoons to be held by his namesake of Australia at 155, New
Bond Street, beginning on February 22nd. The cartoons are the work of
Messrs. GEORGE H. DANCEY and CHARLES NUTTALL, of the Melbourne _Punch._

       *       *       *       *       *


(_The PRESIDENT of the United States and Mr. GERARD._)

_The President._ Here you are then at last, my dear Mr. GERARD. I am afraid
you have had a long and uncomfortable journey.

_Mr. Gerard._ Don't say a word about that, Mr. President. It's all in the
day's work, and, anyhow, it's an immense pleasure to be back in one's own

_The President._ Yes, I can well believe that. Living amongst Germans at
this time can be no satisfaction to an American citizen.

_Mr. G._ No, indeed, Mr. President; you never said a truer word than that
in your life. The fact is the Germans have all gone mad with self-esteem,
and are convinced that every criticism of their actions must have its
foundations in envy and malignity. And yet they feel bitterly, too, that,
in spite of their successes here and there, the War on the whole has been
an enormous disappointment for them, and that the longer it continues the
worse their position becomes. The mixture of these feelings makes them
grossly arrogant and sensitive to the last degree, and reasonable
intercourse with them becomes impossible. No, Mr. President, they are not
pleasant people to live amongst at this moment, and right glad am I to be
away from them.

_The President._ And as to their submarine warfare, do they realise that we
shall hold them to what they have promised, and that if they persist in
their policy of murder there must be war between them and us?

_Mr. G._ The certainty that you mean what you say has but little effect on
them. They argue in this way: Germany is in difficulties; the submarine
weapon is the only one that will help Germany, therefore Germany must use
that weapon ruthlessly and hack through with it, whatever may be urged on
behalf of international law or humanity at large. Humanity doesn't count in
the German mind because humanity doesn't wear a German uniform or look upon
the KAISER as absolutely infallible. Down, therefore, with humanity and,
incidentally, with America and all the smaller neutrals who may be disposed
to follow her lead.

_The President._ So you think patience, moderation and reasonable argument
are all useless?

_Mr. G._ See here, Mr. President, this is how the matter stands. They
imagine they can ruin England with their submarines--they 're probably
wrong, but that's their notion--but if they give way to America this
illegitimate weapon is blunted and they lose the war. Sooner than suffer
that catastrophe they will defy America. And they don't believe as yet that
America means what she says and is determined to fight rather than suffer
these outrages to continue. The Germans will try to throw dust in your
eyes, Mr. President, while continuing the submarine atrocities.

_The President._ The Germans will soon be undeceived. We will not suffer
this wrong, and we will fight, if need be, in order to prevent it. God
knows we have striven to keep the peace through months and years of racking
anxiety. If war comes it is not we who have sought it. Nobody can lay that
reproach upon us. Rather have we striven by all honourable means to avoid
it. But we have ideals that we cannot abandon, though they may clash with
German ambitions and German methods. There we are fixed, and to give way
even by an inch would be to dishonour our country and to show ourselves
unworthy of the freedom our forefathers won for us at the point of the
sword. That is the conclusion I have come to, having judged these matters
with such power of judgment as God has given me.

_Mr. G._ And to that every true American will say Amen.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: WAR-SAVINGS.




       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HOME DEFENCE.



       *       *       *       *       *



MY DEAR CHARLES,--The weather is very seasonable for the time of year, is
it not? A nice nip in the air, as you might say; thoroughly healthy for
those at liberty to enjoy it _al fresco_. I assure you the opportunity is
not being wasted out here; all the best people are out-of-doors all the
time. For myself, with thirty degrees of frost about, it seemed to be the
exact moment to slip over to England and help keep the home fires burning.

Accordingly I repaired to a neighbouring port, and when I got there an
officer, who appeared to be looking for something, asked me what my rank
was. In peace times I should have loved a little unexpected sympathy like
this; as a soldier, quite an old soldier now, I dislike people who take an
interest in me, especially if they have blue on their hats. I thanked him
very much for his kind inquiry, but indicated that my lips were sealed. His
curiosity thereupon became positively acute; he was, he said, a man from
whom it was impossible to keep a secret. He still wished to know what my
rank was. I said it all depended which of them he was referring to, since
there are three in all, the "Acting," the "Temporary" and the Rock-bottom
one. In any case, at heart I was and always should remain a plain civilian
mister. Should we leave it at that, and let bygones be bygones? He was
meditating his answer, when I asked him if he realised how close he was
standing to the edge of the quay, and when he turned round and looked I
also turned round and went....

The fellow who was standing next to me all this time was either too young
or too proud to conceal his stars beneath an ordinary waterproof. Blue-hat
didn't need to ask him what his rank was; he recognized at a glance just
the very type of officer he was looking for. So he led off the poor fellow
to the slaughter, and put him in charge of two hundred N.C.O.s and men
proceeding on leave to the U.K. I've no doubt the fellow spent the best
part of his days on the other side trying to get rid of his party. I have
not been two years in France without discovering that you simply cannot be
too careful when you are attempting to get out of it.

When I reached England my feelings with regard to myself changed. I was no
longer reticent about my rank. I displayed my uniform in a public
restaurant, without any reserve. In consequence they'd only let me eat
three-and-sixpence worth for my first meal. This time I was not so clever,
it appeared, as I thought. I had erroneously supposed that by not being a
civilian I should get more than two courses. As it was I got less, and so
it was with a full heart and an empty stomach that I fell in for home. If
I'd known I should have kept my waterproof on for luncheon.

Do you realise how dismal a thing it is for us to be separated from our own
by a High Sea all these months and years? It ain't fair, Sir, it simply
ain't fair. In my case there is not only a wife amongst wives, but also a
son amongst sons. Now, Charles, I am the very last person to call a thing
good merely because it is my own, nor am I that kind of fool who thinks all
his geese are swans. If my son had a fault I should be the very first to
notice and call attention to it. But he has not; dispassionately and from
an entirely detached and impersonal view, I am bound to say that there is
about him an outstanding merit which at once puts him on a different level
from all others. It isn't so much his four and a half teeth I'm thinking
of, nor is it the twenty-seven overgrown and badly managed hairs which
wander about at the back of his bald head and give him the look of a
dissipated monk. It is just his intrinsic worth, clearly evidenced in
everything about him. Obviously a man of parts, he has brains, a stout
heart and an unfailing humour. Blessed with a keen perception, he delights
those who can understand him with his singularly happy and apt turn of
speech. You will, I think, accept my word as an officer and a gentleman
that he _is_ unique.

Anticipating the welcome greeting of my wife and many pleasant hours to be
spent in discussing with my son the things which matter, I put on all my
waterproofs, gave the porter a twenty-five centime piece, which he mistook
for a shilling, even as earlier on I had myself been led to mistake it for
a franc, and hastened home.

The welcome greeting seemed all right, but I had not been long in the
company of my wife before I discovered that Another had come between us. I
had not been long with my son before I discovered who that Other was.... I
determined to have it out with him at once. Feeling that the situation was
one for tactics, I manoeuvred for position and, to get him entirely at a
disadvantage, I surprised him in his bath and taxed him with his infamy. I
addressed him more in sorrow than in anger. I told him I was well aware of
his personal charm, but in this instance I was bound to comment
unfavourably on the use he had made of it. The very last thing I had
expected of him was that at, or indeed before, the early age of one he
would be stealing the affections of another man's wife.

He was not ashamed or nonplussed; he was not even embarrassed by his
immediate environment. In fact he turned it to his own advantage, for his
hairs, duly watered and soaped down on to his cranium, lost their rakish
look and gave him the appearance of a gentleman of perfect integrity, great
intellect and no little financial stability. As between one man and
another, he did not attempt to deny the truth of my assertion, gave me to
understand, with a jovial smile, that such little incidents must always be
expected as long as humanity remains human, and repudiated all personal
responsibility in this instance. He even went so far as to suggest that it
was the woman's fault; it was always she who was running after him, and his
only offence had been that of being too chivalrous abruptly to repel her
advances. I confess I was painfully surprised at the attitude he adopted;
it consisted in putting his foot in one half of his mouth and breathing
stentorously through the other moiety. And when he started making eyes at
the nurse I was too shocked to stay any longer.

Never a man to take a thing sitting down, I waited till the next morning
for my revenge. As the trustee of his future wealth I had him in my power.
Stepping across to the nearest bank I borrowed an immense sum of money in
his name and passed it all on to the Government, then and there, to be
spent, _inter alia_, on the B.E.F. And what's more, I told him to his face
that I'd done it. What reply do you suppose he made? He merely called for a

However, my revenge did not end there. On my way back to France I seized
the opportunity of looking in at Cox's and there took back from the
Government for my own sole and absolute use some of those very pounds my
son had borrowed from the bank to give it. But I lost in the end, for my
wife, whom I had taken with me to witness her and his discomfiture, had all
the money off me again, in order, I gather, to put it in my son's
money-box, for him to rattle now and spend later. The only result of my
efforts therefore was to land me in a financial transaction so complicated
that I cannot even follow it myself.

Yours ever,


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Shocked Sister_. "OH, BOBBY, YOU MUSTN'T HAVE A SECOND

[_Bobby, like a true Briton, desists._]]

       *       *       *       *       *





  I leaned on the Mill-Wall
    Looking at the water,
  I leaned on the Mill-Wall
    And saw the Nis's Daughter.

  I saw the Nis's Daughter
    Playing with her ball,
  She tossed it and tossed it
    Against the Mill-Wall.

  I saw the Nis's Goodwife
    Busy making lace
  With her silver bobbins
    In the Mill-Race.

  Then I saw the old Nis,
    His hair to his heel,
  Combing out the tangles
    On the Mill-Wheel.

  The Miller came behind me
    And gave my ear a clout--
  "Get on with your business,
    You good-for-nothing lout!"



  The seed of the Corn, the rustling Corn,
    The seed of the Corn is sown;
  When the seed is sown on the Cornhill
    My love will ask for his own.

  The blade of the Corn, the rustling Corn,
    The blade of the Corn is shown;
  When the blade is shown on the Cornhill
    I'll promise my love his own.

  The ear of the Corn, the rustling Corn,
    The ear of the Corn is grown;
  When the ear is grown on the Cornhill
    My love shall have his own.

  The sheaf of the Corn, the rustling Corn,
    The sheaf of the Corn is mown;
  When the sheaf is mown on the Cornhill
    My love will leave his own.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "WANTED, few cwt. White Sugar, cart self; pay cash; state
    price."--_Manchester Guardian_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "M. Trepoff accepted the leadership of the Right in the Council of
    Empire after the party had pledged itself to eschew a retrograd
    course."--_Manchester Evening Chronicle_.

Preferring a Petrograd one, of course.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "His Majesty's Government has declared that it is ready to grant
    sage-conducts to Count Bernstorff and the Embassy and Consular
    personnel."--_Daily Mail_.

Hitherto his Excellency has been sadly lacking in this hyphenated article.

       *       *       *       *       *



Nobody knows the misery of bein' lapped in luxury in a billet better than
me and Jim. Mrs. Dawkins, as I told you, give us the best of everything in
the 'ouse and our lives wasn't worth livin' owin' to Mr. Dawkins and the
little Dawkinses and a young man lodger takin' against us in consekence.
Seein' that they 'adn't a bed between 'em while we was given one apiece and
their end of the table had next to nothin' on when ours was weighed down
with sausages and suchlike, it were not surprisin' that Mr. Dawkins and the
lodger swore at us and the little Dawkinses put their tongues out. But it
were upsettin', and Jim and me did 'ope when we was moved to Mrs. Larkins's
that we had a better time in store.

"Just goin' to the Front, ain't they, poor fellows?" she said to the
billetin' orficer. "I'll do my best by 'em. Nobody wouldn't like to coddle
'em better than I should, but 'twould be crule kindness to 'em, I knows. If
'ardships are in store for 'em let 'em 'ave a taste before they goes, I
says, and it won't fall so 'eavy on 'em when they gets there."

"There's as comfortable a feather bed as you could wish to sleep on ready
and waitin' for you," she said to us, "but who with a woman's heart in her
could put you on a feather bed knowin' you'll be sleepin' on the bare earth
before three weeks is over your poor heads? I've put you a shake of straw
on the floor for to-night. I'll take it away to-morrow so as you shall get
used to the boards. I've wedged the winders top and bottom to make a
draught through; that'll help you to bear the wind over there."

It were a north-east wind, and it reglar took 'old of Jim. He's inclined to
toothake, and in the mornin' his face were as big as a football. "I _am_
thankful I thought of the winders," Mrs. Larkins said; "you'd 'ave suffered
terrible if you'd 'ad the faceake for the first time in the trenches; now
you'll get used to it before you gets there. A pepper plaster 'ud ease you
direckly, but you're goin' where there's no such things as pepper plasters,
and it 'ud be a sin to let you taste the luxury of one over 'ere."

Jim was for runnin' to the doctor to 'ave the tooth took out, but Mrs.
Larkins wouldn't 'ear of it. "My poor fellow," she said, "do you think a
doctor'll come along with his pinchers all ready to take your tooth out in
the trenches? You'll more like 'ave to do it yourself with a corkscrew.
I'll lend you one willin'." But Jim said he wouldn't trouble her just at
present, he was feelin' a little easier.

She didn't cook us nothin' to eat. "My fingers itch to turn you out
beyutiful dishes as your mouths 'ud water to come to a second time," she
said, "but it 'ud be a crule kindness, knowin' you'll be fendin' for
yourselves in a 'ole in the ground in three weeks' time. Better learn 'ow
to do it now. There's a bit o' meat, and you can dig up any vegetables you
fancy in the garden. I'll rake the fire out so as you shall learn 'ow to
light a fire for yourselves; and I'll put the saucepans out of your way; it
ain't likely you'll 'ave saucepans over there."

We was never nearer starvin' than we was at Mrs. Larkins's. She said it
made her heart bleed to see us, but we should be grateful to 'er one day
for teachin' us 'ow to cook our vittels for ourselves or go without 'em.

One of Jim's buttons come loose on his tunic and he asked Mrs. Larkins if
she would be so kind as to sew it on for him. "Nothin' would please me
better than to sew 'em all on, they're mostly 'angin' by a thread," she
said; "but do you expect to find a woman in the trenches all 'andy to sew
on your buttons? You'll 'ave to sew 'em on yourself, and the sooner you
learn 'ow to do it the better."

We was accustomed to 'ave our washin' done for us in our other billets, but
when the second Sunday come at Mrs. Larkins's and there wasn't no sign of a
clean shirt we felt obliged to mention it to 'er. "'Ere's a bit o' soap and
a bucket," she said, "and you knows where the well is."

When we'd washed 'em we was goin' to 'ang 'em round the fire to dry; but
she wouldn't 'ear of it. "Where'll you find a fire to dry 'em by over
there?" she said; "you'll 'ave to wear 'em wet." And when we got the
rheumatics she said, "Ah, a wet shirt's sure to do it. You'll never be
without it over there. It's a mercy you've got a touch now. I shouldn't be
sorry if I see you limpin' a bit more."

It took us some time in the trenches to get over our 'ardenin' at Mrs.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Ministry therefore appeals to all users and buyers of paper to be
    content with lower shades of whiteness, and generally to refrain from
    all demands that would interfere with the desired economy. All that is
    asked for is the sacrifice of anæsthetic requirements, in view of
    national need."--_East Anglian Daily Times_.

If all the Press is to turn Yellow, the prospect is certainly painful and
we must insist on an anæsthetic.

       *       *       *       *       *


          _COMFORT AND JOY'S_
       New Books for the Million.


A deliciously vivid book, about an utterly
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       *       *       *       *       *

              FAREWELL, VIRTUE.

Lovers of _In Quest of Crime_ will not fail to be
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       *       *       *       *       *

_By the Author of_ "_The Little Oilcan_,"
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First Enormous Edition exhausted. Order of
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       *       *       *       *       *

     (Author of "The 'Ammy Knife").
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Simply must be read by anyone who wishes
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Mr. John Pougher writes in _Saturn_:--
"Tripe is the most nourishing author I know.
To adapt Dickens's famous phrase, there is a
juiciness in his work which would enchant a

2/- _net or three copies for_ 5/- _and four_
     (_with 1 lb. of sugar_) _for_ 6/-

       *       *       *       *       *

            WAS MILTON A MORMON?
              BY FLAMMA BELL.
    A book for polygamists of all ages.

1/- _net, or_ 1/9 _with 1 lb. of margarine_.

             LIFE WITHOUT SOAP.

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_With portrait of the Author in black-and-white_.
                1/- _net._

       *       *       *       *       *


(_With Preface by the Man who ate Sauerkraut
             with HINDENBURG_).

             IN TINO'S BOOTROOM.



       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Neutral Waiter_. "I SHALL NEVAIR ONDERSTAND ZIS LANGUAGE.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [The management of _The Times_, of which the price was raised on Monday
    to twopence, is anxious, in view of the paper famine, to restore the
    old custom by which this journal was subscribed for jointly or loaned,
    whether gratuitously or by newsagents at one penny a perusal. Having
    "determined to restrict the sale and encourage the circulation of each
    copy in several houses daily, the managers will not hesitate, as a last
    resort, to increase the selling price to sevenpence per copy."]

_From_ "_The Evening Uproar_."


Piccadilly Circus was the scene of an appalling fracas this afternoon.
Shortly after two o'clock a quietly-dressed middle-aged man, at present
unidentified, was observed stealing cautiously from the Tube station with a
thick wad of Treasury notes in one hand and _a copy of "The Times" in the
other!_ The sight of this latter seems to have sent several passers-by
completely mad. The wretched stranger was instantly set upon, his journal
torn from his hand and his limbs very severely mauled. The Treasury notes,
unremarked in the fearful _mélée_, fell into the mud and were devoured by a
passing Pekinese. Those now in possession of the priceless document were in
turn set upon by others, until all Piccadilly Circus became a battlefield.
The deplorable behaviour of motor-bus and taxicab drivers added greatly to
the carnage, for these men, rendered frantic by the thought of the loot
within their reach, repeatedly drove their vehicles into the seething mass
of humanity in their efforts to acquire this unthinkable treasure. No
official estimate of the casualties is yet to hand.

_Stop Press_.--Reason to believe unknown archdeacon got away West with part
of sheet of "Finance and Commerce." Police, specials, military and
fire-brigade now in pursuit.

_From the Press generally_.


At Gristie's to-day there will be put up for auction an unread and unsoiled
copy of yesterday's _Times_. The donor of this superb gift desires to
remain anonymous, but his incredible generosity is expected to benefit
charity to the extent of several thousand pounds.

_From_ "_The New Britain_."


A sterling example of patriotism has just come to the notice of the Rag and
Bones Controller. A copy of _The Times_ (including the Uruguay Supplement
of 94 pages), issued four months ago, was purchased, under permit of the R.
and B. Controller, by Baron Goldenschein, who read it from the top of col.
1, page 1, to the foot of col. 6, page 108. The entire household then read
from col. 1, page 1, to col. 6, page 108. Baron Goldenschein tells us that
his cook with difficulty could be persuaded to tear herself away from the
Uruguay Supplement. All the tenants on the estate--some eighty souls--then
enjoyed the paper, each tenant in turn posting it to relatives in various
parts of the United Kingdom. At the end of three months it is estimated
that over one thousand persons had read this copy of _The Times_. The Baron
also informs us that each post brings him a fragment of the paper from
remote parts of the country. When sufficient fragments have been collected
and pasted together the whole will be despatched to those residents in the
Isle of Man who have never heard of _The Times_.

_From_ "_The Wiggleswick Weekly_":--


From Monday next the price of _The Wiggleswick Weekly_ (with which is
incorporated _The Bindleton Advertiser_ and _The Swashborough Gazette_)
will be 17_s._ 6_d._ per copy. If this--the forty-seventh--increase in
price does not bring about the desired reduction in circulation we shall
unhesitatingly advance the price to £1 9_s._ 5-3/4_d._ per copy. The
management of _The Wiggleswick Weekly_ is determined, at no matter what
sacrifice, to limit the circulation to forty copies weekly.

       *       *       *       *       *

From an ecclesiastical magazine:--

    "The Vicar of ---- has promised to address our branch of the C.E.M.S.
    as soon as he can arrange a fine and moonlight evening."

We should be greatly obliged if the reverend gentleman would let us have
the prescription. There should be money in it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Doctor's Wife_. "SO GLAD TO SEE YOU OUT AGAIN. THE DOCTOR

       *       *       *       *       *


  In a recent verse adventure
    I compiled "a little list"
  Of the verbs deserving censure,
   Verbs that "never would be missed";
  Now, to flatter the fastidious,
    Suffer me the work to crown
  With three epithets--all hideous--
    And one noisome noun.

  First, to add to the recital
    Of the words that gall and irk,
  Is the old offender "vital,"
    Done to death by overwork;
  Only a prolonged embargo
    On its use by Press and pen
  Can recall this kind of _argot_
    Back to life again.

  I, in days not very distant,
    Though the memory gives me pain,
  From the awful word "insistent"
    Did not utterly refrain;
  Once it promised to refresh us,
    Seemed to be alert enough;
  Now I loathe it, laboured, precious--
    Merely verbal fluff.

  Thirdly, in the sheets that daily
    Cater for our vulgar needs,
  There's a word that figures gaily
    In reviewers' friendly screeds,
  Who declare a book's "arresting,"
    Mostly, it must be confessed,
  Meaning just the problem-questing
    Which deserves arrest.

  Last and vilest of this bad band
    Is that noun of gruesome sound,
  "Uplift," which the clan of _Chadband_
    Hold in reverence profound;
  Used for a dynamic function
    'Tis a word devoid of guile,
  Only as connoting unction
    It excites my bile.

  _Why, fastidious poetaster,
    Waste your energy and breath
  Like a petulant schoolmaster
    Only doing words to death?
  Needlessly you slate and scourge us;
    War, that sifts and tries and tests,
  May be safely left to purge us
    Of these verbal pests._

       *       *       *       *       *

England, February, 1917.--"The great loan land."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE LAST THROW.]

       *       *       *       *       *


_Monday, February 12th_.--Question-time, which towards the end of last
Session was extended by a quarter-of-an-hour, to-day reverted to its old
limits. Consideration for overworked officials was assigned as the reason,
but I think the House as a whole was rather relieved at the disappearance
of what was often a _triste quart d'heure_. One can easily have a surfeit
of the piquant humours of Mr. GINNELL, Mr. KING and the rest of the _Rosa
Dartles_ of the House.

The new Administration received some useful support from an unexpected
quarter. Mr. MCKENNA, a little disturbed, perhaps, by the discovery that he
had been a trifle of 350 millions out in his Budget estimate of the cost of
the War, was fain to rebuke the Government for proposing two big Votes of
Credit on one day. This unprecedented demand, he insisted, must have some
dark purpose behind it. Were the Government contemplating a General
Election? Mr. BONAR LAW quietly reminded him that exactly the same thing
had been done this time last year when Mr. MCKENNA himself was at the

"Luff, boy, luff," whispered Mr. ASQUITH to his discomfited lieutenant, who
thereupon went off on another tack and proceeded to express doubts as to
the wisdom of over-sea expeditions. But his course was again unfortunate.
"Why did you go to Salonika?" interjected a voice from below the Gangway.
As Major GODFREY COLLINS afterwards observed, neither the House nor the
country will stand much criticism of the new Government by members of the
old one.

_Tuesday, February 13th_.--Lord BERESFORD, in latter days heard with
difficulty in the House of Commons, has found his voice again in the ampler
air of the Gilded Chamber. His speech this afternoon on the submarine peril
and how to defeat it might have wakened the echoes in the Admiralty at the
far end of Whitehall. It evoked an admirable reply from Lord LYTTON, who,
though not exactly a typical British tar in appearance, has evidently
absorbed a full measure of the sea-spirit. Necessarily reticent as to the
exact nature of the steps that are being taken to deal with the
sea-highwaymen, he made the comforting announcement that already we had
achieved very considerable success. This was endorsed by Lord CURZON, who
revealed the interesting fact that he too is now a member of the Board of
Admiralty, and was able to state that, after two years of "frightfulness,"
the British mercantile marine was only a small fraction below its tonnage
at the commencement.

The British revolution goes on apace. The Game Laws, over which so many
Parliamentary battles have been fought, were swept away in a moment this
afternoon when Captain BATHURST announced in his usual level tones that
British farmers would in future be allowed to destroy pheasants with as
little compunction as if they were rabbits, and with no regard to the
sacredness of close-time.

After this momentous announcement, which transforms (subject to the opinion
of the law-officers) every tenant-farmer into a pheasant-proprietor,
Members took a little time to recover their breath. But some of them were
soon hard at work again heckling the Government over the multiplication of
new departments and secretariats. Mr. SWIFT MACNEILL, whose reverence for
the Constitution (save in so far as it applies to Ireland) knows no bounds,
could hardly contain his fury at the setting up of a War Cabinet--"a body
utterly unknown to the law"--and the inclusion therein of Ministers without
portfolios but with salaries.


He received a certain amount of rather gingerly support from Mr. RUNCIMAN
and Mr. SAMUEL, who had evidently not forgotten what happened to Mr.
MCKENNA yesterday. Mr. SAMUEL was a distinguished Member of a Government
under which both the Ministry and the bureaucracy were swollen in
peace-time to unprecedented size; but that did not prevent him from
complaining that under the present _régime_ the Administration had been
further magnified until, if all its members, including Under-Secretaries,
were present, they would fill not one but three Treasury Benches. Already
it is a much-congested district at Question-time and is the daily scene of
a Great Push.

If underlying these criticisms there was a hope that they would draw the
PRIME MINISTER from the seclusion of his private room, it was doomed to
disappointment. Mr. BONAR LAW, asserting his position as Leader of the
House, and not, as some people seemed to imagine, the PRIME MINISTER'S
deputy, made a spirited defence of the new Ministerial arrangements as
being essential for the conduct of the War, and challenged his opponents,
if they wanted to make sure of the PRIME MINISTER'S presence, to move a
Vote of Censure.

At Question-time Mr. LAW had instructed the House how to discover the
emblems on the new Treasury Note--the rose, the thistle, the shamrock and
the daffodil (this last for Wales). On the Treasury Bench the daffodil is
rarely to be descried; but the thistle is in full bloom all the time.

_Wednesday, February 14th_.--To-day the Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
bore a message from the KING in reply to the Address. The House on these
occasions is apt to be less interested in the message than in the
messenger, and watches eagerly to see if he will trip in his backward march
from the Chair, or forget one of the customary three bows. The present
holder of the office does his work so featly and with such obvious
enjoyment as to give a new significance to the phrase ... "With nods and
BECKS and wreathèd smiles."

Most of us only remember the late King THEBAW of Burma as a bloodthirsty
and dissipated despot. It has been reserved for Sir JOHN REES to find a
redeeming feature in his character. Among all his crimes, he never, it
seems, prohibited the consumption of drink in his realm, though I fancy
that his own efforts in that line considerably reduced the amount available
for his subjects. Implored by the hon. Member not to turn Burma into a
"dry" State, Mr. CHAMBERLAIN would say nothing more than that he declined
(very properly) to take THEBAW as his model.

No Leader of the House, perhaps, since Sir STAFFORD NORTHCOTE'S time has
occupied a more difficult position than Mr. BONAR LAW. But he is daily
becoming more at home in the saddle, and can even venture upon a joke or
two. Mr. PRINGLE opposed the suspension of the Eleven-o'clock Rule on the
ground, _inter alia_, that "he only wanted to get away." "That," said Mr.
LAW suavely, "is a result which can easily be attained," and the House,
which is getting a little weary of Mr. PRINGLE'S frequent and acidulated
interposition, noted his discomfiture with approving cheers.

_Thursday, February 15th_.--Lord CURZON, in a happy phrase, described the
late Duke of NORFOLK as "diffident about powers which were in excess of the
ordinary." Is not that true of the British race as a whole? Only now, under
the stress of a long-drawn-out conflict, is it discovering the variety and
strength of its latent forces.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule--strong men who are fully
conscious of their strength. Lord MIDLETON, for example, who sought a
comprehensive return of all the buildings commandeered and staffs employed
by the multifarious new Ministries, and was told that to provide it would
put too great a strain on officials fully engaged on work essential to
winning the War, promptly replied that if the Government would give him
access to their books he would draw up a return in a couple of days. Either
the evil has been greatly exaggerated or Lord MIDLETON is a
super-statistician for whose services another hotel or two ought to be
immediately secured.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

    "Black billy, 11 months, dam good milker; 10s."--_The Bazaar_.

It's no use swearing; we simply don't believe it.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "This week three crows had landed at Cardiff who had been sunk by
    submarines twice, and in some cases three times."--_Manchester

If only they had stayed in the crow's-nest this might not have happened.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Matrimony.--Gentleman coming into means desires to correspond with
    Lady having means; this is genuine."--_Scotch Paper_.

But suppose she won't have him; would he be "coming into means" then?

       *       *       *       *       *


What are a rational nation's national rations?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Outwardly, this has been a week devoted both at home and abroad to
    preparation for the campaign in the spring. Actually, a great deal of
    water has passed under the Thames."--_Liverpool Paper._

Something seems to have gone wrong with the Thames tunnel.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a report of Mr. BONAR LAW'S speech at Liverpool:--

    "When the War was over there would be parties again. (A voice, 'I hope
    not.') Yes, there would be parties--no free country with free
    institutions was ever without them--but he did not think they would be
    quite the sane parties."--_The Times_.

But were they ever?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A telegram from Budapest ... announces that the newspaper 'A Nap' has
    been suppressed by the Hungarian Government for publishing an article
    the contents of which were considered to be dangerous to the interests
    of the war campaign."--_Westminster Gazette_.

We are sorry to hear this. We used to take "A Nap" pretty regularly of an
evening, and must now forgo this simple luxury.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Giles_. "THAT BEANT NO MANNER O' USE TO THE LIKES O' WE,



       *       *       *       *       *


(_Being a letter from a cloistered lady visiting London to her sister in
the Shires._)

My dear Ruth,--Beginning at the beginning, let me tell you that you must at
once go to the station to inquire how it is that they forced me to pay
thirty shillings for my ticket, instead of one pound. Although the price
one pound is printed on the ticket, I couldn't get it until I had paid ten
shillings extra. There was no time to get a proper explanation, so I want
you to do so. Very likely it is sheer blackmail by that man in the
booking-office, whom I never cared for. You had better see the
station-master about it.

The next thing I want to tell you is that most of our ideas of London are
wrong. You remember how we used to be told about its wonderful lighting at
night, and the comfort of its hotels, and the bright shops, and the crowds
of taxis, and so on. Well, this isn't true at all. So far from being
well-lighted, I assure you that our few little streets and market square
are a blaze compared with this city. Some streets here are absolutely dark,
and even in the great thoroughfares there is so little light that crossing
the road is most perilous. The thing could be put right in a moment if they
would only see to it that the lamps were cleaned; I looked closely at
several of them and I could see exactly what was wrong--a coat of grimy
stuff has accumulated on the glass. Now to get this off would be quite
easy, but it does not seem to have occurred to anyone to do it. I suppose
that London is very badly managed; and here again I think the advantage
lies with us, for I am certain that our District Council would never allow
such a state of things. Probably the LORD MAYOR is lazy.

The funny thing is that there is plenty of good light, only they don't know
how to apply it. Every night, directly it begins to be dark, great streams
of light are turned on from all parts of the city; but would you believe
it, they are directed, not downwards so that they could illumine the
street, but upwards into the empty sky! If the Chairman of our District
Council could see this, how he would laugh! I wish you would tell him.

Then there is coal. I went, as we arranged, first to the Jerusalem Hotel,
but it was like ice. When I asked the hotel people why the central heating
was not on, they said that there is no coal. At least it seems that there
is coal, but no one to deliver it. Just think of our coal-merchant
returning such a reply to us when the cellar was getting empty. But in
London they seem to be ready to put up with any excuse. Why the men who
ought to deliver the coals are not made to, I can't imagine. Anyhow, as I
was freezing, I moved into lodgings, where there is coal, although an
exorbitant price is asked for each scuttle.

The great topic of conversation everywhere has been some new speculation
called the War Loan, and I have to confess that as it is so well spoken of
and is to pay the large dividend of 5-1/4 per cent. I have arranged to invest
something for each of us in it. I don't know who the promoter--a Mr. BONAR
LAW--is, but it would be awful for us if he turned out to be a JABEZ
BALFOUR in disguise. Still, nearly all investment is a gamble, and we can
only hope for the best. He must have some peculiar position or the papers
would not support his venture as they do; and there is even a campaign of
public speakers through the country, I am told, taking his prospectus as
their text and literally imploring the people to invest. Quite like the
South Sea Bubble we read of in MACAULAY; but please Heaven it won't turn
out to be another.

I asked the landlady here about it, but she knew nothing, except that her
family could not afford to put anything in. "But your daughters earn very
good money," I said. "That's true," she replied, "but all that they have
over after their clothes, poor girls, they spend on the theatre or the
pictures; and I'm glad to think they can do so. I wouldn't grudge them
their pleasures, not I."

Judging by the crowded state of all the myriad places of entertainment in
this city there are millions who are like them. But I couldn't help
thinking that if so much money seems really to be needed, and this Mr. LAW
is really a public benefactor, it might not be a bad idea to try to divert
some of the thousands of pounds being paid every day in London alone for
sheer amusement. Of course if England had the misfortune to be at war most
of these places would naturally be shut up.

By the way, Germans are strangely unpopular in London just now. I have
heard numbers of people, all in different places, such as the Tube and
omni-buses and tea-shops, using very strong terms about them. It has been
quite a series of coincidences.

No more for the present from

Your affectionate


       *       *       *       *       *





       *       *       *       *       *



  Tub-swill, tub-swill! _have_ you any tub-swill?
    I will send my footman to fetch it, if I may;
  For I'm hoping _all_ the restaurants and all the nicest clubs will
    Give me broken victuals, if I send for them each day;
        In the Park, in Piccadilly,
          Down at Ascot, in the Shires,
        We've been up in terms like "filly,"
          "Dams" and "sires,"
          "Smooths" and "wires;"
        Now it's "gilts" and it's "boars"
        And it's "suckers" and it's "stores"--
          The terms that one acquires
        Now we're keeping pigs to pay.

  Hog-wash, hog-wash! _are_ you selling hog-wash
    In a pretty bottle with a nice pneumatic spray?
  Nevermore in perfume shall a useless little dog wash;
    In my heart and boudoir precious piggy's holding sway.
        Oh, indeed, it's _worse_ than silly
          If a person now admires
        An inedible young filly,
          Dams and sires,
          Smooths and wires;
        For in gilts and in boars
        And in suckers and in stores
          Proper keenness one acquires
        Now we're keeping pigs to pay.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A Berlin telegram says that the Kaiser has created the Austrian
    Emperor a Field-Marshal.

    The material damage done was insignificant."--_Glasgow Evening Times_.

But the moral effect was tremendous.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "More Food.--Wanted, Partner, either sex, to increase stock open-air
    pig-farm."--_Morning Paper_.

An opening for one of the Food Hogs we read so much about.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Last week, a prey to military duty,
    I turned my lagging footsteps to the West;
  I have a natural taste for scenic beauty,
    And all my pent emotions may be guessed
      To find myself again
    At Didcot, loathliest junction of the plain.

  But all things come unto the patient waiter,
    "Behold!" I cried, "in yon contiguous blue
  Beetle the antique spires of Alma Mater
    Almost exactly as they used to do
      In 1898,
    When I became an undergraduate.

  "O joys whereto I went as to a bridal,
    With Youth's fair aureole clustering on a brow
  That no amount of culture (herpecidal)
    Will coax the semblance of a crop from now,
      Once more I make ye mine;
    There is a train that leaves at half-past nine.

  "In a rude land where life among the boys is
    One long glad round of cards and coffin juice,
  And any sort of intellectual poise is
    The constant butt of well-expressed abuse,
      And it is no disgrace
    To put a table-knife inside one's face,

  "I have remembered picnics on the Isis,
    Bonfires and bumps and BOFFIN'S cakes and tea,
  Nor ever dreamed a European crisis
    Would make a British soldier out of me--
      The mute inglorious kind
    That push the beastly war on from behind.

  "But here I am" (I mused) "and quad and cloister
    Are beckoning to me with the old allure;
  The lovely world of Youth shall be mine oyster
    Which I for one-and-ninepence can secure,
      Reaching on Memory's wing
    Parnassus' groves and Wisdom's fabled spring."

  But oh, the facts! How doomed to disillusion
    The dreams that cheat the mind's responsive eye!
  Where are the undergrads in gay profusion
    Whose waistcoats made melodious the High,
      All the _jeunesse dorée_
    That shed the glamour of an elder day?

  Can this be Oxford? And is that my college
    That vomits khaki through its sacred gate?
  Are those the schools where once I aired my knowledge
    Where nurses pass and ambulances wait?
      Ah! sick ones, pale of face,
    I too have suffered tortures in that place!

  In Tom his quad the Bloods no longer flourish;
    Balliol is bare of all but mild Hindoos;
  The stalwart oars that Isis used to nourish
    Are in the trenches giving Fritz the Blues,
      And many a stout D.D.
    Is digging trenches with the V.T.C.

  Why press the search when every hallowed close is
    Cluttered with youthful soldiers forming fours;
  While the drum stutters and the bugler blows his
    Loud summons, and the hoarse bull-sergeant roars,
      While almost out of view
    The thrumming biplane cleaves the astonished blue?

  It is a sight to stir the pulse of poet,
    These splendid youths with zeal and courage fired,
  But as for Private Me, M.A.--why, blow it!
    The very sight of soldiers makes me tired;
      Learning--detached, apart--
    I sought, not War's reverberating art.

  Yain search! But see! One ancient institution
    Still doing business at the same old stand;
  'Tis Messrs. Barclay's Bank, or I'm a Proossian,
    That erst dispensed my slender cash-in-hand;
      I'll borrow of their pelf
    And buy some War Loan to console myself.


       *       *       *       *       *


I am a fair man, even to Huns. When Germany pays an indemnity of
£2,000,000,000 I think we might knock off a tenner or so because the KAISER
has done so much to beautify our banks. Once they were cold cheerless
places. A suspicion of an overdraft always swept through them. Now I love
to go to the bank and see the beautiful blonde and brown and auburn heads
bent over the ledgers. If I could be quite certain that they were not
looking up the details of my account I should be perfectly happy.

Somebody told me that I could buy War Loan at 5-1/4 per cent. by borrowing
money from my bank at five per cent. This seemed to be the kind of
investment I had been looking for. I found that if I took a million on
those terms I should draw a net income of £2,500 a year. But I am a
patriot. It seemed to me that £2,500 a year was rather more than I was
worth to the nation. Was I better value than six M.P.'s? Of course I might
be worth six RAMSAY MACDONALDS. However I resolved to avoid greed and ask
for a simple hundred thousand.

So I went to my bank and said to a blue-eyed, Watteau type of beauty, "I
want to see the manager, please. Concerning an important investment in War
Loan," I added hastily, fearing lest the damsel should conclude that I
wanted an ordinary overdraft.

I was ushered into the manager's private room.

"About this War Loan," I began. "I understand that you advance money at
five per cent. to make the purchase."

"Yes, that is so," said the manager, beaming.

I leapt for joy. I had thought that there must be a catch somewhere.

"Put me down for a hundred thousand," I said.

The manager nearly fell out of his swing-chair. "My dear Sir," he gasped,
"have you any prospect of being able to save a hundred thousand during the
next year or so?"

"Am I a milk-dealer or a munition-worker?" I replied. "I should be both
surprised and gratified if I saved that sum in a year. Still I might do it,
you know. I should have to give up tobacco, of course. Or suppose relations
hitherto unknown to me died and left me handsome legacies. You are always
seeing these things in the papers. 'Baker Inherits Half-Million From Lost
Australian Uncle.'"

"A hundred," amended the manager. "Shall we say a hundred? You need not pay
a deposit. I'll give you a form."

"Where's your patriotism?" I demanded. "A hundred, you say? Well, I decline
your overdraft. Keep your ill-gotten much-grudged gain. I'll pay cash."

I left the bank sadly. I had thought of intimating to the blonde, brown and
auburn beauties that I had just put a hundred thousand in War Loan. I had
imagined their eyes gleaming at the spectacle of one-tenth of a

And now I can't go to the bank again. At least not till I have worked up my
balance a little above its present total, namely £2 _1s. 9d._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Instructor_ (_to very nervous lady, who, with a view to
war-work, is inquiring about tuition_). "OF COURSE YOU WOULD BEGIN ON A

       *       *       *       *       *


(_By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks_.)

_If Wishes were Horses_ (HURST AND BLACKETT) is one of the most engaging
novels that I have met for some time. The matter of it, perhaps, is nothing
very new: a story of expanding fortunes and contracting sympathies. But the
writer, Countess BARCYNSKA, has, before all else, the inestimable gift of
making you believe in her people. All the characters are vigorously alive.
The result is that one follows with quite unusual interest the chequered
career of her central figure, _Martin Leffley_, from his introduction as a
frankly unpleasant youth, very red about the ears, "which was where he
always blushed," to the final glimpse of him, titled, an M.P., and,
incidentally, a bowed and better man, purified by the wonderful devotion of
_Rose_, the wife whom throughout the tale he has bullied and undervalued.
Nor is _Rose_ herself, with her unwavering belief in her clay idol, a less
memorable figure. Of the others, my chief affection went to _Aunt Polly_,
the kindly dealer in old clothes, who imagined the Savile to be a night
club. But, as I say, the whole cast is astonishingly real. Only once did I
fear for the story, when it seemed as though the machinations of a
super-villainous M.P. were about to lead it astray into the paths of
melodrama. But the danger proved to be brief, and the unexpected beauty and
dignity of the closing chapter would have redeemed a more serious lapse.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Forced to Fight_ (HEINEMANN) is the record of a Schleswig Dane set forth
by ERICH ERICHSEN and very capably translated from the Danish by INGEBORG
LUND. It is a book that with a singular skill and with a passion that never
gets out of hand so as to convey the impression of hysterical exaggeration
lays bare the heart of a youth who was at the storming of Liége, fought in
Flanders, then on the Russian Front and again in the Argonne, whence a
shattered elbow sent him home broken and _aged_--that is what his
chronicler emphasises--not by the wound, but by the long horror and fatigue
of the successive campaigns. The poignancy of his sufferings lay in the
fact that as a Dane he went without any of the great hopes and passions
that inspired his German comrades, of whom however he speaks with no
ill-will. He took part by order in some of the "punishments" of Belgian
villages, loathing the savage cruelties of them and deeply convinced that
the rape of Belgium was an inexpiable wrong which the world will remember
to the lasting dishonour of the German name. You get an impression of the
added horror of this War for the imaginative temperamental, and some
pathetic pictures of all the suffering among simple innocent machine-driven
people on the other side, who had no will to war and no illusions as to the
splendour of world-dominion--a vision of desolate homes and countrysides
empty of all but very old men.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first lines of _Still Life_ (CONSTABLE), which begins in "the night
train from the German frontier to Paris," gave me much the same impression
of impossibility (was there ever such a train?) that I should have felt
about a story that opened in the moon. But the shock of this was nothing to
some, different in character, that were to follow. Frankly, I confess that
Mr. MIDDLETON MURRY'S book has me baffled. Others perhaps may admire the
pains lavished by the author in analysing the emotions of a group of
characters whose temperaments certainly give him every opportunity for this
exercise. An impressionist, and impressionable, youth, whom I have
(reluctantly) to call hero, intrigues his unpleasant way through the plot;
first in Paris--where you may make a shrewd guess at his
pre-occupations--then in an English village, to which he has eloped with
the wife of a friend; in France again, and so on. The emotions to which
these amorous adventures expose him are handled by the author with a care
that suggests rather the naughtiness of the antique nineties than anything
belonging to these more vigorous days. I am far from suggesting that, as a
study in super-sensibility, the book lacks skill. There are indeed scenes
of almost painful cleverness. My complaint is that it is out of date, or (I
should perhaps better say) conspicuously out of harmony with the present
time. But if you hanker for these pictures of the past that is another
matter. I will merely issue a warning that you should preserve this book on
some shelf not too accessible by those who are still young enough to
overestimate its importance.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was an odd experience to turn, as I did, directly from the new Haymarket
play, of which the late TOM GALLON was part author, to what I suppose was
the last story he ever wrote, _The Lady in the Black Mask_ (MILLS AND
BOON), which begins in a theatre with the heroine watching a play. It
begins, moreover, very well and excitingly; much better, I regret to add,
than it goes on. When the heroine arrived home from the theatre, the girl
whose companion she was, pleading fatigue, persuaded her to go out again to
a masked ball, wearing the dress and indeed assuming the personality of her
mistress. The two girls, _Ruth_, the heroine, and _Damia_, lived in a
gloomy house with old _Mr. Verinder_, who was _Damia's_ guardian. But when
_Ruth_ returned from the ball she found that this arrangement no longer
held good, _Verinder_ having been melodramatically stabbed during her
absence. And as no one knew, or would ever believe, that it was _Damia_ and
not herself who had remained at home you recognise a very pretty gambit of
intrigue. Unfortunately, as I said above, the tension is not quite
sustained, partly because the characters all behave in an increasingly
foolish and improbable fashion (even for tales of this genre); partly
because there is never sufficient uncertainty as to who it was (not, of
course, _Damia_) who really killed _Verinder_. Still, of its kind, as the
sort of shocker that used to be valued at a shilling, but appears, like
everything else, to have risen in price, _The Lady in the Black Mask_ is
fairly up to the average. I fancy her profits might have been greater
before the discouragement of railway travelling. That is precisely the
environment for which she is best fitted.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the series of "Chap" books which is emerging from The Bodley Head I have
no doubt that _Canada Chaps_ will be welcome. I hope, however, that Mrs.
SIME will not mind my saying that the best of her tales are those which
have more to do with Canada than its "chaps." Her stories of fighting and
of fighters seem to me to have a note in them that does not ring quite
true. It is just the difference between the soldier telling his own artless
and rugged tale and someone else telling it for him with a touch of
artifice. But when the author merely uses the War as her background she
writes with real power. The straining for effect vanishes, and so little do
the later stories resemble the earlier that I should not have guessed that
they were written by the same hand. "Citoyenne Michelle" and "The King's
Gift," for instance, are true gems, and they are offered to you at the
price of paste. Nowhere will you find a better bargain for your shilling.

       *       *       *       *       *

HELEN MACKAY, in _A Journal of Small Things_ (MELROSE), sets before us
with, it might seem, almost too deliberate simplicity of idiom little
scenes and remembered reflections of her days in France since the July of
the terrible year. An American to whom France has come to be her adopted
and most tenderly loved foster-country, she tells of little things, chiefly
sad little things, seen in the hospitals she served or by the wayside or in
the houses of the simple and the great, shadowed alike by the all-embracing
desolation of the War. The writer has a singular power of selecting the
significant details of an incident, and a delicate sensitiveness to beauty
and to suffering which gives distinction to this charming book. Less happy
perhaps and much less in the picture are the episodes learnt only at second
hand and suggesting the technique and unreality of the imagined short

       *       *       *       *       *


_Troubled Householder (writing)._ "THERE IS A SLIGHT LEAKAGE IN ONE OF OUR

       *       *       *       *       *


From a paragraph about Mr. JOHN BUCHAN:--

    "It is said that he writes his novels as a cure for insomnia."--_News
    of the World._

       *       *       *       *       *


    "When the High Court is sitting, the Resident Magistrate's Court is
    held in a room about upteen feet long by about upteen feet
    wide."--_East African Standard._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "CURES STOMACH TROUBLE OR MONEY BACK."--_Advt. in South African Paper._

This "Money Back" seems a new disease.

       *       *       *       *       *

From an article in the _Berliner Tageblatt_ descriptive of life on the
Western Front:--

    "Perhaps the sun will soon bring warm wind, and how glad one would be
    of a thaw in the trenches. But then the accursed time will come again
    when the whole surface of Northern France sticks to the boot of the
    German soldier."--_The Times._

Our brave police must look to their laurels.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or The London Charivari,  Vol.
152, February 21st, 1917, by Various


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