Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, February 28, 1917

By Various

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February 28, 1917, by Various

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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 152,  February 28, 1917

Author: Various

Release Date: January 9, 2005 [EBook #14639]

Language: English


Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Keith Edkins and the PG Online
Distributed Proofreading Team.


VOL. 152.

February 28th, 1917.


One of the latest peculiarities of the KAISER is an absolute horror at the
thought of being prematurely buried. Several experts however say that this
is impossible.


It appears that HINDENBURG accuses the CROWN PRINCE OF BAVARIA of having
misunderstood an order, thus losing Grandcourt for the Germans. RUPPRECHT,
we understand, retorted that the real culprits were the British.


In a character-sketch of VON BISSING, the _Cologne Gazette_ says, "He is a
fine musician and his execution is good." It would be.


[Illustration: THE PAPER SHORTAGE.

_News Editor of_ "_Daily Bugle Blast_." "JUST TYPE A SHORT NOTICE THAT


No German submarine, says ADMIRAL VON CAPELLE, has been lost since the
beginning of the submarine war. This assurance has been received with the
liveliest satisfaction by several U-boat commanders who have been in the
awkward predicament of not knowing whether they were officially missing.


Captain BOY ED is stated to have returned to the United States disguised.
Not on this occasion, we may assume, as an officer and a gentleman.


According to the ex-Portuguese Consul at Hamburg bone tickets are issued
for making soup, but the bone must be returned to the authorities. Possibly
the hardship of the procedure would be mitigated if ticket-holders were
permitted to growl.


A metallurgical engineer at the Surbiton Tribunal said he was forty-one
years old, and only missed the age-limit by eighteen hours. It is not
thought that he did it purposely.


At the Billericay Tribunal an applicant last week stated that he had nine
children, but upon counting them again he discovered that he had ten. There
seems to be no excuse for this sort of thing, for Adding machines are now
fairly well advertised.


Discussing the latest dress fashion, a lady writer says, "It is a most
ridiculous dress. Nothing worse could be conceived." This, of course, is
foolish talk, for the lady has not seen next season's style.


Austrian tobacconists are now prohibited from selling more than one cigar a
day to a customer. To conserve the supply still further it is proposed to
compel the tobacconist to offer each customer the alternative of nuts.


"When I see a map of the British Empire," said Mr. PONSONBY, M.P., "I do
not feel any pride whatsoever." People have been known to express similar
sentiments upon sighting certain M.P.'s.


"The public must hold up the policeman's hands," said a London magistrate
in a recent traffic case. It is astonishing how some policeman are able to
hold them up without assistance for several seconds at a time.


The staff of the new Pensions Minister, it is announced, will be over two
thousand. It is still hoped, however, that there may be a small surplus
which can be devoted to the needs of disabled soldiers.


Several men have been arrested in Dresden for passing counterfeit food
tickets. The defence will presumably be that it wasn't real food.


The Royal Engineers are advertising for seamen for the Inland Water
Transport Section. The Chief Transport Officer, we understand, has already
hoisted his bargee.


Eggs to the number of six million odd have just arrived from China, says a
news item, and will be used for confectionery. Had they arrived three
months ago nothing could have averted a General Election.


A hen while being sold at a Red Cross sale at Horsham laid an egg which
fetched 35_s._ In the best hen circles, where steady silent work is being
done, there is a growing tendency to frown upon these isolated acts of
ostentatious patriotism.


_The Times_, it seems, has not published a complete list of its rivals in
the desperate struggle for the smallest circulation. A Finchley Church
magazine has increased its price to 1-1/2_d._ a copy.


Paper bags are no longer being used by greengrocers in Bangor, and their
customers are patriotically assisting this economy by unpodding their green
peas and rolling them home.


"Bacon, as a breakfast food," says an evening paper, "is fast disappearing
from the table." We have often noticed it do so.


"It is pitiful and disgraceful," says the _Berliner Tageblatt_, "to watch
women-folk walking beside their half-starved dogs. There is no room in
warfare for dogs." We have all along felt sorry for the poor animals at a
time when one half the dachshund does not know how the other half lives.


A Felicitous Juxtaposition.

    COL. ---- LAYS A FALSE RUMOUR."--_Lincoln Leader_.


    "PULLETS, laying 3s. 6d. each."--_Provincial Paper_.

Yet farmers persist in telling us there's no money in fowls.


    "The first description of how the German Fleet reached Rome after the
    battle of Jutland is furnished by a neutral from Kiel."--_Johannesburg
    Daily Mail_.

Of all the roads that lead to Rome this is certainly the roughest.


The New Greeting: "Comment vous Devonportez-vous?"

       *       *       *       *       *



_Air_--"To Althæa from Prison."

  When Peace with wide and shining wings
    Invades this warring isle,
  And my beloved Germania brings
    Wearing her largest smile;
  When close about her waist I coil
    And mouth to mouth apply,
  Not SNOWDEN, patriot son of toil,
    Will be more pleased than I.

  When round the No-Conscription board
    The wines of Rhineland flow,
  And many a rousing _Hoch!_ is roared
    To toast the _status quo_;
  When o'er the swiftly-circling bowl
    Our happy tears run dry,
  Not PONSONBY, that loyal soul,
    Will be more pleased than I.

  When sausages and sauerkraut
    Fulfil the air with spice,
  And loosened tongues the praise shall shout
    Of Peace-at-any-price;
  When German weeds our lips employ
    And hearts are full and high,
  Not CHARLES TREVELYAN, blind with joy,
    Will be more pleased than I.

  Stone walls do not my feet confine
    Nor yet a barbed-wire cage;
  I talk at large and claim as mine
    The freeman's heritage;
  And, if this wicked War but end
    Ere German hopes can die,
  Not WILLIAM'S self, my dearest friend,
    Will be more pleased than I.


       *       *       *       *       *


"Now," I suggested as we left the drapery department, "you've got as much
as you can carry." Unfortunately it was impossible to relieve her of the
parcels as I had all my work cut out to manipulate those confounded

"There's only the toy department," returned Pamela, leading the way with
her armful of packages. "I do hope you're not frightfully tired." Of course
it seemed ridiculous, but I had not been out of hospital many days, and as
yet I had not grown used to stumping about in this manner.

"Do you happen," asked Pamela at the counter, "to have such a thing as a
box of broken soldiers?"

The young woman looked astonished and even a little hurt, but offered, with
condescension, to inquire.

"Do you want them for Dick?" I asked, Dick being Pamela's youngest brother.

"For Dick and Alice," said Pamela. Alice was her sister, younger still.

"Why shouldn't I buy them a box of whole ones?"

"That wouldn't answer the purpose. They have three large boxes already,"
answered Pamela, as a young man appeared in a frock coat, with a silver
badge on the right lapel, "For Services Rendered." In his hand was a dusty
cardboard box, and in the box lay five damaged leaden soldiers, up-to-date
soldiers in khaki; two without heads, two armless, one who had lost both

"Those will do splendidly," said Pamela, and the young man with the silver
badge obligingly put the soldiers into my tunic pocket. It seemed to be
understood that they and I had been knocked out in the same campaign.

"Why," I asked on the way home in the taxi, "did you want the soldiers to
be broken?"

"I--I didn't," murmured Pamela, with a sigh.

"Why did Dick?" I persisted.

"The children are so dreadfully realistic now-a-days. You see, Father
objected to his breaking heads and arms off his new ones. Dick was quite
rebellious. He wanted to know what he was to do for wounded; and Alice was
more disappointed still."

"I should have thought it was too painful a notion for her," I suggested.

"Oh!" cried Pamela, with a laugh, "Alice is a Red Cross nurse, you know.
She's made a hospital out of a Noah's Ark. She only thinks of healing

"All the King's horses and all the King's men cannot put Humpty Dumpty
together again," I said.

"Poor old boy!" whispered Pamela.

"I wonder whether broken soldiers have an interest for you as well," I
remarked ... and Dick and Alice were completely forgotten until they met us
clamorously in the hall.

"Did you get any, Pam?" cried Dick.

"Only five," was the answer, as I took the small paper parcel from my
pocket and handed it over.

"Is that all?" demanded Alice.

"There's one more," I said.

"Is that for me?" cried Alice; but Pamela shook her head and smiled very
nicely as she took my arm.

"No, that's for me," she said.

       *       *       *       *       *


The night was a very dark one, for a cold damp fog hung over the Channel.
The few lights we carried reflected in-board only, and, leaning over the
rail, it was with difficulty that I could distinguish the dark waters
washing below. Shore-ward I could see nothing, though I knew that a
good-sized town lay there.

I had soon had enough of the inclement night. Keeping my feet with some
difficulty upon the wet boards, I groped my way to a door and, pushing it
open, entered.

A strange scene met my gaze. A spruce man in the uniform of a naval officer
was seated at a table. Before him stood a tall well-set-up young seaman.
His dishevelled head was hatless, but otherwise he looked trim, and his
garments fitted him better than a seaman's garments generally do. On each
side of him stood an armed guard.

"Have you anything to say for yourself?" asked the officer sternly.

"No, Sir, only that I am innocent," answered the man. He held his head
high, almost defiantly. I could not but admire his courageous bearing, and
yet there was an air of unreality about the whole thing. I felt almost as
if I were dreaming it, but I knew that this was not a dream.

"The evidence against you is overwhelming," said the officer. "I have no
alternative but to sentence you to death. The sentence will be carried out
at dawn. Remove the prisoner."

The seaman took a step forward. For a moment he seemed to be struggling
with himself, anxious to speak, yet forcing himself to silence. Then he
bowed his head, and, turning, placed himself between the guards and was
marched away.

The officer sighed. "It's a bad business," he said. "He's the best man I
ever had on my ship."

He was speaking to himself, and again I had that strange sense of
unreality, as indeed I well might, for this was the Third Act of _True to
the Death_, a melodrama in the pavilion at the end of the pier.

       *       *       *       *       *


[China has threatened to break off relations with the German Government on
account of its barbarity. It will be recalled that the KAISER once designed
an allegorical picture entitled "The Yellow Peril."]]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SAUCE FOR THE GANDER.


_Waitress_ (_late grocer's assistant_). "CERTAINLY, SIR, IF YOU WILL ALSO

       *       *       *       *       *


It was 2 A.M. The mosquitoes were singing their nightly chorus, and the
situation reports were coming in from the battalions in the line. With his
hair sizzling in the flame of the candle, the Brigade Orderly Officer who
was on duty for the night tried to decipher the feathery scrawl on the pink

"Situation normal A-A-A wind moderate N.E.," it read.

"Great Scott!" said the O.O. "North-East!" (Hun gas waits upon a wind with
East in it). "Give me the message book."

Laboriously he wrote out warnings to the battalions and machine gun
sections, etc., under the Brigade's control. Then he turned to the next

"Situation normal A-A-A wind light S.W."

"South-West?" said the O.O. blankly, viewing his now useless handiwork.
"Which way _is_ the wind then?"

The orderly went out to see, and returned presently with a moistened
forefinger and the information that it was "blowing acrossways, leastways
it seemed like it." The O.O. got out of his little wire bed, searched in
his pyjamas for the North Star, and, finally deciding that if there was any
wind at all (which was doubtful) it was due South, reported it as such. The
responsibility incurred kept him awake for some time, but when the Brigade
on the right flank reported a totally different wind he concluded there
must be a whirlwind in the line, and, putting up a barrage of bad language,
went to sleep.

In due course the matter came to the ears of the Staff Captain, who
broached the subject at breakfast as the General was probing his second
poached egg.

"This," said the General, who is rather given to the vernacular, "is the
limit. A North-South-East-West report is preposterous. Something must be
done. Haven't we got a weather-vane of our own? Pass the marmalade, will

Four people reached hastily for the delicacy, and the O.O. feeling out of
it passed the milk for no reason. (Generals really get a very good time.
People have been known to pass things to them unasked.)

"What about those two vanes in our last headquarters, Sir?" said the Staff
Captain brightly--he is very bright and bird-like in the mornings--"the
ones the padre thought were Russian fire-guards. Can't we get them? They
aren't ours, but then they aren't anybody's--they've been there a year, the
old woman told me."

"Where's the Orderly Officer?" (He was there with a mouthful of toast.)
"Take the mess limber and fetch 'em back if the Heavy Group Artillery will
let you--they're in there now, aren't they?"

"And if you're g-going into the town g-get some fish for dinner," said the
Brigade Major; "everlasting ration beef makes my s-stammer worse."

"Why?" said the General.

"Indigestion--nerves, Sir; I can hardly talk over the telephone at all
after dinner."

"Good heavens!" said the General; "bring a turbot."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Fish!" said the B.M. at dinner. "Bong!"

"I brought the vanes, Sir."

"Have any trouble?"

"No, Sir. I saw the A.D.C., and said we had 'left them behind,' which was
true, you know, Sir." (The O.O. for once felt himself the centre of
interest and desired to improve the occasion). "We _did_ 'leave them
behind,' so it wasn't a lie exactly ..."

"I don't care if it was," said the General; "you've got 'em, that's the
main thing."

"Where will you have one put, Sir?"

"In the fields," said the B.M.

"Not too low," said the Captain.

"Or too high," said Signals.

"Or too far away," said the attached officer.

"Well, now you know," said the General, "pass the chutney."

They all passed it as well as several other things until he was thoroughly

       *       *       *       *       *

"Another N.S.E.W. report, Sir," said the Staff Captain next morning.

"----!" said the General. (I think I mentioned his partiality for the
vernacular). "Where's our vane?"

"It's up, Sir," said the O.O., shining proudly again, "and I--"

"We'll have' a look at it," and out they all went--General, Brigade Major
(enunciating pedantically after a fish breakfast), Staff Captain (bright
and birdlike), and the O.O. It was a brilliant spectacle.

"North is--there!" said the General in his best field-day manner, "and this
is pointing--due East!" He touched the vane gently. It did not budge. He
touched it again. A cold sweat broke out on the forehead of the O.O.

"Paralysed," said the B.M.

"Give it a 'stand-east,' Sir," said the Staff Captain.

"It's stiff!" said the General; "wants-oil" (pause); "wants _oil_!" and the
O.O. slid away, returning at once with oil (salad, bottle, one).

"Now pour it over the top--top, boy, top!"

A flood sprayed over the top flange, and the B.M. searched hastily for a

"Making a salad of you?" said the General. "Ha! ha!"

The B.M. smiled a smile (sickly, one).

"That's better!" The General spun it round. "What's it say now? East!"

"Better wait," said the B.M., "it'll change its mind in a minute."

"It's going!" cried the General excitedly. "There! Well, I'm--West!"

"The padre was right--it must be a fireguard, after all," said the Staff

"Or a s-sundial," muttered the B.M.

I believe the meteorological report was finally entered as: "Wind light to
moderate (to strong), varying from East to West (_via_ North and South)."

"Of course," said the General kindly to the O.O., "it's not quite
perpendicular, it's a bit too low; wants a stronger prop, wires are a bit
slack, the vane itself wants looking to, and the whole thing is in rather a
bad position, but otherwise it's all right--quite all right."

"Yes, Sir," said the O.O.

"And there's too much oil," added the General, as he moved off.

"There is," said the B.M., discovering another blob on his shiny boots,
"and on m-me!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The Staff were unaccountably late. The O.O. breakfasted alone. For three
days he had been the despair of the small and perspiring body of pioneers,
who towards the end had fled at the mere sight of him. But at last the vane
was working.

"Well," said the General when he came in, "how's the wind, expert?"

"N.N.E.," said the O.O. proudly. (It was the first thing he had done since
he came on the Brigade three weeks before, and he was pleased at the
interest the Staff had taken in his little achievement.) "I've had the
pioneers working on it, and we've got it up another four feet, Sir,
tightened the pole, and wired it on to the supports on every side. It's
quite perpendicular now. I've marked out the points of the compass on it,
and fixed up a little arrangement for gauging the strength of the
wind--that flap thing, you know, Sir--"

"Yes, yes," said the General, who seemed to have lost his first keenness,
"I'm glad it's working all right. By the way, we shall be moving from here
to-morrow; the division's going back."

The O.O. drained the teapot in silence, and was glad it was strong and

       *       *       *       *       *



_Colonel_ (_roused from surreptitious snooze_). "AS YOU WERE!--NUMBER!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

Result of the Blockade.

Notice on a railway bookstall:--


       *       *       *       *       *

    "On the pier a man was arrested who declared excitedly that he was
    Frederick Hohenzollern, the Kaiser's nephew, but he appeared quite
    harmless."--_Daily News_.

Obviously an impostor.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The khaki-clad boys were as merry as a party of undergraduates
    celebrating some joyous event at the college tuck-shop."--_Yorkshire

What memories of the Junior Common Room are recalled by this artless

       *       *       *       *       *

The Super-Submarine.

    "The Lyman M. Law was stopped by a gunshot fired by a submarine, which
    boarded the American boat, took the names of all on board, and then
    authorised the continuation of the voyage."--_Evening News_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Experiences of Mr. GERARD'S party:--

    "Our first surprise on reaching Paris was to find taxi-cabs, and
    taxi-cubs with pneumatic tyres."--_Scots Paper_.

We suggest that our M.F.H.'s should import a few of these in time for next
season's cubbing. They give an excellent run for the money--a mile for
eightpence or so.

       *       *       *       *       *


  What is Master WINSTON doing?
  What new paths is he pursuing?
  What  strange  broth   can   he   be brewing?

  Is he painting, by commission,
  Portraits of the Coalition
  For the R.A. exhibition?

  Is he Jacky-obin or anti?
  Is he likely to "go Fanti,"
  Or becoming shrewd and canty?

  Is he in disguise at Kovel,
  Living in a moujik's hovel,
  Making a tremendous novel?

  Does he run a photo-play show?
  Or in _sæva indignatio_
  Is he writing for HORATIO?

  Fired by the divine afflatus
  Does he weekly lacerate us,
  Like a Juvenal _renatus?_

  As the great financial purist,
  Will he smite the sinecurist
  Or emerge as a Futurist?

  Is he regularly sending
  HAIG and BEATTY screeds unending,
  Good advice with censure blending?

  Is he ploughing, is he hoeing?
  Is he planting beet, or going
  In for early 'tato-growing?

  Is he writing verse or prosing,
  Or intent upon disclosing
  Gifts for musical composing?

  Is he lecturing to flappers?
  Is he tunnelling with sappers?
  Has he joined the U-boat trappers?

  Or, to petrify recorders
  Of events within our borders,
  _Has he taken Holy Orders?_

  Is he well or ill or middling?
  Is he fighting, is he fiddling?--
  He can't only be thumb-twiddling.

  These are merely dim surmises,
  But experience advises
  Us to look for weird surprises,
  Somersaults, and strange disguises.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Thus we summed the situation
  When Sir HEDWORTH MEUX' oration
  Brought about a transformation.

  Lo! the Blenheim Boanerges
  On a sudden re-emerges
  And, to calm the naval _gurges_,
  FISHER'S restoration urges.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Work of Supererogation.

    "At an interval in the evening some carols were sung by members of our
    G.F.S., and a collection was taken on behalf of a fund for providing
    Huns for our soldiers."--_Parish Magazine_.

       *       *       *       *       *


No one can answer the question, and I have not the pluck--being a
law-abiding citizen--to try for myself. But I do so want to know. I ask
everyone. I ask my partners at dinner (when any dinner comes my way). I ask
casual acquaintances. I would ask the officials themselves, only they are
so preoccupied. But the words certainly set up a very engrossing problem,
and upon this problem many minor problems depend, clustering round it like
chickens round the maternal hen. But I should be quite content with an
answer only to the hen; the rest could wait. Yet there is an
inter-dependence between them that cannot be overlooked. For example, did
someone once do it and meet with such a calamity that everyone else had to
be warned? Or is it merely that the authorities dislike us to be comfy? Or
is it thought that the public might get so much attracted by the habit as
to convert the place into a house where a dance is in progress? I wish I
knew these things.

Will not some Member ask for information in the House, and then--arising
out of this question--get all the other subsidiary facts? We are told so
many things that don't matter, such as the enormous number of Ministers in
the new Government, which was formed, if I remember rightly, as a protest
against too large a Cabinet; such as the colossal genius of each and every
performer in Mr. COCHRANE'S theatrical companies; such as the best place in
Oxford Street to contract the shopping habit; such as the breaks made day
by day all through the War by billiard champions; such as the departure of
Mr. G.B. SHAW on his bewildering and, one would think, totally unnecessary
visit to the Front and his return from that experience; such as--but
enough. I am told by the informative Press all these and more things, but
no one tells me the one thing I want to know.

Perhaps YOU can.

I want to know why we may not sit on the Tube moving staircases, and I want
to know what would happen if we did.

       *       *       *       *       *

What to do with Our Dogs.

    "FOR SALE.--Pure Bred Irish Terrier Dog, right thing to wear now.
    Seamless, comfortable. All Wool."--_Bedford Daily Circular_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Bread embroideries encircle the figure."--_Glasgow Citizen_.

An appropriate adornment for the bread basket, no doubt, but too
extravagant in these times.

       *       *       *       *       *


  This scheme of keeping rabbits
    To fatten them as food
  Breaks up the kindly habits
    Acquired in babyhood;
  For we, as youthful scions,
    Were taught to love the dears
  And bring them dandelions
    And lift them by the ears.

  We learned how each new litter
    That came to Flip or Fan
  Grew finer and grew fitter
    With tea-leaves in the bran;
  We learned which stalks were milky
    And which were merely tough,
  What grass was good for Silky
    And what was good for Fluff.

  Such moral mild up-bringing
    Now makes me much distressed
  When little necks need wringing
    And little paws protest,
  Lest wraiths from empty hutches
    Should haunt me, hung in pairs,
  And ghosts--'tis here it touches--
    Of happy Belgian hares.

  However, with my morals
    I manfully shall cope,
  And back my country's quarrels,
    But none the less I hope
  Before poor Bunny's taken
    As stuff for knife and fork
  The hedge-hog will be bacon,
    The guinea-pig be pork.


       *       *       *       *       *


The Metropolitan Commissioner of Police having decided to sanction women
taxicab drivers, we understand that all applicants for licences will be
required to pass a severe examination in "knowledge of London." As,
however, this will be concerned mainly with localities and quickest routes,
we venture to suggest to the examiners a few supplementary questions of a
more general character:--

(I.) How far should a cab-wheel revolving at fifteen miles an hour, be able
to fling a pint of London mud?

(II.) Has a pedestrian any right to cross a road? and, if so, how much?

(III.) With three toots of an ordinary motor-horn indicate the
following:--(_a_) contempt, (_b_) rage, (_c_) homicidal mania.

(IV.) Under what circumstances, if any, should the words "Thank you" be

(V.) Having been engaged at 11.35 P.M. to drive an elderly gentleman,
wearing a fur-coat, to Golder's Green, you are tendered the legal fare
plus twopence. Express, within ladylike limits, your appreciation of
this generosity.

(VI.) On subsequently discovering the same gentleman to be a member of the
Petrol Control Committee, revise your answer accordingly.

(VII.) Sketch, within ten sheets of MS., your idea of a becoming and
serviceable uniform for a lady-driver.

(VIII.) Who said, and in what connection--

  "The hand that stops the traffic rules the world"?
  "This flag shall not be lowered at the bidding of an alien"?

(IX.) At the top of St. James's Street you are hailed simultaneously by two
spinster ladies with hand luggage, wishing to be driven to Euston, and by a
single unencumbered gentleman whose destination is the Savoy Grill. Well?

(X.) At what hour do performances at the London theatres end, and which do
you consider the best places of concealment in which to secrete yourself at
that time?

(XI.) What would be your correct procedure on receiving a simple direction
to "The Palace" from--

  (b) The Bishop of LONDON?
  (c) Any Second-Lieutenant?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Old Lady_ (_buying records to send to France--to assistant
in Gramophone Department_).


       *       *       *       *       *



    'IT CAN AND WILL BE DEFEATED.'"--_Headlines in_ "_The Daily

       *       *       *       *       *

From an official circular relating to the British Industries Fair:--

    "Information regarding the best means of reaching the Fair from all
    parts of London will be obtainable at the Fair, but will not be
    available before the opening day."

You must get there first, if you want to be told how to get there.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Vicar_ (_to Mrs. Bloggs, who has been describing the
insulting behaviour of the lady next door_). "WELL, WELL, IT MUST BE MOST


       *       *       *       *       *


  When JOOLIUS CÆSAR took 'is guns along the pavvy road
    An' strafed the bloomin' 'eathens on the Rhine,
  The men 'oo did 'is dirty work an' bore the 'eavy load
    Was the men 'ose job did correspond to mine.
  When  NAP. dug in 'is swossung-kangs be'ind the ugly Fosse
    And made the Prooshians sweat their souls with fear,
  The men 'oo 'elped 'im most of all to slip it well across
    Was the men with actin' rank o' bombardier.

  Oh, the  Colonel strafes the Old Man, an' 'e strafes the Capting too,
    Then to the subs the 'eavy language flows;
  They comes an' calls their Numbers One an inefficient crew
    An' down it comes to junior N.C.O.'s;
  An' then the B.S.M. chips in an' gives 'em 'oly 'ell,
    An' the full edition's poured into the ear
  Of the  man that's got  to be ubeek (an' you be--blest as well),
    The man with actin' rank o' bombardier.

  Or, if there's nothin' doin' of a winter afternoon,
    The Old Man's at 'eadquarters 'avin' tea,
  The section subs is feedin' up with oysters in Bethoon,
    The Capting's snorin' out at the O.P.;
  The Sergeant-Major's cleaned 'is teeth an' gone a prommynard,
    The N.C.O.s is somewhere drinkin' beer,
  An' the man they've left to work an' drill an' grouse an' mount the guard
  Is of course your 'umble actin' bombardier.

  Oh, I'm the man that takes fatigues for bringin' stores at night,
    Conductin' G.S. wagons in the snow,
  An' I'm the man that scrounges round to keep the 'ome fires bright
    ("An' don't you bloomin' well be pinched, you know");
  An' I'm the man that lashes F.P.1.'s up to the gun,
    An' acts the nursemaid 'alf the ruddy day;
  An' fifty other little jobs that ain't exactly fun
    Accompany one stripe (without the pay).

  But no, we never grouses in the Roy'l Artillerie,
    Of cheerful things to think there's quite a lot;
  Old Sergeant Blobbs is goin' 'ome the end of Februree
    To do instructin' stunts at Aldershot;
  The S.M.'s recommended ('Eavens!) for commissioned rank,
    An' little changes means a step up 'ere,
  So if I keep me temper an' go easy with vang blank,
    I'll soon drop "_actin_'" off the "bombardier."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: WHO FOLLOWS?]

       *       *       *       *       *



{ MR. WINSTON CHURCHILL (_patting Sir EDWARD CARSON on the back_) }
{ MR. HERBERT SAMUEL (_patting Mr. BONAR LAW on the back_)        }


_Monday, February 19th_.--The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER announced that
the "new money" subscribed for the War Loan amounted to at least seven
hundred millions. Being a modest man he refrained from saying, "A loan, I
did it," though it was largely due to his faith in the generosity and good
sense of his fellow-citizens that the rate of interest was not more onerous
to the State.

Mr. LYNCH thinks it would be a good idea if Ireland were specially
represented at the Peace Conference, in order that her delegates might
assert her right to self-government. I dare say, if pressed, he would be
prepared to nominate at least one of her representatives. Having regard to
the Nationalist attitude towards military service Mr. BALFOUR might have
retorted that only belligerents would be represented at the Peace
Conference, but he contented himself with a simple negative.

There is an erroneous impression that Mr. LLOYD GEORGE sits in his private
room scheming out new Departments and murmuring like the gentleman in the
advertisement of the elastic bookcase, "How beautifully it grows!" Up to
the present, however, there are only thirty-three actual Ministers of the
Crown, not counting such small fry as Under-Secretaries, and their salaries
merely amount to the trifle of £133,500. It is pleasant to learn that a
branch of the Shipping Controller's department is appropriately housed in
the Lake Dwellings in St. James's Park; and, in view of Mr. KING'S
objection that the members of the Secret Service with whom he has come into
contact make no sort of secret about their business (one pictures them
confiding in this gentleman), it is expected that the Board of Works will
shortly commandeer a strip of Tube Railway to conceal them in.

_Tuesday, February 20th_.--In one respect the two representatives of the
War Office in the House of Commons are singularly alike. When answering
their daily catechism both wear spectacles--Mr. FORSTER an ordinary
gold-rimmed pair, Mr. MACPHERSON the fearsome tortoise-shell variety which
gives an air of antiquity to the most youthful countenance; and each, when
he has to answer an awkward "supplementary," begins by carefully taking off
his glasses and so giving himself an extra moment or two to frame a telling

This afternoon Mr. MACPHERSON'S spectacles were on and off half-a-dozen
times as he withstood an assault directed from various quarters against the
refusal of the War Office to admit the profession of "manipulative surgery"
to the Army Medical Service. In vain he was informed of wonderful cures
effected by this means on generals and admirals, and even members of the
Government; in vain Mr. LYNCH sought from him an admission that the life of
one private soldier was more valuable than that of the two Front Benches
put together. All these attempts at manipulative surgery quite failed to
reduce Mr. MACPHERSON'S obstinate stiff neck; and at last the SPEAKER had
to intervene to stop the treatment.

The persistence with which a little knot of Members below the Gangway
advances the proposition that all Germany is longing to make an honourable
peace, and that it is only the insatiate ambition of the Allies which
stands in the way, would be pathetic if it were not mischievous. Mr.
PONSONBY, Mr. TREVELYAN, and Mr. SNOWDEN once more argued this hopeless
case with a good deal of varied ability. A small house listened politely,
but was more impressed by a masterly exposé of the facts by Mr. RONALD
M'NEILL, and an Imperialist slogan by Sir HAMAR GREENWOOD; while later in
the debate Mr. BONAR LAW restated the national aims in the War with a
cogency that drew from Mr. SAMUEL a generous pledge "on behalf of those who
sit opposite the Government" to give Ministers their whole-hearted support.

_Wednesday, February 21st_.--The House learned with satisfaction that crews
of our river gun-boats in Mesopotamia are to get their hard-lying money;
and when the authors of the Turkish _communiqués_ hear of it they are
expected to put in a similar claim.

Lord FISHER was in his customary place over the Clock--his friends all tell
us that he is superior to Time; Lord BERESFORD was at a suitable--I had
almost said respectful--distance from him in the Peers' Gallery; and
conspicuous among the Distinguished Strangers was Sir JOHN JELLICOE. They
and all of us listened intently while for over an hour Sir EDWARD CARSON,
now as much at home on the quarter-deck as ever he was at quarter sessions,
discoursed eloquently and frankly on the wonderful and never-ending work of
the Senior Service.

He did not underestimate the danger of the submarines, or pretend that the
Admiralty had yet discovered any sovran remedy for their attacks. Nor could
he say--for reasons which seemed to satisfy the House--how many of them had
already been captured or sunk. But he told us enough to convict Admiral VON
CAPELLE, who was at that moment declaring that not a single U-boat had been
lost since the opening of the new campaign, of being either singularly
misinformed or highly imaginative.

_Thursday, February 22nd_.--A strange sympathy seems to exist between the
SPEAKER and Mr. GINNELL. Each, I fancy, has a soft spot somewhere. Mr.
LOWTHER'S is in his heart, and makes him go out of his way to help the
wayward Member for North Westmeath. Mr. GINNELL, whose soft spot seems to
be higher up, wanted to show that he did not approve of Mr. MACPHERSON, and
called him an impertinent Minister. Ordered to withdraw the expression, he
substituted "impudent." That would not do either, and there seemed danger
of a deadlock and another expulsion until Mr. LOWTHER suggested that
"incorrect" was a Parliamentary epithet which might suit the hon. Member's
purpose. Mr. GINNELL handsomely accepted this variation in the spirit in
which it was offered.

Sir GEORGE CAVE is the Ministerial maid-of-all-work. Whenever there is a
disagreeable or awkward measure to introduce it falls to the Quite-at-Home
Secretary, if I may borrow an expression coined by my friend, TOBY, M.P.,
for one of Sir GEORGE'S predecessors. So judiciously did he accentuate the
good points and soften the possible asperities of the National Service Bill
that even Sir CHARLES HOBHOUSE, who had come to condemn, remained to bless.

_Friday, February 23rd_.--Owing to a variety of causes, we are short of
tonnage, and unless we manage to grow more and consume less we shall before
very long be within reach of the gaunt finger of Famine. That was the
burden of the PRIME MINISTER'S appeal to the Nation. The farmer is to have
a guaranteed minimum price for his produce, the agricultural labourer is to
be raised to comparative affluence by a minimum wage of 25_s._ a week, and
the rest of us are to go without most of our imported luxuries and a good
many necessities. So impressed were Members by the gloominess of the
prospect that the moment the speech was over they rushed out to secure what
they felt might be their last really substantial luncheon, and Mr. DAVID
MASON, who had nobly essayed to fill the breach caused by Mr. ASQUITH'S
absence, was soon talking to empty benches.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


We all know the man with a grievance and avoid him. But there is another
man with a grievance whom I rather like, and this is his story. I must, of
course, let him tell it in the first-person-singular, because otherwise
what is the use of having a grievance at all? The first-person-singular
narrative form is the grievance's compensation. Listen.

"I am an old Oxonian who joined the Royal Naval Division as an ordinary
seaman not long after the outbreak of the War, and being perhaps not too
physically vigorous and having a certain rhetorical gift, developed at the
Union, I was told off, after some months' training, to take part in a
recruiting campaign. We pursued the usual tactics. First a trumpeter
awakened the neighbourhood, very much as Mr. HAWTREY is aroused from his
coma in his delightful new play, and then the people drew round. One by one
we mounted whatever rostrum there was--a drinking fountain, say--and spoke
our little piece, urging the claims of country.

"As a rule the audience was either errand-boys, girls or old men; but we
did our best.

"Sometimes, however, there would be an evening meeting in a public
building, and then the proceedings were more formal and pretentious. The
trumpeter disappeared and a chairman would open the ball. The occasion of
which I am thinking was one of these meetings in the East End, where the
Chairman was a local tradesman. He said that this was a war for liberty and
that England could never sheathe the sword until Belgium was free; he told
the audience how many of his relations were fighting; and then he made way
for our gallant boys in blue who were to address the company.

"Well, we addressed the company, I by no means the least of the orators,
and then the Chairman wound up the meeting. He said how much he had enjoyed
the speeches and how much he hoped that they would bear good fruit; and
indeed he felt confident of that, because 'we 'ere in the East End are
plain straight-forward folk, who like plain straight-forward talk, and we
would rather listen to the honest 'omely sailors who 'ave been talking to
us this evening, than any fine Oxford gentleman.'"

That is the story of my friend with a grievance. And yet, now I come to
think about it again, and his manner of telling it, I'm not sure I ought
not rather to call him a man with a triumph.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Farmer's Daughter wanted, to learn daughter Cheddar cheesemaking for 1
    month, from March 25th; 25 cows; treated as family."--_Bristol Times
    and Mirror_.

A little less than kin and more than kine.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Washington, Thursday.

    The representatives of thirty leading American railways have agreed
    virtually to an embargo on eastern shipments of freight for export
    until the present congestion on the eastern sideboard is
    relieved."--_Evening Standard_.

This is all very well for the Americans, but what we are concerned about is
the depletion of our own sideboard.

       *       *       *       *       *

From an official advertisement in favour of tillage:--

    "An acre of Oats will
       feed for a week . . 100 people.
    An acre of Potatoes  . 200   "
     "  "   of Beef    . .   8   " "--_Irish Times_.

We understand that Lord DEVONPORT accepts no responsibility for the last

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *



  Long ages ere the Age of Man,
    While yet this earthly crust was thinnish,
  The War of Might and Right began,
    Proceeding swiftly to a finish;
  And this provides in many ways
  An object-lesson nowadays.

  The Saurians, clad in coats of mail,
    Shone with a most attractive lustre;
  Strong claws, long limbs, a longer tail--
    They pinned their faith to bulk and bluster;
  They laid their eggs in every land
  And hid them deftly in the sand.

  The Mammals, small as yet and few,
    Relying less on scales and muscles,
  Developed diaphragms, and grew
    Non-nucleated red corpuscles;
  They walked more nimbly on their legs
  And learnt the art of sucking eggs.

  The Saurians, spoiling for a fight,
    Went off in high explosive fashion;
  They lashed themselves to left and right
    Into a pre-historic passion;
  The Mammals, on the other hand,
  Ate all their eggs up in the sand.

  Those precious eggs, a source of pride
    On which the Saurian hopes depended,
  Kept all their enemies supplied
    With life by which their own was ended;
  And where they fondly hoped to spread
  The Mammals lived and throve instead.

  And so the Saurians passed from view,
    Leaving behind the faintest traces,
  No longer bent on hacking through,
    Though looking still for sunny places;
  Dwarfed to a more convenient size
  They spend their time in catching flies.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "To O.C. ... From ... Brigade. ---- Corps requires services of an
    officer who can speak Italian fluently for four or five days."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Under the auspices of the Women's Reform Club, a Ladies' Fancy Dress
    Ball will be held at the Residential Club, Main Street. No Gentlemen.
    No Wallflowers. Ladies may appear in mail attire."--_Bulawayo

In their "knighties," so to speak?

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Bosley and district churchmen have thus a gaol set before them which
    it should be and, no doubt, will be their aim to reach as soon as
    possible."--_Congleton Chronicle_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A few minutes later, with his suit-case in one hand and his
    type-writer in the other, he let himself out at the
    front-door,"--_Munsey's Magazine_.

Another case of the Hidden Hand.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Horse (vanner), thick set, 16 hands, 7 years, master 2 tons, reason
    sale, requires care when taken out of harness."--_Birmingham Daily

Any horse might be excused for kicking up his heels on getting rid of a
master of that weight.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Furnished room wanted; preferable where chicken run."--_Enfield

Our landlady won't let us keep even a canary in ours.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "BARONY UNITED FREE CHURCH.--Special Lecture--'The Great War Novel, Mr.
    Bristling Sees it Through.'"_--Glasgow Evening News_.

Mr. WELLS ought to have thought of this.

       *       *       *       *       *


"Francesca," I said, "what are you doing to help Lord DEVONPORT?"

"Lots of things," she said. "For one thing, we're living under his
ration-scheme, and we're doing it pretty well, thank you."

"Yes, I know," I said; "I've heard you mention it once or twice. It seems
to consist very largely of rissoles and that kind of food."

"Well," she said, "we must use up everything; and, besides, you'd soon get
tired of beefsteak if I gave it to you every day."

"Tired of beefsteak?" I said. "Never. The toughest steak would always be a
joy to me."

"I've come to the conclusion," she said, "that men really like their
eatables tough."

"Yes, they want something they can bite into, you know."

"But you can't bite into our beefsteak, now can you?"

"Perhaps not," I said, "but you can't help feeling it's there, which is a
great help when you're being rationed."

"That," she said, "may be all very well for a man, but women don't care for
that feeling. They like their food light but stimulating."

"They do," I said, "and they prefer it all brought in on one tray and at
irregular hours. Lord DEVONPORT'S scheme is to them a sort of wicked
abundance. To a man it is--"

"Plenty and to spare," she said. "Why, you won't have to tighten your belt
even by one hole. Now admit, if you hadn't known you were being rationed
you'd never have found it out."

"I will admit," I said, "that if the privations we have suffered this last
week in the matter of beefsteaks and that kind of food are the worst that
can happen to us we shan't have much to complain of--but I should like a
chop to-night instead of a rissole."

"You can call it a chop if you like, but it's going to be a cutlet."

"Well, anyhow," I said, "we don't seem to be doing as much as we might for

"You're wrong," she said; "I'm keeping hens in the stable-yard."

"Hens? What do you know about hens?"

"For the matter of that, what do you?"

"That's not the question," I said, "but I'll answer it all the same. I know
that most hens are called Buff Orpingtons, and that they never lay any eggs
unless you put a china egg in their nest just to coax them along and rouse
their ambition. Francesca, have you put a china egg where our Buff
Orpingtons can see it?"

"Frederick is looking after these domestic details. He seems to think that
if he goes to the hen-house every ten minutes or so the laying of eggs will
be promoted. Won't you go round with him next time?"

"No," I said, "I've never seen a hen lay an egg yet, and I'm not going to
begin at my time of life. Besides, I've already said they never lay eggs
even when you don't watch them."

"Wrong again," she said. "We got one egg this morning."

"Francesca," I said, "this _is_ exciting. Did the happy mother announce the
event to the world in the usual way?"

"Yes, she screamed and cackled for about a quarter-of-an-hour, and
Frederick came along and seized the subject of her rejoicing. You're going
to have it to-night, boiled, instead of soup and fish."

"Isn't that splendid?" I said. "At this rate we shall soon be
self-supporting, and then we can snap our fingers at Lord DEVONPORT."

"I never snap my fingers," she said. "No well-brought-up hen-keeper ever
does. Besides, it's our duty to help the Government all we can, so that
Lord DEVONPORT may have so much more to play with."

"Why should he want to play with it?" I said. "He doesn't strike me as
being that kind of man at all."

"I daresay he plays in his off-hours."

"A man like that," I said, "hasn't any off-hours. He's chin-deep in his

"Anyhow," she said, "I should like him to know that we're pulling up the
herbaceous border and planting it with potatoes, and that we've started
keeping hens, and that we've already got one egg, and that when the time
comes we shall not lack for chicken, roast or boiled."

"Francesca," I said, "how can you allude so flippantly to the tragedies
which are inseparable from the possession of Buff Orpingtons? In the
morning a young bird struts about in his pride, resolved to live his life
fearlessly and to salute the dawn at any and every hour before the break of
day. Then something happens: a gardener, a family man not naturally
ruthless, comes upon the scene; there is a short but terrible struggle; a
neck (not the gardener's) is wrung, and there is chicken for dinner."

"Don't move me," she said, "to tears, or I shall have to countermand your
egg. Besides, I don't think I could ever make a real friend of a fowl.
They've got such silly ways and their eyes are so beady."

"Their ways are not sillier nor are their eyes beadier than our Mrs.
Burwell's, yet she is honoured as a pillar of propriety, while they--no
matter; I hope the chicken when its moment comes will be tender and

"Hark!" said Francesca.

"Yes," I said, "another egg has come into the world, and there's Frederick
rushing round like a mad thing with a basket, to find himself once more too
late. Never mind," I said, "I can have two boiled eggs to-night with my
chop,--I mean cutlet."

"No," she said.

"Yes," I said, "and you can have all the rissoles."


       *       *       *       *       *


  I remember a day when I felt quite tall
    Because of a gift of five whole shillings;
  I was Johnson major then, I recall,
    And didn't I swank and put on frillings!

  Well, we know that children are parents of men;
    And, now that I'm getting an ancient stager,
  Here am I pleased with a crown again,
    And signing myself as Johnson, Major.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Experienced General disengaged 1st March, one lady; no washing; would
    take England."--_Irish Times_.

The advertiser should wire to KAISER, Potsdam.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "During the night an enemy raiding party in the neighbourhood of
    Gueudecourt was driven off by our baggage before reaching our
    line."--_Continental Daily Mail_.

There is no end to our warlike inventions. First the Tanks, and now the

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Tigris, immediately above Kut, runs South-East for about four
    miles. Then there is a sharp bend, and its course is almost due South
    for about the same distance. Then against the stream it goes due North
    for about the same distance."--_Glasgow Citizen_.

With the river behaving in this unnatural fashion General MAUDE deserves
all the greater credit for his success.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _She_ (_referring to host_). "YOU KNOW, THERE'S SOMETHING


       *       *       *       *       *


(_By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks._)

_War and the Future_ (CASSELL), by Mr. H.G. WELLS, is not a sustained
thesis but just jets of comment and flashes of epigram about the War as he
has seen it on the French, Italian and British fronts, and has thought
about it in peaceful Essex. A characteristic opening chapter, "The Passing
of the Effigy," suggests that "the Kaiser is perhaps the last of that long
series of crowned and cloaked and semi-divine personages which has included
Caesar and Alexander and Napoleon the First--and Third. In the light of the
new time we see the emperor-god for the guy he is." Generalissimo JOFFRE,
on the other hand, he found to be a decent most capable man, without fuss
and flummery, doing a distasteful job of work singularly well. There is
some particularly interesting matter about aeroplane work, and the writer
betrays a keen distress lest the cavalry notions of the soldiers of the old
school should make them put their trust in the horsemen rather than the
airmen in the break-through. As for "tanks," he offers the alternative of
organised world control or a new warfare of mammoth landships, to which the
devastation of this War will be merely sketchy; but I doubt if he quite
makes his point here. And finally this swift-dreaming thinker proclaims a
vision which he has seen of a new world-wide interrelated republicanism
founded on a recognition of the over-lordship of God.... You put the book
down feeling you have had a long, desultory and intimate conversation with
a very interesting fellow-traveller.

       *       *       *       *       *

Really, if Mr. ROBERT HICHENS continues his present spendthrift course,
whatever Board controls the consumption of paper will have to put him on
half rations. I believe that his literary health would benefit enormously
by such a régime. This was my first thought in contemplating the almost six
hundred pages of _In the Wilderness_ (METHUEN), and it persists,
strengthened now that I have turned the last, of them. Here is a direct and
moving tragedy of three lives, much of the appeal of which is lost in a fog
of superfluous words. Of its theme I will tell you only this, that it shows
the contrasting loves, material and physical, of two widely divergent types
of womanhood. Probably human nature, rather than Mr. HICHENS, should be
blamed for the fact that the unmoral _Cynthia_ is many times more
interesting than the virtuous but slightly fatiguing _Rosamund_. The former
is indeed far the most vital character in the tale, a figure none the less
sinister for its clever touch of austerity. Possibly, however, her success
is to some extent due to contrast; for certainly both _Rosamund_ and
_Dion_, the husband whom she alienated by her unforgiving nature, embody
all the worst characteristics of Mr. HICHEN'S creations. Perhaps you know
what I mean. Chiefly it is a matter of super-sensibility to surroundings,
which renders them so fluid that often the scenery seems to push them
about. It is this, coupled with the author's own lingering pleasure in a
romantic setting, that delays the conflict, which is the real motive of the
book, over long. But once this has come to grips the interest and the skill
of it will hold you a willing captive to Mr. HICHENS at his best.

       *       *       *       *       *

Much as I have enjoyed some previous work by Baroness VON HUTTEN I am glad
to say that I consider _Magpie_ (HUTCHINSON) her best yet. It is indeed a
long time since I read a happier or more holding story. The title is a
punning one, as the heroine's name is really _Margaret Pye_, but I am more
than willing to overlook this for the sake of the pleasantly-drawn young
woman to whom it refers and the general interest of the tale. Briefly, this
has two movements, one forward, which deals with the evolution of _Mag_
from a fat, rather down-at-heel little carrier of washing into the charming
young lady of the cover; the other retrospective, and concerned with the
mystery of a wonderful artist who has disappeared before the story opens. I
have no idea of clearing up, or even further indicating, this problem to
you. But I will say that the secret is so adroitly kept that the perfect
orgy of elucidation in the final chapter left me a little breathless. Of
course the whole thing is a fairy tale, with a baker's dozen of glaring
improbabilities; but I am much mistaken if you will enjoy it the less for
that. A quaint personal touch, which (to anyone who does not recall the
cast of _Pinkie and the Fairies_ on its revival) might well seem an
impertinence, produced in me the comfortable glow of superiority that
rewards the well-informed. But I can assure Baroness VON HUTTEN that she is
all wrong about the acting of that particular part.

       *       *       *       *       *

As it is not Mr. Punch's habit to admit reviews of periodical publications,
I ought to say that the case of _The New Europe_ (CONSTABLE), whose first
completed volume lies before me, is exceptional. In thirty years'
experience of journalism I never remember a paper containing so much
"meat"--some of it pretty strong meat, too--in proportion to its size. In
hardly a single week since its first issue in October last have I failed to
find between its tangerine-coloured covers some article giving me
information that I did not know before, or furnishing a fresh view of
something with which I thought myself familiar. And I take it there are
many other writers--and even, perhaps, some statesmen--who have enjoyed the
same experience. Dr. SETON-WATSON and the accomplished collaborators who
march under his orange oriflamme may not always convince us (I am not sure,
for example, that _Austria est delenda_ may prove the only or the best
prescription for bringing freedom to the Jugo-Slavs of South-Eastern
Europe), but they always furnish the reader with the facts enabling him to
test their conclusions; and that in these times is a great merit. My own
feeling is that if they had begun their concerted labours a few years
earlier the War might never have happened; or at least we should have gone
into it with a much more accurate notion of the real aims of the Central
Powers, and a much better chance of quickly defeating them. The tragedies
of Serbia and Roumania would almost certainly have been averted.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am unable to hold out much prospect that you will find _Frailty_
(CASSELL) a specially enlivening book. The scope of Miss OLIVE WADSLEY'S
story, sufficiently indicated by its title, does not admit of humorous
relief. But it is both vigorous and vital. Certainly it seemed hard luck on
_Charles Ley_ that, after heroically curing himself of the drug habit, he
should marry the girl of his choice only to find her a victim to strong
drink. But of course, had this not happened, the "punch" of Miss WADSLEY'S
tale would have been weakened by half. Do not, however, be alarmed; the
author knows when to stop, and confines her awful examples to these two,
thereby avoiding the error of Mrs. HENRY WOOD, who (you may recall) plunged
the entire cast of _Danesbury House_ into a flood of alcohol. Not that Miss
WADSLEY herself lacks for courage; she can rise unusually to the demands of
a situation, and I have seldom read chapters more moving of their kind than
those that depict the gradual conquest of _Charles_ by the cocaine fiend,
and his subsequent struggle back to freedom. Here the "strong" writing
seemed to me both natural and in place; ever so much more convincing
therefore than when employed upon the love scenes. I have my doubts
whether, even in this age of what I might call the trampling suitor, anyone
was over quite so heavy-booted over the affair as was _Charles_ when he
carried off his chosen mate from a small-and-early in Grosvenor Square.
Fortunately the other parts of the story are less melodramatic, and make it
emphatically a book not to be missed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Happy is the reviewer with a book which gives him so much delightful
information that he tries to ration himself to so many pages per day. This
is what I resolved to do with _In the Northern Mists_ (HODDER AND
STOUGHTON); but I could not keep to my resolution, so attractive was the
fare. These sketches are the work of a Grand Fleet Chaplain, and are packed
with wisdom from all the ages. If you haven't the luck to be a sailor you
will learn a lot from this admirable theologian about the men and methods
and the spirit of the Grand Fleet. His book fills me with pride; yet I dare
not express it for fear of offending the notorious modesty of the senior
service. So shy indeed is our Fleet of praise that I feel my apologies are
due to their Chaplain for my perfectly honest commendation of his book. But
he seems human enough to pardon the more venial sins.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A CASE FOR RATIONING.



       *       *       *       *       *

    "Peterborough's youngest investor was Herbert Trollope Gill, barely
    three months old, who subscribed the whole of his life's savings. He
    arrived at the bank with his mother, and there was poured out before
    the astonished gaze of the officials four hundred threepenny
    pieces."--_Weekly Dispatch_.

We congratulate HERBERT on his patriotism and regret that it should have
compelled him to go into liquidation.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol.
152,  February 28, 1917, by Various


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