Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, February 7, 1917

By Various

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Feb. 7, 1917, by Various

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Title: Punch, Or The London Charivari, Volume 152, Feb. 7, 1917

Author: Various

Release Date: December 24, 2004 [EBook #14450]

Language: English


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


VOL. 152.

February 7th, 1917.


To celebrate his birthday, the KAISER arranged a theatrical performance,
entitled _The German Blacksmith_, of which he was part author. It is not
yet known in what way his people had offended him.


It is feared that we have sadly misjudged Greece. They have saluted the
Entente flags, and it is rumoured that KING CONSTANTINE is even prepared to
put out his tongue at the KAISER.


Chancellor BETHMANN-HOLLWEG has been accused by the Junker Press of selling
his countrymen to the Allies. But, to judge from the latest German Note to
America, the fact appears to be that he has simply given them away.


As the result of the cold snap, wild boars have made their appearance in
Northern France. Numbers have already been killed, and it is reported that
the KAISER has agreed with an American syndicate to be filmed in the _rôle_
of their destroyer, the proceeds to be devoted to the furtherance of the
league to enforce peace.


Many German soldiers have, according to the Hamburg _Fremdenblatt_,
received slips of pasteboard inscribed, "Soldiers of the Fatherland, fight
on!" It is rumoured that several of the soldiers have written across the
cards, "Fight on what?"


After the 22nd of February, all enemy aliens engaged in business in this
country will be obliged to trade in their own names. With a few honourable
exceptions, like the great Frankfurt house of Wurst, our alien business men
have sedulously concealed their identity.


The patriotic Coroner for East Essex, who has erected a pig-sty in the
middle of his choice rose-garden, informs us that Frau Karl Druschki has
already thrown out some nice strong suckers.


"Cheddar cheese," says a news item, "is 1_s._ 6_d._ a pound in Norwich."
But what the public are clamouring to know is the price of Wensleydale
cheese in Ilfracombe.


The American gentleman who caused so much commotion in a London hotel, the
other day, by his impatience at dinner must, after all, be excused. It
appears the poor fellow was anxious to get through with his meal before a
new Government department commandeered the place.


The SPEAKER'S Electoral Reform Committee recommends that Candidates'
expenses shall not exceed 4_d._ per elector in three-member boroughs, and
several political agents have written to point out that it cannot possibly
be done in view of the recent increase in the price of beer.


The Shirley Park (Croydon) Golf Club has decided to reduce the course from
18 holes to 9; but a suggestion that the half-course thus saved should be
added to the Club luncheon has met with an emphatic refusal from the FOOD


A farmer in the Weald of Kent is offering 13_s._ 6_d._ a week, board and
lodging not provided, to a horseman willing to work fifteen hours a day. It
is understood that this insidious attempt to popularise agriculture at the
expense of the army has been the subject of a heated interchange of letters
between the War Office and the Board of Agriculture.


"The warmest places in England yesterday," says _The Pall Mall Gazette_,
"were Scotland and the South-West of England." We have got into trouble
before now with our Caledonian purists for speaking of Great Britain as
England, but we never said a thing like that.


A London doctor, says _The Daily Mail_, estimates that colds cost this
country £15,000,000 annually. If that is the case we may say at once that
we think the charge is excessive.


A gossip-writer makes much of the fact that he saw a telegraph messenger
running in Shoe Lane the other morning. We are glad to be in a position to
clear up this mystery. It appears that the messenger in question was in the
act of going off duty.


There seems to be no intention of issuing sugar tickets--until a suitable
palace can be obtained for the accommodation of the functionary responsible
for this feature.


The charge for cleaning white gloves has been increased, and it is likely
that there will be a return to the piebald evening wear so much in vogue in
Soho restaurants.


The 1917 pennies appear to be thinner than those of pre-War issues, and
several maiden ladies have written to the authorities asking if income tax
has been deducted at the source.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Geordie (a trade-unionist)._ "AY. AA HEARD YOU; BUT AA'VE KILLED MA

       *       *       *       *       *

    "'The Land of Promise' ... was only withdrawn from the Duke of York's
    in the height of its success owing to the declaration of War in
    1894."--_The Stage_.

Is it _really_ only twenty-three years?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Residents early astir on Sunday morning had an unpleasant surprise. A
    sharp frost over-night had converted the road surfaces into glassy ice,
    which made walking impossible without some assistance. A walking-stick,
    without some sort of boot covering, was of little avail."--_Oxford

That was our own experience with a walking-stick which was absolutely

       *       *       *       *       *


Our mess was situated on the crest of a ridge, and enjoyed an uninterrupted
view of rolling leagues of mud; it had the appearance of a packing-case
floating on an ocean of ooze.

We and our servants, and our rats and our cockroaches, and our other
bosom-companions slept in tents pitched round and about the mess.

The whole camp was connected with the outer world by a pathway of
ammunition boxes, laid stepping-stone-wise; we went to and fro, lepping
from box to box as leps the chamois from Alp to Alp. Should you miss your
lep there would be a swirl of mud, a gulping noise, and that was the end of
you; your sorrowing comrades shed a little chloride of lime over the spot
where you were last seen, posted you as "Believed missing" and indented for
another Second-Lieutenant (or Field-Marshal, as the case might be).

Our mess was constructed of loosely piled shell boxes, and roofed by a tin
lid. We stole the ingredients box by box, and erected the house with our
own fair hands, so we loved it with parental love; but it had its little
drawbacks. Whenever the field guns in our neighbourhood did any business,
the tin lid rattled madly and the shell boxes jostled each other all over
the place. It was quite possible to leave our mess at peep o'day severely
Gothic in design, and to return at dewy eve to find it rakishly Rococo.

William, our Transport Officer and Mess President, was everlastingly piping
all hands on deck at unseemly hours to save the home and push it back into
shape; we were householders in the fullest sense of the term.

Before the War, William assures us, he was a bright young thing, full of
merry quips and jolly practical jokes, the life and soul of any party, but
what with the contortions of the mess and the vagaries of the transport
mules he had become a saddened man.

Between them--the mules and the mess--he never got a whole night in bod;
either the mules were having bad dreams, sleep-walking into strange lines
and getting themselves abhorred, or the field guns were on the job and the
mess had the jumps. If Hans, the Hun, had not been the perfect little
gentleman he is, and had dropped a shell anywhere near us (instead of
assiduously spraying a distant ridge where nobody ever was, is, or will be)
our mess would have been with Tyre and Sidon; but Hans never forgot himself
for a moment; it was our own side we distrusted. The Heavies, for instance.
The Heavies warped themselves laboriously into position behind our hill,
disguised themselves as gooseberry bushes, and gave an impression of the
crack of doom at 2 A.M. one snowy morning.

Our mess immediately broke out into St. Vitus's dance, and William piped
all hands on deck.

The Skipper, picturesquely clad in boots (gum, high) and a goat's skin,
flung himself on the east wing, and became an animated buttress. Albert
Edward climbed aloft and sat on the tin lid, which was opening and shutting
at every pore. Mactavish put his shoulder to the south wall to keep it from
working round to the north. I clung to the pantry, which was coming adrift
from its parent stem, while William ran about everywhere, giving advice and
falling over things. The mess passed rapidly through every style of
architecture, from a Chinese pagoda to a Swiss châlet, and was on the point
of confusing itself with a Spanish castle when the Heavies switched off
their hate and went to bed. And not a second too soon. Another moment and I
should have dropped the pantry, Albert Edward would have been sea-sick, and
the Skipper would have let the east wing go west.

We pushed the mess back into shape, and went inside it for a peg of
something and a consultation. Next evening William called on the Heavies'
commander and decoyed him up to dine. We regaled him with wassail and
gramophone and explained the situation to him. The Lord of the Heavies, a
charming fellow, nearly burst into tears when he heard of the ill he had
unwittingly done us, and was led home by William at 1.30 A.M., swearing to
withdraw his infernal machines, or beat them into ploughshares, the very
next day. The very next night our mess, without any sort of preliminary
warning, lost its balance, sat down with a crash, and lay littered about a
quarter of an acre of ground. We all turned out and miserably surveyed the
ruins. What had done it? We couldn't guess. The field guns had gone to
bye-bye, the Heavies had gone elsewhere. Hans, the Hun, couldn't have made
a mistake and shelled us? Never! It was a mystery; so we all lifted up our
voices and wailed for William. He was Mess President; it was his fault, of

At that moment William hove out of the night, driving his tent before him
by bashing it with a mallet.

According to William there was one, "Sunny Jim," a morbid transport mule,
inside the tent, providing the motive power. "Sunny Jim" had always been
something of a somnambulist, and this time he had sleep-walked clean
through our mess and on into William's tent, where the mallet woke him up.
He was then making the best of his way home to lines again, expedited by
William and the mallet.

So now we are messless; now we crouch shivering in tents and talk lovingly
of the good old times beneath our good old tin roof-tree, of the wonderful
view of the mud we used to get from our window, and of the homely tune our
shell-boxes used to perform as they jostled together of a stormy night.

And sometimes, as we crouch shivering in our tents, we hear a strange sound
stealing up-hill from the lines. It is the mules laughing.

       *       *       *       *       *



  Goddess, hear me--oh, incline a
  Gracious ear to me, Lucina!
  Patroness of parturition,
  Pray make this a special mission;
  Prove a kind inaugurator
  Of my votive incubator!

  Seventy eggs I put into it--
  Each a chick, if you ensue it.
  Pray you, let me not be saddled
  With a single "clear" or addled.
  See! the temperature is steady.
  Now then, Goddess, _are you ready?_

  Hear me, Goddess, next invoking
  You to keep the lamp from smoking,
  And, the plea so humbly voiced, you're
  _Sure_ to regulate the moisture?
  Oh, Lucina, 'twill be ripping
  When we hear the eggs all pipping!

  When no chick the shell encumbers,
  Goddess, hear their tuneful numbers!
  Then, O patroness of hatches,
  We will try some further batches.
  Goddess, hear me!--oh, incline a
  Gracious ear to me, Lucina!

       *       *       *       *       *

    "MATRIMONY.--Two young, respectable fellows wish to meet two
    respectable young girls, between the ages of 20 and 30, view
    above.--T.S.R. and E.C.P., Clematis P.O., Paradise."--_Melbourne

If marriages are made in heaven these respectable young fellows have
selected a really promising postal address.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Nine petty officers were landed from the damaged German destroyer V69
    and brought to the Willem Barrentz Hotel, Ymuiden, to-night. My
    correspondent engaged them in conversation at a late hour. After some
    Dutch Bock beer they rapidly recovered their spirits and began to sing
    Luther's well-known hymn, 'Ein Feste Bung.'"--_Provincial Paper._

Very appropriate too, but wouldn't a loose "Bung" have pleased them even

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A PLAIN DUTY.


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "STICK TO HIM--STICK TO HIM!"


       *       *       *       *       *



MY DEAR JERRY,--I am writing this from my position on top of a small hill,
while my devoted band of followers sits round me and waits for me to speak.
I always sit here, because if I wanted to go somewhere else I should have
to climb down this hill and then up another one. I hate hills. So does the
devoted band.

Behind another little hill a hundred yards away we believe there lurks an
army corps of Bulgars, but we are afraid to look and see. Instead, we fix
and unfix bayonets every ten minutes and make martial noises. This, we
hope, affects the enemy's _moral_, and having your _moral_ affected every
ten minutes is no joke, I can tell you.

The spirit of our troops remains excellent. You can see that this is true
from the fact that my joke still works. Every night for the last three
months, while administering quinine to my army, I have exhorted them not to
be greedy and not to take too much. They still laugh heartily, nay
uproariously. We are a wonderful nation.

Our chief source of combined instruction and amusement is still the antheap
beside us, and in this connection, Jeremiah, I must introduce to you
Herbert, a young officer in the ant A.S.C.

When we first knew Herbert (or "'Erb" as he was known in those days), he
was an impudent and pushful private. When his corps were engaged in
removing the larger pieces of straw out of their hole in the hill, many a
time I have seen him staggering manfully towards the entrance with an
enormous piece on his slender shoulders, against the tide of his comrades;
for he never could resist the temptation to replace the really big stalks
in the hole. As he knocked against one and another the older ants would
step aside, lay down their loads, and expostulate with him, always ending
by giving him a good clip on the ear; but 'Erb was never dismayed.

Now and again, during a temporary slackness in the stream, he would
disappear triumphantly into the hole, his log trailing behind him; but his
triumph was always short-lived. I would seem to hear a scuffle and two
bumps, and 'Erb would shoot gracefully upwards, followed by his burden, and
fall in a heap beside the door. However, as soon as he recovered he would
try again. On one sultry afternoon I noticed he succeeded in effecting an
entrance after twenty-three successive chuck-outs.

His persistence piqued my curiosity. I wondered why he should so
obstinately try to do a thing which was obviously distasteful to all his
seniors. And then, yesterday, there was a change.

'Erb was resting after his eighth chuck-out under a plank when a venerable
ant, heavy with the accumulated wisdom and weakness of years, approached
the exit from within and tried to get out, but in vain. He swore and
struggled in a futile sort of way, while his attendant subordinates stood
about helplessly. 'Erb saw his opportunity. He seized his plank, dashed
forward--you may not believe me, Jerry, but it is the gospel truth--saluted
smartly, and laid down his plank as a sort of ladder. Supporting himself
upon it the veteran crawled out. Then he spoke to 'Erb, and I think I saw
him asking someone the lad's name.

That is why Second Lieutenant Herbert is to-day in charge of a working
party. He is now engaged in clipping the ear of a larger ant. I imagine
there must have been some lack of discipline. Possibly his inferior had
addressed him as "Erb."

Well, all our prospects are pleasing and only Bulgar vile. I must now make
a martial noise, so _au revoir._


       *       *       *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *

    "_The Motor Cycle_ says over 165,000 magnates have been made in Britain
    for war purposes."--_Provincial Paper_.

And the New Year Honours List (political services) has yet to appear.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "We owed all this more to our splendid navy and its silent virgil than
    to anything else."--_Provincial Paper_.

We suppose the CENSOR won't let him narrate the epic exploits of the Fleet,
but he might have allowed him a capital initial.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Surbiton residents have supplied for British prisoners in Germany 800
    waistcoats made from 2,100 old kid gloves."      _Manchester Evening

A notable instance of large-handed generosity.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_To the makers of journalese, and others, from a fastidious reader._)

  When I see on a poster
    A programme which "features"
    Delectable creatures,
  I feel just as if
    Someone hit me a slam
  Or a strenuous biff
    On the mid diaphragm.

  When I read in a story,
    Though void of offences,
  That somebody "glimpses"
    Or somebody "senses,"
  The chord that is struck
    Fills my bosom with ire,
  And I'm ready to chuck
    The whole book in the fire.

  When against any writer
    It's urged that he "stresses"
  His points, or that something
    His fancy "obsesses,"
  In awarding his blame
    Though the critic be right,
  Yet I feel all the same
    I could shoot him at sight.

  But (worst of these horrors)
    Whenever I read
  That somebody "voices"
    A national need,
  As the Bulgars and Greeks
    Are abhorred by the Serb,
  So I feel toward the freaks
    Who employ this vile verb.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Some of the public men of Rawmarsh have high ambitions for their
    township, and at the Council meeting on Wednesday there was
    considerable industrial developments immediately after the war."
    _Botherham Advertiser_.

Happy Rawmarsh! In our part of the country it is not over yet.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "NAVY Pram. for Sale, good condition."      _Provincial Paper_.

Just the thing to prepare baby for being "rocked in the cradle of the

       *       *       *       *       *


    SCENE.--_A square in Kensington. At every other door is seen the lady
    of the house at work with pail, broom, scrubbing-brush, rags,
    metal-polish, etc._

                  _Chorus of Ladies._

    In days before the War
      Had turned the world to Hades
        We did not soil
        Our hands with toil--
      We all were perfect ladies;
    To scrub the kitchen floor
      Was _infra dig._--disgusting;
        We'd cook, at most,
        A slice of toast
      Or do a bit of dusting.

    But those old days are flown,
      And now we ply our labours:
        We cook and scrub,
        We scour and rub,
      Regardless of our neighbours;
    The steps we bravely stone,
      Nor care a straw who passes
        The while we clean
        With shameless mien
      Quite brazenly the brasses.

  _First Lady_. Lo! Who approaches? Some great dame of state?
  _Second Lady_. Rather I think some walking fashion-plate.
  _Third Lady_. What clothes! What furs!
  _First Lady_. And tango boots! How thrilling!
    They must have cost five guineas if a shilling.
  _Second Lady_. Sh, dears! It eyes us hard. What can it be?
  _Third Lady_. It would be spoke to.
  _Second Lady_.          Would it?
  _First Lady_.                    Let us see!

                  _Enter the_ Super-Char.

  _Super-char_. My friend the butcher told me 'e'd 'eard say
    You 'adn't got no servants round this way,
    And as I've time on 'and--more than I wish,
    Seein' as all the kids is in munish--
    I thought as 'ow, pervided that the wige
    Should suit, I might be willin' to oblige.

                  _Chorus of Ladies._

      O joy! O rapture!
      If we capture
          Such a prize as this!
    Then we may become once more
    Ladies, as in days of yore,
    Lay aside the brooms and pails,
    Manicure our broken nails,
    Try the last complexion cream--
    What a dream
          Of bliss!

  _Super-Char_. 'Old on! Let's get to business, and no kidding!
    I'm up for auction; 'oo will start the bidding?
  _First Lady. _I want a charlady from ten to four,
    To cook the lunch and scrub the basement floor.
  _Super-Char. _Cook? Scrub? Thanks! Nothink doin'! Next, please! You, Mum,
    What are the dooties you would 'ave me do, Mum?
  _Second Lady_. I want a lady who will kindly call
    And help me dust the dining-room and hall;
    At tea, if need be, bring an extra cup,
    And sometimes do a little washing up.
  _Super-Char_. A little bit of dusting I might lump,
    But washing up--it gives me fair the 'ump!
    Next, please!
  _Third Lady_. My foremost thought would always be
    The comfort of the lady helping me.
    We have a cask of beer that's solely for
    Your use--we are teetotal for the War.
    I am a cook of more than moderate skill;
    I'll gladly cook whatever dish you will--
    Soups, entrées.
  _Super-Char_. Now you're talkin'! That's some sense!
    So kindly let me 'ave your reference,
    And if I finds it satisfact'ry, Mum,
    Why, s'elp me, I 'ave arf a mind to come.
  _Third Lady_. My last good lady left six months ago
    Because she said I'd singed the _soufflé_ so;
    She gave me no address to write to--
  _Super-Char_. What!
    You've got no reference?
  _Third Lady_.     Alas, I've not!
  _Super-Char_. Of course I could not dream of taking you
    Without  one, so there's  nothing more to do.
    These women--'ow they spoil one's temper! Pah!
    Hi! (_she hails a passing taxi_) Drive me to the nearest cinema.
                  [_She steps into the taxi and is whirled off._

                  _Chorus of Ladies._

    Not yet the consolation
      Of manicure and cream;
    Not yet the barber dresses
    Our dusty tousled tresses;
    The thought of titivation
      Is still a distant dream;
    Not yet the consolation
      Of manicure and cream.

    Still, still, with vim and vigour,
      'Tis ours to scour and scrub;
    With rag and metal polish
    The dirt we must demolish;
    Still, still, with toil-bowed figure,
      Among the grates we grub;
    Still, still, with vim and vigour,
      'Tis ours to scour and scrub.


       *       *       *       *       *


"Coincidences," said the ordinary seaman, "are rum things. Now I can tell
you of a rum un that happened to me."

It said Royal Naval Reserve round his cap, but he looked as if he ought to
be wearing gold earrings and a gaudy handkerchief.

"When I was a young feller I made a voyage or two in an old hooker called
the _Pearl of Asia_. Her old man at that time was old Captain Gillson, him
that had the gold tooth an' the swell ma'ogany fist in place o' the one
that got blowed off by a rocket in Falmouth Roads. Well, I was walkin' out
with a young woman at Liverpool--nice young thing--an' she give me a ring
to keep to remember 'er by, the day before we sailed. Nice thing it was; it
had 'Mizpah' wrote on it.

"We 'ad two or three fellers in the crowd for'ard that voyage as would
'andle anything as wasn't too 'ot or too 'eavy which explains why I got
into a 'abit of slippin' my bits o' vallybles, such as joolery, into a bit
of a cache I found all nice and 'andy in the planking' back o' my bunk.

"We 'ad a long passage of it 'ome, a 'undred-and-sixty days from Portland,
Oregon, to London River, an' what with thinkin' of the thumpin' lump o' pay
I'd have to draw an' one thing an' another, I clean forgot all about the
ring I'd left cached in the little place back o' my bunk yonder.

"Well, I drew my pay all right, and after a bit I tramped it to Liverpool,
to look out for another ship. An' the first person I met in Liverpool was
the young woman I 'ad the ring of.

"'Where's my ring?' she says, before I'd time to look round.

"Now, I never was one as liked 'avin' words with a woman, so I pitched her
a nice yarn about the cache I 'ad at the back o' my bunk, an' 'ow I vallied
'er ring that 'igh I stowed it there to keep it safe, an' 'ow I'd slid down
the anchor cable an' swum ashore an' left everything I 'ad behind me, I was
that red-'ot for a sight of 'er.

"'Ye didn't,' she says quite ratty, 'ye gave it to one o' them nasty yaller
gals ye sing about.'

"'I didn't,' I says; 'Ye did,' she says; 'I didn't,' says I. An' we went on
like that for a bit until I says at last, 'If I can get aboard the old
_Pearl_ again,' I says, 'I'll get the ring,' I says, 'an' send it you in a
letter,' I says, 'an' then per'aps you'll be sorry for the nasty way you've
spoke to me,' I says.

"'Ho, yes,' she says, sniffy-like, 'per'aps I will, per'aps I won't,' an'
off she goes with 'er nose in the air.

"My next ship was for Frisco to load grain; and I made sure of droppin'
acrost the _Pearl_ there, for she was bound the same way. But I never did.
She was dismasted in the South Pacific on the outward passage, and had to
put in to one of them Chile ports for repairs. So she never got to Frisco
until after we sailed for 'ome. An' that was the way it went on. She kep'
dodgin' me all over the seven seas, an' the nearest I got to 'er was when
we give 'er a cheer off Sydney Heads, outward bound, when we was just
pickin' up our pilot. The last I 'eard of 'er after that was from a feller
that 'ad seen 'er knockin' round the South Pacific, sailin' out o' Carrizal
or Antofagasta or one o' them places. I was in the Western Ocean mail-boat
service at the time, and so o' course she was off my run altogether.

"I was still in the same mail-boat when she give up the passenger business
an' went on the North Sea patrol.

"Well, one day we boarded a Chile barque in the ordinary course o' duty,
and I was one o' those as went on board with the lootenant. They generally
takes me on them jobs, the reason bein' that I know a deal o' foreign
languages. I don't believe there's a country in the world where I couldn't
make myself understood, partic'lar when I'm wantin' a drink bad.

"I wasn't takin' that much notice of this 'ere ship at the time (there was
a bit of a nasty jobble on the water, for one thing, and we 'ad our work
cut out gettin' alongside), except that 'er name was the _Maria de
Somethink-or-other_--some Dago name. But while we was waitin' for the
lootenant to finish 'is business with Old Monkey Brand, which was the
black-faced Chileno captain she 'ad, it come over me all of a suddent.

"'Strike me pink!' I says, 'may my name be Dennis if I 'aven't seen that
there bit o' fancy-work on the poop ladder rails before;' which so I 'ad,
for I done it myself in the doldrums, an' a nice bit o' work it was, too.

"You'll 'ave guessed by now that she was none other than the _Pearl of
Asia_; an' no wonder I 'adn't reckernised 'er, what with the mess she was
in alow and aloft, an' allyminian paint all over the poop railin's as would
'ave made our old blue-nose mate die o' rage.

"'You carry on 'ere,' I says to the feller that was with me; 'I'm goin'
for'ard a minute.'

"'Arf a minute, an' I was in my old bunk; an' there was the cache all
right, just like I left it."

He paused dramatically; I supposed it was for histrionic effect, but it
lasted so long that I said, "And so I suppose you sent the ring to the girl
after all?"

"Oh! '_er!_" he said, with an air of surprise, "I've forgot 'er name and
all about 'er, only that she 'ad a brother in one o' them monkey-boats of
ELDER DEMPSTER'S--'e 'ad the biggest thirst I ever struck."

"But the ring?" I said. "I suppose it was there all right?"

He stopped his pipe down with his thumb, with an enigmatical expression.

"That's where the bloomin' coincidence come in," he said; "it weren't."


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Colonel_ (_to private told off to act as caddie_). "NOW I

is put off again._)]

       *       *       *       *       *

"Miss ----, the World-renounced Teacher of Dancing."--_Southern Standard_.

Another victim of the War.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Major-General_ (_addressing the men before practising an
attack behind the lines_). "I WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS A
the Regimental Sergeant-Major_) WHAT IS THE SECOND DIFFERENCE?"


       *       *       *       *       *


  No pampered pound of peevish fluff
  That goggles from a lady's muff
  Art thou, my Towser. In the Park
  Thy form occasions no remark
  Unless it be a friendly call
  From soldiers walking in the Mall,
  Or the impertinence of pugs
  Stretched at their ease on carriage rugs.
  For thou art sturdy and thy fur
  Is rougher than the prickly burr,
  Thy manners brusque, thy deep "bow wow"
  (Inherited, but Lord knows how!)
  Far other than the frenzied yaps
  That emanate from ladies' laps,
  Thou art, in fact, of doggy size
  And hast the brown and faithful eyes,
  So full of love, so void of blame,
  That fill a master's heart with shame
  Because he knows he never can
  Be more a dog and less a man.
  No champion of a hundred shows,
  The prey of every draught that blows,
  Art thou; in fact thy charms present
  The earmarks of a mixed descent.
  And, though too proud to start a fight
  With every cur that looms in sight,
  None ever saw thee quail beneath
  A foeman worthy of thy teeth.
  Thou art, in brief, a model hound,
  Not so much beautiful as sound
  In heart and limb; not always strong
  When nose and eyes impel to wrong,
  Nor always doing just as bid,
  But sterling as the minted quid.
  And I have loved thee in my fashion,
  Shared with thy face my frugal ration,
  Squandered my balance at the bank
  When thou didst chew the postman's shank,
  And gone in debt replacing stocks
  Of private cats and Plymouth Rocks.
  And, when they claimed the annual fee
  That seals the bond twixt thee and me,
  Against harsh Circumstance's edge
  Did I not put my fob in pledge
  And cheat the minions of excise
  Who otherwise had ta'en thee prize?
  And thou with leaps of lightsome mood
  Didst bark eternal gratitude
  And seek my feelings to assail
  With agitations of the tail.
  Yet are there beings lost to grace
  Who claim that thou art out of place,
  That when the dogs of war are loose
  Domestic kinds are void of use,
  And that a chicken or a hog
  Should take the place of every dog,
  Which, though with appetite endued,
  Is not itself a source of food.
  What! shall we part? Nay, rather we'll
  Renounce the cheap but wholesome meal
  That men begrudge us, and we'll take
  Our leave of bones and puppy cake.
  Back to the woods we'll hie, and there
  Thou'lt hunt the fleet but fearful hare,
  Pursue the hedge's prickly pig,
  Dine upon rabbits' eggs and dig
  With practised paw and eager snuffle
  The shy but oh! so toothsome truffle.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A landslide in Monmouthshire threatens to close the natural course of
    the River Ebbw, seriously interfering with its ffllww."--_Star_.

It certainly sounds rather diverting.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a list of gramophone records:--

    "Nothing could seem easier in the wide world than the emission of the
    cascade of notes that falls from the mouth of the horn--which might
    indeed be Tetrazzini's own mouth."

"The diameter of my own gramophone horn is eighteen inches," writes the
sender of the extract.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "THE ROAD TO VICTORY."



       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


Conversation in the streets of London has never been easy; not, at any
rate, until the small hours, when the best of it is done. But it becomes
even more complex when one of the talkers is pressed for time and wants a
taxi, and disengaged taxis are as rare as new jokes in a revue.

Let the following dialogue prove it. I leave open the question whether or
not I have reported the real terms of our conversation, merely reminding
you that two men together, removed from the frivolity of women, tend, even
in the street and when the thermometer is below freezing-point, to a high
seriousness rare when the sexes are mingled.

Imagine us facing a wind from the east composed of steel filings and all
uncharity. We are somewhere in Chelsea, and for some reason or other, or
none at all, I am accompanying him.

_He_ (_looking at his watch_). I've got to be at Grosvenor Gardens by
half-past one and there's not a taxi anywhere. We must walk fast and
perhaps we'll meet one. Dash this War anyhow. (_He said, as a matter of
fact, "damn," but I am getting so tired of that word, in print that I shall
employ alternatives every time. Someone really must institute a close
season for "damns" or they won't any longer be funny on the stage; and,
since to laugh in theatres has become a national duty, that, in the present
state of the wit market, would be privation indeed._)

_I_ (_submerged by brain wave_). Perhaps we'll meet one.

_He._ Keep a sharp look out, won't you? I 've got to be there by half-past
one, and I hate to be late.

_I._ Those tailors you were asking me about--I think you'll find them very
decent people. They----

_He_ (_excitedly_). Here comes one. Hi! Hi!

    [_A taxi, obviously full of people, approaches and passes, the driver
    casting a pitying glance at my poor signalling friend._

_He._ I thought it was free.

_I._ The flag was down.

_He._ I couldn't be sure. What were you saying? Sorry.

_I._ Oh, only about those tailors. If you really want to change, you know,
I could----

_He._ Do you mind walking a little faster?

_I_ (_mendaciously_). Not at all. I could give you my card, don't you know.
But of course you might not like them. Tastes differ. To me they seem to be
first-rate, as tailors go.

_He_ (_profoundly--though he is not more profound than I am_). Of course,
as tailors go.

_I._ They 're best at----

_He_ (_excited again_). Here's another. Hi! Hi! Taxi. No, it's engaged.

_I_ (_with a kind impulse_). If you'll ask me, I'll tell you whether the
flags are up or not. I think I must be able to see farther than you.

_He._ Do.

_I._ I was always rather famous for long sight. It's----

_He (turning round)_). Isn't that one behind us? Is that free?

_I._ I can't tell yet.

_He._ Surely the flag's up.

    [_He steps into the road and waves his stick._

_I._ It's a private car.

_He._ Hang the thing! so it is. They ought to be painted white or
something. Life is not worth living just now.

_I._ They're best for trousers, I should say. Their overcoats----

_He_ (_pointing up side-street_). Isn't that one there? Hi, taxi! Good
heavens, that other fellow's got it. We really must walk faster. If there
isn't one on the rank in Sloane Square, I'm done. If there's one thing I
hate it's being late. Besides, I'm blamed hungry. When I'm hungry I'm
miserable till I eat. No good to anyone.

_I._ As I was saying----

_He._ What I want to know is, where are the taxis? They're not on the
streets, anyway; then where are they? One never sees a yard full of them,
but they must be somewhere. It's a scandal--a positive outrage.

_I._ Their overcoats can be very disappointing. I don't know how it is, but
they don't seem to understand overcoats. But they're so good in other ways,
you know, that really if you are thinking----

_He._ Here's one, really empty. Hi! Hi! Taxi! Hi! Hi!

    [_The flag is up but the driver shakes his head, makes a noise which
    sounds like "dinner" and glides serenely on._

_He._ Well, I'm blamed! Did you ever see anything like it? What's that he

_I._ It sounded like "dinner."

_He._ Dinner! Of all the something cheek! Dinner! What's the world coming

_I_ (_brilliantly_). Perhaps he's hungry.

_He._ Hungry! Greedy, you mean. Hansom drivers never refused to take you
because they were hungry. It's monstrous. Bless the War, anyway. (_Looking
at his watch_) I say, we must put a spurt on. You don't mind, do you?

_I_ (_more mendaciously, and wondering why I'm so weak_). Oh, no.

    [_We both begin to scuttle, half run and half walk._

_I_ (_panting_). As I was saying, they're not A1 at overcoats, but they've
a first-class cutter for everything else. Just tell me if you want to
change and I'll introduce you, and then you'll get special treatment.
There's nothing they wouldn't do for me.

_He_ (_breathlessly_). Ah! There's the rank. There's just one cab there.
How awful if it were to be taken before he saw us. Run like Heaven.

_I_ (_running like Heaven_). I think I'll leave you here.

_He_ (_running still more like Heaven, a little ahead_). Oh no, come on. I
want to hear about those tailors. Hi! Hi! Wave your stick like Heaven!

    [_We both wave our sticks like Heaven._

_He_ (_subsiding into a walk_). Ah! it's all right. He's seen us. (_Taking
out his watch_) I've got four minutes. We shall just do it. Good-bye.

    [_He leaps into the cab and I turn away wondering where I shall get

_He_ (_shouting from window_). Let me know about those tailors some day; if
they're any good, you know.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "ARE YE WOUNDED, TERENCE?"



       *       *       *       *       *

    "'The best people are still wearing their own clothes,' said Mr.

With all respect, Mr. WILLIAMS, the best people are wearing the KING'S.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "DONKEYS.--Wanted to purchase 100 reasonable. Apply M.S."
          _Advt. in Colonial Paper_.

We have never met this kind of donkey ourselves, but we wish M.S. the best
of luck.

       *       *       *       *       *



It was not till about the middle of the play, and after a narcotic had been
administered to him, that _Anthony_ got there; but we were in Wonderland
almost from the start, without the aid of drugs. For we were asked to
believe that Mr. CHARLES HAWTREY was a visionary, amorous of an ideal which
no earthly woman could realise for him. Occasionally he had caught a
glimpse of it in the creations of Art--at the Tate Gallery or Madame
TUSSAUD'S or the cinema; but in Bond Street never.

And the pity of it was that he had come in for a fortune of seven hundred
thousand pounds odd, which would pass elsewhere unless he married by a
given date. It was therefore the clear duty of his relatives--a couple of
sisters and their husbands--to find a wife for him. After vainly trying him
with every pretty woman of their acquaintance they had resort, in
desperation, to the black art of a certain _Mr. Mortimer John_ (U.S.A.), an
infallible inventor of stunts, who made a rapid diagnosis of the case and
at once pronounced himself confident of success.

Briefly--for it is a long and elaborate story--his scheme is to choose a
charming girl, and make a film drama round her. _Anthony_, with family, is
taken to see the show and occupies the best box in the Prince of Wales's
Theatre, from which, after a little critical comment upon us in the
audience, he falls in love with the heroine. It is the typical film of
lurid life on a Californian ranch, and might almost have been modelled on
one of Mr. Punch's cinema burlesques. There are the familiar scenes of a
plot to hang the girl's lover, swiftly alternating with scenes of her
progress on horseback through the primeval forest, and concluding with her
arrival just in time to shoot the villain and untie the noose that
encircles her lover's carotid.

On the return of the party from the cinema, _Mortimer John_ describes to
_Anthony_ the powers of a drug which induces the most vivid of dreams. He,
_John_, had once been in _Anthony's_ pitiful case, and through the services
of this drug had achieved his quest of the ideal woman. _Anthony_, greatly
intrigued, consents to swallow a sample of the potion. It is a simple
narcotic, and under its influence he is conveyed, in a state of coma and a
suitable change of apparel, into the heart of Surrey, where at sunrise he
is restored to animation and has the scenes of the evening's drama
re-enacted before his eyes, as originally filmed for exhibition. Under the
impression that this is merely the vivid dream that he had been promised,
he himself takes part in the living drama, playing the noble _rôle_ of an
exceptionally white man. In the course of it he exchanges pledges of
eternal love with _Aloney_ the heroine. Finally, in a spasm of heroic
self-sacrifice, he takes poison with the alleged purpose of saving the
heroine's life. We never quite gather how his suicide should serve this
end, but then the whole atmosphere is charged with that obscurity which is
the very breath of the film-drama.

[Illustration: AN IDYLL OF MOVIE-LAND.

_Anthony Silvertree_ MR. CHARLES HAWTREY.


The poison is nothing worse than another dose of the narcotic, and under
its spell he is spirited back to London, where, on arrival, he is
confronted with the lady of his "dream," and _Mortimer John_ secures a
colossal fee. In addition, for he has had the happy thought of selecting
his own daughter for the heroine, he secures a plutocrat for his

The worst of a play in which one is conducted out of ordinary life into the
regions of improbability by processes of which every step has to be just
conceivably possible, is that the conscientious development of the scheme
is apt to be tedious. And, frankly, the first scene or two, though
lightened by expectation, were on the heavy side.

But the film itself, when we got to it, was excellent fooling, and the
reconstruction of the original drama at Dorking-in-the-Wild-West was really
delightful. You can easily guess that Mr. CHARLES HAWTREY, as a cinema
hero, very conscious of his heroism ("it's a way we have in Montague
Square"), but always comfortably aware that in a dream, as he imagines it
to be, he can well afford to make the handsomest of sacrifices, had a great
chance. And he took it.

As the heroine, who has to play a rather thankless part in the mercenary
designs of her parent, Miss WINIFRED BARNES contrived, very naïvely and
prettily, to preserve an air of maiden reluctance under the most
discouraging conditions. As _Mortimer John_ Mr. SYDNEY VALENTINE had
admirable scope for his sound and businesslike methods. Of _Anthony's_
relations, all very natural and human, Miss LYDIA BILBROOKE was an
attractive figure, and the part of _Herbert Clatterby_, K.C., was played by
Mr. EDMUND MAURICE with his accustomed ease of manner.

If I wanted to find fault with any detail of the construction, it would be
in the matter of the ring which _Anthony_ places on the finger of _Aloney_
in the cinema play. This was a spontaneous act not included in the scheme
for which _Mortimer John_ was given the credit. Yet as the means by which
_Anthony_ identified her on his return to consciousness it went far to
bring that scheme to fruition. I think also that he ought to have shown
some trace of surprise (I should myself) on finding that he had
unconsciously exchanged his spotless evening clothes for the kit of a

I have hinted already at the comparative dulness of the long introduction
to what is the _clou_ of the play--the film and its reconstructed scenes.
Why not take a further wrinkle from the cinematic drama and throw upon the
screen a succinct résumé of the previous argument? Three or four minutes of
steady application to the text, and we might plunge into the very heart of
things. I throw out this suggestion not with any hope of reward, but in
part payment of my debt for some very joyous laughter.     O.S.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Wanted, Gentlewoman a few days old."      _The Lady_.

This is much prettier than "Baby taken from birth."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "AND LOOK HERE, FRITZ--]

[Illustration: --WHATEVER HAPPENS--]

[Illustration: --SEE YOU KEEP--]

[Illustration: --THEM HANDS OF YOURS--]

[Illustration: --WELL ABOVE--]

[Illustration: --YOUR BLINKIN' HEAD."]

       *       *       *       *       *


  We hear the ruthless axes; we watch our rafters fall;
  The seawind blows unhindered where stood our banquet-hall;
  Our grassy rings are trampled, our leafy tents are torn--
  Yet more would we, and gladly, to help the English-born.

  For, leafy-crowned or frosted, the English oaks are ours;
  The beeches are our playrooms, the elms our outlook towers;
  And we were forest rangers before these woods had name,
  And we were elves in England before the Romans came.

  We watched the Druids worship; we watched the wild bulls feed;
  We gave our oaks to ALFRED to build his ships at need;
  And often in the moonlight our pricked ears in the wood
  Have heard the hail of RUFUS, the horn of ROBIN HOOD.

  But if our age-old roof-beams can serve her cause to-day,
  The woodland elves of England will sign their rights away;
  For none but will be woeful to hear the axes ring,
  Yet none but would go homeless to aid an English King.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [An agitation for the total disuse of the Latin character, we learn
    from Press quotations published in _The Daily Chronicle_, is raging
    through the German Empire, and the Prussian Minister of the Interior
    has forbidden the use of any other character than German Gothic in the
    publications of the Statistical Bureau.]

  The ways of the Hun comprehension elude,
  They're so cleverly crass, so painstakingly crude;
  For, in spite of his cunning and forethought immense,
  He is often incurably stupid and dense
  To the point of allowing his patriot zeal
  To put a large spoke in his own driving-wheel.

  An excellent instance of zeal of this sort
  Is the movement, endorsed by official support,
  To ban Latin type in the papers that flow
  From the press of the Prussian Statistics Bureau.

  Now the pride of the Germans, as dear as their pipe
  And their beer, is their wonderful old Gothic type;
  It makes ev'ry page look as black as your hat,
  For the face of the letters is stodgy and fat;
  It adds to the labour of reading, and tries
  The student's pre-eminent asset, his eyes,
  And in consequence lends a most lucrative aid
  To people engaged in the spectacle trade.
  But these manifest drawbacks to little amount
  When tried by the only criteria that count:
  Though the people who use it don't really need it,
  It exasperates aliens whenever they read it.
  It is solid, _echt-Deutsch_, free from Frenchified froth,
  And in fine it is Gothic, befitting the Goth.

  So when the great Prussian Statistics Bureau
  Proscribes Latin letters and says they must go,
  They are giving a lead which we earnestly hope
  Will be followed beyond its original scope;
  For the more German books that in Gothic are printed
  The more will the spread of Hun "genius" be stinted,
  And the larger the number, released from its gripe,
  Of the students of Latin ideas--and type.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Furniture for Poultry: 2 easy chairs, solid walnut frames, nicely
    upholstered and sound, 12/6 each; also 2 armchairs, 4 small chairs,
    walnut frames, nicely upholstered and sound, £2; 5 other chairs,
    upholstered in tapestry and leather, 5/- each."--_The Bazaar_.

Has this sort of thing Mr. PROTHERO'S approval? Some hens are already too
much inclined to sit when we want them to lay.

       *       *       *       *       *


"There," I said, "you've interrupted me again."

"Tut tut," said Francesca.

"And the dogs are barking," I said, "and the guinea-hens are squawking."

"I daresay," she said; "but you can't hear the guinea-hens; they're much
too far away."

"Yes, but I know they're squawking--they always are--and for a sensitive
highly-strung man it's the same thing."


"Tut me no more of your tuts, Francesca," I said, "for I am engaged in a
most complicated and difficult arithmetical calculation."

"If," said Francesca deliberately, "two men in corduroys, with straps below
their knees, and a boy in flannel shorts, all working seven hours and a
half per day for a week, can plant five thousand potatoes on an acre of
land, how many girls in knickerbockers will be required to----"

"Stop, Francesca," I said, "or I shall go mad."

"If," she continued inexorably, "a train travelling at the rate of
sixty-two miles and three-quarters in an hour takes two and a half seconds
to pass a lame man walking in the same direction find how many men with one
arm each can board a motor-bus in Piccadilly Circus, having first extracted
the square root of the wheel-base."

"Stow it," I said.

"Isn't that rude?" she said.

"Yes," I said; "it was intended to be."

"Well, but what _are_ you doing?"

"I'm calculating rates of percentage on the new War Loan," I said.

"Why worry over that?" she said. "It announces itself as a five-per-center,
and I'm willing to take it at its word. What's your difficulty? Surely you
do not impute prevarication to the CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER."

"No," I said, "far from it. I have the greatest possible respect for him.
I'm sure he would not deceive a poor investor; but he doesn't know my
difficulties. It's this getting £100 by paying only £95 that's knocking me
sideways; and then there's the income tax, and the other loan at four per
cent., on which no income tax is to be charged, and the conversion of the
old four-and-a-half per cent. War Loan, and of the various lots of
Exchequer Bonds. It's all as generous as it can be, but for a man whose
mathematical education has been, shall we say, defective, it's as bad as a
barbed-wire entanglement."

"Oh, don't muddle your unfortunate head any more. Just plank down your
money and take what they give you. That's my motto."

"No doubt," I said; "that's all very well for you. You aren't the head of
the household, with all its cares depending on you. Heads of households
ought-to know their exact position."

"Well, then, heads of households ought to have learnt their arithmetic
better and remembered more of it. The children and I haven't allowed
ourselves to be hindered by little obstacles of that kind."

"What," I said, "are you and the children in it too?"

"Yes, we're all in it. I've put in the spare money from the

"I always knew you got too much."

"And the children have chipped in with their savings."

"Savings?" I said. "How have they got any savings?"

"Presents from affectionate godmothers and aunts, which were put into the
Post Office Savings Bank. They're all out now and into the Loan--all, that
is, except Frederick's little all."

"And what's happened to that?"

"That's put into War Certificates. It was his own idea. He was fascinated
by the poster, and insisted that his money should go in the purchase of
cartridges, so there it is."

"And at the end of five years he'll get back £1 for every 15_s._ 6_d._ he's
put in."

"Yes, he'll get £5. He made a lot of difficulty about that."

"You don't mean to say he jibbed about getting his money back?"

"That's precisely what did happen. He said he'd _given_ the money for
cartridge buying, and how could he take it back with a bit extra after the
cartridges had been bought. He's really rather annoyed about it."

"I shall tell him," I said, "not to let it worry him, and shall explain to
him how much _per cent._ he's getting _per annum_."

"You'll have to work it out yourself first of all," she said, "and I know
you can't do that. And, by the way, you may as well be ready for him; he's
going to ask you if he may join the Army as a drummer-boy."

"What on earth's put that into his head?"

"He's been talking to the Sergeant-Major, and he's invented a musical
instrument of his own. It's made out of a cardboard box, some pins and two
or three elastic bands. There it is--you'll find its name inscribed on it."

I took it up and saw inscribed upon it in large pencilled letters this
strange device: "THE TIPINBANOLA; made for soldiers only."

"Francesca," I said, "it's a superb name. Where did he get it from?"

"Out of his head," she said.

"I wonder," I said, "if he keeps any arithmetic there?"

"Ask him; I'm sure he'd be proud to help you."

"No," I said, "I must plough my weary furrow alone."

"And the guinea-hens," she said, "are still squawking."

"Yes," I said, "isn't it awful?"

"I'll go and stop them," she said.

"It's no good," I said, "I shan't hear them stop."


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE MODERN RALEIGH.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "If the ploughman is taken the farmer may as well put up his
    shutters."--_A farmer in "The Daily News."_

And if the shop-walker is taken, the tradesman may as well let his windows
lie fallow.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


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

Mr. S.P.B. MAIS, in a dedicatory letter to _Interlude_ (CHAPMAN AND HALL),
tells us that he has "simply tried to show what a man constituted like
Shelley would have made of his life had he bean alive in 1917." Without any
doubt his attempt has succeeded. I am, however, bound to add this warning
(if Mr. MAIS'S is not enough), that a novel with such a purpose is not, and
could not be, milk for babes. Nothing that I had previously read of Mr.
MAIS'S had prepared me for the proficiency he shows here. Obviously
attached to the modern school of novelists, he has many of its faults and
more of its virtues. One may accept his main point of view, yet be offended
sometimes by his details. But the fact remains that in _Geoffrey Battersby_
he has given us a piece of character-drawing almost flawlessly perfect. Not
for a very long time has it been my good fortune to attend such a triumph,
and I wish to proclaim it. The women by whom _Geoffrey_, the weak and the
wayward, was attracted hither and thither are also well drawn; but here Mr.
MAIS shows his present limitations. Nevertheless I feel sure that he has
within him the qualities that go to make a great novelist, and that if he
will free himself from certain marked prejudices his future lies straight
and clear before him.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a happy idea of the Sisters MARY and JANE FINDLATER to call their
new book of short stories _Seen and Heard_ (SMITH, ELDER), with the
sub-title, _Before and After 1914_. I say short stories, but actually these
have so far outgrown the term that a half-dozen of them make up the volume.
They are all examples of the same gentle and painstaking craft that their
writers have before now exhibited elsewhere. Here are no sensational
happenings; the drama of the tales is wholly emotional. My own favourites
are the first, called "The Little Tinker," a half-ironical study of the
temptation of a tramp mother to surrender her child to the blessings of
civilisation; and how, by the intervention of a terrible old woman, the
queen of the tribe, this momentary weakness was overcome. My other choice,
the last tale in the collection (and the only one contributed by Miss MARY
FINDLATER), is a dour little comedy of the regeneration, through poverty
and hard work, of two underemployed and unpleasant elderly ladies. A
restful book, such as will keep no one awake at nights, but will give
pleasure to all who appreciate slight studies of ordinary life sketched
with precise and careful finish.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Their Lives_ (STANLEY PAUL) has at least this point of originality, that
it ends with the wedding of somebody other than the heroine, or rather, I
should say, the chief heroine, because, strictly speaking, all three
daughters of _Mr._ and _Mrs. Radmall_ might be said jointly to fill this
post, but it is _Christina_, the eldest, who fills most of it. The other
two were named _Virgilia_ and _Orinthia_, and I can't say that these
horrific labels did them any injustice. As for the story of "their lives,"
as VIOLET HUNT tells it, there is really nothing very much to charm in a
history of three disagreeable children developing into detestable young
women. Perhaps it may have some value as a study of feminine adolescence,
but I defy anyone to call the result attractive. Its chief incident, which
is (not to mince matters) the attempted seduction by _Christina_ of a
middle-aged man, the father of one of her friends, mercifully comes to
nothing. I like to believe that this sort of thing is as unusual as it is
unpleasant. For the rest, the picture of the "artistic" household in which
the children grew up, of their managing mother, and the slightly soured and
disappointed painter their father, is drawn vividly enough. But what
unamiable people they all are! "MILES IGNOTUS," who supplies a quaintly
attractive little preface, in which he speaks of having read the book in
proof under shell-fire, affects to discover in them a kinship with Prussia.
Certainly they are almost frightful enough.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having read all about _The Rise of Ledgar Dunstan_ (DUCKWORTH) from
obscurity to wealth, literary success and aristocratic wedlock, I should be
infinitely content to leave him at that and have done; but Mr. ALFRED
TRESIDDER SHEPPARD warns us that there is more to follow, and even hints
that the sequel, opening in July, 1914, may in many respects be far indeed
from the dulness of happily-ever-after. If _Ledgar_ had been satisfied to
marry the sweetheart of his school-days there might have been some danger
of such a disaster; but, having put his humble past, including his
Nonconformist conscience, too diligently behind him for that, he will have
to face whatever his author and the KAISER may have in store, supported
only by a wife who is going, I trust and believe, to revenge on him all the
irritation which she and I both felt at his attitude of unemotional
superiority towards all the world. Some people may think it almost a pity
that the lady cannot deal similarly with Mr. SHEPPARD himself in just
reprisal for his long-winded and nebulous way of talking about Anti-Christ
and Armageddon, and for his revolting incidents of murder and insanity
introduced without any excuse of necessity. The book contains a
considerable element of lively if undiscriminating humour, but its
insistence on the gruesome is so unfortunate that unless his hero's future
fate be already irrevocably fixed in manuscript one would like to remind
the author that essays in this kind are the easiest form of all literary
effort and the least supportable.

       *       *       *       *       *

_With Serbia into Exile_ (MELROSE) is a book that will suffer little from
the fact that its tragic tale has already been told by several other pens.
Mr. FORTIER JONES, the writer, has much that is fresh to say, and a very
fresh and vigorous way of saying it. His book and himself are both American
of the best kind--which is to say, wonderfully resourceful, observant,
sympathetic and alive. From a newspaper flung away by a stranger on the
Broadway Express, Mr. JONES first became aware that men were wanted for
relief work in Serbia, and "in an hour I had become part of the
expedition." That is a phrase characteristic of the whole book. Though the
matter of it is the story, "incredibly hideous and incredibly heroic," of a
nation going into exile, Mr. JONES has always a keen eye for the
picturesque and even humorous aspects of the tragedy; he has a quick sense
of the effective which enables him to touch in many haunting pictures--the
delusive peace of a sunny Autumn day among the Bosnian mountains; the face
of KING PETER seen for a moment by lamplight amid a crowd of refugees; and
countless others. More than a passing mention also is due to the many quite
admirable snapshots with which the volume is illustrated. The author seems
successfully to have communicated his own gifts of observation and
selection to his camera, an instrument only too apt to betray those who
look to it for support. One is glad for many reasons to think that our
American cousins will read this book.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Man in the Fog_ (HEATH, CRANTON) is a book that I find exceedingly
hard to classify. Its author, Mr. HARRY TIGHE, has several previous stories
to his credit, all of which seem to have moved the critics to pleasant
sayings. But for my own part I have frankly to confess that I found _The
Man in the Fog_ somewhat wheezy company. The _Man_ of the title was a kind
of Northern Joseph, dismissed from a promising partnership with Potiphar
after a domestic intrigue on the lines of the original. The fog happens
when, years later, he meets the daughter of Mrs. Potiphar returning to her
mother's house, and (at the risk of the poor girl catching her death)
detains her on the front step with foggy allusions to the mysterious past.
I may mention that his own conduct in the interval had been such as I can
only regard as a lamentable relapse from the altitude of the earlier
chapters. But it is all vastly serious--it would perhaps be unkind to say
sententious--and wholly unruffled by the faintest suggestion of comedy. For
which reason I should never be startled to learn that HARRY TIGHE was
either youthful, Scotch, or female (or indeed, for that matter, all three).
In any case I can only hope that he, or she, will not resent my parting
advice to cultivate a somewhat lighter touch, and the selection of such
words as come easily from the tongue. Some of the dialogue in the present
book is painfully unhuman.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

A Great Problem Solved.

Some carry their season tickets in their hat-bands, others fasten them on
their wrists, others wear them attached to cords. A correspondent writes:--

    "In my own overcoat I find an ingenious arrangement excellently suited
    for the purpose of carrying a season ticket, so that it shall be at
    once secure and easily accessible. The tailor has made a horizontal
    slit, about two-and-a-half inches wide, in the right side of the coat,
    and cunningly inserted a small rectangular bag or pouch of linen, the
    whole thing being strongly stitched and neatly finished off with a
    flap. It makes an admirable receptacle for a season ticket of ordinary
    dimensions, and I recommend this contrivance to those who may not be
    acquainted with it."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Well-fed as we are at home, and conscious that the men who are
    fighting our battles are the best provisioned forces who ever took the
    field, we can contemplate the continuance of the coldest weather for
    twenty years with equanimity."--_Daily Chronicle_.

Or even for the duration of the War.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, Or The London Charivari, Volume
152, Feb. 7, 1917, by Various


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