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Title: Punch or the London Charivari, Volume 158, March 24, 1920.
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch or the London Charivari, Volume 158, March 24, 1920." ***

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VOL. 158.

March 24, 1920.


"Nobody knows," says a Berlin message, "how near the KAPP
counter-revolution came to being a success." A kind word from
Commander KENWORTHY, it is believed, would have made all the


It is reported that Miss ISOBEL ELSOM, the cinema star, tried to get
knocked down by a taxi-cab for the purposes of a film, but failed. We
can only suppose that the driver must have been new to his job.


A vicar has written to the Press complaining indignantly of a London
firm's offer to supply sermons at five shillings each. We are not
surprised. Five shillings is a lot of money to give for a sermon.


The Llangollen Golf Club has decided to allow Sunday golf. In
extenuation it is pointed out that the Welsh for "stymied" does not
constitute a breach of the Sabbath, as is the case with the Scots


At Caterham a robin has built its nest in a bully beef tin. These are
the little things that give the Disposals Board a bad name.


A North of Ireland man who has just died at the age of 107 boasted
that he had never had a bath. This should silence the faddists who
pretend that they can hardly wait till Saturday night.


The ruins of Whitby Abbey, it is announced, are to be presented by
their owner to the nation. On the other hand, the report that Mr.
LLOYD GEORGE intends to present the ruins of the Liberal Party to
Manchester City is not confirmed.


The latest information is that the recent German revolution had to be
abandoned owing to the weather.


From a weekly paper article we gather that the trousers-crease will be
in its accustomed frontal position this year. It is unfortunate that
this announcement should have clashed with the attempted restoration
of the Monarchy in Berlin.


Hot Cross Buns will probably cost threepence this year. An economical
plan is for the householder to make his own hot cross and then get the
local confectioner to fit a bun to it.


"There will be no whisky in Scotland in the year 1925," says a
Prohibitionist speaker. He did not say whether there will be any


No arrangement has yet been made for the carrying on of the Food
Ministry, though it is said that one food profiteer has offered to buy
the place as a memento.


"All the great men are dead," states a London newspaper. This sly dig
at Mr. CHURCHILL'S robust health is surely in bad taste.


We are glad to hear that the strap-hanger who was summoned by a
fellow-passenger on the Underground Railway for refusing to remove his
foot from off the plaintiff's toes has now been acquitted by the jury.
It appears that he was able to prove that he was not in a position to
do so as his was not the top foot of the heap.


According to a trade journal the latest fashion in umbrellas is a
pigeon's head carved on the handle. This, we understand, is the first
step towards a really reliable homing umbrella.


The appearance of a hen blackbird without any trace of feathers on its
neck or back is reported by a Worcester ornithologist. The attempt
on the part of this bird to follow our present fashions is most


So much difficulty is being experienced in deciding whose incendiary
bullet was the most effective, that it is thought possible that the
Government may arrange for the Zeppelin raids to be revived.


A society paper reports that a large number of millionaires are now
staying on the Riviera. It is not known where the other shareholders
of COATS'S are staying.


In order to influence the exchange a contemporary suggests that we
should sell our treasures to America. We understand that a cable to
New York asking what they are prepared to pay for Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
remains unanswered.


An egg weighing nine-and-a-half ounces has been laid at Bayonne,
France. It looks like a walk-over unless _The Spectator_ has something
up its sleeve.


"One hears the crying of the new-born lambs on all sides," writes a
Nature correspondent. On the other hand the unmistakable bubbling note
of the mint-sauce will not be heard for another month or so.


Will the A.S.C. private who in 1917 was ordered to take a mule to
Sutton Coldfield please note that the animal has been sighted in
California still chewing an army tunic, but the badges are missing?


"So many letters are being lost in the post nowadays," states a
daily paper, "that drastic action should be taken in the matter." We
understand that the POSTMASTER-GENERAL has expressed his willingness
to be searched.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Hygienist_. "FEELING THE COLD, EH? AHA--LOOK AT ME. I

_Normal Individual_. "THEN N-NATURALLY YOU D-DON'T FEEL IT."]

       *       *       *       *       *


  "Lady, a word--but oh, beware!
    And prithee do not slight it--
  If you will have your back so bare,
    Someone is sure to bite it."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "An official of the Coal Controller's Department said that
    everything possible would be done to relieve the situation.

    'No stone will be left unturned,' he said, 'to ease the
    position.'"--_Daily Paper_.

This accounts, no doubt, for the stuff in our last half-hundredweight.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Once more the Militant Mode recurs
  With clank of sabre and clink of spurs;
  Once more the long grey cloaks adorn
  The bellicose backs of the high-well-born;
  Once more to the click of martial boots
  Junkers exchange their grave salutes,
  Taking the pavement, large with side,
  Shoulders padded and elbows wide;
  And if a civilian dares to mutter
  They boost him off and he bites the gutter.

  Down by the Brandenburger Thor
  Kitchens are worked by cooks of war;
  Loyal moustaches cease to sag,
  Leaping for joy of the old war-flag;
  Drums are beating and bugles blare
  And passionate bandsmen rip the air;
  Prussia's original ardour rallies
  At the sound of _Deutschland über alles_,
  And warriors slap their fighting pants
  To the tune _Heil dir im Siegeskranz_.

  Life, in a word, recalls the phase
  Of the glorious Hohenzollern days.
  What if a War's meanwhile occurred
  And talk of a humbling Peace been heard?
  Treaties are meant to be torn in two
  And wars are made to be fought anew.
  _Hoch_! for the _Tag_, by land and main,
  When the Monarchy comes to its own again.

  Surely tho wind of it, faint but sweet,
  The Old Man sniffed in his Dutch retreat;
  Surely it gave his pulse a jog
  As he went for his thirteen thousandth log,
  Possibly causing the axe to jam
  When he thought of his derelict Potsdam,
  Of his orb mislaid and his head's deflation,
  And visions arose of a Restoration.
  (If not for himself, it might be done

  Alas for the chances of child or sire!
  The _coup_ went phut, for the KAPP missed fire.


       *       *       *       *       *


It was twelve o'clock (noon) and I was sitting over the fire in our
squalid lodgings reading the attractive advertisements of country
mansions in a weekly journal. I had just decided on a delightful Tudor
manor-house with every modern convenience, a nice little park and
excellent fishing and shooting, when Betty burst upon me like a

Her face was flushed and a fierce light shone in her usually mild
blue eyes. She looked like a Mænad or the incarnation of Victory at a
bargain sale.

"Come on," she gasped, seizing me by the arm. "Hurry."

"Good heavens! Is the house on fire? My child! Let me save my child."

"Oh, do come on," cried Betty; "there's not a moment to be lost."

"But how can I come on in slippers?" I demanded. "If I may not save
the young Henry Augustus, at any rate let me put on my boots."

Betty's only reply was to drag me from the room, hustle me through the
hall, where I dexterously caught my hat from the stand in passing, and
thrust me into the street.

"I've got a flat," she panted. "That is, I've got it if we're quick
enough. Hi, taxi!"

"But, my dear," I remonstrated as the taxi-driver, cowed by the look
in her eye, drew up to the kerb, "if we take a taxi we shan't have
anything left to pay for the flat."

"Victory Mansions, Trebarwith Road. Drive fast!" shouted Betty as she
pushed me into the cab.

"Now you've done it," I said bitterly. "Do you know I've only five
pounds ten on me at the moment? We shall lose the flat while we're
quarrelling with the driver."

"Oh, dear," cried Betty, "can't you see that this is serious? It was a
wonderful piece of luck. I was passing the mansions and I happened to
look up just as someone was sticking up a notice, 'Flat to Let,' in
one of the windows. There was a beast of a man on the other side of
the street and he simply leapt across the road. I slipped, or I should
have beaten him. As it was he got to the door a yard ahead of me. We
looked over the flat together, but of course he was first, and he
said he was sure it would suit him, only he must ask his wife. It was
awful! I felt as if I must kill him."

"So you followed him out and pushed him down the lift-shaft? My dear
brave girl!"

"No, but I heard him say he could be back in half-an-hour. I knew I
could do it in twenty-five minutes. Look!" Betty crushed my hand as in
a vice. "There he is."

As we took a corner on two wheels I looked out and saw a man running.
"Taxi!" he shouted in the hoarse voice of despair. Our driver sat like
a graven image and we swept on in triumph.

"Oh!" cried Betty suddenly, "suppose that, after all, somebody
else----" She choked on a sob.

"Courage, dear heart," I said. "All is not yet lost."

A moment later we had reached Victory Mansions and made a dash for the

"Are we in time?" asked Betty as the door was opened.

"I think so, Ma'am," said the smiling maid and ushered us into the
presence of the out-going tenant. A tour of the rooms at express speed
showed the flat to be a desirable one enough. There were three years
to run and the rent was not extortionate--for the times.

"I'll sign the agreement now," said I.

"Half-a-minute," said the out-going tenant as he produced the
documents; "I'll get a pen and ink."

The whirr of an electric bell resounded through the flat.

"Quick!" panted Betty. "Your fountain pen." I produced it and wrote my
name with a hand trembling with eagerness.

"A gentleman about the flat, Sir," said the maid, and, haggard, pale
and exhausted, our defeated rival staggered into the room.

He looked at us with a dumb agony in his eyes, and neither of us two
men had the courage to deal the fatal blow. It was Betty who spoke.

"I'm sorry, but we've just taken this flat," she said sweetly, and
added with true feminine cruelty, "I saw it first, you know."

The stranger lost control and crashed badly on the hearth-rug.

"Poor man," said Betty to the late tenant. "Be kind to him for our
sakes." Then she led the way to our cab.

"Hotel Splendid!" I said magnificently to the driver.

"Wot," he growled, "not in them slippers?"

"True," I said, with what dignity I could muster, and gave him the
address of our lodgings.

"None the less," I said to Betty, "you shall lunch among the
profiteers. This is a great day, and it is yours."

       *       *       *       *       *


    Great interest is being taken in the plucky attempt of Cambridge
    to beat America, Africa and Europe (with Oxford).

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: WHAT'S IN A NAME?



       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Juvenile Spectator (as the Oxford crew go out


       *       *       *       *       *


MY DEAR CHARLES,--In all the stirring history of the War I don't know
which has been the most moving sight: the War Office trying to get me
to be a soldier, or the War Oflice trying to get me to stop being a

Before the late Summer of 1914, England had evinced no burning
interest in its Henry. It had, in fact, left me to make my own way,
contenting itself with cautioning me if I didn't stick to the right
side of the road, or to fining me if I exceeded the speed limit. In
August of that memorable year it got, you will remember, mixed up
in rather a nasty bother. Searching for friends to get it out, it
bethought itself of Henry, along with 499,999 others whose names for
the moment I do not recall. Between us (with subsequent assistance) we
set things to rights, and nothing remained for Old England save to rid
itself gracefully of what remained of its few millions of new-found
friends. There was, however, no shaking off its bosom pal, Henry. I
am one of those loyal characters whose affection, once gained, nothing
can undo. No use saying to me: "Well, old man, it's getting late now;
you must come and see us again some other day." I am one of the sort
who answer: "Don't you worry yourself about that. I'm going to stay
and go on seeing you now."

In the early days of demobilisation there was, I think, a certain
novelty and attraction about my attitude to the problem. In contrast
to the impatient hordes crowding the entrance of the War Office,
ringing the front-door bell violently, tapping on the window-panes
and generally disturbing that serene atmosphere of peace which was the
great feature of the War in Whitehall, it was refreshing to think
of Henry, plugging quietly away elsewhere at his military duties,
undeterred by armistices, peaces and things of that kind. I fancy I
was well thought of in those days at the War House.

"Say what you like about him," I can hear A.G.4 remarking to M.S.19
(decimal 9 recurring) as they met in the corridor on their way to
lunch, "but I find him a patient, well-behaved young fellow."

"Yes," would be the thoughtful answer, "it seems almost a pity we are
going to lose him."

Speaking strictly between ourselves, I have never thought much of the
Military Secretary branch. What made them think they were going to
lose me as easily as all that?

What I said to myself was: "Henry, my lad, thirteen shillings and
elevenpence a day is thirteen shillings and elevenpence a day; now
isn't it? And war isn't war when there is a peace coming on. Why then
throw up a fat income just for the sake of getting into long trousers?
You stay where you are till they come and fetch you."

So I just stayed where I was, and I conducted the operation with such
ability and tact that Whitehall came to forget all about me. My name
went on appearing, with ever-increasing dignity and beauty, in the
Army List; but that made no difference. You see, though lots of people
write the Army List, no one ever reads it; only from time to time
a man will surreptitiously turn up his own name, just to renew his
feeling of self-importance, or in an emergency he will look up the
name of a friend in order to get the right initials after it and not
risk giving that personal offence which may prevent the loan....

But when I say that I stayed where I was I don't mean to suggest that
I didn't go on leave in the usual way. Indeed I often came home, in
full regimentals, too, partly to impress you and partly to travel
first-class at your expense. Fellow-passengers never thought of
turning on me and rending me, as being the cause of
six-shillings-in-the-pound. They would be extremely polite and make
friendly conversation with me, leading up to the point that they had
been soldiers themselves once, but had given it up, owing to having
been told that the War was finished.

I would be just as polite to them, telling them they might count on
me to return to the discomforts and risks of civil life as soon as I
could be spared from the front. They had never the intelligence, or
daring to ask, "The front of what?"

Now the climax has arrived; I am asked if they must throw me out or
will I go quietly? I fancy I have been caught by one of those
card-indexes. I suspect some Departmental General of showing off to a
friend. "This is my IN basket," I can hear him explaining as he shows
his audience his office; "every letter which comes in goes into the
IN. That is my OUT basket, and every letter which goes out goes out of
the OUT.

"And then, Sir, we have the Card Index. A complete record of every
officer in the Army, permanent or temporary."

"Are there still temporary officers in the Army?" asks the audience,
not being able to think of anything better to ask, and clearly being
called upon to ask something.

"Sergeant-Major, turn up 'Officers, army, temporary, the, in,' for
this gentleman."

And thus the shameful truth comes out. One card only--mine.

Exit audience wondering what manner of intrepid man this Henry might

Originally the W.O. had had a great idea; they caused my regiment
softly and silently to vanish away, thinking that I would vanish with
it. But I had been too sharp for them. Learning that they were bent
on "disembodying" me, and not liking the sound of the word, I had very
quietly removed myself from my regiment to the Staff. Thus for a few
happy months we see the W.O. rendered inert.

My final defeat was due to a chance remark of my own, made to one of
the fifty-nine officers under whose direct command I served. Upon
my first arriving on his Staff he had said to me, "Oh, by the way,
P.S.C., of course?" Quite affable, frank and to the point; "P.S.C., of

Not knowing the language, I could not make an equally affable answer.
I asked him to repeat the question, but to change the code.

"You have Passed Staff College, of course?" he said a little less

I then had the misfortune to answer: "Why, of course, if you mean that
tall building on the right as I came up here from the station?"

He then made up his mind that I was not only wanting in essential
parts, but was also the sort of person who jested on religious
subjects. He never forgot the matter; indeed, when applied to (under
"Secret and Confidential" cover) to suggest a means of getting rid of
me, he very clearly remembered it. At once every department in the War
House got busy; the interest of the Secretary of State was enlisted,
and the War Cabinet decided that for permanent purposes my post
must necessarily be held by a P.S.C. man. Done in by what was little
better, when you come to think of it, than a mere postscript.

Please understand that there was no talk of discharging me; no talk
of demobilising me; no talk even of disembodying me. Without any
reflection on my conduct and merely upon the grounds that, not being
P.S.C., I could not be regarded as quite right in the head, they
intimated their intention of vacating my appointment by the simple
process of an advertisement in the fashionable columns of _The London

"What happens next?" I asked.

"You will return to regimental duty," they said.

"But there isn't any regiment," I pointed out triumphantly, "therefore
there won't be any duty."

They didn't seem to mind that, and for some time I wondered why. Then
a thought occurred to me.

"But here, I say, what about my pay?"

"Ah!" said they unhelpfully....

And that, my dear Charles, is why, if you keep your eye on the
journals of (say) the Summer of 1925, you will read in the Stop-press
Column an urgent telegram from the W.O.: "On April 1st, 1920, the
following relinquishes his appointment

(Remaining, however,
    Yours always),   HENRY."

       *       *       *       *       *


    "MOTHERS' UNION.-- ... A helpful discussion followed on 'How
    to Deal with Unworthy Members.' There were about 50
    present."--_Parish Magazine_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


(_Ballad after C.S.C._)

  The reporter aired his aquatic lore
    (_Popply water in Corney Reach_,)
  A thing he had yearly essayed before;
    And a rowing jargon obscured his speech.

  The coach he coached with a megaphone
    (_Crabtree, Craven and Chiswick Eyot_)
  Till the crew were prone to emit a groan,
    And the Cox said nothing but "Bow, you're late."

  The Stroke he quickened to thirty-four
    (_In the first half-minute struck seventeen_)
  Some clocks returned it a trifle more,
    Which wasn't so good as it might have been.

  The towpath critic he shook his head
    (_Thornycroft's, where they began to row_):
  "Hung over the stretcher" was what he said,
    And "missed the beginning," and "hands too slow."

  The towpath critic, whoe'er he be
    (_A tug and some barges blocked the way_),
  For thirty odd years, it seems to me,
    Has never found anything else to say.

  The towpath critic's remarks are trite
    (_Off Ayling's Yard in a stiffish breeze_),
  Yet I study religiously morn and night
    Whole columns consisting of words like these.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MANNERS AND MODES.


       *       *       *       *       *


(_By our Literary Expert._)

No one will be surprised to hear that the Christian name of Mr.
BRADSHAW was George. Indeed, it is difficult to think what other name
a man of his calibre could have had. But many people will be surprised
to hear that Mr. BRADSHAW is no longer alive. Whatever one thinks
of his work one is inclined to think of him as a living personality,
working laboriously at some terminus--probably at the Charing Cross
Hotel. But it is not so. He died, in fact, in 1853. His first book--or
rather the first edition of his book[1] was published in 1839; yet,
unlike the author, it still lives. He is, in fact, the supreme example
of the posthumous serial writer. I have no information about Mr.
DEBRETT and Mr. BURKE, but the style and substance of their work are
relatively so flimsy that one is justified, I think, in neglecting
them. In any case their public is a limited one. So, of course, is Mr.
BRADSHAW'S; but it is better than theirs. Mr. DEBRETT'S book we read
idly in an idle hour; when we read Mr. BRADSHAW'S it is because we
feel that we simply must; and that perhaps is the surest test of

It is no wonder that in some circles Mr. BRADSHAW holds a position
comparable only to the position of HOMER. I once knew an elderly
clergyman who knew the whole of Mr. BRADSHAW'S book by heart. He could
tell you without hesitation the time of any train from anywhere to
anywhere else. He looked forward each month to the new number, as
other people look forward to the new numbers of magazines. When it
came he skimmed eagerly through its pages and noted with a fierce
excitement that they had taken off the 5.30 from Larne Harbour, or
that the 7.30 from Galashiels was stopping that month at Shankend. He
knew all the connections; he knew all the restaurant trains; and, if
you mentioned the 6.15 to Little Buxton, he could tell you offhand
whether it was a Saturdays Only or a Saturdays Excepted.

This is the exact truth, and I gathered that he was not unique. It
seems that there is a Bradshaw cult; there may even be a Bradshaw
club, where they meet at intervals for Bradshaw dinners, after which
a paper is read on "Changes I have made, with some Observations on
Salisbury." I suppose some of them have first editions, and talk about
them very proudly; and they have hot academic discussions on the best
way to get from Barnham Junction to Cardiff without going through
Bristol. Then they drink the toast of "The Master" and go home in
omnibuses. My friend was a schoolmaster and took a small class of boys
in Bradshaw; he said they knew as much about it as he did. I call that
corrupting the young.

But apart from this little band of admirers I am afraid that the book
does suffer from neglect. Who is there, for example, who has read
the "Directions" on page 1, where we are actually shown the method
of reading tentatively suggested by the author himself? The ordinary
reader, coming across a certain kind of thin line, lightly dismisses
it as a misprint or a restaurant car on Fridays. If he had read the
Preface he would know that it meant a SHUNT. He would know that a
SHUNT means that passengers are enabled to continue their journey by
changing into the next train. Whether he would know what that means I
do not know. The best authorities suppose it to be a poetical way of
saying that you have to change--what is called an euphemism.

No, you must not neglect the Preface; and you must not neglect the
Appendix on Hotels. As sometimes happens in works of a philanthropic
character, Mr. BRADSHAW'S Appendix has a human charm that is lacking
in his treatment of his principal theme, the arrival and departure
of trains. To the careful student it reveals also a high degree
of organisation among his collaborators, the hotel-managers. It is
obvious, for example, that at Bournemouth there must be at least one
hotel which has the finest situation on the South coast. Indeed
one would expect to find that there was more than one. But no;
Bournemouth, exceptionally fortunate in having at once the most select
hotel on the South coast, the largest and best-appointed hotel on the
South coast and the largest and most up-to-date hotel on the South
coast, has positively only one which has the finest position on
the South coast. Indeed, there is only one of these in the whole of
England, though there are two which have the finest position on the
East coast.

How is it, we wonder, that with so much variation on a single theme
such artistic restraint is achieved? It is clear, I think, that before
they send in their manuscripts the hotel-managers must meet somewhere
and agree together the exact terms of their contributions to the book.
"The George" agrees that for the coming year "The Crown" shall have
the "finest cuisine in England," provided "The George" may have "the
most charming situation imaginable," and so on. I should like to be at
one of those meetings.

This is the only theory which accounts for the curious phrases we
find so frequently in the text:--"_Acknowledged_ to be the finest";
"_Admittedly_ in the best position." Who is it that acknowledges or
admits these things? It must be the other managers at these annual
meetings. Yes, the restraint of the collaborators is wonderful, and in
one point only has it broken down. There are no fewer than seventeen
hotels with an Unrivalled Situation, and two of these are at
Harrogate. For a small place like the British Isles it seems to me
that this is too many.

For the rest, what imagery, what exaltation we find in this Appendix!
Dazed with imagined beauty we pass from one splendid haunt to another.
One of them has _three_ golf-courses of its own; several are _replete_
with every comfort (and is not "replete" the perfect epithet?). Here
is a seductive one "on the sea-edge," and another whose principal
glory is its sanitary certificate. Another stands on the spot where
TENNYSON received his inspiration for the _Idylls of the King_, and
leaves it at that. In such a spot even "cuisine" is negligible.

On the whole, from a literary point of view, the hydros come out
better than the mere hotels. But of course they have unequalled
advantages. With such material as Dowsing Radiant Heat, D'Arsonval
High Frequency and Fango Mud Treatment almost any writer could be
sensational. What is High Frequency, I wonder? It is clear, at any
rate, that it would be madness to have a hydro without it.

Well, I have selected my hotel--on purely literary grounds. Or rather
I have selected two. One is the place where they have the Famous
Whirlpool Baths. I shall go there at once.

The manager of the other is a great artist; alone among the
collaborators he understands simplicity. His contribution occupies
a whole page; but there is practically nothing in it, nothing about
cuisine or sanitation, or elegance or comfort. Only, in the middle, he


[Footnote 1: "Bradshaw's General Railway and Steam Navigation Guide
for Great Britain and Ireland."]

       *       *       *       *       *


    "The complaint made was that men came to the district and
    asked inflated prices for shares, far above the market value,
    and it was argued that the new exchange would tend to obviate
    this system of sharks feathering their nests."--_Lancashire
       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


(_With the British Army in France_.)

Frederick entered the Mess with a decided sea-roll, hitched his slacks
and berthed himself on the starboard settee.

"Cheerio, my hearties," said he breezily. "Everybody on the old lugger
still luffing along all serene?"

"Why so oppressively nautical?" inquired Percival. "You haven't been
on the leave-boat lately."

"'Tis true, old messmate. I'm under the influence of my new batman,
one 'Enery 'Enson. After a lifetime in the Marines he's now spending
his declining days in the Army, and he's terribly infectious. I found
myself saying, 'Ay, ay, Sir,' when the C.O. spoke to me."

"I think I've noticed your 'Enery," said Percival. "Isn't he about
ten feet high by six broad, tattooed all over like a circulating art
gallery, and addicted to chewing quids and swabbing out your hut in
his bare feet?"

"My cabin, you mean. And says he's going ashore when he takes a trip
down the village. That's 'Enery."

"Incidentally he's a confirmed bath-lifter," interjected Binnie.
"Yesterday morning my batman prepared me a tub, and while he was
fetching me along your hulking pirate boosted out my sponge and towels
and installed your lily-white self in it. You were so busy wallowing
in my hot water that you never heard my protests on the door. You
really must curb his buccaneering instincts, old Tirps."

"I accept no responsibility for his methods," said Frederick
haughtily; "I merely profit by them. In any case I didn't _take_ your
hot water; I simply used it. You should live near the bath-house and
get up promptly when you are called, as I do."

"Well, I don't mind the British Navy ruling the waves," grumbled
Binnie, "but I object to its extending its sphere of influence over my

"It jolly well doesn't extend over mine," said Percival with pride.
"Frederick's 'Enery doesn't get the better of my Elfred. This morning
a queue, consisting of two perfectly good Loots, a really excellent
Skipper and a priceless Major were waiting for vacant baths. But was
Elfred Fry dismayed? To forestall an answer that might possibly be
wrong I may say that he wasn't. He promptly appropriated a cubicle
that happened to be unoccupied--"

"Really, my frowsty old Camembert, don't ask us to believe that they
had _all_ overlooked it," expostulated Frederick.

"Not for worlds would I endeavour to impose on your gentle trusting
natures. So far from their overlooking it the bath had been the
subject of earnest scrutiny, and they had all regretfully come to
the conclusion that it lacked one important attribute of a bath--it
wouldn't hold water. The plug was missing."

"And by a singular chance the plug happened to be in the possession of
your Elfred?"

"That is my case, me luds," said Percival simply. "If the silent Navy
wants to beat my Elfred it's got to rise very early in the morning."

"We shall see," said Frederick darkly. "I'm going to tell this tale to
the Marines."

That evening the troops had organised a stupendous boxing tournament
in the Recreation Hut. Binnie by invitation combined the offices
of referee, M.C. and timekeeper, and Frederick and Percival at the
ring-side unanimously disagreed with his verdicts.

"Most appalling decision," said Percival in a loud whisper. "The
referee has obviously been got at."

"Sh!" replied Frederick. "He hasn't been told it's a boxing contest.
He thinks it's a clog-dancing competition and is giving the points for

Unfortunately the M.C. did not hear. He was speaking himself.

"The next bout should conclude our programme," he said, "but I am
asked to announce that Private Henson challenges Private Fry to box
six two-minute rounds, backing himself for five francs against a small
article of no intrinsic value."

Enthusiastic applause greeted the announcement. A disturbance in the
rear of the hut indicated that Elfred was heading for cover.

"'E 's twice my size," he wailed as strong hands hauled him back.

"The challenger admits that he holds a slight advantage in weight,"
continued the M.C., "but considers that is counterbalanced by his
advanced years."

"This is _your_ fiendish work," hissed Percival to Frederick.

"Not a bit of it, old sportsman," replied Frederick cheerfully. "The
patent rights are held by 'Enery. I merely mentioned to him that
Elfred possessed a desirable bath-plug that it might be useful to

Percival left his seat to confer with the shrinking Elfred.

"'E can 'ave the old bath-plug an' welcome, Sir, as far as I'm
concerned," said the latter.

"Tut, tut!" said Percival. "You must make a fight for it. The honour
of the Army is at stake."

"I ain't all that set on the honour of the Army," said Elfred. "But
'im being the challenger, shouldn't I be justified in putting the plug
in one of my gloves?"

"The rules don't provide for such a contingency. Hurry up now and get
stripped, and I'll give you twenty francs if you win."

Both combatants were warmly received. 'Enery's decorative tattooing
was much admired, and Elfred was urgently requested not to spoil
the pictures. By desire of the referee the stakes were handed to
him--Frederick producing the five francs for 'Enery--and the battle

It was early evident that the Navy intended shock tactics, while the
Army favoured a system of elastic defence. A salvo of short-arm jabs
by 'Enery was answered by long-range sniping on the part of Elfred,
no direct hits being recorded. Towards the end of the round 'Enery
attempted to approach under cover of a smoke screen, but action was
broken off at the sound of the gong.

The second round opened sensationally. Elfred, on the advice of his
seconds, was "making use of the ring" when he accidentally collided
with his opponent coming in the reverse direction and gave him a
violent thump without return. There seemed every prospect of trouble,
but clever footwork prevented the incident developing into a _fracas_.
Round two concluded with Elfred leading handsomely by one point to

"Two to one on Elfred," said Percival excitedly.

"Take you--in bath plugs," answered Frederick, carefully entering the

'Enery equalised in the third round, Elfred having incautiously
wandered into the track of a stray upper-cut and bounced off. More
footwork followed, Elfred winning by about two yards. Both were
breathing heavily when time was called, and 'Enery was complaining
about his bronchitis.

Skirmishing tactics in the fourth round resulted in Elfred having
a narrow escape from being torpedoed beneath the belt, and during
several subsequent clinches he was requested to stop studying the
pictures and get on with the business.

The fifth and sixth rounds were marked by the departure of most of the
spectators, and in the end a draw was the only possible verdict.

"But what about the plug, old scout?" asked Percival, as they wandered
back to their quarters.

"As referee," answered Binnie, "I gave a draw; as Battalion Boxing
Board of Control I order the match to be re-fought in six months'
time, to give the men a chance to get into condition; and meanwhile as
stakeholder I continue to hold the five francs and the bath-plug."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Profiteer_ (_to M.F.H._). "LOOK 'ERE!--THIS IS THE

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Victim_. "YES--SOMETHING. WHAT IS IT?"]

       *       *       *       *       *


    [A writer in an evening paper describes a certain song as
    being sung, "sometimes with a lump in the throat and a tear in
    the eye," all over England.]

  If you wish to succeed as a writer
    Of songs that undoubtedly count,
  By making the atmosphere brighter,
    The moral barometer mount,
  Then be it your aim and endeavour to try
  For the lump in the throat and the tear in the eye.

  SCRIABINE and STRAVINSKY may flatter
    The ears of the brainy _élite_,
  But the musical numbers that matter
    Express what is simple and sweet;
  You may easily miss, by aspiring too high,
  Both the lump in the throat and the tear in the eye.

  Though cynics conspire to repress it,
    To sentiment, "heavenly link"
  (As the Bard of Savoy would address it),
    With joy "I eternally drink;"
  For it gives us the key, which no science can buy,
  To the lump in the throat and the tear in the eye.

  But, if you are anti-Victorian
    And, scorning the coo of the dove,
  Hold the roar of the primitive Saurian
    The final expression of love,
  You may have, if you choose, an alternative shy
  At a tear in the throat and a lump in the eye.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "For 70 years Regent Street has basked in sunshine, and now
    it is to be cast into shadow again. It will be like a gloomy
    canon between dour stone walls."--_Daily Chronicle_.

We have heard of a gloomy Dean, whose habitat answers to the
description given. Can this be his understudy?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The 'brasses' worn by the modern cart-horse are a direct
    survival of the amulets which bedecked the horses of the time
    of Julius Cæsar. They are worn on the farthingale as charms
    against the Evil Eye."--_Daily Paper_.

You should see our Clydesdale in her crinoline.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


_Monday, March 15th_. The great Food-prices debate hardly justified
its preliminary advertisement. Mr. MCCURDY took sure ground when he
argued that high prices were mainly due to world-shortage; and,
though he entered more disputable territory when he declared that the
Profiteering Act was not primarily intended to punish profiteers,
Mr. ASQUITH did not seriously attempt to dislodge him. Indeed, the
EX-PREMIER'S speech was mainly composed of truisms, his only excursion
into the speculative being an assertion--with which not all economists
will agree--that inflation of currency is a consequence and not a
cause of high prices.

An ex-Food Controller, Mr. GEORGE ROBERTS, defended the Government
against charges of extravagance, and ventured to remind Labour--as
THOMAS DRUMMOND reminded Irish landlords--that it had duties as well
as rights.

Early in the evening the PRIME MINISTER, who had sat through many
speeches in readiness for the threatened attack, folded his notes and
silently stole away.

On the adjournment General PAGE CROFT accused the Ministry of
Munitions of unfair treatment to one of its employees. The peroration
to Mr. KELLAWAY'S spirited defence deserves quotation: "The decision
taken by the Ministry is a decision that will stand." That's the stuff
to give 'em.

_Tuesday, March 16th_.--"The LORD CHANCELLOR was so unusually
apologetic in his exposition of the War Emergency Laws (Continuance)
Bill that none of the Peers had the heart seriously to oppose him.
Lord SALISBURY took note of the Government's admission that they
were anxious to say Good-bye to D.O.R.A. and only complained that the
farewell ceremony was so long-drawn-out. Lord BUCKMASTER failed to
understand why D.O.R.A. should have a longer life in Ireland than in
England, and was so carried away by his own eloquence as to declare
that all the crimes attributed to the Sinn Feiners had been due
"to misguided attempts to enforce special legislation against a
misunderstood and a gallant people." Lord BIRKENHEAD replied that
there was at least a plausible case for the contention that the boot
was on the other leg.



It is unusual to find Members of the House of Commons objecting to
their speeches being reported, but apparently some of them do--when
the reporters are police constables. The HOME SECRETARY thought it
quite possible that if Members attended certain meetings the official
stenographers might think it worth while to take down their utterances
but I gathered that he was not prepared to give any guarantee on the
subject, and that Colonel WEDGWOOD and Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY must
not count too confidently on having a further road to fame opened to


Mr. BONAR LAW read a telegram from Lord KILMARNOCK regarding the
situation in Berlin. As it was already a day old, was admittedly based
on a _communiqué_ from _Wolff's Bureau_, "censored" by Mr. TREBITSCH
LINCOLN (late Liberal Member for Darlington), and had in the meantime
been officially contradicted by the old Government, it did not add
much to our knowledge.

Time was when it was usual to move to reduce a Vote by a hundred
pounds if you wanted to defeat the Government. But such paltry figures
are no good in these spacious days. Sir DONALD MACLEANS'S proposed
reduction in the Vote on Account for the Civil Services was the
much more mouth-filling morsel of one hundred million pounds. Mr.
CHAMBERLAIN considered it very handsome of the Opposition, on the
eve, he understood, of coming into office, thus to cut off its own
supplies. Nevertheless he declined to accept the generous offer. Our
finances would be all right if the House would back the Government by
practising economy as well as preaching it. As it was, he thought the
worst was over, for--strange and agreeable phenomenon--the floating
debt was sinking.

After this it was, perhaps, not very complimentary'of Mr. J.W. WILSON
to urge the Government to put forth their best speakers. The PRIME
MINISTER was still coy, but Sir ROBERT HORNE, in virtue of his new
office as President of the Board of Trade, stepped nimbly into the
breach, and made a speech so cheerful both in substance and delivery
as to justify the hope that in him the Government have found the HORNE
of Plenty.

_Wednesday, March 17th_.--Seventeen years ago Lord BALFOUR OF
BURLEIGH, as a hard-shell Free Trader, sacrificed office sooner than
bow the knee to the new gods of Birmingham. This afternoon he brought
in a Bill (to safeguard "key industries" and counteract "dumping")
which would have gladdened the heart of Mr. JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN. Some
of the other Free Trade Peers were still unrepentant. Lord BEAUCHAMP,
for example, declaring that shipping was our real "quay-industry" and
needed no protection, announced his intention of moving the rejection
of the Bill; and Lord CREWE, although one of the authors of the Paris
resolutions, on which the measure was ostensibly based, thought that
it went far beyond present necessities. The only dumps with which
Germany was likely to be associated for some time to come were
doleful, not aggressive.

The Report of the Supplementary Estimates furnished the Commons with
abundant points for criticism. In protesting against an increase in
the remuneration of the Law Officers, Mr. HOGGE revealed a hitherto
unsuspected admiration for the PRIME MINISTER, whose services, he
considered, were most inadequately rewarded with five thousand pounds
a year and no pension. If anyone deserved an increase of salary it was

Mr. TYSON-WILSON had the temerity to complain that the Government were
not finding work for all the disabled ex-Service men whom they trained
in the technical schools, and laid himself open to a damaging "_tu
quoque_" from Sir ROBERT HORNE, who pointed out that this lack of
employment was largely due to the trade unions, which refused to admit
these men as "improvers."

In introducing the Naval Estimates for eighty odd millions Mr. LONG
was almost apologetic for not having made them larger. The _personnel_
has been drastically reduced, and parents are actually being offered a
premium of three hundred pounds to remove their sons from Osborne. On
the other hand promotion from the lower deck was to be encouraged, and
in future every youngster entering the Navy would metaphorically carry
a broad-pennant in his ditty-box.

_Thursday, March 18th_.--A proposal to erect a military monument on
a hill near Jerusalem was adversely criticised by Lord TREOWEN. Lord
SOUTHBOROUGH, as a recent visitor to the Holy City, thought that the
Government would be better advised to demolish some of the recent
buildings, including the ex-Kaiser's ridiculous clock-tower, which had
not even the negative merit of telling the time.

In consequence of his rather exhausting séance with the Liberal
Party the PRIME MINISTER was looking a little jaded. But he perked
up wonderfully when Mr. WILL THORNE, _à propos_ of a story that
the Russian Soviet Government had introduced martial law into the
workshops, asked whether he did not think that all able-bodied people
ought to be compelled to work. There was the old twinkle in his eyes
as he replied that it would be very interesting to know if that was
the view of the trade unions. From recent information I gather that
the bricklayers, at any rate, would not subscribe to it.

Upon the further consideration of the Navy Estimates General SEELY
urged the re-establishment of the Committee of Imperial Defence. Mr.
LONG said the Admiralty were most anxious for it. Mr. ASQUITH also
approved, but from his ten years' experience as its President entered
a _caveat_ against expecting the Committee to take upon itself
executive functions. "Had it done so," he observed, "there would have
been collisions, cross-purposes, waste of application, and in many
cases something approaching to administrative confusion." Which
things of course never occurred under his _régime_ of--shall I
say?--expectant watchfulness.

The rest of the debate was chiefly remarkable for Lady ASTOR'S bold
declaration, "The sea belongs to England, and it could not be in
better hands." Coming from a country-woman of Mr. DANIELS it was
doubly exhilarating.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Captain_. "'ERE LET'S PACK UP NOW; IT'S GETTING LATE.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "When the Light Blues went out a second time R.C. Barrett, of
    the winning trial eight crew, was at strike,--_Daily Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Kindly the dentist was, for he
    Had obviously sought
  To keep his waiting victims free
    From apprehensive thought,
  Providing for those souls in fear
  The Comic Press of yesteryear.

  I read those jests of days agone,
    Those jibes at folly flown,
  And wondered should I light upon
    Some trifle of my own,
  A par well pointed in its time
  Or fragment of reputed rhyme.

  Could I retrieve some sparkling fytte
    Bedecked with _jeux de mots_,
  I fancied that the sight of it
    Might soothe my present woe,
  Reminding me how once I had
  Been quite a jocund kind of lad.

  Lo, what a foolish hope was this!
    I realised too soon
  The special form of Nemesis
    That waits on the buffoon:
  _The joke I found concerned the gloom
  Inside a dentist's waiting-room_.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


(_Being the Diary of a well-intentioned Voter_.)

_Monday_. Important article in my morning paper on the serious
political outlook. Recommends the formation of a new party to carry
out progressive reforms and combat the forces of Revolution and
Anarchy. Sounds excellent. The new party is to be called the People's
Party. I decide to join it.

_Tuesday_.--By a fortunate mistake my newsagent placed wrong paper on
my step to-day. Find I was being misled by the sheet I usually take.
A new party to carry out progressive reforms and combat the forces
of Revolution and Anarchy has already been formed. It is called the
National Party. I decide to join it.

_Wednesday_.--Attended public meeting advertised as being in support
of the new party. Expected to hear all about the programme of the
National Party. Instead was urged to join the Modern Party, to carry
out progressive reforms and combat the forces of Revolution and
Anarchy. Signed card before leaving the hall pledging my support.

_Thursday_.--Dined with Brooks, who takes very grave view of the state
of the country. Said what we really want is a new party. Went on
to outline some urgent progressive reforms and mentioned one or two
necessary steps for combating the forces of Revolution and Anarchy.
Suggested that he and I should try to start a local branch of the
Britannic Party. Seemed so enthusiastic that I hadn't the heart to
refuse him.

_Friday_.--Johnson called at the office during my busiest hour. Wanted
to enrol me as a member of a new party, to be known as the Efficiency
Party. No time to go into it properly, so agreed, to get rid of him.
Anyhow, the object's a good one. It was something about progressive
reforms and combating the forces of Revolution and Anarchy.

_Saturday_.--Heard at the Club that if the Coalition is not better
supported in their attempts to carry out progressive reforms and
combat the forces of Revolution and Anarchy, they will form themselves
into a new party and go to the country. Locally we are to have, in
addition to the retiring Coalitionist, a Free Liberal candidate, a
Labour Party candidate, a couple of Independent candidates, a People's
Party candidate, a National Party candidate, a Modern Party candidate,
a Britannic Party candidate, and an Efficiency Party candidate. Afraid
this would make my position extremely complicated. Decide to give
undivided support to the Coalition in the hope of averting a General

       *       *       *       *       *



With that uncanny tuition of his Sir JAMES BARRIE has, of course, hit
on the precise truth. Russian dancers are not born but made--by the
_Maestro_, which I take it is (broadly speaking) Italian for Producer
and Presenter.

When _Karissima_ goes on a visit to the stately home of the _Veres_
the peace of that ancient haunt of the conventionally correct is
queerly broken. Young _Lord Vere_ loses his heart. However, that might
just as easily or more easily have happened if the Gaiety had been
invited. But a dreadful change comes to _Uncle Bill_--he buys his
clothes ready-made (at _La boutique fantasque_, for a guess, or
possibly Mr. MALLABY-DEELEY'S), grows dundrearies and goes hopelessly
off his game at golf.

_Karissima_, poor dear, can't walk or talk or putt, for that matter,
except with her toes. _Bill_ calls this last cheating, but young
_Vere_ thinks it simply adorable--as do we all. _Lady Vere_, his
mother, can't get used to being kissed by _Karissima_, who _will_
stand upon her lightly with one foot, oddly waving the other
meanwhile in the air. Besides it takes too long and _is_ rather too
demonstrative. And couldn't _Karissima_ dear just try to walk with
her soles really flat on the ground in the solid English county way?
Certainly. _Karissima_ will try, to please Madame, and with painful
effort achieves a half-dozen clumsy steps till unconquerable habit and
Mr. ARNOLD BAX'S allusively witty music lift her on tiptoe again. And
really she is such a darling that the once reluctant dowager finally
consents to the marriage; wedding bells forthwith (within); a
white-haired clergyman, surprised at nothing, as becomes the very
best type of padre, appears; follow _corps de ballet_ bridesmaids; and
_Bill_ gives her away.

_Karissima_, says _Vere_ to _Maestro_ later in the evening, is
depressed. Because she hasn't a child. They both tremendously want a
child. _Maestro_, silently showing his watch-dial, would seem to wish
to suggest that they were unreasonably impatient. _Karissima_ also
pleads. Well, he will see what he can do. But there's an awful
penalty. For a new Russian dancer cannot be made unless another
surrenders life. Anyway he fetches his black bag. And _Karissima_
dances down the main staircase with her babe, who grows apace and is
shortly seen prancing in the garden (on his toes--"Thank Heaven!" says
the _Maestro_).

And _Karissima_ dies and is brought in on her bier, and dances (she
_would_!) her own funeral service. _Maestro's_ heart is touched; he
lies down in her stead, and she, dancing on a carpet of thistle-down
shot with stars (I think), and her lord (I am sure), perpetually
exclaiming, "How perfectly topping!"--both achieve an enviable

Madame KARSAVINA is exquisite; she is well supported by Mr. C.M.
LOWNE (_Hon. Bill_), Mr. HERMAN DE LANGE (_Maestro_), Miss G.
STERROLL(_Dowager_), and Mr. BASIL FOSTER (_Lord Vere_). And I
thought I detected Mr. DU MAURIER'S appreciation of the bizarre in his
production. But the triumph is the triumph of the whimsical author. I
don't think he has ever done anything better; more ambitious things,
yes, but nothing so free from flaw.

Isn't it more than possible that just three-score years ago, on a May
day (see _Who's Who_), some Maestro of Fantasy slipped into a little
house in Kirriemuir, N.B., with a black bag? Wouldn't that explain the
otherwise inexplicable, the unwearying resourcefulness, the unabashed
playfulness of this impenitent youth?


       *       *       *       *       *


A suggestion has been put forward, with the support of the British
Drama League and others, for the establishment at our universities of
a "Faculty of the Theatre and Dramatic Degree." Heartily applauding
the proposal, we append a typical examination paper for the final

(1) Sketch briefly the progress of amateur acting in this country,
from the impersonation of a Danish minstrel by ALFRED THE GREAT, to
the Victory Varieties Matinée arranged by Lady Eve Tatlery.

(2) Arrange, in order of probability, the first fifty authors of

(3) "The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing-fields of Eton."
Estimate the rival claims of the Windsor Strollers.

(4) Indicate your make-up for ROMULUS, HENRY THE EIGHTH, ABRAHAM

(5) What is a point, and how made? A "straight" line lies evenly
between any good points; give instances.

(6) Under what dramatic conditions can a part be greater than the
whole? Cite the authority of any two actor-managers for this theory.

(7) Explain, with diagrams, (a) The Eternal Triangle; (b) Squaring the
Upper Circle.

(8) Illustrate the axiom that the length of a run varies with the
breadth of the dialogue.

(9) What proportion of the music-hall comedians of Great Britain is
supplied by (a) Lancashire; (b) Scotland?

(10) Which European drama requires most doors for its honeymoon

(11) "What Manchester thinks to-day England will think next
Sunday evening." Analyse this statement in its bearing upon the
play-producing societies.

(12) "Let who will make a nation's laws so that I make its songs."
Discuss the ethical and sociological significance of this with regard
to (a) "Where do flies go in the winter-time?" (b) "I _do_ like-an egg
with my tea."

In the _vivâ-voce_ portion of the examination, candidates for Honours
will be required to satisfy the examiners (to the point of actual
tears) by their recital of selected passages from prepared books.
They may offer any two of the following: "Buckingham's Farewell;" "The
Signalman's Daughter;" "The Death of Little Nell" (_with voices_).

For candidates not seeking Honours a passable imitation of Mr. GEORGE
ROBEY will entitle to one group.


       *       *       *       *       *


  There was a high priest of illusion
  Who rose by his leader's extrusion;
        By way of amends
        He invites his old friends
  To extinguish their prospects by Fusion.

  There was a great foe of delusion,
  Who came to the honest conclusion
        That Socialist Labour
        Plays beggar-my-neighbour
  And sought to defeat it by Fusion.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY SPORTS.--H.M. Abrahams winning the
    long jump with a distance of 22yds. to his credit."--_Picture

       *       *       *       *       *


    WHITHER GOETH THOU?"--_Headings in Daily Paper_.

Answer adjudged correct: "I knowest not."

       *       *       *       *       *

    'Wanted, a Horse for its keep. Excellent cuisine."--_The Times
    of Ceylon_.

_À la_ cart, we presume.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A roof garden for cats is included in the scheme for
    the extension of the premises of Our Dumb Friends'
    League."--_Evening Paper_.

We have heard the nocturnal cat on the tiles called many names, but
never a "dumb friend."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Police announce that dogs without dollars found wandering
    after 10 p.m. are liable to be destroyed."--_Hong Kong Paper_.

We understand, however, that in China dogs are almost invariably
provided with taels.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


_accounting for my previous silence in an unusually temperate March
and also presenting an ultimatum._

  Ye great brown hares, grown madder through the Spring!
    Ye birds that utilise your tiny throttles
  To make the archways of the forest ring
  Or go about your easy house-hunting!
    Ye toads! ye axolotls!

  Ye happy blighters all, that squeal and squat
    And fly and browse where'er the mood entices,
  Noting in every hedge or woodland grot
  The swelling surge of sap, but noting not
    The rise in current prices!

  But chiefly you, ye birds, whose jocund note
    (Linnets and larks and jays and red-billed ousels)
  Oft in those happier springtides now remote
  Caused me to catch the lyre and clear my throat
    After some coy refusals!

  Ay, and would cause me now--I have such bliss
    Seeing the star-set vale, the pearls, the agates
  Sown on the wintry boughs by Flora's kiss--
  Only the trouble in my case is this,
    I do not feed on maggots.

  Could I but share your diet cheap and rude,
    Your simple ways in trees and copses lurking;
  But no, I need a pipe and lots of food,
  A comfortable chair on which to brood--
    Silence! the bard is working.

  Could I but know that freedom from all care
    That comes, I say, from gratis sets of suitings
  And homes that need not premium nor repair
  Except with sticks and mud and moss and hair,
    My! there would be some flutings.

  So and so only would the ivory rod
    Stir the wild strings once more to exaltation;
  So and so only the impetuous god
  Pound in my bosom and produce that odd
    Tum-tiddly-um sensation.

  And often as I heard the throstles vamp,
    Pouring their liquid notes like golden syrup,
  Out would I go and round the garden tramp,
  Wearing goloshes if the day were damp,
    And imitate their chirrup.

  Or, bowling peacefully upon my bike,
    Well breakfasted, by no distractions flustered,
  Pause near a leafy copse or brambled dyke,
  And answer song for song the black-backed shrike,
    The curlew and the bustard.

  But now--ah, why prolong the dreadful strain?--
    Limply my hand the unstrung harp relaxes;
  The dear old days will not come back again
    Does with the nation's taxes.

  Lambs, buds, leap up; the lark to heaven climbs;
    Bread does the same; the price of baccy's brutal;
  And save (I do not note it in _The Times_)
  They make exemptions for evolving rhymes,
    Dashed if I mean to tootle!


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Sportsman_ (_just emerged from the brook_). "FOUR IN,

       *       *       *       *       *



The public already know something of the painful difficulties under
which novelists labour at the present moment owing to the paper
shortage and the enhanced cost of book production. But "the economic
consequences of the Peace" by no means exhaust the handicaps of the
conscientious and sensitive novelist. We are glad therefore to note
the efforts of _The Daily Graphic_ to enlist the sympathy of the
public on behalf of this sorely tried and meritorious class. Our
contemporary tells us, for example, of one momentous writer who was
reduced to dictating blindfold "because the facial peculiarities of
first one and then another amanuensis" upset her equanimity. Then
there is the tragic story of Mr. R.L. HITCHENS, who, being engaged
to write an article against time, sent out for a stenographer, who on
arrival proved to be a man with a large black beard of so sinister
an aspect that Mr. HICHINS was forced to dismiss him and write the
article in his own hand. Yet Mr. HICHENSis not easily put off, for we
learn that he finds he works best in big hotels and not, as we might
have guessed, in the sequestered tranquillity of a minaret.

To some writers solitude is the true school of genius. Yet Sir
LEWIS MORRIS found some of his happiest thoughts come to him while
travelling in the underground, while Mr. W.B. YEATS records a similar
experience as the result of a journey on the top of a tram-car. Your
advanced modernists, with MARINETTI at their head, find their best
stimulus to creative effort in the clang and clatter of machinery.
_per contra_, to return to _The Daily Graphic_, Mrs. C.N. WILLIAMSON
must have pretty things to look at "in business hours." But the
happiest of all our authors is Madame ALBANESI, who "finds her
brain-spur in a blank sheet of paper, and not the ghost of an idea
what she is going to write about." Less fortunate writers labour
assiduously only to leave the minds of their readers a blank, without
the ghost of an idea of what the author has been writing about.

It is a pity that Mr. W.L. GEORGE, in his interesting survey of modern
writers of fiction in the _English Review_, has told us nothing
about the methods of the "Neo-Victorians" and "Semi-Victorians,"
the "Edwardians" and "belated Edwardians," and the "Georgians" and
"Neo-Georgians." With all these classes he deals faithfully. But his
criticism is purely literary. He fails to tell us the things that
every reader wants to know. It is all very well to say that the
neo-Georgians "paint in ink," but he ought to have mentioned whether
it is green or red. Does Miss DOROTHY RICHARDSON dictate to the sound
of trumpets, garbed in crimson trouserloons? Does Mr. ARNOLD BENNETT
cantillate his "copy" into the horn of a graphophone or use a
motor-stylus? Does Mr. SIEGRIED SASSOON beat his breast with one hand
while he plays the loud bassoon with the other? Does Mr. ALEC WAUGH
use sermon-paper or foolscap? Does Mr. ALDOUS HUXLEY keep a tame
gorilla? These are the really illuminating details that we hunger for.
Without them it is impossible to appreciate the artistry of our young
Masters. Mr. W.L. GEORGE has given us a glimpse of the working of
their brains; let him now reveal to us the secrets of their workshops.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


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

_After the Day: Germany Unconquered and Unrepentant_ (JENKINS) is
the kind of thesis-book which it is wise to read in a deliberately
incredulous mood. Mr. HAYDEN TALBOT is an American newspaper man of
immense resourcefulness but, I should judge, of a not conspicuously
judicial habit of mind. That, perhaps, is hardly a newspaper man's
business. He is after copy, and certainly there's good enough copy in
his interviews with Count BERNSTORFF and Dr. RATHENAU, and one
must admire his feat of getting out of these and seven other German
publicists, including MAXIMILIAN HARDEN, the draft of a manifesto to
the people of America, composed in the hope, vain as it happened,
that the KAISER would break his long silence and sign it. It is the
author's theory that it is the inner camarilla, working for a speedy
restoration of the monarchy, that is responsible for the certainly
uncharacteristic reticence of Amerongen. Mr. TALBOT also interviewed
HINDENBERG, whom he found a "broken-down, inconsequential, garrulous
example of senility" LUDENDORFF, who was very stiff and proud and
rude; and the _fiancée_ of the man who sank the _Lusitania_. His
general idea of Germany is summed up in the remark of Mr. MANDELBAUM,
of New York: "All this talk about Fritz being down and out is all
bunk!" Germany is full of energy and hate; she will soon be a monarchy
again; will undersell the world; is assiduously preparing for air
supremacy as the way to _revanche_. I take it that this is not so
much a book as a _réchauffé_ of newspaper articles, which alone
will account for its formlessness and frequent changes of plane. Mr.
TALBOT, confessing to a total ignorance of the German tongue, seems
quite unconscious that this imposes certain limitations on his
capacity to make an adequate survey of a difficult problem.

       *       *       *       *       *

I may confess at once that I finished the first chapter of _The Woman
of the Picture_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) in a mood of slight derision,
induced by Mr. G.F. TURNER'S allowing one hero to say of the other
that he had "the interminable limbs" of an aristocrat. To the end of
the book indeed I was uncertain whether such occasional lapses were
meant to illumine the character of the supposed speaker or were
unintentional. But again to quote, this time a phrase in which Mr.
TURNER clearly shares my own delight, "before we were through with
the affair" such details had ceased to be of moment. The plain fact is
that _The Woman of the Picture_ is the most breathless, irresistible
piece of convincing impossibility you have read for ages. I decline to
struggle with any transcription of the plot. On the wrapper you
will observe the woman stepping bodily out of the picture, like the
ancestors in the whisky advertisement; this, however, is a symbolic
rather than an actual presentment. But there is plenty without it:
a rightful heir, mountain castles amid the eternal snows, a villain
(with sorceries), half-a-dozen attempted murders and the most
hair-lifting duel imaginable. Soberly considered the whole business is
a riot of delirium, belonging flagrantly to that realm where all the
world's a screen, and all the men and women merely movies. But the
unexpected charm of the book is that with the possible exceptions
noticed above) it is told with a touch of distinction, even of
subtlety, that invests its wildest audacities with an atmosphere of
fantastic truth. In short, if Mr. G.F. TURNER has done nothing else he
has at least enabled the fastidious to enjoy the thrills of a shocker
while retaining their self-respect.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the first of the three stories, each about a hundred pages in
length, which make up _Gold and Iron_ (HEINEMANN), it is hard to
escape the conviction that Mr. JOSEPH HERGESHEIMER between the lines,
"So you thought that CONRAD was the only JOSEPH who could throw a
man and woman together on a mysterious coast in the most strangely
romantic circumstances, and provide a thoroughly groolly scrap into
the bargain. Well, here's another little _Victory_ for you." He
seems definitely to challenge that air of the extraordinary and the
inevitable combined which Mr. CONRAD so subtly conveys. It is a big
effort, and I don't feel that the author quite brings it off, yet I
cannot think of anyone but Mr. CONRAD who would have come nearer to
doing so, and the fight in the dark in this story is one that even
after the War will make a reader catch his breath for half-a-dozen
pages at least. In the second and third stories, which actually deal
with gold and iron (the first of the three is called "Wild Oranges,"
though perhaps "Blood Oranges" would have been a better title),
the writer returns to a happier _métier_, and deals with an America
remarkably interesting and wholly novel to me, an America where
foundries and railways are in their infancy and crinolines are worn.
Saloons, bowie knives and bags of gold-dust are all too familiar to
us, but who, on this side of the Atlantic at any rate, ever remembers
the quiet towns with Victorian manners to which the diggers belonged
and returned? Both "Tubal Cain" and "The Dark Fleece" are excellent
yarns and wonderful pieces of pictorial reconstruction as well.

       *       *       *       *       *

After reading _The Searchers_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON), I seriously
think of myself joining His Britannic Majesty's Secret Service.
All the fun and firearms, and ever, at the conclusion, a startling
surprise for your friends and admirers, among whom you stand cool,
calm and collected. _Anthony Keene-Leslie_ did not deceive me
when, upon his first introduction as a secret servant, he modestly
disclaimed the thrills and excitements commonly attributed to his
trade. I knew that many pages would not be turned before he would
land us in the middle of some crimson intrigue; mysterious strangers,
disguises, cryptic and invaluable manuscripts, urgent telegrams,
codes, Italian hidden hands, Scotland Yard, pseudo-taxicabs, clues
and things. But let others beware of Mr. JOHN FOSTER, a most ingenious
manipulator of the old stock-in-trade and possessing a rare sense of
humour. For the reader to pit his wits against the author's is,
in this instance, to be completely "had" and to become under the
necessity (about page 265) of taking off his hat, not only to the
secret servant but to a mere minion of the "Yard" also. Two minor
points emerge from a close study of the book. The first is that the
author is undoubtedly a barrister himself; if I am wrong on this point
I finally withdraw my threat to join the Service. The second point is
that he knows his Scotland even as well as he loves it. In the result
you have two merits, which together amply discount the element of
cheap sensationalism: one merit is the logical development of the
story, and the other is its beautiful setting. I don't know whether
it is due to the Scottish climate or to the legal atmosphere that
the author omits all reference to the feminine sex or affairs of the
heart; but anyhow it seemed right and meet that women should be
left at home when men were engaged upon such violent and dastardly

       *       *       *       *       *

From certain internal evidences, mainly orthographical, I am led to
suppose _The Branding Iron_ (CONSTABLE) to be of Transatlantic origin.
This, no doubt, explains my unfamiliarity with the name of Miss
KATHARINE NEWLIN BURT, also certain minor points, notably the fact
that the story, though by no means badly told, suffers from what I can
only call a plethora of plot. As I followed the developments of its
intrigue and tracked the heroine from untutored savage, wife of the
wild Westerner whose excusable suspicions caused him to brand her as
private property, to the moment of her triumph as the bejewelled idol
of theatrical New York, the conviction grew upon me that here was a
tale surely predestined to be the screen that covers a multitude of
melodramatics. Presently indeed the suggestion became so insistent
that I went further and began to wonder whether I was not in fact
reading a "story-form" of some already triumphant film. Certainly
the resemblance is almost too pronounced to be fortuitous; from the
sensational branding scene, through cowboy stunts, to the up-town
playhouse, where a repentant and wife-seeking hero recognises his mark
upon the shoulder of the leading lady--and so to reconciliation, slow
fade-out, and the announcement of Next Week's Pictures. But though it
is impossible not to suspect Miss BURT of having an eye to what poetic
journalism calls the Shadow Stage, this is by no means to belittle
her mastery of the colder medium of print; and I hasten to acknowledge
that, upon me at least, _The Branding Iron_ has left a distinct though
possibly fleeting impression of good entertainment.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


    "House Porter wanted, to live in or out, able to manage
    beating apparatus.--Apply, Stating wages required, to
    Headmaster, ----- school."--_Local Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The total cost of the British delegation to the Peace
    Conference at Paris from December, 1918, to 31st September was
    £503,368."--_Liverpool Paper_.

But it is only fair to say that in the last month they seem to have
put in a bit of overtime.

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