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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, May 13, 1914
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, May 13, 1914" ***

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VOL. 146.

May 13, 1914.


Some idea of the amount of distress there is among Stock Exchange men,
owing to the continued depression, may be gathered from the fact that a
number of members, anxious to get to Brighton on their recent holiday on
the 1st inst., walked all the way.


While there would seem to be no "Picture of the Year," the canvas which
appears to attract anyhow most feminine attention is the Hon. John
Collier's "Clytemnestra," with its guess at the fashion of
to-morrow--the low-neck blouse carried a little bit further.


A publication entitled _Pictures and the Picturegoer_ has made its
appearance, and, please, we want to know what a Picturegoer is.
Suffragettes, it is true, are apt to go _for_ pictures, but we have
never known anyone merely go pictures.


Sculptors submitting designs for a statue of Peter the Great, to be set
up at the Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, are required by the conditions
not only to produce a statue which will be recognized by the man in the
street as that of the monarch, but it must also convey the idea that he
spent his last days in the Palace. Possibly this might be effected by
his wearing his linen collar inside out, plainly showing the marking,
"Peter the Gt. Winter Palace."


In the duel which took place last week between M. Caillaux and M.
d'Allières the ex-Finance Minister fired in the air. As a result, we
hear, aviation societies all over France are protesting against what
they consider may develop into an exceedingly dangerous practice.


As regards the result of the duel, M. d'Allières was certainly the more
successful of the two. He fired at the ground and hit it. M. Caillaux
aimed at the sky and missed it.


The House of Commons has passed the second reading of a Bill to enable
Health Resorts and Watering Places to spend a portion of their rates on
advertising. The urgent necessity for such a measure would appear to be
proved by the fact that newspapers of every shade of political opinion
approve it.


"Democracy," says Lord Haldane, "is rapidly finding its feet." But it
will not gain much if at the same time it loses its head.


"A rector," we read, "has written to his bishop and to his wife
announcing his elopement with the wife of one of his parishioners." This
is a little act of courtesy which some men would not have thought of.


The London County Council proposes to allow on the Aldwych site a
circular experimental railway on the Kearney high-speed mono-rail
system. It seems strange that what is undoubtedly the most rugged and
wildest tract of forest land in London should for so long have been
without railway facilities. To nature-lovers, however, the proposal is
as distasteful as the idea of a railway up Borrowdale.


We had thought that races between omnibuses had, owing to an entire lack
of encouragement on the part of the police, died out, but we see that
the L.C.O.C. is now advertising "Another Motor-Bus Derby."


The police are said to be viewing with some apprehension the spread of
habits of cleanliness among our house-breakers. Last week, for instance,
some burglars who paid a visit to a Birmingham firm, after opening a
safe and removing its contents, obtained a bucket of water and carefully
removed all finger-marks.


At a recent smoking-match at Brighton the winner kept an eighth of an
ounce of tobacco alight for 103 minutes. The tobacco trade, we
understand, is strongly opposed to the holding of competitions of this
nature, "which serve no useful purpose whatever."


"There are 'vintage years' for babies," says Dr. James Kerr. These must
be the years when they take most readily to the bottle.


Extract from an account in _The Birmingham News_ of a meeting at
Solihull:--"The next business was the presentation of a handsome
breakfast egg to the Rev. Courtnay Smith, B.A." Once upon a time such
gifts were confined to political gatherings.


In the course of his exploring expedition Mr. Roosevelt lost nearly four
stone in weight, and it is rumoured that Mr. Taft may once again follow
in his footsteps.


A vulgar person with no respect for wealth has suggested that the Royal
Automobile Club shall change its name to the Hotel Nouveau Ritz.


[Illustration: "I say, I've a bone to pick with you."

"Pardon me, Sir, that's quite impossible, for I'm a _strict


Another Mysterious Disappearance.

From a catalogue:--

    "20 Dozens Bottles Excellent Old Tawny Port, sold without
    reserve by the Port of London Authority to pay for charges, the
    owner having been lost sight of, and bottled by us last year."

We hope that, after this callous confession, Scotland Yard will now take


Musical Candour.

    "The singing of the Bradshaw choirs broke up a happy
    evening."--_Local Paper._


We understand that the famous Presidential biography, _From Log-Cabin to
White House_, is to be followed by another, entitled, _From White House
to Semi-attached Villa_.


    "'Reflection,' a picture of an elderly gentleman lost in thought
    after a lonely dinner, not only suggests a story, but how
    effective Mr. Jack is with interiors."

    _Cork Constitution._

In this picture, however, the gentleman's interior is wisely left to the

       *       *       *       *       *


(_How the Budget strikes a Brain-Worker._)

  Would I were poor (but not too poor),
    A working plumber, say, by trade,
  One of the class for whom the lure
    Of Liberal Chancellors is laid;
  For then no single sou from my revénue
    Should go to swell the Treasury's bin,
  Save indirectly through my breakfast-menu,
    My pipe, my beer, my gin.

  Would I were rich (O passing rich),
    One of the idlers, softly bred,
  From whom the hands of David itch
    To pluck their plumage, quick or dead;
  For then, a super-man, I'd scorn to grudge it--
    This super-tax on my estate,
  But like a bird contribute to his Budget
    The paltry two-and-eight.

  Alas, not being this nor that,
    But just a middling type of man,
  Neither a bloated plutocrat
    Nor yet a pampered artisan,
  I am not spared, nay, I am hardest smitten,
    Although 'tis held (and I agree)
  That half the backbone of these Isles of Britain
    Is made of stuff like me.

  O brothers, ye who follow Art,
    Shunning the crowds that strive and pant
  Indifferent how you please the mart
    So you may keep your souls extant,
  Lloyd none the less is down upon your earnings,
    And from the increment that flows
  (With blood and tears) from your poetic yearnings
    You pay him through the nose.

  These very lines, in which I couch
    My plaint of him and all his works--
  Even from these he means to pouch,
    Roughly, his six per cent. of perks;
  This thought has left me singularly moody;
    I fail to join in George's joke;
  So strongly I resent the extra 2d.
    Pinched from my modest poke.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *


Scrapping the Map in Brazil.

We are glad to be able to supplement with some further interesting
details the meagre accounts of Mr. Roosevelt's explorations in Brazil
which have appeared in the daily papers.

Not only did Mr. Roosevelt add to the map a new river nearly a thousand
miles long, but he has discovered a gigantic mountain, hitherto undreamt
of even by Dr. Cook, to which he has attached the picturesque name of
Mount Skyscraper. The lower slopes were thickly infested with cannibals,
whom Mr. Roosevelt converted from anthropophagy by a sermon lasting six
hours and containing 300,000 words--almost exactly as many as are
contained in Mr. de Morgan's new novel.

The middle regions are densely covered with an impenetrable forest
inhabited by rhomboidal armadillos and gigantic crabs, to which Mr.
Roosevelt has given the name of Kermit crabs, to commemorate the escape
of his son, who was carried off by one of these monsters and rescued by
a troglodyte guide after a desperate struggle. On emerging from the
forest the travellers were faced by perpendicular granite crags, which
they ascended on the backs of some friendly condors.... The summit
proved to be an extensive plateau, the site of a prehistoric city, built
of pedunculated wood-pulp. Lying among the ruins was a gigantic mastodon
in excellent preservation, which Mr. Roosevelt brought down on his

It was after the descent from Mount Skyscraper, which was accomplished
in parachutes, that Mr. Roosevelt struck the new river, the upper parts
of which were utterly unknown except to some wild rubber-necked Indians.
In consequence of its character and size Mr. Roosevelt originally
thought of calling it the Taft, but finally decided on the Rio
Encyclopædia in virtue of its volume.

The journey was made in canoes and was full of incident. Descending the
great Golliwog Falls Mr. Roosevelt's canoe was smashed to atoms, but the
ex-President escaped with only slight injury to his eyeglasses, after a
desperate conflict with a pliocene crocodile. The Encyclopædia River, as
described by Mr. Roosevelt, resembles the Volga, the Hoang-ho and the
Mississippi; but it is richer in snags and of a deeper and more luscious
purple than any of them. Near its junction with the Mandragora it runs
uphill for several miles, with the result that the canoes were
constantly capsizing. The waters of Mandragora are of a curiously
soporific character, while those of the River Madeira have a toxic
quality which renders them dangerous when drunk in large quantities.

Mr. Roosevelt, it may be added, is shortly expected in London, when he
will lecture before the Royal Geographical Society, Master Anthony
Asquith having kindly consented to preside.

       *       *       *       *       *


Florence, _May 2nd_.

Dear Mr. S.,--We have been here a week, and I feel I really must write
and thank you for what I can see is going to be the most lovely holiday.

It was ripping of you to let us come--for _sending_ us, in fact. I can't
think why more people don't do it--I mean travel when they can't afford
it. Perhaps it is that all bankers aren't so good-natured as you are. I
shall tell all my friends to come to you in future. Of course I shall
only recommend the conscientious ones. _We_ are being frightfully
conscientious. For instance, when we arrived we purposely didn't go to a
hotel some friends of ours were at because it was two francs a day
dearer than one we found in _Baedeker_--though as I told Fred I don't
believe you'd have grudged us the two francs a bit. The only thing I
have on my conscience a little is that in Paris, where we stayed three
days on our way out, we _did_ go to rather good restaurants. But I had
never been to Paris before, and I thought, when you knew that, you would
quite approve, because first impressions are everything, aren't they? It
is rather as if you were an invisible host everywhere we go. "Of course
you will have a liqueur with your coffee, Mrs. Merrison?" I hear you say
after dinner; and really, Grand Marnier (_cordon jaune_) _is_ heavenly,
isn't it?

Then we came on here, and, do you know, "The Birth of Venus" nearly made
me cry when I first saw it, it's so beautiful. I shall never forget that
it was you who introduced me to it, so to speak.

And isn't Pisa jolly?

Oh, there's just one other thing I wanted to tell you. Before we came
away we gave a little farewell dinner to one or two of our most intimate
friends. It came out of the travelling money; and I do feel you ought to
have been asked too, when you were really our host. But you see I don't
know you _very_ well (except through your actions), and I thought that
just possibly you might have felt a little out of it. But I want you
very much to come and dine with us one night when we are home again. I
think it is time we knew each other ever so much better.

Well, no more now as we are off to lunch. (How ridiculously cheap food
is in Italy, isn't it?) We shall be home in three weeks, I expect. I
wish we could stay longer, especially as it's really cheaper to stay
here than to come home, now we _are_ here. But we mustn't put too much
strain on your hospitality.

Yours always gratefully, Isabel Merrison.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: Tory Die-Hard. "DOWN WITH HOME RULE!"

Radical Extremist. "DOWN WITH ULSTER!"


       *       *       *       *       *



_Our very busiest Society Portrait Painter (who has rushed back to his
studio after a luncheon in Park Lane)._ "I'm late, Mrs. Faulkner.
Anybody come?"

_Studio Caretaker._ "Yes, Sir. I've already shown a lady up to the

_Portrait Painter._ "Is it the Countess of West Middlesex or Lady Vera

_Studio Caretaker._ "I'm sure I can't say, Sir. They're that covered up
with powder and paint I can't tell one from t'other."]

       *       *       *       *       *


[In an article on Animal Training it has been stated that "wolves are so
stupid it is a waste of time trying to do anything with them," and that
"it is a wonderful tribute to the trainer's skill that he has succeeded
in evolving so faithful a companion as the dog from this unpromising

  Full many a time when I've been overwrought,
    And all has seemed beset by doubts and fogs,
  I have gleaned ample comfort from the thought,
    "Nature is kindly; she has given us dogs
  To share our griefs with sympathetic eyes
  And force us out for healthy exercise."

  But, Carlo, I was wrong to take that view;
    Nature, though wonderful, does not (I find)
  Deserve the credit of evolving you;
    A trainer did it, just by being kind;
  Your rise from wolfish ancestors you owe
  To some primæval impresario.

  One sees the scene: how in the bygone days
    Our forbears, fresh from bludgeoning their foes,
  Would gather round to watch with glad amaze
    A wolf who balanced rocks upon his nose.
  "How quaint! How human!" thus their praises flowed;
  "Look at his ikey way of wearing woad!"

  And ever as the long years took their course
    The trainer's skill came farther to the front,
  Until, through gentleness and moral force,
    One wolf achieved the "trust-and-paid-for" stunt.
  Topical, this produced unbounded fun,
  Coming when commerce had but just begun.

  Then cleverer grew the wolflings year by year,
    And greater yearly grew the "spot-cash" boon
  Given to trainers summoned to appear
    And charm a cave-man's idle afternoon,
  Till came the whisper, "This is not the least
  Bit like a wolf's cub; 'tis a nobler beast."

  And thus the dog was born; the gathered crowd
    Cheered their approval of this wise remark;
  A glad tail wagged its pride, and clear and loud
    Rang out the music of the earliest bark,
  While envious Nature sighed, "O parlous miss!
  I _was_ a silly not to think of this."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Maid at Country Hotel._ "Please, sir, will you use the
hot water soon as there's an 'ole on the can?"]

       *       *       *       *       *


"Another!" said George, flinging down the card. "I have had just about
ENOUGH OF IT!" He spoke vehemently, with an intonation that I have tried
to convey by the employment of capitals. It was obvious that he was
deeply moved.

"Do you mind explaining?" I asked.

"It explains itself," he answered disgustedly, referring to the card. I
picked it up. It was a printed communication, in which somebody, whose
name I forget, requested the pleasure of George's presence at the
marriage of his daughter Something to Mr. Somebodyelse.

I read it aloud. "What's wrong with that?" I asked. "Were you in love
with her yourself?"

"I was not," said George shortly. "To the best of my knowledge I have
never even set eyes on the wretched girl, and never want to. My
implication in the affair rests solely on my having once been at school
with the bridegroom."

"Then what more touching than that he should desire the presence of his
old comrade at such a crisis?"

"_Presence!_" began George bitterly. "If they'd said----"

I stopped him. "I know the pun," I said quickly, "and am no longer
capable of being amused at it. So that is the ground of your complaint.
I must say, George, that I regard this as a little mean of you."

"You may," answered George. "That shows you don't realise the facts. If
you were in my position you wouldn't talk like that. Why, look at it,"
he went on, warming to his subject, "here am I, a bachelor nearing
fifty, with an income, secure certainly, but by no means lavish; and
what do we find? Scarcely a day goes by without my receiving some more
or less veiled demand from persons without a shadow of claim!

"Relatives," pursued George, "one, of course, expects. I have myself
five elder sisters, all of them comfortably married with my assistance.
Pianos or dinner-sets or whatever it happened to be," explained George.
"I make no complaint there. Not even though in these cases the initial
outlay was only the beginning. I am by now seventeen times an uncle. A
pleasant position at first, but repetition stales it. The expense of
that alone is becoming appalling. Why on earth didn't Henry VIII. or
somebody institute a bounty for uncles?"

"It can't be so bad as all that."

"It would not be, if, as I say, the matter was kept within one's own
family. But you see it isn't. I have now reached that time of life in
which the rush of weddings appears to be heaviest. Everybody I ever met
seems to be doing it, and using the fact as an excuse for blackmail. I
am a poor man, and I have had enough of it!"

I made a sympathetic noise. As a matter of fact, George's friends agree
that he is very comfortably off, but I let that pass. "What are you
going to do about it?" I asked.

"This," answered George unexpectedly. He opened his pocket-book and
produced a half-sheet of note-paper. "This is going in _The Morning
Post_ to-morrow. I wrote it some time ago, but the hour has now come
when I must make a stand and endeavour to get a little of my own back.
So in she goes!"

I took the paper and read as follows: "1839-1914. Mr. George Pennywise,
of 1096, Upper Brook Street, having remained a bachelor during
twenty-five years of eligibility, invites his numerous friends to join
with him in celebrating his silver celibacy."

"The idea is not original," I said coldly, "but I am interested to know
why you should select this particular moment rather than any other. What
happened in '89?"

George looked faintly conscious. "Nothing," he answered. "That's just
the point. It's what might have happened. I think you've never heard me
speak of a girl called Emeline? Anyhow, I was rather struck at that
time; we were staying in the same house that autumn, and I believe
everybody expected me to propose. Only, somehow I didn't. But it was the
closest shave I've ever had, and, as that was just twenty-five years
ago, I began counting from then."

"Did Miss--er Emeline share the general expectation?"

"To be candid, I rather fancy she did. Several of her set were quite
nasty about it afterwards, though it was obviously no business of
theirs. She married somebody else later on, and lives in Ireland."
George sighed reflectively.

As it was apparent that he would shortly become sentimental, a condition
for which he is unfitted, I took my leave. "You're not really going to
put that nonsense in the paper?" I asked.

"I am," said George, recovering abruptly. "If there is any way in which
a put-upon bachelor can get equal with the world, I mean to take it. I
regard it as a public duty. Look in again next week, and you'll see the

Curiosity brought me on my next visit to George with more anticipation
than usual. The advertisement had duly appeared. But my inquiries found
him oddly reticent.

"Look here, George," I said at length, "what did that paragraph

"I got stacks of letters, mostly humorous, that will require answering."

"No presents?"

"One," answered George reluctantly, "from Emeline."

This was intriguing. George's manner with regard to it was discouraging,
not to say morose. But I am not easily put off.

"What sort of present?" I persisted.

"Oh, handsome enough. A silver frame, quite good in its way, with a
family group of herself and her husband and three kids inside it. I
shall take that out."

"Any inscription?"

The moment I had said it I saw that I had found the trouble.

"Only three words," answered George evasively. He hesitated. "But there,
Emeline never did know how to express herself."

"George," I demanded sternly, "what were those three words?"

"_A Thank Offering_," said George.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_By our Special Parasite._)

A brilliant reception is being prepared for Professor Hjalmar
Stormbarner, the Finnish novelist, on the occasion of his first visit to
England in June. An address of welcome, composed by Mr. C. K. Shorter
and Sir Robertson Nicoll, with lyrics by Mr. Max Pemberton and Lord
Burnham, will be presented to him at the Grafton Gallery, and Dr.
Clifford is arranging what he happily calls a "pious orgy of
congratulation" at the Caxton Hall, at which Sir Alfred Mond, Baron de
Forest, and Mr. Thornton, the new manager of the Great Eastern Railway,
will deliver addresses. A demonstration in Hyde Park in honour of our
guest is also being organised by his English publishers, Messrs. Dodder
and Dodder, at which their principal authors will speak at thirteen
different platforms, and a resolution will be simultaneously moved by
blast of trumpet that Professor Stormbarner is the greatest novelist in
the world.

Professor Stormbarner is of course best known in this country as the
author of the famous romances, _Letters from Limbo_, _The Devil's
Ducats_, _Narcotic Nelly_ and _The Sarcophagus_, but his versatility and
accomplishments in other departments of mental activity will come as a
surprise to his English admirers. He has penetrated the Arctic circle in
a bath-chair drawn by reindeer; he plays with great skill on the
balalaika, and he has translated most of the works of Mr. Edmund Gosse
into Mæso-Gothic. At the present moment he is undoubtedly the first
favourite for the Nobel Prize, though Willie Ferrero runs him close in
virtue of the patronage of Mr. Andrew Carnegie and the Dowager-Empress
of Russia.

Perhaps the finest and most convincing
tribute to the overwhelming
genius of the great Finnish romancer
is the quatrain recently written in his
honour by Mr. Edmund Gosse:--

  George Eliot, greatest of blue stockings,
  Joseph and Silas K. (the Hockings),
  Watts-Dunton and Professor Garner--
  Are all united in Stormbarner.

We understand that during his visit to London Professor Stormbarner will
stay with Mr. David Dodder at Hampstead, but will spend a week-end with
Mr. Lloyd George at Walton Heath.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Ray Clammer, whose novels in praise of Blackpool, written at the
commission of the municipal council, have gained her equal cash and
kudos, has gone to Australia for a visit, but hopes to return in time to
spend August at the famous health resort which her genius has done so
much to adorn. Her only regret is that she has had to leave at home her
Persian cat Abracadabra, called "Abe" for short. "Abe," by the way,
figures prominently in a bright personal article about Mrs. Ray Clammer
which Miss Marjorie Moult contributes to _The Penwiper_ for May.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Lady Canvasser._ "I've called to ask you to give us
something for the O.P.Q.S. The----"

_Old Gentleman._ "My dear lady, I already give away one-tenth of my

_Lady Canvasser._ "Oh, just this year, couldn't you make it an

       *       *       *       *       *

Another Impending Apology.

    "Meanwhile Dick Smith is matched with Carpentier, and will
    receive £200 as the loser's end of a £1,200 purse offered by the
    Liverpool Stadium."--_Daily Mail._

If it is as certain as this we shall put our money on Carpentier.

       *       *       *       *       *

  "Fallen by the Way.
  Making a Deep Impression."

  _Advt. in "Era."_

Evidently an accident to the heavy tragedians.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Nurse, superior, or Help wanted, immediately: go to seaside:
    experienced infant."

    _Advt. in "The Manchester Guardian."_

The infant: "Let her come. I think I shall know how to deal with her."

       *       *       *       *       *


You've heard of Willy Ferrero, the Boy Conductor? A musical prodigy,
seven years old, who will order the fifth oboe out of the Albert Hall as
soon as look at him. Well, he has a rival.

Willy, as perhaps you know, does not play any instrument himself; he
only conducts. His rival (Johnny, as I think of him) does not conduct as
yet; at least, not audibly. His line is the actual manipulation of the
pianoforte--the Paderewski touch. Johnny lives in the flat below, and I
hear him touching.

On certain mornings in the week--no need to specify them--I enter my
library and give myself up to literary composition. On the same mornings
little Johnny enters his music-room (underneath) and gives himself up to
musical composition. Thus we are at work together.

The worst of literary composition is this: that when you have got hold
of what you feel is a really powerful idea you find suddenly that you
have been forestalled by some earlier writer--Sophocles or Shakspeare or
George R. Sims. Then you have to think again. This frequently happens to
me upstairs; and downstairs poor Johnny will find to his horror one day
that his great work has already been given to the world by another--a
certain Dr. John Bull.

Johnny, in fact, is discovering "God Save the King" with one finger.

As I dip my pen in the ink and begin to write, Johnny strikes up. On the
first day when this happened, some three months ago, I rose from my
chair and stood stiffly through the performance--an affair of some
minutes, owing to a little difficulty with "Send him victorious," a line
which always bothers Johnny. However, he got right through it at last,
after harking back no more than twice, and I sat down to my work again.
Generally speaking, "God Save the King" ends a show; it would be
disloyal to play any other tune after that. Johnny quite saw this ...
and so began to play "God Save the King" again.

I hope that His Majesty, the Lord Chamberlain, the late Dr. Bull, or
whoever is most concerned, will sympathise with me when I say that this
time I remained seated. I have my living to earn.

From that day Johnny has interpreted Dr. John Bull's favourite
composition nine times every morning. As this has been going on for
three months, and as the line I mentioned has two special rehearsals to
itself before coming out right, you can easily work out how many
send-him-victoriouses Johnny and I have collaborated in. About two

Very well. Now, you ask yourself, why did I not send a polite note to
Johnny's father asking him to restrain his little boy from
over-composition, begging him not to force the child's musical genius
too quickly, imploring him (in short) to lock up the piano and lose the
key? What kept me from this course? The answer is "Patriotism." Those
deep feelings for his country which one man will express glibly by
rising nine times during the morning at the sound of the National
Anthem, another will direct to more solid uses. It was my duty, I felt,
not to discourage Johnny. He was showing qualities which could not fail,
when he grew up, to be of value to the nation. Loyalty, musical genius,
determination, patience, industry--never before have these qualities
been so finely united in a child of six. Was I to say a single word to
disturb the delicate balance of such a boy's mind? At six one is
extraordinarily susceptible to outside influence. A word from his father
to the effect that the gentleman above was getting sick of it, and
Johnny's whole life might be altered.

No, I would bear it grimly.

And then, yesterday, who should write to me but Johnny's father himself.
This was the letter:--

"Dear Sir,--I do not wish to interfere unduly in the affairs of the
other occupants of these flats, but I feel bound to call your attention
to the fact that for many weeks now there has been a flow of water from
your bathroom which has penetrated through the ceiling of my bathroom,
particularly after you have been using the room in the mornings. May I
therefore beg you to be more careful in future not to splash or spill
water on your floor, seeing that it causes inconvenience to the tenants
beneath you?

Yours faithfully, Jno. McAndrew."

You can understand how I felt about this. For months I had been
suffering Johnny in silence; yet, at the first little drop of water,
from above, Johnny's father must break out into violent abuse of me. A
fine reward! Well, Johnny's future could look after itself now; anyhow,
he was doomed with a selfish father like that.

"Dear Sir," I answered defiantly,--"Now that we are writing to each
other I wish to call your attention to the fact that for many months
past there has been a constant flow of one-fingered music from your
little boy, which penetrates through the floor of my library and makes
all work impossible. May I beg you therefore to see that your child is
taught a new tune immediately, seeing that the National Anthem has lost
its first freshness for the tenants above him?"

His reply to this came to-day.

"Dear Sir,--I have no child.

Yours faithfully, Jno. McAndrew."

I was so staggered that I could only think of one adequate retort.

"Dear Sir," I wrote,--"I never have a bath."

So that's the end of Johnny, my boy prodigy, for whom I have suffered so
long. It is not Johnny but Jno. who struggles with the National Anthem.
He will give up music now, for he knows I have the bulge on him; I can
flood his bathroom whenever I like. Probably he will learn something
quieter--like painting. Anyway, Dr. John Bull's masterpiece will rise no
more through the ceiling of the flat below.

On referring to my encyclopædia, I see that, according to some
authorities, "God Save the King" is "wrongly attributed" to Dr. Bull.
Well, I wrongly attributed it to Johnny. It is easy to make these

A. A. M.

       *       *       *       *       *


  With stern a-droop, a "dowie chiel,"
  I see him lugged at Beauty's heel,
  A captive bound on Fashion's wheel,
      Down Bond Street's aisle,
  Far from his land of cairn and creel
      In grey Argyle.

  I wonder if in dreams he goes
  Afar from streets and kindred woes,
  A-rabbiting with eager nose
      And strenuous paw
  In birch-woods where the west wind blows
      By banks of Awe;

  And if his slumbers take him back
  To trail the mountain-fox's track,
  In corries of the shifting wrack
      Where one may spy
  Old Cruachan's twin Titan stack
      Heaved to the sky;

  Or, boudoir-bred degenerate,
  If ne'er he knew the nobler state,
  The birk-clad brae, the roaring spate,
      The tod's dark lair,
  Too spiritless to grin at Fate
      Or greatly care.

  And better this, perhaps you'd say,
  Than break his heart for yesterday,
  Uneasy in the dreams that stray
      Where lost trails stretch--
  Well, he's my pity either way,
      Poor little wretch!

       *       *       *       *       *


We were discussing London's needs. Each of us was suggesting some
long-felt want which most appealed to him or her.

Some had declared that what London chiefly wanted was a tube from
Victoria to Chelsea. Someone else said that what it chiefly wanted was a
glass roof over Bond Street and the chief shopping area. Someone else
said that what it chiefly wanted was perforated pavements to let the
rain through at once--and so on.

"What I want," said a pretty girl--so pretty that I almost got up and
set about providing her with it--"is a guide to the cinemas. I adore
cinemas, but there is no means of knowing what is on unless you go to
the place itself. Then very likely it's some stupid long play, with more
printed descriptions than deeds and more letters to read than people to
see. Now there ought to be a list of all the cinema programmes on sale
at the bookstalls, like _The Times_ and _Spectator_."

"Wouldn't you have a cinema critic too," someone asked, "like Mr.
Walkley, to say how the films amused him, and so on?"

"No, I don't want that," she said. "But I should like information as to
how long they were, and if they were American or Italian or French or
English, and I should like a star to be put against those which Mr.
Redford had not thought splendid."

When it came to my turn I said that London's most crying need was a
tailors' clearing-house.

"What on earth is that?" they asked.

"Well," I said, "I'll tell you. All men have tailors, and for the most
part they stick to them, because they find them all right, or fear to go
further afield to begin all over again. But every now and then it
happens, no matter how good the tailor, that a coat is stubborn. It goes
on being wrong. Fitting after fitting leaves it even worse than before;
and the result is that one either loses one's temper and bangs out of
the place and never enters it again, or, not wishing to hurt the
tailor's feelings, one accepts defeat and gives the coat away the next
day at considerable personal loss. In other words, a time comes when one
either cannot, through disgust, bring oneself to visit one's tailor
again on that matter, or when one cannot, through sympathy, bring
oneself to ask him to do any more. Don't you know that?"

They agreed.

"Very well then. This is where the clearing-house comes in. The tailor
there is prepared to tackle such cases as those I have described. He
will come to the coat with an open mind and put it right. You can ask
him, without any false delicacy, to do so because it is his business.
That's what London most needs," I concluded.

"I daresay you're right," said another of the party; "but in my opinion
what London most needs is a good restaurant which has pork-pie on its
bill of fare."

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: I.--The Sex pays the Penalty.

_Algernon (suddenly to his aunt and cousin)._ "Look here, I hope you
both understand that when we get to the Academy I don't know you. I
can't be seen there with women after this Sargent business!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "An extraordinary amount of destruction and annoyance is
    annually perpetrated by the somewhat unsociable creatures known
    as wasps."--_Amateur Gardening._

They are still more annoying when they are sociable.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Masterman jumped out of the conveyance, which also contained
    several ladies, and, overtaking the animals, succeeded in
    turning them into a telegraph pole."

    _Lincolnshire Echo._

This trick is a favourite one with all good conjurers, but rarely comes
in so opportunely. The second part of it--in which the telegraph pole is
turned into a couple of rabbits--is rather in the nature of an

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Pall Mall Gazette_ on John Burns:--

    "_Johannes locutur est; res finite est._ Or so we hope."

We, too, always hoped at school, and then wished afterwards we had
looked it up in our Latin Grammar.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: II.--The skied artist comes into his own.]

       *       *       *       *       *


(_An Up-to-date Romance of Studio Life._)

  Spaghetti, the prince of Futurists, stood
    And gazed at his work with a thoughtful eye;
  "It is good," he murmured, "yet not quite good,"
  He had labelled it _Midsummer Eve in a Wood_,
          But the gods knew why.

  A lady's eyes and a calf-topped boot,
    And a ticket (punched) for the Highgate Tube,
  He had painted there, with some crimson fruit
  And a couple of uptorn elms, each root
          A perfect cube.

  "It is better than all those beastly Dutch
    And the old Italian frauds," he said;
  "But the little something that means so much
  Still waits;" and he gave an anguished clutch
          At his mop-crowned head.

  He went to the further side of the room
    And flecked the canvas with daubs of mud;
  He wiped it down with a housemaid's broom,
  And gummed in the middle a jackdaw's plume
          And a ha'penny stud.

  He put on his motor-bicycling mask,
    And prayed to his Muse; and whilst he prayed
  (So Heaven is kind to those that ask)
  Like a mænad flushed from the wine-god's flask,
          Behold, a maid!

  Her skirt was draggled, her hair was down,
    As though she had walked by woodland tracks
  Or come on an omnibus through the town,
  And suddenly forth from her loosened gown
          She pulled an axe.

  And "Thus!" and "Thus!" she observed, and dealt
    The painted fantasy blow on blow;
  "Thou tyrannous man, thy doom is spelt!"
  She gave it another frightful welt,
          Then turned to go.

  But the master, rolling upon the floor,
    Leapt up to his feet like a mountain kid,
  And "Swipe it," he said, "sweet maid, once more
  Just here where the axe hit not before;"
          And swipe she did.

  He pressed his bosom, his eyes were wet,
    He knelt and fawned at the damsel's feet;
  "Be mine," he bellowed, "O Suffragette,
  For the noblest work I have painted yet
          Is now complete!"


       *       *       *       *       *

Fair Warning.

    "Any wedding, singing party, dance, conserts, dramas, social
    gatherings, friendly companion, jolly trips, pleasure enjoyments
    etc. Cannot be performed without at least a Bottle of ----. This
    is simple in price but gives lasting odours."

    _Advt. in "United India and Native States."_

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Again I was welcomed by my cheery hostess, and once more
    partook of her simple yet palatable face."--_Buenos Aires

The next time he kisses her he must try not to tell us about it.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: The Cow. "STOP! STOP! THIS ISN'T MILKING; IT'S MURDER!"]

       *       *       *       *       *


(Extracted from the diary of Toby, M.P.)

[Illustration: _Lloyd Charon (to Plutocratic Shades)._ "Your fares will
cost you more!"]

_House of Commons, Monday, May 4._--Not since epoch-making night four
years ago has House been so densely crowded in anticipation of Budget
statement. Amongst most honourable traditions of English public life is
absolute secrecy in which Budgets are wrapped till veil is lifted by
Chancellor of Exchequer. Somehow it gets known in advance when a
particular one will prove to be of exceptional public and personal
interest. Thus it was to-night. Hence the crowd that filled every bench
on floor, every nook and cranny of the galleries.

Expectation fully realised. Lloyd George, Atlas in miniature, lightly
bore on his shoulders weight of biggest Budget ever presented to House
of Commons. Total expenditure £210,203,000. Total revenue £210,455,000.
Balance in hand, £252,000.

How _Mr. Micawber's_ heart would have glowed over this realisation in
colossal figures of his cherished principle! You remember his formula to
young _Copperfield_: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure
nineteen six; result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual
expenditure twenty pounds ought and six; result misery."

Lloyd George, keeping this axiom steadily in view, after dallying with
income and expenditure counted by the hundred million, came out
triumphant with £252,000 in his pocket.

Spoke for two hours and forty minutes. Avoiding flights of eloquence
that were wont to entrance Gladstone's audience on Budget nights,
resisting temptation to epigram that beset Mr. Chancellor Lowe, was
content with plain business statement. The massive figures dealt with,
the millions lightly scattered there and sedulously picked up here, left
some passages obscure. Son Austen well advised in reserving criticism
till he had opportunity of studying statement set forth in print.

[Illustration: _Mr. Chancellor Micawber._ "Annual income twenty pounds,
annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six; result, happiness."]

A passage in speech followed with breathless interest below Gangway
dealt with increase of super-tax. Chancellor set forth how what he
called a "£3,500 man" would, in addition to ordinary income-tax, pay
1.7d. in the £. Running up the gamut to "a £10,000 man" he mentioned
that the affluent citizen would oblige with an additional 8.9d.

"I can," he blandly added, "go further if anybody specially wants me."

General expression of sympathy with Houston when he asked what the
£100,000 man would be called upon to pay.

"The hon. gentleman," said the Chancellor, with encouraging smile bent
on inquirer, "will be let off with an additional 15.3d."

The Member for the Toxteth division of Liverpool didn't seem so pleased
with this prospect as might have been expected.

_Business done._--Budget brought in.

_Tuesday._--Lord "Bob" Cecil, whose industry is equalled only by his
ingenuousness, posed the Premier with awkward question. Wants to know
"whether the Government propose to continue Sir Nevil Macready's
appointment as resident magistrate; if so, whether he will be able in
that capacity, in case of civil disturbance, to call upon himself as a
military officer to give assistance to the civil power?"

Suggests difficulty at first sight appalling. On historic occasion John
Bright found himself in analogous quandary. As he then protested in ear
of sympathising House: "I cannot turn my back upon myself." True that in
the last three years of his political career he achieved the apparently
impossible. But exception does not make a rule.

More exact parallel found in case of eldest of _Dr. Blimber's_ pupils.
_Mr. Toots_, we know, occupied his time at school chiefly in writing
long letters to himself from persons of distinction addressed "P. Toots,
Esq., Brighton, Sussex," which with great care he preserved in his desk.
Thus, in case of emergency, Sir Nevil Macready, Resident Magistrate,
might write to General Sir Nevil Macready in command of troops in
Ireland a note something to this effect:

"Sir,--From information received, I expect Ulster will be in a blaze
before the end of the week. Please hold yourself in readiness to
co-ordinate the action of your troops with that of the Royal Irish
Constabulary.--Your obedient Servant, Nevil Macready, Resident
Magistrate. To Sir Nevil Macready, General in command of troops in

Premier tried to explain away the situation. Remembering recreation of
_Mr. Toots_, it is not really so bad as Lord "Bob's" earnest desire for
preservation of law and order in Ulster leads him to fear.

_Business done._--On motion of Prime Minister new Standing Order dealing
with blocking motions carried _nemine contradicente_.

_House of Lords, Thursday_,--The death of the Duke of Argyll leaves the
House of Lords poorer by withdrawal of a quiet, gracious presence. I
talked with him here a few days before the Easter recess. To-night the
MacCailean Mhor, on his way to his last resting-place in the Highlands,
sleeps amid the stately silence of Westminster Abbey, unawakened by the
noiseless footsteps of the ghosts of great men dead. Thus in Plantagenet
times the coffined body of the wife of Edward I., brought from Lincoln
to Westminster, halted by the way, Charing Cross being the last of the
nine resting-places of her bier.

A happy marriage which brought him into close kinship with the Sovereign
forbade the Duke's taking active part in political life. It gave him
fuller opportunity for dallying with his dearly-loved foster-mother,
Literature. Endowed with the highest honours birth could give or the
Sovereign bestow, he bore them with a modesty that made others
momentarily forget their existence. Circumstances precluding his living
at Inveraray Castle and keeping up its feudal state, it was
characteristic of him that he cheerily homed himself in a cottage some
two miles down the loch-side, originally built for a factor. Little by
little he enlarged the residence till Dalchenna House became a roomy
mansion. Here, in company of a few choice companions, it was his delight
to stay during the autumn months. He kept to his study in the morning,
engaged in literary work or dealing with his vast correspondence. After
luncheon he led his guests forth, usually on foot, to tread the Highland
ways he knew since boyhood, when as Marquis of Lorne he presented the
picture of manly beauty in Highland dress that to-day adorns the hall of
Inveraray Castle.

In later years he built for himself a châlet set amid the pine-trees of
the ancient French forest of Hardelot, within sight and sound and scent
of the sea. Like Dalchenna this began in a small way. Enamoured with the
peace and rest that brooded over the place, he went on year by year
enlarging and embellishing it.

According to long-laid plans he was to have spent the Easter recess in
his French retreat. Almost at the last moment duty called him elsewhere,
and, as was his wont, he uncomplainingly obeyed. But he insisted that
two old friends, whom he had bidden to keep Easter tryst with him,
should not alter their plans. So the châlet, with its dainty
appointments and its domestic establishment after the Duke's own
heart--a French peasant and his wife, who acted as butler and cook--was
placed at their disposal, he bestowing infinite pains upon arrangements
for their comfort whilst under his roof.

[Illustration: "It was hardly a tactful way of trying to convert him to
the movement to place a bomb under his throne at St. Paul's."--_The
Bishop of London in the Debate on Lord Selborne's Bill for Female

This little episode, the most recent in a busy life, is a typical
instance of his unselfishness and untiring thought for others.

A scholar of wide reading, a man of shrewd judgment, and, as his
government of Canada disclosed, a statesman of high degree, he might
have filled a part in public affairs at least as lofty as that commanded
by his distinguished father. Debarred from such career he was content to
live up to the highest standard of Christian conduct. If a line of
commentary might be added to the inscription on the coffin which
to-morrow journeys northward to lie beside those of the ten Dukes of
Argyll at rest in the burial-place of the Campbells at Kilmun, here it
is written in one of the oldest of Books: "He went about doing good."

_Business done._--Commons resume debate on Budget.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Dear, I do not send you flowers,
    Though I notice day by day
  That, 'neath Spring's recurring powers,
  All the shops are perfect bowers
    With the floral wealth of May;
  I could get you quite a heap,
  Fresh and reasonably cheap.

  Here is many a fragrant rose
    Mingling with the scented pea,
  Hyacinths whose odour flows
  Fondly to the grateful nose,
    These, and many more, there be;
  You should have them like a shot,
  But I think you'd bettor not.

  Science 'tis that bids me pause;
    'Tis by her the tale is told
  That, by Nature's mystic laws,
  Blossoms are a frequent cause
    Of a lady catching cold;
  Their aroma, so she says,
  Irritates the passages.

  Whether this is quite exact
    May be food for questioning;
  But, as it's a painful fact
  That your membrane is attacked
    Thus about the prime of Spring,
  I, who hold your welfare dear,
  May not leave it with a sneer.

  Wherefore, much though I aspire
    You, and you alone, to please,
  I refrain from this desire,
  For 'twould set my heart on fire
    If I made my lady wheeze;
  I should well-nigh perish if
  Aught from me should rouse a sniff.


       *       *       *       *       *

    "In connection with the daily service at St. Enoch's Parish
    Church, it would be possible to have marriage celebrated at two
    o'clock on any particular week-day. That meant that in ordinary
    circumstances it would be possible to have marriage celebrated
    in St. Enoch's Church at two o'clock on any week day."--_Glasgow
    Evening Times._

Left to ourselves, we were just arriving at the same conclusion.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Captain W. M. Turner joined Freeman, and played the best
    cricket of the day. He bit hard on the off-side."--_Daily

We always move to the leg side of the field when Captain Turner comes

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mr. Brown._ "Yes, this civil war business in Ireland is
terrible--terrible--but, good heavens, Maria, why isn't there any onion

       *       *       *       *       *


"The Dangerous Age."

[Illustration: _Distracted Mother (at the top of her voice, outside sick
son's room)._ "He won't die! Tell me he won't die!"

_Author of Play._ "No, he won't die, because this is a 'happy ending'
play, but the noise that goes on outside his room would kill him in
ordinary life."

_Betty Dunbar_             Miss Eva Moore.
_Sir Egbert Englefield_    Mr. H. V. Esmond.]

When there is a good deal of talk on the stage about a certain
character, who however remains "off" throughout the play and gives you
no chance to discover for yourself what he is like, then I have an
instinctive distrust of him. If his name is as bad as _Cecil_ he is
practically doomed. _Betty Dunbar_, widow, ran away from her rich
sister's house and spent a night in London with such a _Cecil_. _Betty_
had arrived at the dangerous age of forty, and was temporarily and
ridiculously in love with this young bounder (as I felt him to be) of
twenty-two. But the fact that, at the very time when she was thus making
a fool of herself in London, her younger son, _Jack_, was falling off a
tree and nearly killing himself in the country brought her to her
senses. When she returned to the country to find _Jack_ at death's door,
her love for _Cecil_ died and she could only think of him with hatred.

Now I can remember wondering, when I read _The Vicar of Wakefield_ at an
early and innocent age, why _Dr. Primrose_ was so anxious that his
daughter _Olivia_ should be married to the beast with whom she had
eloped, when it would be so much better for her if _Thornhill_ left her
(as he was willing to do) and she returned unmarried to her father. I am
older now, and I know that in the good Vicar's opinion only thus could
his daughter's "honour" be "preserved." But the world is also older now,
and perhaps the oldest person in it is the woman suffragist--such a one,
for instance, as _Betty's_ elder sister, _Ethel_, who carried copies of
_Votes for Women_ about with her when she strolled through the home
park. That _Ethel_ should share _Dr. Primrose's_ ingenuous views on this
matter is unbelievable--by me, but not by the author. For she insisted,
under threat of cutting off supplies, that _Betty_ should marry _Cecil_,
and (so to speak) become a lady again. _Betty_ wisely refused, which
left the way clear for _Sir Egbert Englefield_, and so brought down the
curtain. I haven't mentioned _Sir Egbert_ before, but he was there or
thereabouts all the time, and being in the flesh Mr. H. V. Esmond,
author of the play, it was obvious that he would have the pull over any
unseen _Cecil_ in the final arrangement of partners.

Although _Ethel_ appears to be impossible, and the other characters
mostly conventional, _The Dangerous Age_ makes a very charming
entertainment at the Vaudeville, a patchwork of humour and pathos
ingeniously woven together; of which the humour was as fresh and jolly
as anything I have heard on the stage, and the pathos put me in greater
danger of being caught "blubbering like a seal" than I have ever been
before. It is to Masters Reginald Grasdorff and Roy Royston that I owe
my special thanks. Two more delightful boys on the stage cannot be
imagined. Indeed I was at least as sorry as _Betty_ when _Jack_ fell off
his tree, for I knew then that I should not see Master Roy again that
evening. Fortunately Reginald remained, and acted with great skill a
part which suddenly became serious. But I wish Osborne boys on the stage
wouldn't wear their uniforms in the holidays when they climb trees. It
emphasizes their Osbirth (if I may use the word) at the expense of their
boyishness. Miss Eva Moore and Mr. Esmond were excellent, the latter
playing a perfect Wyndham part without the Wyndham mannerisms. Mr.
Leslie Banks, representing an entirely incredible person, was exactly
like somebody I knew; a feat, it seems to me, of some skill.


       *       *       *       *       *

"The Wynmartens."


_Lady Wynmarten_            Miss Marie Tempest.
_Dowager Lady Wynmarten_    Miss Agnes Thomas.]

When a young widow wants to commit a flagrant outrage on the proprieties
in order to scandalise a detested mother-in-law, and selects the first
likely man for her accomplice, she will probably not be deterred by fear
of any damage that may occur to his reputation. When _Lady Wynmarten_
engaged the services of _Bill Carrington_ she had the less compunction
because he was only over from India for a week and might rely upon the
fresh air of the high seas to repair the damage and displace the breath
of scandal. Unfortunately, his very limited time in England had been
carefully scheduled for the execution of several important contracts;
and when his firm heard of his escapade and found him twenty minutes
late for a business appointment, he was briefly booted.

It was at this point that the critics began to think of taking notes on
their cuffs about Browning's views on the danger of "playing with
souls," but found on reflection that the case was not so serious as
that. For we knew all the time (by the splendour of her frocks) that the
lady was rich, and we had gathered half-way through that she was
prepared to accept _Bill_ in marriage and make an honest man of him. Not
that their joint adventure had actually achieved immorality. She had
simply dined with him, done a play, had supper at the Savoy, gone on to
a Covent Garden ball, failed to effect an entrance into her house
(having deliberately mislaid her latch-key and cut the bell-wire), and
been taken a little before milk-time to her mother-in-law's, where her
appearance had caused the greatest confusion and scandal, which was
indeed the ultimate purpose of the scheme. But the fatal devotion of her
French maid, who telephoned next morning to all her mistress's friends
to say that her bed had not been slept in, and that a dark mystery
brooded over her whereabouts, tended to promote a garrulous interest in
her conduct.

It was a sad pity that we were not permitted to witness any phase of
this adventure. One seemed to be assisting at a farce with the fun left
out. I should have greatly enjoyed being present at the moment when her
ladyship claimed the hospitality of her mother-in-law's roof. But
perhaps this experience would have left me in a frame of mind too
frivolous for the right reception of the grave things that were to

Yet the play was mixed of all moods, from gay to earnest, and offered
excellent scope for the versatility of Miss Marie Tempest. Mr.
Clarence's humour, on the other hand, was not so well served; and there
were frequent _longueurs_ during the episodes in which the _Dowager Lady
Wynmarten_ figured. She was meant to be a terror, and had some very
vicious things to say; but Miss Agnes Thomas delivered them with
superfluously well-bred restraint, and the level tone of her bitter
suavity tended to become a little tedious.

Mr. Graham Browne showed a very nice self-repression as the widow's
dummy. But he let himself go with his cigarettes which in moments of
emotion he threw away with an appalling recklessness after the first two

The rest of the cast did ample justice to a play which, if it is Mr.
Powell's first, must be commended for its promise. But the next time he
writes a Four-Act Comedy he must try and give us more than one Act
without any tea in it.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Ladies of the coloured hair school are reported to be painting dragons
on their cheeks in place of complexion spots._)

  When the world was very young
    And agog with derring-do,
  Knights went courting maids who hung
    Chained, for dragons' teeth to chew;
  Found their lass, and set her free,
    Having duly on the spot
  Slain the dragon (or, maybe,
    Having failed to slay, did not).

  Later, when your maid demure,
    Long of lash and coy of mien,
  Seemed a conquest swift and sure,
    Fiercer monsters stepped between:
  Mrs. Grundies, grey and grim,
    Kept Miss Proper closely tied;
  Beaus dissolved before the prim
    Portly dragon at her side.

  Now there dawns a lighter day;
    Chaperons are nearly dead;
  Undefended lies the way
    For your amorous wight to tread,
  Yet we still must pay our toll,
    We who woo the guarded rose:
  Frightful at the very goal
    Lurks the dragon _by her nose_.

  Modern maidens, if upon
    Cheeks that court the curious stare
  Voluntarily you don
    This insane pictorial wear,
  Know your tricks intrigue us not,
    Frankly, ladies, they appal;
  Out, I say, out, damnéd spot!
    We don't like your cheek at all.

       *       *       *       *       *


"It was here yesterday," I said. "I am quite sure I saw it."

"Saw what?" said the lady of the house.

"A letter," I said, "that required an answer."

"Well," she said, "there are about fifty letters of that kind on your
table there. Why don't you answer some of those? You can take your pick
of them."

"Those are different," I said. "They've waited a long time, and it won't
hurt them to wait a little longer. The one I want came yesterday, and
required an immediate answer. I remember it quite distinctly."

"Why not answer it, then, without finding it? I'll dictate to
you:--'Dear Sir or Madam,--In answer to your obliging letter, I beg to
say that I much regret I shall be unable to attend the meeting of the
blank committee on the blank of blank, owing to a previous engagement to
be present at the meeting of the blank association for the blank blank
blank. I enclose herewith my subscription of blank, and remain, with
apologies for my delay, yours blankly, etc., etc.' Fire away; you can't
go wrong."

"I am not sure," I said, "that I like all those blanks. It's a good
model, of course, but it's just a bit too sketchy."

"If you remember the letter so perfectly you can fill in the blanks as
you go along."

"I didn't say I remembered it so perfectly as all that. I remember
getting it. I remember it was marked 'Urgent and confidential' or
'Private and immediate,' or something of that kind, and I remember
putting it down on this writing-table and making up my mind to answer it
at once, but I don't remember who it was from----"

"_Whom_ it was from."

"Amiable pedant! I don't remember who my importunate correspondent was,
or what address he or she wrote from, or what it was about. It was one
of those letters that produce a general sense of discomfort, the sort
you want to forget but can't."

"Oh, but _you_ can. I never heard of anything so completely forgotten as
this unfortunate letter."

"Really," I said, "you drive me to despair. Can't you see that a man may
remember the _existence_ of a letter without remembering all its petty
details? For instance, I know there's a Sultan of Morocco, but I don't
know what he's like, or what his name is, or how he's dressed, or what
his exact colour is. Still, there he is, you know."


"Oh, I don't know. Morocco, I suppose, would find him."

"Then all you've got to do is to write him a respectful letter, saying
that you can't accept his Majesty's kind invitation to the small and
early dance at the Palace."

"I am not," I said, "in a humour for frivolity. I want to write a

"And I," she said proudly, "am doing my best to help you."

"I put it down on this writing-table, and one of you has moved it.
Possibly it looked untidy, and one of you has tidied it--you yourself,
for choice. In that case I shall never, never find it. To think that
there is some one in the world who is eagerly expecting a letter from
me, who is watching for the postman as he comes on his rounds, who is
constantly disappointed, who lapses finally into a sullen acquiescence,
who considers me unbusinesslike--and all because you saw a letter which
didn't please you, and so you tidied it away. After all, it's my
writing-table, and in future I won't have anyone at it except myself."

"Don't be harsh," she said. "How do you know any of us have been at what
you call your table?"

"How do I know?" I said bitterly. "Look at these neat little packets of
papers all put carefully one on top of the other. Look at my pens, look
at my bills, look at my cheque-book, look at my notepaper and
envelopes--I mean, don't look at them, because if you did you wouldn't
see them. They're tucked away out of sight, and all that is left to me
is a blotting pad, on which you have done several interesting money
addition sums, and Peggy has drawn four Red Indians in crayons, and
Helen has tentatively written in ink the words 'alright' and 'allright.'
Oh yes, some of you have invaded my private domain and sat at my table,
and have first scattered and then re-asserted my papers."

At this moment John entered the room, came and stood beside me, and
abstracted from the table a pencil and a sheet of foolscap.

"There," I said, "you can see the result of your dreadful example. Even
this innocent child has learnt to pilfer my writing materials."

"John," said his mother, "would you like to search your father?"

"What's 'search'?" said John.

"Feel in his coat pockets and see if you can find a letter."

John was quite willing. He inserted a pudgy hand into one pocket after
another, and finally extracted a rather crumpled letter.

"Hurrah!" I said. "He's got it."

"What is it?" she said.

"It is a courteous communication from Messrs. Wilfer and Wontner, highly
commending the virtues of their renowned Hygeia tabloids, two to be
taken daily after dinner."

"It's the most private and urgent letter I ever heard of. And now, I
suppose, you'll withdraw your most unjust decree against our using the

"Not at all," I said; "I make it stricter than ever. If you hadn't used
my table I should have looked in my coat pocket and found the letter
long ago."

"Anyhow," she said, "it's a comfort to think you won't have to write to
the Sultan of Morocco."

R. C. L.

       *       *       *       *       *


  There harbours somewhere in our midst to-day
    A visionary whom I long to meet;
  He shuns publicity, and yet his sway
    Is felt in many a teeming London street,
      From staid Stoke Newington to sylvan Sheen,
      From gay Mile End to high-browed Golder's Green.

  'Tis he who planned the routes for motor-bi,
    Who set them in the way that they should go,
  That Maida Vale might wot of Peckham Rye,
    That Walham Green might fraternise with Bow,
      For him a Norwood bus stormed Notting Hill,
      'Erb at the helm, Augustus at the till.

  "Tooting is fair," he mused, "but what of Kew?
    Shall Cricklewood and Balham be forgot?"
  Mindful of regions Barking never knew,
    He linked them up with that idyllic spot;,
      And then, his wild imaginings to crown,
      He ran a bus from Barnes to Camden Town.

  Dreamer of dreams! above the city's strife
    I picture him, in some lone eyrie pent,
  What time the crash and roar of London's life
    Drone deep-mouthed up in sullen music blent,
      And, hearkening, he weaves with lonely glee
      A wondrous web of bus-routes yet to be.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Farmer's Wife (to visitor)._ "Now, Johnny, will you go
and collect the eggs, and don't take the china ones. I suppose you know
what they're for?"

_Johnny._ "Oh, yes; they're for a pattern to show 'em how to make the

       *       *       *       *       *


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

Mr. Beresford is most warmly to be congratulated upon his new book, _The
House in Demetrius Road_ (Heinemann). Mr. Beresford's work has had from
the first remarkable qualities that place him beyond question amongst
the first half-dozen of the younger English novelists; but never before,
I think, have his talents had a subject so exactly suited to their best
display. It would be difficult to praise too highly the grim and
relentless effect of the author's treatment of his subject. _Robin
Gregg_ is a drunkard, and everyone about him--his secretary, his
sister-in-law, his little girl--is caught into the dingy cloud of his
vice. The house also is caught; and very fine indeed is the way in which
Mr. Beresford has presented his atmosphere--the rooms, the dirty strip
of garden, the shabby suburb, the London rain--but beyond all these
things is the central figure of _Gregg_ himself. Here is a character
entirely new to English fiction--a man who in spite of his degradation
has his brilliance, his humour and, above all, his mystery. It is in
this implication that, at the very heart of the man, there are fine
things too degraded and degraded things too fine for any human record of
them to be possible that the exceptional merit of Mr. Beresford's work
lies. In his desire to avoid any possible cheapness or weak indulgence
he misses, perhaps, some effects of colour and pathos that might, a
little, have heightened the contrasts of his study; and I do not feel
that the woman is as vivid as she should be. These things, however,
affect very slightly a story that its author may indeed be proud to have

_Penelope_ was the heroine. She was in what are called reduced
circumstances, and was moreover encumbered by sisters who were not quite
all that could have been wished in the way of niceness. One day
_Penelope_, looking through an iron gate, saw a beautiful garden, full
of flowers; and the master of the garden, himself unseen, saw
_Penelope_, and loved her. So she accepted the invitation of his voice
and went into the garden and found that the master was a young man so
disfigured by a recent accident that he had to wear blue spectacles and
a shade. However, he loved her and she didn't mind him, so that after a
time they became engaged, which was pleasant enough for _Penelope_, who
had henceforth the run of the garden and leave to take home roses and
things to the not-nice sisters. Do you want to be told how presently
these began to tempt _Penelope_, urging her to insist that her lover
should unmask, and what happened when she yielded? Or have you seen
already that the story here called _A Garden of the Gods_ (Alston
Rivers) is just a modern version of one that we all used to be told in
the nursery? Moreover, Beauty and the Beast had been used once at least
in this fashion before Miss Edith M. Keate happened on the idea. But
that does not make the present any the less an amiable, quietly
entertaining story, if a little obvious. The characters have never
anything but a very distant resemblance to life; and their speech is for
the most part that of a lady novelist's creations rather than of human
beings. But those who demand "a good tale," with beauty properly
distressed till the last page, and there beatified with the knowledge
that "the darkness that surrounded her was scattered for ever," will
find some highly agreeable pasturage in _A Garden of the Gods_.

_The Modern Chesterfield_ (Hurst and Blackett) is a book that I enjoyed
only after overcoming a considerable and partially-justified prejudice.
In the first place, I generally dislike stories told in epistolary form;
in the second, I almost always detest books that their publishers
advertise by selected "smart sayings." But I must honestly admit that
_The Modern Chesterfield_ conquered me--chiefly, I think, by its
good-nature. The writer of these very up-to-date paternal admonitions is
supposed to be one _Sir Benjamin Budgen, Bart_, "of Budgen House, Fleet
Street, E.C. and Cedar Court, Twickenham, Middlesex." The addresses tell
you what to expect--a satire on the methods of popular journalism. This
in fact is what you get, but the satire is so neat (and withal so
genial) and Mr. Max Rittenberg has so happy a knack of conveying
character in a few lines that you are simply bound to enjoy reading him.
One other facility he has that deserves the highest praise: he tells his
story, in letters that emanate from one side only, without wearisome
repetition. There is, I mean, hardly any of that "You say in your last
that--and ask me whether--etc.," which in similar volumes always bores
me to ill-temper by its unlikeness to the letter-writing customs of real
life. An explanatory line or two at the head of each epistle puts you in
possession of the facts--that _Norman_, the son to whom they are
written, has left Cambridge, is proving unsatisfactory, has married an
Earl's daughter, and so on. That known, the letters tell their own tale.
They reveal the writer too (I refer to _Sir Benjamin_): shrewd,
clear-headed, vulgar and of bull-dog courage. The disasters that
overwhelm him in the end do not leave his readers unmoved; bankrupt and
beaten he goes down fighting with the final characteristic wire, in
response to a suggestion of compromise by his chief enemy, "Surrender be
damned." A little book to enjoy.

The village priest of Clogher, as depicted in two colours on the paper
wrapper of _Father O'Flynn_ (Hutchinson), is a man of plethoric habit
and sanguine countenance engaged in brandishing a large horsewhip. The
book is dedicated by Mr. H. de Vere Stacpoole, to Sir E. Carson and Mr.
Redmond, and in a short preface he says: "The Irish Roman Catholic
priest is the main factor in present-day Irish affairs. I have attempted
to catch him at his best in the butterfly net of this trivial story...."
I am anxious not to do Mr. Stacpoole an injustice, but I do feel that
(as an entomologist) he gets easily tired. In the 250 pages of _Father
O'Flynn_ there is a good deal of very tolerable Irish "atmosphere"; a
very tepid love affair between _Miss Eileen Pope_ and a gentleman from
England "over for the hunting;" a lot about old _Mr. Pope_--a moody
maniac who owned an illicit still at Clon Beg House, incurred the enmity
of the United Patriots, was in the habit of keeping followers away from
his beautiful step-daughter with a duck-gun, and finally (after locking
up his brother who came to recover a debt) set fire to his own
mansion--but practically nothing at all about the reverend gentleman
outside. Beyond a few conversations with the "boys" and some rescue work
at the end, _Father O'Flynn_ scarcely comes into the plot. There is
humour in the book and some good description in patches, but towards
understanding the Irish priest it will probably assist Sir Edward Carson
and Mr. John Redmond very little more than it will assist a settlement
of the problems of Ulster. However, it may give them an agreeable hour
or so in a railway train, and the announcement (also made on the cover)
that it is "an entirely new novel, now published for the first time,"
may call their attention to the value, in art as well as politics, of
emphatic tautology.

I could wish that _The Escape of Mr. Trimm, His Plight and Other
Plights_ (Hodder and Stoughton) had been one continuous whole, instead
of a number of separate items, for though Mr. Irvin S. Cobb tells a tale
well he has not such a genius for the short story that he needs must
express himself through that medium. Moreover, the people of his
imagination are too interesting to be readily parted with; I should, for
instance, have liked to see how that gentleman convict, _Mr. Trimm_,
fared when, after his odd vicissitudes, he was restored to the clutches
of the Law and was set on to do his time with the worst of them. There
was plenty of criminal company available, for Mr. Cobb makes some
speciality of perpetrators of dark deeds, and I feel that all the
characters and events of the subsequent stories could, with a little
ingenuity, have been worked into the one plot with our fraudulent
financier as the centrepiece. That wrong-headed but chivalrous relic of
the Southern Confederacy, _Major Putnam Stone_, would fit in as the
virtuous or comic relief, his inborn lust for battle and his chance
employment as a newspaper reporter being just the things to combat these
felonious activities. There is certainly a lack of lovable women in the
book, yet I have always been led to suppose that the U.S.A., the _locus
in quo_, overflows with feminine charm, and our author is obviously man
enough to appreciate and reproduce it for us. However, even a critic
must take things as they are, and it is a collection of short stories
that I have to complain about. My complaint, then, reduces itself to
this, that in the case of each of them I regret their shortness.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Jovial Person (to sweep)._ "Hullo, Chawlie me boy. Glad
ter see yer lookin' so well."]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Mr. Lloyd George (to shade of Pitt)._ "Peace hath her income-tax no
less renowned than War."

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, May 13, 1914" ***

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