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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, May 27, 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 27, 1914" ***

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PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 146.



May 27, 1914.



CHARIVARIA.


We hear that the news of the defeat of Messrs. Travers, Evans ("Chick")
and Ouimet in the Amateur Golf Championship was received by President
Huerta's troops with round upon round of cheering. Frankly, we think it
rather petty of them.

       ***

The statement in _The Daily Mail_ to the effect that about two million
pounds have been sunk in the new German liner _Vaterland_ is apt to be
misconstrued, and we are requested to state that the vessel is still
afloat.

       ***

There was a fire at the Press Club off Fleet Street last week, but we
refuse absolutely to credit the rumour that this was the work of a
member anxious that his paper should have first news of the
conflagration.

       ***

We came across a flagrant example, the other day, of an advertisement
that did not speak the truth. Seated on the top of an omnibus were six
persons with most regrettable faces. Underneath them was an inscription,
which ran the length of the knife-board:--

  "Things we'd like to know."

       ***

Persons who are hesitating to visit the Anglo-American Exposition may
like to know that the representation of New York there is not so
realistic as to be unpleasant.

       ***

Mr. A. Kipling Common writes to _The Daily Mail_ deploring England's
lack of great men. We are sorry that _The Times_ should be so shy in
using its power to remedy this defect. Letters from the great are always
printed by our contemporary in large type. A few promotions might surely
be distributed now and then among the small-type men?

       ***

A friendly intimation is said to have been conveyed by the Royal Academy
to a restaurant in the immediate neighbourhood which advertises an
Academy luncheon that its name might with advantage be changed to one of
a nature less inciting to Suffragettes. We refer to Hatchett's.

       ***

Is cannibalism to be Society's latest fad? We notice that somebody's
Skin Food is being advertised pretty freely.

       ***

The Criterion Restaurant, we see, is advertising a "_Souper Dansant_."
Personally we dislike the kind of supper which, when eaten, will not lie
down and rest.

       ***

It looks, we fear, as if in _Break the Walls Down_ the Savoy Theatre has
not found a play which will _Bring the House Down_.

       ***

The proposal that a "full blue" should be awarded at Cambridge to those
who represent the University at boxing was recently considered but not
adopted. We should have thought that a "black and blue" would have been
the appropriate thing.

       ***

Some idea of the heat last week may be gathered from the following order
issued by the Cambridge University Officers' Training Corps:--

    INTER-COMPANY COMPETITION.

    Dress:--Two pouches will be worn on the right.

       ***

A translation is announced of a book by August Strindberg, entitled
"Fair Haven and Foul Strand." Those of us who remember the Strand of
twenty years ago, with its mud baths, will not consider the epithet too
strong.

       ***

There is, we hear, considerable satisfaction among the animals at the
Zoo at the result of a recent competition open to readers of _The
Express_. It has been decided that the ugliest animal in the collection
is the orang-utan, who resembles a human being more closely than any
other animal.

       ***

Meanwhile it has been decided, humanely, not to break the news to the
orang-utan himself until the weather gets cooler.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Patriarch._ "I don't believe this 'ere about tellin'
a man's character just by lookin' at 'is face. It ain't possible."]

       *       *       *       *       *

DE MORTUIS NIL NISI BONUM.

Lines dedicated to the outraged memory of Keats.

[Two pretty poor sonnets by Keats have been exposed by a Mr. Horner and
exploited in facsimile, twice over in one week, by _The Times_. In its
_Literary Supplement_, where they made their second appearance, we are
told with cynical candour that "afterwards, when he had become ashamed
of his crowning" (the foolish episode which is the subject of these two
sonnets) Keats "kept them from publication; and Reynolds" (the friend to
whom he confided them), "knowing the story, respected his feelings after
his death."]

  What is there in the poet's human lot
    Most beastly loathsome? Haply you will say
    An influenza in the prime of May?
  Or haply, nosed in some suburban plot,
  The reek of putrid cabbage when it's hot?
    Or, with the game all square and one to play,
    To be defeated by a stymie? Nay,
  I know of something worse--I'll tell you what.
  It is to have your rotten childish rhymes
    (Rotten as these) dragged from oblivion's shroud
      Where, with the silly act that gave them birth,
      They lay as lie the dead in sacred earth,
    And see them, twice in one week, boomed aloud
  To tickle penny readers of _The Times_.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE AUDIT.

This income of mine, in which the world has suddenly become so
interested, must be calculated from the following returns of past years,
being the figures supplied privately to Phyllis:--

  (1)                            guineas.                          £
1911-1912.  By fees as specialist   113    By occasional papers
                                             in Medical Journals  35
1912-1913.          ditto           152             ditto         42
1913-1914.          ditto           203             ditto         37

(2) My capital is invested in Ordinary Stock, and brings in anything
from £50 to £100 a year, in accordance with the varying moods of the
directors.

(3) Lastly, I have now bought, out of my earnings, the freehold of the
premises in which I carry on my practice. In making out a Balance Sheet
this item must be regarded either as a liability or as an asset
accordingly as one takes the dark or the bright view of the position.
Either I owe myself so much a year for rent of the premises, in which
case it is a liability: or else myself owes me so much for rent, in
which case it is an asset. Practically speaking it doesn't much matter,
because it is a bad debt either way.

Those amongst my (apparently) most intimate friends, who are
money-lenders, do not ask for details. They are content to assume the
worst and hope for the best. Sir Reginald Hartley and Mr. Charles
Dugmore, Assessor of Taxes, the most interested enquirers, are not,
however, money-lenders.

Sir Reginald is not naturally an inquisitive man, and his concern for
me, in spite of my frequent appearance at his table, had hitherto been
limited to my services in getting the port decanter round its circuit.
It was I who, when one evening we were doing this alone, led up to the
subject.

"Sir Reginald," said I.

He passed the port again, hoping thus to damp down my conversational
powers. I, hoping to stimulate them, helped myself.

"Well, what do you want now, my boy?" he asked reluctantly, noting my
unsatisfied air.

"I'll tell you what I should like, Sir," said I, "and that's a
father-in-law. Would you care for the job?"

Not, I think, entirely with a view to what he himself was likely to get
out of this suggestion, he asked me outright what I was worth. "I don't
think," he suggested, "that I could very well let my Phyllis marry
anyone with less than five hundred a year, eh?"

I got out paper and pencil, puckered up my brow, and worked out a sum.
"I am happy to announce," I said eventually, "that we may put my income
on the other side of that figure."

To show my _bona fides_, I set out my sum:--

MY INCOME ('14 to '15):                                           £
  (1) _Fees._ (To estimate this item it is necessary to take actual
             figures of last three years, which show an annual
             increase at the rate of about 33%. The '13 to '14
             figure is 203 guineas; add 33% and you get total
             for '14 to '15, 284 pounds, say                     300
  (2) Add annual value of professional premises, which is         50
  (3) _Occasional literature._ This is practically a regular
             stipend, at the fixed figure of (_circa_) £40. But
             a happy marriage should promote inspiration.
             Allowing for same, put this figure at, say.          51
  (4) Interest on Investments, say                               100
                                                               -----
                     Grand Total. (E. & O. E.)                  £501
                                                               =====

These, however, were not the figures I quoted to Charles Dugmore, A.T.

There was no port about him, and still less did he wait for me to
introduce the subject. He sent me a sharp note and gave me twenty-one
days to answer, in default of which he said he would have the law on me.
Still, there is a certain rough kindness even about your Assessor of
Taxes; this one enclosed a slip of paper, which he hoped I wouldn't
read, but which, when I did read it, suggested to me my middle course of
safety. "Work out your income, on lines consistent with honesty, at less
than £160, and you've won," it said. With the assistance of the advice
it gave, I had no difficulty in doing this; thus:--

MY INCOME ('14 to '15):.                                               £
  (1) _Trade, Vocation or Profession, A Specialist._ (To estimate
         this item it is necessary to take actual figures
         of last three years, which show an average of
         164 pounds. It is difficult to say how much of
         this will be net profit after making allowance
         for estimated rental of professional premises
         and other liabilities, but let us give the Inland
         Revenue the benefit of the doubt and say 50%.
         50% of 164 is                                                 82
  (2) _Ditto, Occasional literature_. (This is a fluctuating
         stipend, at the figure of (_circa_) 35. But one's
         inspiration gets exhausted. Allowing for same,
         and for pens, ink and paper, put this figure at               27
  (3) Interest on Investments, say                                     50
                                                                     ----
                                                                     £159
                                                                     ====

Ulster may fight and Mexico may be right; nevertheless these things are
apt to be forgotten when conversation reverts, as it always does, to My
Income.

The sordid subject came up again for discussion when Phyllis and I went
to have a preliminary chat with the house-agent.

"You have spoken with eloquence and conviction about reception-rooms,
out-houses, railway stations, golf courses, and h. and c.," said I, "but
sooner or later some one must rise and say a few pointed words about
Rent."

"That all depends on what you are prepared to give," he replied. "The
rough-and-ready rule is to fix one's rent at a tenth of one's income."

"Yes, but which income?" I asked. "For I have two incomes and I can't
afford a separate house for each."

He had no formula for my case and I left him a little later under a
cloud of suspicion. Your house-agent is an ill judge of the subtler
forms of humour.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE COALITION TOUCH.

[Illustration: _Preparing To receive By-election Cavalry._

Front Rank (_to Rear Rank_). "I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE ENEMY MAY THINK OF
YOUR PIKE, BUT PERSONALLY IT INCOMMODES ME!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Very sorry, Sir; But I'm afraid I've made a small cut on
your chin."

"Ah! It must have been a sharp patch on the razor."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE COLONEL TALKS.

The great hunter and explorer received us with profound affability.
Thinner he may be, but his terrible privations in the perilous back
blocks of Brazil have left his dazzling bonzoline smile unharmed. Every
one of the powerful two-and-thirty extended a separate welcome.

"Sit right down," he said.

We sat right down.

"Say, Colonel," we began in the vernacular, "tell us about the river.
Some river, ain't it?"

"You are right, Sir," he replied. "It's a river. The Thames, according
to your great statesman, Colonel Burns, is 'liquid history;' my river
is----"

"According to Savage Landor," we interrupted, "'liquid mystery.'"

The explorer's face fell. "I will deal with him later," he said.
"Meanwhile let me tell you, Sir, that this is no slouch of a river. It
has all the necessary ingredients of a river. It has banks, and a
current. There are fish in it. Boats and canoes can progress on its
surface. Twenty-three times did I risk my valuable life in saving boats
and canoes that had got adrift. It has rapids. Twenty-eight times did I
nearly drown in negotiating them. It has some ugly snags. The ugliest I
have called 'Wilson,' the next ugliest, 'Bryan.'"

He stopped for applause and we let him have it.

"It was a great discovery of yours," we said, after he had bowed several
times.

"No, Sir," he replied, "let us get that right. It is not my discovery.
It is the discovery of Colonel Rondor."

"Well, you keep it among the colonels anyway," we said.

"In America, Sir," replied the modern Columbus--"in G. O. C., by which I
mean God's Own Country--we keep everything among the colonels. But to
proceed--it is not my discovery. All that I did was to trace it to its
source in order to put it on the map. That is my ambition--the crowning
moment of my _ex-officio_ life--to put this river on the map. It will
mean a boom in South America at last. They are all out-of-date and new
ones must be made."

"And what will you call the river?" I asked.

"I am not sure," he said. "Some want it to be known as the 'Roosevelt,'
but that does not please me. The 'Rondor' would be better, or 'The Two
Colonels.' Can you suggest anything?"

"Why not 'The Sixty-five'?" we said, "since you lost sixty-five pounds
in your travels."

"Good," he said. "I will put the point to Kermet."

"And is that your only triumph," we asked--"the river?"

"Oh, no," he said. "There is a bird too. A new bird, about the size of a
turkey."

"Turkey in Europe or Turkey in Asia?" we asked.

He pulled a gun from his belt and stroked it lovingly. There are moments
when even an interviewer' recognises the dangers of importunity, and
this was one.

       *       *       *       *       *

ONE OF OUR GREATEST.

An Interview.

It was naturally not without difficulty that I won my way to the
presence of so busy and influential a publicist. A man who spends his
whole time in instructing the readers of so many different papers in the
delicate art of discerning the best and ignoring the rest cannot have
much margin for inquisitive strangers.

However, I succeeded in penetrating to his sanctum and, while waiting
for the lion to appear, had an opportunity to look round. It was
severely furnished--obviously the room of a great thinker. I noticed on
the desk, which was covered with paper and note-books, a copy of Roget's
_Thesaurus_ and Taylor's _Natural History of Enthusiasm_. With two such
works one can, of course, go far. On the wall were the mottoes, "We
needs must love the highest when we see it," and (from _The Bellman_)
"What I tell you three times is true." I noticed two portraits also: one
was of a delightful grande dame who might have graced a pavane in the
days of Louis Quinze, inscribed to her "fellow-worker in the great
cause, from Madame de Boccage," and another was the photograph of a gay
young Frenchman in English clothes, signed "To mon cher colleague from
'is sincere friend Alphonse." There were also three telephones on the
table and several typewriters here and there.

A moment later the wizard came in--a tall scholarly-looking figure, with
all the stigmata of the great thinker beneath one of the highest brows
in Europe.

"And what," he asked, bowing with perfect courtesy, "can I do for you?"

"I have come hoping for the privilege of an interview," I said.

"But why," he replied with charming diffidence, "should you interview
me? Why am I thus honoured?"

"Because you are a very remarkable person," I replied. "You are the only
journalist who can contribute the same articles regularly to _The Pall
Mall_, _The Westminster_ and I don't know to how many other papers
besides. That is a feat in itself. You are the only journalist who
always has the same subject."

He admitted these fine performances.

"So I should like to ask you a few questions," I continued. "The public
is naturally interested in the personality of so widely read an author.
May I know how you obtained your amazing command of words? Your
fluency?"

"I have ever made a study of the finest writers," he said. "From Moses
to De Courville, I have read them all. These studies and constant
intercourse with the brainiest Americans I can meet have made me what I
am."

"But your certainty in discrimination," I said--"how did you acquire
that? Most of us are so doubtful of ourselves."

"I never am," he replied; "I am sure. One thing at a time is my theory.
Concentrate on one thing and forget all the rest. In other words, trust
to elimination. That's what I do. Having found something that I know to
be good I instantly eliminate all thought of the existence of rival
claimants and concentrate on that discovery and its exploitation."

"Marvellous," I murmured. "And how do you think of all your variations
on the one stimulating theme?"

"Ah!" he said, "that is my secret." He tapped his massive forehead. "It
wants a bit of doing, but I think I may say that up to date I have
delivered the goods."

"You may," I said. "Have you no assistants?"

He flushed angrily and I changed the subject.

"In your spare time----" I began.

"I have none," he said. "I want none."

"But surely now and then," I urged, "after office hours?"

"I never relax," he said. "If I am not writing I am worshipping. I walk
up and down on the other side of the street, gazing this way, wondering
and adoring."

What a man!

"Now and then," I said, "you puzzle me a little. The columns in the
evening papers go fairly straight to the point, but you are not always
so direct. One now and then has to search for the true purpose of the
article."

He bent his fine brows in perplexity.

"As when?" he asked.

"Well," I said, "those third leaders in _The Times_, for example. I
often read them without making perfectly sure which department of the
great House you are recommending: to which of its varied activities you
are drawing particular attention."

He looked more bewildered. "The third leaders in _The Times_?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. "Don't you write those?"

"No," he replied with emphasis.

"Great Heavens!" I said, "I'm very sorry if I've hurt you. But I always
assumed that you did."

The simultaneous ringing of the three telephones warned me that my time
was up and I rose to go.

"Good-bye," he said, "Good-bye. You know where to go if you want
anything, don't you? No matter what it is--ties, socks, dress--suits,
scent, afternoon tea, civility, perfection. You know where to go?"--and
he bowed me out.

And that is how I met Callisthenes.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "'Arf a mo, Chawley; let's wait an' see 'im sit down."]

       *       *       *       *       *

BLUDYARD.

Mr. Rudyard Kipling's few remarks, made beneath the blue sky of the
Empire at Tunbridge Wells, have not yet lost their effect. The famous
orator's letter-bag is daily crowded with communications from total
strangers who have striven in vain to resist the impulse to tell him
what they think of him and his speech.

"I understand from the local paper that you're an author," writes one
correspondent from Haggerston; "if you can write like you can speak,
your books ought to sell in hundreds."

"Your speech was quite good," writes another, "so far as it went; the
only fault I have to find with it is that it was not strong enough, Sir,
not strong enough. The blackguards!"

An envelope of pale purple, gently perfumed, contained that well-known
work (now in its tenth thousand), "Gentle Words, and How to Use Them. By
Amelia Papp." We understand that the receipt of this famous pamphlet had
a tremendous effect upon Mr. Kipling.

The speech has put courage into the heart of a young literary man known
to us. "I have long yearned to break away from the weaklings who can do
no more than call a spade a spade," he said the other day. "I feel that
I now have a master's authority for doing so. In gratitude I can do no
less than send Mr. Kipling a copy of my new book, _The Seven D's_, when
it is ready."

"I cannot be too grateful for your impressive speech," wrote a lady from
Balham. "For many weeks now I consider that my butcher has been sending
joints that are perfectly disgraceful, and I have been quite at a loss
to know how to deal with him. But thanks to your great utterance I was
able to get together just the words I wanted, and on Tuesday last I sent
him _such_ a letter. You will be glad to know that Wednesday's shoulder
was excellent."

An anonymous correspondent, dating from a temporary address at
Limehouse, has written, "Why don't you come over on our side? You and I
together could do great things."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: According to a scheme suggested by the Royal Statistical
Society everyone should be given a number and an index card at his
birth. This would help the police to trace missing persons, prevent
fraudulent marriages, etc. it would brighten the scheme if everybody was
compelled to wear his number in a conspicuous position, and if a
descriptive catalogue was issued.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SWEET O' THE YEAR.

  Get your summer smocks on, _ye_ little elves and fairies!
    Put your winter ones away in burrows underground--
      Thick leaves and thistledown,
      Rabbit's-fur and missel-down,
  Woven in your magic way which no one ever varies,
    Worn in earthy hidey-holes till
      Spring comes round!

  Got your summer smocks on! Be clad no more in russet!
    All the flow'rs are fashion-plates and fabrics for your wear--
      Gold and silver gossamer,
      Webs, from every blossomer,
  Fragrant and so delicate (with neither seam nor gusset),
    Filmily you spin them, but they will not tear!

  Get your summer smocks on, for all the woodland's waking,
    All the glades with green and glow salute you with a shout,
      All the earth is chorussing
      (Hear the Lady Flora sing!--
  Her that strews the hyacinths and sets you merry-making),
    Oak and ash do call you and the blackthorn's out!

  Get your summer smocks on, for soon's the time of dances
    Soon's the time of junketings and revellers' delights--
      Dances in your pleasaunces
      Where your dainty presence is
  Dangerous to mortals mid the moonlight that entrances,
    Dazzling to a mortal eye on hot June nights!

       *       *       *       *       *

April 23, 1914.

    350th Anniversary of the birth of William Makepeace
    Shakespeare."--_Kostenaian._

Oliver Wendell Cromwell, the distinguished author-politician, was born
much later than the poet-novelist.

       *       *       *       *       *

A HANGING GARDEN IN BABYLON.

"Are you taking me to the Flower Show this afternoon?" asked Celia at
breakfast.

"No," I said thoughtfully; "no."

"Well, that's that. What other breakfast conversation have I? Have you
been to any theatres lately?"

"Do you really want to go to the Flower Show?" I asked. "Because I don't
believe I could bear it."

"I've saved up two shillings."

"It isn't that--not only that. But there'll be thousands of people
there, all with gardens of their own, all pointing to things and saying,
'We've got one of those in the east bed,' or 'Wouldn't that look nice in
the south orchid house?' and you and I will be quite, quite out of it."
I sighed, and helped myself from the west toast-rack.

It is very delightful to have a flat in London, but there are times in
the summer when I long for a garden of my own. I show people round our
little place, and I point out hopefully the Hot Tap Doultonii in the
bathroom, and the Dorothy Perkins loofah, but it isn't the same thing as
taking your guest round your garden and telling him that what you really
want is rain. Until I can do that the Chelsea Flower Show is no place
for us.

"Then I haven't told you the good news," said Celia. "We _are_
gardeners." She paused a moment for effect. "I have ordered a
window-box."

I dropped the marmalade and jumped up eagerly.

"Celia, my child," I cried, "this is glorious news! I haven't been so
excited since I recognised a calceolaria last year, and told my host it
was a calceolaria just before he told me. A window-box! What's in it?"

"Pink geraniums and--and pink geraniums and--er----"

"Pink geraniums?" I suggested.

"Yes. They're very pretty, you know."

"I know. But I could have wished for something more difficult. If we had
something like--well, I don't want to seem to harp on it, but say
calceolarias, then quite a lot of people mightn't recognise them, and I
should be able to tell them what they were. I should be able to show
them the calceolarias; you can't show people the geraniums."

"You can say, 'What do you think of _that_ for a geranium?'" said Celia.
"Anyhow," she added, "you've got to take me to the Flower Show now."

"Of course I will. It is not only a pleasure, but a duty. As gardeners
we must keep up with floricultural progress. Even though we start with
pink geraniums now, we may have--er, calceolarias next year. Rotation of
crops and--and what not."

Accordingly we made our way in the afternoon to the Show.

"I think we're a little over-dressed," I said as we paid our shillings.
"We ought to look as if we'd just run up from our little window-box in
the country and were going back by the last train. I should be in
gaiters, really."

"Our little window-box is not in the country," objected Celia. "It's
what you might call a--a _pied de terre_ in town. French joke," she
added kindly. "Much more difficult than the ordinary sort."

"Don't forget it; we can always use it again on visitors. Now what shall
we look at first?"

"The flowers first; then the tea."

I had bought a catalogue and was scanning it rapidly.

"We don't want flowers," I said. "Our window-box--our garden is already
full. It may be that James, the head boxer, has overdone the pink
geraniums this year, but there it is. We can sack him and promote
Thomas, but the mischief is done. Luckily there are other things we
want. What about a dove-cot? I should like to see doves cooing round our
geraniums."

"Aren't dove-cots very big for a window-box?"

"We could get a small one--for small doves. Do you have to buy the doves
too, or do they just come? I never know. Or there," I broke off
suddenly; "my dear, that's just the thing." And I pointed with my stick.

"We have seven clocks already," said Celia.

"But a sun-dial! How romantic. Particularly as only two of the clocks
go. Celia, if you'd let me have a sundial in my window-box, I would meet
you by it alone sometimes."

"It sounds lovely," she said doubtfully.

"You do want to make this window-box a success, don't you?" I asked as
we wandered on. "Well, then, help me to buy something for it. I don't
suggest one of those," and I pointed to a summer-house, "or even a
weather-cock; but we must do something now we're here. For instance,
what about one of these patent extension ladders, in case the geraniums
grow very tall and you want to climb up and smell them? Or would you
rather have some mushroom spawn? I would get up early and pick the
mushrooms for breakfast. What do you think?"

"I think it's too hot for anything, and I must sit down. Is this seat an
exhibit or is it meant for sitting on?"

"It's an exhibit, but we might easily want to buy one some day, when our
window-box gets bigger. Let's try it."

It was so hot that I think, if the man in charge of the Rustic Bench
Section had tried to move us on, we should have bought the seat at once.
But nobody bothered us. Indeed it was quite obvious that the news that
we owned a large window-box had not yet got about.

"I shall leave you here," I said after I had smoked a cigarette and
dipped into the catalogue again, "and make my purchase. It will be quite
inexpensive; indeed, it is marked in the catalogue at one-and-sixpence,
which means that they will probably offer me the nine-shilling size
first. But I shall be firm. Good-bye."

I went and bought one and returned to her with it.

"No, not now," I said, as she held out her hand eagerly. "Wait till we
get home."

It was cooler now, and we wandered through the tents, chatting
patronisingly to the stall-keeper whenever we came to pink geraniums. At
the orchids we were contemptuously sniffy. "Of course," I said, "for
those who _like_ orchids----" and led the way back to the geraniums
again. It was an interesting afternoon.

And to our great joy the window-box was in position when we got home
again.

"Now!" I said dramatically, and I unwrapped my purchase and placed it in
the middle of our new-made garden.

"Whatever----"

"A slug-trap," I explained proudly.

"But how could slugs get up here?" asked Celia in surprise.

"How do slugs got anywhere? They climb up the walls, or they come up in
the lift, or they get blown about by the wind--I don't know. They can
fly up if they like; but, however it be, when they do come, I mean to be
ready for them."

Still, though our slug-trap will no doubt come in usefully, it is not
what we really want. What we gardeners really want is rain.

A. A. M.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Tandem.

    "The winner was Mr. E. Williams, on an A. J. S. machine, while,
    on the same machine, Mr. C. Williams finished second."

    _Liverpool Evening Express._

He should have insisted on the front seat at the start, and then he
might have finished first.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Wanted immediately, experienced pressers for ladies' waists."

    _Advt. in "Montreal Daily Star_."

Don Juan, forward.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOT TO BE CAUGHT.

[Illustration:

_Mathematical Master_ (_after carefully explaining new rule_). "Well,
Tertius, and what is four per cent. on £5?"

_Tertius._ "Ten shillings."

_Mathematical Master._ "No, no."

_Tertius._ "Five shillings."

_Mathematical Master._ "No!"

_Tertius._ "Half-a-crown."

_Mathematical Master._ "Now, Tertius, it's no use guessing; just think.
I'll give you half-a-minute to pull yourself together." (_After interval
of half-a-minute_) "Well?"

_Tertius_ (_with confidence_). "Please, Sir, there isn't one."]

       *       *       *       *       *

DRASTIC REFORM OF SCHOOLS.

Remarkable Speech.

Owing to the ruthless condensation of the Parliamentary Reports in the
daily Press, no mention was made of Mr. Alfred Dunstanley's motion last
Thursday, under the ten-minutes rule, for leave to bring in his Bill for
the Reform of Public Schools. That omission we are now able to make
good, thanks to the enterprise of a correspondent who was present during
the debate in the Strangers' Gallery.

Mr. Dunstanley remarked that he was not prompted by any animosity to our
public schools and did not propose to exterminate or annihilate them.
But he was convinced that in the best interests of the nation they ought
to be purged of the excrescences and anomalies which militated against
their utility. The Bill accordingly provided that, pending the
extinction of the hereditary peerage, peers or peers' sons, if they
insisted on going to public schools, should be carefully segregated and
kept in a state of perpetual coventry. It was not advisable that the
healthy sons of our democracy should associate with those effete and
tainted aristocrats. The Bill stopped short of sending them to the
lethal chamber, but recommended that they should pay triple fees.

Mr. Dunstanley explained that he had no feeling against titled persons
as individuals. But the facts were against them. Thus the word viscount
was in Latin vice-comes, in itself a terrible admission. Again, baronets
were almost invariably depicted in lurid colours by the best novelists.
In short their presence at our public schools could not be safely
tolerated, as even the children of good Radicals were not immune to the
danger of snobbery and sycophancy. The Bill also provided for compulsory
vegetarian diet and the abolition of all cadet corps, rifle-shooting and
caning.

Mr. Dunstanley concluded by observing that it pained him to bring
forward this motion, as he had many friends who had been born in the
purple, and some had survived the demoralising influences involved in
their birth, but he felt it his solemn duty to lodge a practical protest
against the fetish worship of rank and wealth and war, which, in the
opinion of his great-headed colleague, Mr. John Ward, was ruining the
country.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a letter to _The Accrington Gazette_:--

    "I do hope that the Accrington Town Council will read, mark,
    learn this epistle and lay these precepts to their hearts, which
    in Latin I will quote: 'Quod Hoc Sibi Vult.' It means that the
    exposed food stuffs will not only be impregnated with the
    volcanic like dust representing the cremated remnant of the
    town's horrible organic refuse, but will also be tainted with
    the smell that tastes."

Our contemporary's correspondent would have pleased our old Sixth Form
Master, who was always complaining that our translations did not bring
out the _full_ meaning of the passage.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Great Pictures under the Hammer."

    _The Times._

The Suffragettes continue to be busy.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Who shall say howqztNj wodrmf."

    _Manchester Daily Dispatch._

Who wants to?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "And so you are really going to be married next month, my
dear. Well, I think your future husband seems a charming man. By-the-by,
what does he do?".

"Oh--er--well--er--d'you know, I really haven't had time to ask him; but
I expect Papa could tell you if you particularly want to know."]

       *       *       *       *       *

INSPIRATION.

(_A Suburban Rhapsody._)

  I said, "Within the garden trimly bordered,
    Assisted by the merle, I mean to woo
  The Heavenly Nine, by young Apollo wardered,"
    And Araminta answered, "Yes, dear, do.
  The deck chair's in the outhouse; lunch is ordered
        For twenty-five to two."

  I sat within the garden's island summer
    And heard far off the shunting of the trains,
  Noises of wheels, and speech of every comer
    Passing the entrance--heard the man of brains
  Talking of George's Budget, heard the plumber
        Planning new leaks for drains.

  These things did not disturb me. Through the fencing
    I liked to bear in mind that men less free
  Must toil and tramp, whilst I was just commencing
    To court the Muses, foolscap on my knee,
  Helped by the sweet bird in the shade-dispensing
        Something-or-other tree.

  I wrote: "Ah, who would be where rough men jostle
    In dust and grime, like porkers at a trough.
  When, here is May and May-time's blest apostle----"
    Just then, without preliminary cough,
  Suddenly, ere I knew, the actual throstle,
        Tee'd up and started off.

  It drowned the distant noise of motor-'buses,
    It drowned the shunting trains, the traffic's roar,
  The milk, the bread, the meat, the tradesmen's fusses,
    And the long secret tale told o'er and o'er
  That all day long Eliza Jane discusses
        With the new girl next door.

  So sweetly the bird sang. Great thrills went through it.
    It seemed to say, "The glorious sun hath shone,
  Flooding the world like treacle wrapped round suet;
    Why should we harp of age and dull years gone?"
  Time seemed to be no sort of object to it--
        It just went on and on.

  Therefore I rose, and later (o'er the trifle),
    When Araminta with her tactful gush
  Asked if the garden seemed to help or stifle
    The Muses' output, I responded, "Tush;
  When you go out, my dear, please buy a rifle;
        I want to shoot that thrush."

Evoe.

       *       *       *       *       *

Seen in a Birmingham shop window:--

    "The Smartest Flannel Trouser in the City, 6/11."

If he had another one, even though not quite so smart, we might consider
it.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The world's longest and most accurate golf ball."--_Advt._


Personally we prefer the short ones when it comes to putting them into
the tin.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE AMENDING BILL.

[Illustration: Mr. Redmond. "WELL RIDDEN!"

Mr. Asquith. "YES, I KNOW; BUT AS WE CAME ROUND THE CORNER AN
'OBJECTION' OCCURRED TO ME, AND I FEEL BOUND TO LODGE IT MYSELF. I HOPE
YOU WON'T MIND."]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

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

_House of Commons, Monday, May 18._--Field-Marshal Asquith, on military
duty in attendance on the King at Aldershot. Takes opportunity to give
His Majesty a few hints on the setting of a squadron in the field. In
his absence depression customary on reassembling after week-end recess
asserts itself with increased force. Through early portion of
Question-hour benches half empty. As hands of clock approached the mark
2.45, stream of arrivals increased in volume. At conclusion of Questions
House so densely crowded that side galleries were invaded, and group of
Members stood at Bar.

Strangers in Gallery rubbed their eyes and asked what this might
portend? Explanation simple. Within limit of Question-hour no division
may take place. As soon as boundary passed danger zone for
Ministerialists entered. Last week Opposition snapped a division at
earliest possible moment and nearly cornered Government. To-day at least
two divisions on Welsh Church Bill imminent. Ministerialists, obedient
to urgent Whip, in their places in good time. When divisions were
called--one on report of financial resolution of Welsh Church Bill, the
other closing Committee stage--298 voted with Government against 204 for
rejection of motion. By rare coincidence figures in both divisions were
exactly the same, re-establishing Government majority at 94.

This done, Members trooped out in battalions, leaving Hume Williams to
spend on wooden intelligence of empty benches able argument in support
of motion for rejection of Bill at Third Reading stage. Lifeless debate
temporarily uplifted by speech of simple eloquence from William Jones,
who, after long interval, breaks the silence imposed upon a Whip.
Quickly gathering audience listened from both sides with obvious
pleasure to a speech which, as Stuart-Wortley said, was "marked by real
fervour and manifest sincerity." We have not so many natural orators in
present House that we can with indifference see given up to the drudgery
of the Whips' room what was meant for mankind.

One passage, a sort of aside, brought tears to eyes of case-hardened
section of the audience seated in Press Gallery. They furtively dropped
when Member for Carnarvon described how, a small boy visiting the
Strangers' Gallery, he found seated there "a saintly Pressman, a frail
and fragile figure in bad health, who wrote weekly letters to the Welsh
_Baner_. I saw him," he added, "at lucid intervals, writing his
letters."

[Illustration: Mr. Lloyd George and the Welsh Disestablishment Bill.

"For the rest it was the same grinding out of barrel-organ tunes that
has been going on these three years."]

House loudly laughed at picture thus graphically drawn. Pressmen, not
essentially saintly, know how desirable is the accessory of lucid
intervals for the writing of London Letters.

[Illustration: A PASSIVE RESISTER.

"Let degenerate Irishmen, suborned by bargain with a Saxon Government,
go forth to save it in the Division Lobby."

(Mr. William O'Brien.)]

_Business done._--Under Procedure Resolution agreed to last week Welsh
Church Disestablishment Bill carried through Committee as quickly as
Chairman could put formal motion. Debate opened on Third Reading.

_Tuesday._--"I rejoice," said F. E. Smith, rising at ten o'clock in half
empty House to support motion for rejection of Welsh Church Bill on
Third Reading stage, "that debates on this measure are approaching
termination. We are all driven to make the same speeches over again and
to cite old illustrations of the insane constitution under which we
live."

This frank admission of the inutility of stretching debate over two
sittings not agreeable to feelings of those responsible for weary waste
of time. All the same, lamentably true.

Only impulse of vitality given to proceedings came from speech of George
Cave. Member for Kingston does not frequently interpose in debate. Long
intervals of silence give him opportunity of garnering something worth
saying, a rule of Parliamentary life that might be recommended to the
attention of some who shall here be nameless. For the rest it was the
same grinding out of barrel-organ tunes in varied keys that has been
going on these three years. McKenna gave touch of originality to his
remarks in winding up debate by avoiding reference to the late Giraldus
Cambrensis. Thus momentarily refreshed, Members gratefully went out to
Division Lobby, and Third Reading was carried by majority of 77.

In two other divisions concerning Welsh Church Bill taken yesterday,
what the late Mr. G. P. R. James if he were starting a new novel would
describe as a solitary figure--"a solitary horseman" was, to be precise,
the consecrated phrase--might have been observed sitting in corner seat
below Gangway on Opposition side. It was William O'Brien assuming the
attitude of passive resister to a measure which, in respect of an
established Church that national feeling regards as alien, proposes to
do for Wales what nearly half a century ago Gladstone did for Ireland.
In Parliamentary parlance, "the hon. Member in possession of the House"
is the gentleman on his legs addressing the Speaker. Whilst a crowd of
Members streamed out, some into the "Aye" Lobby, others into the "No,"
William O'Brien remained seated, for a moment or two literally the
Member in possession of the House.

Let degenerate Irishmen, suborned by bargain with a Saxon Government, go
forth to save it in the Division Lobby. Sea-green (with envy of John
Redmond, whose name will, after all, be imperishably connected with the
final success of a National movement inaugurated forty years ago by
Isaac Butt) incorruptible, William O'Brien thus protested against a
course of events he has been unable to control. To those who remember
his fierce eloquence in past years dominating a hostile audience there
was something pathetic in the spectacle.

_Business done._--Welsh Church Disestablishment Bill read third time.
Sent on to meet predestined fate in Lords.

_Thursday._--Quite lively goings on. House met to open debate on Third
Reading of Home Rule Bill, at special desire of Opposition to be
extended over three sittings. Campbell had given notice of intention to
move rejection. Everything pointed to long dreary evening, the
serving-up of that "thrice boiled cole-wort" which Carlyle honestly
believed to form the principal dish in the House of Commons shilling
dinner.

Expected that Premier would indicate purport and scope of promised Bill
amending an Act not yet added to Statute Book. Questioned on subject he
announced that Bill will be introduced in the Lords. Judged by ordinary
business tactics this seemed a reasonable arrangement. On return from
Whitsun holidays the Lords will find Home Rule Bill at their disposal.
Do not conceal intention of throwing it out on Second Reading.
Whereupon, Parliament Act stepping in, it will be added to Statute Book.
Meanwhile Lords, having no other business on hand, might devote their
time to consideration of that settlement of Ulster question which all
parties speak of as their heart's desire.

House of Commons is, however, above consideration of ordinary business
ways. Announcement of Ministerial intention with respect to Amending
Bill raised clamour worthy of our best traditions. Poor Campbell getting
up to perform appointed task was greeted by his own friends with stormy
cries for adjournment. For full five minutes he stood at Table, with
nervous fingers rapping a tune on lid of brass-bound box.

"What's he playing, do you think?" Winterton asked Rowland Hunt.

"As far as I can make out," said the Man for Shropshire, "it's 'The
Campbells are Coming.'"

"By Jove, they shan't come," said Winterton, who was in his element (hot
water). "'Journ! 'Journ! Journ!" he shouted, leading again the storm of
interruption that prevented a word being heard from Campbell.

Speaker at end of five minutes asked Bonner Law whether this refusal of
the Opposition to hear one of their leaders met with his assent and
approval? Bonner Law haughtily refused to answer. Winterton and Kinloch
Cooke more delighted than ever. Uproar growing, the Speaker declared
sitting suspended and left the Chair.

[Illustration: "MORITHURI TE SALUTHAMUS."

"In regard to the Home Rule Bill, the position of himself and his
friends was, 'We who are about to die salute thee.'"--_Mr. Tim Healy_.]

A critical moment. So high did angry passion run that there might have
been repetition of the famous fisticuffs on floor of House that marked
progress of first Home Rule Bill. Ominous sign when Royds of Sleaford,
ordinarily mildest-mannered of men, rushed between Front Opposition
Bench and Table and shook a minatory forefinger at Asquith.

Premier only smiled. Happily his indifferent good humour prevailed on
his own side. There was interchange of acrid compliments as parties
joined each other on the way out. But nothing more happened, except that
Hasleton and another Irish Nationalist, passing empty chair of
Sergeant-at-Arms, lit, the one a pipe, the other a cigarette.

"Shocking!" cried an outraged Member of the old school.

"Not at all," said Sark. "When the House of Commons is enlivened by
pot-house manners there is surely no harm in two customers lighting up
as they pass out."

_Business._--Outbreak of disorder, Speaker suspends sitting.

       *       *       *       *       *

BUYING A PIANO.

I had often thought I should like to possess a really good piano--not
one of those dumpy vertical instruments, but a big flat one with a long
tail. For a long time I hesitated between a Rolls Royce, a Yost, a Veuve
Cliquot, and a Thurston. At last I put the problem to a musical friend.
He said:

"It's a piano you want, not a motor-typewriting-champagne-table? Very
good, then. You go to Steinbech's in Wigram Street. They'll fix you up.
Mention my name if you like."

"What'll happen to me if I do?"

"They'll sell you a piano. That's what you want, isn't it?"

So I went. I told the man at Steinbech's that I believed they sold
pianos. He said that my belief was not without foundation, but that, in
any case, they would be prepared to stretch a point in my favour and
sell me one. What sort did I require?

"A big flat one with a long tail," I replied.

"Ah, you want a full concert-grand? Then kindly step into our show-room,
Sir. Now, this one," he said, indicating a handsome brunette, "is a
magnificent piano. Best workmanship and superior materials employed
throughout. Splendid tone and light touch. Price, one hundred guineas.
Examine it; try it for yourself, Sir." And he opened the keyboard as he
spoke.

"Er--what order are the notes arranged in?" I asked.

"In strict alphabetical order," he answered. "A, B, C, and so on."

"You must excuse my asking the question," I went on, "but the fact is
I've never seen a Steinbech before. I thought perhaps that different
makers adopted different arrangements of the notes, as makers of
typewriters do. Now, will this piano play Beethoven? I particularly want
a piano that will play the 'Moonlight' and the 'Waldstein.'"

"You're not thinking of a _pianola_, Sir, are you?"

"No," I replied, "I am not. I have no sympathy with music that looks
like a Gruyère cheese. The music I want my piano to play is the ordinary
printed kind--black-currants and stalks and that sort of thing."

"Well, Sir, you will find that this piano is specially adapted for
playing all kinds of printed music. Music in manuscript may also be
rendered upon it."

"That's one point settled then," I said. "Now, if you will kindly prize
the lid off, I should like to look at the works."

He lifted the lid and propped it up with a short billiard-cue which
fitted into a notch. All danger of sudden decapitation having been
removed, I put my head inside.

"Hallo!" I cried. "What's this harp doing in here? Doesn't it get in the
way?"

"That is not a harp, Sir; that is part of the mechanism--the wires, you
know."

I plucked a few of them, and they gave forth a pleasing sound. So I
plucked some more.

"Yes," I said decidedly, "I like the rigging very much. And now perhaps
you will be good enough to tell me what those two foot-clutches are for,
which I noticed underneath the keyboard. I suppose they are the brake
and the reversing-gear?"

I was wrong. The man expounded their true functions to me. Then I said,
"I should just like to examine it underneath, if you wouldn't mind
turning it on its back."

The fellow told me that it was unnecessary and unusual--that I had seen
all there was to see. This made me suspicious. I was certain he was
trying to conceal some radical defect from me. So I made up my mind to
see for myself. I took off my coat and crawled underneath. As I
suspected, I found two large round holes in the flooring. When I had
finished rubbing my head, I drew the man's attention to them. He was
able to give a more or less reasonable excuse for them. I forget what he
said they were--ventilators, I think.

He concluded by saying that the instrument would be certain to give me
the utmost satisfaction.

"You would not recommend my having a more expensive one?" I asked. "A
Stradivarius, or a Benvenuto Cellini?"

He thought not; so we clinched the deal.

"I think," I said, as I handed him my cheque, "that I should like my
name-plate fixed on it somewhere--say, on one of the end notes that I
shall never use."

But he advised me against this. None of the players handicapped at
scratch ever thought of such a thing.

"Very well," I said. "Just wrap it up for me, and I'll----"

"Hadn't we better send it for you," he suggested, "in one of our vans,
in charge of our own men?"

"Just so," I agreed. "Good morning."

The piano duly arrived, and when we had taken the drawing-room door out
of its socket and demolished a large portion of two walls, they got it
in--just in. With care I can squeeze into the room. However, I am happy,
though crowded, for I have achieved my heart's desire.

It has been with me a year now. I must soon think of learning to play
it.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PARAFFIN HABIT.

[Illustration: (_Doctors generally are prescribing refined paraffin for
various ailments._)

_Mistress._ "The oil finished again, Mary? it seems to go very quickly."

_Cook._ "It's the Master, Mum. Whenever 'e runs out of 'is 'refined' 'e
comes a-dipping into this 'ere."]

       *       *       *       *       *

The New Dramatist.

From "Books Received" in _The Daily Chronicle_:--

    "Misalliance, The Dark Lady of the Sonnets and Fanny's First
    Play; with a Treatise on Parents and Children, by Bernard
    Constable, 6s."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Ouimet was born at Brookline.... As his name rather suggests,
    his parents were French Canadians, who moved to Brookline from
    Montreal."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

It seems a great deal for the name to suggest.

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"The Great Gamble."

A man who elopes with his friend's wife cannot fairly expect to command
general sympathy when, sooner or later, he has to pay the claims of
offended morality. Yet one could not help being a little sorry for
_Colonel Herrick_, the leading delinquent in Mr. Jerome's play. For
scarcely had they started for the Continent from Charing Cross (to be
precise, the train was passing through Chislehurst) when the lady
suddenly repented of her rash act and burst into unassuageable tears.
If, on reaching Dover, he had had the happy thought of despatching her
back to her home as unaccompanied baggage, he would have saved himself a
vast deal of trouble. But, being a soldier, he set his teeth and went
forward, and for eight days she made the hotels of Europe ring with her
lamentations. Nor was this his only source of discomfort. Though, for
convenience, they appeared in the visitors' books as man and wife, the
lady's attitude compelled the maintenance of platonic relations, and,
whereas in actual life this would merely have meant that he had to
occupy a separate bedroom, in Mr. Jerome's vision of things as they
might be it meant that he had to sleep in the bath-room.

It will be readily understood that, to _The Colonel_, the advent of the
infuriated husband was of the nature of a relief. Thanks to the
intervention of a large assortment of friends, and after assurance given
of the lady's technical retention of her virtue, he agrees to take her
back if she cares to rejoin him. It is true that before the happy
conclusion, so satisfactory to _The Colonel_, is reached, a duel
_manqué_ is interposed; but this is designed for the sole benefit of the
audience and does not affect the result.

Meanwhile, the lady adopts an enigmatic behaviour. On the appearance of
her husband she exchanges the black dress of remorse for the gay yellow
garb of a mind at ease; yet under his very nose she permits herself to
exhibit a very intimate delight in _The Colonel's_ more obvious
attractions. So cryptic indeed is her conduct (both for us and her
friends) that it is arranged that her choice between the two men shall
be decided by the test of a dream. In consequence, however, of an attack
of insomnia this dream (like the duel) fails to come off and shortly
after midnight her waking doubts are resolved in her husband's favour.

It will be seen that, the stuff of Mr. Jerome's play is sufficiently
fatuous; but Mr. Edmund Maurice as _The Colonel_ was always amusing, and
in the multitude of counsellors there was merriment. Unfortunately Mr.
Stanley Cooke, as a _Herr Professor_ and leader of the chorus, did not
quite succeed in executing his share of the fun.

[Illustration: How Unhappy could I be with Either!

_The Husband_       Mr. Michael Sherebrooke,
_The Wife_          Miss Sarah Brooke.
_The Colonel_       Mr. Edmund Maurice.]

The farce was varied by a very amateur romance as between a young
American and the niece of an hotel-keeper; also by a slab of melodrama
(dealing with the girl's parentage) which only escaped from pure
banality by the too brief glimpse it gave us of that admirable actress,
Miss Ruth Mackay.

The scene (perhaps the best part of the whole show) was laid in "An
Ancient Grove" adjacent to a German University. (The catalogue,
peculiarly reticent about proper names, offers my memory no
refreshment.) This "Ancient Grove," unchanged throughout the play,
served a number of useful purposes. It made excuse for the intermittent
apparition (otherwise inexplicable) of a little woodland figure that
played upon a pipe. Its proximity to an hotel afforded occasion for meal
after meal _en plein air_. Its proximity to a University Town encouraged
the frequent passage of German students, vivacious and vocal; also the
convenient appearance of any foreign resident or visitor at a moment's
notice. Its Statue of Venus (fully draped) afforded an authentic
incitement to the making of love. Its environs enabled Mr. Jerome to
dispose of his puppets whenever their presence became undesirable. They
simply said, "Let us stroll in the woods;" or "Come for a walk with me,"
and he was rid of them. Finally the "Ancient Grove" contained a central
patch of boscage in whose cover one of the duellists, arriving on the
_terrain_ a little before the time, remained _perdu_ in slumber,
undisturbed by a loud conversation carried on within a few feet of him
by all the other parties to the combat.

Indeed the scenery put in some good work, and I really don't know what
we should have done without it.

_The Great Gamble_ was, of course, the lottery of marriage. But for some
of us it meant the risk we ran in attending the first night of a play by
Mr. Jerome after our bitter experience of his _Rowena in Search of a
Father_. To say that his present work is an improvement upon his last
would be to damn it with a fainter praise than it deserves. _The Great
Gamble_ is a strange and inscrutable medley, but it has its exhilarating
moments, and the humour of its dialogue, though it is mitigated by the
Professor's contributions, is worthy of a much better design.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Now that Miss Cecil Leitch has won the Ladies' Golf
    Championship after seven years' unsuccessful striving, it may be
    suggested that she might alter the spelling of her name to
    Leach. Just to show how she stuck to it!"--_Glasgow Evening
    News._

The writer should have stuck to his dictionary.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "It was officially stated yesterday that Dr. Herbert William
    Moxon, the son of a former prominent Unionist in West
    Derbyshire, had consented to address a meeting of Liberals with
    a view to his adaptation as Liberal candidate for West
    Derbyshire."

    _Daily Mail._

These adaptable politicians.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mr. Palmer would still deserve to be crowned with unfading
    laurels."--_Times._

Palmer _qui meruit ferat_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Latest Cannibal News.

    "Djaraboub ordinarily contains only 350 inhabitants but these
    are swollen by pilgrims."

    _Siam Observer._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Jack Tar Abroad_ (_to second, very "busy
riding"_). "'Ulloa, Bill; looks like yer workin' yer passage."

_Bill._ "Yuss; 'ad bloomin' rough weather, too; but it's all right if ye
'old on to this 'ere forestay."]

       *       *       *       *       *

VERY MUCH GREATER LONDON.

[_One result of the introduction of the Bachelet flying train should
certainly be the extension of London's suburbs. We extract the following
from a season-ticket holder's diary of the near future._]

_Dundee._--Strap-hung again to-day; London train abominably crowded.
That is the worst of living in these inner suburbs. Men who live on the
other side of the Orkney Tunnel tell me the train only begins seriously
to fill up at Caithness; before that, one has reasonable hope of a seat.
Brown, for instance, says that, coming up from Kirkwall and entering
train before pressure begins, he rarely has to use strap. Don't know how
the poor wretches at Newcastle and Durham ever get to town at all,
though, living so close to King's Cross, they can perhaps afford to
stand for the few minutes they are in train....

No change for better, so have been studying agents' lists; some items
attractive. For example:--

_Belgian Tunnel Line._--Antwerp and Liverpool Street in 29 minutes; low
season-ticket rates; excellent mid-day service, enabling business men to
take luncheon at home.

_Charming Maisonettes_ in fine healthy suburb, S.W. London (Penzance
district); bath h. and c.; Company's water; two minutes Bachelet
Railway-station; 25 minutes Paddington and City.

_Sunny Cairo, S.E._--Nice self-contained flats; charming desert view;
low rents; ninety-five minutes Charing Cross; five minutes Sahara golf
links (inland course but real sand bunkers).

_Week-End Cottage for Harassed City Worker, Siberia (near London_).--To
be let furnished; bracing air; perfect quiet.

       *       *       *       *       *

SYNTHETIC MUTTON.

In view of the impending scarcity of meat, so vividly foreshadowed in a
recent article in _The Times_, it is most reassuring to learn that a new
comestible, palatable and nutritious, yet entirely free from the
drawbacks of all flesh foods, has been invented by a German scientist
and will shortly be put upon the market at a price which will bring it
within the reach of the humblest household.

Professor Schafskopf, the inventor, has long been engaged on experiments
with a view to the production of synthetic mutton, and his diligent
efforts have now been crowned with success. The basis of the new food is
compressed peat, which is so permeated with a variety of nutritive
juices, applied at high pressure by a grouting machine, as to be
practically indistinguishable from the best Southdown mutton.

By way of putting his discovery to the test Professor Schafskopf
entertained a number of distinguished guests at the Fitz Hotel last
week, and with hardly an exception they were astonished at the succulent
and sumptuous flavour of the new food, which is called by the attractive
name of "Supermut."

Professor Bino Byles, interviewed at the close of the banquet, said that
"Supermut" was a distinct success. It had all the digestibility of tripe
with an added aroma of Harris Tweed.

Mr. Gullick, the famous motorist, said that "Supermut" reminded him of
the best cormorant. He believed that it could also be used for making
unpuncturable tyres.

Lord Findhorn, the eminent Scots Judge, said that "Supermut" had
converted him to carnivorous food, though he was an hereditary
vegetarian.

Finally we note that _The Forceps_ in a laudatory article pays a
handsome tribute to the new food, and says, "It must be conceded that a
very reliable substitute for mutton has at length been produced. We
found it hard to distinguish it from a saddle."

       *       *       *       *       *

A MAY PICNIC.

  Someone has settled (it's not my fault;
  And, whatever we do, let's take some salt)--
  Someone has settled, don't you see,
  Without referring the thing to me,
  That this is a day to be bright and hearty,
  And to take our lunch as a picnic party--
  To take our lunch with toil and care
  Away from home in the open air.

  Now I maintain that it can't be right,
  When there isn't a single wasp in sight,
  To have mint-sauce and a joint of lamb,
  Some currant cake and a pot of jam,
  A gooseberry tart, with sugar and cream,
  And some salad dressing, a bottled dream--
  All the things that a wasp loves best
  When he buzzes away from his hidden nest;
  And you all shout "Wasp!" and flick at the fellow,
  And you miss his black and you miss his yellow,
  And only succeed in turning over
  Your glass of drink on the thirsty clover.
  A picnic? Pooh! Why, you merely waste it
  When there isn't a wasp to come and taste it.

  However, a picnic's got to be,
  Though they haven't referred the thing to me.
  There's a boat and we put our parcels in it,
  And off we push in another minute.
  And our pace is certainly rather slow,
  For everybody wants to row;
  And there's any amount of laugh and chatter,
  And crabs are caught, but it doesn't matter;
        For we're all afloat
        In an open boat,
  And the breeze is light and the sky is blue,
  And the sun is toasting us through and through.

  By a buttercup field we came to land
  And every passenger lent a hand
  To unload our food and spread it out,
  While the cows stood flapping their tails about.
  And Peggy as waitress played her part,
  And John fell into the gooseberry tart.
  I can't explain, though I wish I could,
  Why everything tasted twice as good?
  As it does at home in the cheerful gloom
  Of the old familiar dining-room.
  Every picnicky thing was there,
  Including the girls and the son and heir,
  A red-cheeked frivolous knife-and-fork's crew,
  Who hadn't forgotten, oh joy, the corkscrew!
  And, last, we furbished our feasting-green,
  And left no paper to spoil the scene,
  Did up the remains in a tidy pack
  And took to our boat and drifted back.

R. C. L.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE CORNCRAKE.

The corncrake has arrived. As I turned in at the gate last night he
reported himself in the usual way. So now we are in for it. The
priceless boon of silence in the hours of darkness will be denied to us
for many weeks to come.

I do not know how to describe his utterance. It could not without
extravagance be called a note, still less a chirp, and least of all a
song. It is not a bark--not quite. It is hardly a growl or a grunt or a
snort; I should be sorry to call it a bray or a yelp. And yet I am not
going to admit that it is a quack or a bleat; and it isn't a screech or
a squeal or a sob. Nor is it a croak, though now we are getting nearer
to it. The puzzling thing about it is that it was clearly meant by
Nature to be an interjection. Uttered once, suddenly, from the far side
of a hedge it would admirably convey such a sentiment as, "Hi!" "What
ho!" or "Here we are again!" But in practice it is the one sound in the
whole landscape that never interjects. It is a monument of barren
reiteration.

I wonder why he does it. No doubt he has some end in view. He must get
something out of it--some bodily ease or mental stimulus or spiritual
consolation. But he must surely have been born with a prodigious passion
for monotony. It may surprise you to learn that in the course of the
season he will make that same remark over two million times. I have
worked it out. Two million is a conservative estimate. It only allows
for eight hours' work out of the twenty-four, for a term of six weeks:
so that it is well within the mark.

Our corncrake--I don't know what the usual standard may be--does
ninety-eight to the minute. He is as regular as the ticking of a clock.
You can't hustle him and you can't wear him out. At times when I have
thought he might be getting tired and thirsty I have imagined that he
was slowing down; but he never gets below ninety-six; and in his most
active and feverish moments he very rarely touches the hundred. At short
measured intervals he punctuates the night with his dry delivery,
unhasting yet unresting, his sole idea to get his forty-seven-thousand
up without a break before the morning. He just doesn't know the meaning
of the word emphasis; he has absolutely no sense of rhythm. Once I tried
to believe that he was talking in three-four time, or at least that he
was occasionally accenting a note. But he never does. He gets no louder
or softer, higher or lower, quicker or slower--he just keeps on.

You need not suppose that I have meekly sat down under this thing. This
is his sixth year, and I have been at war with him all the time. But
finally he holds the field, and my only hope now is that his powers may
begin to fail as old age creeps on. Even if he dropped to eighty a
minute it would be an intense relief. But I dare say he means to
bequeath the pitch to a successor at his death--perhaps to a relative.

At first I used to throw things at him out of the bedroom
window--hairbrushes and slippers and books and all sorts of odds and
ends. I had to go round with a basket after breakfast collecting them.
But it was no good; he never dropped a beat. Then I deliberately
devastated the garden, with a view to deprive him of cover. I had all
the bushes taken up and the flowerbeds removed, and I laid down, just
under my bedroom window, a wide expanse of tar-macadam, as bald and flat
as a mirror--a beetle couldn't have hidden himself on it. (I had to call
this a hard tennis-court for the sake of appearances. We do as a matter
of fact play on it sometimes.) But it had no effect on the corncrake. Of
course the truth is that I never have the least idea where he is; no one
has. No one has over seen him or ever will. He is endowed with great
ventriloquial powers. That is a provision of Nature, and if you will
reflect a moment you will see that it must be so. For, granted that he
is to go on talking like that, if he could not throw his voice about
from place to place and thus make it impossible to get at him, the
species would become extinct.

There is nothing more that I can do, and it is only fair to admit that
the whole thing is my own fault. When I built my house six years ago I
might have shown a little common foresight in this matter. I got
everything else right as far as I could. My rooms are well placed for
sunshine and they have the best of the view. The water-supply is good;
there is plenty of fall for the drainage system; we are well out of the
motor dust. But I omitted one precaution. I should have had the ground
surveyed for corncrakes.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Hotel Waiter._ "Come, sir, you really must go off to
bed, Sir." (_Yawns_). "Why, the dawn's a-breaking, Sir."

_Late Reveller._ "Let it break--and put it down in the bill, waiter."]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

In _The World Set Free_ (Macmillan) Mr. H. G. Wells has seen a
vision--the vision of a world plunged into blazing and crumbling chaos
by the ultimate logical issues of military violence. Defence, becoming
always less and less effective against attack, which is always more and
more a matter of the laboratory, finally succumbs before _Holsten's_
discovery of "Carolinum" and its final disastrous application in the
"atomic bombs." Romancing on a theme out of Soddy's _Interpretation of
Radium_, Mr. Wells, with those deft strokes of allusive and imaginative
realism--so convincing is he that realism is the only apt word for his
daring constructions of the future--depicts the shattering of the
headquarters of the War Control in Paris, followed by a swift
counterstroke against the Central European Control in Berlin by the
aviation corps, the destruction of capital after capital, and the final
great battle in the air, with the bombing of the Dutch sea walls.
Thereafter comes the attempt at reconstruction by the Council of
Brissago, a convention of the governing folk of the world--the dream and
deed of the Frenchman _Leblanc_, "a little bald, spectacled man," a
peacemonger whom, till that day of ruin, everyone had thought an amiable
fool. One monarch, "The Slavic Fox," sees in the assembly a chance to
strike for world sovereignty, and the failure of his bomb-fraught planes
and his final undoing in the secret arsenal are breathless pieces of
description.

A subject for wonder is the astonishing advance in the author's
technique. _The World Set Free_ is on an altogether different plane from
_The War of the Worlds_ and those other gorgeous pot-boilers. It
combines the alert philosophy and adroit criticism of the _Tono Bungay_
phase with the luminous vision of _Anticipations_ and the romantic
interest of his eccentric books of adventure. The seer in Mr. Wells
comes uppermost, and I almost think that when the history of the latter
half of the twentieth century comes to be written it will be found not
merely that he has prophesied surely, but that his visions have actually
tended to shape the course of events. Short of _Holsten's_ "atomic
bombs" (which may or may not be developed) Mr. Wells makes a fair
foreshadowing of the uprush of subliminal sanity which may very well be
timed to appear before 1999. I can't take my hat off to Mr. Wells
because I've had it in my hand out of respect for him these last few
years. So I touch my forelock.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Roding Rectory_ (Stanley Paul) is in many respects the best novel Mr.
Archibald Marshall has written. Those who remember _Exton Manor_ and the
three books dealing with the lives and deeds of the _Clintons_ will
consider this to be high praise, as, indeed, it is meant to be. Mr.
Marshall preserves the ease and amenity of style which we have learnt to
expect of him; he creates his characters--ordinary English men and
women, animated by ordinary English motives--with all his old skill, and
he sets them to work out their destinies in that pleasant atmosphere of
English country life which no one since Trollope's death has reproduced
with greater truth and delicacy than Mr. Marshall. This time, however,
the clash of temperaments and traditions is more severe, the story cuts
deeper into humanity, and the narration of it is, I think, more closely
knit. The Rector of Roding, the _Rev. Henry French_, is a fine figure of
a man honourably devoted to the duties of his parish and abounding in
good works. It is sad to see him cast down from his pride of place by
the sudden revelation of an ill deed done in his thoughtless youth at
Oxford. In an interview managed with an admirable sense of dramatic
fitness he is faced by a son, the living embodiment of his
all-but-forgotten sin, and soon the whole parish knows of it. But the
Rector, with the aid of his wife, fights his fight and in the end wins
back his self-respect and the respect of his neighbours. He is helped,
too, by _Dr. Merrow_, the Congregational minister, a beautiful character
drawn with deep sympathy. Indeed, it is _Dr. Merrow_ who has the _beau
rôle_, and, I must add, deserves it. For the rest I must let Mr.
Marshall's book speak for itself. He has written a very powerful and
interesting story.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among reviewers of books there is a convention by which the matter of a
first edition--whether a single story or a collection of stories--which
has been reproduced from a magazine or magazines, is treated as if it
were a novelty. It is a sound and benevolent convention, because the
stuff of magazines only receives at best a very sketchy notice. Miss May
Sinclair, however, is apparently prepared; to risk the loss of any
advantage to be derived from it, for her collection of short and
middle-sized stones republished under the title of the first of them,
_The Judgment of Eve_ (Hutchinson), is prefaced by an article in which
she replies to those critics who took notice of some of them at the time
of their appearance in magazine form. By this recognition of judgment
already passed she sets me free to regard her stories as old matter, and
to confine myself to a review of her introduction. In this answer to her
critics I cannot feel that she has been well advised. Even in a second
edition critics are best left alone, unless the author can correct them
on a point of fact or interpretation of fact. Here it is on a matter of
opinion that she joins issue with them. They seem (the misguided ones)
to have rashly said that "The Judgment of Eve" was "a novel boiled
down," and that "The Wrackham Memoirs," on the other hand, was "a short
story spun out." But Miss Sinclair is very sure that she knew what she
was about. She can "lay her hand on her heart and swear that 'The
Judgment of Eve' would have lost by any words that could conceivably
have been added to it;" she is certain that "Charles Wrackham required
the precise amount of room that has been given him." I dare say she is
right, but I wish she could have left someone else to say so. For myself
I should have thought it obvious that a story dealing with character and
its development by circumstance demanded more room in which to spread
itself than one that dealt with a situation, dramatic or psychologic;
yet "The Wrackham Memoirs," which, whatever its complexity, belongs to
the latter type, takes up very nearly as much space as "The Judgment of
Eve," which belongs to the former. Of course no critic of even moderate
intelligence would propose to fix a limit of length for every type of
story, but it may safely be said that, if you take Maupassant for a
standard, the best short stories have concerned themselves with
situation rather than with character; and, though I have not had the
privilege of reading the criticisms which are the subject of Miss
Sinclair's rebuke, I can easily believe that they were governed by this
elementary reflection. It must have occurred to Miss Sinclair herself,
even if she did not find it convenient to take cognisance of it in her
reply. Perhaps she will have something to say on this subject in some
future edition of her very interesting book, and I should indeed be
flattered if she would consent, in a brief phrase or two, to review my
review of her review of her reviewers.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: The new Cash Register as used at the Royal College of
Music for calculating the value per minute of voices in the vocal
training department.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Good costume novels are not so common nowadays that I can pass _Desmond
O'Connor_ (Long) without a most hearty welcome. For it is an excellent
example of its class--full of rescues, of swashbuckling and of midnight
escapes; with a gallant hero (and Irish at that), a lovely heroine, two
bold bad villains and a sufficiency of kings and other historical
celebrities to fill the background picturesquely. In fact Mr. George H.
Jessop has seen to it that no ingredient proper to this kind of dish
shall be wanting, and I have great pleasure in congratulating him upon
the result. _Desmond_ was a soldier of fortune, a captain in the gallant
Irish Brigade that served King Louis XIV. against the Allies. During the
siege of Bruges the young captain chanced to see one morning at mass the
fair _Margaret, Countess of Anhalt_. She had lately fled to the town to
frustrate the intentions of _Louis_, who would have given her hand to an
equally unwilling suitor. There was also, hanging about, a certain _De
Brissac_, who in the event of the countess's death or imprisonment would
succeed to her estates. So off we go, cut and thrust, sword, cloak and
rapier, all to the right jingle of tushery, till the last chapter, in
which _King Louis_ relents and does what kings (of France especially)
always do in the last chapters of historical romances. Really it seems
sometimes as though the Louvre under the Monarchy must have been run as
a kind of superior matrimonial agency in a large way of business. Anyhow
he rings down the curtain upon a bustling tale that should add to the
reputation of its author.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Conqueror of Ouimet.

  As the grief of a lioness reft of her cubs,
  Or a general ragged by the rawest of subs,
  Or a rigid supporter of temperance clubs
  Accused of frequenting the lowest of pubs,
  Or a burglar defied by the skill that is Chubb's,
  Is America's grief at the triumph of Tubbs.





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