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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, May 6, 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 6, 1914" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 146.



May 6, 1914.



CHARIVARIA.

According to an official of the Imperial Japanese household, the poems
composed by the late Dowager-Empress of Japan numbered 30,000. But these
were never published, and the Empress died universally respected.

       ***

A foolish hoax is said to have been perpetrated on the authorities at
Dublin Castle. An anonymous communication informed them that a
_Dreadnought_ had been purchased by the Ulster loyalists, and would
shortly make her appearance off the coast of Ireland disguised as an
outrigger. Urgent instructions were in consequence issued to the
coastguards not to be caught napping.

       ***

"I honestly hope," said General Villa, "that the Americans will bottle
up Vera Cruz so tight that one can't even get water into it." But this
surely would place America's teetotal navy in a very awkward
predicament.

       ***

His Majesty King Ferdinand of Bulgaria has, a Paris newspaper informs
us, purchased four elephants as pets. We trust that this is the
beginning of the end of the toy-dog craze. We have always considered
elephants more interesting, and ladies no doubt will not be slow to
realise that there is more effect to be got out of them.

       ***

The dogs which are to accompany his expedition are, Sir Ernest
Shackleton states, coming to London and will spend some little time
here. It is to be hoped that they will be given a good time and shown
the sights, and that no one will be so thoughtless as to mention
emergency rations in their presence.

       ***

Says Mr. Filson Young in _The Pall Mall Gazette_:--"I began yesterday by
swimming in a sunlit sea, continued it by motoring through a hundred
miles of lilac and gorse, and ended it listening to the most perfect
concert programme at Queen's Hall that I have ever heard.... Was it not
a happy day?" The answer, Filson, is in the affirmative.

       ***

Forty years ago, £1,000 a year was spent on wines and spirits at the
Medway (Chatham) Workhouse and Infirmary, while to-day the annual
expenditure is only £5. In these hard times even paupers have to
economise.

       ***

St. Mark's Church, Tunbridge Wells, which has been troubled with a
plague of flies, has had to be closed for a week for the purpose of
fumigation. Many members of the congregation had complained of being
kept awake by these vivacious insects.

       ***

Apparently the modistes have resolved that this shall be a butcher's
year, for we are promised leg-of-mutton sleeves, ham-frill skirts, and
pork-pie hats.

       ***

Although M. Jean Worth, the famous creator of fashions, has declared
that the mania of modern women for changing styles of dress amounts to a
disease, it is not, we understand, the present intention of any of the
leading dressmaking firms to offer a prize for a cure for this ailment.

       ***

M. Worth also stated that "Quality, not quantity," is the right motto
for women in matters of dress. For all that, we trust that the
irreducible minimum has now been reached.

       ***

According to the calculations of a M. Verronet, the earth has only
another two million years to live. We hope that the effect of this
statement may not be to encourage jerry-building.

       ***

[Illustration: "Lend us a 'and wiv this, will yer, Mister? Muvver wants
'im 'ome and 'e's that 'eadstrong!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE CRITIC AT THE R.A.

"Talking of treacle pudding," said Felicity, helping that delicacy with
a grace and skill that would have demanded the entire concentration of
one less gifted--"talking of treacle pudding, I suppose you've done the
Academy?"

"Not yet," I confessed.

She looked at me reproachfully.

"Dear, dear," she sighed, "when will the British Public awaken to the
claims of Art? We haven't either."

"I generally wait a bit and find out which are the pictures I am
expected to admire."

"And a very sensible plan too," she rejoined; "that is, for you and me
and the rest of the common herd. Of course Papa's different. He's a
critic."

Her father coughed deprecatingly.

"When he sees anything really artistic," she went on, "it fills him with
delight."

"I wish you wouldn't use that horrible word, Felicity," he groaned.

"What horrible word?"

"Artistic."

"Sorry, Papa; I forgot. On the other hand," she continued unabashed, "if
you show him anything that _isn't_ it causes him terrible suffering. He
will cover his eyes with one hand and shoo it away with the other."

"You mustn't mind my little daughter's nonsense," he said. "Someone told
her the other day she had a sense of humour. It was a great mistake."

"That's one up to you, Papa," she returned cheerfully; "but before the
House adjourns I should like to move that we all go to the Academy this
afternoon."

"I should love it," I replied, "but I'm afraid I must get back to work."

"Do you _work_?" she exclaimed with rapture. "How frightfully exciting."

       ***

At a Flapper dance in the evening I met Felicity again and she gave me
the second "Hesitation Waltz." Afterwards she led me to some nice basket
chairs in the conservatory.

"Well, did the Academy come off?" I asked.

"Did it come off?" said Felicity. "I should say so. It was the nicest
afternoon I've had for weeks. You _ought_ to have been there."

"I suppose your father was in hot form criticising the pictures?"

"Hush," she whispered, holding her finger to her lips. "Papa as an Art
critic is temporarily under a cloud. I'll tell you. It came about in
this way: Papa is a great admirer of Sargent, and to-day he was in a
particularly Sargentesque mood. 'The great drawback to the Academy,' he
said, as we were setting forth, 'is that the Sargents are spoiled by the
other pictures. The huge mass of these all over the place entirely
destroys one's perceptions of colour value. What I should like to do
would be to see only the Sargents, turning a blind eye meanwhile to the
other paintings.'"

"'You ought to wear blinkers,' I suggested.

"He was all for it at once.

"'That's a capital idea, Felicity.'

"'Then you'll go by yourself, Papa,' I said. 'I'll do some shopping and
call for you at the police station on the way home.'

"Well, he abandoned the blinker idea eventually, but stuck to his scheme
for concentrating on Sargent, and suddenly I saw how the afternoon might
be made both amusing and instructive. So I said, 'There's one thing
that's rather pleasing, Papa. You won't have to buy a catalogue, because
I've got one. Some people I had tea with yesterday gave me theirs, and
I'll bring it if you like.'"

She looked at me mischievously under her long dark lashes.

"You catch the idea?" she asked.

"No," I said, "not yet."

"Well, as soon as we arrived Papa took the catalogue and looked up all
the Sargents--in the index part, you know, and wrote the numbers on his
cuff and then we began to hunt them down.

"The first one was a 'still life.' Papa viewed it in some perplexity.
'Ah,' he said at length, 'just as I thought. I have been anticipating
this for some time.' He adjusted his spectacles. 'The tendency of modern
Art--that is to say the best Art--is towards a return to more classic
forms. Sargent, as might be expected, leads the way; but he infuses the
subject with his own special genius. I regard this as a very line
example--very fine, indeed. The vitality of the half salmon is
positively amazing.'

"I led him gently away, and presently we stood before the portrait of a
City gentleman--the kind that is very fond of turtle soup. Papa raved
over it.

"'Here, again,' he pointed out, 'see the loving care bestowed on each
link in the watch-chain. What a reproof to the slovenly slap-dash
methods of the Impressionists.'

"I gazed rapturously into his face and urged him onward. Things went
from bad to worse, but it was really 'The Lowing Herd' that put the lid
on it. A more lamentable company of cows you could hardly imagine. Even
Papa was baffled for the moment; but after checking the number on the
picture with the number on his cuff he pulled himself together.

"'Wonderful grouping,' he said; 'eminently Sargentesque;' and his voice
seemed to challenge all within earshot to name another artist who could
have produced the work.

"'Well, now,' he concluded, 'I think that is the last of them, and the
best thing we can do is to go home. It would be a pity to spoil the
afternoon by looking at any of the lesser lights.'

"I hesitated. 'Don't you think,' I suggested, 'it would be nice just to
look at the Sargents before we go?'

"For some moments Papa was speechless.

"'The Sargents!' he exclaimed at length. 'Well, of all the----Here I
devote a solid half-hour to teaching you something about Art and your
mind is woolgathering the whole time. What on earth were you thinking
about?'

"'I was thinking about the years that are gone,' I said.

"'The years that are gone?'

"'Yes, and I'm afraid it's entirely my fault, because I brought it.'

"Papa gasped.

"'What on earth is the child talking about?'

"'The catalogue,' I said; 'it's some other year's.'"

At this moment the fallen Art critic entered the conservatory.

"Is that you, Felicity?" he exclaimed. "You're cutting a dance with your
own father. I never heard of such a thing."

She sprang up.

"Oh, Papa!" she cried, "I _am_ sorry."

She slipped her arm through his, and as they moved away together I heard
her say, with what seemed unnecessary distinctness, "We were talking
Art, you know, and that's so dreadfully absorbing."

       *       *       *       *       *

Commercial Candour.

    "It is a matter of surprise in more than one well-appointed
    household that the best efforts of a skillful chef can produce
    nothing more acceptable than

    ----'s Tomato Soup.."--_Advt._

       *       *       *       *       *

From a review of a book by Mr. Harold Russell:--

    "The horrible chigoes, or 'jiggers,' are of the flea family, and
    with them we must leave Mr. Russell."--_Yorkshire Post._

Is this kind?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The three greatest pets in the Darwin district are said to be
    the white ant--which sometimes grows to the size of a bee--the
    marsh fly, and the great Darwin mosquito."

    _Adelaide Register._

Our white ant "Fifi" has just bitten through her collar and run away. If
found wandering, please return.

       *       *       *       *       *

SITTING TIGHT.

[Illustration: American Eagle. "OF COURSE I'M IN A VERY STRONG POSITION
AND QUITE COMFORTABLE. ALL THE SAME, I HOPE THEY'LL HURRY UP WITH THE
MEDIATION."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Forced into retirement (happily only temporary) by his
introduction of the taxi-cab, our devoted follower of yesterday;
again takes the field.]

       *       *       *       *       *

NOVELIST AND MILLIONAIRE.

Fortified by the inspiring example of Mr. Upton Sinclair, who recently
picketed the offices of the Standard Oil Company in New York with a view
to bringing pressure to bear on Mr. John Rockefeller, Junr., Mr. Alf.
Abel, the famous Manx novelist, has adopted similar measures to bring
Mr. Andrew Carnegie to reason. The trouble is of long standing and has
grown out of the movement inaugurated by Mr. Abel to induce
municipalities and local authorities to refuse the gifts of Free
Libraries. Such benefactions, as Mr. Abel has most conclusively shown,
while nominally intended to educate the masses, in reality have the
result of restricting the sale and circulation of those works of fiction
which conduce most effectively to the culture, the intellectual
emancipation and the moral uplift of the nation. Worse still, they
reduce the legitimate emoluments which the authors of these noble works
derive from their beneficent labours. Owing to this pernicious system
the number of copies sold of Mr. Abel's last work only readied 250,000
copies, instead of 400,000, as he and his publisher, Mr. Goethemann,
confidently expected. Mr. Abel has memorialised the Prime Minister, but
without effect, and at last determined to take decisive action himself.
Accordingly, having chartered a swift steamer manned by Manx fishermen,
and carrying 500 volunteers wearing the national uniform, Mr. Abel set
out from Douglas (I. of M.) on Wednesday last and, landing in the
neighbourhood of Dornoch on Friday night, advanced early next morning on
Skibo Castle, the seat of Mr. Carnegie.

The famous millionaire, who is an early riser, was playing the organ in
the central hall of the Castle when he was apprised of the approach of
the raiders by one of his retinue, and at once determined to organise a
stubborn resistance. The portcullis was let down, the moat filled to its
utmost capacity, while Winchester rifles were served out to the four
butlers, sixteen footmen, seven chauffeurs and twenty-four gardeners who
compose the staff. The organist was instructed to play martial music to
hearten the defenders, while Mr. Carnegie took up his position in the
bomb-proof gazebo which is so prominent a feature in the Sutherland
landscape. Meantime Mr. Abel, advancing at the head of his volunteers,
had taken cover behind an Araucaria and addressed an ultimatum to Mr.
Carnegie through a megaphone. It was to the effect that unless he
promised to forbid the supply of Mr. Abel's novels to his Free
Libraries, Mr. Abel would--

(1) Let loose 1,000 Manx cats in Mr. Carnegie's preserves;

(2) Permanently establish himself in the neighbourhood of Skibo and
follow Mr. Carnegie about wherever he went, in Elizabethan costume;

(3) Make Mr. Carnegie the villain of his next novel;

(4) Give free recitations from his works in Dornoch and the
neighbourhood.

The situation was extremely critical when Mr. Jenery Hames, the
illustrious American novelist, who was staying with Mr. Carnegie,
gallantly offered his services as a mediator, and, sallying forth under
a flag of truce, entered into negotiations with Mr. Abel. After a
protracted interview a _via media_ was reached by which, while Mr.
Carnegie undertook to exclude Mr. Abel's works from his Free Libraries,
Mr. Abel agreed to withdraw his threat of coming to reside in
Sutherlandshire on the understanding that Mr. Jenery Hames contributed a
six-column appreciation of Mr. Abel's works to _The Times_, provided
that the demands of golf on the best pages of that journal permitted it.
Subsequently Mr. Carnegie entertained the Manx Volunteers at a sumptuous
_déjeuner_, at which Mr. Hames proposed the health of Mr. Abel and Mr.
Abel fell on the neck of Mr. Hames. No other casualties occurred to mar
the peaceful termination of what might have proved an international
catastrophe.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Its author could no longer look forward with 3/8 his old hope
    or confidence to a continued successful resistance to Home
    Rule."

    _Manchester Guardian._

"Half his old hope" a less meticulous speaker would have said.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The defendants were ordered to pay the costs, but the Chairman
    (Mr. T. J. Price) remarked that if such breeches were repeated
    the magistrates would have to adopt sterner measures."--_South
    Wales Daily News._

We hope this will be a warning to our nuts.

       *       *       *       *       *

BLANCHE'S LETTERS.

Week-End-on-Sea.

_Park Lane._

Dearest Daphne,--I've been doing Easter with the Clackmannans and
helping them with an idea they're carrying out. There's a little coast
town on their Southshire property (Shrimpington it's been called up to
now), and they're turning it into a seaside place _that people can go
to_! _Isn't_ that dilly? Of course, our coasts quite _bristle_ with
seaside towns, but they're places people _can't_ go to because
_everybody_ goes there. And so the Clackmannans are going to supply a
long-felt want, as old-fashioned people say, and give us a _ville de
bains_ of our very _very_ own. Its name is to be changed from
Shrimpington to Week-End-on-Sea. It has no railway station, which, of
course, is a great merit; it's not to have any big blatant hotels or
pensions--nothing but charming bungalow-cottages; there'll be no pier,
no band, none of those banal winter-gardens and impossible pleasure
palaces that _ces autres_ delight in, and, _of course_, none of those
immensely fearful concert parties and pierrots. But we shall have a
troupe of mermen and mermaids who will do classic gambols by the marge
of the sea and play on pipes or shells or whatever it is that
sea-creatures play on. There'll be bathing parties, when the last
syllable of the last word in bathing-kit will be seen; paddling parties,
in carefully thought out _toilettes pour marcher dans l'eau_, and
shell-gathering parties. Stella Clackmannan, who has such an active
brain that everyone's quite anxious about her, is going to have tons of
really pretty shells laid along a part of the beach (above high water),
and people will go shell-gathering _en habit coquilleux_.

The only feature Week-End-on-Sea will have in common with other seaside
places is a parade. At first Stella wouldn't hear of having one; but
Norty told her there's "a deep-seated primal instinct in human nature
for sitting on benches and watching one's fellow-creatures walk up and
down, and it would not be wise to thwart this instinct." He's an
enormously clever boy, and, when it was put to her like that, Stella
gave in. So there's to be a parade on the sea front, and Ray Rymington,
whose sense of the beautiful is _absolutely_, will see after it.
There'll be none of those ghastly glass shelters, but just darling
Sheraton benches at intervals, and the paraders will be carefully
_censored_. Nobody who hasn't _something_ of a profile will be allowed
to walk up and down--and no woman who takes more than 4's in slices or
who's wearing a last year's sleeve. So you see, dearest, it will be
quite a _cachet_, both of person and style, to be seen walking on the
parade at _our_ watering-place. The Bullyon-Boundermere woman met Stella
in town the other day and said, "My dear duchess, how can we thank you
for at last giving us a really _classy_ seaside place?" "What a
wonderful word, Mrs. Boundermere!" answered Stella. "'_Classy_'! Do tell
me what it means!"

Oh, my best one! Such a simply _sumptuous_ storyette for you! Even in
_your_ remote fastnesses you must have heard of young Ivan Rowdidowsky,
the very _very_ latest thing in Russian composer-pianists. Playing the
piano with his elbows, dressed in scarlet velvet, and fuller of "inner
meanings" than anyone (even from _Russia_) ever was before, he captured
London at the beginning of the Little Season, and his vogue has been
_colossal_. He gave twelve elbow-recitals of his own compositions at
Emperor's Hall. Those fearsome interviewers fairly mobbed him, and he
told them, in the _prettiest_ broken English, that "piano playing with
the hands suited well enough the pale-blooded law-abiding people of
yesterday, but that the full-pulsing stormy emotions of to-day could
only be adequately expressed by the _elbows_!" Quite _myriads_ of people
made him write, "Your affectionate friend, Ivan Rowdidowsky," in their
autograph-books, till at last he had cramp in the hand and Sir William
Kiddem had to be called in. There were reassuring bulletins telling the
public that they needn't be alarmed about their favourite, as cramp in
the band is _rarely_ fatal and does _not_ affect the elbows, and that,
if M. Rowdidowsky stopped writing in autograph-books for a day or two,
he'd be quite his wonderful self again.

Popsy, Lady Ramsgate, has been _folle de lui_ from the first, and at
Easter she'd a big party for him down at "Popsy's Pleasaunce," her place
in Sussex, and then and there announced that she was engaged to him, and
that after her marriage she would drop the Ramsgate title and be known
by "her Ivan's beautiful Slavonic name!" People were very nice to her
about it and didn't laugh more than they could help, and all went
cheerily, Rowdidowsky in his scarlet velvet playing to them with his
elbows every evening; and then one fatal morning (as novelists say)
Popsy picked up a letter that her Ivan had dropped from his pocket. It
was addressed outside to "M. Rowdidowsky," and this is an extract from
what she read _inside_: "I was at your show at Emperor's Hall the other
day and thought I should have split my skin at the way the silly jossers
all round me were carrying on, and at the thought that it was my pal,
good old Bert Smith of Camberwell, perched up on the platform in red
velvet togs pounding away on the old piano with his elbows like a good
'un. I put my hands over my face to prevent myself from bursting out,
and the woman next to me shoved a silver bottle under my nose and
gurgled into my ear, 'You've an artist-soul! I felt just as you do when
I first heard this divine Rowdidowsky!' The silly geeser! Go it, old
son! More power to your _elbows_! And don't forget, when you've made
your pile, that your old pal, Joe, was part-author of the idea and
helped you to work it out!"

Popsy, poor old dear, is having the Gurra-Gurra treatment for nervous
collapse. Lord and Lady Ramsgate are enormously relieved at the turn
things have taken; and their boy Pegwell said to me yesterday, "I'm
jolly glad it's all off! Fancy how _decomposed_ it would have been to
have Rumtidumsky, or whatever his name was, for a step-grandfather!"

Ever thine, Blanche.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Superb Chauffeur._ "There has been an _accident_,
m'lady."]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR OVERBRED RACERS.

[Illustration: _The Nightmare of an Anxious Owner._

"Flash-in-the-Pan" suddenly realises the enormous issues depending on
him and faints in his trainer's arms.]

       *       *       *       *       *

PETER, A PEKINESE PUPPY.

  Our Peter, who's famed as an eater of things,
  Is a miniature dragon without any wings.
  He can gallop or trot, he can amble or jog,
  But he flies like a flash when he's after his prog:
  And the slaves who adore him, whatever his mood,
          Say that nothing is fleeter
          Than Peter the eater,
      Than Peter pursuing his food.

  He considers the garden his absolute own:
  It's the place where a digger can bury a bone.
  Then he tests his pin-teeth on a pansy or rose,
  Spreading ruin and petals wherever he goes;
  And his mistress declares, when he's nibbled for hours,
          That nothing is sweeter
          Than Peter the eater,
  The resolute eater of flowers.

  Having finished his dinner he wheedles the cook,
  Picks a coal from the scuttle or tackles a book,
  Or devotes all his strength to a slipper or mat,
  To the gnawing of this and the tearing of that:
  _Faute de mieux_ takes a dress; and his mistress asserts
          That there's nothing to beat her
          Like Peter the eater,
      Attached by his teeth to her skirts.

  But at last he has supped, and the moment is come
  When, his stretchable tum being tight as a drum,
  He is meek and submissive, who once was so proud,
  And he creeps to his basket and slumbers aloud.
  And his mistress proclaims, as she tucks up his shawl,
          That nothing is neater
          Than Peter the eater,
      Than Peter curled up in a ball,
      Asleep and digesting it all.

R. C. L.

       *       *       *       *       *

A BARGAIN IN FASHIONS.

  Whatever may chance in the coming season
    Regarding the fashions in women's wear,
  I should like to remark that I see no reason
    For treating the thing like a German scare;
  Rather let us, the oppressed, restricted,
    Assert ourselves as the women do;
  It's _their_ turn, dash it! to feel afflicted
    By seeing _us_ flaunting a craze or two.

  It's more than time their monopoly ceases;
    Excepting the vote, I dare assert
  We deny them none of their wild caprices,
    Though I own we jibbed at the harem skirt;
  We were wrong; we ought to have let them wear it;
    Free will in dress is a sacred right;
  But we should be equally keen to declare it
    With them who make it their chief delight.

  We must come to terms with our female betters,
    Seeing that summer will soon be nigh;
  If _they_ would be rid of the skirt that fetters,
    They might free _us_ from the collar and tie;
  It's neck or nothing! I ask you whether
    _We_ can't be conspicuous now and then;
  I think there challenges go together:--
    _Trousers for women!--Low necks for men!_

       *       *       *       *       *

THE COMPETITION SPIRIT.

About six weeks ago a Canadian gentleman named Smith arrived in the Old
Country (England). He knew a man who knew a man who knew a man ... and
so on for a bit ... who know a man who knew a man who knew me. Letters
passed; negotiations ensued; and about a week after he had first set
foot in the Mother City (London) Smith and I met at my Club for lunch.

I may confess now that I was nervous. I think I expected a man in a
brown shirt and leggings, who would ask me to put it "right there," and
tell me I was "some Englishman." However, he turned out to be exactly
like anybody else in London. Whether he found me exactly like anybody
else in Canada, I don't know. Anyway, we had a very pleasant lunch, and
arranged to play golf together on the next day.

Whatever else is true of Canada there can be no doubt that it turns out
delightful golfers. Smith proved to be just the best golfer I had ever
met, being, in fact, when at the top of his form, almost exactly as good
as I was. Hole after hole we halved in a mechanical eight. If by means
of a raking drive and four perfect brassies at the sixth he managed to
get one up for a moment, then at the short seventh a screaming iron and
three consummate approaches would make me square again. Occasionally he
would, by superhuman play, do a hole in bogey; but only to crack at the
next, and leave me, at the edge of the green, to play "one off eleven."
It was, in fact, a ding-dong struggle all the way; and for his one-hole
victory in the morning I had my revenge with a one-hole victory in the
afternoon.

By the end of a month we must have played a dozen rounds of this nature.
I always had a feeling that I was really a better golfer than he, and
this made me friendly towards his game. I would concede him short putts
which I should have had no difficulty in missing myself; if he lost his
ball I would beg him to drop another and go on with the hole; if he got
into a bad place in a bunker I would assure him it was ground under
repair. He was just as friendly in refusing to take these advantages,
just as pleasant in offering similar indulgences to me. I thought at
first it was part of his sporting way, but it turned out that (absurdly
enough) he also was convinced that he was really the better golfer of
the two, and could afford these amenities.

One day he announced that he was going back to Canada.

"We must have a last game," he said, "and this one must be decisive."

"For the championship of the Empire," I agreed. "Let's buy a little cup
and play for it. I've never won anything at golf yet, and I should love
to see a little cup on the dinner-table every night."

"You can't come to dinner in Canada _every_ night," he pointed out. "It
would be so expensive for you."

Well, the cup was bought, engraved "The Empire Challenge Cup," and
played for last Monday.

"This," said Smith, "is a serious game, and we must play all out. No
giving away anything, no waiving the rules. The Empire is at stake. The
effeteness of the Mother Country is about to be put to the proof.
Proceed."

It wasn't the most pleasant of our games. The spirit of the Cup hung
over it and depressed us. At the third hole I had an eighteen-inch putt
for a half. "That's all right," said Smith forgetfully, and then added,
"perhaps you'd better put it in, though." Of course I missed. On the
fifth green he bent down to brush away a leaf. "That's illegal," I said
sharply, "you must pick it up; you mayn't brush it away," and after a
fierce argument on the point he putted hastily--and badly. At the
eighteenth tee we were all square and hardly on speaking terms. The fate
of the Mother Country depended upon the result of this hole.

I drove a long one, the longest of the day, slightly hooked.

"Good shot," said Smith with an effort. He pressed and foozled badly. I
tried not to look pleased.

We found his ball in a thick clump of heather. With a grim look on his
face, he took out his niblick....

I stayed by him and helped him count up to eight.

"Where's your ball?" he growled.

"A long way on," I said reproachfully. "I wish you'd hurry up. The poor
thing will be getting cold."

He got to work again. We had another count together up to fifteen.
Sometimes there would be a gleam of white at the top of the heather for
a moment and then it would fade away.

"How many?" I asked some minutes later.

"About thirty. But I don't care, I'm going to get the little beast into
the hole if it takes me all night." He went on hacking.

I had lost interest in the performance, for the Cup was mine, but I did
admire his Colonial grit.

"Got it," he cried suddenly, and the ball sailed out on to the pretty.
Another shot put him level with me.

"Thirty-two?" I asked.

"About," he said coldly.

I began to look for my ball. It had got tired of waiting and had hidden
itself. Smith joined gloomily in the search.

"This is absurd," I said after three or four minutes.

"By Jove!" said Smith, suddenly brightening up. "If your ball's lost I
win after all."

"Nonsense; you've given the hole up," I protested. "You don't know how
many you've played. According to the rules if I ask you how many, and
you give wrong information----"

"It's thirty-five," he said promptly.

"I don't believe you counted."

"Call it forty-five then. There's nothing to prevent my calling it more
than it really is. If it was really only forty, then I'm counting five
occasions when the ball rolled over as I was addressing it. That's very
generous of me. Actually I'm doubtful if the ball did roll over five
times, but I say it did in order to be on the safe side." He looked at
his watch. "And if you don't find your ball in thirty seconds you lose
the hole."

It was ingenious, but the Mother Country can be ingenious too.

"How many have you played exactly?" I asked. "Be careful."

"Forty-five," he said. "Exactly."

"Right." I took my niblick and swung at the heather. "Bother," I said.
"Missed it. Two."

"Hallo! Have you found it?"

"I have. It's somewhere in this field. There's no rule which insists
that you shall hit the ball, or even that you shall hit near the ball,
or even that you shall see the ball when you hit at it. Lots of old
gentlemen shut their eyes and miss the sphere. I've missed. In five
minutes I shall miss again."

"But what's the point?"

"The point, dear friend," I smiled, "is that after each stroke one is
allowed five minutes in which to find the ball. I have forty-three
strokes in hand; that gives me three hours and thirty-five minutes in
which to look for it. At regular intervals of five minutes I shall swing
my club and probably miss. It's four-thirty now; at eight o'clock,
unless I find my ball before, I shall be playing the like. And if you
are a sportsman," I added, "you will bring me out some tea in
half-an-hour."

At six-thirty I was still looking--and swinging. Smith then came to
terms and agreed to share the cup with me for the first year. He goes
back to Canada to-morrow, and will spread the good news there that the
Old Country can still hold its own in resource, determination and
staying power. But next year we are going to play friendly golf again.

A. A. M.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "I say, Nora, that woman's wearing rather a smart coat."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE EAVESDROPPER.

It may not be generally known that, on very still nights, in the small
hours, when there are no taxis rushing past and no late revellers
returning home, it is possible, by leaning against a pillar-box and
placing one's ear close to the opening, to hear the letters converse.
Provided, of course, that one has a pure soul, as I have. Otherwise
there is no sound.

Chancing to be out late the other night in a very quiet neighbourhood, I
suddenly noticed a pillar-box and was reminded that I had a letter to
post. I dropped it in and held my breath as I listened.

"Here's another!" said a voice. "Who are you, pray?"

"I'm an acceptance with thanks," said my letter.

"What do you accept?" another voice asked.

"An invitation to dinner," said my letter, with a touch of swank.

"Pooh!" said the other. "Only that."

"It's at a house in Kensington," said my letter rather haughtily.

"Well, _I'm_ an acceptance of an invitation to a dance at a duchess's,"
was the reply, and my poor letter said no more.

Then all the others began to chatter,

"I contain news of a death," said one.

"I bring news of a legacy," said another.

"I demand the payment of a debt," said a sharp metallic voice.

"I decline an offer of marriage," said a fourth, rather wistfully.

"I've got a cheque inside," said a fifth with a swagger.

"I convey the sack," said a sixth in triumph.

"What do you think I am?" another inquired. "You shall have six
guesses."

"Give us a clue," said a voice.

"Very well. I'm a foolscap envelope."

Then the guessing began.

One said a writ.

Another said an income-tax demand.

But no one could guess it.

"I'm a poem for a paper," said the foolscap letter at last.

"Are you good?" asked a voice.

"Not good enough, I'm afraid," said the poem. "In fact I've been out and
back again seven times already."

"Guess what I am," said a sentimental murmur.

"Any one could guess that," was the gruff reply. "You're a love-letter."

"Quite right," said the sentimental murmur. "But how clever of you!"

"Well," said another, "you're not the only love-letter here. I'm a
love-letter too."

"How do you begin?" asked the first.

"I begin, 'My Darling,'" said the second love-letter.

"That's nothing," said the first; "I begin, 'My Ownest Own.'"

"I don't think much of either of those beginnings," said a new voice. "I
begin, 'Most Beautiful.'"

"You're from a man, I suppose?" said the second love-letter.

"Yes, I am," said the new one. "Aren't you?"

"No, I'm from a woman," said the second. "I'll admit your beginning's
rather good. But how do you end?"

"I end with 'A million kisses,'" said the new one.

"Ah, I've got you there!" said the second. "I end with 'For ever and
ever yours.'"

"That's not bad," said the second, "but my ending is pretty good in its
way. I end like this, 'To-morrow will be Heaven once more, for then we
meet again.'"

"Oh, do stop all this love talk!" said the gruff letter, when I was
conscious of a hand on my arm and a lantern in my face.

"Here," said the authoritative tones of the law, "I think you've been
leaning against this pillar-box long enough. If you can't walk I'll help
you home."

Thus does metallic prose invade the delicate realms of supernature.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Captain Amilcar Magalhaes, chief of the Brazilian Mission,
    accompanying Mr. Roosevelt, says the ex-President has discovered
    a tribe of savages named Panhates. The total bag collected on
    the expedition amounts to about 2,000 specimens.--Reuter."

    _Sussex Daily News._

The flower of the tribe, no doubt.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Promising Member of Junior Form (having been given a
lesson on Samson and told to write an account of him)_, "I forgot that
man's name you was telling us about, so I called him 'Archie.'"]

       *       *       *       *       *

WATER IS BEST.

(_General Villa, who is a teetotaler, has denounced General Huerta as an
old drunkard._)

        When sons of Bacchus
        Fiercely attack us,
  Lauding the majesty of Alcohol,
        And, spite of Horsley,
        Indulge quite coarsely
  In panegyrics of dry Monopole--

        For consolation
        In our vexation
  The news from Mexico we gladly hail,
        Learning how Villa
        Shuns Manzanilla
  And only slakes his thirst with Adam's ale.

        No wonder Wilson
        The beer of Pilsen
  Regards as liquid death within the pot,
        When even a bandit
        Can't stick or stand it,
  And gibes at Huerta as an aged sot!

        Let senile soakers
        And jaded jokers
  Their bottle-noses still incarnadine,
        But we, with Villa,
        Prefer Vanilla
  Or Sarsaparilla to the choicest wine.

        Port, brandy, sherry
        Make idiots merry--
  They're little use when civil wars begin;
        Men who can slaughter
        Upon barley-water
  Are in the long run always bound to win.

       *       *       *       *       *

NATURE STUDY.

The following letter may have been noticed in the columns of _The Daily
Eye_ some weeks ago:--

  _The Lilac Grove_,
  _Moonvale Park, S.E._

Sir,--On looking out of my bedroom window this morning at 6 o'clock I
observed a cuckoo eating ripe strawberries in the garden next but one to
mine. It occurs to me that for a cuckoo to be in a suburban garden
eating ripe strawberries so early in the year as April 15 is somewhat
unusual. Can you tell me whether this has ever been known before?

  Yours etc.,
  Augustus Quest.

We understand that the following further letter has been sent to the
Editor of _The Daily Eye_ by the writer of the above, but has not
appeared in print:--

Sir,--Some days ago I sent you a letter in which I mentioned that on
April 15th a cuckoo was seen eating ripe strawberries in the garden next
but one to mine, and asking whether you could tell me if anything of the
kind had been known before. But up to the present I have received no
reply. The only result of my letter has been the receipt of a number of
circulars announcing works on the subjects of nature study and fruit
culture. From a publisher's announcement which has been sent to me,
giving specimen pages from "How to Tell Our Feathered Friends at a
Glance," I discover that the bird I saw in my neighbour's garden could
not possibly have been a cuckoo, its body being altogether too small.
And in conversation with my neighbour in the train this morning I learnt
that his garden does not contain strawberries; the bird, whatever it
was, must therefore have been eating something else.

  Yours, etc.,
  Augustus Quest.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE ULSTER KING-AT-ARMS.]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

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

_House of Commons, Monday, April 27._--In accordance with arrangements
made last week, House met to-day with primary intention on part of
Opposition to place Premier once more on the rack constructed of
Questions relating to "the Plot" for over-aweing peaceful law-abiding
Ulster. Startling things have happened since the Friday afternoon when
Members went off for well-earned week-end holiday. There had actually
been a plot in Ulster, a real one, not compact of circumstantial
imaginings--a skilfully planned scheme successfully carried out in the
dead of the night, when honest citizens, including the police and the
military, were sound asleep. Telegraphic and telephonic communications
were ruthlessly cut; cordons of armed men were drawn round selected
spots. Thus surrounded and protected the conspirators landed large
quantities of rifles and ammunition, distributing them through the
country by relays of motor-cars.

[Illustration: THE POLITICAL "FACE OF THE SKY": APRIL 28.

Changeable; threatening in parts with passing squalls; considerable heat
at first, milder later; general outlook more favourable.]

[Illustration: THE QUESTION CRAZE.

Scene--_The Battle of Belfast, 19--_.

Galloper F. E. Smith, of the Ulster Volunteers, to ask the war minister
what are the next tactical dispositions to be carried out by the
Military forces of the Crown.

"Do these right hon. gentlemen really suppose that they will be able to
conduct a campaign against the Government on the field and at the same
time to ask the Government all the awkward questions they can think of
about their military operations?"--_Mr. Churchill_.]

Something like a "plot" this, dismissing into ignominious shade report
of bloodthirsty intentions of First Lord of the Admiralty and the
Ex-Secretary of State for War.

Interest in the old plot being thus suddenly, dramatically cooled by
vigorous birth and development of the young 'un, it might reasonably
have been expected that elaborate preparations for fanning it would be
dropped, and House would straightway get to business on the genuine
thing. Not a bit of it. Hon. Members who had in interests of the nation
spent ingenuity and energy in compiling ninety-four Questions addressed
to Prime Minister not to be denied pleasure of putting them.

As usual in similar circumstances not much change got out of Asquith.
Answered sometimes by monosyllable; never exceeded a score of words. Yet
none could complain of incompleteness of reply. Performance occupied
full period allotted to Questions. When hand of clock pointed to
quarter-to-three, the time-limit of intelligent curiosity, thronged
House drew itself together, awaiting next move with breathless interest.
How would the Government take this midnight outbreak of armed and
disciplined men?

Lying down? or standing up sternly to grapple with it in their capacity
as custodians and champions of established law? Inquiry voiced from
Ministerial side, where Members are growing increasingly impatient with
benevolent neutrality. Premier's reply brief but weighty.

"In view of this grave and unprecedented outrage," he said, "the House
may be assured that His Majesty's Government will take without delay
appropriate steps to vindicate the authority of the law and to protect
officers and servants of the King and His Majesty's subjects in the
exercise of their duties and in the enjoyment of their legal rights."

Cheer after cheer from excited Ministerialists punctuated the ominous
sentences. There was no counter-demonstration from the Opposition.

_Business done._--Lords, abandoning rumoured intention of forcing crisis
by throwing out Army Bill on Second Reading, passed the stage without
debate. In the Commons Plural Voting Bill read a second time.

[Illustration: Horror and indignation of the Rev. Sir Chadband Byles at
the grave prospect of a conciliatory attitude on the part of the
Government towards the Ulster "rebels."]

_Tuesday._--In crowded House two nights' debate opened on motion by Son
Austen demanding Judicial Inquiry into the "Plot." Circumstances
peculiar. Attack on Government planned last week. Since then what is
called "a great Coup," as distinct from an unnamable "Plot," startled
the world and upset things generally. Austen, above all things
systematic and orderly, insists on limiting discussion to the "Plot."
The wily Winston equally determined, on chatting about the "Coup."

Pretty play, watched with keen interest by critical audience. Austen's
speech pleasantly differed from some familiar of late from same quarter.
Luminous, lucid, temperate yet firm, it did much to uplift debate with
tone of late lamentably lacking.

Winston, whilst once more replying in detail to insinuations and
allegations upon which existence of the "Plot" is based, preferred to
talk about the "Coup." This naturally goaded Opposition into
recriminatory retort. Incidentally it led to exhibition of fine
generosity and good feeling, innate in House of Commons, peculiarly
welcome just now.

Winston was drawing vivid picture of great Conservative Party "committed
by its Leaders to a policy of armed violence, to tampering with the
discipline of the Army and Navy, to overpowering the police, coastguards
and Customs officials, to smuggling arms by moonlight."

From centre of Opposition Camp rang the cry, "Shall we let him go on?"
Then came the noble inspiring answer from Winterton--

"Oh yes, let him go on."

So they did, right on to the end, reached by earnest appeal for peaceful
settlement of a question which between the varied circumstance of "Plot"
and "Coup" has already brought Ulster within touch of civil war.

_Business done._--Motion made from Front Opposition Bench for Judicial
Inquiry into the "Plot." Following upon sound and fury there may be
observed indescribable, but unmistakable tendency towards peace.

_Wednesday._--When, as happened in respect of three speeches, debate on
motion for Judicial Inquiry turned aside to deal with critical situation
in Ireland, it rose to heights commensurate with the national interests
involved. Yesterday Winston, towards close of speech particularly
exasperating to Opposition, suddenly sheathed his sword and waved the
olive branch. The happy accident of Prince Arthur's chancing to resume
debate this afternoon gave it at outset the lofty tone echoed and
preserved by Carson and the Premier. As the latter said, it was
impossible for anyone to listen to concluding passage of Prince Arthur's
speech without liveliest emotion. Finely conceived, its message was
conveyed in language whose eloquence had the charm of simplicity and
sincerity. Carson's yearning for a really united Ireland was greeted
with sympathetic cheers. The Premier's declaration that he "had never
closed the door against a peaceful solution of the problem, and until
compelled by absolute force of circumstance will never do so," gave
fresh assurance of a happy issue of what twenty-four hours earlier
seemed hopeless dilemma.

_Business done._--Austen Chamberlain's motion negatived by a majority of
80 in House of 608 Members.

[Illustration: ONE OF THE NUTS? "No, the form of the right hon.
gentleman is not the embodiment of the Suburban Nut."--_Mr. Lulu
Harcourt on the Member for Wimbledon, Mr. Chaplin, in the Debate on the
Plural Voting Bill._]

_Thursday._--Amid turmoil of Parliamentary week pleasant to look in on
Wedgwood Benn in snug little den arranged for himself off quiet
staircase leading from Central Lobby. When last week he mounted to roof
of Westminster Hall, the way led for a quorum of Members by that
youthful athlete Sir Thomas Roe (_æat._ 80), he came upon party of grubs
which, obedient to family tradition that goes back for centuries, had
eaten into it. Conveyed choice specimens to his room and carefully
provided for their comfort.

His favourite is the _Xestobium tesselatum_, which boasts that at least
35 per cent. of the damage to historic roof stands to its credit. Turns
out to be lively, intelligent creature. Wedgwood, always thoughtful of
other people's tastes, brought down with him from the roof (in Thomas
Roe's pocket) a few chips. One of these he placed in a saucer borrowed
from the tea room. Here the grub, which for brevity we will call X.,
lives. In incredibly short time X. burrowed through the wood, its bright
intelligent eyes gleaming out on the other side, as who should say,
"Here I am again."

Expects in time to be able to make it converse. Busy teaching it
difference between a coup and a plot. Hasn't grasped it yet, its mother
tongue being Norman-French. But prospect promising.

_Business done._--In Committee of Supply on Post Office Vote.

       *       *       *       *       *

JOHNNY RIGG.

  Johnny Rigg, the ranger,
    He walked in Wood-o'-Lea
  And happened on a stranger--
    A nut-brown maid was she;
  His heart it did rejoice of her,
    As you may recognise;
  The wind was in the voice of her,
    The stars were in her eyes.

  Johnny Rigg, the ranger,
    He followed far away,
  He didn't know the danger
    That lurks at time o' may;
  She drew him with the smiles of her,
    She left him with a laugh,
  Bewildered with the wiles of her,
    And moon-struck as a calf.

  Johnny Rigg, the ranger,
    The muckle oaf was he;
  He followed of a stranger;
    She led him bonnily;
  The fox he marked the track of him
    And watched him through the segs;
  The tinkers ran a-back of him
    And stole his pheasant eggs!

  Now, all you jolly rangers,
    When nesting-time is on,
  Don't go to follow strangers,
    Nut-brown nor white as swan;
  Beware of 'em, be wise of 'em,
    For sooth it is that's said:
  When stars get in the eyes of 'em
    The moon gets in your head.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE FUSER.

In a moment of expansion, Sheila Armitage confided in me that she has
worked it out, and that we are third cousins twice removed. I accept her
word for this, because I have to work at other things, getting a living
and so forth, while her sole occupation is to acquire a _flair_ as a
hostess, week-ends being her speciality.

I hope that I am not unkind to Sheila when I say that she seems to me
more attractive when she is either in trouble or ill-health; in her more
joyous moods I simply do not belong--and do not want to belong--to her
life. A friend of mine once called her a social pirate, and there is no
doubt that her method of collecting the people whom she wants is to
besiege them until they eventually surrender. Why, however, Bobbie
Outram is always asked to her smartest week-ends was a conundrum to me
until I met her magnificently convalescing after influenza at
Folkestone. For I know Bobbie, and I would run a mile or two any day to
avoid him.

Sheila was in a bath-chair, but looked radiantly well, and at once gave
me a list of her latest victims.

"They sound all right," I said. "But will Bobbie Outram like them?"

At this she gave a little gurgling laugh and put two fingers on my arm.

"Of course you know Bobbie. I forgot."

"I kicked him at school, I loathed him at Cambridge, and let him know
it, and he is still all over me. He brags about you whenever he sees me
before I see him."

"He is the greatest success I have ever had," she declared.

"Then Heaven help you," I replied.

"You don't understand; you think it's quite easy to collect----"

"People tell me you tried to found a _salon_, but only got as far as a
Zoo," I interrupted.

For an instant she frowned, then she gurgled again.

"Brenda Thornton told you that," she protested. "It's just her jealousy.
As a fact I'm quite good at getting only the right people. Fliers have
rather had their day, though they are still useful, and I like an
explorer or two for week-ends, though the best kind seems to be always
exploring. But Brenda was getting ahead of me--I don't mind confessing
that to you--until I thought of Bobbie Outram. He's my one stroke of
genius; even David admits that."

"I never thought much of your husband's taste," I said brutally, and
then, "in men," I added gently, as she was recovering from influenza.

She smiled again and continued:

"There is one thing that is indispensable to a successful week-end."

"It can't be Bobby Outram," I declared.

"It is, or somebody like him; but he is easily the best. Bobbie is my
point of contact."

"He used often to be my boot's," I growled.

"The more you can fuse your guests the better," she went on, as if she
were giving a lecture. "Everyone knows that; it's the A B C of
entertaining; but they must have something to agree about--a sort of
rallying point. And I was the first hostess to discover that no party is
complete unless you have someone in it whom all the others can most
cordially abuse."

"So that is Bobbie's _métier_?" I said.

"The help that man has been to me on wet Sundays is beyond belief," she
replied ecstatically; "and Brenda Thornton is absolutely furious."

"I never expected to be sorry for Outram, but----"

"My dear Jack, you needn't worry about Bobbie. He knows all right. I
told him, and he enjoys it. He's really rather a dear."

But at this my gorge rose. "At any rate," I said, "he's going to Mrs.
Thornton's from next Friday to Tuesday; he told me so yesterday."

"The little worm," said Sheila.

"'Worm' is the word," I said; and as we remained to abuse Bobbie for
another ten minutes with much mutual goodwill I suppose he had once more
justified his existence by a successful feat of "fusing."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Yes, that's the sort of man they would give work to--A
man wiv no principles! Why, only last week 'e was 'ad up for beating 'is
wife, and now _'E'S WORKIN' ON A CHURCH_!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"The Clever Ones."

I do wish I had been one of the clever ones, for they seemed to be in
Mr. Sutro's confidence and able to penetrate the obscurity of his
motives. At first even I could understand something of the scheme, which
ran (as I thought) like this:--_Wilfrid Callender_, a rich bachelor of
Harrow and Oxford, has a socialist friend, _David Effick_, at whose
meetings he happens to have encountered a Girton girl, _Doris Marrable_
(pretty daughter of a hop-merchant in affluent circumstances), who
affects revolutionary ideals. In order to win the approval of this lady
he represents himself as an anarchist plumber, earning five pounds a
week; and to the horror of her family they become affianced. Having no
sort of intention of keeping up the imposture, even if he could, and
being fearful lest the exposure of his wealth and education would, in
her present state, alienate her affections, he proposes by practical
demonstration to disgust her with the mode of life which she designs to
lead. In collusion with _Effick_ he arranges that he shall invite
_Doris_ to take tea at his friend's attic in Bethnal Green, and reveal
to her the sordid conditions of existence in that quarter.

So far good, and the delightful first Act was rich in promise. Then came
the complexities. There was another girl, _Rose Effick_ (a rich relation
of the socialist), to whom _Callender_ should have been engaged but for
a misunderstanding. It is her business to divert him back to his old
love. You would naturally say that, if it is _Callender's_ object to
disgust _Doris_ with the life of the people, so that she may change her
mind and take him for what he actually is, it will be _Rose's_ object,
since her aim is the frustration of this design, to make Bethnal Green
as attractive as possible, so that _Doris_ will refuse to sacrifice her
ideals when she learns the truth about _Callender_. Yet it looks as if
_Rose_ is playing _Callender's_ game and not her own. At first, it is
true, she tries to make the attic more supportable; imparts a pleasant
flavour to the meal; dismisses the hurdy-gurdies that _Callender_ has
chartered from the Universal Provider. But subsequently she goes
slumming with _Doris_ to such good purpose that the latter turns sick of
the whole thing. Now, you will say, _Callender's_ way is clear; he will
reveal his identity and _Doris_ will be prepared to tolerate his wealth.
On the contrary, Mr. Sutko is not to be defeated by his own
machinations; he means to bring _Callender_ and _Rose_ together; so he
just takes and throws them into one another's arms and consigns _Doris_
to an old admirer whom we have never so much as set eyes on.

[Illustration: A HAIR-AND-TIE ANARCHIST.

_Wilfrid Callender_: Mr. Gerald du Maurier.]

I hope I am more lucid than I seem to myself to be--more lucid, anyhow,
than Mr. Sutro, who has threatened to damage an excellent scheme by
defiance of the first law of drama, even of farce, namely, that the
audience should be permitted to know what the author is after. Nor,
again--though of course he was not asking to be taken seriously--was he
very particular about the probability of some of his characters.
_Doris_, for instance, was required to be too many things at once. A
bluestocking and a _sansculotte_ (not a very usual combination), she was
also a woman of the very latest cry in frocks. Miss Nina Sevening looked
pretty and wore them well, but beyond this she gave us very little help.
_Rose_, too (charmingly played by Miss Marie Löhr), who disguised
herself as a dweller in Bethnal Green by the simple expedient of a
duster pinned over her shoulders--how could Mr. Sutro expect her dainty
skirt and smart white shoes to escape the eye of this "clever" female,
her rival?

All the same, he gave us much matter for mirth, though the Second Act,
which promised so well, was dragged out by interminable trivialities
over the preparations for tea. I wish that authors and actors would
understand how depressing it often is when people on the stage will
insist on keeping things bright and brisk with domestic details.

As for the wit of "the clever ones"--_Doris_ and her mother and her
aunt--I don't know how the first-nighters took it, but when I was there
a great deal of it (when audible) was over the heads of the audience.
They understood all right the humour of things when somebody (not a
clever one) said "Damn," but I wonder how many of them appreciated the
symbolic force of the term _épicier_, or grasped the purport of _Quem
deus vult perdere prius dementat_.

Mr. Sutro owed much to the excellence of his cast. Mr. Gerald du Maurier
was, of course, inimitable; but there were also Miss Florence Haydon,
Miss Mary Brough and Mr. Edmund Gwenn, all delightful in their own
specialised veins of humour--the plaintive, the rich, the uproarious.
But Mr. Holman Clark had not enough scope for his unique qualities.

I hear rumours of a revision, and hope that this means that I shall
receive an invitation to renew a most delightful evening. For my only
real criticism is that Mr. Sutro thought me more intelligent than I
actually am--an error that I always encourage.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Dusk."

_Account Rendered_, a comedy of some promise, but produced with an
extraordinary inadequacy in the matter of what the programme called "the
decors," has been very quickly withdrawn from the Little Theatre. But
its curtain-raiser, _Dusk_, is to be retained for the revival of
_Magic_.

That is nearly all that I have to say about Mr. Vansittart's "Oriental
Fantasy." It deals with a youthful bride who has just been attached to a
Persian hareem. In the garden at dusk she finds a young English
traveller (who has just told us what a _penchant_ he has for "women,
women, women"--he is very insistent about this), and being caught in
conversation with him is placed by her lord in a sack and consigned to
the deep; but not before she has explained in fluent verse that in the
circumstances this abrupt end to her young career has no terrors for
her. But for this courageous attitude on her part I should have
experienced greater relief when the hero appeared next morning in his
pyjamas and indicated that the regrettable incident was a figment of his
sleeping brain.

I thought I detected some good lines among the Englishman's remarks
(though I did not like his voice), but I prefer to study poetical drama
at leisure before attempting to pass any comment on it. I may add that I
don't suppose that that engaging actor, Mr. Fred Lewis, has ever
previously played the part of a Persian slave with a taste for
philosophic recitation; and I hope he never will again, for, frankly, it
is not his _métier_.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: [_Circular from head office of a London bank to its
branches:_ "Suggested that the Cashier should drop his cash-scoop as a
warning to the remainder of the staff that a forged cheque is being
presented and that they are to detain the presenter."]

The cashier at our Goldstead branch has the misfortune to drop his scoop
accidentally when cashing a cheque for his worthy mayor of our select
suburb.]

       *       *       *       *       *

A SPORTING CHANCE.

It is generally in the spring that I begin to notice how big my accounts
are growing. I don't know why this should be, unless it is because I
haven't paid any during the previous year. At any rate you must take my
word for it. I have the accounts here.

Then, again, it is a most remarkable fact that whenever one has bills to
pay one finds there are other things to be bought.

A few days ago I discovered that my tailor wanted thirty pounds. I also
discovered that I wanted a lighter overcoat and a raincoat. It was a
nice problem.

On occasions of great difficulty like this I always consult Edith. Edith
might have married me if it hadn't been for Henry. Had she accepted me I
should probably have gone in for something. As it is I just go on
existing.

The really sad part of the whole affair is that she seems to be very
fond of me. Poor girl! We all make mistakes. Anyhow, apart from her
momentary mad infatuation for her husband, she is very sensible and I
always like to consult her. Married women are so different from single
girls; I don't know why, unless it is that they have husbands.

Edith being married, therefore, I rang her up.

"I want," I said, "to consult you financially."

"Certainly," she replied. "What is it?"

"Private. I will come round to tea."

I rang off. I made a little parcel of my accounts and then telephoned
for a taxi. In due course I found Edith in the drawing-room.

"Hello," she said. "Is it very bad trouble?"

"We are," I replied, "in deep water. Life is very shallow." Edith
laughed; she appreciates wit.

"Well, let me see if I can help."

I sat down. "I want two new coats," I explained. "My tailor is
clamouring for thirty pounds, balance of account owing, and," I added
significantly, "there are others. It is going to be a big smash."

"Poor boy!"

I sighed heavily as I opened the accounts.

"Here we are," I said. "Tailor, thirty pounds."

I paused and again sighed.

"Hatter, three pounds."

"Three pounds?" Edith looked amazed.

"That's your fault. I bought a new hat for your wedding. Not only was I
best, but best-dressed man. I wore beautiful clothes to hide a breaking
heart."

Edith smiled. "A beautiful hat was perhaps superfluous," she suggested.
"They are worn so little in church. Are there any more?"

"Plenty. Hatter, three pounds; Glover, one pound----"

"What for?"

"Gloves. Need I go through the sad list?"

Edith shook her head. "What's the total?"

"Fifty-four pounds, thirteen and fourpence. I'm hoping to avoid the
fourpence in discounts. Total spare cash, twenty pounds, and nearly
three months to go before I touch any more."

"Poor boy, have you really only twenty pounds?"

"To throw about in bills, certainly. I shall want all my other money for
rent and food and cash payments."

"And are they all clamouring for their money?"

"Yes, the sharks."

Edith lay back in her chair and thought. Suddenly she sat up.

"It can't be helped," she said. "Some of them will have to wait. We'll
put their names in a hat and the first three we draw out get paid."

"Yes," I objected, "but what about my overcoats?"

"You must wait."

"No," I said, "I have a better idea." I paused impressively. "I think
that we can fairly assume that my creditors are sportsmen. At any rate,
they must have the benefit of the doubt. That being so, I put my own
name in the hat and draw against them. If I'm in the first three I get
my new coats."

"But----"

"Not a word." I slipped noiselessly out of the room and came back with
Henry's Homburg. In less than five minutes everything was prepared.

"Now," said Edith, and she put her hand in the hat. There was a tense
silence. "(1) Glover, (2) Tobacconist, (3) Tailor. Bad luck!"

I suppressed a groan. Had I not been sitting down, I should probably
have reeled. Then, with an effort, I pulled myself together and smiled.

"Well, that's all right," I said.

"All right?"

"Certainly," I said; "I can pay off the first two."

"But what about the tailor?"

"I have thought of that," said I. "I shall make a distinction in his
favour. I shall give him an order for two coats. Surely that means more
to him than a mere settlement."

"Yes," said Edith doubtfully. "But of course you'll pay him the money?"

I laughed amazedly. "My dear girl! Either I pay his account just like
the other two, or I distinguish him by ordering the new coats. He can't
have it both ways. And I couldn't very well pay for the new coats, if
that's what you mean, before the old account is settled. You see that?"

"Yes, but still it doesn't seem----"

"Ah, perhaps not," I said, "perhaps not, at first sight. I hardly saw it
myself at first. It was really a clever idea of yours."

Edith brightened visibly. "Yes, wasn't it?" she said.

       *       *       *       *       *

AN EPIC FROM THE PROVINCES.

My dear Charles,--I know that from your superior standpoint as a
Londoner you are disposed to regard us as dwellers in a quiet backwater,
unswayed by the currents of political strife, but you must not imagine
that the stirring events of the past few weeks have failed to leave
their mark on the life of our little town. A study of the Press--that
faithful mirror of our time--would quickly convince you to the contrary.

The Press, as you know, is here represented by _The Signal_, a fine old
weekly journal of inflexible Unionist views. Well, last week, rising on
a wave of enthusiasm, _The Signal_ burst into poetry.

_The Gun Runners_, it is called, by "Cecilia Merrifield."

  The air is still, the night is dark;
    Along the harbour side
  There stands a silent, waiting park
    Of motors, full inside.

That is the opening stanza. You may possibly take exception to the
French rhyme, but you cannot fail, Charles, to appreciate the fine
spirit of it.

  What are they full of? Not of man,
    But rifles, neatly packed,
  Taken from out the good ship _Fan_,
    Now in the harbour backed.

Strictly speaking, I believe it was not the _Fan_ at all, but that is a
small matter.

  Brave men have toiled across the sea
    To bring those rifles in,
  With helm held stoutly hard-a-lee
    Amid the breakers' din.

I am not at all certain of the accuracy of the term "hard-a-lee" in this
connection, but what a fine sense of stedfast heroism that run of
aspirates awakened. "With helm held stoutly hard-a-lee."

  Amid the breakers' strident cry
    They kept their courage cool,
  For thus, they said, Home Rule must die,
    We will not have Home Rule!

  They 'scaped the vessels of the Fleet
    By lavish use of paint;
  The warships had to own defeat
    With loud and long complaint.

But I cannot give you more than a selection from these noble verses.
They continue in the same lofty strain until the good ship is warped
safely in port. Then comes another dramatic change of tense. We are
again on the quayside.

  The night grows darker. All at once
    An order sharp we hear--
  The order waited for for months;
    The motors come in gear.

Yes, I admit that this stanza is open to criticism on more than one
count, but I would not have it changed. It bears the impress of red-hot
inspiration.

Criticism must always be silent when confronted with that.

  The joy of having to obey
    Lights up each driver's face,
  And so the motors move away
    Each to its destined place.

You must not suppose, however, that there was no show of opposition. As
you have observed, our poetess believes, on the whole, in sticking
closely to historical truth.

  The minions of the Government,
    A weak and craven breed,
  Stand by, quite helpless to prevent
    This great heroic deed.

I cannot say I altogether like the tone of the second line, but the fury
of enthusiasm, shackled by the exigencies of rhyme, must be forgiven
much. Let us continue.

  Across the night the motors throb
    Without the slightest hitch,
  For this is quite a business job,
    Though in romance so rich.

  Indeed, the whole stupendous plot
    Is cleverly arranged;
  Even the motor-cars have got
    Their number plates all changed.

  And so they speed by tortuous ways
    With Freedom in the van,
  And patriotism sets ablaze
    The face of every man.

And so on. Then we come from the general to the particular, and follow
the fortunes of a single consignment of arms until it reaches its
destination.

  And into cellar, pantry, shed,
    In kitchen, bedroom, loft,
  The rifles go. Home Rule is dead!
    The words are uttered oft.

  The ammunition, too, is hid
    In many a secret hole,
  Each bearer doing as he's bid,
    Intent upon the goal.

The goal being, I take it, the final death of Home Rule. And now comes
the wonderful peroration, in which the whole great adventure is brought
to its dignified and eloquent climax. It runs into twenty-three stanzas,
of which I will give you the last two without comment--

  Freedom is what we labour for,
    Freedom, it is our right;
  We have no wish for bloody war,
    But, if we must, we'll fight.

  This is our message sent to him,
    The dark Dictator's tool--
  Whatever happens, sink or swim,
    We Will Not Have Home Rule!

There, Charles! I challenge you to produce anything approaching that
from all your boasted London dailies.

Yours,

Robert.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A villager will always tell the difference between a good coin
    and a bad one, but he cannot tell the difference between a bad
    coin and a good one."--_Pioneer._

He must try to enlarge his mind.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Perspiring Sportsman (who has been riding in
fourteen-stone point-to-point race)._ "Well, thank goodness that's the
last of the season!"

_Friend_. "Thought you liked it."

_Perspiring Sportsman_. "Yes, if it weren't for the wasting you've got
to do to ride the weight?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

Doubtless you will think, as I did at first, that the title of _The
Priceless Thing_ (Stanley Paul) has reference to love or something
intense like that. Far from it. Not in fifty guesses would you be likely
to discover that its real meaning is an autograph of the late William
Shakspeare. One knew already that Mrs. Maud Stepney Rawson could write a
vigorous and bustling tale. If I have a complaint to make against _The
Priceless Thing_ it is indeed that it suffers from some superfluity of
plot, and what approaches a plethora of villains, real or supposed. For
this reason it is a story more than usually hard to condense fairly into
a paragraph. Briefly, however, the P. T., which was the peculiar
treasure of the noble line of _Annerslie_, lived in a case in the
library of their ancestral home. The heroine, _Anstice_, a relation of
the Family, was employed by My Lord as librarian. When I tell you,
moreover, that _Anstice_ had run away from her own father on finding
that he was an expert manufacturer of literary forgeries, and that her
circle of friends included an American blackmailer, a curiosity dealer
and a mad Italian who was even better at the forgery business than her
own father, you will perceive that the poor girl was likely to find her
situation "some job." I could not begin to tell you what really
happened. Towards the end there had been so much mystery, and the story
had become such a palimpsest of forged signatures, that I myself knew no
more than _Lord Annerslie_ in which to believe. But I think we both had
the upholding conviction that an affair of this kind was bound to come
out all right in the end. Which indeed it did; leaving all the virtuous
characters abundantly satisfied, a feeling that will, I am sure, be
shared by Mrs. Rawson's maze-loving public.

       *       *       *       *       *

Robert Tressall was a house-painter, a Socialist, and very evidently a
sincere if somewhat raw thinker. He left to his heirs and assigns a
manuscript of many thousand words. It was a novel, oddly entitled _The
Ragged Trousered Philanthropists_ (Grant Richards), and fell into the
hands of Miss Jessie Pope, who recognised the genius in it (none too
strong a word), made some excisions, and now stands sponsor for it to
the world. It is a grim story of the unpicturesque and horribly anxious
lives of working-folk, specifically of the house-painter and his mates
working on a job, elated and satisfied at the beginning, depressed and
despondent as the work nears completion with the uncertainty as to how
long it will be before another job comes along. Nobody who hadn't lived
exclusively in this hard environment could have written with such
candour and intensity. Mr. Tressall has avoided altogether the
pretentiousness and literary affectation that betrayed, for example, Mr.
H. G. Wells' bathchairman, Meeks. The earlier part of the book is better
than the later, where the propagandist ousts the chronicler. The
exposition of Socialist doctrine is made with a considerable if a crude
skill. It is disfigured with certain familiar limitations; the author
can recognise no work except that done with the hands; and, whether by
unhappy accident of actual circumstance or through defect of
temperament, he sees his employers with a disproportionate bitterness
that somewhat discounts his indictment, while he views his
fellow-workmen from rather a disdainful height. But _The Ragged
Trousered Philanthropists_ is a book to be read by any who want an
insight into the conditions of working-class life at its average, with
its virtues, its vices, its courage, its intolerable piteous anxieties.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Grant-Watson is one of the most resolute and intrepid novelists I
have met, and his directness of speech may give offence, I fear, to the
more reticent of his readers. His story of two white men and _Alice
Desmond_, freed from the social conventions and let loose among the
natives on a remote island in the Pacific, proceeds apace and with
little regard for the susceptibilities of civilisation and refinement.
Familiar but rarely printed language is used when occasion demands;
primitive passions stalk naked and unashamed; and when murder is to be
done it is done brutally, forthwith and notwithstanding the respective
merits, from an heroic point of view, of active and passive agents.
Being myself so situated in life that I am never likely to take part in
any affair more passionate and drastic than a football match or a
law-suit, I found the savage reality, the candour and the unbridled
wrath of _Where Bonds are Loosed_ (Duckworth) most welcome by contrast.
It gave me pleasure to see a man's annoyance being worked off by the use
of fists, knives and bullets, a woman's impatience spending itself in
immediate violence, and love and hatred being expressed in sharp and
decisive action rather than in deliberate subtleties of conversation. In
short, Mr. Watson left me wondering, somewhat fondly, to what lengths I
myself might go in my more heated moments if I too were isolated on
Kanna Island and beyond the supervision of police-constables and
next-door neighbours.

       *       *       *       *       *

Once upon a time it was my lot to read a slender volume of Prose Poems,
all about stars and rivers and moons and such other things of which
prose poetry is made, and written by the most intense and soulful young
woman who ever put pen to paper. Which, being perused, I handed to
another and elder woman, noted for a great reader of books. And after
many days, and after (I suppose) much fruitless toil on the part of my
friend, the volume was returned to me with this single comment, "It
seems very racily written." I tell you the story, which being true is
without point, because I have been wondering what the same critic would
have found to say about another slender booklet called _The Word of
Teregor_ (Nisbet). My idea of it is that Mr. Guy Ridley, the author,
knows and admires his Kipling and delights in his Maeterlinck to such
extent that (possibly after a visit to _The Blue Bird_) he felt himself
inspired to sit down and write these Forest-Jungle-Book tales of an
earlier world, wherein Man and Beast and all created things were subject
to the benevolent rule of _Teregor_, the Oak-tree; when everything
living had a voice and used it, pleasantly enough, in rather mannered
prose of the "Yea, Nay and Behold" type; and when all the old legends
had yet to be started in ways of which Mr. Ridley gives his own most
original explanations. So if you care about this kind of thing (and I
had quite a pleasant half-hour from it myself) get it. You will at least
find here a book entirely different from anything else in the
library-box; printed in type that is a pleasure to the eye, and having,
moreover, the classic excuse of being a very little one.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have for some time watched a steady improvement in the work of Mr.
Ralph Straus. It is therefore a pleasure to greet _The Orley Tradition_
(Methuen) as his best yet. The _Orley_ tradition was to do nothing
whatever, and, like the House of Lords in _Iolanthe_, to do it very
well. They were, as a family, noble, of ancient lineage, and fine
stupidity. _John Orley_, the hero of the tale, starts out to follow
worthily in the footsteps of his race, as a brainless but agreeable
country magnate. Then comes an accident, which thwarts his physical
ambitions and awakens his mental. Thereafter he essays the life of
affairs--and fails all round; is defeated for Parliament, and equally
worsted in the lists of Art. So, being now recovered of his hurt, he
says a graceful farewell to the career intellectual and resumes the
traditional _Orley_ existence. This, in brief, is his story; but I give
it without the pleasant style of Mr. Straus's telling. There are many
very happily touched scenes; more especially had I a guilty sympathy
roused by one in which poor _John_ endeavours to concentrate his very
slipshod brains upon an afternoon of hard reading. And almost all the
characters are alive, from the entertaining old lady who keeps the
village post-office to _Mrs. Adderson_, the naughty novelist in whose
hands _John Orley_ completed his sentimental education. As for the
setting, I fancy that those who have spent their summers round about St.
Margaret's Bay will have little difficulty in identifying _Handsfield_.
Altogether a happy book (more so than you would expect from its theme)
and one that marks, as I said, the further advance of a ready and
agreeable writer.

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE GLADIATORIAL AGENCY.

[Illustration: _Manager._ "But, my dear Sir, you don't seem to have the
physique for an engagement of this kind!"

_Applicant._ "That's just it. You see, I've been rather run down for
some time, and my doctor advised me to take a turn or two in the arena
for the sake of my health."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "By road it is vastly different: there is an 80 mile sand desert
    to negotiate, and hundreds of miles of rutty roads and rocky
    bush tracks to drive over; yet Mr. Murray Aunger, of Adelaide,
    averaged 38 hours per mile from capital to capital."--_Advt._

If it wasn't for the chance of being photographed we should always
prefer to walk this bit.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "'I am,' he answered in rather indifferent English."

    _"Derby Advertiser" feuilleton_.

Very indifferent, we call it. How much better if he could have answered,
"Your statement of the position is not wholly unwarranted by the facts,"
or something snappy like that.





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