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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, April 12, 1916
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, Vol. 150, April 12, 1916" ***

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 150.

APRIL 12, 1916



[Illustration:

_Junior Sub._ "THE COLONEL SAYS WILL YOU DISMISS THE PARADE, SIR?"
_Newly-mounted Captain._ "CONFOUND IT! DO IT YOURSELF, SMITH. I'M BUSY
RIDING."]

       *       *       *       *       *

CHARIVARIA.

We are in a position to state that the efficiency of Germany's new
submersible Zeppelins has been greatly exaggerated.

       ***

Many schemes for coping with our £2,100,000,000 War indebtedness are
before the authorities, and at least one dear old lady has written
suggesting that they should hold a bazaar.

       ***

It is stated that the monkey market at Constantinople, which for
hundreds of years has supplied the baboons found in Turkish harems, has
closed down. German competition is said to be responsible for the
incident.

       ***

The Government's indifference to the balloon type of aircraft has
received a further illustration. They have rejected Highgate's fat
conscript.

       ***

German scientists are now making explosives out of heather. Fortunately
the secret of making Highlanders out of the same material still remains
in our hands.

       ***

Deference to one's superiors in rank is all very well up to a point, but
we should never go so far as to allow an article by a titled
war-correspondent to be headed "The Great Offensive at Verdun."

       ***

British songsters, says a writer in _The Daily Chronicle_, are now being
illegally used to regale the wealthy gourmets of the West End in place
of the foreign varieties, which can no longer be imported. For
ourselves, who are nothing if not British, we are glad of any sign that
native musicians are coming by their own.

       ***

The practice of interning travellers in Tube and other stations during
the progress of Zeppelin raids on the North-East Coast having become
extremely popular, it is suggested that some much-needed revenue might
be obtained by imposing a small tax--a penny, say, per hour--upon those
who thus enjoy the protection and hospitality of our railways.

       ***

It is officially announced that Oxford is to have no more Rhodes
Kolossals.

       ***

Lord ROBERT CECIL admitted in Parliament last week that the contraband
list is to be enlarged, and it is rumoured that, notwithstanding the
serious effect the step may have in the United States and elsewhere, the
list will be extended to include munitions of war.

       ***

A prominent City barber points out to an _Evening News_ correspondent
that it would be most unfortunate if the high cost of shaves should
result in a discontinuance of the practice of tipping the operator, and
adds that only two of the services have increased in price. He means, of
course, to draw attention to the fact that sporting chatter, dislocation
of the neck, and the removal of superfluous portions of the ears are
still provided free of charge.

       *       *       *       *       *

Anti-Climax.

From a _feuilleton_ (showing what our serial fictionists have to put up
with):--

    "'To-morrow?' repeated Rosalie, dully. 'I'm afraid I can't
    to-morrow.'

    To-morrow----!

    There will be another fine instalment to-morrow."--_Daily
    Mirror._

       *       *       *       *       *

OF COCOA

AND CERTAIN OLD ASSOCIATIONS REVIVED BY A DRAUGHT OF THIS NUTRITIOUS
BEAN.

["The rate on cocoa is raised from 1-1/2_d._ to 6_d._ per lb." (Loud
cheers).

_The CHANCELLOR'S Budget Speech._]

  Now, ere the price thereof goes soaring up,
    Ere yet the devastating tax comes in,
  I wish to wallow in the temperate cup
    (Loud cheers) that not inebriates, like gin;
  Ho, waiter! bring me--nay, I do not jest--
        A cocoa of the best!

  Noblest of all non-alcoholic brews,
    Rich nectar of the Nonconformist Press,
  Tasting of CADBURY and _The Daily News_,
    Of passive martyrs and the law's distress,
  And redolent of the old narcotic spice
        Of peace-at-any-price--

  What memories, how intolerably sweet,
    Hover about its fat and unctuous fumes!
  Of Little England and a half-baked Fleet,
    Of German friendship pure as vernal blooms,
  And that dear country's hallowed right to dump
        Things on us in the lump;

  Of tropic isles whereon this beverage springs,
    And niggers sweating out their pagan souls;
  Of British workmen, flattered even as kings,
    So to secure their suffrage at the polls;
  Of liberty for all to go on strike
        Just when and where they like.

  I would renew these wistful dreams to-night;
    For, since upon my precious nibs, when ground,
  McKENNA's minions, with to-morrow's light,
    Will plant a tax of sixpence in the pound,
  My sacred memories, cheap enough before,
        Will clearly cost me more.

  O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

ANOTHER SCRAP OF PAPER.

I look all right, and I feel all right, but the doctor said the Army was
no place for me. Having given me a piece of paper which said so, he
looked over my head and called out, "Next, please." It was with this
document I was going to produce a delicious thrill--what I might call an
"electric" moment. I carefully rehearsed what should happen, though I
was not quite sure what attitude to adopt--whether to give the
impression that I was a member of a pacific society, look elaborately
unconcerned or truculently youthful. This, I decided, had better be left
to the psychological moment.

I would take my seat or strap in the crowded tram or train. Observing
that I wore neither khaki nor armlet someone would want to know why "a
big, strong, healthy-looking fellow like you was not in the Army." I
should then try to look pacific or elaborately--see above again. But I
should say nothing. My studied silence would annoy everybody. I was
quite sure of this, because I really can do that sort of silence very
well. The inevitable old woman with a bundle would fix me with her
watery eye. "The man in the street," who, of course, would now be in the
tram or train, would give a brief history of his three sons and one
brother-in-law at the Front. The armleted conductor (we are now in the
tram) would give my ticket a very rude punch and my penny a very angry
stare. When I was quite sure I had been set down as a slacker, I should
produce the doctor's certificate of exemption. In my ultra-polite
manner, which is nearly as good as my annoying silence, I should hand it
to the man whose three sons and one brother-in-law had evidently been
writing for more cigarettes. I would then say, "I know you can talk. It
is possible you can read. Would you be good enough to read aloud this
certificate?" It would be read and then handed back to me. I would fold
it carefully and place it in my inside pocket. Looking very tenderly at
the long row of rebuked countenances, I should get up and make for the
door. This would be the delicious thrill, the electric moment. The
following is what _did_ happen.

I was on the Tube. Conditions were favourable, as Sir OLIVER LODGE would
say to Mrs. PIPER. The old woman with the bundle was not there, but the
shop-girl with three regimental brooches was. Everything was going as
well as I could have wished. The shop-girl closed her novel and fingered
her brooches. A fat old gentleman sniffed vigorously, and someone asked
why "a big, strong, healthy, etc., etc." Nobody seemed to be impressed
by my splendid silence, but it was there all the same, and somebody was
going to be very sorry before he got home. I touched my tie and lit a
fresh cigarette. The air was tense. I could almost see my electric
moment walking down the compartment to meet me. We were nearing a
station. I felt in my pocket.

I had left the certificate at home!

       *       *       *       *       *

HOME HELPS FOR NON-COMBATANTS.

THE ARMY AND NAVY EXEMPTIONS SUPPLY ASSOCIATION, LIMITED, offer
facilities for the evasion of military service.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ladies supplied to act as Widowed Stepmothers to young Slackers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Gentlemen not desirous of serving should inspect one of our Bijou
Residences. Bath (h. and c.); rent inclusive. District enjoys best water
supply and most lenient Exemption Tribunal in the Home Counties.

       *       *       *       *       *

Persons requiring the Loan of Children may obtain these useful aids to
exemption in lots of not less than half-a-dozen (mixed), by the day,
week, or month, as desired.

       *       *       *       *       *

FLAT FOOT IN TWELVE DAYS! A GENUINE DISCOVERY.

Gentlemen wishing to acquire this useful impediment may do so with
secrecy and despatch on application (with fee). No _permanent_
disability need be feared, a certain cure being guaranteed within one
calendar month after date of signing peace, upon payment of a further
fee.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEARN TO FAINT.

One Correspondence Course will teach you this useful art in two and a
half lessons.

       *       *       *       *       *

Do you want not to go to the Front? Then try our LITTLE WHITE LIVER
PILLS and you will never have another worry. _Dose:_ One, once. Sold
everywhere.

       *       *       *       *       *

HOW TO LOOK OLD. A USEFUL WRINKLE.

No more worry. No matter _how_ youthful your appearance, in TEN MINUTES
we can make you look

  AS GREY AS GRANDPA.

Call and inspect our appliances. They will convince you.

       *       *       *       *       *

Are you a MAN OF GENIUS? And young? And in perfect health? We will see
that you are saved for your country. In the words of one of our exempted
clients:--

  "For why should youth aglow with gifts divine
  Be driven forth to glut the foreign swine?"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE GRAPES OF VERDUN.

THE OLD FOX. "YOU DON'T SEEM TO BE GETTING MUCH NEARER THEM."

THE CUB. "NO, FATHER. HADN'T WE BETTER GIVE IT OUT THAT THEY'RE SOUR?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _His Fiancée._ "HE HAD VERY BAD LUCK. HE WAS KNOCKED OVER
BY A RICOCHET."

_Her Aunt._ "REALLY? I DIDN'T KNOW THE GERMANS HAD ANY NATIVE TROOPS
FIGHTING FOR THEM."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE WATCH DOGS.

XXXVII.

MY DEAR CHARLES,--This letter is written in England, but the reason for
my presence here is not to be dismissed in a breath or mentioned first
anyhow. It is to be led up to gradually, the music being stopped and the
audience being asked to refrain from shuffling their feet about and
coughing when we come to the critical moment.

Reviewing my military career, I do not look upon myself as great; I look
upon myself rather as very great. Even at the beginning of it I had a
distinct way with me. I would say to fifty men, "Form fours," and sure
enough they would form them. I would then rearrange my ideas and say,
"Form two-deep," and there, in the twinkling of an eye, was your two
deep. This is not common, I think; it was just something in me, some
peculiar gift for which I was not responsible. So pleasing was the
effect that I would sometimes go on repeating the process for ten
minutes or so, and every time it fell out exactly as I said it would, no
one ever daring to suggest that the sooner I settled down to a definite
policy, whether in fours or twos, the sooner the War would end.

For six months I continued performing this difficult and dangerous work,
only once making the mistake of ordering my men to take a left turn and
myself taking a right one. Fortunately this happened in a local town of
tortuous by-ways, and so it fell out that I and my platoon only met
again later in the day; and a most touching meeting it was. Discussing
the matter afterwards with my C.O., I inclined to the view that it was
an accident which I, for my part, was quite ready to forgive and forget.
My C.O. was, however, out of sorts at the moment; in fact he let his
tongue run away with him. He even proposed to put me on the Barrack
Square for a month, a suggestion which caused my Adjutant (who was
interfering as usual) to smile quite unpleasantly. I just looked them
straight in the face and said nothing. This, I think, was little short
of masterly on my part, since I knew all the time, and knew that they
know, that there was in fact no Barrack Square thereabouts to put me on.

After this my men did so extraordinarily well that I became a marked
man. I was, in fact, invited to step over to France and to give some
practical demonstrations in the art of making war. To pack a few
articles into a bag and to parade my men was with me the work of a
moment. Before starting it was, however, proper to address a pre-battle
speech to them. Silence was enjoined and I spoke, spoke simply and
honestly as a great soldier should. "Form fours," said I, and paused
dramatically. "Form two-deep," I continued, and my meaning was
understood. "Form fours," I concluded ... and we were ready for the
worst.

So we moved away for the Field. We did this, I remember, at 5 A.M. Not a
moment was to be lost. Our train started at noon and we had three miles
to march to the station. Running it pretty close, wasn't it?

Never shall I forget the anxious faces which greeted our arrival at the
French port. "Nip up to the trenches," said O.C. megaphone, "and save
the situation if you can." Up to the trenches we nipped, covering the
distance of sixty miles in less than three weeks. There was no doubt
about our willingness and ability to do as we were told; our only
difficulty was to discover in the dark where the situation was. Never
shall I forget the tense strain that first night, my men standing to
arms through the long hours, with their rifles pointing into the
darkness beyond. But not a shot was fired, and when dawn broke all was
well. True, the first light revealed the fact that I had got us all with
our backs to the enemy, so that if there had been a battle it would have
been between ourselves and Mr. Jones's platoon. But you can't have
everything; and sense of direction never was my strong point. Never
shall I forget our first breakfast in the trenches. It consisted of
bacon and eggs, marmalade and tea. How strange and novel an experience
it was to be at war!

Never shall I forget.... Now I know there was something else, but there
are such a lot of things that I am never going to forget about this War
that I cannot be expected to remember them all. It was something about
someone not shaving, and being in the rear rank while the front rank was
being inspected, and in the front rank while the rear rank was being
inspected. It was by such brilliance of strategy as this that I was able
to do the Bosch out of that little dinner he meant to have in Paris. It
was owing to the same, and to my being overheard to remark that I could
run the blessed War by myself better than this, that I was given a pen
and a piece of blotting-paper and told to carry on. After which, of
course, the wretched Bosch never even got as far as Calais.

Truly a remarkable man! But hear the crisis of my career.

This letter is written in England. If you would only read your morning
paper properly, you would know why. Looking down the Births Column to
see if anybody you know has been born, you would have noticed that We,
Henry, are the father of a son, a tall, good-looking fellow, who weighs
eight, eighteen or eighty pounds (I could not be sure which) and is a
man of few words, obviously the strong silent sort.

On hearing the news we at once reported our achievement to the Staff and
asked what we were to do about it. We were informed that, as far as we
were concerned, the War stood adjourned for eight days. Later, as we
stood in the street trying to think it all out and to remodel our
demeanour so as to suggest the responsibility and respectability of a
father, we were asked severely why we were standing idle, and told that,
unless we were seen forthwith moving off for England at the double,
action would be taken. So home, where we were very respectfully saluted
by the New Draft. A strange but nice woman who had the parade in hand
invited us to come a little closer, but this we refused to do, giving as
our reason that we were beginning as we meant to go on and that undue
familiarity is bad for discipline. We then addressed a few kind words to
the Lady in the Case, who appeared to take it all very much as a matter
of course, and with her discussed future dispositions. The Army and the
Bar were negatived at once; it was suggested (not by us) that we have
already in our small family an example sufficiently fortunate of both.
He will be a sailor or a financier. There is something about sailors; it
is always a pleasure and a pride to take one of them out to dinner in a
public place, especially if he's your own. On the other hand the
financier alternative is suggested with a view to the possibility (as
things tend) that it may be he who has to take us out to dinner.

  Yours ever, HENRY.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mistress._ "WELL, JANE, WHAT SORT OF NEWS HAVE YOU FROM
YOUR YOUNG MAN AT THE FRONT?"

_Jane._ "FATAL, MUM."

_Mistress._ "DEAR, DEAR! I'M VERY SORRY----"

_Jane._ "YES, MUM. 'E'S BROKE IT OFF, MUM."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The fall of rain during February in Exeter amounted to 5.39
    inches. During the same month 80 hours 58 mins. of sunshine were
    recorded, being an average of 2 hours 42 mins. per day. The
    chief tradesmen of the district are responsible for this
    gratifying result."

    _Express and Echo (Exeter)._

They seem to be easily satisfied down in the West. If London tradesmen
take to purveying the weather we shall want a little less rain and a
good deal more sunshine.

       *       *       *       *       *

IN PRAISE OF PUSSY.

    [Professor ROBERT WALLACE, of Edinburgh University, has been
    defending the cat as a useful member of society and a defence
    against the ravages of plague, and encourages the breeding,
    collecting and distributing of types of cats known to be
    "superior ratters."]

  In these days of stress and passion
  Feline charms are out of fashion,
    And the cult of Pasht is coldly looked upon;
  But cat-lovers may take solace
  From the words of ROBERT WALLACE,
    Who's a scientific Edinboro' don.

  Cats as lissome merry minxes,
  Or impenetrable Sphinxes--
    Leonine, aloof, impassive, topaz-eyed--
  Leave our staid professor chilly,
  For he clearly thinks it silly
    To regard them from the decorative side.

  It is _not_ their grace, now serious,
  Now malicious, now mysterious,
    That appeals to his utilitarian mind;
  But, when viewed as extirpators
  Of disease-disseminators,
    Then he looks with admiration on their kind.

  For if cats should ever shun us
  Rats with plague would overrun us,
    And they're bad enough on economic grounds;
  For their annual depredation
  On the food-stuffs of the nation
    He would estimate at twenty million pounds.

  True, O Puss, romance is lacking
  In your latest champion's backing,
    But at least he isn't talking through his hat;
  And if, after all, what matters
  Is to have "superior ratters"--
    Well, he pays the highest homage to the Cat.

       *       *       *       *       *

HEROISM.

There are heroes and heroes. All heroes are heroes: that is certain. But
there are some heroes whose heroism involves more thought (shall I
say?), more material, than that of others, who are heroic in a kind of
rush, without any premeditation--heroic by instinct. Now it seems to me
that the rewards of the more complex heroes ought--but let me
illustrate.

I have a friend who is a hero. The other day in France he did one of the
most desperate things, and did it apparently as a matter of course; and
he is to have the V.C. for it. But is the V.C. enough'? If it's enough
for the instinctive heroes, is it enough for him? That is my question.
The secret history of his deed is known only to me and to himself, and
when I give you an idea of it you will be able to answer.

I will tell you.

Never mind what the deed was. All I will say is that it is comparable to
the glorious feat of Lieutenant WARNEFORD, who bombed the Zeppelin from
above and sent it crashing down. My friend is an aviator too, and since
I am not allowed to describe his great performance in detail let us
pretend that it was an exact replica of the WARNEFORD triumph. Armed
with his bombs he saw the approaching Zepp and flew high, six or seven
thousand feet, to get above it. So far he had merely obeyed the dictates
of his brave impulsive nature. He had given no thought to the chances of
danger or death, but had flown direct to his duty. So far he was
instinctive. But my friend, as well as being unusually brave, is a
singularly retiring kind of man. He hates publicity, ostentation. Very
shy and very quiet, he moves about the world unperceived, and has all
the reluctances of the anchorite. Nothing but his deep feeling about the
War could have got him to do anything as prominent as aviation, so that
it is not unnatural that, as he mounted higher and higher and came
nearer and nearer to the desired point over the Zepp, he should suddenly
realise what it would mean for him if he succeeded in bringing it down.

Not that he had too much time for such reflections, for until the
envelope intervened between him and the Zepp's marksmen he was being
blazed at steadily. Bullets whistled about him. But one thinks swiftly,
and in a flash he saw the extremely distasteful consequences to
humility, and the dislocation of his secluded way of life if, dropping
his bombs accurately, he earned (as he was bound to do) the Victoria
Cross. All this he saw, and was properly furious at his bad luck--at the
trick that destiny had played on him. He then dropped the bombs, the
envelope ignited, and the Zepp, with its crew and its deadly cargo, fell
to earth and was blown to atoms.

Now my point is that for such a hero as my friend, whose whole soul is
to be outraged by publicity and _réclame_, and much of whose dearly
loved privacy is to be lost for ever, there ought to be a V.C. above and
beyond the ordinary V.C.--a super V.C.; for he performed not one deed,
but two: he not only destroyed the Zepp but he surrendered his
sanctuary.

       *       *       *       *       *

An Exhibition of Mr. Punch's War Cartoons is now being held at the
Leicester Galleries, Leicester Square.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE PRINCE OF ARTILLERYMEN

WHO RECENTLY BROUGHT DOWN A ZEPPELIN.

  When, Gunner, through the breech you passed
    That wingéd messenger of death,
  And having made the breech-block fast,
    With pounding heart and bated breath
  Drew back the rod of tempered steel
    That frees the charge and fires the fuse,
  I would have given much to feel
    My feet in your distinguished shoes.

  But when your deadly missile burst
    Right on the rover, checked his speed,
  And made him rock like one whose thirst
    Has frankly caused him to exceed,
  You must have felt as feels a god
    To whom whole nations bend the knee--
  Whichever of the dozen odd
    Disputant gunners you may be.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Who can tell but what Rumania's watchful eye will yet sound the
    bugle note which at the psychological moment will unite the
    Balkan thrones?"--_Shanghai Mercury._

Rumania seems to have something more than a speaking eye. It even plays
tunes.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a German paper quoted by _The Times_:--

    "The German people fully recognises the nicely retiring manner
    of the Kaiser during this war."

The Allies are confident that it will receive further recognition before
long.

       *       *       *       *       *

In an article entitled "The Superiority of German Strategy" the
_Frankfurter Zeitung_ says:--


    "The road before us is, however, long and calls for great
    achievements. We are not lacking in strength. Let us wait and
    see."

Mr. ASQUITH is wondering what this flattery portends.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "I have spoken of the good there is in grooves, in the groovy
    way of life ... Who can be blind to the fact that life in a
    groove leads to bigotry and nar-grooves, in the groovy way of
    life?"

    "_Claudius Clear_" in "_The British Weekly._"

Not we. We have never been blind to anything of the sort.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Little Lady, during all these months thoughts entirely with
    you, treasuring up unbleaching memory of happy hours spent
    together."--_Advertisement in "The Times._"

Presumably in the wash-house. Unless some confusion arose, in the mind
of the advertiser, between dying and bleaching.

       *       *       *       *       *

ECONOMY IN DRESS: THE NEW SMARTNESS.

[Illustration: "IT'S LOVELY, BUT I'M AFRAID THIRTY GUINEAS IS TOO MUCH
FOR ME."

"IT _IS_ A GOOD DEAL, BUT MADAM MUST REMEMBER THIS A GENUINE OLD DRESS.
WE GUARANTEE IT TO HAVE BEEN IN CONSTANT WEAR FOR AT LEAST FIVE YEARS."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "I SAY! THAT'S A SMART FROCK, IF YOU LIKE!"

"H'M, YES. BUT IT'S ONLY IMITATION--NOT REAL OLD."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "I LIKE IT, BUT IT LOOKS DREADFULLY NEW."

"IF YOU FEEL THAT, MADAM, MIGHT I SUGGEST THAT YOU HAVE IT SOILED BY OUR
SPECIAL PROCESS? WE ONLY CHARGE THREE GUINEAS EXTRA."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "COME ALONG, MABEL. DON'T MAKE YOUR MOUTH WATER LOOKING
IN THERE. OLD CLOTHES ARE NOT FOR THE LIKES OF US."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Visitor._ "And how did you _know_ when you were
wounded?"

_Tommy._ "SAW IT IN _THE DAILY MAIL._"]

       *       *       *       *       *

MATCH PLAY.

Since the Budget was produced the match-mendicant is at work more
industriously than ever, patting his pockets and looking round
expectantly at his fellow-travellers. The surreptitious filling of
private boxes in restaurants and club smoke-rooms is rapidly on the
increase. Yet if men would only meet the proposed match-tax calmly and
thoughtfully they might still remain honest and independent.

There are too many three-match men. Just as the tennis-player sends down
the first ball into the net with a fine abandon, and is more careful
with the second, so the three-match man strikes his first match without
arresting his progress along the street, only slows down a little with
the second, and not until the third is in his fingers does he look about
for a doorway.

If deep doorways and public telephone boxes were put to better use by
the smokers of England much waste of matches would be avoided.

And why do not men buy their matches in a businesslike way? Every man
should ask to see them before making a purchase. He should compare the
brands, take note of the length and thickness of the sticks, examine the
size and quality of the heads, test the durability of the sides of the
boxes, compare the numbers in the various boxes, test the breaking
strain of the matches and the strength of the flares when struck, and
time with a stop-watch the burning of a certain length of match.

Many matches are ruined and wasted by harsh treatment. Strong men are
apt to use their strength like giants in striking their matches, with
the result that the matches break, or their heads are pulled off, or the
side of the box is irreparably injured. Remember that the striking of a
match is more of a wrist movement than an arm movement. The man who
strikes a match straight from the shoulder deserves to lose it; and the
average match is not made to be struck even from the elbow. Many a man,
puzzled at his lack of success in striking matches, will find the secret
of his failure in too vigorous a use of the forearm. The best plan--one
that is adopted by our leading actors and other experts--is to stand
firmly with the feet about fourteen inches apart, hold the box between
the thumb and fingers of the left hand (be careful to avoid the
unsightly method, which some strikers adopt, of holding it in the palm),
take the match about one inch and an eighth from the head with the thumb
and forefinger of the right hand, bend back the right wrist until the
head of the match is two and a half inches from the end of the box, and
with a swift but not too sudden wrist-movement away from you rub the
head of the match against the side of the box. A little careful practice
will soon get one into the way of judging the distance accurately, so
that, on the one hand, the box is not missed, and, on the other hand,
the head of the match is not too severely strafed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Five Zeppelins were seen off the East Coast between nine and
    ten last night. They appeared to be rather larger machines than
    those visiting the coast on previous occasions. Measures were
    taken." _Western Evening Herald._

We always use a simple foot-rule for this purpose.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Forty Thousand American inhabitants at Erzram were massacred by
    the Turks."

    _Zululand Times._

More trouble for President WILSON.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A WILLING VICTIM.

_JOHN BULL (to CLAUDE DUVAL McKENNA)._ "THIS HAS INDEED BEEN A PLEASANT
MEETING. YOU'RE QUITE SURE YOU'VE GOT ALL YOU WANT?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

_Tuesday, April 4th._--When introducing a Budget designed to raise a
revenue of seventy or eighty millions, Mr. GLADSTONE was wont to speak
for four or five hours. Mr. McKENNA, confronted with the task of raising
over five hundred millions, polished off the job in exactly seventy-five
minutes. Mr. GLADSTONE used to consider it necessary to prepare the way
for each new impost by an elaborate argument. That was all very well in
peace-time. But we are at war, when more than ever time is money, and so
Mr. McKENNA was content to rely upon the imperative formula of the
gentlemen of the road, "Stand and deliver."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A STUDY IN COMPARATIVE PHYSIOGNOMY. _A Peace Budget._ _A
War Budget._ MR. GLADSTONE. MR. McKENNA.]

       *       *       *       *       *

For a moment, it is true, he reverted to the old traditions of
Budget-night. After observing that there was no parallel in history to
the willingness to be taxed which had been displayed by the British
people, he declared that it would be a mistake to drive this spirit of
public sacrifice too hard. The difficulty which many people had in
maintaining a standard of life suitable to their condition was described
in such moving terms as to convince some of Mr. McKENNA's more ingenuous
hearers that the income-tax was not going to be raised after all.

They were quickly disillusionised. The rich will have to contribute
(with super-tax) close on half their incomes; the comparatively
well-to-do a fourth; even the class to whose special hardships the
CHANCELLOR had just made such pathetic allusion will have to pay an
additional sixpence in the pound. If in the circumstances some of them
feel inclined to echo _Sir Peter Teazle_'s remark to _Joseph_, "Oh, damn
your sentiment," I think they may be excused.

That, however, was Mr. McKENNA's only lapse. The rest of his speech was
ruthlessly and refreshingly practical. The millions were ticked off as
rapidly, and almost as mechanically, as the two-pences in the other
taxis. Five millions from cinemas, horse-races, and other amusements,
three from railway tickets, seven from sugar, two from mineral waters,
another two from coffee and cocoa (even the great Liberal drink cannot
escape under a Cocoalition), and nearly a million from motor vehicles.

Forty-five years ago Mr. LOWE proposed to extract "_ex luce lucellum_"
by putting a tax of a half-penny a box upon matches, and was duly
punished for his pun. When the matchmakers of the East-end (quite as
dangerous in their way as those of the West-end) marched in procession
to the House of Commons, the Government bowed before the storm.
Undeterred by their fate, Mr. McKENNA now proposes to put a tax of 4_d._
on every thousand matches, and expects to get two millions out of it.
But it must not be forgotten that there are substitutes for matches; and
I should not be surprised if Mr. McKENNA himself has to put up with a
spill.

Not much criticism was however to be heard to-night, though Mr. WILLIAM
O'BRIEN gave it as his opinion that Ireland ought to be omitted from the
Budget altogether. With him was Mr. TIMOTHY HEALY, whose principal
complaint was that the tax on railway tickets would put a premium on
foreign travel. People would go to Paris instead of Dublin, and
Switzerland instead of Killarney. Here somebody tactlessly reminded him
that a war was going on in Europe, and shunted him on to a less
picturesque line of argument.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Sir George Reid refreshingly cheerful.]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wednesday, April 5th._--Congratulations are due to the Earl of MEATH on
a long-delayed triumph. For fifteen years he has been trying to convince
the British Government that there is an institution called Empire Day.
Throughout the Dominions, May 24th, QUEEN VICTORIA's birthday, is kept
as a public holiday, and even in the Old Country, despite official
discouragement, the Union Jack is hoisted on thousands of schools and
saluted by millions of children. To the suggestion that the public
offices should be similarly adorned the Government, under the erroneous
belief that patriotism and militarism were identical, has hitherto
maintained an unflagging opposition. But to-day Lord CREWE admitted that
the proposal was reasonable.

Sir GEORGE REID has made the surprising discovery that there are a
number of excellent speakers in the House of Commons who do not speak,
but concentrate themselves upon the despatch of business. Perhaps this
was his genial way of indicating the more obvious fact that there are
others of a precisely opposite kind. He himself is an excellent speaker
who speaks; but concentration is perhaps hardly his strongest point, and
he wandered to-day over so many fields that the CHAIRMAN had more than
once, with obvious regret, to recall him to the strict path of the
Finance Bill, which ultimately passed its first reading, amid cheers
that it would have done the KAISER good to hear.

Mr. PEMBERTON-BILLING, having been prevented by the Budget from making
his usual Tuesday speech, delivered it to-day, and had a success which
was, I trust, as gratifying to him as it was surprising to the House.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Wife._ "DO YOU THINK THE ZEPPELINS WILL COME HERE?"
_Husband._ "VERY POSSIBLY, I SHOULD SAY."
_Wife._ "THEN I SHAN'T START THE SPRING CLEANING."]

       *       *       *       *       *

At the close of his now customary catalogue of the defects he has
discovered in our air-service, he offered personally to organize raids
upon the enemy's aircraft headquarters, and ventured to believe that he
could bag as many Zeppelins in a day as the Government could bring down
in a year by their present methods of misplaced guns and misplaced
confidence.

Mr. TENNANT did not think our confidence was misplaced. But he would
certainly accept Mr. BILLING's offer, and would confer with him as to
how to make the best use of his services. It seems probable, therefore,
that for some little time the House will have to do without its weekly
lecture from the Member for East Herts. Under the shadow of this
impending bereavement Mr. TENNANT is bearing up as well as can be
expected.

_Thursday, April 6th._--Everyone was delighted to see the PRIME MINISTER
back in his place to-day after his three weeks' absence. Members on both
sides cheered loudly and long as he entered the House. They also
displayed a gratifying curiosity regarding his views on various
subjects, and to that end had put down no fewer than thirty-two
questions for his consideration. The amount of information they received
was hardly commensurate with the industry displayed in framing them. Mr.
ASQUITH made, however, one announcement of great moment. The Government
are now considering how many recruits they have got, and how many they
still want. They will then announce their decision as to the method to
be adopted for obtaining more, and will give a day for its discussion.
This is to be done before Easter. Asked how long the House would adjourn
for, Mr. ASQUITH replied, with obvious sincerity, "I hope for some
time."

The great crisis of which we have heard so much in the newspapers is
thus postponed. But a little crisis, not altogether unconnected with the
other, had still to be resolved. The Government had a motion down to
stop the payment of double salaries to Members on service, and to this
Sir FREDERICK BANBURY had tabled an amendment providing that
Parliamentary salaries should be dropped altogether. Mr. DUKE and other
Unionists subsequently put down another amendment, designed to stop the
discussion of the larger question on the ground that it was a breach of
the party truce.

The SPEAKER however decided that Sir FREDERICK was entitled to first cut
at the Banbury cake. He made, as I thought, a very fair and not unduly
partisan use of his opportunity, arguing that the conditions of
Parliamentary life had changed since the War, and that as Members were
no longer called upon to work hard they should save the country a
quarter-of-a-million by dropping their salaries.

No one, I think, was prepared for the tremendous blast of invective
which came from Mr. DUKE. In language which seemed to cause some
trepidation even to the Ministers he was supporting he denounced his
right hon. friend for introducing "this stale and stinking bone of
contention," and plainly hinted that it was part of a plot to get rid of
the PRIME MINISTER. If that eminent temperance advocate, Sir THOMAS
WHITTAKER, had not poured water into Mr. DUKE's wine, and emptied the
House in the process, there might have been a painful scene.

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"DISRAELI."

Our early-Victorian oligarchs disdained their DISRAELI as a mountebank
because he wore the wrong waistcoats and had genius instead of
common-sense. If he had grown to be the least like Mr. LOUIS NAPOLEON
PARKER'S _Disraeli_, if he had taken to standing over Governors of the
Bank of England and forcing them to sign documents under threat of
smashing up their silly old bank, if he had been such a judge of men as
to have made that prize ass, _Lord Deeford_, his secretary, or conducted
his _menage_ at Downing Street in the highly diverting manner exhibited
in Mr. PARKER's second Act, one trembles to think what they would have
called him--and done to him. And whether, if the Bank had ever had such
a Governor as _Sir Michael Probert_, England would have ever been in a
position to buy a single share in the Suez Canal or any other venture,
is a question for the curious to consider.

No wonder the Americans enjoyed _Disraeli_! REINHARDT should pirate it
for Berlin, as it would lend some colour to the imaginative Dr.
HELLFERICH's airy dissertations on English finance. Can it be that our
author is a hyphenated patriot in disguise and that this is merely a
ramification of the so thorough German Press Bureau's activities? Perish
the thought!

At the opening of the play, with _Mr. Disraeli_ and his wife as guests
at Glastonbury Towers, all went well. The almost uncanny lifelikeness of
Mr. DENNIS EADIE's make-up, the steady flow of the great man's good
things, which had been discerningly culled and quite skilfully put
together, his swift parries and kindly thrusts, his charming tenderness
towards that best of wives, the shining heroine of the crushed thumb,
all this was admirable, was eminently believable--that is if you except
the exaggerated futility and insolence of the aristocratic background.
It was when the adventuress got going; when casements began to be
mysteriously unlocked by fair hands, and pretty ears applied to
key-holes at vital moments of quite improbable disclosures to more than
improbable young men; when important despatches and secret codes began
to be left about in conspicuous places, in rooms conveniently vacated
for notoriously suspect plotters; when the Prime Minister began to
bounce and prance and to lay booby traps, into which not his enemies but
his incomparable secretary promptly blundered--it was then that things
went crooked.

It is perhaps not to be regretted. Nothing is more diverting to the
perceptive playgoer than these little dramatic-simplicities; as when,
the great Suez deal having been completed--a fact that it was enormously
important to conceal from the Press and the country (and the
adventuress)--a telegram with full details in the plainest of plain
English is despatched from the local post-office to the great financier
who had made the deal possible. The charming _naïveté_ of the family
gathering at the Foreign Office (it might have been Mme. TUSSAUD's) and
the adorable ingenuousness of the idea of bringing down a great
international financier by holding up his cargo of bullion in a foreign
port, should lead no one to complain that high politics are dull.

I wouldn't have missed Mr. DENNIS EADIE's _Disraeli_ for a good deal.
Where it was at all possible--which it was in general; Mr. PARKER only
sprinkled his extravagances--the ease and plausibility of it were quite
admirable. This adroit player gave us the tact, the wit, the gallantry,
the generosity, the romantic exuberance. It was a fine performance, and
it will be finer as its firm outline is filled in. The play, for all its
vagaries, may even serve to remind a careless age of its too lightly
forgotten spacious dead. Miss MARY JERROLD'S _Lady Beaconsfield_ was, I
suppose, more in the nature of an imaginary portrait. It was beautiful
and convincing. As a stage adventuress MME. DORZIAT was most attractive,
if only she had been credible. She had no business to be in any of the
situations in which she found herself, and must have needed all her
skill to conceal the fact from herself. Miss MARY GLYNNE as _The Lady
Clarissa_, the portentous _Duchess of Glastonbury's_ pretty daughter and
the doomed bride of the egregious _Deeford_, was quite charming to watch
and hear. Mr. CYRIL RAYMOND should, I am sure, mitigate the asinine
priggishness of the young viscount's bearing in the First Act. His
conversion from this to the merely crass stupidity of the second was too
much for us to bear. Mr. VINCENT STERNROYD as Mr. _Hugh Meyers_ looked
quite as if he might have been able to put his hand on two million; Mr.
HARBEN as _Sir Michael Probert_ just as if he would sign any document
which was put before him under threat or suggestion. Mr. CAMPBELL
GULLAN, as the adventuress's husband, made himself the kind of clerk
that no one would have trusted for a moment with even the petty cash.
These things I know are necessary and I acquit him of any artistic
impropriety. But you will go to see this piece chiefly for the sake of
Mr. EADIE's _tour de force_, for the thrill of the rather pleasant
sensation (mingled with a slightly horrified suspicion of sacrilege) of
seeing a queer resurrection, and for the fragrance of a touching little
idyll of married friendship--one of the most enduring of _Disraeliana_.

T.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands?"
                       _Merchant of Venice_, Act iii. Sc. I

_Benjamin Disraeli_ ... Mr. DENNIS EADIE.
_Mrs. Noel Travers_ ... Mlle. GABRIELLE DORZIAT]

       *       *       *       *       *

A Special Matinée, at which the Queen will be present, is to be given at
the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, at 2.30, on Friday, April 14th, in aid of
of the Y. W. C. A.'s fund for providing Hostels, Canteens and Rest Rooms
for women engaged in munition and other war-work. Among the artists who
have promised to appear are Madame SARAH BERNHARDT, Miss GLADYS COOPER,
Mr. JOSEPH COYNE, Mr. GERALD DU MAURIER, Mr. DENNIS EADIE, Miss LILY
ELSIE, Madame GENÉE, Mr. ROBERT HALE, Mr. CHARLES HAWTREY, Madame KIRKBY
LUNN, Mr. GEORGE ROBEY and Miss IRENE VANBRUGH. The Matinée has been
organised by Miss OLGA NETHERSOLE, and the stage will be under the
direction of Mr. DION BOUCICAULT.

Applications for seats should be addressed to the Manager, Box Office,
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Cheques to be made payable to Lady SYDENHAM.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Officer (to Sentry on fire-step in the trenches_).
"ANYTHING TO REPORT, SENTRY?"

_Sentry (who has been gazing steadily at wire entanglements_), "ALL
QUIET, SIR, EXCEPT THEM POSTS OUT THERE. IF I WATCH 'EM LONG ENOUGH THEY
START FORMING FOURS.".]

       *       *       *       *       *

THEATRICAL ECONOMY.

We learn that at a recent matinée performance of a play by Mr. W. B.
YEATS, "instead of scenery a Chorus of singers was introduced, who
described the scene as well as commenting upon the action." In these
times that call for frugality other managements would do well to copy.
One might mount an entire West-End Society comedy, and bring as it were
the scent of Hay Hill across the footlights, at no greater expense than
the cost of a back-curtain and a Chorus. The latter might go something
as follows:--

  This is the morning-room of the heroine's house in Half Moon Street;
  Noble and large is the room, with three windows, two doors and a fireplace
  (Goodness knows how many more in the wall through which we are looking).
  Nobly and well is it furnished, with chairs and with tables and couches,
  Couches beyond computation, and all of them soon to be sat on;
  So may you see that the play will be dialogue rather than action.
  Pleasant and fresh in the footlights the chintzes with which they are covered,
  Giving a summer effect, helped out by the plants in the fireplace.
  Curtains at each of the windows are flooded with limelight of amber,
  Whence you may learn that the time is a fine afternoon in the season.
  Centre of back a piano, whose makers are told on the programme,
  Promises snatches of song, or it may be a heartbroken solo.
  Carpets and rugs and the like you can fill in without any prompting;
  Pictures and china and books, and photographs circled in silver.
  Yes, you may take it from us that the piece has been mounted regardless.

[_Enter the leading lady. She just pushes the back-curtains apart and
emerges on to the stage, dressed in any old thing (what a saving!). The
Chorus continues ecstatically._]

  See where the heroine comes, flinging open the door from the staircase
  (Marked you the head of the stairs and the artist-proof on the landing?
  That's what I call realistic). She's threaded her way through the couches,
  Sinks upon one for an instant, then rises and walks to the window,
  Showing the back of her gown to be fully as chic as the front part.
  So to the door (in the curtain) and slams it with signs of emotion,
  Slams it so hard and so fierce that the walls of the room are a-quiver;
  Even the opposite side of the roadway, as seen through the windows,
  Shares in the general movement, as though it were struck by an earthquake.

And so on. You catch the idea? Bare boards, a passion and a Chorus; and
the management would save enough to make the amusement-tax a matter of
indifference.

       *       *       *       *       *

NURSERY RHYMES OF LONDON TOWN.

V.--SWISS COTTAGE.

  I heard a Jodeller
    In a Swiss cottage
  Eating a crust
    And a bowlful of pottage.

  He jodelled and jodelled
    'Twixt every bite;
  He jodelled until
    Not a crumb was in sight.

  He jodelled and jodelled
    'Twixt every sup;
  He jodelled until
    He had drunk it all up.

  He put down his bowl
    And he came to the door,
  And jodelled and jodelled
    And jodelled for more!

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The exportation of the following goods is prohibited to all
    destinations:--

    Acetic acid, cinematograph films, ferro-molybdenum,
    ferro-silicon, ferro-tungsten, gramophone and other sound
    records, photographic sensitive firms, &c., &c."

    _Liverpool Daily Post._

    "Two photographers from Devonport, who had been already deferred
    ten groups, asked that their claims should be heard in camera."

    _Western Morning News._

No doubt they belonged to one of the sensitive firms above mentioned.

       *       *       *       *       *

ROOSEVELT IN THE RING.

Every Englishman who has taken even a very humble part in the
consideration and discussion of public affairs is or ought to be aware
that the most gratuitous error he can commit is to take a side in
American politics and to criticise American public men from the British
point of view. From that error I propose to abstain most rigorously. It
is the right of Americans to criticise their own Government and the
public acts of their statesmen, and on that right I shall not infringe.
It cannot, however, be improper for an Englishman to set out before his
fellow-countrymen the utterances of a great American on matters which
vitally affect not only America but the whole civilised world. Mr.
_Roosevelt_--for Mr. _Roosevelt_ is the great American of whom I
speak--has done more than give utterance to his opinions; he has
deliberately collected them into a book, _Fear God and Take Your Own
Part_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON), and has thus invited us to read and
consider his views. I accept his invitation and trust I shall not abuse
the privilege.

It is a refreshment to go about with Mr. ROOSEVELT through the pages of
this book. Here are no doubts and no hesitations, no timidity and no
blurred outlines. Everything is clear cut and well defined. Where Mr.
ROOSEVELT blames he blames with a vigour which is overwhelming; where he
approves he approves with a resonant zeal and enjoyment. He has no drop
of English blood in his veins--he himself has said it more than
once--yet he is strong in his praise of our conduct and even stronger in
his denunciation of the faithlessness and inhumanity of Germany. The
contemplation of German atrocities and of what he considers to be
America's weak compliance with them fills him with a rage which is
fortunately articulate. His indictment of Germany is as vigorous as the
most ardent pro-Ally can desire. It would be agreeable to watch the
KAISER's face if he should happen to take up this book in an idle moment
between one front and another.

Mr. ROOSEVELT's position can be best defined in his own words. "We
Americans," he says, "must pay to the great truths set forth by Lincoln
a loyalty of the heart and not of the lips only. In this crisis I hold
that we have signally failed in our duty to Belgium and Armenia, and in
our duty to ourselves. In this crisis I hold that the Allies are
standing for the principles to which Abraham Lincoln said this country
was dedicated; and the rulers of Germany have, in practical fashion,
shown this to be the case by conducting a campaign against Americans on
the ocean, which has resulted in the wholesale murder of American men,
women and children, and by conducting within our own borders a campaign
of the bomb and the torch against American industries. They have carried
on war against our people; for wholesale and repeated killing is war,
even though the killing takes the shape of assassination of
non-combatants, instead of battle against armed men."

Here again is a passage which is not lacking in emphasis: "Of course,
incidentally, we have earned contempt and derision by our conduct in
connection with the hundreds of Americans thus killed in time of peace
without action on our part. The United States Senator or Governor of a
State or other public representative who takes the position that our
citizens should not, in accordance with their lawful rights, travel on
such ships, and that we need not take action about their deaths,
occupies a position precisely and exactly as base and as cowardly (and I
use those words with scientific precision) as if his wife's face were
slapped on the public streets and the only action he took was to tell
her to stay in the house."

This, too, on the hyphenated is good: "As regards the German-Americans
who assail me in this contest because they are really mere transported
Germans, hostile to this country and to human rights, I feel, not
sorrow, but stern disapproval. I am not interested in their attitude
toward me, but I am greatly interested in their attitude toward this
nation. I am standing for the larger Americanism, for true Americanism;
and as regards my attitude in this matter I do not ask as a favour, but
challenge as a right, the support of all good American citizens, no
matter where born and no matter of what creed or national origin." That
puts the matter in a nutshell.

I might continue with pithy extracts until the columns of _Punch_ were
filled to overflowing, and even then I should not have exhausted the
interest of this virile and timely book. The reading of it can only
serve to confirm an Englishman's faith in his country's cause. Thank
you, Mr. ROOSEVELT, for your admirable tonic.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AFTER THE AIR RAID. "ARE YOU HURT, SIR?"

"YES, BUT NOT HALF SO BADLY AS THE CHAP WHO TRIED TO PINCH MY
SOUVENIR."]

       *       *       *       *       *

VICTORIA.

He entered the train at St. James' Park--a dark-eyed young Belgian
wearing the new khaki uniform of KING ALBERT'S heroic Army. I had
watched him hobbling along the platform, and my own boots and puttees
being coated with mud after a day's trench-digging in Surrey I drew them
in as he took the corner seat opposite mine, stretching out rather
stiffly before him the leg which had no doubt stopped a Bosch's bullet.
Here was the opportunity for an interesting exchange of views. I was
mentally rehearsing a few bright opening sentences in French when the
train again stopped. Half twisting in his seat he peered uncertainly out
of window.

"Victoria," I informed him; but he obviously didn't understand. I raised
my voice.

"Victoria Station," I told him again. "Er--er, _Victoire_."

His stick fell clattering to the floor, his mouth broadened into a
fraternal smile and, seizing both my hands, he worked them like
pump-handles.

"_Ah, bon, bon! À la victoire! Vivent les Alliés!_"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "BRAZIL.--The British Consul at Porto Alegre states that there
    appears to be a prospect of the work of repaying the town being
    carried out in the near future. The contract provides for the
    repaving of an area of 500,000 square miles at a total cost of
    £223,200." _Morning Paper._

If these figures are correct Porto Alegre must have the record for cheap
paving, always excepting an even warmer place where good intentions are
the material employed.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Sergeant-Major (lecturing the young officers of a new
battalion of an old regiment_). "YOU 'AVEN'T GOT TO MAKE TRADITIONS;
YOU'VE ONLY GOT TO KEEP 'EM. YOU WAS THE BLANKSHIRE REGIMENT IN 1810.
YOU ARE THE BLANKSHIRE REGIMENT IN 1916. NEVER MORE CLEARLY 'AS 'ISTORY
REPEATED ITSELF.".]

       *       *       *       *       *

"CONKY'S" UNCLE.

There are some men whose patronymics are swallowed up in their
nicknames, and my friend "Conky" is one of these. He has quite a
decorative surname of his own, but it never counted. For the rest he is
the possessor of a big booming bass voice, which he uses with more gusto
than art. He is, apart from a certain pride in his musical
accomplishments, a very good fellow; and so is Mrs. "Conky"--an amiable
and agreeable woman, whose only fault is an excessive anxiety for the
comfort of her guests, leading her at times to forget, in the words of
the Chinese proverb, that "inattention is often the highest form of
civility."

They are a devoted couple, and the only cloud on their happiness was
caused by Conky's expectations from a mysterious and eccentric uncle.
For a long time I was inclined to disbelieve in his existence, as he
never "materialised." But I was converted from my scepticism, some three
years ago, when, on meeting Conky, I was informed that Uncle Joseph had
invited himself on a short visit. My friend betrayed a certain
agitation. "You know," he said, "it is twenty years since I saw him
last, when he came to look me up at school, and rather frightened me."

"Frightened you! But how?"

"Well, you see, he's got a way of thinking aloud, and it's rather
embarrassing. I don't mind being called 'Conky,' as you know, but it was
rather trying to hear him say, 'I hope his nose has stopped growing.'
However, I couldn't very well put him off now. I'm his only nephew; he's
an old man, and said to be very rich." Conky sighed, but added more
hopefully, "Anyhow, I'm sure Marjorie will rise to the occasion."
Personally I was by no means so sure. I felt that Marjorie might overdo
it: also that Conky, who loved the sound of his voice, might be tempted
to soothe the old man with intempestive gusts of song.

Unhappily my misgivings were realised. A few weeks later, on my way home
from the club, I called in late one afternoon on the Conkys. They
greeted me cordially as usual, but I could see something was amiss, and
soon it all came out. The visit had been a fiasco. Uncle Joseph had been
very friendly and even courteous, but at intervals he thought aloud with
devastating frankness. Marjorie had exhausted herself in the labours of
hospitality, but all in vain. Conky had sung, but the voice of the
charmer had failed. And just as Uncle Joseph was going he observed in a
final burst of candour, "Goo-ood people, very goo-ood people; but
_she_'s a second-rate Martha, and _he_ sings like a bank-holiday
trombone-player on Blackpool sands."

From that day till a week ago I never heard Conky or his wife allude to
Uncle Joseph. The memory was too painful. And yet it is impossible to
deny that the experience was salutary. Marjorie is certainly less
overwhelming in her hospitality, and Conky less prodigal of song. And
when Conky told me last week that Uncle Joseph had died and left him
£10,000, I felt that the old man had atoned handsomely for his
unconscious indulgence in a habit for which, after all, a good deal was
to be said.

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

The latest of our novelists to succumb to the temptations of the school
story is Mr. E. F. BENSON; and I am pleased to add that in _David
Blaize_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) he seems to have scored a notable
success. It is the record of a not specially distinguished, but entirely
charming, lad during his career at his private and public schools.
Incidentally, as such records must, it becomes the history of certain
other boys, two especially, and of _David_'s relations with them. It is
this that is the real motive of the book. The friendship between
_Maddox_ and _David_, its dangers and its rewards, seems to me to have
been handled with the rarest delicacy and judgment. The hazards of the
theme are obvious. There have been books in plenty before now that,
essaying to navigate the uncharted seas of schoolboy friendship, have
foundered beneath the waves of sloppiness that are so ready to engulph
them. The more credit then to Mr. BENSON for bringing his barque
triumphantly to harbour. To drop metaphor, the captious or the forgetful
may call the whole sentimental--as if one could write about boys and
leave out what is the greatest common factor of the race. But the
sentiment is never mawkish. There is indeed an atmosphere of clean,
fresh-smelling youth about the book that is vastly refreshing.
Friendship and games make up the matter of it; there is nothing that I
could repeat by way of plot; but if you care for a close and sympathetic
study of boyhood at its happiest here is the book for your money.
Finally I may mention that, though in sympathetic studies of boyhood the
pedagogue receives as a rule scant courtesy, Mr. BENSON'S masters are
(with one unimportant exception) such delightful persons that I can only
hope that they are actual and not imaginary portraits.

       *       *       *       *       *

You will get quite a serviceable impression of what the highlands and
highlanders of Serbia and Montenegro were like in war, behind the lines
when the lines still held, from _The Luck of Thirteen_ (SMITH, ELDER),
by JAN GORDON (colourist) and CORA his wife, if you are not blinded by
the perpetual flashes of brightness--such flashes as "somebody had
gnawed a piece from one of the wheels" as an explanation of jolting;
"the twistiest stream, which seemed as though it had been designed by a
lump of mercury on a wobbling plate;" the trees in the mist "seemed to
stand about with their hands in their pockets, like vegetable
Charlie----" But no! I am hanged if I will write the accurséd name. This
plucky pair of souls had put in some stiff months of typhus-fighting
with a medical mission in the early months of the war, and these are
impressions of the holiday which they took thereafter among those
fateful hills, with a little carrying of despatches, retrieving of
stores and a good deal of parasite-hunting thrown in, until they were
finally caught up in the tragic Serbian retreat; still remaining, of
course, incurably "bright." I think I detect a certain amount of the
too-British attitude that contemns what is strange and is more than a
little scornful of poverty, official and private. And I suppose the
artist's wife will scoff if I tell her that I was shocked that she
should have taken some shots at the Austrians with a Montenegrin machine
gun, as if war was just a cock-shy for tourists. But I was. If Mr. JAN
GORDON found a good deal more colour in his subjects than we other
fellows would have been able to see, that's what an artist's for.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SALVE.

_Returning Soldier._ "'ULLO, MOTHER!"

_His Wife (with stoic self-control)._ "'ULLO, FRED. BETTER WIPE YER
BOOTS BEFORE YOU COME IN--AFTER THEM MUDDY TRENCHES."]

       *       *       *       *       *

In _Jitny and the Boys_ (SMITH, ELDER) there are those elements of
patriotism, humour and pathos which I find so desirable in War-time
books. _Jitny_ was neither man nor woman, but a motor-car, and without
disparaging those who drove her and rode in her I am bound to say that
she was as much alive as any one of them. She certainly talked--or was
responsible for--a lot of motor-shop, and I took it all in with the
greatest ease and comfort. _Jitny_ indeed is a great car, but she is not
exactly the heroine of a novel. She is just the sit-point from which a
very human family surveys the world at a time when that world is
undergoing a vast upheaval. In the father of this family Mr. BENNET
COPPLESTONE has scored an unqualified success, but the boys are perhaps
a little old for their years. This, however, is no great matter, for the
essential fact is that the book is full of the thoughts which make us
proud to-day and help us to face to-morrow. Yes, _Jitny_ has my
blessing.

       *       *       *       *       *

Little Willie goes for more Loot.

    "In the Woevre the Germans attempted on three occasions to
    capture from us an earthquake."--_Glasgow Evening News._

       *       *       *       *       *

A schoolgirl's translation:--"_La marquise recommanda son âme à Dieu._"
"The Marquis wished his donkey good-bye."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A number of officers in the province of Yunnan, China, hatched
    a plot to behead the Governor-General at Urumtsi, and proclaim
    the independence of the province of Sinkiang. The Governor,
    discovering the plot, invited ten of the conspirators to an
    official dinner, at which he beheaded them in turn."--_Reuter._

"Another glass of wine, Mr. Wung Ti?" "No? Very well, then, if you would
kindly stand up a moment and place your neck on the back of your
chair---- Thank you. After the savoury I shall have the pleasure of
calling upon the next on my list, Mr. Ah Sin," and so on. Quite a jolly
dinner-party.





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