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

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VOL. 150.

January 12, 1916


There is much satisfaction in the German Army at the announcement that
iron coins to the value of ten million marks are to be substituted for
nickel and copper. It is now hoped that those Crosses may yet prove to
be worth something.


A resident of Honor Oak writes to the papers to say that such was the
patriotic anxiety of people in his neighbourhood to pay their taxes at
the earliest possible moment that he found a long queue before the
collector's door on January 3rd and had to wait an hour before his turn
came. On reading his letter several West-end theatres patriotically
offered the collector the loan of their "House Full" boards.


Prince WILLIAM OF WIED, the ex-ruler of Albania, is at present in
Serbia, feverishly awaiting restoration to his former dignity. The
situation is not very favourable, however, and his German advisers have
warned him to curb his Mpretuosity.


An American barque with a cargo of beans for Germany has been seized and
unloaded by the Swedish authorities. A cruel fate seems to overtake
every effort of the United States to give Germany these necessary


Among the suspicious articles discovered at the Bulgarian Consulate in
Salonika was a large stock of red brassards. But the inference that they
belonged to members of the British V.T.C., who were determined to fight
for the enemy rather than not fight at all, is certainly premature.


Several inmates of the Swansea workhouse, having been told that
margarine was to be served out instead of butter, returned their
portions, only to discover that it was butter after all. As similar
incidents have occurred in many other establishments it is suggested
that margarine should in future be dyed scarlet or blue in order to
prevent a repetition of these embarrassing contretemps.


Sir JOHN SIMON, in the debate on the Compulsion Bill, said that the
alleged 650,000 slackers were arrived at "by subtracting two figures
from one another." Everyone must agree with him that if that was the
method employed the result would be "negligible."


In a tram-car in a Northern city, as the girl-conductor went round for
fares, a "nut" tried to take a rise out of her by asking for a ticket to
"Gallipoli." She charged him for the full length of the tram journey,
and as soon as the tram arrived at a recruiting office she rang the bell
and said, "You change here, Sir, for Gallipoli."


The KAISER thinks it very mean of the British Government to turn his
Corfu palace into a hospital. His submarine commanders are now wondering
how to shell the inmates without damaging their master's property.


The Militant Suffragette who some years ago damaged the Velasquez Venus
with an axe has just published a novel, of which the hero is a plumber
who thought he was a poet. It ought to be called "The Burst Pipe," but


Women are now employed on some of the railways in the North. A traveller
recently had two Tommies for fellow-passengers. They related that they
had every week to take a long slow duty journey which was "the limit";
but lately it had taken on a different aspect, for "_now_," said Tommy,
"when you get too bored you just hop out and kiss the porter."


Extract from a letter written to a loved one from the Front:--

    "I received your dear little note in a sandbag. You say that you
    hope the sandbag stops a bullet. Well, to tell the truth, I hope
    it don't, as I have been patching my trousers with it."


PRINCE VON BUELOW, who has been for some time in Switzerland, has
obtained an increase in the number of his secretaries, of whom he now
has a round dozen. Several of the poor fellows are suffering from
writer's cramp through having to pen so many letters explaining that the
Prince is at Lucerne purely for the sake of his health.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Fiery Major_ (_discussing delinquent Subaltern_). "But there--what can
you expect? He's only one of those temporary blighters!"

_Colonel_ (_sweetly_). "But isn't that better than being a permanent

       *       *       *       *       *


["This Bill was 'selling the pass.'"--_Sir William Byles, in the House,
on The Military Service Bill_.]

  "What though against our sacred front
    They muster, miles on miles,
  I am resolved to stick the brunt,"
    Said bold HORATIUS BYLES;
  "For Liberty I'll take my stand,
    Just like a stout Berserk,
  And still defend with bloody brand
    Our glorious Right to Shirk.

  "We've SIMON, worth four columns' length;
    We've REDMOND, doughty dog;
  THOMAS and those twin towers of strength,
    PRINGLE and whole-souled HOGGE;
  And OUTHWAITE--not our dearest foe,
    Bulgar or Bosch or Turk,
  Could wish to plant a ruder blow
    For Britain's Right to Shirk.

  "And, lastly, should the Tyrant storm
    The pass for which we fight,
  It must be o'er the riddled form
    Of Me, the Champion Knight;
  Meanwhile, on caitiffs who would keep
    The pledge we bade them burke,
  My lusty battle-cry shall leap:--
    'God and our Right to Shirk!'"

  The scrap was over. There he lay
    Prone on the reeking grass;
  "SIMON," his faint lips strove to say,
    "Somebody's sold the pass!"
  "True," said the other; "I descry
    The NORTHCLIFFE'S hand at work."
  "Farewell!" said BYLES; "'tis sweet to die
    For Britain's Right to Shirk!"


       *       *       *       *       *


What it has done in 1915.

(_With acknowledgments to Mr. ARCHIBALD HURD in "The Daily Telegraph._")

Superiority, and again Superiority! In this one word lies the secret of
our success at sea. Yet it would be hard to say how many careless
civilians there are, taking all things for granted, who fail to
recognise that fact even now. Not numbers nor organisation, nor men nor
guns nor ships--though these have counted for something--have been
responsible for our victory. It has been due above all to
superiority--sheer superiority.

Think what would have happened if there had been any strategic fumbling
at the opening of the War! It is not pleasant to reflect upon what might
have occurred (had not superiority stepped in) at the very outset if,
for instance, we had sent several _Dreadnoughts_ to catch the _Emden_.
It was strongly suspected, mind you, that there were German armed
vessels on the trade routes. As one merchantman after another was sunk
there could no longer be any doubt about it. What if, in panic, we had
suddenly dispersed our naval force to every part of the globe? What
then? But we didn't. What again if it had been determined, in accordance
with some fanciful scheme, to concentrate our main striking force in the
Mersey? Germany well might have captured the initiative. But authority
was not distracted from its primary purpose. Was its policy a success?
Come, now, was it?

The old year has gone. On January 4th the British Fleet had been at war
seventeen months--roughly seventy-four weeks (anyone can count them up;
there is nothing abstruse about my statistics). In a word, it might
almost be said, with some approach to accuracy, that it has been in the
throes of the struggle for a year and a half. Very well.

The German Flag has been banished from the ocean. Not since the War
began has a German battleship steamed down the Channel--nor a battle
cruiser, nor yet an armoured cruiser, nor even a light cruiser, nor a
monitor, nor a destroyer. None of them--not one. Why is that? Because
(_vide supra_) the German Fleet has been banished from the ocean. It
still exists, but it is safely locked up behind explosive agents (mines)
and protected by submersive factors (submarines). The German Fleet is in
a zareba.

Let us recall the striking words of one of Germany's leading naval
strategists, written, mark you, before the War: "England's strength is
mainly in her Fleet." I wonder now if that is generally known.

He goes on to define the duties of a fleet in the following words:--

(1) To avert invasion.
(2) To keep the sea open for the arrival of imports;
(3) And the departure of exports;
(4) And for the exit of re-exports;
(5) Also the entrance of re-imports.
(6) To protect trade.

Has the British Fleet succeeded?

The German Flag is banished from the seas. In January 1916 the German
Fleet is still lurking in that zareba. The _Dreadnought_ embodied an
offensive _in excelsis_, even as the expansion of the _Dreadnought_
policy embodies an offensive _in extenso_ and imposes upon the enemy a
defensive _in extremis_.

It is perhaps hardly realised that the performance of the British Navy
in this War has no parallel in history. In the past, enemy frigates
always succeeded in getting out of ports, however close the blockade.
But none has broken through this time--not a single frigate. On the
other hand enemy submarines may be said to have been more formidable
than in the Napoleonic wars.

But the German Fleet is strong. I am not one of the sort of humourists
who hold it up to contempt in its inactivity. For that matter I am not
any sort of humourist. Perhaps you have found that out. But the German
High Seas Fleet is no fit subject for joke. That it has proved harmless
is due to one thing alone--superiority.

And so the War wags. All over the high seas our merchantmen continue to
inscribe their indelible furrows.

And where is the German Fleet? I think I have answered that.

Here then I conclude my synopsis of the work of the Fleet in 1915. And
if it be said that it might well have stood almost word for word as the
record of the work of the Fleet in 1914, I may reply that I sometimes
wistfully wonder if I shall have to make any alterations in the text
before it goes to press again this time next year.


       *       *       *       *       *


    "Handsomely carved early Victorian sideboard, been in one family
    for a century."--_Advt. in "Horncastle News."_

       *       *       *       *       *

From Mr. BONAR LAW'S speech as reported by a morning paper:--

    "We were quite ready to carry on the principle of keeping a
    united nation by keeping in opposition and not facetiously
    opposing the Government."

Unlike those eminent humourists, Messrs. HOGGE, PRINGLE, and KING.

       *       *       *       *       *


Bosch (_with visions of the conquest of Egypt_). "I SUPPOSE HE KNOWS THE
WAY THERE." Camel (_overhearing_). "_AND_ BACK!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Harassed N.C.O._ "Call that 'presenting arms'! If I was
the King and you presented arms like that, I'd--I'd throw my hat at
you!" ]

       *       *       *       *       *


It is weary work being a pessimist these days, for the process of
corrugating the brow and groaning at the War news must of necessity
entail much energy. For some time past it has been patent to sympathetic
observers that what the pessimist to-day really needs is a machine to do
the work for him.

To meet this want the Electrophobia Syndicate have invented the
Pessiphone--a mixture of gramophone and pessimist--believing that he who
to-day can make two whimpers grow where one grew before deserves well of
his country in war time. With the Pessiphone there is now absolutely no
excuse for cheerfulness. It is the marvel of the age, and has very
fittingly been described as worth a guinea a groan. With one pint of
petrol the Pessiphone will disseminate more depression throughout the
household in ten minutes than could be accomplished in a day by thirty
human pessimists.

As soon as people commence to be cheerful all you have to do is to press
the button and hold on to something. A child can start it but nobody can
stop it. Ten minutes is all that is sufficient to give a whole family
melancholia or creeping dyspepsia. It has been known to be fatal at 200
yards' range. Messrs. WILKIE BARD and _George Graves_ have already
offered a heavy reward for the body dead or alive of the inventor--a
fact which speaks highly for the machine and its maker.

When the instrument was first tried on a select party of confirmed
optimists two of them rushed out of the office and have not been heard
of since, while the others clawed savagely at the office mat.

No burglar will go near it. It will drive away rate-collectors and poor
relations. One client has already used it on his mother-in-law with
favourable results.

The Pessiphone is fitted with a little oil-bath, all black fittings,
self-starting lever, Stormy Arthur two-speed gear, thus rendering it
easy of change from "Mildly Miserable" to "Devastating," and the whole
is packed complete with accessories and delivered carriage free to your
back garden, where it may be let loose.

The following letters from grateful pessimists--all involuntary
contributions--speak for themselves:--

    Gentlemen,--For years I have been troubled with ginger hair, but
    since using the Pessiphone I have had the beastly stuff turn

    Dear Sirs,--I used to read _The Moaning Herald_ aloud each
    morning, but I now use the Pessiphone with more deadly effect.

    Householder writes: Please turn the Pessiphone off at the main.
    None of my family has been able to get near the house for five

    Golder's Green says: The other day the butcher's boy, cheerful
    as usual, was coming up the garden path whistling, and though it
    may hardly seem credible this so affected the Pessiphone that it
    actually jumped off the table and bit the boy.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "The Infectious Diseases Hospital at Colchester has been
    appointed to the vicarage of Hurst Green, Etchingham, Sussex."

    _Essex and Halstead Times._

       *       *       *       *       *


    "In the early part of the last century the sale of leeches was
    one of the most important. Doctors bled their patients for every
    imaginable ailment. To-day all that we can say of leeches is
    that we just keep them."--_Observer_.

As pets, we suppose.

       *       *       *       *       *


The following notice appears daily in the _Wilhelmshavener Tageblatt._

The statue to which it refers, known as "The Trusty Look-Out,"
represents a seaman in oilskins looking out over the North Sea. The face
is that of VON TIRPITZ.

    The Trusty Look-out.

    Nails may be driven into the statue on week-days between 11 and
    1, and on Sundays between 10 and 5. The sale of tickets for
    Nails and Shields takes place at the Treasury of the Town Hall
    during office hours, and also at the time for driving in Nails
    on the spot.

    Further, tickets for iron Nails may be bought in the following
    shops: (_here follows a list of three booksellers, one general
    store and six tobacco shops_).

    The prices are fixed at:--

      0.50 m. for an iron Nail.
      5.00 m. for a silver Nail.
      10.00 m. for a small gold Nail.
      20.00 m. for a larger gold Nail.

    Anyone who buys 100, 200, 300 or 400 marks' worth of iron Nails
    receives a silver Shield with a corresponding inscription;
    similarly, a gold Shield for iron Nails to the value of 500 and
    more marks. Whoever changes a 10 mark gold piece receives an
    iron Nail free.

    For the purpose of preparing inscriptions on Shields the date on
    which it is proposed to drive in the Nails must be notified at
    the Treasury three days in advance.

    If clubs, societies, or other collections of people wish to
    drive in their Nails in private parties they are requested to
    get into touch with the Municipal Architect, Mr. Zopff, with a
    view to fixing the day and hour, in order that no delay may be
    caused by overcrowding.

    _Wilhelmshaven_, 12_th December_, 1915.

    For the Municipal Council.

    (Signed) Bartelt.

Not in a spirit of carping criticism, but as earnest admirers of German
forethought and thoroughness (_Gründlichkeit_), we feel it our duty to
point out that there are a few contingencies for which these otherwise
admirable regulations fail to provide, and we beg leave to suggest to
the Municipal Council of Wilhelmshaven the following additions:--

(1) It is unpatriotic and un-German to spend more time than necessary in
driving in nails, as standing-room, the number of hammers and the
patience of the officials are all limited.

(2) The limit of time allowed for driving in one nail is one minute, for
a silver nail two minutes, for a small gold nail two and a-half minutes
and for a large gold nail three minutes.

(3) If in any case the time-limit is exceeded the Municipal nail-driver
will displace the person whose lack of skill is responsible for the
delay and will drive home the offending nail himself.

(4) If any person offers resistance to this procedure he or she will be
nailed to the statue by the Municipal nail-driver as a warning to
others. A large _iron_ nail will be used for this purpose, the charge
for which will be added to the death-duties.

(5) It is unpatriotic and un-German to use bad language when driving in
nails. However, in view of the well-known tenderness of the human heart
and the high state of nervous tension in which many persons of an ardent
patriotic disposition may be expected to perform this supreme act of
symbolic devotion, those who drive in iron nails will be allowed to
swear once for each nail, or seven times for half-a-dozen nails, whilst
a higher proportion of swear words will be allowed for silver and gold
nails, on the progressive lines laid down in (2).

(6) Anyone exceeding the patriotic limit of bad language will be dealt
with by the Municipal nail-driver as in (4).

(7) Classes of instruction in nail-driving will be held in the Town-hall
daily between 10 and 11 A.M. (Sundays excepted).

(8) Persons who wish to be photographed in the act of nail-driving must
give notice to the Municipal photographer two days in advance. The cost
of the photograph will naturally be in inverse proportion to the value
of the nail which is driven in.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Bejabers! If you're gettin' on, I'm gettin' off!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Hon. John Fellowes Wallop, of Barton House, Morchard Bishop,
    brother and heir-presumptive of the Earl of Portsmouth, entered
    his 57th pear on Monday."

                _Western Times._

We congratulate him on his digestion.

       *       *       *       *       *


"Storm or no storm," said Charles, "as a medical man I can't stick this
fug any longer."

He disappeared behind the heavy anti-Zepp curtains and opened the
window. A piercing draught caught the back of Bill's neck and he sat up.

"Look here," he said crossly, "this is no night for a poor Special to go
out in. Can't I send a medical certificate instead?"

"You cannot," replied Charles. "I will not be a party to such evasions."

"It's pouring with rain and blowing a gale. No Zepp ever hatched would
come over to-night."

"That's not the point, Bill." Kit unexpectedly opened one eye. "How are
Charles and I to sleep soundly in our warm beds unless we know you're
outside, guarding us?"

"That's right," growled Bill. "Hub it in. Your turn to-morrow, anyway."

The other two sang the praises of bed in fervent antistrophe till at
last Bill rose with a groan and assumed his overcoat, badge and
truncheon. He stopped at the door.

"Charles," said he, "if after this night's work I die of bronchial
catarrh, unzepp'd, unhonoured and unsung----"

"Good night, dear old thing," interposed Charles sweetly. "Run away and
play, there's a good child; Uncle's tired."

He disappeared to bed.

An hour later he was awakened by a tremendous knocking at the
front-door. Resolutely turning on to his other side, he tried to ignore
it, but the fusillade continued and swelled. Only when it appeared
likely to do permanent and irreparable damage to the building did he
rush out on to the landing. There he met Kit, half awake, with his
eyelids tightly gummed together.

"That ass Bill," he said peevishly. "Forgotten his latchkey most likely.
Serve him right if we left him there!"

"My good man, one must sleep."

Charles ran downstairs, opened the door and indignantly confronted the
glistening figure on the steps.

"It is my duty to warn you, Sir," said William's voice in an official
but triumphant tone, "that one of your downstairs windows has been left
open. Most dangerous. Also," he added quickly, "that I am authorised to
use my truncheon in self-defence, and that anything you say may be used
as evidence against you."

       *       *       *       *       *


Dear Mr. Punch,--I see that Canon MASTERMAN, in his Presidential Address
to the Members of the Teachers' Guild of Great Britain and Ireland,
delivered yesterday week, observed that the German teacher had been the
servant of the State; his function had been to foster love for the
Fatherland. But, he continued, "that love was degraded by jealousy,
distrust and arrogance. The spirit that breathed through our 'Rule,
Britannia!' was corrected in our national life by our sense of humour
and self-criticism." How true and how necessary! It is indeed surprising
to me that no one has said it before. Why should we dwell on the
greatness of our sea-power and proclaim our resolve not to be slaves? I
have always understood, in spite of the view of Sir HENRY NEWBOLT, that
DRAKE was nothing more than a buccaneer. The public utterance of such
sentiments is surely prejudicial to "moral uplift," and, in the
memorable words of _Mr. Pecksniff_, is "Pagan, I regret to say."

It seems to me that the time has now come when, in the interests of
reticence and humanity, a serious attempt should be made to revise our
so-called patriotic songs, and, though fully conscious of my own
literary shortcomings, I cannot refrain from suggesting, by the
following examples, the lines on which such revision might be profitably
carried out. For instance, the refrain of "Rule, Britannia!" would be
shorn of its thrasonical quality and rendered suitable for use in
elementary schools if it took the following form:--

  "Curb, Britannia, Britannia curb thy pride;
  True Britons never, never, never PUT ON SIDE."

Another song which clamours for drastic revision is "The British
Grenadiers." I cannot help thinking that it would be greatly improved if
it were remodelled thus:--

  "Some talk of ALEXANDER, and some of HERCULES,
  Of HECTOR and LYSANDER, and warriors such as these;
  But infinitely greater than the stroke of any sword
  Is the pow-wow-wow-wow-wow-wow-wow of WILSON and of FORD."

There are many other standard songs and poems which could be dealt with
in similar salutary fashion, but I am content to leave the task to
others, and will content myself with the following original lines,
which, whatever may be said of their form, have, at any rate, the root
of the matter in them:--

  "The men who made our Empire great
    Have long ago received their meed;
  Then why the tale reiterate?
    Self-criticism now we need.

  Then, O my brethren, lest you stumble
    Look carefully before you leap;
  Be modest, moderate and 'umble--
    Like the immortal Mr. Heep."

Once more and in conclusion:--

  "Let us be humorous, but never swankful--
    Swank mars the finer fibres of the soul--
  For what we have achieved devoutly thankful,
    But disinclined our prowess to extol;
  And, when our foemen bang the drum and bump it,
    In silence be our disapproval shown;
  'Tis nobler far to blow another's trumpet
    Than to perform fantasias on your own."

I am, dear Mr. Punch,

Yours earnestly,


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Doctor_ (_to would-be recruit, whipper-in to the
Blankshires_). "Sorry I can't pass you, my man. You've got an enlarged

_Recruit._ "Squire always says as you couldn't have too big an 'eart to
ride over a country on war-time 'osses."]

       *       *       *       *       *


    "There are still three gaps in the trunk line through Asia Minor
    to Baghdad, but these will be filled in during the course of
    next year, and unless we can reach the city before the Germans,
    they will certainly reach it before us."


       *       *       *       *       *

    "One of Mr. Copeland's ancestors, Sir John Copeland, who
    captured David, King of Scotland, with 40,000 troops at the
    battle of Neville's Cross, after lodging the latter in Carlisle
    Castle, proceeded to France, to report the event to the King,
    who knighted him at Calais and conferred on him the Barony of
    Kendal."--_Carlisle Journal._

In these days he would have been fined for overcrowding.

       *       *       *       *       *


Once upon a time a rash man, wishing who knows for what?--possibly a
peerage, possibly to be relieved of superfluous cash and so no longer
have to pay super-tax, possibly for the mere joy of pulling
wires--decided to start a newspaper.

After much consultation the plans were complete in every particular save
one. The premises were taken, the staff appointed, the paper, ink and so
forth contracted for, the office girls and lift girls were engaged, the
usual gifted and briefless barrister was installed as editor, and the
necessary Cabinet Minister willing to reveal secrets was obtained.
Everything, in short, that a successful newspaper at the present time
could possibly require was ready, when it was suddenly remembered that
no provision had been made for a daily supply of pictures. A popular
paper without pictures being such a crazy anomaly, a pictorial editor
was instantly advertised for.

"Well," said the editor to the applicant for the post, "give me an idea
of your originality and resource in the choice of topical photographs."

"I think you can rely on me to be original," said the young man, "and
not only original but revolutionary. I have thought about it all a lot,
and I have made some discoveries. My notion is that the public wants to
be 'in' all that is happening. Nothing's beneath their notice; their
eyes want food to feast on all the time."

"Go on," said the editor; "you interest me strangely."

"The function of the camera, as I conceive it," the young man explained,
"is to serve as the handmaid of the fountain-pen. Together they are
terrific--a combination beyond resistance. That perhaps is the chief of
the inspirations which much pondering has brought me. One must always be
fortifying the other. People not only want to read of a thing, they come
to see it, and very rightly. Here is an example. We are gradually
getting shorter and shorter of messengers, so much so that many
shopkeepers no longer are able to send purchases home. That means that
people must carry them themselves. Now what more interesting, valuable
or timely picture could you have than a photograph of a customer
carrying, say, a loaf of bread--a picture of the unfortunate victim of
the KAISER in the very act of having to do something for himself? How
that brings it home to us!"

"By Jove, yes," said the editor, deeply impressed.

"I could arrange for someone to be taken just leaving the shop," the
applicant went on; "and I would put underneath something about the
straits to which the War has brought shoppers."

"Capital!" said the editor. "Go on."

"Then I have noticed," said the youth, "that people are interested in
photographs of musical-comedy and revue actresses."

"I believe you may be right," the editor remarked pensively.

"So I would arrange for a steady series of these ladies, which not only
would delight the public but might be profitable to the advertisement
revenue of the paper if properly managed; for I should state what plays
they were in, and where."

"A great idea," said the editor.

"But I should not," the young man continued, "merely give that
information beneath. I should add something topical, such as 'who has
just received an admiring letter from a stranger at the Front'; 'who
spends her spare time knitting for our brave lads'; 'whose latest song
is whistled in trench and camp'; 'who confesses to a great admiration
for Khaki,' and so on. In this way you get a War interest, and every one
is the better for looking at some pictures. Nothing is so elevating as
the constant spectacle of young women with insufficient noses."

"Marvellous!" exclaimed the editor. "But what of the War itself?"

"Ah, yes, I was coming to that," the young man went on. "I have a strong
conviction--I may be wrong, but I think not--that war-pictures are
popular, and I have noticed that one soldier astonishingly resembles
another. This is a priceless discovery, as I will show. I would
therefore get all the groups of soldiers that I could take in open
country wherever it was most convenient to my operator, and I would
label them according to recent events. For example, I would call one
group--and understand that they would all have non-committal
backgrounds--'A wayside chat near Salonica'; another, 'A Tommy narrating
the story of his escape from a Jack Johnson'; a third, 'A hurried lunch
somewhere in France'; a fourth, 'How the new group of Lord DERBY'S men
will look after a few weeks'; a fifth, 'Our brave lads leaving Flanders
on short leave'; and so on."

"But you are a genius!" exclaimed the editor, surprised into enthusiasm.

"As for the rest of the pictures," said the applicant, "I have perhaps
peculiar views, but I hold that they ought to be photographs of Members
of Parliament walking to or from the House of Commons, a profoundly
interesting phase of modern life too little touched upon; photographs of
the _fiancées_ of soldiers, of whom it does not matter if no one had
ever heard before, engagements being of the highest importance,
especially at a time when marriage is a state duty. So much for the
staple of the picture-page, which I trust you do not consider too

"Daring, perhaps," said the editor, "but not excessively so, and one
must be both nowadays. One must innovate."

"And then," pursued the youth, "for padding--though padding of course
only to the experts, not to the great hungry asinine public--anything
can be rendered serviceable provided that the words beneath are adroit
enough. Thus, a view of Westminster Abbey would be 'The architectural
jewel of England which the Zeppelins have in vain tried to bomb'; a view
of Victoria Station, 'The terminus at which every day and night,
thousands of homing Tommies are welcomed'; any picture of a dog or cat
or canary or parrot would bear a legend to the effect that all our brave
lads love pets and are never so happy as when accompanied by a favourite
animal; while any maritime scene would be certainly related to a recent
submarine outrage, the Almighty in His infinite wisdom and prevision
having made all expanses of ocean look alike."

"You are certainly," said the editor, "a very original and enterprising
young man and I have great pleasure in engaging you to enrich our

But when the paper came out the picture page was found to differ in no
single respect from the other picture pages in the other dailies.

       *       *       *       *       *


Nearly three years ago Mr. E. C. BENTLEY wrote an excellent detective
story called _Trent's Last Case_. We now see amongst the latest literary
announcements, _Bentley's Conscience_, by PAUL TRENT.

This retaliation prepares us for a whole series of recriminatory works
of fiction. Among those shortly to be expected are the following:--

_The Delusions of Doyle_, by ANTHONY HOPE, and _Hope's Hallucinations_,

_Hewlett's Downfall_, by G. K. CHESTERTON, and _Chesterton's
Catastrophe_, by MAURICE HEWLETT.

_The Curse of Cain_, by MARIE CORELLI, and _Marie the Malevolent_, by

_Dexter Street_, by COMPTON MACKENZIE, and _The Meanderings of
MacKenzie_, by G. S. STREET.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: "Aha! Best seat in the house. Third row of stalls--next
to gangway. I'm going to enjoy myself."

Act I. Scene I.

Scene II.

Scene III.

Act II. Scene I.

"I say--do you think you could change my stall for a quiet chair on the

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Clubwoman._ "I noticed you talking to that old
bore. Did she get on to her ailments?"

_Second Clubwoman._ "Yes. You might almost call it an organ recital."]

       *       *       *       *       *


After nine o'clock parade on that memorable morning the Sergeant-Major
spoke to this effect: Though he, the Sergeant-Major, was new to the
unit, he could and would make it plain that It Would Not Do. Had he
taken up his duties in a dashed glee club or in a blanked choral
society, he wanted to know? Though he had tried hard not to, he had been
forced to admit that It was d----d disgraceful. He had never, he
reflected aloud, seen anything like it during an active army existence
that had provided many shocking sights. And he opined that there would
be fatigues and C.B.s and court-martials and shootings-at-dawn if It
continued. He was good, even for a Sergeant-Major.

The trouble was the hairs of the heads of the unit. And though he had
rightly got the unit by the hairs which should have been short we felt
it to be exceeding the limit on his part to refer to us as blanked
musicians. Moreover, the band were most annoyed about it.

The Sergeant-Major paused to reflect, and to arrange matters with what
he imagined was a sense of justice.

Though, he continued bitterly, we _were_ more like a Spillikins Circle
than an Army unit, he would, from sheer native kindness of heart, save
us the imminent gibbet or the burial by a trench-digging party which
awaited us. He would merely illustrate our manifold faults by taking the
case of No. 3 in the rear rank.

"Please, Sir----" This from the outraged No. 3.

Silence must be observed. There was no excuse for the state of No. 3's
hair. Here in camp (coldly), though we _were_ five miles from a town, we
had a barber, and by all report, though he had been there but two days,
an excellent barber. No. 3, rear rank, did not appear to know this.


Silence in the ranks. Not only was the living presence of a most
valuable functionary stultified by No. 3, but he, like all his slack
kind, must babble on parade. He, the S.-M., would do all the talking
necessary. But even if No. 3 thought he _was_ back in his local Debating
Society even then he need not wear his hair long. The others might look
at him to see what an unclipped man could come to, and afterwards show
him the Barber's Tent.

A ripple went along the ranks, and No. 3's arms shot up despairingly.

There need be no demonstration, and No. 3 should remember that he was on
parade and furthermore was standing at attention. He had had no orders
to practise semaphore signalling.

Well, perhaps (grudgingly) he had now given the unit some faint inkling
of his feelings on the matter. If at any time in the future a long hair
was found on a man in his unit, etc., etc. (eleven minutes).

He would now condescend to hear any excuse that No. 3, rear rank, had to
offer, so that he would be able to remark upon its utter worthlessness.
Now, No. 3.

"Please, Sir," viciously, "I'm the barber."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "For fifteen years, he [Sir William Osler] said, the slowly
    evolving, sprightly race of boys should dwell in a Garden of
    Eden, such as that depicted by the poet.

    During this decisive period a boy was an irresponsible, yet
    responsible creature, a mental and moral comedian taking the
    colour of his environment."--_Daily Mirror._

We fancy that Sir WILLIAM really said "chameleon," but most
schoolmasters will think that the other word is just as good.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE CRACK OF DOOM.]

       *       *       *       *       *


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

[Illustration: _Paddy._ "I'll not have conscription."

_Premier._ "That's all right. You're left out of it."

_Paddy._ "Is it lave me out of it? Another injustice to th' ould

_House of Commons, Tuesday, January 4th._--This is the PERTINACIOUS
PRINGLE'S day. True it is also, to a certain extent, the Empire's. A
Session opening in 1914 has entered upon a third year. After briefest
Christmas recess Members called back to work. They come in numbers that
crowd benches on both sides. Atmosphere electrical with that sense of
great happenings that upon occasion possesses it. Understood that
Cabinet have resolved to recommend adoption of principle of compulsory
military service. Rumours abroad of consequent resignations from
Cabinet. To-morrow PRIME MINISTER will deal with these matters.
Sufficient for to-day is urgent business of amending Munitions of War
Bill in order to meet Labour objections.

In such grave circumstances reasonable to expect that private Members,
howsoever fussy by nature, would restrain themselves and permit public
business to go forward. Member for North-West Lanarkshire does not take
that view of his duty. Here is a day on which eyes of nation are with
exceptional intensity and anxiety fixed on House of Commons. What an
opportunity for PRINGLE-prangling! So at it he went, kept it up not
only, through Question Hour but, by interruptions of MINISTER OF
MUNITIONS when speaking during successive stages of Amending Bill, by
questions in Committee, by acrimonious speeches on Report Stage and
Third Reading, he hushed HOGGE, snowed-up SNOWDEN, ousted OUTHWAITE, and
dammed the flow of DALZIEL'S discourse.

In spite of this, which, in addition to major objections, wasted
something like two hours, work got through a little before ten o'clock.

_Business done._--Munitions Amendment Bill, recommitted for insertion of
now clause, passed through remaining stages. Read a third time amidst
general cheers.


_Wednesday._--When shortly after three o'clock this afternoon the PRIME
MINISTER asked leave to introduce Bill delicately described as designed
"to make provision with respect to military service in connection with
the present War" he was greeted by hearty cheer from audience that
packed the Chamber from floor to topmost row of benches in Strangers'
Gallery. Members who had not reserved a seat filled the side Galleries
and overflowed in a group thronging the Bar.

Since the War began we have from time to time had crowded Houses
awaiting momentous announcement from PREMIER. A distinction of to-day's
gathering is the considerable proportion of Members in khaki. The whip
summoning attendance had sounded as far as the trenches in Flanders,
bringing home numbers more than sufficient to "make a House" of
themselves. Among them was General SEELY, who contributed to debate one
of its most effective speeches. He met with friendly reception even from
that part of the House not similarly disposed when he was accustomed to
address it from Treasury Bench.

The EX-HOME SECRETARY, rising to state the conscientious reasons that
compelled the sacrifice of high Ministerial office, also had warm
reception from all the Benches. General regret that he will, for the
present at least, resume the status of private Member after a
Ministerial career as brilliant as it was brief.

_Business done._--Bill requiring military service for unattested single
men and childless widowers of military age introduced by PRIME MINISTER.
Blandly explained that it is not necessarily compulsory. If this class
of citizen who has hitherto held back now likes to come forward and
enlist he may do so under the Group system, which will be reopened for
that purpose. What could be more thoughtful--or obliging?

_Thursday._--By comparison with yesterday's crowded attendance and
buzzing excitement, through greater part of to-day's sitting Benches
only moderately full, and general conditions otherwise normal. Members
who objected to carrying debate over second day felt themselves
justified. Two speeches made it worth while to extend debate--one
delivered from below Gangway by LONG JOHN WARD of Stoke-on-Trent, now a
full-blown Colonel. Hurried over from the Front to defend and vote for
Compulsion Bill, although heretofore a strong opponent of conscription.
Animated manly speech, much cheered from all quarters.

PRINCE ARTHUR, who, moving from modest place habitually occupied towards
lower end of Treasury Bench, seated himself next the PREMIER, thence
shortly after ten o'clock rose and delivered a speech which recalled his
greatest triumphs achieved in former days when in different
circumstances he stood by same historic brass-bound box which DIZZY in
his day clutched and GLADSTONE thumped.

As he resumed his seat amidst storm of cheering, SPEAKER put the
Question for leave to introduce the Bill. A mighty shout of "Ay!"
responded, answered by futile cry of "No!"

"Agreed! agreed!" cried the peace-makers. But the minority were out for
a division and insisted on taking it. Resulted in leave being given by
majority of four to one, a conclusion hailed with renewed outburst of

_Business done._--Leave given by 403 votes against 105. PRIME MINISTER
brought in Military Service Bill.

       *       *       *       *       *


"Want to do your bit, my lad?"

"Of c-c-c-c-c-c-c-course I d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-do."

"Then take my advice and join the machine-gun section."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The holder of an Exchequer Bond for £100 will receive £100 on
    December 1st, 1910, and will in the meantime receive £5 per
    annum in interest."--_Evening Paper._

The new security seems to have a brilliant future behind it.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a dress of
    pale bridegroom. She was attended by the hat, and carried a
    bouquet, the gift of the pink taffeta silk and a large dark blue
    bridegroom's two little nieces."

    _Kentish Mercury._

What colour was the bridegroom?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The last paragraph in Mr. A. F. Dunnett's letter, appearing in
    our issue of the 14th inst., contained an obvious error.
    'Nathan's vineyard' should, of course, have been 'Nabob's

    _Daily Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica)._

Of course--where the pickles grow.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Sergeant Capes saw the fowls in a crater on Castle-hill. On the
    crater being opened two of them were almost dead, and others
    were exhausted, and could scarcely stand."

    _Nottingham Evening Post._

No doubt overcome by the gas.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Tradesman._ "Are you insuring against Zeppelins for the
New Year?"

_Householder._ "Well, I'm thinking of it, as I remember reading in the
last raid how they dropped seventeen bombs in one area. I wonder they
don't get hit, standing still all that time in the air."]

       *       *       *       *       *


  I'm un'appy, so I am. Don't enjoy me beef nor jam,
    An' I'm grumpy an' as 'umpy as a camel.
  Bin an' stopped my leave? Oh no! _That_ was fixed up long ago;
  But the trouble is, I've got it, an' I feel afeared to go,
    An' it's all alonger tin o' green enamel.

  Fancy spendin' New Year's Eve, when you oughter be on leave,
    In a dugout where the damp is slowly tricklin',
  All alonger tin o' green an' a sniper lank an' lean
  'Oo was swearin' an' a-strafin' an' a-snipin' in between,
    Till the Sergeant told me off to stop 'is ticklin'.

  So I trimmed meself with straw, an' a grass an' hay coffyure,
    An' I clothed meself with faggots that a pal 'ad;
  Then the Sergeant got a brush an' some green an' sticky slush,
  An' 'e plastered me all over till I couldn't raise a blush,
    And I looked jest like a vegetable salad.

  Then I crept out in the night, an' I waited for the light,
    But the sniper saw me fust an' scored an inner.
  I could 'ear the twigs divide, but I signalled 'im a "wide,"
  Then I squinted down me barrel, an' I let me finger glide,
    An' I pipped 'im where 'e uster put 'is dinner.

  Yus, I busted up the Bosch, but I found out, at the wash,
    That enamel was a fast an' lastin' colour,
  An' the soap I used to clean made me shine a brighter green;
  I'm a cabbage, I'm a lettuce, I'm a walkin' kidney bean,
    An' I ain't a-leavin' Flanders till it's duller.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Income-tax can be paid in the case of individuals and firms who
    are liable to direct assessment in respect of trade, profession,
    or husbandry, in two halfpenny instalments--the first on January
    1, and the second on July 1."--_Glasgow Evening Times._

Lucky Scots, to get off with twa bawbees!

       *       *       *       *       *

From an advertisement;--

    "----'s Mustard Digests the Dish."

And so saves washing-up.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Strive to acquire now ideas. Vary the hour of rising. If you
    take luncheon out never go always to the same place."--_Daily

We seldom go always to the "Blue Lion," and usually never by the same
way every time, for fear of hardly ever being unable to get out of the
habit of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

"_The Westminster Gazette_," writes a correspondent from Venice, "has
always been regarded by the Italian Press as the most insular of English
newspapers." Still we think that _La Difesa_, of which he encloses an
extract, goes too far in referring to our esteemed contemporary as _La

       *       *       *       *       *


"The Basker."

[Illustration: Miss Hilda Moore as _Mrs. Radford_.]

I imagine _The Basker_ to be designed by "CLIFFORD MILLS" as a Tract
against Dukes. And certainly her _Duke of Cheviot_ is a miracle of
obtuseness, who, if he had not been made a hero by his valet (an
original and happy creation), would have grievously belied the proud old
family motto, "_Je me sauvegarde_." _George de Lacorfe_, fashionable,
_fainéant_ and forty, reader of _The Pink 'Un_, ardent bachelor,
_Basker_ in short, suddenly finds the dukedom of Cheviot thrust upon
him. Quite unlike his egregious ancestors, who went out and biffed their
enemies in the gate, especially the _Gorndykes_, who were an unpleasant
shifty kind of raiders, _George_ proposes to resign all the Cheviot
places, emoluments and responsibilities to his cousin and heir, _Richard
de Lacorfe_, on the day the said _Richard_ shall marry. Now _Richard_ is
a _de Lacorfe_ with the hereditary _Gorndyke_ blood and nose acquired on
the distaff side. This conspicuous organ inflames the anger of
_George's_ grandmother, the dowager, steeped as she is in the history
and prejudices of the family, while other members of the august circle
harbour unkind thoughts about their kinsman.

And well they might. If anyone had "wrong 'un" written all over him it
was _Richard_. Indeed his Roman nose was the straightest part of him.
The guileless _George_ who, though (or because) his grandmother
presented him every birthday after his majority with a copy of _The
History of the de Lacorfes_, knew and cared nothing about their glorious
and stormy past, didn't suspect the _Gorndyke_ rat in the _de Lacorfe_
granary. Spendthrift _Richard_, who is always getting urgent blue
envelopes from _Samuel & Samuel_, is bent on marrying for money the very
_Diana_ that _George_ loves for her blue hyacinth eyes. There is a
misunderstanding between _George_ and _Diana_ (of such a childlike
ingenuousness as to suggest that really this too easy spot-stroke should
be barred to playwrights), and the idiotic girl promptly engages herself
to _Richard_, who is of course in love with a patently naughty married
woman. The most reckless of lovers from the moment when in his ardour he
(apparently) bites this lady's hand in the First Act, in full view of
the family, till he plans a flirtation by the Cheviot postern gate on
the very eve of his marriage to _Diana_, he is an obviously doomed
villain. The lady is surprised by _George_ in the act of knocking thrice
on the said postern within. When three knocks are heard without together
with the voice of _Richard_, the _Duke_ really begins to suspect
something. Virtuous imbecility prevails over villainous stupidity. The
final blow is dealt upon the _Gorndyke_ nose. _Diana_ is retrieved by
this last of the safe-guarders, and we are left to a melancholy
calculation as to what the mental capacity of their issue is likely to

[Illustration: THE SOUL'S AWAKENING.

_Nalet_, the valet (Mr. LEON QUARTERMAINE), having been dismissed for
not calling _George de Lacorfe_ (Sir GEORGE ALEXANDER) in the morning,
makes good by waking his master's soul up at one o'clock at night.]

A good deal of spontaneous and honest laughter, the best of
testimonials, greeted this rather ingenuous extravaganza. I think Mrs.
CLIFFORD MILLS would do well not to prolong her mystifications beyond
the point when they are quite clear to her audience. May I without
boastfulness record that I guessed all about what _Richard_ was going to
do with the tiara quite three minutes before a well-known editor in
front of me gave away the secret in a hoarse whisper to his neighbour?
And that was some time before the author had finished the "preparation"
of the business. And may I ask why _Richard_ was forced to so fatuous a
contrivance as the pawning of the tiara to make the exigent _Samuels_
stay their hands for a week? True he couldn't tell them about the
Cheviot deal, which was a secret between himself and _George_; but he
could surely have used the fact of his coming marriage with _Diana's_
money? And why didn't _Diana_ write to her mother and ask her what was
the solemn warning about _Richard_ that she had on the tip of her tongue
when she was interrupted just before going abroad? There _is_ a mail to
Singapore, isn't there? And does a _George_, succeeding to a dukedom,
become "_Cheviot_" to his sister?

Sir GEORGE ALEXANDER was at his excellent best in the lighter moods of
the _Basker_. But I did not like to see him in pain (especially as it
all seemed so unnecessary). Mr. LEON QUARTERMAINE, in the really
engaging part of the _Duke's_ valet, who learned to think for himself
and read to such excellent effect the history so carelessly neglected by
his master, was quite admirable. But then he always is. Mr. NORMAN
FORBES had little to exercise his powers in a churchwarden version of
the stage-parson with a tiresome wife. Miss HILDA MOORE looked
charmingly wicked and acted with intelligence. The too serious _rôle_
tossed lightly by the author into the broadest farce presents an
impossible problem. Miss ELLEN O'MALLEY never mishandles a part.
Sometimes, as here, a part is not too kind to her. As _George's_ sister
she could be no more than a competent peg. Miss MARIE HEMINGWAY had
merely to look perplexed and pretty, which she did with complete
success. Everyone was frankly delighted to welcome back to the stage
that great artist Miss GENEVIEVE WARD as the _Dowager Duchess_. She had
the sort of reception that is only accorded to favourites of much more
than common merit. And she played with decision, humour and resource.
Sir GEORGE made a happy and generous little speech about her. The author
was called to receive the felicitations of a gratified house.


       *       *       *       *       *

A Grand Concert is to be given at the Kingsway Hall by the Independent
Music Club, on January 18th, at 2.30, in aid of Mr. C. ARTHUR PEARSON'S
Fund for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors. The Independent Music Club, which
has been of invaluable assistance to musicians suffering from the War,
proposes to entertain at least five hundred Wounded Soldiers at this

Five shillings will provide ticket, transport and tea for one Wounded
Soldier. Gifts for this purpose and for the object of helping our
Blinded Soldiers and Sailors will be very gratefully acknowledged by the
Treasurer, Independent Music Club, 13, Pembroke Gardens, Kensington, W.

       *       *       *       *       *

The net proceeds of a "Special Night" at the National Sporting Club on
Monday, January 17th, commencing at 8 P.M., are to be given to the
Wounded Allies Relief Fund.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Inspired by the sight, anywhere in France, of the notice:
"Taisez-vous! Méfiez-vous! Les ennemies oreilles vous ecoutent!_")

  There is something in the air,
          Dinna doot!
  We shall shortly see some _guerre_
    Yes, we're going to make a rush,
    Starting Tuesday next at--Hush!
  _Les ennemies oreilles nous écoutent!_

  We have got some special guns
          For to shoot,
  And to make the fleshy Huns
          Up and scoot.
    Would you care to hear the list?
    There's a grandmamma at--Hist!
  _Les ennemies oreilles nous écoutent!_

  It is more than patent to
          The astute
  That a very big to-do
          Is _en route_.
    There's a million men, I'm told,
    Sailing round to land at--Hold!
  _Les ennemies oreilles nous écoutent!_

  Tho' to you, my simple friend,
          It is moot
  When the War is going to end
          (_Dat vas goot!_)
    _I_ could say exactly when
    Peace will be declared. But then,
  _Les ennemies oreilles nous écoutent!_

  I should be the very last
          To dispute
  That remarks, too freely passed,
          Come as loot
    To those wicked people, spies;
    Yet what lots and lots of lies
          (_Mon Dieu!_)
  _Les ennemies oreilles en écoutent!_

Henry (Watch Dog).

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Fickle Young Thing_ (_revisiting Tattooist_.) "Er--do
you think you could possibly alter this badge on my arm? You see,
I've--er--exchanged into another regiment."]

       *       *       *       *       *

From a report of KING FERDINAND'S address to the Sobranje:--

    "The speech then exalts over victories won, and generally is
    couched in a rather orid strain."--_Cork Constitution._

Like everything else that FERDY does.

       *       *       *       *       *

New Ideas for War Weddings.

    "The bride looked extremely well in a gown of ivory
    crepe-de-chene, trimmed with filet lace and ivory aeroplane. Her
    hat was of gathered aeroplane, adorned with real ospreys."

    _Times of Ceylon._

    "The ceremony and congratulations being of smilax and pom

    _Wiarton Echo (Canada)._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The public simply hand in the order and cash to any
    tobacconist, with the name of the man to whom the cigarettes are
    to be sent, and the welcome gift will reach Tommy in time for

    _Advt. in Morning Paper, Dec. 31st, 1915._

Unless, as we all hope, Tommy is at home again before that.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another Crisis Averted.

    "Our London Correspondent says that he has offered to resign,
    but the Prime Minister refused to accept his resignation."

    _Cork Examiner._

       *       *       *       *       *


"My birthday," I said, "is setting in with its usual severity."

"What," said Francesca, "has driven you to this terrible conclusion?"

"Little signs; straws showing how the wind blows."

"I wonder," she said, "how that came to be a proverb. Personally I don't
keep packets of straws to test the wind by, and I never met anybody else
who did. Handkerchiefs are much more certain, and men's hats are best of

"Yes," I said, "when I see my hat starting full tilt on an excursion I
always know which way the wind is blowing right enough. Tell me,
Francesca, why does a man's hat, when it's blown off, always bring up in
a puddle?"

"And get run over by a butcher's cart?"

"And why does everybody laugh at the hat's owner?"

"And why does the boy who brings it back to you expect payment for the
miserable and useless object?"

"And where," I said, "does the owner disappear to afterwards? You never
see a man with a hat on his head that's been run over--no, I mean, with
a hat that's been run over on his head--no, no, I mean, with a hat
that's been run over off his head--Francesca, I give it up; I shall
never get that sentence right, but you know what I mean. Anyhow I will
put the dreadful vision by. What was I talking about when this hat
calamity broke in?"

"You had made," said Francesca, "a cold and distant allusion to your
birthday. It's coming to-morrow."

"Well," I said, "it can come if it likes, but I shall refuse to receive
it. I don't want it. I'm quite old enough without it. At my age people
don't have birthdays. They just go on living, and other people say how
wonderful they are for their years, and they must be sixty if they're a
day, but nobody would think so, and----"

"And that it's all due to early rising and regular habits."

"And smoking and partial abstemiousness."

"And general good conduct. But you can have all that sort of praise and
yet celebrate your birthday."

"But I tell you I won't have my birthday celebrated. Those are my

"Orders?" she said. "People don't give orders about absurdities like

"Yes," I said, "they do; but their orders are not obeyed. There's
Frederick, for instance. He's only eight, I know, but he's got something
up his sleeve. He asked me yesterday if I could lend him threepence, and
did I think that a small notebook with a pencil would be a nice present
for a sort of uncle on his birthday--not a father, mind you, but an
uncle. There's a Machiavelli for you."

"And what did you say?"

"I told him I had never met an uncle who didn't adore notebooks, but
that few fathers really appreciated them; and then he countered me. He
said he had noticed that many fathers were uncles too."

"That child," said Francesca, "will be a Lord Chancellor. He'd look
splendid on a woolsack."

"Yes, later on. At present his legs would dangle a bit, wouldn't they?"

"They're very-well-shaped legs, anyhow. Any Lord Chancellor would be
proud to possess them."

"To resume," I said, "about the birthday. There's Alice too. She's
engaged on some nefarious scheme with a paint-box and a sheet of paper.
It's directed at me, I know, because, whenever I approach her, things
have to be hustled away or covered up. However, it's all useless. My
mind's made up. I will _not_ have a birthday."

"You can't prevent it, you know."

"Yes, I can," I said. "It's mine, and if I decide not to have it nobody
can make me."

"But isn't that rather selfish?"

"It can't be selfish of me to deprive myself of a birthday."

"But you're depriving the children of it, and that's worse than selfish.
It's positively heartless."

"Very well, then, I'm heartless. At any rate my orders are that there
shall be no birthday; and don't you forget it, or, rather, forget it as
hard as ever you can."

"I can't hold out the least prospect that your suggestion will meet with
favourable consideration."

The birthday duly arrived, and I went down to breakfast. As I entered
the room a shout of applause broke from the already assembled family.
"Look at your place," said Frederick. I did, and beheld on the table a
collection of unaccustomed articles. There was a box of chocolates from
Muriel and Nina; there was a note-book with an appropriate pencil.
"That," said Frederick, "is for Cousin Herbert's uncle. Ha, ha!" And
there was, from Alice, a painted Calendar fit to hang on any wall. It
represents a Tartar nobleman haughtily walking in a green meadow, with a
background of snow-capped mountains. He has a long pig-tail and a black
velvet cap with a puce knob. His trousers are blue striped with purple.
He has a long blue cloak decorated with red figures, and his carmine
train is borne by a juvenile page dressed in a short orange-coloured
robe. It is a very magnificent design, and on the back of it is

  "This is but a Birthday rhyme
  Written in this dark War-time.
  We can't afford to waste our ink,
  And so I'll quickly stop, I think."

Thus I was compelled to have a birthday after all.

R. C. L.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Perusing the epistles I devotedly indite
  You long, I know, Lucasta dear, to see me as I write;
  Your fancy paints my portrait framed in hectic scenes of war--
  I'll try to show you briefly what my circumstances are.

  Your swain is now a troglodyte; as in a dungeon deep
  He who so worshipped stars and you must write and eat and sleep;
  Like some swart djinnee of the mine your sunshine-loving slave
  Builds airy castles, meet for two, 'neath candles in a cave.

  Above, the sky is very grey, the world is very damp,
  His light the sun denies by day, the moon by night her lamp;
  Across the landscape soaked and sad the dull guns answer back,
  And through the twilight's futile hush spasmodic rifles crack.

  The papers haven't come to-day to show how England feels;
  The hours go lame and languidly between our Spartan meals;
  We've written letters till we're tired, with not a thing to tell
  Except that nothing's doing, weather beastly, writer well.

  So when you feel for us out here--as well I know you will--
  Then sympathise with thousands for their country sitting still;
  Don't picture battle-pieces by the lurid Press adored,
  But miles and miles of Britishers, in burrows, badly bored!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: WAR ECONOMY.

_Mistress (to chauffeur, who is crawling down-hill)._ "Why are you
driving so slowly?"

_Chauffeur_ (_ex-coachman_). "Well, Ma'am, you told me to be as
economical as possible these times, so I was puttin' the brake on to
make the down-'ill last as long as possible."]

       *       *       *       *       *


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

_Narcissus_ (SECKER), by Miss VIOLA MEYNELL, is one of those books for
which I cannot help feeling that my appreciation would have been keener
two years ago than is possible to-day. It is the story of the growth to
manhood of two brothers, _Victor_ and _Jimmy_, who live with their
widowed mother in an outer suburb of London. That there is art, very
subtle and delicate art, in the telling of it goes without saying. The
characters of the brothers are realized with exquisite care. _Victor_,
the elder, uncertain, violently sensitive and emotional, seeking always
from life what he is never destined (at least so far as the present
story carries him) to attain; _Jimmy_, placid, shallow, avoiding all
emotion, attracting happiness like a magnet. Nothing, I repeat, could be
better done in its kind than the pictures of these two, and of the not
very interesting crowd of young persons among whom they move. But, for
all its real beauty of style, I have to confess that the book left me
cold, and even a little irritated. Perhaps we demand something more from
our heroes these days than susceptibility, or indifference, to emotion.
Was the purpose of life, one wonders, ever as delicately elusive as
these bewildered young men seem to find it? I kept longing for Lord
DERBY. Perhaps, again, this is but part of the cleverness of the writer,
and Miss MEYNELL, like the child in the poem, only does it to annoy. But
I hardly think so. Her tenderness and sympathy for _Victor_ especially
are obvious. He, I take it, is _Narcissus_ (though _Narcissi_ would have
been a truer title for the book, as each of the brothers is more in love
with his own reflection than with anything else), and, since he is left
unmarried at the close of the volume, I derived some quiet satisfaction
from the thought that modified conscription might yet make a man of him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Why will the heroes of historical fiction persist in that dangerous
practice of leaving an angry and overmastered villain bound to a tree to
await death or rescue? The result is rescue every time, and one way and
another a mort of trouble for the good characters. Still it may be
argued that if the protagonist of _The Fortunes of Garin_ (CONSTABLE)
had not followed this risky precedent those fortunes would not have led
him where they eventually did, and we should have missed one of the best
costume novels of the year. Miss MARY JOHNSTON is among the very few
waiters whom I can follow without weariness through the mazes of
mediævalism. This tale of the adventures of a knight and a lady in the
days when HENRY II. sat on the throne of England, and his son RICHARD
princed it in Angoulême, is told with an air that lifts it out of
tushery into romance. She wields a picturesque and courtly style,
sometimes indeed a trifle too charged with metaphor to be altogether
manageable (as for example when she speaks of "pouring oil upon the red
embers of a score unpaid"), but for the most part admirably pleasing to
the ear. Her antique figures are alive; and the whole tale goes forward
with a various and high-stepping movement and a glow of colour that
reminded me of nothing more than that splendid pageant one follows round
the walls of the Riccardi Palace in Florence. Of course the journey ends
in lovers' meeting and the teaching of his place to the evil-minded. The
fact that this latter was called _Jaufre_, a name that I would wish
kindlier entreated, is almost my only complaint against a lively and
entertaining story which more than once rises to real beauty.

       *       *       *       *       *

Given a plot of the conventional order I dare say it is best to make
very little fuss or mystery about it. So, at any rate, "KATHARINE TYNAN"
seems to think, for after about page 32 of her latest book, _Since First
I Saw Your Face_ (HUTCHINSON), there is really almost no guessing left
to do, the authoress seeming principally concerned to ensure a smooth
passage for one's prophecies. Thus, while the unknown son of a secret
marriage, happening by good luck to thrash the ostensible claimant to
the title and heroine, gets that successful start in the early pages
that is so necessary to his happiness in the last, and the lady never
really looks like straying far into disconcerting opinions of her own,
even the rival himself obliges us by throwing up the sponge just when
the game should really begin. All this is soothing enough, but it is
also very thin stuff; and the addition of a ghostly ancestress, who
lures her descendants to midnight assignations by smiling at them out of
a LELY painting, does not stiffen things much. The fact is that away
from such a purely Irish subject as, say, "Countrymen All," Mrs. HINKSON
really has not much to tell. Sweeney's New York Stores do not harmonise
at all well with her atmosphere of wistful tragedy. The effect suggests
a soap-bubble trying to cake-walk.

       *       *       *       *       *

  When cattle-ships put forth to sea
    From Montreal across the Atlantic,
  The life on board would not suit me,
    Nor you, I think. The cattle frantic,
  The tough steel plates beneath the might
    Of crashing waters well-nigh riven--
  Ugh! Here it is in black and white,
    Clearly described by FREDERICK NIVEN.

  Published by HEINEMANN (six bob),
    The book relates the ceaseless battle
  Which they must wage whose steady job
    Is valeting a mob of cattle;
  And yet they pant to get a ship,
    For jobs the owners they importune
  At--mark you this!--one pound the trip!
    I wouldn't do it for a fortune.

  It's just a tale of common men,
    Who never went to school or college,
  Writ by a skilled and practised pen
    Most certainly from first-hand knowledge;
  It has no very obvious plan,
    No movement, no connected story;
  And yet I don't see how you can
    Fail to enjoy The _S.S. Glory_.

  You'll meet some men you're sure to like--
    Men who would greet you as a brother;
  One is that honest fellow, _Mike_,
    And _Cockney_, possibly, another;
  Unpolished, quick to wrath and slow,
    When roused, to lay aside their cholor,
  Yet are they types you ought to know
    As well as did the hero, _Scholar_.

       *       *       *       *       *


Portrait of Herr Pfunk ("Sister Susie"), who edits "Our Mites' Corner"
in the well-known weekly, _Mum's Pets_, and also conducts a column of
"Hints to Mothers," which is having an alarming effect on infant

       *       *       *       *       *

In an eloquent foreword to _The Queen's Gift Book_, (HODDER AND
STOUGHTON), we are told by Mr. GALSWORTHY that it is "in the nature of a
hat passed round, into which, God send, many hundred thousand coins may
be poured." The coin that we are asked to put into what I hope will be a
very widely circulating hat is half-a-crown, and whatever you may or may
not think of Gift Books I can promise you that in this instance to pay
your money is to get its worth. It is true that some of the contributors
have given us work that we have already had an opportunity to know; but
even here I am not grumbling, for among the stories that have already
been published is Mr. LEONARD MERRICK'S "The Fairy Poodle," a tale so
full of sparkle that the oftener I see it the better I shall be pleased.
All tastes, however, are catered for. You can read tales by Sir J. M.
But I advise you to read the lot. An especial word of praise is, I feel,
due to Mr. JOHN BUCHAN for a tale humorous enough in its dry way to
squeeze a smile from a mummy, and to the artists who have helped to make
this Gift the success that it is. In short, the book is good, nearly as
good as the object for which it has been published. "In aid," we read on
the cover, "of Queen Mary's Convalescent Auxiliary Hospitals. For
Soldiers and Sailors who have lost their limbs in the War." Here then,
by helping to provide our maimed heroes with the best mechanical
substitutes for the limbs which they have lost, is a chance for us to
pay a little of the unpayable debt we owe to them. Mr. GALSWORTHY may
rest assured that his appeal to "our honour in this matter" will not be
made in vain.

       *       *       *       *       *

An extract from the Master of the TEMPLE'S sermon on "Muddling

    "When we rejoiced at the efficiency of our Navy we too seldom
    recollected that it was primarily due to a superbly effective
    system of education built up by the efforts of a few great men
    loyally supported by enthusiastic insubordinates."--_Morning

NELSON'S "blind eye" is not forgotten.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, January 12, 1916" ***

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