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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, January 5, 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 5, 1916" ***

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VOL. 150, JANUARY 5, 1916***


PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOL. 150

JANUARY 5, 1916.



The Whitefriars Press.



RESOLUTIONS.

  I will not breakfast in my bed
  With downy cushions at my head;
  That would be very wrong--and so
  Away the eggs and bacon go!

  I will not read in bed at night
  And burn the dear electric light;
  Nor buy another costly hat;
  Oh no! I'm much too good for that.

  But I will rise before the dawn
  And weed and cut and roll the lawn;
  My border I will plant with veg,
  Abundantly from hedge to hedge.

  And all the day I'll practise thrift
  And no more happily will drift
  In deeper debt, as once, alas!
  --But what an awful year I'll pass.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Art of Sinking.

    "Altogether we sank one gunboat, five steamers (one of 3,000
    tons), and 17 large sailing ships, three trains, and one railway
    embankment."--_Manchester Guardian._

       *       *       *       *       *

Very Light Marching Order.

From a notice issued to recruits for the New Zealand Expeditionary
Force:--

    "You should report wearing a pair of serviceable boots, and
    bring with you your toilet outfit--no additional clothing is
    required."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In a conversation with members of the Press Mr. Ford said now
    was the time for peace on the basis of the _status quo anti
    bellum_."

    _Scotch Paper._

He always spells it that way.

       *       *       *       *       *

AN ILL-USED AUTHOR.

"I gather, Sir," remarked my fellow-traveller, after I had put away the
writing-block on which I had been jotting down the outline of an
article, "that you are a literary man, like myself?"

We were the only occupants of a compartment in a L. & N. W. R. carriage.
I had been too absorbed till then to notice his appearance, but I now
observed that he had rather unkempt hair, luminous eyes, and a soft hat.
"Oh, well," I admitted, "I write."

"But I take it that, whatever you write, it is not _poetry_," he said.
What led him to this inference I cannot say, but I had to confess that
it was correct.

"Still, even though you are not a Poet yourself, I hope," he said, "you
can feel some sympathy for one who has been so infamously treated as I
have."

I replied that I hoped so too.

"Then, Sir," said he, "I will tell you my unhappy story. At the
beginning of this War I was approached by certain Railway magnates who
shall be nameless. It appeared that they had realised, very rightly,
that their official notices were couched in too cold and formal a style
to reach the heart of their public. So they commissioned me to supply
what I may term the human touch. As a poet, I naturally felt that this
could only be effectively done through the medium of verse. Well, I rose
to the occasion, Sir; I produced some lines which, printed as they were
written, must infallibly have placed me at the head of all of my
contemporaries. But they were _not_ printed as they were written. In
proof of which I will trouble you to read very carefully the opening
paragraph of those 'Defence of the Realm Regulations' immediately above
your head ... Only the opening paragraph at present, please!"

I was somewhat surprised, but, thinking it best to humour him, I read
the first sentence, which was: "_In view of possible attack by hostile
aircraft, it is necessary that the blinds of all trains should be kept
down after sunset_," and gave him my opinion of it.

"Whether," he said, with some acerbity, "it is or is not as lucidly
expressed as you are pleased to consider, only the beginning of it is
mine. This is what I actually wrote:--

  "'In view of possible attack
  By hostile aircraft overhead,
  'Tis necessary now, alack!
  Soon as old Sol has sought his bed,
  That those who next the window sit,
  Though they'd prefer to watch the gloaming,
  Should draw the blind, nor leave a slit,
  Keeping it down until they're homing,
  Else on the metals will be thrown
  A glowing trail as from a comet,
  And Huns to whom a train is shown
  Will most indubitably bomb it!'

"That," he observed complacently, "is not only verse of the highest
order, but clearly conveys the reason for such precautions, which the
official mind chose to cut out. And now let me ask you to read the next
paragraph." I did so. "_At night-time when the blinds are drawn_" it
ran, "_passengers are requested before alighting to make sure when the
train stops that it is at the platform_."

"Which," he cried fiercely, "is their mangled and mutilated version of
this:--

  "'At night-time when the blinds are drawn
  (As screens against those devils' spawn,
  Which love the gloom, but dread the dawn),
  A train may be at standstill,
  Then we request 'twill not occur
  That some impatient passenger,
  Whose nerves are in a chronic stir,
  And neither feet nor hands still,
  Without preliminary peep
  Will forth incontinently leap,
  Alighting in a huddled heap
  To lie, a limp or flat form,
  In some inhospitable ditch,
  If not on grittier ballast, which
  (The darkness far surpassing pitch)
  He took to be the platform!'

"As to the next paragraph," he continued, "I don't complain so much,
though, personally, I consider '_Extract from Order made by the
Secretary of State for the Home Department_' a very poor paraphrase of
the resounding couplet in which I introduced him:--

  "'Now speaks in genial tones, from heart to heart meant,
  The Secretary for the Home Department!'

"I could have overlooked that, Sir, if they had retained the lines I had
written for him. But they've only let him speak the first four
words--'_Passengers in Railway Carriages_'--and then drivel on thus:
'_which are provided with blinds must keep the blinds covered so as to
cover the windows'_--a clumsy tautology, Sir, for which I am sure no
Home Secretary would care to be held responsible, and from which I had
been at some pains to save him, as you may judge when I read you the
original text:--

  "'Passengers in railway carriages
  Possess a sense which none disparages;
  So those who are not perverse or froward
  May be trusted to see that the blinds are lowered,
  To cover the windows so totally
  That no one inside can be seen, or see.
  Mem.--This need not be done, as lately decided,
  If blinds for the windows have not been provided.'

"But," he went on, "the deadliest injury those infernal officials
reserved for the last. If you read the concluding sentence, Sir, you
will observe that it begins: '_The blinds may be lifted in case of
necessity_!' (That, I need hardly say, is _entirely_ my own. There is a
sort of inspired swing in it, the true lyrical lilt with which even
red-tape has not dared to tamper! But mark how they go on): '_when the
train is at a standstill at a station, but, if lifted, they must be
lowered again before the train starts_.' And this insufferable bathos,
forsooth, was substituted for lines like these:--

  "'The blinds may be lifted in case of necessity;
  Thus, if the train at a station should halt,
  And the traveller hears not its name, nor can guess it, he
  Cannot be held to commit any fault,
  Still farther be fined,
  Should he pull up the blind
  Out of mere curiosity: had he not looked
  He might miss the station for which he had booked!'

"Well," he concluded, "that is my case. But I can never put it before
the public myself. My pride would not permit me. Though, if
someone--yourself, for instance--would present my claims to redress--"

I couldn't help thinking that he had been hardly treated, and so I
undertook to do what I could for him. He gave me his verses, also his
name, which latter I have unfortunately forgotten. However, I hope I
have redeemed my promise here in other respects.

There are times when I wonder uneasily whether he may not have been
pulling my leg. But, after all, he could have had no possible object in
doing that. Besides, if, the next time you travel by the L. & N.-W., you
will study the printed instructions in your compartment, I fancy you
will agree with me that they corroborate his statements to a rather
remarkable extent.

F. A.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Christmas Trifle.

    "Some stale sponge cake is cut in slices less than an inch
    thick, and these are spread generously with jam and arranged on
    a crystal dish, blanched and chopped with Clara and Jo and all
    their young cousins."--_The Bulletin._

       *       *       *       *       *

THE RUSH TO SALONIKA.

[Illustration: Wilhelm and Franz Joseph. "FERDIE, THE POST OF HONOUR IS
YOURS."

Ferdie. "YOU CAN HAVE IT."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Fair Hostess_ (_entertaining wounded soldier_). "And so
one Jack Johnson buried you, and the next dug you up again and landed
you on the top of a barn! Now, what were your feelings?"

_Tommy._ "If you'll believe me, Ma'am, I was never more surprised in all
my life."]

       *       *       *       *       *

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS.

It has come as an immense relief to all true lovers of peace to learn
that such German soldiers as have been taking part in the war on the
Italian frontier have previously resigned their positions in the
KAISER'S army and been re-enrolled under the Austrian flag, so that no
untoward incident may disturb the profound peace which exists between
Germany and Italy. All the same there are elements of possible danger in
the situation which should be carefully watched. We look forward to a
time when our gallant ally may be confidently expected to advance on to
German soil, and we think it would be well for the authorities at Rome
(unless the invading host is provided with Montenegrin uniforms) to
serve out beforehand a large number of tourist coupons, available over a
wide choice of different routes. This might avert the terrible
consequences that are likely to follow a breach of relations.

Of course it must be remembered that Italy has now signed on not to
enter into a separate peace, and no doubt the only true economy is to
make the present one go as far as possible, as it cannot be replaced.
Still, since the sinking of the _Ancona_ by a German crew (partially
whitewashed so as to look like Austrians), Italy's neutrality has become
of an extremely virulent order.

We need hardly say that President WILSON even on his honeymoon is
closely watching the situation and thinking over it very deeply, very
slowly and very calmly, hoping to discover hints for his own future
guidance. It is said that he feels himself being drawn more and more
into the vortex, and his attitude of passive belligerency may be
followed by one of aggressive non-interference. It is common knowledge
in Washington that if he can get no satisfaction on the _Ancona_
question he will either despatch a new note (which will be _almost_ an
ultimatum) or simply pass on and declare war on Albania.

Portugal (as the ancient ally of Great Britain), who has already been
involved in a scrap with German troops in Angola, is naturally deeply
exercised as to what are her present relations with Turkey. The matter
is an urgent one and might become crucial in the event of a Turkish
Zeppelin drifting in a fog over Portuguese territory.

The King of GREECE is said to have found a happy solution of his
difficulty about a Bulgarian invasion of Greece. The incoming forces are
to be provided with return tickets to Salonika and back, available only
for forty-five days, and containing a stipulation that the traveller may
not break his journey at any other point.

       *       *       *       *       *

"FOR THIS RELIEF--"

(_Suggested by the poster commending a recent Revue as "the last word in
syncopation."_)

  The days of our mourning are ended,
    The lean years of famine are fled,
  When, sick for a spoonful of aught that was tuneful,
    We've sorrowed as over the dead
  For Music, forlorn and unfriended,
    Gone down into glimmerless gloom,
  While rude "rag-time" revels were dancing a devils'
      Tattoo on her tomb.

  A new dawn of promise doth redden
    The rim of our Stygian night;
  Our bondage is breaking--O blessed awaking
    To melody merry and bright!
  My heart, long o'erloaded and leaden,
    Now bounds to the blue like a bird;
  The shadow has shifted; with paean uplifted
      I hail that "last word"!

       *       *       *       *       *

CHARIVARIA.

Leap Year Anticipations.--A fine spring is expected in France, Flanders
and Poland. If the weather is propitious a total eclipse will be visible
in Berlin and Vienna.

       ***

Asked by some American journalists where the Peace Conference would be
held, Dr. SVEN HEDIN is reported to have said, "Peace will be dictated
from Berlin." And so say all of us!

       ***

Relations between Potsdam and Sofia are said to be badly strained. Three
days after the Kaiser had issued his celebrated manifesto, "To my noble
and heroic Serbian people," FERDINAND in the Sobranje was publicly
denouncing the Serbians as obstinate, treacherous, and tyrannical. The
KAISER considers this conduct extremely tactless, and threatens, if it
continues, to spell Bulgarian with a "V."

       ***

All hitherto-published explanations of the threatened German attack on
the Suez Canal are hereby cancelled. The fact is that the KAISER'S fleet
is increasing so rapidly that it has outgrown its present accommodation.

       ***

During the visit of Mr. FORD'S Ark to Bergen the following notice was
posted up at the Grand Hotel:--"All members of the Henry Ford Peace
Expedition are requested to call for their laundry at the Grand Hotel,
Room 408, Tuesday evening after supper. This notice supersedes the
original plan to have the laundry delivered to each individual hotel."
It may also explain why the members of the expedition have since washed
their dirty linen in public.

       ***

Some of the pilgrims on the _Oscar II._ were much annoyed at the
prohibition of card-playing on board. "What is the use," they asked, "of
crying _Pax_ when there are none?"

       ***

Some strait-laced Conservatives, who were a little shocked to see the
announcement of "Mr. Balfour on the Film," were comforted on its being
pointed out to them that Mr. CHAPLIN set him the example.

       ***

A ten-year-old girl's essay on "Patriotism":--"Patriotism is composed of
patriots, and they are people who live in Ireland and want Mr. Redmond
or other people to be King of Ireland. They are very brave, some of
them, and are so called after St. Patrick, who is Ireland's private
saint. The patriots who are brave make splendid soldiers. The patriots
who are not brave go to America."

       ***

Lord KITCHENER, who has a choice collection of old china, has lately
added to it several fine specimens of Crown Derby.

       ***

So many Parliamentarians have recently requested the Treasury to stop
sending them their £400 a year that a slight change in the designation
of the others is suggested--P.M. (Paid Member) instead of M.P.

       ***

A soldier's letter: "DEAR SIS,--You ask what I want--well, for Heaven's
sake send us a barber! You never saw such heads in your life as we've
got.

Lovingly, Bob.

P.S.--Failing a barber send us a box of hair-pins."

       ***

Is it true that while the Cliff Hotel at Gorleston was blazing furiously
during the gale last week a zealous official went up to the unfortunate
proprietor and threatened him with pains and penalties for allowing a
naked light to be seen far out at sea?

       ***

We understand that since the entrance-fee was suspended and the
subscription reduced, the Automobile Club has increased its membership
so largely that the Committee are thinking of re-naming it the Omnibus.

       ***

A conversation in the trenches:--

_Private Dougal McTavish_ (_late of the Alberta Police_): "Mon, in ma
section 'tis aften fafty degrees below zero. But, bless ye, 'tis dry
cold, ye'll never feel it."

_L.C. Owen Tyrrell_ (_late of Carpentaria Telegraphs_): "Down-under it
is usually 125 in the shade. But thin it is dry heat, you are niver
sinsible of ut."

_Corpl. James Brown_ (_late Tram Conductor, Vancouver_): "In B.C. we
stake upon 312 to 314 rainy days in the year. But it is dry rain, it
don't wet you."

       ***

In an article on the employment of women as dentists, the writer says:
"A new charm has been added to the delights of dentistry." Optimist!

       ***

He also says that one lady "extracted 38 teeth from nine patients, and
showed little signs of fatigue from it, either." But what about the
nine?

       ***

We observe that Mr. PEARCE, the Commonwealth Minister of Defence, fell
while in his garden and broke two of his ribs, but are glad to learn
that his condition is not serious. The conjunction of a rib, a garden,
and a fall has in at least one previous case resulted in permanent
injury.

       ***

A martyr to insomnia threatens, unless the Government stops the
whistling for taxis, to let Mr. MCKENNA whistle for his.

       ***

Our men in the trenches are beginning to welcome the German gas-attacks.
They say there is nothing like them for keeping down the rats.

       ***

Suggested motto for the controversy between the headmasters as to the
publication of Public School Rolls of Honour--"Quot dominies tot
santentiæ."

       *       *       *       *       *

THE NEW LEAF.

[Illustration: Fancy portrait of Prussian poet preparing to write a Hymn
of Love--in case it should be wanted.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Note.

The "Wingfield House" mentioned in the article "Cases," which appeared
in _Punch_ a fortnight ago, was a purely imaginary name and had nothing
to do with the Wingfield House, near Trowbridge, where a hospital has
for some time been established.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Juvenile War Lord._. "'Ere! Someone else 'ave a go--I'm
sick o' war. It ain't in reason ter expect a bloke ter be the Kaiser
three days running!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE VINDICATION OF JIMMY.

In one corner of the school play-ground stood a small boy in deep
dejection, with his hands in his pockets, his lower lip trembling
slightly, whilst he strove to kick a hole in the ground with his right
toe. It was Jimmy--Jimmy in his hour of trial.

He wasn't going to blub, he wasn't going to do anything.

Suddenly he stopped kicking at the ground, as he remembered that his
mother had told him he must be careful of his boots now that the War was
on.

He took out of his pocket a match-box, the temporary home of a large
beetle--a buzzer, Jimmy called it--which had hitherto refused to eat
either grass or bran or Indian corn. His gaze then wandered to a hole in
his stockings, which he had mended by applying ink to the exposed part
of his skin.

From the opposite side of the playground came the tumultuous noise of
the calm deliberations of Form II.

Jimmy knew perfectly well that they were discussing him, and that in
time one of their number would be sent to inform him of the verdict and
sentence.

He expected that he would have to fight them all, one by one, and he
wondered how many blows he would be able to stand without returning
them, for to hit back was out of the question under the unfortunate
circumstances.

Jimmy wished they would get it over, for he was quite willing to undergo
any form of punishment they might decide upon, if only they would let
him know quickly. He hoped they wouldn't make the Biffer fight him, not
that he was afraid of the Biffer, but because it would be so hard to
keep himself from hitting back, and that he had decided not to do. You
see the Biffer was a new boy, and, for another thing, he wore a leather
strap round his wrist. On his very first day at school the Biffer had
volunteered the information that he once gave a boy such a biff on the
nose that he had sprained his wrist, and that ever since he had worn a
wrist strap, lest it should happen again. It was Jimmy who had
nick-named him the Biffer, and from that time the Biffer had sought
Jimmy's blood.

But Jimmy was not easy to quarrel with.

He was the acknowledged champion of Form II., and you had to commit
three offences before Jimmy would seriously consider you. At the first
offence you got a note with the one word "Beware!" written upon it; at
the second, another note with the word "Blood" written underneath a
skull and crossbones; and at the third you received a note with the word
"Deth," and underneath was the drawing of a coffin.

The Biffer had so far arrived at the second note.

Jimmy did hope they wouldn't choose the Biffer, for he could hear even
now the Biffer's yell when he had made that awful mistake which had
brought about the present deplorable situation.

Jimmy couldn't think how he had come to say what he did say; he could
have bitten off his tongue when he realised it; but it was too late--he
had said it.

He tried to think how it had all occurred, and the scene flashed again
before his mind. There was the master with his pointer resting upon the
Dogger Bank on the map of Europe.

"Who can tell me the name of this sea?" he had said, and Jimmy had
snapped his fingers and waved his arm about in his anxiety to catch the
master's eye. You see, it was so seldom, so very seldom, that Jimmy felt
he knew the right answer to any question, and the new experience was
intoxicating. The master too seemed to find it unusual, and he at once
turned to Jimmy and said, "Well, what is this sea called, then?" Jimmy,
full of the pride of knowledge, burst out with "The North Sea, Sir." Oh!
if he had only stopped at that; but in his desire to show how much he
knew he added without thinking the fatal words, "or German Ocean!"

In the shout of derision which had followed, Jimmy realised what he had
said, and felt himself falling, falling, falling....

Jimmy became aware that the noise on the opposite side of the playground
was ceasing, and soon, from the corner of his eye, he saw Jones minimus
detach himself from the crowd. "Half a mo'," he heard Jones minimus say;
"I want to get a knotted handkerchief," and he saw him hurry into the
school. As he emerged he flourished the knotted handkerchief, but when
delivering the verdict to Jimmy that he would have to run the gauntlet
three times to the tune of the knotted handkerchiefs of Form II., he
tried to smuggle into Jimmy's hands an exercise-book which he said Jimmy
could stuff up his back; it would stick there if Jimmy buttoned his
jacket, he said, and it would take the sting off a bit. Jimmy had to
bite his lip as he refused the exercise-book, and then with head erect
and lips no longer trembling he went forth to face the ordeal.

Form II. had arranged themselves in two ranks, facing one another, and
the knots in the handkerchiefs were firm and hard. "You have got to bunk
through and back again and then down again," said Jones minimus in a
hoarse whisper.

The Biffer was at the head of one rank, and had got his handkerchief
slung over his shoulder in happy readiness for the first blow.

"Are you ready? Go!" shouted Form II. in one voice.

At the word "Go!" Jimmy pulled his hands out of his pockets--he was glad
his mother wasn't there to see him--and with head still up and eyes to
the front he walked slowly up the double lines and as slowly down them.
The Biffer got in a good one, he got in two before Jimmy was out of
reach, and he then changed the handkerchief to his left hand in
readiness for the return journey. Arrived at the end of the lines, Jimmy
turned on his heel and began to walk even more slowly than at first.

But there was no sting in the blows this time; all the zest seemed to
have gone out of the affair; and, but for the whack the Biffer gave,
Jimmy never felt anything. The third time down was a farce, for, after
Jimmy had deliberately stopped opposite the Biffer in order to let him
have as many as his injured soul required, no one touched him. In fact
they were all shaking hands with Jimmy, who was now his smiling self
once more and ready to play with the best of them, when suddenly the
Biffer took it into his head to make a joke.

"Perhaps he _is_ a German," said the Biffer, and waited for the general
laugh to follow his sally.

But the laugh didn't come; instead there was a dead silence.

Who was the Biffer--a new boy at that--to call anyone a German?
Instinctively a ring was formed and the Biffer found himself in the
middle of it.

Jimmy took off his coat and gave it to Jones minimus, who danced for
sheer delight.

Jimmy had only one regret: the butcher-boy was not there to see him--the
butcher-boy who had expended so much time over him, had taught him the
upper cut, the under cut, every cut that the heart of a butcher-boy
delights in. The Biffer was very busy biffing the air with a rapid
circular motion of the arms, for Jimmy's fixed scowl and set of jaw
troubled him.

Oh, why wasn't the butcher-boy there to see that tremendous smack on the
nose the Biffer got? He would have felt amply rewarded.

No one had ever seen Jimmy fight like this, and Jones minimus shouted in
his joy, for the Biffer was outbiffed in every direction.

In vain did he cry "_Pax_," for Jimmy had not half relieved his
feelings, and there was no end to the dodges the butcher-boy had taught
him, each of which, he had said, meant sudden death.

"He's had enough, Jimmy," whispered Jones minimus. "I'm satisfied," he
added as the Biffer, who was lying on the ground, refused to get up and
have any more.

As the boys entered the class-room the next day there was the map of
Europe still hanging up in front of the class, and the very first
question that was asked by the master was, "Well, Jimmy, what is this
sea?"

"The North Sea or British Ocean, Sir!" said Jimmy, a reply that was
greeted with a rousing cheer by the whole of Form II.

       *       *       *       *       *

A SECOND HELPING!

  Our Bagdad force fell in a rut
    At Ctesiphon; Turks made things hum.
  We found that we had got to Kut,
  Whilst Russians found a way to Kum!

  Our men know not the word "defeat,"
    They'll make it clear on Tigris plain
  That, Russian-like, when they retreat,
    'Tis but to cut and come again.

       *       *       *       *       *

A TURKISH TROPHY.

(_A belated letter from Gallipoli._)

My dear ----, By this week's post I trust you will receive the long
promised trophy, to wit one Turkish headpiece procured by my own
personal exertions. As the story of its capture, though somewhat out of
the ordinary, has been passed over in stony silence both by the official
_communiqués_ and "Our Special Correspondent" I shall endeavour to give
you a brief impression of the difficulties overcome as truthfully as my
sense of imagination will allow me. First of all I must draw a map:--

[Illustration:

A B British trench, with traverses.

C D Turkish trench, without.

E F Ditch

G British barricade.

H Turkish barricade.]

This should give you an idea of the English and Turkish lines at a point
where they are about eighty yards apart. Without going into details you
will see the English trench is of the superior pattern, as it has
traverses. I had to work in that technical term to show I know all about
it; I know another, "the berm," but I am not too sure about what that
is, and also I don't suppose I could draw a "berm" if I saw one. Anyway,
I know it's quite a good term connected with trenches, as I heard a
G.O.C. fairly strafe a subaltern, the other day, because he hadn't got a
"berm." Well, to refer to the map, you will observe that there is an old
ditch running between the two lines of trenches, and both sides have
advanced a certain distance along this ditch and have built barricades
about ten yards apart. Every day it is part of my job to take a
constitutional along our trenches, and after discussing the European
situation and the latest Budget with the various battalion commanders to
ask them whether there is any particularly obnoxious part of the
opposition line they would like me to salute with my battery. Usually
they say, "No, there's nothing in particular, but let's have a shoot all
the same; for example, there's a dog that barks abominably every night
opposite L 57. Couldn't you abolish him?" Incidentally we no longer give
our trenches names, such as Piccadilly, Rotten Row, but mere letters and
numbers; the reason being that one of the staff was picked up in a
fainting condition, having strolled down Park Lane and then found
himself, to his horror, in Peckham High Street. The shock--his own home
being in Baling Broadway--had proved too much for his constitution.
However, to refer back to the map once more, our barricade across the
ditch is a most convenient spot for observing artillery fire and as such
is frequently used by me. Unfortunately my view was always hasty and
badly interrupted by the attentions of a Turkish sniper behind their
barricade. This man's name was Ibrahim, and he was a Constantinople
cab-driver, married, with two children, both boys. You may be surprised
that we know so much about the enemy, but we live in such close
proximity that opposite the Lancashire Fusiliers a Turk named Mahomet,
who lives at No. 3, Golden Horn Terrace, told the reporter of _The
Worpington Headlight_ that for three years he had been suffering from
pains in the back--but that's another story. Incidentally Mahomet at
present inhabits a sniper's post surrounded by a perfect thicket of
barbed-wire, and I had a bright scheme for its removal. I got hold of a
trench catapult, an ingenious contrivance of elastic that hurls a bomb
some hundreds of yards, and placed in it a harpoon attached to a long
coil of rope. The idea was that on release of the catapult the harpoon
would be hurled in the air, the rope would neatly pay out, and then, as
soon as the harpoon had grappled Mahomet, all we would have to do would
be to haul on the rope and over would come the whole bag of tricks.
Unfortunately something went wrong, and the rope, instead of neatly
uncoiling, flailed round the trench like a young anaconda, and, catching
a harmless spectator by the leg, hurled him twenty feet in the air.
Immediately the opposition lines resounded like a rifle-booth at a
country fair. However our spectator descended unpunctured, and the only
damage done was to our vanity, when Mahomet threw over a message
attached to a stone to ask whether we would repeat the performance as he
and a pal had a bet on as to who was the best shot and wanted a human
aeroplane to judge.

But we have got a long way from Ibrahim. Ibrahim possessed the headpiece
I am sending you. I could not think of a method for obtaining it, as his
vigilance was deadly. However a bright thought struck me, and I
assiduously saved up my rum ration for a month. Then one bitter cold
night I tossed over the accumulation in a bottle wrapped up in an old
sock. Presently there resounded in the still air a pleasant bubbling
sound indicative of liquid being poured out of a glass receptacle, then
a deep sigh, followed by a profound silence. Inch by inch I crawled over
our barricade and slowly wormed my way along the ditch. At last I
reached the Turkish barricade and cautiously slid my hand over the top
until my fingers encountered Ibrahim's toque. Then I gave a gentle tug.
Horror! he had the flap down under his chin. Unmanned for a moment I
recovered, and I slowly slid my fingers down his hirsute neck and with a
gentle titillation slid the flap clear. Ibrahim merely stirred in his
sleep and resumed his slumbers. Triumphantly hugging the trophy to my
bosom I crawled back to our barricade.

The saddest part of the tale is yet to come. I had promised to procure
you a trophy unstained by association with human slaughter, but when the
day dawned there lay poor Ibrahim stiff and stark behind his barricade,
killed by a cold in his head.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PANTOMIME ANNOUNCEMENTS.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Message Boy Wanted for Butchery."

            _Brechin Advertiser._

A lot of people are after that boy.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Taxi driver who laid down Fare at Royal Hotel at 2.45 p.m. on
    Christmas Day, would oblige by returning Gent's Umbrella to
    Hotel."

          _Aberdeen Journal._

We gather that it had been a wet morning.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Cyril_ (_eating his bread-and-jam--with not too much
jam_). "This is prepostrous--this war economy."]

       *       *       *       *       *

HUNTIN' WEATHER.

  There's a dog-fox down in Lannigan's spinney
    (And Lannigan's wife has hens to mourn);
  The hunters stamp in their stalls an' whinny,
    Soft with leisure an' fat with corn.

  The colts are pasturin', bold an' lusty,
    Sleek they are with their coats aglow,
  Ripe to break, but the bits grow rusty
    And the saddles sit in a dusty row.

  Old O'Dwyer was here a-Monday
    With a few grey gran'fathers out for a field
  (Like the ghostly hunt of a dead an'-done day),
    They--an' some lassies that giggled an' squealed.

  The houn's they rioted like the devil
    (They ran a hare an' they killed a goose);
  I cursed Caubeen, but he looked me level:
    "The boys are away--so what's the use?"

  The mists lie clingin' on bog an' heather,
    Haws hang red on the silver thorn;
  It's huntin' weather, ay, huntin' weather,
    But trumpets an' bugles have beat the horn!

       *       *       *       *       *

A Debt of Honour.

Mr. Punch ventures to plead on behalf of the nine hundred men of the
Royal Naval Division who were taken prisoners by the enemy in the
retirement from Antwerp. Less fortunate than those of the same Division
who were interned in Holland (for want of official information most
people imagine that all the missing were so interned), they lack the
necessities of life. Parcels of food are sent to them, fortnightly to
each man, as well as clothing and tobacco; and it is known that they
receive all that is sent. Mr. Punch begs his readers to help the fund
from which these simple comforts are provided, and to address their
gifts to Lady GWENDOLEN GUINNESS, at 11, St. James's Square, S.W.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a report of Mr. LLOYD GEORGE'S speech:--

    "The works of Ireland have been extremely helpful, and I am glad
    to acknowledge that I have been extremely helpful."

    _Manchester Guardian._

On this occasion the MINISTER OF MUNITIONS appears to have allowed
himself the privilege of "thinking aloud."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_The Daily Mail_ will not be published to-morrow, and for that
    reason we seize the occasion to-day of bidding our readers a
    merry Christmas,"--_Daily Mail of December 24th._

And a very good reason too.

       *       *       *       *       *

Seasonable.

    "The Canadian Government has granted to Canadian troops oversea
    and in training at home a Christmas allowance of one chilling."

    _Provincial Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "He much regretted that it was not possible to-day to
    communicate the results of the Derby Report in any detail, or,
    indeed, at all. The task had been one of stupendous bagnitude."

    _Evening Standard._

Yes, but how big was the bag?

       *       *       *       *       *

Two descriptions of the new Chief of the Imperial General Staff:--

    "Of Scottish descent, and familiarly known to the Army as
    'Jock,' he is one of the most remarkable soldiers of the time."

    _Glasgow Evening Times._

    "That he is known throughout the whole Army simply as 'Wullie'
    is a sure token that the private soldier has taken him to his
    heart."

    _Glasgow Evening Citizen._

Won't the Germans be puzzled?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Eddie Harvey (Fleetwood) and Ike Whitehouse (Barrow) went
    through 15 rounds contest for £5 a side and a nurse, and Harvey
    won on points."--_The People._

The stakes, we presume, were divided.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A kid was born with monkey face and human skull at Saidapet on
    the 13th instant."

    _New India._

This is headed "A Curious Phenomenon." But is it? Some of our
neighbours' kids are just like that.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE NEW EDGE.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LONDON AS USUAL.

("_Kelly's London Directory_" for 1916, a contemporary remarks, is very
much the same as the volume for 1915.)

  Where, where are the signs of the raider
    Who swam to our ken like a kite,
  Who swore he had played the invader
    And knocked us to bits in the night;
  Who pounded these parts into jelly
    From Mile End, he said, to the Mall?
  For the man who should know (J. J. KELLY)
        Can't spot 'em at all.

  You may turn up the street that is Vigo
    Or alight on the Lane that is Mark;
  You may let your incredulous eye go
    O'er each Crescent and Corner and Park;
  You may hunt through the humblest of alleys
    Or the giddiest haunts of the town,
  And Kelly's, who're "safe" as the Palace,
        Have got 'em all down.

  So I sing to those equals in wonder,
    Of BRADSHAW (the expert on trains),
  Who have torn the Hun's fiction asunder--
    That our City's a mass of remains;
  Here's our proof that we're plainly not undone,
    That, although every night she lies hid,
  Our stolid undaunted old London
        Still stands where she did.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Porter_ (_dug-out_). "Shall I put yer 'ockey-knockers in
the van, Sir?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

STUDIES IN FRUSTRATION.

I.

The scene was the comfortable spacious breakfast-room in the Bishop's
Palace. His lordship sat nearest to the fire; the bishop's wife presided
over the fragrant coffee-pot, and the curate, their dine-and-sleep
guest, sat opposite the bishop and farthest from the warmth. As a curate
this position was his due. Some day he also would be a bishop, and then
he too would know what it was to intercept the glow.

The curate was looking dubiously into the recesses of an egg. His fine
Anglican features underwent a series of contortions.

"I am afraid," said the bishop, "that that egg is not a good one."

"You are right, my lord," said the curate. "It is not only bad, it's
alive. I think it's the worst egg that was ever offered me."


II.

The wounded soldier lay in his deck-chair placidly smoking his hundredth
cigarette that day. He was not naturally a smoker, but cigarettes
arrived in enormous numbers and something had to be done with them.

His visitor sat beside him, note-book in hand. "Yes?" he remarked.

"And then," said the soldier, "came the order to charge. We fixed
bayonets and rushed at the Bosches like mad. It was glorious--like the
best kind of football match."

The visitor took it all down, and more.

"I remember bayonetting two men," said the soldier, "and then I remember
nothing else. And that's six months ago. Still, I'm getting well, and
then there's only one thing on earth that I really want with a
passionate desire ..."

"I know! I know!" said the visitor, moistening his pencil.

"Never to see any more war as long as I live," the soldier continued.


III.

The aged artist sat in his luxurious studio surrounded by his
masterpieces--that is, by the pictures he had never been able to sell.

The gem of the collection stood on an easel in the middle of the room;
while a connoisseur, hat in hand, inspected it closely,
enthusiastically, breathlessly. Then, coming over to where the artist
was resting, he sat down opposite to him and in a voice trembling with
emotion asked, "Tell me, how _do_ you mix your colours?"

There was a deep silence, almost painful in its intensity. A drawing-pin
fell with a deafening crash.

The venerable painter stood up with a calm and leonine expression. "I
use an ivory palette knife," he said.


IV.

The shadows were lengthening in the beautiful garden. It was a warm
spring evening. The old sun-dial had just struck seven.

The poet threw aside his book and called his Airedale terrier; the dog,
responding in time, eventually reached his master's knee.

Seizing his opportunity, the representative of the Press observed, "You
are, I see, fond of dogs."

"Fond of dogs?" replied the poet. "I? I detest them;" and so saying he
kicked the Airedale a distance of several feet into the air, so that,
falling immediately on the sun-dial, it was transfixed by the gnomon.

As he watched its struggles, thus impaled, the poet laughed the hearty
resonant laugh for which he was famous.


V.

The Civil Service clerk so famous for his drollery was entering the
office doors at half-past ten in the morning, or exactly sixty minutes
past the appointed time. By an unfortunate chance his principal met him,
as, alas! he had too often done, at the same tardy hour. "Late again,"
said the great man, consulting his watch. "I believe that you get here
later every day." "Yes," said the clerk, "I do. But then I always stay
on and work overtime."


VI.

The eminent publicist replaced his glass on the table and turned to the
lady who sat beside him. "My business," he said, "is the manufacture of
mustard. I have made a vast fortune out of it."

"How very interesting," the lady replied absently; but the next moment,
inspired by a hidden thought, she added with quickened interest, "Please
don't think me inquisitive, but how can a fortune be made out of a thing
like mustard? People take so little of it."

"Madam," answered the mustard magnate deliberately, "we do not make our
fortunes from the mustard that people eat"--

"Yes, yes?" cried the lady eagerly.--"but," he continued, "from what
they spill in mixing poultices."


VII.

The famous money-lender one evening arrived as usual at the Casino, but
this time only to bid his friends good-bye.

"Not leaving Monte?" they asked.

"Yes, I am," he replied; "I'm going to Rome."

"Rome?"

"Yes, why not? I'm told it's wonderful. I shall be there a month;" and
so saying he hurried to his hotel.

Three days later he walked into the Casino again.

"What," cried his friends--"you here? We thought you were going to be in
Rome a month."

"So I am," said the money-lender, "and more. I came back for my things,
most of which I left here, as it had occurred to me I might not like it.
But I adore it. Rome is beautiful, august, sublime. The simple severe
beauty of the Vatican, the vast solemnity of the Campagna! It is indeed
the eternal city. Let me keep Rome!"

And again he hurried away.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Excited individual_ (_who has picked up umbrella left in
bar, to despatch rider just leaving_). "Hi! Mister. Is this your
umbrella?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

A Long Turn.

    "To-morrow evening Miss Phyllis Bedells makes her final
    appearance at the London Empire, where she has danced without
    interruption for nine and a half years."

    _Bristol Times and Mirror._

       *       *       *       *       *

De Mortuis....

    "Tired of this much worn physical life Chief George Moshesh
    bursted the bands of morality as under Tuesday, November 2nd."

    _South African Paper._

    "Tenders invited for alterations and additions to the late Mr.
    Waata W. Hipango, Pitiki, are hereby cancelled."--_New Zealand
    Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Neighbour._ "And how does your son like his training?"

_Proud Mother of Recruit._ "Oh, he's very happy. But he says they do
take him very long walks."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE XMAS ADVENTURES OF A DRAWING.

_From Robert Simpson, Edinburgh, to Joan Dalgleish, London._

_December_ 15.

Dear Miss Dalgleish,--I send you as promised, when we parted in Skye,
one of my little drawings. I am sorry I have had no time to get it
framed. I am off in ten days to India to resume my work. If you have no
room for this little picture on your walls it will do for a Red Cross
Bazaar.

Hoping to meet you some other summer,

Yours sincerely,

R. Simpson.

_From Joan Dalgleish to Robert Simpson._

_London, December_ 17.

Dear Mr. Simpson,--So many thanks for the drawing of the bay. It will
always remind me of our delightful holiday in the North, and in the
murky days of December it will make me feel again in the fresh air of
Scotland.

With best wishes for a pleasant
journey,

Yours sincerely,

Joan Dalgleish.


_From Joan Dalgleish to Mary Morris, Manchester._

_December_ 23.

Dearest Mary,--I am sending you a little Christmas card, in the shape of
a water-colour drawing with a calendar attached, which can be removed
each year. It will remind you of the fine time we spent bathing and
boating on the Welsh Coast, which I know you people in the North adore.
I have long wanted to send you some token of our days together in that
pleasant land, and, after much searching, here at last it is.

Your affectionate Friend,

Joan Dalgleish.


_From Mary Morris to Joan Dalgleish._

_December_ 24.

Dearest Joan,--What a treat to see that glorious Welsh Coast, that
heaving sea and those sunny cliffs, when I am barely existing in this
gloomy city! _Always_ will this _dear_ scene be in my sight morning and
evening, to remind me of my friend whom I miss _so much_, and of those
grand aspects of nature which we enjoyed together.

With dear love,

Mary.


_From Mary Morris to Miss Eleanor Mendip, Writers' Club, London._

_December_ 30.

Dear Miss Mendip,--It seems ages since we met after your _great_ visit
to Manchester and after that _splendid_ lecture on "Some Aspects of
Nature." I cannot let the New Year pass without sending you a little
picture of our Northern coast as a humble token of my _immense_
admiration for your charming work--the poor offering of a constant
admirer.

Hoping to see you again in our city
and that you will again stay at our
home,

Your affectionate admirer,

Mary Morris.


_From Miss Mendip to Miss Morris._

_January_ 2.

Dear Miss Morris,--Forgive me for not acknowledging before the graceful
tribute of your admiration for my work. I do indeed regard you as a
friend--few girls of my acquaintance have so real a sense of literary
perfection as my dear young friend in Manchester. Always will I cherish
your appreciative gift as a remembrance of my sweet young friend.

Yours affectionately,

Eleanor Mendip.


_From Miss Mendip to the Editor, "Women's Welfare," London._

_January_ 4.

Dear Mr. Scrimbles,--You said you intended to obtain an illustration to
my paper on "Cottage Homes by Western Waters." I can save you trouble
and some expense. I have succeeded in obtaining just the picture you
want. I accordingly enclose it. You can add the fee of 10s. 6d. to my
cheque for the article. I hope it will come out in February.

Yours truly,

Eleanor Mendip.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "WANTED. Good School-Master, in exchange for Blue Pom dog, 3
    months, splendid coat, or sell £1. Approval both ways."

    _Welsh Paper_.

Lest our scholastic readers should be incensed at this cynical estimate
of their value we hasten to inform them that this "School-Master" is a
pigeon and not a pedagogue.

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"Puss in Boots."

If Messrs. SIMS, DIX and COLLINS did in fact, as they claim, make the
book of this year's pantomime at the Lane, Mr. GEORGE GRAVES gagged and
bound it. This popular annual festival indeed tends to become more and
more of a GRAVES solo (with of course the innumerable customary _da
capos_) and a bright sketchy EVANS _obbligato_. As a Grand Duchess and
Duke respectively the genial twain present themselves. Mr. GEORGE
GRAVES, in a flounced skirt of green tartan check, copper curls and
mahogany features, is a delectable creation; says some strangely
unlady-like things (as is expected of him); is still oddly preoccupied
with "gear-boxes" and other anatomical detail; and generally indulges in
a fine careless rapture of reminiscence and improvisation--zealously
assisted by Mr. WILL EVANS' familiar tip-tilted nose and bland refusal
to be perturbed by entirely unrehearsed effects and obviously irregular
cues. A jovial and irreverent pair of potentates, crowned by public
laughter.

There is, of course, a sort of background to all this audacious fooling,
more definitely directed _virginibus puerisque_. The new principal boy,
Mr. ERIC MARSHALL, woos his princess with a romantic air and a mellow
tenor, in which emotion somewhat overshadows tone. Miss FLORENCE
SMITHSON, an accepted Drury Lane favourite, looks very charming, makes
love in pretty kitten wise and still indulges in those queer harmonics
of hers--virtuosity rather than artistry, shall we call it?--but is
altogether quite a nice princess of pantomime. Little RENÉE MAYER is the
Puss. Nothing could well be daintier. But I hope she will let me tell
her (in a whisper, so that the others won't hear), that she doesn't
_quite_ realise what a jolly part she has got. I would implore her to
spend an hour or two at serious play with any decent young cat and study
the grace and variety of its beautiful, imitable gestures. Then she will
assuredly pounce on her magician turned mouse, and fawn on her master
and friends, with a greater air of conviction. And she will mightily
please all the other nice children in the house.

Of the great _ensemble_ scenes unquestionably the finest was the Fairy
Garden, with a quite beautiful back-cloth by R. MCCLEERY and a
bewildering (and, to tell truth, largely bewildered) bevy of
butterflies, decked by COMELLI, fluttering in a flowery pleasaunce. And
there was also a clever variation on the now inevitable staircase
_motif_ as a _finale_. But the Harlequinade of happy memory has
deplorably declined to something like a mere display of
advertisements--a sad business.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The Starlight Express."

It would be uncandid to pretend that Mr. ALGERNON BLACKWOOD gets
everything he has to say in _The Starlight Express_ safely across the
footlights--those fateful barriers that trap so many excellent
intentions. But he so evidently _has_ something to say, and the saying
is so gallantly attempted, that he must emphatically be credited with
something done--something rather well done really. The little play has
beautiful moments--and that is to say a great deal.

This novelist turned playwright wishes to make you see that "the Earth's
forgotten it's a Star." In plainer words he wants to present you with a
cure for "wumbledness." People who look at the black side of things, who
think chiefly of themselves--these are the wumbled. The cure is
star-dust--which is sympathy. The treatment was discovered by the
children of a poor author in a cheap Swiss _pension_ and by
"Cousinenry," a successful business man of a quite unusual sort. You
have to get out into the cave where the starlight is stored, gather
it--with the help of the Organ Grinder, who loves all children and sings
his cheery way to the stars; and the Gardener, who makes good things
grow and plucks up all weeds; and the Lamplighter, who lights up heads
and hearts and stars impartially; and the Sweep, who sweeps away all
blacks and blues over the edge of the world, and the Dustman, with his
sack of Dream-dust that is Star-dust (or isn't it?), and so forth. Then
you sprinkle the precious stuff on people, and they become miracles of
content and unselfishness. (The fact that life isn't in the very least
like that is a thing you have just got to make yourself forget for three
hours or so.)

The author was well served by his associates. Sir EDWARD ELGAR wove a
delightfully patterned music of mysterious import through the queer
tangle of the scenes and gave us an atmosphere loaded with the finest
star-dust. Lighting and setting were admirably contrived; and the
grouping of the little prologue scenes, where that kindly handsome giant
of an organ-grinder (Mr. CHARLES MOTT), with the superbly cut corduroys,
sang so tunefully to as sweet a flock of little maids as one could wish
to see, was particularly effective.

Of the players I would especially commend the delicately sensitive
performance of Miss MERCIA CAMERON (a name and talent quite new to me)
as _Jane Anne_, the chief opponent of wumbledom. She was, I think,
responsible more than any other for getting some of the mystery of the
authentic Black-woodcraft across to the audience. The jolly spontaneity
of RONALD HAMMOND as young _Bimbo_ was a pleasant thing, and ELISE HALL,
concealing less successfully her careful training in the part, prettily
co-operated as his sister _Monkey_. The part of _Daddy_, the congested
author who was either "going to light the world or burst," was in O. B.
CLARENCE'S clever sympathetic hands. Mr. OWEN ROUGHWOOD gave you a sense
of his belief in the efficacy of star-dust. On what a difficult rail our
author was occasionally driving his express you may judge when he makes
this excellent but not particularly fragile British type exclaim, "I am
melting down in dew." The flippant hearer had always to be inhibiting
irreverent speculations occasioned by such speeches.

I couldn't guess if the children in the audience liked it. I hope they
didn't feel they had been spoofed, as MAETERLINCK so basely spoofed them
in _The Blue Bird_, by offering them a grown-ups' play "sicklied o'er
with the pale cast of thought." But the bigger children gave the piece a
good welcome, and called and acclaimed the shrinking author. T.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Princess Rosabel_ ... Miss Florence Smithson. _Florian_
... Mr. Eric Marshall.

_Princess Rosabel_ and _Florian_, a young man--though only a miller's
son--of considerable polish, especially about the hair and feet.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "36 Magnificent, Acclimatised, Well-bred Dairy Cows, &c. Many of
    these were bred on the Premises, and others were purchased from
    a renowned Breeder of Friesland Cattle, and they need no comment
    from the Auctioneers, but will speak for themselves."

    _Natal Mercury._

Blowing their own horns, so to speak.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Irish Sergeant._ "Keep yer head down there! Don't ye
know that's the very place that Mike Rooney was shot through the fut?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THEY.

Just lately I have been thinking often of Them. But Their image has
never been more vividly in my mind than now, when I sit here among the
aftermath of festival. I wonder, for example, are the homes in which
They live pervaded with this same _débris_ of Christmas (or, as They
themselves are so fond of calling it, Yuletide)? Does dismembered turkey
coldly furnish forth Their meals? Are there too many calendars, and a
litter of crumpled paper? And cards--do They send each other cards?
Stupendous thought!

Most of all is my fancy busy with Them to-morrow, Tuesday, December the
twenty-eighth. I see Them rising, a little wearily, perhaps, and
heavy-eyed. Breakfast They snatch, and so out into the winter morning
towards that place where, unknown and unrecognised, They pursue
throughout the year Their changeless toil. I imagine Them gathering with
mutual greetings in the workroom--a little company about whose features
I have so often speculated. Poets are there, and artists; probably some
among the men may wear their hair a trifle longer than the military
fashion of to-day; but the greater part of the crowd are almost
certainly women. Now the talk dies down; presently They are all once
more bending in silence over Their appointed tasks.

Yes, here at one desk is the artist to whose genius we owe the obese
robin perched upon a horse-shoe, or the churchyard by moonlight after
(apparently) a severe spangle-storm. Here again a poet, whose eye in a
fine frenzy rolling proclaims an inspiration, or at least some subtle
variant upon a familiar theme. He stoops and, even as I watch, has
traced swiftly, with vibrant pen, this couplet:--

  "The old, old wish I send to thee,
  Jocund may thy Xmas be!"

Then, with a little sigh, he leans back, satisfied that for him the
holiday intermission had not rusted the fine edge of originality.
"Jocund" proved that.

Behind him perhaps sits a maiden like Fate, who with abhorred shears
fashions strange shapes and borderings of foliage unknown to mere
nature. And further still, in yonder obscure and shadowy corner, is one
who by her art can penetrate the future and outstrip the foot of Time
himself. For see, upon her cards, there is already written--

  "With every blessing good and true
  May the New Year be packed,
  And 1917 bring to you
  What 1916 lacked."

I wonder--how does their work seem to Them upon this morning after
Boxing-day?

       *       *       *       *       *

What to do with our Boys.

    "Bun-Prover wanted, 20-25 Trays Capacity."

_Portsmouth Evening News._

       *       *       *       *       *

Not from the Cocoa Press.

    "At a concert given in the sick bay, H.M.S. Crystal Palace, 34
    large boxes of chocolates were distributed among the patients.
    Mr. Balfour sent a telegram wishing the men a speedy
    recovery."--_The Times._

       *       *       *       *       *

The following advertisement appeared on Dec. 23:--

    "Lady recommends her Companion-Hosekeeper."--_Morning Paper._

She was not going to risk her own Christmas stocking.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "It is no easy thing to replace an artist of the quality of Miss
    Lily Elsie, who, in spite of the warmth of her reception at His
    Majesty's Theatre, recently took so severe a chill that the
    doctor would not hear of her playing again for some
    time."--_Daily Mail._

The figurative has no chance with the actual.

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE SOURCE.

"Oh," said Francesca, coming into the library, "I see you're busy with
your papers. Don't let me disturb you."

"If," I said, "it depended on me I wouldn't. I'd take you at your word
and have you out of the room in two-twos. But you wouldn't like that,
now, would you?"

"I'm afraid I should have to enter a protest. That's right, isn't it?
Protests _are_ things that have to be entered, aren't they?"

"Yes," I said, "they're like candidates for examinations, or rooms, only
some rooms oughtn't to be entered, but are."

"Jocose?" said Francesca.

"No," I said; "I was thinking of Blue Beard. I daresay you remember
about him. He was a very uxorious man, you know, and most domestic.
Something of a traveller, and when"--

"We won't worry about Blue Beard," she said. "I think I know the
outlines of his family history."

"Well then," I said, "why can't you leave me alone? You see I'm busy and
yet you insist on staying here and interrupting me. Do you call that
being a helpmeet?"

"Well," she said, "I call it joining myself unto you, and that's what we
were told to do to one another in the marriage service."

"You're wrong," I said. "I was told to do that unto you, but you were
told to submit yourself unto me and to reverence me."

"It's all the same," she said. "All I'm doing is to help you to obey the
Prayer-Book."

"Anyhow," I said, "you've sat down and you mean to stay here. Is that
what it comes to?"

"It is," she said. "You're in tremendous guessing form to-day."

"All I know," I said gloomily, "is that if my return for Income Tax
contains many mistakes it'll be your fault, not mine; and I shall take
care so to inform the CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER. I shall put down in
the Exemptions and Abatements, 'Interrupted by wife. Abatement claimed,
£100.' The CHANCELLOR will understand. He's a married man himself."

"So you're doing your Income Tax," she said dreamily. "I've often
wondered how that was done. Do you like it?"

"No, Francesca," I said, "I do not like it. To be quite frank with you I
detest it."

"But you're helping the War," she said. "That ought to buck you up like
anything. Every extra penny you pay is a smack in the eye for the
KAISER, so cheer up and make a good big return."

"I will do," I said, "what is strictly fair between myself and the
Government. I can afford to be just to the CHANCELLOR, but, by Heaven, I
cannot afford to be generous. Generosity has no place in an Income Tax
return."

"Go ahead with it then," she said. "I don't know what's stopping you."

"You," I said, "are stopping me--you and that part of my income from
which the tax is not deducted at the source."

"That sounds quite poetical," she said. "It runs into metre directly.
Listen:--

  No man can well be rude or even coarse
  Who has his tax deducted at the source.

But I wish you'd tell me what it means."

"Francesca," I said bitterly, "you are pleased to be a rhymer. You are,
in fact, rhyming while the exchequer is burning; and then you add insult
to injury by asking me the meaning of an elementary financial phrase."

"Well, what _does_ it mean?"

"It means," I said, "that if your money is invested in public companies
or things of that nature, then when your half-yearly dividend--You know
what a dividend is?"

"Rather," she said. "It comes in on blue paper or pink, and you say,
'That's something to be thankful for;' and you write your name on one
half of it and you send that half to the bank, and you tear off the
other half and lose it in the next spring-cleaning. I know what a
dividend is all right."

"Francesca," I said, "your knowledge is very wonderful. But if you
suppose that that is the whole dividend, you are much mistaken. It is
the dividend minus the tax. The company saves you trouble by deducting
the tax and pays it to the CHANCELLOR for you."

"Bravo the company!" said Francesca.

"And so say I. You see you never get that part of your money, so there's
no temptation to spend it--in fact you don't spend it."

"That," she said, "sounds highly plausible."

"Yes, but listen. Suppose you've got some little job at, say, two
hundred and fifty pounds a year"--

"Like the little job you were so pleased to get a few years ago."

"Yes," I said, "more or less like that."

"Not so honourable, of course," said Francesca.

"No, of course not, but similar as to emoluments. Well, in that case you
get the whole amount, and you spend it in perfectly useless things and
forget all about it after you've put it down in your return; and then
suddenly some Surveyor of Taxes writes and demands Income Tax on those
two hundred and fifty pounds, actually demands something like forty
pounds. I tell you, it goes through you like a knife."

"Haven't you any remedy?"

"Of course I could chuck the job," I said, "or do it for nothing. Yes, I
think I'll chuck it. It'll be a lesson to them."

"Yes," she said, "it would probably make the Government sit up--but, on
the whole, I don't think I should go so far if I were you. You see"--

"Go on," I said, for she was hesitating. "Let us strip ourselves of
everything at once and throw ourselves on the charity of our
neighbours."

"Well," she said, "I'd go on for a bit. A job's a job even if it does
make you pay. You've had £210 on balance, and you ought to be thankful
to have been allowed to pay forty pounds for munitions."

"And now," I said, "perhaps you'll let me get on with my work."

R. C. L.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Pull-Through:

_Being a paraphrase of an answer in an O.T.C. examination._

  Just one long pull, a straight strong pull--no other pull will do;
  A man must never take two pulls to pull the pull-through through.

       *       *       *       *       *

Village Amenities.

    "The hearty congregational stinging was a feature of church life
    to be proud of."--_Parish Magazine._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "WANTED.--Comfortable Home with private family for Gentleman who
    is not strong in Brighton, Eastbourne, or St. Leonards."

    _The Times._

The poor fellow should try Bournemouth or Torquay.

       *       *       *       *       *

GETTING EVEN.

[Illustration: _Outraged victim of "Confidential Report" (being put to
bed prematurely_). "Please, God, Nurse _sewed_ for her soldier on
SUNDAY!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

If it should ever be your lot, which pray Heaven forbid, to be stranded
on the coast of Panama, seek out Miss WINIFRED JAMES as your hostess,
for she can teach you how to tolerate, and even in a way enjoy, an
existence one might have thought unendurable. She lives, I gather, some
two hundred miles or so from the Canal, in a town that is going to be
built some fine day on a site that has to be prepared by filling up a
marsh with clay and sand. In the meantime, until the day and the town
arrive, she rightly describes herself as _A Woman in the Wilderness_
(CHAPMAN AND HALL). Civilisation is turned back to front out there, for
although such comforts as refrigerators and electric light are a matter
of course, there is still lacking to _Mrs. Henry de Jan_ and her rather
shadowy _William_ anything, for instance, in the nature of a road on
which to walk, or indeed any approach to their own verandah except,
floating on the clay, a narrow plank gangway that has to serve as a
hustling high-road for a mixed and dusky populace. Under the
circumstances she has done nobly well to arm herself with the twin
defences of cheerfulness and humour; and if the cheerfulness comes at
times near to being that of a martyr on the rack, while the fun is
perilously apt to swing from themes that are nice for a lady's wit to
others that are not so nice, and back to sheer triviality, what, in the
name of a population of sand-flies and negroes, can you expect? It is
much that so lifelike a picture of a region so desolate should be
presented on the whole with sweetness and charm, when no better material
is available than the myriad misdeeds of her coloured servants, the
antics of her puppies and an occasional reminiscence of home.

       *       *       *       *       *

Certainly VIOLET HUNT and FORD MADOX HUEFFER have one achievement to
their credit. They have evolved an entirely new and original setting in
which to bring together a number of short stories. What is supposed to
happen is that sundry persons who did not feel exactly drawn towards bed
before 2 A.M. on those summer nights when Zeppelins were about, meet for
bridge and sandwiches and incidentally to listen to certain stories read
aloud by their author. In this way they are able to forget their
apprehensions of the gas-bags (dare I put it that they lose Count?) and
spend a pleasant series of evenings with history. For the stories in
_Zeppelin Nights_ (LANE) are all historical of a kind. Mostly they deal
with the byways of history, or rather with the emotions of ordinary
people who are just on the outer edge of historical happenings. For
example, the central figure of the first is a slave whose basket of figs
is upset by PHEIDIPPIDES running from Marathon; while the last concerns
an insignificant little anti-militarist who finds himself cheering for
the army on the outbreak of the Boer War. That is the kind of tales they
are, slight and momentary things, with no plot but plenty of atmosphere,
and in their style remarkably well done. Whether they would actually
keep the nerve-ridden oblivious of bombs for the thousand-and-one nights
that might have seen raids and didn't is a matter that need not concern
us. For my part, I liked as much as any the pages in which Miss HUNT or
Mr. HUEFFER folded up her or his manuscript and allowed the other
(whichever it was) to tell us about the very pleasant and human
audience. I had only one disappointment, but that was acute. I did want
just once for them to hear a distant bang, and see what happened. I
rather doubt whether the placid and literary charm of the tales would
have sufficed to keep them within doors had there been anything to see
outside.

       *       *       *       *       *

"In his hot indignation his yellowish face had in places turned
blackish: literally, black streaks ran from the corners of his lips
upwards and downwards, and from the inner corners of his eyes." If you
read that sentence in a novel with Mr. EDGAR JEPSON'S name on the cover,
and found that the passage was a description of a man named _Shadrach
Penny_, would you not, as I did, settle down comfortably in your
armchair and wait with perfect confidence for the human zebra to murder
somebody in the most fascinatingly brutal manner? But he did not do
anything of the kind. I think that the fact that I was disappointed in,
and even seriously bored by, _The Man Who Came Back_ (HUTCHINSON) was
largely due to the mild, dull way in which the story developed. And yet
I think I could have forgiven the absence of lurid sensationalism if the
book had been a good book of its kind. It is not. It is so crude and
amateurish that it is difficult to believe that a professional writer
could have written it. Mr. JEPSON, like most other authors, has had the
idea of modernising the story of the Prodigal Son. He adheres to the
original story closely in one respect, for _Roland Penny's_ first meal
in his old home consists of roast veal, but he departs from it in making
_Roland_, so far from wasting his substance, amass a large fortune among
the husks and swine. I do not know how to classify _The Man Who Came
Back_. It is not a novel of incident, for nothing happens in it. It is
not a novel of character, for there is no attempt at any but the crudest
character-drawing. It is just a six-shilling novel, and I do not see
what else one can say of it. Mr. JEPSON must do one of two things. He
must either brace up and make his style less irritatingly slipshod, or
he must give us a few more murders. If we cannot have literary elegance
he must give us blood.

       *       *       *       *       *

Lieutenant L. B. RUNDALL, of the 1st Gurkha Rifles, author of _The Ilex
of Stra-Ping_ (MACMILLAN), was not only a soldier and a sportsman, but a
writer with a most keen sense of the beauty of nature and the beauty of
words. Children should love these Himalayan sketches, for Mr. RUNDALL,
from material which in some cases was admittedly slight, could weave a
tale full of magic and charm. The story of the old brown bear in "The
Scape-goat" may not greatly stir the heart with the thrill of adventure,
but the hero has attractions that no child and no man that has not
forgotten his childhood could resist. An inconspicuous notice in the
book tells us that the author fell in action towards the close of 1914.
I salute his memory. Rich as we are to-day in authors who can write
enchantingly of birds and animals, I feel a sense of personal sorrow in
the loss of one whose work gave so fair a promise of high achievement.

       *       *       *       *       *

When you take up _Russian Folk-Tales_ (KEGAN, PAUL), don't allow
yourself to be subdued by the deplorably learned preface of the
translator, Mr. LEONARD MAGNUS, LL.B., because it is not the proper
attitude really. Forget how little business a Bachelor of Law has to lay
his sceptical hands on such inappropriate material, and plunge into a
jolly, bewildering tangle of tales of magic and adventure,
bloodthirstiness and treachery, simple charity, _vodka_ and genial
superstition. You will be led from one to the other, puzzled but, I dare
conjecture, highly entertained. I think you may take it, too, that a
certain healthy sort of children will like to have these queer stories
read aloud. The villainies of the _Bába Yagá_, an old witch of terrific
resourcefulness, and the oddly inconsequent animal stories should make
particular appeal. But you will be hard put to it to answer the
questions which will be thrust at you; and (by the way) perhaps you will
discreetly have to leave out a phrase or two for prudence' sake. On no
account let the youngsters read the preface. I am not really quite sure
whether you ought to read it yourself.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Recruit._ "Aw--I say Sergeant--I'm afraid this horse is
a bit too tall for me."

_Sergeant_ (_old school_). "Oh! And does the _colour_ suit you, Sir?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

The Charge of the Six Hundred.

  Some three-score years or so ago six hundred gallant men
  Made a charge that cost old England dear, they lost four hundred then;
  To-day six hundred make a charge that costs the country dear,
  But now they take four hundred each--four hundred pounds a year.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Somebody to steal of my cabbage, cauliflower, old potato, new
    potato, and a small rake and hooks, fork. Everything. Somebody
    snatch on Thursday and Saturday night. Perhaps anybody to see
    the steal man to take something from my garden to tell me about
    that is I will reward five pounds truth, £3 for tell-tale.--Wong
    Long."

    _Poverty Bay Herald._

Wong Long apparently differs from the accepted authorities as to the
value of hearsay evidence.





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